Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Question...share with us your response

With the 4th of July, our Independence Day, approaching this Saturday, what special meaning or significance does it have for you?

To answer just click on comment below. Thank you for participating.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lessons I learned from Bob....part II

My family and I lived at the end of a long driveway that we shared with one neighbor who lived beside us. Bob lived at the bottom of this driveway close to the road. I can still see him walking up and down the edge of his yard beside our driveway picking up rocks from his yard and throwing them back in the road. He hated rocks in his yard which was caused mainly by people driving too fast. My family always respected him by driving slowly up our lane and asked others to do the same.

As I grew up Bob never stopped taking great care of his yard. He always mowed his lawn, weeded around his house, and mulched his trees and flowers. His property was always clear of clutter and trash. His house, front and back, was always neat and clean. This was important to him. However, after he died his house and property were sold. The family that came after him did not share his same passion for the yard and house.

Now many years later I have seen all the hard work and effort that Bob daily put into his yard amount to absolutely nothing. Those beautiful tall trees he planted in the back of his property were cut down. The immaculate yard is now used as a parking lot, a dog pen, and a trash heap. His clean, white house was painted brown. The garage is a place for anything but a vehicle.

King Solomon saw the same things happening around him when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon writes, "I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless" (Ecc. 2:19)

So the lesson I learned from Bob has been not to pour my life into the temporary, meaningless things of this world that are here today and gone tomorrow but to "store up for myself treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:20). I remember this the most when I am sweeping my kitchen for the 4th time in a day, wiping fingerprints off my french door windows, or anytime I see something that needs to be cleaned. Instead I jump on the trampoline with my children. I put down what I'm doing to call a friend. I open my Bible and ask God to keep reminding me what my priorities should be so meaningless things will not occupy my time.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Tina's Potato Salad

If you need a yummy potato salad to take to your 4th of July picnic, Tina's is the best I have ever ate! Thanks for sharing it with us Tina!

Tina's Potato Salad by Tina Burton

5-6 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed, & cooked
1 cup mayonnaise (I use Kraft)
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper or to taste
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 eggs hard boiled, sliced
1 tsp. dill or thyme

Combine mayo, vinegar, salt, sugar, and pepper. Add remaining ingredients, toss gently to combine well. Cover & chill!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

And they lived happily ever after....

"And they lived happily ever after".

Wait a minute. That is supposed to be the end of the story, not the beginning. Well, my friend, I think that has been our problem in marriage all along. To have a great marriage, we must begin with the hoped-for end in mind. Every word we speak, every decision we make, and every action we take will either move us closer to or take us further away from that end.

From the time a little girl first hears fairy tales of the damsel in distress being rescued by the handsome prince, captivated by his pledge of never-ending love, and whisked away on a white steed into the sunset, a dream begins to take shape on the stage of her mind. She hopes and prays that one day her prince will come. And then...one day he does! Oh, he may not look like the prince in the storybooks, or even like the one from her childhood imaginings, but he is her prince nonetheless. Will the words "and they lived happily every after" appear before the final curtain falls? My dear sister, this is not just something we hope for. It is something we work toward. It is the goal, and you, fair lady, have been invited to play the starring role.

An excerpt from Becoming the Woman of His Dreams by Sharon Jaynes, Chapter 1
Join us this fall as we dive into this book and our marriages

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What's Up, Wednesday!

Congratulations to Robin Coburn on the arrival of her baby girl, Havyn Brooke, on June 23, 2009 at 11:18 AM weighing 8lbs 1oz. and 20 inches long.
Robin and Havyn are doing great!

The activities for June are as follows:

Thursday, June 27 Cunningham Falls in Thurmont, MD-You can check out the details for this event by checking the blog entry on last Friday. If you would like to go contact Janine DiGiovanni. This event will be scheduled again this summer.

Friday, June 26 South Mountain Creamery- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God at 9:30 am to caravan together to Middletown, MD to the creamery. If you are planning to drive directly to the creamery yourself, meet us there at 10:30 am.
For one hour tour, and an ice cream cone-$5 per person (2 & under free). Bring a packed lunch and drinks for your family.You and your children will learn how milk gets from our cows to our homes. The tour will include a walk through the milking parlor, feed operations, loafing barns, and calf barn.

The activities for July are as follows:

Monday, July 13 - Wednesday, July 15 Kidz Blitz-Coming to Bethel Assembly of God an event for the whole family, nightly at 7:00- 8:30 pm. It promises to be up lifting, high octane, and faith based.

Tuesday, July 14 Movie & Lunch- Join us at Hoyt's Regal Cinemas in Martinsburg, WV at 9:30 am to watch a movie together. Movie is free (Everyone's Hero G; Kung Fu Panda PG)/snacks available at regular prices.
Then join us for lunch at Chick-fil-A in Martinsburg at 11:30 am. With the purchase of an adult meal, $.99 kid's meal.

Saturday, July 18 Tender Touch Ministry's Survival Night-Join us at Bethel Assembly of God in the gym at 5 pm. Ladies will learn basic car maintenance, how to be firm, fit and feminine, household tips and more. There will be giveaways, food & a lot of fun. Childcare will be provided. Sign up in the foyer at Bethel or call the church office at 304-267-8694.

Monday, July 20 Mom's Night Out- Join us at Amanda Dagostino's for games. Meet at her house at 6 pm and bring an appetizer to share.

Tuesday, July 28 Hagerstown City Park-Details TBA

If you have any questions regarding our activities please contact Lisa Fraley by phone or email. Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Getting to Know....Tina Burton

Every month our hospitality coordinator, Tina Burton, writes up a blog entry about one of our moms. She allows us an opportunity to get to know them better. Instead of Tina writing about someone else this month, I have the priviledge to write about her. So join me as we get to know...Tina Burton.

Tina has been apart of Mom's Connection not even a full year but has jumped right in. She even wanted to be apart of our leadership. She has done an amazing job as part of our hospitality team. She is always faithful in calling our absent moms, reaching out to them, and greeting moms at our meetings. She said her favorite thing about Mom's Connection is "the opportunity to make new friends and connect with women who have a heart for God."

Tina has been married to her husband, Sean, for four years. They met at Hagerstown Business College where Tina was majoring in Accounting. During a field trip to New York they both realized they should be together. Now they have a son named, Sean Edward, age 3, and have just built a new house. Tina's favorite thing to do with her son is watching him play with his bubble-mower. She said, "he gets great joy in helping daddy mow and I get great joy in the happiness on his face."

Some other little known facts about Tina is she loves chinese food, the spicier the better with General Tso's Chicken as her favorite dish. She doesn't have a favorite movie except anything with Robert DeNiro, her favorite actor. She loves to listen to any kind of music with the exception of opera, country, and heavy techno-type metal. Her favortite groups are Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Matchbox 20, Third Eye Blind, and Toby Mac.

Many of you already know she loves to make things with plastic canvas. She made every one small easter baskets for our Easter party, small crosses for our new members, and gifts for many others. She is very talented with this creative past time. Another favorite past time is reading. Her favorite books include anything concerning the 17th and 18th centuries and royalty. She loves a good plot or storyline.

Tina's biggest inspiration is her dad (pictured with her on the left)! He has a lot of qualities she has tried to model in her own life like being compassionate, loving, and unselfish. She describes her dad as a "beautiful person." He is her best friend and she loves him more and more with each passing year. Most importantly she has admired his relationship with our Lord and Savior. Tina said, "while everyone else was still asleep in the morning, he was up reading the Bible and seeking a closer relationship with his creator."

Finally her relationship with the Lord is one of the most important ones that she can develop. Tina says, "God to me is a reliable friend, loving father, and our compassionate creator. He knows my faults and shortcomings and forgives me for every one of them if only I ask. Where humans sometimes keep records in our heads of every wrong anybody has ever done to us- the Lord keeps no such record and keeps forgiving us every time."

Thank you Tina for giving us the opportunity to get to know you better and for being a valuable member of Mom's Connection.
Blessings, Lisa

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lessons I learned from Bob

Growing up one of my neighbors was an elderly man named Bob. He was a crotchety, bitter, old man. The entire time I knew him, from my childhood to adulthood, he never changed. He did not speak any great words of wisdom to me but his life over all the years I knew him taught me some important things. I will call these things lessons I learned from Bob. My first lesson I will share with you was how I learned to love my neighbors.

Bob always smelled of cigarettes because he hand rolled them himself and smoked them all the time. He never had anything nice to say about others. Bob hated all the other neighbors. He shook his fist at them whenever they drove up the driveway. He planted tall trees in the back of his property just to block the view of the neighbor's house. He would even throw rocks at any animal that entered his yard.

Regardless of his demeanor my family loved him. We welcomed this neighbor into our home and our family. My dad would stop by and visit him almost daily. We would also have Bob up for dinner at least once a month and we invited him to my grandmothers every weekend. Many times he joined us. And of course we invited him to church. My dad wasn't the only one who visited him. When I was a child he would play card games with me, give me butter & jelly sandwiches, and buy my homemade "mud pies".

Bob was not the easiest person to befriend. But he needed us. The Bible says, "God sets the lonely in families" (Psalms 68:6) and that's exactly what He did! Whenever I read about the second greatest commandment Jesus gave us which was "to love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39 ), I always think of Bob. It wasn't what he did but what my dad taught us to do that made the greatest impact on me. This is how we take God's Word and apply it!


Friday, June 19, 2009

Need a Freebie?

Pack a can of bug spray, lotion up the kids, grab the waterbottle (maybe some apple slices if your kids are anything like mine) and go for a nature walk! This past week we enjoyed taking a nature walk along the canal in Williamsport, MD (about 15 minutes north of the church). The kids had a great time collecting rocks, leaves, feathers, flowers, and anything else that caught their fancy. After the walk (and a lot of time spent throwing rocks into the river) we went home and made collages with the items they gathered!
God's earth is such a beautiful place and what better way to enjoy it than with people you love!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our Marriages Are Not Left To Chance!

If you wake up one morning with a stranger in your bed and it's your husband, if you experience a silent withdrawal from one another's lives that severs all emotional connection, if you sense a relentless draining away of love and hope, if your relationship is in so bottomless a pit of hurt and anger that every day sends you deeper into despair, if every word spoken drives a wedge further between you until it becomes an impenetrable barrier keeping you miles apart, be assured that none of the above is God's will for your marriage. God's will is to break down all these barriers and lift you out of that pit. He can heal the wounds and put love back in your heart. Nothing and no one else can.

But you have to rise up and say, "Lord, I pray for an end to this conflict and a breaking of the hold strife has on us. Take away the hurt and the armor we've put up to protect ourselves. Lift us out of the pit of unforgiveness. Speak through us so that our words reflect Your love, peace, and reconciliation. Tear down this wall between us and teach us how to walk through it. Enable us to rise up from this paralysis and move into the healing and wholeness You have for us."

Don't write off the marriage. Ask God to give you a new husband. He is able to take the one you have and make him a new creation in Christ. Husbands and wives are not destined to fight, emotionally disconnect, live in marital deadness, be miserable, or divorce. We have God's power on our side. We don't have to leave our marriages to chance. We can fight for them in prayer and not give up, because as long as we are praying, there is hope. With God, nothing is ever as dead as it seems. Not even your own feelings.

An excerpt from The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian, Chapter 1 The Power

Care Circles in the Fall

During the summer I will be using our Thoughts for Thursday's as an opportunity to share excerpts from the books we will be discussing in the fall as part of our care circles discussions. I hope by doing this, it will give everyone a sneak peak of the upcoming discussions, how we can grow, and an excitement for each one. Our two great topic discussions will be our marriages and our minds. If you have any questions about our topics or which group you will like to be apart of in the fall, contact Kim Ratcliffe, our Care Circle Coordinator.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Fun! Join Us!

The activities for June are as follows:

Thursday, June 27 Cunningham Falls in Thurmont, MD-You can check out the details for this event by checking the blog entry on last Friday. If you would like to go contact Janine DiGiovanni. This event will be scheduled again this summer.

Friday, June 26 South Mountain Creamery- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God at 9:30 am to caravan together to Middletown, MD to the creamery. For one hour tour, and an ice cream cone-$5 per person (2 & under free). Bring a packed lunch and drinks for your family.
You and your children will learn how milk gets from our cows to our homes. The tour will include a walk through the milking parlor, feed operations, loafing barns, and calf barn.
If you are planning to join us, please contact Lisa Fraley

If you have any questions regarding our activities please contact Lisa Fraley by phone or email. Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Testimony Tuesday by Julia Bivens

God is always my provider. He meets every need my family has, sometimes in amazing ways. One of my least favorite chores is to pay bills. That is because with one income and four kids it is always a headache to juggle what gets paid and how much will be left for groceries. One important thing is that Eric and I always put God first in tithing and supporting missions. Since we do that, I believe God provides for all of our needs.

A few weeks ago Pastor Butler preached on being faithful and that when God asks us to give money it is stealing to withhold it. When we had our income tax return, God told us specifically where to give some money. Through one thing or another, it didn't happen, and the money went to other needs, always with the intention of me writing out the check next week. Finally, Saturday, I decided to write the checks for missions first. When I got to the end of the pile of bills I still had a little left for food (a miracle in itself). To make it better, though, when I pulled on my shorts later that day, I had fifty dollars in my pocket. WOW! I still do not know exactly where that came from, except that God sent it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What God Can Do For You!

Last week I know someone who had the following experience: lost their job, felt unfavored, possible defamation of character, physically injured, in pain, child physically injured, lost a loved one, strain in their marriage, financial hardship... Don't ask yourself who? Ask yourself what now? What will God do?

Whenever we are faced with difficulty, it gives God the opportunity to do something amazing. God changes everything in our lives for the better. It is what He specializes in. He is our deliverer!!! We were lost but are now found. We were blind but now have sight. We were dead in our sins until Christ died for us. Whenever I pray about my own concerns or others, God says to me, "Let me show you who I am and what I can do!" Wow! How wonderful is that!

We can encourage one another by speaking often of what God has done for us. Because what God has done for me and others, He can do for you. He delivers from depression. He heals hearts and bodies. He restores marriages. He protects. He blesses. He provides. He brings about the right opportunity at the right time. He sustains you until the answer comes. Repeatedly the prophets would remind the Israelites all that God had done for them in the past to encourage them that God would do it for them in the future. God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!

In the meantime we must keep moving toward God. No matter what obstacles are thrown in front of us. Keep trusting and believing God is with you and the answer is on its way. No matter how big it is. How wonderful it is to put our eyes on God and look expectantly at what He can do. How will this need be answered? What will God do to turn this around? How will I grow? What fruit is being formed in my life that will reap a harvest? God takes it all and creates something beautiful.

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation." Psalms 91:14-15


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wanna go to the falls?

Are you looking for something to do that is fun for kids of all ages? Why not head to Thurmont, MD and go to Cunningham Falls. There are hiking trails up to waterfalls for older children as well as boating activities on the lake. My favorite part however is packing a lunch, a beach blanket, and the kids toys and heading to the lake for a day of playing in the sand and swimming! The lake has many shallow parts which are perfect for young children, but also has deeper areas roped off for older children. There is a snack pavillion for those of you that hate to pack a lunch and bathrooms right off the beach. It costs $4 per person, however anyone in a booster seat or car seat is FREE! If you want to join us we are planning to go on Thursday June 25th! Give me (Janine) a call at 304-274-2080 or email at janinedigiovanni@hotmail.com

You'll Meet an Old Lady One Day

You are going to meet an old lady someday. Down the road 10, 20, 30 years- she's waiting for you. You will catch up to her. What kind of old lady are you going to meet?

She may be a seasoned, soft, and gracious lady. A lady who has grown old gracefully, surrounded by a host of friends--friends who call her blessed because of what her life has meant to them. Or she may be a bitter, disillusioned, dried-up, cynical old buzzard without a good word for anyone or anything-soured, friendless, and alone. The kind of old lady you will meet will depend entirely upon you.

She will be exactly what you make of her, nothing more, nothing less. It's up to you. You will have no one else to credit or blame. Every day, in every way, you are becoming more and more like that and talk more like her. You are becoming her. If you live only in terms of what you are getting out of life, the old lady gets smaller, drier, harder, crabbier, more self-centered. Open your life to others. Think in terms of what you can give and your contribution to life, and the old lady grows larger, softer, kinder, greater.

These little things, seemingly so unimportant now-attitudes, goals, ambitions, desires- are adding up inside where you cannot see them, crystallizing in your heart and mind. The point is, these things don't always show up immediately. But they will-sooner than you think. Someday they will harden into that old lady; nothing will be able to soften or change them then.

The time to take care of that old lady is right now. Today. Examine your motives, attitudes, goals. Check up on her. Work her over now while she is still pliable, still in a formative condition. Then you will be much more likely to meet a lovely, gracious old lady at the proper time.

An excerpt from The Power of a Woman's Words by Sharon Jaynes

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's Up, Wednesday!

The bowling activity that was scheduled on Monday was a bust. Apparently the bowling alley has new summer hours and does not open until 1pm on Monday's. Instead the moms came back to my house to hang out and let the kids play. The event will be rescheduled for a family outing this summer in the evening. The price is the same all day. My apologies to those who could not bowl that morning.

The activities for June are as follows:

Friday, June 26 South Mountain Creamery- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God at 9:30 am to caravan together to Middletown, MD to the creamery. For one hour tour, and an ice cream cone-$5 per person (2 & under free). Bring a packed lunch and drinks for your family.You and your children will learn how milk gets from our cows to our homes. The tour will include a walk through the milking parlor, feed operations, loafing barns, and calf barn.

If you have any questions regarding our activities please contact Lisa Fraley by phone or email. Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Tribute to Sierra

Right after moving into my home eleven years ago, my husband brought home a puppy. She was a husky mix with brown and white hair and brown eyes. She was so cute and small. We named her Sierra because she reminded me of a desert. She was a good dog.

Of course she went through her terrible twos like all dogs. She dug a hole in our wall trying to get to the living room. She chewed up every chair leg on my new oak table. She had her fair share of accidents. But after that period of time she became a great dog.

Everyone who saw her commented on how beautiful she was. The shedding in the spring and summer was sometimes unbearable. I would have fur balls rolling across my dining room floor like tumbleweeds. We started getting her shaved and even then she was beautiful.

Sierra was my baby for two years before I had a baby. Then I regret to say she was put on the back burner. I couldn't tear my attention away from my son Lee. But she sure was good with the transition. Even when Hannah was born and crawled all over her she was kind and gentle. How lucky we were with a good dog.

She was a good watch dog too. She barked at everyone who came into the house. But as soon as you entered she was your best friend. I loved to have her at the door when strangers knocked because she gave them a ferocious show. I could rest peaceably knowing she would hear any strange sounds and get up. However there were many times I would hear a noise and try to coax her down the hall and she would get behind me. That would make me so mad. She was still a good dog.

This morning I woke up with her laying on her special blanket on the floor beside my bed in the place she always slept. She had died during the night. Thank you God for blessing us with such an awesome, beautiful dog! Our Sierra will be missed!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Summer is Here!

Summer is here! "Ahhh" goes your children and "Aghhh" goes mom. Oh, I love having my children home from school. I am so thankful they are home and not off somewhere else. But I also know this day starts a lot of busy things. My two children will have to learn to get along all over again because they're normally not around each other everyday, all day. My house will remain slightly on the dirty side with more children in my home running wild. There will be many more activities with going to the pool, having my annual yard sale, mom's group activities, the park, and play dates. Not to mention the preparation of vacations and the upcoming Mom's Connection fall semester. Aghhh! How will I keep my sanity?

The only way I know how.... putting God first. I've had the days where I have been so busy that I skip God and half way through my morning when my day is off-track, I remember what went wrong. When that happens my children suffer because I'm short on patience and whatever I had planned that day becomes an aggravation. But when I stick to my priorities which places God at the top of "my must-do list" then I have peace and order.

But how do we do that when there is so much to do in the day? I do it by getting up a few minutes before my children. I open my Bible and read. I pray and ask God to be in charge of my day and to give me peace in the midst of the unexpected. It doesn't take hours but it lasts all day.

Some other things I like to do to keep my sanity- If it's Monday I stop by the Dairy Queen for a Moo latte which are only $0.99! They are delicious! The rest of the week- I might eat lunch outside and soak in the rays, jump on my daughter's trampoline, scrapbook, or just hide in the bathroom (ha ha)!

What will you do? Comment below and share your thoughts with me....


Friday, June 5, 2009

Robin's Baby Shower

On Tuesday, June 2, 2009 Mom's Connection threw Robin Coburn, one of our members, a baby shower. She is having a little girl and is due June 25.

Many moms came together to make this shower a blessing to Robin. I would like to thank them for their contribution. Kim Ratcliffe for picked out the most beautiful plates, napkins, and decorations. Each of them read "A tiny blessing from the Lord". Julia Bivens for making the beautiful and delicious cake. We had great fun playing the games that Janine DiGiovanni had for us. Several moms brought food for us to enjoy. Thank you to everyone!!

Lisa Fraley

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Just for Fun....pick strawberries

Pick-your-own STRAWBERRIES are ready!

We have picked every year since I can remember, I grew up next to my cousins strawberry farm and started working on it when I was in 5th grade! We have made it a family tradition to pick strawberries every year. Here is a picture from last year and one from this year.

They cost $1.65/lb. pick your own, but if you pick over 10 lbs (which is easy to do now) you get a discount, and it's only $1.45/lb. They provide containers, it's good to bring a box to place the quart boxes in when it's time to put in your car. They also have some already picked. Go to their website http://www.orrsfarmmarket.com/ for more info! There is also a coupon on the website for $2 off when you spend $15. Another tip when you go there, they have 2nds (fruit/veggies that doesn't look so good to sell, so they discount the price).

We typically eat them fresh, they go fast in my house, but I always try to make some Freezer Jam, it's so easy for the kids to make. You can pick up some Freezer Jam (no cook) Pectin in the spice aisle at Food Lion. You don't even have to cook it, we use it on toast, pancakes, ice cream, and crepes! Yum! Yum! Hope you get out there, they also have two Buffalo babies recently born, and you can enter a contest to name them!

Jule Burton

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Spring Renewel

A mother bird had built a nest under the eaves of our deck roof. I could see her from my kitchen window meticulously placing each twig to make a comfortable place for her babies. Her and her mate had scoped out the area and picked this as the location of their nest, the perfect place for their babies to be born. I thought about how awesome God is. The instinct He gave the birds and animals to know where to make their homes and how to care for their young. They simply trust God to provide for their every need.

The nest was removed from under my deck. I was sad when it was no longer there, and missed watching the mother bird as she came to sit on her nest. Where would she go and what would she do now? God then reminded me that He would care for her. Psalm 104:27 & 28 says, "These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things." God is so wonderful.

As I read Psalm 104 I am reminded that the earth and everything in it is God's. Nature and all its beauty are His creation. He said to me "You think you care about this mother bird and her babies. I was there when she hatched out of the egg. I was there when she first took flight. Men say they love nature and care about it, but how can they care so deeply about what they have not created. I put everything in its place and I watch over it all". Psalm 104:5 says "He set the earth on its foundations: it can never be moved." The awesome power of God is witnessed just by observing nature in all its beauty and wonder, and there is no one who cares for it as much as God.

I think about mother bird again. How God cares for her and provides for her. How much more does God care for us. Jesus said in Matthew 10:29-31 "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

As you go about your day take the time to look around you at the beauty of God's creation. No matter what the season we can enjoy the beauty of nature. Be encouraged as you look around you that if God took such great care in creating the earth, the love and care He gives the animals and flowers, He will care for you all the more. Of all the seasons I think spring is my favorite. It is a time of renewal, things returning to life after the long cold winter. Psalm 104:30 says "When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth". Whatever you are going through let the Spirit of God renew you. Read Psalm 104 this week and rest in the comfort of God's great care.

Love In Christ,
Kim Ratcliffe

Summer is here!

Our activities for June are:

Monday, June 8 Kick-off to summer-Join us at Shenandoah Bowling Lanes in Charles Town, WV at 10:30 am. For adults & children $2 per game, $3 shoes.

Friday, June 26 South Mountain Creamery- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God at 9:30 am to caravan together to Middletown, MD to the creamery. For one hour tour, and an ice cream cone-$5 per person (2 & under free). Bring a packed lunch and drinks for your family.You and your children will learn how milk gets from our cows to our homes. The tour will include a walk through the milking parlor, feed operations, loafing barns, and calf barn.

If you have any questions regarding our activities please contact Lisa Fraley by phone or email. Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hope for the Future

My son is in the "terrible twos". It seems like most of the time I am constantly saying, "Don't do that!", "Stay out of that!", and "Do you need to sit in time-out?". There are some days I really feel rotten because all I have done all day is reprimand and correct him. No matter how harried and upset I get though when my little angel is asleep or cuddled up with me watching TV I am filled with such love for him that I can hardly contain it.

Sometimes, I feel like the "terrible twos" will never end. I also feel like everyone else doesn't go through this--but I have realized differently in the past few months. Speaking with other mothers and friends of mine, I have realized that my situation isn't really all that special. A friend of mine recently said that they go from the "terrible twos" to the "torturous threes" then you get a "small break" and then they turn into a "teenage monster" who is embarrassed for his/her friends to find out that he/she actually has parents.

This morning, as I was trying to find a cartoon for my son to watch to get his attention away from the kitchen cabinets, I happened upon Joyce Meyer. Little did I know, today's message was about there being "hope for your children". She directed her congregation and myself to Jeremiah 31: 16-17 which states," ..."Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded," declares the Lord. "They will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your future," declares the Lord. "Your children will return to their own land."

It's great to know that no matter the struggles that I deal with now or the ones that loom in the future that my "work will be rewarded". I know that if I stay the course, remain consistent, and raise my son to know God that when he might even think about entering the enemy's camp he'll turn around and return to his own land or back to the principles and foundation of truth that he was raised to believe upon. Those times I feel like there really isn't any hope I can turn to this scripture and know that there is hope for the future in Christ Jesus.

Tina Burton

Monday, June 1, 2009

Before and After

When I was in the 4th grade, I hung around a group of girls who ruled our classroom. We were mean. Our teacher, Mrs. Kirk, didn't like me or any of my friends for good reason. There was one girl in particular we decided to ostracize that school year. We just pretended we didn't know her anymore and completely cut her out of our group. During the summer break I went to a stars retreat at the Potomac Park Campground and gave my heart to Jesus AGAIN. Growing up in church I had often recited the sinner's prayer and each time felt I meant it. But this time something changed in me. I understood a little more of who Jesus was and who He wanted me to be.

Then the new school year came around and I started 5th grade. Guess what? This girl remembered me. Every time she saw me, she would give me mean looks and say mean things to me. I remember God convicting me about my behavior the year before. I asked God to show me what to do to fix what I had done to her. God told me just what to do. He said to smile at her every time I saw her. Then He told me to say something nice to her. Before I knew it, she stopped scowling at me. God mended that relationship and we became great friends. I thank God that when I see her even now I don't have to hang my head or turn away from her in shame.

This is my first memory of my before and after in my relationship with Jesus Christ. He changed me that year. I believe everyone in Christ has a before and an after. For some who came to Christ late or later in life, they have many experiences of living a sinful life and can remember clearly Christ transforming power in their life. Maybe they were delivered from depression, drug abuse, or any number of things that gives them a clear distinction of what Christ has done for them.

But for some of us, like myself, who cut our teeth on the church pew, we might feel differently. Maybe we feel there was no before. We are thankful God has kept us in a relationship with Him. We realize our lives could have taken a terrible turn if we hadn't known Christ's love and forgiveness. However, there still was a point no matter how young we were when we accepted Christ that we changed and grew in Him. And it's this growing that we have our many before and afters. God's Word tells us we have a before because "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). We know we have an after because when you accept Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life, you become "a new creation in Christ; the old has gone, the new has come" (2 Corinthains 5:17).

I have many before and afters because God had a lot to clean up like pride, hate, unforgiveness, judgements, and self-centerness just to name a few. There is still more for God to do in me. Growing in your relationship with God means you have allowed Him to make these changes, to clean your spiritual house. Sharing these transformations are our testimonies of Christ's power, love, grace, and real presence in our lives. We must go through these changes to grow into the vessel in which Christ's love flows through to others just like it did to my friend in 5th grade.