Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Shoebox went to India


I just received an email from Samaritan's Purse. It shared with me the box I paid online for in their "Follow My Box" program was shipped to India. How cool is that? I happen to know a friend living and working in India.
I will use "Follow My Box" program on all boxes next year. It was really simple- you go and pay your $7 per box online and it allows you to print a label to put on the box (it allows you to choose age and boy or girl). Then they send you an email to let you know where your box went! I can't wait to hear from people in our church to hear where all their boxes went.
Merry Christmas! I pray you have a wonderful time celebrating the birth of Jesus and spending time with family and friends!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lottie Moon

Some of you are wondering what or who is Lottie Moon. Lottie was a missionary to China for 39 years. The Southern Baptist offering for foreign missions is named after her. She would write back to her friends, church and family for financial support to help further the cause of Christ where she served. You can read more about her at www.imb.org .

Each December as Southern Baptists we give to this special offering. 100% of this offering goes to help missionaries on the field and to projects current missionaries have going on.
Do you know that the International Mission Board has stopped sending missionaries this year? Yes, you heard me correctly. We have over 200 missionaries ready to go but there are not enough funds. I even know a couple who applied but were told they could apply in two more years - due to funding shortage. That is so sad to me.

I read an article two weeks ago that said other organizations are watching what we as Southern Baptists do to reach our goal for this year's offering. It even said that if members of SBC churches would give $7 more than they normally give (meaning over and above what you normally would give) that we would be able to put those 200+ people on the field. So what are we going to do? Many of us may have $7 laying around in change. I would like to challenge everyone who is a member of a Southern Baptist Church to give, give cheerfully and joyfully to this offering. You can give through your local church by marking your gift Lottie Moon (which the IMB and I encourage) or if that is not possible at this point in the year..... you can go online www.imbresources.org/index.cfm/fa/store.prod/ProdID/256.cfm (sorry I can't remember how to do coding)

Here is a picture of Lottie Moon.
Mike and I have many friends who serve our Lord on foreign soil. Some who are sent through the IMB and many who must raise their own support. I know many of them have had a difficult year financially. When the US goes through financial hardship that impacts giving to them as well. Mike and I have a rule........... whatever is the most we spend on one person for Christmas we spend that much (and more if possible) giving to Lottie Moon. I encourage you to give to Lottie Moon and other missionaries this Season. Giving to help advance God's kingdom is eternally rewarding!

For those missionary friends who read this- THANK you for what you do and the sacrifices you make each and every day to follow God's calling on your life. We love you and pray for you!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nativity Sets


I am now the proud owner of a Nativity set I have wanted for a while. I have pieces of it but did not have this complete set. A co-worker found them at Wal-mart for $40. If you ever visit the Fisher Price website you would know this would cost over $80 on their website. So thanks to LA!
For those who have heard me speak about Christmas traditions you know I encourage you to have a Nativity set that is okay for children to touch. Often times we have special Nativity sets and children are told "Don't touch!". I believe this communicates the wrong message. I love hearing stories from parents about how their children play with their Nativity and tell the Christmas story. It is actually precious- you are laying a foundation at an early age.
I have several Nativity sets that children can touch and play with in my collection. Yes, I said collection. One of the things I collect is Nativities. I will attempt to take pictures of them and share them with you throughout December.
I also love Fisher Price's Little People toys. Many of my close friends know that among all the sad things about me not being able to have children and our adoption failing was Fisher Price Little People toys. Yes, my list is long of the things that are sad about not having children but I am striving to move on with life. One way I have done this is by proclaiming- Who says you have to have children to purchase Little People toys! So last year I began to add to my collection. I enjoy playing with those with children who visit my home. I loved these toys as a child too. Seen any good deals on them lately?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Marriage Enrichment

Mike and I spent the past week on vacation and attending a Marriage Conference. We attended a Weekend to Remember conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. We had a great time visiting this wonderful city and spending some time focusing specifically on our marriage. My favorite is always the date night Saturday night. Mike and I went out to eat in Merchant's Square and then did a Colonial Williamsburg Ghost Walk. It was a lot of fun.

We had great speakers at the conference. I always love it ends with renewing your vows. I got really tickled this year- remembering the minister who married us messed up a little. I got tickled remembering Mike whispering over and over to me it was okay.
We also picked up a new devotional book for couples. We celebrated 15 years of marriage this past May. For at least half of our married life we have been to conferences and seminars to enrich our marriage. Some have been one day seminars, some weekend conferences and even a marriage classes. I encourage you to actively do something to enrich your marriage. Most people think that these type of classes, conferences, or seminars are just for marriages in trouble or struggling. Although these things are great to help in those situations, we should ALL be taking steps to focus on our marriage.

I encourage you to check out www.familylife.com and click on conferences to check out dates and locations. You can also find a lot of resources for marriage and family on this site.

We also loved our visit to Williamsburg. I learned so much about the history of our country and colonial life. We ate at some great places! I did some fun shopping. And YES! we visited Yankee Candles Flagship store (one of two). We watched some fun movies. We even road a ferry over to Smithfield, Virginia. We got back late last night- it is about a 8 1/2 hour drive. I took today off and enjoyed watching Christmas movies. I also made my lists and pulled my coupons to shop tomorrow. Tomorrow the office closes at noon.

All in all - a great time! I will post some pictures and info on the vacation part of our trip later. I will tell you this is definitely a place everyone should visit. If you homeschool, you should put this in your school year at some point. If you visit two days- you should purchase the season pass $58 (versus $36 for one day). It is an awesome place. We were actually there during the opening of the first reconstructed building in 50 years- Charlton Coffeehouse.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Am I crazy?

I ask you if I am crazy because tonight I will be at our church's Survivor Lock In for 3rd - 5th graders. A fellow Childhood Ministries Staff Member has planned this night for us and here is what I have to look forward to.........................

9 a.m. pizza at the YMCA
10 - 12 (midnight) swimming at the YMCA
12 - 12:30 head to the church
12:30 - 4:00 Wii games, nerf gun wars, make overs, etc.
4:00 - grab your sleeping bag and we will put in Swiss Family Robinson
8:00 parents will pick up their kiddos

Pray I can stay awake. I tried to sleep in this morning but a neighbor is adding on to their house and I woke at 7:14 a.m. to hammering. Nope couldn't go back to sleep........... so I will try and take a nap later.

Please pray for Mattie today- she doesn't get to go home. Her fever is back and white count low.

I will update you on the evening later- and hopefully will have some pictures.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Please pray for Mattie

This is my friend Mattie. She is 6 years old. She was diagnosed with leukemia on Wednesday, October 28, 2009. She begins chemo tomorrow. Please pray for her as she begins this journey.

You can keep up with her journey at www.caringbridge.org/visit/mattieballentine .

Please pray for her specifically tomorrow- Monday, November 2nd. She will have surgery and her first chemo treatment. Pray for her parents- Jeff & Luanne and her big sister Emily.







Saturday, October 10, 2009

What an exciting night!

We had a great evening last night at the Coupon Town Hall! Thanks so much to Jenny Martin from www.southernsavers.com - our special guest for the evening. She taught us many things and was very flexible as we had an interesting night

all to learn more about using ...............
COUPONS!!! She taught us new things, reminded us of good coupon ethics and how to honor the Lord through it all.

Our evening was exciting ................ a visit from emergency personnel. Thankfully our person needing assistance was okay.
AND thanks for the patience as we evacuated to the basement at the advisement of our fire department due to the tornado warning our area. Although brief it made for one interesting evening. Hope you enjoyed the night and learned a lot!!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away


Yes, I would be happy if the rain would go away and come back another day. I think this picture puts into perspective how much rain we have had............ even a duck needs an umbrella at this point!

Speaking of ducks............. I have decided to finally share my duck story. This is just for you Elizabeth!

You see even though I am not much of an animal person now, I used to be. I am not sure what happened to make me a little anxious about animals- especially dogs. However, when I was little I had lots of animals. Lots of different types of animals and I loved them.
On my dad's side of the family I was the first grandchild. My grandparents gave me many different animals. My great grandmother - Nana (pronounce Nannie) also helped instill in me an early love of animals and a great respect for them (and their habitat). When I was about four or five I received a duck as a present from my pa paw and ma maw. I grew up a block from Harrison Bay State Park and loved visiting and feeding the ducks there. So this was a great present. I remember the little duck and I loved the duck.
Soon after I received the duck my family was joining other families from church on a camping trip. When we returned home I couldn't find my duck. I looked for my duck everywhere. My family told me that they thought my duck was lonely and joined the other ducks at the park. So for years I would try and figure out which duck was mine. I would talk about my duck living at the park and feed the ducks. I have taken pictures of the ducks, talked to the ducks, etc. Well I grew up and moved away for college, seminary and serving my first church. I moved back to Chattanooga and one Christmas I was saying something about my duck at the park- my uncle said something about it dying. I was like what? He began to laugh realizing that for almost 30 years I had believed my duck ran away to the park. It was then I realized they found my duck dead when we returned from the camping trip. An animal had killed it.
We were soon leaving to go to my grandmothers and when I got in the car with Mike I begin to cry. I cried all the way to my grandmother's house. When I got there everyone was like what is wrong? That is when they realized I really believed all those years my duck ran away. Now, five years latter we laugh about my duck story.................
I wish they would have just let me believed he had gone to the park and joined the other ducks and lived a happy duck life! Thanks Uncle Scott! :)
Note: I really didn't think he was still alive (I mean the duck would have almost been thirty at that point) BUT I did think all those years he was there somewhere!

Enough about my duck.................. I do believe we are all going to need a row boat if it doesn't stop raining soon!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sneaking Away

Well hubby is off at a conference- sure miss him. I am headed to a class tomorrow in Georgia so I decided to go today. I am going to get to stop by and visit my sister's class (she teaches special education in North Georgia), stop by the outlets, and finally meet someone who makes my life easier- I will expound later! I will just leave in you suspense for now!!!

I get to finish my Saturday by watching to see how UT does against Florida. I will also be celebrating my fathers birthday! We ate last night but will officially celebrate Saturday night. I am so excited my mom is making coca cola cake.

Sunday will be another great day! I can't wait to see all my little friends. We will also have our second night of AWANA !
I pray you have a great weekend. What are you up to this weekend?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fellow Couponers.......... have you heard?

Just in case you have not heard................... First Baptist is having a Coupon Town Hall on October 9th! Jenny from Southern Savers is our guest speaker............www.southernsavers.com is her website.

You can go to our church website to find out more info and to register.


www.clevelandfbc.com

On the home page scroll down until you see the button for Coupon Town Hall. There is a short form for you to fill out and this is the only way we are taking registrations right now........... We have only had registration up since Wednesday afternoon and we have already had about 183 people register. This should be an awesome time of learning more about saving money!

It's Football Time in Tennessee!!


Yes, I know that the University of Tennessee Football began last week. However, since we were at Family Camp I did not watch the game. My husband did. They had a tent set up for people to stop by and watch the games.......... or CAMP out at the tent - which is what my precious hubby did. Matter of fact we laughed because he did not even eat lunch- he just kept watching the games. He was excited our team - UT- won. He said that this week would be a truer test to see how they really looked.............. well we lost today.

Mike is a die hard UT football fan. He grew up in a county right beside Knox County- where UT is located. He is a very patient and quiet man. Most people ask me if he ever talks. I usually laugh and say yes but most of the time he can't get a word in when I'm around. Everyone just laughs because they know I am never at a loss for words. He is really, really quiet. He however has come a long way in his shyness since we met. What most people don't realize is this quiet man becomes a different person when UT football is involved- well really UT anything. He really likes UT basketball. We especially like to watch UT women play- they are incredible. He has a collection of UT things and in our last house we had a UT room. I have recently decided I am going to turn one of our spare bedrooms into a UT room again.

My mom would never believe me that her quiet, shy and very polite son-in-law actually would yell and shout during games. So one day (without him realizing it, I called her and she heard him) and she just laughs. Normally he fires everyone or thinks they need to be fired. He tells the players what they did wrong, or what they should be doing, etc. Well today was no different. We ordered pizza and I looked over and he had not touched his plate. He said he was waiting until it cooled down. He just grinned and I laughed and thought yeah right. Tennessee was at the end of the fourth quarter and had a small window of a chance to win. He was just too anxious. I laughed and laughed. They lost- he finally ate................ it cooled down (AND so did he!). He even wore his orange shirt to watch the game. I love watching UT football with him.

I love him very much! Other than my salvation, my husband is the best gift God has ever given me! He just realized he does not think he can watch next week's big game against the Florida Gators because he will be driving home from a counseling conference. Oh I hope he gets here- it is great entertainment for me just to watch him........ um I mean the game. :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Family Camp

This year we celebrated 5 years of Family Camp! It was a great weekend of fun with families from First Baptist. We headed up to Camp Cherokee (our church owns and operates) which is in the Cherokee National Forrest. It is a beautiful place.

Families enjoyed many activities which included (but I may have forgotten some).......
biking, tubing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, leather crafts, geocaching, Tye dying, games, scooters, walking, bead crafts, food craft, archery, riflery, volleyball, rocking in the porch chairs, football, fishing, playing on the playground, a talk on furs and tracking with a park ranger, roasting marshmallows, eating smores, enjoying ice pops, etc.

It is a great time............. we had excellent food thanks to Mr. Charlie. He does a great job of organizing, planning and cooking some wonderful food. My two favorites from the weekend were the French Toast and Parmesan Chicken. I hopefully can get the recipe for the wonderful chicken from Mrs. Melinda who is the creator of this delicious dish. It is also a camp tradition. She also shared with me that when her son or his friends come in for a visit, it is always their request.

We also got to hear from Mrs. Jackie, Pastor Jimmy, Bro. Jim and Andrew. We heard of the work happening in another place in the world from Andrew.
It was great to spend time with my little friends. Unfortunately a few were sick and had to go home.

It is always a privilege of mine to line up some children to be baptized in the lake at camp----- it was an honor to see Alexa, Laura Lee, Emily, Carly and Kathryn take this "next" step in their obedience to Jesus.

As I sat on the porch, it was neat to hear one mom talk about the years they have now come to Family Camp- most of their children's elementary years (one just entered middle school, one has their last year in elementary school and one just at the beginning of elementary). She stated she wants her kids to one day be able to talk about the traditions of their family. One of those traditions is now Family Camp on Labor Day Weekend! YEAH!

What is a tradition for your family for Labor Day or any other day?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beach Bum

As my days at the beach draw to an end, I seriously wish God had called me to be a beach bum. I told him yesterday there were lots of things I could do for Him here at the beach- many I could share His love with and lots of fun activities for children. :)

Seriously today is Day 13 and tomorrow is my last day at the beach / pool. Mike flies in tomorrow night and we drive home Saturday. I sure have missed my man and can't wait to see him. (He left on Day 9)

Someone asked me today had I been able to relax - YES!

Although I have missed my friends, especially my little friends. I have enjoyed watching and making new friends at the pool and beach. This week I have met some amazing Christians and it has been neat to watch their families. I have enjoyed splish splashing with them.

I am also ready to come back and see all God has in store for the Fall.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vacation Time - here I come

Tomorrow Mike and I head on vacation. We are both so excited. As you know it has been two years since we headed to the beach. We were thinking we were adopting and so we opted to save our time. Well then I had surgery and needed to be off 9 weeks and THEN the adoption fell through. We did go away for a marriage conference but to be honest we were still raw with emotion from the adoption failing and the reality of my hysterectomy from the summer. We also went on a mission trip and that was an awesome time of being able to serve others, enjoy our surroundings and relax some. So we have "been" places but this trip is about siting on the beach or by the pool. It is about not doing a whole lot but what we really want to do. I can't wait to hear the beach.
We are going to Ormond Beach, Florida. We have been here many times but are always looking for new places to eat or visit- any suggestions? Mike is packing his clothes as I type this. I have lots to do to be ready but let me tell you a few of the things I can't wait for........
-- the sound of the waves crashing in
-- the smell of the beach
-- the 15 Lori Wick books my sister has loaned me
-- visiting the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
-- looking at the ocean from inside the pool
-- eating lots and lots of shrimp
-- eating Cinnamon rolls from Aunt Catfish's
-- talking and listening to God as I take in one of His great creations
-- people watching on the beach
-- taking in a movie when it rains
-- visiting the Sea Turtle Rehab Center
-- AND YES FELLOW COUPONERS seeing what COUPONS the local papers have available (and yes, when I shop at Publix there picking up what coupons they may have available!)

Well the awesome part of my trip is I am staying two weeks! I have never been to the beach for two weeks straight. Unfortunately Mike can only stay for part of the time - my two sisters and parents are coming for part as well. I look forward to spending time with them- we haven't been on a trip or even to the beach together in very, very long time!

Florida here we come! I am sure I will be ready to see all my little friends and their parents when I return---- I am going to miss you guys!

Looking forward to Exciting Times September 13th

First Families ------ exciting times!
Childhood ministries is Preparing for the Future at 1275 Stuart Rd NE . . .

We are excited to offer two new ministry opportunities for your child, beginning Sunday morning, September 13th. We are going to add a Kids Church hour for K-5th grades at 9:45am, and a Discovery Zone (Sunday school) hour for K-5th grades at 11am. These new opportunities will be in addition to the current 9:45am DZ hour and 11am Kids Church. We are making these additions for two reasons: one, to provide your family more opportunity to worship in the Sanctuary Worship services together, particularly in the months of December, June and July as Kids' Church will take a hiatus. Two, to prepare us for the growth we anticipate after the move to our new church home at, you guessed it, 1275 Stuart Rd NE!

The schedule will be as follows:
Elementary (K-5th Grades)
8:30am Discovery Zone (K-5th one combined class)
9:45am Discovery Zone (K-5th) and Kids Church (K-5th)
11:00am Discovery Zone (K-5th) and Kids Church (K-5th)

Preschool:
8:30am Discovery Zone (Some classes combined)
9:45am Discovery Zone
11:00am WorshipCare

On Sunday, August 23 and Sunday, August 30 you will be given the opportunity to fill out a "Family Schedule Intention" card for your elementary aged child(ren). This will help us plan out the classes for each hour of Discovery Zone. We appreciate your help in this matter.

This expansion will also provide you with more opportunities to serve in leadership positions. Please contact the Childhood Ministries offices if you feel led to help impacty boys and girls with the Good News of Jesus!
I realize that this will be an adjustment for families -- thank you for bearing with us as we make the necessary changes to prepare for the future! If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact me . . . I welcome your questions and thoughts.

I am excited and can't wait!
Love you!
Mrs. Tara

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fun Night with the Part of the Family


Tonight I had a great night with part of my family (minus Mike and my sister Brooke). We were sad everyone was not there BUT from my picture above you can tell what we did part of the time.

We ate pizza and played Phase 10. A fun game. We only played to Phase 10 (it takes a long time to go to Phase 10). Anyway, my mom won. We also were able to meet a new friend of my sister (Heather).

Before I went I meet for a few minutes with some Homeschool Moms- let me tell you this group is a regular riot. They were making plans for field trips, meetings, etc. Needless to say while I was there we had a great time and I promptly left when the fire alarm went off and scared us! Hope you gals had a great rest of the meeting.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Breakaway Camp

Just realized I never told you we had a great weekend at Breakaway Camp. This is our group picture- the banner above is from another camp not ours. I will post more about this great weekend later! Just thought I would share the great group with us at camp!

A Relaxing Time for Me

Every chance I get here is where I go........................... my parent's pool. I love to get in the water and it is so relaxing to me. Even if I am the only person in the pool. I also like to spend time in the pool with my mom- it is our chat time.

I also like to go to a restaurant near my parent's house. It is inside Harrison Bay State Park (I worked here during a couple of summers during college- as did my two sisters). It is only a block from my parent's house. The restaurant is Dockside Cafe. Matter of fact the man who runs the restaurant and is an excellent cook is someone we grew up with - church, school and lived near us. He likes to be called "Sam" now but he will always be "Sammy" to me- can't help it.

You can check them out online at- http://www.docksidecafeonline.com/
Last night, Mike came to my parents and he and I went to eat at Dockside. Mike was happy they had there all you can eat Catfish dinner for $9.99. I loved it because I always have their Crunchy Chicken. It is made with cornflakes. I can't get the recipe out of him but thought someone here might have a recipe for chicken breasts made with cornflakes?

The cafe' is very casual- as many have come in to grab a bite from their boat. They have outdoor seating as well. Don't forget to save some bread or bring some to feed the many ducks and turtles once you leave. It is one of my favorite places. I also love their desserts. I had strawberry cream pie last night. Yummy!

Maybe sometime I will share why the ducks at the park have always been so special to me..... and continue to be very special!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Breakaway Camp

Please pray for us as our Childhood Ministries heads to Ft. Bluff in Dayton, Tennessee with a group of children and counselors for Breakaway Camp. We are excited about all fun we are going to have but also all the way God is going to impact each of us. We really appreciate your prayers!

We will be back Sunday!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pray for FBC Shreveport

I would like to ask you to pray for a friend of mine in ministry- Ronney Joe Webb. He is on of my friends from Rec Lab (a conference I attend annually and have for about 14 or 15 years). I learn so much from him when it comes to family ministry. He was accompanying a team from his church to a youth conference and the bus had a blow out and rolled three times. One student died, everyone had some sort of injury. The associate pastor's daughter is in critical condition. Several are still hospitalized. My friend Ronney Joe has a broken bone in his neck. His daughter has a broken collar bone.

You can go to their church website - http://www.fbcshreveport.org/ for more info.
They have been keeping their website updated with as much info as possible.

Thank you in advance for praying!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The "Real" Farmer's Market and More

Today our Mom's Nurturing Mom's Group - MnM's met for a stop at Preservation Station. Our theme for our Childhood Ministries this summer is "All Aboard the FBC Express"! We normally try to theme our summer off our Vacation Bible School theme- (Boomerang Express).
Here was our description of today's meeting-
"Don't you wish you had paid better attention in your grandmother's kitchen? Ever wonder why she always had fresh veggies and fruit? Or were your favorites her homemade jellies and jams? Come learn all the secrets of how to properly store home grown (or fresh brought) foods. We'll see and hear about how the things of yesteryear are becoming the "new" thing!"

Our first stop was checking in at the church, dropping off children in childcare, sharing tips and ideas (especially frugal finds) with each other and THEN I shared we were going on a field trip. Mrs. Robin R. from the Bradley County Extension and Mrs. Kathy from there as well- took us to the Bradley County Farmer's Market off Peerless Road. We visited several vendors and were given tips and pointers on knowing the difference in types of produce- like the types of corns, beans and squash. We also were given some help on knowing when something is ripe or to know if you are getting "good" produce. It was a lot of fun. We then went shopping to the different produce stands.

THEN we went to the Cannery that is located behind the Farmer's Market. You can schedule to use this facility free of charge. When you call Mrs. Odoms will give you an appointment and ask what you would like to can (or as my grandmother called "put up" ). She will in turn tell you based on the amount of produce you have what supplies you will need. She will also tell you what you need to have prepped before hand- i.e. breaking your beans before arriving. Two reasons for this are so they can schedule more people to use the facility and because there is no air conditioning- just fans (it is hot).
The staff and volunteers at the cannery will help you know what to do if you have never done this before.

We then returned to the church and ate the yummy snacks the moms brought and heard a presentation on canning. We were also given some great gifts from the Bradley County Extension-
1. Handout on A Quick Consumer Guide to Safe Food Handling ( an incredible piece)
2. July's Newsletter on Safe Food for Tennessee (Wit, Wisdom and Practical Advice on Food Safety)
3. Canning Foods Booklet (79 page booklet w/ guides, recipes, etc.)
4. Preserving Food: Freezing and Drying (47 pages of tips, guidelines and advice)
5. Fridge / Freezer Thermometer

What a fun time!

Potatoes going into the cans - getting ready to head to the steamers!

MNM participants listening and taking notes!
Learning how to tell if a watermelon and cantaloupe is ripe.
Seeing how to "pick" a good ear of corn. I also learned a really good way to "Freeze" corn- cut the ends off the ear of corn, put corn (shuck and all) in a paper bag. Double bag the paper bag and roll up and put in the freezer. Mrs. Robin says the shuck / silk will come right off when you go to use the corn. I thought I would try it so I bought a dozen for $3 of "peaches and cream corn" . I also wanted this farmer to know we appreciated him letting us camp out at his truck bed.
Here we are learning about beans.
We had a smaller group this month but a fun group. I know this isn't for everyone but what a great time. We also had door prizes due to Resourceful Amy's ability to pick out great prizes and get a great bang for our buck. As it ended up everyone who returned for the presentation ended up with a door prize. YIPEE!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth Celebration

Today Mike and I are heading to my parents for swimming and food! It will be a family celebration today with my dad, mom, and two sisters. I love to swim!

Mike and I have been talking about purchasing an ice cream maker so we are picking one up before heading to the pool.

We will be making one of my favorite homemade ice cream recipes from my Brainerd Baptist Church cookbook - church cookbooks are the best you know! Thanks to Mrs. Debbie we will be enjoying her Milky Way Ice Cream

Milky Way Ice Cream
1 pt. half and half
1 pt. whipping cream
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can Eagle Brand Milk
7 Milky Way bars
6 eggs
Beat eggs and sugar; add cream, half and half and Eagle Brand. Heat 1 cup milk with 6 to 7 Milky Ways. Add to egg mixture. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour into container. Fill container with milk.


Do you have a favorite homemade ice cream recipe? Will you please share it with me?

Happy Fourth of July! I am so thankful to live in a country where we can freely and openly worship the One True God!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Emotional Day

Today I, along with many, many others celebrated the life of a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, son-in-law, brother-in-law, friend but most of all a true follower of Christ.

As I watched a family say an earthly "see you later" I wept with sadness for I know their hearts are breaking. Yes, as Christians we do have a peace that we will see this brother in Christ again but humanly death is never easy. I believe this is especially true when someone is taken tragically and at a young age.

My heart hurts for this family and I ask you to lift them up to our Heavenly Father. I pray He holds them close, He drys their tears, and that His love will be their covering.

I pray as a church family we pour out our love on them- that we are found faithful in ministering to them both now and in the many days ahead.

Today our community was reminded that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Therefore we need to be busy about the things that matter- living for Christ and sharing Him with others.

Friday, June 5, 2009

It All Comes Back to Jesus

It is that time of year again when churches all over are experiencing a fun week called Vacation Bible School. Our church is busy preparing for a great week- June 15 - 19 from 9 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. We will begin to turn our church campus in to the Australian Outback next week! The Boomerang Express will be ready to take children to new adventures as we learn more about following Jesus!
If you live in the Cleveland area and your child (or children) are 4 years old (4 by June 15th) and older (through those entering 6th Grade) join us for this exciting week! You can register your children online - Register for VBS at FBC !!

I can't wait! If you are able to help us decorate next week - leave me a comment or email me! We need lots of help!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Do you have Syrup?

As I began to make plans for my latest adventure in missions, I decided one activity suggested in the VBS Boomerang Express teacher's book I just had to do. I wasn't sure why. I even told my husband I didn't know why I was so determined to accomplish this task. I knew I couldn't do it exactly like the book suggested- after all I would be on a mission trip. So he began to help me think how can I accomplish this. Someone told me about Bisquick's new Shake and Pour- where you just add water. Okay I could take spray butter. My husband said well what about syrup - well I will just pack that too. He was concerned it would spill in the luggage- but I reminded him it would be sealed and I would put it in several sealed bags. My next obstacle was how in the world was I going to cook the pancakes. Well I had learned from my good friend Amanda and Cooking Live demonstrator that you can purchase electric single cooking eyes. So I set off in search of one. For under $10 I discovered one at Walgreen's. My next concern was how in the world would I find something to cook these in without it weighing a ton. We were already so close on luggage, I knew this could be the one thing that prevented us from completing this activity. Until............ I passed by the camping isle at Wally world. I stopped and said, " Mike look!" It was a fold up skillet (the handle folded up) and it was relatively light weight. It was also under $10. I was on my way to Croatia ready to make pancakes with ten 3 and 4 year olds whose families live all over Europe with the sole purpose of advancing God's kingdom.
The day came to look at the story where Jesus fed his disciples breakfast. This was the whole point of the activity was to eat a breakfast item and further reiterate the point. Little did I know the point of the lesson this morning was just for me.
As I shared Mr. Jake (a member of our mission team) was going to make us pancakes. He began his preparations but the questions began. The first little girl in her small little voice said, "Mrs. Tara do we have syrup?" I answered yes, we had syrup. She asked, "Where did you get it?" I said I brought it with me. She asked, "From the United States?" Thinking her curiosity over the pancake syrup was a little strange, I simply said yes. As the children finished cleaning up and realized we were really going to have pancakes, their excitement continued. However, the conversation I had just finished about syrup repeated itself with several other children. I thought that is really odd. What is up with syrup.
As the parents came several hours later to pick their children up, the children began to share we had eaten pancakes. That first little girl who asked me about the syrup, exclaimed to her mother and we had syrup. I looked at her mother and told her about our conversation and simply said what is the deal about syrup? By this time several of the parents had gathered and began to laugh. They said, Mrs. Tara we can't get syrup. And if we can it is at the very least $15 a bottle- so we make our own. They shared that syrup in a bottle was a real treat. Wow! I was really overwhelmed. I didn't realize the determination I had to make this activity possible was because for ten boys and girls whose families sacrifice much for God's kingdom, God wanted to bless that morning. Yes, with something as simple as syrup. This was another example to me that God not only cares about big things in our lives but the smallest of things like syrup in a bottle.
This little girls mom told me that every snack we had brought to give the children for snacks were real treats- either they could not be purchased at all or they were way to expensive. Wondering what those treats were- gold fish crackers, fruit roll ups, animal crackers, oreos, lorne doones, fruit snacks, graham crackers and mnm's. Feeling like you take so much for granted yet? It was right then I knew the whole purpose of that lesson was to show me how incredibly blessed I really am, how much I take for granted, how I do not pray for those who serve on foreign fields enough, ............... yes, the list of lessons from a gracious heavenly Father continue to come. I pray you look around today and realize the small ways God blesses you and your family!








Monday, May 4, 2009

We're Back!

Just wanted you to know our team has returned home from Croatia. We returned about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning. We had traveled for about 25-26 hours when we arrived.

Once I have caught up on some much needed sleep and returned to the land of the living- I have much to post about!

Until then- thanks for praying!

You can read and see pictures from our trip at
http://fbcincroatia.wordpress.com

Monday, April 20, 2009

Banana Split Night

Yummy doesn't that look great? Well it does but I forgot it was banana split night at AWANA. So that means I forgot to have the stuff purchased for banana split night and that means I had to disappoint a big group of kids last night all because I forgot. I hate when that happens. I do think it is possible that two of my Kindergarten Sparks teachers might have been the most disappointed about not having banana splits last night. Our great commander, Mr. Terry, has agreed to have them next week. I will be gone on the mission trip so I will miss out- guess that works out since I forgot. All I could do was say I was sorry. Man alive I hate when that happens.

I am also sorry to the AWANA Food Crew who will be grilling hamburgers for our supper and having to serve banana splits. Originally I had put the banana split night on pizza night- which is a relatively easier thing for the Food Crew to serve. So if you are able to come and help serve next Sunday Night in AWANA from 5:15 - 7:10 - I know they would appreciate it. Please let me know if you can do - I mean think about it you would get a banana split too.........

Friday, April 17, 2009

Prayers Needed

I would like for you guys to pray for a man named Mark. A friend from church has shared with me about his situation. They have created a blog to keep people posted and so you will know how to pray for him.

http://markmarathon.blogspot.com/

The above blog is where you can read about Mark.

Mission Trip Final Days


Well the time is drawing closer where hubby and I (along with 8 others) will leave for a mission trip to the Island of Brac off the coast of Croatia. We will be staying at Supetar. You can read more about our trip at http://fbcincroatia.wordpress.com . If you are willing to pray for our team would you please leave me a comment. I would like to ask people to pray for the specific things:
1. Travel - especially our transfer from Split airport, to shuttle, to the ferry to the hotel!
2. Team - that God would continue to bind us together, use us and impact us.
3. Classes- pray as we teach Bible Stories, make crafts, play games, eat snacks, worship the one true God, bond with children, make memories, etc.
4. I ask for you to specifically pray for the children to bond with our team- especially in the nursery and preschool area.
5. Pray for divine appointments for our team and pray we would recognize them as opportunities given to us by God.
We still need note written to certain missionaries- if you can help with this please leave me a comment or email me. We need the notes by Monday night at 7:30.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Weekend

Happy Easter! It was so much fun today to be able to celebrate Easter at our church Easter Egg Hunt. Today one of our four year old little boys asked me why we celebrate Easter! Well I had a great time telling little "G" that it wasn't about the Easter Eggs even though that was fun. It was all about Jesus and what He did for us.

I pray that as adults we don't forget to explain that even though Easter Eggs are fun
how they represent New Life in Christ. It is my prayer if you have never stopped to make the decision to make Jesus your personal Lord and Savior- you will right now. It is exciting to serve a RISEN SAVIOR!
As fun as today was- I can't wait to worship our Risen Savior tomorrow at church. I encourage you to attend a church and do so as well! What a great day to celebrate Jesus!
On a personal note- I would like to ask you to pray for my dad. He has back surgery yesterday. He is in a lot of pain. He will be in the hospital until Wednesday and facing 12 weeks of recovery.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Encouraging those who serve around the world!

I know many people serve in many capacities around the world. For this post I am talking about those who serve specifically to advance the cause of Christ- better known as missionaries. In about 20 days I will be leaving with a team of 10 from my church to serve at their conference. This conference happens every two years. I was able to serve the last conference when they were in Istanbul, Turkey. This time it is Croatia. As I have stated here before- our team will be providing care for those birth -11 years old. We will be doing nursery care, Vacation Bible School, Kid's Church, and other "special" events with these awesome children. I have a request for you-

Would you consider writing a note to a missionary family so you can encourage them and let them know how much you appreciate their willingness to advance the cause of Christ in a culture that was once foreign to them. If so, please leave me a comment and I will let you know how you can do that! Last time this was such an awesome thing to give to each missionary family!

You can also help by donating (new) items for the missionary children's goodie bags. We are asking you remember this has to be transported- so take that in consideration...........
Nursery (two and under)- 10 children approx. (5 girls / 5 boys)
Preschool (threes- fives) - 10 children approx. (5 girls/ 5 boys)
Elementary (Kindergarten - 5th grade) - 25 children approx. (12 girls / 13 boys )

Things to consider are candy, small toys, small books or activity/coloring type books, etc. Please remember if giving to a certain age make sure they are age appropriate. One example is currently The Dollar Tree has small Cars Frisbees- they come in a package of 3. It would take 15 packs to have enough for every bag- that is $15 in all! Maybe you could purchase a couple of those and WOW we are on our way! By the way- I purchased one - so we only need 14!

Other things I noticed on a recent dollar store trip-
1. Super Fly Rings - these had Winnie the Pooh on them - great for the nursery or preschool!
2. Go Diego Go Paddle Ball toys great for the elementary group
3. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Fingerboards (little skate boards) great for elementary
4. Playing cards - 2 decks in a pack and I have one (so 11 more packs needed) for elementary

I also know the kids love candy like fireballs, jolly ranchers, Starburst, MNM'S, skittles that are harder to get in some of the places they live.
Also if anyone has any contact with how we could get some small type toys they put in fast food meals but that are new- please let me know- I would love to put one of those in there as well.

I have also put the gender break down in case you would like to do something gender specific- hair bows, little lotions, etc. (yes, I realize I could only think of girly things).

Please, please think about how you can play a part in blessing and encouraging those that answers God's call to move to a foreign land, away from family and familiar things of life (and often time conveniences of America) so that many more may be told of the incredible love and plan Jesus has for each one of us- regardless of age, gender, ethnic background, financial standing, etc.

I know many may not be able to contribute in a financial way due to our present economy BUT we all can write a card or note- can't we? It was precious to have all the children from AWANA to bring notes or pictures they had drawn to take with us! Yes, this is one small opportunity to have your children be on mission for Jesus!

Okay I will step down off my soap box! Thank you in advance for all who respond by praying, writing, bringing, going and sharing!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Meal Plan Monday


Trying to get back to doing a meal plan. Hopefully our schedules have settled down. Doing a meal plan not only helps me in saving money but also normally it is better than eating late (and usually not as healthy). Also posting my meal plan makes me more accountable!
Here is my plan..........
Monday - roast, potatoes, green beans, mac and cheese
Tuesday - Dinner at meeting
Wednesday - Dinner at church
Thursday - Lasagna
Friday - Steak, baked potatoes, salad and rolls
Saturday - Hamburgers and sides
Sunday - BBQ chicken, fruit, corn casserole, side ?
Okay here is my plan- hopefully it will go well!
You can go over to www.orgjunkie.com for more Meal Plans!

Respect

I guess you have figured out I am the Minister of Childhood Education at my church. I love my church and serving alongside of some awesome parents, volunteers and children. Something that has been on my heart and mind lately is ........... Respect.

Let me start by saying I am so thankful for parents that feel the biggest job they have is to raise children who love Jesus more than anything. I so appreciate they train them not only to love Him but accept Him as their Savior. I feel this is the most important job they have when it comes to the children God has blessed them with.

With that being said, let me move on to what I think may be the next task a parent must train their children in............ RESPECT. Some may call me crazy but I believe this is more important than any academic lesson, ballgame, recital, play, etc. they will EVER have.

I am so thankful when I see children who display good manners. I see so many display GREAT manners but they are kids so I am pleased with good manners. It makes my heart so happy when children respond to adults even if being disciplined in a way that is showing respect. It is also encouraging to see them respond to their peers in ways that display their respect for them as well. In my home if an adult said I was out of line, disrespectful or disobedience- there was no discussion. The only talking done was me being scolded and deciding how I was going to make the situation right.

I believe it is also important to remember that showing respect also applies to how we treat the property of others- it may be a place or a thing. Our society is placing less and less value on "things". If we lose or break something (by not taking care of it, etc.) it is often just replaced.

I know for the most part teaching respect and responsibility is taking place. However, sadly not in all homes.

I urge everyone to think about what part you play in helping this generation learn all these great things.............. if you are a parent and teaching these things, keep on keeping on
if you are a parent and not teaching these things, it is never too late to begin
if you have children in your sphere of influence- do all you can to help parents with these life lessons! Just remember it is up to all of us to help make an impact on the generations to come!

I also encourage you to affirm children in your life when they do display respect, responsibility and great manners! When you do - notice the smile (or shy grin for others) appear on their sweet faces. Positive affirmation only helps reinforce these great characteristics and behaviors in their growing lives.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Questions



Our mom's group for April is going to be on the topic of Mom - The Family Manager. The lady I really wanted teach this is not available so we are going to do this round table. This is one of the mom's favorite sessions- sharing and learning from each other. I am trying to decide what topics under Mom- The Family Manager we should use as our topics. What do you think should be some of our talking points????


My other question is - What is one tip, practice or product that has helped you be a better Family Manager?


For example, the latest thing I have put into practice that has helped me be a better Family Manager is ...........

putting an accordion file folder in my car with all my restaurant coupons. I learned this from my friend Gloria over at Fun and Frugal !
.


I am trying to compile these tips to share at our mom's group in April. I would really appreciate your input! (Especially for all of you who are organized) Remember- as in my case- you are a Family Manager even if you do not have children........ because you, you and your hubby, etc. are a family! So come one, come all and Share, Share, Share!!!

Have a great day!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mission Trip Coming Up

In the middle of April I will be traveling to the Island of Brac with my husband and 8 others. We will have the privilege to provide VBS, Kid's Church, Nursery and other fun things for a group of mk's. As we prepare for the trip - please pray as we prepare for the different activities- Bible Stories, crafts, music, games, snacks, etc.

We are also preparing goody bags for the kids. We are so thankful for the bags being donated to us. We have also been given some items for the bags - activity books, cars, snack bars, pens, pencils, etc We are looking for things that children 5 - 11 might enjoy. For this age group we need 25 items. We are also filling 12 bags for ones and twos and 12 bags for threes and fours. If you have items you would like to donate- please let me know. Please remember we have to think about weight and size for packing. We are so thankful for our church allowing us the opportunity to bless others.

We are also collecting items on a needs and wish list from one family close to our church.

We are also asking for people to write notes of encouragement and appreciation to these families.

We also need people to help cut out diecuts used for crafts, decorations and activities.

For more info on how to participate in any of these opportunities- please contact me.

You can also read about our trip- especially while we are in country- at the following blog:

http://fbcincroatia.wordpress.com/

Please, please begin to pray for every aspect of our planning of this awesome opportunity.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Quiet Place

Can you see the bench hidden in this picture? During my November trip to Williamsburg, Va I looked through the shrubs and branches and this is what I saw..................

a bench hidden in this beautiful place

I imagined what it must look like in the Springwhen all is in bloom.............
I wondered if anyone ever sat on that bench and
...........dreamed
...........prayed
...........wondered
...........rested
............enjoyed the peace

I longed to sit in this place. However, short of me knocking on the door and asking some complete stranger if I could set on the bench in the backyard, it was not going to happen. So I simply snapped this picture of this quiet place as I walked back to the bus pick up (for those of you wondering there are some people who live in houses around Colonial Williamsburg, I believe this was one such house).

Looking back over this picture reminded me of a book I recently reread parts - A Place of Quiet Rest. It is by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It has personal reflections of Elisabeth Elliott, Kay Arthur, Vonette Bright and others. The foreword is written by Joni Eareckson Tada - my favorite author. The subtitle reads - Finding Intimacy with God through a daily devotional life. When I originally purchased the book I thought the book cover was beautiful and serene and I liked the title. I didn't notice the subtitle. I was pulled in by wanting rest.

"The Fragrance of Devotion"
"The product of a daily devotional life will bear fruit in our own lives, as we experience an ever-deepening intimacy with the Father. Sadly, many believers never enter into the joys and fullness of this life of oneness with the Father. ..........
Time spent alone with Jesus each day will order our hearts and grant a sense of direction, enabling us to live purposeful, useful lives, directed by the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than being driven by the expectations and demands of others. ............ The fruit of a devotional life will also be manifested in an ordered, peaceful life..................."

As I reflected on these comments (Chapter 12 Cultivating the Garden of the Heart) I will tell you it is evident when I do not have that peace or that order it is often because my priorities are out of sorts. It is because I have been so busy doing ministry I missed that time spent with the Father. Something He continues to teach me is I am to be "directed" not "driven". As I ask myself about what fruit is showing up in my own life because of my daily devotional time with my heavenly Father, I ask you to think about this also!

Do you have a "spot" of quiet rest? Mine is my big green chair, what about you?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Coupon Classes Scheduled

Thank you to everyone who attended First Baptist's First Coupon Classes last month. Due to the requests that have come in about having a second class and repeating the first one we have scheduled the following:

March 5 (Thursday) 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at First Baptist Church (Cleveland, TN) in "The Backyard" (Our Kid's Church area). This class will be on "Taking it To the Next Level". Updates will be given on store coupon policies and we will discuss CVS and Walgreen's shopping. Childcare will be provided by advance request. Deadline for childcare reservations are March 2ND (Monday) at noon.

March 10 (Tuesday) 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church (Cleveland, TN) in "The Backyard" (our Kid's Church area). This class will be two part- at 6 p.m. we will repeat the "Beginner's Class". Some people may want to attend this class again if they still need help and guidance getting started. At 7:30 p.m. we will begin the second part - "Taking it To the Next Level". Childcare is not provided for the evening classes.

Please leave a comment to sign up or call First Baptist Church of Cleveland. The class is free. We do ask you RSVP so we can adequately plan and prepare. We ask that if you have copies of the weekly grocery store ads and drug store ads to please bring those with you- FBC will also try to provide for you if possible. Bring you coupons........... we will also have the opportunity for you to share coupons.

Anyone who attended the first classes and has specific questions you would like to make sure I cover- please let me know! We would also like to provide as many coupons for participants as possible- if you have contacts for this- please let me know!

It has been very exciting for me for all of you who have shared with me the money you have saved since our class. It has also been shared with me that several of you have taken the info back to your work or church and are doing classes. I was so excited to hear about how I feel God has used the simple use of coupons to impact others! I would love to hear where and how the other classes have gone! Happy couponing.........!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Meal Plan Monday


Well- here goes at my plan for the week!
Monday- Lasagna, Fruit and Garlic Bread
Tuesday- Tara at VBS; Mike take dinner since working
Wednesday- BBQ chicken wings in crock pot, Mac & Cheese, green beans, rolls
Thursday - Pork Loin and leftovers
Friday - Family Game Night- Chicken / Beef Quesidias, Enchiladas, Nachos and Cheese, etc.
Saturday - Breakfast Casserole, Biscuits, Sausage or Bacon, Juice and Milk
Sunday- Leftovers and dinner at AWANA

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Busy, Busy Week

I realized I haven't written here in quite some time - it has been busy. Here are some things that have consumed my time this past week-

1 Grandparent's Valentine Party
4 basketball games
3 funeral homes
2 theming meetings
1 meeting for new building
1 lunch with a homeschool family (very yummy)
1 lunch with another children's minister
1 mom's group meeting
1 benefit dinner (Jaxson Kidd Memorial benefit dinner- a child who died from our church)
2 meetings - coupon class
1 computer meeting
2 VBS meetings
1 staff meeting and staff lunch
phonecalls and emails
I am sure there was more but that is all I can remember without my calendar

Hmmmmmm it has been a busy week!
I'll post on some of the above at a later day!
Just wanted you to know I am still alive!
Just a little tuckered out!
Hope you had a Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Coupon Class is almost here!

Just a reminder, if you want to attend either the 10 am or 7 pm coupon class at First Baptist Church Cleveland on Thurs. Feb. 5, you need to RSVP by 5:00 PM Wed. Feb. 4 to reserve your spot. Click here for more info. Childcare is full for the morning class and is not available for the night class. Due to high attendance and limited space, children are not allowed in the class, except for nursing babies.

If you are registered for the coupon class please come with the following things:
1. an idea of how much you spend weekly on groceries and household items (you will not be asked to share this, just for your reference)
2. if you already coupon- bring your coupons / coupon organizer
3. expired coupons - we will mail them for you to the military
4. any coupons you want to share

See you soon! We are excited!
If you have questions please leave a comment here!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

One of the most creative friends I have

Here is a Ronney Joe Webb busy at work during Upward season. Ronney Joe is the Minister of Family Life and Missions at First Baptist Shreveport. He is very creative. He is also not afraid to try a thing and can do just about anything. I think the man has learned 1001 different trades in life. Most of my best ideas in ministry came from him- thanks for letting me "borrow" your ideas. We have a lot of fun talking shop together. Just talking to him jump starts my brain into being more creative!

Here is Ronney Joe as Elvis. I know he has also been Superman. He has quite a few costumes. Have I mentioned he is a lot of fun.
I am going to tell you one of my favorite Ronney Joe stories............
Ronney Joe was doing hospital visits one day. He was called to go to the hospital that one of the senior adult ladies was not doing well. Ronney Joe rushed to the hospital and made his way to her room. As he got in the room, his pager went off (this was before cell phones). He noticed it was the church and decided just to silence the pager and call them after he went and tended to the situation at hand. He went over to the lady and noticed she was unresponsive and the nurse was doing some things. He went over and placed his hand on her and began to pray. He asked God to intervene and help her during this time. After praying he stepped out to call the church. The church asked if he had been to the hospital to see Mrs. "X". He said yes I just prayed with her. They begin proceeded to tell him they were paging him because they had been notified she had died. So as Ronney Joe begins to realize he just prayed over a dead lady- it then dawns on him why the nurse is looking at him so strangely when he was with Mrs. "X".
Too, too funny. I promise this is a true story. If you knew my friend Ronney Joe you would realize this is just Ronney Joe! I had a great week at Rec Lab- thanks for all your hard work Ronney Joe!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friends

This is my friend Myrna. Here she is riding a motorized cooler. She had fun riding it all over the hotel. Matter of fact she had so much fun the hotel staff wanted to take it for a spin too! Notice she took Yertle for a ride too. Myrna works in Upward's Global Development. She is passionate about sharing Christ. She does this on mission trips all over this globe. She also is instrumental in others being able to do so by the work in writing, training and doing the groundwork for teams to go all over the world using Upward sports to share Christ. She is a woman who truly loves God and follows after Him. It was an awesome week to learn from her and have a lot of fun with her!
This is my friend Jenny Hemmer. She is an amazing lady. She is the Recreation Minister at Judson Baptist in Nashville. She seeks to help others come to Christ through recreation ministries. She as taught me a lot as well. She has a passion to help others realize that we the church need to do things with excellence as we serve the cause of Christ. She wants others to realize that status quo is not enough. As Christians we should strive to give a little more, work a little harder and do things to the upmost. This clip she shared with me explains her passion really well. I encourage you to watch it! 212 degrees

Both these ladies are incredible women of God. They love God and He is their life's passion. I am so thankful to have them in my life. They are two of the reasons I look forward to Rec Lab each year!

My Car is officially dead


My car is officially dead. I drive a Ford Contour and it is old. The Lord provided us this vehicle many years ago while we were in seminary- yes I have driven it a long time. I mean it is literally falling a part and after putting $600 in it this week- it still needs $700 more we find out today. Well we have decided it is just not worth it. So we are asking God to lead and guide us as we once again find a vehicle.

It also made me a little sad. We were waiting until we adopted the girls to buy a new vehicle. Well since that fell through we have just put off getting a vehicle. However, here we are at that juncture and I have no idea what kind of vehicle I want or need. I mean before I knew no question- I was getting a mini van. Now that this is not a necessity I have no idea what to purchase. Matter of fact I absolutely detest looking for a new car. I dislike the whole car salesman stuff- so all those praying friends out there pray, pray, pray. I know God once again while lead and guide us. I truly believe He cares about all the details in our lives- even what car I need. I just wish He would send me an email and tell me. Now that is a thought - an email with the sender listed as "GOD"! That is for sure an email I would read!!!!

What kind of vehicle do you think I need?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yertle Meets Jay Schroeder

Tonight Yertle and I got to hear Jay Schroeder speak and got to get our picture made with him. For those of you who are not up on football trivia- Jay is a retired NFL quarterback. He retired after 11 years in the NFL. He won the Super Bowl while playing for the Washington Redskins. He was our banquet speaker tonight- for you see more importantly than being a former pro football player he is a Christian. It was neat to hear his stories from his pro days but also hear how God allows him to use that as a platform to share Christ.
Everyone was wearing his Super Bowl ring in their pictures and what did Jay do- take his ring off and put it on Yertle. Isn't that sweet - he didn't want her to feel left out. Look real close and you can see- yes Yertle is wearing the ring that cost $12,000 to make at that time. Also on a side note- I did win a door prize. It was a silly animal and here at Rec Lab they throw the prizes. So I was toward the back - so they asked Jay to throw me my prize.......... yes I was nervous I was going to drop it- but here comes my spiral across the banquet room and YES I caught it! So thanks dad for teaching me to watch the ball into my hands (glove) so I didn't drop this catch!

We had a lot of fun tonight................! One really funny thing during question and answer time. Someone asked Jay who had hit him the hardest during his playing time. Without hesitation he said, I don't know. He went on to share he had numerous concussions so he truly doesn't know or remember (if you don't get it- he was knocked out so who knows!).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

People who have impacted my life

This is my friend Bobby Shows. He was honored at Rec Lab with the Pogo Lifetime Achievement Award. I am so thankful to him for ALL he has done to pour into my life. I have attended classes he has taught at Rec Lab for more than a decade. He is a true man of God and is amazing. I am so glad he was honored tonight.
Ronney Joe Webb is presenting John Garner with a leadership award at Rec Lab. John is another man who has really impacted the type of minister I am today. He was my professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He taught me so much and continues to do so. He has given his life to teaching others. It was great to honor him tonight. He is no longer at Lifeway Christian Resources full time so we had a night of "roasting" John. It was absolutely hilarious. The Rec Labations shared, as did a puppet friend from John's past years in recreation ministry and Caz McCazlin the founder of Upward. It was a great night.

I am so thankful to God for those who give to help others learn. Father, may I always be teachable.

Meet Yertle the Turtle

I realized after posting pictures of Yertle in San Antonio, that I have never properly introduced my turtle friend to you! Our Childhood Ministries has two turtle friends who are traveling turtles. Their names are Yertle and Mertle. We had a naming contest to come up with their names when they first became our friends. We also have two monkey friends- Milo and Millie the Mission Monkeys. The concept is to have children take a traveling turtle when they are going on a trip that requires travel. Milo and Millie go with individuals, families or teams who are going on mission both locally and globally. You are to take pictures of them while they are on their trip............ We have done some neat things with our friends on these trips. This fall the turtles went to England, Germany, Nicaragua, Hilton Head, Bike trips to Virginia, Disney World, and many other fun places. The monkeys have been to Nicaragua, Turkey, Greece, Kosovo, etc.

Other than to have fun and help us stay connected our families we are teaching children the following truth- "Your life can be a testimony everywhere you go!" I mean when you are taking a picture of or with one of these cute little creatures it most always draws attention or curious questions. Guess what? This is an awesome opportunity to lead into sharing about our faith in Jesus Christ. For you see when you tell someone this is something your church does you then often will have an open door to talk about spiritual things. So meet my friend Yertle- we are in San Antonio (as you may have guessed from earlier pictures).

Yertle is in San Antonio

Students who attend Rec Lab pose with Yertle along with the one and only Dr. Bill Buchanan (OBU). This group has been fun to have at Rec Lab. Students are a vital part of the lab experience- many, many ministers who come to Rec Lab- first came as a student- including me. During my studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary I took Rec Lab as a J-term. We attended lab, read books and did a week of class time.



Yertle at the River Walk in San Antonio- sorry I forgot to turn the picture around- goofy me. Today / tonight it is the coldest it has been in San Antonio in 12 years according to our own Rec Lab weatherman Bob F.
Yertle at the Alamo.............
Along with Jim F. (Birmingham), Kenneth S. (New Orleans), me, Yertle, Myrna G. (Brandon, MS), David M. (Fort Walton Beach), Debbie M. (Baton Rouge), Rhonda (Amarillo) and Jenny (Nashville). We had a lot of fun today even though it was cold and a little rainy. We went to the Alamo and yes Jim, now we can ALL say we have been- YEAH! We also walked along the River Walk, did a little bit of shopping, laughed a WHOLE lot, and then ate at the restaurant Mi Tierra! Have you ever heard of a Mexican restaurant open 24 hours? Well now you have! I had been here before and all wanted to return. Mainly for the atmosphere and the bakery. The food is just okay but the atmosphere is festive and a lot of fun! You can check them out at www.mitierracafe.com ! The pralines there are unlike any I have ever eaten. My friend from Rec Lab Jay F. (Albany, Ga) introduced these to many of us here 3 years ago- thanks Jay! We have missed Jay this year at Rec Lab. He and his wife just returned home from China with a new little girl - Congrats!

We had a blast!