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Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Joe!

The first week in April, I came up with a sneaky plan.  I let the two oldest kids in on my idea and they agreed that it sounded like a good idea.  I decided to surprise my husband, Joe, with a special birthday gift...something he would never expect me to do.  For his birthday, which is the 30th,  I wanted to give him Texas Rangers baseball tickets.  The only time we could go was Easter afternoon.

The problem with my plan was that that Easter weekend is alumni weekend in Tipton  for the school and also for the children's home where Joe works.  On that Saturday, Joe has to be in town for Saturday morning and a little bit of the afternoon.  I wasn't sure if he would be able to leave Saturday afternoon or not.  I called the secretary at work and she thought it would be just fine for him to leave in the early afternoon.  So the tickets were ordered.

As the days went on and I waited for the tickets to arrive in the mail, I began to worry a little bit.  I was worried because I got to thinking, "What if Joe is preaching somewhere (and hasn't told me yet) on that Sunday and he can't leave?"  He preaches at Tipton once a month, but that's usually the second Sunday, so that was clear.  But also, part of his job involves speaking for churches that support Tipton Home.  Maybe I didn't know he was going to be out of town?

I decided we would have to give him the tickets just as soon as we got them in the mail - just so we would know if it wouldn't work and also so he wouldn't schedule anything for that day.  Our plan worked.  The kids (all four of them) and I were so excited!  Joe was excited and surprised at our gift!  Our first Rangers' game of the new baseball season!

So Saturday we headed to Arlington.  My parents were also going to the game with us and we met up with them that evening.  Of course we ate at our favorite place, Pappasitos!  Joe was so excited to wear the big sombrero and have the wait staff sing their birthday song to him :).  Of course, the free dessert was enjoyed by several at our table!

Sunday we woke up early and drove to Plano for early morning worship and class.  Joe's brother, James, preaches at McDermott Road church, so that makes it handy (though 50 minutes away) when we're in that area.  After worship and class we headed to the ballpark.  We were the first ones in the 3rd base gate.  The kids were thrilled!
(Joe and the kiddos)

The Rangers won the game, the kids were able to run the bases after the game, and we headed back home. Joe had a great birthday surprise!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Do You Ever Wonder?

Do you ever wonder what your children think?  Do you ever wonder about what they will become?  Who they'll marry?  What kind of a parent they'll be? 

What do they think about God?  About Jesus or His church?

A few days ago I was working on a Bible teacher's workshop lesson. I came across a sermon about parenting.  It asked a few questions that made me think about our family and specifically about our children and their future.  I decided to make up a questionnaire for them to fill out.  As I explained to them that I wanted them to fill them out, I also told them that it was something I would have them repeat each year as long as they lived at home.

Since the youngest is eight, he didn't understand all of the questions, so he just answered what he understood.  The 12, 14, and 16 year old answered them all.  Here are the questions:

What do you think about growing up in your family?

Are you content with your place in the family – as first child, middle child, or youngest?

Do you think we (your parents) are fair? Why or why not?

What do you think about the discipline in our family?

What does it mean to respect someone?

Do you respect yourself?  If so, how? If not, why not?

What would you change about your family if you could?

In what ways do you want your own family to be the same or different?

What do you believe about God?

What do you believe about Jesus?

What do you believe about the church?

Could you see yourself ever becoming unfaithful to God, Jesus, or the church?  Why or why not?

Do you believe that the choices you make in your life - such as who you will marry or what career you choose - can make a difference in your attitude/faithfulness to God, Jesus, or the church?  Why or why not?

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

After the questionnaires were completed, I read through each of their answers.  Later my husband read through them.  We both agreed that they were interesting because they were very honest about how they felt about every area, but they answered them just like we both would have hoped they would. That was kind of neat. I guess I kind of expected a few of them to "chide" us a bit or at least say something was wrong! And, who knows?  Next year they might!

I want each of our children to know they can be totally honest with us.  I want them to tell us exactly how they feel (in a respectful way, of course!). But most of all, I want them to be honest with God.  I want them to walk with Jesus.  I want them to remain faithful to Him.  That's what is most important.

So, do you ever wonder?  Do you ever wonder what your children think?  Ask them!  You never know what you might learn!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Now?

So everything is going along fine.  Life seems to be going good.  No big problems.  No big worries.  Then, BAM!  All of a sudden everything begins to spiral downhill, faster and faster and you feel like things are out of control.

For a time you were walking  along just fine - at peace and content with your new life.  Why now all of a sudden things changed?  It's a time in your life when you say to yourself, "What now??"

After becoming a Christian and life seems like it just can't get any better, you might think that nothing would ever get in the way of your intimacy with God.  You might feel that following Jesus is pretty easy to do. Resisting sin is easy. Reading the Bible isn't a chore.  It's something you long to do frequently.

So, what now?  What has happened?  The simple answer is "life".  Life happens.  Life around you doesn't stop after you become a Christian, though in some aspects you and I might rather it stop.  Life is sometimes painful.  Life is sometimes difficult.  Temptations sometimes come back in full force.  Sometimes you and I find it hard to resist.

It's at those pivotal moments that you have a choice to make:  You can either continue in your new walk and walk with total and complete faith and trust in God, or you can try to make it on our own - forgetting about that intimate relationship you have with Him and give in to your sinful, old life.

When you and I fail - and we all do - God is ready, willing, and able to forgive us. However, God's gift of grace and mercy should not cause you and I to want to keep sinning - rather our love for Him should make us want to live a holy and righteous life.

Because Christ's blood cleansed you from sin and will continue to cleanse you, you should want to live your life for Him.  As you will see in the following passage, baptism into Christ is like being baptized into his death.  (For an illustration of this, click this post) Then you, too, are resurrected, just as He was resurrected.  You are now dead to sin and alive in Christ!  You are walking in a new life!

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—  because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.  The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.  Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.  For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 
Romans 6:1-14

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tipton Home Homecoming - "Remembering the 1970's"

Every year, on Easter weekend, Tipton Home (as well as Tipton Public Schools) has it's annual Homecoming celebration.  This year's theme was:  Remembering the...1970's.
As Director of Alumni Relations, Anita (Annetta)Davis, does a WONDERFUL job each year planning for the big event.  She works many, many hours preparing for the special occassion.
This year Anita had a helper, Carol H., who painted the yellow bug car to be used for some of the 70's decor.  My two youngest, Jacob and Tyler are posing by the bug. Some of the men helped by cutting out the wooden patterns. Notice the 70's clothing hanging in the background.
This lovely leisure suit was borrowed from my brother-in-law, Dan.  This picture really doesn't show the "true" lime green color!  My husband was surprised that anyone would keep such a thing, but I have a strong suspicion that it's my sister-in-law, Robin, who is the wise keeper of the "oldies" clothing!!  What a great addition to the decor!! (**My sister-in-law just reminded me that suit was made by Dan and my husband's grandmother.  I had forgotten that, but that also makes it a special keepsake.  And another note, his twin brother's suit was kind of a rusty orange color.  He didn't keep his, though!)
The 70's style van was a cardboard party store find.  You probably notice it as the VW van from Disney's Cars movie! Also, you'll see a few Tipton High cheer leading suits hanging.
This photo prop was also painted by Carol.  Such a cute and fun addition.  My two oldest, Lauren and Zachary, are trying it out!
Cute tie-dyed and smiley face printed bandanas served as decor for the table.  Vases filled with paper flowers and green paper shred filled up the space.  The flowers featured black and white copies of photos of many Tipton Home alumni.
Goody bags were passed out to all in attendance.  Tyler was impressed with the kaleidoscope.
Calendars featured a 70's cover and more pictures from the past.
Addresses from alumni are bound and given to all in attendance - trying to get everyone connected so that they can keep in touch with each other.
This year's program in 1970's style.
The Putnam Place Cottage presented Tipton Home with a special gift this year.  It was Chris Oakley's letter jacket, senior picture, and memorial program booklet.  What a special gift!  Thanks, Gray, Teresa, and boys! You may remember my previous posts about Chris' passing in September.  (To read Chris' stories click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.)
A special guest speaker visited Tipton Home for the first time in 50 years.  Jerry Bowers from Montana talked to the alumni and guests about his life growing up at Tipton Home.  As an elder in the church for over 30 years, he encouraged the children to remain faithful to God, to follow Jesus, and to be active in the church for the rest of their lives.  What an inspiration to all of us!
This pickup from the 1970's reminded me of my own childhood because we had two like this (one light lime green and one yellow).  Clayton Smith, former Tipton Home employee who is now deceased, used this truck for mail, The Messenger (the Tipton Home newsletter), and other things.  Another employee now owns the pickup, but let Anita to borrow it for the banquet.

To find out more about Tipton Home, visit their website at http://www.tiptonhome.com/

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Sweet Conversations

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

Today Biscuit came in to where I was and wanted me to help him with his baseball uniform. We had a few interesting conversations within about five minutes....the kind of conversations that warm your heart!

Conversation #1:
Biscuit: "Mom, who baptized Jesus....Moses?"
Me:  "No, remember that Moses lived in Old Testament times.  Jesus lived in the New Testament times."
Biscuit:  "Oh, yeah, it was John the Baptist."
Me:  "That's right!"
Biscuit:  "I love you, Mom!" (as he hugged me)
Me:  "I love you, too!"

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:13-17

Biscuit left the room to go get more of his baseball gear together, then returned.

Conversation#2
Biscuit: "Mom, I think I want to be an author, too when I grow up." 
Me:   "That's great! What do you want to write about?"
Biscuit: "I'll write about wisdom and faith.  I'll send one to you and Dad....if you're still alive." 
Me:  "Sounds good." (Thinking...."What do you mean if we're still alive????!!)
Biscuit: "I'll make it like how Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and how he was faithful."
Me. "That will be a good story."
Biscuit: "I love you, Mom." (as he hugged me again)
Me:  "I love you, too, Biscuit."

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Luke 2:52

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful for sweet conversations with my children. I am thankful for Biscuit sharing his heart with me today, and even more thankful that his thoughts for today were centered on Jesus and his wisdom and faithfulness.

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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Resurrection Every Day!


GrandProfile.com is your one stop for Myspace GraphicsAs a Christian, it's great to know that we don't have to wait for a calendar to tell us and show us when to celebrate Jesus' resurrection.  We can celebrate it every day!  In fact, we should celebrate it every day!


But why?  Why can we celebrate the resurrection every day?  Because if we are a Christian, we are only one because of the resurrection.  If Jesus Christ had died on the cross, been buried, and never arose, what hope would you and I have?  None!  But, because He arose, we have the hope of eternal life in Heaven with Him and with God!  Praise God for that wonderful Good News!!

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’
Luke 24:1-7

From this passage, you will notice something important: Jesus rose on the first day of the week - Sunday.  That is why Christians worship on the first day of the week - Sunday.  But it's not just one Sunday a year - but each and every Sunday. 

Before He died, Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples.  The Passover was (and still is) a Jewish holiday and festival.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” Luke 22:7-8 

They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them,
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Luke 22:14-20

Notice what Jesus said in the above passage (I have it enlarged).  Why would Jesus say that?  Because for the annual Passover the lamb had to perfect, without spots or blemishes. Jesus was getting ready to suffer as the final sacrifice - a perfect sacrifice. As Paul said, "For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." 1 Corinthians 5:7b

Now as Christians, we, too, can celebrate the resurrection.  One way of doing this is by partaking of the Lord's Supper, as He established us to do "in remembrance of" Him.

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 
1 Corinthians 11:23-27 

As a young child, I remember visiting my grandparents' church and they would partake of the Lord's Supper every week.  I always thought it was so special and wondered why we didn't where I worshipped.  Later on, as a teen my family began worshipping with a group of Christians who also partook of the Lord's Supper weekly and it's a celebration my own family now partakes in every Sunday.  It's such a special time of reflection and remembrance!

The scripture above doesn't say when to partake of the Lord's Supper, but other verses seem to point to the fact that the early Christians did, indeed, partake of it each first day of the week.

On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Acts 20:7a

Another passage which shows that the early church gathered every Sunday and ate the Lord's Supper is 1 Corinthians 11:20-21, 33. In these verses Paul rebukes the Christians of one congregation by saying, "when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk" (verses 20 and 21). The purpose of their meeting together should have been to eat the Lord's Supper together -- but they weren't doing that properly. So, after rebuking them, Paul then instructs them, "So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another" (verse 33).

But, does this passage show that they ate the Lord's Supper -- or were supposed to be eating it -- every Sunday? After all, nothing is said in these verses about when they were meeting together -- it just says that they were meeting together. Well, when we flip over a few chapters we will discover how often this church was meeting together. In fact, Paul gives this church the following instruction: "On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come." 1 Corinthians 16:2

This verse is specifically talking about the offering of money the Christians would give and explains why churches take up money collections each Sunday.  It just seems logical with all of these verses that the Lord's Supper be partaken of each Sunday as well, doesn't it? It does to me and to millions of others all over the world.

But the celebration isn't limited to a building, to one day of the week.  Christians can and should celebrate the resurrection everyday!  In other words, thank God each and every day for the gift of His Son, for the death of His Son, and for the resurrection of His Son.  Praise God for His plan and for your part in His plan.

So celebrate the resurrection, but don't limit your celebration to one day a year.  Celebration the resurrection EVERYDAY!






Wedding Shower Ideas

Recently I had the opportunity to decorate for a wedding shower.  I already had the black and white polka-dotted umbrella, but my parents gave me the black and white floral one for my birthday.  I knew it would be a perfect addition to my wedding/baby shower decorations!  Of course, as soon as God sends rain to southwest Oklahoma, I will be using it then, too!
This wedding shower was for a family friend.  It is kind of interesting because Jena, the bride-to-be, was the youngest person at my own wedding - almost 23 years ago!  In fact, she was one month old on my wedding day.
......Black and white polka dot theme for the shower decor....
.....and lots of other colors.....
.....Gerber daisies in brights and pastels.....
.....and this turquoise one stolen (borrowed) from my daughter's bedroom....
....feather turquoise lamps - also from my daughter's room...
.....and other decorations I've acquired from speaking at ladies' day events....
Jena's corsage was handmade by one of the hostesses.
So cute to have added little measuring spoons to the ribbons.  Each spoon says a small amount, such as smidgen, pinch, etc.

FYI (added later, after post was sent out):  The plastic flower plates under the Gerber daisies are from Hobby Lobby.  They have lots of bright colors and they were inexpensive!  The vases are empty vegetable cans, washed out and covered with black/white polka dotted tissue paper.  I use paper towels and crinkle paper shreds to fill the containers and hold the flower straight.

Best wishes to the bride-to-be!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Heart Ache

Yesterday was a day of disappointment for our teenage daughter.  Lauren competed in her favorite event of the entire school year - the FFA speech contest.  She had worked on her speech for a few months and memorized it quickly, as she usually does.  She woke up bright and early yesterday, all on her own, just to get ready for the event.  With confidence she left the house and met the group to drive to the competition.  Our next oldest, Zachary, was competing, too, but he wasn't as excited about it.  In fact, he's not too excited about any of those types of contests.  But, he participates, anyway.

After lunch I received a text from our daughter saying that Zachary placed 2nd, and that our school won the sweepstakes - meaning that our school had the most 1st and 2nd place winners of all.  To qualify to go on to the next level, most categories would only take 1st and 2nd place. 

Lauren didn't say what she did, so I texted back asking.  She placed 3rd.  So close, yet so far!  I told her that I was sorry, but encouraged her telling her she would do better next time - meaning next year.  But she's not wanting to do better next year.  She wanted to do better now!  Of course, and understandably so, she's extremely disappointed.  She didn't do as well as she even did last year and it's heartbreaking for her.  It is for her dad and I, too!  When your child is sad and upset it's hard to not be.

I know that this will all go away and she'll be just fine.  I am hopeful that she will try again next year and will be successful.  I also know that any time of loss - no matter how little or big - will help her grow.  But, I also know it still makes her sad and it makes my heart ache to see her disappointed.

This morning as I told Lauren goodbye for school and felt that same feeling for her, I immediately turned my thoughts to God.  As I thought about Jesus resolutely setting out for Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) and His Father knowing what was about to take place - that His Son was going to die on the cross - it makes me feel a little selfish.  I'm upset for my child because she missed the mark on a speech contest, yet He willingly offered His Son for the sins of the whole world?  Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it?  Of course, it does.  It doesn't take away the heart ache of the moment, but it easily shows that this will be a very temporary feeling and nothing that will last forever.

What are you going through today?  What kind of heart ache do you have, if any?  How does it feel to know that God loved you enough to give His Son to die for you?

All I can think to say is, "Thank you, God, for everything!"  And we all should remember to say that to Him each and every day.  As always, when we turn our thoughts to Him, everything just feels better.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A TRIP TO THE ZOO!

GRATITUESDAY:  A TRIP TO THE ZOO
A few weeks ago one of our school groups took a trip to the Oklahoma City Zoo.  I was excited to tag along as a parent sponsor because I had been wanting to go to the zoo for quite some time!
This bird is drinking nectar from a cup. (You purchase the nectar.)  It was amazing to watch the birds take the lids off of the cups.
These birds are called lorikeets. I thought that was pretty neat, since my name is Lori! The birds were beautiful and would land on your shoulders, hands, arms, and even some heads!
(Sorry, again, for the sideways pictures.  It's a Blogger problem and I followed the steps to correct it, but obviously it didn't work).

This picture is a favorite from our zoo visit.  My husband sometimes does things like this to scratch his back (much to the dismay of his wife and kids!) so I HAD to take this picture for him!
These two bears are twin boys.  They were funny to watch.  They would play-fight, then ignore each other, then try to get each other's attention - much like human brothers!
One of the bears decided to sun bathe for a bit.  This reminded me of "The Jungle Book" bear, Baloo.  So cute!
I can't remember what animal this is...but obviously from the cat family. It looks like a lioness, but it's not.
The bald eagle - a majestic bird!
Since our school mascot is the tiger, the whole group was really excited to visit this exhibit.  I really wished I could have gotten a picture of the tiger without the fence in the way. 
UMMMM......MAYBE NOT!! His yawn is very revealing, isn't it???
A pretty cardinal, though the picture is a little blurry.
The new elephant exhibit is wonderful!  It actually reminded me of Disney World in a way - just the attention to detail and massive structures.  Pretty cool!
There weren't many elephants out the day we visited, especially for such a large area, but the week after we were there I heard a new baby elephant was born.  How exciting!
This one doesn't look full grown.  Maybe he/she happens to be a new big sibling!
Doesn't he just look like he's trying to tell me something?  Like, "What do you think you're doing taking pictures and disturbing me?"!  Yep.  I think so!

I am grateful for special days like the one where we visited the zoo.  Any time I am able to see God's amazing creatures is a blessing!  His wonderous plan, His beautiful world - all for us to enjoy.  Thank you, God!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Please Listen To Me!

Do you ever want to make that statement, "Please listen to me!"?  Last week, I was reminded, through a few different episodes, that we don't really listen to each other.  Many times, while in a conversation, our minds aren't really focused on what the other person is saying, but focused on the next words we, ourselves, want to say, or maybe something totally unrelated to the conversation at all.

Some time last year I picked up a small family magazine.  There was an article about the character trait of "attentiveness".  I hadn't ever thought about that word before, but as I read through it, I recognized that it's a character trait we all probably need to work on.

By definition, attentiveness means "giving care or attention; watchful: attentive to detail. Marked by or offering devoted and assiduous (this word means showing great care and perseverance) attention to the pleasure or comfort of others."  So, if we are attentive to others, we are basically giving them our devoted attention, but also showing great care to watch for certain details.  To me, this means we will recognize when someone is upset, angry, sad, lonely, troubled, sick, etc.  We will learn a lot about a person in just that short time of visiting.

As you go throughout your day, take the time to really listen to those you talk to and with those you come in contact with.  Take the time to be attentive.  As always, our example is Jesus.  He took the time to listen and to care for others.  He had divine power, but knew the needs of the people.  We don't have that same divine power, but God has given us the ability to help others and to care for their needs. He has given baptized believers His Spirit. We just have to be willing to slow down and listen.  We just have to open our eyes to those around us....to see their needs. 

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 
Philippians 2:4

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Perfect Attendance

Perfect Attendance:  An honor bestowed upon a student at the end of the school year if said student has gone to school every day of the school year - without fail.  Parents take pride in the status.  Bumper stickers get stuck on the family mini van (or other vehicle) bumper.

I don't ever remember getting perfect attendance.  My children haven't either.  That's okay with me.  Not that I would advocate deliberately missing days school just because, but because it means my children are involved in lots of school and extra-curricular activities.....plus there are a few sick days in there, as well (thankfully not many this year!).

There was a school teacher - now retired - who bragged and continues to brag about his 30 plus years of perfect attendance.  I'm not sure I would brag about going to work with high temperatures and flu-like symptoms, since said teacher shared his viruses with no telling how many other colleagues!

What if perfect attendance awards were handed out for worship attendance?  Would you get one?  Does it matter?  Sadly, I think that many Christians believe that God is going to ask for their attendance card on judgement day.  When God asks, the perfect-attendance card holder will proudly hold up their card and say, "See all of my check marks?  Not one is missing, God!"  At that point, what do you think God will say?  I'll let you think about that answer on your own.

Is attendance at worship important?  Yes!  It is absolutely, extremely important!  But, it's not important for the sake of checking of an attendance list.  It's not important for making sure a certain pew seat is filled at each service.  What makes it important is our relationship with God and His church and our attitude towards it.  It's about our heart. Think of it this way:  Why would you or I deliberately miss worship services?  What is important enough that it would keep up from coming together with our brothers and sisters in Christ and worshipping our God and our Savior?  And, apparently the church was important enough for God that He gave His Son up to die on a cross for it, so I'm thinking He expects it to be important to us, as well.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Ephesians 5:25

But, aside from worship together as the church, worship must also be a daily, individual thing.  Faithfulness is a daily requirement not just a Sunday or Sunday/Wednesday thing.  Actually if it was just a Sunday or Sunday/Wednesday thing, it would be a lot easier, wouldn't it???!  We wouldn't ever have to think about how we act on the other five or six days of the week.  We wouldn't have to watch our words, attitudes, and responses on those days.  I might could make it for one or two days without sinning - well, maybe.  Well, maybe not.

But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.
1 Samuel 12:24

There is someone who always has perfect attendance.  He never fails to be where He says He will be.  In fact, He's always at work - never gets a day off.  But, I don't think He would want a day off either.  He loves His children too much.  God is always faithful.  Faithful in His love.  Faithful in His patience.  Faithful in His grace and mercy and forgiveness.  He doesn't just show up once or twice a week.  He's there - 24/7 and 365.  Thank you, God, for your perfect attendance!

God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:9

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "Why Did God Make Ants?"

Last week I heard Biscuit come into the house crying.  I could tell something was wrong.  It seems that Biscuit and his brothers were playing golf in the field, and Biscuit ended up getting stung by ants.  (And, of course, it was one of his brothers' fault because that's just the way it is with siblings - someone has to be blamed in all situations, right??? Maybe that's just at my house!)  Anyway, I got a insect bite ointment and quickly put it on Biscuit's leg.  The pain and sobbing continued and he blurted out, "Why did God make ants anyway?  Just to bite people?"

Have you ever questioned why God made something?  I have.  I can't really see why he made snakes.  To me they are useless.  What about flies, gnats, lice?  Why, God?  What is their purpose?

I really didn't have an answer for Biscuit, except I thought about the anteater.  I told Biscuit that maybe God made ants for the anteater to have food to eat, to which he replied, "But we don't have anteaters here!"  That's true.  Hmmmmmmm.

Ants are even mentioned in the Bible.  Did you know that?  Yes!  Twice!  First in Proverbs 6:6-8 and then in Proverbs 30:24-25 (I've also listed verses 26-28).

Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.
Proverbs 6:6-7

There are four things which are little on the earth,
But they are exceedingly wise:
The ants are a people not strong,
Yet they prepare their food in the summer;
The rock badgers are a feeble folk,
Yet they make their homes in the crags;
The locusts have no king,
Yet they all advance in ranks;
The spider skillfully grasps with its hands,
And it is in kings’ palaces.
Proverbs 30:24-28

So did God create all of these creatures to teach us lessons?  Quite possibly!  It says that ants are wise and strong.  I want to be wise and strong, don't you?  It says they store food in the summer to prepare for other seasons.  Can't we learn from their example?  Sure we can!

Of course, all of God's creatures - big and small - are part of the food chain.  I wasn't sure what else besides anteaters would eat ants, but after a quick "Google" search, I found that lots of things eat them.

Biscuit's bite stung for a while and eventually went away, but just for that short time, it made us think about one of God's tiny creatures.  That painful situation made both of us think about the ant's purpose in life and made a learning experience for Biscuit to learn more about God.

It's interesting to know and comforting to believe that God's big plan - from the tiny little bugs to the salvation of human souls - is all in His control.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sticky Situations

Many years ago, when one of our children (to save this particular child embarrassment, I'm keeping this one unnamed!) was little, we stopped by Sonic (for those that know me well, imagine that!! :)  Anyway, as I looked in my passenger side mirror checking on the children, this unnamed child was picking their nose and then putting their finger in their mouth.  GROSS!

I quickly blurted out, "Don't do that!  It will make you sick!" 

To which the child replied, "It didn't when I did it last week!"

Now you tell me - what would you have said in response to that???!!  I don't really recall what I said because the reply shocked my husband and I so much! We were both trying not to laugh, but I'm pretty sure I explained to my child that germs can sometimes make you sick and that sometimes they don't, but that it was still yucky, anyway.

I thought about discipline in a different way after that episode.  Sometimes we blurt out demands or consequences, but we don't really think about what we're saying.  Could that have made the child sick?  Sure it could, but it isn't definitely going to make them sick.  If so, I think toddlers might constantly be sick all over the world!

Another time I put one of our children (our first child - our only daughter) on the "naughty chair".  She was little and I thought maybe I'd trying this time out stuff and just see how it worked.  Well, it didn't.  When my husband got home, I told our daughter to tell her daddy what she had done.  Instead of telling him about her disobedience, she blurted out with great excitement, "Daddy, I got to sit on the naughty chair!!!"  Her excitement proved to me, early on, that time out didn't work for discipline.  I'm still convinced it doesn't, but maybe it has with some so you might disagree.

These episodes taught me a few lessons about discipline:

 1. Discipline has to be fair. 
The punishment should fit the "crime".  As a parent, it's easy to let our emotions get out of control and over or under punish.  Neither extreme is good for the child - or for the parent.

2.  Discipline has to be used as a teaching moment. 
The word discipline means to train.  As a parent, that is your God-given job and obligation.  It is your responsibility to train your child in the right way.  Part of that training is teaching them right from wrong and giving appropriate consequences for continuing to do wrong.

3.  Discipline has to be consistent. 
The worst thing a parent can do is to be inconsistent.  Being inconsistent undermines all previous discipline and sets the child up to misbehave.  Parenting is hard work, but it's a lot less hard when the discipline is consistent.

4.  Discipline has to be done in love - always.
No matter how you choose to discipline your child/children, it must be done in love.  Not disciplining a child, in my opinion, is just as much child neglect as not feeding them or clothing them.  And, of course, over-disciplining them to the point of physically abusing them is the other extreme.  Both extremes are harmful to the child.

5.  Start discipline early.
This lesson was first told to me by my brother-in-law when we were expecting our first child.  I remember that our first child was about 9 months old when she began trying to exercise her own "free will".  From that moment on, discipline began, and she (at least up until this point!) has been an easy child to raise. 

6.  Realize that each child is unique.
Child #1 was mentioned above. 
Child #2 has been even easier, but I think that's because he's a boy and his personality is pretty low key.
Child #3 came along and was a little bit different.  He had a different temperament - a different personality.  From age two until last year, he heard many, many, MANY talks about self control.  Would you believe that this year - at age 12 - he rarely has to have those reminders from me?  Would you believe that today he mentioned that he realizes that he has learned how to have self-control? He told me an example from today's P.E. class?  That's great!  I'm so proud of him and his hard work! 
Child #4 is only 8, so I am not sure about him, yet, except that his discipline and personality has been even different. (You will know this if you read my "The Chronicles of Biscuit" posts, which are all about #4!!)  Because #3 was harder to figure out, I think I was even harder on #4, but so far he's a pretty good, easy-going kid. 

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Proverbs 1:8

Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.
Proverbs 20:11

Monday, April 11, 2011

What Do You Expect? - Part 2

Well, unfortunately, I didn't hear from anyone about your thoughts from yesterday's post....."What Do You Expect?"....in reference to positive thoughts versus negative thoughts, but, I had some other thoughts about this matter today. 

A month or so ago, I was traveling home from Oklahoma City.  As I scanned through radio stations, I came across a popular TV/radio preacher talking about "favor". I listened to what he had to say, though I don't typically believe that a lot of his teachings are biblical. He explained that many of the things he gets in life - the good things, special treatment, and such - are because of him being a Christian.  He talked about "favor" and how we, too, can have God's favor - if we are Christians and expect those things.  His basis was this scripture: "Jesus grew in wisdom, in statue and in favor with God and man." (Luke 2:52)

When I got home, I talked to my husband about the radio message.  Parts of it were great.  We should be positive thinkers (like I mentioned in my Part 1 post), we should expect God's blessings, we must believe that God can do great things, etc.  But, parts of that lesson aren't biblical.  The notion that God won't allow Christians to suffer or that God will give only good things to Christians.  This preacher didn't come right out and say those things, but he might as well have.  He basically said that because he is who he is he gets special treatment: good seats in airplanes, business deals that turn out right, traffic jams that suddenly un-jam.  But the whole time the emphasis is on himself - not God.  He believes that Christians who are living right will get preferential treatment.

So, what about persecution?  I wrote about that a few months ago.  If God doesn't allow Christians to suffer, then why did Paul end up in jail? Why was he beaten?  If God doesn't allow Christians to suffer, then why do Christians get cancer? If God only gives good things to Christians, then why would evil people ever be in powerful positions?  You see, that way of thinking doesn't make sense.

Maybe you took my "Part 1" post that way....like the radio/TV preacher attitude.  I hope not!  I certainly didn't mean that way. But, just in case you did, hopefully this post will clear it up! (By the way, I let my husband read that post before it was posted and he didn't take it that way. He'll read this one before it's posted, too! I have him read a lot of them before posting them....just to get his thoughts or impressions.  I want his opinion and suggestions!)

So, what do you think?  Will God bless us for how we live?  Yes.  Absolutely.  We read of those blessings throughout the Bible.  He will bless those who love Him and who serve Him.  He will hear the prayers of those who are striving to do His will.

We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.
John 9:31


But, He will also allow His children to experience trials, sorrow, and tragedies. We see those examples throughout the Bible, as well. 

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12-13

Maybe these "bad" times are to strengthen our faith, maybe they are serving to fulfill God's ultimate plan or to bring someone to Christ, or maybe He is just allowing things to happen naturally.  We may not always know.  But, the thing is - when the bad things happen or undesirable things come our way, our attitudes, our responses, our reactions as a Christian - will be different.  Well, they should be different.

Even in the bad times, a Christian can expect good things.  We can and should expect blessings from God.  In bad times, we expect God to be with us, as He has promised that He will.

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10



Expecting the best doesn't mean that we'll get preferential treatment at all times, as the radio preacher suggested.  Expecting the best means that we will have a positive attitude in all situations - even if things don't turn out the way we want them to. That is what living the faithful Christian life is all about.  That is what God wants us to learn as we walk with Him.  That is why we must have total faith in Him.  Our faith isn't in ourselves and what we do.  It's about what He has already done.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What Do You Expect?

I've been thinking about this question lately.  I'm wondering if what we expect out of life and what we expect from other really matters?  I believe it does, but see what you think.

My husband and I have a "game" we play.  It has to do with getting good parking places, getting quick check-out lines at Walmart, and things like that.  I always expect to good parking places and quick check-out lines.  He always expects to get the farthest parking places and the slowest checkout lines.  And, guess what?   We usually both get what we expect!  So, does my positive attitude have anything to do with it?  Does God allow me to get those "good" things, but allow my husband the opposite?  Maybe so.  Maybe there is something to expecting the best.  Maybe God blesses our positive attitudes.  Maybe God tries to teach us lessons in our negative attitudes....or our impatient attitudes.  Of course, since these examples are to my advantage I like those things.  If it were not in my favor, I probably won't like them, would I?!

So, what do you expect from your behavior?  What do expect to tempt you?  Do you expect that someone will make you mad today?  Do you expect someone to cross you today?  Do you expect for someone to offend you today?  Do you expect to make a poor decision today?  Do you expect to waste time today?

With each of these questions, we have the choice to react in a certain way.  The way we choose to react is the way that our expectations will either be proven true or false.  It's up to us.

Now, think about your children.  What do you expect from them?  Do you expect them to obey you - as a parent?  Do you expect them to respect you?  Do you expect them to throw a fit?  Do you have high expectations from them or do you have low expectations?  I tend to think, that no matter which we expect from them - to a large extent - we will get from them.  

Can our expectations be unrealistic?  Sure.  There is always the possibility that we can have unattainable goals, unrealistic expectations.  I can expect to be small and petite all of my life, but it will never happen.  I can lose weight and become extremely thin, but I can never be small and petite.  That's not how God made me.  I can expect to be 30 years old again, but it's not going to happen.  Those things are unrealistic and will never happen.  But, I can expect to find someone to serve in some way today and I believe I will have that opportunity today.  I can expect to find time alone to be with God today and because of that expectation, I will make that time available in my schedule.

So, what do you think?  What are your thoughts on our expectations?  Do you believe God blesses us in our positive attitudes?  Do you believe that He tries to teach us lessons in our negative attitudes?  I look forward to hearing from you!

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13


For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Chronicles of Biscuit - V.D.T.

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

For the past few weeks, we've had a countdown from Biscuit. He wakes up every morning with the same enthusiasm, "Dad, you know it's just _____ more days!", or "Dad, you remember April 8th, don't you? You better not forget!", and this morning, "Dad, two more days before V.D.T."  My husband just goes along with the conversation, but sometimes teases Biscuit that he's forgotten.

Ever since Biscuit saw a sign with the DVD release date of "The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" he's been all fired up.  The Narnia movies are his very favorite movies and he and his dad enjoy watching them together.  My husband decided from the beginning, that no matter what was going on for tomorrow - ballgames, meetings, anything else that might come up - he had to take Biscuit to Walmart some time after work.

Biscuit might could be described as "obsessive" about some things in his life.  He's really into numbers and can remember them better than I have ever been able to!  In fact, he's pretty handy to have around because he always knows the correct date for "today" and for whatever else I might need to know.  I don't need a calendar!  Kind of neat.  Kind of unique.  And totally Biscuit. 

By the way, this is why all of the "Biscuit" blog posts are titled under "The Chronicles of Biscuit".  It just fit him perfectly!

I haven't seen this Narnia movie or any of them except the first one though the rest of the family like them (the other three kids like them, too, just not to the same degree as Biscuit does).  I just don't like people/animal mixed creature "thingies".  They give me the heebie jeebies - you know what I mean?  But, I do like the way author C.S. Lewis used his books (on which the movies are based) to share his Christian beliefs.   His stories are amazing and the way they relate to the Bible is interesting. In times of need the lion, Aslan, is always there to help and protect the movie/story characters...just like Jesus is always there for the Christian.  And also in the books and movies, good always prevails....defeating evil.....signifying that God will always prevail over Satan.

So, yes, V.D.T. is tomorrow, April 8th.  Don't forget!  I'm certain that this important date won't be forgotten in our home.  Biscuit would never allow that to happen!

Have a great weekend everyone!  (I've felt like it's Friday all day today, so I'm ready!  I'm sure you are, too :).

I love you, Biscuit! And, I'm so glad God gave you to me!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

All Bark, No Plight

Several times a day our little outside dog, Tiger, goes into a barking frenzy.  It drives me crazy (not a far drive, mind you :)! 

I wouldn't mind if Tiger was barking at the goats that live in the field behind the house.  I wouldn't mind if he was barking at the squirrels that frequently run along the trees and top of the fence.  I wouldn't mind if he barked at thing that made sense, but he doesn't.  No, he barks at weird things.  Things that can't do anything to him. 

Tiger barks at a newspaper that has somehow gotten in the backyard.  He barks at a little kiddie basketball goal that is laying down on its side.  The other day he was barking at the door, looking into the French door windows.  Maybe he was barking at his reflection?  Anyway, he's barking at things that aren't bothering him.

Tiger barks at things day after day and night after night  that can't cause him any harm at all.  It's like he is afraid of everything....even the wind....and that's not a good thing to be afraid of the wind when you're living in Oklahoma!

He's kind of like us some times, isn't he?  Some of us worry about the same things day after day - things that either are not going to happen or will most likely not happen.  It doesn't make any sense, does it?  It seems crazy! 

Tiger needs to learn that he doesn't have anything to bark at most of the time.  He needs to learn that he doesn't have to be afraid of everything.  He needs to realize that he is protected by most of the dangerous things that he could find outside of the big backyard.  Maybe he needs a friend?  I wonder...

We don't have to worry or be afraid. God will take care of us.  We have a friend - someone we can count on.  Jesus is that friend.  He wants to be our friend.

Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

This whole passage tells us not to worryMatthew 6:25-34

You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do. John 15: 14

I found a few quotes about worry that I would like to share:

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.  

There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever. Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Unbelievable!

Typically my husband is the one who tells the kids a "wild, seemingly unbelievable" story, but occasionally I can get one by, too.  Thanksgiving Eve Day (a big celebration evening for my husband's side of the family) of 2009, my children were helping me make snack foods.  It just happened to be the middle two boys with me in the kitchen at the time, but one of them was making Hawaiian Roll Sandwiches.

As he worked, Jacob asked me, "How do they get the holes in Swiss cheese?" 

Working on something with my back to the boys I answered, "A mouse eats it and makes the holes." 

Thinking there was no way either of them would believe me, I laughed inside at that possibility. 

But, then Jacob asked, "Well, how do they get the holes all the same size?" 

Now I'm thinking, "Ummmmm, Jacob.....I just told you that a MOUSE made those holes in the cheese and all you ask is how they got them all the same size????" 

But, I quickly thought of a "way".  "They use trained mice," I answered. 

To my surprise, neither of the boys said a word.  They just kept on working! 

I just about busted out in laughter, but instead went and typed a status for my Facebook page poking fun at my gullible boys!! (Isn't that what all good mammas do??? Hee Hee!!)

Well, many months passed and the boys were, again, working on snacks foods for some occasion.  I reminded them of the conversation about the Swiss cheese and they both remembered.  So, I came clean.  I said, "Mice don't make the holes in Swiss cheese."  I figured surely they had really realized that the whole thing was a joke, but I quickly learned they didn't.

Jacob seemed a little puzzled and asked a very thought-provoking question, "Well, then how does it get those holes????"

I had to answer:  "I don't really know."  I was now shocked that he seemed a little disappointed that my far-fetched tale wasn't true!!
So, I did some research and guess what I found?  Swiss cheese is made from Hole-y Cows!!!  (That's a joke, but I made it up myself - just right now - sitting here at my computer!! My husband will be really proud of me for that one!! Oh, no! He's rubbing off on me :).  Laffy Taffy will probably want to hire me, don't you think??

Well, I actually looked up the real way Swiss cheese is made and here's what I know:  I don't know if I want to read too much about how cheese is made.  It might seem as gross as having a mouse eat holes in it. 
Just eat it and enjoy it.....but don't think about it....okay? Trust me on this.....

My devotional thought for the day is this:

Some religious ideas out there in the world seem unbelievable, yet people believe them.  Some ideas out there seem ridiculous, yet people believe them.  God's Word is the only source of what is true and right.  It is written by men, yet inspired by God. 

His Word is BELIEVABLE!  His Word will transform.  His Word is unchanging.
Study it.  Learn from it.  Live by it.

...until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Ephesians 4:13-16

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mom & Son Road Trip

It's not often that I have the opportunity to get away with just one child at a time, but this past weekend, when Jacob tagged along with me for a speaking engagement (see previous post), it gave us the opportunity to do just that.  I am GRATEFUL for last weekend's Mom and Son Road Trip!
Since we were so close to Meade, Kansas, where my husband and I lived for our first year and a half of marriage, I decided we'd head to Kansas after the Ladies' Day.
We left Hooker, OK, about 2:30 p.m. and headed first to Liberal, Kansas.  We stopped in to see Dorothy's House and Land of Oz.
We didn't tour all of it, because we were hurrying to get to Meade, but it was still fun!
Jacob with the Tin Man.
The Yellow Brick Road.....
And, on to Meade.....and a photo of our first house.  I still think it's cute!  It was yellow in 1988, too. The stroller wasn't there then, though :).  The house looked to be deserted. We lived there one year exactly.
This was our second house.  We lived here six months. It was kind of a neat house with a full basement.  It wasn't light blue then (thankfully!!).  It's for sale.  Maybe it would sell better if it wasn't blue??? But, maybe that's just my opinion since I'm not a "blue" person.
Jacob was really excited about visiting the Dalton Gang Hideout in Meade.  I was, too!
He really thought the tunnel was cool!  The Dalton Gang used the tunnel to get from their sister's house to the horse barn.
This is what I remembered from 20-plus years ago:  The two headed calf!  I thought that was so neat then.  It is definitely something you don't see every day.
....And neither is an albino raccoon!
(Sorry...Blogger messes up cropped pictures and turns them sideways for some reason.)
I told Jacob to go stand in this wooden box.  Then I told him it was an old timey coffin!  He said it seemed strange to stand in it!
We thought this sign was funny!
The rest of the photos are just things we liked along the road.....between Liberal and Meade....
....in the Panhandle of Texas.....
......a beautiful scene somewhere in Texas......

Yes, very grateful for special one on one times with my children.

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