Thursday, July 30, 2009

What's Your Favorite?

Audrey at Barking Mad is asking readers to write a post about our favorite charity/humanitarian organization/non profit group and why it's so near and dear to our hearts. I have been giving this some thought and several ideas have easily come to the forefront. My favorites would be Horizon Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, and any organization that works to feed people because there are just so many hungry people in this world, literally and figuratively.

I would say that my first favorite humanitarian group would be my church, Horizon Ministries. I don't say this because my husband is the pastor. I say this because of our Four Areas of Focus: intimacy with God; fellowship with insiders; influence with outsiders; and extending hope to the poor. I also say this because we really mean it. We choose to be very outward-focused, be it locally or globally. For a little church (very little, about 50-60 people at this time), we pack a lot of punch in our community. For example, we are spearheading a free car wash this Saturday. It was Jim's idea, but we have invited other local churches to participate. The purpose is to show that for the sake of others, we need to give something up (time, money, bits of ourselves, etc). We are to do this for those in the church, outside the church and even for those who don't love God.

One of my favorite things that we did for three years was called 5K. It was based on Jesus' feeding of the 5000. Every Thursday, the back of our '88 Suburban was loaded up with about 60 pizzas (from both local pizzarias, just to be fair) and coolers full of pop. When the lunch bell rang, high school kids would come out to get a free lunch. Jim stressed to all those involved that we were not to mention our church, we were not to evangelize, we were not to mention God. What we were to do was build connections and to let the kids know that they mattered. The kids could eat as much as they wanted until the food was gone. The only rule was that they start out with two pieces of pizza and one can of pop to help ensure that anyone who came could get served. The high school principal at the time was very cynical when Jim mentioned the idea to him. "Jim", he said, "Everyone is just going to think you're weird". Jim's response was to say, "Look, I'm not asking for your approval. I'm just giving you a heads-up in case cafeteria sales are effected". The principal said, rather condescendingly, "Cafeteria sales will not be effected". The first week, we served about 50 kids. The second week, we served about 110 kids. The third week and every week after for the next three years, we served about 200 kids. Cafeteria sales were effected and the cafeteria ladies almost got the principal's head on a platter. Once it was realized, the cafeteria adjusted the amount of food they prepared on Thursdays and everyone was happy.

We do other missions in the community and in other countries like the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. We are always finding ways to feed people. We are always extending our hands out to others. We do it Sunday through Saturday, not just the days we attend worship. Jim stresses that it should be a way of life, not a day out of your week. I know, I know. This is what Christians are supposed to do. We just really try to live it. You know, Christians are often the worst advertisement for the cause because they frequently don't walk their talk. Jim encourages us to make our walk and talk congruent and not scare people away with condemnation.

Our little church began 10 1/2 years ago, as a phoenix emerging from the flames (a story for another day). We often joke about being the church on the Island of Misfit Toys. And we seem to be---Jim says we are all just a bunch of knuckleheads, ahem, his favorite term of endearment. Because Jim is willing to think outside the box and take risks, he has been ridiculed, ostracized, and condemned in this tiny little town. Although, it has been very pain-filled, Jim just kept repeating, "Time and truth walk hand-in-hand". And you know what? It has. It's still not easy, but it's easier. Jim's willingness to face the obstacles and the arrows and to persevere despite it all just makes me love him all the more.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Too much.

Too much to do.

Too much to think about.

Too much to move---from basement to bedroom to living room to dining room to walls to bathrooms to Jordan's room to Indianapolis for Dylan.

Too few days left before school begins again with no time to prepare.

Too many thoughts floating through my mind to form into words to write down here.

Too many people in crisis, my heart aches for them and my inability to help freezes me.

Too far away from home to begin moving forward.

Too much self-imposed pressure to blog. I've realized I'm not a true blogger. I make a better blog-reader.

Too much desire to connect, with limited opportunity to do so.

Too many irons in the fire.

Just too much.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Generation Gap

Clella and I drove to Maine yesterday. Seems like Clella travels with us a lot, eh? I get to see extended family. She gets an unexpected trip to see her daughter.

At McDonald's along route 90 in eastern New York:

Clella to young male cashier: "I'd like a black coffee".

Young cashier with puzzled look walks over to coffee pot and pauses. He walks back to Clella and says, "We don't have black coffee".

Young female cashier says to boy, "That means she doesn't want cream or sugar, stupid".

Chagrined cashier gets her a black coffee.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I can't believe I haven't posted in over a month. What a wild ride the last month has been! Since I returned from the DR, we have been knee-deep in all the details of the renovation which is entering (yippee-yai-ky-ay!) the final phase. We are only about two weeks away from moving out of the never-sees-light basement and into our new digs. It's been a long haul since Christmas. Our daughter moved home in the midst of all that. The poor kid is sleeping on an Aero mattress on the floor, surrounded by mountains of furniture, boxes and miscellany. She says she has nightmares.

On top of all that, Jim and I have taken on the task of co-teaching a six-week intensive graduate level course on multicultural counseling. We were last minute fill-ins because they couldn't find anyone to teach the class during the summer session. This is the last class many of the students in the counseling program have to take, so they were feeling a bit desperate (that is NOT to indicate why they finally agreed to take us on, mind you!). To prep last minute for the class, create the syllabus, determine projects and grading scale, etc., has required that we eat, breathe, sleep this class.

It has been an interesting class so far. All the reading and preparation has helped me reconnect with many of the multicultural experiences I've encountered in my life. The memories are good. As we get to know the students, I am surprised, yet not surprised, by the limited experiences many adults have of other cultural experiences, be they related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or social class. I'm an extrovert and I seek out new and varied experiences. These become love/hate experiences for me. I hate the discomfort and fear that accompanies the newness of an experience, but I love both at the same time. It is invigorating to get through the challenge and grow as a result. It is hard to comprehend that others do not do the same. For others, the idea of this can be debilitating. I have also enjoyed the self-reflection teaching this class prompts in me. I am forced to look at my own limitations and biases and work through them.

It has been a joy to co-teach this class with Jim. In all of ours years together, serving churches, leading youth ministries and such, we have never really co-led anything together before last fall. In the fall, we co-led Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University" class. That was a lot of fun. Teaching the multicultural counseling class is even better because we are having some great and challenging conversations as a result and just enjoying each other.