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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Chronicles of Biscuit - 'Fessin Up!

During the whole month of November, many of my posts focused on giving as I participated in "The 30-Day Giving Challenge".  Giving of our money, our resources and our time is just one way we can serve God by serving others.  Although it's now December, let's not let that spirit of giving go away.  Continue looking for ways to help others by giving of yourself and your means.

The Chronicles of Biscuit:
On Thanksgiving Day, "Biscuit", our youngest child, was outside playing with his cousins at their grandparent's house.  Biscuit came in and said to me, "I accidently threw a rock and it hit a window and broke it."  First of all, I immediately explained to Biscuit that there was no way he "accidently" threw the rock.  I asked him what window and he said on a car.  Our minivan was outside, but so were about 10 other cars.  All I could think of was that one of our relatives' car windows was broken and they would be driving home in a few days.  All the way out to see the damage, I was thinking "What am I going to see when I get there?".

Thankfully the broken window was on our minivan and not one of our relatives' vehicles.  The crack was/is way up top near the roof of the van on the driver's side.  There were already two small places in the windshield from a truck throwing rocks while going down the road - so it was needing to be fixed anyway.  Of course now it REALLY needs to be fixed.

Again, I lectured Biscuit on the fact that he could not have "accidently" thrown the rock, but talked to him about the fact that it could have been worse.  The rock could have hit someone or it could have hit someone else's car.  I did thank Biscuit for coming straight to me and telling me. As his dad would say, he " 'Fessed up" to his wrong-doing. 

His dad was gone to feed the farm animals at the time, but when he got back I had Biscuit tell him the story.  Of course, Joe, my husband, picked up on the "accidently" throwing the rock thing too, so Biscuit got a repeated warning about that part.  He also talked to him about the actual problem of the broken window.  Later on that night, Biscuit and Joe came home from Joe's parents.  The rest of us stayed later playing games with the rest of the family.  Joe said Biscuit went to his room and got $5.00 out of his piggy bank.  Biscuit gave his daddy that $5.00 and told him that it was to help pay for the new windshield!

When my husband told me that story, it made me so proud of Biscuit.  Since he's the youngest it's sometimes hard to notice the little things he is learning.  With the first child everything is noticed, but it seems like (to me anyway), life is so busy that sometimes those little things get neglected with the younger ones.  But when you think about it, Biscuit's acknowledgement of wrong-doing isn't a "little thing".  His confession is a BIG thing!  Many people in the world never learn to confess to wrong doing - to mankind, to relatives, to God.  Knowing and realizing that we have done something wrong is the first step towards becoming a Christian.  If we don't recognize the sin in our lives and acknowledge that it separates us from God, why would we have the need for Jesus?

Biscuit shouldn't have thrown the rock, of course, but it was neat to see that he realized his mistake enough to come straight to me and tell me, and that he also realized that it was going to cost us money to get it fixed and he wanted to help. 

This morning Biscuit got in trouble for saying something ugly to his brother.  He got a spanking.  Later on, before he left for school, Biscuit came and gave me a hug and said, "Mom, I'm sorry for the way I acted this morning.  I shouldn't have done that." Biscuit  "'Fessed Up" again!

I think Biscuit is growing up.  I am grateful for Biscuit and his tender heart.  I am especially grateful he " 'Fessed Up" in these two examples.

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Proverbs 28:13

For more GRATITUESDAY, go to Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Memories 2009

In previous posts I mentioned a few things that our family does for Thanksgiving each year with my husband's side of the family. The three days (Wed., Thurs., and Friday) are filled with many traditions, which we all look forward to each year.

 The first tradition  is on Wednesday night. Family members who live out of town arrive in time for this worship time, which is an hour of praise in song. Others in our church family also have relatives in town for Thanksgiving, so it's a special time for them, as well. 

After the worship time, our family goes to my in-laws house to eat finger foods and play games.  Thirty-three of us were able to attend the Wednesday evening singing and get-together...there were only two not in attendance - pretty amazing! Several family members help out by bringing appetizers for the evening. This Cheese Ball (or log this time) is one of the things I take each year.  Click here for the recipe from my recipe blog.  Our favorite games are Liverpool (a type of Rummy), 42, and this year we tried a new one - Last Word. This new game was a lot of fun!

Thanksgiving morning our family has another traditional time - a Fun Run and a 5 K (3.1 mile) Run, called a "Turkey Trot".  Some walk the 5K instead of running.  Prizes are awarded to the children for the Fun Run and a plaque is passed on to the winner of the 5K each year.

Some of the kids are getting so big, they've moved on to the 5K!  Many of the runners also run in races throughout the year and not just at the annual "Turkey Trot".

Either before the run or afterwards, everyone enjoys a homemade cinnamon roll.  Usually my father-in-law makes the cinnamon rolls, but this time my brother-in-law did.  They were great!

Next comes Thanksgiving Dinner.  Notice I posted the dessert table picture first!  There were lots of yummy desserts.  The one on the left bottom is Pumpkin Cheesecake.  You can find that recipe here.

With thirty-three mouths to feed and to have leftovers around for a few days, there is a LOT of food.  Look at that huge bowl of mashed potatoes!  Home grown green beans are a family favorite from my in-laws garden.

Homemade rolls.....actually, in my husband's family they are always called "Hot Rolls", whether "hot" or not!  His dad makes the rolls each year, but I think this year another brother-in-law made them.  I've always been fasinated by the consistant shape of the rolls.  One year my father-in-law was sick and we all pitched in to help make the rolls.  We had some really strange shaped rolls!

We just live a few blocks away from my in-laws, so each Thanksgiving Day afternoon, we all head over to our field.  Our home-grown pumpkins are gathered and placed in a pile.

The cousins (this picture is minus 6 cousins) take an annual "cousins photo" and then the "Pumpkin Bash" begins.  I wrote about this recently and called it "Pumpkin Baseball", but it actually is a "Bash"...not that it matters.

The pumpkins were fewer this year, but they were also the messiest!  It made for some great pictures and one of our nephews even made a video of the event.

This year we had a new family member in attendance - our niece married in August and this was her husband's first time to be at the "Bash".  He was initiated into this tradition in fine fashion.  He got to hit the first pumpkin and his brother-in-law picked out a nice (and gross) rotten pumpkin for him to hit!  He was a great sport and seemed to enjoy the "Bash". 

After the "Pumpkin Bash" it's back to the in-laws for more games and food.

Friday morning some head out to shop "Black Friday" specials.  Others sleep in later.  In the afternoon, most everyone goes to a movie together.  Then it's back to the in-laws for more food and games.  By the third night of staying up really late, eating more than we should, and playing games and more games, everyone is exhausted!

Saturday all of the out-of-town family members head for their own homes.

Posting all of this reminds me of the song "Precious Memories".  Typically this song is used at funeral - probably because when a loved one passes away, it's the memories of that person that keep them close in our hearts.  This year was a special Thanksgiving for our family.  Last year in December, we were all (minus 2) able to go to Colorado together to celebrate my in-laws 50th anniversary.  In January, my husband's grandmother passed away.  She lived a long and healthy life up until the very end and was at all of the Thanksgiving Day gatherings except for the last one, I belive.  She was a big part of the Thankgiving traditions established many, many years ago.

Then, in the spring, my father-in-law had hip surgery and it was found that his prostate cancer was no longer being controlled with medication.  He began chemotheraphy and is continuing it still.  He seems to be doing great now and is getting stronger each day.

Each Thanksgiving we are able to get together is a blessing.  God has richly blessed us with another year together, but also He has given us another year to live for Him  May we always remember that it is because of what He has done that we have those "Precious Memories".

(Note:  This post is about my husband's side of the family.  If you would like to read a funny post about my side of the family, go to my recipe blog that I share with my mom and sister (mentioned above with recipe links).  My mom has posted "A Recipe for Disaster" which is sure to make you smile!)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

W.O.R.S.H.I.P.

Tomorrow is a day of worship.  Of course we can worship God every day and should during our own times of study, prayer, and giving praise to God.  But just as the early first-century Christians came together on the first day of the week (Sunday) to worship God (Acts 20; 1 Corinthians 16), millions of Christians in the 21st century do so now, as well.

What is worship?  The Greek word for worship is proskyneŇć, which means " kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence" Jesus told the woman at the well, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:24. 

How can we worship God in spirit and in truth?  Let's look at the word "Worship" and see some of the ways in which we can:

W - Walk with God
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

O - Obey His commandments
"If you love me, you will obey what I command." John 14:15


R - Revere His name
"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."  Exodus 20:7
 
This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed (meaning: Holy) be your name..." Matthew 6:9

S- Share His Son
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

H - Help others
"...serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13

I - Invest your time wisely
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

P - Pray
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Take the time to worship God today.  What could be more important than worshipping the One who has given us so much?

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[a] act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

Friday, November 27, 2009

'Twas the Day After Thanksgiving

Well, Thanksgiving 2009 is officially over. Black Friday is on many people's minds now. In fact, many will be up in a few hours to try and get those special bargains - fighting the crowds and standing in lines.

I remember those days myself - waking up early trying to get the best deal on a certain toy one of my children wanted. Thankfully, those days of the very early morning shopping are gone, and, actually, I can find many of those special bargains online....right in the comfort of my own home (and in my pj's :).  It's a lot more fun and a lot less stressful at this point in my life.  I do like the hustle and bustle of the shopping day tomorrow - as long as I'm not trying to get any certain thing, but just going for fun.

Our Friday after Thanksgiving tradition is going to the movies with my husband's side of the family. My immediate family only sees two or three movies a year at an actual theater, so it's always exciting for our children, but to get to go with their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents is extra-special. This time we'll be seeing "A Christmas Carol" and there will be around 28 of us going. Some of us do a little shopping before or afterwards, too, and then after the movie, it's back to "Grammy and Gramp's" house for leftovers and games.

All of the month leading up to Thanksgiving, we all think and talk about all of the things we're thankful for, don't we?  But, just because Thanksgiving is over, doesn't mean we should forget to tell God, "Thank You".  We should be thankful for all of the wonderful blessing we have (physical blessing and spiritual blessings) every day.  Everything we have is because of God and that should be in our minds and hearts always.

The first part of Jeremiah 18:15 says, "Yet my people have forgotten me", and goes on to tell example of what they were doing, which was worshipping false gods (idols).  Now that Christmas will be here soon, and our focus will be on getting gifts for friends and family,  It's easy to get caught up in all of that stuff and forget or neglect our spiritual lives and maybe even forget God.  We don't want God to say about us what he said about the people then: "My people have forgotten me".  Let's don't forget God, but continue to be thankful and remember how He has blessed us in so many ways.

Now, if you'll excuse me....I've got a "Black Friday" special to search for and it's officially "Black Friday". And, yippee, there are no lines here at my computer and, yes, I am in my pj's.  What a way to shop!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Unselfish Giving


I remember several years ago teaching a ladies class on the subject of giving.  We discussed different ways of giving, all kinds of people we can give to, and the actual gifts we can give.  One of the points I made that night was that true, unselfish giving is giving up something we could use or we wanted or needed.  It's easy to give to others something we don't want (old clothes that don't fit or we might be tired of....or they are out of "style").  But how easy is it to give something we need ourselves?  For example, what if you only have $10.00 in your wallet or billfold and your bank account was so low you couldn't write any checks.  Then someone comes up to you asking for a $10.00 donation to help with a family who lost everything in a flood.  What would you do?  Tell them no?  Tell them that you would help later but not now?  Would you give them the $10.00 knowing that was all you had to live on?

Sometimes, even if we are "giving" people, we can still be selfish.  I say this because I felt this way about myself recently.  I'll give to things as needed.  I'll donate my time, food, clothing, and money towards projects and to help those in need.  But, there is one thing I've recenly realized that I am selfish about (and it's a silly-sounding thing, really!).  I'm selfish about our home-grown pumpkins!  Isn't that ridiculous??!  I don't want to share them and don't....or hadn't until recently.  I'm selfish with the pumpkins because #1:  I like to decorate with them all over our big yard; #2:  Our kids help grow them and I'm sentimental towards anything that involves them (even pumpkins); #3:  On Thanksgiving afternoon we have a "Pumpkin Bash" and play pumpkin baseball with my husband's side of the family (and it's a big family...lots of pumpkins are needed) - as described in this post.  So, I felt like I had legitimate reasons for my selfishness at the time.  In fact it had never occurred to me that I was being selfish with them.

Our elementary school classes were having a pumpkin decorating contest a few weeks ago (sponsored by the PTO of which I'm the president).  I sent the letters to the teachers about the pumpkin contest, but never really thought about where the actual pumpkins would come from.  A week before the contest I got a text from a teacher's assistant asking me where the pumpkins were supposed to come from.  I hadn't given it a thought....just assumed the teachers would get them themselves.  However, once I thought about the fact that the teachers were working on other projects and purchasing items for their game and themed baskets for our annual Fall Festival, I realized that the PTO should get the pumpkins for them.  I thanked the assistant for asking me and also for telling me that the teachers thought I was getting them.

Well, I looked for pumpkins in the stores in nearby towns, but couldn't find any.  My husband was out of town and I even had him look.  No pumpkins.  Then my husband asked, "How many pumpkins do you need?"  I said, "Seven".  He said, "Well, we can give them seven of ours."  "Our pumpkins?", I thought to myself.  I told him that I had thought about it, but just didn't want to give them up.  But then it hit me:  I WAS BEING SELFISH WITH OUR PUMPKINS!  I really felt bad after that - thinking that I was allowing a PUMPKIN to become a stumbling block and I felt like my selfishness was sinful (I'm sure it was, actually).  So, I changed my attitude and decided that we should give the pumpkins to the school. 

That afternoon I mentioned to our son, Zachary, who actually did all of the planting of the pumpkins this year, that we were giving some to the school and he said, "Mom, we don't have very many left for Thanksgiving.  Why are you giving them away?"  Ouch!  That was one of those "I learned this attitutude from you" times that makes a parent feel really, really bad (and guilty, too). 

I explained to Zachary about my selfishness and told him that I had felt that same way.  He was fine after that and seemed to understand.  The next day I delivered the pumpkins to the school.  One or two people know where they came from, but none of the teachers do (to my knowledge).  And, I'm not telling you now to brag at all.  I'm telling you now to show you how we can be "givers" in one sense, but be "selfish" in another sense.  Our attitude of giving should be unselfish - always....not just when it's easy to do so.

A perfect example of this is in the Bible.  Look at this passage from Mark 12:41-44:

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

Although the widow gave a small amount and the rich people put in a large amount, the widow's gift was more impressive to Jesus.  Why?  Because she gave all she had.

I've never paid attention to this part of the passage before until now, but look how it says "Many rich people THREW in large amounts".  I know it was customary to have a large pot or vessel-type thing to collect the money, but compare that to what it says about the widow, she "came and put in two very small copper coins".  Isn't it interesting the "threw" and "put in" comparasion?  It makes me wonder if the rich people just threw it in out of duty but with a selfish attitude more or less saying, "Okay, here's my weekly contribution.  I've done my part for the week."  It sure seems like it was begrudgingly done.  Or maybe they threw it in there to be more noisey and to draw attention to the large sum they were giving?  Yet the widow "put in" her contribution of all she had...quietly it seems, not wanting to draw any attention to herself.  She gave unselfishly.

Let's all think of that type of giving - not just during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season - but all of the time.  God has given us everything we have.  It's His and He's just letting us borrow it for a little while.  Remembering that will help us give more unselfishly ourselves.  True giving will be as the widow's gift only when we give up something we would have needed or used.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Losing Streak is Broken!


If you would have asked my daughter about their junior high basketball team for that past two years, you would have heard the following:  "We've lost every game for two years." 

I can't remember how many games it was - 50 something, I believe.  But, guess what?  Last Thursday night, during the first basketball game of the new season, the junior high girls team won!  It was an exciting night for the girls and for all of the fans, too.

Winning isn't everything, of course, but losing isn't either.  No one wants to lose all of the time.  On the other hand, it's not good to win all of the time, either (shhhhh, don't tell any coaches I said that!).  Being both a good winner and a good loser shows character.  It helps learn to be gracious winners and losers.

The junior high girls kept a good attitude all during their losing streak.  Instead of sulking, giving up, and having an attitude of being defeated, they would go out onto the court expecting to do their best and striving to win each game.  This year with a new coach, they've learned more and prepared more and that hard work has paid off.

Paul talked about striving towards goals and winning a prize.  I referred to his reference to running in this post.  In the scripture below, Paul states that he is pressing on toward the goal.  Of course his goal isn't the kind of goal as the basketball team looked toward.  His goal was heaven...."heavenward in Christ Jesus".

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:12-14

As Christians, our goal should also be heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Jesus is the only way in which we can become a child of God and obtain the goal of heaven.  But, we should also look to Paul's example in the verse above.  He didn't give up or get complacent in living the Christian life.  He did not become arrogant and believe he had done all he could do for God.  No, he didn't look back on the past (ex. past mistakes maybe), he kept his eyes focused on what was ahead of him, and he continued to press on toward the goal.

Basketball focuses on offense and defense.  Maybe as Christians we should do the same.  We're playing defense against Satan.  And our offensive play is taking us toward the goal of heaven.  Our Christian brothers and sisters are our team mates.  God is the "Head Coach".  Jesus is the "Owner" (we're a pro team) - He bought us with his blood. The Holy Spirit is the "Assistant Coach".

Let's Go Team!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Poems

Thanksgiving Delights
On Thanksgiving Day we’re thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.

For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.

We’re grateful for our eyes that see
The beauty all around,
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
And ears to hear each sound.

The list of all we’re grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!

By Joanna Fuchs


Thanksgiving Every Day

The table is brimming with good things to eat;
We're surrounded by family and friends; what a treat.
The feelings that fill us today can’t be beat;
It’s Thanksgiving Day, and it all feels complete.

But other days, sometimes things don’t seem so fine;
Those days are not polished and don’t seem to shine.
It's then in our minds, we forget all the good,
And think of the things we would get, if we could.

On days when our thinking causes us dread,
If we could remember, it’s all in our head,
And not let our minds take our gratitude away,
Then we'd make every day like Thanksgiving Day.

By Karl Fuchs

These poems are from  http://www.poemsource.com/ .

Friday, November 20, 2009

Road Maps

Tomorrow our high school football team is travelling to Timberlake to play in the second round of the playoffs. The drive is about three hours north of here. My husband is working tomorrow afternoon, so I volunteered to take our kids myself. The two oldest really want to go and right now the youngest one does, too.  One of the middle sons, Jacob, wants to stay home. He can go to work with his dad until he gets off then they will have an evening at home together.

I've never been to Timberlake. In fact, I've only been up around that area of Oklahoma once or twice. I suppose I should look at a map to see where I'm going or seach online at a map website. Maybe I will....tomorrow.

You know how it's said that men don't like to ask for directions? I'm actually more that way than my husband is!  Strange, I know.  I'm fairly independent and can sometimes be stubborn about wanting to find my own way. Not always good qualities to have, I know.  But,I like the adventure of finding my way to somewhere new.  Of course, I also want to get to the game on time and actually to get to the right place, so I will look at a map before we go (my kiddos will insist on it :)!!)

What should we do if you or I want to know about becoming a Christian? Where do we search to find the answers? Do we ask for directions? Yes, we can. But how do we know if the directions are right? What if we're given the wrong advice and information? Do we look it up on the internet? Sure, there are lots of religious websites that will tell us what we must do, but are they all true and right? Some are, but some are not.  So, how do we know? How do we get directions for the Christian life?

There's only one thing we really must do if we want to know more about becoming a Christian or if we want to know how to live a Christian life.  We should look at the best map EVER.  Just as a road map leads us or takes us to a certain destination, God's Word - the Bible leads us and takes us to a certain destination, too.  And, of course, that destination ultimately leads to Eternal Life in Heaven with God, our Heavenly Father!

The Bible does more than tell us stories about people in the past. It does more than tell us about how God made the world. The Bible tells us how to become a Christian and also tells us how to live as Christians.

"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."
Romans 15:4

Trying to find my way to Timberlake tomorrow may be an adventure.  I'll enjoy the challenge.  Trying to find our own way in spiritual matters makes no sense at all.  Why?  Because God has given us a perfect road map to follow. 

"Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." - Psalm 119:105

Oh, yes, and you know how having a GPS is all the rage these days?  We have one we use from time to time.  (We call her "Betsy".  We don't always agree with "Betsy".  She's taken us on some strange roads!) God has given us a perfect GPS that won't take you down a strange road (one that's supposed to be the quickest route but ends up being the longest.)  Jesus is our perfect guide and example.  We must follow Him and He will lead us 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 14:5

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "I Think I've Got the Weasels"


It sounds pretty serious.  Maybe I should call the doctor in the morning.  Biscuit is very concerned because he thinks he's got the "weasels".   He informed me of his problem right before bedtime tonight.  He first said his tummy hurt, then said, "I think I've got the weasels".  I asked him why he thought that and he said it was because he wasn't breathing very good.

Never mind the fact that Biscuit's got asthma and is on three different medications for that breathing problem.  The weasels are serious business!  Biscuit informed me that his teacher talked to the students today about the weasels and how it can make you not breath good.  So, naturally, that's what he assumes he has now.  (I'm assuming she talked to them about the measels.  I think there has been an outbreak in New York maybe??)

As human beings we get ourselves all worked up and worried over many different things.  Some of those things may really be important, but many are not.  Statitistics show that 40% of the things we worry about never happen (like Biscuit with his "weasels" - not going to happen, I'm certain.)  90% of the things we worry about we have no control over anyway. So, we're not doing any good by worrying, are we?  No.  Not at all.  In fact, in the Bible we are commanded to NOT worry.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Matthew 6:34a

So, what are you worried about?  Are you worried about something that may never happen?  Are you worried about the future?  The past?  Or about what is going on in your life right now?  (Or are you, like Biscuit, are you worried you have the "weasels"?????)

Give your worries to God.  Let them go.  God can handle everything.  He'll take care of you.

Read Matthew 6:28-37.

ON YOUR MARK! GET SET! GO!!


On Thanksgiving morning, my husband's family has a race.  It's called the "Waugh Turkey Trot".  There is a 1 mile Fun Run for the kids and then a 5K (3.1 mile) race for the adults (and some of the kids and teens run it, too).  Some of the women walk the 5K instead of running it.

Each year a trophy is given for the winner of the big race and prizes are given to the younger ones.  Because many in the family are seasoned runners, the event is competitive, but in a fun way.  It's always fun to see who wins the race.



Paul used running and races quite a bit in his writings.  He referred to the fact that everyone competes in a race, but there is only one winner.  He tells the Corinthians (and it written in God's Word for us, too) to run in such a way as to get the prize - and that prize is a crown of life that will last forever in eternity.

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. 
1 Corinthians 9:24-25


Running in a race takes training.  It takes a plan.  It will not just happen.  In the same way, our Christian life is a process.  Becoming a Christian is just one step of that process.  It doesn't stop there, but continues until our race is complete.  Our training comes from reading and studying the Bible, by praying, and by living a Christian life using Jesus as our examle.  And, our training is only complete when we die. 

When the time does come and our training is complete, as Christians we should be able to say as Paul did in 2 Timothy:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:6-7

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thanksgiving Baskets

I'm not exactly sure  when it began, but it's been a tradition of either 16 or 17 years.  Our young adult Bible class began all those years ago collecting food and money and distributing Thanksgiving food baskets to those in need in our community.  Yesterday twelve food baskets were delivered to individuals and families.

Over those 16 or 17 years our class has changed.  The people have changed and our name has changed.....well, we still call ourselves "young" adult, but many of us aren't so young any more (no names mentioned here, of course!).  One thing that hasn't changed over the years is the need for this work.  There are still those who need help and there are still those who are blessed because of this work.

Some of those who received baskets this year have had a hard time lately...maybe an illness or disease has caused a hardship in their life, some have recently lost their homes due to fires, and some have other financial struggles.  In deciding who to give food baskets to, our class doesn't worry about why people might be having difficult times.  We don't analyze their situation.  We only seek out a way to help people with their present situation.

During this month, I am participating in "The 30-Day Giving Challenge", are you?  (Note:  The right side of my home page has the link.) If you've not yet committed, it's not too late to begin.  In fact, giving doesn't have to be limited to November or even during the holiday time of the year (from Nov. 1st through Christmas).  It's typically when we feel more giving, but our hearts should be willing to give all year long.

This year I had the priviledge to go shopping for the Thanksgiving food baskets.  Different women volunteer each year to do the shopping and we all enjoy having the oppotunity to help with this good work.  Our fellow Christians donate money for our class project and this year I was able to purchase turkeys, potatoes, dressing, rolls, gravy, eggs, milk, pumpkin pies, and other items for each basket.  Three baskets full!!  All year long our congregation collects non-perishable food for the pantry and that food is also distributed with the baskets.  Then, our class and many of the teens come together on a Sunday afternoon and divide up the food and distribute the baskets to each individual or family.  Yesterday 35 people gathered to help with this work.

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful for Christians who have the heart to give - not just at this time of year, but all year long.  I am grateful for my Christian brothers and sisters who, year after year, contribute to make Thanksgiving Baskets for those in our community who are in need.  I know those who receive the baskets are blessed, but we all are blessed through the giving, as well.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " Acts 20:35

For more Gratituesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

When the Wind Blows

I can tell that the wind is blowing tonight.  The windows are shaking a little bit (they're old...need to be replaced!).  A cold front is moving into southwest Oklahoma tonight, so the wind has picked up.

Wind is a powerful thing.  It can cool us off on a hot day, but it can also tear down buildings in seconds in the form of strong, straight winds or rotating tornadoes.

When the wind blows, how does it affect you?  I used to think it was so interesting when I would go visit my husband's grandmother on a windy day.  She was in a nursing home, but she knew when it was windy.  She could "see" the effects of the wind out of her window, but more importantly, she could "feel" it.  She felt it without ever having to go out in it.  She just knew that it was windy and it kind of un-nerved her!  I kind of understand how she feels as I sit her listening to the wind.  I'm not out in it, but I know what it would feel like to be out there because I've been in the wind quite often and I don't like it too much.

But what about in your spiritual life?  How does the wind affect you?  Look at the following passage about wind:

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Ephesians 4:14-16

When we mature as Christians, we won't be blown by the wind.  We will be confident in what we believe - not because of what we've been told, but by what we know ourselves by reading the Bible.  We won't be led astray by those who may teach untruths, but stand firm in what the Bible teaches is true and right.

If we allow the "wind" to blow us in our spiritual walk, we will never do what God needs us to do - what He created us to do.  His Will for us is that we serve Him by living in the example of Jesus, our Savior.  Jesus knew what His mission on earth was - to save the lost.  We must also know what our mission on earth is:  to seek and save the lost.

We are servants of God - when the wind blows and when it is calm.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Parental Right: Changing Your Mind


Sometimes as a parent, you may have to change your mind. Something that seems right at the time, may need to be reviewed again and changed later on. A rule might possibly need to be bent for a certain reason. A punishment might need to be forgiven. A decision might need to be reviewed. Such is the case with our daughter's soon-to-be cell phone...


I know it may seem strange to most people, but none of our children have a cell phone....even our fifteen year old daughter, Lauren. But in a few days, she will have one. She's excited, but her Dad and I are just as excited.


Lauren wanted a phone several years ago, but we weren't ready for her to have one. After a while she was okay without having one and began to see that in the end it was better that she didn't get one when she was younger.  It's amazing how many kids have cell phones...even in elementary school.


Last year after the third nine weeks of the school year, Lauren and her Dad made a deal....well, actually HE made the deal for her! Lauren had gotten a little lax in her grades and had two B's, which isn't terrible, but we knew she was capable of making A's, except maybe in math. My husband, Joe, told her that if she had a B in math, it was okay, but that it wasn't okay in the other subjects. She agreed that she hadn't been giving it her best and determined to do better. The deal was this: All A's (except could have a B in math) for a whole semester and then she could get a cell phone.

The last nine weeks of last school year Lauren had all A's except math. But, the deal was for a semester, not just a nine weeks period. That meant it wouldn't be until Christmas break.


After the first nine weeks of this year, Lauren actually had all A's...even in math. She told me she really wished that she was getting a cell phone. I did too, actually, because she was gone a lot with ballgames and FFA trips, but I told her that wasn't the deal she made with her Dad, so she wouldn't be getting one. He repeated the same deal to her again, determining she would need to wait as he had first told her she would need to do.


A few days after she received her report card after this year's first nine weeks, my husband said, "I sure wish Lauren had a cell phone." I said, "Well, you made the deal with her. I suppose you could renege!". He didn't say anything. (I think he was thinking about it, but couldn't be sure :)!!)


A few more weeks went by and Lauren was going more and more on basketball scrimmage trips, getting ready for the offical season to start. We went to a few of the scrimmages, but not all of them, due to the boys having activities of their own. Lauren would borrow her friend's phone and let us know how they did, when they were leaving, and what time they would be home so that we could pick her up. Joe said a few days ago, "Lauren really needs her own cell phone so she doesn't have to borrow all one all of the time." In my head I said, "YES!" Outloud I said, "She really does."


So, today, I got the priviledge of telling Lauren the good news and taking her to pick out her new phone, which she will officially get on Monday (in two days). She's so excited!


I'm thankful my husband changed his mind. He realized the need our daughter had of having her own cell phone and determined that his original plan/rule wasn't worth keeping. He realized that it was okay to change the rule and change his mind.


What if he had been too proud to change the rule? What if he had been too stubborn to realize the rule needed to be changed? Oh, yes, she/we could have made it without the cell phone for another month. It wouldn't have hurt anything to wait another month. Lauren could have borrowed from friends some more during that time.  However, I think my husband taught Lauren an important lesson by changing his mind. He taught her (and our boys, too) that it's good to re-think things, that it's okay to change your mind if something's not working. He taught them to not be stubborn when it comes to making decisions, even as the head of the house.


It's kind of interesting the deal my husband has made with our 13-year-old son.  He can get a cell phone at the same age (15), BUT he has to have straight A's.  He doesn't get the "B in math" part of the deal our daughter did.  Why?  Because he's really good in math and it comes easy for him.  If he began to get B's in math we would know he wasn't doing his best. 


I'm wondering how his "deal" may change???  He's probably hopeful for a change in the age of getting a cell phone.  I'm pretty sure that part of the deal won't change. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Volunteering

Ten years ago our oldest child started Kindergarten.  She didn't go to preschool, so that was our first experience with school.  I remember attending the Open House in the fall and thinking, "I want to do something for the school."  I wanted to do something that would bring something special to the school - kind of the "extras" or the "fun" things.


I talked to the Superintendent and Principal and asked them if I could start a PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization).  They agreed that I could.  That first year we had quite a few people sign up to be PTO members.  We elected officers and had fundraisers, and made big plans for the future.


During the next few years the PTO painted the playground equipment, purchase a lighted sign for the front of the school building, and helped with school field trips.  We planned and payed for parties during the year and collected Campbell's Soup Labels and Box Tops for Education.


Each year many of the same parents signed up.  Interest in PTO grew, as did the number of participants at school events where helpers were needed.  Since that time, the numbers have gone up and down, but for the most part it has grown each year.. 


I always thought I would do PTO (as far as being "in charge") for 10 years, but just today it hit me that it has been 10 years this year.  Am I ready to quit?  No.  In fact, I really can't believe it's been that long.  Right now I still have two children in elementary, so I want to be there helping them and involved with their classes.


Tonight was our annual PTO Fall Festival.  It is a fun evening full of games, food, and fun.  We have always had people volunteer to help, but this year we had the biggest number of participation and help that we've ever had.  It was great!  We were all cleaned up and home by 9:00 tonight - just because so many people volunteered their time to help.


Volunteering is a great way to give during "The 30-Day Giving Challenge".  Take the time to volunteer at your child or grandchild's school.  Ask your school how you can help them.  For our school (this week, anyway), this week is the book fair.  Maybe you could volunteer to help them during that week.  Tonight the PTO had a concessions stand.  Maybe your school has a function planned and you could volunteer to help serve in that way.  Whatever you find to do, remember that in serving others you are really serving Christ. 


Find a way to volunteer today and.....Happy Giving to you :).


“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me’.
Isaiah 6:8

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Give Thanks

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:7

Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
1 Chronicles 16:8

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 
Psalm 107:1

I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.
Psalm 7:17


(Photos by Lori)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "My Conscience Beat Me"



Last year for Christmas, I bought the kids a small little table-top pool table.  It was worth the $20.00 I spent and has been used for hours and hours of fun and friendly family competition.  A few weeks ago I heard Biscuit say to his brothers, "I just got beat playing pool."  Knowing the other two boys were playing another game together in another room, and Lauren was in her room, I asked Biscuit, "Who beat you?" (No one else was in the room with him.)  He replied, "I did....my conscience beat me!".


I have no idea how a 6 year old knows what a conscience is, but I'm kind of glad he does. (Maybe I can use that when trying to teach him about right and wrong!) 


I decided to ask Biscuit about his conscience. 
Me:  What is a conscience?
Biscuit:  Somebody who is yourself.  A not-alive person. 
Me:  Who told you that? 
Biscuit:  Nobody.  I got it off of a movie.
Me:  Really?  What movie?
Biscuit:  Nemo. (Finding Nemo)


Well, I have watched a LOT of Disney movies in my time.  In fact, that's just about all of the movies we ever watch, plus some Christmas classics.  Most of the time the Disney movies do teach a lesson or have a "moral" to them. 


You may have heard the quote, "Let your conscience be your guide.".  Well, for some, that might work, but for others it wouldn't work at all.  Your conscience should only be your guide if it is line with what God would want.  Your conscience would need to line up with God's standards about what is right and what is wrong.  The conscience can be helpful, but only if it hasn't been seared to where it no longer recognizes right from wrong. As Christians, we should let God's Word be our guide, let the Holy Spirit be our guide.


So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Galatians 5:16


Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20


What if our conscience has been seared?  Can it be made stronger again?  Yes, it can, if we will take the time to help make it stronger.  How can we make it stronger?


1.  By reading the Bible and finding out more about how God wants us to live, our conscience can be strenthened.
 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105


2.  It can also be strengthened by prayer.  When praying, you can ask God to help you develop your conscience.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22


3.  Confessing sin to God and looking to the example of Jesus will help our conscience be strengthened as well. 
Look what Paul said in Acts 24:16, "So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man."


4.  Allow the Holy Spirit to work within you. 
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Ephesians 4:30


Ask yourself these questions:
Do you have a sensitive conscience or a dull, seared one?
Do you easily recognize right from wrong or is it a hard decision for you to make?
What do you need to do to help strengthen your conscience?


Don't let your conscience "beat" you.  Strengthen it with God's help and use it to better serve Him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pumpkins - Decorating, Food, and Baseball???


It might sound strange, but on this Gratituesday, I am grateful for "Pumpkins".  Because fall is my favorite time of year, I like the colors of the season - one of which is orange. Pumpkins help provide lots of fall orange, but they also provide many fun fall recipes that aren't typically enjoyed the rest of the year.  (One of my newly found favorites is Pumpkin Pancakes with Caramel Pecan Sauce.  You can find this recipe at my (and my mom and sister's) recipe blog here.)


Decorating with pumpkins is my favorite thing to do with them, but my second favorite thing to do with them happens on Thanksgiving Day with my husband's side of the family.

(Annual Cousins' Pumpkin Photo - not ALL of the cousins, but many of them!)
We began planting pumpkins 10 years ago and enjoy scattering them all over our yard uses them as decorations, along with hay bales and corn stalks.  Occasionally we carve pumpkins or paint them, but not always.  We prefer to keep them just as they are - until Thanksgiving Day, that is.

(In photo:  Niece DeeAnn)
On Thanksgiving Day, our pumpkins are used in a fun (but kind of strange!) way.  The pumpkin crop serves as one of the highlights of our families' Thanksgiving Day when, after lunch, everyone joins in a game of "Pumpkin Baseball".  Sppppppppllllllllaaaaaatttt!!!!  

(In photo:  Nephew Travis)
I'm grateful for pumpkins because they provide fun family traditions. For more Gratituesday, go to Laura's Heavenly Homemaker's blog.

Thank you, God, for pumpkins.

Monday, November 9, 2009

You Are Invited


Clip art courtesy of DailyClipArt.net


It's nice to be invited to things like birthday parties, showers, and fun gatherings with friends and family.  But, there is one invitation we should ALWAYS turn down....an invitation to a "Pity Party".


What is a "Pity Party"?  A pity party is when you and I begin to feel sorry for ourselves.  We have the "poor me" attitude, as if everything in the world revolves only around us.  We spend our time only looking inward to ourselves - thinking about our wants, our needs, and our happiness.


A pity party-type attitude causes us to have a chip on our shoulder and the mind-set that everyone is out to get us and displease us.  We feel that nothing ever goes our way, that gloom and dispare is the only thing in sight.  We fail to see the good in anything.


God doesn't want us to have "Pity Parties".  He says to us through His Word:  "Look up!"  "Look to Me for your strength, your joy, and your happiness".  His Word also tells us to find ways to serve each other - to give to each other - and gives us a perfect example of His Son, Jesus, who spent years doing just that.


The 30-Day Giving Challenge, which began November 1, is a way to help get our minds set on things above and also set on people in need all around us.  Today during announcements before worship services, names were listed of those who were sick, who had lost loved ones, or who needed prayers in other ways.  One way to get ourselves out of "Pity Parties" is to think of those on the prayer list.  Send them a note, a card, and especially take time to pray for each of those individuals.


If you receive an "invitation" to a Pity Party, RSVP in the following way:  "NO, Thank you!" 


Have a great week!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Ft. Hood Tragedy and The Giving Challenge

Saturday was a week since I began "The 30-Day Giving Challenge" and many of you joined with me.  (Note:  If you don't know about the challenge, please click on the link to the right on my home page.)  When I began the challenge, little did I know that our town would be faced with a unique way to give a few days later.


On Thursday, Ft. Hood became the site of a terrible act of violence which claimed the lives of innocent people and injured many more.  Families were heartbroken to hear of the news of their loved ones.  Even though when one is in the armed forces, the fact that something could happen is acknowledged, most everyone would agree that it's not typically thought of to be something that would happen in our own country. It would more expected to be in other countries where our soldiers are sent to protect the freedom of others. But, on this day, it was here - right in our "backdoor"...so to speak..  It was at one of our own military bases.


This tragedy struck close in the hearts of our small town.  J.D. Hunt was one of the young men killed on Thursday.  J.D. was from here, having graduated from Tipton High School in 2005.  He had married only 2 1/2 months ago.


A special challenge of giving came as our community heard of the passing of J.D.  Although his family no longer lives here, but lives in another town close by, the town came together at the Friday night football game to pay special tribute to his memory.  The honor guard from Altus (OK) Air Force Base agreed to come, which made our National Anthem even more special that evening. Everyone prayed silently for J.D. and the others who lost their lives or were injured on that tragic day.


That Friday morning I had the opportunity to help one of our school teachers in organizing a way to honor J.D.  We purchased ribbon (red, white, and blue) and straight pins.  During the day the Student Council members made hundreds of ribbons to be passed out to all those in attendance at the football game that evening.  The ribbons will be warn during the week and the military past and present will be honored on Wednesday during our school's annual Veteran's Day program.


The Giving Challenge is a great way to help us think to do things for others.  Of course, I wish this tragedy had never happened and that there would not have been a need to pay honor to those who lost their lives.  But, God's Word tells us that there will be times like this and reaching out to help each other - to give comfort to each other and to all the families who lost loved ones - is what being a Christian is all about.


Please continue to give.  Please accept The 30-Day Giving Challenge.  And, please continue to pray for the victims of the Ft. Hood tragedy.  And, if we are truly going to be like Jesus, we must pray for the man accused of this crime.  Pray that his hard heart may be softened.  But, also remember to pray for his family.  It would be very hard to realize someone you loved could commit such a horrible crime.  They need prayers for strength at this time.


Have a great, giving week!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Messes

I mentioned a month ago or so that I had started a small business.  I actually rent out a space within a bigger business and sell home decor, special lights for decoration, children's canvas art, and specialty items.  It's been great so far and it's nice because I don't have any certain time to be there...just go when I want to.  The only problem I'm having is with space for the items I purchase to sell.  Because I'm renting out a space (9' x 11 1/2 ') I don't have a storage room there where the booth space is located.  And, because of that, everything ships to my house or I buy it and bring it to my house....which is what this picture shows.  A GREAT BIG MESS!



In fact, it's such a mess, that when my husband came in for lunch yesterday he said, "If anyone were to break into our house, they would fall and break their neck and then sue us!"  Of course, then he laughed.  He's been very understanding, helpful, and supportive.


The reason I've got this MESS is because this weekend I'm getting my booth ready for Christmas.  Sunday afternoon there is an open house for all of the booths and I need to have mine all ready for the customers.  But, right now, the dining room and kitchen area is my "workshop".  MESSES!!


In a few days, this mess will be gone.  I'll work hard and should have everything in place by Saturday afternoon late.  I'm ready for this mess to be taken care of, for sure.


Sometimes we have "messes" in our life....often by the choices we make, but sometimes just because of circumstances of which we have no control.  We may be able to work hard and clean up our messes to some degree, but we may not be able to at all.  But there is One who can clean up messes:  Jesus!


God gave His Son as a sacrifice to clean up our "messes" and after we give our lives to him, obey his commandments and become a Christian as the Bible teaches us to do - our messes are cleaned up.  Oh, yes, sometimes we still get into messes - hopefully less and less as we grown spiritually - but the blood of Jesus will continue to clean up those messes if we will confess to God our sins (messes).


But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7


Thank you, God, for giving up your Son for my messes.
In Jesus Name,
Amen

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "What Do You Think - Crutches or a Wheel Chair?"

First of all, I have a question for you.  Are you participating in "The 30-Day Giving Challenge"?  If you haven't committed yet, there's still time to get on board!  It feels great to give and to help others.  Remember that God will bless you!


Secondly, be sure to vote in the fun poll on my blog home page.  The question is:  "What is your favorite month?"  Mine is October.  What is yours?


Thirdly....on to "The Chronicles of Biscuit":


Monday during P.E., Biscuit hurt his ankle.  I noticed something was wrong immediately after school that day as he came out to the van hobbling and walking on his tippy-toes.  I asked him what was wrong and he said he hurt it doing the "crab walk".  He told his P.E. teacher, but coaches aren't always the most sympathetic to injuries, you know.  They expect everyone to be tough! He told him, "You're okay."  Biscuit didn't really like that, so he said.


I looked at the ankle, but didn't see anything bruised or red or swollen.  He seemed fine after a while, so I didn't think any more about it.


Today after school, Biscuit hobbled out again, got into the van and said his ankle was still hurting.  He said, "What do you think, Mom?  Do I need crutches or a wheel chair?"  Trying to contain my laughter, I told him that both of those things might help his ankle get better, but that he sure wouldn't get to play very much.  I thought he would decide he didn't need either, but no.  He said, "Well, I think a cast would be better."  I asked him if he wanted me to just tape it at home, but he said he thought the doctor should just do a cast.


After we got home, Biscuit and Jacob played football some outside.  Although I know it's hurting some, and it's obvious he's not playing quite as intense as usual, I know it's nothing serious and it certainly doesn't need a cast...and of course there's no need for a wheel chair! Thankfully, Biscuit's injury seems to be something very mild and nothing that will require a doctor's visit or treatment. 


Jesus is described in the Bible as the Great Physican.  He healed people physically and spiritually.  One of my favorite stories of physcial healing in the Bible is about the woman who had bleed for 12 years.


Mark 5:24-34


So Jesus went with him.


A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.


At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' " But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."


This woman had been to doctors many times and none of them could help her with her illness.  But she had heard about Jesus and knew that he could heal her.  In spite of the large crowd, the woman got close enough to Jesus to touch his cloak. Her faith and courage prevailed and with Jesus' power, she was immediately healed.  What great faith this woman had and what a great example she is for us now!


As for Biscuit, it's funny that a kid who doesn't even like a Band-aid on because of the way it feels would even think about having a cast on his ankle.  By tomorrow maybe it will be all better.  God still can heal and we can and we should pray for His healing touch in all areas of life.


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

My Dad and the Rock that Changed His Life

On August 26, 1991, my Dad had a life-changing day.   Although he worked from home and traveled around to Farmer's Co-ops as a field representative for his company, he would occassionally have to travel to the home office in Oklahoma City.  The drive was about 2 1/2 hours from where he and Mom lived at the time.

On that particular day, he was about an hour into his trip when something terrible happened.  Mowers were mowing the ditches on the right side of the divided interstate and one of them threw a rock up into the air.  The rock went through the window of my Dad's car, struck him in the face, hit the roof of the car (slashing the carpeted top) then landed in the back window ledge, causing a huge crater.  This rock wasn't just any rock - it was a 9 1/2 pound rock - a HUGE rock.

The rocks were in the ditch because a mountain had recently been blown up to make the divided highway.  Unfortunately, the rocks were not disposed of properly and left them in the ditch only to be covered by grass and weeds.  Three mowers were mowing the ditches.  They were brought in to cut the grass and weeds, but the drivers had no idea what was underneath what they were cutting at the time.

Thankfully there was a kind lady, named Kathy, who had been following behid my Dad and saw something happen to my him and his car.  She saw a "poof" of what she thought was smoke, but it was actually the glass shattering.  Then she saw the car begin to head off into the ditch and my dad slump over in the seat. Kathy stopped to help my dad and the three mowers stopped, as well.  Kathy stayed with Dad until the ambulance arrived, picking glass out of his eye.  He was taken to the hospital in Lawton, OK, which was about 30 minutes away.

My mom was teaching school in Eldorado, OK, and she and my sister left school as soon as they heard the news.  Someone drove them to Altus, OK, where my husband and I also drove from Tipton, OK,  to meet them and drive along together to the hospital. 

I remember that drive like it was yesterday. It was a terribly long drive.  A long and very scary drive - scary because we didn't know what we were going to face when we arrived.  I don't think any of us really thought Dad would be alive when we got there, but we were prayerful he would be.

When we got to the ER, Dad was still alive, but we were told that they were very worried about his condition.  The ER nurse explained things to us at first, then the neurosurgeon visited with us.  He explained that we could go in and see him for a little bit, but that soon he would be taking him in for exploratory surgery.  The doctor said that Dad was paralyzed on his left side and that there was a big laceration on the right side of his face from his ear to his neck. At that time he was not sure if Dad would live or not.

We went in to see Dad in the emergency room. He looked bad. He was kind of jerking around, but not moving his left side at all. His head had been shaved and bandaged. It was all swollen and there were tubes all over him. It was very scary to see him lying there.

There were over 40 people in the waiting room during those first few hours.  What an inspiration having friends and loved ones around for support!

Dad's surgery lasted seven hours.  At various times during the surgery the doctors (there were many of them)would come out and tell us how things were going.  A few hours later we were able to go in and see Dad.  He was cleaned up from how we had seen him the day before and his head was bandaged. He had a lot of tubes everywhere and was extremely swollen. The huge cut in the right side of his face had been stitched, his ear had been sewn into place, and some reconstructive surgery was done. The nerves in his eye were badly torn. He had begun to bruise badly. 

The neurosurgeon told us that first night that the chances were 30% that Dad would die, 20% that he would live, and the rest was pure uncertainty. He figured that Dad would have to stay in the hospital until the end of October.

Dad was moved to the CCU (Critical Care Unit) and he made it through the night with a lot of prayers from family and friends. His story was on the news and in several papers the next day and the following days because no one could believe what had happened.


The next few days went really slow. We were able to go in and see Dad for 30 minutes on the even hours in CCU. Each time we went in we hoped to see him move. For many days nothing happened.  But, finally, after several days, Dad began to show some movement. One of the nurses came and told us that he had squeezed her hand. We were so excited! My sister and I told him to squeeze our hands and he did!  Then he squeezed Mom's hand!

Dad was in ICU from August 26 until September 6.  He was then moved to the regular floor.  We have funny stories from this time and later on.  He would say and do things that were "crazy" and we love to tease him about those things now.  He laughs about it now, too!  Laughter in times like these are needful and helpful.  Of course, tears came often and helped, too.

The next few weeks were progressive for the most part.  There was one scary situation when it was found Dad had a hole in an artery, right above his right eye.  He was taken to Oklahoma City where it was repaired.  Actually a teeny, tiny balloon was inserted into the artery to fix the hole and the leak.  He stayed in Oklahoma City for one whole week and then went back to Lawton for another week.  After that it had been one whole month since the accident.

The next step was rehab where he learned to walk again, regained strength in his arms and legs, and worked on life skills in the specially designed rehab center (What an awesome place it was!).  He was in rehab one month. 

My mom stayed with him except to go back home a few times (twice I think).  Home (for her, my Dad and my sister) was over an hour and a half away.  My husband, sister, and I would stay with him sometimes, too. 

Those stays also bring back funny memories we like to tease him about!  One time he said to me, "I want to go to Walmart and buy a 2 cent pair of scissors!"  He wanted me to take him and he wasn't happy when I said no.  I asked him why he wanted to go and he told me he was going to cut the tubes and straps off that were keeping him bound to the hospital bed.  Who could blame him for wanting up and out of there?!  It was hard not being able to help him.

On October 26, exactly two months after the accident, Mom brought Dad home. My sister and I decorated the house, made a sign, and a Welcome Home cake.  We had it all ready when they arrived. We took pictures and went for a walk. Dad was so glad to be home!

After several months Dad was able to go back to work.  He began driving, going around to the Co-ops again, and doing things for himself little by little.  He faced other eye surgeries and ear procedures.  He lost total hearing in the right ear and lost some sight in his right eye, too. 

Through all of this, Dad was really strong. He taught everyone courage and determination never once feeling sorry for himself.  In fact, he felt blessed and he was grateful because he knew God allowed him to live. Not everyone would have pulled through something like this.  Many would have just given up. But, because of his strong will (which we tease him about) and determination and faith,  he made it. He had many, many prayers offered for him. The prayers and support from everyone helped so much.

We all realized after the accident, and still do now, that we shouldn't take things for granted.  We shouldn't take our people for granted. We shouldn't take our family for granted.  We all learned to appreciate our lives and relationships more.

Dad's life changed as a result of this accident....and so did the rest of ours.

For this Gratituesday, I am grateful for My Dad and thankful he is still here with us today.

To read what others are grateful for, visit Heavenly Homemakers.
 
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