A Cold, Cold Welcome

We returned from our little vacation at Myrtle Beach on Saturday. Awesome time spent with our kids and away from our otherwise chaotic lives. However blessed we were during the week, it was all tested the moment we started driving away. My well trained husband didn't start checking his messages until we were out of the parking garage, and the tsunami began. Legal matters, death, and a complete revamping of our already developed plans for Sunday service awaited. Wow, oh and then my mom wanted us to stop by for lunch on our way home. That was a bright oasis on our trek homeward.

When we arrived I walked inside and noticed that our home was unusually chilly. Upon checking the thermostat and then the vent blowing cold air and finally realizing that our water heater was no longer creating hot water, we came to the conclusion that somehow during our week away, our propane ran out. Don't jump our case now and label us irresponsible. This is our first winter in this house and we haven't had propane as a primary heat source since we lived in our little trailer in Rockfish. A couple thousand square feet and 4 children later things run out a little quicker okay?

Let me remind you that I said we arrived back home on Saturday of Christmas week so there was no way we were getting gas until Monday. Oh man. Welcome home Revolutionaries! Pull out the skills you learned back in Haiti as a missionary and there you go. Heating hot water on the stove and sponge baths work wonders to remind you of what the ministry is really all about. Hair and makeup aside, our appearance doesn't really matter when we can't sacrifice a little flesh on the altar every once in a while right? We looked no worse for the wear on Sunday morning. If you smelled something a little funky around any of the Goodmans, it was only the the remnants of the fire we've been through.


A Revolutionary Christmas

Recently my nerdy tendencies had me researching a lot on the American Revolutionary war. I have read books on the various battles, the major characters and even the women behind the men in the war. A few years ago I read a book detailing the letters written between John and Abigail Adams. Who cares, right? Well, a few years ago Josh and I went with a group of youth pastors to Valley Forge for a small conference held by Joel Stockstill. Things started rumbling around in my spirit about being revolutionary. Little did I know that I would be starting a church just a few years later. Wow, so exciting. But, there's something that we rarely think of when imagining the extreme coolness of changing the world...sacrifice. We commend others for their sacrifice, but what about when we have to do it?
So that brings us to Christmas. All year our family has had it pretty rough, but God has been supplying for the bills, food, gas, transportation, healing, etc. Enter the biggest gift getting time of the typical American kids life. I mean, as a kid, no matter how much my mama tried to teach me that Jesus was the reason for the season, I maintained that it was actually all those pretty wrapped gifts under the tree, with my name on 'em. I have tried to raise my own kids in the same fashion, but kids will be kids. This year we knew going into it that things were gonna be tight and we bore up under the pressure.

I started complaining, I mean praying about it, and God started reminding me about that revolutionary stuff. A Valley Forge Christmas, with freezing and starving and all that, you know, and things started looking a whole lot better for us. Then it hit me that all this Christmas stuff really isn't about Jesus at all. Come on we try to mix Him in there and say that all the gift giving is about the gift God gave us in His Son. But is it really? There are a lot of God ordained holidays but I don't remember Christmas being one of them. Yet, every year I get all out of sorts running around spending money I don't have to somehow bring glory to God? Then it trickles down to how I'm ruining my kids childhood memories because I can't afford to buy them that thing they're dying for this year. Looking back, I can't remember many of my gifts, but I remember snippets of the warm fuzzies I felt over the family coming over and spending time together.

This year we were blessed with a week at the beach, all we had to do was pay for food and get here. That's what we did, but barely and the kids have been great troopers thinking they really weren't getting much else. I really love my kids and the resilience they have for the down times of our lives. Now comes the really cool part. Because we're staying at a timeshare, we got the usual opportunity to go and listen to the salesman try to sell us on our portion of the American dream right here beachfront. We, of course, explained how we really couldn't afford it and after two more tries he finally believed us and we walked away proudly with our free gifts which just so happened to be gift certificates for the mall! Yeah, so even though this isn't His holiday, God still came through for my kiddos once more at the very last minute. Thanks, Daddy!


The Great Escape

Fayettevillle, North Carolina has an invisible forcefield surrounding it. At least for the Goodman family, that is. For Josh and I, every time we manage to escape from it, we decide to head back in for another go at it. This applies to the long term move and the day trip or week long vacation. When we do get away for some down time it seems like it takes eons to finally get out of the gravitational pull that keeps our life in orbit.

That's where we were yesterday. Service went great at church, me and the kids had most of the stuff packed up and ready to go. And then we realized we needed dog food, and the trash from the church was still in the back of the truck, and people needed to talk to "the Pastor" about various things. But I purposed in my heart to keep things light and not stress. It was going to happen. My favoritest in-laws ever blessed us with a week at the beach and we were going to make it there eventually, God bless it!

I'm here to tell you that we did. Hallelujah! Right now I'm sitting in an almost quiet apartment overlooking North Myrtle Beach absorbing the solitude of Tony's Mac and the free wifi. Littles are asleep or squirming on the floor, middles and originals are splashing in the pool with the Pastor. And guess what. This week we're not the pastor's family. We can go undercover as the almost well adjusted average American family just hanging out at the beach over Christmas break. Oh yes you can call us the "Happy Goodmans."



I turned the big 3-5 yesterday. No big deal, I really think things have turned out pretty good so far. Six kids, nice house, food on the table, not too shabby. The real icing on the cake however is realizing that even when life stinks and the kids are misbehaving, the bills are late, dinner's burnt, the house needs a new roof, my car breaks down, insert catastrophic life event here...God is always there. Wow, that's what separates us from those without hope. We have no excuse to wallow in whatever bad trip life is handing us. Trust me, I'm not just shooting off at the mouth. I've had my share of stinky life events, but I decided a long time ago that I wanted to be different. In looking at my life to this point things are not all the way I wanted it, when I wanted it, but this is it. I will enjoy my life. Things are shaping up pretty nicely from here.


Comments Requested

Ok, so I know that this blog isn't all that, but I have heard quite a few people tell me how wonderful they think it is. Well, now I'm gonna ask for something back. If you're reading and like/don't like/agree/disagree/whatever, comment on it on my blog. Pretty please with cherries and whipped cream on top. It really helps to know how my crazy thoughts affect readers ya know. If you're just reading for fun that's cool but I'd really appreciate to know what you all think. Encouragement does alot!


No, Emari, There Really Isn't a Santa Claus.

So don't jump the gun and start thinking I'm some sort of Grinch or something. I absolutely love Christmas. Growing up, though not always drowning in gifts, the holiday was celebrated extremely in our house. I carried a lot of my mom's traditions over into my own household and Josh and I even came up with some of our own which I hope are cool enough to make it into my kids' repertoire of Christmas cheer.

However, something that we decided our first year of marriage, which also was our first year with kids at Christmas, was that we were not going to tell our kids that Santa brought their presents. Funny thing, traditions. They're passed down you see, from generation to generation and when you decide to do things a little differently, people get a little out of joint. That first year Josh actually had to dress up as Santa at work, so we got off a little easy with Tony. We could actually say that Daddy was Santa. There was just something about giving all the credit to some guy that the kids didn't even know when we were the ones scrounging up the extra money and driving all over Fayetteville looking for the perfect gifts. Call us selfish, but we wanted our kids to know who was sacrificing for them.

You look ahead in time and see that if we did teach them that Santa brought their gifts, the Easter bunny hid eggs in the yard, the Tooth Fairy exchanged their tooth for cash, and Jesus died for their sins, how were they going to be able to separate the fact from the fiction? None of these were they actually able to see, and at a certain age they were expected to understand the difference between real and fantasy. I really didn't want my kids stumbling over this. It just wasn't worth it for the pictures on Santa's lap and such. Mom and dad fill up the stockings at Christmas, Dad and Papa hide the eggs at Easter, mom is the tooth fairy and Jesus is real. No I have not robbed my kids of their childhood by denying them the typical holiday traditions, I set them up to be able to stand and know what they really believe. Sorry, Virginia.


The Baby's Out, Now What?

Ok sorry about that stupid title, but I didn't want to be falsely advertising this blog with my alternate title, "Postpartum Depression in Reference to Church Planting." I feel strongly that my ministry life and my personal life are paralleled in experience so I try to draw references from one to help me deal with something I may be going through in another.

So 9 weeks ago I delivered an amazing baby boy, beautiful to the last detail. I still catch myself looking at him in awe. Such a miracle and an expression of love is embodied in his tiny frame. Yet, he keeps me up at night and is almost solely responsible for my never looking quite how I want to at any given time. I feel ugly and fat and cry about dumb things alot.

Simultaneously, we planted a church. The physical congregating of a group of people we have been working with and ministering to for a long time now. Together we have come and given birth to something we have felt growing inside of our spirits for quite some time. Oh its beautiful and its something else...a lot of work. The excitement and amazement is still there every Sunday, but lingering on the fringes is the exhaustion and the slight let down that all ministers feel. I would definitely label it postpartum depression of the ministry kind. The cool thing is knowing that its okay to feel this way, its normal and it will pass. The baby will grow stronger and start needing mama less for its every need. In the meantime, I want to soak up every minute of the beauty of this once in a lifetime moment in The Pursuit's infancy.
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