Saturday, December 18, 2010

REVERT (verb) 1:To go back to a previous state;

This week, the kids and I ran into our former pastor at Walmart.  No, not THAT former pastor... but the one who replaced him.  It was amazing how I instantly reverted back to the person I was when I was a member of his church.  As soon as he saw us, he walked over and hugged me.  I hugged him back.  I didn't even think twice about it.  After talking to him for a few minutes and then going our separate ways, my nephew said, "You should have told him that you don't hug anymore."

Good point.  Too bad the fact that I no longer hug non-related men didn't even cross my mind until he said that.

As I thought about it later, it reminded me of something that happened with my niece almost a year ago.  (Some background:  My son went to the same Christian school from Kindergarten until graduation.  My niece and nephew went to public school until the year after my son graduated, and then they started attending his old school.  They were there for two years, and then went to a very small Baptist school for a semester, and have been home schooled ever since.)

Last winter, we went to their old school to watch my son in the yearly Alumni basketball game, where the alumni play against the current team.  We had been very unhappy with the person that my niece was when she attended that school, and so I was concerned about how things were going to go with us seeing her former friends/schoolmates.  At that point, they had been away from that school and those friends for nine months.  I remember thinking that nine months is the amount of time that it takes to get a new life (pregnancy), and hoping that it was also a sufficient amount of time for their "new life" to have changed them.

It was amazing how quickly she reverted back to that old person.  After the game was over, we were standing in the middle of the court talking to my son and his friends, and some girls came over to talk to her.  She INSTANTLY got "the look" on her face.  The best description that comes to mind is "haughty".  When she was in public school and in the first Christian school, she had this LOOK that would always be on her face whenever she was with her friends or being corrected by an adult.

It was absolutely amazing to see how quickly that look popped onto her face.  It was instantaneous.  But the good news is that she and I had talked about the whole issue ahead of time, and she seemed to have been putting a lot of thought into not wanting to fall back into her old ways... and so when we were at the game and I saw "the look", I said "Put your eyebrows down" and she said "Sorry" and changed her expression.  I cannot begin to tell you what a huge amount of growth in maturity that was for her!  In all the years that she would have that look on her face, she would always deny knowing what I was talking about when I would correct her for it.  So this really felt like a huge victory.  :)

I love it when God shows me deeper truths through seemingly small real-life examples.  The example of K last year at the basketball game, and me the other day at Walmart, have taught me a few lessons.  (If you can think of any others, please comment!)

  • "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners" (1 Corinthians 15:33)  In this verse, "communications" means "company" or "companions."  I'm not necessarily suggesting that none of K's friends from her former school were saved, but I am suggesting that every single one of them acted like the world, and acted absolutely no different than how you would expect public school kids to act.  And I'm certainly not suggesting that my former pastor is evil company.  He loves the Lord very much and it shows.  And if I had told him that I no longer hug non-related men, I have NO doubt that he would have respected that. But what I am suggesting is that if a companion consistently causes me to lower my standards, that is a companion that I probably should not be spending much time with.
  • But really, the blame comes down to ourselves.  Those friends did not force K to act in a certain way for two years, and to stumble when seeing them after nine months of being apart.  My former pastor did not force me to hug him.  This reminds me of an example I've heard before.  When someone squeezes a ketchup bottle, ketchup comes out.  The reason that the ketchup is coming out is because the ketchup was in the bottle to begin with!  Just like when peer pressure squeezes a child and rebellion comes out.  The rebellion couldn't have come out if it hadn't been there to begin with.  Or with anger.  If someone "causes me to lose my temper," did they really cause it? Hatefulness wouldn't come out of me if it weren't already there.  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  Matthew 12:34b
  • The two examples that I have given are very different. The example about my niece is an example of someone who was made aware of a persistent sin in her life, and was aware of the upcoming temptation.  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us... Hebrews 12:1a.  She knew ahead of time that this would be an issue, and so she had time to pray and think about it ahead of time, and to make a plan.  (Her plan of attack was to sit with us and try not to talk to anyone, and she did a pretty good job of it!) I had been praying about it and had asked a couple of others to be praying about it.  Things went pretty well, but even when they didn't go well, she was willing to change and was easily corrected.    
  • In the other example, I was pretty much blindsided.  I didn't know it was coming, and I wasn't prepared for it. This is my own fault!  I need to be aware of my standards to the point of them being as a second nature to me.  I wouldn't "forget" that I don't wear pants, and "accidentally" buy a pair of them!  So I'm not sure why I would forget about the hugging issue.  I suppose it's because the dressing issue is an every day issue, and the hugging is not.  But regardless, it has taught me that I need to be more aware of what I believe, and more mindful of what standards I have chosen to follow.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Frugal Friday!

Just when my three blog readers had given up on Frugal Friday, it rises from the ashes like a phoenix! Ok, well maybe not. But I received this email offer today and I thought it was too good to not share. :)

For today only, WholesomeChildhood is offering a bundle of 13 pdf cooking books for $5.99. It's available to the first 500 customers only. I'm ordering it, and I think several of my two blog readers (haha) might be interested in the Classic books (old-fashioned type). They look so cute! They are storybook/cookbooks that appear to be old-fashioned stories about girls learning how to cook, etc.

* The Homeschool Family Favorites Cookbook
* Homeschool Kids in the Kitchen
* Hands On Recipes for Homeschool Kids
* The Big Book of Christmas Treats
* 100 Fun Food Recipes for Creative Cooks
* The Mary Frances Cookbook: Adventures Among the Kitchen People
* A Little Cookbook for a Little Girl
* A Little Candy Book for a Little Girl
* Six Little Cooks or Aunt Jane's Cooking Class
* When Mother Lets Us Cook
* The Fun of Cooking: A Story for Boys and Girls
* The Big Brownies Cookbook
* The Big Banana Cookbook

Here's the link! I was quite excited when I realized that today is Friday and I could pawn this off as a Frugal Friday post. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wow.

I saw this obituary a few years ago and have never forgotten it. (I've changed the names.)

John Doe, 67, of Kansas City, KS, died Friday, March 23, 2007 at KU Medical Center. An Agnostic Infidel gone to a place he didn't believe exists. John was born November 21, 1939 in Sutherland, NE to John and Jane Doe. He graduated from Hershey High School in 1958 and the University of Nebraska with a B.S. degree in 1964. He received his Master's Degree from the University of Iowa at Cedar Falls in 1968 and his Pharmacy Degree from the University of Kansas at Lawrence in 1983. He was a long time chemistry teacher at Kansas City Kansas Community College and a part-time pharmacist in Kansas City. Survivors include 2 sisters, Jill Doe and June Doe; and a brother Jonathon Doe.

I wish I knew the story behind it. Are they implying that their loved one is in Hell? Or do they believe that even an "agnostic infidel" would end up in Heaven?

If it's the former, and it was done as a witnessing tool, rather than an "I told him so!"... I'm beyond impressed. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to have an unsaved family member die and to be bold enough to announce to the world that I believe him to now be in Hell. And if it's the latter, and they believe that he's now enjoying Heaven? Well, I'm beyond saddened.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Five Years Ago...

I've been contemplating this post for awhile. I'm sure the majority of my blog readers are members of my church family, and I’ve alluded to this story about my former pastor a few times to some of them, but have yet to tell it. I figure the five year anniversary is as good a time as any. In the past year, I have finally gotten to the point where I can talk about it without crying, but I'd rather not chance it... and so therefore, I've decided to blog about it. This would be a good time to mention that if you are a child or young adult reading my blog, please get the ok from your parents before you read this story.

Five years ago this month, my pastor fell.

He fell hard.

And the fall reverberates in the lives of many still to this day; and in some, it will affect them every day for the rest of their lives.

It was five years ago this month that my pastor and his wife (my good friend 'Karen') suddenly left town without warning to go back to the state where they are from. My bible study group (which his wife was leading) speculated that something must have happened with some of their family members back in that state.

The Sunday after they returned, he sat in the congregation. I just assumed that was because they had been out of town and that he hadn't had time to prepare a sermon. Another man in the church (who later became the pastor) preached that day, and afterward asked all of us who were members or regular attendees to stay after, and all visitors were dismissed. I remember thinking how awkward that seemed, and how rude it must sound to any visitors we might have had. And I remember feeling scared. I knew something was wrong but I didn't know what, and I didn't have any guesses as to what it might be.

I am changing the names here, but when I heard the words, " 'Dave' is resigning as pastor due to falling into a sin, and the 'Johnsons' have left the church and will not be returning,” I literally felt as though I was going to die. I can't even describe the feeling. A lot of it is still a blur.

I remember immediately starting to cry.

I remember people handing me kleenex after kleenex.

I remember thinking how strange the church would seem without the 'Johnsons', who were such a big part of the church.

I remember having the strangest, most naive thought. "Maybe Dave punched ‘Bob’. Maybe something like that happened and they don't feel that they can go to church together anymore." Hoping beyond hope that maybe there wasn't any scandal involved. Hoping that this was something that could be cleared up and would just go away. And then a panicky feeling that Dave had had an affair with Bob's wife, or even with Bob himself. (The latter is not a conclusion that I would normally jump to, but my mind was racing, and both possibilities seemed equally impossible for me to believe.)

I remember my brother-in-law and me being the only ones to go over to our pastor and his wife and hug them after the announcement was made and how relieved they were for someone to come over to them.

The next thing I remember is me, my brother-in-law, and my then-teenaged-son sitting at home in our kitchen in shock. I remember the moment that it all became clear to us, and how our reactions were almost comical, but NOT at all comical. I remember saying that I didn't think that it could have been a physical relationship, because Bob's wife 'Paula' had just had a baby a few weeks prior, and surely she was not in a physical relationship so soon after giving birth.

And just like that, as if being struck by lightning, we understood. We reacted like dominoes. I remember saying "Oh." as the whole situation finally hit me. And then an "Oh!" from my brother-in-law. And then an "OH MAN!!!" from my son. It had finally all fallen into place, and we knew the ugly truth, which was later confirmed to us: Our pastor was the father of Paula's one-month-old baby.

Paula was not just any church member. She was Karen's best friend. Their children were all extremely close. Paula's husband, who had no reason to doubt that the baby was his, suddenly was faced with the realization that the baby did not belong to him. Imagine loving "your" baby and then suddenly discovering that he's not your baby... and that the biological dad is planning on taking on the "daddy" role.

You can imagine the devastation. I can't even describe the feelings. I cried for MONTHS. I specifically remember the night after finding out, I woke up in the middle of the night and having that sensation of not remembering for a moment and then the memory of it coming crashing down on me and me saying "Oh, Dave" and just WEEPING.

Life became an absolute mess. Karen was suddenly without a best friend, and I was honored to pick that role up. We spent months discussing everything... all the ups and downs... and there were MANY ups and downs. Our church as a whole was not forgiving of Dave. The majority of the church believed that he was not repentant, since he was caught in this sin by his wife, rather than coming forward with it himself. This led to numerous discussions and hurt feelings between various members. It also led to our family temporarily leaving the church in order to escape the ongoing drama. We began to go to a large church in which you could easily remain pretty anonymous... which is exactly what we needed at that time. We needed to be in church, and we weren't convinced that we were permanently leaving our church. And since there was no possible way that I could answer the polite questions that you get as a visitor to a small church without bursting into tears... I figured anonymity was the way to go.

Our pastor came with us. The weird feeling I experienced seeing him in the congregation on the day that his resignation was announced was nothing in comparison to the strangeness of sitting side by side with him in a whole different church.

In the months that followed the fallout, plenty happened. We kept going to church together at the mega-anonymous-church, and after it became clear that the majority of our church strongly believed that Karen should kick Dave out and didn't mind letting her know that, Karen and the kids joined us at the big church. Both marriages were allegedly being worked on (can you hear the suspenseful music playing?), both men were working together in playing the role of Daddy, and the women were being civilized to each other for the sake of the baby.

Until the news came out that the affair had continued. The marriage of Bill and Paula didn't survive that round. That round ended in not only a broken home, but a broken man, who had loved that baby as his own, but suddenly had no rights to him.

Fast forward five years. If you've ever been tempted to doubt the fact that sin has far-reaching effects... BELIEVE IT. What Dave and Paula thought was their secret sin ended up impacting numerous people in numerous ways. The following is just a sample of the impact.

Dave betrayed his wife, betrayed his children, betrayed a member of his flock, and betrayed his ENTIRE flock. He lost his job, lost his ministry, had to start over in a new career, lost his church, ruined his wife's closest friendship, and lost his marriage for a time. He humiliated his wife and their children. He will never know what it's like to live with his son full time. He will never know what it’s like to not have to explain how it is that his wife happens to be the mother of his first three children, but not his fourth. Not to mention the embarrassment his wife and children feel every time they have to explain it.

Paula betrayed her husband, betrayed her children, betrayed her best friend, and betrayed her church family. She lost her church. She lost her husband. She lost her best friend, who is now her child’s stepmother. She lost the privilege of being a stay-at-home wife and mother. And I’m sure she and her children are equally embarrassed every time they have to explain the fatherhood of her youngest child. She is now unbiblically re-married (unless there is something that I’m not aware of in all of this).

And since I can’t speak for everyone that was affected, I’ll just speak for myself. I lost my pastor. I spent at least a year crying over the loss, even though I retained him as a friend and saw him often. I haven’t told anyone the story lately, so I can’t promise that I’m over the tears, but as of a year and a half ago (which was the last time I told someone the story), I still couldn’t make it through the story without crying. We had to explain the specifics of how babies are made to the kids sooner than we’d planned, since there’s no way to explain to children that their pastor is the father of someone else’s baby without explaining how that could be.

It was a lot to go through, but God has been gracious to me, and I am happy to say that I have not lost the ability to trust pastors. (Which is amazing to me, considering the fact that the pastor of the large church that we and our former pastor’s family started attending ended up resigning for having an affair with a married staff member. But that’s another story for another day.)

The moral of this story?

Sin has far-reaching effects... and your sin WILL find you out.

The silver lining of this story?

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

When we left our former church due to the unforgiveness that was being shown to our former pastor, I sought counseling from a local pastor. He was VERY helpful to me in sorting out what proper church discipline should and should not look like, and spent as much time on me as a pastor would spend on one of his own church members. After our former church made amends with our former pastor, we returned to that church for a year or two. Later, as we learned more about what the Bible says about women’s roles in the church, we knew we needed to leave the church again, and we did so under good terms.

Today we are in the church that we know without a doubt that God wants us in. Remember the pastor who counseled me? He is no longer pastoring... and we are now members of his former church. He was replaced by our current pastor, who I trust and respect very much.

My former pastor’s sin no longer haunts me, but it still hurts me, and I’m sure it always will. However, I can see God’s hand in it all the while. He used this tragedy to lead me to a pastor and a church that I love dearly... and I can honestly say that the years of pain that my former pastor caused me were worth it. And for that, I am truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Fall... again!


Ok, I know I said in my earlier post that I thought that this picture was perfect the way it was. Well, I must not have REALLY believed that, because I just spent a bunch of time at Picnik.com playing around with the way it looks. If you've never tried editing your pictures on Picnik, you don't know what you're missing! It's fun and it's free. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy November!!


As my all-time favorite season continues, here's my second favorite autumn picture. You can see the all-time favorite one here, in case you missed it. :)

This picture was taken two years ago at the Louisburg Cider Mill. I think it's just perfect!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Sounds!

We're doing some housecleaning and list making today as we prepare to leave for Texas Thursday to visit my sister! The house is filled with sounds that I love... thunder, rain, and a certain 12 year old boy belting out "And Can it Be That I Should Gain?" while he vacuums. :)

I'm so thankful that the kids have fallen in love with hymns!

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Overheard" on Facebook This Week

Although I plan on someday writing a post about some of the hypocrisy that I see from professing Christians on Facebook, today I thought I would share something edifying that I read on Facebook yesterday. If you're not familiar with Facebook, it's a social networking site in which you have a network of "friends". You can post a "status update", and your "friends" can comment underneath your status.

I saw this status message yesterday that I thought was VERY interesting... and apparently I wasn't the only one, since as of right now, there are 34 comments underneath it, and 40 people have clicked the "I like this" button.

If you ask a man under whose authority does he place himself, or to whom in his life does he answer, and he says, "I [only] answer to God;" let it be known that he is not telling the truth. For a godly man places himself under the godly authority of the leadership of the local church--God's Church. The man who refuses to submit to the authority of godly leadership refuses to submit to the authority of God in his life.

(Although the point of his post was the need for believers to be under the authority of a local church, the first thing that came to my mind when I read this statement was the people that I have encountered in life (either in my own life, or those that I have seen on Facebook) who live openly sinful lives, and
are fond of saying to anyone who dares to comment on the sin in their lives, "Only God can judge me.")

The following are two GREAT comments that were posted under that status update:

"It's like telling your supervisor you'll only take orders from the president of the company."

"Amen to that!!! This is why we have all these 'Mavericks' running around with their copy and paste theology and zero accountability."


Wow! I liked the original statement, and I LOVED these comments. I know someone who could be described perfectly as having "copy and paste theology", and so this comment really resonated with me. This whole conversation was a great reminder to me of the danger of relying solely on the internet for bible teaching... and that even though the internet can be a great resource, it can't take the place of being under the authority of a local church.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First Day of Fall

Today marks the official first day of my FAVORITE season.... Fall! Unfortunately, true Fall weather in Kansas is entirely too short.

So to celebrate, I'm posting my favorite Fall picture of all time. :) My nephew, 2008.

Happy Fall!!!!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Unidentified Article of Clothing

It's a purse! It's a hat! Nope, it's a skirt.


I'd like to introduce you to the skirt we found yesterday while thrift store shopping. And lest you think it's a toddler's skirt, it was a ladies size 8 (and I use the term "ladies" loosely!)... the same size skirt that my niece is wearing in this picture.

As my late father-in-law would say: "I hope you didn't pay full price for that, because they left out half of the material."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Frugal Friday: Yard Sales/Thrift Stores


I would love to resurrect my weekly Frugal Friday posts, but I haven't been very inspired along those lines lately.  I have been saving tons of money and getting several free items by CVS-ing and Walgreens-ing (the term "Walgreens-ing" just doesn't have the same ring to it), and will probably post something one of these Fridays about that, but other than that, nada.

However!  Today I am frugally inspired again.  The kids and I had a VERY productive day at two garage sales and one thrift store.  I was THRILLED to find MANY books to use in homeschooling (plus a ton of candles and clothing).

We purchased the following books: a dictionary, The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, Selected Poems & Letters of Emily Dickinson, a thesaurus, The White House: An Historic Guide, The Presidents of the United States of America, All About the States Search-A-Word Puzzles, Flip Quiz Geography ages 11-12, The Fighting Ground, Heroes Don't Run: A Novel of the Pacific War, Spanish Dictionary Student Notebook, Adventures in English Literature, Flight (a book about aviation), the Scholastic Encyclopedia of Space, and The Visual Dictionary of the Universe.  I also bought an almost hundred year old dictionary that looked like an extremely worn Bible at first glance. 

Did I mention that I was thrilled with these purchases???  :)  I think my total spent on the books was about $9.00.  (I also got several recipe magazines,  TONS of candles [all of them brand new except one], and the kids and I all got "new" clothes at the thrift store.)

The moral of this story?  Don't forget yard sales, church rummage sales, library book sales, etc. as possible sources of curriculum for your home school! 

Stay tuned for other blog posts inspired by this day of frugal shopping: My thoughts on the church rummage sale that we went to today, and a cell phone picture that will rival my pastor's "hoochie mama" pictures (if you dare, you can see his here and here).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sixteen Lessons to Learn About Sin

I'm not sure where I originally found this list, which I probably printed off years ago... but I just found it while going through some papers, and plan to go through it with the kids. (I did an internet search so that I could give credit to the person who compiled the list, but he isn't familiar to me, so the mystery as to where I found the list remains!)

  1. Temptation can come when I least expect it. I must always be on my guard.
  2. Sin often happens when I am not positively engaged in godly activities (when I'm not doing what I am supposed to be doing).
  3. I usually have a chance to stop myself if I would only take it. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
  4. Sin has a way of finding me out... it will be brought to the light.
  5. Trying to cover up my sin only makes things worse.
  6. One sin often leads to another.
  7. Sin tends to harden my heart.
  8. Even if no one else is aware, God is aware.
  9. It is easier to be outraged at someone else's sin than my own.
  10. To sin is to look for good outside of God's perfect provision.
  11. Sin never satisfies.
  12. Sin always has consequences.
  13. Heartfelt repentance is the only appropriate response to sin.
  14. While my sin has many manifestations, it has only one root -- a heart that craves something more than God.
  15. Because of the cross, God does not treat me as my sins deserve.
  16. While sin affects my life, it need not ruin my life.

Source: A sermon by Mickey Connolly on lessons to be learned from David and Bathsheba.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blogging ABC's

Since our family is currently experiencing a couple of stressful and sad situations, I was happy to find this cute, no-thinking-required idea for a blog post!  It's a fun way to get to know someone better... or at least, to get to know their internet habits better.  :)

You just open a new tab and type www. followed by a letter of the alphabet into the browser to see what website your browser thinks you're wanting to go to.  So here goes!


A:  AFirmFoundation.blogspot.com!  I've gotta keep tabs on my own blog, right?

B:  Blogger.com.  To post on said blog.

C:  CNN.com.

D:  Dotti'sWeightLossZone.com.

E:  Ebay.com.  Even though I have been failing miserably at my Frugal Friday posts, that doesn't mean I'm not still trying to be frugal.  :)

F:  Facebook.com.  The topic of a future blog post of mine, hopefully.

G:  Google.com. Ok, I'm only to "G" and already have proven myself to be the most boring internet user in the history of the world.

H:  HSN.com (Home Shopping Network)... where I purchased my own birthday gift last month to me from my parents.  :)

I:  InboxDollars.com.  An easy way to make some extra money, which can be cashed out in the form of gift cards to various places (stores, restaurants, etc).  Want to join?  Click on my link so that I'll get credit!  :)

J:  Johnson County District Court Document Search.  That would be me keeping tabs on someone.  

K:  KPC.com (Kansas Pay Center)  The Child Support payment website.  We live in hope!  :)

L:  Lowes.com.  

M:  MoneySavingMom.com. I've been following her since the days when she lived here locally and had a blog that I dearly loved!  Sometime after she launched Money Saving Mom, she decided that she wouldn't be able to maintain both websites, and had to let the blog go.  :(  I've missed it terribly, but the Money Saving Mom website has helped me to learn how to save a LOT of money in grocery shopping.

N:  Netfix.com.  I never thought our subscription to Netflix would help with home schooling, but on the spur of the moment last week, the kids and I watched a documentary on Christopher Columbus!

O:  OpinionOutpost.com. My FAVORITE survey company.  I faithfully take their surveys, and they faithfully pay me.  :)  Join here, if you'd like!

P:  Paypal.com.  Several of the survey companies that I take surveys with pay me through Paypal.  Cha-ching!

Q:  QuestionPro.com.  I dunno... I must have taken a survey of theirs at some point.

R:  RevolutionHealth.  Looking up some medical stuff for a family member.

S:  Swagbucks!  Someday I'm going to actually follow through with my promise to post a review on Swagbucks.  :)  I love Swagbucks... currently, I earn $10 per month in Amazon gift cards by using Swagbucks to do my internet searches.  If you'd like to sign up, pleeeease use this link to do so!

T:  TurntoChrist.org... my church!  I was nervous, wondering if that would be what would pop up or not.  I knew I'd be in for some heckling in the comments section if it wasn't! 

U:  UrbanDictionary.com.  Don't visit it!  There's nothing good there.  But it was helpful recently when I wanted to inform a friend about her misuse of a slang word.  :)  Sorry, unnamed friend!  Are you blushing now?

V:  VerizonWireless.com.  They never stop working for me.  Can you hear me now?

W: Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office.  Keeping tabs, part two.

X:  XtraLaundry.com.  Coupons, probably.

Y:  YahooMail.com.  The email account that I use for surveys/moneymaking types of things.

Z:  Nothing!  Nada.  Zip.  Get it?  ZIP!  At least that starts with a "Z".  :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sin: Just Like a Spilled Drink

The other day, I had piles of coupons and papers to be filed lying on the kitchen table, along with my laptop.  My nephew put a glass on the table, poured himself a drink, and promptly knocked the glass over.  I just sat there and watched the drink quickly spread over the surface of the table, getting all of my coupons and papers wet.  As I looked on, the drink eventually reached my laptop and ruined it completely.


Don't panic. That's not what actually happened.  Here's what really happened:  As soon as my nephew knocked the drink over, I jumped up and started yelling at him.  I lectured him about how careless he was and about how much damage he had done to my things and how disappointed I was in him.   Meanwhile, the drink spread across the table and ruined my coupons, papers, and laptop.

Well, I'm sure you're on to me by now.  That is not what actually happened.  What really happened is exactly what you would expect.  I quickly jumped up, snatched my laptop up off the table, instructed someone to grab some paper towels, and started grabbing papers up off the table to keep the wet ones from getting completely ruined, and to keep the dry ones from getting wet.

The two previous scenarios seem ridiculous, don't they?  But it occurred to me that there might be a lesson to learn there.  I actually ended up learning two.


Lesson #1:  Sin in My Life; Sin in Your Life

The first insight I got out of this whole fiasco was in noticing how quickly I jumped up and started fighting against the stream of liquid heading toward things that were important to me. But when I see a sin trickling along in my life, do I jump up this quickly and fight this hard?  Or do I procrastinate in tackling it?  Or worse, just sit there watching it happen, wishing things were different, but resigning myself to it?  

What about when I see sin in other people's lives?  I'm not talking about walking around all plank-eyed and pointing out the speckled lives of my friends.  I'm talking about serious patterns of sin in the lives of my loved ones.  Am I quick to react with serious prayer and loving, but firm counsel and/or correction?  Or do I do nothing because I'm too worried about how it will affect our relationship?  Or worse, am I so wrapped up in myself that I overlook or forget about those loved ones' sins?

Lesson #2: Train 'Em Up

The other lesson I took away from all this is a short and sweet one.  Child training.  Just as in the scenario in which I did nothing and watched my things become ruined by a spilled drink, I can sit by idly and watch as sinful habits, behaviors, and attitudes grow in my children (and then somehow be surprised when they have become soaked by them).

On the other hand, I can become irritated by their sins and spend a lot of time lecturing them and showing my disappointment in them, while doing nothing to stop the spreading of the "spilled drink".  

Or I can take this lesson to heart, realize the life and death importance of fighting off the sins that creep in, and work with them... side by side... to clean up the mess.
 


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Our Church's Fourth of July Celebration

Fourth of July Fifth of July fun! Our church celebrated Independence Day together on July 5th. Fun was had by all. :)
















Friday, August 13, 2010

Have You Stumbled Lately?

When you stumble and fall and scab your knee, do you run from God to go clean yourself up?  Or do you run to Him and let Him clean you up?


My paraphrase of a quote from Matt Chandler

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sin

Don't simply try to control your sin.  Seek to murder it.


Source:  Matt Chandler

Monday, August 9, 2010

Two Years Ago Today (subtitle: Grab Your Kleenex Box)

(If you missed last night's post, you might want to start there first.)

Two years ago today was the hardest day of my life. As an over-attached mom of an only child, I was not emotionally prepared to let go of my son.

About to wake my Smoochie up for the last time.

On the morning of his wedding, two years ago today, I gave him a card with a poem in it that said:


I sometimes wish you were still small,
Not yet so big and strong and tall.
For when I think of yesterday,
I close my eyes and see you play.

I often miss that little boy
Who pestered me to buy a toy,
Who filled my days with pure delight
From early morn to late at night.

We watch our children change and grow
As seasons come, then quickly go.
But our God has a perfect plan
To shape a boy into a man.

Today, my son, I’m proud of you
For all the thoughtful things you do.
I’ll love you till my days are done,
And I’m so grateful you’re my son.

That's right, ladies! If I have to cry today remembering all of this, I'm taking you all down with me!!


Next, I gave him a book called "Let Me Hold You Longer." The book starts with:


Long ago you came to me,
a miracle of firsts:
First smiles and teeth and baby steps,
a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away
and leave me to your past,
And I will be left thinking of
a lifetime of your lasts...

The book goes on to talk about all of the "lasts" that you don't realize are "lasts" as they are happening. The last time you give them a bottle; the last time they ask you to tuck them in; the last time they need you to kiss their boo-boos. And how if you would realize as that moment is happening that it is actually the last time, you would make it last longer... hence the name "Let Me Hold You Longer".

I gave him the book and had him read it out loud to me. I wish I had thought to record it... not that I'd ever have it in me to be able to watch it! He started crying halfway through the book and cried until the end. It's such a sweet memory to me now.



My baby boy shaving for his wedding.



Before I knew it, the wedding had come. I remember during the ceremony being overwhelmed by the realization that the hardest day of my life and the best day of Steven's life were one and the same.


First kiss... ever.




And then the tables were turned. After the sentimental card and book that morning, Steven had some sentimentality of his own up his sleeve. He surprised me at the reception with "our song" from his childhood... "You'll Be in My Heart" by Phil Collins (from the animated Tarzan movie). Some of the lyrics:

For one so small,
you seem so strong
My arms will hold you,
keep you safe and warm
This bond between us
Can't be broken
I will be here
Don't you cry

'Cause you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more


To say it was an emotional moment is a bit of an understatement...

Just for the record... he cried too!

Hey, stop sniffling! It has a happy ending. I'm surviving, and here's the happy couple, two years later. Ok, technically one year and 364 days later. I took this picture yesterday. :)


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Remembering...

Two years ago today was a day of "lasts" for me. It was the last day that my son lived at home. It was the last day that I had an unmarried son. It was the last day that I had my Smoochie all to myself. It was the last time that I wished that I could stop the hands of time.

We spent the day together and called it "Smoochie and Boochie's Last Hurrah." (Smoochie and Boochie are the nicknames we gave each other when he was very young... and the names stuck.) As we were driving home from our day out together, he spotted me crying and reached over and grabbed my hand and held it the rest of the way home. I couldn't resist taking this picture with my cell phone. The next day everything would change forever, but for that day, at that moment, it was perfect.


On that day, I remembered what I had been doing twenty years prior. I remember sitting in the living room at my in-laws' house and watching tv with my father-in-law and seeing that Prince Andrew & Fergie’s baby had been born. They were making a big deal about it because of the date: 8/8/88. I was four months pregnant. Who would ever have known that exactly twenty years later, I would be cherishing my last day of my baby boy living at home.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting

While they put some finishing touches on our new church building last weekend, I supervised my niece as she babysat four kids (Lawrence, Kylie, Meredith, and Abilene) from our church. It was a hoot. :)

Cute stories from the babysitting adventure:

  • When the adults were leaving, Bridget told her grandson that while she was gone, if he wanted to do things, he would have to ask my niece. So he walked right over to her and said "MissKenzie, can we do things?"

  • After the adults were gone, the oldest of the kids (Meredith) asked my niece if she could be her "right-hand assistant" and help change diapers, etc. When her younger sister (Abilene) heard that, she asked, "Well then can I be your left-handed sister?"

  • And last, but not least, Lawrence accidentally broke something of his grandpa's. My niece told him, "You're going to have to say sorry to your grandpa." Lawrence replied, "Sorry, Grandpa!" Then my niece said, "No, you'll have to say sorry to him when he gets here." So Lawrence said, "Sorry, Grandpa when you get here!" :)
    Future homemakers making scrambled eggs for lunch.



    Digging through our babysitter's purse while she's not looking is FUN!!!


    Too much excitement for one day. ZZZZZZZ

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Humor for My Church Friends :)

    Here's some Friday morning humor for a few of my friends from church.  You know who you are!!

    Clearly, this guy is in the mood for dinner at McDonald's.
     

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Our Marine


    Our nephew returned home from boot camp late Friday night. Three months later and forty pounds lighter! He is officially a Marine now. He is living proof that a rough start in life does not have to determine a person's future. We are so proud of him!

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    Frugal Friday: CVS and Walgreens Shopping

    Pictured below is my first venture into my goal of building a stockpile at no cost or very low cost! For $6.09 I ended up with: 2 packs of 45-count Dixie paper plates, 2 jugs of Sun laundry soap, 1 small jug of Xtra laundry soap, 2 bottles of Suavatel fabric softener, a small bottle of Dawn dish soap, a pair of Aloe-infused (SOFT!!!!) purple socks (to put back for my daughter-in-law for Christmas or her birthday), a three-pack of Blistex smoothie lip balms, and three boxes of Puffs w/lotion.



    I was able to accomplish this by shopping at Walgreens with my Walgreens Register Rewards card, shopping at CVS with my CVS Extra Care card, and using coupons.

    Breakdown:
    With my Walgreen's reward card...

    • Sun Laundry Detergent was $3.49 each. I bought two, which (if I remember right) was the maximum. I had two coupons: One for $0.75 and one for $0.50. Total: $5.73.
    • Suavitel Fabric Softener was $2.99 buy-one-get-one-free. Total: $2.99.
    • Dawn Dish Soap was $0.99. I had a coupon for $0.25. Total: $0.74.
    • Puffs w/lotion was $0.99 each. I bought three, which was the maximum. I had some great coupons that I had received in the mail (along with a free sample) from Viewpoints. I had one coupon for $1.00 and two coupons for $0.50. Total: $0.97.
    Total owed: $10.43.
    I paid $6.00 of this with my Register Rewards, which left a balance of $4.43. Add the tax to that, and my out-of-pocket cost was $5.48.

    (Prior to this trip, I was able to purchase the paper plates, the lip balm, and the socks completely free by using a coupon for the plates and paying for the remainder with my Register Rewards. I don't have the receipt any longer, so I can't type out the breakdown on that shopping trip.)

    At CVS, the Xtra Laundry Detergent was on sale for $1.50. I had a coupon for $1.00 off, and so my total was $0.50, plus tax, for an out-of-pocket cost of $0.61.

    Total paid out-of-pocket: $6.09.

    For an explanation of how the CVS and Walgreens cards/deals work, check out these links:

    CVS 101

    Walgreens 101
    (Note: In my local area, this link is a little out of date, due to the fact that it says "
    Unlike CVS, the Register Rewards (RR) are not tied to a store card." My local area is one of the few that has started using Rewards cards... which I assume will eventually be used in all areas.)


    That's all for now. If you need me, I'll be mourning the loss of age 38. :)

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Eleven Years Ago Today...

    Today I'm remembering my beloved mother-in-law. Eleven years ago today, after several days of all of her family being with her at the hospital around the clock, my father-in-law made the decision to take her off of life support. If my memory serves me correctly, all eight of her children were there with her as she died (as well as some of their spouses and several of her grandchildren). It was beyond difficult to let her go, but I remember the overwhelming feeling of gratitude that we had been able to keep her two years longer than we had expected.

    Two years earlier, an infection swept through her body and she came very close to death. They ended up amputating both of her legs in order to save her life. The loss of her legs was very difficult for her, and yet she remained the sweet, fun person that she had always been... while being confined to a bed for her last two years of life.
    I feel very blessed to have been given two extra years to spend with her! If she had died two years prior, all of her children would not have been able to be there at her side. She also would have missed ever meeting her two youngest grandchildren.

    The day she died was the day before my 28th birthday. That night, my then-10-year-old son had a baseball game. I remember him writing her name on the palm of his baseball glove and how badly he wanted to hit a home run in honor of her that night. The next day, I remember feeling almost honored to spend my birthday at the funeral home making her arrangements.

    I can honestly say that I had the best mother-in-law that I could have ever asked for! I hope one day that my daughter-in-law and I will have even half of the relationship that I had with my mother-in-law.

    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    Your Home


    Your attitude
    sets the atmosphere in your home.


    Source: Susan Godfrey

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Sin

    Sin...

    Call it what it is.

    Hate it.

    Stop it.


    Source: Jessie by Lori Wick

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Thought for the Day

    "It is impossible for the character of Christ to grow in the mind of a person whose mind is filled with the sewage of the world."

    Source: unknown

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Frugal Friday: Freebies!

    Freebies!

    • I know that at least ONE of my blog readers (Hi, Bridget!) does not care for John MacArthur, but if anyone is interested, you can get a free copy of John MacArthur's book The Quest for Character at this link. Be sure to click on "Request Offer" rather than the book title, so that you'll be able to take advantage of the free offer.
    • Each month, christianaudio.com gives away an audio download for free. Check back each month!
    • Did you know that Amazon.com has TONS of used books for sale for $0.01? That's right, a penny! The catch? Shipping. The shipping charge is $3.99, so you'll be paying $4.00 per book. Not bad at all compared to how much the same book would cost new. You can search at Pretty Penny Books, which lists 189,000 one-cent used books available at Amazon... or search directly on the Amazon website. Interested in an easy way to earn some free Amazon gift cards to spend on those one-cent books? Tune in next Friday for my review on Swagbucks, a website/search engine that has earned me $25.00 in Amazon gift cards over the course of the past three months. If you're already interested in joining Swagbucks (free!), and don't want to wait for my review next week, please be sure to join via my referral link so that I can get credit. :)

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Frugal Friday: A Moment of Silence

    Let's all observe a moment of silence on behalf of my dearly departed paycheck! Today I received my final one. Rest in peace, paycheck. You have served me well... but now it's time for me to serve others well.


    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Happy at Home

    It's been eighteen days since my last day working outside the home. I'd like to say that we have settled in to our "new normal", but we have yet to experience what that might be!

    So far, I have spent more time driving extended family members around than staying at home. There has been one surgery, numerous errands, an extra person staying with us for a few days, and some scary mental illness episodes resulting in three separate trips to the emergency room, as well as pharmacies and mental health clinics.

    Not too fun... and yet I am beyond thankful that I have been able to be there for my beloved nephew as he struggles with psychotic episodes. It's certainly not the way I had hoped to spend my first weeks off of work... but as I sit in the emergency room night after night I continue to be overcome with thankfulness. I'm thankful to be able to sit up with him all night, without having to worry about having to work the next day, or worry about having to take time off the next day in order to sleep. I'm thankful to be available to drive over to him at a moment's notice when he needs my reassurance that what he thinks is happening is really not happening. I'm thankful to be able to drive him to his appointments during the day, rather than having to be at work.

    I'm titling this post "Happy at Home". I haven't been home much... and it's not a happy time... and yet, I am happy. Happy to be right where God wants me to be. I never wanted to see my 19-year old nephew walk this road... but I am beyond grateful that God has allowed me to be available to walk that road alongside him.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    The Final Countdown



    Tick... tock...


    It's so hard to believe that after all this time, the day of quitting my job will finally be here tomorrow! It's been a long road.  If you don't have anything going on tomorrow at about 5:10, join me online to watch the countdown ticker on my sidebar finally reach zero!  Can't wait!!  :)

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Are You Reading It?

    This book will keep you from sin... or sin will keep you from this book.

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Frugal Friday: It's Catching!


    Frugality is contagious. I have the proof.



    Among other things, my nephew gave me a heart necklace for Mother's Day (see it in the above picture??). When he gave me the necklace, he proudly announced that the original price was $40.00... it was on clearance for $11.99... he had my $10.00 JC Penney coupon with him (which he had claimed as his own and put in his wallet the moment the coupon arrived in the mail!)...


    ...and so he got a $40.00 necklace for $1.99!


    He thought that this deal was worthy of a Frugal Friday post, and I wholeheartedly agree! :)

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    My Mother's Day in Pictures


    My Smoochie and I :)
    My mom and I :)

    My "nieceter" and I :)



    My "nephson" and I :)


    The tearjerker...