Thursday, January 31, 2013

Your One Wild and Precious Life

Dwight Mason, the pastor here at NewPointe has written a book!!!

Today I'm writing to tell you (especially you moms) why you should go get this book and read it.

First let me say that Dwight has been a huge influence in the life of our family over the past year and a half. He has challenged us, loved us, and supported us in so many ways. We have been so blessed from his leadership. From his leadership and the man he is, he has gained our respect and love. Reading his book was awesome. It was so neat to know the man and the man's heart behind the words I was reading. Knowing that he is a true example for us (he's the "real deal") made what he wrote that much more meaningful and special.

The title of Dwight's book is Only God. It's about changing your story, and changing the world. Dwight has a huge vision for our church, one that Only God can deliver. It's to have 10 campuses by 2020. A huge vision that at times seems daunting, but Dwight in confident that it's a vision given by God, and one that will come to fruition because of God. In his book, he inspires you to create an Only God story of your own, and provides you with action steps to help write that story.

My life can seem quite mundane and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I'm a stay at home mom, with my sphere of influence being 2 - Cooper and Andrew. But reading this book renewed my sense of purpose as a wife and mom. There is a chapter entitled "Helping your Children Write a Great Story." It has been my hope and prayer since I knew I was pregnant with Cooper that he do something great for God. I'm sure every parent feels the sense that their child is going to do great things. Naturally, this chapter stuck out to me. Let me share with you some quotes and notes from this chapter.

"I hope that you are working with God to break free of every bond and unhealthy pattern in your life, because giving your child a spiritually, emotionally, and relationally healthy parent is job number one in helping him or her write a great story."

"When you get into a radical relationship with the God who loves you and made you, you become free to become the person you were created to be - your authentic self. Then you are able to love, parent, and set your child on an exciting journey."

Dwight lists 12 ways we can help our children write a great story.  Some of the ones that stuck out to me:
-Dismiss cynical attitudes and sarcasm from your home. "Enough exposure to cynicism, even under the cover of humor, will warp your children's perspectives and put them at a disadvantage in a world that needs hope and optimism."
-Work with God to balance grace and truth. "Grace lets a child know how deeply and completely she is loved; truth guides her into the reality of what she must do and become. Grace and truth say, 'I forgive you for what you did. But, here's the consequence we're facing.' Grace and truth say, 'I am 100 percent on your side, even if you don't feel like I am. But you have to respect the rules.'"
-Prioritize responsibility and self-control. "One of the most important tasks you as a parent must tackle is transforming your child's perspective from 'My life is your responsibility' to 'My life is my responsibility.'"  "When your child learns that the pen really is in his hand, he will be on his way to writing a great story."
-Help your child develop a specific competence and poise. "Helping your child find areas where she can excel - a skill she can master - is a huge hand in the world of adults, where you have to kow something to make it. Solomon said it well: 'Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men' Prov. 22:29."

If you are inquisitive on how to help your children create their life story in an "Only God" way, this chapter will speak to you. But living out your own "Only God" story will speak high volumes to your child.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book are:

"God did not give you your one and only life to spend it in a monotonous repetition of meaningless and unfulfilling activity. He built you for greatness and contribution."

"Whenever change is an option, fear comes calling. We must remember that the counsel fear gives will always be tainted and twisted. It is our duty to gain victory over it."

Please, go buy the book. Let God speak to you while you read it. Then share your story, and help influence the story of others. Let others look at you and say "Only God."

Monday, January 21, 2013

Coffee Date Monday: Snowflakes and Sunshine

I arrived home from my week away with a package from my dear friend, Amanda. It was this beautiful mug.

Her note said that if she were with me, we would have some tea while I shared some memories of my grandfather. It is the perfect gift. And it inspired today's post.

This morning I made some coffee (not tea) in the mug and thought about what to write in this post.

My grandpa died about a week and a half ago...January 10. He lost a battle to cancer. But the preacher at his service said it well when he said, "He didn't loose the battle. He won. He is in heaven."

My grandpa was a quiet man with a huge heart.  His exterior might not have shown his huge heart because he could be a bit intimidating, wanting perfection, and many times hard to please because of it. He and his wife, my gramma, provided the needs for many in their family and many in the community. He may not have been the face of their giving, but he was the man behind it, providing the money for it and never saying "no" to a need, and sometimes wants, being met.

This past Sunday at church, a scripture was read that reminded me of Grandpa.

"Remember this - a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, 'They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.' For God is the one who provides the seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God." 
2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Many have thanked God for the things Grandpa has done for them. And it was evidenced in the amount of people that came to his visitation. There was a line to the door the whole time. My family has been touched by the outpouring of love from those that knew grandpa.

Grandpa was good at a lot of things.  He worked for CSX railroad, retiring after 40+ years of service. He planned, built, and ran a golf course. He golfed, he played pool, he golfed, he played the guitar, he golfed, he built houses, and...he golfed. He passed up a chance to play on the PGA tour so that he wouldn't have to be away from his family. In my opinion, that is one of the most admirable things about him.

He loved his family. He loved me. He loved Cooper. While I have memories of him, the ones I cherish the most are the ones of him with Cooper. How he smiled at every story. How he fought with Cooper over who got the rocking chair. How he made sure there were oatmeal cream pies to share with Cooper when we visited. He made sure the swing was out and ready for Cooper to play with. He was quick to get the sprinkler and wagon out. And he soared with pride as he pulled Cooper behind him on the lawn mower. Gramma said that even 'til his last day he would still get a smile on his face if Cooper was mentioned.

 Grandpa's death has been hard on us all. Cooper included. Cooper was grandpa's buddy. And Cooper knew it. So this past week when we were in KY the absence of Grandpa was definitely felt. And it's a hard thing to try to explain to an almost 3 year old. There have been many questions the past couple of weeks of "where's grandpa?" "he's at the doctor?" "jesus fixes us?" "grandpa's in heaven?" "where is heaven?" "we're going to heaven now?"


So happy to be with Grandpa.
There is hope - one day we will see Grandpa again. There is cause for celebration - Grandpa is now whole. My gramma has had a great perspective, and she has said it to me a few times in this process :"I don't wish him back. He is in the place we are all hoping to attain. He suffered so, but now he's free." She puts me in my place every time she says she wouldn't wish him back for anything. Wishing him back is wishing the pain and suffering for him for our own benefit.

Today's weather was perfect for this post. It has been snowing, but the sun has been shining. It's cold, and the temperatures have been downright miserable. But the sunshine is awesome and the snow is peaceful. Our grief and situation we are finding ourselves in is not great. It's dreary and at times downright miserable. But we have peace, and the sunshine reminds us of the warmth and comfort we have, knowing that Christ will one day bring us home like he did Grandpa.

So raise your coffee and toast to Grandpa, the life he lived, and the love he showed us all. And let's toast Gramma, too. I hope to hold myself with grace and dignity if faced with the death of Andrew the same way she has the love of her life.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


This week we went sledding with friends and had a blast!