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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Only a Spark

Did you hear the story about the golfer who set a golf course on fire?  My husband was telling me about it Tuesday night. (Click here for the full story on Yahoo.)  The golfer swung and hit a rock, which caused a spark, and started a 25 acre fire on the golf course.

It was just a freak thing that happened, but it caused major damage.  The golfer didn't mean to cause any problems at all, but that little spark became bigger and got the acres of fire going.

Now let's turn that spark around and think of it in a positive way.  I thought of this song that I first remember singing in elementary school and singing it during youth group activities and Bible camps.  It's called, "Pass It On".  Maybe you've heard it, too.  Here are the lyrics:

It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing;
That's how it is with God's Love,
Once you've experienced it,
Your spread the love to everyone
You want to pass it on.

What a wonderous time is spring,
When all the tress are budding
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming;
That's how it is with God's love,
Once you've experienced it.
You want to sing, it's fresh like spring,
You want to pass it on.

I wish for you my friend
This happiness that I've found;
You can depend on God
It matters not where you're bound,
 I'll shout it from the mountain top
I want the world to know
The Lord of love has come to me
I want to pass it on.

I'll shout it from the mountain top
I want the world to know
The Lord of love has come to me
I want to pass it on.

The first verse and chorus is what I want to reflect on tonight - that "it only takes a spark to get a fire going" and how that compares to God's love.  It also talks about how once we do experience God's love, we will want to pass it on to others.  Our response to tell others about God's love and tell about all He has done for us...specifically for giving His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us.

Just as the tiny spark spread on the golf course, God's love starting small within our hearts and then shared with others can spread the message throughout the entire world. And it should.

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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kicking the Habit

Do you have a habit you need to kick or an addiction you need to break? 

I did.  I had a Diet Coke habit.  I say "habit" rather than "addiction" because I always knew I could give them up whenever I wanted to.  It wasn't something I just "had" to have.  I just wanted it because I liked it...I liked the taste.

I need to clarify, though.  I didn't just like Diet Coke (referred to as D.C. from now on) by itself.  I liked it with cherry syrup.  And, I didn't  like it in a can or in a bottle or even from most fountain drink places.  No, I was very, very picky about my D.C. I liked my D.C. with real cherry syrup from Sonic Drive In and occasionally from Wayne's Drive In, which is in Lawton, Oklahoma.  And, I must (sadly) even go further in my problem.  I didn't even like all of the Sonics.  I know the ones that taste the best (because of the water in the town/location) and I have all of the special prices down by memory. 

The closest Sonic is 15 minutes away from our home, in a nearby town.  Even though there was a morning drink special or a Happy Hour special, it still added up - from the D.C. (and my husband's Diet Dr. Pepper) and the gas to get to the Sonic.

Everyone that knows me knows of my habit.  In fact, as a special end of school gift to me from several of the teachers (for organizing the PTO every year), I was given a gift card to Sonic.  A $50.00 gift card actually - and TWO of them!  I was soooooooo excited and they helped support my habit for a month (with a few treats for my children sometimes).

So, what made me decide to kick the habit?  Well, from time to time I would cut back on the D.C. on my own - knowing that I should for my health and my pocket book.  But gradually, I would always go back up to more.  Several months ago, Laura at Heavenly Homemakers wrote about how she had given up Pepsi.  That got me to thinking about giving up D.C.  I thought about it, but never committed.  But last week I was thinking again about giving them up and Trey Morgan wrote this blog post.  The next day on Facebook he said there were 40 committed to kicking the habit.  I commented to him on Facebook that I was actually thinking about it, but I just wasn't quite ready then (mostly due to the fact I had a D.C. waiting for me in the fridge and I didn't want to waste it!).

But then, the next day, Trey wrote this blog.  This post pricked my heart and made me totally committed to giving up something I had done for years and years.  This was the exact thing I needed to read to make me kick the habit.  A free trip to Honduras....a place I want my family to go and serve some day.

So, for this Gratituesday, I say "thank you" to Laura and to Trey and to others who have committed to kicking the habit. 

The only thing I feel badly about, is that one of the workers at the Sonic in Frederick may lose their job because of my absence. 

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jacob's Wisdom

This morning while driving home from worship services, Tyler (a.k.a. Biscuit) was talking about his future as a professional baseball player.  That is his dream, and while it is exciting to think of him playing for our favorite team, the Texas Rangers, there would be some big draws back to playing in the big leagues.

As parents, Joe and I always talk to our children about future careers and how they could affect their lives in service to God, as well as for their future family. All three of the older kids (Lauren, Zachary, and Jacob) were talking to Tyler about worshipping God, attending worship services, living in different states and traveling a lot....just really important things about life.  Tyler thinks he has this part all figured out - of course.  After all, he's almost eight!  (Hee Hee!)

And then, as we pulled into the garage, came Jacob (our 12 year old) with his great words of wisdom: "Tyler, I have an announcement.  Why don't you quit focusing on being a Major League Baseball player and just focus on 2nd grade?"  Everybody jumped out of the vehicle and that was the end of the conversation about Tyler's future.  I praised Jacob for getting Tyler focused on the here and now - for today - and stopping his boastful attitude about his future.

I've thought all day about Jacob's wise words.  Many times we talk about our future plans, but often it is in a wrong and boastful way. That's not to say that we shouldn't prepare for our futures in some way, but we must not do it in a way that appears to be boastful.  We must also make sure that we realize that every "today" and every "tomorrow" is a gift from God.

The Bible talks about the "boasting of tomorrow" in the book of James:

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. James 4:13-17

So, what should we do with that gift of today and tomorrow that God gives us?  Live each day for Him?  Absolutely!  Plan for our futures?  Certainly!  But, most importantly we should recognize that in each and every day we are to live it according to His will and according to His desires for our lives.

Will Tyler end up playing for the Majors?  Only God knows the answer to that question.  But, should Tyler use Jacob's wisdom and focus on 2nd grade?  Yes.  That's where he is right now in life.  No boastful attitude....just believing in God's will for his life.  And, that's how we all should live.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Eye of The Tiger

(Note #1: This post was written by my daughter, Lauren.  The "tiger" is a special thing in our town.  The tiger is our school mascot!  Thanks, Lauren!

Note #2:  I got to thinking and decided I'd better make sure this post didn't send the wrong message.  Of course we should not fear, but have faith that God will give us the strength we need to get through anything we may face and so we can be like the tiger in many ways...mighty, strong.  But, we don't want to be like the tiger in attacking people, hurting people, and of course - eating people!  Thought that I might need to clarify!)

       This is my tiger. His name is Tiger. Tiger is fierce,  powerful, and mighty. Tiger fears nothing. He is strong. As Christians, we should be like Tiger. We should not be afraid of anything.  "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished."-1Chron. 28:20 Christians fear nothing. Because, "We can do anything through Christ who strengthens us."-Phil. 3:14.      By: Lauren A. Waugh

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Are My Little Boys Made Of?

What are my little boys made of?
Baseball bats and things like that.
Jerseys, balls, and lots of hats.
Thats what my little boys are made of.
What are my little boys made of?
Hugs and kisses,dreams and wishes
One who gardens and one who fishes.
That's what my little boys are made of.
What are my little boys made of?
Football games and bicycle chains,
Basketball goals and lots of trains.
That's what my little boys are made of.
What are my little boys made of?
Cars and trucks and Lego blocks,
Hide and seek and sidewalk chalk.
That's what my little boys are made of.
What are my little boys made of?
Bugs and dirt, making lots of things,
One who creates and one who sings.
That's what my little boys are made of.
What are my little boys made of?
Uniquely designed, God had each in mind,
I love them all – they're one of a kind.
And that's what my little boys are made of.
Written by Lori
August 24, 2010

Sentimental Journey

A few weeks ago we traded in our high mileage minivan for a low mileage, larger SUV.  I was so excited! I had wanted something bigger for a few years so that our four children would have more leg room.  My husband wasn't too sure about getting a bigger one for a while because he was concerned about the gas mileage.  But, he had the opportunity to drive a bigger vehicle with all of us in there, and eventually decided it would give us a lot more room.  We looked online at different models and finally found something we liked.  It also had a good price!

Our oldest son, Zachary, went with me down near Dallas to trade in the minivan for the SUV.  On the way down there I began to get sentimental towards the van.  With our previous van that we had traded in over six years ago there were no sentimental feelings at all.  That van had been abused with sick kids with stomach viruses, spills of food and drinks, melted crayons, and lots of other mishaps.  But the newer red minivan....well....it was a big part of our family.  It had been around almost the whole time our youngest had been alive.  There were good memories from that van and it had been a good vehicle - without many problems at all.

Zachary didn't understand my sentimental feelings about the van.  He thought it was ridiculous!  I tried to explain to him that it was the memories of he and his siblings in the van - traveling around and just being a big part of our life for so many years. Zachary didn't get it.

When we got ready to clean out the van and get into the new SUV, it was a strange feeling.  I was still excited and knew that I would be able to get used to the new vehicle, but it was just odd.  It felt like I was getting rid of something that was a big part of us!  (Strange, I know!).

As Zachary and I drove the new-to-us SUV back to Oklahoma, I didn't feel strange any more.  I got used to the SUV pretty quickly.  It would become a big part of our family.  It would quickly become part of our lives.  It would be filled with conversation, music, singing, and laughter.  It might also be filled with crying, at times.  It would become a place where lots of memories were made.

So, as I think about this sentimental journey of the minivan and the SUV, I realize that it's not about what the vehicle is and what model it is.  Not at all.  It's about the memories made together.  It's about being together and talking together.  It's about laughing together and crying together.  And, sometimes it will be about sibling quarrels.  But, it's memories of our family.  The sentimental journeys becomes the sentimental journal of our lives.

God gives us a lot of things in life.  He blesses us in many, many ways.  But those things are not what matters.  It's the people that matter and the memories and relationships with those people. 

He gave us One special person in life that should be more special to us than anything or anyone else.  He gave us His only Son who was willing to die for us.  Our sentimental journey should include those memories of Him suffering for us.  Take some time to read that sentimental journal - the Holy Bible.  Take the time to reflect on His life and what He did for You.  Take the time to thank God for all He has given you and to thank Jesus for the gift of salvation through His blood.

Take the time to go on a sentimental journey today.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pike's Peak Ascent

My husband, Joe, enjoys running.  This year made the 7th year he has run in the annual event up Pike's Peak:  The Pike's Peak Ascent, which was held this past Saturday. On Sunday there is a marathon up the mountain.  Several years ago Joe did the Ascent one day and then the Marathon.  They call it "The Doubler". 
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
Psalm 119:32


This year Joe met a new friend.  His name is Woody (That's a joke!)  Isn't this  neat carving?
  Joe is always amazed at some of the people who are running.  This picture shows a man (who he thinks was in his 80's) wearing two different shoes.  I would like to know why he wore different shoes.  Maybe to help with foot problems?  Maybe just to do something unique?  Interesting!
I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.
Proverbs 4:11-12

And then there were these toe shoes.  They are interesting - I've seen them in stores - but, I can't imagine running a HUGE mountain in these shoes.  Of course, I can't imagine running a mountain in any shoes.
The beginning of the run doesn't start out as much of a run.  There are people everywhere and it's crowded at first.  As they get higher and higher up the mountain, the crowds thin out.
Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

The views along the trail are beautiful.  I'm glad Joe took his camera.
The cars and buildings below look smaller and smaller as you go higher up the mountain.
The winding road up Pike's Peak looks even scarier from up high than it does when you're actually driving on it!
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
Proverbs 18:10

This year Joe only got a little more than half-way up and decided to turn around and go back down the mountain.  He didn't think he would be able to make it. There are several things that contributed to him turning around:  First, he didn't feel like he was in as good of shape as he needed to be because he hasn't had the time to train with long runs to prepare for the Ascent.  But, he still enjoyed the run and the trip to Colorado.  Also, Colorado Springs/Manitou Springs was having extremely high temperatures this weekend.  The heat makes it a lot harder to run, of course.  I'm sure many were not able to run like they wanted to because of the heat.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1


It's strange how different the weather has been on his runs at the Ascent. One year, a few years ago, there was a blizzard on top so they turned many people around and didn't let them finish.  He was disappointed that year because he would have made it to the top.  Another year there was a storm all around the top - lightening and thunder everywhere, except he was ABOVE the lightening instead of below it.  He said that was really strange, but interesting, too. 
 
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25

One of God's beautiful creation - Pike's Peak!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "Home is the Best Place on Earth"

Today was the first day of school for our four children.  None of them were too excited about starting, but I knew that once they were into it for a few days (or weeks), it would be okay. 

Biscuit has been especially anxious about it as I mentioned in the last "Biscuit" post. (I did remind him to pray as he had asked me to do!). 

After school Biscuit seemed fine.  He said he had a good day and that it was better that he thought it would be.  He's got a big class - 25 in all - and the room is much smaller than their 1st grade room was last year, but that didn't seem to bother him.

The kids had been home for about an hour this afternoon when I heard someone crying.  I thought it was Jacob who had his first day of middle school today. I went into the boys' bedroom and found that it was Biscuit doing the crying - lying face down on top of a pile of clothes and stuffed animals.  I asked him was was wrong, but I couldn't understand him through his sobbing.  Finally, he started spilling out his feelings, and my heart melted hearing the words he said!

"Home is the best place on earth.  The only thing better is Heaven.  I miss my home when I'm at school.  I miss being with you and Dad.  Being at home for one minute is better than being at a Ranger's game. That's what I'm going to miss when we go to Disney World - being home.  It's not fun being at school and missing playing with them (his siblings) at home.  You can learn more from your parents than you can from school.  It was fun when I was home with you and the others were in school and we would go eat Chinese food with Dad. I just want to be home.  School is so long. I'm growing up too fast."

I held Biscuit on my lap. I wanted to cry myself, and did shed a few tears a little later.  It was so sweet.  And, it kind of made me sad, too, because I miss them, too!

I know Biscuit will be okay in a week or so - once he's adjusted to the new routine.  And I have to remember that on the last day of 1st grade he cried because he didn't want to leave his teacher or his friends.  He doesn't cry often, but he's very tenderhearted and thinks deep thoughts.

My daughter used to beg me to homeschool her when she was little.  At that time I didn't think I could do it (although now I would feel like I could), and didn't feel like it was the best thing to do then. 

I asked Biscuit if he was ready to go outside and play.  He and his brothers began playing baseball.  May daughter and I were visiting about her own elementary years, and I was telling her about all the things that Biscuit has just said.  I told her that just because in her case, staying in public school helped her "get out of her shell".  I thought she might have some insight. She was shy and wouldn't talk to people when she was younger.

I loved what she said about Biscuit. He's the total opposite of how she was at that age. She said, "Mom, he's already out of his shell!"  That is so true!  He was born out of his shell!

I want Biscuit to like his school year, and I know he will.  But, I am so thankful that Biscuit loves his home. I wish that every child loved being home and wanted to be home.  Think what a different world it would be if that were the case.

It's not that Biscuit cares about the "stuff" in his home because he really would rather be in the front yard playing some sport, but it's that he knows that is where he belongs.  He knows that he is with his mom and dad, his sister and his brothers.  He is with his family and he knows that we love him and that we love each other.  I'm thankful he loves his home.  Of course, I'm more thankful that he realizes that a heavenly home would be even better than anything on earth.

I love you, Biscuit!  You make me smile :).

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
John 14:2

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lunch Box Notes

It's almost that time again.  Time to fill the lunch boxes.

I mentioned on my family recipe blog that this is something I really dread - and I do.  BUT, there is one part of it that I don't dread at all.  There is one part that is very special to me and very special to all four of our children.  It's the lunch box notes. 

Ever since our first child went to Kindergarten eleven years ago, I've been writing lunch box notes.  As each of the other three children started school, I would write them notes, too.  Even though the oldest is going to be a Sophomore, and the middle two are in middle school,  they still like getting their lunch box notes!  In fact, I think they would be sad if I quit them.  Of course, the youngest likes them a lot, as well.

Sometimes the lunch box notes have words of encouragement for an up-coming test or ball game. Sometimes the notes have special sentiments. Sometimes they are filled with spiritual messages or scriptures. And, every once in a while I have the kids write notes to each other. They enjoy doing that and making funny remarks that only they would understand!

Occassionally I find some neat already-made lunch box notes and keep a stash of them in the kitchen.  It's especially great on mornings when I'm in a big rush (well, a bigger rush than normal!).  I found a great website to share with you that has lots of printable lunch box notes.  Here is the link.  You'll even find some notes that can be edited with your own text.  Pretty neat, huh??

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "Remind Me to Pray"

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

Last Wednesday night we were headed to mid-week worship services. As we passed the elementary school, on the way to the church building, Biscuit said, "Mom, on the first day of school, in the morning, will you remind me to say a prayer?'

Biscuit was very sad at the end of school in May because he didn't want to leave his 1st grade teacher.  He wanted her to continue being his teacher and was really nervous about moving on to 2nd grade.  When he asked me to remind him to pray, my first thought was, "Does he really think it's going to be that bad? Is he really that concerned?"  But quickly, I thought, "My seven year old is wanting to be reminded to pray!  How great is that?!"  I realized that the second thought should have been my first thought.  I should have been proud of him for realizing the importance of prayer, but rather, I had concentrated on the fact that it meant he was worried and my protective momma side came out!

My response to Biscuit was, "Yes, I sure will", and then I followed with, "Don't you think it would be a good idea to pray every morning before school?".  Biscuit replied, "Oh, yes.  I will!"

I am grateful that Biscuit realizes that God can provide assurance and calm a worried mind.  I pray that Biscuit will always seek guidance and wisdom through prayer.  Of course I will remind Biscuit to pray on Thursday morning, the first day of school.  But you know what else?  This protective momma will be praying for him, too.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
Philippians 4:6

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tyler's Concert - "You Raise Me Up"

A few years ago our youngest son, Tyler (of "The Chronicles of Biscuit" posts), was always having "concerts" at home.  He was and still is a big fan of classical singer, Josh Groban.  In July, 2008, Tyler was ringbearer in his cousin's wedding.  On the afternoon of the wedding he got his wish - a real concert on a stage with a few guests in the audience.  Some of the songs were put on YouTube by my brother-in-law, but the best one got taken off - I guess because he was actually singing along with Josh Groban.

Two years have passed and although Tyler stills sing some and leads a song on our monthly Wednesday night singing at church, he rarely has concerts anymore (sad for his momma!).  So, you can imagine how happy I was when he requested to have a concert for us a few weeks ago!  He had his brother, Jacob, be his "renouncer" (announcer).  I wanted to share the video with you and I am sorry it's blurry at the beginning.  The videographer (which might have been me :) doesn't know what the problem was!

I hope you enjoy Tyler's concert as he sings, "You Raise Me Up". Here is the link: Tyler's Concert.  I would have just posted the video on the post and blog home page, but because there is already music playing, I didn't think it would work.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Grandma's Pride

Raise your hand if you've ever had a problem with pride.  Yep.  That's what I thought.  And, I have, too. 

We probably all have had problems with pride at some time in our life.  But, with pride, as with every other sin, the first step to forgiveness for the sin is admitting the sin, and then confessing the sin. 

Such is the case when my mom, and "Grandma" to our four children, sent me the following email today. It's referring to early last week when the three boys stayed at my parents house for a few days.

Via email to me from my mom, "Grandma":
I thought you might enjoy this story---actually it’s my admission of being “prideful.” I’ve thought about this ever since the boys were here---that: “Pride Goeth before the Fall.” I finally confessed to Larry last night on the way to church.

My confession was the reason why my back has really been hurting since last Tuesday night.

When Tyler (Note: My youngest son)and I were playing ball, he told me before I batted----- “Grandma, I don’t mean this bad, but you’re probably not going to hit the ball as good as I did.”

Well, prideful Grandma decided that I would just show him—I swung and hit the ball as hard as I could, not once but several times. I even got to where I could drop my right arm and swing with the left arm and the ball would go even further. Tyler grinned when I hit it each time. I was so proud of myself.

By Friday, my back was not in good shape!!!!!!

I knew why, too. The saying about pride comes to mind every time I think of that story and my hurting back!!!!!!!!

Larry (Note: my dad) laughed when I told him that---I do, too, when I think about it.

I’ll have to remember this story for Tyler.
 
(The end of the email.)
 
I want to make sure you all realize that this post is used with permission.  I wouldn't have confessed Grandma's pride without asking first!
 
What are you needing to confess?
 
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Goat vs. Alligator

The Chronicles of Biscuit:  Stories about our youngest son, Tyler (age 7 1/2) whose nickname is Biscuit.
Yesterday my husband, Joe, and our two middle boys were in a field behind our house.  They were getting a goat ready to give to a friend. Biscuit was playing in the front yard. Our daughter was in the house helping me with supper.  They knew that after a little while all four children were going to walk their goats together.

Our local fair is next week so the goats are being walked daily now...learning to lead.  Without any help and without any of his siblings or his daddy around, Biscuit went out to the goat pen.  He caught his goat, "Mouse" and put a halter on her.  He walked Mouse up and down the field and set her up - all by himself.  First time ever.

My husband happened to look towards the goat pens, which were at the end of the field, and saw what Biscuit was doing.  He couldn't believe that Biscuit had actually caught the goat, plus haltered it and done everything he was supposed to.  He was very proud of Biscuit.  In fact, we were all very proud of Biscuit.

And then there was today.  What a difference a day makes!

Today Joe told all of our children to go walk their goats.  Biscuit became unhappy.  He wanted to play.  His older brother heard him say (as he went to get his shoes), "Who cares about that stinkin' goat?  I would rather show an alligator!".

So what made the difference between yesterday and today?  Attitude.  Biscuit's attitude was different yesterday because he had played outside a lot with his brothers.  Today the older brothers had been gone most all of the day with me.  Biscuit had stayed with our daughter, Lauren, and although they played together, the play time was different.  So this afternoon Biscuit wasn't "played out" and his attitude was different.

Do you ever have those days when something is fine and then the next day it isn't?  I sure do!  When were tired, hungry, concerned, rushed, etc.....our attitude can change in a flash!  But, we have to learn to control our attitudes, no matter how we may feel.  We still have to do what needs to be done, so it's our attitude that must change.
Don't worry.  Biscuit didn't get off the hook.  He had to go walk Mouse and we didn't give in to his desire to get an alligator!  Wonder what he'll say tomorrow?

Going and going and going and going.....

Yeah.  You know him.  He's the Energizer Bunny.  You may even feel like him sometime....going and going and going and .....  I know I do! Most likely, you do, too.

My husband, Joe, received Mr. E. Bunny as a gift from his boss Monday morning because the boss knew Joe had just been through an extremely busy weekend.  Joe brought Bunny home for the kids to see.  I'm not sure if he'll live here or be taken back to Joe's work, but the cute little thing deserved a blog post, don't you think??

With many schools around here starting this week and next week - plus all over the country beginning within the next few weeks - many of us will have to get in "Energizer Bunny" mode. The lazy days of summer are quickly coming to an end and, to be quite honest, I don't like it!  I like the summer schedule, which isn't much of a schedule at all (for us. anyway).

But, reality will soon face myself and many of you and that hectic school schedule will resume.  So, how do we get through the hectic times?  How do we recharge our batteries?  Or, how do we keep our batteries from being dead?

First of all, we must realize that our power comes from above.  God will help us if we ask him.  He will give us strength.  All other sources of power or strength that we think we can get from other sources will not last.  Only a faith in God will give an unlimited supply of power.  It will recharge our batteries in a way that nothing else can compare.

Secondly, we must follow Jesus and strive to imitate Him.  Jesus did so much during His ministry and all of those things serve as an example for us to follow, but He also took the time to recharge His batteries.  Jesus took time to rest.  Sometimes He had to go away from crowds to get that needed rest, didn't He?  We need to rest, too.  We're not living our best when we're all worn out.

Third, we must pray.  Sometimes it's hard to even know just what it is we should be praying for....maybe the situation is too difficult and we aren't sure what the right answer would be.  At those times, especially, we should rely on the Holy Spirit which dwells within us, as Christians.  The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes and helps us when we have times of not knowing exactly how to pray.

And lastly, we must take the time to meditate on His Word.  God's Word will provide an instant recharge to dead spiritual batteries.  His Word will provide guidance, comfort, peace, and encouragement in any situation we may be facing.

So, when you find yourself going and going and going and going....what are you gonna do?
1.  Get power from God.
2.  Rest like Jesus did!
3.  Pray with help from the Holy Spirit.
4.  Meditate on God's Word

And there you are - recharged!  Mr. Energizer Bunny won't have anything on you!

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Funny Thing

I was cleaning off my desk and found some little poems and sayings that were my Grandma Sibyl's.  Thought I would share one of them with you for today!

A FUNNY THING
Author Unknown

It is a funny thing, but true,
That folks you don't like, don't like you;
I don't know why this should be so,
But just the same I always know
If I am "sour" friends are few;
If I am friendly, folks are, too.
Sometimes, I get up in the morn
A-wishing I was never born;
I make of cross remarks a few,
And then my family wishes, too,
That I had gone some other place
Instead of showing them my face.
But let me change my little "tune",
And sing and smile, then pretty soon
The folks around me sing and smile;
I guess 'twas catching all the while.
Yes, 'tis a funny thing, but true,
The folks you like all sure like you.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Feed Them Pizza and They Will Come

No, really, I think they would have come anyway....but food and teens seem to go together!
Tonight the youth group came over to our house after evening services.  They played volleyball, baseball, football, and basketball.  Some just visited.  And, of course, they ate!
We ended the evening with singing and my husband, Joe, gave a devotional thought and our youngest son, Tyler said the ending prayer.  What a great evening!  What a great group of teens!

Friday, August 6, 2010

What Do You Do When You Don't Know What To Do?


Note:  This post is borrowed, with previous permission, and received via email from A Norvell Note.  It's a great lesson for all of us.

  
A Norvell Note
Vol. 13 No. 31  August 2, 2010
What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What To Do?
What do you do when you don’t know what to do? 
You are awakened in the middle of the night by a strange sound. What do you do? 
The lab reports from the doctor come back and they are not what you had hoped for. What do you do?
You get a notice that your job must make some tough decisions and your job is one of the ones being eliminated. What do you do?
You receive a notice from the bank that your account is overdrawn...again. There is no money to deposit. What do you do?
You have called your son’s cell phone for three or four days and still no answer. It’s not like him to ignore your calls. You are beginning to fear the worst. What do you do?
When things are not going well, when life is tough, and when things are not turning out the way you had hoped they were supposed to do, our tendency is to react, to try to fix it, or to resort to our own resources. When things are not going the way we want we assume that we have done something wrong, or someone is out to get us, or that God has forgotten us. When life is not treating us like we think it should be, we may even begin to think that God is not good. 
So, what can we do?
Here’s one suggestion: Be still. Stop as much of the activity as you can. Be quiet. Back off making decisions. Be quiet and listen to what God is saying to you. Remember that God is good. 
Be still and read Psalm 46.
1 God is our refuge and strength, 
       an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
       and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
       and the mountains quake with their surging.        
Stop, be quiet, remember that God is good, and listen to what He is saying.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
       the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
       God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
       he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
       the God of Jacob is our fortress.        
Stop, be quiet, remember that God is good, and listen to what He is saying.
8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
       the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
       he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
       he burns the shields [b] with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
       I will be exalted among the nations,
       I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
       the God of Jacob is our fortress.       
Stop, be quiet, remember that God is good, and listen to what He is saying.
What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Stop, be quiet, remember that God is good, and listen to what He is saying.
Tom
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2010. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

WHAT'S YOUR STATUS?

If you're on Facebook, you're all familiar with status.  It used to be that status was where you would write your thoughts, but now that place says "what's on your mind".  Status now (and on some forms that we all have to fill out) refers to your relationship with a significant other. 

Teenagers, as well as many adults, put great pride into their status, enjoying being able to put "IN A RELATIONSHIP" instead of "SINGLE".  Unfortunately, sometimes the status changes from "IN A RELATIONSHIP" or "MARRIED" or "ENGAGED" to "SINGLE".  There is something about having a relationship with someone - whether young teens who are just beginning to date, an engaged young man and woman, a newly married husband and wife, or even with those of us who have been married a long time (yes, 22 years is a long time!).  We like that feeling of having someone...of not being alone.  I can't imagine how it would be to have to fill out a form that says "WIDOWED" for the first time.  Our statuses change.

But, there is a status that is much more import than any Facebook information list and more important than any form we may fill out.  WHAT'S YOUR STATUS WITH JESUS?  Would he list you as "IN A RELATIONSHIP" with Him???? 

In all of the relationships we can have, our relationship with Jesus is more important than that of any other.  It's not enough just to know who He is and believe that He is God's Son and be baptized, although all of those things are extremely important. But our status with Jesus doesn't stop at any of those moments. They are just the beginning of that new relationship.  It doesn't end...it's a continual thing.

So, what else must we do to keep that "IN A RELATIONSHIP" status?

WE MUST ABIDE IN HIM
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  John 15:4-5

WE MUST STRIVE TO IMITATE HIM
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1
 
WE MUST FOLLOW HIM
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. 1 Peter 2:21-22
 
WE MUST SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (Note:  to find out what "things will be given" read all of Matthew 6.)
 
What's your status with Jesus?  Only you and God can answer that!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How is your breath?

Is it fresh-smelling?  Do you have that yucky morning breath?  Fresh-smelling breath is something we all want to have (or at least I hope all of us want to have it!  I have a child that doesn't seem to care, but we're working on that.

Today I want you to think about your breath - but not in the physical sense.  I want you to take the time to analyze your spiritual breath.  

The Latin word for spirit is spiritus - meaning breath.  Your spirit is who we are - your feelings, your emotions, your thoughts, your words, your actions.  You can do a lot of things with your spirit.  Your spirit will have an effect on people.  Sometimes that effect will be positive and sometimes it will be negative.  From time to time you and I should analyze our spiritual breath and see the affect it is having on others.

Let's look at ways your spiritual breath can affect others:

1.  Your breath can inspire:
The word inspire means "to breathe into".  When you inspire someone you have a positive effect on them.  You do this by encouraging them, by helping them, by influencing them in a positive way.  Maybe you inspire them to hang in there and not to quit when there is something difficult happening in their life.  Maybe you set a good example for them or listen to them.  Maybe you make them feel like they are important by your caring spirit.  

How is your breath?  Does it inspire?

2.  Your breath can expire:
The opposite of inspire is expire.  Expire means to take breath away.  What you have a negative effect on someone, it's as if you are taking their breath away.  You've deflated them in some way - by your harsh words, by your inconsiderate actions, by your negligent behavior.  Maybe you make others feel small and unimportant.  Maybe you ignore their feelings.  Whatever it is, the effect of your breath causes them to expire...it takes their breath away.  It takes their spirit away.

How is your breath?  Does is expire?

3.  Your breath can transpire:
The suffix trans means to cross over, so transpire means breathe or spirit that crosses over.  When your breath transpires, you not only inspire the person, but it also causes them to act in a way that changes them.  The person now will use their own breath to inspire others.  We use the word transpire to mean that something happens.  When your breath transpires, it causes someone to change.  It causes a reaction....a positive reaction.

How is your breath?  Does it transpire?

4.  Your breath can perspire:
We all know what it means to perspire.  It means to sweat!  If our breath is causing others to perspire, we've got problems, don't you think???  As the words inspire and transpire can go together, the words expire and perspire can also go together.  When you walk into a room, does it breathe air into or take breath away?  We probably all know of someone who can change the whole atmosphere when they walk into a room.  They're negative, complaining, discontent, "weaned-on-lemons" attitude causes a very negative reaction from those who are around them.

So, how is your breath?  Is it morning breath (expire, perspire) or just-brushed-fresh (inspire, transpire)?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rock a Bye Baby

In late June, I became a great aunt for the very first time. It's so exciting!  Just holding little Levi and having him as a new addition to our family is such a blessing.  It's made me want to have my own children small again ...just so I could rock them and watch them sleep.  Such fun and sweet memories.  Sadly, they're growing up way too quickly.  Oh well,  I can look forward to rocking my grandchildren!

Sunday night I got to hold a little baby during our evening worship service.  Lane is one of the quads I mentioned in this post five months ago.  They live in Kansas,  but were in Tipton for a visit and everyone was so excited about them being there. Three other ladies also held babies during the lesson, plus there were a few of our own.  Hearing the babies jabbering all around the auditorium was so sweet!  (On a side note, when the four babies were brought in to the foyer in their car seats, our youngest, Tyler said, "Mom, can we buy one?".  He really wants a baby!)

Note from Lori: The following is from the archives of "Shine Like Stars".  I first posted it one year ago, on August 3, 2009.  It's about our son, Caleb, who was stillborn.  I am reposting this because it might help someone who has lost a child.

Eleven years ago, our daughter started to Kindergarten. Her P.E. teacher was expecting a baby, but about five months she went into preterm labor. The little girl was born alive, but passed away a few hours later. I thought to myself, "That would be the hardest thing to go through".

That next summer, my sister had her first child, a little boy. While we were at the hospital visiting, there was a huge family out in the waiting room. Many of the family members were crying. We found out that the full term baby they were waiting on had died. Their family member was delivering a baby that wasn't alive. I thought to myself, "That would be the hardest thing to go through."

A few years later, in the spring of 2001, a friend told me of a family with four children who lived in West Texas. One of their children was swimming in a neighborhood pool and accidentally drowned. She had heard from a friend of hers about the little boy's funeral. Those in attendance were given helium-filled balloons that were released at the end of the memorial service. My friend, who had a little brother pass away when she was little, always remembered blue carnations from his funeral. She talked about how that visual memory was still so vivid in her mind. We both talked about children and death and how that would be "the hardest thing" as a parent, but how it might help in the grieving process to make the service "personalized" in some way. I really liked the balloon idea and told her so.

At that time, we had three living children, ages 7, 5, and 3, and we were expecting the fourth child - due December 12, 2001. The same doctor had delivered the first three children, but he had "retired" from delivering at that time, so I had to change to a new one. The new doctor was nice, but not as personal. He had a more military-style demeanor that I wasn't really used to, but he seemed very thorough. At one appointment, the nurse took some blood and later mentioned that it was some kind of test for abnormalities. I had never done any of those kinds of tests before. I never wanted to because I knew I wouldn't do anything if something happened to be wrong with one of our babies. Healthy or unhealthy, disabled or not - it wouldn't matter to us. But, the test was done and I didn't realize what was being done until afterwards. I thought, "Oh, well. It won't matter. It's just a test."

We went out of town on a business trip vacation for a week, but when we arrived back home, I had a message from the doctor. They needed me to call for an appointment. I did and was told that the alpha fetal protein level was higher than normal and I needed to go in for more testing. I was transferred to a doctor who specialized in problem pregnancies and was to see her the next day.

The morning before that appointment, I sat down to pray and read the Bible. I randomly opened it to a passage. I'm not sure which book (it could have been one of four) in the Old Testament I turned to, but I know that the first thing I saw was the name, "Caleb". We weren't sure if we were having a boy or a girl, but we knew if it was a boy, the middle name would for sure be "Trent". We had been thinking of Caleb for the first name.

Joe and I went to the appointment and Dr. "L" did some tests. During that appointment, because of the longer ultrasound needed to check for problems, we went ahead found out that we were having a little boy. We were excited! Our family would be one girl, then three boys. (Our daughter cried. She was wanting a sister!) Everything seemed fine to Dr. "L", but she told us that with the AFP level being abnormal, the chances of the baby being born with some sort of defect was almost certain. We were concerned, of course, but knew everything would be okay, even if our baby had a disability. We were prayerful that everything would be okay. The next appointment was scheduled for a month later, on August 2.

On the Sunday evening of July 28, our young adult group from church had a devotional. At the end of the devotional, a special prayer was said for us, for our baby, and for his health. That was such a special time being with Christian friends and knowing they were praying about our precious little one and for God to strengthen us for what we were going to be facing in the next few months.

All summer long I had been craving BLT sandwiches. It was a strange craving to me! Different from the watermelon (#1), milk shakes/ice cream (#2), and Chinese food (#3) that were cravings the first three times! At 20 1/2 weeks, I had gained a lot more weight with this pregnancy that I had with any of the other three. I also didn't feel quite as good, but thought that was more because of the extra weight and the fact that I was older.

The week of that appointment the kids and I went to Edmond, OK, to stay with my husband's brother and our sister-in-law and their kids. I noticed that week that I hadn't felt the baby move as much and even commented about it to a friend who stopped by to visit while we were there. On the day of August 2nd, the kids and I loaded up the van. We were headed home, but stopping in Lawton for my checkup. The kids were hungry, so we stopped at Sonic for lunch. Since I had been craving BLT's for a while, I ordered one, but noticed something strange - I wasn't craving them. I just ordered it because I had been eating them lately.

We drove about an hour to the doctor's appoint. My husband met me there and my mom also came and took the kids shopping during the appointment. The nurse began to do the normal things before the doctor came in. As she tried to check the babies heartbeat, she couldn't detect it. She tried again. Still nothing. She left. They moved me to another room to do an ultrasound. Dr. "L" checked for a heartbeat and movement. Nothing. She told me she there was no heartbeat. I said, "I'm not surprised."

Just to be certain, Dr. "L" ordered an amniocentesis. It proved what she thought and what we also believed. Our little baby had died. At 20 1/2 weeks, our precious little boy was gone. And then I realized something that had been a fear of mine...something that I never thought I could ever do: I was going to have to delivery a baby that wasn't alive.

Dr. "L" wanted me to take a day or two and go home. She said I could come back when I was ready and be admitted to the hospital for the delivery. I didn't want to wait. I wanted to go to the hospital right then. As strange as it seems, it was like I had been preparing for that day - or rather GOD had been preparing me for that day - for a long time.

We called my mom and she brought the kids to us. We talked to them and told them what was going on. She took them home with her and she and my dad took care of them during that time. Our preacher and his wife came to the hospital and stayed with us the entire time. They helped us so much and it was comforting to have someone there with us during the hours we were waiting for the delivery to begin. We all cried together and at times we were even able to laugh together. When little Caleb Trent was delivered, it was very, very different than from all the other births, of course. He was stillborn on August 3, 2002. He was so tiny - only 10 ounces. He was tiny, but very perfect. In fact, he looked like our youngest son, Jacob.

The only thing that the doctor noticed was that the umbilical cord was small. In fact, at the end by his tummy, it was only about the diameter of a toothpick. She explained that there are amniotic bands, which are kind of like rubber bands. Occasionally those bands wrap around fingers, hands, arms (see this post for more about amniotic band problems concerning our nephew). Sometimes the bands sever a digit. It appeared that the amniotic band wrapped around the umbilical cord, restricting the food supply and eventually cutting it off completely.

After the delivery, the four of us had a prayer together over our son. Our friends left. I know they must have been exhausted. The hospital staff made this extremely difficult time very special for us in many ways. They gave us lots of time to hold Caleb. They filled a little sea shell with plaster Paris and made a cast with Caleb's hand prints and footprints. An organization provides a little gown for stillborn babies and he was dressed in the gown. The nurses took pictures for us and gave us the disk. I hadn't seen those pictures since that time until a few weeks ago. I was looking in a drawer for something and came across two pictures. My daughter was sitting there and I said, "Those pictures are of Caleb." She said, "I don't want to see them, Mom." Maybe someday she will, but maybe not. It's okay if she never does.

The next few hours were extremely difficult. It was hard to let him go when the man from the funeral home came. I was suppose to carry my baby out of the hospital, not someone else. The nurses couldn't understand how we were so strong while waiting for the delivery. They were expecting us to be unable to cope, I suppose. Then after delivery, they were so careful when I was moved to the post-partum room. They didn't want us to hear the bells ring when a baby was born. They didn't want us to hear babies crying. But, we wanted to and we told them so! We wanted to know that babies were being born alive and healthy! It didn't cause us pain. It gave us hope!

The first place we went after we left the hospital was Walmart. I don't remember why, but I did want to buy a little tiny baby doll. I wanted it to show our children about how small Caleb was. I thought it would help them understand just how tiny and fragile he was. Purchasing that doll was extremely hard. Being in Walmart itself was hard.

The next difficult thing was going to the funeral home. The man who helped us with the planning also went to church with us, so it was difficult for him, too. I remember saying to him, "I can't believe I am sitting here doing what I'm doing." After that, I busied myself with planning the service. I've mentioned in a previous post how I've thought about my own funeral. This service, as short as it was, was very planned. It helped me to plan it - that's just my personality. I felt like I was doing something for my child as his mother. It was something I needed to do for me.

Caleb Trent's memorial service was held on Monday, August 6. We had a grave-side service followed by a family meal, which provided by our church family. The cemetery plot we chose had a mimosa tree across from it, which provided shade on that morning. Our children were given helium-filled balloons, which were released at the end of the service.

During that time, God proved to me (even more) that His promises are true. He showed me that I could get through something that I feared before, something that I thought I could never be able to go through. But, I was only able to go through what I did because of the strength He gave me.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1

In March of 2002, we found out we were expecting again. The baby was due in December, just as Caleb had been. It was a perfect pregnancy without complications. Tyler James (a.k.a. Biscuit) was born on December 5th, 2002, healthy and perfect.

We all look forward to seeing Caleb Trent again some day in Heaven, but for now we know he is healthy and happy and whole. God's plan for Caleb was different than what I had planned. But, God is in control and I'm not. And, unlike before, I don't ever think about what I "could never handle" or what would be the "hardest thing to go through". God is able to give me the strength that I could never have on my own and for that, I'm extremely grateful.

Join us for Gratituesday at  Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Dedication

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


Biscuit plays some sort of a ball game every day. Those of you who know him well or have read this blog long already know this fact. Currently Biscuit's daily games are baseball games - Texas Ranger baseball games, in particular.

Biscuit is dedicated to his make-believe pro-baseball career. He has a manager and a coach - usually his brother, Jacob. In this picture, you can see that Jacob is interviewing Biscuit. It had something to do with the recent All Star game, which is why Biscuit it all decked out in his suit instead of his baseball duds. You can't see it, but he's barefoot. That's most likely because he couldn't find his black dress shoes (as was the case this Sunday morning as he was getting dressed for worship.)


So, several weeks have passed since that "interview".  Last week, during my husband's vacation, we were able to attend a few Ranger's games, and of course, Biscuit has had lots of fun watching the game.  He takes it all in - every bit of it.  He's dedicated to the sport and to playing it just like the pros.

And....part of the fun of pro-baseball is the fun times the teammates have together.  The Rangers seem to have a lot of fun in the dugout and at other times, as well. There's a special thing they do after wins (maybe just at home games).  They fill a plate full of shaving cream and smear it in face of the "hero" of that particular game.  Biscuit and his brothers think that part is soooooo funny!  They enjoy seeing it on TV after the games.

Sunday afternoon, after the boys played their game Zachary interviewed Biscuit  (apparently Biscuit was the hero).  During the interview Jacob smeared Cool Whip all over Biscuit's face - at Biscuit's request!  Dedication.

Cool Whip.  Much more tasty than shaving cream!

Lots and lots of giggles - from all three boys!
Biscuit is dedicated.  He takes his make-believe pro-baseball career serious (perhaps too serious, at times). He's dedicated to something that is fun for kids and fun for he and his brothers (and sister, too, sometimes.)  He's dedicated to something that is part real and part make-believe, but it's still a dedication.  And, yes, sometimes it borders on the extreme and we have to gently guide him to remind him that it is all just for fun and that life isn't all about baseball. 

But, even though Biscuit's dedication is about something that's all in play, I still admire the way he acts about it.  He spends time getting prepared for the game, making lines and dugouts, gathering his equipment, getting his clothes just right, and making out his schedule and his lineup.  To him it's a job!  He works hard and strives to do his best.

Yes, Biscuit is dedicated.

What about you?  What are you dedicated to?  All of us are dedicated to something.  Hopefully it's to something more than just a make-believe baseball game.  But hopefully....prayerfully....it's doing whatever we're doing with a dedication that we are striving to glorify God.  That we are dedicated in our service to Him and that we are dedicated to living for Jesus.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17
 
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