Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What you can learn from a 12-year-old girl

Our niece, Katie, is spending the week with us and having a 12-year-old girl to hang out with has been something of an education for me.

For starters, I had no idea a girl could eat so much. She pretty much matches Eric's dinner quantity but then an hour after dinner, she has to eat again. During the day, she eats regular meals and several snacks. It's mind-boggling the amount of calories a growing kid has to shovel in every 24-hour cycle.

Then there's the shopping. She's tireless. I'm stopping for espresso just to keep up with her. In three hours today, we visited four major stores with lots of looking, lots of trying on and several purchases. She's been great helping me pick out new clothes, since my recovery from the Oct. hospitalization has added about 15 pounds to my body and the docs want me to keep it on if I can. Too bad insurance doesn't cover a new wardrobe!

Katie said she'd like to find a book series she could get into to keep her interested in reading. We had a few minutes to kill at SouthPointe this morning, so we popped into Barnes and Noble. We checked out the "teen" section. I had no idea what teens were reading these days, but let's just say it's not what I was reading when I was a teen. We were both sort of dazed after reading the book jackets and summaries on the backs. Yikes. They should have ratings on fiction sort of like movies and video games. Much of what I read should have been labeled "parental guidance" at the least.

Mace is driving Katie nuts, I'm sure. He never lets her rest and loves playing with her, doing puzzles, reading books, playing with trains...she's game for all of it, including games like Chutes and Ladders. One of Mace's funny sayings that he just spouts occasionally is: "This world really freaks me out." Well, this week, I've been thinking that often about the teen world and what it's going to be like when Mace gets to be that age.

I just hope he'll be able to find decent books to read. Yeesh.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Extreme Home Makeover | Horizons style

The Horizons community was out in full force this past weekend remaking the home of our very own Candie, who has had a pretty rough year.

The project started when a group nominated Candie for a Union Bank Magic Moments award to get new windows for her home. Candie won the award but then the group decided they would do a few more fix it projects around the house while the windows were being installed. One thing led to another and pretty soon a weekend was planned for tons of people to take over Candie's house to fix, improve and beautify the place for Candie and her three kids. They even decorated for Christmas -- tree, lights, everything!

The work began Friday morning and on Sunday at 3 p.m., Lincoln Fire Department's Engine 8 was blocking her house from view. Candie was brought home blindfolded and didn't know that more than 100 people from Horizons and her neighborhood, along with friends and family were waiting there to welcome her home. Giving Candie back her newly remade home was a great thing to see and there was lots of cheering and tears. So many people worked so hard and slept very little that weekend. Candie was a kick to watch and for once she was speechless!

We're slowly getting a photo gallery set up on the Horizons Web site with before, during and after pictures. If you have pictures we can include, email them to Check the Outreach section often. Also, the Magic Moments segment is being filmed today and is scheduled to air on channel 8 tonight at 6 and 10 p.m.

Go Horizons. Go God!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

First Impressions matter

You know how great it feels to go to one of those businesses that give outstanding customer service? It's so much fun and the people make you feel like you're the most special person in their life at that moment. We enjoy those times so much, we tell our friends. We even tell our family, our neighbors, our co-workers or someone we meet while waiting in line at the DMV.

Now, we're not saying church is a business, but we're certainly about people and we should be setting the standard for caring about people and treating people with a level of hospitality that a business couldn't, or wouldn't even attempt, to achieve. As God's representatives, we are challenged to meet people where they are, welcome them in and WOW them with an experience they too will tell their family and friends about (See Acts 2).

Have you had a "wow" experience lately that our church could learn from? Tonight, all of our Sunday ministry teams will be meeting from 6-7 p.m. to hear Pastor Steve tell us about the vision for First Impressions at Horizons. A lot of people have been hashing out the details but now we need all the teams to gather and hear from Steve how we want people to feel after a visit to Horizons.

The VisionCast is for members of Sunday ministry teams such as:

  • Host
  • Hospitality
  • Information Center
  • DZ or nursery check-in
  • Property Management
  • Sunday clean up

If you're not a member of any of the above teams, but love meeting new people, you are still encouraged to attend. You won't be obligated to serve, just come and hear the vision then see what you think. You can email so we know how much coffee to make. If you need childcare, contact We'll see you tonight.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Steven Lesley Todd Day

One of my favorite Pastor Steve qualities is his ability to make us laugh at church. I grew up sitting through some very dry, humorless sermons that never seemed to "stick." Steve seems to work his message into my brain by first making me laugh (or groan as the case may be) then making his point that suddenly makes so much sense.

But just to be clear: I will vote for Steven Lesley Todd Day only if there will be a parade (in August!) and if restaurants and movie theaters will have 50% discounts that day to remember SLT's frugality. All coffee shops that day will only serve Fair Trade coffees and everyone will try to either ride a bike or use public transportation instead of the gas guzzling SUVs. At the very least, people will carpool. SLT Day would be a federal and state holiday, but not wrapped around a weekend to discourage travel. Families would use the day as an excuse to spend time together and relax at home.

If all that could be managed, then count me in.

But seriously, Steve's message was so timely and helpful to get me back into the real Christmas spirit. I loved the scripture references and the three things we should do:

  1. make a difference for at least one person in need,
  2. practice financial integrity and
  3. practice graciousness instead of bullying people.

Here's the Advent prayer Steve gave us in case you couldn't write fast enough:

Jesus, I am waiting expectantly

for you to show me

how I may honor you and

experience you this season.
Have a great week. Don't forget (I should talk!) about Encounter tomorrow night @ 7 p.m. and our All-Church Conference meeting Wed. night @ 7 p.m. There's no childcare for Encounter but we do plan on having childcare for the all-church meeting. If that's something you'd like to help with, contact Candie at the office, or call her, 420.6600. Thanks!