having both is a blessing.

My amazing mother-in-law has remarkable quote on the wall in her dining room, it says
"Having somewhere to go is HOME
Having someone to love is FAMILY
Having both is a BLESSING"

I love that quote because it's so true! "Home" doesn't necissarily have to be your house, or someone else's. It's a place where you can go and be yourself. And "family" isn't always just the people that you're related to. It's the people in your world who love you unconditional and take you as you are.

Being a children's pastor its my desire to see all children blessed with both. If they aren't finding these things at their house, I would love to be able to help them find it some other place...possibly even at church.

That's why the other staff at my church and myself have determined that we need to create "family" in our congregation. Through things as simple as the ushers and greeters who volunteer every Sunday, to connect groups, to family events...we're doing what we can to try and create a place of belonging where relationships can form and flourish.

My prayer is that our church is BLESSING to many.


won't you be my neighbor?

I remember watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood when I was young. He would always sing a song asking me (and all other children viewing his show) to be his neighbor. After watching his 30 minute show on television I'd plan up ways in my head to become a neighbor to someone so kind and friendly...

Although I've never been Mr. Rogers neighbor, I most certainly have lived in communities with people much like Mr. Rogers - people who genuinely care about those in their communities. That's the kind of neighbor I aspire to be.

I live in a small town just minutes from the city I grew up in. It's quite incredible the difference a smaller center can make brining neighbors together.

There's a bakery in my town that has the most delicious pastries ever! It's locally owned and it seems like there's always a vehicle parked out front picking up a loaf of fresh baked bread, or goodies to take home and share with the family.

There's also a gas station just as you enter our town. It's one of the few Full Service stations in our area. There always seems to be teenage boys standing about waiting for the next customer to roll up and proclaim "fill 'er up."

In this economic crisis that the world is finding itself in, its quite evident that people are tightening their belts, including my husband and I. I have become quite the sale shopper and spend time going through flyers looking for the best deals on the goods needed in our home. However, one place that we refuse to cut costs is when it comes to supporting our local businesses.

Sure I could buy bread at the grocery store for a more inexpensive price. And I could fill up my gar with gas at a station that's self serve and spend less.
But then, what kind of neighbor am I being?

If I fail to be a good neighbor and support those who invest so much of their time into making my town better, I'm not only tightening my belt, but I'm also becoming stingy. This economic crisis is no doubt affecting the small businesses in my community, I would hate to be a contributing factor to businesses closing and my neighbors moving away.

I want to be known as someone who lives generously. I want to contribute to a community that lives generously.

I want to be like Mr. Rogers.


thinking outside of my [Easter] box

This morning I sat down to work on my March calendar and realized that Easter is only 53 sleeps away! Now to the average person that would seem to be heaps of time to start planning for the holiday. For myself, I realize the clock is ticking and time's running out to plan something amazing.

Over the past few months my church has been trying to switch its focus towards family. With Easter quickly approaching I instinctively think of what we can do for just the kids. That's where I'm challenged to think outside of the box! For years we've done Easter egg hunts for the kids, which is generally great, but doesn't include the whole family in celebrating Easter.

And so, over the next 53 days I will be attempting to think outside of the box. To create an Easter experience for the whole family.


making a house a home

Matt & I are so close to being in our first house! It's been quite the process. We made the decision to start building last summer. In July they started digging our basement and pouring our foundation. Soon after the process began we moved out of our rental home and into my parents house. We picked our flooring, cabinets, light fixtures, counter tops, appliances, hardware and finally we're almost at the point of being able to enjoy it!

Over the past seven months I've been reminded of what makes a house a home while living in my parents home again. Between the months spent with them and the days of "relief" (☺) spent with my in-laws I've began to realize what truly makes a house a home.

Its not the decorations (although those are very lovely and definitely contribute to the "homey" feel). Its not the space, or the designated rooms. It's not what kind of food is served. It's not the mood music that's played, or mood lighting.

Rather its the things that you don't see that make a house a home. It's the way that everyone belongs. It's the way you're allowed to be who you are. It's the way there's always an extra chair that can be pulled up to the table. It's the way the conversation just flows and you know that your opinion matters. It's the way family and friends alike feel sheltered and safe.

And so, although I'm EXTREMELY excited to get into our house and set it up as ours, I'm more excited to create a haven. My mother-in-law gave us something for our wall when the building process just began, and I truly believe it will become the essence of our home and it simply says: "Welcome, happy is the home that shelters a friend." And that is the home that Matt & will strive to create.


remembering someone great. - part 2

She never once complained. It was clear that some of her life experiences were neither fair, or deserved, but through it all she had such dignity and strength. I never heard her speak negatively of those who did her wrong, or of a situation she found herself in.
She was the queen of glitz. I remember the sweaters she wore were always adorned with sparkles and golden threads.
Speaking of glitz, she was a princess. Her hair was always done and her finger and toenails always painted. She would squeeze her feet into pretty, strappy sandals and never once complain of the pain.
She was the only one who would let me get cookies a McDonald's as a little girl.
Although she was quiet it was never uncomfortable to be around her. There was something very relaxed and comforting about her presence even though she was a women of few words.
I remember delivering her poinsettia's every Christmas. She loved flowers, and we always made a point of getting her the biggest most beautiful bouquets when we had the opportunity.
She LOVED her family. Her home was full of photos of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. When she moved from her apartment into the nursing home her photos moved with her.
I remember she got along so well with grandpa McEachern. When they were together it seemed as though there was a mutual understanding between them. They simply seemed to enjoy being in each others presence. As a grandchild is was a fabulous thing to witness. I know that now they're both enjoying their time in a place far greater then any place they ever met here on earth.

She is still treasured in my heart and so missed everyday.


You Reap What You Sow

We’ve all heard that line at some point or another in our lives. Perhaps you heard it from you mother warning you as she sent you off to school after hearing about incidents of a child being teased in your class. Or maybe you’ve heard it in reference to justifying why someone’s marriage has failed. Or it could be that you heard it as good deed was done to you after you willingly helped someone else. Sometimes this phrase has a negative connotation, and sometimes it has a positive one. This is one of the lines that no matter the situation, more often then not, tends to be true.

I’ve recently witnessed this to be so in my own life. A couple weeks ago my paternal grandma passed away. It was rather sudden, and came as a shock to many of us (that could be a blog all of its own!). As my family has been broken and grieving our loss it has been overwhelming the support and encouragement we’ve received from those around us.

From the meals, to the flowers, to the cards, to the e-mails and facebooks messages, to the phone calls…it’s all touched our hearts and lives to help us realize what a great community we have around us.

The other day as my dad was on the phone going over the details of the funeral, the person on the other line made a comment in respect to the overwhelming response we’ve received. He simply said, “Rick, this is your time to reap what you’ve sown.” How profound…

Many people in my parent’s world know that when in crisis Rick & Cindy are the people to call. Whatever your need is, they’re always prepared to drop everything a come to your aid. From meals, to helping with renovations, to babysitting and picking up and dropping off kids, to helping with moving…you name it, they’ll do it. But they aren’t the only ones, my in-laws would have the same reputation (and so since its part of our DNA my husband and I are the same). There are numerous other people in my world who are of the same breed.

But why do what we do? Is it because we want to stock up for when our time of need comes? Absolutely not! Rather its because we know the value of family and community.
We know the pain that comes with the loss of a loved one.
We know the trouble that comes with under going a surgery and spending weeks in recovery.
We know that hassle and chaos that comes with a big move.
We know that every once in awhile a mom needs some time to herself.
We also know that there’s nothing like overcoming. And that’s why we do what we do. To help overcome. To the be support and encouragement that true friends and family are meant to be.

As all farmers know, in due time you will reap a harvest.