I dig it: Books edition

We are skeptical book recommenders. But here are ones that made the cut cause they really are great ones in our opinions!

duties

The Duties of Parents

This one is parenting gold. The best parenting book we’ve read. It’s small, but packed with great encouragement and challenges to make our parenting more biblical. Be warned: JC Ryle shoots it straight.

neighbor

The Art of Neighboring 

Practical advice and biblical reasoning for getting to know your neighbors.

trust

Trust: A Godly Woman’s Adornment

Sheri Reymond turned me on to this book. I rarely re-read things, but I find myself coming back to this one. I don’t struggle to believe God is sovereign, but I didn’t realize I did often struggle to believe He was good. These short devotionals helped me understand His goodness better. She also has ones on Purity, Contentment and Joy.

sex

Sex, Dating and Relationships

Affectionately called “The Yellow Sex book” around here, this book is a biblical view of dating and relationships that is realistic within our culture. It’s not I Kissed Dating Goodbye! :)

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Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood

The most important thing Brian and I learned doing youth ministry was how important parents are. This book helped encourage me to keep talking to our girls, and practically what that looks like.

faithful

Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God

It’s no secret we love us some John Piper (Sadie PIPER…) and his wife Noel was no exception either. This book made God bigger and realer to me. And ANYTHING that does that is a great thing. It was short bios on some women I want to be more like.

fit

Fit to Burst

Short devotional-style chapters. Encouraged my heart in the middle of the trenches of raising littles. Her other book Loving the Little Years is a great one too.

sensing

Sensing Jesus

Brian loves this one especially for pastors/elders (but not exclusively by any means!). It will teach you that you aren’t Jesus, and that you need Jesus. It’s a reminder to slow down and think and know the limitations of being a finite being.

letters

Letters to Pastor’s Wives

The best book on the subject that I’ve read at least. I refer back to it often. I love that it’s a compilation of authors and perspectives.

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Sheet Music

A bold, straight-talk book on sex. We recommend for engaged and married (even NOT newly married!). He fights right through any awkwardness associated with sex and cuts to the chase.  —

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Hole in our Holiness

We read this in our Ladies’ Book Study. It was a great book to read with a group cause the discussion was great! It’s a challenge to grow in holiness and not be content to stay “where you are” cause that’s not what Jesus calls us to.

 

 

 

 

Top 15 Things To Do In Marysville, KS

This post could also be titled: “The only 15 things to do in Marysville, KS.” (no offense to Marysville, we loved this little town!)

While waiting in line at Call Hall one day the woman behind us had a Marysville shirt on. We asked her where that was and why that town name sounded so familiar. She said it was probably because of the black squirrels. We said, “The what?” She explained that they had squirrels that were completely black for some reason. That’s how this town an hour north of Manhattan ended up on our Summer Bucket List. We had such a fun day that we decided to rank our experiences.

So upon arriving into town it became clear that they do indeed pride themselves on their black squirrels.

Black Squirrels

Here’s all we did, ranked in “fun” order even!

1. See the Black Squirrels.

Y’all. They really have totally black squirrels.

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The first squirrel we saw was a normal brown one, and we were about to cry “false advertising!!” but we asked some locals and they said they have brown ones, but they have black ones too, and that we would for sure see them. And we did! They were actually pretty common! Legend claims they arrived in Marysville when they escaped from a travelling circus in the 1910s!

Marysville Trip 2015

2. Ride bikes on the Blue River Trails

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This was actually the second reason we came out. Brian did some reasearch and found this great trail. It’s converted from the railroad tracks (just like Katy Trail) so totally flat!

Marysville Trip 2015

We only rode 4 miles, but the trail is 13 miles long and has this cool bridge:

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Sadie and I took a picture cause we were twinkies this day. And Berkley was pretending to be a bunny and the picture is mid-jump!

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3. Alcove Springs

We called an audible as we were on our way back home when we saw a sign that said “Alcove Springs, 6 miles.” What is Alcove Springs? Do we care? We followed the sign.

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It’s a spring that forms a cool waterfall!

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The settlers coming along the Oregon Trail discovered it in the 1800s. (The Donners passed thru here too, so they had water…but no food…)

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The hike was a pretty one.

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4. Take a Picture with the Giant Pony Express Statue

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This actually ranked higher than visiting the actual Pony Express Barn (below). Cause posing with statues ranks high in our book.

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5. Get a milkshake at Penny’s Diner

Thought it would be fun to find a fun local spot to stop for a snack, and Penny’s was it!

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We would have thought this place had been around 60 years. It was actually built in 1999

Marysville Trip 2015

6. Visit the only remaining Pony Express Barn open to the public

The Pony Express was only a thing for 19 months (1859-60), who knew?

Marysville Trip 2015

We didn’t go into the barn or museum (it was $6 for adults and $4 for kids, we are too cheap) but we peeked in the window and went to the gift shop!

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7. The Rope Ferry

A life-sized recreation of a rope ferry used along the Blue River

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8. Visit the City Park

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This scored high for a few reasons. One, cause they had an old school teeter-totter. (moments after this photo was taken someone was crying…) And two because it was just cool. I’m guessing it was designed by the same people who did the Clay Center one. 

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Marysville Trip 2015

9. Try to catch a rat snake

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Cause we’ve done a lot of that this summer!

10. Ride the Dinosaur

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At a random Sinclair gas station

11. Take a photo at the Pepsi Bottling Company

#MountainDew in #Marysville

There’s no bottling, just distribution, but a cool sign to show for it

12. Check out the rows of charred catfish heads on fence post

Marysville Trip 2015

You know how some people put boots on fence posts? This guy had a huge collection of huge catfish heads on his!

13. Visit the one room school house

Marysville Trip 2015

It’s a real one room school house

Marysville Trip 2015

14. Check out the Sod House

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It’s a one room furnished house you can look into (which was good for our kids to understand so we can say remind them of it when they claim to need more space! :) )

15. Visit the historical courthouse

Marysville Trip 2015

Disclaimer: we didn’t go in. :) That’s why it got the 15th spot!

 

 

 

 

Taste of the Ville ’15

Taste of the Ville 2015

Last year Harriet Reymond gave us tickets to The Taste of the Ville and we had such a great time that we shared in the church email when tickets went on sale this year in the hope that others would join us for the adventure this year.

Simply put most of the restaurants in Aggieville give out a single serving of some food or drink. Participants then travel around with a punch card to each stop over a two hour period. This year we had an even better time than last year with such a fun group of people.

We’ll do it again in 2016, so when you see tickets are for sale buy them and prepare for a fast paced Aggieville food adventure.

Taste of the Ville 2015

At Tubby’s the men got on the bar and while I’d like to blame the alcohol not a single drink was had.

Taste of the Ville 2015

Taste of the Ville 2015

Bluestem Bistro where somehow everyone got in the photo.

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Laura & Christine at Buffalo Wild Wings

Taste of the Ville 2015

Tricia, Christine, Laura, Danielle & Hannah at Rock-A-Belly.
Taste of the Ville 2015

Nicola & Ryan eating Tofu and General Tso’s Chicken at Tasty China House
Taste of the Ville 2015

One of things that made this year fun was a goal to complete the whole list and we did with about 4 minutes to spare. At the end we shared what we were most surprised by and what was the best item.

The overwhelming victor of the best item was:

  • Varsity Donuts who had a hot cinnamon sugar donut.

Biggest surprises (in a good way) were:

  • Bluemont Hotel who served Pot Stickers and Hummus with Pita Bread
  • Keltic Star Public House who served Bread Pudding
  • Eighteen 63 who served fried pickles.

Most of the restaurants did a great job, the only disappointments were Fuzzy’s Tacos who gave about a tablespoon of rice or beans and Taco Lucha because they didn’t participate at all.

Here is a full list of was served: 

Bluemont Hotel Lounge – Pot Stickers and Hummus with Pita Bread

Bluestem Bistro – Banana Bread French Toast & Green Tea

Buffalo Wild Wings – Boneless Chicken wings

Cold Stone – Ice Cream something rather.

Dancing Ganesha – 65 Spice Chicken (very good, plan to eat there soon)

Eighteen 63 – Fried Pickles

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop – Rice or beans

Goodcents Deli – Various Sandwiches

Jeff’s Pizza Shop – Really good full slices of pizza

Keltic Star Public House – Bread Pudding with rum sauce

Kite’s Bar & Grille – Fried Cheese and Chips and Espinaca Dip

Pizza Hut – BBQ Pizza, which was good, but small piece.

Radina’s Coffee House – Various Smoothies.

Rock-A-Belly Deli – Hummus and pita bread

Rusty’s Bar – Corn Salsa and chips

Starbucks – Iced Coffee with flavor options

Tanner’s Bar & Grill – Chicken Lips (amazing good chicken fingers)

Tasty China House – General Tso Chicken, Tofu

The Pita Pit – Slice of some great tasting pita wrap

Tubby’s Sports Bar – BBQ & Buffalo chicken wings

Varsity Donuts – Hot and fresh cinnamon sugar donut.

Chasing Waterfalls

So our spinning teacher told us about a waterfall hidden in the hills south of Junction City. When they damned this creek up to make a lake it just went around the dam and made a waterfall that feels like we’re in some South American country.

Geary Lake Waterfall

Along the walk we found “Texas” sized dandelions.

Geary Lake Waterfall

Geary Lake Waterfall

Here is a video of what it looks like as you come out from the path.

Geary Lake Waterfall

 

In the water were Aligator Gars. Weird fish with long gator like mouths and teeth. I nearly caught on with my bare hands, you can see it slipping out of my hands in this picture.

Geary Lake Waterfall

Geary Lake Waterfall

Geary Lake Waterfall

We saw 5 snakes, none of which were venomous, but a little creepy to be swimming with them.

Geary Lake Waterfall

 This video shows one that was trying to swallow a fish when we disturbed it.

Another video of same snake

Geary Lake Waterfall

Geary Lake Waterfall

Geary Lake Waterfall

Berkley tried to ride it like a water slide, but it wasn’t quite slick enough.

Geary Lake Waterfall

Geary Lake Waterfall

Geary Lake WaterfallGeary Lake Waterfall

Here it is from a ways back. Geary Lake Waterfall

Off to the side is a legit spring with freezing cold water coming out of the wall.

Geary Lake WaterfallGeary Lake WaterfallThis is about 30 minutes from our home, I can't believe how boring I imagined Kansas would be. #kansas #waterfall

The Katy Trail 2015

KatyTrail2015 Tony and Brian 2

Tony Felich and I rode the Katy Trail for 5 years in a row and then after leaving for Manhattan I bailed on the trip last summer. I didn’t want to hear about how the Yankees have 27 rings, a few of which are even legitimate. So I tried to bail again this year and peer pressured me into making it happen (cause he misses me I’m sure). So the plan this year was a bit over 200 miles.

Here we are starting in Pilot Grove.

Katy Trail 2015

Our first night we stayed in the Globe B&B, the new owners running it took over just 7 days earlier. Literally the only food for sale in the town was frozen pizza at the bar. After eating a whole piece Tony realized the entire bottom of his pizza was covered in green mold.

This is a sink.

Katy Trail 2015

Here we are well rested ready to ride to Hermann

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The best parts of the trail we generally don’t take photos of, fields of wheat and other things.

Katy Trail 2015

I was asked a few times why I had a Wiffleball bat. I was hoping Tony would play a little, but he’s a curmudgeon when it comes to Wiffleball.

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This take from the car bridge at Boonville looking out at what someday will be the Katy Trail bridge. Water was high, but nothing threatening the trail.

Katy Trail 2015

This ammo shed is just east of Rocheport. Ironically it was made keep ammo dry, but today it’s got a pond inside it from water leaking in.

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Just past Jefferson City I threatened to kill Tony for something. Probably telling me how stupid my bat was. Midway through the day I threw it at him during a stop and forgot to pick it up. I like to imagine some child found it and will enjoy this great game in the middle of nowhere Missouri.

Katy Trail 2015

This little guy was not shy at all. I should have brought him home as a pet, but then I’m sure we’d give it away if I did that.

Katy Trail 2015

The is from the bridge heading into Hermann, Missouri. Nice town, pasta is a bit pricey, but would be fun town to explore if weren’t exhausted by end of the day.

Katy Trail 2015

The oldest bridge labeled was built in 1899. It’s the only thing on the trail that existed before the Cubs last Series Championship.

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Found this ladder that seemed a bit short to be of any use. Just kinda seems whatever you couldn’t reach before you got the ladder out, you still can’t reach after you get the ladder out.

This is a two step ladder, they were very popular until houses starting being built over three feet tall. #MKT

This is my stead, best bike I’ve ever owned. Surly Cross Check.

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Nearly everyday the weather says rain is coming and everyday Tony tells me it won’t rain. About 20 minutes after it started raining he finally conceded it would rain that day.

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So up to this point things went great, no wrecks, no injuries. In fact the rain started a few minutes before the girls showed up. I hate to say they brought bad luck, half because I don’t believe in luck and half because we enjoy their company. However, it was a bit like allowing Jonah to join your little voyage.

KatyTrail2015

Katy Trail 2015

 

Katy Trail 2015

I can’t remember how it started years ago, but these two jump. This is actually a recreation from memory of a 2013’s photo just like it.

Katy Trail 2015

What was different this year is Tony and I got in on it and boy do we jump higher than our wives.

Katy Trail 2015

Brian: Look a big cliff

Laura & Shari: Let’s jump in front of it.

Katy trail 2015: we ride bikes, but we go for the jumping pictures

Brian: Look a nice Dodge sports car

Laura & Shari: Let’s bash in the windows!

Katy Trail 2015

Brian: Look a bench

Laura & Shari: Let’s jump off it!

Katy Trail 2015

Brian: Look at Katy Trail sign

Laura & Shari: Let’s jump in front of it!

Katy Trail 2015

Brian: Look the sign that marks where the Daniel Boone Judgement Tree may or may not have been.

Laura & Shari: Let’s jump in front of it!

Katy Trail 2015

I thought this was a sweet picture, don’t tell Tony I posted it.

Katy Trail 2015

So the rain came and wind came and the trees fell over. Like Hulk we tried to pick this tree up. Unlike Hulk, when that didn’t work we walked around it.

Katy Trail 2015

This was a few trees down, we had to go over them.

Katy Trail 2015

Somehow I wrecked for the first time in what is now six years.

Katy Trail 2015

Laura had clip in pedals and fell over once and then later a strange string of events happened.

Tony hit a stick with his bike moving it to a weird angle, Laura hit the stick awkwardly and her tires flew out from under her (which gave her huge bruise on her butt).

Shari looks back while stopping to check on her and her leg goes into the big gear at the front of the bicycle and starts squirting blood out like a fountain. We try and stop it and at first it doesn’t work. Tony rips up a t-shirt (his good one) and ties it on, bleeding stops.

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Doesn’t look like much when the fountain is turned off.

Katy Trail 2015

Katy Trail 2015

Shari rides rest of the way (tough woman) and along the way prays that we’ll have a nurse. We get to the B&B and they have new owners, the wife is a retired critical care nurse answering her prayer.

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Because we rode through mud the tires made this line on everyone’s back. Heidi says it looks like Tony & I just ran right over them with our bikes.

Katy Trail 2015

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The next morning we our bikes rode the last 28 miles in the back of this truck.

Katy Trail 2015

On way back to KC we stopped for lunch in Columbia. As we headed back to the Interstate a van rushed through a light and hit this red car which was launched into the back of our car. It was pretty scary and set us back a few hours, but none of us were injured beyond a little whiplash like symptoms. God spared us and we’re thankful to be alive.

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We did meet this State Trooper who awesome. The red car was stuck to us and he was telling us to drive and we’ll drag it behind us. We were concerned it would pop off in the middle of the road. He responded, “Either way we’re screwed, let’s do it!” He then told us enthusiastically, “Let’s go for broke!” and ran off only to return a second later saying, “Not literally.” before running off again.

The car did pop off and he started pushing it and some guy jumped out of his car and started helping him. I forget how friendly people here in the midwest are. Here is video of them pushing the car.

 

And now a few more jumping pics cause that’s what we do on the Katy Trail.

Katy Trail 2015Katy Trail 2015Katy Trail 2015Katy Trail 2015

Runaway Peacock

One of our neighbors has lived here since she was a little girl and she told us the zoo used to be free, with no fences, so her and her siblings would walk through the field in our back yard straight to the zoo. And that the peacocks (they still aren’t caged inside the zoo) would come and sit outside her window (which sounds cool, until you hear the noise a peacock makes). But now that the zoo has admission, we don’t get peacocks. Until last week!

 

Berkley Boo at 5

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Still the “little one” and wants to be little. Anything little in house is “Boo-sized”

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Loves physical affection; she’s very lovey and touchy

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Says “right mom?” A LOT

Plays Minecraft like a boss. And can hold her own at MarioKart. She’s a prodigy.

Wants to be a mommy when she grows up. And maybe a preschool teacher.

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Plays Legos with Becks and Pollys and school with SP. She’s the most sought-after playmate.

Says “our-chother” instead of “each other” and “fort out” (a cross between fort and hide out), “han-zitizer” for hand sanitizer, “hu-normous” when anything is big, “bu-cept” (but and except).

Our most adventurous (will pick up any animal or bug) but is terrified of fire and loud noises.

Boo found a baby bunny

She’s looking like a true extrovert. She doesn’t get drained by…well, anything. Being around people gives her energy and she can out-talk the best of them (which is a good thing cause she’s stinking hilarious!)

 

Snakes on a Tree

BerkleyEveWe were all inside yesterday when Becks came running over and said, “There’s a snake on the tree outside.” My first thought was, how is he seeing a snack from so far away? When we all went to the window I realized why he could see it from so far away. It was mammoth! Brian and all three kids jetted outside. Safely inside, I locked the door.

Then somehow I was lured outside to be the videographer (that’s why the video is from so far away, that’s as close as I would get, and even it was uncomfortable. We should have given the camera to Berkley, she had absolutely NO fear and really really wanted to hold it.) Here’s what went down:

 

Snake

We released it into the field in the backyard (right after Brian put it down out there Berkley ran to it AGAIN and says “Now can I pick it up?” What’s wrong with her??).

I’m never going outside again.

Thoughts on Dance 2015

Sadie Piper and Bates Dance Studio Recital 2015

This past weekend was the annual Bate’s Dance Recital. It’s held in McCain Hall and has a high production value. After attending it last year our Sadie Piper said that’s what she wants to do. We only let our children be in one event at any given time. She had done cheerleading and soccer and loved them both, but when she saw the end result of a year of dance practice she wanted to invest in that. So now it’s dance all year and softball in the summer.

Anyway, I spent most of my life thinking dance was shallow at best and uncomfortably sexual as more typical. What I’ve learned these past two years is that dance is a medium that has an incredible ability to move the motions and to carry deep concepts.

This year two things on Friday night pushed me emotionally in ways I didn’t expect.

Sadie Piper and Bates Dance Studio Recital 2015

The first was being the father of one of the dancers. See Laura is not a dancer, neither am I. In fact in college we took a country western dance class and I’ll never forget the instructor biting her lip as she stood watching us, pondering how to help only to shake her head and share that she has no idea what is wrong with us, but we’re terrible dancers. So we were surprised to see how much music and dance is hardwired by God into Sadie Piper. Even as a tiny child she wanted us to turn on music and she would dance and dance and dance.

(Dress rehearsal)
SP dance 2015

So last night when I saw my girl on that stage with a giant joyful smile dancing with a team who had worked hard for this moment it almost brought me to tears. My joy was in her joy. I’m so thankful for that moment. I’m thankful also that God has given us a friendship with Damian & Heidi (who is the director of Bates) and to know her love for Christ and the way she wants the faith she has been given to be incorporated in all she does. I’m thankful that we can send her to dance class with absolute trust in the director who is patiently teaching these basics of dance to young children.

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Which brings me to the second time I was moved emotionally during the evening: older girls using these this gift of dance to tell a story. There was a dance to Michael Jackson’s Earth Song. It was a great contrast to the generally bright colors of the evening. The dancers facial expressions and movement told a story of our choices destroying the earth we live upon. I’m by no means a tree hugger and it wasn’t the earth that moved me, it was the deeper sense of our selfishness destroying what is God given and good.

Throughout the dance a planter, a pot, was lit up on the left side of the stage and it was filled with a plant stretched out in brown death. As the song came to an end I expected the plant to transform into something beautiful during the repetitive chorus of “what about us!” I appreciated that it didn’t, that we were left with a dead plant still just there, dead. As the next song began and new dancers took the stage to Jason Mraz’s Back to the Earth I was nervous for them because they had forgotten to get the pot off the stage.

But as the lyrics begin I realize they didn’t forget the rotten plant.

Whenever my head starts to hurt
Before it goes from bad to feeling worse
I turn off my phone
I get down low
And put my hands in the dirt

I try to stop the world from moving so fast
Try to get a grip on where I’m at
And simplify
This dizzy life
And put my feet in the grass

By the end of this joyful tune the dead plant is replaced with a baby plant. I think I’m such a cynic that the dead plant is what I wanted to see, but the baby hopefully plant is what I needed to see.

Again, the earth was the theme here, but it was the renewal that gripped me. As a Christian we view things through a lens that can give deeper meaning. This renewal of the earth, even if lyrically off base at times, was also a redemptive picture of the gospel in creation and in the creatures of that creation. I felt hopeful. I felt joy to be alive and a graciousness for the earth which God has given us for enjoyment.

I know it might sound funny for a pastor to say, but I needed to see out of death come life. I needed to see it outside of my own theological framework. I needed it to hit my emotions. Not because truth is built or established in the emotions, but because truth experienced in the emotions is a pleasure for the children of God too often forfeited.

Heidi choreographed that dance and I’m thankful for the gifting God has given her.

We also enjoyed seeing one of our youth group children, Sophie Elliott, dance and send her little girls on to the stage to perform a dance she choreographed. Thank you for sharing your gifts!