Uprising back from the press

We just finished up the edits to a new video-driven study based off Erwin McManus’ book, Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul. The study has six sessions all dealing with how God wants to transform our character to be more like his. The whole kit is back from the press (I love that smell!) and it looks incredible. We’re really happy with how it turned out.

On the production team, we seek out real-life stories that fit with the teaching in the sessions. A certain story that was needed was facing courage/doing what is right in the midst of a major trial like a job loss. I pitched my husband’s story of losing his job for sharing his faith to our team and they ended up shooting our story together. It’s now in the Uprising kit.

Being almost two years out of that trial, it was easier to share the story (even though it did seem like we were reliving it somewhat) and be an encouragement to others. You can check out the trailer here (props to Phil). The guy in the salmon collared shirt talking with a patient near the beginning is my husband.

This may be a study you’re interested in and will want to check out.

Stone Blue Productions

Jeremiah Guelzo, owner/producer/photographer of Stone Blue Productions in Lynchburg, VA informed me of his new blog. He posts regularly on it and it shows a lot of his recent work. Jeremiah did our wedding photos, wedding video, and my bridal portraits in 2005. His work was incredible then and it’s even more so now.

Way to go, Jeremiah. God is using you in incredible ways. Here is a photo Jeremiah took of me and my handsome husband… oh the memories!

God, My Mom, & Dave Ramsey

It’s been several months since we took the Financial Peace University class by Dave Ramsey. Looking back on the class, it couldn’t have been a more appropriate time for us to be in it. My mom is the one we have to thank because she “urged” us to. We had no idea we would get pregnant during that time either or even that the economy would look a little different six months later. God’s timing is always perfect.

We now have 3-6 months of income saved. Our savings account has never looked so big. It’s almost surreal. Our credit cards are gone and the only debt remaining is about $8,000 on student loans and a car payment. All that to say, we would not be where we are without God, My Mom, and Dave Ramsey! We are no way near perfect in the area of finances but we’re striving to keep growing.

The highlight for me this week was my first guilty feeling of purchasing a pumpkin spice chai frappucino for almost $4.00. Now, I love to splurge and treat myself (I don’t over-indulge too much at all). I’m a big fan of rewarding yourself. But something just clicked and I thought, this is definitely a lot for a drink that was gone in 2 minutes!  My husband agreed it was a huge step for me. I mean it’s Starbucks, come on.

Later on in the day I learned more about the condition of our economy. It’s pretty crazy what’s going on right now. I’m more encouraged now to be wise with the money God’s given us. It’s not always easy but so worth it.

State of the Heart Leadership

My boss has given our team the opportunity to be a part of a leadership track on Tuesdays during lunch to discuss a series on leadership by Andy Stanley. Brian said the requirement was that we listen to the podcast and fill out the hand-out page so we’re prepared and ready to discuss what we learn. He would treat us to lunch as well.

I am so excited about this opportunity. Brian is not only interested in our leadership at work, but in our ministries, at home, etc. Leadership is an area I always love learning about. When Jeremiah and I were just getting to know each other, we went to Catalyst together in Atlanta and I just couldn’t get enough of the principles learned there. We both ended up listening to State of the Heart Leadership together. We had a great time learning from it.

A few things that stuck out to me in Andy’s teaching:

Unhealthy people are comfortable in disfunctionality.  I had never thought of this in this way before. I have definitely seen this played out before. This creates unhealthy environments. What does this mean to you? Why do people remain in environments that are destructive?

The condition of your heart will eventually determine the moral and ethical climate of your organization. It sure is amazing that the heart will determine everything else… for out of the heart, flows the wellspring of life. Why do you think keeping our heart’s in check (on a daily, hourly basis) is so important?

When you expose your weakness to someone, that is not new information to them. If leaders admit they screw up, then the whole organization will! Yet another life-changing truth. I had the opportunity to practice this yesterday when I screwed up. It was so freeing to admit my failure and to make sure I was back on the same page with the person I offended. Why do you think we’re not quick to admit our wrongs- even though all along that person/people know where we messed up already? I really hate the PRIDE that’s in me sometimes.

I can’t wait to learn more about these principles and to dive deeper into the meaning of leadership- healthy servant leadership.

John Samuel’s Shower

On Saturday, Sept. 13, my dear friends in Dallas (including my Mom and Sister who flew in) threw me a baby shower. One of my best friends here, Julia surprised me with having the shower at a clubhouse in her community called the Village. It was the perfect location and so homey. She made home-made chocolates and decorations. My mom made her incredible punch and my sister was the main host. Around 30 of my closest friends celebrated with me. One of my best friends from college, Bethany, even came all the way from Florida.

We played some incredibly creative games like guessing what’s in the bag (each item in the bag started with the initials in John Samuel) and the crazy fun game where you crush up chocolate candy bars and put them in a diaper to guess what candy bar it is. My sister and Bethany read a toast/tribute written for both Jeremiah and I. Then a few others went around the room and gave me words of encouragement. It was so meaningful and really added an extra touch to the shower.

I’m so thankful for the friends and family God has given me. A time like this can feel overwhelming but when I know I have community around me- it makes everything so much better. Yesterday marked one month until baby John arrives and my and Jeremiah’s 2 year and 9 month anniversary of being married. We have this “17” thing going on. We can’t wait to see his little face and to learn even more about selflessness. As Bethany’s mom’s advice was that marriage strips away a layer of selfishness and having a child strips away the rest.

It’s coming…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia’s home-made chocolates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

an amazing cake from a Mexican bakery in Midland.

 

 

 

 

 

Nautical theme (like John’s nursery)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

getting ready to open gifts

 

 

Sis, me, and Mom

Partnering with RELEVANT

RELEVANT magazine is pretty familiar to most of us in Christian publishing today. Relevant first published in 2003 and since then, they’ve had a base of more than 75,000 readers. Relevant’s companion web presence, RelevantMagazine.com was launched before the print publication.

Relevant explores the intersection of faith and pop culture with the tagline “God. Life. Progressive Culture.” Their articles feature fresh spiritual voices, often profiling young musicians, authors and entrepreneurs like Paper Route, Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Margaret Feinberg and Sarah Cunningham. Relevant also offers political spotlights, social issues, and reviews of recently released media selections. I’ve enjoyed writing for their women’s online publication: radiantmag.com.

In the past few years, we’ve had the privilege of working with Relevant as they’ve sponsored our past three events through the RightNow Campaign. They’ve also exchanged ads in our leader magazine for sponsorship. Recently, we’ve partnered with Relevant in a different way and just this week, several of our small group Bible studies are now live on their store.

In the future, Relevant hopes to add video previews for each of our products. We’re really excited to continue building our partnerships with Relevant and being open to how God wants to use more of our resources on their site.

Palin Power

 I have been pretty distant and uninterested in politics for the most part this year until Sarah Palin. I’ve always known that I probably would vote McCain because he best aligns with my beliefs and values, but because of his new running-mate I am more confident than ever.

Sarah Palin speaks with integrity and most of all leads with dignity. Last night, a few lines that spoke to me the most were that she wanted to serve the people (our country). I looked over at my husband and said “She said serve?” I was shocked. When was the last time we’ve heard the word “serve?” It’s a rarity. Many critics in the news today have called her “negative” or “harsh” towards Obama. But the truth is that she is being real about the critical differences between her Opponents. She’s speaking truth we need to hear.

I appreciated her truthfulness about the war in Iraq and the need to protect our homeland from terrorism. Drawing from a story about McCain in Vietnam was touching for the fact that he has lived a life of service to our country. I know I would feel safer in the arms of a President who has lived it rather than someone who merely speaks of it and claims “hope” and “change” without defining really what change means.

I’m not at all for bashing anyone, but I am all about exposing truth and really digging in the dirt to understand what kind of leader it will really take to lead America in the next four years. Set aside being a Repub or Dem… who is best qualified to me? Who will lead without hypocrisy? Who has the values and beliefs I can follow? And who truly cares for people?

It’s pretty evident to me that McCain and Palin are the ticket to do that. Overall, I was so impressed with my first introduction to Palin. I really could sense a genuine concern and she is someone worth following. Who doesn’t love an elegant woman who isn’t perfect, is likable, and is down-right real?

Simply- He Knows Best

It’s hard to believe that in just under two months, our little baby boy will be in our arms. The way time has been going so far I know he will be here before we know it. In fact, we’re packing that emergency hospital bag this weekend.

I was just thinking last night about God’s timing in our lives and the way He works. We found out we were expecting just two weeks into my brand new job at Bluefish- talk about a surprise! I didn’t know exactly how everything would unfold and I honestly never even knew if we’d be able to conceive (I’m guessing it’s easy for women to wonder this since it’s something that’s never happened!). Jeremiah had fears about being a dad and the reality of growing up and I had my own. But now, all of that seems to be cast in the shadows. We’ve done less worrying about ourselves and our plans and have been more focused on what God is doing and how we can serve and invest in our child. We aren’t always perfect in this focus but it’s so freeing to know in our hearts that He is in control.

This is God’s precious life inside me. His plan. His sovereignty. His future. We have been given the task as parents to help mold and shape this life for God’s glory. What a task that is! And we will have to daily continue to trust in His plan when baby John arrives into this ever-changing world. I hope you’re encouraged that whatever God does in your life (even if it’s unexpected), usually His timing and plan is often far better than what you may have chosen for yourself.

Simply because He knows Best.

Thoughts on the Faith Forum at Saddleback- David Nasser

 I was reading David Nasser’s most recent post today. The issue (of when life begins) has been on my mind and heart constantly as I research these two candidates and where they stand on the sanctity of human life. I’ve talked about this with my friends, Jay and Julia, and Jeremiah. It’s an issue in my mind that just cannot be ignored. I figured I would post what David wrote as I agree with everything he says. So here it goes:

Thoughts on The faith Forum at Saddleback, with McCain and Obama: (David Nasser)

Before I get started I want to make sure that you understand that I am not endorsing either candidate. I’m not trying to tell you who to vote for. I will however go on record to say that you should get out and vote. Make your mark.

Saturday night’s Faith Forum at Saddleback has been swimming in my mind, my heart, and on my tongue since the moment it aired two nights ago.

First of all, I want to declare a winner! The winner of the forum is…(drum roll please)…

Rick Warren. Whatever you think of Rick, his mega church, or even more mega selling book, you’ve got to give him points for asking questions that were both revealing and timely. Rick did a great job of asking the kind of questions that everyday people want to know the answers to. He was also fair and gracious to both candidates. Hats off to you Rick… Now, if we can just convince him to get rid of the goofy Hawaiian shirts…

There is so much to discuss here, but as you might have guessed, what got me blogging was the question about when life truly begins, and the candidate’s stances on abortion. Don’t get me wrong, everything they talked about was important.
Their heroes? Important.
The war? Important.
The economy? important.
The education of our children? Important.
The responsibility to care of the needy in the world? So-so important.

But to me the plight of the unborn, is still the most important.

Why? Because every other decision that a president makes flows out of his core belief about the sanctity of human life. Not just the sanctity of life for an already born adult, but for those in a mother’s womb as well. This is not just a pro-life stance, but what many conservative evangelicals like myself like to call a “whole-life stance.”

Here are the facts, no matter what your opinion:
1. Although abortions are on a decline in the past few years, almost every third baby conceived in America is aborted.
2. Since 1973 (Roe vs. Wade), when abortions became legal in the United States, there have been nearly 46 million abortions to date. This is not to mention the illegal, and untraceable abortions now more frequent because the abortion pill.
3. Most scientists, Christian or not, agree that some form of a “new living” cell begins at conception.
4. Combine these facts with the belief of billions of people that abortion is the termination of that “new life”, and you can see why this is a searing hot topic to say the least.

So here are a few thoughts on each candidate’s response to Rick Warren’s question.

John McCain:
The question was: At what point does life begin? His answer: “At conception.”

I know his voting record on pro-life issues before the forum. I know that he was in favor to uphold the ban on partial birth abortions. It’s also important to note that I also know that, unlike me, McCain approves of embryonic stem cell research. I fail to see the difference between a parent who discards an unwanted or leftover in-vitro embryo, or an unwanted embryo in a womb of a mother. While I recognize the urgent need for stem cell research in the fight against such things as Parkinson’s disease, I see adult stem cell research as the only ethical choice. Is a human embryo a human life? If so, when is it OK to kill a human embryo for any reason?

Barrack Obama:
The question was: At what point does life begin? His answer: Basically, “I’m not sure… I’m pro-choice, because I believe that women make this decision with much thought and serious consideration. I want to see abortions reduced by offering better options.”

Rather than taking potshots at his “above my pay grade” comment, I will pose a question instead. Let’s say that no one really knows when life begins. Let’s say that none of us can really ever be sure. Let’s just say the question is above everyone’s pay grade. Since we don’t know, Senator Obama, could it be that we MIGHT be killing babies through abortion? Aren’t you admitting that they might be alive, by saying, “I don’t really know?”

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the FDA approved a drug that we think might be killing millions of people. It’s a highly controversial drug that many people disagree about. Let’s say no lab really knows for sure whether the drug is safe or not. All we know is there is a valid argument on both sides that this drug could or could not be lethal. Would you be OK with allowing this kind of Russian roulette game go on as the president? Would you say that since you don’t know if the drug is really killing people or not, that we should continue to use it? How is that not a pro-death stance?

I heard both men profess Christ as their Savior, and I heard both men stress the need to stand against the innocent killings in places such as Darfur and Rwanda. I heard both men say that 150 million orphaned children need a home, and that this great nation must rise for the oppressed. But, I also heard both men agree that evil exists. What greater evil can there be than the holocaust of 46 million innocent children in our nation alone?

Our prayer:
Oh Lord, we repent. We repent for the lack of tears, the lack of shouts, the lack of passion, and most of all, the lack of vigilant prayer for the unborn. Revive this land, Lord. We are a desperate people in need of you. We pray for our leaders, both present and future. Break their hearts for the things than break Yours. We don’t need a king, Lord, we already have one. You are it. We need You.

You are loved, John Samuel Krieger

Yesterday baby John hadn’t been moving the usual way he had been in the past few days. His punches and kicks had subsided quite a bit. My doctor has me counting 10 kicks within two hours each night. A few nights ago, there weren’t really kicks but subtle movements. I remember the doctor telling me to call if I ever didn’t feel much going on.

This is strange, I thought. I told Jeremiah and he got a little worried as well so we called my doctor. The doctor said he didn’t think anything was wrong and not to panic, but to come in anyway and get a biophysical exam. Jeremiah was quiet and thinking about things the whole time as we waited. He was so nervous.

They did an ultrasound and he was moving and I caught another glimpse of his precious little face. He had grown and matured so much. I really fell in love getting to see him again and everything was absolutely perfect with little John. The doctor said his movements will change now as he is running out of room and that his head has dropped into position, so the movements may different now as well. We were very thankful to hear this. My doctor also told me he would have been mad if I didn’t call about it. I was glad about that too because I didn’t just want to go in to go in for nothing.

So we are at ease now and if anything, we are more excited for John to enter the world in approx. two months. I also forgot to officially post that we are naming our baby, John. He has been named after Jeremiah’s father. Life was pretty hard at times for Jeremiah growing up due to several things, but he wanted his dad to know that despite anything, he loves him and there is favor towards him. We chose to honor his name in this way. We are also delighted that the name John is strong and is a biblical name. Samuel comes from the fact that we liked the way it flowed and that it’s like my name: Sam-antha.

the meaning of JOHN– Hebrew for “God is Gracious”  SAMUEL– Hebrew for “God heard” ; “requested of God”

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