Tuesday, December 18, 2012

With ALL My Love

It is 7 days away from Christmas and I just recently finished the annual process, some would say chore,)of writing and mailing the Christmas cards to friends and family, near and far.  I have to admit, that there have been years where I just could not bring myself to do this tedious task.  It makes the holiday so much more “busy” and it feels like such a thankless undertaking.  There have been times when I’have absolutely refused to support the economy by giving money to Hallmark for the cards, and the PO for the mailing of them. 

But not this year!  This year, I purposed in my heart, to give God the glory through all of my event planning and undertakings regarding Christmas.  It started in September, when we began the annual Christmas play in Kidz Church and one of the songs struck my heart right in the middle.  The song was about how a child showed up at the mall and saw all the people in line to see Santa, but wondered where the line was to see Jesus, since He is the real reason for the holiday! 

That made me think about all I do centered around my own Christmas, including the decorating of the house, the purchasing, wrapping, and mailing of gifts, and the writing and distributing of the Christmas cards. 

This year, I made a special Nativity village in my home and made sure to highlight the baby Jesus in the middle of it all.  In previous years, the manger was placed on the floor in front of the giant tree, or completely omitted because we switched to a small tree due to the logistics of the house, and the fact that we have a ginormous doggie that already takes up a LOT of space in our home.  This year, I decided that there was no way we would omit the reason for the season, thus my nativity village was place on an elevated coffee table and it is not overshadowed by trees or presents of any sort.

Also, as I set about decorating my home, I sang Christmas songs!  I truly was joyous throughout the whole task of set-up and clean-up and by the time I was done, and all the lights were lit, it felt absolutely festive and warm in my house.  I also felt so connected to Jesus. 

Lastly, I took a special approach when writing each Christmas card.  For mostly all of them, all I wrote inside was “All my love, Shawn, Lucie, Ashleigh, and Elliott.”  I had picked out cards that had sentiments that I loved, so did not feel like I had to elaborate.  And I’am not one to write an annual Christmas End-of-the-Year Letter!  So sending all of my love was enough, I thought! 

The funny thing is that half way through writing my 140 cards, I thought about the first 70 people who each received “all of my love,” and I actually wondered if there was any love left for the last 70!  I had not thought about it for the first 70!  In fact, as I wrote each card, I found myself praying a special blessing on behalf of each family member and thanking the Lord for bringing these people into my life.  I did that over and over again and truly poured love into each card!  At the 71st card, when my hand was cramping, and I took a break, that’is when the thought hit me that maybe I should have been writing “a portion of all my love to you and yours” instead of the classic, if not cliche, “all of my love.” 

But as I thought about it, I had a very small glimpse of the great love of God for each and everyone of us and how His love is abundant and endless and how He gives me ALL His love, but at the same time gives that same of amount of ALLness to everyone else!!!  How awesome is that.  So I just had to smile as I finished the last 70 of my cards.   I continued to pray over each family member and thank God for every single one, and marveled that as quickly as I poured out “all my love,” God replaced it immediately so I could pour it all out again and again! 

How blessed are we that we have the awesome example of God’s love to show us how to love others, especially at this time of year.  All my love goes out to each and everyone who reads these words.  I thank God for you and I pray His richest blessings on your life and the lives of those you love!  Merry Christmas and a Blessed and Joyous New Year!

Ms. Lucie 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pick Me! Pick Me, Puleasse!!!

A Typical Sunday Morning Service begins in Kidz Church at 9:45 am!  You may wonder why, since our Adult Service begins at 10 am! 

Here’s the reason why:

Every Sunday morning, at the end of our Kidz Church service, I have my teen helpers select two children, one boy and one girl, to receive a Quiet Seat prize.  I shop for these items throughout the year.  They are usually a small game, coloring books, craft item, or some other thing I feel the kids would like.  I usually always include some candy.  Before I hand out the Quiet Seat prizes, I always have one child from the group, go up on stage and do a drum roll for each winner. 

Little did I know that the opportunity to be that day’s “drummer” would be almost as exciting as being selected the prize winner.  About 3 years ago, the number of kids wanting to be that day’s drummer, had gotten so out of control, that I would have to try to remember from week to week, who I had promised could do it!  Then, if I gave the chose one over another, or out of sequence, they’d get very, very upset with me!!!  Well, I just can’t have upset kids in my classroom.  It is just not how I do business. 

So I came up with a wonderful solution:  the first child who asked me upon arriving for service, would be given the chance to drum that day. 

Simple enough! 

Now three years later, I have the joy of welcoming at least 10 -12 kids out of 60, who arrive early to church, so they can be the first to ask about drumming!!!   
How cool is that??

On top of that, I also get an additional 5-6 kids who all race into the Chapel, to look at the schedule posted on the sound booth, that shows who is supposed to work the computer, the AV equipment, and the sound board, and who is going to be on stage for Praise and Worship.  These positions are so much in-demand, that every Sunday morning, I get bombarded by kids who want to do those jobs, IF the kids scheduled to work, are absent! They joyfully yell, “Pick me, pick me!”

Can you imagine if Pastor had a multitude of people rushing up to him every morning before service, asking to be ushers, greeters, sing on stage, run the sound board equipment, and play instruments? 

Somewhere along the way, we adults forget what it feels like to serve in God’s home.  We get content to just let the 20% of the people working from week-to-week, keep doing it all the time.  Sometimes, it just takes too much effort to go seek out the ministry head and say, “Here I am, use me.” 

Speaking from the perspective of one who ministers on a weekly basis, I can’t get enough of my Sunday morning bombardment.  I LOVE all those happy, little faces, begging me to let them get involved in meaningful aspects of ministry!
And those of you who bring the little ones to church early can take advantage of one personal benefit of your own:  you get to be the first to choose from all the good seats in the back of the Sanctuary!

Called by Him,
Ms. Lucie

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shh! It's a Surprise!!!

My special day!  
November 25, 2012
I can hardly believe it!  But it is true!
I have reached the half-century milestone!!

And at this age, I am shocked that I can still be totally and wholeheartedly SURPRISED!!!!

My husband & kids, and best friends Robin and Doug, conspired with Pastor Petrucci and Pastor Ben and Pastor Flagstad, to throw a surprise party for me in the Morning Star Café, at noon on Saturday, the 24th

My husband has always been a stickler about celebrating birthdays ON the DAY of the birth, so of course, I never suspected a thing that day.  Not only that, I didn’t really think anything at all was going to happen on Sunday the 25th, except maybe go out for lunch at my favorite restaurant, since I knew I would be tired from working in the morning and would have to return to work at night—we are ONE WEEK away from our annual Kidz Christmas play, and Ms. Heather and I are very BUSY getting everything just right for next Sunday.

So when my daughter, home from college for Thanksgiving break, suggested going on a road trip to Aberdeen, MD, to pick up her boyfriend, and hang out all Saturday, I was thrilled to spend the day before my birthday, doing that!  I love hanging out with my girl!  We are very close and I miss her so much!  We chit chatted all the way there and back and discussed going shopping all afternoon in tax-free Delaware.  But she suggested that before going shopping, we should stop at church to watch Elliott play football with the church youth group—it was the day of their annual Turkey Bowl and I knew my husband was bringing our Newfoundland to watch the kids play, like we did last year. 

I quickly agreed, since I love football and I love our youth, and since I hadn’t seen Elliott for 24 hours because he’d spent the night with some friends—funny how I miss my kids so much, even if they are only 5 minutes down the road, like Elliott was! 

Anyway, when we got to church, Ashleigh decided she wanted her boyfriend to see the Chapel, where I work on Sundays.  I saw that the lights were on in the Café, through which you can walk directly to the Chapel, and realized that it was lunch time, so naturally, all the youth kids would be having lunch and we could kill two birds with one stone (see the chapel and my son).

We parked right in front of the Café, and as we got closer to the entrance, I saw a bunch of people in there with huge balloons and cakes and streamers.  Ashleigh proceeded to walk right in ahead of me!  I immediately yelled at her to STOP!!!  I said, “We can’t go in there—the church is having some sort of party and we can’t just walk in on it!!!!”

She totally ignored me!!!!

I was panicking!!!  I yelled again, “Ashleigh, don’t go in there!!!  You can’t!!!” 

She turned to me and said, “Come on Mom!”

I just looked at her in horror as she walked away from me, into the private party, and was thinking to myself, “What am I going to do now!!! How can I possibly get her out of here, and save face with all these people.” 

That was when I actually looked at the people, who were all frozen, looking at me!  And then I thought, “Well, they are all church people, at least I know them!!  I feel so on the spot because they are all looking at me and my rude daughter, just walking in on them!!!” 

As my eyes scanned the crowd, thinking of how I was going to grab Ashleigh and wring her neck in front of them all and make her apologize, I noticed my husband in the back of the Café, holding a video camera aimed at me!  And Troy and Lisa Frey were each holding cameras aimed at me!!!  That was when I looked at the cakes on the table, and realized that this private party was FOR ME!!!! 

I literally was in total shock for a few minutes!!!  I just stood there, completely overtaken with surprise!!!  I just could not believe that all those people were there looking AT ME because I was the person being honored!!!!  I was told later that just before I entered the room, all of them yelled, “SURPRISE!!!”

Can you believe that I NEVER heard that?  I truly was in such anguish about crashing this private party and how I was going to get my girl out of there, that I never heard them greeting me!!!!

It’s not very easy to surprise me!!!! 
And Shawn told me that the surprise party had been all over Facebook for 2 weeks, and announced from the podium in big people’s church, in front of 400 people!  How did NO ONE spill the beans???  That whole feat was absolutely, astoundingly, WONDERFUL!!! 

I am so thankful for the BEST family on earth and such close and dear friends!!!
It was a great and fun party and I just can’t even begin to tell you how blessed I feel to belong to such a loving church family.  I never expected this.  I frankly don’t feel like I deserve it!  I am completely humbled and yet so, so thankful for everyone’s generosity and time and attention!!! 

And just a couple of quick statements about my turning 50:  

(1)  I still feel so young!

(2)  I feel like I have so much left to do in life!

(3)  I am a blessed woman!

(4)  I will always give glory to God for all He's given me!

Thank you for reading this blog and sharing a few moments of your life with me today.  I pray that you now go forth, to sparkle and shine for Jesus, the way I intend to, for the next “50” years!
Ms. Lucie

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Looking for a Good Analogy

Pastor Petrucci, Pastor Ben, and I had a meeting today to go over the use of social media as it pertains to us personally and as ministry leaders.  It is an interesting topic for all three of us because we all text and FB each other, and often tweet and once in a while, blog.  So in the context of our meeting, Pastor mentioned that in a class he recently attended, having to do with social media, the following analogies were made regarding social media tools:

Facebook is like a pub.

Twitter is like a cocktail party.

LinkedIn is like a trade show.

YouTube is like New Year's Eve on Times Square.

I like these analogies, despite the fact that I don’t go to pubs or cocktail parties.

However, I am at a loss for how to describe our blog and our website.  This is what I came up with in the meeting:

Onesimus3 Blog is like a Hallmark Channel.   

Praise Website is like graffiti on a wall.  

I never was really good at making analogies, so please help a girl out and provide some feedback on this topic.  We all look forward to hearing from you!

Ms. Lucie

Monday, November 5, 2012

Only 2 weeks until Thanksgiving

Only a little more than 2 weeks until our national day of Thanksgiving.  And I am thankful that we survived the event known as Hurricane Sandy.  We had wind and we had rain, but Thank GOD for His safekeeping.  And as I give thanks I also pray for those who are still struggling in the aftermath.  The Truth is that we all have a lot to be thankful for.
Pastor P

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fun Times Ahead

The Royal Rangers Regional Conference is right around the corner (January 25-26, 2013) and Our Regional Commander, Dwight Walters, has once again requested my assistance with the Ladies Craft portion of the weekend's events.  Needless to say, I am delighted!  If you know me at all, you know that crafting has become a major part of my life.  I have been known to work a full day at the office, and then go home and put in another 5-6 hours on what I call, "my other job" - a craft project of some sort!

For this coming event, I decided to select a project that is currently high on my list of fun stuff to do:  Art Journaling.  I never thought of myself as much of an artist, so I took a few classes and discovered that Art Journaling is not so much about making "fine works of art" in the fashion of Monet or any of the other classical artists, but about documenting my thoughts, dreams, and hopes, in my own unique way.  Since I got my start in the crafting world by preserving my memories through scrapbooking, it was a natural jump for me to continue my memory-keeping projects through the use of art journals.  The best part is that I am no longer limited by those hardbound albums that one can get at any craft store.  I can now create my own journals, in all shapes and sizes, and with all sorts of products.  Plus, I get to play with chalks, acrylic paints, water color pencils and paints, oil pastels, gelatos, markers (alcohol and water based), and even inks and stains.

Since there is no wrong way to art journal, this is the perfect type of project for those curious, but tentative about diving into this area of creativity.  The kit will cost $15 and will provide everyone with a 12-month journal, to be completed throughout the year.

Here is a picture of some of the items that come in the kit:

I will show you how to maximize your entire kit, including the packaging!!!  I will also provide a myriad of options for additional items that you will be able to add to your personal Art Journal, at a minimum price.  Have you ever heard the word "repurpose?"  I use it almost daily now, to put something to use within my journals, that was not originally intended to be used in that fashion.  After this class, you will know how to begin your own "green" journey while documenting your own personal story!

Here are some pics of how the papers in the kit above, were turned into a journal:

Once the journal is complete, the real fun begins as we delve into the actual pages that will contain our "art."
I want to emphasize to all, that prior art experience is NOT required for this project.  You will be given specific prompts to stimulate your creative juices.  Ultimately, what you document, will be entirely personal and reflective of your individual style.

The only caveat is that we are only preparing 20 kits, to keep the class size down to a manageable size.  It is in your best interest to sign up as soon as possible, or you will miss out on a very unique opportunity for self expression and artistic growth.

All registration materials will be processed through the Regional Royal Rangers, and it is my understanding that they will be ready by the first week of November 2012.

I look forward to seeing 20 lovely individuals in the near future!  Till then, blessings galore!

Ms. Lucie

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Season of Blessings

Isn't orange the happiest color ever?  I think so.  
When I created this canvas, I originally thought I would use lots of earthy tones.  
As it turns out, I naturally gravitate towards the orange palette!  

As Fall season unfolds, I always want to convey to all who enter my home, a feeling of gratitude and peace - more than at any other season.  I am deeply grateful for God's bounty and how He has chosen to share so much with my family.  

My church family has also been a great source of comfort and love throughout the 14 years we've been in Delaware, and so with all my heart, I pray that you all may similarly be blessed by our Lord and Savior this beautiful season! 

Ms. Lucie