Tuesday, September 30, 2014

{iPhone Rewind} :: September

We headed out to the ball field to play a little baseball with some friends. Their boys are in baseball and wanted to get some practice in. I got to hang out with their youngest boy {who is too young for baseball} and play tee ball and chase butterflies :)

I'm a nerd and I cannot help it...our new fancy copier arrived at work!! It's the cadillac of copiers, and it makes my job SO much easier :)

I was surprised with this sweet gift from Lindsay! She was going to give me her old machine, but it turned out to be more expensive to fix/service that one than to get a brand new one. So when she showed up with this, I was SO excited :)

Our niece Sarah turned 11, and she had a pajama breakfast birthday party {best idea ever!} We enjoyed a morning with family, filled with waffles and pajamas. Such a fun day!

My husband found the most amazing thing ever: dark chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. He jokes that I need to take a couple every day to make me feel better. I'm ok with that recommended dose!

I finally got a hair cut. Apparently I have this bad habit of waiting 4+ months between haircuts. Anyway, it was finally time, as my hair had become SO long and SO heavy. I didn't do anything drastic, but I feel like it's healthier and more manageable.

We headed over to the McCulloughs for an afternoon cooking class. Mike's favorite meal is his dad's crawfish etouffe, and he has been wanting to learn how to make it. And his dad was finally offering the recipe :)

Who takes medicine like a toddler? I do! With my pill-induced esophagitis incident, I was thankful for the liquid medication to coat and heal my irritated esophagus.

I love Fall decor :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Ya'll. I'm so glad it's Friday.
{one} It is now officially Fall! It's still fairly warm here, but the days have been absolutely beautiful: lots of sunshine and a light breeze. I wish that I could hit pause on this weather :) I am sad that the summer is over, but I guess it's time to embrace the cooler weather ahead. It's still too warm for boots and sweaters, but I do plan to pull out my Fall decorations this weekend.
{two} We love living in McKinney, and it's really fun that our city was recently named the best place to live in America! We have been moving up the ranks over the past few years and finally made it to the top. Of course, we're biased about the nomination, but it really is a great place to live!
{three} Have you seen the Look at the Book labs by John Piper? They're awesome!! He basically walks you through how to study the Bible for yourself- complete with pen underlining, circling, and scribbling notes. I love it because it goes hand in hand with the method that Jen Wilkin outlines in her book Women of the Word, and the way I have started doing my own personal study. You should check out Piper's labs and read Jen's book! :)
{four} My esophagus is finally starting to feel better. The liquid medication my GI prescribed is doing it's job to coat and heal, and I am so thankful. I am still on a non-solid diet, as I can still feel the lingering effects of irritation, but it no longer hurts to swallow. Progress :) Other than being really hungry {turns out that smoothies and yogurt don't go very far}, I think I'm doing much better. Lessons learned.
{five} We are so thankful for all of the love and support after our announcement about Redeemer Church. It's definitely a difficult time, but God is taking care of us. We have had such an outpouring of love and encouragement, and we will try to connect with everyone we can, but please give us grace if we do not respond to you right away. At this time, we are trying to finish well by pouring all of our energy into loving our church family well through this transition.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Redeemer Church Closing

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. And there really is no easy way to say it, but Redeemer Church is officially closing. This was not a decision that was made lightly, and we are trusting the Lord in His leading to transition down our church. Mike and I poured our heart and soul into the church, and it has been hard not to see it flourish the way we had hoped. God has done great things in and through our church family, but we ultimately faced some hurdles we could not overcome.

Because my husband is better at explaining things, below is the letter we sent to our supporters {which can also be found on our website}:

Over the past three years, Erin and I have had the privilege of seeing Jesus work many miracles, both in our lives and in those He has blessed us to walk alongside.  God has brought people to a saving knowledge of Himself, fanned the flame of discipleship in those who already believed, and grown his Church into a greater faith and devotion to its King.  He has worked in us to serve families in need in our community, proclaim the gospel to our city, and see the name of Jesus magnified in neighborhoods, offices, and campuses around our town.  God has been faithful to us in trials and triumphs, successes and set-backs, and Erin and I have grown deeper in our love and affection for Jesus by being able to be a part of this great work of God. 
However, this work of God was not without its challenges.  Early on after the launch of Redeemer, we saw some big hurdles we would need to overcome in order to be a healthy, New Testament church that was fulfilling its mission of being and making disciples of Jesus.  Namely, these hurdles were a desperate need for mature, godly leadership and a greater number of families involved in helping us be a missional and impactful, young church in our city.  While we prayed, fasted and fought hard to see God bring these needed aspects of our church over many months, in His goodness He has chosen not to provide these means, and so we have reached a point were a transition is necessary.  We have decided as a church that before we end up in a place of burn-out, disunity and potential disillusionment, we will take a step of faith and end Redeemer Church while remaining committed to one another in our pursuits of finding other local church homes in which to grow and serve.  By Gods grace, our church family still loves Jesus and loves each other, and so we believe this is the greatest time to walk through this transition together as a unified family.

This means that as of November 1st, Redeemer Church will no longer exist as a church family.

Our last worship service will be Saturday, September 27th and then our families will meet together for the following 4 weeks to encourage one another and spur each other on to take what God has done in our lives to wherever He might lead us next. Whether or not Redeemer is alive as an organization, our commitment to our mission will remain the same, because we believe it is the mission Jesus gives to all believers. We are to be disciples who make disciples. And that will always and forever be our commitment to each other. While we may not be members of Redeemer Church, we will forever be members of our Redeemers church.

We ask that you would continue to pray for us as the Enemy would love nothing more than to come in and discourage and distract us during this time. For those that are financial partners, we sincerely thank you for your commitment to us, and know that your gifts brought eternal life change to many people. We could not have been the light in the city we were able to be without you. Your gifts have not just impacted our past, but are part of God growing, maturing and equipping us for the ministry he has for us in the next season. Your investment has paid great Kingdom dividends and continues to do so. For those supporting us in regular giving, you may stop any payments immediately, but ask that you would at least discontinue payments by Oct. 15th. Any and all funds and assets Redeemer Church has will be donated to continuing the mission of the gospel in our community through church planting and serving those in need.

God is good, has been good and will always be good.  While no one who helped plant Redeemer wanted this outcome, we get a chance now to put our money where our mouth is as we have always said, Its not about us or about Redeemer Church, but its about Jesus.  We get to prove that is the case by trusting Him in this next transition as we continue seeking Jesus and His fame in our lives.  We are not done - not by a long shot.  We will continue to pursue Christ, share the hope we have in Him with a dying world, and serve those in need.  Now it will be done through joining other local churches.  Gods Church is still marching forward!

Thank you to all who have supported us and to God be the glory, great things He has done.

There are inevitably a lot of questions, and we are doing our best to answer all of them as they come. This has been an incredibly difficult time for us and our church family, but God is gracious and has walked with us every step of the way. Like Mike stated in the letter, no one wanted this outcome; but we wholeheartedly believe that God is being glorified even in the misdt of these sad and difficult circumstances.

We took a huge leap of faith, moving to McKinney and starting a church at the Lord's leading. We left our friends, our church family, and our ministries to follow God's call to make disciples in McKinney. And while the outcome of the church was not what we had expected, we did see the Lord work in the lives of the people He placed in our path. We have learned so much over the past 3 years, about living out the gospel, being and making disciples, loving and serving others. While there are things we may have done differently in the process of planting a church, I know that both Mike and I would do it over again to be obedient to the Lord. It's hard for our human minds to comprehend that a seeming failure is a win for Jesus, but history is filled with "failures" that God has used for His purposes. Ministry is hard, but God doesn't waste anything. We are confident that He will use what He has taught us through planting {and now closing} Redeemer Church in whatever He has planned for us next.

The lingering question now is "what next?" And the simple answer is that "we don't know yet." Mike and I are walking our church family through the transition of plugging into other local churches and ministries. We will then take some time to rest/heal our bodies and souls before we begin seeking the Lord for where He is calling us next. We are sad for what is lost in Redeemer Church, but we are excited about what the Lord has planned for us in the future. God is good, and I can say with confidence that He is all we need.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Doxycycline is from the Devil

This week, I learned a valuable lesson the hard way: doxycycline is NOT a good antibiotic for people with Crohn's Disease :(

I was given doxycycline {an antibiotic} after a routine procedure; it was given more as a precaution than anything else. I am usually good about questioning the medications that I am prescribed, as there are some I have to stay away from because of Crohn's. Short of rolling their eyes at me, doctors often seem to be annoyed when I question them on whether or not it's safe for Crohn's. This time, I made the mistake of not questioning and just assuming this doctor saw it in my chart, and I paid dearly for it.

The antibiotic itself didn't make me feel awesome, and I had some trouble with Crohn's symptoms. They weren't too terrible until the very end of the regimen, so I decided to persevere through the recommended dosage. I could have tolerated the Crohn's symptoms and then just made a mental note not to take that medication again. The trouble came when a pill got stuck in my esophagus and released. Talk about miserable!

I did everything I could to try to unlodge it, but I think I was too late. The pill had already released, and caused a ton of irritation, from my throat through my chest. I know it released because {TMI} I could taste it and suffered from nausea and heartburn for several days. It got so bad, it woke me up in the middle of the night, making it difficult to breathe. It is incredibly painful to swallow my own saliva, let alone drinks or food.

Of course, when you google doxycycline, multiple sites pop up about how it's the worst antibiotic for your GI tract {so not good for Crohn's}, and it is notorious for getting stuck in your esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation. When I called my doctor {because googling your symptoms almost always leads to panic...bad habit, I know}, he said that one of the side effects was ulcers. Yeah, missed that one completely.

So now I am praying that the new medication my GI prescribed to coat and help heal my esophagus is all that is needed to calm the inflammation. My fear is that the pill burned a hole in my esophagus, or caused more damage than a little medicine can fix.

Sigh. I'm frustrated that the doctor missed my Crohn's diagnosis in my chart.  I'm kicking myself for not annoying the doctor with my double check. And I'm regretting not drinking more water when I took the stupid pill.

Lessons learned {unfortunately the hard way}. If you have Crohn's, stay away from doxycycline. As a patient, you are your best advocate...annoy the doctor if necessary. It's your health on the line, after all.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

{30 Before 30} :: Get a McKinney Library Card and Use it

I have lived in McKinney for 3 years and only now just got a library card...I should probably clarify. I registered for a library card 3 years ago, and just now picked it up so I can actually go to the library and use it. Better late than never, right?? :)

As a kid I LOVED reading and going to the library. I was the kid that used to get in trouble for reading too much {as if that's a thing}...you know, staying up past my bedtime, using a flashlight under the covers...and pajama reading days at school were my all-time favorite! {do they still have those??}

And then college happened. College made me HATE reading and HATE libraries {late night study sessions in the back corner of Moody Library still give me nightmares}. So, as silly as it sounds, I have really struggled with finding my love for reading again.

With the goal to get a library card and read more this year, I have finally re-discovered my love for reading. I decided not to make a book list, so I didn't feel confined only to what I had committed to {remember 2013?} And that has worked well for me. If I see a book I'm interested in, I read it. I do have a list of books I'd like to read, but I only go to it if I can't decide on something. It's purely psychological, but whatever works, right?

Since the downtown library is close to my office, I will go on my lunch break to peruse the shelves, or just to set up camp and read. I also love that I can check out e-books from the library. So then I can read a few pages on my phone if I am waiting somewhere. And I have discovered Good Reads. Umm...hello. Genius!

I'm not a particularly fast reader {and I still struggle with finding enough time}, so I don't have this super long "done" list, but I am actually enjoying reading now...a huge step!

Here's to a lifelong love of reading! :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

{30 Before 30} :: Finish and Order "Our Third Year" Photo Book

When we got married, I made our wedding photo book via Shutterfly. I decided to make our family scrap/memory books the same way, so I have started creating 8x8 photo books for each year of our marriage. 

It was time to start working on "Our Third Year," so I got to work organizing photos and designing our book. I keep our photos organized by date on my computer, so it's usually pretty easy to work through our year's events. I pair photos with my blog posts, to help include the important things and special memories.

I usually wait for a 50% off sale or snag a Groupon for Shutterfly {or both!}...they run enough promotions to catch one several times throughout the year. This helps me to not only save money, but it also gives me a deadline to complete our book!

I love that we have a condensed record of our lives. How fun will it be when our shelf is filled with 50 years worth of photo books?? :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

{Hubby DIY} :: Song Lyric Wall Art Painting

I mentioned a few months ago that Mike was working on a painting project for his office. He finished it a little while ago, but we finally got it hung in his office...and it looks awesome! He did such a great job on it, and it works great on the wall above his desk.

Be impressed: he hand-painted the whole thing! Look at my cute husband's creative/DIY skills :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Redeemer Fall Kick Off

This past weekend, we had our Fall Kick Off with a Ross King concert. I have seen Ross in concert many times, but it is always a joy to hear his music.

Because it was a special event, we had our worship service in the FPC sanctuary. It's such a beautiful space, and we were thankful for a chance to worship there. Ross led music, and then we had a brief intermission/fellowship time before the concert started.

My cute preacher hubby :)

It was a fun evening, and we are thankful for how the Lord has gifted Ross to share music.