Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Joyful Day!

I love Sundays! I usually wake up in a good mood, looking forward to going to church to worship with other believers. Today was no exception, and in fact was even more joyful because it was a special day for our family. Today was the day that Jeanette and Russell publicly dedicated Erica to the Lord! What made it extra-special and reason for thankfulness was that all of Erica's grandparents, Nana and Papa Massey and Grandma and Grandpa Ryals were able to be there.

At our church, this time is called a Parent-Child Dedication, and the entire congregation, as well as family members, are called to covenant with the parents to raise the child in the ways of the Lord. As Jason Miller, the Director of Children's Ministry, says to each child, "We care about the outcome of your soul." I love that!

We knew that with Erica being almost a year old, she'd probably do something cute during her time up on the platform (either that, or she'd just stare at the congregation, and I'm glad she went with the first option!). Before the service started, Jeanette let Erica play on the steps in the front of the church and Erica would look over at us sitting on the third row and wave. When it was their time to go up on the platform, Erica was pretty calm in Jeanette's arms and then reached over to try to "help" her daddy read from Ephesians 3, verses 16 through 19. Then it was time for Jason to say a prayer for Erica with his hand on her head. Erica just looked at him for most of the time and then, as if to say she was ready for it to be over, moved Jason's hand away. And she didn't disappoint us in the cuteness factor either. As they were coming down the steps, Erica clapped for herself and got some chuckles. And then for her grand finale, she waved at everyone as Jeanette carried her down the aisle to take her to the nursery as we all stood to sing!

Erica's parents have committed her to the Lord's keeping ever since they found out that they were pregnant with her, and today's public dedication is just an extention of that for all of us. I'm thankful that we have a legacy of faith, coming down from grandparents and parents, that we can pass on to the next generations!

"For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100:5

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I (Heart) NC!

Most of my childhood took place in a suburb of New York City, so I know the slogan is "I (Heart) NY", but in my case I also have a love for North Carolina, namely, the NC mountains. I have many happy memories of time spent with family and friends at Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center in Black Mountain, outside of Asheville. Another reason might be that my maternal grandparents were raised in the NC mountains. Not to be worshiping my ancestors or feeling like I'm one with the mountains, but whenever I go across the state line into NC, I just feel happy. I think it must be that NC heritage in my blood!

This past weekend, my friend, Kelly, and I went to visit our friend, Michele, who lives in the mountain town of Jefferson, NC, in the northwest corner of the state. This little town, along with West Jefferson, are in Ashe County, which is where my grandparents grew up. I remember doing a family history report in high school and having my grandmother tell me that she was from Grassy Creek, NC, and that she also counted West Jefferson as "home". My grandfather also grew up in that area, but they didn't meet until they were young adults in Bel Air, Maryland, where they had moved to find work during the Depression.

Today, Grassy Creek is not much more than a wide place in the road (and maybe it wasn't then either) near the North Carolina/Virginia border. We found a Baptist Church and a Methodist Church and a Post Office. I'm sure if we dug around some more, we'd find some cemeteries where my relatives from both sides were buried, and there might still be someone who remembered hearing stories of my great-great grandfather, Dr. Manly Blevins, who doctored in Ashe County, or knew where the Virginia-Carolina School had stood, where my grandmother graduated.

It was a fun weekend, getting to drive up on the Blue Ridge Parkway and spend time in Boone and Blowing Rock. I'm sure I'll go back to visit there someday and who knows, maybe I'll actually live there one day!