Saturday, September 07, 2013

The Highs and Lows of a New Soccer Season

So today was Rachel's first soccer game of the fall season.  It was an interesting day.

This year, she is on a different team than she has been for the past 3 years.  In Springdale, they are trying to get all the girls from the same schools on the same teams.  There is apparently only 1 other Shiloh girl in her age group.

Rachel (and Mike and I) were disappointed she wasn't going to be on her team that she's been playing with for some time.  It was a team of girls from Walker Elementary and girls she knew from when she went there.  And, not to mention, the team that has been undefeated in all those seasons.  They were getting really good playing together.  Rachel has been getting quite a bit better and gaining more soccer skill playing with these girls and under her coach.  But that's how the cards were dealt and we were just going to make the best of it.  New friends and all.

The Youth Center called before we knew of our team and said the reason we hadn't been contacted yet was because they couldn't find a coach and asked if either my husband or myself would be interested in coaching.  I literally laughed at the girl on the phone.  I mean, I know a couple things about soccer from our kids playing the past few years, but lawsy.  No can do on the coaching thing - for me or Mike.  A coach was finally found, but then texted the day we were supposed to have our first practice to say he just couldn't do it.  Uhhhh.... Another coach was found and she seems to know what she's doing.... sort of.

Rachel kept saying she just hoped she didn't play her old team.  Well.  Guess who our first opponent was.  And guess which girl had a bit of a hard time with that.  Or should I say girls.... I may have been a little down about that as well, but boy did I try and encourage my girl before the game started that she needed to make her old coach super proud of her today!

Our team basically got pummeled.  The other team scored on the first play of the game and had 2 goals within the first 5 minutes.  There are girls on our team that clearly have never played at all.  Seriously.  And I may have gotten a bit on the, um, loud side a time or two when some of the girls tended to not....oh I don't ANYTHING.  Now, I'm not necessarily that parent that will be ugly to the other team unless they are just plain mean, but with my own kids if they aren't putting forth their best effort, I may encourage them in a not so quiet way that they need to get their fannies in gear.  My sweet husband informed me today that I may need to, um, calm down a little bit in my encouragement.

Rachel scored the first goal for her team today.  Embarrassingly, I cheered so loud and hard that I made myself a bit dizzy for a second.  That was one of only two goals the team scored, compared to about 10 goals from the other team.  After the final whistle and the "good game" high fives, Rachel walked over to us very defeated.  She at first said she was just tired.  All it took was me looking at her and saying "what's wrong" for her to bury her face in my shoulder and start crying.  That was a hard game for that sweet girl.  She was sad she wasn't playing with her friends.  She was disappointed they lost.  It was a hard first game of the season playing against her old team and being beaten by them, knowing she would have been with her friends on the winning team if things had been different.

After a bit of talking and encouragement, things are better and we are looking forward to this season.  It will be different from seasons past to be sure.  Rachel will be one of the ones with the most experience, which is a switch.  She's gonna take the attitude that she will be a helper to her new friends and share some of what she's learned in the past few years with her teammates that may need some encouragement.  And I'm going to have to lighten up a bit.  God help me when my kids are old enough to play competitive sports in Jr. High or high school.  You probably won't want to be sitting by me....

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Give Them Reason

I went to Atlanta in April for a ministry conference that was so stinkin awesome that it deserves a whole post by itself.  Which I will get to soon.  At this conference, one of our speakers was Craig Jutila.  He has a blog on leadership, which I receive via email each time he posts.  Y'all.  These are short little posts that pack a big ol' punch!

I read a recent post and he talked about the steps we should consider when making a decision.  He used scripture in all of those steps.  One in particular was this:

Obey your spiritual leaders and be willing to do what they say. For their work is to watch over your souls, and God will judge them on how well they do this. Give them reason to report joyfully about you to the Lord and not with sorrow, for then you will suffer for it too. Hebrews 13:17 LB 

Wow.  This is one of those verses that I probably have read more than a few times, but when I read it this day, it grabbed me.  I've heard I need to obey my spiritual leaders.  I don't have a problem with that. (Shocking to some of you, I'm sure)  But I super love the part that says "give them reason to report joyfully about you to the Lord..."  Seriously, this is one of the things I desire, yet struggle with at the same time.  I want people to like me.  I want to do a good job in everything I do.  Yet, I don't want that to turn in to pride.  But going by this verse, in "obeying" my spiritual leaders, which in my particular case are my bosses too, the Word instructs me to GIVE THEM REASON to report joyfully about me.  But that's up to me.  I need to be the one to give them reason.  Not that the things I do are for people, but in honoring the Lord in obedience to him and to those in spiritual authority over me, I not only gain blessing from the Lord for my individual obedience, but I also "give them reason".

What can you do today to give someone reason to report joyfully to the Lord about you?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Getting Away with our Staff

Last week was our annual Staff Advance with our Ministry Team at church.  Each year, we get together, review the previous year, plan for the upcoming year, and just have a lot of fun!  This year was no exception.

We were able to go to Dallas this year - and it was HOT.  But boy was it fun!  A few highlights of my highlight times:

  • Getting to have my husband with me all week.  With no kids.  Enough said.
  • Spending the week with several church planters and their wives.  The SEND North America Conference was taking place in Dallas while we were there and we had the privilege of hosting 17 of the church planters that were there who got to also spend time with us.  Gosh I love conversations with people who have been called to different areas of the country and hear their stories of what the Lord is doing where they are!  Talk about encouraging and exciting!!  After dinner with one planter from Vancouver, I was about ready to buy a plane ticket to Canada!  And getting to spend some time with a sweet couple from Deleware and hearing the amazing God stories from there made me want to go to a state that I even forget it a part of the US. :)
  • Spending time at Prestonwood Baptist Church with Sondra Saunders and Nikki Bartlett.  Sondra is the Ministry of Preschool and Children and Nikki is the Minister to Preschool at their massive Plano campus.  Talk about being taken to school that day!  It was a massive blessing for me to have spent time with these ladies who clearly love what they do!  And it was an honor to spend time with Ms. Saunders as she has been at Prestonwood since their beginning in 1977.  I learned much that day and felt like I was also able to encourage these ladies as well.
  • Being able to hear from John Bisagno and Ed Stetzer.  Holy cow y'all.  Ed is someone I've followed on Twitter for a while and he's pretty dang funny sometimes.  One of the smartest men I've listened to!  I wish my brain would work half as fast as his!!  And John Bisgano was the senior pastor at First Baptist in Houston for many, many years and has authored a ton of books.  He just encouraged us and challenged us for a while on our last morning there and oh. my. word. it was fantastic!  Something I'll likely never forget.
  • Whirly Ball.  Google it.  There's not a real good way to explain it unless you see it. So. Much. FUN!!  And let me just say that the Fayetteville Five DOMINATED. 
  • Spending time with my staff family.  When you work so closely with people, you tend to feel like they are part of your family.  That's how I feel about the people I work with.  I grow to love them more each day and I couldn't be more thankful that God has allowed me to be a part of such a special group that I love so dearly.  And it was great to spend time with the family from the other campuses too.  We all are so busy that we don't get to spend a ton of time together throughout the year, so Staff Advance is pretty special when we can hang out with all our Cross Church folks.
Basically, the whole week is one I look forward to and am a little sad when it's over.  I'm super blessed to be a part of this church and to be able to do ministry and do life with these awesome people.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

To Do List

One thing that I love to do is check things off a list.  If I'm real honest, sometimes I write things I've already done on a list just so I can check it off.  Silly, I know.  But it gives me a sense of accomplishment.  My email tends to be like my to-do list as well and when I'm able to move things out of my inbox, I feel like I'm accomplishing things.

So, in this whole Start Experiment and me really trying to make better use of my time, I'm working on being better about actually making lists that I can check things off of.  And I'm trying to keep my inbox as cleaned up as possible.  I've pretty well kept my inbox to under 20 emails and if I can whittle that down to less than 10 I might not know what to do with myself. :)  I have a to-do list for work things today and have gotten a few of those things done and hopefully by 5:00, I'll have everything checked off my list.

This helps in organizing my time.  Now on to organizing other areas of my life as well.  I love organization.  I'm not always totally organized, but boy life sure runs smoother when I am! One thing that I'm able to do at home to help stay organized is my laundry.  Since I've been getting up about 3 hours before the crack (which I'm now totally addicted to), I've been able to get a little laundry routine going each day that has helped me keep up with that.  I've also made my bed every day (except Sunday when I left the house before my husband was out of bed).  Now that might seem like a big "DUH" to some people, but I hadn't put major priority on that little chore.  I always feel like things are more tidy when my bed is made, so I've made a point to do that as well before I leave the house in the mornings.  I also love a clean sink!  Mine has dirty dishes in it more often than not, but I'm working on keeping that clean as well.  That dishwasher of mine is getting quite the workout!  There are still many things left to go, but I'm tackling them a little at a time.

Who has other organization tips?  I would love to hear other things that I can implement to make life run a bit smoother.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Week In Pictures

This past week has been a fun one around the Langham house.  Today, I was able to sleep in until a cool 7am....when the little two year old that is my son decided it was time to be awake....which means it's time for me or Daddy to be awake.  And guess who's still in bed.  But the other mornings this week, I've been up at 4:15am mostly.  I have to say, I'm QUICKLY becoming addicted to being up that early in the mornings!  I feel like I have SO much more time!  Jillian and I are still on love-hate terms, but you know, we're making it.

I take tons of pictures throughout the week and love looking at people's pics, so I thought I would share a few of mine from the week.

This hot fella decided to go see World War Z last Saturday.  He took Tanner, which is wonderful, because Mama had no. desire. whatsoever. to see that one.  Mike said it was awesome.  We have much different opinions on whether or not a movie is awesome.  But you know, when you're going to see a zombie movie, you have to wear a zombie T-shirt.  I'd say he at least rocked the T-shirt. :)

I have the WONDERFUL privilege to take Rachel & Porter with me to work during the week.  This is such a blessing to be able to have them there.  They are old enough to pretty well entertain themselves during the day, so there's not a ton of supervision that needs to happen.  They are also old enough to help with the day-to-day stuff that has to get done in the Preschool ministry.  Now, I'm not necessarily saying that we employ child labor at our place, but there's lots of "crafts and activities" that we have our kids doing.  They have become masters at using scissors!

One of the things I get to do each week is call through visiting families that have been assigned to me.  Most always these are families that have preschoolers that have visited on Sundays.  I love to talk to new people and help them any way I can, but I have to confess that sometimes this little list gets built up and I get that little overwhelmed feeling.  But this week, with all this START stuff going on, I've decided that I'm not letting loose ends overwhelm me.  I'm doing my best to stay under 20 emails in my inbox at any given time (which sometimes is nearly impossible), and then this list got cleared out.  I get a sense of accomplishment when I can cross things off the proverbial list.

Another AWESOME aspect of my job is that I get to visit new babies (and new mommies and daddies) in the hospital when the arrive.  I LOVE doing this!!!  Especially when they are families that I know well.  In this case, I was able to visit my friend Jill and her husband Brandon as they had precious little Elliott Brooke.  (sidebar: I will never complain about pain EVER after hearing Jill's labor story.  Seriously, not EVER!) This girl is a doll baby and was already rocking a big ol' bow and some chevron.  And I don't know if you can tell, but that little bassinet back there... that dude had a chevron blanket draped over it because Jill didn't want to be drab with the regular hospital blanket they put on there.  Um... I would have NEVER thought to do that!

One evening this week, I was walking out to get in the car and noticed a sight that is somewhat unusual  my neighborhood.  This dude was walking down the street with a backpack on his back, a guitar case to his side, and playing his guitar.  Just as normal as anything.  Now I wouldn't have batted an eye had I been walking in NYC because this was quite common when I was there (only most of the time, I did see the Cowboy and he was just sporting his skivvies, but still).  But seeing this on my street in Springdale - I had to capture the oddity of it.  He sure seemed to be enjoying himself though.

Oh this little man.  Boy does he test me.  Like, a LOT.  He is never still.  He's always exploring....most of the time in things that I wish he'd not explore.  He really is so smart and super hilarious, which he totally uses to his advantage.  But my goodness, I do love him!  How could you not when you get this.

Yesterday, I went to the airport to see off my friends, the Carneys, who are moving to Malawi to be the director's of Esther's House Orphanage.  I've known for a while that they are moving, but have been in a denial of sorts because I have known that I will see them once or twice a week.  Well, yesterday, there was no more, "I'll see ya Sunday".  Y'all.  That was difficult.  It's not like they are going for a mission trip and will be back soon.  No.  They are MOVING to Africa!  It was especially hard for this week family because we have been on such a similar journey with our foster kids.  They have 2 precious girls that they just adopted through foster care.  We all got our kids right around the same time and were at similar places all during the process until adoption.  So Lacey and I have bonded through that process even more.  But to know they will be in Malawi taking care of even more orphans and widows... let's just say the fact that I haven't been back to Africa in 14 years is about to change.  There's no more putting off going back.  There's always been a pull back to that place since I visited in 1999.  It was a life changing experience for sure.  For this girl who had never really been anywhere, it made me understand in a whole new way that Jesus loves ALL the children of the world and that worship wasn't just restricted to the USA.  God was evident even in the bush of Africa.  And I can't wait to go back.

I don't know who all will read this, or who would care much, but it's nice to be able to write a bit.  And if just for my extended relatives, this will be a bit more than 140 characters at a time to know what's going on with my crazy family.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Early Mornings

The past 3 mornings, I've gotten up quite a bit earlier than normal.  Sunday, I was up by 5am.  Yesterday and today, I rocked out of bed at 4:15am.  And mama is TIRED!

With a group of other people (my specific group is all people in ministry), we are working toward "starting" to make changes, do bigger things, facing our fears, etc.  My goal for this time of 24 days is to make the most of my time.  And get more things accomplished that I just don't seem to have time to do in the day.  So, one of the big changes I'm making is simply getting up way earlier.

On a good day, I'm usually up before 6am.  I totally love being up early in the mornings before my family and having lots of time to spend in my Bible and in prayer.  However, if I wait until 6am to get up to try and get that done, inevitably someone in my house will wake up early - and there goes my quiet time.  Or I just don't have near enough time with Jesus as I want and yet the kids still have to be at school, I still have to be at work, things still have to get done and the world still goes on, whether I've had some good time with Jesus or not.  And that simply will not do.

Then there's the dreaded exercise.  Y'all.  I really hate to exercise.  My husband enjoys exercising.  My best friend LOVES it.  Like, obsessively loves it. (we are super opposite in so many ways - another post for another time - but still the best of friends).  I don't know if I will ever in my lifetime begin to remotely enjoy exercise, but I'm also not ignorant to the fact that I need to exercise.  This is another area that if time didn't permit, I certainly wasn't going to make time.  It has totally not been on my priority list.  But with this whole Start thing, plus the fact that my husband would like to eventually take me to someplace that would require a swimsuit as normal attire throughout the day, and perhaps even a bit of conceit because I just wanna LOOK good, I have broken this bad boy out.

I hate her.  Honestly.  And I hate the whole time I'm working out.  The only time I like is when I get to fall down on the floor for just a second while I suck wind before nearly killing my abs.  BUT.  I do like how I feel because I've worked out. Notice I didn't say I like how I feel after I work out.  No no.  I pretty much walk like I'm 80 for a few days.  But I feel good that I've put the effort in and made it through.  So I'm making the effort.

Another thing that I want to try and get accomplished is laundry. With 6 people wearing no telling how many different outfits a day, we go through a few dirty clothes at our house.  I figure if I'm up that early anyway, I might as well start a load while my coffee is brewing and then can switch it over to the dryer after Jillian has thoroughly kicked my hiney.  I got 1 load done and another started this morning.  There's a certain feeling of accomplishment when you have empty laundry hampers.

Getting up 3 hours before I have to leave my house and having read my Bible AND worked out all before 5:45am has made me feel rather accomplished the past couple of days. And I like that.  I think I shall continue....

Friday, July 12, 2013

Back in Business

So, yeah.  It's been, oh, you know, a while since I've blogged anything.  Oh, I've thought about it plenty.  I just haven't done it in way too long.  Almost 2 years too long.  We've had a couple things going on in life that just have seemed to take priority.

There's a little venture that I'm on with a few other people that's about to START in a few days, and there are several little things that I want to get disciplined back into doing, and blogging was one of those things.

For any of you that follow me on any social media, I pretty much live on Instagram and Twitter.
You can follow me on Twitter:
You can follow me on Instagram:
You'll likely find out a lot more about me in 140 characters at a time than you will on here, but there are just some things that can't be adequately said in those 140 characters.

The most major thing that's happened in our lives since my last blog was that the foster child that we were able to bring home on September 30, 2011 is now a permanent member of our family.  Grady James Langham was adopted on 4/3/13 and we couldn't be more thrilled.  Although, I have to be honest and say I wasn't real thrilled with the green nail polish I found all over his foot and the girls' carpet this morning.....

But for the most part, I can't help but love this little stinker.  He has so easily become a part of our family and I can't imagine life without him.

Our friend Kelsey helped us capture the awesomeness of adoption day.  You can see our pics here and read about her take on the day and see some of our family pics she did last fall.  Cross Church also did a little story with us to help start the adoption part of the website.  You can read that interview here.  

Lots of other little things going on in life that I hope to write about later, but for now, at least this is my "Start".