Month: November 2007

Family News

Stephen Attends Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar

Stephen departing Thursday morning from the Eastern Iowa Airport.

Yesterday Stephen flew to Atlanta for the annual Photojournalism Seminar. I just got off the phone with him and he told me about some of the speakers he heard today. Today he learned about sports, lighting, and documentary. The man who spoke on documentary was the White House photographer for 6 years under President Reagan.

It sounds like Stephen has been learning a lot. He has enjoyed meeting lots of photographers and spending time with the other Cedar Rapids Gazette photographers who are also attending the seminar.


Christmas Fishing!


Christmas parties can often be difficult to plan!

A few years ago a friend and I were planning a Christmas party for friends from our church and we were trying to decide what activities to do. We were struggling because we didn’t want to just play games and eat. We wanted to plan something worthwhile. After thought, struggle, and prayer, this is what materialized:


We divided into two even teams and gave each team a video camera, a vehicle to drive, a list of instructions, and Christmas tracts. The goal was to finish everything on the list and be the first ones back. I’ll give you some examples of what was on our list, but I’d also recommend coming up with your own ideas to add.

-Christmas carol at 2 houses with lighted Christmas trees in their front yard. Compliment their tree, and leave them with a tract and plate of cookies.

-Take a Christmas Survey* to someone wearing a Santa hat.

-Take a Christmas survey to someone wearing green.

-Pass out 50 Christmas Tracts

-Sing “Joy to the World” in front of a Nativity scene (everyone in the group must sing).

-Go through a fast food drive-through, buy something, and leave them with a Christmas tract.

-Buy a Christmas dessert to bring back and share with the rest of us.

We all came back excited, laughing, and full of funny stories and good reports. Next we filled our plates with Christmas munchies and watched the documentary videos we had just taken. Talk about hilarious…. we laughed so much that night.

The best part was the satisfactory feeling that we had brightened the lives of others that evening and passed out tracts with a thought-provoking message. When the party had ended, we knew that there was fruit that was going to last. It’s always more blessed to give than to receive. The houses where we caroled were so tickled and excited. In fact, a few days later we received a very enthusiastic thank you note from one of the houses we had caroled at. The mother wrote how her daughter had never heard Christmas carolers before and it was such a highlight for their family.

Just a warning– if you do the “Christmas Fishing” activity, be aware that you may not be able to take video cameras into stores.

If any of you have other ideas for “profitable Christmas parties” or of ways to be a bright light for the Lord this Christmas, please post a comment and share your ideas with the rest of us! And, if any of you try this and it goes well, please come back and post a comment telling us about it!

*Below is a Christmas survey my dad wrote the year I was born. Thanks, dad! 🙂

Feel free to add or subtract questions. Taking a survey is a wonderful springboard for a great conversation. Christmas is an outstanding time to witness! Make sure you don’t let yourself get sucked into the shopping rush and forget to be talking to people about the Lord! During the Christmas season, people are happy, feeling social, and generally they are excited to talk with someone. (Just don’t pick people who are in a hurry! 🙂 ) Also remember: never give up witnessing after a conversation that you feel didn’t go well.
I guarantee you will enjoy your shopping more if you also talk with people about the Lord. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35

Family News

Thank you!!!!

Wow– I was surprised to see that Sarah had posted on my blog and even more surprised to see so many comments! It was so much fun to hear from all of you! Thank you SO much for all the kind words. I feel undeserving! But I am grateful for how good God is. 1 Corinthians 4:7.
Since it’s Thanksgiving morning, I spent some extra time thanking God for things. All the wonderful friends He has given me was near the top of the list. 🙂 Words can’t express how much I appreciate all of you!

We celebrated my birthday a few nights ago and had a great Mexican meal. Dark chocolate seemed to be a theme in gifts… so I think I’m stocked up for the winter. 🙂

I picked 1 Thess 4:1 as my theme verse for this year.


In snowed for Thanksgiving! Yea!

In a few minutes our family is leaving for Madison, Wisconsin to have Thanksgiving with relatives.


In the next day or two I’m planning to post some Christmas evangelism ideas so stop back if you are interested!

Family News

Happy 19th Birthday Grace!

Hi everyone! This is Sarah. I thought I’d surprise Grace and put a quick post on her blog to let you all know that tomorrow (Sunday) is her birthday. Happy Birthday Grace! Thanks for being such an awesome little sister!grace-19th-bday-post.jpg

Strong in the Lord Conf.

Thankful to God

Jacksonville, Florida, Bright Lights Conference, Nov 9-10, 2007
Although every conference is a struggle to pull off, we were so grateful for all the ways our Heavenly Father worked and provided so that this conference was a success!

One of our themes on this trip was evangelism and witnessing. We got into a lot of great conversations!! Here is a picture I snapped of a conversation with a friend we met on the beach. The man in the red shirt (above) asked if he could join in our soccar game, but instead some people from our group talked with him for over 30 minutes about who Jesus Christ was, how to get to heaven, etc. Our little friend Merrit (7 yrs old, sister of one of the Bright Lights leaders) also contributed some good comments to the conversation! He responded very well to Merrit. 🙂

Strong in the Lord Conf.

Strong in the Lord Conference in Jacksonville, FL

This was our last conference. We sensed a lot of enemy attack beforehand, but it went great!

Chrissy Baskerville and the “Brownie Skit”. You did such a good job, Chrissy! 🙂

We always eat whatever food is leftover from what we serve at conference. Usually it becomes sort of a joke because everyone gets tired of it after a while.This week we had lots of bananas, skittles, and applesauce. 🙂


Moving 15 girls and all their luggage around for 2 weeks in Florida isn’t an easy task! Thank you Mom, Dad, Stephen, Mr. and Mrs. Baskerville and Andrew for all the times you moved us (and all of our luggage) to the different homes where we were staying!



We are now in Georgia on our way home again! All the conferences went very well… they were exciting and tiring. It’s hard to give a full report in one paragraph. Overall, we were thankful to the Lord for the way He worked. It was encouraging to see little girls making commitments to read their Bibles everyday, mothers requesting more tissue boxes, joyful laughter, good times of singing, enthusiastic responses… we were encouraged. Thank you all so much for your prayers.

Tonight we all had fun outside around a bonfire. Yesterday we had a great time at the beach in Jacksonville. It’s a good feeling to be on our way home now. I have lots of pictures that I will post soon. My laptop (actually, Stephen’s old laptop) keeps dying on me (no idea why Stephen gave it up…) so that’s why I’m not posting the pictures now. Oh, the joys of being the youngest–you get to use everything your older siblings don’t want anymore. 🙂

Strong in the Lord Conf.

Clearwater, FL Bright Lights Conference

Thank you everyone for your prayers! Everything has been going great! The Lord has taken good care of our team through many very kind and hospitable people. Here are some pictures from our first conference in Clearwater on November 2-3rd.


My small group: the “Nightlights” Miss you! 🙂



Chelsea and Laura
Chrissy and Lena
Ally and Grace

Stephen and Grace

The case of the mysterious death of Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell B. Vanderbon was solved on stage by Detective 332 and Sarah Mally after observing the events at Miss Charity Always’ Office…