hope sign

hope sign

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Cup Runneth Over

My Jakey when he was about 2.
Gosh, could he be any cuter?!!!
I am feeling super Thankful today.  Some days we just look around with open eyes, minds and hearts and we can truly see the blessings in our lives.  Today happens to be one of those days for me.  

(left) Kelcie, Tori (niece), Lauren (niece), Jake, Juliana
I have three grown children, two are married with children, one is a college student.  I have had
the privilege of talking to each one today and tonight I get to have dinner with all my children (except the college student) and 3 out of 4 grandsons.  AND, I don't have to cook it...thanks to Scovia and Jake this week.  As the lady said on Hope Floats, "My cup runneth over."  


Henry 

Parker


Lukie

Baby Bo

We have started a little tradition in our family.  Each Tuesday, we have supper together, each week we switch off who hosts everyone.  Last week we had homemade pizzas at Juliana and Aaron's.  We have a blast and it's so relaxing.  Bo and I look forward to this each week.  It's a night set aside for family.  We get to play with our babies and our kids get a little break because GRAMMY'S IN THE HOUSE!!!! Oh yeah, and Pop too, LOL.
  
My three... Jake, Juliana and Kelcie

So Tuesdays I usually am a little more upbeat.  I love family time.  
Juliana...I can see Henry and Lukie in this beautiful face. 

I hope you can look around and see the blessings that God has given you.  It will put a skip in your step and a smile on your face.  It gives me energy when I feel Thankful!!  

Have a blessed day!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Connections

My Uncle Gary, Aunt Brenda, My Daddy and My Aunt Carol (she's 1 year older than me)
Connection to my Estep side of the family tree
Connections.

As human beings, we need to be connected.  That is why family, community, teams, friends are all so important.  

We try to connect to the past.  We try and find ways that we are like our ancestors.  We look at the shape of our eyes or the placement of our cheekbones.  We do the same thing with our children and grandchildren..."how do they resemble me or my parents or my grandparents?"  My daughter Juliana was born with a birthmark.  I thought it was a bruise until the doctor told me that it is a birthmark that points to our heritage.  Our heritage that is many generations back, showed up in my daughter Juliana. I think that is so stinking cool!!!  AND, it's from my side of the family.  That is even better.  (see, connection to my ancestors is important to me)

Love this photo of Daddy and Carol

Connections to the past, present and future, give us the security of belonging.  Give a group a picture of the past and the first thing each person will do, look to see if they or someone they love is in the picture. 

My beautiful Aunt Sharon and my Grandson, Luke
Family connections over generations

We reach out to others and need others to reach out to us, almost daily.  I was reminded of this last night. A wonderful lady at church reminded me of our need to daily connect to people.  She said she needed some friends...she is lonely.  My heart just sank.  This is an amazing woman who reached out during prayer time to busy people wrapped up in their own lives, not realizing that some are so lonely.  Especially those who cannot drive and are stuck inside in the winter.  I know God heard her prayer.  Not only did He hear her prayer, He made sure that the rest of us did too.  She needs to be connected, she needs to feel a part, like she belongs (because she does belong)...friends, family, community, church.

(Top left) Kenneth IV, Kenneth JR, Kenneth III
(Bottom left) Doris, Kenneth V, Kenneth Sr...
VanDyke's

Do you know of anyone who needs to be connected? 

Can you reach out to them today?  Be the extension of God's hand to the lonely.  Saying, "YOU BELONG".

Our Henry and Pop (Bo)

I use to sing a song when I was a young teen, with my mother and sisters...Give Me A Heart For Others.
Lord, let me see beyond myself and connect to more of your precious children.  I am not too busy everyday.  I can make myself seem busy but it's an illusion in my mind.  Oh, Give me a heart for others.

COMMUNITY!!!


Monday, March 16, 2015

View From This PK

Last night I could not sleep.  I was awake half the night because my mind was flooding with 40 years of memories.  



Me, Phillip, Ronald Scott and Christian




Me and My Daddy, Bishop Ronald Estep

One of our boys, Ryley Armstrong


40 years ago, my parents started Pastoring what is now Christ the King Church, USA.  I was 3 at the time.  With 4 kids in tow, they answered the call of God.  Our lives forever changed.  

We hear so many sad, awful stories from PK's about growing up amongst the church people, being always on display and everyone having an opinion of how we should behave.  But you will not hear that from me.  I loved being a PK.  I loved spending my days and nights at 410 Webb Lane, Havre de Grace Maryland.  I loved it when people came over and visiting ministry stayed in our home of 2 1/2 bedrooms, small living room, kitchen and 1 bathroom.  We all got to sleep in the living room, it was like a slumber party.  We made lots of friends, traveled a lot when Dad had to preach somewhere else.  We attended a whole bunch of services.  We made friends all over the East Coast and beyond.  


It was not always easy.  The hardest part for me was when people would leave.  That is when I felt rejected.  Even as a very young girl, I mourned when my friends families would leave the church. 

Christian, Kelcie and my Mom singing

You see, we didn't play outside sports because it interfered with Church but we had a blast playing with all the church kids in the back of the church as it was being built.  Geneva Armstrong who was a teenager at the time, would give us wheelbarrow rides.  Marvin and Sarah Jackson would take us to the park by the water and we would play for hours.  We played war and we played church, we played softball, rode bikes, roller skated in the back, my brother learned to play instruments, we sang, I was an intense red headed preacher and you were going to get saved when I preached or else (I said intense, right?).  

My Dad and Henry

Like I said, so many memories flooded my mind all night long.  People came and went.  Some moved away, some were military, some went on to be with Jesus and others left for many reasons.  Each person that passed through, touched my life in so many ways.  













What has the last 40 years meant to me...LIFE, LOVE, YOUTH, GROWTH...EVERYTHING.  You see, River of Life Tabernacle, River of Life Ministries, Life Bible Church, Christ the King Church (all the same church) has been my constant.  It's where I sang my first song, where I learned to read and write, I gave my heart to Jesus, I was filled with the Holy Ghost, I learned to memorize scripture, I had my first crush, I learned to ride a bike, I learned about giving, living, life.  It's where I said my wedding vows to the love of my life.  I dedicated my children to God, where they were baptized in freezing water.  It's the last place I saw the face of my grandparents. 

Kinda blurry, my grandparents
Bill and Virginia Webb

Bo and I at our wedding with
Gilbert (Pop Pop), Mom Mom (Alice, still alive)
and Nanny (Virginia Webb)
 It's where I taught my first lesson and where I learned about teaching.  
This Church is a part of me, who I am, who I will be. 



Nope, you won't hear me complain about being a PK. I am so thankful that 40 years ago, my parents with 4 babies in tow, answered the call.  




















Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Golden Rule

When I was a little girl, my mom bought me and my siblings a record that put the 10 commandments, proverbs and bible verses to song.  One that I sang to my own children and now my grandchildren is about how to treat others.

Do unto others
as you would have
them do unto you.

Be kind to others
and you'll find
that they'll be
kind too.

Don't make a promise
unless it's one you 
can keep.

The golden rule is 
simple,
It means what you
sow you will reap.

Now, I wrote that while singing the words...helps me remember.  

We as a country are divided.  We have so many things that we disagree about.  From politics to morality to religion...you put three people in a room and you will have three different opinions.  Every time I turn on the TV, radio, computer...NEGATIVITY, HATE, DISCORD, NAME CALLING, GLOOM, DESPAIR, SIN...the list goes on and on.  It's overwhelming.  

My beautiful little sister, Cheryl, one of my beautiful nieces, Lauren
and my beautiful baby girl, Kelcie
How can we teach our children about kindness and love if we never show it?  How can we show it unless we know it?  

I tell my children (even though they are grown), "I cannot control what others do, I can only control what I do."  "How others treat me cannot dictate how I treat them."  It's a hard lesson to learn and even harder to live out. 

Looking forward to summer time play outside 

As professing Christians, it is not an option.  We can disagree with someone but we have not been given the right to be unkind.  When I am unkind, I am not showing God's love to anyone.  


My challenge for you today is - Go out of your way to be kind to someone.  Make an extra effort.  Especially if it is someone who isn't kind to you.  You may be the only Jesus they see today.  It could change their day and it will change yours!!!