Thursday, August 29, 2013

Full Weeks

We have had a couple of full weeks here in Grand Rapids.  Here is a little recap:

Soccer:  Soccer practice started with 2-a-day practices for the first week.  This made for lots of transporting since Caleb hasn't taken his driving test yet. (We are dragging our feet a little because we are not sure we can afford the $800 increase in car insurance that was quoted to us--Russ is looking into other carriers/quotes).   Nicolas is also playing varsity with Caleb because they do not have enough numbers for a JV team.  Unfortunately, this means that at the last game and previous Sat. tournament he saw absolutely no playing time.  Caleb was also told that he would not see much playing time, but he played 20 min the first tournament game, half of the second game (in which he tweaked his ankle), but then started the third game and played the entire time (good ankle wrapping can do wonders).  I was so glad that Grandpa B could watch him play since he was willing to make the 1 hour trip to Kalamazoo with Russ that Saturday.  Caleb also started and played the entire game this past Tuesday night.  We are rooting for Nicolas to see some playing time and have encouraged him by explaining that the coach doesn't want to utilize his "secret weapon" too early in the season.

X-Country:  Caleb has decided to also run and practice x-country when he is able.  For these few weeks before school starts this means continued 2-a-day practices for him:  running with the x-country team in the a.m. and soccer practice in the afternoon.  He ran in his first meet this morning (he was sooo nervous) and did just fine.  He placed in the top 20 and was the 4th runner for Northpointe.  Since so many of the kids run track it was fun to be able to show up at the meet and cheer them all on by name.  Since it is 90 and humid today, he is rehydrating this afternoon to prep for his soccer game tonight!

Josiah:  Russ' brother Philip's oldest son is staying with us for a few weeks until he can move into his apartment in downtown GR.  He is a freshman at Kendall College of Art this year.  He moved all of his things in our basement last week when he came out with his mom, little sister, and Grandpa and Grandma.  I was amazed at how much Pam could accomplish in the short time she was here--shopping, setting up a bank account, finalizing the rent, etc.  Josiah was a little unsure at first, but seems to have figured out the Rapid bus system and is more confident each day.  We assume we will get a phone call in the next week or so that his place is ready to move into and we will help him set up house.   Since his apartment does not have AC, I am sure he is grateful he is in our cool basement this week!

PRTS Conference:  We loved having Grandpa and Grandma B come out last week for the PRTS Conference entitled The Beauty and Glory of Christian Living.  We were blessed with many wonderful talks which you can watch at sermon audio.  Besides the conference we were able to do a little shopping and Grandpa was able to help Seth purchase some of his supplies for his birthday aquarium. 

Garden Produce:  My parents brought some wonderful tomatoes out with them when they came. With those, the ones I had purchased from the farmer's market, and from our own I was able to make a couple batches of tomato sauce and one batch of vegetable soup.  Sharon (friend from BSF who blessed us with produce previously) is out of town for the next week and has asked us to harvest her garden.  I am sure I will have enough tomatoes now to cook up a couple batches of tomato soup as well.  The pears are also ripening up and while we have given several boxes to friends and family we still have eaten many fresh, made a couple batches of pear bars, and canned 14 quarts.   I think I have enough picked right now to can at least four more batches.  I just need more canning jars!  

NBS:  Neighborhood Bible School finished up last night with an end of the year program.  The kids sang three songs that they had worked on all year, Dr. Murray gave a very child appropriate evangelistic talk, and we were able to fellowship with church family and neighborhood parents over ice cream.  Overall, I think it was a successful summer.  Since it was a new endeavor (the every Wed night in July/Aug) it still has a few bugs to work out and we know a few things we would change for next year, but you have to start somewhere!  Hopefully, many of these neighborhood kids will join us for Boys/Girls Club which meets on Wed in the fall.  

BSF:  Bible Study Fellowship is getting started!  Since there have been so many changes in the children's department the leaders had an extra meeting to attend to orient all of us to the new system.  That was last week Mon night.  This past Mon night was all-leader training.  I feel a little bit like my tank is empty after pouring out this summer into youth group and NBS so am praying for refreshment and refill before the start of the new year in a few weeks.  

School:  We have not started homeschool yet.  The kids have gotten math books out this week and have been faithfully working on their assignments.  Lydia and Seth are also working on a little "spelling" refresher so we can start up in the "All About Spelling" program right where we left off.  But as for the day to day curriculum...nope.  We will start next Tuesday when the boys start.  Russ did start up his classes yesterday.  He has Reformation Church History, Eschatology, Theology Proper, NT Exegesis and Practice Preaching this fall.  He continues to preach most weekends and youth group will start up again soon in Sept.  The plan is to read and discuss Kris Lundgaard's books, The Enemy Within and Through the Looking Glass.   

If you take all of the above and throw in a few days of work (me), music lessons, and the normal mom things like meals, grocery shopping, and laundry it has been a busy end to the summer.  I can get overwhelmed if I look at my calendar and see all the soccer games, x-country meets, GRYS rehearsals, music lessons, BSF leader's meetings, homeschool etc. but I have decided to just take one day at a time.  I find I can almost "paralyze" myself into getting nothing done if I allow myself to be anxious about the coming year and all the busyness and unknowns.  Unlike many families, we don't really thrive on "more is better".  We all enjoy sitting down to eat together, take pleasure from snuggling up in the family room for a good read aloud, and love sitting around the fire pit in the backyard in the evening to relax.   So we will enjoy each day as it comes knowing there will always be more to do tomorrow!

Family Camp 2013

We enjoyed another couple days of fellowship with the FRC church family at Camp Michawana a few weeks ago which ran from a Tuesday evening 'til Thursday evening.    The theme for this year's FRC Family Camp was Heroes of Faith.   We heard the following messages:

Tues p.m.--Abraham--Russ
Wed a.m.--Conquering Heroes of Faith--Russ
Wed afternoon workshop--Faith's Reasons for Believing--Ian McCleod
Wed p.m.--Moses--Dr. Murray
Thurs a.m.--Abel--Ian McCleod

Of course, in between the messages the kids (and adults) enjoyed organized activities again including tug-of-war, scavenger hunt, hayrides, zipline, archery, beach time, and evening campfires and games.    We left early on Thurs (right after lunch) because the boys had soccer practice and Caleb also had a summer violin recital that evening.  That means we missed the high-ropes course, climbing wall, and a special Olympic Games activity this year.  We did enjoy cool weather which was nice for most outside activities and sleeping, but not as nice for those that were planning on warm beach time.  

Here are a few photos:

 Our cabin for a few nights



Seth loved having his bike at camp to make it easier to get from place to place.   The FRC has a truck that takes all the bikes to make it easier for all to transport.

This was Seth's new favorite game.  After getting the instructions from him I found it to be quite fun, especially when 3-4 more people are in the ring!

Most of the young people and a few youngish old people (Dr. and Shona Murray, Ian, and Russ) played an intense game of soccer one evening.  I thought I would join in for fun but found that it was quite high level so stayed on the sidelines taking pictures.  It was so intense that as Dr. Murray said, "We had a scuffle between clans" when Angus Murray and Ian Macleod (awesome Scottish names!) wrestled and Ian ended up with a sprained ankle.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

FRC Youth Group Summer 2013

As the school year was coming to a close Russ and I realized that we just didn't plan as many social outings for the youth as we wanted to.  So, after a little discussion we decided to continue with youth group through the summer, offering a video study each week in our home while allowing the youth plenty of time to interact socially.  Russ decided on RC Sproul's "Fear and Trembling" video series which is basically "The Holiness of God" for teens.   Since so many kids come from around 20-30 min south of GR we arranged to have the Pronk family host one week and we would host the other so the same kids didn't have to always make the drive.  Each week we consistently had about 14-18 kids attend, some popping in later after work just for food and fun.  Last week we ended the summer season with a service project on Tuesday night and an outing at the VanKempen cottage on Saturday afternoon/evening.  

The service project came about via neighborhood canvasing for NBS.  A single mom requested help with cleaning up her yard and various fix-up projects in her home.    After working for 3-4 hours they came over to our home for a meal of pulled pork sandwiches or tortillas, frozen fruit salad, lettuce salad, and brownies.

There was also a great turn-out for the youth group outing on Saturday, and the weather was beautiful for tubing and water activities.  I think with our family, the youth group, Pete and Minnie we had 28 people!