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Another summer, another VBS–some things never change!  However, this was the first year that Nathan was a volunteer instead of a student.  It was the fourth time Than and his staff have created the program in-house, and this year they went with a Lego theme.  The content focused on how Jesus built up His disciples so they could continue the building of God’s Kingdom.  Bible teaching, lots of Lego building, songs, games, snacks, and crafts–that part was my department 🙂  As always, it was humbling to see the passion and dedication of so many volunteers.  And many of the best ones were a lot younger than you might think!!  There were so many different skills and talents serving together in a wide variety of ways.  It is a joy to see the richness of spiritual growth in community, for kids and staff alike.  Here’s a little peek (thanks to other people who shared FB photos!)

Any suggestions for next year?!!

A Modern Day Knight (Catching-Up)

A Modern Day Knight (Catching-Up)

I have a young man finishing sixth grade!  So many changes are on the horizon, and I am both nervous and excited about that.

One of the changes are are feeling right now is the shift from “elementary” to “junior high.”  It will happen this fall for school, but this spring it takes place at church.  This was Nathan’s final year to attend our Wednesday night clubs program, and he ended with the long-anticipated crest ceremony.  Each year the 6th grade boys select images and colors and create a wooden crest that represents things that are important to them.  They present their crest at the final night of clubs, talk about what they chose, and then hear words of blessing and a prayer from their parents.  It is really cool and really important!

Here is Nathan with his crest..

It is amazing to think that the boy who was a baby when this curriculum was designed is now graduating from the program.  I am so grateful for the men who worked with Than to put this together, and for all the godly leaders who have feed truth into my son during his years under their leadership.

Here is Nathan talking about his crest:




I had a blast at Vacation Bible School this year!  Than wrote an internationally-themed VBS that focused on how God sent Peter and God sends us–engaged, established, equipped, encouraged, and expanding.  For the first time in a while, I was in charge of a class instead of doing crafts.  My group represented Senegal, and of course our room was well equipped with great decorations from there!  One day I got to welcome each class on their visit to “Senegal,” talking about our trip group after group.  I was impressed by their engagement and their interesting questions.  Also of note, this was Nathan’s last year for participation as a student in Vacation Bible School.  Next year he will be old enough to help!  I continue to be grateful for this yearly opportunity for our family to learn and to serve together.  Can’t wait to see what next year brings…




The Christmas Pageant has come and gone, and I am glad for both its coming and its going!

The coming of this event means lots of rehearsals, lots of Christmas carols getting stuck in our heads, lots of piano practice, and LOTS of work for Than.


This year Nathan was a delightfully diabolical King Herod and Katya was an enthusiastic cow with a handmade pom-pom tail.  They got to play their first ever sibling duet as part of the prelude too.


I am so grateful for all the time and volunteer help that goes into helping kids learn and reflect on the key truths of Christmas and its ties to Easter.  Songs, scripture, explanations, costumes, acting things out–all of it helps these important things become a deep part of their understanding.


When the pageant goes, however, it is time to be grateful for a cookie reception at the end, great hugs from grandparents in the audience, and a hard-working family pastor who returns to his family.  Hooray for the Christmas Pageant!




Celebrating the Genius of God Through the Generations of Genesis

That’s GENopoly, the theme of our Vacation Bible School  this year.  The church was full of board-game-themed rooms, decorations, games, crafts, snacks, music, and lessons.  All of it was intended to help kids see how God worked in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, and how he continues to work today.

Than headed up an amazing staff of volunteers who helped to create and share the excellence, excitement, and passion for God that was evident throughout the week.  I planned and taught the elementary crafts.  Katya was part of the “Candyland” crew, and Nathan joined a group of 50 5th and 6th graders under the heading “Life.”

Check out the cool take-home pages that Than’s amazing admin designed.  One piece went home each day and by the end of the week each kid could build their own GENopoly board game.



It is an exhausting but rewarding week, and I am so glad our family can continue to participate together.  (A bonus thank-you is due here to the mystery crew who decorated our driveway with chalk on the last day of VBS.  What a fun encouragement!)




The Pine “Dog” Derby

The Pine “Dog” Derby

Just a quick post, mostly to show you the picture of Nathan with his Pinewood Derby car…


He came up with the dog idea himself, and Katya had fun helping add the ears.  The LEGO driver was a nice touch too.  The best part about the Pinewood Derby this year was that Uncle Nate and Great-Grandpa Train were both there to cheer him on.  4 generations together is always something to remember!

Another VBS

Another VBS

Once again I am appreciative to my husband and his staff of excellent volunteers for providing a week of fun, friendship, and strong Bible teaching to my children and many others.


With Than in charge and me directing elementary crafts, it was a typical Vacation Bible School week of busy-ness in our house.  Although it can be tiring and produce some pretty long days, there is also something special about our whole family being involved and excited about the same thing for a week.


I managed to guide a day of painting indoors without ruining the new carpet, learned that cutting takes way more time than anyone expects, and marveled at the enthusiasm and imagination of my hard-working crafters.

Than taught the Bible lesson each day, kept the whole thing running smoothly, and managed to keep up with the rest of his job as well.

Nathan enjoyed memorizing his verses, being with friends, and following the antics of Than’s junior-high sidekick who helped him each morning.

Katya loved the dancing and singing, appreciated her teacher so much, and was the most disappointed of all of us to see the week end.

I am so grateful to our church for supporting VBS, to the many volunteers that made a difference in my children’s lives, and to a God who is so worthy of our focus and passion!

A Budding Romance

A Budding Romance

When asked to write a sentence and draw a picture about spring, this is what Katya came up with:


She wrote, “My dad takes me on daddy daughter dates in spring.”

Now, I love the fact that my husband takes both of our kids out for special one-on-one times, but in the spring Katya is particularly thrilled about the Father Daughter Dinner at our church.  Thanks to the hard work of a great team, each spring brings the chance for dads to show their girls what a special date can really feel like.  The main room is beautifully decorated, the girls can make special accessories the week before to wear or carry, and the lucky couples enjoy good food, fancy desserts and fun dance lessons.

Katya has been looking forward to the evening for a long time.  This year’s theme was the Kentucky Derby, hence the elaborate hat.  Katya laid out her clothes two days before, tried the outfit several times just to make sure, and was very impressed that Daddy got a new hat to wear as well.  Than does a good job of “romancing” our little girl well.  He brought her flowers, helped her add some to her already-decorated hat, and generally focused on crafting the evening to give her a good picture of how a man should treat a girl he cares about.  I am so glad for his strong influence over her ideas of love and romance, and I pray for the man that will most likely come her way someday.  May he love God and care for Katya as well as her daddy does!


Staff Lunch Recipes

Staff Lunch Recipes

Another staff lunch this Monday, and I am actually getting around to posting recipes for you this time!

We had Sweet Chili Chicken ( served over rice, topped with cilantro, lime, mango, pineapple, and Thai Sweet Chili sauce (  The chicken rice bowl seemed quite popular, and they ate up all the Sweet Chili sauce as well.  I would also recommend this as a flexible main dish that is gluten and dairy free and easy to keep warm in a crock pot, nice for lots of different entertaining situations.

Side dishes were roasted asparagus (no recipe for this one, just toss the spears in olive oil and bake at 425 for about 20 minutes) and Crunchy Kale Salad (from  The asparagus is just a classic, and the salad had great ingredients although I would have preferred a more strongly flavored dressing.

Dessert was Marshmallow Caramel Krispie Brownies (  Yum!!

Pinewood Derby

Pinewood Derby

The annual Pinewood Derby again featured men, boys, track, cars, and me setting up an oatmeal bar (delish!!).


This year, however, there was a new category for creative car designs and Nathan jumped on board.  Meet “The Porcupine”…


He was entirely Nathan’s idea, weighing in at 15 ounces.  Nathan hoped the weight would help him be the fastest, and while he did have a way of keeping the other cars pushed out of his path, he didn’t end up getting any speed prizes.


The Porcupine did get an award for creativity, however, and his owner was very proud.  (The pink-dressed two-ponytail cheering section was pretty excited too:)