Archive for August, 2008
A wise person once said, “The best laid plans”… well, they don’t always work out.Â I had already planned to post this evening about David’s visit and the early 50th birthday party we held for him tonight.Â Everything was going along perfectly…
…and then Crisana’s tooth fell out.
I mean 50′s great and all, and I don’t get to see my brother every day, but come on!Â This is my baby’s first lost tooth we’re talking about here.Â So since David doesn’t actually turn 50 until October, his birthday celebration is officially trumped in favor of parental bragging rights.
Her front two bottom teeth have been somewhat wiggly since right before school started.Â She was earnestly wiggling them hoping to have them ready to fall out the first day of school, but those stubborn roots would just not recede fast enough.Â But she persevered, and this morning when she woke up that darn tooth was all snaggly and out of joint and we knew it was only a matter of time before it would fall out.Â We just hoped she wouldn’t accidentally swallow it.
By dinner time the tooth was obviously bothering her and she came to me asking for me to pull it.Â Gathering all my motherly strength (this is the same strength that allows you to watch your own child throw up and not spew yourself; it is also the same strength that allows you to clean poopy bottoms and deal with bloody appendages with out passing out), I grasped onto that tooth with a napkin…and proceeded to send Crisana into hysterics.Â “It hurts!”Â she cried.Â So I sent her on her merry way with strong admonition to keep wiggling.Â My innards, which by this time have turned to jello, begin to solidify once again and I am no longer grasping the kitchen counter, white-knuckled, trying to keep myself vertical.
Not more than 10 minutes later she was back.Â “I changed my mind.”Â (words we hear often)Â “I do want you to pull it.”Â And Matt’s outside grilling the steak.Â Dang it.Â So here we go again with the napkin and jello-guts.Â I grab hold of the tooth and *POP!* Out it squeaks into my hand.Â Just like that!Â No blood, no pain!Â Just an elated little girl who would have shouted the joyous news from the mountaintops if we’d had any nearby.
Here is what her new smile looks like:
First she starts kindergarten, then she loses her first tooth.Â Next I suppose she’ll be asking for the car keys and showing off her engagement ring.
Okay, so it’s not the Oscars.Â There aren’t discussions about who wore what and who came with who.Â There are no reporters hiding out at after-parties.Â But the day that the David L. Edwards Servant-Leader Award for Faculty Excellence in Spirit and Service is presented tops any award ceremony in our book, hands down.Â And frankly, there was just something extra-special about yesterday.
Perhaps it was the terrific new outfit I had purchased for the occasion.Â I went to Dress Barn on Monday, just to look, and went into the dressing room with an armful of clothes.Â Though there were three outfits I truly liked, when I put this dress on I just went “Wow!”Â The best part?Â It was a size 12!!Â A SIZE 12!!Â I found the cutest shoes to wear with it, and the accessories were perfect…I know it’s not about me, but I just felt so pretty…and it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that good about myself.
Perhaps it was my handsome stud muffin of a husband who now fits comfortably back into his double-breasted suit.Â I must say, he looked mighty fine, and I was quite proud to stand with him at this special occasion.
Perhaps it was seeing my sister-in-law who just recently has completed her radiation treatments for breast cancer.Â The relief and peace I saw on her face when I asked about her prognosis was beautiful.Â She took it all in stride and has shown a quiet strength and peace I never knew she had.
Perhaps it was having the chance to reconnect with my brother David after not seeing each other in nearly a year.Â I have always looked up to him – both literally (as the pictures will show) and figuratively – but I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of him as I was yesterday listening to him talk to the award recipient about the possibilities for mission work in third-world countries.Â David’s passion is microfinance, and listening to him speak excitedly and with incredible enthusiasm with the professor of cross-cultural missions brought tears to my eyes.Â My heart just swelled – love, pride, unabashed admiration – for this incredible guy who just happens to be my brother.Â I know I’m the luckiest kid sister ever.
Perhaps it was having the privilege to hear Dr. Donald Campbell, former DTS president, speak a challenging and inspiring message from Ephesians.Â What an honor to hear God’s word spoken from such a diligent and faithful servant.Â And having him come down to speak with us following the service was more than I could have hoped for (we usually never have contact with the chapel speakers following their message).
Perhaps it was seeing friends – old and new – once again.Â I was delighted to be able to introduce Karie, the Studio 153 intern at McKinney Fellowship, to my mom.Â Seeing our friend Dorian from our MLBC days is always fun – and I know Matt enjoyed the opportunity to visit with her.Â The previous recipients who come by and share kind words, memories, and stories with us always touch our hearts and make us grateful.Â And having Mom’s special friend Marcia with us to celebrate the day made our family seem a little more complete…though we did miss Dan and wish he could have been there, too.
Perhaps it was the recipient, Mike Pocock, who came to the seminary about the same time Dad did.Â Mike’s wife, Penny, worked under Mom’s administration and taught with Marcia at Grace.Â Mike and Penny prayed for me when I fell from the horse, and when I had the second surgery to remove the steel rods.Â So many wonderful layers of connections between our families, and so many precious bonds we share with them. Â The look of absolute shock on Mike’s face as his name was announced was one of those “priceless” moments, and we couldn’t be more pleased with this year’s honoree.
Perhaps it was the fabulous meal at Maggiano’s…the delicious food we shared and the wonderful table conversation.Â Matt and I worked hard to stay true to our South Beach diet though we did splurge and split a dessert, a wonderful apple crostada.Â The pace was liesurely, the conversation flowed, and all too soon it was after 2:00 though it hardly seemed we could have been there for nearly two hours.
Who knows if it was one single thing, or just a combination of all elements falling into place and clicking together.Â Whatever it was, we certainly enjoyed a special day as we honored two men: one who continues to faithfully labor to prepare men and women for service around the world, and one who has heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
I hope you enjoy the pictures below the fold.Â I think they capture not only the moods, but also the moments that made this day one to remember.
Well here it is, the one-year anniversary of Debily! What a year it’s been. In the spirit of celebration, I offer a whirlwind tour of the highlights of the past twelve months. I promise, this will be far more interesting than my last attempt.
August 2007 ushered in a major change in schedule and lifestyle with my resignation of position of Children’s Director at Prairie Creek. August 31 was my official last day on the job, and it also represented Crisana’s last day at PCBC’s MDO. Definitely a sad, hard time for us, but also one filled with hope as we waited to see how God would provide.
September 2007 was a month of new beginnings for us. Trey had already started at his new school, but Crisana had her first days at her new preschool at FBC Allen. My new schedule allowed me to become instantly far more involved in both their schools, attending special events, helping out in the classroom, and getting to know other parents and build friendships. On the very last day of September, however, God very clearly showed that He not only wanted me to resign from my staff position at PCBC, He meant for us to leave the church entirely. Though not unexpected, the realization of God’s plan was certainly a difficult pill for us to swallow, and September ended on another sad note.
October 2007 brought times of refreshing and reconnecting as a family. I officially became Trey’s den leader, and through Cub Scouts, neighborhood activities, and a family trip to South Padre we shared good times and created wonderful memories. We honored commitments we had made to PCBC through this month, but the last Sunday of October represented the end of our time as members of Prairie Creek. Another sad way to end a month, with many tears shed as we said good bye to the precious church family where we had ministered and served for over 11 years.
November 2007 was a month of anticipation. We began the month with our first-ever family campout and though it didn’t go as expected, we still had a great time. We looked forward to visiting a variety of churches, and also to the upcoming holiday season. God’s promised financial provision had arrived and we felt secure, knowing that we were well-cared for during a time of great transition and uncertainty.
December 2007 was a month of joy. We found a church “home” for the holidays, which gave us a sense of belonging for a short season, and through parties at school and work, we celebrated the season with exuberance! We enjoyed a very special Christmas with my mom staying overnight to be part of the morning’s excitement, and looked forward to ringing in the new year with our dear friends, the Stueves.
January 2008 was a month of celebration. Between New Year’s and two birthdays, our house seemed like Party Central for several weeks. I relished my role as mom and party coordinator, and Matt and I made a fantastic team for Trey’s awesome army party – one of our best efforts yet! We celebrated Crisana’s new birth in Christ as she prayed to accept God’s gift of salvation shortly before her fifth birthday.Â In the midst of all this, we happened to visit – on a whim – a church we had seen as we ran errands around town. No expectations – it’s probably not right for us – turned into love at first sight for all four of us, and we became excited about the possibility of having found our new church home.
February 2008 was a month of completion. Cub Scouts officially wound down their year with the annual Blue & Gold celebration. I completed my first “year” of service with Scouts, and several projects around the house – that had been on the “to do” list for quite a while – were finished. Along with that, we sensed a completing of our church search as we decided to commit to McKinney Fellowship for a “probationary” period from February through Easter. We settled into a Life Group, and were so blessed by the people we met there.
March 2008 was a month of slowing down and settling in. After the hectic and frantic pace of Scouts, church searching, and celebrating of the previous months, we needed a time to turn things down a notch or two. We officially became members of McKinney Fellowship and began to plug ourselves into areas of ministry. We made plans for landscape work to be done over the next several months and enjoyed the dreaming and planning of this phase of the project.
April 2008 was a month of life. I began the month with a birthday (my last before “the big one”), and shortly thereafter, we experienced God’s protection of our lives as we narrowly missed being hit by a tornado. We began work to make our outdoor plans a reality – though we didn’t get very far – and looked forward to completing more of it in the days to come.
May 2008 was a month of conclusions. I ended my Music by DESign year with a fabulous recital at McFBC, and enjoyed the highest enrollment I’ve had since our move to Fairview. Crisana celebrated the end of her preschool years with a special graduation service, and we traveled to South Carolina to witness the close of Taylor’s high school career.
June 2008 was a month of fun! After returning from South Carolina, we enjoyed fun times as Trey’s school year came to an end. Then it was off to summertime activities: the pool and swimming lessons, camps, and day trips. We had a full month, both for the kids and for myself, and we relished the new adventures we experienced every day.
July 2008 was a month of traditions. We reunited with the Stueves for our annual Kaboom-town fest on July 3. The kids and I traveled to Sadler, TX for our annual blueberry-picking day. We began a new tradition of ministry in our home by hosting a Back Yard Bible Club for the neighborhood. And we celebrated my mom’s birthday in grand style with a delicious homemade brunch before her trip to New York.
And that brings us full circle to August 2008. What will characterize this month? I’m not sure. Perhaps it will be a fresh start. Perhaps it will be a month of optimism and hope. Perhaps it will be new friends. But I do know this: though our journey these past twelve months hasn’t always been easy, it has been blessed. We have seen God do some amazing things in our family and we have seen God lead us through some amazingly tough times. We have seen firsthand God’s provision and His faithfulness, and we’ve experienced the blessings of our obedience to His call. I can only imagine what lies ahead for us in the year ahead as we seek to continue on our journey together.
And of course, I’ll be here to record every step along the way. You can count on it.
With the beginning of school, we look forward to the end of the hot, dry Texas summer and the cooler weather of fall.Â While fall in Texas doesn’t last very long (usually no more than 24 hours), the relief is always welcomed and enjoyed before we are ushered into winter’s chill.
But this year, the beginning of school represented an additional change of seasons for us, as in seasons of life.Â For the first time in 8 years, we no longer have an infant, toddler, or preschooler.Â We are now the parents of school-aged children!Â *sigh*Â Rather than try to put my feelings into words, I’m going to share the words to a song that captures my range of emotions far better than I could.Â We had chosen this song to be Trey’s “special song” in his baby album, and I sang it to Crisana at her baby dedication…but now having reached the end of our preschool season, the words mean so much more.
I am so proud of my children…of all that they are and are becoming.Â I have enjoyed every precious moment with them.Â They make me laugh, make me tired, make me crazy…and bring untold joy to every day I spend with them.Â But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss the days gone by just a little bit.Â Don’t worry, though, I promise, I’ll always keep those memories
Here in My Heart
You can enjoy the pictures of our first day of school while you listen to the song. Read the rest of this entry »
…of Phase Two!
We have made it through the first week adding carbs back into our diet, and I discovered, much to my dismay, that we were doing it too quickly.Â Though we were following the menu plans in the book, online research showed that those menus reintroduce too many carbs too soon and really are a better representation of a meal plan 6-8 weeks into Phase 2.
So, now we are faced with a slight regression.Â We will be modifying our diets somewhat to be more Phase 1 friendly while still adding in carbs more slowly and deliberately.Â So it’s back to eggs, meat, and veggies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and meat and veggies for dinner.Â Our current plan is to add one carb to each day for the week.Â Once we have our carb for the day, it’s back to Phase 1 for the rest of the meals.Â Next week, we’ll reintroduce a second carb each day.Â Hopefully that wilk keep us from undoing all the good we’ve done these past three weeks.
So how good HAVE we done?Â Check out our totals from this morning:
Matt – 16 lbs. (down one full waist size -woo hoo!)
Debbi – 15.5 lbs. (down a dress size)
We are finding that this lifestyle, while difficult, is doable.Â We’ve definitely had a reality check on our own eating habits, and are working to make changes that will last, not just for the length of this diet, but for the rest of our lives.Â We still have a long way to go, but we’re in this thing together and we’re noticing that some of these changes are starting to become habit, not just for ourselves, but for our children as well.Â That makes it all worthwhile.
Music by DESign begins its 10th year of existence this fall, and to commemorate the occasion I thought I’d give a free music theory lesson to all of you!Â So here you go…and you’re welcome.
In an effort to keep you abreast of the ever-changing world of music
terminology, here are some terms with which you will need to become
To play in a slow and cheesy manner.
Referring to the prohibition of cell phones in the concert hall.
A composition, solo or instrument, you regret playing.
A series of notes played by a performer, not intended by the
A musical entrance that is somewhere in the vicinity of the correct
What musicians form after a concert.
Cornetti Trombosis Disastrous:
The entanglement of brass instruments that can occur when musicians
exit hastily down the stage stairs.
A wind instrument that plays only sour notes.
A sensible, inexpensive brass instrument.
A French horn player.
Gradually getting annoyingly louder.
Musical stage production by nudists.
School of thought which fostered the idea,”if it ain’t baroque, don’t
The annoying or irritating sounds made by extremely cheap bells.
A gradual buildup to a fiery conclusion.
Playing REALLY loud in order to wake up the audience.
Today was the day for which my children have been waiting all summer long: Meet the Teacher Night!
They won’t admit it, but they are excited about school starting. And boy, are they ready. Their school supplies have been sitting in their rooms for nearly a month, neatly packed in big sturdy bags. They have their new backpacks. They have their new lunchboxes. They have their first day of school outfits.
And now, they have their classroom assignments!
Trey’s teacher is actually a former second grade teacher from last year who has now moved up to third grade. We thought she would be in kindergarten but an eleventh-hour change moved her to third grade and now she is Trey’s teacher. He was relieved to see one of his very best friends from second grade not only in his class, but sitting at his same table! He is going to have a great year, I can just tell, and we are so proud of our new third grader.
Â Crisana was nearly bursting with excitement to see her classroom.Â She loved going in and seeing her room, complete with a reading tent, and her teacher – who she already adores – and meeting new friends.Â I must admit, it seems a bit strange to me to be seeing her name on the McGowen walls this year.Â I know her teacher is the perfect fit for her and I look forward to a great kindergarten experience!
And then there was the awesome Scout information display.Â I have to tell you, it was incredible!Â We made so many contacts and had such a positive response – over 20 families indicated an interest in more information or possibly signing up at Join Scouting Night in September!Â The cookies were a big hit, too, and I allowed myself the pleasure of ONE cookie at the end of the evening.Â Yep, it was good.Â Our table definitely won the prize for Best Decorated, Most Interesting Display, Most Eye-Catching, and Best Food.
Let the fun begin!
Every so often, you find yourself involved in a project of creativity where the finished project actually somewhat resembles the vision you had when you started.Â And you stand back, revel in the glory of what you’ve created and think, How in the WORLD did THAT happen?
This week is Meet the Teacher week for McKinney schools.Â As a den leader and Join Scouting Night coordinator for McGowen, I wanted to use this week to get the word out and do a little advance recruiting for our pack.Â After some discussion, we decided the best way to do this would be to create an awesome display table with a really cool signboard, some cookies, and handouts.Â Â I’ve got the handouts already, so check that off the list.Â And the cookies will be made on Thursday so they are nice and fresh (and yes, despite my dietary restrictions I DO plan to have them dripping with all the ooey, gooey, chocolatey goodness that has become my culinary signature).Â So that leaves the really cool signboard, which my wonderful assistant den leader and I made today.
May I just say, for the record, that we totally ROCKED it?
I put my Cricut to good use.Â We both pulled from our stash of Cub Scout photos.Â And the result is a busy, yet fun look at what Cub Scouts is all about.Â Never mind that 90% of the pictures are of our two sons.Â Geez, at least they’re good looking.Â And photogenic.Â I have a few finishing touches to apply tomorrow, but rest assured pictures are forthcoming.Â And when we put that signboard on our table with the bright yellow tablecloth, the awesome handouts, the yummy cookies, and the well-organized sign-up sheet….well, we might just become instant legends.
Because, after all, we rock.Â Totally.
…of Phase Two!
Yes, we survived our fourteen carb-free days.Â And though our hunger pangs and cravings did subside somewhat, we never did truly get out of the habit of asking, “The steak will be cooked in about 5 minutes – will the potatoes be ready?”Â or “Did you start cooking the rice before you put the fish in the oven?”Â or even “Where’s my toast and juice to go with my omelet?”Â Shopping for bread has never been such a guilty pleasure.Â Â And eating it…well, it was downright heavenly.
But the results…oh, the results!Â As hard as it’s been, the results are worth it!Â Every moment of sacrifice, every time I wanted to quit and give in and have that granola bar…every time my kids said, “I’m full, do I have to eat my banana?” and I said, “No, honey, you can just – *gulp*gasp*choke* – throw it away.”…every time I washed my hands instead of licking my fingers after serving chicken nuggets, or sprinkling sugar on strawberries, or closing the chocolate syrup for the chocolate milk…it was ALL worth it.Â For as of today, the totals are:
Matt – 12 pounds
Debbi – 13.5 pounds
IN TWO WEEKS!! Read the rest of this entry »
“….so that the man [woman] of God
may be thoroughly equipped
for every good work.”
- 2 Timothy 3:17
Today Matt and I attended an event at McKinney Fellowship called “Equipping for Impact.”Â The intent was to provide training and support for people involved in ALL areas of ministry throughout the church, to equip God’s people for service both within the church walls and out into the world, workplace, and community.Â This was the first time McFBC had ever organized an event like this, and so we were unsure of what to expect.
Awesome.Â Incredible.Â Renewed passion.Â Enlarged vision.Â Refined focus.Â All of this and more cannot begin to describe my experience today.
We began with a precious time of worship in the main sanctuary.Â The music was simple – guitar and piano – but the result was heartfelt and genuine.Â I could sense the spirit of God moving, bringing us collectively to a place of humility and surrender, yet building an expectancy of how He would use us.Â Bruce spoke from his heart regarding faith and humility, and Jaime Gonzales, our spanish pastor, translated.Â What a beautiful testimony that was to me of our desire to be ONE church, TWO languages.Â Bruce then ushered us into a time of meditative prayer, individual and corporate, as we readied our hearts and our minds for the breakout sessions.
The first session I attended was geared toward artists within the church.Â McKinney Fellowship is a church dedicated to developing the arts and artists within the church and to that end they’ve created a ministry titled Studio 153.Â All aspects of the arts – visual, technical, performing, vocal, literary – are encompassed in Studio 153.Â We had a wonderful time of discussion regarding the arts in the church and how art can be used to enhance worship and reach the lost.Â The studio director provided an inspiring look at God, the Master Artist, through creation, the construction of the temple, and even the writing of His Word.Â I am so grateful to be part of a church that recognizes and values artists and the texture and dimension they bring to His family.
Then it was off to a session geared toward children’s workers.Â Though this session was more nuts-and-bolts and procedural in nature, God used this time to reconfirm His leading for me at this season of my life. Â Though I have been resistant to working with children in church – simply because it’s my JOB, too – I know that being involved in children’s ministry is exactly where God wants me to be right now.
After a brief snack break, during which I went out to our cooler in the car and grabbed my “celery sticks stuffed with one wedge Laughing Cow light cheese”, I headed to the third session.Â The subject was on using modern social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn as an outreach/missional tool.Â It was fascinating!Â We had great discussion, and the facilitator, young and energetic, showed us all kinds of possibilities for using relevant tools to reach those outside our church walls.
Then it was lunchtime.Â Matt and I had dutifully packed our SB-friendly lunches in the cooler, so we enjoyed a private picnic together in the portico, away from the yummy ciabatta sandwiches, chips, pasta salad, and fruit displayed in the main foyer.Â The privacy allowed us to have some meaningful discussions on what we’d learned and heard in our sessions, and gave us the opportunity to collaborate on some of our next steps in ministry together.
Following lunch, we headed to our final session of the day.Â I chose a vocal training class, thinking it might be helpful to me in working with the preschool music program.Â What it ended up being was a master class teaching the focus song for our next sermon series, “Ordinary Heroes, Extraordinary Faith.”Â After having been out of choir for nearly a year (and only having recently gotten back into choir after about a 2-year hiatus for keyboard and children’s director), it was good to be back in that atmosphere.Â The song we learned is way cool, and though I probably won’t be able to participate onstage the Sunday it is introduced, I can’t wait to sing it out from the congregation.Â I’m already salivating in anticipation!
We left with our hearts full and our minds opened to the possibilities that exist for us.Â Our God is a BIG God, and it’s such a privilege to be able to serve Him and His church!