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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Week 2014

Greatness, power, splendor, glory, and majesty are yours, LORD, because everything in heaven and on earth is yours. The kingdom is yours, LORD, and you are honored as head of all things. Riches and honor are in front of you. You rule everything. You hold power and strength in your hands, and you can make anyone great and strong. “Our God, we thank you and praise your wonderful name. (1 Chronicles 29:11-13 GW)

Our favorite time of year is here, beginning with Thanksgiving Week.  We call it "week" now because the kids are out of school all week - all except the college girl who had to go to school today, but will be home later this evening.  But, we will be together for the rest of the week and until Sunday afternoon!

What are you thankful for this year?  Each of us has countless physically, personal, spiritually, and emotional blessings from God.  The key is learning to give thanks for them realizing that ALL of them come from HIM. He is the giver of all good things! 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

May each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I pray that you have family and friends around you and that the love of God and Jesus strengthens your soul, guides your heart, and fills your mind with gladness!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

First Snowfall of the School Year!

The snow began falling on Sunday morning during worship. We were so excited! It was so pretty! I had to take a picture of my new little tree in it's first snowfall.  It's cute, huh?! :)
 And then seeing snow on the pumpkins is always fun!
 Zachary put on his ski cap to go feed the goats.  It's all white/grey/brown except for that bright thing!
My old pickup saw its first snowfall, too, but by the time I got this picture, it didn't show too much!
It showed a little more early Sunday afternoon.
The boys were extremely excited when they heard we weren't having school the next day! I know it wasn't a lot of snow, but the roads were slick early Monday morning, and who knew the sun would come out and melt it away quickly?  (God)  And every other school around us was closed, so it was best.
 They played outside....rode the 4-wheeler...
...rode the sled...
 ...just had fun!
 And that afternoon Tyler even "swept" the snow off of the front shorts.... he and his brother could play football!!  

What a fun time it was for the first snowfall of this school year! We look forward to more!  Well, the boys and I do.  My daughter and husband don't. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rejoice in the Lord - Always!

Sunday night, as I scrolled through Facebook, I kept seeing postings about people who had decided to give their lives to Jesus - putting Him on in baptism, having their sins washed away.  I don't know how many people I read about....maybe 20....but it was people from all over the United States.

Yesterday I read about a lady who is working in a prison ministry and has taught 44 ladies there about Jesus using the book "A Muscle and a Shovel" by Michael Shank.  All 44 of them did the same or were restored....repenting of their sins and turning their lives and hearts back to Him.What a wonderful thing it is when the Lord adds people to the church or causes their heart to be pricked to turn back to Him!!

Mr. Shank's sequel to "A Muscle and a Shovel" is called, "When Shovels Break". It will be released in January 2015, but is about Mike's friend who became a Christian, but then turned back to his old life.  He almost committed suicide because he felt so unworthy of Christ's love and forgiveness. He was hopeless. He didn't feel like he could ever be redeemed because of his return to sin and didn't feel like God would even want him back.

Many feel that same way - that they've gone too far into the depths of sin.  Nothing is further from the truth! God can redeem the lost and those who walk away!  He will forgive, and He does!

I can't wait to read that story.  I'm sure it will direct many more souls to Jesus, pointing them to the truth found in God's Word.

Jesus' disciples are still fishing, just as they did 2,000 years ago! They are fishing for men and women, not fish!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Special Times With My Boys

When my husband is out of town and it's just the three boys and I, I like to use those times to have special talks during my nightly devotional with them. Last night before we read a passage of scripture, I had them list ten things they wanted to be as a husband, dad, and man when they grew up.  It's always a little hard for them to begin talking, and there are a lot of laughs at first, but then they get serious about what they want for their future.  I love hearing their thoughts, dreams, and desires.  Most of all I love hearing that they want to raise their children along with a Christian spouse, bringing their children up in the Lord.  That's the most important thing and what I want most for my boys (and for my daughter, too).

I love hearing about what my boys want for their families: A day together once a week (though one said that would sometimes be tough, knowing that he wants to make that a priority makes me proud and gives me great joy).  They want to discipline their children and teach them right from wrong.  One said he didn't want to be too tough on his children (that would be the youngest who is going through some tough discipline, himself! Ha ha!).  One wants to spend vacation times together.  One said they wanted to continue to be close to his siblings.  All of these "family" issues showed me that family is very important to my boys.  I'm so thankful that it is, and pray that it continues to be for them.

After the boys went to bed, I was thinking about other questions I would ask them at the dinner table today.  Dinner, lunch, supper, even breakfast....whatever it is....when you're gathered together as a family is the most important aspect of family life.  Unfortunately when children are involved in extra-curricular activities, those times are sometimes rare.  It has to be a family priority to even happen. It won't happen by accident.  But that's when special discussions take place, just as they do during family devotionals.

Learning more about how my boys think is a crucial part of parenting.  I don't want them to grow up and I find I don't know much about them.  I want to know how they think and what they enjoy.  When we're on shopping trips - just one on one with them - we talk about things.  When it's just one in the house after school, we talk about things.  At other times, there are special times when I get special times with one or all of the boys. They'll be gone before I know it, so these times together are very special - times when we just talk.

Thank you, God, for the special times with my boys!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Senior Class Cook-Off Challenge

Friday night was such a fun night! Our Senior boy had his class over for a "Cook-Off Challenge".  He was one of the team captains.  One of the girls was the other captain.  They decided to compete boys vs. girls.  
There were 12 out of 20 classmates at the challenge, so a good group!
 My husband and I went with them to shop. The tiny nearby grocery store wasn't sure what was going on seeing 12 teens in a race to shop and a crazy mom trying to get it all captured with her camera!!
 The two captains had decided on Italian food. I had gathered some of the supplies already, but we wanted to make sure they had to actually shop for quite a bit of it.
 It was a great experience for them!
 Some weren't used to purchasing food to this degree!  And none us remembered where to buy the yeast - in the refrigerated section (I didn't even remember that's where it was kept at this store!).
 These two girls were checking the prices on the meat. Good for them going for the cheapest packaging option!  There was a sale on the big 10 pound package of ground beef!
My husband stood at the front to buy their "goods".
 A stop outside of the store for a group photo and then it was time to get busy!
 The girls went to one house - the boys were at our house.  The girls made lasagna....
 ....steamed squash and zucchini, and lemon cupcakes.
 Samantha did great on her food and guiding her team!
 The boys made corn fritters, meatballs, spaghetti with spaghetti sauce, Fettucine Alfredo, cheese breadsticks, green beans and salad.  We've laughed about J standing in the chair to grate the Parmesan cheese! He told his mom he needed a better angle!
 R was getting into the pizza crust dough :).
 And this picture is worth a thousand words....and a huge science experiment....and a prayer of thanksgiving....all of which we won't share.  The Seniors will always remember this night, however!
 The corn fritters were great!
 The meatballs - I heard - had too much pepper in some place and not much in others. Each boy blamed the other one for the bad mixing! Ha ha!
 Who can go wrong when you used Olive Garden dressing???
 This is the lemon glaze for the cupcakes. They were delicious!  The glaze looks like Alfredo sauce!
 Steamed veggies....
 ...cheezy bread sticks....
 ...the finished cupcakes....
 green beans....noodles....

We deemed the meal a success and a tie. It was really hard to judge two different meals. We decided the next challenge had to be the same foods.  The kids had a BLAST and can't wait to do it all again!

Thanks to them for allowing us to be a part of their lives this year.  We're having fun hosting them. They're making memories and getting to know one another at a different level for this final year of high school.

Great job, chefs!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Football and Prayers

Last night it was early in the 2nd quarter. Our boys were already way ahead and the game was sure to end at halftime under the mercy rule that is granted in 8-man football in the state of Oklahoma.  We were playing a private school's team.

The pile of boys didn't look any different than any other tackle, but when most of them got up, one was left lying on the field. No one was sure what had happened.  The players took a knee out of respect and the crowd kept quite.  It seemed like a long time - and in injury terms - it probably was.  The paramedic came at the motion of the coaches. Eventually the player was put onto the flat cart and onto the stretcher.  His family, teammates, everyone, I imagine....prayed for the young man.

The ambulance drove off and we haven't heard this morning how he is doing.  Our coach supposes that he has a deep muscle bruise in his back or something like that - as he was able to move without pain before he left.

Seeing that young man down brought fear in the hearts of all who were there.  Moms and Dads don't ever want to face that.  Players don't want to.  Coaches don't want to see it.

This morning I saw another story about a football player from Louisiana who passed away yesterday. He received a head injury last Friday night during his game.  My heart aches for his family and friends.

There is danger and risk in playing football. Everyone knows that.  But the danger and risk, to many, is worth it, and the players who play don't play the game with fear.  Parents know the risks, and while they don't ever want to face it, they know that it can happen - and sadly, will happen again.

Pray for the players of any sport.  Sports are physical and much "harder" than they used to be.  Injuries happen all of the time and some are really serious.  But we mustn't live life in fear. That's not what God wants. He wants us to live for Him and a life lived in fear that something bad might happen isn't living for Him.

So pray that your players and our players will be safe.  Pray for those who have been hurt - especially for Sam who was hurt here last night.  May his injury be quick to heal so that he can be with his teammates once again.   And pray for the Flowers family - who are mourning the loss of their son. He was a Senior.

Don't forget to pray.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day

I'm not sure why I woke up so early this morning.  Maybe it was my husband's alarm going off at 5:00 a.m., when he had been out of bed for at least 30 minutes to an hour.  Maybe it was hot flashes.  Maybe it was thirst. (I've already had two bottles of water so good for me - the non-water liker!)  Either way, I thought it was 6:00 a.m., but no.....5:00 a.m.....and by 8:30 p.m. tonight I'll feel like it's midnight.  I LOVE the time change (though no one else in my family does), but it takes me a week or so to adjust to the whole thing.

And then I begin my day's work.  Place some orders I need to place, scroll through Facebook before reading the Bible and writing this post.  And there it is - the reminder of what today is:  Election Day.

I have really thought about some of the election possibilities of our state and especially tried to research certain candidates.  But you know what?  You only see what they want you to see!  Wouldn't it be great if, like Pinocchio, a person's nose would grow if they lied?  Wouldn't it be great if politicians could really do what they say they will do ( long as it's what I want them to do)? Wouldn't it be great if change was always positive (and how I want it, of course!)?  Or if there were no parties/platforms that mar the candidate because of what they stand for, but the person stood solely on their own thoughts and ideas?  That's what I want.

So I posted this on Facebook:  I will vote, but not totally excited about some of the options. Is there a "None of the Above" option?

You see, I want people who are honest, fair, just, trustworthy, upright, moral, Christ-like, courageous, bold, a listener, and someone that's kind, caring, and considerate to be in office.  But I don't know these people personally. I only know what I read. I don't listen to the robo-calls.  I don't answer them...just hang up. I don't watch TV, so don't see their ads.  I don't read most of the mailings that come.  I have personally talked to one candidate serval times and he seems to be all of the qualities that I am looking for to represent our area of the State.  And perhaps he is.  I believe he is.

It's a person's RIGHT to vote.  Not everyone in the world has that right.  Let's not take that lightly.  It's important. It matters.

Sometimes it's hard for us to believe that God is at work in all of this - even in this election.  But He is because He is at work in our lives each and every day.  His bigger plan is being woven through the pages of history, just as it was in the Bible.  He is still in control no matter how this election, or any election, turns out to be.  He still has a plan and it may not be how we think it should be, but it's how it's all supposed to be.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:1-3

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Month of Thankfulness

Do you tend to be a thankful person? Does thankfulness come easy for you?  If it does, then thinking of something to be thankful for every day in November is easy, but if you're not, then it may be really difficult.  And if your not, the thought or site (on Facebook) of everyone being thankful for a whole month may really annoy you!  Sounds strange for some of us, but I know it's true because I see it each and every year - the complainers of "thankful" month!

But if you are a child of God, you are commanded to be thankful - not just ONE month out of the year - but each and every day!

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:1

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:15-17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 106:1

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Psalm 105:1

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! Psalm 20:4

That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! Psalm 30:12

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4

And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.  Isaiah 12:4-5

And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.  1 Chronicles 29:13

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers.  Philemon 1:4

In addition to being more thoughtful in your thankfulness this month, maybe you could pick one of these scriptures to memorize or meditate on every few days. There are 20 listed, so even one every weekday would work.  Either way, spend more time being thoughtful about your thankfulness this month.  In doing so, you will begin to be more thoughtful every month and every day.....and fulfilling God's Will for your life!

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