Monday, March 31, 2014

EGG Someone!

Looking for a way to distribute your Easter invitations which were handed out in church yesterday?  Look no further . . . EGG someone!

Print the above sheet (or personalize your own) and then put it in a plastic bag along with some candy and your Troy UMC Easter invitation.  Place the bag on a neighbor's door, in a co-worker's office, or a friend's car.  Then, send a selfie of yourself EGGing someone to

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Card Shower Request: Uncle Roger

Uncle Roger is having leg pain and a persistent fever.  They performed a bone marrow biopsy to test for leukemia and are awaiting results.  Please shower Uncle Roger with cards, notes, etc. of encouragement and prayer.

Uncle Roger
12225 Claremont Lane
Wright City, MO  63390

Main Street Community Center Fundraiser

Submitted by Deb Ellis

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Friend's Personal Storm

Tomorrow my friend is having surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on her colon. The stage of her cancer and future treatment is unknown until after the surgery. This friend is the most faith driven woman I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. She lives and breathes for her God and as confusing as that is for me at times, it's something I've always admired about her.

She wrote this today and I wanted to share her words:  

"YIKES!!! Tomorrow at this time I will be heading into surgery! Not going to lie, I get a little scared when I think about it. But with that being said...My sister and I were talking the other day and I told her, that if something does happen and I don't win this fight, that I don't want anyone to be mad, angry, or upset. You see, I signed up for the army, Jesus's army. As a soldier of His, I must go through battles and circumstances just like my nephews have done and are doing in their service with the military for our country. When there are causalities of war or broken bodies, they are Heroes. They still believe in what they stand/fight for, and they would do it again. It is all for something greater. So, again if I become a casualty of this war, be proud, and know that I gave it my best and I am proud to serve in this army where Jesus is my Commander. He will use this for something greater. As you read in my daughter's post yesterday, I have been through some battles in my life and look at the good I have now.  I love you all soooooo much it makes my heart hurt. I will fight, and I will fight for you! I am strong...I am woman... a woman of God! Now, go make every MINUTE of your life count, be happy, hug more, kiss more, PUT down your PHONES and talk to your family and friends, look in their eyes and tell them you love them!! Thank you all again for being my "army" buddies and being here for me! My "coffee" cup runneth way over the top! Ha! Praise God!"

Wow!!! After reading this I went and sat on my deck crying and listening to the wind and talking with God and then it started to thunder...uhhh...not quite sure what to think about that, but one thing my friend has taught me is a little bit of thunder is nothing to be scared of.

If you're so inclined, please mail her a note of encouragement, a card, or anything to brighten her upcoming days.

500 Lincoln Avenue
East Alton, IL 62024

In her words "He brought me to it, He will bring me through it" ❤️

In support of my friend and colon cancer in general, I wore blue today and will continue to wear blue until my closet runs out.  Here's a picture that I snapped this morning (maybe the thunder was God telling me to put down my phone?) and sent to her just after the thunder incident.  She loved it and said she was laughing out loud.  She not only has a strong love for God, but an incredibly great sense of humor.  Just another reason why I love her!

By Jessica Dudley

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers

The first workshop I attended at the 2014 Hearts at Home conference was Leslie Leyland Fields' Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers.  Fields is an international speaker who has written nine books including Parenting is Your Highest Calling . . . and Eight Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt as well as Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers.  She lives on Kodiak Island, Alaska, with her husband of thirty-six years and the last two of her six children who range in age from eleven to twenty-five.

What I enjoyed the most about her presentation was her honest account of her own dysfunctional childhood mixed with healing based not only on the Bible, but also psychology.  Thus, the co-author of Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers is Dr. Jill Hubbard, a clinical psychologist.

During Fields' talk, one could hear sobbing throughout the lecture hall for not only Fields' story, but for one's own story being not only acknowledged, but truly heard.  A woman in what looked to be in her fifties seated near me had a stream of tears running down her face.  My heart ached for her because I could see that hurt girl inside this woman and identify with her.  I wanted to reach over and wrap my arms around her, but movable desktops blocked my way.  Instead, I gave her my e-mail as we were shuffling out of the auditorium and told her she was not alone.

Over the years, I have heard in regards to my own personal story, "Get over it!" and "I am sorry for whatever you think I have done," which does nothing to ease the memory or the hurt.  In reading memoirs written by my writing students, the forms of abuse parents inflict on their children is unimaginable whether through threats, denial, accusations, or neglect to name a few.  In talking with others, I ask, "Why?"  For, a child is a gift from God.

Wishing to connect further with Fields and her story, I purchased Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers and read it in a span of twenty-four hours.  Click here to read the review.

Out of 213 pages, I marked ninety-nine passages.  The following is a sampling . . .

". . . we are entrusted with our pasts, and we must make something out of the 'burden of our witnessing'"  (12).

" . . . our fathers and mothers are acts, attitudes, afflictions that affect each child differently and not evenly"  (36).

"Psalm 56:8 says, 'You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book'"  (36-37).

"Too much frustration, chaos, and unpredictability [in a child's life] creates varying degrees of trauma"  (58).

" . . . must remember the child you once were, to give that child the validation and voice she or he never had"  (104).

"Those who have hurt us may not repent- ever.  They may not change in any way"  (123).

"God allows us to recall some of our memories as needed, and some He keeps recessed for our own protection until we are ready"  (173).

"Our childhoods are stolen.  The land we are taken to is oppressive.  We want only to escape"  (179).

" . . . God replaced all that with other people who cared"  (193).

"We do not need the offender's remorse or repentance in order to forgive, of course.  However, without that repentant response, we cannot be reconciled"  (199).

Dear Lord,
Thank you for having woman blessing Sarah K. think of me and invite me to Hearts at Home.  Thank you for connecting me with Leslie Leyland Fields, her book, and the woman seated next to me during the lecture.  Your work of six degrees of separation is humbling.  Please guide me to be the best mother I can be to my two girls.
In your name, I pray,


By Courtney Winkler

Saturday, March 22, 2014

God Loves Hugs

Submitted by Carol Pigg, "This artwork and saying just touched me.  It seems to say that whether we know it or not, once God loves us, we are loved by all.  Interesting proposition, isn’t it?"

Friday, March 21, 2014

World's Okayest Mom

I love where I live…the schools, parks, shops, restaurants, trails, our church; it’s a wonderful place to live and raise my child. Can you hear the “but” coming? But, there is a downside. I have found that perfectionism is pervasive and I have struggled with my own insecurities when faced with such perfection. We can all describe the perfect mom…her meals are always home cooked, her children beautifully dressed, coifed, and well behaved. She actually MAKES the crafts she has pinned on Pinterest. She never loses her cool and everywhere she goes, she arrives on time. That’s a lot of pressure for a single mom who is perpetually late and at best makes 5 out of 7 dinners a week!

While I was at the Hearts At Home 2014 conference, I attended a workshop called “Successful Parenting or Faithful Parenting”, and the presenter, LeslieLeyland Fields, started by having us describe the perfect mom and then shared how she started out striving to be the perfect mom and after several years was ready to give up, seriously just walk away from her life. She challenged us to “lay down the impossible mother-load of guilt, pride, failure, and fear” and helped us debunk some parenting myths like successful parenting will lead to Godly children and that nurturing your children will always feel natural. She reminded us that even though Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it,” that Proverbs is not an instructional manual or a promise but rather observations on life. And striving for perfection doesn’t mean that my kiddo will turn out perfect or that I will impart lasting faith in her. If anything, I could really mess up His plans for her! Leslie reminded us of Ezekial 2:5 when the Lord said to Ezekial, “…whether they listen or not… they will know that a prophet has been among them.” I need to live my life knowing God’s love and out of that love, love my child. I don’t need to be perfect but it’s hard when in the face of seeming perfection.

Leslie’s workshop reminded me about a blog post I read last year called Quit Pointing Your Avocado At Me in which the blogger, Glennon Melton, shares her struggles competing with perfect mommies before realizing that the mompetition is in her mind and “Everybody's just doing the best she can, mostly.” My insecurities are my own and my perceptions of others’ perfection are my own too. Most of us are familiar with the adage, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Glennon adds, “Including you.” I don’t know what is going on behind closed doors. The mom who coordinates her daughter’s hairbows to match each day may be hiding depression. The mom who brags hourly about her sons on facebook may have struggled with infertility. The family happily playing together at the park may be overwhelmed with debt.

Leslie, Glennon, and all of the amazing speakers at Hearts At Home 2014 reminded me that I am who I am supposed to be. I shouldn’t try to be perfect and in fact, when I show up late and messy and imperfect, I give others around me permission to do the same. I am showing up to my life in a wonderfully imperfect way and each day I am trying to be authentic and genuine and love my daughter…and sometimes my voice will raise or bath night will be pushed another day or homework will be forgotten and that’s ok. I thought I had to be the best, most perfect mom to have a happy kid but it turns out I just have to be the okayest.