Monday, January 31, 2011

A Fun Spot!

Well this is the sign that I had to turn by to get to my condo while in Florida. So every day for a week in November and the two weeks I was gone this month, I drove by this sign. Sometimes several times. I started thinking............. A Fun Spot.
We all like to be in or at a fun spot. It also challenged me to think do the children who attend ministry activities and events - from Discovery Zone and Kid's Church and AWANA to big special events- think WOW! that was a lot of fun. I want them to leave thinking the spot / place they learn about Jesus amazing love for them is a really FUN spot to be.

Now, some of you are thinking I mean the amazing theme design at our new church. Although we are incredibly blessed at FBC of Cleveland and Joe's team did an amazing job, that is not what I am speaking about. Nope, not all. I am actually asking - are we making God's word and the truths found within His word FUN? It is my prayer that we as Children's Ministry leaders and teachers make God's word come alive, be exciting and they never walk away bored.

I was also challenged to think of my home- is it a Fun Spot?

The more I thought on "FUN SPOTS", I began to realize it is more than the spot. It is a feeling. Also being a fun spot is not just about fun- it is about love and feeling safe. It is a feeling of security and belonging. It is never having to wonder if you fit in and you never feel out of place. It doesn't mean it is always a bed of roses and can be interesting and even challenging. However, the people with you in this "spot" make it worth it and you love them. Most of all you can laugh and cry together. It is the place you can come running to in good times and bad. Some people call it their happy place.

Whatever the case- happy, fun, etc. Where is that place for you? Are you making the environment around you- be it home, work, school, etc. a FUN SPOT?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Inspiring Creativity

One of the sessions I was blessed to be able to attend while at the Children's Pastor's Conference while in Orlando was the Disney Institute called INSPIRING CREATIVITY.

This is me and our instructor, Austin Brock. She did an amazing job of applying the class topic for Children's ministers. This is one thought she shared on creativity.....

When they are researching a new idea they gather lots of cast members together. They include people from many different departments. They all get in the same room and begin to dream. They think about how to touch all the senses. At Disney they want to submerge guests into the Disney magic and make it real. Guess what? In the church we want to submerge children into God's word. We want to make it real. What a challenge for the church!
I'll share more in the days ahead of things I learned from this one session. But I'll leave you with a quote from Walt Disney-
"Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination. But just as muscle grows flabby with disuse, so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it."

I encourage parents to provide many opportunities for your children to imagine!

Being on the same page..........

Well one thing I was reminded of at the conferences I attended was making sure you are communicating effectively. Sometimes you think you are, but you realize you are not on the same page. This can be frustrating for everyone involved. I thought this picture clearly illustrated this tip............... Minnie Mouse misunderstood when planting BUTTERCUPS in her flower pot. If you will notice from the picture above she literally has CUPS OF BUTTER! Not quite the same!

At first I thought - Minnie Mouse sure is silly. Then I stopped and thought of all the times I thought I had communicated clearly .... only to find out later I was not so clear. Well this is definitely one of the areas of my life I need to work at harder. How about you?

Note: This picture was taken in Minnie's house in Toon Town at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World (Orlando, Florida). If you are a Disney may have heard Toon Town will soon be gone........forever. They are making way for the expansion at Fantasy Land and as of right now there are no plans to put Toon Town somewhere else. Sad, I know. So you may see lots of pictures in the future because I took lots since it is disappearing from my favorite place on earth.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I am alive.................

I realized, while sitting here at the airport, that I posted about the excitement I felt as I prepared to attend the Children's Pastor's Conference in Orlando. And then I kinda left you hanging.......... Well I went non stop on the full days at the conference and on the one day that wasn't full I had to go make sure Mickey wasn't missing me too much!

Well and when that conference ended another one began- Rec Lab. Many of you know I have have attended this conference since seminary (this was my 16th Rec Lab). It was filled with incredible fellowship, sessions and worship and sermons that seemed to be tailor made just for me. Isn't it awesome when God does that?

I stayed over a day - when you fly the cheap airline you have to fly on days they do (Monday and Friday). I will tell you more about Allegiant Airline in another post- if possible I will not fly out of Chattanooga on another airline but Allegiant.

I have missed Mike something terrible. I have done a lot of people watching and talking to myself- yes out loud. It is just what you do when you are by yourself this many days. Funny thing I was to the point of starting to talk back -oops- so great thing I am departing today, huh!

I will begin to post next week on what all I learned, saw, experience and some of the things God whispered to me while I was away. I will also share some of the people God used so I could learn, see, experience and hear from him.

In the mean time............. I hope to see you at the Family Swim Party tomorrow night at the YMCA if you leave in Cleveland or close to Cleveland.

Guess what I just heard??? It is possible there is more snow coming to my little town next week and the next. Oh WOW! I may never flush ice again (you know that is suppose to help it snow! )

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Children's Pastor's Conference

Well it is finally here. I have wanted to attend CPC for a while - several years- but it has just never worked out. I am excited but also a little nervous. Not sure what to expect but anxious to find out. I have heard so many great things about this conference. What am I looking forward to? Here are few things....................

1. Worship
2. Conferences that give me new ideas
3. Conferences that help me strengthen areas of weakness for me personally and professionally
4. Resource / Vendor area
5. Seeing people I know
6. Making new friends
7. my first conference held at DISNEY

Well that is a lot and I could keep going but I won't. Needless to say I can't wait. I am about to eat lunch and head out. I want to get checked in and look over the schedule and classes. Well I have done that a zillion times based on the stuff online but I know it can change. I am also going to attend the first time attendee orientation. We start with a general session, eat dinner together and well since I am at Disney............. I will probably stop by a park as I leave. Oh yes, the Resource Area opens this afternoon too. So I will definitely stop by there. I hope I am not disappointed but I will be honest I have high expectations.

Well folks...............I had better get my bag ready (packed with my video camera and my camera)- yes I am a nerd! :0 But hey, there is nothing like seeing things and experiencing them through the eyes / lens as a first time attendee. I can't wait to tell you if it was all I thought it was going to be! I would appreciate your prayers in that these few days will be life changing, they will bring me closer to God, I will hear clearly what He desires for me to hear and I will go back home with a clear vision for FBC Childhood Ministries!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas Present to myself!

My New Tervis Tumbler
(mine has my name on it)

This Christmas I purchased Tervis Tumblers personalized with their name for the ladies I work with at church in Childhood Ministries. I decided I needed one too! Well, I am not sure how I have never been exposed to these nifty tumblers before but oh my! I am in love. A deep love relationship has begun. I mean how in the world have I not know about these before? Especially because my mom thinks I am a gadget person (like my father). It's true if he is the gadget King well I am the queen. I think that is why I love Pampered Chef stuff so much (thanks Jackie for the awesome party last night!)

Well a friend told me - knowing I like deals and coupons- to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond and take a 20% off coupon and purchase one from there too! She says they have all different kinds. Oh my this could become an addiction.

My most favorite feature is it does not sweat- thus does not leave rings. Woo Hoo! Mike laughs at how long I can make a drink last. However, the problem is sometimes it does not stay cold. Well this solves that problem. I purchased the 16 oz. tumbler but want to get one a little bigger. I also love that they are dishwasher safe!
Where have you found good deals on the Tervis Tumblers?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'll Hold You In Heaven Remembrance Book

I wanted to share with you a book that I pray you never have a need for in your life or circle of friends and family. However, I know that many of you, especially if you are a Minister to Children, will have times when you will need to pass along this resource to a family who has lost a baby. The book is I'll Hold You in Heaven Remembrance Book by Debbie Heydrick.

It states this books if for "Those who have experienced the loss of hopes and dreams through the untimely death of their baby, those who have had to say "Good-bye" before really having the chance to say "Hello", Those who knew of their baby's existence for but a few hours, days, weeks or months, yet grew in love with their child in great hope and anticipation of this treasured life., Those ho held their child for only a brief moment and for those who never had the chance., Those who have experienced closure in the loss and for all those who have had little or no real closure at all., May you now hear the words your heart longs to hear and truly experience the hope, comfort and peace that Christ has for you."

A while back I began to search for a resource to help those couples who had experienced the loss of a baby before it was born or shortly after it was born. Although there is not a whole lot of resources I have found this is one of the best I have found. It provides words of encouragement from someone who has walked the same path. It offers the truths of God's word so you can hang onto His love and truth during this difficult time. It provides space to journal if you decide to do so. It also helps you find ways to remember your child.

I have began to pass these along to couples when they experience loss. Sadly today was one of those days. I encourage couples to set the book aside until you are ready to look through it. For some it will be the day they receive it and for others it may take a while. Grief is a journey and for two people it never looks the same. I encourage you to continue to lift up the Ryan and Keenon as they are in the beginning days of grieving. As the days and weeks move ahead for the rest of us, please don't stop praying for them. I encourage you to visit their blog HERE ! You can read about the celebration of Sam's life on their blog this coming Saturday at our church- First Baptist Cleveland . It is my prayer that even if you do not know this family our church will be HIS hands and feet this Saturday morning as we come out to love on them. Isn't it great to be a part of the family of God?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Baby Sam Passed Away .........Please Pray

Yesterday I asked you to pray for the Hulton family. First time parents Ryan and Keenon welcomed baby Sam on Christmas Eve. Baby Sam was born 4 months premature. This morning Sam passed away. Please pray for this couple as they grieve the loss of their son.

They have shared their journey here and I encourage you to leave them a comment. If you would like to drop them a card please email me ( and I will send you their mailing address. I would ask you to shower this family with prayers today and in the days ahead. I also ask you to either leave them a comment on their blog or to send them a card to let them know they are being lifted up.

It is my prayer the peace of God surrounds Ryan and Keenon and Christ holds them close. It is my prayer that the body of Christ holds them up through prayer. I also pray that the body of Christ called First Baptist Cleveland expresses in many ways the love of God not just today but in the many hard days ahead.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Praying for Sam

I wanted to take the opportunity to ask you to pray for a new addition to FBC's Childhood Ministry family. He was born on Christmas Eve ....... 4 months premature. He is a fighter and his parents are troopers. Please join me in praying for Sam. You can follow his journey here !

I would encourage you as you pray and read their updates to also leave them a comment. Many of us have experienced times when we know that God's people are lifting us up. It is also encouraging to hear / read notes from those doing so. So please even if you don't know them or are not a part of FBC........take a moment to lift them up and leave them a note letting them know you have done so.

FBC Childhood Ministries Email 1.1.11

First Baptist Church Childhood Ministries Happy New Year - 1st email of 2011