A Christ centered Christmas

Happy almost December!

I wanted to share a few ideas with you.  I hope these fun traditions inspire you to create some new precious memories with your family.

I also took a bunch of time to create a huge playlist on Spotify filled with Christ centered Christmas music.  You can follow my playlist on Spotify.  (Spotify is free and amazing in case you haven't gotten it yet.  You can listen to basically most every single song ever made.)


I love you each so much and pray for you and your loved ones to know our Savior in a new way this December.




Ideas for a Christ centered Christmas

  1. Watch Christ centered Christmas movies.
    -The nativity story
    -Charlie Brown Christmas
    -Veggie tales ultimate Christmas collection

  2. Try a Christ-Centered Alternative to the Elf on the Shelf

Google this for lots of great ideas.

     3.   Key for Santa.

     4.   30 Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas. Some fun ideas! -     http://pinterest.com/pin/A2OmQQAQwMoB6jwze0cAAAA/?s=3&m=keep
     5.   Don’t just write a letter to Santa, this year also write a letter to Jesus as a gift for his birth.
Put the letter inside of a balloon with helium and let it go up to heaven!
     6.   When you have your Christmas dinner add an extra plate to the table to teach your children that there is always room for Christ at our Inn.
     7.   On Christmas Eve turn off all the lights for a minute before the children go to bed.  Place candles all over the house and start saying in your own words the Christmas Story.  As you travel from room to room light up one candle. By the time Baby Jesus is born all the house will be lit up as a symbolism of Him being the Light of the World.
     8.    Set up your nativity but don't put baby Jesus there.  Let your youngest child put the baby Jesus in the nativity on Christmas day.  The fact that He is missing during the month of December makes the family focus more on the reason of the Season.  The children will also look forward to Christmas Eve with anticipation knowing that that’s the day when Baby Jesus was born.
    9.     Have a night when your family can talk about 25 Miracles that Jesus did.
   10.    Every year buy a new Christ centered Christmas Book.
Read it as a family… You will have a wonderful collection over the years.
    11.   Read the Christmas Story { Luke 2 }
Children can dress up using sheets and towels as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and the wise men.


There are many, many more ideas online.  Don’t feel overwhelmed, just pick a few that are simple and fit into your family’s style.  And don’t forget to come to our Christmas Eve service.  

Christmas Light Displays in our area

Drumroll please!

It's time for my annual post about Christmas light displays!!!!!

Merry Christmas lovely ladies,

I wanted to share something fun that Pastor Greg and I enjoy doing this time of year in the area. Drive around looking at Christmas lights on private homes (don't forget the hot chocolate).

Comment if you go there and let us all know about your experience.

Make sure you call a neighbor or invite someone from church you haven't gotten to know very well yet.  And have a jolly time!
Rejoicing that our Savior has come to us!



???Where are  the lights????
Howard County:

5034 Durham Road East Columbia MD (lots of inflatables)

The corner of Deepage & Rustling Leaf Columbia MD ( inflatables)

6421 Elffolk Terrace Columbia, MD  This is the Ankney family that attends The Cause.

Historic Savage Mill 8600 Foundry St., Savage  adds sparkle to the season with the annual lighting of the Bollman Truss Bridge. Includes over 15,000 white lights.

Melba Rd, in Ellicott City (quite a few houses on this road do a lot of decorating)

4802 Red Hill Way, Ellicott City, MD 21043 The Bartlett family of Ellicott City shares an extravagant light display synced to music.  Very kid friendly.   In 2015, they were featured on the ABC show The Great Christmas Light Fight!

Cook family lights in Elkridge, 6221 Graftons view court. They have music to go along with the display. Such a fun house, and they have a FB page. Search Cook family lights.

Velvet Valley Drive, Fox Valley Estates, (Rt. 32) West Friendship, 21794 Residents decorate the tree-lined streets with twinkle lights in addition to their homes.

Drive a little further to see these:

Henleyville Christmas Village 13901 Mattie Hanies Rd., Mt Airy,21771
The Henleyville Christmas Village started in 1992 with just two small buildings and three animated characters and has grown immensely in its 23 years. The walk through Christmas town now includes over 15 buildings, 65 animated characters and almost 20 blow ups on 1/3 of an acre. Visitors may crawl through a Disney Castle, hang Christmas balls on a Christmas tree and help load Santa’s sleigh. Attractions include an elf shop, the North Pole Fire Department, a candy shop and play house. Great for kids!

6719 Boston Ave Dundalk, MD is small but fun. And it snows during Frozen.

Miracle on34th St Baltimore http://pin.it/jrztdy1

Homestead Gardens. They light up all the trees outside beautifully and inside the entire nursery is converted to Christmas. Huge model train set, tons of trees and lights and really ornate ornaments. In fact you'll see many folks walking around shooting formal Christmas card photos there in front of the decorations. Davidsonville, MD  410.798.5000

We haven't seen these yet, but have heard that they are fun.

22 Kitzbuhel Rd. Parkton, MD

Watkins Park in Prince George's county

8492 Tipton Dr. Laurel, MD (Sadly, these were not up in December 2015, but I'm hoping they'll resurface in the future because this was a really great display)

More links to lists of fun below

More suggestions on the Ellicott City Lights Facebook page

Are You Offended?

Here is a great list to test and see if you are holding an offense against someone.
This was taken from an article about marriage by Meg Marie Wallace ( see the entire article here ) but for tonight's class we are applying these to all of our relationships.
(I have only read this one article of hers and have not done research about her so please don't hate me if she has some crazy beliefs in other blog posts.)

 (Hopefully not.)




Hardness of heart is…
-lacking genuine sorrow over sin.
-continuing to go back again and again into temptation, lies and deceit.
-choosing to think of yourself as most important.
-choosing what’s best for you and not the other.
-the small lies and huge lies that you convince yourself are not a big deal.
-being unteachable. 

-tearing down with words.
-comparing and contrasting your wrongs against the other and making the judgement that “theirs is worse.”
-responding with defensiveness. 

-the need to always be in control.
-waiting for the other to say sorry first. 

-demanding the other change first.
-thinking more of what you deserve instead of what you can give.
-focusing more on being right than on becoming righteous.
-what you can get out of someone instead of how you can invest in them.
-the refusal to forgive.
-the refusal to humble yourself to ask for forgiveness. 

-saying you forgive, but never letting go.
-asking for forgiveness and then going back to do the same thing again.
-magnifying the weaknesses and minimizing the strengths of the other, while magnifying the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses of yourself.
-justifying wrongful actions because they “started it first.”
-spending more time trying to find an official clinical diagnosis to explain away their issues than looking in the mirror to address your own.
-preserving your own well-being at the expense of the other.
-reading this list and thinking someone else should be reading this… 

Stop Human Trafficking

Huma raffickin efinition: 


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persons, ean h hrea s orc the orm oercion, bduction, f 

fraud, eception, h bus owe ositio ulnerabilit h ivin r 

receivin ayment enefit chiev h onsen erso avin ontro ver 

anothe erson, o h urpos xploitation. 

★Huma raffickin fte ook ik hi h tri lub, otels, rothels,massag alor nd 


★Huma raffickin a rul ecom loba hrea ulnerabl en, omen, nd 

childre orldwide. njustic ha ffect illion eopl ver ea very 

continen n l ocioeconomi evels. uma raffickin ighly-organize nd 

lucrativ usiness, eneratin 5 illio S e ear, illio hic enerate y 

se raffickin ithi h rostitutio ndustry. 






Matthe :35-38 


3 esu en hroug l h own n illages, eachin hei ynagogues, 

proclaimin h oo ew h ingdo n ealin ver iseas n ickness. 6 

Whe a h rowds, a ompassio he, ecaus he er arassed 

an elples, ik hee ithou hepherd. he ai i isciples, “he 

harves lentifu u h orker r e. s h or h arves, herefore, o 

sen u orker nt i arves iel.” 






1.W a ee ik on’ av xactl allin u if u l av  

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Ho a ak ifferenc uma raffickin it assion? 







Prayer Points


Pray for the The City of Baltimore. Jeremiah 29:7'

Pray for the women and young girls in human trafficking in Maryland.

For their Strength and Salvation

Isaiah 40:29

Luke 19:10

Psalms 138:7

For their Protection,Freedom and Justice

Psalm 82:4,

Psalm 103:6;

Psalm 146:7

For their healing and hope

Psalm 40:1-3

Jeremiah  31:17

Pray for the government for wisdom on strengthening the laws

Proverbs 8:15,

Proverbs 29:4,

Nehemiah 9:13

Pray for conviction for the buyers and traffickers.

Isaiah 55:7,

Romans 5:6-8,

2 Timothy 2:25

Unity among organizations to work together to end human trafficking maryland

Psalm 133:1

For a team to build with BeLoved Baltimore


How watching Christian videos really changed one boy's life

 This video is actually Pastor Greg's niece and her family.  At 3 years old (he turned four just 2 weeks before this filming) Levi was greatly impacted by the story of King David.  He must have worn that costume every day for a year.  He even had it on Christmas day.  Which is a little hilarious in public because it is basically a short dress.  But he didn't care.

Who do you want your children to look up to that much??

Scriptures about the Kingdom -from The Mother's day Sermon

The Kingdom

For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
Philippians 3:18-21 NLT

John 15:19
The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
John 17:16
"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Hebrews 11:13-16 nlt
They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. 
1 Peter 2:11  Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

Matthew 6:33 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The Angel speaking to Mary about Jesus’ birth
Luke 1:31-33 ESV
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Acts 28:23 nlt
He explained and testified about the Kingdom of God and tried to persuade them about Jesus from the Scriptures. 
Acts 28:31 nlt
He welcomed all who visited him, 31 boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 19:8 ESV
And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.
Matthew 4:17 ESV
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 6:9-13 ESV
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Psalm 103:19 ESV
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Luke 17:20-21 ESV /
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
Mark 1:15 ESV
And saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Luke 10:9 ESV
Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
John 18:36 ESV
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Romans 14:17-19 ESV
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Matthew 16:19 ESV
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Luke 6:20 ESV
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
*Matthew 18:4 ESV
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
*1 Corinthians 15:50 ESV
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Matthew 13:11 ESV
And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
Galatians 5:21 ESV
Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 nlt
9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Romans 2:6-8 ESV
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
2 Thessalonians 1:12 ESV
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—
Mark 10:25 ESV
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
Matthew 5:20 ESV
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 13:47-50 ESV
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad.

Daniel 7:27 ESV
And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’
Revelation 3:21 ESV
The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

John 3:1-36 ESV
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. …

Ezekiel 36:24-28 ESV
I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Revelation 1:5-6 ESV
And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Acts 1:6 ESV
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
*Luke 17:21 ESV
Nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
John 18:37 ESV
Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

Matthew 25:34 ESV
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Galatians 3:27-29 ESV
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Romans 8:15So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
23We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,including the new bodies he has promised us.
Daniel 2:44 ESV
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,
Revelation 21:1-4 ESV
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Luke 13:28-29
In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.
Revelation 11:15
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
Revelation 22:5 ESV
And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Psalm 45:6 ESV
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
*Daniel 2:44 ESV
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,
Luke 13:28-29 ESV
In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.
Psalm 103:19 ESV The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Revelation 5:10 ESV
And you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
*Revelation 22:5 ESV
And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

John 12:25-26  Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.  Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me. 

Media ideas for your family

Looking for some great Christian videos, books, and more?

I've done some research and these seem to be at the top of everyone's lists.


Let me know about your favorites too.

Toddler and preschoolers


Hermie and friends


Adventures in Odyssey
DVDs ages 8-12


Veggie tales
(Now on Netflix)

3-2-1 Penguins
By the makers of Veggie tales

Kay Arthur kids Bible studies

Apples to apples game Bible edition

What's in the Bible


Jonathan Park (creation/science audio drama)


The Creation museum is a resource for science stuff

Book series
The Wingfeather saga by Andrew Peterson


God's great covenant (a bible course for kids)


What we believe series

Various free videos http://www.godtube.com/kids-videos/

YouTube channels
The beginners Bible
The holy tales
Veggie tales official
What's in the Bible?
Jon Jorgeson (for teens)
Bible stories for kids
That Christian channel
Listener kids (songs for little ones)

Jelly Telly
A streaming service for Christian kid's videos. $5 a month (first week free)

Older elementary
The Torchlighters series - videos
(True stories of heroes of the faith. Some are a bit scary because people are imprisoned and die, but really good.)


Seeds of Worship is music to help you memorize scripture.


Family movie night
War Room
Facing the Giants

End of the spear

The Case for Christ

God's not dead

Soul Surfer
The Nativity story


Son of God 

Miracles from Heaven

Fun Activities to do nearby

Drum roll please...

Here is my latest list of fun activities to try this spring.

Enjoy and invite someone new to The Cause to join you.

King Barn Dairy Mooseum


Take the family to King Barn, circa 1913, where kids can learn how to milk a cow, see a puppet show, and get a taste of life on a dairy farm. Check out the quirky collection of vintage bottles and life sized cow sculptures. The Mooseum is located inside the Germantown Recreation Park, which includes picnic grounds, playground and small water park. Open in summer. / mooseum.com

Dinosaur Park
Dinosaurs once roamed the Mid-Atlantic, and deposits of sediment and clay in Laurel, Md. have been the site of significant discoveries of prehistoric bones and plant life. This led to preservation of the area, and the creation of The Dinosaur Park—a place where families can see, touch and hunt for fossils. The park opens twice a month, providing interactive tours, education programs, along with the opportunity to sift through the dirt for treasures. / pgparks.com

National Children’s Museum
Designed for kids ages 8 and under. Start with the two main exhibit areas and theatre, the latter featuring year-round interactive shows. Then follow up with a visit to the Center for Learning and Innovation, which carries the cultural themes in the exhibits and productions into the activity room. The museum includes a 3-and-under Sesame Street-themed section, with Cookie Monster and Big Bird there to interact with visitors at special times. / ccm.org

Spy City Tours on Gray Line Bus
This 2.5-hour bus tour departs from Union Station weekly to view 25 notorious espionage sites in DC. Visitors see a different side of the city, as a tour guide points out restaurants, hotels and office buildings linked to intelligence activities. It’s an interactive experience, since guests are asked to crack the codes of secret messages and learn trade secrets from former spies via video (including CIA’s Tony Mendez who inspired the movie ARGO). The tour concludes with a visit to the Spy Museum. / spymuseum.org

Brookside Garden
The 50-acre public display garden at Wheaton Regional Park featuring several niche-gardens, including an Aquatic Garden, Azalea Garden, Children’s Garden, and many more. In May, make a point of strolling through the Trail Garden, where more than 10,000 flowering bulbs spring forth. Best of all, admission is free. / montgomeryparks.org –

Mount Vernon Cultural District
The Washington Monument—no, not the one on the National Mall —is the focal point of one of the most vibrant urban villages in Baltimore, the Mount Vernon Cultural District north of downtown. Surrounding the monument are four charming, landscaped parks and loads of cultural attractions, including the Walters Art Museum, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and the Basilica Cathedral. Add to your day-trip itinerary a visit to Antique Row on Howard Street, the oldest antique district in the country, and finish up at George’s at the Peabody Court Hotel for a well-earned steak and cake. / mvcd.org

Skipjack Nathan
Hop aboard one of the few remaining authentic skipjacks in the U.S., the Nathan of Dorchester, which offers day-trippers a unique way to experience the Chesapeake. Skipjacks are traditionally designed for oyster dredging, but the Nathan is now primarily a passenger vessel offering demonstration dredging on its two-hour Saturday sails. The public sailing season runs May to October, or you can charter the Nathan for your own private party. / skipjack-nathan.org

Lillypons Water Gardens
Lilypons boasts more than 50 ponds filled with colorful water plants, lilies and bogs. This gardening and landscape center attracts an abundance of wildlife including seabirds, water snakes, frogs and snapping turtles. Birders and photographers, as well as families enjoy touring the gardens and feeding the insatiable koi fish. Thursday morning visitors may join guided walks with a bird expert. Wear boots for walking in mud and marshes. / lilypons.com

Flag Ponds Nature Park
A 500-acre natural preserve on the Chesapeake. Eagle-eyed beachcombers can spot sharks teeth and other fossils washed up along the park’s shore. Later, walk the trail to the beach for a day of swimming or meander through the forested nature trails towards the ponds and get an overview of local wildlife via the observation platforms. / calvertparks.org

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Just south of Cambridge, Md. lies Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, a 27,000-acre Eastern Shore haven for waterfowl and a magnet for bird watchers and other wildlife admirers. See snow geese, Canada Geese and tundra swan as well as bald eagles, great blue herons and blue-winged teals. / fws.gov/blackwater

Hampden’s Honfest
An annual celebration of “Hons“ (short for “Honeys“), a.k.a. the local working women of Baltimore, the HonFest is one of the city’s most popular yet quirky festivals. “Hon,” a Bawlmerese term of endearment popularized in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, is today honored by the hundreds of attendees who get dolled up in their finest leopard print garb, beehive hair-dos and retro glasses to take part in the four-city-block festival along Hampden’s 36th Street. This year’s fest occurs on June 8 and 9. / honfest.net

Lincoln Assassination Tour with DC By Foot Tours
This two-hour tour starts at Andrew Jackson Statue by the White House, and is an easy stroll by historical sights that played a role in Lincoln’s Presidency—the Willard Hotel, Fords Theater, William Seward’s home, U.S. Treasury Building, Star Saloon, etc. It’s informative, and best of all, free! Tour guides make the story come alive. Recommended for people of all ages, not just Lincoln-maniacs or history-buffs. Best enjoyed in a small group, so avoid busy tourist season. / freetoursbyfoot.com

Passport Embassy Tours
Leave the U.S. without leaving D.C. by participating in Passport DC. This month-long celebration every May offers visitors a rare, behind-the-scenes look at 60 embassies and their diplomatic corps. Participating embassies take turns showcasing their country’s music, dance and authentic foods. Guests sample authentic culture by attending classes, film screenings and martial arts demonstrations. The National Museum of Women in the Arts hosts the Global Market Place where international women artists sell their work. / culturaltourismdc.com 

Resources from the retreat

So many of you have been requesting the HE IS video from the retreat.  Here it is!


Tanisha Powell taught such a fun exercise class at the retreat.  If you'd like more information about her classes, check out her Facebook page.



Finding help in the Bible

Colleen Rebeiro handed out some helpful worksheets during this workshop.  Contact her if you have any other questions. colleen_rebeiro@hotmail.com

Lemon sugar scrub recipe

Here is the recipe for the party favors that I made for the retreat.  

My favorite way to use this scrub is in the shower.  Scrub anywhere you have dry skin, rinse off, and towel dry.  This is so much quicker than using lotion and no scary chemicals.  (Just be careful if you use a lot because your shower can get a little slick.)




Coconut Oil (I like the one they sell at Costco)

Granulated Sugar

Lemon Essential Oil (I used the Doterra Brand.)


  1. Since it was winter, the coconut oil was pretty hard.  I let the jar sit in a bowl of hot water in my sink to make it easier to mix.

  2. Combine the coconut oil, sugar, and essential oil in a large mixing bowl.  (I didn't measure this, I just mixed it until it was the consistency that I liked.)

  3. Stir until smooth and well-combined.  (Think: mashed potato consistency.)

  4. Fill your jars about half-way and pat down with the back of a spoon to evenly distribute in the jars and remove air bubbles.

  5. Fill the jars the rest of the way and pat again with spoon to smooth the top.


Resources on different topics

Great reads on different topics:



How we love by Yerkovich

For women only by Shaunti Feldhahn

Marriage Today



Worry/Fear/Bad Ways of thinking/Peace:

Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer

Who Switched off my brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf


Relationships and family members:

Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend



The Power of a praying wife by Stormie Omartian



The Bait of Satan by John Bevere

Financial problems: