Friday, June 12, 2015

Dreams and a Future

We have a graduate!!

Our oldest graduated (he is in the sea of the white and black cap and gowns).  It's been a long I was worried about, but saw a young boy grow up to be a young man!

Last December, he mad the decision to go into the Army!  What an emotional roller coaster ride it has been since the moment he signed those papers...and we are still going!!

During the ceremony, the moment that caught me (even though I knew it was coming) was when they asked all those going into the military to stand up and be recognized...when a handful of them stood, I knew my son was among those 10 (or so) that stood!  My breath caught and I choked back a few tears!  I'm so proud of him!  He has made a decision that will change his life forever!

So as we venture into the next phase of his journey, please pray for us...he leaves on July 13th!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Invisible Person

I'm sure you've seen these signs...but the question I want to ask, is have you seen the people behind the signs?

I've been spending a lot of Thursday afternoons with a couple of my friends heading downtown Cincinnati to feed the homeless.  I have gotten to know a few of them.  I actually enjoy my time spent with them feeding them, praying with them and giving them some basic supplies to help them get through another day on the streets.

James 2:16English Standard Version (ESV)

16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that?

Love them where they can't always change the situation they are in or help them out of it, you just need to love them where they are.  Meet their basic needs...feed them, clothe them, etc.

Don't judge a book by it's cover...I've heard people say things like "they have better shoes than I have, they aren't homeless" or "they have a cell phone, surely they aren't homeless"... let me put those phrases into perspective...what if that person had just came to where we were feeding the homeless and we gave them some shoes that were donated to us?  Then yes, their shoes could look brand new.  What about that phone?  Obama gives phones can read about it here!  The list can go on and on.  

What I think is really sad...a lot of those homeless that we come across served our country...and now they live on the streets!  Think about all they have done for what can you do for them?

So next time you see one of those signs, stop and look...look at the person behind the sign.  Smile, say "hi"...they are a person and just want to be seen!

Take a look at this video...

Will you see them??

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's Just a Phase

Last year I went to The Orange Conference and really enjoyed myself.  I wanted to go again this year, so back in November when they ran a contest, I entered.  I didn't win, but shared it with my Children's Ministry Director and she encouraged me to post this on my blog.

Tell us about your phase.

My response: I am an Assistant Children’s Ministry Director of The River Church in Liberty Township, Ohio.  For years, I have known that God wanted me to work with children, and over the 10 years that we have attended The River Church, I have tried everything from the Nursery to Junior High trying to find my niche (children’s ministry at our church is from birth to 5th grade).  It wasn’t until I started working on the other end of the Children’s ministry that I found my calling.  I greet all the parents as they come and go through our children’s ministry, check them in, answer their questions, assure them that their children are cared for so that they can enjoy service without worry.  I also am working with the volunteers that are in our children’s ministry, thanking them for serving, making sure they have everything they need…helping with potty breaks, holding a baby that just needs a bit of extra attention.  I love it!  I get to see the children’s excited faces as they enter our children’s wing, I get to interact with those children as they go to their classes, I get to see their faces light up as they share what they’ve learned in class.  I get to make each one of those little ones feel special!  I have seen many of those little ones move out of the children’s ministry into the student ministry and then go off to college…and all I can say is WOW.  Time goes by so fast, and I don’t want any of those little ones not to feel special.
My title may be Assistant Children’s Ministry Director, but what I really am is a greeter, name tag changer, computer rebooter, head counter, comforter, helper, listener, snack fetcher, potty breaker, baby holder, mommy fetcher, etc., but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

If your church uses the Orange curriculum (even if they use something different and/or are open to using it) and you are able to go, I would encourage you to go to the Orange Conference.  It's a great way to get motivate, learn more about what Orange has to offer, and connect with so many other people doing the same thing you do!  

I had a blast last year...praying for a way to attend this year! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Remembering Grief

This November it will be 5 years since my dad passed away.  I didn't realize how his death had affected me so much.  As I looked back at how my Father's Day Weekend went, I realized that I was in a grouchy mood for most of the weekend and it didn't matter what you said to me, I took it the wrong way and was upset.  It wasn't until I sat down and looked at the calendar that I realized that maybe I was missing my dad.

Years ago, my mom had told me that in February she would be caught off guard by her feelings of being down until she looked at the calendar.  She lost both of her parents in February (different years, but both in February).  I never understood what she meant until this year.  And it wasn't November (the month my dad passed away), and it wasn't March (my dad's birth month), but June, Father's Day weekend.

When you go through grief and come out on the other said, you are never really done grieving, you have just learned to live with the loss.  With everything that I went through, I have used my grief to understand what to do, and more importantly what not to do when someone else is grieving the loss of a loved one.

When I grieved my dad's death, I had to come to the realization that he wasn't going to be there for any of my children's graduations, weddings, etc. (he didn't get to see any of his grandchildren get married for that matter) and I had to be ok with that before I could move on.  One of the obstacles that I had to get through was the age my twins were (5) when he died and that frightened me...they would never really know my dad.  I say that because I was 5 when my grandmother died and I don't know much about her at all.  Another friend of mine told me that you can keep them remembering your dad through photos, and stories.  (I really do have smart friends! LOL)

I had another friend once tell me that it doesn't matter if I lost my dad too, the relationship between us was different than the relationship you had with yours, so honestly, I don't know what you are going through.  No one deals with death the same way.  No one knows how it will affect someone else.  The only thing you know for sure is they are hurting in some way.  And there will be days that they seem absolutely fine, then there will be other days that it's not so fine.  Somedays it hurts!

I don't have the answers, but what I can tell you is that if you have a friend who is grieving, let them talk.  You may hear the same stories of their loved one over and over, but it gives them comfort to be able to share their stories with you. Just because they are gone, they aren't erased from your memory.

If you have a friend who is down, ask them to tell you stories of their loved one.  I know they would love to tell you, but don't be surprised of a few tears fall.  It's ok...grief does that.  As time goes on, the tears will be less, and the smiles when the stories are told will be more.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Orange Conference 2014

This year I had the privilege of going to the Orange Conference with a couple friends from The River Church.

Not only did I learn so much and have so many ideas for our Children's Ministry, but I also came home more in love with God, with a renewed dedication.

It's funny how when you go somewhere thinking one thing God steps in and changes the course of your thoughts!

I have so much to review and go through, I'm hoping that I'll have a chance to share some of my thoughts with you, but right now I just need to process it on my own.

I can't wait to go back!  I want to go next year!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Orange Conference 2014

This year, I get to attend my very first conference.  I've heard about conferences and how much information you get from them and how much fun they are, but have never been to one.  

As an Assistant Children's Ministry Director, I was excited when our Children's Director approached me to ask me my thoughts about going to the Orange Conference.  It was then that I realized how excited I really was!

Now that we will be leaving in 4 days, to say I'm excited is an understatement!  I already have 90% of my bags packed, my toes and fingernails are painted orange (LOL), and I have spent the past week or so searching the internet for things like Food Trucks in Atlanta, How to get the most out of a Conference, Who is going to the Orange Conference and trying to follow all the twitter messages about the Orange Conference #OC14

So, in keeping with the theme of this year...
I'm Saying YES to the Orange Conference 2014!

So, what breakout sessions will I be attending?

  • Strategies to Include Every Child (Including those with Special Needs)
  • Say Yes to Improving Your Social Media Skills
  • Social Media is Visual, Measured and Strategic
  • Special Needs Ministry Top 10
Of course we will be attending the main sessions as well as the Network and Team Gatherings!

Let me know if you will be attending and what breakout sessions you will be going to!!

Words Have Power

Words have Power...

When I was younger, we recited this when someone was being mean...
Sticks and Stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me
Oh, but it wasn't true.  How those words cut to the bone.

Proverbs 18:21 says...
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Words have power, power to build up, and power to destroy.  They cause curses or blessings.  Tell a child over and over how smart they are and they begin to believe it.  The opposite is also true.

When I was in the 8th grade, we took a test where the results came back that I wasn't smart enough to take college prep courses.  I believed it and didn't take college prep courses.  The first time I walked into my basic math class, the teacher asked me what I was doing in that class, after telling her about what the test said, she told me that I was smart enough and to get signed up and into Algebra the first point that I can.  I did so, and it made me feel so smart that my math teacher told me that I was smart enough.

There have been studies done that music and words together and you can remember things better.  How many songs from your childhood/teenage years can you still remember?  I realize that it's usually the ones that aren't very good that I can recite almost word for word!

Psalm 1:2 says...
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
So, what does it mean to meditate?
  1. Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God. The word meditation comes from the Latin word meditārī, which has a range of meanings including to reflect on, to study and to practice.
So God asks us to meditate on His word.  When you recite a verse over and over you begin to memorize the verse.  Having verses memorized gets them deep down into your heart.  This is how I memorize verses, by repeating them over and over, until I know them by heart.

When I was younger, I had a record (yes, I said record) that had a couple kids saying the alphabet backwards, well, I listened to that over and over again.  I can still recite the alphabet backwards.  (It's actually won me an award before)

I memorize things is by hearing them repeated back to me over and over.  It's another way I learn, along with repeating things to myself, I repeat them out loud so I can hear them as well as say them.  It helps enforce what I am learning.

I have some learning to do...I believe this post was meant for me...I have been trying to memorize verses and learn more scripture, I'm not where I want to be, I'm still learning how to get there.  I would love if you would pray for me as I work my way through some scriptures to memorize.