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Showing posts from July, 2016

Chris Tomlin Worship Night In America 2016

It angers and saddens me that our current state of affairs reduced my child to sobs of anguish and fear over going to large public places.  I never once had this fear as a child and now an entire generation will know fear.  We were in Manhattan Saturday, July 23rd for Chris Tomlin’s Worship Night in America.  But let me back up....



Months ago Grace came to love Chris Tomlin’s song Good Good Father when Fusion (youth group) played it.  She bought the lead sheet for the piano and with her piano teacher, Rob, she mastered this challenging song.  It sparked a love of Christian music.  Now it is all we listen to.  I am convinced that when you start to fill yourself up with the love of God and you make the decision to follow him wholeheartedly and trust in Him and Him alone, you begin to turn out the negative pooh that the world is filled with.  I don’t want to listen to songs about drinking, partying, heartbreak and illicit love.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love my old Coldplay, but most o…

Friendship

What if we took the scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NAS) and replaced the word Love with Friendship for after all, friendship, true friendship, is a form of love.  


Friendship is patient, friendship is kind and is not jealous; friendship does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; friendship does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; friendship bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


When I think of friendship in this light, I realize that sometimes what we think is friendship is not, and what we want in a friend, we may already have.  When I think of friendship in Biblical terms, I realize we are blessed with friends and I am so grateful.  
We had the opportunity to spend a day with friends at Prospect Lake in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.   This is a huge family gathering for our friends and to be welcomed in, if only…

Rock Climbing

Part of our reason for switching churches was that our family was desperate for community.  We wanted to do more than show up at church for an hour and go home.  We tried and tried over and over to connect but our church (and every other church in town that we tried) did not have the community and fellowship we wanted.  
Now the girls are part of a thriving youth program.  It meets during the school year and takes a break during the summer.  Occasionally events pop up and now that Lilah is in high school, they can go together.  This week they went rock climbing.  



Only a few kids were available, which at first seemed like a bummer, but turned out to be a blessing.  Lilah had the opportunity to get to know one of the leaders in a small group, her favorite setting.  The leaders were belaying the climbers so they each had more climb time and the two hours flew by.  Due to traffic, I hung out in the waiting area, finished up the Book of Hebrews (oh my....so much goodness in this book), and …

A good day

If you flip back through this blog throughout the years one constant is our annual pool party at my Aunt’s house in Massachusetts.  My mother’s extended family is huge and she has dozens of cousins and they have dozens of kids who now have kids and even some of those kids have kids!  Depending on the year and people’s availability, the gatherings have ranged from pretty huge to more intimate, like this year.  
This year was just our family, my first cousins, four of the five.  I am the oldest of the crew at 44.  My sister and I have grown children.  I saw "grown" because while they are not technically grown, they are teenagers, and there is no need for me to prepare meals, change diapers, wipe noses, put on sunscreen, worry about floatation devices, sippy cups or naps.  So I can relax and play with the little people who do need all these things.  We played hard.
Imagine a tranquil setting, families watching children swim around the pool deck sipping coffee, eating burgers and …

Yale University Art Gallery

I am so grateful for the homeschooling parents who spend a great deal of time and emotional energy coordinating classes that are open to the homeschooling community.   
Grace and Lilah participate in art appreciation classes held at Yale University Art Gallery, home to some amazing pieces and collections.  Led by docents who are art students at Yale’s School of Art, they explore a room/gallery a month.  They missed the first tour, but attended the second, which was held in the African Art gallery.  



There were a wide range of ages in this group but enough teens to make the girls feel comfortable and the teaching truly appealed to all age groups, even the adults.  I hung back from this group, not to be anti-social, but because I want my girls to be independent in their studies.  They would both be in high school if they attended traditional school and I most certainly would not be following them around all day!

I believe that parents should not be present in the classes offered to teens, …

Yada Yada

A friend told me about The Yada Yada Prayer Group Series by Neta Jackson, when we were discussing the Selection series.  Book 1 arrived the weekend I was away at the Fair Warrior Retreat and book 5 should arrive from Amazon today.




The timing was simply perfect.  My small group at the retreat was made up of women of different ages, countries and cultures and I love them all.  What seemed to be a random matching was actually a decision that was prayed over and given careful consideration.  God knew what He was doing when He placed us together! When Fair Warrior concluded Sunday morning, we agreed to stay in touch via email and continue our relationships.  
These women will always hold a special place in my heart because I let myself be me in front of them, something I never do.  I went into this retreat with my guard up, the emotional scars I carry from past friendships hidden deep behind the protective boundary I now carry when meeting new women.  I was honest about my boundaries during …

Summer Studies: French 1

Back to school shopping in July seems crazy but it has been so long since we have been excited for new classes and opportunities that we are riding the wave of excitement all the way to Staples.  The syllabus for French class came through via our Google Group.  A separate binder with 5 tabs is required as well as two textbooks.  
Because the girls have never studied French before and some of the other students in class will already have had a semester of French, there is summer homework: watching FrenchPod101 on YouTube and learning the vocabulary, counting to 100, reading basic books (like Dr. Seuss) in French and watching cartoons and movies with French subtitles.  
Normally I am frugal when it comes to basic supplies but for this I let them splurge.  We stuck only to French.  No big binders yet.  No shiny new pencils.  Just the binders.  I adore the divider tabs they bought.  I also let them get a pack of 100 colored index cards, although they used up 25 on their first FrenchPod vide…

VBS Part 2 - 300 Kids!

Monday came bright and sunny and over 300 children made their way through crafts.  Oh my!  300 children with 300 personalities, 300 needs, 300 temperaments.  So many kids.  But like all the other things we have been involved with, this too was run with amazing efficiency as the result of super organized people!  






Some of the crafts were painted votive holders, pipe cleaner octopuses (I did check the grammar on this!), prayer journals, jellyfish boo boo packs, underwater viewers and wobble divers that looked like little Minions.  Some were harder than others and we each had our favorites.  Mine was the votive holder that now sits on my dining room table next to the votive holder from my retreat.  





I never saw Grace during the day since she was outside having a blast with her friend Danielle.  It was hot, but not too hot and she loved every minute of her week.  Lilah and I enjoyed the cool air conditioning and she too, loved every minute of her week.    I loved it but to be honest, by Thu…

VBS Part 1: The Preparation

When we said yes to the call to switch churches, we were all in.  If we wanted community, we had to join in the plentiful offerings available to us.  When a call for volunteers went out the three of us signed up, Lilah and I for crafts, and Grace for outdoor games.  



The craft team met several times during the weeks leading up to VBS to plan the crafts, plan the decoration of the hall, order supplies, make samples and organize for each craft as much as was possible.  Never having been involved in something as grand as this, I had no idea what to expect.  300+ kids, 100 volunteers, a preschool program designed just for the children of volunteers, so they could be free to volunteer (how genius!)  



Our theme was Submerged so all decorations had a nautical, underwater feel.  I asked my Dad for a large piece of cardboard since he sells tools and he gave me the largest piece he could find to construct our anchor.  The corrugated box was so thick Greg used his jigsaw to cut it out for me when …

Greg's birthday at Mohegan Sun

Our family has its share of faults. Dust bunnies hold wild dance parties under our couches and Irish Lace can be found in the corners hanging from the crown moulding.  Don’t you just love “Irish Lace”?  That’s what my Gram used to call cobwebs.  "Oh, that’s just Irish Lace."  Anyway....one thing our family does well is birthdays.  We try to find something that is interesting to the person whose birthday is being celebrated.  Last year Grace went to the Grand Prix horse show for her 15th birthday.  Lilah partied in Hoboken at Carlo’s Bakery for her 10th.  Last year we took Greg to the horse races in Monmouth Park, NJ for his 45th birthday and this year we helped him celebrate 46 at Mohegan Sun Casino’s Barbecue Festival.  
The rain and severe storms couldn’t bring us down.  Not when there is pulled pork and brisket to eat and hard core smokers to chat with about rubs and smoke time. When the storms rolled through we just headed inside to what Lilah termed the “adult arcade” to…

Fair Warrior, Women's Retreat June 2016

The past few posts have been about church because as I get this old blog caught up, church is where we have been spending a significant amount of time.  Something huge happened for me and to me the first weekend in June, I attended my first retreat, ever.



I am not one to venture away from home alone.  I attended cheerleading camp in high school and I guess that was okay but I didn’t love it.  I didn’t do many sleep overs at friends and I don’t do mom’s vacations.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have slept alone in my house and I have only left my family once when I went to New York with my mother, sister and cousin ages ago.  So when this retreat, Fair Warrior, was announced, I was intrigued and I stuck the save the date card on my wall and I thought about going but I was not that committed to the idea.  When the details were released and I realized a retreat is not like a resort and single housing was not available, I promptly threw away the save the date card.  No way,…