Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, December 28, 2009


This is one of my favorite songs. As you listen to the words take some time to reflect on this past year and this next year ... what are you living for? who are you living for?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Nativity


(The pics are from my cell phone camera - sorry they're not too good)

Growing up we had a small nativity, most of the pieces were broken or missing, and honestly I always saw it as something you put out at Christmas time ... it really had little meaning to me. As I grew older and entered into a relationship with Christ the nativity became a symbol to me - it was something I saw at Christmas ... but still I really didn't care if there was a nativity or not ... I guess for me it had been lost in the "commercial" Christmas.

All that was true for me until this year ... and everything changed. Christmas for me was different this year, and honestly - I'm glad it was. At church we did a four week series entitled "Christmas Outside the Box". We were challenged to rethink Christmas, spend less, and give to those truly in need. I took part in it and it helped to make Christmas more "simple". Throughout the month we had also been adding pieces to what would be a Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve.

Thursday (Christmas Eve) came and wow what a Nativity Scene we had and for the first time in my life the Nativity Scene was real ... it really felt like what it might have been like to be there the night Jesus was born. For starters, it was inside our building - which helped to create some interesting effects and atmosphere.

#1 - There was the smell ... inside the building there were people, animals, hay, and all the things that go along with that stuff and it was HOT ... so hot that the sheep were panting and we kept having to open the doors to cool them down. This made for an interesting aroma throughout the building ... and some of the same smells that Jesus first encountered as He entered this world.

#2 - There were the people ... remember how there was no room at the inn? Well, there was no room in the church. It was PACKED and not just for one service ... ALL 5 of them! Wall to wall people and standing room only, in fact some services had people seated in the lobby watching the service on monitors. Moving through the halls and lobby must have been like moving through Bethlehem the night Jesus was born trying to find a place to stay (or in this case ... sit!)

#3 - There were the gifts ... Jesus was sent as a gift - to redeem us and reunite us with God and on Thursday I watched as children and families offered their gifts to Jesus. What a symbolic moment as I reflected on how Jesus was a gift given to us and now we have the opportunity to give to Him by loving those who He loves.

Ultimately, a Nativity Scene will never be just another "Nativity Scene" to me ... it will forever remind me of this Christmas Eve and the true meaning of the Nativity, the Gift God gave, and what it might have been like the night Jesus was born!

I hope you had a great Christmas and took some time to stop and just reflect!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, December 21, 2009



I LOVE to cook! Baking isn't bad, but I'd rather cook a meal :-)

But, every now and then I like to bake ...especially if I have some helpers! I borrowed the kids of one of my friends last weekend and baked Christmas Cookies with them. We had a TON of fun baking the cookies and even more fun decorating them!

In the end I think we had more icing than cookie, but that made them yummy :-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday x2

Last Friday night I didn't sleep ... it's only the second all-nighter I've ever done. Both have been church related, none were college related. My brain pretty much quits functioning exactly at midnight, and for those of you who have seen me after midnight you know its a good laugh and a very unpredictable time as to what will come out of my mouth! So, in college it was no good for me to work on papers and projects all night. Granted, there were nights I went past midnight, but never did I pull an all-nighter.

Like I said, last Friday was my second one and it was fun. I spent the night in our youth building - NorthBeach - with my small group of 8th grade girls. There's TONS to do in that building, but the girls were more interested in spending time with my co-leader and I. We baked cookies and played four-square nearly all night. The girls finally laid down and watched a movie well after 3a and during it all of them fell asleep! With it being nearly 5a, my co-leader and I decided to just play cards until the girls' parents arrived to take them home!

Here's a few pics from the evening...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I LOVE sending Christmas Cards. I feel like it says to the people who receive them that I care about them. But, over the last several weeks I have been challenged to rethink what I spend on Christmas and how I could use that money to help those truly in need. One thing that I chose to do was not send Christmas Cards. In the end, with postage and cards it adds up to a lot of money! E-mail is free and while it's hard for me to not address and mail the cards I did spend awhile tonight making this Christmas Card that I'll be emailing out to friends and family.

I used the money that I would have spent on cards and postage on a child in a local Headstart Program. He is 3 and his name is John. If you think of it, please pray for him this Christmas ... that he would feel the love of Jesus and one day understand what Christmas is truly all about.

I hope you enjoy the Christmas Card! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Social Media


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Village Church

Would you join me in praying for Matt Chandler and The Village Church in Texas? Matt is the lead pastor and was diagnosed with a brain tumor on Thanksgiving. Listen to his words here, the day before surgery ...

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The opposite of poverty isn't wealth ... it's enough.

I heard that statement last weekend and it has had a HUGE impact on me. In my life, I have ENOUGH ...and that's all I need. I'm not wealthy, compared to America's standards, but God has provided so that my basic needs are met. For this, I am thankful.

Monday, December 14, 2009


The Christmas Messages this month at church have been unlink anything I have ever heard ... yet they have been more challenging than most messages I have ever heard. And I've heard a TON of messages - I went to Cedarville University where you go to chapel every day for four years ... I'm not going to do the math on how many messages that is in four years (just Monday to Friday, not including weekend's at church).

These messages have really challenged me to not just sit tight, but to do something ... anything, for children who don't have a voice. This past weekend (video is available on the website) the message was on poverty and service finished with a powerful video about how much money we spend on things like potato chips and soft drinks a year and how that money could be used to help children around the world. Over the past few days I've been reflecting on what I can do to make a difference and I hope to share a few of these things with you in the future.

For now, think about what you can do to make a difference.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thinking Literally

We all know little kids think literally. Its hard to use any amount of sarcasm with them because they think its fact. They're still learning about the world around them and don't pick up on the extra things we constantly add into communication.

Tonight, I was teaching about 20 or so 3, 4, and 5 year olds during our smallest service ... its also our latest service and after very little sleep I was faced with trying to find the right words to say.

The story was simple ... well it is if you've slept the night before ... if you are sleep deprived like I was tonight, you might find yourself questioning whether Joseph was really the name of Mary's husband ... or if somewhere in your sleep-deprived state you might have made that up.

Well, there I was - 20+ preschoolers staring at a HUGE box wondering what might be inside and hardly able to contain their excitement ... when I said the wrong thing...

Me- "Can you help me open this box?"

Preschoolers- (Thinking in their heads ... "YES!!!" "I"M GOING TO TOUCH THE BOX" I"M GOING TO OPEN THE BOX!!!!!!!!!!!!")

And then I was rushed by more than 20 kiddos all hoping that they would be one to actually pull the lid off the box.

Immediately realizing my mistake of wording I quickly had them all return to their seats ... and with much dissapointment I asked the question that my mind had said, but that hadn't come out of my mouth correctly...

"Can you help me count to 3 so that I can open the box?"

And so there you have it ... another evening of randomness and fun ... and my near mauling by 20+ kiddos!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lessons in Parenting

Now if you know me, that title might have made you laugh ... and then wonder what this post was all about! I don't have kids of my own, but every now and then I am privileged to keep someone else's kids.

Last week was one of those times. And it was the first time I had spent an entire week, full time, with kids younger than high school/junior high age. Boy did I learn a lot! It was a great experience for me and gave me an understanding of what the parents I serve go through on a daily basis. It now makes sense on how it can take several days to check emails, complete forms, and just get basic things done! Last week by the time I got home from work, got homework done and everyone fed it was time for bed ... and I was ready to crawl in bed too!

Overall, it was a great week and we had a ton of fun! There was only one meltdown the entire week ... and it was quickly overcome with a little ice cream :-)

So ... if you wondered where I was last week ... let's just say there was little time to blog or do much of anything else!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday's Tip

I find that Small Group Labels is one of the biggest hits on my website ... which means apparently a lot of people are looking for info! So, I'm going to spend this Thursday giving some basic info on how our Preschool Ministry is structured.

Beginning around 2.5 years old children move into a ministry structure that is based off of the Small Group/Large Group Model. However, instead of a traditional small group that you or I would sit in (believe it or not - preschoolers DO NOT sit!) the kids go through 4 activity centers in place of their small groups.

No, the small groups aren't consistent - but preschoolers make friends based on who is in close vicinity to them and tend to be open and honest, no matter who is around!

In order to divide the children into small groups they receive a sticker at their classroom with a color box on it. Since the kids can't read, there are no words on the sticker - just simply a color block and a number. The number coordinates with the bin that they put all their things in and the color block tells them which center to start at. The stickers are printed on Avery Labels (1 sheet per service)

Centers last about 10 minutes each - taking a total of 40 minutes during the service. In addition to the centers there is also a 15-20 minute large group teaching and worship time!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, December 8, 2009



At my church we have an incredible ministry called GraceWorks. The sole purpose of the ministry is to meet the needs of children with special needs and their families. GraceWorks is an "area" within our children's ministry, just as the nursery, preschool, or elementary are. Within each age group of the ministry functions GraceWorks and the GraceGivers who serve. GraceWorks also functions within special events that we host throughout the year, including our summer camps. Basically, whenever a child who has special needs is present at an event, a GraceGiver is asked to serve with the child (if needed).

GraceWorks supports the families of these children as well! Our first endeavor into this has been our Afternoon Away program held a few times each year. Parents have the opportunity to bring their children to the church (including siblings) and then spend three hours doing whatever they want!

This past Sunday we had the opportunity to serve families through an Afternoon Away event, which went incredibly well!

In addition to serving the children and families, my favorite part of our GraceWorks Ministry is that it is completely volunteer led by people who have a passion not only for God, but for children with special needs!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Some Christmas Cheer

To help you get in the Christmas spirit ... here's a video from one of the guys I work with...


Saturday, December 5, 2009


Photos can tell a powerful story! Check out this Photo Blog. It contains pics of a slum in Rio De Janiero ... it is a life that most of us reading this will never know, yet a life that exists here in our world. God knows these people by name ... just like He knows you and me by name.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


December is a fun month, especially in kids ministry. Its a BUSY month, but the kids make it fun! I love to tell the Christmas Story - I think its one of the stories that the kids can relate to ... simply that Jesus was a baby. But in the grand scheme of things the Christmas Story is the beginning of God's plan to redeem the world and to provide salvation for each of us ... what an amazing story!

This December how do you plan to celebrate Jesus' birth? Do you have any special traditions that remind you about the real meaning of Christmas?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Feeling Old

Yesterday I was playing Wii with a couple of kids and this conversation came up ...

8 yr old "hey, have you ever played Super Mario Brothers"

Me "yea ... on the original Nintendo"

8yr old "woah"

Yes ... I felt INCREDIBLY OLD!!! And I wasn't that old when the original nintendo came out!

So ... there's a good laugh for today!