Saturday, September 25, 2010


Last Sunday our family went to our favorite and normal 8:15 service.  When I was employed on the children's staff of our church I rarely got to go to worship with my family.  Then with summer we didn't make it to church very often and when we did we typically sent the kids to Sunday School while we went to worship.  So this was the first Sunday in a while that we were worshiping as a complete family.

I love when we all go to worship together.  Sometimes it is difficult because, well, the kids are wiggly and loud and bored and in general need quite a bit of their parents attention to make it through the service with out being a huge disruption to those around them.  Of course, that means their parents don't always leave worship knowing what the sermon was about.  I know many believe that children should not  be part of worship until they are older and can sit still longer and read. 

Obviously, our family takes a different approach.  We believe that learning to sit through a service at a young age helps make church a lifelong habit.  Our children start learning parts of the service (the Lord's Prayer, the Doxology, the Glori Patri, etc) very young (we start around 3) so that they can participate.  We specifically chose the service at our church that is the shortest - 45 minutes and the most casual though not contemporary. The service we attend offers communion weekly instead of once a month like the rest of our services.

Communion is another place our family seems to deviate from the norm.  Our Book of Order states that it is at the parents discretion when their children are ready for communion.  For us, we have interpreted that to be when our child, on an age appropriate level, can explain why we take communion and understand that it is not just a snack.  Our kids have started taking communion around the age of three or four. 

The age they start communion is something that I often wonder if we have made the right choice about.  We get funny looks with some frequency when the littles take communion. Every time that happens I think, "is this the right thing to be doing?"  Don't get me wrong, we have lots of positive feedback on our family's approach to religion and lots of fellow worshipers who make a point to seek out my children each week to tell them how happy they are to see them.  Sometimes, I think, we just surprise people by how young we start them. 

This past Sunday, I had my answer.  For this service all of the congregants form a circle and serve communion to each other.  Preceding me in the circle were Michael, then Eliza Claire, then Rehm, and then me. Ruby and Charlotte were on the other side of Michael with Grandma.  Eliza Claire was very serious when receiving communion.  Then she took the bread from her dad and turned to her brother and in her very serious, very solemn, little Eliza Claire voice, held out the bread and said, "Rehm, this is the body of Christ broken for you." I had tears in my eyes.  Then Rehm turned to serve communion to me.  Again it was powerful - to have my nine year old son share intimately in my faith and worship experience. 

This is exactly what I want my children to be learning.  This is exactly the faith I want them to display.  This is the community I want them to be part of.  This is exactly where I want them to belong. She may not completely understand communion, but she does know that Jesus loves her and gave his life for her as well as a four year old can know that. 
I honestly can not tell you what the sermon was about - I was distracted shushing the children but I can not put into words how powerful of a worship experience I had and how much I look forward to repeating it regularly in the future.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Dance Class

Ruby and Eliza Claire are taking a six week ballet class at the YMCA.  Their first class was yesterday.  They both had a great time and are looking forward to going back next week. 

The rest of the photos were taken through the window making for some strange reflections. 

Vacation: Ocean, I Cannot Resist You

I'm getting out of here

This is a close up of Charlotte's face from the previous picture.  Anytime she is concentrating hard the tongue sticks out.

Forget dodging the waves, I'm going in!

Think I'll meditate for a bit

Ah, I feel much more relaxed now

Enlarge this picture and look at the expression on Charlotte's face.

The light was great.  I had lots of fun playing with these pictures.  It is a shame that most of the week I was too busy being Mom to get to be the photographer. I would have liked to played with my camera more and there were so many things I wanted to take pictures of.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vacation: Hello Ocean, I've Missed you!

This is Ruby the first night we were at the beach.  She had not seen the ocean since she was two.  Try as she might she could not resist getting in.  
So which one is your favorite?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vacation: A Visit to the Salt Marsh

The first evening we were at the Trinity Center for our family reunion I took the three girls on a walk to the salt marsh.  I really had no idea what to expect the trail to be like but thought it would be a fun adventure.  We had fun and made many more trips to the salt marsh while we were at the beach.

I took this from the van, this was the main drive through the Center.  The pond is just outside the frame to the left.  Our rooms were up the path on the right
 For all of the admonishing the girls to be careful near the water, I was the only one who almost fell in.  At the entrance to the trail I was trying to take a picture of the girls and was backing up to get the shot I wanted.  I only remembered the pond behind me when my foot got wet and I almost fell backwards right into it.  Luckily, I did not fall.  The look on the girls face was priceless.

The girls at the entrance to the Salt Marsh Trail.  It is a shame for almost falling in the pond I didn't even get a good picture.

The pond I almost fell into


Typical Ruby - Wouldn't you want to fall in this water?
The walk through the woods was nice.  The very long boardwalk over the marsh that had no side rails was a little concerning since I had two three four year olds (thanks Shelly) and a six year old and was the only adult.

View of Bogue Sound and the marsh

I love this picture of Eliza Claire.  Even though you can't see her face it captures her "Eliza Claireness," especially they way she is trying to block the bright sun light because it is "too much." 

Again, I really like how this captures my girl.

A neighboring boardwalk with  side rails.

Ruby, Me, Eliza Claire and Charlotte.  This reminds me of a picture I took of Michael and my shadows on the beach on our honeymoon. 

In the woods on the way back to our rooms.
I wish I would have had my other camera lens with me.  I only had my 75-300mm lens and I needed something with less zoom for some of the shots. 

I am sure there are more vacation posts to come.  I might have them all done by Christmas if we are lucky.