Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday Sermon Summary....Stay Awake and Focus!

This time of year, I use to feel really guilty about how I was feeling inside....BAH HUMBUG! Now I only feel a little guilty about feeling that way, BUT....now I'm not afraid to say it out loud....ready....set..... GO ..... I AM NOT A FAN OF materialistic, spending lots of money, being overly busy with "fun" stuff, buying lots of presents, and the list goes on Americanized Christmas.
There, I said it, whew! I am not a fan of this time of year, because I feel like the focus is taken off of the real reason we celebrate Christmas....JESUS! A few years ago, my favorite pastor, Cindy wrote an article for our local paper and led a sermon on just that....Christmas becoming too Americanized. Once she admitted that she too was not a fan of all the hullabaloo that goes along with the season, I breathed a sigh of relief and realized I WAS NOT ALONE....and not only was I not alone....but a pastor was feeling the same way I was. After that, we minimalized everything....we put out stockings and decorated a tree (and truly that was only because I have 5 children). This year, I think we will decorate a little more; but only what we have time to do in an enjoyable state of mind. As the season approached, I started feeling the guilt of "not enjoying all the stuff that takes over the true meaning of Christmas" feeling; but yesterday at church....guess who was preaching? YESSIREE....my beloved Cindy! Guess what her sermon was about? YESSIREE....the real focus of Christmas. She even had scripture to back her up....imagine that....The Bible telling us to focus on JESUS....not just at Christmas but every minute of every single day!

Romans 13:11-14 (The Message)

11-14But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!

And another...

Matthew 24:36-44 (The Message)

36"But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven's angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.

37-39"The Arrival of the Son of Man will take place in times like Noah's. Before the great flood everyone was carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ark. They knew nothing—until the flood hit and swept everything away.

39-44"The Son of Man's Arrival will be like that: Two men will be working in the field—one will be taken, one left behind; two women will be grinding at the mill—one will be taken, one left behind. So stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up.

Stay focused on our Lord Jesus Christ, and this year....Simplify, Subtract, and Say "NO". Focus on the gift God gave us in His Son, the gift He gives us in His blood, the gift He gives us in His grace! We don't know when He will come, but we do know that He will come!

This Makes Me Happy.....



Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm Thankful For....

...Jesus Christ my Savior
...NPayne, the man who balances me out
...my sweet babes who I adore and treasure
...my family who blesses me daily
...my wonderful church, church family, and church leaders
...all of our basic necessities and then some
...God's word
...love
...living in the USA
...hot coffee
...my comfy bed with clean sheets
...a car to drive us where we need to go
...loving and generous friends who I learn so much from
...excited giggles that wake me up in the morning
...my life and my health
...my children's lives and their health
...NPayne's health and his life
...kisses and hugs
...and so so so much more
...and on this day, I am thankful for the privelege and right to be thankful!
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change
-James 1:17
...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

HOME- the older the better!

Can you guess what they are going to do?
Now do you know?
What about now?
Ahhh....after a few tries...because the construction workers
came back and smoothed over our first attempt....
We finally got all 10 hands in our driveway!
And I added the date, so that when I'm really old and
can't remember anything (oh wait....I already can't remember anything)
I would know how old my babes were when they left these.

I had a dream last night....I had a dream that we moved into another house. Some of you know that I would love to live in the country, so a dream about a move would normally be a good dream. However this move was just across town in a very new house. In the dream, I was walking around the new house with boxes full of our stuff everywhere; and I walked into the backyard. When I saw how small it was, I began to cry. I remember thinking what have we done? Why did we leave our big beautiful old house? In the dream I was crying and nervous about how I was going to tell NPayne that I thought I we had made a huge mistake.
He walked into the door and saw me crying, and I said...."I want to go home!"
He hugged me (no surprise there) and said "Me too!" Although the house was really nice and updated and everyone would have their own room, blah, blah, blah....it was not our home. In the end, we were able to go back to our "old" house; and in the dream....I walked in and looked at the floors that need to be refinished, the cracks that need to be repaired, and all the many other things that need to be done; and I smiled! We were back where we belong....the place all 5 of our babies had been brought home to....the place where we have spent every Christmas morning of their lives....the place that NPayne, my dad and I have worked so hard to make the place we will watch our children grow up....HOME! I think God was reminding me that although there's work to be done, we are so very fortunate to have a place we call HOME! Thank You Jesus!~

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gratitude and Thanksgiving

I'm leading a lesson, in my SS class, about being grateful and thankful. I have put a lot of thought into this lesson, since I agreed to lead it. As you might have read in my previous post, NPayne and I are both very grateful people....me by making a conscious effort to do so....him in a much more natural capacity. However one of the things that I realized while preparing for and thinking about this lesson is this....I want my children to be successful in school, I want them to make good grades, I want them to be accepted, I want them to be successful; BUT....I realized that really, deep down in my soul, I want them to be successful in life. What I mean is that....making good grades, being a good reader, etc. is fine; but being a kind person, a grateful person, a serving person, a christian is what I ultimately want for them. Do I dare say that school is not my number 1 priority for them to be successful? I mean....Hello....I'm an educator! Sure school is important, and yes it will help them to be successful....especially in today's society where there is so much pressure to be the best....but honestly to me....having a kind and generous and grateful and serving spirit and heart will help them be successful in what's really important: ANSWERING THE CALL! I think, having a child with special needs, Cal has really helped me see that you don't have to be the best reader or writer or academic student to be successful in life; because obviously he's not the best student....not even close...but being a good friend with a kind heart who will pray for someone or help someone or just have days where they are on their knees thanking God is what will help you be successful in life. You may not end up with a big house, or a car, or lots of stuff; but if you are faithful and trust and truly rely on God....you will end up with so much more. Below is a video that I put together with the help of my sweet and very talented Addi....it's going to accompany my lesson tomorrow. Most all of these photos are of folks in our church doing some sort of service or of someone who has been served by a ministry of our church. I'll be the first to say that a church doesn't make you a christian, but I'll also be the first to say how my church family and the heart of my church has helped me, in so many ways, grow as a christian and in my relationship with Christ!
ENJOY!





Remember to scroll down and pause the music, so you can hear the video. This song, by Matthew West, "My Own Little World" is such a good reminder that it's not about us! Listen to the words....really listen!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

GRATEFUL

Hopefully I'll be back to blogging daily soon. I've been swamped with Christmas photos and cards (good thing) along with many other things, and in order to actually sleep; I had to put something on the back burner. Unfortunately it's been blogging. I'm working on a Sunday School lesson, that I will be leading in our adult SS class, about gratitude and thankfulness. I've thought a lot about this lately and have decided that NPayne and myself are some of the most grateful people we know! Now I don't say that to toot my own horn, boast, brag, etc. I say that, because I make a conscious effort to be grateful and so I am. As far as NPayne goes, I think it's a more natural thing for him. As a matter of fact, he has certainly made me aware of being grateful much more; and I thank him dearly for it. Being grateful and giving thanks is very important to me....especially something I want my children to do and appreciate. As soon as I've processed this more and finished the lesson, I'll share more on THANKSGIVING and being GRATEFUL! If you have any comments about this topic, please share! I thank God for all of you!
L

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm Thankful For Our Street!

So our street has been under construction for several weeks now. We haven't been able to park in our driveway, much less on our street, for most of the time. Good news....I guess....is we are getting a curb and a sidewalk put in. I'm overjoyed, can you hear the sarcasm excitement in my voice? It's almost finished, so I am so thankful. I bet our neighbors are as well....especially Ms. Pam, who lives next door to us, and has a difficult time getting around and now is having to park on the busy street and track through our large yard, all the dirt piles and tools, etc. to get to her house. And also Ms. Diane....whose car was flattened in the back by an oncoming car that didn't realize that all of our cars were parked on the street. Not sure how one doesn't notice this, but apparently they didn't. We are in the home stretch, and as I type this my car is parked in the driveway... :) These pictures are from a few weeks ago.
View from our front porch to Ms. Diane's house.
View from our front porch to where our
cars are parked on the street.
There's my suburban, and the entrance to our driveway.
Our street in its dirt, mud like condition.
The large piles of dirt in front of our house and all the
way down the street.
A very large hole next to our driveway!

As I said....I'm thankful it's almost complete. Although I didn't ask for curbs or sidewalks,
I guess it will be a nice addition to our street.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TODAY...I am thankful for another day!

RISE AND SHINE!
COFFEE!
Encourage the big girls to get their breakfast and eat, then brush teeth and hair!
Help Elliot with her breakfast and clothes and brushing her teeth!
Take Bryna and Elliot to school!
Baby M arrives!
Picking up Elliot from school!
Lunch!
Cleaning Up!
Baby M napping (hopefully), so I can shower!
Working on my SS lesson!
Playing Candy Land and Hullabaloo with Elliot!
Watching her write her name and many other words she is learning to write!
Picking up my other 4 babes from school!
Looking forward to the excitement in Drew's face when she shows me the books she received at school!
Snacks and Homework!
Listening to Bryna read her readers!
Devotion!
Listening to Drew practice the piano!
Taking Drew to piano and Baby M to her foster mama!
Taking Addi to Bible Study and picking Drew up from piano!
Dropping Drew and Bryna at choir practice and heading to Bible Study with Pastor Ken!
Kissing my babes goodnight!
DINNER OUT WITH MY GIRLFRIENDS to celebrate 3 of their birthdays!
Home!
Hot Shower!
Make lunches for the next day!
Get in my bed and veg with Cal!
ZZZZZZZZZZ!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Sermon Summary:Judging Other Based On Their Appearance!

Our sermon today was about many things but one of the things Ken discussed was judging people based on their appearance. He used 1 Samuel 16....where Samuel is sent by God to find a new King.....

1 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”

2 But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.”

4 So Samuel did as the Lord instructed. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town came trembling to meet him. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?”

5 “Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too.

6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

8 Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” 9 Next Jesse summoned Shimea,[a] but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” 10 In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”

“Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”

12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.

And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”

13 So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.

In this passage, you can read that if a King was being chosen solely on his appearance....David was least likely. What God is saying is that his appearance is not that important....but it's what's in his heart. I think at some point, everyone has been guilty of judging someone or something based on appearances. How many times have we done that and realized what a mistake that was? Really what it boils down to is....it's not our place to judge....period! I think there is a difference in judging and discerning. What I mean by that is this....if you feel really uncomfortable about a situation....like as in it could be potentially dangerous for you or someone else....and all you really have to base that on is the circumstance or appearance, then I think that's different than if you choose not to sit somewhere solely because of a person's skin color, how they are dressed, or what language they are speaking. Sadly enough this sermon was quite appropriate for my daughter Addi and I today. We went somewhere, after church, to grab everyone some lunch. While we were there, I noticed a black van slowly pull in beside us. As it slowly pulled into the parking space next to us, I could see where someone had scratched down the side of this van....with a key or something like that....and it crudely said KKK. My heart skipped a beat, and I heard myself groan...."OH NO!" I then perched my head, so I could see if my suspicions were correct....and yes....they were....there was an older African American man driving the van. Addi looked at me curiously and asked what was wrong, so I began to explain it all to her. She had never heard of the KKK, so I gave her a brief description that ended with something like this...."I try really hard to see the good and positive in all situations, but honestly I can't tell you anything good about the KKK!" As we drove off, I noticed that the same crude key scratching....KKK....was down the passenger side of the gentleman's van as well; and my heart was saddened even more. When we got home and all sat down for lunch, we were discussing church and the sermon; and I told NPayne and the other girls about the incident. Of course Drew and Bryna had no idea what the KKK was, so again I briefly described it to them. Then we talked about how inappropriate, sad, and just plain stupid silly it is for someone to be judged because of how they look. And how inappropriate, sad, and just plain stupid silly it is for someone to think they are better than someone else because of their appearance. It was a good teachable moment, but honestly it is so disheartening to witness so much disrespect, hate, and judgement on someone....even though all I did was read it on his van.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

C&C

A lovely brother and sister duo....absolutely beautiful! Thanks Lisa for giving me the opportunity to photograph your lovely children!

To see more of C&C, click here!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Life Goes On!

I've been feeling under the weather for about a week or so....SORE THROAT out the whazoo! Now the annoying coughing....when there's really no reason to cough....has begun! I've been living on DayQuil....not really, but I am about to start! Sorry I've been so lax in the blogging lately, but along with the "feeling under the weather" aspect of my life comes the " taking and editing photos, keeping Baby M, working at the preschool, checking homework, doing laundry, watching The World Series....proud of my Rangers (even though they didn't win)....etc., etc., etc." aspect of my life. I have a really impactful post brewing....give me a minute to breathe and recover....and I'll get to posting! Thanks for reading and checking in daily (for those of you who do)! And for now, I'm headed to bed with some NyQuil.....my favorite place to be....don't believe me? Read my sidebar! By the way, that's not me in the photo....in case you didn't notice ;) .....I'm not near that cute!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I HATE TO BRAG, BUT....Game 3!


Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the blog and mute the music, so you can hear the delightful song by Hall and Oates on the video!