Adventure Week Eleven

Ever planned a wedding?

Yeah. Adventure Week Eleven went big. Real big.

Precious friends talked about eloping in the midst of some difficult family situations.

But, really, could this couple pass up the chance at a beautiful day?

Just look at them.

Too beautiful to elope!

Too lovely.

Too many friends.

That precious young woman has shown me what it is like to live in freedom this past year.

So I joined a village and helped with a wedding.

I asked my DIRTY DANCING tribe to make desserts. And they came to the rescue. (That’s a whole other post right there, my journey in learning to ask.)

That’s a PIE BAR, y’all.

There was also a Cookie/Brownie TOWER.

There were invitations painted by THE BEAR AND THE ROSE, a sweet etsy shop I just happened to know. They were all woodland shire looking because the couple said to me one night when we were talking plans that they liked The Lord of the Rings.

I can’t find that particular photo right now, but you just imagine that soft forest green background with the names Gretchen and Zach etched on it.

The programs had that same simple font and were graciously done, at the last minute I might add, by Ms Christy, of artvark creative.

Need help imagining the wooded shire …

groom and his men

(The Groom and His Men, photo by Sarah Scruggs of Kindred Co.)

Friends did flowers and music – even a harp y’all!

And photography by Sarah Scruggs.

(Note to Kindred Co., I’m going to steal another of your pics, but give you credit, ok?)

But for me, the highlight of it all was the statement of vows. Borrowing much from the traditional, but with additions from themselves, those promises made to each other reminded me of what these precious two have already overcome together and what, with God’s continued help, they will continue to do as one.

I present to you, my Adventure Week Eleven, with much gratitude to them for allowing me to be a part of their special day –

Mr. and Mrs. Zach Arnold

reception kiss

(photo, you know, by Sarah Scruggs of Kindred Co.)



Adventure Week Eight

Have you ever prepared a meal for a crowd?

How large a crowd?

Have you ever counted pennies to cover your grocery bill?

How many pennies?

Have you ever been hungry?

Really hungry?

Doesn't this look yummy?
Doesn’t this look yummy?

Adventure Week Eight started months ago. Spring 2015. I was there at church on a Sunday morning in the lull that comes between the¬†liturgy of the word¬†and the¬†liturgy of the table¬†–

Announcement time.

And Father Lyon began telling us what our corporate act of mercy would be in Lent 2016.

The vestry of Church of the Good Shepherd had decided to partner with Feeding Children Everywhere. Over the course of the year, we would aim to collect $4,000 and on Saturday, 20 February 2016, we would work together in the Parish Hall during our Lenten Retreat Day to assemble meals for 10,000 hungry children.

You read that right.

10,000 meals.

I was super excited. But I did wonder how.

What kind of meals? What sort of assembly line?

Cooked ones? Surely not, some of the meals this organization provides are for international needs.

Meals to freeze? That couldn’t be. Our building doesn’t have freezer space.

Geesh. Space?

Our parish hall is not that big. How many volunteers needed? How many supplies?

Mind. Blown.

But still excited.

Throughout the year we heard short announcement blips. From the beginning, the attitude presented was – we are going to do this.

And we are going to do it together.

And we did.

My Saturday started with Eucharist at 8.30 am. .The readings were aptly chosen. The gospel reading was about – what else – LOVE. And included the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Our meals were going to Syrian refugees and our prayers were specifically for them. I wish I could include them here, but I haven’t figured out how yet. Touching. Powerful.

And the homily instructed us that when we left the sanctuary and began doing our work, that our work would be incarnational.

Incarnational work is not always perfect.

There was a little attitude on our assembly line. Watch this commercial video, if you will, and notice the assembly line organization. They’ve got it down to a science.

(And yes, on my particular line Saturday morning, it was a science. We had a chemist, a nurse, and a nuclear engineer.)

We made bags of lentil casserole. I ladled pink Himalayan sea salt. That was my part. The line went salt, dehydrated vegetables, rice, then lentils into a plastic bag. Then quality control check weighing.

between 320-330 on the scale, please

Then the bag was sealed. And counted as it went into the large box. And at some number of bags that I can’t remember – a bell and celebration happened.

We worked about an hour.

Yep. About an hour to assemble 10,000 meals.

Last night I made one of the lentil casseroles. I did add some grapes and deviled eggs to the plate. But, I’m pretty happy with what the refugees will get to eat.

It was good.

Doesn't this look yummy?
Doesn’t this look yummy?

Best part?

You could get up a group and do this, too. 

Feeding Children Everywhere











Adventure Week Six

Adventure Week Six was a weekend retreat with the bible study girls. 

And most of what happens at Lake Lure, NC, stays at Lake Lure. Have you seen the afore pictured movie?

Yes, there was a little Dirty Dancing.

And singing.

We stayed in Dancing Falls Lodge.


My car with a flat tire sat right in this drive, facing the front door until the kind man sent by AAA came.


And then after I returned from getting that tire replaced, I realized that I had worn leggings and this tshirt off site –

I was right at home in the Hendersonville Walmart, they said.

I got in this hot tub once. Alone. Bliss.


I slept on this couch. Don’t feel sorry. It was the bottom level introvert escape zone and the couch made into a bed.

But I didn’t pull it out. Who doesn’t love a nap on a couch? I got two great nights of sleep on that thing!

And I helped cook some awesome meals in this small kitchen.

Thank you, Pioneer Woman. We love you.

God was so present among these seventeen of his daughters. Three of them were extremely vulnerable sharing parts of their faith story.

You had to be there.

But, listen, it’s Valentine’s weekend. And I want to remind you that you are his beloved.

And if you’re in love with someone, or not…

You’ll learn a bit about LOVE in this clip from my favorite Bible Video guys!



It’s my birthday and I’m having the time of my life.

Woke up about 9a. Cup of coffee brought to me by my favorite man. A “not until I wanted it” breakfast of toasted apple cinnamon bagels from Carolina Cafe, where I saw paintings by the lovely Bonnie Goldberg¬†displayed on the walls while I waited. The thought of her always makes me smile.

Especially in the Food Lion strip mall.

Yep, I’m right here. Home in West Columbia, SC.

Where hugs from a certain nine year old abound. Dinner can be purchased for me at Palmetto Seafood, fried Lenten allowed delight. And¬†artvarkcreative¬†will bring me Trader Joe’s macarons¬†for dessert – not because I can’t afford them any day of the year, but because I never do treat myself – and somehow, they say YUM to me. PURE YUM.

I’m lounging on this really long couch, that I vowed would never make it into our marriage home because its print said “Big Lots bachelor purchase” to me, but here it is still, some almost twelve years later, not even slip covered.

And yes, I’m checking facebook.


I know, seriously, it takes little effort. I’m convinced that some people have some sort of automated app that sends it without them even having to lift a finger and tap. And I say that I don’t care about all that stuff.

BUT REALLY, I probably will compare how many facebook birthday wishes I get to how many someone else gets on their birthday. 



Enough confessions. Let me get to the point of this post.

As we’re (well, some of us,) looking at the story of JESUS AND THE CHILDREN this week, I wanted to look at that concept of love. Yeah, I think that those who brought the children to Jesus loved them. And, I think Jesus loved them. And I think that knowing that we are loved is important.

And fun.

I set out to suggest a great at-home craft idea for folks to do with their children this week. I remembered this idea of a simple scrapbook with photos of family and friends. One photo per page. Each page with the child’s name and the lover’s name inserted.

_________ loves ____________ .

This was not an original idea. So I went searching for a great link with directions and photos to show you. I googled. I pinterest’ed. Nothing.

What? The simple scrapbook’s so old of an idea that whatever link I might have seen one day is now relegated to screen page who knows what of search engine…


Nevertheless. I’m going to tell you right now how and why I think this is an absolute wonderful idea for a child’s treasure.

  • Children love photos of people that they recognize.
  • Children love to hear their name.
  • Children cannot see God and need a way to qualify who and what he is.
  • God is love.
  • Gather photos of friends and family that love your child.
  • Insert them on a page in some computer program. One per page. Microsoft Word works fine.
  • Along with the photo, add the caption (words) that say _______ loves _______ .
  • On the last page write “God loves ______.”
  • Print out the pages.
  • Staple them together.
  • Read them over and over to your child who cannot yet read.
  • Save the “book.”
  • When your child hits the yucky years – adolescent years, teen years, college years, post graduation years, heck: third grade? – and feels they have no friends one day – LEAVE THE BOOK ON THE NIGHTSTAND.

I’ve gone through a few mentoring sessions with high school kids in the last few years. A few times when the young man or young woman have seemed particularly down, I’ve asked them –

“Tell me someone who loves you”

I’ve experienced a bit of depression every now and then. Knowing the truth is grounding when you don’t feel the truth. Ground that truth into them. It matters.

And if the above instructions sound too simple. Too mundane. Too ugly. Congrats! You’re craftier than me. And your scrapbook will look SO MUCH BETTER.

And if you’re a new mom and even those simple insert, type, print, and staple instructions sound too difficult – then you’re in luck.

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. IT’S MY TREAT. COMMENT BELOW TO BE ENTERED FOR A CHANCE TO HAVE ME MAKE YOUR OWN who loves you? SCRAPBOOK. Comment must say “I want one for —–” and include your contact info!


At 9a!

Good luck!

And blessings to all.


Jesus and the Children

Jesus and the Children

Mark 10:13-16

Let the children come to me. Mark 10:14

‚ÄúGood morning‚ÄĚ Question: ¬†You are loved! Tell me – Who loves you?


Free Play Choices: Coloring Valentines, dolls/puppets, books¬†(talk about ‚Äúlove‚ÄĚ while¬†playing – who loves you? how do they show it? who do you love?…introduce the Catechism Q/A’s Memory Work in conversations, just say the question and answer several times)

Word for the Day:¬†Blessing. A blessing is a gift. God blesses us when he “takes care of us and shows us his love.” Jesus blessed the children. He may have given them a special prayer like some of you receive at communion time.

Memory Work:

Who made you?
What else did God
(God made all things.)
Why did God make you
and all things?
(For his own glory)                                                                                                                                               How can you glorify God?                                                                                                                                       (By loving him and doing what he commands)                                                                                                    Why should you glorify God?                                                                                                                         (Because he made me and takes care of me)

Circle Time:

Name Song/Chant: Jesus Loves the Little Ones Like Me, Me, Me (Insert names for “me, me, me!”)

Manner Review: Your eyes here, listening ears, hands in lap.

Story: Show the Bible. Turn to Mark 10. Let them touch the page. Read the short story. Then, tell the story again in your own words. Emphasize all five senses. How big was the crowd that had been listening to Jesus teach? Was it loud? If you had been there Рwould you have been tired? excited? scared?

Group Activity: Have large butcher paper pieces the size of a child (already cut out.) Practice taking turns. Allow each child to be traced on the paper. Hang the “children” on the wall and say, “we are creating a crowd, our crowd of children, to see Jesus.”

Songs: Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves the Little Children

Quiet Time / Prayer Time:

Make this ‚Äúfun/memorable.‚ÄĚ And¬†set the tone. Make them aware¬†that they will do something like¬†this every week. This is where we¬†are trying to cement a¬†‚Äúmemorable‚ÄĚ experience¬†from/about the facts of the day.¬†Consider making your own
‚Äúname‚ÄĚ for this time.¬† ¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Let’s sit on the floor here right around our pictures that we traced. Let’s pretend that we are waiting to see Jesus. Would you be quiet if you were waiting? How would you feel? Don’t tell me, just think about how you would feel.
Who would bring you to see Jesus?

Close your eyes. Would you thank Jesus for the person that brought you to see him? Jesus, thank you for …

Jesus wants to give you a blessing. A blessing is a gift. Today that blessing is a prayer straight from Jesus. Would you listen as Jesus uses me to tell you that he loves you? (Walk around and touch each child as you say: ______, Jesus loves you.

Closing Free Play:

Color your tracings and/or cut them out. Mirror time (Pull out a large mirror and let children have fun in front of it; use music to make even more fun!)

No, I don’t know these children – it’s just a youtube google search – but in case you don’t know the song I mentioned!