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“Hey, Jephthah… You might want to change your shirt” -A not so common Bible story

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not much of a morning person.  I love a beautiful sunrise …… but only in photos.  There is not too much I love about mornings except maybe the concept of a snooze button.  Now, in reality, I would love to be an early riser who could get up about 5:30am and go jog (if I can get up at 5:30 then, yes, I can also jog), come home and fix my family breakfast, have my daily quiet time and then take my time getting ready and still be on time to work.  Yes, that is the way that I would love for it to be but I’m pretty sure that even though it was a recessive one in my parents, I believe that I was given an “unearly” gene somewhere in my system.

My mornings are more like this….. hit the snooze button,  hit the snooze button,  hit the snooze button…. get out of bed, stand somewhere between the bed and the bathroom, stare at something until the snooze button goes off again…. slowly go about waking myself up while I manage to get dressed, fix breakfast and get my youngest ready for school.

How safe it is for the rest of the world, I don’t know…. but because of my husband’s work schedule, on most school day mornings I am the one who delivers the youngest to school.  The fortunate thing is that she attends the school in the building where I work.  Some mornings I stay at work when I take her but often I will return home for some quiet time and finish getting ready for work time.

The other day was one of those hurried mornings.  After rushing to get her to school, talking to her teacher, stopping on the way back to the car to have a detailed conversation with two other parents, and running into my office, passing a multitude of parents, I decided to slow my morning back down by stopping at the nearby food mart for a cup of coffee.  Once home I made my way to the mirror for a makeup refresher and noticed something that completely woke me up……my shirt was on but it was on inside out!

Now, you might say that was not a big deal… even stopping to chat with others or going into a public place… it could have been a lot worse and you are probably correct.  It is just the thought of what people may have thought…. it was actually pretty funny (though I had no one to share the humor with) but I laughed, corrected the error and went about my regular routine.

Funny how no one told me that my shirt was on inside out…. maybe they didn’t care, maybe they didn’t want to embarrass or offend or maybe they just didn’t notice… regardless of the reason, if I hadn’t gone back home then I would have really made a fool out of myself at a later time during that day.

Life is kind of like that.  People live their lives seeking and searching and filling voids with “stuff”… actually living life inside out or upside down.  They think they are on the right path but have it mixed up just a little… It is not something uncommon or distinctive of our day and age.  The Bible has stories that took places thousands of years ago and are totally relative to living inside out.

Jephthah  was a prime example of finding out that, though his intentions were good,  he was living inside out.  The story is one we often don’t hear … (I definitely know why it isn’t taught to children…unless you want them to have nightmares).  Jephthah lived in a time period when the Israelites were caught up in idol worship.  They knew about God and even worshiped Him to some extent but their faith was intertwined with false religion… making it easy to get confused about exactly what God wanted.  So, Jephthah was apparently quite the warrior…. he was winning battles but his call out to God to defeat the Ammonites had a twist to it.  Jephthah made a promise to God (remembering that breaking a promise to God was a law that if broken would have been sin… and there was no grace of a savior at that time).  He told God that if he would let him defeat the Ammonites then he promised to sacrifice to God “whatever was the first thing to come out of” his house when he arrived home.

Jephthah defeated the Ammonites, so being a man of his word he headed home ready to sacrifice the first thing that came through his door.  Now I’m not sure what the guy was thinking.  Maybe he was thinking that his beloved dog would come running out to greet him … yes, that would be a sacrifice.  Maybe he was thinking his mother-in-law would step out the door to see who was coming… yes, that would be a sacrifice…a sacrifice maybe or a blessing.  Maybe he was thinking that it would be his wife… maybe he pictured her coming out of the door saying,”Well, it is about time you came home.  Do you know while you and your little warrior buddies were out galavanting all over the countryside I have been here cooking and cleaning and raising a family.  Now get in here and help me already.”  Yes, that would be a blessing… er, uh sacrifice.  In reality though, he had to know that if that was his home then something of value to him would walk through that door and that is exactly what happened.  His precious daughter came out singing praises to God because her father had won against the Ammonites.  He grieved and told her of his promise to God…. she understood and agreed that he needed to keep his promise and Jephthah killed his daughter as a burnt offering.

So what is so “inside out” about keeping a promise to God?  Probably nothing if it was actually a promise that God would approve of (however, I’m not so sure how God feels about cutting a deal with him) but that was the problem.  Jephthah had his faith mixed up with the false religions of those around him… nothing pure about what he believed.  And because of that mixed up faith he ended up doing the unspeakable…. he was no different that those around him.  He definitely needed someone to tell him to turn his shirt inside out.  That what he was he was doing was honorable but not necessary.  There was a wholesome way to give praises to God that did not require a human sacrifice…. those kind of sacrifices were left up to the believers of false gods.

People today are still caught up in living inside out.  They seek another unhealthy relationship just to fill a lonely heart. They drown their sorrows in substances trying to hide pain.  They work more hours to avoid facing a relationship struggle. They leave a relationship just because they want something new.  They try to find answers through seminars and self help books…..I would say most of the time I am completely guilty of not sharing what could fill the void.  Why is so hard to let them know that they might want to change their “shirt”?  Maybe it is because we don’t care. Maybe it is because we don’t want to offend.  Maybe it is because we didn’t notice…. If I am guilty of the first two then maybe I need to evaluate how much I want to see them make fools of themselves later because I didn’t say anything.  If the last one is the case then maybe I should find out why I didn’t notice…. maybe I might find out that my shirt is on inside out too.

 

Judges 11:21-39

21 “Then the LORD, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his men into Israel’s hands, and they defeated them. Israel took over all the land of the Amorites who lived in that country, 22 capturing all of it from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan.

23 “Now since the LORD, the God of Israel, has driven the Amorites out before his people Israel, what right have you to take it over? 24 Will you not take what your god Chemosh gives you? Likewise, whatever the LORD our God has given us, we will possess. 25 Are you better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel or fight with them? 26 For three hundred years Israel occupied Heshbon, Aroer, the surrounding settlements and all the towns along the Arnon. Why didn’t you retake them during that time? 27 I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. Let the LORD, the Judge, [c] decide the dispute this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites.”

28 The king of Ammon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him.

29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD : “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break.”

36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”

38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and the girls went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed.

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Posted by on November 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Tell me about it, Moses P. Diddy Hall…

flipperI don’t know why I have such high expectations for the animals that I choose to own.  Maybe those expectations were formed because of reruns of great shows such as Flipper (though I never owned a dolphin), Lassie or Fury…. or maybe it was Lady, my cousin’s collie who was incredible well behaved… or Babe, my uncle’s dog that was showbiz intelligent…..or Benji. How could I forget Benji? Whatever the reason, with a little training, I knew it couldn’t possibly be that difficult for my very own dog to become something of legend… nothing short of a human on four paws.

So let’s see, first there was Gustavia.  Gussy was a little white poodle who chased cars, chased cattle and rolled in manure… smart dog.  Then later came Rascal.  An adorable little dachshund that turned out to be an incredible bully in the amateur dog show circuit.  Then there was Sam.  Another poodle who, for all practical purposes, was a pretty good dog, but he did bark at himself in the mirror. (Wouldn’t it be funny if people acted surprised to see themselves in the mirror each time?) There were more pets down the line… Buddy 1, Buddy 2, Bandit… and some cats, hamsters, and even a skunk (Yes, you read that correctly) but none have met the superstar expectations that I have believed in for so long… that is, until recently… .

Now, our ever-lovable shih-tzu, Moses P. Diddy Hall (a.k.a. Moe) is a dog that when told to sit, he sits…. well,  he might lie down…. or  possibly he will continue to go about what he was doing.  He is also a dog that wears a diaper… well, technically it is a “belly belt” but you get the idea.   Moe also knows to get in his bed when told, he knows to “hit the rock”(our family’s ultra hip term for shaking paws), he knows to go to the car when the van door opens.   He even hates hanging out at the dog park… he waits by the exit gate until we are ready to take him home.  See, it is hard for me to decide if either Moe is very intellegent and just pretending to be a dog to get out the whole “work dog” group, or if he is just like all of my other dogs in the past…. just a regular ol’ dog.   I have been leaning toward the regular ol’ dog thing for quite some time, that is, until one night not too long ago. Moe at Dog Park Gate

Moses P. Diddy Hall is not allowed to be on the couch.  He has his bed. He has his spot near our feet.  He is totally fine not to be on the couch, but on occasion there are those special times where we give in and give him some supervised couch time.  Such as it was on that evening when I was certian that Moses P. Diddy Hall would be paying for my children’s college education.  I was sitting on the couch and Moe was comfortably resting on my daughter who was on the couch next to me.  Allison’s position was perfect as she laid on her back because if I turned my head slightly then Moe and I were face to face.

As Moe and I looked at each other, just as usual, I said something to him.  I can’t even remember what it was but when I said it, something amazing happened.  Moe began to talk back!…. and I’m not talking barking kind of talk… it was conversation kind of talk.  Now, I might not have thought anything about it if I hadn’t seen the youtube clip of funny talking dogs but I knew Moe was trying to tell me something.  I kept asking him, “What is it, Moe?” And he kept voicing something that was clearly a concoction of vocal movements that were trying to form words.  To get him to continue his talking ability I started looking at him and saying things like, “Mama” (I never think of my dogs as kids so this was very awkward for me) and ” I love you.”  Moe would look at me and try to repeat it.

I was so excited I could hardly believe it.  I had a plan. He and I were going to work on this daily until he could speak in conversation.  I started counting the dollars in my head.  I called my husband, who was out of town (explanation of the couch time that Moe was getting), and told him the whole story.  He didn’t share my enthusiasm.

The following day, Moses P. Diddy Hall and I went to work.  I got down in his face and began talking to him.  “Mama,” I said.  Moe looked at me.   “Mama,” I continued.  Still Moe looked at me.  I changed my pitch.  I changed my tempo.  Moe looked at me then cocked his head and looked away.  It was time to change my game plan.  I began the whole, ” I love you” verbiage.  Moses P. Diddy Hall looked at me and walked away.  I didn’t get it.

I began telling my story to anyone who would listen.  My husband, my other daughters, but it was while I was telling a friend about my incredibly talented, Hollywood bound dog that would surely be whisked away to star in his own movie, when my hopes and dreams for him came to an abrupt halt.  Allison felt it was time that she stepped in and prevented me from the inevitable… making a fool of myself.  She quietly pulled me to the side and said, “Mom, I was blowing in his face.” It seems that the only reason Moe was “talking” was because he apparently doesn’t like to have someone blowing in his face.  I was stunned. Moe is just a plain ol’ dog …. he is no different than any other dog that I have ever had.  After the initial shock of the whole confession, I found it all quite funny.  Fortunately, I was halted from looking like a fool and fortunately, I listened to what she had to say.

I wish faith was that simple.  You know, something like….we may be a bit out of line, acting foolishly, forgetting to include God in our everyday life and then we are told we are being a bit foolish and we fall back into line…. that would be simple.  I guess sometimes it might be that way, but there are those other times when we get so busy doing the right things in life that we may not realize we are doing them on our own…..depending on our human ability rather than trusting in God’s ability.   In Galatians, Paul comes down pretty hard on the people.  He even states that they are being deceived and they don’t even realize it because they are so caught up in living by the religious law that they have forgotten about what Christ did for them/us all.   Still today, we may not be in Galatia, but we still tend to lean on our human ability, thoughts and decisions rather than allowing God to guide our way. I wonder what would happen if we all began to lean on the gift God gave us rather than wearing ourselves down and eventually looking foolish……

If Moses P. Diddy Hall really had the gift of gab, I’m sure he’d have the answer.

Galatians 3

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

6Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a] 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[b] 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Take a hike… seriously… I mean, really… literally….

hikingI don’t know what I was thinking… an hour to spare and I said, ” Why don’t we take this other trail?  It seems silly to go home when we could keep walking for another hour.  It can’t possibly take that long.”  I don’t know if the map was totally exaggerated or if I was oxygen deprived and not thinking straight, but for me to suggest we hike further????? Totally not me.  First of all, let me set the record straight, I do like to hike… as long as the trail is relatively flat, the air is cool and I can wear my flip-flops.   Also, I need to walk with slow walking people… my leg stride is so short that I have to run to keep up with others and believe me, I have a few friends who just about kill me when we are walking… at the mall.  You know who you are..

But the point is, hiking is a fun way to exercise my body and my mind.  I love to look at the world around me as I walk and marvel at creation..( I also, like to stop and sit on creation and take a breather every now and then)  I often wonder what it would be like to be someone walking that same route 100 years ago.  Obviously,  it is a way to get my mind off of the fact that I’m panting and doubled over… but it is way better than walking through a neighborhood or on a treadmill.  Way prettier pictures…

Our hike last Friday was at a place we had never been before… we checked it out for its family friendliness and decided that it was going to be a diamond in the rough… a total treasure that we had overlooked.  The pictures sported beautiful streams, small and medium sized water falls, a river overlook,  rustic bridges, a wild animal or two… we were excited.  We gathered our walking sticks… yes, we are that professional… our picnic cooler, cameras and I threw on my flip-flops and headed out the door.

After lunch we headed to the information center to get our trail map and into the woods we went.  Our walk was a tree covered, dirt path that took us to a water gate that was long deteriorated and gone … probably for a century and a half… there was an incredible rock wall that had stood the test of time but the stream was a trickle…The only wildlife we saw was a tick crawling on a leg and my husband throwing a rock off of the trail to make us think something was moving in the woods…. Our seven-year-old began to grow weary and began stating her favorite hiking place was not the one where we were…her favorite, she reminded us, was the one that my husband had first suggested we go… I kept telling her to keep her opinions to herself… she longed to see a waterfall…I was determined that this would be her new favorite place…mainly because it was my suggestion… so I didn’t want to leave until she could find that picture perfect waterfall.  I wasn’t finding the waterfalls on the map so I thought the river overlook might satisfy a seven-year-old’s desire to see water.

We worked our way back to the main path and I realized that we had a hour before the trails closed… it seemed such a waste to leave after such a short little walk…. we hadn’t even seen a waterfall.  As we stood on the hot main trail, our older daughter decided that wanting a haircut was more important than our physical health and she started to zone out of the hiking mood… the first trail was fun but now in the hearts of all but me… well,  it was time to leave.  Instead, of leaving we took a shortcut through an open meadow that made us all cranky and thirsty.  I hike in flip-flops so it is probably also apparent that I would not hike with a bottle of water or any other kind of liquid for that matter.  We all began to get thirsty.  My husband just so happened to have a Diet Coke Plus in the camera case and the girls were at least able to share that.  About two thirds of the way into our “shortcut” we realized our timing was going to be an issue and now the whole bathroom thing kicked in too.  We were so close to the river overlook that it seemed silly to walk away so my husband said that we could definitely make it if we walked back in double time.  “Double time? I have been walking in double time,” I said.  ….. (Remember my walking stride is short) So I finally shrugged it off and said, “On to the Overlook”  With frustrated hiking daughters, we made it there.  Still no waterfall, but it was a nice view… a cool, safe cliff to sit on and look over into the murky waters of the Kentucky River…. totally worth the walk….  we double-timed our way back to the car… we made it out of the park with 3 minutes to spare before they closed the gates.  It was as if we had accomplished a tremendous feat.

Sometimes it seems that the most difficult thing to overcome happens to be the best experience that we never dreamed it could be.  Our hike wasn’t devastating… but it wasn’t filled with many moments that would be considered incredible at the time either.  However, looking back, had we stopped walking when we did, we wouldn’t have seen the river from the overlook point and we wouldn’t have had the family memory…. now we can laugh about it.

I’m preparing for The Family Adventure (a family event where I work) and I was reading  the Persistent Widow Parable.  You know, that lady kept on “keeping on.”  She didn’t give up asking for justice.  She finally got on the nerves of the judge so he gave in to her request. widow Jesus said that if we see this uncaring, unjust judge answering the request, then just imagine what a loving Father would do.  It would be really easy to look at that parable and take away from it that we have to beg and whine in order for God to answer our prayers the way we want them answered or we should ask God to be our genie in a lamp,  but I don’t think that either is the point.   I think the point may be to not give up before it is time to quit so you don’t miss out on the blessing that God has in store.  Maybe persistence in prayer is not for us to feel good about the accomplishment or the gift, but maybe it helps us appreciate the power of God.

So, if you are hiking and are ready to quit before the trails close… double-time your walk and continue on to another trail… you might see something incredible.

If you are praying and seeking God’s will, don’t give up when things seem quiet…  but instead keep on “keeping on” and hold on for an incredible experience of God at work.

He loves you.

Luke 18:1-8

Parable of the Persistent Widow

1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”

6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man[a] returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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He ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother… okay, he is heavy afterall.. Oh, the Sibling relationship

I once said that I would do whatever I needed to do to keep my sixteen-year-old daughter off of the road… Well, I’m all bark and no bite.  We’ve been doing the whole practicing driving thing for a couple of months now and as her confidence is growing so is the amount of time she is in the driver’s seat.  That doesn’t mean she has it all figured out… it took some time for me to convince her that the yellow light wasn’t orange and that the blinker is not called the clicker.  I have even found myself confused when trying to tell her which way to turn the wheel to get out of the driveway.  I will admit that with each time behind the wheel she is improving.

The other day my fourteen-year-old asked if she could go along for the ride and, against my better judgment, I let her.  She was given the condition that she must be quiet as we drive so as not to be a distraction.  I was very pleased at her ability to say very little as we made our way to pick up my youngest daughter from a friend’s house, but when we stopped she gave her critique of the ride with these words, ” Hey, that wasn’t so bad!”

Our pick up occurred and we headed to the grocery store.  The fourteen-year-old was still nice and quiet but for some reason the seven-year-old became the driving critic.  She complained about Catie’s driving so much that we had to ask her to be silent until we reached the store.  Now, how she became a driving expert I do not know, but slowing down for children crossing the street was a good call.  Regardless, she just wasn’t quite sure that her sister, though nine years older than her, was capable of being a good enough driver… at least for the time being.boystown

I am an only child and totally cannot relate to sibling relationships.  I have no true idea what it means to love a brother or a sister.  I have close friends and family but I would imagine that it is still not like a good healthy sibling relationship.  I would think that there is something that can’t be explained… a closeness that comes from shared experiences and memories, a protection and a bond that is like no other.

I find it interesting as I read about Christ that he was not immune to the sibling bickering.  Again, it is one of those wonderful things that is written that helps me relate to a God that lived a life so normally.  His brothers were quite the smart alecs toward Jesus at one point.  They didn’t believe that he was anything more than their brother.  He seemed to be seen by them as a show off or possibly a big talker.  During the time of the Feast of Tabernacles they seem to tease him a bit and tell him to show his miracles to his disciples.. after all, if he wants to be public then why is keeping his abilities a secret?… They didn’t have faith in him… at that point.

History shows us that later his family becomes some of his biggest fans and help build his church.  That is so real… Siblings who argue, bicker and even duke it out at times tend to be the biggest fans of each other once they get past the maturity issues.

About 80% of the time my girls are together they still bicker but that is better than the 90% it used to be.  On occasion I will hear them laughing together without me asking them to get along… I think they are growing up and growing into fans of each other.  At least that is a prayer of mine.

John 7

Jesus Goes to the Feast of Tabernacles

1After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. 2But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, 3Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. 4No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

6Therefore Jesus told them, “The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. 7The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. 8You go to the Feast. I am not yet[a] going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.” 9Having said this, he stayed in Galilee.

10However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, “Where is that man?”

12Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”

Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2009 in Devotions, Faith

 

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Andy Griffithson is on!

It is so great when kids say or do something that you don’t want to forget.  Our kids have loaded us up with andygriffith-castplenty..here are a few:

  • “Andy Griffithson is on!”
  • “Mom, do I know Jack Squat?”
  • “Can I watch MacGyvie?”
  • “Grandpa, if you’d eat more carrots then you wouldn’t need a flashlight.”-exasperated while searching with her grandfather for a flashlight

And that is just the start… there’s more…..

  • “Ummm, It’s not my day”- referring to assigned chores
  • “Would you tell her to…. (the list is too long)”
  • “But she gets to.”
  • “But you get to”
  • “I don’t have anything to wear”

and even more…..

  • “Mom, would you pray with me?”
  • “We forgot to pray.”
  • “I did that! I prayed for her to happen!” – referring to the birth of her baby sister
  • “If Jesus is God and God created the world then how were Mary and Joseph around when Jesus was born? Where did they come from?”- 5 year-old’s question
  • “I want to help people”
  • “Mom, can we pay for a stranger’s dinner? I feel like God wants us to do something nice for someone.”
  • “I think I want to be a youth pastor”

And then there have been things that others have said about our girls that help us see that they are growing into beautiful and gracious young ladies…..

I think most every parent has those moments that they don’t want to forget..(just ask a scrapbooker or a journaler).. Those good moments are what we can hold onto to get us through those rough moments…

And thinking that, for me,  just makes the whole story of Christ and his life growing up that much more relevant because Jesus’ mother, Mary,  had those moments to hold onto too….

The Bible says (in my own paraphrase) that Mary listened to the words of praise spoken about her baby, thought about them, held them close and then treasured them.  Later when we read about him being a preteen, we see his parents doing what I believe is a tad bit of discipline ( I do believe he was perfect but I also believe he was a child and still needed parental guidance)…Mary and Joseph can’t find Jesus… they search for three days only to find him teaching adults… The Bible says they were astonished but it also says they didn’t understand fully….jesus-at-the-temple-by-brian-jekel

The astonishment of what others think about your child, the marveling at the thoughts of the greatness of your child, the treasured moments that you want to hold onto… that just makes Jesus’  family seem like your average family… Jesus’ family could have lived right down the street with their very average but loving family life…

Mary seems to have paid close attention to the words of others and to her son’s actions and from it was able to treasure these things about her son…. and then hold on to them when he had to save the world… and not stand in his way…

Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, a sister, a brother or even none of these… It pays to listen to what God’s people say,  to look with depth into a situation and hold on to those when God is ready to do a great work in ourselves or the ones we love… it gives us the insight to set aside our desires and we can trust to let God do his thing….

By the way, “Andy Griffithson is on!”

Luke 2

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss[a] your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.

41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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My Very Own Personal Oscars…. And the winner is…..

CB056255I’m not a fan of all the Hollywood Hoopla and hype and often feel like it is way out of control so watching the Oscars is not on my list of things to do…I do however, find some value in honoring some highlights in life.. so I created my own Personal Oscars… Same categories, real people and no one competes against the late Heath Ledger. Here are the winners in each category

Actor in a Leading Role- My husband! Chris told our friend Jeff, who was not in a position to watch a recent college basketball game, that the UK Wildcats were down by 20 points. Chris was amazing as he kept a straight face while watching Jeff in anguish until I blew the whole scene when I revealed that Kentucky was actually winning by 18. uk

Actor in a Supporting Role- My husband! There are so many times when I know my husband is tired or doesn’t feel good but yet is always doing things around the house to help…and almost 100 percent without complaining.

  • Actress in a Leading Role – My neighbor, Alex! Alex planned a wonderful surprise anniversary party for her mom and dad. She planned the whole event, ordered the cake, prepared a cookout at a friend’s house, got everything in order then called her parents to come get her because her car was “broken down”….. Not bad at all for an 18 year old young lady. It was too bad that her parents couldn’t be there though. They were actually at a fundraising event and couldn’t leave. So we all had the anniversary party without them. We did take a picture of everything for them though and later her mom was able to get away and come by. Alex was excellent in not only her call to her parents for car help but in hiding her frustration throughout the whole situation.
  • Actress in a Supporting Role- My daughter Allison! Allison was in the local middle school production of “The Lunch Bunch”. This was the first year that she had the courage to audition and came out with flying colors. Hopefully more stage limelight for her!
  • Animated Feature Film- my daughter Leah! If stop motion is considered animated then she gets the award for “Barbie doll Zombie” (not the original title) on my Iphone
  • Art Direction- My husband! Chris is an amazing behind the scenes kind of guy. He is incredibly creative and often is my go to guy when I need direction in my creativity
  • Cinematography – My friend Marcia! This was a tough one because during our recent ice storm there were so many incredible photos taken of beautiful scenes with great lighting and settings but it was one of Marcia’s photos that inspired me to go take some for myself.
  • Costume Design- Libby Lou’s! My 6 year old spent the day at the mall with her older sisters. I went to pick them up only to find her with pink streaks in her hair, glitter and sparkly hearts and stars on her face.  She was also sporting a Libby Lou’s pink sash along with other Libby Lou paraphernalia… I don’t know why that place is going out of business… We are one of the many who should have paid enough to keep it open.
  • Directing- My daughter, Allison! She is great at directing her little sister to do things and some she herself could even do.
  • Film Editing- My husband and myself! Key phrase, “Turn that off!”
  • Foreign Language Film My daughter Catie! Catie is often known for her ability to make people tilt their heads and ask, “What did she just say?” A few months ago in my attempt to go “greener” I bought a pack of bottled water in which the plastic bottles were made from corn. Catie took one to school for lunch and her friends were commenting about how hippie-like Catie was with her “green” bottled water. Catie said, ” Well, I’m just saving the fresh water so there will be more for others.” All of her friends stopped talking and looked at her in silence with question marks on their faces. “What?” they all asked. Catie, very proudly, chimed back in, “The water is made from corn so therefore others can have the fresh water.” Her friends all had a good laugh when they finally explained to her that it was not the water but the bottle that was made from corn. The girl does make really good grades… really.
  • Makeup- My friend, Robin! This past summer our church had a Family Adventure. The theme was Adventure Island and we took on a theme similar to Pirates of the Caribbean. Robin’s son Alex was a nightly actor and his eye makeup creeped out some and the others of us  laughing until we cried!  Johnny Depp’s makeup artist has nothing on Robin.alex-mobley-eyes
  • Music (Score)My car riders! While listening to music in the car we concoct “Life Soundtracks.” These are songs that play as we see people walking on the sidewalk, jogging/running or doing other activities. So often the song will match the beat they are walking to, making it seem as if that song was meant for them… their “Life Soundtrack.” Try it.. you’ll be amazed and it will probably bring a smile to your face.
  • Music (Song)My daughter Catie! She finally showed the world her beautiful voice by singing a solo in the State Traveling Youth Choir.
  • Best Picture- My daughter, Allison! Normally I love school pictures but this year Allison forgot it was picture day…. and so did her hair. When she brought the proofs home we were pleasantly amazed and humored as we looked at her hair, pulled back and sticking out all over….. matching her cocked smile… oh if I could just show you!
  • Short Film (Animated)My daughter, Allison! She is amazingly animated when telling a story… just ask her to act out Bon Qui Qui at King Burger… Su-curity!
  • Short Film (Live Action)My daughter, Allison! An incredible Stunt Person … read here to find out why this Live “action” award would go to her.
  • Sound Editing- My daughter, Catie! When picking her up from school she is barely in the car 2 minutes before she asks one of two questions, “Can I put my music in?” or “Can I change the channel?”
  • Sound Mixing- Me! I often call my daughter Allison, Catie…..my daughter Leah, Allison … my daughter Catie, Allison and ashamed to say it but sometimes I have called our dog, Moe, Leah.
  • Visual Effects-All of my girls! It is amazing how clean their rooms get when they really want to go somewhere… very visually appealing and almost just as if it was a magical special effect of sorts
  • Writing (Adapted Screenplay)- My friends Melissa and Stephanie! They took a script and made it into something incredible for our Family Adventure… Oh, Snap
  • Writing (Original Screenplay) My daughter Catie! She wrote a children’s book about a cabin boy on the Mayflower.

There you have it… my 2009 Personal Oscars…. And as every good award winner says…. “I want to thank my family, my friends but most of all I want to thank God for making all of this possible.  Thank you.” And you know, I actually mean it!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2009 in Fun, Life Stories

 

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16 Ways to Keep My 16 year-old Off of the Road

My daughter recently turned 16.   I’m pretty laid back about things but the other day when she said she was ready to get her driving permit it hit me that she was really at that stage in her life.  She needed several things to take with her to the DMV; her birth certificate, her social security card and a paper stating she is enrolled in school. Well, she did her part to get her school info but I kept dragging my feet getting her other documents.  My mind started racing… What would she do if those documents just happened to be “lost.”  Now I am not the type of mother to manipulate my daughter but it did run through my mind.  What if the document thing didn’t pan out though….. what would be next?  What would I stoop to?

I’ve made my list-16 ways to keep my daughter off of the road…

  1. Tell her that all licensed drivers must spend a two year stint of public service driving daycare vans – and then top it off with horror stories of vomit and stinky diapers
  2. Give her the keys to the car-  a set from the lost and found at Wal-mart that belong to someone else and then look at her like she is crazy when she says they don’t work
  3. Tell her when she loses the next tooth the tooth fairy will give her a key under her pillow… sometimes vanity is beautiful
  4. Sell the cars- I can do without
  5. Tell her that I fibbed about her actual birthdate and she is still only 14.temporary-poster-1
  6. When she asks to take the car, I will respond, “No hablo ingles”
  7. Paint her bedroom windows black… she’ll sleep for months
  8. Duct tape pool noodles all over the car … for safety… again, sometimes vanity is beautiful
  9. Tell her that there is a warrant for her arrest and going to get her license might land her in jail
  10. Everytime she mentions driving I will scream a B movie horror scream….I’m thinking Pavlov’s Dog, you know.. conditioning will kick in eventually
  11. Have a group of actors storm the house and tell her she won the teen publishers house sweepstakes… she is so rich she can afford a limo with driver
  12. Super glue the car doors shut
  13. Explain the new family tradition where the youngest qualified driver now purchases all gas for all family vehicles as well as washes all cars on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and buys dinner on Friday nights…
  14. Everytime she mentions the words drive, I will respond with “Dive? You want to dive?”
  15. Tell her she must learn to drive a stick shift before she can take her driving test
  16. And the one that I know will work for sure…. give her the minivan

Ephesians 6:4

4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Okay, I’m not going to lie to my daughter… and I will take her this week to get her permit….I don’t want to exasperate her….. but I can stock up on pool noodles and get an enormous bow for the minivan

Sometimes we parents have to be creative.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2009 in Fun, Life Stories

 

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