Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Monday

Our Monday was delightful! My entire family came over in the afternoon to bake, hang out, and share dinner. Heather came too, even though it's only been three days since her knee surgery. She came complete with nausea from the "exhausting trip", pain meds, and two machines that are quite impressive. The first contraption is one that she sticks her leg into which bends and straightens slowly for her in order to keep her knee from stiffening. The second one looks like a large blood pressure cuff that goes on her knee, but is connected to a machine filled with ice and water. It sucks the very cold water into the cuff and ices her knee. Fancy!

I wish you could have seen my kitchen with so many people in and out and so many recipes going on at the same time. That we did not put 10 cups of flour into one recipe is a miracle!! We made peanut butter thumbprint cookies with a kiss on top, M&M cookies, and sugar cookies along with the annual Walter/McLaughlin cinnamon rolls.

It is our yearly tradition that my brother, Tim and I make cinnamon rolls together. A very important part of that tradition is the competition to most skillfully distract the other in order to christen one's face with either butter or flour- or both! This year Tim won first and I got butter all down my face, but I hasten to add that I dodged atleast four previous attempts quite successfully. =)

By the end of the night we were all quite exhausted, but very content. It was so nice to be in the midst of chaos again. At first it was a little unnerving- but after a few hours, I remembered how much I liked it!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sunday nights

So I think I've mentioned this before, but Jeff and I have begun attending a small group Bible study with four other couples on Sunday nights. We're reading this book called "The Final Quest" by Rick Joyner. It's written in the form of an allegory and it's very deep and profound.

Tonight was very good. On Sunday nights I feel soothed, like a healing balm was placed on my heart and warmed my spirit. It makes me remember what "being alive" feels like.

We were talking about the five major aspects of the likeness of Christ that we should be eminating to all we come in contact with. They are: the Lion, the Lamb, the Judge, the Bridegroom, and the Shepherd. We were discussing how each of these aspects should be mirrored in our relationships and interactions with everyone and examining which aspects we struggle with understanding, and how that affects our ability to project an accurate picture of Christ to others. Also, which aspects we need to allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate and increase in our own lives for the same purpose.

I am so incredibly thankful for this group of people who are in this journey with me and don't have it all together, who are all a work in progress- learning, stretching, growing, reshaping, and who are willing to adopt us into this trasparent and loving group and share themselves with us. Jesus, thank you for this answer to prayer. Thank you for this spiritual food and healing. Father, continue to develop and mesh these relationships. And I pray that You would extend your hand of blessing on each of them according to Your will and Your plan. Amen.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Vacation has begun!

Yesterday was my last day of work until Jan. 4th! Praise the Lord! Now I can really relax and focus in on this season, family, friends, etc.
Today we are having our youth Christmas party. It should be a fun and exhausting day. =) This morning we're going down to Ivey Lane and throwing a party for 50 3rd-5th graders and their families who've attended all three FCAT (standardized test for FL) tutoring sessions at Ivey Lane Elementary. (We've been working closely with the school lately. We've also had Darden restaurant gift cards donated for the teachers, Starbucks Coffee for the teachers along with Panera bagels every Friday. These teachers live at this school investing into these kids with little or no encouragement and recognition.) Anyway, today these kids will enjoy hamburgers, hotdogs, huge blow-up slides, games, etc that were donated for this party. We've also collected toys for all of them.
Then tonight, the party for the kids is on the Parson's ranch. That includes the band from camp, dinner, bonfires, capture the flag, etc. If we're still alive by the end of the day, I will be happy!! I'll write more later when all is said and done.
Happy Saturday to all!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

My Saturday and My Small Group

Well, I had fun yesterday. I had my first freelance interpreting job. I interpreted a four hour ordination for a deacon. It was LONG...but a lot of fun! You know, maybe I can really do this thing- interpreting, I mean. I feel so underqualified and inexperienced. But, I guess everyone has to start somewhere! =) Then I went Christmas shopping and went home to be with my husband. He surprised me by taking me out to eat last night. It was fun! Oh, and I picked 5 more beans from my garden. =) Two tomatoes are also in the works!
I just finished reading e-mails for my small group girls. I'm referring to a group of five girls who went through college with me, meeting for a Bible study every week.Sometimes our group would last for 4 hours or so. These girls are amazing, and I'm pretty sure that we would die for each other. It's been hard since college ended, because we all scattered to the wind. Kristin is in India, Mindy in Sierra Leone, Renata in Canada, Kimberly in Penn. and Caroline soon to be in Melbourne. Their e-mails left me with a dull ache inside. I think everyone seems to be in a hard place right now with the Lord. Just hurting, hungering without being filled and feeling like they're dying inside. How I long to be there for all of them like before. It was so much easier when we lived close to each other. It's not that I am any better off emotionally or spiritually than they are, but there's just something about a ministry of presence. It's healing and comforting just knowing that someone is there for you- they've got your back and they love you no matter what.
Whoever is reading this, would you all pray with me for them? It would bless me knowing that you were.
Thanks! ~Shae

Monday, December 05, 2005

Deep thoughts- what do you think?

So in our Bible study we're reading this book that definitely resembles The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Last night we launched into a discussion about boldness, speaking the truth in love, what holds us back from it, etc. Some of the members were saying that they feel like they have never "offended" anyone for the sake of the Gospel, or Truth, and they were wondering if that is a problem. There are several paths you could explore on this one.

Here's my thought process: It depends on why you haven't. And on what is holding you back. And if you're speaking the truth and just haven't offended anyone. Then I wondered, could it be that different ones of us were gifted differently so that influences how we "speak the truth" and whether or not we offend. Here's what I mean. Jeff is much more of a "prophet"- when he speaks the truth, it's black and white, sincere, true, and not always very tactful- although lately I see a lot more love in his reproofs. I on the other hand, tend to be more gentle, more merciful, and more tactful- even when I must say soemthing that is not on the "top ten" list of things someone wants to hear before they die. It's not that I hold back because I'm afraid of offending them, but I just tend to communicate in a different manner than some others in the Body. Does this mean it's wrong? Does this mean I have much further to go before I can "be like Jesus"? (The argument was that Jesus didn't always make friends, He did divide, He did speak the truth and not everyone liked Him for it.) Not everyone likes me either- but more because I see beyond what they choose to share or show me and they don't like being "known".

One of the quotes from the book that struck me was that "speaking the Truth must always be done with grace. Speaking the truth in love is not enough. Speaking the truth without grace is what the Enemy does when he poses as the "Angel of Light" and comes to divide and conquer." See, I like that, because it makes sense to the "Mercy" in me. But, I can also see how sometimes having grace may just get in the way of speaking truth in the way that someone may need to hear it.

I don't know, I'm just thinking that spiritual gifting may play a role in there somewhere. I could be wrong and maybe deep down I'm afraid of offending someone in the process of sharing Truth. I don't know. Only God knows, and I pray that He makes it more clear as I wade throught these thoughts. What do you think?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Lonliness

On Sunday mornings I get pouty inside about sharing a car because I have to come so early with Jeff to his mucic practices. But by the time I get there, I'm thankful all over again for this time to just sit and think, pray and be without interruption.

This week we had a breakthrough. I broke down and spilled my guts to my husband. I am incredibly lonely. It's not his fault. I just really don't have any friends close to me any more. Being in "ministry", giving and pouring and laying it all on the line day after day, not having time for anything else, or the energy. And on top of that, my job is exceedingly emotionally exhausting. Especially when you're not being poured into from any angle.

I've tried to cover up my struggles so that Jeff wouldn't be even more burdened by my pain. He has enough of his own burden. But, he told me after my venting session that it actually helped him to know that I wasn't this perfect, I have it all together, let me just keep giving until I'm empty and then keep going- person. And all this time I thought he needed me to be that strong person...Well, guess what? I'm not that strong person! What a relief to say it out loud. It's almost like I was trying to keep it together so much that I thought that even if I told my Jesus that I would come unglued. How gentle He is with me. I am so grateful for His deep love- knowing what I need and when and allowing me to make mistakes and then letting me crawl back up into His lap.

The pain is still there. But know that He knows, knowing that Jeff knows, and neither of them has pushed me away makes me feel a lot better.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Yeah...the 60s!

No, not the 1960's...I'm referring to the temperature today. ALL day! It was so beautiful. It reminded me of some incredible memories of some gorgeous, big-blue-sky days in Siberia during the summer. There are not words to describe them, you just have to drink them in.