Saturday, December 6, 2008

OCC - One more thing!

Here I am with shoe boxes as we go into a Training Room. I am already overwhelmed and emotional in just walking in the warehouse. I can't wait to share with my boys and girls at church my pictures and for them to know what happens to their shoe box once it leaves the church. The one thing I forgot to tell you about the box is we are to do two very important things as we inspect each box. One is we are to pray for the child that receives this box and secondly we are to make sure it will be a "WOW" for them when they open their box.

About 95% of my pallet, was all the same in each box. Some church, group, school or possibly even an individual did LOTS of boxes. If it was a girl they got a teddy bear as their big thing- if it was a boy it was a basketball or soccer ball. Most of my boxes were for girls. I started putting the recorder on top of the bear like it was playing it. I tried to imagine each child as they opened their box and saw this Teddy bear. It reminded me of my first trip overseas eight years ago. The first little girl I met from Nicaragua was a little girl who couldn't go to school because she was responsible for her family's cow. She followed that cow everywhere. It grazed beside where I was working. She asked me if I had an "American Teddy Bear" she could have. I had a beanie baby teddy bear and I gave it to her. She was so happy. I believe each child will be thrilled. I stand in awe at the number of boxes done by this group. Many of those who worked on our line all had the same boxes like mine- meaning there were pallets full. It made me realize I need to encourage those in my sphere of influence to an even greater capacity. Each child that receives a shoebox also receives a story about the greatest gift ever given- Jesus- in their language. I was encouraged by those who put a note in it with an address. I wished everyone did this so the child can communicate with you if they so choose.
Do you love shoe boxes? If so leave me a comment!

Operation Christmas Child Distribution Center

I had the opportunity on Thursday to travel to Atlanta with my church to the Warehouse where the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes are sent. This warehouse is one of their six distribution sites. This site will send out approximately 500,000 boxes this year. The boxes are headed to India, Ghana and Benin. We were trained for 30 minutes and worked for 3 1/2 hours. We worked with several people who came as individuals to volunteer and a group from the Chick Fil A corporate offices. There were many other churches there working other "lines". There was even a youth group working. It was an incredible experience. I recommend anyone who has ever packed a shoebox to do this at least once. It helps you understand that your little box is definitely part of something HUGE. This is our one of our Co-Pastors (Bro. Jim) working to collect the boxes once they are sorted by gender. We were working the line for 10 - 14 year old children. When he received the box they were ready to put into a container / box. The goal is to get 14 shoe boxes in a box.
If you had a box that was broken, you were to give it to a red or blue shirted person (they represent the staff). It would then be taken to the Shoe Box Hospital where the ladies there would repair them or find them a new box.
There were pallets and pallets of shoe boxes. It was so AMAZING! I was so overwhelmed.

I worked as an Inspector of the boxes (the step before inspection is pre-sort, where the donation of $7 is taken out and placed in a trunk). My job was to go through the box and make sure all of the items deemed "inappropriate" were taken out. Items that were inappropriate included (but not limited to- not sure I remember everything, glad there was a chart).
liquid items -you do not want the box content to be ruined if it busts in shipping
breakable items or razors -they do not want a child to reach into their box and possibly get cut
camouflage items -unless they are the girl colors
war related items -guns, planes with army on it
real money -children could be hurt by someone trying to steal their money
play money -they might think it is real since they do not know what our money looks like
Pokemon or Harry Potter - the Nationals in many countries have asked this not be included
snakes - they are looked at differently in other countries (if in pack, it was opened & removed)
food- attracts bugs while in shipping
chocolate - melts (tootsie rolls included - however, colored tootsie rolls okay)
Vitamins or medicine - because it has an expiration date
aerosols - because of it's potential to explode in shipment or when they open it
As you can see this person had a great idea in helping ALL their items fit into the box- they included what to do with this teddy bear!
I was very impressed with the "integrity of the box" talk. We were reminded several times that other than the items deemed not appropriate, all items were to be put back in the box. It was our job to get it all back in and then tape the box up. They mentioned numerous times the integrity of each box was important because the person who packed the box expected that child to get ALL the things in the box. We were not to make judgement calls if we thought they had to much or if the item was appropriate for that age. They indicated they believe God take care of all that on the other end. For example they shared the following- In a box for a 10 -14 year old girl there was a dress for a one year old little girl. However, when this girl received her box they discovered ALL she asked for or wanted for Christmas was a dress for her one year old sister. Isn't God good?

Friends from church working on the boxes. For those wondering, if we had to take things out of a box there were fillers - school supplies, flip flops, candy, etc.


It was all so organized- the boxes behind us, space to walk, containers for our rubber bands we take off, containers in the floor for the things deemed "inappropriate" (meaning items removed from boxes), garbage bags attached to our work stations, tape dispensers with extra rolls of tape, the little roller thing we put our finished boxes on and the filler items. We worked 3 to a table, and their were numerous tables on our line as well as people across from us. If you are wondering where all the inappropriate things go - to children in need in Atlanta. Most of the items I saw go into these buckets as inappropriate were liquids and tootsie rolls. Lots of lotions, shampoos, conditioners, lip gloss and deodorants. Toothpaste on the other hand is okay.
They provided a breakroom where you could get water and juice free. There were vending machines and an area selling Chick Fil A. They also provided microwaves and many workers and volunteers had brought their lunch. We met one of the workers at lunch. He began working there through a temp agency in Atlanta. He had spent the last year in Iraq as a contractor. He had never heard of Operation Christmas Child before coming to work there. He thought it was a really neat ministry to help others. It was then I realized that another part of Samaritan's Purse was to those who came to work for them.
One neat aspect of this day for me was the two times they asked everyone in the warehouse to stop working! The Christmas music stopped. They ask you to tell your neighbors "I love Shoe boxes!" They ask you to pick up the box you are working on or are getting ready to work on. They ask you to get to know it- boy, girl and age of the child to receive it. They then ask you to put in both your hands, bring it to your chest and hug it. They ask you to pray for this child and for the shoebox to impact the child's life. Then there is someone who led in a corporate prayer. It was a very emotional but worshipful time for me.

I came home so excited that my husband, father, mother and two sisters have all agreed to take off work next year and go down and work a day. I believe they begin scheduling people to work on August 1st each year. Anyone 13 and older can volunteer. It was a neat experience. They were so nice and gave each person working a t-shirt and an ornament that will help you spread the excitement of shoe boxes!

The one last thing I would like to share with you is a new way to give to Operation Christmas Child. This is where you give online through EZ give. You are able to make your donation online at www.samaritanspurse.org and print out an EZ give receipt. You attach it to your box top and are able to follow your box. You know when it was packed at the warehouse and when it was received by a child - as well as where it went. I thought that was SO cool. I didn't realize this was an option but will definitely choose this option next year!
If you didn't pack a shoebox this year - would you please consider it next year?
Everyone needs to remember that Christmas is more about giving than getting! Are you reaching out to those around you this season?
Merry Christmas!










Monday, November 24, 2008

Sending Messages to the Troops

I just wanted to let everyone know of a couple of ways you can reach out to our troops during the Holidays:

1. Go to this website - www.LetsSayThanks.com and follow the three simple steps and Xerox will send a postcard to someone serving overseas in the military! It was really simple to do- it took me less than 5 minutes to participate. Thank you to Xerox for doing this and to my friend Amy F. for telling me about it!

2. I have been contacted by multiple people letting me know of the following:
When you do your Christmas cards this year, take one card and send it to this address. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these wonderful special people who have sacrificed so much would get. When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, please include the following:
A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

I do not send Christmas Cards but will get a box to send to the above address.

I am going to post on our trip to Wiliamsburg when I return home because it will not allow me to post pictures while I am away for some reason............. However, think on the following things I heard today.........
When the state of Virginia was formed it was a law you had to attend church once a month.
To be able to serve in the court or government system you had to be a Christian.
Mike and I talked over dinner tonight about how far our country has come from the beginning. How grieved our heavenly Father must be.
I am so thankful for our freedom, our founding fathers, our armed forces who help protect our freedoms and our heavenly Father who continues to bless us despite our fallen nation. I make 2 Chronicles 7:14 a prayer for America today:
"if my people who are called by name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Father, begin in me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

We're Here!

Well we have arrived in Williamsburg! We actually arrived very late last night - okay it was already this morning! So we slept in! We made it to the hotel restaurant for our free breakfast (found the deal on the Internet where breakfast was included)! We are staying at Four Points by Sheraton on the edge of the historic district. It is a nice place- with an indoor pool (I really like to go swimming). My hubby who is not really a swimming person even brought his swim suit! (of course I asked him too!).
We are headed out to explore before our conference begins tonight. I will try to post some pictures later.
To all my Mom's group friends- I am working on sending you a list of links to some of the frugal sites we talked about yesterday. I have heard from several of you that the round table discussions is your favorite meeting we do- let me know if it is because I am already planning for next July - December (January - May is done and gone to be printed).
Have a great day! Remember couponing and being frugal is not only wise but is fun......... so rev up your frugal engine and let the race begin! I really think it should become a sport, tee hee!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meal Plan / kinda

Well I did not so hot last week on my meal plan, so I had better work on it this week- although not a good week to work on it- ever had weeks like that? Let me explain!

Monday night (tonight) I worked late and so did my husband and since I didn't do my meal plan until NOW.... we ate out. We are leaving for a marriage retreat on Thursday afternoon so we will be eating out now until next Thursday. So here is what I have........

Monday- eat out
Tuesday - pork loin (I didn't do it last week)- anyone have a recipe for it in the crock pot?
Wednesday - eat at CHURCH
Thursday- Tuesday out of town

We are so blessed that the church where I serve as the Minister of Childhood Education allowed each of the minister's and their spouse to attend a marriage retreat. They provided a very generous budget for each us and the time away did not count against our vacation time. They wanted to say to us they recognize how important marriage is and they realize being in ministry often we focus on helping everyone else but often not our own family / marriage. So, they are helping us to do this by blessing us in this manner. I am also thankful it is was not even an option but required for us to do this. I think that goes to show how much they care about us and how much they want to say to us our family matters to our church!
So hubby and I are headed to Williamsburg, Virginia to the Family Life Conference. We are excited to go to a place we have never been. You can check out this wonderful ministry at www.familylife.com ! We are staying a day extra to take in some sights- any suggestions?
Hubby and I need some time away. To be honest since we returned from Nicaragua in October we have had lots of sad days. As many of you followed with us the past two years on our adoption quest you know how hard this adoption failing was for us. I am not sure we have processed it all - we are still pretty numb.
To be very honest since my unexpected hysterectomy late this summer and the failed adoption I can't seem to quit crying. There have not been too many days I haven't cried. Last week was particularly hard for me for some reason. I am ready to put all this behind me, so maybe our weekend away will be a new beginning. Please pray that it will be! I also believe by then I will be back in full swing for Meal Planning! Well, it is a good thought anyway, tee hee, I may have another reason to eat out more by then!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My CVS Deal 11-11-08

I have not done a CVS deal in a while but made a trip today. After discussing with some friends today, wondering how you make things work for you, I thought I would post today's deals.
(Note: Some people may be wondering why I purchased so much candy. Well all but the circus peanuts (they are for me) is Sugar Free candy. My hubby is diabetic. He came home the other night and mentioned he was craving some chocolate but couldn't find any sugar free, so I surprised him when I found it buy one get one free at CVS tonight.

Party Peanuts 3.99 - 1.99 (sale) = $2.00 x 2 = $4.00 (for a party later in the month)
Ivory Soap 4 pack 2.99 - 1.00 (sale) = $1.99 - .25 coupon = $1.74
Glade Air Freshener $1.89 - .90 (sale) = $.99x 2 = $1.98 - 1.00 /2 coupon = $.98
Russell Stover Sugar Free Candy box $8.99 x 2 = $17.98 - $8.99 (BOGO sale) = $8.99
Werther Sugar Free Candy $2.19 x 2 = $4.38 - $2.19 (BOGO sale) = $2.19
Colgate Toothpaste $2.79 x 2 = $5.58 - .50 (sale) & - $2.79 (BOGO)= 2.29 - .75 coupon= $1.54
Colgate Total Advance Toothpaste $3.89 - $1.50 coupon = $2.39
Circus Peanuts $.99
Total = $22.02
Coupon $5 off = 17.02
ECBs (from previous trips) $12.00
Total Out of Pocket (OOP) = $5.02 + .80 (taxes) = $5.82

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's A Kool-Aid Christmas


Hello Children's Ministry Leaders are you looking for a way to help the kids in your sphere of influence remember to give this Christmas? I know children's ministers as well as parents want to help teach children that Christmas is more about giving than it is getting....... here is one small way you can accomplish this goal.
At our annual Christmas party one year I had children bring packets of kool aid for missionary families from our church. When the children entered for the party the trees were waiting to be decorated- the basket was full of clothes pins. Yes, I know some of you are wondering if I was just going to take them back off why go to the effort of putting them on? Well most of us are visual learners and I wanted them to see just how much ALL of them working together brought for us to send overseas.
Speaking of missionary families, did you know a lot of convenience foods / beverages can not be purchased either at all or it is too expensive to be purchased in other countries? Missionary kids in Thailand, Cambodia and Croatia were very excited to receive these goodies from our kids that year. We now collect other things for missionary families besides kool aid- macaroni and cheese, jello, cake mixes, seasoning packets- chili, taco, Italian are the top requests when we ask missionaries for a wish list! Be prepared in your budget or from donations to pay $70 - $100 to mail a medium size box (depending on weight and location). I challenge you to consider the blessing and encouragement this can be to a family who has answered the call and sacrificed much to say YES to the call to share the wonderful name of Jesus with others- all to take the gospel to every tribe and every nation!
Stop right now and pray for those who are serving our great God all over the world today! Do you know some missionary families? I further challenge you to pray for them daily!
Praying for:
The Jenkins Family - Barbados
The Ware Family - Mexico
The Teeuwan Family - Greece
The Gass Family - Asia
The Sampson Family - Cambodia
Diana - Asia
The MacDonald Family - Ukraine
The Doyle Family
The Most Family - Nicaragua
The Cook Family - Nicaragua
The Kendrick Family - Greece
The "R" Family
all the wonderful families from Pioneers I met serving in the Eurasia area

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Meal Plan Monday



Well after "falling off the wagon" for Meal planning and struggling to get back on the "Straight and Narrow" path........ I think I did a half way decent job this past week. In all honesty the week after the mission trip and then the week of Fall Festival weren't the best weeks for meal planning BUT this past week we did much better.


I can tell you it is much cheaper when you meal plan--- I don't go to the grocery store with a wide open list- it is very specific. Shopping my pantry and freezer first has also helped (from all the times I just bought random things). I also appreciate reading all the meal plans at my blog friend Laura's blog .


I need help with two things this week- I need to know what are some ideas to do with a pork loin. I have always been scared to do this so I am trying it - anyone have some ideas for me, PLEASE! Also for those of you who hyperlink your dinner dishes (and when you click on them they have the recipe), will someone please teach me how to do this, pretty please! My good friend in real life and in the blogger world Laura taught me how to hyperlink a blog or post....I appreciate the help, I am techno challenged!


Here is the meal plan:

Monday- Dinner at Chili's to discuss an exciting ministry opportunity

Tuesday - Lasagna, Texas Toast and Salad

Wednesday - Philly Cheese Steak and Chips

Thursday- Cheesy Chicken Bake, Baked Potatoes, Corn Casserole and Fruit

Friday- Pork Loin (HELP, PLEASE)!

Saturday - Hamburgers, Baked Beans, Nacho Cheese Dip and Chips

Sunday - Pizza at Now Class
Hot dogs at AWANA

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Vendor Showcase


I want to take the opportunity to remind those local to Cleveland, TN First Baptist is hosting a Vendor Showcase on November 15th! Here is a list of the vendors we have so far.............

1. Thirty One
2. Pottery by Linda
3. Jewelry by Judy
4. Mary Kay
5. At Your Service
6. That's Sew Cute Designs
7. Kahki's Kreations
8. Vee.l.may Lotion
9. Tupperware
10. Gold Canyon Candles
11. Creative Memories
12. lia sophia
13. Carolyn's Collectibles
14. Arbonne
15. Avon

This Vendor Showcase is for home based businesses! Each Vendor has donated a door prize with a minimum value of $25. Bring your Christmas List and stop by the First Baptist Dining Hall! If you have questions do not hesitate to leave me a comment!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

Well, now that two friends have tagged me (Laura and Niki), I decided it was time to participate. So here goes..........



5 Things I was doing 10 years ago.............

1. Serving on staff at Shively Baptist Church as the School Age Program Director.

2. Enjoying a Kentucky Fall.

3. Having fun with my good friend Patti!

4. Wishing I lived a little closer to my family.

5. Wishing our rental house had a dishwasher! :)



5 Things on my to do list today......................

1. Attend a conference for Tennessee Baptist Children's Minister

2. Eat dinner with my 2 sisters

3. Check on Mrs. Donna

4. Call Amy and see how the Preschool Fun Day at the River Maze went, thank her for covering it for me

5. Work on details for a birthday party I am helping give



5 of my favorite snacks

1. Snickers

2. MnMs

3. Popcorn

4. Peanut Butter Crackers

5. Chips and Mayfield's French Onion Dip



5 Jobs I've Had

1. Fastpitch Softball Umpire

2. State Park summer recreator

3. Student Assistant to the Athletic Director in college

4. Homeless Shelter Assistant Director

5. Minister to Children



5 Things I would do with a million dollars

1. Tithe

2. Give to mission projects

3. Give to the Generations campaign at my church

4. Pay off my house

5. Buy a new vehicle



5 Things that Made Me laugh this week

1. Drew at church with his funny stories

2. my friend Jena

3. a speaker at a conference

4. my friend Dianna

5. my hubby



5 People I tag!

1. Tracy V.
2. Amanda P.
3. Amanda V.
4. Amanda M.
5. ?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall Festival Pictures

Spin Art is always a Fall Festival hit! Thank you, Thank you to ALL the volunteers at Fall Festival! 2,400 hot dogs were cooked and given away!

Night falls on Fall Festival! Thank you Mr. Charlie for ALL the light towers you secured for us- 10 in all!

I love this picture! Balloons everywhere and families have fun with food and fellowship at the Festival!


Noah's Little Ark sets up a petting zoo and also has pony rides at the Fall Festival. This was also a big hit for our Preschoolers at the Fall Festival- it was new this year!


We decided to double our seating area in the Food Section- from 30 tables in 2007 to 60 tables in 2008! We would find that often during the night most of the chairs were full. I am so thankful the Maintenance & Facilities Director suggested we make this change. Great suggestion Wayner!


As kids come in their families are asked to fill out a registration card and each child is given a glow necklace. As they leave they are given a bag of candy. If they don't have a glow necklace they are asked to fill out a registration card. We do this for two reasons - to help us get a count for attendance and to determine if there is anyone who does not attend church. We give the candy as they leave so they do not have to keep up with the bag the whole night and it does not create a lot of extra trash from the candy. We are so thankful to Applebee's, Ci Ci's Pizza, Chick Fil A and Domino's for donating coupons to put in bags. Most gave a coupon for a free kid's meal and Domino's gave a coupon for a free appetizer or 2 liter with an order.

Here two of my favorite friends are thanking people for attending and handing out the bags!




Here two little friends play a little bowling carnival game.

Lots of water is needed for Fall Festival! A little friend likes the ice in the canoes. We have found this is a great way to distribute the water, coke, sprite and diet cokes. This is one of the new inflatable games we added to Fall Festival- 6 in 1 Sports Arena

A picture from the hill above the fields where we host Fall Festival.


Some little friends picking out which balloon they would like- thanks to my friend Teri who did a little more than 1,000 balloons- which were all handed out by 7 p.m. (yikes, we had 2 more hours to go- note to self....... have more balloon next year)!

I am watching people come down the hill and volunteers check in at the Volunteer Desk! What a fun night!






Friday, October 31, 2008

Fall Festival

Well in just a few minutes I am off to help set up for our Fall Festival tonight. Today and tonight is an amazing event in the life of our church. Tonight's festivities will bring in families from all over our community. We host this event FREE to all that come. Here are the activities we will have:
Preschool Area includes- duck pond, basketball, bean bag toss, treasure hunt, tattoo area, fish pond, ride area, play area, crayon playground inflatable, 3-n-1 Train Jump, Space Station jump.

Other area includes- Picture booth, Spider man giant slide, 33 obstacle course, Nemo 5-n-1 obstacle, petting zoo, pony rides, Noah's Ark 70' obstacle course, bungee run, bouncy boxing, basketball, soccer, baseball, gladiator joust, G-Roc Obstacle Slide Combo, 6 n 1 World Sports, Sports Jump, Roaring River Slide, Plain 5 n 1, T-Ball, Cars Jump, 18 ft Slide, Dart Game, Spin Art, Bean Bag Toss, Putt Putt, Spill the Milk, Ring Toss, Skee Ball, Tic Tac Toe, Pin the Tail, Balloons, Pokey Dot the Clowns.

We will serve hot dogs, all the fixings (including slaw and chili), chips, oreos, cotton candy, popcorn, nachos, hot chocolate, coffee, coke, diet coke, sprite and bottled water.

It is a lot of fun to watch all the families come in and enjoy such a fun and safe evening.
I almost forgot the candy bag- each child is given a "glo necklace" when they register as they enter the gates, so when they get ready to leave they are given a candy bag. Last year we gave out 1,200 candy bags so we have 1,500 this year. I am praying it is just the right number (not too many left and enough for everyone there).

Several people have made comments to me this week- I know your church spends lots of money on this event, why do you do this or there is so little return from an event like this, etc. My reply is we do this not expecting anything in return. It is simply a gift to our community, no strings attached. I realize that a lot of other churches can not do an event like this- but my church can. I also realize a lot of people who pass through our gates and fill out a registration card say they attend a church. They may just say that because here in the south you realize if you put you do not attend a church, you are going to get a visit or call. However, it is my intention if they just put a church and really do not attend that if they ever do have a need or do want to explore spiritual things........ they might remember our church.

Our church wants our community to know we love families. We want to meet families needs. We want to minister to them where they are. One need is a safe alternative to trick or treating or from our community sponsored Halloween Party. We are trying to be that place. We welcome all!

One thing we are trying to do for the second year is asking people to donate cans for the Manna Ministry. Hopefully people have seen this request on our advertisement and will donate food. Our Manna Ministry is our church's food pantry who provides grocery assistance for people in our community.

I will try and post pictures tomorrow. However you decide to celebrate tonight remember we serve a Living Savior who has overcome the evil one! Satan has been defeated. I pray you help our children focus on positive characters for tonight and your family celebrates together!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Meal Planning Monday October 27 - November 1


I am trying to get back on track with Meal Planning. It is amazing how the week we were in Nicaragua got me off track. What makes it hard is the different things in our schedule that throws things off....... here goes for October 27 - November 1.
Monday - Hot dogs, Chili and nachos / cheese dip
Tuesday - Chicken w/ "salsa" marinade, corn casserole, green beans & rolls
Wednesday - Lasagna, salad, and garlic bread
Thursday - Grilled Cheese & Soup
Friday - FALL FESTIVAL & I HOP
Saturday - Steak, baked potatoes, mac & cheese, green beans and rolls
Sunday - Leftovers
The chicken w/ "salsa" marinade is a type of chicken we had while in Nicaragua. I purchased the "salsa" while in Nicaragua. It is more like a BBQ sauce. I am going to give it a try- so we will see. Also let me explain I HOP. Since I am a the Minister of Childhood Education and often do not eat at the festivals or fellowships I am in charge of planning, I have a tradition of going to I HOP once the clean up is over. I just go chill out and eat with hubby. We are getting geared up for a big evening for Fall Festival. I am so thankful for all the help from my staff. Not to mention the hundreds of volunteers it takes to run the Fall Festival.
Have a great week! You can check out more recipes at http://www.orgjunkie.com !

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin Dip

Pumpkin Dip
4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 - 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
1 can (30 oz) pumpkin pie filling mix
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 teas. ground ginger
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and cream cheese, beating until well blended. Beat in remaining ingredients.Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Serve with gingersnap cookies.
This is a great snack for surviving pre-dinner hunger on Thanksgiving!

I had this last year at an event through the Women's Ministry at my church. It was so yummy, I had to try myself.

For more recipes, check out Grocery Cart Challenge

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting back in the swing of things........



Pictures from our trip last week! These happen to be my favorite!

Well I am getting back in the swing of things......... even though I was only gone a week, it seems there is so much catch up to play.

I have been horrible about meal planning and cooking this week. I had a dinner appointment Monday night so my hubby was on his own. Tuesday night I did something easy- breakfast for dinner. Wednesday night was church supper. Tonight I must confess we ordered take out.

Thank you so much for those who have spoken words of encouragement to me, offered hugs, cried with me and listened. I love and appreciate each of you. After working on our adoption case for almost two years and finding out last week it fell through has been heartbreaking. Especially so soon after my unplanned hysterectomy this summer. I tell you that my heart is sad but I know God is on His throne and in control. That doesn't mean I understand (or even agree, :) ! But I do trust Him, completely.

We have decided not to pursue adoption again. We are ready to move on in life and see the new things God has for us. We have also been looking back to see all the things God has taught us through this experience. Knowing the girls for 3 years and trying to adopt them for 2 has been an emotional roller coaster. They will always be our girls. I will always pray for them and think of them everyday.

Don't be afraid to talk about the girls with us. You are not going to hurt our feelings or upset us. I am still having some crying days and if I cry with you please know it is part of my heart healing. I also am finding people are afraid to share with me they are expecting or news about their pregnancy because they are afraid with what I have gone through it may be the wrong thing to do. PLEASE don't be afraid. I want to rejoice with you in knowing God is blessing you with a special gift. I want to hear all the details, just like before my surgery. I am so appreciative of the families at church that allow me to journey with their family during the ups and downs of life. Hubby and I are so thankful for the times you allow us to be a part of your family for various activities. We are also appreciative of the times you let us "borrow" your children. I have decided we are going to be doing more of this now......... we are "borrowing" two children tomorrow night and taking them to Disney on Ice with us. I decided it felt a little odd to show up without children! Plus seeing them respond to all the fun is half the fun. Before we even knew we were not going to be adopting I shared with one of my staff one of my greatest desires. It is to go to my favorite place on earth with children (Disney World). I know one day I will get to do this. Maybe one day I will get to spoil nieces or nephews.

So I keep telling myself it is almost a new week and I will do better for meal planning. I do have a big week next week- Fall Festival on October 31st. Last year a little over 3,000 people attended our church's Fall Festival. Each year it grows so I am excited to see what happens this year. If you live near Cleveland, TN come join us from 5:30 - 9:00 for hot dogs, chips, cotton candy, nachos, popcorn, drinks, petting zoo, pony rides, 30+ inflatables and carnival games, balloons and clowns! Don't forget to bring a canned good for the manna ministry (food pantry our church operates)!






Friday, October 17, 2008

Working in the Nicaraguan School

We worked in a school while we were here this week. Go check out my friend's blog to read more about it........... Nicaragua School

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fun times

This is us with the girls visiting a seminary and church. Fun times.
I know what some of you are thinking- I am not suppose to be lifting this much. However, what you can't see is Mike is helping. I decided it was my last opportunity to have a picture made with me and the girls. Yes, I am a little sore but it was well worth it. As you can tell one little girl likes to wave when having her photo taken.

Wordless Wednesday


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog changed

There is a reason some things have moved from my blog. Sorry for those trying to find it. It has been removed for a reason. Please just pray.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mission House

Just wanted you to see the view we see from the Mission House back porch. Nicaragua is a beautiful country. It is extremely HOT here. However, no rain so far today (remember it is Rainy Season). Today we are hoping to love on the orphanage children. This morning we have been to worship at ICF church (church in English). Have a great day! I'll post more later.

We have arrived!

Just a quick word we did arrive in Managua tonight. Our flight went smooth and so did going through customs. We are at the Partner's In Christ Mission House. It is great to be back seeing so many we know and love here in this country.
It is HOT! Surprise, surprise! It has been raining. Neither of these are shockers to us- we are here in rainy season and it is always hot here! :)
Tomorrow morning we are going to the ICF church - this church is attended by many missionaries, it is non-denominational and is in English. It is always a blessing to worship our great God with this fellowship of believers. We hopefully will get to go to the orphange in El Canyon tomorrow afternoon. If there is a service in San Judas tomorrow night we will attend there.
I am off to get settled in- just wanted you all to know we arrived safe!
Please keep us in your prayers this week! Our team is - Mike, Jami, Laura, Elizabeth and me (Mrs. Tara)!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Help Blogger Friends

I need some help figuring something out...........
How do you put a link in your blog (where it shows up with just the word underlined)?
Also those of you who post recipes- do you enter these as a separate blog entry and then just save it?

Like on Meal Planning Monday sites it will have a menu item listed that is a link........ how do you do that- where do you save the recipe?

Thanks so much- I am a little technically challenged!

Also is there a way on blogs on blog spot to save pictures anywhere other than just at the top?

Meal Planning Monday October 6-10


Well here we are another week and we did great again! Yippee! Here is our meal plan for this week. Notice it is a few days short. My hubby and I leave for Nicaragua on Saturday afternoon- along with 3 friends. We normally do a mission trip with a larger team but the 5 of us are going to encourage missionaries, pastors and their families, visit the school in San Judas and the orphanage in El Canyon. Of course Mike and I will have some meetings related to adoption. It is our prayer that we will know if God is opening or closing the door after this week. I am so excited we get to see the girls......... but back to Menu Planning!
Monday - Chicken Casserole, Mac & Cheese, Fruit, Green Beans (we didn't have last week)
Tuesday - BBQ Chicken (in crock pot) and leftovers
Wednesday- eat at church
Thursday - lasagna, salad, bread and fruit
Friday- grilled hamburgers, baked beans, chips and dip
Saturday- eat in airport
Sunday- Friday eating at the Partner's In Christ Mission House & Eskimo's
I also wanted to share about a great savings trip I made yesterday-
I went to Food Lion to purchase 3 things-
1. Herbal Essence Conditioner on sale for $2.49 - $2.00 coupon = .49 cents
2. Bird's Eye Voila! (Buy one get one) 2 bags =$4.79 - $2.00 coupons (2 / $1 each)= $2.79
I was so excited! We had one of the Bird's Eye Voila today for lunch- Chicken Parmesan. It was excellent- not a whole lot of food but a good portion for two people in a bag. Easy to fix and very tasty. I most likely will only purchase when it is on special!
I also had some great CVS and Walgreen's deals this week. I have gotten into seeing how much money I can save.........
One of the reasons is because I added up how much money we spent eating out. I also read a lot of blogs by moms who really try to be the best steward of what God has given them- this includes coupons, reading advertisements and keeping up with specials. I read so much of them while I was out recovering from surgery it challenged me. Plus remember I discovered I like eating at home!!
At least I am trying.........

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The River Maze (tribute to Pat Summit)


K.I.D.'S. Club

Our K.I.D.'S. Club stands for Kids in Divine Service. It is a group of home school kids (all ages) who do service projects and take field trips for the whole family. It is a group I formed for our church and community home school families. Some of our home school kids also take Spanish and Art classes at our church. This is done by a lady in our community gifted in these areas to help home schooled children excel in these areas. For these classes children sign up through the teacher and our church simply provides the space and snacks.

Our first field trip of the year is next Thursday, October 7 at the River Maze in Benton, TN. We will visit the corn maze, petting zoo, pumpkin patch, younger children will ride the cow train and hopefully all will bring a picnic lunch. The cost is $2 per adult and $1 per child (if you go personally it costs more; our church is offsetting the cost). It is a great time of fellowship for families to be together.

You can visit the River Maze's website - http://www.therivermaze.com/ for more information, directions, regular prices and see all the other things they offer. The couple who own and operate this venture are members at our church.

Each year they have operated a maze they have had a theme. This year honors the University of Tennessee's awesome women's basketball coach- Pat Summit. I will post a picture of it later today!

If you live in our area and would like to join us- please let me know. I have to turn a number in soon. We are all meeting at the Maze and directions are on their website. Deadline to sign up is Sunday!

It is also a great time to visit two other local areas- Ocoee Whitewater Center (www.fs.fed.us/r8/ocoee) or Apple Valley Orchard- http://www.applevalleyorchard.com/ . I love visiting the Ocoee Center and I love eating fritters at the orchard!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Menu Planning & What happened to the Friendship Bread







Well I just finished my 3rd week of menu planning (2nd week on Menu Plan Monday). You can find lots of meal plans at http://www.orgjunkie.com/ - many of their blogs have recipes. We did really great on our plan this week. I am learning being flexible with the plan works the best- one night I forgot we were eating at church for Parent's Night Out and today we ate leftovers my mother sent home with us from the birthday celebration last night! So here is our plan this week.........




Monday - "On The Go Ravioli Lasagna" , Salad and Fruit


Tuesday- Breakfast Casserole (since we didn't have last week)


Wednesday - Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches


Thursday- Hamburgers, baked beans, chips


Friday- "Date Night" so we will eat out and FINALLY go see FIREPROOF


Saturday - Chicken Casserole, Broccoli, Hash brown Casserole, Corn on the Cob


Sunday- Leftovers




I am anxious to try the "On the Go Ravioli Lasagna". Someone brought us this dish while I was home recovering from surgery. It was very yummy. My sweet friend that brought it keeps forgetting to bring me the recipe so I found one on Recipezaar. I will let you know how it goes!


I will tell you I can't believe how much money eating out costs. Now on our third week of trying to eat at home because I found I liked eating at home during my 7 week recovery.




I will also tell you that my first CVS deal actually paid off. I purchased Flintstones Complete Vitamins- $7.49 but I had a $1.00 off coupon. Well they had this for buy one get one 50% off (wish I had printed two coupons). I had extra care bucks to cover my purchase - well I paid the tax- $.34! I wish you could have seen the ladies face at the cash register- she couldn't believe it. I do plan on going back and getting more Flintstones Complete Vitamins. For those of you who know I don't have children and are wondering WHY I am purchasing these vitamins- I am anemic and must take iron pills. I have a hard time taking iron- it makes me sick. My friend and co-worker "Meigs Co." told me she had started taking these vitamins for the iron and it was not making her sick. I checked and for adults it has 100% of the iron you need daily. So I too have started taking them. I am also wondering why I thought they tasted so good as a kid. Oh well, better than taking the other.


Have a great week! I pray you feel encouraged all day, every day!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm A Christian Now

After adding the post about the Giving Banks, I decided to share another resource I really believe is a must for children. I believe it in so much that at my church before a child can be baptized they must take the "I'm A Christian Now" class. I personally teach each one of these classes (well with the exception of one our Co-Pastor taught while I was out recovering from surgery). It is my desire to always teach this class at my church. It has been my privilege to have personally taken literally hundreds of children through this class over the 14 years I have been in ministry to children.
So you may be asking why do we require this class or why do I believe in this resource so much. Well so often many children do not fully understand what accepting Christ really is all about. I also believe that we as adults are so excited they are wanting to make this decision that we sometimes don't stop to realize they don't fully understand. Then we end up with adults who struggle with their salvation or realize they never truly accepted Christ. Thus this class. This awesome resource takes children through their decision- what it means and what it does not mean and what they should do after they accept Christ.

If you are in a church that does not have this resource or take children through something similar- I would encourage you to go to http://www.lifeway.com/ and purchase this resource on your own. The workbook is around $6.00. There are two books- a younger child version and an older child version. They also sell a teaching kit but the workbook can be used as a stand alone.

When we teach the class at our church (we advertise classes once a month, but some months do not have anyone register), I have gone to a one time afternoon class. We begin after our third worship service and I feed the children lunch (yeah! pizza). We meet for 2 1/2 hours. We visit the baptistery- most children are afraid of being baptized. Normally it is for one of two reasons- they are afraid of water or of all the people. I meet with each child one on one to discuss their decision.

It is a precious time. It is an exciting time. It is a time when I realize the huge responsibility I have in partnering with parents in coming alongside them to help in the spiritual growth of their children.

I have tried to "sum" up this resource and class quickly. If you have questions please don't hesitate to leave a comment. It would be a good resource to recommend if your church does not currently have something like this in place. It is my prayer that those children who come through the Childhood Ministries I have the privilege to lead, will understand their decision even if that means they are not yet ready. Children want our approval and want to make us happy. Remember, if your child is not ready to accept Christ please affirm their desire to want to learn more about loving Jesus.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Giving Banks


These are the banks I wrote about in my blog. If you have children I believe it is a must have! Matter of fact, our church gave them to every child 3 years and up last year when our church did a whole month of lessons on stewardship. To understand the commitment my church made and how much we believe in them - they purchased over 250 banks (and they do not give a discount for buying in bulk). Not only that each year the new group of 3 year olds will get these banks. Matter of fact the 3 year old Sunday School classes at our church will be receiving their banks in about a month. Here is what Crown Financial Ministries (http://www.crown.org/) description is of this product-
The bank sells for $15 each. It also comes with a cd-rom to help parents teach their child about money.
The ABC Learning Bank
-->The ABC Learning Bank has been designed to teach your child the value of money and how to handle it in a way that is pleasing to God. It is a fun, 3-compartment bank made of transparent plastic.
Each of the 3-compartments (giving, saving and spending) can easily be separated – no more taking your entire bank with you! New stopper design is more durable and user-friendly. Free Bible-based information for parents is also included when you order from Crown.
(measures 12 X 7 ½ X 2 ¼ inches)

Mom's Nurturing Moms




One of the great privileges I have as the Minister of Childhood Education at my church is getting to plan for our moms. We have a mom's group called Mom's Nurturing Moms. If you have attended a MOP's group it is a lot like it with a few exceptions. MnMs is for moms of all aged children, and the activities are free- the crafts, speakers, give aways, etc. are all a part of the church budget. I also think in MOP's different groups are formed and they each help plan the meetings. I have the awesome privilege of planning the meetings and my incredible staff helps carry this out. Today 48 moms had RSVP ed which meant childcare for 87 children - requiring 20 childcare workers. It was a busy morning (not to mention Home school classes were also being held in our little corner of the world). Not everyone was able to come this morning but we had a great time.
The subject today was Family Budgeting and teaching your children about money. Our craft was making a Fall Wreath! I had two very talented ladies come - one that shared on the Money stuff and one who lead the wreath making (and made me a beautiful wreath that is hanging on my front door).
I will try and post some of the forms G.A. shared with the moms. My favorite part is when she shares that at the age of 3 is when her children began getting allowance and began having chores. At age 3 is when the "rite of passage" of getting a GIVING BANK also happened. If you do not know about these banks- they teach your children to give their tithe, save for short term things and save for long term things. G.A. also shared when the child turned 4 the "rite of passage" was getting to go to the bank and open up a bank account with the money they had saved all year long (in their giving bank).
Today it was clear from questions, comments, etc. that money is still a big issue for couples. Well for one there just never seems to be enough- or you differ on how to handle money. I walked away realizing how blessed I am to be on the same page as my hubby on this area.
I also can't even begin to talk about money without stressing how I wished everyone good understand tithing. Tithing should not be a chore but looked as an act of worship, obedience and a joyful thing. I also know how God blesses those who are honoring Him with their giving. I also believe God honors those who are trying to handle their money in a way that pleases Him.
Recently my husband and I set out on a track to get out of debt. Other than our house we do not have a lot of debt but just a lot of little different things. We are on the quest to do the snowball effect in paying down debt. Let me tell you what an awesome feeling it is to pay something off!
Back to the mom's group- I have a passion for this group of ladies. As I looked at a list of our group today- there are 77 different ladies who have attended in the 3 years who represent 16+ churches in our community- including some who do not attend church or are looking for a church. These ladies are in the trenches of raising tomorrow's leaders! I believe they like the fellowship and for 2 hours each month they get to leave their children in great care of our awesome First Care Staff (childcare staff) and enjoy the company of others like them. I love this group- they are a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing them each month. If you live in the Cleveland or surrounding areas and would like to join us- please feel free to do so. Next month our C0-Pastor's wife will be speaking on "a heart that makes a home". She is a wife, mom to 10 children, teacher to her children, and also a new mother-in-law! Our craft next month will be ceramic plates.
A lot of the principles G.A. taught about today came from Crown Financial Ministries - you can go to their website at http://www.crown.org/ !

What a Surprise!!


One of my blogging friends- http://tamiskitchentabletalk.blogspot.com/ has awarded me my first blogging award! I was so surprised! Thank you Tami! I appreciate your kind words about my blog! Thank you, Thank you!
The rules are:
1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate 7 (minimum of 5) other blogs
4. Add links to them on your blog
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blogs
My nominations are:
1. http://www.funandfrugal.com/ A friend of mine from church has started this email! Gloria has done an amazing job of getting the word out about exciting things to do in and around the Cleveland, TN area. She also shares ways to save money! She does this while working a full time job both at home and outside the home! She is a great friend, wife, mom, employee and BLOGGER!
2. http://livetolearneveryday.blogspot.com/ My friend Christine has a great blog. I always learn something from reading her blogs. She is always sharing ways to impact your family's life and it helps that I know her personally and know she lives out what she says! I love all the neat pictures she takes to illustrate the things she blogs about. I also am still trying not to covet her craft area- you need to look at her pictures! WOW!
3. http://ajmajorclan.blogspot.com/ My friend Jennifer can make you laugh, cry and well her blog most recently on shoppers convicted me. She speaks honestly and from the heart. It has been neat for me to read her blog and see how God continues to use her family to do great things for Him.
4. http://muncksquiver.blogspot.com/ My friend Laura's blog shares about her life with her hubby and her 9 children. On top of all that she home schools them! I love keeping up with her family through her blogs. Her honesty about raising her children to love God, her transparency about raising a child with Downs Syndrome and her willingness to share honestly about running a household with 11 people in it amazing. She also does amazing things with pictures........ she is going to have to teach me. It is my privilege to call her "friend".
5. http://www.kingdomfirstmom.com/ Alyssa is my friend from the blogging world that I admire. Her mission says it all
Honor God with my finances.
Encourage and equip others to do the same.
Discover new and creative ways to reduce spending in order to increase giving.
Balance this journey with marriage and motherhood

One of the reasons I really admire her is for her integrity! Read her recent post http://www.kingdomfirstmom.com/2008/09/cvs-315-coupon.html and you will realize she is serious about saving money but honoring God is number one! Way to go Alyssa!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Friendship Bread!

What is the world coming to? Okay so Meal Planning is a stretch for me. I am happy to report that so far for the last 9 days- I have only changed my plan one time. So I finally get the nerve to tell the crew at work that I am doing this and yes they did laugh. They said they were proud of me and then before the Parent's Day Out staff left you will never guess what happened!
The Director calls me into the kitchen and says there is a Ziploc bag of friendship bread starter left...... do I want it. I am like what is it? What do I have to do? She told me it has instructions, so I am like sure I will try it.
THEN I read the instructions................
Squeeze it? What is that about?
Well we will see if I can keep up with the task of making Friendship Bread. I mean come on I am not eating out every night but I am not sure I am up to this great task.

I also want to share if you are a CVS shopper- all their candy is on sale. If you purchase $15 worth of certain brands (which is easy to do with the big bags being $4.99 a bag) you get $7 in the extra care bucks. SO............ for those of you who go to churches who ask for candy for the Fall Festival they will host later in the month- stop by before Friday (Cleveland, TN is on the new schedule for CVS sales- here a new one begins every Friday). So if you spend $15 in candy- which you need for Fall Festival, yourself (I got peanut mnm's), children's parties, or trick or treater's- you will get $7 to spend later. I also bought Dum Dums so all my little friends can continue to stop by and see Dynamic and me. How is that for plugging candy donations for Fall Festival's!!!! :)

Speaking of saving money- Dynamic (Childhood Ministries assistant) and Resourceful (Resource Coordinator for Childhood Ministries) saved our church LOTS of money today. Well over $1,000 dollars. We did this two ways- one cutting out unused literature from our quarterly order and two- realizing we have most of our craft stuff for our Christmas Party because we bought last year during the "clearance" season from a crafting company! Way to go!

Also I personally racked up on skinless, boneless chicken breasts today. I visited for the first time Cook's - a local grocery store in Cleveland, TN. I noticed in the grocery story ads that they had the chicken for $1.99 per lb. I was headed to Bi-Lo where it was $3.69 per lb. when I remembered seeing this special. Well - now my freezer is stocked with this chicken for a while.

So, share with me how you have saved money recently...............
And stay tuned to see how I do with my friendship bread, can someone tell me why you squeeze this mixture?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Menu Planning ... Don't laugh!



Okay, I know some of you who know me well are laughing--- I mean really laughing. Yes, I am doing menu planning for my hubby and I. This is my second week. After having meals brought to us for 6 weeks during my recovery surgery - thank you lovely people at my awesome church- I really liked eating at home. If you know us personally you know we eat out ALOT. The Lord has convicted me at different times that we waste TOO much money on eating out. So this is my second week trying to do better - reading all the blogs on being frugal, meal planning, etc. also inspired me. My good friend- triathamom - who teaches Cooking Live classes at my church also is a huge inspiration to me. Being a working woman it was nice to come home last week and the past two Sunday's and have most everything already ready. The Sunday meal is nice because I have been using my crock pot. Ask any children's minister and by the time they get home on a Sunday after morning services and ministries they will tell you - you are worn out most mornings. Whoever, invented the crock pot- what a blessing!

So here is my menu plan for this next week and two of my favorite recipes.................
Sunday- BBQ wings, green beans, mac & cheese, corn casserole
Monday- Lasagna, Salad, Fruit, Bread
Tuesday- Grilled Cheese, Nachos & Chips
Wednesday- Dinner at Church
Thursday- Breakfast Casserole, Fruit
Friday- Crunchy Chicken Bake, peas, hash brown casserole, grape salad
Saturday- Dinner with Family for a Birthday
Sunday - Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Applesauce



I am going to post the recipe to two of our family favorites:

Crunchy Chicken Bake
6 boneless chicken breasts
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup herb stuffing
2 Tablespoons melted margarine
Place chicken in a 9x13 Pyrex baking dish. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. Spread soup over chicken and cheese. Combine margarine and stuffing. Sprinkle on top. Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes. (Taken from my church's cookbook)


Chicken Enchiladas
1 large can chunked chicken
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 8 oz. tub of sour cream
1 small onion
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
8 to 10 flour tortillas

Combine chicken, soups, sour cream and onion in a large skillet and heat. Spoon in a portion of the mixture into a flour tortilla and cheese and roll up. Place in a 9x9 baking dish. Pour the remaining mixture over enchiladas; sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until hot thoroughly. (from a church cookbook where I served on staff)


So how many of you out there need to do a better job of planning meals? Okay if not that what about could you find some ways to spend the money you are going to save by not eating out? Okay, I thought that would get you............ visit http://www.orgjunkie.com/ to be inspired with over 200 meal plans for this week! Maybe you will find some inspiration! Better take a nap before AWANA- cya!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Do You Have Something in Your Throat?

This is a question one of the moms at church recently asked her young child. You see he was making all kinds of noises- burping, uggggggggg, coughing, etc. He said I am trying to cough up Jesus. She said WHAT? He said well you said He lives in my heart now and I just wanted to see what He looks like!

Now that is a classic! I love it............ our "churchy" terminology so often does confuse children. Oh my, I don't know if I can ever look at this little child without thinking of this. His mother shared this with me when she picked him up from the Check - In desk........... she was running a little late and the teacher brought him to me. I was telling her it was no problem that he had made me laugh the WHOLE time- that I never realized how funny he was- actually hysterical. And then she proceeded to tell me the above conversation she had with him. Oh out of the mouths of babes!

Hope you enjoyed this- do you have an "out of the mouths of babes" story? I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week One - Check

Well for the most part - the office part- my first week back at work is complete. I am off on Friday's- as is all the ministers and administrative staff. Well our lovely receptionist works on Friday's from 8 - 12 and the ladies in the office rotate working so she will not be by herself. I can't say all of that without saying all my friends on the Maintenance Staff works all day on Friday's. Bless their hearts I think they work non-stop.

It was harder than I thought but I know it can only get better. It was a week of catching up on stuff - mail, phone calls, emails, more mail, catching up, etc.

Friday I get to attend the Kick-Off luncheon for Operation Christmas Child. If you are not familiar with this awesome organization - please check it out at www.samaritanspurse.org ! I will have to post an awesome story another time about a neat story that connected two families- all through a shoebox!

Childhood Ministries is also sponsoring a trip to the ATLANTA Braves game. So I am headed to Atlanta on a motor coach with other families from our church to cheer on the Braves. I am a hoping the sitting on the drive, the walk to the stadium and the sitting at the game isn't too much. The good thing is I can walk around on the drive if needed, I can take as long as I need to get to the stadium and there are lots of places to visit while at the stadium- mainly the dipin' dots vendor :) !

Thanks for your prayers- they are greatly appreciated.
Have you thanked God today for the many, many blessings in your life?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day One- Check

Check it off- day one back at work is over. It was lots of fun- seeing all my little friends (and adult friends too) and meeting new friends. I couldn't believe all the new faces that have arrived on our church campus while I was gone. Exciting but tiring. I am worn out. I am going to bed early so I can get ready for my second day back. I have not been to staff meeting in about 7 weeks so I am anxious to get back and see all the guys! Have I ever mentioned I am the only female on the ministerial staff at our church - same thing at my last church too. But that is a blog all in itself for another day! So I am excited to rejoin them tomorrow. It seems like forever because in the summer we all are going a thousand different directions with camps, vacations, Vacation Bible School, mission trips, etc. So it has been a while and I think our whole crew will be present tomorrow!

Half way there!

Just wanted to let you know I survived the morning. Oh how much fun I had getting lots of hugs and high fives from little friends. One little boy asked me this morning- where did you go all this time? Well I wish I could have told him to a spa at the beach BUT that is only wishful thinking. I gotta run get a nap before I go back this afternoon.

Today's the Big Day

Well after being out recovering since my surgery on July 29th- I return "officially" to work today. I am anxious and excited. My doctor told me this week he thought I was good to return to my normal activities but cautioned I ease back into things. Those of you who know me well- that statement will be hard for me to follow.... I don't usually "ease" into anything- I plow right through it! However, more than any other time in my life I am trying to do what the doctor says and others have advised. Many of my friends and even some I have encountered I don't know well have stressed to me how important being careful and not overdoing it is when returning to my normal activities. And the time has come.....................
Today will be filled with 3 worship services (meaning 2 Sunday schools, 1 kid's church and 1 worship care for the Childhood Ministries area) and AWANA tonight! I will come home during the afternoon- my husband has spoken. A lot of times I will stay on Sunday afternoon. A lot of times it is so quiet then and I can get a lot accomplished. My husband is a marriage and family therapist. He is the counselor at our church part-time. Sundays are normally full of sessions. So we are just both at church. However, he says I will need to come home and rest before AWANA- he is so right I was already thinking (but really thinking it after a trip to CVS and Wal-mart wore me out on Saturday night).
I can't tell you how thankful I am for him. God gave me a gift in this precious, sweet, wise, patient and handsome man. My honeybunches is so funny- but he is so quiet not many people are able to see this side of him. Not to mention how glad I am the Tennessee Vols won on Saturday so he was much happier than 2 Saturdays ago.
I am also thankful for my second family- the Childhood Ministries Staff. I can not tell you how amazing they are. Two that have been there over a year now- I'll call the "Dynamic Duo". They are amazing that help set the pace. Then there is "Resourceful" who kept everyone happy with supplies and thought of things I didn't - my brain hasn't be working right. Two summer staff members have gone now but did so much as well - "Senorita" who is finishing up her last year of college and "Triathamom" who I still get to see on occasion (she would be proud my crock pot is ready with one of her new recipes to be plugged up in the morning). "Rosy" is back from her sabbatical this summer - I like to prefer to it as her "Road Trip". She has come back blazing a trail with the kiddie boo's not to mention keeping us in name tags. "Meigs Co." kept us covered in childcare and help cover so many other areas too. "Techno Momma" kept right on plugging away with buckets, childcare, volunteers all the while being the taxi driver to her girls. That only leaves "Double Trouble"! Not only have they done more than there fair share but they can consistently make me laugh. I always know they are up to something when they say - Am I in trouble because I did __________; only to find out I have no idea what they are talking about OR am completely happy they made a change or handled something.
These ladies worked long hours, covered things not their responsibility, delivered messages that were happy and some no so happy, solved problems, covered things I was suppose to and well just took care of anything and everything. A staff member's husband has dubbed be as the Big, Bad Boss Lady (BBBL) or sometimes just Boss Lady and BBBL and Boss Lady want them to know I am forever grateful to them. THANKS!