A book is a friend for life. The words stay with you, even when you put the book down.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time Change, Weekend, and Thoughts about Sisters

It's Monday morning of the "Spring Forward" time change. And I am dragging. I did okay yesterday, with getting up and around, and was even early for church. But this morning? I feel like I am slogging through quicksand. Or slowsand. I'm working on a cup of coffee, though, so maybe the caffeine will help.

While my thoughts are certainly all jumbled up this morning, one thing is clear. Despite the odd time change, one real thing never changes -- the love of family. My weekend was a perfect example of that.

This weekend was certainly busy! One of the highlights was my little niece's 6th birthday party. Her mom held it at the local bowling alley, and invited all the relatives and all the kindergarteners to the party. She was a bit sad at first, since she'd gotten RSVPs from only a few of the kids. Well, it turned out nearly the whole class came!! I would have been completely overwhelmed, but she handled it with her usual grace and smiling face. I am in awe of this amazing woman. Through all of her lifetime of personal struggle and tragedy, she continues to be a beacon of hope. (Oh, and my kiddos had a great time bowling -- my son even won a game, and so did I!)

Yesterday was a beautiful, windy, rainy Sunday. Despite the time change, we had a lovely worship service and average attendance. My sister-in-law and niece even came for worship! My kids love it when she is here! We try to spend every minute we can in her presence. My daughter even spent the night with her little cousin. After church, we ate pizza together and just generally "hung out" all afternoon. My kids love hanging out with their cousins, and I truly enjoy the quiet (and not-so-quiet) moments I get to spend with my sisters. How blessed I feel to have married my husband and gotten two sisters in the bargain! :)

For some great reading about sisters (who aren't blood-related but are "sisters" nonetheless), pick up the Traveling Pants series. I read these four books quite awhile ago, and there is a new one out! It's called Sisterhood Everlasting, and I can't wait to read it! There's also a related book called 3 Willows, which I believe is about the daughters of the original "sisters". Some fabulous reading, for women of all ages. It's about the friendship that connects us, whether we are born sisters or brought together as friends.

Monday, March 4, 2013

March, already??

Goodness, can it be March already? February was so full and busy, I can't believe the time got away from me!

The past two weekends have been incredibly busy! First, we took the junior high & high school youth to MidWinter camp. They had a great time, and so did we! Then, just after getting back, we attended the funeral of a very dear friend and outstanding member of our congregation. He will certainly be missed by all of us!

This past weekend was even more full! Friday we were out of school, thankfully, so we could get as much done as possible before my daughter's birthday party Friday evening. She got to go shopping with PaPa, and I believe they bought out the mall! :) She had a great turn-out for her party, and even had two of her friends sleep over Friday night. Saturday was completely filled with WinterJam! We left extra early and got to stand in line for a looooooooooong time, and even then, we barely got in and had seats behind the stage. No matter what seats, it was still a great concert and a great worship experience. We got home around 1:30 Sunday morning, got a little sleep, and headed to church! Even Sunday was filled to the brim, with church, my daughter's birthday dinner at the Chinese restaurant, and Bible study in the evening.

Whew! I'm exhausted just writing about it!

I would love to share a great reading recommendation at this point, but I haven't had time to read! Maybe next time!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February Formal Dinner

I love the kids in our youth group! They continue to show me, time after time, how amazing they are! We have been blessed with a fabulous group of hard-working young people.

Last night's fundraiser dinner is a perfect example. My husband came up with a spur-of-the-moment idea in January to have a dinner (served by the youth) to help them raise money for summer camp. (Believe me, they need the money; we heard how much more camp is going to cost this summer = yikes!)

So, we crafted this idea. The kids would dress in nice clothes and become the waiters in our "candle-light" restaurant. Hubby served as chef, and made a delicious meal of chicken parm, Italian potatoes, herb spaghetti, plus salads and cheesecake. I dubbed it the "February Formal", so it wouldn't be too "couple-y", and the kids really enjoyed getting dressed up.

We had a terrific turn-out! We are so thankful to all the adults of the church who came out to support the kids. Certainly more than we expected. And such a great response -- several people asked if we could do this again soon! :) I think we will, but we need time to recuperate before trying it again.

The best part of the evening, though, was watching the kids serve. They were sweet, attentive, prompt, and just generally showed the Christ-like attributes we try to teach them in church.

We are so blessed to know these kids, and to be part of their lives.

To top it all off, we ended the evening in the sanctuary at the Ash Wednesday Service. Great to see all the kiddos in church being serious, as well as serving others at the dinner. (Proud!)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Precious Moments

What an amazing weekend! We took 14 kids, grades 1-6, to church camp over the weekend. I know, that sounds crazy, but it truly is an awesome experience!

I wanted to write about one of my highlights from the trip, before I forgot! On Saturday evening, we had a unique worship experience. Each one of the small groups planned and led a portion of worship. My small group was assigned communion.

My small group was a different group -- my kids were the youngest campers there for the weekend. All were in 1st or 2nd grade, with an extra kindergartener thrown in. (Her dad was the other adult leader in our small group, so though she was still a bit young for the weekend, it all worked out.) We also had two high school kids who helped with our small group.

So, perhaps you can imagine what I was thinking as I sat down with the group to plan our part in worship. I find I am always surprised by something new that God has to teach me. Remember that Bible verse that encourages us to "let the little ones" come to Jesus? Sometimes, they just get things in a way that is difficult for adults to understand. It's that amazing childlike faith.

Yes, the first graders served communion. And not only did it mean a lot to them, it brought some of us adults to tears.

And yes, the second graders and kindergartener spoke the words of institution over the bread and cup. Did they know what they were saying? Yep! And watching the light in their eyes during this experience certainly made the moment mean even more to me.

But the best part of our communion experience, to me, was watching our tiny kiddos bravely stand in front of the rest of the campers (who were ALL older than my group) and lead the camp's favorite communion song, Sanctuary. This was the first time that most of the kids in my small group had heard this song (and we practiced a lot during our small group time to learn it!). But their sparkle and joy was certainly contageous! All the "big" kids joined in, and carried the song on. What a wonderful worship moment.

On a personal note, what a treasure it was for me to be served communion by my own little first graders that I teach at school and in Sunday School. And what a treat for me to offer them communion at the end of the service, as they had offered communion to the large group and waited patiently for kids and adults alike to partake.

"Lord, prepare me
to be a Sanctuary
pure and holy
tried and true
With thanksgiving
I'll be a living
for You.
Lord, teach Your children
to stop their fighting,
start uniting,
live as one.
Let's get together
and live forever
as Sanctuaries
for You."

Friday, January 25, 2013

January Sicknesses and Winter Camp

January has been crazy.

First, my daughter got sick and had to miss two days of school. Quite unusual for her. She also had to miss the final basketball game of the tourney, which was also her last basketball game of 6th grade.

Then, my son got sick. As per the usual, he was sick for a week.

During this entire time, my husband was also sick. And when he wasn't sick himself, he was staying home with the sick kids. So that was not so cool.

I figured, since they have all been well and attending school this week, I was probably going to get it.

I was right.

I spent the last two days at home sick. Ugh.

I had no choice but to feel better today, though. This afternoon, we are taking our kiddos to Mid-Winter Camp. This is the awesome church camp our kids attend every winter about this time. This year, we are taking an even dozen with us. So cool! Can't wait for them to experience this! Two of them are just old enough this year, so this is their first time. We also have two others who have never gone with us before, either.

So, I hope I continue to feel better and make it through the weekend!

Just for fun, I've been reading a cute book called Encyclopedia of Me, by Karen Rivers, about a middle school girl who is grounded during the summer and decides to write an encyclopedia to keep herself occupied. Cute book, I think all 12-13 year old girls will love. It's been good to have something to keep me occupied.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Basketball Boy

My son only plays basketball because I make him. That's what he tells everyone, and it's actually the truth. In their elementary school, the 4th-6th graders play basketball during this time of the year. If the kids choose not to participate on the basketball team, they end up sitting through all of gym class. Well, I figure he does enough sitting during the rest of his day; he needs to be up and active during gym class. So, yes, I make him play basketball.

The hardest part of playing basketball, for him, is that the rest of the boys in his class are incredibly talented. It's like they were born with athletics in their genes. They live and breathe sports. So my son doesn't get to play in the games for very long (although his coach is awesome and lets every boy have some minutes of playing time in every game).

Last night, though, my son got plenty of playing time. The team was ahead by a ridiculous number of points. (I think the final score ended up being something like 45-8.) And somehow, something in my son's brain finally clicked. He actually took 3 shots -- something he's NEVER done in a game before.

And he actually MADE a BASKET! In fact, it was the final basket of the game, though it wasn't a "buzzer-beater" or anything fantastic like that.

I was probably the most excited person in the stands at that point. I'm so proud of him. He's stuck with it, and improved as a player, even though he really doesn't like playing basketball. And that makes me proud of him as a person.

A great basketball book: Summer Ball by Mike Lupica

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dreams Gone By

Well, Mother Sugar ( has done it again. She's asked a question that caused me to take a "sentimental journey".

The question? What dreams will you never see fulfilled, and why do you think they won't be fulfilled?

I've been pondering this question since it was posted last Friday. It's a difficult question, because we all want to believe that phrase "Dreams can come true". After all, don't we tell our children this? I encourage my kids to dream big dreams and work to make those dreams come true. One of my favorite tomes, Walden, has always been an encouragement to me, to keep building my "castles in the air" and the "foundations under them".

Yet, this question begs for an honest answer. So here it is.

My dream that will never be fulfilled is for my children to have their grandmothers at their graduations, weddings, and other lifetime achievement moments. I have been so lucky. I had both of my grandmothers beside me through most of my life. I even knew my great-grandmothers. And yet, my children will not have this same joy. My mother passed away before my children were born. My husband's mother passed away when my children were in 1st and 2nd grade. It's true: my kids will not have their grandmothers beside them the way I did.

My kids have been lucky enough to have close relationships with their great-grandmothers -- all four of their great-grandmas! However, in the past 3 years, my kids have lost 3 of the 4. In fact, my kids' last remaining grandma just turned 93. It makes me sad and a bit nostalgic when I think of all the red-letter days that my kids will have to experience "grandma-less".

Don't get me wrong. My kids are certainly not alone in the world! They are surrounded by loving parents, aunts, uncles, and grandfathers. They even have a step-grandma who cherishes them. They have plenty of extra grandmas at church and in our tiny community who come to support them in all their endeavors, whether it is a piano recital or a football game.

But that dream of mine, of my children proudly walking across the stage at high school graduation with their grandmas beaming from the audience. Well, that dream will be unfulfilled. Not a thing I can do about it. Except to remind them (and myself) that we are not alone. That we are loved. And that somewhere, their grandmas are looking down on them with love and pride, no matter what.