Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Adventures

So far this summer our schedule was filled with events and moments to connect.  This video gives you a glimpse of two events.  Jonerik, Joe Darrow and some teens from our church (including two of our own) joined some other leaders in a week long backpacking trip in New Hampshire.  They hiked each day, set up their camp at night and enjoyed beautiful surroundings like natural waterfalls, clean air and spectacular views from the peak of the mountain.  They were challenged in their walks with God and given a unique opportunity to enjoy his creation.

We also recently had our annual block party!  This is a big event that shuts down a section of Frankford Ave. for the afternoon.  We set up a stage, inflatables, food booths, a place for sharing the gospel, games, face painting and we open our playground for the kids. This is a great way to have fun and serve our community.

Our summer isn't over.  Jonerik is actually at Dorney Park right now with teens from Teen Club who earned the rewards trip for good grades this past school year.

He will also be going with some teens for a second time to serve dinner at a homeless shelter at the end of this week.  He is intentional about serving our community with the teens - to help them see beyond themselves and to realize that they can make a difference for others.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Cornerstone Video

This video is almost 15 minutes long.  It's an excellent overview of our neighborhood, our church and the heart behind our ministry.  I encourage you to take the time to watch to the end as it will give you a fuller picture of what God is doing here in our community.

The music was written by Jonerik and sung by Jonerik and Emily during a morning worship service.

Some of my favorite quotes:

"A lot of people think bad about Kensington but its just like any other city, 
there's a lot of good here..."   -Joel

"The people in our neighborhood need to know that there is hope."  -Joel

"Cornerstone is a group of redeemed people... 
Cornerstone is made up of people who have hope." -Jonerik

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Sweet Ride... A Sweet Gift!

Many of you have known of our need for new and/or more transportation for our family.  We have been crunching numbers and window shopping for a while but didn't feel at peace with a direct decision yet.

Last week an acquaintance graciously donated a car to our family! It is a '97 Toyota Camry and while it is "experienced" in life - it is in great condition.  This gives us two cars for the family - meaning we can (legally) all go places together or go separate ways as needed.

While it is not what we had first envisioned we know that this is huge answer to prayer and we trust God's timing and plan for our needs.

31 So don’t worry about these things, saying,‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6:31-34

Jonerik and I were also given some great clothes recently.  This seems a little random, but when I put all of this together I feel well-cared for by our Father.  He knows our needs and provides faithfully.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A year and a half later....

Almost immediately after moving into our new home we got pregnant!  "New house, new baby!" is what someone told me.  I think God is just really good at what He does. My pregnancy was tougher than I expected.  I was diagnosed with Hypermesis - aka "morning sickness on steroids".  It mean being consistently nauseous for months, not keeping food down, losing lots of weight and ending up in the ER for hydration.  This was an intense struggle because normal life goes on when you are sick.  I don't think moms are supposed to get sick.... ever.  Jonerik was fantastic in taking over what I couldn't handle, which was just about everything I normally did.  I literally stayed in our bedroom for weeks.  It was summer so we tried to keep the kids busy with church events, camp and other activities.  After a few months my body evened out a little and I cruised through the rest of the pregnancy with the usual ups and downs as a little person changed everything about my insides.

Karis was born on 2/09/14 in the afternoon.  She was a surprise "footling breach" which means she was delivered by emergency C-section.  God was gracious to us and even in the scary moments of realizing everything we expected to happen was not going to happen - He felt present.  As I was being rushed down the hallway for the surgery I remember feeling so helpless.  All of the hard work - laboring for 12 hours with no meds - was something that I could "do".  But when we learned that I would not physically be able to deliver her safely I had to surrender those efforts to a God who creates and sustains life and a medical team that I didn't know.

Today Karis is 7 months and 2 days.  She is so pleasant and beautiful.  She blends into our family so well and while it doesn't equal "simple" or "easy" - it is an amazing process.

A few life changes over the last year:
- We now officially have 3 teenagers!  Our kids are ages (almost) 16, 14, 13, 9, 7 and baby!
- Our oldest is in a charter high school year.
- I am no longer working part time from home for a non-profit - my goals are now focused on the women of our church/neighborhood.
- Jonerik is training for a marathon in November.

Instead of doing communications work for a non-profit I will be working to improve communications for our family!  Support raising is work - it requires time and energy.  We have a vision for what we are doing - and we think the mission is so important that we continue to pursue partners to help make our work possible.

I have a lot of dreams of how to make this possible and how to connect with the people that we care about. Now that the kids are back in school, we'll see how my dreams unfold.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


The long awaited announcement....  we are moving!!

God has graciously provided a house that is more than what we asked for and has blessed us with a perfect time to buy.  Another family on staff at Cornerstone is moving into a smaller home in the neighborhood - their 5 children are quickly growing and moving into different phases of life.  They have offered to sell us their home in the price range we were looking for!!  

It is located about two or three blocks away so it is still within walking distance of the church and we will know many of our neighbors.  The home is 3 stories and it has 5 bedrooms...yes....5!  We will probably be using 3 of them as actual bedrooms with a playroom and an office in the others.  There is one full bathroom and 2 half baths.  3 toilets!!  

The plan is to settle and sign papers within a few days and move in about 2 weeks!  As I packed boxes in our apartment today it started to feel more real.  Things are really moving along and this dream is becoming a reality.  We have a group of friends from a supporting church coming that weekend to help with the moving festivities.  

We are thanking God immensely and are grateful for his faithfulness and provision.  We recognize that there will be more work ahead and challenges to face as we make this major transition with the kids, but we know that God is near us and that He is walking with us.  We will be sad to leave our apartment.  While it is small and cramped and there is usually a revolving line for the bathroom at any given time - we have gone through a lot while living here and have experienced many life milestones in 3 short years.  

Please be praying with us that the process and the transitions go smoothly.  Updates and photos to come!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Surprise Wedding!!

We love to celebrate at Cornerstone.  We even coined the phrase "Cornerstone Clap" because people clap and shout about everything that happens.  Right before Valentine's Day we got to celebrate something very special - a SURPRISE WEDDING!

A woman that has been coming to our church for a long time (I posted her poem a while back, a beautiful story of how God redeemed a broken woman) met a man that she fell in love with.  He had yet to commit his life to Christ and while they had a lot in common they had different religious views.  Through various circumstances they came to live together and were trying to live life under the same roof.  As she talked more with him about this God that she loved he became more interested.  He started to come to church and gave his life to Christ.

He learned what baptism was and decided that he wanted to pursue it.  He asked Jonerik if he would baptize him and Jonerik's response was, "not yet".  There were still some things that needed to be dealt with in his life and as they talked this man was convicted.  They realized that they we not putting God first in their lives and living in disobedience to him in their current situation.

They made arrangements to live in separate places while they worked through some premarital counseling.  The church supported their desires to be obedient to God and it was inspiring to see fresh passion to honor God.  On the Sunday before Valentine's Day, one of the pastors at Cornerstone preached about what true love was why marriage was so special to God.  At the end of the service, this couple got married!!  They had a reception for everyone afterwards and a small group from the church surprised them with a night at a hotel in center city!

God cherishes marriage as a sacred covenant - to bring glory to his name.

Here is the church service/wedding.  Skip to 32:00 if you want to get to the wedding!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Celebrations and Rememberances

Since my last post we experienced whirlwinds of celebrating and moments and days of remembering. 

  • Lymarys turned 14 in November!

  • We also celebrated Thanksgiving with family, thanking God for his faithfulness and love over the past year. 

  • Christmas and Thanksgiving were both celebrated in our home (we borrowed the neighbors house for Thanksgiving this year) and we created some new traditions and memories and we kept some of the old.

  • Gigi celebrated her 6th birthday on January 11 and lost her two front teeth right before Christmas!

  • The most exciting celebration that we quietly rejoiced over was December 4th.  Jonerik and I received full custody of Limaris' children!  It was a year long process with some obstacles thrown in our way, but God has blessed us with three beautiful children and we couldn't be prouder.  We have maintained good relationships with family (which was a goal in the process) and it is a relief to have things officially set.  Thank you for all of your prayers over this, your encouragement sent through email, cards and in person.  I never imagined God would call us to something so difficult and so beautiful.

So in case you lost count our kids are currently:
Gigi - 6
Damian - about to be 8 in Feb.
Bub - 11
Dante - 12
Lymarys - 14

  • We are still in the process of buying a new home.  That will deserve a post of it's own when things get closer and solidified.  Our hope is to move in April!

The holidays proved to be very different this year. It was the first year without our dear sister Limaris and we missed her party planning, life of the party presence. There were moments that we stopped to remember her and how different life is. The grief was still present and was stronger at different times for all of us. We are so grateful for a God who holds and comforts us each step of the way.