Friday, September 23, 2016

Pitch Your Tent

Yesterday I was in Hobby Lobby.  I kept noticing the tee pee/tents, arrows, warrior themed decor, which is popular right now. My mind was on an up-coming ladies' retreat and craft supplies for the event, so I began thinking about that tent/arrow theme.

There are many "tent" stories in the Bible, but the one that came to me was from Genesis 13 (click to read) when Abraham (then called Abram) and Lot split up.   They surveyed the land around them and Abram told Lot to choose and he would take the other.  One went to the left and one went to the right.  Lot chose the plain of Jordan and pitched his tent towards Sodom.  Abram pitched his tent in the land of Canaan.  One chose right. One chose wrong.  One choice was wise.  One chose was unwise.  If you don't know the "rest of the story", look up Sodom.  What looked to be a good choice from afar, soon became a big problem for Lot and his family.

I love the idea of "Pitch Your Tent" for a ladies' day or ladies' retreat theme.  We all must choose where we are going to 'pitch our tent' in our walk of life.  We'll either pitch it towards what is good and right or we will pitch it towards what is bad and wrong.  Sometimes we start out one way then go to the other, which is great if we were pitching towards the wrong, then come to the right.  That's getting back on track.

Not only could the ladies' day theme be with the tents, but also the arrows that are popular now and were used so much in scripture, not always in a good sense, but in how damaging and hurtful they can be.  Our words are like arrows Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword (They aimed bitter speech as their arrow...Psalm 64:3 NASV), so the arrow would be a reminder to not be careless with our words.  Arrows or darts are also used when referring to Satan, so they would be a huge reminder of how arrows can be thrown at us and how to be prepared to extinguish them.  (I don't care for the idea of using them for event decor if going in that direction.  Personally I don't want to make something "pretty/cute" that's ugly sin. You probably don't, either!) "...in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16.

One scripture passage refers to children, so it would especially be beneficial for a younger mom's lesson or class.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

Where are you pitching your tent today?  Choose the good.  Choose well.




Monday, September 19, 2016

Our Family's Oklahoma State Fair Tradition

This year marked the 22nd year in a row that my husband and I have attended the Oklahoma State Fair since becoming parents.  We had gone many years before becoming parents, as well, so it's a long-time tradition.  This year, with our daughter being a Senior in college and not sure where her future career will take her, it could be the last of our "whole family" Fair trips.  Every time I say something like that, the kids say, "Mom, you always say that!".  Yes, I do, but some day it really will be a "last" for some of them.  That's why it's so special to me!  And to them, as well.
The "Disney on Ice" show ended up being one of our favorites, even though going into it we weren't sure! They did the condensed version of these four movies:  Toy Story 3, Cars, The Little Mermaid, and Frozen.  It was the first time we had seen a show with Frozen, so that was neat!  It was so funny to hear the dads behind us singing along with the songs! Ha ha!  It seems that a lot of people still like that movie!  Our oldest boy slept through most of the first half.  That was funny, too, and reminded me of when my parents went with us and my dad would do the same, except through the entire thing!
We are always excited to see Mickey & Minnie, of course!  It wouldn't be "Disney" if they didn't show up!
 The pumpkin painting contest was so cute this year! These were the Grand Champions of all - pumpkins painted like Dory and Nemo.  So cute!!
 The sun was bright and blinding, but we stopped for the traditional "Centennial Building" picture of the kids.  They're such good sports! I didn't take my good camera, but wish I had now!
The big slide is always our favorite!!  I love getting pictures of them all the way down the thing!  They were all so funny!  
After Bible class and worship on Sunday, we were able to eat together as a family plus a friend.  Since we won't be all together next weekend for our oldest's 22nd birthday, we celebrated at lunch.  So hard to believe she will be 22!!  That makes me feel old! :)  But now she can truly sing Taylor Swift's "Feeling 22" song and it be REALLY REAL!

Such a fun time!  Great memories we will cherish forever!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Blocking Everyone Out

During the Olympics I happened to hear a commercial come on.  It said, "Tired of interacting with the people in your car?"  I was shocked at what I heard, so looked up to see what the commercial was talking about. It was a car commercial advertising a car with built-in head phones, video games, music, tv, all in the back seat.  I couldn't believe it!  Do we really live in a world that wants to block everything out and get away from it all - even our very own family members? I'm afraid we do.

Now, our family is on the extreme other side than the majority of people, I'm sure - especially to those who that car commercial would appeal to.  We've never had or wanted a DVD player in a vehicle or allowed much use of headphones at all.  When we bought our Expedition, the salesman was surprised that was not only not on our list, but we didn't want it as an option. On a couple of 22 hour trips to Florida, the kids watched a movie on a lap top or we might have given in to an hour total of headphones, but for the most part, we've just wanted interaction between all of us as family members.  We've always been in the car a lot for 15-60 minute trips, so that would have meant a lot of dependence on electronics adding up to many hours of non-interaction.

There's one are of life that it would be great if we could block everything out, and that is when it comes to our worship.  Wouldn't it be nice if every time we paused to pray, every time we read the Bible, every time we gathered together with our brothers and sisters in Christ that we did so without distraction?  Imagine being so totally focused on the Lord's Supper that nothing going on around you mattered.  I strive to do that, but am not always successful. Sometimes I'm distracted.  It's hard to NOT be distracted by what goes on around us.  In fact, I'm getting distracted just typing this post!

A few weeks ago we were in a Bose store. Bose is the top of the line when it comes to electronics/speakers/headphones.  We tried on a set of headphones.  You could hear NOTHING when you put them on. It was pretty nice! In fact, there were times during newborn days with our babies that we might have preferred to wear those headphones while tending to their needs!  It would have been less stressful, I'm sure!  But in reality, it's not good to block everything out around us.  We need to be aware of what is going on.  Yes, it is good, even great, to block out everything for worship, but then we must come back to reality and concentrate on being servants of God to those who are making the noise around us.

"Be still, and know that I am God...", Psalm 46:10.  Yes, be still. Be quiet.  Then be busy doing what God needs you and I to do.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Critical Spirit

I told the ladies in my Wednesday night Bible class that I chose to do the book we are doing for myself.  Learning to "season my words" is something I constantly have to work on.  Maybe you do, too.  Last night's lesson was about critical words.  I used a lot of the book we are using, but also found so many great thoughts from all different sources online.

About having a critical spirit, ask yourself these questions:
Do you criticize and pass judgment on others?
Do you find yourself with a negative disposition, always finding fault with something or someone?
Is it difficult for you to see the positive in a person or a situation because the negative is so glaring in your eye?
Are you compelled to give your critical point of view for the good of all mankind?
Did these questions step on your toes?

If you're like me some of these stepped on my toes, for sure. When I am honest with myself, sometimes I'm way too critical.

*CRITICISM IS AN INSULT ATTACHED TO A COMPLAINT*

Not all criticism is bad, of course.  Constructive criticism is helpful. Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. The purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the outcome.  It's striving to create a positive change.

I love this story of how a preacher handled criticism or maybe constructive criticism.  He didn’t dismiss it or argue or get upset.

Advice from Dr. Mitchell's life: Someone in his congregation pointed out several faults in him and his preaching. Instead of retaliating, or trying to defend himself, he looked at the woman and said, "If what you say is true, would you mind praying for me?”

*When we are criticized we ought to ask ourselves whether the criticism contains any truth. If it does, we should learn form it, even when it is not given with the right motivation and in the right spirit.* 


*A REAL FRIEND WILL SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE, MAKING US AWARE OF THE PROBLEM AND GIVING US AN OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT IT.*

When we are criticized, let's accept what is true and act upon it, thereby becoming a stronger person. He who profits from rebuke is wise. H.G.B.

  Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:6

Richard Walters called this negative feedback “beneficial bad news”. He said this:

*We grow by changing the things we need to change, and we can’t change them until we know about them.*

A friend’s honest, but kind advice can save us from future problems.  

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Proverbs 27:9

You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. it’s a weakness to get caught up in either one. 
- John Wooden

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. - Elbert Hubbard

We are going to be criticized. The key is to learn from that that is constructive and to not allow the hurtful to stop us from shining. This story sums it up:

The story is told of a judge who had been frequently ridiculed by a conceited lawyer. When asked by a friend why he didn't rebuke his assailant, he replied, "In our town lives a widow who has a dog. And whenever the moon shines, it goes outside and barks all night." Having said that, the magistrate shifted the conversation to another subject. Finally someone asked, "But Judge, what about the dog and the moon?" "Oh," he replied, "the moon went on shining--that's all.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What/Who Do You Treasure?

This was written by a friend. Makes us think, doesn't it?

MY DAUGHTER...BUT NOT MY NEW LEXUS

A  teenage boy walked over to his neighbor's house as his neighbor was washing and waxing the new Lexus he had just purchased.  The boy had never seen such a beautiful and expensive car up close.  With pride the neighbor showed the young man all the fancy gadgets and luxurious features of his new car and even allowed him to sit in the driver's seat.
After looking at the car for a few minutes the teen asked the man, "Do you think I could borrow this to go out on the town Saturday night?  I'm a real good driver and I'll take good care of it."

At first the man thought the boy was joking, but when he realized the boy was serious about wanting to borrow his new Lexus, the man responded indignantly.  "Are you crazy?  Do you know how precious this car is to me?  Do you realize how long I have had to work and save to be able to afford this car?  It is brand new.  It doesn't have a scratchon it and I intend to keep it that way.  You are only 16 years old and I know how 16 year old boys are...I used to be one.  You are much too inexperienced and immature for me to trust you with my new car.  What could you possibly be thinking?  What would give you the audacity to ask to use my new car to go out on the town Saturday night?"

The boy ducked his head and apologized, "I'm sorry Sir, I didn't know the car meant that much to you.  Is it still alright if I take your daughter out on the town Saturday night?"

"Sure," the man replied. "Just be sure to have her home by midnight."    
  -By Wendell Ingram, father of two girls and one boy.
 
Pin It button on image hover