Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Yesterday Strike & I landed in a HORRIBLE (TERRIBLE!) traffic jam due to construction in an area where there's only one way in & out of a small business district (warehouse store, gas station, hotel, school, offices, RMV, etc. ). Soon I knew I'd passed the "point of no return" & figured it could take hours to get out again. I made a split decision to duck into a parking lot near an auto shop & walk from there to the store. Low & behold as we walked back to may car I figured we'd sit & read for a while bc there was no sense sitting in the traffic jam itself - but - an auto store employee asked where I'd parked - & bc of where I'd parked, I could easily go around to the waaaay back of the warehouse store & get out thru' a gate that was open. The sea of people stuck in the traffic jam knew NOTHING about it!! Yet for me, and mb two other cars back there at the time - & whoever those who knew the secret chose to tell, it meant FREEDOM!! But - when I reached the gate, to my dismay it appeared to be locked! Strike looked closer & thought so too. Thankfully a man in another car was able to open it after jiggling the cord & chain that had only been wrapped by someone to make it look like it was locked - or who knows how long I might have waited for someone else to open it, or rescue me some other way - & perhaps I'd have even discouraged others to turn back from a gate that was indeed still unlocked/open!
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13 & 14
Thursday, May 28, 2009
In honor of my birthday I'd like to share The Gift w/ you. To open it, click on the gift below. Should you choose to accept it ... well then you'll have to talk to Him/the one who gave it to me, directly:
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
In Chinese, the word symbol for: "life" is made up of two "components - "motion" + "Lord" which reveals the ancient Chinese belief that the Lord is the maker of all life, & "believe" is comprised of "person" + "word" - meaning that placing trust in a word is considered an act of faith or believing.**
I find that interesting when the words "Life" & "Believe" are considered in a biblical (ancient!) context & in John 1 in particular:
John 1: 1 - 4
John 1: 10 - 13
Sunday, May 24, 2009
A few yrs ago it was my privilege to find myself on the same flight as a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. He was old and in a wheelchair. I believe he was headed to a convention related to his Medal of Honor. The pilot treated him like royalty & a military escort awaited him at our destination. I loved that the respect he'd earned was so freely given. I think this is him:
Saturday, May 23, 2009
has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland
and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen."
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land for the free and the home of the brave!
* by Francis Scott Key *
(last verse of the Star Spangled Banner - my emphasis added)
Friday, May 22, 2009
My husband & I were discussing our family's No TV for one month challenge - & how our youngest, who probably enjoys TV the most out of all of us, seems determined to succeed. Hmm...perhaps it's bc: - the choice was hers! We encouraged & discussed it w/ our kids & agreed to do it together (we did not force them to do it) - & - it's a challenge!- so it feels like a competition - which tends to bring out the best in my kids - esp when it comes to working hard to do something well. ( I wish(!!) they were more like this when it came to chores (but "here" the choice to do them or not - is not theirs to make) -& - some extra motivation in the reward at the end! If she's successful at not watching any TV for one month & not complaining about it one bit she'll have earned the remaining balance needed to purchase the IPOD Touch she's been saving up for.
"All of this" got me to thinking about my relationship w/ God...seems there's much controversy over predestination (He chose me) vs. Free Will (I chose Him) & salvation being gained by faith as opposed to doing good works (being "good enough"). I don't claim to have all the answers here by any means - all I know for sure is what I believe. But, I wonder.... Did God intentionally make these areas "gray" - as opposed to black & white - bc He knew that in our human nature we are more inclined to be successful if/when: - the choice is ours (or at least even to some degree we believe it is!) Acts 16:31 - & - it's challenging! I Corinthians 9:23-25 - & - there's some extra motivation in the reward at the end, if successful? John 3:16
hmm. I wonder... are choice (freedom!), challenge & motivation (reward!) the keys to success?
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Anyhow - decided to give this a try - for tomatoes - but who knew you can plant all kinds of stuff upside down! My veggie garden has mainly been a hanging one for a few years now bc of our dogs but once the plants mature it's hard to keep the branches from sprawling/breaking. But - by George! - I think I've now got a solution to that problem. - I just wish they were a bit more "decorative". But - so far so good ... that I may try to get a few more!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
- Beth Moore
In 1979, 120 families were offered $500 each to cease watching TV for one month. 93 families turned it down. 5 of the remaining families who watched 40 - 70 hrs per wk were studied. The results: closer family units, increased family activities...games, piano playing..., one-on-one time between parents & children - & patience! ... & an increase in creativity.
We started last night. Dad wasn't home but the kids & I played badminton in the back yard. Later Strike asked to print out a coloring page & mentioned she'd like some new crayons & markers. I read by her on the couch. Playmaker did homework nearby. Hmm - I think I'm going to like this (& hoping they do too :)
P.S. A few details for the record: we can still watch some videos/DVDs & play The Wii/video games - but no "TV" on the computer. - If there's urgent news we can turn on TV for that.
Strike's been given some extra motivation. She' been faithfully earning & saving $ for her IPOD Touch ... if she meets this challenge without complaining about it, in the end she'll have earned the remaining balance needed to purchase it - & if the two older kids do the same, we may give them a bonus too - just haven't really discussed it yet.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
- one of the most rare & precious treasures in life, is a good (key word here!) friend.
- good friends require a lot of time.
- God created us for relationship/friendship - in part bc we all have needs, a need to be needed & some thing(s) (strengths/gifts!) others need - & if someone thinks even one of those "links" doesn't apply to them, they're likely more independent than God ever intended them to be.
- satan knows God created people for relationship - which means it's a good thing(!) - & sooo he cleverly & effectively discourages & destroys relationships ...bc he knows & fears their potential for good!
It seems modern conveniences allow us to do so much more - for ourselves - than ever & in much less time than it used to take - & that the more we're able to do for ourselves, the more we do! Before we know it we're so busy "saving (hoarding?) time" that we have no time to share w/ anyone else who might need what we have to offer - & - we take pride (not a good thing!) in being independent & so begin to believe that asking for - or admitting that we need help is shameful.
Hmmm. Could it be that:
Being (independent) Under Satan's Yoke
for our own good ... & for our own good friends?!
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother - Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)
Monday, May 18, 2009
Note: Just about everywhere I searched for this quote
to link it to a source, it's slightly different
- so I'm not directly quoting above - but as w/ most things
re: God & how He works, I find it both encourging and convicting.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I'm only about halfway thru' it but I'm enjoying it. First line of the product description at CBD: One bad decision can plague a family for generations.
A couple of tho't provoking quotes:
"That's not coal, honey, that's a diamond-in-the-making. God will use pressure and stress to turn it into something beautiful."
"I had always depended on Freidrich to make the decisions and decide on a course of action, but this time I couldn't wait for Freidrich to save us. For once in my life I was responsible for my own life - and for my daughters' lives. They were depending on me to make the right decision. What a heavy burden of responsibility Friedrich carries every day."
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Tourists who catch swine flu offered free Mexico holidaysHotels in Mexico are offering free holidays to tourists who catch swine flu in their resorts in a bid to restore confidence in the destination.
The initiative, which involves three hotel chains, is being led by Real Resorts, which owns three hotels in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
The company's guarantee offers three years of free holidays to any guest who contracts the (H1N1) flu virus within 14 days of visiting its resorts in Cancun or Playa del Carmen.via
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I think it's been 8 yrs since....
spent a night away from home AND kids.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
"Any person without self control is either an accident looking for a place to happen or a slave in chains." Beth Moore - Living Beyond Yourself
I believe the difference between a good choice & a bad one lies in the "why" (motive) behind it - & that parenting is every bit as much about making good choices as it is about encouraging our kids to do the same.
When I demand certain behavior from my kids - or don't allow them to suffer the consequences of their poor choices - bc I'm too concerned about what others will think of me, my kids see right thru' it to the motive of my heart & so are more likely to rebel (the negative consequence of my poor choice - ugh.)
We all have only ONE LIFE TO LIVE! And sooo - I hope & pray that ALL MY CHILDREN ultimately choose for themselves to look to the GUIDING LIGHT (John 8:12) & make their choices accordingly so that their story (testimony!) becomes a BOLD & BEAUTIFUL one that is more about His faithfulness to them - & less about their unfaithfulness to Him - bc ...
- so are THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES.
God ordained Samson's dedication to Him as a lifelong Nazarite before his conception - which meant Samson was subject to a life of strict discipline (self control!): NO hair cut, fruit of the vine or contact w/ a dead body. And I wonder .... Did Samson continually rebel bc he didn't have a choice in this matter? Hmm...
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
This lullaby by Sara Groves has deep/double meaning. I remember tears stinging when I first heard it - & kept playing it over & over. It was as if God Himself had given it to me - during a time when I was so uncertain about where I stood in relationship to Him. Hmm - perhaps I should have saved it ... for Father's Day!
This video uses the song as a sweet tribute to a baby w/ autism - tho' you may just want to close your eyes - & listen ....
'You Cannot Lose My Love'
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
Monday, May 11, 2009
I'm still FAR from perfect(!) - but praise God I'm also far from normal ... & hopefully getting farther away all the time! -- bc God placed some very special people in my life who were far from normal too - & He's used few to teach & change(!) me as much as they did.
to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
2 Peter 2:11
I believe this is the poem my mom had on her dresser for years. It had been typed out on a typewriter. No idea who gave it to her or when - but bc my little brother had Down's Syndrome, I imagine it was quite an encouragement to her. In honor of my mom & my little brother I'm sharing it here.
HEAVEN'S VERY SPECIAL CHILD
A meeting was held quite far from Earth!
It's time again for another birth.
Said the Angels to the LORD above,
This Special Child will need much love.
His progress may be very slow,
Accomplishments he may not show.
And he'll require extra care
From the folks he meets down there.
He may not run or laugh or play,
His thoughts may seem quite far away,
In many ways he won't adapt,
And he'll be known as handicapped.
So let's be careful where he's sent,
We want his life to be content.
Please LORD, find the parents who
Will do a special job for you.
They will not realize right away
The leading role they're asked to play,
But with this child sent from above
Comes stronger faith and richer love.
And soon they'll know the privilege given
In caring for their gift from Heaven.
Their precious charge, so meek and mild,
Is HEAVEN'S VERY SPECIAL CHILD.
by Edna Massionilla
The Optomist- newsletter for PROUD
Parents Regional Outreach for Understanding Down's Inc.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Sunday is Mother's Day. I'm now about the age you were when Byron & I were born - about a year and a half apart. You had three teenagers then!
Now that I have children (21, 15 & 12) I realize more, how difficult being a mom must have been for you. Especially when I was 11 & Dad was diagnosed w/ cancer. When I was 14 and he lost that battle. And you - w/ your numerous health issues & long hospital stays. NEVER driving. Never working outside the home after you were married. And each of us kids presented you w/ additional challenges. I for one, was much too selfish & strong willed & argumentative ... & Byron with his Downs Syndrome... How ever did you do what you did? ... and how did you accept what you couldn't do?
Despite all you couldn't do, I distinctly remember you saying "Prayer is powerful." - & sensing that when you prayed, God listened. And sooo I'd often ask you to pray for me - & I knew you would (was it bc you were so grateful to be able to do something(!) for me?). And I wonder - am I now SO incredibly blessed to have it so much easier than you ever did - bc during all that time that I resented what you couldn't do for me - instead you prayed for me?!
I'm SO sorry, mom, for anything & everything I ever did - & didn't do(!) - that made your life more difficult ... & I just want to say thank you - from the bottom of my heart - for all you did(!) - which I now realize was probably done to the degree it was, in large part because of all you couldn't do.
I miss you. and I love you.
P.S. It's been over 5 yrs since you went to heaven. How I wish I could've seen your face - how shocked! & thrilled! you must've been - when your "baby"/Byron arrived there so soon after you did! Seems God waited until you (my prayer warrior!) were gone - to really bring me to my knees ... in the circumstances surrounding his death.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Joshua 24: 15b
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tho't to share some notes from yesterday's Bible Study - Living Beyond Yourself - & the song it brought to mind (above) :
Some scars remain bc others will only "believe it if they see it". They're for others to touch and gain hope for healing. In them your misery becomes your ministry.
Scars don't hurt. Wounds do. No matter how long it's been since you were wounded, if you are still hurting...you STILL need healing.
In His hands the pain & hurt look less like scars and more like ... character (Sara Groves) .
(Do you) Trust me. (?) - & more importantly - (Do you) Trust Him! (?)
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Competition seems to be the key to unlocking the passion that drives my kids to want to be really good at what they do - & therein lies the motivation (hidden treasure!) to work hard.
(Strike) My youngest (12) has never worked so hard in her life at anything as she has at pitching! Initially she lacked coordination. If you'd seen her back then you might not have believed she could ever do it well no matter how hard or how long she tried! But for years she put in countless hours during the offseasons & endured lots of sore/iced shoulders - bc she believed she could do it - & three amazing coaches - Butch (who secretly didn't think she could do it), Jodi & her Daddy only encouraged her. And her/their investment has certainly paid off - in ways that Strike's proud of & I am too! And thru' it all she's gained a healthy sense of confidence that she was lacking every bit as much as the coordination she lacked in the beginning!
I think Playmaker (15) sometimes lacks motivation to strive for excellence bc what comes naturally is usually "good enough". But - now she's playing high school softball - & tho' she's never been a pitcher, she's now the only pitcher - bc no one else is willing to be a pitcher! Long story short - it's been rough! Humbling. At times, humiliating! Physically demanding & painful! But - w/ the encouragment of her coach, teammates & family she's worked SO hard & her game is improving(!) - & I'm confident her character is too ... in part bc yesterday she did NOT want to go to school bc she did NOT(!) want to play in her game after school. I was not about to force her so I let her decide. In the end - & in tears - she could not bring herself to let her team down - & I think she pitched her best game yet!
Because the hard lessons & hard work ethic just come more naturally when my kids are competing - & since I'm such a softy when it comes to playing hardball ... I'm SO grateful for softball!
Monday, May 4, 2009
That's my brother's motto. He teaches children in Africa. Perhaps it came to mind after I watched this video (which I first saw here: It's Like Herding Cats - a pastor's life) - bc I wonder - when change seems to be the only thing that's consistent (ie. at such a time as this!) ...
Q Should we be changing the way we share the Message (The Gospel) that never changes?
A I don't know. But I tend to think we should consider new options that didn't exist until recently as new opportunities -- which in order to seize them would require doing some things differently / changing how we share (but not what/Who) we share - & inherent in these new opportunities is plenty of room for creativity toward that end.
Q Does more information mean more answers to the questions of life that really matter ... in the end?
A I don't think so. Tho' I absolutely believe that more accurate (key word here) information will provide - & IS already providing(!) - more evidence that God's Word is Truth.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher, he asked, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
What is written in the law? he replied. "How do you read it?"
He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "
"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." Mathew 10:25 - 28
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Edit: Oops...I gather this is actually probably a flowering crab tree??
Whatever it is - I think we can all agree that it's a pretty tree?! :)
11 See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
I don't know....to those who prefer a perfectly manicured lawn, these tiny pretty purple flowers that are taking over our yard probably would be. I wonder....if those same people who spend so much time & money trying to kill them, instead looked much more closely at them - would they then do what I didn't do? I just couldn't bring myself to mow them today ...so instead I went around them - & very much enjoyed watching this busy bee & his friends enjoying them SO much!
Friday, May 1, 2009
It seems whatever fruit we're studying at any given time, is my favorite & I crave it! This week it happens to be gentleness.
I invite you to Taste and see that the LORD is good (Ps. 34:8 NIV) for yourself by sharing this "recipe for Divine Fruit Salad":