Saturday, August 15, 2009

August Keeps us Hopping

There has been much activity in our household this month as we finally have Jim home and are realizing that Summer will be ending soon. School begins August 31st, so we have much to do in the meantime!

Rebekah's birthday was last Wednesday and we began the morning with a pancake breakfast- which she neither prepared, nor cleaned up- and gave her her gift from the family. Since she will be a Senior this year we chose something practical and hopefully lasting. We gave her a laptop. Bekah has been using a handed down dinosaur of a laptop for the past couple of years and has been expressing her desire for and need of a newer, workable system for some time. Jim and I shopped around and found as good a deal at Best Buy as on the Dell website, with the added bonus of Geek support, so we brought it home and wrapped it up.

The first gift we had her open was the mouse and some software, so she thought that we were merely updating her current laptop. And yet, she was grateful.

Then Isaac brought out the real gift and she positively beamed! Now to set it up and figure it all out! It's beautiful,... sniff.

That evening, we had a houseful of Bekah's friends over for snacks, cake, and a movie. Yum.

For the past couple of Summers Erin has been invited to a sleepover hosted by a young lady from church whose younger sister, Natalie, is Erin's friend. Kristen is now in Ukraine as a Missionary, and Erin realized last week with a panic, that there might actually pass a Summer without one of these great sleepovers! Oh no! Naturally, our house could host such an event, so invitations were written up and passed out at church. Being a last-minute event, not many could come at all, and fewer could sleep over, but we still had three young ladies spend the night Thursday.

We decided to have their creative energies set to work on gourds, which Natalie's Mom graciously supplied, Kate put together a short devotional to share with the girls, and we realized that the Perseid meteor shower might still be active and viewable from our back porch! With so much to do, dinner was almost forgotten, but none of them seemed to mind standing in the kitchen at 9 pm eating a quick hot dog to balance the cookies and ice cream which they had wisely consumed earlier in the evening.

Star Gazers

Gourds drying on the line.

How cute!

Earlier in the week a friend had given us tickets to see a Reading Phil's game, which we gratefully accepted. Jim, Erin, and Bekah have only heard us talking about how fun the games were and we were thrilled to be able to take them out to the ball game! Natalie joined us, having spent the day with Erin at our home after the sleepover. She has also been to these games before, and was just as excited to join us as we were to have her.

And what a gorgeous day for a game!

Almost exactly the same seats as last time we came- fantastic!

Isaac got to play catch on the field again, this time with Dad!

This little guy was playing with his Grandpa- couldn't have been more than 3, yet he could sure throw- check out that form!

An added bonus- it was Elvis Tribute night!!! Words just cannot describe...

Me and the girls- they don't know how much fun they are about to have!

Musical seats.

Jim really enjoyed himself- I think Elvis helped...

That's all for now. we are doing lawn work and housework today. It's simply amazing how much constant effort it takes to keep up with everything, but it is so worth it. Responsibility goes with much blessing, and we have received much blessing indeed. Jim is still looking for the next job, but we are glad to be able to take some time to enjoy having Daddy home even so.

The Book of Hebrews

"... the Book of Hebrews offers a singular and matchless presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Showing forth Jesus' supremacy to the angels, to Moses, to Joshua, and to Aaron, the author of Hebrews brings out features of Jesus' portrait that are found nowhere else in the New Testament. Especially in his detailed description of Jesus as our perfect high priest-- the most pointed presentation of this office found in all of sacred Scripture-- we learn how and why Jesus "is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him" (Heb. 7:25). - (Richard D. Phillips, in the Preface to the Reformed Expository Commentary on Hebrews.)

This year I will be, with fear and trembling, leading a Bible study on the book of Hebrews for the women of our church. The study that I will be using was written by my mentor and dearly loved "mother in the faith", Toni Barnhill. I was not able to participate in the study with her in Florida, so this will be a first for me- explaining, in part, the fear and trembling. Our pastor in Florida, Rick Phillips, preached through Hebrews while we were there and I have many notes from his sermons jotted in the margins of my Bible. I also have many wonderful and thorough commentaries to which I may turn.

My chief help, though, must be the Holy Spirit guiding and teaching me through the Word. As I tackle this year's study it is my prayer that the women joining me will be blessed by the way that Toni has written her study, but mostly that the Lord will use the Scriptures to grow us all in the knowledge of Himself, transforming our hearts and minds as we learn to follow Him more closely.

So, from September to May I will be blessedly neck-deep in the study of the Book of Hebrews. I mean it most sincerely when I say, "Lord, help me."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Final VBS Slide Show

Here's the last of the images that I shot at VBS. It was so difficult to decide which to include, so I just kept all of my favorites and broke them into 4 slide shows. Hope you enjoy! I sure did!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Saturday, August 08, 2009

VBS Slide Show, days 1 and 2

So Busy!

Since Jim arrived home we have had a whirlwind of activity- whew! Of course, my addled brain is trying to remember clearly the past two weeks, and I simply can't reconstruct the timeline now. I know that we did a whole lot of extra work in the yard now that he is here to run the weed-whacker and the other tools that I can't seem to master. Our yard is looking so much better now! (There's still that patch of weeds and ivy under the trees, and the entire hillside out back needs major demolition, but we're getting there...)

The week following Jim's arrival our church had it's first VBS in 9 years- no connection, it just happened that way. The girls had all been involved in planning and preparing, and once we knew that we weren't going to Dubai Bekah and Erin signed on to help teach as well. At the last minute I volunteered to take photos during the week for a slideshow at the end. What fun we all had! Seeing so many folks from church turn out to help and support this effort was wonderful. The enthusiasm was evident in the many smiling faces.

Of course, the faces are my favorite part.

The children from our church were of course present, but volunteers had gone out into the surrounding community to invite the local children to come out for the activities. Our church is situated next to "the projects", and if their families go to church it's not ours. Many children from the neighborhood showed up and it was such a blessing to see them getting into the theme of the week with singing, playing games, and answering questions in class. I was fascinated to see how "our" children, so familiar with one another, reached out and welcomed the newcomers who, in turn, joined right in.

I really think that I had the very best job of the week. As photographer I was able to see all of the children enjoying each activity. After the first night they got the hang of seeing me there with the camera and even began mugging for the lens. What fun to capture their laughing faces, precious smiles, and their fun moments. (I'll publish a slide show later.)

Jim and Isaac left yesterday with the Scouts to go beach camping,... somewhere on the coast. I'm so glad that Jim is here in time to participate in one of the activities with Scouts. even before he left for Dubai he was often too tied up with work to go off and do the fun things with Isaac. I know they'll have a blast.

The girls and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the new movie, Julie & Julia, last night. We went with a couple of my foodie friends from church and it was even better than we expected- fun, fun, fun! Crepes afterward at the new little crepe place in West Reading was the perfect way to cap the evening. Inspired by a scene early in the film, we will make Bruschetta today, for which I need to run out and pick up some perfect tomatoes at the little Amish stand that we love so much. Also inspired by the film, I shall endeavor to keep more current with my blogging, if only to help me keep track of what is happening in our whirlwind life!

Bon Appetit!