Church should be about encouragement, right?

Why not encourage some encouragement by putting some postcard-sized notepaper in the pew racks? People can take out a card and write a note to someone else in the congragation and then put it in the offering plate.

You could assign someone to hand the notes out to the addressees or if you’re in a larger church, the office could actually send the notes to the people.

Occasionally, put some suggestions in the bulletin/worship folder/program to give people ideas: teachers, shut-ins or someone who is faithful in attendance and participation. Or, someone who hasn’t been in church for awhile or is going through a difficult time.


I know I haven’t done too much pw stuff this week, but next week I plan to get back to brochure/flyer designing tips.


After walking around town (and buying part of Kelli’s Christmas present), we wandered over to the windmill, an exact replica of a working windmill in Holland. We kind of debated going in, especially when we saw it was $8.00 a person – but hey, how often do you get to visit a windmill?  Actually, after doing the tour, walking through the miniature village and then outside to the real-sized Dutch village, I must say it was worth the price  lot more than other places I’ve been. 

The tour guide catered to the little kids (in fact sometimes I wished she would’ve given us the real names of things instead of “those things you see sticking out of the side.”).  But she was informative. We were on top, ready to go out on the catwalk when a thunderstorm hit. (I think I’m starting a list of places where I’ve been stuck in the rain: Key West Lighthouse, Andrew Jackson’s slave quarters and now the top of a windmill.)  If you’re ever in Pella, I would truly recommend that you visit the windmill.


Kayla, my co-worker, who lives in Des Moines planned a great Saturday for us in Pella. Pella is a Dutch town (and yes, it is also a window town) — and it indeed, looks Dutch. I did not touch up the picture of the blue water in the canal. We think they were setting up for a wedding with a blue theme. (Would’ve been interesting to see an orange wedding.)

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about touring the windmill. Very cool.


Well, actually I think this is number four for me – but it’s the second time I took the 7yo with me. We stopped at the Mississippi on the way out and then again at the Amana stop (that is along the road).  The first ballpark pictures show Dale Klein (from work) throwing out the first pitch. Dale and his wife, LuAnn, have been to most of the minor league ballparks and have quite a reputation. I love that the capitol is in the background of the park and shines in the night. The picture of the 7yo down by the fence, is before the game. We were trying to look friendly so one of the guys would toss us a ball – it worked we BOTH got one. Then during the game, a foul ball bounced down several rows and landed at my feet. We gave it to the little boy two rows behind us, because it had actually bounced OFF his leg and he was developing quite a black and blue mark already. He was about four and big tears were running down his cheeks. The 7yo and I discussed it and thought he deserved to keep the ball.


DSC_0412Our country has a rich heritage. Many have given their lives for our freedom.  Yet, often kids don’t understand what’s behind the freedoms we enjoy.

A church in Michigan decided to do something about this – one of the Sunday school classes took a Memorial Day weekend field trip. The town has an old cemetary with many graves of soldiers killed in battle. The adults hiked to the cemetary with the kids and then talked to the kids about the many wars fought by Americans  and explained that the battles were entered in order to earn and then keep our freedom.

The adults then helped the kids clean the areas around some of the more than 100-year-old graves, pull weeds and brush the dirt off the aging stones. The kids enjoyed reading the names and epitaphs.

The outing was an active way of impressing on the kids what Memorial Day is all about.




Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books that were so popular for awhile (and still are to some extent)?

Well, last Sunday everyone at church received their own Choose Your Own Adventure book. I thought it was extremely clever and thought I’d pass it along. (And I have no idea why this is spacing out so weirdly.)


The design clearly represented the church's children's ministry.
The design clearly represented the church's children's ministry.




















Inside, it asked what you liked to do and then sent you to the appropriate page to choose that adventure.
Inside, it asked what you liked to do and then sent you to the appropriate page to choose that adventure.


























Then I was to go to page 12 -13 and ta da!
Then I was to go to page 12 -13 and ta da!


DSC_0295Spell check has become the “safety valve” for a lot of people in this age of computers.

However, you can’t depend on spell check. 

Because spell check ONLY finds words that are spelled incorrectly, it will not catch wrong word usage or words that are spelled incorrectly but actually then spell another word.

For instance, one time I was writing a rather long article for Awana about Game Time.  I finished with this glorious final sentence – Award the sinning team. (Obviously, I meant winning.)

Find and replace can also be a problem when you hit “replace all.” Awana teachers are called “leaders,” but for awhile we had  program where the leaders were called coaches. Although we were using an original book that used the word “leaders,” we wanted to replace leader with coach.  So someone simply hit replace all. Imagine our surprise when we looked at the section where kids were encouraged to pray for their country’s leaders – except now they were to pray for the country’s coaches!!!!

I do often use spell check when I’m not sure HOW to spell a word. I will run spell check to get the correct spelling.

So, it’s a useful tool, just be careful.


DSC_0216Our church in Wisconsin was started by another church in town – Calvary Memorial. If you search Calvary on the Web, you get a few links to the church itself and several to a  bulletin blooper that must’ve been made back in l902 or something, but is still making its way around the internet and on every bulletin blooper list you see.

You just want to make sure that what you write is right.

Maybe people, especially English-teacher-type people, tell their classes to read what you have written backwards to catch the mistakes.

However, I personally like reading what I’ve written out loud better. Reading it out loud, forces you to read every word (as does reading backwards), but it also allows you to catch phrases that don’t make sense – or over using a word in an article. Reading out loud accomplishes the same thing as reading backwards – plus more!


PreschoolI thought I’d combine my two “careers” and write about writing this week.

So often in ministry (and this is something pastor’s wives get to do a lot), you need to design programs, bulletins, worship folders, etc. 

And if you’re like me, you always worry about forgetting someone’s name.  Here are some hints I’ve learned over the years.

1. Count the kids (or adults) in your class, department, group, etc. Then when you type the names, make sure that you have as many names as you do kids.

2. Put the names in alphabetical order. This not only solves any rank of importance problem but will allow you to catch any duplicate names.

(My dad always told me to marry someone whose name began with a letter at the beginning of the alphabet so my kids would be near the front of the line. Funny advice. I married a W and my daughter married a W – so all my kids and grandkids have last names that begin with W.)

3. Put everyone’s name on the list. If you don’t know whether someone will be there – still put their name on the list.  It’s always better to put someone’s name in the program who doesn’t show up, rather than forget someone who is there.

4. Ask someone else who knows all the kids/adults in the class, department, group to look over the program before you print it.  (Once I had a lady ask me to look over her program because she knew she was forgetting someone, but couldn’t figure out who  – one look and I laughed. She had forgotten her own daughter.)

5. Spell everyone’s name correctly. It’s no fun to have your name in a program when it’s spelled incorrectly. Who wants to keep that in the scrapbook? If you can’t figure it out, call the parents/person and ask. “I’m working on the program for the kids’ choir, how do you spell your last name?”

6. I have no idea why I’m sleeping in this picture.


I don’t usually comment on celebrities or make judgment calls – but since both parents of the “eight children show” have admitted that something bad is happening in their marriage, I will chime in.

I haven’t watched the show in a while, but I used to watch it. After all, I love children and these particular eight children are fun to watch. I also read some of the devotionals Mrs 8kid mom put on their website and they were ok.  In fact one of her devotionals is on Philippians 2:14 Do everything without arguing and complaining.

But when I used to watch the show, I often thought of my dad – and not for a good reason. Every time (and there were a lot of them) Mrs. 8kid mom would put down Mr. 8kid dad, I could hear my dad’s voice: “Whenever a wife criticizes, corrects or puts down her husband, she chips away a piece of his masculinity. The husband will either be reduced to a shell of a man or leave.” Dad said this over and over during his Family Living Seminars.

He would add that this is doubly true when a wife criticizes her husband in public – and I’m sure it’s triple that when it’s on national TV

I quit watching the show. I couldn’t take watching a marriage morphing into destruction before my eyes.

And now their problems are out there for the whole world to see. He says he’s tired of the celebrity. She says people are saying it’s “my fault,”  but I’m not the one making dumb mistakes. (But the whole world knows how she treated her husband.)

Well …

I hope they get some great counseling and resolve their problems.

Meanwhile, let’s be careful how we talk to family members. The Bible has plenty of verses about our speech being kind, gentle and seasoned with grace. Sometimes we remember that when we talk to others, but forget about it when it’s our own spouse or child.

God doesn’t have a different standard for different people.

Our words ALWAYS need to be honoring to Him.