Thursday, August 26, 2010

Diners, Drive-ins, and Derek's Birthday Breakfast

For better or for worse, I watch a lot of food shows on the Food Network and the Travel Channel. My two favorites are Man v. Food with Adam Richman and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. In the last week, both of these hosts visited restaurants that had interesting breakfast concoctions so this morning I thought I'd give one a try for Derek's birthday breakfast.

Now, I've done the fried egg in the middle of the pancake before and the boys love it (me too) and this one was a variation of that. Now I'll tell you, the first time I tried the fried egg in the middle of the pancake, I was pretty happy with myself that I only destroyed the first one in the flipping process. But by the second one, I'd drawn the perfect hollow circle of pancake batter, cracked the egg into the center and flipped it without breaking the yoke for the perfect over-easy egg surrounded by a golden buttermilk pancake.

So as I decided to try this pancake with sausage circle filled with scrambled eggs I thought "how hard can this be?" Four funky-looking blobs later, I decided there has to be a better way. The cook on TV poured the batter circle, decorated the batter with sausage, poured the eggs in the hole, flipped it and voila! Unfortunately, every time I flipped it, the sausage prevented the flip side batter from touching the griddle (like stilts) and the second side didn't brown or lay flat. Don't get me wrong, it still tasted great but it just didn't look right.

My Solution? I put the sausage in a circle on the skillet first (like clock numbers) and poured the pancake batter over it to create my circle and then filled with the eggs and ... voila! Now that's pretty AND tastes great. Try it! The restaurant that was making it also did it with bacon in stead of sausage. I bet that would be good too.Yum!

Happy Birthday Derek!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Heaven on Earth

reflections of serving in worship ministry

If you’ve listened to Contemporary Christian Music at all, you’ve probably heard the song I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe. This song spoke to me the very first time I heard it on a multitude of levels.

It’s become a very popular song at funerals (I’ve actually sung it at a funeral myself) because of its inspiring message of wonder and hope, but to me, where it speaks loudest in my life, is the unrestrained joy of eternally serving my Lord.

My favorite line in the song is “I can only imagine when all I will do is forever, forever worship You.”

Music has been a central theme in my personal and spiritual development - I wasn’t even a year old before I started pawing at my dad’s guitar. I even tend to “mark” my life by music – a song that represents an event or something I was going through – refreshing that memory every time I hear it. To this day, when I hear “Here I Am To Worship” I am brought back to the moment of my salvation when I gave my life to Christ, tears streaming down my face as voices sing “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross….”

When I sing “when all I will do is forever, forever worship You” it is the most exciting part of my vision of eternity in Heaven with my Lord. Yes, of course, worship is so much more that just singing or playing music, but it is the most natural way I connect with God and I believe he wired me that way for a purpose.

I have been so blessed, honored… humbled even, that for the last year and a half I have gotten to experience just a taste of Heaven on Earth as I have served a auxiliary role in the worship ministry at Fair Oaks Church. Being a part of the team that leads worship for the Wednesday night services has been an amazing personal and spiritual journey for me, but more so in those moments when others have let me know that something we sang had special meaning for them or that they were moved by it – well, THAT’s what it’s all about and I know I am fulfilling God's purpose.

This week, the staff and leadership at Fair Oaks Church had to make a very difficult decision. As the church grows and energies could get split in so many directions - it was time to reevaluate and focus on the essentials. It was announced this week that Fair Oaks Church would be discontinuing the Wednesday services to dedicate more energy to everything happening on Sunday on our campus (which is so much more than just the two services!).

I have full trust that every decision my church leadership makes is God-led and support them unconditionally. On a personal level – having felt a bit like I was just expelled ... from Heaven – I went through a tissue or two, which is a bit uncharacteristic for me. I cried less when I was processing the news of my cancer diagnosis. But I trust God as he closes this door that He will open a window to where He wants me to be, and so will I wait. (I’ve gotten very good at that over the last couple of years.)

I want to thank Joel Slater, Mike Zizolfo and Debby White for seeing something in me, for seeing my heart for God and blessing me with this amazing opportunity to help lead others in their worship during the Wednesday services. It has been a true honor and blessing to work with talented and godly musicians like Adam Miller, Nate Miller and Phillip Bassham who also brought their heart for the Lord as well as their instruments every Wednesday and to many practices. It was a joy to work with you, play with you, and worship with you, my brothers!

Stay tuned for new and exciting things to come at Fair Oaks Church. I’ve been there long enough to know that when one ministry is retired, something really cool is around the corner.

Over the summer, the Wednesday praise band had been working on some new music, and one in particular I wanted to share because it captures how how special that small group of people who would meet on Wednesday night are. It has meant so much to me to be a part of this gathering of brothers and sisters in Christ and not just benefit from an amazing bonus sermon from Pastor Stokes, but to be able to share our brokenness with one another and lift each other up in prayer.

This is the song that will forever "mark" this chapter in my spiritual walk.

Personality Type & Family Relationships

A New MBTI Workshop Offered at Fair Oaks Church

At the end of a terrible day, you need a quiet evening with a book to shake it off, but your spouse needs an evening out with friends to unwind from a bad day. You need a check list to get things done, but your teenager needs the TV and the iPod going to get their homework finished. These simple differences can create havoc in the home if you don't understand them. The MBTI is a great tool for gaining insight into your spouse or... children to improve communication and understanding while reducing conflict.

2 million people a year take the MBTI, usually through their employer, to help them make constructive use of their differences and promote understanding and effective cooperation. Those same basic MBTI principles applied to couples and families can improve communication and interpersonal relationships, promoting positive attitudes towards different styles, and facilitate understanding, appreciation and respect between husband and wife and parents and children.

In the summer of 2010, I was privileged to have the opportunity to bring these concepts together in a marriage and parenting workshop at Fair Oaks Church (see dails here). I have been working with the MBTI for years as a business and coaching tool, but have been a great beneficiary of its application in my family life.

It was a great joy to be able to share the tool with other married couples and parents and have already seen fruits of success from the MBTI seeds planted during that workshop!

This workshop will be offered again at Fair Oaks Church in the Fall of 2010. If you think you may be interested, you can keep your eye out for it by signing up for Fair Oaks Church's E-Newsletter at

I had the honor of discussing this topic on the air with Pastor Stokes while he was sitting in as guest host for the Don Kroah show on WAVA 105.1 FM. Listen here: Radio Interview

For more information on the MBTI, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.

Type in Marriage and Family

Personality Type & Family Relationships

"And above all, have fervent love for one another: for love shall cover the multitude of sins." - Peter 4.8

When you and your spouse know your own types AND know each other’s types, it can help you with understanding your spouse better, appreciating your spouse’s differences and unique contribution to the marriage, recognizing the reasons for conflict or difficulty which enables two-way discussions that achieve healthier resolutions, and recognizing your spouse’s needs from the marriage which will enable you to work together in a way that both of your needs are met.

Although the materials in this website are focused on the relationships between husband and wife and parent and child, the “family” that you will have relationships with, communicate with, have expectations of, are so much more than your spouse and your children.

Everyone has the overly competitive brother who gets you bickering like a 12-year-old every time he visits or the mother-in-law that knows how to push your buttons (even through the phone) or the uncle who doesn’t communicate with the family for months at a time and just shows up on your doorstep for a surprise visit and stirs everyone up.

You may never know what their 4-letter Type is, but the more you know about your own, the more you’ll be able to deduce about theirs, and the more you will be able to recognize patterns of behavior which you will see through a different lens (the MBTI lens) and be more understanding or tolerant of.

For more information on the MBTI, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.

What Are The Odds?

Personality Type & Family Relationships

Were the two of you meant to be together? Did your 4-letter preferences influence your attraction to each other or was this God’s plan from the beginning? How about BOTH! Reflecting back on Proverbs 22:6, if God wired us each with our own “bent” and that bent can be defined through the language of personality Type, that God may have designed you with your Type with the express purpose of drawing you to your spouse’s Type.

Now, the MBTI can’t (and shouldn’t) be used to select the “right” spouse (or dismiss a potential mate). There are no magical combinations that make the perfect couple and no horrible combinations that are destined for divorce.

It is interesting, however, that research can show us patterns of choices that people tend to make for their spouse. It doesn’t make one set of choices better or worse, just more or less common.

We often here that opposites attract, but research would support that, if anything, similarity attracts more than difference. The most common Type combinations between husband and wife are with 2 or 3 letters in common.

Looking deeper, people tend to choose partners who are more similar in their functions (S/N and T/F) and primarily the perceiving function (S/N). Where the “opposites attract” is more likely to play a role are in the attitudes (I/E and J/P). Ironically, it’s in the attitude areas that cause the most conflict when they are opposites, especially the outer-world orientation (J/P).

Are there certain Types that may have an easier time understanding each other and communicating? Perhaps. Are there certain Types that are more prone to conflict and misunderstanding? Probably. But rather than focusing on those differences as opportunities for conflict, perhaps focus on what God wants you to gain from this pairing of Types. Did He bring a Judger together with a Perceiver to help one learn to relax and go with the flow more while teaching the other to be more direct and organized? Or perhaps the different combinations are simply the gift of "heavenly sandpaper" and they were sent to refine you (or you, them).

Sixteen Ways

There are 16 different Types that each husband and wife could be, creating 136 possible combinations. Just as each Type is unique, each of the different combinations has unique attributes, benefits and challenges that are consistently observed in that Type-union.

Two of the best resources for couples looking to explore Type more deeply as a tool in their marital toolkit are Just Your Type by Paul D. Tieger & Barbara Barron-Tieger, and 16 Ways to Love Your Lover by husband & wife team Otto Kroeger & Janet M. Thuesen.

Just Your Type gives a specific breakdown of each of the 136 combinations, identifying the joys, the frustrations, and specific type-to-type tips to reaching your partner. Many of the type-to-type descriptions are quite applicable to other family relationships like parent to child and between siblings.

16 Ways to Love Your Lover approaches Type and marriage in a more organic way covering how Type plays a role in the different aspects of marriage such as communication, sex and intimacy, finances, and conflict. This is light and informative read that will have you chuckling out loud and reading passages to your spouse.

For more information on the MBTI, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.

Moms and Dads Working Together

Personality Type & Family Relationships

When Mom and Dad both know and understand their Type, it can be a great benefit to the co-parenting team. When parents have different preferences, children get the opportunity to experience a balance and variety of styles from Mom and Dad. This can help the child feel freer to explore and express their own type preferences when they can connect with one parent or the other in different areas of their Type.

When parents’ have many preferences in common with each other, it’s easier to establish a home environment that well-defined and consistent. If the children also share those preferences, they will feel in sync with Mom and Dad, but children with opposite preferences may feel disconnected from the family and a bit like an outsider.

Parents with similar Types can be great at creating a unified front with the kids, but it can also leave them a bit short-handed and perhaps resentful when they need a rescue from their own blind spots and their partner is struggling in the same area.

When parents have mostly different Type preferences, they have a great advantage in being able to call on their partner’s differences when they aren’t syncing with a particular child in an area. If a child of opposite preferences are exhausting one parent, the other parent can provide relief for their partner who might be energized by that same behavior.

Parents with different Types can complement each other’s weaknesses nicely but those same differences can also be a source of conflict and they should be cautious of letting children sense that conflict and misinterpret a preference they share with one parent or the other as bad.

For more information on the MBTI, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.