Monday, September 24, 2007

Be Careful What You SAY, Even More Careful What You HEAR!

Last night at church 2 conversations were easily misunderstood. Here's how it went:

Conversation #1:
Senior Citizen Lady: Russ, how far will you travel tomorrow?
Russ: Well, since I'll have the dog and Kathy, we'll only go 6 hours.
Senior Citizen Lady: RUSS! That's not nice!
Russ: Why?
Senior Citizen Lady: To say 6 hours is all you can take of your dear wife!
Friend of Senior Citizen lady: I think he meant that Kathy can't travel long distances at a time because of her health.
Senior Citizen lady: oooooh....

Conversation #2:
Pianist: Kathy, did you ever make it out to the cemetery?
Kathy: No, but I really want to go there soon!
Pianist puts loving hand on Kathy's arm, caresses it warmly and says: Don't worry Kathy, you've got plenty of time to get there.
Eyebrows of a couple of eavesdroppers raised!
Kathy to Pianist, while bursting out laughing: If they heard just part of this conversation, they would think I'm eager to die and go to the cemetery, and you were comforting me and encouraging me not to wish it to get here any sooner than it will!
Pianist: I was just letting you know that I feel good that you will be here for a long time next time you come.

Be careful what you say, even more careful what you HEAR!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Life List

Throughout my life, I've heard of people who have the "Bucket List." Things they want to do before they kick the bucket. I think I'd rather call it a Life List. Anything on that list would have to ADD to your life, or it wouldn't be worth putting on a list! I've never made such a list, have you?

If I were to start such a list, what might I add to my already BLESSED LIFE?

I might add things such as:

1. Go snorkeling.
2. In my dreams I para-sail, but not sure I would be brave enough in real life.
3. Publish a book with my byline.
4. Make a souffle.
5. Try truffle-laced ANYTHING.
6. Visit Japan.
7. Mission trip to Mexico.
8. Go on a cruise.
9. Find the perfect hairstyle (that might TAKE a lifetime!).
10.Sing the national anthem at events in 5 different towns. (one down, four to go)

More important is my spiritual "Life List." It contains only 2 items:

1. To grow in my relationship with Christ, and to know Him in His fullness; pleasing Him in my thoughts and deeds.

2. To reflect Christ to others, discipling them and being discipled by them in an interactive fellowship, always mindful of inviting others to join the journey with me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WHIM-Women's Hearts In Ministry

Come on a WHIM-Women's Hearts In Ministry, that is. If you are a woman and serve in ministry, you are welcome to join a new e-mail group I started. This group is designed for: pastors' wives, missionaries, staff wives, staff women, women's ministry directors, etc. We ask that you subscribe to a Christian statement of faith and that you can testify of a specific time in your life that your walk with Christ began. WHIM will be there for you-when you rejoice, we will rejoice. When you cry, we will cry. Our empathy will relate to your day. Come on a WHIM to share ideas, recipes, book reviews, Bible studies, and prayer requests. Brainstorm events and themes. We can thrive in the position of helper, whether as a helper to a ministry or to a minister. We are WHIM, Women's Hearts In Ministry.

If you'd like to check us out, go to:

Or, e-mail to subscribe at:

Monday, September 17, 2007

What a Journey!

Greetings-Friends & Family!

Many of you have wondered about our well-being over the past few days, so I wanted to touch base and let you know our status.

Tuesday we left around noon and headed for Jackson, MS. I enjoyed a catfish po'boy for lunch, with a side of fried pickle chips. YUM!

Wednesday we drove to Vidor, TX to spend some time with a family we discipled, Leno and Mary Yellott. Mary is Hispanic and was born in the USA; Leno is Mexican and was adopted by a USA couple when he was 18 (they helped him get his start in the states). Leno has built a roofing company from scratch-bringing over family members as he can, for staff. Many live on the same lot or block as he. Considering he was mute until the age of 10, he is quite the success story. He doesn't read English or Spanish, but he knows numbers! Leno was one of Russ's deacons when he pastored in Vidor, and Mary was one of my best friends. Russ performed his first Spanish baptism (he memorized the words) for a family member named Oscar-and we got to see him this trip-grinning ear to ear. Oscar asked where we lived now. We said Kentucky, and he said "Pollo!" And then we had Mary tell him, no Kentucky Fried Pollo in Fulton, Kentucky!

We also saw Mati and his familia, and Rene. And we enjoyed time with the Yellott's grown children, Connie and Alan. It was a blessing to this ol' heart to see so many who were discipled during our time in Vidor, still going strong. And to see Alan all grown up with his wife Belinda, and to think we knew him starting at age 12!

When we got ready for bed, the weather said tropical storm Humberto was headed for Galveston. We wondered if we would make it to our next destination and determined to just take it an hour at a time. But first, SLEEP! In the middle of the night, when the air conditioning shut off and the lights were blackened, I realized the storm I heard outside was more serious than a thunderstorm. Leno awakened us around 6 am to say he needed our keys to move the van in case his palm tree fell. Russ got up with him, and I snuggled in the bed a while longer, although the crowing roosters kept me from sleeping (and Jazzy was antsy, unsure of the upset, but knowing there was one). We all gathered outside on their front porch/carport area, and talked. Mati's wife Chelly swept the fallen leaves. Her children, Angel (4-year-old all boy) and Karen (10-year-old shy girl) entertained us. Angel had his Uncle Leno strum on the guitar so he could sing (in Spanish) and always ended with AIEEEE in a high pitched Cajun-style yodel! His legs and hands not to be outdone by his voice, danced and strummed while seated in a rocking lawn chair.

No shower, no power, no land lines, but the cell phone kept ringing. We were in the home of a roofer! Russ and Leno took a smaller truck to go see what was out there, and discovered the street in front of the school covered in 3 feet of water. Smaller vehicles were getting almost swallowed. Traffic was backed up, so they returned home to get a truck with more gas. This time Mary and I were invited to go along for the adventure, and we made it through the water, to see about some donuts. All the shop had left were kolaches, so we ate them in gratitude (they were yummy!). Each gas station was packed with panicked Vidorians, flashbacking to Hurricane Rita, getting gasoline for their generators, prepared for the long haul. We witnessed cameramen and newscasters reporting the damage done. In a nearby town, a man was killed under his carport. Sometime around this time we discovered Humberto had been upgraded to a hurricane rather than a tropical storm, and that Vidor was in the eye of the storm-not Galveston.

I can say I've survived a hurricane! Grant it, Humberto was only graded a Category 1, unlike the Category 5 (Rita) that hit them a few years ago.

Speaking of Rita, we were glad to see that Vidor had rebuilt since that disastrous hurricane and was looking better than ever. Most churches were able to use the insurance money to improve their structures. We were saddened to see that what used to be the church where Russ pastored was not able to rebuild after Rita, and they had chopped off the damaged part of the sanctuary and capped the end of the building. Rita may have destroyed the church, but those who became believers as a result of that ministry were still going strong as they dispersed to various churches for worship.

One of the funny things that happened while we were staying with the Yellotts is that I put on a little show without even realizing it. Leno told me he was growing some hot peppers hotter than jalapenos. I looked at the plant, and the peppers looked similar to the tabasco-sized peppers my Granny and Papa used to grow. They used to pickle them and we ate them with pinto beans. Mati brought out a large jar of these peppers, and I ate the tip off of one (cautious at first, until I knew how hot they were). Then Russ ate a teeny-tiny bit of it and said "that's HOT!" and then I finished the pepper. For "braving the pepper" they gave me the jar to take home. The next day, Leno wanted me to eat a raw pepper from the plant, so I did. Evidently it was then that someone said in Spanish that they had never seen a white woman eat a hot pepper without running for some water. Ha ha! They then gave me yet ANOTHER jar of the peppers. I explained privately to Mary that there was no way I could eat both jars of peppers before they went bad, but that I didn't want to hurt the feelings of Mati and Chelly. She said I should just take them and give them away (Mom-they are yours if you want them!). Then she explained that Chelly had just been in the E.R. for stomach pain that ended up being an ulcer (and stones), and the doctor told her she couldn't eat spicy things. So they were giving me their peppers-and thought it was funny that I could eat something that one of "their own" couldn't eat. CUTE!

The waters from Humberto receded and we were able to leave Vidor in the afternoon, on the way to Galveston. First we stopped in Texas City at our hotel, to grab a shower and freshen up. Then we entered the island of Galveston and found our friends, Dennis and Teresa Hankins, and daughter Becky. We enjoyed fellowship, talked about church stuff and hobbies like writing and music, and ate a yummy gourmet-style meal at Casey's. It was great to see them after six years.

After a night's stay in Texas City, we journeyed on to Raymondville-our destination! Oh how it thrilled our souls to see the mission-style church with gothic touches. I'll take photos to share as I can. Since no one was there, we went to the local McDonalds to see about wi-fi and then called Terry, the head of the pastor search committee and deacon board. Terry is a teacher at the high school and also the tennis coach. Terry escorted us to the parsonage, and Guy, another gentleman on the search committee, met us there. They helped us unload (it looked like we were moving in!) and told us where to find things before giving us time alone to unwind after the trip. We decided to venture out for dinner and tried the Carne Guisada at Mecca. It was "media" but the server was sweet. Then we went to their H*E*B grocery store. I used to love the H*E*B in Beaumont, so I'm happy happy! Everywhere we turned we found more of the Mexican treats (both savory and sweet) that we used to love so much. And we looked around to notice the faces, and felt as if we were in Old Mexico. The homes and landscaping also bespeak the same "feel."

Saturday we met with the pastor search committee for dinner, and enjoyed a time of fellowship as well as an opportunity for them to interview us. It was easy to bond with these good people!

Then Sunday-the day of our expectation! We got all spiffed and buffed and showed up for Sunday School. I attended a women's class and enjoyed the sweet spirit. These women really enjoy getting into the Word-many carried study Bibles or 4-version parallel Bibles. It was neat to see they didn't just rely on their quarterly (S.S. curriculum), but each had their Bibles open to the passage we studied.

The new song leader, Jesse has such an endearing spirit! He's a band director at a nearby school and father of a one-month old baby. He is jolly, tenderhearted, willing, moldable, and all the traits for a good servant of the Lord.

Russ preached both Sunday morning and Sunday night, and it seemed he connected with the congregation. It was great to sense their reactions and hear their interactions and responses. Sunday afternoon before church we met with the church body in an informal time of tea and cookies. It was a great time to hear their life stories and share our hearts with them. After church Sunday night, the pianist told the chairman of the pastor search committee that Russ was a "keeper." She then turned to hug my neck and told me the same thing. I jokingly replied, "well then don't throw him back!" (like the fish.) She said Russ was just the man of God meant for this time in this place. What a wonderful affirmation of what we had already sensed. Of course, there are no guarantees. Another pastor candidate will be following us, and then they will consider who to recommend for a vote-or will pursue more options. We're not really sure. We just are willing to be used, whether for this two-week period, or permanently.

Let me tell you a little about the parsonage. It was built around 1960 from what I understand, and is a type of ranch or rambler style home. The kitchen still has the original cook-top and oven! It is connected to a sort of great room, with areas for dining and recreation or television, with a type of very large 3-foot squares of what looks like a hard-finished flooring (not tile, but not linoleum). The rest of the home is floored with berber carpet. All the walls and woodwork are the same white paint. One full restroom has the 1960s pink tile floor, countertop and wall surround. The master restroom has the same look, only in mint green. There are 3 bedrooms, and also a formal living space that is currently blocked off to save on air conditioning. The most noticeable thing about the house is the number of closets. The master bedroom has 3 large closets, the guest room has 2 large closets, the other bedroom (probably will be the office if we come) has 1 large closet. The hallway has 2 more closets, and the kitchen has 2 pantry closets. Each restroom has built-in storage. The family room has large built-in bookcases and cabinets. It also has a sliding glass door to go out to the porch/carport area. There is also a laundry coming in from the carport, on the way to the kitchen. Oh! And I mustn't forget the 2 doors outside under the carport, closets for even MORE storage! The formal living room has a foyer with yet another closet, and also built-in shelving.

Outdoors, there is plenty of local flora and fauna! I can't even identify all of the plants and trees, but I'm sure if I take photos, I can find out! I did recognize 3 orange trees in the fenced side-yard, with green oranges just waiting to ripen. I hope I get to try one! And Russ has been saying for months that his dream would be to sit under a palm tree on Christmas Day. If we come here, that will be possible-as there are several palm trees near the parsonage!

We also have enjoyed the bright-yellow-breasted birds landing in the parsonage's trees. I'm not sure if these are orioles or what-I will have to look at photos to decide what is the best match.

Monday we spent time with the church secretary, and at lunch with her, her daughter, and a friend. What great fun as we cut up and it felt like we had known each other for years rather than days. She said one of the members of the church has been asking if we could just go ahead and vote on "Brother Russ" as pastor because he's the ONE! She asked if we had any thoughts yet about if we wanted to come if called. We said so far everything we have seen matches our heart's desire for ministry, but that each day we seek God's will and also touch base with each other.

Learning the Spanish language will not be necessary down here, but it will be a help. Even so we know what to order on the menu!

Stay posted for more adventures On The Road!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Top 10 Ways You Know You're Not in KY Any More!

10. You find po'boys on the menus instead of sub sandwiches.
9. Spanish Moss decorates the trees.
8. Oil Pumpers in the fields instead of corn.
7. Find crawfish traps and rice fields instead of limb lines and soybean fields.
6. Seagulls and cranes grace the boggy fields-and even ride bareback on cattle.
5. Love bugs pollute the air and collide with windshields rather than lightning bugs.
4. Cajun food signs rather than KFC.
3. Words use more vowels and less consonants (such as Ribodeaux).
2. Instead of rivers, creeks, lakes, and ponds you are more likely to see bayous, marshes, and swamps!
1. Carnage consists of puffed up armadillo rather than fatally injured deer.

And here's a bonus one:

You don't worry about drought, you survive the eye of Hurricane Humberto! We woke up in Vidor, TX with no power, no telephone land lines, and no air conditioning. Streets were flash flooded and lines were out to the main roads at gas stations (to power generators).We're fine now-all snug in a bug at La Quinta Inn, Texas City, TX near Galveston.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A New Meal Planning Technique!

My hubby is always wanting variety in our meals. And wants them to be healthy, yet affordable, without getting stuck with many leftovers. I will plan menus, give him several choices, but sometimes things just don't sound good to him. But when I ask him what he wants, he says the best gift I can give him is him not having to make a meal choice. So, round and round we go. The good news is that he's willing to try new things.

I'm saying all of this because I'm guessing most of you meal-planners out there have the same problems when you are coming up with your menus.

Today, I decided to make a game out of it. Rather than asking Russ what he wanted this week, I told him we were going to play a game, and he was to tell me the first thing that popped into his head. Maybe some of these questions will get you going on your own meal-planning game time.

Here are the questions I used today, and I'll come up with more as time goes on. It was fun!

- Name a food starting with "s."
- Name the meal you would request on death row as your last meal.
- Name a food you would most likely grab at a potluck dinner.
- Name a meal made from hamburger.
- Name a white food.
- Fill in the blank, "I'm hungry for ____"
- _________ counts as a veggie!
- "You can't make me eat green foods, except for ______"
- I wish you would try to make _____ like I order at ____ restaurant.
- I wish you would make ____ like I see on the TV food network or in a magazine.
- I always requested ____ for my birthday dinner.
- I wish you would buy _____ fruit sometime.

Do you want to know the answers? Here goes:
- Salmon starts with "s."
- Pork Chops and Applesauce for a "last meal."
- Lemon Bars at the potluck meal.
- Make stuffed meatloaf with hamburger (also strogonoff).
- Garlic mashed potatoes are white.
- I'm hungry for pork loin roast.
- Corn as a veggie.
- Salad as a green food (I'm making Spinach/Strawberry/Almond salad)
- Crispy Orange Chicken from Applebee's (found recipe online)
- Make fish like on TV
- Never had a birthday request
- Buy berries for fruit.

Let me know in the comments section if you try this game in your own household!

Trust Can Be Exciting!

I firmly believe that I can trust God to have my ultimate good in mind as He directs us and opens doors for our future. He can also close doors to help us move along when we need a little boot.

It can get exciting when we see signs of God's hand at work. Or even just POTENTIALLY at work!

Let' me explain.

For about a year now Russ has sensed that God has wanted him to pastor again. He has been placing resumes and applications every time he hears of a church. I'm guessing over 150 resumes have gone out.

We are serving as interim music at First Baptist in Clinton, KY and LOVE the people. They will be our friends FOREVER. But no matter how much we love the church, we know that Russ needs to be preaching.

So, September 16, 19, and 23 he will be preaching in view of a call ("trying out," or candidating) at First Baptist Church of Raymondville, TX. We are excited, and can't wait!

By now you are wanting to tell me-"Kathy, we know all this!"

Well...there's more!

Yesterday our landlord came by to inform us that the house we are renting was going to be shown by the Realtor to some interested buyers from out of town. You have to realize that this house has been on the market for a couple of years, and has not sold. Probably everyone in this little town who might be interested, has already looked at the home. So it would take an out-of-towner to really come in and make an offer.

We've lived in the home since May 23rd and it hasn't shown ONE time. Until now. I don't think that is coincidence.

Because now, I get the opportunity to TRUST God for the outcome. There are many what-ifs, but here is the one I'm hoping for:

WHAT-IF #1-Maybe God knows we will get the position in Raymondville, and that we will need out of our lease one month early. Maybe He is helping us by providing a buyer, who, if you figure out the timing of most home loans, will land just about the same time on the calendar as a possible move on our part. See how amazing that is?

Of course, there are other possible outcomes too...

WHAT-IF #2-Maybe we won't get the position in Raymondville, the house will sell, and we will have to decide where in the world we want to move to. We can go anywhere. Russ's last week at Clinton is next week. We have no permanent ties here, although we love the people we have met here. My business is doing well, but would do even better if we lived in a state that was more "tax friendly." Even a move 5 miles away to Tennessee would be advantageous. Or maybe a move to Texas. Who knows?

WHAT-IF #3-Or another outcome could be that we do get the position in Raymondville-but the house doesn't sell here. No biggie. Most rental leases can be broken if your job takes you out of the area and you aren't just moving to another rental in the area. But even if it can't be broken-we are only talking one month, so it's no big deal. Besides-we don't know for sure when Raymondville will be voting-maybe their vote won't take place until later. Who knows?

WHAT-IF #4-Another outcome is that we don't get the position in Raymondville, and the house here doesn't sell. If that happens, we still have a lot to consider. What next? Where next? What timing?

See? No matter what the outcome, it's all a matter of trust. Waiting on God. He's not a puppet master and He's not just pulling our strings to make us move. We can confound things by making unwise choices. That's why we trust-we get our direction from Him. And He in turn blesses obedience. And gives peace. Even when things don't go our way, with peace we can deal with anything.

But still...let's go back to What-if #1. What if? What if God is already working things out so that if everything falls into place we will soon have a new ministry and will also have a way out of our lease here. That would be simply AMAZING!

See why I got excited rather than depressed when I received word that a Realtor was showing the home we are renting to a potential buyer?

I can't wait to see what's next!