I know many of my Northern friends will roll their eyes or threaten me with bodily harm, depending on where they're located and how cold it is in their area. Let me remind you all that I live in South Florida for the warm weather. Yesterday I got up, and it was 59 degrees and very windy the whole day. I don't think it got to the 70's (at least it didn't feel like it did). This morning it was 55 degrees at 6:00am, then the temps dropped 2 more degrees! Brrr!!! I had to bundle up my little boy, it was so cold. My daughter laughed at me yesterday and called me a wimp. That's because I was born and raised in New York, where this weather is considered "pleasant". This year it became official: I've lived half my life in Florida. Do I get to pick whether I'm a Noreaster or a Southern belle now? Because if I can, I want to switch over my citizenship to the South. I love it here, even on days like today when it's colder than I want it to be. And please don't tell me South Florida isn't really the South. It's as far south as you can get without running out of the country. I'm looking forward to staying here as long as I can, or until to the good Lord tells me otherwise. I'm also looking forward to the weather warming up to 74 sunny, non-humid degrees today. Oops, I better run and hide!
Here’s an interesting question to ask yourselves: If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
That’s the question we were asked this Sunday at church. As part of our New Testament Challenge, we looked at the challenge of godliness. Godliness is God’s goal for us. If we aren’t pursuing it, we’ll miss everything God has in store for us.
1 Timothy 4:7-8 tells us we must exercise ourselves towards godliness. Being godly isn’t achieved by osmosis. Godliness is the lifelong process of becoming more like Jesus. It involves our words, our actions, our thoughts and our practices.
Pastor Bob went over 4 activities for living a godly life. They are:
#1 – I need to permit God to mold me.
God wants me to be open to being molded into the person He wants me to be. Romans 12:2 tells us not to “be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. God’s will is always accomplished; whether we do it the easy way (God’s) or the hard way (our own) is up to us. How do I allow myself to be transformed by God? I need to change my worldly view. How? By changing my input. What’s going into my mind and my heart? Am I allowing myself to be influenced by others opinions, or by God’s word? Philippians 4:8-9 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” It’s important to evaluate whether the things we put into our minds and hearts (and consequently into the minds and hearts of our children) follow along these lines.
#2 – I need to protect myself from ungodliness.
It’s been said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Look at those 5. Are they what you want to be associated with? 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits”. We want to always be guarded against walking with fools and becoming like them (Proverbs 13:20). Jesus told us to take a radical approach to sin: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:29). Does this mean Christians should walk around with just one eye, pirate style? No, it means we must create safeguards in our lives to prevent making bad choices. Television isn’t a bad thing, but are we spending more time in front of the idiot box than with our bible? The internet has great resources; are we online seeking to get closer to God, or going into websites that we wouldn’t want anyone to know we visit?
#3 – I need to pursue godly activities.
How do I accomplish this? By getting to know Jesus better, through prayer, fellowship, bible reading, serving, giving, all these forms of worship. We can attain this relationship with Jesus through His divine power (2 Peter 1:3).
#4 – I need to plan times of evaluation.
Okay, so I’m allowing God to mold me, protecting myself from ungodliness and pursuing godly activities. Done, right? Wrong. We’re told that experience is the best teacher; in truth evaluated experience is the best teacher. Think of all the people who continue making the same mistakes over and over again. We need to slow down and ask God if He’s pleased with the road we’re taking. 2 Corinthians 13:5 – “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.” I know I never want to be disqualified. We need to take the time to see where we are in our walk with God, always looking for ways to improve and draw closer to Him.
Let’s face it, godliness is a spiritual endeavor; we cannot do it with human strength. It takes discipline, reaching out to our Savior, and seeking godliness with our whole heart.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” – Titus 2:11-13.
So I ask you, if you were arrested today for being a Christian, would you be guilty? I hope we can all hold our heads up high and scream, “Yes, Guilty!”
Outside my Window...there is a nip in the air. It's actually beginning to feel like fall! It was 69 degrees this morning and is supposed to get down to the 50's tonight. It rained quite a bit since last Thursday but there's no humidity in the air now.
I am thinking...what a great message about godliness at church yesterday. I think I'll post about it this week.
From the learning rooms...my son E is turning in his campaign poster today. It turned out really cute.
I am thankful for...my daughter coming down from college this weekend! I've missed her so much. It was so nice to spend some time with her. Of course saying goodbye was painful, but I'm thankful for the time we had.
From the kitchen...easy chicken & stuffing in the crock pot.
I am wearing...a long sleeved gray top, capri jeans and flip flops. I know, long sleeves & flip flops seem contradictory, but this is South Florida.
I am reading...Luke and Galatians, and still haven't finished The Purpose Driven Life.
I am hoping...the weather continues to be as nice as it is today.
I am creating...a costume for Awana this week. E has to dress up as a biblical character. Still working on it though.
I am hearing...my son. He's quite the chatterbox this morning.
Around the house...most everything is done, though I have bathrooms and light cleaning. Maybe I'll get to the closets today.
One of my favorite things...is opening up the windows on cool days and airing out the house. The air conditioner is a great thing, but nothing beats fresh air.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...small groups tomorrow, and I'd like to get to the polls this week, though the lines to vote have been atrocious.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...Happy Halloween!
IMO, neither candidate will be able to fix the economy anytime soon, and both will blame the previous administration for all our financial troubles. Rather than try to decide which candidate can get us out of the money pit we're in, I'm going to look at character, and values. Ask yourself: if we weren't in the economical struggle we're in now, who would you vote for?
For Today... Outside my Window...it is 69 degrees!! We had a cold front come in Sunday and the weather has cooled off. I know my northern friends are rolling their eyes, but for us Floridians, this weather is quite chilly. Hopefully it'll last. There's hardly any humidity and the air feels crisp. I am thinking...about the busyness of the week. So much to do, so little time! From the learning rooms...E's teacher has given the class an assignment from the county's website. He's worked on it for over 3 hours and isn't done yet. Who knows, we may be homeschooling our children in the future, like it or not. I am thankful for...feeling better. I don't know if I've actually passed the kidney stone, but I'm going to assume that I have, since I don't have anymore pain. From the kitchen...stuffed chayote squash. It's something my mom used to make. The squash is light green and heart shaped. I cut it in half so that I have 2 heart shaped halves, boils them till their al dente, then scoop out the insides and cook them up with ground beef. I stuff the mixture back into the squash, add a bread crumb topping, and bake at 350 degrees for about 5-10 minutes. Delicious and nutritious. I am wearing...a long burgundy housedress with yellow flower embroidery. They're made in my husband's country (Nicaragua) and are very light and comfortable. It's really early, not even 7:30am yet. I'll change in a little while.
I am reading...Mark and 1 Corinthians. I am hoping...that these kidney stones go away and never come back. I am creating...this blog post. I am hearing...the hum of the computer and the ceiling fan. It's really quiet. Around the house...Monday is bathroom cleaning day, plus there's laundry and general cleanup to be done. I'm also hoping to continue with closet cleaning. One of my favorite things...is my neighborhood. It's a nice quiet development. My neighbors are such nice people. I think of so many who are in constant battle with their neighbors, and I consider myself blessed. A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...still working on the bathroom quote (ugh!). Small groups tomorrow, urologist on Wednesday. Plus there's a big surprise for the weekend but I can't say anything yet - I'm sworn to secrecy! Guess everyone will just have to wait. Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...I keep forgetting to post the pics of the boy's bedroom. It really turned out much nicer than I expected. Let's see if I get that done this week.
A little over a month ago, I mentioned feeling under the weather and suffering from a mild UTI (urinary tract infection). I’d had them before, and antibiotics would normally knock them out within a few days. I mentioned what was going on to my sister, and she said something to the effect of, “Just as long as it isn’t kidney stones!”
Famous last words.
Now, I know that my little sister loves me and wouldn’t purposefully jinx me. The reason she made the comment was because she’d recently gone through an episode of kidney stones that was extremely painful. And I would never hold it against my sister if in fact I did have kidney stones, because I love her to death and know she only has good intentions for me. Still…
After taking the round of antibiotics, I still wasn’t feeling 100%. I came home from church one evening with an excruciating pain on my left side. The pain was so intense it made me puke. A short while afterwards the pain went away, and I attributed it to a stomach virus (I’d just thrown up, the pain went away, it all made sense). About a week later I went through the same thing, only I didn’t throw up, just had the pain which was scary. The next day I went to see my doctor. After explaining all that had happened, she determined it may be a kidney stone. She immediately ordered blood work, urine tests, and an x-ray to see if the stone was large enough to be visible. I went in to have the x-ray done, but by the time the results were in (just 3 days later) the pain had subsided. There was nothing visible in the x-ray, and the doctor said more than likely it had been a kidney stone and I’d passed it. She did warn me that if it happened again I should come in immediately or go to the emergency room where a scan would determine what in fact was causing the pain.
Since then I’ve had a few episodes of minor pain. I say a few episodes, but really it was happening about once a week. I didn’t go back to the doctor because after being laid off we were getting the paperwork together to get health insurance through my husband’s job and it hadn’t been finalized yet. I just prayed the pain would go away, and if it was something serious that at least we’d have insurance before I had to go to the hospital. Pain relievers were doing the trick for the most part, and I put up with the issue as best as I could.
Monday the insurance cards came in the mail (Hallelujah!). Yesterday, the pain started again. I couldn’t find the ibuprophen so I took a couple of acetaminophen instead. As I was cooking I kept having to sit down because the pain was getting worse. I finished preparing lunch and lay down. When my hubby got home I was already in intense pain. He asked if I’d taken pain meds. I told him I had but the pain was getting worse. There were moments I’d get up, and he’d tell me, “just lay down”, but I couldn’t. There was no position that was comfortable, and I was in tears from the pain. He was on and off the phone with his sales people, and watching me squirm with pain. He asked me if I needed to go to the doctor or if I wanted to go to the hospital. At that point I just screamed, “Doctor, hospital, anywhere, I can’t take this anymore!” My oldest son R rushed me to the emergency room as hubby stayed behind (he was still working and someone had to stay and wait for E to come home from school. Hubby was on the phone with me every few minutes). The great thing is that the hospital is close by, and they took care of me right away. After explaining to the doctor what was going on, they ran a CT scan. Sure enough, there was the kidney stone, 4mm in diameter and getting ready to descend into my bladder. Okay, doc, what next? A young doctor, he smiled politely and said, “You’re going to have to pee it out.” Gee, thanks doc.
So, let’s talk about my blessings (at a time like this?!? Absolutely). Had the stone been 5mm in diameter, they would have kept me in the hospital. Not the most pleasant thought in my mind. Instead they sent me home with some coffee-like filters so as to try and capture the stone once in leaves my body. The thought of it made me gag, but the doctor explained that if they have the stone it can be analyzed and they can figure out why my kidney is forming stones in the first place. I was also prescribed more pain meds, and warned that there are more kidney stones, just a lot smaller. I think of all the terrible diseases I could be facing, deadly or even terminal diseases. In that context, kidney stones aren’t so bad. And most important, I know what it is that’s causing the pain, rather than having to stay in the hospital undergoing massive amounts of tests and not knowing the outcome. I think for me that would have been much worse. So I’m home, praise the Lord, though to my knowledge I haven’t passed the stone yet. I’ll make an appointment today to see a urologist and hopefully get to the bottom of this. Or maybe this will be a “thorn in the flesh”, as the apostle Paul calls it. I’m just thankful to the Lord that I’m alive and, for the most part, healthy. I’m also thankful for my sister; though I hope next time she’ll keep her funny little "prophetic" comments to herself ;-) (love ya sis!).
This week our small group was discussing going through difficult times and why God allows His people to suffer. The apostle Paul speaks of having a thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7) which God wouldn’t take away. James writes, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2-3). We are made stronger when we go through difficult times. It produces character, patience, endurance, and hope. It isn’t pleasant at the time, but the lessons learned from hard times makes us who we are (Hebrews 12:11).
From this lesson we began looking at the economy and the situation not only our country but the world is going through. After examining what we know, it was easy to see what has brought us into this mess: greed.
Banks became greedy when they began giving out loans to people without first verifying if the loans could be paid off. Rather than qualifying borrowers based on the mortgage they were offering, they approved them, then advised, “Come back in three years and we’ll refinance your loan at a lower fixed rate.” Now, banks can’t afford to refinance. Why? Because people are defaulting on those very loans they couldn’t pay off. They’re losing jobs, losing homes, and the banks are losing money. All because they wanted to make more money.
Are the borrowers to blame? Certainly! My husband and I purchased our home in 2000. Prices were still moderate at the time, though the climb had already started. Still, we were able to buy our brand spanking new 1700 square foot home for less that $145,000. As home values started rising, my husband commented that we could sell our home, make a substantial profit, and purchase a bigger, better home. I prayed about this, and God showed me what kind of debt we’d be getting ourselves into. Taxes would be triple what we were currently paying, our insurance would skyrocket, and our mortgage would probably be twice what we were paying on our current house. I prayed some more before showing my hubby the numbers. Thankfully he, like me, thought this was insanity and we were just fine where we were. Unfortunately many homeowners didn’t see it this way. They had fine homes, but they wanted bigger, more amenities, more upgrades, more modern, which in turn means more expensive. When the banks offered adjustable rate mortgages and promised they could refinance in 3-5 years, their judgment was clouded by their desire to have more, and homeowners got themselves into debt higher than they could afford. Add to that the increase in our gas prices and the general cost of living increase that accompanied it, and there are now families losing their homes by the hundreds. This isn’t something to be taken lightly. For most American families, their home is the largest investment they own. Losing a home cripples not only the family but, as we now see, our entire economy. All because it wasn’t enough. All because of greed.
My prayer now is that, as people experience this hardship, they will realize what went wrong, and instead of turning to politicians to fix the problems in the economy, they will look at their own life and learn to be content with what God has given us. Because the truth of the matter is, Americans are extremely blessed to live in a free country. Our homes are larger than anywhere. We have food, clothing, hospitals and medicines. Many people around the world don’t have a tenth of what America has, yet they live more content than Americans do. We need to look at our lives and shift our priorities. What’s most important in your life?
Outside my Window...The sun is finally out. Daylight Savings time doesn't start till November 2, and it's not a moment too soon. I hate that the sun doesn't rise till 7:30am.
I am thinking...about family, friends, all the people that love me. I love them too!
From the learning rooms...E has a project to work on this week. He has to make up a campaign poster, if he was running for president. Need a slogan of some sort.
I am thankful for...so much that I've had to start posting about it. Can't fit that many blessings on just this meme!
From the kitchen...trying a new recipe today, scalloped chicken & pasta. My son R found it and asked me to try it out. Let's see what the family thinks...
I am wearing...a dark green striped v-neck top, light blue denim capris and flip flops.
I am reading...finished Matthew and Acts, started Romans.
I am hoping...to get alot of stuff done today.
I am creating...this blog post.
I am hearing...the hum of the computer and my son's breathing. He's still asleep.
Around the house...bathrooms. Got most everything else done, including painting the boys room. Will get pics of that posted this week.
One of my favorite things...is fall. I've started decorating but I need my son to get a box down from the attic (which he dreads) so I can add more stuff. Just think: next month Thanksgiving, then Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...still don't have the bathroom quote. Gotta get that done this week. Small groups tomorrow. Other than that, it's shaping up to be a quiet week (famous last words!!)
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...I don't have them now but should have them later in the week, which is the boys room. Look out for that!
Looking back at the day and realizing our blessings makes me grateful to my Lord and Savior for all He does for me. It's a way to worship and praise Him from whom all blessings flow.
1 - I went to the unemployment office today. I've never received unemployment compensation in my life, so I didn't know what to expect. The gentleman was kind and explained my benefits to me. When he asked about going back to work, I explained that I'd been seeking employment for over a year with no success, and now that I'm home I've realized that the Lord wants me to spend more time tending to my home and family, so I won't consider anything that isn't part time. I figured that might get a not-too-happy response. Instead he said, "Well, the Lord knows best." I was so encouraged by his answer! I had been so worried about what this orientation was going to be like, and God assured me, yet again because it seems I just don't get it, that He is in control and keeping me where He wants me to be.
2 - Afterwards I went grocery shopping. Since I'm not working I'm learning to be even more frugal with money, understanding more than ever what it means to be good stewards of what God has given us. I'm happy to say I spent $100.09 total for the week to feed a family of 4, of which 3 are males with healthy appetites. I was also blessed when I went to put gas in my car, to see that gas at our local Costco is $3.22/gallon. Price is going down! But this is more than just about spending money wisely. I realize that many people in this world, even in our own nation, don't have food to put on their tables. Do you know that most households around the world don't own a car? Yet God has blessed my family with three. What about homes? Americans complain about the size of their homes, yet in most countries my 1700 square foot home is a mansion. To me, it's a haven for my family, where there's always an abundance of love to go around, and that's a huge blessing.
3 - I got home and started cooking right away. Lunch was almost done when my dh got home, starving as he usually is. What a blessing to be home when he gets here, to be able to serve him his meal and see him eat heartily and enjoy every bite. Makes my heart sing.
4 - I threw a load of laundry into the washing machine, then the dryer. No washing by hand and hanging outside to dry on a rainy afternoon. I know I appreciate having the modern conveniences of the home (whoever invented the dishwasher, I have 2 words: Thank You!).
5 - After painting the boys room and getting everything reorganized, I mentioned to my youngest son that it would be a good idea to weed out all his unused toys to give away. He actually came home from school and told me he was ready to start. And he did a great job; I put out 2 laundry baskets, one for keepers and one for give away. He filled up the give away basket, and not with broken useless toys. He even wanted to put some of his toys in the shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. I had to explain to him that only new toys in their original packages could be sent to these disadvantaged children. After all, would he want someone else's old toys for Christmas? He was very understanding, and I was touched by his spirit of giving and sharing. It's moments like this that I can see how God's word and teachings are impacting his young life. I can't think of a better blessing.
1 - I'm thankful that after 28 years of working outside the home, I get to be a stay at home wife and mother, dedicated primarily to the care of my home and family.
2 - I'm thankful for my husband who works hard to support our family and has assured me over and over that I'm not to worry about money even though I'm not working.
3 - I'm thankful for 3 great kids, true blessings from heaven. I'm thankful that my oldest son still lives at home, my daughter is away at college but still makes time to go to church twice a week, and my youngest son is trying so hard to do his best in school. I couldn't ask for a better family.
4 - I'm thankful for my friend LN. She's in my small group again, and was actually the only one who showed up today (the others had valid excuses). We still had our Bible study together and were able to share our hearts and pray for each other. Friends like her are such a blessing.
5 - I'm thankful for our church. The Lord led me to this church 5 years ago and I've learned and grown so much here.
6 - I'm thankful for children's ministry. Boy do I love those kids! I get to teach them every 3 weeks which is service to my church, but sometimes I feel like I'm cheating because I get more out of it than the kids do.
7 - I'm thankful for budgets. I've written everything out on a spreadsheet and by God's grace we are able to live on one income so long as we stick to the budget. Thank God we were able to pay off all the debt we could before I got laid off. Other than one small monthly bill all our other debt is current (house payment, phones, electric, that sort of thing). Once I chose to trust the Lord with our finances and not worry about it, everything fell into place.
Okay, I said 5 and ended up with 7. I can't help it, I am so Blessed!! But I'll save some for another post. Gotta say, just looking at these few reasons I have to be thankful has filled me with joy and gratitude to my Maker. He is Truly Good.
Remember how parents and grandparents always talked about “the good ole days”? How things were better when they were growing up? How a 5 pound bag of sugar only cost $.05? “Those were simpler times,” they’d say. I would get SO tired of hearing about it, I’d gag. I vowed never to bore my children with such stories.
Well, I’m gonna come right out and admit it: I’m 44 years old. I can look back and see the difference between today and some years ago. But it’s different from the comparisons my mom used to make.
Let’s go back just 10 years ago. Had you heard the word “blog”? Keeping an online journal was not a popular concept. Yet here I am.
How about 15 years ago? Most people didn’t have a home computer, and if they did they probably had lots of money ‘cause computers were expensive! Now, computers are even available at Wal-mart. No one is surprised to see a computer (or 2 or 3) in a home. Most people didn’t have cell phones, either. Yes, they were around, but they were big, bulky, and it cost something like $5.00 a minute to make a local call. Most of us carried around a beeper. Sure, just 5 years prior to that only doctors had beepers, for emergencies. Then salespeople started carrying them around; teens had them so their parents could hound them whenever they went out. Yet today beepers don’t even exist, and most of us won’t leave the house before making sure we have our cell phones fully charged and in our possession.
Technology sure has changed things. Have they gotten better? In some ways, yes. The internet has made research readily available and right at our fingertips. There isn’t a topic that isn’t covered on the ‘net. People keep in contact with email, AIM, and a host of websites like myspace and Facebook, not to mention online photo albums. Cell phones allow us to go out knowing we can be contacted in any emergency, and we in turn can get help whenever we need it. In the “olden days”, if your car broke down on the expressway, you had to pull over, WALK to the nearest exit, get off the expressway ON FOOT, and see if there was a payphone available so you could call a family member or tow truck. Now, we can simply call from the comfort of our car, which keeps us from putting our lives in danger.
Convenient, yes. But has it cost us anything? Take a walk to the library. When I was a teen, the libraries were always full. Students went there to study and look up all different topics in the encyclopedia. There was reading time for the little children. Anyone could just sit around for hours buried in a good book. Now, research is done quick and easy on the computer. So what do we do with all the extra time we have? Watch television, play video games, and in the case of many young people, go on undesirable websites without their parent’s knowledge. The internet has great resources; it also has trash galore. And it seems like the trash is overpowering the good stuff.
What about cell phones? It’s amazing how we can call or text anyone, anywhere, all over the world, with this tiny little cordless gadget. We don’t even have to be home to use it; it works just about everywhere. So, if technology like the internet and cell phones can keep us in touch with the world, why are there still people living in poverty, even in our own country? Why are people starving? Why is our economy in the dumps? Looking at all the accomplishments of the 21st century, one would think the problems of the world would be solved. Yet it appears that, no matter how much more we know, our capacity to care has stayed stagnant, or waned.
My children posed a question years ago that made me feel like an antique. “Mom,” they asked, “what movies did grandma rent for you when you were a little girl?” I can still see the looks on their faces when I told them we didn’t have VCR’s when I was little. You’d think I’d been raised in Bedrock. I also explained to them that cartoon channels didn’t exist either. No Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, or Disney Channel. Disney was a show on Sunday nights at 8:00 pm, right after Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom (remember that?). Cartoons were on from 7:00 – 9:00 in the morning, and from 3:00 – 5:00 in the afternoon. Shocked and dismayed, my children asked, “What did you watch all day?” “Nothing,” I told them, “we just played.” A novel concept to many, I’m sure.
It’s not just the fact that cartoons were limited, though. It was the quality of the programs. When I was very small, 4 or 5 years old, back in the days when moms didn’t work and kids stayed home until they started half-day kindergarten, there was a television program called Romper Room. It was pre-school on TV. There were 2 teachers, and a guy dressed up as a bumblebee. He was known as the Do-Bee. He’d teach stuff like, “Do be a kind person, don’t be selfish”. There would be something like 15 – 20 children in a classroom setting, and they’d play games, tell stories, and like most schools at the time, have snacks. All the children would sit down for cookies and milk, but before they could have their treat they would pray. Yes, you read correctly, pray. And no, this wasn’t a Christian network. There were none in NYC. This was a regular network channel. The prayer was simple and to the point: “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food. Amen.” Obviously, the prayer wasn’t any discourse on doctrine. There was no great theology behind it. It made 3 important statements: that God is great, that God is good, and that God provided the food that was about to be eaten and therefore He should be thanked. As simple as it seems, here I am 40 years later and I still remember it. More notably, no one was offended by it. There were no protests because pre-school children were being taught prayer on TV.
When I got to be school aged, my mother sent me to public school in New York City. We had a very strict but very loving Christian music teacher named Mrs. Brown. I know she was a Christian because, in our music class in our New York City public school, she taught us hymns. Let me make that clear again. This was not a private school. It was not a Christian school, it was not a Catholic school. It was public school. We would have assemblies for the students, teachers and parents, and the children would proudly sing, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”. Parents would clap and cheer. Teachers would smile happily. Children would be beaming with joy. Now, kids aren’t even allowed to pray in public schools.
Maybe I’ve gotten old. Maybe I just don’t get it. We’re advanced now, aren’t we? We’re so much farther ahead than our parents and grandparents, right? So tell me, why does my heart desire those simpler times?
For Today... Outside my Window...The sun is blazing once more. We got so much rain this weekend it created a small pool in our backyard. It's gone now, and the weather has cooled in the mornings to the mid 70's.
I am thinking...of tomorrow's small group meeting. First one for our group. From the learning rooms...my son is reading to me every night for 1/2 hour, in hopes that his reading will speed up. He's the only one of my children that doesn't enjoy reading. I am thankful for...the incredible amount of blessings I receive from my Father each day. He really does love me! From the kitchen...chili. I love chili, as do the boys in the house. I am wearing...pink tank top, pink shorts, pink flip flops. It's pink day. I am reading...still doing Purpose Driven Life, Matthew and Acts for New Testament Challenge. I am hoping...my small group feels comfortable in my home. I am creating...this blog post. I am hearing...the air conditioner. It's gonna be pretty hot out today, 88 degrees for the high. Around the house...Monday's is bathroom cleaning day, plus laundry and general cleaning. One of my favorite things...is saving money at the grocery store. I went to our local Winn-Dixie, and between BOGO's and coupons, I saved $45 and spent $41. That's right, I saved more than I spent. Yippee! A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...gotta find someone to get a quote on the bathroom tiles, still haven't had a chance to paint the boy's room, and a visit to the unemployment compensation office on Friday. Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
My friend sent this to me, about the state of our economy. I just couldn't resist.
It's been an action packed week for me. Monday morning I met with E's teachers, and thank the Lord he's doing well. The teachers gave me some recommendations to help my son at home which I am trying to incorporate. I may not be a homeschooling mom but I can do my best to teach him while he's home with me. After that I took my car to Sears and had a new battery put in. The car didn't want to start, and although my hubby checked everything and got it going again it was plain to see the car was having issues. One new battery later my car is running like new. I'm so thankful our cars are paid for. The Lord fixed it so my hubby's car would be paid off before I got laid off. It made for a smoother financial transition.
Tuesday I took E for a desperately needed haircut and then to buy a costume for Halloween. Now, let me make it clear that I'm not advocating Halloween. Personally, I never liked it and don't care for it now. My son, however, loves dressing up, and his father insists on his little boy having the same things other kids do. So, I try to make sure the costume isn't something I find offensive. The little booger wanted to be a ninja; I convinced him to get the white costume because these are presumably the good guys. It gets hard to rear your child in the ways of the Lord when your spouse doesn't back you up. My husband isn't saved yet. I specify yet because I have faith in the Lord that my husband will one day seek Him and accept Him as his Lord and Savior. We can never lose faith. My small group was supposed to start up this week but one of our ladies had a doctor's appointment and another was out of town, so we're going to get started next week. On a positive note, another dear lady from our church signed up, so now our group is 5 women. Yay!! Praise the Lord!
Yesterday I ran around town doing all kinds of errands. The tiles around the bathtub in our master bath have been loosening for some time, and yesterday they started coming off so my hubby finished taking them out. I bleached the area twice (I have this fear of mold) and now there is a huge gaping hole just above the tub. So I went looking for tiles and found a store a few towns over that has a similar tile. Now I have to wait till Monday to get an estimate for the repairs so that hopefully our insurance company can help pay for it. When I got home I baked a pumpkin spice cake which I've been dying for. It may feel like summer outside, but inside my house smelled like fall.
Today was the first day I was able to stay home and get some much needed cleaning done. I was a whirlwind, going from room to room. I also got a couple of loads of laundry done. Then I sanded and started restaining our family room coffee table. It's so scratched and stained, it looked like I'd pulled it out of the dump. It still looks a bit "distressed" but hopefully I can get it to look like new.
Tomorrow I'm going in for training. I'm going to work at this year's election. I figured, one day that I go out there and make a few bucks while helping out in the community should be fun. It'll also be a good opportunity to serve, which is part of our New Testament Challenge at church. We're to find one person each day we can serve. When you're at home all day, like me, you get to serve your family, but every chance is a chance to show kindness and serve someone. So if I step out of the house I look for a way to be of service. It's another form of worship, and it glorifies God, which is why we're here in the first place.
Whew, I get tired just reading all the activities I've got going on! Whenever I look at my schedule, I remember how blessed I am to have so much. I have the ability to serve my family as a stay at home wife & mom. I have the opportunity to serve my church family by teaching in children's ministry and leading a small group. Best of all, I have the blessing of a Father who wants to have a relationship with me. I can't imagine how life on this earth could get any better.
I'm first and foremost a Bible believing Christian. I'm a mother of 3, learning to deal with the changes God is doing in my life, learning to lean on Him and trust Him even when I don't understand, and learning to accept the changes He sees fit to accomplish His purpose in my life.
"I can't imagine anything more terrible than getting to the end of my life only to discover that God had so much more in mind for me - more freedom, more joy, more peace, more true effectiveness. And I had missed it all, simply because I refused to change." - Joanna Weaver, Having a Mary Spirit.
"In every change He faithful will remain." - Katharina von Schlegel
"Nothing paralyzes our lives like the attitude that things can never change. We need to remind ourselves that God can change things. Outlook determines outcome. If we see only the problems, we will be defeated; but if we see the possibilities in the problems, we can have victory." - Warren Wiersbe
Bible Verse of the Day
In the Kitchen This Week
Monday - black bean and beef chili, white rice, cornbread
Tuesday - crock pot jambalaya, white rice
Wednesday - Christmas Eve: turkey with all the fixin's
Thursday - Christmas Day: leftovers
Friday - tilapia, plantains, rice with veggies, salad