Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Meyers-Briggs Personality Typology and the Christian Life Bible Study

Welcome to our Friday morning Bible study. This video is from our first session in our 3 week study. It took more time to edit the video than I thought, so right now this post is going to have the bare bones necessary to get you started. Check back later for more info and the next 2 sessions.

There are several free online places to take the test ---

Monday, October 20, 2014

Inspiring People Series: Sharla Biggs-Bahl-Cotton (Part 1 of 3)

I love people-watching. Have you ever sat at the airport and just observe the people passing by. It is so interesting and entertaining. I also love reading biographies and fiction stories about communities and all the different kinds of people that make up a town.  It is often the differences in people, the quirks, that make the most interesting stories.   

Have you ever read the Mitford Series? Or watched shows like Andy Griffith, The Gilmore Girls, or Mary Tyler Moore?   We wouldn’t watch it without all the different personalities involved. It would be soooooo boring. I remind myself of this whenever I am tempted to get annoyed at someone. I think, “This is what makes a good novel or TV show. It is what keeps life interesting.” You should try it. It will give you a new perspective.

Well, I don’t need a TV show or a book to entertain me, because I have so many interesting and great people involved in my life.   I want to share their life stories with you, because I have learned so much from these people in my life. They have inspired, encouraged, challenged, delighted, and comforted me. (I am sure they've done so many other great things as well, but I can’t think of anymore adjectives right now.)

Oh, boy.  I hope that it doesn’t sound like I am calling my friends quirky or annoying. Please don’t get me wrong! On the contrary, these people have put up with my idiosyncrasies and have helped me grow. Well, at the least they have watched me grow old if nothing else. 

I would like you to meet my friend Sharla. I have known her since January 1987, which makes it almost 28 years now. I met Sharla during our 1 year stay in Pensacola, Florida. I was pregnant with my 2nd son, Jed, and she had just had her 4th child, Molly.  Tom and Sharla had a homeless and military ministry that they ran out of their home, which they paid for out of their own pocket. 

Everything they had went into their efforts of sharing the good news of the gospel of Christ to the world around them. Maybe some other time I will write about this period of our lives, but for now this about Sharla.

If there is ever a person you would want on your team, it would be Sharla. Believe me, she should be one of your first picks. But remember that I saw her first, so please don’t take her from me!  Truly, I don’t know what I would do without her. I guess we all just need to be on the same team!

Don’t let Sharla’s small size fool you. She is a fireball. Really! The creative juices that flow out of that woman are nothing short of Niagra Falls.

When I first came to Virginia I decided that I was interested in quilting, and I also wanted to connect with people in the community. I convinced Sharla to go to a quilting guild meeting. I dabbled in quilting for a bit, and then decided I was too busy with church and my little people. I didn’t need another creative outlet, but not Sharla. That woman not only learned to hand-quilt during her busy life schedule, but went on the road with quilting shows, taught classes, and hand-dyed her own fabric to make beautiful works of art. She left me behind in the dust! 

This is just Sharla’s way. All in. Full intensity. Often no sleep required. Truly inspiring. That's why I say that if there was ever a time you had to pick people to be on your team, she should be one of your first picks. 

Sharla has cooked thousands of meals for the people that they have invited into their home. Every Sunday, for years, Sharla and Tom would cook dinner and invite military people over to join them in a Sunday meal and volleyball. Thanksgiving was a huge outreach time. For several years we even helped them rent a Recreational Center in Norfolk on Thanksgiving, because there were so many people.  There was food, games, and always an invitation to know more about our best friend, Jesus Christ. The military ministry has changed, but Tom and Sharla’s hearts haven’t wavered.

Sharla has been, and is still, instrumental in helping with Avalon’s women’s Bible study and other events. She also has written and directed many of our Christmas plays and Vacation Bible School events. She has taught debate at a homeschool class. She also teaches sewing and quilting to our ladies.

Well, I could go on and on, but, out of all the many things I admire about Sharla, I want to share with you two specific aspects of her life that mean something special to me. First, and on the playful side of life’s happenings, is the creation of her tiny house, which I totally LOVE! And second, something about her journey to faith during which her first husband, David, was murdered. Truly inspiring.

So hope you will come back for more of the story --~Sharla’s Tiny House~

Monday, February 17, 2014

Jed and Lauren's Surpise Baby Announcement

Jed and Lauren try and come to our house once a week for family night. We use to have it on Tuesday nights, but with iD group, Luke’s work and Dave teaching an evening class at church on that night, we decided that Monday nights might be a better choice. I relish this special time with my children! We had missed being together the past week, so on Monday, January 20, I was so ready to enjoy the life they bring into this ol’ house! 
Having fun on this very night!
About the time we were finishing dinner, Lauren said, “I want to play a game.” I love to play games, and I can rarely get my man or my man-children to play a game with me, so I love having daughters (via daughters-in-law). Lauren said she wanted to play Apples to Apples. I didn’t think I had that game, and Jed said that he thought I did, but it didn’t matter, because Lauren had the game in their car. The dishes were swiftly put away, and the game set out. Since it was early enough, Luke was able to play with us for a while before he had to leave to go to a Bible study he attends on Monday nights.

It was Dave’s turn to flip over the Apples to Apples topic card and pick the best response from each of the other four players. The topic was “Loveable,” and everyone turned in the card in their hand they thought fit best with the topic “loveable.”

The “Apples to Apples” game includes four blank cards that players can use to fill in their own nouns or adjectives—to sort of personalize the game.  As Dave was reading the handwritten card that Lauren turned in, he saw something like, “Loveable: Eli or Elle Rieke.” Instead of reading it out loud to everyone, he said, “What does it mean?” Luke and I were thinking like, “What do you mean, ‘what does it mean?’” And Jed and Lauren just looked amused. And Jed told Dave to read the other handwritten card. It said, “Baby Rieke, loveable, adorable, cuddly.” Then Dave pulled out the card for me to see, and again said, “What does it mean?” 

I was confused, too. We have played the game before and I knew we had already written on the blank cards, but I couldn’t remember why we would have written these particular words on the cards sometime in the past, and I hadn't seen anyone write on any card this evening. 

Dave asked him something like, “Is that really it? Are we going to have a baby?” And Jed and Lauren nodded with big smiles. And the celebratory cheers, squeals and hugs began. Well, I was the only one who squealed, ‘cause boys don’t squeal!

I wish you could have seen the look on Jed and Lauren’s face. They were glowing! They were so cute as we enjoyed their clever surprise!!
Just look at those two! They just melt my heart!!

They had it all planned out before them came over. They had pulled out all the right cards about babies, cuteness, child birth etc… Even if we had the game, Jed was ready to stack the deck with his pre-planned cards. I didn’t catch on at all. Later they told us they really hadn’t counted on Luke playing, so it rearranged the cards just a bit. The cards in my hand had nothing at all to do with babies, and I think that is what kept me from catching on even a little bit. 
I was thoroughly surprised and delighted! My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude! 

They had to be extra creative, because the original plan was to send us a little gift in the mail.
Lauren told me earlier that they were expecting a package, and she had asked earlier that day if it had arrived yet. It had not, and I said it was probably because of the snow. The real deal was that Sacha and Julie, and LeVon had already gotten the gift that afternoon, so they already knew the surprise. They needed a different way to surprise us! I think they were so excited for us to know too!!

Several days later, the package finally arrived. Now this special little elephant sits in my living room where I can look at it everyday.

I can’t explain the special feeling I have as I look into my children’s eyes. Jed is going to be a daddy! Lauren is going to be a mommy!! I am on cloud nine! Just the Sunday before, I was sitting next to Lauren and Jed in church and my heart was overcome with a desire for Jed and Lauren to have a baby. What a better place to pour my heart out to the Lord than during worship at church with my church family. I had no idea that Jed and Lauren were even trying to have a baby, nor did I tell anyone of my crazy prayer. Little did I know, our little Eli or Elle was already on the way.