Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Hallie introduced us on that fateful Halloween night, “Merry Noelle Bishop, this is Caleb Steadman, your partner for the evening!”
I would never have guessed that Caleb Steadman had a masters in theology and had hopes of being a pastor of a small Baptist Church—preferably bi-vocationally so he could still pursue his passion of farming.
“Hi, Caleb!,” I said to my farmer-partner with a big smile. “It’s so nice to meet you!”
I had no problem meeting new people—especially someone as good looking as Caleb. I could tell that he probably spent a good deal of time outdoors. After all, he was still in his work jeans and wearing a plaid flannel shirt and a faded baseball cap. I thought maybe he’d just dressed for the part, but as the evening wore on, I concluded he’d come straight from the field.
Nodding and touching his cap, he smiled a crooked grin and said, “Nice to meet you, too. I hope I don’t embarrass you tonight. I’m not very good at this stuff.” I laughed and assured him, “I don’t have to win. Let’s just try to have fun, ok?”
Caleb’s best friend, Josh McGyver, sat beside me during the dinner portion of the murder mystery game and spent more time telling me about Caleb’s aspirations than trying to help me solve the murder which had happened in the kitchen with the lamp stand.
He told me, “Caleb knows God has called him to preach, but he can’t help but get dirt under his fingernails. He loves the whole process of planting and harvesting. He also hates being in crowds of people he doesn’t know—which is why I almost didn’t get him here tonight!!” He scratched his head and said, “I’m not sure he’s figured out how he’s going to pastor a crowd of people he doesn’t know.”
Josh & Hallie were our mutual friends who were hosting the Halloween murder mystery party. They’d been married a year and had invited some of their single friends (mixed in with other married couples) in the hopes of making some “divine connections,” they later told us. Caleb didn’t usually go to parties like this—but Josh had twisted his arm.
“Caleb, you’ve got to come! We need a farmer and you’re the perfect stand-in for the part! You won’t even have to change clothes—just come as you are! You know there will be food. Besides...wait until you see your partner, Nurse Betty!”
I was “Nurse Betty” in the game—but I didn’t find out until much later that Josh & Hallie were actually trying to set us up that night. Caleb & I were thrown together throughout the hilarious evening of trying to solve the who-done-it—and I guess it worked. Fourteen months later, Caleb and I were married on Christmas Eve—which is also my birthday. (This explains my parents’ “unique creativity” in giving me a Christmas name—which has only caused me to have to spell my name over and over all my life!)
Merry Noelle Bishop Steadman. I loved being married! And I knew when I married Caleb that he loved four things: God, me, preaching, and farming—and in that order—with his cow dog, Max, and a few other animals thrown in there somewhere at the end. Caleb had found his dream jobs in Sunrise, TX. He’d become the bi-vocational pastor of the 100-member First Baptist Church and he hired out to Jake Leathers as a farmhand.
“Merry, the two go together,” he said. “Sowing and reaping can be preached in the pulpit as I do it in the field.” I believed him.
And as painful as it was for Caleb, he seemed to be overcoming his adversity to crowds as he got to know his church members...one at a time. Of course, I helped where I could by being my extroverted self. Caleb wasn’t just content to know his flocks’ names, he wanted to be involved in their lives—and he told them that. And they seemed happy to have him out and about in the community instead of sitting at a church desk.
So when widow Katy Brown’s heifer was calving, she called frantically, “Preacher! I need you over here NOW!” And he was. He helped pull that new baby calf and stayed until it was nursing.
And, yes, everyone called him Preacher.
Or when Pete White’s farmhand broke his leg, Caleb didn’t even think twice—he jumped on that John Deere cotton harvester and helped until the cotton was tarped in the fields.
Caleb told me often, “I love you, Merry! You’re everything I’m not—and that God knew I needed.” He was the kind of guy that when dinner was inedible, he’d say, “I was kind of hungry for a DQ Dude, how about you?” But really...who ever gets hungry for DQ? I knew he loved me by the way he cared for me.
Of course, his first job commitment was to preaching—Sunday mornings to the church and Wednesday nights to the youth. His next obligation was to Jake Leathers. But Caleb would dream as we’d lay in bed at night, “I want to earn enough money working with Jake to save up for our own farm some day.” It wasn’t going to happen anytime soon at the rate our savings account was growing—even if we did live in the church parsonage.
Which is why I wanted a job. Plus my husband’s dreams were all being fulfilled. But somehow, I was having a hard time in Sunrise, TX, population 650, to find my dream job. I’d studied business and advertising. The grocery store, hardware store, The Grill, Sunset to Sunrise Motel, the Dairy Queen, nor the gas station needed help with advertising. They were the only game in town and everyone already did their business with them.
I was also bored. Caleb was working way too many hours—and I didn’t know where I fit in the church. I didn’t know how to play the piano. I was too insecure to teach Women’s Bible Studies to women older than me. And I just couldn’t work in the nursery—it might stir up some premature desires. The kitchen? That was out, too. I could barely boil water. I didn’t want to be a complainer—but I was beginning to wonder why God had made me a pastor’s—uh, preacher’s—wife and why He’d set me in Sunrise, TX. My mom had always told me, “Merry Noelle, we expect you to always live up to your name! God has given you a delightful laugh and a beautiful smile. Use it!” I was afraid I was about to lose my “merry”—even though Christmas was right around the corner.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Monday, October 16, 2017
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
42 Years. We celebrated last night and reminisced. We both agreed our greatest accomplishment was our four children. We're so proud of them--and glad they're awesome adults in spite of our many blunders and mistakes.
Andy's biggest regret: that he wasn't bolder and more confident early on. He said he was proudest of me for truly partnering with him in ministry.
My biggest regret: that I didn't understand, focus on, and partner with our strengths earlier. I am proudest of Andy for the amazing way he connects with people and invests in them.
But we both agreed that our regrets mean nothing--knowing it was all part of the process of growth! It's been so fun to look back and see God's hand guiding us to where we are today! (And we BOTH agreed that this has gone WAY faster than we ever thought possible!!!!)
Happy 42nd Anniversary, Babe!!
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Friday, September 8, 2017
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Monday, August 28, 2017
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Friday, July 7, 2017
After all, My God IS good ALL THE TIME - yes, even in my celebration. How sad is it that I hesitate to tell good news because of other's discomfort in declaring God's glory? Look at God's work in my life! See what He has done! He is all powerful! He is my Delight in good times and bad. He is Jehovah Rapha - The Lord Who Heals. He is El Roi - The God Who Sees! And this time He has seen fit to see me, to heal me! My doctors were so sure that cancer had again attacked my body that they had plans in motion for treatments after my surgery. BUT GOD. On my way to the appointment to see the surgeon after surgery, I received the call that the pathology report showed no cancer. I believe God healed me. Since He can see me, work miracles in my life and love me, He can do the same for you -no matter your circumstances. Just as God walked with our church friend and carried him though his time of illness, God walked with me. God was good then and He is good now. Praise HIM! If I could talk to that friend again, I would thank him for so gently reminding me when he knew I was waiting and hurting - "God is good ALL the time."
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Monday, June 19, 2017
Marcus Lemonis stars as The Profit on CNBC. I stumbled upon this reality TV show recently and it has reeled me in. Marcus is a real-life millionaire (billionaire?) who rescues failing businesses with a financial investment, taking over a percentage of the company, and declares, "I am now the boss." The rest of the hour is a summary of how he brings about change to make the company solvent. As I began to watch episode after episode, some things began to stick out to me. Some things which are common to life...not just business. So I took some notes and these are the things I've learned from The Profit. As you read the list, don't just think about business...think about life!
- You can't grow if you resist change. In fact, you may be destroyed.
- You have to have emotion for your business to succeed.
- People fear loss of control.
- When people refuse to change, they become argumentative (at the least), manipulative, subversive, divisive, and destructive (at the worst).
- Someone must be in control--someone who knows how to grow the business.
- You MUST get rid of the old to make room for growth and change.
- A good leader acknowledges where you are, asks questions, LISTENS, but stays focused on the vision. He's not afraid to speak truth to get you where you need to be.
- A business should know their numbers. If they don't, they have no plan for success.
- A leader must be able to see what is wrong. They see weaknesses but play to the strengths.
- A business should know their strengths and capitalize on them.
- A business should surround themselves with people who are different--to fill in the holes of their weaknesses.
- A business must VALUE their employees.
- A business should reward faithful and helpful employees.
- Negativity will kill a business.
- There MUST be quality control.
- You must admit mistakes and rectify them.
- Strive for happy customers.
- Be organized!
- Make the most of your space.
- Your business should be pleasing to the eye.
- Praise a job well done.
- Honor employees.
- Prove you're better than expected.
- Fix what's broken.
- Make your name visible.
- Don't be a know-it-all. Be teachable.
- Expand wisely.
- Deal with your past and your hurts in order to move forward.
- Expand wisely.
- Get counsel from people who can see your blind spots.
- Put "like" products together. Get rid of products which have nothing to do with your business.
- Have the right people in their right places.
- Be willing to let go of perceived strengths when they actually may be a weakness which is killing your business.
- Don't waste money with unnecessary jobs, misused space, or products which have nothing to do with your main business.
- Make a plan.
- Learn from successful businesses and people.
- You don't have to understand product to understand the business of the product. But you CAN research and learn!
- Be efficient.
- Obey laws.
- Use the right equipment.
- Create partnerships when you can and when it's wise. If you already have a partnership, don't try to be a Lone Ranger.
- Believe in yourself! Listen and receive the praise and encouragement others give. It may lead to a new understanding of yourself.
- Work hard to leave every customer satisfied.
- Don't undervalue your product. You've invested yourself in this product and it has value. Believe it!
- Don't leave anything on the table. Give 100%.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255