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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Which One Are You?

There are three types of people in the world when it comes to peace. There are PEACE BREAKERS, PEACE FAKERS, and PEACE MAKERS. Which one are you? Let me explain each of them.

Peace Breakers: These are the types of people who cause conflict and may actually even enjoy it. I've heard of a book that gives people a name of an animal, based on their personality. The Peace Breaker would be like a lion. Satan is described as such in 1 Peter 5:8, "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." The Peace Breaker isn't content with calmness, but delights in turmoil.

Peace Fakers: Peace Fakers are the type of people that pretend everything is fine, even though it's not. There may be conflict around, but these people don't see the conflict. Maybe they don't see it because they don't want to see it or maybe they aren't involved enough to even know there is a conflict or a problem. But, pretending everything is okay when it's not is just as big of a problem as causing conflict as a Peace Breaker would do! Some Peace Fakers realize there is a problem, but they don't believe it is their business or responsibility to help resolve the conflict. But by denying conflict or trying to delay confrontation, it's really just adding to the problem. A Peace Faker is really not being truthful, but living a lie. "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body." Ephesians 4:25

Peace Makers:
A Peace Maker is what God wants each of us to be. If we are a child of God, that's what He expects us to be. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9 Being a Peace Maker may not always be the easy thing to do. In fact, it may be really, really hard! How can you become a Peace Maker and not be a Peace Breaker or a Peace Faker?

1. Acknowledge that God is in control, not you.
"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." 1 Chronicles 29:11

2. Get rid of all selfishness and pride.
Your way (and my way) may not always be the right way. Maybe it is, but just maybe it isn't.
"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18

3. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. It may keep you from sinning!
"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." James 1:19-20
"In your anger do not sin." Ephesians 4:26

4. Acknowledge conflict when it is really present.
Don't pretend things are okay when they are not. Jesus was a peace maker and as Christians, we should be striving to follow His example.
"Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." James 3:18

5. Make a concentrated effort to resolve any conflict.
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over." Matthew 18:15(Verses 16 & 17 go into further details about resolving the conflict).

6. Pray for peace in your life (home/family/work/church), in your relationships, and in the world.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

7. Acknowledge, again, that God is in control.
Some conflict is present and you and I will never be able to do anything about it. We can live at peace knowing that God is in control, even during troubling times.
"You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end." Matthew 24:6

Question: So, which one are you?

I am grateful for those who are PEACE MAKERS. Visit HeavenlyHomemakers to see what others are grateful for on this GRATITUESDAY!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why Kick 'Em When They're Down?

Note: The "Favorite Candy Bar" poll ends Tuesday. Have you voted yet? If not, it's on the "Shine Like Stars" home page. Twenty-eight of you have voted so far and Snickers is waaaaay ahead!

Tonight after worship my husband, Joe, and our son, Jacob, went out to the field to give some of the nanny goats some shots. Unfortunately, goats get "wormy" fairly easily and a few of the nannies have died in the last week. One particular nanny was looking really sickly, so they treated her first. As soon as she got the shot, she laid down. Joe said it was the strangest thing. The other nannies went up to her and started butting her. I thought maybe they were trying to nudge her to get her up, but he said they weren't. He said that they saw her as weak and were butting her to get rid of her! Because she was sick and weak, they didn't want her in the field with them. Isn't that sad? Unfortunately, she died a little while later.

Joe mentioned how there's a good lesson in this story of the sick nanny. (Note: He always find an application story from his goat herd. ha!ha!) Isn't it true that sometimes we, as humans, "kick 'em when they're down" just like the other goats were doing? That's exactly what many national tabloid newspapers make their money doing, isn't it? They make their money on the tragedies and the problems and struggles of others. And, how sad that we would care to spend our money on reading or our time on watching the lives of those hurting being played out in the public eye. Even if you and I don't ever purchase those newspapers, they are lined up at the check out stands at the grocery stores, making the headlines very hard to completely avoid.

Mark 2:1-12 tells the story of four friends taking a paralyzed man to see Jesus. There was no room to carry him into the house because of the large crowd listening to Jesus. So, the four men took the paralyzed man up on the roof and let his mat down through a hole they made...right down to Jesus! Some of the teachers of the law didn't like this at all! Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking and questioned them about it. Jesus healed the man and forgave him of his sins because of his faith. The four friends helped the man when he was in need, but all the teachers of the law could do was try to find a problem with Jesus. They were "kicking him when he was down". They had no compassion for the paralyzed man at all. They didn't believe Jesus had the power to forgive sins, either.

As Christians, we shouldn't care about "kickin' 'em when they're down". Rather, we should care enough about people to help them get up. We should care enough for people to take care of their needs, just like Jesus did. We should care enough to tell others about Jesus, Our Savior, who wants to be their Savior, too.

"This Little Light of Mine!"

One of the favorite songs for my Pre-K and Kindergarten students to sing in Bible class is "This Little Light of Mine". They put their little finger up in the air and move it around in a big circle showing that their little lights are shining. They sing that they "won't let Satan "blow" it out". They sing "hide it under a bushel? NO!". They sing "shine it all around Tipton!"

It's a simple song, but just think about how big those words are! If we let our little lights shine, we are doing just what God has asked us to do. We won't let Satan get in the way and snuff out our lights; in fact, we won't hide it at all. We'll put it up on a hill to shine brightly. We'll let it shine wherever we are. Right here. Right now.

How can you shine during this next week? Let your light shine for God! Let your light shine for Jesus!

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Learning Something New

Last week Biscuit worked and worked on learning something new.

He was so excited when he finally figured out how to do it!

Yes, Biscuit learned how to blow a bubble! It was something he had been working on for a while and he finally got it down. Of course, the bubble didn't stay too long. I had to snap a picture of it really fast, but he did it!

Learning something new is fun, isn't it? This summer the three oldest children and I have a daily Bible reading schedule. I found it on the internet, but it's not in any particular order. This reading is in addition to our family devotional time where we read a Bible story each evening. It has been so neat to hear the kiddos come and say, "Mom, I didn't know this part of the story!". I'm the same way. You may be, too. Every time I read from God's Word, even though it may be a story I've read over and over, I always learn something new.

I have a challenge for you: Try to learn something new every day. Maybe it's something from God's Word. Maybe it's learning how to serve God in a different way by discovering a hidden talent you didn't know you had or might have been afraid to try and use. Maybe it's reaching out to someone and learning something new about them that you never knew before. Whatever it is - try to learn something new each and every day. In doing so you will "Shine Like Stars"!

Winning isn't Everything....But Neither is Loosing!

You've most likely heard the phrase, "Winning isn't everything." It is very true, isn't it? However, loosing isn't everything, either! No one wants to loose all of the time. Our daughter, Lauren, will tell you that. Their junior high basketball team has lost thirty-six games in a row! They have not won one game in two years. However, I will say that this year they had a few that were closer and actually were ahead in one or two at the beginning of the games. The junior high girls have high hopes for the upcoming basketball season this fall. They want to break that loosing streak!

Another example is our son, Jacob. His baseball team last summer only won one regular season game. They were so excited and so were the coaches and parents! You would have thought they had won the World Series! Then tournament began and they won the first game and almost won the second one, too. Everyone was still excited because the team as a whole had improved. This year is a completely different story. Jacob's team has only lost twice and it was to the same team both times. They are first in their league and will play for the championship tomorrow evening. Guess who they're playing??? Yep! That same team for the third time! Either way it goes, they've had a great year.

It's fun to win. It's not so fun to loose. However, it's just as important to learn to be a good "winner" as it is to be a good "looser". Some people cannot handle defeat. Children learn to handle defeat and success by watching their parents and other adults. Hopefully they are seeing good examples by watching their parents and other adults, but sadly, often they are not.

Ball games are fun. We understand that there's always a winner and a looser. Sometimes one team gets a prize and the other team doesn't. That's the name of the game. But, there is one prize we all want. Paul talked about "games" and this "prize" in 1 Corinthians.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Yes, the race we are in now is the race or game that can result in a prize that is incomparable to any prize that can ever be won on earth. That prize is the crown of life and a Heavenly home with God for all eternity! That's one game none of us want to loose!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Things change. Some of those changes are good. We have more and more opportunities. We have better capabilities and more knowledge to make things better, stronger, and faster. In technology it seems that as soon as we buy something, a new product is on the market with better storage and smaller packaging. Some things change and it's not good. We see more violence, more divorce, more hatred in the world.

People also change. Our looks change. Sometimes we don't want them to, and sometimes we want them to. Our attitudes change. Sometimes that's for the good, but sometimes it's for the bad. Our personalities change. Again, sometimes that's good, but sometimes it's not. Our situtations change. Things may be going along great and then - BOOM! - something happens that catches us off guard and we have a low point in life.

As Christians, we should change. But, that change should be moving us closer and closer to God. It should be change that makes it evident to those around us that we are walking with Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

So, ask yourselves these two questions:
1. How is one "in" Christ?
2. What should this "change" be?

Romans 6:1-4 tells us the answers to these two questions.

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

Be sure to continue reading in your own Bible to the end of Romans 6, as the thought of a new and changed life continues.

So, the first answer is that we are "in" Christ when we are buried with him through baptism. Our heart already began to change when we realized that our sin was separating us from God, and when we realized that Jesus was the only way to get to the Father. "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," John 14:6. After baptism, we are then beginning our "new life"...just like a newborn baby!

Then the next phase of changing begins. Our sins have been washed away, but that doesn't mean that we will never sin again. The change now is that we die to sin. Dying to sin may be something that happens quickly, or it may be a slow death. In other words, it may be a sin that we battle daily and have to work hard to put it to death because its got a hold on us. But, with God's strength and the help of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), we can change into what God wants us to be. The blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse us and make us "new" as we confess our sins to Him.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

Yes, the world around us changes. Everything about it and everyone around us. Hopefully, we are changing for the better every day, little by little, as we grow as Christians. But God, Our Heavenly Father never changes! "I, the Lord, do not change," Malachi 3:6. Jesus Christ, our Savior never changes! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Dear God,
Thank you for never, ever changing! And, I thank you for your Son and that He never changes, either! But, God, I do ask that you will help me to change. Help me to be what you want me to be and what you know that I can be.
In Jesus' Name,

Right on the Money!

A few weeks ago, my cousin-in-law, Alyssa, asked me to guest post on her blog "Keeping the Kingdom First".The topic was Biblical financial principles. This is the post I shared with her readers, which includes some of you. I would like to share it with the rest of my readers today.

When it comes to finances, the Bible has a lot to say, but the very most important theme throughout the Good Book is this: Your money is not your own! How does that make you feel? For most of us, it may make us a little bit uncomfortable. We, as humans, are sometimes selfish, aren't we? But God's Word tells us that everything we have is really His. Why? Because God has given us everything we have. Yes, everything! "Every good and perfect gift is from above", James 1:17a. God is the One who provides us with our jobs, with our homes, with our talents and abilities, our families, and ultimately, with our money.

How can we honor God with our money? The parable of the talents, found in Matthew 25:14-30, is a great illustration of how God expects us to use what He has given us. Today the word "talent" refers to gifts and abilities, and we often hear sermons using this parable to encourage us to use those gifts. But, the word "talent" used in the Bible referred to a weight of money.

The parable has a master who gives three of his servants different talents of money. The first servant was given five talents. At once he went and put his money to work. Another servant received two talents. He also doubled his talents. But, the third servant, who only received one talent, went and buried his treasure.

When the master came back, the first two servants told him what they had done with the talents they had been given. Both received the same reply, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' (verse 23) But to the third one, who hid his talent, the master said, 'You wicked, lazy servant!...Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. (verse 26, 28)

So, what can we learn from this parable and other Biblical examples to help us as we strive to use our money to glorify God? Here are just are few:

1. Give to God first, not last. God will bless you for it!
On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. 1 Corinthians 16:2 And, of course, the first day of the week is Sunday.

2. Be good stewards of what God has so richly blessed you with.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he may have enough to finish it; lest perhaps, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all those seeing begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Luke 14:28-30

3. Invest wisely. Beware of "schemes" that sound too good to be true - they most likely are!
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow. Proverbs 13:11

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. Luke 6:38

4. Use your money wisely. Practice self-control in your spending (don't blow it) and in your saving (don't hoard it).
He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a broken down city without a wall. Proverbs 25:28

5. Help others in need. In doing so, you are serving Jesus.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you. Proverbs 3:27-28

The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, (to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
Matthew 25:40

6. Never allow money to become #1 in your life. Anything placed before God becomes an idol.
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Matthew 6:24

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10

7. When in financial distress, continue to keep your eyes focused on God.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to to his life? Matthew 6:25

8. When in financial success, do not boast, but acknowledge God's blessings upon your life.
The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

9. Pay back any debt you owe.
It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Ecclesiastes 5:5

The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives. Psalm 37:21

10. Be content with what you have.
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:11-13

There are many, many more scriptures dealing with money in the Bible. It is obvious that God through His Word and Jesus through His teaching wanted us to know how Christians should take care of their finances. The verse that sums up everything above is the theme scripture for Alyssa's blog: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Special Surprises

Gratituesday is hosted by Heavenly Homemakers. Please take the time to read Laura's post (here) today. You will be uplifted by her story about a special blessing from God!

"Special Surprises":
Last week we celebrated our 21st anniversary. I wrote about that here. But today I want to tell you about a special surprise that happened that day.

Early the morning of our anniversary, our daughter got up and decorated the dining room with this anniversary banner she had made several days before. She put a white tablecloth on the table and set the table with the nicer dishes. My husband had given me two vases of flowers (roses and an assorted mixture) and she used those for the centerpiece.

For lunch I had planned on cheeseburgers, but we went ahead and ate at the fancily-set table with the nice white tablecloth! The kids were especially excited for their dad to get home at noon for lunch so we could open our anniversary card from them. When we opened it, we found two gift cards to two different restaurants. Now, we live in a town of about 900 people, so the gift cards are, of course, for out of town use. In fact, one of the cards can only going to be used an hour and fifteen minutes away or further! So, they've bascially told us to "get lost" for a while, don't you think? (Ha! Ha!) We will use them, just as soon as baseball games are over in a few weeks.

All four children had gone together and pooled their money to treat us on our anniversary! It was so sweet and so special. It was quite a sacrifice for them to give up that much of their money, but they were so excited to have done it for us.

Thank you, Lauren, Zachary, Jacob, and Tyler for your special surprise for us! We love you very much.

Devotional thought: How can you surprise someone by treating them to something special? It doesn't have to cost much money. How about calling someone just to say hello? Send a note to someone to let them know you are thinking about them or how special they are to you. Take the time today to "Shine Like Stars"!

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Faith and Deeds

I recently came across this quote:

"Your faith isn't determined by what you do;
It's demonstrated by what you do." (author unknown)

I really like that a lot, do you?

Read this passage from James 2:14 - 26:

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."

Why do you do what you do? What are the motives behind your deeds? As Christians, we should want to do good deeds, not out of duty, obligation or guilt, but out of love for our Heavenly Father. Our good deeds don't take us higher up the ladder to Heaven. It doesn't work like that. The Bible does not teach that at all. Rather, we should do what we do because we want to show our love for Him. We should also remember that He will be glorified by our deeds and others will see Jesus living in us (Matthew 5:16).

How are you planning to serve God this week? What good deed(s) can you do today that will allow others to see Jesus living in you? Deeds can be small. Deeds can be big. The point is that in our good deeds, you and I are helping others and serving others, and God will be glorified because of it!

Have a great day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Walk a little slower, Daddy!"

This is one of my favorite poems. When our oldest three children were little, we gave this poem to my husband for Father's Day with their footprints all around it. It hung in his office for several years.

"Walk a little slower daddy,"
said a child so small.
"I'm following in your footsteps
and I don't want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they're hard to see;
So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For you are leading me.

Someday when I'm all grown up,
You're what I want to be;
Then I will have a little child
Who'll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right,
And know that I was true;
So, walk a little slower, Daddy,
For I must follow you."
author unknown

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Who's Your Hero?

Who's your hero?

I should have seen it coming when the first big sentence out of Biscuit's 18-month-old-mouth was, "Hey, batter, batter! Swing! Strike two! Touchdown, Tigers!" He's been a sports fan(atic) ever since, and has, of course, learned that strike two and touchdowns don't go with the same sport.

Every day Biscuit changes clothes at least three times. He switches from play clothes to baseball clothes to football clothes to golf clothes and occasionally to some other sort of dress up clothes. I'll admit that he probably gets by with more in that area than any of the other three children would have. I think it's because we all enjoy watching him play because he's so "into" it and because I know he's the last "little" one around here. He's got a vivid imagination and is very entertaining us while he's playing.

The only problem, though, is that lately Biscuit seems to think the "sport's stars" are all great heroes and role models. While some of them are, many are not. In a world where pro sports players and entertainers are the highest paid people, it's hard for parents to teach children not to "idolize" them. In fact, a lot of parents may "idolize" them, too.

A true hero is one who lays down his life for another. War heroes are known for giving their lives for another or putting themselves in harm's way to protect others. A true hero is one who puts other's needs before his own. Parents are often times these types of heroes. They give of themselves physically, mentally, and financially to help their children. A true hero is one who unselfishly gives all he has. I think of rescue-type careers, such as firefighters, policemen, and others who give all they have to save or help someone else in need. Maybe you can think of other examples of heroes.

So, sure, it's fun to watch sports stars and some stars in the entertainment world, but we want Biscuit and our other three children to realize who the real heroes are in their lives. Of course, Jesus is the best hero of all! A true-to-life hero who laid down His life for all, who always put other's needs above His own, and who unselfishly gave all that He had - His whole life.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16-17

Christian Hospitality

What do you think of when you hear the term “hospitality”? The dictionary defines hospitality as: cordial reception: kindness in welcoming guests or strangers.

Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

The word "hospital" is the root of this word, hospitality. A hospital is a place where sick people are welcome to stay no matter what shape they are in, how sick they are, where they have come from, or what kind of lives they have had (although insurance companies have taken some of the "hospitality" from some hospitals). While someone is in the hospital, the people who work there try their best to meet their needs. That's our job as Christians: to meet the needs of others. Hospitality is serving others.

Many times we wait for perfect times to be hospitable instead of just going ahead and doing good. We may not have others in to our homes because we feel the meal has to be something special or the house has to be spotless, or maybe we even feel like we have to redecorate before having company. I like this quote about hospitality (can't remember where it's from):

"When you entertain, you bring honor and glory to yourself. Showing hospitality brings honor and glory to God."

It kind of makes me think, does it you?

When we first married we moved to a small town in Kansas. We had a tiny little house. No stove. No oven. No dining table. Just a small table with two chairs, a microwave, crock pot, and a tiny toaster oven. The church there had a visitation program called "Guess Who's Coming to Our House?". All we knew is that we were having seven people over and what night they were coming (we picked the night). We served roast, carrots, potatoes, gravy, bread, and dessert. Everyone sat wherever they could, but it was the neatest thing! We both look back at that tiny little house and think of how many people we had in our home during that time living there. It was a great program to promote Christian hospitality!

Christian hospitality in the New Testament had to do with helping strangers and many times by giving them lodging as they travelled. With our transportation these days, that's not so much of an issue, but we can still find ways to be hospitable. Christian hospitality is more than just having people into our homes. We can reach out to others by serving them and trying to meet their needs. It's easy to have good friends over. It's easy to take a plate of cookies to someone we know. It's easy to help friends.

I challenge you - and me - to find ways to be hospitable to someone we don't know that well. Let's strive to practice true Christian hospitality!

Here are some examples:
Take food to someone you don't know.
Invite someone to our home that you don't know very well - maybe someone who just moved to town, your neighborhood, or who may be new to the church.
Visit the hospital or nursing home and talk to patients you don't know.
Pay for a stranger's meal at a restaurant.
Help provide food or clothing for the homeless.

Can you think of others ways to be hospitable?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"This day I will marry my friend..."

This day I will marry my friend;
the one I laugh with,
live for, dream with, love.

Twenty-one years ago today, Joe and I said, "I do". The above quote was used on our ivory and mauve wedding invitations and the mauve (it was during the "country blue and mauve" craze!) napkins. In some ways it's hard to believe it's been that long, but in others it seems like it's been longer. I think that's just a normal thought the older we all get and the faster time seems to go!

I planned my wedding the summer after my 7th grade year. I wrote it all out, but was only 13 at that time. I even wrote it for June 18th, which became our wedding date six years later, in 1988! I kept the same colors as written in my plan: ivory, pink (mauve) for the bridesmaids and gray tuxes for the groomsmen. The only thing that changed was the "groom". I had not yet met Joe Waugh, but did later on that summer, at QMCC.

Joe and I didn't start dating until 1985, even though I saw him every summer at camp. By then, I was 16 and he was 22. The age difference now seems big, especially since we have an almost-15-year-old daughter! But, some of my family knew his family. His granddad, Albert Trent (a preacher for 53 years), served as my grandparent's preacher for many years. The camp session where we met was his uncle's session and a lot of his family was there. The year before we started dating, his granddad was at a funeral of one of my relatives and I said, "I know your grandson, Joe." (I didn't say, "I have a huge crush on your grandson, Joe!") His granddad said, "Hmmm, we'll have to see what we can do about that!" Boy, was I excited!! Unfortunately, Joe's granddad passed away two weeks after we started dating. He might have heard we were dating, since Joe lead singing at the congregation where his granddad preached at that time.

We married at 2:00 p.m. on that hot June 18th afternoon, so we were ready to leave for our honeymoon around 6:00 p.m. Unfortunately, Joe had a "friend" from high school (I had never met this "friend" and Joe hadn't even seen him in years) who decided to be a prankster that day and filled his car with rice, even in the air conditioner vents. It was everywhere! We couldn't take his car because of all that had been done to it, so Joe's sister and our brother-in-law offered their vehicle to us.

After we got in their vehicle, I realized that I had left a bag at my parent's house. We drove around the block and headed to the house, which was very close by. This "friend" followed us and didn't realize were were actually going somewhere specific. I guess he thought we were just roaming around the neighborhood sort of "playing" along with him, so as we slowed down to pull in the driveway, he didn't. He crashed into us from behind and we went into the neighbor's yard! All I remember is seeing their newly planted little tree going down as we drove over it. It smashed the vehicle's back window and crashed in the back. We found out later that their vehicle was totalled. To tell you the truth, I have no idea what we drove to Amarillo that night!

The wedding reception was only a few blocks away, so most of our family heard the crash and they came immediately. I was crying and none of us were too happy with the "friend". I know he was sorry. He called apologizing for months and months and months, even though we told him it was okay. We weren't hurt, thankfully. I had whiplash and bruising and Joe was a little sore, too. All I can say is it's a lot funnier now than it was 21 years ago!

Yes, 21 years ago, I married my friend! The one I laugh with, live for, dream with, and love. Happy Anniversary, Joe.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Best Recipe Book Ever!

My mom, sister, and I have just started a new recipe blog. It's called "Life's a Bowl of Cherries". We look forward to sharing recipes with many people all over the world. Most of us enjoy trying out new recipes, don't we? It's always great to try a new recipe and it actually turns out and we like it. The Bible has a lot of recipes for Christian living and none of them fail, turn out bad, or ever have an error or typo in them. It is the perfect guide for us to follow.

Read 2 Peter 1:3-11.
In my Bible and maybe in yours, the heading says, "Making One’s Calling and Election Sure", taken from verse 10. "Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall". Peter is saying, “Christians, follow this recipe for a successful Christian life”. And although Peter wrote the book, we know that all scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), so this is really God's recipe.

Verse 3 says, "His (God’s) divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness."

Isn’t it important when preparing a recipe to have all of the necessary ingredients? This verse says God’s divine power has given us EVERYTHING WE NEED for life and godliness- he has the ingredients! Through God’s awesome power, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness! But, there's a very important phrase here - THROUGH OUR KNOWLEDGE OF HIM.

The key is this: We have to have the knowledge of Him.
And how do we become more knowledgeable of God?
Through studying his word - through reading His recipe book - the Bible.

Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thanksgiving in June

Gratituesday: Hosted by Heavenly Homemakers

Last Tuesday we had a free evening without any baseball games. Because of the free evening, and because we had a frozen turkey that needed to be cooked, we had "Thanksgiving in June". Lauren set the table and we ate on our "nice" dishes, instead of the plain white Corelle ones. Zachary made brownies and we had brownie sundaes for dessert. It was great to have "Thanksgiving" leftovers for a few days, too. It was a fun evening!

Tyler (a.k.a. "Biscuit") prayed for the meal, which included, "Thank you, God, for this big 'ole turkey!". Of course, a few giggles from the siblings we heard during the prayer. Then Tyler giggled a little. When the prayer ended, Tyler started crying because he had laughed during the prayer. He wasn't meaning to be funny when he said it. We assured him that God understood.

I asked each of the children what they were thankful for. Here are their responses:

Zachary, age 12: My parents
Tyler, age 6: Going to a Texas Rangers baseball game this summer. (I asked him again after the others had all answered, but it was still Texas Rangers! I suppose that's okay.)
Jacob, age 11: My whole family - parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.
Lauren, age 14: The same as Jacob said - our whole family.

I am grateful for "Thanksgiving in June", the big 'ole turkey God blessed us with, my family, our whole family, and yes, even for getting to go to Texas Ranger's games from time to time! What are you grateful for today?

(Note: Visit "Life's a Bowl of Cherries" for some new recipes!)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Recipe for Life"

Let's say you wanted to make chocolate chip cookies. What's the first thing you would do? You would get out the recipe, wouldn’t you (unless you've made it so often you have it memorized!)? And, of course, it's always good to make sure you have all of the ingredients before beginning (something I don't always do!).

A recipe is a process. It has a plan and continues with steps until completion. In almost all baking recipes, you must be careful to follow the directions and use the right ingredients so that the recipe will turn out the way it is supposed to. You must also understand the recipe, know the ingredients called for, and understand the terms that are being used.

Have you ever thought of your life as a Christian as being like a recipe? Before you became a Christian, your life had no real meaning. There was no purpose and no direction. There was no "Recipe for Life". But then, you began to "stir" within. Maybe someone shared God's Word with you, or maybe you began to read it on your own. The Bible - the ultimate recipe book!

The Bible explaines to you the steps of salvation - the "recipe" for the Christian life. By reading the "recipe", you found that your life lacked a very important missing ingredient - Jesus! Your life's recipe cannot be complete if Jesus is missing. He is the ingredient you and I can not do without!

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This is for the Birds!

It is. This post is literally for the birds! These two baby doves are nesting in a hanging flower basket on the back porch of some friends. They are out of town for a few weeks and have asked our son, Zachary, to care for their yard and keep feed in their bird feeders.

Today Zachary mentioned that baby doves were in a plant, but I didn't realize it was a hanging basket! I crawled up on a chair to get a picture of them and had to wait until the wind swung the basket around to get a really good picture. It's amazing that their momma built the nest in a hanging basket with the southwest Oklahoma winds!

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
Author: Ce­cil F. Al­ex­an­der

My brother-in-law, James has a blog, which is posted on my blog roll (called Waugh's Wall) on the right side of the Shine Like Stars homepage. He has been posting about little birds (Robins) living up on the pillars of their front porch. Every day he is posting a picture of their growth. It is amazing! You can also visit his blog here.
God's small creatures are truly amazing!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Wedding Day

June is the month for weddings. Next Saturday there are four different weddings of people we know. That's a lot of weddings! These friends are busy putting final plans together to make their day special.

At this time last year I was busy helping with my nieces' wedding planned for last July. We were getting flowers ready and working on wedding and reception decor. Weddings take a lot of planning to make it a memorable occasion that is the perfect day for the bride and groom. Can you imagine how chaotic it would be to go to a wedding where no preparations had been made? It would be a disaster!

Jesus told a parable about a wedding banquet where some of the wedding party was not prepared. Read "The Parable of the Ten Virgins" in Matthew 25:1-13. Five of the virgins were prepared and wise. They filled their lamps with oil, anticipating the bridegroom's arrival. But, unfortunately, the other five were not prepared. They were foolish. When the call came that the bridegroom was coming, they had no oil in their lamps. How sad that they missed the bridegroom!

This parable represents Jesus coming back. We don't know when that day will be. In fact, the Bible tells us that even Jesus, himself, doesn't know when that day will be (see verse below). Only God, the Father, knows that day.

We want to be prepared for that day, don't we? God's Word tells us exactly how to prepare for THAT DAY and it is the ONLY source of what is true and right.

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."
Matthew 25:13

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Matthew 24:36

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How Do You Smell?

I enjoy cooking and baking. Do you? It's fun to try out new recipes and even create new recipes. The smell of foods cooking and baking is something most of us enjoy, I'm pretty sure. It is a hint of what is to come. It's a pleasing aroma.

The Old Testament talks about pleasing aromas, as well. Thirty-nine times the phrase "an aroma pleasing to the Lord" or "a pleasing aroma" is found in the Old Testament of the Bible. The pleasing aromas were burnt sacrifices to the Lord, and were an act of worship in those days.

But under the new covenant God established, and of which Christ is the mediator, (Read Hebrews 8:6-13) we, as Christians, are the aroma pleasing to God. Our aroma should be the aroma of Christ, because of Him living in us. How? By living daily for Him by offering our bodies, not as burnt sacrifices, but as living sacrifices.

"For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."
2 Corinthians 2:15

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1

Do you truly think about the fact that each day of your life you should be worshiping God by the way that you live?
What is your aroma?
Is your aroma the aroma of Christ - is it pleasing to the Lord?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Chronicles of Biscuit - More Lessons from the Baseball Field

More Lessons from the baseball field...
Last night Biscuit played pitcher for his tee ball team. He made a double play, getting two outs. My mom got to the game a little late, so after the game, Biscuit asked her, "Grandma, did you see my double play?". Grandma said, "Was it at the first of the game?" Biscuit said, "I don't know. I didn't even know I did it!" Apparently one of his siblings had told him he had made a double play, but he didn't even realize what he had done! Biscuit's team won their first game, after loosing the first four. A few of them realized that they had won, but they were all still more excited about what their snacks were after the game.

Lesson #1 (repeat from this post): "Become as children".

One night last week, Biscuit and his teammates were throwing the ball back and forth, waiting for another game to end and theirs to start. After a while, my husband and I noticed one of the players over with his grandma and a few coaches. His nose was bleeding. I said to my husband, "I hope Biscuit didn't do that!". I turned around to go that way and check it out. Biscuit came right up to me immediately and said, "I didn't do it!" with his hands up in the air...just like someone would who was being arrested (or as Biscuit would call it, "under-under-arrested"). I suppose he knew where I was headed, and he wanted to make sure I knew that he had nothing to do with it! Just in case (as a mom, that's my job!), I asked his coach if Biscuit did anything, and thankfully, he hadn't. If he had, though, I wonder if he would have been standing there ready to admit it as I turned around to go check it out???? I'm thinking "no", but hopefully if he had done it, and I asked him about it, he would have admitted it.

Lesson #2 "If you mess up, 'fess up!"

As a mom, one of my "pet peeves" is if I ask my four children (one of many examples of this occurance), "Who left the Bandaid trash in the bathroom floor?" Immediately I hear, "I didn't!", "It wasn't me!". My response is always, "I didn't ask who "DIDN'T" do it, I asked who "did" do it! Funny, though, if one of them knows who did the "crime", the "informant" is sure quick to rat on the offender!!

None of us like to admit we've done something wrong, do we? But, whether children or adults, it's good for us to be able to say, "I messed up." or "I did something wrong." If we can't say it to each other, will we be just as hesitant to admit our sins to God?
"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." 1 John 1:8-10

Let Us Pray

I remember the first time I heard of using A.C.T.S. as a formula for prayer. I was in my 20's and grateful to have heard of this simple acrostic to use in my prayer life, because it was such a great tool to help keep my mind more focused in prayer. This model is based upon the components of the prayer Jesus taught the disciples in Matthew 6:9-13. In case you haven't heard of it, I would like to share it with you.

A - Adoration
Spend time praising God for who He is and take the time to let Him know how you feel about Him. He deserves our praise and our words of adoration please Him.

C - Confession
Ask God for forgiveness of sin in your life. God already knows when we sin. But, He wants US to know and to realize that we have sinned.

T - Thanksgiving
Take the time to tell God thank you for all He has done for you and for the blessings He has given you.

S - Supplication
Tell God what your needs are for yourself, for your family, and for others.

A few years ago, I found another prayer model for children on the Internet. It used simple words that children would understand. I changed a few of the words and called it the "High 5 Prayer".

WOW! - Tell God what you think about Him. Tell Him how great and awesome you believe He is.

1st Finger:
THANKS - Tell God thank you for everything He has given you and for everything He has done for you.

2nd Finger:
OOPS! - Tell God about how you may have messed up. Tell Him when you do something wrong and say "I'm sorry" to God.

3rd Finger:
I Need - Tell God what you need. God wants to know how He can help you every day. Does He need to help a friend or family member feel better? Does He need to help you get along with a brother or sister?

4th Finger:
I Want - What do you want God to do for you? Do you want Him to help you be a better student? Do you want Him to help you be a better friend? God can help you.

The children seemed to really understand what they were learning. I gave them a hand with the words printed on each finger.

What else should we know about prayer?
1. The Bible teaches us to pray in Jesus' name.
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:13-14

2. Jesus is our mediator. Children may not understand what "mediator" means, but when I taught them, I explained that when we pray to God, Jesus is in-between and he "hands" or "gives" the prayer to God.
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" 1 Timothy 2: 5

3. End in Amen. Amen means "so be it". Many examples of prayer ending with Amen are in the Bible.

I'm grateful for the avenue of prayer God gave us as a way of communicating with Him. Visit Heavenly Homemakers to see what others are grateful for on this GRATITUESDAY.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"I Want to Be Involved!"

A few weeks ago I was handing out notes to ladies in our congregation. The note was inviting the ladies to go in on a wedding gift for someone who used to live in Tipton and who worshipped with us during that time. Many ladies are new to our congregation, so I wasn't giving the notes to them. They wouldn't know the person, of course. But, one of the new ladies said something to me that really made me think. She said, "I may not know the person, but I want the note. I want to be involved."

Wow! It was like she smacked me on the face! Of course, she wouldn't have done that, and she didn't mean to make me feel bad at all. But, it really made me think. How many times do I/we fail to include others in something we may be doing because we think they wouldn't be interested or care to be involved in?

Becoming a Christian means being added to the Lord's church by God, but it is up to us as fellow-Christians (not just church leaders) to get the new people involved in the work of the church. Some people are out-going and will look for things to do themselves, but others will not. They may need someone to specifically give them a "job" or they may need someone to ask them about helping in a specific ministry. If they don't find a way to be involved, they may not feel a part, and eventually may drift away. Being a part is a lot more than just being involved. It's a sense of belonging. It's a feeling of being needed.

Another time someone else said something to me that also made me think. She said, "It's wrong for you to do everything and not give others the opportunity to help." Her advice was very straight-forward, but not meant to hurt me at all. She was just telling me what she had learned from her years of experience as a sister in Christ. I have to admit that sometimes I would rather just do things myself than to ask others to help. Why? Because sometimes in the past I've asked someone to do something, and then it hasn't gotten done. Sometimes it's because I've asked someone to help and they've told me no. No one likes rejection. But, sometimes it's because it takes more time for me to ask others to help than it would take for me to just do it myself. But, I still believe she gave me some good advice and I've tried be less independent and ask others for help, whether in church-related things or other areas (PTO, 4-H, school, etc.).

People want to feel a part. As Christians, we should be working together - all of us. We're all part of God's family and the family should work together to accomplish what God wants us to accomplish.

So, how can you encourage someone to be involved in the Lord's work this week? What are some ways you have helped someone get involved in the past? Do you struggle with the "I'll do it myself" attitude I do?

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wash My Feet?

Last Sunday I taught the Pre-K and Kindergarten class about Jesus washing the disciples' feet, from John 13:3-17. They had never heard the story and thought it sounded really strange! The Bible-times house in this picture was made for VBS and used during that week by the teacher teaching the 2 and 3 year olds, so it made a perfect house for this lesson.

One by one I washed each of the children's feet, explaining how in Bible times feet would get really dirty by walking on the dirt roads and wearing sandals. By the end of the lesson, the children understood that Jesus was teaching the disciples to be servants to others. We talked about how the children could serve others during the next week.

My husband did a teen devotional several years ago and washed their feet. Most of them were very hesitant at first and thought it was really strange. Because it's such an odd thing for us to think about doing in our day, it's a great lesson to teach as an object lesson. We can't imagine going up to people and asking them if we can wash their feet or someone asking to wash our feet, can we? But if we are going to follow Christ's example, we must willing to humble ourselves and serve others. Jesus showed humility by doing one of the lowliest of tasks in His time.

How can you humble yourself during this week? What is a "lowly" task you can do for someone else? I challenge you to find a way to serve as Jesus taught His disciples by washing their feet - with humility and a servant's heart. Remember that in your service, you are serving Jesus.

...serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13b

Friday, June 5, 2009

Become a Child

I hope you don't mind all of the baseball-themed devotional thoughts. Since that's where most of our evenings are spent these days with three boys playing, that's where my mind is a lot of the time! But, the baseball field also provides me with a lot of devotional material - some positive and some negative.

Tonight, in the tee ball game right before Tyler's, the game was very close. I could tell it was close, even without a working scoreboard. How, you ask? Because of the attitude of one of the coaches and some of the fans. You know, most of the kids on both teams at the tee ball age really don't seem to have a clue about who is winning and who is loosing. They're just having fun - which is what it is (or should be at that age) all about. It would be good for all adults at the tee ball field to have the same attitude the children have.

Jesus told His disciples to be more like children, too. Look at the following passage:

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:2-5

Becoming like children by humbling ourselves is what Jesus wanted from His disciples and what He desires from all of His children.

It's always interesting at tee ball games. The bleachers and sidelines are filled with parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, watching their littles ones playing. Everyone has high expectations - wanting their child to be the best and do their best. But, as the boys and girls get older, there are fewer and fewer fans watching from the sidelines. And little by little the children grow up, all the time learning and changing until they are adults themselves. But Jesus doesn't say change and become more like adults, He says, "change and become like little children".

Let's become like a child. That's the attitude Jesus wants us to have.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

Eleven years ago today our third child was born. This picture is from his first birthday. Our first child, our only daughter, weighed 8.9 lbs., and the second child (first boy) weighed 8.12 lbs. So, naturally, I expected the third to be even bigger - close to 9 lbs. But, he was the smallest! He only weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz. (Number four weighed 8.7 lbs.) Wonder why momma gained more that time, if the baby was smaller ???! Hmmmmm.

I always thank Jacob for being the smallest. Why? Because out of all four children, he is the only one that wasn't induced. Originally my due date was May 26, but the doctor changed it to June 1st. I think that the first date was right, he was just smaller from the start and it threw it off! So, after being late with the other two births, I didn't expect anything different this time.

That whole day I felt strange, but went ahead and worked at my part-time job. After all, I worked for an ophthalmologist and in his residency he had to deliver babies, so I would tease him that he might have to deliver one of mine! I'm pretty sure he was thankful that never happened! At the end of that work day, my husband went to his parents to pick up our oldest two children. We all went out to eat with my parents before Wednesday night Bible classes, but I wasn't hungry.

After we got home that evening and got the kids in bed, I told my husband I was feeling strange. Things progressed slowly until 11:45 p.m., then it went fast! We decided we should head to the hospital. We woke up the kids. A funny thing is that my husband started filling up the kid's juice cups, like we did in the mornings if she was going to keep them! I said during contractions, "WOULD YOU COME ON! YOUR MOM HAS JUICE!!" We got to my in-laws, just a few minutes away. My mother-in-law (who has 6 children - 1 set of twins) wanted to go with us. She was afraid I would deliver on the way, since it was an hour to the hospital in Lawton! We assured her we would be fine, so she stayed behind.

Out of town we were stopped by a highway patrolman. Of course, we were speeding (don't any other time) because of the urgency of impending birth. In fact, we couldn't get there fast enough, in my opinion! The patrolman quickly released us. I suppose he didn't want to be responsible for a car-birth! He called ahead to others and let them know what we were driving and why we were speeding. Outside of Lawton, there were grass fires all over the mountains. I was still in pain every few minutes, but my husband enjoyed the scenery: Him: "Isn't that neat looking?" Me: "YES. CAN'T YOU GO FASTER???!!!"

Well, we finally made it! My water broke in the hospital elevator and they took me up to the OB floor....and weighed me! Me: "YOU HAVE TO WEIGH ME?" Them: "Yes." Can you believe that? After stepping on the scales every month for 8 months, then weekly for one month, the baby (we didn't know if it was a boy or girl at that time - never found out with the first three) was about to plop out and they wanted to know how much I weighed!

They told me I was too close to delivery to have an epidural. After being induced the two times before, I had an epidural after dilating half-way or so. Honestly, the thought of going through the birth naturally scared me. I admit it, my pain tolerance is pretty low! My husband said, "She can't do it!" He was worried about the pain for me without an epidural. I said, "Yes I can!" They said I would deliver within an hour, but it wasn't until 3:15 that Jacob Blake was born. It was an easy delivery compared to the others because it was not induced. Without an epidural, I was especially thankful Jacob was small! I tell him that from time to time and he always thinks that's neat. He takes great pride in his "birth" story!

Thank you, God, for Jacob and for his eleven years of life! Children are a gift from God.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How's Your Heart?

In the past few days, two people close to us have had heart attacks. One is my sister's father-in-law, who is stable, but will be undergoing triple bypass surgery in the next few days. The other is a woman in her early fifties. Her's was mild and will hopefully not require surgery.

Each day we wake up is a gift from God. We may have troubles, struggles, pain, and sorrow, but it is still a gift He has given us. But, we never know when we wake up what the day will bring. Neither of these two people woke up and expected to have a heart attack. In fact, neither of them had ever had any heart trouble before.

Of course we want a healthy heart, physically, but what is more important is the condition of our spritual heart. So, how's your heart? Is it spiritually healthy? Does it belong to God? If not, just like we taught in our "The Great Physician" VBS last week, Jesus can heal your heart.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:11-12

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22:37

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kindness on the Tee Ball Field

Note: Be sure to vote on the June fun poll: "What's your favorite candy bar?"

Last Saturday we were waiting for Tyler's (a.k.a. "Biscuit") tee ball game to start. While watching the two teams playing before him, we saw an act of kindness that was really cute and even sacrificial.

A little boy was on 1st base. His teammate hit the ball and he began running to 2nd. On his way there, the ball was right in his path, but instead of jumping over it, the little boy leaned down and got the ball. Then he did something amazing! He handed the ball to the 2nd baseman! Fans of both teams roared in laughter watching the little boy's act of kindness. It was soooooo sweet! Unfortunately, he was called out. I wish they would have just left him on second base, but I don't think he had a clue what had happened, anyway!

Sometimes in our acts of kindness helping others, we may have to sacrifice something. It may be that we give up our time to help someone in need. Maybe we give money to help someone else, when we really don't have much to spare. Or maybe we offer our talents to help someone who is struggling with getting something accomplished. True kindness is helping someone unconditionally and unselfishly.

Of course, this little tee ball player didn't even comprehend what he did, but he showed kindness by helping someone else. Jesus went to the cross, knowing what He was about to go through. He willingly died for us - and he did it unconditionally and unselfishly. This was true kindness. True kindness in which He was willing to sacrifice His life for us.

Be kind to one another...Ephesians 4:32

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Brotherly Love

Tonight we arrived home from ballgames about 9:30 p.m. Since the older two children have basketball camps in the morning, they were in bed by 10:00. The youngest (6 yrs.), Biscuit, asked if he and his brother (9 yrs.), Jacob, could stay up late. Usually that's a Friday night treat, but this Saturday the boys have baseball games, so they will have to be in bed earlier. I told him he would have to ask his dad when he got back from checking on our baby goats.

When Biscuit's dad got home, he said, "Dad, Jacob and I voted, and we picked midnight for our bedtime." Biscuit's dad replied, "Oh, you did?". Biscuit said, "Yep!". He walked out and my husband and I talked about how tonight would be okay for them to stay up late, but I thought they might want to pull out the sofa bed, just in case they fell asleep. So I yelled (yes, we yell around here :)...but this was in a kind, lazy way!) "Jacob!" Biscuit heard me and said, "Mom, don't get Jacob in trouble!" He was afraid that Jacob was in trouble and it would ruin their plan.

Their vote passed both parents. Instructions were given to be in bed by 12:00 midnight - they didn't want to sleep all night on the sofa bed. They put in a movie and asked if they could make popcorn. I was already going to post about brotherly love, but when I went into the living room and saw something really sweet, I knew I needed a picture. They might not ever believe me in 20 years if I didn't take a picture to prove it! Of course, these two have their fusses and squabbles, but for tonight and hopefully for many years to come, they can be the best of friends.

To see what others are grateful for today, visit as Laura hosts "Gratituesday".

Update: At 11:45, both boys decided they were too sleepy to stay up until midnight. They went straight to bed. It's thundering and lightening so they wanted to sleep together. In Biscuit's twin bed!

Sweet dreams, my sweet boys!

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

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