Bubna Christmas Letter 2014!

Felicitación navideñaDear friends and family,

There are two kinds of people in the world:

  • those who hate annual Christmas letters!

  • those who love ‘em!

Alas, I fall in the “love ‘em” group.

I know . . . We all live crazy busy lives. We all have the best intentions to write Grandma or our old (and getting older) dear friends. But at Christmas we get inspired and make the time to connect again.

Maybe it’s something about the Christmas spirit or fond memories of Christmas past. Maybe it’s determination to not let a new year begin without some contact with old friends. Whatever it is, and even if it’s just once a year, I love reconnecting if only for a moment.

So here’s the skinny on the Bubna clan . . . .

Laura & MeLaura and I celebrated our 40th engagement anniversary on Thanksgiving, and we’re looking forward to our 40th wedding celebration on July 12, 2015. Any woman who can survive FORTY years with me is a saint. We love each other more today than ever.

Nate & Jess 2Jessica and Nathan are still actively serving and working with me at Eastpoint Church; Jess in administration, Nate as the Family Pastor. Caleb is four and phenomenal! His smile and joy are a gift to all. They also have a baby girl in their world named Abigail who will turn one in January, and it looks like they’ll be able to adopt her sometime in early 2015!

Nate FamilyNathan and Brooke are still in Portland. They’ve recently sold their home and are looking for a new and larger home to house their family of three kids, five chickens, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. Adelle is eight and great. Elijah is four and fabulous. Henry Moses is three, and he pretty much gets whatever he wants from Grandpa.

Kyle & Michelle 3Michelle and Kyle are here in Spokane and both lead very full lives. Kyle is working in accounting for an outpatient surgery center, and Michelle is just one year away from becoming an RN. I’m proud of how hard both of them work. No kids (yet), but they have two cats who think they are kids and get treated as such.

Ike & Tiff 2Isaac and Tiffany moved back to Seattle this past summer. Ike is the program director for Street Bean (a coffee business that helps street-involved youth reclaim their lives), and he’s also working on his masters in leadership. Tiffany is busy as ever making people beautiful in the salon she works in full time.

For me, this past year has been filled with new challenges and lots of opportunities to grow (translated: it’s been hard at times, but good). I wrote two more books (Mr. & Mrs. ~ How to Thrive in a Perfectly Imperfect Marriage, and Perfectly Imperfect: A Devotional for Grace-Filled Living). Both books are doing well, they have received extremely favorable reviews and they make great Christmas gifts (hint, hint).

People ask, “How do you find time to write?” I always say, “Sleepless in Spokane! And writing is therapeutic for me, so it doesn’t complicate my life; it seriously benefits it.” Hopefully, my books benefit others as well.

Mr Mrs Front PanelPIAD Front Panel

This January we celebrate our 12th anniversary at Eastpoint. Every day I thank God for our church and all He has done and is doing through us. It’s humbling to be called “pastor” by such an amazing community of faith.

EP Pan

In summary, we’re older, wiser, better, and full of joy and hope because we have a Savior, who is and always will be, Emmanuel.

May you and yours have the best Christmas ever!

You are loved,

Sig

Christmas Letter Banner

PS ~ A Christmas Poem for Friends

Friends Like You by Kurt W. Bubna

 

There are some who come

And some who go

There are some you never really know

 

There are friends in the fray

And there are friends who stay

But friends like you are rare today

 

You share our cries

You share our hearts

Your share our joy

Our very lives

 

And it’s friends like you

That make life a treasure

Full of fun, surprise, and tons of pleasure!

Elijah 3LauraLaura me River BWIMG_5211

 

Caleb & AbigailAdele 4

Kurt & Henry

Kurt & Adelle 4

Laura and ElijahHenry MosesCalebAbigail

24 Responses to Bubna Christmas Letter 2014!

  1. Great newsletter. (I’m in the camp that “loves ‘em”.) Merry Christmas, Bubna family! I know you’re hoping for snow, Kurt! Linda

  2. Great to hear things are going great at Eastpoint. Loved your letter! Even though we are no longer at Eastpoint it is great to know you are all doing well!
    You are loved and thought of often
    Doris

  3. I tend to fall in the don’t like only because most letters are long and sorry to say kind of boring…yours was short sweet and too the point. I liked your poem also I may have to send it to some friends. We love you and are so blessed to have been part of Eastpoint for so long and to have you as our pastor and friend.

  4. We LOVE the annual Bubna Christmas letter! It’s a joy to hear details about all of your lives, because we love you all so dearly. Our hearts are forever connected in Jesus. Merry Christmas to you all from the Vickers Fam.

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“Rescue: Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture” Guest Post by Candy Gibbs

Rescue Front CoverOne normal afternoon at CareNet Pregnancy Center changed my life.  I was working diligently on something when our receptionist came in and asked me if I could visit with a family who had come in.  I walked up front and there stood four precious adults.  Both the dad and the granddad were farmers and “guys-guys”…tall and strong from doing what the Lord had called them to do.  The mom and the grandmother were absolutely adorable and I fell in love with all of them immediately.  All four were there looking for a life preserver.  The younger couple had a teenage daughter that was literally being pulled under, actively drowning, in her culture.  The father was an active, well-known, and respected man in their small community and their daughter had nude photos of herself shared via a cell phone by the young man she was dating, a young man her family did not approve of.  The daughter had also recently found out she was pregnant.  This family needed a lifeguard…and they need one now. I will never forget the look in that hurting daddy’s eyes as he said, “Can you help us?”  I replied, “If you can get her here, we will help her, because He will be here waiting.”

A few days passed and in came the receptionist again. This time, her eyes were as big as saucers as she said, “We need you up front.”  When I walked into the waiting room, I saw the most beautiful young woman sobbing in a chair and looked up to see that sweet daddy with tears streaming down his face and he said, “You said if we got her here, you would help us.”  Turns out that sweet, desperate daddy had literally picked up his half-drowned daughter out of the floor of her closet, loaded her up and brought her to “shore” so to speak.

How did they get here?  I could almost read his mind from one parent’s heart to another…I could see images of her birth, of her running through fields of flowers and rushing to be first in line for the slide.  I could see her in dance recitals and being baptized.  I could see her playing sports and receiving awards at school.  I could see her potential…I could see her warm and dry, skipping along the beach.  But I could also see her brokenness, I saw her literally drenched in shame, regret, and poor choices to find her place in heavy seas with a society that has an undertow that words cannot describe.  I saw them.

But I saw God, too.

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern sleeping on a cushion.  The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”  They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him!”  Mark 4:37-41

Raising teens in a culture that is against you can feel nothing short of drowning.  I have watched too many families fight to simply keep their heads above water.  We worship the God whom the winds and the waves obey.  If we listen for Him and obey His Word, we can learn to swim in these rough waters.

I am a bystander on a beachfront…I have seen many teenagers try to swim out in some pretty high seas. I have seen some of them bitten by the more stealthy enemies who thrive in the chaos of the current. I have seen some of them taken down by very large squalls that can take out dozens of unsuspecting teens at once. And I have seen a few hang a perfect ten as they literally surf right over the top of it.

I feel like it is the Lord’s desire for all of us, especially parents, to simply say to those heading into the water, “Hey, not trying to butt in or steal your fun, but it seems to work best for the guys who…” or “You know, I’ve not yet seen a young man successfully swim straight into that twenty-foot wave and make it out unscathed.”

Rescue might be the life preserver that some parents are looking for, that is certainly my prayer.

See you on the beach,
Picture

Rescue Author

Want a FREE copy of this great book? Simply comment in the comment section below and on Dec. 11 your name will be entered into a random drawing!  

Rescue: Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture is available now at www.candygibbs.com and Amazon!     

Candy Gibbs is the Executive Director at CareNet Pregnancy Centers in Amarillo, Texas.  She loves sharing insight and encouragement with parents for raising young people to live lives of purpose in a difficult culture.
With a degree in Psychology from West Texas A&M University, Candy has served as the national co-chair for the Campaign for LIfe in America.  She is a national speaker, host of “The Truth of the Matter” radio program, and the author of two curriculum-based works, Pearls and Chosen.
Candy and her husband, Brian, reside in Amarillo, Texas, along with their daughter Madi and son Jake.  Her adult son Tanner and daughter-in-law, Whitney, live in Montana while serving in the US Air Force.  Candy has two precious grandchildren Bracen and Bayler.

9 Responses to “Rescue: Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture” Guest Post by Candy Gibbs

  1. As a pastor in a college town I am always looking for good resources to help deal with the problems our teens and families face. This looks really good.

  2. God will make a way where there seems to be no way.
    There seems to be no way. The way cannot be seen, but God wants to open it for us.

    Praise God for the love of parents who do not reject their children but turn to God in desperation.

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Day 52: Make Today Great!

Free Happy Woman Enjoying Nature. Beauty Girl Outdoor“I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies” Philippians 4:8-9 TM.

How do you define good?

We typically define a good day based on how life is going or how we feel. So if circumstances are tough, we say our day is bad. If the kids drove us crazy, the day was hard. If the dog ate the couch or the car bit the dust, it was horrible.

Dog demolishes pillow

What’s more, whether our mood is good or bad also determines the goodness or badness of our day. Life is tough sometimes. For some, life is difficult all the time.

Here’s the question: is it possible to have a good day despite not-so-good experiences and circumstances?

Here are some ways to make a bad day great:

  • Focus on the Who more than the what. Keep your eyes on God no matter what and he’ll give you perspective. No problem we face is eternal, only God is. No situation is without end. Only God is forever. Nothing you face is beyond him, a surprise to him, or bigger than him. Fix your heart on Jesus. It’s amazing how this simple step brings clarity and peace.

  • Choose to believe that something bigger and better can happen in you despite the challenges around you. Do you believe that God is at work in your life? Do you believe that he is good even when life is bad? Will you choose to believe that he is able to redeem, restore, and renew anything surrendered to him?

My Day Begins and Ends With Gratitude sign with sky background

  • Make up your mind to be thankful in all things even when you aren’t thankful for all things. I know the power of thankfulness. Not only am I suggesting we choose to believe God is always at work in our lives, but I’m advocating thankfulness as a way of life.

  • Make the choice to affect your environment, not just reflect it. Don’t get moody, blue, grumpy and ugly when your world gets cold; instead, do or say something that brings godly and positive change.

What next?

Go ahead, I double-dog-dare you to give these four steps a try for the next 24 hours and see what happens!

May I pray for you?

God, may we meditate on you and focus our minds and hearts on what is pure, faultless and right. Even when our circumstances threaten to crush us, we know we can trust you to work for our benefit. Thank you for taking care of us, for teaching us, and for loving us. Amen.

PIAD Front PanelThe above is an excerpt from my newest book: Perfectly Imperfect: A Devotional for Grace-Filled Living. This book is a great Christmas gift! Click HERE to order. 

2 Responses to Day 52: Make Today Great!

  1. Hey Kurt!

    We met last year at Re:Write via Jim Powell and had lunch. I’m submitting my Book Proposal for “41 Will Come” into the 2015 Writing Contest and just wanted to see if I could use you as a potential endorser? If not, it’s all good.

    I enjoy following you via Twitter and Instagram.

    Blessings!

    ~Chuck

    P.S. If you’d like I can send you my Brief Description to view.

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Day 10 ~ Keep it Simple

PIAD Front Panel“Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today” Matthew 6:34 CEV.

I attended a picnic recently and noticed how uncomplicated and free the kids were. They didn’t worry about the meat on the BBQ or who brought what for a side dish. They made fun their only concern. It was a picnic after all.

I know as adults we have responsibilities. I understand the need to plan and prepare. But does life have to be so complicated?

Let me give you six steps to keep it simple:

  • Remember what is and isn’t eternal. Only people live forever! That task or thing you’re stressing over may not have much (or any) eternal significance. The first step to a simpler life is remembering to focus on what matters most—people.

  • Identify and stay true to your core values. What six or seven things best define who you are, your ideals, and your purpose? For example, loving God and others is one of my core values. If an opportunity isn’t related to love at some level, I’m not interested. But if I can advance the cause of love, I’m in! Loyalty, faithfulness, and family are other core values to me.

girl with balloons  outdoor

  • Try to make a subtraction for every addition in your life. Have you noticed how easy it is to say yes and how hard it is to say no? One of the most effective ways to simplify your life is to stop something old whenever you start something new. This step is much easier when you’ve applied the previous two steps.

  • Practice sacrificial generosity. The more we have, the more we worry, and the more we worry, the more complicated our lives become. I’m not saying it’s bad to own stuff, but it’s a problem when our stuff starts to own us. The best way to guard our hearts against distracting materialism is to give generously.

Live Simply wooden sign with a beach on background

  • Determine which voices you’re going to listen to. Sometimes the multitude of other voices are nothing more than diversions. Be humble. Be a good listener. But be wise too, and listen to the voices that matter most.

  • Live fully in the moment. It’s good to plan for the future. But sometimes we are so future-minded we are of no present good. We can’t spend all our time worrying about tomorrow. The simple thing is the present thing. Do it well. Do it now.

What next?

What have you found effective for de-cluttering your life? Pick one or two of the actions above and start simplifying today.

May I pray for you?

God, our society values busyness. We feel worthwhile when we’re needed, and oftentimes add more to our plates than we can manage. Refocus our attention on the eternal. Help us simplify our lives. Amen.

{The above is an excerpt from my newest book: Perfectly Imperfect: A Devotional for Grace-Filled Living. This book is a great Christmas gift! Click HERE to order.} 

Man Watching the Sunset From a Pier

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