Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Too busy to twitter?!? - Barometers

I have a few barometers in my life that I track to see if I am in a danger zone with how I'm handling my life. These are indicators that help me know if I've gotten too busy, too focus or too distracted away from my priorities, God, Gary, my family.

My friend, Jan , mentioned one yesterday in her own life that help me realize these in my own... She twittered that she had been so busy yesterday that she couldn't twitter! I walked through most of yesterday side by side with Jan and I can tell you that she's absolutely right. I, too, only had time yesterday to shoot a quick twitter to Jackie to let her know I was praying for her exams.

This time of year is the busiest time of year by far for me. So I have to watch my barometers very closely. Some of my barometers may seem silly to you but they scream at me "WARNING!! - some things are out of whack! You're getting dangerously close to mishandling life and the people around you that you love."

Here are some of my barometers: If my devotions file does not come up in my most recently accessed file list, if my children are playacting phone conversations as their primary play time, if I've gone too long between posting to one of my blogs, if I haven't had more than an "information download" conversation with Gary and a couple of close friends in my life, if I find myself saying encouraging phrases like "ho, ho, ho... bah-humbug!" more than once a week.

This week is crunch week - and I'm feeling it. So far my barometers are rising but not in the danger zone.

How about you? What are your barometers and what are they saying this week?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Making Christmas special

For those of us who lead in churches and create services and special moments for others at Christmas, the holidays are often not the time of year we look forward to the most.  Instead, the holidays can become extra rushed, stressful and draining.  

But, it is crucial that we still have times that are renewing and significant for ourselves and our families. 

I'm just a couple of years into learning this lesson.  I don't get it right every year, but I am establishing a few traditions that are extremely important to me and hopefully to my family as well.  

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I'd like to invite you to our Christmas production!

This Christmas we are presenting:

Restoring the Wonder of Christmas

It is a beautiful display of how God is with us in our circumstances wherever we are, here in Clearwater, halfway around the world in Nakuru, Kenya, anywhere.  

I'm really excited about our opportunity to work with Dundu Dole a group here in Clearwater well know for their involvement in the excellent, annual holiday presentation, "The Chocolate Nutcracker."  

To reserve free tickets to "Wonder" go to:

I hope you will join me at one of our four performances.  If you do, track me down... I'll be the girl wandering around the back of the room in a headset.

Monday, December 01, 2008

NICU, ER and grace through community - the stuff our Thanksgiving was made of

Thank you so much to all who have expressed concern and offered prayers, encouragement and support over the last week for our family.  Many have done so without even knowing what was going on, just knowing that we looked exhausted and that I kept posting cryptic but unsettling updates on Facebook and Twitter. 

This past week has been extremely difficult for us as a family.  We welcomed our newest Kistner, my nephew, Bradley Allen, on Tuesday.  By Thursday morning he had already had two surgeries in his short little life.  Cameron and I spent most of Wednesday night and again Thursday night in ER for complications from a high fever spike and continuing high fever.  Saturday night we got the call from Scott and Tiffany that Bradley would most likely not make it through the night.  And to add just a little more, Connor developed a stomach bug Saturday morning around 3.  

So, by the time many of you saw me Sunday morning I was running on 90 minutes of sleep for Saturday night and an average of 4 hours of sleep a night for the previous 4 nights.  (Note to those of you reading this who also direct services, I would not recommend directing on 90 minutes of sleep.  It tends to throw your observation filter off. )

So, what we would be fine not doing the rest of 2008 - nervously waiting in hospitals watching people, especially babies, we love suffering.  

What we hope to not stop doing - being a part of true loving community.

I can't possibly include here all of the incredible outpourings of love that have been expressed to us in the last week but here are a few that I'd like to mention and thank.

Bob and Dana Richardson made it to my house in under 3 minutes Wednesday night to watch Connor and get Cameron and I to the hospital.  Bob even broke traffic laws with my blessing to see that Cameron got there as quickly as possible. 

Our family, Sharon, Tona, and Carol, who after a long day of waiting in the NICU waiting room in Tampa rushed to the Clearwater ER in the middle of the night to be with Gary, Cameron and me.

Sharon for going with me to ER on Thanksgiving night and Jacquelyn for being an awesome big sis and entertaining Connor for hours while we were in ER. 

My Mom, from out of town, checking in frequently around the clock on Bradley and Cameron and offering to head here at a moment's notice if we needed them to.

Jerry and Jamie spent Saturday night at the hospital with Gary and Scott and Tiffany praying like crazy Bradley would pull through and graciously sent me texts with info as I paced nervously at home with two sick boys. 

Gerry and Kay helped by "thinking for me" Sunday when my brain or emotions wouldn't allow me to think clearly on my own - covering things for me with team members at church and lining up childcare so Gary and I could be at the hospital.

Gerry and Bob came over to watch my two sick boys yesterday to allow Gary and I to be at the hospital with Scott and Tiff when things were looking really bad for Baby Bradley.  (Trust me, watching a puke-y 2 year old is real grace in action!)  

The ladies of our group headed to the hospital to support Scott and Tiffany. 

Donna who just saw me Sunday between services and held me while I cried and has through all of this been on back up to call for whatever we needed. 

And the literally hundreds of people who have been praying for Bradley, Scott, Tiffany and our family.  

Bradley is not out of the woods, but seems to have turned a significant corner last night.  And I'm off to a follow up appointment with our pediatrician. 

I remember years ago a season when our pastor kept asking the questions:  If your car broke down in the middle of the Bayside bridge, who would you call for help?  If you lost your job, who would you call for support and encouragement?  If your child got sick in the middle of the night, who would you call?  Back then I didn't know and that grieved me deeply. 

Now, I know exactly who I would call, and who I did call.  And I am so thankful to God for showing His grace and love to our family through the people He has put in our lives.