My Vast Wealth of Knowledge

Yesterday on the playground I found a dead, dried out bug in a spider’s web on the playground at the preschool.  There was a four-year-old girl standing there, so I asked her if she knew what happens to a bug that gets caught in a spider web.  She shook her head, so I told her that the spider eats the bug’s guts.

Her eyes got wide and she looked at me, impressed, and said, “How do grownups know so much?”

Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 11:38 am  Comments (2)  

And On the Fifth Day, God Made the Itsy Bitsy Spider

Kids are great.  Yesterday morning at the Training Station, Ms. Grace led the first Bible Story time for the new school year.  A couple highlights:

Ms. Grace: Today I’m going to tell you the story about how God made the world.
Three-year-old boy: ‘Cause He’s magic!

Ms. Grace (near end of Bible Story time): Okay kids, we’re going to do one more song…
Four-year-old boy (doing motions with his hands): “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”?

The kids had fun, but I think the highlight for them was when the trash truck came by and they watched through the window as it emptied our dumpster.  They were pretty excited about that.

Published in: on September 17, 2009 at 5:28 am  Comments (2)  

Stuff That’s Up

I’m sitting in my office at church, and right outside in the sanctuary there are some little ballerinas practicing for their performance on Friday.  One of them just asked her teacher: “Miss Jeanne, do you want me to give you the answer to what’s new with me today?”  That’s my question for you, my loyal readers: Do you want me to give you the answer to what’s new with me today?  Okay, here we go:

  • Last Thursday was Graduation Day at the Training Station.  It’s always memorable, but this year’s highlight for me was when one of the teachers asked the students what they want to be when they grow up.  One little boy said: “An insect!”
  • Friday was Sports Day (what us old-timers remember as Field Day) at Carolyn’s school.  She’d been off for three weeks at that point.  We went out to visit her students.  The kids were totally stoked to see her again!  One little guy went up to Carolyn and after carefully examining her belly, proclaimed: “Mrs. Hyde, your baby is getting heavy!”  Then he walked over to me, took a look at my stomach, and said sort of whimsically, “Well, Mr. Hyde’s a little bit fat.”  Thanks kid.
  • Carolyn’s sister, Kristen, is an advocate with Compassion International.  In Sunday’s worship service at CrossWay, Kristen and her husband Michael joined us to share about the ministry of Compassion.  She did an excellent presentation, fielded some questions, and then they worked a table with sponsor packets.  Our church and Carolyn’s family have been involved with this organization for over 10 years, and the things this group accomplishes and how they achieve them is amazing.  Compassion is an awesome ministry, and I’d strongly encourage you to check it out at
  • My brother Dylan graduated from college (UMBC) last Thursday.  Go Dylan!

And in case you’re wondering, what’s new today with the little dancer mentioned above is that she got a new headband.

Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 12:52 pm  Comments (2)  

What Happens When Four-Year-Olds Go to Assateague Island

This morning the Pre-K class from the Training Station went on a field trip to Assateague.  When they got back I was talking with some of the kids about what they saw there.  (One little boy’s shirt was soaking wet.  When I asked him why his shirt was so wet, he grinned and said proudly, “I touched a fish!”  I decided not to pursue that one.)  When I asked if they saw any ponies, one of the girls said, “No, but we saw that kind of horse that swims in the water.  What’s it called?”

Since they have wild ponies at Assateague that like to swim in the ocean waves, I asked her, “A wild horse?”

She said, “No.”

“A swimming horse?”


“A shark horse?”


“A whale horse?”


“A turtle horse?”


“A fish horse?”


“A dolphin horse?”

“No!” she said.  “None of those kinds of horse is real.  It was one of those little baby kinds.”

“An ocean horse?”

Apparently that jogged her memory.  “No!” she exclaimed.  “A seahorse!!!”

Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Surprise! Sike

Carolyn’s last day of work is a week from this Friday.  Yesterday one of her students asked her, “Mrs. Hyde, when is your party?”

“What party?  I’m not having a party,” she answered.

To which another kid interjected, “Uh-huh, your surprise party.”

Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 10:21 am  Comments (2)  

Bugs Have the Most Fun

Carolyn was reading a science book about animals to her kindergarten class yesterday.  She showed them a picture that looked something like this:

When she asked if anyone knew what this was, one little guy raised his hand and said: “It’s a playing mantis!”

Published in: on March 26, 2009 at 1:33 pm  Comments (5)  

Kindergarten Kid Stuff

Carolyn showed the 3-D ultrasound pictures to her children.  It freaked them out!  Some of them said the pictures scared them and covered their eyes.  Others said the baby looks like a stone.  It is seriously tempting to wait until the baby is born, put her in makeup so that she looks like she does in the ultrasound pictures, and take her to Carolyn’s school to visit her students.  That would really mess with them; but like Carolyn always tells me when I make these suggestions, it’s not her job to mess with them.

In other Carolyn’s-kids news, one of her little boys was telling her about a dream he had that ended abruptly.  When Carolyn asked him what happened next, he said he woke up before the dream ended.  “But,” he assured her, “when I go to sleep tonight I’ll finish the dream to see what happens next.”

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 5:51 am  Leave a Comment  

What’s A Sermon?

Just now I went to the kitchen here at work to get the goods to make some coffee.  As I passed one of the classroom doors, a boy came over and asked what I was doing.  “Writing a sermon,” I said.

He asked, “What’s a sermon?”

If you ever want to force yourself to bring clarity into your life, get a preschooler to follow you around for a day and ask questions.

When he asked this question, I realized I had about two seconds to clearly and succinctly explain my life’s calling.  Preaching is the central task not only of my job, but my vocation (the distinction between the two will have to wait for another post).  Suddenly I was faced with explaining in simple terms what exactly it is that I do.

So I told him, “A sermon is where you study the Bible and then share with people what you learn.”

I’m grateful for that encounter and that penetrating question because it forced me to return to my task with renewed purpose, intentionality, and clarity.  A sermon is where you study the Bible and then share with people what you learn.  That means a sermon is not:

  • a chance to tell that story I’ve been itching to tell (which, of course, could somehow be squeezed into the sermon disguised as an “illustration”).
  • a platform for airing my opinions, frustrations, and personal biases.
  • an opportunity to relive my childhood dreams of being a performer.
  • an avenue for telling my favorite jokes.
  • a channel for voicing the latest trends in church ministry.
  • a way for me to tell people what I think… supported, of course, with Scripture.  (If anything is supported with Scripture rather than based on Scripture, that should be a red flag.)
  • the time to try to impress people and get them to like me.
  • for the purpose of showing everyone how spiritual or knowledgeable I am.

Now obviously it’s okay–and often even helpful–to tell stories, crack jokes, share personal illustrations, implement effective speaking practices, and so on.  But all of these things are secondary to the biblical text.  The point of a sermon is to share what God says, not what I say; it’s about God’s Word, not mine.  If I begin with my ideas and simply wrap it in Scripture like a Bible fajita, where the meat is my ideas instead of God’s, I’m not preaching a sermon.  An authentic sermon begins with God’s thoughts and expresses them through the preacher.  It will look different with every preacher, just as the sunlight looks different shining through different stained glass windows.

By the way, after giving my definition of a sermon, the boy merely said, “Oh,” and ran off to play.  Sometimes that’s the same response I get after preaching a sermon, but again, that’s for another post….

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Training Station Art Show 2009

Last night at the Training Station we had the annual art show.  Every kid in the preschool has a piece of artwork that is set up in the sanctuary.  It’s all exhibited like a real museum, complete with titles, jazz music in the background, finger food, and punch.  So opening night was last night, and for a couple hours we had a bunch of the families here while the artists proudly showed off their work.

The place was filled with masterpieces!  All the artists were between the ages of 2 and 4 (maybe a couple 5-year-olds, I’m not sure).  Here are some of my favorites (in quotes are the titles as dictated by the artists):

“Spiders Tickling Each Other”:

“A Mom Playing Outside”:

“Me Sitting On My Horse Thinking of Stuff”:

“My Teddy Bear and an ‘R'”:

“A Monster That Jumped Out of the Theater and is Eating Two People” (look closely and you’ll see that that’s really what this is!):

And my nomination for best title ever, from one of my favorite two-year-olds, is called “I Don’t Know What It Is.  It Looks Like a Bunch of Paint”:

Ahh, I can’t wait ’til next year’s show!

Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 2:03 pm  Comments (3)  

Kickin’ It

Carolyn & Laura Marie had another doctor appointment yesterday.  The doctor got the thingamabob that detects the heartbeat and put it on Carolyn’s tummy.  As soon as she did, Laura Marie kicked it!  It was pretty funny (though Carolyn didn’t tell me about it until later–I couldn’t see it).

From now until week 35 (she’s now at week 26), Carolyn has to go to the doctor twice a month instead of once.  After that it’s every week.  We’re getting closer!

Yesterday we also scheduled a 3-D ultrasound.  It will be on Monday, March 16.  I can’t wait to see the baby again!

Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 2:58 pm  Leave a Comment