A Strong Start


January is a hard month. There are new routines and rules. Special diets and detoxes. Lofty plans and new purpose.

There is this new version of yourself, but you’re not quite sure you like her. There is small progress, but nothing measurable. You know things will get easier, but not before they get much harder.

I’ll say it again: January is a hard month.

I know all too well. Too many of my years have had hard beginnings. Not any more. Continue reading


GNO: Christine Vandervoort’s Favorite Things

8i2a7973_tightI have been married to James for 27 years.  We have five children: Heather (20), Holly (17), Caroline (16), Jay (14), and Sophia (9).  It is a very busy household, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  As well as being a wife and mom, I am the Director of Early Childhood and PEEPs at Central Presbyterian Church

During the rare moments that I have free time, I enjoy reading, scrapbooking, baking (not cooking), and trying new things (as long as it doesn’t include small spaces or heights).  This summer I started taking piano lessons.  I love trying new restaurants, as well.

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GNO: Mary Elizabeth Blythe’s Favorite Things

Noelle Fishing

I am married to Jeremy and mother to our four beautiful children. Life has been the backdrop upon which God has shown me Himself and myself. It’s been a rocky ride, but a sweet one. 

I fear that I am out of deep pithy things to write about, but, as always, I’ll be honest and true to what’s on my mind. That’s your cue to exit if need be.  😉

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GNO: Barb Boyle’s Favorite Things


When I was a little girl, this is what I said to the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A TEACHER!! I always said. I set out on my quest as I was the teacher of the neighborhood “school” in our basement, of my little brother born nine years after me, a teacher’s aide while in high school, a day camp director, camp counselor, middle school teacher and coach, preschool teacher at PEEPS, Sunday school teacher, and a college campus ministry staff person.

 I continue to love teaching as I have homeschooled our three children: Bethany (22), Brendan (20), and Bridget (16). I have been married to (Charles) Bryon Boyle the past 26 years. Bryon and I met on the Central singles’ softball team. It has been quite the adventure as we set out raising our children with lots of camping, canoeing, swimming, books, movies, ice cream, and pizza.

And here are some of my favorite things!!

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GNO: Cathy Barnes’ Favorite Things


I am a wife, mother, and a daughter of the King. God has blessed me with a rich and varied life. I have been a dancer, police officer and art teacher, and have participated in everything from beauty pageants to search warrants.

I have been married to my hero, Jeff, for 26 years. We’ve raised two wonderful adults, Allie (27) and Charlie (24), and are enjoying the incredible bond that comes from weathering years of experiences together…. good times, and bad—joys and sorrow. I am blessed to be working with children every day teaching them about art, and the Ultimate Artist—God. I love drawing, painting, reading, …and picking up a gun for some target practice now and then. Continue reading

Surviving High School With Your Introverted Child


An enthusiastic cheerleader’s voice boomed through the loudspeaker over our heads and echoed down the shiny, tile hallway. Our little group paused until it was over.

“Sorry about that. Big game tonight.” The assistant principal said with a smile. He then motioned us toward a doorway marked “125”.  Inside, students were huddled together over papers and chrome books, talking and writing. They looked up at us briefly.

“This is one of our history classes. The students here are working on a group project,” he explained.

We watched for a while, then continued our tour. We were new parents and students, getting informed and oriented before the next school year. The following thirty minutes were spent moving from one spot to the next, as students pushed past each other in the hallway, reached across each other in the cafeteria, and talked over each other at classroom tables. It was a loud, busy place.

Personally, I loved high school, and happy memories washed over me that day. The energy of games, clubs, and social activities fueled me through my academics, and I thrived in it all.

But now, as a parent, I was seeing things through my daughter’s eyes. With her in mind, even this short tour made me tired.

She is extremely introverted person, and I realized I had to do some very intentional parenting for us both to survive until graduation day.  Continue reading