Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

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Catching up with the Gribbles (2010 Christmas Newsletter)

January 11, 2011

Mark, Ty, Jennifer and Lily Gribble

To catch you up on what has been going on in our lives over the past year, here is our 2010 Christmas Newsletter.  Happy reading!

MARK’S PAGE

2010 has been a great year and we have loved every bit of it.  I’ve been able to continue using the BBQ pit for good and noble purposes beyond just yummy pork.  In April, we raised over $2500 for our youth at church to go to Peru through our BBQ related auction items.  It never ceases to amaze me what a tremendously generous group of people we go to church with.  As part of the auction, Jennifer seemed to enjoy shopping as we picked up a Peruvian Dinner for 40 and a Cajun Feast for 12 on top of various babysitting services.  I thought I was going to have to get a paper route to help pay for it all.  It was for a great cause and we truly love helping our youth find God in helping some of the poorest people on Earth.

In June, Jennifer and I took a “parents only” trip to Vegas BABY!!  The kids didn’t quite understand why they didn’t get to go.  I asked Ty what he would do on “11”.  He said he would turn 12.  That sealed their fate.  We dropped them off in Dallas and my wife whispered sweet words to me which I’ll never forget.  “The morning flights are looking full.  Would you mind if we flew out tonight and spent an extra night in Vegas?”  It was music to my ears.

It was a fantastic trip that started off STRONG.  After confirming we were on the 10 pm flight, Jennifer books an internet special room at the Flamingo for that first night until our original reservation (MGM Signature) started.  Through the magic of time travel, we landed in Vegas at 11 and headed straight for the Flamingo.  One of the older hotels on the Strip, the Flamingo attracted all kinds of folks venturing into Sin City.

We stood in the check in line for over an hour as one by one the general public was checked into their hotel rooms.  When they shoot Vegas commercials and movies and TV shows, they apparently don’t use the Flamingo Hotel lobby.  We finally arrived to check in after the previous “customer” spent 20 minutes talking to the poor woman working the desk and simultaneously hiking up her strapless t-shirt dress, picking her wedgie, etc.

We strolled up, smiled and asked Nancy (the desk worker) how she was doing.  Those must have been magic words.  She saw we had the internet special and were only staying one night.  She upgraded us to a suite.  We thought this was great!  We thanked her profusely and she then directed us to the 27th floor with our room number.  We noticed in the elevator that the 27th was the top floor and thought; this is going to be great.  We walked down the hall and the suites started getting names associated with them.  We stopped at our room number and it was the Presidential Suite.  We opened the door and there was a living room where 25 could sit on various chairs and couches.  There was a connecting hallway that leads to the bedroom with huge bathroom attached.  The views were awesome.  The décor was still straight out of 1987, but it didn’t matter to us.  For one night in Vegas, the Gribbles were high rollers.

The rest of the stay was at the MGM Signature, which is a non-smoking, no-casino hotel behind the MGM.  It was fabulous. We joined their Prima Card club which granted us access to clubs we were too old to dance in and pools I was far too pale to swim in.  The party pool (Wet Republic) was one of our favorite places to people watch.  We grabbed a spot near the pool stairs and opened up our magazines.  At one point, Jennifer noticed we were the only ones at the pool with something to read.  Everyone else was there to look at everyone else.  I told her we might be the only 2 people at the pool who could read.  As for the rest of the trip, we ate like kings and had a fabulous time.

2010 also brought to a close my work as chair of Phase 2 of our Church (SMBC) Building Committee.  The process took almost 15 months but the results were spectacular.  It was an amazing gift to be able to transform some of the less than perfect spaces around our campus into something AMAZING.  It’s not every day that your peers hand you $3 million dollars and tell you to make God’s house look nice.  Remember, I don’t even get to pick out colors or decorations in my own home.

This has been my 11th year with Aguirre & Fields.  Although work has continued to be a little slow this year, we had spurts of business that made time pass faster this year than last.  We are thankful for that.  I had a co-worker who was on the Biggest Loser start her own corporate fitness program here at work.  It taught us healthy eating habits and the benefits of working out on a daily basis.  Between this 12 week program and Jennifer’s personal crusade against High Fructose Corn Syrup at home, I have lost over 30 pounds and counting this year.

I feel amazing and more energetic than I have in years.  My wife loves the fact that a new and more updated wardrobe is in order.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her support and all men should be so lucky as to have a spouse like Jennifer.  She makes me a better man both inside and out.

We hope that this Holiday Season is filled with the love of God, family and friends.  We feel blessed to have so much of each in our own lives and hope 2011 brings much of the same to you and yours.

JENNIFER’S PAGE

So you think we time things so that you receive our cards right before Christmas, huh?  No, really it’s just our procrastination and the craziness of December. Now that all the parties, concerts, obligations are over, it’s Christmas card time! Writing the newsletter is still one of our favorite things to do each year.  We love to look at last year’s letter and reminisce, then reflect on 2010. Good times…

Our church put on South Pacific for its annual summer musical.  Mark was “Stewpot” and I was “Dinah”.  It was another exhaustingly fun summer of singing and dancing to “Ain’t Nothin’ Like a Dame” and “Wash that Man Right out of My Hair”.

As exciting as our trips to Fentress, Marquez, and Galveston, Texas were this year, one of the best trips was going to New York City for Thanksgiving.  We had four amazing days there to take in what we could since our last trip in 2000. We crammed all we could into the short time but the thing we enjoyed most was just soaking in the city.  Going to cafes, sipping a glass of wine and listening to the sounds of the city.  Some folks love to escape to the country and some love the city…we are definitely city-folk!  The hustle and bustle just put me in a happy place.  The Ground Zero exhibit was…wow…and nothing beats seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The last time I saw it in person was in the early 1980s when we lived on Long Island!

I continue to work as full-time mom and work a few part-time jobs.  The mom job seems to get busier each year as the kids get older!  Since Ty is 6 ½ and Lily is almost 4 ½ As they grow, I know that our lives will only become more full.  But, it’s good to be busy and happy.

Ty is enjoying 1st grade and excels in reading.  Many a night he can be found reading past his bedtime until he is told by his parents to “go to sleep!”  We have a hard time getting too mad since he is READING and we were both the same way.  Ty also loves math and seems to just “get it” which is SO not like his Mama.

Ty started karate in January and has gone from a white to yellow to orange to green belt this year!  He LOVES karate and seems to be developing some good habits… concentration, discipline, etc.  We are proud of him finding something and sticking to it. I think Mark enjoys their weekly sparring practice after karate class.  It’s a sanctioned reason to kick and punch each other and then collapse and laugh themselves silly.

Lily turned 4 in August.  PreK, church choir, dance and swimming keep her busy as can be.  She is really relishing her dance class and they gave their first in-class performance last week where it was obvious she LOVES to perform.  (Not sure where she got that trait from, ha! Her brother…not so much…)

We put the kids in swimming as a safety thing because we have a swimming pool in our backyard.  We have kept Lily in lessons for 2+ years because she seems to excel at it.  I remember when Mark took her to a lesson this fall and texted me “Lily can SWIM!!!”

Lily continues to try to keep up with Ty in every way.  We have to remind her that she is just 4 but that doesn’t stop her. She wants to be as strong, fast or smart as Ty and it infuriates her that she is not.  She is in such a hurry to read now that Ty is reading. It’s endearing to watch.  Lily is very much a girly-girl while still tough as nails.  She is unabashedly “Mama’s girl” but keeps Daddy wrapped around her little finger with one little look and smile.

As we did last year, we decided to use a list of words/phrases that describe our kiddos. Some qualities are just the same and some are a little different.  It is fascinating to see how much they have grown yet in some ways stayed the same since they were tiny.

Ty

Tender, Smart, Rule-follower, Entertaining (in small groups…scared in big crowds!), Protective, Avid reader, Starting to try new things!

Lily

Fiercely competitive, Snuggly, “Dancing Queen”, Boundary-pusher, Hilarious, Assertive, Sunshine, Giving

Being a parent is the most amazing, rewarding and exhausting job in the world.  We are so blessed to have awesome children who inspire and challenge us EVERY day. 🙂

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you! We pray that 2011 will be an amazing year.

Ty and Lily at the Pumpkin Patch - October 2010

Mark and Jennifer - Christmas 2010

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Overwhelmed

August 29, 2010

I wrote this last Saturday after our Sole Chain – Shoes for Orphan Souls charity project at church.  I posted this on our church blog but wanted to share with my friends and readers.  Hope this gives you a little insight into what has been taking up my time over the course of 2010.

20,110 = Guiness World Record for the Longest Chain of Shoes

Well, it’s 6:37 p.m. on August 21, 2010 and I have been struggling for a few hours to find the words to describe my experience today at the Sole Chain – Shoes for Orphan Souls event.

For those of you who don’t know, South Main Baptist Church broke the Guinness World Record today for the Longest Chain of Shoes. 20,110 were laid out in the church parking lot in Houston. Over 150 volunteers worked from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. to lay out the shoes, tie them together, pack the shoes, and then load them up on a truck that is going to Buckner International’s warehouse in Dallas. Buckner uses these new shoes as a part of the Shoes for Orphan Souls project.

I found myself driving home from the event this afternoon in complete silence (not the usual for me as I like to “rock out” when I drive) and the tears just started falling down my cheeks. I didn’t know why but I was just crying. I kept trying to figure out what was causing the tears and I realized that I am just overwhelmed.

I am overwhelmed…

by the generosity of South Main Baptist Church’s members.

by the Houston community who showed up to bring a pair of shoes and lend a hand in placing and packing the shoes.

the willingness of people to give up their Saturday to sweat in 110 degree heat index temperatures on a concrete parking lot.

that 10,055 orphans that will be blessed by these donations.

by the homeless man that came by to ask what was going on and then donated $5 to the cause.

by the commraderie shown by all the volunteers today.

by the people stay until ALL the work is done…the truck is packed, the trash is picked up, everything is loaded up.

most of all, by the emotion that changing the lives of so many orphans brings to me.

I have been a small part of the shoe drive since we joined South Main in 2001. This year, as the Marketing Coordinator at South Main, Sole Chain has been my focus at work over the past few months. I have spent hours and hours getting ready for the event, calling media, getting “coverage” for our event. All important tasks, but when it comes down to it, the real work is done by our volunteers who slaved away in the hot sun today.

Sole Chain is so much more than a publicity stunt. This is about the kids. I had to look through my 20+ pairs of shoes this morning to decide which pair of shoes that I would wear today. The children that receive these shoes don’t have any. This one pair of shoes will change their lives. It is as simple as that. Simple, but oh so deep.

My experience today has changed me. Softened my heart, opened my eyes, touched my soul. I just don’t know if I can find the words to describe it all. I would love for you to share your words from the event if you were there today with us all.

It was an amazing day.

Send shoes. See smiles. Save souls.

solechain.org

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What’s up on 4/5/2010

April 5, 2010

Someday, I might be so inspired as to write a post with paragraphs. But, this will work for now.  Don’t want to go too long without touch base with my peeps. 🙂

Outside my window…Well, actually it’s the library window.  I am enjoying some time at the library.  It has magical powers over my children and we can be having an AWFUL day and they come here and everybody leaves happy.  Love the library…always have.  I used to spend every day at the library after school when my parents worked when I was in middle school so it’s a “happy place for me”.

To answer the question, the sun is shining now after a dreary overcast day.  Warm and sunny, just like I like it!

I am listening to…the sounds of the library.  Kids reading, playing, etc.  It’s not really a quiet library (Fort Bend’s First Colony branch) but it works.

I am wearing…my exercise clothes.  Off to the gym soon.  We don’t normally workout on Mondays but my little brother and sister-in-law are coming to stay with us tomorrow night and we are switching up our schedule a bit.  I need a workout after skipping yoga on Good Friday to sleep in.  Yes, my kids are awesome and let us sleep past 9:00 a.m. on our day off.  LOVE them!

I am thankful for…kids that sleep in on days off.  I know they sleep in because they are tired.  We are all happier on a “sleep in day”.  I’m also thankful for my husband for being my rock last week with work and church stuff last week keeping us WAY busy.

I am reading…nothing right now.  I should fix that.  Lots of books around me that I could check out and take home.  I am ready for some reading beyond magazines, blogs and kid stuff.

From the kitchen…tonight’s dinner is “breakfast for dinner”.  One of our family’s favorites!  It’s breakfast burgers for us…biscuits, sausage, cheese and eggs on the side.  Won’t have to cajole anyone into eating tonight.

I am praying…for my sister Lee.  For my friend Bryan who is going to have surgery next week.  For a family at church who lost their daddy last month.  I am praying for patience today as I try to be nicer to my kiddos.  They’ve had a lot of “together time” and are getting a little chippy with each other.

I am creating…picture websites for the family.  I am downloading 400 photos from the past two weeks and sorting through them all.  Lots of amazing animal shots from Ty’s Kindergarten class trip to the zoo, Easter activities and azaleas at church and Easter clothes.  Stay tuned for updated pics here.

To live the liturgy…Christ is Risen!  He is Risen indeed!  Easter Sunday just rocks!  The kids really “got it” this year about who Jesus is, that he died for OUR sins and the pain that he endured.  It is amazing to have a real conversation with them about what it all means.  I am really loving their ages right now.

Around the house…we have a very clean house.  What a great way to start the week. ;o)  Laundry is done and put away (shocker!), sheets are changed, bathrooms cleaned.  But, I don’t get the credit…I am thankful to have help.

A few plans for the rest of the week…Back to the office tomorrow.  Still have to get a final version of our brochure sent to printers for the 1000 copies to be made.  We got a few last week for visitors at Easter and so we can live with them and see what we like and what needs to be changed.  Looking forward to seeing if we had an increase in visitors for Easter and if they new folks come back in weeks to come.  I pray daily for the growth of our church.  It’s an amazing place to be and I just want more folks to join our family.

Other plans…get Amy married on Saturday…fun wedding to coordinate this weekend! 🙂  I won’t have near as many interesting stories as past weddings but it is an honor to be a part of her special day!

A picture thought I am sharing…Azalea pictures from our church courtyard.

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What’s up on 3/24/2010

March 24, 2010

Outside my window…Overcast and yucky day. I really do thrive on sunshine.  I was just discussing how I want an office with big windows and doors to throw open on days like yesterday.

I am listening to…The sounds of the office.  Phones ringing, people talking on the phone too loud, the microwave warming up lunches, a comforting hustle and bustle.

I am wearing…Work clothes, but threw my shoes under my desk so I can be comfy.

I am thankful for…My friends and family who challenge me, support me and love me unconditionally.

I am reading…I am proofing a brochure for church that goes to print this week.  No time for fun reading this week!

From the kitchen…Still need to go to the grocery store.  Probably a hot dog night!

I am praying…For my dear friend Bryan who has his surgery scheduled for April 16th at M.D. Anderson.  Also praying for myself to be patient, understanding and calm today.  Join me, please.  🙂

To live the liturgy…Looking forward to daily services during Holy Week next week.  There is something really nice about having a service in the middle of the day.  Come join us if you can.  smbc.org/easter

Around the house…Ty is riding the bus home from school for the first time today.  Whoah.  I am super anxious and he is beyond thrilled.  Mark told me not to take pictures because the kids on the bus will make fun of him.  Whatever.  You know I am documenting this milestone!

To be fit and happy…Yoga last night, Pilates tomorrow night.  I like the routine of our week and missed it last week during Spring Break.

A few plans for the rest of the week…Send brochure to print!! Get ready for Easter.

A picture thought I am sharing…

This was taken at the Salt Lick in Driftwood, Texas during Spring Break.  A real serious bunch, huh? My darling daughter enjoyed the “all you can eat” barbecue.  Ty had none.  Sigh…oh well, his loss. We hope someday that the boy learns to like barbecue!


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What’s up on 2/13/2010

February 13, 2010

Thanks to Nicole from this blog for giving my inspiration for my blog post today.  Maybe this will be something I do on a regular basis?  Dare to dream.

Outside my window…it’s cold and cloudy.  Weatherman promised a beautiful day but I am not seeing it yet.

I am listening to…“Loco Legs” by the Fresh Beat Band.  It’s catchy and it makes my kids dance, which always makes me smile.  They just finished Dora the Explorer on Nick Jr.  Clearly not my choice of shows.  It’s cute that Ty still watches the preschool shows, sings along, learns the Spanish words.  I’m not ready ready for “big kid” for cartoons yet.

I am wearing…my fleece sweatshirt, jammies and wool socks.  It was 62 degrees in the den when I came down here this morning!

I am thankful for…the ability to juggle work and a family. Sometimes well and sometimes not so well.  But the fact that I get to “do it all” is a blessing. I am thankful that my husband is our amazing provider so that I get to work where I am using my gifts from God.

I am reading…I read children’s books more than adult books right now.  Need to change that.  I do read lots of blogs, too.  Dooce.com is one of my favorites.

From the kitchen…nothing yet.  Planning on making bacon and cheese kolaches when the rest of the family wakes up.

I am praying…for my friend Bryan.  He’s been on my prayer list for a month now.  Also praying for as special high school senior at our church.  (It’s a secret so I can’t tell you who it is until May.  But, let’s just say they are a wonderful person and it is a joy to get to pray for them every day!)

I am creating…my to do list. Lots to do today but I am in my “happy place” with my planner.

Around the house…Ty woke us up at 8:30. a.m.  Seemed early but really we are blessed to have such awesome sleepers.  Mark is still sleeping upstairs.  Lily just wandered down at 9:24 in her footie jammies with her balloons from last night’s kids night out.  They had a GREAT time.

One of my favorite things…lazy Saturday mornings with my family.  T-ball season is coming up and I know these will go away soon.

To be fit and happy…did Pilates on Thursday and still feeling the pain.  Ugh, I hate when we do “jumpboard”.  But, I love going to New Strength Pilates!  I went to Yoga yesterday and might take the kids for a bike ride later this afternoon if it warms up and gets sunny.

A few plans for the rest of the week…go see Snow White at a community theater at 11am.  Valentine Dinner tomorrow night:  our tradition is to make lobster at home.  Might include the kids again this year. 🙂

A picture thought I am sharing…Ty was sparring in Karate class this week. He got moved up from sparring with the smallest kiddo (he’s the 2nd shortest) to some bigger kids.  He had to be reminded that it was “light contact”…the boy likes to spar! He closes his eyes but he lands the punches, every time.  His first tournament is in two weeks.  Not sure if he is ready but he really wants to do it.


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It’s not about me

October 19, 2009

So I am in the midst of exciting things going on at work which also happens to be my church.  It’s a little complicated working where you go to church, but my motivation each day for my work is pretty high.  There is a much higher purpose to the work I do and that makes a difference.

I presented to our church congregation a new marketing plan at South Main Baptist Church.  Explaining the plan is the fun part because I believe in it and more importantly, I believe that it is the right campaign for our church…it’s authentic and “so us”.   It’s a little nerve racking to be asking for the funding to implement the plan, but I seem to be getting more comfortable with it each time  I present.  If the congregation approves it, we ask our foundation board for the funding. Although we know that most folks support the fact that our church needs to grow, there will still be a healthy conversation and discussion and I am praying now that I will be able to answer the tough questions.

So, as I prepare for these meetings, I am getting pretty wrapped up in me.  How will I sound, how will I look (I’m being honest here!), how will I answer certain things…

I took some time to catch up on my blog reading before my presentation and a post from Stuff Christians Like was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.  Here are some excerpts (if you click on the link you can read the whole post):

My friend Joel Thomas is incredibly cool and calm before he speaks to large groups of people. I’m pretty sure my friend Jarrett Stevens could perform lasik laser eye surgery before he takes the stage his hands are so perfectly chill.

Me? I’m sweaty. I’m anxious. The butterflies in my stomach aren’t tangled and nervous, they’re on meth.

Maybe I’ll lose that if I get the chance to speak more, but for right now that’s what happens in the moments before I speak. Except at the North Points Singles Retreat. That one was a little different.

Ten minutes before I jumped up on the stage and did my thing in front of maybe a few hundred people, I told a friend about one of things I was going to talk about.

He casually replied, “Oh, that’s cool. The woman who spoke last night covered that same verse and idea.”

If it were possible to do it without anyone seeing, I probably would have thrown up in my pants pocket at that exact moment.

I missed the point.

The point isn’t me. The point is Jesus.

So, blog friends, please pray for me this week.  I need strength to get through these next few crucial meetings, but more importantly, I need to have the gift of discernment and see our greater purpose for our church marketing plan:  To bring people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

How’s that for motivation?

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It’s not about me

October 17, 2009

So I am in the midst of exciting things going on at work which also happens to be my church.  It’s a little complicated working where you go to church, but my motivation each day for my work is pretty high.  There is a much higher purpose to the work I do and that makes a difference.

I am presenting to our church congregation a new marketing plan for the church on Sunday.  Explaining the plan is the fun part because I believe in it and more importantly, I believe that it is the right campaign for our church…it’s authentic and “so us”.   It’s a little nerve racking to be asking for the funding to implement the plan, but I seem to be getting more comfortable with it each time  I present.  If the congregation approves it, we ask our foundation board for the funding. Although we know that most folks support the fact that our church needs to grow, there will still be a healthy conversation and discussion and I am praying now that I will be able to answer the tough questions.

So, as I prepare for these meetings, I am getting pretty wrapped up in me.  How will I sound, how will I look (I’m being honest here!), how will I answer certain things…

I took some time this evening to catch up on my blog reading today and a post from Stuff Christians Like was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.  Here are some excerpts (if you click on the link you can read the whole post) that describe :

My friend Joel Thomas is incredibly cool and calm before he speaks to large groups of people. I’m pretty sure my friend Jarrett Stevens could perform lasik laser eye surgery before he takes the stage his hands are so perfectly chill.

Me? I’m sweaty. I’m anxious. The butterflies in my stomach aren’t tangled and nervous, they’re on meth.

Maybe I’ll lose that if I get the chance to speak more, but for right now that’s what happens in the moments before I speak. Except at the North Points Singles Retreat. That one was a little different.

Ten minutes before I jumped up on the stage and did my thing in front of maybe a few hundred people, I told a friend about one of things I was going to talk about.

He casually replied, “Oh, that’s cool. The woman who spoke last night covered that same verse and idea.”

If it were possible to do it without anyone seeing, I probably would have thrown up in my pants pocket at that exact moment.

I missed the point.

The point isn’t me. The point is Jesus.

So, blog friends, please pray for me this week.  I need strength to get through these next few crucial meetings, but more importantly, I need to have the gift of discernment and see our greater purpose for our church marketing plan:  To bring people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

How’s that for motivation?