Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wednesday Dinner

Every Wednesday evening, our Household invites residents of Allendale to come to 1442 Yale Ave for dinner. We, in the People of Praise, view this time as a great way to share our lives with one another. We make an effort to have everyone be involved in preparing the meal, setting the tables, or cleaning up after the event. Nathan always begins the evening with a prayer and an encouragement to work hard at having good conversations during the meal. He reminds us that Jesus commanded us to love one another, and we can't love one another unless we know one another. One of the best ways to get to know people is to talk to them and ask them questions : how do they spend their time? what they enjoy? what do they dislike? etc.
The Lord moved us to have these Wednesday Dinners over a year ago. We have been hosting them consistently since. Our neighbors look forward to it, as do all of us in the Household. Larry (a teenager who lives down the block) usually shows up an hour early to help cook.
It is amazing the progress we've made in sharing our lives through conversation! Children who had previously answered a quick "yes " or "no" are beginning to elaborate when asked a question. We are getting to know our neighbors, and our neighbors are getting to know us. In fact, I've even noticed that siblings are looking at one another differently- more respectfully. They are starting to see one another in a different light because of the discussions they're learning to have. It is great fun to observe. Real love is there! Lord, continue to show us how to be deep rooted friends, loving as Christ commanded!

The above photos are from tonight's dinner. Usually we eat inside, but, because the weather was so nice, we ate on our picnic tables in the front yard.

Mudbugs and Marti Gras!

Brian scoops up a bowl of Death by Chocolate.

Josh and Gretchen share a laugh.

Tom Duddy takes a bite out of Death!

Last night, the Household, accompanied by Val Chapman (one of our good friends who has joined us in the work of the People of Praise) and Ken Keane (a generous POP member from Minneapolis who gave up his week to volunteer in Allendale), went to watch some Shreveport Mudbug's Hockey. It was an exciting game that ended in a tie, and thus went into overtime, followed by a shoot-out. In the end, the Mudbugs won the victory! WAY TO GO BUGS! We returned home exhausted and a bit hoarse from cheering.
Upon arriving back at Yale Avenue, we all enjoyed a delicious dessert of "Death by Chocolate" in celebration of Fat Tuesday. Each of us had more then our fill, and afterwards we couldn't do anything but lounge around and sigh. Brian admitted that initally he thought that the dessert's name was sort of stupid; however, after he consumed his bowl of rich goodness, he comprehended the truth behind the title.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Household Pictures

This picture was taken by one of the neighborhood kids last week. The children in Allendale love to pick up our digital cameras and start snapping shots. Sometimes they'll zoom in on a flower and sometimes they'll take candid shots of activities going on. They love it! In order to capitalize on their enjoyment of capturing the world around them...Cathy and Gretchen have started a "Camera Club". The Club meets on Saturday afternoons and will provide an opportunity for the teenagers in the neighborhood to get together. We anticipate lots of fun/constructive projects and new friendships.

The botton two pics are of the "Old Allendale Household" - Nathan, Josh, David, Joan, Gretchen, Cathy and I. Tom Duddy and Brian Couch have joined the Household since then...YEAH! Pictures of the Real Household will be coming shortly.

The sign outside of 1434

Gretchen designed and created this sign. It now sits in front of the biggest house on Yale Ave announcing that God's peace reigns in this location. We are hoping that the neighborhood will begin to think of this new house as a sort of "Neighborhood Center". We look forward to many prayer meetings and meals together here!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Cathy, Joan, Ruthann, David, Tom, and Gretchen!

Late January and early February have both proven to be BIG birthday months for our household. On Jan 24th, Cathy turned 24. Then it was Joan's birthday on the 31st, followed by Ruthann's and David's on Feb 2nd. Shortly after, Tom turned a year older on the 15th and Gretchen on the 18th. It is actually quite a skill trying to fit all of these celebrations in. We are certainly getting good at it. Happy Birthday to you all. Sure glad that you were born!
The above pictures are from Cathy's birthday. She recieved a sling shot and a multicolored hammock. We have yet to determined where the hammock's permanent home will be...but we have enjoyed using it to haul individuals from A to B.

Friday, February 16, 2007


As some of you may know, I am in charge of our Household's cars here in Allendale - that means oil changes and standard maintanence/repairs. When looking at our grouping of vehicles, one might say that I wasn't given a ton to work with. Our newest car is a 1997 with over 80,000 miles on it and our oldest car has nearly 200,000 miles on it. I must admit though that despite my griping, I have come to appreciate each of our cars. They each have their own unique personality. Their "special needs" have become endearing qualities in my eyes. For instance, I have come to enjoy that the Toyota Truck has no side view mirror and the driver must either climb through the window or across the cab to get to the steering wheel since the driver's side door won't open. And I find humor with the fact that the Intrepid's seat no longer adjusts - which means that I have difficulty seeing over the dashboard, but Josh (6'4'') is pretty comfortable.
The other day, Cathy had the idea of signing all of us up for AAA. At the time, it seemed like a relatively wise decision; but now, it's proven to be pure genius.
Last night, Josh was driving me home from Portico Pediatrics in our Nissan Maxima and suddenly the car was no longer moving forward, instead it was jerking to a halt. We were able to call AAA, and they towed us away. Meanwhile, our Honda Civic had been stalled on our parking pad - it too needed a tow. Therefore, we now have two cars in the shop. Funnily enough, these two cars were two of the three that have working air conditioners.
Anyway, I want to thank God for the joys of life we can carpool more, we can rely on one another more, and we can expect the Lord to continue to provide. I also want to praise him that we got AAA just in the knick of time, and for the fire He put under us as we begin looking to purchase a household van. Come Lord!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

With Danny and Lilly ...

Over Christmas, I was able to spend sometime with my family in South Bend, IN. I got a chance to hang out with my niece, Lilly (Pete and Meg's baby) and my nephew Danny (Care and Bill's baby).