Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FAMJAM in October!

FAMJAM: October 26th, 10:15am in fellowship hall.

We can't wait to see you to connect as families and watch our children enjoy God and life! This month we'll be exploring the JOY Jesus gives and how to live it out. See you there!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Paying Attention To Your Child's Spiritual DNA

As parents and volunteers, it is vividly apparent that each child is different, specifically crafted by the Great Craftsman, designed for purposes we only partly know. My husband and I laugh about how it seemed Eli was already turning the pages of books he had memorized at 10 months, while Amos, now 10 months, loves to sit around watching the surrounding activity and gnaw on his hand. But man, Amos can scoot, and scoot fast. He is more physically adept than Eli was at his age. We notice both superficial and deeper differences in the children we come into contact with, especially when they are our own.

Do you seek to know your child's giftedness? Do you long to understand how to nurture their God-designed interests, abilities, and passions? This article is great for both volunteers ministering to children, as well as parents.  The article offers tangible descriptions to look for and questions to ask children, as well as experiences you can facilitate with children at various stages of development to better understand their spiritual DNA and giftedness. Enjoy!

Flow-Through Ministry

This is a beautiful article for ministry volunteers who struggle to understand their place in serving God and others. It deals with our perceptions and need to keep Jesus at the center of our minsitry, while addressing our personal need for both solitude and community. Also, the author utilizes the words and perspective of Henri Nouwen, one of my all-time, favorite authors. For a little soul nourishment, check out:

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Parents: do you know what cyberbullying is?  It is common, online bullying and many kids are deeply affected by it.  Some statistics show that though boys may be more typical bullies at school, facee-to-face, girls are more aggressive with electronic bullying.   And 1/3 of kids and teens report that they've been bullied online.  Our children are exposed to so much and it is imperative we pursue the scope of information generated to them, protecting them whenever possible.  Check out these websites for more information on cyberbullying and internet protection:, (this one has sections for kids, preteens, and teens), (has an entire section on cyberbullying and internet safety, as well as other aspects of safety for your family).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Plastic Baggies & Creation Care

Did anyone else read the recent SD Reader article on plastic bags?  I knew they were problematic for the environment but I didn't realize the scale, and the facts check out in other places...crowding landfills, 1000 years for many of the bags to biodegrade, and on.  The article reinvigorated curiosity on my part for our family's usage of these unassuming bandits.  Let me tell you, we use baggies a lot.  We use them for our lunches and the separation of food inside our lunches.  We have one or two Target bags full of other plastic bags at any given time.  Bigger bags are used for the gym, clothing changes, Sunday School supplies, or in which we can throw the content of our cars or kitchen tables.  Little bags are used for food or goopy trash, to go inside the trash.  

We are people who care about the environment because we care about and are called to creation care.  We recycle everything, but what about those plastic bags?   Now that we have two children, we don't want to add to environmental issues (two little people can help generate big waste) and we want to model creation care for them.  This means that from a young age, we talk with them about why we bring our colorful totes to the grocery store or why lunch boxes are so great, beyond the awesome Lightening McQueen image.  

Want to change your use of plastic bags?  Use canvas or another alternative. This website
provides a great alternative. Cheap, durable, ethically made nylon bags made especially for grocery shopping and just about anything else:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Depleted Immunities

Sick again? Yes, sick again. Since the entrance of children into my life, there has been a steady stream of fluids - snot, saliva, drool - that make their way to my left shoulder and skirt hems, as well as blanketing my face, daily. I generally don't have time to be sick, and therefore will myself not to be. Sort of the way I willed myself not to vomit through my entire pregnancy and labor with Eli (my will had waned by the time Amos came along).

But here I am, sick again. I saw the doctor yesterday after flirting with symptoms a month and being officially ill a week with on-and-off fevers, headaches, dizziness, sore throat, ear pain, coughing, body aches, sinus pain, and finally, laryngitis. After tests confirmed that I did not have mono (score) and am not pregnant (double score given the double scooters), it seems I have a complicated cold and nasty sinus infection. What better day to start a blog?

What better day to also ponder the greats in the faith? I think specifically of great medieval men and women serving in the monastic tradition, caring for others in dark times such as the black plague, while needing to nurse their own illnesses as well. I am a bad sick person. I torture myself by pondering their lives when I feel too sick and self-pitied to get out of bed. Catherine of Siena tirelessly cared for others in poverty and grotesque physical ailments. I think about her a lot when I am wishing I had more strength in me to carry the ailments of everyone in my life. But then I remember, she didn't live past 31. I hope to have a long life. And then I also remember, Catherine knew she wasn't the Savior, just an extension of his power, and I better keep that knowledge straight too.

So here are my questions: what does self-care look like for the life of a parent who cares more about snuggling with a sick child than preserving herself? How do we stretch our arms beyond our immediate family unit to care for the wider body of humans - both inside and outside the church - who need us and to whom we are called? What role does spiritual and emotional exhaustion play in our depleted physical capacities?

I have to admit, the last few months have been long and wearying for me. There has been little space for me to refresh myself in the One who pours out living water for thirsty followers. The depleted immunities of my body are an external snapshot of the depleted immunities in my soul right now. I always feel compelled to serve others. Serve my kids, make my calls, schedule another meeting with someone to talk. But I want to serve God from a wellspring of love and abundance, not human scarcity. And on this sick day, I am led back to the God who restores immunities.
For another tidbit on Catherine of Siena, and some good words on being at home with ourselves, check out: