Posted by & filed under Family Life.

Watch your mouth about Billy Graham, son.

One time, my husband Daniel and I got called out for our church (Vintage Fellowship) not having an alter call.

It went like this:

Daniel: Blah blah blah, something about Evangelism today…Billy Graham…(interrupted)

     –Family Member thinks that the next words out of Daniel’s mouth are going to insult Billy Graham who is apparently untouchable in their eyes.–

–Please note: Daniel was not going to trash talk Billy Graham–

Family Member:  Don’t listen to him! They go to a church that doesn’t even invite people to Christ. They just say ‘Go in Peace.

The words “Go in Peace,” were saturated with contempt. Which I thought was pretty amusing since, you know, it’s a QUOTE FROM JESUS.

Quite a few people said it in the Bible, actually.

Thirteen times.

Plus, I always thought that just being at church was an invitation to Christ. Or helping each other. Or comforting each other. Pretty much any of the things Jesus told us to do, I saw/see them as invitations. But I can only speak to my experience.

The complete dismissal of our community of Faith over something like that didn’t offend me immediately. I actually had to stifle my laughter because it was just such an absurd thing to hear. I think I found it so puzzling because I didn’t grow up in a church with an altar call. I didn’t have the faintest clue what Daniel was talking about when came bursting into the living room the next day having come up with the perfect rebuttal in the shower. As one does. Always too late. He said, “For over 1,000 years the Church survived without 8 verses of ‘Just as I Am,’ and it will survive for 1,000 more.” I think I cocked my head to the side like a confused puppy. He had to explain the concept of singing through the hymn verse after verse until someone finally would get up and move forward to the altar. Apparently, this is a big deal. I don’t know about anyone else in the Church of the Brethren or any other Anabaptist groups, but that was not something that happened at Broadwater Church of the Brethren. I remember it there was an altar call every night the summer I was a counselor in training at a 2nd Baptist church camp but I thought it was a camp thing. I had no idea they probably did that every Sunday at their churches at home.

It was very interesting that the next Sunday our friend Jeff Miller spoke on Romans 14 at Vintage. Because that’s how God works.

We need to let go of our need for others to be like us. Within our community there is and should be individuality. My journey is my own but the Grace of God in it is the same as it is for everyone else. We are bound together by God. We all live and walk and serve in different ways.

You want to have an altar call every single Sunday? You go on and have your altar call every Sunday. Good for you, Glen Coco. You GO, Glen Coco! But don’t assume that it’s the only way to ‘invite people to Christ.’

You want to give away half of everything you own? Good for you, Mark Scandrette. You GO, Mark Scandrette. My collection of books and movies will be remaining cozily on my book shelves.

How uninteresting our communities would be if we were all exactly the same and had the same passions.

One thing I love about Fayetteville is the Community. With a capitol “C.” And one of the things that happens in this Community is a little event that used to be called “Churches Outside Together.” Despite the seriously cheesy name, it is a really enjoyable event at Gulley Park where some local churches get together and just hang out. (June 5th this year) BBQ is provided and everyone brings a side dish to share. Cause it ain’t a Southern church function without a potluck, ya’ll. Bands and musical groups from each congregation take turns on stage entertaining with gospel, barbershop quartets, the Beatles, hymns, bagpipes; pretty much whatever the musicians are in the mood for. One year I brought bubbles in a baby pool. So many bubbles.

This year there has been a name change from “Churches Outside Together,” to “Congregations Outside Together,” to include Temple Shalom, which is awesome even if I feel a prime opportunity was missed to come up with a ridiculous Hipster-y name for the event.

There will also be volleyball and kickball tournaments. You’re welcome to come and try to play kickball, but the Vintage Fellowship Bible Thumpers are going to win. Fair warning. Game prep includes a craft night. We’re making t-shirts. This is serious.

The smack talk has already begun on the Facebook page.

I know because I’m the one who started it.

I Googled “Christian Smack talk” but apparently that is not a thing as far as I can tell. So I resorted to a classic.

StillwellAngel You're Gonna Lose

I think you should come and have some fun.

But watch your mouth about Billy Graham.

Or don’t.


Posted by & filed under Family Life, Parenthood.

Samuel turned one year old this LAST month!

Clearly I am in denial and that has manifested in me taking a whole month to publish this FINAL monthly blog post. *sniff* Seriously, it’s been written for weeks.

I can’t believe we have had this little joy in our lives for a year already.

1 Year Old Photo Shoot 3


He’s still working hard on those top two teeth with little progress, the poor fella. They swell up and go down over and over.


1 Year Old Photo Shoot 1


It seems like Samuel is learning new things every day now. He can clap. He dances when he hears music. He chatters ALL the time and sometimes you can almost make out the words. Our very favorite new skill is his adorable “Meow” when he sees Tonks or when you ask him “What does the kitty cat say?” Some times he just cruises around meowing in his little voice. So sweet.


1 Year Old Photo Shoot 3


Still no walking and I don’t encourage such shenanigans. He will stand unassisted for a moment if he’s not paying attention. As soon as he realizes what he’s doing he sits back down. He’s plenty mobile for me right now!


1 Year Old Photo Shoot 2


We had a sweet little birthday party for him the week after his birthday. I’m still working on editing those photos and our friend Donny took some with his nice camera so I hope to share those soon.

In the meantime….

1 Year Old Photo Shoot 4

Posted by & filed under Family Life, Parenthood.

I can’t believe this is my last update before Samuel turns ONE!

11 Months Photo

My instincts were correct, Samuel’s bottom two teeth popped through this month. He takes after his Mama on the teething front and immediately started working on the top two. (I was late to get teeth but I cut four at a time) These have been much harder on everyone than the first two. They still aren’t through and the poor kid wakes up screaming at night and seems to need to nurse constantly.

Teething Boy

This is what happens when you photograph a teether.

nom nom nom

“Samuel! Over here!”

nom nom nom

“Grin for Mama!”

nom nom nom

St. Patrick's Day Baby

Samuel’s Granny came to visit last week and he had a wonderful time getting spoiled and loved on. She, of course, had to get him an outfit for St. Patrick’s day. This picture looks like he has been partying it up. Maybe we have a future Rolla graduate on our hands?

On the Move

He chose Granny to be the recipient of his first obvious wave. And Granny swears she can hear him saying all kinds of words and that Daniel and I just don’t even listen to our own kid. I admit that he does sound like he is trying very hard to say “Pup Pup” for Luna.

Book Lover Baby

This month my heart nearly exploded when Samuel picked up one of his books and brought it to me to read to him for the first time. I can not express the level of my joy when his face lights up at the first few words of ‘Tugga Tugga Tugboat.”

11 Month Baby Photo

I have not been on the ball at all about planning his 1st Birthday party but hopefully those details will start to come together in the next week or so. I have a theme, I just need to do silly things like set a date and invite people and plan to feed them.

Baby 11 Month Photo Collage

It’s time to get to celebrating this growing boy!

Posted by & filed under Family Life.

Thoughts on Lent and head covering from a non-Catholic, non-Fundamentalist, Emergence Church Lady.

The first time I really knew much about Lent I was a Senior in high school and our Catholic neighbor and dear friend was pregnant and talking about whether or not she was required to Fast on Ash Wednesday. So, in a FRIENDS, Joey-is-a-temporary-vegetarian stroke of genius, I decided that I would honor all of the Fasting involved in Lent so she wouldn’t have to. Cause Jesus. Or something. Ya’ll, I had very sound, heavily researched theology back in 1999. So I fasted on Ash Wednesday. I ate an entire box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese at 11:45 on Tuesday and then set my alarm to wake me up at midnight to eat after the day was over, but I still did it. I (usually) remembered to not eat meat on Fridays. I gave up all caffeine. EVEN CHOCOLATE. I think I mostly wanted to just see if I could do it. It was a decidedly not-that-spiritual exercise.  One I have continued with varying degrees of meaning over the past 15 years.

Which reminds me, that baby is now in high school herself. What the what?!

This week we had our Ash Wednesday service at Vintage Fellowship. As always, it was quiet and simple and beautiful. Getting my ashes always chokes me up a little bit. As does taking communion while I hold Samuel. I’m filled with gratitude that our son was born into this particular community of Believers. Robb (our Pastor/Narrator) talked a little about Lenten goals often being self-reflective and about yourself.

“If I give up chocolate I can lose a few pounds!”

This year, he encouraged us to contemplate what sacrifices we could make that would involve our community. How could we use Lent to reach out to our neighbors? It was an interesting prospect to me since I honestly can’t think of any good that would come from yet another experiment in deprivation. I’ve given up caffeine so many times for Lent that it feels trite. My hard-headed baby has not been sleeping very well lately because he hates to sleep and also is attempting to do rude things like grow teeth like a big kid. So you can pry my two morning cups of coffee out of my cold, dead hands. Adding something into my day like a devotional time or exercising (HA!) just feels overwhelming to me at this phase in my ever-fluctuating adjustment as stay-at-home mom. So I began to think about my neighbors. I’ve had a nagging idea for a while that I wanted to give one pair of neighbors a gift of a “Baked Good of the Month” service for an entire year and bake them something once a month. I just haven’t been able to jump in and commit to it because I’m afraid I won’t feel like it one month and I’ll fail and let them down when I’ve promised it already. I think I am going to start small and do an extra loaf of bread in the bread machine each week during Lent to give to a neighbor. We do have some great neighbors. Maybe it will jump start my baking spirit!

The other part of Lent for me this year has been building for a while. About 6 months ago I ran into a lady while grocery shopping who was wearing a bonnet and plain dress. I asked her about it, curious if she was Church of the Brethren or Mennonite etc. and we chatted for a bit. I actually don’t remember much of our conversation. What I do remember was walking back to my car and thinking, “I should head cover for Lent!” I’ve thought about it a lot the last few months but I never could think of an actual reason to do it. A reminder to pray all day or some show of submission or an exercise in modesty. I didn’t want to be doing it just to be doing it. <—I am so good with words. But nothing came to me so I let it go.

Thursday morning at my weekly ladies’ coffee date I mentioned that maybe I should do it anyway and just see what happens. Maybe there is a reason it has been on my mind so much. With a little enthusiasm from a friend I decided to go ahead and give it a try. Maybe I’ll learn something in the next 37 days.

Head Covering