Buy Local

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About ten years ago, I became aware that the US was going green. It was a recycling revolution. Words like “going green,” “sustainability,” and “recycling” entered the every day banter in mass media. Then, of course, “buy local” followed closely behind.

Well, we have been travelling to Knoxville for four different activities for the past three years. We are getting tired of the drive. It is two hours both ways, but, of course, you have to also consider driving between the activities once we are there.

Anna Porter Public Library Story Time

We have been attending Story Time at our local library for seven years now.

It’s not the gas money. It’s my emotional fuel. I get tired and then I bring the kids home late in the evening, around 9pm, and by the time we get to bed it is 10pm. The next day, we are dragging and it takes us another 24 hours to recover and get back on schedule.  Continue reading »

So many people have been telling me that what I am doing with this commute to Knoxville is hard, I have started believing them. My husband has also been telling me we need to support local providers of classes for children instead of driving to Knox County.

Besides, when the kids asked for Tae Kwon Do lessons, which they take five minutes from our house, it spoiled me for life. Wow! Can I really believe it? Hop in the car 10 minutes before the event? Get there in five and have time to spare to chat with the trainer before the class starts? And then I can walk on the indoor course with a book in my hand while they are learning self-defense skill? Yes, please. I’ll have another helping of that!

So when Smoky Mountain Soccer Academy made a big splash announcement in our local paper about beginning a 10-week program on March 9, my husband took notice. We switched from doing soccer at Berean Christian School, one hour from our house, to doing it at Rocky Top Sports Center, five minutes away.

Which brought about a chain reaction. Do we want to rush to Knoxville after soccer and do Adventurers from 6-7:30pm anymore? Tough decision. The year is almost over. How responsible is it for me to just drop out? I am not only thinking about the kids’ badges – we can finish them at home and still receive their pins and be part of the Induction Ceremony for the year – but about the class I am teaching to five-year-olds.

As it turns out, we only had three classes left. And two of the moms are really good teachers, in fact they are homeschooling moms. One in particular has shared with me that she would be willing to teach if I needed a break or my kids got ill. So I talked it over with her and she agreed to finish off the year for me. Thank God for people who step up to bail me out!

She was also doing too much in 2015 and dropped a few hats she was wearing, going into 2016. Not only did she understand me, she had the willingness and energy to continue carrying the torch.

It has been a hard decision to make, but really I should have quit Adventurers a long time ago, after the first night when I got ugly with my children in the car on the way home. I am doing too much and too much is not good for my stress level or for the kids’ psyche.

They dislike not doing Adventurers anymore. They made friends over there and enjoyed the program very much. But something has got to give. And I even gave them a choice between Tae Kwon Do and Adventurers and they chose to give up Adventurers. It’s good for them to understand we need to make choices and sacrifices.

Even now I still think we are doing too many extracurricular activities. The little one is still learning boundaries and she makes things take twice as long as they should. Next year, she will be in first grade and I will need more time to do “school” with her.

As it stands, time is at a premium around here and every minute or hour we can spare from traveling can be put to really good use.

Operation Christmas Child

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My children are part of a scouting group called Adventurers through our church. It’s scouting with a religious component. They earn badges and learn about the world all through the lens of a Christian worldview. It all boils down to “learning more about Jesus.”

That’s what I have to remind myself when I get tired of driving them to Knoxville for this club’s meetings twice a month. It’s easy to get swallowed up in details about logistics, uniforms, badges that must be sewn onto their sashes etc and forget we are simply doing this in order to learn more about Jesus Himself.


For the first time, I am posting every day for a month.

For their service project, they raise funds for Operation Christmas Child by standing at the church doors once a year. As people exit, they pass out prayer book marks and hold a platter out for donations. The program’s director has already made an announcement from upfront so people know why cute children dressed in Adventurer uniforms are standing at the door with collection baskets and book marks.  Continue reading »

We also take then to the Dollar Store and allow them a small budget to buy items to stuff in the show boxes that go to children in Africa, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. School supplies, small toys, hard candy, toothbrushes, combs, hair clips, you get the idea.

The final step is the OCC party we have with the Adventurer Club the following week. We make the boxes and then we stuff them. We fill out little introductory letters about the kids and we choose the labels – boy or girl, then age group. It’s really fun because we can actually track each box and see where it goes. One of the girls in our club even got a thank you note back from a girl who received the box.

Samaritan’s Purse has clears indications on contents. They have collection points and our director takes all our boxes there once we are done. Then, we get to pray for the kids who open the boxes and hope that our small gifts will make a difference in their lives.

Above all, it teaches our children that Christmas is not just about opening gifts. It’s also about giving gifts to loved ones and to people you don’t even know. They learn that giving is better than receiving. They do have a lot of fun doing it and they gain a perspective about how much they have when they watch videos of children who have nothing and rejoice at a shoe box filled with crayons, candy and small toys.