Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Adventures with Team Early: And the Winner Is...

Adventures with Team Early: And the Winner Is...: Yesterday was a big day for Americans. Although I felt many different emotions throughout the weeks and months leading to the election, main...

And the Winner Is...

Yesterday was a big day for Americans. Although I felt many different emotions throughout the weeks and months leading to the election, mainly anticipation for the day when NO more political ads would be on TV or in my mailbox. Yesterday, I was anxious. I hated feeling that way, but I did. In the midst of my anxiety, I kept remembering the Scripture in Philippians (4:6) "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.".
God knew my prayers before I ever uttered a word to him. He knew what the outcome of the election would be. He knows what his plans are...we do not. I am THANKFUL and can rest in that. It actually makes me really happy to know that its all in his hands!

I know that United States elections are not life and death. Nowhere close. I know that God is not a Republican, or a Democrat, or even an Independent. He is God. The king and ruler of all, and his plans are underway no matter who holds a seat in the American government. I consider it a privilege to live in a country where I can literally spend my life sharing the love of Christ with people around me. I know that it is not the government's job to feed the hungry, or give clothes to those with none. The government does not provide love to those who don't know love, or hope to those who have no hope.

 "If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your light will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10

Basically, it makes no difference who wins an election. Our focus should not be on the circumstances, but on the people. Find people who are in need, and fill those needs. I want to take the focus off of myself and redirect, or reset, if you will, my focus towards the needs of others. In our American culture, we are so "me" driven. Even in the church. "What's in it for ME?", "How can I benefit from this?". If there is no personal gain or reward, or its not convenient, we don't do it. What would happen in we stopped that and asked "What can I do for YOU?" "Where/Whom can I SERVE today?". If there is one place you can be sure Jesus was when he was here on earth, it was with the people. He wasn't cooped up in a Synagogue or church building all week. He wouldn't have just been in church meetings on Sunday and Wednesday, then silent the rest of the week. He was out and about. Filling needs, serving the people, bringing healing and freedom over the broken and oppressed, making disciples along the way.

(Picture is of us with a mother in LA who was a former prostitute with all 10 of her children in the foster care system. Because of the LA Dream Center's help, she no longer has to turn tricks to buy food and clothes, she is engaged, has 7 of her children living with her, and...she is in love with Jesus!)

So, whether you are overjoyed with excitement that your guy was reelected, or you are disappointed that your guy lost... LIFE GOES ON. With THANKSGIVING, lets move forward. With the attitude of the followers of Jesus that we are to be, lets find ways to serve those around us. How can we fill the needs of the people around us? Who can I love today, or give an encouraging word to? Who is broken, oppressed, hurting, hungry, cold, alone...? Find a need, fill a need. Bring life. Bring hope. Bring healing. BE LOVE.


Monday, November 5, 2012 decades...

This is a big week for us.
Tonight Asher has his 2nd grade play... I will post pics later!
Tomorrow is Election Day. Honestly, I am most excited about the commercials and ads being GONE. Colorado is a big swing state and an estimated $1 million per day has been spent by each candidate for ads in Colorado alone. Thats a whole lot of commercials. Believe me. And, we have the cheap cable and no DVR, so we mute the TV and suffer through them. I may go into fight mode if I have to endure much more. Eek!
Thursday, my mother in law comes to stay with our kids so Chip and I can celebrate our 10th anniversary on a cruise in the Caribbean. Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. SO excited!
And, Friday, the actual date of our anniversary, we head to Miami....

The nostalgia sets in as I think about our lives over the last 10 years. I never could have dreamed we would have all of the adventures that we have had. I remember my own parents' 10th anniversary. They renewed their wedding vows and did a small ceremony, in which my little brother and I got dressed up and were participants in the "wedding". Its hard to think about renewing vows already since these 10 years have flown by so quickly. My parents' circumstances were different, since they weren't Christ followers in the beginning of their marriage, so they wanted to renew those vows for a reason.

Here are the thoughts I am experiencing...the loudest of which is: Am I old enough to have been married for 10 years? Well, apparently, yes. I am. I met Chip when I was 10, became "friends" (he was much older than me... a whole 3 years) when I entered youth at age 11. So, I have known him for 21 years. CrAzY. 21 years ago, he was just this super cool, older, skater boy in my youth group that everyone wanted to hang out with...including the older girls. :) Which is of no surprise...he IS and has always been hot!

I was 15 the first time I ever looked at Chip and thought of him as anything more than a friend. One day he walked into church and I remember thinking "Wow, he is really cute.". When it really hit me was the Sunday night he returned from his short stay at Trinity College in North Dakota. He had on a dark blue puff jacket, and sat by me during service. The whole time he was talking to me before and after service... he was totally spitting game... he had me smiling. I knew then that he was special. That year, my junior year of high school, at the risk of sounding like a stalker... he became my dream. :-)

He took me to my Jr/Sr. Banquet - it was a super weird, legalistic, and strict private school in a church... the people were out of their minds, and we dressed in formal wear to eat fried chicken at a hotel. Really classy. He was a true sport for hanging out that night. That night, after he left my parents' house, I told my mom out of the blue that I was going to marry Chip. I don't know what made me think that... I honestly don't remember saying it, but I remember feeling it. From then on, as our daughter Amery says, he was "my guy". He was always the one who gave me butterflies when he walked in the room, or would make my face get all hot when he'd talk to me. I always felt safe with him...I knew, even as my friend, he would protect me at all costs. That is just who he is. Chip is loyal to a T.

Jump forward about 4 years... He'd lived at Wrightsville Beach, and was back in Winston again. I'd lived in El Salvador and Phoenix, and was back in Winston again. We were, once again, back at each other. Our friendship grew strong during those first few months back home. We hung out all the time, and could talk about any and everything. It was different than before... in years past, although we were good friends, there wasn't the freedom that we had this time around. It was easy. We could be ourselves  and have fun being friends. We were older, wiser (haha, well...thats up for debate), we knew who we were more than we did before, and we were ready. Ready for each other.

On October 13th, 2001, Chip told me he liked me. I didn't want to mess up our friendship, so I didn't respond the way I wanted to deep down. But, over the next three days, I thought about our history. I thought about how he was my very best friend and I couldn't imagine him dating anyone else, or me ever wanting to be around someone more than I wanted to be with him.

April 13th, 2002.... Hilton Head Island, SC....he proposed at beach marker 113. I think the number 13 isn't all that bad. :-)

And, November 9th, 2002 at 6:00pm... I became Mrs. Early. My dreams came true.

Over the past decade we have lived in NC on two different occasions, Florida, and Colorado for the last 5 1/2 years. We have the MOST gorgeous children...a 7 year old boy, and a 3 year old girl. We have more fun now than ever, are possibly in the best shape we have even been in since being married, and literally every, single day is an adventure. We truly love the life we have been given, the ministry we're privileged to be part of, the children we have honor of parenting... it is more than I ever would have imagined it would be. We have grown closer through the ups and downs we have endured. We are stronger now than ever. I know more what love is today than ever. I thought I loved him as much as anyone could on our wedding day, but that love has deepened so much throughout the years. It has become something unbreakable. We are a team, a family, a unit. We are still the best of friends, and he still gives me butterflies. I cannot WAIT for the rest of adventures to unfold, and there is NObody on the planet that I would rather have beside me.

Here's to a million more decades....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hiking the Rock

This morning, after an amazing night at Thrive Church, we went to meet some friends to hike the Rock of Castle Rock. It was my first time hiking it. Chip, Asher, and Matt and Talen all went last weekend, so this weekend they decided to bring all of us girls along. Amery did so well...she is such the independent little thing. She wanted to climb around all by herself. Asher and Talen were ALL over the place. They were climbing high and low, and doing a great job. The girls were pretending to dig for diamonds, and the boys were finding all sorts of cool rocks and animal remains. One time I even put my hand in my hoodie pocket and THOUGHT I had a rock in it from one of my kids. Well, instead of pulling out a rock, I pulled out a BAT SKULL! I threw it on the ground and probably squealed a little. Asher put it there because he wanted to bring it home, haha! He didn't bring it home. 
I love living in Colorado for so many reasons. Its so gorgeous here, the culture and people are awesome, its such an active place to live...we get to snowboard on some of the most amazing terrain in the country in the winter, ride our bikes on the endless trails, hike beautiful is pretty much the most perfect place to raise a family. LOVE it...everything about it. 

Fun in Federal Heights

Last night we had the privilege of going to Thrive Church in Federal Heights to hang with their youth and some awesome friends, Joel and Nicole Sosa. Chip got to speak and I had so much fun getting to sing with their worship team. Their band is so talented, so it was a blast! 
I am definitely at home when leading people in worship. I know it is what I am called to do, and I love meeting other people with the same heart for Jesus and for worship. It is so cool when you can join in with a different team than you're used to, and your hearts are all in the same place... you can have fun and feel such unity in worship. That is how its supposed to be. :-)
Chip spoke about engaging with culture. He had some great points on how we can't expect to make any sort of lasting impact in culture by just doing big "evangelistic" events. You have to be consistent and in relationship with people that you desire to can't just show up in someone's life and expect to have influence. It was all really good stuff - I love listening to him speak. Not to mention, he keeps you laughing while he throws nuggets of wisdom at you. You don't even know what hit you half the time. What can I say, I love him. 
So grateful to have friends like that the Sosas. It was a fun night for sure. Not to mention, our kiddos came with us and they had a blast with the Sosa kids. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween

Today is the day after Halloween...
Last night we went Trunk-or-Treating at our church and the kids had a BLAST!
Asher was like a teenager this morning - he could have slept for the entire morning if not for school, and Amery was up and at 'em early...ready to eat her candy!
Her food allergies make it a little tough at times like these, but she is SO good about making sure candy is "safe" with us before she eats it. She knows that the chocolate is a no-go, so she has already been taking it out saying she doesn't want to "oweee" food.
Asher was excited to get some of his candy in his lunchbox.
I love being their mom!!!