Monday, December 12, 2016

Light Of The World...

"For Unto Us A Child Is Born" ~Isaiah 9:6

Children tell The Christmas Story with courage. 
They simply "draw" what they understand. 
They have no fear of judgment in their understanding of Him. 
Oh, that we could all be this confident.

"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, 
We have seen His Glory, The Glory of The One and Only Son, 
Who came from The Father, full of grace and truth."~John 1:14

Lesser known tidbits about this evening:

"Jofuss" and Mary were clearly overcome with "jaw-dropping" emotion...
at the sight of Jesus...maybe because he was wearing goggles?
"Jofuss"....grew a mustache...and I am afraid to say, Mary might have as well.
But it didn't stop their joy and celebration one bit!!!

This was the "Jesus had pink eye" &
"Joseph had been up all night looking for a pharmacy" 
 Also, unable to find room in the Inn was Ziggy or possibly Charlie Brown. 
And then Jesus got a little over-excited with the lip liner....
Then Lo and Behold, Batman appeared and said.
He apparently brought a Hello Kitty Bow to wrap Jesus in. 
and "Mr. Bill" was wrapped in swaddling clothes.....
He was hiding from Mr Sluggo, 
aka Herod, who was "gonna be mean to Him."
Meanwhile, unfazed Jesus wasn't at all worried.....
He Knew He could Trust His Father.
And so can we.

This season if you do know Him. 
look a little closer.....

If you don't know Him, please know, this isn't a children's fairy tale. 
It is the very true story of 
God appearing in the flesh to live among us.
This seems like a good time to be looking for 
light in dark places and even better....
to reflect the light in those very places. 

God specializes in sending light to the dark places....
and one night over 2000 years ago....He sent His One and Only live among us and BE light to our dark world.....Whatever you picture and however you draw the faces....
Let us greet Him with open eyes, ears and hearts....
 Let Us Adore Him......

Thank You God, for coming to live among each and every one of us-

In His Dust,

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Giving Tree....

My Mom is the Giving Tree.
Anyone that knows her, or knows of her, is very aware of this.

She shines all the time, but never brighter than at Christmas time.
I got to see the splendor of my Mom's talent and generosity again last our house transformed into a place Santa would be proud to live in...and more importantly, a place The Birth of Christ is honorably celebrated.....

It is amazing- 
The needlepointed ornaments decorate almost every branch of the tree.....they are each personalized and tell a story or describe one or all of us at some point in our lives....
not to be outdone are the personalized Santas
 and pillows that make everyone in our home feel that they are known and loved.
And of course, the stockings are hung by our chimney with care....
and the care began in the planning of each and every piece.

I have watched my mom needlepoint for years....and it is always for someone else....
I have watched her in hospital waiting rooms and on her chair and numerous other places
and almost every time I ask, "what are you needlepointing?"
The answer is, "a stocking for so and so's grandbaby" or "I'm finishing a stocking for so and so because she didn't have time....and Christmas is coming...
or "I am working on this ornament for so and so, she doesn't know how to needlepoint"

Mom always has time for someone else first. I believe Jesus is quite pleased with her understanding of His Command to "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Each Christmas, I see the the work of her hands and heart, everywhere.

And when I see these pieces of art....I remember, what she was doing when she made it.....and who she was helping out....or who she was trying to make feel special or known.
and sometimes i am floored by her and other times, I am not the slightest bit surprised.

I was looking through pictures this morning of some of her work, and realized there were a minimum of 8 stockings for people i had never even heard of.....(this was just in one album.)

She clearly pays attention to The Very Words of Jesus Himself, Who said ,"It is more blessed to give than to receive."

I have walked in to many a home at Christmas and seen the work of her hands and heart hanging on friend's trees and mantles

Lisa called last night in a panic, because she thought she had lost all of her ornaments....(spoiler alert: she found them, hours later)
many of which were needlepointed by my mom...As she started describing them and each one had a story...or memory. Which reminded me that one of the best parts of my mom is 
that she does it all quietly, without fanfare without looking for a pat on the back...
unlike myself, who, rest assured, would be blogging about my blisters and exhaustion over making a stocking or ornament for someone else. 
As a matter of fact, this blog will make probably make her uncomfortable- but,
too bad Weezer- the Christmas cat is out of the bag- and it's time for you to be thanked- as well as acknowledged for being the coolest grandmother ever-
complete with a shocking pink tree filled with personalized ornaments 
for each perfectly precious little girl....

I am the recipient of so many of these- and this year, Advent has reminded me that not only has Jesus come to live among us on that Holy Nite- 
But that He is coming back!!!
He wants us to know we are loved and known by him.
I have my Mom to think for the physical example of this.

God, Thank You for creating each of us in Your Image, I see you clearly in my Mom. 

In His Dust,

Monday, October 3, 2016


It's no secret how much I love Alamo Heights. 
and a Mule.

When asked about what to do with Children, 
Jesus said--- Bring. Them. On.
So when an opportunity presents itself,
for all of these things in one place.....
You know where you can find me.
a crowded gym full of little people in all their garb....
basically, playing "monkey see, monkey do."
It was in the midst of this happy chaos, that God pointed out- 
all of the encouraging going on...
It was going in all directions....back and forth....

cheering FOR the crowd....

and the crowd cheering FOR the cheerleaders....
It was almost like a tennis match going back and forth.
It was an explosion of encouragement.

It made me realize how we cheer each other on. 
Even if our cheers look like an Elaine Bennis dance party.

Or a possible 80's Breakdance move.
We cheer each other on, because of love, not because of performance.

God Himself tells us-
"Encourage each other and build each other up,
Just as you are already doing." ~1 Thessalonians 5:1

For some of you, 
this summer was spent giggling around pools & lemonade stands....
For others of you, 
those same months were spent at MD Anderson or at funerals that seemed way too sudden...
because they were.  

The sun has a tendency to beat down not only on your scalp, 
but sometimes your soul.
and even in the midst of that,
Looking back, you will see that in each of those days, 
God was there and even provided cheerleaders...encouragers.

Our God is good.
All. The. Time.

And now...He gives us Fall. 
A fresh start-
And mornings bring cooler air, to remind us of His New Mercies.

God HIMSELF is cheering us on. 
Every moment, of every day.

Never forget we are all riding on our Father's Shoulders.
God, Thank You for a new season of fresh cooler days....we are filled with hope and encouragement in the days to come. 

In His Dust,

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


I don't know how this happened....but yesterday we were standing around a hospital bed meeting baby Katie and today is June 1, 2016 and apparently, you are graduating from high school tonight. 

I am telling you as sure as I am typing this....that it feels like yesterday.

I wish I had the right words to adequately describe how much I have loved and been blessed by watching you grow up Katie. 
To sit in the front row of your life for these past 18 years and cheer....has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.

You have brought me joy on my saddest days and quadrupled my joy on my happiest days. 

It's not just me, Katie- you've brought this joy to all of us.
You are wise beyond your years, and always have been. 
And your wisdom is not just reflected in your school ranking- (although, seriously!)

"Here's what you do- live well, Live wisely, live humbly. 
It's the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts." -James 3:3 

Jesus Himself says, 
"I have come that you have life in abundance!" -John 10:10

So.....therefore go and have a blast!! Look for God's abundance!! And do not settle for less. 

God is waiting for you in every tomorrow Katie...and He is waiting with good plans....filled with Hope and abundance of joy.

You are ready Boombah-Katie Patie-Katesville-Phyllis Irene- Phil-Ray-Pooty-Mees Jewniverse-BFF
I have every confidence that you are ready to go.
I can not wait to sit on the front row of the rest of your days and continue to cheer for you. 
I love you!!!

God, thank You for this child and the wonderful and perfect way you made her.

In His Dust,

Monday, May 9, 2016

New Heights....

I have been texted, called and visited with lots of questions over the past few weeks...
and the answers are as follows:

It's absolutely going to be ok.
Yes, we've been through a pastor change before.
Yes, one with big shoes to fill.
Yes, this is normal for Methodist churches, just doesn't feel normal for us.
No, we can not protest the bishop. (Nor does Michael want us to.)
Yes, I agree it feels yucky.
Yes, it makes me angry too.
Yes, this is a form of grief.
Yes, we are very excited for him.
Yes, this is a big promotion for Michael.
Yes, St Andrews is going to love him.
No, I will not be there to explain his sarcasm....Yes, that does make me nervous.
Yes, my heart hurts, I'm going to miss him, more than I care to think about.

I was hired in the summer of 1999 by David McNitzky and AHUMC to help start a contemporary worship service. 
Scott Heare, Michael Crocker, Cheryl Vollmer, John Dunlap, Darrell Smith and I met on Sunday afternoons to figure out how on earth, we would convince others, that God had called us to do this.
We tossed a Nerf football back and forth for hours, weeks, months and years. When you had the football- "you had the floor." 
We laughed and prayed and brainstormed over inappropriate ideas and followed through on many of them. 
We made mistakes and had great success at the same time. The success was entirely due to God's Grace on a bunch of kids in an upper room trying to follow Him. The mistakes were due to....well, see names on ball.

We had concerns, questions and doubts about how God would use drums and guitars in a cold boring gym to make a powerful place to worship Him...
How could He possibly make a community out of that? What would the future hold....and what if this falls apart?
We named the service New Heights...
It is now May of 2016 and I am sitting here typing with the actual Nerf in my lap, it has weathered over the years. It looks pretty beat up...I get that.

I feel sad, mad, happy, hopeful, scared and confident.
Such is's messy...doesn't make a lot of sense...

17 years later- I sit and worship in this gym, along with many of you, and believe with all of my heart that our God still has great plans for New Heights.

I believe His Character does not change.
"I The Lord, do not change." -Malachi 3:6

I believe His Truth doesn't change.
 "The Word of our God stands forever" -Isaiah 40:8

I believe His Purposes do not change.
 "The plans of The Lord stand firm forever." -Psalm 33:11

God has promised us that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His Purpose. 
Nutshell version; We love God here....He is going to work this out. 
He knows the ins and outs of AHUMC and this community. 
He knows what we need and when we need it. 
He also knows exactly what Michael Crocker needs and when he needs it.

I am going to miss my friend and his family on Sunday mornings.
I am also excited for him and the great plans God has him.  

It's ok to do both. They're not mutually exclusive. 

We've been here before and God proved Himself to be faithful.
As for me and my house, I'm gonna continue to trust the same God who started this.
He's got the football.

God, Thank You for Your Plans for all of us.

how In His Dust,

Monday, April 25, 2016

He Walks With Us...

Our current sermon series is on grief and loss. 

In the 23rd Psalm, David talks about "the valley of the shadow of death"....

I believe that grief and loss, (the "valleys" in our lives), don't have to be related to death, although they certainly are at times. 
There are times when our valleys might just be a bad day, a sad moment or a hard season.

Up until this point in the Psalm....David speaks ABOUT God......
"He Leads....He restores"

The sheep is describing The Shepherd.
and yet, when the sheep is in trouble.....and finds himself or herself in a "valley"
He changes from speaking about God- TO God 

Because the sheep knows, He is WITH him.

"I will fear no evil....for YOU are WITH me."

He is speaking directly TO The Shepherd.....

The Shepherd is no longer just someone he describes,
 this Shepherd is someone he knows.......

We too, know alot about The Shepherd, Jesus....
where He was born.....who He ran around with.....some of His teachings....the account of His crucifixion and resurrection. We know His earthly father was a carpenter named Joseph, and His mom was named Mary....We know He turned water in to good wine...
We know He cared for least of these....walked on water and loved children.

However, do we know The Shepherd described above, is yours?
Do we realize He is with us and not just others?

Do you realize God Himself, is with YOU.

Buckner Fanning asked in a sermon on the 23rd Psalm, "Is God a He or a You?"

A Christian will never walk through the valley of death, it will always be a shadow...
and will only be a shadow.
wherever you are right at this moment, look around you. 
Wherever you see a shadow....
look behind it.....there is a light.

There is never a shadow without a light. There is no substance to a shadow.
God tells us we are going to go THROUGH matter how deep or dark, or shallow and just inconvenient.

He declares, "I am The Light of The world" - John 8:12

and because of that promise, You and I never have to walk alone, never, ever.

God, Thank You for walking with us.....

In His Dust,