Archive for December, 2010

Happy Christmas to all

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

The famous Candy Cane Coffee Cake

I just wanted to say Merry Christmas. I know it’s only the 23rd, but I also know that life is nuts from here on out – Christmas Eve Services, Christmas, services the next morning and then heading to Michigan for a Shaw family Christmas, so if I don’t say it now, it might not get said. So, Merry Christmas! Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Jesus is the best present ever given, and the best one you can receive, and I pray that you know Him this year. And if not, what’s stopping you?

Just adding a little piece of Shaw tradition here: The Candy Cane Coffee Cake (which is really a bread, but that’s not so alliterative). We made it every year since before I can remember, and I’ve done it every year with my kids. It makes three, so one to share (the one here), one for Christmas morning, and one for New Year’s Day. And no, it doesn’t taste like candy canes. Just looks like one. I knew you were wondering. 🙂

Merry Christmas, WTGN!

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

The Old Barn Out Back

Last night I played a Christmas party for WTGN, the Christian radio station based in Lima, OH who has been so supportive of my music and ministry for years now. It was a great night – I’ve spent so much time up there lately for events and things at the station that they feel like family. I love their ministry, and their hearts for Christ! We had a worship time with Christmas carols and a couple of my songs, and I did a version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” that I just wrote – hopefully I’ll be able to release it as a single next Christmas, because I really like how it came out! We had it at the Old Barn Out Back which is an, um, old barn that’s in back of stuff. 🙂

Amazing Christmas blessings

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Inside the Ark - Freshwater Church

The view from my deal of the century hotel room

Orchard Hill Church's brunch

The women dancing along with me.

It’s been a pretty amazing week all round. I was gone so much of November, and prepping for so many things in December (I’m also the music director at my church and Advent is crazy with all the extra/different/awesome music) that I haven’t slowed down much to think about anything but what had to happen next. This week was no different, but now that it’s over, I am praising God for what He’s done because He is awesome!

I had two women’s events this week. I went with my mom this time, and we headed out Thursday afternoon for Wadsworth, OH, just a little south of Cleveland. When we got to Freshwater Church, it was a super cool older building – we met two of the pastors in the lot (it was so icy, and they were both so kind about helping us to get stuff in!) and they said everyone says it looks like they turned Noah’s Ark upside down, and from the inside, it really does! The women there did a phenomenal job with their planning and decorations, and it was gorgeous. It was also at capacity – they were even thinking of pulling in the table they had set out for registration because they weren’t sure they had enough seats and they’d run out of tables! They told me they had prayed for women to really respond and God was certainly listening because they’d had even people calling in all that day to see if they could still get in. It was so fun. But the best part of the night was that we had some of the women meet the Lord at the event. Thank you, God! It was wonderful.

Some old friends came to see us that night, Lani who was a neighbor of my mom’s and also lost her husband about the time my dad died, and her daughter Shannon who went to camp with me for years when we were little. So fun to see them. Lani moved closer to Shannon when her husband died and we got to stay with her that night which is always such a treat and change from hotels. Then we all went out to breakfast in the morning and talked the morning away. It was so fun to catch up with them, and mom and I didn’t have much of a schedule that day, so the luxury of time was wonderful.

Then mom and I went antiquing and I bought a couple of little things for Christmas for the kids. After that we drove up to Pittsburgh. We had such a wonderful surprise too – I had gotten a hotel close to the church, totally forgetting that the event was hosted by the church, but was going to be held in a hotel ballroom. I was feeling like an idiot, and really hoping we weren’t staying an hour from the event, and when I checked the paperwork, we were staying at the actual hotel the event was in. Thank you, Lord! And, to make it better, I’d gotten a ridiculous deal on it online, so it was super cheap and when they found out I was the speaker for the event, they said I could just keep the room until we were all done, so I didn’t even have to pack up crazy early. Bliss.

Saturday morning was the brunch for Orchard Hill Church and it was also planned so wonderfully and looked amazing. I am really blown away sometimes when I get to events and see how much prep and time and prayer have gone into them. They were sold out too, and so excited to see how many women were there who were being specifically prayed for by women from their church. We also had several women meet the Lord there, and I have since heard from some others. I really can’t describe how humbling and wonderful it is to know that God let me be part of that in someone’s life. I am blown away by Him all the time.

We drove home and the next morning I went and did the morning worship service and watched the kids in the pageant, and now, what can I say – it’s Christmas, and all around me are so many reminders of God. He is Emmanuel, God With Us. He is the greatest gift ever given. He is our joy, our strength, our Comforter, our Redeemer, our Friend. He is awesome, and He is the reason I celebrate. Merry Christmas!

Grace Baptist

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Sharing Emmanuel, God With Us

With Pastor Jerry afterwards - being a man, he was not allowed into the event. 😉

The Barbie-themed table the high school girls did, complete with Barbie herself

Yesterday, I got to do a Christmas brunch at a church in Mason, OH, and I was so excited about it because it is their largest outreach of the year for women’s ministries, and I just loved hearing the excitement these women had over what God would do with the time. In fact, I have a couple more of these events coming up this month, and knowing the prayer, thought, and time that all these women’s teams have put into these events just blows me away!

Anyway, Mason is a suburb just north of Cincinnati, and as we got off the freeway, I realized the area looked very familiar. It was a pretty strange way to get to a church – the GPS routed me right through a neighborhood, and some other strange turns, and I thought, “I know I’ve been here before!” but I also knew I hadn’t done an event for this particular church, so it stumped me a bit. Then, when we pulled into the parking lot, I KNEW I’d been there, but I still couldn’t place it, and then it hit me. This church supports one of the missionaries we stayed with in Kenya, and when they were home on furlough last year, they adopted their third child, a little boy. This church let them park their RV in the parking lot and live on their property for a while, and when I came down to meet their new addition, I did it right in the parking lot of this church! How crazy is that! I found out when I got in that this church has an incredible heart for Kenya – they have four families raising support right now to move there full time.

After that, I knew we would be friends. 🙂 And how fun – one of the videos I show has the very missionaries they support in it, and some of the people in the audience had been to the feeding centers in the video!

We had an awesome time that morning. They have women who host the tables and there’s a competition for different kinds of decorating, so the creativity was awesome. One of my favorites was a cowgirl theme and the hostess even had a tin washtub of root beer next to the table. All the women got lassos for their favor – not your typical. 🙂

I presented “Emmanuel, God With Us” and heard from many women how timely that was to hear. People need to know that God is with them, that He is our joy at Christmas, and that He also comforts because Christmas is a hard season for many. We laughed, we cried, it was all my favorite things about women’s ministry. Had a great time, Grace Baptist – I hope I see you again soon!

Craziness at Sea

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Faith Covenant Church's colorful community lunch in St. Petersburg, FL

Our still intact ship, the Ryndam, in port in Key West

My brothers who got into a show on the ship - now you all see what I have to deal with on family holidays!

The beautiful beach we were snorkeling from on Thanksgiving in Honduras

Well, I never thought I’d be writing this blog. Crazy stuff happens sometimes, I guess!

After I got back from the MN, IA, WI tour, I flew to Florida and sang at Faith Covenant Church in St. Petersburg – great church with great people, and they have this cool community lunch afterward right in the parking lot with all these picnic tables and we met more great people there. I’m really looking forward to returning!

After that, my family and I went immediately to the Tampa Port Authority and boarded a ship for a Caribbean cruise. You see, my darling 91 year old grandma decided that she still likes to cruise and she wanted to go with all of us, so she and my mom took our entire family of 19 on a cruise for Thanksgiving. It was my mom, my brothers and their families, and my uncle, and we all had a blast.

The last day on the ship was at sea and we were just cruising home in open waters to get in on Sunday morning. Saturday morning at about 5:30 we heard this terrible grating/crushing sound that woke us all up. My younger daughter jumped in bed with us saying “what was that?!” and I, of course, being mostly asleep said, “I’m sure it’s nothing, go back to sleep.” She was too scared to go to sleep at which point my older daughter said,
“I think we hit an iceberg!”

After we explained that it was hard to find an iceberg to hit in the Caribbean, everyone tried to go back to sleep, but in the back of my head I was thinking, “What could we possibly have hit in open water? What could make that sound?”

The kids all woke up around 7:30, and we were just coming to when they made an announcement ship-wide, even in our rooms which they never did. It was the captain saying that a rear anchor had been deployed at 5:30 in the morning (our room was in the back which explained why it was so loud) and that a life-ring was missing. He had turned the boat around to inspect the area where the life-ring was deployed and if no one came forward with information, he would be forced to muster the entire ship to make sure everyone was on board.

Well, no one came forward and we all had to muster on deck until they accounted for all passengers and crew, just under 2000 people. We were all worried someone had gone overboard, but finally they said everyone was accounted for and we went up and got breakfast and the rest of the day continued normally. I wondered what happened, though.

Today, I found out. One of my siblings saw this on the news and forwarded it to me – the story of what really happened. They said the guy was drunk, but he knew how to break into a restricted area, had gloves (who’s carrying gloves on a Caribbean cruise??) and went through all the steps to deploy the anchor. I guess it could have sunk the ship. I have a hard time believing his story. I’ll be interested to see what happens with it. Just thanking the Lord that we’re all okay!