Monday, December 8, 2014

Journey to Bethlehem

I am excited for a special upcoming night at church.  Families from our church and community will have the opportunity to step back in time.  Each participant will begin in our sanctuary with our Co-Pastors leading in "setting the stage" for what they are about to experience.  Then they will begin their journey for their family to take part in the census.  They will then enter in the marketplace area and experience the different shops to barter and buy for all your family needs.

Then they will step outside to try and find a room in the inn.  However, because there is no room they will be offered space among the animals.  Participants can interact with the animals before they come to the manger where baby Jesus was born.

Families will then have the opportunity to enjoy Christmas cookies and drinks together as they come back inside the church.   It is our pray this night will provide many opportunities for teachable moments about the greatest gift ever given - Jesus!

Join us on December 17th!  Please sign up online for a time for you and your family to take part in this incredible experience - Sign Up Here!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Trusting God

Today started X-Play at our church.  It is a fun week where children get to pick different tracks (like animal lovers, creative cooking, rainbow loom, etc.) and experience some of their favorite things or for some try brand new things.

We are using the new Zip for kids! curriculum for part of X-Play  Which by the way kudos to Lifeway for this incredible help in planning.  I've been doing a day camp type thing for over 15 years and finally something that can help us with this fun week.  If you haven't tried it you should.  And no I don't get anything for saying that- no free stuff, no kickback- nada, nothing.  But what you will get is some great tools to assist you!  By the way it is not just for day camps but you can use it in a variety of settings.  Click here to go learn more!

So one of my main reasons for blogging today - is I decided to show the kids how I would trust in God.  I showed the video that comes with Zip today- it is an intro video and they followed up in Bible Study.  The video shows a kid named Matthew who is afraid to jump off the diving board at his community pool.  He decided that he could face his fear and trust God to help with overcoming this fear.  So I told the kids of my silly but real fear.  I am almost a little embarrassed to even write what I am afraid of ...........but here goes.... I am afraid of frogs.  I have never touched one or held one but I told them if someone would bring one tomorrow I would face my fear and hold it.  Now I am sitting in my office while they are having fun in tracks- thinking what in the world was I thinking.  Now tomorrow if Austin really does bring a frog- I have to hold it.  Yikes!  I don't know why I am fearful of something so small that can't harm me but I am .
What is something you fear?  Are you trusting God today with it?  
Although my fear of frogs is a silly fear there are other things I seriously fear.  I am thankful for a God who is trustworthy.  I am thankful for the fear of things like being accepted, fitting in, walking through a sickness, etc. that God is right there with each of us.  He wants us to trust Him with the silly and small things to the big and serious things in our lives.  
So back to this fear of frog thing.....
I hope he is a nice frog.  Tune in tomorrow for pictures and possibly a video of me and a new friend! 

Much Love! 
Mrs. Tara 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Summer Bucket List 2014

I am sure you all have heard about making a bucket list.  When you Google bucket list the definition you will find is - a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.   Adults may have even seen the 2007 movie, The Bucket List, where two terminally ill men (played by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) go on a road trip to do the things they wanted to do before they died (kicked the bucket).  I personally haven't seen the movie but according to the online "urban dictionary" this movie made the term popular.  Well not just the term but people actually making a bucket list increased.  I haven't personally made a bucket list but would like to do so.  

I have the privilege to facilitate a group of moms who meet monthly.  The speakers, topics, crafts, etc. are varied.  As I began to prepare for our May meeting, I looked for activities I might tell our moms about as they began to plan for their kiddos summer.  I was able to tell them about lots of things - reading clubs, cheap movies, parks, where to pick berries, etc.  It was a great time of sharing ideas.  However, in my preparation I came across the blog The Happy Family Movement .  It was full of different families summer bucket lists.  I began to print out and copy some of them to share with our moms.  Well, I got a little copy crazy and realized I had better stop or I would be responsible for the elimination of a small tree with all the paper I was using!  At that time their 2014 Summer Bucket info was not posted- but good news- it is now.  I sat and read for a while (a long while) all the lists posted.  It is fun to get ideas from other families and also see some of the fun things they have available in their corner of the world.  I also enjoyed seeing all the ways some of them posted them for the summer- on chalkboards, pennants they hung, creative bulletin boards, charts, lists, etc.  

On that May day I challenged our moms to begin to make their Summer Family Bucket List.  I did however ask them not to complete their list.  I asked them to allow their family to join together and all add something.  I understand that sometimes it can be scary to ask your kids what is something they want to do during the summer.  However, they may surprise you.  Often times you may be afraid they are going to ask for that trip to Disney or the beach that you know is not in the budget this summer.  When you begin sharing as a family your kids just may surprise you.  They may want something really simple.  Something you know your family can easily achieve - a campfire, a family bike ride, flying a kite, going to a local park, etc.  They may still ask for that destination you know you can not check off this summer but you can turn that into a positive as well.  This can be a teachable moment when you share that your family can begin to save for that special destination.  If so, make a special bank or decorate a jar to begin saving.  

Along the Summer Family Bucket List journey, remember to document the memories being made.  Display pictures and souvenirs in a prominent place in your home.   I realize some of those souvenirs may not go with your decor.  Especially if your son or daughter has collected rocks all summer because that is what they wanted on the Bucket List.  But when you do give their souvenir (or collection) a prominent place in your home, you are speaking volumes to your child.  You have just told them what they care about is important to you.  

So a few weeks ago, our moms started bucket lists for the summer.  I did too.  I don't have children in my home so I collaborated with my husband to finalize our Summer Bucket List.    Listed below is our list.  I encourage you to make one too- it is not too late.  Many consider Memorial Day what kicks off summer, so it has just started!   I also created a Facebook page to post things your family plans to do (with information about where, when, how much, etc.) so others can learn about as well.  In the beginning I planned on it being a page for our area- but quickly realized others were joining outside our area as well.  I am excited about that because we can learn things to do not only in Cleveland, Tennessee  but many, many other places as well.  Take a moment and "like" the FBC Summer Bucket List Adventures page please!  Also please post pictures and information about your family's adventures!  

I also encourage you to check out The Happy Family Movement's resource page- this year there are facebook groups, pinterest boards, guides, sponsors, etc.  

Waldrop's Summer Bucket List 2014

Go to an outdoor movie 
Build a fire and make Smores 
Picnic at White Water Center 
Make Homemade Ice Cream 
Fly a Kite 
Watch the Stars 
Go to a Lavender farm 
Pass out treats to neighbors 
Plant a container garden 
Visit Point Park 
Mike take Tara Fishing 
Go to the Farmer's Market for produce 
Swim at least every 2 weeks at parents / in-laws 

Looking forward to seeing and hearing about the things you do together - things that will create memories.  And memories last a lifetime! 
Much Love, 
Mrs. Tara

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lessons from the Lunch Room

During the second semester of each school year I have the incredible privilege to visit my young friends from church at lunch.  I love seeing them in their environment and with their peers.  I have decided to blog each week with what I learn from these visits.  I have had the privilege to have 3 of these lunches so far (two in public schools and one lunch at the church for homeschool kiddos).  The snow has my schedule a little off.  I always take my lunch.  From my best recollection I almost always took my lunch as a kid too.  I know at one point I had a strawberry shortcake lunch box.  It probably looked something like this:
Lunch boxes are very different now.  I will have to try and take some pictures of lunch boxes.  I sure wish I still had my metal lunchboxes because I hear they are worth a lot of money now.  However, I am so sentimental I would most likely never be able to part with them. 

Here are some lessons I have learned so far this year:
  1. Google can not be trusted for directions- instead of taking me to South Polk Elementary the directions took me to Benton Elementary. 
  2. When you are lost the school secretary is your best friend!
  3. Some children you think are quiet and shy will really open up when you spend one on one time with them at the guest table. 
  4. As I met one child for lunch (after she had been through the lunch line) she had purchased her an ice cream but also purchased one for me! I loved having a push pop - it had been a long time since I had eaten one.  More than anything I loved the kindness she displayed. 
  5. Homeschoolers loves being able to get together for special outings.  (and so do their parents!)
  6. Some of our schools have unbelievable diversity.  As I sat with 4 young men at lunch- 3 of them knew 2 languages and one knew 3 languages.  The languages they knew were English, Spanish, Arabic and Filipino.  
Lesson number 6 was perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned so far.  Why?  It was a great lesson perhaps a reminder, of the many nationalities that live in Bradley County.  You may wonder about what the importance of this fact.   The opportunity to share Christ among our neighbors in our city and county is far reaching.  Among those who may never leave Bradley County are people who will leave.  Some will move to different places within the United States.  There are also many who will leave this great nation and return to their homeland. 

This lesson reminded me I need to be about telling others about Christ and facilitating ministries that can reach children for Christ.  It will have a great impact on our country as well as many others.  My Co-Pastor Jim often says - we can reach the world for Christ from Bradley County.  So very true.   

It also reminded me it starts with my physical neighbors.  Do you know your neighbors?  This is something I need to be more intentional about because I do not know all my neighbors. 

Lessons often bring challenges.  I am challenged and am asking God to help me in these areas.  How is HE challenging you today?

Much Love!
Mrs. Tara

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Stressed Out?

Deadlines, volunteer spots to fill, leader training, Fall kick off, meetings, new Family Check in procedures,  new kid's ministry schedule........just to name a few things that are occupying my time these days.  I am feeling a little overwhelmed but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I commented to a friend tonight- All the things we are encountering God knows we can handle.  Can you imagine the things that we are never faced with because He knows it is way too much?  It reminds me that all the things on my plate right now I can handle and conquer in and through Him!

Glad I can rest in Him and place all my worries (STRESS) at His feet.  Working diligently to accomplish many tasks.  Will you take a moment and pray that our church staff would follow His steps as we are preparing for some exciting things in the life of our church?

Personally you can pray for the following for me and the Children's Ministry:

  • I will listen and follow God in leading the Children's Ministry 
  • God would continue to bring together the two teams for Kid's Church  
  • Volunteers that are needed for weekly, monthly and quarterly positions would be filled with people ready to teach children how to love Jesus with their whole heart (Discovery Zone, Kid's Church and AWANA) 
  • Pray God will help me be faithful to follow up and discipleship with children who accept Christ 
  • Pray God will help me launch a new Neighbor to Neighbor Ministry this fall 
  • Pray that on a personal level that I am diligent and faithful in my quiet time 
  • Ask God to help Mike and I to continually strengthen our marriage
  • And on one last personal note- pray for me as I try to continually work on eating dinner home more (because I've cooked) rather than eat out..... I keep telling myself  = "The crockpot is my FRIEND!"  As you pray that prayer for me (I am serious too!), I am asking if the Lord reminds of you of a quick and easy recipe or crockpot recipe to please send it my way! 
Thankful His love and mercy are new every single day! 
Thankful I know He loves me! 

Much Love! 
Mrs. Tara 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What is Your favorite Walt Disney World Tip?

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Yes, I am talking about the magical place of Walt Disney World.  I love it and am actually some think I am obsessed.  Often I am asked to give advice to those going for the first time.  I finally have made a document that I can email out to those wanting some advice......... or go to lunch with a friend asking.  The document is a work in progress document.  I try to think of all the things I have learned from all my visits and often those are learned from friends who share my love for this magical place.

A few of my tips are-

  • Disney allows you to take snacks inside the park.  I always take bottled water in my backpack.  
  • Everyone should ride the ferry boat to Magic Kingdom at least once - you can take gorgeous pictures.  
  • Always use the Disney Photo Pass- even if you do not purchase any of their pictures.  After they take your Photo Pass picture ask them to take a picture with your camera.  This is one way to get all of your family/party in the picture.  Plus they have the "prime" spots for photo opportunities.  
  • A great souvenir for children is to let them press pennies throughout Disney World.  They also make books for you to put the pennies inside.  This can not only be a lot of fun for your children but also cheaper than purchasing souvenirs inside each store.  
  • Your first trip in the Magic Kingdom you need to go down Main Street to have this "magical" experience.  After that first time, board the train after you enter the park and ride to the back of the park.  Begin riding rides there and work your way through the park.  Don't forget to get fast passes where you can (and look into the option to sign up for fast passes when you book your trip- I am not sure of all the "rules" of this because it is new).  
  • If you are traveling with children- especially preschoolers- go to the park early to ride.  Head back to your resort for nap time and then head back to the park late afternoon / evening.  
  • Remember most people visit the Magic Kingdom on the first day of their trip (Sunday or Monday).  So if you can avoid MK on these days.  Crowd forecasters say the best day is Wednesday (unless it is a holiday).  
  • Visit Downtown Disney if for no other reason than to see the Lego displays, the free shows and experience the excitement at this stop full of shopping, restaurants and views.  I always visit the Once Upon A Toy store to see what Potato Head pieces they have in stock.  For $19.99 you can fill a box full of Disney Character pieces (don't waste your space on a potato head, you can get those really cheap at Wal-mart or Target).  
These are just a few of my tips - what are some of your tips?  

I also get asked what are my favorite restaurants.  I am on a quest to visit as many restaurants as I can.  Here are a few of my favorite - 

I am often asked if I ride the rides and my answer is YES.  Although I don't ride many roller coasters anymore, I do enjoy all the other things.  I love, love the shows.  I love to people watch.  My favorite things to do are the fireworks and the parades.  I also love to look for Hidden Mickey's.  You can purchase a book to help you with this quest.  Sometimes I get my picture made with the characters- sometimes I don't.  I visit all the parks.  My favorite is Magic Kingdom.  My passion for this place began when my parents took my sister and I along with my grandparents, aunt and uncle to Ft. Wilderness for our first trip.  I visit several times a year and due to this I purchase an annual pass.  You should look into it if you purchase tickets for a week.

Here is my Disney Board on Pinterest!  Do you have one?  If so I would love for you to leave your link in a comment.

I have read many books on Walt Disney and books about Walt Disney World's customer service.  My dream would be to go to the Disney World Institute.  I can't imagine how fabulous that would be since I thought the behind the scenes tour (Keys to the Kingdom) was amazing.

So who wants to guess how many trips I have been to Disney World (not times through the gate but trips because I may go 5 times in one trip).  Let the guessing begin............

Much Love and Blessings!
Mrs. Tara

And yes my favorite character is the mouse himself!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer Memories

As I walked to my car to go home, I heard a familiar sound.  A sound that took me back to my childhood.  It took me to a special place.   It is a place I simply call "The Ball Field".  

When you grow up in a family who loves softball you spend many days at this place.  Just thinking back brings many moments flooding to my mind.   A big smile spreads across my face as I shut my eyes and go back in time.  For just a moment I can smell, even taste this place.  I smell hot dogs and popcorn.  I begin to crave a cherry sno cone.  I snarl my face as I remember the times I tasted dirt in my mouth.  I can hear the cheers and encouraging words of team mates.  I hear my coach clap his hands and point his finger to his eye and tell me to keep my eye on the ball.  I hear that coach call time out and pull me to this side and tell me to take a deep breath and tell me I can do this.  I shake my head and tell my dad (yes he was always the coach) that I am ready.  I head to the batter's box - remembering that anxious feeling that your team was counting on you.  I remember the pats on the back with words next time when I struck or grounded out.    I can feel the high fives and excitement when I got a hit or threw someone out.  

I am sitting in my car now but can't seem to move.  My drive down memory lane isn't over.  I am laughing.  I look around wondering if anyone can see me because they will surely think I am crazy.  I am laughing hard.  I am remembering this silly song my mom sang.  No, she didn't really sing it she screamed it.  My teammates as well as my two younger sister's teammates always loved it.  Funny I don't remember how she got started with this little song.  But we loved it.  The song was about a little chicken who wouldn't lay an egg.  I can't seem to remember all the words- I need to ask her for them.  

I realize I need to leave but all the sudden I see lots of faces - as if they are scrolling on a movie screen.  I see team mates, coaches, umpires, parents, siblings, etc.  I remember special memories with so many of them.  

I am thankful for "The Ball Field" because it taught me so much about life.  It taught me about having a extended family with those in the softball world.  It showed me my parents were willing to make sacrifices for me to be able to play and travel to tournaments.  It took our family to many exciting places.  More than anything it made me a better person.

If you were to pick a place from your summer memories, where would you go?