Friday, July 31, 2009

Making homemade laundry soap.....

Okay, my friend Bonnie, on her facebook, but this link on how to make homemade laundry soap. Two dollars for ten gallons. I am going to give it a try. It takes about a half an hour and has to sit overnight, but at that kind of savings, I am willing to try it. The link for the recipe is I hope this helps anyone with the time and inclination to save some money. Bonnie also swears by their second fabric softener trick, so I am trying that too.

What are you doing to save money? What are you willing to try? I am trying this, Bonnie has been using it for the last couple of months, so why not? I would love for all of us to share our money saving tips here in the comments section. And if you try the laundry soap, let me know about it.

In today's economy, we have to buckle down. Five years ago, if you told me I would be making laundry soap, I would have said you are out of your cotton picking mind. Now, I am willing to try it to save at least twenty dollars a month on the stuff. We get our movies from the library, no renting for us. Why rent when you get them for free? You do have to wait for new releases, but there are so many great old ones, who cares? We also do our book shopping at the library. We eat the meat that is on special, the fruit that is on special and if we have a coupon, all the better. Teaching our children the value of a dollar is only helping them later in life.

So, share the love and pass the coupons.

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Okay, driving, day two

So yesterday was library day. Tyler asked if he could drive, I said yes, being the cool mom that I am. Cooper sat in the backseat with his blanket over his head. As we headed out, about one minute into our trip, I gave Tyler a heads up. He was not stopping and traffic was. He is still not stopping, I start yelling. All of a sudden, I have both hands on the roof of the van and my foot is on the dashboard and I am yelling, STOP, STOP, TYLER, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP, at the top of my voice. He starts to stop and comes to a complete stop about one inch from the next guys bumper. Cooper starts crying in the back seat.

Not a good moment for me. I am supposed to be teaching him to drive and be calm and all that. But the guy who taught him to drive at driver's education had a brake on his side of the car, I don't. I need one. I may not survive this whole thing. Man, I cannot believe I freaked out like that, but he was not stopping. Not stopping. Then later, when it was time to go to VBS, I would not let him drive because it was rush hour. Someone please back me up on this. It is only his second day. I got the look of death and the silent treatment, all the way there. I cannot win with this battle. I am the adult though, and I can survive the death looks. This is not my first rodeo, but it is my first time teaching him to drive.

As visions of accidents run through my head, I am perplexed as how to proceed in this matter. I know he has to drive to learn, but am I really the one who needs to do it? I know I am, but man, I may not survive it. Truly, I could have a heart attack in the seat next to him. Then what?

Anyone one out there dealing with this driving situation? Help me out please, I need some advice.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Watching Tyler drive....

So, off we went yesterday to the Secretary of State to get Tyler's permit. An hour later, we walked out with permit in hand. He looked so happy. True joy was on his face. Loved it. I asked him if he wanted to drive and he smiled so big and said yes. He did a great job too, I was proud of him. A little jerky, but hey, he did great. It was his first time driving the mini-van.

As a jaded teenager, finding a true smile can be challenging. That was a true smile. It made me happy to make him happy.

Isn't that what we try to do every day? Make our kids happy, but balance it with not spoiling them. If we spoil them, the true smiles are not so true and not so much. They don't need everything they want to be happy. If we gave them everything they want, I think that leads to a great deal of unhappiness, because they are never satisfied. So balance is the answer. It is like walking a tight rope, but I think it is worth it in the end.

So what today, can you do to bring a smile to your child's face? Bake some cookies? Go to the pool? Have a sleepover? Small things that make a difference. Share what you are doing today, I really want to know.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Driver's Permit

Today is the day. My baby, my Tyty, my T-bone, gets his permit. If I can clearly, in my head, see his first steps, then how did we get to here?? I have to hurry in this blog, so we can go and he can drive home. Oh my gosh, I may vomit. When does this whole parenting thing get easier? Oh yeah, I remember, never.

So, I don't have to add him to our insurance for his permit, but when he gets his license, my insurance will probably double. Yikes. He is going to have to get a job. At least in the summer and weekends in the school year. I did, I was snack bar girl at Roller World. Not a great job, but, hey, it paid the bills.

I guess I am okay with Tyler driving. He did take driver's training and has driven 20 hours there with an instructor. The instructor had a set of brakes on his side of the car though, and I do not. I may just shut my eyes and hope for the best. He is a good kid, doesn't panic, should be all right.

If by any chance, you hear some story on the news tonight about a mom in Michigan, who panicked and took the wheel from her newly permitted son and caused a twenty car pile-up, film at eleven, please just ignore the fact that it is me. Pray for me.

Off into the abyss.

God bless you and yours.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mommy, Can I shave my legs???????

Okay, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Now that I have gotten that out of my system........My baby girl, age eleven, going into sixth grade, wants to shave her legs. She is not all that hairy, and the hair on her legs is blonde. That being said, I think it about the right time. At first, when your little girl asks this question, you see her in diapers again. You see her taking her first steps. You see her at age three with the little page boy haircut. You see her cutting her own bangs at that same age, right down to the scalp. She is my little girl. My only girl. My baby angel.

Now, I have to take stock in the entire situation. Most girls her age have either already started shaving their legs, or will some time in sixth grade. I have asked all the girls in our youth group, every mom I know and reflected on my own past. My mother was a teacher at the school I attended K-8. She was also my math and english teacher grades 5-8. This experience scarred me for life. And no, I am not kidding. Add to the equation that it was Catholic school and the pieces all fall neatly into place. All I wanted to do was fit it. All most of the kids there wanted to do was torture my middle school psyche. So I have some clue as to what it is like to be the odd girl out. It sucks beyond measure. There are no other words for it.

So, tomorrow, on my morning off, I will go buy my little girl a razor ( I have a coupon), and on Wednesday, when I have the whole day off and can repair my emotional spirit, I will sit on our bathroom counter in my bathing suit, and she in hers, and I will teach my child how to shave her legs. I will not do what my mother did and just hand me a Daisy pink razor of death and send me off to the showers. I will show her how to be careful around the knees and the outside of your ankle (I still bear the scars of countless scrapings there). I will teach her with soap, not shaving cream. There is always soap in the shower, rarely have I seen shaving cream. She will learn that once you start, you have to keep up this little habit the rest of your life or until your ninth month of pregnancy. Then you just go hairy and don't care.

Anyone out there know what I am talking about? Share the love and pass the bandaids.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Yeah, it's Friday....

So today has so much going on. I do love a Friday. Mostly because I don't work Saturdays and it is the one day I have to sleep in and enjoy myself. So really, I love Saturday, but I digress. Today, I don't have to work until 6:30 tonight. Today, my son comes home from his missions trip. Today, I will work on my new book a little more. Yeah me.

I think the love of fridays goes back to school and the wonderfulness of weekends. Even if you had homework, you could put it off for two days. No classes, no stuff, just the weekend with friends and fun. Love it. If you are in Arizona, and it is close to summer, that means a trip to the lake or tubing down the Salt River. Fun, fun, fun. The lakes here in Michigan are huge, they actually have waves. I have no idea how anyone can have fun water skiing on these lakes, the chop is immense. In Arizona, you can actually see the other side of the lake, and most of the lakes are surrounded by mountains, love it.

Tubing the Salt river in Arizona is something everyone should do at least once. Just wear your tennis shoes, or really, your river shoes. Once you have worn some shoes to tube, those are your tubing shoes. You cannot really get the funk out, and you will need lace up shoes that won't fall off. You should start your tubing at the dam and go to the bridge. It will take three to four hours, which is a nice ride. If someone says "Butts up" that means it is rocky and to get your butt up or it will get bruised. No matter how much you get dared, do NOT jump off the water tower. Once you go up, there is only one way down and that is to jump. And if the sheriff sees you, he will ticket you. It is very, very far up there.

What fun weekend things did you do in high school? Any traditions out there? Share the love.

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

No sleep

Okay, if I start to ramble, I have had almost no sleep. My dear hubby is out of town on business and I could not sleep for the life of me last night. Up until midnight and just tossing and turning all night. It is so weird.

Whenever Scott is out of town, I do not sleep well. This is odd because it is not as if we are these huge snuggle bunnies. He gives off so much heat, I need my own side of the bed or I sweat like a pig. I do have to hold his hand or touch him in some way to fall asleep. But I truly like my side of the bed. Sleep is sacred. And now I have to go to work and attempt to make frappacinos with no sleep. Should be interesting.

Ever since the twins started sleeping through the night, I love sleep. I need it. I try to sleep 8-10 hours a night. Today is going to be very, very, hard. I inherited insomnia from my mother, so I do take a sleep aid, even that did not work last night.

Any of you out there know what I am talking about? Can you sleep without your hubby there? Do you sleep better when he is not there? Share the love.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A video hello from Tyler

Okay, so I was excited to open my email today and see a video hello from Tyler. He is on his mission trip. He is not even seven hours away. It was a sweet message, just a hello, things are going great, and I love you. I cried like a baby. He hasn't even been gone a week and will be home Friday and I am a mess with one little video hello.

It made me wonder about all those mothers during WWII or Vietnam, who waited anxiously for any kind of word from their boys. What strength and faith they must have had. Weeks could go by and they would not hear from their child, then, a letter with familiar writing. How their hearts must have soared at just that little piece of paper. How does a mother write back and tell her son to be brave in horrible circumstances? What words can give comfort from so many miles away? Mothers sent cookies and goodies and little things from home. Receiving these things must have been awesome. My dad smoked when he was in Korea. I remember him vividly, years later, thanking my grandmother for all the care packages with cigarettes and cookies and such. Small things from home mean so much.

So who is out of your sight today and how much do you miss them? Send a letter, a fax, an email, but let them know you love them. Reach out and touch someone today.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I am missing a child

So weird, Tyler on his mission trip. I keep expecting him to walk through the door. Also, there is not as much laundry. Very odd.

I always remember being at the park and one of my kids had a sleepover and was not there. You have a moment of panic when you are counting heads and one is missing. You start to run around look for your missing child, only to remember that they are somewhere else, perfectly safe. Is there any worse feeling that not finding your child?

So I will share how I lost one of my kids. Nothing is more terrifying. I only had Tyler and a friend and I met halfway at a park to visit. I was not familiar with the park and the kids went off to play. Michelle and I were talking and suddenly, I look up, and no Tyler. You know those scenes in the movies where they pan the whole park and the music swells and there is no child. That was me on that day. Michelle tells me not to panic, but I do. I look to the parking lot to make sure he is not being stuffed into a trunk. I start running around and yelling his name. I ask other people if they have seen him. Suddenly, he pops out of one of those covered slides. He had been hanging out in the shade and wondered what all the fuss was about. The whole process took about two minutes, but I will never forget it.

Have you ever lost a child? Will you admit it?

I know Tyler is not being kidnapped this week, he is doing God's work. That being said, I miss my kid. Love him too. And I sit here hoping he is missing me, just a little bit.

God bless you and yours.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Graduation Parties

It is a phenomenon here in Michigan, at least I had never been to a graduation party of such magnitude in Arizona. People here throw very nice, very wonderful graduation parties. Some elaborate, some not so much. Some rent out parks, some do tents in the backyard. I have been to five this year, including one yesterday for my nephew Chad. It was at his aunt Kim's house and it was very nice.

Everyone was different. Everyone had so much food, you ate yourself sick in no time. All had some kind of picture montage of the kids growing up. So wonderful to see the little ones grow up over the years. All had some kind of box or basket for cards. And there was always a cake. A lot of cake, eat some cake, take some cake home, have some more cake. Cake. I personally, love cake and I am sick to death of it. Not that I won't have a slice, I am just a little sick of Costco cakes with the cheesecake filling. Just about every party had the cheesecake filling.

It was almost like a wedding. All the relatives that you never see, coming over to celebrate. Really kind of neat. And all of us giving what we could to help these kids with college expenses and so forth. It was great.

I don't know if I was unaware of grad parties in Arizona or if we just don't do them on such a large scale. One party had 300 people at any given time there. Big families and so forth. Makes me shudder at the cost of the wedding, but that is the future and this is now.

So, Tyler will be graduating in three years. I have to say, we will be having a graduation party for him. Probably put up some tents, have Scott man the grill and make more salads and beans and desserts than you can stand. Veggie trays and fruit trays and so forth. Tents and tables and whatnot. Not because we "have" to, but it is a great accomplishment. When he graduates college, we will send up a smoke signal.

What do you do about graduation? Ever thrown a grad party? Planning one soon? Share the love.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Mission Trip

So, today, I must help Tyler pack for his mission trip. It is the second time he is going on one and I am proud of him and all the kids going. They have to raise money to go and serve others, and they did it, over $17,000.00. Awesome. This year they head off to Indianapolis to the inner city to help those in need. They do whatever is asked of them, no chore to small or too big. I love it. God has not called me to go on a missions trip, but I totally appreciate those that are going.

So can we lift up these kids in prayer? Ask for safety and God's hand in it all? Please also pray for Kevin O'Drisscol, he was supposed to go, but cannot due to the fact he has mono AND strep throat. Kevin gave his life to Christ at Velocity and really wanted to be on this mission trip.

Pray for our leaders that are going. Speaking as a leader of these kids, they are great, but a big group and the leaders need to keep them in check and on task, so lift them up too.

Have you ever been on a missions trip? Would you go again? Did you love it or not so much? Share the love.

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Need some help.....

Okay, I am writing a new book on how we as spouses "cheat" financially. Make a purchase without telling the other person. Hide it, hide the debt, those kind of things. If anyone or all of you have a story about that and wouldn't mind sharing it, please email me. No names will be in the book, I just need some more material than my own harrowing story.

It is more common than we think, picking something up for yourself or the kids and not wanting to fight about how much money you spent, so you keep that to yourself and justify it in your mind. I am writing about my own slip down that slope and how to get out of it and stay out of it. It's going to be Christian based and for married couples or couples just starting out. Men do it to, it's not just us gals. So if you have a story about your hubby, let me know that too. It is NOT a book about how dumb us poor gals are and how we just can't figure out money. That went out the window long, long ago.

So, if you don't mind sharing, send me an email. Remember, no names will be used in the book, so no worries. My email is Thanks alot.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter Premiere and some questions......

I have several of my teenager friends from youth group who went to the premiere of Harry Potter last night at midnight. True Potter fans they are. It seems though, that even though they are disappointed that it is not exactly like the book, they will go see it many more times this summer. Go figure. I do like Harry Potter. I know there are many Christian moms who do not, and I respect that, but our decision, after I had read the books, was to let my children read the books.

My mother was a "No, because I said so" type mom. I have used that one on occasion. Usually, I say, let me check it out, if I say no, I will tell you why. I know Harry Potter deals with wizards and all that stuff. I also know my children, and they know the difference between make believe and real stuff. Reading and watching Harry Potter has never beckoned them to delve into witchcraft. Not one of the kids I know that read the series has gotten into witchcraft. My son Tyler, who read all the books, is following his God calling and wants to be a youth pastor. So my final opinion on the whole thing is, forbidden fruit is more tempting and I found no real "threat" in the books or movies. Great entertainment.

I have truly messed up in this region too. We are true Will Farrell fans, love Talledega nights, love Elf. So, as I am cruising through the movie rental place, I see Step Brothers, don't even look at the rating and rent it. Pop it in at home, only, to my true mortification, have to pop that bad boy right back out again. Way too much adult humor, even for our fifteen year old. Yikes. Always read the boxes. Always.

We have let our children watch "R" rated movies at appropriate ages. Schindler's List is rated R. Saving Private Ryan is rated R. The Passion of the Christ is rated R. These are important films. If we do not know our past, we are doomed to relive it. Cooper has seen none of these movies because he is not ready, Tatum either. The intensity is too much, too real, and those things really did happen, so you cannot explain it away as make believe.

So weigh in on this very volatile subject. Let me know, you won't hurt my feelings.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Eating

So, our niece is staying with us all week. Love her to death, she is great. All the kids home all summer, is kind of eating into my food budget. Where do they put it? Apparently teenagers eat a lot of food. I made tacos last night. Just some burger, shred some lettuce, cheese, queso, salsa, tortillas and sour cream. The kitchen looked as if ravenous dogs had rifled through it. Actually, they did. Yikes.

These kids eat as if they have not eaten all day. What is up with that? In our summer schedule, we stick to definite eating and snacking times. If the kitchen stayed open all day, we would be broke. They do have snack times. I encourage a healthy snack that will stick with them the longest. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. An apple with stick with you longer that a bowl of chips. The only reason we have chips is because we had hangtime here and they are leftover.

We have a family graduation party this weekend. I have never been to so many in one year. With our youth group and family, this makes five. Five graduation parties. So much food in one place. And yet, the teenagers eat their way through it. They eat everything, chicken, pasta, cookies, hamburgers, hotdogs. You name it, they will put some kind of sauce on it and eat it.

Speaking of sauce, my niece is a mustard fiend. I have the big bottles of mustard from Sam's club. She got here Saturday, we ran out of one already. She puts mustard on her mustard. I don't think she tastes any kind of food. She has mustard all over it. You name it, she puts mustard on it. My sister was the same with ketchup, but I don't think she does that anymore.

So, what ravenous dogs are eating through your summer budget? Do you have a summer budget? Share the love and pass the mustard.

God bless you and yours.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just rushing in to save the day........

Every year our church has a barbeque and baptism. Totally cool. One of our member's uncles has a great property with a pond and outhouses and we bring the grills and everyone brings a dish to pass. I actually don't eat hamburgers or hotdogs on this occasion, I go for everyone's side dishes. Yummo. Coleslaw with craisins and walnuts. Tortolinni salad, just some awesome stuff. Oooohhhhh, cheesy potatoes done about ten different ways, why eat a hotdog?

After the baptism, all the kids are allowed to go swimming. We had two lifeguards, signs posted to watch your kids and life jackets available for all who needed them in various sizes. Approximately seventy kids entered the water. There were probably four hundred people there. Thirty got baptized including one of my new "sons" from Velocity, who I helped coach through accepting Christ at Church camp. I was a crying mess, but it was awesome. I was talking to the dad of said boy when I hear someone calling for a lifeguard.

I look up to see a pregnant mom saying she needs help. I rush over, she points out to a little one eyes deep in water. I said, "Is she going down?" The frantic mom is just yelling she needs help. What is a mom to do? Fully clothed, I whip off the sunglasses and run on water to the little girl. Vince's dad gets there about half a second before me and pops the little girl up. Little girl fine and reunited with the momma. The momma is not happy. The lifeguard comes up as I am exiting the water, but truthfully, she was a little busy with seventy other kids in the water.

As I stand there soaking wet, I am reminded of various pool parties in Arizona when I have done the same. Jump in, get to the kid and worry about your clothes and hair later. I am not patting myself on the back, I think we have all done something similar in some way when it is not our kid in trouble. Jump in.

My question is, why, when I had Cooper and Tatum, who are eleven, and can swim, in life jackets, just in case. There were seventy kids in the water. Why, was a two, maybe three year old, just wading out? I know kids can get away from you, no one knows this better than me, but truthfully, she should have had floaties or something on. I am not mad at the mom, she was quiet angry at us, but I think she was freaked out and everyone has the right to freak out when your kid almost drowns. Water can be very dangerous in very, very little time. That munchkin went one foot too far and was up to her eyes in water. She will probably scream her head off every time she gets her hair washed for the next year. The mom is probably scarred for life too. We have to be diligent around water, drowning is silent. The little girl was not making a sound, her mother was. I am still a little freaked about it.

So, I drove home, quite squishy to change and regroup a little. Came back and several people asked me what happened. Hey, I think any one of them would have gone in the water, they just took a minute to think. I don't think, I just jump, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but mostly good. If a kid is in danger, don't think, just jump. I am pretty good in a crisis, until I can hand the kid over to someone who knows what they are doing, then I freak out.

Any life altering moments in your weekend, or ever? Share the chaos.

God bless you and yours. And watch your kids around water.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Youth Group Hangtime

So in the summer, we have much more casual youth group meetings. Our church calls them Hangtimes. I had volunteered to have the highschoolers here last night. Sounds insane, but you put up a volleyball net and have a bonfire and you are all set. It was, I thought, quite successful.

I love listening to their conversations and Stevo playing the guitar. It's just great hanging out with these teenagers. I am amazed at myself that I love these kids. I never thought I would dig hanging out with teenagers. Although having a teenager can be a challenge, I love the kids he hangs out with. They are a great bunch of kids. Not perfect, but working on being good kids.

So with hotdogs, chips of every variety, pop, brownies and smores, I knew they would not starve. I kicked the last of them out by 11:30 and cleaned up and went to bed. Totally worth it. The dynamics of teenagers are unique and weird and wonderful. Every time I learn something new. Some of the music gets on my nerves, but that just means I am old. When I ask to have the radio turned down, I am acting my age, not my shoe size.

So, are there teenagers in your life? Do you love it or hate it or both.

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Where are you going?

So, my children think, all of sudden, they can just walk out the door. "Be home by 9:00 p.m.", they mumble as they slam the front door. When it is ten in the morning and some such caca. Do children lose their memory? Are they new here? I need to know where you are, you need to check in (sometimes on the phone, sometimes face to face) and if plans change, I need to know that too. What the heck? Just because it is summer does not mean it is a free for all. Oh, and do not tell me where you are going. This has never been a democracy. They need to ask if they can go somewhere. Period. I pay the bills, Dad and I work, and we are the sole authorities in their little world.

Am I alone in this? It is mainly the two older ones. Although, since Velocity, Tyler has been better. Grant thinks because he is twelve years old, he has license to rule the neighborhood. Whatever. They will be thirty years old, and if they are still living at home, I need to know where they are going, who they are with, and when they will be home. Mostly, it's common courtesy. To me, as a mother, it is also common sense. If I don't know the parents, you are not sleeping over. If Ms. Stephanie (a made up name) isn't married to her boyfriend, and he lives there, you are not sleeping over.

And what the heck is the whole sleepover thing? Every day or night at least one of my children wants their friends to sleep over or they want to sleep over someone else's house. Come on, I know it is summer, but I am not a fan of sleepovers. Not because of the actual sleeping over. It is from the not sleeping and my kid being a ridiculous crab by 4:00 p.m. the next day. Hate the sleepovers. I am a nazi when kids sleep over. I make them hunker down by 10:00 and no more talking by 11:00. There will never be a need to stay up until 2:00 in the morning if you are under the age of 29. I am a complete tyrant about these things. That being said, I will make big breakfast of eggs, bacon, pancakes, yumminess for all the kids. And I will usually make carnival food for dinner. French fries, chili dogs, all that jazz. I do want them to have some fun, just not every single night of my summer.

How do you feel about where your kids are at? What about sleepovers? Share the love, or the hate for that matter.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Fourth of July

Well, as geeked as I am about Velocity, I am sure you are getting bored with it all. I would like to send out a prayer request. Phil Wing of The Phil Wing Band is having some kind of hold up, literally one document, in the adoption of a son from Africa. Please just pray for God's hand in all of this, it is a long journey.

The Fourth of July. Love those fireworks. In Michigan they are "legal". Well sort of. You have to go to Ohio to get the good ones, but basically, if you shoot them off over water, it isn't illegal to do that. It is illegal to own the fireworks that shoot over the water. That being said, there is some kind of "lake" in just about every neighborhood here. So there are fireworks everywhere. I am talking booms in the sky, just like if we went to an official fireworks show. All just across the street.

I had to work in the morning to about two o'clock. Came home, had some barbeque, and rested. The clan went across the street to our neighbors to fish and get ready for the show. There are these small creatures that are quite prevalent here in Michigan. They are called mosquitos. They are the state bird. I had bug spray and everything, and we still got killed by them. Along Cooper's hairline, exactly where the bug spray wasn't, he has eight, count them eight, bites. Somehow, each and every one of us had a bite on our elbows. I got bitten through my clothes on my behind. Explain that one to me, five bites, five of them, through my shorts. Everyone is itchy beyond belief. And we did not even stay for the whole show.

After an hour of fireworks, even the kids were ready to go home. They are pretty and wonderful to watch, but the bugs can do you in. I actually had a bat buzz my head in search of their little night time meal. Whatever. I love fireworks, I am just not a big nature buff. I don't camp without cabins with showers and toilets. Not outhouses, toilets that flush and everything. That is as far into nature as I get.

So what did you do on the Fourth? How was the show? Share the love.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chicas por Jesus

So, I am still so excited about being a part of Velocity, our youth group's summer camp. Totally amazing. I was blessed to take a small part in having three of our kids give their lives to Christ. A totally humbling experience for me. As the high school girls leader, I was not directly involved with the middle schoolers, but they were on my floor and I adopted all of them last week. MacKenzie gave her life to Christ with Erica her leader in the mix and it was awesome. We celebrated with a dance party in our room with snacks and a circle of love. All the girls came in and we got to know each other. All the girls in the circle that knew Jesus gave some wonderful advice to our new sister in Christ.

The theme of Velocity was "Donde esta la Revolucion?" Where is the Revolution. Revolution in our schools, churches, and homes. I always called the girls my Chicas. So at the end of our Circle of love, we put all hands in and gave the "Chicas Por Jesus" on three. We also "tatooed" it on our arms for the Battle of Helms deep. Okay, we only put it on in Sharpie, but the message was clear. We are Girls for Jesus. We are proud of it. We stand by it. We live by it.

Our kids want better in this world. They want the bar set higher. They want us to expect the best in them, not settle for what they can handle. Our children strive to make hard choices and come out on the other end better people. In our society, we expect far too little of our kids. You would be amazed at what these amazing people want to accomplish. In their own lives and in their world. Are we as parents expecting the best or preparing for the worst? Make hard choices, make them make hard choices. Don't let them skate by in this world, they long to do more. Our teenagers don't want to be statistics, they want to change the world for the better.

Are we giving them a boost up, or giving in to their every whim? Do Hard Things is a book I would recommend every teenager or pre-teen read. Parents too. Set the bar higher. I can tell you, in sitting in that circle, those children, had more faith and belief than most adults I know. Why do we expect our kids to fail? Children will become exactly what you allow them to become. Allow them to become the hope of this world. The faith of this world. The church of this world.

So what are your kids up to? Share the love and bring on the Revolution.

God bless you and yours.

Monday, July 6, 2009

This one time at Church Camp

Okay, let's just start this off by stating some hard facts. Fact: We stayed on the fourth floor of some dorms, with no elevator. Fact: There was no air conditioning. Fact: Said dorm during the school year was a frat house. Fact: Frat houses smell of beer and pee. Fact: Sixteen girls, four bathrooms on the entire floor. Fact: At least seven girls started their little monthly friend during Velocity. Fact: Girls had to be on the floor by 11:30 p.m. and in their rooms by 12 midnight, breakfast at 7:30 a.m., look at the bathroom situation and think of showers. This little fact does not gel with my 8-10 hour sleep schedule.

All that being said, I will go again next year, definitely. I have never been so close to God. I have never seen God work in such amazing ways for so many people. One of our students had lost his faith, and re-discovered it. Three other students gave their lives to Christ while we were there. Totally amazing worship by the Phil Wing Band. Google them, book them in your church, buy Phil's CD to help him raise money to adopt his son from Africa. The Phil Wing Band, learn it, love it, live it. We had great speakers, that while they were speaking to the kids, spoke to my heart as well. We had an amazing last night of worship and prayer and I saw children asking each other for forgiveness, brothers, sisters, families, friends. Some kids called their parents afterwords and asked for forgiveness. Totally amazing and I am blessed to have been a part of it.

Don't get me wrong, church camp does not "fix" any child. Velocity is an amazing camp. About ten churches were there and we had tons of fun. It can only be a launching pad to further a child's faith, with plenty of back-up at church and home. I would highly recommend Velocity to any church looking for an amazing camp for their youth group. I am not trying to be an advertisement, it just is that good. Perfect balance of God and fun. One pastor, who had previously been to Velocity and then transferred to New Jersey, actually brought his youth group all the way to Ohio for the camp. Totally worth it.

Have you ever been to church camp? What great stories do you have? Any horror stories? Share the love. I missed all of you this week, but I will go again next year. Praise, praise, praise.

God bless you and yours.