Monday, April 26, 2010


"Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord's work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." --I Corinthians 15:58 (HCSB).

Heart of a Child is a children's ministry convention held every 2 years at First Baptist, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. It is sponsored by a five-state team of Southern Baptist state convention associates from Arkansas, Kansas-Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. One participates in general sessions where the above verse was dissected and expounded upon; in workshops of one's choosing; and the viewing of exhibits from a variety of vendors. It is a time for preschool and children's ministry leader who share a common call to come together. Each of the four general session speakers did an excellent job of reminding us to "be steadfast" and to do it step by step because "God has and is guiding us"; to "be immovable" and the importance of growing and developing spiritually; to "always excel" and to do it above and beyond what is average; and lastly we were reminded that our "labor is not in vain" because God has called us to be involved in His plan, not ours.

Donna Peavey, an associate professor from New Orleans Baptist Seminary, is one of my favorite workshop leaders at these kind of events. I attended two of her sessions - Christian Education & Family Ministry and What Do Parents Really Want From Me? Donna is very funny and after one late afternoon conference asked if we were tired of sitting and then said, "You know that your brain can only take what your booty will allow." Jan Marler, a Lifeway ministry specialist, led a workshop called Developing a Discipleship Strategy for Kids. She reminded us that by age 9, most of a child's moral and spiritual foundations are in place so we must INVEST IN CHILDREN! A question that Jan discussed was - What should parents expect from their church? Here are her answers...
1. A philosophy of ministry
2. An intentional plan for nurturing the faith of children
3. Prayer
4. Balance - knowledge, behavior, missions, skills
5. Mentors
6. Trained leadership
7. Safety
I know that we have made an effort at Parkway to deal with these expectations but we can always improve. But sometimes it's not just up to the staff to accomplish these things but also up to the volunteers. There are also things that the church should expect from parents...
1. Regular participation
2. Prayer
3. Reinforcement
4. Parent & teacher communication

Cheryl and Christine from Parkway also attended this event and I hope was blessed in some way at the workshops they attended. Their emphasis is in music but they are also vital parts of other parts of our children's ministry and I appreciate them more than words can truly express. Also, I invited Kayla (an intern at First Baptist, Bolivar) to attend. She has such a heart for children and for the church and it was her first major children's ministry conference. My prayer is that she became even more excited about investing time in children and sharing with them the love of Jesus. I also hope I've been of some help in mentoring Kayla as she pursues His calling.

We made it back safely although I seemed to have left part of my brain behind. As we got in the car, I realized I didn't have my phone - which I left in the hotel room on the bed. Then I managed to miss the turn to get on the turnpike so I had to pay a toll to get off the road and then to turn around and get back on. And lastly, I realized later in the week that I was missing some clothes and after calling the hotel, sure enough, I had left them there. Let's just say I was really tired by the time we left.

This conference has some of the best speakers from around the country and I would encourage anyone who works in children's ministry (paid or volunteer) to attend. It's not too early to put the next one on your calendar - April 20-21, 2012.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Memories that Matter

I get a lot of emails - and I mean a lot - and many times I glance at them and think "nope, not enough time to read that one." But today, I slowed down enough to read one from MOPS... and it's certainly not just for Mothers of Preschoolers. (I get these because I'm one of the mentors for MOPS not because I'm a mom of one... those days are long gone.) Anyway, take the time to read this (I think you might relate; it certainly struck a cord with me from years past) and then make some memories that matter...

Making Memories that Matter

I remember yelling at my kids for interrupting my email writing, my Facebook time and the season finales of a dozen reality shows that have since slipped from my mind. Those deadlines and projects were so important at the time, but now, like those flowers I planted, they’ve faded away, never to return.

"For this season of your life,
I challenge you:
make memories that last."

Thankfully, though, I do remember some things that seemed boring and non-urgent. Like the dandelion crown I placed on my daughter’s head and the night we cuddled on a blanket in the backyard and stared at the clouds until the stars came out. And bubbles. Popsicles. Galloping around the yard like a pony. Tackling my boys and playing baseball with them. Slow moments, all of them. Non-urgent moments without deadlines.

There is not one material thing, one worldly accomplishment, even one friendship that I now value more than those precious, fleeting moments with my little girl who’s now in Kindergarten and my boys. For this season of your life, I challenge you: make memories that last. Savor the small. Treasure your time with your babies in your heart, and tear yourself away from the unimportant. You will never, ever regret it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Normally I like the color yellow - it's bright, reminds me of sunshine, and friends tell me I look good in yellow. However, lately, it's been more of an enemy. Sara's silver car is now yellow; the island and counter in my kitchen is supposed to be blue but had a layer of yellow when I got home from work recently. I see lots of yellow cars. Even the floor next to my open kitchen window had a slick, yellowish tint to it. So windows are closed now - thanks to the "lovely" spring pollen.

I've been home from the Isle of Man for 3 weeks - seems like forever since I was there... so much has happened in a short span. Chris and Malikas have had much heartache in that short 3 weeks. They were both very close to Bunty. She had no family except for the Kinley's and she was like a grandmother to Chris. Bunty died on March 23 at the age of 94. A few days later Masha's grandmother died who lived in Belarus. She was in the hospital because of heart problems but was expected to go home in a couple of days. Malikas will be leaving next week to go to Belarus. She wants to visit the village where her grandmother lived and see her grave. It will be a difficult trip. Please keep her in your prayers.

Saddle Ridge Ranch, VBS 2010 - 2 months, 3 days away. 'Nuff said...

Join us April 30
for a Family Movie Night at Parkway. FREE dinner and a movie... but don't forget to sign up so we can get a count for food. We'll show 2 movies simultaneously that night... the new Veggie Tales, Pistachio, and for those who think they have outgrown Veggie Tales, we'll show one of the Sugar Creek Gang movies, Swamp Robber. Go to the church website and sign up for Saddle Ridge Ranch, VBS Music Camp ($35) and Family Movie Night - all in one place for your easy convenience.

My favorite pics from my trip...