Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sinnissippi Gardens

Feeding the ducks at Sinnissippi was a big hit!

Strange cow

Blake finds a unique way to feeda baby cow.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Yesterday we celebrated our 12th anniversary. We went to Kobe Japanese Steak House which was very delicious and then we went shopping. Before we went home we stopped at the Sonic and had some Root Beer Floats.

Look at how time changes us:


And now:

We're baaack

We had a very nice vacation visiting family and friends in Illinois. Lots of rain but some sunshine too. David and Chace did really great in the car too. Of course Blake and Tanner are great riders - but then again they do have a DVD.

So the vacation in review in pictures.

We stopped first in Aurora to visit my sister Becky and her family. They have three kids ages 4 - 8. We got to visit a small (free!) zoo and also we went to Rainforest Cafe and of course ordered a couple of volcano dessert. David was quite amazed by the growling leopard.

One of the reasons we went back this summer was to check in on my mother whose health keeps deteriorating. She is staying with my grandmother and aunt in Rockford. As you can see you the photo with Blake and Tanner she is really not doing well. She did know who I was but she couldn't place Patsy. Tanner did such a good job though giving her hugs and holding her hand. David held her hand too.

David and Chace got a free ride on my mom's wheelchair too! Blake is standing next to my Grandma Martin. She is 85 years young!

We did some sightseeing in and around Rockford including Sinnissippi Gardens and the Chief Blackhawk statue. We also got to swim at Uncle Bill and Aunt Beth's house.

We also visited Aunt Sue's farm where the boys got to feed a baby cow, hold little chicks, pet llamas and find duck eggs. They also got to visit with their second cousin Abby.

We drove into Wauconda where we got to meet with Pastor Karl the founder and creator of and Toybox Tales! We also went to Uncle Steve and Aunt Crystal's where Blake and Tanner got to go into a secret compartment and play Legos and they saw the world's biggest mushroom.

On the way home we stopped at a glass blowing factory and the gift shop was wall to wall glass items. How did we get 4 boys through this glass maze without breaking a single thing? Superior parenting of course! :)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Lazer Belly

I wanted everyone to see how David really is - not the shy little boy we see in public!

Final VBS thoughts

I wrote this last week during VBS - just some thoughts in the middle of a good VBS
Vacation Bible School this year has been terrific. We have a terrific group of volunteers, a wonderful leadership team, record attendance and a fun theme – Sonforce Kids. As of this writing (Wednesday morning) we have averaged 250 kids a night and over 300 kids have come at least once. Those who know me well know I am reflective and analytical and this is a good time for me to think through and then re-think through the reasons why we do VBS.
So what are the positives of Vacation Bible School? For many people kids getting saved is the best thing. I really pray this happens but if you know me you know I have also developed the philosophy that for kids salvation is more of an ongoing process rather than an earth-shaking event. The key is long term exposure to the truth and love of Christ rather than simply repeating a prayer. The Bible uses words like believe and trust when it comes to salvation and for kids those things don’t happen in one event. They grow into them. So VBS is another chance to help kids grow in their belief and trust in Jesus.
There are other great things that happen at VBS. It is a chance for lots of people who can’t normally volunteer in kid’s ministry to be exposed to what we do. Kids in the Roanoke Valley love to invite their friends to VBS. I am really proud of the first class carnival we put on every year at the end of VBS. It is so great to see so many families form the church and community enjoying this evening. I love the high energy worship of a room full of bouncing kids. It helps some new kids develop friendships in the church. Wow lots of great things!
So what do I not like about VBS - a couple of things. First of all are finances. We spend about 28% of our yearly budget on one week – VBS (plus a couple extra thousand from VBS offerings and concessions sales). More than Awana, more than Sunday School, more than Kid’s Worship and more than Nursery which are all ongoing ministries? In fact to a degree some of those ministries suffer because of VBS. We have some really old microphones in Kid Kove that need to be replaced and if we did not have VBS we would have new microphones in Kid Kove.
I also see how VBS can develop a one-time mentality. It is so obvious that you can not effectively reach kids with a one week strategy but so many churches and so many church people think that VBS is what children’s ministry is all about. The truth is most of the positives I listed about VBS happen in an ongoing way in kid’s ministry all the time! Also I wonder is VBS just another time for kids and their parents to be at church separated again.
So what do we do? A big part of my job is to do the best with what I’m given to develop a comprehensive strategy to reach kids and their families for Christ. That means to continually evaluate and re-evaluate what we are doing, what we are spending money and who we can do all this better! So I need to ask some tough questions in the middle of an incredible VBS. Questions like can we do something wonderful like a three day kid’s crusade with a first class speaker for a third of the budget and still have a great event for kids and their parents? Is their a way to do this and help whole families enjoy this together? Could we join together as a bunch of different ministries and work together to do a great carnival that lots of budgets shoulder and create an event bigger event for the community? Do we have the courage and desire for a year to try something new and different?So what’s in store for next year? I don’t know yet, but I would invite your constructive dialogue and prayer. Will we have VBS or something different? Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

VBS Carnival

I always love the carnival on the last night. We put alot of hard work into this and spend a big portion of the budget on it. I hope that everyone enjoys it. The weather this year was great.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

VBS Day 4 and 5

We wrapped up the regular VBS program tonight. Tomorrow we still have the carnival. It was a very good week and the carnival hopefully will be great too. Patsy got a pie tonight even though the girls won the offering contest. She said she was "so confident" the boys would lose she didn't even think they could bring in $400 for the week and if they did he would take a pie no matter what. Well they doubled that and so three of us got a pie tonight, Patsy, Grant and myself. I will post video later.
Some VBS stats
average attendance - 250
Total number of kids coming through - 318
Offering total - $1,775
Who knows how many volunteers! At least 100.

Special thanks to our directors

Preschool Pastor Grant Beecher
Games director - David Raymond
Preschool Games Director - Robin Kingery
Head Teacher - Shawnee Leonard
Crafts director and Elementary Worship - Patsy
Preschool Worship - Dee Lupiya
Head Coach - Sara Willard
5th/6th Grade Boys Director - Becky Reed
5th/6th Grade Girls Director - Phyllis Booth
Registration and Office - Jody Hendrix
VBS Nurse - Angie Lauridsen
Snacks Director - Judy Avis
Offering Counters - Opal Keller