Big Picture Parenting Seminar

Almost exactly four years ago, members of our church sat down and had a “Dream Meeting” where we shared wishes, hopes and dreams for the future of Eastport Bible Church.  One of the biggest shared goals that I remember from that meeting from both young and old, was the desire to connect with young families and to get them plugged into our church community.  Well, fast forward four years and I’m happy to share that we have certainly accomplished that goal!

One way we wanted to continue to help and support these amazing young families, was to host a Big Picture Parenting Seminar which happened this past weekend.  We met first on Friday evening and then finished up on Sunday evening.  Because I love a good family picture, and realize that they are sometimes hard to get, I took a few moments before our Sunday session to capture some memories for a few of the families that attended.


We have such love for these families!


There is nothing greater, in my mind, than raising children to know and love Jesus and we are so thankful that these parents have committed to doing just that.



For our Sunday evening session, the parents enjoyed a beautiful meal that was both gifted and catered by Rhumba.  For the record, the Hersh family is the brilliance behind three local restaurants, Rhumba, Cowfish and Rhum and if you haven’t, you should totally check them all out.  These restaurants have been our family’s favorites for years because of their beautiful locations and oustandingly delicious food.  We are so thankful to Rachel and David Hersh for their generosity in supporting our Parenting Seminar!


While our parents all enjoyed their meals below…


We had an excellent team of adults and helpers looking after the kids upstairs.


Years ago, I remember our nursery being empty some Sundays.  But now, it’s bursting and busy with the most beautiful babies around.


During the seminar, the babies kept busy with toys and snacks (it’s amazing the joy that comes from one container of puffs and a few boxes of raisins).


We also had a big kids room with coloring and activities for all.



After our delicious meal, we met as parents to learn and discuss and be encouraged.  Our seminar was themed after Paul David Tripp’s Parenting Series based off his book called Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles that Can Radically Change your Family.  (By the way, that link will take you to Amazon, where you can check out the book or even buy the Kindle version for $2.99.  Having read and been encouraged by this book, I guarantee you, it will be the best $2.99 you’ve spent!)


Brenda and Nathan Tuttle, and Anna and AK McNall were the driving force behind our parenting seminar.   It was their dream to host this for our families and they all did an absolutely amazing job!


In between video clips we also had time to discuss and it was so good to hear the thoughts and ideas of other parents.  Sometimes, being a parent can make you feel incredibly isolated.


But putting yourself out with other parents is an incredible experience.  You learn quickly that you’re not alone, but that others are going through the same things you are and through our seminar we gained an opportunity to share and support each other.


I got to enjoy a big part of the seminar on both evenings, but also spent some time helping out in the nursery with the many babies that I love.  That being said, if I could share a few things I learned from our Big Picture Parenting Seminar they would be:

  1.  We shouldn’t be surprised when we see sin in the home, we should be surprised when we don’t.
  2. The call for parenting is captured in one diagnostic word:  Ambassadors.  II Corinthians 5:20 says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.”  We are ambassadors for Christ to our kids and they can learn about God and His will from us.
  3. God reveals the needs of our kids so we can be a tool of His Grace in their lives.
  4. And finally, “If your eyes ever see and your ears ever hear the sin, weakness, and failure of your children- it is never an accident, it is never an interruption, it is never a hassle, it is always grace.”  For me, this was a completely different way to look at the struggles that our kids have and to change my thinking from negative to positive!


And friends, that was only the surface!  There was so many great things to take away from the Big Picture Parenting Seminar and I’m so thankful that I got to be a part of it.  Again, a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in the planning and to those who were able to come and participate with us.  Eastport Bible Church is an incredible place for families (young and old) to get plugged in to sharing life together.  For more information on our church, you can check out our website here.

Only Do So Much

Hello Friends.  October has been busy, to say the least.  And often times, when real life is busy, it’s hard to find the time to sit and write and share so my poor blog gets a bit neglected.  That being said, I’ve realized that in life, I really can only do so much and that’s okay.  So I’ve mostly spent time doing the things that matter most and now, even though it’s late at night (as I’m writing this), I’ve finally found time to share a few things that are going on these days so here goes…

  1.  JV Volleyball.  It’s pretty much taken up our Tuesdays and Thursdays over the past month or so.  There have been some home games, but there have also been a lot of away games and for some reason our school only plays other schools that are (seemingly) forever away.  Okay, so most are about 45 minutes, but it just keeps me wondering why we can’t play all the schools that are actually close by.


All that being said, we’ve enjoyed watching Christian throughout this season.  He’s a setter, so plays quite a lot and has grown in many ways, and not just physically (though officially, he has grown just a bit taller than his Dad, so just past 6 feet at the end of this 13th year).  He’s learned many things that playing sports tends to teach and will end this season bigger, faster and stronger because of it.


In addition to setting, he’s gotten to play right side as a hitter during a few games.  He’s really enjoyed learning another position and has also done a pretty good job at it.  We have a few more weeks left in his JV season and then a few weeks off before his Club season starts.   He tried out this past year for Acad and made their national team for 15s.  Volleyball has been a great sport for our son and we are so thankful for the opportunities he has to play.


2.   Hangtime has officially started!  And my heart could not be more full of love for the amazing kids that are coming to our program.


This year, in our first few weeks, we’ve averaged about 63 kids, and most are from our two local schools.  In addition to my adult leaders, I have a team of close to 20 teens who are helping out in our program as well.  They have done an incredible job and I’m so very proud of them.


I’ll admit, it’s been a challenge to get a lot of pictures at Hangtime, because we are in our first weeks and working to settle in.


But thankfully, we have a lot of hands helping out and we are thrilled to get to run this program for another year.


On that note, if you know a K-6th grader who wants to come to our awesome after school program, we meet every Wednesday from 3:30pm-5:30pm and we would love to have them join us!  We go all throughout the school year and you can always check out: for more information (just click on the Hangtime link).


3. Youth Group has also started!  So on our first official night of EBCYG (our youth group) Christian also had a game in Smithtown, so as soon as he finished I raced back to the church (eating a sad meal of Tic Tacs that I found in our car) so that I could catch the end of our Thursday night with these amazing teens.


Sometimes it’s hard to imagine we’ve been doing youth group for over 15 years now, but when I see these amazing faces, really I can’t imagine not continuing to do this more.


In our first few weeks we’ve worked on getting ready for another amazing year and helping our teens get to know each other.  Youth Group is for 7th-12th Graders and again, we’d love to have any teens you know come and join us!  We work hard to created a fun and safe environment for them where they can grow and learn more about Jesus.  Being the mom to teens (well one, and one who is well on her way) I know the importance of finding good and healthy things for them to do.


And Youth Group totally falls under this category in addition to fitting quite a few other positive ones as well.  I’m so thankful for my amazing husband and the passion he continues to have for working with teens.  It makes for some busy weeks for our family, but this is the stage we are in and we are happy to serve here as God calls.


And that about sums up where we are in the first few weeks of October.  I’ll do my best to be better about sharing, because life is meant to be shared.  I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have it all together, but I really don’t think that you always have to.  Anyone can take time to share life and encourage others and that is my goal and what I hope to continue to do through this blog and my writing.  Thank you so much for taking time to check in!

The Hunt 2018

Last night, we gathered together 47 of our amazing students and Youth Group leaders and drove them all out to Tanger so they could participate in our kick off event, The Hunt.


Basically, they got to hide and roam around Tanger Mall till they were found by our church and community friends.  They absolutely loved it.


And for the record, they were all amazing.


It was so fun to see some of our Hangtime friends there as well!  Shameless reminder… Our community after-school program Hangtime starts up this coming week and I could not be happier.  It’s never too late to register your K-6th grader for our Wednesday program and you can do that at:


Back to the Hunt.  If you were walking by the Pottery Barn outlet last night and saw this, well, that was just part of our game.


Including this homeless looking kid, I like to call my own.


Chatting with a few parents who had dropped off their kids for our event, I was reminded just how happy we are to get to do what we do.


Fifteen years of working with teens and I’m realizing that now more than ever is the time we are needed.  These kids are amazing.  But they struggle and it’s our goal to reach out to them and to share the love of Jesus.  On that note, Youth Group which is for 7th-12th Graders starts next Thursday Night at Eastport Bible Church from 7-9pm.  We would also love to see your teens there as well!


And at the end of the night, I have to say there were quite a few very successful Hunters. These cuties included.


Gathering everyone together and causing a mini spectacle we tallied up the score to see who had found the most teens throughout the night.


And the winner and take home of our legitimately awesome trophy?


The incredible Dylan.  We were super proud of him for having found something like 42 of the 47 students.  His determination and tenacity (paired with a little help from his amazing mom) ended in sheer victory.


A huge thank you to everyone who joined us for The Hunt!  It was an incredibly fun event and we we are so happy that you were there.


Our New Pastor

Last October, we learned that our church would be once again in transition and that we would need a new pastor.  It was tough news to hear and suddenly there were many unknowns ahead.  Thankfully, God had a plan, as He always does.  Within the year, we would find that our church could continue to be amazing and that many would step up to fill in where needed.

During the year, a committee was put into place and they were the ones to begin to search for our new Lead Pastor.  At the beginning of the summer, Kaleb and Amber Kemper flew out to visit us and to see if our church was where God might be calling them and their family.

And thankfully, it was.

They moved out to Long Island late July and worked on settling in to a new job and home. And this past Sunday, our church took time to officially welcome them with a fun celebration.


Kaleb has done an incredible job stepping into his role as our pastor.  He’s a strong preacher and we’ve enjoyed hearing the great things that God has laid upon his heart.


We’ve all really enjoyed getting to know and spend time with his family as well.  Kaleb and Amber have four incredible kids that complete their beautiful family.


On Sunday, we got to see messages from Kaleb and Amber’s extended family, all whom are spread out all over the world.  In a fun connection, Kaleb’s sister Naomi married our very own John Caprari, who grew up in our youth group and who has always been a very dear friend.  They are both serving in Tanzania now and sent their love and prayers through a video message.


We took time to pray God’s great blessings over our new Pastor and his family and it was a very powerful time.  I know for myself and for our church that we are very thankful for God’s leading in the Kemper’s lives.  We cannot wait to see the great things that God will do in and through this beautiful family.


Afterwards, we played a game to get to know the Kempers better.



It was fun to see their responses and fun to get to know more about what the Kempers love.


And after that, we gathered together for a beautiful picnic lunch.  If you’ve ever been a part of a church family, you know that there is no greater thing, than sitting down to break bread with those you love.


In addition to the bread breaking, and an entire section of tasty potluck dishes, we also had the most incredible steamed clams and mussels.  We could not be more thankful to this family for their many gifts and talents on the sea (or in the bay).  It was a delicious way to welcome the Kempers and to give them a taste of the great things Long Island has to offer.




I’ll be honest.  I didn’t get as many pictures as I could have, because I spent the meal time chatting with some wonderful families in our church, including this one.  If you are ever looking to come be a part of a church family, we have a pretty amazing one at Eastport Bible Church and we would love to have you join us!  You can check out more information at our website:


All in all, it was a beautiful day for a picnic to welcome Kaleb and Amber Kemper to Eastport.  We are thrilled to have them with us and we pray that God will bless and strengthen their family in many wonderful ways as they serve and minister here with us.


Our Fifth Year of Hangtime!

Hello Friends!  It with with great joy and excitement that I get to share with you that we are preparing to enter our 5th year of Hangtime!

What is Hangtime, you may be asking?  Hangtime is our community after-school program that starts on October 3rd and runs throughout the entire school year.  It meets every Wednesday, from 3:30pm-5:30pm at Eastport Bible Church.  If your kids attend Eastport Elementary School or Tuttle Avenue School, we even pick them up for you!


We start off every Hangtime with snack and a homework time.  Kids can do their homework with friends and we also have adult and teen helpers available to assist them in any way.


After that, we get together for a welcome and song time.  And then all of the kids head off to workshops.  We believe that kids need to be creative and kids need to play, so our workshop time accommodates this.  When the weather is nice, we have Sports and Games outdoors (and indoors when it’s not).


Each week, we also offer a Cooking Class


Craft Workshop




And a few other options as well.  This 45 minutes is a great time for your child to get to have fun with friends while playing and learning new things.


We end each week with a Bible Lesson and Small Groups as well.  We want to do all that we can to encourage our kids to know that they are loved by God and that they can do great things.


Hangtime is for kids in Kindergarten through 6th Grade.  It’s a free program and open to our community.  If your child is not at Eastport or Tuttle, they are welcome to come and join us anyways!


In case you didn’t know, my name is Laura Herr and I’ve been directing Hangtime for the past 5 years.  This is my amazing friend Jules Pinelli and she is our Assistant Director this year.  She’s a freshman in college and she is absolutely incredible with kids.  We are so happy to have her helping this year!  We also have a wonderful group of adult leaders and teen helpers who help to run our program.  Many of our teens attended Hangtime when they were younger and have a great love for our program.


“STRONGER” WORKSHOP… This workshop is targeted for 5th and 6th grade girls and will be focused on teaching them to be stronger physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and in their friendships.  Jules will be leading this group which will be split up between doing fun physical activities and then having a talk time for the girls to share their thoughts on a variety of different relatable topics.  This is a tentative age for girls and we at Hangtime are offering this 45 minute workshop to help them as they work through the many challenges that they will face.


So, what do you need to do to register your child for Hangtime 18-19?  It’s easy… You can just go to our church website and click on the “Hangtime” tab in the top right corner.  The registration form is online and will only take a few minutes to fill out.  Please register your child soon, it will help us to plan for our year.

Hangtime starts October 3rd.  It’s amazing and we hope to see you there!


Hard to Imagine

It’s hard to imagine…  But VBS Kids Camp 2018 at Eastport Bible Church, is over.  It was an incredible week, to say the least.  And so many great things happened.  First off, we had the most wonderful team of adult leaders and teen helpers.  For fact, we could not run our program without these amazing people.


Secondly, our very own Esther Heine concluded a 30 year streak of being our VBS Director.  30 years.  30 years of leading and teaching and helping and doing many, many other tasks that all contributed to children learning more about Jesus.  We are so thankful for her and for her years and years of service.


And now, for one of the best stories to come out of VBS this year.  And that would include these kids having a growing love and desire to help other kids.


For the past seven years at VBS we have done a “Change for Children” campaign where we ask our students to collect their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters and then bring them in to donate towards helping orphans in Burkina Faso, West Africa.  They learn that this money goes for clothing, food, education as well as teaching these children how much Jesus loves them.


In our more recent years we’ve collected around a thousand dollars each summer.  Which is A LOT of money in change.  Well this year, something about our program resonated beautifully with our students.  These two in particular (and probably others) told me that they emptied out their own personal piggy banks to donate all of their money for the orphans.  How amazing is that?


There was growing excitement throughout the week, because in addition to collecting change, we tell the winning team that they get to slime their team leader.


This year, our team leaders were Brian and Jules.  And amazingly, unlike other years, both Brian and Jules actually wanted to get slimed.  So they encouraged their teams to bring as much money as they could, and the kids responded in the most amazing way.  Jules’ team literally filled a 5 gallon bucket to the brim and she ended up being our winner for the week.


After our closing program on Friday, we gathered our kids outdoors for the sliming.


Jules was a wonderfully good sport.


And I doubt very much that the kids will ever forget her memorable sliming.




And for the record, we set a record this year.  After VBS Kids Camp was finished, Jules and I took the money to her bank to use their change counter.  It took an hour and forty five minutes and the change collectors had to be emptied out three times (they were separated by coins, so it was only the pennies, quarters and dimes that had to be emptied).  In addition to the U.S. Change collected, we ended up with a British penny from 1853, about a dollar in Euros, a lot of wheat pennies, quite a few coins from all over the world and….

$1856 in change!!!  Added in was a generous $200 donation from one of our parents and so our grand total was:

Which is a lot of money, especially when you think it all came from a group of about 130 kids who had a deep heart to help other kids (and to slime Jules).  This was totally an incredible blessing and outcome from our amazing week of VBS Kids Camp.  A huge thank you to everyone who helped to make our week a great success!!!


VBS Camp Days 3-4

It’s been the most amazing week of VBS Kids Camp.  And I would be remiss, no matter how late it is right now, to not share about the good things that have been happening all week at Eastport Bible Church.  I actually just finished up our VBS video and have one other thing to get to before I can sleep, so instead of a bunch of words, I’ll leave you with some sweet pictures from Days 3 and 4.

















We’ll finish up our week with a closing celebration and picnic lunch tomorrow (Friday) at noon for the families of our amazing VBS kids.  Thanks for checking in and for seeing the wonderful things that have gone on at our church this week!


Kind of Glorious

I have to admit.  Youth Group at the beach on Wednesday nights are kind of glorious.


The company is great.

It’s possible that we actually have the best 7th-12th graders on Long Island.




And when you mix that with fun games and gorgeous lighting… You get this beautiful kind of glorious.


Tonight, we had a fun group and a tiny volleyball net which made for some hard to play volleyball as well as some exciting games of Nuke ’em.



On a side note, I love these girls.



And these kids too.




Thanks to Hannah’s mom, we all enjoyed some nice cool ice pops right before our lesson time.  It was the perfect treat, since the weather all week has been hot and humid.


Another side note, I love that I have taught Christian’s friends to just smile automatically for my camera.  They’ve gotten so used to it, they just do it without me saying a word.


This amazing man shared some great encouragement for our teens tonight.  Our series has been “Choices” with the goal being to encourage our kids to make great ones.




Our night ended somewhat bittersweet, with us saying goodbye (for now) to our amazing friend Brian.  This was his official last Youth Group for the year, as he is heading off to Southern Wesleyan University to pursue Youth Ministry.  He’s been a part of our Youth Group pretty much forever and we prayed for God’s rich blessing on this new journey.


That has been the fun part lately with working in ministry for so many years.  It’s such a joy to get to be an influence in the lives of so many amazing kids and an even greater joy to see them pursuing God’s plan for their lives.  It’s a big part of why we continue to do what we do here.  And that wraps up tonight’s post.  I imagine I’ll have time tomorrow to share more about our VBS Kid Camp but for now am heading to bed so I can wake up nice and refreshed for another fun day.

VBS Camp Day 2

Day Two of our VBS Kids Camp was about as amazing as Day One.


A few things to mention.  Every year we host a Change for Children drive and ask our VBS Kids Camp kids to bring in their change to help children in an orphanage in Burkina Faso, West Africa.  You could not believe how awesome the kids were today, with their ziplock bags of change.  It truly is a beautiful thing, to see kids helping kids.


Speaking of kids, we have an incredible team of teens that are helping this week with our VBS Kids.  We truly could not run our program without their help and they all are doing an outstanding job.



My personal favorite time of VBS is our song time.  The kids learn sign language that coordinates with the words of our songs and it is absolutely beautiful to see them worship this way.




The Skit continues to be a favorite as well.




And that’s a little peek at Day Two.  Stay tuned.  Tomorrow when I hang back at the church (I’m usually with the 5th and 6th Graders who go off campus to swim at the pools) I’ll get to share a little bit more of what goes on for our Pre-K through 4th Graders during our weeklong program.  Besides that, we could not be more happy at Eastport Bible Church than to be able to serve our community through our VBS Kids Camp program.  If you’re local, and have a child who finished Pre-K through 6th Grade of last year, it’s not too late!  We’d love to have them join us anytime throughout the rest of this week.  Registration is quick and easy and can be done at our church website under the VBS Kids Camp link:


VBS Camp Day 1

Today was our first day of VBS Kids Camp at Eastport Bible Church.


We had an incredible number of kids join us today as well as this sweet little baby friend who stopped in with his beautiful Mama to see what was all going on.


In case you didn’t know, VBS Kids Camp is for kids who finished Pre-K through 6th Grade of this past year.  We enjoy lots of fun songs, crafts, a Bible Story, snack and a game time as well.


We also have a fun Skit each day and Steven and Gina brought all kinds of laughs this morning.


Then, our Pre-K through Fourth Graders stayed to enjoy a fun day of VBS Camp,


While our Fifth and Sixth Graders got to go and cool off in the pool.


This is always a fun time for the older kids.  They enjoy many fun activities including a good belly flop competition or two.


VBS Kids Camp runs throughout the rest of this week, from 9:00am-12:00 noon each day.  All kids are welcome and this program is free to our community.  We would love to have you join us!  Registration is quick and easy and can be done online at

Or at the church just before we begin our day.  We are really looking forward to having an incredible week so come and join us anytime!