Sunday, May 20, 2012

Anna Maria Island #2

Here are just a few more pictures to share, these are from my Dad's iPad.

The kids spent most of the time in the hot tub, it was a perfect kiddie pool and was in the shade most of the day

Check out that sunbathing great-grandma! Looking good for 90!

My older brother's family

We had a rooftop balcony where you could see the gulf and the bay, it was beautiful

And let's be honest people, this is the main reason for this post. This is the highlight of the trip for almost everyone, but especially my father. My dad doesn't ask for much on the family trip,  the thing he loves the most in kayaking in the mangroves and shelling. He could probably open his own store with the amount that he keeps. He works hard on cleaning these bad boys up. 

So, here you have the 2012 Greg Wiens shell collection. 

The End!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Anna Maria Island

This was the 4th annual Wiens family Anna Maria Island trip. Once again we had a great time, all under one roof, not much to do but enjoy each other and the amazing Florida sunshine. This year we were lucky to have a good looking 90 year-old babe join us. We cherish the time with Grandma.

The Whole Crew

I love the west coast of Florida

4 generations

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was nice and simple: church, my favorite salad for lunch, then cookout with some friends in the evening. I haven't had a voice for 3 days now, so that was my Mother's day gift to Steve, peace and quiet from me :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Running with the Cows

No I am not calling my friends cows, a few girlfriends and I ran a 1/2 marathon this past weekend called Running with the Cows. It was out in the country, but we saw a lot more horses then cows.

After our miscarriage I decided I wanted to take advantage of the time I wasn't pregnant or breastfeeding and do something for myself. I have been a runner for a long time. But since living in KS for the last 4 years I have used pregnancy and cold weather as an excuse to not run consistently. I have been thankful that I have a few ladies who like to get up before the sun with me for bootcamp, so I have exercised since living her, just not run. I know myself well enough that for me to push myself, I need a goal. I needed a race on the calendar. This 1/2 marathon was good timing with training and chances of good weather, so I recruited a few girlfriends and we were off training.

Well, sort of training. Our self-made "program" only really consisted of long runs on the weekend. I did bootcamp in the week and some short runs. The long runs felt great though. Every Saturday after returning from a long run, I had energy and felt great. I really felt like I found a part of myself again. Running was something I always did with my dad, so I also enjoyed connecting with my dad about my runs as well (and running with him while in Florida). Side note here: my dad is stinkin fast for someone who is almost 60. He worked me over.

Running was therapeutic for me. I felt like I had accomplished so much. We only really trained for 7 weeks, but the 11 miler a few weeks ago felt great, so I figured I would be set for the race.

Well the race was much harder than I expected. I could have blamed it on many different variables, but I did tell myself during the run that if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Pushing yourself isn't supposed to be easy. 

I partly did this run out of gratitude for my health. 4 months ago I could have died, my body lost almost 40% of it's blood in 7 hours, and Saturday I ran a 13.1 miles.  Steve prayed for me Friday night, thanking the Lord for my life and my health, I prayed that prayer many times especially between miles 10-13, when I was hurting badly. Yesterday, I saw a blog post from a family where the mother died giving birthday to baby #3, the dad is left with 2 little boys and a newborn baby girl. I was brought to tears, because that so easily could have been Steve's reality.

I am a competitor. This run was an out and back, I was able to see all the people in front of me. Part of me thought, "oh I should push myself harder in training and run races faster." The humbling part of running a race for me is that there are people of all shapes, sizes and ages who the human eye would not consider to "look" very athletic and they are kicking my tail in the run. Even looking at the race results in my age category, the competitor rises up. 

Then I remind myself, that isn't me anymore. I don't need to prove something (not saying others are), I am not willing to sacrifice balance and family time to push myself to be a better runner. I am a middle-of-the-pack runner, that is ok. I finished in 2:08, under my goal of 2:10, so what if over 500 people finished in front of me, I finished. I set a goal and I finished. I can't compare to others, I know myself, what I wanted and I choose to focus on being proud of that. 

I will keep running, and I want to run more races, and when I finish in the middle-of-the-pack (and look terrible finishing because I hurt so badly), that is ok. I will run and I will finish.

There was no striding it out, or finishing with good form, this was feet away from the finish line and I was hunched over, praying for the finish line to come quickly

With all our families

Both the Payton's with the cow

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Payton's brain

This little girl cracks me up. She seems to be acting older recently. Her language is improving more and more, she has new words all the time and can pronounce some letters she hadn't been able to before (ex. L in Hilary and Elizabeth).

This post is more for my memory, as I don't have anywhere else I write things about what the kids do.

Today she said/did 3 things that surprised me:

1. We were walking back from the mailbox, she now insists on getting the mail everyday (and all by herself, we are going through another round of that). As we were walking on to our driveway she saw a cigarette at the end of the drive and nonchalantly said "Hmm I wonder whose smoke is that?" I about stopped in my tracks. I confirmed that she said smoke and asked her where she learned that and she kinda shrugged saying she didn't know. I can't think of anyone we know who smokes and we really don't go to many places in public that we see people smoking, and if there has been someone smoking, she never asked about it. That threw me off guard and was funny all at the same time.

2. I was upstairs getting Buster from nap and when I came down she had opened my computer and again in a nonchalant tone said,  "I am just checking facebook." Again I had to laugh. I really don't think I talk about facebook much (neither does Steve) as I am only on for a few minutes a day, but she has picked that up somewhere.

3. The thing that warmed my heart was just tonight when I was upstairs putting Colton down for the night and I came downstairs to find her sitting in the spotless playroom, telling me she cleaned it up all by herself. I hadn't even asked her or mentioned that we need to clean the room up, she did it on her own initiative and you could tell she was so proud to tell me. You better believe I made a big deal of that, I would love that to happen more often.

She has such a sincere heart and is really caring. She seems to have a servants heart as well. Often loving to help others out. I pray she keeps a tender heart.

Sweetly Broken

Our family just got back from Florida. We spent the first week in Orlando at the annual Exponential conference and then headed to the beach with the whole Wiens clan to enjoy each other and some sun. Here are my not so short thoughts on Exponential 2012 (beach pics to come later).

Luke 22:31-32
31 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

Exponential is a conference specifically target to Church planters (people starting new churches) but we have attended for years, even after serving at an established church, because it really is applicable to anyone in ministry. This year's theme Sifted (my personal favorite year yet) is applicable to any believer. As pastors, as believers, as children of the most high God, we will be sifted. We will experience trials, times of pruning, moments when God needs to break out legs to bring us to our knees, we need to learn ultimate dependence on the Lord for every area of our lives. 

The other big focus is a Pastor (again really any career can be inputted there) needs to have their relationship with the Lord, their relationship with their spouse and family to be top priorities and healthy for long-term success. There will come a day that you will walk away from the career you are in, you will pack up your belongings, and the church/company/business will still function without you. The only people you will have then, the only lifetime small group you are a part of, is your family (my paraphrase from Bill Hybels). 

Another highlight for Steve and my time there is the worship experience. There is something powerful about 5,000 people passionately worshiping side-by-side, pouring their hearts to their maker and the maker of the universe. Sometimes Sunday mornings are so rushed for Steve and myself, that my heart doesn't have time to sit still long in our worship services. The song "Sweetly Broken" by Jeremy Riddle brought me to tears. With out recent miscarriage and my health scare, I was so filled with gratitude to my God. He is the only one I know who we can be SWEETLY BROKEN by. I am so thankful I have the opportunity to be sweetly broken and wholly surrendered. Here is the song with lyrics.

Those were the big points, here are some notes from different speakers.

  • the true test of being a servant is when you are treated like one
  • in the end God's not going to hold you accountable for what you have done, but for how much He asked you to do, that you have done.
  • The best vegetables grow in sifted soil, the best growth comes in humility, humility only comes when you are humiliated and sifted.
  • Learn to self-correct (James 5 and Ecc 8:11)
    • scrub your heart often 
    • if you are sinning and there are no consequences, fall on your face fast and repent, the enemy is setting you up for a big fall-out
    • Read Bible daily (book Divine Mentor) 
  •  Learn how to suffer
    • suffering will change you but not necessarily for the better, you must choose that
  • Learn how to lead yourself to Christ
    • Cordeiro told his wife in their early relationship, if ever one of us should fall, meet me back at Calvary, wait for me there
    • go to the cross before you make decisions (Jeremiah 15:19)
Jud and Lori White
  • Pastor's responsibility is not to meet the needs of everyone personally, it is to make sure the needs are being met (find key volunteers you can send people to)
    • this was big for me, I feel like I can say no to things well, but as humans we feel compelled to tell why. Sure you might not be able to make a baby shower because you will be home with your kids in your pj's watching a talking dog for the fifth time, that might be more important for that day, you don't need to explain that to others. Not giving explanations gives you freedom to do the important things, not everything others expect you to do  
  • Set appointments for spiritual strength time and honor them
  • Lead yourself because no one else will
Sifted Purity  (preventing moral failure)

  • Recognize this is a Jesus issue 
    • make it about worship for Jesus, not yourself
    • "Is Jesus Enough?"
    • easily fall into Pride/Pleasure/Power
  • Count the cost and embrace wisdom (Proverbs 5:1-9, 13, 15 - James 1)
  • Admit something is broken
  • When giftedness surpasses character, there is a problem
Mark Batterson - Discipling Kids
  • Physical, Spiritual, Intellectual
  • Teach your kids PLEASE, SORRY, THANK YOU
  • Parents as Prophets (speak into your kids lives)
  • Praying parent (not perfect parent)
  • Establishing Core Values as a family (Batterson's - gratitude, humility, generous, courage)
Bill Hybels and Daughter Shauna - Raising Pastor's kids 

In ministry you are going to disappoint someone, don't let it be your kids 
  • Clear Expectations for kids (spoken to church and leadership)
    • kids love God, love the Church, love family
  • Protected Privacy (sacred home)
  • Family vacations/time away (plan 1 year out)
  • Space to walk own spiritual journey when needed (Shauna's "rebellions years")
    • didn't give her too much to rebel against
    • do no break relationship with kids
    • during the phase spoke to her as daughter, not in light of what the church would think
    • Shauna subconsciously asked "Can I screw up, make you look bad, and will you still love me?"
    • Bill showed up, even with her bad choices, she showed up on her time, doing her thing (visiting in college going shoe shopping)
    • Shauna looking for a fight, Bill wouldn't give her one
  • Understand each child is different
    • each child serves differently - 32 year-old Todd (son) has never been on the stage at Willow, he would rather mow the lawn, then speak in public, they allowed each child to be themselves
    • Servant parenting -taking interest in what kids are interested in
  • Protected kids from hard conversations about church life
    • communicated what the kids get to be a part of is exciting
    • church is fun
    • prayed in front of kids ("thank you for a church who loves and supports us")
  • Parent/Pastor not play the victim role
    • different seasons are hard in ministry, every career has hard seasons
    • have appropriate expectations
Lovejoy - Sifted in Family
  1. Intimacy is worth fighting for
  2. Be a last 10% family (give it all)
  3. Only 1 enemy in our family (the devil not each other)
  4. The family is a partnership

If you are still with me, reading ALL of this, I hope you gleamed something encouraging and challenging at the same time.