February 27, 2005
In Everything Give Thanks

Last Friday it happened twice. I saw it on a marquis and I heard it on a radio program. It was a specific bible verse, I Thessalonians 5:18. I always consider such occurrences important. Since I'm a Christian I know this is a way God talks to me. In fact, I love to call such instances love notes from God. Let's look at this statistically. There are 31,173 verses in the Bible. What are the odds of the same one randomly popping up in a single day through two different media? I love this . . .God has obviously sent me a message. And it's an easy fun one to respond to. The verse says, "In everything give thanks for this is this will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." So, that's exactly what I'm going to do via my blog. I went through the events of today (a Sunday) and I'm going to put them right here for you to look through. It may be too boring for you to read through each of them. That's okay. It doesn't matter. I'm on a mission for God, sort of like Martin Luther when he posted his 95 theses on the door of the Whitenburg Church. His posting was also founded on a single verse, Ephesians 2:8 which says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"

So here are my 65 statements of thankfulness I'm posting on the internet for various people around the entire world to observe. These occurred in a single day of activity and I post them to solely bring honor to God my creator and provider.

Thank you God for:
1. the morning time to wake up
2. an alarm on the computer
3. a warm bed with a thick quilt
4. my husband to snuggle up to
5. all my children peacefully sleeping in their beds
6. ability to talk to my husband about anything almost anytime I
7. hot coffee with caramel creamer
8. in-house bathroom
9. my husband waking up my children
10. medication for my children
11. a new skillet for Samuel to fry eggs for breakfast in
12. nice looking clothes we get to dress up in for church
13. hair spray, makeup and deodorant
14. toothbrushes and toothpaste
15. a warm place to keep dry when it's raining outside
16. our car with gasoline
17. windshield wipers and a heater in our car
18. family time in the car on the way to church
19. a CD with old Gospel hymns
20. my Sunday morning spent in church
21. my church
22. freedom in American to worship God like He utmostly should be
23. a Sunday school class with dedicated members and a great teacher
24. the opportunity to learn from Ecclesiastes in the Bible
25. the opportunity to hear a good sermon from Nehemiah in the Bible
26. our Pastor who strives for total obedience to God
27. our Pastor who passionately prays for revival
28. our Pastor who tells us that as a church we must forgive others
of their offenses and ask forgiveness when we offend them
29. opportunity to help teach 5 year olds about Jesus
30. lunchtime spent with my family
31. my husband who drives us home from church
32. Route 66
33. our hometown speed trap section of the highway
34. hot lasagna in the oven awaiting our arrival
35. green beans, cottage cheese and milk
36. plates, forks and glasses
37. a nice family-worn table with enough (matching) chairs and a bench
38. electricity and lights
39. our dog Sandy who stays under the table while we eat
40. running water
41. a refrigerator
42. homemade fudge with pecans
43. a long afternoon nap
44. a computer where I can write my blog
45. friends my children can play with
46. toys for my children to play with
47. computer for my children to play games on
48. television
49. fun casual clothes to dress in for Sunday night church
50. a hairbrush and barrettes for my little girl's hair
51. teachers who donate their time so my little girl can be in choir
52. QuikTrip
53. free air for my tires from QuikTrip
54. a tire with a slow leak
55. noticing an antifreeze leak while airing up my tire
56. a half of a gallon of antifreeze in my car trunk
57. a cell phone to call my husband and Stacy
58. the opportunity to share a ride to work with Stacy
59. an extra CD from children's choir since Ginny's other one got
60. The Dukes of Hazzard marathon on the CMT station
61. bottled water
62. 5 pieces of fudge I can eat for supper if I want
63. old comfy sweats
64. an old Christmas card and monopoly money so Ginny can pretend
she's getting mail
65. a cluttered home filled with a whole bunch of stuff

If you looked through my list you probably think this is overkill. That's okay because God knows the intent of my heart. I wanted to do what I Thessalonians 5:18 says and thoroughly say thank you God for my day.

Posted by Linda at 06:59 PM
February 26, 2005
The Blue Treasure Chest

I hate housework. I was lying on the bed waiting for the dryer to stop. Laundry is usually my starting point for cleaning on the weekend. Oh, I was so terribly tempted to do my favorite pastime. It is a terrible pastime of mine; that is, to just go away from the annoying disciplines of everyday life by drifting into dreamland and taking a long midmorning nap! Then I looked at my dresser and there was my sewing box. I hadn't cleaned it out in several years. My sister-in-law, Melissa, had gotten all of the married women in our family this for Christmas about ten years ago. It was the best pretty yet practical gift I'd ever gotten at a family Christmas party. It really needed cleaned. I'm sure all of my children had rummaged through it with their curiosity piqued. The biggest evidence that this occurred was a stringy tangled wad of thread, ribbon, trim, stringed beads and lace. As I began my task of cleaning my blue sewing box I really didn't mind the tedious process it would take of reorganizing it. I began to realize this wasn't mostly a pile of trash but it was mainly a treasure chest full of memories.

My little blue cloth sewing kit used to have more accessories but they somehow vanished. It had a clear plastic top part with little compartments to organize your small sewing accessories. Now that was long gone. I used to have some big blue scissors but one of the hand grips broke off. Rachelle, my sister-in-law still has her's. I saw them at her house a few months ago. It used to have a blue seam ripper but its been long gone for awhile and I replaced it with two others. I consider seam rippers a "hot item" to my children especially my three boys. I even had an extra red tomato pin holder that I have kept since high school home economics class. I found two of those neat little needle threaders too. I've always wondered why there is the profile of a person's head on the part your grip. All these items have served me well throughout the years of my family life. But the biggest treasured memories were in the waded mess I had to reorganize.

When I began my tedious unwadding many things caught my eye. I found several small cardboard holders of cross stitch thread. I used to do that a lot before my children were born. I did it when I would watch my five year old nephew, Matt, during a summer while I was pregnant with my first baby. Buttons, I had a baby food jar full of them. I like buttons because you can easily make a shirt a whole lot nicer by simply putting fancier buttons on it. I even found a big purple button that was on a long extremely warm purple down coat I had bought during my senior year of high school. I found the old rusted skeleton key that goes to the old traveling chest that my dad got from one of his customers who needed to get rid of some junk. I found a row of the embroidered white flowers with yellow centers that I put on Ginny's dress and hat last year so they would match for Easter. There were two big gold jingle bells I had used a few years back to make my young children red jingle bell necklaces for Christmas that soon fell apart. I was able to reclaim some of them, hoping to remake them sometime. From the "wad" I gathered an old memory from when Danny and I were first married when we stayed with my parents. It was a strip of white cotton eyelet lace. I had used this along with other pretty delicate decorations to make barrettes. I found an old belt loop from some Levi's. When I made Ginny's jean purse I thought I might need it as an added decoration. There was even a Bible verse written on a folded index card. It was part of a passage from a Psalm that was beautifully written describing how much richness of truth is contained within the word of God. The tenth verse of that passage said, "more to be desired are they [words given to us by God] than gold, yea, than much fine gold:" Finally, I found one last article of interest it was a blue tassel. The tassel I would use to open my blue sewing box. I do believe it was my youngest son while in my presence decided to use my sewing scissors to remove this unnecessary decoration from the exterior of my flowery blue cloth box thus causing it to become a memory "treasure" kept within.

My time filler of cleaning out my sewing kit wasn't a chore after all. I really didn't mind. And when I look in it next time I won't have to think like in the past "Oh, I need to clean that out." I'll immediately think that looks so much better and then I won't have to search through the "wad" to find what I need. Besides the best thing of all happened I uncovered and then thought about sweet memories that are now imprinted in history forever never to be relived.

Posted by Linda at 11:26 AM
February 25, 2005
What's For Supper?

It was Thursday and work was over. Stacy was driving and we were headed home for the weekend! Yeah! Our work week on our assembly line job lasted only three days this time, usually it's four days, each day ten hours. I felt that great feeling that the weekend always brings. I'll have lots of time to do what I consider best.

After Stacy dropped me off at my home the fun began. Just entering my home is a quick but exciting event within itself. As soon as I turn the knob to the front door I began playing a guessing game. Okay, here's the big question, what's for supper? So as I enter I'll breathe in the great smell of food that has filled the air all around me. Then as I'm saying hello to all my children sitting in the living room and hanging my coat and purse on the hook, I'll start trying to figure out what it's gonna be. Soon enough we'll all be at the table ready to dive in. Everybody knows to not take a bite until Danny says his memorized 30 second prayer thanking God for our food. Danny usually has our food setting on the stove to keep it warm. Sometimes it's already on the table.

There is a choice of about ten different foods Danny chooses for our evening meal. We could have chili, hot dogs with chili, beans and rice, fried chicken, meatloaf, pot pies, salad with fried beef strips, tacos, chicken noodle soup, or tuna salad. Ever so often He will fix something different. If he wants to fix supper quick it will be chili from a can, hot dogs with chili, or chicken noodle soup. Also, if Jonathan fixes supper it will be one of these since he's just started cooking. Usually we start out the week with salad or tacos. On Tuesdays we fix beans and rice because Deena is coming to visit.(Danny has taught my children this is also called he-man food because it is hearty.) She likes grape juice so we try to have it as the drink. Danny will bake pot pies on Wednesday nights because he has to get our children to the AWANAs Bible memorization program at church. A favorite I enjoy would be considered boring by most. It's meatloaf. I'll drench it in ketchup and then salt and pepper it. Danny's favorite is fried chicken. He was trying to figure out Colonel Sander's eleven secret ingredients and developed his own special recipe. My big little three word question still needed to be answered. I could tell by smell it would be chicken but how would it be prepared. Then I looked on the stove and there it was.

Campbell's chicken noodle soup. Our family loves to watch the show Made in America with John Ratzenburger. In one of the shows they went to the Campbell's factory. It was interesting to see the fast paced assembly line production and learn of its history. Did you know that the chicken noodle soup isn't cooked until after its been sealed in the can.

Well, supper's main course wasn't as exciting as meatloaf or beans and rice. But I did enjoy it. Danny added a nice little touch to the soup by adding extra pieces of broiled chicken. And I did something with it that I hadn't done in a long time. I took a bunch of saltines and crumbled them up in mostly broth and then I tried to finish it off before they got soggy. It was fun and I went back for thirds!

Posted by Linda at 12:19 PM
February 22, 2005
Open Window to the Heart

"Mommy, will you tuck me in?" are the words my son Benjamin will always ask at bedtime. Benjamin is my nine year old. He loves for me to give him attention. He was my baby that liked me to hold him close and cuddle him the most. Even now if I ask him to give me a hug he will let me hold him as long as I want. When I tuck him in at night I get his blanket and tuck it in tight around his feet then I'll make sure there are no blanket folds that would keep him from being snug and warm. After that I'll tuck the blanket in around his neck.

Then a special privileged event occurs. It will almost always happen when a child is settling in to sleep. The child usually understands it is time to calm down and get ready to fall asleep. They still want to stay awake even though they're mostly calm. If Mommy or Daddy is near the child will open the window to their heart.* It is a vulnerable moment when they trust you by inviting you into their private thoughts wanting you to listen or answer any question they may have. I look into Benjamin's face and ask him how his day went. Then he'll start telling me how he felt about the things that happened to him during the day. After that we'll talk about what he wants to know and then I'll tell him I love him and kiss him good night. Benjamin will smile contentedly and be ready to fall asleep.

*I learned about this event and it's importance in building a close relationship with your child in the book called Growing kids Gods Way by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. In their book they discuss it in the chapter titled The Father's Mandate.

Posted by Linda at 07:27 PM
February 20, 2005
PDL Day 8 Planned For God's Pleasure

It was many and many a year ago
In a kingdom by the sea
That a maiden there lived
Whom you may know
By the name of Annabelle Lee
And this maiden she lived
With no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

Why did my eighth grade English teacher make me memorize lines from this poem by the weird Edgar Allan Poe? I don't really know. And why do I remember it plus some more after 25 years!? The best answer I can think of is to use it to in my blog to introduce Day 8 to you!

When I found this poem and read it again Poe said the two young lovers had a love greater than even those that are older and wiser. The angels in heaven were so jealous they caused Annabelle Lee to become sick and die. So the lone lover whose soul had been knit to his bride would just spend the rest of his life near her tomb by the sea. The small mention of theology in this poem is definitely mixed up but it makes you wonder what it would feel like to love another so deeply. I know that God loves us beyond what we could imagine. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like for a human to love God immensely, not in the romantic sense, but in that, pleasing Him was the essence of all their life.

Summary Sentence: You were planned for God's pleasure.

In Day 8 of The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren begins by giving an excellent description of why God made you. He chose to make each of us. He obviously didn't need to make us. When you were born God smiled. I love to imagine that the greatest ruler and creator of all existence was glad when I was born. That means I have significance and this realization gives me an excitement to become more familiar with such a One. The author then says the first purpose of our life is to bring enjoyment to God and live for His pleasure.

A way you can give pleasure to God is to worship Him. What definition does the word "worship" bring to mind? Bowing down to a bronze statue? No, not the answer. Going to church on a Sunday morning? Not all the way. What about standing and singing loudly all four stanzas that you memorized to a hundred year old hymn? That would be impressive but still not the complete answer.

Rick Warren defines worship as bringing pleasure to God and then further describes true worship. First, worship is far more than music. The style of music you choose to bring honor to God reveals your personality and background. It's okay just as long as you sing it to God with a pure motive and the words follow the teachings of the Bible. Remember you are worshiping God with your song, not bringing attention to yourself. Second, worship is not for your benefit. It should be used to bring honor to God. Worship isn't a good feeling you get from the preacher's sermon on Sunday morning. It's an act of attending church with an attitude to change and become better for God. Third, worship is not a part of your life; it is your life. Yes, you definitely worship God outside the walls of church. Worship is a lifestyle of always trying to do the right things for God.

Posted by Linda at 02:34 PM
February 19, 2005
PDL Day 7 The Reason For Everything

Everything in the universe was ultimately made to glorify God. All of His creations were made to bring honor to Him from the stars at night, to the sun in its rising and setting, to the tide of the ocean as it powerfully rises and falls, to the beautifully and intricately made sea shells lying along the shore, to the birds that peacefully soar in the sky, to small animals such as a squirrel that will scurry along the ground with an acorn in its mouth. And they do bring to glory to God if you will quietly and thoughtfully observe them. But His best creation was when He made man. Although, we have the privilege of being made in God's image, unlike nature, we can sadly choose not to honor Him.

Summary Sentence: It's all for Him.

Since we must choose, the question arises in my mind, "Why?" Why would we want to choose to bring glory to God? Because that is the reason why we were made. We were made with an emptiness that craves the attention of God and only through seeking out and then realizing His purpose of why we were made will that emptiness be filled.

For Day 7 in the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren gives a list of five ways a person can choose to honor God. These are also an outline for the rest of the book which has five more sections, 7 days each, to thoroughly describe their meaning. So according to the author we can bring glory to God by:

Worshiping Him
Loving other believers
Becoming more like Christ
Serving others with our gifts
Telling others about Him

The glory of God is best seen in His son Jesus. Thus, He is the One, the finest example to study to help us know how we can give honor to God in our life. In fact, the life of Jesus is written about in the Bible from four different accounts. If you flip through the first four books (sections) of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John you will see red writing. These are the words Jesus spoke. You can learn a lot about Jesus' life by reading through these books. In fact, for many years it has been recommended for a new Christian to read the book of John first because it is the most simply written.

Posted by Linda at 06:35 PM
PDL Day 6 Life Is a Temporary Assignment

My mother loves babies. When my babies came along my Mom would come to visit "just because". I loved to see the smile on her face when they would crawl or toddle their way to her. She would scoop them up in her arms and then began to study them. She has a second sense when it comes to babies. She's raised 13 of her own, has twenty something grandchildren and great grandchildren (I'm too busy to recount them at this moment!) When she would hold my babies she would start telling me things that they were thinking at the time that even I as their faithful dedicated mother couldn't see! While they were so small Mom would say, "Enjoy them while they're little 'cause they'll grow up fast." Okay, Mom, I know you're so right. I would always try to keep that thought in my head even though there were times my little ones would frustrate me to no end and then other times when they would say and do lots of cute innocent things. Raising three little boys (eighteen months apart) and then my baby girl was a season of my life as a mother would someday come to an end. Mom wanted me to be aware that the sweet innocent days of raising babies, after all would be a temporary assignment.

Summary Sentence: The world is not my home.

On Day 6 in the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren helps us to keep in mind the perspective that our life on earth is just a temporary assignment. According to the scope of infinite eternity, this life is like a single drop of water in a gallon bucket filled to the rim. I love the description of life that a man named James wrote in the New Testament of the Bible. This is what it says, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."*

In fact, God doesn't want us to get overly attached to the enjoyments of this life that's why he allows there to be discontentment and dissatisfaction. We have desires that struggles would quit coming our way. The author tells us these longings will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity.

Those that are preparing for heaven have the best perspective of how to live. They know that they will receive promised rewards from God (God never lies) after they die if they strive to do their best for Him.

When you think about your life you must ask yourself, "In my life do I place more importance on things that really are just temporary or do I have the goal of eternity in mind (heaven) and focus on that.

Mom was right, my babies did grow. In fact, they've all grown into regular size kids now. My temporary assignment of raising my babies is but a memory. Did I do it right? For the most part I think so.

*James 4:14, King James Version

Posted by Linda at 12:16 PM
February 18, 2005
PDL Day 5 Seeing Life From God's View

"Mommy, I wish everything would freeze." Is what Ginny said as we drove to Claremore on Route 66. She was sitting in the back seat directly behind me. "What?" I said. In a thoughtful voice she repeated, "I which everything would freeze." "Why would you say that?" I asked my 7-year-old. "Then God could rest for a little bit!"

Then I began thinking. That's seems like that would be helpful to God, if everything just stopped like a time warp occurred and everything quit moving for awhile and then started again after He had a good amount of rest. Then I began wondering what parts of dealing with the earth are the most frustrating to Him. Probably not things like making the seasons come and go, telling animals where to find what they need to survive, taking care of plantlife, controling large masses of water, or causing the the weather to change. I really don't think God minds doing those things. I know His toughest job would have to be in dealing with people and the wrong choices they make.

For Day 5 in the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren tells us that God views life differently than a person would view life. He lists three ways that God views life. Life is a test, life is a trust, and Life is a temporary assignment. He will write about the last one on Day 6.

Since life is a test God will allow us to go through struggles. Whether big or small if you don't give up you will gain in character and understanding of others when you see them struggle in the same way. One important thing to know, that is mentioned in the book, is God will never give you a test that is greater than the grace He would give you to handle it. In other words, if you are in the middle of a struggle and it seems overwhelming, it's not. But you may need to get on your knees and ask Jesus to really help you because it feels like too much for right now. There have been times when I have had an overwhelming situation, at those times I have said a prayer by simply asking Jesus in my thoughts to help me and the worry thoughts would instantly leave. I would realize this a few minutes later.

Life is a trust. In Psalm 24, the Bible simply states that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; and all they that dwell therein." God owns it all because He made it all. Like the author says, God gives us time on earth, energy, intelligence, opportunities, relationships and resources. What are we gonna do with all of this? The first thing I always want to do is remember these are gifts from God. I always want to have a thankful humble attitude for what I have. Just being an American is a privilege and makes me rich! Each person will die someday and then will stand before God and will be accountable for every single thing God entrusted to them. And then it will be fully known how well or how poorly each of us have done.

In a childlike way, I too, wish like Ginny, that everthing would just freeze, so God could have a rest from all of the continuous widespread misuse of entrustments. God gives us tests and trusts in life. They go together. The realization that everything comes from God and we must do the best we can with it will help us to accomplish God's best for us and His fulfilling purpose for our life.

Posted by Linda at 10:49 AM
February 15, 2005
The Five Love Languages

In 1992 Dr. Gary Chapman published a book named The Five Love Languages. Since then it has become a classic. And is a great tool to use in raising your children. Danny and I thoroughly studied it when we went through the book, Growing Kids Gods Way. This too is another excellent book.

When you want to show kindness or love to another person there are certain ways that you can show it that will make them respond more. There are two sides of love, the person who is giving and the person receiving. The person giving may think the other person likes to receive according to what he likes best. Not so, it is a good idea to study the person who is receiving to figure out how they best like to receive a display of love. Here are the five love languages Dr. Chapman wrote about:*

1. Encouraging words
2. Acts of service
3. Gift Giving
4. Quality time
5. Physical touch and closeness

Encouraging Words Encouraging words simply means to build up others through thoughtful kind words. But it has to be legitimate praise and recognition. Flattery won't work. Here are a couple of examples, "The living room looks nice you must have worked on it for awhile." or "You look like you've been losing weight." An example from my life is when I call my husband, "Babe". Sometimes it will distract him and he can't think of what to say next.

Act of Service If you use an act of service to show someone you care for them it must be unexpected. You would do something outside your normal everyday routine. For example, a husband puts gas in the car for his wife on Sunday so she won't have to think about it all week. Or a wife mows the lawn for her husband and he comes home to see it already done.

Gift Giving Giving someone an impromptu gift can mean alot. Since it is unexpected it will help the other person realize I thought about you while we were apart. An example would be when I was little sometimes my dad would come home with some Braum's ice cream and then all of the family would make ice cream cones and thoroughly enjoy them. Sometimes I'll stop by Quik Trip and get a cappuccino for my husband and surprise him. This would be another example. In the book Growing Kids God's Way, the greatest example they used was when Jesus gave his life on the cross so that every person would have the opportunity to choose to go to heaven.

Quality Time Quality time is the fourth love language. This requires an investment of you. It requires listening carefully and giving an appropriate response. It requires two people actively participating in a conversation. A good example is when my son Benjamin comes to me with the lego ship he built. He's excited and he tells me all about the new and different ship he built this time. Then we talk about it's unique qualities. Quality time does not involve watching TV and stating facts from the 5 o'clock news.

Physical Touch and Closeness Physical touch and closeness means that you are making an effort to be near to someone. Sometimes knowing the other person is near is enough to confirm you care. Here are some examples. A husband is working in the garden and the wife chooses to come and sit near by and read. This sends the message I just want to be near you. A wife sitting next to her husband while he watches a football game and doesn't insist that she talk with him. A daddy holding his little girl's hand while they walk through a store.

After you learn what all of these are then you need to figure out the love languages of the important people in your life. Probably the best way to figure them out is to simply try one on them and see how they respond. And when they respond with an unexpected big smile or they talk about what you did several different times, then you know you "hit the nail on the head". It is also important to know that each person will have more than one. It's also good to know you're own. Without realizing it we can do something nice for another person and they weren't as impressed as we were because that's not their love language.

*This information was taken from the Growing Kids God's Way book by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo

Posted by Linda at 11:36 AM
February 13, 2005
An Afternoon with My Little Girl

What a beautiful day to spend some time with a beautiful little girl. Her smile and attitude was as bright as the sun shining down on everything. I know God made her. But He placed her in my care. So with all due respect to God, I love to call her my little girl.

Since today is the Sunday before Valentine's Day, she wanted to dress up. She wore the dress her best friend Kristen gave her. It was a velvet Christmas dress. But it looked liked a Valentine's Day dress because it had red plaid material and red velvet roses in the front around the waist. I put a small red velvet bow in her hair. While I was fixing it she asked me if she was pretty. "Yes, Ginny, your my pretty little girl but you've got to be prettier in your heart than on the outside." "Why do they say heart?" she said. "I'm not sure but it means that you've got to have a good attitude and say and do nice things." I told her.

Ginny went with me to the meeting at church. It got out early so I figured we could go get something to eat. We went to the Claremore Warehouse Market. We bought mostly junk food and a bag of marked down carrots because I had forgotten them on my regular shopping trip. Every kid deserves the right of gobbling down junk food just for fun every now and then. So that's what we did, just for fun, we went to the college and ate there. It was mostly deserted. I love to park behind the flagpole so I can look down on the city of Claremore. You can see the tower of our church at the other end of town. For a few minutes we pigged out on the plastic grocery bag full of food. Ginny got a roll of powdery donuts. She ate them, sometimes opening her mouth to talk. By the time she finished she had powder specks all over the front of her pretty dress. Then she drank some of her strawberry milk to definitely wash all that dry stuff down. On the side, she would eat some of the hot flavored Cheetos we shared. Then she asked me if she could go out on the big lawn by the pond with ducks. As she asked I studied her face. I love the little freckles that go across her nose. They get thicker as each summer passes and she has a few pretty freckles sprinkled near her hairline. I love her smile. When she really means it she'll tilt her head to the side and then smile and then sometimes she will laugh if someone like her Daddy is teasing her. Her sweet smile is just an introduction to her welcoming personality.

So I told her she could go down there. When she came back, she wanted to take her strawberry milk. I recommended she sit under the statue of the soldier so she did. Finally, it was time to go to choir practice.

Ginny and I had a nice afternoon together. I couldn't have enjoyed it any better. I thank God that the February weather was unusually warm and springlike. And I thank God for my little girl. We were able to make a fun memory.

Posted by Linda at 08:30 PM
February 12, 2005
A Trip to the Oral Surgeon

On Tuesday, February 3, I went to the dentist and he informed me of something I didn't want to hear. I needed to have a tooth pulled because it was beyond the dreaded root canal stage. It was infected and on the verge of being abscessed and throbbing. He suggested an oral surgeon. I spent the following Friday, worrying and fearing the procedure. The business card was for Dr. Johnson and Dr. Lander. Since Dr. Johnson was the main doctor I figured he would be best. I prayed about it and got depressed (like I usually do in such situations)for a couple of days.

The oral surgeon appointment was at 6:45 am this past Friday. Danny and I were in the consultation room waiting for the Doctor. I looked around the room. It was Dr. Lander's room. There were several books of dentistry on the shelves. There were a few skulls, a picture three young boys and something else that really caught my eye. It was a small plaque sitting on the bookshelf. Dr. Lander was being recognized for 25 years of service. Okay, this was comforting.
When he came in he wore a long white jacket and had light hair like the three boys in the picture. He was upbeat and friendly. He looked at the X-ray and quickly noticed all the details. After I asked if the tooth could be saved one final time, he recommended that it be pulled. Then he told me all the details about recovery. I liked the part when he told I must take it easy for the rest of the day doing things like reading and sleeping. He even told me how he got a root canal when he was in dental college and then had to have that tooth pulled. He made me feel calm not nervous.

Then I was taken to the dental room. The assistant gave me laughing gas. I would also get anesthesia. I used to get laughing gas when I would get my braces worked on. I had forgotten how nice it was! After breathing it for about 30 seconds I wanted to burst out laughing. But I still had enough control of myself to make sure I didn't look like an idiot. So I held back. I started thinking about my friend Stacy. She said when she got laughing gas she would get violent. And she actually had harmed a dentist once. When she went back to him again they had realized she had had an allergic reaction. They marked her folder with a obviously bright red sticker after that.

I then realized I might as well breath in a bunch of this stuff and just let it make me as relaxed as a well worn Raggedy Ann doll. So I did. Then Dr. Lander came in and began some casual chat. When he came near me I touched his arm and told him he was a nice man. He thanked me and then gave me a shot to knock me out. Then I woke up and Danny was helping me out of the chair. I said something like, when are they going to get started and Danny said they were finished. Then we left and since we were in Tulsa in the early morning we went to Krispy Kreme Donuts.

It sure was easier than I thought it would be. I miss my tooth but they said if I was going to lose one that would be a good one to loose. Danny told me like he usually does in a dreaded situation like this to not worry about it and like usual I only halfway take his advice. But it really wasn't as bad as I had imagined.

Posted by Linda at 12:40 PM
Specific Act of Kindness

Random acts of kindness are nice. The movie, Pay It Forward, was about that. But specific intentional acts of kindness are even better.

Last night about 2am my youngest son, Benjamin, began throwing up on his bunk bed. This awoke his big brother, Samuel. Samuel got out of bed and started taking care of him. He put Benjamin on the couch with several towels around him, found a container and a small trash can and set it near him and put a blanket on him. He did all he could possibly do to help his sick little brother. Then he cleaned his bed and took the bed coverings and blankets and put them by the washer. I know I just described an icky situation but I had to tell all that he did because I am proud of him.

When a second round of dry heaves began Danny and I awoke. We went in the living room to see what was going on and my 12 year old son was at one end of the couch watching his little brother.

Getting sick is going to happen if you have children. I'm glad Samuel was there to quickly help out his brother. He took care of everything himself and didn't even wake us. Good job, Samuel! I'm glad you're my son.

Posted by Linda at 11:46 AM
February 09, 2005
Sandy's Life As a Dog

"Okay, Sandy, you watch the house while we're gone. And don't you and Gracie have any wild parties either!" is sometimes what my husband tells our chocolate lab dog and our fat black cat as we leave to go somewhere for a few hours. One time when we came back the house was more cluttered than it had been. I looked around, there was an empty package of cookies torn up on the floor. Then I looked up and saw our couch. My husband's favorite sunken place on the couch had mud all over it. Then I went to my bedroom there were muddy paw prints all over my bed! I went and told my husband, "Danny, I think Sandy had a party while we were gone. Then I told him what I saw. Everyone laughed.

Then I began to picture it in my head. As soon as we leave Sandy grabs a Mountain Dew out of the fridge and some cookies, jumps into my husband's spot and begins to channel surf with the remote. It's just as if a boss was gone and the employee gets to swing around in his big chair. Sandy knows the "leader of the pack"* has left and so it's as if she has now taken over the "alpha male" position in our "den". Then when she tires of that she runs to our bedroom and starts jumping on our bed as high as she can. Since she knows I am the "alpha female" of the pack, this is also a delight for her.

But in real life I know our dog, most of all, loves to be around her family of humans. One time when I was home alone and quietly sitting in our little orange recliner watching a country music channel. Sandy walked up to the couch where my husband and children pile up to watch TV and began howling. It was a lonely sad cry and she did it twice. It was unbearable for me to hear her wail out in dog language like that. I really don't get into petting dogs or letting them rub their wet nose on my face but I couldn't ignore her desperate cry for attention. So I told her to "Come." and petted her for awhile then she sat on the floor by me.

The old saying that goes, "A dog is a man's best friend" is even more true for boys like my son Samuel. One time he got in trouble and my husband made him sleep on the bottom bunk instead of the top one. During this time he became attached to Sandy sleeping at the foot of his bed. Sam's been on the bottom bunk ever since. His punishment ended up becoming a reward.

At bedtime I'll watch him. He'll tell Sandy to "Come." and then he will cradle our 40 pound dog in his arms and give her a big hug. Samuel smiles a contented smile while she closes her eyes and gives him lots of dog kisses.

Sandy loves her home. She considers herself privileged to come and go into our "pack's den" whenever she chooses. Even though this leaves annoying muddy dog prints on our floor a lot, her immense love and excitement in being a part of our family makes up for it. Considering that we got Sandy free from a Wal-mart parking lot, picked her out several brothers and sisters, was the runt and in poor health, it's makes me glad to know her life is much better now.

*Leader of the pack, den, alpha male, alpha female are all terms of dog psychology we learned from watching a dog special with John Ritter. Dogs think of families as if they are a pack of wolves.

Posted by Linda at 07:10 PM
February 07, 2005
Fryin' Frog Legs

Larry was an eleven year old boy. He lived in a house on top of a hill. It was the highest hill in the little town of Adair, Oklahoma. Near his house was a water tower. In fact, it was the water tower used for district #5.

Besides living in a really neat place, Larry could walk a mile to his Grandma and Grandpa's house. Near their house was a pond. In that pond there were lots of frogs -- big frogs like bullfrogs. One hot summer day, Larry decided he wanted to go to the pond to see if he could get a frog. He would use his bee-bee gun. At the pond, he would shoot at different objects around. Sometimes he would sit very still, near to the water and when something would move he would shoot. There were lots of misses here and there. He would see different frogs and shoot at them but they would quickly dive into dark muddy water and totally disappear. But there was one frog that would come back. Larry knew it was the same one because it was so big. It's body section was about six inches long and when it jumped and stretched out it's thick hind legs, they were about nine inches long! Larry wanted this one. He kept trying to get it. Finally, after 5 or 6 tries he hit it! This was his first frog.

Larry took the frog to his Grandparent's house. He showed it to his grandpa. Then Larry's grandpa skinned it. The back legs were the part to eat. So he skinned them too. Then Larry's grandma prepared to fry them up. She was an excellent cook. She coated the pair of legs with some flour and a few other spices. Then put them in hot grease in a frying pan. When the legs started to really cook a funny thing happened they began to pop around. It would make you almost wonder if they were going to leap right out of the pan! But they didn't and then Grandma took them out and put them on a plate for Larry. They tasted just like anyone would suspect, like fried chicken of course.

Larry told me about his frog legs story recently. It happened in the early '70's. I enjoyed hearing it and wanted to think about all its little details. Everyone needs a fond story like that to think about from time to time. It's a sweet peaceful way to escape in your mind from just being a grownup.

Posted by Linda at 08:27 PM
February 05, 2005
The Best Foods

Last night when Benjamin, Samuel and I were going to buy groceries I turned on the car radio. The John Tesh Radio Show was on. I always enjoy hearing his show. He has good music and great advice to help us live better lives. He was talking about the best foods to eat.
I had to get this list for my blog. I went to his website at Tesh.com. There I got the best foods list and also signed up for his newsletter called Intelligence For Your Life. Here is the list of the main foods he recommends:

Best fruit -- blueberries (I also consider cantalope an excellent choice.)
Best salad topper -- tomatoes
Best breakfast food -- lowfat yogurt
Best snack food -- almonds (This will give you energy & keep hunger at bay)
Best hot drink -- green tea (This will actually reduce gum disease and tooth decay!)
Best green vegetable -- broccoli
Best pre-workout food -- 100% pure juice

This list can be a good start to healthier eating for you and your family. I can incorporate this into the lunch I take to work. I tend to be more disciplined in eating healthy at work. In the space below I have added the information I got directly from the John Tesh Website. It tells about more good foods.

Are you eating the healthiest things you possibly can?
Self magazine separated foods into several categories, and picked the best choices for each one. Here they are.

The best fruit to eat is the blueberry, which just beats out kiwi, cranberry, orange and cantaloupe. Blueberries contain the most antho-cyanins, which help prevent heart disease, and phyto-nutrients that boost circulation.

The best salad topper is the tomato. It has anti-oxidants to fight cancer, vitamin A for eye disease, vitamin C for the immune system, and potassium to help lower your blood pressure. Runners-up are carrots, green peppers, red onions and mushrooms.
The best breakfast food is lowfat dairy, particularly yogurt. Most women don’t get enough calcium, which helps adults lose weight; the protein helps keep you full until lunch time; and yogurt cultures help maintain healthy bacteria levels in the body.

Almonds beat out pistachios as the best snack. They are packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber and vitamins, and boost energy and keep hunger at bay.

The best hot drink is green tea. The antioxidants lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack, breast cancer, gum disease and cavities.

The best green vegetable is broccoli, edging out asparagus and spinach. Broccoli is unique, with cancer-fighting sulfora-phane, plus calcium, iron, vitamin C and folate.

The best pre-workout snack is 100% fruit juice, which provides fluids and carbs for your workout, and is less likely than food to cause cramping. Try orange juice with pulp for fiber, or cranberry which fights all kinds of infections. Just skip juices that list sugar or corn syrup among the first ingredients.

So, you wanna be healthy? Here’s the wrap up from Self magazine: you need to eat blueberries, tomatoes, low-fat yogurt, almonds, green tea, broccoli and drink 100% fruit juice before a workout.

Posted by Linda at 09:23 PM
. . . What I Know Now

My children were really small and we were visiting my father-in-law's house on a Sunday afternoon. My father-in-law, Ford, was talking with me by the garage about raising children while we watched them play. I distinctly remember him saying, "Wished I knew then, what I know now." As I politely listened to that statement, I was screaming inside my head, "What!?, What is it you know now? Is there some big secret that I need to know that will guarantee my children will do good in life." I then spoke up and asked him. I didn't get an answer to fill the knowledge void he'd just placed in my head. All my little ones who constantly kept me running just to keep up with their needs were still so small I could take some good knowledge and develop it into some good parenting skills. It seemed he would know something important from the wisdom he had gained through years of simply living life. Besides his family had the same dynamics as mine, three boys and then a girl.

About a week ago, on my assembly line job, that statement came up again. It was from a lady named Pat that I work with. She was talking about her life. She'd told me she had lived a hard life. She talked about how her dad was a harsh man. She said when she was a teenager she refused to listen to anyone who would tell her what she needed to do. She told how she married young to the wrong guy and regretted it and then divorced. Then she said it, "Wished I knew then what I know now." So once again, I asked what it meant. She said she really wished she hadn't made all those bad choices in her past.

I thought about her answer. When someone says, "I wished I knew then what I know now." they're thinking back to their past and wishing beyond all hope they could change it. So after figuring out the answer to that question, I instantly started looking back at my 38 years of life. I asked myself what are my regrets. In my personal life I've made some dumb mistakes here and there but they didn't alter my life in a big harmful way.

Next I thought about how I have been raising my children these past 12 years. What regrets do I have there? Well,I do have fears and regrets about how I have raised them but it's because I want them to grow up to be God-fearing adults who reach their potential. There are certain things I wish for my children like I want to give them lots of different opportunities so they can figure out their talents and what they enjoy in life. I want them to know to have an attitude to stay productive with their thoughts and actions. I want them to gather all the knowledge they can and enjoy learning. I want them to know the Bible and that praying to God regularly is important. I want them to have a positive attitude toward new experiences and consider such things as an adventure not a dread. But my husband, Danny and I, are the ones who will help them to learn such things and sometimes I know we don't try hard enough. Other times I regret we don't have the finances to give our children opportunities, even so, I know there are successful people who grew up dirt poor.

But unlike my past even though it wasn't too regretful, I want even better for my children. Since they are growing up right now, my husband and I still have the opportunity to help them prepare for a good life. I really hope that when they grow up they won't have to learn some unnecessary hard lesson of life and then look back and say with regret, "Wished I knew then what I know now."

Posted by Linda at 12:52 AM
February 04, 2005
PDL Day 4 Made to Last Forever

About 8 years ago, I had a miscarriage. It was a difficult time. To help cope I thought a lot about what it was like when my baby went to heaven. This is what I imagined. I was about 4 months pregnant. In the exact moment that my baby died, a big strong warrior of an angel came and took that tiny soul and gently cradled it in his arms and then went to heaven. When they got there Jesus was waiting and then He held my baby and my Dad who is in Heaven too also got to see and hold his grandchild. Of anyone that would ever have the privilege to hold one of my babies before I got to, I would have great comfort in that it would be Jesus. In the Bible, Jesus told His disciples to let the children come to Him and not stop them. And in that instance, our little one was the first in our family to actually go to Jesus in Heaven. I don't know a whole lot of details about Heaven but I know it is the very best place in all existence.

Summary Sentence: This life is not all there is.

In his writings for Day 4, Rick Warren talks about Heaven. He says God has put the idea of eternity into all of our hearts so we would think about it. He says life is just a dress rehearsal before the real production. I like how he described our existence like an iceberg. He said, "Today is the visible tip of the iceberg. Eternity is all the rest you don't see underneath the surface."

There must be a distinction made about eternity though. It's not all heaven. There is a hell. Just like the Bible says, people who choose Jesus choose heaven with God in eternity.

Rick Warren gives a description of heaven that is taken from the Bible. Here's what he wrote:

We know that right now God is preparing an eternal home for us. In heaven we will be reunited with loved ones who are believers, released from all pain and suffering, rewarded for our faithfulness on earth, and reassigned to do work that we will enjoy doing. We won't lie around on clouds with halos playing harps! We will enjoy unbroken fellowship with God, and He will enjoy us for an unlimited, endless forever. One day Jesus will say, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world" (Matthew 25:34, NIV).

So, if we are logically thinking about eternity, to the best of our ability we need to prepare for it each day we're alive. The better we prepare now the better eternity will be. Striving to know and complete God's purpose in our life each day is the best way to that.

Posted by Linda at 09:15 PM
February 03, 2005
PDL Day 3 What Drives Your Life?

My son Jonathan loves the Christmas season. Every year after Thanksgiving he takes our calendar and carefully writes down the countdown to Christmas. Last year he was anxious to buy presents for his family. He kept reminding me, beginning right after Thanksgiving, that I would need to take him shopping. He would let me know about the toys he liked. When we started doing Christmas activities Jonathan was always in a good mood. He was my best, loyal present-wrapper. When the time got very near he would remind me constantly just how many days were left. On Christmas eve night he was the first in bed but had difficulty falling asleep. My young 10 year old had an exciting purpose to work toward which was Christmas Day and it was fun to see his hopes come true on that morning.

Summary Sentence: Everyone's life is driven by something.

In the Day 3 section of PDL, the author gave a list of things that drive people in life. Some are driven by materialism. Some are driven by negative emotions such as guilt, resentment and anger, or fear. And still others are driven by the need for approval. Are you driven by any of these? These can dominate a person's life. Or they may be a trap we fall into from time to time. The two that I have the most difficulty with are fear -- a fear of failure -- and the need for approval -- worrying too much about what others think.

The author then gives several good reasons why we should have a purpose driven life. All these reasons can keep us on an efficient path to a satisfying life. We can have meaning, simplicity of life, focus, motivation and passion. And finally, in the end if we have had a life based on the reason why God made us, we will have eternity in heaven. If we are driven by the purpose that God intended for our life then we will not be disappointed in the end. It will be far more exciting than even a young child awaking to Christmas morn.

Posted by Linda at 07:16 PM
February 02, 2005
PDL Day 2 You are not an accident

Of all of our four children, none of them were an "accident" or a surprise. In the 13 years of our marriage we have let God choose how many and when each of our children should be born. Two of our children have a genetic condition which requires regular doses of medication. When God made our children, He did not accidentally give them the wrong genetics. He had an intentional plan. Even more so, there has never been a single person in the past, present or future who was made accidentally. God never makes mistakes and when life begins is His choice, and His alone.

Summary Sentence: You are not an accident.

It seems to me, God has two very prominent characteristics. First of all, He is the Creator of everything from microscopic bacteria to stars that are so far away we can't even see them twinkle. Second of all, He is love -- the very essence of love. What an awesome combination. God made us and He loves us far more than anyone could ever try to love us. God's motivation for making each of us was love. That's why we're not an accident and God really, really, really wants us to love Him back. Going to God to find out our purpose in life is a way we can do that.

Posted by Linda at 07:40 PM
February 01, 2005
PDL Day 1 It All Starts With God

One night on Jay Leno a short interview was done with the very talented morning talk show host Katie Couric. It was done by a young intern. As the interviewer, he wanted Katie to give him some pointers that have helped her become such a success. The first thing she told him was, "Always remember, it's not about you." In other words, when you are interviewing someone, focus on that person. When you ask them a question figure out how to get their answer from their storehouse of knowledge.

But most ironically, the interviewer didn't take Katie's advice and soon after she gave such an excellent pointer he began talking about himself and then the cameraman cut back to Jay Leno!

In order to find our purpose in life we don't need to ask the question, "What on earth am I here for?" And then focus solely on ourselves to figure out the answer.

In the Purpose Driven Life book, the author Rick Warren begins each chapter with a short simple sentence. In the Day 1 section he begins with "It's not about you." He does this intentionally so it can be an easy phrase for you to remember and then think about for awhile.

Even though I read through Day 1 of the Purpose Driven Life, a summary of this chapter can honestly and simply be gathered from the title and the first sentence. If we selfishly try to figure out the meaning of our life by looking for it on our own, we won't be successful like we would if we go to God, the One who made us and then search for the answer in Him. Before any single person was even conceived in their mother's womb, God had already thought the deepest thoughts about that person and made the best plans for their life. He intentionally made each person with all of their strengths and weaknesses. To figure out the simplest way to get to God I have to fall back on a Bible verse I've known probably since I was a kid. In the New Testament part of the Bible, there are words written in red ink because Jesus, the Son of God, spoke them and He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life no man can come unto the Father except by me.” We must believe in Jesus to get to God and then we start praying (talking to God) a lot and also reading the Bible and then we are well on our way to figuring out the purpose of our life.

Posted by Linda at 09:29 PM