Sunday, June 4, 2017

Growing Fruit - Growing Community

It was so timely today to pull up this post from March 2013:

...not only have we been working in the Garden and Orchard...but this morning our Sunday School lesson was on Mark 4 and the Parable of the Sower -- the same passage as discussed in Luke 8...

This morning we talked about soil types, the work required, and the relationship we have with those around us. It is amazing how much working in an orchard or garden teaches you about life. In the end just like a fruit tree we are known by our fruit or lack thereof. I have much to ponder and work on in that regards.

The post was also timely as I stopped with the kids by the Broad Street Community Orchard to check and see how the Blackberry bushes and Apple trees are doing. It was such a delight to see the branches weighed down with has taken 4 years of the roots firmly growing, but now the fruit is growing too!


When the Orchard was planted we had no idea the lessons it would teach us...

Strawberry beds are massive work...hours per week and four were way too much for one person to the end of the second season we opted to remove them from the garden.

UK Extension Office and Kelly Jackson are rockstar in the horticulture fields. Kelly and his staff pruned the trees and all the other things needed to ensure the trees were growing the right way to be strong and healthy for years to come. It takes hard work and knowledge to have a thriving Orchard. 

A neighbor that taught us more about being a neighbor than anyone ever has...this neighbor grew up on the Orchard plot when there was a house there. He takes pride even today with the homeplace gone and has four years mowed and kept the Orchard looking beautiful. His dedication to our community and this place that holds a special place in his life is such a beautiful lesson for us all.

When I think back over four years it has been a time of not just growing a beautiful Orchard, but for our family it has been a time of pruning and work as we have faced a child with significant health needs...we have had neighbors that have gathered around and continued the mission of neighbors helping neighbors when our family was weary and we have seen shining examples of love and caring...I look back and see not only has an Orchard been growing, but also a community that we treasure so much!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Adventures in Gardening

As a child I remember my daddy tilling the garden...our job was to then fill our buckets with rocks, so that the garden would grow. I don't remember all we planted or how well the gardens grew, but I can remember breaking beans, shucking corn, and mama canning them along with tomatoes.

I have not ventured to far in gardening as an adult...I can grow tomatoes, peppers and herbs from a plant, but never ventured into planting from seeds. After finding I was allergic to corn  pollen I could no longer frequent our large community garden.

Our neighborhood association as a collective decided the large, lot-sized garden was a bit much to manage...last summer the rain and weeds beat us all out! We talked and dreamed of attempting a small raised bed garden and if it works planting them throughout the neighborhood. Thankfully some friends blessed CH1 with our first raised bed plot!

Last week we went to the Hopkinsville Christian County Public Library and picked out 7 packets of seeds from the seed library. Along with the ones we already had on hand we planned an evening and planted our plot!

We are definitely learning as we go, but can I just add how delightful gardening with a friend is...just made it not feel like work at all...although we had plenty of dirt and sweat on us by the time we finished!

If our green thumbs prevail, then we should have in the DANA/CH1 Community Garden:

- Tomatoes
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Banana Peppers
- JalapeƱo Peppers
- Spinach
- Green Onions
- Lettuce
- Red Okra
- Cucumbers
- Zucchini
- Turnips
- Collard Greens
- Snap Peas


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Free Little Library

Today there was an article in the paper on the Free Little Library...we also had a knock at the door with a neighbor and her son's sharing two bags full of books! We love getting to meet and visit with our neighbors and share books with our community!


Thank you so much to the Ross-Outland Sunday School Class at Hillcrest Baptist Church for your hard work on this project!

Lessons from the Street Corner

Last night late in the evening we heard barking...a constant, loud bark with hardly a breath between. Finally after what seemed like 15 minutes my husband went out to investigate and I heard an, "oh no" from outside. I quickly threw on my shoes.

As I walked out a cat came over and began to meow with the same constant insistence...I looked in the direction they were making their pleas to see a little honey brown pit bull pup lying on the sidewalk and breathing laboriously.

We shewed the barking dog and cat toward their home and my husband went over to check out the poor pup. It had been hit by a car and could not move anything, but it's head. We stayed as he rubbed it's head and talked gently to it and a few minutes later it passed.

Around the same time the other dog stopped it's incessant barking...almost as the plea for help could stop. Suddenly sleep was not quite the priority as we contacted animal control to help. A neighbor stopped by to chat and share good news on how he is getting on his feet again.

It struck me how adamant that dog was in crying out for help and the cat, too. I don't think I had ever seen this behavior before in animals...but these three run the streets together...we had seen them often over the past few weeks and commented on hoping they stayed safe.

As we returned inside to sleep I pondered the pleas of these other animals, their stick-togetherness. It made me reflect on how adamantly I call for help if I see another in of my pack...

So...slow safe and be on watch for children and animals that may roam our streets...look out for those around you and never stop trying if you know one of those you do life with needs help...

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring Blessings

Last Sunday as I was typing up the blog post about summer dreams my husband had a friend at church ask what they could do to help us at CH1...

We initially mentioned snacks are always used and quickly realized they wanted to know a project or projects that could bless our ministry. We mentioned our "summer dreams" of a community garden and Free Little Library...and ya'll I cannot begin to express in written word my excitement today as our dreams became a reality...

So...without further ado...let us show you how these volunteers spent this afternoon blessing our neighborhood!






Can you believe it? Amazing!!! We are so blessed and so grateful not just for the project these men did, but the servant hearts they displayed and the prayers they prayed over each completed project...that the garden will flourish, as will the faith of those that work in it and that the books will be a blessing and lead to many opportunities to share love and our faith with others.

While they worked our little guy also had a great surprise of getting to play with friends, while I moved the hosta plants to our planter box...


We hope you have had a wonderful Sunday afternoon! Please share your Spring blessings with us in the comments. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Summer Dreaming

At CH1 we are doing lots of dreaming of summer projects to make our space a great space to share with our neighbors and I have been perusing Pinterest for ideas and will share a few with you...

In the past our neighborhood association has had a big neighborhood garden, but we have found it is hard to manage, so this year we thought about doing some raised bed gardens throughout the neighborhood. This is the plot where we thought a raised bed garden would be perfect:


Another area we would like to do some fun projects is on the side of the house:


Our dreams for this side of the house include:

- A hopscotch path with stepping stones

- A Little Free Library

- A Kindness Rocks Garden

- A Fun, Whimsical Area to Gather and Play

All of our inspirations are on my Pinterest board here:

In addition to dreaming of fun new spaces there are also more of maintenance items we have to out the gutters, painting and sealing all of the outdoor wood trim and re-screening the doors and windows on the porch:


We have no idea how many projects we will complete this summer...but we enjoy planning and dreaming!

If you have some ideas for our spaces...please share them in the comments or email us at or if you would like to help us with a project or have some items that would be perfect for these spaces let us know! 

We hope you are having fun dreaming of your summer projects too!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 2014

Challenge House 1 has been full of activity and planning for our busy summer season. We have also been living life with our neighbors...this includes the wonderful blessings and the gritty hard stuff.

Here is a glimpse of our month...

A huge blessing to our family has been the Durrett Avenue Neighborhood Association. We have made friends with the other board members, met many neighbors and have partners that also are seeking to see our neighborhood thrive.

We decided a good way to share information with our community would be through a Facebook page, so Ellen took on the task of creating it and shares duties with the Vice President of the Association with sharing posts of activities at Challenge House, in our neighborhood and in our community.

If you are a Challenge House 1 partner or live in Durrett Avenue Neighborhood we encourage you to like the page to receive updates:

Our Beautification committee for the city also has a Facebook page...we encourage our neighbors to nominate others that have beautified their property...if you would like to nominate your yard, but aren't on Facebook or don't have a camera...let us know - we would be happy to snap a photo for you!

A favorite part of May for us is that it is a time for planting and even a time for some crops to start producing....last year we planted the Broad Street Orchard in partnership with UK Extension Office and Micah's Mission. We actually have begun to see the efforts of the labor put into the plantings with our first strawberry crop!

We walked to the orchard and we were able to pick three clamshells of strawberries. The best part...walking home and sharing them with our neighbors on the way and then taking the rest to share with our neighbors at the neighborhood association meeting that evening.

The biggest blessing of all with the orchard has been meeting "Shorty" he invested himself in the orchard from day one. Last year he faithfully mowed  and weeded the orchard plot. He does the job for pride in the neighborhood, to be a good neighbor, not for recognition and he always disappears when we seek to offer praise or thanksgiving. He has been such a blessing and example in our walk to love our neighbor as ourselves.

With all the good in the neighborhood and our community comes the hard stuff...we are not immune to what many others face. An example of this surfaced last week when the window of our vehicle along with many others across our neighborhood and city were shot out with a BB or pellet gun. The insurance and Workman's Auto Glass took care of us in less than two days, but we think of neighbors that may not have the funds or good insurance to replace broken windows by vandals.

This comes on the heels of several shootings and robberies within our town. It is frustrating and disheartening to see that all the programs, money, or education we promote it will not change what is happening....but what hope we have knowing this is a heart issue and we know the one that changes hearts!

On May 24th our family attended a Stop the Violence Rally at the Boys & Girls Club hosted by Means Avenue Baptist Church. It was wonderful to see men women and children standing against the violence that has recently plagued our neighborhoods. To see men of God proclaiming the Word of God and challenging us to walk worthy lives and to build relationships with those around invest in our neighbors and let them know that Christ can be the answer.

We continue with our Wednesday Night Lady and Teen Girl Bible Study - Soup Conversations! It is always fun to see what group of ladies and teens we will have...some weeks we may have 3-4, other weeks, like last night we have to pull out extra chairs for everyone to sit! We have finished a study on finding the meaning of Easter and are now studying 1 John for the next few months. One thing is for sure we will have good soup, good fellowship in learning, and just meeting God there in His Word and prayer...ya'll I can't tell you how much these ladies bless my soul!

Amongst all the things we are doing in the month...we are always looking forward and planning for the months ahead...June will bring two summer programs - Be the Church with Hillcrest and a summer reading program for our students in Durrett Avenue neighborhood! We are so excited for both and continue to seek new ways to bless our neighbors and share the love of Christ with them.

If you would like to support us there are many ways:

...snacks and paper products (napkins, toilet paper, paper cups, etc) are always great additions to our ministry...

...volunteer your time to coordinate, lead, or assist in a program at Challenge House...the many partners we have are building wonderful relationships with the neighbors around us...

...prayer - we need prayers for safety in our neighborhoods for our neighbors and our ambassadors, for us to have divine appointments with our neighbors to partner in sharing Christ and to share Christ that do not know, prayer that we will share godly guidance with those that come to us for mentoring or support, prayer that hearts will be changed in our families, in our neighborhood, and in our town.