Now That’s Just Ugly…

Alright you all. We have reached a sad milestone on my blog. I tend to stay away from even mentioning this kind of stuff because it’s so rare and to be honest, it just doesn’t really seem like I’m being a good steward of this blog if I’m complaining about things like this.

BUT.

I received several e-mails this morning (as did my friend Jess) alerting us to the fact that someone had decided to go on a little rampage and leave some Christian-hating, swear-word infused, extremely cruel comments on my blog. By the time Jess let me know (thank you Ann Voskamp for the head’s up and for caring for me so sweetly…), she had already deleted them and banned the IP address associated with whomever it was. I didn’t think it was in my best interest to read them based on what she shared so I told her to just get rid of them. I apologize if you were exposed to them.

Here’s how I deal with the negative stuff (because it WILL happen on occasion. It’s just life…). Every single negative comment I have seen about me or my blog has the potential to include something that might be true. Whether or not someone meant to be hateful is kind of irrelevant if there is a greater lesson that I am being taught about my integrity. Off the top of my head I can only think of three such occasions, where I felt someone came after me in an inappropriate manner but after reading and praying, I felt that there was actually a truth that I needed to deal with. In each of those cases, I contacted the person directly and we began a relationship. I am blessed to have all three of those women in my life to this day. Sometimes I think people just feel freedom to say things from behind a keyboard that they wouldn’t in real life, and I will not tell you that I ignore it because I don’t. I see it, and it hurts me because I am human and don’t have as thick of skin as I would like to have :)

With that said (and my point to all of this…) I would like to reiterate something I have said before on here and will repeat as often as necessary. You are free to contact me if you have issues you want to discuss or questions about anything I put on here-it’s public, and if I didn’t want it to be, I wouldn’t share. So I think that’s fair game. BUT.

BUT.

If you ever, ever, ever say something about my daughter that is anything less than respectful, you will be banned. Period. I have no interest in allowing that sort of thing here, and frankly, it disgusts me that a deceased child could be the victim of someone’s tirade. It’s the first time this kind of thing has happened where it warranted a response like this, and I hope it doesn’t happen again. In the event that you see that it has, please flag the comment and I (or Jess or Ann or someone) will address it.

I’m a very nice girl and it takes quite a bit to ruffle my feathers, but this? No. Not acceptable.

I thought I was fortunate enough to have heard about it before my dad did, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, he was so angry that he didn’t sleep last night :(

This whole post doesn’t apply to 99.9% of you, but so many of you had written me emails today that I thought it would be easier to just mention it here.

I’m going to pray for the person who said these horrible things about Audrey, but I want to confess something to you all. As I have processed this today I want to be honest and tell you that this wasn’t my natural inclination. I know it should be, but it wasn’t. I’m her mother and I won’t stand for it.

I’m fair game. You don’t have to like me, my religion, my choices, or anything I write (I hope you do, though…have I mentioned I’m a total people-pleaser? Gulp. :) ) I choose to write this blog and sometimes that means having to confront things I don’t want to. Thankfully, I feel like it has made me a better mom, wife, writer, and Christian because the “criticism” has almost always come with genuine love and concern (For example, I posted a picture of Charlotte in a sling that some people were concerned about. They let me know they were concerned and I just didn’t think it was worth the risk based on what they were saying, so I bought a safer wrap to keep her in until she was older. I didn’t feel that they were trying to bash me, but just help me with loving advice. But not in the Sister-Wives kind of way. Did anyone see that last night? WHOA.)

I have derailed.

The whole point was to say thank you for loving me so well, and for those of you who want to say ugly things about innocent babies, I think your bus is now leaving the station.

:)

I will be back soon with something more fun soon….:) And don’t feel like you need to defend me or even address this in the comments…I am totally fine. Just wanted to let you know what the scoop was since it was the first time we have dealt with it. I so appreciate you all!!!

We will be at Focus on the Family all day tomorrow so I will try to send out some Twitter pics. You all have a great Tuesday!
Ang

BLOOM BOOK #4!!!!!

We are so excited to introduce the fall book selection for Bloom.

You can find Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives on Amazon. As we mentioned in the video, your purchases from Amazon will help fund the shipping expenses for books to those not able to purchase a copy.
Also, remember that quantities may be limited, so order soon! You should also be able to find the book at local book stores, used book stores, and at the library.
Schedule
We will post a video discussing one section of the book each Sunday starting on October 17. That should give you enough time to get the book and read the first section.
The schedule is as follows:
October 17: Rest
October 24: Rhythm
October 31: Time
November 7: Happiness
November 14: Wisdom
November 21: Consecration and A Sabbath Day
Community
We are excited to have started a BlogFrog community so that we can easily get to know one another and discuss the book. Just click here to join!
Please also “like” The Bloom Book Club on Facebook so you are alerted when we post new content on this blog.
Books for Those in Need
Part of the ministry of Bloom is to provide books to people who are unable to purchase one for themselves. We do this in two ways:
  1. Bantam Books donated 100 copies of Sabbath for us to give to people in need (Thank you Bantam)
  2. Other Bloom participants volunteer to buy an extra book and send one (or two or 10!) to others
Tomorrow (Monday) we will post a form for people to fill out IF YOU CAN SEND A BOOK TO SOMEONE IN NEED. This form will be up for two days.
On Wednesday, we will post a form for people to fill out IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD A BOOK. This will be up until all books available are requested. We will then send donors the addresses of the people who need books.
We are soooooo excited to read Sabbath together. It has been a life changing book for us both.
Be sure to check in next Sunday because we will have a special post up from Sabbath author, Wayne Muller!
Now go buy Sabbath!
Love,
Angie and Jess

A Few People I Love…

Hey all! I just wanted to fill you in on a few exciting things going on in the world of those I love :) I’ll start off with our sweet nanny Kelsey. She has been in Haiti for the last week and will return tomorrow. We have been so blessed to have another pair of hands in the dishwater and another heart that loves us as a family and I can’t say how proud I am of her love for the Lord. I have prayed and prayed for this trip and can’t wait for her to return…please pray that she will be home safe tomorrow, with no complications in travel (there were some glitches on the way there).

Second, one of our Pastors at Cross Point is Blake Bergstrom, who I happen to think is one of the coolest guys you will ever meet. He loves people with an intensity that is so rare and infectious that you just want to spend time with him. Blake, his wife Ally, and their four girls are some of our dear friends and I would love to ask for your prayer for him as well. He is currently climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for a great cause. Also, please pray for Ally, Madison, Moriah, Montana, and Mercy as he is gone. I am so proud of you Blake!!!

Lastly, I want to introduce you to an amazing new etsy site. If you have little girls, you are going to HAVE to check this out. Remember when I told you I was teaching Audra to sew? WEEELLLLLL. She has found an amazing love for it and you will honestly not believe her creations. She has a background in art and she is able to make the most unique, precious dresses and kid’s clothes, and I wanted to introduce you all to her site. Here is her etsy site and here is her blog if you want to take a peek (please do! I know how encouraged she would be). I think her prices are really good given the detail and quality of the dresses…if you order one, I promise you won’t be disappointed :) Love you, friend. SO proud to be your best, best, best, best… :)

I don’t think Audra will mind me sharing this, and I know how many of you can relate. It is such a dramatic shift to go from working to full time, stay at home mom, and as much of a blessing as it is, it can be really difficult. Sewing has proved to be a passion that is therapeutic to her, and I am ecstatic every time I go over and see her glowing with excitement, rows of new creations hanging in her laundry room.  And I am here to tell you, she is incredible. I’m obviously biased, but I know you’ll agree :)

We are also going to be announcing our next Bloom book this weekend, and I think it’s one that all of us could use right about now…:) We are planning on doing it Sunday night so check back in on the Bloom site. You should go on ahead and join our facebook site if you haven’t yet, so we can all chit-chat.

Okay, and since this is all over the place, I wanted to mention that our taping at the Crystal Cathedral (Hour of Power) will air this Sunday (if you follow me on twitter you know about my little, umm, dress mishap :) ). I have been all over the place doing promo (I also did Celebration with Daystar…what a sweet couple) and will be heading to Focus on the Family, 100 Huntley Street in Canada, Revive our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and a couple other things. I’ll keep you posted on those when I hear about air dates…I don’t quite have the energy to hyperlink these, but if you’re really interested I’m sure you can track them down with Google :)

I don’t know if I mentioned this either, but if not I hope you all will join us for this amazing event…It is really going to be special! And I have no idea what my face is doing up there with these other ladies, but wow. What an honor :) Come join us!!!

I don’t love to go on and on about this kind of stuff because I don’t want to sound like an ego-maniac who just wants to talk about me, me, me…blech.  Please know I just want to share in case you are interested :)

Sorry about the hyper-link festival!!!

Hope you all are having a beautiful week…I’ll be back over here soon!

Love to all,
Ang

Pillar

I sat completely upright, eyes staring at him while I moved food around my plate nervously.

It was our first date and I had decided I was going to marry him. He ordered (delicious) soup for me and opened the car door when I got in and when I got out. I wanted to impress him but I choked on my words as I tried to come up with something less desperate than “Elope or have a wedding?”

Because that’s not always a good first date plan.

His eyes lit up as he shared a story he had heard about a little girl at church who had drawn a picture, and he just knew I would get a kick out of it as well.

“So, you know Lot’s wife?”

Clearly Lot was a friend I hadn’t met yet. I put on my best, “I’m sure I do. Give me a minute…” face and nodded for him to continue.

Was that the guy in Sunday school? Was he on the retreat? Lot. No, I would remember meeting a guy named Lot.

“Well her teacher tells her to draw a picture of what happened to Lot’s wife and she drew a salt shaker.”

He started laughing.

I laughed too, and shook my head side to side. Those crazy kids.

“Oh, that is great! How funny.” I bit my lip and tried to think of a good follow-up condiment story.

Nothing.

“So, Lot…” I just kind of threw it out there. I figured I would give him some room to fill me in on the backstory.

“Yeah, you know, from Genesis? The one who left Sodom and Gomorrah?”

Awesome. Thanks for clearing that up.

Note to self: find Precious Moments Bible that is somewhere in my apartment and find out who Sodom and Gomorrah are.

I nodded again, filling my mouth with pasta so I wouldn’t have to drop any more pearls of wisdom before the second date.

A few hours later I found my little Bible and hunted down this Lot guy. He’s umm, an interesting fellow, and reading about him next to images of Precious Moments figurines has got to be one of the strangest experiences a new believer can have. Seriously creeptastic.

With that said, I did find it pretty interesting. The gist of it is that Abraham is trying to save Sodom (Sodom and Gomorrah are places, not people. Also good to know for date number two) and kind of negotiates with God about it. This deserves a whole post of it’s own, but let’s come back to that some other day. Anyway, he works out a plan with God that if there are 10 righteous men in Sodom, God will not destroy it. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and God sends two angels to warn Abraham and his nephew Lot to get out of town before this happens. Lot tries to warn his sons-in-law but they thought he was joking and apparently didn’t listen. It says in Genesis 19:16 that Lot hesitated, so the angels grabbed his and his wife’s hands and led them out of the city.

As soon as they were safe, the angels said to them, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” Lot tells them he wants to go to another town instead. And guess what? It isn’t in the mountains, it’s in the plains. God wants Lot to go to one place, and he believes his idea is better than God’s. I read this and shake my head because that just sounds silly to me.

Well, as silly as it can sound to someone who does the same almost every day of her life.

So Lot and his bride head towards Zoar (which was called Bela before this incident), and as they do, Lot’s wife makes a critical mistake.

She looks back.

She looks at back at the city filled with sin and wickedness, and as she pauses, God turns her into a pillar of salt (the salt shaker thing is way funnier now).

We don’t ever learn her name, but her legacy is one of looking back. She has been rescued from death, from sin and depravity, and there is something that still haunts her enough to stop moving toward whatever is ahead.

Did she want to see if it would really be ruined? Maybe she wanted to see her things one more time. Was she longing for a person? Reflecting on the life she wanted to keep living?

I don’t know, but I do know this.

God has been gracious with me for many years in my turning back. A glimpse of what could have been, a temptation that makes me question my faith. An earth-shattering loss that beckons me to believe that the mountain is too far and the valley will be just fine.

I have wandered to the closest city while I know He desires for me to climb, and I have settled there for longer than I care to remember. I have failed Him many times over, head and heart turned, and yet He urges me never to settle. I don’t know what you are walking away from tonight, but as I have been praying about what to write the Lord has put this message on my heart so clearly that I had to share it. I want you to know I am praying for you as I write-asking the Lord to remind you tonight that there is a reason you have left that life behind.

It has been swallowed by grace, friend. And you need not miss what He has for you by believing there is something worth going back for. Leave it be. The Lord has told you where to go and it’s time to walk. Eyes straight ahead, tangled in the spectacular love of a Savior Who wants nothing less for you than the summit. And as you stare at what might have been, you are immobilized, unable to bring Him the glory He deserves. And also, He might make you salt. Just saying.

It has been almost exactly ten years from the night I went out with Todd for the first time. October will mark a decade of falling in love with the man who has given me five daughters and many, many more dates. No matter how many times we sit together over a meal, I will never forget the first one. The heart-fluttering, life-altering, dream-come-true night when I learned about a woman who loved in the wrong direction.

I still get confused about Bible references. I am the farthest thing from a Bible scholar that could be possible. I can’t tell you the Hebrew and Greek roots of words, nor every battle of the Bible or city mentioned in scripture. What I do feel confident saying is actually pretty simple.

He is Who He says He is, and He is whispering tonight if you care to listen…

“Flee, love. Flee and never look back…”

Radical

I may be the last person in the free world to read this book, so it might not matter that I’m about to go hog-wild recommending it.

I’m only a few chapters into Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
and I can tell you it is HUGELY impacting and challenging me.

If you haven’t read it, you need to. And if you have, I would love to know how it has changed the way you live out your faith. Would you share with me and inspire us all? Feel free to leave it in the comments or email me directly…I would love to hear how this book affected you,

One other quick announcement is that I would love to ask for your prayer on behalf of the Compassion team that’s about to head out to Guatemala next week. It is an amazing team of people, including Lindsey Nobles, Lisa-Jo Baker, Amanda (Moore) Jones, and Ann Voskamp.


Taking into consideration that the spectacular Keely Scott will be behind the lens and Patricia Jones playing the role of “the mom you always wanted,” I’m halfway debating trying to hop on their flight and go myself. Oh, and Shaun Groves…I can’t tell you how highly I think of him-he is 150% involved in every aspect of it. Well, except for that one part where he forced me and Melissa to stay up and write despite *complications.* Amanda, feel free to put your foot down if he pulls this trick…

Will you all just take me with you? Shaun? Ann with no e? Amanda, my never-met-but-sure-to-be-bff? Keely? No? Was it the Canon?

Darn.

Well, I guess I’ll have to watch this one from the sidelines and I so hope you all will join me in praying this team safely to Guatemala and into the purpose the Lord has for them there. It’s so hard to kiss the kids goodbye and jump on a plane, and I just know how much they are encouraged by all of our prayers. If I hear any specific prayer requests from them I will pass them along to you on here, but in the meantime please stop by their sites and get to know these faces who are a part of what Compassion is doing in Guatemala.

I want to go. Seriously.

Praying this team into a remarkable trip and asking the Lord to use them to bring many families into the Compassion fold. Jesus, give them favor, peace, and fervency as they go.

I’m proud of you all for stepping out of your comfort zones and I’ll continue to be in prayer for you.

Friends, will you join me in lifting them up? Thank you…

Compassion Bloggers: Guatemala 2010

And don’t forget to buy “Radical…” You will be so glad you did :)

Love to all,
a