Sunday, June 28, 2009

Amanda's Graduation Open House

Yesterday we held an open house in honor of Amanda's graduation. It was so much fun having people float in and out of the house. I wished I was ten people, so I could have spent more time with each person. Amanda enjoyed seeing lots of friends and even teachers who stopped by....It was an awesome day...

My sister Stephanie's husband, Ryan, Diego the dog, me, Samantha and Stephanie

Samantha, little Anna (Stephanie's daughter), Stephanie and me

Anna, Stephanie and Samantha

Mark (friend from our high school past), Rhonda Marsh (Amanda's violin instructor)

Dean (Joe's buddy) and his son, Caiden

Jenn, Adam and Amanda (long-time friends and old neighbors)

The "crew"

Amanda and her private violin teacher, Rhonda

Paige and Amanda. They became friends in second grade when we lived in Federal Way for a year. They have kept in touch ever since...

Amanda's buddies

The spread.

A couple of my ultrasound classmates stopped by. These are my prayer buddies, Olga and Lily. We're praying each other through the program. :)

The Hiegel Family and Amanda. So great to see them again...

Paige and her mom, Lisa.

Mel and her posse....

Amanda and a few of her friends...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Growth Engines

I'm wondering about church growth engines. Having been burned out in the past by buying into the "cause" of church growth, I am skeptical and suspicious of things (i.e., events) that are designed to bring more people into a church. I really wonder about the reasons for doing such a thing - is the core, true, heartfelt desire to reach as many people as possible with the gospel? Or, is the real agenda to "build" an entity, an organization into a mega-one - sort of like building a business? And why would the desire BE to be a mega entity? More pay for staff? Get bigger and better buildings with more fancy stuff? Feed egos? Be "known?"

I know its very cynical of me, but I can't help it. I've seen it, experienced it and burned out because of buying into a growth agenda. I've been wondering if it is possible to be part of a church and follow only the agenda God has for ME, and not that of others. I've been feeling something all too familiar lately, and that is, I feel like I'm being given a "sales pitch." Maybe I'm feeling this way because of my prior experience, but I get this sinking feeling every time I hear this "pitch." It feels exactly like when the Kirby guy comes to my door and keeps pushing me to let them come show me their vacuum cleaner, under the guise of "cleaning my carpets for free." I didn't invite the Kirby guy, didn't think of the idea of buying a new carpet cleaner, but someone shows up to get me to buy one.

I am not trying to be critical of church. And, I honestly don't want to be an agent of negativity in order to hurt any ministry. I am just feeling some stuff, and I wonder if there is any truth to it, or if I am still very sensitive to my previous experiences. I vowed to myself a long time ago, that I would no longer be the sheep that follows stupidly, like sheep often do, without thinking for myself. That I would not get caught up in the agendas of others - instead seeking only God's agenda for ME. If that does in fact, include following my leader's agenda, then I will do it if God asks me to. But, I am so much more reluctant to jump in nowadays. I wonder if it is wisdom or past wounding that I'm operating from. Maybe a little bit of both.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Scoop

My week off is coming to an end. I am feeling really relieved and proud to have finished one year of the ultrasound program! I received a 93% or above for each of my classes, and I give all the glory to God for providing me with this success. I am also feeling a little anxious and excited to start full-time clinicals on Monday. I wonder how our family is going to adjust and how I'm going to do with more expectations placed on me by the sonographers. I've been reviewing a lot of information during my break, so I will be ready. I will take my physics registry exam next month, which will give me half the title of a sonographer. :) After my year in clinicals, I will take my Abdomen and OB/Gyn exams which will allow me to put an "RDMS" (Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer) after my name. Woo Hoo!

Joe got "bumped" out of his position at work, which means crappy hours and less pay. We're trusting the Lord that He has some sort of great plan for this, because it really appears to suck at this point. But, knowing how God works sometimes, we are believing that He has only good in mind. Well, its what the Bible says and I believe it. Anyway, I know He will help us and will provide for Amanda who will be heading off to CWU in the Fall, etc. Joe is praying that this "bump" is temporary, and he may be able to get his spot back very soon.

Amanda is looking for a job right now to save money for school. She needs a few thousand dollars, so I'm praying she gets one FAST. We're throwing her a graduation "open house" next weekend, so I spent the week gathering items for the party.

Melanie and Ben had their last day of school today. Mel is now a junior and Ben is now a third grader! Melanie will be helping us out with Ben a few hours a day in between Joe leaving for work, and me getting home.

Joe bought an old Honda Accord from a guy at work. Its actually going to save us money to own it - less gas money, and less miles on the Explorer. I can take our Kia to my clinical site, while Joe takes the Honda to his work. The name of the game right now, is being as frugal as possible while we ride out this cut in pay.

So, that's the scoop for now. Working hard, watching our pennies and trusting the Lord.