Sunday, March 30, 2008


I wasn't sure if the other members of my Triangle Madness Fantasy League had the correct links to look at the standings, so for your they are. I've disguised my name just as an example of my humility in sports competition.
(Click on the screen shot below for a better look)

With only 3 games left, I'm anxious to see who will come out on top. I remain unsure of my chances since this IS my very first experience in NCAA brackets.

Lovin' Livin' !

I just got home from another great Sunday morning at CATT. We put together a small video recap of our Easter service last week. Click here to watch. We're lovin' livin' each day to witness God's hand moving in, not only our lives, but in the lives of the people in our community.

Friday, March 28, 2008

What a Week!

I decided about a week ago that I didn't want to wait for Steve's niece to bring Riley back to me in April. So I found a decent price on a flight and made my way to San Diego this week to reunite with my baby boy. The only flight I could find was one that had me arriving in SD on Tuesday night, and leaving Wednesday morning. I didn't want to tell everyone I was coming, because I didn't have enough time to spend with any one...and the time I DID have, I wanted to spend with family. I was really anxious the entire flight to see my boy, and I decided that I wanted to surprise a couple friends when I got there as well. The flight was long, but peaceful, and I got the "warm fuzzies" seeing the Coronado bridge when I came in for landing. My parents were in Arizona for the week, so my brother picked me up from the airport. We picked up Riley and headed straight to my great grandma's house! We visited there for a while, and then headed to my parents house where I could have enough time to wash the only set of clothes I had (I was wearing them) and to our surprise, my parents decided to drive back in town to surprise me in SD. I was so happy to see them! I spent a little while at home with my parents, brother and Riley. I then went to surprise Becky, and then Kara. Tara and Ingvild showed up at the place I met up with Kara. It was definitely great to see my friends and it didn't even seem like we hadn't seen each other in 3 months!

I got back to my parents house at about 11:30pm (2:30am Raleigh time) and called it a night. When I got up, I packed Riley's things, had breakfast with my family, Beck came over for a while longer, and then I was off to the airport...

and THAT'S when it ALL started.

My dad dropped me off at 11:50 for my 12:50 AMERICAN AIRLINES flight. Yes...too bad I was flying American for this trip. I'd usually fly Continental or Delta, but the cheapest flight I could find for such short amount of notice was American. Bad choice this week. You can read more about it HERE. Me and Riley went through the stress of security only to get to our gate on the OTHER SIDE of the airport to find out that our flight got canceled. I called my dad and he came with my mom to pick me up. I was pretty bummed...but when my mom asked if I wanted sushi for lunch, I immediately felt much better! I'm sure Riley was confused. Oh well...we went to Sushi with my parents, my bro, and his girlfriend, Beth. Then on our way home from lunch, my dad decided that he wanted to make Carne Asada for dinner. I was even more excited about that!! We got home, I put Riley down for a nap, and then headed to the store with my mom to help her with her Jelly Belly's and to buy stuff for dinner. We got back to my parents invited my aunt Dani over and ate dinner.

I SLAUGHTERED my family in a game of Scrabble. They don't think "entreats" is a word, but it is, and it got me 75 points.

I packed up in the morning and headed for the airport AGAIN for my rescheduled flight at 12:20pm. So...I get through security with Riley, get down to my gate on the OTHER SIDE of the airport, to realize my flight is delayed an hour. "Ok...I can handle an hour...let me just call my dad to let him know I got here ok." Yea..that would be the point of the story where I tell you that I left my cell in my bro's car. I made change for a dollar and called my dad. He already knew I had forgot my phone. My brother was on his way to meet me at security (on the OTHER SIDE of the airport) to hand me my phone. The security people thought it would be a good idea for me to go through security again...I didn't complain, but I did dramatize how heavy Riley was, and made my back pack fall off "on accident" a couple of times while the guy was explaining the rules to me. After being shot with a few doses of sympathy for me, he asked his boss if they could just pass my phone through security while I waited for it. So that's what they did. I got it, made my phone calls and headed back to my gate on the OTHER SIDE of the airport. As I approached the gate I heard them announce another delay...that made 2 hours. and a while later...another...which made 3 hours. Thankfully Lindbergh field is on the ball with free wifi so I had a vice to keep my mind off time for a while. In the mean time, Riley started running a fever. Like a really high one. He just slept on the chair next to me. I felt so bad for him and was not looking forward to having a sick boy on the plane. As time ticked away, I realized that since my first flight was delayed, I might not make my connecting flight in Chicago. I was originally scheduled to fly in to Dallas Ft Worth, but that changed because of all the they connected me into Chicago's O'Hare. I called the airlines and told them my concern about not making my flight, and they told me to talk to the ticketing people at the gate. So I stood in line behind about 15 VERY disgruntled people and when my turn came I told them my situation. I told them "I'm connecting in O'Hare for a flight to Raleigh, and I was just wondering if you think that since my flight's delayed here, that there's a chance I could miss my flight in Chicago." They told me I had a BIG chance of missing my flight in Chicago, but that they're usually good about giving discounts on hotels there. Um..yea..I wasn't about to get stuck in Chicago with my boy. So I told them if they thought I wouldn't make my flight then I would just stay another night in SD and fly out in the morning. They then informed me that they couldn't put me on another plane until Tuesday of next week. I told them I needed to get home sooner than that. They did some button pushing and told me that Chicago's flights we're all delayed and that I'd have about a 10 minute window to get on my connecting flight. So I decided to risk it and get on the plane to Chicago. After a lot more waiting, and then an hour more of waiting on the plane before takeoff...we finally headed out for Chicago. When we landed four hours later, we had to wait another 20 minutes for a place to pull the plane in, and another 10 minutes for a group of people going to London to get off our plane and run to another plane waiting for them.

Finally I got Riley off the plane and ran as fast as I could to the arrival and departure screens. I didn't need to run. It was 9:40PM (Chicago time), I knew it was delayed until 10, but I didn't know until I got there that they delayed it another 3 hours. 12:50pm was my estimated departure time. So... I had to figure out what to do for 3 hours with my sick boy in my arms. I knew I needed to keep busy so that I didn't start feeling the pain of my tiredness, so I changed Riley's diaper, and scoured the airport for food. Everything was already closed, but thankfully I found a vending machine with milk for Riley. I filled up his bottle and changed his diaper again, then walked back to my gate with an hour to spare. I wanted to rent a cart to push Riley in, but they were 6 bucks and I just couldn't bring myself to buy one. Thankfully on my way back, with Riley on my shoulders, I found a stranded cart and jacked it. I felt like I was Tom Hanks in Terminal! Riley didn't want to be in the cart though, so I just carried him anyway. I got back to my gate, and I was arms hurt from carrying my boy, and I was starting to feel myself wearing out. I sat really close to the ticketing line at my gate so that I was aware of any changes. It was snowing like crazy outside and very windy. Every time someone opened the gate door a gust of cold air would come in and literally sting everyone in the room. There were other people sitting there...even mom's with babies...but they all had strollers. I didn't. My sick Riley was laying across the arm rest of my chair and my lap with my sweat shirt over him. We just waited and waited and waited. I went in and out of my sleep stupor and every few minutes caught a glance of a guy about 20 feet away from me smiling at me about every 10 minutes. I didn't want to make conversation...because I looked like crap and I was just tired, so I turned the other way and just sat there. My emotions all started welling up inside me as a result of my tiredness and feeling sorry for my baby. But, before I let the tears start rolling, I reminded myself that I was in a better circumstance than most of the people there and that I had done REALLY well with Riley and that I was just a FEW hours away from being home in my nice warm bed and getting to reunite Riley with his daddy and brother. That's about the time when one of the ticketing ladies came and asked me for my boarding pass. Since the entire day was just full of airport miscommunication, I figured they wanted my boarding pass to check when the plane was supposed to get there or something. After a few minutes, I glanced back at the counter and saw the guy I mentioned earlier talking to the lady. Right then I knew God was going to bless me and Riley. Sure enough, they both came over, and the guy said "Hi, I just saw you and your son sitting here, and I know it has been a long flight day for everyone here. I travel a lot and I want to trade you, your ticket for my first class ticket." As he was talking, all I heard was God's voice, delighted in my efforts in staying patient and strong throughout the day. I replied "are you serious?!" He said "yes, I'd be honored if you would take it!" I obliged, and thanked him a ton. I tried to explain my story to him and before I could finish he just said "I know", smiled and walked off. He finished waiting for the plane in a spot where I couldn't get a good picture of him. So I pretended to throw some trash away and stood behind him to take a picture of at least his profile..for my blog of course. Well...I didn't know that my phone's camera sounds were turned on, and when I snapped the shot, everyone in the gate turned as if the friggin paparazzi was there. I quickly turned around and acted like I heard the snapshot behind me like everyone else. He probably saw me, but oh well. First Class people were called to board the plane (that was me!!) coach passengers boarded next and the guy waved at me and Riley as he passed by. I thanked him again and he again told me he was glad to do it!! We took off, and I took full advantage of blankets and pillows, warm wash cloths and ample leg room! There was actually enough room in the seat for me to put Riley next to me instead of on top of my lap! We enjoyed our last leg of the flight home. As we got off the plane at 3:00am, I headed to baggage claim. Our flight was the only people in the airport at that time. I wanted to find the "guy" to thank him again and ask him for a know how the story goes with that...I waited and waited and never saw him again! I didn't get a good picture, but I have his boarding pass to always remember the nice gesture and God's blessing on me that day. So... Richard Puckett, if you happen to google your name...I hope this post comes up! Thank You again for your generosity! I'll never forget my first time sitting in first class!!

Riley was ecstatic to see his daddy and brother. We had a little play time at 3:30am and then all went to bed together at 4am. I enjoyed my time in SD, but I'm sooo glad to be home!! Here are some pictures of me and my family before I left!

I'm so glad I was able to see a few friends and family this week, but I'm even more glad to be home with all three of my boys today!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Thanks to an amazing team, and a MIGHTY God, this week we're celebrating a GREAT First Easter Experience at CATT. Before the details, I'd like to give a little shout out to my faithful group of friends who have obliged my personal request to commit to praying for Church at the Triangle daily. Yes...EVERY DAY! My goal was to find 5 by the end of March, and it happened! Between the 4 of us on staff, we now have at least 30 people praying for us everyday. And we all feel it! If you're interested in partnering with us in this way, please email me so I can send you personal prayer requests and more frequent updates.

Enough commercials...

As I mentioned in a previous post, we held our first 2 "first look experiences" in a coffee shop called the Royal Bean. This venue was awesome and worked out perfect for those two weekends...however we were still looking for a more permanent spot to meet where we could have more flexibility and a bigger space. It just so happens that in the same small strip mall where the coffee shop is, there is an event center where wedding receptions and banquets are held. Lee met with the landlord of the mall, who gave us a "close to nothing" deal to use the room every Saturday night (for setup) and for The Experience (our service) on Sunday morning. The venue is stinkin' plush and we were able to transform it into the hippest church in town! Here's sort of a layout in pictures of what our venue looks like. We're praying that God would give us the entire mall...because upfit is DONE if we we're able to get our hands on it.

Here is the hallway from the Royal Bean Coffee Shop (the building at furthest end of the hallway) that we're using as our entrance and cafe...we've built a great relationship with the coffee shop and they love having us there!

Behind where I was standing in the picture above is this area called the rotunda. Which has become our foyer area. Keep in mind, there are businesses all along the hallway, but they're all closed on Sundays which is obviously very convenient!

Here's a closer picture of the entrance of where we actually meet for church:

Inside we're using two rooms. One as our main "worship center" and one for Triangle Kids.

Here's the Worship Center:

Here's our Children's Ministry (Triangle Kids) area:

During the Experience we had one of our volunteers (an artist) paint a picture of her representation of Easter:

Lee talked about how each one of us MATTERS to God:

(DANG Lee! Nice threads, bro...especially the shirt! I'm definitely coming back to CATT next week!)

At the end of the Experience, we were given a chance to pin our names to the cross as a way to remind ourselves that Jesus paid our debt because we matter to Him!

After the Experience, we invited everyone to join us in the rotunda area where we let the kids run around looking for over 200 easter eggs...believe was plenty of eggs for 4 kids!! The eggs were filled with candy and great gifts like build-a-bear, Toys R Us, and Cold Stone Ice Cream Gift Certificates. As you can boy ESPECIALLY was IN HEAVEN!

A couple decisions were made for Christ and we had some awesome unbelievers check us out this weekend. We've definitely set the bar for weekends to come. We'll continue our "First Look" Experiences every weekend from here on out until we launch in August. We'll start marketing and advertising in a few months but as for now, we are so thankful for the people God has given us already! We have some amazingly talented people on our's been so awesome to watch God just lay the foundation for great things to come!!

Thanks again to all who prayed for us this weekend!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Steve has made a goal for us to crank out at least 4 songs every month. Some weeks it's been easy, and some weeks it's way too hard! Like this just wrote a goofy mushy song for him! I don't know if he'll count this as one of our songs this month...I think he should...since it IS ABOUT HIM!!

Click Here and press PLAY to listen!

Happy Easter

Today we celebrate new life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sweet Connections.

Ever since January 7th, 2008 our lives have been packed with sweet connections. We've met some amazing people in the most random encounters, and have met even MORE people through those initial relationships. In our almost 3 months of being here, I am amazed at how many people we've met and are already doing real life with!

This week my world was interrupted by two specific and unlikely connections. Both came in email form.

The first was an email from my spanish teacher from high school who I haven't talked to since my freshman year in 1996. She sent me an awesome email telling me she remembered me from her class...she wanted to know if I still played guitar, and shared some encouraging thoughts she had about the year I was in her class. If you know anything about me, then you know that I absolutely LOVED my teachers in high school. I wasn't always the best student...but in spite of getting suspended for fighting, and ditching classes to hang out with teachers were great friends of mine. I was so honored and encouraged to receive an email from one of my teachers this week!!

The second sweet connection came last night. Steve and I came home from our small group leader training at about 9PM. After we got settled and ready for bed, I checked my email and in my inbox was one from "Dawn". My jaw just dropped the entire time I read her email. Here is a small portion of what I read:

"Hi Lauren, My name is Dawn and I live in El Cajon CA. Not too long ago I was doing some research on Pfeiffer Syndrome. I found the blog made for/about your son Riley. I then went on to read your blog, so inspiring. I find myself checking your blog every few days to read your new posts. I wish we would of had a chance to meet when you lived back here. My son is 2.5 yrs old, he was born at Kaiser. We were told when he was 7 weeks old by Dr. Vaux that our son has Crouzon Syndrome. We went to LA for his surgery at 6 mths old, Dr. Kawamoto, Dr. Wexler, and Dr. Cahan..."

Dawn went on to tell me about her son's story. I've had numerous people email me to share their children's variations of the same defects Riley has, but I was blown away at all of the similarities in our son's situations. Not only was her son diagnosed with the same syndrome as Riley, but he was seen by the same pediatricians, specialists...he had the same surgery, they live in the same neighborhood as we did...etc. I seriously think our kids medical records might be identical!! Amazing! Here was the first paragraph of my response to her:

"Hi Dawn! Wow! I really don’t know what to say...I’m just so surprised, encouraged, amazed and really blown away at all of the “coincidences” in our situations...and by the fact we had the same team of doctors...and by the fact I lived in El Cajon, and that we’re still trying to figure out the Pfieffer/Crouzon stuff out too. That’s just crazy, and I don’t think a coincidence at all...more like some kind of encouragement from God!"

This morning I woke up to pray and I couldn't help but to try to figure out the reason Dawn's email landed in my inbox yesterday. Maybe as a reminder to get Riley set up with a medical team here...maybe as another resource, maybe as a new friend, or maybe God just wanted to blow my mind yesterday and remind me of his undeniable presence in my life. He did that for sure!!

I truly believe that life is enhanced by connections and community. I hope my desire to know more people never changes. And I hope God might make my life a sweet connection to the people around me and to the people I don't even know yet!

Friday, March 21, 2008

I've Entered The Madness

I'm not sure the DMV would approve my residency here in NC if I didn't have proof of some kind of involvement in the The 2008 Men's College Basketball Tournament.

My husband LOVES college basketball, and knows just about every stat on every player in the game. I, on the other hand, have always loved watching it, but since SDSU has always stunk up the joint in this area, I've never had a "favorite team" or even cared who won. This year, Lee started our very own Church at the Triangle Fantasy Sports League. I was pretty excited to kind of study a few stats and fill out my own brackets this year.

Living only minutes away from Duke, UNC, and NC State, this year we have a front row seat to all the rivalry, and chaos that goes on in this college basketball town! Apparently this time of year is so crazy here that many businesses close their doors and students from all over ditch classes! Sweet!

I'm not sure how well I'll do over all...but so far I'm 14 for 16 with only a couple of bad picks so far! I hope I didn't just jinx myself!

Happy March Madness All!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wrightsville Beach, NC

Our friends, Kevin and Heather invited us to join their family at the beach for a couple days this week. We were only planning on spending one day, but when we got there, we forgot how much we missed the coast and decided to make arrangements to stay an extra night.

We took the kids to the beach right after checked in to our hotel. I couldn't help but try to figure out all of the differences between west coast beach VS east coast beach. There were a lot of differences to my surprise. The first thing I noticed was the sand and what they call "sea oats". There's a lot of the same sand we're used to in SD, but when I got closer to where the tide came in, I noticed that the sand was made up of lots of really tiny pieces of smooth rocks and shells, and they really did look like "oats".

Another thing I noticed was the difference in vegetation. There was a lot of long grass and banks of sand.

It stayed about 70 degrees while we were there, and although the kids didn't mind stripping down to their suits, we kept our sweat shirts on for most of the time. That didn't keep us from hanging out there for most of the day! There aren't as many shops as there are in SD, and it didn't seem like there's as much partying, but I think the college kids all come out more in the summer time.

The biggest similarity of both east coast and west coast is, hands down, the "BIGNESS" of the ocean and God...and the way I feel so small when I'm there! Amazing!

There were a TON of surfers. I would say these guys are pretty die hard, considering the water was 10 times colder than the COLDEST beach water in SD.

The kids played really well together, and we even had grown up time after the kids went to bed!

To make the trip even better than it already was, Heather found this surf shop with TONS of stuff on clearance since it was off season!! SOOO cool. I got a ton of stuff for NOT a ton of money!!

Here are a few more pictures of the boys and the view of the harbor from our room.

We had an awesome time at Wrightsville beach this week. We're hoping to make the same trip at the same time every year! The ONLY thing that would have made our trip better than it was Riley boy. I miss him so much and am so glad he's coming home next week!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Off to the beach!

Today we're heading out to Wrightsville beach to spend time with some friends. We'll be back tomorrow evening. Thank GOD for warmer weather!!

Friday, March 14, 2008


Last night, me, Steve and Cameron went bowling with some new great friends, Alex and Ann. I didn't think about it until I got there, that Cameron had NEVER been bowling before now, so we had a GREAT time teaching him technique and the rules of the game! I thought I had taught him everything he needed to know before he rolled his first ball...I mean...come doesn't take much...especially with bumpers...just roll the ball and hit the pins!! He put his first ball down on the ground and just when I thought he was about to roll it, the boy scoots back a few feet and RUNS FULL SPEED KICKING the ball down the lane. Instead of just letting the ball go, I, for some reason thought I needed to go GET the ball he just kicked, so...there I went...running down the lane...only to fall straight into some kind of break dancing move on the slick greased up floor. NICE! And quite the site for my husband!!

We had so much fun! Cameron even beat me on one game! I'm not letting him use bumpers next time.

Here's the pro himself!

Master Bowler!!!

He's VERY focused. Look at that concentration!

I think it's a good one!!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

So NOT ok!

If you just read the timestamp on this post, you know that I'm up WAY too early this morning. And if you know me, then you know the reason I'm up right now because my heart is consumed...usually when I wake up earlier than 3AM, this means I'm worrying about something. The bad thing about that is, at 3AM anything I could possibly be worrying about is completely exaggerated...and come 7:00AM I will think back and wonder why I lost sleep over worrying about something so petty.

Tonight (or this morning, I should say) I'm up, not so much because I'm worried, but because I just had a revelation about myself that I needed to talk through! After writing a few notes in my Moleskine I decided to share with you a thought that I've been wrestling with since Sunday morning.

I've never been much of a positive thinker. I wouldn't say I'm an all out pessimist, but I do tend to weigh out pro's AND con's of almost any situation. I do really hate this piece of negativity inside of me... and I really don't know where it came from!

I shared with you earlier this week, that Lee's talk was about Caring... and what the world would look like if we all TRULY cared about each other. A couple things he said really HIT me in regards to my perception of people and life in general.

1. "We cannot truly care about people until we can admit we're broken, and flawed ourselves".
I LOVED this thought. It's easy to feel sorry for someone. For the poor, needy, hungry, homeless... but it's another thing to feel sorry and to feel compassion. Feeling sorry is having a deep awareness of the suffering of another. Feeling compassion, by definition is- a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. Most times, when I'm aware of the suffering of another, I'm just glad I'm NOT that person. I'm thankful God hasn't placed me in THAT situation...but this isn't the idea God had in mind at all. God IS compassion and I have so much to learn from Him in this area. My awareness of the suffering of another is NOT coupled with the wish to relieve it, until...I put myself in a place of reality of how small and broken I am. How "not much different" I am from that guy begging for food on the street corner. How... most of us are just a couple of paychecks away from being homeless ourselves! These sobering thoughts drive us to compassion, where our sorrow is "coupled with the wish to relieve it." What would the world be like if we were all truly compassionate towards each other? I'd say...probably a LOT different.

2. Admitting Brokenness...To God
In the past year or so, I've been in a battle with negativity and doubt in my life. Friends have suggested books about the power of positive thinking... but something has just always IRKED me about telling myself that "I'm OK!" Now, I'm not saying that feeling broken and flawed ALL the time is healthy or a good thing AT ALL. The "False Humility = Pride" equation falls into that perspective, and I don't want to be a part of that either! I think I've just REALLY come to grips with my brokenness and NEVER try to deny that it's there. One thing I'm realizing that I'm missing from this whole perspective is "going to God with my brokenness." This is also something Lee mentioned this past weekend. Until I'm at the feet of God literally GIVING Him my brokenness, and asking for His wholeness, my initially healthy thoughts of discontent turn into poisonous lies from the enemy, worry, negativity, and harmful self perception. God meant for me to use my brokenness as a tool for compassion. For so long, I've been stuck on myself, trying to figure out how to change MY outlook on life, when really I need to be asking God DAILY to make me whole, so that He can channel that admitted brokenness into compassion for the people around me.

I hope at least some of that made sense!!

I'm so glad that I'm a work in progress. I'm thankful that God isn't finished with me yet! The way He pursues me makes me fall in love with Him more and more every time I think about it!

It's time to get the day started...I can already tell it's going to be a good one!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Go Simple, GO BIG!

A couple of weeks ago, at one of our Catalyst services, I couldn't help but snap some pictures of our team using minimal resources to change a boring classroom into an inviting place to have church! If you know anything about...well know that most fluorescent light is blinding, boring and a huge barrier when trying to create a certain type of mood in any setting.

I give you - Under $10.00 Stage Lighting.

Call it ghetto and maybe a little against fire code...but it worked! And it worked well! We also added some cheap Chinese Paper lanterns that worked perfectly as house lights!

The fixture you see on the ground behind Steve and Joe is part of a table saw with clear white lights covered with 2 light gels. Good Stuff! Definitely memory making times!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Church at the Triangle - First Look - UPDATE!

After countless prayers and a bunch of sleepless nights, we can FINALLY celebrate Church at the Triangle's first successful FIRST LOOK preview service! A week ago today, we were scrambling the town for a place to hold our First Look Service. We had NO idea God would land us smack dab in the MIDDLE of town in a COMPLETELY public coffee shop. We couldn't have ASKED for a better place to have our service. The owner of the shop (NOT a Christian) let us use her shop for free and told us we could configure it however we wanted, so we did. The VIBE was OFF THE CHAIN!! The room acoustics were amazing, and being the venue that it was, minimal staging and decor was required. Every person who didn't come for "church" definitely stopped to check it out...especially after they ordered their coffee drink and found out that WE comped their bill! Just about all the people we invited came, and people we didn't invite stayed and even helped out with set up and tear down! Raleigh has NEVER seen church done the way it was done this weekend. We started our "What If" Series, and Lee talked about what the world would be like if we TRULY cared for each other, the way God meant for us to care for each other. Our service started at 10:30AM, but by 9:45AM, Carla had already gathered a crowd of people none of us invited, who were just curious about what we were doing!

Our volunteers stepped up in a BIG way and made set up and tear down a cinch! Steve and I had an AWESOME lunch with a "first time guest" couple after the service who want to dive in to ministry with us using their gifts in digital media and graphic design.

We asked God to just blow our minds this weekend, and He did! In a BIG way! We'll continue our First Looks every other weekend until our launch in August. This coming weekend, we're having an "open to the community" concert of prayer. We decided to have this event at the coffee shop as well. It's hard to just SIT and soak everything in when we need to start preparing for next weekend. We had dinner with the Towns last night to debrief and celebrate the day. We all agreed that there was NOTHING we would have changed about the service to make it better than it was...God seriously rocked our world!

I'm so honored and humbled that God brought us here to be part of such HUGE kingdom building!

Thanks to all of you who prayed for our service this weekend! You played just as big of a role as any of us here in Raleigh!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

iPod Juice

Over the past few weeks, I've had a few songs on repeat. In attempts to freshen up my playlist, and maybe add a little juice to yours, I give you...

My Favorite Music Today! Some new some old, but all on my playlist NOW!

1. Laugh So You Don't Cry - Andy Davis

2. Love Song - Sara Bareilles

3. Falling Slowly - Glen Hansard (From the movie "Once")

4. Our God Saves - Paul Baloche

5. God of This City - Chris Tomlin

6. Bruised - Ben Folds

The More I Seek You by Kari Jobe (Gateway Church)

My friend "on Layaway" in Ohio shared this song with me. Definitely not a song I'd find on my own, but it definitely did some soul nourishing!!The lyrics are amazingly raw! Thanks Heather! I can't WAIT until you get here!!

Happy Listening!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Weekly Staff Meeting

Until we nail down a permanent meeting space, we've been having most of our staff meetings at Caribou. I had a babysitter lined up for our meeting this morning, but I decided to bring Cameron with us instead. I knew he'd be fine for a couple of hours if I just set him up with a movie or two to watch. I didn't really think it would be any big deal to buy him a hot chocolate and let him watch his dvd, but the youngest little business man in Caribou turned lots of heads this morning!

He did pretty well...all except for the times he had to yell my name to tell me to come watch a "funny part". Today when we got home he made sure to tell me that he "LOVES meetings".

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Music...

In case you were wondering...we haven't stopped writing music since we've been in Raleigh. It's just been hard to find time, QUIET time, where we can focus and jot stuff down. Here's a scratch track of a song we're writing right now. The presence of a band should take it up a level, but for now, for you, here it is...Steve Faiai - RAW and UNCUT (can I say that?)

Good to Me
Steve Faiai

Better than all the riches
Better than all things of this world
Is Your love

Greater is He who’s saved me
Grateful am I for what He’s done
Through His Love

I owe everything I am to You
So I’ll go, live my life to worship You

You are my whole life
And ALL I can do is Praise You
You are Good to me, Lord

I’ll live all of my days
To be proof of Your Grace
You are Good to me Lord

Better than all the riches
Better than all things of this world
Is Your love

Greater is He who’s saved me
Grateful am I for what He’s done
Through His Love

I owe everything I am to You
So I’ll go, live my life to worship You

You are my whole life
And ALL I can do is Praise You
You are Good to me, Lord

I’ll live all of my days
To be proof of Your Grace
You are Good to me Lord

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Another Ordinary Weekend...

We just ended a series tonight entitled "Ordinary"...about Ordinary people, Living ordinary lives in the presence of an extraordinary God. Every Sunday night after a hard days work of prep, set up and tear down, I can't help but to come home and find myself restless. God just stirs something inside of me that won't allow my soul to chill until...I take a moment to just sit and write it all down. I decided to share some of the BIG reasons my heart feels like it's about to explode tonight:

1. First, I just really feel the need to tell God: Thank You for forgiving me for the things that I haven't even thought to ask forgiveness for. You are SO sovereign, Lord!

2. Greater things are STILL to be done in this city! As much as we can expect God to do through our prayer and ministry, He's orchestrating even GREATER things than we could ever plan or schedule. Things that we can't even wrap our puny brains around!

3. We were created in the image of the Innovator of Innovators, the creator of CREATIVITY who has allowed us to not be limited by our lack of resources!

4. My stinkin' pastor can set up a song, a video, a projected image, better than anyone I know. I don't know how he does it...but I swear...If we decided to play a clip from Teletubbies, LT could set it up and knock it out of the park! (Carla, ask him to tell you the analogy I used earlier. I'm sure he appreciated that one more than this one!)

5. We're 6 days away from our first preview service. And 6 days away from changing our PM service to an AM one. We have SO MUCH to get done before Sunday! Not by might, nor by power, but by YOUR Spirit, Lord! Let's do this!


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Loverboy!

You amaze me everyday! I'm so proud to be your wife!
I love you!

C.A.T.T. Prayer Walk 2008

Today, members of our congregation are getting together and praying in our surrounding neighborhoods. We're not initiating conversation with people, or even promoting our church today. Our only objective is to pray for each family and home that we pass. Here are some of our guidelines we're to follow:

1) Walk and pray. You will be tempted to talk to those with you, but don't. Pray aloud for the families represented in each home you pass by.

2) Ask God to make your heart soft towards the families each home.

3) As you pray, ask God for spiritual responsiveness and for salvation of each family member represented by that home. Also ask God to provide in physical, tangible ways for each family.

4) Remember, this is not about having conversations with neighbors, but it is about praying for the families.

If you think about it, please pray for Church at the Triangle's surrounding communities today...and that God would be stirring the hearts of our neighbors!