Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Brooklynn!

Today is my nieces birthday. Happy Birthday Brooklynn!!! We love you!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Birthday Memories

Mama & Papa Gurnee spent the evening with us tonight making memories. Mama got to rock Alyssa to sleep. Don't know how many more times that will happen. She is growing up so fast. Vincent and Kendra logged some snuggle time with Mama as well. Papa got his share too as you can see!! Our kids have the best 2 sets of grandparents in the world!!
Vincent opened his gifts from Papa & Mama Gurnee. He also got some money that he plans to use to purchase a fishing pole, a night light and tennis shoes.
P.S.... if you have the place on your property to make a fire pit, I'd highly recommend it. It was one of the best things we've done to this property. I can't explain what there is about it but fellowship around it is so much sweeter and meaningful. Perhaps it's all in my head.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Vincent!

Click to play Vincent's 6th Birthday
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Zoo Day!!!

Today was Vincent's field trip to the Erie Zoo. Parents and siblings were welcome to go along so we did. We went with friends of ours who shall remain nameless primarily because I didn't ask permission to use their name or pictures but I want them to know that we had a lovely time being with them and want to thank them for allowing us to visit the zoo today on their membership. After spending the day with that many kindergarteners in one spot confirmed my previously formed conviction that I was not, am not, nor ever will be, meant to be a kindergarten teacher!!! Anyways, I took allot of pictures but none were outstanding. Here's a couple I like:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tom Mooney Goes Home

Click to play Tom Mooney Goes Home
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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Our good friends, Dave & Holly Thompson and their girls, Exie, Emily & Elaina came and spent the weekend with us. We have had a very very stressful few weeks and this week is going to be just as bad but having them here was just what we needed to help us spend some fun time with each other, with friends and with our kids. Thanks for coming guys!!! We SO enjoyed it!!

Here are just a few of my favorite pics from the 200+ that were taken.

Click to play Memorial Day 2008
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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Missing Husband Report Part 2

As a follow up to this post a reader made this comment that I found to be fantastic: "I remember that once Billy Graham's wife said, 'I'd rather be Mrs. Billy Graham part time than anyone else fulltime'." How VERY VERY true!!!
So, in my words, "I'd rather be Mrs. Byron Gurnee part time than anyone else fulltime."!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Byron!

Click to play Happy Birthday, Byron!!
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Sunday, May 18, 2008

To Those Burning the Candle on Both Ends

To all my ministry friends.....Its so easy to loose sight of our end goal....

Here's a song for you tonight.

Missing Husband Report!

Anyone seeing the following person please send him HOME!

He belongs to ME!!

The last few months have been horrid for Byron. I honestly don't know of a time that he has been under so much stress. In the last 10 weeks he has made 50+ trips to the hospital to visit parishioners and their families. (Erie is 35 miles away from us).

He is deep into his Master's program and will be done with that in December. YEAH!!! I can't wait.

He is deeply involved with our church and its building program. We are about to start Phase 2 of our building project. This consists of 2 parts - adding a new handicap accessible entrance and restrooms and part 2 is completely remodeling our sanctuary and adding the new platform addition facing the cemetery. The new restrooms and entrance should be completed by the end of this summer. The rest will have to wait until the money comes in.

Oh, then of course he has to substitute teach to help make ends meet for our family financially. He's had very little of that since December due to the amount of days he has had to be at the hospital. And, unfortunately (for finances) school is almost over. That is good in the sense that now perhaps the missing husband and daddy will return home!!! :-)

The boys have projects they are (not so) patiently waiting for Daddy to work on for them. Someone kindly gave Vincent a go cart that needs a new motor and tires. Well, Papa Gurnee's preacher gave us a motor for it but Daddy just hasn't had time to install it. Kenton has been asking forever for his bedroom to be painted and new flooring laid and that is a project that will hopefully be done soon too.

Perhaps some may think I am being selfish and maybe I am but I miss my husband. I don't like seeing him so stressed and stretched so thin. I know that his calling is to be a Pastor and that all these other things are just part of that calling. I ALSO know that I am called to be supportive of him and to help him in any way I can. But I don't have to always like it.

The other night as I laid in bed around 11:00 PM and he had been gone for 9 hours to the hospital - and was still sitting at the hospital with the family from our church, I thought to myself, if I had to pick my pastor, I'd pick him. I guess technically, he picked ME but I'm glad he did!!! Thanks honey!!! If you ever find time to read this, I want you to know that you are the best pastor, husband and daddy in the world!!!

Weekend Review

Visit parishioners in hospital.....

The Yate's Visit

Visit parishioners in the hospital....

The Rodgers Visit.... and bring a delicious apple pie from Alice!! Thank you Alice!!

Visit parishioners in the hospital......

Etc........ Etc...... Etc..........

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Picture of "Me"

I just received a text message from a dear friend who wanted to make sure I was ok since I haven't posted for awhile. It is so nice to be appreciated. That just made my day, C!!!! It's good to know I have people looking out for me. So... they say a picture is worth 1000 words.

Here's my life at the moment....

Here's me at the moment.... (hanging on for dear life)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Please do not ask me to share what situation(s) prompted the last blog entry. You see, hear and witness allot of "stuff" in a parsonage.
Suffice it to say that I was laying in bed and the words just came to me and now 90 min later - there they are. Perhaps I just needed to get them off my chest (er....mind).

If I Should Die Before I Wake

Facing our own mortality is painful and typically (and understandably) avoided. However, failing to acknowledge our own mortality is not only short sighted, it is also an incredibly selfish act. Death will touch one in four Americans this year on a personal level. Most of us are woefully inadequate to handle not only the emotional but also the practical ramifications of deaths inevitable visit to us. Medical advances in the last 30+ years have managed to postpone death’s visit to us, so now we experience the death of someone close to us much less frequently than our ancestors did. Death has become out of sight. It has become removed from our conscious concerns and has become relegated to an abstract thought for most of us.

Studies have shown that most married couples, on average, have never spent even 20 minutes discussing the subject of death on a personal level. That fact is an astounding and revealing statistic when you think of all that results from death’s inevitable occurrence.

The Bible clearly states that all will die. Ecclesiastes 3:2 says, A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted. Life is a privilege - it is not our right. Some may have time to make final arrangements once they find out that death is imminent. Other's will have no time to make such arrangements. Just ask the 20 yr old who died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage after giving birth to her first child.

In light of some recent events in my life, this subject has occupied more minutes of my days than I care to think about. So, in light of the facts I've outlined above, I'd like to present to you two scenarios. Followed by 2 questions that I'd like you to ask yourself.

Scenerio #1: You die tomorrow. Your children and your spouse are gathered in your home attempting to make final arrangements. Daughter 1 wants Local funeral parlor A to handle the arrangements. Son 2 wants local funeral parlor B to handle arrangements because he has heard that Funeral parlor A has had some shady business dealings. Son 1 wants Rev. Smith to have the funeral but your spouse wants current pastor to have funeral. Daughter 1 wants the funeral to be held at the church. Spouse wants it to be held at the funeral parlor. Then spouse panics when they find out that the funeral is going to cost X amount of dollars and there is nowhere near that amount of money in your bank account. The question consistently is asked, "What would dad/mom have wanted?"

Scenerio #2: You and your spouse are involved in a serious head on collision. Both are unconscious. Both are on life support. Neither are able to communicate at all. Your children are called in. They must decide whether or not to "pull the plug" because neither of you have put in writing your desire to remain alive by machine or to go on peacefully to Heaven. Your children must now face the devastating and horrific decision - one that will no doubt haunt them for the rest of their lives. If they are blessed with unity among themselves, they will all agree on the decision. However, in such a moment of pain and heart ache, more than likely the decision will not readily be unanimous. The question will forever, in each of their minds, be asked, "Is that what Mom/Dad would have wanted us to do?"

Question #1: If you were to die 1 hour from now, would your spouse know precisely your wishes regarding your final arrangements and would he/she know exactly how they would exist financially from that moment on?

Question #2: If you were to suddenly become incapacitated tomorrow, with no way to communicate your desires, would your family/spouse know your wishes regarding life support and life sustaining measures?

In closing, in all your planning, keep a couple things in mind....

Letting your survivors know your wishes saves them the difficulties of making these decisions at a painful time. Planning some of these details in advance can also help save money. For many people, death goods and services cost more than anything they bought during their lives except homes and cars. I knew of a couple who planned and paid for their funeral five years before the life event occurred. When it did occur, her family was able to totally grieve her passing without the added stress of picking out the casket, arranging payments for the funeral, choosing songs, etc. It was all done, by the lady herself.
Final arrangements are a huge financial transaction, and many times arrangement decisions are made under stress at a time of bereavement. The ability to make informed decisions is a gigantic challenge when one is under the emotional strain of having just lost their loved one. Shock, disorganization, roller coaster emotions, guilt, and the magnitude of loss and loneliness cloud decisions. All to often the act of spending money can be wrongly linked with feelings of expressing love or caring.

Oh, and by the way.... A will is not a good place to express your death and burial preferences for one simple reason: your will probably won't be located and read until several weeks after you die -- long after decisions must be made.

And finally, a great acronym that you really should make a priority in your planning... POA. Power of Attorney. There are two choices of POA's available to you. Financial and health care POAs are used when you reach the point you choose not to make your own decisions or are incapable of making your own decisions. In both instances, the person you have selected then becomes your advocate. I cannot stress enough the importance of choosing your POA outside of emotional attachments. Please do not choose your eldest offspring who lives 18 hours away when you have 4 younger offspring who live next door. Birth order is NOT sufficient eligibility criteria.

Oh, and one last thing.... although it is certainly not required, it would be really fantastic to have your pastor on board with your final arrangement portfolio. As you can imagine, when the inevitable happens, even the most prepared family can become emotionally unsteady and having a pastor who is well informed and "in the know" can be a huge relief and can help the family deal with their grief much better.

So, don't assume you have another year. Your next breath may be celestial.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Young, evangelical ... for Obama?

While I have NO intentions of voting for Obama, I was glad to read that what I am feeling is not exclusive to me.
Young, evangelical ... for Obama?
By Haley Edwards
Seattle Times staff reporter

Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Religion in Campaign '08
Michael Dudley is the son of a preacher man.
He's a born-again Christian with two family members in the military. He grew up in the Bible Belt, where almost everyone he knew was Republican. But this fall, he's breaking a handful of stereotypes: He plans to vote for Democrat Barack Obama.
"I think a lot of Christians are having trouble getting behind everything the Republicans stand for," said Dudley, 20, a sophomore at Seattle Pacific University.
Dudley's disenchantment with the GOP isn't unique among young, devoutly Christian voters. According to a September 2007 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 15 percent of white evangelicals between 18 and 29, a group traditionally a shoo-in for the GOP, say they no longer identify with the Republican Party. Older evangelicals are also questioning their traditional allegiance, but not at the same rate.
But, Howard Dean, don't count your chickens quite yet. College-age and 20-something Christians may be leaving the GOP, but only 5 percent of young evangelicals have joined the Democrats, according to the Pew survey. The other 10 percent are wandering the political wilderness, somewhere between "independent" and "unaffiliated."
Shane Claiborne, a Philadelphia Christian activist and author of "Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals," has a different name for these folks: "political misfits."
Claiborne has traveled around the country the past several years, speaking and preaching mostly to college-age Christians who are "both socially conservative and globally aware." That makes them disenchanted with both major parties, he said.
"It's not about liberal or conservative, or Democrats or Republicans," he said. "I don't think it's a new evangelical left. ... There's a new evangelical stuck-in-the-middle."
UW communications professor David Domke said some young evangelicals are breaking with the GOP for the same reasons many people broke from the party in the 2006 legislative elections — the unpopular war in Iraq; the Bush administration's abysmal approval ratings; or, now, because of the tanking economy.
Others broke from the party when John McCain, who hasn't held much appeal for evangelicals in the past, became the presumptive nominee.
The Arizona senator hasn't been a consistent foe of gay marriage, and he supports federally funded embryonic stem-cell research. James Dobson, head of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, announced in February that if McCain was the GOP nominee, he'd sit out the election.
But students at a recent bipartisan political union meeting at SPU say there's something more going on with young Christians than disenchantment with McCain.
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In an informal poll of the political union, the majority supported Obama.
"I think it's a new movement starting," said Amy Archibald, 19, a sophomore at the evangelical school. "Most of us would never blindly follow the old Christian Right anymore. James Dobson has nothing to do with us. A lot of us are taking apart the issues, and thinking, 'OK, well, [none of the candidates] fits what I'm looking for exactly.' But if you're going to vote, you've got to take your pros with your cons."
Eugene Cho, a founder and lead pastor at Seattle's Quest Church, which caters to a predominantly under-35 crowd, urges young Christians to look beyond the two or three issues that have allowed Christians to be "manipulated by those that know the game or use it as their sole agenda."
"While the issue of abortion — the sanctity of life — must always be a hugely important issue, we must juxtapose that with other issues that are also very important," Cho wrote in his blog on faith and politics.
Polls have shown that young Christians aren't any less concerned about the "family values" issues that have traditionally driven Christians to the Republican camp. (In fact, a study by the Barna Group, an evangelical polling organization, shows young Christians are actually more conservative on abortion than their elders.) It's just that they're also concerned about issues such as social justice and immigration, issues traditionally associated with Democrats.
Judy Naegeli, 25, who works at a Christian philanthropy, says easy access to information about the world via social-networking sites, YouTube and blogs is the reason her generation is more concerned with social justice.
"It's changed our perspective. ... Each generation chooses their cause, and ours is AIDs in Africa, or poverty or social justice," she said.
Tyler Braun, 23, a Portland seminary student who opposes abortion and gay rights, said he'll probably vote for Obama because, since he'd would like to see U.S. troops leave Iraq.
Anika Smith, 23, who works for a think tank in Seattle, said she's concerned with the same issues, but she plans to vote for McCain:
"I'm worried about the war and the economy and social-justice issues. But, the abortion issue is still nonnegotiable."
Nathan Johnson, the executive director of the King County Republican Party, says he is skeptical that young, socially conservative Christians will desert the GOP this fall.
He agrees young Christians appear to be looking beyond the two or three issues — abortion, gay rights, stem-cell research — that have made Christian voters loyal in the past. "But that doesn't mean they're no longer Republican.
"Once the primary is over, and we get into a head-to-head contest, Obama's voting record will come to light," said Johnson, 24. "Then there will be a lot of young conservative voters who won't be able to tolerate what he's stood for in terms of abortion and other socially conservative values."
Young evangelicals are more of a swing constituency than they've been for decades, said Andy Crouch, an editor at Christianity Today, a national evangelical magazine.
"This could turn out to be the election where both parties realize that the evangelical vote is so hopelessly split down the middle that it's not worth courting them at all because what parties need are blocs that can be appealed to en masse," Crouch said. "Paradoxically, evangelicals would become less relevant than ever before."
Braun, the seminary student, said he's not totally committed to any candidate yet.
"I just keep thinking, if Jesus were alive now, he wouldn't necessarily be voting Republican," he said.

Job Security

If you were to unearth the yearbook from my senior year in high school - and assuming you were able to recognize me - you'd see a section that says, "Julia's Aspirations". Next to that you'd see..."My highest ambition is to be a wife and mother". My path has included a college education and several years of putting that education to use, however, God answered my prayer and sent 4 delightful, ornery, precious children my way. It is my PRIVILEGE to be a mom and I am careful not to take advantage of this privilege.

Happy Birthday Dad!!

Today is my dad's birthday. I am so blessed to be his daughter. I could never doubt his love for me and I've never EVER doubted how proud he was/is of me. Dad has always believed in me and I've never wanted to disappoint him. Dad has taught me so much over the last 31 years and I will be forever grateful to be his daugther. Dad has adapted to grandchildren with such grace. His grandchildren have become his life. He calls a couple times a week just to hear their voice and catch up on all the little things they say and do. I do believe he has far more patience with them than I do. I love you dad!!

Click to play Dad
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Friday, May 9, 2008

Vincent Grows Up a bit More

Click to play Vincent's Graduation
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Maybe MRS. McCain Should Run?

I am hearing from everyone I talk to - "I don't like ANY of the candidates in this election." I am hearing that from Republican's and Democrats. Conservatives and liberals (although I really hate those labels). So, anyways, I got this email today from a friend. I checked it out on snopes and it is true. There is a bit more to the story but what is here is true. So, in light of this email... perhaps the wrong McCain is running????


There was, recently, an article in the Wall Street Journal on Cindy McCain, John's wife. All I ever saw was this attractive woman standing beside John. I was surprised how talented and involved with world problems she is. This is a summary of the article.

She graduated from Southern Cal and was a special-needs teacher. After her Dad died she became involved with his beer distributing firm and is now the chairwoman. Sales have doubled since she has taken over from her father.

They have a marriage prenuptial agreement, her assets remain separate.

She is involved around the world clearing land mines - travels to these countries on a detonation team and service on their board.

They have a 19 year old serving in Iraq, another son in the Naval Academy, a daughter recently graduated from Columbia Univ., an adopted daughter in high school, and a son who is the finance guy at the beer firm.

Raised kids in Phoenix, AZ rather than Washington DC.(better atmosphere) He commuted.

In 1991, Mrs. McCain came across a girl in an orphanage in Bangladesh. Mother Teresa implored Mrs. McCain to take the baby with severe cleft palate. She did so without first telling her husband. The couple adopted the girl who has had a dozen operations to repair her cleft palate and other medical problems.

They have a Family Foundation for children's causes. She's active with 'Halo Trust' - to clear land mines, provide water and food in war ravaged and developing countries. She will join an overseas mission of 'Operation Smile', a charity for corrective surgery on children's faces.

She has had two back surgeries and became addicted to pain killers. She talks openly about it which she says is part of the recovery process.

I'm surprised the media is so quiet about her attributes. She sounds more capable than Hillary or Obama. We would really get two for the price of one. A person with business and international experience. John did work for the firm for awhile when he left the Navy. She, however, has the real business experience.

Very interesting.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Laminin & Christ

Tom & Connie Rodgers sent this link to us today and I have to say that it was just what I needed. It touched me very deeply. It is a clip of Louie Giglio preaching during the Chris Tomlin “How Great is Our God Tour” and he talks about the cell adhesion protein molecule “laminin”. It’s the “glue” that holds our cells together. The stuff that holds our bodies together is in the shape of the cross! He quotes the verse Colossians 1:17 “He (Christ) is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Monday, May 5, 2008

To Our Favorite Teacher

Tuesday (May 6th) is National Teachers Day.
We have someone very very special we want to honor today.
Mary Herl is one of 5 kindergarten teachers here in our local elementary school. She is without a doubt, the best EVER kindergarten teacher. The love she has for her students just emanates from her. She is incredibly in tune with each student and has such a gift for bringing out the best in them. It is understandable then to see why the kids adore her. She is so easy to work with and having a parent/teacher relationship with her has been a joy. She has been a blessing to our family over the last 3 years that we've known her and we've already told her that she cannot retire for 3 more years - until Alyssa finishes kindergarten. Mrs. Herl is a wonderful example of grace, kindness and godliness. She is an example in all ways of the Proverbs 31 woman. And "her children....." - the hundreds of them who have been in her care - do rise up and call her blessed!!! Thank you Mrs. Herl for all you are and all you've done for our family. We love you!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Holmes County Ohio

Tom & Connie Rodgers took us on a bus trip yesterday to Holmes County Ohio. It was VERY enjoyable. We had such a lovely day with them. I came away all the more convinced that fellowship with fellow believers AND with your church family is SO vitally important to spiritual health.

I am naturally a loner and probably would never leave my house if I wasn't married to a very people oriented person as well as being pastors wife. So, my nature is to be a recluse but I'm becoming more and more aware of the dangers of cutting oneself off from a church family or from friends in general.

But, I digress..... we had such a nice time and Byron will be posting pics very soon I'm sure so hop on over there to see all the nitty gritty details. But, for now.... here's a few pics....

My sweetheart and I at the Carlisle Inn after a fantastic family style roast beef and chicken dinner.

Tom & Connie and Us

Tom & Connie

Byron wanted them to kiss so by the time we were done getting this picture we had couples all over the place posing like this. It was so funny.