What a terrific day for an Easter Egg Hunt!
WHY, you ask?
Sun Shining! Birds chirping! Kids laughing! Candy! Cupcakes! Friends! Games! Bunny!
We started the morning by playing a game similar to an old school Cake Walk, while we waited for everyone to arrive. Old friends and new streamed in throughout the morning. It’s always so good to see old friends and make new ones on days like this. LOVE IT!
Shortly after the Easter Bunny arrived, we had a photo shoot on the front porch. People typically keep the photos digitally these days, right? I still like my old school prints, and I have learned that the kids LOVE to have their own photos. So, we will now print out pictures for the kids to have their own photos.
After sitting still for so long, the kids were ready to go on an Egg Hunt!
Once all the eggs were found or at least we think so anyway (Bella will probably find one in the next week.), we paused to hear the Good News story of Easter, as told through Resurrection Eggs. Cherie and Ashley did an OUTSTANDING job!
And a party just wouldn’t be the same without the sweet treats…cupcakes, donuts, lemonade!
Louis and I so appreciate the donations that allow us to be able to do this. For the pictures, the candy, the prizes, cupcakes, donuts and more! For the folks that pitched in to help…we thank you…IMMENSELY. We are grateful for the quiet time of chillin’ with sweet friends afterwards. Although we don’t see them often, we thank God for the gift of our spiritual family and friends. And time to relax and catch up…picking up where we left off last…although the baby is now a toddler who walks, talks, climbs and giggles.
If you wonder why we celebrate Easter…Resurrection Day, it’s not because of the yummy chocolate candy, the good food or even the good fellowship.
We love to celebrate Easter with old friends and new.
Why, you ask?
We were created by a loving God to be in relationship with Him.
But we sinned and cut ourselves off from Him.
In His great love,
God became man in Jesus,
who lived a perfect life,
and died on the cross.
He rose again from the dead.
He calls us to trust in Him alone. If we trust in Christ,
we live a new life
and have renewed our relationship with God again.
This is why we celebrate Easter…
because Jesus lives.
Last week we came up with the idea that we would do some drive-by joy instead of the drive-by shootings that have happened in our community quite a bit lately. You can read about that adventure and more here >> Easter Fun! Thanks for responding!!! You totally answered our plea! Exceeded our expectations! And WOW…are we sooo grateful! Thank you for your generous investment in our ministry and lives!!! You are the BEST friends EVER!
The Easter Bunny and a few neighborhood kids, and I toured the Northside yesterday afternoon…Southern Barton Heights, the Southern Tip of Highland Park, Brookland Park Boulevard, and parts of Battery Park. We greeted people with “Happy Easter!” while giving out candy and smiles to all we saw along the way. We even caused a small traffic jam a couple of times too. OOPS! What a blast!!!
We were greeted with joy, laughter, and smiles. Photos were taken. Fun was had. Candy given out and eaten. We stopped to treat a guy who was walking down Dove Street. He was filled with joy unspeakable. I wish I had gotten his name…knew who he was. But, we gave him joy in the form of candy, and he said “One good turn deserves another. Let me see what I might have to give you.” He presented us with a selection of rings to choose from. These are the ones we chose. His parting words were… “God bless you. Pay it forward!” And…we are. God bless you, too….new friend. God bless you, too.
Ya know, as I pause to look at the picture… to really reflect on my life. As I reflect on this picture…of one White/Caucasian hand among 3 Black/AfricanAmerican hands. I think about all the hate that’s out there. A lot of fear. But, as we approach Easter in another week, I am really reflecting on the cross. Jesus chose to LOVE when he chose to relocate from heaven to earth. He chose love when He died on that cross for our sins.
When I reflected on that picture, I realize that I chose my ring well yesterday..because I chose LOVE on my ring, and I want to choose to LOVE in my life. I really want to choose LOVE every minute of every day. Sometimes, it’s so much easier to hate….with my words, my thoughts and my actions. But, one that I know is that LOVE is a choice. And I want to choose LOVE at all times.
John 3:16-17 (NLT)
16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
Side note: Let us know if you want to join us on one of our drive-bys! Happy to have the company!
Louis and I undoubtedly have THE. BEST. wrap-around front porch ever. Best view of the best neighborhood. EVER. Now that the weather has warmed up, we will find ourselves out there every chance we can get. We refer to it as our front porch ministry. Since we live at an intersection with quite a bit of foot traffic, we get to meet a ton of our neighbors just by sitting outside chillin’ with a drink in hand greeting our friends and neighbors. Sometimes we have music…and Louis and I have been known to dance as well. :) We have created a ton of a unforgettable memories of on that porch as well.
We also have the happiest, best dogs ever. Bella and Wesley love the porch just as much as we do, and we LOVE to have them with us. Wesley, the nearly 15 year old black lab, is not our worry. Bella, the 8-9 year old almost chocolate lab, might as well be 2. With all the feral cats around, she will bound off the porch before you know it, which doesn’t make for a very peaceful night when we are constantly saying…No, Bella. And we find ourselves a bit more stressed than we need to be.
So, here’s the challenge. Note in the pictures below the set up of our porch. We need a creative, tasteful, inexpensive, simple, portable, easy-to-store, way to contain the dogs on the porch while we are out there. You might say…simple! Get a leash. Well…not so simple. Bella will chew through it in about 10 seconds flat – which won’t end up being very inexpensive after we replace it over and over again.
So, any ideas???
As usual, LouDawg’s Grilled Chicken (about 80 lbs!!!) was a huge hit at our Annual Community Memorial Day Cookout for Southern Barton Heights. Although we’ve done this for years, we just started tracking numbers. 3 years ago, we had about 40 people. Last year, we hosted about 60. I was super surprised and thrilled when about 100 people showed up over the 4 hours! I couldn’t have been happier! It was a great time of getting to know our neighbors and friends.
We were thrilled when we connected with a small group from Movement Church who sacrificed their time to help us! They were amazing! Not only did they bring side dishes, but they also came early to help set up. They organized games for the kids in our neighbor’s yard….because when we had a ton of people in the yard, it got a little tight, needless to say. Our total yard is only .14 of an acre, so the back yard is 1/2 of that. And then…the guys, TC and Matt, hung out to help us tear down, along with Chucky, David and Khalil. Our neighbors were great…contributing to the meal, helping to clean up afterwards, etc. Brian, Christy and Joy were AMAZING in the kitchen!
I have mixed feelings about the day. On one hand I was sad, when I heard someone warmly say, “I’ve never experienced anything like this. This is great!” Another new friend said, “I’ve been longing for a sense of community in our neighborhood, and now…I think I finally feel that.” as she connected with neighbors she had never met. Why sad? Because my neighbors have been hungry for community, and haven’t felt it. On the other hand, I’m also thrilled because we are moving in the right direction. Less of us will be disconnected, but now will feel a since of warmth, love and community.
I look forward to continue moving in that direction… As we attempt to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Enjoy the pictures of the day. I guess I should note that we also celebrate my birthday (5.31) each year as well. I was overwhelmed when my old and new friends joined in singing “Happy Birthday to you” in the traditional tune….and then, in the Stevie Wonder style! Thanks to everyone for making my early birthday so special. And…go ahead….mark the day on your calendar for next year when I turn the big 5-0! :)
Just a quick reminder: CCDA Cafe tomorrow, Wednesday, June 30 at 6:30p. Hope to see you there! Please RSVP if you plan to attend. Thanks!
Due to an unexpected response, we have obtained a larger location. What a wonderful problem to solve! I could not be more thrilled. Thanks to Northminster for letting us use your space! New .pdf is located below.
New Location:Northminster Church 3121 Moss Side Avenue
Richmond, VA 23222
If you want this doc in a .pdf format, check this link - CCDA Cafe Richmond Flyer – New Location.
Take a listen…and see how God answers this question as He speaks through Tim Keller. You know….there is nothing else I can say or add to this video at this time. I probably need to listen to it about 100 more times to fully comprehend what God is saying to me through Tim Keller during this short (about 17 minutes) video. Thankfully there is a related white paper for the Lausanne Movement in Cape Town 2010 available here. As I head out to the hair salon in a couple of minutes, I will take the paper version to read, re-read and highlight. And pray expectantly…that I hear more from the Lord as I do.
“WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN” is a film that we made for and about kids who are struggling to get a great education and their parents who are doing everything they can to ensure that they get it. As you know, this is a dauntingly complex problem. There are many factors that led to the current state of our nation’s education system and there are many ways to put it back on the path to success. Reform will look different in each community, and it will take a variety of actions at all levels of society to make lasting change.”
Davis Guggenheim, Director and Lesley Chilcott, Producer
You are invited to view and discuss this documentary at our home. Let’s talk about how we can make a difference in the lives of the kids in our community. Here’s the 411:
Saturday, June 25
6pm – 9pmMiss Marti’s House 2101 Barton Ave
Contact: Shonda Harris-Muhammed firstname.lastname@example.org
Look forward to seeing you! Remember to RSVP to my friend and neighbor, Shonda Harris-Muhammed at the email address above.
Some of you have asked….what is a Missional Community and what do you do?
Every Thursday at 6pm, a group of us (mainly from the Northside of RVA) get together in our home. What do we do? We fellowship (which basically means talk and eat great food together), We study God’s Word (also known as the Bible) and pray (talk to God). We live out God’s mission together (which means we encourage each other to love God more and to love our neighbors) in our everyday lives in our community, at work, at the gym, at the barber shop….wherever we spend our day. It isn’t project based. It’s just life.
Weekly, we also have Kids Missional Community, where we do the same thing, but for neighborhood kids.
I recently found this video online and thot I would share it because it describes beautifully what we are doing. This is the way we roll….in Southern Barton Heights and beyond. If you want to be a part or learn more, feel free to contact me!