Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy 13th Madeline!

Exactly one week late, Madeline is finally going to have some celebration of her Sept. 20th birthday. On the actual day we were deep in the midst of the Head of the Year Conference, and so we weren't able to do anything much. The Petersen's have a policy of celebrating the kid's birthday on the exact day, no matter what day that is, and it's a great idea. That way you don't end up making multiple cakes, and dragging the whole thing out, and losing the specialness factor.

However, this year, poor Madeline was not given her rightful dues. A sign of her growing maturity, though, she really didn't feel bad about it. Except for the fact that the Petersen's bought some Ding Dongs and Zingers to take to lunch with us on the 20th, and we sang to her at the restaurant, and the waitress hurried over with a cup of tres leches cake with whipped cream and a cherry when she heard our 11 voices raised in enthusiastic least it was something. And then I bought her some mint chocolates and lip gloss while at World Market a few days later. And she got birthday money from loving grandparent's and aunties. But you can see that from our end, this has been kind of pitiful.

Last night I made her the cake of choice-chocolate brownie cake with chocolate frosting, and then she got to decorate it herself....but still, not enough.

So this morning, Will and I had the brilliant idea (stolen from the Petersens) to get her a cell phone. It's only a little more a month on our plan, she gets to call us for free, and we can actually allocate the number of minutes that belong to her per month. And we're already set up with no texting, so we don't have to worry about that phenomenon. Until last night, I had felt like it was an unnecessary luxury for a child to have a cell phone, and I've always loudly said that they can have a cell phone when they can pay for it. So think of what a surprise she'll have when we unpredictably turn tail and change our minds. And, what a great rite of passage...Abby won't get one until she's 13, and that means that Madeline gets 22 months of having a privilege that Abby doesn't.

What usually happens in our family it that we say "no" until the bitter end, and then we change our minds and Abby gets IT at the same time that Madeline does. This summer there was much gnashing of teeth because Abby got to read the Harry Potter books at the same time Madeline did. And I told her the sad sad story of how I had to wait until I was 11 to get my ears pierced, and my parents caved at Sears and got everyone's ears pierced, so Erin and Gretchen only had to wait until they were 9 and 6. How unfair is that??? I remember complaining to mom and dad about it, just as Madeline complained to me.

Madeline is also going to have a party with friends, and that will be next weekend. So, this is a three weekend birthday, and that's OK.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

End of A Season-Heidi's Version

Most of you have probably already read Will's blog about the end of the season....I heartily agreed with everything he said, and really couldn't have said it better myself. But I still have to say something.

Our 14th anniversary is coming up on September 30th. I am amazed at how God works with numbers, which is a big focus of Glory of Zion, as we pay attention to the Hebraic year we are in and all that. But whether or not I knew it, God has been using significant timing in my life all along.

For the first seven years of our marriage, we had our three kids, and lived with a variety of unhealed wound issues, and the problems they created. At about year 7, I began to cry out to the Lord to heal our issues, so that they don't take us out later on. He responded, and in the spring of year 7 1/2 we transtitioned from working at Plymouth, to living with the DeHarts in Agua Dulce.

At the same time, I got Rheumatoid Arthritis, and we moved from our traditional understanding of what our life with the Lord looks like to a more unpredictable Holy-Spirit led, tounges speaking, dream dreaming way. I knew I was supposed to pray for healing for the RA, which I began to do. For the next year we underwent an intense time of counseling and deliverance. For me, the RA was a catalyst of pain that drove me to question all my foundational beliefs about God, suffering, healing, love, forgiveness, prayer and marriage. The Lord told me that I was to get prayed for at every opportunity, so that's what I did. I went to our little church healing team every week after church. And, most the time the RA wasn't the main point. It was something in me emotionally or spiritually that the Lord wanted to heal.

Over the last seven years, the Lord has completely stripped me down, and rebuilt me from the foundation up. My basic way of viewing the world has changed. Two weeks ago, at our Wednesday noon prayer meeting at church, Chuck told us that we were to invite the Lord in to dine with us, and we were to serve him. We had two different wines to choose from as we took communion. One was called "Hope", and the other "Full Circle."

I was waiting to find out from the Lord what I was to serve Him while I took communion. I knew that "Full Circle" was the wine I was supposed to use. As I waited, I began to realize that everything I have-my body, my truth, my voice, has been torn down and rebuilt. So, I offered Him myself. That's all I have to offer, but it is a new me. A me that has been crushed, and is reborn. He has done the work, and I praise Him!

On the Rheumatoid Arthritis level, I have been steadily improving for the last 4 years. When we came to Texas 3 1/2 years ago, I went off the methotrexate because going to a doctor was just too expensive. But I did start going to the healing rooms at our church, like the Lord had told me to do. I used Ibuprophen a couple of times a day to manage the pain and swelling. In the last 4 months, I havn't needed Ibuprophen very often. I don't take it if I don't notice that I need it in the morning. And I've had more energy and have been feeling really good.

I know that our second 7 year cycle is coming to a close, and this one has been one of healing. I am so grateful to the Lord for answering my prayers and rescuing us from our sin and wounds. I a excited to see what the next seven years holds for us and our family. Being completely surrendered to Him is the best possible life, and I wouldn't trade a moment of the trials and pain that I've endured if it meant that I had to give up the freedom and joy I have now.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Head of the Year 5770

The Jewish year 5770 started this last Friday, and our church had a big conference this weekend celebrating the Head of the Year. We met on our new land, and because it's just a vacant 31 acre patch, we had to create the entire facility from the ground up. We had a huge tent that seats 2000 put up, and tents for the bookstore and concessions.

The week before the conference began, it started to rain. It rained all week, and the land was mostly mud. We had gravel trucks bringing rock for roads, but the parking area was a muddy mess. So, on Monday we scrambled around and found busses and vans to shuttle the 2000 guests from parking lots nearby. At the beginning of last year, 5769, we learned that one of the meanings of the year had to do with dealing with mud and mire. So....we hadn't had any yet this year--I guess we needed to do that before we moved on the next one.

Lisa and I are in charge of orchestrating concessions for the conferences, so we've been very busy for the last few weeks. We had water delivered, ice delivered, and found some catering trucks to come in and sell breakfast and lunch. My favorite was Karla's Catering, who brought in a smoker and made grilled chicken, fajitas, tacos and burritos. It was good. We also had three van loads of food to sell. We've gotten good at making sure we have enough coffee available, so that went smoothly, and the breaks were good for business.

The amount of work that went into the event was crazy, and it took lots of people to pull it off. But we were able to provide true hospitality to the visitors, and that was worth it.

I spent most the time that I was there in the concessions tent, but I did get to attend the First Fruits service on Saturday night, and William called me to come in and take communion this morning.

I thought it would be fun to include a video and some photos to share the flavor.