Monday, May 26, 2008

The Latest Around Here

Last week it seemed like I was blogging way more than usual. Where did all this extra time come from? What is going on at the Mathews' house these days? Should any of you be wondering, here's a brief update:

School is wrapping up, which means lots more fun for my first-grader and lots more work for my assistant principal husband. We are all at the pool more often since the 90-degree-plus weather came to North Texas over a week ago. The little ones and I keep much the same schedule as earlier in the semester, though MOPS and bible study are over. So our weeks are a bit more freed up now.

Late April and early May brought me several short-term and at least one last-minute editing and proofing jobs. I've done proofreading work for the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, which among other things produces books and resources promoting intelligent design. I've learned some amazing stuff reading through their material. Irreducible complexity is a powerful argument for design...

Another recent client: Pauline Books & Media, a Catholic publishing company run by the Daughters of St. Paul. Such a familiar name, harkening back to my youth in the RCC. My first project with them involved proofreading a book of children's prayers. It was delightful.

Back in late March, just before my neck surgery, Sue and I turned in our fourth book manuscript--this one to Moody. We don't expect to see it back for edits until late summer or fall. In the meantime we've seen Mixed Ministry launched and several PR opportunities come Sue's way. I am so glad she's the point-person on these books!

Let's see: a few magazine articles written, edited, or proofed; an aspiring writer's chapters critiqued; a couple of web sites edited. It's been a busy spring! A little here, a little there, all of it welcome.

And then there's the grading. I'm sure I've mentioned on this blog that I am a Graduate Teaching Assistant (grader) for a seminary class that's offered online. I had about 27 students during the spring, and there were many papers to grade and average as the semester ended week before last. I was swamped. So when those were tallied and entered, and I sat back in relief, I realized I had no pressing deadlines for, oh, a week or so.

So I blogged :). I guess I got in about three days' worth, which is a lot for me. I wish I could blog more regularly. It was fun.

But the summer semester has already started...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Noble Calling

I enjoy a good play on words. They are fun, sometimes humorous, usually memorable. My name doesn't have it, unfortunately. Kelley.... um, Mathews.... nope, nothing catchy about that. But my friend Amy Nobles has one of those cool names.

Her music ministry is titled--get this--Noble Ministries. Ha! What a great play on words. I bet she's heard variations on being the P31 woman, you know, that woman in Proverbs we all love to hate, "a wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies..." (31:10). But with a name like that she's reminded daily of what God has called her to be... like Him. I could use a stamp like that to keep my perspective on target, too.

I met Amy on the ministry trip to Lancaster, PA, last month. She was our music worship leader, singing her heart out to God, sharing her insights from the Word, and pulling it all together to help us worship deeply. In the process, I fell in love with her music. It really did move me to worship. I even raised my hands during certain songs...not my usual style :).

See that music widget down on the right sidebar? That's a link to Amy's album "On That Day." Click on it and you'll hear 30-second clips of the songs on that album. Many of these she sang with us on the trip, but since listening to her CD in my car these last few weeks--daily--I've come to love them all. My kids sing along on some of them as well.
(Don't mind the picture of Amy with the straw in her mouth--it was taken during a silly game on the retreat. It's "personality" shot.)

Amy is just a girl from Fort Worth who knew she had a gift from God in her voice and musical talents, chose to serve Him with those gifts, and was encouraged by others to make it her life work. Her heart is with missions--taking God's love to parts of the world that don't get to hear about Him so often. She's a music minister at a small church that encourages and supports her mission habit :). Part of that habit includes serving each SPARK trip as worship leader, so she'll be in Reno next month with Molly and the gang.

Amy didn't ask me for this plug. I just wanted to share what has blessed me so much. See for yourself when you visit her site here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Glimpses of God in Real People

I'm a subscriber to a monthly ezine called Glimpses. Glimpses is run by Heather A. Goodman, a friend-of-a-friend whom I'm gradually coming to know through her blog, our mutual friends, and the planning for an upcoming joint project (more on that in a few weeks).

Her ezine has stories of Christians living for Christ, artwork reflecting Christ, and devotionals about being the Church. Not only are subscriptions free, but when you sign up, you get a free copy of Reel Studies: A Study Tool for Bible Stories. Reel Studies is a simple tool that helps with understanding the stories of the Bible. Each month, we get a chance to win a free giveaway. In the past, there have been music, books, audio books, artwork, and coffee cuffs. I actually won, during my first month subscribed, the painting (a seriolithograph, whatever that means) of Notre Dame, image on the left. So yeah, you really can win!

If you want to know more about the ezine, you can read about it here.

Right now, I'm participating in a contest with Glimpses. Yes, I want to win again! Help me! If you sign up and list me as the referring friend, you can help me win a gift certificate for Barnes and Noble. You can sign up using the form to the right, under my profile, and you'll get the free study tool that day.

The deadline for the contest is May 26. You'll love the ezine, even if I don't win. But thanks for helping me out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

SPARK is Going to Reno!

SPARK Ministry, the group of women with whom I traveled to Lancaster, PA, last month to minister at a women's shelter, is gearing up for their next ministry trip. This time they are going to Reno, NV, to bring a retreat to the women at the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission (yes, Sparks is a suburb of Reno...kinda fun).
This particular shelter hosts a diverse group of women. Many are non-believers, though they are enrolled in a faith-based recovery program. Many are there by court order. Several of them are very young, in their early 20s or late teens. The opportunity to bring hope and healing and a special message of lasting impact is great. That message? That our significance is found in Christ--in Him we find purpose, grace, and freedom.

The encouragement and inspiration that a SPARK retreat brings has great potential to change lives. And I'm not just talking about the lives of the shelter residents... team members will see their lives changed, too.

Want to be a part of this exciting opportunity? There's still time. And it's open to any woman who loves the Lord, no matter where you live. Molly, the director, is still looking for a few good women to join her and her leadership team in Reno. They leave on June 26 and come home June 30; the cost is $899, all expenses included.

Feel free to call or email me if you are interested but have questions. I can't attend this trip, but I plan to be on a future one. And there are other ways to participate if you know you can't schedule this one. Sponsor a resident through the 'Adopt-a-sister' plan--commit to pray for one woman at the shelter and pay $60 to help cover the cost for her gifts, t-shirt, and special outing. You will be given the name of one of the women and asked to write her a note of encouragement (and continue to pray for her).

Scholarship donations for team members are always needed, if you'd rather give that way. Or, if you are a small-business owner, gift items are also needed. We've had Avon, Mary Kay, Bath & Body Works, Staples, and others give sample-size items. My author friends Sandi and Sue have donated some of their Bible studies. There are numerous ways to be involved in this endeavor. Consider how you might help!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Bluest Eyes in Texas...
That's my girl!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You're invited...

if you live in the DFW area (which I sorta do), to be in the television studio audience when speaker and (my co-)author of Mixed Ministry, Sue Edwards, makes a guest appearance on the LIFE Today show with James Robison, Tuesday, May 20th at 7 pm. Sue will be speaking on "pet sins"--those lingering struggles that no amount of prayer and effort seem to defeat. We cover one aspect of that topic in the book, so it's possible she'll have opportunity to communicate that on the show.

Tickets are free, but you must reserve your seat. To do that, call 817-354-3655 or e-mail audience at loi dot org. The studios are located near DFW Airport at 1801 West Euless Blvd, Euless, Texas.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Milk Duds

I'm not what you'd call a control freak about my kids' food, but I do try to find healthy versions of stuff they eat and drink regularly. Not much koolaid around here, candy doled out from Easter or Halloween baskets stingily, granola bars and yogurt for snacks, etc. We try to keep fresh fruit around. If money were no issue, I'd go organic. But that's never really been a realistic option for us.

So when my friend Cindy mentioned Braum's "organic" milk at the cost of Walmart milk, my ears perked up. Really? I dropped by Braum's yesterday with the little ones, making their ice-cream dreams come true, to see what was up. And don't you know, the milk is only 9 cents more ($3.59) than regular ole' Walmart/Kroger type milk these days. And while it's not technically organic, it's as close are you can get without earning the official label. This milk lacks added hormones.

Here's the official word from the Braum's web site:

At Braum’s, we know that we can produce the best quality milk by feeding our cows natural, healthy ingredients. We do not inject our cows with hormones like rBGH to stimulate milk production and we don't add antibiotics to their feed. We feed our dairy herd of 10,000 Holstein cows a mixture of alfalfa hay, corn, grain, whole cottonseed, soybean and more (the majority of the feed for our dairy herd is grown on our family farms.)

So the next time you drink a glass of Braum's milk rest's 100 percent natural, tastes great and is rBGH FREE!

And with a little girl at home who drinks a lot of milk, I'll sacrifice my monthly Starbucks fix to pay the difference between natural hormone-free milk and the hormone-supplemented variety we find at the grocery stores. No sense in encouraging puberty to arrive prematurely!

I think we've found a winner (not a dud) :)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Seeking Readers' Opinions

Anyone out there reading Same Kind of Different As Me? It's all the buzz around our church since tonight the authors are being hosted there for a Q&A type presentation. I can't make that, but I did pick up the book last week. Some of my Lancaster trip teammates are planning a weekly book club to go through this one a few chapters at a time. Just curious if anyone has already read it and would love to hear your thoughts on it.