Friday, May 28, 2010

Labor, Lessons, and Love

This morning, I learned something new about one of our co-ops.  We were talking about plans for the weekend and I asked if she had any.  She said "My fiance' is coming home.  He's a Marine stationed in North Carolina."  She proceeded to tell me that he has done two tours.  One in Iraq in (2008-2009) and in Afghanistan (2009).  She said it was the hardest thing they have been through.

Apparently he was one of the 4,000 Marines that President Obama first sent into Afghanistan.  They were told it would be a lot like Vietnam because there would be hardly any technology.  There would be satellite phones that they could call once a month on and just regular ol' mail that came when it came.    She was grateful for him getting home safe because his best friend didn't make it through the first day.  She said her fiance' is leaving the service in October and right now has no idea what his plans are.

I told her about how our daughter is in the Navy and how proud we are of her.  She has been on several missions and we thank God for keeping her safe.  Having a loved one in the military is bittersweet.  Especially when the world we live in has conflict after conflict.  The soldiers struggle just making it through the hour sometimes.  We struggle with our worry and keeping everything going while they are gone.  But in the end it is so worth the reunion.

That reunion is the end result of a long time of labor, lessons, and love.  Just as a Christian's life is.  We work hard to live by God's standards, we learn our lessons about life, and we love.  In the end, we are promised to be united for eternity with Christ.

Philippians 3:20
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 

Colossians 1:5
because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 

1Thessalonians 4:16
 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Day Memories

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 31 in 2010). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service.[1] First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I.

I like this day.  I like the ceremony and the small amount of fan fare.  I remember as a kid walking down to the cemetary across from my house and standing there while the VFW Soldiers, Boy Scouts, the school Marching Band, and politicians came through the cemetary, stopped and lined up.  Wreaths were placed with white, red, and blue flowers and ribbons, small American Flags at each known soldier's grave were embedded in the grass with care, and the sun shining through the old, bent huge leafy buckeye trees. 

I can hear the shots still ringing through the air after each of the seven guns are fired for the 21-Gun salute.  I can smell the gun powder, as it brings a new odor to my nose.  I flinch as each shot rings out.  I stare wide-eyed at the soldiers who hold the guns with expert hands. 

Then I hear it.  That lone bugle, solemn and haunting.  In my mind I sing the words as I hear each note played.

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the l
ake, from the hills,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Can You?

Yesterday, I wrote about how things can be accomplished and each of us can do it differently.  How active in your church are you?  Do you try and do a lot of different things?  Can you be the leader of one thing and help with other things?  Of course you can?   The real question is, can you you play follower most of the time?  Believe it or not, we all want to be in charge, don't we.  We want things done our way.  It doesn't mean we want all the glory, but sometimes we have an attitude of "if I don't do it, then it won't get done."  Sometimes that is true.  Sometimes it isn't.  Can you honestly go to church and spend the hour at worship service, and not think anything more about the people, the building, or the work?

What happens when there is a call that there is water all over the basement because a drain was backed up?  What happens when someone tracked mud in the front vestibule?  What happens when you get to church and there is snow and ice all over the sidewalk and driveway?  What happens when there is a call for help to spend a four nights with children, leading them during VBS?  What happens when a dinner is planned and you don't feel like cooking?  Will the "somebody elses" take over?  Who are these people?

Each of us have a responsibility to help.  Each of us have a responsibility to make sure that whatever the church has planned is successful.  We have VBS coming up in nineteen days.  Nineteen days!  Have you looked at your calendar to see if you can help?  Even if you can only help one day, you are furthering your talents and God's kingdom.  We also have a lot of celebrating, graduations, and work days.  But why wait?  Can you help in the nursery one service every few months?  Play with the new babies that are starting to be born?  Can you learn to run the sound board in the back?  Can you play with the 2 year-olds down stairs?

There are so many things we can do.  Sometimes it does seem like a few are doing all the work.  Sometimes that is true.  But many hands make less work.  Keep it up.  Help out where you can.  Let's send God's Kingdom to places that we have never even dreamed about, and know that only God can be.  Your reward will be in Heaven, but thankful hearts will be here.

2 Corinthians 8:7-8
 7But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.
 8I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This Is How We Do It

A situation came up at work, and in my thinking, it doesn't even really mean anything.  But to someone else it may.  I had lunches to get, including drinks.  Now usually we get individual drinks.  But today's lunch meeting had 18 people in it.  That would be almost $20 for drinks, and a lot to carry.  So I opted to get 2-liters.  That cost around $8.  I was questioned on how to keep the drinks cold.  I said I put them in the freezer all morning.  I was asked the same question again, as the phone rang.  I am still not sure what was being asked because the person looked at me, stated that I didn't understand what she was saying, and she walked away.  I told her I am sorry that I did not understand.  I still am not sure and not sure what was the big deal.  I leave for lunch at 11:30.  The luncheon was not until noon.  For some strange reason, she will not let anyone else set out the lunches and drinks, unless I get it okayed.

I think there is a lot of silly rules here.  But I try and abide by them because I do not like rocking the boat.  Whether or not they are silly doesn't matter, but being legalistic is a hard thing to deal with in others.    I think we all have rules that we want followed our way.  We want things done this way because we know this way works best for us or the situation.  It may not be the only way though.  There may be something different that can be done that we did not even realize.  It could add and make better.  I try really hard to be easy-going.  Dealing with people who aren't is hard.

My son is just like me.  No, maybe he is worse.  As long as it's easy, he will do it.  I try and teach my kids that as long as it gets done, does it matter how it gets done?  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it matters.  Like in math class.  Math teachers always drove me crazy.  As long as I came to the right answer and showed my work, who cares if it was like the book.   

We can do lots of things many way and accomplish the goal.  Many people were and are exposed to the Gospel of Christ through different methods.  Jesus spoke to crowds, performed miracles, and spent time with people one-on-on.  We do the same.  Ministers preach to crowds, we can point out God's miracles, and we talk with individuals.  Each of us has our own unique way of getting God's love to everyone across.  Mine is singing and now, this devotion.

Romans 12:4-8
 4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,
 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
 6Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
 7if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;
 8or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 

So, the question is, how do you do work?  How do you spread the gospel?  Believe me, no matter what you say, you are spreading the Word even if it is just with your lives.  Remember your life maybe the only way a lot of people see Jesus and His Word.

Monday, May 24, 2010

We Need a Good Cry

This has been an emotional few days for me.  Last night, I was watching my favorite Sunday evening show, Army Wives.  One of the ladies had a miscarriage. They had the characters deal with it and show the true friendship of the wives.  They showed how the husband and wife each dealt differently with the loss.  How he didn't know what to do for her.  Should he get her to talk about it?  Should he let her cry?  The answer is always to let each person deal with the grief in their own way.  It is hard to do that.  We each think that our way of dealing is the best.  It is, for us, but not for others.

The wife was sad, and was staying home, trying to deal with it.  Then she got some news that wasn't earth shattering, but when she heard it, she realized that the child was gone.  That triggered the tears.  That brought the emotions out. Sometimes you need a good cry.  It cleanses and takes that emotional scab, clears it away and let healing begin anew.

Psalm 30:5
For His anger is but for a moment,His favor is for a lifetime;Weeping may last for the night,But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 126:6
He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

God gave us the tears, the emotions and the ability to cry with others.  It is hard to show this emotion because it makes you feel powerless, vulnerable, and dependent.  We are always going to feel those things unless we turn them over to God.  Let Him carry that heavy burden.  Let Him carry you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Foxes in the Hen House

Okay, I know it's Friday and it's been a very long week for everyone.  My inspiration is waning today, so I thought I would do something strange.  I was looking at  You can look up words or passages of scripture.  I looked up the words fox or foxes.  Here is what I got.

Judges 15:4
Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails.

Judges 15:5 
When he had set fire to the torches, he released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines, thus burning up both the shocks and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and groves.

Nehemiah 4:3
Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him and he said, "Even what they are building-- if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!"

Psalm 63:10
They will be delivered over to the power of the sword;They will be a prey for foxes.

Song of Solomon 2:15
" Catch the foxes for us,The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards,While our vineyards are in blossom."

Lamentations 5:18
Because of Mount Zion which lies desolate, Foxes prowl in it.

Ezekiel 13:4
"O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins.

Matthew 8:20
Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Luke 9:58
And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Luke 13:32
And He said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.'

Interesting, huh?  Our preacher did a sermon about getting rid of the foxes.  Well, most of these verses are about how foxes are nuisances.  I think that is kinda funny.  I hope that our family is not a nuisance to anyone, but I am sure we can be at times.  My favorite verses about Samson capturing the foxes and tying their tails together.  Who would have thought to do that?   Foxes are pests.  They come in, bother and tear up gardens and are hard to catch.  They are not quite as plentiful as they use to be, but there are other things taking their place.  Raccoons, skunks, gophers, coyotes. 

There are things in our lives doing the same.  Books, music, drinking, lying, cheating...the list can go on forever.  Once you let them in, it is hard to tame or control them.  Beware.  Make sure you are talking to the Lord everyday about them.  Only he can help you tame them. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Get Back At Them

Are you a vengeful person?  Do you want to get back at someone who does you wrong?  I am not, usually.  It takes a lot to get me to that point.  Once I am there and rage war against my enemy, I do not feel the satisfaction of it.  My guilt takes over that I performed an act to bring my anger out on someone.  I don't know if it was the way I was raised or if it is something in my character, but I don't like getting back at people.  I would rather keep turning the other cheek, even when I run out of cheeks.

 I was reading this passage and came across this verse.  Paul was writing a letter to Timothy and giving an account of what had happened.  I don't know what this man did, but Paul was upset.  Here is what he said about it.

2 Timothy 4:14
Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.

Paul knew that no matter what he did, it would not be worse than was the Lord would do.  He left this up to the Lord.  The self control that Paul showed inspires me to be the same.  A lot of people do not understand this way of thinking.  They think that they have to do the eye-for-an-eye and it be over and done.  The Lord has told us not to do that.

Romans 12:19
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, " VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.

You can show your anger, sure.  The Lord showed his in the Temple.  But to willfully bring your own kind of revenge against someone because you feel slighted or hurt shows signs of immaturity and evilness in my opinion.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Show your love

1 John 3:18

 18Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

I came across this verse this morning.  It  is almost a puzzle to me.  I keep zeroing in on the words deed and truth.  Is this verse saying that we shouldn't speak our love as much as show it?  I think that may be it.  It's easy to start saying "I like you" or "I love you".  People say all the time that they love each other.  I don't say it often.  My husband says it a lot.  I appreciate him doing that.  I don't need to hear it a lot, because he does so much for me that I know he loves me.  His deeds prove it.  His truthfulness proves it. 

I saw a quote yesterday that I am reminded of.  "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."  -  Mark Twain.  I don't know now if that fits, but it seems that if we do the good deeds out of love and not out of our own selfish gain, then it should be worth it, right? 

During Allie's gallbladder ordeal, so many people were supportive.  I feel a little selfish because I did not thank these people in front of the church.  There were so many that naming them all by name to you seems crazy.  You know who you are and the cards/flowers/food/prayers/gifts were so sweet and kind.  Allie appreciates them.  She is not one for a lot of attention.  She does take the limelight once in a while, but would rather make someone else happy than show herself.  But, thanks to the many of you who did a good deed for us.  You have shown your love.

How are you going to show your love today?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Light the Darkness

1 John 1:5-7
 5This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
 7but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

In our office, I am in charge of some of the maintenance that needs to go on.  What that really means is that when something breaks or a light bulb goes out, I am told and I pass it along to our building maintenance person.

When it is dark and dreary outside, you want all the lights on to get rid of the darkness.  Every light makes things less sad.  So if your life seems sad and miserable, maybe you have moved out from God's light.  The Bible tells us that in God, there is no darkness, no sin.  Our sin, darkens and stains our lives.  Sometimes the stain goes to the very soul and heart of us.  We have to fellowship with him, ask for forgiveness, practice the truth and let Jesus wash away our very sins.

What can wash away my sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
O precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

-Words by Robert Lowry

Monday, May 17, 2010

Running the Race

Hebrews 12:1 - 3

 1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
 3For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 

This weekend, I went to our high school's league track meet.  I had never been to a track meet before.  It was so much fun!  I watched the crazy kids that pole vault, I watched kids lunge the shot put balls, jump long jump, high jump, and run races.  I was impressed by the endurance these kids had.  Let me tell you, there are some very quick kids out there! 

I never saw a kid quit, even if they were half a lap behind.  The determination these kids have to do their best is outstanding.  I didn't see all the races, some were run another day, so I didn't see the long races, like the 3200 Meters.  That shows endurance.   The runners, jumpers, and throwers were cheered on by their family and friends.

There were records broken.  The runners were pushed by knowing what the people before them had done and it made them try and do better.  It gave them an incentive to try their hardest and do their best.  We are the same way as Christians.  We know what those before us have done, how high they have set the bar.  We strive the same way as the runners, not necessarily trying to outdo them, but trying to keep the standard up.  And like the runners, we have a goal.  Our eyes are fixed on Jesus.  His example helps us not to give up or grow tired and frustrated. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

They Are Young

Jeremiah 1:4-8
4Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,
    5"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
         And before you were born I consecrated you;
         I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."
    6Then I said, "Alas, Lord GOD!
         Behold, I do not know how to speak,
         Because I am a youth."
    7But the LORD said to me,
         "Do not say, 'I am a youth,'
         Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
         And all that I command you, you shall speak.
    8"Do not be afraid of them,
         For I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD.

 True to my word, I started reading Jeremiah today.  I got to verse five and all these thoughts started sprinting through my brain.  Thoughts like, God knew me before I was born.  God has already set me apart.  Hey!  Jeremiah was young when he started prophesying.  Apparently, humans haven't changed much because most kids think adults won't listen too them. 

That was what struck me the most.  The youth today need some lovin'.  Yes they make mistakes.  Yes they are young and still have a lot of experience to gain.  But if the older generations do not give them a chance...who will?  God had full trust and faith in Jeremiah.  Okay, yeah, he is God and he can do all things, but he told Jeremiah he had faith in him to do the right thing.  God also said that he would save Jeremiah.    Can you be that faithful and trusting?  Even as mature adults, we are not that sure of things.   I always think that sometimes, we just don't want to show our insecurities. 

The youth of our church is our future.  Do not kid yourself into thinking that this is not true.  The elders and deacons will not be here forever.  The youth are growing up and giving them some support and listening to their ideas is not such a bad thing.  God will use them, but he wants to use you too.  You have to be the mentor for them.You have to be the Paul to their Timothy.  The Naomi to their Ruth.  Talk to your Youth Leaders about getting involved.  Help mold the youth of today to be the leaders of tomorrow.  God will help.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Being a Small Part

Jeremiah 31:7
For thus says the LORD,
         "Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
         And shout among the chief of the nations;
         Proclaim, give praise and say,
         'O LORD, save Your people,
         The remnant of Israel.' 

I must admit, the next book I read is the book of Jeremiah.  I am not sure why, but I feel compelled to read it.  I was thinking about the rain and that is actually helps refresh the earth.  So I was reading a few verses that had the word refresh in them.  Then I came to this verse. 

One of my favorite words that I never use is remnant.  God called the Israelites remnants.  They were the leftovers, the scraps, of the people that came out of Egypt and were given the chosen land of God.  A remnant is a part that is left over.  We mostly here this word when talking about material or carpet.  These people were what was left of the Israelites.  I am sure that most of them were still faithful to God and still trusted him.

In today's world, do we feel like remnants?  Sometimes I do.  I feel like that I am in a world that forgot God. Actually, I realize I am in a world that is trying to forget God.  On the news yesterday morning the kids and I saw a piece about how the twenty-somethings and teenagers are feeling more spiritual than their parents.  They are looking for God or a Higher Power and being reached to through the internet.  They are getting together in coffeehouses and in small groups and trying to figure out who they are.

One year, I had the privilege to go with the Junior High kids to a retreat at Butler Springs Christan Camp.  They were really cool about giving the kids some freedom.  They let the kids do their devotion time their own way, as long as it was quiet and respectful.  Allie had never done anything like this and was not real keen in what they wanted at first.  There were different spots set up for different kinds of worship.  There was a place to use your creativity and draw something, there was a spot where you could reflect on people you wanted to bring closer to God and light a candle for them, there was a place to read your Bible.  Once we got into it, Allie really enjoyed doing some of these things.  I think that it made it more personal for her.  I loved pieces of it too.  I loved writing a poem, or lighting a candle and think about things. 

As children of God, we are remnants to a world that wants to forget.  We are the ends of the cloth, the old-fashioned, hymn-singing, hypocritical people who think they are better than everyone else.  Well, I want you to know that it is not true.  It is okay to hold on to the old stuff.  But there is nothing wrong with trying new things.  It may bring out a piece of you that God hid in your soul, just waiting for you to find.  It may be something you want to share.  It may be something just to be between you and God.  Just do not worry about what this world thinks.  You are going to be judged by the world, no matter what you do, right or wrong.  God's judgment is the one we need to worry about.  Being a remnant for God is a great honor.  Be one with pride!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Taming the Tongue

James 3:5-10

 5So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
 6And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.
 7For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.
 8But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;
 10from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 

Our Sunday evening service is a nice quiet time.  Few people attend (I am guilty of not attending to much lately), but I did a few weeks ago, and the study going on is in James.  I found some of it very interesting and wrote down verses in my Droid.  I use my Droid to put a lot of information in that I want to save, but that is for a different time.

Many verses in the Bible tell us about using our words and encouraging people.  God wants us to to use our voices to tell His story, of how Jesus came to be a human, feeling what we feel, suffering what we suffer, and rejoice in what we find joyful.  We are to tell everyone how God saved us from eternal damnation.  How, through his blood and the cross, we have found redemption.  He also wants us to tell our story to people. 

James warns us of what the tongue can do that is harmful. This little muscle in the body has the potential to create such havoc that an earthquake or tornado has never seen.  It has ruined lives and reputations with one swift cut.  Verses five and six tell that it is fire and it will set our course for our life.  Just a few small words and our very lives can be ruined.   Verse eight tells us that we can't tame it.  It is full of poison. 

Like verse nine, we bless and curse with our tongue.  When I hear someone cursing, I always think of the saying, "You kiss your Momma with that mouth?"  I don't understand using curse words.  I always tell my kids that it is shows your ignorance of the English language.  I went to a high school play over the weekend.  During the show, which was a musical and a good one at that, with lots of family and young kids, several times curse words popped out of the mouths of the actors.  Was this really necessary to get their point across?  Did we have to hear teenagers saying these words?  What precedent does this set?  What does this tell the younger generations?  It is a shame.  As James says in the last part of the tenth verse, "My brethren, these things ought not to be this way."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

To Tell the Truth

I have been watching my favorite all-time show, 24.  This show is very violent at times, but always raises several questions about the state of the world.  This season, is the final one for the show, so they are pulling out all the stops.  It is a show about  the country's leading (in my opinion) go-to guy and his mission to keep people accountable for their actions and to get to the truth.  He wants those who are wrong and have done evil to pay for their sins. 

This year, the President has chosen to cover-up several assassinations to "better" her legacy in a peace treaty that is about to be signed.  She asked Jack (the go-to guy) to help keep people safe.  When he finds out what has happened and what is going on, he goes rogue.  He wants the President and everyone else to tell the truth.  He goes to great lengths to make sure the truth comes out.  There are three shows left and I am left with several questions.  Will he succeed?  Will others think his fight for the truth is noble and they turn back toward doing the right thing? 

This makes me wonder, to what extent will we go to "hide" the truth?  Will you cover up something that is really the truth to make you seem like a better person?  Will you cover up the truth to make someone feel better?    John 8:31-32 says, So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."  

In Genesis, the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers has a lot of truths covered up.  The brothers told their father that they found Joseph's coat bloody and torn.  They actually sold him into slavery.  They kept the lying up for a lot of years.  Lies like this would eat away at me.  The hard part in this story is that we can see that God had a plan for it all along.  It doesn't mean we should go out and lie, thinking God will take care of it.  We should be better than that. We should accept our sin, ask for forgiveness of all that it hurt, and forgive ourselves.  As in the tv show, the truth may hurt, but at least knowing the truth can ease the pain and the healing can begin.

Monday, May 10, 2010


The human race does not take criticism well.  We do not like it when we made an error.  We want to lash out or blame someone else for the mistake.  Sometimes we just need to toughen up and take it like a man (so to speak).  Loving someone enough to let them know they have done something wrong is hard.  Keeping our mouth shut while being corrected is harder.  But what you do with the criticism is the really important part.  

When you are sixteen, you see what everyone else is doing and you can not help but do it yourself.  At sixteen, risk is something fun, not something to worry about.  At sixteen, listening to your parent harp about something is tedious and time consuming.  I think that sometimes it's not about what the kids think they know.  I think it is what we, as a society have done to lead and be examples to them.  These kids are learning a new skill.  They see other people driving around, for a lot longer, and partly they think, everyone does it like that or they are just old and set in their ways.  No one cares or gets caught doing that.  This is true.  I have found myself saying, the law says this, but everyone breaks that law.  How sad of a tale on us. 

God corrects us no matter the sin and no matter our age.  In his eyes, there is not gray area.  We need to learn to take correction with understanding, grace, and love.  Pouting, hurt feelings, and backlashing are not to be in the equation.  No matter what, God loves us and wants us to be our best.  When I let my kids know they have done wrong, I make sure they are listening and that they understand why what they did was a bad choice.  God does the same thing.  sometimes we listen, sometimes we don't.  Sometimes we forget that Jesus was human too.  Remember, Jesus went through what we are going through.  He knows our needs, our frailties and he understands how easy it is to get frustrated or turned around going the wrong way.  I pray that we will take this verse to heart.   

Job 37:12-13
12"It changes direction, turning around by His guidance,
         That it may do whatever He commands it
         On the face of the inhabited earth.
    13"Whether for correction, or for His world,
         Or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

This is my last post about Mothers.  Today I want to honor all those women out there who are not moms, either by choice or by circumstance.  I think that no matter what, a woman is special and should be valued. 

Genesis 11:30
Sarai was barren; she had no child.I have a friend who has been married a long time.  They did not have children, because she could not.  They chose not to adopt and that is okay.  I think it is fine not to have kids.  I know that they love kids.  They treat all the children around them with such love.  They would have been wonderful parents.  But God had different ideas for them.

Exodus 2:10
The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, "Because I drew him out of the water." I also have several friends who felt adoption was the right course to take.  They took a child that was not from their own flesh and made them their own.  I so admire that.  I have great respect for anyone who takes an unwanted and makes them feel wanted.  In fact, I have a nephew and niece that are adopted. 

In both instances, I have great respect for the families.  Yes, they are both families.  When a couple gets married, they are a family.  When a child comes along, you are just adding to the family.  The lady with no children of her own is like an aunt to my kids.  She has the maternal instinct and is so full of love.  In my book, that makes her a "mom".  She can help raise my kids anytime.  The ladies who have chosen adoption, are just like me.  They are feeling their way through raising their kids.  They pick their battles, appreciate the trials and tribulations associated with parenthood, and love their children complete. 

Yes, it's easy for us with children to look at someone without and either feel sorry for them or ignore their advice.  But sometimes it is nice to get advice from someone who has been looking from the outside in.  Sometimes, not.   The trials these women go through must be agony at times.  The sadness they feel because they can't conceive.  The stares, the rude and hurtful words of others.  They endure a lot.

Those that adopt, also can go through a lot.  When the kids "find out" they are adopted, can be tramatic.  The careless things people say can hurt their very core.  Especially if the child is a different nationality or has a different skin color.  The things that people think could damage the psyche. 

So remember that this weekend is for your Mom, there are those who may feel left out because they aren't a mom.  Tell all the women you know, that you appreciate all they do and that God loves them very much.  I love them too.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Our Unborn Child

 I received an award!  Thanks to JAVA for bestowing this nice surprise on me today.
The Rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

Rule #1:  See above.

Rule #2:  1.  I like roses, especially smelly ones.
2.  I took piano lessons for 11 years.
3.  I love staying home and relaxing, but I never get to anymore.
4.  I hate coffee...unless it has some kind of cappaccino mix in it.  My favorite is English Toffee.
5.  I love to bake.
6. My eyes are dark chocolate brown.
7.  I love to sit out by our fire pit and talk to whoever shows up.

Rule #3
1) Ria 
3)  Kel 
5) Jen 
12) Ocean
13) Brooke
15) Jacqui

Rule #4:  I'll contact you all later.

Today, I am going to talk about the one that wasn't meant to be.  In 1993, Mike and I talked about starting a family.  I quickly got pregnant in late May/early June.  I was drying off after a shower and a pain so sudden and sharp hit my abdomen, that I almost passed out.  I knew then, that I was pregnant, but something wasn't right.  But, nothing else happened in the following days.  I went to the doctor in mid-June and found out that I was in fact expecting.   But the news was strange.  My blood cell count wasn't were it should be.  The doctor told me to see my OB doctor as soon as I could.  

I got in to see her and they did blood work too.  I went home that afternoon and didn't do much.  I was waiting for a call from the doctor.  When she called, she told me that my cells weren't doubling or tripling like they should during a normal pregnancy.  "I'm sorry," she said.  "I think something is wrong."  She told me to come in to her office the next week and see what was up.  She did say she suspected that it was a tubal pregnancy.  I hung up and prayed.  I told Mike and we decided to tell my parents, but no one else just yet.

I did some research about on Etopic (or tubal) pregnancy in the next few days.  The baby attaches itself to the fallopian tube and starts to grow.  This is very dangerous and if the tube breaks, you could die if you don't get some help.  Scary stuff.  Mike and I prayed.  One evening we were at home and I got this horribly sharp pain in my shoulder.  I knew immediately what was wrong.  I told Mike and started crying.  He called my mom and the doctor.  The doctor had us go in to the Emergency Room so I could be checked out.  

By the time I got to the hospital, the pain was completely gone.  I felt a little foolish when I walked into the hospital.  But the doctor on call checked me over and really couldn't tell me anything.  So she advised me to see my regular doctor the next day and we left. 

The next day, Mike went to work and I went to the doctor.  She told me that the only thing she could do is a laparscopy to check out what is going on in side.  So she sent me to the hospital to wait on her.  That was at 2pm.  I called Mike and got him out of work, and my parents also met us there.   We waited and waited.  Finally at 8 pm, the doctor came in to do the surgery. 

When I woke up, here's what I found.  It was and Etopic pregnancy.  They had to remove a middle portion of my tube.  My tube did burst, but God saved me.  My bowel moved over and covered where the tear had happened and stopped the bleeding.  The doctor ended up doing a c-section-like cut because she couldn't get the bowel away from the fallopian tube.  I was still going to be able to have children later on.  Allie and Timm are proof of that.

Mike and I were shaken up and saddened by this loss.  But we also decided that we were not going to let it rule us.  Yes that child would have been wonderful.  But God has his reasons for taking that little one first.  We can say all we want, but I firmly believe that God made sure that Mike and I went through that.  Most people know about it, but we don't talk about it a lot.  I know that Jesus took that baby and will keep them until I get there.  

The experience made me a better mom, I hope.  I am easy going and appreciate sitting around and talking and laughing with my kids.  I try not to get too uptight about issues.  I listen and talk with my kids.  I love them with my whole heart.  But I will always have a special place for my first unborn child.

Psalm 139:13 - 15
    13For You formed my inward parts;
         You wove me in my mother's womb.
    14I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
         Wonderful are Your works,
         And my soul knows it very well.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What I want for my Son

I was the oldest daughter in a family of four.  My sister and I had a lot of male cousins and male friends, but we didn't have a brother.  We had a father, whom I assumed did all the things boys did.  We were grossed out by some, giggled at others and thought Dad was the greatest.  Then a became the mother of a boy.

When we found out that the baby I was having was a boy, we were excited.  We had two girls and Mike wanted a boy to carry on the family name.  We quickly settled on his name and waited for him to arrive.  I wanted a boy.  There was one problem.  What was I suppose to do with a boy?  What would little boys do differently than little girls?  What kind of surprises laid in store for me?

My son has the key to my heart.  He is a lot like me and my father.  When he was born, he was a big baby.  Almost too big for little me to hold, but I did.  He was and is total opposite of Allie.  Timm didn't want to sleep, he wanted to be held and to touch you all the time.  He would find the most comfort in my arms.  He would only sleep for 90 minutes at a time and then be up.  You had to force him to sleep.  He has that family trait of only needing a little sleep.  When he was old enough, he would reach up and grab my earlobe.  Then he would feed or relax and nap.

I have heard that raising boys were easier than girls at this age or that age.  When Allie was younger, she was more difficult than Timm.  Now, I believe that the boy is harder.  He questions everything.  He speaks his mind, freely, and he fiercely loves his Grandmother.  He is the most loving young man I know.  He does what he can to help people, he loves to show off and often he tells me things to get a reaction from me.

I have racked my brains in the last couple of years, trying to figure him out. I want him to be a man of morals and manners.  I want him to grow to be a man of God.  I want so much for this child that I didn't know what to do with at first.  My heart is so full of love for this child and I am very proud of him.  I hope he always knows that his future endeavors are so exciting.

Proverbs 31:25

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
         And she smiles at the future.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What I learned from Allie

In continuing with the Mother's Day theme, today I will talk about what I learned being a first time Mom.  Yesterday, I talked about being a Step-Mom.  Being a full-time Mom is so different from that experience.  I loved being pregnant.  All the changes that went along with my body, how I felt, how the baby grew and how I could eat what I wanted, when I wanted without any excuses.  It was fun not knowing who this little child inside me was and how this little person was a combination of Mike and myself.

When Allie finally arrived into this world, it was early morning on a rainy July Saturday.  She was already nine days late (according to the doctor), so they helped us along with that.  I was in labor for 23 hours and finally when the doctor told me that if something didn't happen soon, they would do a cesarean.  Then everyone left me; Mike and Dad went to have a smoke, Mom went to get something to drink, the doctor went to check on another patient, and the nurses went to do something else.  It was just me alone in the hospital room.  My thoughts were full of what-ifs.  I was okay with whatever my doctor decided, but apparently, God and the baby had other ideas.  I started feeling things happen and I started squirming.  When a nurse came back in to check me one last time, the baby was ready, and I could push! 

Now this is really a trait of Allie's.  You can tell her, but when you really want her to do something, tell her what you will do if she doesn't do it, and she gets the job done.  I don't use that often on her because she is such a great kid.  Anyway, even before she was born, she was like that.

As a young mom, I learned a lot.  I am pretty easy going, but I do have a breaking point.  There were several times when Mike and I called on my parents to come help because we were just so tired.  I found out that it is okay to depend on them.  I learned that my love for my child is stronger than I could have ever imagined.  I also learned that I know her better than anyone.  I have taken criticism for how my daughter is and was.  She was a very emotional child.  I was surprised by that.  I was never like that, but she was.  I found out that people who gave me advice about how to deal with my daughter, was being polite and well-meaning, but in the end, it was me that figured her out and could calm her. 

I learn from Allie everyday still.  She has made me patient and it has been such a pleasure to see her grow.  My heart gets bigger and bigger every day.  Allie and I are nothing alike, but we learn from each other and are becoming friends.  I like that.

Proverbs 31:28-29
Her children rise up and bless her;
         Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
    "Many daughters have done nobly,
         But you excel them all."

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Thoughts on Being a Step-Mom

Next Sunday is Mother's Day, so this week I am dedicating my devotions this week to what I have gained by being a mom.   I am the mother of four children.  One I am step-mother to, one is up in heaven, and two I am raising with my husband.  It was never a huge dream of mine to be a mother.  I was never much for little ones.  I baby sat as a teen, but I never had an overwhelming desire that I had to have kids.

When Mike and I got married, I instantly became a mom.  I didn't feel like one.  We didn't even see Jaci hardly at all until we had been married six months.  I prayed that I could be nice to this child who was all of a sudden a part of a new family.  I found out that I really liked this child who looked a lot like her daddy, but was closed up and not happy about being here.  It broke my heart at some things that happened and was said.  But we all did the best we could.

Jaci and I grew into a comfortable relationship for a while, and she could tell me things.  Not a lot, but she was always great and fun.  I hope some of her childhood memories include us.  We had Easter Egg hunts, we took her Trick or Treat one year.  She got to know her cousins.  We had a lot of fun times.  

Being a step-mother has different rules.  It took all of us a long time to figure that out.  It wasn't all fun and games and we never spent as much time with Jaci as we wanted.  I had to hold back on things and find the balance between her and my children.  I am sure that she never thought I did enough for her.  I am sure that we were never told half the things that went on with her.  A lot of time was lost during her childhood.  I know I tried to do the best I could for her.  I know she is a wonderful girl and that maybe, just maybe I influenced her in some way for the better. I know she influenced my view of motherhood and how wonderful it could be.

Proverbs 31:26-27
 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
         And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
  She looks well to the ways of her household,
         And does not eat the bread of idleness.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Movie - Letters to God

I rarely do a post on the weekends, but I have to tell you about last night. Last night, Foxy, Daughter, BFF, my parents, and Miss Deb, a family friend, went to see the movie Letters to God. It was one of the most hopeful, moving movies I have seen in a long time. I loved it! Everyone in the theater at one time or another, was in tears. Well, except for Daughter. That's a different story.

This story is about a boy who has cancer. It is about how this boy inspired everyone around him with his faith. As a parent, how can you have a faith that God will make everything okay when you are watching you child sick and dying? As a sibling, how can you not feel hurt and rejected because you are losing your friend? As a best friend, how can you not want to protect your best friend for all the mean people around them? As an outsider, how can you be touched by someone who you get to know? Because God gives each of us a purpose. He leads us down our path and without us realizing it, we are soon caring and friends. 
This true story is about how if we take a little time and get involved with each other, we will be the ones stronger and more blessed. There were some hard scenes. Not gross hard, but scenes that each of us can look at and say, "Yeah, I've been there." I cried when the mother said, "I don't agree with God's will." There are times I have been like that. But we all know that it's okay. 

This movie was truly inspirational and I strongly urge each of you to see it someday. The only person I recognized by name was Ralph Waite (you know, the dad on The Walton's). Each character gave everything and when it was over, everyone, except Dad just sat there in silence. Even when the lights came up we all sat there. The message was that strong. Daughter wants to now get involved with children that have cancer. I want to help her.
I have talked before in my devotion about how to talk to God. This movie showed this verse and I wrote it down. We are all a letter to Christ from the world. How will you show the world what your words say?

2 Corinthians 3:3
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.