50th Anniversary Celebration

A few weeks ago, on July 21, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. On the next day (July 22), my siblings, spouses and other family hosted an open house in Fort Wayne. It was fun to stand back and watch as numerous friends came by and offered their congratulations to our parents…and there were a number of people who stopped by.

We moved to Fort Wayne when I began elementary school and lived in the same house until I graduated high school. We were members of the same church throughout that time and our family was pretty involved: youth group, Sunday School, children’s musicals, adult choir, Christmas and Easter pageants, various roles in church leadership and probably a few others not listed. Many of the relationships we had were through our church family. So, when the 50th celebration came around, many who attended were from the church.

I saw former Sunday School teachers, youth group leaders, friends of my parents and past choir members. I wish I could say I remembered everyone’s name (I didn’t) or even recognized everyone who came through. It was apparent that many of those friendships ran deep as many conversations were going and many lasted for a while.

Several family members were there which also made the day special.

A 50th Anniversary is definitely worth celebrating and it was cool to see the ripple effect of my parents’ marriage. Not only were children, grandchildren, a great-grandson, a brother, a niece and cousin present, there were countless relationships and friendships represented. It’s hard to quantify the influence they have had on people in Indiana, Oklahoma, all the places they have traveled plus the places their family members have lived.

It was a good day and a couple worth celebrating.

Here are a few pics from the day.

Mom & Dad, Uncle John & Aunt Ginny, Niece Emilee and Cousin Janet

My siblings

Just a few of the people that came

A not-so-great family selfie at dinner following Open House

Advertisements

#BrackemyreBonanza

Sat Jul 16 2016 20-58-25 GMT-0400This was a pretty significant weekend in our family as our oldest child got married! It was a great weekend of family and friends coming together to celebrate the happy couple. They chose the hashtag #BrackemyreBonanza. I looked up the definition of “bonanza” and one definition is “a large amount of something desirable.” We did have a large amount of fun and celebration so the hashtag fit.

The groom is from Ohio and the bride is from New York, so the wedding drew people from several states including Oregon, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, New York, Illinois, Virginia and others. We were grateful for all those that came in and the relationships that were started due to this bonanza.

It’s always good to get families together, especially when it means we get to eat, laugh and even dance together. It was definitely a family affair as one dad gave the bride away, the other dad performed the wedding, the youngest sibling served as ring bearer, sisters were part of the bridal party and both sides of the family showed up in force.

We have many good memories of the weekend and can’t wait to see the moments the photographer captured. Here’s some pretty good candid shots from the day.

13765729_10206703804137068_7196546484523776530_o

Groom Dancing with his Grandmother

13690930_10206703803697057_2730459593324294157_o

Groom and His Sister

13653201_10206703800816985_3894545407865385086_o

Bride and Groom

Sat Jul 16 2016 12-42-53 GMT-0400

Little Brother & Ring Bearer

13754359_10155123918732575_8995411806394743373_n

Bride & Father before walking her down the aisle

Syd in Honduras – an update in pictures

I’m away this week at church camp, but have been keeping up with Syd through her social media feed – primarily Facebook and Instagram.  She posted some cool pictures on Instagram and it seems like she is relating well with the people there, despite the language barrier.  Not sure how much Spanish she knows as she took French in high school.

I screen shot these from her Instagram account.  Looks like she is fairing pretty well.  Thanks everyone for continued prayers.

Syd Honduras 3

This was captioned “Honduran church service”

The caption for this one was "the ninos loved seeing their pictures"

The caption for this one was “the ninos loved seeing their pictures”

This caption was in Spanish - "nuevos amigos en todas partes vamos"

This caption was in Spanish – “nuevos amigos en todas partes vamos”

Adoption Fundraising Continues & We Are So Grateful

Gotcha DayA couple of weeks ago I posted about our Adopt Together fundraising page. We also had a friend send out some letters on our behalf to help with our efforts. We also have a former student of mine who is doing a Thirty-One party for us. Through it all Cheryl and I have been humbled by those who have joined us in this next stage of our lives. We have received gifts from family, friends, a few “back in the day” friends and even some people who have joined us anonymously. Currently we are nearly 50% of the way toward our goal. Again, we are so grateful for those who have decided to partner with us.

Currently, we have received enough to pay for the renewal of our home study, to send the necessary fees to our attorney in Ohio and our attorney in Maryland. We had no idea what the response would be and we are blown away.

We are using the website Adopt Together and are so appreciative of that form of communication and safe place for people to give. This video gives a little bit of the back story of Adopt Together.

AdoptTogether “Meet The Family” from AdoptTogether on Vimeo.

For those who want to be a part of this, there are two ways you can be involved.

1.) Our Adopt Together Page. Again, Adopt Together is a non-profit group and they provide grants to families who want to adopt. The gifts that are given are tax-deductible. You can click on the image below to go to our page.
Adopt Together screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2). Our Thirty-One Event. If you like Thirty-One products or want to buy something as a gift, check out the party This one closes on April 20 so it is concluding in just a few days. Click the image to go there.
Thirty-One page

 

 

 

 

 

We are again so thankful for those who are a part of this adoption journey.

Facebook Dying? Maybe not.

facebook logoOne of the challenges that many youth workers face is staying connected and sharing information with parents and students. While there are a number of ways to do that, which one is best? For example, texting is used by a lot of people…but not everyone texts. Many utilize email, but not everyone who has it even checks it.

I know in talking with students that many of them have abandoned Facebook and use Twitter a lot. That lead to conversations that perhaps Facebook is on its way out. Then, I saw this article at Youth Ministry Media that points to the fact that Facebook is still a heavy hitter in the world of social media.

They shared this infographic which shows the power of Facebook. Here are the observations they made. I found it pretty interesting.

1. 1.26 billion people used it in the third quarter last year. This is crazy. That means that 1 in every 7 people on the planet used facebook.

2. There are over 800 million mobile users.

3. 83% of 18-29 year olds use facebook.

What are your thoughts?

Facebook Infographic

See You Later, Not Goodbye

On Memorial Day, my wife and I hosted a going away party for a family from her church.   We fired up the grill and she had invited many families who had relationship with our friends that are moving away.  We planned for 100 and think we ended up with between 70-80 people when it was all said and done.  I ran the grill for the first part of the afternoon and we had burgers, turkey burgers, sausages and hot dogs.  I put something on twitter with the hashtag #grillmaster.  My wife thought I was being a little conceited, but I made note that I put #grillmaster, not #THEgrillmaster. However you look at it, it was a great afternoon.

Due to a job change, this family is relocating to Illinois.  My wife and I have become friends with them and they have definitely made a mark at their church, where they have filled many roles – VBS helpers, Drama Camp workers, small group leaders and many more.  While I am not involved actively in their church, I know what a vital role volunteers fill in children’s and youth ministry.  They will be missed on both a personal and ministry level.

Yesterday was just one chance for many in the church to say thank you and farewell.  We stopped mid-afternoon for a prayer circle with them to ask God’s blessing on their relocation.  I really liked the approach Michelle (the wife) had in saying goodbye.  She said, “I’ll say ‘see you later,’ not ‘goodbye.'”  

While they will be moving out-of-state, we are connected by something larger than just our geographic location. We belong to God’s kingdom.  While we wish they weren’t moving, we also know that the kingdom is larger than where we live and we know that relationship will remain. As plans are already in the works to connect with them after they move, we also know that we’ll have all of eternity to hang out together.  And I won’t even have to run the grill.

Funny Tape Prank

Got a link to this video in an email today.  On Wednesday nights we’ve been talking about having solid friendships that can help us deal with temptations.  Friends need to have some fun, too, so thought this video would be a good transition.  We’re showing it tonight. So, probably should watch the doorways you walk through tomorrow!