Trick or Treat

Thursday night we had 4 other couples join us for the Trick or Treat Festivities. The instructions were to bring a pumpkin, game and anything you want to drink (because Kelly and I limit our in-house options to milk, water and kool-aid generally). We were to provide the shelter, the candy to hand out and Kelly's fantastic Broccoli Cheddar Soup and homemade Sourdough bread. The Hites, Thomases, Ballmers and Hunsakers arrived between 6 and 6:15 and we enjoyed a good meal with some great conversation. From there we made out way to the front "porch area" to meet and greet the wee ones. We passed out candy, sang songs (complete with guitar) and Leslie H. and I carved our pumpkins (pretty sweet if you ask me). Meanwhile the others ventured in and out of the house enjoying casual conversations, two beautiful babies and eating lots of sweets. There was no specific structure, no planned bible study, no "spiritualizing" of our evening, but I truly believe that this was the church coming together. I have thought A LOT about that lately, what the church is and/or what it should be.

I ended the night with a little "thank you" to the friends who have taught me what community is all about in the past 2 years. This "family" has changed our lives. We have learned so much from the experience of living life together and seeking the way of Christ side by side. Meals, discussions, confessions, games, prayers, Frisbee, serving others, celebrations, times of mourning... these are just some of the things that have made up our life with our community of believers, and I am at the point that I can't imagine what life would be like without them. That's cool.
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My Daughter

This morning I woke up to the sound of my daughter whining over the monitor. It was way too early to do anything productive (i.e. feed her), but one look over the edge of the crib delievered the cruel realization that this was not simply a binky beckoning. This girl wanted to get up.

Halle has a way of convincing you of this with her sly, manipulative smiles that reach from ear to ear at the sight of mom or dad. She realizes that this casual tightening of her facial muscles draws us into her snare. Well, dad had a backup plan.

I did get her out of the crib. I carried her back to our room. I laid her down on my side of the bed and I laid down on Kelly's side (Kelly had gone to work out). Then, I place my finger in her open hand and we laid there together, finger-in-hand for at least another hour. I lost track of the time as I was constantly slipping in and out of consciousness, but it was from the time Kelly left until the time she returned, and she held onto my finger for the long-haul. I was laying on my side, facing her and every time I opened my eyes I kissed her pudgy left cheek and said, "Hey sweetheart." She would turn toward me and give a gentle smile and I would drift back to sleep.

It was one of the most enjoyable times I have had with her, laying side by side, finger in hand, relishing in our first combined nap. I love that girl!
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Our Community Clarification

We dedicated Halle this past Sunday.

Our entire community was there (the folks we eat with), but the cool thing was that the Fuzzy's crew showed up too. Mike and Janis Hoy (the owners were there), Dave & Kathy Cornwell (who actually already go to our church, so that isn't a stretch) and even Chris and Christi Williams (they made it to the beginning of the lunch until Chris realized he was really too sick to be there and they took off). My father did the dedication and he did a cool thing of having our entire small group come up and stand with us during it. I had actually thought about this ahead of time, and was thrilled he had too.

Afterwards I began to wonder how that made our daily community and the Fuzzy's crew feel? If I were them I would have been thinking, "well, I deserve to be up there too." Of course, I am probably a bit of a jealous person, so that makes sense. I asked Benji and Sarah if came up, even though they aren't in our "small group" from the Naz Church, and they did, but they told me they were wondering what others thought of that... of course I said, "screw the others". Basically here is the deal:

Kelly and I have three groups we invest relational time and energy into. We are truly connected and "close" with all three groups on rather intimate, but varying levels. There is some interconnectivity between the groups, but not much. Which leaves us being closely connected with a lot of folks. Anyways, I feel the need to simplify these groups for future reference, because it is probably somewhat confusing. I think I am going to start writing a lot more about them, us and our community, so this should help, because this is how I will refer to them.
1) Community- Folks we eat with 2-4 x/week (Benji & Sarah Ballmer, Joe & Heidi Hunsaker, and it looks like Chris and Summer Thomas may be rejoining us! Horray! )
2) Fuzzy's- Group that meet on Saturday nights, usually at Fuzzy Bernstein's restaurant. We have been meeting for 3 months or so, and somedays it seems like we are on the verge of true community with one another, others it doesn't. Still experimenting and learning with these folks. (Ballmers, Hunsakers, Dave & Kathy Cornwell, Chris & Christi Williams, Hal Fogarty, Mike & Janis Hoy, Oliver and a few other folks flirting with us).
3) Small Group- Our Sunday Night care group from the church. We have been together 2 1/2 years (at least half of us have, and two other couples have been with us for 1 1/2 years). We have reached the depths of sharing pain and joy with one another, but are presently going through a confusing dry spell with one another ( my perspective) (Hunsakers, Ron & Nancy Rook, John & Brenda Ballmer, Angie & Rob Craine, Scott & Jill Erickson, Teri Armstrong and two other fringe families... 1 just moved away)

So, there you have it. Our communities. Our community. Our church. I preached on community on Sunday and God rocked me. I recognize that MOST CHURCH GOERS don't have enough community, but I wonder if we have too much? Can you? I know you can if you neglect your family life, but when does community deter from that family life, rather than enrich it? I am committed to Koinonia (no, not the MVNC religion fraternity I never "joined"), but I want to make sure it is a healthy commitment. I read a friends livejournal today and he said "I am experiencing things in my life I have never felt. I have never desired to put my trust into a cup, and then pass the cup to a stranger..." I have always been willing. I don't know what that means right now. Good or bad?

* Jason & Ruth Eliason (high school best buds) came to the dedication/our home
* Stetlers & Jen Leonard came to visit for dinner last night.
* Great discussion with P. Mikey today. It was fun.
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