Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up

We had such a busy and fun weekend!  It was perfect weather, the kids wore short sleeves all weekend and even though our nights were full of activities, the days were slow and relaxing.  All in all I think an awesome combination for a weekend.

I know that I have mentioned how much we love our church, Willowdale Chapel, and that we feel incredibly blessed to have found such an awesome church home.  Our church focuses on creating a sense of community for their members and it's mission statement is that we would; Love God, Love Each Other and Love the World Jesus has sent us to serve.  Our family has found strength, community, relationship and a place to serve others.  We have been coming to Willowdale for two years and truthfully feel so happy that God placed us in this body. 

One way we have been blessed by this church is through their Special Needs Ministry.  They will provide a buddy for any children with special needs for the service that your family attends, so you can worship and go to service knowing that your special child is well taken care of.  Grace does not yet have a buddy assigned to her but she has many {many} people who take very good care of her during her time in the childcare.  One service our church recently started for these families was Respite Night.  Once a month, on a Saturday night, they provide free childcare for all of your children.  A great deal of thought and planning goes into these nights and  they are awesome!  Not only do the parents get to go out for the evening but all of the kids are made to feel super special. Sometimes the focus falls so much on the child with special needs and not on the siblings, so this night focuses on all the kids.  

This weekend was Respite Night and as we ran down the hall after dropping our kids off drove away, we thanked God that our church saw a need for those of us on this difficult road of parenting special needs children and has stepped up to fill it.  I must confess, this is one of those things that is totally awesome and is such a great blessing to the many families who are served by it, but at the same time I am sad that our family needs the services.  There are many things that fall into this category of mixed blessing as we raise a significantly special needs child.  However, God is filling those empty and sad places in our hearts and lives with awesome memories and experiences of just how loved our special girl (and as a result our family) is by our church.  Mark and I were able to go out to a 'grown-up restaurant' and have an awesome evening of fellowship and laughter with another family that was also taking advantage of our church's Respite Night.

We also spent time at our church for our regular Sunday service and then on Sunday night  for the Alpha course.  Mark and I are small group leaders or discussion leaders for this course and it has been an awesome way to strengthen our knowledge and to help others in their faith walk.  I highly recommend this course to anyone who has questions about God, Jesus and their faith.  You can find more information and locate a church near you that is offering this course, here.  In fact, we spent so much time at church this weekend that when I woke Luke woke up for school he thought it was time to go to church again :) 

This last picture of Grace and I was taken by John.  He takes a good picture and one of our future goals is to take a photography class together.  Okay, that is my goal but since he still wants to please his mother he says he wants to take one too!


Anna said...

Anne that is such a brilliant idea that your church has to give parents of special needs kids a respite night!! And the buddies for church services too is another great idea. I am so glad that your family have been able to find such a supportive and caring church.

Alpha is good isn't it...hope that the rest of the course you are helping with goes well.
Take care,

Gardenia said...

what a lovely church home you have found. what blessings you derive from it. cute shots of your babies.

Hannah said...

what a great thing to have found a home with your church. Love it.

LOVE that picture of you and beautiful!