Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bunko Night was a Blast!

Hi Friends!

In case you didn't make it to the party Tuesday night, I have posted a few pictures for you. If you did get to be there, I'm sure you will enjoy a few memories of a great time together.  Janie Smith and Leslie Western hosted a delightful night of fun, food, and prizes to a substantial crowd.  There were 50 women playing Bunko from one end of the foyer...

... the other!

These pictures are deceptively quiet.  I assure you this bunch was anything but quiet.

Notice anything funny about Vonda's name tag?

Jan has so many shiny hearts on her sweater!

Paula got really creative with her stickers.

This group is taking a breather between rounds while Nancy passes out stickers to the winning partners. Whew!  Who knew Bunko was so much exercise?

The stickers were VERY important because each one indicated a win.  When all was said and done, the prizes were awarded to those with the highest scores, second place and "the booby prize" in each of the three sections. (I won't mention who beat me out of that last category by one little sticker!)

Congratulations to all of the winners who received gift cards from a variety of stores and restaurants around town:

Georgia Dodson
Sue Taylor
Susan Harris
Bev Zimmerebner
Sarah Wright
Paula Schwartzmann
Jobina Pratt
Heather Slay 
Stephanie Westerman

And many thanks to those who brought the delicious snacks.

In case you would like to thank Janie and Leslie, feel free to leave your words of appreciation in the comments below.  I'll make sure they see them!  

So what's next on our social calendar? tell me!  The Women's Leadership Team is looking for a few "Party Girls" to plan another fun night during the next quarter.  Please let one of us know your ideas for getting together Just for the Fun of it! I've listed our contact information at the end of the post.

Thanks for stopping by,

Dian Glover:
Suzanne Russell:
Karen Stuckey:
Karen Wright:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hi Friends!

The new year is well underway.  The Wednesday morning and Thursday evening bible studies have begun along with the newest addition to the line up for Women of Lake Valley, Discover Your God-given gifts.  The current class is full, but we plan to continue bringing this life-equipping class to ALL of Lake Valley as time and opportunity presents itself.

AND... a Bunko Night?  Yeah!  Tuesday, February 5 starting at 6:30 in the downstairs lobby of Lake Valley.  Janie and Leslie have planned a fun night that includes food and PRIZES!  Please add your name to the sign up at the information booth any Sunday before the 5th so that our two hostesses know how many to plan for.  All of the details can be found under "Headlines", in the e-mail newsletter every Thursday.

Thanks to Janie Smith and Leslie Western for planning this "Girls Night Out" event!

I would love to connect with some of you who enjoy paper crafting.  Any one interested? Click on the link below for a very clever Valentine idea:

Amber is one of my favorite designers in the paper crafting world.  E-mail web links or pictures of any great crafting ideas you have and I will happily post them for all to see! Maybe our next "Girl's Night Out" event will be for us crafty girls!

Did you know that Judy Scott, a long time member of Lake Valley, was named Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year?  In addition to her busy work schedule, Judy organizes the coverage for our Information Booth at Lake Valley.  Congratulations, Judy and thanks for letting your light shine in our business community.

Remember this:

 Have a great week!Thanks for stopping by,Suzanne

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I made a card for you.


Welcome back to Connecting.  It is truly the busiest time of the year, so I am delighted that you took the time to see the card I made for you.

Please take a few more minute and read on.  I wanted to share with you what makes this card special to me.

The following is taken from a book designed to teach children the Names of Jesus.  This little book was included in a set of beautiful ornaments that each bear one of the names given to Him in Isaiah 9:6-7.  "...And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end."

"Peace without end is the longing of every human heart, but it cannot be found on earth.  No king has ever lived, even the most benevolent, who has ruled with perfect peace.  All kings are human, flawed, and prone to error.  But Jesus is named Prince of Peace.  This name brings the great promise of a life without conflict.  Only One who is divine, who is sinless, can rule with perfection.  His name is Jesus.
While we wait for His government on earth, we can still experience the peace Jesus offers: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27).  Later He added, "In Me you may have peace" (John 16:33).  He knew He was leaving and that His followers would feel abandoned and afraid, so Jesus promised them the assurance of much-needed peace.

It is both remarkable and comforting that Jesus can dwell within our frail humanity by His Spirit.  Even in our faults and failures, He can produce miraculous peace.  Does He live within your heart?  If He does, then no matter how difficult your circumstances, He can and will give peace that passes all understanding if you will ask.

One of the most loved hymns of the church, "It is Well with My Soul," was written by Horatio Spafford just months after all four of his daughters drowned when their ship sank in the Atlantic Ocean.  His wife was saved when a plank of wood floated beneath her unconscious body, keeping her from drowning.  Unimaginable grief must have overwhelmed Mr. Spafford.

On the journey to meet his wife, he wrote these words near the place where the ship sank: "When peace like a river attendeth my way,/When sorrows like sea billows roll/...Thou has taught me to say,/It is well...with my soul."  How was that possible?  Without the Prince of Peace it is not.  Only in Jesus can we say, "It is well with my soul."

May you know His peace and His love this Christmas and experience the joy that this knowledge brings!

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Oh What Fun...!

Happy Saturday!

I continue to enjoy the "sweetest" memories of our Sweet Taste of Christmas party Thursday night.  Everyone looked so pretty and festive and seemed to be in a party mood.  Truth be told, I think I may be a little sugar toxic, but what beautiful and delicious treats we had.  Thanks again, Georgia Dodson and Rhonda Golden for setting the stage as well as coordinating with Susan Cox, Maryclare Macarons, and Bliss Cupcake Boutique.  

AND Jenny Wrublesky wrote and sang an incredible song just for us and this special night together.  I'm still hoping we can find a recording of it and share it with all of the women of Lake Valley.  Talk about a special gift.  Jenny has such a beautiful voice and we are now recognizing her additional talent of song writing.  Bless you, Jenny as we are blessed by you!

While I'm saying thank you, Morgan Golden was the sound man and Mark Russell was the photographer.  The night would not have been as special without their talents.  Thanks, guys!

Here's a little slide show of the evening.

I think everyone there got one of the decorated reminders of what will be coming up soon for Women of Lake Valley, but there are extras at the information booth for anyone to pick up on Sunday.  These will be available through the month of January.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend as well as this season of Advent.  So glad you joined us for the Christmas kick off.  If you didn't make it, we really did miss you and look forward to you joining  us next time!

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Fall, Y'all

Hello Ladies!

I hope you saw the "Save the Date" notice in the Headlines last week which promised more information on "A Sweet Taste of Christmas".  We're having a Christmas party for just us girls on Thursday, December 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Lake Valley Church.  This invitation is for all Lake Valley women.  The night will revolve around a dessert tasting, and will include door prizes, announcements about Women's Ministry, and a surprise at the end of the evening.  Please join us, it won't be as sweet if you're not there!

Please leave a comment if you plan to attend.  I would love to hear from you!

On another note:
It was an eventful weekend at the Russell home.  Sunday afternoon as Mark and I settled in with a fire in the fireplace and books to read, listening to the storm going on outside, Mark suddenly had a pain in his left shoulder. Being a physician and quickly ascertaining that this was unlike anything he had ever experienced, he laid down on the floor and asked me to get an aspirin for him as is the recommended protocol if you suspect you may be having a heart attack.  It was only a few minutes later that we took off for the emergency room.  Not a minute too soon I might add, because very quickly the pain went from distressing to nearly unbearable.  The very efficient ER doctor and nurses evaluated the situation and set about relieving his pain.  It was the third attempt that gave him the much needed relief.  After it was decided that he should have an angiogram the following morning, we moved to our room for the night.  As many of you know, there is NO rest through the night in a hospital.  The great end to this story is that Mark did not have a heart attack, nor was there anything wrong with his heart.  On the contrary, the test revealed that his heart is very healthy.  We may never know exactly what did happen, but I'll take a false alarm every time.

Why am I telling you this?  I'm not completely sure.  Maybe it's because this experience was difficult and Mark and I got through it.  Together.  And a lot of friends were praying for us.  It was one of those experiences that helped me focus on what I cherish most-the man God gave to me to love.  God was good.  But here's the thing that kept going through my mind: "My grace is sufficient for you".  I was afraid that I was about to know the depth of God's grace in a way I wanted to resist.  But I didn't resist it.  I embraced it and I was not as much afraid as I was determined to hold on to the strength God gave in the terrible moments.  Real comfort is hard to describe, but it was very real and I am grateful.

As we approach the season of Gratitude, I am praying for you to be certain of the sufficiency of God's grace in your life;  that you are strengthened and encouraged by that truth to face the challenges that are yours.  May we be truly grateful for the abundant life that is ours in Jesus Christ as we celebrate a day dedicated to giving thanks!

Thankful for you,

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Little Insight...

Hello Ladies!

I thought you would appreciate a little insight into what's going on with the Women's Ministry Leadership Team  (WMT).  I would love to tell you that we have a lot of new ideas and plans for the future.  But God is leading us, and His timing is a little different from ours!  What we are learning is that there is a great deal more at stake than planning some group events and Bible studies for the coming year.  We are very carefully examining WHO we are, and WHY we would do something.  We have also made a decision that we will meet weekly, but only when all four of us can be there during this foundational period.  Because of some pre-existing family plans there will be three times over the next six weeks that we will not meet.  Life obviously goes on for all of us and those commitments cannot be ignored.  All of this to say, we are working diligently, within the constraints that we have, to develop a fresh and new vision for encouraging and equipping the women of Lake Valley Church.

Furthermore, we will be calling on you to help us in the development of this vision.  While the dates are not yet firm, we expect to have a series of FOCUS GROUPS to which all of you are invited to participate.  I know this may be a new concept for some of you, but I think you will enjoy the opportunity to be part of the process.  There will be more news on this when we are able to confirm the dates.

We are also putting  "A Fresh and New Christmas" on the church calendar for Thursday, December 6.  We want to honor the tradition of the Women's Candlelight Dinner, but with a little different take on the event.  I know that life speeds up from Thanksgiving on, so please pencil this one in on your calendar.  You'll be glad you did!

So, are you praying for us as a leadership team?  Please know that we NEED your prayers for wisdom and clarity.  I am happy to report, that this team of four women are enjoying a remarkably comfortable relationship.  We couldn't be more different, but we are also confident that God is at work in our lives and in this ministry to incorporate the gifts and talents He has given us for Kingdom good.

We love you, we are praying for you, and we are looking forward to hearing from you as we continue to serve our Awesome God!

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Winner Announcement!

Good Morning, Happy Sunday, September 2nd!

I have just a brief post today to announce the winner of our first ever Girl's Just Wannna Have Fun contest. If you missed the post, check the August archives for A Little Wardrobe Malfunction...

But first, thanks to all twelve of you who joined the conversation by commenting on how you like to have fun with your friends.   We ran the gamut, didn't we?  Campfires to cruises and a lot of other great ideas in between.  The most often repeated idea was Bunko.  I think it's safe to say there will be a Bunko Night in the future for us girls who just wanna have fun!

Any other ideas about large OR small group gatherings are welcome anytime.  (Fun ideas for home group socials as well)  Feel free to add your thoughts via a comment in this or any future posts.  My hope is that you will be encouraged to connect with the other women of Lake Valley.

Now for the big news (drum roll, please)

Congratulations, Natalie Manatt!  Please send an e-mail to to let me know when you and your two friends will enjoy a free lunch together at Zoe's. 

(A random number method was used to choose the winner.  Merit of comment does not apply.)

I hope to see you at worship this morning.  If not, have a safe and happy Labor Day.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Little Wardrobe Malfunction...

Yes, that's our story and we are sticking to it!  This post was supposed be the introduction to our first ever "Girl's Just Want To Have Fun" event, but unfortunately, it's not gonna happen.

Instead, we want to pick your brains a little.  When you think about getting together with your girlfriends and having fun, what comes to mind?  We (the leadership team) are looking for all the ways you think fun happens.  Are you game?

Please leave your very clever and creative ideas in a comment box below for a chance to win lunch for yourself and two friends at ZOE'S.  There will be a random drawing for the prize on Friday, August 31, at 12:00 noon.

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tap, tap, tap, is this thing on?

Hello Ladies!  This is a test.

If you receive an e-mail notice for this post, PLEASE click on the blog title (somewhere in your e-mail will be the word Connecting highlighted in some way.  Mine is in blue, below the content of the e-mail) in order to go to the blog site.

Click on comments, (at the end of the post), and write something in the box.  Anything will do.  I just need to know that you are actually receiving your notifications.

After you write the comment, you may remain anonymous, or in the box designated comment as: type in your name, and forget about the URL. Close the box and...

 PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT by clicking on the publish button.  Do not close the blog window until you see your comment appear in the comment list or it will vanish forever.

I think that's everything you need to know to successfully leave a comment.  If it really works, there will be another post coming your way.

Thanks for your help!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Book, A Card, A Little Inspiration

Hi Ladies,  happy weekend.

I hope that many of you have re-subscribed by e-mail now that our "technical difficulties" seem to be resolved.  Check out the Blog Archives column on the right.  There have been several posts since the "welcome".  You may have missed the further introductions of the leadership team for Women's Ministry here at LVCC during the time that the subscription service was not working.  Please give Meagan Krone a big thank you the next time you see her for getting us up and running again.  I think Meagan is the one woman IT team for Lake Valley!

Did you know that there is a women's book club going on at Lake Valley?  Yeah, they meet once a month on Wednesdays after the bible study (currently a Beth Moore study of Daniel, open to anyone who would like to come).  Actually Judy Ellis is the contact person so I asked her to tell you about it:

The Women's Book Club decided to read the Book by Eric Blehm... Fearless-The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy Seal Team Six Operation Adam Brown.  This is a book about a young man from Hot Springs named Adam Brown.  Fearless is the story of a man of extremes whose courage and determination was fueled by faith, family and the love of a woman. He gave the ultimate sacrifice. We would like to invite any and all of the women of Lake Valley to join us. Just read the book and on September 12th at noon, we will meet at church to discuss the book. Please bring your lunch and join with us in discussing this book and how it has impacted our lives.  

The Book Club is a small group of women who enjoy reading and want the fellowship of other women.  We enjoy reading, eating lunch together, watching movies but most of all we carry the love of God in our hearts for each other.  God has blessed us with new caring friends.
Thanks Judy.  You can contact Judy for more information by phone, 520-0456, or e-mail,

If this isn't a time or day that works for you, maybe you would like to start another book club.  There are probably others who might have the same needs as you.  You are welcome to use the comment box below to get that rolling.  I will help in any way I can.  

Did you by any chance notice the words on Judy's t-shirt in the picture above?  It says, "Daily Dreamer".  It says some other things too, but this really caught my eye and it is a natural segue into the next subject I wanted share with you tonight-my card!

(you can click on this picture for a closer look)

Some of you already know that I LOVE paper craft.  I usually make cards, but occasionally I try other projects as well.  This hobby started about three years ago and I have found it to be a creative adventure.  I have learned not only a lot about the art itself, but have met a lot of people on line who inspire me daily.  Many of the paper crafters are very open about their faith.  The entire community, which is world wide, is consistently encouraging and uplifting.  I have joined a local group of other card-makers for a monthly stamp club.  Perhaps the most surprising benefit of all is the increased knowledge of computer usage.  I am light years beyond where I was three years ago.  I have recently celebrated my first year anniversary for my personal blog, Beauty and Blessings.

All of this to say, it was about three years ago that I asked God to give me a dream.  I wanted a way to experience Him and connect with other people in a creative way.  I don't think I articulated that exactly, but now I see very clearly that God showed me a way of expressing His Character, through His Spirit in me.  I have always known that Beauty is important to me, but it took a long time to figure out that it is important because Beauty is a characteristic of God.  One that He expresses in a unique way through women.  I know this is not fine art.  But it is the way a Creative, omniscient God chose to speak to me about Himself and His character.  Pretty cool, huh?  It is to me.

Are you daring to dream?  Please do.  Then watch what happens!

Have you joined Pinterest yet?  I know a lot of you have because I follow you or you follow me.  According to Wikipedia, Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests...etc.

You will need an invitation to use Pinterest, but it's not as exclusive as that may sound.  Let me know if you want an invitation and I will get you in!

This poster is one of the reasons I like Pinterest so much.

 I want to be a strong woman.  I want to hang out with other strong women.  I bet you do too.

In closing, we have a lot of hurting people in our Lake Valley family right now.  Pray for those you know about.  Love them as if you were Jesus with skin on.

Thanks for stopping by,