Thursday, March 31, 2011

Top 5 Ways to Stop School Drama


*Note from Lori:  This post was written last March, but I thought it might be good to post it again.  Unfortunately, many people (young people, old people, and in-between) seem to thrive on drama.  This post is directed towards the younger population, but it also is for people my age because WE are the PARENTS.  We're the ones responsible for the youngsters.  We're the ones who are supposed to be teaching them right from wrong.  We're the ones who are supposed to be the examples.  So, parents....be INVOLVED in your child's life - every aspect of it.  They NEED you and they NEED you to be the adult and example in their lives!

***

Drama is most likely in every school - with some schools worse than others, with some classes worse than others, and yes, with some students worse than others.  With raging hormones, life changes, and peer pressure, (and, okay teens, I'll throw in the overwhelming-at-times-homework for you! :)  the drama often escalates to record highs in no time.

So, how is it possible for someone to rid their lives of the drama?  Well, here is my top five list to do just that:

1.  Don't Gossip
All drama - no matter what and without exception - would be completely done away with if everyone would watch the words they say.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?  But, we all know that it's not.  The tongue is one of the hardest things to control.  The Bible says so!  In fact, the Bible says we can't control it on our own.  That's where God's Spirit comes in.  We have to have His help to stop the tongue.

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind,  but no human being can tame the tongue.

James 3:5-8

2.  Limit Texting/Facebook/etc.
Now, before you scream out at me, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!! I COULD NEVER DO THAT!", please hear me out (and remember, if you scream, I can't hear you, anyway :).  I'm not saying to never text...never be on Facebook.  If I did, I would be a hypocrite.  What I'm saying is this:  Make up your mind that you will NEVER, EVER, EVER text or talk about someone else via any form of social media, or phone, or computer. Decide that you will never use those devices to talk about anyone else again.

Think of all of the conversations you've had with others, just today.  What were they about?  What did you think about?  What was in your heart?  Now, would you want your parents to read your texts? (some parents do keep tabs in that way and good for them!)  Would you want your grandparents to see your chats on Facebook?  Well, someone more important than any of those people sees and knows everything you send, take pictures of, look at pictures of....everything you think.  That person is God.  He knows all and sees all.

Remember the old saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all"? Keep that saying in your mind, along with the scriptures below.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:12-13

3.  Pray
Every day, take the time to pray.  Actually, many times during the day, take the time to pray.  But, at least once a day, pray for those who you don't really like.  The Bible tells us to love one another.  That means everyone - as hard as that may seem.  But, sometimes we don't like other people.  Maybe we secretly want them to fail.  Maybe we want them to suffer.  Well, think about it this way.  What if someone wants you to fail?  What if someone wants you to suffer?  How would that make you feel?  I wouldn't like it, would you!?  So, make up your mind, first of all, to pray for that one person - or maybe there is a whole group of people - you need to pray for.  Pray for them.  Pray specifically.  It's even okay to pray like this:  "God, please help me to like so and so."  God will listen!  He's ready to listen!

Secondly, pray for yourself.  Pray that God will soften your heart, and that He will help you will find something good in that person.  Pray that you will be kinder to them or that you will not be mean to them. 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:43-44

4. Obey Your Parents
Okay.  I know what you're thinking.  "How does obeying my parents stop school drama?"  I'm so glad you asked!  By obeying your parents, you are submitting to them.  Submission is yielding your will to the will of someone else.  In other words, instead of you getting your way and you getting to do what you want to do, you will be doing exactly what your parents want you to do - without complaining (yep, there's the catch.). 

So, how does this obeying help drama?  By learning submission to your parents - in the home - you are actually learning an even bigger lesson.  You are learning to obey those in authority - such as teachers, principles, other adults, but you are also learning to submit to others your own age...such as classmates and siblings.

Maybe you do obey your parents.  Maybe you just need to work on obeying the other adult authorities in your life.  Then start there.  When an adult - such as a teacher, principal, maybe a guardian - tells you something.  Make it a point to be quite.  Just listen to them.  Don't talk back.  Don't argue.  Don't complain.  That's what's going to (or should) get you in trouble and add to the drama in your life.  Learn to zip your lips! :)  Trust me.  It will make your life a lot less drama-full!

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
Colossians 3:20

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21 (this is talking about in the home)

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.
Hebrews 13:7 (this was written to the early church and speaking of their leaders)

5.  Serve Others
Find a way, each and every day, to do something good for someone else. (I don't mean do someone elses homework or let them copy it off of you, okay??!)  Do something nice.  Be polite.  Be friendly.  Show each other that you care.   If someone drops something - any of them, not just certain ones - help them pick it up.

Offer to help the teacher.  Not to become the teacher's pet, but to truly help them.  Write a note, email or text (NO, NOT IN SCHOOL! You're not supposed to have your phone in school, remember????  Yeah, I thought so!) telling someone they did a good job.  Or even better - TELL them FACE to FACE in PERSON that they did a good job!  Bring the school secretary, the principal, the cooks, the cleaning ladies, the teachers a little gift to show that you appreciate them.  Not that they need a gift or even want one, but that just to show that you care enough to show them and to tell them.

Jesus was the greatest person and the only perfect person to live on this earth.  He was the Son of God.  People made fun of him.  People spit on him.  People beat him.  Then people killed him.  I'm fairly certain that nothing you will go through in school will compare to that.  Yes, something could happen that was bad.  Of course, that is possible, but, Jesus humbly obeyed His Father and willingly died on the cross for YOU.  But, even with all of that and actually, even in all that - Jesus was being a servant.  He was doing for others.  Make up your mind to do for others, as well.  Every day of our life.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 
Mark 10:45

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Galatians 5:13

So, what do you think?  Do you think these things would work?  What else would you add to the list? 

Why not give it a try?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Tinkerbell

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

Last fall, my parents had a new idea for our family Christmas which included them, our family of six, and my sister's family of five. We thought about just having the kids draw names, but with us having four children and my sister and her husband having three, one of mine would have had to buy for a sibling.  We decided against that and kept trying to come up with a new plan.

After much discussion, thinking, and rethinking, it was decided that each family group would buy for one adult male, one adult female, one girl, and one boy, with my parents buying one more boy gift to make it equal the correct number of gifts.  We decided to play "Dirty Santa" to make it a little more fun and interesting.

I decided I would purchase my girl gift with the idea that it would be for one of my sisters' little girls.  Having a 16-year-old daughter and all of the rest boys - I don't have the opportunity to buy "little girl things" often, and I enjoy it!  I looked and looked and never found the perfect thing (well, I found several things, actually, but it was only a $10 limit, so I had to keep looking until I found something for the right amount!).  I finally decided on a plush Tinkerbell doll which was attached to fleece Tinkerbell blanket.  It was a big sized gift, so I bought a big sack, thinking one of the girls (ages 8 and 5) would grab that gift first thing.

Well, to make a long, funny story short and funny:  Biscuit ended up with the Tinkerbell!  Those of you who know him can only imagine his response to this fairy gift!  As a mom, though, I was sooooo proud of him for the way he handled it.  He was upset....that was obvious....but he never cried and never complained:  however, he tried and tried to get one of the girl cousins to trade him!  Neither of the girls wanted to trade. Biscuit gave the gift to his youngest girl cousin, even without a present in return.

Finally it worked out that some of the bigger kids and adults did some trading and Biscuit got a more "boyish" gift.  We laughed and laughed about that day....and still do!  Biscuit laughed a little bit that day, but not too much.  He didn't really like it when we would see Tinkerbell at Disney World and refer to his gift, either.  His daddy and brothers (and grandpa) enjoy ribbing him about it, though!  No, really he doesn't get too upset, but he makes it very clear that he never wants to play that game again at Grandma and Grandpa's house again!  I think Grandma and Grandpa have already decided that same thing.

I was just thinking about how so many times in life things don't go the way we want them to or the way we think they should.  At that moment, we have a choice:  We can either accept it or we can throw a fit.  Biscuit didn't like his Tinkerbell gift and I think everyone would agree he had a "right" to be upset and disappointed.  And, although he tried to trade it, in the end he accepted that things just didn't work out in his favor on that particular day.  Even at the young age of eight, Biscuit set an example by making a good choice - at least that day - and in the end, everything worked out fine.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

all in a day's work...

For the past week and a half, my husband has had a unique work crew along with him. This group of men is in town working at Tipton Home in their volunteer work as Sojourners.  I mentioned their wives in last week's Ladies' Salad Supper post.
The men range in age from 65 to 75 and come from New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.  Each has a unique personality and a unique past, but are working together, as a group of Christians, at Tipton Home for a common goal:  to help children.
The men have helped clean up the barn and farm area during their time in Tipton.  I think my husband would keep them for as long as they would like to stay!  He said: "If everybody worked as hard as these men do, there wouldn't be enough work to go around." They like to work!  It's their mission!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24
One man, who never takes the regular breaks, climbed up on top of the pig house being torn apart. He held a sledge hammer in his hands and began "slamming". My husband was a little concerned about him being up there and said, "You think you might ought to get down?"
He said, "No. I'm fine!" and kept on swinging. As my husband told me this story, I thought - and said, "That will be you when you're 75, won't it?" Yes, it will. I know it will! And I'll be the one suggesting for him to get down from there! And he won't listen, either!
(They've seen a few snakes at the barn.  This one was dead (thankfully!)

Thank you, Sojourners, for taking the time to come to Tipton Home and work, but thank you even more for sharing in the lives of the children and for setting them a great example of Christian service.  During their stay they play games and do crafts with the children.  They get involved in their lives.

Monday, March 28, 2011

K.Y.M.S.

This morning at breakfast one of our children kept aggravating one of his siblings.  He kept saying things that were making the situation even worse and didn't stop. He has this trouble on occasion and I had finally had enough and gave him a little "chewing out". 

My husband chimed in.  I was happy to have the support until he kind of defended the offender! 

He said, "You need to learn to keep quite - for sure when Mom is around." 

I gasped out a "WHAT???" to which he corrected that the offender really needed to watch what he said "around all females"

Again, I replied, "WHAT????"  And added to it, "That's really what you need to be teaching them, isn't it???!!"

We were all joking by then, but then my husband really talked to the offender.  He said that he needed to remember this:  "K.Y.M.S."  It stands for "Keep Your Mouth Shut"!  He added this verse to the advice.

I said, “I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
while in the presence of the wicked.”
Psalm 39:1

My husband said he wants a sign with "K.Y.M.S." in his office.  Some co-workers have expressed the desire of having one, too. It sounds like a good idea and probably each of us could keep that sign and verse nearby us throughout the day to remind us to watch our words. It might keep us out of trouble.

We decided that we could make little bracelets with the initials: K.Y.M.S. and sell them. Kind of sad that they would probably be a big selling item, too.  I know one thing for sure, though: That one particular son would be getting the first one! HeeeeeHeeeeeee :)

The Greatest Gift Ever

A few months ago, after our family had been to Disney World, I began thinking how neat it would be for me to take each of our children to Disney World (just by myself) before they graduated.  I think that I thought it sounded adventurous and exciting, but knew it would probably never happen.  I mentioned my idea to my husband and I recall he didn't say anything.  I figured he was thinking, "You're kidding, right????"!  Well, as I was looking at Disney World vacation plans, I commented to the family about how they were having special deals during February and early March.  Some of the deals were up to 40% off of resorts.  It sounded neat, but still seemed impossible.  I decided to let it go and figured maybe we would be able to go one more time as a family before the oldest one graduated from college - in six years.

A few weeks ago, my two oldest children said something about my birthday present.  They asked if I had any idea what it was.  Since it was still a few weeks until my birthday, I really didn't think they or my husband would even really have it at that time, but they kept mentioning it.  Finally, my husband asked, "Do you want to know what your present is?"  Shocked that he asked, I said, "Sure!"  I still can't believe his answer!  He said, "Well, you and Lauren will leave on Friday and return on Monday" and told me the dates.  The same dates I had mentioned months ago about the Disney World specials.  I knew exactly what he was talking about!  He was sending my daughter and I to DISNEY WORLD!  I hollered (not too loud...we were in a hotel!)  I jumped up and down (not too high....we had people underneath us...didn't want to scare them!)  I shouted, "I'm going to Disney World! I'm going to Disney World!"

Then reality set in:  I'm going to Disney World with my daughter....driving to the airport.....checking the luggage......flying to Orlando.....staying a few days.....having fun.....flying back......driving home....and I'm doing this without my husband!  Then I thought, "HOW MUCH IS THIS COSTING? CAN WE DO THIS?"I was excited and a little nervous - all at the same time! 

Well, I eventually went to sleep and slept well.  When I woke up the next morning, it was an hour or so before I thought about the gift.  I thought, "Is it true?  Am I really going to Disney World?  Did he really say that?"  It seemed unreal.  A GREAT, unexpected and to me, undeserved gift.  He assures me the discounts were great and that he is taking care of everything.  I only have to get to the airport.  Disney will do the rest!  (We've never stayed at a resort and we've had a rental car in the past, so this will be different.)

A wonderful, special, great gift!  I'm so excited!  But is it the greatest gift ever?  No.  It's not the greatest gift.  The greatest gift was given to me over 2000 years ago.  It was given to you, too.  The greatest gift there ever has been and ever will be is the gift of Jesus, given to us by a Father who loves us enough to give His Son to die on a cross for our sins.  A Father that loved us enough to allow our sins to be paid for by the blood of Jesus and the blood that continues to cover the sins of His children still today.
The gift of a Disney World vacation is magnificent and I can't wait to share it with my daughter.  The gift of Jesus is the most magnificent gift ever and I must share it with the world!

Thank you, Joe!  I still can't believe you did this! What a wonderful gift! (By the way, it needs to be Lauren's birthday gift, too!) :)

Thank you, God! I'm amazed at your love for me! What a wonderful gift you have given your children!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

To Settle or Not To Settle?

So, yesterday I settled.  I did.  I settled by purchasing a new purse that would "work", but one that wasn't exactly what I was looking for.  It will "work" and it was $11.00, so I bought it. 

You see....I'm not a "purse" person.  If I could find a purse I liked and keep it for the rest of my life and never have to buy another one, that would be fine with me - in fact, that would be GREAT with me!  But, I am a picky purse person.  Very picky, I guess.  My specific requirements are an attached billfold, a pocket where my cell phone is easy to get to and another pocket where my keys can go.  I typically just get black or brown, but I would be open to other colors if the other criteria were met.  I also like a long strap.

My old purse was hanging by it's strap by a few threads.  I knew it could "go" at any time, but after looking and looking for months (knowing this day was coming soon!), I couldn't find anything that I liked.  I even searched online for a "design your own purse" site....and found one that would be over $400 if I designed it!  Ummmmmmmm, let me think about that for 1/100th of a second..ABSOLUTELY NO!!!  No way would I ever spend that for a purse, even if I had the money!  However, I would be willing to spend maybe $100 for a good/well made one that I was certain would last for many years.

So, I settled......hmmmmm........

A purse isn't any big deal in the scope of life when it comes to "settling", is it?  Not at all.  But think of some things that are important and things that we shouldn't settle on.

1.  Marriage -  We shouldn't settle when we decide to marry someone.  Who we will marry is an important decision and should be thought of as a lifeline commitment.  It mustn't be taken lightly.  The Bible describes the relationship of Jesus and His church as it does a man and his wife and Christ DIED for the church.  So, apparently that relationship is very important.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Ephesians 5:25-28

2.  Character - We shouldn't settle in our character.  Every day we have the opportunity to grow, to learn, and to change.  If we "settle" on a certain bad character trait in ourselves and never believe we can change and never even try to change it, we've settled.  We've also said to God that we don't believe He can do what He says He can do in our lives.


For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 
Titus 2:11-14

3. Life - We shouldn't settle in life. Our success in the world doesn't have to come from power and prestige, money or fame.  Our success in the world should be from doing whatever it is we do, to the best of our ability and always to honor our Heavenly Father.  If we have blinders on our eyes and never see outside of our little world, we'll become all caught up in "ME".....and "ME" only.  If we keep our eyes focused above - on God....on Jesus....we'll constantly strive to live our lives the best we can and always for Him.  Settling in life is living without faith.  Faith is seeing our life and what it could be from God's perspective instead of our own perspective.

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

It Will Never Work!

....and other phrases, such as, "It can't be done."....."We tried once and it didn't work."...."It's not possible."....

All of these phrases point to the same thing:  Negativity.  Negative thinking and pessimistic thinking equal zero results, would you agree?

I'm sure we all have "negative" moments, but hopefully, for the most part, we are positive people.  If we are a Christian, it is IMPERATIVE that we are positive people!  Who wants to be around a pessimistic follower of Christ?  Actually, how is that even possible....given that He is our example and our model for living?  Was Christ ever negative?  Apparently not!

Recently our school baseball teams had a fundraiser on a Sunday after worship. Beans and cornbread were on the menu.  Typical Sunday fare?  Maybe not, but why not?  Plans were made then the negative comment came out:  "It will never work.  Beans and cornbread won't go over well for Sunday."  Oh, really?  Almost $2,000 was made that day for a small ball club!  I think it worked out pretty well, don't you?

A few years ago, my husband and I organized a door knocking campaign for our up-coming VBS.  We were told, "We tried that once.  It didn't work.  It won't work."  Oh, really?  Would you believe that the VBS that year was the largest there has been in many years?  Oh, it worked!  It worked just fine.  The problem with events such as that, is that it takes "workers" to pull it off.

Today, a challenge for you is to be a positive person.  Maybe you tend to be a little more negative throughout your day - or as my husband refers to it..."realistic" (that's when my dreams seem unreal, so it's a joke between us!).  Well, just for today, dream a little, believe a little.  Just see what kind of day you will have.  I honestly believe that God will bless you in your optimistic thoughts!  And, don't we all want God's blessings? 

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness or compassion, then make my joy complete. Be of the same mind, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but instead in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be exploited, but made himself nothing, emptied himself taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:1-11


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ladies' Salad Supper 2011

Tonight was one of my favorite traditions of the year - an annual Ladies' Salad Supper that I host each spring (with the exception of last year) for my sisters in Christ.  The favorite part of the evening for all of us, I'm certain, is getting to know each other better.  Hearing stories and memories from times gone by.....reminiscing about those who are no longer with us here on earth......learning more about each other.  It's all so special.  And, as an added benefit the food is always great, too!

Here are some of the pictures from the evening:
These plates were bought in November from Hobby Lobby. I liked the brown and cream design, but I wasn't sure how to make them look "Springy", then decided on chocolate bunny centerpieces.  My mother-in-law made the fabric carrots years ago.  They're so cute!
This big bunny was the chocolate bunny inspiration.  He used to be pink, but with my red/gold/brown tones, pink doesn't work.  So, he got painted a few years ago.
Lots of wonderful salads!  Yum!!  A few of these are on my family recipe blog:  Avocado Potato Salad and Ramen Noodle Salad.  They are both delicious!  I've asked for some copies of other salad recipes, too.
There were 19 ladies in attendance tonight. We were blessed to have four out-of-town guests....Sojourners who are in town with their husbands working at Tipton Home for a few weeks.
 I asked each lady to bring three things (hidden in a box or bag) that were special to them.  One by one, I opened the bags and showed the items.  The ladies tried to guess whose items they were. 
  This is my mother-in-law showing a camera that was her mothers.  It still has film in it!  Attached to the camera she had a large picture of herself as a little girl.  The picture was taken with that very camera.  How neat is that?!
 This sweet sister brought a picture of her late husband.  He was wearing his Navy uniform and the photo was in an official U.S. Navy frame.  So neat!  She brought lots of pictures.  I had to laugh when I grabbed her bag.  It was in an Avon bag and SHE'S AN AVON LADY!!!  I teased her that it sort of gave it away when everyone knows she's the Avon lady!
Deb brought a package of seeds, as she loves gardening, but also two small Bibles.  One from first grade, given to her by a Bible class teacher.  The other given to her from her parents after she was baptized.  So special!
Phyllis had a handkerchief that was (I believe) her great-great grandmothers.  She and all of her sisters used it in each of their weddings.  It was over 100 years old.  She read a cute poem called "Grandma's Shoes".
The poem was about a "grandma's ugly shoes" from a grand-daughter's perspective and her dreading wearing them when she got older, only to find by that time she was wearing Reebok's and the teen girls were wearing the ugly "grandma shoes"!
Margie brought dog tags that belonged to her dad, her husband, her son and her father-in-law from their years in the service.  It was so neat to have all of them on the chain and to see the inscriptions.
Judy brought a beautiful quilt she designed for her granddaughter.  The quilt has a Noah's Ark theme and has the song, "Noah's Big Boat" quilted in a corner on the back.  She said that song is what the granddaughter always wanted her to sing when she was little and still wants to her from her now - years later.
Verna had several jewelry pieces to share.  One ring was her grandmothers and was over 100 years old.
Renee' shared three special items that were made by each of her three children and her daughter-in-law.  The Mother-in-Law poem embroideried by her daughter-in-law was really sweet.   

There were lots of special "things" talked about during the evening, but we all realized that it wasn't the "things", but the people that made those "things" special.  Without the people attached and etched in our memories to those things, there wouldn't be anything special about them.

After the sentimental journey, for some reason, our conversation turned to skunks.  For the next 15 minutes or so, we laughed and laughed about skunk stories!  You'd be amazed at how many there were! 

Thank you, ladies' for a wonderful evening of fellowship, friendship, food, and fun.....and even skunks!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Chronicles of Biscuit - The Kindle

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

Biscuit & The Kindle

During this 2nd grade year of school, Biscuit has become really interested in reading.  Because he never cared much for books, even as a toddler, I have been surprised, but pleased.

A few weeks ago, Biscuit came up to his dad and I and said, "I've been thinking.  You know I'm getting older and I read a lot......and I like these big chapter books......I'm thinking I need to get one of those things that you can put books on to read them.  If I do that then the letters can be bigger because some of the print in the books is too small."

I replied, "You mean a Kindle?"  Biscuit exclaimed, "Yes! That's what I need!"

My husband and I talked to Biscuit about the fact that he is doing just fine reading the books he's got and that maybe some day - when he's older - he can get a Kindle, but that for now, he really didn't need one.

Biscuit was rationalizing something he wanted into being something he needed.  He did it in a very logical way, too - for an eight year old!  His child-like thinking actually sounded pretty grown up, but it was still his thought process trying to make a want into a need.  He didn't need a Kindle.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11

How many times do we try to rationalize our wants by making them out to be needs?  What about our prayers to God?  Do we pray for wants or for real and true needs?  I suppose we could all say at times we just want things because we want them.

As we mature, though, hopefully we begin to reason less and less like a child and become mature adults. When we put our faith and trust in God, He will supply our needs, as the verse below points out.  And, we know God always keeps His promises.

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

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful that God supplies my needs and that He is patient with me in sometimes asking for "wants" and in my sometimes child-like reasoning.

Join us for Gratituesday on Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy 77th Birthday, Charlie!

What a great day my husband's side of the family had yesterday as we celebrated my father-in-law's 77th birthday a few days early!
Typically we don't all get together except for Thanksgiving Eve, Thanksgiving Day, and the day after Thanksgiving - then usually for a quick few hours sometime during Christmas and New Years for those who can make it.  There are too many places to be and too many different schedules to get together with that many people too often, so this weekend was definitely a blessing.
This is my husband with both of his parents and siblings.  It's neat that all six siblings now (since June 2010) live in Oklahoma and Texas.
This is just the siblings with their dad. Charlie has recently begun radiation treatments and will be having chemo again due to prostate cancer that he's been fighting for many years.  God has continued to bless him in that, even with treatments and appointments, he's continued to work for all of these years.  He's not working as many hours/days as he did, but he's still able to do it some.  He always enjoyed his garden, so that's why his birthday cake has the cute garden on it!
There are 17 grand kids - plus four of them are married....and one great-grandchild. Thirteen of the 17 grands were able to attend yesterday's event! A few others visited with him earlier in the week.
Charlie with the first and only great-grandson, Levi.  So cute and sweet!
In this picture my husband is breaking a hollow chocolate bunny.  It's a yearly tradition for him to give one to his dad.  Something about him always thinking they were solid, so his dad pressed on one in a store to prove it really was solid - and it WASN'T.  So this is a joke between them.  Kind of funny!
Charlie is proud of his broken bunny!
Of course, with 30 people gathered for a birthday celebration, there would have to be a lot of food around....and there was!  Italian food was the menu for the day.  Here are some of the recipes that were served, from my family recipe blog:

Stick to Your Ribs Meatballs (I didn't follow this like I should have and I kept them warm in a crock pot over night, so they weren't as good as this recipe really is!)
Salad with Olive Garden Dressing (can't beat that dressing - it's great!)
And birthday cake!  So cute and made by June at June's Tasty Treats in Altus, OK.  Yummy!

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Break 2011

Our Spring Break began a little early, with part of our family leaving last Thursday to head to the state quarter finals basketball games in Oklahoma City.  It was fun cheering for friends and watching the excited teams and fans all over the stadium.  The next day we headed to the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, meeting up with the rest of our family, to prepare for the Oklahoma Youth Expo (OYE). 

OYE prides itself as being the world's largest junior livestock show. 4-H and FFA members from all over the state of Oklahoma head to the fairgrounds during spring break every March.  Our children show meat goats, while others show cattle, pigs, and sheep.  It's a lot of work for the 4-H and FFA members, their agriculture education teachers, 4-H leaders, and parents, but it is also a lot of fun!  It's a great learning experience, too.

While we were having fun going to basketball games and livestock shows, the people in Japan were facing the devastation, destruction, and heartache of the effects of an 8.9 earthquake and tsunami. 

While we were deciding which restaurant to go to, many around the state were evacuating their homes and loosing their homes due to wildfires - some that were set intentionally. 

While we were having fun together as a family, friends were facing the death of a mother and grandmother.

Spring Break and other vacation times are much-needed and much-appreciated.  They are great times to make special memories.  But, even in those times, let's not ever forget about the people around us. Let's be sure to remember to pray for them and help them in any way that we can.

And, let's never forget to count our blessings, to love each other, and cherish the times we do have together, because we never know when we might be the ones facing those same difficult situations.

Monday, March 14, 2011

THE EARTH IS THE LORD'S....

The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1
On this Gratituesday, I am grateful for the beautiful world the Lord made for us.  I also praise His name for everything He has created.

Join us for GRATITUESDAY at Heavenly Homemakers!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Are You Being Persecuted?

"Come on! Don't be a chicken!"  "What do you mean you can't do that?  Why not? Are you too scared?"  "Say it!  Just say it!  It won't hurt you!"  "You don't watch that?  What's wrong with you?" "Everybody is doing it.  Just try it once."

Persecution today looks a lot different than in did for the first century Christians, but it's instigators still want the same thing:  They want the Christian to deny Christ and His existence in their life.

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you... If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you... because they do not know Him who sent Me."
John 15:18-21

It's amazing to me when my children come home (from oldest at 16 to the youngest at 8) and tell me how strange other kids think they are for not saying "bad" words, for not watching certain movies or television shows, or by not doing certain things.  Thankfully it doesn't bother them and they don't have a problem with saying no or not doing those things at all.  In fact, I think they've had an influence on many of those same kids. 

I pray that their faith will continue to give them courage and God will continue to strengthen them as they get older.  Prayerfully they will always be able to resist the temptations that will come their way.  Being a child, preteen, mid-teen and older teen is hard enough, but add into that the pressures of life from school and friends and negative peer pressure, it can be down-right overwhelming!

In American we may face persecution, but it is usually not to the degree that many face today all over different parts of the world; however, sometimes it is to that degree.  Remember the young lady who lost her life for stating her faith in Jesus at the Columbine school massacre?  That type of persecution is what others in the world face and what many in the early church faced constantly and even to the point of death.

A favorite preacher used to say that he believed that Christians today should be persecuted.  What he meant was - if we are not being persecuted, maybe were living too much like the world.  Maybe we're not being set apart and being a "peculiar" (KJV of Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 2:9) people.  I think he's got a point, don't you?  If we're not living a life that is different, we're just blending in with the world.  As Christians, we live in the world, but we mustn't ever live like the world.  We must be proclaiming Jesus.  We must be following Jesus.  We must be showing that we are His disciple each and every day.

So, are you being persecuted?  I hope so!

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven...."
Matthew 5:10-12

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

restless legs......restless heart

Every once in a while at night when I crawl into bed, my legs feel restless.  It's sometimes bothersome enough that I get up and walk around and try to make them better.  Because it doesn't happen all of the time, I don't really think about it much, until it happens.  It's at that moment I realize what I didn't do enough of during the day. 

For me, when I don't drink enough water throughout the day, I get that restless leg feeling.  I know that it would seem natural for most people to just drink water all throughout the day.  For me it's a chore.  It's something I have to make myself do.  In fact, I have to set out however many bottles of water I plan to drink on the counter, then drink them throughout the day.  That's the only way I will drink what I should.  I just don't think of it.  That's bad, I know.

Water seems to be the cure for my restless legs.  I think of it as "oiling" my body when I drink water! Oil sprayed onto a squeaky hinge lubricates it enough to usually stop the noise.  Drinking water "oils" my legs and keeps them from "squeaking" or feeling like I need to constantly move them.  It cures my problem, but if I know that, why don't I prevent the problem to begin with?  It doesn't make sense does it?

Many people walk around and go to bed with RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome).  Many more people walk around with RHS (Restless Heart Syndrome).  What do you mean?  You haven't ever heard of RHS?  Well, you won't find it diagnosed by any physician, except one.  Jesus, the Great Physician sees this problem on a daily basis.  He is waiting for people all over the world to make an appointment with Him.  The good thing about visiting with Him is there is never a wait, He is never booked up, and He is always on call.

Yes, RHS is rampant in the world.  It's the leading cause of death...spiritual death, that is.  But, the best part is that there is a cure for the syndrome. The physcian, Himself is the cure.  Jesus is the cure for RHS.  Call Him today, won't you? He is waiting to hear from you. He wants to cure your restless heart.

P.S. If you suffer from RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome), maybe you should try drinking more water!  You can even send me the money you will be saving from a doctor's visit, if you want....I don't mind :).

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 
Deuteronomy 4:29

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Clothes!

Let's go shopping, okay? Let's go looking for clothes. Do you like to get new clothes? Most of us do enjoy new clothes from time to time - some more than others, of course.

Suppose there was something you could clothe yourself with that would make you feel like you were brand new? Suppose there was something you could clothe yourself with that would help you for the rest of your life? Suppose there was something you could clothe yourself with that would give you a support system that is unbeatable and unmovable and unending? How much do you suppose that new clothing would cost? How much would it be worth?

Romans 13:13 talks of something, or rather someone that we can be "clothed" with that can do all of the things mentioned above: "Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ..."

Really? Clothe yourself with a person? With the Son of God? With Jesus Christ? Yes! Absolutely! The kind of clothing that is better than anything else that you could ever wear!

But how? How can one be clothed in Christ?

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for
all of you who were baptized into Christ have
clothed yourselves with Christ.
Galatians 3:26-27

The word baptism comes from the Greek word ‘baptizo’, which means to
immerse, plunge, dip, or bury in water.

Here are 3 important questions for you to ask yourself:

Are you clothed with Christ?

In the verse above the word "clothed" is translated from [endunw-enduno], and properly means to envelop in, to hide in, and to put on something. As an example of this, look at Matthew and the story of a man who was invited to the wedding of the king’s son and the wedding garment was even provided for him to wear on the joyous occasion. However, he refused to put it on: “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless”. Matthew 22:11-12

Are you thankful for your clothes?

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

 Are you living like you are clothed with Christ?

Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Romans 13:13-14

On this Gratituesday, I am GRATEFUL for new clothes and the newness of life found only through Christ Jesus!  Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

The Chronicles of Biscuit - The Sheep Ate My Potato

The Chronicles of Biscuit: Stories about our youngest son, whose nickname is Biscuit
During the county livestock show last week, I had to work in the concession stand for several hours.  Biscuit became hungry and wanted a baked potato.  I fixed it up for him and sent him out to a table to put some salt and pepper on top.  I assumed that he would sit at the table and eat it, but didn't actually say that to him. I kept working and never thought about Biscuit and the potato again.

In a little bit Biscuit came back to the concession stand and said he needed another potato.  I asked why.  He said, "The sheep ate my potato!"  "Really, Biscuit, and just how did a sheep eat your potato?  Where were you that a sheep was able to eat it?  Weren't you sitting at the table?," I asked.  Biscuit explained that he had gone to where his daddy was out by the animals. He was sitting there eating his potato and the sheep came up and ate it.  He said he didn't want to eat it anymore, since the sheep had eaten some of it so he threw it away.  I don't blame him for that part....YUCK!

Well, I scolded Biscuit for taking his potato out to the animal pens and told him he should have stayed at the tables.  I explained to him he would have to wait for a while before getting anything else to eat because that was a waste of food and money.  Biscuit left....a little bit sad.

In a matter of minutes here came Biscuit and my husband.  My husband said that Biscuit really did need a new potato because the sheep shouldn't have been out in the aisle way. He said it was the sheep's fault and the sheep's owner's fault.  (In my mind I still blamed Biscuit because a baked potato in a sheep and goat barn just seems gross to me.  But then again, it WAS a stock show and it's common to eat in those barns during the shows.)  Anyway, Biscuit got his potato and at it at the tables.  No sheep came to get it - yippee for Biscuit!

This story makes me think of the "lost" parables in Luke 15... not that anything was lost in Biscuit's story, but that blame can be placed on different people or things, but there was still a problem that needed a "fix".

In the Luke 15 parables Jesus used a coin, a sheep, and a son to emphasize the importance of finding those who are lost - those who are not saved. In each of those parables, blame can be placed on different things or people. In each of these stories a problem needed to be "fixed".  The woman lost the coin.  It didn't lose itself, but finally the woman found it.  The sheep wandered off on its own, but the shepherd searched until it was found.  The son (known as the prodigal son) chose to leave and squander his inheritance.  He made the choice to leave his father's home.  The father continued looking and most likely prayed that some day his son would return.....and he did.

Biscuit's problem of the sheep eating his potato was "fixed" when he listened and ate his potato in a safe place. Our safe place, as we learn in the parables is when we listen to our Heavenly Father and stay in a safe place.  Our safe place is in a relationship with Him and Jesus - avoiding places of sin.   Biscuit's safe place was found when he kept his baked potato away from the sheep! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy 2nd Blogaversary!


                                                                  Photography Images

"Shine Like Stars" is two years old! I began writing consistantly at the end of February...first part of March of 2009.  Time goes by so very quickly!!

Over the past two years, I have appreciated, so much, the comments and positive feedback I have received from so many of you. Some of you comment on the blog posts, some on the Facebook networked blog feature, some through Facebook notes or inbox message, some via email, and some in person.

Blogging has become part of my life in a big way.  It is something that I enjoy doing, and I pray that in every post God is being glorified.  It is also great when you are uplifted or inspired, as well.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Gift from God

When we bought our home, our three youngest children were five, three, and almost two.  We were so excited! We were glad to be getting a larger home with another bedroom since the youngest was sleeping in the dining room.  There was no other place for a baby bed to go in the little house.

I'll never forget the night before the papers were signed for the purchase.  Earlier that day my husband got a call that said we needed to pay $2,000 for closing costs the next day.  We didn't have it.  I was upset and most likely crying. 

Later on that day our daughter asked us to go with her to the living room.  My husband and I followed her and our oldest son.    She had gotten her oldest brother to help her and they had gotten their piggy banks in the middle of the floor.  Some of the money was dumped into a pile and some was left in the container. She told us that we could have all of their change to help buy the house.  I'm sure I cried again after that....but happy tears thinking of what our children had done for us. It was so sweet and so precious!  I'll never forget it! We thanked them for their generosity and explained to them that they could keep their money....that it would all work out and be okay.  And it did work out and it was okay (thank you, God!).

What tender hearts children have!  I told them this story recently.  They like hearing stories about things they did when they were little.  I like telling them, too!

Children truly are a gift from God!

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.
Psalm 127:3 (NLT)

Say what you need to say.....

There's been a song on the radio for quite some time called, "Say What You Need to Say".  I'm not even sure about who the artist is that sings it, but I always tease with the kids about it because he (the artist) sings the same words over and over...."say what you need to say".....but never says anything else!  I'll mockingly yell out to the radio, "Just say it!" or "Spit it out!".  The kids start laughing and our conversation turns to other repeating songs that never say anything.

Unfortunately in personal relationships, there are often words that we need to say, but we don't.  Maybe it's a personality thing, such as being too shy to talk.  Maybe it's an insecurity thing, such as being afraid to show feelings.  But, maybe it's a pride thing, such as not wanting to admit being needy or being wrong.

I've made a list of phrases that I believe are often not said, but these are also phrases that we shouldn't be afraid to say.  In fact, we should be more than willing to say each of them.

I LOVE YOU
It's always seemed a little bit strange to me that these words can be some of the hardest for some people to say.  Why would we have trouble telling our loved ones that we love them?  I think, though, if you didn't grown up hearing those words, it seems foreign to say them.  You can "show" people you love them, but maybe it would be good to work on telling them too, you know?  Try it!

I AM SORRY
The quickest way to mend a broken relationship is to admit fault and to apologize.  Pride gets in the way sometimes, though, and the words, "I am sorry", have difficulty coming out.  Admitting wrong isn't a sign of weakness.  It's a sign of strength.  It's also a sign of humility - one of Jesus' characteristics that we should try to emulate.

Saying "I'm sorry" doesn't necessariliy mean that any wrong doing was done.  Maybe someone lost their job and lost a loved one.  Saying "I'm sorry." just shows that you care.

I WAS WRONG
Saying "sorry" is the first step towards healing a relationship.  In taking it a step further, when we admit we were actually wrong, we are taking personal responsibility for the problem.  Maybe you weren't wrong, though. In that case, being "sorry" that something happened is enough.

I NEED HELP
I put this one in here for me.  Sometimes it is really, really hard for me to admit that I need help with something.  Sometimes I would rather just do it all myself than to ask someone to help me.  I used to think it was a sense of pride, and maybe sometimes it is, but for me, most of the time I don't ask because I don't want to be rejected.  I don't want to be told no.  If I'm going to have to do it myself anyway, then I would rather do it with a positive attitude than with a rejected-feeling bad attitude.  That's something I must work on!!  I need to keep asking and not worry about the answer I receive.

I FORGIVE YOU
This one is hard some times.  I think of my children when I think about this statement.  Maybe one of them has apologized to the other one about something. Has the other one accepted the apology?  Maybe it's not something that verbally needs to be said, but in our hearts, if someone asks for forgiveness, we must forgive them, mustn't we?  But sometimes we continue to carry a grudge.  Sometimes we want to hold that offense in our hearts.  When we forgive others, we are releasing our control and sometimes that's hard to do.

But, think of our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  If we sin and ask for forgiveness, don't we expect Him to forgive us?  Of course!  That's what the blood of Jesus was for - to continue cleansing our sins.  Do we wait for God to say, "I forgive you"?  Not at all.  We KNOW He forgives us because His Word tells us that He will.

YOU WERE RIGHT
Admitting we were wrong about something is also admitting that someone else was right.  This is being submissive to others and isn't always a natural response in our human minds.  Having a heart like Jesus, as we should, will make this phrase much easier.

PLEASE FORGIVE ME
Asking for forgiveness should come naturally to us, but oftentimes it doesn't.  When we pray, part of our prayer should be asking God to forgive us for any sins we have committed, but also, we need to ask forgiveness from others.  If we have wronged someone - whether intentionally or unintentionally - we should ask for forgiveness.  Remember that asking someone to forgive you isn't a weakness.  It's a strength, just like saying you were wrong.

THANK YOU
It's as if the art or practice of saying "thank you" has died.  Where thank you notes used to be the norm they are now the exception.  Where an attitude of gratitude used to be exhibited when one received a gift, it's now an attitude of expectation.

I don't ever keep a record of who sends me a thank you note for gifts - such as wedding showers, baby showers, graduation, etc. - but I have noticed that sometimes even a verbal "thank you" isn't offered.  I remember taking a full course meal to a couple who had a baby.  It was their fourth child and I certainly understand how busy life is with a newborn.  I didn't really expect a hand-written note at all.  However, I was surprised that the meal was never mentioned - ever.  Make a habit of at least saying "thank you" verbally, whether you take the time to write a note or not.  Of course, a hand-written note is more personal than a jotted text, email, Facebook message, or whatever, but at least say "thank you" in some way.  It doesn't take that much time.

PLEASE
Remember the saying that "please" and "thank you" are the magic words?  Barney, the purple dinosaur, had a song about these magic words.  Saying please at the end of the request makes it sound less like a demand or command.  Saying please is showing that you care about the other person and will most likely give you the results you are expecting.  Saying "please" is being courteous to others.

I CAN HELP
I put this one in here for me, too. It goes with the one about "I need help".  This is the opposite end of the response of rejection that I don't want to hear.  If I ask for help, it would be great if you said, "I can help!".  If we have trouble volunteering to help others, maybe it's because we have trouble committing our time, talent, and resources.  We're afraid if we volunteer for something, we're "stuck".  I know.  I've felt that way before, too.  Maybe we're afraid if I help with something once, we'll be in it forever - without escape!  I know.  I've felt that way before, too.  But, I also know that as 4-H leader and PTO leader, I need help.  There is no way that I can possibly do everything on my own.  My husband is a great helper, but he also has a job and his own responsibilities - just as you do.

So, here is a thought:  try to help when you can.  Try to volunteer as much as possible. When planning your schedule, make sure you're making it with a servant's attitude and not a selfish attitude.  We can all serve more.  Again, our wonderful example is Jesus.  He was a servant - always.

So, this is my list of  "Say what you need to say".  What phrases would you add to the list?
 
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