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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Blessing of a New Baby!

This morning as I was waking up, I could hear my phone beeping in another room. The text from my husband said that our niece was having her baby. I immediately called my husband to ask him more details, and by that time she actually had already delivered. We were so excited! I immediately woke up the two boys that are home this week (the other two children are at church camp). We got ready and drove to the hospital (about an hour away) to meet baby Levi Trent.  Because Levi is the first great-grandchild in the family, his birth makes me a great-aunt for the first time. That's exciting!

Levi is a blessed little boy already. His parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and all of his aunts, uncles, and almost all of his cousins are all Christians. He will have great role models in his family on all sides. He is already loved by so many people. He has been in the prayers of many for nine months and will continue to be for his entire life.

Levi's middle name, Trent is special.  He shares that name with his great-great-granddad on his mother's side who passed away in 1985.  His great-great-granddad (my husband's granddad) was Albert Trent, who was a preacher for over 50 years.  Although Levi will never know of Albert, he will hear stories about him his whole life.  What a special name!

Holding my new little great nephew today just almost brought me to tears...tears of joy, of course, and tears for remembering each of the births of my own children. He was born in the same hospital as all of my children, so that was special.

I can't wait to watch Levi grow up!  I look forward to watching him grow and learn, but most of all, I look forward to seeing how God will work in his life.

Thank you, God, for the birth of Levi and all little babies.  They are precious!

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Black and yellow, red and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Family Reunions

This past Saturday we had a family reunion.  It was my maternal grandma's side of the family that gets together every other year.  My grandmother passed away twenty years ago, but she has two living sisters and three living brothers who were able to attend the reunion, so that was neat.  She has another sister who is also deceased. (My grandpa on that side is also deceased.)

The reunion was held in Hollis, Oklahoma.  The last time I was in Hollis was a few months ago for a baseball game. watching my oldest son play ball.  I didn't have time to go by where my grandparents had lived then, but the time before when I was there - in December for a basketball scrimmage - I did have time to drive by the house where they lived.  As I headed down the street toward their house, I immediately started crying.  It was a flood of emotions just heading the car in that direction.  Even typing this makes my eyes get teary! But, even though it makes me a little sad, I am grateful for those special memories!

Even now, I miss my grandparents very, very much.  Both of them were my "rock" in many ways while growing up and even as a young adult.  I was very close to them and still talk about them often to my children.  I can tell stories about them because of the way they lived their life - as a great example of a Christian.  I'm so grateful that my children knew my grandpa - their great-grandpa.  I wish they could have met their great-grandma on that side. too; however, they were fortunate to know their great-grandparents on my dad's side.  I'm so grateful that they were! That's pretty neat that they knew three out of the four of their greats.  I know that's not very common in our day and time.

Family reunions give us time to reflect and remember. We visit with family that doesn't get together too often and try to catch up with what's been going on in their lives.  Memories of the past are special.  But you know what?  I'm looking forward to another reunion.  That reunion will be more special than any that are here on earth.  It's the reunion of all of God's children in Heaven!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ten Little Christians

TEN LITTLE CHRISTIANS
(author unknown)

Ten little Christians, standing in a line;
One disliked the preacher, then there were nine.

Nine little Christians stayed up very late;
One slept in on Sunday, then there were eight.

Eight little Christians on their way to heaven;
One took his own road, then there were seven.

Seven little Christians chirping like little chicks;
One disliked the song leader, then there were six.

Six little Christians seemed very much alive;
But one lost his interest, then there were five.

Five little Christians pulling for heaven's shore;
But one stopped to rest, then there were four.

Four little Christians each as busy as a bee;
One got her feelings hurt, then there were three.

Three little Christians knew what to do;
One couldn't forgive, then there were two.

Two little Christians, our rhyme is nearly done;
Quarreled over petty stuff, then there was only one.

One little Christian, can't do much 'tis true;
But he brought his friend to Bible study, then there were two.

Two earnest Christians each won one more,
That doubled the number, now there were four.

Four sincere Christians worked early and worked late,
Each won another, then there were eight.

Eight splendid Christians, if they doubled as before,
In a few short weeks, we'd have a 1024.

In this little jingle, there is a lesson true;
You either belong to "The Building" or "The Wrecking Crew."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Family Dynamics

All this week our daughter has been working with her uncle's youth group.  They are doing a mission work at a camp - working with inner city children.  I look forward to hearing all about the week when she gets home on Saturday afternoon.  We're missing her because she's been gone since last Friday!

The middle of our three sons is also gone this week.  He's at church camp.  We saw him at Wednesday night worship services and will pick him up tomorrow.  It was good getting to see him in the middle of the week.  I don't think it mattered to him that we were there - except for the fact that his older brother made him Rice Krispie treats!

So, for the past five days it's been our oldest son and our youngest son home together.  It's been fun.  It's been different.  These two play together, but probably not as much as each of them play with the one who is gone.  It's been good for them.  They've played golf, baseball, ping pong, and had bonding time.  It's been great seeing them grow closer.  I don't recall them arguing at all!  How nice is that?

Family dynamics are interesting, aren't they?  It's amazing how the dynamics change with the addition of another child or children into the mix - or the subtraction of one or two children into the mix.  I personally would rather all my children be home together and be all together, but I know that's not the way it's going to be.  In fact, the going and doing is going to get more and more common the older they get.  However, I know and realize that the coming and going, the change of dynamics, is good for them.  And, as much as I hate to admit it, it's good for me, too.  It's preparing me for the future (the really nearing future!).

Some day our children are going to leave home.  That's what we, as parents, are training them (or should be) to do.  We should be training them to become productive individuals in our society, making a living and eventually providing and caring for their own families.

Our family will be together for less than 24 hours over the weekend and then the dynamics will change again, with the oldest two going to church camp.  That will leave the youngest two as the only children at home next week.  They will have a blast.  I just know it!  They will play and play.  I wrote about how they play together recently.  Their dynamics will be different.  Their playing time will be different.  I look forward to seeing them and hearing them play.

And then the next week, for the third week in a row, our daughter will leave again - for another camp.  That week will be basketball camp.  Three weeks of being gone, with just a night or maybe two, back home. (I'm glad it's her and not me!).  The family dynamics will change, yet again.  All three boys will be home together.  I anticipate more arguing, but I'm thinking they'll have fun -just the boys with my husband and I. Hmmmmm. Now that I think about it, they'll probably want to send me away, too - and make it an all-boys week!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Oh, Be Careful Little Ears"

This post was originally published May 10, 2009.  This is the 2nd "lesson" using the song, "Oh, Be Careful Little Ears" To read other posts from this series, click the label link at the bottom that says "Oh, Be Careful".

Aren't you amazed at what we tolerate sometimes when it comes to what we hear? When you think about the shows we watch on tv or in movies, we sometimes tolerate a lot when it comes to our ears. But, we also hear gossip and complaining and grumbling. We hear filty jokes and cuss words.
In Ephesians 5:4, God makes it very clear how He feels about us listening to these kinds of things: Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
It becomes very clear what we need to listen to and what we don't need to listen to. Sometimes we are guilty of listening to things we shouldn't. I remember teaching a class one time and talking about this subject and an older lady said, “Well that's all that's on. What else is there to watch?” Well, who says we have to watch anything? We do have a choice about whether to watch something or not. Off is a choice, isn't it?
Have you ever thought that maybe the reason there are so many bad tv shows and movies with bad content in them is because Christians go watch them? If all Christians would say no, Hollywood would listen, don't you think? Of course, there would still be many who went to see things like this, but the Christian population is still a big population in America.
What about music? Do you ever get in the car and listen to a song and then realize the words are not good? I've done that about songs from when I was younger. I can't believe some of the songs I listened to, but just never paid attention to them before. Sometimes I don't realize it until I've been singing along with it for a little bit! As my children have gotten older, I really pay attention to the words of the music more and more and think about the message the song is sending.
Last summer (Note: This was the summer of 2008) I took my daughter to a doctor's appointment and a horrible song/music video came on. For you parents of teens, you can probably guess what song that was because later someone told me it caused kind of a stir. I had never heard of the song and my daughter hadn't either, but I did ask (nicely) if the receptionist could change the channel. She told me to change it, which I quickly did.
There is a message music is trying to send to our children. Songwriters and performers know this - that's their job. We need to make sure the message conveys good and wholesome images for our minds and it's something we need to listen to.
Yes, we need to be careful about what we listen to with our ears.

Before the face of God (Remember, "Coram Deo") we listen to songs or hear the content on movies and television.
Oh, be careful little ears what you hear.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Favoritism

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.
James 2:1

Favoritism.  It's wrong.  It's not fair.  But, sadly, it's very common - and has been since way back in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. 

There is favoritism in families - shown by parents, grandparents, siblings, and other relatives.  There's favoritism in the work place.  There's favoritism all around us. 

The Bible speaks very plainly about favoritism in many places. It's never viewed in a positive light.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself, "you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:8-10

In the Bible, Rebekah showed favoritism loving her son Jacob more than her son Esau.(Genesis 25:28).  But it was all part of God's big plan. (Genesis 25:23)

Jacob then showed favoritism to one of his sons, Joseph, making his other sons very jealous.  (He had a good teacher, didn't he?)  Jacob's other sons became so jealous that they sold Joseph.  But again, it was all part of God's big plan. (Genesis 45:4-8)

God's plan is bigger than what we can ever fully understand, but the examples above deal with favoritism that was for a certain purpose.  It doesn't make sense to us until we read the whole story and see how God worked in each situation.

Favoritism in our lives is not part of God's plan.  He forbids it in His Word.  It shouldn't be in our families or in our lives at all.  Our children are different and have different personalities - some may be a lot like us or some may be very different for us.  Those differences shouldn't ever mean one child is loved or favored more than another.

Parents should treat their children fairly and not show favoritism. Grandparents should treat their grandchildren the same and not show favoritism. Siblings should treat each other with respect and not show favoritism. And, in the work place, although there are major differences in personalities and work ethic, employers and employees should make sure to keep favoritism out of the decision making.

God "will give to each person according to what he has done."To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
Romans 2:6-11

Adventures of a Red Minivan

Last Friday, June 18, my four kids and I left Tipton, OK, in our red minivan and headed towards Stephenville, Texas.  We we going there to meet my husband's brother and his two children for lunch, but also to switch out a few of the kiddos for a week.
Along the way to Stephenville, TX, we saw a lot of interesting sights.
Metal cutouts of horses, etc...
A downtown carnival...just like we used to have in my hometown of Eldorado, OK.
....brought back lots of great childhood memories...
Road construction...
A metal giraffe...
Metal elephants...
A metal zebra...
About five miles north of Mineral Wells, TX, the kids and I heard what sounds like a helicopter.  We all looked out the window to see what was making the loud noise, but I quickly realized we had a blow out on a tire.  We pulled over on the side of the highway. 
Although we were out in the country, there was some sort of barn across the highway that appeared to be some time of business....although there was no sign.  I sent my two oldest children across to ask for help while I stayed by the van and with the younger two.  It wasn't long before Lauren and Zachary came back with a name and phone number of someone to call for help.  We are GRATEFUL for the three woman that helped in the barn and who gave the name and number of the automotive shop.
Tyler and Jacob kept busy playing in the back seat during the whole time we were stranded.  They didn't seem to mind one bit!

Very soon the man from Jacksboro, came and looked at the tire.  He worked to get the spare out, but the jack wasn't big enough. He took the damaged tire into town and soon came back with a brand new tire.  He had it on the van in no time and didn't charge an outlandish price, either.  We are GRATEFUL for this man and for his business.  I think it was T & G Automotive and it was located in Jacksboro, TX. 

So, there were were....back in the red minivan and on to another adventure!  Instead of meeting in Stephenville, we decided to meet in Marble Falls, TX.  We ate great Mexican food at Pulidos and switched some of the children.
Soon we were on our way back to Oklahoma!  Our minivan adventures continued as we saw other sights along the way.  Above is a picture of a neat, abandoned hotel.
A beautiful Post Office building...
A pickup "billboard"!!
Lots and lots of old rusty tractors.  Kind of neat looking all in a row!
And camels.  What???  You mean you don't see camels driving done the road where you live???  A strange sight, isn't it?  These are actually west of Wichita Falls, TX.

We made it home safely and saw many wonderful things along the journey.  Thank you, God, for the adventures in the red minivan!  The next day, the red minivan took another adventure to get three more new tires!  (Thanks to my husband!)

Join us for Gratituesday @ Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Biscuit's Sermon Notes


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

Tonight's sermon was about living the Christian life and winning souls for Jesus.  I looked over at the paper Tyler was writing on.  Here's what he had written:

1.  Stop sending.  (He meant stop "sinning"!)
2.  Follow God

Pretty good notes for a seven year old!

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:8-10

Thursday, June 17, 2010

22 Years and The Drippy Faucet

June 18, is our 22nd anniversary.  Since I wrote the story about our wedding day (and the wreck afterwards!) last year, I'll go a different route this year.

In the early years of our marriage, from time to time Joe would say I was nagging.  You know that in the Bible, nagging is described in various ways:

Delilah nagging Samson to tell her what made him strong:

Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when you won't confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven't told me the secret of your great strength." With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death. Judges 16:15-16

Apparently some of Solomon's many, many wives had a nagging problem (all verses below are CEV version):

A nagging wife goes on and on like the drip, drip, drip of the rain. Proverbs 19:13
It's better out in the desert than at home with a nagging, complaining wife. Proverbs 21:19
The steady dripping of rain and the nagging of a wife are one and the same. Proverbs 27:15

Well, at the time when Joe would say I was nagging, it would hurt my feelings some times and I didn't really think I was nagging.  We didn't really argue, but it did kind of bother me......SO, after quite a while of that "accusation" of being a nagging wife, I looked up the definition of nag and here is what I found:
Nag:  "Reminding someone of something they already know". 

Hmmmmmm.  I hadn't been nagging after all!  Because, obviously I wasn't reminding Joe of something he already knew because it hadn't been or wasn't getting done, right????  Well, since I told Joe that definition all those years ago, he's never "accused" me of being a nag again.  And, you know what else?  About two years ago....twenty years into our marriage, he asks me to write him notes for everything....just so he'll remember what he's supposed to do!  Funny how all those years have changed the way we look at things, isn't it?

Oh, by the way.  Just now, when I looked up "nag" to see what the definition was online, it doesn't say what I found all those years ago.  Nope.  It says "a person who is not pleasant or agreeable", "to scold or annoy constantly", "to be a constant source of discomfort or worry".  If you happen to see Joe, please do me a favor, and don't tell him these other definitions, okay?? And, if you do see him, would you tell him he really does have a leaky faucet (NO!  It's not me!).  It's the faucet in kid's bathroom (thanks ;).

In all seriousness, I pray that I'm not a nagging wife by any of these definitions.  I'm sure I have been in the past and may still be at times, but hopefully not too often.  I look forward to spending to rest of our lives together.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

IS THE CHURCH IMPORTANT?

I've noticed a quote going around Facebook that says this: "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car."  That is very true.  You can "go to church" once, twice, three times or more a week, but that is not what makes one a Christian.  Being a Christian involves much, much more than sitting in a building.

But, sadly, many people also believe that the church isn't important at all.  They live out the bumper sticker that was popular years ago which said, "Yes to God.  No to church."  First of all, to help understand the different ideas about the church, we need to first examine what the church is and what it is not.  The most important thing for us to realize is that the church isn't the building.  That may surprise some people, but that's an important fact to know.  The church is the people - the Christians - and is also the body of Christ.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.  1 Corinthians 12:27

Secondly, it's important to realize that Christ died for the church.  He died for you and I, individually, but for us also as children of God...as Christians...as the church.

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:22-32

In reading the passages above, it's clear that Jesus cares about the church.  He cared enough to die for the church.  And, because God's Will was for all of this to happen, it's apparent that He too cares for the church.

So, if God and Jesus care about the church, don't you think it's important for us to care about the church, too?  After all, we are that church!

The first century Christians met together often and for various reasons.  In fact, Acts 2:46 says they met together daily.  And these days, many don't even want to meet together with fellow Christians even an hour a week.  Kind of sad, isn't it?

As the quote in the beginning says, "going to church doesn't make you a Christian" and for certain, it doesn't.  But, think of the "car in the garage" part of the quote.  A car stays in better condition in a garage.  A car is better protected from the world's elements in the garage.  A car is safe from harm in a garage.

If the church isn't important to you...if coming together as a church family isn't important to you... ask yourself these questions:
What is more important to me than worshipping God?
What is more important to me than giving thanks to Jesus for giving His life for me?
What is more important than being with my Christian family to worship Him?
What would I say if Jesus were to come back right now?  I'm too busy?  Can you come back at a more convenient time?

So back to the car....where would the car rather be?  On the highway where other cars can cause it to have a wreck, on the road where a rock could come through the windshield, on the road where through no fault of its own a deer could completely destroy it? Or, would it rather be in the garage.....safe in the arms (care) of its owner?

Now where would you rather be? In the world or in worship with the church - your brothers and sisters in Christ?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

She Passed....Finally!

Well, it's official.  Our daughter, Lauren, is a legal driver - legal to drive with an over-21-year-old adult. Today she passed her written driver's test to get her learner's permit....finally.  I say "finally" because the first three times she flunked.

Now, don't think I'm a bad mom for posting about my daughter flunking the written test those three times.  She's the one who brought it up today and thought I should write about it.  I wasn't going to at all.  I thought it would embarrass her, but I was wrong.

I think it's really neat that Lauren, as a 15 1/2-year-old, is willing to admit that she failed the written test three times before passing.  You know why?  Too many in the world are afraid to admit their failure and mistakes.  They're afraid to admit to anything that is negative in their life.  Pride is the culprit in each of these cases.

When we admit to mistakes, admit to failing, or admit the negative, we're admitting that we are only human - that we're not super heroes.  We're also admitting, or should be admitting, that we're relying on a power higher than ourselves.  As Christians we are telling the world that we are relying on the power of God!

It's not a sin to fail, but it's often a sin to never try.  It's not a sin to fail, but it's often a sin to not admit mistakes.  Being prideful is a sin, but the humble will receive the grace of God, (James 4:6).

Thank you, Lauren, for your humble example.  Congratulations on passing your driver's test (finally!). And, by the way...you're lookin' good in the red mini van :).

Gratituesday - Rain

Southwest Oklahoma needed rain.  God has provided!
The skies have been filled with brilliant colors, beautiful storm clouds, and magnificent lightening.
But while many around here (southwest Oklahoma and north Texas area) needed the rain and are very thankful for receiving it in ample supply, our thoughts go out to those in areas around Oklahoma City, who have had extensive flooding.
Many homes are flooded.  Many businesses are flooded.  Thankfully, as of yet, there is no loss of life from the floods.  I pray that this continues to be true.
Rain.  It has been a blessing to us, but has created many problems for so many others.
One of our blessings has been seeing a rainbow two days in a row!  Our children were thrilled to see a complete half-circle rainbow and even a double rainbow on both of those days.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a whole picture of either of the rainbows. But, on the bright side, I didn't get stuck in the mud trying to get these pictures, as I did this one time.
In storms and in floods, God shows His awesome power.
I am grateful for His power and His might.
I pray for the safety of those who have had flooding and at the same time, thank Him for watering our dry land and watering the farmer's cotton plants.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Sunday, June 13, 2010

OH, BE CAREFUL LITTLE EYES WHAT YOU SEE!

Note: This post was originally posted in May 2009, but since it is one of my favorite children's Bible songs and because it's so relevant in our world, I wanted to re-post it.  This is part of a series using the "Oh, Be Careful Little..." song.  I'll be re-posting the other posts, as well.  I hope you enjoy! Lori

Today I had the opportunity to speak to women at a Bible Teacher's Workshop. I really enjoy having the opportunity to speak to ladies about God's Word, but I also enjoy getting to go to other classes being held during the event and getting to meet new Christian friends.

One of the classes I taught was based upon the Bible class song, "Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes What You See!" There is a Latin phrase, "Coram Deo". Coram Deo means, "Before the face of God."

Everything we do is done before the face of God. Every movie we watch, we watch before the face of God. Every tv show we watch, we watch before the face of God. Every magazine, book, or website we go to.....everything we see, we see before the face of God. God cares what we see.

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. Luke 11:34

 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:23

In Matthew 5:29, Jesus says if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. Would you be willing to get rid of your computer if it were causing you to sin? Would you be willing to give up your favorite tv show if you realized it was sinful?

Everything you see, you see before the face of God. Will this change what you see?

"OH, BE CAREFUL LITTLE EYES WHAT YOU SEE!"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Teen Talk - Text & Chat

Having teenagers is fun....most of the time.  If you're a parent of a teen or have been in the past, you know exactly what I mean!

The difference in teens today, compared to teens in the past, is the way they communicate.  Today's means of communication is instant, as well as constant, but communication is not always verbal.  In fact, if we're not careful, communication with our teens will never be verbal.  It will be by text and chat, but never face to face.  While this new way of communication is beneficial in many ways, we must make sure we have the face to face contact that we should be having with our teens.  It's not that they will want it or think they need it, but it's that for our relationships to be what they should be in Christian families (and ALL families), we have to have that face to face contact.  It's up to us - the parents, grandparents, and adults in general - to keep that face to face contact in check.

Now, occassionally, I myself like the quick text/chat communication with my family.  The other night I was posting pictures on the computer for my daughter and I needed to ask her a question.  She was in the living room with her brothers.  My husband was asleep and my computer is in our room, so I didn't want to disturb him by yelling for her (Yes, in our house we yell for each other.)  I was lazy (yep, I was) and didn't "go" to the living room to ask her a question, but instead I sent her a chat message on Facebook.  She answered my question and we chatted back and forth a little bit about the pictures I was posting, but then she wrote this to me:  "Mom, get off.  This is too weird."  What?  Chatting with your mom on Facebook is weird?????  Why would that be weird????  Because mom is "with it and cool"???  I won't ask that question.  I might not like the answer!

Yes, communication between people has changed dramatically over the years - some for the good and some for the bad.  But not all communication has changed. Communication between us and our Heavenly Father is still the same.  We still have the same way to communicate with God as we've always had.  In fact, we have the same way to communicate with God as all living beings have ever had (with a few exceptions in the Bible who spoke with God in unique ways.)  Prayer is our communication with God and He listens to us whenever we speak to Him.  He is there and always will be.  We can't text God.  We can't chat with him in the same way we can with an individual over the computer.  We can "chat" with him in prayer all day long, though....and should.

Thank you, God, for the communication we can have with You!

Note:  Our high school has an essay contest in May.  One of the winning essays had to do with communication.  If you are interested in reading Kerry's 1st place essay, click here: Victory Herald.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"You've Got a Friend in Me"

This week our two youngest - Jacob and Tyler - have been playing "Toy Story".  They've gone through their toy bucket and dug out all of their Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Bullseye toys that have been collected over the years.  Today they even dumped out their bucket of plastic army men to join in the play.  (If you're wondering...Jessie got lost at a livestock show a few years ago.)  Actually, several other Buzz Lightyear's and Woody's have been misplaced or broken over the years as well, but, as you can see, we still have plenty!

Our family is all excited because Toy Story 3 comes out next Friday, June 18, which also happens to be mine and my husband's 22nd anniversary.  What a great anniverary date that would be!  A family date to see Toy Story 3!  You think I'm kidding?  I'm not.  Seriously!  We would all enjoy the anniversary family date night, and since we don't go to the movies that often (and since there are no baseball games that evening) just maybe it will work out.

But, do you know what I like best about our two youngest boys playing Toy Story all week is though?  It's the friendship.  I like to see my children being friends.  I've mentioned before that they are normal siblings and they argue at times.  But this week they have played and played for hours and hours.  I began to notice yesterday that when they have the time to play together more like this during the summer, they don't argue as often.  They really enjoy each other's company and have fun together. Maybe that's because our lives are less rushed in the summer and they actually have the time to play together and form that friendship bond again. (That's a lesson in itself, isn't it?)

The theme song of Toy Story (both 1 and 2 as I recall) has been "You've Got a Friend in Me".  Take the time to read the lyrics to this song below.

You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me

When the road looks rough ahead
And you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed
You just remember what your old pal said
Boy, you've got a friend in me
Yeah, you've got a friend in me

You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me

If you got troubles
I got them too
There isn't anything
I wouldn't do for you
We stick together, we can see it through
Cause you've got a friend in me
Yeah, you've got a friend in me

Some other folks might be a little bit smarter than I am
Bigger and stronger too
Maybe
But none of them
Will ever love you
The way I do
It's me and you, boy

And as the years go by,
Our friendship will never die
You're gonna see it's our destiny
You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me
Yea You've got a friend in me.

Those are great lyrics, aren't they?  Isn't that what friends should feel and how they should act towards one another?  And, shouldn't Christian friends be even more so that way?  Yes, I believe so.

A friend loves at all times.  Proverbs 17:17a

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Yea, you've got a friend in me!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Crazy's Still Crazy!

Do you remember the story about "Crazy", the goat?  If you don't know about her wild past and want to read about it, click here.
Well, "Crazy" is still....well.....CRAZY!  She's not changed a bit.  Just look at her!  In the field with many other nannies and baby goat kids, Crazy jumps up on the top of the shelter and sits there.  She segregates herself from the rest of the goat herd.  She's peculiar - most definitely.

As Christians, we're supposed to be peculiar. 

"Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works," Titus 2:14 (KJV)

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light," 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)

But what does it mean to be peculiar?  Crazy the goat is peculiar in that she separates herself from the other goats, but she's also mean to the other goats.  She treats them bad.  She keeps them away from the food.  She doesn't get along with any of the rest of them.  Christians, on the other hand, are separated from the "world" (or should be) because of the way we stay away from sin.  We should be peculiar in the way we act because we act in love and not in hatefulness.  We should be peculiar because we strive to get along with people - not because we can't get along with others.  We are peculiar because we are Christians - children of God...striving to live our lives in the example of His Son, Jesus.

The apostle Paul explained this in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”

What does Paul mean?  Should we partake in sin just to become like others?  No.  That's not what he means.  What he means is that we have to find common ground with others in order to "win" them for Christ.  If we act like Crazy and never have contact (in a positive way) with others around us, we will never be able to teach them about Jesus.  We will never help anyone become saved.

I don't know what will become of Crazy.  She's likely to live a long, lonely goat life (unless my husband decides to get rid of her first).  No one will go to her funeral.  She'll never have many friends.  And, if she were human, she'd never be a soul-winner for Jesus.  Let's not be like Crazy, m'kay?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Trustworthiness

This summer, I've given our children a challenge.  I've asked them to list character traits and then asked them to write a short devotional thought about a few of them.  Their devotional thought will become my post once a week. 

This week the word is "Trustworthiness", and the post today is by our second oldest child, Zachary.  He is 13...almost 14 (thought I'd better put that!).

TRUSTWORTHINESS by Zachary

Out of all of the character traits that there are, to me the best one is to be a trustworthy person.  Trustworthiness means deserving of trust or reliable.  Proverbs 11:13 says that a trustworthy man keeps a secret.  He doesn't go and tell a secret that has been told to him by a friend.

In the parable of the ten minas (a weight of money) in Luke 19:11-26, it says in verse 17, "Because you have been trustworthy in one very small matter, take charge of ten cities." You see, that one very small matter put the man in charge of ten cities - only because he chose to be a trustworthy and reliable person.

“What’s right is right even if no one is doing it.
What’s wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”
- Unknown author

I am grateful for the character trait of "Trustworthiness".  Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Evening Prayer

We sang this song in our Sunday evening worship service.  We've sung it many times before, but tonight I really thought about the words as we sang. 

When I looked the lyrics up online, many times it was called "Evening Prayer".  I'm not sure if this is the title in our songbook or not, but it very well may be.  These lyrics make a great evening prayer and sure do make me think about how I lived my life today.  Do they you, too?

If I have wounded any soul today,
If I have caused one foot to go astray,
If I have walked in my own willful way,
Dear Lord, forgive!

(Thoughts from this stanza:  Have I hurt anyone's feelings today?  Have I caused anyone to sin because of my actions?  Have I walked in God's Will or MY will?)
If I have uttered idle words or vain,
If I have turned aside from want or pain,
Lest I myself shall suffer through the strain,
Dear Lord, forgive!

(Thoughts from 2nd stanza:  Have I used my words wisely today?  Have I been willing to persevere through whatever comes my way?) 
If I have been perverse or hard, or cold,
If I have longed for shelter in Thy fold,
When Thou hast given me some fort to hold,
Dear Lord, forgive!

(Thoughts from the 3rd stanza:  Have I helped those who might have needed my help today?  Have I ignored those in need?  Have I been content in where I am right now or have I complained about my circumstances?)
Forgive the sins I have confessed to Thee;
Forgive the secret sins I do not see;
O guide me, love me and my keeper be,
Dear Lord, Amen.

(Thoughts from the 4th stanza:  Have I asked for forgiveness of sin I know I have committed?  Do I realize that there may be sins in my life that I'm not recognizing but that You may be seeing in me?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happy 12th Birthday, Jacob!

Tomorrow is Jacob's 12th birthday. Yes, twelve years ago God blessed us with our second son and third child.  It seems like just yesterday that I wrote last year's birthday post for him.  Time sure flies!

We celebrated a little early with a trip to a Ranger's game - at Jacob's request.  We'll have a family party Saturday evening...after Little League games.

The picture above shows Jacob with his extra-large baseball (found at Academy).  He got Rangers' manager, Ron Washington's autograph.  Unfortunately, he didn't get anyone else's that night...maybe next time.
As part of the celebration, we toured the stadium.  It was really fun for the kids and fairly inexpensive, too.  
Here Jacob is sitting at the press room table.  This is where players/coaches are interviewed after games.
This picture is the Ranger's dug out.  The kids thought it was neat to see the spit out sunflower seed hulls on the field.  They wanted to get them and sell them on eBay.  Joe and I didn't let them!  YUCK! (Although, they would've probably sold.)

All four kiddos sitting on the dugout bench.
For lunch before the evening game, we headed to Pappasitos in Arlington.  It's our favorite Mexican food place! 

For Jacob's family birthday, it's his favorite American food - hamburgers and hot dogs.  Instead of a traditional birthday cake, Jacob requested Strawberries and Cream Twinkie Cake.  (You can find that recipe here on our family recipe blog.)

We love you, Jacob, and wish you a very Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday Night was Kind of Neat

Each summer on Wednesday nights, men in our congregation sign up to teach class in the auditorium for the adults in attendance.  Tonight's lesson was taught by the oldest man in our congregation.  Elton is 93!  He told Bible story after Bible story - for about 30 minutes - all about how God used small things to work out His Will (Moses' staff and rod, David's sling, the ravens that fed Elijah, the widow's flour and oil that never ran out, and many others).

It was great to hear Elton's stories from the Bible and the details he told about each vessel God used.  Elton's mind is sharp, but his Christian example is even sharper.  He and his wife are always willing to help with anything - whether helping supply food for church events or money to help purchase supplies for special projects.  Many times I see them taking an elderly widowed woman shopping or to doctor's appointment in Altus.  What great examples to all of us who know them!

After Elton's lesson, the children and teens were dismissed from their classes.  We sang a few songs and then had a short devotional.  Tonight the devotional was given by the youngest, young man I've known to give the "mini-lesson" (in recent years, anyway) - our oldest son, Zachary, who is 13.

Zachary has done the devotional thought before a few times and, in fact, began doing it several years ago...but what struck me tonight is that it was the "oldest" and the "youngest".  I thought that was really neat! 

Elton could have said (like unfortunately so many say), "I'm too old.  I wouldn't be able to teach a class.  I don't feel comfortable doing something like that."  But he didn't.  He shared his Biblical knowledge with us tonight.  He shared with us about God's Word.

Zachary could have said, "I'm too young.  I'm too scared.  I don't know enough."  But he didn't.  He shared God's Word with us tonight.  He shared some thoughts about how to live for God daily.

My husband said that the plan this summer is to ask the young boys/teens/men to do the shorter devos after the lessons each week.  It's a good oppotunity for them to get up in front of people and gives them experience in preparing a Bible lesson, but a shorter one.  I asked our almost 12-year-old, Jacob, if he would be interested in doing one.  I wasn't sure what his answer would be, but he said yes.  I look forward to that night!

God can use all of us - no matter what our age!

  Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life. Proverbs 16:31

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12

Wednesday's Woman of the Word - The Proverbs 31 Woman

Many women are intimidated by the Proverbs 31 (verses 10-31) woman.  It seems that she's so "perfect" that she's out of the common Christian woman's league.  Our preacher likes to call this woman "Mrs. Far Above Rubies".  That's a good name for her, isn't it? 

When you read about the Proverbs 31 woman, how does it make you feel?  Do you admire her, but feel like you don’t measure up?

Today let's look at this virtuous woman and put a modern-day spin on her qualities. Years ago when teaching about this woman, I found a list of modern-day comparisons to her life.  I'm not sure now where the list came from, but I hope you enjoy it.  I've added a few "notes" myself and even my own translation of one of the verses.  By the end, you will most likely see that you can measure up to the qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman.

(FYI:  The NIV of verse four says "wife of noble character"; KJV uses the word virtuous; NASB says excellent.)

Verse 10-12: A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

Questions:  Does your husband have full confidence in you?  Do you bring him good and not harm?

Answer true or false to the "Modern Day Comparisons" below:

Verse 13: She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

Modern Day Comparison:
I shop carefully for clothing for me and my family. I work willingly.

Verse 14-15: She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.

Modern Day Comparison:
I get up early to start my chores and I make sure I have the daily menu planned for my family. I don’t just go to the corner convenience store to buy my supplies. I shop for quality within my budget. I often buy food that is not produced locally. Sometimes I let my light shine and give little treats to my coworkers or neighbors.

Verse 16: She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Modern Day Comparison:
I’ve been involved in the process of choosing and buying a home or major items for my home. I know what homes rent or sale for in my area. I have even taken some of my/our money and planted a garden, trees, shrubs or flowers.

Verse 17: She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

Modern Day Comparison:
I keep myself relatively physically fit (Note from Lori:  Working on this (again).) and I’m not afraid to “roll up my sleeves” and get to work! Looking after a home and family can, at times, be hard work.

Verse 18: She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. (Note from Lori:  I've got the last part of this one down pat!)

Modern Day Comparison:
I am a productive woman, whether I’m working away from the house or taking care of the home and family. I know my way around the bank and the supermarket. I’m not afraid to learn new things. I’m not shy about working long hours.

Verse 19: In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

Modern Day Comparison:
I can use a thread and needle. I can mend holes and split seams when it’s necessary. (Note from Lori:  I do know how to thread a needle and I can sew on a button, but I must say...when it comes to any other mending, I must defer to my mother-in-law!)

Verse 20: She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

Modern Day Comparison:
My family isn’t my only concern. I have a heart for the needy people in my community.; I give to the food to the needy on occasion, and I help out when a neighbor, Christian brother or sister, or friend is ill. Charity is all in a day’s work for me. I know it is part of God’s plan for Christians.

Verses 21-22: When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Modern Day Comparison:
The cold of winter doesn’t frighten me. (Lori's translation:  THE OKLAHOMA ICE STORM OF JANUARY 2010, DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME.) Quality garments and household furnishings are important to me because I know they offer the best protection and are long lasting.

Verse 23: Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

Modern Day Comparison:
I pray for my husband. I stand with him in all things. Many of his friends and coworkers see that I support and love him.

Verse 24: She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.

Modern Day Comparison:
I could manage my own home-based business. (Note from Lori:  I'm glad the modern comparison left off the "she makes" part.  I might could make them, but they'd fall apart. No one would wear 'em or buy 'em!)

Verse 25: She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Modern Day Comparison:
I am confident God is in control. He gives me my strength and dignity. My relationship with Jesus Christ gives me the confidence to not always be worrying about the future.

Verse 26: She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Modern Day Comparison:
With the Holy Spirit as my guide, I will speak words that are wise (Note from Lori:  Working on the wisdom part - always.) and true. My friends trust me to speak the truth.

Verse 27: She watches over the affairs of her household (Note from Lori:  My children would say I watch over a little too much, but I tell them it's my job and this verse is proof of that!) and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Modern Day Comparison:
I supervise my own household well and I am not an idle, lazy person.

Verse 28-29: Her children arise and call her blessed (Note from Lori:  Blessed?  I'm not so sure that's what they say, but I think they would say mostly nice things.); her husband also, and he praises her:
Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.

Modern Day Comparison:
The praise that is directed towards me from my husband and children is well earned because my family knows I am trying my best to serve them through Jesus Christ.

Verse 30: Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Modern Day Comparison:
I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world (Note from Lori:  We;re all beautiful in God's eyes.), and I know that my charm is empty without the Holy Spirit guiding it. I do know that God loves me and that Jesus is my Savior.

Verse 31: Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Modern Day Comparison:
My Christian works bring nice comments from friends and family, neighbors and co-workers. I serve out of love for God. My reward is eternity. (Note from Lori:  AMEN!)

So, how do you feel now? Better? Of course, we probably all find areas we can improve in, but isn’t it better when we put it into modern-day perspective?

We can’t be Superwoman.

We can’t be everything to everyone.

We are women that can only get by with God’s grace.

What we do...what we accomplish...what we achieve...are all of those are good “works.” But God is looking at more than what we "do". He is looking at our hearts.

The virtuous woman we‘ve looked at today put God first in her life and realized that her strength only came from God.  Do you realize that same truth?  If you do, Christian sister, you too will be a woman whose price is worth far more than rubies.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Picture Day!

After months and months of wanting to take pictures of our children all together at a special place, we finally had the opportunity to do so on Memorial Day.  Sure, we have lots of snapshots throughout the school year of various activities, but we don't have "formal" pictures - the kind when everyone matches and poses.  That's what I wanted:  a real, authentic PICTURE DAY!
The kiddos weren't too thrilled about the idea of dressing up and going to have pictures taken.  They were even less thrilled when we arrived at our destination and it was full of people - visiting the area for Memorial Day.
It made it a little better for them when they learned we were going out to eat AFTER the pictures were taken.  It made them smile and get into position much, much quicker!
Even though they don't believe me, I tell them that someday they will be glad I insisted on so many pictures - and special ones like these once or twice a year.  (They don't believe me.)  My husband usually makes the kids laugh on these days, but today he didn't tease them.  I think he was ready to eat lunch, too!
But,  you know?  In a few years, Lauren will be gone from home.  I'll be glad I have these pictures.
And then, Zachary will be grown....
And then Jacob....
And finally, Tyler.  It seems like he's got a while, but I know it will come quickly, too.
These pictures will be precious memories of their "growing up" years, and I'll cherish them always.  I'm sure they'll have fun looking at them when they get older, too....and so will their children.
They'll look back and see the fun times.
They'll look back and think of the games they played.
They'll look back and see that they were not just siblings - but that they were friends (and I'm quite certain they'll remember the fussin' and fightin', too!)
But, I hope they'll always remember the love they had for one another.
That being part of God's team is more important than being a part of any earthly team.
I pray they'll remember to keep His Word in their hearts - always.
"I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:14
I pray they never forget who they are (our children), WHOSE they are (God's children), where they came from (small town - Tipton, OK), and where they're headed (Heaven).

I'm grateful for Picture Day - even if it only comes about once or twice a year.
This post is linked to Gratituesday, hosted by Heavenly Homemakers.  Stop by and see what others are grateful for today!
 
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