April 27, 2005
Growing Old

I'm just living on borrowed time. When I say that I'm referring to my outer appearance. I know it's vanity and wrong. But what you look like on the outside is such a big deal in our society. Forty years old is about a year away for me. I've heard say, your body gets a mind of its own around that time. Your youth is definitely disappearing and the old half of life is setting in. If your considered old by the age of 40 and you live to be 75 then you'll spend nearly half of your life old! No one ever warned me of this. I've been figuring it out on my own. And sometimes I worry, I know that's wrong to do but its a bad habit I have, that things are gonna happen to my appearance that I never imagined. And once it starts there's no turning back unless you can afford plastic surgery. When old age sets in the only thing new you'll get on your body are new lines and wrinkles that you'll observe more and more as you look in the mirror. To keep young looking you'll have to slowly gain weight to fill out those wrinkles. Your hair begins to gray and you'll have to keep up with not showing gray when the the fake hair color runs out. Your neck slowly becomes gobbly as gravity constantly tugs down on it and everything else on your body. Specific areas of your self begin to widen. And all the junk food you lived on as a teenager will now promptly turn to cellulite on the backs of your legs and around your midsection. Your arms underneath start becoming wobbly and flappy. You no longer are able to wear sleeveless shirts in a carefree manner.

As a woman, you realize men no longer admire or are attracted to you because your youthful girl-like appearance is obviously gone. They just consider you an old woman. I guess that's why older women wear t-shirts that jokingly refer to men or they talk and say stuff like "that's a man for you" I feel sorry for some older women I see at work. They boldly divorced their husband and now their making their own way while they live alone in an apartment while the ex-husband is now married to some younger woman with a couple of kids who could use some financial help. I've got a husband and there's no way I'm gonna be an old woman barely making my way till social security is accessible. The only way I'll part from my husband is by death because on my wedding day I made a vow to God and I fully intend to keep my promise.

So how I am going to deal with growing old. One thing I'm glad for, that is, my husband. We've been married almost 14 years. We're slowly growing old together. That's a nice thought. He accepted me as his wife when I was in my youth and now our lives our intricately intermingled and we're accustomed to each other in all areas, the good, the bad and the ugly.

In Proverbs 31 it talks of a virtuous woman. Most of my life I've wanted her attributes in my life. Now there is one that really stands out, that is, "she is not afraid of growing old." One way I intend to deal with growing older is to pray that verse. Another way is focus on showing beauty through my actions and my talents. A dedication to helping others, my family first and then those around me through volunteering my time through church. I can also grow in my creative abilities like writing, singing, drawing, painting and photography. Who knows maybe by the time I'm old and gray I will have widened my literary audience to more than just you, my dedicated readers, and will have written a best selling book.

Posted by Linda at 07:27 PM
April 24, 2005
PDL Day 14 Part 2

Day 14 of the Purpose Driven Life deserves a part 2. In this "day" chapter the author describes why we should honor and praise God. As a Christian we have an excellent eternal existence awaiting us after death. Access to heaven came solely to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If I could ever have the privilege to tell you the purest truth that would benefit you the most it would be please believe in Jesus. And if you are not able to thank Him for giving you access to heaven I can easily tell you how to be a Christian.

I want to quote the author of PDL from page 112. He describes to us the details of what Jesus went through. I don't want to give you dramatic words to evoke an emotional response. I just want you to know the facts or remind you of them. In the movie, The Passion, it did that also. It helped people realize Jesus truly loves us and went to ultimate lengths to show us. Here's what Rick Warren wrote:

"If God never did anything else for you, He would still deserve your continual praise for the rest of your life because of what Jesus did for you on the cross. God's Son died for you! This is the greatest reason for worship.

Unfortunately, we forget the cruel details of the agonizing sacrifice God made on our behalf. Familiarity breeds complacency. Even before His crucifixion, the Son of God was stripped naked, beaten until almost unrecognizable, whipped, scorned and mocked, crowned with thorns, and spit on contemptuously.

Abused and ridiculed by heartless men, He was treated worse than an animal.

Then, nearly unconscious from blood loss, He was forced to drag a cumbersome cross up a hill, was nailed to it, and was left to die the slow, excruciating torture of death by crucifixion. While His lifeblood drained out, hecklers stood by and shouted insults, making fun of His pain and challenging His claim to be God.

Next, as Jesus took all of mankind's sin and guilt on Himself, God looked away from that ugly sight, and Jesus cried out in total desperation, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus could have saved himself -- but then He could not have saved you.

Words cannot describe the darkness of that moment. Why did God allow and endure such ghastly, evil mistreatment? Why? So you could be spared from eternity in hell, and so you could share in His glory forever! The Bible says, "Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made Him share our sin in order that in union with Him we might share the righteousness of God."

Jesus gave up everything so you could have everything. He died so you could live forever. That alone is worthy of your continual thanks and praise. Never again should you wonder what you have to be thankful for."

What would it take to have friendship with someone so dedicated to you? It would take becoming a Christian if you're not. Here's how to do that through a simple prayer:

A Admit that you are a sinner.-- A sinner does wrong things like cuss or say wrong words, lie, be arrogant, steal, cheat, think wrong thoughts and/or many other wrong deeds.

B Believe Jesus really lived, died on the cross for our sins and then rose from the dead.

C Confess that Jesus is your Lord or the boss of your life from now on.

After you pray that, you gotta tell someone and be baptized in a God fearing, Bible believing church because Jesus said to do such things. And then you keep on living your life each day fighting against the wrong or sin in your life with His help and going to church as much as possible and disciplining yourself to read the Bible and pray each day and tell others of your friendship with Jesus.

If you prayed to become a Christian I would love to know that.

Posted by Linda at 12:47 PM
April 23, 2005
PDL Day 14 When God Seems Distant

Danny and I struggle in our finances in big ways. Sometimes we must go into debt to survive. I get so frustrated with this. I see everyone in our families doing better. Every time Danny tries to do better it seems a road block prevents him from going farther. He told me he really, really wants to protect me and provide for me. I trust these words and I say them over in my head and pray them to help me remember he's constantly trying to do that. For over a year Danny and our children have been praying as a family after Danny reads a book aloud to them. All five of them pray that "we could get out of debt so Momma can come home from work and we can get a house". When I see how we faithfully tithe and consider it important business to be involved in church and to raise our children to honor God in all the years we've been married, I ask myself the giant question of "WHY?" Why is God so distant and silent when we've sent up thousands of prayer requests through the years to help us in our finances? I see just about everybody all around us taking shortcuts and not striving to give God their best and then they go and prosper. Because of this struggle bitterness will build inside me. And I have to seriously ask Jesus to change my attitude or the entire emotional atmosphere in my family will become selfish and angry.

Summary Sentence: God is real, no matter how feel.

This Day of the Purpose Driven Life really hits home with me. In fact as I read through it I got some ammunition for overcoming my struggle with becoming bitter.

There will be times in our Christian life when we really want to feel God's presence but we won't. God does not want our relationship with him founded upon feelings or emotions. Have you ever had a big emotional experience when you prayed to God and you felt His presence. Our relationship or friendship with God cannot be based on such times of peace and happiness. It should be based on ever growing faith. In the Bible Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us. God puts us through times when it seems as if He has separated Himself from us or even abandoned or forgotten us. He definitely has not. He is testing us and helping us to grow in faith. Besides a relationship or friendship based just on emotion is a really shallow one. God doesn't want shallowness from us. Remember, from Day 13, He wants our heart, soul, mind and strength--everything we've got!

In the Old Testament the Bible tells of a man named Job (pronounced Jobe). God had blessed him with so much and then in a day he lost everything including his many children and his health. Then God was silent to Job for a real long time (37 chapters). Rick Warren on page 111 tells what Job had the courage to do. He found things he could praise God for anyway. Here is the list along with where they are found in the book of Job:

1. That He is good and loving. Job 10:12
2. That He is all-powerful. Job 42:2; 37:5, 23
3. That He notices every detail of my life. Job 23:10; 31:4
4. That He is in control. Job 34:13
5. That He has a plan for my life. Job 23:14
6. That He will save me. Job 19:25

Okay, like I said earlier this one hits home for me. So right now I'm gonna stop and thank God in a short prayer for these characteristics of Him just like Job did several thousands of years ago. This is too cool, Job and I can relate even though we have the hugest gap of time between our existences! You can pray this too!

Okay, I did it. And I know I won't have an answer about my finances yet. I know I'm still learning in this lesson from God about patience and faith.

Posted by Linda at 09:03 PM
Berlin Carlton: Legacy of Friendship

The long winding ribbon of highway on our nearly four hour drive would ultimately bring us to the destination of Jasper, a tiny town with a population of about 450 in the Ozark hills of Arkansas. It was "down home" for my father-in-law, Ford. His only brother, Berlin had died just a few days earlier and we would arrive in time for the funeral.

We arrived about an hour early. The funeral would be at 10am on this Thursday morning. The warm bright Spring weather added a comforting touch to the sad day in which we would pay our final respect to Berlin Carlton.

Berlin was married to Bonnie. They had been together for an amazing nearly half century. His death would be a major change for Bonnie mainly, and of course, their son Kirby and his wife Regina and their three mostly grown children, Kalan, Kimberly and Kylin. Berlin and Bonnie also had a son named Clifford who had died just a few years ago. They are a very close knit family. They live across a dirt road from each other. They would all need strength to slowly work through these days without the always present patriarch of the family.

When the funeral began all the family members sat in a designated room to the side of a small stage which was behind the casket. We completely filled the pews. The area wasn't lit. I liked it that way because while you quietly grieved no bright light would reveal tears that may come and uncontrollably fall. A white sheer curtain divided us from the rest of the mourners. We could vaguely see the casket, the flowers and everyone else as they quietly waited for the service to begin. To my surprise the mere opening of the sheer curtain brought some encouragement. As it opened the area around the casket suddenly blossomed with the bright colors from all the flowers sent by caring friends and family. A small band of three began to play music. Two older men played guitars and a young man probably in his teens picked the banjo. They played a simple old hymn and then they played "Amazing Grace". It was relaxing and comforting as I sang the words in my mind while they played. I admired their talent and it made me want to learn play a banjo. The first to speak was the Pastor of Berlin's church. He began by telling an anecdotal story as such speakers often do. It was about a discouraged preacher who was helped by a friendly church member passing by. The Pastor, as he shed tears and his speech would become broken and quiet, then said the person who helped the discouraged preacher was just like Berlin. The service continued on with another song and another speaker who helped us reminisce about the Berlin's life. Then the small bluegrass band came forward and through tears spoke of Berlin as their friend. After that they played a final song.

At the end of the service a very touching event occurred. The casket where Berlin rested was closed but the mourners who passed by it began to stand in line and wait. They were waiting for the opportunity to give comfort to Bonnie and her loved ones. I sat with my family in the pew behind them. And I observed as each person passed by. Some would hug. Others would shake hands and then others would say the kindest words they could think of. I saw many tears. Tears shed unselfishly for another. I saw grown men with gray hair openly cry as grief covered their face. I saw a teenage boy shed tears as he hugged the family members. I saw and heard a woman sob out loud as she understood and shared the grief with the family. So many came by and Bonnie would continuously stretch her arms out and hug them as they were constantly reaching for her. Surely Bonnie and the rest of the family could gain strength from this amazing outpouring from all these people. Finally, after about 20 minutes the line lessened and I went to comfort them. I told them I was praying for them. The last person I hugged was Bonnie. And just like always she gave me a hug and would hold on to me just a little longer and in an unspoken way gave me encouragement when I was trying to bring some to her.

Berlin had gained so many friends all through his years of living in Jasper. Many of the people probably knew Berlin when he and Bonnie were the managers for the famous Diamond Cave. They had done that for 37 years. It was amazing to know the calm and quiet spoken Uncle Berlin I knew was a friend to so many. His son Kirby said when Berlin would go into town to buy something he would be gone most of the day "just visitin'". The long line of comforters at the funeral was a small example of what had happened the night before. When the funeral home was opened for the viewing Bonnie and the family were quietly encouraged by family and friends who stood in a line that stretched to the Post Office next door. Those in line offered their hugs, handshakes, thoughts and prayers and kind words for an hour and forty-five minutes!

As a Christian, Berlin left a legacy to his family. It was that of friendship. Berlin constantly gave to others through friendliness and gifts that were homemade. It's a beautiful sight to behold when you see the truth of the Bible obviously displayed through how a person lived their life. There's a verse in Proverbs (18:24) that describes one of the best characteristics of his life. It says, "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." Berlin along with his dedicated wife, Bonnie made this verse reality through their simple unselfish life.

After the funeral, my sister-in-law, Tanya talked of how Berlin died. Although a very sad event, he died in a way that most would want to die. He had went to town with Bonnie. While Bonnie shopped for groceries he stayed in the pickup truck and talked with his friend Billy. Suddenly he gasped and laid his head back. Bonnie along with many others ran to his side. They tried several times to revive him but were unable to do so. They said he died of a heart attack. He was 75 years old. Losing him is difficult to accept, but in a way his instant death was a gift from God.

Posted by Linda at 06:43 AM
April 19, 2005
PDL Day 13 Worship That Pleases God

Paula has attended our church at least as long as the fifteen years I've been associated with it. She's a quiet person who is faithful and dedicated to God. Before Danny and I had children I would sit by her in the old sanctuary and we would take notes on the sermon together. When my little girl was one year old Paula helped teach her about Jesus in Sunday School. Paula also knows sign language so ever so often I will see her signing out a well known hymn as the congregation sings. There was even once that I can remember when she sang a solo in front of our large congregation. Paula's understands the meaning of worship that pleases God.

Day 13 Summary Sentence: God wants all of you.

In Day 13 of the Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren lists 4 characteristics of worship that pleases God. We have already learned in past "Day" chapters real worship involves every aspect of your life. It is your lifestyles and not just a few songs sung at church on Sunday morning. Here are the four:

1. God is pleased when our worship is accurate. To be a true worshiper of God you must learn who God is by learning about Him in the Bible. Trying to make up an individual image of who God is is wrong. In fact, that is idolatry.

2. God is pleased when our worship is authentic. God wants your sincerity. When you attend church do you sing the songs directing them to God? When you listen to the sermon do you ask God to show you through the speaker something you need to learn? Do you acknowledge God is near even in your everyday life? When we seek to worship God we should focus on Him.

3. God is pleased when our worship is thoughtful. God wants you to use your mind to worship Him. Your not a mindless robot who only has the ability to repeat whatever your are told. Engage the brain God gave you. Think about the meaning of what you tell God. Use your creativity and talents when you thank Him for who he is and what He has given you.

4. God is pleased when our worship is practical. God wants you to live for Him. The author lists some examples of real life worship: thanksgiving, praise, humility, repentance, offerings of money, prayer, serving others, and sharing with those in need. Sometimes the practical side of worship requires a sheer act of the will -- a willing sacrifice. You bring honor to God through doing what you know is right even when you don't feel like it.

A nice verse to memorize that summarizes how to please God in worship is Mark 12:30:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: This is the first commandment.

Our friend Paula is a single young woman with down syndrome who is used by God. When Danny and I heard Paula sang her solo several years ago, her ability was not the strong point of her performance the sincerity of her heart was. As she sang, the congregation was more thoughtful and quiet than usual and my husband who has talent in music has never been so inspired in song by anyone else.

Posted by Linda at 08:31 PM
April 17, 2005
Dandelions in the Creek

Ginny and I went on a walk yesterday morning. Our destination was the creek. Ginny was really happy. While we walked she would smile her happiest smile. Sometimes she would walk ahead and other times I held her small hand. She had asked me during the week if we could do something alone together. She liked the idea of the simple walk. We walked to a big open grassy area. Ginny picked me some yellow flowers that were starting to close up, I guess, because the morning dew was going away and the warm Spring sun was taking its place. She also picked some greenish purple flowers that looked like they were going to turn into some type of grass or weed.

We then walked around by the backside of the creek. Some of it was littered with trash but other parts of it were pretty with mossy brown rocks and the greenery of Spring. We gathered a bunch of dandelions. We could toss them in the creek and watch the water wash them away. It took us about five minutes to get to the bridge where we would stop. The bridge is old and crudely built. When you walk under it, it looks like they used leftover building materials. But it has held together well enough. I sat down and put my feet over the side. I rested my arms on the round silver rail near my head. I like this part of the creek. I think it's pretty. They made a waterfall that is about 3 feet tall and there are the remains of an old bridge on each side of the waterfall. It reminds me of old ruins you may see in a place like ancient Greece. I need to take pictures of my children here again. About three feet away from the waterfall there is a "swimmin' hole". It's only about 6 feet in circumference and four feet deep. Dogs like to take a dip here. From the waterfall the water would fall in two different directions and in between was a big slab of gray stone which was mostly dry. When the two streams of water met again the water directions collided. Between the slab of dry gray stone and the waterways was an interesting area of water. I watched it. The water moved lightly. This would be my target area to toss in the dandelions. I showed it to Ginny. We both tried to throw our dandelions there. The big question in my mind was to see if the floating dandelions would remain in that spot a long time. If you took the long stems off they looked prettier as they floated on top of the water. I was hoping a bunch of them would congregate in the calm water. There was still too much water movement. They would stay a little bit and then gently head on down stream. Ginny and I then went to look at the creek from the other side of the bridge. The ten or fifteen dandelions we had tossed in had now made a trail. Their bright yellow color was randomly sprinkled on the top of the water until the creek curved around and you could no longer see them.

Ginny made sure I didn't toss the handful of flowers she gave me into the water. On the rest of the walk I clutched the small bouquet of God-grown flowers carefully in my hand just in case a "too small" stemmed flower would fall away. When we got back home I got our old brown syrup pitcher out of the cabinet. It sort of looked like a flower watering pot and we hardly ever use it anyway. The tiny bouquet and the tiny pitcher went nicely together. Especially being on display by the refrigerator where my little girl could see them so she would know that I was glad to get them.

Posted by Linda at 02:12 PM
April 15, 2005
My New Cure for Insomnia

It had probably been an hour since bedtime and I couldn't sleep. I hate when this happens because my mind starts going through my days activities and I start mulling over the details of the day wondering how I could've done things better. Well, I wasn't going to do that this time. I was going to dwell on fun thoughts like my husband has suggested time and again. To my surprise I quickly thought of the subject. Babies. It was like an experiment, to think on a relaxing thought rather than a worry.

I'd like to have one more. There would be about an eight year difference between my now youngest and the baby. That's okay. It would be good for my children to learn to care for and enjoy a funny cute brand new sibling. When I told Jamie at work, who is a young mother of three she told me I'd better hurry up since 40 is near. Then she gave me pointers. She told me to try 10 days after the start of that one time of month.

I liked dwelling on the thought of a brand new little one. It would be fun being pregnant. Since I'm just hanging around with my assembly line job anyway it would give some excitement to my life. And since I keep active in my job I wouldn't have a fear of gaining too much weight and it would probably be real normal and predictable like the rest of my pregnancies. I remember when my boss, Kristin, was pregnant. It was so sweet to see her walking around with her belly sticking out. Sometimes she would rest her hand on her belly almost as if she wished her little one would get here soon so she could embrace and cuddle her in her arms. I like how a pregnant lady adds a touch of innocence and refreshment to "work". Here we are, everybody is doing serious grown up responsibilities and fulfilling job requirements and then you see a pregnant woman wearing maternity clothes with an obviously large stomach. In a while she will be taking time off "work" when her tiny brand new person arrives and taking on the important responsibility of caring for her baby.

I told Danny later about wanting a baby and he liked the idea. I have a friend at church named Denise she is 43 and has 11 children. I don't think God's plan for my life is to have that many but I admire her. I love the irony of her life. She looks amazingly young and calm and she always comes to church early! What else I love about her is she's so down to earth. I don't get the impression she's at some super Christian level that I could never reach. Danny and I think their family is neat.

If I got pregnant I would find the cutest pregnancy clothes. And I would look hard for some overalls. Pregnant women look cute in overalls. It would be fun to talk to all the women at work about the new baby. It's as if most grown women have been pregnant or want to be or have access to a baby. I probably wouldn't tell anyone until they would figured it out because if I had a miscarriage it would be hard to explain to everyone the sad news.

Am I just lightheartedly daydreaming about the very important matter of bringing new life into this world? If I'm forty now when I have the baby that means I'll be sixty when the baby is twenty. What will the world be like then. There's a chance my baby could have a birth defect, I know. So if that happens I would say to God help me because this is beyond my control. I don't have answers to the future but would God want me to stress about such matters or would He want me to trust Him? Ultimately, I know God is the creator of human life. He decides when life should become. I know I have some important foundational prerequisites that many people don't take seriously anymore but God does. I'm married to my husband. I teach my children that to live for God everyday is important. I do the best I can to provide for their physical needs while Danny is working to provide better so I can stay at home. And God specifically says He will provide for our needs in the Bible. So do you think I'm a fool for wanting a new baby at 38? So, if you do, it really doesn't matter what you think because in God's eyes I'm "fully" doing right.

Now I just gotta have the strategy to get a baby. It's been seven years and I'm not sure why we haven't gotten another little yungin'. I may be vitamin deficient so I'm gonna start taking those. Especially the B-vitamins. I once heard on a natural health program that a woman got pregnant after she started taking B-complex vitamins.

(Don't tell anyone I told you this I really don't want any negative feedback.) I just want to peacefully get pregnant and have fun being pregnant and then deliver my baby and thoroughly enjoying those first few days when they're sleepy and cuddly and tiny. And then, take life one day at a time as I watch our little one grow.

Oh, yeah. Did dwelling on such thoughts put me to sleep that night. Yes. In fact, you could say I slept like a baby.

Posted by Linda at 11:29 AM
April 12, 2005
Deena's Gift of Beauty

My youngest sister Deena came over tonight. She likes to come over once a week but because of busy schedules and lack of gas money I hadn't seen her for about a month. I'm glad she came tonight. She brought my little neice Adalyn.

Like usual, Danny prepared homemade beans and rice for Deena. We also fixed grape juice to drink because I heard her say she liked it once. Adalyn had never tried the beans and rice before. But when Danny put some on her plate she went ahead and tasted the brand new food.

The main reason Deena comes over is to play her guitar. She plays while I sing and the rest of the family also sings. I'm trying to use this get-together to teach my children hymns. We usually start out with the chorus "Jesus is the Rock and He Rolls my Blues Away". Then we sing some of the more simple hymns. Like tonight we sang, "Glory to His Name", "Love Lifted Me", "In the Garden". Sometimes we'll sing contemporary choruses. We like songs by Keith Green and Rich Mullins such as "Oh, Lord Your Beautiful" and "Step by Step", respectively. We also sing other popular choruses we learned in church. Some of the choruses are directly composed from a Bible verse such as "Seek Ye First". There are three songs Deena and I are practicing to hopefully sing for Mom. They are "For Those Tears I Died", "A Beautiful Life" and "I Wished We'd All Been Ready". Deena has learned a wide variety of songs. Deena is nice to take in my comments and eagerly learn new songs. She also amazes with her ability to be patient with my kids when they get rowdy. Deena's focus in playing the guitar is to honor God.

Deena told me when she went to see Mom. She also went to see Grandma in the nursing home. Grandma is over 90 years old and has had small strokes from time to time. Sometimes her memory gets mixed up. Grandma knows a lot of the old hymns. Deena decided to play them for her. She went through several and Grandma mostly just listened but when she played "In the Garden" Grandma started quietly singing it.

Tonight when Deena played the guitar she revealed a gift of beauty. It wasn't the shallow beauty of outer appearance but it was inner beauty shining outward that comes from hard work, talent and accomplished objectives. I saw in her a passion and enjoyment for creating music that has the endless beauty of glorifying God.

Posted by Linda at 07:13 PM
April 09, 2005
Preschool Rules

I was cleaning out a file drawer and found something I had forgotten I had. Danny wrote it and I remember it was useful but thought it had just gotten thrown away. We had three preschoolers then. Sam would've been about 5 and Jonathan about 3 and Benjamin was 1 or 2. Ginny wasn't here yet.

Since my children were preschoolers they were passionately and adventurously into everything. Danny and I were pretty busy just preventing them from harming themselves and destroying anything they could find to study and then take apart. Danny decided to make some rules because many times he would have to tell them the same thing again and again. So he wrote them out in simple preschool language and we put them in their room above the light switch. Here's the list:

1. If Mommy or Daddy tell you to do it, do it! Immediately!!
2. If Mommy or Daddy tell you NOT to do it, then, don't do it!
If you're already doing it, stop it! Immediately!!
3. When a grown up speaks to you, pay attention, be polite and be respectful.
4. If it's not yours, don't mess with it!
5. When you're through with it, put it back!
6. If you make a mess, clean it up!
7. Don't mess with things you don't know anything about!
8. Don't eat stuff you pick up off the floor.
9. Your words can hurt someone more than your fists.
10. You must live with the consequences of your decisions!
11. Always ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?"
12. And above all remember that Jesus loves you, and is with you all the time!

We are still teaching them most of these things. Now Danny has made a chore list that changes each week. So rule #1 has progressed with their ages. Danny has shortened #3 to Don't interrupt grown ups when their talking. They've mostly learned this rule. We're still working on rule #5 and #6. They use the 3 second rule when food falls on the floor. Danny used the word stuff in this rule because back then they might have eaten anything off the floor! The entire family is still learning the rule about what you say. Danny now says #10 differently. He says,"There are consequences to your actions." And I read to our children about Jesus in the Gospels at night before bedtime to help them to learn what Jesus would want them to do.

Our children are still growing so working on these rules is a constant. But I see from time to time how they have embraced godly morals within their own heart. Last night Jonathan was with me when I bought groceries. We saw an older lady riding a handicapped cart. She had a tube in her nose to help her breathe. She had two young children with her, a boy about 6 and a girl about 10. The boy asked his grandma if he could have some ice cream when she said no he said something rude back to her like you're stupid and dumb. Then she told him to stop and he ran ahead with the girl. Jonathan couldn't believe he said that to his grandma. It made Jonathan mad and he thought it was disrespectful. Jonathan said he couldn't imagine saying that to his grandma.

Posted by Linda at 07:54 PM
April 05, 2005
The Wind Brought Storm

As I walked out of the plant to my car on Monday afternoon the sun was bright and the wind was blowing hard. A memory of years gone by went through my mind. I remember second recess at our elementary school on days like this. My best friend and I would play on the playground. We would run hard against the wind as we played tag or we would sit in the green clover patches and make clover flower necklaces and bracelets. When I started the car and as I was leaving the parking lot I told my friend Stacy the happy memory.

That night as I was trying to fall asleep I looked out my window. I enjoy looking out that window. The wind was still strong as it swept through the screen and blew the coolness of the Spring season directly into my face. I loved it and I loved to observe the scenery. A field that for most of the year was full of tall wild golden colored grass serenely displayed itself. Once during the Fall I saw some deer running through it. Past the field in the distance I saw the town's post office. I always take a few seconds to look at the spotlighted American flag solemnly waving in the air there. Our side of town is quiet at this time as it oughta be. Across from the post office and on the other side of the road confidently stands the new high school sports complex. I haven't been in it since it was finished a few months back.

Still a few miles farther southeast lies the Interstate. A road filled with giant semis which keep our local area and our nation moving. The Interstate divides into Highway 412 and Route 66 which was once the highway of the nation. Our small suburban town is a pit stop for truckers and when you drive around them you learn to respect their power and stay clear when they move. On this night the interstate was busy with noise. I could't really see the cars from so far away. But I liked to hear the sound of the high speed vehicles zooming past on the high traffic road. Once in the very early hours when I listened out my window I couldn't hear a single vehicle and wondered why it wasn't busy that time.

When I awoke very early on Tuesday morning the strong wind was still blowing. It still felt good as it blew into our bedroom. In my mind I began to wonder if the strong wind was going to quickly bring a far away storm to our area. I got dressed and left for work like I usually do.

At first break I could no longer see the bright sunshine of yesterday. The skies were now gray. I was hoping this would bring rain. By the end of the workday the thunder had begun. Even in our very noisy manufacturing plant we could hear the sky rumble. Workers in different areas would "ooooooh" and "aaaahhh" When the thunderous sounds were impressively loud. I told Patty and Gerald that I worked next to that after work was over I hoped the thunder meant rain because I like to drive in the rain. To my glad surprise when I looked outside it was pouring. Probably about 50 people were crowded under the dry porch area in front of the building. I pulled the hood of my dark blue sweat jacket over my head and zipped it up all the way. I looked at the rain. There was hail. I asked a few people around me if hail that size (smaller than a dime) would hurt when it hits you. One guy said no because it was so small. I wasn't going to wait like everyone else. I like the rain. I don't care if I got wet. My wet clothes aren't gonna ruin my old car anyway. It was fun. The rain blew on me and the little pellets didn't hurt. When they hit it was more like an itch and not a sting or a pound. As I drove home through the town of Owasso the hail got larger and there was more of it. Sometimes the hail hit my car so hard it sounded as if it could break the glass but it didn't. I probably got some hail damage on the body of the car but I haven't checked yet. It doesn't really matter anyway. The car is too old to report anything. I still liked driving in the hailstorm. It was kind of adventurous.

When I look through my bedroom window now its calm. All the hail that looked like extra gravel scattered all over the road and on the grass has melted. When I listen through the window I no longer feel a strong spring wind in my face. The wind is gentle and I simply hear bugs proudly humming their dutiful tunes in the dimly lit landscape of the field that lies on the other side of the fence near my home.

Posted by Linda at 07:15 PM
April 01, 2005
The BBs and the CCs

I have a friend at work named Lindy who is going through a hardship in her life right now. She is in her early 40s. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and is currently taking chemotherapy. I've never been around someone this much while they went through cancer treatment. She cut her hair short but it still looks healthy. I asked her how things were going and she was optimistic. She said the treatments aren't too bad. I'm glad they now have medication to counteract the side affects such as nausea and tiredness. Lindy has probably missed about half of the time in a three week period of work. But she has a strenuous job. She has to lift and deliver parts to work areas. I told her I was praying for her and she smiled and thanked me.

Along time ago I was listening to a radio program where a man was being interviewed about a book he wrote. In it he talked about fighting cancer. He said there were the BBs and the CCs of vegetables. A good way to fight cancer is to focus on eating 4 raw vegetable which have a large amount of cancer fighting agents in them. They are broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. They are all apart of the cabbage family. When I did a search on Yahoo I would look at the website descriptions and found these help fight against many kinds of cancer such as bladder, lung, colon and breast cancer.

These four vegetable that most people consider boring are very beneficial. They are part of cruciferous vegetable group. They contain compounds which appear to stop enzymes from activating cancer-causing agents in the body, and they increase the activity of enzymes that disable and eliminate carcinogens.

I found more information about these vegetables on a website named the world's healthiest foods. This non-profit website listed healthy foods from A to Z. So I looked up our BBs and CCs there.

Broccoli--Unlike our first Pres. Bush I like broccoli. I have a fond memory of being pregnant and my sister-in-law who is a nurse recommended through a written letter that I eat a lot of broccoli because it was so packed full of vitamins. I love to put broccoli and carrots in my salads because they add flavor by giving it a nutty subtly sweet taste. This vegetable contains a bunch of vitamin A and C.

Brussel Sprouts--I've always considered brussel sprouts as a food for special occasions because Mom would make them for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I once dated a guy who had never seen them before and called them baby cabbages. They contain a lots of vitamin K and vitamin A

Cabbage--I can remember Mom frying this for my dad in bacon grease. I know, that's really not the healthiest way to eat it. What you really need is a tried and trusted cole slaw recipe. I'm sure the bright color of purple cabbage gives it even more nutritional benefit. According to my experience, cabbage can be a very inexpensive vegetable. Sometimes I see it on sale for 10 cents a pound! Along with many other nutrients it contains a bunch of Vitamin C.

Cauliflower--In America, the most I've seen cauliflower used is on a veggies and dip tray. The dip usually has a bunch of fat and unhealthy chemicals in it. That's how I've eaten cauliflower the most. I know there is cauliflower soup but that wouldn't be as healthy as eating it raw. On the website they said cauliflower although it is white also gives benefits of chlorophyll which is present in green vegetables, because the florets are surrounded by green leaves. It contains a variety of vitamins just like the others. It's dominate vitamin is vitamin C.

Posted by Linda at 03:22 PM
PDL Day 12 Developing Your Friendship with God

I work for a major manufacturer of large appliances. Our plant builds ranges. For several years now we've had the the motto, "Every home everywhere with pride, passion and performance." Many times I've thought about the meaning of those words. Basically, it's an ultimate goal of pouring yourself into your work to give the very best to your customers. But there's one word that really stands out among the rest. It's the word passion. I must quickly say it sure ain't the passion of my life to stand on an assembly line for a 10 hour day to help build the perfect range for someone somewhere. But there is a great passion of my life and that is to know God. I have a passion to learn about Him, study Him from the perspective of the Bible, talk to Him in prayer and do what He wants me to do so I can get closer to Him.

Summary Sentence: You are as close to God as you choose to be.

In Day 12 of the Purpose Driven Life book, Rick Warren lists four ways to develop a friendship with God. It takes work to build a friendship but you've got to want to do it. Sometimes people don't want to have a friendship with God because they do things in their life that go against God. They realize they must choose between their "wrong" behavior and a "right" God. When I feel this way I just get brutally honest with God and tell him what I'm thinking. (He knows anyway.) Then I say a small prayer to please help me to not want to do the wrong behavior anymore. Here's the list of four ways to friendship with God:

1. I must choose to be honest with God
2. I must choose to obey God in faith
3. I must choose to value what God values
4. I must desire friendship with God more than anything else

When we get real honest with God, He likes it. Our attention is on Him as we talk about our feelings and our faults. The author mentions a feeling that is important to realize and bring up to God; that is, bitterness. Have you ever been mad at God if so then why would you want friendship with someone who's mean to you? If God can do anything why would we have difficulties in our lives that are hard to accept like frustrations; in our background, with unanswered prayers, with past hurts, with our appearance, and still others? I don't know that answer but I like what Rick Warren says. Remember this and trust this: God always acts in our best interest, even when it is painful and we don't understand it.

When the word "friend" is used in referring to God it has a stronger meaning than one such as the one I had with my friend Christie Morris in elementary school. It is like being a friend to the king or in a modern day understanding, a friend to your boss. When I have a friendship with a boss or a leader at work there must be a respect for them because I must do a good job to cause their important responsibilities to be successful. When we have friendship with God we must obey Him but we can also enjoy the special privilege of being close to Him. Our attitude toward obeying God should be from love because He gave us the greatest gift of heaven and forgiveness of the wrong we do.

In order to be God's friend we must consider important what he considers important. The author list two things important to God. The first is His son Jesus and the second is people and their spiritual condition. When we pray we can ask God to show us how to help Him in these two areas.

Remember how I mentioned passion in the first paragraph? Passion comes in to play when you want to make God your friend. You've got to have a driving passion to really find out who God is. David who wrote many of the Psalms, craved God. In James 4:8 there is a promise, "Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you." Is knowing God the greatest passion of your life? It should be. If it's not do you have the courage it takes to say sincere words and ask God to give you a passion to know Him or will you wimp out and stubbornly refuse because you have trashy wrongs in your life you refuse to give up? Simple logic tells us choosing God is the best we can do for ourselves.

Posted by Linda at 12:28 PM