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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Coming Home

Later on this afternoon, our oldest child will be back home. Lauren will have completed her first year of college!  She will officially be a Sophomore.

It seems like yesterday that we dropped her off, driving back home without her, tears streaming. We weren't sure what life would be like without her here. But, just like she did, we adjusted. We learned to enjoy her weekend visits. At Christmas she was here longer, then transferred closer where we've been able to see her a lot more often.  And now she'll be home for three and a half months.

There will, most likely, be an adjustment to Lauren living back at home. Her brothers have adjusted to life without an older sister bossing them around, for one! Ha ha!  She will have to get used to being home, too.  She won't have quite as much freedom as she had before, but will have more, in a way.  My rule for her coming home was that she didn't have to help around the house if she was here for only a weekend, but if it was more than three days, she was no longer a guest. She was part of the family....and the family works together! :)

This relationship between a college child and her family makes me think of God and His children.  Maybe the reason some of His children feel distant from Him is that they aren't around Him enough.  Maybe they just visit from time to time, but don't ever stay long enough to be really familiar with Him.

God longs for His children to be close to Him. He doesn't want just occasional weekend visits. He wants full-time custody!  He wants His children to feel so comfortable with Him that they can tell Him anything - and they do.  He wants that closeness. He wants their hearts.

When we give our lives fully to Our Heavenly Father, it won't be an adjustment each time we come home to Him.  It will be natural.  Coming Home.......that's what God wants from His children.  All of them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrating 90 Years - Tipton Home Homecoming

For 90 years Tipton Home (a children's home) served children who have been orphaned, obandoned, neglected, and abused.  Over 3,000 children have been at Tipton Home during those 90 years.  This past Saturday, a celebration was help to remember all of those years.

These "Hollywood Hills" type letters were lit up and displayed outside the cafeteria for the weekend. It's a beautiful sight to see, especially at night!
Just as the front of the administration building has four columns, these columns represent that building.  It made a great  focal point for the stage.
"Alumni Stars" was the theme for this years' Homecoming. Wooden clapboards were on each side of the stage to serve as photo backdrops.  Many alumni had their pictures taken in front of them.
 Oscar-themed centerpieces were on the tables on top of red runners.
A big red door symbolized the entrance into something very special.  Rope holders were lining the red carpet.
A special celebration required special touches, such as these imprinted napkins.
  The napkins will be kept as a special reminder for many who came to enjoy the special day.
 Clapboards were inserted into little stands to be used for centerpieces, as well.
The organizer of this event is Anita Davis. She and her husband, Charles, have been at Tipton Home for 47 years!  They will be retiring from full time work soon, so they were given a special award for their service.  Anita knows more about Tipton Home than anyone.  I'm not sure anyone loves it more than she does, either.  A special lady - a special couple.  They have been a blessing to others for all of these years.
My husband, Joe, was announced as the new Director for Tipton Home.  He loves Tipton Home, as well, and has spent 35 of his 50 years either living at or working for Tipton Home.  He will do a great job and lead by example.  Please pray for him in this new endeavor.

Alumni, you are the stars in our minds.  We hope that you enjoyed your weekend at Tipton and visiting Tipton Home. We hope to see you back next year!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ladies' Salad Supper 2014

Last week I hosted one of my most favorite events of the year - a ladies' salad supper for my sisters in Christ. It worked out this year that the Sojourners were in town working at Tipton Home, so they were able to attend.
These cute plates were at Walmart, and apparently everyone else liked them, too, because they're GONE!  Someone needs to get busy and make more Chevron party plates!! :)
 The colored jelly beans are Laffy Taffy flavored and War Head Sours, but they sure looked cute in the vases with candles.  I think some of the jelly beans disappeared that evening!
 My favorite part of the evening, right up there with the delicious salads, is listening to the ladies talk. This year I made up a question/topic sheet (listed below). I found most of these "ice breaker" questions online, but came up with a few on my own.
Each lady picked three questions to answer.  It was great hearing their stories and thoughts.  Some told funny stories. Some told sad stories. Some told memories of loved ones who have passed away.  Some talked about their faith as they shared their thoughts about God and Jesus.
It was great.  Year after year there are a few ladies that aren't with us. I think that's the one regret I have, is that we didn't record their stories.  We still laugh at one story that one sweet lady would tell every year. It never got old!  And her telling it was even better because we all loved to hear her laugh!
The bond of Christian sisters is a bond that is stronger than a blood bond.  It's what the Lord's church is all about....and I'm thankful that He planned it to be that way.  Our family - the church - just keeps growing - just like it should!

Pick Three

1. Name one thing you really like about yourself.

2. If you could ask God to change any problem in the world today, what would it be?

3. If you sat down next to Jesus on a bus, what would you talk about?

4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

5. How were you proposed to?

6. If you had a time machine that would work only once, what point in the future or in history would you visit? 

7. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

8. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God? 

9. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

10. If you could live one day over again, what day would it be and why?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Passport to Paris Themed Banquet

Update: Thank you for your thoughts and prayers about my arm. I saw the doctor yesterday, and the bone is in place and everything is healing well! He said I could leave the immobilizer off and use a sling or NOTHING as much as I want to! I'm typing with both hands.  Thank you, God, for your healing. You made our bodies wonderfully :).  I've very thankful that my injury was minor in comparison to what others have faced and are facing. It could have been so much worse.

So, when I fell/tripped, we had just started working on our Junior-Senior Banquet. The theme was Passport to Paris.  It looked BEAUTIFUL!  Here are some pictures.

 The tables had floor-length white cloths, black square toppers, and red organza runners....
 The students' chairs had red tulle sashes tied around them.  Notice the beautiful chandelier hanging in the center of the room!
 A Paris cafe backdrop....
 The centerpieces were mirrors, metal Eiffel towers, tea light candles, clear gems and red rose petals....
 I wish I had a close up of the napkin rings. They were rhinestone buckles threaded onto red satin ribbon, then hot glued at the seams. It looked beautiful against the black napkins.
The fountain was directly below the hanging chandelier. It sounded so nice and soothing! Maybe I need one at home :).
 Our school has a really long hallway that leads from the gym lobby to the cafeteria. It makes a perfect walkway to decorate and transform into the theme!
 The fake grass lined the hallway and this little park area...complete with the lit up Eiffel tower.
 A Paris skyline....
 Another view of the park area....
 Our son didn't want a tux, but I insisted he have one. Then he knew exactly what he wanted - brown with a top hat, cane, and gloves! Oh, an a little pocket hanky! He didn't care for the gloves, then forgot the pocket hanky ($8 for that thing, too!).
 He sure looked handsome!
 His class worked hard on this banquet. They had lots of fun! Can't believe they will be SENIORS next year! (They are missing a few people and my own son's face is covered! I think I did that with our daughter's class photo, too!)
 The Sophomore servers looked so cute! They had fun serving!
 The chocolate fountain and dunking items were delicious!
And a final close up of the chandelier.  A night to Paris!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Guarded Paths

As some of you know, a week ago today I fell, resulting in a radial head fracture to my right arm. I'm doing well, thankfully didn't have to have a cast, but it will be several weeks before it's healed and can function normally. Ever since then, I'm cautious where I walk. I don't want to trip and fall again. Obstacles are everywhere. Things get in the way.
Wouldn't it be great if we guarded our spiritual lives in this same way? We were cautious of our surroundings, not wanting to fall into sin by previous temptations? Maybe we would guard our feet, our eyes, our mouths, our hands. Maybe we would say no to certain things that have entangled us and tripped us up in the past. Maybe we would watch more carefully where we go or who we hang around.
Just as I was clumsy and didn't have my eyes in where my feet were going, perhaps the sins we commit are made in the same way - clumsily and with our eyes pointed in the wrong direction.
Just some thoughts for you to consider this afternoon. Pay attention to your surroundings. Keep your eyes focused on what matters.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
My steps have held to your paths;
    my feet have not stumbled.
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Psalm 17:5-6

Friday, April 4, 2014

Day Three of Crazy

If you read yesterday's post, you know that I had had two days of crazy. I felt like satan was throwing darts at me. My husband thought that perhaps God was telling me that I had too much going on, but I didn't really. Now I'm thinking that maybe he was right. I can't possibly know exactly if God was telling me to slow down, but I'm for certain that I am going to be forced to slow down....not by choice.

Yesterday afternoon, I was at the school decorating for our Jr./Sr. Banquet. I was going out to my vehicle to unload more things, at the same time watching to make sure my son was backing up another vehicle enough to let traffic by. I angled off of the walkway towards my vehicle, catching the corner of the sidewalk. I tripped and fell flat on the asphalt and gravel.  Oh, it hurt! My son didn't see it, but a couple of other teens did and they hurried to make sure I was okay.  I wasn't sure, but I know it hurt enough that jumping up out of humiliation wasn't my first thought!

Because typing is an issue, and I have an appointment to go to, I'll skip the small talk and just say that I finally realized it needed to be checked. I felt like it was more than just muscle and outer pain. I have a radial head fracture and will be seeing an orthopedic doctor today about what to do next. I'm right handed, so it is surely making things difficult. I have many decorating obligations to do over the next few weeks and months and that will be the biggest obstacles - well that and just getting ready every day.  And cooking....and cleaning.....Oh, I know...I will adjust.  It will just take me more time to do things. It's my first broken bone - ever!

I allowed myself a few hours to feel sorry for myself last night, then prayed that God help me be thankful it wasn't worse.  And, there are so many people we know who are facing serious life obstacles, so my arm isn't that big, BUT for me...right is big. My husband and boys will help a lot. If our daughter was here, she could help more with the decorating part, but college will be over in just a few weeks, then she can help some.  So please pray for me. Pray for my healing and patience.  Thanks in advance!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Satan's Darts

Have you ever had one of those days that nothing seemed to go right?  Did it ever continue into two days?  I'm sure you've all had bad days that never seemed to end.  Tuesday and Wednesday were days, for me, that everything seemed to go wrong.

I'm going to make a little timeline....not for you....but for my future reference.  Who would want to forget two days of bad?! Ha ha!

Tuesday morning:
Youngest son sick....stayed home from school.
I'm working on my ladies Bible class lesson about being compassionate.
About 10:00 a.m. I get a call that the tablecloths ordered for our Jr. Sr. banquet came in all wrong. Instead of 14 black rectangle cloths, we have 125 white rectangle cloths.  And the napkins that are supposed to be white are black.
I tell one of the sponsors not to worry.....use my motto of "no stress" - and assure her that I'll take care of the table issue. Start working on that and figure out that the 12 inch centerpieces I ordered, but hadn't even opened the box or looked at, were actually 25" wall hangings!
I get stressed!  I don't like to be stressed. I tell sick son that we have to drive to Hobby Lobby - about an hour away.  On the way, I call H.L. to see how many of these 12 inch centerpieces they have. They have 4. I call another on - about another hour away. They have 3. I call two others that are about 2 hours and 15 min. away, but where my daughter goes to school. Those stores have 3 and 4, and I would be seeing her the next day. The total 14 I need!
Win!  Yay!  But, they're all full price - $20 each - instead of 1/2 price like the box of huge ones were. And now I'll need to return the huge ones to get reimbursed for them.
While in the other towns, we go to Sam's Club and purchase black rectangle tablecloths that can be cut in half and used as table toppers.
Okay.....the day is almost over! I get back home and start working on my lesson again.

Wednesday morning:
I finish it and the outline at 1:00 a.m.  But guess what? The new software on my Apple laptop has a different saving system and the lesson didn't save!  It was now blank. I have my outline, but that isn't how I teach.  So, at 1:00 a.m., I go searching for something to teach.  And I have to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to get ready and go to a golf tournament.
I find a lesson about Attitudes.  I think God directed me to that - knowing I was going to need it!
I go to sleep at 2:30 A.M.  I hear my boys up about 3:30 a.m.   I wake up at 4:00 a.m. and get ready.
The golf tournament starts almost 30 minutes late, no big deal, but makes us later getting home.
My daughter, whose college is 10 or so miles from the golf course gets lost trying to get to the golf course because the GPS puts SOUTH in the address instead of NORTH.  Mine did that, too, but I got it changed. She didn't know that, though. I wait at the clubhouse for 30 minutes for her to get there.  Finally she does.  I'm getting sad that I've missed so much of the tournament.
We go to find our team - spread out over the course.  WE LOOK FOR 1 1/2 HOURS BEFORE FINDING THEM!  I am NOT kidding!  One and a half hours of driving a golf cart all over a 3 1/2 mile course!  Could NOT find them. Craziest thing ever!  Finally. Finally. Finally.  We found them. I was really almost in tears.
Not a minutes after we found them, a cheap black bead bracelet - with a Tiger paw print - I was wearing happened to catch on the mini pencil that is inserted in the golf score card section of the steering wheel in the golf cart. The bracelet broke in pieces sending beads and the paw all over the cart path! That was actually funny and helped lighten up the day!
We eat with my daughter. One of my boys rides home with me and the other is still with the team. We head home.
On the way home, I decide to call a party store that is about an hour from home and half-way between where I am at that time and my home.  About 6 weeks ago I ordered a LOT of stuff for a big alumni banquet we are having for my husband work - the children's home. We are celebrating its 90th year of existance.  Would you believe that the party store, after telling me they had to order that much, and it needed to be done way in advance, is now telling me that they were just planning to get it off the shelf?  That they had 9 in stock??  And I need more than 30 of everything?!!  They have none of the paperwork. They are positive they can have it when I need it by Monday, but they will have to call and get it. They wanted to know how much I needed, but I didn't have the information with me. It was at home. I just was hoping the box was in, and since I was going through - I could stop by and get it. But they have NONE of IT and no record of it. The manager vaguely remembers something about plates.  Oh boy!  I was nice, but obviously frustrated about the whole situation.  And still am.  They are supposed to be getting me 50 of everything, then I will buy what I need from that stock.

I got home at 6:20 and got to the church building at 6:45....made copies of the outlines for class....rearranged the classroom to how we need it for Wednesday night....and was wearing thin on my few hours of sleep.
Just wow.

The Attitude lesson went well and helped me. The songs we sang during the devotional time helped, too. Prayer helped.  I was beginning to just laugh at the two days I had had. And then, thinking about people who are undergoing serious health problems made me realize that my two bad days weren't all that bad.

On the way home I talked to my husband on the phone. He's been away for work related childcare meetings for a whole week. I said, "I think Satan's throwing darts at me!"  He said he thought Satan was just looking at me and laughing, thinking, "Look how busy she is and how that's all she's doing." Now, there may be some truth to that, but I still think he's throwing darts because if all of that had gone as planned, the busyness wasn't really that much.  It was the problems thrown in to the situations that made them bad.

Satan throws his darts, but I decided on the way home yesterday that Satan couldn't hurt me with his darts, just as long as I kept my Armor of God on. If I took it off, that was when I would be hurt by his evil deeds.  My Armor stayed strong!  Satan was defeated!  Praise the Lord! And today is a new day!

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:10-18

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Chronicles of Biscuit - I Thought You Would Say Hello

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

Sunday morning began as every Sunday morning begins - with me waking up the boys, and me telling them what is "appropriate" to wear....according to the season, temperature, and just the general time of the month. It's always a bit confusing to me: Is it still 'no spring clothes until Easter' or is it spring clothes after the first day of Spring, or does anyone really care?  Does it really matter?  If you know, please tell me!  I almost don't care any more!

This Sunday I just decided on my own (my husband is out of town, but he would always let them wear whatever - regardless of the season! :) and told told the boys they could wear "spring" colors, but not the new shirts I had bought for them to wear at Easter, although we don't usually buy Easter clothes. It just happened to be a new shirt for spring.

I went to my own room and began to get ready.  I didn't see the boys again, actually! By the time I left my room, they were gone. I usually have the youngest, Biscuit, stop by my room for "approval", but this time I didn't.

After Bible class, Biscuit came to sit by me.  I noticed his sort-of-wrinkled, new bought-for-Easter shirt!  I said, "Biscuit! Your shirt isn't ironed, and I told you not to wear that shirt today!"  Biscuit sort of slumped and said, "Mom, I thought you would just say "hello", not tell me what was wrong with my shirt!"  OUCH!  That stung!  Biscuit's words pricked my heart!  He has always had a way of doing that - even from a young age.

I hugged Biscuit and told him "hello" :), and I told him I was glad that he was sitting there by me. I explained the shirt problem - that I had said not to wear it. He said he didn't hear me, which is a common problem with the littlest.  That's why he always has to come by and get "checked"....something I should have had him do and will from now on.

Now, before you wonder about the ironing...our children have learned to iron at a young age.  We help them when needed, but typically Biscuit doesn't want/need help.  This was just a new shirt, so he didn't think it needed it, I suppose!

But the important part of this story isn't the not ironing. It's not the wearing of the shirt.  It was the way I handled the situation.  I should have waited and said something later - when we got home - instead of saying it right before worship.  It didn't matter.

What mattered was that we were there - ready to worship God and to remember the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. THAT MATTERED!  And that's the only thing that mattered. I didn't need to scold Biscuit about his shirt right then, even if he should have listened.  I should have said "hello" to him. I should have just asked him about what he learned in Bible class.

Lesson learned: Do What Matters!  Oh, and ALWAYS say hello....even when your son is in a wrinkled shirt that he isn't supposed to be wearing.
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