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Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

long days of summer

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2010 at 7:24 am

Remember last summer. I do. It was wonderful. For us it was a summer filled with opposites: travel (Dominican Republic, Cambodia, and Thailand) and spending lots of time around our home; being poor as could be moneywise, yet feeling like we were living like kings for all the joy we squeezed out of life. We spent time with wonderful friends on the porch. We strolled around the city eating amazing food. We encountered different cultures and left enriched. We planted our first garden and fell desperately in love with the soil and its creator. All in all, last Autumn Phil and I declared that the summer had been the best one of our lives.

Well I have to say that this summer is giving it a run for its money. Things have been busier this summer with me starting full-time work, and us moving into a new place that requires lots of work. But boy the long days of summer have been good to us. We have travelled to see dear friends. We have spent many a meal with friends at one restaurant, home, or another. Phil and I have read books that inspired us and took us places. Phil has had two weeks of vacation to relax and recharge. I’ve taken a couple of days off to simply slow down and be. We have finally put our money where our mouth is and have started shopping for most of our food locally. Doing so has brought new relationships as we talk with farmers from all over the state, and good advice for Phil and I as we try to grow our own food. This summer might even be the best for the quality of the local garlic and honey we have been eating. Seriously…life changing. If it is food I try to put garlic on it, and if garlic does not work then I reach for the honey. Phil and I’s Sunday school experience has grown richer over the summer. Perhaps we are investing more, I do not know, but we have come to cherish those relationships with our kids. I have cried tears of joy over those children. Last night we laughed for at least five minutes over the kids, while eating the best pizza of my life perhaps (see why this summer is pulling ahead). I was gasping for breathes I was laughing so hard. With us both working we have come to appreciate discipline more in our lives. We still have a long ways to go, but that is what long days of summer are for. We have to be disciplined to work in our huge yard. It does not take care of itself. It takes hours to weed the garden. As I sit and type my arms are sore from spending two hours digging holes in tough dirt so that we can plant our herbs and blueberry bushes. It has been hard. It has been good. We have started waking up at 6:30 am on Saturday mornings to go to Richmond and train for the half-marathon with a few hundred others. They have encouraged us and challenged us. And honestly they have been so friendly. Everyone there seems to think it is so great that you are running. I love it. We have had an intense heat wave this summer, which has made us delight in the cool (aka low 80s or 70s) days and such the very marrow out of them. Today has been such a day. This morning as I sat stretching looking over the stadium we were at I was greeted by a beautiful blue sky and so much lush green. Green grass, green hills, green trees. I could not help but open my arms and try to pull as much of it into my soul. Because blue skies and 76 degree weather help keep our souls intact. I am sure I have been leaving out other bits of wonderfulness. It is hard no, when there is so much!

Perhaps the best part is how many friends have already come to spend time with us in our new place. Many a conversation has been enjoyed on our porch. And ohhh when groups of friends arrive we drag out a blanket into the yard and pull out the cornhole. Much laughing and trash talking has happened in these moments. We’ve had a least one successful potluck. We ate, we played, we talked, we watched precious little ones wander around the yard. Babies are always a favorite guest in the Brock household…Despite the fact that we are woefully not baby-proof.

So here is to heat, frisbees, full-time work paychecks, friends!!!, family, blueberry bushes, Jesus, vacations, farmers markets, wonderful porches, laughter, grace, and veggie burgers. Summer you have been very good to us. Thanks.

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changes.

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2010 at 8:11 am

It has been a summer of change in our parts…especially at our church. In the last few weeks we have sent out several of our families to do missions work. Some are on their way to Romania, others to Thailand. Another family is leaving because they are taking on the senior pastor role at another church. Finally, after twenty-two years, Pastor Wayne and Diane left this past Sunday. It was a beautiful and emotional service….aka I cried a lot. I am so excited for what God has next for my pastors, but it has been hard letting them go. But that is exactly what we all did. As I stood there on Sunday I could gently hear God saying “Let them go Joy”. So I cried some more and let them go.

In their leaving we as a church have been experiencing the transition of having our associate pastor Shawn, come on as our senior pastor. Phil and I have talked many times this week about how thankful we are that God has prepared us for this as an entire church, and that God is walking us through it with such grace. Pastor Shawn has been at our church for fifteen years and has built trust with all of us. So thankfully the church is moving gracefully on. Every word of God that is brought to us talks about how this is a new time of growth for us a church. I believe the same, and though I am not sure of what it looks like, I am excited and expectant.

For most of the summer though I have been thinking about this new growth coming solely from the pastors and the rest of our church, but in the last few days it has occurred to me that God wants me and Phil to grow as well.  I do not know exactly what this looks like. I know that Phil and I have been feeling a new call to prayer. To be more disciplined to pray and spend time with God. Ironically it is two secular (of sorts) books that I have read recently that have helped me be in a spirit of thankful prayer a lot more. During my recent bout with bronchitis I read “Eat Pray Love” and “A Year of Living Biblically”. Neither of the writers were Christians, but their journeys and explorations reminded my heart that God is someone to be in awe of, and that there is so much in my life that I need to be thankful of. Prayer and meditation are big parts of both books, and since them I have felt my heart drawn to a place of just meditating on how awesome God is. I realized that I don’t sit in awe of God enough.

So perhaps this next season will be one of sitting in awe and saying prayers of thanks. Who knows.

Either way in a spirit of thankfulness I have to say thank you to God for bringing me to Cornerstone and putting me under the leadership of Wayne, Diane, and all our other pastors. My life has been forever changed for the good by Wayne and Diane. At Cornerstone I first experienced what it is to be safe in a church. What it is to know that even if you do not think the same things everyone else, God still loves you and accepts you just as much. They made it clear to me that the church is not about people who have a lot in common, but simply a place where people have Jesus in common. It is a place where I the war protester take my communion next to the war supporter. They taught me about surrendering my convictions if they ever get in the way of loving others. They taught me about the importance of being around people who are different from me. Most importantly they taught me about Jesus. There has been so much Jesus in my life since I came to the church almost five years ago. Jesus was held up, Jesus was focused upon, Jesus was worshipped.

Jesus is all the legacy they really need.

I hope you all have a awe-filled day…for God is good.

white privilege

In Uncategorized on September 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Check out this video on white privilege. Always something we need to talk about, repent for, and act against more.