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Sunday, September 30, 2012

GOD'S PLAN vs. satan's plan

This picture/thought came across Facebook last week.  It's from Stand on the Rock (https://www.facebook.com/stand.on.the.rock).  It thought it had such a great message that I wanted to share it with all of you.

It's so good for God's children to realize this statement.....that it is true.  The wisdom we need will be given to us if by God, if we will just ask for it.  God will give us wisdom to choose to live out His plan for our lives and not the enemies' plan for our life.

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Homecoming

It's spirit week at our school, leading up to Homecoming that will be held tonight before the football game.  If I haven't "bragged" already, our football team is ranked #1 in the state of Oklahoma for Class C, which is 8-man football.  So, it's an exciting season.

Homecoming is a time where school alumni comes back "home".  They come to cheer for the team. They come to support the Homecoming candidates.  They come to see friends and family.  Those of us who live hear enjoy greeting those who come.  Everyone is excited and there is a "celebration" feel in the air.

Some day there will be a huge homecoming.  When Jesus comes back, it will be like nothing else we have ever seen or heard.  That Day will come.  That day - that HOMECOMING day - God's children will reach their eternal home in Heaven.  What a great homecoming celebration that will be!!

The apostle Paul writes, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise . . ." 1 Thessalonians 4:16.  And Jesus Himself says:
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  Matthew 24:30-31
We don't know when, but we can know it will.  No one can predict His return.  The Bible says so in Matthew 24:36. And because it says so, we must be ready for this day.  We know it's going to happen, but we don't always live like it could happen today.  Sometimes it's as if we want to wait until the last possible moment to do His Will, so that we can go on doing our own will.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 
Hebrews 10:23-25

So, how should we live waiting for this day?  THE DAY?  HOMECOMING?

2 Peter 3:10-18 (total passage is below.  It's long, but so very worth reading!) tells us how to live as we wait for that day. It also says that God is patient.  He's waiting for some to make the choice to follow Him.  He's waiting for some to turn their lives over to Him, to accept His gift of salvation, to have their sins washed away in baptism and to become one of His children. He wants all of us to be ready for that wonderful Homecoming celebration!  Maybe He is waiting for you.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Oo, Ah! Sock it to the Devil!

Last night I only had two little boys in Bible class.  Usually there are two little girls present, too, but they were gone last night.  I teach the 4's, 5's, and Kindergarteners...just on Wednesday nights.  Wednesday nights are a little different.  A little crazy.  We're all tired!  Some of us are cranky (not me :).

The lesson for last night was to be the story of Cain and Abel.  Because of teaching that lesson to children in years past, and knowing what could happen,  I expected a few questions and comments about families.  Both of the boys I had in class are currently living in at Tipton Home (a children's home), so they don't live with their biological parents.  The story of the "first" family God created is definitely worth teaching, but can bring up some hurt feelings for some of the little ones in different situations.  So I'm very careful with lessons such as this one and try to avoid any problems that might come up or that might make the children sad.

Last night there were a few of those problems.  Statements from one saying, "Not everyone has a mom and dad."  "I don't live with a real mom and dad."  "I live with people who take care of me."  Heartbreaking.  

One little boy in-particular has some obvious issues.  He always has a frown on his face and seems mad at the world.  Mad at the others in his class.  Mad at me. And mad at God.  And I think he is.  Heartbreaking.

After a little "what would you choose" game we played, and the little boys (especially the angry one) arguing about who got the answer right, we had to have a stern 'heart to heart' about self-control.  When it first began,  I had removed the angry one from the table, then moved him behind the table right by me. He knew I wasn't happy with his attitude, and I wasn't.  Of course, to the angry little boy, his anger and attitude problems are someone else's fault.  He blamed the other little boy for the problems.

The other little boy isn't angry.  He's really happy.  And busy.  And can't sit still.  And can't keep his hands off of anything.  And.......needs to be STILL! :)

I talked to the two little ones about self-control.  Very, very strongly about self-control.  I told them that when they didn't have self-control, they weren't doing what God wanted them to do, but were doing what the devil wanted them to do.  We went back and reviewed the lesson from the last week of the first sin - with Adam and Eve.  The little boys really listened to the self-control part.  The angry little boy said he wished he could "punch" the devil.  He looked surprised when I said he could and asked how.  I told him and the other one, that when you don't do what you're being tempted to do....when you're not doing what Satan would want....you are "socking it to the devil".  The other little boy remembered singing a song about that at VBS.  When you don't do what Satan wants you to do, you're "punching" the devil and choosing to follow God.  That seemed to make the angry little boy a little bit happier.  It was as if he finally realize he was able to control some things and that God really was on his side!!

I told the angry little boy how I would like to see his smile.  He said he didn't smile, but still seemed a little different.  I tried to tickle him, but he didn't really smile.  In a little bit something came up and the little angry boy answered correctly.  I gave him a hug as he sat next to me in his little chair.  HE SMILED! 

From that point on the rest of class was different.  The angry little boy was never angry-acting again.  He smiled a lot!  He laughed out loud!  He didn't even get mad when we were playing another game and the busy boy won the first few questions!  A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH!!!

A few questions into the game, the previously-angry little boy got stumped on the answer.  The sweetest thing ever happened.  The busy little boy, who happened to be winning at the time, leaned over and whispered the answer to the previously-angry little boy.  It was the correct answer and I praised the little one who shared the answer.  He didn't have to do that and in fact, I'm surprised he even wanted to help the other one after the way he had treated him.  But he did!

I asked the previously-angry little boy what he should say for the other one giving him the money.  He said thank you to him and smiled so BIG!!!  They laughed together, had fun together, and played the game without arguing and complaining!!!  YIPPEE!!!!!  Sooooooooo great to see that breakthrough!!!

As class ended, I told the two boys to remember what BIG word they had learned.  It's two words, actually.  SELF-CONTROL.  Perhaps the most important thing we can teach little ones.  But, when we teach them about this important word, we must relate it to God and Satan.  Because we may not can have self control on our own.  We may not even want to.  But with God on our side.....and realizing that Satan wants us to fail.....we can do anything!  God will help us have the self-control we never knew was possible to have!  We can "Sock it to the Devil",  just like the little song says!

As the two little boys houseparents picked them up, I bragged on their breakthroughs to them.  The previously-angry boy was excited and happy.  He was excited to share the new word he had learned and seemed excited and happy....like I had never seen him be before.  Even the houseparent (dad) seemed surprised!

I'm not sure how the next Bible class will be.  It will be a few weeks before we're back in the classroom  on Wednesday night because we have other events the next few weeks.  I'm thinking that things may go right back to the way the were, but hopefully not.  And if they do, we'll be talking about self-control again.  And then.....maybe.....as we go over it week after week.....it will really sink in.  That God IS on our side.  The He does want us to do good because He loves us.  That Satan does want us to fail and is happy when we do.  And that we can "Sock it to the Devil" - any old time!

Here's a link for the song, actually called "If You Love Jesus": http://missionbibleclass.org/songs/songs-i-p/if-you-love-jesus-song/

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Are Your Promises Good?

Growing up, I remember my little sister saying to my mom at times, "Your promises aren't good."  It wasn't that my mom told her things all of the time and then deliberately broke her word, it was probably just that things didn't work out the way she thought they would and plans had to be changed.  What my sister took as a "promise" was more just a "statement" of what would most likely take place.  Then sometimes (apparently), it didn't take place. It wasn't anything major, my sister has grown up to be a responsible, reliable adult without any "damage" from the few broken promises (ha ha!).

That phrase, "Your promises aren't good," has always stuck in my mind - especially in raising our four children. To a young child, no matter how big or how small the promise is, if it's not kept, it means that the promise was broken.  Children take things very literal, which is why we must be careful how we speak to them, right?!  On the other hand, sometimes we say we will do something and actually plan to do it, but then we don't.  Maybe we forget.  Maybe we change our mind.  But, sadly, sometimes we never intended to follow through with our actions in the first place.  Surely we would never just say something to pacify someone for a little while, would we?  Ouch!  Makes me think of a few instances when I would tell my children "in a minute".....then after an extended time I'd finally get to whatever they wanted.....maybe. At least I hope I did.  Hmmmm......

As Christians, our promises should be good.  If we tell people we're going to do something, we should do it.  If we say we will help, we should help.  The problem is that some of us can't say no and we get to saying "yes" too often, then we can't follow through with our promises.  We shouldn't just say "yes" to avoid saying "no".  We have to, as the scripture says, "Let our yes be yes and our no be no".  Complete and honest truth.  Nothing more and nothing less.

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. 
Matthew 5:37.

Maybe we're too busy.  Maybe we've promised too many things to too many people and we're in a bind.  Some wise advice from my brother-in-law's sermon Sunday will help with that problem:

Don't make a "TO DO" list. Make a "TO DON'T DO" list!

If we're overcommitted to people, we have to learn to say no.  If we've promised to do something, then see we're unable to follow through, we must acknowledge it and tell them.  That's our duty and obligation.  Either we must follow through or admit it when we can't.....and allow others to help.  

From time to time, we may have encountered human promises that weren't good.  Humans aren't perfect.  But God is perfect!  And His promises are always good!  He has never and will never break a promise!  Not one of them.  Isn't that a comforting thought?!  Isn't it great to know that whatever is written in His Word is truth and will never change?!

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:4

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
Psalm 145:13

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Thoughts and Opinions

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

Today after school Biscuit and I were discussing something.  I'm not even sure what it was now, but when I corrected him or tried to explain something to him further he said, "Mom, I'm just trying to express my thoughts and opinions.  That's the author's purpose!".  Well!  I guess he told me, didn't he???!!!!

Apparently Biscuit didn't feel like I was letting him explain his thoughts and opinions....and maybe I wasn't.  He wasn't the author at the time, but he was the speaker.  Point made.  I will do better, Biscuit! :)

God is the author of His Word, the Bible.  It was inspired by Him, yet written down on paper....scrolls....by men.  As I thought about what Biscuit said to me about his thoughts and opinions, it made me think about how I treat God's Word.

God's Word is full of God's opinion, but His opinion is truth and the only one that even matters.  There is no other choice.  We have a choice to accept it, but it's not going to change.  It's His thoughts.  It's His Will.  It's His plan of salvation for you and for me.  With God as the author, that was His purpose.

So what do I do with His Word?  Do I neglect it?  Do I count it as insignificant as Biscuit felt like I was doing to him?  Do I disregard it?  Or do I read it?  Do I live by it?  Do I strive to follow His Will for my life by reading those words?

Remember, that is the author's purpose, just as Biscuit taught me today.  God wants us to listen to His thoughts and opinions.  Not opinions that will change.  But opinions that are truth.

Thanks for the lesson, Biscuit!

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful for these small lessons that life with Biscuit gives.  Today when I wrote this little conversation down, I told him why I was.  He seemed pleased that I have a whole section of "The Chronicles of Biscuit" on here.  I told him that some day I'll print them out for him to have and to read.  He'll enjoy them when he's a daddy, I'm sure!  He's provided me with much material and for that, I'm grateful.  Nothing is sweeter than the heart of a child.  They were special to Jesus.  They are special to us.  Biscuit is special to me.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:105

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy 18th Birthday, Lauren!

Our oldest has now hit another major milestone in life.....SHE'S 18!  Hard to believe how fast she has grown up, but it has been a wonderful journey watching the process.  I tease Lauren about the fact that I never wanted a girl....only boys......but that God knew we could handle one.  Probably only one, though!! (ha ha!).  She's been a low-key, no drama, no fuss type of girl and for that, we're extremely thankful and have been extremely blessed.  We are thankful for this girl - this blessing from God.  He knew we would be just fine having her in our lives.  
I used to tell the kids they couldn't have the same themes for birthdays or ever duplicate themes, but after having 57 total birthdays (so far) for the kids, that became impossible to do or even to try to do.  So.....she chose a Texas Rangers' theme.....again....and that's okay.  You like her "Rangers' girl"???  A little different with a pumpkin head and flashing Rudolph nose, but she was proud of her :).
The good thing about decorating for this theme, was that we didn't have to buy anything.  Everything came from her room or her brother's rooms.  The shirts are all hers.....a collection from several years.
 Another good thing is that she wanted to decorate for her party herself!  That was kind of fun since I was busy cooking.  An added plus this year is that my parents came to spend the weekend so my mom helped with everything, too!
Lauren's grammy, my mother-in-law, made her cake.  It's the MLB logo....what a GREAT job she did! We thought later that it could have stood for Miss Lauren's Birthday!
 Lauren with her brothers at her party......
Lauren with her younger friends and family at the party....
Grammy gave Lauren a note that Lauren had made for her when she was 9 years old.  So sweet!  
 What a special keepsake!
Lauren's friend, Kalli, gave her a pair of cute painted Rangers' theme Toms shoes.  She's excited to wear them!

I remember so plainly that four years ago.....with the Presidential election coming up shortly.....Lauren would say, "In four years I can vote!"  She was sooooo excited about that, and it seemed like a long way off.  Now here it is....four years later.  It did come fast!  She's ready to take on some adult responsibilities, like voting.  How neat that she cares about doing that!  Many people that have that privilege don't even care to bother with doing it.  I'm thankful she cares.

Lauren,

Thank you for being a wonderful daughter!  You are mature, thoughtful, kind, and a great Christian example for all of us and to those who know you.  We look forward to seeing how God will be working in your life in the future.  He has great plans for you, we know.  We're thankful He gave you to us.  We can't imagine life without you in it! 

We love you!
Mom & Dad

Friday, September 21, 2012

What's Your Excuse?

Tuesday night was a Ladies' Night Out at a congregation about thirty minutes away. I had a sign-up sheet on a bulletin board at the church building for ladies to sign if they wanted to go, and I would be their driver.  I ended up having five ladies with me.

All six of us enjoyed the evening listening to a great speaker talk about living a life patterned after Christ.  We ate a delicious meal of baked potatoes and lots of wonderful salads, played a "getting to know you" game, and had lots of laughs about various things.  As I dropped off the ladies when we got back to town, I dropped off one sweet sister and helped her walk to her door.  What she said amazed me.  She said, "Still live by myself at 98 years old!"  I commented how neat that was, not fully certain she was right about her age!

When I got back in the van, I only had one more lady with me.  I asked her if that other lady was really 98.  She was!  So then I asked about the ages of the other ladies who had gone with us.  She, herself, was 86, there was another 86 year old, an 88 year old, a 76 year old and then that 98 year old.  I guess it's true that when you're getting older yourself, you don't realize how old people are.....because it's getting closer and closer day by day!!

After driving to my own house, I thought about who had been my company for that evening.  All of them more than 30-50 years older than me.  Wow!  They are amazing!  Then I thought about how many younger ladies (and men) would say they couldn't do certain things or how they couldn't go certain places.  Maybe they're too tired at night.  Maybe they don't get out at night.  Maybe they're afraid of something.  Maybe they're too busy.

Would it surprise you to know that three of these ladies get up and go to swimming class by 8:00 a.m. two mornings a week at that town that's 30 minutes away?  Would it surprise you to know that the 88 year old still sells Avon?  Would it surprise you to know that the two whose husbands are still alive help others go to doctors' appointments and that one of the couples makes weekly visits to the nursing homes?  I could go on and on with what these Christian sisters do as they work and serve the Lord and others!

Why is that?  Why is it that these ladies - regardless of age - haven't quit!  They have never thought that their work and service to the Lord was over.  They won't quit until they die!  As the song says, "We'll Work 'til Jesus Comes".  They will! They ARE!

So, as you think about your life.....your busyness......your tiredness.......your "me" time........Think about these ladies as an example.  I truly believe they're still going because they haven't quit.  Now, of course, a lot haven't quit that weren't able to attend Tuesday night, I know.  It's impossible to do everything.  But, do something.  Don't give up.  Don't quit.  Don't think there is nothing you can do.

God can use you.  He will use you.  You just have to be willing to let Him!

Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD. 
Leviticus 19:32


Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life. 
Proverbs 16:31

The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old. 
Proverbs 20:29

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blue Ribbons

These blue ribbons from the Oklahoma State Fair are pretty neat to a 4-H member who has had something place at the fair.  Of course, the blue ribbon is always the 1st place ribbon.  Because it's the State Fair it means a little bit more to the winner.  It means they placed 1st at their county fair to even be able to go to state, but then that their entry won over all of the other entries.  Perhaps they won over lots of other entries.  The prize is this ribbon and a sum of money.

When my children were little, they would enter lots of items in our local and county fair.  For one thing, it helped the local fair have more entries, but it also gave me an opportunity to do craft projects with my children all summer long...in preparation for the up-coming fairs.  An added bonus was that they won some money along with the ribbon awards.

After each fair, my daughter would take all of the ribbons - hers, mine, her brothers - and put them on a shelf that had five pegs.  She put all of the first place ribbons on the first one, 2nd place ribbons on the second, and so on....ending with the 5th place ribbons.  She enjoyed her collection.

When she was five we moved to a different house.  I told her the ribbons had to go....that we weren't going to keep all of them in the newer house.  She was a little disappointed at first, but quickly forgot about it.  We donated all of the ribbons to our county extension office to be recycled and used for the fairs.  To this day we still donate back all of our ribbons - keeping only a few for scrapbook purposes.  My kids have gotten so many ribbons in their lives that it isn't special to them any more.  The ribbon doesn't mean that much to them, though the placing that the ribbon represents does.  They still enjoy placing first, naturally! :)

On the flip side of this thought, I have a new 4-H member in my local club who entered a pencil drawing at the county fair.  He was soooooooo excited about his project and couldn't wait until it was time for the drawing to be judged.  As he rode home with me one day, he analyzed the other entries in his drawing category.  He kept saying, "I think I got this!  I think I can win this!"  He was so cute!  So you can imagine his excitement when he visited the fair the next day and found that he had won 1st place and that his drawing would be sent to the Oklahoma State Fair to compete at that level!  He was very, very proud of that blue ribbon.  I'm sure it's in a place of honor at his house!  He didn't place at the state fair and was disappointed that it didn't, but he's already ready to compete again next year - trying to do an even better job on his drawings.

Sometimes when we are "used" to blessings, we forget to recognize them as blessings.  We may become ungrateful and complacent in our thinking.  But we shouldn't.  We should be just as thankful in times of abundance as we are in times of drought, shouldn't we?  It may be harder to be thankful at the sparse times, but we should still praise God in those times.  We should still thank Him for the blessings we do have - because even in sparse times, our blessings are really still abundant if we will just stop and look around.

Yes, my children take winning ribbons for granted.  They've been doing it since they were little.  However, my little 4-H member doesn't.  This year - as a 9 year old - was the first ribbon he had ever won.  He was ecstatic!  He thought of it as a wonderful prize - something special that he took pride in because of the time he had spent on his entry and felt that he did a great job.  He was thankful for that prize and for what it meant.

This makes me think of our Christian lives.  Many Christians were "raised in the church"...meaning they attended worship with their parents as a baby, grew up worshipping and attending Bible classes regularly, were baptized many years ago, and still continue to be an active part of the Lord's church for the remainder of their life.  They've never known any different.  Of course, they recognize that they sin and that they had a need for a Savior, but they didn't ever go through a "rock bottom" stage of life.

On the other hand, some Christians weren't raised in a Christian home.  In fact, they had no knowledge of any type of spiritual life while growing up.  As a teen, they got into trouble.  Alcohol, drugs, sexual promiscuity were a big part of normal life until soon, addictions took hold of their life to the point they couldn't function.  They became beaten down.  Broken.  They hit rock bottom.  But someone came to visit them at the prison.  This person took the time to talk to them about eternity and God....Jesus....Salvation.  The person talked of how the blood of Jesus could wash all of the sin away.  It could be totally forgiven and explained that a new life could begin - a new life in Christ.  The person gave their life to God, claimed the promises spoken of in His Word, and put on the Lord in baptism to have their sins washed away and to be white as snow.  A baptized believer who was very thankful for the forgiveness of sins and for this new walk of life in the footsteps of Jesus!

Two extremes.  Both Christians.  Both thankful for their salvation given freely by God's gift of His Son.  Both thankful for a Savior who was willing to sacrifice His life for their life.

But what's the difference in the two?  The first Christian is thankful, but may not have the same appreciation for the gift as the second one.  They may even take it for granted. Not that it's the right attitude to have, but sometimes it's hard to realize just how special something is if you haven't seen the flip side of the scenario.  The second Christian knows what he/she has.  He/she knows how special that saving grace and forgiveness really is.  They've known what it is like to feel totally away from God.  They lived it for years.  The first Christian had God in their lives forever.  They lived it their whole life.

Which one are you?  The first Christian or the second or somewhere in the middle?  It would do us all good to think about how we think of our life in Christ.....analyze how we feel about salvation and our need for the Savior.

We don't want to get used to being a Christian....like my children have gotten used to getting the ribbons.  We want to remember how special that salvation and forgiveness really is!  We want to be excited about that gift, just as my little 4-H guy is excited about his blue ribbon!

Think about the gift today.  Think about the prize.  And think about how your feel about the sacrifice of Jesus for you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

4-H Field Trip

Yesterday, even though my family had just returned home from a weekend trip to Oklahoma City and the State Fair, my husband and I boarded a bus with two other adults and 14 children to head back to the fair for a 4-H field trip.  As 4-H leader, I try to come up with fun, interesting learning trips for the members each year and this year the fair seemed perfect.  An added incentive was the fact that yesterday was "free admission" for children.  You can't beat that price!
Going to the fair on a weekday is so much different than our usual weekend visit.  We were able to stop and look at things we couldn't on the weekend.  This man is called a "Turner".  In fact, he said that people with the last name of Turner probably have ancestors that were bowl makers....turners....just like him!  How neat is that!!?  He was a skilled and knowledgeable craftsman.  The kids really enjoyed visiting with him and watching him work.
One of our members was chosen to be part of a firefighting challenge.  She dressed up as a fireman and competed with her partner against two boys.  The rest of us cheered on her and her teammate.
In the end, the two girls won!  They raced up the ladder and shot out confetti on the audience - who thought they were going to be soaked with water!
The highlight of the barn tours were seeing the baby animals.  This little piglet was adorable!  Next week this little guy (or girl) and his nurse-mates and momma will be picked up by my husband and come to live at Tipton.  The farmer donates the piglets and mommas to Tipton Home each year after the fair.  Last year some piglets escaped during the "pick up".  My husband tells the story of chasing little pigs everywhere!!  (It's funny, but it wasn't at the time, I'm sure!)
The baby chicks were cute to watch.  None were hatching out at the time, but some were fairly young.  Cute!
I really liked the alpacas.  They are pretty animals and their fleece is so soft.  I tried to get my husband to get me one, but he said no.  We have goats.  I guess that will do :).
Our last stop was at the butterfly tent.  There were hundreds of butterflies and they seemed to really be attracted to a few of the kids!  This boy had them all over him the whole time!
Maybe they were attracted to the red he had on?  Maybe he just seemed sweet?  Who knows, but it was fun watching it!
They liked this sweet girl, too!  They were beautiful and huge!
Field trips are all about exposing children (or adults) to something they haven't had the opportunity to do before.  Only two members had ever been to the state fair before, so it was really neat for them.  I heard one say, "This is the best day of my life!".  I'm not sure that statement will always be true of their visit to the fair, but if it is made yesterday the best day they've had in a long time, then just for that one child, it was worth it.

In anything I am involved in - whether through 4-H, school, or church/camp activities, I want to create memories - great memories - for the children.  I want them to look back and remember those special times with happy thoughts.  And I want them to know that I cared about them and cared for them.  I want the trips, parties, and activities to be come of their favorite memories.  

I think anyone that works with children should have those same goals:  experiences, special memories, and fun....and learning.  Yes, they're learning as they go, but if a little fun isn't sprinkled in, it won't become a special memory or something they remember with happy thoughts.  Yesterday the 4-H members banked up many special memories and happy thoughts.  I'd say it was a great success!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oklahoma State Fair 2012

Every year during mid September, my family goes to the Oklahoma State Fair.  I've only missed once since I was 16 years old....and that was the year my daughter was born.  She's turning 18 next week!
This year my parents backed out of going, so we had two extra tickets.  My daughter invited a friend to go along with us and they had lots of fun sitting in the sports cars in the "auto" building, plus looking around the fairgrounds.  
The boys enjoyed "testing" out the cars, too!
Since I'm our town 4-H leader and my children are in 4-H, a highlight of the fair is always going to see the 4-H exhibits.  This year two of our children placed at the state fair.  Here is Tyler (Biscuit) with his 3rd place 4-H poster.  He was excited about the ribbon, but didn't like that it was just a white one!!  He also wasn't too thrilled to pose for the picture, as you can see.
Another building we enjoy is the FFA building.  Our three oldest are in FFA, so it means something to us.  This decorated pumpkin was made into "The Lorax", which happens to be one of our favorite movies!  I love the quote shown here, which is from the movie.
Usually my husband and I don't do pictures of ourselves, but this time I decided we would....and he complied.  :) Since it was cloudy, I didn't have to worry about closing my eyes for the photo!  Yippee for me!  And, it turned out to be a pretty good picture, I think. 
We've posed in various groups in front of this fountain many, many times during the 27 years of attending the state fair.  When we take pictures there, I'm always reminded of my grandparents.  I remember so many times we did pictures at the fair and they were there.  I love thinking back on those times! Special memories!
The most important question when attending the fair is:  What are we going to eat???!!!  There are MANY, MANY choices!  Odd choices.  Great choices.  And just plain weird choices!  I opted for Dan's Famous Indian Tacos (with light cheese - which is still plenty).  Very good as always!  Others chose chicken on a stick, pizza on a stick and a French fry loaf.  No one tried any of the odd bacon items.  Hmmmmm......
This year's "Disney On Ice" was 'Dare to Dream' featuring the stories of "The Princess and the Frog", "Cinderella" and "Tangled".  It was terrific!  Soooooo pretty and so well done!  Definitely "Disney".
Ray the Lightening Bug from "The Princess and the Frog"....such a cute character!
The "Mouse" and Minnie....no need to say more.
The castle and ending of the spectacular show....

After the day at the fair, we spent a few hours at Bricktown in downtown OKC.  It was a beautiful day....overcast and cool, with a little rain.  Perfect for pictures!  
Eating at Zios was good, too....even after the hour and a half long wait!
And a beautiful carriage ride going down the street as we were leaving.  Awwweeeee.........So pretty!

Our weekend ended with worship and Bible class at MRCC....another yearly tradition and one we look forward to each year.  Then a little shopping before heading back home.

A great weekend of traditions and new memories!  Thankful for family time together having fun.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Motivational Poem - Equipment

I came across this great poem yesterday. It didn't have a title, but said it was by George Washington Carver.  After further research, I found that it was actually written by Edgar A. Guest, but that it was GWC's favorite poem to recite.  I also found out that the title was "Equipment".  

This is a great motivational poem that centers on our worst critic.....our selves.  The scripture at the end seems to address that same "self" problem.  We have to get out of our own way and realize that God is on our side and ready to help us say, "I CAN"!

EQUIPMENT

Figure it out for yourself, my lad, 
You've all that the greatest of men have had; 
Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes, 
And a brain to use if you would be wise, 
With this equipment they all began-- 
So start from the top and say, I CAN.


Look them over, the wise and the great, 
They take their food from a common plate,
And similar knives and forks they use,
With similar laces they tie their shoes;
The world considers them brave and smart,
But you've all they had when they made their start.

You can triumph and come to skill,
You can be great if you only will;
You're well equipped for what fight you choose,
You have arms and legs and a brain to use;
And the man who has risen great deeds to do
Began his life with no more than you.

You are the handicap you must face,
You are the one who must choose your place.
You must say where you want to go,
How much you will study the truth to know;
God has equipped you for life, but He
Lets you decide what you want to be.

Courage must come from the soul within
The man must furnish the will to win.
So figure it out for yourself my lad,
You were born with all that the great have had;
With your equipment they all began,
Get hold of yourself and say, I CAN."




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 someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

James 1:22-24

This World is Not my Home

This morning I put the following status on my Facebook wall:

 A good reminder when we get to liking the "world" too much. But the promise at the end makes it all worth it! : "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 

 One sweet friend had the following comment, which made me think: 

 I've been wondering lately, Lori...if maybe God sends "not so good stuff" into our nation, to keep His children FROM loving this world too much. It's hard to feel at hom down here when our nation is the way it is.  So the bad stuff really many be a blessing in disguise from God. 

 Doesn't that make you think, too? Perhaps that is exactly what God is doing! 

 Here was my next comment response: 

 That's a good thought and just might be why.I know after hearing of the killings (Cairo, Egypt) yesterday, it sure makes me feel different!  I do believe that God is in control, even if it doesn't make sense to us. Sometimes in the day to day "stuff" I forget it, though. 

So this morning, the song, "This World Is Not My Home" has been on my mind.  We shouldn't feel at home in this world!  But sometimes we do.And perhaps God does give us unsettling things in our lives so we don't get too comfortable here. I'll leave today's thoughts with you - ending with the lyrics to this song:

 This world is not my home I'm just passing through
my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
the angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
and I can't feel at home in this world anymore.
O Lord you know I have no friend like you
if Heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do?
the angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
and I can't feel at home in this world anymore.


My savior pardoned me and now I onward go
I know He'll take me through though I am weak and poor
and I can't feel at home in this world anymore.
O Lord you know I have no friend like you
if Heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
and I can't feel at home in this world anymore. 


Just up in Glory Land we'll live eternally
the Saints on every hand are shouting victory
their song of sweetest praise drifts back from Heaven's shore
and I can't feel at home in this world anymore
O Lord you know I have no friend like you
if Heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do?
the angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
and I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Love Letters

Yesterday I was going through boxes of old treasures....things from my years in school.  I opened up a box marked, "DO NOT THROW AWAY", knowing exactly what was inside.  Many, many letters my husband had written me over our two year and ten month courtship.  Lots of memories in those old letters!

I had told our children I had the letters, but they had never seen them.  I think they were a little shocked to see how many handwritten notes their dad had taken the time to write all of those years ago!  They enjoyed seeing them and the other treasures I pulled out from boxes.

Love letters......from someone who loves me and who I love.  They're special and always will be.  Treasures for sure.

The Bible is God's love letter to us, but I wonder:  Am I just as excited to open it up and read the words He has written to me?  Am I just as eager to show His Word to others as I am to show the old love letters to my children?

I would say yes....most of the time I am.  But sometimes I'm not.  Sometimes I'm negligent and sometimes I don't recognize the treasure that it truly is.....a book with thousands of promises to be claimed - by ME and by YOU!  A book with the story of Good News that enables us to become one of God's children!  A book that has withstood the test of time and whose words can heal and mend the brokenhearted.  A book like no other.  Letters like no other.  Love letters from a Heavenly Father who loves us more than we could ever imagine!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Pullin' Weeds

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

Sunday morning before worship, we had been discussing our afternoon plans.  My husband was preaching out of town that morning, then preaching here that evening....filling in for his brother, our minister.  I was taking the three oldest kids to a youth rally out of town, so Biscuit and his dad were going to be home together all afternoon.

Biscuit asked his dad what they could do together.  My husband said, "Pull weeds."  Biscuit responded (shockingly) with, "But, Dad, that's a woman's job!"  My husband asked Biscuit how he figured that it was a woman's job to pick the weeds to which Biscuit responded, "Because she ate the fruit first!"

My husband had a quick talk with Biscuit about his response:  "Women and men can pull weeds," "Attitudes like that aren't going to get you very far with the female population,"....things like that.  He didn't have time to go into deep discussion as he headed out the door.  Later that day I had all three boys - and our daughter, too -  in the kitchen helping get lunch on the table.  I asked Biscuit about his earlier conversation with his dad and explained that, yes.....it was the woman who ate the fruit first, but asked him who the head of the house was supposed to be.  He answered correctly - the man. (Although he quickly pointed out that Adam and Eve probably didn't have a house!  OH THAT BOY!!!)

We all talked about how Adam should have done what was right, no matter what Eve said.  We talked about how Satan tempted Eve first and she gave in and then how she tempted Adam.  We agreed that they were both guilty, because they both were.  She did sin first, but it didn't really matter.  They both sinned and it changed life forever because of it.

Biscuit seemed to be doing what a lot of us do some times.....blame someone else for our mistakes.  It's easier to put blame on someone else than it is to just admit that we've failed.  We don't want to be wrong.  We don't want to mess up.  We don't want to admit that we have sinned against man or against God.  We'd rather blame.

My husband has a sermon that says to blame we are "being lame.....it's "b + lame".  The definition of lame in this sense is "weak and ineffectual; unsatisfactory".  So when we blame, we're being weak...ineffectual....unsatisfactory.  Those words aren't too appealing, are they?  Not at all!  None of us want to be though of as weak, do we?  What about ineffectual or unsatisfactory?  Nope!

Owning up to wrong-doing is the quickest way to get back on the road to "right doing"!  It's the quickest way to get back to being strong and effective!  It's the quickest way to get back to doing what God wants us to do.

On this GRATITUESDAY, I am thankful for the conversation Biscuit had with his dad Sunday morning.  Biscuit learned a lesson that day and I'm guessing that the next time we have weeds to pull, he'll be elected to do that duty!  Funny how the strangest conversations end up making great teaching points for children.  God's Word is best taught when it is lived out in every day life.  Never waste those little moments.  They'll affect your child for eternity.

To see what others are grateful for on this GRATITUESDAY, visit Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quotes to Live By

Yesterday morning in Bible class, one of my brothers-in-law was teaching.  He said that at as a kid, his parents would tell him this quote,

"If you are going to do something, make sure God will be pleased with you doing it."  

I guess I've always lived by this quote, but never really thought about it being a quote...just a way of life....striving to live according to God's Word.  It's kind of like the "What Would Jesus Do?" motto.  It made me think, though, that to many this quote isn't how they live their life.  In fact, to many, maybe what God thinks or if God approves never enters their mind.  To many, life is lived according to their own thoughts and desires.

I can tell others about Jesus and I can set a good example for them, but ultimately each one of us must be accountable to God for ourselves - and ONLY ourselves.  However, as a parent, I am responsible for teaching my children about living their lives for God, so this is a GREAT motto to instill in their minds and in their hearts.

This particular brother-in-law also gave me another quote about 18 years ago.  It was some great advice when we were expecting our first child.  He said, "Discipline early."  Thankfully we took his advice.  Good advice for sure!

Scriptures from God's Word.....mottos from friends and family......they are words of wisdom and words to live by.  Living according to those simple, yet sometimes difficult, thoughts just make life easier.

As you go throughout this week, ask yourself if God will be pleased with what you are doing.  If not, quit it - get it out of your mind!  If He will, then go for it!  Live your life according to what is pleasing to Him and not according to what you want.  Life just goes smoother that way.

Have a great week!


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Hem of His Garment


As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Luke 8:42-48

This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible!  I love the faith this woman had, don't you?  

The precious woman had been ill for twelve years.  Twelve years she had bled.  That sounds miserable, doesn't it?  She tried to get help.  No one could help her during that time.  But this woman knew that Jesus could help her.

Had she heard of his healing people and his miracles? 
Had she been waiting for him to come to her region?  

She knew she had to see him.  She knew she had to touch him - even if just she could barely get to him. Even if it was just the edge of his cloak.

Jesus knew immediately that power had gone out from him.  The woman was instantly healed.  After twelve long, long years.  What a change in her life!  What a burden had been lifted!

When Jesus asked who touched him, the woman could have been afraid and denied that she had been the one.  But she didn't.  She worshipped him.  She fell at his feet. She told him why she had touched him and how she was immediately healed.  Jesus commended the woman.  He was pleased by her faith.  He sent her away...in peace.  

What a celebration must have taken place in that woman's house that day!

Like this woman, we have sicknesses and illnesses.  Maybe our problem is worse....maybe it's less.  But, what are you and I doing about our problems.  Are we reaching out to Jesus?  Are you and I asking God to heal us?  Or are we trying to figure it all out on our own?  Are you and I leaving it to the earthly physicians or even to our own feelings on how we can be healed?

Jesus may be waiting for you and I to reach out for his power.  Our Heavenly Father is ready to reward our faith.  Perhaps He is waiting for you to ask Him to heal you.  Perhaps He is waiting for me to ask.  Or maybe He is telling you and I to wait.....that it's not our time to be healed.  Either way, we must reach out and touch Him.  We can feel His power in us.  He's expecting you and me.

Let's reach out in faith!  


 
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