Saturday, December 22, 2012

Women of the Congregation

The women of the Park Hill Church threw a Christmas party. I was invited so I guess that means I'm one of the women of the congregation. 
This group bears an interesting dynamic in that they sold their building in Fort Worth and opened a recreational center between Springtown and Azle. They present themselves more as a community center than a church in hopes to be more inviting to folks that otherwise wouldn't hang out with church goers. Some of the original group didn't quite agree with that vision so they left. Others stayed, and others still have joined--twelve people were baptized last year. The sand is still being sifted to see which grains will remain as the mission team that will canvas this neck of the woods. It looks like I might be one of those.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Basketball Rooster

I've been reporting on some pretty heavy stuff lately. If you're anything like me and you appreciate a little comic relief, then this story is for you. 

We bought some chicks when we moved to Texas and now they're full grown. What we thought were a bunch of hens turned out to be mostly hens with a couple of roosters. We made one into soup--yes, really. But the other one saved himself in the nick of time by showing us that he could do this:
We just can't bring ourselves to kill him--even though we have to carry a broom to gather eggs so he won't attack us. Any suggestions for a name?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mom's Birthday

Mom is in respite care for the month of December. (Respite, in this case, basically means a break for us, the caretakers.) I'll spare you all the details of what brought us to that decision, but I will say our family was in desperate need of some assistance and we found a place in Fort Worth that works exclusively with Alzheimer's patients. There are in-house doctors and lots of wonderful nurses who understand our situation and have been a tremendous help. They are very good with Mom and she seems to like them.

Last Saturday we surprised Mom by bringing her a cake and some presents to celebrate her 66th birthday. She's always been very good about making us feel special on our birthdays and we wanted to make sure she was honored on hers. I told her we were coming, but everything is a surprise when you have Alzheimer's. We took my mom's mom and sister with us, while my brother and his family met us there. 
The facility provided a room for us to celebrate. They even decorated and set out some punch. They seem to know their clientele; Mom was thrilled with the party hat. 
Mom enjoyed her sister's antics as she opened presents.

We got her a fuzzy sweater and some grippy socks because comfort is key when shopping for someone in a nursing home.

It was a good day and Mom was very grateful--something she's not always aware enough to be. We were able to actually enjoy the simple pleasure of her company after getting a short break from the daily task of caring for her every need. We know she's in good hands and, because the past six months have been extremely taxing on our family, we are taking the month of December to recalibrate and make some decisions for the coming year. We're asking God for wisdom to do what's best for everyone involved and we appreciate your prayers to that end.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Andy's 8!

We've been somewhat overwhelmed with life lately, but we try to always put first things first. In November that meant celebrating Andy's birthday. He's an absolute joy and a blessing to this family, so we wanted him to feel honored and asked what he wanted to do. He said "to have friends over, get a dog, and eat chocolate cake". We combined the first two, as one of my best childhood friends came to town and brought her kids and their dog. 
Mom especially enjoyed the dog.
And Andy especially enjoyed the friends, who consisted of my friend's kids and two other families.
John and two of the dads took the kiddos to play laser tag then we grilled out at the house and ate chocolate cake. I think Andy enjoyed himself. What do you think? 
A couple of the boys spent the night to seal the deal as Andy's first official slumber party. He was proud to introduce them to a breakfast of eggs fresh from his very own chickens.
Happy birthday to my great kid!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jewells at the Gem

Much of what we did in Florida centered around the YMCA. We made friends, exercised and played there. Three of the people we baptized were folks we met there. So when we moved to Texas one of the first things we did was seek out the local branch. The closest one is pretty far from our house, but someone told us about this place.
We stopped by for a tour and, as we heard the history of The Gem, felt God may have wanted us there for more than just exercise. The Gem opened its doors a year ago when a church in Fort Worth lost their parking lot to development. They sold the building and moved out here to the country where they found a big recreational center for sale. Instead of moving right in as another church, they first asked the chamber of commerce what the community needed. They wanted a rec center to replace the one that had closed. So the church bought some exercise equipment and renovated the building. Then they got a logo and opened their doors as The Gem. 

The church family that used to meet in Fort Worth now meets in the auditorium of The Gem on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Many of them have left because they either don't want to make the drive or they simply don't share the same vision of the pioneering elders--a vision that recognizes this city as a mission field. One of the most involved families has told us they prayed for other like-minded Christians and they believe God brought us here to partner with them in some way. We believe it too.

After some discussion, we found out they've been planning to launch an after school program but haven't had the manpower. We weren't particularly eager to sign up because we came here expecting to start a homeschool PE program like the one John worked with in Florida. In fact, we were busy preparing for the big homeschool conference where we would advertise the program and register families for the fall semester, when John received a phone call saying the conference had been cancelled. One of The Gem founders happened to be sitting in our living room when we got the news. It was the first time in seventeen years that the conference wouldn't run and we took that as a sign to open our eyes to what God might be trying to show us. Prayer and discussion on the subject have generated a sort of hybrid idea between the after school care The Gem had in mind and the homeschool athletics program we had in mind. You can read about it on the web site by clicking the logo:
It's a non-profit organization, and we plan to begin sessions in January. As I said in my last post we are still missionaries and our ulimate goal is to introduce people to Jesus. We also hope to be a resource for parents struggling to raise children in these tough times and we need your donations to keep the costs low. We don't want to exclude low-income families. They already can't afford extracurricular sports and activities. We have a 501c3 and all monetary gifts are tax deductible. Thanks to those of you who already support our ministry. If anyone else wishes to make a one-time donation or a monthly pledge, simply let us know. Our family, the community, and the Kingdom would greatly appreciate it.