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 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!

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 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!

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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!

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:
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!!

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.