Project 365: Day 113 Jake   Leave a comment

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This is Jake. He and I met nearly a decade ago when he was a youth in our youth group. He’s changed a lot since then, but then again, so have I. (I’ll spare us the pictures, just trust that they exist.)

In the years since Jake was a teen, we have formed one of the unlikeliest friendships as adults. We lost touch for a few years, and reconnected when God needed us to. It’s Jake’s story to tell, so I’ll just say he was in a bit of a rough patch when we reconnected. Since then, Jake has served as a youth ministry intern with me for a while. He is just like part of our family now, we have a Christmas stocking for him and everything. On Wednesday nights like tonight, he co-teaches senior high Bible study with me. (As you can see, my kids consider Jake like a family member too.)

It’s a special blessing in youth ministry when you get to watch young people grow up, sometimes going through challenges, and then you become friends as adults. In some ways the adult friendship began more as a mentoring role between Jake and my husband, but now we all count this as a cherished connection. You can’t necessarily predict when this kind of connection will happen, but I love how God sometimes weaves our stories together.

Blessed,
Erin

If you’ve been in youth ministry a while, do you have former youth that are now friends? How did that evolve?

Posted April 23, 2014 by erinjackso in Personal Blog, Photo Blog, Youth Ministry

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Inspiration in a Single Bluebird   Leave a comment

erinjackso:

What inspires you? Here’s a little something that inspired me.

Originally posted on Erin Sloan Jackson Art:

I have been enamored with this bird silhouette for a few weeks. It all started as a picture in a book on bluebirds. Longing to master sketching birds, I drew the bird several times in my sketchbook. I just love the freedom of spirit that a bird in flight represents. We really are meant to soar, you know.

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I cut out the sketch I liked best and have been using it as the starting point for three pieces so far:

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I love that a single photograph has transformed into so many versions.

What about you? What inspires you? Which dream are you pursuing?

Blessings,
Erin

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Project 365: Day 112 Not Above Bribing my Kids   Leave a comment

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Tonight was the first grade music concert. The school cafeteria was crowded with parents, siblings and grandparents ready to watch their favorite first-graders. We lucked out and were sitting right in front of our Kathryn.

As we were waiting for the concert to start, my bored sons started getting a little rowdy. Nothing too terrible, just touching and poking each other. They were a little squirrelly. Finally, I resorted to The Bribe.

“Mom, we are bored – can we go to the playground or go play soccer?” my sons asked.

“I tell you what, if you can behave for the rest of the show, I will let you go outside and play after the concert.” The bribe was set.

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It totally worked. Better than a threat, the promise of a reward kept the boys in line. I am not above bribery, as it turns out.

Fortunately, I’m blessed with three really great kids anyway.

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What about you? What are you willing to negotiate? Would your parents have done this? Would you?

Blessings,
Erin

Posted April 22, 2014 by erinjackso in Personal Blog, Photo Blog

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Project 365: Day 111 Boston Strong and Mormons   Leave a comment

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1 Corinthians 9:24-27
New International Version (NIV)
The Need for Self-Discipline

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

I understand that most people would rather not run unless they are being chased, but I am a runner nonetheless. This puts me in a community of like-minded people like no other. We talk about things like our pace, our Brooks running shoes, our training schedules. I haven’t earned my 13.1 or 26.2 stickers yet, but I blame plantar fasciitis for that (PF – another thing runners talk about.)

Tonight in honor of the Boston Marathon, I went for twice my normal run – a 10K instead of a 5K. This gave me about an hour to reflect on the emotions I felt a year ago on the day of the Boston Marathon tragedy when I ran the same trail. I felt a huge loss because my people were unfairly attacked that day. They were runners like me who talked to their friends about the things runners talk about, innocent and determined people who trained for months to tackle one of the ultimate events for runners. My thoughts and prayers were with all of the Boston Strong today.

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And in an interesting turn of events, I met a couple of Mormon missionaries while on my run. I felt led to pray blessings on their ministry and enjoyed talking to these genuinely good people. I may not be Mormon, but I admire the sacrifice and dedication of the missionaries. It’s an odd connection to make, but I can see Mormon missionaries as marathoners of their faith. They train and prepare for hours each week in the years leading up to their mission, they spend a committed distance of two years as missionaries. It’s impressive, no matter your theology.

It makes me wonder what the world would be like if more young Christians were willing to train for hours each week for years and then commit to two years of sharing their faith. What do you think?
What would be different?
Where do you need self-discipline in your faith walk?

Erin

Project 365: Day 110 Fun with Nylons   Leave a comment

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Easter Sunday included the traditional egg hunt, church and family supper. Unexpectedly, also included a run to Dollar General to get colored nylon socks for the creation of WWE Jeff Hardy armbands. Just never know what each day will include.

Of course, like many youth workers, I know of a lot of other wacky uses for nylons. They can be made into balls, create crazy hairstyles, great for throwing and catching. Know any good old school pantyhose youth ministry games?

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Posted April 21, 2014 by erinjackso in Personal Blog, Photo Blog

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Project 365: Day 109 Six Fun Things   Leave a comment

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It has been a full, good day. Tonight during bedtime hugs, my daughter and I reflected on our day. As she counted, we did 6 fun things:

1. Breakfast and an Egg Hunt at the church (very proud that my son worked as a cook for the church pancake breakfast!):

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2. Then Trey, Kat and I went to the mall AND rode the carousel 8 times. I hardly ever go to the mall, so this counts as significant. (Nate won 3rd place in a soccer tournament during this time):

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3. We watched a Barbie movie from Redbox (this is where my tally would read “I had a great midday nap,” Trey and Nate’s lists differed from Kat’s too.)

4. We decorated Easter eggs:

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5. Went to a jumping birthday party:

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6. And had a movie night. You know it has been a full day when the kids ask, “can I just go to sleep now?”

Six fun things! It was a special treat to have enough time in the middle of the Saturday to just let my kids play. It was busy, yes, but a relaxing, good busy. I cherish connecting with my family and making memories like this. It felt like a time of Sabbath just to be unhurried and enjoying each other.

I pray your Holy weekend is going well.

Blessings,
Erin

Posted April 19, 2014 by erinjackso in Personal Blog, Photo Blog

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Project 365: Day 108 Celebrating my Birthday   Leave a comment

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They say you only turn each age once. For me, the age is 40. (Eeep!). With amazing and fun friends like mine, my birthday celebration lasted a little longer. Tonight I am celebrating with great food and lots of laughter with some of the best people I know. So thankful for my friends!

Posted April 18, 2014 by erinjackso in Personal Blog, Photo Blog

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Project 365: Day 107   1 comment

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Had an adventurous trail run with my kids Thursday night. Here we were taking a short run break to check out a cliff. Love that we exercise together.

Posted April 18, 2014 by erinjackso in Personal Blog, Photo Blog

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Project 365: Day 106 Butterflies and our Faith Journey   Leave a comment

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In my kiddo’s first grade classroom, students are learning first-hand about metamorphosis by having cocoons and tadpoles in class. Today I stopped in my daughter’s classroom after lunch to check out the newly revealed butterflies.

This got me thinking – I love how butterflies represent the Christian journey. The life cycle of a butterfly is egg, caterpillar, chrysalis & butterfly. Our life in Christ is similar.

Eggs. We begin our life journey and faith journey as beings that are fragile and in need of nourishment. We can find protection and soul food by reading the Bible, being around other believers, worship and prayer.

Caterpillars. Caterpillars crawl along and continue to grow. As they grow they often shed their skin, just like we need to shed old habits and choices that don’t fit our new life.

Chrysalis. During this time of total transformation, caterpillars separate themselves and change. I feel like I am in the midst of this time of transformation as I mature and continue to grow in my faith.

Butterfly. When a butterfly emerges from its cocoon, it is not being born but it is being reborn. We too are reborn as we emerge into our lives as Christians. It is a beautiful thing to be born anew. We are transformed from our former lives and are something altogether new.

The butterfly is also a perfect symbol for Jesus’s resurrection. At Easter and always, may you be born anew in Christ.

Blessings,
Erin

Questions:
What stage are you in on your faith walk? What about the people you know?
What can you do to help others transform?

Posted April 16, 2014 by erinjackso in Devotional, Personal Blog, Photo Blog

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Project 365: Day 105 There were Beans, Beans, Enough to Feed Marines   Leave a comment

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First grade students, including my lovely daughter, performed tonight at Barnes and Noble for a school fundraiser. At events like this I’m never sure which is the better picture – the adorable performers, or the dozens of loving adults crowded around to capture the moment on video:

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I got one song recorded, then intentionally watched the performance and enjoyed the cute singing.

Here are the lyrics from tonight’s show:

CORNER GROCERY STORE

There were beans, beans, enough to feed Marines in the store, in the store.
There were beans, beans, enough to feed Marines in the corner grocery store.
My eyes are dim, I cannot see.
I have not brought my specs with me.
I have not brought my specs with me.
There were beans, beans, enough to feed Marines in the store, in the store.
There were beans, beans, enough to feed Marines in the corner grocery store.
My eyes are dim, I cannot see.
I have not brought my specs with me.
I have not brought my specs with me.

(Enjoy this here:
http://youtu.be/SG3zRN-Ttzc)

ON TOP OF SPAGHETTI

On top of spaghetti all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed.
It rolled off the table and onto the floor. And then my poor meatball rolled out of the door.
It rolled in the garden and under a bush, and then my poor meatball, was nothing but mush.
The mush was as tasty as tasty could be, and early next summer, it grew into a tree.
The tree was all covered with beautiful moss; it grew lovely meatballs and tomato sauce.
So if you eat spaghetti all covered with cheese hold onto your meatballs, and don’t ever sneeze.
ACHOO!!

THE FOOD SONG

Capellini, fettucini, escargot and bok choy
Jambalaya and papaya, teriyaki, bok choy.
Herring, kippers, guacamole, kreplach, crumpets, ravioli, gyros, gumbo, sushi, curry, poi, bok choy.
Tacos, baklava, egg rolls, French fries rumaki, Sally Lunn.
Bratwurst, lasagna, won ton, chow mein, ceviche, crab Rangoon.

Wiener schnitzel, salted pretzels, sauerkraut and bok choy.
Moo goo gai pan, enchilada, sauerbraten, bok choy.

Herring, kippers, guacamole, kreplach, crumpets, ravioli, gyros, gumbo, sushi, curry, poi, bok choy.
Tacos, baklava, egg rolls, French fries rumaki, Sally Lunn.
Bratwurst, lasagna, won ton, chow mein, ceviche, crab Rangoon.

Questions:
Are you watching life or busy recording a video of it?
What kid songs do you have memorized?

Posted April 15, 2014 by erinjackso in Personal Blog, Photo Blog

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