Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ben’s Ordination

Something that we have been working toward for a while is Ben’s Ordination.  We knew that it would need to happen before we could start the church in the Bronx.  But how do you study for ordination while you’re traveling full time through 44 states over three years with five kids? Where do you find quiet when everyone is living in one hotel room space? 

The Lord provided for that need when our family separated for the month of July this year.  The kids and I stayed with my parents in Colorado and Ben took some meetings in California on his own.  He spent a couple of weeks living in the library on university campuses.  I remember calling him one day during that time.  He said, “Except for the librarian, you’re the only person who has talked to me all day.  And the silence is  wonderful.”  {I was a little jealous!}

Ben had to write a paper on the major doctrines of our faith, backing each statement up with Scripture.  He proofed them.  Pastor Bickel proofed them.  Mom Hamilton edited them.  In the end, a 56 page document was down to 26 pages for easy distribution.  Then the real study began – how to respond to current day issues that he will face as a pastor.  Ben found an app for his phone that allowed him to make digital flashcards.  He studied, and Elaine and I quizzed him. 

December 10th finally came, and the ordination council assembled.  They questioned Ben for over three hours on his written statement and other things he will face as a pastor.  I was nervous for him!  I’m so thankful for my friend Jeni, and Mrs. Bickel who helped to watch my kids so I could sit in on the council session!

Ben's Ordination Council

Back row: Ming Tang (BBF Deacon), Hunter Konkle (BBF), Pastor Dan Hyden (Russian BBF), Pastor Stephen Christopher (Park Slope, Brooklyn), Pastor Thomas Overmiller, (Corona, Queens), David Barker (BBF Deacon)
Front Row: Pastor Matthew Recker (New York, NY), Pastor Daniel Klaus (Park Slope, Brooklyn), Dr. David Canedy (BWM Deputation Director), Pastor Tim Richmond (Forest Hills, Queens), Pastor Bickel, Ben, Pastor Doug Neiner (Pittsfield, MA), Dad Hamilton, Pastor Steve Snavely (Highland Falls, NY), Dr. Craig Hartman (Shalom Ministries), Pastor Stephen Racite and Wilmer (Cornwall Baptist Church)


Ben's Ordination Council  Ben's Ordination Council
Ben & Dad ||  Pastor Bickel, Ben, Craig Hartman

Ben's Ordination Council
The ordination council and audience

Ben's Ordination Council

Ben's Ordination Council

On Sunday Dr. Canedy from our mission board preached the AM service.  It was a very encouraging message from Psalm 84.  I felt the tears ready to spill over, and we hadn’t even arrived at the ordination service!  In our church’s afternoon service we had a special ordination/commission service.  Dr. Hartman gave a charge to the church as our sending & ordaining church.  Pastor Bickel gave a charge to the candidate.  There were also several testimonies.

Ben's ordination Service
Dr. Canedy shared some of the testimonies of the ordination council regarding Ben.

Ben's ordination Service
David Barker gave the recommendation of the council that Ben be ordained.

Ben's ordination Service
Pastor Neiner (Ben’s pastor from childhood) gave a testimony

Ben's ordination Service  Ben's ordination Service
Pastor Bickel || Symphony and Lacey Hyden provided special music.

Ben's ordination Service
I was asked to share a testimony expressing that I am “on board” with this.  I also got to answer the last question during the ordination council, when Pastor Christopher asked me if I was “on board” with all this.  Yes!  I am!

Ben's ordination Service
Dr. Hartman charging the church.

Ben's ordination Service
Laying hands on Ben to ordain him to Gospel ministry.

Ben's ordination Service

Ben's ordination Service
Pastor Dan Hyden presented Ben a certificate of ordination

Ben's ordination Service
Chris Jackey presented Ben a very nice Bible as a gift from the church.  They also took an offering towards Ben’s pastoral library (or software).  We were so overwhelmed and blessed!

It’s hard to get a picture of glass without yourself being reflected in it.  But this is Ben’s very nice ordination certificate, and we did hang it on the wall, even though we are in temporary housing!

Ben’s Doctrinal Statement can be viewed here, for those who are interested.
Full  ||  Concise
The video of the Ordination Service can be viewed here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

We Finished the Course

November 28th, 2016.  I don’t think I will ever forget that day.  Just two days shy of 35 months on the road, and we pulled into the driveway.  For the last time.  Deputation was done.  It was a long haul.  Not as long as many missionaries spend on deputation, but it taxed me to the limit.

We started when the twins were but six months old, headed to Alabama to be appointed with Baptist World Mission.  Then I was pregnant with Henry while on the road, and we took only a six week break for his birth.  I have homeschool Elaine in Kindergarten, First Grade, and part of Second Grade.  I started Nolan in Kindergarten. Did not anticipate doing that. I potty trained Liberty at rest areas and in other people’s homes.  I tried to potty train Nehemiah, but we are still walking that road.  Most of deputation has had us with three in diapers, and me nursing at least one baby.

We learned a lot of lessons.  We made cherished friendships.  We experienced our country.  We ate more cheeseburgers that we care to count.  I don’t know if I’m at the point where I would say, “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”  Many other missionaries tell me the time will come when I look back at deputation as the good days.  I’m not there quite yet, but I can say I am glad God took us on this path.  But I’m even more glad that we have reached the end of the road.

  • We traveled for 2 years and 9 months
  • We passed through or had meetings in 44 states and Canada
  • We drove 100,000+ miles
  • We had meetings in 140 states
  • We are so close to 100%!

Being back has meant new routines.  Getting up at the same time everyday.  Drinking coffee out of my favorite mug.  Exercising as a habit.  Eating homemade food.  And the kids are re-learning their boundaries.  It is wonderful, even though the place we are living is not to my preference and I am dying to be in our own home.

Here are some highlights from our life on the road, especially on the last trip – from Portland, OR to Mountainville, NY.

Trip to BWM Huntsville AL
New missionary appointees!  (Wow – we looked young)

Packing for the first deputation trip
Packing for the first trip.  I have learned so much about packing!

Kids at the Display Table
At the end of the first full-time (3 month long) trip.  I think this was in Detroit.

Helping dry the bibs  Hotel School  IMG_6963
Washing and drying things in a hotel | Hotel School | Life in a van makes you crazy!

Over 100,000 miles!!!
Over 100,000 miles on our new van!

Nine in a Bed
Nine in a bed.  And sometimes it’s two on the floor, depending on what kind of room a church rents for us.

Looked up to help grumpy Henry…and saw a Caterpillar instead!  (Best gift I think our kids have been given.  It’s Liberty’s, and its taller than her).

LAST Deputation Sunday
Last Deputation Sunday – added a new kid since the last picture in front of the display!

Last Deputation Trip
Leaving Grandma’s House, three days away from home.  Not sure exactly when we will be back, and not too thrilled to be up so early!

Last Deputation Trip
Destination: Home

Last Deputation Trip
Coffee.  My friend and enemy on the road.  Keeps me awake, but makes for lost of rest stops.

Last Hotel Room!
Last hotel room!

The beginning of the end
Last hotel parking lot!

Finished Deputation!
On to “da Bronx”

Friday, December 9, 2016

DIY “Okay to Wake” Signal

I came across the “Okay to Wake” clocks through a review and Amazon.  I didn’t purchase at the time because we were on deputation.  We have been through the gamut with time zone changes and different sleeping arrangements, and I knew that I wanted to establish new routines once we got home.  The first thing was a regular wake up time.

I was all set to purchase two of these clocks, one for each of the kids rooms.  But I read several negative reviews, including complaints that the clock glowed all night before it turned green in the morning.  I didn’t want a bright light in the room, so this didn’t sit well with me. There is another brand of wake up signal that seemed to be made very cheaply and lots of people said it broke easily.  As I continued to read the reviews on Amazon, I came across one with a brilliant idea.  And I copied it.

The idea with this product is that you set the alarm, but instead of a noise to wake the kids up, the light glows green.  So if the child wakes before the designated time, he has to stay in bed.  But if the green light is on, he is okay to wake up.  I wanted the kids to stop coming out of their rooms at 6 am and then waking everyone else who might have slept a little later. 

These are the items you need to make a DIY “Okay to Wake” signal for your kids’ room:

  • Christmas solitaire window candle (not battery operated, and not on a timer).  I found mine at Home Depot for around $4.
  • Green night light bulbs (I thought the Christmas bulbs would be great, but they were too big). I found LED nightlight bulbs in a two pack for $5 at Home Depot
  • Electrical timer.  I saw these on the Home Depot/Lowes website, but I actually picked them up at Aldi in the Christmas aisle for $2.99 each!

File Dec 09, 8 30 04 PM

First, put the green bulb in your candle.  Mine has a dial switch to turn on and off, so I set it to “on” and tested that it worked.  Then, set the timer following the instructions.  Mine has tabs for every half hour in each 24 hour day.  Push down the tabs for the hours when you want the device to come on.  I had to set the current time too, as a reference point.  Set the timer to “timer” instead of “override”.  Plug the candle into the timer, and the timer into the wall.  We set our candles to come on from 7am to 9am, so that if the kids wake anytime in between 7 and 9 they know they can get up.

Ours work like a charm, and for two weeks I have been able to get up, shower, have coffee, and read my Bible in quiet and aloneness nearly every day – before my kiddos descend upon the day.  I spent less than $20 to make two of these.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

We’ve been home for about two weeks now.  KNowing that we don’t have to resume consistent road travel has allowed us to settle in a bit, even though we are in temporary housing.  And, some things that are not conducive to life on the road have been very nice to add back into daily life.  Here are a few of my favorites right now!

The Majesty and Glory of Christmas

My all time favorite Christmas CD!  I love the mesh of familiar and less-known carols all woven together to tell the Christ story!

New Comforter – Hotel Style

Thank you anniversary money!  This is one aspect of living in a hotel that I really enjoyed, so we were able to get a great sale on one of our own!

The Okay To Wake Clock

This little gadget glows green at a preset time to signal kids that it’s okay to get out of bed.  If they wake up before the green light, they know to stay quiet and in bed.  This has enabled me to shower and read my Bible before the kids all come tumbling out each morning.  We also have a semi-regular breakfast time and school start time.  But…I made a DIY version to save a lot on the price tag!  Post coming soon!

Buddha Bath

I picked up some of their soap and body butter at the Pike Place Market in Seattle.  Soap bars are a mess when traveling, so I was excited to get home and away from body wash!  I chose the Lilac scent and it is heavenly!  The body butter is light and non-greasy and perfectly moisturizing.

Nantucket Cranberry Pie

This recipe popped up in one of my favorite blogs recently.  I am not normally a cranberry fan, but I tried it out and we all loved it!  Bonus: it’s quick and easy to make too (no pie crust needed)!

Homemakers Friend Planner

Mom gave me one of these last year.  I loved the layout, but I wore through the cover and tabs quickly.  This year she took it in to Staples to have the cover extra-laminated!  It’s a great bargain for a good planner with Scripture verses and a place for meal planning, without a lot of extra fluff that I never get around to using!

Busy Mama Bible Studies

I’ve blogged about them before…but I continue to be blessed by this method of in depth study that I can complete in a few minutes a day, around my full “busy mama” schedule.  There are three new “live” studies a year, or you can browse the archives, or purchase a print or PDF copy.  Favorites so far are Ephesians 6 and 1 Corinthians 13!


I’ve heard Pam talk about using a Moleskine for the Busy Mama Bible Studies, but I finally bought one to try.  I loved hand writing my notes this time, and the notebook is neither too thick that I feel wasteful, or too thin that I can’t use several pages each day.  Love them! 

Family Picture

First time we’ve really done a professional “photo shoot”, and we owe our thanks to Mom who paid for an extended family session while we were all together in Colorado for Thanksgiving.  Mine is the lock screen on my phone now, and I smile every time I pick it up…  Thanks to Raquel Salvo!


What are some of your newest favorite things?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Elaine Turns Seven!

Almost two weeks ago, my Elaine girl turn seven.  S-E-V-E-N.  Wow.  That makes me feel old!  Assuming she lives with us through college, that means we are about 1/3 done with our time with Elaine!  That is scary… I feel like there is yet so much to teach!

Elaine is really a great big sister.  She is a helper and a teacher and an example, to Mommy and her siblings.  She is nearly always happy.  If she isn’t busy and involved with her brothers and sister, she is probably curled up with a book somewhere.  I used to be like that.  My Grandma was always getting on me for bringing a book everywhere.  Elaine brings three or four!

I snapped a few pictures on the morning of her birthday.

Elaine's 7 Year Portraits

Elaine's 7 Year Portraits

Elaine's 7 Year Portraits
This was one of the few moments during our three weeks in Vancouver, BC that it wasn’t raining!

Elaine's 7 Year Portraits

Elaine's Seven Year Old Portraits
Finally got her to smile!

Elaine picked out her outfit for her birthday.  She loves purple, so the dress choice was easy.  The shirt is one that she bought with Ben on a daddy-daughter date, and it is one of her favorites for that reason.  She has been dying for cowgirl boots for a while now, and we finally found some at the thrift store recently.  So that is her outfit!  She looks so much more grownup with her bangs growing out, too!

What to do was a little more difficult to decide!  We had shared birthday cake with Makaela Little the week before, on Makaela’s 8th birthday.  They came over for dinner on Elaine’s birthday.  So, we did our “normal” celebrations in the morning, in our PJs.

Elaine's 7th Birthday
Breakfast cereal tradition – She chose Cheerios!!!

Elaine's 7th Birthday
Part of her presents.  They have come in a trickle this year, and more are waiting at Grandma’s house!  She got a new set for her Schleich horses!

Elaine's 7th Birthday
Love this picture of my kiddos!

Elaine's 7th Birthday
Giant “7” balloon from the Littles!  Homemade decorations were a family project the night before.

After that, we decided for a little city adventure.  We planned to take the train downtown and eat lunch at a food truck I had seen – Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck.  Never having seen a grilled cheese food truck, and since grilled cheese is Elaine’s favorite, we thought it would be fun!  I discovered the flaw in my plan quickly – my transit directions were by bus, not train.  And to take bus to train involved double fares, and I didn’t have that much Canadian cash.  So in the end we drove downtown, ate our food truck fare, and then rode the train back to the transfer station where Daddy picked us up.  {The train involved a scary moment when Liberty exited a stop early and I didn’t notice.  Praise the Lord, the older gentleman behind me hollered and I got her back just in time!}

Elaine's 7th Birthday

Elaine's 7th Birthday

Elaine's 7th Birthday

Elaine's 7th Birthday

Elaine's 7th Birthday
So very glad these two are friends!  Makaela’s brought headband crowns from the ladies’ tea, and the girls enjoyed playing together!

Elaine's 7th Birthday
Cutting pineapple for her new favorite pizza – ham & pineapple!  (Glad we expanded our tastebuds from Cheese!”")

Elaine's 7th Birthday

Cake on Makaela’s birthday.