Saturday, February 25, 2006


Last week I had a meeting I needed to go to at our church. My pastor's wife asked me a month or so ago to be a part of a group of women that would meet together to pray, listen, and discern the direction God wanted to take women's ministry at our church. I agreed, and she set up a time for all of us to get together. Well, I was feeling terrible that night and my kids weren't well either. I knew that to go to the meeting would require me to engage and all I really wanted to do was sleep. Know that feeling? It's not laziness, it's just your body crying out for REST. So, I called her and asked to be released from my commitment for that night. Her response? "Absolutely, stay home and rest. I'm not into guilt." WOW! Now maybe that seems insignificant to you, but it's been a long it's been since I've gotten that gracious of a response. It was almost beyond belief for me.

I can't tell you the number of times the response has been different. In my recent past, I've asked to be released from certain obligations or even said "No" on the front end of being asked, and that hasn't been so well received. Here is a sampling of those responses (and they're ALL true): Well, I certainly expected more from the "pastor's wife"--you're supposed to be the example! If you don't do this (job at church) people are going to talk bad about you. (hmmm--now there's a reason to do something?!)) But, Meredith, you've already said you would. You made a commitment. Or the worst one of all--nothing. Just absolute silence into which I've always read incredible disappointment. YUCK!

A lot of these responses have come from those in ministry positions in the church (though not all) and so maybe this gives you some understanding of why I don't really miss John being in a pastoral role at this time in our lives, and why this particular response was so unexpected. Am I hurt and wounded? Yes, absolutely. I know that and I am working through a lot of that hurt right now. Letting God meet me in my brokenness. But there was something amazing about Sallie's response last week. There wasn't any guilt, condemnation, shame, disappointment or control attached to it. There was a lot of GRACE, and truthfully, it felt wonderful!

I've thought about her gracious response a lot over the last week or so. John and I were even talking about it over breakfast this morning. He (John) challenged me to let that be my response to those around me. There are a few situations in my life right now where I don't really feel like extending grace. For whatever reason, I don't really feel that some folks deserve it. And you know what? None of us do. But God gives it freely to all and it is wonderful to receive. Can I let people off my "hook" and quit trying to be their "conscience"? I'm going to give it a shot. Maybe, just maybe, I can bless someone with a response like I got last week.

Friday, February 24, 2006


I usually try to catch some evening news a couple of nights each week, but lately, I've found myself watching NBC Nightly News almost daily. That's because it follows the NBC afternoon Olympic coverage. I've noticed that Will has been watching it pretty closely...almost too closely. Several days ago, they ran a story about flesh eating bacteria. I got interrupted during the story and missed most of it, but Will caught every detail! This week he got a small cut on his finger, and his remark to me was, "Oh no...I hope I don't catch that flesh eating bacteria!" It's hard not to laugh at that, but it makes me realize I've gotta be pretty careful about what he's taking in!! Yikes!! He has my tendency to worry and fret about things. And worrying about flesh eating bacteria is just too much for a kid his age!

A Reason to Rejoice!

We have turned the corner! Everyone is much, much better around here!! Actually I think they all started feeling better yesterday after lunch. I knew that we'd turned the corner because all of the sudden, they were ravenous! They haven't eaten well all week, and yesterday afternoon, I couldn't keep them full. They also were picking at each other and just doing that usual yah-yah stuff that siblings do. I gotta tell you it was nice to see that return. It was a sign of life! John could tell the difference when he got home yesterday afternoon and we're both rejoicing!

They were feeling so well yesterday afternoon that they started getting a little hyper. I really wanted them to rest some more, so I made them watch The Sound of Music with me. They were pretty tentative at first. When Maria began singing "The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music" during the first scene, they rolled their eyes and looked at me like "you've gotta be kidding". I got them to stick with it a little longer and they were sold. We took a break mid-way through the movie. I popped some popcorn for them, then snuck downstairs to check my email. They came and found me and begged me to come back and start it again. I even overheard Will singing Doe-a-deer while I was getting dinner ready last night. I'm so glad they liked it. It is one of my all-time favorites!!!

Update 2/25 - Sarah knew that Julie Andrews looked familiar and was pleasantly surprised to learn that she also acts in two of her other favorite movies--The Princess Diaries 1 and 2. And, driving home last night, the kids were in the back singing "How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria?" until their dad chimed in with his own version--how do you solve the problem of diarrhea? Now, that's all I hear! That, and lots of giggling.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Oh No! and Ohno

Okay...I'm really getting tired of my kids not feeling well. I thought on Monday that things were great and that everyone would be heading back to school Tuesday. Didn't happen. I kept the girls home Tuesday because they were still coughing. Yesterday, two of the three woke up with fever. I immediately called the doctor and made an appointment for all of them. Diagnosis?? Respiratory virus. antibiotic, just rest and fluids. No wonder the antibiotic Abbey had last week didn't seem to work! So, we're all at home again today following the doctors orders. Thankfully, the doctor did give us some prescription cough syrup, so at least we're all sleeping well at night! If they're not better by Friday, I'm supposed to take them back in. I'm praying we're better. This is just dragging on too long!

Here's some perspective though... A while back I asked for you to pray for Ira Hays, a little guy (10 months old) in a New York City hospital. Ira is the son of friends of a friend, and has been in the hospital since Christmas Eve. That's about 2 months if you're counting. For two months he's been hooked up to tubes of all kinds and his parents haven't been able to hold or comfort him. His progress has been up and down, up and down. He's scheduled for surgery today...a tracheostomy. Pray for Ira. Pray for his parents, Joe and Laura...they've got to be exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Hmmm...and I think my life is hard sometimes...

On a lighter note, we're cheering for Apolo Anton Ohno, the US short track speed skater. He's a local "hero" because he trains at the US Olympic Training Center here in Colorado Springs, and qualified last night for the medals skate this weekend. I like him for a lot of reasons, but mainly because he's got some poise and maturity...unlike some of the other US speed skaters we've been watching. I am so put out with the two US guys Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis. I know the media has been playing up their "feud", but I sure wish they wouldn't add fuel to the fire. I liked Chad Hedrick after I first watched him skate and talk to reporters. But now I just wish he'd show some sportsmanship. Wow...does anyone else watch those two and feel like they're back in junior high?? Thanks, but no thanks, guys!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Well, we've finally climbed above the freezing mark...
we're finally feeling better (at least most of us are)...
I finally finished the yearbook...
we're finally getting together with some friends from church after trying for 6 weeks...
and John finally got his paycheck (for work done before Christmas!).

Even though February is a short month, it's felt really long to us. One more week and we can welcome March!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Eight Below

It is unbelievably cold here today. Last night we watched the 6 o'clock news and the temp in our fair town was -8. Not windchill, but the actual temp. Brrrrrrr. It's sunny outside right now, but that is so deceiving. Our high temp today is supposed to climb to a whopping 10 degrees. If we climb above freezing this week, we'll probably be ready to crank up the grill and have a bar-b-que!

Will kept hearing them report eight below as our temperature last night and just started laughing. Eight Below is the name of a movie that opened yesterday. It's the movie he's taking some friends to see tomorrow afternoon to celebrate his birthday. The title is certainly appropriate for this arctic weekend we're experiencing!

We definitely got caught up on some much needed rest yesterday and are hoping for more of the same today. It's just too cold to even think about venturing out! I love weekends like this!

Stay warm!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sick Ward

As my friend Joan would say, I'm running the sick ward today. Abbey's been on an antibiotic since Monday, but yesterday afternoon started running fever. Go figure. Sarah woke up in the night with a rumbly tummy (no vomiting-thank goodness!) and this morning, she was running fever too. I just decided to keep Will home with the girls and let them all rest. We have snow and a two-hour delayed start, so they'd have a short school day anyway. We'll just take it easy at home and hopefully be rested and better by the time next week rolls around. Please pray for us to kick this stuff once and for all. It seems like we've been battling one thing or another for WAY too long.

We have a little bit of snow maybe two or three inches. The temps however are another story. Our evening lows dipped below zero here and we'll be lucky if our high temp today reaches 16 degrees. It's very cold. Very, very cold. It's all relative though. A guy John does freelance work for emailed him from Montana this morning and their temp was -30. Just typing that out makes me shiver. So...I guess this is all headed east and you guys in the South will be cold this weekend too. Maybe you'll even get some snow!

Anyone catch the Olympic debut of snowboard cross last night? It's where 4 snowboarders race down the mountain at the same time, all jockeying for the lead. It was cool. Will and I loved it. I didn't let him stay up long enough to see the US guy (Seth Wescott) win the gold, but he watched the highlights this morning. He loves the Olympics. He races through his homework and shower every night so he can catch some of the coverage before bedtime. Fun!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

An Olympic Moment

by John Blase

I love the Olympics. I especially look forward to the opening ceremonies when the different countries start filing in the stadium one at a time. The flag bearers, the regalia of the athletes, and the excitement on their faces always move me to tears. As I watched the other night, I had this kind of simultaneous broadcast/vision thing going on in my head. Hold on.

Imagine THE DAY - the people of God filing in the before the presence of the God of the Angel Armies. Due to their alphabetical status, the Anglicans are to be first, but they are distracted when an Assembly of God asks, Is the Lord here? The Anglicans all stop and say, He is! And as they’re waiting for the next liturgical response, the Assemblies yell, Gotcha’, and rush past. After a moment of contemplation, the Anglicans bust out laughing and say, Good one. Next in line are the Baptists, decked in blue-blazers and button-downs. They march in like good little Vacation Bible School kids, each holding the Word in front of them in case a bible drill is suddenly called. These groups begin to mingle (remember, this is heaven) and pass the peace and greet one another with holy cheek kisses, when who to their wondering eyes should appear, but the Catholics. And there is a hush in heaven as several A’s and B’s prepare to ask the C’s how in the heaven they got in. But then Johnny and June Cash start humming Amazing Grace and the A’s and B’s say, We’re so glad you’re here. We always hoped it would be this way, but in our narrowness, we doubted your love of Christ. Dear God, forgive us. And the C’s say, You think you’re surprised? We had no idea. But oh, how beautiful this is. Some of those candles we lit were prayers that it would be this way. And then they all begin snapping pictures with their camera phones as the pigs fly overhead.

The Episcopalians are next in line, surprised at their numbers. Garrison Keillor leads the Lutherans who all seem above average. A merry band of Methodists make a b-line for the Baptists as they recognize kinfolk. The Pentecostals come in having sufficiently warmed-up, with the Presbyterians and the Quakers chanting something about the last being first. A youth minister suddenly grabs a guitar and starts to lead everyone in something safe for the whole family when Gabriel cautions, All things are possible, but not all things are beneficial. And at that very moment an angelic orchestra begins playing Handel’s Hallelujah chorus. As the former things begin passing away, one of the first results is that everyone now loves classical music. All attention is then focused on the torchbearer to come through the gates. There is speculation as to who it will be, but no one knows for certain. And then we see him, the first Adam, running with the gait of redemption, as if he could run forever. He runs about a third of the way into the stadium and then stops for the handoff. But then a strange thing happens; he drops to his knees. On that cue, the mighty throng drops to their knees like sports fans doing the wave, for there in the middle of it all is the second Adam, Jesus the Christ. With burning hearts, we suddenly realize that He had been walking among us all along, just like He promised. Adam’s torch then goes out and we’re momentarily afraid it will grow dark, but then we remember that this is heaven; there is no need for light, for He is here. Jesus looks over the crowd of the redeemed like a mother hen admiring her chicks, then runs to the right hand of the Father and says, They’re all here. The Father then embraces the Son who winks at the Spirit who bear-hugs them both; then the Father declares, Let the days begin, of which there will be no end! And the people of God shout, Yes!


One afternoon last week, Abbey and I were resting on her bed and talking. Actually, I was resting and Abbey was talking. She's very good at talking and we have some hilarious conversations these days. Anyway, she asked why I had lines all over my face. I realized a few minutes later that she was asking why I had wrinkles. Wrinkles! Horror! Yes, I do have 'em, and sadly, I have quite a few. Shouldn't I be too young for this???

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

more really random stuff

Well, I finally took Abbey to the doctor yesterday because she couldn't seem to kick the cough and cold she's had since last week. She got an antibiotic and is doing much better now. We're all thankful! She slept all night last night without a coughing episode and that means we all got a good nights sleep. Yea! Maybe I should have seen the doctor too because I can't seem to kick my cold from last week. Ugggh!

I just returned from the kids' school and their Valentine's Day parties. Will's class party was calm and orderly. Sarah's class party was chaos. I always leave the latter one with my blood pressure elevated! It's so funny how different the two classrooms are! Nevertheless, the parties were fun, everyone is on a sugar high, and the kids are enjoying re-reading all their valentines. I loved that as a kid too. Abbey didn't get to go to her party this morning, but her friend's mom dropped all her cards/goodies off for her this afternoon, and she had just as much fun opening them at home with me.

Anyone besides us enjoying the Olympics? I feel like such a sloth when I sit down at night to tune in and find myself sitting there for like 3-4 hours at a time. How lazy is that?? Because the Olympic Training Center is in Colorado Springs, and because a lot of the athletes at these Olympic games train in our great state, they get LOTS of local media attention and you kinda feel like they're "hometown" kids. It's fun to feel that connection and cheer them on.

I've been working on the yearbook for the kids' elementary school lately. Our deadline is tomorrow and I think we're in good shape. We're in good shape because several of us have put in some LONG hours of work these last two weeks. I'll be glad when it's over, but I've really enjoyed doing it. I'm even considering assuming the role of editor for next year. I was on yearbook staff in high school, and it's amazing how much I remember from those days of old. Words like bleed, ladder, gutter have resurfaced in my vocabulary as of late.

I'm pretty jealous of my friend in Connecticut. They got 20+ inches of snow last weekend in the blizzard that hit the east coast. I'm ready for a blizzard here. I love it that it just brings everything to a complete stop! We are supposed to get some snow later this week, but I don't think it's anywhere close to 20 inches. Oh well. Our friends moved to Connecticut from Arkansas last fall, so how fun for their kids to get to enjoy SNOW, SNOW, and more SNOW!!!

Like the title of the post says, this is random stuff...really random. And that is exactly how my life feels these days.


Friday, February 10, 2006

9th Birthday!

Today is Will's 9th birthday! Wow! Nine years old. It seems unreal.

He woke up earlier than usual this morning and discovered that it snowed last night! We got about 4-5 inches, and it has continued to snow all day long. A snow day would have been great but the roads were drivable, so school was open. Bummer! We let him open gifts this morning, and then he enjoyed his choice of birthday breakfast--toaster strudel (truly a treat at our house because I'm known as the "sugar sheriff"!) Right now he's playing the new game he got for his Game Cube--Narnia, and in a little while we're going to order pizza. We couldn't squeeze a birthday party into the weekend, but have something planned for next weekend with about 3-4 of his friends. You know we like to stretch these birthday celebrations out as long as we possibly can. All in all he's had a GREAT day.

Maybe...just maybe...I'll post a picture of the birthday boy later.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cough and sniffles--yuck!

For the last two weeks, our family has been passing around some sort of virus. Will had it first and quickly passed it to Sarah. Sarah seemed to get over it quickly, only to have it resurge last week. Now it seems Abbey and I have it. We've both got a runny nose (constant sniffling) and a croupy cough. I kept her home from preschool today because she sounds terrible when she coughs and she's also got a slight temperature. Please pray that we feel better soon!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

International Anglican Church

For the last 16 months, our family has been attending International Anglican Church in Colorado Springs. We happened upon this particular church in an unusual way. One afternoon in October 2004, we picked up a new book by an author we like, who also happens to be a Christian counselor in the Springs. On the acknowledgements page of the book, she thanks the "thirsty hearts at International Anglican Church". My writer husband is the only person I know who actually reads the acknowledgements page of a book, but read it he did, and then proceeded to look it up on the web. He told me he thought we should check it out, which we did the following weekend. Our first visit was extraordinary, and we both knew that our hearts had found a resting place. We haven't yet officially linked ourselves to this church, but it has been a "home" to us in many ways these last sixteen months.

International Anglican Church is affiliated with the Anglican Mission in America. The Episcopal Church falls under the Anglican umbrella (though Episcopal is a term unique to the United States; everywhere else in the world, they're known as Anglicans). The Anglican church is governed by bishops who each oversee a geographical province. Episcopal bishops here in the US have the same responsibilities. If you keep up with current events, you know that the Episcopal church has taken an extreme liberally stance on many issues in recent years, some of which were in direct violation of scripture. Again, this liberal stance is unique to the Anglican church in the United States (the Episcopals) and is not characterstic of the larger Anglican community. So, back in 2000, a group of conservative Episcopals broke away from the Episcopal church and sought to establish a more conservative congregation under the authority of an Anglican bishop from Rwanda. Hence, the formation of the Anglican Mission in America. Interestingly, the first AMiA church in the United States was formed in Little Rock, AR. What developed was a network of churches committed to the supremacy of scripture, to the person of Jesus, and to salvation through faith in Christ. Our church in the Springs was formed just 3 years ago.

Ours is also a liturgical church. The word liturgy means "the work of the people" and our service is very interactive, so yes, we WORK! We're not up and down and kneeling as much as I remember from my Catholic upbringing, but we do participate very much in the service. We sing, we have responsive readings, we pray out loud during certain times, we stand when God's word is read, and we go forward for Communion each week (see, kinda similar to our Baptist roots). We follow a liturgical calendar which breaks the calendar year into seasons like Advent and Lent. I read somewhere that AMiA churches borrow from from three different movements to form an evangelical, liturgical, and charismatic body. PLEASE don't let the charismatic element freak you out. We're not exorcising demons or anything like that. It simply means that the Holy Spirit has an active (as opposed to passive) role in our worship and teaching. Our worship is very contemporary and very similar to what we've been used to. Yes, people in our church raise their hands and move about, but we love that they have the freedom to do that! When that expressiveness stems from a pure heart, it is a beautiful thing!

Hopefully that is enough to give you a feel of what we're a part of at this time. Allow me another paragraph or two to tell you a few things I love about it. First of all, I love going to Communion EVERY week. Yes, it takes more time and makes for a longer service but it is SO worth it. There is something really special about rising to your feet, walking up an aisle, moving TOWARDS Jesus (while reflecting on His sacrifice), and receiving the bread and wine (gasp...yes, REAL wine!) This just feels like the "real deal", folks. Not some measly, stale cracker and a swig of grape juice, but a hunk of bread and a sip of wine. I can't explain it fully, but the first time I received communion at this church, it felt like I had received it for the first time. Like I was getting something "meaty" and not just crumbs.

I also really like the Lenten season. During the 6 weeks or so before Easter, we refrain from using the word, "Alleluia" in our services. This is a somber season, and "Alleluia" is a celebratory word. It is normally used a handful of times during the service but not during Lent. Last year, on Easter Sunday, we all brought bells (all types--cowbells, even) and rang them madly each time we said "Alleluia". Even thinking about it now brings tears of joy to my eyes...what a CELEBRATION!!! Two years ago, while at our church in Palmer Lake, we made palm leaves out of construction paper for the children to wave as they sang a song during the worship service on Palm Sunday. Well...last year on Palm Sunday, we all congregated outside our church, and were given real palm branches (I mean the REAL thing) and we all walked into the church waving them and singing HOSANNA!! Everytime we said "Hosanna" during the service, we waved our branches in the air. It was amazing to see everyone's branches filling the church, and it was a far cry from the construction paper ones I watched the children wave the previous year.

Everything about this church just seems REAL, and I like it that I feel like I have a part to play and I'm not just a spectator here. I like it for many more reasons, but I'm afraid I've already written too much. Hopefully, this answers some questions/concerns you have. I have a link to our church's website (right side of this page) which explains far better than I ever could about the actual theology and traditions. If you're interested in learning more, check it out.

One friend in Arkansas was befuddled about our choice when we mentioned it last year in our Christmas letter. As I tried to explain to her that we were in a GOOD place, she asked her bottom line question...are we going to end up in the same place when we die? The answer is YES, YES, YES!!!

**Thanks J and C for pointing out my typos! Yes, even I mess up on occasion! (smile!)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Day of Rest

Sundays are meant to be a day of rest. They weren't very restful for much of my adult life, but when we moved to Colorado, Sundays changed dramatically for us. Our church here didn't have Sunday evening services so our Sunday afternoons became slow and restful....and wonderful! The last three days have literally been non-stop for me, and I've been looking forward to this afternoon ALL WEEK! I didn't manage a nap, but I did get to read the Sunday edition of the Denver Post (one of my favorite things!) and we've been watching the Super Bowl too. I snuck downstairs after half-time to post this quick note here!

Yesterday I went to a Discovery Class at our church. It was an all day event that explained much of the Anglican history and theology because most of the folks that worship with us don't have an Anglican background. It was actually very interesting, and I'm glad I got to be a part of it yesterday. I hope one day this week to post more about yesterday, and about our church and why we love it. I know that a lot of our friends in the South think we've joined a cult or something because Anglican isn't a word you hear very often. Rest assured we haven't...and I'll give you the scoop when I have more time and get my thoughts together! Honestly though, I want to get back upstairs and watch the Super Bowl. I'm cheering for the Steelers. We know several folks here who are from Pittsburgh, and even though they beat the Broncos, we'd love to see them GO STEELERS!!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Really really random stuff...

I'm finding it is so boring to post stuff on here without adding pictures. I know that some of you don't mind and that you still enjoy keeping up with us this way, but my kids are such a big part of my life that leaving out pictures just isn't as much fun for me. Maybe soon I'll sneak one or two in!

Today is unofficially hump day--the middle of the week! It's been another busy one and we're looking forward to the weekend--even though it's shaping up to be busy too!

We got some good news yesterday. John was offered a year-long writing contract from the guy he met with last week. He is guaranteed a certain number of hours each month, and more importantly is guaranteed a monthly paycheck. We're both grateful for that. Until the contract is signed, sealed, and delivered, I'm not at liberty to divulge more, but it exciting news! We're STILL waiting for his big paycheck for work done in December. We're hoping this week. However, God continues to show up in big ways for us in regard to financial matters, and we're beyond grateful!

Our oldest child is celebrating a birthday next week. He will be NINE years old. It still seems unbelievable to me that he is that old. Time really does pass quickly, so quickly.

I'm still on track with my read-thru-the Bible plan. Actually, I'm two chapters behind on Job, but that's not a bad way to start February. I hope to catch up on those two chapters this week. I mention this only because some of you have asked. Thanks for keeping me on task!

We watched Cinderella Man last weekend and really loved it. It was such a beautiful picture of HOPE! I needed that little boost of encouragement. I found it funny that I've rented that movie THREE times and returned it unwatched twice before finally watching it last Saturday. I don't want to read too much into that, but I got a beautiful picture of hope at just the time I needed it. Coincidence or a God-thing? Hmmm.

And finally, while we're on the subject of movies, I just got email notification that shipped "Auntie Mame". I know it's kinda lame, but it is one of our favorite movies. It's sentimental to us, and good for more than a few laughs. Now...we just have to find some free time to watch it!