Friday, November 29, 2013

again today

Of course there was reason today to eat more - leftovers!  So back we went to Grandma Gatton's to chow down even more calories!

It was a lovely day, sleeping in, casually strolling through some stores wanting nothing except to be out and then to eat…and eat…until nothing was left.

Here are the rest of our pictures full of love and food!

Ron's side of the family!

Day 2 of feasting

Dana and Sue - two of our favorite Crossroadians!

Grandma Gatton and Cousin Nick and Oliver.

Aunt Anne and Oliver

such a big tummy pants won't stay closed!

Oliver entertaining everyone!

The Perez family from Crossroads!

Vern - all pooped out!

new Thanksgivings

For our family there were many new Thanksgivings this year.

We were missing a daughter and son-in-law, this was new - they never miss our family holidays.

We added 6 new faces to our Thanksgiving.  The Perez family, celebrated with us - one of favorite new families from Crossroads!

And a most amazing new addition is our precious Oliver!

I will never quit praising the Lord for our family, for His provisions and for the opportunities He gives all of our kids.

Today Aaron and Jocelyn spent time with a group that invited them to observe ancient instruments being played in Siem Reap Cambodia.  Aaron was invited to play an instrument that only 3 people in the world know how to play.  And the group is asking them to return to help notate out the music for the first time ever.  My understanding is that music has never been written for these instruments and they have never been recorded!  Unbelievable opportunities!
my amazing son-in-law Aaron

My son Eric on left - who is the most amazing father I've ever seen!  (Ok, maybe the
only other ones as good are my hubby and dad!)

I loved every minute today with our families.
All 4 of these guys are huge parts of my life!

I will never take them for granted.

They're Godly, they're hilarious, and they're really good cooks!

One of my biggest thanksgivings today was that my mom was well, and happy and confident in her Lord for whatever lies ahead.

A special thankfulness seeing my mom
who is soon to face several surgeries, enjoying time
with Oliver her first great-grandson!
I'm also thankful that for the first time there is absolutely nothing I care about standing in line for on Black Friday!

I pray that all of you had a blessed day!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I'm often distracted

I probably get the most frustrated with myself when I get distracted.  Facebook, Twitter etc I can turn off.

My distractions are often things that cross my path that are none of my business, but I make them my business by trying to solve problems or asking dumb questions when I have PLENTY to do right in front of me.  It's often shocking to remember the world can survive without me managing everything…

recently I've had to confess to the Lord that I'm dwelling on things that feel unfair.

Like how our kids are working like crazy to pay baby bills and to secure a future for themselves while others we know similar in age choose not to marry, not to work and let the government pay for baby, send them to college free and put food on their tables, food that they are physically more then capable of working for.

Now with my mom's illness I can go down that path again.  She's loved the Lord and served Him faithfully her entire life - why cancer - feels unfair.  Then I realize how that line of thought must cause the Lord to be so disappointed in me.  Because if I had His Words hidden in my heart I would remember that the greatest reward for a life well lived is to be in His presence.  To be spared from evil here on earth.

To stand in front of Him and hear "well down my good and faithful servant" coming out of his mouth should make it the deepest desire of my heart, to get out of here, to be present with Him.

But the distractions of my life here on earth tantalize my attention away from Him - away from a deep understanding of how pale all of this is in comparison to Him.

My prayer today is for singular focus, and that I'll have an unquenchable desire for Him that deadlines, and gossip, and problems can't cause me to be distracted.

  1. extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.
    synonyms:frenzy, hysteria, mental distress, madness, insanity, mania;

Thursday, November 21, 2013

things that matter

We can spend the precious minutes of our day investing in things that are eternal or things that are temporary.

I cleaned out my purse & wallet and removed the receipts that I knew I had no need to keep and tossed them in this metal box.

When I re-entered the room later it dawned on me that each receipt represents minutes of my life that I traded for whatever it was I purchased.

First I worked for the money that bought the items, then I spent time shopping in order to buy them and finally spent time sorting through all the items in my purse and wallet in order to dispose of them.

I wondered if anything on those receipts was really worth having and how much more of an eternal way the money could have been used?  Probably nothing on them was even an actual need.

Later today I was at my parents home.

My mom was just diagnosed with uterine cancer.  After dinner I walked to the couch and noticed her Bible on the table.
The pages were very worn - she had placed tabs on the different books of the Bible to make finding the desired passage easier.

Every time her fingers have touched those pages it's an eternal touch.  Minutes that count for eternity as she studies and applies the truths from God to her life.  These minutes make up the life of the amazing woman she is.

And now all the times she's read those well worn pages they'll come back to lift my parents through this nervous time of surgery and evaluation.

The God that created her knows every cell of her body and loves her more than any of us ever have because He is her eternal Father.

The things we buy, they things we love, the things we give in exchange for those precious fleeting minutes of our days must count for eternity...  or they don't count at all.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

what I learned today

I learned that things change quickly!

My mom had some tests done that we didn't expect to have results from until next week.  They want her to come in the morning to talk to the doctor.  We shall see…

I had my carpal tunnel evaluation today - my right hand is serious.  Would like to have surgery right way.

And then good things happened.

Oliver smiled at me.
Vern didn't whine when I ate food in front of him.
Aaron and Jocelyn face timed with us twice!  And, while I talked to them they played me a song that they had just written.  It was amazing!

God is good ALL the time.

Everything we go through draws us to Him.

I face whatever tomorrow brings with strength only available to us from the God who created us and cares more about us then we can ever understand.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

weekend report

Our praise team came well prepared, ready to worship and ready to lead the congregation to the throne!

Pastor Tim taught a great message - I heard several people teasing one another about NOT being the kind of person he taught about. They listened.

Following the services I sat and worked for a little while with Steve our Tech Coordinator on a few more Christmas details - we talked about the fact that this will be our 11th Christmas service working together and that we served at several prior to those as volunteers.  A blessing to have such a strong dedicated team!

Our setlist:

Alive In You
Always Will
All He Says I Am
Pastoral Prayer - Wendell Anderson
Crown Him
All My Fountains
Message:  Famous People You Should Know Pt. 2 - Senior Pastor Tim Armstrong
Exit Song:  All My Fountains

To watch our service go to

To see what other ministries used in their services go to

Have a blessed week!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

what I learned today

Exodus 35:35 & 36 ESV
He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver--by any sort of workman or skilled designer.

"Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded."

The only place I feel like I really fully concentrate and dream of what God has intended - is at home on my couch.  With views like the glorious snow today - my breath is taken away and my thankfulness for life in Him accelerates!
my view as I pray

When I 'go' to work, it's spent communicating things that need to be discussed, bouncing ideas off one another about how to do something better, encouraging one another and constantly working out the details - which is exactly what we're supposed to accomplish 'at work'.  But I can't often fully develop an idea or move on a God inspired thought - too busy there.  Isn't that ironic?

I HAVE to complete the bones of our Christmas services today in order to present them to the team - only after the bones are committed to - do the details and creative pieces get pursued!  Pressure, if I except that - but what I plan to do today (with your prayer) is sit and let God use my ears to listen and my thoughts to form around the message He wants to use us to communicate.  There is nothing self-pleasing in this process - or God cannot work.  I place my attention fully on Him right now and only dream of what He could choose to do through our services in people's lives.

The Christmas services will be called


Sunday, November 10, 2013

weekend report

So proud of our Crossroads teams this weekend.

As I came into the building last night and went to prepare for the service -

I looked down at the 'order of service details' laying in my office and was struck by the realization of how many man hours go into each sentence, each video cue, lighting cue, each one of the 7 pages of information - the timing involved in bringing in each lyric listed and was so filled with thankfulness for our staff and volunteers that help us each weekend to pull off - what we put in writing - what God helps us to dream up.

Our amazing hostess team leader had coffee brewing as the music rehearsal started in the auditorium.  I love the smell of brewing coffee - nothing says welcome like that does!  A small detail but so important - a part of our DNA at Crossroads.

Outside of the area I oversee - the volunteers in our children's and student ministry areas had hundreds of children/students this weekend that they taught from God's Word.

Our Adopt-A-Child Christmas project kicked off this weekend too with 168 of our 500 kids already adopted!  I LOVE our GoMissions team!

And how encouraged I was as I watched our praise team worship, not just lead worship, but worship their Savior themselves!  The congregation resounded with some of the loudest singing I've heard in quite some time!  So thankful to be part of this community!

Our Setlist:

Our Setlist:

Video announcements
God Is With Us Now
To Live Is Christ - written by our worship leader Milo
The Whole Earth
Message:  Famous People You Should Know Pt. 1 Absalom  -  Sr Pastor Tim Armstrong
Exit Song:  Cornerstone

To watch our services go to

To see what other ministries included in their set lists go to

Thursday, November 7, 2013

putting it together

This sums up my day - I spent the entire day 'putting it together'.  Whether it was relationally or just trying to create a cohesive - God inspired Christmas service, it was all about the putting together.

I just can hardy wrap my head around how close the holidays are!  This puts BIG pressure on us to be at our very best creatively - so we've been meeting and brainstorming and praying!  And now the search begins for the perfect elements...

Many things behind the scenes take our staff and volunteers hours and hours to prepare - one of the events that began today was our Adopt-A-Child preparations.  The Go Mission Team worked most of the day putting needy children's names and information on the adoption cards that will be available this weekend for our congregation.  This team works so hard to tap into existing organizations in our community that serve the needy - to help us identify and serve the very most underprivileged children in Richland County!  Our GoMission's team is one of the Crossroads team's I look up to the most!  They help us fulfill the great commission to GO!

Go Missions team beginning to prepare for Adopt-A-Child
Adopt-A-Child cards

I spent the last part of my day reviewing Christmas music...

Vern helped me by wagging his tail whenever I picked a good one!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

weekend report

Another great weekend at Crossroads! There was so much going on all around the ministry!

I found a couple of minutes to listen to worship practice in the Student Ministry area - it was great and then headed  back to the auditorium to watch sound check there.

I appreciate SO much all of our volunteers at Crossroads!  They are so unselfish with their time - and work so hard to try to keep the excellence high!

We finished another great series on the book of Habakkuk and prepare this week to launch the next series, "Famous People You Should Know".

Our setlist:

Nothing Ever (Could Separate Us)
Always Will
Forever Yours
Surrender (one chorus)
Our God

Message:  Turning to God in Uncertainty - Pastor Tim Armstrong

Exit Song:  Our God

To watch our services on-line go to

To see what other ministries used in their worship set lists go to

Saturday, November 2, 2013

out in the community

I realized recently that I need to get out into the community more.  I live a very secluded life.

How can I have an opportunity to share my faith - to help those who need help if I don't get out?

Last night my hubby and I volunteered for a dance performance surrounded by people we don't know from the Mansfield area.  It was great to meet new people - do something really different plus enjoy great talent!

Today I will just be 'in' and spend some time preparing for the evening service - one of my greatest privileges.  I pray that God can use our teams' weekly preparation to help someone begin their journey with Him this weekend.

It often surprises us what is the turning point in people's lives at Crossroads, a certain song, a scripture Pastor Tim uses or a practical application to the Bible -
the Word of God that people thought was written long ago but certainly could hold no relevance in their life today, suddenly comes alive as God reveals Himself to them…  whatever God chooses to use to draw them to Him - I pray it will happen again this weekend.

Please watch as you're out in the community, just doing your everyday life - for an opportunity to bring someone with you to Crossroads, or hand them an oval card and invite them to come.  This time of the year is a time that people think about family, about how unfulfilling their lives have been this past year.

In each of us there is a need to know our creator, a need most people try to fill with other things.  Please be the one that goes out in the community these next few weeks, to bring them in.