Thursday, December 15, 2016

Oklahoma Class "C" State Football Champions!

Going to the state tournament in football is always exciting!  This year was no exception!  The cold rain didn't keep hundreds of fans - both young and old - away from cheering on the Tipton Tigers.  Fans, friends and relatives from all over came to cheer on the team and their family members. It was so much fun!  So much so that I would like to relive it all over again!
Family picture after the game.  Such a great memory of a great night!
Siblings!
Team picture minus a few.
Jacob and his girlfriend.  :)
Everyone wanted their picture with the gold ball! Who wouldn't?
A great ending to Jacob's Senior year in football!  In his three years playing (9th, 10th, and 12th, the team won silver, gold, and gold!)  Quite a record!

Congratulations to the Tipton Tigers!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy 14th Birthday, Tyler!


Today Tyler (Biscuit from the "Chronicles of Biscuit" stories) is 14 years old!  He's grown many inches over the past year, but has also grown in other ways.  He's more mature, becoming a young man rather than little boy.  He still gives me hugs, so I'm adjusting with his maturity. I tell him those can never stop! :)
I love having a child with a "winter" time birthday, and it's especially fun having one near Christmas. He didn't care what kind of party he had, just cared about the food!  He okayed a rustic theme, so it was fun decorating with red and black buffalo checks, wood-looking items, and his "tree stump" cake with a camping theme on top.
It's hard to see, but the cake has a red/black buffalo checkered tent, a little campfire, and marshmallows around the bottom, mostly just because I turned the cake board over for the cake to sit on and the greasy icing was making the board look bad. Marshmallows covered it up!
Tyler's next oldest brother and his girlfriend, Camry helped make the banner for me. They did a great job!
Blow out the candles! I didn't have 14 of them. Think I had 10 - oops!
Then this morning, Tyler got to have a non-typical breakfast of donuts!  Since our elf is a permanent fixture and always will be around here, I'm blaming him (Buddy) for the donuts! 

Happy birthday, Tyler!

You are such a blessing to our family. I can't imagine what it would be like without you in the family and wouldn't want to.  You bring joy, laughter, and special moments to our family by your personality.  You're a combination of your two brothers - a little "serious and clean cut" like Zachary and a little "crazy rough and tumble" like Jacob! Ha ha! You think that makes you perfect to be a little like both of them. I won't go so far as to say perfect, but it is pretty neat!  

Thank you for being YOU. Thank you for the example you are to those around you. I pray that you always keep God at front and center of your life, that you continue to walk in the steps of Jesus - striving to live your life always for Him, and that you continue to grow in Him and in your service of the church.  Never forget that THOSE THINGS are most important - not the things of the world.

I love you to the moon and back, forever and always. 

LOVE, MOM

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

My pictures uploaded backwards, and for some reason I can't get them moved, so I'll start backwards on Thanksgiving week with our family! I also can't get the text to publish right, so sorry about that. It's mostly for my own personal record, so I'll just be confused someday as to why this is!

This picture is the State Semifinals game, which we won! We're headed, once again, to the State Championship!! It's so exciting and brings back lots of great memories from years past. This photo is our son, backup quarterback, who played several minutes at the end of the game. Since we were so much ahead, he was coached to just take a knew for the last few downs. I love this picture of him looking back at the coach, his cousin. :)

This picture below is of the cinnamon rolls our oldest son made for Thanksgiving week. He made the dough for these, as well as the hot roll dough. He did such a great job! They were delicious! This brings back memories of Thanksgivings past where my father-in-law and my husband's grandmother used to make the rolls. What a wonderful family tradition!


Next photo: The younger cousins' table keeps growing and growing! Second cousins and family guests make this photo even more special. We love welcoming new family members into the family :). The newest little family member attending was three months old. It was his first visit to Oklahoma!

Next: The annual pumpkin bash was lots of fun!  There weren't too many that splattered everywhere, but when they do, they are picture-perfect moments that are fun to capture!  One pumpkin was filled with whipped cream and water, making it a surprise splatter!  But at least it smelled better than a rotten pumpkin!

The annual "cousins" picture is always a big group, no matter who is missing or here. There's just a BUNCH of them, no matter what!  And what a blessing that is!

I captured a sweet picture of my husband coloring with a niece and great-nieces and nephews.  Love this one!

And back to the football game...A family picture with our immediate family...the next to last one we will have with this Senior.  So thankful for those memories and for those who came. We had lots of relatives who were able to be there, which was extra-special!

Our youngest son is the official team videographer. He got to be in the press box and wear the special press pass.  He felt pretty important - and was important for his cousin, the head coach! :)

The next picture is our nephew (the head coach), another nephew who plays on the team, our son who plays, and a niece who's a cheerleader.  On the end is our brother-in-law and uncle to these three in the middle...dad to the head coach.  He's the defensive coach.  What a special picture!

And back to Thanksgiving day!  The annual Turkey Trot, in its 10th year.  This nephew and his wife are newlyweds. They "ran" to the finish line dramatically making it seem like they were finishing the tedious run with tears and sweat. Ha ha! Not sure they ever broke a sweat, actually, but boy, did they have fun and make it look like a dramatic ending! Not surprising because he's in the photo/video industry and he knows exactly what it takes to have great photos captured!! :)

Last picture is the group Turkey Trot picture.  A big group in the great weather!

I designed this graphic for t-shirts, thinking it would be a neat family thing.  It didn't quite work out like I wanted it to, but I'm thankful we have them for the memories and traditions it represents.  Sometimes things don't work out like we want it, but for me it was important.  So it matters to me and is special to me. 


I am thankful for God's blessings in my life and in the life of my family.  I am thankful for this tradition and the memories that we have shared together. This is THANKSGIVING.  Thank you, God.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rest

Yesterday after school, my youngest son, Tyler and I went to the nearest large (to us) town to do some shopping. I let him pick what he wanted to eat, but then we stopped by to get Panda Express for the next oldest son, Jacob, who had been at football practice for a few hours after school.  My husband is out of town, so didn't have to worry about his supper.

We didn't take the Panda Express order until 6:15, so got home about 7:15.  Surprisingly, when I hollered at Jacob, he didn't respond.  I hollered again. Still nothing. I went into the living room and he was laying (or lying...sorry if that's not proper :) ) and he was asleep! I couldn't believe it because he NEVER takes a nap!  I went over to him and poked him a little, saying his name.  Still nothing!  Finally I figured if he was that sound asleep, I should just put the food on warm in the oven.

A few hours passed and Jacob stayed asleep.  Tyler and I both went to bed, still surprised Jacob was snoozing!  I woke up during the night and remembered Jacob being on the couch.  I went to check and he was still there!

I set my alarm a little early, just to be sure to wake Jacob up when he likes to be up.  When I woke up, he was awake.  He said he'd gotten up a little bit before then, but was surprised, himself, that he slept on the couch all night long.  He figures that he got 12 hours of sleep!  I honestly am not sure he's ever done that before - in his WHOLE LIFE!  It was crazy!  But, obviously he needed it.  The funny thing is that he said he dreamed about Panda Express! He'll have it for lunch today.

Rest is important. We must have rest.  Sometimes we don't rest well because we don't allow ourselves to do so.  Rarely is Jacob home alone, but he never just lays down on the couch like that at that time of the day.  He had done school homework, college homework, unloaded the dishwasher for me, then laid down to watch Monday Night Football, which hadn't started.  Something about that couch just made him relaxed and he fell asleep. (I tell my family all of the time that it's the best place for sleeping!  That's why I never allow myself to sit there during the day! If I have to sit, I sit at the dining or kitchen table.  Otherwise I would fall asleep!)

Jesus came to earth as a human.  He rested. EVEN THE SON OF GOD NEEDED REST!  Why do we think we don't need rest when He did?

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. Matthew 6:31-32

Jesus knew He had to have rest so that He could do what God sent Him to do.  He could only fulfill His mission on earth if He got proper rest.  It's the same way with us.  We can only do what God needs us to do if we get proper rest.  And I'm speaking to myself as much as anyone else! It's hard for me to rest sometimes.  I get too busy.  But then I crash.  That's not good!

How about you? Do you need rest?  Maybe you need a 12 hour sleep like Jacob had!  Or maybe you just need an hour.  Either way, take the time to rest today.  Meditate on God's Word.  Get alone for awhile.  I've noticed that I can be "alone" without being alone...you know?  I have to deliberately be quiet and find a quiet place to really be alone - without distractions.  Find a place to rest.  You'll be refreshed and ready to serve again.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

IT'S NOT ABOUT ME!


Any time I get to thinking too much, and realize that my focus might be more about myself than about others or about God and Jesus, I strive to keep this thought in my mind:  "It's not about ME, it's about HIM."  As I was driving down the road having that thought yesterday, it occurred to me that too often "I" am wanting to be in the spotlight of something.  I'm being selfish.  I'm concerned about my wants or my feelings.  Not that it is always bad to do so, but too much of it can lead to depression or negative thinking in a hurry.  I was thinking, "It's hard for my light to shine for HIM, if I'm too concerned about myself being in the spotlight."  I decided to make a little meme to share this thought with others, just in case they, too, had these selfish thoughts from time to time.

I suppose we all do, really.  It's easy to get caught up in ourselves, isn't it?  I blame mine on hormones, just to be honest, because I'm rarely "down" about anything. When I am it almost always equates to a hormonal issue that's out of whack for a short time.  (Oh, the joys of the mid-40's! NOT.) But it makes me think of those who might not ever "get out" of these thoughts....what about them?  And what if it wasn't a hormone thing?  What could I do to help get the negativity from my mind?

For me, what I've found has been found driving down a highway. When you live in a remote area as I do, you spend a lot of time driving on highways.  Often I listen to my favorite Pandora station, but I have a very favorite thing to do, and that is to put it on my iTunes "worship" playlist filled with acapella praise and worship songs from various groups, such as Hallal, The Zoe Group, Narrow Way, and a few others.  I LOVE IT!  It instantly "peps" me up and makes me feel better!

So now I think, WHY DO I NOT JUST START OUT EVERY DAY WITH THIS PLAYLIST?!  Well, I do listen to that playlist often and at random or scheduled times, but I haven't wanted to listen to it all of the time because I wanted it to be different.  I wanted that list to be "reserved" in a sense, but now I see that my thinking is WRONG.  I NEED those songs each and every day. I NEED to be uplifted every day! MAYBE if I listened to them ever day - at the beginning of every day - it would change the whole day...or at least change ME for the whole day.  Who knows? (God.)  

So today, I'm starting out with HIM even more so than usual Bible reading as soon as a I wake up and quick prayer before leaving the bed.  (I need to work on that part, too.)  And as I go through the day, I'll remind myself to keep ME out of the spotlight, to shine brightly for HIM, and strive to always remember that none of this is about me ever.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"Quit Scaring the Children!"

Sunday night our congregation hosted a youth event where many surrounding towns came to join in the worship and fellowship time together.  The speaker, Brandon, who is a youth minister, had a wonderful lesson from Daniel 3 about the "Fiery Furnace".  If you know the story, you know that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego wouldn't bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar's idol and so he threw them into an extremely hot furnace.  God saved the three men, even putting a forth man who looked like "as son of a god" into the fire with them.  He saved them because of their faith in Him.

Brandon talked encouraged all of us to be like these men - not caving in to anything in the world, but standing firm in our faith in God.  One thing he also said was to the adults in the audience. He specifically said to those "45 and older" (which I take offense in since I'm barely over that age! Haha!) was to for "us" to QUIT SCARING THE CHILDREN.  He realizes, as we all do, that this world has its problems.  The up-coming election has many people worried and scared about the future, even to the point of posting ridiculous and outlandish things on social media that are meant to be a scare tactic and pursuade people to vote for their chosen candidate.  The problem with all of this is that we are telling the children we are scared, afraid, and fearful for their future.  And as Christians, there's a big problem with our example when we are showing fear over faith.  God says, "Do not fear" over and over and over again in His Word, yet many times we get so bogged down in fear that we can't see those promises.

So what can you and I do instead of being afraid at the outcomes of elections and the future for our children and grandchildren?  We can pray.  We SHOULD pray!  And we can show our children and grandchildren that CHRIST is King, no matter what happens in this world.  What else can we do?  We can be strong and courageous, keeping the faith at Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did, not caving in to fear, even through the "hottest fire" we can imagine.

Just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's example showed and proved to King Nebuchadnezzar that there is only One God, you possibly may show someone else the same.  Someone may come to know Him because of that faith.

QUIT SCARING THE CHILDREN!  Let them see your strong faith! Let them see your hope and trust in the Lord.  In doing so, you're growing their own faith in Him.

Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God.
Daniel 3:28



Friday, October 14, 2016

Real Success

American businesswoman and founder of the cosmetic empire, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc., said this:

I put a lot of emphasis on how to treat people. The reason for this is simple. The real success of our own personal lives and careers can best be measured by the relationships we have with the people most dear to us - our family, friends, and coworkers. If we fail in this aspect of our lives, no matter how vast our worldly possessions or how high on the corporate ladder we climb, we will have achieved very little. - Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay knew that no matter how big her company got or no matter how much wealth she accumulated, none of that mattered if the relationships with the people around her were not as they should be.  The "Golden Rule" was Mary Kay's guide as she determined that any and every situation  as her guiding philosophy, determining that the best course of action in virtually any situation could be easily discerned by, "Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you". She also firmly believed that life worked best when priorities were in proper order throughout the day.  Her belief was that faith was first, family second, and that her career was third.  Interestingly, Mary Kay didn't launch her company early in life.  She was 45.

Mary Kay enjoyed making others feel good about their accomplishments.  She recognized those accomplishments the same way many companies do today, "by praising people to success".  The company's marketing plan gives recognition to the success of those accomplishments by prizes, rewards, and celebrations.

Much can be learned from Mary Kay's philosophy.  Actually, much of this philosophy can be found in God's Word, and can be used in our everyday life.  From her story, we can learn:

1.  Faith first.  Too often in our busy lives, work, hobbies, chores, schedules....all take  up the most time in our day.  When we deliberately and methodically make time for God, Jesus, the Bible, and the church, our life's priorities will just naturally get in sync with God's Will for us.  When He is just given the leftovers of our day, our lives will never be as He wants them to be.

2.  People matter.  It doesn't matter what you accumulate in life, it's the relationships with those around you that matter the most.  What would your family say is most important to you?  How do people feel when they need to talk to you - apprehensive? Afraid of how you'll react?  Worried that your reaction isn't worth bringing something up?  Would people rather avoid talking to you about something than face it?  Ask your family how they feel. They'll tell you.  Ask your coworkers. Ask your friends. It's quite possible that how you think they feel is not at all how they really feel.

3. Be positive with praise.  
Some people are just naturally pessimistic.  It's tough to be around those types of people.  On the other hand, some are naturally over optimistic, seeming fake about everything the do and say. There's got to be a happy medium in the mix.  One can be realistic, but find the good in everything.  There's always something good.  Always.  And praising the good in someone will bring about something even better within them. Hurrying kills kindness.  It causes us to overlook the good that's all around.

4. Find something to celebrate.
In each day and within each person, find something and someone to celebrate.  Compliments encourage when done sincerely.  Flattery only puffs up and leads to unrealistic expectations.  Keep it real.  Celebrate even minor accomplishments.  In doing so, the one giving out praise will find that not only does it help the receiver of the words, but also to you - the one giving it.

Real success is about the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father, His Son, the church, and with the people around us.  Don't be so busy that you neglect real success.  If you do, you'll realize one day just what you missed out on and it may be too late.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Be Our Guest! - 17th Annual QMCC Ladies Fall Retreat 2016

What a wonderful weekend we had for the 27th Annual QMCC (Quartz Mountain Christian Camp) Ladies' Fall Retreat!  The theme was, "Be Our Guest".  The theme scripture was Hebrews 13:2, along with the popular pineapple quote of "Be A Pineapple".
The speaker had great lessons and devotional for our time together.  She was an inspiration to all who were there, telling about her life experiences and sharing God's Word. 
My friends and I were in charge of crafts and activities. We had wooden pineapple shapes for people to paint, do nail art, or decorate. Ladies were so creative in so many different ways!
I love putting craft supplies out and just seeing what people come up with because everyone always has such unique ideas!
The t-shirt was super cute!!  Love the design!
Look at that shading on the top of the pineapple!
My friends helped the ladies make a pineapple scrub from coconut oil, crushed pineapple, and sugar.  It smells wonderful and good enough to eat - which you actually could eat (if you wanted to...)!
Some glued burlap pineapple shapes on top of their wooden pineapple and also used paper.  So unique and pretty!
A simple paper bag journal with added scrapbooking paper and supplies made quick little gifts for friends.
The table decor was beautiful!
Simple framed art just made from computer printouts.  So smart!
For one activity we made "Blessing Bags". These bags are to be given to those in need. I'm going to keep some of mine in the car for out of town trips to the "big city".  I always encounter people there and wish I had some made up.

A few congregations gathered items for the bags which included mini soaps, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, Bibles, toothbrushes, toothpaste, gum, disposable water bottles, etc.  It was a great activity that will be a blessing to others.

It's a blessing to come together for times like this.  I know I needed it, and perhaps others did, too.  It's always good to be renewed and recharged - ready to get back to the Lord's work, but as the speaker reminded us, it's also good to be still - and enjoy the pleasure of God's company.  We need to be HIS guest....and just sit with Him.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

DO WHAT YOU CAN

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with what you want to do or what you feel like you need to do?  If you're like me, you see needs all around you and often feel overwhelmed that you can't do it all.  It's impossible to do it all, of course, but sometimes we get too bogged down in our to-do lists that we fail to see the needs of those around us.

It makes me think of the story of the little boy who was throwing the starfish from the beach back into the ocean. An older man came along and said, "What are you doing? You're wasting your time! You can't help all of these starfish. You can't make a difference."  The little boy said as he threw another starfish back into the ocean, "I made a difference to that one."

You see, we can't help everyone.  The need is too great. But we can help one.  So today, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."  We may not can make a difference to everyone, but we can make a difference to just one.  You're where you are for a reason.  Allow God to guide you and do His Will to help someone else today.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Friday, September 23, 2016

Pitch Your Tent

Yesterday I was in Hobby Lobby.  I kept noticing the tee pee/tents, arrows, warrior themed decor, which is popular right now. My mind was on an up-coming ladies' retreat and craft supplies for the event, so I began thinking about that tent/arrow theme.

There are many "tent" stories in the Bible, but the one that came to me was from Genesis 13 (click to read) when Abraham (then called Abram) and Lot split up.   They surveyed the land around them and Abram told Lot to choose and he would take the other.  One went to the left and one went to the right.  Lot chose the plain of Jordan and pitched his tent towards Sodom.  Abram pitched his tent in the land of Canaan.  One chose right. One chose wrong.  One choice was wise.  One chose was unwise.  If you don't know the "rest of the story", look up Sodom.  What looked to be a good choice from afar, soon became a big problem for Lot and his family.

I love the idea of "Pitch Your Tent" for a ladies' day or ladies' retreat theme.  We all must choose where we are going to 'pitch our tent' in our walk of life.  We'll either pitch it towards what is good and right or we will pitch it towards what is bad and wrong.  Sometimes we start out one way then go to the other, which is great if we were pitching towards the wrong, then come to the right.  That's getting back on track.

Not only could the ladies' day theme be with the tents, but also the arrows that are popular now and were used so much in scripture, not always in a good sense, but in how damaging and hurtful they can be.  Our words are like arrows Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword (They aimed bitter speech as their arrow...Psalm 64:3 NASV), so the arrow would be a reminder to not be careless with our words.  Arrows or darts are also used when referring to Satan, so they would be a huge reminder of how arrows can be thrown at us and how to be prepared to extinguish them.  (I don't care for the idea of using them for event decor if going in that direction.  Personally I don't want to make something "pretty/cute" that's ugly sin. You probably don't, either!) "...in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16.

One scripture passage refers to children, so it would especially be beneficial for a younger mom's lesson or class.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

Where are you pitching your tent today?  Choose the good.  Choose well.




Monday, September 19, 2016

Our Family's Oklahoma State Fair Tradition

This year marked the 22nd year in a row that my husband and I have attended the Oklahoma State Fair since becoming parents.  We had gone many years before becoming parents, as well, so it's a long-time tradition.  This year, with our daughter being a Senior in college and not sure where her future career will take her, it could be the last of our "whole family" Fair trips.  Every time I say something like that, the kids say, "Mom, you always say that!".  Yes, I do, but some day it really will be a "last" for some of them.  That's why it's so special to me!  And to them, as well.
The "Disney on Ice" show ended up being one of our favorites, even though going into it we weren't sure! They did the condensed version of these four movies:  Toy Story 3, Cars, The Little Mermaid, and Frozen.  It was the first time we had seen a show with Frozen, so that was neat!  It was so funny to hear the dads behind us singing along with the songs! Ha ha!  It seems that a lot of people still like that movie!  Our oldest boy slept through most of the first half.  That was funny, too, and reminded me of when my parents went with us and my dad would do the same, except through the entire thing!
We are always excited to see Mickey & Minnie, of course!  It wouldn't be "Disney" if they didn't show up!
 The pumpkin painting contest was so cute this year! These were the Grand Champions of all - pumpkins painted like Dory and Nemo.  So cute!!
 The sun was bright and blinding, but we stopped for the traditional "Centennial Building" picture of the kids.  They're such good sports! I didn't take my good camera, but wish I had now!
The big slide is always our favorite!!  I love getting pictures of them all the way down the thing!  They were all so funny!  
After Bible class and worship on Sunday, we were able to eat together as a family plus a friend.  Since we won't be all together next weekend for our oldest's 22nd birthday, we celebrated at lunch.  So hard to believe she will be 22!!  That makes me feel old! :)  But now she can truly sing Taylor Swift's "Feeling 22" song and it be REALLY REAL!

Such a fun time!  Great memories we will cherish forever!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Blocking Everyone Out

During the Olympics I happened to hear a commercial come on.  It said, "Tired of interacting with the people in your car?"  I was shocked at what I heard, so looked up to see what the commercial was talking about. It was a car commercial advertising a car with built-in head phones, video games, music, tv, all in the back seat.  I couldn't believe it!  Do we really live in a world that wants to block everything out and get away from it all - even our very own family members? I'm afraid we do.

Now, our family is on the extreme other side than the majority of people, I'm sure - especially to those who that car commercial would appeal to.  We've never had or wanted a DVD player in a vehicle or allowed much use of headphones at all.  When we bought our Expedition, the salesman was surprised that was not only not on our list, but we didn't want it as an option. On a couple of 22 hour trips to Florida, the kids watched a movie on a lap top or we might have given in to an hour total of headphones, but for the most part, we've just wanted interaction between all of us as family members.  We've always been in the car a lot for 15-60 minute trips, so that would have meant a lot of dependence on electronics adding up to many hours of non-interaction.

There's one are of life that it would be great if we could block everything out, and that is when it comes to our worship.  Wouldn't it be nice if every time we paused to pray, every time we read the Bible, every time we gathered together with our brothers and sisters in Christ that we did so without distraction?  Imagine being so totally focused on the Lord's Supper that nothing going on around you mattered.  I strive to do that, but am not always successful. Sometimes I'm distracted.  It's hard to NOT be distracted by what goes on around us.  In fact, I'm getting distracted just typing this post!

A few weeks ago we were in a Bose store. Bose is the top of the line when it comes to electronics/speakers/headphones.  We tried on a set of headphones.  You could hear NOTHING when you put them on. It was pretty nice! In fact, there were times during newborn days with our babies that we might have preferred to wear those headphones while tending to their needs!  It would have been less stressful, I'm sure!  But in reality, it's not good to block everything out around us.  We need to be aware of what is going on.  Yes, it is good, even great, to block out everything for worship, but then we must come back to reality and concentrate on being servants of God to those who are making the noise around us.

"Be still, and know that I am God...", Psalm 46:10.  Yes, be still. Be quiet.  Then be busy doing what God needs you and I to do.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Critical Spirit

I told the ladies in my Wednesday night Bible class that I chose to do the book we are doing for myself.  Learning to "season my words" is something I constantly have to work on.  Maybe you do, too.  Last night's lesson was about critical words.  I used a lot of the book we are using, but also found so many great thoughts from all different sources online.

About having a critical spirit, ask yourself these questions:
Do you criticize and pass judgment on others?
Do you find yourself with a negative disposition, always finding fault with something or someone?
Is it difficult for you to see the positive in a person or a situation because the negative is so glaring in your eye?
Are you compelled to give your critical point of view for the good of all mankind?
Did these questions step on your toes?

If you're like me some of these stepped on my toes, for sure. When I am honest with myself, sometimes I'm way too critical.

*CRITICISM IS AN INSULT ATTACHED TO A COMPLAINT*

Not all criticism is bad, of course.  Constructive criticism is helpful. Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. The purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the outcome.  It's striving to create a positive change.

I love this story of how a preacher handled criticism or maybe constructive criticism.  He didn’t dismiss it or argue or get upset.

Advice from Dr. Mitchell's life: Someone in his congregation pointed out several faults in him and his preaching. Instead of retaliating, or trying to defend himself, he looked at the woman and said, "If what you say is true, would you mind praying for me?”

*When we are criticized we ought to ask ourselves whether the criticism contains any truth. If it does, we should learn form it, even when it is not given with the right motivation and in the right spirit.* 


*A REAL FRIEND WILL SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE, MAKING US AWARE OF THE PROBLEM AND GIVING US AN OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT IT.*

When we are criticized, let's accept what is true and act upon it, thereby becoming a stronger person. He who profits from rebuke is wise. H.G.B.

  Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:6

Richard Walters called this negative feedback “beneficial bad news”. He said this:

*We grow by changing the things we need to change, and we can’t change them until we know about them.*

A friend’s honest, but kind advice can save us from future problems.  

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Proverbs 27:9

You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. it’s a weakness to get caught up in either one. 
- John Wooden

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. - Elbert Hubbard

We are going to be criticized. The key is to learn from that that is constructive and to not allow the hurtful to stop us from shining. This story sums it up:

The story is told of a judge who had been frequently ridiculed by a conceited lawyer. When asked by a friend why he didn't rebuke his assailant, he replied, "In our town lives a widow who has a dog. And whenever the moon shines, it goes outside and barks all night." Having said that, the magistrate shifted the conversation to another subject. Finally someone asked, "But Judge, what about the dog and the moon?" "Oh," he replied, "the moon went on shining--that's all.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What/Who Do You Treasure?

This was written by a friend. Makes us think, doesn't it?

MY DAUGHTER...BUT NOT MY NEW LEXUS

A  teenage boy walked over to his neighbor's house as his neighbor was washing and waxing the new Lexus he had just purchased.  The boy had never seen such a beautiful and expensive car up close.  With pride the neighbor showed the young man all the fancy gadgets and luxurious features of his new car and even allowed him to sit in the driver's seat.
After looking at the car for a few minutes the teen asked the man, "Do you think I could borrow this to go out on the town Saturday night?  I'm a real good driver and I'll take good care of it."

At first the man thought the boy was joking, but when he realized the boy was serious about wanting to borrow his new Lexus, the man responded indignantly.  "Are you crazy?  Do you know how precious this car is to me?  Do you realize how long I have had to work and save to be able to afford this car?  It is brand new.  It doesn't have a scratchon it and I intend to keep it that way.  You are only 16 years old and I know how 16 year old boys are...I used to be one.  You are much too inexperienced and immature for me to trust you with my new car.  What could you possibly be thinking?  What would give you the audacity to ask to use my new car to go out on the town Saturday night?"

The boy ducked his head and apologized, "I'm sorry Sir, I didn't know the car meant that much to you.  Is it still alright if I take your daughter out on the town Saturday night?"

"Sure," the man replied. "Just be sure to have her home by midnight."    
  -By Wendell Ingram, father of two girls and one boy.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Whatever You Do

“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. 
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” 
Proverbs 16:2-3

Maybe it's out of duty. Maybe it's out of pride. Maybe it's out of selfishness. Maybe it's out of love.  Whatever we do and with whatever motive we may think we are doing it out of, God knows the truth.  Our motives are weighed by Him.  

In our busy and hectic lives, it's easy for us to get into the mindset that what we are doing is right. We can justify our behavior, our attitudes, even our 'busyness', but God knows the real reasons of why we are doing what we are doing.

The key to the passage above is committing our lives to the Lord.  Instead of us doing OUR WILL, we allow God to establish our plans and we do HIS WILL.  

It's not easy!  In fact, it's really hard to give up what "I" want to do what HE wants.  It's a constant battle of self vs. God.  I want Him to win the battle, don't you?

Today is a new day.  Today commit to the Lord in whatever you do and He will establish your plans.  And then wake up tomorrow and repeat it again....and again....and again. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "The Snack of a Lean, Mean, Fighting Machine"


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

It's been a long time since I had a "The Chronicles of Biscuit" story, it seems. Interestingly enough, Biscuit, himself, said I should blog this story.  I think he likes it when I read him the "Biscuit" stories from his younger years. He can't help but laugh about them and be interested in the fact that he was a pretty deep thinker about spiritual and life matters.  He looks forward to the stories being given to him one day. I look forward to his own children reading them.

So this week began football practice with pads.  As soon as I picked up Biscuit from school Wednesday, I could tell something was going on.  He said he was just tired, then just hungry, then seemed better, then a little down again.  I asked if it was because his oldest brother had left for college. He said it was.  I know that's hard.  I didn't think much more about it.  Later, at bedtime, I could again tell something was wrong.  Biscuit finally told me what was bothering him:  Tackling the bigger boys that were older than him.  He wasn't sure if football was going to work out.

Last year Biscuit didn't practice for football at first.  He decided AFTER the first game to play.  His dad thought it was okay to ask if he could play and so Biscuit asked the coach.  The coach happens to be his cousin, which makes it a little scary to ask, even though our nephew is very nice.  I didn't want him to allow him to play just because he was related, either.  He said he could play and he didn't have a problem with it one bit.  

So since that had happened, and he ended up playing after not starting out, I wasn't wanting him to just quit since he had enjoyed playing last year.  But, on the other hand, our nephew has said about our middle son who didn't play last year, if there's any fear there, it can cause a player to be hurt more. Football is just different.

My husband was asleep already when this happened, but has told Biscuit in the past to get down low to tackle...that even big NFL guys can be tackled if you get low enough.  His next oldest brother gave him the same advice.  My advice was for him was to pray that night, the next morning, before practice, and any time he got scared.  I shared with him the verse, "Perfect love casts out fear" and told him that God would give him the faith and courage and strength to do what he needed to do to be braver and not as scared.

When Biscuit got up for school yesterday morning, I could tell he was better, but I still went through everything again with him, reminding him to pray.  His dad and brother again reminded him to go low to tackle.  I also thought of a funny thing that is on a bug show at Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  There's an anteater character on a 3D show and he stands really funny and sticks out his long nose. He says, "I am a lean, mean, fighting machine.  I can destroy."  Biscuit thought that was funny as I told him that was his new motto and to think of that as he tackled. He got a kick out of me standing and acting like that anteater!  The anteater then 3D blasts the humans with sticky goo, which leaves the audience yelling and screaming!

After school, as Biscuit go into the car, I asked how his day went.  He said, "Good!  Guess what?  I tacked _____!  Not all the way to the ground, but I stopped him!"  We high-fived, I yelled, I chant, "Lean, mean, fighting machine"!  I was so excited!  He kept telling me it wasn't really that big of a deal, but I assured him it was.  I asked if he had prayed.  He said, "Yes, I prayed every hour yesterday during school".  That was in addition to the times I had told him to.  It WAS A BIG DEAL!  In fact, that's a huge deal.  That's how we all should do when we have a problem, or when we don't have a problem, for that matter.

So, I felt like the lean, mean, fighting machine needed a celebration of some kind.  I even offered him a trip out of town to eat or do something since everyone else was going to be gone for the evening. He opted for a trip to our only convenience store for Powerade and Funyuns!  Ha ha! We deemed this photo "The Snack of a Lean, Mean, Fighting Machine".  I'll take his word for it :).

*** 
So proud of you, Biscuit!  You learned that prayer can change things.  It can change you.  God can give you strength when you're afraid.  Thank you for that example for all of us.  I love you! MOM

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Seasoning Your Words

At the beginning of each new school year we begin a new ladies' Bible class study on Wednesday nights.  This fall we are doing a book by Nancy Eichman entitled, "SEASONING YOUR WORDS - 
GOD’S RECIPE FOR CONTROLLING YOUR TONGUE". It's a great study and very needed for me, but it seems like everyone else things they need it, as well.  

The scripture the book is based on is this: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone,” Colossians 4:6.  Learning to have gracious speech, which is well-seasoned, is difficult, yet necessary for the child of God.  Striving to imitate our Savior, Jesus, we must learn to control our tongues better.  Consistency of life must be followed by consistency of speech.

 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Proverbs 4:23-24.  

The words that come from our mouth are almost always from the motives of the heart.  When we are murmuring and complain, we have a critical heart.  When we say mean, ugly, nasty, foul things, our heart is unholy.  When we gossip and tattle, we have a careless, thoughtless heart.  And when we boast and brag, we have a proud heart.

It can be summed up with this quote:

***Usually when our mouths speak out of order, it’s a sign that our hearts are out of order.***

How is your life?  How is your mouth?  How are your words?  How is your heart?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Back to College Time!

After a little more than three months of having our two college kids home, our son had to go back yesterday.  I got to help him move in, which made the whole process a lot more bearable for me.  This closet area is really nice! He's an R.A. (Resident Assistant) this year, so his room is FREE, bigger, and has a bathroom he shares, but is in between his room and the other, so he doesn't have to go to the general dorm floor bathroom.
We quickly filled up that nice closet, making it for clothes and a mini kitchen.  His bbq grill lives in his trunk, along with all of his grill utensils, so that frees up a lot of space!
The room is basically like last year's dorm room. In fact, pretty sure that he set it up almost the exact same!
Making up his bed made me feel like I was getting to do something big! I doubt it stays looking like this, though :).
His desk area was expanded a bit with some shelving.
It's not all put together yet, but will be soon. He took his really nice desk chair, so at least he'll be comfy when he sits there.  He doesn't like the window open.  I sure would!  Maybe he will sometimes, though.
He got the TV all hooked up, even though he's really disappointed that he won't be able to watch the Olympics at college. The college cut cable.  Guess the tens of thousands of dollars tuition couldn't cover that! Ha ha! (Thankfully we're not having to pay all of those tens of thousands due to scholarships and awards, but still.....cutting sports channels is crazy! Gonna be lots of unhappy college kids!
The bathroom is so big!  It must be handicap assessable, which is very good to do in all private bathrooms, of course.  It will be so nice to not have to go down the hall if he has to get up during the night.  I wouldn't have liked that, either!
And now something interesting: Zachary had a ziplock bag full of sunglasses.  I displayed them for him, commenting on how many he had.  He said, "Oh yeah, if you didn't know, I collect sunglasses!  I pick them up whenever I can!"  Ha ha! A lot of these were free!  Some I know he'll never wear (thankfully!) :)  

As I hugged Z bye last night, I cried. I cried leaving, but not for long.  This morning I get a little sad when I look in his room. It's straighter than it's been in many months, not just because of his stuff, but with our kitchen remodel, a lot of things were stored in his room.  His bed is straight. His high school graduation t-shirt quilt is laying out on top, showing me years and years of memories.  It's bittersweet.  I'm proud of him and excited for him.  I want him to be where he is and to be doing what he's doing.  But I'm selfish, too.  I miss him.   It takes me a few weeks to adjust to the "new" and since the two oldest are leaving at different times, it gives special time with me and our daughter to do some things before she leaves.  

God has ways of preparing us for all of these transition times.  It also brings us closer to Him.  This morning I'll start writing out my ladies' Bible class lesson for our new year which begins Wednesday night.  I've had a long summer break from that, so it's time to dig deeper in God's Word in a different way that I did this summer.  That's a good thing.

Please pray for all of the college kids as they begin this new semester.  They are at such an exciting time of life, but, sadly, for so many, it's an unsure time of life. They need our prayers.  They need  to know people care about them. 
 
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