Sunday, December 31, 2006

My New Website

I'm pretty happy with it. See what you think at

You can now email me at:

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sunday's Secret

There's a website called PostSecret that I read on Sunday mornings. It's a place where people make postcards of their particular secrets and then send them in anonymously. It's always an interesting collection of issues. Some are sexual in nature (so be aware if you visit the website). Many deal with issues of acceptance and other things. Some are spiritual in nature. All reflect what it is like to be human.

Anyway, I've decided that each week I'm going to post up a PostSecret postcard from Sunday that is interesting to me.

Here's the one from this week:
It makes me stop to consider that while I was enjoying a happy Christmas, others weren't.

If you'd like to know more about this website and/or the man who operates it, click here.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas in Little Rock

This year we traveled over to Little Rock for Christmas. We haven't done this in a while and I'm not sure how many more Christmases we'll be able to go to "grandma's" house, so off we went.

Like most families our time was spent being together and telling stories. We went out to eat catfish which is an Arkansas delicacy on Saturday. Then we did "Christmas" with my nephew and his wife and kiddo since they had to head home early and wouldn't be with us on Christmas day.

On Sunday we got up and went to church, which was fun. Then we spent the afternoon shopping for last minute stuff at the mall. That night several of us went back to church for their Christmas Eve service. It was nice.

On Christmas day I got up early, made the coffee and biscuits and gravy and cinnamon rolls. Once everyone else was roused and ready we dove into our pile of presents. It was so much fun to watch everybody open their stuff and to see the looks of surprise. I actually teared up on one of my gifts which was pretty unusual! Normally the tears are reserved for Diane and my mother - who did tear up right on cue! The best part of the morning was the end - which is how we do it. Everybody opens their presents, then Papa surprises everyone with the "biggies". This year the biggies were envelopes with a Christmas card and a check for all of us. Needless to say, that made Christmas rock!

After the opening and the cleaning up we all showered and changed and headed off for a Christmas day "cruise" on the Arkansas river on the Arkansas Queen. This is an old paddle wheel boat that has had a make over and has been converted into a passenger boat. You can click here for pics and info about the boat. If you're ever in Little Rock I highly recommend taking the boat trip. It was awesome! The cruise included an amazing buffet dinner, live entertainment, our own waitress, awesome views and even a dance floor which my nephew and niece used! The coolest thing about the whole cruise was that the weather was nasty - rainy, windy, cloudy and overcast, but the boat sailed anyway and the atmosphere inside was lighthearted and enjoyable. It was a great way to spend Christmas day afternoon!

After the cruise we drove by the Clinton library. Click here to find out more about this place and to see pics of the very interesting building. It is supposed to be a bridge to the future. I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not particularly fond of Mr. Clinton, but I think I'd like to go back and go through the library.

The rest of the day was spent playing games and surfing the Internet and watching football. At one point we had at least three laptops logged onto the Internet all in the same room. I got on You Tube and showed my sister some of my favorite videos. The best one of all times is Evolution of Dance. Another really funny one is the OK GO new video. Anyway, we had a good time laughing and just hanging out.

The trip home was uneventful if not pleasant. The best part was picking up Teddy and Carmel from the Vet. They were so excited to see us they peed. I think that was probably a good thing.

I didn't get to talk with the leadership of the Little Rock church like I had hoped, but I did get a picture of where they are. Please continue to pray for this church as they have some big decisions ahead of them. The minister has some health issues too, so pray for him as well. I may be able to go back and work with them after the first of the year. There are some exciting possibilities. We'll see.

For now, I continue to prepare for fully engaging in Real Estate January 2nd. I am also preparing to speak at a Winter Blast event in Illinois over the second weekend of January. Should be a couple of hundred kids there. I'll also be speaking to the adult volunteers in the host church about ministry development, so I'm really excited about this upcoming weekend.

We haven't decided where we're going to church Sunday yet. We may pop into the church where I served. We'll see.

I hope you're Christmas was wonderful!


Friday, December 22, 2006

A Christmas Thought

I was reading in the book of John the other day for my personal quiet time. I've been going through the gospel of John recently and decided to stay on track with my reading rather than going back to do the birth of Christ.

As I was reading along I came across this scripture...

"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.

Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." John 18:37

Hmmm. There's something you don't hear emphasized very often at Easter time. Jesus Christ said that He is a king and that this was the reason He was even born and came into the world - to be a king. Isn't that interesting? And isn't it interesting that at Christmas time, this pivotal moment between Jesus and Pilate is rarely mentioned. I think His birth and this conversation are two moments in time that should be closely tied together.

Is Jesus Christ the King of your life? And if you say that He is, then what does that mean exactly?

And what about the second part of what Jesus said here too...that he came into the world to testify to the truth and that everyone on the side of truth listens to Him? If Jesus came to testify to the truth then we have to ask WHAT or WHO is the truth that He is testifying about? We, as believers understand that to be God. HE is the source - the originator of truth. And if you'll look at the records of Jesus' life, you'll find Him talking about God and talking to God all the time. Everything He said and did was to point people to God - the truth.

And what about that listening to Jesus part?

Ever wonder why so many famous people and rich people and non believing in God type people are so caught up in themselves? It's because they are not listening to Jesus. You see, when you don't have the source of truth in your life as guidance then you're free to do whatever you want. You have no restraints. Truth is relative and so is life. Pick and choose your own path. But be careful because when you do, it can sure get rocky.

Just ask Danny Bonaduce.

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Our Visit to Church Number Two

Church Number two was Asbury United Methodist Church (pictured above). We have actually wanted to visit this congregation for some time for two reasons:

1)It is a growing, active congregation and I've heard that the pastor is a good Biblical preacher.
2)This church bought my grandparents property two lots over to the North.

So we went this past Sunday with some friends who have been attending the church. We arrived early knowing it would be crowded and after spending 10 minutes looking for a parking place, ended up parking in the street. I suppose they have visitor parking but if so, it wasn't easily identifiable at all.

I have to say that the inside of the building was beautiful. It is ornate and very nicely designed. I love the "grand" staircases coming down from the balcony into the gathering area. What I didn't like is that the welcome center is fairly hidden off to the side. I had to search to find it. I think that is a huge minus.

The sanctuary is large and much to my surprise built with a sloped floor and pews. I suppose the fact that this church is within the United Methodist fellowship probably dictated style? Nevertheless, the sanctuary is beautiful although the pews weren't exactly designed for comfort.

The service on this particular Sunday was an oratorio program. It was a musical telling of the creation and fall of man as well as an accounting of the Old Testament nation of Israel calling for a king. It went right through the birth of Christ and ended with the crucifixion. They had a full live orchestra, a huge choir and some amazing soloists. I wondered if the soloists were volunteers or if they were paid.

The program was right at an hour in length and was enjoyable...mostly. They had the words to all the songs printed and that was helpful. However, I had to wonder about doing a program of this sort on a Sunday morning. I missed communion and preaching. On the other hand, you have to understand this is what Diane and I call "high church." Its a different way of doing church. It utilizes what we call "high" arts and approaches doing church differently. I first encountered this at Diane's home church in Columbus, Indiana. It's a church format very similar to what we experienced when I first started dating Diane. It took me a couple of months to get used to the high church style, but once I did I really liked it.

The "Oopsie" of this visit was the crochety old lady behind us who rudely told Diane to turn off her cell phone before the service began. I thought that if we had been unchurched visitors her attitude would have ended any chance of our ever returning.

We plan to visit this church again after the holidays so we can experience a regular service. We'll let you know how that visit goes.

Next Sunday we'll be in Little Rock, so please be praying about my meeting with the leadership there.


PS - Any of you who wonder what a sanctuary looks like with a sloped floor and pews and an overhanging balcony should go check out this church.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Phone Number Switch

Diane and I have decided to switch phone numbers. This is mostly because, as a real estate agent I want to have a great phone number that people can easily remember.

So, if you're looking to buy or sell real estate in the greater Tulsa area, give me a call at 272-7272! I'm with McGraw Davisson Stewart.

Diane will take my old number.

For those who don't know, you can do this by simply switching the SIM cards in your phones. Of course that means you've got to re-add all your contacts if they weren't already saved to the card!

Oh, and for all you in Owasso who keep calling us when you meant to call Papa John's...I hope you want to buy a house when you call, cause guess what we're gonna be talking about? It ain't pizza!


Friday, December 15, 2006

The Final Exam

Today finally arrived.

It was the day I had waited for and had been working towards all week. It was test day.

Last night Diane and I studied through some material one final time until she fell asleep on the couch at the late hour of 9:30ish. I had spent the afternoon lightly reviewing and felt ready, so off to bed we went at 10:30 or so.

5:30 arrived bright and early with my phone alarm going off and the simultaneous smiles of Teddy and Carmel (who are always excited to greet a new day!). I did the shower thing, ate, prayed with Diane and headed to the city at 6:45 when my chauffeur, Joe arrived.

We made good time. I studied some on the way. We chatted. Then we arrived at the once thriving mall now turned business/office complex building. It's a tired looking place.

We found the entrance and off I went to take my test. The people in the office were nice while trying not to be routine. The girl who helped me was mostly excited about the Christmas party and Dirty Santa game they were going to play later in the afternoon, but she worked me through the process fairly quickly. Her singing country Christmas songs along to the CD that was playing was a...bonus.

Okay, so put your stuff down, go in the room with your calculator, pencil and scratch paper that we give you, log into the computer and take the test. You have three hours. You can go to the bathroom once. And turn off your cellphone, thank you very much.

I go to the room, open the door and (short hallelujah to God for listening this morning) the room is empty! I sit down at the computer the lady points me to, start scribbling like crazy everything I can remember that I have learned about real estate over the last three weeks on my scratch paper and then log-in and start.

This test had 130 questions drawn from a bank of 1,000. I felt good about 3/4 of them and unsure of the rest. So I marked those questions I was unsure of and went back over them after working through all the questions. Then I went back over the entire test again. I was bound and determined to pass this sucker - I would not be denied by 1 measly percent this time. No sir, I wasn't driving back to the City to do this again. No way!

So I finished up the test, felt very good - like I had passed it and hit the submit button.

The super fast computer program wasn't super fast. It was super so-so as it calculated my performance and worth in the world (you know what I mean, right?). When it finished up, I walked out to find the singing country Christmas music lady gathering my results from the printer. She smiled and said, "Congratulations on passing your test, Mr. Haywood." Note, she called me Mr. Haywood - a sure sign that my worth was way up there!

I could tell she was impressed. I could tell she would want me to sell her a house should the occasion arise. I thought she might yell out to everyone in the office that this very cool guy standing in front of her was simply amazing and that they should come and stand in his presence...OOPS BACK TO REALITY AND OUT OF THE PIPE DREAM I WAS HAVING...

She handed me the papers and promptly asked for money for another fee (one of many to come). She then sent me to the front where I checked out with the receptionist.

I can't really convey to you in these words how pleased I am to have passed this test. In a spiritual way of looking at things, I see it as confirmation of God's hand on this crazy plan we're pursuing.

Lunch was my treat. Cheesecake factory. Lets just say expensive decadence!

The trip home was much lighter than the trip over. Hmm, funny how that works, huh?

So, this afternoon I made phone calls that will further my career and get me going. And I made a very important phone call - really one that is what this whole thing is all about in my life. I talked to my dad about sitting down with the elders in the church where he attends. It's my home church in Little Rock. It's not doing well and is in danger of going away if somebody doesn't do something. So over Christmas we're going to sit down and talk about the situation to see if the remaining leadership is open to a new church plant or work using the existing building and support of the congregation.

Please pray for this church as I talk with them. It's my hope and intention to be used by God in a capacity such as this to help churches (and in other ways like preaching too). I'm hoping the real estate will not only pay our bills, but will bring in enough money to support projects like this (at least my involvement in them).

I'll let you know how the talk goes after Christmas.

In the meantime, it's time to catch up on Christmas shopping. I'm way behind!


PS - Here's one question from the test. See if you can answer this one...

There's a 1988 discrimination act. Who, under this act, can you discriminate against?

A. Someone who is blind
B. Someone who is in a wheelchair
C. An alcoholic
D. A current drug user

I'm fairly sure I missed this question. If you know the right answer, I'd like to know!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I was originally going to take my license exam today, but instead decided to attend the funeral of a very good friend of ours father. It was a very nice service. Sounds like he would have been a great guy to know. I feel very badly for the family and their loss.

Over lunch Diane's doctor called and said they had received the results from the ultrasound scans and that the doctor now wants to do a big funky kind of a word procedure that means they want to do a biopsy of the dark invader in her uterus.

Couple of thoughts here...

First of all I thought the doctor had looked at these scans. Isn't that why we are on this medicine?

Secondly, there were lots of assurances that this isn't anything to lose sleep over. I told Diane that we'd rather have a doctor that is like this rather than one who says, "Oh we'll just watch it." But still, you're not going to sleep well until the biopsy is done and the results are back and the doctor says something like, "Everything is fine. I was just checking to be sure." So pray for us. We've got some more restless nights ahead now...

Third, we're about to go through an insurance change so please pray that this goes smoothly and that the new insurance company doesn't act like a lot of insurance companies do and make us start all over with everything or fill out enough paper work to cover the national debt or maybe require DNA from our firstborn to prove that we are human, we are alive and we didn't land on the planet yesterday. This piece of the puzzle is the one that makes me more nervous than anything else!

Finally, I'm going to take my license exam in the morning. I'm ready. I've studied hard this week. I know the material. I'll be facing a super fast computer program live this time that pulls 130 questions randomly from a bank of 1,000. Please pray that the computer cooperates and doesn't say I have to answer all 1,000! Seriously, please pray for memory recall and calm nerves. Thanks.

And one more thing to pray about - on Monday I've got a client I'm taking in for pre-approval on a loan. He's a friend of mine who wants to buy a house in January. Pray for him and me as we meet with the loan officer on Monday.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Quote of the Day

This comes from the latest issue of REV magazine (not the car version, the ministry version).

"Professional ministry is dangerous to your soul."
-Eugene H. Peterson

If you're not in paid, professional ministry you have no idea how true this statement is.

Pray for those who are in the ministry in your church!


Here's a link to the website if you're interested:

Monday, December 11, 2006

Our Visit to Church Number One

Now that I'm not longer on staff at the church where I was serving, Diane and I have decided to visit some churches in order to see what's out there and to gain a fresh perspective. We've been at our church for so long that with the rare exception of a Sunday off here and there, we really are pretty clueless as to how other churches do Sunday services.

So Diane and I headed off to a large charismatic church in Tulsa that we have visited once a year or so in the past. I like to go to this church in order to remind myself how much I like it and don't like it all at the same time.

What I liked:

These people have their act together when it comes to putting on a church service. Every usher is in place and they know their job. All the people at the Welcome Centers are there including the hundreds of volunteers it must take to run their children's programming. The sanctuary is amazing. The lighting and staging and instruments are done in a manner that appeals to my boomerness. The stage was classy. I love the flat screen monitors they have that are placed in such a manner that I thought someone had actually given consideration to the people who will be looking at these things. They thought about their audience, not themselves. The seats are comfortable - no pews. The service started exactly on time. The worship was great as far as the music and vocalists sounding good. No oopsies on mike's not working or not being on when a person begins talking or sounding bad. They did communion. It was done with a hymn and in a way that was focused properly on Jesus. They had a funny and very well performed skit as an announcement. I liked that because it showed creativity. The sermon was well thought out and well presented. Of course, I didn't agree with all the points, but I knew that would be the case up front.

I like the worship folder too. Very simple. Full color. Few announcements. Classy. The big minus on it was that there were NO sermon notes and nowhere to take notes.

What I didn't like:

NOBODY said hi to us. In a very large crowd you felt like you were at a concert event rather than church. Even afterwards while waiting for Diane to come out of the restroom, I sat alone on a bench while everybody was just doing their thing. (The oopsie of the day was when a woman came down the hall and went into the men's restroom. I wondered how long she'd make it in there. I timed her. 3 seconds.)

The church is large and full of mostly all ages of people including what appeared to be a mostly boomer aged audience. However, I know from one other time when I was there that they are changing their focus to the 20 somethings now. To that end the musicians and vocalists and worship guy dressed in a kind of postmodern fashion with jeans as the unifying theme. Didn't care for that. I think they may want the twentysomethings but they're forgetting that the broad scope they have right now isn't twentysomethings. I'm not sure how they'll figure that problem out.

There were very few older people in the crowd although I understand they have a large active group of older adults.

The sermon went about 45 minutes which was too long. It was a good message focused on why Jesus was called the Son of Man. But it was too long.

The invitation at this church is a bow your head and say this prayer kind of a thing. They then invite the people who said the prayer to a back room to give them some things that will help them in their new walk with the Lord. I didn't care for this. It felt pushy. I thought it would have been awkward if I had been a person who new nothing of Christianity. And to go to some back room alone to meet with some guy I don't know in a big church like that? No thanks. If I wasn't a Christian this wouldn't appeal to me at all to become one.

All in all this would not be a church where we would plug in and place our membership. The first reason is obviously because we don't agree with their doctrine in regards to some of the spiritual gifts and in regards to baptism and in some other areas. The other reasons we wouldn't are because they aren't targeting people my age anymore. I felt a bit not wanted although they would tell you that isn't the case at all. We wouldn't go there either because it's just a big crowd of people, not a community. At least that's how we were treated.

On the other side of the coin, we would be drawn to this church on the basis that the preacher is a man with a clear vision. He's the guy who leads this place. He's the guy who built it. He's a good preacher. He loves God, he loves Jesus Christ, he believes in the Bible and he's living out what he believes God has called him to do. However, churches built around one guy tend to be...

So why would we go visit this place?

First, because like I said earlier, we want to get a fresh perspective. And sometimes perspective is best enhanced by getting out of your box a bit.

Secondly, because we know that this church believes the Bible and lives their faith. They are known to be a Bible believing church.

Third, because we want to walk into some places as the total strangers to see the response.

Next week we're heading off to another larger church in Tulsa. This one has a reputation for being conservative in a not so conservative main line denomination. We'll be attending with friends. We'll let you know how that one goes.

For now, it's back to the books. Got a big test this week.


PS - To my friend who has invited to attend church with him - we're seriously considering your invitation. We'll let you know.

Friday, December 8, 2006

How God Works in my life

Today was the day I was going to take the final exam for the on-line classes I've been doing to get my real estate license. I got up early, had breakfast, did my devo's (didn't want to miss that part lest God not bless me you know), said my prayers and then got into studying.

During my devotional time I read Jesus' words where He told His disciples to ask for anything in His name and He would give it to them (John 16:16-ff). A random thought crossed my mind while reading this passage of Scripture. "I wonder if Jesus meant His words for just the disciples or if His words still apply to us today." I think that's a fair question given that all my life I've been told that the Bible is our guide for life today. I know some people who would tell you that everything that happened, that was said and that people did in the Bible is still 100% LITERALLY applicable to today. This is why some churches practice feet washing and others have women who cover their heads. I believe there were some culturally relevant things in Jesus' day that aren't applicable today, such as head coverings. I don't think all scripture is to be taken literally (Jesus knew how to speak figuratively and often did). And for the record, I DO believe the Bible is our guide for life today.

That all having been said, when I got to my prayer time I reminded God of what Jesus said and asked Him to have me pass my computer final test on the first try. Jesus said to ask for anything in His name, so I did.

SIDE NOTE: Yes it is completely possible and probable that Jesus was speaking specifically in terms relating to spiritual matters in the John passage.

After the prayer I hit the computer and started taking the test. It was hard and I didn't feel like it was well written. I struggled, but I pushed through and answered all the questions. An hour and half later I hit the submit button, held my breath and watched as the super fast computer program calculated my answers.

The results came back: I had 79% correct. You gotta have 80% to pass.

Hmmm. What happened here? Maybe God didn't answer the prayer? Maybe I didn't believe enough - remember the passage that says you gotta believe it for it to happen? I thought about this for sometime.

I know there are people who, given the same situation would curse God and put the blame on Him. They prayed. Jesus said He'd give you whatever you asked for and BOOM - nothing. I used to be like that, but I think that is an immature Christian response. I have come to understand that God's interest in these kinds of things has more to do with growing us than just rubber stamping a bunch of prayer requests with a big "YES".

So what was I going to do? Get all mad at God and blame Him or go back and face the reality of the situation? Fact was, I hadn't studied enough. I hadn't done MY part. Sure God could have taken me right through the test. 100%. An "A" the first time, but what good would that do? I mean, if I'm going to be a great real estate agent (which by the way I do intend to be an amazing real estate agent!) and God just supernaturally made me pass my test, then I would not have learned anything would I? I wouldn't be able to perform the job legally, ethically, knowledgeably. Why is it that we so often want God to do the work for us instead of being grown up enough to buckle down and do our part? I mean, sure I'll pray to God to take away my wife's fibroid tumor, but I don't believe that He expects us to sit back and do nothing about it either.

So lunch came and went. I talked to the dogs (Teddy and Carmel - my new daily companions). They told me it would be okay in their dog kind of way. I felt better. I studied a lot more. I went over what I missed. I learned some things and then I went back and took the test again.

Quick prayer. Work the questions. Hit submit. Super fast computer program calculates and...94%! Oh YES, you'd better believe it. It was like the end of the Indy 500. The crowd went nuts. The white boy stood up from his computer chair and tried to dance. The dogs barked. There was singing. The angles sat up and took notice. It was a momentous 30 seconds.

"Thank you God. Thank you to my wife. I couldn't have done it without the support and love of my family. Thank you Teddy and Carmel"...okay enough of the celebratory speech. Sorry.

So now we move to the next mountain to conquer. I call it the big nasty. It's the final exam in OKC. You have to take it in person. And you have to take proof of who you are and a picture. They're serious about this I can tell. So I head off into 1,000 study questions they're emailing me (that's what the lady said) and a prep school in Tulsa in the morning.

So keep praying for us - Diane is doing pretty well on her medicine. I've made a major accomplishment and have just this one test left to go. Thanks to everyone who's cheering us on and have been so good to back us in this goofy move we're making (or rather God's making) in our lives.

I'll let you know more about the next test soon.

By the way, Teddy and Carmel say "Hey"


Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Nighttime Option

I told you in my last blog that Diane was going to try taking her medicine at nighttime so she could sleep through the worst of feeling badly. We've tried this the last couple of nights and much to my surprise, it looks like this may actually work.

So, we're thanking God and all those praying for us for this development. Please keep praying that this option will continue to work for Diane.

In the short time I've been not working for FCC I'm already beginning to get a different perspective of what it is like to do church and be a Christian outside of paid, full time professional ministry. I'm honestly a bit surprised at what I'm learning, seeing, feeling and experiencing. I'll blog about this in a couple of weeks after I've had more time to take it in a bit.

One last looks like our daughter will be moving out in January. This is by mutual agreement between her and us (okay more mutual by us) and while we wish things could work out differently, this is going to be the best option for everyone concerned - especially Diane. We've got to get a more peaceful environment around our house and the life of our active 19 year old just isn't into that going to bed at 10 p.m. kind of stuff. So, pray for Heather and for us as we face this transition in January. It will be another strange kind of transition in our family.

I often wondered what Abraham might have been feeling and thinking after he left his home because God told him to. I think I know now.


Tuesday, December 5, 2006

An Update

With the storm that dumped 10 inches of snow on us, life has been different for the last couple of days. I'll bet I'm not the only parent really excited that the kids have to go back to school today!

Diane began her medicine to shrink the tumor on Sunday. It upset her stomach some the first day which wasn't a good sign. Usually that means it will only get worse.

She took her second pill yesterday at lunch time and was nausiated all afternoon and evening. When she got home last night, she ate supper and then promptly fell asleep in the living room for the entire rest of the evening. It was reminiscent of the "bad" old days when she was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

That's really bad. It means there is probably very little chance she'll be able to take the medicine.

Today she's going to try taking the pill with our evening meal. She's hoping that she can sleep through the not feeling good part. We'll see.

Please continue to pray that her body will accept this medicine. If she can't take it we may be facing surgery and for someone with Fibro, that's actually worse.

We've been told you can just leave these Fibroid tumors alone for years and that they're trully not harmful, but I don't know because we've also been told more can and probably will grow.

So now we're beginning to be faced with the "What to do" problem. Surgery? Tough it out on the pills? Nothing? Please pray for us to have wisdom in figuring out how to move forward.

In my world, I have finished going through the study materials and can now take the computer version of the final exam for my license. After I pass that test I can then go and take the official one in Oklahoma City. Right now the plan is to do that next week. That means lots and lots of study this week - thus the joy that the kids are back in school!

We'll not be in church services for the rest of this month as we'll be in Little Rock for Christmas and visiting a few places we have enjoyed attending whenever we had those few Sunday's "off". We will be back in January some and we will have our LIFE group. For those of you in our group, we meet Sunday night at 6 at our house.

Thank you to everyone who showed up for our reception. It was so heart warming to share with friends who we've known for so long. It seems like just yesterday when we arrived at FCC and now that we are changing our journey, saying "goodbye" or at least goodbye to the way things have been is hard. But we know God is in control and that He is good. He is guiding us on this path and we're very excited to see what He has in store for us.

Talk to you soon.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Test Results Are In

In my last post I asked God to not wait too long. I was referring to His acting in our situation with Diane's tumor as well as cluing us into how we would be proceeding. We'll He didn't wait.

The doctor called TODAY with good news!

There are NO cancer cells anywhere AND the tumor is not a grapefruit sized beast, but rather more in the orange category!


The course of treatment is going to be a medicine called Yaz. How's that for kind of crazy? If Diane's body accepts this medicine the tumor will shrink and go away.

So our prayer request now is for Diane's body to be okay with the medicine. Her disease sometimes makes taking new medicine a nightmare. Please pray that that does not happen in this situation or we could be facing surgery. We don't want that.

Pray also that the stuff I'm learning will stay in my head. There's a lot of it and some of it keeps falling out. I'm having to put it back in there and keep after it!

Thanks God!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Our Visit to the Ultrasound Tech

Today was Diane's ultrasound.

We probably should have gotten up, eaten breakfast together, had devotions, prayed and then headed off to the doctor. But we didn't.

For some reason we both got up like normal, had our coffee, got ready and left. I think maybe the idea of what we were going to go do or possibly find out was too big and ominous to allow "normal" into our lives.

I feel kind of bad about that. I'll do better next time.

Anyway, we got there a bit late and quite surprisingly got right in. I figured we'd do penance for arriving late - like an additional 45 minutes of waiting, but not this time.

It felt like any other day when you go to a doctor's office. People doing their work, setting up machines, working on computers, etc. We were there for an ultrasound, but we weren't there to look for a baby. We were there to look for a tumor. I wanted to tell them all to pay attention. We were in the building and this was important. But I didn't. Diane was glad.

It was odd to sit there and watch as the lady moved the wand around Diane's belly just like she had 19, 17 and 16 years ago when they were looking for our kids. I didn't like it when the monitor showed fuzzy images, one of which I knew wasn't supposed to be there. I had a million questions racing through my mind. Questions like, "Which one is it? The black one on the left or the oval on the right? If it isn't the one on the right then what exactly is that thing? It's not a baby right? No, must not be...the lady hasn't fallen off her stool yet."

The tech took pictures and measurements of the fuzzy thing on the left side, so I eventually figured that was the culprit that had brought us here. I finally got up the courage to ask if that was it and she said it was. I was surprised. My past experience has been that Ultrasound techs either don't know much English (that's not a slam against anyone - they just tend to not talk much), or they really take that "Thou Shalt Not Tell the Big Secrets" promise seriously.

The morning took a turn when the tech couldn't find Diane's ovaries. She looked and looked but they were in hiding. She finally told us she thought one of them was back behind "a plume of Bowel Gas". The other was just MIA. I told her we hadn't had any problem finding them back when we needed them for making children. She laughed and then told Diane we were going in for a closer look. It turned out to be about as bad as it sounds. And the bad thing is, I"m not sure she ever did find those stinking ovaries!

When the whole experience was over I brought Diane home and she went to bed. She was fairly worn out, both emotionally and physically. I sat at the computer to study, but found my mood to be rather blue. I didn't like it.

After lunch I took her to work, but I could tell she was different. She wasn't herself. I left feeling concerned.

So now we wait.

And you know how that goes. In your mind you see images of the place where the person reads the scans. And you see him come to the scans of your wife and you think, "Be careful there buddy. That's my wife's scans you're looking at." Or you wonder why it takes so long. Why do you have to wait? Don't they know that waiting is a form of ancient torture? Do they enjoy making you wait? Surely the system can't be THAT backed up right? I'm convinced it's all a medical field conspiracy. After our last 5 hour wait in the Emergency Room I swore I'd never go back to that place again!

But the doctor said she'd be in touch and so we'll wait. We trust her. And we know that sometimes no news is good news, right? And we know also that God is in this deal and we trust Him even more than the doctor and so we'll wait on Him too.

Just don't be too long God, okay?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

Today is Thanksgiving.

We got up early this morning - at least Diane and me. Had our coffee, visited with Teddy and Carmel (the dogs), picked up the traditional Thanksgiving day paper that weighed 10 lbs and began our morning.

Thanksgiving traditionally includes crepes for the kids made by me. This is always a favorite. So I spent an hour mixing and cooking these wonderful thin french pancakes for everybody. After rousing the kids (one of whom stayed up till 5 a.m.) we enjoyed an increasingly rare breakfast together. It was nice.

Diane likes to put up the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving day. I think Christmas is way too long and way too comercialized so, of course, I grinch about it and put it off as long as possible, but usually subcum Thanksgiving night. She is like a kid in a candy store. I'm grumpy.

This year we're putting the tree up early - like right after we ate breakfast. Yesterday Chris and I got after it and got all the lights up and working outside in the yard, on the fences and on the house. We even got the manger scene put into place. And as we did this I found a strange kind of a movitation to get it done. I wanted to do it. And I wanted to do it before she got home last night. We made it...just barely.

Today I find I am motivated to get this Christmas tree up and all the decorations going.

Why? Why is it that when you find out that one you love has something like a tumor that you suddenly find the energy, motivation and desire to do things for them that you previously did not have?

For me it is because I want her to be okay.
I want her around.
I want to grow old with her.

And I don't want her to have a tumor.

Questions run through my mind that are too scary to answer right now. Questions that begin with, "What if" and don't have pleasant answers.

This thanksgiving brings much thankfulness for us and for me. And most of it revolves around two people - God and Diane.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another Prayer Request

Today Diane went in for her annual "girl" type check up.

During the course of the visit the doctor discovered what she is calling a Fibroid tumor.


When Diane called me she was pretty shook up. For me, it was a kick in the gut. I feel sucker punched.

Next Tuesday we'll go in for an ultrasound to find out exactly what we are dealing with, the size, treatment, possible surgery, etc.

In the meantime, we are asking for all of our friends to join us in asking God to handle this situation for us.

So please pray.



Monday, November 20, 2006

An Invitation to Join our Prayer Warrior Team

If you've found your way to this post by accident or by invitation, please read on!

Diane and I are heading off in a new direction in our lives and while it is exciting, it is also somewhat unsure...especially for Diane. I know she is dealing with questions such as, "Will we make it?", "Will there be food on the table?", "Can he do this?" (meaning my new job), etc.

One thing we have discussed is that we've got to have prayer cover to be successful in our new venture. And so we are forming a prayer warrior team. If you join this team we are simply asking for your prayers on a daily basis for some specific goals we want to accomplish.

Here's the list for Phase 1. Phase 1 will last from now until the end of January.

1. Please pray every day that God will give Diane peace and that He will heal her from her Fibromyalgia.

2. Pray for God's hand on our kids' lives as they'll be attending church on many Sundays apart from us for a while.

3. Pray for us that we will be strong during this transition time.

4. Pray for success in my pre-licensing and testing phase. I am now studying for this and will go to OKC sometime in December to take the actual test. I have to pass this test in order to obtain my real estate license.

5. Pray for the sale of my first house before the end of January. This will put food on our table and make my wife much easier to live with!

6. Pray for God to be speaking to our hearts and giving us comfort as we are absent from FCC during this time. We'll be in church somewhere, but not with the people we love so much.

7. Pray for God to already be working to reveal to us churches where I can go to help. I'm looking forward to talking with church leaders about why their church is or is not growing. I'm looking forward to preaching in pulpits and to being able to help churches that have lost their preacher for some reason. I'm very excited about these opportunities. I'm also hoping that this may develop into consulting opportunities.

That's it for now. If you will join us as a prayer warrior here's what we are asking of you...

- that you will pray daily with us for these seven things.
- that you will be faithful to lift us up before the Lord.
- that you will stay in touch with us so we can give you updates of how God is leading (or let us stay in touch with you).

I am hoping to build a large team of committed people who will join with us faithfully. We believe in the power of prayer and believe strongly that this is a key element to moving forward. Will you be one of our prayer warriors?

If so, please respond to me via email or to this post if you are in the blogging community. I'll write soon about how the response is coming and keep you informed of how God is working in our lives.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hey World...I'm back!

Not that anyone will see this right off the bat, but I'm back.

I took down my old site as I felt that circumstances in my life at the time dictated it. However, those circumstances have now changed and so I have decided to begin posting again.

In last few days life has been pretty crazy. I'm in the midst of a job and a career change. It is all very exciting and somewhat nerve racking too. But one thing is sure. I know that God is in this and that He is leading me and Diane into a whole new world. I'm going to be able to work with churches in an incredible way. And I'm very excited about that.

In the meantime there is pain involved. Isn't there always pain involved when change comes about? But pain usually doesn't last forever and this certainly won't in our lives. It really is sort of a mere inconvenience...except that there are people involved who are very dear friends. I feel badly for them - even more so than I do for myself.

There is also relief involved. Much stress in my life is now gone and for this I am very grateful.

I'm surprised at how quickly I am adapting to the changes swirling around me. I can see God's hand in this in every way.

So check back often as I will be writing now on a variety of topics and chronicling our new direction and journey in life. I enjoy the blogging community and look forward to hearing from you.