Laura Marie’s Camera Smile

There comes a point in every child’s life where they learn to “smile” for the camera.  I just never expected it to happen at 15 months!  As you can see, Laura Marie has developed her own special camera smile.

Published in: on September 28, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Laura Marie’s Baseball Card Collection

Laura Marie may be only 9 months old, but she’s already building her baseball card and autograph collection.

Her first baseball card was a 1991 Donruss card of former All-Star Bobby Bonilla.  I gave it to her to help her start her collection.  She promptly proceeded to bend it and chew it, as you can see below.  I sent Mr. Bonilla the card along with a note explaining its condition, and he sent it back signed for her.

With her card collection underway, I wrote to Carl Erskine, a former All-Star pitcher with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  I told him about Laura Marie, and he sent this card which he personalized for her:

Then there is Virgil Trucks, another former All-Star pitcher who is 92 years older than Laura Marie.  I sent him a picture of his youngest fan.  He sent her a baseball card and a postcard, both of them signed to her.  Mr. Trucks also wrote a note about how beautiful she is.  He suggested I might need a good bat to keep the boys away when they come calling on “this future Miss America.”

She’s off to a good start!

Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 1:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Separated At Birth: Inanimate Object Edition

When the local snow plows were scraping Route 50 here in West Ocean City, as usual they smashed up our church mailbox.  I hope this is not becoming an annual tradition.

Anyway, when I looked at the warped, twisted mailbox, there was something strangely familiar about it.  Finally I realized what it was.  Compare below:

Published in: on March 5, 2010 at 5:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Celebrate & Serve: A Call to Commitment

We wrapped up the series Celebrate & Serve on Sunday at CrossWay.  We reviewed our mission, vision, values, goals and strategy.  Then we brought it to a personal level and explained how each individual can personally be involved in helping the church achieve our goals for this year and work toward fulfilling the vision.

A quick summary of the Personal Next Steps:

(1) Community: Our goal is to have 75% of our regular attenders become participants in a community group.  Personal Next Step: Try out a community group!  And if you’re already in one, then get in the habit of inviting others to come check it out.

(2) Reverence: Our goal is to reach an average of 75 people in worship on Sunday mornings.  Personal Next Step: Set a personal goal for attending and participating in worship.  Rather than deciding each Saturday night whether or not you’ll go to church the next day, just make it a habit to go.

(3) Outreach: Our goal for this year is to invite 2,000 people to hear the gospel at CrossWay (see previous posts for more details).  This is not the only thing we’re doing for outreach–and in fact it could be argued that this is more inreach than outreach, as it’s definitely more attractional* than missional**–but it’s a start.  As a church we’ve not yet gotten in the habit of inviting people to worship with us, so developing that mindset is our first step.  Personal Next Step: Make a list of 5 people you can invite to church.  And then invite them!

(4) Service: Our goal for this year is to have 50% of our regular attenders using their God-given gifts to meet the needs of others.  Personal Next Step: Get a job.  In the marketplace, unemployment is usually involuntary.  In the church, it’s all voluntary.  To illustrate how easy it is to get involved and serve, we brought into the sanctuary a display of artwork made by three-year-olds at the Training Station Preschool.  Each child shared a creative way that they help out at home.  If three-year-olds can do it, certainly adults can!

(5) Spiritual Growth: Our goal for 2010 is to have 50% of our regular attenders reading the Bible and praying at least 5 days a week.  Personal Next Step: Read the Bible and pray on your own each day.  We gave everyone the tools they need to get started: We give away free Bibles, there’s a suggested daily reading guide in the worship bulletins, and we’ve already encouraged everyone to make a list of 5 people they can invite to church, so they’ve already got a prayer list.  The important thing here is not to aim for some kind of long, deep devotional time, but simply to develop a daily habit.

That’s five Next Steps for one sermon!  So we asked everyone to pick one of them to begin right away, and set the other four as goals for the year.

We read 1 Peter 2:4-6, which describes individual Christians as “living stones” that God uses to build His church.  So at the end of the worship service, we invited people to make a commitment to help build the church by committing to these goals.  We had five baskets up front, each one labeled with one of our core values.  Everyone who wanted to make a commitment to the vision of CrossWay came up and took a stone from each basket and laid it at the foot of a cross at the front of the sanctuary, while the band played “For Such A Time As This.”  It was pretty moving!

On Monday when I was in the sanctuary and saw all the stones at the foot of the cross, I was surprised by an emotional wave that came over me.  It hit me how each one of those rocks represented a heartfelt commitment that someone made to Christ and to CrossWay, and that is simply awesome.

* attractional: Strategic efforts to draw people from the community to our church.  The focus is on getting them to come to us.

** missional: Strategic efforts to go out into the community and reach people where they already are.  The focus is on us going to to them.

Both attractional and missional outreach ministries are important to a church on mission to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 5:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Laura Marie’s Cute Little Face

Oops, I never posted this picture from last week’s sonogram.  Here’s Laura Marie at 36 weeks:

Published in: on May 19, 2009 at 12:32 pm  Comments (5)  

Packed and Ready

Carolyn is at week 37, which means that Laura Marie is now technically considered full term.  So the family bags for the trip to the hospital are now packed and waiting on the living couch for the big moment.

From left to right: Daddy’s bag, Baby’s bag, Mommy’s bag:

In case you’re wondering why the baby has her own bag, it’s because her mom has several different outfits picked out for her to wear home.  She wants to wait until the baby is born so she can pick an outfit that best matches her personality.  And each outfit is accessorized–matching hat, bib, socks, etc.

Published in: on May 19, 2009 at 12:29 pm  Comments (4)  

i am second

This Sunday at CrossWay Church we’re starting a new sermon series called “i am second.”  I’m pretty excited about it!  It’s something that several pastors in the community have been working on for a few months.

The idea came from a website by the same name.  You should check it out at iamsecond.com!  It has a lot of short testimonial videos by a bunch of different people.  Some of them you’ll recognize; others you’ve probably never heard of.  The series starts on Easter with a video from Brian Welch, formerly of the band Korn.  The second week’s video is by Chris Plekenpol, with videos the next two weeks from Shannon Culpepper and Josh Hamilton (slugger with the Texas Rangers).

The idea behind the series is that for Jesus Christ to be first, I have to put myself second.  We’ll look at how that works out in real, daily life beginning this Sunday.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” – John 3:30

i-am-second-front
i-am-second-back

Published in: on April 8, 2009 at 5:23 am  Leave a Comment  

The Other National Pastime

When my younger brother Dylan and I were kids, we used to amuse ourselves by taking baseball cards and doctoring them up a little bit.  Recently I came across a few samples:

Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm  Comments (2)  

Two-Dollar Catheterizations at McDonald’s

One of my brothers refers to McDonald’s as “McLaxatives” because of the unintended medicinal value of their food products.  Now they have apparently decided to expand their healthcare services.  At the McDonald’s near my house, they’re offering help–and comparatively inexpensive help–for those who are having difficulties ridding their bodies of liquid waste products.  Here’s the proof:

I’ve heard of fast food, but that’s a little too fast.  I think I’ll stick to the natural processes.

Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 10:12 am  Comments (2)  

Little Laura Marie’s Foot

For my latest painting I decided to paint my favorite picture from Laura Marie’s first sonogram.  Here’s her precious little foot after 19 weeks in the womb:

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm  Comments (2)