Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chocolate & Chuckles 2012

Here's a look at this years Chocolate & Chuckles:


Thanks to everyone who helped make Chocolate & Chuckles 2012 a success! 

Check back soon for our next adventure.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Practice Rehearsing Victories

The following is a guest post from Tracey Moore, who blogs at Building My House.

I have a long story to tell, but bear with me, I have a good point in the end.

I haven't been driving on the interstate for very many years, 18 years to be exact.

Where I grew up there wasn't a close interstate and really there wasn't any traffic, it was a one stop light town. (I love it, by the way). Anyway, since having kids, driving has become one my worst things. Not that I'm a bad driver, but I just panic over everything, I mean, EVERYTHING!

One day, about 5 or so years ago, we (our home school co-op) took a trip to Pittsburgh, PA. I was okay with this trip, it was the first time I drove to Pittsburgh but I had printed off the directions from map quest and was pretty confident that it would be a fine trip. We stopped at a rest stop before we got into town and one of the lead drivers had asked if everyone was fine and talked about the tunnels and on on... I had told him that the tunnels were closed for construction, he didn't know that and wasn't confident in getting into town the other way, so I had to forfeit my directions, my lifeline, my only way in and out.

So, panic sets in. Once I get there I find some friends who say they are leaving well before rush hour to avoid the traffic, so I tell them to not leave without me. In the meantime, I am in the beginning stages of a full blown panic attack. I didn't know what was happening, this has never happened before. I am losing my mind. Luckily, one of my friends suffered from them several times and informed me that I was indeed having a panic attack, which didn't really help the situation, because now, how am I going to get home. And we left right at 5:00! I forgot about any past victories that God had pulled me through. I was just focused on the fear...

I did make it home. It took several months for me to be able to be in the car without having some form of anxiety.

Flashback....(Before Pittsburgh trip)
I drove to Dover, Delaware. I followed my brother up so I wasn't worried about how to get there, but I had to come home, without written directions. Guess what, I prayed before I left his house. My prayer went something like this...God, you have parted the Red Sea a few times and I need you to part this Red Sea for me. I know you can do it and I am going to believe that I make it home without any problems. That means the traffic will be low and I will know exactly where I need to be. Jesus name, Amen. I made it, exactly as I had asked!

There were a couple of other times that the same exact thing had happened. And you know what, God answered my prayer exactly as I had asked. He cares about these things, the things that really get us worked up. He wants us to give them to Him and in the meantime, our faith is built.

Present day...
I was sick and tired of being afraid to travel north on I79. I'm not sure why the residue of that Pittsburgh trip still lingered, but even going to Morgantown was a big issue. A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law was in from Texas to help with my father-in-law, who had knee replacement surgery, and she needed a ride back to the airport in Pittsburgh. Scott and I picked her up and we were going to take her back. Guess what? I volunteered to take her myself. That's right, not a passenger, but the driver.

What was I thinking?

 So, the night before God reminded me that David rehearsed his victories. I envision David having a box of some sort with souvenirs from various battles. The jaw bones from the animals he killed, you know, all the fun stuff. And before he went into a battle that God wanted fought, he sat down and opened that box and remembered all the things that God had brought him through. So I opened up that box in my memory of the interstate battles, fought and won, with God's help and I kept rehearsing those victories in my mind and in my heart. My prayer that day went something like this...Okay God, it's me again. We've been down this road before and I know that you have brought me through, but I need you to part this Red Sea for me once again. Could you make the traffic light? Could you make it so there are no vehicles when I need to merge into traffic? Could you give me the wisdom to make quick decisions when I need to do so? Jesus name, amen.

I got in my Jeep and drove to Pittsburgh! No anxiety! And everything I asked for God granted. Another victory to be rehearsed in the future and my faith built.

I want to keep those victories in my memory box and open them regularly, not forgetting who holds my world in His hands. Do you realize how amazing that is?

Thanks for listening reading.

Until next time, stay blessed,

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bible study with kids.

Our boys are now 8, 6, and 5.  We've been searching for a better choice for our evening Bible story.  It just seemed like everything we came across was too young or too old.

Enter my new, most favorite family Bible study:

Each night, we follow Doc as we dig for the truth. 

There are four parts to each lesson:
The map tells us where we will be going today.
The dig is the main part of the lesson. 
The treasure is the big idea of each lesson.
And finally, the display - how we put this idea into real life.

My favorite part of this book is that unlike many kids Bible story books or devotionals, you actually use your Bible.  I love that each night the boys are finding the book of Luke.  I love that they are becoming more familiar with the location of the books of the Bible and realizing that the Bible is for them.  I love that they are reading the word of God, not just someone else's paraphrase of a Bible story. 

The lessons are concise, which helps a lot with the "antsy in the pantsy" problem of many of our previous attempts at family Bible study.

We've been using this book for the past couple of weeks and are really enjoying it.  I downloaded my copy onto my Kindle, but it's available for the Nook or as a PDF file as well.  I think it's the best $5 I've spent in a long time.

You can check out the website here for more information: thedigforkids.com.   

This post was originally published at http://wvurbanhippie.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why I don't go to home group.....and why I should.

Raise your hand if you have good intentions of going to home group. 

Yep, so do I.

I actually do have good intentions.  When I see that it's home group night in the bulletin I always think "Oh, that would be nice".   Every time we go we end up having a good time.  We enjoy the people, we have great conversation, great snacks and our kids even have fun playing with the other kids. 

So, why don't we go?

Good question.

I think we've just gotten into a habit of not going.  I know for myself, as well as many of you, life is busy.  Between running our business and working and homeschooling, we hardly ever have down time.  We've gotten into the habit of spending Sunday evenings at home as a family. 

And that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

I think what happens though, is in a bigger church it's easier to feel "unconnected".  To just pass through the church nodding and waving hello, but not really connecting with anyone.  It's easy to keep it on a superficial level.  You know, the "I'm awesome, I've got it all together...see I even have on a dress and earrings today" kinda persona. 

And that's not necessarily a good thing.

We need each other.  We need to know that it's ok to actually know and care for each other on a personal level.  It's not only ok, it's downright Biblical. 

So do I end this post telling you I'm going to go to home group from now on, forever and ever amen? 

Umm.  No.  I do try my best not to be an outright liar. 

I'm going to try to take one Sunday a month.  Just one.  And on that one Sunday, I'm going to forgo putting on my jammies at 7pm and snuggling on the couch with my family and popcorn to watch America's Funniest Home Videos. 

Instead, I'm going to to go home group. 

I'm going to be positive and pleasant, even if the kids are fighting in the car about who gets to be Batman. 

I'm going to go even if I'm nervous about meeting new people. 

I'm going to go even if I don't have anything to wear. 

I'm going to go even if I only have time to pick up a bag of chips and dip. 

I'm going to go even if I spent all of service in the lobby with a kid who wouldn't go to class and I have no idea what Pastor spoke about. 

You could say the point is, I'm going to go. 

How about you?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book review: 7. An experimental mutiny against excess.

I was mentioning to my friend Ame that I needed "something good" to read.  Enter the recommendation of 7: An experimental mutiny against excess.  Apparently, the  women's group at her church had used it as their book group over the Summer. 

7 is the true story of author Jen Hatmaker, and at times her family, who took seven months, identified seven areas of excess in their lives, and made seven simple choices to fight back against modern excess and simplify as a means of focusing less on stuff and more on God.

I enjoyed most of this book, although it was very convicting at times.  I love that she wrote the book in a journal style, describing both her victories and struggles.  She was real.  I appreciate that. 

I do not, by any means, consider myself wealthy.  But when you think about it, if you have a roof over your head and food in your belly, you are better off than most of the world.  That's pretty easy to forget in our day to day life. 

What I loved most about this book was honestly, the timing of reading it.  I love when God does that.  Ame had no idea I was doing a Bible study on James, yet here she recommends a book that focusing on eliminating some of our "stuff" - our closets full of clothes we can't wear, our schedules packed to overflowing - all for the purpose of focusing on Jesus and loving the people he loves.  Taking care of the poor and the needy.  Showing love to our families by actually taking time for them. 

Sounds like maybe Jen has read a little James herself.

Now granted, I'm not going to go all granola and start recycling tree bark into shoes or anything like that.  But I am challenged to live purposefully and with in my means so that I can help others. 

I mean, that is what we are called to do.  Right?

If you're looking for a good - if not always easy - read, I recommend 7. 

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Harvest Fest fun.

This Saturday was our annual Harvest Fest. 

So. Much. Fun.

As always, there was great fun, food and friends. 

Thanks to everyone for all their hard work.  It was another great year!

Hay slide fun.

Eating contest.

Face painting cuties.

Pizza eating champ.

Horse rides.

Bouncy house fun.

Check out the hottie working the zip line.  Whoa! 

Hot chocolate was perfect for a cool night.

Is there anything better than a bonfire and friends?

If there's any reason you didn't make it this year, don't worry.  We have lots of fun planned for this fall.  And there's always next year.  Hope to see you then!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Guard my heart and my mind.

I read the paper.

I watch the news.

I listen to the debates.

And fear does it's best to take hold of me.

What will happen to our family, our friends, our country? 

I read articles about rising gas prices, food prices, utility prices.  While searching for new canning recipes, I stumble upon a whole world of doomsday preppers I didn't know existed. 

All this has kept me up at nights.......wondering.....worrying.....unsettled.

But then I remember that this is not what I am called to do.