Those in Distress...

Adoption has been so heavy on my heart lately. Possibly spurred on by the week with my little sister...

But, also by the blogs I've been reading... Check some of these out.

Ethiopia or Bust!

A Bushel and A Peck

Or check out RLC's site for LOTS of different adoption blogs

Right now there is a "green famine" in Ethiopia... That means their fields are full of green vibrant plants - that are not yet ready to be harvested. In a few months, they will be able to harvest that food, however right now - they are starving. And the harvest will help those able to harvest the food... for others, especially those in urban areas, the cost of food is too high. They can't buy enough, if any, to fill their empty bellies.

My heart is breaking for people all around the world waking up with empty bellies and little hope of filling them today. Especially when I sit here in my comfy apartment with my pantry stocked... I may not like the 5 cans of sweet peas I have and I'll probably throw away my mushy cucumber today - and the most food-associated stuff I'll worry about today is what dessert I'm making to take to friends and if I'll like what they make for dinner.

I can't feed all of the starving people in Africa or Asia or even here in America... but God has laid such an incredible burden inside of me. I'm not sure what He will do or where He will lead me - but I can't just sit here, shed a few tears, and then go munch on some Oreos.

God calls us all to different things...

  • My Uncle Stu & Aunt Marsha have gone to Kampala, Uganda with the Rafiki Foundation.

  • Our friends the Bushes will be leaving for Mozambique in a week. They are with Children's Relief International.

  • God has called my parents to "secular" jobs, to be the youth leaders at their church, and to adopt my youngest sister.

  • Cory & I have been called to Rochester, NY - to work full-time with the youth of Lakeshore Community Church and the surrounding area.

For some of us - He calls us overseas to work through and in the daily grind of poverty and hunger. For some of us - He calls us to create a refuge and bring children out of that life of hunger and into our life. For some of us - He calls us to financially & spiritually support those on the front-lines.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27a

What are you doing to look after the orphans and widows that are in distress? Maybe you don't know any orphans or widows in your day-to-day life... but, do you see people in distress around you? What are you doing for them? Are you contenting yourself with simply a pitying glance and a quick prayer. Or are you allowing yourself to get messy? I'm not suggesting that you participate in anything sinful (James 1:27b says, "and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.") BUT - I am asking you to join with me and do something!

Cory has mentioned this article, "The Role of the Righteous Wealthy," before - but if you haven't read it before - I can't encourage you enough to read it now!

I know I've kinda jumped on a soapbox... and I'm not sorry. :) Thanks for listening!


you just need to be committed

so i'm in the atrium after church talking with some people and a guy comes up to me all fired up about the next men's ministry meeting and how i really should be there, bla bla bla. our church has a really fantastic ministry to men and have been doing some really great things for God, but let me tell ya, this guy was a little too zealous and wasn't getting the point i kept trying to slip into the conversation. my comment was..."yeah i'd like to get there and i'll try to make it if i can". and then he came back with "you just need to be committed".

so...that got me thinking about commitment. maybe actually it got me thinking more about guilt trips, but whatever. i think we all want to be committed...in fact i think every person is deeply committed to something or somethings...it's just different from person to person. what i wanted to tell my "more committed" friend is...
- today i committed to going to the church picnic, then visiting a friend in the hospital
- on monday night i committed to going to dinner with some other friends, then committed to being at church till about 9:30/10:00pm with the teens
- committed to playing and coaching softball every tuesday night which actually has turned into lots of ministry on my sabbath
- committed to having some people over on wednesday night
- committed to pouring ourselves into the teens till late thursday night
- thinking we probably should commit to having a couple from the church over on friday night to encourage them
- right now i'm not sure saturday morning FOR ME is a healthy commitment to make, even though it's a GREAT opportunity...

i can't be fully committed to everything. i'm not superman...and i'm not God. and even if i were God i still would leave people unhealed and hungry (he did that quite often, right?).

so will i join the men at 8am saturday morning? maybe...maybe not...not sure yet...but i do know that guilt trips won't get me there. i just have to figure out if it's worth committing to.


this is awesome!!!

if i were to write a book…

…i’d call it “dangerous love” and talk about the frustrating tension between loving people and the danger that we put ourselves in by loving them. because we love people, we go into their world…but in so doing we often leave safety and refuge for a time. had a great conversation a few weeks ago with another member on staff, about how we have been commissioned by God to reach people, and if in fact we’re committed to reaching people who are broken and messy, we’re inevitably gonna get wounded in the process. if we’re gonna speak intelligently to culture, we need to know it’s influences, and in the process we’re gonna hear profanity and we’re gonna see brokenness and we will get hit where we’re weak. we want to be smart about it, but not be so na├»ve to think that we’ll just “reach” them by them driving by our church sign and reading the nice little one-liner underneath it while we sit comfortably in the church. nor do we want to be so confident by thinking that we’re Jesus talking with the woman at the well, totally invincible to the danger around us. God wants his people at the hub of culture, speaking to the culture without catching and integrating the culture’s values personally. and it’s in that tension that we so struggle to find balance. so many take the easy road and go to one extreme or the other, but God has called us to the middle…to love people with a dangerous love. it’s a surprisingly messy business…

but i’m still trying to stay caught up on emails…so there’ll be no books anytime soon…


crazy C Clan

I had a great weekend visiting with family. My parents rented a car for me to drive down. That way Cory wouldn't have to ride my pink bike around town. lol. We went to airport @ 7AM Friday and picked up my white Chevy Malibu. Then, went out to breakfast @ Perkins. I left here around 11:00AM. I HATE driving. I mean - I really despise driving, but its a necessary evil and I'm pretty proud of myself for making it all the way down & back with no incidents. I picked up Anna a little early from Camp and then we headed to Mom & Dad's.

That night the Coiner clan came over for our July birthdays (Happy Birthday Pap & Brooke!). What a blast - We did a create-a-S'more for dessert. Yum! I just ate the chocolate w/o melting my marshmellow. lol. Then, we opened presents and simply enjoyed being together. I know I miss being with my family - but it becomes so obvious when I'm sitting there with everyone... It was great fun to laugh with everyone and know that this is my family and I belong. :)

Then, Saturday was the 6th Annual Clark Pig Roast! Uncle John & Aunt Anna have it at their campground. The heat was incredible - poor JC's cheeks were soooo red. The pig was great - I sat with Dad & Alaina and watched them take it off the spit, then carve it. Grant jumped right in. I am amazed every time I see my little brother - when did that annoying little middle school boy grow into a hot & salty man? lol. I'm proud of him.

Anyways - after watching them and seeing the pig's head - I couldn't eat much pork. Some of the little kids kept calling it bacon - didn't matter what part - it was just "bacon". Uncle John & Aunt Anna put on a great party - and there were no lightening strikes - so I guess its all good.

Anna & I drove home Sunday - we left around 7:45AM and made it here by 1ish. I was so tired - so I stopped A LOT. I made Anna walk around at the rest stops with me. She slept for probably 4 hours of our 5.5 hour trip. haha. But, the last hour or so - she became a chatter box. A fact that I'm incredibly grateful & hopeful as I look forward to spending an entire week with my little sister.


face to face

spent most of the day out of the office yesterday - the day started bright and early (at some horribly insane hour) by taking shanna out for breakfast before she headed for pittsburgh to pick up her sister anna. i then took off with a few leaders and students to check out the camp where we're doing our end of summer retreat. it's been driving me crazy knowing we're running a retreat there without actually SEEING it face to face! it's amazing how God has wired us to EXPERIENCE things in person...words, websites, and even pictures don't give a true sense of anything...it's all about face to face interaction. i'm reading a book that pastor vince picked up for me, the be with factor, and the whole book takes that concept and applies it to student ministry - we can interact with people all the time in a whole lot of different ways...but if they're really gonna catch who we are it'll be when they're sitting right next to us, face to face. anyways, here's a few pics from the camp. it's right on lake ontario and the facilities are quite nice! i'm starting to get VERY excited...


Check out this really cool site http://wordle.net/ I typed in our blog's URL and it came up with this image. The most used words appear larger and they get smaller based upon times used... Evidently, I use the word "just" a lot. (Or Cory claimed I do...) So, now I want to go back and count how many times I use the word "just". But, that feels a little obsessive - so I am trying to refrain. (Mostly, because i know he is probably right... rrrrgggg!)

You can type any large amount of text into wordle... i.e: Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells"

Anyways - Just thought it was fun.


i kissed a girl

just checked iTunes' top songs and the #1 hit song is now..."i kissed a girl" by katy perry. very interesting song...on a number of different levels...and causes me to ponder one key question:

one of the primary influences of any culture is its music as its music is always speaking TO the culture in creative ways. but i just gotta know...exactly how much speaking does the #1 song do to the adolescent culture around us, and does it change the way WE speak to culture when we get the chance?


scary moment

so i got up this morning and decided to walk to starbucks to get some coffee - shanna knew i was leaving and that i'd be back, but upon returning i snuck in to the house unnoticed. hehe... not knowing i was there, she turned around to get something and saw a 6-foot man hovering silently across the room towards her...and she freaked out! it was amazing!


blogging sabbatical

i'm not sure we've been blogging long enough to deserve a blogging sabbatical, but i took one anyways. this week's been one of those weeks where there's so much to get done and you know you only have time to get the most crucial things knocked off...sorry to say, blogging didn't measure up this time around :( here's a few random updates from the last 7 days:
- got the new phone in the mail on tuesday and i LOVE it! it's actually pretty amazing what that thing can do, and it's pretty powerful. now if i can just keep it from falling off a roller coaster...
- went to an incredible hair cutting place called sport clips. the whole place is designed just for men, complete with tv's all over with espn on every one of them, hair stylists dressed like referees, and no appointments needed...perfect for men who don't think ahead. these guys know the value of knowing their target and creating an environment to reach that target!
- got to preach in 'big church' today and i was super thankful for the opportunity. during the first service i tried to stop it, but it slipped out - i made an "old" joke on one of the other pastors on staff...i don't know him incredibly well yet...so i'm curious how he's taking it (or how he'll respond when he preaches next week.)
- had a GREAT time hanging out with some friends after church today - amazingly refreshing!
- tomorrow night we start student leadership teams, and i'm VERY excited to see some students join the music team, drama team, and tech team for the first time! always awesome seeing students lead their peers!
- i'm really craving a good cup of iced coffee and a round of golf with some friends (who play as bad as me).


highlights from our week...

On Tuesday - we played the other co-ed team from Lakeshore and had a blast! (We won 25-18) We grilled hotdogs/burgers/etc afterwards and just enjoyed hanging out with everyone.Here's Cory coaching 3rd base.
We worked on our Summer Retreat 08 promo stuff. The church has a plotter - which is a big printer that can print banners! So, yesterday one of the secretaries just whipped out a few banners with this image. Wow! How cool is that?!?
We've been invited to a few different things tomorrow - but I'm pretty sure we're saying no to everything and just taking a day to do nothing! Wow - its so hard to say "no"! Especially when all the invites sounds so fun. Our week got really busy quickly - so in order to rebalance, we're taking the day just for us. We'll probably just hang out at home - sleep in, go for a walk,... and of course, Cor will spend some time working on his message for Sunday.
It would be nice if we considered Saturdays a full work day. We usually end up doing stuff to prep for Sunday... and naturally it makes sense. We could work Wednesday - Sunday and take Mondays & Tuesdays off! Sounds good to me! I wonder what it feels like to have 2 full days off in a row every week... We'd probably drive each other crazy and be bored out of our minds! lol.



Wow - do I ever struggle with materialism! I want sooooo much stuff! Stuff that won't last and I'll get sick of in about 2 months! And yet, I still want it! Here's some visual pics of what I want...

Just take a walk through Target or Kohl's with me. Whew! I think there is a very good reason that God did not make us rich - at least at this point in my life! Honestly, I think my first thought would be to buy "things" instead of helping people... But, then again - I can think of a bunch of awesome stuff I'd love to do - like be a foster parent or adopt children. Support people headed to the mission field... bless people the way we've been blessed i.e. just drop off stuff at their house - like new cars, computers, scholarships,... Support some awesome places in Rochester that I've seen that help the people of our city... sigh. I guess I don't know what I'd do with the money - because God hasn't given it to us. Instead - He's teaching us to TRUST him and make wise choices in the present and for the future. Its ironic - or maybe just sad - how much I allow money to dictate my decisions instead of searching out what I really should be doing. What would the world be like if money wasn't a factor?


New Title Stuff...

I think I figured out how to make a title header! Yay! Well - at least I have a personalized header up there. I'm not sure if I did it correctly, but it works. Unfortunately, when I switched to this new layout, I lost our little "blog description" - what a bummer! :( Oh, well. If anyone remembers the old one - will you email it to me, please? Thanks!


oh saturdays...how i love you

can't even say how nice it was to have NOTHING on the agenda for us today. we all need those days every now and then, especially when life gets out of balance. we relaxed today and had a chance to catch up on a lot of things on the "behind on" list. one of those things for me was a bunch of stuff on the car. the car's due for inspection this month, and for the past few weeks we've been down to just one brake light bulb working (out of 8)! i replaced those, and worked on the horn. it's been out of commission for a few years now - off and on. last winter i actually spent about 5 hours searching for WHERE it is on the car, and then another 5 hours trying to get the old one off, to no avail. today i tried again, loaded with WD40 and lots of determination. it's now 10:06pm...i'm really sore...and the stupid horn is still fastened snugly to the car. at around 7 i finally got so fed up i pulled the wires off the old horn, fastened the new horn right next to it, and hooked the wires up. when you blow the horn from inside the car now, it sounds like a sick cat's meow because it's sorta pointed in the wrong direction. oh well, that's just how we roll...

oh yeah, shanna didn't get breakfast made by yours truly. i added a little special "flavoring" to her water last night...she didn't wake up till noon. haha


the 4th of july

well it's the end of the week and tomorrow's saturday morning. shanna is anticipating a "full breakfast" made by yours truly...but i'm betting (and hoping) that neither or us wake up until lunch - it was a great day today, but absolutely exhausting. spent some great time today catching up with family and friends, eating hoffman hotdogs, and slurping watermelon. we arrived at church around 6 for lakeshore's annual 4th of july community day - an super fun summer party with inflatables, basketball, soccer, a dj and music, a bbq with lots of food and drinks, and watching fireworks off in the distance...good stuff. everything was great until i made an absolute fool of myself doing the electric slide and some other dance with a bunch of other people who obviously knew what they were doing. i think i just looked like...well i'm not sure what i looked like...and even now i'm not sure i even know what the electric slide is. one thing i am pretty sure is that i don't think i pulled it off.

shanna and i had a conversation with a friend today and their question was along the lines of when shanna and i are gonna have kids...but it was asked as if it's as easy as picking up a bag of fritos from wegmans. well that's not always the case for everyone, and though i wanted to educate them on the spot, i was more comfortable staying at the small talk, surface level at the time. so we gracefully smiled and moved the conversation on. arggg.

in other news, shanna made roast beef the other day for dinner and it was SOOO good. the pot is actually still sitting soaking on the stove and looked kinda gross...i couldn't resist.


today's lessons

ever have one of those days where you learn a WHOLE lot and accomplish absolutely NOTHING? well i had one of those frustrating days today. here's some of what i learned...
1) what you thought was checked off the list already, buried, and underground many times comes back on the list to haunt you
2) saying no to people is really really hard...especially when they are good people that you respect a lot
3) one of the key reasons we struggle saying no is somehow deeply tied to our desire to be loved and valued
4) being nice is a very good thing, but can also be a big liability when it compromises honesty
5) it is absolutely 100% IMPOSSIBLE to rent a 7+ passenger vehicle a day before July 4th anywhere in new york state



Cory should be home from work soon... yay! We're having hotdogs & pasta salad for dinner. A hot summer day with some nicely blackened hotdogs smothered in oozy ketchup! Oh, yah!

Since our "cell phone funeral," Cory desperately needed a communication device in which all the buttons worked! Last night - he discovered his dream phone! The past few days he buried himself in cell phone reviews and crtiques... and finally decided! So, he put a bid out and a few counter-bids and now - joyously anticipates the arrival of his NEW PHONE! (A fact which he continuously reminds me of - and will continue to remind me of - until his phone arrives. And probably for a good week following the much-anticipated arrival!) I'm sure he'll post some pics once it arrives!

Here is what I worked on today... All the fonts brushes, etc are someone else's work. So, I didn't create it from scratch - just kinda fit the puzzle pieces together. (Just a little copyright disclosure!) Its part of the slide for our main worship service - when the middle schoolers are dismissed.