Friday, February 26, 2010

Charity and Experience

Yesterday was what I deemed "Charity Day".  It seems like everything I did centered around helping out organizations.  I don't mind that, as long as the causes are good. 

My company helps out the Freestore Food bank.  Actually, we do a lot of small charities throughout the year.  We doe the Children's Walk for Cincinnati Children's Hospital.  We raise over $8,000 for that.  We support St. Jude's, MS, whatever our workers suggest and is worthy.  The Freestore Food Bank gets a big boost every March and April from businesses around the city with a competition called Canstruction.  It is a competition where businesses dream up a statute to build and use cans of food to build it.  Go to to see some of the amazing things that have been done. The city website is  This is just not a city wide competition.  It is an international thing. It is amazing what can be built.  Anyway, yesterday we had a Cheese Coney in Paradise luncheon and the proceeds went toward our company's canstruction objective. 

Then last night, the Monroe Local Schools Bands had a spaghetti dinner and concert.  All proceeds went toward the band boosters and all that is needed. It was good food and the kids did great.  We heard the a few amazing soloists and the high school is going to the Ohio Music Education Association competition in a couple of weeks, so we heard their songs.  I remember going to Solo and Ensemble competitions and choir OMEA competitions,  and has so much fun.  The first year was a total learning curve.  I went in, sang my song, forgot some of the words, came out of the room, and cried.  It was such a pressure and I had never done anything like it before.  But I learned a lot and the judge was very nice to me.

The band has not gone to competition in over six years.  So this will definitely be a learning curve for them.  But the experience they will have and share will prepare them for so much more.   Like all things in life, we don't always realize that what is happening to us now will benefit us later.  It's a part of growing up and growing as a person.  The experiences we share hopefully benefits others. 

When my father had his heart attack and subsequently his quad bypass, he had hardly ever been sick.  He felt, and still feels today that he went through that to helps others who come after him.  He can share and sympathize better than I can with those who have to heal and learn to do things a little different.  The same with his cancer.  He is doing so well, but to get to this place in his life, he has had to go through some deep, dark valleys.  He told me that during the middle of his chemo, he asked God to take him.  But God is good and Dad is doing so good.  He is still trying to see and relearn a lot of things, like eating, but he is still here and I appreciate all he does and teaches me and my family.

So remember that the next experience you go through may not be only for you.  So go through it, come out of it with the attitude that you were there for a reason.  Look around and see what you can give to others.  Have a great weekend!

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Christian!

Yesterday, was my birthday.  It is a big deal, well at least to me it is.  I love my birthday.  I don't care how old I am, I like the fact that for one day, I can feel a little special.  I am not telling you this so you will all email me and call me with belated wishes.  I am telling you this so you can be prepared for next year.  LOL, I am just kidding.

Yesterday, I took two cakes in for the guys and gals at work.  There were at least 40 to 50 pieces cut up.  By noon, all put one piece was gone, and this was shortly there after. They seemed to like it, but I have found with this group, they like just about anything you put in the kitchen.  They all were happy for the snack and gave me a thumbs up.  I am glad they liked it so much.  I am happy when I can bake something to make others happy.  I don't do that often enough.  For lunch, I spent it alone.  That was okay.  Other things were happening and it was fine.  I read and relaxed.  For supper, I met Mike and the kids at a place in Mason for a quick supper before church.  It was good.  There was good food and I actually got presents!  It was nice that the kids and hubby did that for me.  I liked my card the most.  It said, Yeah, do make the world brighter,  or something like that.  It was nice to see.  All of them signed it and I will keep it for a long time.  Then at church, my dad sang his standard song to me.  This is what he sings to all his girls. The Old, Gray Mare.  We started this when my mother was in her 30s.  He thinks it's funny.  Honestly, it doesn't bother me and I am glad to be around to amuse Dad.  Then after choir practice, the choir sang to me.  At least I got some beautiful singing yesterday!

It was not a huge celebration by any means, but it means a lot to me.  Just like April 26 means a lot to me.  I was reminded of this day by one of our Elders on Sunday.  Sunday was his birthday and he mentioned the day he got saved was a more important day.  I totally agree.  April 26 was very cold and the heater in the baptismal was not working.  Dad said we could float ice cubes in the water.  But I don't remember the temperature.  I remember that April 26 was the day I followed Christ in to the watery grave, to accept the give of eternal life, have my sins forgiven, and become one of God's children.  I obeyed the calling.    I also (usually silently) remember the day my husband became a Christian (December 19, 2000) and Allie and Timm joined us (July 30th and July 3rd).  Though I don't congratulate them, I do fondly remember these days as very important days to our family.    Do you remember your Christian birthday?

Acts 2:38 - 41
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.   The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call." With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."  Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In All That You Do

Update:  I have decided that I have messed my back up somehow.  The pain is about the same, but it is throughout my mid and lower back.  I can move, but slowly.  It seems to worsen as the day goes on.  I refuse to believe it is anything else because I have no other symptoms now, just the back pain.  So I am doing well today.

UPDATE on Dad:  Dad went to the ENT on Monday.  The doctor ran the light down his throat and said that looked good.  He asked dad if there was any thing else and dad said that the biggest problem is that he is having a lot of trouble hearing.  This has increased significantly since the chemo.  So the doctor took him back and they did a lot of hearing tests.  Then the nurse (these are dad's words) "rammed this thing into my ear.  It didn't get a reading, so she did it again.  I swear she pushed it half way through my head."  She finally got a reading in both ears.  Then the doctor came back in and said that there was significantly a difference between his left and right ear in hearing (which we really knew already).  He looked again and said that one of dad's ears was wet on the inside.  Dad didn't put water in his ear and he uses ear plugs when he swims.  The doctor decided that dad has the onset of an ear infection.  Dad and I both decided that this doctor isn't really listening to him and when he goes back to the chemo doctor, he will talk to him about the hearing loss.  So when you talk to Dad, speak up.

Last night, Timm and I made cake. Two Brown Sugar Bundt Cake to be more specific.  I let him make the first one with very little supervision.  He didn't read the instructions and kinda dumped things in.  I kinda scolded him for that.  I tried to make him see that before you begin a recipe, you should at least skim the instructions and see if there is any specifics to it like adding eggs one at a time.  Now I wrote this recipe, and I wrote it for me.  I know what I mean and what it says to me.  When it says, add eggs one at a time, I mean it to say that you add one egg at a time, blending well between each egg.  He saw it and to him it meant, add each egg.  LOL.  Then in another place about the instructions, it does specifically say that you alternate between the flour/baking soda mixture and sour cream.  He dumped in the flour mixture (as well as dumping some on the floor, counter, and you know himself), then the sour cream.  But you know what?  That cake turned out just as well as the second one.  It may not have risen as high, but it tasted exactly the same.

Conclusion:  Sometimes it does not matter how you do it, just so you do it.  God wants us to do what is righteous (which our preacher says means in God's own right way).  But the way you go about getting something done and the way I get something done isn't that important as long as the outcome is the same.  In all you do, just do it for the Lord! 

1Kings 2:3
 and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Lord is My Shepherd, and that is all I need to know.

I don't know how much of devotion this will be today.  There is several things going on in my life that I want to expound up on.

First,  in the news this AM, there was a bit about a man from Middletown that is missing.  He has Alzheimer's and he has been gone overnight.  He is 80 years old and is in need of his meds.  The name was very familiar, especially because he is from Middletown, so I emailed mom and found out that yes, this is my Great-Uncle.  He and my Great-Aunt live in Middletown and his disease must not be too bad that he can still go off on his own at times.  So he told her he was going to talk to a friend and took off.  He went over to his son's house and then didn't come home.  He was last seen in Blanchester.  He has never been gone overnight, so it is kinda scary.  Pray that Delbert is found safe. 

I am going to the doctor today.  I started having some pains yesterday afternoon that have seem to settle in my lower back.  It is now a dull ache, so it is tolerable to an extent.  I don't know what it is, but it has not gone away.  So pray that it is nothing serious and I am over-reacting.

Mom is doing better.  She goes to the doctor today.  She has no pain so that is a good thing. 

I have many verses and songs going through my mind today.  When I am troubled, I look for verses of songs and Bible verses I remember.  I keep going back to "I once was lost, but now I am found.  Was blind, but now I see", from Amazing Grace.   That verse brings me comfort.  I also think of "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.   Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."  Psalm 23:4.

Sometimes I feel like this little boy...
A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible - Psalm 23.   She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter.  Little Rick was excited about the task - but he just couldn't remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line.
     On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, 'The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know.'

I hope your day is going much better and you will send your good thoughts our way.  Dad went to the doctor yesterday, but I do not have an update at this time.


Monday, February 22, 2010

How are you Perceived?

As much as we hate to admit it, perception is everything.  No matter that there may really be nothing there, or someone is not the way that they are shown by the media, first impressions and the thoughts of those who see are there.  Especially for those who are in the limelight, or live their lives for all to see.  Everyone says that it doesn't matter what others think, but is that true?  Really?

An incident happened at the Olympics and one of the USA Ski Team Members was asked to leave Vancouver by  the USSA (United States Ski and Snowboard Association).  Perceptually, it was a uh-oh that obviously was not thought out by a kid.  It physically didn't hurt anyone, but because of past mistakes of other Olympians, there is now a zero tolerance to childish antics.  The person apologized, and quietly left Canada, going back to their home.  I only bring this up because I was thinking, it wasn't this person's fault that others thought the act was in bad taste, and why should they care what the USSA, Olympic committee or the fans think?

But then I come to the verses in God's word that shows us why we should think about our actions before we actually do them.

Luke 17:1-2  Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.  It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.

1 Corinthians 8:9   Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

That second verse in Luke says it would be better to die than to cause little ones to sin.  Can we take the little ones as far as saying young Christians?  Is some of your actions hurting others?  Do you realize it?  Have you thought through what your actions are and how they affect those around you?  Believe me, someone is always watching.  Someone is always wanting to find fault, someone is always there.   Pray about it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Not a Team Sport

I want to state that I am by no means a judge of skating. I am offering my opinion and that is all.

Last night, as I watched the Free Skate Program of the Men's Figure Skating, I was struck by several things. First, the three men who where less than one point away from each other, going for the medals we so very different. There was the Russian, Yevgeny Plushenko. This man is full of confidence, seems to thrive on the media and attention, and is very vocal about his opponents. He is quick to criticize and play mind games. Then there was the American, Evan Lysacek, who appeared as a quiet, seemingly humble man, who goes about his business of figure skating without all the flair and hype. Though these two men are very different in personality and talent, their goal was the same. Win the gold medal.

Evan came out, beautifully skated his long program. He jumped, spun, virtually floated across the ice. He was not totally flawless though. He almost lost it on a simple spin. He did what was asked of him and more. He left his heart out on the ice.

Yevgeny, was the last skater of the evening. His program started out with a huge quadruple jump. That is four rotations in the air! It is simply a huge feat for a human. He landed it without problem. But as I watched his long program, he seemed to be more flailing his arms, not having the flow of the turns and just jumping around. It just didn't feel sincere to me. He seems more of show-boat, which I suppose is a terrific quality for the Olympics (look at Shaun White).

These two men looked at the same program and the same tricks the had to do, with different styles. I enjoyed both programs and both men. It is just another way to prove that God makes humans so unique, so totally different. Most of us has two arms, two legs, one body and so on, but we all have different features that make us individuals. Figure skating , men's and women's , is not a team sport. All the participants are on a country team of some sort, but each person participating in that event has the same goal; to win.

I am mesmerized by these games and the abilities. The crazy people like, Simon Aamann, the ski jumper from Sweden. I love to watch the men fly down the hill on skis, and at the end of the huge ramp, jump off and fly through the air like Superman. I love the air that Shaun White and Louie Vito gets on the half-pipe.

Being different has it's rewards. We as Christians need to remember that. We can't be like the world. We need to emulate God. We need to do what he wants us to do. Usually that alone sets up apart. Look at Billy Graham, Martin Luther, and Jim Elliott. They did what God wanted them to do and they are known for their lives. Can we do the same? Can we be willing to do a quad jump for Christ?

Psalm 139:13
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hope for Spring

I have noticed that the past couple of weeks or so, the 7 AM hour is getting lighter and brighter to see. Isn't it funny how that sneaks up on you? At the end of October, we turned the clocks back and instantly it was darker earlier in the day. But slowly, little by little, it crept up on us and now the days are starting to give us hope. Anticipation of what may come, of what is to come, and what will be.

We again have hope that even though we have a foot of snow on the ground and five more weeks (or more) of cold winter weather, the season will change and the air will start to warm up. We anticipate that underneath that white, frozen terrain, little roots are still formed and plants will begin to wake up. I can remember, the the not so distant past that some of us was questioning "How early Spring has come this year!" I do not think anyone will say that. I have not seen any signs of crocuses or tulips peek through the mud and muck. I do not see any of the young trees with little buds starting to form on them. All is still cold, and looks dead. But as we know, there is hope!

Hope for warmth, hope of spring, hope for new life! The same is with you. You have a hope in Jesus Christ. If you obey His word, trust in his promises, you will go from the dead of winter to the hope of spring. I pray that you will come alive and be all that God wants you to be.

Genesis 1:14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

All He Knows is Jesus Loves Me!

When I woke up this morning, everything outside looked peaceful. Peaceful and clean, covered with new, fresh snow. As I looked out and saw the snow shower that was adding to the already piled up fluffy white death (as my co-workers call it), I thought of the end of the chorus that says, "Now wash me and I will be whiter than snow."

Doesn't it seem like that in your back yard? Everything is snow-covered, white and just has this purity about it. When the sun hits it, it just seems like sparkling diamonds that are spread over the whole area. When you are covered by Jesus' blood, that is how you look to God. Pure and white, without a blemish on us. He sees us and loves us as his children; as we see and love our children.

At the funeral we went to on Saturday, hymns were being played. I looked at the kids and said, "Name that tune." Allie got it right. It was Amazing Grace. Timm looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, "Jesus Loves Me." I told him he needs to be in regular church more.

Sunday morning, our organist played a version of Amazing Grace, but it is called My Chains Are Gone. I looked at Timm and said, "Name that tune." He said, "Jesus Loves Me." A little while later, the Williams Sisters sang a song, and near the end of it the sang part of "Jesus Loves Me." I looked at Timm and he said, "See, I told you."

I said, "Yeah, they sang that just for you."

But, isn't that why we have amazing grace? Because Jesus loves us? The more I thought of it, the more I realized that though he was teasing, Timm was right. Jesus Loves Me can be the name of almost any song we sing in praise and any thing we do to obey God can be called...Jesus Loves Me.


Traditional, Words By: Anna B. Warner

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He who died,
Heaven's gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! loves me still,
When I'm very weak and ill;
From His shining throne on high,
Comes to watch me where I lie.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He will stay,
Close beside me all the way;
He's prepared a home for me,
And some day His face I'll see.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love them tomorrow too!

Yesterday at our church was a special day. The kids especially love it. We call it Love Sunday. It is always the Sunday closest to Valentine's Day and we encourage our members to bring things to show our love for each other. usually people bring baskets of candy to pass out to everyone. Sometimes we bring cards or little gifts. It is a nice way for each of us to make sure we see others and express our appreciation and love for each other.

Showing love and appreciation on a designated day is easy for most of us. You do not feel weird about giving or receiving this expression because you are not the only one doing it. Others around you are doing the same thing. But what about those times when you want to show your love and concern but do not want to make a big show of it? Do you still do it? Do you write the person an email or do you give them a call? Sometimes a little note makes all the difference. Timm has one friend at church who emails me to find out how he is doing. This person makes sure I tell him "hi" and they are wanting to know if he is feeling better (he has been having a lot of headaches). Tim, being a (almost) thirteen year old boy, kinda grins when I tell him about the messages, and I know it makes him feel just a little special. It isn't something anyone else knows about, but he knows and feels the love this friend has for him.

It is so nice for people to show their love on Valentine's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and all. But what about the non-designated days? That that extra step and tell someone you appreciate them today. Write them a note and show your concern for them. Just a couple of lines will do it.

John 13:34 - 35 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Teach Them

This week, our little office of 66 workers, has been doubly blessed. Two new beautiful babies were born. One on Monday and one last night (it is sketchy as to the exact time yet, MEN!). The parents of Monday's Child, both work here in the office as engineers. This is their first child and they are excited and nervous. Monday's Child even came two weeks early. Friday's Child's father works here and was just a few days early and is also a first child. I am so happy for them.

Monday's Child is a boy, which was expected. Friday's Child, was expected to be a boy, but...either they were just telling us that, or boy were they surprised! When I was told the name of Friday's Child, I said, "That isn't the name he told me." SURPRISE! Trusting that ultrasound isn't always the smartest thing. Things are hidden, or what they think they are looking out, isn't what it really is.

Do you think the following poem is correct?

Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

I think that we call be all of these things. It is interesting to see what traits are brought out of a child though. Both my children were born on Saturday. Allie works hard at all she does. Timm? Well, he sometimes works, but never too hard. He is more into making others either do the work for him or how easy he can do it. He has many other good traits.

We quickly care for each need of a newborn. Even before they cry, we sometimes check to make sure they are wrapped up tight, eating right, and clean. But that gets weary. The two a.m. feedings, the constant making of bottles, the doing everything for them is very tiring to us. As newborn Christians come into our family, do we feel the same way? It is hard to keep up with someone new and help motivate them, to show them what God says and where he says it. Sometimes we say "let someone else do it this time". But who? If you just leave it to chance, then they are without a mentor. Will you help the newborn grow? Will you help guide the new family to feel at home and become active members in your church?

Titus 2:1-10

You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

6Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

9Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Are You An Olympian?

I will have a love fest for the next few 16 days with my television. I know that sounds very odd, and some of you already think I have this going on, but this is special. It only happens every 4 years in February. The 2010 Vancouver Olympics start tomorrow evening! I am so excited about it. I want to watch everything! Everything. I will set the DVR and the 4 different channels it is set on so that when it is time for an event, I can see it.

For me, the Olympics are the epitome of everything sports (except for American football). My husband thinks the Winter Olympics has nothing good to offer. Of course, he is being sexist about it because it is cold and everyone wears clothes. But he fails to realize that the clothes are thermal and half-naked women are not as exciting to watch as the hockey teams slamming each other against the fiberglass, or the suspense and intensity that goes with curling or the triathlon. I love how the countries who never see snow or cold weather want to compete. Like the man from Ghana who is in the Alpine Skiing event. His nickname is Snow Leopard and he has only been in snow for a short while. His name is Kwame Nkrumah Acheampong. Snow Leopard will be coming to a tv near you very soon.

The Olympics brings the world together, if just for a brief blip. The memories will last longer. It seems only last month that we watch the opening ceremonies of the Chinese Summer Olympics, but it was actually August of 2008. I vividly remember the drums and that amazing feat by the runner Bolt. So every night (except at 9 PM on Mondays) I will be watching some form of Olympic games for the next 16 days. The competition will be fierce and I will be rooting for who I always root for. First, the USA and second, the underdogs that have their 15 minutes of fame.

God brings the world together too. Not for just days, but for eternity if you let him. We talk about him with our neighbors, we send missionaries around the world. His athletes need no special training, no special knowledge other than the Bible. That is our tool. All you have to do is believe and obey.

Matthew 28:19-20 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Aleah Masters

Update: Timm had a day without a headache yesterday. Praise the Lord! Hopefully we are starting to see some positive results.


Yesterday, a dear family friend of my husband's went to be with the Lord. Aleah Masters was a wonderful woman. She, her husband, and kids were long-time neighbors and friends of Mike, his parents, sister and brother. All the kids still keep in touch. His sister, Jodi and Sharon are best friends. They talk a lot, are there for all the joys and tragedies and heartaches. Tom and Darrell are close and we are all thrilled every time we see them. I know that sounds weird, but it is true. Even in the sorrowful times, we love to see them. They are extended family.

Even though funerals are sad times and I cry at most of them, it is nice to see our friends and family. Sad to say, but sometimes it is the only time we catch up. Everyone is so busy and moved around and away, and none of us seem to be able to make time for everyone. So we get together and see each other for a few hours during the visitation and funeral. Is this not a sad commentary of life in the United States?

Aleah was like a mom to Mike. When the kids were born, Aleah and Harrell were one of the first people Mike took them to see. Aleah never minced words, was a wonderful cook and I always thought she was funny. She always told of how she came up to Ohio with her husband, did not know a soul. How she moved in and set up house and got to know her neighbors. That was when neighbors really got to know and depend on each other. She developed Alzheimer's several years ago, but in the last few months, just not done very well.

We pray for the Masters family.

Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love 'Em All!

Love is in the air! At least it was in chapter four of Song of Solomon. This chapter is all about how he perceives her and compliments everything about her. It is a beautiful picture of words that King Solomon uses to woo his love (though I do not think he needs to do much to have her). Sometimes pretty words is all we want to hear. We want someone to tell us we are beautiful. We want them to tell us what they like about us. To remind us of our faults would not be much of a love story would it?

God loves us. He tells us in his Love Story that he sent his most precious love, in the form of his son, to save us. John 3:16 For God so loved the word that He gave is only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

God tells us how he wants us to be. We are to be like Him. He loves each of us the same, even though we are unique. He wants us to love others the same way. That is not easy. Not for me, anyway. I love lots of different people. Some people, though, grate on me. I try my hardest to be Christ-like, but I fail everyday, I think. I want to be Christ-like. I am praying for a heart-change. I want to love my neighbor; all of them. Personalities don't always agree, but through Christ we can keep trying.

So be like Solomon, compliment your love. Say what you like about your family members. Even try to find something positive about those you are not crazy about. Change your attitude to be more Christ-like. Christ wants them to be apart of your family. Who are you to deny God?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Family Connection

My father makes quilts for wounded soldiers. He picks out the material, designs the pattern (no two are alike) and sews them together. Then he sends them to an organization called Soldier's Angels. They put them in a pack with other things that wounded soldiers may need and when the soldiers gets to Germany, they are given the pack. He has designed over 50 of these wheelchair quilts.

Last week, my father was contacted by solider in Afganistan. Someone gave her one of his quilts. She found the label dad puts on each of his quilts and she sent him a postcard thanking him for making it. Then she decided to send an email to them. It gets better.

She is a Major at Ft. Eggers, Kabul. She helps the Afgan soldiers keep prisoners in line at a prison. She writes a weekly update about her daily life in Afganistan. Major loved the quilt and the coorespondence. She saw where Dad and Mom live and had friends there in Middletown. She is from Colorado. She had her friend call them and Mom spoke briefly with her. Major is quickly becoming a favorite person of mine to read about. She is very special because she loves what she does, she is thoughtful enough to thank my parents for their service, and she really seems to love her job in that foreign country. It is people like Major that makes us all stop and think about why our country is terrific!

Dad is just beside himself with this new friend. It shows us that this world isn't as big as we sometimes feels it is and that our little bit of service really does help make others have a great day. I believe God had a hand in this. He definitely brought us all together for something. Now we get to wait and see what that is. I think that a family connection is here as Christians it is our duty to keep that feeling going.

Galatians 6:10

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Where, O Love Art Thou?

Song of Solomon, chapter 3 is interesting. It first talks about the the Bride's dream of finding her beloved. Then the second half of the chapter talks about Solomon on his wedding day. How he is under heavy guard. How beautiful his specially made chair is.

The bride is scared she can not find her love. When she does find him, she will not let him out of her sight. It is like a mother who lost a child in a store. She frantically searches, calling their name, wondering where they could be. When she finds her child, she hugs them, not ever wanting them out of her sight again. We know it is going to happen though. We just have to trust that we have loved them enough and they have loved us enough to come back again.

Song of Solomon 3:2-4

2'I must arise now and go about the city;
In the streets and in the squares
I must seek him whom my soul loves.'
I sought him but did not find him.
3"The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me,
And I said, 'Have you seen him whom my soul loves?'
4"Scarcely had I left them
When I found him whom my soul loves;
I held on to him and would not let him go
Until I had brought him to my mother's house,
And into the room of her who conceived me."

Love comes in many forms. I hope we can experience all of those forms during our lifetimes.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'll Take that Challenge!

Last night after choir practice, Allie, Timm and I were driving home. We took a detour to the BMV to see what time it closes. Well, Thursday it closes at 5. I can not get off work to take her and Mike is working. So I said, "Maybe Daddy can take you after school Friday, but it depends on the storm and oh, wait, Timm has a doctor's appointment. Besides, if the weather gets as bad as they say..." I let my sentence drop off.

Allie sighed.

"Saturday will be out of the question too." I continued.

Allie looked at me and said, "God is challenging me." She looked upward, raised her fist, and said, "God I accept your challenge!"

Do we do that? Do feel like we are being challenged at every turn and do we rise to the occasion and accept what is happening and vow to overcome? Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. It is all in our attitude. If you are sick, and going through a rough time, like Timm and his headaches, what do you do? Do you sit back, cry why me and wait for an answer? Or do you go to doctor after doctor, do what they ask and stay positive? Or what if you are going through a financial difficulty? Where do you turn?

I honestly can say that I usually hate when God is challenging me to do better. I know in the end that I will love the outcome, but the struggle I put up is wearisome. So why do I struggle? Probably because I am human and I am rebellious. I try not to be, but let's face it, we want things our way, not God's way.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

So let's vow to be up to the challenges we face. God wants more of us. We want more of us for Him. Are you up to the challenge?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Come and Dine!

Song of Solomon 2:4

4"He has brought me to his banquet hall,
And his banner over me is love.

This verse, of course, inspired the song His Banner Over Me Is Love.

Come with me to His banquet eating table.
His banner over me is love.
Come with me to His banquet eating table.
His banner over me is love.
Come with me to His banquet eating table.
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love.

He is the vine and we are the branches.
His banner over me is love.
He is the vine and we are the branches.
His banner over me is love.
He is the vine and we are the branches.
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love.

The one way to peace is the power of the cross.
His banner over me is love.
The one way to peace is the power of the cross.
His banner over me is love.
The one way to peace is the power of the cross.
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love.

Do you remember this song? There are many different verses and variations. These are the ones I remember (and I still needed help with them). God wants to dine with you. He wants you to eat of what he gives, sustaining yourself and living. He doesn't want you to over do it, but to be satisfied. Each time you open your Bible, you are eating from His Word, living and breathing how he wants you to live your life. Every time you are at church, taking communion, you are following God's will. You are and need this. We all do. I need it every week. I think it helps strenghthen me. Every day I mess up and say something or do something that is sinful. So every day I need the Bible and every week I need communion to remind me that Jesus died for me, that God loves me enough to show me through the cross. Yes...the one way to peace is the power of the cross, His banner over me is love.

1 Corinthians 11:23-29

23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Every Rose Has It's Thorn

As I started to read the second chapter of the Song of Solomon, the first two verses jumped out at me.

1"I am the rose of Sharon, The lily of the valleys."
"Like a lily among the thorns, So is my darling among the maidens."

Two of the names Jesus is known by is Rose of Sharon and Lily of the Valleys. Two beautiful flowers. My dad use to raise roses. On our little mound in Lebanon (I say mound because the house was on a mound or hill), at one time he had up to 9 or more rose bushes growing. Most of them he rescued from The Black Barn or some other nursery that was neglecting them. Two of my favorites were Blue Girl, which was a purplish-blue flower that was right next to the porch and the Smell-Good flower. This flower was orange with yellow and white on the petals and it had the most wonderful fragrance!

My dad didn't just grow these wonderful flowers, he raised them. He lovingly planted them, fed them, watered them, pruned them and just when they were starting to bloom, he cut the first one and gave it to Mom. The rest of the hundreds of blooms he cut, he would take where ever he went and gave them away. Every time we went to the store, church, or bank, even the softball fields, he cut what blooms were ready and gave them away. He loved to give them away. He made ladies all over Lebanon smile! Now he does that with his candy. My dad loves to bring a smile to everyone.

God does the same thing with us. He raises us up to bloom. He brings people to us to plant the seeds of His Word, gently waters those seeds until we start growing and then he prunes us when we need it and then others can benefit from the blooms that we produce. Hey, that is a cool analogy, isn't it?

So for the second day of February, love is still the theme. God loves us enough to raise us, if we take root in him. He wants us to succeed. Success isn't easy, though. My dad use to tell me, you have to go through a lot of thorns to get to the rose.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Real Love Story

This being the month of Love, I thought I would do love themed devotions. Hopefully I can come up with 20 different things to write about. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Chapter 1: 1-7
Isn't it wonderful that God chose to put in the middle of the Old Testament a beautiful love song? The Song of Solomon (also known as The Song of Songs) is thought to be one of over a thousand songs written by King Solomon. Though at first this song seems like a love story between a maiden and a shepherd and a King, it seems as though it is really about God's love for Israel. The first seven verses are about a young woman who is in love. She wants to be with the one she loves. She is very much in love with this shepherd and wants to be with him. She is bold in her questions and statements to him. She seems to be young.

Chapter 1: 8-17
The next 10 verses are the reply from her shepherd. He tells her he loves her, and compares her to a beautiful mare. He tells her she smells good and is very beautiful. There is no doubt these two are in love. They want to be with each other and compliment each other. Love is in the air. Reading Song of Solomon is like reading a love poem. The best part is that it is out of the greatest love letter ever written. Sometimes we forget that God gave us The Holy Bible as a love letter to us. It tells of his love past, present and future. Give this book a try.