Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dental Luxury

I'm sure you've heard the story of the 12 year old boy who died from an infection to his brain caused by a tooth abscess.
His mom has 3 jobs, all minimum wage without benefits.
Their medicaid has been reduced.
Very few dentists take medicaid patients anyway.
His Mom was trying to deal with his 10 year old brother who was struggling with 3 rotting teeth.
Without access to basic healthcare, this child is now a casualty of the system.
Can you imagine the pain of a Mom who is working her hardest, and still unable to meet the basic physical needs in her kids.

Today I thank God that I can take my children to the doctor and dentist when necessary. I even get to take them for preventative health care. I have a voice in the system. I have medical practitioners in my circle who will see me and treat me with dignity and respect. I am able to provide medicine, vitamins, chiropractic care when needed.

Today my heart aches for those who can't do the same. Is there a question that the system needs work? I have copied part of a post from Larry James about basic housing needs. Dental and Medical care is hardly on the radar screen when you are struggling to find a place to live.

"Fourteen million American households now spend more than 50% of their income to cover housing costs or they live in substandard housing conditions. For some households it is both.In 70% of the nation’s 200 largest metropolitan areas, middle class workers (nurses, teachers, janitors, retail clerks, firemen and police officers) don’t earn enough to qualify to purchase even a modest home.In Dallas, Texas, one of the nation’s wealthiest areas, only 42% of the households occupy homes that they own.Over the past ten years, the U. S. lost 2,000,000 affordable rental homes because of soaring markets, the decline of federal housing subsidies, owner divestment and age and deterioration.Hard fact of life in the USA: For every new affordable unit built, two are razed, abandoned or redeveloped as high cost rentals.The affordable housing crisis connects to a host of other urban challenges. Housing and community environment are crucial factors for success and vigor when it comes to public education, economic development, public safety, employment, transportation and health/wellness."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Working Girl

Okay, so I am a "let's go get coffee and lunch kinda' girl." However, I have entered the world of women who have sore feet at the end of the day!!! Before it sounds too dramatic, let me clarify. I am now working part-time at the new ColdWater Creek store here in Amarillo. It is fun. I am only doing 15 hours per week, and then I pick up some kids after school on Mon-Wed. I also still get to "on-call" for my friend at Edward Jones a couple of hours per month. All in all, the bottom line is that I will get to pay for braces for Michaela!

The Road Less Taken

I am pinching myself. Yesterday as I sat in church I kept thinking, "Thank you God for not letting me get my own way and leaving this church when I wanted to." I feel so blessed to be sitting hearing the kind of preaching that Dan is doing right now. The leadership has been struggling with what Discipleship looks like and how to change our church culture to enable us to be equippers & disciplers. None of the ministers are who they were a year ago. They together are journeying along this road that is shaping and forming them first. It is so awesome to now see these words begin to resonate with the congregation at large and to be in conversation with people who are being challenged to be more than a member. God is faithful to allow me to be a part of this and I do not take that privilege lightly.

Get on Central's website and listen to the sermons Keep checking back for more resources on the topic in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


How sweet it is! Last night after coming home from an event at church called, An Evening of Chocolate, my Valentines celebration began. David had the bathroom set up like a spa. There were mango bath and body works candles everywhere, Lavendar aromatherapy oil in a steaming tub of water. A glass of sparkling grape juice, a box of chocolates, and Andrea Boccelli singing in the background. Wow! What he didn't know is that my surprise for him was coming this morning. I had arranged for him to only go into the office after lunch and we spent the morning together doing what Valentines should be doing and browsing through World Market, enjoying lunch together etc. A perfect celebration that did not cost a lot of money but was priceless!

Spencer was hilarious this morning. He had bought me a velvet rose (yes, you read that correctly) that plays "Fly Me to the Moon." Well, he comes walking into the kitchen, with the rose hidden behind his back, and then bursts into some dance moves reminiscent of Riverdance, choreographed to "Fly Me to the Moon" and then presents me with the "rose." It was hilarious, cute, and precious all in one. I wish we had it on video. Michaela made me a card with a list of characteristics in me that she loves, it is a treasure!!!! The card was accompanied by a perfect little heart box of chocolates. I am a spoiled girl!

Our Valentines family tradition is a Valentine hunt. I know other people hunt for Easter Eggs, we hunt for Valentines. I bought some clue cards for Valentines about 8 years ago at Hallmark, and Michaela made it a tradition the very next year and then introduced Spencer to it. So, they go around the house, following the clue cards and at each clue they get a little Valentines surprise and at the end is the bigger of the little valentine surprises. It is always fun.

You can certainly feel the love at the Kasselman's today.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

This 'n That This Week

1.David comes home tonight from the XPastor conference in Dallas (translation: Executive Ministers all huddled in a hotel talking policy, staffing, lawsuits, administration, - I'm guessing the fun factor was pretty low :-)!!!! Actually, in his defense it was more about people than paper. Yeah, we are ready for him to be home.

2. Anna Nicole Smith died - how strange is that. Okay, I am not a fan but I hate to think of that new baby without a Mom and two possible Dad's, neither of which appear to be up for Parent of the Year award.

3. You know you have an incredible friend, when their sagely words to you are..."the problem is not in your heart, its your mouth." HA - I just can't stop smiling about that. It was great. What a great morning, thanks friend! In her defense, (and to keep my reputation) she was referring to my need to share my personal self discovery overanalyzations. It was not about gossip.

4. I am reading Steinke's book, Healthy Congregations. I love it. I am so convinced by systems theory and how very few conflicts in church are isolated but rather systemic. I guess at some level this makes me a nerd. Was there any question?

5. I joined a gym and have been working out fairly regularly. I'm actually enjoying it. I have started talking to a guy who is there everyday and usually wearing some kind of "G-Unit" t-shirt. Well, yesterday he wasn't and I commented on it. He almost fell over that I (40 year old Caucasian woman in Amarillo, TX) would know G-Unit. He gave me excessive details about how gross and sweaty they were and not yet laundered. Today he was back in uniform and made sure I noticed. I think he thinks I am a fan....At best I can handle a little 50cent, but G-Unit are entirely too "gangsta" for me. Guess I'm going to have to polish up my rhymes....

6. I had my car washed after almost a month of snow, sleet and general yuck in Amarillo. It was so beautiful, that it inspired me to clean the inside, the windows etc etc. Word got out and a bird with a bad case of IBS targeted my windshield. Nothing that a little cleaning couldn't take care of, but geez that is irritating.

7. Had lunch at Nothing But Noodles. Not a cheap place considering you are eating Pasta. We had a table of 5 and asked for more breadsticks. Sure, they said, it will be 54c for 6. Seriously, who has the gutzpa to ask for 54c for bread when a table of 5 have all had entrees and a couple of desserts. And besides, what is the 54c going to cover...

8. I am thankful that my almost 11 year old and my almost 6 year old still like to play together.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

How Great is Our God Tour

Last night after class I got to go with some friends from our old church in Dallas to see Chris Tomlin and Matt Redmon in concert. It was really not a concert, but a wonderful time of worship. Those of you who know me, know I was in heaven, and seldom miss an opportunity to hear Chris Tomlin. Obviously hearing Matt's wonderful accent made me feel warm and comfortable...and it is always amazing to realize how many songs we sing and ascribe to others are actually his songs.

Clearly, these two artists have had the most significant impact on congregational worship in our time. They are masterful, inspired poets who accurately reflect and shape the theology of our day. It helps that their music is singable and has a hook. Okay, so they are both way cute too! Before I have comments about who I left out as masterful artists, let me mention Mark Hall (Casting Crowns) and Derek Webb as incredible lyricists too. You know I have a long list of favorites but CT and MR have an influence like no other, in my humble opinion...:-)

Getting to enjoy this with good friends & Scott (couldn't resist), okay including Scott was a blessing too.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Nuggets from Charles Siburt's class...aka blogging in class

"People do not change when they see the light, they change when they feel the heat."
"If you want to have less conflict in your church, have more. Invite conflict."
"Churches that play together, stay together."
"The right solution at the wrong time is the wrong solution."

I am having to process 20 hours of stuff this weekend, so I thought I would share the love! Let some of these sink in.