Summer Sampler: Great ideas for your family and your ministry!

Hi, all!
Just wanted to share some events, programs and services I’ve come across this summer…add them to your idea file and enjoy!

Summer is a great time to delve into a new book or two. When our kids were little we always joined the summer reading program at our local library. It was a fun place to visit when we needed a  break from the heat, and the kids always enjoyed the games and prizes as well as their books. Christ Community Chapel’s Hudson Campus is inviting the community into the church library for a similar program What a fabulous way to reach out and draw kids into some great reading that points them to Christ! Read more about it here.

Our friends at St. Gabriel’s Parish in Concord, OH. held a special “One Day Voyage” Vacation Bible School for the second year. This program allowed children with  disabilities who were not able to participate in the week-long program to enjoy learning about Jesus in an environment that is the “just-right-fit.” I’m a little biased about this, since it was the brainchild of my friend (and Key Ministry Board Member!) Amanda Mooney. Earlier this summer, Steve Grcevich interviewed Amanda on his blog…check it out here.

When we attended our daughter’s orientation at Calvin College, we learned about a program run by Student Academic Services. Calvin’s “Coaching Program” pairs students with trained study coaches (also students!). Together, they set goals for issues such as  time management, study skills, and test taking. What struck me about this program is that it is completely funded by a donor and the services are provided at no cost to the students. What a wonderful way to make an impact!

Finally, we attended a fabulous party at Fellowship Bible Church: The Luau. This event, led by the amazing Abby Hamilton, hosted over 60 adults with special needs. The evening included games, prizes, food, crafts and a whole lot of good fun! It was a wonderful way to serve as a family as well as meet some new friends.

Now…share your summer sampler with me! Leave a comment below to tell me about the programs and events that you’ve enjoyed…I can’t wait to learn from you!


Five Facts for Friday {7.6.12}

Hi everyone!

It’s been a funny sort of week, with a holiday smack  dab in the middle of it…hope you all had a great day celebrating! For those of you who have been without power this week, I pray that it will be restored soon!

Our family had a great time serving at the Luau for adults with special needs at our church. Congrats to the coordinator, Abby Hamilton, for a great event…her hard work and dedication served so many people tonight!

Five Facts for Friday

1. We appreciate your concern, but we’re NOT the “Tom and Katie” who are splitting up. We understand the confusion, though, since Tom and I are in the news so much.
2. Housekeeping tip: Always try to match the color of your floor to the color of your dog. 3. After watching Wimbledon this week, I’ve learned that grunting supposedly allows everyone to know how hard you’re working. Therefore, I’m going to start grunting while I vacuum and make dinner.
4.Much love to the Dingle  family who welcomed their daughter, Zoe, in Taiwan this week, after a long labor of a different kind.
5. Fourth of July childhood favorites: North Hill bike parade, relay races, Mr. Peterson’s Amphicat.

What are YOUR  “Fourth favorites?”

Have a wonderful weekend~

Messages from Moms: Adrienne Graves {part 4}

Today in our Messages from Moms series, Adrienne Graves tells us a little bit about how her local church supported their family, and also how strangers who love Christ cared for them. The Graves family’s experiences reminds me that the Church (with a capital C!) isn’t a building…

The Red Rocks Church family was amazing to us, and to Emily, during our time at the hospital.  I seriously was oblivious to our needs at first, but they were not.  They brought meals to us for 5 months, along with our friends and family contributing, too.  Literally.  5 months of not having to worry about “What’s for dinner?”  And, not just a drop at the front desk type of thing, but some of the people who brought meals would come and spend time with us.  Yes, it’s uncomfortable for even people we know and know us to be in a hospital setting where a baby is gravely ill, but some of those who stayed with us didn’t even know us prior to Noah’s birth.  They became our friends while we were in the hospital.  

Some people are afraid to do that…they want to give you space, don’t want to be “a bother”.  Since Em was there every day, too, she built friendships with our many visitors from church.  They’d play with her and help her feel like a kid in the midst of this big unknown.  We didn’t actually attend church but once while Noah was in the hospital, and that was the day my older sister and I got baptized, so as far as Em making connections to church members during that time, it all took place at the hospital or if members offered play dates or brought their own kids to visit her, in addition to her brother.  This was huge!

  In addition to our church body we have an amazing core group of friends with whom we do life.  They rotated visits and always brought their kiddos along so Em would know she was special, too.  Some people may not think it’s appropriate to take kids to visit at a hospital, but it’s a children’s hospital!  It’s totally appropriate, and who knows, a visiting kid might just be inspired to be a medical professional some day just because they were allowed to see inside.  Once Noah passed away we started going to church again at Red Rocks.  Em made some really solid friendships with some of the kids there, all of whom were aware of her journey.  They didn’t shun her or think she was a freak because her little brother died.  They just chased her and tackled her, swung from the trees with her, and shared their snacks.  Kid stuff.  They were just kids together.

We had actually attended and served at a different church prior to Noah’s birth and overlapped attendance at that church and Red Rocks for several months.  We had no ill feelings or anything for the former church, but just felt we were supposed to support the start up Red Rocks was doing in Colorado.  That former church literally checked out after one week…Red Rocks along with family, friends, our neighbors, and even strangers from blog world all around the globe, surrounded us and walked through all the rough patches.  A classroom of children in Korea “adopted” Noah and Emily and sent handmade pictures, artwork, and beautiful Korean treasures to our family.  Our church and a sister church in Florida collaborated, and through a tremendous gesture of generosity, Jason and Emily and I hopped on a plane for a week and got away the Spring after Noah died for some time in the sun, at the beach, Disney World, and Sea World.  To a 4 and a half year old girl who had just lost her brother, Emily thought she had won the lottery.  It was important for her to be able to have both of her parents by her side as she laughed, and saw them smile again.







Thank you, dear Adrienne, for sharing your heart!

Tune in tomorrow to meet another phenomenal mom!