Monday, December 24, 2012

What do I remember?

Carrie Elizabeth (Wilson) Patton would be 103 today (December 24th). She was married to one man (Matt), and had two children (Laverne and Robert).  She was also my "Nanny".  Nanny passed away 14 years ago.  I was 24 years old.  At times it feels like forever ago, and then there are days it seems like yesterday.  Funny how our memories can be skewed over time.  My daughter loves to hear stories about people in her family.  She mostly wants to hear about things that have happened before she was born or before she can remember.  So, I pondered tonight...

What do I remember?....
I remember her infectious smile.  I see it in my own daughter Carrie Elizabeth. 
I remember her love God when I hear an old gospel from the "red backed hymnal".
I remember her fried apple pies dusted with sugar, but can't recall how to make them.
I remember her veggies from the garden lasting well into the winter because she was prepared.
I remember how strong she looked after working all day in the yard.
I remember her letting my brother and I "ride a horse" on her bent leg, and begging her to ride us "HIGHER AND FASTER NANNY!"
I remember how much she loved me.

As I sit and reflect on my thoughts of her this evening,  I thank God for her example.  She loved the Lord with all her heart, mind, soul, and strength.  She worshiped with all her might.  It didn't matter if she was in church, the kitchen, or the yard.  She always had a song  or a prayer on her lips. "Some glad morning, when this life is over, I'll fly away".....

I pray you will find Him this Christmas Eve. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jesus Loves Me this I know, for the Bible tells me so

Jesus Loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to Him belong, they are weak and He is strong.  Yes, Jesus Loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

Today, a tragic shooting happened at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, CT.  26 people were killed- 20 of those were children.  Boys, girls, mothers, daughters brothers, sons, sisters, friends.  In a time like this we are called to pray.  God's Word is always a source of comfort and guidance.  Please take time to pray for these families who are suffering, and for your own families.

  • Trust that God loves your children!
  • Remember to watch for Jesus, not the world.
  • Pray and know that God uses all things for good.  He can turn tragedy into triumph.
  • Remember, Jesus loves little children.  His word tells us this over and over.  Pray His promises!
Father God,
 You are faithful. Please strengthen and protect my child from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3) 
 Let my child dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Be his refuge, his fortress, his covering, his shield. Do not let him fear the terror of the night, nor any type of plague or sickness. Do not let any harm or disaster come near him. Command your angels to guard him in all his ways and keep him from hurting himself. When he calls on you, answer him. Be with him in trouble; deliver him and honor him. Satisfy him with long life and show him your salvation.  (Psalm 91)  When my child is attacked or assaulted by wickedness, please help him and deliver him.  Deliver him from the wicked and save him, because he takes refuge in you.  (Psalm 37:40)

We ask these things in Your name,

 Check out Casting Crowns "I Heard the Bells".  It is such a call to change, a call to love, a call to let the voices of the innoscent ring loud and clear today.  Do you hear them? 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

These Are the Special Times!

Sitting in the living room tonight listening to the joyful sounds coming from all over the house.  Jon is laughing at something on TV,  Carrie is in her room singing and piddling while she plays.  Jay is on his way home, and chili is heating in the kitchen.  Not sure how I've found a place to land all by myself, but I'm going to enjoy the next few minutes before the daddy comes home and the kiddos greet him.  Christmas music playing,  "These Are the Special Times" by Christina Aguilera.  Not sure I've ever heard this, but truly feel these joyful sounds throughout my home are some of those "special times" she is singing about.

Several weeks ago I began planning some fun things to do with the hubs and children over Advent.  I am such a "do-er".  I love to plan and give....time, things, energy,love....  As I began to talk to each of them about things we could do for others, I realized my kiddos were not in the giving mood.  As I began to evaluate the seriousness of this problem I realized that we were not at "Scrooge" level yet, but the oldest got really put out with my suggestions (mainly because the giving was not directed at him).  I so DON'T understand this irrational thinking.  Does "giving" skip a generation or are we doing a poor job of teaching them? 

I decided not to give up on them, but look for ways to remedy the problem. So began my search for some creative ways to share the joys of Christmas with my two blessed children. I was determined it was not to late to change this attitude!  As I began the search,  I found many wonderful tools to use with your family during Advent/holidays.  I checked out several blogs I follow and linked up with those who have done their homework on this very issue.  Here are my TOP TWO favorites: 

"Truth in the Tinsel" by ohAmanda.  This great little resource is a download to help "little ones" experience the true meaning of Christmas.  Each day has a "clue" that kids are listening for as you read part of the Christmas story. After hearing the story, there are fun ornaments and additional activities to help the story come to life.  My "little ones" are 7 and 11, and they are enjoying the crafty time this book has to offer.  I have found ways to increase the discussion starters and  make this relevant to their age.  It is an amazing tool parents can use, and soooo easy to do.  Check out the link above to download your copy today.

The 2nd resource I LOVE is Lil Light O'Mine's Random Acts of Christmas kindness.  I love to do things for others, and dream of their reactions to the act.  At the age of 15 I purchased a book chocked full of Acts of Kindness suggestions.  It brought such great memories of my young quests as I combed through Courtney's blog.  Lil Light O'Mine has some wonderful suggestions for children of all ages. 

If your family doesn't have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads after reading through the opportunities, don't get discouraged.  We are all human, and our nature is to be self centered.  When I first mentioned the idea of Acts of kindness to my bunch,  here is the feedback I got:
  •  "Do I have to spend my money?"  (in their best "valley girl" voice/attitude")
  • "Nobody would do that for me!  Why should I do it for someone else?" (because I am soooo deprived of everything) 
  • "I could never be so lucky to find 'free money'."  (from the mouth of a child who has more cash in his wallet than I do) 
  • "I think when we put it out I'm gonna sneak it back without you knowing. ha ha!

I assured my kiddos the fun in doing some of theses things would be worth anything it might cost us to do it.  Unconvinced, we printed the list and made our plan of attack.  It was so interesting to see what the kids chose first or saved for last.  So far we have done three things we want to add to the list to do again: 
  • Leave change taped to the coke machine 
  • A few dollars in the pages of some of our favorite books at the local book store 
  • A neighbor gift given in secret 
Check out Lil Light O'Mine and OhAmanda and make your own list today.  It's never to late to do something kind for another person or seek God for answers.  An act of kindness or a look into God's word is like medicine for our soul.  Maybe you are thinking  "how do I make time when I have none to give?"  I know a woman's work is never done, but there is a quote that has always stuck with me when I found myself wrapped up in the details of life,  "In order to sustain your doing, you must sustain your being."  I have no idea where I heard this, but it made sense the moment I let it soak in.  So, sustain your being today by soaking in the joys around you, letting God speak to your hear, and then give back to others around you!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Mashed or Smothered?

2nd Week of Advent has just begun.  I have to admit,  I have not been in the Christmas spirit this year.  I have been a part of LOTs of Christmas "stuff", but nothing has seemed to get me over the slump and enjoying God's gifts.  My list of "to do's" over the past two weeks:
  • I've gathered and posted items for 68 children to be a part of the Angel Tree.  You would think that I would have felt extremely blessed and thankful for all that I have.
  • I've helped plan (in advance) a Christmas party for my daughter's 2nd grade class.  I've bought my items to donate and responses from other parents are rolling in.
  • I've organized a Breakfast with Santa that raise $1200+ for our Angel Tree kids.  Yeah!!
  • I've led two practices a week for the children's choir (with 40+ kids) for the past 8 weeks.
  • I've made crosses for 50+ people out of the stained glass shards from our damaged church windows.
  • Dr. Appointments with the oldest child all day last Thursday
  • Planning for a Children's Ministry conference to be held in January 2013
  • Going shopping with 5th & 6th Graders for the Angel Tree (did I mention there were 17 of them going?)
  • Children's Choir program during worship
  • Sunday School party (bring a dish)
But why no Christmas JOY?  These are all Christmas related things....

Because I haven't STOPPED for one minute to rest and ENJOY God or my family.  Thankfully I realized this Saturday evening (after our Sunday School class party) around 11:30pm. 

My husband was putting the last touches on his lesson for Sunday school.  He had to answer the question,  "How have you seen God at work this week?"  Well,  I reminded him of several "important moments" where God has performed miracles in our lives.  BIG stuff!!!  He could just share one of those things.  I was to tired to have a discussion and review of this week.  I was ready for this week to be over!!!  How would I know what he had seen this week?  I had no idea what he should share.  I barely knew my own name, and still two large items to check off the to do list the next day.  He was on his own answering that question.  This has been the busiest week of our year.  Maybe it would come to him in a dream.  I was going to bed. 

I began to doze off as my husband began to share what he was considering sharing.... 
You see,  my husband is a very picky eater.  We had this class party scheduled in the home of dear friends, and everyone was suppose to bring a dish to share.  The hubs HATES potluck dinners.  He never finds things that he likes to eat, because everyone is making a yummy casserole or side dish from Pinterest.  All of us trying to act like we are a gourmet chefs.  The hubs had been talking to one of our friends that morning at Breakfast with Santa.  She asked the Hub what kind of potato dish HE thought she should fix for the party.  She had found a two yummy choices,  a cheesy potato dish or a fancy loaded potato casserole.  He quickly responded that he was the WRONG person to answer that question.  He only like baked potatoes or french fries.  In fact,  his plan was to try to "steer clear" of anything weird looking.  Hopefully he could get a snack in before arriving at the party. 

By this point in  his story,  I was wide awake.  I questioned why in the world would you tell this sweet woman of his plan, and thankful that he didn't make a BIG deal about the food choices AT the party.  He patted my hand and said,  you have to hear the rest of the story.  Upon arrival to the party,  this sweet lady pulled the hubs aside.  She had baked an extra potato for him.  She had it hidden, still hot.  When we got ready to eat, she pulled it out and  put it on his plate.  The hubs was thrilled!!!  It was warm, and had been cooked just the right amount of time.  He thanked her, and ate.  The hubs went on to talk about how kind this was of her.  How she had no obligation to do this.  He felt this was God's way of letting him know that He really does care about ALL aspects of our lives.  Our joy, our sorrow, even our choice of potatoes.  If God cares for the birds of the air then he does care for us.  This is how he felt God got his attention this week. Has he gotten yours this week?

I know that a Woman's work is never done, but take time to slow down and listen to God.  How does He want to work through you today?  What will it take to get your attention?  He is writing our story each day.  He wants us to know how much He cares for us.  He wants us to share it with the world.  As the children's choir sang,  "Tell the story!"  Tell the story of Jesus and His love."