Sunday, December 31, 2006

Should Music Lyrics Be Forgot...

...or never completely learned...

Here's your "cheat sheet" for tonight. You can sing proudly while everyone else is singing, "Hm-hmmmmm-hm-hm-hmmmmmm-hmmmmmm-my dear..."

"Auld Lang Syne" Lyrics

1. Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And the days of auld lang syne?
And days of auld lang syne, my dear,
And days of auld lang syne,
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne?

2. And here's a hand my trusty friend,
And give a hand of thine,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet
For auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

(And if you really want to impress, memorize these!)

Happy New Year to all of you who read my ramblings this year. I have enjoyed "meeting" many of you this year on your blogs, and feel so completely blessed that you are reading mine. Have a safe and fun evening tonight, whether you go out or enjoy time at home. See you next year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wiping Tears Off of My Keyboard...

Take a few minutes and go here to watch this video. These are dear friends of ours. This is too precious:

Megan Quest

A Particularly Peculiar Stray Thought

Got this over at Stray Thoughts this morning and my "Peculiar Title" cracks me up. Especially the "Right Reverend" part. "Temporary" was no surprise, LOL.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Milady the Right Reverend Cynthia the Temporary of Bampton Underhoop
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Thursday, December 28, 2006

This is so cool...

**Update** She did it!! $500 was raised! (And I feel proud, knowing that I did my part by sending all 3 of you who read this blog over there... What a good feeling! ;)

Kelli over at Pass the Torch has a corporate sponsor who will donate $1 per comment left on this post, to go toward St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Go on over and leave a comment for a good cause! Thanks, Kelli, for providing a way for all of us to help!

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I'm Glad I Didn't Get For Christmas

2. Sarcastic Answer Ball (I don't need any help in this department!)

3. The Pop-Up Book of Phobias (Don't need any "help" here, either :::shudder:::)

4. Talking Toilet Paper Roll (Don't we go in there to get some quiet?)

6. One Acre of Land on the Moon ("Yes, our yard is small... but we have land on the moon! Really!")

7. Bacon Air Freshener (That's the smell I'm usually trying to get rid of!)

9. Play-Doh Scented Cologne (most moms smell like this at some time anyway!)

13. Mona Cyndi Painting ( What a conversation piece THAT would be!)

Visit Lindsay for more Thursday Thirteen participants. Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Happy 16th Anniversary!

I can never tell you how glad I am God brought you into my life, and how I am privileged every single day to be your wife. Thank you for the godly husband and father you are to our family. You show me in a thousand different ways each day how much you love me. You make me want to be what you think I already am. Thank you. I love you beyond measure.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Scenes

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas with those you love. We have had such a fun Christmas with all of our family. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past couple of days...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Our nativity figures with our Advent wreath

"Joseph's Lullaby" by Mercy Me

Go to sleep my Son
This manger for your bed
You have a long road before You
Rest Your little head

Can You feel the weight of Your glory?
Do You understand the price?
Or does the Father guard Your heart for now
So You can sleep tonight?

Go to sleep my Son
Go and chase Your dreams
This world can wait for one more moment
Go and sleep in peace

I believe the glory of Heaven
Is lying in my arms tonight
But Lord, I ask that He for just this moment
Simply be my child

Go to sleep my Son
Baby, close Your eyes
Soon enough You'll save the day
But for now, dear Child of mine
Oh my Jesus, Sleep tight

Visit Sting My Heart to see more nativity pictures. Have a blessed day!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve Eve

We had our first family gathering, a Christmas Eve Eve brunch yesterday at my brother's house. He made his famous pancakes, I brought sausage balls, and my mom brought a delicious breakfast casserole. We ate way too much and had a wonderful time!

Here is our Christmas Eve Eve as seen through the lens of a 10 year old with his new digital camera he received from Gram and Grandad:

Merry Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

So little to do, so much time! Wait, reverse that...

I caught myself doing it yesterday. The thing I do when an event is getting closer. I'll be thinking of all the things I need to accomplish for the event when other things stealthily sneak onto the list,which have nothing to do with said event. Like, when I'm having a dinner party and I clean out the closet under the stairs and dust behind the T.V.'s. Like when I'm busy making our lesson plans for a new semester of school, and all of a sudden I must go get a new haircut. Or when I vacuum behind the piano in the dining room because someone is going to run a book by and stand in the entry way and chat. What does one thing have to do with the other?

Yesterday I realized it was December 20th... 4 days 'til Christmas, and only 3 'til Christmas Eve. Two days left until our first family gathering. NO, I haven't finished buying gifts. NO, I haven't wrapped what I do have. NO, I haven't baked everything I was going to bake. So, yesterday when I was experiencing the Prelude to my Pre-event Panic (which isn't Pretty) I was mentally going over checklist of things to do: "Okay, I need to get the ornaments for the kids to exchange at the party Thursday night, pick up some more stocking stuffers, make sure I have all of the brunch ingredients for Saturday morning, clean my closet, make sure the kids get to decorate their gingerbread houses, organize the pots and pans, make sure I put that Linens N Things coupon in my purse so I can run by there later, and oh-my-GOSH we still haven't seen 'The Navitity!' " Did you notice what sneaked in? My master closet is, indeed, a wreck. One does need to wear protective footwear when opening the pots and pans cabinet under my stove. We are most definitely planning to see the movie. But why, oh, why do I feel like I have to get those things done before Christmas Eve? Especially since we have the whole week between Christmas and New Year with nothing-in-particular going on?

At least I caught myself. That's growth. In previous years I would've been in my master closet today sorting clothes and putting new shelf liner in my kitchen cabinets. But today, I'm going to do what needs to be done for tonight, for Saturday's Christmas brunch with my family, for Christmas Eve. The closet can wait. Maybe I'll organize it next time we have someone over for dinner.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Works-for-me Wednesday: My Prayer Bible

The Lord says in Isaiah 55:11: "So is My Word that goes out from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Sometimes I don't even know what to pray, but I know that if I pray God's words back to Him they will not come back void. There are many excellent resources and prayer books written to be used as a tool to help you regularly pray scripture. But, a few years ago I saw an idea that I have incorporated into my prayer life that has been such a blessing for me: making a prayer Bible.

I designated one of my Bibles to be my "prayer Bible." It has become a tool, a cherished posession, a work-in-progress, and a lifeline for me. It's the one Bible I would grab if the house caught fire! But since it's marked with personal notes and crammed with post-it tabs and sticky notes, I don't carry it to church (because I never know what would fall out!)

I began by marking with Post-it sticky tabs all of the documented prayers in the Bible. (All of them.) I did this by marking them in my prayer Bible as I came across them in my through-the-year Bible. (So it took me a year!) Each time I would come across a passage where someone was calling out directly to God, I would highlight it in my prayer Bible and tab that page with their name. These are prayers that God felt were important enough to have included in the Bible, and they are prayers that were powerful and effective. I often find myself in similar circumstances and love praying what some of the saints before me have prayed, along with praising Him for how He moved in their circumstances and thanking Him in advance for how He'll move in mine.

I have also begun writing my own scripture prayers on large post-it notes and sticking them on the page with the verses. I write the names of those for whom I am praying specific scriptures beside the scripture I'm praying for them (along with the date.)
I have also written the Hebrew and Greek names of God, along with their meanings, beside the corresponding passages, because sometimes all I can do is call His name.

I mark in all my Bibles, but this is one that is almost like a journal for me. I love looking back at scriptures I have prayed in the past, and remembering God's faithfulness to me and most of all to His Word. This Bible, with its tear stained, coffee-stained, wrinkled, and marked-up pages... works for me!

To read more of what works for others, visit Rocks In My Dryer. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Like My New "Look?"

A few weeks ago, Laurel was so sweet to link to this post of mine, asking for prayer. So many sweet women dropped by to let me know they were praying for my sister-in-law, I was touched beyond words. Once I got my wits about me, I decided to visit each person who had commented... and that's when I visited Lindsay at My Splatter Painted Life and followed a link to her blog design giveaway. Which I promptly entered. And then a few days later, found out I won! Isn't she good?? (She even cyber-stayed up late with me last night to help me get my links straightened out.) Lindsay, you are the best!

A little about the pictures at the top: These are photos I (or my daughter or husband) have taken as we've traveled in China, Ghana, and France. (You can probably tell which country is which. The palm tree could've been from any of them, but is from Ghana. The shot out of the airplane window is flying over the Alps, and the ocean picture is of some fishing boats off the coast of Ghana.) These are scenes which are woven into my memory, so I wanted to share them with you. God is doing a great work in each of these places, and indeed all over the world. When I see those photos at the top of my blog each day it will remind me to continue lifting up those who are laboring for the Gospel in those foreign lands, and to thank the Lord in advance for those who will meet Him due to their efforts. I am so thankful that He has allowed us to "enter into their labor" for periods of time these past 3 years.

So, I hope you like my new outfit. I know I do. Thanks again, Lindsay!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

In "Other" Words

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."
~ Calvin Coolidge ~
Former President of the United States

As I read the above quote last Friday, I wondered what I would write about. Immediately I thought about all the people I know who embody the above qualities: those who cherish peace and goodwill, are plenteous in mercy. God has been so faithful to surround me with such godly, Christmas-minded people. It was fitting that I read that quote the week of my sweet son's spiritual birthday. I didn't write much about him that day, as I did when his sister had her spiritual birthday this summer, but this quote is so befitting of him that I'm glad I waited. In fact, it makes me all the more glad that his spiritual birthday is in the Christmas season. Here are some pictures that portray what I'm talking about. Please view them and read these words, not from the perspective of a boastful mom, which I cannot be as I cannot take credit for what God is doing in his life. But, view them in much the same mindset as those who visited the manger... those getting a first-hand look at something that God Himself was bringing about. That's how we can all view our children, don't you think? God is doing something wonderful! And just like that Christmas so long ago, He is bringing about some of His most awesome works through children...

Christmas is...

"A state of mind..."

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Kyle's baptism day, Dec. 13, 2003

" cherish peace..."
A visit to a Ghanaian clinic in 2004 where he encouraged and prayed with patients

"... and goodwill..."
Sharing with some Ghanaian schoolchildren in November of 2004

" be plenteous in mercy..."

"' I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these did for Me.' " Matthew 25:40

Summer 2005

"... is to have the real spirit of Christmas."

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for first revealing the spirit of Christmas in the incarnation of Your Son. Thank you for continuing to reveal it to me in the lives of others, including my own son. I stand in awe as I watch You raise up a generation who lives out the real spirit of Christmas and will boldy declare Your name among the nations. Amen

Visit Darlene to be blessed by the stories of more "In Other Words" participants.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Well, doesn't this just capture how I'm feeling today...

Here's my elf name:

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at

Oh, and anyone who calls me this gets slapped. Santa included!

The second time I did it I got:

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at

Ahem. Much better.

No need for breakfast...

when you start your day with a juicy John Piper quote:

"God has a right to command of us things we cannot perform."

So we'll seek Him, of course.

If you need something to listen to while you wrap gifts or bake this week, I highly recommend his current series on How to Fight for Joy.

He says, "Joy in God is a gift from God."
"Love is rooted in our joy in God."
"People are loved when I am most satisfied in God."

Yep. No need for breakfast, now. I'll be chewing on these thoughts all morning!

Fight for joy today!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I guess congratulations are in order...

You are Time Magazine's Person of the Year! And so am I.

I wish I would've known sooner so I could've put it in our Christmas letter.

And I thought I didn't accomplish much in 2006.

Go, us!

Halala Ngo' Jesu

African church was wonderful this morning. I was on the praise team! (That's me... second from the right. ;) I love, love, love their worship. I had my last Sunday School lesson with the youth this morning, wrapping up my series on "gifts." (Okay, that was punny and I didn't even mean to do that. In case you missed it, read it again. There it is. ;) I can't say enough how much I love going to church there. The people are so warm and gracious. The teaching is so scriptural. They are so glad to have us there, but I can't imagine that they are half as glad as we are to be there. They have been dear to me since I met them in the summer of 2005. I'll never forget, sitting on a bus in Ghana, having traveled 25 hours to get where we were, getting ready to ride another few hours on a bus to get to where we would be working for the week. I was extremely tired, but pretty keyed up, as I can sometimes get when I travel. The (Ghanaian) cell phone Luke was carrying rang, and he handed it to me and said, "It's for you." Huh? A call for me... in Ghana? It was a precious woman I had just met from our African partner church back in Texas, wanting to know how I was doing and letting me know that she would be praying as we worked in her home country all week. Hearing her kind, wise voice coming through the phone really calmed my heart and made me feel so... prayed-for. She called me a couple of other times that week and it meant so, so much. She has (as many others in their congregation have) become dear to me during the past year. God is so faithful to bring about such partnerships.

I hope you've had a nice weekend. We certainly have! The kids spent Friday afternoon with their Grandma, shopping for our Christmas presents. They burst in the door that night exclaiming "Don't look!!" as they scurried upstairs to the sound of bags rustling. Fun! Yesterday Bethany and I finished some running around and then I baked cookies for my high schoolers and put the finishing touches on my Sunday School lesson. This morning, Bethany went to our church at 7:00 to work at the cafe and the rest of us went to African church. We enjoyed church and then came home to... nothing. Yey! I've waited weeks for this day! Don't get me wrong, I love Awana and look forward to it each week. It is one of God's greatest gifts in my life. But for the past two weeks I've taught across town, raced home, changed, then gone straight up to our church for the afternoon/evening Awana ministry responsibilities. I was able to do that because I knew TODAY was coming... Today we got home by 1:30 or so and then I (:::::drumroll:::::) took a nap. (Did you hear that? That was me, sighing contentedly.) We are about to go retrieve Bethany at a gathering she's been at all afternoon for the cafe staff.

So, that's the weekend update. Errands, baking, worship, and rest. A good weekend!

Have a blessed week!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Tour of Homes

I had decided not to participate in BooMama's Bloggy Christmas Tour of Homes this year, because I have seriously pared down my Christmas decorating over the years. Seriously. Why, oh why, didn't I have a blog the Year of Seven Christmas Trees? Or the years I had exactly 33 candles on my mantle (one for each year of Christ's earthly life)? When there was greenery, candles, and sparkle from the front door to the back door? When I see others' beautifully decorated homes, it reminds me of what I have not done this year. But that's not what Christmas is about, and certainly not what the Christmas Tour of Homes is about, now, is it?

So this morning I got up, looked around, and decided I am perfectly content with what we've done this year and that this would be a perfect opportunity to put Romans 12:13 into action and "practice hospitality" right here in my little corner of the web. So... Welcome! I've got hot chocolate and Starbuck's Christmas Blend, so help yourself and enjoy some of my favorite Christmas decorations.

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

13 Things That Have Blessed Me This Week

1. Authentic, energizing, real encounters with God each morning
2. Kyle’s spiritual birthday yesterday (He called it his “rebirth” day)
3. Our annual ice skating at the Galleria with our fun friends
4. Welcoming home our dear, fun friends from France
5. Realizing, again, just how good Luke is for me
6. Good health
7. Finding a $20 dollar bill in a purse in the closet (while I was looking for my stamps)
8. My willing, helpful children who cleaned the upstairs
9. A great phone conversation with my precious brother
10. An uplifting phone conversation with a sweet friend in Ghana
11. Weather in the 70’s… good shopping weather!
12. Listening to Christmas music that makes me cry
13. Dinner last night with friends I’ve missed hanging out with

And the week's not over yet! God is good!

You can go here to read more Thursday Thirteen participants.

Have a terrific Thursday!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Losing Ctrl !!

My Works-for-me Wednesday is on my homeschool blog this week, and it's about how handy it is to use the "CTRL F" feature on your keyboard to find text while searching a website or reading a document. It has been a real time-saver for me. Oh how I need it today in my house!! I wish there was a giant "CTRL F" key I could press that would highlight just exactly where my my big bundle of Christmas stamps is. They are gone. Nowhere. Poof.

I have always loved sending and receiving gobs of Christmas cards. I think it might be my love language or something! My whole married life, no matter how little money we have had, I may have gone without other things during the holidays but I have never forgone going and getting tons of pictures developed, a wad of stamps, and sending pictures to everyone. I love, love, love going to the mailbox during December and seeing who we got cards from, and seeing the pictures and reading the newsletters they sent.

Before we left for our Thanksgiving trip I got our picture cards developed and bought a huge stack of stamps. I wrote our Christmas letter while we were on vacation (because I would never go to the woods without my laptop!) With our busy schedule lately, I am just now getting them all sent this week. Last night was the night I finished printing out the last of our Christmas letters, mail merged the labels and was ready for the assembly line of putting cards/letters/pictures/labels together and... no stamps. I cannot imagine where they are! $50+ dollars worth of stamps have vanished. I am just sick about it.

SO, today the towering stack of cards sits on my dining room table while I see if perhaps the stamps turn up. I have searched in every conceivable place. (I even looked in the box of Splenda packets in the pantry this morning. I'm not kidding.) Wherever they are, they are in a really good place. I have prayed. I have cried because I think I might be going insane. I have secretly blamed the nice man who installed our satellite dish last week who walked by where I think the stamps were laying on my dresser. Last night the kids and Luke all helped look in every nook and cranny while listening to me sniffle about it. Hmph. I remember seeing a t-shirt or bumper sticker one time that said, "I finally got it all together... but I forgot where I put it." I get it now! And I've figured out why it's called the "control" key. I'm losing control and I wish it was a simple matter of pressing a key on my keyboard!

I'm giving it until Friday for the stamps to turn up before I go buy another batch. If they are ever found, it'll be "Christmas In July" (at least in the upper right hand corner of the envelope) for whomever receives mail from me this summer...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Restoring the Years

It's the time of year when my through-the-year daily Bible (the one I use is the MacArthur Daily Bible) is in the "light reading" stage... the minor prophets and Revelation!

This morning, a favorite verse from Joel leapt off the page at me:

"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust..." (Joel 2:25)

The context is an actual, very real invasion of locusts which had hit Israel, along with an extended drought which had left their kingdom weak. The different types of locusts mentioned are the different stages of development, or life cycle of the locust. That says to me that it had gone on for awhile, not just a swarm that came and left. Joel uses the physical disasters which had come upon them to highlight God's judgement which was to come upon them. The first two chapters of the book are a powerful portrait of God calling His people to repentance and the promise of forgiveness and blessing that would follow a "returning to the Lord your God."

I love that he promises to restore. But what caught my eye this morning was what He promised to restore. The crops that had been devoured? The revenue and resources? "I will restore to you the years..." Certainly they had lost all of the time and labor they had put into their crops and livelihood. To me it seems it would have been very characteristic of God's mercy to have said to them, "I will restore the crops the locusts have eaten." But I love how He says He will restore the years.

I can look back over the past year and see wasted money that I should've spent better, opportunities that I might have missed or think of things I meant to do but didn't. But what drives me the most crazy is when I realize I've wasted time. Time is such a limited commodity, and it is the great equalizer. We all have varying degrees of money and talent, but we each get the same 24 hours each day. What a powerful concept to think about... that our God restores time. How He does that is not for me to interpret or try to figure out, but I marvel at the fact that He can do it, and He has promised to do it for His people.

Have you had a season where something has been eating away at you? I have. There are two main areas in my life in which "locusts," in their various stages of development, have been chomping away. I thought of those areas today and in a spirit of repentance invited Him anew to restore, not just what's been eaten, but the years.

"You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame."
Joel 2:26

Monday, December 11, 2006

Strength to Serve

Wow. God continues to make the words of 1 Peter 4:11 a reality for me:

"If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."

The "strength God provides."

I have found, especially lately, that His strength is almost always accompanied by a degree of enthusiasm for and enjoyment in the task at hand. The enthusiasm doesn't always come first, but (in my experience) it does come. He is so faithful!

I did finally stop procrastinating Saturday night. I finished outlining the lessons, which I believe were God-given because they didn't come from a book or curriculum but came into my head and heart after expectant prayer- I knew He would tell me what to teach! And I knew that if He told me what to teach, He would give me the energy in which to do it. For His glory, not mine!

I know the energy was from Him, because I had no sleep Saturday night. It was one of those nights where I was aware as every hour passed. Isn’t that torture?? So, finally by 6:00 or so I just got up. I had my quiet time, got a shower, and put together an outfit. I had my bag already together, grabbed some breakfast and drove for about 45 minutes in the cold, drizzly rain to another city. Even though it was the one morning of the week I usually stay in my pajamas and enjoy much-needed “down time” with my family and I hadn't slept the night before, I was expectant, energetic, ready and so glad to be going. That’s the strength God provides!

I got to our partner church as they were finishing up the adult Sunday School lesson. Bethany had decided to go with me, so we took our seats on the back row after being warmly greeted. We were the only white faces in the entire church that day, and yet we felt so at home! We learned some wonderful truths about God’s love from 1 John. We worshiped, sang and danced with that vibrant congregation for about an hour, then I slipped out with the youth to the other room for our Sunday School lesson. These precious high school kids (no doubt still tired from being out with friends the night before, if memory serves!) who had already heard part of a lesson in the other room and most of whom would go work at jobs that afternoon listened attentively, prayed, laughed, and learned with me for about an hour and a half. That’s the strength God provides!

At about 12:45 we got in the car and headed back down the drizzly highway back toward our own city, where I knew my Awana shirt was waiting on a hanger. At 1:45 I was hurriedly changing and gathering the supplies we needed for our afternoon/evening and we were out the door just after 2:00 to go to the church to decorate for our Awana leader appreciation dinner and the children’s Christmas party. At 4:00, with candles lit and the smell of fajitas wafting throughout the building, we had 100+ leaders in a beautiful room, eating, fellowshipping, and watching with misty eyes and laughing hearts the videos of themselves working with God’s children. Oh, how Luke and I want them to see what we see- the seemingly tireless energy they bring each week and how it is blessing so many families. That’s the strength God provides!

8: 45 PM found us back at home, watching the last of the Cowboy game beating while munching left-over fajitas and thinking back over the wonderful leader dinner and Awana club night. Any one of the events of yesterday, done in my own energy, would’ve left me depleted. But, done in the very real “strength God provides” they were not only doable, but completely enjoyable!

Now, this morning it’s time for our annual trip to the Galleria for ice skating. It is definitely not what I wanted to jump up and do this morning. It’s a gray, foggy Monday morning after a busy, busy weekend and I would so relish time at home with the kids to get caught up on our reading and just… be. But, we do this with our homeschool group every year, and the kids really look forward to it. It would serve them for me to take them and enjoy this with them. So, you know how I’m going to get up off of this couch, put on something cute and drive down another drizzly highway? You guessed it. In the strength God provides.

I pray you'll have a 1 Peter 4:11 week!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Oh, honestly.

It's like I'm in high school again! I'm procrastinating. I'm home tonight from church, writing the Sunday School lesson that I'm teaching the youth at our metro partner church tomorrow morning. I've got tons of ideas floating around in my head, roughly organized. It's a pretty straight-forward lesson I'm teaching on the gifts that the Magi brought to Jesus and how they correspond to the gifts we can give Him. SO... I just need to get it all typed up and get my outline ready. Instead, what have I done so far?

  • Given my weenie dog a bath
  • Cleaned my bathroom
  • Munched on some Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
  • Watched an episode of "That Girl" on TV Land
  • Checked some blogs

What is up with me?

Well, in case you're here because you're a procrastinator like me, here's a collage Bethany made for me to use in last week's lesson. See if you can find the tiny baby Jesus:

(You might need to click on it to enlarge it. She's good!)

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Prayer I Love

I've been praying this from The Valley Of Vision each morning recently. I just love it and wanted to share it with you today:

Morning Needs

"O God, the Author of all good,
I come to thee for the grace another day will require
for its duties and events.
I step out into a wicked world, I carry about with me and evil heart,
I know that without thee I can do nothing,
that everything with which I shall be concerned,
however harmless in itself,
may prove an occasion of sin or folly,
unless I am kept safe by thy power.
Hold thou me up and I shall be safe.

Preserve my understanding from subtilty of error,
my affections from love of idols,
my character from stain of vice,
my profession from every form of evil.
May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore thy blessing,
and in which I cannot invite thy inspection.
Prosper me in all lawful undertakings,
or prepare me for disappointments.

Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with food convenient for me,
lest I be full and deny thee
and say, Who is the Lord?
or be poor, and steal and take thy name in vain.

May every creature be made good to me by prayer and thy will;
Teach me how to use the world, and not abuse it,
to improve my talents,
to redeem my time,
to walk in wisdom toward those without,
and in kindness to those within,
to do good to all men,
and especially to my fellow Christians.
And to thee be the glory."


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Works-for-me Wednesday

"Mom, where's my uniform???"

Somehow, for some reason, week in and week out, no matter what my laundry "system" has been and despite the fact that every other article of clothing was folded and put away.... uniforms would go missing the morning of the game, class or meeting. I finally just started keeping all uniform t-shirts (sports teams, Awana, Girl Scouts, golf, etc.) or gymnastics/ dance leotards hanging in the laundry room.

When the shirt comes out of the dryer, it immediately goes onto a hanger and onto the clothes bar above the washer. (If I didn't have a clothes bar, I'd probably use an over-the-door hook on the back of the door.) If they don't go in the dryer (like dance and gymnastics leotards) they can simply hang there to dry and then they're right where we need them. If the uniform has socks that go with it, those hang on a clippy-type hanger right beside it. That way, they're always clean and ready to go. Works for me!

For more great tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Refining Fire

Thank you, thank you for those of you who have been praying this week. I know many of you have had similar experiences in your family or with someone you love. One phone call that completely rearranges a life. It is so very, very hard to see someone you love hurt so badly and that's where my heart has been this week. I have tried to remember to simply mourn with those who mourn rather than try to offer words (as if I had any anyway.) Is there really anything anyone can say at a time like this?

One thing that has been going through my mind this week is one of the best lessons from the Daniel study. It is such truth that I believe was stored away in my heart for such a time as this. It is this:

When the people of God face fiery trials, there are always three basic scenarios:
  • We can be delivered from the fire, which builds our faith.
  • We can be delivered through the fire, which refines our faith. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
  • We can be delivered by the fire into His arms, which perfects our faith. (Hebrews 12 1-2)

Of course, the common word, which I love so much, is the word "delivered." No matter what happens, as believers, we are delivered, whether it's on this side of the trial or the other. He will deliver us. He is our Deliverer. If He doesn't deliver me from it, then I must have to go through it. If I don't make it through it, then He must be planning to use it to deliver me home. This has been life-changing for me to think about with regard to possible scenarios in my life- travel dangers or any possible illness I might ever have.

But this week I've been able to take these principles a step further. I have seen first-hand the degree to which one person's perfecting fire is another person's refining fire. The "fire" that delivered Chris into the arms of the Father began an unprecedented "fiery trial" for my sweet sister-in-law. Oh, how we wish we could turn back time and somehow she wouldn't have to go through this. But we can't, and she must go through it. But she will make it through, and by God's grace her faith will be refined, resulting in "praise, glory and honor" for the One who endured the ultimate fiery trial on our behalf, Jesus Christ.

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy." Psalm 126:5

Monday, December 04, 2006

Please Pray

Yesterday afternoon, as we were at the church setting up for Awana, we received a phone call that Luke's sister Mary's sweet boyfriend, Chris, had been involved in a motorcycle accident and had been taken to an area hospital. When we arrived at the hospital, he was on life support. Once his family arrived, they had to make the difficult decision to remove him from life support, and I received the news just awhile ago that he had passed away. This is an unspeakably difficult time for his family and for our dear Mary. I can't really put together a coherent post, but I'd love knowing that those who may come across my blog today are praying. Thank you so, so much.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Forecast: "Sunny-Cool"

"Arctic Blast." "Wicked Weather." "Bitter Blast." "The Big Chill."

The past week's weather for north Texas had scarcely been in the 10 day forecast when the local news stations had made their logos and catch-phrases for this Weather Event. News reporters (microphone in one hand, earpiece held in one ear with the other) delivered their new stories from standing outside, usually with a dramatic view of a bridge or an overpass over one shoulder. They started when it was still 77 degrees. We watched, breathlessly, the coverage of the sand trucks being filled (the sand truck drivers still wearing shorts, mind you.) I could't even get into the parking lot of Walmart Wednesday, because everyone was there Stocking Up On Supplies (so I went to a smaller mom-and-pop style grocery store and paid out the wazoo for bread and ground meat!)Then It hit. The temperature plummeted to well-below freezing and we enjoyed a nice dusting of snow/sleet/freezing rain.

Hey, I'm not complaining. I've seen the coverage of what's going on in the midwest, and I'll take our "wicked weather" over that, any day. But, I'm sure people from other parts of the country get a kick out of how we handle our Arctic Blasts. We made it just fine. It is cold, though! And I love it!

The past couple of days I have been preparing to teach a Sunday School class at a partner church in the metro area. Our church has partnered with a congregation made up of primarily African immigrants. It is one of my favorite places to worship! The people are so wise, so godly, SO knowledgeable about the Bible. The music is fabulous. The preaching is vibrant. Whenever I get in the mood to don one of my African dresses and go to a church where I can dance up to the offering plate, I go there. It's like taking a trip back to West Africa (only without the Tse-Tse flies buzzing around!)

A couple of weeks ago, the pastor there asked if someone would teach their youth (age 13-18) Sunday School class for the month of December, as their regular teacher would be out. The person who had been asked to find someone called my husband and asked if I might do it. My first thought was, "Heh. I don't think so." That age group intimidates me! I've met some of them, and they are a precious group of kids, but I question my ability to hold their interest for an hour. But, I've really been praying about our involvement in this church lately and I want to support the partnership, so I prayed, "Lord, if I'm to teach this class, then I'll need you to give me some ideas." Within 20 minutes, my mind was brimming with ideas! I went ahead and committed to teach the class, not quite sure which ideas I'd use, but confident that the Lord would help me narrow it down (after all, they were all His!) He has helped me narrow it down. I'll be teaching a 3 part series on "Gifts."

When Bethany was little, she called Sunday School, "Sunny-Cool." I always thought it was SO cute, and it's one of those mispronunciations I never corrected (but, of course, she figured it out all on her own!) I've thought of it all week as I've prepared my "Sunny-Cool" lesson.

So, it's been an "Arctic Blast" here this week, but the forecast for tomorrow (Sunday) morning is... Sunny-Cool!