"No sir, I was not on my phone. I have no idea why I forgot to signal when I took the exit. I think my mind is just distracted. But I'm thankful I get the opportunity to speak with you. I appreciate your service & want to know that I support you even if you give me a ticket."
"So the good news is, this isn't going to kill him. The bad news is, we have a problem. Okay, then we will focus on the good news."
"Get a good drink at bedtime, you can't drink anything again until after your surgery tomorrow."
"I thought everyone knew this, but let's review... We do not play with lighters."
"If you break a window you do not have enough money to pay for it. I promise, it's out of your league. So from now on you only hit in the batting cage. Quit hitting the house with fly balls."
"Just buy a house. I don't care what house. Just buy one!"
"There are hard things in life & this is one of those hard things I can't do for you but we can go to Panera!"
Don't allow fear & worry to take you captive! When life throws you a curve ball... An unexpected diagnosis, a job loss, a heart wrenching phone call, a wayward child, a big move away from everything & everyone you know & love, a car accident, financial issues, etc.
The moment fear begins to rise up, focus on what is TRUE (Philippians 4:8)
Here's what is TRUE:
1. God promises that he is sovereign. That means He is in control. He is in control of your life.
2. God is with you. He is "our very present help in times of trouble." You don't have to wait for him to show up or beg him to get involved...He's already there.
3. God listens! Over & over we read in the Psalms about how David would pour out his heart to God & "God heard my cry." (Psalm 40:1)
4. God is trustworthy. Stop trying to understand everything & TRUST that God already has it figured out ( Proverbs 3:5&6)Relax.
5. God loves you. He really does! Think of the best dad you know...God is a gazillion times better. His love for you is boundless.
The Chattertons are moving to Alabama! I know!!!!!! What in the world? Trust me, we are just as surprised as you are! Ryan has accepted a position (at his current company) to work in the corporate office in Florence, Alabama. The possibility of Alabama has been mentioned on and off for at least six years, but I have always said "NEVER." In fact, I can remember a specific conversation when I told Ryan I would NEVER EVER move to Alabama, so we might as well not bring it up.
God has a sense of humor. He knew all along that my stubborn heart would listen to His whisper when the time was right.
It is clear to us that right now God is saying "go." He's been nudging us for a few months but in the last 2 weeks it's become clear to us that He is the one in the driver's seat and we are just along for the ride. I believe with every fiber of my being that God is at work in our lives and that most of the time we are too busy to pay much attention. Since April, I have been purposeful to try to listen to what God is saying to me. Many, many times I would be driving down the road and I would turn off the radio and say "Okay, what?? What do you want me to do? I am listening." And then I would cry because I just knew...I had this certainty in my heart that we were supposed to move. It's been confirmed by circumstances and by other wise people speaking into our lives.
We have lived in Pennsylvania for 13 years now. I am utterly heartbroken to leave. I have cried more tears than I thought were humanly possible. Every time I think I'm all cried out, I have another conversation and start to ugly cry all over again. Leaving is so terribly painful because we have experienced something so unique during our time here in PA. We have experienced COMMUNITY. Community is when you get to do life with people who genuinely love you and want God's best for you. We have been loved well during the past 13 years. I hope we have loved others the way they have loved us.
Getting plugged into a church was the #1 most valuable thing we did when we moved to Pa.
Not only did we "go" to church but we pressed in, got involved, met people, joined groups and started to serve. Somewhere along the way I remember Ryan and I deciding that we were going to look at church differently. We weren't going to go to church to "get" something out of it. We were going to attend a church were we felt God called us to be and we were going to stick with it. We weren't going to get all rattled every time someone did something we didn't like. We weren't going to drive home on Sunday afternoons picking apart how well things ran or how good the sermon was. CHURCH for us meant people and relationships. Leaving Otterbein Church and leaving my position as the Children's Director (my dream job) is very, very hard. I honestly believe that the last 3.5 years of my life have been my best years. It has been the greatest honor of my life to be able to serve the families at Otterbein.
As many of you know, my parents live in Pennsylvania 10 minutes from where we live. They are the hardest part of this move. My kids have a beautiful relationship with their Grandmom and PopPop. Sometimes I think Will likes them more than he likes me! My mom gives McKenna piano lessons. My dad takes Will for "hikes." They come to all of Christian's ball games. My mom watches the kids all the time when I'm at work. They are a huge part of our lives and when I talk to Will they are the ONLY reason he doesn't want to move (well, he's also upset that we're not going to take the swing set or our ceiling fans with us...because you know... you should take everything with you including the ceiling fans). In the back of my mind I keep telling myself that we'll just get ourselves settled and then we'll come back and pack them up too. I don't think they're convinced about that idea, but I think we've all learned NEVER to say NEVER.
When I start to focus on the magnitude of what we're leaving it gets overwhelming....
our KMS Baseball family (these people have become some of our very best friends)
our neighbors who all live within 1 mile of our house & who are our greatest support network
McKenna's dance classes at church
Will's preschool buddies
our pediatrician who has been one of Christian's greatest advocates
the guys Ryan has worked with for 15 years
all of our little league friends
all of Will's acquaintances at Quincy Village (I'm not kidding...he's popular there because he's the only kid)!
living just 3 hours from my sister
the kid's friends
the people who have served alongside me on Sunday mornings
my coworkers - I genuinely love each one of them and their families
the kids who greet me and hug me every single Sunday morning
I could keep going....
But instead of focusing on what we are leaving, I'm choosing to focus on God's promise from Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you. Declares the Lord.
Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you.
Plans to give you HOPE and a future."
God is not surprised by any of this.
I am choosing to believe that God has plans for our family that are to prosper us and not to harm us.
It looks like we will probably be heading to Sweet Home Alabama around the 20th of August.
We still don't know what we're doing. We don't know where we're going to live or what schools the kids will go to or....well....we don't have anything figured out. ((Deep breath)) So we would love it if you would pray for us.
It's been a great season with these boys! They all exemplify so much character!
Hutson & Christian have been playing together since their t-ball years!
Christian had the opportunity to play on the Cal Sr field at Ripkin!
Dane, Christian and Andrew!
It was a great experience!
Christian and Andrew!
We are so proud of Christian! He works so hard to do his best at baseball. One afternoon he was hauling a bucket of balls and a tee out to his batting cage and he said, "I really hate hitting off the tee." And I said, "Then why are you doing it? No one is making you!" And he responded, "It makes me better so I'm going to hit a bucket of balls every day." Some serious perseverance for an eleven year old!
My number one priority on Sunday mornings is FUN! I know, I know, some of you are cringing right now because you're offended that I didn't say "Jesus."
Well let me tell you about this morning....
This Sunday was filled with hula hoop games, lots of popcorn, glow sticks and super loud music.
And all of that FUN made kids want to be there. They opened their ears to listen to what we were saying because it was fun.
They were listening when we learned about how Jesus can do ANYTHING. They were hanging on every word when we learned about how Jesus healed a paralyzed man by simply speaking to him! They didn't just hear a story...
At the end of class I was huddled with a group of kindergarteners and I said, "Okay, so if Jesus can do anything what should we pray about?" I got some classic kindergarten answers about paper cuts on fingers and ear aches and then one little guy said, "I want to pray about my dad. He always has to go away for work and I feel worried that he'll get in an accident." BINGO...that's the stuff I wanted to hear...the real stuff these kids needed Jesus to help them with. We moved around the circle to the next kindergartener..."Do you know about rehab? My mom & dad are in rehab and sometimes rehab doesn't work. Can we pray to Jesus that it will work this time?" (I had one of my..."Oh Jesus, help me not to cry & give me wisdom" moments).
Real faith building, raw and honest prayers, hugs and reassurance took place sitting on the floor in the middle of all the rowdy fun. Kids come to Jesus when we teach them about a real, fun, dynamic, loving Heavenly Father!