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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Little Criminal


Yesterday was our school's 100th day of school.  In celebration of this day, the 1st grade class did lots of fun activities.  Our youngest child, Tyler, is in the 1st grade, and apparently the teacher had them write a little story about what they would do if they had a $100 bill.  I didn't see this note until a little while ago when one of our other children brought it to me.  I'm a little worried that we may have a little criminal on our hands!  And, my post yesterday was about "stealing", too - oh, no!

If you can't decipher his note, here's the translation:
If I had a $100 dollar bill I would collect more money and steal all their money.  And Go to Disney World and buy a car.  Get anything that I want I can buy a cake...and give some money to my uncle Ken and put a penney in his ear and give some more money to Zachary and Jacob of course Lauren.  Thank You.

It would be great if Disney World would only cost $100 or a car, wouldn't it?  I need to explain the "Uncle Ken" and "penny in his ear" part.  His Uncle Ken does a trick with a coin and it "appears" that the money is coming out of the ear.  I guess Tyler wants to increase his $100 to even more! 

I like how he is willing to share with his siblings, Zachary, Jacob, and Lauren.  They would appreciate that, I'm sure.  However, I was a little concerned about the "stealing" part so I asked Tyler whose money he was going to steal. He said he didn't know.  I said, "Tyler, you know it's wrong to steal, right?"  He said, "It's just a joke, Mom." 

Oh, good!  I guess he's not trying to be a criminal after all! (ha ha)

The Stolen Tote

Every Christmas I have to purchase a few new totes for my Christmas stuff.  Sometimes it's because I've found things on sale that I'll use next year and sometimes it's gifts - ornaments, decorations, etc. - received during the current year.  This year I purchase two huge lime green totes.  I was going to use one of the new totes for my own Christmas stuff and the other new tote for the Christmas decor from my small business (a rental booth within a large), Serendipity, so that I could use it again next year.

I'm embarrassed to say, but I didn't get all of the Christmas out of the house and garage until Sunday afternoon.  I usually have it down and put in the shed by the end of the first week in January, but things kept interferring and I just couldn't get it done this year.  But, Sunday afternoon we finally had time to work on the Christmas stuff.  While my husband and our children were taking all of the totes out to our shed, I was working on my "Serendipity" tote and getting it packed.  I asked one of the boys to bring me the lime green lid that went to the tote, but he never did.  I kept working on things in the house and the rest of my family worked in the garage and shed.  I reminded my daughter that we have bought two lime green totes and that we were careful to get two lids and made sure the sizes were right (I had made that mistake before and gotten the wrong thing!).  I knew there were supposed to be two totes and I was thinking that they had taken one to the shed, but that I was working on the other one in the house.  She said, "Mom, we already took two lime green totes to the shed."  My husband and boys agreed.

At that moment it dawned on me that I had mistakenly gotten three totes!  The extra one must have been stuck to one of the other ones! The kids realized this, too, and said, "Mom!  You stole that tote!!!"  I assured them that I would go to the store and pay for the tote and explain that it was an accident, but then I realized that I didn't have a lid for this extra tote.  I replied to my family, "I wish I had stolen the lid! The kids were shocked that I would say such a thing!  Not that I would ever steal anything on purpose, but now I had a big problem.  The lime green tote was a special tote that was only sold after Christmas and here it was - the 24th of January.  I was sure they wouldn't have any more of those lids, but planned on checking to see to be sure.  I also planned on paying for the tote.

Well, today I finally went to Altus (about 30 minutes away) and to the store where I bought the tote.  Just as I suspected, there were no totes like the lime green one.  In fact, the store doesn't even stock that brand of tote on the shelves, except during special times of the year.  I didn't have time to talk to customer service today, but will soon.  I'm thinking I'll just return the tote and explain to them the problem.  I don't want to keep it because it's no good without the lid and I don't want to go pay for something that I can't use.  I'm pretty sure they will understand.

I have to say that this is the first (and probably last) time I've ever wished that I had stolen something!  If I had stolen the lid, I could have gone and paid for the whole thing and the problem would have been solved.  Now I'll have to get another tote or maybe even two to take the place of this one that it HUGE.  I'll have to unpack all of my things and replace them into another tote.

Oh, well, it makes for a funny story!

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Job 8:21

What funny story would you like to share?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Motivational Speeches


Saturday was a big day for Biscuit (nickname for our youngest son, Tyler).  He had several hours of play time and used it to have several make believe football games.  He pretended he was in the playoffs, just like teams in real life were doing.  Throughout the day, we heard Biscuit give his team several motivational speeches.  Here are a few of the highlights of those speeches:

1. (Heard by my husband) "If you win, I'll buy you whatever you want:  Coke, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, anything.  But, if you lose, you get what I give you."

2.  (Heard by me)  "Guys if we lose it's my fault 'cause I'm the coach.  Just blame it on me.  I should know everything about football since I'm the coach. It's my fault."

Now let's look at Biscuit's motivational speeches and make spiritual application in our own lives. 

1.  God isn't like Coach Biscuit - (THANKFULLY!).  God isn't in Heaven saying, "If you do this, I'll give you what you want, but if you don't I won't."  The Bible tells us if we come to know God and become one of His children, then we will have eternal life.  That eternal life only comes through His Son, Jesus.  But, by becoming a Christian (as God wants everyone to do) that does not mean He will give us what our hearts desire, but that He will supply our needs.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

2.  Whether or not we choose to come to Jesus - to accept God's gift of eternal life - is up to us.  God cares for those who are lost but He is not "responsible" for the lost in the sense that it is His fault if we say "No!".  He has already done His part by offering up His Son to die on the cross for our sins.  Our part is to accept His gift. If we miss out on that gift, it is our own fault.  This gift is for everyone.

"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."
1 Timothy 2:3-4

"The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."
Revelation 22:17

"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

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."
1 Corinthians 12:13

Just as Biscuit told his team, "I'm the coach. I should know everything about football,", God is our "coach".  He's in charge. He knows everything about us and about everyone else, too.  He knows about eternal life in Heaven and about hell and the torment that will be there.  He knows who will decide to follow Jesus and who won't.  He is all knowing. And, like Biscuit, God has given us motivational speeches throughout the Bible. We can look to God's Word - look to those motivational scriptures - to get inspiration and strength.

I am grateful for God's motivational speeches - written down by men, but inspired by Him, alone.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17

What are you grateful for on this Gratituesday? 
Gratituesday is hosted by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Innkeeper

This post may seem a little past due, but I didn't think of it until a few days ago.  In the story of Jesus' birth, we think about Mary and Joseph and how they might have felt about the birth and all of the things that happened afterwards, but do we ever stop to think about the innkeeper?  The one who told Joseph and Mary "there is no room at this inn"?

"She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn," Luke 2:7 (This is the last part of  verse 7)

As I thought about the innkeeper, I wondered what he must have thought later on.  Did he ever wonder if Joseph and Mary found a place to stay? Did he ever know that it was Jesus - who would be the Savior of the world - that he turned down and said "There's no room." ?  Of course the inn was full, and he just told them the truth, but it makes me wonder.

On the other hand, we can know that it was God's plan for the inn to be full.  We know that because it  was  full.  God's plan was for Jesus to be born in a stable.  Why?  Perhaps to show the world that greatness can come from a lowly and humble beginning.  Jesus Christ, the King, didn't have to be born in a palace or even a home, for that matter, to become the Savior of the world. He was the Son of God and that's what He needed to be.

But, back to the innkeeper who turned away the unborn Jesus.  Many in the world are like the innkeeper.  They fill their lives full of all kinds of things - work, pleasure, entertainment, stress - and say to Jesus, "There is no room for you here."  A Christian may also be tempted and find that there's no room for Jesus in their lives.  The devil uses all kinds of tricks to find ways to draw us away from Jesus.  Satan doesn't have to tempt us to do anything wrong necessarily, but he can and will tempt us to become so busy that there is no room for Jesus.  That is something I have to work on constantly and you may have to, too.  It's really easy to become so busy "doing" (even if those things are good or are church-related) that we don't take the time to actually "be" with Him and learning more about Him by reading the Bible.

As you go about your week this week, think about the innkeeper, but don't say, "There's no room here.".

Friday, January 22, 2010

Splinters and Planks

Isn't it amazing how something so small, such as a splinter, can cause so much pain?  I mentioned the other day that a few of our kids had a stomach bug.  Well, I'm beginning to think it was more like a flu, and although I never got really sick, it made me feel "yuck" most all day yesterday and part of the day today.

Last night after getting home from three basketball games and not feeling too good, I sat down on our bed to rest for a little while.  I really was planning on getting up in a little while, but instead I fell asleep.  Around midnight I woke up and put on my pj's and noticed my big toe hurt.  Here it is - midnight - and I have felt "yuck" all day (head, stomach, stuffy nose) and my big toe hurts!  It felt like a splinter.  I hobbled around and found a straight pin and searched for the tiny splinter.  It was so tiny all I really saw was a little speck, but I got it out and by this morning the pain was mostly gone.

Sitting there trying to get that splinter made me think about the scripture Matthew 7:3-5:

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Just like that little splinter became my focus last night, in the midst of those other seemingly more disturbing ailments, we often-times notice the little faults in others and neglect to see the bigger faults in ourselves.  Why do you suppose we are that way?  Is it because we don't want to see our own faults?  I think that most of the time that may be the case.  If we can find faults in others, we can build ourselves up.  We can think more highly of ourselves.  Our pride gets in the way of truth.

When we act this way, this scripture points out that we are being hypocrites.  And, I've mentioned before that the word hypocrit literally means to wear a mask.  We're putting on a front - putting on an act - pretending to be something we're not.

None of us are perfect.  We all make mistakes.  Splinters hurt our physical bodies for a short time.  A big "plank" in our eye, keeping us from seeing our own faults and sinful nature, will hurt our spiritual lives.

Have a great weekend, everyone!  And, watch out for splinters - and for planks!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sad News

I received this via email from my Dad. I wanted to share it with you.

SAD NEWS

Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.

Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs.. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours. The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.

Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as one who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he still was a crusty old man and was considered a positive roll model for millions.

Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, three children: John Dough, Jane Dough and Dosey Dough, plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.

If this made you smile for even a brief second, please rise to the occasion and take time to pass it on and share that smile with someone else that may be having a crumby day and kneads a lift.

Have a great day! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pulled Heartstrings

I've always heard the phrase, "pulls at your heartstrings", but never thought about it much.  I "googled" it and here is the definition of "heartstrings": deepest feelings or affections.  That makes sense and right now that's how I feel.  A little while ago, I watched and online video of some of the Haitian orphans as they met their new adoptive parents in America.  I sat here and bawled.  Just typing this makes me want to cry.

Because of situations I know of and have seen because of my connection with the children of Tipton Home (where my husband works), I have a deep care and concern for children and their well-being.  The thought of children being hurt or neglected in any way breaks my heart.  I know it does many of yours, as well.

Seeing the looks on the Haitian children as they met their new parents was amazing.  They were smiling and having fun.  They have no idea that they've gone through something so terrible and devastating.  They've gone through more in their short lives than I will probably ever go through in my life.  They've lost so much.

But then I saw the looks on the adoptive parent's faces.  They hugged and kissed their new children.  They are opening up their hearts and their homes to them.  The tragedy in Haiti has ended up bringing joy and happiness to them and that is sometimes a hard concept for us to grasp.  Of course, non of these adoptive parents would have wanted a tragedy to happen and cause them to be able to adopt, yet that is what happened. God's ways are not our ways and we don't always understand His ways.  But, we can be sure that He cares for us.  He knows when our heartstrings are being pulled. 

Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti and pray also for these children who have been adopted.  Pray for their new parents and siblings, as well.  And, let's remember to tell God thank you for blessing those children with new families who will love and care for them.

Yucky!

Of the typical viruses children "bring" home from school, the stomach virus is definitely the worst.  However, we've been blessed the past few times it has gone around and had missed out on that virus until now.  Tyler, the youngest, had it last week.  Shortly after midnight today the oldest, Lauren, got it and then right before school the third child, Jacob, got it.  Just one more child to go (ha ha)!  Thankfully, it's a quick virus, it seems.  Tonight is the beginning of Lauren's big basketball tournament, so she is hoping to be able to go to school after lunch.  It could happen because that would be 12 hours later.  Could happen, but might not happen.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about the woman who had bled for 12 years.  It is found in three books: Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, and Luke 8:43-48. Here is the story from Matthew:


Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed." Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment.
 
It's a very short story, but it's one of my favorites because it shows the deep faith this woman had in Jesus and in His ability to heal her. We're not told where she was bleeding, but it is quite possible that she was considered unclean by most people at that time.  Leviticus 15:19-30 talks about women and their monthly cycle and how they were to care for themselves and become "clean" again.  Twelve years of bledding.  Can you imagine that?  I can't.  It would be horrible!  But, this woman had a hope in Jesus.  She knew if she could even touch his cloak she would be healed.
 
We may be sick.  We may have physical sickness or mental sickness or spiritual sickness.  Jesus can heal us just as He healed that woman.  We just have to be willing to reach out to Him as she did.  Jesus gives hope to all who need Him - which is every one of us.

Monday, January 18, 2010

LOL

Even though my children are out of school today, there are still a few school activities going on that they are involved in.  One of those activities is the annual FFA Labor Auction.  This is the main fund raiser for our local FFA.  People from our town and surrounding areas come and "bid" on each FFA member.  They are paying for the member to do "labor" for them in some way, although rarely does the buyer require the member to actually do any work.  They are just supporting the FFA chapter because they want to do so.

At the National FFA Convention held in Indiana this past fall, the theme was LOL: Lead Out Loud!  Typically LOL meaning "laughing out loud", but they changed its meaning. I thought it was very clever of the organization to use "text" talk for their theme and make it something fitting for FFA and leadership.  I thought of another way to use LOL in our lives as Christians and that is to make it "Love Out Loud".

Do you know the little kid's song, "Love is something if you give it away. Give it away. Give it away. Love is something if you give it away. You'll end up having more."?  If you keep love all to yourself, yet never show that love to others in any way, your love is useless.

The bible has the word love in it 331 times in the King James Version and 505 times in the New International Version.  This is only the word "love" and doesn't even take in to account the word "loves" or "loved"! Jesus, himself, spoke about love many times as he taught throughout his ministry. In fact, He said that the greatest commandments  had to do with love. 

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. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 
Matthew 22:38-39

So, first, in "Loving Out Loud", we must love God and Jesus totally - with everything we have.  Our love for him must be greater than our love for anything else. "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me," Matthew 10:37. And secondly, we must love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Do fulfill this command, we must ask ourselves two important questions:  1.  Who is our neighbor?  2.  How do we love them?

The answer to the first is simple, but difficult.  Everyone is our neighbor.  We are to "love", but there is no place in the scriptures where it gives us the command to not love certain people.  This is extremely hard to do, isn't it?!  It's easy to love those we like and who are close to us, but it's much harder to love someone we don't really get along with.  yet, Jesus would put even those people in the category of "neighbor".

So, now for the difficult part.  How do we love them and love them "out loud"?  Let's use the chapter commonly known as the "Love Chapter" - 1 Corinthians 13 verses 4-8:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.


To "Love Out Loud", we must be patient with others.  We must be kind.  We must not be envious or boastful or proud.  We must not be rude or self-seeking, but also not be easily angered or keep records of wrongs done by others against us.  We should not be happy about things that are evil (or think about devious plots this may mean), but be happy with the truth.  To love others "Out Loud" we will protect them, trust them, be hopeful for them and the relationship.  Our love for others will persevere - not give up.  True "Love Out Loud" type of love never fails.

Never miss an opportunity to LOL.  It is just another way to "Shine Like Stars" in God's universe!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Right Choice

A friend told me a story about her teenage son a few days ago.  He is on the high school basketball team and the coach has asked the boys not to drink soft drinks during the season.  Her son has not had one at all - even during the Christmas break when there weren't any games or many practices.

The interesting this is that during the break my friend, her husband, and their son went out to eat at a nice restaurant about an hour away from here, and by mistake the waitress brought the teen a Dr. Pepper instead of the water he had ordered.  His mom thought he might go ahead and drink it because it was there and she was figuring they had been charged for the drink anyway; however, the teenager scooted the drink over to the side of the table and asked the waitress for a water.

Ironically, while they were eating, the teen's basketball coach and his wife came into the restaurant to celebrate their first anniversary. Of course the coach noticed the drink sitting over by the teen, so they explained the mixup to the coach.  My friend was so glad that her son had stuck to his decision to keep the rule, even during Christmas break!

This story has several different life applications to it.  Let's look at some of them:

Observation:
From the teen's perspective, he could have made the decision to drink one Dr. Pepper during the break.  He could have thought that no one would know and that it wouldn't hurt anything to just have one soft drink.
Lesson to learn:
Even if no one had seen him drink the drink, God would have known.  He knows everything.  And, because the coach made a rule, the teen should have followed it as he did - even during Christmas break.

Observation:
The coach believed that because the Dr. Pepper was to the side of the teen, it was his.  It really would have appeared to be the case. 
Lesson to learn:
Sometimes things are not how they appear to be.  We may get all upset about something, only to find out later that we saw or interpreted something in the wrong way.  We shouldn't assume the worst in a person or in a situation, but be sure to make sure we have all of the facts about the situation.

Observation:
Sometimes people can get the wrong impression of us.  Even though we may not always think so, our example really does matter.  In virtually everyone of our lives, somebody is watching us and learning from us.  We may not realize it and we may not really like it, but it happens all of the time.
Lesson to learn:
Only God is our judge, but our influence on others and the example we show others matters.  Suppose that some other basketball player and his family from this teen's team had been at the same restaurant, but not talked to my friend and her family.  Maybe they happened to be leaving on the other side of the room right when the waitress sat the drink down?  The other boy and his family would have assumed that this teen was drinking the Dr. Pepper, even though in the end he didn't.  They would have only seen it being sat down by him.  So, this other teen might have thought it was okay to have a soft drink during the break, too, and then decide to get one on the way home...then maybe the next day and the next and so on.  Would my friend's son have been wrong?  Of course not, but it does show how what we do (or appear to do) can influence others and what they may do or not do.

My friend wondered if the coach would really think about the fact that her son didn't drink the Dr. Pepper, but the other day when her son asked his coach about something, he said, "You could go up in the stands and drink a Dr. Pepper," kind of as a joke.  So, see? He really did notice and he was proud of the teen for obeying his rule.  People really do notice when we choose to do the right thing.

This story reminds me of one of my favorite mottos that I've mentioned before:  "Do the right thing 'cause it's the right thing to do".  It also goes with this motto, as well:  "Do the right thing even when no one is watching."  Of course, there is always someone watching and that's God.  He knows everything about us and everything we do.  He's not in Heaven hoping we'll mess up, though.  No.  He's in Heaven wanting us to choose to do the right thing as we serve Him and live as His children.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Help for Haiti

Though the aftermath from the earthquake in Haiti is still unfolding and the number of deceased continues to rise, there are some glimpses of hope as the world opens up its hands and hearts to help the Haitian people.  Disasters often-times have a way of bringing people together in ways that might not have been tried or thought of before. 

One of the ways this is being seen is perhaps also the easiest way we can help the people of Haiti - by using our cell phones.  Carriers nationwide have set up a way to donate to the cause by having customers text the word "Haiti" to 90999.  By doing this, your cellular provider will add a $10 charge to your next month's cellular bill and give the donation to Haiti relief.  So far over $10 million has been raised in this way. Because there possibly would have been a delay in the actual money getting to the people of Haiti who desperately need it, many companies are sending the donations up front.

If you are looking for another way to help the people of Haiti, please visit Healing Hands International.  By clicking this link you can be updated on what this particular organization is doing to help and it will also explain to you how you can donate to the cause.  You can click here to see a special report about this organization by Fox News 17 in Nashville.

Please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers.  They have a long road ahead of them.  Also pray for those all over the world who may have friends and family in Haiti.  God loves the people of Haiti, just as He loves people all over the entire world.  Christians are the church and servants of Jesus.  Jesus went about doing good, and to serve Him, so must we.  The Haitian people need us!

He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.
Proverbs 19:17

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "Don't Answer the Phone!"

If you've read "Shine Like Stars" very long, you know that Biscuit really likes sports and has several different teams he considers his favorites.  You also may remember that he got a Texas Longhorns jersey for his birthday in early December and that the principal called me the day he wore it to school.  While he actually called to talk about PTO, he began the conversation asking about the switch from OU to Texas.

Well, my sister and brother-in-law graduated from Texas Tech and they still live in Lubbock with their three children.  For Christmas they gave Biscuit a Texas Tech shirt.  Last week he decided to wear the new shirt to school.  I warned Biscuit that people might say something about that shirt and ask him why he was wearing it and he said, "Mom, if Mr. W (the principal) calls - don't answer it!" 

The next day at a basketball game I saw Mr. W and told him about the conversation.  He said that when Biscuit saw him in the hallway that morning, he covered his shirt with his coat and said, "Now I have on a Texas Tech shirt, but my aunt gave it to me!".  Biscuit passed the blame on to his Aunt Kim, didn't he?

Can you think of someone in the Bible that passed blame?  Well, there are several actually, but I thought of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3) in relation to this story about Biscuit.  Eve was tempted by the serpent (Satan) to eat of the fruit and she did.  She gave some to Adam, who apparently ate it without second thought at that time.  But, when their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked, they hid.  They didn't want God to see that they were unclothed. 

Something to think about:

Biscuit didn't want Mr. W to see his Tech shirt, but that's no big deal.  It just makes for a funny story.  Adam and Eve didn't want God to see them.  That was a big deal!  They had sinned against God.  They were ashamed because their eyes were opened. 

Biscuit passed blame to his aunt for buying him the shirt.  Again, no big deal - just funny.  But not so funny that Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed Eve for the sin they committed.  Neither of them confessed wrong-doing, but tried to blame someone else.  We must confess to God the sins we commit.  We, alone, are responsible for committing our own sins.

Biscuit didn't want me to answer the phone if Mr. W called that day.  He didn't want to be questioned about his new shirt/team.  Adam and Eve didn't want to see God.  They were afraid because they knew they had disobeyed Him.  What they didn't realize is that they couldn't hide from God.  When God called them and they didn't answer, He knew where they were.  They finally told Him that they were hiding, but Our all-knowing Heavenly Father knew where they were the whole time. 

When God calls, we'd better answer!

His 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. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:2-4

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, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:9-11

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Special Day, One on One


Tyler in his new glasses!

Although most kids wouldn't think a trip to to the doctor would be fun, Tyler does enjoy his every-six-month trip to see Dr. Scott in Oklahoma City (OKC to us "Okies").  He's seen him at least every six months since he was six months old, so he's definitely used to the exams.  (To read more about Tyler's eye problems, read here.) He said today that he likes going to see Dr. Scott because he's always on time - definitely a plus!

Of course, what makes the trip to OKC even more fun is that it takes the whole day, so there's no way for Tyler to get back to school.  He and I get to spend a whole day together, which doesn't happen too often since he started school last year. We find something fun to do after the appointment, along with a few "have to do errands" while in the big city. 

Today after the appointment we went to Incredible Pizza.  It's a fun place and decorated so cute.  We played miniature golf along a "Route 66" path, even answering trivia questions on the score card for extra prize tickets.  We ate pizza (which Tyler said was "incredible" and stated that was how the place got the name), drank floats and icees.  The neat thing about Incredible Pizza, though, is that there is a lot more than pizza.  There's a whole buffet and there were lots of senior citizens eating lunch there, which I thought was really neat (and smart of the restaurant!).  Tyler thought it was neat that one of the prizes he got at the ticket counter was a bracelet that said, "God's Team".   You don't see that very often in restaurants - yeah for Incredible Pizza!

After eating, we went to pick out Tyler's new glasses.  He's worn glasses since he was 18 months old and pretty much each pair has looked the same, just been a little bigger.  However, the last pair we got six months ago, neither of us liked.  They looked okay, but never stayed adjusted and seemed too big.  We went searching for a new pair and this was the first time Tyler has cared about what he got.  He picked these out on his own.  I gave a little bit of advice on color, but he wanted something that looked different.  I was hesitant, but by the time we got home, I was sold on them, too!

Special days, one on one, are rare for our family and probably are within your family, too.  It's difficult trying to find individual time with each child and also for the parents to spend time alone together.  Most children and parents want that time together (or they should, anyway).  They need that time together.  We have to make an effort to have time together.  We have to plan for these times.  They won't just happen.  We must make them a priority.

Think of our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  God wants a close relationship with us.  We need that close relationship with Him.  Just as it's sometimes hard to find time for each other within a family, sometimes it's hard to find time to be alone with God.  We have to "make" that time.  It should be a priority in our life.  It's not just going to happen on its own.  We have to schedule it.  We may even have to get rid of something else in order to have that time.

Special days one on one:  Definitely something to be grateful for!  To find out what others are grateful for go to Heavenly Homemakers as Laura hosts Gratituesday.

"Let Your Yes Be Yes"

My grandpa passed away a few years ago, but we always laughed about the way he would answer certain questions.  For example, if my mom would ask, "Would you like to come over and eat with us this weekend?"  His reply would always be - not "yes" or "no" - but "I'll play it by ear."  What he meant was that he didn't know if he would, or could, or wanted to commit to doing something so far away.  But, at 80 plus years and a 45 minute drive away, that was understandable.  But, we still enjoyed teasing him about it!

Not getting a "yes" or a "no" from an 80 year old person may be understandable.  Many that age wouldn't feel like they could commit to certain things, due to circumstances in their life.  However, for many or most of the rest of us, we should be able to answer "yes" or "no".

In Matthew 5, we read what is known as "The Sermon on the Mount".  It's Jesus' sermon about many different things.  Beginning in verse 33, Jesus warns the people about swearing oaths.  He encourages them not to do that at all, but to "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one," Matthew 5:37 says.  James 5:12 repeats this same message, "Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned."

Not only do these verses point out that Christians shouldn't swear oaths, but also that we should be truthful.  In most cases we should be able to answer with a "yes" or a "no" on our commitments.  Of course, something unexpected could come up and get in the way of our commitments, but most likely that isn't going to happen too often.

I know these verses have a deeper meaning than what I'm thinking, but because of the volunteer work I do with the 4-H club, PTO club, and even within the church, many times I'm responsible for asking others to help with various projects.  While there are several that when asked will say "yes" and maybe even some that will say "no", those aren't the ones that are the problem.  Not at all.  The one(s) that are the problem are the one(s) that say, "I'll see" or "Maybe".  Now don't get me wrong - I completely understand not being able to help with something (unless it's all of the time).  I understand having to check schedules and make sure there are no conflicts, but what I don't understand is the attitude that seems to say, "I'll help if nothing better comes up that I might want to do".

I'll give an you an example.  Let's say I need six people to make desserts for a fund raiser.  I ask eight people to make desserts.  Five people say "yes".  Two people say "no".  One person says "maybe" or "I'll try".  What should I do?  Count on that one "maybe" or "I'll try"?  Nope!  To me that "maybe" or "I'll try" is a no.  In fact, if I'm one of the five "yes" people who is already making a dessert, I will go ahead and make another dessert for number six, as well.   Why?  Because I've already got three "no" people and my list of volunteers in this small town isn't too big!

Again, please don't misunderstand me.  I understand not being able to say yes to everything.  But, when you do say "yes" - follow through with your commitment and do it!  When you say "no" - say it because you can't do it.  But, don't say "maybe" or "I'll try"!  Of course, it would be fine to say, "I'll let you know in a few days".  But, then again, there's a commitment that you will need to follow through on and let the person know if you can or can't help.  Using my example above, if one of the people who said "yes" is typically someone who doesn't follow through on their commitments, I may even feel like I should make another dessert.  

Commitments to things in our daily lives are important. How we fulfill those commitments show our character and that is the example we are showing others of how we live our lives as a Christian.   As Christians, our character should imitate the life of Jesus.   Our example should imitate the life of Jesus.

"Let your yes be yes and your no be no".  Think about what you're committed to this week.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Running on "E"

It may sound really strange to most of you, but I think it's fun seeing how far I can go on a tank of gas.  I've mentioned before that my husband spoils me in some ways - such as the fact that I rarely have to get gas myself.  He almost always keeps the van full for me.  However, occassionally, he doesn't check it and it gets low or I have to go several far places in a few days and it gets low before he checks on it.  If the kids are with me (especially the two middle boys) they are quick to look to see how much gas is in the tank if I'm behind the wheel.  They don't trust me because they know I'll drive as far as I can past the "E"!

It's kind of a game to me.  I've looked up in the book that came with the van and know that I have 2.1 gallons left when the gas light comes on and "dings".  So, that's about 38 miles.  I keep track of that so I know I can make it back home from wherever we are at the time. So far my game has worked.  I've only run out of gas once in my life and that was before our children were born and it was on the outskirts of town.   Of course there are some times I realize there's just no way I can make it and I have to stop and get gas - but not often.

Running on "E" may work in a vehicle.  I may be able to get by with doing that forever.  But there's one place in life that running on "E" will never work and that is in my spiritual life.  Running on "E" - not filling up with God, with Jesus, with the Bible, with prayer and meditation - will quickly deplete my fuel and cause me to break down.

A stranded vehicle that's run out of gas would cause me problems.  I might have to wait for help.  I might have to walk for help.  I might cause myself to be late for something or some other trouble.  But, a spiritual life that is stranded - a life that is empty of any spiritual fuel will make my life totally wrecked.

Running on "E" in my spiritual life isn't a game I should ever play.  It's serious business.  It would not only affect my life now, but could effect my eternal life as well.

Let's all make it a priority to "fill up" our spiritual lives and never run on "E".

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Double Chins and Gray Hairs

I've always had a double chin, but lately it's seemed worse.  Don't know if it's the 30 pounds I need to lose or just the skin in that area loosening up due to age, but I don't like it!  It's annoying!

I know I'm not the only one that's ever been annoyed by a double chin (hope not, anyway!).  I'll never forget a patient we had when I worked for an ophthalmologist.  Dr. K told the man to put his chin up in the slit lamp chin holder.  The man replied, "Which one?"  We all three laughed about that and I've never forgotten it.  I appreciated his sense of humor about his "annoyance".

I've tried doing exercises myself from time to time, though not consistently.  However,  I recently saw a new product being advertised on one of those "as seen on TV" commercials advertising a chin exerciser.  It's a gadget that goes under your chin and you push up the end of it, making it press against your chin to exercise it.  Maybe that would work????

I've often thought about when I was younger and showed steers in 4-H.  I had a calf that had a big, baggy neck/chin and we got him a kind of sling thing that went around his neck.  It was lined with wool or fleece and was supposed to get hot and sweat off the excess chin/neck, I guess.  Hey!  Maybe that would make a good "as seen on TV" product!!

Another annoyance to me are gray hairs.  It's not that I mind being gray....it's the process of getting there.  I don't like the gray hairs because they won't lay down!  They stick up and are wirey!  Actually, right now my hair is highlighted, so that covers the gray up pretty much - for 6 weeks, anyway.

Although God cares for me and wants me to take good care of my body, I know He cares more about my heart.  He knows how many hairs are on my head (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7),  but he doesn't care if they're gray or not.  (In fact in Proverbs 16:31 it says gray hair is a "crown of splendor"!)  He loves me, one chin or a double chin.  And I'm so thankful that He does!

Now, excuse me while I go order that chin gadget.  But wait!  There's more!  There's a special buy one get one free offer if I call right now.   I'll send you the extra one if you're interested :).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"At the End of the Day"

Several months ago my husband mentioned that he thought the most over-used phrase on television or radio talk-type shows was "at the end of the day".  Last week he told me that ESPN has begun a new segment on one of their shows called, "At the End of the Day".  It shows clips of people (coaches, players) using that phrase!  I don't watch much TV, but had it on a news program this morning and heard that same phrase and it made me laugh!

Isn't it funny how certain phrases get over-used?  I haven't taken the time to analyze why people use the phrase or even if it makes sense when they use it, but it did get me to thinking about the real "end of the day" - the end of each day.  At the end of the day, what really matters?  What really matters is my relationship with God.  Of course, to be in the right relationship with God at the end of the day, means we should also be in the right relationship with others in our life.  If any hatred is in our hearts, our relationship with God is not what it should be.  At the end of the day it matters whether I've become a child of God - by allowing the blood of Jesus to cleanse me - according to what is written in the Bible and not what I think may be right.

So at the end of this day, is your life right with God?  Remember - that's what really matters..."at the end of the day".

"Hoops for a Cure"

Today was the first day of an annual high school basketball tournament that is the highlight of many surrounding schools in this area each year during this first full week in January.

Our new girls' basketball coach lost his mother to breast cancer about 15 years ago, so raising money to help find a cure for cancer is close to his heart.

This year for the first time at this specific tournament, the new coach is sponsoring a fund raiser is being held to raise money for this cause.  Small little ribbon/pink items are being sold (bracelets and antenna ribbons), along with pink cancer ribbon shaped sugar cookies and t-shirts. (To purchase a ribbon cookie cutter, click here.)

I volunteered to make the cookies for the tournament.  I enjoyed making them and icing them, but it was sure hard to make them on the first day back to a regular schedule after the Christmas/New Year break!  It was hard not to EAT the cookies and I'm actually trying to eat better in this new year!

The coach purchased pink basketball suits for his team to wear at his previous high school and was able to get them for this new team to wear during this tournament. The girls were very excited about their pink basketball suits!  In fact, a few of them mentioned that it would be fun to change our school colors from black and gold to PINK!  I'm not sure the boys would go for that!

A few weeks before Christmas, forms were sent home with students to order "Hoops for a Cure" pink t-shirts.  Our family ordered shirts and wore them today.  I didn't get a family picture with all of us in the t-shirts, but did get the four kids before school this morning.  At least it made this first morning going back to school after the bread a little more fun!

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful for "Hoops for a Cure".  It is a unique opportunity for others to get involved in helping find a cure for cancer - specifically breast cancer.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Consider My Servant, ___________"

Temptation is something we all face most likely every day of our lives. But, it's not the temptation that is sinful, but giving in to the temptation that is sinful.  Even Jesus faced temptation, as we can read about in Matthew 4 (and also in Mark 1 and Luke 4). He overcame each of those temptations (as well as all other temptation throughout His life), not giving in to Satan in any way.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Hebrews 4:15

Have you ever thought about "why" you are tempted? Do you ever consider the fact that God may actually be allowing Satan to tempt you? It may seem strange for us to consider this possibility, but we can read in Job how God did allow Satan to tempt him here:

One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"

Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."

"Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."

The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."

Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Job 1:6-12

In this passage, God actually tells Satan to "consider" Job. God knew that Job was an upright and righteous man. He knew that Job would stay true to Him and sure enough, after everything Satan was allowed to do to Job (except God told Satan to not physically do anything harmful to Job), Job never turned away from God. Job lost everything, but in the end, God blessed Job even more than he had been in the beginning.

The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. Job 42:12

Now, think about your own life. Think about your temptations. Think about your relationship to God. Is it possible that God is allowing Satan to tempt you to show him that you will remain true and faithful?   Is God saying to Satan, "Consider my servant, ______________ (insert your name here)?"  Is it possible that in the temptation and suffering you may be enduring that in the end God will to bless you even more than He did before - just as He did with Job? It's quite possible! Nothing is impossible with God!

Use the temptations in your life to grow more in your faith and your trust in God. The thought of being tempted personally by Satan should make us even stronger and more courageous in our Christian battle. Satan is the enemy.  God is our commanding officer. Let's put on our armor and win the battle!
 
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