Blessed

What happened to summer? How is fall here already? As summer is coming to a close and with some leaves on the trees changing already, I can’t help but look back on the summer and think about all that has happened and how my life has been changed.

In the middle of June I had the opportunity to go to Sharptop Cove, a younglife camp in northern Georgia. This was a new experience for me and one with much learning. One significant experience happened in the middle of the week. Every leader and student was challenged to hike the mountain that our camp was in the middle of. I had the privilege of hiking up the mountain with a Keystone student. We talked most of the way, talking about life and encouraging each other to keep going. Once we reached the top of the hill, I was speechless. To stand in awe of God’s creation is one of my most favorite feelings. To simply look out and find that He takes such good care of His creation, and then again realize that He takes care of me even more than that is such a humbling feeling.

 A few weeks later I had the privilege of going on the Keystone Student Serve Trip to the Dominican Republic. Here I found how blessed Keystone is to have such great students. Our students absolutely loved each and every child in the Dominican and displayed such joy in doing so. Even though it was terribly hot, each student usually had a child in their arms. They loved these children and loved every second they had with them. It was beautiful to see the connections they were making with the children and how they became a family with them. Seeing the growth in our students was such a joyous experience for me.

While the summer has been a busy one, the fall has great things in store for students at Keystone. I am excited to begin our fall Kick off in a few weeks and be able to see God move through our students this year.

Join me!
– Caitlyn
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“WHEW”

 “Whew!”

 Let me say that again: “Whew!”  

Since I was invited to jump into the music programming role at Keystone Spaulding, we have been on an amazing and truly challenging musical ride to say the least.  Far more than one would ever think possible at a church, right?  Seriously! We have done a bluegrass style set, R&B style, country style, rock, classic rock, and pop, even jazz….

 We’ve done everything from Toby Mac to Jackson Brown to Steve Miller to Lady Gaga. We’ve had some amazing breath taking “God” moments and yes, even a couple of not so great moments (can we say ooops :-)…..

 And that was just in our first 7 or 8 Sundays!!! 

 Did I say “WHEW” yet?!

I cannot wait to see what is next for this fall.  With Brady coming in to lead our teaching and all of the great, talented and humble folks around here at Keystone, making music has never been more fun.  I have toured around the country and have been fortunate to play with some pretty amazing musicians and vocalists over the years.  But nothing can compare to making great music in such a creatively free place that has the potential for impact and purpose. Music that can honor the creator of the universe!!! 

 I sometimes have to remind myself of this, even when my crazy schedule is off the tracks and I cannot imagine how I am going to pull it all off.  Where do I sign up for that?  Oh, wait I DID!  I’m so thankful I said yes when God asked me to join in! 

I’d love to ‘blog’ more, but I am off to go work on this week’s set.  Awake my Soul by Mumford and Sons (with upright bass, banjo and mandolin!), Washed by the Water by Need to Breathe (one of my all time favorites), Love Has Come, We Won’t Be Shaken…

 Oh and for all you fans of the Oldies station, we’re opening church with Happy Together by the Turtles, (but possibly in a reggae version for all you Marley fans)

Can I get a “WHEW!?!”

– Paul

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Perseverance

A few weeks ago I was having lunch on one of the San Juan Islands in Northern Washington with the Keystone High Adventure group.  We had sea kayaked a few hours and stopped for a well deserved lunch.  I dropped part of my lunch on the beach and within seconds an ant latched on to it and began to take it home.  The piece of bread seemed about 100x bigger than that persistent ant, but he or she was undeterred.  For over 1/2 hour I followed that ant’s progress, sometimes bumping into rocks that could not be climbed, sticks that snagged the food, and sand that kept slipping away under all 6 of its feet.  That ant did not give up.

 
You won’t hear it Sunday, but this was the genesis for the upcoming Labor Day weekend talk.  Watching that ant reminded me of past times of hardship and difficulty when instead of pressing on, I wanted to fold.  The rocks are too big, the sand to loose, the situation too much for one person to handle.  One person?  Yeah.  Maybe that is the problem.  We are not meant to walk those trials alone.  I admired that ants persistency, but he could have used a friend.
 
Have you been there? Are you in a place now, where your world just up and changed on you?  Things were going well, life was blooming and then all of a sudden someone threw hot asphalt on top of  you and ran you over with a steam roller?  
 
A few years ago I was sitting in my office watching that very thing happen.  Between our business’s parking lot and Johnny Carinos’ parking lot was a 1ft wide gap that was left unpaved.  It eventually began to fill in with plants. Because it did not look professional, the paving company was called in to fill the gap with their steaming hot tar and steam roller.   As I watched, I commented to one of my co-workers that it would sure stink to be one of those plants.  He said “I’ll tell you Ran, I’ve been there, and I know you have too.”

He was right.  We smiled in agreement and went on with our day.  A few weeks later, I was heading to my car when I noticed something that blew me away.  I had to take a photo.   It was inspirational to me and i hope it will inspire you too.  

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Hope to see you Sunday,
Randy

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Anxious and Enthusiastic

I feel like summer days are slipping through my fingers… how does this happen so fast?  Fall brings on a whole different feeling for me – one I call “nervous excitement”.  I took our three girls to their Open House at school last night and as we walked into the preschool, 1st grade and 3rd grade classrooms, I could feel that our girls also had this feeling.  We met teachers, found cubbies and lockers and saw faces we hadn’t seen since the end of the year.  Our 3rd grader was quiet and timid (which she is NEVER!) and when I looked at her I knew she also had this odd feeling of butterflies but with excitement for something new.

I feel excited for the school year (being my first year ALL are in school for a bit) but I also have mixed feelings about letting them go.  As I read “Jesus Calling” today I was once again reminded that God talks to us, right to us, saying the words we need to hear, right now.  The first line of August 23 says this “Entrust your loved ones to Me; release them into My protective care.  They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands.”  Wow.  What a great reminder about WHO is in control.

I needed that.

-Lisa
VandenBergLisa

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Fall Already?!?

Well . . .from what I hear . . . some schools begin Monday and many others will join them after Labor Day!

Summer always seems to fly by with its busyness and all the fun outdoor events!

But… I LOVE fall!

Having taught school for 30 years, it was always a new beginning, a fresh start, new pencils, books and paper!

Working in a church also brings new fall beginnings!  We all are so excited with Brady’s arrival on the scene.

In case you were worried, his presence has not caused us to slow down at all. . .  we are ramping up full speed ahead!

Fresh eyes and ears brings new challenges and exciting changes!  And believe it or not, change IS good!

I hope you’ll join us as we head right into our fall season!     Come, make the change with us!

We are so grateful that you call Keystone home and it is an honor to serve you!

See you soon!

– Sue
EdemaSue

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My Journey to Keystone

“What’s Next!?”

The dreaded question every college student asks as they stare graduation in the face.

I thought I had a plan. Really, I did. I thought I had a job lined up, one that could allow me to have some “fun” prior to looking for a “real” job and beginning my career. Yet, one afternoon I found myself staring at a computer screen struggling to accept the fact that I did not get the very position I was confident already had my name on it. I was heartbroken.

Despite the fears and anxieties of the reality I was sitting in, I found peace and comfort in God. He spoke to me in a very vivid way. He let me know that he had plans for me and that He would take care of me.

“God has another job lined up for you” I told myself.

I blinked and three months flew by. Where others might have felt defeat, I found opportunity looking for God’s will in my life. I knew he had plans for me, and I was eager to find out what they were. Keystone’s “Students Director” position became available and instantly I knew that this is the job God wanted me in. This was where I needed to be,

I’ve been here for 7 months now. I have been welcomed by staff, by students, and by families, and by people I now call friends. I praise God every day for preparing this path for me and for allowing me to work with these wonderful people.  There are more people to meet, more students to lead, more adventures to share, but each day is an exciting opportunity to be used by God… the God who knows me perfectly inside and out.

Thanks for walking this journey with me!

– Caitlyn
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Celebrate!

Greetings!

Today is my birthday! Thanks to those of you who sent notes, emails, facebook messages, and texts. I appreciate that you didn’t use my age. It’s embarrassing to admit that I am turning 39 for the 6th straight year!

If it’s true what they say, that you are only as old as you feel, then I am only TWENTY-nine!

My husband Todd and I are so close to being empty nesters. Today I am celebrating that more than my actual date of birth.

We are preparing for our youngest daughter’s big move into her first apartment! We can say with excitement “WE DID IT”!  We have (barely) survived getting the kids through their teenage years and a celebration is deserved!

Last night the majority of our kids and their significant others (boyfriends & fiancés) threw together a last-minute get-together at Brann’s to celebrate my age.  But while they were celebrating how old I am, and as Todd was celebrating our survival as parents through the treacherous teen-age years, I found myself celebrating God’s blessings.

Throughout the night, I kept looking around at all the smiling, laughing faces of our special and unique family.  I could honestly see the ways God has worked over the years to bring our Motley Crüe (I know, it’s crew, but I like to rock) together. I could see God’s goodness in all their smiles. I could hear his presence in all their laughs.

It’s not easy getting to where we are now.  With out God’s help I wouldn’t be feeling 29. We’d have been celebrating SIXTY-five. Actually, without God’s help, I assure you my family wouldn’t have been together last night at all. We’d have given up on each other long ago.

Last night felt great and I tried very hard to spend a lot of that time thanking God and listening for him to tell me what to do next.  I THINK I heard God’s voice telling me to quickly downsize the house so the kids can’t move back in…

…but that might have been Todd!

Many blessings,
Michelle

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