Ablaze Church Updates July 20, 2009

zions fire block party june 2009I know it has been a while since I’ve posted any updates on our mission start being sponsored by the Lutheran Church of Our Savior. It is not that we haven’t been doing anything, it’s that we’ve been doing so much that I have not been able to post.

I love the looks I get when I tell people that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is trying to plant 2,000 new churches. They always seem astonished at first and then genuinly interested. Yes, LUTHERANS planting churches, is that cool or what?

Our team has really jelled into a bit of a working rhythm. We have a couple who have dedicated themselves to our youth, taking them places, teaching Bible Study and just being there for them. They have become wonderful hands and feet to these kids. They are truly Christ with skin on. Because of the generosity of our home congregation, I am happy to report that we are able to send 10 kids to Camp Lutherhoma this summer. None of these children have ever been to church camp before, and this has been an exciting adventure. Erick and Jen also picked these kids up and drove them to Vacation Bible School this summer at Our Savior.

Our Web Page is finally up and operational thanks to our drummer and technical guru. You can check it out to see what all we are up to.

We have wonderful events coming up in August. Tony Mac, convicted drug dealer and murderer turned Christian and Evangelist will be visiting and sharing his testimony with us on August 1. You don’t want to miss that.

On August 5, our families are invited out to Cactus Bar Ranch for a time of fellowship and horsemanship.

August 15 we are having our second annual Stokin up the Community festival with live music, inflatables, facepainting and even some comedy via yours truly and my friend Michele Van Dusen. It is going to be an awesome afternoon of fun, fellowship and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our numbers are growing strong and we can always use prayer – for the families that come and for those God is still calling. We have outgrown our present facility and are in great need of a permanent home. I know that God has a place in mind for us, so please pray that it becomes available soon and we are able to move in.

Thank you for checking in on us. Until next week.

Pax

Mission Monday – A New Thing for Redemption’s Heart

Having a blog or a web page that brings value to readers, isn’t as easy as one would think.  Blogging is about community. With the advent of the Internet, our world is expanding and so are our communities. Thanks to some wonderful new friends who are sharing with me their ups and downs, and their media successes and mistakes,I hope I’m moving in the right direction.

You dear readers are the reason I am here. This whole blog originated with the purpose of keeping our out of state friends up to date on the happenings of Ablaze Church (LCMS) as well as life in general. My readership has grown and I need to be a better steward of your time.  Over the next few months I will be implimenting changes that will make things easier for all of you to find what you are looking for. The first major change I have made is in my editorial calender.

  1. Mission Mondays – Every Monday I will be posting updates on Ablaze Church as well as Our Savior news.
  2. Traveling Tuesdays – Today’s family is on the go. At least ours is. I will be exploring different and fun places to be in and around the Tulsa/Broken Arrow Communities.
  3. Wordless Wednesdays – Photos and art that strike me.
  4. Thoughtful Thursdays – Here you will find Book and Bible Study reviews, guest bloggers, and pieces of my own personal story.
  5. Fun and Fit Fridays – I’ve added something new to my life – as a caretaker I have learned – mostly the hard way - that taking care of others without taking care of myself, leaves me tired, negative, and overwhelmed. The fact that I am also in full blown menopause also helped push my need to change up how I do things.  Fridays will be the day I post new ways to have fun and eat well while taking care of ourselves.

I hope you like the changes.

Stay tuned to today’s post on Ablaze later this afternoon.

Blessings

Deana

An Eye For beauty

Some things are just so stunningly beautiful that my soul cries out in joy. I find myself moved in such away that to leave the moment unnoticed or unspoken feels like deceit and I have to say something before it’s lost. I am open to beauty right now, because I’m intentionally looking for it whether it is in poetry, art, nature, or people.  

I read dozens of blogs a week. I don’t read all of them every day, but I do visit when I can. Some speak to my heart words of comfort, truth and beauty, some speak wisdom, others speak cruelty and I don’t listen to them anymore. My heart is far more vulnerable than I give it credit so I’m learning to protect it.

 My heart hungers for beauty, truth, and love. I’ve been so caught up in the trappings of everyday, that I’d forgotten to feed it. My heart is playful, joyful, giving, and strong. There are also broken places that are mending and I need to remember the gentle hand of God while he tends to those inner beats.

Our Sunday Morning Women’s Class is studying the book Captivating. I am the facilitator and I’ve struggled with it. Not because it’s a bad study – quite the contrary. I’m struggling with it, because it is so humbling and requires me to stretch and remember.

For two months, we’ve studied beauty and I’ve purposefully sought her face in my surroundings, in my travels, in my backyard, and in the mirror. Beauty is not as elusive and one would think. God has a beauty to unveil in his universe, in our lives, and in us. I’d lost sight of that, and need to retrain my eyes.

I’ve been spending my time lately reading poetry, drinking new wine (literally and figuratively), and being still until I couldn’t sit still anymore – my spirit has been rewarded with a new sense of peace and I love it.

“A woman at rest communicates that all is well in the world.” – Staci Eldridge

 

It is a glorious day

watching the sun rise

knowing that dawn awakens my spirit

whispering sweet nothings to my soul.

Eyes closed

I listen to the soft sounds of morning,

blissfully in the moment.

My soul sings

with joy and peace.

God speaks in the dawn that rises

and the birds that sing

returning my voice

and filling my heart

with beauty to share

and a reminder that all is well.

- Deana O’Hara

 

A Time for Every Season

Do you remember the Byrds? “For everything, turn, turn, turn..” I love that classic song. It’s taken straight from the book Ecclesiastes and it reminds me that there is a time for every season.

I’m looking around and listening to my friends and my own life, and I see a common theme.

Weddings

Graduations

Funerals

College

Camp

Kindergarten.

Almost everyone I know is in a season of letting go and moving forward at the same time. In Bible study, we’re even talking about where we are at, season wise, and what things we are letting go of and moving towards. What things we are excited about, and what things scare us. Camp came up alot.

Scripture says that God nevers changes, but life does – Solomon tells us so.

Over the past few weeks we’ve even talked about letting go of old ideas so that we can make room for God’s ideas. I got serious in a blog post yesterday and people have been asking if I’m alright. And yes, I’m better than alright. I found it in my old prayer journals and am thankful for seeing the changes. Sometimes women (and men) can confuse our cross with someone elses in trying to be that helpmate, or that good parent, or that good employee – and we wear ourselves out, and we harm the other individual. There is a letting go in that as well.

Right now, a lot of us are learning how to let go of our kids. We are learning to let God be God and relax in who we know Him to be.

What are you letting go of today? Would you like to share it?

letgo

Letting Go (Let Go and Let God)

Once upon a time, or as most tales go, a young gal with a heart full of love and compassion heard a story that made her very sad. Being two pennies short of common sense, she came to believe that she could fix this problem and therefore set herself up as a shield of protection.

Forgetting the words of John the Baptist,

“I am not the Christ.”

she stretched out her arms

and stood in the gap

between those who threatened harm

and the one she was protecting.

If she just tried hard enough,

she believed or fought hard enough,

protected long enough,

everything would be okay.

Only everything wasn’t okay. The harder she stood her ground, the harder they fought and the more he seemed to need her. The more she did to protect him, the less he seemed willing to do for himself and the less honest he became.

Once she realized that no man

carries a burden that someone else

is willing to bear or faces a truth

that no one is willing to tell him

and that he’d grown weaker

and not stronger like she’d hoped,

she laid down his cross

and took up her own.

She meant well and it almost cost her life. In time she remembered the words of the one in the desert. The one who’s role was to make straight the crooked path, and point believers to the one who would come after him. She remembered that “standing in the gap” means standing in prayer and support, not in self-sacrifice.

She found a note one day, written just for her and other two-penny-short friends who mean well. Together, she and her new friends, trudged the road of happy destiny. They laughed, leaned on each other, and stayed under the protective wings of the God they no longer needed to pretend to be.

Letting Go

  • To “Let Go” does not mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.
  • To “Let Go” is not to cut myself off, it’s the realization I can’t control another. To “Let Go” is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
  • To “Let Go” is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
  • To “Let Go” is not to try to change or blame another, it’s to make the most of myself.
  • To “Let Go” is not to care for, but to care about.
  • To “Let Go” is not to fix, but to be supportive.
  •  To “Let Go” is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
  •  To “Let Go” is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
  •  To “Let Go” is not to be protective, it is to permit another to face reality.
  • To “Let Go” is not to deny, but to accept.
  • To “Let Go” is not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
  • To “Let Go” is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it.
  •  To “Let Go” is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
  • To “Let Go” is to fear less and love more. – Unknown.

Letting Go – is my knowing that I cannot play God and believe in God at the same time.

If someone’s addictions are causing you pain, these groups can help.

Al-Anon If someone’s drinking is causing you pain, Al-Anon can help

S-Anon S-Anon is a program of recovery for those who have been affected by someone else’s sexual behavior.

Sanity Support:  Do you have an adult child who is breaking your heart? An aging parent taking up your whole life? A problem with food? A co-worker making you hate your job? Learn how you can find SANITY and take back your life.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. July 22 2009 and may not be copied in any way shape or form.

Summer Life with Boys

firecracker

Dear readers: Today’s post is more tongue in cheek than my usual fare. Being home with teenagers this summer is both a joy and well, strange. A lot has changed now that my youngest is 16 and my oldest is leaving for college. Long gone are the days where I could read about 101 fun things to do with your kids over summer break and they would humor me for a day or two. Those ideas never worked anyway on my boys. No, my boys want adventure, they want daring, they want food, they do not want cutsie crafts and nifty games with tin cans. They want to hunt, gather, blow up things and chase girls. Me personally, I just want a nap.

Times have changed, have they not? This photo above - shows two young boys getting caught shooting off firecrackers. Today all a family has to do is march down to City Hall and buy a permit for $20 and you are allowed to play with things that have the potential to blow off fingers and more. 

Let’s face it, boys are born wanting to blow up things, watch war movies and ask for bacon for dinner.

At least mine are. Granted they are 16 and 18. Blowing up Army guys, watching movies like Defiance or SAW and having Bacon and Eggs for dinner, is for them the perfect guy day.

Problem is, I’m a girl in a house full of men.  I don’t like any of those things. If I had my way, we’d be planting a vegetable garden or going to the museum, or something safe. Jeff warned me that if I did not allow the boys to be boys, I would “permanently scar their psyche.” As if the scars they received from trying to toboggan over the creek while it was partially frozen last winter aren’t bad enough I have worry about emotional scars as well.

Let’s face it, for the sake of my sanity I’m pretty much a don’t ask, don’t tell kind of mom when it comes to this guy world. I won’t ask what you’ve been doing and you don’t tell me how high the creek was when you broke through the ice and we’re good. Better yet, don’t tell me you broke through the ice or even that you tried to jump it – just sneak through the back door, put your clothes in the dryer and run through the house naked. I promise not to say anything.

My youngest hates the don’t ask don’t tell compromise of neurotic mom and wants to include me in every horrific detail. I can either breath deep and pray long, or go on Prozac for my nerves. I choose breathing. I also choose to join them, sometimes, on these adventures.

I know how deep the creek is because we’ve explored it during the summer.

I know the cliff down to it is about 20 feet – and that you cross over the ravine on a fallen oak tree.

I know where the rabbit hole is and where the copperheads hang out.

I’ve held many a frog and lizzard, a python, hugged wolves, fed tigers and lions (from behind a BIG cage), bottle fed a baby bear, and blown up Gi Joes.

I know that it takes only one firecracker to blow up an army guy and that model rocket fuse plugs need an electrical current to light and should not be used to blow up GI Joes – I also know those fuses plugs will NOT light with a simply firecracker fuse and I thank heavens for that lest Joe permanently be implanted in the side of my chimney. Rocket launcher fuse plugs need the rocket for stability. I knew why it wouldn’t lite and I know enough NOT to tell my son.

I know that my husband and his brothers played “war” with Roman Candles and trash can lids when they were young and unsupervised.

And I know that as long as I’m along for the ride, I at least do not have to worry about that.

I also know that unwinding at the end of the day with a good glass of wine and a book of poetry does help restore some sense of femininity in my spirit. And that is a good thing too.

FGP Say’s I’m Not a Wheenie!

Shaolin Kung Fu with SiFu Rick ThomasOn July 11, Runner’s World starts its free Tulsa Run training groups every Saturday morning. Runs start with stretching at 6:45 a.m. at Veterans Park, 21st Street and Boulder Avenue. There will be beginner and advanced 15k race training groups, and a 5k race training group. – Carrie Aspinwall

 

 

I am not a wheenie… did you see that? There are training groups for the Tulsa Run, including a training group for the 5K race. I love it. So, I can now proudly say (Because Carrie put it in print) that I am TRAINING for the 5K – life is so good.

So, who might you ask, is Carrie Aspinwall? Carrie is the Fitness Guinea Pig for the Tulsa World and she is training for the Tulsa Run. Carrie is also the women who turned me away from boot camp (Yikes!) and on to Zumba, a real live exercise/dance like class thing. If Carrie says it’s fun, we try it. Carrie knows healthy living.

I have three favorite Columinists with the Tulsa World. Carrie, Natalie Mikles and Jason Ashley Wright. Between them they cover everything this girl wants to know about Fitness, Food, and Fashion. Call me shallow, but hey, I like what I like. Which might explain why I know so little about politics. Either way.

I wasn’t always overweight, but I have always had issues with food. The smallest I’ve ever been is a size six and that was 20 years ago. I tend average around a size 10-12, which is an acceptable size for me. Right now, I average about 40ish pounds over that ideal and I need to get back in shape. I love working out. Seven years ago I studied Tia Chi and helped teach Shaolin Kungfu to kids at the YMCA. I could even do a really cool back kick back then. My father in law thought that was hilarious and warned my husband that life as he officially knew it was forever changed.

 I also enjoyed walking until I blew out my ACL playing church softball five years ago. Oddly enough I loved Re-hab. I had my own personal fitness trainer for two hours, twice a week and enjoyed every minute of it. Then my knee healed, and I was released and afraid to do anything else.

Since then I have been on many diets trying to lose 10-15 lbs and wound up gaining 40. In the past five years I’ve Weight Watched, Metifasted, Atkinsed, Acaiberried, green tea-ed till-I-peed-green my sorry self all the way to LA Weightloss and South Beach, only to diet  my way up to what I weigh now. I’m thinking I’ve done every diet out there from A-Z. That plus now when people comment on my “new” look, I tend to hoover brownies in response. Not cool.

So, I’m counting my calories – or at least trying to and I’m in training again. Yeah it’s for a 5k, a lousy 3.10 mile race. But so what. It’s a start. I didn’t start of doing spinning back kicks and wielding swords – or doing a perfect horse stance for five minutes when I did martial arts, I had to build up. Okay, actually I had to stop ducking when SiFu kicked in my direction – but the point is, I started somewhere.

This is my somewhere.

Alive in Love – Brennan Manning

I’m digging through boxes, searching for books to keep and books to give away. Each new box is like a treasure trove of discovery. Every book I own has meaning and depth to it. Having played some small part in who I am today, each book has it’s own season in my life.  Maybe that’s why I want so desperately to be an author. I want to pay it forward in any way I can. God and I are still working out the how in that desire.  For now he has planted me at a Mission Start and I love it.

While digging I found a book that I had purchased but never read. Being a bibliophile that is not unusual for me.  Being Summer, I thought this was the perfect time to open this gift and so I am reading The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning.

I love it when I ask God to speak to me and he surprizes me with these little things. It’s a simple book really with a haunting question - Is the Gospel Alive and Real to you right now?

Although this book is full of great insight and many quotes to choose from, this one jumps out. Brennan had very rudely dismissed someone one while trying to impress others – she responded with saying “Jesus never would have talked to Mary Magdaline like that.” and then she was gone.

I love his honesty – I love when he askes this question -

How could she believe in the love of a God she can’t see when she couldn’t find even a trace of love in the eyes of a brother wearing a clerical collar whom she could see?

… and they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.. or not.

That is a great question for me to ponder today. I can be harsh with pastors – I don’t trust them. My pastor knows that, and we do okay. Actually, we do better than okay, mainly because I already know that I am loved, not just by him, but by God himself.

That wasn’t always the case. There was a day when I would search the eyes for approval. I don’t have to do that today. God is an amazing healer. Just ask anyone who remembers the day when I had to sit on my hands in church so that no one could see how badly they shook. And to make matters worse, my voice shook for years as badly as my hands.

I’m putting that out there, not as a victim, but rather as a woman aware of my scars. And as a woman who wants to heal and overcome.

And my question when faced with Brennan’s truth isn’t, “What do I see?”, but rather ” What do people see when they look into my eyes? “