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Monday, February 28, 2011

Locked In

This is a post just for fun - at the expense of two of my children and my husband (Don't worry...all three know it's being written!).  Some things are just so funny and odd, that you just have to laugh about them, even if they're not funny at the moment.

Saturday evening I made a cherry cobbler.  As soon as it was out of the oven, one of the kids mentioned that we might need more ice cream.  I asked our daughter and oldest son to go to the local convenience store (which thankfully sells our favorite - Blue Bell ice cream!) to get some.  Another son was helping his grandmother with a bulletin board at the church building, so it was just our youngest son, my husband and I at home. 

Minutes passed by and the two oldest still hadn't come back from the store.  I thought that it was taking a while, but just decided they were going slow and being careful - a good thing for a new driver.  But, then the minutes became several minutes - 30 minutes.  My husband tried calling our daughter's cell, but she didn't answer.  He wasn't very happy that she didn't have it with her.  I figured they didn't think about it since they were just going to be gone for a few minutes.  (We live in a town of less than 900 people....it doesn't take long to go anywhere!) Neither of us were very happy that they had been gone so long.

Since it was taking so long, I decided to go ahead and get in the shower thinking that they would be out when I was done.  As I showered, my mind shifted from being kind of aggravated about them taking so long to worry about WHY they might still be gone.  All sorts of terrible thoughts ran through my mind:  maybe the convenience store was robbed and they were in there hoping we'd come looking for them.....maybe they broke down or had a flat or even a wreck....maybe someone kidnapped them.......  As soon as I got out of the shower I told my husband I was going to look for them.  It had been 45 minutes then!

As I went out the door to get in the vehicle, I looked and saw the car my daughter typically drives.  I figured they had taken my husband's pickup, but it was there, too.  My heart sank, but just then I looked in the pickup.  There were our oldest two children sitting in the pickup with their mouths visibly yelling something and their arms flinging around.  I couldn't figure out what was wrong, but walked closer to the pickup.  They were locked inside the pickup and had been for 45 minutes!

I know it sounds strange and it is......  In fact, it's kind of straight from a "you might be a redneck if...." joke.

Apparently my husband's pickup doors get stuck and the windows have to be rolled down to open the doors.  I had heard that the passenger door was messed up, but had no idea both doors were bad.  But, the problem was that when the kids got into the pickup, not thinking about getting the key off the key holder. (She probably had her car key in her purse, but doesn't keep a pickup key.)  They couldn't roll down the windows and open the doors because they didn't have the key.  So, again understand....they were locked inside the pickup for 45 minutes. They had honked and honked and flashed their lights on and off, but we couldn't see it or hear it at all.  Surprisingly, they were pretty calm....but they were very relieved that I had come out looking for them!

Let's just say that mama wasn't happy right then that her "babies" (even if they are 16 and 14 they're still my babies!) had been locked in a vehicle for 45 minutes.  And let's just say that daddy didn't see it the same way.  No.  He couldn't understand why the daughter didn't have her cell phone with her.  He was thinking logically.  Mama was thinking with her heart!  Mama wasn't happy.  At all.....

Well, moments went by and all mama could think of was "if this was a goat's pen door or a pig's pen door or a calf's pen door these doors would have been fixed."  But, mama didn't say what she was thinking.  In fact, she didn't have to say it.  Daddy figured out soon that the doors were really desperately needing to be fixed without mama having to say that.

Daddy apologized about not getting the doors taken care of and the pickup has an appointment (tomorrow, I think) to be fixed.  Yeah, Daddy!  Mama did share her thoughts about the doors on the pens for the animals a few days later when the story was funny.....but not in anger at the moment of the "lock in".  Aren't you proud of me??? We all laughed about it....a few days later!

Seriously, I didn't think I would blog about this story.  I was sooooo upset that night.  Thankfully the weather wasn't too hot or too cold.  Thankfully the two teens had discussed that if they had to wait too much longer they could always break a window to get out.  They had looked around for tools in the vehicle that would have worked.  Thankfully they didn't have to do that and thankfully nothing more serious happened.  And, thankfully, after I rescued them, the convenience store was still open and they had time to go get the Blue Bell! :)

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful that this story had a happy ending and one that we could laugh at a few days later!  Join us for Gratetuesday on Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Gettin' Into Trouble

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

This morning Biscuit was getting his clothes ready for Sunday Bible class and worship.  I ironed his shirt and he put it on.  He put his pants on. Then, I told him to go find his socks, shoes and belt.  He replied, "This is the part where I always get into trouble," and headed the other direction.

My husband and I laughed about Biscuits statement.  It was funny how he said it, but it is also funny because it's so true.  We were also pleased because Biscuit admitted there was a problem.  The first step of dealing with a problem is admitting that there really is one, right?  Biscuit realized the problem he had - and consistantly has - with Sunday socks, shoes, and belt. 

I thought about Biscuit's response and how he knew that there were three things that would "get him into trouble", meaning they would cause him trouble for not finding them.  What are some things in my life that I know will get me into trouble?  What are some things in your life that you know will get you into trouble?  Bring it a little more personal.....what is it that tempts me to sin?  What tempts you to sin?

Maybe gossip is my problem.  Maybe there is a certain person - that when I am around he/she - I will be tempted to gossip.  Is it safe to assume that this person is someone that may "get me into trouble"?  Perhaps I'm an alcoholic and I've gone through the steps to stay sober and have stayed that way for a while.  Now, what if a group of friends invite me to go with them to a club or a party and there will be drinking?  Should I go?  Is there a possibility that this is where I'm going to "get into trouble"?  I would think it would be a huge possibility, wouldn't you?

Satan will use whatever he can to tempt us.  He will use things.  He will use pleasure.  He will use people.  He will use power and prestige.  He will tempt us for the rest of our lives.  But, Satan cannot make us sin.  God doesn't allow him that power, just as God doesn't make us follow Him.  But, God gives us a way out and a way out - a way to not sin when we are tempted. 

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

Biscuit faced his challenge this morning and found his "trouble".  He found his socks, shoes, and belt. He had some help finding the socks from one of his brothers. 

When facing our own "troublesome" situations, we can accept the challenge, too.  We can accept it by knowing that we have a helper.  God is there and ready to help us resist and escape.  We don't have to face "trouble" alone!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Treasures from the Past

I'm very sentimental when it comes to certain things, such as pictures, letters, or things that involve my family now or those who have passed on.  Yesterday, as I was looking around the house for some missing personal documents, I came across an envelope that said, "Keep - Wedding Ceremony".  I recognized it to be my maternal Grandpa's writing. 

Grandpa had done part of our wedding ceremony in 1988, and I could tell that it was his typed-out portion of the wedding vows. There was also a copy of the very detailed wedding "schedule" I had made (Yes, at 19 years old I was my own wedding planner before I ever knew there were wedding planners.) I vaguely remembered finding the wedding envelope in a drawer in Grandpa's house after he passed away.

As I dug deeper into the envelope, I found some other papers that I had no idea were there.  There was a small calendar from the grocery store he and Grandma owned for 30 plus years in Hollis, OK.  It was from the year, 1969, and had never been used.  That was the year I was born!  Apparently he and Grandma had kept it for me, but I never knew about it!

I opened up another letter, written in cursive.  It was actually two letters and I guess they had stapled them together and kept them for me, yet never said anything about them. These letters were written by me, and I'm assuming I was in 3rd or 4th grade, just since it was in cursive and because of some of the things I said.

My own children have gotten a kick out of hearing what I wrote in the letters to my grandparents.  They think it's pretty neat for me to have found something from my childhood.  I do, too!  I'm so glad they kept that letter and that I'm reading it all these years later.

Letters from the past are certainly a treasure, aren't they? They connect us to people.  They help us remember things from the past.  They contain memories about special people and special events.

Actually, we all have a letter from the past that is a treasure.  Do you know what it is?  The Bible!  It's from the past, but it's God's letter to us for the present and for the future.  The problem is that sometimes we're not quite as excited about the Bible as we are a letter from a friend or loved one.  Sometimes we don't have the same feeling about digging into God's Word as we do digging into other things.

Finding that letter that I wrote years ago is special to me and I'll treasure it always....but, may I treasure the Bible - God's letter to me even more so.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chips and Boulders

I'm sure you've heard the saying about someone having a "chip on their shoulder".  By definition, it describes people "who nurse a grudge or grievance which readily provokes fury or disputation". 

In reality we would think of someone who is feeling sorry for themselves or someone who seems to be mad at the world.  These kinds of people aren't fun to be around.  Instead of lighting up a room when the enter it, they dim it.  Instead of being a "breath of fresh air" to the lives of others, they suck all of the air out. 

Eventually, if a chip is left too long, it becomes a boulder on the shoulder.  The weight of the boulder gets heavier and heavier the longer it stays.  While it was a chip and was smaller, it would have been easier to manage or knock off.  So, what can you and I do if we first recognize that we have a chip on our shoulder?

  We can quit looking at our shoulder.  We can quit looking at the chip.  We can quit looking inward.
Instead, we have to look upward.  We have to look to God. We must pray to God. 
He'll help us knock that chip off the shoulder!

We can C.H.I.P: 
Can Hurry Into Prayer

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Psalm 17:6

Hooked on Words

Recently my children would laugh any time someone used the word focus.  I eventually had to put a stop to the laughter when I began seeing them look at each other and almost break out in hysteria when the preacher would happen to use the word - which sometimes the preacher was their daddy!

I asked about why the word "focus" was so funny.  They explained that one of their teachers, Mr. G.,  would use that word a lot and always had hand motions to go with the word.  His hands would be on either side of his head and as he said the word, he would thrust his hands forward, thus causing laughter (hopefully contained laughter) from his students. I kind of get the humor in that, don't you??

This whole scenario made me think of my own school days.  In 6th grade, my three best friends and I sat in four seats on the two back rows of math class.  The teacher called us the "four corner girls".  He used the word "simply" all of the time.  In fact, we began to keep track of how many times a day he used it.  My mom happened to teach on the other end of the school - the grade school end (it was a very small school - K through 12th grade in one building - end to end.).  I had told my mom about how we were keeping track of Mr. M and apparently she mentioned to him - all in fun, I'm sure.  One day, as he lectured and used his favorite word, 'simply', Mr. M asked us, "Girls, did you get that one?"  We we shocked and embarrassed!  He knew we were counting his uses of  'simply'!  It seems like after that we didn't count as much any more.  Maybe he didn't use it as much any more, either.

Do you ever get hooked on words?  Certain words?  I think we probably all do at times.  My children point out to me if I over-use a word.  I think the last one they mentioned was "really"!  Really?  Do I really use 'really' that often??? :)

Jesus seemed to be hooked on a certain word in the Bible.  I think it seems like Jesus was hooked on the word 'love', don't you?  But, I don't think Jesus would be laughed at for using the word 'love' so much.  I don't think he would be mocked by demonstrating how to love.  I don't think a tally would have been kept on how many times he used the word.  No, I think his abundant usage of the word, 'love', shows us just how important it is in our Christian walk.  Jesus himself is love.  He gave his whole life of service and then even his life in death - because of love.

What would the world be like if every one of us were hooked on the word 'love'?  Let's give it a try.  Let's, you and I:

SIMPLY (Mr. M's word)......FOCUS (Mr. G's word).........
ON LOVE (Jesus' word).

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' – Matthew 22:37-39

Monday, February 21, 2011

Do Not Fear

Sometimes we're afraid. 
God says, "Do not fear."
Sometimes we're scared. 
God says, "Trust in me.  I'm here for you."
     Sometimes we feel inadequate. 
God says, "Be strong. Have courage."
Sometimes we forget that God is bigger than any of our fears. 
God says, "Bring your troubles and fears to me. 
I can handle them."

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful that God can take away all of my fears.
Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Choices

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

Last night I was making homemade pizza for Biscuit, Lauren, and I.  I asked Biscuit if he wanted cheese, pepperoni, or beef pizza.  He replied, "I want pepperoni, but I would rather have cheese."  So, I asked again, but left out beef.  I asked, "So, do you want pepperoni or cheese?"  Again, Biscuit answered, "Mom, I said I want pepperoni, but I would rather have cheese."  I explained to Biscuit that I knew perfectly well what he said, but that it didn't make sense.  He just looked at me like I was crazy and like I was the one who had the problem with the pizza selection!

Sometimes in our life, with the choices we are faced with, we kind of sound like Biscuit.  We may say, "Well, I want to do this one thing, but I would rather do this other thing."  In other words, (not referring to pizza being right or wrong, of course!) maybe we know that this one thing is the better choice as a Christian, but maybe we want to do this other thing that maybe isn't as good of a choice for our Christian walk.

Choices are hard!  Some choices are trivial - like pizza preference - but others can have lasting and life-long consequences.  Some affect only us.  Some affect others, too.  Some even affect future generations.

So, how do we know what is the best choice?  How can we make more sense of a situation and the choices we have to make in each of those situations?  Biscuit ended up getting both kinds of pizza - well, all three choices in the end, but he didn't even realize that what he was saying didn't make sense!  It seemed clear as a bell to him!

Our choices may seem impossible to deal with, but God's written word can help in those situations.  We can look to the Bible for answers.  There's nothing new under the sun.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

Friday, February 18, 2011

BASKETBALL & OTHER HOOPLA

Our lives have been consumed with basketball for the past few months.  I don't mind, since it's one of my favorite sports, but my husband and children kind of get tired of being gone almost every night, running here and there from town to town and from game to game.

Junior High basketball ended their seasons a week or so ago.  Yesterday afternoon, our high school girls' season came to an end, after their second loss in the Regional Tournament.  They are understandably disappointed.  The high school boys lost, as well, but they get to play again tonight, and will continue to play until they lose again. Our youngest son is playing city-league basketball.  It's exciting!

It's really hard to not get all wrapped up in basketball, or any other sporting event (or ANY event, for that matter!) especially those of your children's.  It's exciting and it's fun!  But, yesterday, as I was listening to a game on the radio, I heard an advertisement from a church that brought all of that "hoopla" back down to where it should be:

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

So, yes, I will still cheer! Yes, I will still encourage the teams and players.  But, let me never forget that all of this "hoopla" is temporary.  None of it really matters.  The prizes, crowns, and awards received here on earth will all go away.  I want a crown that will last forever.  That's the crown I want for my children. Don't you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

FACE THE BOOK

Last year, during one of the weeks of summer Bible camp, one of the sessions had for their theme, "Face the Book".  It was a play on the social media mogul "Facebook", but actually meant to get the campers to "FACE THE BOOK"....the BIBLE.

I really liked that theme and have thought about Facebook's attributes and how it can relate to the life of a Christian.  Let's look at these findings:

facebook vs. FACE "THE" BOOK

THE CREATOR: Facebook was created by Mark Zuckerburg and some of his college buddies.  It has grown to where millions and millions (if not billions) of people are active users of the website.  The world, the animals, all of the people, and all of the beautiful things of nature - all of this was created by God.  Nothing and no one can compare to God.  Nothing or no one can compare to His awesomeness!

SIGNING UP/CONTRACTS: First of all, when you sign up join Facebook, you must put your real name (or it's supposed to be your real name).  To that, you add a password that is only for you to know.  It's like a contract between you and Facebook that you enter into when signing up.

When one becomes a Christian, he/she must be real. Being real is the only way one can come to Jesus. Being real as a Christian doesn't include signing up or joining.  God adds to the church those who are saved.  He writes the names of the saved in the book of life.  (see verses below.)And, instead of the password, think of this "contract" being a covenant - a promise - between you and God.  You've allowed Him to work in your life and started this wonderful walk as a Christian.

FRIENDS/BEING ADDED: The next thing a new Facebook user would do, is get "friends".  People can "add" you as a friend, too. As a Christian, you've already made a friend - the best friend you could ever have!  When you are a Christian, you are a friend of Jesus!  Can you invite other friends, like you do on Facebook?  Absolutely!  In fact, it's an obligation to God to tell others about Him and invite them to know Jesus as their friend, too.  But, it is God who does the adding, not us.  We can invite, but He adds.

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (verse 41) And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (verse 47b)
Acts 2:41, 47b

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21:27
STATUSES/NETWORKS: Facebook friends post statuses and comments.  Other friends can "like" those comments and statuses and post their own, too.  That's the whole point of the social media network - to connect with each other and learn more about each other.  The Christian's social network is the church.  When you and I choose not to gather together with other brothers and sisters in Christ, we are making the choice that can lead to discouragement in others.  Maybe for you missing an occasional gathering together doesn't seem to matter, but have you ever thought about how it affects your fellow Christians??

An example of this fact is this:  For the past two weeks, our elders have canceled mid-week Bible classes.  For my family, we still did our nightly devotional like we usually do.  Last Wednesday, we even invited people to our home to sing songs and pray together.  We still had the connection with fellow Christians.  But, I recall reading a few of the statuses on Facebook as they read about the cancelled services.  They were sad.  They were disappointed.  They were truly going to miss that mid-week "pick-me-up" and didn't want to miss it!  If I act like those times don't matter and if they indeed don't matter to me, what am I telling my Christian brothers and sisters?  What am I telling my children if that is my attitude?  Hmmmmm......

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another (underlined for emphasis)—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25
STATUSES/PRAYER: About those Facebook statuses.....many times they tell how we're feeling...what we're thinking....something that is bothering us.  Prayer with God is this way, too. In our prayers to God we can tell him exactly what we are feeling and what we are feeling.  We can ask for prayer requests on Facebook.  We can ask for help from God to make it through the day. We can talk to him, just like a friend.

STATUSES/RELATIONSHIPS: Probably one of the most amusing things about Facebook is seeing the relationship statuses of teenagers.  Daily many are in and out of relationships (like getting a new pair of shoes and throwing out the old ones!)  The down side of this is when an adults relationship status changes.  Some changes in relationships are really tough.  Some are heartbreaking.  There are good changes some times and bad changes at other times.  I've written about this before, but when we have Jesus in our lives, our status changes from unsaved to saved.  No other status is more important in our life.  What is your relationship status with Jesus?  It matters!

FANS/FOLLOWERS: Facebook has things called "pages" where one can become a fan of a business or a group.  Many in the world are fans of Jesus. They may talk about Him from time to time.  They may worship Him occasionally.  Being a fan of Jesus isn't necessarily bad, but, Jesus doesn't just want a "fan" that comes and goes. He doesn't want a fair-weathered-fan who is only interested in Him only at certain times...like when things are going bad.  He wants a follower who walks with Him...Every... Day.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
Luke 9:23

CONTACTS: Facebook is fun in lots of ways.  It's nice keeping in contact with friends in a way that otherwise wouldn't be possible.  But, Facebook is nothing compared to the Bible.  It's nothing compared to the relationships we have when we are bonded together through the blood of Christ. 

When we "Face that Book" - the Only Book that is the source for what is true and what is right, we'll get away from all of the worldly ideas of life.  We'll get away from the drama and insecurities. We'll get focused on what is real.  When we "Face THE Book", we'll be focused on God and on His Son Jesus.

Nothing. Else. Matters. 

Role Models

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.  For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
Philippians 3:17-19

When we think of role models, we think of those people who we look up to.  We think of people we admire and respect.  We think of those that set an example for us to follow and who portray values and virtues that should be imitated. Unfortunately, though, we live in a culture and society where there is a desperate need for good role models. 

The world gives us role models in the form of entertainers, musicians, sports stars, and movie/tv stars.  These individuals are held up on a pedestal for all to see.  It is great if these people set a good, positive example with their lives.  It is great to see someone with worldly success also be successful in living a good life, but is that the kind of role model we should want for our children?  I don't think so.

So, who should be our children's role models?

First of all, WE must be positive role models for our children.  A role model is someone who has a big influence in the lives of someone else.  As a parent, we certainly should have the biggest influence in the lives of our children, but that influence must be a positive one and one that glorifies God. 

God has given us children for a reason.  Children are a gift from God and, as parents, it is our God-given responsibility to teach them about Christ.  How they see God and how they see Jesus and His church is often a direct reflection of how we see these things. How they serve others, how they help the needy, how they worship - all of these things are modeled for them as they grow up in the home - and will be learned by example from you and from me.  If they are to be learned, it is up to me.  It is up to you.

Who else can be positive role models for our children?  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, all of these can be good, positive, Christian examples for our children.  The important thing is to never hold any person up to a standard and belief that they can never do anything wrong.  It's important to have those good role models, but if we lead our children to believe that any human is perfect, we are setting them and ourselves up for disappointment.

What we can teach them, though, is that Christ was perfect.  That only He lead a life that was totally sinless.  That only He can be held up on that highest pedestal for a role model.  But, we can also teach them that through His blood, and through our faith and trust in Him and what He can do, that we to can become a positive, Christian role model in the lives of others.  He is the author and perfecter of our faith.  What an important lesson to model to our children!

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Banquets - For the Young and Old and In-Between!

What a great weekend it was!  There were basketball games, a birthday party, my husband preached at the a.m. and p.m. service, and our annual Valentine's banquets for the Senior Saints and Teens took place Sunday, too.  A very busy, but great weekend!
Every year, on the Sunday before Valentine's Day, our adult Bible class hosts a Senior Saints' Banquet for the older members of our congregation.  This year, the banquet was decorated in red and white decor.  I had seen an idea for an ornament tree made from a tree branch in a Family Fun magazine. 
That picture became the inspiration for these Valentine trees, which were decorated with white doilies, red hearts, and vellum scriptures. (The clear glue stick showed, unfortunately, but it didn't look as bad as it does in the picture.). The branches were spray-painted white, then secured in glass vases with red tissue paper.
A red heart paper doily served as the place mat at each table setting.
 For a little fun, each Senior Saints filled out a questionnaire about themselves.  After the dinner, the answers were read aloud to the group.  Everyone guessed who the person was whose answers were being read.  It was a long of fun learning more about everyone! They also filled out a Bible Sweethearts Matching paper, matching men in the Bible, with their wives.
Although the "seniors" are served during this Valentine's meal every year, and they enjoy being treated in this way, I know that all of us who are younger and who are serving them, enjoy it just as much as they do!  It is a great event that all of us look forward to each year.
On the other end of the age spectrum, is the Annual Teen Valentine Banquet.  My husband and I host this event in our home - on the evening of the Senior Saints' Banquet each year.
  The menu is always the same:  Beef/Chicken Lasagna, Green Beans (Made with sugar this time, instead of Splenda), Semi Homemade Bread Sticks, Butterfinger Cake, and Chocolate Delight (The links will go to my recipe blog.  I will be posting larger servings for the lasagnas later this week.).  This year I "upped" the bread stick count to 144.  And guess what?  I didn't even get ONENOT ONE - not that I needed it, anyway!  Maybe next year I should make 200!? Something tells me they'll eat them all...no matter how many I make!
This year there were 32 teens, five adults, and two children served.  After the meal, the teens are divided up into four teams and participate in a scavenger hunt. One of the highlights of the hunt each year is having to bring someone new back to our house - someone that wasn't there before.  It's always fun to see who agrees to come!
 
To close out the evening, my husband has a short devotional thought, we sing a few songs, and end with a prayer. We've got a GREAT group of teens here in Tipton!

On this GRATITUESDAY, I am grateful for special times where we can treat others to a special meal.  Serving others is one of the ways we can "Shine Like Stars".

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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Part 2 - The Chronicles of Biscuit - Bread and Water

Read Part 1 here.

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

Well, if you remember my "Let it Snow!" post, I was all excited about our big snow storm coming.  We got several inches, but not as much as was expected; still, though, enough came down early in the morning that school was canceled and the kids were home all day.  But the day went from "Boys Just Wanna Have Fun" to "Boys Just Want to Argue"!

It was way too cold and windy to play in the snow yesterday, so the boys played in the house.  They also helped their sister and I clean and straighten the house for awhile.  Things would go smoothly with the boys' play time and then I would hear arguing.  I would put on my "referee" suit when needed, then all would be back to normal.

Later on in the afternoon, as I was cleaning in the kitchen, I knew Biscuit and one of his brothers were wrestling in the living room, but it wasn't too rough at the time, so didn't say anything. A little bit later I heard Biscuit crying and yelling that his brother had caused him to hit the edge of the ottoman. He was holding the left side of his forehead and eye area.  His glasses were off and he was holding his face.  I thought he'd hit his eye.  I'm very over-protective about his eyes, especially, because he has a history of glaucoma. 

Eventually he let me look at his eye and head and everything looked okay, though I know it must have hurt.  The brother explained that it wasn't on purpose and handed me Biscuit's glasses, which were all bent up.   I told the two boys that they couldn't play together the rest of the day (which only amounted to a couple of hours).   I was a little frustrated that all three had argued off and on all day, and although this problem was an accident, it was just the rough-housing getting too out of hand. And on top of that, now Biscuit's glasses were all messed up. 

I got the glasses screwdriver and some pliers and went to working on the glasses frames...trying to straighten them.  Then the lens popped out.  I could feel myself getting more and more frustrated!  And then, you will never guess what happened.  I heard Jacob yell at his brother, "Don't kick me!"  I jumped up and headed to the living room and asked what had happened.  Biscuit had gotten up out of the chair, walked over to Jacob and kicked him!!!  That is something that we just don't allow and I can't think of many times it's ever happened and now all of these things are happening in one day!!!

Back to the bedroom Biscuit and I went.  He received the spanking he most certainly needed and deserved. (Don't worry if you're not one who believes in spanking.  My children are very aware and totally understand the difference between spanking in relation to discipline and hitting/kicking/etc.)

Okay. Back to the glasses and frames.....I tried and tried to get the teeny, tiny little screw back into place, before finally realizing the screw had fallen out completely. 
Have you ever looked for a little teeny, tiny glasses frames screw? 
It was no where to be found.  So, my frustration grew even more as I realized I would be making an unplanned trip to Altus the next morning to get them fixed.  UUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!!

MOM NEEDED A TIME OUT!!!!! 
 
I'm not so sure they work for disciplining children, but they work wonders for moms!  I retreated to my bedroom and sat down at the computer desk.  I told the boys to begin taking their showers before their dad got home from work.  Although I would NEVER, EVER do this, I thought to myself, "If those boys argue one more time, I'm telling them that their supper is going to be bread and water!"  Take food away from my boys and you've got some really sad boys!  I kind of laughed inside thinking about the "prison" meal I'd thought of - yet would never have done.

Biscuit took his shower first - in the bathroom by our room.  Jacob went in to the bathroom for something and I heard the sweetest thing:  Biscuit said, "Jacob, I'm sorry I kicked you."  Wow!  An apology from Biscuit to his brother....all on his own!  Then Jacob said, "I'm sorry I pushed you." (My mind was thinking ....."PUSHED"....you said it was an accident and now you said pushed.....but my heart was still touched because they were apologizing to each other without any prodding from me).  Later all three of them apologized to me for the way they had argued throughout the day. (sweet)

As Biscuit got out of the shower, dripping wet, but with the towel wrapped all around himself, he came over to me crying.  He said, "Moooommmmm, would you be so kind to feed us supper?  Would you give us more than bread and water?"  I couldn't believe it!  Why would he have even asked a question like that?  And even more important, how did he know that the same little evil thought had entered my mind for a short second just minutes before?!

I really, really think God was working in that whole situation!!! 
I asked Biscuit today why he asked about bread and water.  Why would he have ever thought I would feed them that?  I've heard that prisoners eat it (don't know if it's true) but he doesn't watch anything that would have said anything like that.

He said, "That's just the worst meal I could ever think of!"

Little did Biscuit know that during his shower and immediately after my "bread and water" thought, I had texted their daddy and asked if he would take them to Sonic to eat after he got home.

I printed off some Sonic coupons, my husband took the boys to Sonic, Lauren worked in her room, and Mommy got her TIME OUT! :)

Note:  I found this verse, which is very fitting (and quite interesting!) in relation to this post:
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.
Proverbs 17:1

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Part 1 "Boys Just Wanna Have Fun"

Yes, I know that Cindi Lauper's song was "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", but so do boys, right?  Or so Biscuit told me last week.

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

Biscuit and his two brothers were playing outside last Friday. They were so excited because the snow had finally melted off of the driveway enough where they could play basketball.  Well, not long into the game, Biscuit came in crying.  He managed to get out of his mouth the fact that his brothers were making fun of him because he was crying getting beat.  I told Biscuit to remind the two brothers, that only last year did they stop crying about getting beat in Liverpool (a type of Rummy card game our family plays a lot) sometimes.  He was rather pleased with the ammunition he has to use against his brothers.  Apparently it worked because play time resumed.  I was pleased for the moment, as well.  I didn't even have to go outside and referee!

Not even fifteen minutes later, here came Biscuit again - CRYING!  This time one of the boys had hit him in hard with a snowball and it really hurt. This time mom was not so gentle.  This time mom HAD to be the referee.  Biscuit wears glasses.  The snowball could have hit his glasses and hurt them or hit his face.

I went outside and began scolding the brother who threw the snowball.  As I explained the problem - the head being hit, the glasses being hit, the eyes possibly being hit - the snowball-throwing brother began to explain the situation further.  Apparently he only threw the snowball because Biscuit had hit him in the head with one first.

"Oh, really?", I asked.  I turned my attention to Biscuit once again.  "You didn't tell me you hit Jacob in the head with a snowball first.  That's why he hit you, isn't it?", I asked.  Biscuit stammered through tears again and said, "Yeeeeahhhhhh....bbbbuuuttttt....we were just trying to have some fun!!" It was just pitiful and funny all at the same time!

I talked to them all a little bit about safety and getting along, then walked back towards the garage.  As I was going I began singing in my head, "Boys Just Wanna Have Fu-un".

I love my boys :).  They have fun and they are fun! 

Part 2 tomorrow: The Chronicles of Biscuit:  Bread and Water.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

(Okay, all of you Okies that are still out of school, work, the house, etc.....
from last weeks blizzard, please forgive me for this post :).
I just looked at the forecast for Tipton, Oklahoma, tomorrow night.  It's 100% chance for "wintry mix" tomorrow night and 60% chance for snow on Wednesday.  I am so, so excited!  In fact, I say, "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!"

Last week we received quite a bit of snow, the kids missed a few days of school, and we had heat, water, and electricity.....oh, and Paula Deen's recipe for Snow Ice Cream.  It was great!  We had a lot of fun!  But now, we're expecting even more snow in the next few days - something that is soooo rare for this part of Oklahoma.

Now, about my excitement.  Several years ago, it was predicted for our area to get 10 - 12 inches of snow.  I haven't seen that much snow (except in Colorado) since I was a kid.  In fact, I'm not sure I really ever did as a kid - maybe I was just little and it seemed like that much.  Well, anyway, I watched the radars online for DAYS waiting for that system to move in.  The night it was coming I stayed up into the wee hours of the night/next morning watching and waiting....so excited like a child the day before his/her birthday or Christmas!  Finally I made myself go to bed - knowing that when I woke up I would see 10 - 12 inches of beautiful white snow.  I couldn't wait to wake up the kids and let them see the blanket of white.

The next morning I woke up, put on my glasses and rushed to the window.  Guess what I saw?  Just a slight dusting of white all over our dead grass yard.  I was sooooo disappointed!  The snow had missed us!  It had gone north of us and we missed all but a tiny bit of that system.

Last week, when all of the weather predictions were coming in, I made myself stay calm.  If I would start to get all anxious and excited, I would think back to that disappointing time from a few years before.  But, to my surprise and great satisfaction, when we awoke last Tuesday morning, there was snow - and quite a bit of snow!  The first time I was anxious and it didn't happen.  The next time I wasn't anxious and it did happen. 

Is God trying to teach me a lesson????? 
Can I learn anything from these two extremes????

When I look at the radars and weather sites right now, it's really, really hard for me to not get overly excited and anxious about the possibility of lots of snow.  It's really hard for me to not be excited for the kids to maybe miss school Wednesday and we get to cook and play games and play in the snow all day.

But, when I think of God and His promises and His plan and His will for my life, I MUST remain calm. 
I MUSTN'T be anxious or worried about this possible snow, or no snow, or anything else for that matter.  When we're anxious, we're not putting our trust in God.  A harsh, but true fact.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

So, I say, "Let it snow!" but should add to that, "if it is your will, God."

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

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful to God for calming my anxious thoughts, for leading me in the way, if I'll submit to Him, and for His patience with me in all of these things.  To see what others are grateful for, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

are you an EN or a DIS?

Several years ago, on an early, sunny morning, I headed east towards Lawton.  The sun was just coming up and glaring me in the eyes, even though I was wearing sunglasses.  My cell phone rang and I quickly glanced at it, but couldn't tell who it was due to the sun.  I answered and a male voice on the other end said, "Don't worry.  It will get better." 

A little stunned, thinking something bad had happened that I didn't even know about...I stammered out an, "Ooookkkkayyyy."  Then voice continued, "Well, I just met you on the road and you had a frown.  I wanted you to know that whatever was wrong...it would be okay."  After his mini pep talk, I recognized the voice.  It was a friend....a brother in Christ.....calling to encourage me. I explained that the sun was in my eyes and probably causing the frowning face and that I didn't even realized I had met him on the highway.

I've thought about that morning several times over the past few years.  For one thing, even though I wasn't in a bad/sad/worried mood at all that morning, the fact that this Christian brother took the time to call and encourage me, made me feel good the rest of the day.  Another thing is that a few years later, this young husband and father (who struggled with difficult-to-control diabetes) died tragically.....on a road....headed a different direction out of town.  Two very different episodes on a highway going out of town.

After this young man passed away, my children remarked about how he would drive by our house as they played out in the yard.  Typically they were playing some kind of sport.  They would often be wearing OU uniforms, t-shirts, and such.  This young man was an OSU cowboy.  As he would drive by, he would take the time to slow down and roll down the window to yell out at them, "OSU!" or motion with his hands the OSU letters.  The kids enjoyed this fun rivalry with him. One of my sons even wrote an essay about him at school.  He missed his stops in front of the house. He called him an encourager.

When you take the word courage, you can add to it in two very different ways:  add an EN to be an encourager....add a DIS to be a discourager.

Unfortunately, some people are discouragers. It's as if they get their "thrills" from beating others down, by smashing others' dreams, by belittling others' ideas.  Discouragers are all around us, but hopefully the discouragers are not us.

Look at the definitions of each of these words:

Encourage: to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence

Discourage: to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit.

Do you inspire or deprive?  Are you an EN or a DIS? 

With the beginning of this new week, I challenge you (and myself) to be an encourager to others - every day.  Take the time to call someone or stop and speak to someone just like this Christian brother did many times.  Take the time to inspire someone this week.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:1

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Love God, Love Others, Love Yourself



 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Matthew 22:36-39

With February being the month of love, I was thinking about who we should love.  This verse above tells us who we should love.  First, we must love God.  It's the first and the greatest command given to us by God.  Second, we must love our neighbor....we must love others.  These "others" will be our spouses, our children, friends and other family - basically everyone else.  And lastly, but just as important, we must love ourselves.  I mentioned in a recent blog post, in order to truly love others as we should, we must love ourselves.  

Our love for God must supersede (FYI: this spelling IS correct, though it seems wrong!) all other love.  Why?  Because in order for us to know and appreciate the love of God, we must understand all that He has done for us.  He gave His ONLY Son for YOU.  He gave His ONLY Son for ME.  That is how much He loved YOU!  That's how much He loved ME!  He loved us enough to give us Jesus.

Loving others in the way God wants us to means taking care of their needs.  It means to serve them.  It means to put them and their needs above ourselves and our own needs.  Loving others is submitting to them and giving up our selfish desires.  Sometimes that's hard to do because those selfish desires get in the way and cloud our thinking.  But, just as Jesus points the way and shows up God's love, He also points the way and shows us the way to love others.

Loving ourselves may seem like a simple and easy thing to do, but sometimes it's not.  In fact, sometimes it really, really hard.  Sometimes we get down on ourselves.  Sometimes we mess up.  Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we feel defeated.  Sometimes we feel worthless.  It's hard to love God and love others when we're thinking such low thoughts about ourselves.

On the other hand, loving ourselves may be way too easy.  Maybe we think of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3).  Maybe we excuse our bad behavior and character traits instead of trying to better ourselves.  Maybe we're prideful, arrogant, self righteous.  Maybe we believe we've done everything alone to get to where we are in life.  This kind of thinking doesn't have room for others and it certainly doesn't have room for God.

In the areas of loving others and loving ourselves, the key is balance.  God must be our first love, but we must also recognize God as the creator of all things....the ruler of all things...the judge of all things.  HE is everything.  His gift of Jesus is everything.  We must recognized these important facts.  

The balance of loving others and ourselves is crucial to healthy spiritual living.  We shouldn't neglect ourselves physically, mentally, or spiritually, but we mustn't neglect those needs in others, either. God, as Creator, created us in His image.  If we don't love ourselves and love others, what are we saying to God?  That we don't love His creation?  It would seem so, wouldn't it?

So, during this month of love, let's each make it a point to strive to love God each and every day.  Let's love others and see their needs.  And finally, but just as important, let's love ourselves. We can love others and love ourselves only by keeping our eyes focused on the One who loves us most - God.  We can love others and love ourselves only by keeping our eyes on the One who gave His life for us because He loved us so - Jesus.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 
1 John 4:7-11

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

PRAISE THE LORD!

Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
PSALM 148:7-13

Photo Credits:
Some of these photos are from:  Me, several come from acobox.com. 
The "Lord Reigns Over All" photo is from Christian Clipart
and the last one, "Road to Heaven" comes from: Photo by John Watson lightproofbox.com/road-to-heaven

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gratituesday - Snow Days!!

What am I grateful for on this GRATITUESDAY?
Snow Days!
 
No school for Tuesday and Wednesday, so lots of fun for the kiddos!
I think this little bird was even enjoying the snowy day!
Playing in the snow.
Buried in the snowy ditch!
Too powdery for snowballs, so they just threw it in the air!
Snow Ice Cream....YUMMY!  (Recipe posted on our recipe blog - here.)

To find out what others are grateful for, visit Heavenly Homemakers.
 
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