I am a visual learner, more non-verbal than verbal. I love doodling while learning and using color to assist myself in bringing a “mental picture” of the information to mind.

I was recently introduced to Praying in Color. Before practicing this, I would try to pray, but fail to concentrate for more than 5 minutes and give up or fall asleep.  Now I keep my hands busy with coloring and am able to focus my mind on God.

I also try to doodle or take notes during sermons. While doing something else, I am able to focus my mind better. This must be partly due to my kinesthetic bent, as well. Writing helps my brain to remember important facts without even looking back at my notes in many cases.

I think that having the strong styles that I do will help me immensely in this program. There will be very little auditory information in most cases. It seems that most information will be gleaned from reading (which I can highlight in many pretty colors), writing in response and reflection, and other media that will include PowerPoint presentations.

There are, however, the weekly podcasts to consider. I have already found myself starting to lose attention during these podcast even when they have been so short. I will have to make (and I have been) a concerted effort at those times, to focus on what is being said. After learning and confirming what I have from this inventory, I know taking notes or even doodling while listening to the podcasts and any other auditory lesson information is beneficial.

What a great District Council we had this year! Chris and I were both tremendously blessed! We were able to stay 3 nights! That with the new schedule of Monday –Wednesday instead of Tuesday – Thursday, allowed us to stay for the ordination service and the Thursday Leadership Seminar. I love the new schedule and I hope it is permanent. (Hint, hint to anyone in the district office.)

We went on Monday because I was on Teller Committee II and there was a meeting that afternoon. I was so excited and I enjoyed it, too. There were a few things I would have changed with that, though. We were in a prayer room and the lighting wasn’t too good. Also, we were in the same prayer room as the intercessors, which was unfortunate because while I was in there, I couldn’t hear what was going on in the meeting. The speakers had been turned off for the intercessors. So as far as resolutions 1-7, I have no clue how they went or what was discussed.

We didn’t go to the Monday evening banquet. Mostly because our kids came with us, and the banquet we attended a couple of years ago was a loud, cramped affair. I don’t think it was this year, but we didn’t realize it wouldn’t be. I’m glad we didn’t go because we had fun as a family and took it easy before the meetings on Tuesday. We did a little shopping (and VERY little buying) at a posh shopping center.

We were really built up during D.C. I got up and spoke in opposition of resolution 11?. It basically said that instead of ministers having to give 85% of their tithe from both ministerial and secular income to the district, we should change it to 85% of ministerial income only. The ministers would then be free to tithe the other to their church. I do see where this view is coming from. A lot of the pastors of small churches pay the church bills out of their own pocket and receive little to no pay from the church. It is a hard place to be. Chris and I have never been in that bad of a situation, but we do have a VERY limited income. It is hard to make ends meet and to be constantly worried about where the money will come from to pay this or that or just to make life a little enjoyable for our kids. I in no way mean to disrespect these hard working pastors.

There had been a very similar resolution two years ago and Pastor Dave Williams from Mount Hope Church had suggested we tithe 10% each to both our church and the district. We had a conversation going on a forum before DC about the resolution and that was his suggestion to all of us, I believe. Anyway, Chris and I took it to heart and decided to do it. Our church had been receiving our tithe back from the district for the church. That is a thing they will do under special circumstances and for a short period of time. We had run out of time and the church was feeling the crunch. As a church, we have been blessed in so many ways since then. Of course we were before then as well, but we haven’t been so close to financial ruin since then. We just recently bought a new lawn mower with money God provided. As for Chris and I, we have our ups and downs. We are not great steward of our finances. We find that finances are a weak area and we are constantly trying to keep on top of them and be good stewards and grow in this way. It is difficult with little income, though. At the beginning of this year, another church in our section has come along beside us and is supplementing Chris and I’s income with over 50% more than we were receiving! Praise the Lord! I truly believe that if we had not been faithful in tithing extra (giving a sacrificial offering) we wouldn’t be receiving this blessing now.

So, that is basically what I stood up and said. I thought maybe my personal story of provision would show that giving extra tithe to the district brought blessing to us, while when we gave the minimum, we struggled. I don’t believe we should change it.
We ended up sending the issue for more research on how it would affect the district financially. Having more exact numbers would be a good thing, but I will still vote against it the next time it comes up.

Well, there were some who came and thanked me for saying what I did. I give the glory to God though, because I didn’t want to go up there. It makes a person very nervous to stand up in front of all your colleagues and say what’s on your mind. You are putting yourself out there hoping no feels bad by what you say if you are disagreeing with them and hoping you say what God wants you to say without stumbling all over your words. The thanks built me up though. They made me see that I do have value to God and others. I hope to remember these words of thanks on the days when I feel useless. That is mostly why I am writing them down. What really shocked me were the thanks from the District Superintendent and others in the district office. A very prominent pastor of a large church told Chris and I that we amazed him! I didn’t know what to say to that, as we are amazed by the Godly ministry that has grown from his intimate relationship with God. That we should amaze him just floored us. I could only say, “whatever!” I know, great response, eh?

We also had lunch with the pastors from Bad Axe and had a great time with them. Later, the pastor’s wife and I had our complimentary spa treatments together, as well. We are hoping to get together once a month for lunch. I would love to have a friend nearby. They have been through a lot lately. Their son died about a year ago in Iraq. I can’t imagine how that feels. I also had a great conversation with Mary Beth. I told her about our Ella difficulties and she prayed with me about them and for our ministry. It was a great little chat! All of that was going on while I should have been at the Leadership Seminar. I missed about half of it, but I was where I needed to be.

We also go to have dinner and ice cream with another couple. She is in a pastor’s wives yahoo group I’m in. He was making us laugh too hard during the first business session. We had a great time! I hope we get to do it again sometime. They live on the other side of the state from us, unfortunately. I just love DC for the opportunity to see other minister that we only see one time a year, generally.

The ordination service was wonderful and I really appreciated the sermon. Pastor Dave Williams spoke on how to plug into God’s power. It was a very useful sermon and it led into his leadership seminar very well, too.

So, all in all, it was a great council. The kids did really well sitting through all of that, too. It is hardest for Ella and she did great. I thanked her. We went to see the State Capitol after the Seminar on Thursday. I’ve never seen it and I have lived here a long time. It was great to get to see it and share the experience with the kids. I’m thankful for all the intercessors that prayed for us while we met. More prayer is what we need. We can always use more prayer!

My dear hubby bought me a great book recently. It is called Praying in Color: Drawing A New Path to God. It was written by Sybil MacBeth. There is also a Kids’ Edition. She talks about how she has difficulty focusing during prayer and how she discovered that this was effective for her. Then she writes about why and how it works. She has little tips throughout as well. The kids’ edition is a short, quick version of the original book.

I am generally overwhelmed by “deep” books at first. I much prefer the light reading of fiction. I am not sure why, but I generally have to take time before I decide to read something that makes me think. Chris bought both books for me and the kids. The longer one was intimidating, so I started with the kids’ edition. I read a few short chapters but then I started getting excited about the concept and switched. The kids’ edition broke the ice for me.

I would highly recommend these books if you are like either the author or me. I have a terrible time focusing. My mind, my hands, my body all want to move and move on. Thought after thought flood my mind when I try to pray. This way of praying is great for me because it’s just doodling! You don’t even have to think words, much less write or say them. You just focus on the person or whatever it is you are praying for and let your hand run wild. I do this same thing all the time when I am on the phone. I doodle all the time!

You can pray whatever kind of prayer you want. She even goes over how to use this method for lectio divina. I have prayed for myself, but I have also interceded for others, tried a little lectio divina and done a combination. The doodles are just that and don’t have to be prefect. They aren’t supposed to be. However, if you are like me, you will think your prayers are the most beautiful works of art you’ve seen when you are done with them.

Here is a prayer for my daughter. She is having some difficulty with school again. I think the troubles are both because she does have her own will, but also because she seems to be having self-esteem issues and other things that stem from that. I know that with God’s guidance she will pull through her difficulties, but she has really been on my heart and mind lately. I’ve also been reading another book lately that talks about saying blessings over people, so that is why I changed delicate to strong on the leaf. This particular prayer is more polished than most are, but it was just right that day!

My Strong Flower

Oh! And in case you wondered, the supplies I use are a Moleskine Pocket Sketchbook (I am currently using a Moleskine Cahier Plain Notebook because Chris had one when I started, but I will switch when that runs out. The marker goes through the tiniest bit, but won’t on the Sketchbook.) I use Sharpie Ultra-Fine-Point Permanent Markers. I bought the pack that is linked at Wal-Mart for 15 or 20 dollars. It was a bit spendy, but for this purpose, well worth top-notch supplies.

I hope this post will encourage someone to get the book and try this method of prayer out. I have been really enjoying it the last couple of weeks.

Writing. I haven’t felt like really writing anything for a long time. Even now I’m surprised that I want to write. It may be a fleeting thing. I may not even finish this whole post in order to post. This is year has again been crazy. My family has been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Chris has a moderate case. He wakes up 19 times an hour because he stops breathing. I wake up a mere 6 times an hour. Our daughter wakes up 2 times and our son wakes up 1 time per hour. That might not seem like much, but it causes our sleep to be interrupted and explains why we are all groggy during the day. Chris and I have been put on CPAP machines. It has worked wonders for Chris. He gets up in the morning instead of noon every day. I have had success, too. However, I think now that I am taking too much medication. I have good days, but I also have days where I feel worse than before. I can’t think straight and I want to stay in bed. So, now I am going to try to get off of all of my depression medications.

I have to say that is scares me a lot. I have tried before and it has not gone well. The side effects of going off of the medicine are worse than the depression. I found a program online that helps you to get off without side-effects. It is free, but you do have to buy the needed supplements. It’s called The Road Back. I would like to try it, but I need to come up with the $160-$200 to buy the supplements.

While waiting for God to provide the money for that this past week, Chris reminded me of a time that I felt God had healed me. I think I figured out why I wasn’t just done with everything then. I remember feeling that God was telling me to flush the medicine. And I was scared because of the side effects. I didn’t do it. I think that was my mistake. Now I wonder, if I can have a second chance. I feel like maybe God is saying, “Sure, if you can really believe.” But, can I? I can allow the fear to ruin things again! But am I hearing correctly? Maybe I will fast to try to find out.

As far as the kids go, they will be seeing a specialist tomorrow to see about an Adentonsillectomy. They will remove their tonsils and adenoids so that they can breathe better at night. I guess that if they have this done, it should help them to grow out of it. If you are a mouth breather as a child, your tongue can’t do its job to expand your palette and jaw. The narrower your jaw the more chance you have of having Sleep Apnea. Your tongue pushes your teeth apart in your sleep. I found that pretty interesting. I am a mouth breather, so I imagine that is what happened with me. I’ve also had 4 teeth and 1 wisdom tooth removed. I could really use the rest of my wisdom teeth removed because my jaw isn’t big enough and now my teeth are getting out of align again. I had braces in high school, but am losing all the benefits. The sleep doctor told us that we all have narrow jaws. Sleep Apnea can also be genetic. So, I guess our kids didn’t have much of a chance, anyway. Poor kids!

In other news, with all of this going on, I have had a hard time making myself preach. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how I don’t enjoy preaching and hope that one day I will look forward to it. I always have difficulties when I have medicine changes (which is what is basically happening since I added the CPAP. It’s like I increased my other meds.). I have difficulty caring about anything. I don’t want to do the things I enjoy doing and it is almost impossible to make myself do things I don’t like to do. We have been late getting the kids to school a lot this school year. And that explains some of why I haven’t been blogging, as well.

I have been extra busy with scrapping duties, however. That is my escape right now. I was a guest on Nicole’s creative team (CT) in March. Now I am on The Digichick site CT. I am enjoying it a lot. There are so many good designers. But, I haven’t even kept up with posting layouts on my scrap blog.

I pray that this all ends soon and quickly. There is an update for you. I hope to not be such a stranger, but don’t count on it!

We had a great district council this year. We were miraculously provided for. I was miraculously healed of an ear infection and sore throat. You can read about our provision on my hubby’s blog. He did a great job of writing about it, so there is no reason for me to rewrite it. So, check out Adventures in Asceticism. He’s written some other great posts about District Council as well. I will just add that generally, our church pays for all or most of our expenses. That has been a wonderful gift in the past, but this year was especially tight, so we took donations, but not even an official love offering. I was amazed at the amount we got that way, but it still wasn’t enough. Our personal finances have been really tight the past month as well, so we weren’t in a great place when we left.

Now, as for my healing, I get to tell that story! Sunday, Princess was complaining of a sore throat. I thought, “oh, great, we’ll all be sick by the end of the week!” I wasn’t wrong. 😦 I tend to stress out when we are going somewhere. I don’t want to forget anything and I have to pack nearly everything. I make Chris pack his own clothes is all. So, I usually do get sick at the start of a trip. I think I run down my immune system or something. Anyways, I got it Sunday night. My throat hurt just a little. I thought maybe I wouldn’t get the full-blown thing. But, I did. Monday morning, I was croaking out my sentences. Monday afternoon, my in-laws met us at the campground and we handed off the kids. We went to dinner and shopping with them, but the kids were stuck to grandma and grandpa. Monday night they slept on their bus while we slept in our hotel room.

Tuesday morning we headed off to DC (District Council). My head hurt and my throat was killing me, but it was still manageable. So we went to the ordination luncheon and the banquet that night. At the banquet, my ears started hurting. I didn’t even tell Chris because I was hoping it wouldn’t be anything. We went to the house that was lent to us. It was great by the way! What fun! At 2 a.m. I awoke with terrible ear pain. (more…)

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