Oh Dear Heavens, I’m Naked! 2009 In Review

There is a near naked woman on my Christmas Cards and it’s me! I’m not totally naked, it’s just that my favorite blouse (the one I’m wearing in our Christmas Card photo) is see through and nobody told me. I want to shoot my family and my overly polite friends who simply thought — “She has to know.” NO I did not know! And I ordered over 50 cards with that photo thank you very much. They’ll tell me I have lipstick on my teeth – but a see through blouse goes unmentioned.

Nice.

I know I said I wanted to be more transparent in 2009 but that is not what I meant. Hence, no cards were mailed this year. 2009 is the year my life turned inside out and upside down. Shaking out the cobwebs, dust and loose change I am not just on the precipice of change but smack center of it all. What an exhilarating ride. My oldest left for college. My youngest is learning how to drive. My husband’s band released their first musical CD and I made a rather drastic career change. I also made new friends, new enemies, and a fool of myself more than once. Good news is, I didn’t die.

Having spent the past 20 years as Jeff’s wife, and Charlie and Dillon’s Mom I began 2009 with very little clue about who Deana really is. I decided that I wanted to know her better and follow God’s path more than my own or anyone else‘s for that matter. Instead of my annual Christmas letter, I thought I’d answer Michael Hyatt’s Seven Questions for Last Year. If you’d like to do that same — see his original post for more information.

 

If the last year were a movie of your life, what would the genre be? Drama, romance, adventure, comedy, tragedy, or a combination?

  • Comedy and Adventure –

What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring? These can be single words or phrases. For me, they were:

  • Giving my family wings
  • Learning to use my own wings
  • Learning to get along with less and enjoying it more

What did you accomplish this past year that you are the most proud of? These can be in any area of your life—spiritual, relational, vocational physical, etc. Be as specific as possible.

  • Going to the Professional Communicator’s Summit as well as DCW with my husband
  • Coming out of the fear closet if you will and admitting I want to do stand up comedy and trying not to worry what people think about that.
  • Performing live comedy in front of some of my greatest heroes at CCA. I was terrified, but did not die.
  • Opening for Dan McGowan
  • Resigning from the Ablaze Church Mission Board – — It was time to move on. Ablaze is now established as a satellite location of our home congregation Our Savior Lutheran Church. I’m very proud of what we accomplished. By next year they will be looking at opening a pre-school and calling a full time pastor. Knowing I played a part in God’s overall plan for that congregation thrills me and humbles me all at once. It was an awesome three years.

 What do you feel you should have been acknowledged for but weren’t?

Leaving this one blank here — but it’s a good question to ask and think about.

What disappointments or regrets did you experience this past year? As leaders, we naturally have high expectations of ourselves and others. Where did you let yourself down? Where did you let others down?

  • Booking a retreat for my husband and I without checking out the leader’s qualifications: Turns out he only works with A-List performers and I feel like we probably wasted his time and as a result, ours. I was wanting to do something “really great” for my husband and overshot the runway in the process.
  • Losing focus on my exercise regimen and having to keep re-starting it
  • Picking a fight with someone I admire on his own blog (not the first time I’ve done that, but I kinda called him an overstuffed pig who plays with puppets and can’t keep a day job.. NOT NICE and not me )– when in reality he isn’t who I was mad at. I made an idiot out of myself.
  • Not being as present in the moment with my family as they want and need.
  • Not being as excited about Jeff’s new CD as Jeff was — All I saw was time spent away from home and forgot to cherish and celebrate his hard work and accomplishment with him like he deserved.

What was missing from last year as you look back? Again, look at each major area of your life. Don’t focus now on having to do anything about it. For now, just list each item. Here is my list:

  • More time doing what I feel called to do and less time worrying about what other think.
  • More time reading great literature and not just junk food
  • Time to really unplug and not think about work
  • More time with my husband

What were the major life-lessons you learned this past year? Boil this down to a few short, pithy statements.

  • A life without something to dream and pursue creates bitterness. It is better to pursue a dream and fall short than to hide your heart and fall asleep.
  • I can make a fool out of myself and actually live to tell about it.
  • It’s okay if I don’t like everyone I meet and it’s okay if everyone I meet does not like me.
  • Don’t over-think the outcome; just do the next right thing.

 

“This year is over. I declare it complete!”

White Christmas..Slip Sliding Away..

(Dear Readers: I do apologize for the subscription update with the bad link that all of you received this morning. I am experiencing techinical difficulties with that post — the internet ate it — I will be reposting that story after the first of the year. Thanks)

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I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…. and snow plows please. Tulsa has them, but apparently Broken Arrow does not. We’ve been snowed in for a few days. I don’t mind really. It’s Christmas and my family is home. My groceries are stocked, and we’re content to stay in our jammies, light up the fireplace and drink hot cocoa.

The gentle rain turned to hail, then snow on Christmas Eve leaving a blanket of a foot or more in our part of town. The drifts are much higher and City Hall seems to have taken on the belief that it will melt eventually therefore Broken Arrow didn’t really bother plowing. The roads they did try to plow, are plowed down to the ice. I did venture out to get Dillon’s prescription refilled and that is about as adventurous as I’m willing to be. I don’t like fishtailing on main roads.

Our Christmas Eve candlight services were cancelled, as was Ablaze Church on Saturday night.  We opened our house Saturday night and had an end of year pot luck for anyone on the team who could make it. Several people were able to make it and we enjoyed the fellowship of friends.

Our former Pastor, Dr Reed Lessing, was in town and was preaching on Sunday.  I didn’t care about the snow. Dr Lessing is my first real pastor and his family means the world to us.  Nothing short of the apocolypse was going to keep us away from seeing them. And so we did venture out for that.  Totally worth it.

I will be posting a year end review for Ablaze Church as well as our family ministry updates by Wednesday. Until then… I’ll share some Christmas Photos.  Have a blessed week ya’ll.

Christmas Eve in front of our house.
Christmas Morning
Our Neighborhood looks so peaceful.

The Liturgical Year: Joan Chittister

Click on Cover to preview this book

Please note: If you landed here because you are looking for Reverend Mason Beecroft – you aren’t going to find him here. I’ve noticed a lot of y’all are searching for him. (At least that’s what my stats show) I wish I knew where he was, but I do not. He was a mentor of mine for a while and I too cared about him as many of you. He is a brilliant theologian. For now, he is under the radar. I trust when he wants to come back, he will. In the mean time, grant him his peace and respite from all that entangles.  — God’s blessings, Deana

The Liturgical Year: the spiraling adventure of the spiritual life

Written by: Joan Chittister

Book Description

A journey of the soul through the map of Christian time.

The liturgical year, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent and carrying through the following November, is the year that sets out to attune the life of the Christian to the life of Jesus, the Christ.

This book sets out to open what may at first seem to be simply an arbitrary arrangement of ancient holy days, or liturgical seasons, to their essential relationship to one another and their ongoing meaning to us today. It is an excursion into life from the Christian perspective, from the viewpoint of those who set out not only to follow Jesus but to live as Jesus lived and to think as Jesus thought.

It proposes, year after year, to immerse us over and over again into the sense and substance of the Christian life until, eventually, we become what we say we are-followers of Jesus all the way to the heart of God. It is an adventure in human growth; it is an exercise in spiritual ripening.

My Review

How do you solve a problem like liturgy?

How do you explain to someone in the modern world the value of living a liturgical life without sounding pious?

Meet Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, Benedictine nun, international speaker, author of “The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life.” and you answer both of those questions. Joan is well educated and everything but pious. She is humble and very transparent. She is able to answer those questions because she asked them herself and lived to talk about. Joan writes from the heart.

I have to admit that once I started reading The Liturgical Year, my own inadequate knowledge of real liturgy hit me square between the eyes. That was shocking to me because Missouri Synod Lutherans ARE Liturgical.

I’m not Catholic, I’m Lutheran. I’m part of a church plant and I prefer Praise and Worship to Liturgy.  This book and the author’s gentle and pursuasive argument for the spiritual adventures found within the full liturgical year, brought me back again and again to the same question:

Am I missing something in my worship?

Being a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, there are parts of her book that I do not understand or agree with. However, I’m giving this book 5 stars. Why? It made me hungry for more. This book resonates within my own spirit therefor, my husband and I are making the personal sacrifice of getting up earlier on Sunday and attending a High Liturgy LCMS Congregation for early service for one full Liturgical year, (we started the first weekend in Advent) so that we can learn more.  My husband, the praise and worship leader at the mission start, wants to learn more as well.  This extra worship service is on top of our regular church services across town. We will attend both churches for one full year.

Let the adventure begin.

I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program. If you would like more information on this program see http://brb.thomasnelson.com/

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My First Hate Letter

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Someone, somewhere was going to tell me that because I’m a Christian and a Comic I shouldn’t tell jokes about X.

It doesn’t really matter what the X is because it is different for everyone. This person was offended because I was telling Tiger Woods jokes. I think because he’s an international celebrity, he is fair game. She thinks because I’m a Christian I should know better. She chose to be offended, and I chose to allow her to feel that way, and she has now unfriended me on facebook. I’m okay with that. Why?

1. I am a professional comic. I can call myself that because I do actually get paid to perform now. Paycheck = the right to call yourself professional in my opinion. If I want to keep getting a paycheck, I need to write and tell jokes. That’s how it works.

2. Yes, I am a Christian. And I do keep that in mind in my set. Meaning I don’t swear or tell dirty jokes. I keep my humor clean. I do not intentionally set out to offend people, but it is going to happen from time to time. I can’t control that.

3. Just because I’m a Christian who happens to be a comic does not make me a “Christian Comic.”  That’s just a marketing term that was coined a few years back. It doesn’t mean anything really.

4. We live in an overly sensitive politically correct society and it’s got to stop. Sooner or later, I will offend you. I spent the first 40 years of my life trying to please people, being crushed over anytime I offended someone in the slightest and have a hefty mental health bill to show for it — translation, my people pleasing drove me to a nervous breakdown five years ago. I don’t want to go back here.

So there you have it in a nutshell. As my friend Joie put it to me this afternoon, “I’m sorry if I haven’t offended you yet. Please give me some time and I’m sure I will.”

Peace Out Ya’ll

I See Dead People

A pastor has three big sermons to write. He has a funeral on Friday, a wedding on Saturday and his regular Sunday Sermon.  Friday morning arrives and he hands his receptionist what he believes is his funeral message and tells her to put it in the pulpit for him. 

While she is walking toward the sanctuary, she realizes he’s given her the wrong sermon. The opening line is a qoute from the movie Sixth Sense, “I see dead people.”

Question.

Does she tell the pastor he made a mistake? Or does she do what she is told?

Home for Thanksgiving

Dillon and Charlie

I tend to over do the holidays. I over cook, over decorate and over stress.  We live too far away from family to be able to celebrate with them and I feel guilty about that sometimes.  I work myself into a tizzy making sure they enjoy the day and don’t miss anything.

This year, all I wanted for Thanksgiving was my son home from school and someone else to cook the turkey.

I got my wish. Charlie was able to drive in for the day and Jeff bought a deep fryer and made the turkey.

 

 

Our Turkey -- Jeff did a great job.

I still cooked way too much food and that is okay. We had a wonderful day together.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you do anything special?