Saturday, December 31, 2005

Goodbye 2005

Well, it's almost over. In less than 10 hours 2005 will be a memory in our past. As I look back on this year there are a lot of smiles as well as tears that fill my soul. I am thankful for what God has blessed us with throughout this year. And I pray that we will not have to go through some of the painful times we had this year. All in all, 2005 was a good year.

This is the last year Jake will be in pre-school.

This year we got to go to Florida, Disney World, the beach and Key West.

This year we got to go to the ONU game and see the Polar Bears win BIG!!

This Christmas was wonderful....Santa even came to our house.

I once heard a blessing that went something like this....may the new year hold wonders for you and yours...may you love more than the years gone by...may your joys be greater than this year's and your sorrows be less than the year we leave.

Happy New Year!! May you be blessed in 2006!

Monday, December 26, 2005

After that Christmas Night

This year's Christmas was one filled with great wonder and awe. I have been reflecting a lot (as I do almost every year) on Mary's reaction to the events that unfolded around Jesus' birth. I have this beautiful picture on my computer with Mary holding Jesus. The look on her face is priceless and to me really captures the look of the new mother. I imagine that Mary felt so many emotions that day so long ago...I'll bet she was proud of her beautiful son, I bet that she sang him songs and looked lovingly on him as he slept in her arms. How wonderful it must have been to bask in the glory of the Christ Child. Little did she know what the future held...

I hope your Christmas was a joyful one filled with the presence of the baby who came to save all of us.

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's Officially Christmas

I heard it again...and how sweet it sounded. Every year we have Advent concerts on Fridays at our church. It's a time when musicians outside our congregation come and play or sing a lunchtime then we have a light luncheon following. Each year I wait in anticipation that sometime either during the concerts or on Christmas Eve I will hear one of my favorite songs sung...O Holy Night.

Last Friday my wish came true. There was a beautiful redition of O Holy Night sung by one of the Marshall students. It was so beautful I cried at the end.

Thank you so much for making my Christmas complete!

**The picture above is not our sanctuary, but looks kinda like our sanctuary

Congratulations Wes

I just read on the ONU website that Wes Hostelter was named the MVP of the Aztec Bowl after scoring three touchdowns for Team USA over Mexico on Saturday. This is in addition to setting two Aztec Bowl records...with 223 all purpose yards and 18 points scored. He was also named to the AFCA (America Football Coaches Association) All-America team.

For more information go to ONU Football

Congratulations Wes!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Had to Try This...I'm Rudolph

You Are Rudolph

Sweet and shy, you tend to be happiest when you're making someone else happy.

Why You're Naughty: You sometimes stick that nose where it doesn't belong

Why You're Nice: Christmas would be a sad affair without you!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Why Does Snow Keep Missing Us?!

Why is it that we keep missing the snow?! It goes North of us, it goes South of us and all we get is rain. I want snow!!!

And, it's Thursday and that means....RAIN. No sleet or any of the yucky stuff like ice. Just rain.

Well, there's always the possibility of snow next week...but according to the Weather Channel that won't happen either.

Until then...I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Which Character from Narnia are You?

You have a strong sense of responsibility toward others and a deep respect for other people, even strangers, though you are not always sure what the best course of action is. You are Lucy, the brave child who is wise beyond her years and kind to all she meets.

I was hoping to be Lucy!!

Who are you?

  • Are You a Lion or a Witch?
  • Friday, December 09, 2005

    Journey to Narnia was GREAT!

    We went to see the Chronicles of Narnia tonight and it was great. Jake and I have been reading the stories for a while now. We began with the Magician's Nephew and have just finished The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I am glad we read the stories together because reading them before gave us a chance to talk about what was going on and when we saw the movie Jake knew what was going on pretty much.

    The movie was awesome...the special effects were wonderful! I really do feel, along with many, that this will offer the opportunity for theological discussion as people see this movie.

    If you've not had the chance it really is a good movie. We gave it three thumbs up!

    Could this be the first of many?!

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    Tomorrow's Thursday and that Means - SNOW!!

    Ever since we started Common Grounds on Thursday nights we have had a series of bad weather events on that evening. It started last January and continued through to the Spring. Even in the summer we had storms on some of the Thursday nights of the service. At first it was funny...and then we began a mantra, "Of course the weather's's Thursday."

    I thought that maybe this winter would be different, but it doesn't appear so. Tomorrow afternoon and evening there's supposed to be a winter storm in the area. I'm excited about the 2-4 inches they're calling for, but just wish it would come later in the night and not be preceded by the slushy rain/snow/sleet/freezing rain mixture they're calling for. 'Course, Tony Cavalier (the weatherman at WSAZ-TV) could be wrong. Just have to wait and see.

    'Course it is Thursday.

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    What Christmas Figure Are You?

    You are one magnificent person! You are the night
    of Christmas. You are a beautiful, good-hearted
    person who enjoys the best for others. You are
    probably very sentimental as well. You don't
    believe in material objects for making you
    happy, but in things more important. You truly
    live out the spirit and meaning of this
    holiday. Being around the ones you care about
    most is enough to make you content. The thing
    is that most people may either really love or
    unfortunately hate you for your beautiful
    nature. Merry Christmas =)

    What Christmas Figure Are You?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    Now This is More Like It!

    Since our little snowfall on Thanksgiving I have been struggling to get into the holiday spirit. The weather has been too warm to fully get into the Christmas mood. There's something really wrong with Christmas shopping with no coat and short sleeves. There's a problem when the weather is 75 degrees after Thanksgiving.

    But today I was so happy...once again it is snowing!! I grew up in Northern Ohio so I LOVE snow! I like to sit inside and watch it fall from the sky. I like (unless it's slick) to walk while the snow falls...there's just something calming and beautiful about the snow. I miss the snows that we had when I was growing up.

    I'm so excited!! I tried to take a picture of it with my cell phone but the pictures didn't do this pretty scene justice.

    I remember a couple of years ago, I told my college group that one thing I missed about my years growing up was that it was taken for granted we'd have a white Christmas. It seems like those don't happen a whole lot anymore. It could be I moved about 300 miles South of where I used to live, it could be global warming, but for what ever reason I just missed it. I remember telling them that all I really wanted for that Christmas was snow. Well, weeks passed and soon it was Christmas. The weather hadn't forecasted anything for overnight, but when I got up and looked out...THERE WAS SNOW!!

    I looked up and said, "Thanks God! That was so cool!" I told the group about it later that week in Sunday School...two of them said they had seen it too, thought of me and almost cried.

    I was just saying the other day that I said I hoped this winter it would snow and snow and that we would have a beautiful winter to enjoy. It's almost as if God has granted me a glimpse of what this winter can be. Thank you God for creating snow to remind us of you!

    Thursday, November 24, 2005

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Today we woke up with scents of breakfast casserole in the air...and tuned in to NBC to watch the Macy's Day Parade....

    So far we have seen the Big Bird big balloon, Elmo and friends. The Chicken Little balloon, many people singing new and Christmas songs.

    We've seen Sponge Bob, and many others....I wonder if we'll see Spider Man this year?

    The floats are some of my favorites, but I must admit there is definitely something about all of those people who hold the balloons to keep them from flying away. Horses, singers, performers and so many other entertainers are some of the staples of the Holiday parade.

    And who could forget the bands?! This tradition of watching the parade has been one that I remember doing when I was Jake's age. We would watch the parade and in the middle travel to see my cousins at one of their houses for the big Thanksgiving dinner.

    On the way to my cousin's house we would listen to the first of the Christmas music on the radio and anticipate seeing our family. It was a neat experience to be together with everyone during the holidays. We would arrive just in time to catch the end of the parade and the arrival of the guest of honor this day...Santa...with his arrival you always knew the Christmas season had officially started. This is the time of Thanksgiving each year that makes me emotional. Maybe it's because I'm truly a kid at heart. Maybe it's because Jake gets so excited when he sees Santa come down the street riding on a swan-like sleigh. Or maybe I'm just wishing for times past.

    Thanksgiving is a time I remember with fondness...a joy and happiness that is only surpassed by Christmas. We would gather around a big table filled with food, family and friends and share what we were thankful for. There seemed to be less (unless I didn't pay attention to it) product placement and commercialism to the season and things seemed to be more authentic then.

    I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and that you take time to spend with family and friends.

    May we all be counting the great ways in which God has blessed our lives. And may we, during this upcoming Advent season, spend time with God in prayer and thanksgiving for all the gifts in our lives.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    Thank you, Sue

    I found out today that an Emmaus friend passed away this morning. I first saw Sue during my walk to Emmaus last Spring. I remember she light up the room when she entered, dressed as one of the clowns seeking to share the Gospel of Christ. I haven't known her that long, but her impact on me through her clowning made everything so real. Sue lived her life in faith...throughout her bout with cancer she kept her faith and rarely ceased to smile in spite of the outlook of her diagnosis. Today she met Jesus face to face as she entered into glory...a place with no pain, no sorrow and no cancer. I am sure that heaven is an even brighter place because of her presence and her smile there. Please pray for her family and friends in their loss of a true angel of faith. God has truly blessed my life through the witness and faith of Sue. Thank you, Sue...You will be missed!

    Tuesday, November 22, 2005

    Giving Thanks

    So many times we take things for granted. With the events of this past year I think it's even more important to be thankful for all that we have. I am thankful to God for the many blessings that we have in our lives. I'm thankful for family...for Jim and Jake and extended family. I'm thankful for friends...too many to list. I'm thankful for health and happiness. And I'm thankful for the home we live in. There are so many things we take for granted that it's good to pause and offer God praise and thanksgiving for all that God has given to us. Isn't it neat how our country is one whose roots is in offering thanks for our blessings.

    Saturday, November 12, 2005

    Love Fall, Love My Yard, HATE the Leaves

    We are so blessed to have a wonderful parsonage with a great back and front yard. The parsonage we lived in before had a very small front yard and a back yard that wasn't really conducive to playing. But this house has a nice sized front yard that is on a cul de sac and a fenced in large back yard where Jake can safely play.

    The only issue...we have a HUGE pin oak tree in our back yard and a magnolia tree in the front yard. During the spring and summer these trees are wonderful...offering flowers and great shade on our deck in our back yard...and offering us a little bit of coolness in the summer heat.

    But around this time of the year, I hate both of those trees...they're frustrating as they continue to lose leaves from sometimes mid to late October until after the first of the year. Raking, blowing and vacuuming up the leaves is not something that I enjoy seems like just when you think you might be done, the leaves pile up again.

    But, I'll grin and bear it because I keep thinking of the spring and summer and the joy of being outside. Plus, I guess raking is good exercise, right?

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    We're Not in Kansas Anymore!

    As is the tradition in our is the annual time for watching The Wizard of Oz in the McKay household. The Wizard of Oz is my favorite all time movie...I can't remember when I didn't watch it during the fall every year.

    When I grew up I remember it being on around Thanksgiving. The witch scared me so much, but I always tuned in to watch anyway.

    Now it is my turn to share my love of Dorothy and her friends with Jake. He has inherited a love of this movie too.

    I just wish the amusement park was still open. I still remember when I was about 10 years old going to Boone, North Carolina to the Wizard of Oz theme park. After you entered, you went into Dorothy's house...which had landed on the was so cool. I wish it was still around because I'd love to take Jake.

    But until another park opens up (if it ever does) we'll have to settle for the on screen version.

    "....And this is my room. And you're all here. And I'm not going to leave here ever, ever again. And, Oh Auntie Em...there's no place like home."

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    Happy Birthday to Me!! The World Didn't End!!

    Well, today is my birthday. I won't say which one, but it's today. The day went pretty well and I was stuffed with many different confections throughout the day. The best thing about today was that the world did not end.

    A couple of weeks ago I was in the drug store and saw the Star Magazine with the cover: DOOMSDAY 11/9/05 in big bold letters. Well, since it predicted that the world was going to end on my birthday I just had to buy it.

    Last week, as I last blogged, we were at my hometown where I preached at my home church. I used this illustration as I reflected upon the scripture of the 10 sleeping bridesmaids. I encouraged everyone to see Jesus throughout today and to look for him in their midst. I was sharing this idea with a friend and telling them that one of the funnier things I kept saying was, "My birthday is coming...and Jesus is going to be there." She asked if I had seen Jesus today...and I responded that I saw Jesus in everyone and in everything today. It's been a good day...and Jesus did come to celebrate my birthday with me...and he's with me every day.

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Jake and Klondike

    This weekend, Jim, Jake and I went back home. I led worship on Sunday at my home church. But on Saturday we got the chance to go to the Ohio Northern game. The Polar Bears won a mere 63 - 0 over Wilmington. The game was also a time of sadness as the campus community remembered Coach Ron Bendekovic who died suddenly last Wednesday at the age of 34. The crowd paused for a moment of silence to remember the coach and on the field his name was written as a final tribute to this friend and coach.

    Great game, great day, great weekend spent seeing everyone back home.

    Jake had an extremely fun time as he got to again meet Klondike, the ONU mascot, have his picture made with him and watch as the big bear joined the cheerleaders in doing push-ups each time the Bears scored.

    I think the highlight for Jake came, though, when he got his hair spray painted orange and got a paw print put on his cheek. Thank you Student Senate...I think we may have another potential Polar Bear in the making.

    One more game of the regular season...against Marietta. Go Bears!

    Monday, October 31, 2005

    Trick or Treat

    Tonight, as in most communities, was Trick or Treat night. We took Jake around and then finally ended up at the Court House for Safe Trick or Treat. Jake collected so much candy he couldn't carry it all...and actually it was heavy.

    One of the neatest places we went was this huge house that used to belong to Jake's pediatrician. They have gone all out making a graveyard in their front yard. This is a picture of our little Red Power Ranger trying to fight someone who really doesn't want to rest in peace.

    Happy Halloween!

    Sunday, October 30, 2005

    For All the Saints - Thank You

    Today we celebrated All Saints Day...remembering all those who have come before us in the faith who have made an impact on our lives. As some of the names were read off and we were asked to consider those who were saints in our lives, I remembered some of the people whose walks of faith made an impact on me.

    I was reminded of my high school Sunday school teacher, Dale, who was such a great presence in a time when many of us need direction. He was one of the most biblically literate people I've ever known. A farmer by profession, his true vocation was serving the God he loved so much. He has gone on to be wit God, but will forever be a key element of my faith life. I thank God for sharing Dale with me and with all those he touched.

    I also think of my grandmother who was spiritual and true in her life. I remember from one of my earliest memories how warm and welcoming her house always was. How she was such a great hostess to all of her children and grandchildren. But the key element I remember from our visits to her house was the picture of Jesus she had hanging by the door. This same picture hangs in our house today. I miss you, grandma, and look forward to seeing you again. You are a true part of who I am today.

    There are living saints who are still revealing God to me in so many different ways. There's my family...each and every one of them teaches me more and more about faith and about God. Jake helps to remind me of the wonder and amazement of children...Jim teaches me about the love of God and dad teaches me the importance of a genuine and true mom teaches me the truth of making a joyful noise...there are so many others who have made me into the person I am today. Jim's mom has taught me to love and enjoy life to its fullest and think f life as an adventure. To all of these and many more family members who have made me who I am today I thank you all!

    To Erv, Sissy, Marv, Jim W., Todd, Merv, and so many others that I have learned with and laughed with thank you for sharing your love of God with those you are called to serve. Thank you to those who I have had the privilege to serve my "girls" Mary and Linda a sister and good friend, and to the many others who have taught me more about myself and more about God through service all are the best!!

    And finally to the homies that have known me for the longest, thank you for keeping me grounded in your love and reminding me of where I came from so that I can focus on where I'm going...thanks Mary, Michele, Becky, Diedre and all you others who knew me when. I love you guys!

    Thank you God for all those who come into our lives...for a moment or for a lifetime...all those we encounter make an impact upon our lives and our souls and help us to learn more about you. Thank you!

    Oh pickles!

    Well, yesterday wasn't such a good day for the Polar Bears. They played Capital and lost with a heartbreaking score of 16 - 14. This week they moved up in the polls after their big win over #2 Mt. Union, but I can only anticipate that we will fall a bit in the polls for this next week. Good try guys, two more at home versus Wilmington and then they end on the road in Marietta. Hopefully they'll win next week as we hope to attend the game.

    As my little boy says, "Oh pickles!"


    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    SWEET! Another Sweep! They Left No Doubt

    Well, I must say what an exciting night of baseball. I am so thrilled that the Sox not only won the World Series but they swept the series. Congratulations for a job well done. I have been a fan for a long time and it's awesome to see these guys finally get their recognition as an awesome ball team.

    OK, now what am I going to watch on TV for high suspense and entertainment? I'm sure I'll figure something out.


    Come On Sox!

    Ok, it's the bottom of the 9th and the Sox are ahead by one run. If they can go 1-2-3 then they will sweep the series. Come on Sox...leave no doubt and put these whining nay sayers to sleep. Let's get er done.

    Monday, October 24, 2005

    Take That No. 2!!

    Well, I must say this week has been one of great excitement. As I wrote earlier, Ohio Northern has been doing quite well in football this year. They started out nationally ranked at #5 of NCAA Division III teams. They dropped to 20th a while later as they experienced their first loss.

    But, the Bears redeemed themselves this Saturday with a GREAT win over Nationally Ranked #2 team...Mount Union. The Bears started out strong and never seemed to give up the hope. They drew first blood as they scored early in the 1st quarter and continued on from there.

    They won and doused Mt. Union's 110 regular game winning streak.

    How great is that?! It's awesome to see the Bears have a winning season let alone be nationally ranked. Now, let's move up in the poles and keep this dream alive!

    GO BEARS!!!

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    M.T.S.O. & the Blessed Connexion

    I just returned home from a great few days at the Methodist Theological School...where I went to seminary. It was a great experience as I attended the Schoolar Institute for Preaching...and Dr. Marjorie Suchocki was there as the guest speaker.

    The topic was using film to preach the Gospel. It was a good conference and a chance to see many of the people I went to seminary with. The neatest moments were during meal times as many of us who graduated together all gathered around one table to share in food and fellowship. We reminisced about times spent in class and in the dorms. We sought to learn more about each other's ministries and family life.

    As we joined together to eat, I was reminded of a couple of things. First, how often Jesus gathered with people around the table. There were many times that he would gather with his friends, new and old, to join in food and fellowship. I was also reminded of John Wesley's insistence in being connected with one another...the Blessed Connexion. As United Methodists, we are called to be in contact with each other. Doing this helps us to support each other and share ideas with one another.

    As I left today, it was with some sadness as none of us knows exactly when we'll all be together again. But we left in the hopes that we will continue to keep in touch and we look forward to seeing each other again very soon.

    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    Great Day of Sports

    Today has been a GREAT day in sports. First, Ohio Northern won their Homecoming game over Otterbein 44-26. YEA BEARS!

    Following that game, we traveled to Joan C. Edwards stadium to watch the Herd play their Homecoming game. It was a nail biter, but they finally beat UAB 20 - 19. Way to go Herd!

    While at the Marshall game we also found out about Michigan's 25 - 27 win over Penn State. Go Big Blue! Then we also heard about WVU's win (after 3 overtimes) over Louisville...44 - 46.

    We got home from the game to see the big win of the SOX over the Angels! Way to go guys!

    The only thing that could make this a super super day?! Kasey Kahne wins the NASCAR race...and he's leading right now. Go Kasey! Don't hit the wall!

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Great Night with Pauly

    Tonight a few friends of mine and I went to see Pauly Shore at the Funny Bone here in Huntington.

    I am a little reluctant to admit this, but I have been a great fan of Pauly since I don't know when. Could it be that I am stuck in the 80's? That's a definite possibility. I love Son in Law and the other movies of that time which gave Pauly his start. And since I'm a member of the MTV generation, it was neat to see someone that I kinda grew up with.

    He was so fun-ny dude. I had a wonderful time! It was so great to spend the evening laughing at Pauly and some of his friends from his new show, Minding the Store. It was a great night.

    Then after the show, Pauly stayed around to sign autographs and meet people. That's the first time I've been to the Comedy Club that the headliner stayed to do this. We couldn't take pictures during the show, but I snapped this one as Pauly was signing my photo of him. Check it out bud-dy. If he comes to a club near you, and you want to laugh til you hurt, I would highly recommend going, it's really a fun evening.

    Sweet Sweep!

    I am so excited the Sox won again. What a sweet sweep of the Red Sox. Way to go SOX! Now onto the next level. It's about time. Let's keep up the good work! Yay!

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Gathering Together on the Street

    Yesterday was World Communion Sunday. And every three years the churches of downtown Huntington gather together to celebrate World Communion Sunday together. We begin services at our respective churches then process out to one of the main avenues in town to partake of communion together on the street outside many of our churches. We meet at a crossroads where the street and avenue make the form of the cross. We gather together...forgetting all of the things that might separate denomination from denomination. We gather together...on the common ground that so many travel each day. We gather celebrate the Holy Meal of our Lord. We gather anticipation of the great banquet to be prepared for us one day. We gather the Body of Christ knowing that our brothers and sisters around the world are doing the same.

    Saturday, October 01, 2005

    Happy Birthday!

    Today is my husband, Jim's birthday. Jake and I sang to him as we presented a beautifully decorated Spiderman cake to him. It is Jim's twin brother Tom's birthday too, a concept which Jake still doesn't fully understand. "Why is Uncle Tom's birthday the same day as daddy's?"

    Happy birthday! We love you!

    Thursday, September 29, 2005

    Yay Sox!

    Today I was very thrilled to see the White Sox clinch a spot in the playoffs. It is great to see them gain the division title. We'll see if they can hang on and win this thing.

    Go Sox!

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Like Mother Teresa

    Saturday, September 17, 2005

    Go Polar Bears!

    Ohio Northern University is ranked fifth overall this year and may make it into the playoffs in the post season. It is exciting to see them do so well. I remember when I was in school that the team struggled to win at all let alone have a winning season. With the second season in a new stadium, the Bears seek to gain respect and a title this year. Good luck guys! You deserve it! GO BEARS!

    Saturday, September 03, 2005


    It saddens me to see what has happened within our country in the past week. People without food and water for three days. People who are stranded with no homes, no food, no shelter, little or no hope. Those left, especially in New Orleans, are those whose only crime is that they are poor. Some wonder, "Why didn't they leave?" Uh...because they don't have enough money for cars. This tragedy happened at the end of the month...the time when many of us but especially those on fixed incomes are at the low end of their money supply. Their checks would have arrived most likely Thursday. But where are they to be delivered?

    Throngs of people offering their vehicles to use for transportation of people and supplies. Many groups gathering for prayer, gathering to create medical kits and flood buckets to help somehow with the cleanup and recovery.

    Yet there's another group...people that you would think would be greatly concerned with the suffering that is hitting our neighbors so very hard. From them? Silence. For at least a little while. Do they not know what to do or say? Are they afraid their response would be wrong? At times we're told silence is golden...that perhaps more comfort is offered by being silent and presence is enough. But when both are missing, that can be a problem too.

    There's the thing too that at times sins of omission can be worse than sins of commission. I wonder if this is one of those times. The failure to act is sometimes worse than doing the wrong thing because at least something is being done.

    Thursday, August 25, 2005

    Where'd the Summer Go?

    Tomorrow is the beginning of school in town. Jake has already begun "school" at his preschool. He's in the four year old class and will learn how to write and other cool stuff this year. He's very excited to begin this new school year. He was getting bored during the summer saying, "Well, all we do is play, mom...not much else."

    School...I used to get sad at this time of year when I taught. The locusts singing brought about the reality that soon the school bells would ring and I'd be back in the classroom with about 120 different kids, some that were familiar and many that were new. Every once in a while I get nostalgic for that time. But then I really enjoy what I'm doing now, especially working with college students.

    So, as this new school year begins I hope that everyone is safe and learns much. Get ready, here comes the fall.

    Sunday, August 14, 2005

    Model of the Church

    You scored as Sacrament model. Your model of the church is Sacrament. The church is the effective sign of the revelation that is the person of Jesus Christ. Christians are transformed by Christ and then become a beacon of Christ wherever they go. This model has a remarkable capacity for integrating other models of the church.

    What is your model of the church? [Dulles]
    created with

    Playing Jesus is a Challenge

    As I posted a few weeks ago, our church joined with several others for Vacation Bible School and did an event called Marketplace at our local park. The scene is the marketplace in Jerusalem during the last days of Jesus' life. This event was so carefully scripted that on the last day during the closing Jesus was to appear in the midst of the participants. Jesus was played by my friend Kevin, a fellow pastor of a downtown church.

    The scene occurred similar to the way the appearance of Jesus in the Upper Room is described. While everyone was singing a prayer...Jesus "appeared" in our midst. I watched Jake as he came and stood among us. Jake's eyes were wide and his mouth fell open. "Jesus is alive, Mommy." I heard him whisper. After the service was over, Jake had many questions, "How did Jesus come back to life? Where is he now? How does he live in our heart if he's alive? Are we going to see him again?"

    I talked to Kevin a few days ago and told him what Jake had said. Kevin shared another awesome moment at VBS when Jesus appeared. He said as he was walking off two little girls came running up to him. One had to be about 8 or 10 and the other was around 5 or 6.

    The younger of the girls came right up to him with an urgent question, "Jesus...has your mother seen you? She's awfully worried about you. Have you seen her?"

    "No," Kevin said, "but if you do would you give her a message? Tell her I'm ok and I'll see her soon."

    As quickly as the girls had appeared they ran off to tell Mary that Jesus was alive.

    The faith of a child is an amazing thing. Children are so honest, so eager to learn more about things they don't understand. They ask and ask to gain a better understanding. And, they truly care about people and their feelings. That must be one of the reasons that Jesus told us to have the faith of a child. Faith enough to ask if we're going to see Jesus again and faith enough to be concerned about Jesus' family and their welfare. Faith so great it opens the eyes of adults to better see Jesus in our midst.

    Mary Pete Monkey Bear Stinky Bottom

    This weekend has been especially sad as one of my best friends (on the right in the picture) has gone to Atlanta to begin seminary at Candler. I'm excited for her as she begins a new chapter in her life of ministry, but it is also sad as we miss her. She was our drummer for our contemporary service Common Grounds.

    My son calls her Mary Pete Monkey Bear Stinky Bottom. A name of affection for anyone. I don't think it's totally sunk in to him that she has left. And that she probably won't return until probably Christmas time.

    We've known this time would come, but it seems that time has flown since she announced that she was leaving. I think it won't truly seem real until we begin Common Grounds again this Thursday. Things will be different without her around.

    I wish you well, Mary...but miss you lots!

    Stages of the Christian

    I just read Dan Kimball's post Reality Church about the different stages of people in the church. I have begun to wonder if that's what happens when churches begin to decline. Our church has begun the first steps in New Church Development. It's a process by which certain factors are evaluated to see where the church needs to grow. Perhaps we need to also look at how to involve and excite people without burning them out.

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    Passing of the Smokey

    Jake, our four year old, has been reluctant to sleep in his own room for a while. He says there are monsters living in his closet, which I assure him is impossible as there is no room for monsters due to the toys and clothes packed into the closet.

    His nights in our bedroom continued for quite some time and frankly was kind of a comfort especially over the last week as I was cherishing even more the time I got to spend with him. However, it became clear that Jake really has no intention of going back to sleeping in his room. We tried many things and nothing seemed to work.

    That is until the other night. Jake saw a teddy bear that Jim got me quite a while ago. He special ordered it with my college alma mater and name on it. Jake wanted to sleep with it, but I was reluctant...first of all it's rather dusty from being displayed on top of our TV in the bedroom and also because I didn't want anything to happen to it. I began to look for something that would provide him some comfort and saw my old teddy bear from when I was about Jake's age...Smokey.

    Smokey was the second bear (the second Smokey bear) that I had from the time I can remember. He protected me...went into surgery with me when I was 10...and was just there for me. I grabbed Smokey and told Jake about him. I told him that Smokey was filled with hugs and he loved to give hugs to children. I told Jake that Smokey kept me safe through scary nights and was always there for me. He grabbed a hold of Smokey and wouldn't let him go.

    I told Jake that we would get him a night light to help the darkness of his room. And between Smokey and the nightlight, Jake spent the entire night in his room with no fighting, no crying and little fear.

    Maybe each of us just needs a little Smokey. Something to hold tight to...something to give us listen to our scare away the keep us safe in the darkness until the light of day comes.

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    The Love of Friends

    Throughout these past few rough days, we have received an abundant outpouring of love and care...from emails to posts to phone calls and prayers. All have made us truly feel the presence, love and power of God in our lives. The love and support that all of you have offered to us in our time of loss is overwhelming. And our family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Our Smallest Angel

    Yesterday had to be one of the worst days of my life. Not even a month ago, we found out we were was a joyous time filled with hope, dreams and excitement as we awaited our new little arrival. Our hopes began to wane a little last Friday as I began to show early warning signs of losing our baby. At first I thought that maybe with aerobics and VBS and all the other stuff going on last week that I had just overdone it. However, yesterday at the doctor our worst fears were realized. The baby hadn't grown from like 5 weeks and their heart had stopped (or had never started) beating. We were crushed. How do we tell Jake? How do we get through this time.

    I don't know how we are to be blessed by this. I did have this repeated thought in my head, "You will help others who experience this type of loss." All the same I kept thinking, "That's nice God, but why do we have to experience this pain?" At the same time there was also this reassurance that there is hope beyond this that new life can occur. But it doesn't help to reduce the bouts of pain and sorrow I feel from time to time.

    I look at Jake so differently and feel so blessed to have been blessed with him in our lives. I really realize how lucky we were with him that none of this stuff happened then.

    From the time I can remember I have collected angels. Maybe it's because they're beautiful beings that are close to God...I don't know. The picture at the top is one of my favorites which now has a bit of a new meaning to me. My little angel has gone on to be with the angels. And, I believe there is hope beyond the sadness. But for now I'm just holding close to my guys giving thanks to God for allowing me the gift of their presence in my life.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    Keep Your Eyes on the Soldiers

    This week we are having a Vacation Bible School experience at our local park. Our church, along with 8 or so others are holding our joint Bible school at the park in hopes of attracting other children and families that might not have a church home. It's called Marketplace and simmilates what life might have been like at the time of Jesus. There are shops where the children can make things (like clay pots, jewelry, dreidels, etc.), there are tribal families where the children learn about Jewish traditions, there is Synagoge school where the children learn about Jewish traditions. And then there are the Roman Soldiers. When we were at home over the weekend we saw a float in the parade that had the three crosses and Roman Soldiers walking behind it. Jake then began to be leary of the soldiers as my mom made some comment about the soldiers killing Jesus. Jake took that statement into himself and is still leary about the soldiers to this day. Everytime they walked by he'd hide behind me and watch them the whole time. Things escalated a bit when we learned last night that Jesus had been Jake is really aware of the presence of the soldiers around us. We'll see if the rain and severe heat holds off tonight whether Jake will ever take his eyes off the soldiers or not.

    Saturday, July 23, 2005

    Am I This Old?

    This weekend we are back home for the annual Celina Lake Festival...a weekend full of fun, fireworks and the Grand Parade. Throughout this weekend I have also had the pleasure of seeing a few people that I went to high school with. And boy have we changed. Now in my work with college students I begin to think of myself as one of them...a 20-something fun-filled person with lots of energy and few years. But when I look at some of the people that I remember from the good ol'days I can't help but be reminded when we were in our prime and youth. It's hard to picture some of the real jocks of the football team being overweight and balding...some of us with our gray/white hair coming in. I guess that's why The Boss wrote that song about Glory Days...

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    I Survived Tomb Raider the ride!

    For the past two days, I have been in Cincinnati with our college students from church. We took a trip to Kings Island and what an adventure we had. I was talked into riding a few rides that I just, frankly, wasn't sure of but was assured I would be ok. The worst of these was the Tomb Rider ride....which included going upsidedown several times and hanging upsidedown for a little while...enough to have someone encourage me to open my eyes to see what was around me. See, the ride is base, of course, on the movies so you are in a "cave" and spinning around and see stalagmites and then you are rotated again and are in a lava pit...the freakiest things about the ride were feeling your bottom come completely off of your seat and then seeing the folks around you with their hair above their heads. I kept thinking that I somehow was going to fall out of the safety harness. But all was well, or so I thought. I didn't realize that as we were on the ride I must've held exceeding tight to the harness...I was shaking as I got off and both of my wrists ached so bad. Today I woke up and my biceps on both arms ache and ache. Well, at least I can say I did it so I never have to ride it again. Lara Croft? I am NOT!

    Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    Fired Up for the Fourth

    Over the weekend we got to see a great fireworks display in Cincinnati. The colors were brilliant and the music that went with them was wonderful. One thing that I did find ironic, though, was the company that put on the fireworks was for cleaner air. What's cleaner in the air than the sulfur smells of fireworks? Anyway, the show was wonderful.

    Thursday, June 30, 2005

    Second to Last Common Grounds

    In mid January, our church began this new contemporary worship service called Common Grounds. For a while now I have been saying that our church needed some kind of service that was not too formal and that involved some contemporary worship music. Throughout these past six plus months we have reached out to new people in the community and until the weather got warm and people began to go somewhere else. We're now going to take a little break...for about 6 weeks or so so that the worship team and all those who donate their time and talent to help us put this service together can rest and relax and revive. We're hoping to work up some new and different music for the fall...hoping to get more volunteers to make things easier for those involved. Trying to figure out new and different ideas for the worship, presentation and the music. Looking toward a time of renewal and new ideas.

    Monday, June 27, 2005

    Summer Continues

    Yesterday I wrote about the beginning of Summer as the gill was lit. Today we went to a friend's house to swim in her pool. Jake had a lot of fun as he splashed around and squirted us with these fish that spit water. He tried to get me to climb into the pool, but that was when I froze. I don't like ladders...period. And I hate worse to climb up a ladder, change direction and climb down into a pool or any other thing I might climb into. So, I tried to get in...I got up to the top and froze. Jake kept yelling, "Come in mommy. It's not cold." But I couldn't move. Needless to say I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon from a chair at the side. So now my friend as well as my son think I'm some kind of freak that can't climb a simple stupid ladder. But ever since my knee surgery I've been scared to climb something like that....I'm sure this will be a story told and told at my expense...Summer continues

    Sunday, June 26, 2005

    Summer's Officially Here!

    For the first time this season, we fired up the grill tonight. Brats on the grill...with potato chips...and strawberries with dip (Jake's favorite). Sitting on the back deck enjoying good food is one of my favorite things of summer. I am sure this is just the first of many meals enjoyed out at the picnic table on the deck. Good food with friends and of the best things of Summer. Happy Summer!

    Saturday, June 25, 2005

    Hands Off!

    I just got a phone call today from one of my seems as though when she was on vacation someone got into her house and took some stuff. This comes on the heels of someone (well, actually a group of people or small army) breaking into our church and stealing loads of stuff. In that break in they took 3 guitars (one of which was mine), a 27" TV, a VCR, DVD player, our maintenance man's tools, his computer, they tried to break into our pop machine but when it didn't open as they thought it should they broke the glass in the top then just left it. 'Course it was in their anger that they left their only fingerprint. They also took a boom box, some Veggie Tale videos and a cheeseburger with a pickle that they chiseled from a block in the freezer oh and who could forget the pea salad made for our Thursday night dinner. Then in the next few days proceeded to break into several other churches in the area.

    So I'm just wondering, why can't people just keep their hands off of stuff that's not theirs? Why do they feel compelled to take what other people's not that things can't be replaced, but when you take computers and other things that have files that can not easily be replaced. Anyway, just wondering.

    Friday, June 24, 2005

    What Candy Are You?

    discover what candy you are @ quiz me

    Way to go Sue! Way to go God!

    Over the past few months I have been praying for a friend who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She received a bone marrow transplant at the end of May and has been battling to gain her strength and her immunity back ever since. Throughout her latest battles we have heard wonderful news. After the initial tests her doctors have determined that her CA (I think it is called) is lower than the level where it is diagnosed no cancer. Second, I received an email today saying that after 37 days in the hospital she's actually out in the pseudo-real world. It's amazing what prayers, faith and God can do. God is good all the time...all the time God is good!

    Thursday, June 23, 2005

    I'm a Starfish

    You're a Starfish!
    To others, your presence seems to denote greatness, or at the very least something celestial. You're enthralled by the heavens above and seem to always be looking to them for guidance. Once you decide to stick to something, it's very difficult to get you away from it. You really don't seem to mind other people, even strangers, touching you. We can't all be you; someone has to applaud.

    Take the Animal Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

    The Book Quiz

    You're The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!
    by C.S. Lewis

    You were just looking for some decent clothes when everything changed quite dramatically. For the better or for the worse, it is still hard to tell. Now it seems like winter will never end and you feel cursed. Soon there will be an epic struggle between two forces in your life and you are very concerned about a betrayal that could turn the balance. If this makes it sound like you're re-enacting Christian theological events, that may or may not be coincidence. When in doubt, put your trust in zoo animals.

    Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2005

    OK so I had to try this

    Well, I finally got into the whole idea of the blogspot. It seems as though I'm one of the last people to begin a blogspot. So, here's my start...not real great, but it's almost midnight and I'm getting tired. More later.