“We Live, We Love, We Let Go!”


A Harsh Reality

This week our church family was once again struck by a harsh reality–that we live, we love, and then we must let go.  That is, we should never take life, family, friends or God for granted.  We always should live our lives as though today might be our last.

Love God, Love People

Last Saturday, our dear friend and church elder was doing just that–Loving God, loving people–his everyday way of living. As usual, he was among his fellow elders, meeting and greeting visitors old and new in our church lobby before services. Right there, our heavenly father called this young and lively 56-year-old man home to be with Him.  In an instant all our lives changed.

Let Go

We are now in that time where we must learn how to graciously let go and move on once more with our living and loving knowing that  that time will inevitably come again.

The good news is our friend’s life and dying exemplified His faith in God and people. He openly taught and shared his gifts for living with others.  And, it showed when his amazingly strong family made him and all of us proud as son, daughter, and mother each rose and spoke of their love and respect and even comedic times with their loved one and friends.

Celebrate Life

As funerals go, it was a true celebration of life and a tremendous way for us to begin the process of letting go and moving on, satisfied that our friend lived his life on earth to the fullest and that we always will miss his presence on earth, and will continue loving and remembering him fondly.

Thanks, Dan, for sharing your love and life with us.

Are You the Apple of Your Family’s Eye . . .


Or, the One Rotten Fruit that Spoils the Bushel?

As I draft this post, my husband and I are driving to Virginia to be with our eldest son, Bobby’s family.  We are joining him, his wife, and their youngest of three sons, Andy, who is graduating from the Virginia Police Academy on Friday.  Bobby’s other two sons are serving our Country in the United States Air Force and are away at their duty stations.

But recently, as the school season came to a close and we have celebrated mother’s day, and preparing to celebrate father’s day, I realized most of the focus of my life, especially recently, has been on Family.

In fact at our church, Chesapeake Church in Huntingtown, MD., we just finished up a 9-week teaching series “Family:”

This superb series looked at today’s challenging dynamics and lifestyles within our christian family community.  It’s weekly messages included: “We are Family,” “The Single Family,” “The Married Family,” “The Very Married Family,” “Adding Kids to the Family,” “Raising Kids in the Family,” “The Blended Family,” “The Seasoned Family,” and “The Deeply Rooted Family.”  My eyes and heart opened to the potential volume of strengths in understanding, patience, communication, cooperation, mutual love and respect required for any and all members of these families to stay on the same page together and to lead successful and individually fulfilling lives within whatever type of family we live.

One day we’re born into a family, for better or for worse. . .

Netflix BloodlineMeanwhile, searching for some downtime entertainment, I surfed Netflix.  I happened upon a Netflix Original Series “Bloodline.” Among its stars were Kyle Chandler and Sissy Spacek, actors that I am familiar with. But, it was the title, “Bloodline,”   that most appealed to my family historian/genealogist proclivities.  So I decided I’d start watching the series at Season 1, Episode 1, released March 20, 2015.

No surprises here. Bloodline’s TV Series was a direct dichotomy to the 9-week series on family we had just studied at church.  In fact, the free use of f-bombs and adult nudity scenes disappointed me.   But, the realistic inter-family dynamics and dialogues intrigued me.  To paraphrase Glenn Kessler, one of the series originators:  Our DNA is such that the past is always with us”, and, “We’re going to learn more about one son’s effect on a family …”

Although based in the beautiful Florida Keys, “Bloodline” is a dark drama that explores family secrets that lurk just beneath the surface of a contemporary American family’s persona. The Rayburns’–they are hard-working and respected pillars in their community.  Their eldest son of five children, Danny,  AKA the “black sheep,” has just returned home.  It’s the 45th anniversary of his parents’ hotel.  Childhood memories are shared, old familial behaviors and dynamics quickly resurface, and Danny’s mere presence threatens to expose his family’s dark secrets and shameful past.  Deputy Sheriff John Rayburn, the next eldest Rayburn son and Danny’s champion, wants family relationships to smooth out and for Danny to be successful this time back.  And, as the ancient proverb goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” So, yes, despite all the siblings good intentions, events spiral, a series of  lies to protect family members unravel, family loyalties are pushed to their limits, and all their futures remain in a severely menacing peril.  And yes, after binge watching Bloodline, there is a cliffhanger to which I can’t imagine a good outcome.  But the good news is, it looks like in Season 3 next year we will find out how, or if, this family survives as a unit, or whether any individuals rise above their deeply frayed fabric.

As for me and my family, our brief trip for our grandson’s graduation was fantastic.  We spent nearly two full days of quality time together.  And, best of all, our grandson gave us a hearty thank you “for always being there for important family events that mean so much to me.”  Likewise, family means everything to us–the spontaneous get togethers, supporting family through rough patches, and the culmination of successes celebrated with planned family events.

And, I close this post having just returned from year four of our biblical family’s Annual Dragon Boat Race Festival at North Beach, MD, where we come together to play and raise money to support our local End Hunger in Calvert County Charity. #givewhereyoulive — Another Great Family–and no bad apples!

 

And, together they danced…


The Month for Lovers Continues…

Caitlyn and Anthony 02-21-2016My niece, Caitlyn Boling (daughter of my brother John Arthur and his wife Joyce), and her new husband Anthony Rubio, honored my parents’ (Frank and Norma Boling) 70 years of marriage together (2/5/1946) at their wedding this past Sunday, February 21, with an Anniversary Dance especially for them.

As some of you may know,  dad is 87 and suffers from advanced diabetic neuropathy–nerve damage caused by diabetes and arterial disease. The neuropathy affects his arms, hands, legs, feet and blood vessels (poor circulation).  His sensory neuropathy causes numbness and pain in his lower extremities and feet and his motor neuropathy includes overall muscle weakness and loss of balance.  Needless to say, he balances himself and walks with the aid of a cane.

Mom, age 88, suffers from advanced alzheimer’s, general body weakness, loss of balance, and chronic pleural effusion (water in the lungs) which requires her to wear oxygen 24/7.

Amazing Transformation

With all this being said, when DJ Mike called our family patriarch and matriarch to the floor, Bob helped up dad from his chair and took his cane.  I removed mom’s oxygen and walker and steadied her as she made her way out to the dance floor at Peace Lutheran Church – Waldorf, MD.   As we at Chesapeake Church – Hungtingtown, MD,  learned from a wise young man who passed all too soon this past week, “It’s together, or not at all.”  And, in fact, together they danced!

When you watch the video, notice how both of them amazingly animate, share their love as  fresh as the day they first met, and enjoy dancing together as they so often did for so many years.  And what you can’t see in this video is the family and friends observing them in awe and their goose bumps and tear-filled eyes.  It was definitely one of the best moments, among the many great ones, for all at the reception.  And the unfortunate fact is, mom didn’t remember the wedding ceremony just moments after watching her granddaughter take her vows.  But, she smiled and critiqued the video when I showed it to her just a couple of days later–and the conversation and her connection lasted several minutes.

“Thinking Out Loud”
When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me—I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

So, honey, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are

When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way (mmm…)
I know you will still love me the same

‘Cause, honey, your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen
And, baby, your smile’s forever in my mind and memory
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
Well, I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand

That, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
Thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are (oh, oh)

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, lo-ud

So, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Oh, darling, place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
But maybe we found love right where we are
Oh, baby, we found love right where we are
And we found love right where we are

 

Thank you Caitlyn and Anthony for giving us this moment and great memory to be shared always.

 

 

 

The Times, They are a Changin…


Bob Dylan–an American singer, songwriter, artist and writer

Bob Dylan PhotomaniaHe has been influential in popular music and culture for more than five decades.  Dylan was born Robert Zimmerman on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota.  In 1997, Bob Dylan became the first rock star ever to receive Kennedy Center Honors, considered the nation’s highest award for artistic excellence.

Seventy-four year old Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin, released in 1964, was just one of his several anthem songs composed during the anti-war and Civil Rights Movements of the ’60s.

The Times They Are A Changin

As I read the lyrics and watched the video again this morning, it’s tenor and lyrics remain timeless to me.  America, Americans, and other people of our World, despite the times changing, remain in civil unrest–as countries; neighbors; individuals; religious, political, and social cultures–as our executive pastor put it this morning in his message, “it’s a cultural mayhem”. None of us has fully embraced our supposed life lessons from all our histories successes and failures, and many of us have reduced our perception of humanity to “skin color.”

Sorry to be feeling so sinister today.  But, it’s times like this when I turn to my faith to keep believing.  To paraphrase author of Be A Good Human, Tom Giaquinto; “Sometimes, there is a lot of darkness in this world. As I see it, we have two choices. We can be a part of that darkness or we can be a light. I choose to be a light.”  And, it appears my prayers once again have been answered in this weekend’s wonderful message sent by God I’m sure, but delivered eloquently by Daniel Palmer, one of our executive pastor’s.  Here it is, if you care to enjoy listening to it:  One Image

I hope, too, that you enjoy Bob Dylan’s video and lyrics below.  As always, your comments are welcomed and appreciated.

LYRICS:  The Times They Are A Changin

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

Songwriters
BOB DYLAN

Published by
Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

“We’re On A Mission From God” – Day 5


Here’s something you might have a little fun with.  It is a Google Maps photosphere (shot in February 2015).  It lets you freely look up, down, and all around to explore the entire El Ayudante campus.

Day Five – Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Day five with our El Ayudante 2015 team of ordinary families and biblical community friends begins with us serving God once more and sharing very special moments and kindnesses with people who live over 3,300 land miles from those of us who make our homes in Calvert County, Maryland and attend Chesapeake Church in Hungtingtown. If it were not for His plans within His time, we otherwise would never have experienced such a communion of efforts and assembly of kindred spirits.

So, on this day, Wednesday, the first day of July, many of us ventured southwest of Lo de Reina to Corralitos where we would prepare and install yet 12 more water filters in the homes of anxiously awaiting families. Our spiritual counseling still continued in El Ayudante’s Clinic and the team members building a new roof in the Lo de Reina Village hoped that today they would complete it a day ahead of schedule.

El Ayudante Community Coverage Map

After Lunch, Onto New Projects

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Back at the Lo de Reina School, many of our team would be giving the school a new paint job inside and out. And this afternoon, Bob and I got to team up with Steve Bertaluccini, Kim Shettle, and Mark Howard to build 3 new computer desks out of 2′ x 4’s, 2′ x 6’s, and 3/4″ plywood using Tristan Mohegan’s meticulously drawn and color-coded schematic. Steve and Kim handily used the miter saw to cut the pieces needed from scrap wood from other projects. Bob and Joanne Computer DeskThis was the first time since last summer when Bob and I replaced our 16 x 25 deck that we got to use our relatively newly developed skills with power tools and wood construction to cut the raw plywood for table tops; and, to drill pilot and pocket holes in the frame, legs and brace pieces. We, then, in assembly line fashion, screwed them together to make the base of the desks. Meanwhile, Mark, who like a maestro conducting his orchestra used a router to remove and round the hard corners and edges of the tabletop pieces. And Miss Kim showed off her “guns” as she hand-sanded the tabletops in anticipation of tomorrow’s planned staining. Yep–three computer desks in three hours–we were all filled with joy and excitement.

EA Vision Night TablesWhen we returned to the mission house, Zaida, our cook extraordinaire, and her helpers, had already festively set the table for dinner at 6 o’clock. Tristan walked us through his story and that of El Ayudante, as well as the vision for now and into the future. All the while we were munching our homemade tortillas and dipping them into earthen pottery crocks that were kept heated by miniature sticks burning below the vessels. (Yum…)

To close out today, we had our team meeting and then broke up into small groups to learn how to play the games that we would introduce to community families as El Ayudante hosts its first ever “Family Game Night.” Expectations were mixed, as we had no way of knowing how many from the community might show up–but the word was passed and we were going to be prepared.

This event, too, would bring about the official opening of the clinic’s refreshment pagoda where visitors would now be able to buy snacks during their visits to the clinic. And the opening of the pagoda also brought new employment opportunities for women in the community to cook and serve the food. In fact, Zaida, was the culinary instructor to get the women ready for yet another life-changing event in Lo de Reina.  It will be down to the wire tomorrow to put the finishing touches on the pagoda and set the refreshment tables and decorations in place.

Before Lights Out–A Couple of Other Very Spectacular Connections 

Venus and Jupiter ConjunctionBut, before we turn in, I must point out yet two other very spectacular connections that many of us enjoyed.  As we gazed into the skies of Honduras from the front porch of El Ayudante, before our eyes, big and very bright, were shining Venus and Jupiter–the queen and king of planets–having their moment. We at first thought space station, then several of the young men went to google for our answer.  We weren’t too far off, it seems that on July 28,  according to NASA that the people of Honduras will be able to see the space station in the sky, but only for a minute.

Tue Jul 28, 8:20 PM < 1 min 12° 10 above WSW 12 above WSW

At that time–especially on the nights of June 30 and July 1 after an absence of roughly 2000 years the Star of Bethlehem was making a return to our night skies on June 30, 2015 — to be more specific Venus and Jupiter had their tightest highly visible conjunction in nearly two millennia.

The reference to the Star of Bethlehem is with regard to the fact that there was a very similar ultratight conjunction between the two — and close by the star Regulus, and high up in the sky in 3-2 BC. Some astronomers have in the past speculated that this earlier conjunction is what the “Star of Bethlehem” referred to.Read Full Story:http://www.cosmostv.org/2015/06/video…

The Howard Boys in Soccer UniformsWe also quickly learned from the Howard family  boys who were dressed in soccer gear that just like the millions of sports fans around the world, soccer is also near and dear to the hearts and souls of the people of Honduras. Even in extremely “down” times, Hondurans will stop what they are doing and watch live on TV, listen to soccer live on the radio and forget all the daily pressures. The country of Honduras actually has decrees presented in Congress to declare “work holiday” during international soccer matches that occur during business hours. The Honduran government, all the way up to the President of the country publicly plea with business to give their valued employees time off for soccer games.  And, after dinner last night, many of our team went to the Howard’s house to enjoy the USA’s second FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final game as the Americans won over Germany 2-0.  And, on July 5, 2015, our first day back in the states, the Women’s team went on to roust Japan with a 5-2 win, ending their 16-year FIFA Women’s World Cup™ drought.

 

“We’re On a Mission From God” – Day 1


And, We’re Off...

Team Picture - ChesapeakeThe past 10 days or so have been very exciting, hectic, happy, sad, and life-changing ones. Over the next few days, I will draw from my journal notes to share my times with you.   Starting at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 27th when we got up to get ready to leave from our home for Chesapeake Church to meet up with the 2015 Honduras Family Team to head to Reagan Airport via a vanpool driven by Chesapeake volunteers to be on our way to El Ayudante, Comayagua, Lo de Reina, Honduras where God has called many regular people before us to do many extraordinary things, through their obedience to Him, to make big things happen over the course of their one week’s stay!

The El Ayudante Story

The story of El Ayudante is a testimony of how God prospers through simple acts of obedience by everyday people to bring hope and life changes to tens of thousands of people.  El Ayudante was founded and developed by generous donations of time and resources from many people when one man, Mel Cox, decided to follow the Lord’s guidance. Cox saw the need and felt the call to do something in Honduras and in 1998, two years after he first visited a youth camp there, founded El Ayudante (“the helper”), in the United States.

In 2004, Mel and a board of directors focused their efforts in the Comayagua valley, in hopes of starting a medical clinic that would serve the mountain communities of Comayagua. They found land in Lo De Reina that they bought simply by paying landowners’ back taxes.  When Mel and his team got there, the landowners asked, “where have you been all this time?”

A representative from the twelve local families witnessed the signing of the deed under a tree  just outside of what is now the back porch of the mission house. And, Saul Martinez (the community elected ‘mayor’ of this area) placed a slab of concrete rock there as a testimony for future ministries of El Ayudante. That concrete slab is said to represent a story like that of Joshua crossing the Jordan river and having the twelve tribes of Israel build an altar of rocks as a covenant (Joshua Chapters 3-4).

Throughout the following 11 years many dedicated people have helped with El Ayudante ‘s mission. With the help of Mark Harwell, the foundation was laid for the mission house. Mark Renfroe and the first mission team helped construct many of the first buildings within the campus. Louis Carrion and John Mattica were very instrumental in the beginning years as well. First United Methodist Church of Vero Beach Florida took the clinic plans and ran with them. Tristan and Beth Mohagen caught the vision in 2008; and in 2013, Chesapeake Church in Huntingtown, MD, sent Mark and Tracy Howard to Honduras with their three young sons as Chesapeake’s on site Ministry Pastor and Ministry Leader at El Ayudante.The Howard Family Serving in Honduras

Continuing our Journey to El Ayudante 

Miami to San Pedro Sula

Onboard Plane 3D Map

We arrived at Reagan about 5:30 a.m. and departed on time for Miami, FL–the second leg of our trip.  Following a 1-½ hour layover in Miami, we next departed aboard a Boeing 319 plane that would take us into San Pedro Sula Airport in Central America. Probably only a few of us knew that according to the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (NAUH), the City of San Pedro Sula has a murder rate of 173 per 100,000 residents, reportedly the highest in the world outside any war zone–this is also the city that produces New Balance T-shirts and Fruit of the Loom boxer shorts for markets abroad. Just for comparison sake, last year Honduras (primarily due to homocides in San Pedro Sula), had a murder rate of 85.5 per 100,000 residents, compared with 56 in Venezuela, 4.78 in the US and 1.2 in the UK.  But we knew we were on a mission from God!

After a lengthy time clearing immigration and customs,we loaded 29 bags of luggage atop a bus filled with 23 passengers, one driver, and Tristen Mohagen, the director of El Ayudante.  This final leg of our trip would prove to be 4 hours long and quite an adventure. We felt as though we were part of an Amazing Race TV episode.  Honduran drivers are crazy, the numbers and kinds of vehicles jockeying for position among the very narrow lanes and steep and curvy hills within the mountains was like one long game of chicken. There were buses, 18-wheelers with bald tires, barely driveable hoopties, tuk taxis (the 3-wheeled mini cars), motor scooters, bicycles, and motorcycles with multiple people and packages aboard.hondurasroad

Throughout the day in and out of airports we had 2 cups of coffee and one-half of an Ice Box Brand ham and cheese sandwich–the wheat bread was dry and the sandwich meats and cheeses bland–all for the price of $25!  We made a couple of pit stops during our 4-hour bus ride to El Ayudante.  Bailey Krick and Nolan Dennes

View From a Mountain Road

Window view of landscape below the mountainside road.

We stopped at a local fruit stand and sampled fresh coconuts, pineapples, guavas and bananas–tropical fruit is the one thing in abundance in Honduras.  These snacks barely held us over until we arrived just before 7 p.m. at the El Ayudante Campus that is nestled in a valley below the mountains that surrounded it.

In all, our transportation activities took about 17 hours from start to finish.Mission House-El Ayudante

Bob and Jonathan GameAfter a quick dinner of tacos, refried beans, pico de gallo and more fresh fruit and watermelon juice, it was time for an ice breaker game hosted by our translator and El Ayudante leader, Jonathan Carlos Zelaya–a thirty-something lively and fun-loving young man.  The Honduran Family Team was divided into two for the purposes of the Honduran Trivia game.  Jonathan asked us questions about Honduras and we raced the front of the room to answer the question–the fastest person from among the two teams would don a very colorful and tall crêpe papered hat.  Then they would dance a few steps before being allowed to answer.  The team with the most correct answers out of a possible 10 was declared the winning team and only one person from the team would be awarded a coveted candy bar.  My husband, Bob, was on the winning team, but the score keeping was debatable as was the winner within the winning team (between Bob and another father named, David Thomas–the two quickly became fast friends).  David told us yesterday (July 4th) that he never got his candy bar!

Before retiring to our bunk beds in separate male and female dorms, we needed to collect our linens and make up our beds.  Although we had electricity, the mission house was not air-conditioned, and we used a few small standing fans to move around the hot and humid air.  While we were fortunate to have indoor plumbing and water (unlike the locals), there were some house rules on uses of water, showers, toilets, and washing of dishes–all intended to protect our health and conserve the limited water supplies of Honduras and the El Ayudante campus.

Of note, too, Honduras time is two hours earlier than in the states, so our day ended with bed at 10:30 U.S. daylight savings time–to make day one a very long 20 hours!

Understanding Luxury


We all could use more than a few moments to occasionally ponder what luxury is and is not in our lives and how we can help others in need… The Howard Family (Mark and Tracy and their three young children, Kai, Riley and Jordan), are beautiful examples of people living their lives to help glofiy God through their intentional relationships and services to the poverty-stricken people who live in Comayagua, Honduras. Mark and Tracy, while working with the El Ayudante Missions are Chesapeake Church’s staffing extension there. Regularly throughout the year, Chesapeake Church members visit the Howard Family and support El Ayudante’s efforts. This year, it’s our turn, and I am so looking forward to my eminent few moments to lend a hand painting, digging latrines, setting up water filters, providing vacation bible school for the children, attending their local church services, and most of all sharing loving experiences in a culture who’s luxury is so very different from ours. Thank you, El Ayudante, The Howards, Chesapeake Church, and the people of Comayagua, Honduras.

howardsinhonduras

I am doing research for a class the doctor at Clinica El Ayudante is doing for parents of malnourished kids in our area.  I am sitting here reading about what it is like to try and eat healthy when you don’t have many resources.  I pause, and realize I am hungry.  I had a good workout with a friend this morning, and apparently I didn’t eat enough breakfast.  Something to do with three little guys wanting to play soccer, and trying to take a shower within the small window where they are happily playing together.  I go to my kitchen and open the cupboard, which is full of healthy and yummy choices.  Maybe I’m not hungry, I’m thirsty. So I go to my water cooler and fill my clean bottle with crystal clear, filtered, cold water.  All this time, my mind is processing what I have been reading.

I have…

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Man Executed on Friday Rises from the Dead on Sunday!


A Headlining Easter Service

Reviewing current hilarious accidental newspaper headlines is where Reverend Robert Hahn started.  And soon he became very serious, “Man Executed on Friday Rises from the Dead on Sunday! Yes, as millions of Americans traditionally do, we attended Easter Services yesterday at our church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Pew Research Centers reports church attendance will double this Easter.

Pew Research Centers reports church attendance will double this Easter.

Easter 2015 Church Attendance 1

More than half of America planned on going to church this Easter (about 159 Million people)!

Easter is typically noted as the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian Churches.

And, without fail, (see for yourself in our fun video “Serve With Us,” below) our biblical leadership and 500 church community volunteers welcomed 3,000 of us at all four services with opened doors, arms, and hearts so we could participate in yet another truly joyous and powerful spiritual gathering in which we celebrated our Risen King, the One who gave His all for us!

Easter 2015 Chesapeake Church Attendance

As Rev. Robert Hahn reminded us this weekend:

Consider the World and times in which Jesus lived:  The World Circa 30 AD—technology was unleashing more change than the world had ever seen; international trade was booming; transportation had never been easier or faster; information was moving at a rate heretofore unknown. And yet, it was a time of intense desperation.

There was deep economic uncertainty.  People were restless about the future.  Government was oppressive.  Streets were dangerous.  Crime ran rampant.  Life was violent and children were not safe.  Virtually every war being fought at that time had at its core religious differences and people were divided.  They were divided by class, by religion, by wealth, and by power.

And into this world comes Jesus Christ—a man for his times—times that sound very much like our own today.  Consider this Jesus that we think we know so much about:  a child of peasants, he never went to college, he never wrote a book, he never owned a house, he never held an elected office, he never put his foot inside a big city, he never traveled more than 200 miles from the place he was born–he never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness. Yet, in the course of humanity no one else has impacted our world as has Jesus Christ!

More Relevant News

And, in startling news, he told us that pollsters show that over 40 percent of non-Christians believe as historical fact that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead!

We closed our service by listening to Chris Miller (music worship and young adult programs staff member) who passionately recited The Word by Isaac Wimberley, (a young husband, father, pastor, poet, rapper and music worship leader at The Village Church in Plano, TX). I didn’t have access to a recording of Chris, but his recitation moved so many of us to tears that I am including Wimberley’s recording of The Word that I found on YouTube.

Continuing Our Easter Celebration With Family

We then continued on with our celebration of Easter for the rest of a beautiful day with our ever-expanding family–including our youngest great grand children, 3-day-old Noah Antonio, 1-year-old Elaina Hazel, and 3-year-old twins, Sara Elizabeth and Brandon Scott and with our family’s patriarch my father, Frank Burton, 86, and his wife, my mother, Norma Florence, age 87.

I hope your Easter was as enjoyable and meaningful as ours.

Blessed Assurance


“Blessed Assurance” is a well-known Christian hymn. Fanny J. Crosby, famed blind hymn writer wrote the lyrics in 1873 to the music written by Phoebe Palmer Knapp, (both were members of the St. John’s Methodist Church in New York City).

It may have been blind Miss Crosby’s example that encouraged Phoebe Palmer Knapp (1839-1908) to write the tunes for more than 500 hymns.

As the story goes, Fanny was visiting her friend Phoebe at her family’s home in Brooklyn when a large pipe organ was being installed.  So, Phoebe played a new melody she had just composed on a piano. When Knapp asked Crosby, “What do you think the tune says?”, Crosby replied, “Blessed assurance; Jesus is mine.”

The hymn appeared in the July 1873 issue of Palmer’s Guide to Holiness and Revival Miscellany, a magazine printed by Phoebe’s parents, Dr. and Mrs. W. C. Palmer, of 14 Bible House, New York City. It appeared on page 36 (the last page) with complete text and piano score, and indicated it had been copyrighted by Crosby that year. It is not certain that this was the first printing of the hymn, but it certainly helped popularize one of the most beloved hymns of all time.

As to Fanny’s inspiration for the lyrics, it is believed that she may have derived them from Hebrews 10:22 “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings…;” or, Philippians 1:21  “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Well, it just so happens that the Arts Director at our church is named Daniel  C. Palmer. Daniel is a graphic artist, song writer, singer, keyboardist, guitarist originally from Texas–whether there is an ancestral connection to Phoebe Palmer Knapp, I’m not sure).  But, our video rendition over 140 years later of Fanny and Phoebe’s Blessed Assurance song below (recorded at our church on August 3, 2014), is my way of sharing my love for this ever growing community.  Here, we believe you will see we are more than ministries and sermons–we are devoted to doing life together through our love of Jesus Christ.  Daniel Palmer is lead keyboardist and backup singer, Dana Robinson is lead vocalist; and, Chesapeake Church’s very own Reverend Robert Hahn, plays lead guitar on this occasion in Huntingtown, MD.

I hope you enjoy this old-time hymn that I recorded from my camera phone from our auditorium that is now being renovated to make room for others to join us. If you’re in our neighborhood, I hope you will check us out.

20 Signs You Went to Catholic School


Honoring, laughing with, and apologizing…

I am honoring, laughing with, and apologizing to our three children who may relate all too well to my reblog of the 20 Signs You Grew Up in Catholic School, below.  I read this post on the heels of my daughter and I attending a Catholic funeral a couple of weeks ago, and being astonished that we still remembered when to stand, when to kneel, the traditional responses to prayers, and all the roles of the priest and altar boys/girls.  Hardly anything had changed since our youngest graduated high school in 1991–which is fast approaching a quarter of a century since we had regularly attended and committed ourselves a Catholic church and Jesus Christ!

Pre-school through High School Years

In fact, our family, during our children’s pre-school through high school years, attended mass weekly on Sundays, holy days, and special occasions at Mount Calvary Catholic Church in Prince George’s County, MD.  We participated in and supported Catholic Youth Organization’s sports programs, fund-raising spaghetti dinners, thespian programs, and served as teen club moderators.  We fasted on holy days and Fridays.   None of us can ever forget the annual Fall school fund-raiser where the kids toted home large cardboard boxed kits of sample goods to be sold. Our church family truly extended our biological family.  We still chat with our children’s childhood friends on Facebook or see them and their parents out and about or at social events.

A New Home, New Church, New Life, and Full Commitment

Upon moving to Calvert County, MD,  22 years ago, we searched long and hard for a church and biblical community where we could find that same sense of fellowship, family, and biblical community.  We floundered about from church to church for several years. And, we have our children to thank for their patience, glowing examples, and perseverance in helping us find our church and extended family of today at Chesapeake Church.   If nothing else, the sacrifice we made to allow our children to attend catholic schools provided them with great educational foundations and values and put Christ in their lives during their formidable years. Ultimately, our family has grown in size and value our relationships with each other, we made new friends, are enjoying new adventures, and we especially thank Jesus Christ for this glorious journey.   I hope you enjoy the article below.

20 Signs You Grew Up in Catholic School

20 signs you went to catholic school

…Apparently growing up in Catholic school is just not the same as growing up a church kid. They had fun Jesus learning with Mr.Psalty, and we had just plain old nun-ification. With the help of three of my lovely former-plaid skirted friends, I came up with my own!

Let’s get this party started. Are you ready? Cause just like your first two hour mass, it’s going to be a loooong ride.

ASH WEDNESDAY

1. You at one point compared who got the “better” ash mark on their head from Ash Wednesday. Really they all looked like splotchy finger prints, but it kept you busy at recesses comparing noggins.

colored socks

2. You feel like a rebel when you wear colored socks. Oh yeah, now that you are out, no regulation white ankle or crew socks for you! Blue! Pink! Black! The world is your stage when it comes to sock color because you know how to party.

Peace be with you

3. When someone says “peace be with you” you say “also with you” without thinking. It’s true. The years of training sunk in, and there is no letting go.

The moment a boy walks into an all-girls school...mine?mine?mine?

4. While you tell everyone that going to an all-girls school helped you focus on school and made you more intelligent, you secretly know it also made you more desperate and socially awkward. It’s sad, and pretty embarrassing, but true.

Oh there's boys! I have to give a crap what I look like!

5. You secretly miss having your clothes picked out for you 5 out of 7 days in the week. Life was easier when you were forced to wear a uniform…unless you wear a uniform for your job…then you are probably thinking  “when is my free dress day???”

Class of kids

6.  You still remember the names of 30 kids you spent 8 years with…their parents, and siblings too.  Aah, elementary school. Sure a couple of kids came and went, but you got to know this core group well. You battled teachers, started puberty, and all sat through mass every Tuesday together. These are ties no graduation can break.

kid playing with a ball

7. You still feel like you need say your prayer before a meal really, really fast, so you can get to recess faster. Because saying the words like you had an espresso, red bull and some crack all at the same time counts as a “real prayer” when you are starving and need that pudding cup…right?

Bible

8. You were shocked after you graduated to find out there were other translations of the Bible than the New American Version. NIV! ESV! IHSYESYGGLSO! Okay, that last one isn’t a translation that I know of but there are so many options out there! If you decided to stay or go back to the Christian life after graduation you were probably met with some confusion when you went to the Christian book store and was met with the aisles of different translations.

Authors note: This originally cited (wrongly) the King James translation, which isn’t approved by the Catholic church.  I have since had some coffee, woke up a bit, and changed it. 

kids dressed up as lambs

(A special shout out the Mountain Mama Teaching blog for this photo!)

9. You’ve been dressed up like an angel, a sheep, and a shepherd at least once (but probably three) times as a child. Don’t lie. Your mother has photos.

kids singing

10. …and you had to sing. A LOT. On top of the school pageants and usual fair, you had the special church events that they used your class singing off-key like some secret choir reserve force when the old women got sick. It was probably just a plot to actually get your parents to mass every once and a while.

pew

11. When at any non-catholic church or the train station, your right knee automatically buckles anytime you enter a pew, and you have to stop yourself from kneeling. Again, it’s true.

Jesus holding a candy bar

12. You know how to fundraise and sell stuff like a boss. Whether you went to one of the “rich kids” Catholic schools or the “very much not rich kids” schools, either way they had you out pimping cookie dough, magazine subscriptions, wrapping paper, and coupon books every year. That pizza party just became less worth the trouble as time went on.

sign of the cross

13. Your non-Catholic friends think doing the sign of the cross is some complicated secret handshake and keep asking you to show them how to do it over and over. It really is a secret sign that makes you get the good wafers at communion. Ya know, the ones that don’t taste like cardboard.

Ghost sitting in church pew

14.  There was always some rumor about a dead saint body part, haunted room, or scary secret tradition (saying Bloody Mary into a mirror) at your church…that you totally bought. Admit it. You believed!

Teen dance in the 60's

15. You know what “leave room for the Holy Spirit means.” One foot apart with only arms touching is the only way to slow dance and keep Jesus happy.

drawing of kid confessing to a priest

16. You totally made up a sin during your first confession with a priest because you were in the first grade and didn’t understand what the heck was going on. Your friend even said adultery, because it sounded cooler than cheating or thinking bad thoughts against your parents, and no one was smartass enough yet to just say murder.

sleeping-300x225

17. You dreaded stations of the cross day. It was long, you had to sit in a hard pew, and most of the time you couldn’t see action or hear the person speaking. So you just sat there. For all eternity.

Nuns holding guns

18.  You have strong feelings about nuns. ‘Nuff said.

May crowning

19. You are still bitter that you were not picked to play Mary during May Crowning or Jesus in the Last Supper. Only the coolest kids, and teachers favorites got those roles. Not little old you. It’s still hurtful to talk about.

Catholic school is like combat, unless you've been there. You don't know.

20. You talk more (aka are more traumatized) about your elementary school experience than anyone else who went to public school. It’s an experience that forever changed you. There was good, there was bad, there was just odd…but in the end you survived.

***Note: Each photo is a link to the original source of the photo***