Friday, May 28, 2010

Vacation Bible School

Recently I drove past a church with their big banner outside, announcing the start of VBS. I spent some time thinking about this... Vacation... Bible... School. School, Vacation... What makes this attractive to kids? I mean, they just got out of school for the summer, why would they want to go back for vacation school? Why do they want to learn about the Bible? What kids actually go to VBS anyway? What do we want them to get out of VBS? How can VBS be changed from something that (to me) seems a little bit out-dated? I've been working it out in my head this week, trying to figure out the answers to all of these questions. I'm going to write it out a bit because, well.. I can.. and you can choose to read or not to read, it doesn't hurt me in any way.. this is mostly for me to spell out my thoughts.

Why do we have VBS? Who is it for?
VBS has many functions and is designed for all kids. (in theory). The main functions appear to be: to teach kids about the Bible, to inroduce kids to the church, to entertain church kids, to get kids off of the streets, to give parents free babysitting for a week, tradition, I'm sure there are other purposes to VBS, but this is what comes to mind most quickly. Who is actually reached during Bible School? Some churches go into the community and host neighborhood VBS programs. In these programs, I believe, kids outside of the church are best reached. Most churches seem to attract churched kids, from their own church, or grandchildren of parishoners, or churched neighbors. There may be a few unchurched kids, but the majority seem to be kids that already go to church.

Why is this attractive to the kids?
Crafts, games, music, snacks, special adult attention, time away from home, friends, and their parents or grandparents make them. A few kids are attracted by the opportunity to learn about the Bible, I fear those kids may generally be disappointed by fluffy themes like "God is love" or "Moses is a hero".

I think VBS needs more than a makeover - it needs to (for the most part) disappear so that something else can spring up in its place. Something that will either attract more unchurched kids or really teach the Bible to church kids - not just fluffy themes.

So- What springs up?
Well, funny you should ask. That's been my dilemna for several years now. Last night I saw it though, or at least, I thought I did. We were driving past a church and their VBS banner also had the words "Kids Camp" on it... I think Kids Camp is the answer, but not in the format of VBS and not with the name VBS... Kid's Camp works for me though.

What happens at Kid's Camp?
Fun happens or learning happens or both. Churches offer camps for the community. What happens depends on who's available and what their talents are. Have a basketball player or coaches that will volunteer some time? Got a gym? Have some talented crafters? Make it a camp, invite the neighborhood kids to come in for an hour or two a week during the summer. It doesn't have to have cheesey music (I like cheesey music though), it doesn't have to have games, crafts, snacks, and a special program at the end. Kid's Camp gives kids a chance to get into the church and participate in activities they enjoy. Science, Math, Crafts, Sports, Cooking, Bible. It could be one camp that combines a variety of intrests, half an hour of sports, half an hour of crafts, a nutritious snack and time to form relationships with adults and other kids. No pressure about learning this or that about the Bible.. those things can come later.

What about Bible learning?
Okay, so it IS important to learn the gospel story and other important themes from the Bible. "Jesus is my friend", while important, is not a key theme in the Bible, in fact - he wasn't everyone's friend, a lot of people didn't like him (even hated hiim).. and being his friend didn't make like happy or easy. So where do we do Bible learning? Why not have a Bible Camp for kids that are interested? Not VBS.. actually spend time learning Bible stories, just stories, not "God is bigger than the boogie man" themes that are good, but only go so far. Let the Bible speak for itself. Some kids like Bible quizbowl things, use them as a learning tool, why not? But make it something special for the kids that actually want to learn about the Bible. Teach them where the Bible came from, what people wore and ate in Bible times, help them really experience the Bible. Don;t stop there though, give them opportunities to live out the Kingdom. Help them experience real Kingdom life - volunteer at a nursing home, visit people in the hospital, make dinner for the local Habitat for Hmanity project. THIS requires whole church involvement, the church has to be living out the kingdom.

So what do I do with all of this?
First off - my kids will go to VBS - if they want to. Secondly, I'm in the middle of moving and am not involved enough in any church to try and make change happen as far as VBS goes. Maybe next year. But that doesn't mean I'm doing nothing. I plan to organize at least 1 week's worth of activities to sponsor "camp" in my neighborhood. It won't be anything fancy and I won't have a sign out stating that it's from a certain church. Just casual activities that neighborhood kids can join in and participate with while we form relationships.

Jesus was kind of like that, huh? He didn't push the law, but promoted kingdom learning through relationship. Pretty cool, isn't it?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Old men

When I was on my way out of Walmart tonight, I passed two older gentlemen sitting on a bench. Someone passed gas. I chuckled to myself, wondering if they secretly blamed each other.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Okay.. so, it's hot.. and we don't have AC!

Ryan came out of his room at 9:15 and said, "Can we turn down the heat so I can sleep better?"

I wish...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Family Circus

Big events are important to me. Baby dedication is a big event in our family/lives (you can talk to me about why my babies haven't been dedicated some other time). Yesterday was Jeremiah's dedication at the church in Anderson, so we went to Anderson.

Because this is an important event, I wanted to make sure that all of our boys were in on it. I want them to learn what is important and take part in those things. I really prefer to have them sit through church anyhow. Unfortunatly, Manasseh's at an age (and of a nature) that it's difficult to sit still.. or even stand still.. for very long.

So: We got into the sanctuary, Manasseh was tired. He did not want to sit, or stand, or sing... He did want to be near Hannah, that worked out well until Hannah went back up to sit by her parents. He screamed and wriggled through the first song. He then got down and sat in the row in front of us, next to Hannah.. for a moment.
Isaac was in the center aisle, so Manasseh joined him, I feared he was going to take off down the aisle. He didn't, he made his way back to su... then he decided to go visit Poppy on the platform... I caught him, then Hannah and Isaac joined us in the front row... and Manasseh went back toward the platform, then down the aisle, I was so glad that my dad had his eyes closed and was praying when they all took off for the fron row.. and then Manasseh was walking along the kneeling rail in the front of the sanctuary...

So glad when Kevin pulled out goldfish and divvied them up for the kids.

Finally, we were ready to start the dedication.. I thought.. but no, a song and slide show first. Manasseh took off down the aisle.. he was done with this. Cash started screaming becasue he was hungry. Then, in the midst of chasing Manasseh and feeding Cassius, it was time to go to the front for the official dedication... Wow. Seriously, I stood in front of the church, breastfeeding the baby and thanking God that my mom was able to corral Hannah and Manasseh.

Yikes. I felt like I was in a circus.

On a positive note.. it was an excellent sermon that had some effect and has resulted in some changes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tooth decay

oh my.. right now.. ongoing conversation...

Did you brush your teeth?
What did you do when you went into the bathroom to brush your teeth?
Combed my hair.
So you chose not to brush your teeth tonight?
I hope your teeth don't rot out.
You can die from tooth decay.
Sure you can, but if you die from tooth decay tonight, it was your choice.
So, you're saying I can't brush my teeth?
You chose not to brush them.

Friday, May 21, 2010

and it's only 9:30!

Oh my, Manasseh is so full of it today! (and he's only been up for 3 hours)... here are some highlights from our morning:

* Kix, while they look like a bowl full of little balls, do not belong on the floor.. however, toddlers apparently have different views on the subject.

* Playing Ring around the Rosey on mommy and daddy's bed is fun, especially if you can get the baby in on the game - just a hoot! (okay, so the baby needs help in order to be involved.. and Manasseh doesn't really talk... so mommy had to do the singing.. but it was fun)

* Milk comes out of a sippy cup much more quickly when you pull the nipple off of the cup, oh yes! But we didn't cry over it, just poured it on the kitchen floor.

* Mommies are for climbing. We're working on this because I fear we'll visit an elderly relative and he will also think they are for climbing.. not quite as okay as mommies.

* Windows are for climbing. Manasseh's bedroom window is a good 4 feet off of the wall, yet he was LAYING in it, both arms and feet on the small ledge... I'm moving his bed back into the center of the bedroom today.

* One should never have to say "we don't do sommersaults off of the baby". Yet, I've said this for the last 2 days, repeatedly!

* One should also never have to say "we do not do sommersaults off of chairs".. that was a few days ago though.

* Manasseh is learnin to be "sneaky". He's about as good at it as Ryan is. This morning he got the bucket of cat water out of the pantry and "snuck" it into the living room. He put it down on the other side of the exersaucer, where I couldn't see it.. and stared and grinned at me as he put his hands into it.

* Potty training is a joy (I honestly like it)... Manasseh is learnin the signs for "poop" and "potty"... he will show me the sign while he's doing them, but not before. Also, he knows he's supposed to go into the pot.. he demonstrated this when he sat at the edge of the cat's water bowl (still in the living room).. and wet himself.

And it's only 9:30.. I don't think I'll get much cleaning done today.

Jack in the Box

It's been a long time since I had a jack in the box. I was just thinking this morning about a time I saw a jack in the box in my front yard.

Ryan was waiting on the school bus one morning (he had gotten in trouble and so he had to be watched while he waided for the bus). He stood on the sidewalk in front of our house and watched the cars go by. Every time he saw a car approaching, he crouched down. Then, just as the car was about to go past, he popped up, raised his arms, shook his head back and forth and acted like he was screaming.

Funny stuff.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I just have to say - nothin' says lovin' like the center pickle.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

well crap...

Still we're working on potty training, I know, I know.. it takes a while. Manasseh has just demonstrated to me that he can now remove his pants and his underpants. That's GREAT. We've been working on that skill.
I just wish he wouldn't have done it in his bedroom right after he had pooped in the underpants... and then fallen backward onto the floor. Yuck.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Be aware - this is one of my most ridiculous blogs yet.. mostly because I'm the culprit in this...

My dad's favorite comic to talk about is a strip of Calvin and Hobbes where they're sledding down a hill and talking about choices.. if you go this way, this will happen, if you go that way, another thing will happen.. I get it, great illustration. And yet.. sometimes we all make the wrong turn.

So we are working on potty training with Manasseh. For the most part he's doing well, as long as we remember to put him on the potty. He hasn't gone for the last couple days though for some reason.

This morning I was changing Cash's diaper in the middle of the living room and Manasseh stopped in his tracks and stood still (a good sign he needs to go). I asked if he needed to potty, he said yes. I left Cassius.. yes, left Cassius in the middle of the living room naked and took Manasseh to the potty. The whole time I was dreading the potential wet floor.

Manasseh sat on the pottty and I looked in the mirror. Noticing my greasy hair, I thought that I should take a quick shower. Okay, so I am dumb now.. I hopped into the shower and was afraid the whole time that Manasseh would pee all over the place and so would Cash...

I got out of the shower and heard splashing. Manasseh peed on the bathroom floor and was stomping in it. Cash hadn't peed on the floor. Thank you Jesus!

Toddler Party!

Yesterday was toddler party day. We had a blast! Manasseh had 3 friends over and played and played and played. I think the funniest moment might have been when I caught Lexi taking one of Manasseh's Kix, and then Manasseh trying to fish it out of her mouth with his finger!
Looking forward to starting a daycare at the new house.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Manasseh's at that age where he's learning to share. The other night when I was putting him to bed her offered to let me eat his booger. I politely turned it down, so he stuck it to my forehead.. then was trying to put boogers in my nose. How sweet.

Today Manasseh had pudding during therapy. He got to suck it through a straw. That was quite a treat and he loved every bit of it. I just went in to make a snack for him, came back to the living room and found chocolate on Cassius' face. Manasseh was trying to share the little bit of chocolate that was left in the straw. Sharing chocolate... THAT is love!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


"ryan, empty your pockets"
"I'll make sure I'm not taking anything to school"
(pulls out 2 strings of yarn)
"Empty out the rest"
(one more string of yarn)

As if I had no clue why he thought he should wear a jacket today when he hasn't worn one for a week!