Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New
















It was a busy weekend! Friday night was the Harris' Annual Christmas Party complete with "bad Christmas sweater" competition (which I didn't enter due to a severe lack of bad Christmas sweaters on my part). Saturday I woke up early and had a meeting with Erika and a guy named Kyle (not my brother) about the preschool. Kyle has his school admininstrator's credientials and is now fully on board for helping get additional grades added to our school for next year. I left the meeting with him feeling so incredibly encouraged by him. He is just SUCH the right person to help us with the legal, and financial stuff with adding grades that Erika and I just don't know enough about. He is full of lots of great ideas, energy, and enthusiasm. Just great! Then, church, and after church out with Jackie and Lora for icecream. Sunday was another meeting regarding preschool in the morning and then to see the "Nutcracker" for Julie's (roommate) birthday. What a fun and neat performance. It made me want to get out my violin and play! Then last night (which I know is Monday) we stayed up til 11pm making Christmas cookies and candy to give to our neighbors.

At any rate, here are some pics. The one of me holding the kitten is because I am a proud new owner of a brandnew kitten. She was rescued from being abandoned at a stripmall parking lot. She came to me thin, dirty, scratched up and with one eye blind. So, her name is Jack. One-eyed Jack like the playing card. Even though she is a SHE and not a HE, the name Jack just seems to fit.

She's the cutest thing ever, growing fast, clean and fluffy now and very healthy with the exception of the eye.
Erin

Friday, December 08, 2006

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Wow, has it really been since November 17th that I last blogged? I mean, I knew it had been a while, but geesh. Anyway, I don't have a lot new to post. I do have some new pictures I should upload.

Thanksgiving was great. Two of my housemates, Lora and Kristie, came with me to my parent's to have the big turkey shindig. We gobbled up (pun intended) loads of turkey, stuffing, and other traditional Thanksgiving-day fare. I made my mashed fauxtatoes again this year. I tweaked the recipe again, and actually think I liked them *better* than last year's. We also broke out the pumpkin pie, and I made a loaf of pumpkin bread that tasted a LOT more like pumpkin cake, especially since I baked it in a brownie pan and Lora frosted it with some cream-cheese frosting. YUM. I think I single-handedly ate about half of the loaf.

Now you might think from all of this food talk that I have comletely fallen off the weight watchers wagon, but that would not be the case. I am just learning to eat to maintain, rather than lose. There have been pop-ups of fear, but I am happily maintaining my weight loss. I need to be vigilant about not getting lazy or passive about it and thinking I can just eat any old thing and be OK, but otherwise, I am having fun.

I have had so many (seriously, every week it seems someone new is asking me about stuff)women at church talk to me about healthy eating and stuff that I asked Brian if we could hold a class to talk about some practical things. He agreed. So, I asked two other women to help me put something together. I am not sure what it will look like exactly, but in January or February we will be getting a class together for women interested in getting healthy. I'll post more information when I get a chance to pray with the other women (Linda and Peggy) to see what is on the Lord's heart to talk about. This is SUCH a sensitive and precious area for so many women and we want to go about it the right way so as not to bring an open door for the enemy to bring lies of shame/condmenation etc. It should be neat to see.

Preschool is still well, as well. One more week and then we are off for two and a half weeks for Christmas break. In fact, I will be off for almost two full weeks from my administrative job as well. I am looking forward to just taking a vacation this time of the year. It has been since I taught seven years ago that I last had a chunk of time off at Christmas. The one time I did take some time off was for my brother's wedding, but that involved the hecticness of travel to Illinois and the subsequent food poisoning that kept my whole family down for a week after the wedding. It will just be nice to just have time off and be at home. I had a little time for this in Sept. before school started and after I quit my job at the county, but this will be SO nice!

There has been SUCH progress with the kids at the school in the last few weeks, it makes it fun to be there! Seriously, so fun. I am just enjoying them. I think there has been breakthrough with Erika (co-director) and I as well, in recognizing our authority in the classroom does not mean we do not love those kids. We have realized that being too lax in discipline is actually harming the kids. Sometimes, you just have to discipline. It is for their GOOD that we do it, as long as it is not out of our own anger or frustration. There are rules, and they are there for the good of the kids. It has made it hard for some kids, as they have more tendancies to get in trouble now because of it, but even they don't liek getting in trouble and so are more motiviated to obey. It is just a good lesson all the way around. Lots of applications to my own life too!

Well, I could probably post a bit more, but that's all for now. I might have some time later this afternoon too.
God Bless,
Erin

Friday, November 17, 2006

Came to My Rescue

Falling on my knees in worship
Giving all I am to seek Your face
Lord all I am is is Yours
My whole life I place in Your hands
God of mercy
Humbled I bow down
In your presence at Your throne

I called You answered
And You came to my rescue and I
I wanna be where You are

In my life be lifted high
In our world be lifted high
In our love be lifted high

None But Jesus

In the quiet, in the stillness
I know that You are God
In the secret of Your presence
I know there I am restored
When You call I won’t refuse
Each new day again
I’ll choose

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I liveto bring Him praise

In the chaos, in confusion
I know You’re Sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do Your will
When You call I won’t delay
This my song through all my days

All my delight is in You Lord
All of my hope, all of my strength
All my delight is in You Lord Forevermore

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Not Much New to Post

I don't have a lot of updates regarding things in my life. But, just felt the need to post about how in love with the Lord I have been this last month or so! I am tearing up right now at just HOW GOOD He is. This has been at the heart of my battle over so many things and to get a glimpse of breakthrough has just been so refreshing. I have written in the past how I have not understood my need for grace, and finally, I get it. The practicals of what that looks like are that I yearn for time with Him like I have not yearned since I was in college, my worship is sweeter than it has ever been, and cannot seem to contain myself. Which, in my opinion, is how it should be. Those who really understand what they have been saved from cannot seem to NOT tell people. I can hardly make it through a day without spending time with the Lord or pouring myself out. Before this breakthrough, my distrust in the goodness of Jesus made it so hard to spend that time, even though I knew I should, it made everything in life feel so much like a chore. It was all I could do to just get through, just survive. What misery I was in and though I knew I was miserable, there was not a thing I could do about it, it seemed. I would have small victories here and there, but nothing major. Now, I feel major victory!

I have written of my struggles with insignificance and fear of failure. These also stem from not fully grasping how pleased with me Jesus is, and how in love with me He is. I have started to understand what I have been saved from, how little I have deserve it and I have started to see that anyone who would take me, save me, rescue me the way I have been cannot have anything but real, pure, unconditional, absolute love for me! Who would save me in the state I was in unless they loved me that much? When I see that love, I see myself through His eyes. Not a prideful thing, but a real humility before the Lord in agreeing with Him: "Yes, Jesus, you know better than me!" A real understanding of that love also makes my fear flee: perfect love (Jesus' love) drives out fear. What is there to be afraid if, if my God can rescue me from the pit, how much more can He do? How can I not worship and adore someone who loves me so much, who has saved me from so much?

I see how absolutely rescued have been, and as I have seen the truth of the God who does that rescuing, I have gained a new perspective: God IS good! How can He be anything but good when He has done so much for me?

I unwaveringly praise Him that I am not in London, and I praise Him for how hard it was not to go. That was probably the lowest two months of my life which followed the numbest, deadest three years of my life. That two month low allowed me to really see what I was really capable of: a real hatred for God. I saw for perhaps the first time just how incredibly wicked this heart of mine really is. Really. All the pretending I have been so good at doing because I have been raised in the church was gone. And I was left raw and exposed for the first time. I really believe I needed to sink that low so that the Lord could raise me up. I now understand grace so much: in the moment when I KNOW I least deserved it, He came and utterly and completely saved me. Saved me from myself, saved me from sure destruction, saved me from death. How is that possible? It was absolutely NOTHING I did. I was behaving like a spoiled, angry four-year-old child, and yet in the midst of that, my God came through for me. I cannot begin to tell you what that grace feels like. I have never known it like I know it now. And I never want to let it go.

Thank you Jesus for saving me. You did it the first time when I was seven, and you continue to rescue me again and again. In spite of my sin, in spite of my gross-ness, you have come to rescue me. Amazing grace indeed!

There are a few songs that have just ministered to me in this season:
Resecue is Coming by David Crowder
Came to my Rescue by Hillsong United
Mighty to Save by Hillsong

I highly recommend them. Erin

Friday, November 10, 2006

After 40 days and 40 nights

It is still raining here in Washington. No signs of letting up until June. hee hee. Actually there have a been a few breaks here and there and the flood waters are receding. There is a state of emergency declared in 18 counties in Washington right now. Luckily, I can't get up much higher in Tacoma than I am right now. Seriously, I think I am at the highest point in the city. My garage has some ground water seepage, but otherwise, I am pretty high and dry.

No school today due to Veteran's Day, but I do have work at the church. Should be a quiet day over all.

I am still sick. In fact, I am almost certain I have a sinus infection. Hrmph. If I don't start getting better soon, I will have to go to the Dr for some meds.

In other news, I now have a third roommate. Her name is Kristie and she is 29 and works for World Vision. She's a neat gal and just feels like a "fit." Ya know? She's moved around a ton and doesn't have much stuff, so she fits upstairs with me quite well except for the fact that she is 5'8" and probably wil hit her head on the sloping ceilings a time or two.

Would love it if you would send me an email if I haven't heard from you in a while to let me know how life is.
Erin

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Anyone brushed up on their Ark-building skills?






It has been raining like cats and dogs around here today. I looked out the window this afternoon and it looked like a river was flowing through the parking lot of our office building. Yikes!

Things here are going well. I am a bit under the weather with some strange thing that only seems to be making me cough. No other symptom other than cough. Well, let's also count the ever present fatigue as a symptom too, though that has been around for over a month now. I think if the cough lasts too much longer, I will head to the Dr. I am probably due for some blood work again, just to be sure I am still functioning as I should be. Plus, it might be nice for an "official" weigh-in to see where I am at with that. The last time I got on any kind of official scale I was at my goal weight, but I think I have lost a few more pounds since then. Not necessarily on purpose, but because I think I am still figuring out how to eat to maintain rather than eat to lose. There is a bit of fear there that I need breakthrough in. Fear of gaining the weight back.

Some of that is a healthy kind of fear.....I will have to "watch my weight" for the rest of my life. Genetically, I am pre-disposed to being heavy, statistics say that 95% of people who lose weight regain it, and in our American food-obsessed culture, it is everywhere! Anyway, I think at last semi-official weigh I had lost about 48 lbs. total. I am somewhere hovering where I was when I graduated from High School. I will post a pic or two of me tonight as well. Pastor Brian told me I was "drop dead gorgeous" (I blushed) and Bruce, one of the elders at our church told me I was "a catch" and "stunning." I think the words "model" even crossed their lips. It is an area I have to start agreeing with the Lord about (my beauty) because I am still carrying myself as though I were not. Not that it would be a prideful thing, but something the Lord has spoken to, and if He says it.....our only option is to agree with it! It is something hard to wrap my mind around sometimes.....I have spent most of my life believing one thing about myself and habits are hard to break. So circumstances change, but you live as though they haven't. You know? When you are 50 pounds overweight, you just live differently. Not that I wasn't beautiful before, but it is like a precious piece of jewelry that has polished....I am still just as beautiful, I am just polished off now...

Anyway, the preschool is still going well. It is funny how there are ebbs and flows to things. A month ago I would have told you that I enjoyed the four and five year old class more than the threes. Now, I have changed my mind. The 4/5s are all seeming to be going through a "testing authority" phase all at the same time. It is not blatant rebellion, rather much more passive rebellion.....not obeying right away the first time, or obeying and then five minutes later going back to the same thing. So, discipline is becoming a more regular part of some kids' day. The 3s on the other hand are just starting to hit their stride. They know the routine and are learning so quickly and changing so fast....they have grown up so much in the last two months. The wild and crazy behavior of the first month is gone. Oh, they still have moments, but they are getting it, and it is fun to see.

We have been learning letters (we are on "d" now), all about fall (we went to a pumpkin patch!), and we have been having a fun time.

My other job is going well too....very busy. I think I could easily put in 30 hours a week there, if not more. It makes the afternoons go by fast.

Discipleship/small group stuff is going well. I still have two gals, and I have been strategic about meeting and inviting others. Jena calls it "fishing" for disciples. It has been fun to change my mind about small group. I used to think that the church would just give me a group. And, up until recently, that has been what we have done. But they are changing. If you want a small group, you have to go out and meet gals at the church and invite them along. So, I have two, and a third "potential" in the works. This way is so much more fun. When you meet someone new that you click with, you just bring them along. This is exactly what happened to me when I was in college.....someone just invited me along! Bingo! It gives me something to be strategic about when I go to church.....who can I meet? Who needs a friend? Who is new? Rather than going to church just to go, there is a purpose. I have a vision and a strategy for getting that vision!

House is good too...still just three of us instead of four....waiting for the "right" person to fit with our group. Also starting to work on some small projects that have needed working on for a while. Like, finishing up some front yard work, and replacing the front door (which is cracked). Nothing major like I have been doing before. I think I am done with all the major stuff.

Ok, here are a few pics from London wedding (Jess and James), if I can get them to upload.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I Promise I am still Alive

However, extremely exhausted all the time. Seriously, if you are of the praying type, please pray for me. Most of the last six years I have had trouble falling asleep. The last three weeks, I have been having the exact opposite problem. I can't seem to GET enough sleep, and even when I do, I am tired all the next day. I feel like I am fighting off some sort of illness, but I have not actually had any symptoms other than feeling like I could fall asleep at the drop of a hat. I am drained, and feel like I am walking around in a fog all day. I have zero energy. I have been praying through a lot of stuff myself, and wonder if there is not something spiritual going on, but if this continues much longer, I will have to take myself to the Dr.

So, my updates have been few and far between. I just do not have the energy to hardly check my email, much less write about what has been going on with me.

I do have a few brief updates:
1. I have another part time job. I am the administrative assistant for Harborview Fellowship church in Gig Harbor. A sister church to Newsong and a lot of friends of mine go there. They participate in a lot of our conferences and there is a tight relationship there. It is 20 hours a week in the afternoons after preschool stuff is done for the day.
2. Preschool is still going well. Not much new to report.
3. Jackie moved out and into a house where Remann Hall girls just getting out of juvenile detention can come and hang out etc. This has always been her heart and was a last minute opportunity that she just could not pass up. So, I am looking for a fourth roomate again. This has also led to some slight modifications upstairs while I am the only one up there. Closet is in a new spot and office is now where the closet was. Much better arrangement.
4. I have moved beyond just being at peace with not moving to London to being eternally grateful that I am not there. This would require a MUCH longer post, but I am being brought back to life by the Lord after years of feeling dead. If I was in London, I am thoroughly convinced that I would still be "dead" but "dead" in London. There has been so much of an awakening in my spirit the last few weeks that I would not trade for any length of time in London. I am reading scriptures about the bride of Christ being asleep and I am realizing "that's me!" I am actually further than asleep,....I have been dead. I have been crying out to the Lord to "resurrect my heart" and He is doing it. The work is not complete, but I feel more intimacy with Him now than I have in years. That is not an exaggeration. Years.

Anyway, that's all for now. I need to go and make dinner if I can muster the energy. Please pray....this can't be good.
Erin

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ok, Where I've been, Where I am, and Where I Need to go

It has been so long since I last posted, that it probably would take longer than I have time for right now to get into the details of it all. Let's just say, the preschool started, and London and those two words pretty much detail what I have been doing with my self the last month or so.

The preschool officially started on Monday Setp. 11th. We had an open house Mon and Tues after a VERY long weekend of getting the room ready and all the administrative stuff we had to do to get ready. The first week and a half or so of the preschool went well as well. I am in love with all of the four and five year olds. They are old enough to communicate and have enough self-control that you don't have to spend time re-directing them and so you feel like you can get to know them. At some point in time I will list some of the fun things about each of the 4/5 year olds. They are all boys, not one girl in that class.

The 3 year olds are a little tougher. It is going to take more of an effort on my part to "fall in love" with them. We are spending a lot of time redirecting behavior and getting them to make better behavior choices. It makes it harder to get to know them. There has been a lot of breakthrough, though, even in just one month.

So, that has been a big part of my last month. However, I did get to go to London for 11 days for Jess and James' wedding. I got back on Sunday after my trip and have been recovering from jet lag the last week.

I had a great week and a half in London and I will update with pictures soon. This trip was my first trip that was purely for "fun" and no ministry involved whatsoever. I felt like I got all of the "tourist" stuff I wanted to do out of my system. I also got to catch up with a whole bunch of friends from there. It was a little bitter sweet. I am still so comfortable being there and felt like I just fit into the life there seamlessly and that was so fun to be able to feel like I actually lived there and what life might be like if I ever were to live there or be there more permanently. But then, when I left, was ready to go. Living out of a suitcase is not the most fun, and knowing that I had a lot of stuff here in Tacoma to take care of, I was ready to get to it.

I will update more on how I am doing spiritually soon. I am tired and jet lagging at the moment, and so I am off to bed soon.
Erin

Monday, October 02, 2006

Back on the Wagon again

I feel like I have finally entered into a bit of "recovery." I know it has been over a month since I last posted, and I'll have an updated one later this week. I am doing well, and life is good.
Erin

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Thank you

Just wanted to thank you to all the friends and family who have emailed me in light of recent events. It is comforting to know that in the midst of a hard time, that people care enough about you not to run away as so many do when there is little to say except that you are there for that person.

I continue to be more at peace with what has occurred. I have had some very key conversations and emails with people that have been so helpful in the "recovery" process that is happening.

I have a book by Philip Yancy title "Disappointment with God." I have read it a couple of times. It is really written for those disappointed with God over physical illness, but I think that really the feelings of being disappointed with Him can apply to so many other areas of life other than not being healed of something. I am thinking about re-reading it as it has been a long time since my last reading and I am sure I could glean some greater healing through the reading of it.

I do earnestly desire that the ultimate outcome of this internal struggle is that this leads me closer to the Lord in intimacy rather than further away. I can literally feel how this whole incident could so easily lead me to become numb and lukewarm. I mean, I think I am mature enough in my faith to not remain angry, but I don't want it to fade into a numbness.

Sometimes I feel like Job....who am I to question God? But, what I do know is that my situation is nothing like Job's, and what could come from this is that I gain authority and understanding about what hurting is all about and how to continue to love the Lord in spite of pain and suffering. That would be the best outcome of all.

I am also recognizing some of my own feelings of insignificance. When people say to me "no one could do what you do in Tacoma." My first thought is not to believe it. I literally think "what I do is not that important. Anyone could do what I do." And then I realize how 'important' I feel in London (which seems strange considering how small Tacoma is compared to London) having to do with my 'standing' in the eyes of the church. In Tacoma I feel like one of many and at ChristChurch I feel important. Jesus' Ministry teachings are newer to London, and having been a part of the teachings here in Tacoma for so long, I am somewhat of an 'expert' in London. And, that is not good. I need to see my apart from what I do, which is always a big battle for me.

At any rate, there is healing. There is more to come, but I am having revelation. Much of what I am struggling with has probably been buried under the surface for a while, and has just taken this to shake it up. Keep praying for me in this time. I covet your prayers.

Erin

PS "retirement" from my old job is fabulous. I have been catching up on sleep and working on Preschool stuff too.

Monday, August 28, 2006

An Update: The sky is NOT falling

It might appear from my last post that the sky is falling, oh chicken little. Alas, that is not the case. I have not contracted some terminal illness, financial disaster has not overtaken me, and nor has there been any family crisis that might keep me here. I will try to explain as best I can, but please know that if this post seems to be missing some details, it is because I am not feeling like there are aspects of this that I can write about yet with even a shred of purity of heart.

"Reader's Digest" version: church leadership feels that the time is not right for me to be leaving long-term for London with where things are at regarding the preschool.

Now, knowing that this was a possibility all along, you might be wondering why I reacted so strongly to this directive. The answer is simple: I believed I was hearing the exact opposite, felt that this had been confirmed through numerous others and circumstances. To me, being released from the obligation to the preschool really just felt like a matter of "when" not "if." That is how confident I was that I was being led by the Lord to go. It simply never crossed my mind that the answer would be anything other than: "go." Or, if it had, it was only a fleeting thought.

So, this felt like a bombshell to me. I was, as I wrote in the last post, devastated. Even if I wanted to rebel against the desires of my church, no one at ChristChurch would have me under those circumstances. *I* wouldn't want to *go* to a church that would have me under those circumstances. You know?

A lot of things have come up: it all "looks" like anger and rage, but at the heart of it is my hurt and disappointment at the Lord that I am not going. Because, since He is sovereign, if He *really* wanted me in London now, I'd be going. And so, I am angry at the Lord. A lot of old lies about His character and His plans for me and my future are surfacing, and they cause anger. Have I mentioned how angry I am? So angry that I don't even want to pray and confess. I know it's there, I know it's wrong and I flat out don't care. It feels good to be angry.

There is the blackness of my heart: I know the sin that is there, and I would rather hold on to it than confess it. Like a 4 year old throwing a temper tantrum, I feel I have the right to get my own way and be mad when I don't. I guess it is fitting, then, that that is the age of the kids I will be working with.
Erin

Thursday, August 24, 2006

From the Highest of Heights to the Depths of the Sea

I went from the high of reaching goal to the depths of dispair all in the same day....I will try to post more later, especially as I am feeling very raw and exposed right now. And, I don't think I am fully able to understand circumstances and my own heart enough to write clearly.

I am not going to London long-term right now. I am heart-broken, angry, disappointed, frustrated, and full of mis-trust right now. I will try to update more at a later day. Right now, I just need to go and cry.
Erin

GOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL!!

Officially at Weight Watcher's Goal Weight. Total Lost: 43 lbs.

I might lose 5-8 more, just cuz I can. However, what an accomplishment! It took me almost exactly oneyear to do it, but it is done! In fact, on Sept. 1st it will be one year to the day that I began! Woo hoo!

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Email I've Been Waiting For...

Dear Erin,

Cynthia gave us your email address, with the possibility that you’re looking into coming to London for a while and we’re looking for a Newsong-er to come and live with us.
You have also been ecstatically recommended by Jess Miller, who was over the moon when I mentioned your name as someone who could potentially live with us.

I don’t know what Cynthia or others have mentioned.
Basically, I am associate Pastor at Christ Church Fulham and my wife Nells is a doctor, we have two boys, Luke (2.5 years) and Jack (11months)
We moved to Fulham in July and Nells has just started a new job at a local hospital working Monday to Wednesday. This means we need someone to care for the boys on those days and for the occasional evening’s babysitting so that Nells can get involved in ministry at Christ Church. As we started chatting to friends at Christ Church about local childcare options, someone suggested the idea of inviting someone from New Song with a heart for Christ Church and London, to come and live with us and care for the boys.

We’ve been emailing Cynthia about it, but as you probably know, the Lord has made it clear that this isn’t the option for her at the moment.
We’d love to discover whether it is God’s plan for you and if so to work out the details with you.

Our main criteria in finding the right person to help us is;
· Someone who is passionate about Jesus
· Someone who wants to be fully a part of Christ Church and is running in Jesus Ministry.
· Someone who will love our boys and care for them well.
· Someone whom God is calling to London in order to bless them.

Our friends Mark and Jess Hopkins have arranged something similar with Stacy from New Song, I don’t believe she has obtained a work visa and therefore rather than paying her directly they are giving her board and lodging and paying her expenses, flights, and some other arrangements. In correspondance with Cynthia we discussed various financial matters and I believe she had loans from grad school to pay off and that the same applies with you (although smaller payments). – We want to be able to ensure that this is financially viable for you, we do have a nice spare room (and en suite bathroom) for you to use and from praying about this opportunity we believe part of God’s plan is for someone (hopefully you!) to come and very much live with us as a family, but also have your own space for friendships and ministry in Christ Church.

As for timing, Cynthia mentioned that you’re available from the beginning of September and I believe you are already planning to come over for Jess and James’ wedding in Sept. We need someone to come as soon as possible as we only have childcare arranged for the next few weeks.

So do please pray and let us know where you are at and we look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions you may have.

With love

Richard, Nells, Luke and Jack

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Livin' la Vida Loca

My life is crazy. Crazy I tell ya. In the span of a little over a week, things are changing dramatically.

First of all, regarding quitting my job: I am still VERY much at peace with the decision, and continue to be more and more excited at what might be in store for me. People at work are finding out and I am so encouraged by the things that they are telling me: "If I was (your age, didn't have kids, wasn't married, etc.) I would do the same thing." "You only have one life, you should live it to the fullest." "Don't get stuck doing a job you don't like, otherwise you might never leave." Stuff like that. Granted, most of the comments are just about the quitting aspect, and not necessarily about what I am quitting for. But, it is just encouragement to hear people bless me while leaving. I am just so excited for what I'll be doing. Any fear I have is quickly disappearing. I sometimes think that the Lord had me quit without knowing whether I had a job to quit for just as a measure to grow my faith. In the face of my fear, would I quit and trust and rely on Him to come through for me? Would I trust Him to provide for me? To give me immeasureably more than I can imagine? A test of faith, if you will.

For some people, quitting a job for "nothing" might not be that scary. And, compared to some things some of my friends have done, it didn't seem nearly as crazy of a decision. But, as one friend pointed out....she sold her condo and moved because she had something to move FOR. And, another friend pointed out that yes, she moved across country too, but all she had to worry about was a car payment. I have a mortgage and women living with me who depend on me for the very roof over their heads. When put that way, I realized that quitting with no "safety net" really IS a big deal. Yet, I am completely confident that I made the right decision. I had a moment of panic earlier last week when my boss said something about working a few weeks longer and having an extra paycheck and benefits for the month of Sept. But, I have to believe that the timing on this was and is key.

So, here is where it gets even crazier. I was talking to a friend of mine last Sunday and chatting about crazy decisions and she tells me that another mutual friend is moving to LONDON for three months. I about died! So after getting off the phone, I called this friend. She tells me what she will be doing in London for those three months and then says: "I don't think I will be able to go, but I think YOU would be perfect. Can I pass your information on if I decide not to go?" And, of course, me, loving London the way I do (oh, just wait, it gets better), say YES!

So, Friday night comes, and we are at dinner for a birthday for Chatel's husband Garrett and I end up chatting with this friend. She says: "I decided not to go, and I have given them your information." !!!!!!!!!

What I would be doing, and this is still a big question mark because I have not heard from anyone yet, is living with a family from ChristChurch Fulham (the church I went and helped the youth with last August, and have had several members stay with me) and nanny for them three days a week. This couple is the new assistant pastor and his wife and their two boys. She is going back to work part time and they need help with the boys. I would also on the other days help raise up some new prayer teams, teach freedom and restoration with the church. So, for room, board, food, and a salary, I would be living in the city I love, working with the church I love for three months!

So, all of this happens, and then on Thursday I get an email....our preschool is ON! It is a go. We are moving forward, full steam ahead.

This leaves me in a bit of a quandry. Do I leave for London at the end of September or do I stay and work the preschool? I have not even officially been asked to nanny for this couple, and my flesh says "GO." But, I also want to be a woman of my word and if those involved with the preschool believe I should stay, then I have to believe that this is the right thing to do as well....that I will be blessed by sacraficing my dream. Maybe it will only be a temporary sacrifice, but there is no way for me to know that at this point. Or, maybe they will release me from my committment and I'll get to go. There is no way to know quite yet what will happen.

And so, the crazy life continues. I am proceeding with the preschool as though the London thing is not happening, because that is the right thing to do, yet, it is at the back of my mind and I feel like I check my email hourly waiting to see if I have one from this assistant pastor.

Please be praying that I would do the right thing, no matter how hard that might be for me to do. Saying no to London would be even harder than quitting my job, but if there is one thing I have learned this last week: The Lord honors our faith.
Erin

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Race is On and It's Erin in the Lead....


Three weddings in one year. I think it must be a record. I will now be a bridesmaid in three weddings this year. One of my small group gals, Katy, got engaged this weekend and asked me to be a bridesmaid. Here's the dress:

Sunday, August 13, 2006

D-Day

Well! The day has come! I gave my two-week's notice at work on Friday, and lo and behold, the world has not ended. It was easier than I thought and harder than I thought all at the same time. The actual handing in of my letter of resignation and speaking to my boss was pretty easy, over-all (more on this later). However, thinking about leaving the people and the comfortable-ness of a job I have been doing, and doing well, for the last six years was harder than I thought. At the same time, I am at peace that this is the correct decision and had some confirmation on that on Saturday as I drove past a school I have done some work with. As I drove past it, I thought about what if I was scheduled to go do a classroom visit there on Monday, would I be excited about it or do I feel something else. And, quite frankly, I was not excited at the thought of going there at all. It just felt like confirmation....the very thing I that has taken up 80-90 percent of my job (doing classroom visits) just wasn't appealing to me any longer. Why would I want to stay at a job that I am bored with just for the sake of having a cushy, comfortable job? The only reason I would stay would be out of fear. And, I am not a woman of fear, that is not who I am. The spirit of fear does not mark me and is not how I live my life.

One of the gals I work with said to me that when we are afraid, sometimes we do things and THEN the fear leaves. Walking in the opposite spirit is how I would phrase that in "church" terms. That is exactly what this feels like. I am walking out of fear and into faith.

Trusting the Lord in this time will be an even more active thing because I still don't know for sure that the preschool is happening. Yes, you read that right. We have not heard back from the location we want to have the school if we will even be able to use their building or not. They know we want to use it, and are just waiting. I have enough money in savings to go a while without any income, and I am applying for some part time jobs because even if the preschool happens, I will need some additional income. I am honestly not worried at all. My finances are better right now than they ever have been. In actuality, I could probably not have much of in income for many months and still be OK. I would just cancel some bills that are things I could live without (newspaper subscription, etc.).

Anyway, I will be posting more as I know what is happening. All's well here, though.
Erin

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Prayer Requests

Well, this week is our church's Jesus Ministry Conference. This conference is always amazing and wonderful for everyone involved. I missed much of last year's conference due to strep throat, so I am excited to be able to be involved with this one! Over 600 peopel from 14 different nations are in town, including two gals from London, Charlotte and Caz, who are staying with us. I know Charlotte from my last trip to London (Jess' roommate) and when I heard she was coming, I offered her a place to stay. It is quite fun because she and Caz are sharing Lora's bed, and Lora is upstairs with me and Jackie, which is like having a big slumber party up there. We laughed until late last night up there and had a blast. Prayers for endurance are needed. If you would like more information on our conferences, click on the Newsong Church link to the right and then the Jesus Ministry Conference link from that page. Or, you can email me directly by posting a comment and I would love to tell you all about how this conference changed my life, and the lives of so many people I know, completely. I am not the same person I was five years ago because of this conference.

Prayers also for a health concern. I am chosing not to post the details of it on my blog because this is such a public forum. If you would like more details on what is happening with me in this area, please email me privately, or post a response with your email address and I can write you directly with the details. Prayers are needed and appreciated! I will say this, I weighed in at the doctor's office today and am now over the 40 pound total loss!

Still waiting on preschool stuff to come through. Sometimes the sense of humor that the Lord has cracks me up. It is like when you need something at midnight and here the clock is 11:59:59 and it finally comes through. That is what this feels like. Prayers for greater faith and trust in the Lord in the face of my fear and unbelief are coveted as well.

Blessings to you,
Erin

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Holy House Appraisal, Batman

As many of you are aware, I have been in the process of getting my house refinanced. This process is pretty straightforward and in layman's language, I am basically buying the house from myself and taking the profit to pay off debt. The whole thing depends on my house being appraised for more than I owe on it. The deal is made or broken on an unbiased person coming in to my house, looking around, taking measurements, comparing my house against similar houses in my neighborhood and tellingme what he/she thinks it's worth. If it appraises for not much more than I owe on it, the whole refinance cannot happen because there is not enough equity (the difference between what it's worth and what you owe) to off-set the cost to file the paperwork and fees. My whole financial future (and as an off-shoot, the preschool) hinged on this one thing: my house being valued significantly more than I owe. I just got off the phone with my mortgage person and, drumroll please!

It is worth almost $100,000 more than I owe.

Yes, that number is correct, you are not mis-reading it, I did not type too many zeros, my computer has not been infected by a virus that adds numbers randomly. HOLY CRAP! I was thinking that if it came in $30,000 more I would be in hog heaven...but with this amount!? I don't know what I am going to do with myself. This does not mean that I will take the whole $100,000 out. In fact, it would be very wise of me NOT to do so. However, this amount is way more than enough to pay off my car AND my student loan AND have a nice big fat chunk in the bank in savings or to invest.

As much of a pain as it has been to own a house (read: there is no landlord to call when things break/go wrong) that is 80 years old, it is the BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE WITH MY MONEY! Seriously. I got into the Tacoma real estate market when prices were reasonable, and they have done nothing but skyrocket since. My house has almost doubled in value in three years. Man, when the Lord provides, He provides. I am doing the happy, happy dance over here right now and I cannot believe it. How in the world did I get so blessed?!!

Erin

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Well, after my bee sting last weekend, my foot swelled up over the weekend and got itchy so my roommate Jackie took me to Urgent Care on Sunday. The lady seemed to think it must be an infection because part of the stinger might have gotten stuck in the wound. So, I am on antibiotics and they are messin' with my digestive system in a royal way. Anywho, the foot feels better and the swelling/redness/itching are going away. It feels almost normal today.

Life is simplifying-up on me. I am done with the following things: piano lessons for a few months (piano teacher is closing up shop and taking a break for a while), editing Freedom Resource book (finished it up this week), seminary (don't think I will be able to affford to/have time), and small group/Thurs. night church (for the rest of the summer). The small group will probably start back up again in September, but for now, we are on a break. So, that means, drumroll please, all I have on my regular agenda is: House night, and preschool planning! That's it! I actually have had time this week to get some other stuff done like a haircut (haven't had one since November. Yes, November.) and lots and lots of prayer for housemates. This is probably part of why life is being simplified so much...because I am pouring into more people in a relational way and things are ramping up with the preschool.

At any rate, I am the house refinance is going along well. I have signed and filled out some paperwork, but don't know when the funds are coming through. When the refinance happens, I will have enough money to pay off my car. What an answer to prayer. My mortgage payment is not going up much at all, and in fact is more than made up by having a fourth person in the house. So, all in all, I am not going to need much money to live off of at all. All I'll have a need to pay each month will be my portion of the mortgage, one small student loan, car insurance and utilities. That's it. Not much at all! Woo hoo!

Weight Watchers is also well. When I very first posted waaay back in Sept. that I wanted to lose 40 pounds I thought I would never get there. And, as of last week, I am 0.4 pounds from the 40 pound total loss! As I have gotten closer, I have revised my original goal several times over. At one point it was going to be 44 pounds, which is about 4.4 away. But, as I am inching even closer to that goal, I am thinking I may end up just going all the way to the 50 pound total. I am not 100% sure yet. I kind of want to wait and see how I actually feel when I hit the 44 mark. I mean, at that point, six more pounds is hardly anything. We'll have to wait and see, I suppose.

At the end of Sept. I am making ANOTHER trip out to London/UK. This time, however, I am going strictly for visiting purposes. Not a single ministry happening. I am going to Jess and James' wedding and then probably visiting some other countries while I am over there. Perhaps staying with friends in Dublin Ireland for a while and getting to see some other folks in Scottland and Wales. It is the only way to travel, if you can....getting to stay with people you know is the best and only way to go, in my opinion. If you really want to know what life is like in another country that is the way to do it. You learn things that you just cannot learn by staying in a hotel.

Well, that's it for now. Blessings to you.
Erin

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pics from the Reception


A few Wedding and Bachelorette Pics





I've Got Sunshine, on a Cloudy Day

Do you ever have what I call an "overcast" kind of day? You know, things aren't horrible (like a rain-storm) but they aren't beautiful (like a sunny day). They are just kind of blah, like an overcast day. I woke up this morning and just have been in a bit of a funk today. I can't quite pinpoint it. I am just slightly off-center. I think I am under attack in retrobution of the enemy because I stayed up very late last night working through some stuff with my one of my roommates (praise the Lord, I am not too tired today, though). When I got up this morning and looked out at my pond and saw the state that it was in thanks to a raccoon raid, I think that just started my day off on the wrong foot. I had forgotten to plug my electric fence back in after using the extension cord for something else yesterday....how do those critters seem to KNOW that it isn't plugged in? Seriously! .....I even had a split second thought last night as I went to bed about going back out there and plugging the fence back in. Totally the Lord, but did I listen? Nope. I think I am just mad at myself for not listening to that still small voice. This is the second time in three days that something like this has happened. On Monday I was walking around my yard barefoot and as I started walking through a patch of clover I had a thought, "You'd better watch where you step, there are probably bees in this clover." And then zap, I stepped on a bee and got stung. What causes me ignore the Lord when He whispers stuff like that to me? I know I don't ignore Him all the time, as I have been saved from stuff like that in the past, I am sure. It makes me angry with myself that I can still just keep on with what I am doing as though I haven't heard.....three days in a row now.

There has to be a lesson in here somewhere, but I am not sure what that is other than "LISTEN." I know it could literally save my life some day, but yet I still need to work on it!

I would like to believe that the raccoon "attack" on my pond is the only thing bothering me today, but that is probably not the case. I am not sure exactly what is going on 100% other than I am just feeling like a bit of a cloud is following me around today. Bleah.
Erin

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Mrs. Part Deux


Well, now we have another one off and married. This wedding went a lot smoother than Sara's. I am not sure why. Perhaps Chantel was a little more organized? I think, really, she just had more help. Sara only had herself and a few of us gals. Chantel had her mother and sister, plus a few members of the wedding party who took time off work to help. At any rate, I can't think of a single thing that went "wrong." It was a very hot and steamy day inside that church, and I was dripping with sweat, but it was a beautiful wedding. VERY unique. They took a lot of Biblical components. For example: Psalm 45 speaks of the bridesmaids following behind the bride; so, we bridesmaids entered behind Chantel. It was strange to have everyone standing as we walked in (they were standing for Chantel, but since we were in behind her, they stood for us too). Chantel and Garrett also had a chuppa (see chuppa pic above)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuppah due to Garrett's interest in all things Jewish. There was also a LOT of singing and special music, including a gospel choir! Very fun. I don't have a lot of pics from the wedding because my camera's batteries ran out, but I do have some of the rehersal and the getting ready time in the morning. I'll try to upload those later.

I also had a five-day weekend this past weekend. VERY resting and relaxing. I managed to sunburn myself, but got to sleep in on Friday, Sunday and Monday (and a little on Tues the 4th as well). Had lunch with my good friend Bryna on Friday before the rehersal dinner, spent all day Sat. with wedding stuff. Hung out with new roomie Jackie on Sunday before church, worked in the yard Monday and spent a relaxing day on Tues at home with all four of my new roomies on before heading over to Bruce and Paulette's house for the rest of the 4th.

I am enjoying having four of us at home.....even though it is a little cramped upstairs, it just feels nice and full. Hardly strange at all to have that many of us there. It actually feels pretty normal. We had a good house time for the first week, and are all getting along great so far.

Preschool stuff is still plugging away. We should know by Thurs. what the final verdict regarding funding will be. I am at peace with whatever happens!

House refinance is also going well....just waiting on the appraisal and some final paperwork, but excited about that!

Not a whole lot else new right now. Have a blessed week.
Erin

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fun Photos from Chantel's Shower Waaaayyy back in May





Fun Photos From Sara's Shower Waaayyy Back in April




Wedding: Rinse and Repeat

Well, on to wedding part deux this week. Chantel and Garrett this coming weekend. After this weekend, I am free and clear from all wedding responsibilities except being a guest at other people's from then on until another friend might get engaged. No one else that close to me friendship wise is dating right now, so I am in the clear for a while. My dress is all altered, I have someone to do both my makeup and hair, and so, I think I am ready to go. It is blazing hot here in Washington State this week (lower 90s today), and so it looks to be a great day for a wedding. We had a bachelorette party for Chantel on Sat. We went up to Seattle and Salty's on Alki Beach for a "gussied up" dinner with a bunch of people and then down to Starbucks for some coffee. Then, just the bridesmaids and Chantel rented some hotel rooms in Seattle and had a night of pampering and hanging out. Michelle from DC is in town as a bridesmaid, and it is nice seeing her in person and getting to hang out with her. Wedding prep is underway this week, and I might take Friday and Monday off to make it a five day weekend for myself. In fact, the more I think about it, the nicer that sounds to me.

Last week was a roller coaster week for me. The preschool idea Erika and I had been working so hard for seemed to have come to a halt as of a week ago Friday. I think I posted about it in an earlier blog, but basically it was going to be a babysitting service for Newsong moms. I was not happy. I was disappointed and that caused me to become angry. I also realized how much of my self worth was wrapped up in this preschool coming into existance. To have it taken away was a rude awakening for me. All of this is/was good....it needed to be purged out. But, then last Sunday, pastor Brian had a long talk with Erika and I and it was back on! Cut to a flurry of emails all week last week and what it boiled down to is that we needed two things: 1. a place to have the school and 2. a place to have the school that would be cheap. So Saturday we had a looooong meeting at church to cover some new ministries (this was a whole-congregation meeting) and Brian, Bruce, Christy, Erika and I got to pray and seek the Lord on what needed to happen. So, bottom line: Erika and I are looking into a building that our sister church (Destiny City Church, aka Clover Creek Bible Fellowship) rents. We could have it basically for free during the week and so the only expenses we need are start-up costs and some money month-to-month to cover supplies. We MIGHT even have some money to get paid! We are now just waiting to have a peek at the classrooms there and see if they could work for us.

We are also doing a new thing at church to help accomodate having so many people want to come in for ministry from out of town: it is called "Freedom Immersion Week." Basically, what we do is have a mini freedom conference once a month so that people can come in and hear our teaching on freedom, and get prayer. We have had some people this last week from all over the world come in for this first version. It was fun to get to pray for a them, especially with all of the connections we are making all over the world. I got to pray for a gal named Rene from South Africa, who is friends with MY friend Jess. I also reconnected with a guy named Dan from New Zealand whom I had met back in March at the Harpenden, England trip. He's a YWAM-er.

Saturday's meeting at church was great. We are just basically taking our congregation and strategically getting ourselves involved with everything and anything we can to reach the city. The days of being involved with five ministries in a limited way, or having the SAME people do the same things all the time are over. This has really hit home for me because I have been feeling the strain and stress of being over-committed. But, graciously, the Lord has been removing some of my activities that have become too much: piano lessons are stopping for three months (teacher is taking some time off), roommates are finally moving in, the home remodel is NOT happening, Thursday night discipleship is ending for the summer (more on this later) and I am not sure that *I* even will be discipling anyone in a formal way any longer, and I am just asking myself with the preschool: is that going to be my primary ministry now?

Weight Watchers continues to go well after breaking through my massive plateau of a few months back in May. I am now SIX pounds from goal! Yee haw!

I think that is it for now. Have a blessed week!
Erin

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Not Much New

Well, not a lot new to post. I had a great time with Andrew and Rachel from London and was sad to see them go. However, I should be seeing them soon, since I will be heading back out that way in Sept. for Jess' wedding. It was great to get to use one of the rooms in my house for guests. I have always wanted to have people be able to come over and stay, and that was quite fun for me.

I also got to have Tiffani come and visit for a night this past weekend, and it was so good to see her. Shout out to Tiff...Love ya friend!

Now, we are gearing up for the new roomies to move in. It looks like Lora will be moving her stuff in starting this week, and Jackie starting next. I am about as ready for them as I will ever be, I think. I won't be around much next week due to prep for Chantel's wedding, but I am looking forward to having them all in and settled. Things will be changing a little, because we are going to have to to make the house "work" with four people, but that is fine.

In preschool news, that is probably the biggest happening in my life right now. Erika and I had a meeting with someone from the church on Friday and the news on Friday was basically...."it can't happen the way you want it, but here's how it could work...." and pretty much changed everything about how it would look from where we were going to start it to cost to...well, everything. I pretty much had every emotion run through me on Friday night from anger, to disappointment, to resentment, to insignificance, to well....everything. I realized just how much *I* wanted it to look *my* way....and when that changed I felt defeated and disappointed. I had pretty much worked through all of that and was still ready to move forward with the babysitting service that we were going to be offering instead, when Pastor Brian approached me at church and basically got the ball rolling again. He told me that we WERE going to do a preschool, at a new location (probably the current location of our church offices in downtown Tacoma), but that it would be a co-op preschool and we would combine it with a ministry to the moms who are attending UW-Tacoma. So, not what Erika and I started with, but not the babysitting service that it was looking like it might become. Talking to him renewed my interest in it again in a fresh way. I am still not sure how this will all work out with me and my job situation, but I am trusting, or at least trying to trust.

I will be refinancing my house at the end of July and paying off a few bills. If I can manage to sell my car and get something cheap and used, financially I will be in a better place than I am now. But, I have to wait and see what happens. If I do quit my current job to help with the preschool, I will not be getting paid for the work at the preschool, which is fine, but then have to make enough money at a part time job to still pay my bills. All of that will require a lot of faith on my part....to believe right now for what I cannot see. Hard, but exciting at the same time. I am ready for whatever is next on the horizon for me!

I will try for a photo update later!
Erin

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Wedding





The Mrs.

Whelp, Sara is officially a "Mrs." now! We done got her hitched on Saturday. I'd like to say everything went off without a hitch (other than the two of them GETTIN' hitched), but I'd be lying if I said that.

The flowers arrived and they were slightly the wrong color. No biggie, except they also did not include flowers for the centerpieces on the tables. An emergency "flower run" was made Sat. mornining to buy flowers for the centerpieces. Looked great. The cake shop gave us the wrong cake topper and we had to improvise. Flowers were used from the emergency flower run for the topper. Flower GIRLS did not get their dresses purchased until the day OF the wedding and showed up at five just as the last pictures were being taken right before the wedding. Made it JUST in time to be included in group shots.

After the ceremony got started, it was like a snowball rolling down hill...nothing to stop it, and everything was fine from there on out....thank goodness. I looked pretty good, if I do say so myself, and I'll include some pics of me in my dress tonight later after I download them. Someone told me I looked "radiant." I felt pretty good.

I did not catch the bouquet, I did not catch me a date (nor even a dance with someone), but I did have a very good time. Now on to the involvement with another wedding next month. Yikes!

Andrew and Rachel from London will arrive tomorrow, and I am pretty much ready for their stay. Just need to get some groceries and I am set. I am excited to see them!

I did not include this in my last post, but I am still taking piano lessons and I can now start to play some worship songs. I can play "Breathe" (ie...."this is the air I breathe...your holy presence living in me..") I look forward to lessons every week.

Hope all is well with you.
Erin

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I see London, part III





I see London, part II





I see London....



OK, I tried to load a bunch of pics, and it seems I'll only be able to do one at a time. Here are Alison, Erika and I in front of Westminister Abbey.

Thurs. not Fri. part II

OK, onto the second part of my post:

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS
The Sunday School class I am teaching on Sunday mornings at the church we went from is going great. I have been scheduled to teach three Sunday mornings on Christianity and the Environment and I had my first class this past Sunday. There were about 15 people who showed up, not bad for a holiday weekend. It went real well. I think I was nervous on my drive over, but prayed and by the time I got there I was fine and then once I got started talking...even more fine. I talked about God's original design for our planet, how sin corrupted that plan and how our current sin continues to affect the environment. I spoke on how we need to repent of our sin that causes harm to the earth and behave differently. I talked a little about the direct link between poverty and environmental issues. This week I'll dive a little more into that link. It has been a real neat thing for me to do. I get asked a lot at church "are you an environmentalist?" and I have not had good biblical answers to why I believed protection of our planet is important. And now I do. It is even more ironic, because in my travels to Europe, Christians are on the forefront of environmental protection and in America many Christians are obstinately opposed to environmental issues. I am not sure why there is such a difference, but I now have direct biblical truth to back up my stance.

SEMINARY
I am not sure if I will still be enrolled or not any longer. I missed the last classes due to travel and my brother and sister-in-law being in town, and this week I am missing due to the wedding and just too darn many other things going on. And so, I am behind. That doesn't bother me much, but it does make me wonder whether it is the Lord's will that I continue or not. Just something on my mind to make a matter of prayer.

MINISTRY
I continue to meet with and mentor half a dozen gals at my church and this is such a great area of joy for me. How I love meeting with them, speaking into their lives, seeing them changed and grow. I love women's ministry. I have been realizing, however, that I have been very passive with my desire to be involved more. I have a passion for teaching and I have been "sitting around" (figuratively) waiting for someone to say to me "Erin, will you teach the lesson this week?" instead of looking for opportunity when it arises to jump in. So, last week we had a meeting with other small group leaders and at the end of it they mentioned that they were going to hold a class to teach gals how to verse pool and some other study techniques of the NIV study Bible. I had this flash thought "Erin, you have taken that class at least twice, and have taught those techniques to other gals, you might be able to help." And so, I offered to help teach the class. The response "Erin, that's great! I'll give you a call." Simple as that! I have not gotten a call yet, and I am not worried, but I just realized, how much I wait around instead of initiating. It is no ones job but my own to push myself into my calling. I think I expect everyone to just KNOW that somehow I am called to teach and just ask me to do it when instead, I need to initiate. Duh, I know, but a big revelation.

As for the preschool. It is full steam ahead. Erika and I met with Evan and Andrew about some stuff and it is a go! What we know so far is that it will be three days per week, two and a half hours per session, two sessions per day and will meet at Urban Grace. That is all we know. We don't know who will be teaching, how much we'll charge, or any other details, but we have started advertising already! So, here we come. I am not sure yet what this will look like with my current job, and in some ways I feel like I am on a "hurry up and wait" kind of schedule with it. I can't make a decision one way or another until I know more details. I do know this, that if I am going to do the preschool and can't do my current job, I HAVE to either sell my car or pay it off. I can't afford the payment on a part time salary, which is what I would have if I quit. I have to refinance my house anyway (adjustable rate mortgages stink) and so I might try to take that money and pay the car off for now and continue to try to sell it and buy something smaller. It is a convoluted sequence of events that has to occur, but the bottom line is, getting out from under the car payment. When I refinance, my house payment will be slightly higher, but I am hoping by having an extra girl at the house, the payment hike will be offset by extra rent coming in. See, this is where I so have to trust the Lord for provision.

I am realizing how hard it is for me to trust in that. There are a lot of generational issues that have been passed down through both sides of the family regarding the whole money (or lack of money) issue. Those generational chords are reinforced by my own injustices of watching my parents go through massive ups and downs with their own money history. So, those two things play into a huge fear of mine regarding financial matters. I don't think I even realized how deep that fear is. I am just starting to see the surface of it when I think about what would have to happen if I quit my job. Immediate anxiety and fear....definately something to be in prayer about.

TRAVEL
One of the cool things about being part time, or even working for the church would be that my time would be freed up to travel (how to pay for it, another story...again, refinancing would leave me with a nice chunk to save and pull from to travel). But, even as I type all that, yet another trip to London is in the works. Jess, the gal I stayed with in London in March is getting married to James, mentioned in this blog several times. Their wedding is in September. I, always looking for an excuse to head back over, am looking into tickets as we speak. I have a place to stay all lined up, and even if I still work for the County, I'll have almost enough vacation saved to go for about a week and a half. What would be even more cool is if I could go to London and then hop somewhere else for a few days. We'll have to see what happens.

Well, I think that might be it for now. I am going to put some pics up too!
Erin

Thurs. not Fri.

So, I promised a Friday update, and here I am one day early. We'll see if my computer lets me actually post this this time instead of telling me that MSN has an "internal error." Not too sure what that means, but there ya have it.

Ok, time for a LONG overdue post. I will title sections in CAPS to break things up a bit:
THE HOUSE
Sara is moved out and in just two short days she will be a MRS!!! I have my bridesmaid dress all pressed, altered to fit and ready to go hanging on the back of my bedroom door. Tomorrow will be taken up with all things wedding and then the big day! Right now her room stands empty and waiting for my friends Andrew and Rachel from London to visit for a week. Well, it's not totally empty. There is a bed and night stand in there, but there is no one living in it. After Andrew and Rachel head back to my home away from home (London, and more on that later), the room will be filled with my newest roommate: Lora.

Lora will be living in Sara's old room and another girl, Jackie, will be sharing the upstairs with me. As mentioned in a previous post, the house full-scale remodel is not happening, but a small scale revamping is occurring. The house is also sporting a shiney (well, not shiney as in it gives off light, but shiney as in POW) new roof. So no more leaks, better air circulation upstairs thanks to new vents, and all I need is a small amount of work done up there and I will be ready to house three people in addition to myself.

As a result of thinking about having another new roommate, I have been in purge mode again. You should see the pile of stuff to go to charity in my "empty" spare room (Oh, yeah, that stuff is in that room too). And, I have more to go through. In some ways it feels good to get rid of un-needed stuff. It is lightening in some ways. I am not sure why. Part of this is out of absolute desperation to make room for another person, and some of this is from a need because gosh darn it, so many of my clothes make me look like a bag lady these days. I just need to get rid! So, come on Lora and Jackie, I am almost ready for you!!

WEIGHT WATCHERS
I am soooooo incredibly close to my goal it is not even funny. I think last week's bachelorette party at the Melting Pot probably didn't help matters, but I am tantilizingly close to goal. I am talking less than ten pounds to go. I am the lowest weight I have been since my sophomore year in college. If I can lose these last eight pounds (I think that's where I am at since I missed weigh in this week) I will be at high school graduation weight. I know I already look young, but people, I have reached an all new level of "youngness." I cannot tell you how many people tell me it makes me look YOUNGER to be slimmer. I will put an official photo update with a pic of me on it soon. I think you can tell a little by the photo update I'll put up here after I am done publishing this. In fact, I think I'll publish this now, just to be safe and then start the second half.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yikes

I tried to update this three times today only to have it crash. I will get a long update on Friday!
Erin

Monday, May 08, 2006

Spiritual Renewal Week

Last week was "Spiritual Renewal Week" at church, and other than coming down with a cold/laryngitis, it was an amazing week. The Lord is really doing some incredible things here in Tacoma.....we have only begun to see the fruit of it. Basically, our ministry is going world-wide. We are hosting business leaders from the world's top ten companies, leaders of international/national ministries right and left. But, we won't be completely unleashed if we cannot take our own city for the Lord.

I am feeling more and more prompted about what that would/could look like for me.....more gals to live with me, starting a preschool, going to work part time instead of full time.....the list of possibilities is endless. And, fear is a big one that is coming up when I think about doing some of those things. That would be what would hold me back. Fear of moving out of my "comfort zone," fear that the Lord would provide financially. There are some real hurdles to overcome to do this....I need to sell my car and get out from under that debt. If I am going to refinance my house/remodel, that HAS to happen this summer! However, the thought of stuff happening in Tacoma and me remaining where I am in life right now feels stifling....the time is NOW!
Erin

Friday, April 28, 2006

You Say It's Your Birthday......


Na na na na nah! Yep, it is my birthday today. I am now officially 31. Heading into my 30s and not JUST 30. When did I become someone in my 30s? I don't know what 30s are supposed to feel like, but they don't feel like I thought they would. Most days I don't feel a whole lot older than I did at oh, say, 25. I mean, I AM different. The Lord has restored me a ton in the six years since I turned 25, and my 25th birthday fell right in the middle of one of the worst years of my life circumstantially. However, age-wise, I don't feel much different. I think if some of my circumstances were different....married, kids, etc. I might feel older, but other than being a home owner, life is pretty much the same as it was at 25.

It has been a while since I did an update. Life is plugging along. It has been absolutely gorgeous here the last few weeks. Temps in the high 60s/low 70s with clear skies. With everything in bloom, it is just heavenly right now. It is like a little slice of heaven in a spring that is usually rainy and overcast. Today, for example it is in the 70s, so clear out and warm that I have not brought a jacket to work with me. It is like a fun birthday present from the Lord. Since the weather has been nice, my spring fever of gardening is in full swing again. I have mowed the lawn twice already, have planted and/or moved several plants, done a TON of weeding, and just in general have been spending a lot of time outside. What fun. If my past pattern holds, I'll be burned out by July, but it's fun for now.

The home remodel is still in process. I have pretty much decided that I will do a smaller scale version of it. My upstairs will have some minor work done, and the roof will be replaced, but otherwise, that is it. I will still have room for one extra girl this way, but not overload the house. I think to have two extra girls would be probably too much. An extra bathroom would help, but that does not account for space in the kitchen (which cannot easily be expanded), nor the living room. Really it just makes sense to only add one extra. There is always the option of selling and buying larger, but I just don't have peace about that right now. So, this is the best option for now. I am also trying to sell my car to lower my debt. I would like to sell it and buy something with cash and just have a much older used car to putz around in. So far, no takers on my car, though.

Health-wise things are great. In fact, I have not been sick in months now, PTL. Especially have not been sick with anything major since this winter, which is nice. I had that stretch back this fall and winter where I felt like I was sick continually. Since then, I have been really healthy. Weight Watcher is also going well. I am now 8 pounds from goal. I was plateauing pretty much for the last two months, and have broken through that plateau this week, and lost two pounds. It is like my body just needed to take some time off. I know plateaus are pretty normal, and so I did not get frustrated, I just kept plugging away. My body seems to have just said "OK, fine! I can see you're not wanting to stay at this weight so I give up!" and I have started losing again. Funny how that works.

Getting ready for wedding stuff. Sara moves out it a week, and the wedding itself is like a month away! I got my bridesmaid dress this week and other than a few minor alterations, it fits great. It is the dress you see at the top of the page. Chantel's bridesmaid dress is not in yet.

Piano lessons are going well, also. In fact, Jason, my piano teacher has suggested that I bring my songs in so that we can start putting them to music! That sounds so fun to me! I am still having fun practicing, so far. I know, though, that as I get deeper into the hard stuff, it will take more practice.

Well that's all for now. I'll put a photo update up later!
Erin

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What's New in the Zoo

Time for a weekly update, though there is not a whole lot new here. Things are just plugging along.

I have hit a snag in the home remodel, and I am seriously rethinking whether this is the Lord's will for me to do or not. The guy from our church who was going to do the work took another job. This was pretty frustrating for me because instead of telling me so that I could find a different contractor, he chose not to say anything. So, here I have been thinking things are progressing, and waiting to hear from him and not until I asked about the status of things did he tell me! He mentioned another man at our church who does contracting work, and I might give him a call just to see whether I am crazy to do this or not. His name is Jerod and he already has his contractor's license etc. We'll see and I'll keep updates on this as I know more.

I am also now unofficially (my home scale) ten pounds from my weight loss goal. I have started running again, and today I am super sore, but it feels good to be moving again. I don't think I am going to train for the race I had been thinking about running, but would like to get my miles up to the three mile mark where I was before. Plus, with the two weddings coming up very soon, I need to fit into my dresses.

We had Sara's bridal shower this last weekend, and it was a blast. I think everyone had a good time, and she got a LOT of stuff. I'll post some pictures soon. I am VERY much in need of a picture update.
Erin

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Update Number Two

So, onto a continued update regarding my trip to London/Harpenden. After spending a few days in London, we met up with the rest of our group and headed out to Harpenden. Harpended is just outside of a town called Luton. It is easier to find Luton on the map than Harpenden. Let's just say, we are definately out in the coutry in Harpenden. Lots of rolling hills, sheep pastures, grass, and trees.

We arrived in Harpended and the folks hosting us at the YWAM base had a whole spread laid out for us. We got to eat and then a small group of us went on a long walk around the "town." I put that in quotes because it really isn't much of a town. That night we met with Brian and Bruce and the rest of our team and had a quick briefing on what the week would look like, what we could expect to encounter and some tips on praying for people. Basically the week was 8-10 hours a day of praying for people. Some of them had had prayer before, as this was the fifth trip we had sent a team for, and others had not. I got to pray with my good friend Erika, and we were the only "singles" team there. It would have been really easy to get smacked with insignificance about the fact that we were the only single team there. However, Bruce told me later that week that due to the fact that there were so many single gals based in Harpenden, they were very blessed to have people there who understood what they were struggling with. It was also nice because Erika and I could switch roles about halfway through the week and not get burned out praying for so long.

I have already mentioned some of my highlights in praying for people in an earlier post. I will say this, I was so fearful about praying for married men, and those who were humble, left our prayer time restored! One of my most favorite prayer times was with a married couple, and it was so amazing. My fear over it was gone. I realized that it is not me who blocks them receiving from us, it is their issues. Two of the six men we prayed for were very willing to have us pray with them, and two were "on the fence." The two who were more resistant, the Lord saved us just in time and Brian helped us with one, OJ and Suzanna helped us out with the other. Brian had mentioned that we might get people approach us outside of prayer times to ask for prayer and that did happen. But, those that were really in NEED of prayer were the ones we were there for. I am sure some people who wanted to get prayed for did not. I loved praying for these poeple. The Lord was good and met us over and over again in those times. The last night we prayed, I was so exhausted, but as soon as we started praying and the Lord started speaking it was like "Ok, I can DO this!!" I learned that I can have just as much zeal for the last person on our list as I can for the first person to come. I mean, who would think that praying for that lone, that many days in a row could be fun??

We did have some breaks in the week. One night Brian and Bruce took us all out to dinner, another night we had dinner with Lyn Green and his family (director of International Ministries with YWAM), and another night, right a bunch of us met in the lounge and stayed up late playing telephone pictionary. If you have never played this game before, it is a must. I have not laughed that hard in a LONG time. We had such a fun group over there. We all came in liking each other, but I really feel we left as friends. I just fell in love with our group. I had a dream (this is true!!) while over there that I was one of the gals from "Charlies' Angels" and so now I have a new nickname from Brian...what fun!

We finished at 1:00 on the last Friday of my trip, which was unexpected. I thought for sure we'd be going all day Friday. So, the group of us headed into London and I got another night in town. Somehow in the scurry to leave on Sunday, I missed saying goodbye to my friend Jess, who I was staying with, and so I got to see her one last time. I then took the tube Sat. morning to the airport (all by myself!!! with no help!!!) and hopped the flight back home. I tell you a nine and a half hour flight is no fun. But, to think I am only that far from going back....it is all worth it. I mean, when you think about it, nine and a half hours, while long on a plane, is really not that muc time! And, that is all the further London England is from me and me from it!!

It has been so busy since I have been back. Kyle and Becky (brother and sister-in-law) were in town last week, and so I spent a lot of time with them. Sara's bridal shower is this weekend, and this is the first one I have ever planned, so that has taken a lot of time too. Plus, catching up with my small group girls, getting back into the swing of ministry (preschool planning, choir rehersals, serving at a single mom's event, our 40 days of fasting and prayer, and planning for the Sunday school class I will be teaching), and work (working all week, and our Livable Communities Fair this Sat.) has meant that I am actually probably busier than ever. Living in the midst of all of that (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking etc.) has been a challenge. But, the Lord sustains and does not give more than we can handle. Somewhere, in the midst of the busy-ness, I am managing to get everything done that I need to! Amen!!
Erin

Monday, April 03, 2006

Badly Needed Update

I am long overdue for an update. I apologize for going so long between them! Last week was hectic with recovering from the trip AND my brother and sister-in-law flew into town from Chicago and I had a good time with them too.

Speaking of trips, I'll do a quick update with that. I landed in London on Wed. March 15 and spent the first 5 days of my trip toodling about the city. It was so fun, and I found myself feeling slightly guilty that I was having so much fun! I got to see people I had been missing, stayed with my friend Jess, got to be a proper "tourist" and visited a lot of fun sights around the town. I got over my fear of getting lost on the tube (subway) and the bus and was able to get myself all over the city completely on my own! How fun! I went to Portabella Rd. Market and saw a ton of sights in and around the city like Westminister Abbey, the Knights Templar Temple, and a bunch of other stuff. So fun! Another hightlight of those first five days was getting to see my friends Dom and Nikki get married. It was quite unlike any wedding I have ever been to. Someone at the wedding said to me "I hope you don't think this is an actual British wedding....they have done things quite differently than anyone we know!" So, it had some unique things about it that I quite enjoyed. I'll try to put some pics up later this week. I also got to see Andrew, the youth pastor at the church and got caught up with the kids from this summer. I also got to see some of the kids too....though not long enough. Hannah, Davey, Sophie, Ibby, John, and Laura. I was hoping to see Emily and Francesca, but it didn't happen. I don't have time to get into all the details of what has happened with the youth since we were there last summer, but if the Lord prompts, please be praying for all of those kids who came to know the Lord as well as the ones who were already involved with the youth group.

I'll put an update of the second half of my trip (in Harpenden/Luton) off for another day.

Last night was our monthly outreach event at church. We combined with three other churches (Church of the Living God, Clover Creek Bible Fellowship, and The Crossing) and filled to over capacity the Pantages Theater. I would guess at the end of the night about 100 people stood up to either recommit their lives to Christ, to give their lives to Christ, or to receive prayer to break addictions etc. It was quite amazing. The choir sang, and that was so fun, as usual. I don't know that a written description of the night will quite do it justice. It was spectacular and amazing. What a treat to be a part of what is happening in our city of Tacoma!
Erin

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Monday, March 27, 2006

Glad to be Back

I'm back, and don't have a lot of time to post today, but suffice to say, the trip was amazing, wonderful, and blessed.

Highlights: someone being so set free from their passivity that during their prayer time both my prayer partner and I started crying, washing a gal's feet during another prayer time, getting people's original design and seeing them so blessed that they started crying. For my own personal self, in addition to the 8-10 hours of praying for people for five days, I got to see the city for a few days prior to heading to Harpenden. My favorite things in London: attending an Evensong service at Westminister Abbey (where Princess Diana got married), mastering the tube/bus service, and Portabella Road Market (watch Notting Hill and you'll know why). Such fun! I'll have an update with more detail later and some pictures too.
Erin

Monday, March 13, 2006

Leavin' on a Jet Plane....

But surely I know when I'll be back again!

So, tomorrow evening is the big day to head back over to Europe for a second time in a year. I am not nearly as nervous as I was the first time I flew over last August. I am perhaps MORE excited, but in a different kind of way. THIS time I am excited because I know what to expect in a lot of ways, and I am filled with absolute JOY to be able to experience those things again! It is a different kind of trip than the last time, in that I will be working with adults rather than kids, and I will be doing a LOT more praying and a LOT less outreach, but it will still be fun!

Church last night was great. Brian talked about renewing our passion, and for some, finding our passion. I was struck again by how much our church emphasizes being passionate about a specific group of people (ie the "homeless" the "single moms" the "high-schoolers" etc.). I would say for myself, as I have said before, I am not sure I feel called to a specific group of people. I feel called to teach and restore people, all people. Every time we talk about callings or passions I just feel this tug of condemnation, as though I am somehow missing out on mine, or being blocked from fully knowing my passion. It always causes me to question what I am doing and where I am going. That confusion is almost always exacerbated by the fact that inevitably someone will say something to me like "I see you working with the junior highers" or "Have you ever thought about working with our homeless outreach." See, the confusion steps in because OF COURSE I would love to work with those ministries, OF COURSE I would do a great job with them. But, when I find myself feeling the most on fire, is when I am teaching. Whether that be with my small group of gals, or at work, THAT is when I feel like "YES, this is what I was created for." And so, I just start to wonder, should I just pick a ministry and go for it? How many expectations do I have out of ministry that are just wrong? Do I believe that ministry is passionate and firey all the time and forget that a lot of ministry is just plain hard work? How much of that confusion is really my own rebellion and selfishness? I just don't know. Anyone out there have any thoughts?

However, in the midst of all of that confusion, I did get asked last night to teach three Sunday School lessons for an adult Sunday School class in Tacoma. The church we rent from meets on Sunday mornings, and their education director asked me if I would come for three Sunday mornings in May and teach their class. That was a scary and exciting thought all at the same time. There are a few topics that they are wanting someone to talk about: Christianity and the Environment. So, of course, I am the logical choice! Should be refining and fun! The church is pretty liberal in their views and beliefs, so it is not that much of a surprise that they have asked about this specific topic, but I am looking forward to the opportunity to connect with them and create bridges between their congregation and ours.

Not sure if I'll have time to post before I leave, or while I am gone, though I will have access to the internet. I'll post again for sure when I return.
Erin