Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Remembering and rambling...

I spent a little time looking over where we were "at" a year ago.  I'm glad that's gone!  Last summer was one of the most painful things we have ever been through.  Jim said it felt like being a captain of a ship and then, out in the middle of the ocean the crew put us in a little boat with no sail or oars, gave us a little bag of rations that would last about one day and left.  Thankfully, God provided and we have more than survived!  I won't say it's been easy, but thanks to God's faithfulness and the generosity of family and friends, here we are! 

I'm still piecing together what we have learned through all this.  We are still healing.  God remains faithful and just.  He is our solid Rock and refuge.  He is our strength when we are weak.  He is good, all the time. 
So, one year ago, we spent a week up in the mountains but it was a stressful and confusing time. 
One year later... we just got back from a week up in the mountains... we haven't laughed that much together in a LONG time, nor just relaxed as much as we did last week. 

We have about 5 more weeks together as a family before school starts up again and Joseph goes off to college in Ohio.  I'm learning (slowly) to enjoy each day and treasure the moments we have together as a family.  Things are really changing!   We hope and pray for another full time ministry as God leads.  I'm not sure I'm ready for it, but Jim's heartbeat is still for pastoring.  I hope and pray God gives him the desire of his heart.  In His wisdom He will do what is best for us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Be A Thermostat

...not a thermometer.

I don't remember the name of the lady who said this.  It was at a women's retreat in Pennsylvania 9 years ago.  It really struck me, "Be a thermostat and not a thermometer". 
We just had our air conditioner replaced last week (the day of graduation!).  The guy came back today with the new thermostat.  It's an amazing thing.  You set the temperature that you want and the conditions in the room stay constant.  If you want it cooler, set it lower.  If you want it warmer, set it higher.  You can even program it to come on at certain times and certain temperatures. 
Thermometers register what's happening in the conditions around it.  Thermometers go up and down depending on what's happening.  When it's 100+ degrees outside, that's what the thermometer says.  When it's 32 degrees, that's what the thermometer says.  It doesn't effect anything, it just reacts to what's happening around it.
I want to be constant, like a thermostat, no matter what's going on around me.  Maybe, like a thermostat, if I'm constant and not reacting, it will help effect those around me.

Friday, June 11, 2010


This years' graduation was memorable for so many reasons.  Our twin sons, Joseph David Newman and Michael James Newman have graduated from Exeter Union High School! 

Among the other memorable things,they join a long list of EUHS alumni from the family:

Frank W. Mixter - first EUHS School Board Secretary - early 1900's
Nobert W. Mixter - EUHS class of 1916
Mabelle G. Sexton Mixter - EUHS class of 1917
Robert W. Mixter - EUHS class of 1940
Grace Mixter Ogas - EUHS class of 1969 (Salutatorian)
Bruce Mixter - EUHS class of 1972 (Valedictorian)
Me - EUHS class of 1975
Neal Mixter - EUHS class of 1977
Bonita Owens Mixter - EUHS class of 1978
Thomas Ogas - EUHS class of 1992
Teresa Ogas EUHS class of 1994

The other events of the evening were  memorable for other reasons... some good and some not so good.
First, after all the controversy over whether or not to allow prayer (even student-led) the decision was made to include a moment of silence in place of prayer.  The senior class (on the whole) seemed okay with this decision.  I wish I could say the same for some members of the community.  After the senior class ASB president spoke for a few minutes about "respect" and announced that we would have a moment of silence immediately some in the crowd began to recite the Lord's Prayer.  Normally I would have joined them (in another context) but this time it upset and angered me!  The seniors deserved an evening to celebrate their accomplishments. It wasn't a time to make any kind of "statement".  The members of the community, although well meaning did more harm than good by disrupting the evening.  Prayer is meant to be heart-to-heart communication with the God of the universe, not a "statement" (political or otherwise).  I was looking forward to the moment of silence in order to PRAY, silently.  Remarkably, the graduating seniors showed far more maturity in this whole thing than many "adults".
In Matthew 6, the passage which contains the "Lord's Prayer" begins like this:

"Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding. 2-4"When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure—'playactors' I call them— treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
Pray with Simplicity
 5"And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?  6"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
 7-13"The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply."

How ironic.  Making a display of prayer did more harm than good. 

The speeches:
The speeches were given by Rebecca Terhune (Valedictorian) and my son, Joseph (Salutatorian).  The two chose to stand together for each others' speeches to show their mutual support and respect for each other.  Both speeches were great, however, Rebecca's was interrupted by someone shouting in the crowd.  I am amazed at the rudeness and disrespect this person showed her!  Joseph talked about his personal faith in Christ for which we were very proud (and the crowd cheered).  But Joseph didn't want to be the "poster child" for prayer or the Christian faith.  He just wanted to be who he is. 
At the close of the speeches they hugged and "high-fived" each other and sat down.  From what I have heard from a number of people, the displays from the crowd were a big disappointment to the senior class.  How bad for them to have their evening almost ruined.  But - bravo to the senior class....seeing the maturity, grace and respect they showed to each other was a lesson to us all. 

Congratulations Joseph and Michael as well as the rest of the EUHS class of 2010!!