Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Time to Wash the Bus

One of the great things about volunteer work is you don't always know what you are volunteering for!! Today there was an abundance of teens at the food pantry, so many of them headed outside and wash the bus. 
Rather than being just a stationary location where people need to come to for help, Metro Relief has a bus to go and meet where there is a need. On Friday afternoons they make soup and drinks, load up socks, hygiene items, clothes, supplies and head to Unity Park in Ft. Worth.  After opening in prayer, from the back half of the bus they pass out soup, drinks, snacks and from the front of the bus they set out clothes, socks, and hygiene products.  The guests come thru and each person is prayed for, it is such a great ministry.  Metro Relief holds the same type of event on Friday evenings in The Colony at the Budget Suites and also one night a week at a local church parking lot.
So today, the kids headed outside to wash the bus and a few of them like Abigail and Roy cleaned the inside of the bus. 

If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites
in any of the towns of the land the Lord your
God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or
tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded
and freely lend them whatever they need.
Deuteronomy 15:7-8

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Caleb is Home!

One Happy Momma!
The boy is back!!!  After a week in South Texas, Caleb is back home!  He is such a calm spirit and a gentle natured young man that you often don't know he's in the room.  But, wow did I notice when he was gone! 
Don't get me wrong, I love my girls and every chatty, enthusiastic moment with them.  But Caleb's demeanor seems to temper the room and balance the energy.  He is his father's son!

the bus ride home
The mission trip went wonderful and I have already heard great stories about the work they accomplished and can't wait to hear more.  For now, I'm just thrilled to say, 'Caleb is home!"

My son,’ the father said,
‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
Luke 15:31

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mission Trip - Day 7

The kids began their trip home today.  They drove from the Mission Center in Pharr, TX and headed to San Antonio.  Big Lou's Pizza was the site for lunch, with four 42" pizzas to serve the 34 kids!  Yes, they do serve normal 10" pizzas but what fun is that when you can have a 42" pizza!
The kids were able to check out the Alamo, but since Caleb has been there before he headed out with a group down the Riverwalk. Apparently some of the girls helped him get his swag on.  What! :)
The finished off their day with a devotional back at Hilton Palacio del Rio. 

he sent for him and had him brought in.
He was glowing with health and
had a fine appearance and handsome features.
I Samuel 16:12

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mission Trip - Day 6 - South Padre

With the hard work behind them, the kids headed to South Padre for a little fun.  This was Caleb's first time to see an ocean.  He said he was amazed at how far he could see nothing but water.  He enjoyed building a wall of sand to watch the ocean take it away. 
He loved swimming in the water but wasn't a big fan of the salty water.  I think it took him by surprise the first time he swallowed a big gulp. 

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
Psalms 148:7

Pool Time

So what is the best part about summer in Texas?  Lounging around the pool! Yes, it's hot here.  Yes, it is humid.  But there are lots of spots to cool off and take it easy.  With Caleb in South Texas, we took the girls to hang out at the nearby pool.
I'm not sure how I managed to get pictures of Jon and I and not the girls, guess I was too excited about having Jon join us for the day. 

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
Psalm 19:7

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mission Trip - Day 5

9 kiddos in this home

Singing VBS Songs
This was Caleb's last day for painting and playing Pack Mule for his group.  Along with his new nick name, Mrs. Edwards also taught Caleb and the group the secret of  La Chancla.  Very funny, check it out on the link for a quick 1 minute video.  
This was the largest night for Vacation Bible School attendees. Don't you know these kids are worn out.

one party took off his sandal and
gave it to the other. This was the
method of legalizing transactions in Israel
Ruth 4:7

Back at the Food Pantry

It's Wednesday so we are back at the pantry volunteering.  I usually don't post multiple posting of repeat events but this something that is close to our hearts.  Most of you know our oldest was delivered to us via. adoption thru the State of Oklahoma's Foster Care system.  Frankie suffers from multiple developmental delays many stemming from poor nutrition and lack of nutrition as a child.
We have done a lot of volunteer work with the needy from Christmas Angel Trees, Salvation Army sorting facilities, Shoes for Orphans Soles, and various food pantries.  You do not have to be wealthy to make a difference, if you can donate money or food that is great.  But I really enjoy helping, greeting families; loving on their kiddos; watching my two younger children pass out food like I wish someone would have done for Frankie and her sisters. 
No system is perfect, and I am sure there are people who abuse the system, but their are innocent kiddos that are hungry.
If you are near us and would like to volunteer, visit their website for great ways to help out. If you are not local you can always donate money on-line to Metro Relief.  They get special pricing on canned goods, so sometimes it is more economical to donate and let them purchase food.  And if you have a bag of canned goods, hand them off to us at church, a ball game, or homeschool event and we will see they get to this worthy organization.

You gave no water to the weary
    and you withheld food from the hungry,
though you were a powerful man, owning land
    an honored man, living on it.
And you sent widows away empty-handed
    and broke the strength of the fatherless.
Job 22:7-9

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mission Trip - Day 4

This was day two for working in the morning and VBS in the evening.  Caleb's group completed the coat of primer on their house and then began with the house color. 
Yesterday they had 83 children from the area attend Vacation Bible School and for today they had over 100 children.  The adult sponsor drove to the communities loading up the church vans and bringing them to the church and taking them home.  So many sweet faces!
During this trip Caleb and the other youth do not have their phones with them, so they can focus on the work and the people they are with.  I am blessed that Ms. Edwards has been posting pictures on Facebook along with notes from their day.  I can't wait to hear Caleb's stories!

“Let the little children come to me,
and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Luke 18:16

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mission Trip - Day 3

Today the real work began.  At 7:30am the kids left the Mission Center for the various job sites.  They were broke up into several different groups, one group poured concrete blocks, another worked on the roofs and three groups primed and painted various houses. 

Caleb was on one of the painting crews.  His adult sponsor, Mrs. Edwards nick named Caleb 'Pack Mule' because it was his job to lift and tote.  Each of the kids in his group had their own nick names along with funny stories to accompany. 

In the evenings the youth group members were cleaned up and conducted Vacation Bible School for the area children.  Caleb and other youth acted out the Bible story followed by crafts, snacks and play time. 

My mom heart is so grateful to the adults who accompanied these kids on this wonderful adventure! 

Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
    who find great delight in his commands.
Their children will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Psalm 112:1-2

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mission Trip - Day 2

This morning the youth began their day leading worship services at the Iowa Road church of Christ.  It was a new experience for many of the kids as Matt presented the lesson in English and Jesus and Andrew would translate into Spanish. 
In the afternoon today the youth passed out fliers inviting residents to the Vacation Bible School they would be leading throughout the week.  What an eye opener!  These homes some much smaller than most of these kids living rooms.  Inside the home would be six to nine children plus their parents. 
There is no way to walk away without feeling so blessed!
Now you have been pleased to
bless the house of your servant,
that it may continue forever in your sight;
for you, Lord, have blessed it,
and it will be blessed forever.”
I Chronicles 17:27

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mission Trip - Day 1

Evening devotional at the Mission Center

This morning thirty-four of the 10th-12th graders from church began the long drive from Plano to Pharr, Texas.  They met up at the church building at 6:30 this morning and arrived at the mission center in Pharr, TX.  Pharr is located near McAllen. 
Upon arrival the kids enjoyed a great home cooked meal and then settled into the dorm areas.  Later they finished up their day with a devotional and final instructions for their week

be confident of this, that he who began
a good work in you will carry it on
to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

Happy 70th Birthday, Mom!

You've mastered seven decades and you've shown us how it's done --
By working hard and living right and having lots of fun.

You focus on the positive and hold your family dear.
We love you for your tender heart. That's why we've gathered here.

So sit back while we celebrate the memories we share,
As we say 'Happy Birthday' here and show how much we care!
Ah, sisterhood! With Linda you've shared great curiosity.
A bond between twins, none other can compare. She is missed indeed!
You truly value nature, and you've passed that love along.
Your children learned those skills from you.
We'll keep them going strong.

You gave us roots, when raising us, and also gave us wings.
Self-confident and principled, your fine example rings.
And now, we've saved the best for last -- The next fine generation,
For Frankie, Caleb & Abigail, it's mutual admiration

In the weekend celebration of Mom's birthday we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Santa Fe Cattle Co. in Broken Arrow. We had one section of the restaurant to ourselves and laughed and enjoyed each others company along with fabulous filets!  Happy Birthday, Mom, I love you!
Honor your father and your mother,
so that you may live long in the land
the Lord your God is giving you.
Exodus 20:12

Friday, July 19, 2013

Admiral Twin Drive In

Just for fun while in Tulsa to visit my mom our family headed to the Admiral Twin Drive. 
The Admiral Twin Drive In, built in 1951, is one of the few drive-in theaters remaining in Oklahoma.  It is located on Route 66 it is Oklahoma’s largest drive in with a capacity of over 1,000 cars.
The iconic drive-in theater was destroyed by a fire, in 2010, but the owners re-built and reopened in June of 2012.  After the fire the community rallied around the historic drive in and all of the sudden this drive in was cool again. 
I have great memories of attending movies as a kid at this drive in and even trying to sneak a peak at the screen every time we drove past on the highway.  When Frankie was little we would take her, our nephew, and her dog, Clifford to this drive in.  Abigail had never been to a drive in and loved every minute of it.  It was great to share this experience with my mom. 
My mom hadn’t been to the drive in since they rebuilt after the fire and was very excited to see all the nice improvements.  The old speaker boxes have been removed and now you tune your radio into the proper station for your movie. 
Tonight we saw a double feature of Turbo and Despicable Me 2, both were fun.  Everyone but Frankie stayed awake through both showings.  Frankie climbed up in the back of the van with her blanket and went to sleep early into the Despicable Me 2.

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Psalm 127:3-4

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Closet Ministry & Metro Relief

Today we returned to Metro Relief in The Colony to help out at the food pantry.  The Gungan family along with the Duncan family joined us for the day.  The kids worked their way through boxes of canned goods donated to the North Texas Food Bank.  Each box needed sorted by content and expiration dates. 

Some of the kids continued to assist guests as the older kids unloaded the truck.  The pantry had a huge donation of diapers; this meant the kids grouped them in groups of eight to hand out to families.  It was fun to see the big kids sitting on the floor surrounded by diapers. 

It turned out to be a hot day, the A/C went out in the facility and workers were busy trying to get it back and running.  It made for a hot three hours of work!  Today was another great connection; one of the counselors is from our church!  Small world! Abigail tells me, 'Hey mom, that's my Bible class teacher from 5th Grade.'  Sure enough, it was Ms. Ramona!

As we were preparing to head home, the director asked if we would be able to help out this afternoon at the Closet Ministry at Horizons Church in The Colony.  It is a new clothing ministry that is preparing to open; they have had so many donations they were buried under donations. 

We got a bite to eat and then we all headed to the Closet Ministry to inspect, sort, tag and fold clothes.  Within three hours we had them caught up on all their work! The Director, Ms. Katie was so sweet as she explained to the kids that she had prayed this morning for God to send workers because she just could not imagine how she would get through the piles and piles of clothes.  She was so grateful that God sent us. 

It was a hot, long day but so full of warm fuzzies and good friends!

In everything I did, I showed you
that by this kind of hard work we
must help the weak, remembering
the words the Lord Jesus himself said:
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
Acts 20:35

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dana Loesch Hosting for Glenn Beck

Today we headed out for a guest taping of the Glenn Beck Program with Dana Loesch, host of The Dana Show: The Conservative Alternative on talk radio. A former award-winning newspaper columnist, Dana began blogging in 2001 and was named one of the top 16 most powerful mothers online by Neilsen. Dana appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, CBS, and ABC.  She speaks regularly on the subject of activism, grass roots, and serves as co-founder of the St. Louis Tea Party.
Dana's guests today included Glendale, Colorado's mayor Mike Dunafon. Mr. Dunafon played with the Denver Broncos in 1976 and 1977.  He has been the mayor for eight years and has been active in the sweeping changes to throw out big government to make Glendale a thriving city.  He defines himself as a libertarian, for a fiscally conservative, small-government, pro-business American on his video blog. 
Like Glenn, Dana and her husband, homeschool their two children and she loves the Cardinals! The television program should air Thursday, July 18 on The Blaze.

Each of you proclaimed freedom to your own people.
You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name.
Jeremiah 34:15

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sixth Floor Museum Living History with Buell Wesley Frazier

Today Caleb along with other members of the Youth Advisory Committee hosted another Living History at the Sixth Floor Museum.  Mr. Buell 'Wesley' Frazier was an employee of the Texas School Book Depository, Frazier occasionally drove Lee Harvey Oswald to work, including Nov. 22, 1963. Frazier witnessed the assassination and was questioned extensively by Dallas investigators.
Mr. Frazier was 19 years old when he drove President Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, to work on the morning of Friday, November 22, 1963.  Investigators believe that Oswald took his rifle to work in Mr. Frazier's car, but in listening to Mr. Frazier tonight he is convinced that the package in the back seat of his car was not large enough to hold a rifle. 

Today’s event was sold out with people traveling across several states to hear Mr. Frazier speak and ask him questions.  Mr. Frazier has not told his story, other than to the Warren Commission for the last five decades.  Today was the first opportunity he has taken to answer question and tell his story.  It was fascinating to hear him describe Oswald in an everyday setting, as a co-worker etc. 

The museum's Associate Curator, Stephen Fagin, served as the moderator.  Fagin is the author of ASSASSINATION AND COMMEMORATION: JFK, Dallas, and TheSixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.  Mr. Fagin has taken the members of the Youth Advisory Committee thru the archives and shown them lots of great items, including the shackles worn by Jack Ruby.

This is also why you pay taxes,
for the authorities are God’s servants,
who give their full time to governing. 
Give to everyone what you owe them:
If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue,
then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Romans 13:6-7

Friday, July 12, 2013


Today was the second Funtastic Friday with the youth group.  The youth meet up at the church building for a devotional and then head out for fun together.  Today they went to Whirly Ball in Plano.  If you are not familiar with whirly ball, it is a combination of bumper cars and lacrosse.
The bumper car looking whirly bugs are steered by a joystick-like crank.  The player presses on the foot pedal, located inside the vehicle and steers with the joystick.  The kids had two hours of whirly ball and laser tag.  It was a fun end to a very busy week!

Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The LORD has done great things for them.”
Psalms 126:2

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Popsicles in the Park

Tonight our youth interns scheduled this great service opportunity for our youth group in east McKinney at Fitzhugh Park. The project is run by a local church that provides underprivileged kids in the nearby government housing with a corn dog and a popsicle. 
The biggest service provided is interaction and fun with these kids.  Many come from single family homes and many lack a positive male role model.  It was an incredible chance to show the love of Jesus to kids that may not get to experience it on a daily basis. The ministry director described their work as "providing love and stability for kids in broken homes." 
Our church took 24 kids and collected over $160 to the sponsoring family to help with the cost of food and popsicles.  I painted more little girl finger nails than I can count.  Abigail and Caleb played wiffle ball with the kids.
From the Citychurch's website, "Every Thursday in summer we loaded up coolers, tents, food, music and sunscreen and we headed to Fitzhugh Park for summer fun. Like the Israelites we pitched our tents and got the park ready for some fellowship. Once we got everything set up we took the vans through the neighborhood and picked up the kids. We were able to provide over 1400 popsicles, 1300 corn dogs and a whole lot of sweaty hugs!"
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,
to send out workers into his harvest field."
Luke 10:2

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Noah Vacation Bible School Night 4

Tonight the water rescinded, the ground dried up and we were able to leave the ark!  Upon building an altar there was the sign of the rainbow and that mysterious deep voice giving promise to all inhabitants of the earth. 

The coolest part about being on stage is watching the excitement on the kids faces as they follow the Bible story.  We ended the big night with four confetti cannons!  The children squealed in delight.  Another bonus of being in the cast was while we were in the lobby taking photos with the kids, the unsung heroes diligently picked up all the confetti mess in the auditorium! 
We can now put Noah in the books for VBS, along with previous year's Jonah, Esther, Deal or No Deal, The Rock and quite a few more that I've written long before blogging!  

because of your partnership in the gospel
from the first day until now,  being confident of this,
that he who began a good work in you will carry it
on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:5-6

Metro Relief Food Pantry

When our kids were young we began volunteering at food pantries and soup kitchens.  A decade ago that meant traveling to downtown Dallas to Brother Bill's Helping Hand or the Stewpot.  Later we found God's Food Pantry in Southeast Plano.  All were great experiences  but you do have to keep in mind the age of your kids when volunteering.  It is also important to know if the other volunteers will be escorted my armed guards and sporting orange jumpsuits. 

For the last couple of years we have worked at Minnie's Food Pantry in Plano.  It is considerably closer to our home and I really liked that we could interact with the clients.  Our family has done a variety of jobs from unloading trucks, stocking shelves, helping clients shop, etc.  We've loved every minute of it.  However, during the past school year we noticed a new pantry just a few miles from our home.  Our family agreed to complete our commitment for the school year to Minnie's and then check out Metro Relief. 

Today was our first day at Metro Relief and we brought the Gungan's along with us! It was a great experience especially because I ran into the cashier from pharmacy where I shop.  I also worked alongside a gentleman I know from my gym.  I served a lady I know from the Staples in my town.  How cool is that?!
Metro Relief had various jobs for us including weeding and harvesting vegetables from their community garden.  Ms. Gungan and I sorted thru five tubs of tooth brushes donated by CVS.  The kids unload the truck from the North Texas Food Bank and stocked the freezers.  There were plenty of tasks from picking up litter in the parking lot, sweeping, vacuuming, and even folding shopping bags. 
If you have always wanted to get involved in this type of work I encourage you to check out what is available in your own back yard.  I am so excited about this new opportunity and we will be back next Wednesday!

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
    and fills the hungry with good things. 
Psalms 107:8-9

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Noah Vacation Bible School Night 3

In tonight's production Noah, his family and all the animals were in the ark.  Ms. Jennifer had scaffolding set up to demonstrate to the kids the three levels of the ark.  We sang a lot of animal and rain songs!
Each night before the actual Bible story begins there is a short skit with Caleb, Abigail & our minister, Mr. James.  The three are positioned in a boat fishing.  The skit is to signal the kids to settle down for the Bible study.  It also gives the opportunity to insert modern children's questions about the Bible story. 
I had the best time writing this portion of the nightly dramas. The skit featured an older 'know-it-all' brother and a younger annoying sister.  Since I live that scenario, the skits practically wrote themselves! 
I did throw in a few 'shout outs' to Frankie, for example the kids were fishing for the sisters Camp Fire fishing badge.  They also mentioned selling 714 boxes of Camp Fire candy.  Frankie was in Camp Fire for twelve years and in 1993 Frankie won Top Candy Sales selling 714 boxes of candy. 

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you,
whatever you did for one of the least
of these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.’
Matthew 25:40

Monday, July 8, 2013

Noah Vacation Bible School Night 2

Last night in our drama the world had grown very wicked and God called Noah to build an ark to save Noah and his family and two of every kind of animal. 
In tonight's performance mockers mocked, the ark was completed and the animals were loaded on the boat.  I am playing the part of Mrs. Shem and tonight along with Mrs. Noah, Mrs. Ham, and Mrs. Japheth sang a Demi Lovato song, words modified to fit the story of course! 
I have no aspirations to sing in public, but I love writing the scripts and I love teaching the Bible stories and watching them come to life for the kids. Our cast was filled with lots of really gifted people that made the stories really come to life.  I'm thrilled to get to play along beside them!  One of the high lights tonight was Noah, Ham, Shem and Japheth's Beach Boys song!  Fabulous!

Noah was a righteous man,
blameless among the people of his time,
and he walked faithfully with God.
Genesis 6:9