Last weekend was a full one! And the time leading up to it was pretty overloaded as well - I have sinned, but I have some excellent excuses! And by sinning - I'm merely admitting to neglecting the blog. I'm sure there are other things that I could confess...
But reflections on the past week:
Thursday was the final chip shop of the year for JIFF (you can click on that nifty link there if you don't know what Chip Shop is). It was a madhouse! Some of the students had worked very very hard to save up and were able to buy some big ticket items. I had gathered a number of knick knacks (candles, paper weights, wall art) and then had spent a bit of $$ at Walmart on some footballs, Nerf basketball, racquetballs (which went FAST) and one very nice REAL basketball. The young man who bought the basketball with 30 of his saved points...well...you couldn't imagine a more pleased young man. His group leader sniffled once or twice...I believe she was proud of him. I can't wait for fall chip shop to begin. I've got an idea cooking in the back of my head...maybe JIFFers who want to earn some chips could do some odd jobs around the church? Somebody help me remember to work on that idea...needs more brainstorming.
Friday...a lot of things happened that day, including a nice Kiwanis lunch. Well...the speaker anyway, the food this time...needed a bit of help. I KNOW that I am a miserable foodie and I KNOW that I'm never going to see goat cheese on endive. But I DO appreciate when some effort goes into "regular" food too. I know it is a price point thing...but improved execution would be noticed. By more than just me.
But I digress. The greatest thing about Friday was the Pep Rally/Talent Show for Day of Difference. Day of Difference is a combined effort of 7 different churches in the lower Rivermont area. The big event of year happens on one spring Saturday/Sunday. On Saturday we work on things like neighborhood cleanup and some home renovations. There are usually activities for the kids (this year was HUGE! There were bouncers from Liberty University's Block Party trailer. There was a drumming circle.
There was the coolest craft too - all ages were invited to create a work of art on a pillowcase that depicted Peace. Then they were displayed on a clothesline. It turned out amazing.) (Look! I've got a picture courtesy of Garland Harper!)
I digressed again. Back to Friday...every year there is a kickoff service (and people pick up their Tshirts and work assignments). This year's event was primarily musical. There was a couple who performed several songs. And they were really good. But then there was this young man - about 12-ish (I'm not good at guessing kid ages...) and he just showed so much courage. He got up in front of about 60 people and sang a capella (without music) and he did a great job! But I think my favorite part of the evening was when Sister Jackie Wilkes got up and sang. And then we all joined in. Young and old. Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and more. Rich and poor. Many cultures. Many situations. All joined together in praise. Unity.
And then on Saturday - we picked up trash. I'm a Trash Lieutenant. We crowned Dad the Trash Czar about 3 years ago. We clean up 5 zones. I'd like to figure out someday how many miles of street the Day of Difference crew covers. Got to be a big number. We try to cover every block of every street from the Rivermont Bridge (or half bridge...) to Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church. From Hollins Mill Road to the River. It's a tremendous undertaking. Filled up a BIG dumpster too! I was joined by 7 JIFFers. Last year they ditched me about 10 minutes into the work. This year they stuck with it for a LOT longer! I got about an hour and 10 minutes! And one of the 2nd graders stuck with me for a full 2 hours. I was super impressed.
Then a relaxing afternoon of gutter cleaning, Lowe's trip, table retrieval, etc.
I will dispense with complaining about Sunday morning's experience at Hardees. I WILL say that the Sunday school class' discussion of the minor prophet Jonah was a very nice part of Sunday. We're studying the minor prophets right now. Our class has grown from 3 to 5 on a regular basis - yesterday we had 8 participants! Re-read that book sometime - it's only 4 chapters. The part about being in the big fish is only a piece of the story. Everybody remembers the fish - but do you remember the part about the plant and the worm?
Sunday evening capped off the Day of Difference weekend with a very nice worship service and a really good hot dog! After helping return some grills to their home (and seeing the river house from high above on the Lynchburg side...cool!) I joined Mom, Dad, my bro and nephew Jacob for a blizzard by the river.
God is good.