Ginny's hair is long and blonde. She's like her brothers when it comes to her hair. All of our children started out as babies with fine blonde hair and pretty blues eyes to match. As each of them have grown their hair gets darker. Danny and I have brown hair so we consider that by the time they're adults their hair will be like ours.
On Monday the 21st I took Ginny to the beauty shop for the first time. It was late in the afternoon and we went to Supercuts in our small town. We didn't wait very long. One guy was getting his haircut when we came in. As the young blonde beautician cut his hair, she had a lengthy conversation about chocolate. After finishing and sweeping away the leftovers she said, "Who's next?" Ginny gladly but quietly said, "Me." The lady put a booster cushion in the seat and then Ginny climbed in. She put a cover up around my little girl and then asked how should it be cut. I told her to taper it in the front.
Danny wants Ginny's hair to grow long. For all her seven years I would just trim it from time to time. Then Ginny developed a habit. She would chew on the hair around her face. We kept trying to figure out something to help her stop but weren't successful. Finally, I decided Ginny and I should just go get our hair cut together. So there we were. The hair around Ginny's face which had been very uneven was now neatly tapered. I liked the technique the beautician used to get it that way. She would grab a lock of hair, hold it in her right hand and swing it around in front of the face. I guess this method gave the lock of hair a natural flow to it. Then she would cut with the scissors in her left hand straight up and down. After Ginny's hair was done, it was my turn and I got the same cut.
As I sat watching Ginny I wished I would've brought our digital camera. So instead of taking a picture I tried to freeze the image of Ginny's haircut in my head. While she sat there happily on her booster seat her little gray and white snow boots with the zipper in the front dangled down. She sat still. It was cute to note the irony of her tiny frame compared to the average size grown up who had just used the chair.
When I was in elementary school I had a best friend. Her name was Christie Morris. We went to Jane Addams Elementary school in Oakhurst, Oklahoma together. In the summer I would spin the night at her house on her birthday. We would have so much fun. We would laugh and have little girl conversations. When we wrote letters to each other we would sign it "Your B.F" (best friend). We were kindred spirits. Her personality went with mine. We had similar likes and dislikes. We liked to draw. We even made little booklets we called Charm booklets. The little folded paper booklets had games, jokes, and drawings in them. Having a friend like Christie was a gift. Through the years I've had many acquaintances but I've only had a few really good friends. Those that I can relax and feel comfortable around, relate to, and enjoy their company.
Summary Sentence: God wants to be your best friend.
Imagine this, the Almighty God and Ruler of all the universe wants to have a friendship with you. In fact, He wants to be your best friend. In the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren refers to a book written in the 17th Century by a man named Brother Lawrence. He was a humble cook in a French monastery. The book is called Practicing the Presence of God. The passion of Bro. Lawrence's life was continuously acknowledge God is near and available to talk to. He would worship God through the common tasks of life. He said the key to friendship with God is not changing what you do, but changing your attitude toward what you do. This statement reminds of a Bible verse written by the Apostle Paul found in 1 Corinthians. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
Why would we want to make God our best friend? Most people only think to give God and Jesus attention in a church service or when a family emergency arises and you need to pray. If we are Christians we should want God to become our best friend because He did so much for us by giving us eternal life through His son Jesus.
How do we go about becoming best friends with God? We do so, by using Brother Lawrence's example. We begin to train our mind to remember God throughout the day in all the tiny details of our life. Besides God is there and is incredibly familiar with each of these details anyway. He loves it when we acknowledge His presence. In fact, there's another verse that comes to mind. Found in the Proverbs 3, it says, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."
Here are three practical ways to have God on your mind throughout the day:
1. Pray. Throughout your day, pray. Pray short simple words to God. Let your first waking thought be a one sentence prayer--"Jesus, help me do today what you would want me to do." If you start thinking the wrong thoughts at any time in a day and want to get them out of your head, say, "Jesus, forgive me for thinking that, help me to think the right thing."
2. Attitude of Thanks. Have an attitude of thanks to God for the many blessings He has given you. If something turns out really great for you don't have a cocky attitude and consider yourself lucky, Stop! and acknowledge God and say thank you to God for such sweetness in life. Thank God for as many things that you can possibly be thankful for.
3. Memorize a Bible verse. Here's what I like to do. Write out a Bible verse on an index card and then try to memorize it in a day. Then after it is memorized bring it up in your brain from time to time. Proverbs 3:5&6 is a good start.
It will take practice, practicing the presence of God and making him your best friend but there's nothing that could be better for you. Just like I said before, "You are the company you keep."
Last Friday, Danny and I got a new mattress set. It was a good thing. Our old one really sagged. That night when we slept on it. In the middle of the night, I was rudely awakened by my fat black cat Gracie. She was at my feet coughing up a hair ball! I couldn't believe it, the very first night on the nice mattress and our cat puts icky on it. When I awoke the next morning there it was disgustingly on display on our clean green sheets until I cleaned it up.
When I wonder how coffee was made a long time ago I get this picture in my head. A couple of cowboys are sitting around a campfire in the deep dark night. One cowboy who is quietly settled in pours some fireside coffee into a tin cup and then jokes about the grains settling in the bottom as he hands it to the lone traveler who just arrived.
Danny, my husband, is currently reading a book entitled,"He Fell in Love With His Wife" by Edward Payson Roe. The book was published in 1886. It can be found on the website BytheFireplace.com. In chapter 5 the author describes how one man liked his coffee:
"Yes, the kettle's boiling all right. First scald out the coffeepot--put three-quarters of a cup of ground coffee into the pot, break an egg into it, so; pour on the egg and coffee half a cup of cold water and stir it all up well, this way. Next pour in about a pint of boiling water from the kettle, set the pot on the stove and let it--the coffee, I mean--cook twenty minutes, remember, not less than twenty minutes. I'll be back to breakfast by that time. Now you know just how I want my coffee, don't you?"
Danny and I are not sure why the egg had to be there. Danny figured it gave the coffee a certain flavor. I sure am glad we don't have to boil our coffee for twenty minutes anymore.
I remember my dad always drank coffee early in the morning before our large noisome household awoke. To the best of my knowledge my mother would make his coffee with two spoonfuls of sugar and a little cream skimmed off the top of the fresh milk we got from the dairy about three miles down the road. I just wonder what he would have thought of cooking an egg in his coffee!
I love the feeling you get when you go to college. I remember when I went. I loved the opportunity to become a knowledge sponge. I attended a Rogers State College in Claremore, Oklahoma to get my freshman and sophomore classes. Then I went to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma to get an elementary teaching degree. Since I came from a large family with several younger siblings I didn't expect my Dad to help me very much financially and I didn't think I could afford to live in a dorm. When I went to Rogers State I was able to stay at home and pay for most of it myself.
When I went to Northeastern State University I really didn't want to drive the 80 miles every other day to attend class. By the grace of God I was able to live with a family and help them with their two children while I lived in their home for free. I loved living there it was a beautiful place. I wanted to write this blog just to describe it to you.
It was the nicest place I've ever lived. In Tahlequah the trees grow tall and thin and there are a lot of Dogwoods blooming in the Spring. I stayed with the Guffey family. They lived about a half mile off of the highway on a red dirt gravel road. They grow lots of strawberries in Tahlequah. Jolene Guffey's dad was really good at growing strawberries and tomatoes. He'd grow them in rocky soil. The rocks were small. He lived near a spring that came out of the side of a hill. If you followed the spring it would lead you in about a mile or so to the Guffey's home. They lived near a cliff and below was the spring. Steve Guffey had made stairs leading down to the spring. He had chipped them out of the black slate rock that made up the side of the cliff. There was also a deck they had built out over the spring. It was fun to wake up early in the morning and go stand out on the small deck that overlooked the spring and listen. It was relaxing to hear it's bubbly sounds. A little farther down the road where the spring met the road you could find watercress growing. Jolene Guffey liked to make salad with this. You could gather it by the edge of the water and then take it home. Sometimes Jolene would go mushroom hunting with her friend from work. Her friend was an expert and knew the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms. Then Jolene would cover them with a flour coating and fry them in hot oil. They lived in an old school building renovated into a home. It was half finished and junkie when they bought it for an exceptionally good price. It had been built as a very sturdy building by the WPA in the 1930's. The plaque was still on it near the cornerstone of the building. Above the door in the front was it's name "Lane School". It had been a brown brick school with one big room for the classroom. At the back was the kitchen cafeteria area. Steve told me how he had to use a jackhammer to make an entrance from the classroom to the kitchen area. The big brown rocks on the old schoolhouse were heavy and thick. They worked hard to make it beautiful. In their backyard they had an above ground swimming pool with a surrounding deck. The water in it came from the spring. I remember one time Jolene put a watermelon in it to keep it cool through the hot summer days. They Guffey family didn't use the pool very much. Sometimes when they would travel on the weekends I would have it all to myself. I wasn't much of a swimmer but it was fun to practice there. I would try to take a walk a couple of times a week down the dirt road. There were a few neighbors around but not too near to the Guffey's home. I'm glad when I went away to college I got to stay with them. They were a kind family and living in their home was a dream place for me.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday, we taught the five year olds in Sunday school about when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. The people were so excited they wanted to honor Jesus so they sang out, "Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." and laid their coats and palm leaves on the path in front of Him. A few days later He would die on the cross and then rise again on the day we celebrate as Easter. A large number of Americans think about attending church only twice a year, Christmas and Easter.
Last night around midnight as rain poured and began to pound on the tin roof of our mobile home, Danny and I watched live C-Span as an unusual situation caused our Congress to convene. It wasn't legislation in a bill that was 500 pages long containing tons of details that would affect millions of Americans. They met together to debate over the fate of one woman, Terry Shiavo. Her life was in the balance. On the previous Friday the feeding tube to her stomach was removed. It was a special session. They were meeting during their Spring break and the debate was coming to an end. The Senate had already passed the bill unanimously earlier in the day and now the House of Representatives would soon take about 15 minutes to vote. Finally, The majority said to pass the bill. This bill would hopefully save the life of the 41 year old woman with brain damage lying in a bed in a Hospice facility. Our President changed his schedule for Sunday and flew in to Washington on stand by to sign the 4 page bill for Terry. After he would sign a judge would be required to look over Terry's situation and then hopefully she would be placed under the care of her parents.
Terry had been in her bed-ridden state since 1990. Her now estranged husband, Micheal Shiavo, was her guardian and wanted her life to come to an end. Terry's family were continuing to fight for the rights to help their daughter. A judge in Florida, Judge Greer ruled over the case many times. Although blatant evidence would be placed before him he would ignore it and side with the wishes of Michael Shiavo. Michael labeled her as in a vegetative state and persisted to end her life. There is video on the internet and on the news that shows Terry obviously responding to people with sounds and with her eyes and with facial expressions such as a smile.
What does God think of all this? In the book of Proverbs from the Bible we learn that "For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord and He pondereth all his goings". Since he's is omniscient He knows the motives of every single person's heart including Michael Shiavo or Judge Greer. Also, including the congressmen and women who would use His name in a vain manner to say Terry should be allowed to go to heaven or be with God if that's what her "family", Michael, who now has a common law wife and two children with her, would choose.
Here's a big question in my head, "Why would the choice between the life and death of Terry Shiavo come up during the time of Easter? Easter is all about life. While the bright Spring flowers are blooming, baby animals are being born and Jesus is being honored who showed us the pinnacle meaning of life by rising from the dead and thus providing the opportunity for each individual to choose eternal life Terry's continued existance is being decided. Tom Delay who played a vital role in bringing Terry's bill to the congress ended the debate. He expressed it with the best summary by saying while the debate of congressmen and women continued a woman was waiting in her hospital bed thirsting and dying of starvation. It seems a lot of people have ignored this story but attitudes to not care about life that God has established shows we do not fear Him as we should. I hope this case will cause people to consider all aspects of life as important from Terry's situation to disabled individuals to unborn children.
As large crowds of Americans pack the churches this coming Sunday, I hope each would honor Jesus for what He did and they would also remember and have the attitude that each individual life has importance.
Tears filled my eyes as I listened to the cell phone call to my husband. I couldn't stop the tears. Even now as I write this I have to redirect my thoughts from wanting to cry. Danny's voice was upbeat because he was planning to help someone out. Danny knew the man from the Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Message Board he established about five years ago. When we found out our son had this condition, Danny used his computer programming talent to get it going. Now it is a comforting refuge to those with the condition and who have family members with it. The CAH condition is rare so it is uncommon to know another person who has it. Parents get a lot of help from the site. And people visit from all over the world. The message board is usually the number one visited site under the topic on search engines. Through the message board lots of questions are answered, concerns are discussed, information exchanged and people have some refreshing support so they don't feel alone in dealing with this condition.
The man and his wife from West Virginia had just lost their little girl. Their only child had CAH and had gotten sick. Then she had an adrenal crisis and her heart stopped. She was only 14 months old. The parents worked at Wal-mart and didn't have insurance. Danny was working to get some donations for the family through the message board. He also called our brother-in-law, Tim, who is a manager at a Wal-mart and asked him about their situation. Danny found out they have a critical need fund for such instances. He was glad to tell the guy this information. And then the two talked of how they could get a Pay Pal account on the internet so they could receive the money quickly for the funeral and hospital bills. Danny said he couldn't imagine how it would feel to lose a child. The man said he has never hurt so bad. Danny ended the phone call encouraging the man by letting him know he's still welcome on the CAH message because he's part of the CAH family.
Our son, Jonathan, has been through two adrenal crises but of course we still have him. And our daughter, Ginny, has never had one. I thank God for the privilege of having my children near and my heart and prayers really go out to this young family. I'm glad my husband was able to help them out in such a difficult time. I'm proud of him.
My children will grow up someday. Now while they're young there is a lot of sibling rivalry. Some days they annoy and frustrate each other all day long. My husband is the one to mainly deal with this. My oldest likes to joke around. He gets in trouble when he is too harsh with a practical joke. My middle son is continuously learning to "loose the attitude" when his big brother teases. My youngest son is small and ends up in frustration because he gets picked on so much. And my little girl can hold her own in defense to teasing when she lets out an ear piercing squawl that is heard throughout the house.
When I was young there was a bunch of sibling rivalry in our family. I had a younger brother, Kelly and my little sister, Sharon. They were two of eleven siblings. I'll have the opportunity to talk about the rest of them in future blogs. We would get so comfortable living around each other that we would end up being rude to each so we could selfishly get our way. As we became teenagers, our attitude toward each other began to change. We became more respectful and more distant at the same time. And then when we left home and became grown ups, annoying your siblings went away because we now lived separate lives.
I thought about this today. It made me a little sad that the teasing that gets out of hand now will probably be gone in ten years or so. So I made a little plan. When my children tease each other I'm going to teach them to temper it with kindness. This will take a long time to teach them I'm sure. I will explain to them why they shouldn't be mean to each other. Danny and I are also teaching them how to have a good sense of humor. Hopefully, I can train them to joke around with each other in an ongoing harmless way that will carry over into adulthood. Honestly, I hope my children grow up to be the best of friends and see each other often.
Could you imagine with me for a short while? Easter will be here soon and I thought of a hymn that's perfect for that day. When I looked it up in my old Baptist hymnal it had three small type written words at the bottom of the page. I wish I knew more about this song but I don't. All I know are the words to the song and the three little words that said it is a Traditional Negro Spiritual. Let's just enjoy going back in history and trying to think of details in the life of the humble person who wrote such meaningful words.
From sun up to sundown that's the way he worked. He was a strong black man. He worked hard. A day's work began in the semi-dark hours before the sun arose and ended when darkness settled in and you could no longer see the crop you'd pick for the owner of the plantation. The owner was a tough business man and with a firm hand. The hard working man and his young family belonged to the plantation owner. He was a slave. This year the owner wanted more bushels of grain picked from his fields than ever before. Life would become difficult when such goals were not achieved. This man of slavery had great ability in strength and endurance, more so than most, but he also had other talents. He was a Christian man and although he couldn't read he would listen with all his focus and learn the Bible. There was a handful of slaves who could read and on the Lord's Day they would meet together and the Word of God would be proclaimed. He had another talent, a God-given talent It was deep and distinct voice. If you heard him sing you would have to stop and just listen, listen to every part of how he would use his voice to sing the simple songs about the Christian life that he had learned from his childhood. The plantation owner's wife had heard him sing once as he was leaving the field. She had commented to him how she enjoyed his song. It was hard to believe she had spoken such kindness. But he cherished it and intentionally decided he would never be boastful about his song. It was the Lord who placed a song in his heart and caused the sound that was so pleasant to hear. Many times all through his long days in the field along side others he would sing. It would cause the time to go by more quickly. Sometimes when the noon sun was overhead and he had to keep going at a good pace even though the sweat on his brow was heavy and his back hurt from stooping too low to the ground he would escape through his song. Sometimes he would sing words until they became new songs. He'd sing right out loud until the right words would fit together in just the right way. No one cared. They loved the sound and it was interesting to them just to listen until words became a song full of rich meaning. He was good at writing songs even though he couldn't write. He would write the words upon his heart. Those working around him would give free advice on the songs but in the end he chose what they would say. Since he wrote them upon his heart they had to be good words. Not songs of gossip or judging of others. No, his songs would talk about God and the Jesus he served. As a slave all his life he had been very poor. Your life was simple and when someone in the family would get sick, oh, how everyone would learn a whole lot more about praying to the good Lord above. His Mama had given him riches though, because she taught him the most important thing you should do in life and that is to live for the Lord. So he did, that's why he worked so hard and that's why he only wrote songs about His Lord. At night, when he would relax before bedtime he would sing his songs because he wanted his children to be rich, rich in the riches of God himself. He would teach them so they could also teach his grandchildren the goodness of the Lord.
One day as he thought of how good God was to him he thought of his destiny of heaven. He thought of what had to happen so long ago so he could go to heaven. It angered him how Jesus had to die but he had the greatest respect and honor for him because of this. He wanted a way that others would understand that it was a serious thing Jesus did when he died on the cross. He wanted them to know that had to be done and Jesus had to die and be placed in a tomb as they did to the deceased so long ago. He wanted somehow for people to know that Jesus didn't stay dead like all other men but he did something powerful and came back to life after three days. He'd been thinking of how he could tell others of this most meaningful part of his life. He would make a song. So he did and in the fields he would sing his song until he wrote it just like he knew it ought to be written. He made it simple and he would sing out the message.
The song that made me want to enjoy imagining this story is Were You There? Here are the words:
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble!
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble!
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble!
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
O! Sometimes I feel like shouting glory, glory, glory!
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
In the hymnal this song had no author. I like to hear it sung a cappella by a single person. I tried to find a website that sang it this way but couldn't but I did find one that played it on the piano. It's at cyberhymnal.org. I like how the the author started out by grabbing the attention of those singing it or listening to it by asking a question that was thought provoking. All of the verses are questions and then the last ends with a rhetorical question to show the excitement the songwriter had in that Jesus overcame death.
"We serve God by serving others." Ashley Smith began to read aloud Day 33 on page 257 from her Purpose Driven Life book. Then she continued on, "The world defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige, and position. If you can demand service from others, you've arrived. In our self-serving culture with its me-first mentality, acting like a servant is not a popular concept.
As these words fell from her lips she was being the example, a real- life touchable description that came alive from the pages of her book. She was being a servant, a servant to a killer. She was reading them to Brian Nichols as part of the plan she kept in her head that would hopefully keep her alive. "Read them again." He said as he searched in his mind for some kind of peace or hope. She was his hostage in her apartment. He had taken her captive when she was returning from the store at 2:30am. She realized who he was then when he removed his hat. She asked him not to kill her because she had a daughter. Four years earlier Ashley's husband had died and that would leave her little girl as an orphan.
On the day of March 11, Brian Nichols had gone on a shooting rampage. He was scheduled to go to court for a rape trial. He managed to overpower and then kill a courthouse deputy. Then he killed the judge, a court reporter, a deputy and later a Federal agent. The largest manhunt in Georgia's history was unfolding as Americans watched the event on their televisions.
Through the night Ashley and Nichols talked about many things. She helped him calm down. They talked about God, family and life experiences. They talked about the family of the victims he had killed and how they must be grief stricken. He held photographs of Ashley's family in his hands as he repeatedly said he didn't want to hurt anyone else. He asked if he could stay there a few days and do normal things again. He told her he considered his life was now over. Nichols said he needed hope for his life and said he was already dead. Ashley stressed to him it was a miracle that he had made it to her apartment and that he was there for a reason. Nichols had respect for for her words. Then Ashley said these words to him, "You know, your miracle could be that you need to -- you need to be caught for this. You need to go to prison and you need to share the Word of God with them, with all the prisoners there." At about 9:30 that morning Nichols amazingly allowed Ashley to go pick up her daughter. After she left and when she came to the first stop sign, she stopped and dialed 9ll. Within minutes the rampaged killer was surrounded by police and then Brian Nichols calmly signaled his surrender by waving a white piece of cloth. Ashley said she believed that God had brought him to her door so that he wouldn't kill anyone else.
See!! I told you that the Purpose Driven Life book is worth reading!
It was seven years ago and around this time of year. I was at home off work on medical leave thoroughly enjoying my new baby girl as my husband worked to help "make ends meet" at the Taco Bueno about half a mile from our apartment near the busy street of Peoria in Tulsa. As it was getting dark I decided to go to the laundry room to wash a load of dirty clothes. The load contained one real important ingredient. It was my husband's black dress pants he wore to work. He only had one pair and we couldn't afford $20 for an extra pair. I started the washer and then left as I had always done.
After a while I returned to put the load in the dryer. When I entered the tiny room a young 20ish woman was there doing her laundry. The air in the room had a nose burning twang of marijuana smell. I mostly ignored it and focused on my clothes. I looked in the washer and thought it odd that my clothes weren't tightly slung against the sides as they should've been. I quickly realized someone had been looking through them. The woman in the room had a reputation for stealing clothes. My friend and nextdoor neighbor, Donna, had warned me about her. She stole a pair of Donna's pants. Her and Donna were around the same size in women's bigger clothes.
Thoughts were racing through my mind, "I've got to confront this woman. My husband has got to have his pants!" So as I put the clothes in the dryer I began to casually talk. I mentioned that someone had been looking through my washer. She didn't say anything. I then mentioned how my Momma taught me the ten commandments and that stealing is wrong. She kind of nodded. I told her of how my husband would need his pants for work tomorrow. She listened but no reply. Then, although shaky, I straightly confronted her. She denied. I had no intention of leaving without my husband's pants. I looked in her dryer. They're they were tumbling around with some of my other clothes mixed in with still others I had never seen before. This was making me even more angry. Then I walked outside the door. She followed me out. I figured if I stayed there long enough Danny would come to check on me. Then she started yelling in my face with her marijuana laden breath. She told me she had intentions of fighting me as she yelled colorful four letter words at me. I looked in her face not really scared because the situation was so ridiculous. This woman who was two to three times my size was going to beat me up because I knew she had obviously stole my clothes. There was no way I would retaliate to her idiocy. Finally, my husband came and I told him what was going on and he talked with her while I left. I went to our neighbor who lived below us and he called the police. Then my husband and the woman walked up to her mother's apartment where she lived with my clothes and "my husband's pants" still in her possession. When the police arrived we told them the situation. Although I was frustrated, the police officer said the only way I could get my clothes back were to describe each item and then she would pull them from her basket! As I described my clothes I kept wondering what this large woman was going to do with my clothes. They didn't fit her. Were they going to be an incentive to lose a 100 some-odd pounds! or maybe she was gathering a variety of clothes from many different tenants so she could have a big garage sale. I didn't know so I just tried my best to remember and as thoroughly as possible describe my garments. All the while, her mother was looking really stupid as she defended her daughter and denied that she had done anything wrong. In the end, I know I lost my favorite pair of pajamas and a pair of socks.
As soon I got home that night I wrote down all the details of what had happened and Danny took it to the landlord. The Landlord told the mother and her daughter they were terminated from living there. Since this made them angry they tried to get us in trouble. They called the child abuse/neglect hotline on us falsely saying we had harmed our child. The social worker came to my apartment and I had to undress my baby in front of her and she asked my children questions.
I don't like to end my blogs negatively but such instances made me hate apartment living and I was so glad when I moved into a mobile home with my own washing machine and dryer. Since we've lived here we haven't had the opportunity to become aquainted with anyone quite as colorful as the woman who stole my husband's only pair of work pants!
All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all.
All to thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.
Six lines containing easy-to-understand yet serious words of dedication. The words and music were written by men of long ago, born around the 1850's. This song is probably a hundred years old. I love old hymns. I love how my husband describes them. He says they're sermons in a song. I remember singing this song over and over in a little country church in Oologah, OK while Wilma, our dedicated piano player would follow the cues of the song leader each Sunday. This song is a quiet song you sing at the end of the service while the Pastor stands in front of the congregation waiting, just in case someone wants to get things right with God. Sometimes we would sing the whole song, praying as we go. There were four verses. Sometimes I would sing the song without thinking much of the words. Other times I would listen to myself say the words and read them at the same time. It was then I would have to either quit singing or prayerfully get serious about what I was singing out to God.
Summary Sentence: The heart of worship is surrender.
Just about everybody considers the word surrender with negative connotation. You get this image of a soldier raising his arms and giving up his gun as the enemy overtakes him and then forces him into the most dreaded of hopeless circumstances. This is far from the meaning of surrender when we apply it to the Christian life. Complete surrender to and trust in God gives us eternal hope. When a person first becomes a Christian surrender to God is the main focus of their life. They say a short prayer with major meaning. They realize they have to give their life and everything in it over to God. And they do. Even if they're just a little kid. But as time goes by, as Christians we change from that early great passion and we let wrong deeds, attitudes, and thoughts stay in our life. This is not right. Jesus, who painfully carried a cross to a hill called Golgotha, the place of his death, said twice in the Bible that we must carry our own "cross" and do it every day of our life. That is, we must accept the uncomfortable struggles and trials of life as part of being a Christian. We must surrender to whatever it takes that would help others to get to go to heaven.
So when we seriously say, Okay, Jesus, I give it all up to you. Do with me what you want. I TRUST YOU. What do you think would happen next? Maybe you think the church roof would fall in on you because you've been so bad. Most likely nothing physically major will happen. But there is one great thing that will happen. It's something you were made for. It's peace. If you really meant what you said, God will place in your life the most calming peace a human can experience. The Bible describes it as a peace which passeth all understanding. But in order to keep this peace you've got to keep trusting Jesus and spending time with Him through prayer, reading the Bible, going to church and telling others about Him.
In the morning when I wake up, a first important thing I do is, utter a prayer sentence. It's my way of surrendering my day to Jesus. I say, "Jesus help me to do today what you would want me to do." I know this is right and will help God's purpose to become reality in my life.
There is a couple in my Sunday School class that I admire. About two years ago, I remember them asking for prayer because they were wanting to adopt another child. At the time they had one adopted little girl. Then the opportunity came. They were vacationing in another state. In that state, their adoption agency had found children that they could adopt but there were three of them and they were of a different race. They had to make a quick decision. So they prayed and God told them to trust Him. And they did. I had the privilege of sitting in class while they told this story. It was a great testimony of their faith in God. And that testimony continued to unfold in the days to come as I would see them more complete and having lots of happiness in their family.
Summary Sentence: The smile of God is the goal of your life.
In Day 9 of the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren helps us learn what we can do in our life that will make God smile. Has God ever smiled because of something you did? I can't recall such an instance in my life but I hope if that does happen in that instance God would graciously let me know I made Him smile. I've made a question checklist taken from the author's description of several acts of worship that make God smile:
Do you love God supremely?
Do you trust God completely?
Do you obey Him wholeheartedly?
Do you praise and thank Him continually?
How well do you use your God given abilities?
No one can fully and thoroughly answer these questions with a yes. Because we are incapable of being perfect since we are humans who do wrong in the sight of a holy God time after time. But they are goals we should strive for. God knows we are incapable of being perfect or sinless yet He still watches every detail of our life with great interest. God looks on the intent of a person's heart. What's your attitude? We should look at these questions and strive to live a life of worship to God in these areas. Noah who built the ark made God smile in these five different ways.
The couple from my Sunday school class considered it a very high priority to trust God. And God blessed them with a great family and a happiness that only comes from Him. Just recently, about a month ago, they went before our church at the end of the sermon and they announced they we're missionaries-elect. They plan to move to Nicaragua and are working to get their financial support. Their lives are a humble beautiful example of what it means to trust God in a big way and then trust Him again in a bigger way. I know the smile of God is on their life.
Caution: Danny says this one is boring.
HMMMMMMM. Oh,so good. Fresh homemade potato salad is a great but simple pleasure of my life. On Saturday afternoons, I love to turn on the TV and watch the Antique Road Show while I make one of my favorite dishes. I make it exactly like I like it.
I start with about eight medium red potatoes. They're the best for making salad. You have to wash them good and leave the peeling on. Then you cut them in cubes and let them boil until you can moosh a potato chunk against the side of the pan with a fork. It's important to remember to skim the foam off the top while their boiling cause that's probably leftover dirt that you weren't able to scrub away with the vegetable brush.
While the potatoes are cooking don't forget to boil about five eggs. I always set the timer and let them cook on high for 19 minutes on my Whirlpool gas range. They come out just right and done all the way through.
While those two are cooking I start chopping and mixing together the rest of the ingredients. I like to use green onions and cut them in quarter inch chunks. They're better than white, yellow or red onions. They taste fresh like the onions I would pull up out of my mom's garden when I was young. I make sure they're clean though. After I finish with them I get some sliced hamburger pickles out of the jar in the refrigerator. I put six or seven in a stack and then slice them in half, turn my serrated knife at a 90 degree angle and slice a few more times. I throw these ingredients into my favorite mixing bowl. It's a red bowl my husband got from his mother before we were married. It never had a lid as much as I can tell but it's big and roomy. It has lots of scrapes and scratches on the inside from making recipes of the past. Next I add the creamy gunk that will hold everything together. Mainly speaking Miracle Whip because I want to avoid the raw egg mayonnaise taste as much as possible. To cover up any raw egg taste I will make sure this is a mustard potato salad. I like it to have a bright yellow look to it. Then I'll add a few spices -- some salt, a little bit of cayenne pepper because a tiny bit will go a long way and then an ingredient I discovered on my own. It's an Italian spice but I consider it to have a mild black pepper taste. It's basil. You can really taste the basil when the potato salad is freshly made.
While I have been putting all these ingredients together, the potatoes have been cooling. When I drained the potatoes in the pan I left a little of the starchy hot water to make it even creamier. Then I take a potato masher and mash them halfway. And let them cool some more. I don't want to cook the Miracle Whip. I also let the eggs cool by dumping out the boiling water from the pan and then putting some cold tap water on them. Then I peel them and cut them in chunks. Several years ago I had a wire utensil that chopped them in about 5 seconds but Samuel got it and his curiosity caused him to unwire it deeming it useless.
Finally, after the potatoes are semi-cool since I can't hardly wait any longer I dump it all together and stir it up real good. Then, since I like the fresh potato salad warm (I wouldn't want to wait for it to refrigerate for an hour; that's ridiculous!)I get a big serving spoon and drop a dollop into one of our pretty blue plastic bowls. It has the potential to splatter because I like to watch it plop into the bowl but it won't because it's so rich and creamy and chunky (Yum!) Lastly, I salt it and sprinkle some more cayenne pepper on the top. Finally! I take my first bite. HMMMMMMM! So, good!
For my little sister Penny:)
You are the company you keep. That's a phrase often told to teenagers to help them to remember to choose their friends cautiously. But there is even a far better company to keep and anyone can choose this company. It is that of God Himself. This can be done in two major ways; through prayer and reading the Bible. An excellent theologian I thoroughly enjoy listening to is Dr. R.C. Sproul. He has a radio program called Renewing Your Mind. He is currently teaching from a series called Five Things Every Christian Should Know. Last Tuesday he discussed how to study the Bible.
I have a little sister who is in Russia right now. She has the rare privilege of teaching elementary students the English Language in their Moscow Economic School. I know my little sister also likes to listen to Dr. Sproul, so when I heard this on the broadcast I went back through the radio program again and copied down all the details of how to read the Bible as a small gift for her. Her name is Penny. She just had a birthday last week. Happy birthday, Penny. Oh, by the way I'm proud and amazed at your courage and ability to be so far away from all your many family members so you can work with children and strive to bring hope to Russians through your Christlike example.
If you ever wanted to read the Bible through, logically thinking you would start at the start and then read straight through to the end, right? Not necessarily. God used many individuals through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to write down the sacred scripture. Each book, or to simply describe--section, is written for different reasons. All to honor God but sometimes the information within a book can be overwhelming. Here's what R.C. Sproul recommends.
You want to start by getting the basic outline of the Bible. This will give you an overview of what the Bible is about. For the old Testament the following books would give you a good background:
I & II Samuel
These are written in narrative form thus they keep your attention through drama and telling of a story.
The next phase consists of 2 of the 12 minor prophet books:
Then it is recommended to read from the major prophets of the Old Testament. Dr. Sproul considers Jeremiah the simplest to understand so it is good to begin there:
Then you should get in to the wisdom literature of the Old Testament:
Song of Solomon
After that you fill in the rest of your reading with the rest of the books in the OT.
When you start to read through the New Testament it is recommended to start with the Gospel of Luke. Luke was a Doctor and he told of the life of Jesus in great detail. He wrote the most descriptive narrative of Jesus' birth. He also wrote the book of Acts which tells of the Church and the Apostles after Jesus ascended into Heaven.
Then Dr. Sproul recommends to read from the writings of Paul who wrote many of the NT books:
Then read I Peter to get some teaching from the Apostle Peter.
Next I Timothy which is written by the Apostle Paul. After that read two others he wrote--Hebrews and Romans.
Then you go back through and read the rest of the NT.
Dr. Sproul says in order to be a good student of the Bible you need to make sure you write notes in your Bible. Use a pen and a highlighter. Make notations by verses you want to remember or even memorize. Use a Bible commentary. Some study Bibles have the commentary within them. There are also commentary books written by famous theologians. Dr. Sproul recommends the New Geneva Study Bible (recently renamed the Reformation Study Bible). There is also a good study Bible I've heard of by Bible teacher Kay Arthur called the Inductive Study Bible. Sproul also encourages us to check out the concordance in the back of the Bible. A famous concordance that is a completely separate book is Strong's Concordance. You can also go to PhpBible.org on the internet to find a concordance. It will list all the times a word is found in the Bible. He also encourages to listen to the Bible spoken in audio. He recommends Max McClain tapes or CDs. Hearing the Bible spoken with expression helps you understand it better. You can purchase these CD's or tapes at the Renewing Your Mind ministries website at Ligonier Ministries.org. Dr. Sproul says that when you read the Bible, read it existentially; that is, read it as if you were "in that person's shoes". Finally, one last excellent suggestion. Dr. Sproul wrote a book over 25 years ago called Knowing Scripture. This gives more helpful advice in understanding the Bible.
Who knows? This is just the beginning of March. Maybe we'll all get excited and read the Bible through by the end of the year. This should be the New Year's resolution of every Christian anyway. And the Bible commands parents to teach the Holy Scriptures to their children. And if for some reason, you stumbled across this site and have literally read this long blog all the way to this point, why not check out the Bible. After all, it is the biggest selling, most controversial book of all time.
On my assembly line job I work next to Larry. We talk and joke around when we can to help us survive when the job gets monotonous and time starts slowing down. Last Monday at the beginning of the day and the new work week time really slowed down because of the inevitable fact that we had merely begun the 40 hours. Larry began telling me about a job he once had in 1996. He had gotten it through Express Personnel in the tiny town of Stillwell. They told him they only had one job available. It was at a chicken plant owned by Tyson foods. I like their slogan, "We're chicken." I suppose they are, especially after I heard Larry's story.
His job started at 8 am. Before he got near the chickens the first thing he had to do was shower and put on a loose fitting jumpsuit which would protect him from head to toe. Larry said the place was very well kept. He said it was a state of the art chicken coop. They were very cautious to keep it sanitary and clean. The building was divided into four different sections. Each section had different ages of chickens. In Larry's section it was divided in half by a fence. All the chickens in the area needed to inoculated. There were hundreds of chickens not yet injected. Larry would need to catch the chickens and take them to get their shots. This would be his job along with a few others all day long. So, basically, you had to run after chickens until you caught them. If you were an expert at doing this, you had developed the ability to grab three sets of chicken legs and grasp them between your fingers in each hand! Larry said he never managed to reach this high level of performance. The most he could get was 2 sets of legs held in his fingers. Sometimes the chickens would bunch up. Larry said they were really dumb. They would gather in a corner and get so packed together some would end up getting smothered. I asked him what would happen if you accidentally broke a wing while you were catching one. He said they would take it and quickly incinerate it. Sometimes the chickens would get scared when you caught them that's why you wore the jumpsuit that covered your entire body. By the end of the day Larry had a lot of chicken mess all over him. Everyone also took showers after the workday was over. When you caught your chickens you took them to the person with the inoculations and they would shoot it in the chicken's behind. Then you would take your chickens and put them on the other side of the fence. It was a job with a simple concept but annoying process.
Larry braved these conditions for two days, eight hours each. That's the only amount of time the company needed him. He also did it because he needed money for his family. He didn't return to Express Personnel after that job instead he found another on his own. I know this for sure, he definitely went on to bigger and better things.