So, the visitors did come on Thursday night. It was a group of four girls (3 students & 1 wife of a seminary student plus their baby girl) from the college/Open Door Baptist Church in Raleigh, where my sister and brother-in-law are in ministry. The girls were in town to support a friend who is from our area whose dad passed away earlier in the week. I was blessed watching them make the sacrifice to travel quite a long way on their first day of summer vacation to be here for a sister-in-Christ. They really just wanted to "love on" their friend- and they did. I was also impressed by how seriously these girls took the responsibility of taking care of fellow believers. I am sure that it was a blessing to this girl to know how much she is cared for by her friends.
This got me thinking about how much we need each other as a community. Coincidentally (I know there are no coincidences), I read the chapter in "How People Change" (check out my reading list on the homepage) about community this week. The authors write about how we avoid meaningful relationships because they require a lot of work; that many Christians try to work through life alone, but that is not what God has intended for us. Of course, our individual relationships with Christ are of utmost importance, but when we are in CLOSE community with fellow believers, we are singularly sharpened. James 5:16 says, "Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective." "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another:" Proverbs 27:17 is another reminder from the Bible of how much we need each other.
This subject of community has been on my mind since last fall. It started when I had a conversation with my sister about how tight they are with their "Care Group." I want to study more about community within the church body. It is clear that God is putting the subject at my fingertips: even my pastor's sermon was on the importance fellowship (with Christ & with others) this Sunday! (The sermon should be up sometime this week, but you can check out some others in the meantime!) I hope to post more soon about my thoughts on community.
It seems like our weekends have been so busy lately with the marathon in Nashville & Ben's 30th birthday then Mother's Day. So I had really been looking forward to this weekend since our only plan was to go to the National Park to Elkmont Campground on Saturday for lunch with some great friends.
Friday evening we ended up going on a DATE!!! The BBQ & Bluegrass event was happening, so we went and walked around downtown, got some BBQ, a funnel cake & homemade strawberry ice cream (I need to run a marathon). It was nice to have some time out without the kids. It seems our only alone time lately is in our living room after both kids are in bed. But I'll take that over nothing!
The picnic at Elkmont was awesome! I was nervous about the kids not getting naps, but it all worked out fine. The weather was perfect; the fellowship was great and so was the food!
The kids fell asleep in the car on the way back, and we took the scenic route home- such a pretty drive! Ben mowed the yard when we got back home while I got the kids ready for bed. Once we got the kids to bed we ate our pizza and watched "Top Gun" via Netflix! I hadn't seen that movie in years, and it still cracks me up! It was a fun date-at-home. I also made one of our date-at-home staples: homemade chocolate chip cookies.
1 stick of butter @ room temperature, 3/8 cup packed dark brown sugar, 3/8 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 large egg, 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4-1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional), 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350*. Mix butter, sugars, vanilla & egg with mixer or wooden spoon until well combined. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (do not over mix). Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Using a teaspoon sized regular spoon, scoop out 12 heaping spoonful portions onto baking sheet. This will use about half of the cookie dough so you can refrigerate the rest for later. Bake for about 8 minutes. Let stand on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes before you gobble them up with a cold glass of milk!
That reminds me: since supper was so easy this week, I got to make one of Ben's favorite treats on Friday: homemade banana bread.
1 stick of butter (I always bake with unsalted, but salted would be fine), 2 ripe bananas, 1 tsp. vanilla, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs, 2 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour (self rising can be used; eliminate the baking powder & salt), 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (almonds or pecans would work too) (optional)
Preheat oven to 350*. Cream butter & mash bananas & vanilla into the butter. Add the sugar and eggs, mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt & nuts. Do not over stir! Pour into greased loaf pan; bake for 40-45 minutes. You may need to put the pan close to the top rack of the oven the 15 minutes or so. Just check it!
We made it to church on time for Bible Study for the first time in a while! I think it was a relief for Ben since he is always rushing off to help teach in 3rd grade. Church was great, as always, and we came home after the service was over- something we rarely do. It was nice to be home for the afternoon on a Sunday. I TOOK A NAP! And on that note, I think I'll stop rambling...
Any of you have a great small group that you love? Please share!
Love to you all who have taken the time to catch up with our family!