*giggle, snort* There’s a squirrel in our garden, doing somersaults. I’m serious! You’d think there was catnip growing there or something. Assuming squirrels get high on catnip. Speaking of gardens, that’s another thing to add to the "to do" list, since the lovely weather has brought all the greenery, and things are growing and blossoming everywhere! We don’t have a lot of space for annuals anymore, but we’re still working on getting more stuff for our shady spots.

Our Children’s Pastor was the speaker yesterday, perfect for Mother’s Day. She was careful to point out, first of all, that a lot of people suffer much sorrow around this day: those who wish to be moms but aren’t, those who have had a difficult and grief-stricken relationship with their moms, those who have lost mothers, those who have lost children… She gave excellent evidence of the importance of mother-figures (a comfort perhaps, to those who are barren), since her own mother was not a good mother–yet she turned out to be, because of several other women in her life–mentors (which is something MEN can do, too!).  Also, she said that motherhood is a rather "gritty" sort of thing, and we celebrate not in a "woohoo!" flippant sort of fashion, but with a deeper joy. Her Biblical examples were Elizabeth and Mary, and Paul and Timothy (therefore, the men were able to be included!)

In the sermon series about our church’s new mission statement ("We exist to invite ordinary people to encounter Christ and thoughtfully follow Him."), they’ve been using the alphabet to remind us of the key points. Last week was ‘A’ for "attract", and this week was ‘B’ for "bring". So, Carol taught about the kind of relationships that will help to "Bring" people to Christ (after we’ve worked on attracting them!) She stressed three points about these relationships:

  1. They are built on non-judgmental acceptance (think of the pregnancies of Elizabeth and Mary–one old, one out of wedlock)
  2. They are built on affirmation–praise people for who they are and what they do, in their situation.
  3. The mentor is served by the ones they are mentoring; in humility, know that we have much to learn from each other.

If you think of Elizabeth and Mary, and Paul and Timothy, I’m sure you can figure out how they each lived out those points!

We also like how Carol pointed out that these things are always ongoing: just because we’ve tried attracting, we don’t say "OK, we’ve done that. They didn’t come, but we’ve done our part."

Lots to do this week, in the few days there are before the Long Weekend Vacation (6 days!) starts!

Walk to Rivendell:  We’ve now finished our 18th day, having gone 19 miles, for a total of 317 miles since we left Bag End.

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