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In His Image Art Installation

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I hope you have seen yourself in that large mirror in the west lobby at the church. We made it at the Women’s Ministry fall kickoff event. The ice cream was delicious! We took the evening before all of the fall small groups began to come together to sing, worship, and pray. The theme of the evening revolved around the attributes of God from Jen Wilkin’s books None Like Him and In His Image, the study that many of our women’s small groups are using right now. 

Loving, just, good, merciful, gracious, faithful, patient, truthful, and wise are common words we hear to describe God. In our prayer time, we asked to not just know “HIS IMAGE” but to know what His image looks like “IN” you or me. 

We chose to mark it down. To make an object that reminds us each week, that we prayed! We asked to see God in ourselves and in a new way. Looking at yourself in the mirror can come with a lot of complicated self-talk or it can be something you have to remind yourself to slow down and do. The mirror we made is both full and empty. It gives a lot of space for questioning how you see what you see in it. 

When we made the mirror, we chose a specific attribute from the list to pray about and wrote it on one mosaic tile. Then we placed that tile along with a blank tile onto one large mirror. The second tile is our prayer to not just know the term, “loving… just… good... etc” but to know it through a different term more specific to our lives. It represents our openness to God showing us a deeper, more personal term for that attribute. We asked for two things. One is a term we know and want to know more. One is a term we do not know yet.

All of our tiles are spread across a grand and extravagant mirror. It represents something of highest value, worth showing off, and reflecting something bigger than yourself. When you see it, remember it is your prayer. It is our prayer to know all the parts of ourselves, seen and unseen, IN HIS IMAGE.

Karen, Trinity Member

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Lean In | Jessica Uzzell

Each month, we are going to take time to get to know one of our church members just a little bit better. We hope this short interview allows us to lean-in to help us know one another better and grow together as a body of believers.


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Tell us a little bit about you and your family.

My name is Jessica Uzzell, and my husband Tyler and I joined Trinity about a year and a half ago. I'm originally from California, but spent most of my childhood in Alabaster, Alabama. I attended The University of Montevallo where I received my degree in Elementary Education. I taught Kindergarten for 8 years at Chelsea Park in Chelsea, Alabama. Three years ago I met my husband, Tyler. Tyler grew up in Tuscaloosa and because of his job at the University I agreed to move to Tuscaloosa once we got married. I now teach Kindergarten at Arcadia Elementary. We have been happily married for a year and half and are expecting our first child (a boy) in January. We love watching football or any sport, taking our dog Poppy to the park, spending time with our families as we both come from large families, kayaking, and traveling. I'm sure all of this will change once we have our baby boy, which we couldn't be more thrilled about.

Can you share one way that God has been faithful to you recently or something he is teaching you?

Although I have often struggled with trusting God during difficult times, he has been so faithful to me, even when I have not felt it. God's love and timing are so perfect. Last year, my husband and I were having trouble conceiving a child. My doctor recommended that we see a fertility specialist. This was something I never ever thought I would have to do in life; one of those "it can't happen to me" thoughts.

Last September, we visited a fertility specialist for advice and explore potential treatment options. We each took several lab tests but there were no abnormal results. The doctor really didn't have a medical answer for why we hadn't conceived a child. There were some treatment options available that could help, but the chances they would be effective were low. We continued to see the doctors weekly and monthly, looking for answers about our next steps.

Throughout all of last year, I dealt with days of depression and questioning God. Why? Every appointment would bring joy and excitement followed up an appointment that brought anger and sadness. All fall and winter I struggled with letting God take control. I wanted to take matters in my own hands. I lost sight of my time in God’s Word, blamed God, and turned my back on him. I questioned God a lot, and then I realized that God has always been faithful in his plans for me. God showed me that I really needed to let go of the pain I was feeling, pray for the acceptance of our situation, and leave it all in his hands. As always, God showed his faithfulness by placing people in my life that prayed for me, talked with me, and reminded me that God's timing was perfect.

Then in April we were faced with the decision of whether to pursue in vitro fertilization (IVF). We decided to take some time off and pray about it. We were still in the process of praying for discernment when I went for an appointment in May. At that appointment I received news that we missed our opportunity to do our last treatment at the clinic. At first I felt disappointment, but at the same time I felt at peace about it and realized that God had a plan for us. Two weeks later I returned for blood work; they called me that afternoon and told me we were pregnant. God is so faithful and his love is unceasing. God continues daily to show me grace, forgiveness, love, and faithfulness.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?

Slip and Slide

What are some small things that make your day better?

Compliments, coffee, and chocolate

What age do you wish you could permanently be? Why?

I would want to stay at the age of 30 because I loved my job, where I lived, my family was close and I met my husband at that age.

What book impacted you the most?

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

The Longest Ride

Name three things that you are loving.

I’m loving my family, friends, and pregnancy.

What are you reading or have you recently read?

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and lots of pregnancy books

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Lean In | Anna Shaw

Each month, we are going to take time to get to know one of our church members just a little bit better. We hope this short interview allows us to lean-in to help us know one another better and grow together as a body of believers.


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TELL US LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

I grew up in Birmingham and lived there until I married by husband Ben. We have two boys, Nolan (3.5) and Rhett (17 months). I am a stay-at-home mom. Recently, I've been making custom sugar cookies as the Bedtime Baker. I really enjoy it! 

CAN YOU SHARE ONE WAY THAT GOD HAS BEEN FAITHFUL TO YOU RECENTLY?

God has brought some wonderful women in my life over the last year. Women that are helping to lead me, love me, speak truth to me, and be with me in this crazy, chaotic, and sometimes all consuming mom-life.

WHAT ARE SOME SMALL THINGS THAT MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER?

Having my bed made makes me so happy! Probably more happy than it should-- ha! 

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

I've been to London twice on mission trips in high school. The first time was 9th grade, and it was my very first flight.

What do you wish you knew more about?

Photography! I have a nice camera and zero idea how to use it.

What is one of your favorite smells?

I love pretty much anything vanilla scented. 

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

Forrest Gump

NAME THREE THINGS YOU ARE LOVING.

I am loving making cookies, the fact that cooler weather is right around the corner, and rare time with my girlfriends.

WHAT ARE YOU READING OR HAVE YOU RECENTLY READ?

I’m currently reading Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, and Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson.

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Fall 2018 | Tailgating Recipes

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Fall is upon us, which as Tuscaloosa residents naturally means football season is here! If you're in search of some new recipes for long Saturday's watching the games, Shelley Thetford is sharing a few of her favorites. 


Crockpot Football Dip

½ lb sausage

½ lb ground chuck or sirloin

1 block of cream cheese

1 block Velveeta cheese

1 packet of Old El Paso taco seasoning

1 can of Rotel

Directions:

Brown both meats and place in crock pot. Dump all of the above ingredients into the crockpot and allow to melt together.  Stir until consistency is melted and serve. Turn crockpot on warm or low. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 block cream cheese

½  cup Franks Redhot Buffalo Wing Sauce

½  stick butter, melted

2 cups shredded chicken (I️ use rotisserie)

-optional:  Marie’s Blue Cheese Dressing

Directions:

Mix all together and place in oven until melted or bubbly and serve with Fritos.

Almond Pralines

½ cup butter, melted

½  cup brown sugar

club crackers or saltines

1 tsp vanilla

-optional: slivered almonds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Place crackers on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Melt butter and mix in brown sugar in saucepan. Boil for 1 minute, remove from heat, and add 1 tsp vanilla

Drizzle sauce over crackers and cover with slivered almonds. Bake for 8-10 minutes until they are brown. Remove from pan and let cool on parchment paper.

* I️ make half with no almonds with my family having a nut allergy and they are just as good! *

 

 

 

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Asking for a Friend | Summer Recap & Resources

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Anxiety & Depression

In a Nutshell: Mental Health is a complex struggle that affects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Some of the early signs can be sleeping too much or not enough; overeating or forgetting to eat; mind racing with no relief. Addressing these issues requires a wholistic approach. Stewarding your body well, seeking counsel, and sometimes medication can bring healing. The church needs to be looking for those who may be struggling and listen to those who want to share. Like Job's friends who were willing to sit in silence and solidarity with him for seven days, we need to be present with our hurting sisters and not minimize their pain. 

Takeaways: One in three women struggle with either anxiety or depression (or both).

Anxiety is the feeling that you can't stop while depression often feels like you can't get started. 

Exercising can help. Start small; try walking two times a week. Also assess your sleeping and eating. The body and mind/emotions are interconnected. 

If someone shares their struggles surrounding anxiety or depression with you, practice being a good listener and not trying to "fix" them. Quoting a Bible verse or a quick piece of advice can be hurtful. 

Resources: The Cry of the Soul by Allender & Longman

Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart

Choosing Rest by Sally Breedlove

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero

When Life Goes Dark by Richard Winter

Depression, A stubborn Darkness by Ed Welch

Why Christian Love Matters in Depression

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Singleness

In a Nutshell: Singles (of every age/stage) need to be reminded of who they are and what they have in Christ. They need to be served a gracious dose of truth in love, that even if marriage came their way, it would not satisfy their deepest longings. If any burdens are carried on behalf of a single believer, it should be these deeper encumbrances and the need to learn to value Christ above anything this world has to offer.

Takeaways: Singles are not half of a person.

Singles don’t always want to catch the bouquet at a wedding.

On holidays it’s hard for singles to walk into church alone when everyone is with their families.

When singles are seen as projects to “fix”, the subtle message underlying the matchmaking attempts is that they are somehow incomplete or missing out.

Resources: Not Yet Married by Marshall Segal

Avoiding Assumptions and Caring for Christian Singles in the Church

The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas

Meanwhile: What to do While You Wait by Amanda Grace Caldwell

Who is Picking Me Up From the Airport Cindy Johnson

How to Get a Date Worth Keeping by Henry Cloud

PODCASTS: The Refined Women, The Heart of Dating, Journeywomen: Episode 38 Becca Harris

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Forgiveness

In a Nutshell: Forgiveness is releasing the offender to God and letting go of anger, resentment and ideas of vengeance. We forgive others because God has commanded us to forgive. He wants us to find healing and be spiritually healthy. When we hold a grudge, it makes us bitter, which is like a cancer. We are able to forgive by totally surrendering ourselves to God. It is important to own our mistakes with God and those we’ve hurt; otherwise, Satan will continue to trick us into shame and guilt. That is not what God wants for us. Spending time with Jesus allows us to know him better. Knowing him better allows us to receive his forgiveness and redemption, stirring our hearts to thankfulness. 

Takeaways: Unforgiveness is like serving a lifetime sentence for someone else's crime.

We are able to forgive others when we come face to face with how much Christ has forgiven us. 

Surround yourself with people who you can be honest with. Sisters in Christ who will walk with you through the good and the bad and who are not afraid to speak the truth in love to you during challenging seasons.

Prayer gets our hearts in a place where we can forgive, and helps us to continue to choose forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a one time thing.  

"Satan says look at your sin, but God says, look at my SON."    Tony Evans

Resources: Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds by Chris Brauns

The Thing We Don't Do by Andrée Seu Peterson

As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda by Catherine Claire Larson

PODCAST: Journeywomen Episode 01 on Forgiveness with Carrie Langenmier

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#MeToo

In a Nutshell: Over the last years, the issue of sexual abuse has gained a voice through the #MeToo movement. Many women have shared their stories. As Christian women, we need be ready to bring the truth of the gospel to bear on the shame surrounding sexual brokenness. This can start by talking about the body and sexuality in positive ways to our children and teens, giving them a healthy perspective on sex and also language to use if they have been violated. We need to be safe people for hurting women to share with--listening, believing, and loving them as they talk about the pain they have experienced. And for those of us who have walked though sexual brokenness, the gospel gives us the freedom to face the shame attached and seek healing by coming forward with our story and submitting it all to Christ. With such a sensitive subject, we need to be patient and gentle with others and ourselves as we process the past and be prayerful in all of our responses.  

Takeaways: One in six women have been a victim of a attempted or completed rape. 

In a post-Christian world, we want the kingdom without the king. Movements like #MeToo want the justice, love, and dignity that the gospel brings without submitting to Christ. #MeToo dethrones the sexual abuse perpetrators but instead of putting Jesus on the throne, the temptation is to put the victim there. 

Even if we do not feel qualified to counsel someone through their sexual brokenness, we can stay with them as they seek counsel. If a person felt enough safe to tell you their story, honor them by staying present and not simply passing them off to someone more qualified. 

We have forgotten how to lament. We can use the Psalms as a tool to begin the practice of lamenting with those who are hurting.

Resources: The Wounded Heart by Dan Allender

God’s Design for Sex Series by Brenna Jones

Women and Gender Resource Center

Ministering to Women in a #MeToo World

PODCAST: Journeywomen: Episode 60 Shame with Abbey Wedgeworth

 

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Working Women

In a Nutshell: It is important for all of us to view our current work situation as an opportunity to be on mission and to influence others. We can witness to the world not only by sharing the gospel in word, but by treating everyone with respect and dignity. Work is good; Proverbs 31 shows a successful business women. However, one of the biggest challenges for women in the workplace is coming to terms with the fact that we cannot do it all or at least do it all well. Embracing the season God has you in and learning how to say no brings freedom. Working women need to see the opportunities for service where God has placed them not just "out there."

Takeaways: Do not be oblivious to the circumstances of others. Whether you are working full time or staying at home (or somewhere in between), acknowledge the struggles of others.

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. 

As a church, we need to keep the working schedule in mind when planning events, not only in our start times but also in respecting the value of  time through punctuality and efficiency. 

The church provides an intergenerational community for all women to encourage and pray for each other whatever our circumstances. What a gift!

Setting clear boundaries for technology when we are outside of work is healthy and needed. 

Resources: Every Good Endeavor by Tim Killer

This is Why You Don't SUCCEED by Simon Sinek

PODCAST: Finding Freedom in Christ as a Working Mom Risen Motherhood

 

 

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Lean In | Claire Calderone

Each month, we are going to take time to get to know one of our church members just a little bit better. We hope this short interview allows us to lean-in to help us know one another better and grow together as a body of believers.


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Tell us little bit about you and your family.

Matt and I met in college and never left Tuscaloosa once we graduated. We have two kids. Abigail is 5, and Whitt just turned 2.

Can you share one way that God has been faithful to you recently?

I have stayed at home with my kids since Abigail was born. In June I told Matt that with Abigail starting kindergarten this year, I wanted to find a part time job working with children. I started praying about it and barely three weeks later I started the TrinKids job. The Lord was working fast on this one!

Can you share a little bit about your new role with TrinKids?

I’m still very much in the training process, but I’m already loving it. I’ve been working on various things for TrinKids PM and getting into a good routine for TrinKids Sunday School and Worship. Sara Beth Spearing and I will work together to oversee all of the TrinKids programming starting in the fall.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for?

Speed reading. I can finish a novel in one day if I want to. I may not get much else done though!

What song have you completely memorized?

“Fancy” by Reba. I have the best friends from Dothan, where I’m from, and the 8 of us have always had a silly obsession with that song.

What are some small things that make your day better?

Matt usually sets the coffee maker for me before he goes to bed, and that means the world to me. My day is just not the same if that coffee isn’t ready when I wake up. I love little mom wins like seeing your kids being sweet or going all day with no spills! I also try to wake up before everyone so that I have some alone time with the Lord to get my mind right before the chaos begins.

What age do you wish you could permanently be? Why?

I wish I could freeze time right now, so 28. Both of my kids are at such sweet ages; they’ve really been melting my heart these days.

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

I love a good rom-com or historical fiction. Right now I’m reading to The Nightingale, and it’s going to become a movie in 2019, so I’m super pumped about that.

What book impacted you the most?

Obviously I’ve learned the most and been greatly impacted by the Bible. Other than that, probably To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve ready it at different points in life and take something new away from it each time.

What is something that your friends would consider “so you”?

Waking everyone up at the crack of dawn. It’s an ongoing joke that no one wants to sleep in the room with me on our girls’ trips.

Name three things you are loving.

I am loving my almost 2 year old’s new found vocabulary, Behind the Bliss podcast, and cycling at the YMCA.

What are you reading or have you recently read?

I just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, and now I’m reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. 

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Asking for a Friend | June Update

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We had our first "Asking for a Friend" of the summer on Wednesday, June 20. Mary Cannon Swain was a gracious host, and she also introduced us to Heather Hagins. Heather is a counselor from Covenant Counseling in Birmingham. Heather's knowledge and help with anxiety and depression mixed with her humor, gentleness and gospel centered heart encouraged our women to ask a lot of questions and start some real conversations. The time together allowed us to grow in an area that's needed to many of us personally and as a church body.
I am looking forward to the other "Asking for a Friend" nights this summer! It's a great time to just come, hang out and learn together. 
Stephanie Seawell
Women's Coordinator

July 11 we will meet together at the home of Sara Henry to talk about the seasons of singleness and how we as a church can love our sisters in the middle of them. Whether you yourself have never been married, are currently married, or have walked through a broken marriage, we think this night will encourage and challenge you. Our goal with these nights is to start needed conversations between all of us no matter the season of life we are in. We look forward to seeing you there!  

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Lean In | Women's Ministry Team

Each month, we are going to take time to get to know some of our church members just a little bit better. This month we are highlighting the women who make up our Ministry Team. We hope this short introduction allows you to lean-in and helps us know one another better We hope this month in particular encourages you to reach out to your Community Ambassadors. 


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Lean In | Shelley Thetford

Each month, we are going to take time to get to know one of our church members just a little bit better. We hope this short interview allows us to lean-in to help us know one another better and grow together as a body of believers.


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TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY

I was born and raised in Tuscaloosa. I am to married John Thetford and have two children, two dogs and a cat. Coleman is 14 and attends Tuscaloosa Academy. Madeline is 12 and attends North Ridge Middle School. 

Can you share one way that God has been faithful to you recently or something he is teaching you?

He is teaching me to trust in Him more and to release control to Him. 

HOw have you been involved in ministry to women?

I have been a part of a Bible Study for about 7 years. Kimberly Mason started the study at North River Church. After she went back to work, I began leading in my home. We've been meeting in my home for the past six years. It’s an amazing group of ladies from their early 30’s to 50’s. Each week we meet and spend time together in the Word. We also share life together through our stories and by offering wisdom and encouragement in parenting and for life in general.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?

Shopping

What are some small things that make your day better?

Starting my day off with prayer and with the Lord, seeing my husband and children wake up with a smile, and exercise.

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

Read a book with real paper not on a tablet or phone

What is one of your favorite smells?

Smells of Christmas or tropical scents

What book impacted you the most?

Loving God with All Your Heart and Mind by Elizabeth George

What is something that your friends would consider “so you”?

Baking

Name three things you are loving.

I am loving the Lord, my family, and Summer. 

What are you reading or have you recently read?

Everybody Always by Bob Goff

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ONE | 2018 PCA Women's Conference in Chattanooga

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Who: Women of all ages! This will be an opportunity for women across our denomination to gather to learn and worship together.  

What: It does not take much to divide us as women. Age, opinions, race, preferences, comfort, conflict or any indwelling sin can find us quickly separated from God and one another. And yet fundamentally we are more alike than different. Last words can be both precious and profound. Jesus uttered some of His last words to us on His way to the cross in His high priestly prayer, “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21ESV).  You see, our unity with Him and one another is not only imperative to Christ, it is ultimately a matter of life or death…will our unity compel the world to believe in Him? Our oneness will either validate or negate the claims of the gospel. We pray you will join us at a ONE conference in 2018 where we will challenge women to think biblically rather than emotively about oneness from the truths found in John 17.

Key Note Speaker: Courtney Doctor is an author, Bible teacher, frequent conference and retreat speaker, and periodic blogger. She received an MDiv from Covenant Theological Seminary in 2013 and is the author of From Garden to Glory: A Bible Study on the Bible’s Story (2016). Her greatest desire in all of this is to be able to faithfully study, apply, and teach the Word of God.

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Where: New City Fellowship, Chattanooga, TN

When: October 5-6, 2018

Cost: Registration $75 (Before August 1) Lodging will be an additional cost. Register here

Contact Liz Moore for more information about going as a group. There is a limited number of spots in an Airbnb home for those who would like to stay together. 

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Summer Series | Asking for a Friend: Faith and Real Life

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We all know that God's Word is relevant to all areas of our lives. But so often, there are issues we just don't talk about. Really practical things we as women face that can go overlooked or remain private. We as a Women’s Ministry want to offer a space for women to talk about these things and about how our faith directly impacts them. This summer, we are going to have a six week series on Wednesday nights focusing on real life topics.  Various women from within the Christian community will share their experiences with us during these casual gatherings. Some will be formatted as panel discussions, others as guest speakers. We will have the chance to listen to a 30 minute talk, have time for Q&A and discussion, and then close the night in small groups to pray over the topic and it's application to our lives and church body. Since each week will address a different topic, come when you can even if you cannot attend every week. Even if the night doesn't address your particular situation, come and hear how to love others within our church family who identify with the theme. 

Each week will be hosted in a different home. We will have drinks and light snacks available. We will talk about a broad spectrum of topics throughout the summer including Anxiety, Marriage, Singleness, Vocation, Race, and Comparison. We really hope to see you there, and please invite your friends. More details about location, topics, and speakers will be coming soon! 

 

 

 

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Lean In | Joanne Lukasik and Carrie Brignac

Each month, we are going to take time to get to know some of our church members just a little bit better. We hope this short interview allows us to lean-in to help us know one another better and grow together as a body of believers.


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Tell us a little bit about you and your family.

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Joanne: Moving back to Tuscaloosa in 2009 was like coming back to my roots--literally! I was born here in 1957, spent most of my childhood in Decatur, AL, then attended UA where I met my husband, Robert. After our marriage in 1979 we moved to Sylacauga, AL. We were blessed with three children, all of whom graduated from Sylacauga High School and the University of Alabama. Robert worked in the fertilizer industry for nearly 20 years, and I spent the majority of my career as a School Psychometrist. We loved our home, our friends, our church family, and raising our family in Sylacauga. However, when our youngest child graduated from high school and enrolled at UA we (horror of horrors!) moved with him to Tuscaloosa. It felt as though a wonderful chapter of our life was ending, yet another was just beginning in our new/old home.

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Carrie: My husband Rick and I are both graduates of The University of Alabama, and we were happy to claim Tuscaloosa as home after graduation. We have since added Caroline (5) and Richard (3) to our family. I am a full time Mom and part time nurse in the Emergency Department. Our family enjoys doing any outside activities, attending Alabama sporting events, and spending time with friends.

How long have you been at Trinity? And what drew you here?

Joanne: We began visiting Trinity during weekends when we were in town for athletic events or visiting our daughter at UA. We were immediately drawn to the Biblical teaching, warm welcomes we received from so many of the members, and the demonstrated desire of the church leadership to reach beyond the boundaries of Trinity into the surrounding community and world.

Carrie: We have been at Trinity for a little over 8 years. We were drawn to Trinity by the people. We were always made to feel so welcomed and loved. After visiting, it was the sound Biblical teaching we received that sealed the deal. We have since formed so many close relationships and found great community at Trinity.

How has your relationship as mother and daughter changed? Can you share anything you have learned from each other?

Joanne: My first child was a generally content, sit-on-your-lap kind of baby that frankly made me feel a little proud of our parenting skills. Then Carrie came along! She was a bundle of energy from the very beginning--constantly moving, perpetually talking/singing/ climbing/questioning/dancing, and always looking for the next thing to do. God, in His providence and sense of humor, gave us this adorable, curious, active little girl to help me realize that HE is the one who creates His children with their unique personalities. My parenting skills did not cause my first child to be an "easy" one, nor my second a little more challenging! Carrie was a dedicated student, loved her friends and family fiercely, played hard and long, and fortunately avoided much of the "girl drama" in her school as she got along with virtually everyone in her classes. When our third child was born, Carrie was 6 years old, but she felt and acted like the baby was hers! Her mothering skills were natural and began early, as she enjoyed taking care of her baby brother as well as several younger nieces and nephews. She literally began babysitting infants while she was in the 6th grade! I feel like our relationship has always been close, but seeing my little girl become a mother has to be one of the most rewarding experiences ever! I feel extremely fortunate to be able to share life with Carrie and her precious little family!

Carrie: Our relationship as mother and daughter has definitely changed through the years. It has shifted from an authoritarian figure to a friend as I have gotten older. I go to my Mom for all kinds of advice, particularly parenting advice these days. I truly enjoy spending time with her. I have learned countless things from my Mom but some things that stick out are her sacrificial love for others and her perseverance. My Mom goes out of her way to help not only her family but friends and strangers too, never asking for any thanks or praise in return. If she starts a job she will give 100% until completion without any grumbling or complaining. I am so thankful that the Lord blessed me with such a good example of what a mother, wife, and friend should be.

Carrie, what is one of your favorite childhood memories?

Playing outside with my brothers in our creek. We would make mudslides, make traps for catching fish, and explore for hours.

Joanne, what is one of your favorite memories from when your children were at home?

I was fortunate to be able to be a stay-at-home mom during my childrens' early years, and I figured that since I was at home, they would stay at home too. Our house in Sylacauga was in a neighborhood with very few children, so unless we "imported" friends in, their choices were to play alone or with each other. I loved watching them explore in the creek together in our front yard, ride their Little Tykes car down the hill in the yard, or play together in the basement. There were plenty of arguments between the three, but they were also best friends.

Carrie, how has your view of your mom changed after having children of your own?

I feel so much more thankful for my Mom! It has made me thankful for all of the ways she loved me, nurtured me, was patient with me, sacrificed for me, and even disciplined me.

Joanne, what has it been like to be a grandmother?

Absolutely amazing!! Carrie and Rick have two children - Caroline (age 5 1/2) and Richard (age 3). Since they live about a mile from our house, we get to see them often and are so very thankful that we are able to be a part of their lives. Our older son and his wife Margaret have one little girl - Murray (age 22 months). Since they live in Birmingham we don't get to see her as often, but I go up every 2 weeks or so to play with her and give my daughter-in-law a chance to run errands, etc. I had such a special relationship with my grandmother; she allowed me to explore her house, yard, and attic! We rarely went anywhere and didn't do anything special, but I just loved being around her. My greatest desire is to demonstrate to my grandchildren the unconditional love of Christ that my grandmother showed to me.

Carrie, what has surprised you most about motherhood?

The first thing that comes to mind is that I have realized I can do with a lot less sleep than I ever thought possible. On a more serious note, I have been surprised at how it has opened my eyes to the love that God has for me as his child. I always knew God loved and cared for me, but one night when I was rocking my newborn baby the intensity of his love just overwhelmed me. I knew that as much as I loved my child, he loves me even more. Wow, how amazing is that!

Joanne, can you offer any wisdom or advice for younger mothers?

Pray with and for them, teach them God's Word, and let them know that He is the ultimate authority above all. Realize that although you may think you're in control of your children's lives, it's just an illusion of control! Give your children clear limits that are enforced lovingly and consistently. Don't be afraid that your children won't like you if you don't give them what they want. Your goal is not to be their friend; you're their mother! Help your children learn that while you love them tremendously, life is not all about them, and their desires are not what should control the life of your entire family. Teach them how to deal with hearing "no," and not getting their way, because inevitably they will not always win or get their way when they're away from home. Let them know that it's ok to try and fail, and then help them learn from their failures. Emotional resiliency is crucial to their future well-being, but they can't obtain this important skill as long as they always get their way. The days are long, but the years are short, so cherish your precious gifts while you have them at home with you!

What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned?

Joanne: PJ bottoms and a comfortable sweatshirt

Carrie: A pair of grey sweatpants that were originally my brothers high school tennis warm ups, handed down to my Mom that I permanetly borrowed. I live in them in the winter while at home! And my Mom still wants them back--ha!

What shows are you into?

Joanne: Call the Midwives, The Crown, Hallmark movies, most college sports

Carrie: Medical Dramas, Fixer Upper

WHAT'S ONE THING YOU STILL ENJOY DOING THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY?

Joanne: Balancing my checkbook

Carrie: Hand written thank you notes. I sent an email thank you one year after Christmas, and I felt guilty until the following year when I could hand write my thank you's.

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

Joanne: Switzerland 

Carrie: London, England

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

Joanne: National Lampoon's Vacation 

Carrie: Pearl Harbor

Name three things you are loving.

Joanne: Spending time with my children and grandchildren, All the new friendships we've developed since moving to Tuscaloosa, and Working in my "shop" (i.e., my garage) and building

Carrie: Warmer weather with sunshine, American Idol, and Raspberries

What are you reading or have you recently read?

Joanne: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway, Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, Deep South by Paul Theroux. I must admit, nearly all the books I read now are selected by the Book Club I joined when I moved here. It has been a great motivator to read!

Carrie: Seamless by Angie Smith

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Lean In | Rachel Madden

Each month, we are going to take time to get to know one member of our church just a little bit better. We hope this short interview allows us to lean-in to help us know one another better and grow together as a body of believers.


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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

My name is Rachel Madden, and I live with my mother and step father, Caryn and Daniel Pruet, along with my two younger brother Matthew (15) and John (9). I love them all more than words can say. My mom has homeschooled me and my brothers ever since I was in the 2nd grade, and it has played an immense role in the person I’ve become. I’ve grown so much, not just academically but in every aspect of my life. It has built a bond between me and my mom that few other things could. She and Daniel are my rock, and I can’t imagine life without them.

I love the outdoors. I love hiking and being out on the water. I love animals and learning instruments. I am currently learning piano, but I've done a little bit of everything (piano, violin, guitar). I love to travel and spend time with family, and I am always eager to try something new.

Where are you going to college? Do you know what you will major it?

This fall I will be attending Mississippi State University, and I am planning to major in Elementary Education, which I am very excited about.

Can you share one way that God has been faithful to you recently or something He is teaching you?

One area where God has really just led the way for me recently is through finding a roommate. This was a very stressful task for me. I didn’t feel like the right girl was being placed in my path, and time was running out fast. But, true to His timing, He connected me with someone three days before the deadline. She seems like a great girl, and we are both eager to be a part of the RUF ministry together this fall. God is good!

Do you have a special or particular memory from your years at Trinity?

I have so many special memories at Trinity. I’ve grown up with my friends at Trinity, my mom and step-dad got married at Trinity, but it’s the feeling I get when I’ve been away that means the most to me. Trinity feels like home to me because of all the special people that are there.

Is there any way that we as a church can pray for you?

Pray for me to have God’s wisdom and strength as I begin this transitional time in my life and for new and growing relationships as I begin choosing them for myself.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance of winning a medal for?

Memorizing things put to song or Disney trivia!

What are some small things that make your day better?

Spending time with the ones I love.

Who is your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

I love Broadway music.

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

Hand washing dishes has always been kind of soothing to me.

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

Comedy

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

Trujillo, Peru on a mission trip when I was 14.

What is the most impressive thing you know how to do?

Through an internship at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, I know how to identify several different marine life species and various facts about them.

What do you like most about your family?

We love to travel together and I love our ability to laugh with/at each other.

Name three things you are loving.

Family, friends, and my pets.

What are you reading or have you recently read?

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling and Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

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Lean In | Julie Smith

Each month, we are going to take time to get to know one member of our church just a little bit better. We hope this short interview allows us to lean-in to help us know one another better and grow together as a body of believers.


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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I am a Tuscaloosa native - born and raised until I left for Auburn (War Eagle!). My husband Jon and I, along with our son Fletcher (who was one at the time), moved back to Tuscaloosa in 2009 to be closer to family. Fletcher is now 10, and we have a daughter Isabelle, 6. Both go to Rock Quarry and love playing outside in our neighborhood with their friends. We just got a new a puppy named Rose who we adore along with our two cats. We joined Trinity about 3 years ago and have really enjoyed being a part of the church family. Jon and I both work full time, including traveling, so we are always on the go. We also love our quiet family time at home on the weekends when we can squeeze it in!

Can you share one way that God has been faithful to you recently or something he is teaching you?

Recently God has been teaching me to be more intentional in my every day living rather than going through the motions of just getting through the day. I am working on being more present in my spiritual walk as well as in my marriage and with my family. It is a work in progress, but I am learning to lean more on God, trusting Him rather than trying to keep it all together myself.

What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned?

Sweatpants or PJ's

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?

Talking Fast

What songs have you completely memorized?

I Will Survive and The Grease Soundtrack

What shows are you into?

This is Us and The Good Doctor

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

Cooking

What is one of your favorite smells?

The bread when I drive by Hardin's Bakery on 15th St.

What is something that your friends would consider “so you”?

That I don't have an inconspicuous bone in my body...I cannot hide anything!

What’s the best and worst thing about getting older?

Best: Perspective and Worst: gray hair

Name three things you are loving.  

My family, sunshine, and feeling blessed!

What are you reading or have you recently read? 

100 Ways to Love your Husband by Lisa Jacobson

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Lean In | Yolande Nina

Each month, we are going to take time to get to know one member of our church just a little bit better. We hope this short interview allows us to lean-in to help us know one another better and grow together as a body of believers.


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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

We are the Nina's - Kyron, Yolande and our girls, Keira 10 and Amiyah-Mae 7. We relocated to Tuscaloosa all the way from East London, South Africa (8 777 miles away!) one year ago. Both of my daughters attend Rock Quarry Elementary and are settling in well. Kyron works at Mercedes-Benz in Strategy Planning. I am currently a "home executive" until the girls are more settled, I have been a Chartered Accountant with a finance working background. We attended an Anglican Church back home, St. Albans.

Can you share one way that God has been faithful to you recently or something he is teaching you?

God has shown me, time and time again, that He is my constant when everything else around me changes. He never fails, and He remains in me.

What are some small things that make your day better?

Before bedtime, the girls share their happiest and saddest parts of the day. This makes the whole day more meaningful, and there is always a giggle or tear--or both.

Who’s your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

Hillsongs

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

Pencil in appointments in my calendar even though I also have an online version

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

Here! Tuscaloosa, USA is 8,777 miles from home.

What’s the best and worst thing about getting older?

The best part is all the experience gained, and the memories created. The worst part is when your body just does not do the things as easy as it use to do!

Name three things you are loving.

1. Watching my girls get on the yellow school bus every morning and coming back safely every afternoon. This is such a privilege, compared to the lifestyle back home.

2. Being part of the Woman's Group (Tuesday mornings) - I have met such amazing ladies and they have made me feel like part of a family. 

3. Meeting so many different people and families and learning about their cultures and diverse backgrounds.

What are you reading or have you recently read? 

God is for Real by Todd Burpo

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Warrior Presbytery Women's Ministry Annual Meeting

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What: The yearly gathering of women from across the Warrior Presbytery

When: Saturday, January 27 at 9:00 am 

Where: Trinity Presbyterian Church

What to Expect: Registration begins at 9:00, along with coffee and refreshments. We will hear from our Women's Ministry president, Debbie Glass, as well as others serving our presbytery during the meeting portion of the gathering. We will also hear from Lori Sealy, our speaker and guest musician. Lunch will be provided following our time together. Child care is provided particularly for our out of town guests. However, if you are in need of childcare for the event, please let Monica Pettus (monp19@hotmail.com) know.  

Who is our speaker? LORI SEALY is daily amazed at the grace of God that has been poured out in her life, as well as by the all-wise hand of His providence that has carved her every step  - including the really hard steps. Nearly aborted, graciously adopted, and later abandoned, Lori has traveled the road of atheism and lived a life of autism. Along the way she's wrestled deeply with doubt, and through that wrestling has learned to rest in the precious promises of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Through all the ups and downs of her journey - the "many dangers, toils, and snares" -  she has found Christ faithful, even when she's been faithless and has seen the sovereign mercy of her God form hope out of hopelessness and grant light even in the deepest darkness. 

Lori began playing piano at the age of 5 and was classically trained until the age of 20.  At age 10 she started writing her first songs - creating compositions that fell eclectically along folk, jazz, classical, rock, and electronic genres. Growing up in South Carolina, Lori now lives in Cullowhee, North Carolina, with her husband of 23 years, Phillip Sealy.  Phillip is the pastor of Redeemer Church (PCA) in Sylva, North Carolina.  The Sealys have two children, Joshua (15) and Elizabeth (13).  Joshua and Lori both live with autism.
 

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Women's Ministry Kickoff 2018

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New Years is a great time for all of us to stop, reflect, and dream about the future. Sometimes people choose a word of the year to focus their thoughts. And in 2018, we as a women's ministry, we are following suit. We will be spending the year talking about, reflecting on, learning about, and practicing prayer. Our desire for the kickoff event on Wednesday, January 10 is for us to come together at the beginning of 2018 and focus our hearts on the incredible gift of communing with the Lord.

If you haven't already agreed to be a part of a table, please sign up on Sunday morning or email sarah.r.ammen@gmail.com to save your seat. The night will begin at 6:00 with a time of fellowship and an opportunity to register for our spring retreat, sign up to attend the Warrior Presbytery Women's Ministry Annual Meeting, buy your book for a ladies small group, and purchase a Trinity Women's Ministry T-shirt. 

At 6:30, we'll sit down for dinner and conversation. During our time, we will also hear more about our vision for the year and some of what lies ahead. We'll end the night with coffee and dessert. You do not want to miss out. Please don't hesitate to reach out to Stephanie Seawell (205-310-7678) or Sarah Ammen (321-514-2998) with any questions you might have. We hope to see you there! 

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Lean In | Sandy Groves

Each month, we are going to take time to get to know one member of our church just a little bit better. We hope this short interview allows you to lean-in to help us know one another better and grow together as a body of believers.


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Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

 I am originally from Birmingham and attended the University of Alabama where I met my husband, Don. We lived in Baldwin County, the Daphne area, for 31 years before moving to Tuscaloosa almost 8 years ago to be near our 2 children and 4 grandchildren. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I am a “stay at home grandmother” and love every second of it! Don and I have been married for almost 44 years and I so look forward to the next 44!

What has God been teaching you lately?

I must admit I can’t separate His faithfulness and what He is teaching me; this is my whole testimony. Having grown up in an unhappy and unhealthy home, it was always my prayer and heart's desire that God would provide a wonderful husband and family--and He delivered! Everyday He teaches me how important it is to love my family and never take them for granted. God has truly restored to me the years the locust took from me. This is why I love 1 Peter 3:15. "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." God is my reason and hope!

What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned?

My workout clothes and tennis shoes

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?

Spoiling grandchildren...comes very easy for me!

Who’s your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

Rod Stewart

What is one of your favorite smells?

Thanksgiving. I love the smells of cooking for this holiday!

What is something that your friends would consider “so you”?

My passion for Bama football

What are three things you are loving?

I am loving my grands, my pets and walking!

What are you reading/have recently read?

I’m not much of a reader, but I am enjoying my new devotional book my daughter-in-law gave me.

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Lean In | Madeline Cawley

Each month, we are going to take time to get to know one member of our church just a little bit better. We hope this short interview allows you to lean-in to help us know one another better and grow together as a body of believers.


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Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I am a fifth-year student at the University of Alabama, double majoring in Flute Performance and Music Education. I am so blessed to have a loving family; my parents live in Pensacola, and my newly married brother and sister-in-law live in Nashville.

What has God been teaching you lately?

God has been reminding me that my identity is in Christ, and that he is trustworthy. I seem to have to learn these lessons over and over. This semester I tried to take on 20 credit hours and graduate music school auditions. I started having emotional breakdowns almost every day. I like to feel like I have control of my life, but instead I felt like my whole world was spiraling around me and I could not grasp onto anything; I felt like I was failing at everything. Satan was filling my head with negative thoughts about myself, about what I was doing with my life; anything he could throw at me, he did! But the Lord is faithful, and he reminded me that he is not the kind of father to leave his daughter alone to fend for herself. I see now that this very challenging time was him extending his grace and mercy to me, coaxing me to lean into him, showing me that my worth is not in my performance in school, but it is in his Son Jesus. He is a peace-giving father!

What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned?

My flare jeans

What state or country do you never want to go back to?

Mexico; I got sick from the water!

What songs have you completely memorized?

One of my mom's favorite songs is "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay. We were going to take a 10-hour road trip to Illinois, so I printed out the lyrics to the song, burned it on a CD, and we listened to it the ENTIRE way on repeat. We eventually learned all the lyrics.

What are some small things that make your day better?

Seeing a gorgeous sunset; having an unexpected deep conversation; going to O'Henry's coffee shop

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

Pristina, Kosovo - my mom and I have traveled here several times partnering with Cru. We meet Kosovar college students and share the Good News with them. If you are curious or interested, please come talk to me about it; I love to share about it!

What fad or trend do you hope comes back?

Gaucho pants

What is one of your favorite smells?

Gardenia flowers

What do you like most about your family?

I can share any problem I am having with my parents, and they always make me feel better. They bring me back to the Gospel every time, and I am so thankful for that!

What are three things you are loving?

I am loving playing the flute, my cat Kitty, and cold(er) weather!

What are you reading/have recently read?

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

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