Archives For My Life

Pictures and video from this year’s Polar Bear Plunge! Jason looks forward to this every year. He’s the only Durham to brave it this year.

Last night:

Me: Know what?

Jason: What?

Me: If I had a magazine, you’d be it’s Person Of The Year!

Him: (in that sarcastic voice he reserves for talking about my blog) Well, you have a blog…

 

So, I present to you, my blog’s person of the year:

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Amazing husband, wonderful father, adventurous backpacker, dedicated friend, fearless leader, kayaker, biker, writer, smartass extraordinaire.

Here’s a gallery of some of the year’s best moments:

 

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At our house this year, we’ve gathered around fires a lot.

For Mother’s Day, I was given a firepit in the backyard. In our house, we have a fireplace.

There’s nothing quite like gathering around a fire with loved ones. It’s a tradition as old as…well, fire. In the winter, we gather in our living room and enjoy the warmth of our gas fireplace. It makes winter all the more bearable in my opinion.

 

A Decided Difference

December 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

I’ve mentioned before that my friend, LouAnn Clark, has a podcast and a website called “A Decided Difference.”

One day, when LouAnn is evenlouann more famous than she already is, I’m going to be able to say: “LouAnn Clark?!? I know her! I know her! She’s my friend!” (I may have just watched “Elf.”)

She gave me a shout-out in her podcast, released yesterday, and I just wanted to say hi to her readers and provide some links for my friends. LouAnn blogs, speaks and podcasts about coping with depression and anxiety and making healthy changes from right here in Henderson, KY. She has had many excellent insights into my own life and I’m grateful for the things she’s said to me in person or via a speech at Toastmasters or her podcast that have either comforted me or caused me to change my point of view.

Her website is louannclark.com

Her latest podcast is here.

She’s also been taking pictures and blogging using the Rethink Church list like I have been.

Check out her site and give her podcast a listen!

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I am the Christmas Tree Sale Chairperson for BSA Troop 280 in Henderson, KY. This means that I coordinate most aspects of the tree sale, from the ordering to the scheduling shifts to the wringing my hands and worrying if the trees aren’t selling fast enough.

When the trees are delivered, they are bound in twine and netting. Obviously, this is for easier shipment and loading and unloading. It also ensures that the branches are not damaged during transport and all of the loading and unloading.

It’s pretty easy to unbind a Christmas Tree. The guys take their pocket knives and rip through the netting and twine and pull it all loose. The branches unfurl and the tree experiences freedom. The Scout will shake, shake, shake the tree and the branches begin to relax. Unbound, the tree returns to it’s beautifully created state. Unbound, the customers can see the tree for how it really is. Of course, this means that the customer can also spot any flaws in the tree, but that’s the price the tree pays for being unbound and free, I suppose.

I sometimes wonder what it must be like to have to bind a Fraser Fir or a Scotch Pine in twine and netting. To take what was beautifully free and wild and wrap it up tight for shipping and consumption. Do the branches protest? Surely it must be more difficult to bind than to unbind…

We’re sometimes bound creatures as well. We are bound by expectations or by trials. Bound by sin or by our own bad choices. Bound up tight with little or no ability to move.

Until we are set free. Until our netting and twine is ripped off and we can rest in the knowledge that we are now, once again, what we were created to be.

This is a season where I’m reminded once again that I have been set free by God’s good love and grace. I can be who God created me to be, flaws and all. I no longer have to be bound by expectations or by sin.

Thanks be to God.

Rethink Advent

November 29, 2013 — 2 Comments

Rethink Advent

Back in February and March, I did the Lenten Photo Project from Rethink Church. It was incredibly meaningful and caused me to spend time each day reflecting and considering the day’s word. Some days seemed impossible at first, but inspiration came when it was needed. Some days turned out to be very fun themes, even though I hadn’t expected that to be the case. Some days, it was at the last minute that a photo op came!

Rethink Church has done this again for Advent. What you do is simply take a picture every day that brings to light the day’s word. ¬†Then you post it…somewhere! Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your own blog or website…

For all of the ways to connect with Rethink Church and all the ways to post your photos, click here.

It’s fun to see how people interpret the words so differently every day. This is something anyone can do! If you want to experience Advent in a different way this year–and would like to spend some time each day during this busy season considering the reason we celebrate–join in!

(And if you plan to participate, let me know!)

Christthanksmas 021Ten favorite Thanksgiving Traditions:

1. The Turkey Trot (Presby Church at 9:00 Thanksgiving morning)

2. Sweet potatoes

3. The Macy’s parade

4. Turkey

5. The ornament exchange after dinner at Jason’s aunt’s house

6. Post-Turkey Trot nap

7. Time with family

8. Coffee all day long

9. Picking out our Christmas Tree

10. Everyone’s thankful attitudes

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

douglas_fir_2-145x180Here is the order form for our tree selection this year:

Troop 280 Trees 2013

Trees will be available for early selection and pick-up by appointment next week (Thanksgiving week) and the lot will be staffed starting Friday, November 29 on the following schedule:

Monday-Friday 5pm to 8pm

Saturday 9am to 3pm

Sunday 12pm to 4pm

Contact me (Becky Durham) or any BSA Troop 280 Scout Family to order your beautiful, Michigan grown Christmas tree today!

loucon2 023I’m blessed to be part of a wonderfully creative group of ministers and youth directors in the Presbytery of Western Kentucky. This year, David Muffett (The Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green, KY), Katie Todd (MOTA at Murray State University), Mason Todd (First Presbyterian Church of Mayfield, KY), Rob Wilson (First Presbyterian Church of Madisonville, KY) and I (Becky Durham, Presbyterian Church of Henderson, KY) put together instructions and materials for eleven prayer stations based on themes from The Game Of Life board game. These were designed for our middle and high school youth at our annual Fall Retreat at Camp Loucon. (You can find instructions for last year’s prayer stations here and here.)

Students were let into the large space in groups of ten or so. They were able to rotate through and visit the stations at their own speed in their own order. The idea of this night of prayer/worship/mission/community is that kids will be able to pray and meet God in ways that are new and in ways that fit their own gifts and callings.

You can find part 1 (stations 1-5) here.

Station #6: Speed Bumps

At this station, students wrote letters to prisoners at a prison local to one of our churches. That church is doing a Great Banquet weekend at that prison and will have the letters written by the kids to give out that weekend. Supplies: Paper, pens, sample letters.

GOL SpeedBumps

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Station #7: Investments

Students added songs to a list on Spotify, which we played over a speaker that could be heard throughout the whole room, at every station. Supplies: Laptop, spotify account, adult who knows music enough to monitor.

GOL Investment

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Station #8: Payday

In a “pay it forward” station, students create candy cane crafts for kids in ministries local to our churches. They attached a story to candy canes with ribbon. Supplies: Stories on red and green paper, candy canes, ribbon, hole punch

GOL Payday

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Station #9: Retirement

This was simply a station that allowed for students to rest, to pray, to meditate, to sit quietly. They were invited to light battery operated tea-light candles before they left the station. Supplies: Bibles, tea light candles, glitter meditation bottles and mirrors (optional)

GOL Retirement

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Stations 10 and 11: Losing and Winning

The last two stations are connected to each other. At the losing station, each student was able to take a 3 x 3 piece of tile, write about a loss on it (a perceived failure, a regret, a horrible thing that had happened). Then they took it outside and smashed it with a hammer. Supplies: tile squares, sharpies, hammers, cloth bags to keep tile from flying around.

GOL Losing

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At the winning station, students took their smashed tile and glued it to a wooden frame designed to look like a stained glass window. Supplies: Frame (see our example in a picture below), hot glue guns and hot glue sticks.

GOL Winning

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These eleven stations created a meaningful night of community and encountering God in new, sometimes unexpected, ways.

loucon2 023I’m blessed to be part of a wonderfully creative group of ministers and youth directors in the Presbytery of Western Kentucky. This year, David Muffett (The Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green, KY), Katie Todd (MOTA at Murray State University), Mason Todd (First Presbyterian Church of Mayfield, KY), Rob Wilson (First Presbyterian Church of Madisonville, KY) and I (Becky Durham, Presbyterian Church of Henderson, KY) put together instructions and materials for eleven prayer stations based on themes from The Game Of Life board game. These were designed for our middle and high school youth at our annual Fall Retreat at Camp Loucon. (You can find instructions for last year’s prayer stations here and here.)

Students were let into the large space in groups of ten or so. They were able to rotate through and visit the stations at their own speed in their own order. The idea of this night of prayer/worship/mission/community is that kids will be able to pray and meet God in ways that are new and in ways that fit their own gifts and callings.

Station #1: School

At this station, students made bookmarks for their Bibles. Katie provided pre-printed card stock cut into bookmark. The verses on the bookmarks were verses relevant to our retreat theme. Supplies: pre-printed bookmarks; markers

GOL School

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Station #2: Career

We used this station to think about vocation and how our gifts and talents and interests can turn into careers that will bless the Kingdom of God.¬†Supplies: 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ sheets of paper; markers
GOL Career

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Now, I’m not going to tell you that all of our students really embraced the vocation thing. We did get some pretty interesting career cards out of the deal: .

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Station #3: Insurance

At the Insurance Station, we had an opportunity to discuss life events that require hard choices. What are your options? What would you do? Why would handle it that way? Supplies: Game of Life wheel; scenarios prepared for students to read and discuss.

 

GOL Insurance

 

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Station #4: Relationships

At this station, students had a chance to affirm their friends, old or new. Each student had selected a silhouette earlier in the day. They wrote a word that they would use to describe themselves on the back and then taped it to the wall. During the course of the session that night, students could select word tiles that described their friends and glue them to the silhouettes. Supplies: Silhouette choices; glue sticks; word tiles (we used cardstock and the tiles were about an inch long).

GOL Relationships

 

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Session #5: Speeding

In this session, we asked kids to record their life stories in 6 seconds using Vine. Supplies: An iPad and a Vine account.

GOL Speeding

 

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There are six other stations that were part of this rotation! Find part 2 (stations 6-11) here!