Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Second Annual Soulation Retreat

Estes Park gave us a wonderful chance to see how God strengthened us despite some sleep-deprived nights.

We thank God for everything we asked for. The Q and A time was so fruitful, Finn slept well both ways and slept during two of our talks. Here's a fun picture of him and Jonalyn the last night. We felt very creative as we tried to juggle everything. The hardest thing was for Jonalyn to get enough sleep. She's learning to do less and relax more, even while on the road.

This week we're about to welcome nine friends for five days of retreating. We'll be sharing ideas, discussing things from spiritual abuse, body image and sacred space.

Would you pray for us this week:
  1. for each person (including us) to find ways to love and listen and learn from one another
  2. for each person to feel loved from the wonderful food Ellyn will be preparing, to the movies we watch, to the conversations they enjoy
  3. for us to have proper boundaries to get sleep and for Finn to get sleep. We ask God that Finn would continue his habit of sleeping 6-7 hours each night. We could really use that!
Would you be willing to take one of these and pray it for us this week?

Ready to retreat with others!
Dale and Jonalyn Fincher

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Estes Park Week with College Students

Since writing, Finn has turned 3 months old and now we have plans to go back on the road.

Using the insight we gained from our Biola experience, this time Jessica, Jonalyn's sister, will accompany us to help watch Finn, enabling us to speak and interact with college-age leaders at Estes Park.

We leave Tuesday and speak until Friday. Our topics include, The Gender Myths, Be Saavy: Bring Your Questions, and Misquoting Jesus: How to Read Your Bible.

We'd love prayer for
  1. Finn to be able to have some good sleep time as we drive the 4 hours to this event.
  2. God to give us grace and creativity with ourselves and each other as we learn how to speak for a longer event with Finn (babywearing, babysitting, etc)
  3. Realistic expectations to interact with the college students while also watching Finn
  4. Open-hearted vulnerability on the part of these college students (many of them attending Colorado State University, Boulder) so they can begin to share their questions during our Q and A time).
  5. For Jessica to have a wonderful time engaging with Finn.
Thank you for praying for us.
The Finchers

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Biola Speaking with Finn

We're so thankful we made it.

Finn traveled beautifully, and received lots of compliments for his laid back travel style. We even got an empty seat next to us on the way out, so he got to really snooze between us.

Our crazy busy Monday was made more difficult because Finn had a horrible night's rest, which meant we did, too.

Though we got up 2 hours too early for the 1st radio interview it went so well that the DJ wants to interview us more regularly. Details on that will be forthcoming. We're so excited she felt we had more to share!

Our chapel talk while Jonalyn carried Finn in the baby carrier went beautifully, even though Jonalyn said her head felt a little muddy. Finn began to cry for food in the last 5 minutes so Jonalyn announced he was going to go see grandma and serenely handed him over. It was amazingly smooth and Grandma was a big help.

Our 2nd radio interview went well, though it felt very short.
In the evening Finn surprised us by sleeping for 3 hours (probably because he needed the rest so badly) during our entire Gender Justice talk.

As this was the talk we were originally invited out for (the chapel was tagged on just 1 week ago), we were thrilled when the room packed out, with people standing in the back. We stayed until 11pm signing books and chatting with the Biola students. To read how they liked it check out their campus newsletter's article, "Mind the Stereotypes". We felt blown away by their enthusiasm and excellent questions.

Thank you so much for praying. This week we're headed to Moab for a real vacation. As we learn to integrate Finn into our lives on the road, we ask for continued wisdom.

Would you pray that for us this week?

Dale and Jonalyn Fincher

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

First Speaking Trip with Finn

We praise God because Jonalyn came through surgery beautifully. No complications and no excess bleeding during her procedure. Finn and Dad did great, as well. Thank you for praying as her good health makes it possible to go into this upcoming busy week with strength.

This week we look ahead to our time in Los Angeles. It will be Finn's inaugural speaking trip with us. Would you please pray for us, ESPECIALLY on Monday as we have a

6 am radio interview for our book,

a 9 am speaking event for Biola's entire student body (audience around 2000),

a 1 pm radio interview again for our book and

a 9 pm speaking event for a smaller audience at Biola (around 100+).

We ask for:
  1. Health, as we travel with Finn on a plane for the first time. We want to be sensitive to his needs as we travel and speak, we really want him to stay healthy. We've been asking God for wisdom as to how to incorporate Finn into our Soulation work. It would be wonderful if he could sleep during our talks as we will be baby-carrying him during both events. Grandma will be in the audience to help if there is a breakdown. However, Jonalyn specifically asks for peace and joy as she models another way to include your child in your work.
  2. We ask for tender hearts at Biola, that the students and faculty would be sensitive to hearing us speak about sharing your faith and gender myths.
We look forward to reporting back next week on how God answered our prayers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sleep, Surgery, Speaking

Your prayers have made a difference!
This week Finn has impressed us all by sleeping for up to 6 hours at a stretch at night. AMAZINGLY wonderful. Please continue to pray for Finn the amazing Sleeping Champion to continue to wow us, as we need as much sleep as we can get.

Jonalyn needs your prayers tonight and tomorrow morning. After multiple sonograms the doctors have determined that she needs a D and C. She goes in at 6am tomorrow for a 7:30am surgery.

Would you pray for her specifically that
  1. She will not lose much blood, a potential given a retained placenta. We have a speaking event (our first since Finn's birth) in Los Angeles in 2 weeks so she needs all her strength.
  2. The fast from food and drink from midnight until surgery will not be too arduous given her need to nurse.
  3. That Finn will be able to have a special time with Dad who will watch him during the surgery.

Finally, we are preparing for our first speaking event at BIola on May 3rd. Would you pray our work on this talk would be a joy and not a burden as we learn to prepare with Finn in our lives?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rentals, Finn and Surgery

We are excited to tell you that we found a wonderful spot for our Soulation Retreats. It's an ideal location and the rate is affordable for us. HOORAY!

In other news, Finn is adjusting beautifully to life outside the womb. We've found a schedule that has worked to give us about 7 hours of sleep (though mine is in chunks!) Would you pray for Finn to begin to sleep consistently from 10-2am? This would help us be more alert for business during the day.

Jonalyn could use some extra prayer this weekend. She has an infection which needs to fully clear by Monday or she will have to undergo surgery (D and C). Would you pray that God would naturally heal her body? She does not relish the idea of going under for this procedure. Please pray for her to lean on God for courage during this time.

Thank you so much,
The Finchers

We ask for God's healing.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Days and Nights with Finn and Soulation Retreat

We've had baby Finn home with us for 2 weeks now, after his 2 week hospital stay. We're realizing the one month anniversary can be more challenging than we thought.

Would you pray for us as we brainstorm ways to get a little more sleep. Jonalyn's body has been particularly worn down, something she realized this weekend with her 100 degree temperature. We ask that we'd have creativity and sensitivity about letting each other sleep and teaming up (especially in the wee hours of the night).

Dale is working hard to find a place to host our two Soulation retreats this summer. Would you pray for us to find a lodging that would fit all our guests and would be miraculously more affordable than the going rate at Steamboat? We have many details to get together and we need good prioritizing to make these happen in a timely manner... and with a new born around!

We need strength this week to persevere in caring for Finn and in our own Soulation responsibilities.

Grateful for you,
Jonalyn and Dale

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Home with Finn

We're delighted to let you know that Finn is home.  His strength is growing. He's even off oxygen except at nights. Tomorrow we hope to have him oxygen free.

Jonalyn's strength continues to grow, as well. She even took Finn for a short walk down the driveway today wearing him in her new Moby wrap.

Tonight Dale is holding down the Ask LIVE! fort while Jonalyn continues to enjoy maternity leave.

Would you join us in thanking God for
  1. Finn's health (the pediatrician this week said he looked perfect!)
  2. Jonalyn's endurance (despite only snatches of sleep she's been able to nap regularly and even begin to feel more like herself!)
  3. Dale's sensitivity (I, Jonalyn, have felt so served by Dale's frequent trips to town for groceries, Dale's love and involvement with Finn-- read more on this at Dale's new blog on fatherhood)
Would you join us in praying for
  1. Jonalyn's carpal tunnel to fully heal (she's been very limited in typing, journaling, knitting--even changing diapers is difficult).
  2. A publisher for Jonalyn's next book on female friendships. So far we nearly have one offer. This is so encouraging!
  3. Dale's endurance as he handles much of the correspondence for Soulation while Jonalyn continues to recover. Each night he burns the midnight oil and writes for his new blog, as well. Would you pray that this work of crafting his writing would continue to be rewarding for him?
  4. Our book, Coffee Shop Conversations, will be releasing in 2 months. We still have work to do to promote it. Would you pray for our developmental volunteer, Mike, and the pertinent staff at Zondervan to be timely in their preparation and marketing? It's so easy to miss the narrow window of promotion.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baby Finn

We wanted you to know that last week our lovely boy arrived in this world, Finn Davies Fincher. To read a little about his name check out my blog or Dale's blog.

We've had a wonderful labor experience. Jonalyn delivered all 9 lbs 12 ounces of Finn at 2:41 pm last Tuesday, March 2, 2010. We were amazed, delighted and so thankful for the swiftness of labor and the chance to deliver him without any pain medications.

There have been some bumps along the rode, however. Jonalyn suffered from post-pardum hemorrhage and is still regaining strength as she stays at the hospital with Finn.

Finn has had a rough week too. Though he is strong, his lungs were giving him problems. God has protected his life by appointing attentive nurses to see his struggle and he was moved quickly into the nursery (similar to the NICU in larger hospitals) He's been on 7 days of antibiotics and oxygen.

The strain of being apart from each other and for most hours, from Finn, watching him and being very helpless to help him (beyond nursing him) has been hard.

Would you pray for us to draw near to God and trust him as we await the final (we hope) round of tests tomorrow? We will find out if we can take him home around lunch time. Even then we have to complete a final night with him to prove his strength and health.

Right now we feel so grateful he is getting better but not sure if we can (or should) get our hopes up of taking him home. We long to be home with him so much.

To read a much more detailed day-by-day account of what we've been going through see Dale's newly created blog on being a father.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baby Coming and Library Requests

Today is Jonalyn's due date, but so far no baby arrival. We feel grateful that we're not anxious, just very curious.

Please join us in praying that Jonalyn would be able to deliver without having to induce labor with something like pitocin.

We also came across something rather disheartening today that we'd like your prayer on as concerns our small mountain community. About 2 years ago we both donated our books to our local library. We've also made it a practice to routinely donate good theological and Christian books so that our local library would be outfitted for those who have further questions about Christianity. So far, we just assumed they'd put many of these books on their shelves.

But, today Jonalyn did a search into the library database, more out of curiosity than anything and found that neither of our books can be found. This means that the library either lost them or decided against stocking their shelves with them. Or maybe something else happened.

This concerns us, especially with the overwhelming amount of spirituality books our library does own that leave Christianity out or caricature Jesus. Jonalyn put a call into the Library's director--a woman named Chris and left a message asking for clarity.

We ask that the Holy Spirit would work to begin to help this relationship with the library grow into something where they see the value of good Christianity literature. We want to help those at our local library see the need and if there is any prejudice against Christians that we could offer a reason to put that prejudice to rest.'

Would you pray for Jonalyn's talk with Chris?

Would you also pray that our local library would become aware of the need to stock good Christian books on their shelves?

We believe so much of our work to help people love Jesus begins with changing our minds--which often begins with a good book.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Unexpected Answers

We're sorry to say that the audio was never recovered, however, Biola has expressed interest in our coming out in the Spring, so we can present to the students LIVE. This may prove to be the best option, but it was still hard to lose our work! Thank you for praying.

This week we feel grateful for the time to nest for Birdie's arrival. We did some firsts this week, got our car seat and bought diapers for the first time. You can see how Lady Victoria awaits the baby's arrival, so patiently :)

Birdie is expected Feb 25th, but he may come any time in the next 3 weeks. Jonalyn is feeling much more cumbersome, though she's not in any regular pain. Walking, snowshoeing and yoga have kept her in good shape (pic is of her at 37 weeks). We are asking God for a rewarding labor experience. Ideally we'd like to have the baby without interventions, without a C-section delivery and with Jonalyn and baby in full health. We shall see what God has in store for us.

Dale has had some severe lower back pain due to a fall into an icy pond last week (read about his mishap here). He's gotten some good chiropractic help (as of yesterday) and asks for his back and pelvis to full heal so he can be fully physically present during Jonalyn's labor.

Dale also asks for wisdom as he works out the format for his next book. He has lots of brainstorming documents and ideas, but needs a clear structure of how to best put these thoughts together.

Hopefully, next time we write we'll have some baby news!

The Finchers

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Missing Audio

I was so excited to write an update to you today to share how glowingly our video recording went last week.

We were able to get the entire talk done swiftly and with clarity. We even enjoyed the process. We kept checking all our equipment to make sure it was working properly and sighed with relief when we got the talk finished and could Fed Ex it off to our video editor in Los Angeles.

But, today, we heard back from our video editor that 1/2 the audio (the last half) did not come through. We're utterly frustrated. This is precisely why we think we shouldn't be doing videos like this, we're just not professionals and too many things can go wrong.

We're going to try to find the audio on our backed up copy at home, but the chances are slim that there's audio there. Overall, we feel tempted to scrap the whole project, I don't think we have the resources to recreate the entire talk at this point in Jonalyn's pregnancy and our creative energies.

Would you pray that God will help us find the missing audio?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Video Day

Dale and I have one last presentation to give, this one to a camcorder. This video will be edited and shown to Biola University for their kick-off chapel for The Coalition of Social Action, held Feb 22nd, way too close to our due date for Jonalyn to travel.

We could use your prayer today as video-taping requires we both play script-writers, set-designers, camera and lighting crew and directors is very, very difficult. It would be wonderful to be able to hire a crew to do the video-taping, but that's out of the budget at the moment.

So we ask for
  1. incredible creativity to film and present in a way that doesn't in the end look cheesy and unprofessional
  2. willingness to hear each others' ideas as we brainstorm points and filming ideas
  3. speed to finish this project this morning
  4. clear-headedness to remember our points with the camera staring us in the face
  5. Love to cover our interaction with each other

In other news, our audio recording went beautifully! Our book is recorded and we had a wonderful time with Brad. It was a lot easier recording together and tag-teaming the amount of reading.

So far no more news on Jonalyn's book proposal which is just as well, though hard to wait, since we have our hands full with other things at the moment!

Baby news: the baby may be coming sooner than his due date, something we're praying for as the closer we get to Feb 25th the bigger he'll be. He's around 6 lbs 10 oz right now, so he's strong enough to meet this world. We are praying that he would arrive sometime next week.

Yours in this work,
Jonalyn and Dale

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Three Cheers and Strong Voices

We finished Coffee Shop Conversations. The proof is in the pudding: today Zondervan's audio editor flies into Steamboat for Dale and I to record the entire manuscript this week. So no more changes allowed!. As it's snowing (9 inches and counting) would you pray for him to arrive safely?

Thank you for praying for us to finish. We saw God answer our prayers in three specific ways
  1. We were able to correct many more mistakes given that the rushed situation required an electronic version (and the not the paper version where we have to hand write any corrections). So several chapters ended up much stronger!
  2. Our friends who came to vacation for a week were enormously understanding of our need to finish these edits, so we were able to finish on time.
  3. Dale and I worked very very well as a team, we had wonderful communication and few meltdowns. At 8 months pregnant and all the other distractions, we see God's protection in this.
This week would you pray for us to have strong vocal cords, endurance and no ambient noise interruptions? We are recording out at our cabin.

Jonalyn's pregnancy continues to go very well. She's glad the baby is still sitting high which means snow shoeing and walking is no problem. Come next week we begin nesting in earnest!

Jonalyn's proposal for Walking in Her Shoes is being looked by a few publishers this week. One of the publishers she especially wants to work with has been asking additional questions. Would you pray that God would coordinate the best partnership to allow her next book to be published?

Thank you for praying for us so faithfully!
Jonalyn and Dale

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Missouri Amazement and Manuscripts

We're so happy to tell you that Missouri went very very well and that our baby is still "cooking." No unexpected complications and Jonalyn's strength held up beautifully, even for the 8 hour speaking day on Friday.

Here are some pictures of us with the team of women who brought us out. You can also see us on stage during our talk on Men and Women. We received many enthusiastic comments from Woodcrest Chapel participants on our Soulation fan page. But we wanted to include one here:

Thank you so much for joining us! The time we spent with you both was intriguing, engaging and enlightening. While I enjoyed all three days, my husband came for Saturday and said it was the fastest two hours ever. It left him wanting more. I tossed him your books.

We had participants join us for Ask Live! last night and are continuing to be thankful that we could make this last trip. Thank you for your prayers.

This week's requests
  1. We've seen God answer prayers for wisdom with our manuscript for Coffee Shop Conversations. After Dale put in 14 hours editing, Jonalyn picked up the manuscript and found enough problems that we needed to request an entirely new edit and with an in-house editor. These means Dale's 14 hours had to be scrapped as we go back to a July version of the manuscript. The last edit was done with someone out of house and altered way too much of our material. Requesting a new copy edit took a lot of boldness on our parts, in the past we'd usually just plow through and take too much on our shoulders, but this time, we asked for the editing to be redone. Our editor has agreed, accepting full responsibility for fixing some mistakes. She will be doing an incredibly quick re-editing this week. Her name is Becky and we know her work in these last stages is pivotal for ironing out the distracting grammar, punctuation and redundancies. Would you pray for her to have calmness and balance (many of her projects have had to be put on hold to make our manuscript right this week) so that next week we can tackle this final edit.
  2. Come Monday we'll have Coffee Shop Conversations back in our hands for the final time. We'll have one week to finish it before we have to record it for an audio version of the book. This task, combined with juggling some fun company coming next week means we need incredible focus to work well on this manuscript. Would you pray for swiftness of mind, good communication between each other for this final push and God's grace to meet these deadlines?
  3. Jonalyn is excited to share that her next book, Walking in Her Shoes is currently out among publishers looking for a home. She finished her proposal for this next book on women this last Monday. You can see a video of what it will be about here. She asks for prayers that Walking in Her Shoes would find a good home, an editor that believes in the need for women to strengthen their female friendships.
And on the home front, the baby continues to grow healthy and strong. Please pray for Jonalyn to have patience with her more cumbersome body and to take time to rest when she needs it! Here she is at 33 weeks on a snowshoe we took this week.

We are grateful for you!
Dale and Jonalyn

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weekly Prayer Request - Writing, Travel, Thankfulness

With Christmas over the New Year begun we're glad to share with you some answered prayers.

After sending our Christmas Seasonal out, we have seen new partners offer to help Soulation. They have left us hopeful that if we continue to let people know our needs God will bring us provision. While we could not take full advantage of the matching grant, we were grateful those who did sacrifice this year to continue Soulation's work.

This Thursday- Sunday we will be in Columbus, Missouri speaking for a leadership training event on the value of women in the church, Jonalyn's final speaking trip before her maternity leave. This church heard of Jonalyn's Book, Ruby Slippers, and is asking her to speak upwards of 5 hours about the value and uniqueness of women. They want to open up their congregation to women speaking more regularly as partners with men. Jonalyn has a final doctor's appointment tomorrow to ensure travel is wise at this time 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We ask that there be no complications, that the travel days on Thursday and Sunday are completely uneventful and that her pregnancy runs full term at home in Steamboat. Jonalyn also asks for strength to winsomely share the content in her book. We speak over 8 hours in 3 days, so we both need energy!

Manuscript - Our book, Coffee Shop Conversations, has been sent to us for the final reading before each page is formally laid out for printing. We need the eyes to see how it can be better. Once it leaves our hands this time, it will be printed and out in the world. We want it to be as good as it can be. We have a week after we get back from Missouri to finish it up. Sometimes we think it's great, other times we know we have to clean it up some more. Dale has been working on it every day for the last 3 days. He's off to a coffee shop again today to finish up his edits. Jonalyn will begin to edit when we get back from Missouri.

Grateful for your prayers this week!
Jonalyn and Dale