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Friday, April 30, 2010

Warning Signals

Note:  This post has sound effects, although, if you want to hear them, you will need to go to my blog homepage (http://www.weewaughs.blogspot.com/) to hear them. After reading down a few paragraphs, you'll find the link:  "Click here for sound."  Enjoy!

Today I was driving back home after being in Altus for a little while.  Just before I got to the river, which is several miles out from here, I saw a pickup.  The driver kept flashing his lights as it met car after car - including me.  I know this is the common "there's a cop close by, so slow down" warning signal, but because I always set my cruise right at the speed limit, I never have to be in fear of being stopped for speeding.  (Note:  It's always fun to see those who don't happen to be driving the speed limit when this happens, because automatically they slam on their brakes and their brake lights come on and their car quickly slows down.  It's even funnier to be IN the car with someone when this happens and the slowing down sensation causes all passengers to have to lean forward to counteract the force!)

So, anyway, I drove on about a half-mile and, sure enough, there was a highway patrol car right to the edge of a bridge....out of sight....waiting for the next law breaker.  I looked in my rear view mirror as I passed him (or her) - not expecting for the car to turn on it's siren and lights, but checking - just to be sure. (Passing highway patrolmen kinda makes ya nervous - even when you know you're not doing anything wrong!)

As I drove along, I got to thinking about the warning signal that pickup had given me.  I didn't need it then, but how many times would I like to have a warning signal that went off every time I was tempted to say something wrong?  To do something wrong?  I open my mouth to say something unkind or hurtful - use my sometimes-sharp-tongue - and a warning signal....a light or maybe a siren goes:  FLASH! FLASH! FLASH!  RRRWWWAAAARRRRR! (Click here for sound.)  Wow!  How many times would that have helped me keep my mouth shut or stopped me from doing the wrong thing???  If I could design such a gadget, get a patent on it, market it in the right way, I could be a billionaire.  But, I wonder - would people want a warning signal??  Would they turn it off??  Do I want a warning signal??  Would I use it??

We do have a warning signal.  It's inside of all Christians.  It's the Holy Spirit, who will guide us if we allow it to work in us the way God designed.  Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Counselor.  This Counselor is a gift to us from God, but sometimes, since we don't understand how it works, we don't take advantage of it.  God, Jesus and the Bible can be warning signals for us, as well.

I think of the Holy Spirit as my conscious, but that can't always be right, either, because my conscious may or may not point me in the right direction.  Only God, Jesus, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit can point me in the right direction.  I just have to be willing to heed the warning of that signal.  When I don't listen to that warning, I am going against that truth.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:5

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26



Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19a....also Acts 2:38

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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tyler's Tonsillectomy

Well, Tyler had his tonsillectomy yesterday and did great!  Of course, his throat is really sore, but that's to be expected.  He's tolerating the pain medicine well and continues to drink lots of liquids.  Yesterday he wanted "real" food, but I let him read the paper that told what was allowed after surgery so he would understand that he couldn't.  So he ate lots of sherbet, popsicles, and drank non-citrus drinks.  Today we'll step it up a bit and he can have a few more things.  We'll see how it goes, but I suppose that by mid-day he's going to want "real" food again.

Tyler got this nifty cap at surgery....and the nifty socks, too.  He did great and slept all the way home.  I was surprised that he didn't sleep at all the rest of the day.  I think the addition of codeine in the pain medicine may have that affect on him - not sleepy, but wide awake.

Later in the evening, Tyler's 1st grade teacher came by the house and gave him this basket of goodies.  It had crayons, markers, work books, coloring books, game cards, and a drawing pad.  She stayed for a while and visited (along with one of her children), which was so sweet of her.  His class made him a card, too, but since there were several out sick yesterday, she's waiting to let them sign the card before giving it to him.

Our oldest son, Zachary, had had a cold and a little bit of asthma trouble this week.  Last night before he went to bed, Zachary said, "Boy, my throat hurts!".  I looked across the room and saw Tyler glaring looking at him.  I said, "Zachary, your little brother just had his tonsils out.  I don't think you ought to mention that your throat hurts."  We got a kick out of that!

The hardest part about Tyler's surgery is the two weeks he can't be active.  Just a little while ago he woke up and said, "Mom, I just want to swing a bat."  He's just going to have to be content watching the Rangers swing the bats on TV!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday's Woman of the Word - A Question

For today's "Wednesday's Woman of the Word", I have a question for you:

Who is your favorite woman from the Bible and why?

Feel free to leave a comment, reply via Facebook, or email me with your answer.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blessing or Bad Luck?

Sharing this little lesson with you today, courtesy of Alan Smith's "Thought for the Day".  Used with permission.

BLESSING OR BAD LUCK?

    The story is told of a man who was walking across the road when he was hit by a car.  The impact knocked him on his head which caused him to be in a coma for two days before he finally regained consciousness.  When he opened his eyes, his loving wife was there beside his bed.  He held her hand and said to her:

    "You know, Judy, you've always been right by my side.  When I was a struggling college student, I failed again and again.  But you were always there with me, encouraging me to go on trying."

    She squeezed his hands as he continued:  "And when I got out of school and went for all of my interviews and failed to get any of the jobs, you stayed right there with me, cutting out more classifieds for me to check on..."

    "Then I started work at this little firm and finally got the chance to handle a big contract.  But I blew it because of one little mistake, and yet you were there beside me all the way.  Then I finally got another job after being laid off for sometime.  But I never seemed to be promoted and my hard work was never recognized.  And so, I remained in the same position from the day I joined the company until now... And, through it all, you were right there by my side."

    Her eyes brimmed with tears as she listened to her husband:  "And now I've been in this accident and when I woke up, you're the first person I see. There's something I'd really like to say to you...."

    She flung herself on the bed to hug her husband, sobbing with emotion.

    He said, "Judy, I think you're just plain bad luck!"

    Our attitude makes a big difference in how we see things, doesn't it?  As the saying goes, we can either see the glass as half full or half empty.  We can either appreciate the good during our times of adversity (the faithfulness of God, greater opportunities to develop our faith, the blessing of good friends to see us through it) or we can moan and complain about our "bad luck."

    The apostle Paul is a great example of someone with a marvelous attitude. Through all of his trials, God had been right there by his side.  But never once did he blame God for his misfortune.  Instead, listen to the positive attitude in Paul's words as he sat imprisoned for preaching the gospel:

    "But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel." (Philippians 1:12)

    No moaning, no complaining.  Just a marvelous attitude that brought joy to his life.  May it serve as an example to you today.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "They Said My Name!"

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Stories about our youngest son, Tyler, whose nickname is Biscuit.

Biscuit is so excited!  Today at worship, both morning and evening services, it was announced and told that he is having a tonsilectomy this week.  Yes, he's on the prayer list - and he's very excited. He kept saying, "They said my name!"

I thought about Biscuit being so excited about being on the prayer list.  He's excited because he's a child and heard his name mentioned, but I also think he realizes that his church family is praying for him.  For Him. And that is what a prayer list is all about. It's praying for someone who needs prayers - for healing, for strength, or for encouragement.

The sad part, to me, is that some people don't want their names on a prayer list.  I've never really understood why.  Some say they like to keep things private - and of course, some procedures may be better just announced to a men's group or a women's group - that's understandable.  Others may feel that they have been sick too often and that they've been prayed for too often.  But, I don't think God minds hearing about them again, do you?  We should be willing to pray for them over and over...as long as is needed. And still others, sadly, may not see the need.  But although God already knows what you and I may be going through, many times our Christian brothers and sisters do not.  That is why it is important.  Shouldn't we want the prayers of others?  Shouldn't we be willing to allow others to pray for us, as well as us be willing to pray for others? Are we letting pride get in the way of prayers?

I'm thankful that friends, our biological family, and our Christian family will be praying for Biscuit this week.  Yes, it's just a tonsilectomy, but it's surgery - it's something that will affect him in a painful way - even if just for a few days.  And, there's always a risk that something could go wrong.

Prayer is helpful. Prayer is needed.  Prayer is our lifeline to God.

By the way, Biscuit is most excited about getting to eat sherbet, some ice cream, and drink lots of Gatorade!  He's least excited about not getting to play sports for two weeks.  If you read "Shine Like Stars" often or know Biscuit personally, you know this is a BIG deal for him (he plays a "real-make-believe" game of some sort almost every day!).  Most likely, towards the end of recovery, I'm going to be the one needing the prayers!

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:13-16

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Perspective

The Chronicles of Biscuit: Stories about our youngest son, Tyler, whose nickname is Biscuit.

Perspective means a lot in the way we each see things, doesn't it?  For example, today our daughter's softball team got beat twice in the District playoffs, which means their season ends.  She and her teammates were naturally disappointed; however, when Biscuit asked about the outcome of the game and, I told him they lost, his response was, "Yes!  Now I have more free time!"  And, I can't blame him. He does spend a lot of afternoons going to his sister's and brother's ball games.  On the other hand, if they were his games, he'd be just fine with it!

We all see things in different ways.  We're all unique.  Someone's "glass half full" may be someone else's "glass half empty". Many times neither opinion is right or wrong - it's simply just different ways of looking at things.  The only time it would be right or wrong is if someone's view happened to be in conflict with what the Bible says.  God's Word has many things that are listed as wrong - as sin - and it doesn't matter whether someone chooses to believe it or not.  It's still sin.  On the other hand, many things are just our perspective - our take on things - and don't really matter (they may matter to us in a personal sense, but they don't in a spiritual sense).

This sounds really strange, I know, but it took me a long time to realize that my opinion was simply my opinion.  I believed I was right - pretty much all of the time.  Terrible, I know!  I was a lot like the Pharisees Jesus condemns so often in the Bible.  I can't say that I never have those times still today, but for the most part those ideas are gone.  I see a tiny streak of that same attitude in one of our children, so it makes me work even harder to rid my life of that sinful attitude. (Children have a way of showing us how we are (both good and bad), don't they?

Here's a cute little story about perspective:

I Hate Bees!
          A little boy was playing outside and was stung by a bee.  He went into his house crying and said to his mother, "I hate bees! I wish God had never made them." The mother eased his pain, then sat him down at the table and gave him some toast and honey.
          The little boy said, "This is great!"
          "You really do like honey, don't you?" the mother responded,
          "Like it?" the little boy replied, "I love it!"
          The mother then said, "The same bee that stings also produces the honey you are enjoying right now."
          Her son thought for a minute and said, "I never realized there was a good side to that bee!"
          We can view a bee as an enemy that stings or as a friend that produces honey.  And that's the way it is with everything in life.  We can choose to look at the plus side in every situation, or we can choose to look at the minus side.  The difference will be one of living a life of depression or a life of rejoicing. (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 83-84) This story found at www.kentcrockett.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday's Women of the Word -Lois and Eunice

When I first started "Wednesday's Woman of the Word", I planned to write it on the Tuesday night post which I usually do late at night.  However, for the past two weeks I've forgotten about doing it on Tuesday night. I decided to go ahead and do it tonight (Wednesday), though.  Learning about women in the Bible is important - no matter what day it is!

The apostle, Paul, wrote two letters to Timothy - the books of 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy.  Paul even refers to Timothy as "his beloved son" in 2 Timothy 1:2.  However Timothy really isn't Paul's son, but a younger brother in Christ.

Lois and Eunice are Timothy's grandmother and mother.  Paul mentions them briefly in 2 Timothy 1:5 (written below). Not much is said about these two women, but what is said about them actually says a whole lot.  Paul says in this one verse that Timothy's sincere faith was passed on to him by his grandmother and his mother.  Acts 16:1 says that Timothy's mother was a Jewess and believed (that is, believed in Jesus), but that his father was a Greek.

I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." 

Timothy's grandmother and mother passed on a legacy to Timothy....a legacy that is more important than any other legacy there can be.  These to women of faith passed on their faith to their son and grandson.

What are you passing on to your children and grandchildren?  What is your legacy?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Now Her Feelings Are Hurt

Yesterday I posted about how Lauren hurt my feelings and that today she had an FFA speech contest.  Well, now her feelings are hurt.  She didn't advance and didn't place in the top five in the contest.  And guess what?  I didn't say anything to make it worse (yay me).  In fact, I wanted to cry right along with her!  I told her I was sad for her, but did encourage her that she has three more years of competing in the FFA speech contest.

Lauren is blessed with a good speaking voice.  I can't take the credit.  It's from her dad and his side of the family.  In fact, she's a lot like her Uncle Ken - a great, powerful voice that is loud and clear.  It's a great asset - even the judges said so on her critique sheets each time she gave it at competitions.  So, why didn't she place tonight?  The judges gave her a few pointers for improvement, but mostly said "Great job!".

I don't know what's harder:  To mess up and miss the mark or to do great and miss the mark.  Both are hard.  Both are disappointing.  But, both are facts of life.  Both kinds of disappointments must be dealt with and it's much better to deal with them in a positive way.  Becoming negative (either by the child or by the parent) doesn't help anyone. 

An important fact about tonight's competiton is that there were nine others competing for the same speech division as Lauren was.  Most likely they all thought they did well, too.  Most likely those student's parents were expecting to hear of success, too. But, only two of the speakers were allowed to advance in competition.  Lauren isn't the only one who faced disappointment tonight.  Others are in the same situation as she.

As I mentioned last night, teenage emotions run all over the place.  It's like a roller coaster going up and down and all around.  But, when a teenager is a Christian, he/she has God in charge of the roller coaster.  All they need to do is sit down, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.  It will be over before they know it! 

And, that's a topic for another post that I'm not even ready to write!

Monday, April 19, 2010

She Hurt My Feelings

Lauren hurt my feelings today. 

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  After all, I did compliment her and tell her she played a good game (softball).  Yep.  That's right! 

I told her she played a good game and she got mad at me.  She said she didn't play a good game....that she got out every time she hit. And she's right.  She DID get out each time, but she HIT every time and it wasn't a pop-fly like she kept doing last week.  Both hits today were grounders (which I've recently learned means they stay low to the dirt/grass and not go up in the air).  This was an accomplishment (in my opinion) because it was something that last week she said she never could do.

The worst part about it is this:  I asked Lauren why she doesn't get mad at her dad and you know what she said?  She said, "Dad would never say something like that to me!"  And that's my crime as a mom.  I said something my husband would never say to her.

Is Lauren meaning that my husband - her dad - would never compliment her hitting the ball (the grounder) as she's been wanting to???  Oh, that makes perfect sense to me, doesn't it to you?????!!

Tomorrow Lauren has an FFA speech competition.  Last week she won 1st place, so tomorrow she is able to compete in the district competition.  I'm wondering...what I should say?  If I compliment her, she might get mad.  If I don't compliment her, I'm thinking she'll not be happy about that, either.  I'll just wait and see....decide later on, depending on the outcome. I'll just play it safe.  I don't want to commit any more "mom" crimes.  Don't you think that's a good idea??  Better yet - I'll just let my husband do the talking!

Teenagers are funny and fun - all at the same time. Well, most all of the time!  They're going to get "mad" and "angry" some times - even for seemingly strange reasons.  Girls especially, it seems.  They have hormonal issues that are much different than boys.  My boys (so far) aren't tempermental.  They don't get upset about things that don't make sense.  Even "Biscuit", the youngest, usually has a legitimate reason for his "ire". 

Even though Lauren's attitude today did hurt my feelings a little bit, I know she wasn't actually mad at me.  She was disappointed in getting "out" two times during the game.  She couldn't see the success of  hitting the ball like I could.  But, it's okay. I shouldn't take it personal.  I know she loves me.  She told me so later.  And I love her - tempermental moodiness, and all!  I have those days myself some time.  If this is the worst problem we have - an occassional "mood", I count us as very blessed as parents of a teenage girl!

I'm grateful for the blessing of a teenage daughter.

We've always laughed and said that God only gave us one girl (out of four children) because he knew that's all the patience we had between the two of us.  I'm thinking it He knew EXACTLY what we needed and what we could handle. 

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

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

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Entertainment - Making Wise Choices

This morning I had the privilege of teaching a high school girl's Bible class.  I was filling in for my sister-in-law, who is the regular teacher.  The topic for today's lesson was "Choosing Entertainment".

At the end of the lesson, there was a list of questions designed to help a Christian make wise choices in entertainment.  The lesson book stated that the author of the questions was unknown, but whoever wrote them did a great job!  These questions are a great way for all of us to make wise choices in choosing entertainment.

The Personal Test: Will doing this make me a better or worse Christian?

The Social Test: Will doing it influence others to be better or worse Christians?

The Practical Test:  Will the results of my doing it be desirable?

The Universal Test:  If everyone did this, would it improve or degrade society?

The Scriptural Test:  Does the Bible endorse it, or expressly forbid it?

The Stewardship Test:  Will my doing this waste the talents God gave me?

The Missionary Test:  Will doing this leave me with the proper influence to bring others to Christ?

The Character Test:  Will doing this increase my moral and spiritual stamina?

The Family Test:  Will doing this bring honor or embarrassment to my family?

The Publicity Test:  Would I want other Christians to know about my doing this?

The Common Sense Test:  Does doing this agree with plain, everyday common sense?

The Financial Test:  Will doing this rob me of my financial ability to do good?

The Fairness Test:  If I do this will I be honest and will I be practicing the Golden Rule?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Inspired by an 80-something-Year-Old

This has been a very busy week.  We had a meeting series going on at church Sunday through Wednesday, noon fellowship meals following those lessons, baseball/softball games, doctor's appointments, FFA speech contests (my husband and I were judges), several of us fed the Sojourners at QMCC, my husband's work board meeting - just a lot of "stuff" going on.  Good stuff.  Busy stuff.  That was from Sunday morning until yesterday afternoon.

And then there was a Ladies' Night Out (LNO)scheduled in Altus for last night.  I wanted to go, but didn't want to go.  You know what I mean, don't you?  I was totally worn out - didn't think I could do another thing, but I really wanted to go and felt that I should go - just to encourage the ladies that worked so hard to provide the evening for other Christian sisters.

Well, who would have thought than an 80-something-year-old woman would have been the one to get me to go to the LNO last night?  She did.

Wednesday night at the last night of our meeting series this sweet lady asked if I was going.  I said I wasn't sure, but asked if she was wanting to go.  She said yes.  I told her I would let her know.

All the way home I thought about my schedule for Thursday and Friday.  Many things to do.  Many schedules to keep.  But then I thought of that lady.  She's been doing a lot of the things I have been doing all week long.  She's been going to the meeting series every morning and evening.  She had been cooking daily for the fellowship meals.  She hadn't been going to the baseball games, softball games, and FFA things, but she also does things I don't do.  She's one of the Avon ladies in town. She also has another job with a funeral home and sits with the body when there is one for our small town.  And there was yesterday.  And she worked all day.  And the person who passed away is her sister-in-law (both of their husbands passed away a long time ago).

So, I got home and talked to my husband.  I explained to him my dilemna, with schedule conflicts and being asked to go to the LNO.  He said something very simple:  "What's the most important?"  Well, that's an easy answer, isn't it?  What's more important?  Taking an older woman to something she's wanting to go to or going to a ball game?  Of course. Taking her to to the LNO is much more important.

So, I immediately called her.  I told her I would take her to the LNO.  She was so excited! I was still able to go do most everything I had on my list and even saw all of our son's baseball games.  I missed our daughter's softball game, but there will be many, many games left in her life (Lord willing).  I wouldn't want to say I couldn't help someone because of a ball game.  That just doesn't seem right to me - does it to you?

So this lady and I went to the LNO.  I actually picked her up at the funeral home where she was working.  We had a great time and heard a great lesson about choices and perspective.  The theme was, "Drought, Storms, or Refreshing Rain?"  The question raised made each woman present ask themselves this question.  Our attitude and actions and speech determine whether we are a drought, a storm, or a refreshing rain.

I know that the influence this 80-something-year-old woman I took with me to LNO is definitely a refreshing rain to me and to all who come in contact with her.  She encouraged me to do something good - something I should have been willing to do all along.  She encourages others in our church family, in our community and in her own family.  She is a goer and a doer - a worker for the Lord.

I want to be a refreshing rain to those I come in contact with, don't you?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My King

A few weeks ago, a friend sent this quote to me.  I had written a post about "Joy Robbers" and she wanted to share this with me.  I've had it posted on my desk ever since.  It's great!

JOY IS THE FLAG THAT FLIES HIGH IN MY HEART WHEN THE KING IS IN RESIDENCE THERE!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Modern Technology

Last night when I got home, the internet wouldn't work.  It had been a long, long day.

I left Tipton at 11:00 a.m., after picking up our youngest child for a doctor's appointment that he and I both had for allergies.  The appointment was in Lawton.  We were at the appointment for 2 1/2 hours, just filling out papers, giving information to the nurse, and doing some tests....then finally seeing the doctor.  We finally ate lunch at 3:00 p.m. - both of us more than ready to eat (poor planning on my part - I might add!). 

From Lawton we headed to Blair for a baseball game of our oldest son - two to be exact.  Each game was an hour and a half limit, but in between our two games, the other two teams played each other.  So, at 8:00 p.m. we left Blair, stopped at Altus for a few things and supper (that's dinner to some of you :), and finally home at 9:15 p.m.  We were exhausted. Our other three family members had their own things going on here and they were just getting home, as well.

So, back to the downed internet.  Everything I had planned to do when I got home was suddenly "gone".  I couldn't post a blog, I couldn't post a recipe on my family recipe blog, and I couldn't look up some of the information I wanted to about the doctor's visit.  I couldn't look up the school online schedule that I wanted to see either.

Isn't it amazing out dependent some of us are on the internet?  I am, for sure!  Yet, I have a friend - also with four children - who doesn't have it at all.  She gets by just fine, but I miss it when it's gone!

I was thinking though.  So many things are "gone" from my life when the internet is off, but none of the things that are truly important:  God is still here with me.  His Son is by His side and in my heart.  His Word is close by and ready to be opened and read.  My family is here.  My friends are here.  YOU are still there - although I wouldn't be able to communicate with you in the same way.  In other words, you and I don't have to have the things the internet provides.  That is not what is important in life.  Yes, for me, it makes many things more convenient....but it's not a necessity. 

I realize that in some places it may be a necessity because without the internet they can not function in a business sense. 

When I woke up this morning, the internet was back.  I was glad, but still want to remember that all I really need are what the internet can not provide. All we really need is God, Jesus, and the Bible.  He also blesses us with families and friends. Those things are what really matter.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

IT'S IN THE VALLEYS WE GROW

I couldn't find where I had shared this poem with you in any previous posts, but I happened to think of it last night.  I had seen it years ago, but then about 8 years ago, we lost a baby and a Christian friend sent it to me.

This cross picture was taken last week while driving home from a school event.  It's near Weatherford, Oklahoma.

IT'S IN THE VALLEYS WE GROW
Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe
It's then we have to remember
That it's in the valleys we grow.

If we always stayed on the mountain top
And never experienced pain,
We would never appreciate God's love
And would be living in vain.

We have so much to learn
And our growth is very slow,
Sometimes we need the mountain tops,
But it's in the valleys we grow.

We do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.

The little valleys are nothing
When we picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan's loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I'm feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it's in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.

Thank you for the valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious
But it's in the valleys I grow!

Have a blessed day!
Poem written by Jane Eggleston

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "I Want to Spend Time With Dad"

(The Chronicles of Biscuit - stories about our youngest child, Tyler - whose nickname is "Biscuit")

Last week my husband told me about a conversation he and Biscuit had earlier in the day.  Biscuit said, "Dad, some day I want Mom, Lauren, Zachary, and Jacob to all go somewhere and it just be you and me at home."  My husband asked Biscuit what they would do.  He said they would play, and eat some popcorn, and watch a movie.  We talked about how the older three children probably do get more one on one time with my husband than Biscuit does, so we would try to fulfill his request some time soon. 

We also thought it was neat that Biscuit would rather stay home than go anywhere.  That's how he is.  When we were at Disney World a few summers ago, the first three days all Biscuit wanted to do is go home....from Disney World!  We couldn't believe it!  By the end of the trip he was enjoying it and was even sad to leave when vacation was over.  Mostly, though, Biscuit is a home-body - and that's okay with us.

Later on in the week, I was able to talk to Biscuit about his request for "time with Dad".  I said, "Biscuit, I heard that you want me, Lauren, Zachary, and Jacob to go somewhere and just stay home with Dad?"  He said, "Mom, I still love you, but I just want to be with Dad for a little while."  Laughing inside, I told him I thought it was a great idea and that we would try to find a time we could do that soon....which is hard with all of the older kid's activities.  But, we should be able to find a night before too long.

"I just want to spend time with Dad."  Do you ever say that?  Not time with your earthly father (which is great, too), but time with your Heavenly Father?  Do you long for and plan for alone, quiet times where you can spend time talking to Him, reading His Word, and meditating on those scriptures?  We should all want that time and make time to get that time with Him. It should be something we desire to do - not something we count as a chore.

Time with "Dad" is important to a child and his/her developement.  Time with our spiritual "Dad" is even more important.

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1b

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blow Ups and Real-Life Tragedies

Last night I blew up my stove top.  I was cooking egg noodles, watching them and stirring them, but then went to put something in the microwave.  I heard the water boiling and when I turned to look, it was boiling over.  That's usually how I know something is done - either it boils over or the smoke alarm goes off (Just kidding, of course!)I immediately turned off the heat, but it kept boiling and boiling.  Then I heard a POP! and my stove top died.

I would like to say that it was the first time I had blown it up, but it's not.  It happened another time, about four years ago.  Sometimes when things boil over, the breaker will blow and after it dries out a bit and the breaker is flipped on it will work.  But this time and that one other time, the breaker-flip didn't work.  The good news is that I get to pick out another stove top.  And, instead of the cheapest thing I can get (like I opted for last time), this time we're spending a little more and getting a smooth, flat top stove top.  I'm hoping that this option will prevent the boiling over "blow-ups" from happening.  I'm sure the boiling over won't stop, but hopefully it won't ruin the whole thing.

So, today I began looking online for stove tops.  My husband was going to go pick one up (nearest stores about an hour away) after I picked it out. However, after I called the store, I was told that the stove top would have to be ordered.  It would take about ten days.  That's not too long, but this week I have a lot of cooking to do.

So I was frustrated.  I was irritated.

And then my dishwasher rack broke.

And then I was frustrated some more.  I was irritated some more.  And I was getting kind of mad.  And I was getting irritable with my family.

And then I stopped to think.  And then I realized I was being very, very selfish.

Last night a family in our small town lost their newly-remodeled and soon-to-be-moved-into home.  This is the third house they've lived in or have planned to live in that has burned down in approximately six months.  Of course, now arson is suspected.  A reward is being offered for any tips about the crime.

Yesterday our nephew had a classmate bring a loaded gun to his school - and he was threatened not to tell.  They're in the 3rd grade.

Recently a close family member lost their job.

Recently a few family friends had their jobs "adjusted" without warning or explaination.

Friends are going through divorce and separation.

A not-to-old Christian friend was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

A family member and some friends are undergoing cancer treatments.

Serious.  Real. Life. Tragedies.

Nothing like the appliance problems I was having.

When I paused to think of all of the things that were going on all around me, I scolded myself for being selfish and letting the broken appliances control my attitude.

My appliances can be replaced or repaired.  The things I mentioned above are serious.  None of them in any way compare to the inconvenience of not having a stove top or my dishwasher not working for a while (hubby fixed it).

Thankfully we have a loving and forgiving God, who is ready to hear our repentant heart.  I need Him daily!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

God's Creation

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." Genesis 1:3-5a
And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." Genesis 1:6-8a
(My picture isn't a "sea", obviously! I wasn't near any big water this week.)
And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.  Genesis 1:9-10
Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so.  The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.  Genesis 1:11-12
And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. Genesis 1:14-15
And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:24-25

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:26-27

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday's Woman of the Word - Lot's Wife

A pillar of salt.  That's what we remember about Lot's wife, isn't it? A warning not heeded.  An opportunity to escape a sinful place - to start a new life in a better place.  Lost.  Because she looked back.

The angels warned Lot and his family not to look back as they left the wicked city, but Lot's wife disobeyed.  She looked back as they fled Sodom and she was punished because of her disobedience.  Immediately she turned into salt.  A pillar of salt. (To read the story found in Genesis 19:1-26 click here.)

An immediate question that comes to mind is "Why?"  Why did she look back?  It doesn't seem to make sense because the angels warned Lot's family not to look back.  But think of yourself.  What if someone says to you, "Don't look now, but right over there is _____"... fill in the blank.  What is the first thing you want to do?  You want to look, right?  We're probably all a little bit that way - some of us more-so than others of us.

But this was a huge thing.  This message was from God.  The angels warned that God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.  After some discussion between Lot and the angels, Lot's family began to flee quickly.  

What would make Lot's wife turn back?  What made her disobey?  Maybe she heard noises of destruction and she was curious.  Maybe she heard screaming and she was concerned for her friends being left behind.  Maybe she thought of her home and her possessions.  But maybe her heart was still in Sodom. Maybe she thought just one look wouldn't hurt.  We're not told why she disobeyed - only that she did.

We can learn a lot from Lot's wife.  The most obvious thing is not to disobey God.  And the next obvious thing is not to look back.

Do you ever look back?  Do you look back on past mistakes?  Do you look back at lost opportunities or lost relationships?  Do you spend so much time looking back that you fail to look forward?

Looking back on pleasant memories is enjoyable.  Looking back and being unable to move forward is dangerous.  If we're not careful, we'll look back and become stuck in one place - just like Lot's wife.

 Remember this truth:  It's hard to see where you're headed, if you're looking back.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

Monday, April 5, 2010

I'll Keep Going Till They Quit

A great reminder for all of us. Courtesy Alan Smith @ Thought for the Day.

There once was an older man who went out jogging. He was running around a track that circled the high school football field while the team was conducting their practice. When the football players began running their sprints up and down the field, the man said to himself, "I'll just keep running until they quit." So they ran. And he ran. And they kept on running. So he kept on running.

Finally, in total exhaustion the man had to stop. When he stopped, an equally exhausted football player walked over to him and said, "Boy, I'm glad you finally stopped, Mister. Our coach told us that we had to keep running wind sprints as long as the old guy was jogging!"

It seems to me that we can sometimes find ourselves in a similar kind of situation when it comes to anger and conflict. We have a disagreement with someone and get into an argument. Voices get raised. Neither side wants to be the first to give in, to stop speaking in anger. Everyone has the attitude, "I'll just keep on till they quit." So the other party stays mad. And we stay mad. On and on we go, eventually finding ourselves emotionally and even physically exhausted by the ongoing animosity.

Let me challenge you to do something very difficult. The next time you get in an argument, be the first to give in. Be the first to stop the yelling and the name-calling. Be the first to say, "I'm sorry." It's the quickest way to stop the vicious cycle.

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1)
Have a great day!

Alan Smith

Do's, Don'ts, and Consequences

This past Saturday was alumni weekend at Tipton Schools.  It was also Homecoming for Tipton Home, the children's home that has been here over 85 years and where my husband works.  It's always fun to see familiar faces back in town for the alumni weekend and also to meet new people who might be coming for the first time.

Years ago Tipton Home had a school.  At Homecoming many of the old pieces of memoralbilia are displayed for people to see.  Our children, as well as the current residents of Tipton Home, were really impressed (and sometime amused!) with the old school's list of rules. I even heard a teacher say she would be taking these to school to read to her students this week.  I think they'll be surprised by some of them.

Here are some of the "DO'S":
1. Do hand in homework on time.
2. Do take your seat when you come into the classroom.
3. Do try to make good grades.
4. Do leave "pretties" at home.
5. Do be quiet when the teacher leaves the room.
6. Do your lessons when you are told.
7. Do take your time when doing your work so you won't miss anything.
8. Help those who need help.
9. Do be nice to children in school and you will have friends.
10. Do stay in your seat.
11. Do what you are told.
12. Do raise your hand when you want something.
13. Watch the teacher when she is showing you something.
14. Do come to school neat.
15. Do come to school on time.
16. Do put library books back on shelves after they have been used.
17. Do put away all school supplies after you have finished with them.

Now for some "DON'TS":
1. Do no not chew gum.
2. Do not talk without permission.
3. Do not talk when another is talking.
4. Do not be a "show off".
5. Do not tell another student to "shut up".
6 Do not shoot paper wads.
7. Do not hit boys or girls in school or on school grounds.
8. Do not play with dogs before meals.
9. Do not call each other names.
10. Do not talk back to the teacher or any adult.
11. Do not lean back in chairs.
12. Do not write on walls in bathrooms.
13. Do not throw rocks.
14. Do not write notes.
15. Do not wad paper.
16. Do not return to school room after school unless you have permission from your matron.
17. Do not run down the school hall.
18. Do not fuss or fight in school.
19. Do not play keeps with tops, marbles, or anything.
20. Do not play on the south side of the road unless you have special permission from the teacher.

Some consequences if you disobey the rules:
and write spelling words 20 times.
You may may find yourself scrubbing the bathroom or radiator or wall.
3. Paper wad throwing might get you three spats or ?
4. You may find yourself writing a sentence about 200 times for calling names.
5. Sassing might get you 4 or 5 licks.
6. Talking without permission causes you the trouble of writing words 20 times.
7. Showing off might cause you to be embarrassed before the class.
8. Soap may be found in your mouth for the saying of "shut up".
9. You may even find yourself apologizing in front of the class for hitting each other.
10. You may be going back to your dorm to wash and clean up if you are found playing with dogs.
11. You may be on the floor quite a while if you are seen leaning back in your chair.
12. Picking up rocks isn't fun, but you may be doing it if you throw one.
13. You may be writing a sentence 500 times or even a paddling if you write a note.
14. See the teacher if you are found running down the hall.
15. You will apologize or write spelling words for fussing or fighting.
16. You might get the special invitation to the dean's office for playing keeps.

CONDUCT

1.Keep your hands to yourself. It is better not to hit other people, even if it is just for fun.
2. Use good manners in the classrooms.
3. Fighting is prohibited.
4. Be able to use your own judgment.
5. Be answerable for your own acts.
6. Keep classrooms and school property clean.
7. Accept school rules and show proper respectfor teachers and fellow classmates in the schoolroom.

CONUCT IN HALLS1. Refrain from running in the halls.Conversation should be kept at a minimum tone.
3. Avoid walking with more than three abreast.
4. Use hall only in bad weather during school.
5. When classwork is going on do not disturb in the hall.
6. Keep hands and feet off of the wall.

CONDUCT ON CAMPUS
1. Respect shrubbery and flower beds.
2. Obey signs such as "Don't walk on grass."
3. Keep out of the trees.
4. Leave rocks by the road
5. Pick up trash when you see it.
6. Be willing to help clean campus at different times.
7. It takes the efforts of everyone to keep the campus clean. Please do your part.

Many of these rules and consequences are still around today, but many of them are not. Some students are taught at home and understand that it is important to respect their teachers, other adults, and each other, but others are not.Some students are also taught to respect the property of others; unfortunately, others are not. In fact, many are taught the idea that they are "entitled" to act or do anything they choose to do; They're growing up in a "me" society and think that they are the only ones that matter. And, these same students and adults also believe that when something goes wrong, it is someone else's fault. They are never blame.

The Bible is full of wisdom and truth for telling us right and wrong. It is perfect for showing us how to live, how to deal with others, and the consequences of sin. It is also the plan of salvation, through Jesus and His blood. But, God doesn't want us to obey Him out of the consequences of punishment. He wants us to obey Him out of love. And His love for us is why He did give His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us.

Thank you, God, for your Word, for your plan, and for your Son and His resurrection!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Come and See

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Matthew 28:1-6

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 28:16-20
 
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