Tuesday, March 31, 2015

daybook 3/31/15

For Today…
March 31, 2015

Outside my window…
The blue sky is peeking out from high clouds.
I'm sitting in the library looking out the window to the street where my Daddy grew up.
I am reminded of how much I love living close to my family.

I am thinking…
about the end of this school year … which doesn't end school for us, just changes our extra activities.
This really means that I am thinking about what I want to change over the summer months.

I am thankful…
for the opportunity to see my children finding 
and sharing their gifts.

I am wearing…
a tee shirt and (for the first time this spring)
 my favorite blue jean capris!

I am creating…
(same as last week!)
a list of scriptures to encourage the kids (and myself)
when we get bogged down in school.

I am going…
to get my hair cut in the morning … finally!

I am wondering…
when our VBS material order will arrive …
I'm looking forward to getting started planning.

I am reading…
nothing … that makes me sad!

I am looking forward to…
visiting with friends this weekend as we 
celebrate their daughter's birthday.

I am learning…
to appreciate the little things.

In my kitchen…
hamburger steaks, smothered in onions and gravy,
served with rice and purple hull peas.
Oh, and a completely clean fridge … cause I have the best husband!

In the homeschool room…
we keep on keeping on …
but we are all battling spring fever!

A favorite quote for today…
Being confident of this very thing,
that he which hath begun a
good work in you will perform
it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6

A peek into one of my days…
My sweet D drew this carriage with just a little  help from his
art teacher, who just happens to be his grandfather.

One of my favorite things…
My children playing together …
at least as long as they aren't bickering!

Please visit Peggy at The Simple Woman to find 
more daybooks and to join in the fun.

Friday, March 27, 2015

daybook - 3/27

For Today…
March 27, 2015

Outside my window…
Beautiful blue skies and signs that spring is here.

I am thinking…
about things I want to accomplish this weekend

I am thankful…
for warm weather and sunshine!
I will need to remember this feeling in a few weeks when
I am complaining about the heat of a Mississippi summer.

I am wearing…
gray knit pants and the t-shirt from the
5k my LB and I walked in last Saturday.

I am creating…
a list of scriptures to encourage the kids (and myself)
when we get bogged down in school work.

I am going…
to take the older kids to play flashlight tag with their friends tonight
while the rest of us clean the church and get it set up for our lunch on Sunday.

I am wondering…
many things … mainly how to handle some issues that
are causing us to stall in our school work.

I am reading…
about essential oils …
thinking it is time to jump on the bandwagon.

I am hoping…
to get the boys' room cleaned out and ready to be painted this weekend.

I am learning…
that teenage/preteen boys are a species 
that I don't understand at all.

In my kitchen…
nothing cooking ... just a mess to clean!

In the homeschool room…
we just finished with another week!
Hallelujah! I am looking forward to the weekend!

A favorite quote for today…
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

A peek into one of my days…
Tiny bits of purple ... I'm loving the signs of spring everywhere!
A beautiful rainbow from a few weeks ago.
It was actually a full rainbow, but I didn't have my
camera so this is all my phone could capture.
I am always in awe of seeing a rainbow.  
They are such an amazing promise from our loving Father.

One of my favorite things…
Fifth Sunday lunches at church!

Thanks for taking a little peek into my day ...
visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Blog
for more daybook entries.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

abundant life - part two

Yesterday, I shared the beginning of Mama's Sunday School lesson on how to live an abundant life. (Click here to read part one)  Today, I am sharing part two … pay attention to the last point … it is the one that really got to me.

3. Sacrifice

John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

One of the main characteristics of someone who understands what it really means to live abundantly would be their willingness to lay down their life for someone else. Of course, Christ is our supreme example of this, but we can see the importance of this type of attitude in our own lives. In order to be able to die for someone else, you must be able to see that they have a need for someone to stand in their place. This cannot be seen if we are constantly focusing on what we see as problems in our own lives. If we are content with where we are, however, we will be able to see the needs of others much more easily. We can also serve the Lord better when we have a sacrificial spirit. Someone who is not totally committed to the work of the Lord, such as to lay down his life for a friend, will have a hard time doing all that the Lord might call him to do. Consequently, if we are not doing all that the Lord has called us to do, we are not really living an abundant life. We must be willing to sacrifice ourselves to be a blessing to others.

4. Obedience

2 Kings 4:1-7
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil. Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full. So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children on the rest.”

The final point we need to look at is obedience. This is certainly a common thread that runs through what we have already talked about. Paul was obedient to the Lord throughout his ministry in all manner of circumstances. The Lord Jesus was obedient even unto the death of the cross. Here in this very practical illustration, we have yet one more example of the connection between obedience and the abundant life. Here we have a lady who is down to nothing and she is about to lose even that. Desperation is an appropriate term, I think.

SIX ASIAN POTTERY JARS,  She cried out to God in search of hope. The reply she received might have seemed foolish, but that was all she had to go on. She obeyed what the Lord told her through Elisha. Because of her obedience, the Lord blessed her. She had an abundant amount of money so that she could pay the people she owed as well as provide the essentials of life for herself and her family. Her obedience yielded an abundant life.

How many blessings do we miss for failure to yield to the command of God? This woman did not know why she was to fill the jars with oil until she had finished. Her instructions were given in pieces. How often do we choose not to obey God because the outcome is not clear or the instructions seem impossible? Perhaps we have never been in a place  such as this woman was in; a place where depending on God was all we had. We should not wait until we are on the absolute bottom to begin listening to God. Surely He speaks to us before we get there, we just can't (or won't) hear Him because we are too busy listening to the other noise in our world. Perhaps the only way for some to enjoy the abundant life is to come to a place where they are far too aware of their need for God's hand to sustain their life. Until we see our need to obey God in all points, we will have no idea what Christ meant by us, His children, living abundant lives. John 10:10 will simply be another verse that we don't see as having any real application to our lives.


Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God, and keep his commandments:
for this is the whole duty of man.
For God shall bring every secret thing,
whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

These are only a few points that seem to be a must for a truly abundant life. There is one final passage of scripture that seems to cover all areas of life. The last two verses in Ecclesiastes leave no question about what our lives are to be like. Christ said that we would have abundant life and Solomon sums up how to do that. Solomon was the man who had it all. Whatever life had to offer, Solomon had it. Not only did he have all the material possessions of life, he also had more wisdom than anyone else. It was his wisdom that enabled Solomon to see all the material things of life as mere vanity. To him, they amounted to nothing because they would only be left behind at death. He was also wise enough to know that his wisdom was nothing because whether a person is wise or is a fool, both die the same. What is the point? He wasn't really being negative about life; he just saw things for what they were. Solomon was a man who lived an abundant life. He knew that all is in vain if one does not see the need to fear God and keep His commandments. All that we do shall be judged one day and no amount of fame or fortune or wisdom will make a difference at that time. Are you prepared to stand before the Lord on that day? If you are not, you need to be. At that time, you will be alone. You won't have your husband or wife or mother or father to help you. You will be responsible for yourself. Be sure you are ready. Be found living the abundant life that Christ died to give you when He returns to get you. Claim the promise that has been made to you!

I hope that these words that my Mama wrote so many years ago, probably sometime in the mid 90's, have touched your heart as much as they have mine. Though I didn't read these words until after Mama died, I watched her live them during her years of battling cancer. And for that, I will be forever thankful.

Monday, March 23, 2015

abundant life

Many moons ago, I wrote a blog post about how much I love our church's Wednesday night services. That post is still back there in the dark recesses of this little blog of mine, just in case you are interested. When I wrote that post, I obviously had a plan to write more posts on the role of the church. Somehow, I never got around to doing that, but maybe this one will speak just a little bit of what I might have been thinking back then. My love for our church and our Wednesday night services still holds true, even though we have made a few changes since then. We have begun doing six week studies led by our pastor. While I enjoy these studies, I miss the time spent with just the ladies. So, I was happy when we finished the last study and Bro. Don announced that we would take a break before beginning the next one and in the interim time would go back to breaking into prayer groups (ladies in one room, men in another).

I volunteered to do the Bible study the first week. I have had several topics on my mind lately and felt sure that I would go in one of those directions. I was wrong. Wednesday morning, I sat down to figure out what I was going to present to the ladies that night, and nothing would work. I got ready for school and we made the 10 minute drive to Daddy's and our schoolroom … where I saw my Mama's computer. I knew that she had typed quite a few Sunday School lessons for the class she had taught for more years than I can remember, so I started looking through them and I realized that I have been given a wonderful gift. My sweet Mama's thoughts about scripture and about her Savior and about the life we, as Christians, are supposed to lead. I printed some of the lessons for later … for those moments when I am needing a wise word from my Mama. I chose one to share with the ladies at prayer meeting. I chose this one because it touched my heart, so now, I am going to share this same one with you. Since it is pretty long and I am going to give it to you just as Mama wrote it, I'm going to break it into two parts … I'll share one today and the other tomorrow.

The Abundant Life
John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came so that might have abundant life. What is abundant life? What is Jesus saying? Does He mean that He wanted His people to be wealthy? What about having the most affluent circle of friends? Does He want us to have the finest house or vehicle? Perhaps Christ was not talking about our physical life at all. Maybe He only meant we should have abundant life in Heaven. No, I don't believe Christ was only speaking in a spiritual sense about Heaven, although life there will certainly be abundant. Nor do I think He was referring to any of the other possibilities I mentioned. Christ is our example in everything and none of the ideas mentioned applied to Him, so that could not be what He was talking about. Christ most definitely lived an abundant life. Our question is not only “What is an abundant life?” but also, “Are you living one?”

1. Contentment

Philippians 4:11
Not that I speak in respect of want:
for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am,
therewith to be content.”

One of the primary factors that seems to be important to living an abundant life is to be able to truthfully say you are content where you are. Paul made this statement as a man who was sitting in a prison somewhere, most likely in Rome. Not only was he imprisoned at the time but he had a list of other reasons as long as your arm that would be sufficient evidence to cause him to be discontent. Most likely he was a man prone to grumble and complain just as any other human. He was simply a man. Paul was no better or worse than any of us. The scripture tells us, however, that he learned to be content. Paul had learned that no amount of complaining in the world would change a situation. It would not reverse a set of circumstances that seemed undesirable. Never will complaining provide food during a famine. Paul learned that the best thing to do, if you are going to get any enjoyment out of life, is to learn to thank the Lord for whatever troubles you might be facing and be content with the situation. There is no need to fret over something you can do nothing about.

We have a good example of how contentment is key to the abundant life in Proverbs 15:15.

All the days of the afflicted are evil:
but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.”

Notice first of all the description of the afflicted. According to the scripture, all the days of his life are evil. This simply means that he sees nothing good in life. Nothing ever goes the way he wants it to. There is no joy in his life. However, “he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” The difference is in the attitude. Both people have problems and trials in life, they just deal with them in different ways. One man sees life as nothing but negative and so he leans a miserable life. The other man, who might be facing the exact same trials, maintains a good attitude and therefore experiences a continual feast. The second man knows the secret to the abundant life. If someone can be truly content with life in all manner of circumstances, he can expect to know the meaning of Christ's statement about the abundant life. Without contentment, the abundant life is impossible.

2. Service

I Corinthians 9:16
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of:
for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”

Paul was keenly aware that the Lord had appointed him to a specific place of service. He was willingly serving the Lord in whatever area he was needed. Paul felt as though his life would be lacking something if he were not busy about the work God had called him to. In other words, Paul felt as if he had to preach. Never in any of his letters did he mention being tired of serving the Lord. Why is this? Very simply put, Paul was enjoying the abundant life. He had no regrets about the time he spent in the ministry. Paul would not have been content any other way, except to serve the Lord. Should we expect our lives to be any different? For a child of God, I don't see any reason to think such a thing. We are called to service. Granted, we are called to differing areas of service, but we who are born again are expected to be serving the Lord. Service is a must if the Christian intends to live an abundant life.

Tomorrow I will post the second part of Mama's lesson on living the abundant life, where she looks at the role of sacrifice and obedience in living an abundant life.

(Want to read part two? click here)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

life lessons from disney world

Our family recently returned home from our second trip to Disney World. Before our first trip two years ago, I was convinced that I would not enjoy “the happiest place on earth” … I was wrong. It is true that I don't like crowds and that I have always had a healthy fear of roller coasters. Add these things to the fact that a perfect vacation to me includes a good cup of coffee, a good book, and a mountain view … none of which are available in Disney and you can see why I was a little unsure about our first visit. But, I have learned some things about Disney and about myself (and about my kids) during these trips … here's a hint, most of these things have to do with experiences (good and bad) outside of our comfort zone.

So, without further ado, here's my list of things learned … in no particular order.

#1 You shouldn't expect a 9 year old to enjoy gourmet food just because he doesn't want a kid's meal. We chose to buy the dining plan that includes a table service meal each day. Ronnie and I carefully chose the restaurants and made reservations. We even looked at the menus to see if we thought that the kids would be able to find something they would like at each one. What we didn't anticipate was the fact that our youngest would simply get tired of the foods that he isn't used to eating. This little guy of mine isn't an extremely picky eater. Actually, he can be quite adventurous at times. But several days of eating under-cooked veggies (we are from the South, people … we don't eat our green beans crunchy!) and having raw beef delivered to your table (we sent his back … I wish I had sent MINE back) will likely take away any kid's adventurous spirit. So, we learned to ask for a kid's meal, just with a little larger portion (since we had paid for him as an adult). This worked well, but the process of ordering almost always brought on tears...and he usually ended up eating cereal back in the room before bed.

#2 Another thing about kids …. you shouldn't try to make a 15 year old ride the rides if she is dead set against it. And, you should ride the kiddie rides that she does like with her. With that in mind, I finally gave up on getting LB to ride the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Big Thunder Mountain with me. These are my two favorite roller coasters, but my totally un-adventurous (when it comes to rides, at least) daughter is terrified of them. So, she rode Peter Pan's Flight and Winnie the Pooh and It's a Small World and the other slow-moving rides. She did ride one of the boys' favorite rides – Star Tours, but I can't say that she enjoyed it. She does have an absolute favorite ride … Soarin' … it may not qualify as a thrill ride, but we all like it. So instead of riding rides, she and I spent plenty of time browsing in the shops and we even met a few princesses and along the way LB rediscovered her desire to do the Disney college program and spend a semester working there. I hope she does.

#3 Someday, I really want to go to Disney with just Ronnie. That may sound a little strange and I hope it doesn't offend my kids, but I just can't help but think that it would be fun to get to walk around and do exactly what we want to do and actually spend some quality time together while we are doing it. I'm not talking about leaving our kids behind while they are still kids … just thinking ahead to future days.

#4 Another thing about food … there are a few things anyone going to Disney for the 1st time should know. First of all, seared is not the same thing as cooked. I realize that I am revealing just how unsophisticated I am, but I don't really care. If I order a roast beef sandwich, I DO NOT want blood soaking into my bread. So, by the end of the week, I just made a point to choose poultry … no one serves chicken raw! The flip side is that I found out that I do like Brussel Sprouts if they are cooked properly and blueberry barbecue sauce may sound strange, but it is actually extremely yummy. In other words, a little gourmet never hurt anyone, you just have to know how to order. One more little tidbit about Disney food … thanks to my friend, Donna, we took time to try one of the cinnamon rolls at Gaston's Tavern in Magic Kingdom. Every visitor to Disney world should make time to indulge in one of these massive and delectable treats. It is well worth calories!

#5 This one is the most important thing that I have learned in Disney. The number one way to have fun (especially with your kids) in Disney World, is to step outside of your comfort zone. To that end, I did my best to ride every ride my kids wanted me to ride. It is true that there were some rides that I really wanted to ride. There were others that I really didn't want to ride (like Rockin' Roller Coaster and Expedition Everest) but my 13 year old son really wanted me to, so I did, and I LIKED THEM! It is also okay to do things that make you feel silly … like riding the teacups or taking pictures with characters. These are the things that the kids will remember and I want them to remember that I did these things with them, not just that I let them do them.

One more thing: I love to travel, but I also love coming home!  As a matter of fact, I think traveling is a perfect way to remind myself to be thankful for my little house in my own little hometown ... not to mention my friends and family!

So, now you have it. A little bit of my own personal, Disney inspired, life-lessons .... now, go be silly with your kids!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

daybook ... 3/19/15

For Today...
March 19, 2015
Outside my window…
Blue sky with high clouds over the yard where I spent much of my childhood.
I am thinking…
about how much I love this place where I grew up and how much I love seeing my kids enjoying being here.
I am thankful…
for my friend Marie, who has started blogging again and spurred me into wanting to do the same.
I am wearing…
blue jeans and an Operation Christmas Child t-shirt
 with my new favorite shoes … 
a pair of Skechers that my daughter says are decidedly un-stylish.

I am creating…
plans for next year's Mississippi History class...
I am so excited about teaching the kids about their home state!
I am going…
to pick up LB from dance and then make a quick grocery store run before cooking supper.
I am wondering…
if spring is here to stay, or if we will have a cold snap at Easter.
I am reading…
But Not Forsaken … 
a book that I am previewing before JW reads it for his lit class.  So far, I am enjoying learning about the lives of German Mennonites after WWII.
I am hoping…
the rain holds off Saturday morning … 
at least until after LB and I finish our first 5k walk.
I am learning…
 Well, re-learning it so that I can teach it to LB … yikes!
In my garden…
nothing yet … but I am making plans!
In my kitchen…
minute steaks and ???
 That is why I have to make a grocery store run before supper.
 I'm hoping to find some fresh Brussel sprouts so that I can try a new recipe for roasting them.
In the homeschool room…
it is quiet for the moment … 
we've just finished lunch and the boys are having recess. 
 LB is reading her literature assignment.
A favorite quote for today…
Look Mama, I shot it!” From my 13 year old and his BB gun!  
He was quite proud of himself for "shooting" the stem of a wild onion so he could bring it to me.

A peek into one of my days, with a few of my favorite things ...
I walked around today and took pictures of things that I remember from my childhood that are part of the landscape that my kids see nearly every day, since we have our school room at my Daddy's house.

A piece of old farming equipment and the well-used grill that my Daddy built.

The old tire swing that my brother moved to the back yard and lowered when we started having kids.
Oh, the stories I could tell about this swing and the fun we had as kids.

Our old, dilapidated barn, still holding on behind the pine tree that was 2nd base in our backyard games of softball.

My Granny's swing.  If you look closely you can still see a set of wind-chimes she hung there.
Granny's been gone for more than 10 years, but little pieces of the past still hang on.

Did you enjoy this little glimpse into my world?  Check out other daybooks over at The Simple Woman's blog