Friday, August 30, 2013

High Five 4 Friday

Today, I'm linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five 4 Friday.

Here are the top 5 things that made my week fabulous!

I have developed a new found love for those Ducks.
I am quite possibly the most girliest of girls that you will ever find.
I love to wear dresses and skirts and hate all things related to hunting, camping, and the general outdoors.
My idea of camping is a hotel with air conditioning and a pool.
After hearing this amazing testimony from Phil, I'm a fan of the Ducks.

My family was already on board with the Ducks so they wasted no time in getting me properly outfitted.
This surprise was waiting on my bed when I returned from AWANA on Wednesday night.
I was happy, happy, happy upon seeing it.
And that's a fact, Jack!


We finally got our Riverside Kids t-shirts in and I am thrilled.
Getting ready for church on Wednesday nights is going to be a breeze now.

I visited my Alma Mater yesterday for their annual church/organization fair.
For someone who always said they were never visiting after they graduated I have found myself there several times.
However, because of them I fell in love with Africa.  And that I wouldn't change for anything.

Lastly, I'm happy for Friday because I get a three day weekend and I couldn't be more thrilled.
I consider my normal weekends to be 2-day (Fri/Sat) but, thanks to this delightful holiday called Labor Day this weekend I get Fri/Sat/Mon.  I'm spending it with my best guy and I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday Rewind-On Thursday

Happy Thursday, ya'll!

Working in full-time ministry Sunday-Thursday actually makes Thursday my Friday and I couldn't be more thrilled.  I'm starting a new series today called Wednesday Rewind- On Thursday.  My most popular blog post to date has been my post on AWANA theme ideas.  Every Thursday (because who has time to do anything on Wednesday) I'll recap my Wednesday night for you right here on the blog.  I'll give you the how-to's for all of my theme nights.  If your lucky you may even see some pictures of me looking crazy!

This week was our official AWANA kick-off and I couldn't have been more thrilled with how everything went.  We got everyone (All 60+ kids including Transit) registered, in club, and back home without a hitch.  Since this was kick-off week there was no theme, but my kids are super excited about Crazy Hair night next week.

I always theme my looks for crazy hair week and this was my look last Spring for Easter.   


Come back next week- same time & same place- to see my Crazy Hair look for this fall. 
I'm gathering my supplies today and getting started early. 

See you tomorrow for High Five 4 Friday.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Never Ever Ever

Today, I'm linking up with StephNeeley, and Shelley for Never Ever Ever.  


Here are 7 things (because I have to put a limit on it somewhere) that I would Never Ever Do. 
5 are things that I would Never Ever Ever do and the last 2 are things that I would Never Ever Ever do in #KidsMin.  

I Never Ever Ever...


Say No to a cup of coffee... Especially Starbucks.


Plan on forgetting my glorious week of summer vacation with my wonderful family!  

Photo credits to Sister.  

Let myself listen to Christmas music before November 1. 
Once the 1st of November hits though... It's all over for me. 
Deck the halls with boughs of holly.  Fa La La La La La La.

Last year our tree was up before Thanksgiving. 

Turn down lunch with these two sweethearts! 
We are the 3 best friends that anyone ever had.  
This was taken the day that I returned from my 3 month internship in Africa so please excuse my jet-lagged eyes.  
This was the longest we had ever been apart. 
Seeing them brought tears to my eyes!  

Thought I'd hear my mom ask to take a "selfie."  
And then there was this picture. 


Stick to my lesson plans.  
Don't get me wrong, I definitely plan my lessons.  If I didn't my kids would go crazy. 
However, if I think of a cool or fun idea on the fly I will definitely go with it.  

Go anywhere ministry related without at least two extra games in my back pocket. 
Simon Says and Red Light Green Light are the first aid kits of extra time injuries.  

And that is what I would Never Ever Do.  

If I Could Sit Down with Miley

For the last 24 hours both my Facebook and Twitter feeds were taken over by one thing... Miley Cyrus' performance at the VMA music awards.  If you haven't seen it, please don't go watch, but please keep reading for the sake of awareness.

After seeing Miley's performance I debated on whether or not to blog about this.  But, I feel that this topic is too important, and that this is too big of a teaching moment not to.  I tend to get that from my Granddaddy.  He sees every moment, whether good or bad, as holding something to learn.

Again, if you haven't seen the performance yet please do not go and watch.  Above all else, do not let your children watch it.  The performance by Miley & Robin Thicke left little to the imagination and there were so many things wrong with it.  Miley has been criticized and blasted up and down social media and even major news outlet for her shocking performance.  Appearing on stage in barely there clothing with dancing to match everyone knew after watching that Hannah Montana was no more.  As I thought about the performance I thought about what I would say to Miley if I could sit down with her for 15 minutes and talk about life with her.  This is what I would say...

What happened to you?  What happened to the little girl who charmed millions of people as Hannah Montana?  Where did the blonde haired child go with a budding career ahead of her?  Where did this hardened and attention starved celebrity come from?  The performance that you just gave... what happened?

If I could sit down with Miley I'd want to know what happened to that little blonde haired girl.  Who taught you that a career of sexuality and blurred lines is something to be desired?  When did your heart get so lost that you can pull a stunt like that and not feel ashamed?

Then, I would say this...  I'm sorry that you've found yourself in a place where you feel that you have to dance on a stage in barely there clothing to get the attention that you are so desperately craving.  I'm sorry that the hole in your heart is so big that you feel the need to fill it with performances oozing with sexuality and perversity.  I'm sorry that you have found yourself on a career path that is spiraling out of control faster than you can keep up.  I know that you think that you are now a grown up, but I have to tell you.  From the performance I saw last night, all I see is a scared and desperate child who doesn't know which way is up.

This is not the answer.

Today, I am deeply saddened.  I'm saddened by the emptiness that you must feel in your heart.  I'm saddened by the countless young girls who look up to you who now think that your actions are in no better terms "cool."  I'm saddened that your career is spiraling.  I'm even more saddened that your life is spiraling away from you.

That emptiness will never be filled with "Blurred Lines" or sexuality.  That emptiness can only be filled by one thing and today despite my sadness I also find myself thankful.  I find myself thankful that I filled the emptiness in my life at a young age.  I'm thankful that I filled the emptiness not with things of the world, but with something that is bigger than this world.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."  -Ephesians 2:8

The most wonderful news is that Jesus will require nothing of you.  His grace is a free gift.  We don't have to dance on stage in our underwear to earn his love or attention.  He gives us his love freely although we have done nothing to deserve it.  It is a completely free gift with no strings attached.

Today, I am saddened by the emptiness that is sweeping my generation.  I'm saddened by the girls who feel that this is the way they can get the attention they so desperately crave.  I'm saddened for all of the guys who see girls as objects on a stage.  I'm saddened for all of the young girls who look up to Rock stars who have nothing to offer them.  I'm saddened that our culture has become so permeated with a culture of drugs, alcohol and sex that we have all become desensitized to the dangers that they all possess.

However, today I am also determined.  I am determined that my life is going to count for something.  I am determined that I am going to reach out to as many people in my generation as I can.  I am determined that I will not look past those who I see are hurting, but I am determined that I will be the one who reaches out to them with the grace of Jesus.  I am determined that Satan will not win this war.  My generation and the generation after me will not be lost to this world.  I will not lose the countless Miley's of this world to the darkness.

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  -John 8:12

I am determined that the darkness will not win on my watch.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer Olympics

I absolutely adore the Olympics.  When it was time for the summer Olympics in 2012 Sister was none too happy with my obsessive compulsion to DVR absolutely everything that I might miss.  I had to record all of swimming, gymnastics, track & field, cycling, etc... You name it and I probably had it recording.  I had the most glorious 3 weeks ever cheering on the Fierce 5 to Gold medal victory!  So, when it came time to plan my summer event calendar last year I just knew that I had to host a Summer Olympic themed event, and it was a success!  When planning this year's calendar, it took me about 2.2 seconds to add it back into my calendar.

Summer Olympics (or SO as I'll call it in the rest of this post) is a great theme for any event or night that you are doing with your kids over those long summer days.  SO can require a lot or a little prep-work.  With this being my 2nd year planning this event, the prep-work was minimal as I was able to re-use a lot of what I did last year.  I am the Queen of re-using, saving and recycling my materials and supplies (But that's a topic for another post).

For SO I break all my kids down into 3 teams by age:
1) Yellow- Ages 4-Kindergarten
2) Green- 1st-3rd Grade
3) Blue- 4th-6th Grade

*Don't forget when promoting to remind everyone to wear play clothes, tennis shoes, and sunscreen if you plan on going outside.  

As with all of my events, I break down the time of the event (SO is 1&1/2  hours) into 3 separate rotations, an opening and a closing).  I am blessed with a great space to play games both indoors and outdoors.  I break down my night into indoor games, outdoor games, and snack/Bible lesson.

Indoor Games:  
     *I generally substitute indoor games for playground time for my smallest (or yellow) team because they tend to be a bit more organized and harder for them to play.  They'd rather swing anyways. 

I tend to have very large groups so I break down my Green and Blue team groups into 2 teams each and have 2 teams total for each of those age groups competing at the same time.  I also assign points for each game and the winning team gets those points to their overall score.  And yes, we do keep score on SO night.

1) Hula Hoop Roll
2) Balloon Race
3) Bean Bag Toss
4) Sit-Down Soccer- Everyone must be seated to play.  I allow my kids to use both their hands and their feet.
5) Dodgeball

Outdoor Games:

1) Baton Relay
2) Potato Sack Races
3) 3 Legged Race
4) Stand Up Soccer

Snack/Story Time:
These are all great options for your story or lesson time... Yes, this is a fun night but our ultimate goal is to teach kids about Jesus so we always leave time for Him in our schedule.  We also like to talk about things we can do to help us run our race with Jesus: reading our Bible's, praying, coming to church, etc...

2 Timothy 4:7- "I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith."
Hebrews 12:1- "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Extras:
If you are looking for a little something extra to make your Summer Olympics pop try these ideas for an extra boost of fun.

Make an Olympic Torch for your kids to run around with... I made this one with one piece of poster board and orange and red tissue paper.  Just crinkle your tissue paper and hot glue it to your poster board that you have rolled into the shape of a torch.  


Team Flags-  I made these flags out of a thin PVC pipe, a yard of fabric from your local fabric store, a sharpie and black paint.  I outline the letters with a black sharpie before filling them in with black craft paint.  As kids are being registered and checked in I provide markers for them to decorate their team flags with.  All good Olympic teams have a team flag.  The kids absolutely love to carry their flags around and wave them throughout the night. 


Gold Medals-  What's the best part of any Olympics?  Seeing the winners get their medal at the end of the night.  I present my medals during the closing ceremony. 


This picture was taken at the end of last years Summer Olympics by one of my sweet little ones.  
Because taking pictures of Miss Mary is the coolest thing ever to them. 


Have any questions?  Leave your ? in the comment and I'll be glad to fill in any blanks! 


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Social

I'm linking up again with Ashley and Neely for this week's Sunday Social.  

Sunday Social


1. What do you miss most about being a kid?
The ability to take naps whenever I wanted!  I only wish that I had realized at age 5 how wonderful those delightful mid-afternoon rests really were!  I would give anything for nap time now!  Other than that, basically nothing... I have a job that lets me act like a kid whenever I want to.  

5 year old me.  Wasn't I adorable? 


2. Did you have a nickname growing up? What was it?
I was the nickname Queen growing up.  I don't know what it was about Mary, but no one seemed to call me that.  I was more likely to respond to MES Pot, Mary-Mollie, Mary Beth, Mary Elizabeth, and for one person only Mo-Mo.  I promise you though, call me Mo-Mo now, and I will ignore you!  

Cutest MES Pot on the block! 



3. What was your favorite thing to do at recess?
Honestly, I know I played at recess, but my recollection as to my favorite thing to do is pretty shady.  If I had to take a guess at what it was now, I'd have to say the swings.  I'm imagining me wanting to touch the clouds and fly up into the sky!   

4. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A princess!  Isn't that obvious?  What little girl didn't? 
When I got old enough to realize that I couldn't actually be a princess (Except in Daddy's & Mommy's eyes) I wanted to be a teacher for the longest time.  Then I went through this phase in high school where I didn't know what I want to do, but I knew it was going to be something in full-time ministry.  Fast forward 8 years and here I am... Full time #KidsMin and loving it! 

5. Did you participate in any school activities?
I went to band camp!  Seriously, I know its hard to believe, but I was a Band Geek.  I was in the Color Guard and I had so much fun!  Flipping those flags and dancing on the field was what I was born to do in high school.  I mean, not to brag, but I was the Captain my Senior year of High School.  Outside of school I served as a leader in my youth group and sang on the youth band.  Basically, I spent my school years surrounded by music.  I also had a brief (4 year) stint with the rec league soccer team in elementary school.  


Soccer years- Notice my bow.  
My mom kept me a stylish soccer player. 



6. What is the funniest thing you did as a kid that your parents still remind you about?
Since my mom tells this so well, (She told my boyfriend the 1st time I took him home) I asked her to write about this herself.  Take it away mom!  

I will never forget my Mary Elizabeth's surprise and shock as she opened one of her Christmas presents at the young age of 5. She was given a "Children's Dictionary" as a gift from her Aunt. After opening this gift and looking briefly through the pages, she came to me and in a very low voice announced that her Aunt must really love her because she had someone put all the words in alphabetical order just for her. She was literally shocked that someone would do that for her.

Telling the Christmas story. 



Friday, August 23, 2013

High Five For Friday

Today, I'm linking up again with the Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday!  

Here's what made my week extra special. 

Finally accomplishing my Ballerina Bun! 
Ya'll, I have been trying to make this happen for such a long time.
It makes me feel so elegant and like a princess.  


Getting new tennis shoes. 
I used to love back to school shopping, but now that I'm older I don't get to go. 
I decided to go back to AWANA shopping. 
New, loud and flashy tennis shoes for game time were the number 1 thing on the list. 

Their super snazzy aren't they? 


Mid-afternoon coffee breaks. 
Because sometimes you just need an afternoon pick me up. 


Starting AWANA again! 
We had our un-official kick off this week with our Ice Cream social night!
We had a total of 55 kids and it was epically amazing!  
Seriously, working in #KidsMin is amazing! 
 (Also, I can't wait to get our new t-shirts!)

And finally, launching Transit again this week!
Transit is our new pre-teen ministry for kids in grades 5-6. 
This is what I found after their first night. 
They are the coolest cats on the block!




What was one of your top moments of the week?  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Never Ever Ever

Today, I'm linking up with Steph, Neeley, and Shelley for Never Ever Ever.  


Here is what I would Never Ever Do...

I Never Ever Ever....

Choose to eat at a burger joint instead of Chick-Fil-A... Eat more chikun! 

Stop counting down the days until Fall is here. 

Paint my finger nails.  I have beautiful toes always but my fingers stay sadly bare. 

Make my bed in the morning.  I wake up and blankets go everywhere as I fly out of bed. 

Want to stop traveling.  I always want to be off on an adventure. 

Walk away from crying babies.  I know my volunteers are fabulous but it breaks my heart when they cry and I just can't do it. 

Don't participate in theme nights.  The crazier they are the wackier I will be, crazy hair and all. 


What would you Never Ever Do?  

Fierce Love

Yesterday, was a super busy day.  In addition to serving as a full-time #KidsMin Director I am also our Office Administrator.  Ya'll multi-tasking is clearly my spiritual gift.  I had several big projects I was working on yesterday.  At about 11:00 AM it started raining.  We have a metal roof, so when it's raining it provides the most soothing and peaceful backdrop for office work (At least for me!).  When the rain came I decided to pop on my Pandora stations to provide some soft and gentle Jesus music. 

I wanted to listen to Kari Jobe sing 'Love Came Down' and 'Revelation Song' over and over again.  Instead, I landed on my Cornerstone by Hillsong station.  About 30 minutes into my listening I heard a song that stopped me in my tracks.  The first lyrics that actually registered in my brain were, "His love is deep.  His love is wide.  And it covers us."  I immediately stopped what I was doing and had to see what song that was.  
What I saw was a song called 'Furious' by Jeremy Riddle.  

The chorus is written like this:
His love is deep.  His love is wide. 
And it covers us. 
His love is fierce.  His love is strong. 
It is furious. 
His love is sweet.  His love is wild.
And it's waking hearts to life. 

And listening to that song, right then, Jesus love just wrapped around me.  It was the most amazing thing.  
I always struggle with explaining God's love, because for me it is so much more than I can put into words, but this song does everything for me.  I spent the rest of the day just softly turning the lyrics over and over in my mind.  And playing it over and over through YouTube.  

His love is deep.  His love is wide.  
His love is all around me.  It literally covers me everywhere I go.  
His love is fierce.  
I love this one.  To me, fierce is strong and powerful.  It's a love that you don't say no to. 
His love is strong.  It's the only love in the world that has the power to break chains. 
His love is furious.  When I think of this, I think of a hurricane wind.  The winds in the hurricane are so strong that once you are caught up in it, it just takes over.  That is how I think about God's love.  So strong that once I'm in it, I'm surrounded. 
His love is sweet.  It's the love that quietly whispers, I love you, in your ear after you've had a bad day.  Or the love that gently soothes your spirit after a heart break. 
His love is wild.  It's just like the wind of a hurricane.  It pulls you right into it. 
And it's waking hearts to life.  It's breathing into those who want it.  
It's saying... live. 

" This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones:  I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life."   Ezekiel 37:5 



Monday, August 19, 2013

Splash Night 2013

I get asked a lot what I do with my kids during those long summer months.  Our Wednesday night AWANA program runs side by side with our county school calendar.  When the schools are out for the summer we suspend our Wednesday night programs.  Why?  One reason we do this is to give our volunteers time for rest and family.  Our volunteers faithfully serve every Wednesday night and I like to give them some time off.  Another reason that we do this is because so many families are travelling over the summer which makes it hard to have a consistent schedule.

However, this doesn't mean that we shut down during the summer.  On the contrary, this summer was my busiest summer since I began working here.  I pulled together two events here at the church, two outreach events in a neighboring community, a week long VBS, and launched my new pre-teen ministry Transit for Grades 5 & 6.  That's what I'd call a busy summer and a full plate...

My most recent post on AWANA theme nights was so popular (1100 views and counting) that I thought I would spend the next 4 Mondays breaking down each of my events for those long summer months.  Why?  Because it's never too early to plan ahead in ministry!

Today, we'll be talking about SPLASH NIGHT!

Splash night is one of my personal favorites of the entire year!  What can possibly be more fun than running around with 60+ kids and water everywhere!  This year we did a super-sized Splash Night and ran our event for two hours.  All of my events are always free and are always open to the entire community!  The more kids who come the better!

Splash night is set up to be a rotation of pure fun!  Kids move around to 3 different areas according to their age groups: games, free splash and snack/story-time.  Splash Night was two hours this year enabling us to let the kids spend 30 minutes at each station and it was the perfect amount of time.  When it was time for kids to rotate they had spent enough time that everyone had gotten to play all they wanted and they were ready to move to their next area.

Free Splash:

Our free splash area is always our most popular and this is how I set up.
2 baby pools in the grass filled with water (These you can buy at any local store for approximately $10/piece)
A bubble station- My kids absolutely love to blow bubbles and it's a great space for your littlest kids and those who don't want to get wet.
A 50 foot slip & slide- I know this seems overwhelming to set up but it's actually really simple.  All you need is some thick tarps from your local hardware store (I use 2 (25 foot tarps) and some garden stakes.  I load my slip & slide down with tear-free baby shampoo to make it extra slippery, set a sprinkler up in the middle and give my main volunteers a water hose to spray down both the kids and the water slide.

And that's my free splash area and it works exactly as it sounds... Kids do whatever they want to do for 30 minutes and they always have a blast.  Just remember to be safety conscious... Only 1 kid on the slip & slide at a time, etc...  Make sure to put some great volunteers in this spot who can keep the kids safe.

Here's a look at our slip & slide:

Games:

Every game is better with water... It's just a fact of working in #KidsMin.
These are the games that I play with my little one's during splash night.

1) Sponge Relay- Divide your kids into teams, put a large bucket of water at one end and smaller buckets at the other end.  One at a time have kids run down with a sponge (I bought mine at the Dollar Store- the big car wash sponges work best) and dunk it in the large bucket (I like to use storage containers).  After they have dunked their sponge they should then run back to their team bucket and squeeze their sponge full of water into their team bucket.  The first team to fill their bucket wins.

2) Sand Castle Contests-  Sand is such a cheap and easy play experience.  I like to set up two tarps and put 4 bags of play sand on each.  Then you give the kids 5-8 minutes to build the best sand castle they can.  The team with the best castle wins.

3) Water Balloon Toss- Fill approximately 5 balloons for every 2 kids (60/2= 30*5=150 water balloons for me... I really filled about 250 because it's always good to have extras!).  Have kids pair up and toss their water balloons.  After a completed catch both partners (or only 1... however you want to play) take a step back.  The pair that makes it the farthest wins.

4) Bucket Brigade- For this games you need 4 (or however many teams you have) large buckets and 4 small buckets.  One at a time a member from each time runs down and fills their smaller buckets and places them on their heads.  (That's right, on their heads... This one is fun to demonstrate!)  They run back to their team and dump what little water they have remaining into their buckets!  The team who fills their bucket the fastest wins!  This game can be played so many different ways by just switching up how kids carry the small bucket!

5) Water Dodge ball- I always like to end my game time with water dodge ball.  All I have to do is set my sprinkler up in the middle of the game field and let my kids have at it!  It's a great way to get in those last splashes in the sprinkler and let the kids burn off some energy before going to their next station.

Snack/Story-Time:

I love to host fun events for my community, but I always make sure that everyone has heard about Jesus by the end of the night!  During their rotations kids will spend time eating a fun snack and hearing about Jesus.  Any Bible stories about water would work great for this... Jesus calming the storm, Peter walking on water, etc...  Make sure that your night doesn't end without you getting to tell your little one's about Jesus!

Presenting the Gospel
Splash night is also a great time to pull out those wacky shorts, t-shirts, and hair bows. 
Why?  Because #KidsMin is FUN!  


And that is just a quick splash about splash night!

Come back next week for a break down of our Summer Olympics!  An event you won't want to miss!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Social

Today, I'm linking up with Ashley and Neely for my first Sunday Social. 

Sunday Social

1. What is something you've always wanted to do but are afraid of?
I've always wanted to sky-dive.  Cliche' I know, but something about the thought of jumping out of an airplane gives me the biggest thrill, but it also gives me the biggest fright.  Something about it sets my adrenaline racing, but then my brain takes over and I realize that I'd be jumping out of an airplane.  Into air. And I realize how insane that sounds.  

2. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Where do I see myself in five years?
Let's just put it this way.... I see myself doing what I love. 
Full time ministry- Sharing Jesus with my sweetheart(s). 

3. What are you looking forward to before the end of 2013?
I'm looking forward to something, just not something I'm willing to share with the world.
(Insert coy smile and batted eyelashes here)

4. What are your hopes for your blog?
My hopes for my blog... To actually write in it.
I am pretty sure that I am the world's worst blogger!
My goal is to become more scheduled and more routine in my blogging.
I mean seriously, how hard is it to come up with at least 1-2 things to write about every week.

5. Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city?
Definitely not.  I was born to travel, it's in my blood.

6. What is your morning routine?
I don't have one.  I'm the world's worst morning person.  Meaning, I'm not!
I have no morning routine.  I consider getting out of bed, getting work clothes on, and getting to work on time a win.  Breakfast? Maybe.  Devotion? Maybe.
I think that the only morning routine I have is hitting my snooze button... A LOT!

Hope you enjoyed my first every Sunday Social!

Now it's your turn!  Pick a question and leave your answer in the comments!  

Friday, August 16, 2013

High Five For Friday

Today I am linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five For Friday!

(Yes, I know I'm supposed to have pictures, but I was slacking this week.  I'll do better next time!) 

Here are the highlight's of my week!  

1) Sunday night I had the immense privilege of seeing 8 of my sweethearts being baptized.  
3 John 1:4- I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 
While they are not my literal children, these are the sweethearts that I pour my heart and soul into teaching about Jesus. 
For them to make public declarations of their love for Jesus through baptism... It literally brought me to tears! 

2) I got to have a late night dinner with my sweet friend, Mari!
And... she had a birthday this week!  
Happy Birthday to my beautiful friend! 

3) We kicked off our new AWANA year with volunteer training. 
This is the first year we have decided to have training in house, led by none other than me. 
It went really well.  We started at 6:30 trained for an hour and then everyone had a half hour to meet individually with their volunteer group.  We are all ready and excited for the new year.

And just to throw this in here... I'll say it's part of #3- This post on AWANA Theme Nights was shared on the AWANA facebook page yesterday and was seen 951 times!  Wow!  I felt like my blog was a bit of a celebrity!  

4) Sister made me dinner this week!  All week long!
Not once did I eat out of a bag. 

5) I get to see my sweet boyfriend tonight!  Long distance relationships are hard ya'll. 
He's coming for the weekend and I couldn't be more thrilled. 

What were the top 5 of your week?  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

AWANA Theme Nights

It's that time of year again!  Time for our Wednesday night programs to kick back off. 

We had a fabulous summer here at the church where I work. 
Our Kids Ministry was rocking despite the break from our normal programs. 

Check back next week for a recap of what we did on Wednesday nights.  
Our Wednesday night Kids Ministry kicks back off next week with AWANA. 

If you haven't heard of AWANA be sure and check out their website for more information.
If you've ever volunteered in AWANA before, you know that most churches employ the use of themes.  Themes are an easy and exciting way to get your kids excited about coming to AWANA. 

Last year was my very 1st year working with AWANA and I fell in love with coming up with my own themes.  My creativity came out and I had a blast.  If you are looking for a last minute theme to fill your calendar check out our list below:

Ice cream social night

Crazy hair night- Style, color, fix up, put down and create your Crazy Hair look for the night!  This theme night is so much fun for both kids and volunteers that we do it once in the fall and once in the spring.  Check out my look for last fall and spring. 


Light the Night: Bring a flashlight!  We host our opening/closing and game time in the dark.  The kids loved it last year!  
(Note: We set out our spotlights for safety to make sure it doesn't get too dark) 

Team Spirit Night: Wear your favorite sports team gear. 

Music Night:  Bring a musical instrument from home and come prepared to make a joyful noise!  Get creative!  
Homemade drums and whistles are a must.  

Let's Go Fishing:  Go fishing for prizes for every section you complete tonight!  Wear your fishing gear and hats.  
(Note: For safety we ask kids not to bring fish hooks, and we use our puppet stage as our fishing pond.) 
 Here is a picture of the fabric that I made to drape over our stage last year.  


Bible Hero Night:  Clubbers should dress as their favorite Bible hero or character. 

Bring a friend night:  We host this 2x a year and always plan it the week before a big event like our Fall or Easter festival!  
This way you can make sure all those visitors get information about your event. 

We "Can-Do It" night:  Clubbers are encouraged to bring 2-4 can goods tonight that we donate to our church's monthly food distribution. 

Parent Night:  We also do this night 2x a year and generally have about 60-70% participation from our parents.  
They participate in all AWANA games and activities with their clubbers. 

Pie Night:  If AWANA clubbers can say more than 100 verses tonight, there will be a special prize at the end of the night. 

Happy Birthday, Jesus!  Christmas Celebration: Wear your favorite Christmas sweater. 

Double Bucks Night- Clubbers earn double the AWANA bucks for sections completed tonight. 

Fever night:  For every verse memorized tonight clubber's will get a colored dot to put on their leader!  
The leader with the most dots at the end of the night will receive a special prize for their club! 

Spread the love night:  Bring a card or note for your AWANA leader tonight.  (Typically the Wednesday before Valentine's day)

Pajama night:  Wear your pajamas!  Don't forget sneakers for game time. 

Drive in movie night

Beach night:  Dress in your beach clothes (No bathing suits, please!) and come prepared to have a wave of a good time.  
Here's a look at the Ocean Lagoon last year.  


Think Green night: Wear something green. 

Paper Airplane night:  Bring in the best paper airplane you can make with your own colors and design. 
 AWANA bucks are awarded for the best design and farthest flying. 


AWANA Rewind night:  Clubbers will vote on their favorite theme night of the year and we will host it one last time.  

During the month of January we host "Make a Snowman" month.  For every section that clubber's complete they will receive 5 feet of toilet paper to turn their leaders into snowmen at our indoor snowball fight the first week of February.  The kids LOVED this last year!  I've never seen so much fun with shredded paper. 




What are your favorite theme nights?  
Leave them in the comments section. 

See a theme night that you want me to elaborate on.  
Leave me a comment and you may see those in posts of their own!

To keep up with my blog on a regular basis 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bloglovin

Yesterday, I sent a message to my dear friend Audra over at Southern Girls in Heels and Pearls and asked her for some blog advice.  Why?  Because I am just not the best at blog writing.  

I am a busy person.
I live and breathe my job in full time #KidsMin. 
I'm a member of a book club.
I am a daughter.
I am a girlfriend.
I am a friend. 
I make time to exercise. 
I am an avid craft enthusiasts. 
I am constantly on the go. 
Except on the occasional Friday or Saturday I average 6-7 hours of sleep a night. 

What does this mean?  

It means that I have a sadly neglected blog.
I want to document my life.  
I have good intentions, but it's one of those things that falls at the bottom of my list.  

So, I e-mailed Audra.  Audra and I used to be college roommates.
Ya'll, this girl is hilarious!  When we lived together we constantly had each other in stitches!
Her blog is as real as she is.  It has its moment of hilarity and its moment of seriousness.  

Along with some great advice about guest blogging, and linking up with other bloggers for themed posts (Come back for my Social Sunday link up with Ashley on Sunday)  this conversation lead me to a realization.  I read so many blogs that I have neglected my own.  I spend a huge portion of my night looking at blogs.  I read blogs on fashion, adoption, children's ministry, weddings... You name it, I follow it. 

Today, I discovered Bloglovin.  If you read a lot of blogs, you should take advantage of this amazing tool.
See, before I used to have a bookmark in my browser of 30 different blogs that I had to open up individually to see if there was a new post.  Now, I can log into Bloglovin and see every blog that has an update all in one place.  It's seriously amazing, ya'll.  

I also realized this delightful thing.  

I could claim my own blog and have followers.

So, feel free to follow me on bloglovin and be on the lookout for a lot of new and exciting posts.  


And don't forget to go check out Audra's blog over at Southern Girls in Heels and Pearls.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Beach Vacation

Last week I went on a beach vacation with my family.  What a glorious week that it was.  For the first time in over 8 years my family spent the week together with just us.  The love that was in the air was overflowing.  The joy, rest, and relaxation that we all felt we will remember forever.

Here is just a little peek into our week. 

Peanut Butter & Jelly
Sister and I road tripped together and we had a marvelous time!
We spent the drive watching Friends and listening to Sophia Grace's new single, 'Girls Just Gotta Have Fun'!



When we weren't making sand castle on the beach or swimming in the pool we hit the town for some family bonding activities.  We went to Ripley's Believe it or Not and Wonder-Works.  You know, that upside down house that everyone always thinks is weird.  It actually wasn't weird!  It was this very cool interactive place for adventure!  We spent our time their lying on a bed of nails and pretending to be astronauts among other things.  I think the astronaut look suits me quite well. 




We spent our nights sitting on the balcony listening to the waves and working on a vacation scrapbook.  Sister and I were determined to make sure that we remembered our vacation.  This is a layout of one of the pages that I put together that I was really proud of.  



Our family vacation was full of fun, but it was also pretty competitive!  My brother and dad can't participate in any activity without their having to be a contest.  I spent most of my vacation coming in last, or not placing at all.  When I heard that we were going to complete a maze I knew that this was my event to win!  And win I did coming in 1st place with an impressive 25 minutes.  The object of the maze once you entered was to find all four checkpoints, punch your card, and get back out.  I came in first with sister coming in 2nd at an impressive 28 minutes!  Finally, a win for the middle child!  



Gorgeous.  Simply gorgeous.
The sunsets in PCB left me in absolute awe of God's goodness and grace.  
"Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy."  
-Psalm 65:8 (NLT)




It was truly a fabulous week!  I can't wait for our next one!  

Have you taken a family vacation this summer?
What were some of your highlights?