Hey Y'all!

It took me awhile to get here, but alas I'm finally joining the blogosphere of bloviation. It took a rant floating around in my head to send me toward this journey, but so be it. We'll have some fun here too. I promise. Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to leave me a comment or two. ~ diane

Monday, June 28, 2010

Well Done, Good & Faithful Servant

Yesterday we had the privilege of helping celebrate the retirement of a beloved pastor and friend, Tom Tyndall. After 40 years of ministry, Tom is turning a new page in his life and leaving his present position as associate pastor of our church, Cross Point Community, in Nashville.

To know Tom Tyndall is to love him. We first met the white-haired reverend when we joined CP about six years ago. He was the third staff member hired by Pete Wilson, our pastor, as they launched this amazing church. God couldn't have put together a better team - the wise, elder pastor with 30-something years of experience and a heart for people the size of his beloved Florida . . . and the young, energetic church planter, burning with ideas for a new way to "do church." This odd couple formed the perfect compliment, and now - four campuses later - CP is a thriving community of believers spread across the greater Nashville area.

In his remarks yesterday, Tom reflected on his past history in the ministry. He said he's done it all - "high church, low church, and no church" (the last, referencing a church with just seven members which he "grew to five" before he left!) We enjoyed a hilarious video that included pictures of Tom in his "high church" regalia, including the black robes of his days in the Presbyterian persuasion - a far cry from his more recent laid-back blue jean era at CP! Also included were pictures of the family he loves so much - kids and grandkids - and the love of his life, his beautiful wife Betty.

Some pastors are great preachers and orators. Others are phenomenal Bible scholars and teachers. Some are highly gifted in areas of administration and leadership. Still others have hearts burdened for the lost, their calendars filled with overseas missions trips. The best pastors have a combination of all of the above - and one more. In my own personal opinion, the defining characteristic of a great pastor is that of shepherd. One who loves and nurtures the flock. To me, Tom Tyndall is a perfect example of what Jesus intended when He instructed Peter to "tend my sheep" (John 21:17). Tom would quickly brush off any such praise using his trademark quirky sense of humor. But that's just because he's also extremely humble. He has tended us well, and we are forever changed because of him.

Two years ago I was in Tulsa at the beside of my mother who was dying. That week, I received  numerous calls from Tom checking up on me, praying for my mother and my family, and offering such profound comfort across the miles. For those closer to home, over and over I've heard about the countless times Tom was the first one to the ER or surgery waiting rooms - sometimes even before family arrived - when someone was in need. He's been there - "Jesus with skin on" - in the darkest hours, ministering with kind compassion and heartfelt prayers.

At the risk of a post so long, only the die-hards would ever finish it, I'll conclude by saying it's been a privilege to be a member of Tom's "flock" these past few years. Tom and Betty, Ken and I wish you nothing but happiness as you start this new chapter in your lives. We wish you continued good health as you enjoy well-earned time with your family and your trains, a chance to travel and speak . . . But more than anything, we wish you God's richest blessings as you have so richly blessed all who have known you - including us!

Au revoir, arrivederci, hasta la vista, and of course - LATER GATOR!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Reading

I may hate the heat of summer, but there's nothing I love more than a good book to read on a hot summer's day. Indoors, that is. With air conditioning. Not that I'm fussy or anything. I've been on quite a roll lately, thrilled with some of the treasures I've discovered. The first two were gifts from Barbara Bouton, my daughter's mother-in-law - and my friend! I devoured both of them and can't wait to tell you about them.

EXPECTING ADAM - by Martha Beck. WOW! This book was such an unexpected pleasure. You might think a memoir by a young mother who's pregnant with a Down Syndrome child would not be a fun read, but you'd be oh-so-wrong in this case. I LOVED Martha Beck's writing, her sense of humor, her out-of-body experiences (seriously!), her honest analysis of Harvard University and the mindset of her peers there . . . and her transparency as she faced doing life with what others so crassly labeled a "retarded" child. For the record, I must admit I don't agree with her views on abortion, though I grieve for anyone who faces that kind of heart-breaking dilemma. I applaud her for deciding to keep her baby despite the avalanche of those who thought she was insane NOT to abort. This amazing story taught me so many beautiful lessons about the true values that matter most in life. By the time Adam arrived, I was head over heels with the little guy! Don't miss this one!

THE GLASS CASTLE - by Jeanette Walls, a successful New York writer who covers the celebrity beat, also a contributor to MSNBC. Leaving her Park Avenue apartment one night, she says, "I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a dumpster." Quite a captivating first sentence, isn't it? This is a fascinating true memoir of a child raised in a quirky, dysfunctional family living in utter poverty most of their lives. At times you can't believe any parents could be so screwed up. At other times you can't believe how resilient Jeannette and her siblings were, growing up with a brilliant, though perpetually drunk father and a totally free-spirited mother. I know it sounds like a sad tale, but it is such a beautifully written story and one you will never forget. I've actually read this book before but I have to say, I enjoyed it way more the second time around! I consider it one of my all-time favorites!

PLAN B - by Pete Wilson, my pastor! That said, I know I'm extremely partial, but this is a phenomenal book that belongs on everyone's must-read list this summer. The subtitle of Pete's book is "What Do You Do When God Doesn't Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?" We've all been there. In the midst of living our lives, only to find our plans obliterated or our dreams shattered. What do you do? Most of us don't handle it well, even if we consider ourselves believers. Pete helps show us a better way through those difficult times, by helping us move beyond the panic and fear to see God in our circumstances, to overcome doubt and find hope again. I purposefully took my time reading Plan B, studying it as part of my daily time with the Lord. What a blessing! I encourage yourself to do the same.

SEASONS IN THE MIST - by Deborah Kinnard. And who doesn't love a good time-travel story! I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of medieval historian Bethany Lindstrom's accidental visit to 14th century Cornwall, England. Deb's knowledge of this intriguing time period shines through her compelling story, her descriptions bringing it all to a startling reality. Each page draws you deeper into the plot and keeps you wondering how Bethany will ever get back to 21st century America. Packed full of history, romance and adventure, Seasons in the Mist is a perfect summer read. I invite you to take a trip back through Bethany's portal into a story you'll thoroughly enjoy.

WHISPERS OF THE BAYOU - by Mindy Starns Clark. I can't BEGIN to tell you how much I loved this novel! Believe it or not, I picked this one up at a book sale at our local library the day the floods hit Nashville. (Which doesn't really matter - just thought I'd tell you how I found it!) The story is about Miranda Miller, a successful art restorer at a Manhattan museum who finds herself swept back to the mysteries of her childhood at her grandparents' antebellum estate near New Orleans. The first five years of her life, erased entirely from her memory, hold secrets she's forced to uncover as she pieces together her hidden past. There were so many twists and turns I never saw coming in this story - which thrills me as a reader! I also learned so much about the history of Cajuns. Absolutely LOVED this book and immediately ordered two more in this series.

Now it's your turn! What have you been reading lately?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It's Hotter 'n Hades Out Thar!

WHINE ALERT: This blogger is on a heated rampage!

I'm now in my (ahem) mid-50s and it just dawned on me that I HATE SUMMER! Gone are the days of my childhood when summer meant a long break from school, spending days at the swimming pool and hanging with my friends. How well I remember those foolish months spent working on my tan (not an easy task for a redhead!), getting more sunburns than I care to remember, doing my best (albeit stupidly) to summon the future skin cancer gods. But there we were, slathered up in baby oil mixed with drops of iodine for extra tanning; hair doused with Sun-In for those "natural" highlights . . . broiling under the hot sun like a bunch of chickens roasting on the grill. Ah, the bliss of ignorance.

But now, after all these years, I've realized how much I despise heat. Especially when the air is dripping with humidity. I grew up in Oklahoma where the wind wasn't the only thing that came sweepin' down the plain. Summers blistered in Tulsa and yes, we could fry eggs on the sidewalk. The humidity was intense. Then I got married and ended up in Florida for almost 15 years. OH. MY. GOSH. I remember our first event at the First Baptist Church of Naples, the church that had just called my husband as youth pastor. We arrived the end of May, just in time for the annual church picnic. Now this was back in 1984, and church staff members just did NOT wear shorts. Ever. But yours truly was dumb enough to wear HOSE under my slacks! (In all fairness, I had just gone through a miscarriage and I wasn't yet in my right mind . . .) But HOSE? In that sweltering southern Florida heat?! Suffice it to say, a good time was NOT had by all. I was miserable!

But I'd always wanted to live near the beach, and at first I loved living in Florida. Eventually, however, the enduring killer heat that is a constant in the Sunshine State just got to me. Two, maybe three months out of the year we had some cooler temps. I couldn't handle it. I was so thrilled the day we finally got to move to Tennessee. Back to NORMAL weather, baby!

We've now been here in middle Tennessee for 11 years. We discovered early on that summer is pleasant up until July 4th, then stays pretty darn hot until mid-September. But we just learned to stay indoors and crank up the AC.

But this year . . . holy hot potatoes, Batman! It's unbearable out there! I went out to water my flowers the other morning, and I was drenched by the time I was done. Had to come inside and take another shower!

And that's when I realized: I HATE SUMMER. I really do! We're all wired differently, right? Well, pparently heat affects my whole being in quite a negative way. Puts me in a funk. Wears me out. Makes me whine and rant and rave, and run the socks off our AC. I can't stand being hot and sticky and sweaty. It makes me CRAZY! (Can you tell?)

Give me the cool breezes of early spring or late fall, or better yet - the icy cold of winter! A blast of polar air - that's the ticket! And oh, how I love SNOW! Maybe I should move to Montana. Or Colorado. Or here's a thought - I could boot out that journalist who moved in next to Sarah Palin up in Wasilla, and become an Alaskan. Hey, I'll take blizzards ANY day over the burning hot days of summer.

So now you know. If I seem a little wacky between now and October, you'll know why. Just humor me. I'll get through it. How about you? Are you a Summer Soul or a Winter Wonder?