Thursday, September 29, 2011

Scared by the Scarecrow

Tuesday afternoon I was in the kitchen making a lot of appetizer-type foods in preparation for our daughter's birthday party that was going to be later on that evening.  It was a pretty day, so I had the front door open and could see out to the front yard from the kitchen counter.

As I worked, I caught a glimpse of someone at the front door.  It kind of startled me because the person was just to the right of the door...more towards the flower bed.  Typically at that angle, I wouldn't be able to see a whole person, but maybe just an arm or a piece of clothing.

Quickly, after being startled, I realized what had actually scared me was a scarecrow!  How goofy is that???!!  I just bought the scarecrow last week and stuck it in the edge of the flower bed with some pumpkins.  I had to laugh at myself for being scared of a scarecrow....a scarecrow bought and put in the flower bed MYSELF not too many days ago!

Sometimes, as Christians, we are scared and our fear is just as silly as me being afraid of my own scarecrow.   I found a great definition of fear that is an acrostic:  False Evidence Appearing Real.  Such a true definition of what fear really is to those in whom it takes residence.  The scarecrow is just a fall decoration for me, but they also have a use....to keep bird and pests out of gardens and fields.  Me being scared of it was absolutely "False Evidence Appearing Real".

What are you afraid of?  Is it something real or is it something not real....something your mind makes real?

Are you afraid to praise and honor God because of what others might think? 
Are you afraid of what others might think if you decide to become a Christian and turn away from a sinful lifestyle?
Are you afraid to put total trust and faith in Him because you think you need total control? 
Are you scared to even think about teaching others about Jesus? 
How about teaching a Bible class? 
How about inviting others to worship?

Now....when you look through that list.....aren't those fears just as silly as my fear of the scarecrow???

God says, "Do not fear because I will strengthen you and help you."

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

What Will You Do with Jesus?

An old hymn we sing sometimes during worship is, "What Will You Do with Jesus?".  The chorus goes like this:

What will you do with Jesus, my friend? 
Neutral you cannot be;
Some day your heart will be asking, O friend,
 "What will he do with me?"

As we go throughout this day and every day, these questions should be the theme of our day....or rather our answers should be the theme of our lives. 

1.  What will I do with Jesus?  What did I do with Him yesterday?  What have I done with Him in the past month?  My answers should be that I have shared Jesus to the best of my ability and to the glory of God.  My answer should also be that I strived to make Him Lord of my life each and every day by "picking up my cross" and walking as He walked...using His life as an example, so that I can be an example to others.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Luke 9:23-26

2.  What will He do with me?  Judgement Day is coming.  It is very real.  The Bible said that many who believe they are on the right path are not.  The right path is plainly written out in the Bible.  It's not a man-made creed or plan, but it is a plan that will change our heart.  It will change our heart to want to serve others and "bear fruit" for Him (see verses below). 

It's a wonderful and complete plan that was inspired by God and planned by God.  He wants ALL people to be saved, but He won't force anyone to follow Him.  So....what will He do with YOU and I on that day?  We can be assured of life with Him in Eternity!

 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13-14

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7:19-23


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This is the BEST!

In the recent months, our son Jacob has been using this phrase often, "This is THE best ____________________ ever!". Usually he has been talking about watermelon...comparing one to the other. We've teased him for saying that each time as he explains his food "rating". We also tease him because when he's saying that he sounds just like his grandpa...my dad.

My dad uses that same phrase a lot and it's always involving some food. For example, if dad finds a really good chicken fried steak at a restaurant, he might say, "That's the best chicken fry I ever eat." (Yes. I realize that that sentence uses improper English, but remember it's a quote. You can't change someone's quote!) And then, by my dad's standards, that chicken fry has been dubbed as #1 in his ratings...and more than likely he'll be heading back to that place again before long.

It's kind of beneficial to have food critics who rate what is good and what is not. Of course, we all have differences of opinion, but those who take the time to analyze the meal or food give others an idea of what to expect or maybe advice on what to buy or order.

I was thinking about all of the different religions of the world and how different they are from Christianity. I'll give you a "Jacob and Dad" rating of Christianity: It is THE best! But, not only is it the best, it is the ONLY ONE. It is the truth. It has been since the very beginning of time. God planned for Christianity even before the moment He began creation with the words, "Let there be....".

No other religion has God, who is the Creator of all things and who has given us a plan to live with Him in eternity. No other religion has a Savior who was born, lived on earth for 33 short years, gave His life on a cross, and was raised on the third day for people who loved Him, but also for those who despised Him. No other religion has a plan of salvation that is going to save on Judgement Day.

Yes, Christianity is truly THE BEST!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Planning Ahead

Such a good thought!  Used by permission. 

Planning Ahead

The story is told of Morris, a Russian man, who saved his rubles for twenty years to buy a new car. After choosing the model and options he wants, he's not the least bit surprised or even concerned to learn that it will take two years for the new car to be delivered. He thanks the salesman and starts to leave, but as he reaches the door he pauses and turns back to the salesman. "Do you know which week two years from now the new car will arrive?"

The salesman checks his notes and tells the man that it will be two years to the exact week. The man thanks the salesman and starts out again, but upon reaching the door, he turns back again. "Could you possibly tell me what day of the week two years from now the car will arrive?" The salesman, mildly annoyed, checks his notes again and says that it will be exactly two years from this week, on Thursday.

Morris thanks the salesman and once again starts to leave. Halfway though the door, he hesitates, turns back, and walks up to the salesman. "I'm sorry to be so much trouble, but do you know if that will be two years from now on Thursday in the morning, or in the afternoon?" Visibly irritated, the salesman flips through his papers yet another time and says sharply that it will be in the afternoon, two years from now on Thursday."That's a relief !" says Morris. "The plumber is coming that morning!"

We often have to make plans far in advance so as to avoid any conflicts. Before making any commitments -you know the routine - we have to pull out the date book (or the iPhone). "The kids have got a soccer game that night at 7:00, but the next night is free." Planning ahead isn't wrong; in fact, it's a scriptural principle. What makes it wrong, though, is planning ahead without any thought of God.

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'"(James 4:13-15)

Go ahead! Make your plans! Fill in that date book! Just make sure that God hasn't been left out.

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy 17th Birthday, Lauren!

How can it be that I'm posting about our oldest child's 17th birthday????  It seems like it was only yesterday we were bringing Lauren home from the hospital....new parents not sure about parenting, but excited about learning.  And now look:  She's all grown up and will be graduating and going off to college in less than two years!
Usually on Lauren's birthday or right around there, the kids are showing their goats at the Oklahoma State Fair, but this year Lauren asked her dad if they could change the tradition and go to the Rangers' baseball game on her actual birthday.  Of course he said yes!  And, of course we had to eat at Pappasito's before the game because that's tradition, too!  (Free dessert for your birthday is always good!  She shared with the rest of us :).
It just so happened that the Rangers clinched the AL Division Championship the night before we were to go to the game.  The banner was already in place and a flag was raised in celebration of the event.
Lauren held up a sign several times during the game.  Once she even was shown on the BIG video screen!  Here is the cameraman getting her on tape and....
....here she is on the big screen!!  How exciting!  (Not quite as exciting as being "Fan of the Game" last year, of course!)
Lauren dreams of working as a sports commentator/journalist....with the ultimate goal of working with the Rangers' team during a lot of her career.  Here she is "dreaming of that career"! :)

Lauren's dreams may very well become a reality, but in a few years she may change her dreams.  When I was her age, I wanted to sing at Lubbock Christian (college then, now university), get a degree in Home Economics, and teach in a high school.  That was my goal for several years.  However, things changed. 

I was dating Lauren's dad and we married the year after I graduated from high school. At that time, I wanted four boys - no girls.  However, six years into our marriage, we were blessed with a little girl!  God had other plans for our family!  I'm thankful that He did.  I can't imagine life without our special daughter.

I did go to college a few years, but still haven't "finished"!  I used to tease Lauren that I would go back to school with her when she went.  I won't....she doesn't need to worry about that!  No....my dreams changed.  Now my only dreams are to be a full time wife and mother.....to volunteer for the kid's school and their activities, to teach Bible classes and help teach others about Jesus.....and to write these blog posts!  My dreams are fulfilled!

So....Lauren, I know that whatever path God has for your life, you will always keep Him central in your life.  I am so thankful that God blessed us with YOU seventeen years ago.  You are an inspiration and an example to so many.  You are a positive and an encourager and a blessing to all who know you.  You are our beautiful daughter - on the inside, as well as on the outside.

Happy Birthday, Lauren! 

I love you, Mom

(FYI:  My children don't know this, but every birthday I have written them a letter.  Until I started this blog they were hand-written, but now I just use their birthday "post" as their letter.  I will give them all of their letters when they're older. (Not quite sure when just yet!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ladies' Night Out - Hollis, OK

Pictured from left to right: My 2nd cousin, Myra; her mom and my great-aunt, Therol; Me, my mom, Donna; my grandma's two sisters/my great aunts: Geraldine and Wanda Faye

Last night was a special evening for me.  It was a happy and sad evening....all at the same time for several reasons.

A few months ago, the Hollis church contacted me about being the speaker for their annual Ladies' Night Out (LNO).  I said yes....excited to have the opportunity to share God's Word with Christian sisters, but also because I was going to be going to Hollis.

Hollis has a very special place in my heart because my maternal grandparents lived there.  Every summer I would spend two weeks there, plus go up for days and weekends at other times of the year.  My grandparents owned a grocery store (Francis Food Town) there and that was fun for a young girl. (They sold it before I was really old enough to work there for real, though!).

I especially liked helping my grandpa deliver food to the hospital and shut-ins in his El Camino.  He would roll down the windows and turn the radio to a song in a language neither of us could understand - blaring it loudly through town.  He would just look over at me and laugh....trying to see if I was embarrassed (which I was!).   I loved help my grandma make little goody baskets for the sick in the Sunshine Room at the church building.  I also helped her get ready for extension club meetings when she would be getting ready for them. 

But my very favorite part of being with my grandparents, was worshipping with them and the church in Hollis.  I loved the singing and loved communion!  My grandparents sat in front of a couple and the lady (June) had the most beautiful alto voice.  I was able to share that memory with June at the LNO last night. 

And that's where the sad part comes in.....
My grandma passed away in May, 1990.  I miss her so much, and wished she could have been there....sitting among so many of her friends that I remember as a child.  And then, the last time I was at the Hollis fellowship building was after my grandpa's funeral in March 2006.  The very first thing one of the ladies said to me last night when I got there was, "Your grandpa baptized me."  Another one afterward quickly said, "Your grandpa was a special man."  I could feel my eyes welling up with tears quickly!  "Yes. He was," I said.....then quickly went to the ladies' room to cry for a little bit!

And now more happy parts....
A very special part of the "welcome", was that one of my great aunts, Therol, spoke.  I actually had three great aunts in attendance (How special!), plus my mom came and a second cousin, Myra, was visiting from out of town.   told about how that evening's LNO marked the 40th one that had been hosted by the Hollis ladies. (How neat!)  But, the most special part to me, was that my grandma and one of her friends (who was also there last night) spear-headed the very first LNO that Hollis ever had! (How amazing!  (No wonder I've always felt like I'm so much like her....organizing....planning....events.....and little bossy at times!).  I had no idea about those special facts!

I was okay during the delicious meal, but the beautiful singing kind of "got" me.  I knew if I went up to speak already crying, it wouldn't be good and I would have a hard time getting started.  So.....I just listened ever so oven and regained composure!

But then, one of my great aunts, Wanda Faye, introduced me.  I teased that she had more written on her pages than I did on my notes, but she said she wrote it in a large font :).  She told a sweet story about a bracelet that she/I have shared throughout the years.  I will have to share that story with you soon.  I tried to not "think" too much during her story, so that I wouldn't get all teary.

As soon as it was time for my lesson, I just told the ladies I would need to wait until after the lesson to say anything too personal about being there.  It worked and God helped me make it through the lesson...sharing with the ladies "God's Makeover Plan for the Christian Woman".  A lesson where we focused on inward beauty, rather than outward beauty.  And then I got to the sentimental part of being there and shared that with them tearfully and quickly. 

Yes....it was a special evening in may ways for me, and I thank the Hollis ladies for inviting me to be with them for the evening.  But more than that, I pray that the ladies' were blessed by being there, and that, above all, God was glorified.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gunk

A few weeks ago I was busy cooking all day for some event (that I can't even remember right now!).  I needed to wash out a pan, so went to the kitchen sink to turn on the water, and the handle of the faucet came right off!  Not good when that's your only water source for the kitchen!

I knew that the faucet was having some trouble a month before.  It was sticking and making creaking sounds.  After researching online and talking to a plumber, I decided that I needed to get vinegar up into the socket of the faucet.  Not sure how to do that, I took one of my tiny syringes (the ones I use for my allergy shots) and filled it with vinegar...shooting it up into the faucet socket. (It was fun, actually!) I did that over and over, then soaked a cloth with vinegar and wrapped it around the faucet socket and left it over night.  The next day the faucet was working wonderfully!  I was excited!

Perhaps the only way the vinegar would have kept the faucet going was if I had used it on it every day?  Or perhaps the vinegar was actually what ate through the socket instead of the "gunk"....who knows?  Either way, the "gunk" got in the way and caused my faucet to break.  For today's devotional, I'm going with the idea that daily maintenance would have kept my faucet operating smoothly and efficiently.

This situation makes me think about the spiritual life of a Christian.  We all have "gunk"....or sin in our lives.  Jesus will get rid of that "gunk".  However, it's up to us to continue with daily maintenance to keep our souls operating smoothly and efficiently.  Left untreated, the "gunk" will continue to build up and pretty soon we feel so weighed down by it that we feel like there is nothing we or anyone else can do. 

God's maintenance plan for our souls takes care of that "gunk".  The blood of Jesus can and does clean it and makes it new over and over.  Our part is in sticking with the maintenance plan laid out in the Bible.....confessing Him and confessing our sin and asking Him for forgiveness when the "gunk" gets in the way.

Each and every time....there we are....running like new - unlike my faucet!

Thank you, God, for your plan for our lives.  Thank you, Jesus, for giving your life to get rid of the "gunk"!

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Romans 10:10

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "For My Horse, Of Course"

The Chronicles of Biscuit:  Stories about our youngest son, Tyler, whose nickname is Biscuit.
Biscuit has a plan.  He's buying a horse.  A brown horse.  A horse like Adam rides on "Bonanza".  Biscuit and his brothers watched a 20 episodes of "Bonanza" on DVD throughout the summer.  Since that time he and his next oldest brother have been playing "cowboys", and of course, a cowboy needs a horse!
Yes, Biscuit has a plan and he's doing all he can do to make his plan succeed.  He only has a few problems.  He has no money because every little bit of money he gets, he spends.  He also has a problem because of the drought we've had for many months (Although we did get an inch of rain Saturday night!  Thank you, God!)

To remedy the money situation, Biscuit must have thought all day at school Monday about how to make money.  He hoped in the car and said he wanted to cook supper for all of us once or twice a week.  The catch is that I have to pay him $10.00 per nightly meal!  I asked what he was planning to cook for us.  His answer?  Macaroni and cheese sandwiches!  Ummmmmmm.......sounds.......interesting, doesn't it??  Not sure it's worth $10, but we'll see!  After all, he is saving for a horse!

The above was written Monday night.....now for the rest of the story.  It's Tuesday night.

Would you believe that this morning as I glanced through the headlines on Fox News, that there was an article about a chef's macaroni and cheese sandwich?????  I was shocked that Biscuit's idea was a real thing! 

Biscuit ended up changing his menu and went with mac and cheese, still, but added fish sticks and Ranch-style beans.  And, most importantly, Biscuit decided that I could make the meal so he could go outside and play.  It looks like Biscuit's money-making idea isn't working out so well! 

I'm sure he'll come up with another plan.  It's for a horse, of course!

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

Gratituesday - RAIN!

After a long, hot summer and months and months without rain, we got a much-needed rain....about an inch.... on Saturday evening!  We were out of town, but quickly heard reports of a thunderstorm in Tipton that brought lots of wind and rain and even a rainbow.

When we got home, there were still a few puddles remaining. Some tree limbs were down and a few items had blown across the field and into the yard.  A very welcomed site to see!

He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside.
Job 5:10

He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. Psalm 147:8

Thank you, God, for the rain! We praise you for this blessing and will continue to pray for more.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Right Perspective

We were in the Oklahoma City area this weekend and worshipped at Memorial Road this morning.  The singing was beautiful, and the preacher's message was great! A lot of the lesson focused on the fact that sometimes we have the wrong perspective on life. 

The wrong perspective involves our relationship with God.  It's a skewed view of that relationship...a flip-flopped view on life, actually. Here it is:  Often times we think of ourselves as big and God as small.  We face a problem and think of it as an attack on us and that we have to fight it all on our own.  Or maybe something good....an award or an accomplishment....and we think we've done it all on our own.  Both of these ways of thinking put us out in front and God way in the back - possibly even out of site.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Sometimes we get a "high and mighty" view of ourselves.....thinking we're something when we're not.  On the other hand, sometimes we get a "low and worthless" view of ourselves....believing we're something we're not.  Both extremes are wrong views that don't describe at all how a child of God should feel about him or herself.  As God's children, we should believe that we were created by God, in the likeness of Him and His Son, created to do His works.....and that we can do everything through Him and His power....not at all our own.

This week....let's strive to keep the right perspective on life as a child of God....where God is front and center and we are in the background just loving Him, living for Him, and serving Him.

Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Decline of Conversation

Just this week a few topics have come up with friends and family that make it obvious that there is a decline in conversation that is world wide. 

For instance, my mom posted on our recipe blog yesterday (Click here to read post.) a sweet story about her memories of swings and visiting on the front porch.  The night before my husband had told me about a story he had read (click here) that talked about how the world had changed, and how people were more into being entertained than by being involved.  The article even talked about how for many even worship had changed.  Instead of thinking about WHO we are worshipping - God - we're more concerned about how we feel during worship.

Another part of the article my husband showed me really got me to thinking.  Here's what it said,

"A current trend in the building of new middle and upper class suburban homes is to include a “theater room,” a windowless room complete with large, movie theater-like chairs, a speaker system, and a big screen television. This is another one of those things that seems odd when you take a step back…a whole room in the house dedicated just to watching stuff. We’ve gone from having parlors for making conversation, to rumpus or recreation rooms for playing games, to rooms in which people sit silently side-by-side in the dark."

Now, I know friends and family who have theater rooms, and yet these friends and families are still able to carry on meaningful conversations.  But, what I thought of is that we, as a nation, have gone from talking and communicating with each other, to being totally entertained and often times self absorbed.....into devices and electronics. It's a constant battle to keep this "stuff" from breaking down the family. 

As a mom (and with my husband's help), it is up to me to put limitations on all of this "stuff".  Most children aren't going to set limits for themselves (although a few of ours actually do in some cases).  One way we limit exposure is by not getting the gadgets in the first place.  For example, the salesman thought it was strange that we didn't want a DVD player in our old minivan or in our newer Expedition.  We had to explain to him that we'd rather hear our children talk than to only hear movies playing.  We don't buy any video games and limit computer time at home.  As of yet, we don't have a Wii (although I think there is a lot of family interaction with it and we may get one eventually). 

Another way that conversation has declined is because of texting.  I'm a fan of texting, myself, if it's for a quick question or an announcement.  In fact, it saves me a lot of time on the phone talking, BUT, the problem is that some would rather have a whole conversation by text than they would a face to face conversation.  When people begin a conversation like that with me I either call them or say "call me".  (Plus, I can't type on that thing that fast!!) 

The idea that people can't converse face to face is somewhat scary to me.  Couples that only have a texting relationship may have trouble communicating later on if they aren't used to talking in person.  Teens and adults may sometimes say things by text that they would never say in person (good and bad things).  It's like hiding behind a wall and not wanting to come out and be seen!

So.....we set limits within our family.  Perhaps you do, too. We've chosen to limit electronics and their use because we believe that is best for our family.  It helps prevent the decline of communication in our family.  Some day our children will grow up and go out on their own.  They'll have to make their own decisions about how they raise their families.  Hopefully by the way we have raised them, they won't buy into the hype that in order to make it in this world one must have the latest gadget or electronic.  Prayerfully they will have families that communicate and have face to face conversations.  (I just thought of the electronic "Skype" which does combine the gadget and also the face to face conversation!  There's a thought! :)

What do you think about the decline of conversation?  Is it real?  How do you combat the problem within your family? 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom

Okay.....so I'm getting another Disney World post in and then will save the final one (Animal Kingdom) for next week.

Fall is my favorite time of year, and even though the temperatures and humidity in Florida didn't feel like fall at the time, Disney World "felt" like fall because of the decor.  It was beautiful!
The Mickey's head jack-o-lanterns were the center of each wreath down Main Street USA.  They glowed at night.  I don't have a good picture of it, but as you were leaving "See Ya Real Soon" was also cut out of pumpkins and glowing over the top of the exit!
I got my picture taken with Mickey and Minnie for the very first time.  I was just as excited as a little kid!  My hair doesn't care for humidity, so it's all frizzed out and in a pony tail, of sorts!
For our last table service meal, using the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), Lauren and I decided to ride the monorail to one of the resorts.  We made reservations at the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort.
I have to show you my dessert, first!  It was a white chocolate cheesecake with whipped topping and strawberry sauce swirled around.  The two long strips are white chocolate and then Mickey head sprinkles.  It was delicious and beautifully served!
Lauren's meal was a burger and fries.....pretty normal, but very tasty, she said.
My meal doesn't look very pretty on the plate, but the Panko-crusted chicken was delicious!  It had a coconut mango flavor.  The sticky rice was plain, but I really liked it.  The macaroni salad was good, but to me, doesn't go with the meal.  I learned in Home Economics class that you MUST have something green on your plate for a "proper" plate.  I suppose that is what the lime is for....although I could have used the juice for extra flavor, I suppose.
Lauren's dessert was a Kona Kone.  It's huge!  She didn't eat it all.
Oh, and it was so nice to be able to get close to the castle without such a large crowd around!
This was a new addition to the night time festivities...in-between the electrical parade and the fireworks.  They show pictures of people ON the castle while music is playing, then a computer-generated facade is put on top of the castle, making it look pencil drawn, crayon colored, and all kinds of things.  Such a great show!
And, of course......the beautiful fireworks show!
Leaving Main Street USA is just as beautiful as entering, although when it's your last night at the parks, it's a little bit sad!
The best part of this trip to WDW was getting to spend time with my daughter, Lauren - just she and I.  She's a junior and will be gone from home before long.  Thank you to my husband for this special trip for the two of us!  It was wonderful!

I think my three boys enjoyed us being away and them getting to spend time with their dad - just the four of them.  Just a few days ago, one of them said, "Dad, can you send Lauren and mom on a trip again some time so we can have fun together?"  Yeah, "Dad", can you???? :)  Lauren and I would go for it, too!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Are You Bored?

If I had to pick one phrase that annoys me the most it would be "I'm bored."  In fact, that phrase isn't allowed in our house!  I suppose the phrase bothers me because, as a stay-at-home wife and mother of four who it seems is never home, there is always lots and lots and LOTS that can be done and that needs to be done.  It may not be what I want to do, but it's still stuff that needs to be taken care of continuously. 

For my children to say "I'm bored" would mean that they are unaware of all of the things they have all around them:  toys, games, a huge yard to play in, a field to play in, etc.  But, don't those who say, "I'm bored," also have "stuff and things"???  Yes.  They do.  So, what makes someone say, "I'm bored."?

Here are some reasons I can think of that might cause people to say that they are bored. Can you think of any more?

REASONS PEOPLE ARE BORED

1.  People want to be entertained.
We live in an "entertainment"-driven society.  We constantly want to be watching something or listening to something.  Our minds are never clear or just simply thinking.  Are mouths are rarely quiet.  Our bodies are rarely still.  We have cell phones, iPods, iPads, video games, computers, TVs, etc.....all kinds of electronic devices to keep us busy all of the time. We're not content with quiet times of meditation, but constantly bombarding our minds with "stuff". But when our lives are constantly filled with entertainment, we're eventually going to get tired of the "same old stuff" and want new stuff and better stuff.....and when we don't have that new challenge or new toy of sorts....we're bored.

2.  People are selfish.
When someone says they are bored, they are being selfish.  They are only thinking of their wants and their needs.  They aren't looking beyond what is right in front of them.  They are not interested in helping others or serving others.

3.  People fail to let God work in their lives.
The Bible plainly says that God created us to do good works.....good works for Him.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Ephesians 2:10

When we are "bored", we're not actively seeking to do those good works for God.  We're not letting our lights shine in the way Jesus did.  There are good works to be done all over the world and in our own communities.  We just may have to look for them.  They may not jump out at us. We may need to get out of our comfort zones and find them.

God's people should never be bored.  We're too blessed to be bored.  There is too much to be done to be bored.  In fact, there is a LOT of God's work to be done! We just have to be willing to get up, get out of our entertainment-driven lives, and WORK!! 

He gave us all gifts and abilities....

"to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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.
Ephesians 4:12-13

How could we ever be bored when we're being becoming mature and more like Christ?

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful that God created many things for me to do, but I pray that I never say "I'm bored" and become too lazy or too busy to do them.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

I Will Never Forget

Yesterday marked ten years since the horrible 9/11 attacks on the United States.  All across our nation, people made the statement, "We Will Never Forget".  And we never should forget.  In fact, how could we forget?  It was a horrible, senseless tragedy and loss of innocent lives.  Families of those who lost loved ones - and even those of us who didn't - could never forget what happened that day.

But, there is another event that we should never forget.  This event happened over 2,000 years ago.  This event was the loss of just one life, but the loss of a life that was also innocent.  The difference in this event was that the One whose life was lost did it willfully.  He did it for you and for me.  He did it so that we might have the opportunity to be saved.  Because of the blood He shed, we have the hope of eternal life.

God gave up His one and only Son on the cross so that you and I could live with Him in eternity.  Jesus Christ suffered and bled and died on that cross to take our sins upon himself.  By the resurrection, God demonstrated His acceptance of Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins.

So, as you think about all of this, ask yourself a few questions about Jesus:

1.  Have you forgotten what he did for you?  Can you make the statement "I will never forget." the same as you do about the 9/11 attacks?

2.  What are you doing TODAY to show God that you haven't forgotten what He did....what Jesus did?

3.  What did you do YESTERDAY to show that you remember?

As Americans, we will never forget 9/11.  We will never forget the loss of lives.  We will never forget the way we came together as a nation to help those in need.

As Christians, may we never forget the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ....Our Savior.  May we never forget the plan that God has for His children.  May we always be able to say, "We will never forget."  But, even more important that just saying it, may we always live like we haven't forgotten.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "I Have to Smile After"

(Will do another Disney World post some time next week.  I have missed doing devotional thoughts and hope you have, too :).

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

This morning as I was fixing my hair, Biscuit came into the bathroom.  He asked for some hair gel and a comb and worked on his "style".  As he worked he said, "I have to smile after I fix it to make it look good."  I quickly replied, "That's right!  Everyone looks better with a smile."

As I thought about Biscuit's sweet statement, I thought of Little Orphan Annie's song:  "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile".  Isn't that true?  That a smile can change moods and attitudes....attitudes of our own, as well as others?  It can sometimes change good situations to bad situations?  That a smile can be the beginning of a new friendship.  Come to think of it, we may not be able to say hello to someone who speaks another language, but a smile is universal.  Everyone understands a smile!

So, let's all take Biscuit's advice.  Let's all go throughout our day thinking:  I HAVE to smile.....not just because it will make our own appearance look better, but so that we might be able to brighten someone else's day because of our smile.  And, if that doesn't work, take Annie's advice, that you're not fully dressed without it!

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 15:13

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Walt Disney World - Epcot

Before I post about Disney World, I wanted to share with you this little devotional thought about worrying:

“Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.” - Glen Turner

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:25-26



Now......on to Epcot!

In yesterday's post, I told you that my daughter and I went to Walt Disney World in a different way this past weekend. Different meaning it was only us two and that we stayed on Disney property. It was also different in that for the first day, instead of going to Magic Kingdom, we went to Epcot. The main reason we did this was because of the Extra Magic Hours.
If you're not familiar with what those are, it is extra hours - either in the morning or at night - that Disney Resort guests are able to be in the parks when the general public is not. One of the four main parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios) has either extra morning or extra evening hours every day. It's a great way to get to do more within each park and for us, during this time of year, made it where the lines weren't as long (they really weren't bad anyway, since September is typically a "down" month).
Another different thing about the trip was that my husband bought us a Disney Dining Plan (known as DDP).  The DDP was very simple. Our plan included a table service meal, a quick service meal, and a snack.  In the past our family had only done character meals (where the dressed up Disney characters come to your table while you eat and sign autograph books and pose for pictures) and just quick meals.  Having a rental house, many of our meals were cooked/eaten in the house.  But not this time!
Our very first table service meal was at Epcot's "Via Napoli".  Neither my daughter or I were sure what to order, but we just decided on something that 'sounded' good.  Let me tell you:  It was DELICIOUS!  The pictures don't make a big statement at all....just looks like regular Italian food, but the taste was anything but regular and simple.  So very flavorful!  We both thought the dishes were great!
Lauren got spaghetti and meatballs, which were probably called something else on the menu (pictured below).
I ordered some kind of cream sauce (didn't say Alfredo, but it was close) with Rigatoni and chicken.  YUM!
Dessert was good, as well.  Lauren got a pistachio, lemon gelato with an almond brittle cookie thing.  She really liked it, though it wasn't anything I would have ordered.
My dessert was an Italian cream soda with vanilla gelato.  So delicious!  What a super first meal using the DDP! 
Epcot is beautiful in the day time, but it is even more beautiful at night.  Just look as the ball is beginning to reflect on the pond.  Isn't that pretty??
An the nighttime spectacular showing of "Illuminations" is a must see on a trip to Epcot.  The music, fireworks, videos, and other special effects are magical.  This summer my sister and her family asked if I thought it was worth staying for.  I insisted that it most certainly was.  Afterwards she agreed.  It was one of their favorite parts of their trip, too!  So, if you're heading to Disney World anytime soon - don't skip Illuminations!

Next post:  Hollywood Studios!

Walt Disney World in a Different Way

I've posted about Disney World (WDW)a few times before, but never in this way.  This way was different....a lot different.  First of all, it was different because it was just my daughter and I on the trip. (See THIS post to hear about my "gift" from my husband.)  On our other two trips to WDW all six of us went, so only having two people was a lot different.
Lauren and I left Oklahoma Thursday after school and headed to Dallas to spend the night before taking an early flight to Orlando Friday morning.  Another different part of this trip was actually staying on Disney property - Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House).  Our family usually rents a home for our stay, but since there were only two of us and also because Disney was running a discounted special during Feb./March when the package was ordered, my husband got us booked at the lodge.  What fun!
The lodge was beautiful!  The perks of being on Disney property are definitely worth consideration.  For example.....our luggage was checked in at DFW airport in Dallas, then we never saw it again until it was actually in our room at the lodge! Our carry-on baggage was stored by the bell hop while we headed out to Epcot.  Our room wasn't quite ready because we arrived in Orlando so early, but within 30 minutes, we received a text saying that it was ready!
 Of course everything Disney does is over-the-top, so it was no surprise that inside of the lodge was just amazingly beautiful!  Waking up and looking out over our savanna view was great.  There were giraffe's not too far away and we watched as the workers feed them and talked to them.  It was kind of funny listening to a giraffe smack leaves and strip them from the stem!
A Mickey Mouse head was on one of the beds when we arrived back "home" each day.  So cute!
Can you see the tiny Mickey shaped heads in the material on the bedding??  It was also on the carpet in the hallways and on the shower curtain.  You really didn't notice it unless you studied the individual pieces of material.
The bright colors made the room feel like you were truly in another place.....like the African Savanna it was portraying.
The lodge had a big swimming pool that many guests were taking advantage of.  We didn't have time to use it during our stay.  In fact, we had to make time to even go around and explore and take pictures outside of the lodge.
 
That is something to think about when deciding to stay on Disney property or not.....Will you actually be taking advantage of all the resort has to offer? Will you have enough time? If not, maybe it wouldn't be worth the extra money to stay at a resort. On the other hand, with the resort stay, you don't need a rental car. You just use the Disney buses to get where you are going.
I'm not sure how many rooms are in the Jambo House part of Animal Kingdom Lodge, but our room was in the 2,000 section, so there are a LOT of rooms!
Tomorrow I'll talk more about the Disney Dining Plan.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to (or didn't feel like we were able to, because of time.) eat at any of the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants. We left out really early each morning and got back late from the parks - taking advantage of the Extra Magic Hours....a wonderful perk of being a resort guest.  The Animal Kingdom restaurants are rated as some of the top ones in all of the Disney Resorts and Parks.  This menu is from the restaurant, Jiko.
Okay.  So now we're all checked in and I've given you a view of the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Now, it's time to "Let the Memories Begin!"  I'll share more WDW pictures and information with you tomorrow!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Li - Li's Story

Note: I found this story many years ago and used in a ladies' Bible class and actually posted it a few years ago. It still remains one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it!

LI-LI'S STORY

A long time ago in China, a girl named Li-Li got married and went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. In a very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn't get along with her mother-in-law at all. Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her mother-in-law's habits. In addition, she criticized Li-Li constantly. Days passed and weeks passed. Li-Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting. But what made the situation even worse was that, according to ancient Chinese tradition, Li-Li had to bow to her mother-in-law and obey her every wish. All the anger and unhappiness in the house was causing Li-Li's poor husband great distress. Finally, Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-law's bad temper and dictatorship any longer, and she decided to do something about it!

Li-Li went to see her father's good friend, Mr.Huang, who sold herbs. She told him the situation and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve the problem once and for all. Mr. Huang thought for awhile, and finally said, "Li-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen to me and obey what I tell you." Li-Li said, "Yes, Mr. Huang, I will do whatever you tell me to do." Mr. Huang went into the back room, and returned in a few minutes with a package of herbs. He told Li-Li, "You can't use a quick-acting poison to get rid of your mother-in-law, because that would cause people to become suspicious. Therefore, I have given you a number of herbs that will slowly build up poison in her body. Every other day prepare some delicious meal and put a little of these herbs in her serving. Now, in order to make sure that nobody suspects you, when she dies, you must be very careful to act very friendly towards her. "Don't argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen." Li-Li was so happy! She thanked Mr. Huang and hurried home to start her plot of murdering her mother-in-law.

Weeks went by and months went by and, every other day, Li-Li served the specially prepared food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what Mr. Huang had said about avoiding suspicion, so she controlled her temper, obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother. After six months had passed, the whole household had changed. Li-Li had practiced controlling her temper so much that she found that she almost never got mad or upset. She hadn't had an argument with her mother-in-law in six months because she now seemed much kinder and easier to get along with. The mother-in-law's attitude toward Li-Li changed, too, and she began to love Li-Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relatives that Li-Li was the best daughter-in-law one could ever find. Li-Li and her mother-in-law were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter. Li-Li's husband was very happy to see what was happening.

One day, Li-Li went to see Mr. Huang and asked for his help again She said, "Dear Mr. Huang, please help me to keep the poison from killing my mother-in-law. She's changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I gave her." Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head. "Li-Li, there's nothing to worry about. I never gave you any poison. The herbs I gave you were vitamins to improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude toward her, but that has been all washed away by the love which you gave to her."

Have you realized that, in almost every situation, how you treat others is exactly how they will treat you? There is a wise Chinese saying: "The person who loves others will also be loved in return."

The Bible tells us in "Luke 6:31, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." And Ephesians 4:32 says, "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you."

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

 
Pin It button on image hover