Monday, August 29, 2011

Family Fun Day

Saturday was our 4th annual family fun day - and it was the best one yet - a great success and I just want to write about what all happens at a time like this.

We dreamed up this idea a couple of years ago as a way for our church to BE BOLD in reaching out to the community. (After reading the book - "I refuse to lead a dying church"!) Actually, our first thought was that it would be a fund raiser for the church.

As we planned over the course of 6 months, we came to the conclusion that it needed to be a gift to the community and so we solicited funds to do the day and we were successful. Every year, we have some things the same:
- 3 large inflatables in the front yard
- six carnival type games where kids can earn prizes
-- an inexpensive lunch in the kitchen
- free school supplies
- free prizes
- items for raffle
We have also added over the years: crafts, free coats, and bingo. The entire building is used for this event and it has become bigger every year.

My favorite thing to do is to watch what is happening. This is what I saw on Saturday:
1. The church working together - we had over 50 people work on Saturday and countless more donating school supplies, coats, prizes, etc
2. Watching children - of the church, the community and my own grandchildren having so much fun! They love the games, they love the prizes and they really seem to enjoy the freedom to "shop" with the tickets they earned.
3. The interaction of our church members with people in the community. It is fun for me to see how friendly and caring we are to others.
4. The way people have really stepped up and invested in this day - we have a great committee and they were there all day - from beginning to end and seemed to have (like me) a great sense of satisfaction about it
5. Watching the intergenerational interaction of people - not just working together, but playing together. It really was fun.

I have to say that I was pretty exhausted at the end of the day. But, Sunday morning rolled around, I got some sleep, and I felt inspired and ready to go.

so, we will have a meeting sometime in the next few weeks to review and to look for ways to improve - but I have to say, that I feel blessed that it just gets better every year.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday morning at Advance

The week is almost over. I leave today and return home to prepare a sermon and go back into the rest of my life. I wake up earlyvto savor the blessing of this week.

It was over 25 years ago that I first heard of Camp Christian. I was a member of Northwest Christian Church and beards my ministers talk so about this place that was like heaven on earth. That really was the way they described it! And the 1st time I counseled there - for Chi Rho camp, grades6 to 8 - I wondered. At that time the cabins were old and literally covered with the names of campers from floor to wall to ceiling! But as that first week progressed I saw the beauty and holiness of this place. And this is what happened that week: I saw lives changed. I watched kids at the most trying, vulnerable age change from sel absorbed to a real caring community. It was a community that was bathed in prayer but in a way that was not obvious...but literally from morning to night. That may have been part of it. The counselors came and gave of themselves. It was a beautiful setting away from "the world.". I don't know how the change happened within us, but it did.

I have been back to camp every summer for the rest of my life for at least one week and frequently two. I counseled at chi Rho camp for about 15 years, the high school camp for 1 year and advance conference for at least 12 years. And for the past 4 years I have co led GrandparentsCamp. I have been at camp with all of my daughters and 4 grandchildren, and 3 nieces and nephews. I guess you could say that it has been important to my life.

So I Right now lie on my bunk writing this on my I Pad. Audrey is sleeping beside me. We are almost finished this week on faculty at advance. We have each done a keynote address which took hours of preparation, we led a small group together which met twice a day.
Camp has greatly changed over these years...a beautiful lodge, an air conditioned dining hall, and modern cabins.

But it remains a place where people come and are accepted. We give time and space for deep spiritual reflection, we have more fun and laughter than I can describe and lives are changed.

I am tired this morning, but so blessed to have experienced one more week here at this holy place.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Full and Rich

That is what i often say about my life and it is so true.

I am home from Advance Conference right now for a quick 6 hours - in which i have visited with Josh and Zak, the sons of Shirley Kendall. Shirley passed away on Sunday afternoon and her funeral is going to be on Thursday morning and after I finish this blog I will start to write it. Shirley was a saint of the church and it is because of people like Shirley that pastors know they are just blessed.

It was two years ago - during Advance Conference - that I also had to make a quick trip home from camp. Shirley had some complications and had to have her leg amputated. I got there just before surgery and it seemed to all of us a time of grace. I prayed with her and she went through the surgery without any problems. And then she lived for two more years in gratitude. That was Shirley - always grateful. During those two years her son Josh took care of Shirley. In the past, she had women helpers but her physical needs really required someone stronger and Josh was blessedly able to be that someone. Also, Josh became a father for the second time and had a beautiful baby girl. To visit Shirley this year was pure pleasure as she just loved that baby and her sons and was always happy to see me (or anyone.) I cannot say enough about what a wonderful woman she was - but I also am blessed that Thursday I have much to say. :)

My time at Advance Conference is always good and this year is no exception. Audrey and Jim Bane are doing a keynote together on what the Bible says about sex - that will be tomorrow. Too bad I can't film it - but I am grateful that I get to go to it. I may write about it - all I know is that it is fun to watch their preparation together.

Also, my keynote is now on Friday and it looks like it is going to be really interesting. I thought I was doing a talk on "Dysfunctional Families in the Bible" but what it is turning into is going to be about how we can use the Bible to help us to find healing from our dysfunctional families. I am about two thirds done - and look forward to what more I am learning and finding in this process.

When I stopped at home I found that i had my new blog in the mail. That is I put together a second book of writings from "Margot Ruminates" that covers me from 2009 in April (my birthday month) to 2011 of this year. It is awesome to have a tangible record of what I have done, thought and written during these two year.

And yes, it is a full and rich life. I feel blessed to be able to pastor, to preach, to learn, to mother, grandmother, and befriend.

And write about it

Monday, August 8, 2011


I am still recovering from the weekend and the wonderful wedding of Marnie And Erik.
It was unadulterated joy for me.

This is what I liked about it

1. Audrey and Caroline came to be part of the day. Audrey drove up from a mission trip in Tennessee and Caroline flew in from Raleigh. It was good to be together.

2. It was a simple wedding. Marnie bought a dress off the rack and had two people standing with her - Addie and Reagan who were the ring bearer and flower girl. Erik's Dad, Howard stood with him.

3. We had only family and very close friends so it did not seem like a "ceremony" as much as a family occasion with those who knew and loved Marnie and Erik

4. Marnie, Erik, Addie and Reagan participated in a "sand ceremony" where each one put different colored sand in a heart shaped jar to signify the creation of a new family of 4 different personalities. It was a meaningful process and a beautiful symbol.

5. Audrey and Dawn played "Groovy kind of love" during the sand ceremony on flute and guitar respectively and it was perfect!

6. Our family joining together is always a wonderful example of God's love and grace as it includes wives and ex wives, step sisters and half brothers. etc. etc.
And we all are not only civil but gracious.

7. The Wedding dinner at the "Spaghetti Warehouse" was delicious and simple. And fun. I was happy to get to spend time with my old sister in law Patti and her daughter Jenna.

8. The wedding cake was great - strawberry cake from a baker in Bethel. Different and delicious

9. The party continued after the dinner for many but Chuck and I got to go home with the grandkids - my preference.

10. Saturday we "hung out at the pool" and just were able to kick back and enjoy the new family that we are as the Shultz and Connors combine. I really enjoy being with Erik's mom and dad and aunt and uncle and his 92 year old grandpa.

What a joy.

We live in a world where there is a lot to be concerned about - like debt ceilings, wars, recessions. There are several people at KRCC who are going through some real health issues. And I guess it is all the more reason for us to make sure that we celebrate the big moments.

And when two people - who have been married before - are ready to try again. To love and cherish and make a life time commitment - to each other and to a new is good to celebrate!