Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer Fun has Begun!

Last week, at 10am we got a call that friends had tickets to an Orioles game.  Who doesn't turn down free tickets?!?!  Me, that's who!!!  Remember the last time I went?  We paid $1.50, had nosebleeds, talked with Wojo, got behind the O's dugout!  Sweet!

This time - 12 rows behind homeplate -- yea, baby!  

Look at me!  Before my sunburn.  Note to self: keep sunscreen at the office for last minute calls to fun.

It was amazing how many fans (though not the entire park) actually came for a 1:30p Wednesday game.  Do these people work?!?  Who knows.  But, it was great.  It was especially exciting because the O's were down at 8-3 in the 6th or so.  They hit like crazy to tie the game.  It went into extra innings, yada, yada, yada - they won!!  It was really cool because the game winning 3 run homer was hit by a newly brought up player.  He had struck out his first at bat of the game.  Poor kid was so dejected and the fans were booing him.  It broke my heart.  And then he nailed it!!  Here are same said fans cheering on the victory.  

We stayed to the very end, had fun, got burned, and even made it home in time for Bunco.  It was AWESOME!!! 

This week - only 6 more weeks until camp.  We've got a good number of our Sunday School teachers - thanks for praying - keep at it!  Still needing volunteers for camp, have more kids signing up!  Have signed up to be a recipe tester for America's Test Kitchen (Robin, you might need to check it out!)  And the Johnstons are coming into town this Thursday!  Wooooweeee!  Sure to be one whole week of fun.  Oh, and my nephew graduates from High School.  One already graduated from College last month.  Must write about that soon.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Walking the Graves

For the past 5-6 years, I've made it a point to go beyond myself each Memorial Day. Setting aside time to watch the PBS Memorial Day Concert - upon each viewing blubbering like a baby - I find a patriotic spirit that wells up in my heart. With the American spirit's echoing pulse in my ears, I've made my way to a local Veteran's Cemetery to walk the graves each Memorial Day. Awaking around 6:45a, I don a baseball cap (which only happens on this day and a few Farmer's Market treks) and brew my beverage of choice. Map in hand, I venture out to walk the graves.

This year, I made it to the cemetery in Ownings Mills. Lined with small waving flags, I drove the fields of reminders. Grave sites sorted according to the time of death, there were markers for service men and women from WWI, WWII, Korea, and Veitnam. There were wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, loved ones buried there. I walked the graves. I prayed. I pray for those who served, thanking God for their service. I pray for the spouses, that these days alone won't seem so long. I pray for their kids and loved ones to know the service by the soldier wasn't in vain nor was their own sacrifice to support their loved one out on the field.

This year, I saw a man standing for about 20 minutes over a gravestone. As I approached, I asked about his loved one. His wife had died about a year ago. There was her grave. And he was there. Remembering.

Every year as I leave the cemeteries, I vow that if I see someone who has served I'll stop and say thank you. I'm getting better, but I forget way too often. And worse than forgetting, I think they don't want to hear my meager words of gratitude. But, I remember the look on this man's face. As he was mourning his wife, I said thank you for his service. It moves people to realize that their sacrifice isn't in forgotten. That they are recognized for their giving -- that their work isn't lost on the rest of us. It really is the least I can do for those who have truly given the most.

Monday, May 18, 2009

By the numbers

I need prayer, friends.  It's all numerical, so we'll make it easy:

400 -- how many sponsors we need for Camp.  If 400 people donate $40 towards camp - our entire budget is covered.

375 -- about how many campers we had last year - and want to have again - if not more!

100 -- helpers it takes to run camp.  They haven't all signed up yet, especially needing a gym specialist to run game time.

11 -- my Summer Sunday School teachers needed -- to start in 2 weeks!!!  I have only 1 teacher so far.  This is stressing me out.

9 -- number of duckies we saw at the Arboretum. Ok, not a request, but how cute!!!

8 -- Family Fun trips planned to generate family & community unity in the church.

2 -- weeks of Service Camp - a new camp to teach about service to 3rd-5th graders.  Reaching for the stars, praying it works.

1 -- Summer Camp - with all those kids needing sponsors.  Have you noticed it's huge?

2,392,867 -- prayers needed.  HELP!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Missions Festival

We held our annual Missions Festival last week. A few months ago I had requested photos of foreign market places from my well traveled friends. They supplied -- we produced. Check them out!

The Market -- without kids. The theme for the festival was "Proclaiming Peace". So, to be a friend with another, you've got to get to know who they are. What they like to do. Where they enjoy doing it. And in getting to know someone - you proclaim peace to them. We wanted to invite our kids into another cultural feel by creating a market where they could learn new things about other places. For instance - you see the table with white plates on it? That was our Turkish spice market. The kids saw, sniffed and felt about 15 different spices -- yum!

We had international foods - scones from England, Perogies for Eastern Europe, Spring rolls from China, hummus and Tsatziki with pita chips from our Middle Eastern friends. Oh, and Daim candy from Sweden. With an exception for Sweden, we have missionaries serving in all of those areas. Pretty Cool. Oh, and look who was eating our food!!!

The Stewarts from Japan!!! Gosh it was fun to have them around for the week!

Above is a station where the kids made their own money.

At the green covered table they made fashion plates out of an assortment of fabric to bring to mind all the different types of clothing people wear.

In Mexico, they got to shape tortillas out of tortilla dough. Thanks, MM for the great recipe. It was a huge hit!!

In Japan, they made some killer Origami.

Oh, and then in China we got to do some watercolors like we've seen of the Chinese landscape. That's me being so helpful! We also had a station where they created mosaics for Turkey. And I checked out 53 books from the local library of all different countries (mainly those in which we have missionaries) that the kids could look at. We had a rug and pillows set up for that area. All the while they got to listen to a slew of international music.

It was great. Made out of bamboo (from a friend's yard), pull ties and cement block weights, it looked awesome. The Art classes at the school here painted my muslin backdrops. And the church brought together all their international gear. It was such fun. Loads of work, but worth it.

Before the market was "opened", we watched a video of the ministry to street children in Acapulco. And when they started to talk about someone who worked there, we had the worker here! She came and shared with the kids about loving others through Jesus. It was truly a great night. To top it off -- our kids raised $401 for Casa Hogar in their Pennies for Peace campaign. It was great to see families come together to raise money by having a bake sale in their neighborhood, cleaning out their sibling's cars, and collecting their Easter Egg Hunt winnings and bringing them in. Definitely Proclaiming Peace to all nations!