Events and Happenings, May/June 2012



In the June issue, Mark Smeby shared a short article about Glenn McClure’s ministry Abba’s Way. Through Abba’s Way, McClure provides opportunities for fathers and sons to connect on short retreats. This year, for the first time, they are having a father/daughter retreat: Father’s Delight.  

Father’s Delight will be a 12-hour retreat in Nashville on June 2. The event is for fathers/surrogate fathers and their daughters aged 6-12. See the site for more information and to register


Recognizing that young people spend far too much time indoors and far too little time appreciating and preserving America’s magnificent national, state and local parks – the National Park Trust is mobilizing kids across the country for a nationwide park play-in.  The new website,, is interactive with links to park activities nationwide and provides a toolkit of ideas and activities for children, families and educators.

The second annual Kids to Parks Day is May 19. To sign up, visit



May 11 is National Public Gardens Day, and those who register can get up to 10 free tickets to participating gardens. Dragging me to gardens was one of my parents’ favorite activities when I was a kid … and one I look back at fondly. It’s a good place for kids to run around and learn about nature. 

Click on the link above to see if there are any gardens near you participating and to order free tickets.


Any events happening in your area you want to spread the word about? Leave a link in the comments!

Pausing for Passover by Michelle Lippincott

In our April 2012 issue, Michelle Lippinscott talks about spending Easter really reflecting on Jesus using the Jewish celebration Passover as a tool. Here, she outlines the aspects and traditions of Passover, so you might intregrate them into your own little seder.




Some of the elements that are present with a traditional Passover meal include the following:


  • A Seder Plate: This special plate holds a lamb shank bone, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs. Some families add fresh greens, a boiled egg, and Haroset, a mixture of apples, nuts, and grape juice, which represents the mortar used to build Egyptian buildings.
  • Four Cups: Each of four cups of juice or wine represents one of the expressions of redemption mentioned in Exodus 6:6-7. They are the cups of Sanctification, Judgment, Redemption and the Kingdom.
  • Washing of the Hands: Jesus washed His disciples’ feet the night He ate the Last Supper. Washing is an act of humility and illustrates one’s desire to live a pure life before God.
  • Three Pieces of Matzah: Leaven represents sin in the Bible. Jesus is the “Bread of Life” and is without sin. The three pieces symbolize the Trinity — God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The middle piece (representing Jesus) is broken and wrapped in cloth. It is hidden/buried and later the children look for this and return it for a reward. This is the Afikoman game.
  • The Four Questions: Children play an important part of traditional Passover celebrations. Typically the youngest child asks four questions that lead to the retelling of the Passover story (Ex. 12:3-49).*
  • The Passover Story: This can be read from the Bible or an illustrated picture book for young children.
  • Psalms/Songs: Passover is a celebration. Traditionally a Seder includes reciting, reading or singing some or all of Psalms 113–118 followed by Psalm 136. This concludes the Seder.

Your family may choose to use some or all of the elements from a traditional Passover. Don’t get so caught up in “doing it right” that you lose the meaning of this feast. You might start with a simple celebration and add traditional elements as your family becomes more familiar with Passover. Although there are many traditions, Scripture is largely silent on the details. Ask God how you can best honor him and invite Jesus to be a part of your family’s celebration.

*The Four Questions

  1. Why do we eat unleavened bread on this night when all other nights we eat either leavened bread or matzah?
  2. Why do we eat only bitter herbs on this night when all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables?
  3. Why do we dip our vegetables twice on this night when we do not dip our vegetables even once all other nights?
  4. Why do we eat our meals reclining on this night when on all other nights we eat our meals sitting or reclining?

Have you ever celebrated a seder or considered it? In college, I attended an interfaith seder. It was very beautiful and so interesting to participate in.  – Jessie

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

Are You a Super Dad … Who’d Like to See the SuperBowl?

Carey Casey, our Dad’s Life writer, is also the CEO of the National Center for Fathering. He brought it to our attention that they are sponsoring a giveaway for two tickets to this year’s SuperBowl – the #1 Football Dad Contest.

Their publicity article states:

The contest is part of the nonprofit’s initiative to reverse a trend of fatherlessness, said Carey Casey, the National Center for Fathering’s CEO.

“We have a crisis in this country: Our children have a critical shortage of heroic fathers and father-figures,” said Casey, adding that the dangerous trend is negatively impacting teenage pregnancy rates, drug abuse, mental and physical health problems, and poverty.

The giveaway is an opportunity to reward heroic fathering and raise awareness about the Center’s mission, said Carey. To enter the contest, a father will be asked to film a 60-second-or-less video explaining:

1) Why he is a great father or father figure;

2) Why his son or daughter is the ultimate football fanatic; and

3) Why he deserves to take his son or daughter to the Super Bowl.

Contestants will then upload the videos to YouTube and post them on the Facebook page ( The public will vote for the videos between January 16 and January 20. On January 21, three judges will select a winner from the top three vote-getting videos. The winner will receive two tickets to the Super Bowl: one for him, and one for a child of his choice.


That would sure be the trip of a lifetime for a kid and his or her dad! Let us know if you decide to enter so we can vote for you! You can find more information and e-mail for details from the Facebook Page.

LifeWay Kids Ministry Conference

kmc.jpgWith a promotion that fun … and a line-up SO good … how could you NOT want to go to the LifeWay Kids Ministry Conference in October?

Three, power-packed days await you at LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference! Come soak up all you need to take your kids ministry to the next level through inspirational speakers, workshops, and showcases of the talent kids love. In 2011, we are bringing the event to Music City USA! If there’s only one conference you attend this year, make sure this is it. Your kids ministry will never be the same!

Speakers include some people I know and some I don’t know personally, but all I respect and think are awesome. Maybe my children’s minister would send me … because how much fun would it be to listen to Angie Smith, Pete Wilson, Ed Stetzer, the Duggars, Jon Acuff, and Michael Kelley, with worship by Dave Hunt, featuring Selah and Michael O’Brien?

I am excited just reading that list of names, and I hope you are, too. If you aren’t, click around to some of those great names! I’ve been privileged to know Michael Kelley and Angie Smith in "real life," and they are incredible, faith-filled people.

I hope you’ll consider clicking over and finding out more about the Kids Ministry Conference.

Events and Happenings: August and September

ParentLife Events and Happenings


Some tidbits we’ve gathered that we thought you might be interested in:

  • From now until September 30, Sprite is giving community members the chance to help their local school win a $25,000 grant to fund refurbishing playground equipment and athletic fields. The Sprite Spark Parks program has 25 grants to give away. The winners will be selected by community members donating MyCokeRewards points off specially marked Sprite products. A list of eligible schools can be found at
  • The creators of Fireproof and Facing the Giants release another family-friendly film September 30: Courageous. Courageous is the story of four law enforcement officers who struggle with the balance of their work with fatherhood and family. Can’t we all relate to that? What Fireproof did for marriages, Courageous promises to do for father-children relationships.
  • As the 10-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks approaches, you may be looking for an event to attend, perhaps to help your children understand the significance of that time. This site has a list of submitted Healing and Remembrance Events; if you are planning something in your city, you can submit it as well.

What’s happening in your neck of the woods in the next few weeks?

A Family-Friendly Field Trip

Passages, a non-sectarian, worldwide traveling exhibition of The Green Collection, tells the dramatic story of how the Bible came to be. This 14,000-square-foot, interactive display of rare biblical texts and artifacts and was designed to engage people of all ages and interests in the history and impact of the Bible. Passages invites visitors behind the scenes of the most-banned, most-debated, best-selling book of all time to discover the surprising story of Bible history and is currently open at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

The exhibition allows children and adults alike to see, touch, feel, and experience thousands of years of history through priceless artifacts and interactive features more readily associated with science museums. Along with some 300 priceless biblical artifacts from ancient papyri to dead sea scrolls to beautifully ornate gold Bibles, the exhibit draws in children with:

  • A hidden riddle scavenger hunt hosted by Louie — a talking lion whose images appear throughout the exhibition to explain to young visitors the history and importance of each area;
  • Hands-on activities such as writing by candlelight with a quill pen, setting block letters on a printing press, and creating an original page to adorn a Bible;
  • Adult and children’s versions of virtual guided tours via an iPod Touch
  • Two working replicas of a Gutenberg and King James printing press that children get to manipulate;
  • Animatronic historical characters including St. Jerome, Anne Boleyn, William Tyndale, and John Knox, which engage visitors with stories of human life and sacrifice that went into making the Bible available today; and
  • Life-like galleries set in historical scenes including an ancient synagogue and a modern excavation site.


Reformation Theatre

Passages is in Oklahoma City through October 16 and will then tour soon-to-be announced cities and locations worldwide. Tickets are $19 for adults and include the exhibit, the rest of the museum’s holdings plus the use of an iPod touch audio guide. Discount coupons are available at Hobby Lobby and Mardel.

Go Grab a Blizzard Tomorrow

Tomorrow, August 11, is the sixth annual Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day. For each Blizzard sold, $1 or more will be donated to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. What a wonderful (and tasty!) way to help a fantastic organization.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals across North America, which, in turn, use the money where it’s needed the most. When a donation is given it stays in the community, ensuring that every dollar is helping local kids. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $4 billion, most of it $1 at a time. These donations have gone to support research and training, purchase equipment, and pay for uncompensated care, all in support of our mission to save an improve the lives of as many children as possible. Learn more at

Last year Dairy Queen raised over $5.5 MILLION dollars for CMN Hospitals! Wow! I guess people really like their Blizzards!


My favorite flavor is Turtle Pecan Cluster. (Not that I would refuse ANY flavor Blizzard, I don’t think.) What’s yours? — Jessie

Our Big Apple Adventure


Last week was an adventure for our family … literally! My 2-year-old … make that 3-year-old (he turned 3 last Monday and I’m still having a hard time making the switch) had the privilege of partcipating in the Big Apple Adventure at our church. It was an exhausting week but a GREAT one!

This is Jack’s third year of VBS but it’s the first year he’s made it the entire week. Being at church for 4.5 hours (or more) for five days in a row is exhausting for a baby or toddler. Who am I kidding? It’s exhausting for the adults too!! The past two years, Jack has ended up at his grandma’s house for at least one or two days of the week in an effort to recover. But this year, he was there every day and he was thrilled to be there!

I’m so thankful for all of the hard work, time, energy, and love that VBS workers pour into the kids every year … even the babies and toddlers. Jack had such a great time and made some amazing memories. I know VBS plays a large part in helping establish a strong foundation for spiritual development. I’m praying that each year Jack will look forward to this special week and truly enjoy learning more about God and Jesus.

So sing it with me now … "Bi-bi-bi, Bi-bi-bi, Big Apple Adventure." I think we’ll be singing the theme song for months to come! Jack loves it!


Have you seen the theme for VBS 2012? If not, check it out at! I can tell you right now, Jack is going to love it! It’s going to be "amazing"!!

Tell us about your VBS experience this summer … or about your favorite VBS memory as a child! We’d love to hear from you!

Fresh Air Fund – Hosts Needed

THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2010, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. Three thousand children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.

The Fresh Air Fund is in need of host families for this summer. Families host a child for a week or two, allowing them to spend some time outside the city on a vacation their family could not afford.

Families are needed throughout the Northeast, from Virginia up to Maine. Would you be interested in making a difference in the life of a child? There is more info on hosting here.

Remember that God says:

"So My word that comes from My mouth
will not return to Me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please,
and will prosper in what I send it to do" (Isa. 55:11).

Allowing a child to live in your home and hear the Word of God could make a big difference in his or her life.

Events and Happenings: February and March

The Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program launched its 11th year on February 1st. Nominations will be taken at until March 15. The scholarships honor young volunteers who have made an impact in their community. Scholarships range from $50 Kohl’s gift cards to $10,000 for college.

On the Clorox Facebook page, you can submit a picture of you and your child(ren) cooking together for a chance to win trips to NYC or Vermont, a private baking party, or a prize pack with money to throw a baking soiree of your own! You can submit pictures until March 29.

The Women’s Missionary Union hosts Children’s Ministry Day this Saturday, February 19. It’s not too late to look into the projects being done … or think up one of your own! This year’s theme is "neighbor to neighbor." Encourage your kids to think about how they could minister to their friends, neighbors, church family, or anyone you needs a little help.

March 14 is "Pi Day" since the date is 3/14. Your kids might enjoy making individual pies in jars or trying to break the record for the world’s longest pi chain!

What fun things are going on in your neck of the woods?