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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Amazing Adventure - VBS 2014 (Expedition Theme)


As soon as I knew our VBS was going to have an expedition theme, and knew the lessons were going to be about Jesus' Resurrection, The Valley of the Dry Bones, and the Lost Coin, I knew I was going to "dig" for a rock, a bone, and a coin.  But it wasn't until the weekend before VBS began that I really knew what I was going to do in my room. It's always that way! I can never think about it enough in advance to come up with what I want to do, but it always works out anyway.  Thank you, God!
The resurrection wall came together pretty good. I liked the crosses that my husband cut out for me. It gave a 3D effect, plus the death of Jesus was the beginning part of the resurrection story.  It made it visibily clear for the children.
 These scrolls were from a VBS theme at Mardel.  I really liked how authentic they looked!  Each wall had the title of the story for that day....
 ...and a scripture from the story.
 The Valley of Dry Bones had to be the oddest thing for me to have to decorate, because the bones gave me the chills! I didn't know if I would be able to touch them at first!
 But by the time I had to get them out of the bag, I was fine.  I'll share more about each lesson in the next few posts.
 I used this story in the ladies class I teach for a few weeks. It has great spiritual application for our lives today.
 Even this scripture is profound because it shows that Elijah knew that only God knows what can be done!  His power is awesome and mighty!
 Each  day, the children would write on these scrolls. They made them like a map...telling the story, where it was found in the Bible, then they glued what they searched for that day: the rock, coin, or bone.  They thought these were pretty neat!

 I found this GREAT mural (actually it's two put together) on Cokesbury.com.  It is beautiful, and I can use it for many years.   It gave the feeling that we had traveled to somewhere - a REAL EXPEDITION!
For the lost coin, I just used a small part of the room.
I built a house out of styrofoam painted "bricks" found at Hobby Lobby. I made a dirt floor and hid coins in the dirt.
Each day we reviewed our "expedition".  I came up with these blanks to fill that were answered by listening well to the story.
I love having a "hanging" element in my room each year.  This year, because it was a little different type of decorating, I used bones, coins, paper rocks, skeletons, X-rays, and magnifying glasses.
I also used strips of muslin to make it seem like we were inside a tent or market.  It was a neat feeling.

The X-rays came from Mardel.  They were a fun element to help teach the dry bones story.
I like to cover the tables in my classroom, too. This years' theme was cute on the tables because I drew dotted lines to make it look like we were traveling a map's directions.

VBS is such a special time for children to learn about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the church.  What a blessing it is to touch the life of a child - and share Jesus with them in this way.  I had a great group this year!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Which Way Are You Going?

Some may say there are many roads that lead to heaven, but the Word of God teaches that there is only one way...the narrow way. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14 

I John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world.” That's the broad way. It is called broad because so many, many people travel this way and adopt this lifestyle. It is the predominate lifestyle of the entire human race.

The narrow way is called narrow because so few people take this way and adopt the godly lifestyle. Jesus said few there be that find it. Why ? Because they prefer the broad way to the narrow way. Jesus didn't make one road broad and the other narrow. No, the human race made these determinations and Jesus just expressed the fact. In the scope of the human population, few people in every generation choose the narrow way that leads to life.

It's always good to examine our own lives, and see which path we are taking - the broad way or the narrow way?  Which way am I going? Which way are you going?  The narrow way isn't always easy, but it's always worth it.  The reward of eternal life in Heaven is worth it.  To be with God and Jesus forever is worth it.  

What a wonderful plan He made for His children! Thank you, God!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Happy 16th Birthday, Jacob!

Even though it makes me feel really old that I can buy party decorations in my own teenage decade, since the '80's were such a great time for me - and because our third child, son Jacob, also is an 80's fan, it seemed like the perfect surprise theme for his birthday! 
Jacob had to have the mullet, too! I knew he would wear it :).  He even wore the 80's words buttons on his shirt!  It was a lot of fun!
Jacob never cares for being demanding - even on his birthday. He was fine to let his older brother change his traditional hot dog and hamburger party meal for pulled pork sandwiches.  The older brother ordered baked beans, too! Jacob doesn't like baked beans, so I opened up Ranch Style Beans, just for him (and his dad). Ha ha!
Jacob did ask for a special drink treat. He thinks that he'll eventually become a coffee addict, but until he's grown that's not happening!  He can have occasional treats, such as this, though.  Every once in a while isn't bad.
  The older brother even picked out the desserts. Jacob didn't care to have a "real" birthday cake, so I made a chocolate sheet cake and semi-decorated it - just for fun!
 And older brother thought strawberry cake would be Jacob's first choice. It's not a good decorating cake, but it sure is a good "eating" cake!
 Jacob wanted a family party, and it happened to be when some "old" friends were in town visiting. These "old" friends aren't "old", but lived here when Jacob was little.  They are more like family than friends.
 Cousins.....friends....family. A great group!
When these three were little, they were together a lot.  Through the years, the two on the end have moved, then one came back - the cousin on the right. He and Jacob have a lawn mowing business together for the summer.  They do lots of things together, and enjoy getting together with the other friend as much as possible.  So neat to watch them grow up, but never apart!

Jacob,

I was thinking about your past year. I think it's the MOST you have grown up in a year since you were little!  The scripture comes to mind:  "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man."  Luke 2:52.  I believe you have increased in wisdom this year. I know you have.  You've also increased in stature.  You have MUSCLES!  You are so excited about that! :)  And, most importantly, I believe you have grown in favor with God. You are growing spiritually every day.  I see it, and so do others.  And because of that, you are growing in favor with mankind.  I am proud of you.

You'll be getting your license next week. That is opening up a new world for you, and for the first time as a mom of a young driver, I admit I'm a little nervous!  You know it, and I think you're proud of that! Ha ha!  I think you're reckless spirt is inspiring, but never forget to be cautious and careful.  If for no one else....do it for your mom :).

From the time you were born, you have made us laugh.  Your personality is special.  God gave you a gift of that special personality. We pray that you always use it to brighten up the lives of those around you, just as you do ours.

I look forward to seeing what God has planned for your life.  Always listen to Him. He will guide you in His Word, by His Spirit, and through people he puts in your course of life.  Strive to do His Will - always.

Happy birthday, Jacob.  Sixteen years.  That's just amazing.  I'm thankful God has blessed us with you as a son.  I'm thankful to get to be your mom.  And though I say it in a joking way, I know you really will visit me some day when I'm in a nursing home.  And I thank you in advance for that :).  We'll play Liverpool or Bananagrams, okay?  Ha ha!  I won't know if I have a book or run.  I won't know if I'm spelling the words or not.  But you'll be there, and that's all that matters!  Ha ha!

I love you, Jacob!
MOM


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Golf Course Discipline...with Love

There's a situation in a pre-teen's life I (Lori) like to call the 11-year-old-itch. It's a tough age for several reasons. A child is no longer a baby, but not yet a "teen". It's hard to grow up a little, not needing mom or dad as much, but still needing them quite a bit. Also, I believe, children begin comparing themselves to others more, may be more influenced by peer pressure, and, as a young Christian pre-teen, they are tempted by all sorts of things that can keep them from going down the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life. Satan is just as busy in the life of a pre-teen as he is in an adult's life! He wants all of God's children to fail! 

Our youngest, Biscuit, is in that 11-year-old-itch time of life. He's been anticipating the beginning of the summer golf tour all spring. Today was the first day! We were up at 4:30 a.m., and left the house at 5:30 SHARP (per his insistence) to get to the course at 7:00 a.m., and not a minute later. And we made it, with six minutes to spare! 6:54 a.m.!

 Biscuit was warned last week, this week, and this morning, that he had to have a good attitude no matter what happened today. And he knew I expected him to comply! His older sister served as his caddie for the day. She tried to encourage him, too!

 Hole #1 started off okay (except for the fact that one of the tires ran off a bent rim on the pull cart!), but not until 9:30 a.m., so he had waited around quite a while. The "junior high" (how is Biscuit even in that division?!) was last to begin. And, I'm sure that Biscuit hasn't been on a good sleeping schedule since school has been out, so I know he was tired, but that's no excuse. He played poorly from the beginning. He was disappointed, but after one small visible disgust with his game, I reminded him of the attitude agreement. I told him that he wouldn't get another warning, but if I saw anything that seemed like he was angry, he would have to withdraw. There were 11 players in his age group, so he would be considered last (or worse, I suppose).

 He held it together, plugged on for the remaining holes of the first nine, even finally getting one par on hole #7. Winning in the top three of each tournament in the tour last year, I know this was hard. He wanted to be in the top five. It wasn't going to come easy! I was thinking that he would turn it around during the second nine, and encouraged him that it possible could. Unfortunately, the second nine didn't start any better. And on hole #12, I saw him hit his club to the ground. That was it! He had been warned. He had to withdraw. I knew it was what was best, and that in the long run, he would be learning a big lesson. But times like that are hard. It's hard to follow through, but that's when the lesson is learned. If I had given in, I would have been saying that his attitude was okay. It wasn't okay. It was wrong. And he knew it.

 I made Biscuit tell the other players and parents he had to withdraw. Since three other boys were in his group, and it wasn't part of a team, it wasn't hurting anyone else. In fact, it probably sped up their game a little! He also had to tell the man in charge of the junior golf association. I know he didn't like having to do that, but that's okay. He needed to.

 I'll never forget what he told the man: "I need to withdraw due to mental issues." I didn't laugh at the time, but just kind of nodded as the man glanced my way. I think he could tell Tyler was in trouble! As we walked off, I said, "It's attitude more than mental, but yes, it began as mental." Golf is very mental. And hard! I've laughed thinking about it, and someday I'll share this with Biscuit. He'll laugh, too!

 Even though I was disappointed that Biscuit didn't keep his attitude controlled on his own - or with the help of God's Spirit - I wasn't mad and angry at him...just his actions. We drove through and got him some lunch, even though he had just wolfed down a sandwich a few holes earlier. We stopped for a few groceries, and he was asleep before we left town. He slept the whole way home - so about an hour and a half.

 Yesterday I began reading the book of James to the kids. I picked out James 1:2-3 as the scripture for the week: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." We talked about that scripture as we drove off from the course, and how this trial would cause Biscuit to grow, even if he didn't realize it at the moment.

 This afternoon, we began the second part of James chapter one. It began, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." Biscuit quickly said, "Mom! You directed that right at me!" I said, "Tyler, no I didn't! Did I write these scriptures? Did I plan this passage for today? God inspired these writings 2,000 years ago! God just works that way sometimes. He plans out just what we need to hear at just the right time." And you know what? Tomorrow's scriptures may be pointed right to me!

 I'm thinking that next week's golf outing will go much differently. I'm pretty sure that we're going to have a stricter bedtime for this 11 year old, even if it's summer. I know that the "no sugar" for a week is going to make a big point in his life, too! It always does. And it doesn't hurt any of us to cut back on sugar. In fact, several of us already are doing so. But, maybe next week, if the temptation to let the disappointment of a missed shot tries to get from the inside to the outside and be visible, Biscuit will allow the Holy Spirit to calm him and help control that bad attitude. Maybe those scriptures will come to mind. And maybe we'll be just a little closer to getting out of that 11-year-old-itch!
 
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