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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The New Addition!

After waiting five months for the process of adding on to our home to begin, we got the ball rolling towards the end of July 2011.  This addition was something we had been hoping for and praying for several years.  So, on this GRATITUESDAY, I am very, very grateful for this new space.  
Being a family of six, with our three boys sharing a big bedroom, we were needing more space - and definitely more closets.  This light green room will be a den/office and will connect to the larger, remodeled kitchen.
As soon as possible, I put two wreaths up on the new windows.  With all of the Christmas decor in the rest of the house, this new part needed something!
The new laundry room isn't huge, but it is very sufficient.  I really like the light turquoise and the mini chandelier!  At the time of this picture, it wasn't up there, but soon we added a long rod over the washer and dryer - perfect for letting all of the clothes dry that we don't put in the dryer.  So much easier doing laundry now!
Our two youngest boys that got the new bedrooms are sharing this Mickey Mouse bedroom.  This is before the sink was cut out, but it has been great having an extra bathroom!
This is the room that was previously shared by all three, which now belongs to the oldest.  He's using the extra space on the left side of his bed to make a putting green.  I'll blog about that some day!
Our 13 year old boy wanted a Rt. 66 room.  He has a collection of cars and old bottles, which are displayed on the desk to the right (which belonged to my grandparents).  The madras plaid bedding was on sale at Pottery Barn Teen.  This was my first purchase ever through Pottery Barn Teen, and it is easy to tell (by touch) that the quality is very good.
The youngest boy wanted a Texas Ranger room.  I'm usually not into themed rooms like this, BUT, since it was Texas Rangers, I agreed!  This is before it was all put together, but a few days after Christmas, I found this blue tree at Garden Ridge in Oklahoma City.  WoooHoooo!  It will be his Texas Rangers' Christmas tree next year!
I found this canvas the day after Christmas.  It was a great addition to the new den/office area.  Love what it says!
Demolition Day!  It was great to get home from a ballgame and find that the wall between the old part and new part had been torn down!  How exciting (and very dusty!).
Looking from the other direction into the old part and after some things had been done in the new part.

The only thing we have left to do is to put rock on the corners of the brick on the outside of the house, get closet doors on the two bedroom closets, and get door knobs on all of the new doors.  There are a few "tiny" things we have to do, as well.

Many years ago, we had a teeny, tiny little house.  Our third child's baby bed was in the dining room.  We rarely had people over....there wasn't extra space.  I made a promise then to myself and to God, that if we ever had a home with more room, I/we would use it for HIS glory.  We would have people into our home and have church events in our home.  I kept that promise (Though I know God is used to me and others breaking our promises and is forgiving.  It was important for me to keep that one.)

With this new addition, we plan to serve God even more.  I am thankful that when people need a place to stay, we now have room for them to stay with us.  When we have the youth group over now, there will be even more room to accommodate them (they'll be here in a few weeks!).  We will have church groups, school groups, and hopefully the opportunity to invite new acquaintances over to our home even more now. 

So, on this GRATITUESDAY, I am grateful for this new addition.  Having another bathroom, two new bedrooms and several new closets is so nice.  The boys are very thankful.  We are all very thankful!  

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, January 30, 2012

"I Did It My Way"

Many years ago, I heard about a man who had passed away.  At the funeral, the Frank Sinatra son, "My Way" was played.  Here is the first verse of that song:

And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I'll say it clear
I'll state my case of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way.

Sadly, as humans, we sometimes to try to live our lives just how we please.  We try to do everything, "My Way".  But the sad part about it, is that the Bible plainly teaches us to NOT to it "my way", but to do things "God's Way". 

Last week in Bible class, we were studying about the Israelites and how they were continually trying to do thing their way.  God gave them so many opportunities to do things His way, but they continued to sin.

Many times he delivered them,
but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sin.
Psalm 106:43

What a sad verse!  "They were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin."

God's Word tells us how to do things "His Way".  It's not that difficult, but we have to give up/resist the temptation to to things "My Way".  We may fail at times, but we can always get back on track.  We can strive to follow in the steps of Jesus.  And, at the end of our lives, we can truly say, "I did it His way".

 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

     “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 
Matthew 7:21-25

Friday, January 27, 2012

"This Little Light of Mine"

Typically this sweet little song is sung by children, but have you ever thought about the word and how applicable they are to all Christians of any age?  Here is chorus in the song:

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.

In our busy, and sometimes crazy lives, it's easy to get so wrapped up in the "stuff" of life and forget what it is all about - eternity.....specifically eternal life in heaven for those who are saved.  We get down, depressed, stressed, tired, grumpy, grouchy and all kinds of things that aren't always appealing to the outside world.  It's in those hard and difficult times that, instead of looking and turning inward, caving in to the pressure that is weighing down on us, we should let our lights shine even brighter.  That is when our faith should be evident even more.  If we're not trusting in God during those times, as well as during the good times, it's as if we are telling God that we don't believe Him.  It's like we don't believe He will do what He has said He would do.  It's like saying we are all alone, without any higher power to give guidance and support.

So.....when you're troubled....let your light shine!
When you are sad....let your light shine!
When you are worried....let your light shine!
When you are lonely....let your light shine!
When you are grieving....let your light shine!
When you are scared.....let your light shine!
When you are stressed...let your light shine!
When all is good....let your light shine!
Whatever you are and whatever you are doing....let your light shine!

Why?  Because in doing so, you are advancing Christ and to advance the gospel (The gospel is the good news:  The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus!). (Read how Paul advanced Christ here.) You may be the only light that someone sees today!  You may be the only example of Jesus someone sees today.  And maybe, because of that example, someone will decide that they need Jesus, too.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16

Shine brightly, friends!  SHINE LIKE STARS!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Are You a Fan or a Fanatic?

Every year at this time, our family is busy going to basketball games five out of seven nights.  Thankfully, in our part of the state, Wednesday night basketball hasn't become part of the schedule like it has in many places, and Sunday's are still free from games.

With the many, many games each year, comes a variety of scenarios and outcomes with each game.  However, without exception, fans show up and cheer on the team.  Some fans cheer with every "do right".  Some fans yell with every thing that was "done wrong".  Some fans just sit quietly, while others choose to make the referee the bad guy(s) by pointing out everything they miss.  Something interesting that I've noticed is that if a call is charged against us, it's the wrong call or if they miss something the other team did wrong and don't call it, they're wrong, but if is the other way around - where we foul and it's not called or we mess up (walk, double dribble, etc.) and it's not called, we don't seem to notice.  Why is that??!  (As a side note:  My husband likes to use this true statement:  "Until you have made 100% of your shots, and until you have 0% turnovers, then it is NEVER the refs fault for anything."  So true! )

Thinking about the word "fan", I decided to look at the definition.  Here it is: A person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport, art or entertainment form, or famous person.   So, by the definition, a true fan has a strong interest in or admiration for whatever it is.  Interesting.

In comparing the fan of a sports team to being a fan of Jesus, I began to wonder just why it was that it was acceptable for people to be HUGE sports fans, but if you are a HUGE Jesus/God fan, you're labeled a fanatic.  Why do you suppose that is the way it is?  I looked up the word fanatic.  Here's the definition: A person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, esp. for an extreme religious or political cause.

So, I see now that the word fanatic is a single-minded zeal and that is the difference.  A fanatic is a much stronger word, isn't it?  A fan might like one team one year, but then the next year, the fan might like another team.  It might still be the same sport, but not the same team.  It could be the same team, but maybe the teammates have changed.

In your Christian walk, are you a fan or a fanatic?  I believe God wants us to be FANATICS!  He wants us to have a single-minded zeal for Him and His Son, Jesus, and His church!  If we are only a fan, we might not be totally devoted to His cause.  We might be really into the "game" one month, then not so much the next.  Just like there are seasons/times for sports, maybe we only worship God or rely on God during certain seasons of our life. Or maybe you're a fan who once was a fan of Christianity, but now you no longer are part of that team.  What happened to your zeal?  Were you ever a fanatic for Jesus?

Have a single-minded zeal is being Christ focused.  He is your motivation for living the life God wants you to live.  Be zealous for Him!  Be zealous for the church He died for!  Be zealous to help win others to Christ!

BE A FANATIC!  God's team is the best team to "cheer" for!

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Romans 12:11

Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 
Galatians 4:170-18

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Chronicles of Biscuit - The 1st Tee

If you haven't seen the movie, "Seven Days in Utopia", you must.  Really.  It is a great movie with a good message and a Godly message.  My husband bought the movie for us during Christmas break and we've watched a few times.   Today Biscuit used one of the lessons of the movie to help him in his own life.

January is FULL of basketball.  Four to six games a week with Biscuit's three siblings.  Thankfully Biscuit decided not to play city league basketball this winter or there would be even more.

Biscuit doesn't like going to all of his siblings games.  He would rather be home.  I can't blame him for wanting to be home playing, but I also want our family to be together, so I make them go to each other's games almost all of the time.

Today when Biscuit got in the car after school, I told him we would go home for a little bit, but that we needed to be at the gym  at 4:00 p.m. for a ballgame.  That only left time for some of his homework and a quick snack.  No time for playing at all.

Biscuit wasn't very happy; however, just as he started complaining, he said he needed to go to "The 1st Tee".  I wasn't sure what he meant, but he explained it to me:

In the movie, "Seven Days in Utopia", the young man, Luke, learns several life lessons through golf lessons from a rancher named Johnny.  "The 1st Tee".  Biscuit said that "The 1st Tee" was "controlling your emotions".  Wow!  Here is a nine year old little boy who realizes that his attitude needs adjusting....that it needs controlling!!  Now, I'm not "braggin' or nothin' as Biscuit would say, but truthfully, I have to admit that even I - as a 40+ year old woman - don't always realize I have a problem, so I'm very proud that the youngest member of our family can recognize this fact!

Any self-help book (or the Bibile) will tell you that the first step in dealing with a problem is recognizing a problem.  In Biscuit's case, he was disappointed/angry/upset that he had to go to (yet another) basketball game.  In realizing he needed to go to "The 1st Tee", he realized that he wasn't controlling his emotions and that it was going to get him in trouble.

Maybe we all need to go to "The 1st Tee" before we act or react to any situation.  Thanks for the wise advice, Biscuit!  I am grateful for your wisdom some times, even at a young age.  I am grateful, too, that God is willing and able to guide us to that "1st Tee" and that He will help us grow to be better equipped at controlling our emotions.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Encountering Jesus

* Note from Lori:  This is a very good article by Alan Smith who writes "Thought For the Day".  It is used by permission from Mr. Smith.  Be sure and read more about the video at the end of Alan Smith's name and information.

***     A number of years ago, there was a woman in Kansas City who walked into a Haagen-Dazs ice cream shop. While she was waiting in line, she turned around to find actor Paul Newman standing behind her.  He was in town filming the movie Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, and he didn’t realize it, but he was standing behind one of his biggest fans.

     Paul Newman smiled at her and said "hello."  She took one look at those blue eyes and her knees almost buckled.  She tried to speak, but nothing came out.  Mortified, she turned back around, paid for her ice cream, then quickly walked out of the store.

     When she was outside, she sat down on a bench and took a moment to catch her breath.  As she calmed down, she realized she didn't have her ice cream cone.  She was getting ready to walk back in to get it when Paul Newman walked out. He asked her, "Are you looking for your ice cream cone?" She was still speechless but she nodded.  He said, "You put it in your purse with your change."

     There are some people who hold such great significance in our lives, that meeting them affects us in a powerful way.  But if a celebrity or an athlete can have that kind of effect on people, just imagine how much difference it would make in a person’s life to come face-to-face with Jesus Christ!

     Think of the difference made in the lives of the Samaritan woman, the man possessed by a multitude of demons, Zaccheus, James and John, the lame man by the pool of Bethesda, the paralytic lowered by his four friends, Saul (later known as Paul), the woman caught in adultery, the blind man, the leper, the thief on the cross, and countless others.

     There's a popular video making the rounds on Youtube this week (with over 14 million hits!) entitled, "Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus".  There is much I like about the video and some that I don't like.  Religion is not the problem; false religion (hypocrisy) is.  Many people fail to realize that Jesus was a religious person himself!  But, it is true that religion (in and of itself) cannot save us; Jesus can.  Religion cannot change our hearts; Jesus can.  Religion cannot empower us to live holy lives; Jesus can.

     Our goal as Christians should not be to get people to follow a religion.  Our goal should be to bring people to Jesus, to let them see him for themselves, and to allow that encounter to change their lives.  Perhaps the most powerful thing we can say to people is what Philip said to Nathaniel (John 1:46) and what the Samaritan woman said to the villagers (John 4:29):  "Come and meet Jesus for yourself." 

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ 
Fayetteville, North Carolina 
*Note from Lori:  Sadly, the video made by Mr. Betke is being used as a way for some to bash the church, so he has this quote on his Facebook wall:

"If you are using my video to bash "the church" be careful. I was in no way intending to do that. My heart came from trying to highlight and expose legalism and hypocrisy. The Church is Jesus' bride so be careful how you speak of His wife. If a normal dude has right to get pissed when you bash His wife, it makes me tremble to think how great the weight is when we do it to Jesus' wife. The church is His vehicle to reach a lost word. A hospital for sinners. Saying you love Jesus but hate the Church, is like a fiancĂ© saying he loves his future bride, but hates her kids. We are all under grace. Look to Him." -Jefferson Bethke

Friday, January 20, 2012

Too Good To Be True

We've been looking for our daughter a car for several months.  Yesterday I searched through Craigslist and found a model we were interested in, for a super-great price.  I emailed my husband and he immediately wrote the seller.  Later, when he hadn't heard from the seller, he had me email....just in case he hadn't copied the address right.

Late last night, we were so excited!  We both received identical emails from the seller.  The too-good-to-be-true price WAS right and she was selling the car because she was being deployed.  It sounded believable.  We wrote the lady back and told her we wanted the car.

My husband was a little wary, but I just knew it was true.  Why would someone lie about a car like that, anyway?  Just to be sure, he wanted to check on some things.  We googled the lady's name....searched on Facebook, etc.  Nothing strange.  After looking a while, I happened to remember that the person I emailed wasn't the same address who emailed us back.  I typed in that name in the search and all kinds of things came up, linking this person to car/boat SCAMS!  What a let down!  And to think that this person does this all of the time and that so many actually end up giving him/her money!

I'm not sure what we're going to do when we get the reply email.  I would like to show up with law enforcement, but something tells me we'll never meet this person in person.  I think he/she will request the money to be wired or some of the information suggested that the person uses payment through eBay.  Either way, it's fraud!  So sad that someone would do this kind of thing....and continue it over and over and over.  So many have already lost money to this kind of thing.  Be careful, people!

The moral of the story is this:  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  Probably.  There might be times when it really is a terrific deal.  In fact, I know there are times when it is!

Think about this:  God planned for His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born.  He planned for Him to live for 33 years, teaching many people along the way about salvation.  The Jesus died on the cross to serve as the atoning sacrifice - once and for all - for our sins!  For the sins of people from that day on - until the end of the world!  TALK ABOUT SOMETHING THAT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!  This is the ultimate "too good to be true" deal, isn't it???!!!  But, it's not!  It's not just a sounds-good-deal!  It is TRUE!  It is REAL!  There are no hidden messages, gimmicks, or lies.  It's just as good as it appears to be!

Thank you, God, for this "deal".....for this plan of salvation you have given to us and to all people.  The ironic thing is that this good deal is even available to those who try to swindle others.  They need the message just as much as anyone.  So, yes, I pray that this person gets caught so that no one else loses money, but also, I pray that this person finds about about God and Jesus and turns from the world of deceit and lies.  Salvation is for everyone.  It's the best "TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE" deal of all time!

This is good, and pleases God our Savior,  who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,  who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.
1 Timothy 2:3-6

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Heirloom Burlap Pillow

I wanted to share one of the home-made gifts my mom made for my sister and I this Christmas.  She saw a similar pillow at one of her very favorite stores in Oklahoma City. This gave her the idea to do this for us.  She used pictures of she and Dad, plus pictures of our grandparents and great-grandparents.

To do the pillow, she had my dad scan and print each picture onto a wallet size photo.
The doilies on the two corners were hard to find because she wanted them to look a certain way and they were going to be cut in triangle shapes.

She found the vintage-looking brooches at Hobby Lobby.  

The pillow form was stuffed into a burlap machine sewn pillow form, then the ribbons were tacked on and tied to each pictures.

Just to let you know--- The pillow that she saw had a price tag over $100.00.   This one cost about $12.00!  That's quite a difference, isn't it?!

Thanks, Mom!  It is a great keepsake and neat to show my own children pictures of their grandparents and great-grandparents....many they never knew.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
James 1:19-25

Ever so often, we need to take a good, long look at ourselves in a mirror, so to speak.  This mirror is different than a typical mirror we might use.  This mirror is God's Word....the Bible....and the reflection we should see of ourselves should be the image of Jesus.

The passage above gives us a checklist of what we should be seeing.  There are other checklists we could use throughout the Bible, but today we will just look at this small passage.  Take the time to reflect on your image today.  Ask yourself these questions:

#1:  Am I quick to listen?
#2:  Am I slow to become angry?
#3:  Have I gotten rid of all moral filth?
#4:  Is there any evil in my life?
#5: Have I accepted the word that has been planted in me?  (Have I submitted my life to God/Jesus? Have I obeyed the gospel? (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 1 Peter 4:17)
#6:  Or have I heard the Word of God, but not done anything about it?
#7:  Am I doing what God's Word says to do, or am I deceiving myself?
#8:  Am I remembering what God has done for me?
#9:  Am I recognizing the fact that the blessings in my life are from God?

A small passage and a checklist, but what questions are raised through these verses!  Don't forget to check yourself in the mirror from time to time.  Not your own mirror - but God's mirror.  The mirror of His Word.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12

Monday, January 16, 2012

He Wants You!

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
1 John 3:9-11

What if you found out that there was someone trying to get you?  What if that someone could be everywhere you were and could come in ways that you might not recognize?  How would you feel?  What would you do differently?  Would you be more aware of your surroundings?

There is someone that is trying to get you....and me.  This "person" is actively seeking ways to get you to do things, say things, and think things that are wrong....even evil.  This person is like God, in that he, too, can be everywhere, but this person, unlike God, is only interested in what is bad and evil.  He is not interested in what is good at all.  He only has power because God has given it to him.

Who is this mysterious person?  The devil - Satan!  He wants you on his side.  He doesn't want you to be one of God's children.  He believes that if he can just get you to his side on one little thing, that he can continue to turn you to his side - the side of darkness.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

How does it make you feel to realize that Satan wants you?  It makes me angry!  It also makes me even more aware of how I act, how I react, and how I think.  If Satan is capable of using others to get to me, then instead of getting aggravated at others when things go wrong, maybe I need to direct my anger towards Satan and sin, right?  I don't have to or need to get mad at others because Satan is the root of the problem - not the person he is using.  They may not even be aware they are being used.  And, if/when he uses me, I may not be aware that I am being used, either.

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
1 John 3:8

Directing our emotions of pain, sorrow, and disappointment at Satan does two things:  1.  It directs our disgust towards the ultimate root of the problem and gets it away from another human being.  2.  It directs our attention and reliance more towards God - the only One who can really help us with any of our problems.  So, if we use the situation to make us more aware of the devil's schemes and more towards the direction of God, we are much, much better off, and growing as God's child in the process.  Resisting the devil will cause him to flee from us!  Instead of trying harder to get us, when we submit to God, the devil will go pick on someone else.  He gets discouraged by our submission to God!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7

Yes, he - the devil - does want you, and that is a true fact.  But, even truer, is the fact that God wants you even more!  Isn't that a wonderful feeling!  Where would you rather spend eternity?  With the devil or with God?  The decisions you make or don't make in this life will determine where you will spend eternity.  God won't make you follow him or serve him.  He will give you a choice.

So, get your armor on, brothers and sisters!  Let the war begin!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 
Ephesians 6:10-12

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Day the Squirrel Went Berserk (and cost me $659.00!)

Have you ever seen the Ray Stevens' song, The Mississippi Squirrel Revival? If not, go to YouTube and watch the video.  I think that squirrel is visiting southwest Oklahoma!


#1: 2 months ago we were in the process of adding on to our house.  There was a hole in the outside edge of the roof (for electricity, I think).  One day I went out of the garage and saw this squirrel coming out from that hole.  I ran to the hole, afraid if it was a girl squirrel, she might have been trying to have babies in the new attic, or maybe it was a boy or girl and was trying to store up nuts for the winter.  Either way, squirrel wasn't welcome and I threw something to scare it away.  It scurried down the house and up a tree, but it only scurried half way up the small tree.  Unusual for a squirrel...they usually go all the way up.  The SQUIRREL STARED ME DOWN AND WOULDN'T MOVE!  After a few seconds, I realized that the squirrel was wanting back in that hole for some reason.  I didn't want to leave it open, but was in a rush to get somewhere at the time.  I had a water bottle in my hand that was about half empty.  I stuffed that water bottle in the hole.

Score:  Me: 1  Squirrel:  0  (BooYahhhh!)

#2:  Six weeks ago, I was out in the new addition of our house.  The wall between the new addition and the existing house hadn't been taken down yet.  The side door of the house was open just a tiny bit to allow a pipe to run from our existing laundry room to the outside.  As I was cleaning up construction materials, I looked up to see that crazy squirrel again!!  It ran towards me and up the ladder that was right by me.  I screamed and it took off into one of the new bedrooms in the addition.  I was afraid if I went to the door of the room, the squirrel might jump on me, so I just pounded on the wall to scare squirrel away.  I yelled to my boys to run around the house and open the side door all the way.  Thankfully the squirrel finally found the open door!

Score:  Me: 1 Squirrel: 1 -  Tied this round, I would say, so total:  Me: 2    Squirrel:  1

#3:  A few minutes after that I yelled for my oldest son to come to the house from the field.  He came and I told him to get his BB gun.  After several minutes of chasing the squirrel from tree to tree, my son gave up.  He got away!  (By the way, if the fact we were trying to shoot the squirrel bothers you, you are WELCOME to come rescue him!!  Let me know when you'll be here.)  

Score:  Me: 0    Squirrel: 1    
Total:  Me: 2      Squirrel: 2  (BOOOOOOO!!!!)

#4:  A few days ago the battery light came on in our Expedition.  My husband made an appointment and took it in to be fixed, but they had to order another part and scheduled another appointment for today.  The guys replaced the part and found that the wires in that area had been chewed in half!!!  The squirrel had eaten right through the plastic and wires resulting in a total bill of $659....and 24 cents, to be exact!!!!  OHHHHHHHHHHH, I am angry at that squirrel!!!!  He is in BIG trouble for causing such a problem!  And, by the way, after it is all fixed and repaired, the battery light is still on!  Not good!  Not good at all!

Score:  Me: 0     Squirrel: 1      
Total:  Me: 2      Squirrel: 3  .....Dislike :(

By the way, in case you are interested, the man at the Ford dealership said an old farmer had given them some advice in getting rid of squirrels eating up vehicle wires:  Take cotton balls and soak them in fox urine (Oh, yes, that is readily available, isn't it????!!!  Can you buy it at Walmart???  Actually he said maybe at a farmer's co-op, but I worked at a co-op when my dad was a manager and we didn't have that in stock! Maybe some do, though.)  After soaking the cotton balls, put them in a zip top baggie.  Poke holes in the baggie and put it in a safe spot under the vehicle hood.  Easy as pie!

Well, the next best place to learn good information is Facebook, right?  Almost as good as "googling" it. A friend said to use dryer sheets and stuff them under the hood.  She tried it after having trouble with a squirrel (Probably the same one.  He probably stopped at her house when he was coming from Mississippi to southwest Oklahoma!)  It's a pretty safe assumption that dryer sheets are easier to come by than the other suggestion, don't ya think!

So, for now, squirrel, you are winning - BIG TIME!  But, you haven't seen the last of me.  I will win this war!  (And remember, for any of you extreme animal lovers, you are MORE THAN WELCOME to rescue the crazed creature!!)

There is a possibility that our crazed squirrel has left our residence and has headed across town, to my husband's bosses' house.  Yesterday a squirrel was in the pipe that goes from their stove or oven up the roof.  When the guys were trying to get him out, the squirrel jumped and basically attacked one of the men, bit his finger....taking off the nail....and jumped in the air through the laundry room!!!  I can't remember the rest of the story, but I think the squirrel is on the run.  He may be headed to your place.  If so, I'm sorry!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

There's No "I" in TEAM, But There is "U" in CHURCH

One of the best things to see when it comes to team sports, is when individual players learn and decide to play as a team, instead of trying to do things all on their own.  Sometimes it happens naturally.  Sometimes it must be stressed by a coach.  Sometimes it comes quickly.  Sometimes it takes months or even years.

Teammates who learn to work together as a team have much, much greater success in their respective sports' seasons.  They also may find that their records become greater in the win column as they begin to work together to achieve a common.  Success comes from working together.  That's a fact.

Each individual player is important in a team, of course, but there is no way that one individual can do everything on their own.  They must have teammates to help them accomplish their goals as individuals and also as a team.  There is no other way to accomplish those goals, than by working together to accomplish the task.  No other way.

The team also needs a coach.  Someone has to be in charge.   There has to be someone to make the plays, call the plays, and someone who can guide/teach when needed. They coach must also encourage and inspire his or her players.  A coach without encouragement won't get a lot out of his/her players.

Now let's look at this whole "team" thing in a spiritual sense.  All of us, both Christians and non-Christians are going to be judged individually by God on judgement day.  Our parent's faith will not be a ticket into heaven.  Our spouses faith will not be your ticket into heaven.  Our friends' faith won't. Our children's faith won't.  No one elses faith but YOUR own and MY own will matter on that day.

There is a common misconception throughout the world today that the church is not important to God.  Sadly, many in the world, and even many who claim to be Christians, believe that the church is not important to God.  They want to take "U" (YOU) out of church and say it doesn't matter.  If that is so, why would God have sent His Son on the cross for His church???

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Ephesians 5:25-27

The problem is not the church.  Not at all.  People are rejecting organized religion because people have gotten in the way of the relationship Christians are supposed to have with their Lord and Savior!  The problem is that men and women have taken their thoughts and ideas of what they believe the church should be and turned it (in many cases) into something that doesn't resemble the church of the New Testament at all.  That is the church Jesus died for.  He didn't die for a man-made religion!  Christ died for His church, and when God's people turn away from His church and make some sort of man-made religion, then God's will is certainly not being done. 

So, just what did the New Testament church look like?  What did that first "team" look like over 2,000 years ago?? Well, first of all, if you read all of the book of Acts in the New Testament part of the Holy Bible, you will see that the word church is never talking about the building.  It is always the people.  A group of people.  The believers.  The followers.  There wasn't just one single person.  It was PEOPLE.  The church is plural every time it is used in the Bible.

And, those people...the together to be the body of Christ.  Each person within the body is important, just as each player on a team is important.  Without the "U" in church, something is missing:  CH_RCH.  See!!??

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Jesus is the head of the church.  He's the coach of a team!  And, He wants U on His team.  What do you say?  Are you ready to suit up?  Are you ready to be a part of the team?

And he is the head of the body, the church....
Colossians 1:18

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6

Monday, January 9, 2012

Who Knew Bologna Was Such A Treat??

Yesterday afternoon my husband had gone to a nearby town to get a few things.  I called him while he was on the way. I called him and asked him to pick up a few extra things.  One of those things was  bologna, which we never buy, but our children enjoy when they are at finger-food church meals or when visiting their grandparents.

Our three boys were busy moving two of the boys to their new bedrooms.  The youngest, Tyler, (aka Biscuit from The Chronicles of Biscuit series I post about often) wasn't working very hard and the two older ones were getting a little aggravated at him.  Finally, after hearing too many "discussions" coming from the bedroom, I hollered (yes, that's how we do it around here :) for Tyler to come to the kitchen.

When he got to the kitchen, I said, "Tyler, if you don't start helping your brothers, you're not going to get the special treat your daddy is bringing you home from Frederick!"  He asked what it was.  I said, "Bologna!"  His eyes got big and he was soooooo excited!  So were the other boys when they found out!  It was so funny just how excited they got about something so simple as a package of lunch meat!  It helped that we also had another rare "treat" in their eyes:  white bread!  And it was Wonder, my childhood favorite.  We usually eat only 100% whole wheat!

So, since the boys were so excited, I told them that after worship Sunday night, I would make them fried bologna sandwiches.  I made a big deal about it.  I told them my dad would make them when I was little and how it was cooked a special way and all.....really played it up to be big.  One of the boys even asked if I would be breading chicken fried steak!!! (Wishful thinking on his part :).

I got a huge kick out of showing them how to slit the bologna, so it wouldn't puff up too much in the middle.  I nicknamed the bologna PacMan, since it looked like the PacMan on the game.  I made them their fried bologna sandwiches (and also one for my husband and daughter), then called my dad to tell him the good news about his grand kids enjoying one of his still-to-this-day favorite treats!  Dad said to tell them they were enjoying a delicacy.  Who knew a fried bologna sandwich was a delicacy???!
Isn't it neat how the minds of children are sometimes?  A small, little (and yes, not really healthy) thing provided joy to my children last night....especially to the youngest (and I think my husband enjoyed it quite a bit, too!).  Maybe we need to be more like children sometimes:  excited about the little things in life.

*FYI:  I don't eat bologna.

On this GRATITUESDAY, I am grateful for the little things.  They mean a lot and sometimes even provide great family times together that will result in special memories for you and your children.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Top 5 Ways to Stop School (or any) Drama

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

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

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

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

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

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.
James 3:5-8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why not give it a try?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pet Peeves

Do you have any pet peeves?  I have a few.  I'll share one with you:  failure to acknowledge....such in emails, phone messages, Facebook messages/posts.  Now, of course there is always the possibility that someone doesn't ever actually get the message from me, but a lot of times, it's just that there is no acknowledgement or reply.  Sometimes that is probably an oversight, but sometimes it's probably on purpose.  I don't take it personally, just want a reply to know an answer or thought about something.  No big deal.

Just out of curiosity, I looked up the definition of pet peeve.  Here it is: an opportunity for complaint that is seldom missed.  Maybe I should have looked that up earlier because as Christians, we're not to complain, right?  Right.  So, if a pet peeve is an opportunity for complaint (that is seldom missed) doesn't it make it sound like I'm the one with the problem?  It kind of does, doesn't it???!!

However, since I already had this post in mind before I looked up that definition, I'm going to go with it!  Suppose God had a pet peeve.  What would His be?  Any ideas?  I think one of His just might be the same as mind:  failure to acknowledge.  Just think:  He has a letter....a book of letters and writings.....that He has sent to us, yet sometimes we fail to acknowledge it.  That's right.  He gave us the Bible to help us learn more about Him, to learn how to become His child, to learn how to live a holy life, and some choose to ignore it, don't they?  Maybe I don't acknowledge it in some areas like I should.  I'm sure we could all do better in acknowledging God.  We could all thank Him more for what He has done for us.  We could all acknowledge Him more by striving to do His will more consistently.
Although I have that pet peeve, I don't hold it against anyone.  I try to always give people the benefit of the doubt.  Sometimes that's hard, but I must forgive them because they have no intention to bother me, I'm sure.

God will forgive us for our failure to acknowledge Him at times, too.  We get careless in our walk some times. The only time it will be too late to acknowledge God, is if we fail to ever acknowledge Him and fail to obey His word and His gospel.  We won't want to leave this earthly life without ever having acknowledged God and become one of His children.  On the last day....when Jesus comes, we will want Him to know that we have acknowledged Him.
Acknowledge Him today!  And....if you need to acknowledge others in your life.....take the time to do that, too!

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Romans 1:28-31 (ESV)  

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. 40Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.
Deuteronomy 4:38-40 (NIV 1984)
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