Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wonderful Women in the Lord

This week God gifted me with three opportunities to see young women He is growing for His kingdom. I know that He wants them for Himself and they each are yielding in their own ways. My faith is encouraged as I experience strong young faith that will carry on the next generation.

Kasey Smith - wow, she and I met through two avenues at the same time. No doubt God wanted us to cross paths. She was attending the Hope church of Christ congregation when I came to Abilene. I had seen her there but not really met her yet. Then I attended a mentoring event last Fall and she and I got matched up as mentor/mentoree. She is a junior at ACU. She was a resident manager in the girl's dorms last year and this year. She is great at talking with others and so helpful as an example. She has great leadership skills. She has worked with Leadership Camps for ACU for several summers and was over all of the counselors this past summer. We were so fond of her and impressed that when Daniel had a chance to choose a student leader for his U100 class that he teaches she chose her!!! (that is a class all freshman take) She is very responsible. Part of the mentoring program is that she and I get to hang out on some kind of regular basis. We went to lunch this past week and enjoyed catching up.

Shannon Buchanan - First off, this young lady was a friend of Hannah but it was a friendship they didn't get to really develop. Their friends were in the same circle and so when I mentioned to Hannah how fond we were of Shannon; Hannah raved and raved about how wonderful of a person Shannon was. This young lady is the one who shows up on Wednesday night with a baked pie for someone special at Bible study, she is the one who is ready to use the drill when we were repairing the new bldg. for Hope, she is the one who is co-in charge of the 9 dinner teams at Hope who provide dinner each Sunday night, do you get the idea. Along with this servant action is a heart that loves people and wants to learn more and more about God. She and her boyfriend, Brandon were able to have dinner with us this week. What a JOY!! We talked about how it feels to be parents and let go of your children, how children need to grow in the Lord and how it doesn't always look the same as their parents. Shannon is another one who works with the students in the dorms. She is actually over both girls dorms. Those freshmen are in good care!!

Elizabeth Fike - It happened that we were sitting across the table from Elizabeth last fall eating a meal with people who attend Hope church of Christ. She mentioned that she had actually gone out on a real date the night before. I ask her about it and she mentioned the young man's name(Jaime) and where he worked. It sounded very familiar to me and so I ask if his room mate was Jason Grassie (Hannah's boyfriend)and she said yes!! Well, my brain started rolling because I knew Jason and Jaime were planning on going to Brazil together in the spring and that they were good friends. Small world!!! Well, the year has gone and Elizabeth and Jaime are to marry in Dec. and Hannah's now fiancee will be the best man!! Today we enjoyed a bridal shower here at the house. Elizabeth is sweet, sweet, has experienced truly a physical healing from the Lord and such a tender heart. She sat and visited with us today telling us how humbled she felt as she hears how her home congregation is all pitching in to make her wedding date a beautiful one. She and Jaime will live in San Antonio after their marriage in Dec. We will miss her!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gathering Up Rocks

We had a beautiful Saturday in Abilene last week. We decided, well Daniel talked me into going with him to pick out some rocks for our flower beds. Now we didn't go down to a rock store or Lowe's or anything. We headed about 12-15 miles out of town to our friend's house, the Istre Family. Wonderful family who lives off the land and raises animals for food, makes great homemade bread, and just totally enjoys being a family of God. They have 29 acres and they built their home on the land. They had told us that there were some rocks on their land that we could have when they heard we were wanting some for our flower beds.

We headed out on the 4-wheeler. Boy, it was fun and the younger boy in Daniel came out and really wanted to drive a bit faster than I wanted to go.

We were successful after climbing down into a dry creek or two and shoveling up some rocks. Some we could only see the tops and would dig and have no idea how big they were until they were uncovered. We like them so much that we may have to go back for some more.

We love all of the adventures God is giving us in Abilene!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Calling All Cooks

I have a new recipe that I tried recently. I would love to hear from you if you try it and would love to get some more tried and true recipes for the upcoming season!! Don't shy away if you do not like cranberry, I'm telling ya, this is great!!

Cranberry Cream Cheese Pie
It’s a little bit cheesecake, a little bit cranberry crunch,
and a whole lot delicious!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
(NOT evaporated milk)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (16-ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven 425°.
Bake pie crust 6 minutes; remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375°.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in EAGLE BRAND until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Pour into prepared pie crust.
In small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cornstarch; mix well. Stir in cranberry sauce. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
In medium bowl, cut butter into flour and remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar until crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle evenly over cranberry mixture. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Cool. Serve at room temperature or chill thoroughly. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Tip: I cooked it for about 25 minutes and then i spread out the mixture on top so it wasn't so clumpy. This is a keeper!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Being gone for 5 weeks to Lima, Peru, can no longer be my excuse for not posting more, but I think I have gone through a period of needing less people time. Posting is people time to me. Not sure where that is coming from but I'm pushing myself to engage since coming back. I feel a bit behind with my community because ACU started while I was gone and the students/friends I get with are deep into a schedule already. I feel it has passed me by. Although, I am totally embracing this time, trying to find the balance of down time and active time, trying to allow this time to do it's work in me. Maybe it is the Spirit wanting me to rest a bit. Haley Edmiston and I were talking last week and she reminded me that I am one who "goes after, values, enjoys" peace. We weren't talking about peace with man, although I do value that too. She was reminding me of the times I enjoy and set aside for quiet. I do love music but I have enjoyed silent times, reading time, reflecting and journaling time as she noticed when she lived with us. So, I am wanting to yield to what I feel it best but also not allow myself to drop off. How do you measure your people time? Is it something you are aware of?

I have begun a new study since getting back to Abilene. Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed. It is a workbook that while I have not stayed up with all of the lessons, I have totally enjoyed the pace that God is taking me on.
Some highlights from the study I have enjoyed are remembering that the first mission David performed as King was to bring back the ark, and the ark represented the presence of God. We should each day make ourselves God conscious or God aware. We also have enjoyed looking up the word "establish".
Romans 16:25
Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past..
Ephesians 3:17
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love
Col 1:23
if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.
II Peter 1:12
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have..

We have been reminded in this study that we are sustained by God and positioned for a purpose. We are each like David, "For David, after serving his own generation in God's plan, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed. We are still living out our "serving our own generation". We are where we are for a purpose, for a kingdom purpose.

Exodus 33:15 Lord, if Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from this place."

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Gift from God

When God called us to Abilene, we knew there would be work He had planned for us before we moved here. It would be waiting and we were excited. We feel we are on a mission, learning new lessons about ourselves, meeting new people, and getting out of our comfort zone we had in College Station for 28 years.

When I came home from Lima, I had really missed worshiping in my own language and all of the relationships that God had given me. I have found myself a bit tearful out of JOY as I commune with my church family at Hope. Last weekend was our last Sunday in the Hwy 351 location, the building I have always known as the location of gathering for Hope. We moved out and are now at a new bldg. (to us) on Judge Ely. (very close to ACU campus) There has been lots of work at the new bldg. -- painting, pulling carpet up, replacing trim, scraping of the floors, new walls, updating lots of details.

The ones who organize our worship time put together a wonderful time for all on our last gathering time on Hwy 351. One of the things they did was ask the congregation to put on cards what Hope -- the community of Hope - meant to them. Below are the messages that came. We are a group of about 125. Enjoy and know this is what it means to "...sharing with all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God.."

Hope is an amazing place. I will forever be grateful that I am part of this group of people. May the Lord continue to bless this body.

Hope is a supportive community of believers and seekers that aim to serve God and those around them.

How do I express how I feel about HOPE in just one note card? I’m not sure I could do it if you gave me the whole pack of note cards! I love how we’re all different—and in our diversity and difference, we find strength instead of weakness. I love how we pray and pray. And then pray again, followed by prayer… and then lift each other in prayer while we’re separately from each other. I love how HOPE changed my heart! I’ve come to LOVE the word “hope.”

My experience at Hope has expanded my understanding of the freedom in Christ and a new appreciation for the role of shepherds.

Hope means just that—HOPE! (Too many ways to list here.) It means an opportunity for Mike & me to be free to grow as God directs.

Hope is my welcoming family when I visit home.

Hope is my family and place of safety.

Hope is a place where the broken people of God come together and stand as one in the strength of our Savior! For when we are week, then we are strong!

Hope has freed me from viewing my faith as a set of rules and led me to a deeper intimacy with Christ.

Hope means community, love, & acceptance.

I love the singing and preaching because it’s what we have left of New Life.

To me, HOPE means renewal. It means freedom from sin and from the past—a new beginning. It means joy, fellowship in community, encouragement and exhortation. It means purpose and direction, allowing Christ to change the world and use me in the process. HOPE is the body of Christ as it was meant to be.

My awesome new family! Loving, sweet! :)

Hope has grown up my family, Alison, Justin, & Cailyn; Hannah; now us. Praise the Lord.

Hope church has been a place of joyful uplifting worship of sincere believers & convicting sermons.

Hope has allowed me to see the most unlikely heroes, and to be led by those who scarcely knew they were leading.

Hope means to me a community that loves each other & serves their neighbors & takes care of the needs without question.

Hope has been my lifeline in many ways. I feel like the people here are my spiritual family, and I am grateful God has placed me here.

Hope, my family, a group I share my joys & sorrows with.

Hope is: *a place where prayer is taken seriously *a place where sinners aren’t shunned * a place where the weak receive help *a place where our praises to the Father can be freely unleashed *A GODSEND.

I am so overwhelmed by the Spirit that is here at Hope—from the leaders all the way through the congregation.

HOPE is healing to the broken and strength when nothing seems to go right. It brings people out of the darkness and gives them courage, strength, perseverance, and peace.

Hope is family style meals—family in the times of joy and trouble, prayer and service.

HOPE to me means family.

Hope means family to me. It means open, honest, and safe community that calls each other to a higher standard for the name of Christ. It means being broken with one another and allowing others to help carry our burdens for a time when they get too heavy. Being a part of Hope means responding to needs and finding ways to extend our faith past the doors of a building. Being a part of Hope means that we won’t get everything right but we are willing to acknowledge it and try again, keeping loving others as a priority.

The Hope Congregation has been great for Allene and I. At our age the time of services the Elders (wonder why) along with the good people of the congregation mean a lot to us. However, First and foremost it is a place to worship God. Now, i would like for all to know that my vision has degenerated to the point thait i may not recognize within the building even if you are standing close by. So, please don’t think I am being unfriendly if i fail to greet you. Massingill.

Hope is family.

Hope is a place that feels like home.

I am forever changed because of HOPE. I have experienced grace and mercy, I have witnessed mutual submission, I have seen the power of transparency, I have experienced healing, I have seen Jesus.

Hope has been a warm and welcoming place of worship. A place where everyone is excepted no matter where they find themselves in life, and no matter how broken they feel. A place where people are loved and supported. Being at Hope has allowed opportunities for me to serve in ways that I haven't before, and it's provided challenges that have resulted in great personal and spiritual growth. Hope has been a faith building and life transforming experience for me.

All the wonderful people make HOPE a truly wonder place. Damon is the best preacher I have ever heard.

As I sat there, I heard God say, "I have so much more for you here, more than you have experienced in the first year". I look forward to all that I get to experience with my family of Hope. If you do not have a place of belonging with a community of believers, do not give up, continue to pray and ask, continue to look and explore, it is God's will that we do life together.

This is the dinner team we are on. We were in charge of the first meal at the new bldg. It was given great success by the Lord!!