Only in Sparland, IL

The next little town over is Sparland…only in Sparland would I see:

a dead CATFISH on the side of the road…it was a big one, too

a dead raccoon

a dead opossum

a dead squirrel

all b/w Sparland and Chillicothe, an 8 mile stretch…

What’s For Dinner?

A continuation of my “yucky” day…

You have to laugh or you’ll just cry…

Tonight we were celebrating Ember’s birthday (there was 11 of us total).  I was bringing an entree and Texas toast.  Shannon was bringing an entree and a salad.  Rebecca and Jacob came over to our house to “help us” carry the food over.  Rebeccca is 5 and Jacob is 3.  They love to “help,” but you have to be careful what you give them to carry.  Of course, right?  I was careful to carry the hot upside down pizza casserole (yummy recipe, if anybody wants it).  Paul gave Rebecca the job of carrying the Texas toast. 

Here’s the empty dish of food…

Looks like everyone enjoyed it, huh?  NOPE…no one did…

Guess who dropped the casserole on the steps outside on the way upstairs!?

That would be ME…

The whole casserole went down (with no cover on it) and spilled ALL over the steps.  But, the GLASS casserole dish did not break at all.  It even hit bricks and still didn’t break.  But, needless to say, we had no upside down pizza casserole for dinner.  Luckily, Shannon made plenty of food.

My favorite long sleeve shirt may never be the same…I had pizza sauce on the front of my shirt, the BACK of my shirt, my jeans, my shoes, MY HAIR…everywhere!

It is a birthday for Ember to remember…

“Callie and the…

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!!”

Do you ever just have a pretty yucky day?

What’s the cure?  Maybe these will make me feel better…nothing like a box of chocolates, a bag from McDonald’s (the contents, of course), and a vase of flowers…I feel like I just celebrated Valentine’s Day (minus the McDonald’s, of course)…

Suffering

If you haven’t read this post, read it first before you read this one…otherwise it won’t make much sense.

I believe that suffering is an ordinary part of our fallen world.  We have physical pain that is very easy to comprehend because we can see it.  When we run our finger over paper and we get a paper cut, we can see the cut and we can fell the pain.  That is our bodies way of telling us that it is hurt and needs help (whether that is physically fixed with a band-aid or not, I don’t know).  If we did not feel the pain when our flesh was burned, cut, or bruised, our life might be endangered many times.  So pain is our safeguard in the physical way.

It is not any different emotionally or spiritually either.  If we were never uncomfortable or in pain (whether it be regret, disappointment, sorrow, etc), we would never “feel” or learn from our mistakes because we would have no conscience to know that what we were doing was right or wrong.

So, I think that sometimes pain and suffering are God’s blessings to us through his mercy.

In Phillipians 1:29 (The Message) it says, “…There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You’re involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through…”

God’s gifts are all blessings, so whether we understand it or not, suffering is God’s gift to us.  However, not all suffering in the world is according to God’s will, for much of it is unnecessary and is the penalty of the broken law (sin).

1 Peter 4:19 (The Message) says, “…So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing and he’ll keep on doing it…”

A very cool thing to realize is that, from a physical standpoint, we know that it is impossible for suffering to be avoided, because in order to have the capacity for joy,you must also have the capacity for suffering.

2 Corinthains 4: 7-10 (NIV) says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

Two Sundays ago, Jim and Ember finished a class at their church on “Trouble.”  I don’t know much about the class, except to say, “This is for God’s glory and our good.”

I thank God for the place we are now.  I thank God for friends who can step up and step in when needed.  I thank God for a flexible schedule, so I can help Jim and Ember, when needed.  I thank God that Jim and Ember have so many people that love them.

It’s times like these that I know we are where we are supposed to be in this season of life.  I know the idea of being “called” into ministry is only grasped by a select few who go on to become preachers, pastors, youth leaders, program directors at a camp, cooks at a camp, but it extends beyond that.  Being “called” is to step out and minister, no matter where you are and what you are doing.  You don’t have to be “called” to minister.  You just have to love God and love people.

I am thankful for my job.

“This is for God’s glory…

and our good.”

My friend, Ember, told me that the other day and it just stuck.  I’ve been thinking about that phrase for the last three days.

“This is for God’s glory and our good.”

The Great Oaks Annual (although we haven’t done it in three years) Banquet was last night.  It was a big success, and everyone was very complimentary of it.  We got lots of praises of a “job well done.”  And, we got lots of compliments on the food, so that made my heart smile.  I didn’t cook alone (I had two other people, and in all honesty, they did most of the work, because I kept having to run around and do other things, as well).  When you are the only girl on staff and the “organized one” out of the six, you have to “explain” a lot of things that you have “created.”  And then, of course, most of your organization goes out the window and you just end up flying by the seat of your pants when it’s all said and done.

I estimate that we had about 150 people at the banquet.  It was hard to really know because names were not checked off when people arrived (which I would’ve done, but whatever…you roll with it).  But, during the video I tried to walk around and count.  I probably missed a few and counted a few people twice, but nonetheless, around 150 people were there.

Paul and Tyler did an EXCELLENT job of “hosting” and doing all the introductions/speeches/and overall “hosting duties.”  I am very proud of both of them.  Tyler is not a sentimental person at all, but I just want to say thank you to him.  He did a great job…He can finally breathe again now that it’s over.

And, amazingly enough, Jim came.  For those of you who don’t know, here’s the story.

Our co-worker and dear friend, Jim, had an accident on Monday.  He was using a chainsaw, chopping down a tree, and the tree fell on him.  He broke his femur, his ankle in two places, and his jaw.  He had surgery three times this week to: a) get a rod put in his leg, b) get a plate and 7 screws in his ankle, and C) get his jaw set and his mouth wired shut.

He was discharged from the hospital on Thursday and came straight to the banquet.  That’s why I said, “This is for God’s glory and our good.”  God was really watching out for Jim that day, and we are all very thankful that Tyler was there with him.  Ember (Jim’s wife) is doing amazingly well, but I can tell that she is fading fast.  She is extremely tired now.  They also have a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 2 year old.

Can you please say a prayer for them today?

Great Oaks Annual Banquet

Well, tomorrow night we are having our Great Oaks Annual Banquet.  We have been planning it for a long time and it’s finally here.  This past week has been REALLY stressful…it’s been really hard, but in twenty four hours it will be OVER!!

Please keep us in your prayers tomorrow.  We have 150+ people coming.  There are three people cooking, myself included.  It’s going to be a VERY LONG day…Paul is in charge of doing the T.R.A.I.L. update speech, as well as being Tyler’s “go to” guy…

I’ll update you after it’s over….

This is all for God’s glory and our good…