Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hello, Summer!!

Well, it's officially summer now, and for children family, the summer break has been in full swing for a few weeks.  But, it hasn't been much of a break so far!  It seems it's been just as busy as during the school year, but a different kind of busy.  A fun busy. (Not that school isn't fun, but you know what I mean :).

Anyway, just wanted to let you know I would be taking a few weeks off from blogging. I'll be "out of pocket" and not able to post for those weeks.

I'll see you back after the 4th of July weekend! Doesn't that sound strange!??

Have a great week.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
Psalm 139:1-6

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Worry, Worry, Worry

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

Biscuit is a worrier.  In fact, he's a worrier DE-LUX!  He worries about the weather....storms that could turn back, he worries about his safety in our house and hotels, he worries about a lot of things.  And he'll admit it.

This week Biscuit has been playing in a three-day golf tournament. Because he has won several day tournaments and has had lots of compliments about his golf game, Biscuit went into this bigger tournament with high expectations.  When we got to the tournament and saw the pretty glass golf trophies, Biscuit was confident he would walk away with one on the last day.  But very quickly, on the first day, Biscuit realized that the tournament was a lot tougher than he thought it would be.

The 10-11 year olds were playing from further back tees than Biscuit typically had to play from, and he was having to walk 18 holes, where the other tournaments he only had to play 9 holes.  He also usually practices only 9 holes on our 9-hole course nearby. But also, and an even bigger issue, was the mentality of a 3-day tournament - especially for a worrier!

Biscuit's worry over a bad golf swing or the shot's landing, caused even more worry, resulting in an even bigger score at the end of the day.  Biscuit's worry turned to disappointment, and even some anger that showed at some points (something he's having to face punishment for the rest of the week, unfortunately).  Worry, worry, worry.

Biscuit's problem isn't new.  There have been worriers since the beginning.  Remember Moses?  When God asked Moses to go to Pharoah and bring the Israelites out of Egypt he answered, "Who am I that I should go to Pharoah and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"  Or Jonah.  His worry caused him to try to run away from the Lord, then he ended up getting swallowed by a big fish!

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. Jonah 1:1-3

As Christians, worry is not trusting in God. It is saying that we don't trust that God will do what He says He will do.  It's been said that worry is temporary atheism.  Ouch! That's a pretty harsh term, isn't it?  But Jesus had lots to say about being a worrier.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:25-34

So, what is the solution to having no worries?  Well, there could be many formulas, but here is what I told Tyler:

#1.  Pray
Most things we tend to worry about never happen, but to help our minds be clearer and help us learn to trust in God more during these times, we must pray.  Our lifeline to our Heavenly Father is always available.  He's always listening.  We should turn our worries over to Him.

#2.  Change Our Mindset
I didn't think of it as being anything profound when I said it to Tyler, but it seemed to help him a lot.  I would say, "No stress....it's just a challenge."  When we change our mind from worrying to thinking of something as a challenge, most of us are going to think, "Okay! I can do this!".  It's when our mind says, "I can't."....."I'll fail."...."It's too difficult".....that we will worry and most likely fail.

Maybe you have other ways to alleviate stress in your life.  I have a friend who likes to sing songs of praise to get her mind off of her worries.  Whatever helps you, do it! (Unless it is something harmful for your body, of course.)  But never neglect #1.  It's the best solution to worry.

Monday, June 17, 2013

25 Years Ago.....

...our life together was just beginning!  I had planned my wedding date for six years.  I wanted to be married on June 18th, after attending a wedding on that date in 1982!  At that time I was 13 years old! Who would have thought that those plans would really come true six years later!
Not a lot changed about my wedding details from the time I was 13 until the time I was 19.  My 13 year old plans had colors of ivory and pink and gray. But one very big thing did change:  THE GROOM!!!  That's a pretty major change and my original "groom" would have been a very, very big mistake!  Thankfully my more mature (well, more mature than 13, anyway) choice was a very, very great choice!
Our lives have been blessed.  We've laughed and cried together.  We've had ups and downs.  We've had disagreements and make-ups.  We've grown closer to God and closer to each other. We're committed to each other and believe that marriage should be a life-long commitment. We love each other, and look forward to many more years of marriage together.
The fruit of our marriage would be, of course, the births' of our four children.  Those would be the four most important days in our marriage, other than our wedding day.  The day we lost our little boy to stillbirth would also be an important day in our marriage, but not a happy day, at all....just relevant to our marriage.
I've included some of my very favorite wedding photos and photos of special things from our wedding and engagement. This picture with my dad putting a penny in my shoe is one of my very favorites. I love the look on his face! :)
 This is our wedding invitation.  The little phrase was on several things at our wedding.  I still like it a lot!
Here's a little poem from one of our showers written by a sweet sister-in-Christ.
These little papers were given as favors, rolled up and secured with a gold ring. (The inexpensive ones that come in bulk.)
I didn't take a picture of it, but I had a schedule all written out for our wedding party.....to the detail....and there were several (okay, many!) details!  Two songs that were led by Joe's uncle - congregational singing - then 13 songs (yes, you read that correctly!!!!!) sung by Joe's twin brothers and their wives.  Hard songs.  All acapella.  All very beautiful!  They did such a great job!  We have it on tape, but 25 years ago things weren't as clear as they are now.  
This is a very special picture for us.  My grandpa is on the left and did part of our wedding. He wasn't too sure about it, at first, but he did a great job! I didn't know for a long time that he was really sick and running fever that day!  And Joe's dad did the wedding vows and lesson for the wedding.  He was a preacher, so used to speaking.  Both of these special men have passed away now. We're thankful they had a wonderful part of our wedding day!

On this GRATITUESDAY, it's pretty easy to see what I am grateful for, isn't it?  And looking forward to many more years! To see what others are grateful for, visit HeavenlyHomemakers.com.

 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Matthew 19:5-6

FORE!

Our oldest son and youngest son have both been playing golf a lot this summer.  They are both in a tour that has a contest every week or two, plus this week they're competing a big tournament called the Texas/Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament. (Shortened to T/O).
The youngest hit his ball in the water last week.  That didn't stop him from trying his best to get a good score on the next to last hole.  He took off his shoes and  socks and chipped in the water!  That takes dedication! I'm afraid of snakes!
A golf course is a beautiful setting for pictures and as the boys golf I get to take some close-up, personal shots of them preparing to hit the ball.
I don't have to get too close with the big lens, so don't mess up their concentration.
Sometimes they're analyzing their next shot. Other times I think they're just resting.  
Taking pictures along the course path is so much fun! This course is called Karsten Creek. It's near Stillwater, Oklahoma....home of the OSU Cowboys.  Our oldest son attended golf camp there last week.
Some of the tee boxes have cowboy hat markers.  How cute!
This is at a different course in Wichita Falls, TX, but it's so much fun seeing the birds and wildlife at the courses!
This is the OSU men's golf coach. Mike McGraw.  Big golf fans will know that Rickie Fowler attended OSU under Coach McGraw.
Besides watching my boys play golf, my favorite thing about going to golf tournaments is getting to drive the golf cart!  Haha!  I can't help it! It's so much fun!
My least favorite thing about the golf tournaments is the heat.....or the cold.....or the extreme wind!  I know, I know....NO COMPLAINING!  Okay, so the middle, no-golf-for-me-son, and I cooled off at the big fan that was blowing the green.  He took over driving the golf cart, too.  Then began racing his dad and little brother! Family fun at its finest (minus our working daughter who was on a summer school trip to the zoo.).
And the last photo I'll share with you is the bunkers....sand traps.  Obviously it's not where you want the ball to land, but I think they're pretty!  I also like to watch the kids chip out of them!  I'm easily amused.

This week's T/O is a three day tournament with a possible fourth day for the oldest boy. There will be lots of golf played this week.

Golf is a mental game that builds character. It's often been described as being a gentlemen's sport.  It could also be a lady for the female's who play the game.  It's a pretty neat sport.  I never would have thought I would have liked it, but there's a reason I do like it.  My boys are playing! :)

I'll leave you with a couple of good golf quotes:


Golf isn’t like other sports where you can take a player out if he’s having a bad day. You have to play the whole game.
Phil Blackmar

Baseball reveals character; golf exposes it.
Ernie Banks

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Woman Like Lydia

Of all of the "conversion" stories in the Bible, one of my favorite ones is the story of Lydia.

Lydia was converted at a place of prayer. She was already doing what she believed to be the right thing - worshipping God.  But when Paul and his companions went to speak to her, her heart responded to the message.  She and all of her household were baptized.  

From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Act 16:11-15

Lydia opened her heart to the message.  She responded to the message and did what needed to be done to become a Christian.  She wasn't proud.  She wasn't arrogant.  She believed what they were telling her about salvation.  She believed and obeyed.

Wouldn't you like to see many more women like Lydia?  Women who were wise in the business world, but also open to the gospel message?  Women who were striving to live their lives according to the Word of God?

I pray that you are a woman like Lydia - opening your heart to the message and obeying it, as well.  

Notice what Lydia did as soon as she became a Christian.  She opened up her home to others!  She invited the ones who taught her to come into her home as guests! She offered hospitality to others!

Later on we hear a little bit more about Lydia:

After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left. Acts 16:40

Apparently Lydia continued to practice hospitality by allowing the church to meet there.  Paul and Silas visited their brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage them.


Yes, I want to be like Lydia!  I pray you do, too!



Monday, June 10, 2013

An Empty Room

This morning when I woke up and walked out of our bedroom, I saw an empty bed and an open door. I immediately thought of our oldest son who is away at golf camp this week, but also thought of the fact that in a few years, his room will be empty because he'll be leaving for college.  Then I thought of the fact that our daughter will be leaving soon...in August.  I'm not liking the thought of these two empty rooms one bit! Thankfully there are two more rooms of with two boys, at the other end of the house. Those rooms are will be full for a while, and I'm thankful they will be!


“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.  John 14:1-7a

We don't like to see our children missing from their rooms.  We don't like their empty rooms (well, probably some of you do, but I don't....we don't.)  But, you know what would make me even sadder?  To see their empty room in Heaven.  In the scriptures above, Jesus told His disciples that God has many rooms and that He himself was going to prepare a place for His followers to live some day.  I don't want my children to be missing from those rooms! I pray that you do not, either.

In verses following the passage above, Jesus tells His disciples to believe in Him and to keep His commands.  He tells them to do good works because through their works they are showing their love for Him.  

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 
John 14:12

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
John 14:20-21

No empty rooms.  That's what I want to see in Heaven, don't you?  So, because of that, while our children are here at home and in their rooms, we are actively teaching them and training them in the way they should go.  We're teaching them about Jesus.  We're teaching them about God. We're sharing God's Word with them and pointing them towards Heaven.  We look forward to seeing them in their rooms - their rooms in Heaven - some day.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"It's a Blue Ribbon Life" VBS - Part 4

Last week was our Vacation Bible School, and I posted about it several times....showing you the pictures of my room, as well as others.

For the first time ever, my walls didn't tell the stories we were learning.  Mostly because I was so busy leading up to VBS (daughter's graduation and party/Italian meal for 50 people, end of school activities, decorating responsibilities for events, helping with tornado relief, sending family to help with clean up, etc.), that I honestly didn't have time to think about it or have the energy to even do it.  School ends on a Thursday, I do the Teacher of the Year reception decorating on Friday, and begin VBS decorating/lessons on that afternoon,  finishing on Memorial Day each year. VBS begins the next morning.  WHEW! Makes me tired just typing it - reliving that whole two weeks!!! It was kind of a whirlwind.  

In the midst of decorating, I had a sinus infection which was making me dizzy for about five days.  In fact, I fell the first day of VBS!  I still have the huge bruise and scabbed elbow to prove it, too!  (I was so embarrassed, I hopped up quickly.) Thankfully, only a few people saw my fall, and I'm having to wear longer sleeved shirts in public just so people won't be shocked at the sight of it - and because my children ask me to so they don't have to see it!

So, I settled, and just made my room fit the general theme, and then taught the lesson straight from the Bible and through journaling, activities that emphasized the story, and specific Bible crafts (see my "Jesus on the Cross" craft HERE.).  I like to play question and answer games to review the story.  I'm always amazed at how they learn so much so quickly!  We only have an hour and a half, so it's not much time to do too much, but I strive to make the class interesting, while increasing Bible knowledge.
I showed you in another post my mother-in law's room, where she had each story displayed on each wall.  These pictures are from a friend.  They also did the "Blue Ribbon" VBS.  I love her perspective and beautiful pictures of each Bible lesson!  I also like how she used the blue ribbon part for each of the fruits of the Spirit.  Just beautiful and so creative!
What I thought about doing, but not until it was too late was using the "big top tent" theme on each wall, but opening it each day I could have had the Bible lesson displayed.  That's the kind of thing I usually do.  I'm a big "theme" person and that's the way I like to teach/decorate.  We're all different and unique and have different talents.  These beautiful photos show that truth out in a wonderful way!!
Here's my friend's statement on how/why she did her classroom this way: Jesus is our #1 example. Found some coloring pages for each lesson, blew them up on the overhead, altered the drawing slightly, and colored with pastels. Each picture is about 5x7ft. I wanted to keep the VBS decor Bible centered.
I might add that she also has a newborn baby and three other children, so she worked very hard to get her room ready!
Of all of my posts - over 1,000 - the VBS posts are the very most popular of all on this blog, as well as my "Life's a Bowl of Cherries" blog.  I appreciate my friend letting me share these pictures with all of you and pray that they will be a blessing to you as you strive to teach little ones about Jesus.  She's right - He is the #1 example.  There is no one and nothing else more important than His life and what He did for each and every one of us!
Finally, I want to show you one more picture.  The minister's wife at this same congregation decided to make the Greek alphabet to teach the 4th - 6th grade students more about the words of the fruits of the Spirit.  Neat!
I forgot to show you our VBS t-shirts.  Everyone that helps with VBS and attends VBS gets one.  This is the back of the shirt. The front has our church's logo and name.  It's a great outreach in our town.  We're a very rural, low socio-economic community, so a free t-shirt means a lot to a lot of people.  We also provide a lunch for everyone and an ice cream party at the open house.  It's great seeing the faces of those who are visiting.  They're proud of their shirt, and we all wear it every day!  (Makes getting ready each day pretty easy :) )  They're proud of the free lunch and open house night.

So, as you plan to teach, decorate, or help for VBS, remember that the primary and most important thing is that you are teaching the kids more about God and Jesus.  You are getting them more acquainted with His Word.  Hopefully you're planting a seed that God will grow.  Keep it centered on God's Word.  I gave my class a scripture each day.  We would scramble it up, put it in order, recite it, write it, and memorize it.  They can memorize so well at that age!  (Much easier than I can, for sure!)  But what a wonderful ministry Vacation Bible School is to the children who come.

I hope you've enjoyed the posts about "It's a Blue Ribbon Life".  This may be the last one, unless I hear/see other pictures with another perspective, then I'll have to share them with you, as well.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jacob!!!

 
Jacob at 15 years old....
Jacob at 1 year old....
WOW!!  What a change Jacob has gone through in the last year!  He decided on his own to lose some weight and get off sugar and all white flour last summer.  He had always been short-of-stature, and was my smallest of all four children at birth.  Along with loosing some weight, he also grew three inches at the end of the summer.  It was like a totally different person!  He was thrilled that he had grown, of course, but also that he had developed a healthier lifestyle to obtain his goal.  Since then he's grown a few more inches.  He's hopeful to be as tall as his older brother, but that may be a lofty goal! (haha!)

Isn't it fun to see young picture of your children and then compare them when they're older???  To me, these two pictures look so much alike.  However, we can't imagine what our children will look like when they're older based on a young picture.  It's kind of interesting to think about!

Letter to Jacob:
We are so very glad that you were given to us by God!  He blessed us with a spirited, funny, boy, who was a little different than the older two.  (I mean that in a not bad way, of course! :) )  You make us laugh, keep us entertained, and are always on some kind of adventure.  However, you also recently revealed that, at times, you can completely zone out and actually think of nothing!! (ha ha!)

You've recently said that you tune out our family meal time conversations because they're boring.....that you and I should switch brains.....which my response to you was, "Ummmm....no thank you!" :)  You definitely make our family more exciting!!

We look forward to watching you play JH and HS sports this year.  It's fun watching you play so hard. We pray you have no more broken bones in your future.  We look forward the most to watching you continue to grow in the Lord.  We know He has great plans for your life in His Kingdom.  Always keep Him the center part of your life.

We love you very much!
Mom and Dad

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A New Venture: Parents After God's Own Heart

My husband and I would like to announce a new venture....a new ministry, actually.....that we began a few days ago.  We've started a new website/blog and Facebook group called, "Parents After God's Own Heart".  This is something we've discussed and thought about off and on for a few years, but weren't sure if the time was right for our family.  However, since our daughter just graduated from high school and is "raised" for the most part, and the youngest will be in his final year of elementary school in the fall, it seemed like the right time to do it.  We've got some experience under our belts, but are still in the parenting process enough to know what's going on in today's world.  Not newbies and not old fogies, I guess (maybe?? :) )

We covet your prayers as we begin this new ministry.  It is our prayer that God will always be glorified in everything we say and do. We're not sure where God will decide to grow this ministry.  We'll leave it up to Him. Eventually we've thought about the possibility of parenting workshops, and maybe even a book or two, but, we're not planning too much.  God will lead, and we're not going to get too busy in that stuff while we're still in the parenting phase, itself.  We've got three boys to finish raising!  They need us and that is our most important priority.

If you would like to visit the website, it is located at www.parentsaftergodsownheart.com.

The Facebook group link is at this address: https://www.facebook.com/ParentsAfterGodsOwnHeart
 
Pin It button on image hover