Friday, October 30, 2009

Hippie Girl and Captain Rex

Halloween already? This school year is just zooming by. Treats, movies, party and a dance at the school this afternoon... lots of fun!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reaching Out To Youth...

In a previous blog post I mentioned an interesting discussion that hubby and I had with our daughter about Youth Group. Even with the hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving weekend, the topic never really left my heart. I admit that this is new ground for me as my daughter is just entering the teen years. So, my dear blog readers, please bear with me... this blog post is mostly me, myself and I organizing my thoughts into words so that I can make more sense out of them!

This all started a few weeks ago... I found myself thinking: we are part of a new church plant and we have no organized Youth Group yet apart from a Sunday School class for preteens. Since my daughter is now entering the teenage years, I started to wonder whether it is time to initiate starting a Youth Group.

The thing is... the current way most churches define what Youth Group is bothers me. This is why:
"...the most potent data regarding disengagement is that a majority of twentysomethings - 61% of today’s young adults - had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying). Only one-fifth of twentysomethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences. Another one-fifth of teens (19%) were never significantly reached by a Christian community of faith during their teens and have remained disconnected from the Christian faith." ---Barna Group
Based on the above research results, the current definition of Youth Group doesn't make teenagers want to stay in church once they reach early adulthood. Why is that??? It really bothers me!!!

I could be wrong... but this is what I glean from this whole situation. Churches structure the Youth Group in such a way that it is difficult for teens to bring their non-churched friends because these friends feel like outsiders. If teenagers can not successfully bring their non-churched friends to Youth Group and make them feel welcomed, they will start to feel that the church is hypocritical; it is not welcoming; it is not engaging; it is not real! The result? Once they reach early adulthood and feel that they are able to make their own choices, church suddenly isn't part of the equation for them anymore!

I don't want my daughter to be part of such a Youth Group. Do you?

Well, since our church does not have an organized Youth Group yet... this is the best time to define one, right? Well, hubby and I have decided to start a "Hang-Out Night for Girls" in our home and our daughter can invite whomever she wishes to invite. This will be one of the many youth groups, hopefully, that will define Youth Group at our church. There is already another group (mostly for boys) that is on the go at another family's home and it is going very well.

I'm not saying that we have found the answer... as this could totally flop! But, I am willing to keep experimenting until I find a method that works (one that can reach non-churched youth) because I know that the current method does not work and I am not willing to keep using it just because it exists.

My prayer is for God to show us the way; to give us wisdom in how to shepherd the next generation; that today's youth will see that God is real; that they will want to live their everyday lives for Him. Help us, God!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Cousins At Thanksgiving

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone... we have SO MUCH to be thankful for, one of which is our children! Here they are with their cousins (my two younger sisters' children) --- my kids (the ones in orange shirts) look like giants!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gobble, Gobble!!!

As we head into the Thanksgiving Weekend up here in the Great White North, I am having a lazy Saturday morning before the busy-ness of this holiday weekend sets in. As I sit here, in my pajamas, tapping away on my keyboard... I am thinking about the many things I am thankful for: 

~ Our church plant is one year old! Church planting is hard work and progress is slow... but it is good, because God is good! I am thankful that my God is a good God; an awesome God! 

~ My family is growing and healthy. Last night, we had a great 'spiritual' discussion with our daughter about Youth Group (another blog post is taking shape, I can see it already!) and the role it should play in our family. Physically --- the kids have grown! We've moved their computers out of my office and into the hallway, which we have set up as a "media room". It was just getting too crowded in here when three people work on their computers at the same time. I am thankful that God has grown us spiritually (physically too!) as a family; that He gives us strength each day in order to serve Him. 

~ Hubby and I have jobs especially in these tough economic times. I am thankful that my God is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides! 

Those are just the first three things that came to mind; there is so much more that I am thankful for... if I continue to type, it will take all day!!! I am reminded of the lyrics of a well-known old hymn called The Love of God...

Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made. Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade. To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.

The Love Of God By: Frederick M. Lehman, 1917

So true. So amazing. So awesome. 

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, our family will head to the grocery store first and stock our carts with food for the local Food Bank. Then, we will spend Sunday morning with the Body of Christ --- being His church, knocking on doors to collect more food for the Food Bank. Then, we will gather with friends and family to celebrate! 

As for me, I should log off now and head to the kitchen to start cooking and baking. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Puffs Has Nuts?!?

My son is anaphylactic to peanuts and he is also mildly allergic to tree nuts. Last week, he had a massive nose bleed which resulted in him using a massive amount of tissue. We had just bought a new batch of tissues, a kind we've never purchased before --- Puffs with Lotion.

After the nose bleed, I noticed some rashes/redness in and around my son's nose and eyes. I attributed it to skin irritation resulting from wiping too much over the weekend. But it didn't get better, instead it got worse --- looking more welt-like, resembling more like an allergic reaction.

Right away, my thoughts went to the tissue. I thought that he might possibly be allergic to the fragrance in the lotion that is in the tissue. I did a quick search on the Internet and found this blog --- the author wrote about Puffs with Lotion tissue containing a tree nut. A TREE NUT!!! I couldn't believe what I was reading! True enough, I looked on the box and it lists an ingredient called shea butter. Upon doing some more research online, I quickly found out that shea butter is derived from shea nuts, a tree nut!

Now everything made sense... hmmmm, who would've thought to check "ingredients" on a tissue box?!? Well, I already read every label on foods that I purchase... reading tissue box labels wouldn't be that hard, I guess!

Seriously though, I thank God that my son only had a mild reaction and that is wasn't life threatening. He did get a secondary bacterial skin infection as a result of the skin trauma... but he is on the mend now that he's on antibiotics.

What can I say? Another new lesson learned in the life of mom with a peanut/nut allergic child!!! Life is never boring!