Sunday, March 29, 2009
I'm convinced that I have three of the best kids in the world!
I'm convinced that I am loved by so many people, close friends & family.
I'm convinced that I am at my best when I am on my knees crying out to a holy God.
I'm convinced that I am who I am because of my holy God.
I'm convinced that living a life that points to ONLY Him is all that really matters.
I'm convinced that trusting Him & obeying Him is the only way to do that.
Larry wasn't fired. He didn't have an affair or steal money from the church. He didn't get into a fist fight with the senior pastor. We weren't asked to leave. (figured I better get all of that out of the way before someone asked!) We made the choice to leave. Well....God made that choice, rather. We're just being obediant and doing what we've been asked to do.
Somehow no matter how much a decision is bathed in prayer & no matter how much peace HE has given, it's still hard to go through a change in life, isn't it? Especially when it's a big one like this! Not only will we be changing jobs, we're changing churches. Usually when we've been through a "big thing" in life, it's our church body that holds us up & prays us through. With this "big thing", we do have our church praying for us but it will be from afar.
This morning, our pastor waited until the very last thing before he announced to the church that we were going to be leaving. He spoke very sweet, heart-felt words and left most of the crowd with tear-filled eyes (myself included). He prayed for us & then asked the ushers to come forward & collect a love offering. While the offering was passed, we returned to our seats & looked up to see a crowd moving toward us. It was so sweet because these people were getting up from their pews, disregarding the fact that church was still going on & coming to hug us and tell us how much they love us...and how much we'll be missed. As we hugged necks, the line grew. Before we knew it, there were at least 50-60 people in line waiting to show us that they love us. Church ended somewhere during that time & the line remained....and grew. Church lets out at about 12:00. It was 12:45 before we left the sanctuary. Wow. It was so very humbling to see how many people cared, but it was hard to see so many tears from people who are heartbroken that we're leaving. It was a complete shock & surprise to the majority of the congregation (only the elders & other guys on staff knew before today), so most of them were coming to us with wide eyes & shocked expressions on their faces. All I can say is "wow". It does my heart good to know how much we're loved.
We wrote the following letter to our church members so that they can read all the details for themself. I'm including it here because it seems like the easiest way to convey all that has happened & where we're going now. Thanks in advance for your prayers. We appreciate & covet every one of them!
Dear Rose Heights friends,
This is a letter we're sharing with all our friends from Rose Heights Church of God as the emails & phone calls & texts come pouring in. Please forgive us for sharing it like this, in such a mass email sort of way...but it's so much easier than typing & re-typing it a hundred times.
January 1, 2005-- Larry officially came on staff at RH as Singles Pastor. For all of 2005 & 2006, we adored spending time with the singles & single parents. Not only did Larry serve in the pastor role, but Liz grew attached to so many of the group. Lots of sweet relationships were formed. DivorceCare was first launched, our first 2 Thanksgiving dinners for the Salvation Army residents were served, and the Hurricane Rita shelter came & went. During these 2 years, Larry taught the SALT (older singles) Sunday school class and One Life (younger singles) Wednesday night Bible study class. We also did lots of other projects and fellowships together.
January 1, 2007-- Larry was renamed the Outreach Pastor. For all of 2007 & 2008, he served in this capacity & we loved it. We missed the relationships and time spent with singles, but we were content with this new season God had moved us into. Every month there was a new way to serve others, reach out & touch the community and share Jesus with the lost. GriefShare, DivorceCare for Kids, Bean Fest at the King's Storehouse, PATH collections, and so many other great things began during this time. During these 2 years, Larry taught several Sunday school classes including The Blend, New Believers and Young Married. Larry spent lots of time at hospitals, funeral homes and hospice facilities. He also took care of all visitor & altar follow-up. Serving as Outreach Pastor was right up Larry's alley.
January 1, 2009-- Larry's job changed again, this time to Church Ministries & Outreach Pastor. Many new things fell into Larry's job description. Because this position is still so new to him, it's hard to say a lot about it at this time, but suffice it to say, Larry continued to enjoy serving the RH family.
For about the last year, Larry & I realized that our season at RH was coming to an end. We have struggled with feeling like our time here was coming to a close for quite some time now but when God shut the door & said "you're done", it was undeniable and we knew it was time to move on and allow someone else to step in. We did not immediately seek out another job in ministry because it would mean relocating our family. We highly desire to keep our kids in the same school for all of their K-12 years if possible. Larry and I both spent our school years in the same school. Providing this for our kids is very important to us.
We made the choice not to look at local churches (for a job) because we did not want to run the risk of having people from RH leave to follow us elsewhere. This has happened several times in the past decade at Rose Heights and it was not our intention to break away & start a new church as other pastors have done. The last thing Larry or I would ever do is to hurt RH. And so, Larry sought employment in his other "mission field" -- law enforcement. The pay is less and the hours are not as flexible, but it is the most suitable option for a local job change.
Larry has been hired to work by the state of Texas. He will work in Jacksonville and we hope that, at some point, a Tyler office position will come open and he can transfer here. In the meantime, Jacksonville is less than a 1/2 hour drive from our house in Whitehouse, so it's do-able.
We are still in touch with friends from our previous church home so we may go back there for now. We are unsure of what the future holds for us church-wise. We may visit our old church & discover that it's no longer "home", in which case we will seek out a home at one of the other million churches in Tyler.
As far as future ministry goes, we are going to wait on God's call for that. We are absolutely NOT ruling out the possibility of full time ministry for life, but for now God has asked us to pull back & take a break and just be fed. We will wait & watch as He directs our paths.
The kids will miss their friends & teachers at Rose Heights. We will miss all the of the wonderful people who have prayed for us, taken care of us (both figuratively & literally), loved on us and treated us like family these last 4+ years. We will always remember our time at RH fondly. Thank you for loving us and making us feel right at home from the get-go. Please keep in touch. You can find Larry or I on Facebook, our blogs, by email or phone.
Much love & loads of memories,
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I can't imagine having only little girls in my house. Sure, I love the frilly ruffled tights of baby girls & the pink fingernail polish & teddy bears and all the things that go along with having little ladies. But what would my life be without trucks & cars & pocketknives & dirty little fingernails? A life without burps & fart noises & butt jokes? A life without constant noises & silly stories? Oh yes..... it would be pretty sad indeed.
I love it when you crawl into bed with me in the early morning & tell me that my breath smells like roses.....and when you snuggle into the crook of my arm at 4:30am to ask if you can go watch cartoons yet.....and when you tell me that I'm NOT fat or old or whatever other not-so-nice thing comes up that I'm thinking about myself. I love it when you tell me I make the very best PB&J ever.....and when you tell me jokes that make me roll my eyes or laugh hysterically.
You are such a sweet treasure. I love you!! Happy Birthday baby boy! I can't believe it's already been 9 years!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Suffice it to say, we could use your prayers. So without having all the details, please say a prayer for us when you read this. I would really appreciate it!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
1 1/2 lb. beef stew meat (I used 1 lb. of ground deer instead)
1 T. canola oil (I used vegetable oil)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 c. chopped onion (I was out, so I used about 1/4 c. dried minced onion)
1 c. diced celery
1 c. sliced fresh carrots
1/2 c. chopped green pepper (I left this out b/c none of us like it)
4 c. beef broth
2 c. water
1 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce
2/3 c. medium pearl barley (I used some from a box of instant barley--I have no idea what 'medium pearl' means)
1 T. dried parsley
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil (I was out)
3/4 tsp. pepper
Brown the meat.
Mix everything together in a big pot & bring to a full rolling boil for about 5-10 min. Cover & remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
(Original recipe called for using the crockpot, but I didn't get the ingredients put together & ready to do it this morning, so I cooked it on the stove & it was great!)
Monday, March 23, 2009
Just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small
So hold me Jesus,
’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t you be my Prince of Peace
And I wake up in the night
and feel the dark
It’s so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart
So hold me Jesus,
’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t you be my Prince of Peace
Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I’ve beat my head against so many walls
Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees
And this Salvation Army band
Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin
So hold me Jesus,
’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t you be my Prince of Peace(4x)
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace?
(Scroll to the bottom & mute the music player.)
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Seriously, the woman can find ANYTHING at garage sales. If you need a 1972 avocado green blender w/ a broken pulse button, just let her know & next week, you'll have one. Need some size 10 jeans for your child? Done. Need some white dress shoes in an 8 wide? Check! We joke about her "duds" that she finds once in a while, but for the most part, you can give her an "assignment" to find something in particular & she usually can! For years now, she's brought me bags of clothes for the kids on a monthly basis, mostly bargains she found at garage sales. Sometimes they're not quite right, but hey, for 50 cents you can have a few 'not quite rights' along the way.
This morning, the girls & I got to go along with the garage sale queen for a day of treasure hunting & boy did I find some treasures! Let me show you what all I found & then I'll tell you how much I spent. :)
I found a cute striped shirt for Samuel & a swingy black skirt for Savannah.
I got Sarah a new pair of rollerblades which she wore almost non-stop for the remainder of the day!
I got a new egg poacher & a cool foot massager.
I got 2 books for Samuel & 1 for myself and a James Taylor CD.
I got 2 shirts for Larry.
I got a really cool picnic basket (I've always wanted one!). I got a BRAND NEW "I love the 80s" game for Larry & I to play and Outburst Junior for the kids to play. (although I suspect that we'll be playing it w/ them!)
Yes, I learned from the master. :)
Friday, March 20, 2009
Ok, so a week goes by & I'm still unhappy with my new (free!) toothbrush. Last night when I went to the grocery store, I planned to buy myself a new one. On my way out, Larry asked me to get him one, too. He too, was not entirely pleased with the little kid-size brush he'd received.
I went to the store & bought a 2 pack of toothbrushes in a more adult-sized variety. They were 2 different colors, so I figured it would be easy to tell them apart. When I got home, I told Larry:
"ok, there are 2 toothbrushes. One is YELLOW & one is GREEN. I'm going to use the YELLOW one. If you can't remember, just think of me...your sunshine, your light, the yellow-bellied, pansy wife of yours."
Fast forward an hour. I went to brush my teeth before bed & found the YELLOW toothbrush was wet. Hmm...apparently hubby didn't understand my word association game that I'd instructed him in. Ok, so I'll use the GREEN one then! I made a mental note that I no longer "owned" the YELLOW one & was officially switching to the GREEN. I used the green toothbrush & went to bed. Larry was already snoring, so I couldn't tell him about the error he'd made.
This morning, we took the kids to school & then I came back to finish getting ready before work. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. You know what? The GREEN toothbrush was wet & laying next to the sink (obviously used by my sweetie this morning). When I quit feeling frustrated (about 20 seconds later), I had a good laugh and thought to myself "ok, I've gotta nail him down on which one he wants to use!". I ended up using the YELLOW toothbrush & got out the door to work.
Tonight, Larry went into the bathroom to take a shower & brush his teeth. He came to the door & said "Liz? Which one of these toothbrushes did you say was mine?"
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
A few days ago I asked you to pray for her & her family again.
This morning, Brian is in Heaven. He fought the good fight & ran the race.
Monday, March 16, 2009
In some ways, it feels like a lifetime ago. In other ways, it was just yesterday. Their fingerprints will forever be on my heart.
In playing Clue the other night, Sarah got all giddy about one particular move she made and her response looked & sounded JUST LIKE Kourtney. I pointed it out to Larry & he saw it too. Once in a while, Samuel makes a face that looks JUST LIKE Andrew. I see their likenesses and personalities in my kids. I see toys & books and things they gave to my kids before they left. I have a box of keepsakes in my closet. I try not to look at them too often because I just sob & cry when I do. I get little glimpses now & then of what life was like when they were here that make me smile with sweet memories....and others that make me tear up without a moment's notice.
I know we did everything we could to 'fix things' for them. I absolutely positively know that we made the right choices in bringing them into our home & then taking them out. I know that God honors what we did, the investment we made in their lives. I know He is sovereign & will be with them, in their hearts & in the back of their minds forever. I know all that. Really, sincerely I do.
But this mama-heart of mine still breaks. I miss them. I miss snuggling with Andrew at night and listening to his stories of the projects he was working on with his dad. I miss bedtime hugs & kisses with Kourtney and all her wonderfulness. I miss hugs & kisses & wiping away tears. I don't miss the struggles & the fear & the life lived on the edge of my seat and the nervousness of who might *snap* and hurt someone. But man do I miss them.
I went back in the blog to see what I posted just before/after they left. This is what I found, and what I will leave you with tonight.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I guess I can tell ya now....
I don't really want to go into details on the website, so forgive me for this being somewhat vague.
This weekend, we realized that we must find a new home for Andrew. We have ended up making the choice to move Andrew & Kourtney together as it is always best to keep siblings united.
This has been the most painful horrific few days since the decision was made. Their uncle (on their mom's side of the family) will be coming to get them Friday. We have a very limited time left with them and the sadness of the situation is nearly unbearable. I'll explain more later, or you can call/email me for more info.
Please continue to pray for us.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
I'm ok...it's hard, but I'm clinging to this:
From Psalm 139:
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
...and to this....
Psalm 23 (The Message)
1-3 God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.
4 Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure.
5 You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. 6 Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
I read this & kept having to re-read it this morning. I can only think of two things here. When I rejoice over my kids with singing, it's usually something like the potty dance...when we were potty training one of them & when they were successful we all danced & cheered & sang the "potty song"--you know, the impromptu Hooray for you type of things we do as parents.......or the times when they make a good grade on a test they've reallyyyy had to study hard for & we shout & cheer and jump around & sing. Ya know? And it also reminds me of how I sing & rejoice to God when I feel blessed. And so... somehow I'm supposed to grasp that GOD rejoices over me with SINGING?! HE sings about me? HE is rejoicing over me? Sure, it's may not be the potty song & dance (ha ha!!!) but He is rejoicing over me! Wow. How does that work? Let me see if I can get this straight.
He was sitting up in Heaven one day a bazillion years ago & decided to create the earth & human beings. He tossed around some ideas & SPOKE them into being. He made the sun & moon, put them into orbit, fashioned some stars & fixed them to the sky. He pulls the water in & out from the shore line and tells the animals what sounds to make and where to sleep at night. He decided to create some people, so he took a little dust & made a man. He intricately developed our nerves & cells & blood vessels & set our hearts to beating in a rhythm that keeps us alive. He gave us eyes to see the wonder of all He had done, and gave us free will to spit in His face if that's what we so choose. He allowed all His creations to torment & ultimately kill His only Son---who only showed up on the scene to HELP us. He formed me, made me who I am, watches me & knows every thought that runs through my mind (shudder!) and understands my pains & joys.
And somehow He rejoices over ME?!
Wow. You ARE GOOD, Lord.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Angie asked for prayers for them because Baby A's sac had broken. The baby was born & did not make it.
A couple of days later, baby B looked like he would be born as well, but he was thankfully turned sideways in the womb & hung in there a few more days before he was also born & passed away.
Today's post on their site reads:
death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
“…But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus
There is no good way to say this. All 4
of the babies were born and
died this morning. Courtney and Allen are
hanging in there. I know all of you
want to do something to help. We simply
need your prayers. Prayers for peace.
Prayers that they will know God is
enough. Courtney just looked up to me and
said, “I hope God was glorified
somehow through this. I still love
Please pray for
Visitors are not allowed at this time. We will
let you know if that
I can't get THIS to unindent & don't know why all the above is underlined...so forgive that....but please lift up Allen & Courtney Tipping tonight.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I know...it's still not perfect, but we got rid of a big garbage bag full of stuff & were able to clear a small path to walk. Trust me, that's progress.
I will miss sleeping til 9:00 (or later) every day, but summer is only 10 weeks away!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Anyway, when it uncurled its body, you could see it looked like this:
When I got home w/ the kids this afternoon, they immediately wanted to go to the back yard to see if the "opossum" was still there. This thing has moved all of maybe 2 feet all day long.....which tells me that no matter WHAT it is, something's WRONG with it. I mean, it *has to be sick* or something. And the thing is, we've got bug poison around the perimeter of our yard. It doesn't bother a big dog, but for a little animal like this, I suspect it could very well kill it. We found him/her in between our chainlink fence & the neighbor's privacy fence. You can see the white powdery stuff (poison) on the ground. Seriously...a sick & dying animal often goes off to hide to die....so I'm thinking that's what is going on here.
I waited an hour or so & went back to check on the "possum". He was gone. Not a trace of him. BUT, there are several gaps in the privacy fence behind where he was, so I think he may have gone under their fence & disappeared from our yard. (hallelujah!)
There are times like this when I long for a way to help. While I can't possibly take away the grief she is going through, I can look for little things I can do to make her burden easier. Can I bring you dinner? Can I babysit your daughter? Can I water your plants, walk your dog, wash your car? I know those things don't even BEGIN to measure up to the horrible sadness you're going through, but maybe they will lighten your load. Give me a project & I'm on it. Even if that means getting up at 4am to help with something!
I remember all the things people did for us when Andrew & Kourtney moved out. I was amazed & touched by the way the body of Christ pulled together to help us. Meals, fun distractions for all of us, books, prayers, movie tickets ....the list is long. I remember the emails & phone calls & people who stopped by with special treats for the kids. I remember all the prayers & kind words. Those are the things that got us through the initial grief & pain. Of course, in time, it was God who got us through the big obstacles, but there at first, it was the awesome support system of friends & family.
Don't ever underestimate the power of a small gesture for a family going through a hard time. It doesn't matter if it's a tiny thing, it will be appreciated by a family who is focused on surviving the next 5 minutes...the next hour...
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
In Texas, we have this crazy thing called the TAKS test. Every child from 3rd grade on up takes it annually. It's like the achievement tests we had every year when I was a kid, only tougher, trickier, and so very anxiety-producing. The kids spend almost the entire 3rd grade year gearing up for this big test, learning ways to really do well on the test. The teachers don't get to teach a whole lot of 'real' curriculum because they're teaching the kids to pass this test all year. At a parent meeting a few weeks ago, Larry & I got to see a sample of last year's test (they can't show us this year's test, obviously). It's a bit shocking. This thing is HUGE. Longgggg reading passages followed by a page of questions that are written to try & trick the kids. If you've got a Gifted kiddo, the test is no big deal. But for the average kid, this test is a big anxiety producer.
There are 2 parts to it for the 3rd graders (Samuel's age). Today is the reading portion of the test. The math portion is at the end of April.
The biggest issue for the 3rd graders is this. If you don't pass the reading test, you don't pass 3rd grade!
Today is the reading test. If they don't pass the test today, they will be given a 2nd chance the day after the Math test in April. If they still don't pass it, they have to attend summer school & attempt to pass it then. So there are 3 chances to pass.
We're praying that we never have to make it to the 2nd testing date!!
Editted to add:
When I picked the kids up after school, Samuel declared that he thinks he did "ok" on the test. And ya know what? I'll take "ok"! Now just to wait for the scores to come in!!