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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pray for Brussels

Our daughter has a friend who was her former Disney roommate during their College Program internship. This friend was at the Brussels airport yesterday when the terrorist attack happened. I want to share her story with you. It's terrifying, but to see the acts of kindness amidst the horrifying experience shows us that LOVE and KINDNESS wins. GOD wins. Jesus wins. He already won over death itself. Don't forget that! 

Please pray for this young girl and all others who have been affected by this senseless act. Pray that she will be able to come home to America soon.

I have not used names, but substituted words for the names she used.
***
After the most terrifying day of my life, I am blessed to say that I am safe. ❤️

I was in the Brussels Airport this morning when the bombs went off. I heard someone yelling in Arabic, followed by the first explosion - it was not far from me. If it had been 15 minutes earlier, I would have been standing in the spot one of the bombs went off. One went off at the American Airlines Desk, which is where (boyfriend) and I were for about 30 minutes earlier in the morning. 

As soon as I heard the explosion, everyone froze and asked "What was that?" And then we ran... It was the most terrifying feeling that I will never be able to put into words. I grasped to get somewhere safe but had no idea where safe was. I was led to a staircase and went down a couple of flights until I couldn't go down anymore and hid under the stairwell with a Belgian husband and wife. I was terrified. I didn't know if I would make it out alive. I texted my loved ones in case it would be the last time I could and just prayed over and over. After hiding for 30 minutes, we managed to find a way out and pushed through the doors and then through another set of doors which lead outside on the runway side of the airport. The police showed us to where everyone else was waiting to be picked up by a bus to be brought to safety. I immediately called my Mom but couldn't talk through my tears when a woman came over to me and hugged me and talked to my Mom for me. She told my Mom what was going on and that she had me now and she was going to stay with me. She was a Swiss woman working with the UN. She was my angel. She stayed with me and helped me the whole time and helped me to deep breathe and get my mind off of the trauma. 

We were then bussed to a safe place where they store the planes and the workers were so kind and efficient and quick to give out water and blankets to everyone. A kind man gave me his jacket. A woman nearby shared her chocolate. Everyone was so, so kind. We became a family.

When the explosion went off, I was at border control. So when I ran, I didn't have my passport, my debit card, my license, or my carry-on luggage. All I had was my backpack and phone. After about an hour of waiting at the facility, I went in line to use the bathroom. I was on the phone with (her boyfriend)  for a few minutes when the woman in front of me turned around and said, "I'm the police - what do you need?" So I talked with her and then relayed the message to (boyfriend) that everyone was remaining there and that it was safest. A few minutes later, I mentioned to her just in conversation that I didn't even have my passport and that I was at border control when the explosion happened. She said "(her last name)?I think we have it - and your luggage too!" I couldn't believe it. She told me to come with her so we could get it, and we did. My passport, debit card, license, luggage - it was all there. My second angel. 

She came with me to make sure I made it back safely to my new Swiss friend and told me how (boyfriend) could pick me up by car. She even wanted to speak to him on the phone to explain how to get there and gave him her phone number. She then took me outside to the busses where I would be taken to Zaventem Train Station, where he could pick me up. She carried my luggage for me and brought me to the front of the line and told me to call her to tell her I made it safely and blew me a kiss from the bus. I was brought to tears by her kindness.

We were then taken to the train station, where I waited about 10-15 minutes and then saw (boyfriend) and got in the car with him and his mom and came back to his house, where I am finally safe. ❤️

Without a doubt, God is watching over me, is with me, and placed these angels in my path. There's no explanation for it but God. I am so thankful to be here and to tell my story. I am so thankful to be alive. I am so thankful for the kindness strangers who are now friends, no, family showed me. I will never forget them.

Thank you, (boyfriend), for being here for me through every second of it. And thank you to everyone who prayed for me and sent out sweet words to see if I was okay. ❤️The love and support I have from my friends and family is overwhelming and I appreciate it so much. 

Please continue to pray for those who were injured from these terrible attacks and for the families and friends of those who passed away from this horrific day. And also for Belgium, that these attackers would be stopped before they can harm another innocent person. ❤️

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Happy Spring & A Time of Recharging

I didn't realize it had been so long since I had posted.  Twelve whole days!  And now winter has turned to spring!  The renewal of spring is a reminder of how we "recharge" in our lives.  After the harsh, cold winter, the leaves begin sprouting new leaves, ready to grow, bloom, take on the wind.  The grass greens up after being dormant.  It begins to grow and spread.  The bugs will begin making their way into the world instead of being buried in the ground.  They are preparing for their own "battles", I suppose.

We enjoyed having our college kids home during Spring Break.  We didn't do a lot, but worked and played together around home.  How nice!  I know that next year neither of them will be here the whole break, so having one the whole time and one part-time was special. It's always special being together.

When we get together as a family, it is a time for recharging.  Anything that we've faced in the world out there on our own seems a little better -a little less harsh - when we are together.  For our children, the last several weeks of school will be a little easier because we did recharge.  We prayed together. We had devotionals together.  We talked about spiritual matters and worldly matters - together.  We grew closer.  The battles of life will be easier fought because of the strength of our family.

The church, as the family of God, provides our spiritual family and that bond should be stronger than even our blood lines.  The blood of Jesus made that spiritual bond unbreakable.  Coming together for worship and Bible study is a time of recharging.  It makes us stronger because there is strength in numbers, but also should give us even more faith and confidence in the One who is with us all of the time - Christ.  He and the Father and the Spirit are ONE. They are helping us each and every day in every situation. We can recharge our spiritual batteries and put on our armor - ready to stand strong each and every day.  Battles can be won because HE is with us!

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

Thursday, March 10, 2016

"An Anchor for My Soul" - Tipton LNO 2016



The Tipton Church of Christ ladies hosted their 3rd Annual Ladies' Night Out Tuesday night.  The theme was, "An Anchor For My Soul".  We had a large group from the Tipton church, but also many visitors from Tipton and surrounding communities.  It was a great evening!
Officially, 102 registered for the event, but at least 10 didn't register.  Food-wise we prepared for 120, but for everything else, only 100, so next year we should increase.  After having only 80 last year, we had cut back a little bit, so you just never know.  Better to have too much than too little (or at least that's my opinion).
Our t-shirts were so cute! They are really navy, thought my picture appears black.
Outside the building decorations....
Stage decorations.....
Water station....
Nautical decor....
Table decor....
More tables....
Favors.....Cute little messages in a bottle with a little anchor charm.
Our speaker....She did great!
Cute napkin rings done by two of my nieces and a sister-in-law.

It was a wonderful night!  We sang about Jesus being the anchor and learned more about how He truly is our anchor!  

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul."  Hebrews 6:19

Monday, March 7, 2016

Spring Sing 2016


What a fun weekend getting to be with our two oldest children at college and seeing our daughter perform in the annual "Spring Sing" show!  She was a lion for her club whose performance was based on the Ringling Bro. Circus and on the state of Wisconsin.
Our oldest son probably won't ever be in Spring Sing (he missed out on being a "Mickey Mouse" this year because of the time/work issues), but he enjoyed seeing many friends perform.
Even though the performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, plus Saturday afternoon, Saturday night is the "big" one because awards are given, so it's especially fun to be a part of that evening.  Our daughter's club won "Audience Favorite" as one of their awards.
I loved the theme:  Land That We Love.  It was awesome for the clubs/groups to pick a state and do an act from it, but the hosts of the show sang songs that had to do with America or a state.  It was great!
Most of the girls in our daughter's club wore the ringmaster's suit.  They made all of it themselves! I didn't realize they did that! I thought they ordered some of it!  So impressive!!!
A neat treat was that my parents got to come from Texas to attend the Friday night performance.  They were able to eat with the two oldest a few times, then a few of us joined them Saturday morning for breakfast before they left.
The other award my daughter's group won was the poster contest.  Theirs is the bottom right picture of the circus theme. It was GREAT!!! Such a beautiful job!
It's always nat seeing the pictures!  They also do a video clip at the beginning of each segment. Those are pretty cute, as well!
Our daughter's best friend from high school was in a club that did "Annie".  She was ONE of what seemed like 100 ANNIES! Ha ha!  I told her I couldn't pick her out during the show!
Our nephew didn't get to do the show this year, but his club won. It was an Alaskan theme and the guys dressed like Eskimos.  Really cute!  

I love the "Spring Sing" tradition.  It gets a little competitive, which isn't probably good, but in the end, hopefully everyone realizes it is all about the finished product being a show that brings people together and something to be proud of - and hopefully at the end - it's all been done in a way that glorifies the Lord.  That's what matters the most.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "School Needs"

(I found this picture on my phone that Biscuit had taken of himself to send his siblings.  I thought it fit the story!)
The Chronicles of Biscuit - Stories about our youngest son whose nickname is Biscuit.

Yesterday I drove to Oklahoma City really early in the morning for an appointment. I called our two younger boys to talk to them. I told Biscuit to have a good day. He responded by saying, "If they're gonna force us to go to school, the least they could do is make it comfortable by having padded and heated seats!" I told him I was going to post it on Facebook and that he would have to endure the consequences of teachers who saw it! Ha ha!  I also said that they were welcome to straighten them out on the real budget needs of the educational system in Oklahoma (which are many).

After that conversation I got to thinking about how the people written about in the Bible would have worshipped compared to how we do.  They would have sat on the floor or perhaps just stood.  Maybe they had some benches or seats, but they definitely wouldn't have been padded and heated as Biscuit suggested for the school!  And our worship is different, too.  Most places of worship have padded seating, comfortable climate controlled air systems, and even more.

Biscuit thinks the comfort level at school should be "upped" to enhance the "burden" of school he feels he has.  Comfort was added to worship to please our desires and preferences.  And it's nice.  It's much more comfortable to sit on a padded pew or seat than it is to sit on something hard...like a bench at a basketball game. But does it enhance our worship?  Not at all.

My favorite place to worship God is at camp - especially outside.  When outside it's on a hard bench or even a rock on the side of a mountain, but it's my favorite place.  Why?  Because it's surrounded by the nature that was created by the Heavenly Father that we are worshipping at the time.  It's not inside a building that has been designed by man with materials made by God.  It is strictly and completely made by him.  There's nothing better.

When Jesus was talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, she asked about where was the best place to worship.  He answered, “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:21-24

It's really easy to get caught up in worship as being what's external.  The building, the surroundings, the large or small crowd...but what truly matters is our internal worship between us and God.  It's about our hearts and minds.  Sure we encourage each other through our worship together - that is part of it - but to worship in spirit and in truth makes it very personal.

We aren't "forced" to worship as Biscuit says he is "forced" to go to school (which at this time, I guess he is!), but God expects His children to worship Him.  And why wouldn't we?

A teacher made the comment on that post yesterday that if the school seats were too comfortable, the students might fall asleep and not be learning.  There's a spiritual application to that, as well.  If our comfort is more important to us than our worship, perhaps we will "fall asleep" as well and not be worshiping as we should.

Thanks for the conversation, Biscuit!  About the time I think he's outgrown these Biscuit stories, he says something funny!  That's okay. They make me laugh, but also make me think :).
 
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