Tag Archives: children’s ministry

I’m drowning in unwritten blog posts

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So, I’m so insanely behind in my blog challenge that it’s just unforgivable!  My life has been a bit crazy– summer time is always the busiest time of year for kids’ pastors.  And then there’s Christmastime.  And Easter.  Well, let’s just say it’s been crazy!  Last week I led a Musical Theatre Camp for kids–it was fun, and crazy, and our performance was a comedy of errors.

Just imagine one of our stars stopping in the middle of the performance and screaming “There’s a GIANT spider on the stage!” while her fellow actor scornfully says, “I hardly think this is the time to discuss spiders.”  And then there was the time all of the actors forgot what they were supposed to do and stared at me in confusion as I mouthed “Exit.”  Only they didn’t exit, they just stared at me.  And my mouthing became a whisper, became a stage whisper, became a full voice, became practically a yell as the entire audience laughed and the kids just stood and stared.  Or then there was the actor who missed her cue to bring out a tray of appetizers, so we went on with the scene.  Only, two scenes later she decides now is the time for appetizers.  And I shoo her offstage.  Then she tries again in her next scene.  And her next.  Until finally she yells at me (from onstage) “But they told me to.”  Ahh . . . such awesome memories.

Anyway, if I’m picking up where I left off in the blog challenge I’m supposed to write about the best thing that happened to me this year.  I’m not really sure I could point out one thing that has happened so far.  So instead, I’m going to cheat and go with the best thing I’m hoping to happen to me by the end of 2013.  I’m hoping to get my foster license, and maybe even my first kiddo.  And I’m on the road!  Last night was my first foster class.

It was an interesting experience.  Our room was jam-packed, and we looked like a diversity in foster parenting ad.  Mostly there were young to middle-aged white couples.  But there was also a black couple, a gay couple, a lesbian couple, a single parent black mom, an older newlywed man whose wife is already certified, and me–the single white girl with no kids.  I’ve heard from many others that only about half the class will make it to the end–the rest will drop out along the way.  I’m trying to guess who will bow out before the end comes–does that make me sadistic?

Anyway, one of the things that I didn’t expect was just how many of these couples are looking at fostering as the road to adopt children.  I think every couple in the room was seeing this as a way to “expand their family.”  And of the seven straight couples,  four of them were led to fostering because of infertility.  Some of them still carried a lot of deep pain when talking about not being able to have a child.  And although I can appreciate how much pain that would cause, I also wonder if they are ready for what fostering really means.  I wonder if some of these couples have chosen foster-to-adopt because it’s a lot less expensive than private and international adoptions.  Now, I firmly believe more people should be fostering and that it is a fantastic thing to do.  But I wonder if parents who are still grieving their own inability to have a child are prepared for the challenges of fostering–not least of which is operating in a world where Plan A is always to return the child to their birth family.

What do you think, internet world?  Has anyone been in this situation before?

First Round of Sketches

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In case I haven’t mentioned it, I’m doing a musical theatre camp for kids this summer.  I’m really excited about it–it’s a great chance to help kids develop their talents, have fun, and build confidence.  Anyway, we’ll be doing The Little Mermaid–not the Disney version, but a pretty cool one.  I just finished the first round of costume sketches/paintings.

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Now . . . who wants to sew construct these for me?

Goodbyes are not always forever.

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Last week I wrote about saying goodbye to the child I had tutored this year.  I wondered if I would ever get the chance to see her again.  Today I did!

I tutor at an inner city school through a program organized by a literacy coach who attends my church.  When we created the tutoring program we introduced the 4th graders at the school to an incentive program.  At the end of the school year every child who had raised their Lexile score by 100 points would be invited to a party where they would be entered in a drawing.  Ten lucky kids would receive new pairs of sneakers.  When this program was started and the incentive plan mapped out, I wasn’t yet on staff at my church, so I didn’t really know anything about it.  Last week I got the opportunity to jump in and help make it happen.

So today I had an ice cream party with 35 kids who had raised their Lexile scores by 100 points or more.  And my amazing girl was one of them!  If a child raised their score 200 points or more they got two entries in the drawing.  And she was one of those kids!  I’m so proud of her!  And so happy that I got to see her again.  I then headed over to our local Sports Authority to purchase the sneakers the kids chose, where a team of four staff bent over backwards to make sure every kid got an awesome pair of shoes.  It’s great to know that ten lucky kids will be smiling brighter tomorrow!  I’m so happy that I’m a part of a church that makes awesome things like this happen and believes in the value of supporting our city schools!

It’s also nice to know that goodbyes are not always forever.  I’m sure that’s a hope I’ll hold onto as a foster parent.

On the Merry Go Round of Cazy

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It’s been a crazy busy weekend for me! On Thursday I went to an info meeting for foster parenting. Which is a little backwards, since that is supposed to be the first step, and I’ve actually done steps two through four already. But it was great for me to get a chance to meet the voice behind the phone. We discovered we have lots of mutual acquaintances. They got to ask me some questions they normally wouldn’t because for the first 30 minutes I was the only prospective foster parent there.

There were a few awkward moments when I thought, “maybe I shouldn’t have shared that just yet?” For example, I wanted to ask if childcare vouchers could be used for nannies instead of facilities. I’ve heard the stories of foster kids having six appointments a week between family visits, caseworker and lawyer visits, doctor appointments, and early intervention evals. That’s a lot of running around, and for a working parent it seems like a job better suited to a nanny than a daycare. Plus, I’ve been a nanny and have tons of friends who currently are nannies. I believe they can be the best choice for kids and parents (not to mention incredibly helpful for kids who really need one-on-one attention).

Anyway, I asked the question and he looked at me like I might be trying to work the system. He then explained that childcare vouchers go directly to the daycare, not the foster parent. I would not be getting the money. I wanted to laugh. Part of the reason I waited so long to become a foster parent is that I wanted to be more financially stable, because I will spend far more on my kids than the state will ever give me. Heck, I’ve already spent about $250 starting to set up the kids’ room and I don’t even have a kid yet!

Which was the other thing. I may or may not have mentioned that I already bought a bed. They looked at me like I was crazy. Clearly they’re not used to people as gung-ho about fostering as I am.

In other news, Friday night we had our Family Worship Experience and it was amazing. Here are a few shots of the evening.

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Petunias anyone?

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I’m great at ideas. Big, grand, elaborate, super-cool, fun ideas. I can come up with dozens of ’em in a single sitting. The execution–that I’m not so great at.

As you are all aware, Sunday is Mother’s Day. And in kid’s ministry world, that means doing something nice for all those moms. Usually our church gives out single carnations. But this year I’m on the team, and that idea seemed way too easy to me. (Besides, everyone knows carnations are the losers of the flower world.) So I decided we’d pick a different flower; and instead of presenting a cut blossom, we’d give a planted seedling. And then we’d doll it up with ribbon and a cute card. Better for the planet and adorable, right?

Yeah, not so much. This project involves about 10 steps. Per flower. My hands are currently filthy from transplanting the seedlings, despite washing them about 25 times. My OCD tendencies are not happy. But the trade off should be about 850 happy mommas. Plus, I got to work with a 16 year old who was sentenced to community service. Building a relationship with him was the best part of the day. I don’t think he has many adults he can talk to.

Strangest thing of all . . . thinking about Mother’s Day and realizing next year I may have a kiddo of my own.

Were Adam and Eve cave people?

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Were Adam and Eve cave people?

That’s what I was asked by a kid at church recently.  Let me back up.  At Kid Connect we believe it’s important to involve kids in the learning process, so we encourage them to ask questions.  We don’t want to be that teacher calling out the standard fill-in-the-blank questions looking for “Sunday School answers.”  So, throughout the worship experience kids have the opportunity to write down questions.  We take those questions and the inspiration leaders (our large group teachers) address those questions in the teach time.  As you can imagine we get some awesome questions.  Teachers have three options when they read a question–they can answer it themselves, challenge the kids to come up with the answer, or they can put it in the “Expert Box” for me to answer later.

As you can imagine, I get some very interesting questions.  And so it was that last weekend during one of our venues our inspiration leader pulled out a question and read “Were Adam and Eve cave people?”  There was a moment of awkward silence.  Then she looked up, smirked at me, and laughed “Well, that one’s going in the Expert Box.”

Thanks a lot.

Here are some of the other questions I’ve been asked:

  • Did God know Santa?
  • How do we love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, when we’ve never met him?
  • How was the “big bang” made?
  • How many people die from hunger in 24 hours?
  • Why did the women not get treated fairly?
  • Why are people mean?
  • Can I beat up people?
  • What does God look like?
  • How do I get people to stop hitting me?
  • How does hope spread?
  • Can God stop school?
  • Why didn’t God just wipe out sin instead of making Jesus die?
  • Why are some churches so big and fancy and some don’t have a playground?
  • What do you do when there are a lot of people annoying you?
  • When you get baptized is it like falling back into Jesus’ arms?
  • How do you tell someone you are afraid of about Jesus?
  • Why do people think it’s all about money?
  • Why do people bully?
  • Does God have a Holy Spirit in himself

Wow!  Right?

So, it’s time for you to get involved!   What questions have kids asked you?  Or, what questions do you have that you’ve been too afraid to ask?  And how would you answer these questions?

Dreams For Your Children

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I dream of you
with your round, brown eyes
which are always
looking past the sand in your hands
I wish you could focus
on the well in your midst.

I dream of your children
embracing life with both hands
running
with the eagerness & trust of children
towards a peace you can’t
(buy)
(create)
IMAGINE

I dream of your
freedom
when you learn of a love that
overcomes all you’ve been
(lied to)
taught.

You, my sisters and brothers,
may not now see what I see
but I will dream it for you.