Thursday, August 28, 2008

Special Delivery!

Today was a special day for Cameron! (It doesn't take much!)
Today Cameron sent out his very first package to his two very favorite people in San Diego, Grandma and Grandpa! He very thoughtfully picked out a bunch of really neat things that he knew his Grandma and Grandpa would LOVE! (Don't get too excited, mom and dad.) I had no idea how special this event would be for my boy, but it was!! He excitedly jumped up and down pretty much the entire time we were in the mail center!

I have decided that I should make sending mail a regular routine with my boys!! It's easy, cheap, and the experience is incredibly fun!! Maybe I should let Cameron mail my bills. He'd definitely have more fun with that than I do!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lot's of love and cooking!!

Since we've been married for 5 years now.
See picture:

And since I had a great idea tonight...
and since I was hungry...
I decided tonight was going to be home made pizza night.

Steve's Pizza: BBQ Chicken with Onion, Garlic and Mozzarella
Lauren's Pizza: Chicken, Artichoke, Feta, Sundried Tomato and Basil Pesto

And...for the record. MINE WON! Although, the BBQ pizza was very delicious. I was the only judge of course. Steve loved both. And so did the boys. If my mom was here, she definitely would have liked mine the best!

Riley also used his own original recipe to make his lunch today.

Riley was served chicken and stars soup, with 4 pretzels and 3 chips on the side.
Riley decided all of the ingredients would probably taste better all stirred and mixed together. So...that's what he did!

And he ate the WHOLE THING!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

We're Launched!

Today was a great day! Our team was in sync, the place looked great, people came, and God showed up in a BIG way! We've worked so hard for this day for so long, and the service went great! I could list our service order, and tell you all of the great points of the message in this post, but more powerful than the music, more powerful than the message or any media pieces we used, were the AMAZING stories that came out of today! Every person who showed up today had an incredible story about how they landed at Church at the Triangle today. The one I'm most excited about right now is Josh's story.

Finding musicians in Raleigh is no easy task. Steve has been working hard at getting just a few band members to commit a few Sunday's to us. We've had lots of great leads and even promises from people, but we've had even more closed doors. Needless to say, this stress ball (me) has been FREAKING OUT about trying to find people to play. Seriously, banging my head against a wall would be more enjoyable. Steve, of course, never stressed. He kept reminding me: "We're here doing exactly what God has called us to do right now. He's faithful, and in total control of EVERYTHING." After reminding myself of that a few dozen times, I decided to do what I always feel led to do when I'm in a bind...pray, then type into my web browser! I forget where I found that passage of scripture.


I posted an ad on Craigslist that read "Need a bass player for THIS Sunday. Willing to compensate, must be able to read simple chord charts and make a 2 hour rehearsal on Saturday night." In the hour after I published the post, I got about 12 inquiries. (People like last minute stuff on CL, just FYI.) I responded to the one that said he had his own gear and that he could read chord charts. His name was Josh. Steve called him and asked to meet him at a mall nearby where he could give him a cd of the songs we're playing along with some music charts. When Steve got home, I asked "what he thought of the guy". He said he seemed to know what he was talking about, he's in his early 30's. He told Steve: "I've never played in any kind of church, are you ok that I'm Jewish?" It was, of course, ok. It was great! He came to rehearsal on Saturday, waited WAY to long for us to set up, plugged in his equipment, and played each song lick for lick. He didn't need any coaching and was able to sync right up with our drummer immediately! I was so happy to know that he was going to be a GREAT add for our launch service. After the walk through on Saturday, we were all chatting and walking to our cars. Josh then told Steve "Hey, I know you're paying me for this weekend (we payed him close to zip-o), but if tomorrow works out, and you think it sounds good, do you think I could maybe start playing with you for free on Sunday's?" Of course, we had to do a lot of thinking about that. NOT!! Steve arranged to meet with him this week to learn more about Josh's story, go over songs, and what the next few weeks look like! They're even going to check out some venues Josh is familiar with to try and find more local musicians. We were simply amazed at how the whole thing happened! Full credit to the faithfulness of God!

On our way home from the walk through, Steve and I were in the middle of talking about how great Josh was, and how bad I felt for making him stand around for so long on Saturday, Steve got a text. It was Josh. His text said "That was fun, bro! Thanks for having me!" I seriously got goosebumps because of the timing of that text. Not only did he not freak out about waiting around, but he enjoyed his time!" Sweet!

Josh showed up this morning excited to play. We played an awesome worship set, he was able to sit in for the message, and he hung around to talk to everyone afterwards! He'll be playing with us regularly! As excited as I am to have Josh here as a GREAT bass player, I'm even more excited that he's going to start being part of a community of Christ followers! So Cool!!

There are plenty more stories just like that one that came out of today! I'm sure I'll share more in the coming weeks. Pictures of CATT's first official service soon to come!! Thanks to everyone who's been praying!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Just helpin' out!

Riley hates the grocery store. He doesn't like sitting in carts at ALL! I had to take him to the store to buy some basics, and today Riley LOVED the grocery store!

Why?! Because today he had a purpose!!

I found this cart inside the store and thought he'd enjoy pushing his cart while I pushed mine! It was definitely the LOUDEST cart in the store, and whenever he got near someone he'd abandon his cart right in their way and run to me in embarrassment! But for the most part, Riley was focused and determined to get everything he needed! And didn't need. We ended up putting back the dog bones, hair dye, and Flamin' Hot Cheeto's.

I let him go ahead of me as we got in line to check out. He haphazardly decided to mosey his cart right on down the line of the other four people who were ahead of us. And even started handing his items to the checkout lady at that point. They got a good laugh, and I had a little talk with him about the rules of the grocery store!

As crazy as he was, I'm very happy my boy had a great time being mommy's helper today!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

5 Years as a Faiai!

Tomorrow night, Steve and I will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary! When I think about the past 5 years, I just get happy!!! The time went by so fast! I've noticed a trend of how we love each other more and more every year!! I'm pretty sure that's a good thing!! Steve is my soul mate and my best friend! He has an incredible heart for God and people, and I am SOOO blessed to be married to that heart!! His passion for ministry and for me and the boys is powerful, and one that I truly don't believe I could find anywhere else on earth!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, babe!! I'm so glad I get to do this crazy life with you. I can't wait until year 10! Hmm...I'll be 31 years old then!!! EW! I can wait!!

This picture was taken last year on our anniversary! It's the only one I had of the two of us! Guess I need to take more pictures!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And We're Rollin, Rollin, Rollin on the River...

This past week (actually, couple of weeks) have been challenging for me, to say the least. There's no doubt the enemy is at work as God is doing miracles here at CATT. We have such a strong team with so much talent, experience, knowledge, heart and diligence. I am so thankful we've been placed here to do ministry with our great lead team of Lee, Carla, Steve, Linda, and the rest of our incredible core team.

I was told from the very beginning that this adventure would be "the hardest thing I'll ever do"! I believed it, and now I'm experiencing it. I've experienced emotional frustration in just missing home. Missing my friends who know me and love me for ME. Missing my family. Missing the people who love my boys. I've missed the little but important things like all my friends and family who would love to watch Cam play soccer and see the look on his face after he received his award at vacation bible school. I've recently been physically sick with just weird random crap.

Anyway...The only way I can describe this recent struggle is through a picture I've had in my head in the past few days. I wrote the following text in my journal last night. It's rather candid, but a pretty good look into my core.

"God, I hate this cheesy thought in my head about the rope. But I can't find a better way to describe me. The circumference of the rope is bigger than my grasp. But I decide to climb it anyway. I try for way too long just to get two feet off the ground. But when I do, it's rewarding and motivating! I continue to work my way up inch by inch, encouraged by every move closer to the goal. As I glance down, to see the distance I've gained, I realize I still have so much further to go. I'm suddenly tired. Panic sets in. My hands start slipping. In weighing out my options, I'm suddenly encouraged by the fact I'm not too far from the ground. If I just let go, I could easily find my feet to the floor and walk away with minimal bruises or scrapes. After's 'just a rope'. No one has forced me to climb it. I have nothing to prove to anyone... and I HATE climbing rope anyway..."

After a big dose of evaluation this week, I've realized that if I let go of the rope, I'd let go of the one thing I've been begging God for all along. More purpose, being part of something "bigger than myself" and following his calling on my life. God has given me such a deep passion for people far from Him since we've been here. Although I so badly wish my kids were surrounded by the people who love them the most, I want them more importantly to experience God's love and His faithfulness in their (our) obedience to Him...even when it's hard!

I've been soaking in God's word through the Gospels of Matthew and Mark in the past few weeks. I'm being constantly reminded of God's faithfulness to those who had faith in Him. Every miracle is followed by some sentence like "because of your faith, you are healed". Every time God chose not to do a miracle, He follows by saying "Because of your lack of faith".

I love that God has revealed this "faith factor" to me. It encourages me in 2 big ways.

1. I don't have to rely on my own strength! Nor does God ask or even want me to! My job is only to abide in Him!
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7

2. He is faithful to those who seek Him! We've experienced His incredible blessing through simply trusting in Him! Clinging to those moments are a KEY factor for me!

I'd love it if you'd pray for our church this week. Our official launch is this Sunday, August 24th, at 10:30am! I am so excited to finally "officially" be a church!! I'm stoked about my friends who are coming! And I'm just looking forward to meeting more people as this thing gets going!

Here are a few things that I'll ask personally for you to pray for!
1. A great service on Sunday morning!

2. In the midst of hard work, and focus, that we'd do what we do with JOY! And that people would be moved by the joy we have in serving.

3. People! We still need lots of help! And more people to help spread the word!

4. Against the enemy and all of the ways he tries to throw us off track.

5. Physical strength. This is no doubt one of the enemy's ruthless ploys. I've had crazy headaches in the past few weeks. I NEVER get headaches. Also, Last night on my way home, after a great time with some girlfriends, I got really REALLY sick. When I got home, I felt completely lethargic and could not move. I stayed up all night puking. No, not pregnant. I checked!!! But please pray that I, along with the rest of our team, remain physically strong this week and right on through launch.

6. For the lost. There are sooo many, TOO MANY, people who are far from God in our community. CATT has an incredible, different message from anywhere else in the bible belt! People want to hear it. We want to share it with them! Pray that THOSE people come!

7. Mi Familia. Pray God protects us as we're just busy. Riley has a hearing appointment this week, and a bunch of therapy. I want to do a much better job at spending more time with him working on the things that will help him to develop normally. Also for Cameron. He's such a sponge and is really soaking in and reflecting my behavior lately. I see my anxiety in him, and that just grips me. Thankfully Steve is a freaking ROCK! He's loving every moment here and knows how to keep focussed despite all of the things I get hung up on!!!

All of that to say...there is no doubt in my mind that God is doing something BIG right now!
I am excited about the days, weeks and months ahead. The softball season starts back up tonight! So I'm planing on feeling better today so that I can do well and love that group of people that I've been placed in! Thanks so much for praying and just caring about my family! Also, thanks to everyone who took portions out of their day to meet with Steve when he made his trip out west! He was so blessed to see everyone. We love you all so much!

Back to the grind! Launch update soon to come.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Good Things!

I've posted before about how there are certain things that happen during the day that have the tendency to melt my heart. One of those moments happened this afternoon.

Today's heart melting moment: Cameron and Riley's reaction when they received a photo of their grandma and grandpa in the mail today! Their faces LIT UP like I haven't seen in a long time! They love their grandma and grandpa so much. I was reminded of that today. Heart melting, for sure!

Thanks for the picture, Aunt Dani!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tell the Story!!

It's crunch time at CATT! We're just a couple weeks from launch, and we are busting our tails trying to get everything accomplished by August 24th! It's almost scary to see that date so close!!

I was worried about Steve leaving this week for San Diego. I don't like feeling the sort of pressure (of time) I feel...especially alone! But I knew he had to go. Kind of a "now or never" sort of deal. Steve booked his entire 3 days with meeting after meeting, appointment after appointment. As busy as he's been, it's been so awesome to hear his excitement! As he shares the CATT story and dream over and over again, I just know his soul is totally encouraged! He calls me after every meeting to let me know how it went, and as he describes his conversations, I can't help but to just thank GOD for His faithfulness in what He's doing in our church!!

I think sometimes when I get caught up in the busy work of it all, I miss out on a broader perspective! I'm realizing that I need to tell the CATT story to more people more often! Even if it's just to the mirror in my bathroom! I need to tell it! Not just because it's a great story, but because it's such a cool reminder of Gods calling, His provision, direction, and how he's been faithful!!

I am thrilled that Steve got to be with his best friends this week! I know he's just pumped about being there and telling the story! I am so proud to be his wife! Steve's worked NON-stop since he's been there, which is a good thing! Because...if I was the one can bet I'd be at mom and dad's house playing scrabble the whole time, and hanging out with my favorite girls...just having a good time!

I can't wait for Steve to get home! I know he's getting anxious to be back too! I'm glad he's coming back with a clear mind and focussed heart!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Rough Day.

I woke up with a lump in my throat this morning. I knew I wasn't physically sick. I just felt emotionally sick for some reason. As I went about the routine of the day... soccer, church stuff, and family time, I tried to put my finger on why I feel the way I do. In my brain, I made a list.

1. Pressure of our official church launch in 21 days!!

2. The anxiety of my car issues this past week.

3. Pressure in finding a few GREAT

4. The way God is making my heart ache more and more for the lost.

5. The stress of knowing Steve is going to be away from us, and across the country for the next 3 days.

6. My constant awakening to the different spiritual culture here in the south.

I assumed all of those things added up to make the one big knot in my stomach... until I overheard a conversation Cameron was having with my dad this afternoon.

I sat next to Cam while he told his grandpa about soccer and his drawings and lots of other crazy stuff. And then out of no where I heard Cameron say (in a really sad voice), "Grandpa, I sure miss you. I really wish I could go with daddy to see you."

I felt my heart shrink like it does at the end of any sappy love story, and I realized...
Although I'll miss Steve and his help this week, the reason I'm so weepy is because Steve will be face to face with my mom and dad in less than 24 hours...and I wish SOOO bad that I could see them too. I miss my parents every single day I'm here. And I know they miss me too. They pretend to just miss my boys!!! But I know without a doubt they miss me too! And I just want to hug them so bad!
(I'm weeping again...GEEZ!)

Cameron was sad when he got off the phone, and I promised him that we'd have a really fun time together while daddy is away! Just looking at that boy brings me joy! And my Riley boy...he loves me in such a special way. I attribute that to the sweet times I had with him in the ICU while he recovered from his surgery not so long ago!

We're going to make the next few days GREAT ones!

Anyway...I'm hoping that by writing this all out, it might relieve some of the heartache I feel tonight. Probably not. But oh well! Mom and dad, if you're reading this come back soon. Cameron and Riley miss you... and so do I!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friends of Riley's Journey

We need a bunch of people praying this week for Max. Max is a friend of Riley's Journey. Find out more at