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Tag Archives: Family

Conversations in the Car- It’s Now Available!

51GjaPxd0vL._AA160_After several years of recording some of our family’s conversations, I decided to compile them into a book.  If you want to smile or maybe laugh out loud, you will not want to pass up this opportunity to get yours today.  Conversations in the Car can be purchased through Amazon and the Amazon Kindle Store.  Let me know how you like it!  Thanks!- Nancy

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Posted by on July 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Conversation in the Living room- A Second Wind

We are loaded with these conversations tonight…..

My Husband, Chris: I can’t sleep again… any suggestions?

Me: Why don’t drink some hot tea and take a hot bath….

Chris: Already taken the hot bath..

Me:  (referring to Leah’s favorite calming tea) Well, then how about some “Night Night” Tea

Allison:  Yeah, that would be what we call Benadryl…..

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Conversations, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Days 4-30 of November Thankfulness: All at Once I Realized….

Okay, I realized that if I don’t do the rest at one time then I probably won’t finish it so I’m just jumping ahead…. Here are the rest of the 30 things I’m thankful for in no particular order….

Just a part of my job

4. My job– On any given weekend I come home with great stories from the kids that I work with… whether it is a funny story (like the kid who asked if he could say bad words and when I said no, he said to his friend, “@#$%, we can’t say bad words.” or the sweet little girl who insists we call her “Dog”) or a sweet one (the kid who requires a hug from the other party of the dispute after the apology), I always have something great to share.  Plus, because of what I do… I pretty much much get to be a kid…  I love it.

5. My co-workers– I realize that not too many people can say that they love everyone that they work with … and if they say they love them, they may not like them so much…. But I love and like my co-workers.  They are a great group of people who put up with me and love and like me back… at least, I’m pretty sure they do… I also know, not too many have co-workers that feel like family…. I do and am thankful.. (If you see my boss make sure you tell him I said these nice things)

6. My husband– Another one who puts up with me… So few get to see the funny side of him but the man cracks me up… plus he is a great dad and husband. ( You can also tell him I said these nice things. )

7. My freedom– I will be voting tomorrow and realize that for whatever reason, I have been fortunate enough to be born and live in a country that is free.

8. My kids– My girls are such a perfect addition to my life.  They are all funny, compassionate, sweet (most of the time… well, okay… sweet to others), they love each other now and someday may become friends with each other (actually, I see it happening already) They aren’t perfect by any means but then again, they have an imperfect mom so what do I expect.

9. Our alphabet– abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz…. there may be a lot of them but thankful there are no ~ or ` or other symbols over the tops of them….plus, I like to write and am glad I don’t have to write in pictures..

10. Flip-Flops– I love the idea of slipping on a pair of flip-flops and letting my feet feel the sun… yeah, leather, canvas and other shoes are great too, but flip-flops are the next best thing to bare feet...

11. Hummingbirds– Our summer is made better by these little guys… They zoom past our heads, flutter around our back porch and though we may sound easy to entertain, they are more fun to watch than most shows on TV.

12. Friends– some to laugh with, some to cry with, some to do both with, some male, some female, some who brighten my day unexpectedly, some who mentor me, some who we learn together…. some who have passed in and out of my life……….all have a special place in my heart

13. My health–  thankful that I can walk, talk, and do most anything I want to do because I have good health

14. Ale8– The Central Kentucky soft drink that has made it’s way to a few other places in the country…. I’m pretty sure it is an acquired taste, but for those of us who love it … we really love it.  And I’m thankful that they now have Diet and caffeine free, too.

15. Baby Animals– They are just so cute…  puppies, kittens, baby rabbits, baby bears, etc… well, except baby narwhals

16. Creativity-I’m a person who loves to create…. whether it be a story, a painting or a sculpted caricature of someone….It is what I love to do… I’m thankful for a creative Creator and amazed at what He createdLightening outside our house

17. Nature– Waterfalls, the change of seasons, stars, storms, lightening, weird animals (narwhals, angler fish, tarsiers,etc)… whatever it may be it all goes back to the creativity….

18. Technology – I’m thankful to live in a day and age where people thousands and thousands of miles away can communicate as if they were next door neighbors.  I also love that we can get to them by plane, train or car rather than only a horse or on foot.

19. Chocolate – ‘Nuff said…

20. Modern Medicine –  I can imagine that without what we have today, I probably would have been one on the side of the road in need of healing when Christ walked by…. AND – can you imagine surgery without antibacterial items??   that’s what I’m talking about

21. The Bible – I used to never understand it nor care much about the stories from it, but once I began to dig into it with the help of Christ, it changed my world….

22. Music – It can perk up your day, help you worship God, mellow out a crying baby, make memories, sooth a tortured soul, help motivate, help memorize… It is a pretty powerful thing.

23. Grace– I know I’ve already written about it but I’m just doubly thankful that I don’t get what I deserve…. because I can never do enough to get the good portion of deserving all by myself….

24. Fruit-something good for you and tastes good too…. bananas, apples (fuji are my favorite), grapes, kiwi, raisins, watermelon, actually all melons, strawberries, cherries, clementines ….. add a little chocolate to some and then it’s even better…. shall I go on?

25. Humor -sense of humor- glad I have one, even if I am the only one who thinks I’m funny… and laughter,  not at the expense of others but wholesome laughter could possibly bring the world together

26. Bug sprayCitronella, flea and tick repellent, after bite….. whichever it is, it was a genius invention

27. Gloves– They keep my hands warm. (particularly on days when my office is Freezing) I can even text in them now and best of all,  I don’t have to touch things that are yucky if I don’t want….

28. My family-my parents, by example taught me how to work through arguments, dance, laugh, love each other, give to others and love God and church….I have no siblings but do have cousins, aunts and uncles… brothers and sisters-in-law, father and mother-in-law (deceased- but wonderfully remembered), a wonderful step mother-in-law…. so many great memories

29. My home– Yes, there are times when I wish I had a bigger yard or one more bedroom or a live in maid, but I am blessed to have what I have and know it

30. A Loving God– anyone who makes a way for you to get to them must love you a lot…. thankful that the Creator of all did that for me…. and for you…. so when I am thankful, that is who gets my thanks… without the Creator and his grace, all of the other things are pointless.

If only November had more days…….. Maybe I should just be thankful all of the time….

Ephesians 5:20

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Day 2 of November Thankfulness- Laughter; the Best Medicine

Laughter has always been a big part of my life…Always in my home… from a child until today.  I think it is genetic.  Today, I  am thankful for humor and laughter….. It can make a bad day better, an illness bearable, a stressful day relieved, a worry forgotten…. it is just good medicine.

Here is a portion of conversations that my family and I have had over the past year and I have written them down…. enjoy!

Conversation with my 9-year-old after she returned from a Parent’s Night Out at church-which was to help our Student ministry area earn money for a summer trip and of course, my co-worker, our Student Ministries Pastor, Matt.
Me: Have a good time?

Leah: Yeah, it was fun. Matt played “Rip My Throat”. That was cool.

Me: “Rip My Throat”?!? That’s a horrible name for a game! Especially for kids! Wonder why Matt didn’t give it another name?! That’s horrible. “Rip My Throat?!”

Leah: (Shaking her head and laughing) Mom, I said, “Matt gave us ROOT BEER FLOATS!”

Me: Oh…..

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Conversation with my daughter at the grocery store….

Allison: Mom, we need more onions and peppers.
Me: We shouldn’t. I just bought some.
Allison: I know but they are funky looking now.

So I picture rotten produce and begin to grumble about lack of quality produce at a certain grocery, etc while I load my cart with more onions and green bell peppers.

When we get home I look on the counter only to see perfectly good onions and peppers.

Me:(to Allison) Now what did you say was wrong with the onions and peppers again?
Allison: That they weren’t good.
Me: How? In what way?
Allison: I don’t know, they are funky looking. The onions have purple on them and something growing out of them and the peppers are turning red.
Me: Allison, these are red bell peppers and the onions you are referring to are turnips!
Allison: Oh…..

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Conversation while homeschooling my 17-year-old..yes, you read that correctly… Homeschooling…

Me: Okay, go back and correct these and then do this one writing assignment.

Allison: No!

Me: What?!?!

Allison: Sorry, it’s just that I’ve always wanted to talk back to my teacher.

We laugh…

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Conversation while watching The X-Factor…

Allison: (interrupting me as I’m singing a song between contestants) Mom… Stop! You don’t have the X-Factor!

Me: I don’t?

Allison: No, You have the Y-Factor…. It’s like “Why?!? Do you keep singing?”

Conversation in the car with my 10-year-old…

Leah: Mom, do you realize that I haven’t missed one day of school yet.

Me: Yep!

Leah: I think I’m the only one in my class who hasn’t missed.

Me: Wow!

Leah: I’m pretty sure that most of them have missed at least three days but not me.

Me: That is great, Leah!

Leah: No…. That’s a hint, Mom.

Conversation in the car:
My 17-year-old had “taken” my cell phone because she thought I wasn’t paying attention. ( I wasn’t driving at the time) I demanded it back…
Me: Give me my phone now!
Allison: Why?
Me: Because I’m the mom and YOU’RE the daughter..
Leah:(10-year-old in back seat) Great Mom, way to put labels on us…
BTW-I got my phone backImage

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Fun, Life Stories

 

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It’s a Good Book….

Children’s lives are, in many ways, like good books. You become so engrossed with each page of their life that chapters fly by and before you know it, you have finished the book and you wish there were more pages to read.

But the Author continues with another chapter… a brand new book in the series is written. There are new characters and settings.  So it may take a little awhile to get caught up in it like the last one, but the Author is good and won’t disappoint …. the new chapter will be just as good and quite possibly even be a better book in the series.

The Hall household has just bought the next book. The first chapter in it is titled, “College”… I’m sure it will be a good book too, but I sure didn’t like having to put the first one down.  I’ll keep reading though…. I’ve heard the good part is coming up.

I do think, however, that I’m going to read the other two books that I have at home a little slower. 😉

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Introducing The Chrysalis Brothers… They’ll be here all week

Sometimes my kids ask for something and because I find educational value in what they’ve asked for, I will get it immediately… okay, maybe it’s just because I think it would be fun…… but the point is this, sometimes I just get it for them … A couple of years ago my youngest just had to have a butterfly habitat. You know, the kind where you watch caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies right before your very eyes… Yep, we got it and once we got it home the conversation between my husband and I went something like this….

Me: Great, we’re going to have to take this back.

Chris: Why?

Me: They didn’t give us everything.

Chris: Here let me see… (He takes it and looks at it)… It’s all here

Me: No, it’s missing the caterpillars

Chris: You have to order them

Me: Order them?!

Chris: Yes… what, you thought they came in the box?

Me: Um, Maybe…

Chris: How  could they have survived in the box like that?

Me: Freeze dried.

Chris: Freeze dried?  That would kill them

Me: Are you sure?

Chris: Yes, I’m pretty sure.

Me: Doesn’t it work for Sea Monkeys? ….(the thrifty side of me totally kicked in) Ugh, I don’t want to buy caterpillars

So the Butterfly Habitat sat empty until one day I happened to luck into a cute, little, furry caterpillar crawling across the driveway.  I grabbed it, ran inside and announced my find to the family.  Nobody shared my excitement but it didn’t deter me one bit… I was going to watch it turn into a beautiful butterfly and they would all be sorry for their lack of enthusiasm.  It lived in the habitat for a day or so.  Apparently caterpillars eat more than air because I had no clue what to feed him and, well, lets just say he went on to his eternal reward after grass didn’t satisfy his caterpillar metabolism.  No worries though… I did a little research and it was a terrible caterpillar that was a moth larvae that has been a horse killer here in Kentucky….. so, I’m actually a hero… but that is not the point… The point is, I didn’t want to buy caterpillars but the habitat doesn’t work if you don’t.  Fortunately my 6-year-old quickly forgot about the habitat and we went on with life.

Last Christmas, however, a package arrived in the mail and my cousins had sent my now 7 1/2-year-old a brand new habitat as a gift.  I will admit I felt the excitement jump back into my spirit when I thought about the caterpillar metamorphosis process, but still, there were no freeze dried caterpillars. So with constant urging and a pitiful looking sad face from my youngest, I broke down and ordered the caterpillars a few months later… okay, it was a lot of urging.

So the caterpillars, a.k.a. The Chrysalis Brothers, arrived and we watched them grow from tiny, little caterpillars to gluttonous, lazy, about to burst, huge caterpillars… it was actually pretty amazing at how fast they grew.  And soon they began to take their spots and form their very own chrysalis at the top of their habitat jar.  Again, amazing to see God’s creativity in their little lives… so for days they sat and we waited for them to step out and show themselves as the beautiful Painted Ladies they were supposed to be.  It happened and though we didn’t snuggle them or call all of our family with our excitement, we did find great pleasure in watching them mature and be able to fly.  So interesting to have such a close-up view and watch.

The instructions said that we were to let them go after a couple of days of observation so they could go into the world and multiply. We knew that day was coming… there was a sense of accomplishment with a bit of disappointment for having them for such a short period.  We let them go and they flew like they couldn’t possibly fly in their small habitat…now they had the whole world… or at least the neighborhood and it was actually beautiful to watch.

Watching them was a reminder to me that change is difficult… even when it is good change…. it often affects more than just those experiencing the biggest change.  But when God ordains the change there is so much to be excited about and so much to be expected that staying in the little “habitat” inhibits what God can do.

In Acts 11, Peter experienced others wanting him to stay in his “habitat” when he began eating with uncircumcised men. The circumcised believers began to complain until Peter told them how God ordained what he was doing.  Then the men who had complained opened the habitat door and allowed God to do his thing.

I can totally relate to the complaining men….

My neighbors are moving tomorrow….These aren’t just any neighbors… these are two people with whom I spent time with daily at work (I worked with both of them for several years) We’ve spent the day at the office together only to bring our families together at night for dinner.  We have shared quite a few Thanksgiving and Easter dinners together, prayed together, we’ve each been included in each other’s family holiday times, spent accumulated hours talking on the porch or making s’mores at their fire pit and we’ve borrowed everything from mayonnaise to toilet paper. …. these aren’t just friends or neighbor’s … they are unrelated family.  They are also in ministry and God has called them to another place.

You know, it’s easy to be selfless when it doesn’t really matter… the Chrysalis Brothers left and though it was fun watching them and would have been fun if we kept them longer, it was also fun to let them go…. But when it matters, it is easy to be selfish… I don’t want my neighbors to go…. I want more hours of talking on the porch….I want those shared times together… I want to hide their “for sale” sign and I want them to stay…but God has called them to where they are going.  They need to go to experience God’s freedom.

I love them and will miss them terribly, but I know that doing what God calls us to do is the only way we can truly see the beauty of the flight.  If we keep them from that then we only see a bit of what God can do.  I must open the “habitat” and let them go… didn’t say it would be easy… I know they will be such a great addition to the state of Missouri.  I love you, Howard and Shirley.  You can fly away now…. Godspeed.

Acts 11

1The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

4Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened: 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’

8“I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

9“The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.

11“Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’

15“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with[a]water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?”

18When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Stop! In the name of pug….well, more like poodle.. and Nix the Resolutions

Taking the back roads has its perks.  Things like few stop lights, if any… scenery prettier than buildings and concrete… and just all around less boring…. I also like to think that they are shortcuts but often times they take just as long if not longer because of the hills and curves.  Anyway, the other morning I had stopped to grab a cup of coffee and then began rushing myself to work through the not-so-shortcut back road shortcut.  I came zooming over the hill only to come to a screeching halt….. coffee was sloshing, but no problem for me… the lid stayed tight.

I looked ahead to find why traffic wasn’t moving and there, sitting in the middle of the road, was a little bitty poodle.  He was dirty and matted and had apparently decided that the line in the middle of the road was a comfy spot.  Amazingly, that little animal was backing up traffic about 7 cars deep on both sides of the road.  The school bus that was leading the line of cars opposite of me was honking the horn…. the dog just looked up… I wondered if possibly the dog was deaf but it seemed as if he heard the noise but just was too stubborn to move.  Finally, after sitting in traffic for a bit, a lady a few cars in front of me hopped out of her and started walking toward the dog.  Still the dog sat.  The lady began yelling at the dog and clapping her hands. In essence, pushing the dog without touching him.   The dog moved…. but only a small step… she now sat in front of the bus…. the lady continued clapping until the dog finally retreated to the middle of another road.

Traffic began moving along as normal once again.  I noticed as I passed by that there was another lady who had maneuvered her way out of traffic to the side of the road to see if she could rescue this poor little, confused, dirty, matted dog.  She very gently and slowly walked up to the dog and though I couldn’t hear what she was saying, it was apparent that she was talking sweetly in that “you’re a good puppy, aren’t you” voice.   You would think that this unattractive little dog would have been excited to hop in a warm car with a sweet person who obviously cared about its welfare, but instead it barked and growled and when the lady backed up a bit the poodle took off running into a tangled brush area just off of the road.

As I drove past I could see the look on the helpful lady’s face and I think it was one of disbelief or frustration or that of helplessness.  She had done all she could do.  The poodle made its own choice.

A part of me chuckled at the whole situation… a little dog holding up so much traffic.  He got warnings and he even got sympathy but even after he begrudgingly moved, he accepted nothing from anyone and continued on the same path that he was already on. All I could think of was what a sad, little stubborn (or maybe dumb) dog.  And it was then that I think I got a little kick in my rear …. you know, I tend to be just like that little dog.  I’ll sit in traffic (theoretically, not technically) … as dangerous as it might be… and a warning may push me to move a little bit, but even at times when I am completely moved, I may run back to the same old routine. Are ya with me?

I usually don’t make  New Year’s resolutions but the New Year  is a great time to begin a new routine.  I heard on the radio yesterday morning that the average person will have abandoned their resolutions by day 18.  But I have also heard that it takes 6 weeks to create a new habit… so pushing beyond day 18 for a little over another 18 days will create a changed person.  I can imagine that if that poodle had gotten into that car, he would have been cleaned up, nourished and ended up looking like a cute, lovable little guy.  That is a good ending to a bad situation.  So what makes us stop before day 18 rolls around? Could it be fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of failing, fear of stepping out of what is comfortable?….

But you know something else… there were two women in that situation who were very important… the one who moved the dog and the one who tried to rescue the dog… Sometimes we don’t even realize we are in the middle of the road and we need a reminder, someone to move us.  I think that is where God jumps in and does the motivating that gets us to move and provides the rescuing of our lives… maybe it is a friend or family member who urges us to get help, maybe it is an invite to church, maybe it is a song or story that is heard or maybe we look up and step out of ourselves and see the lives we are affecting (just like the backed up traffic).  Then we find ourselves at a crossroad to an encouragement, a safe place, a hope…. a loving God…..or back to the same old tangled brush.

Maybe you are a like that little dog in the road…. possibly in a dangerous situation… maybe it is a habit that is killing you,  a lifestyle that consumes you,  a relationship that alienates you, an attitude that robs you,  an ailment that embarrasses you, or a spiritual neglect that is calling you… Whatever it is, you don’t have to sit in the road or run to the tangled brush… you can hop in the car and be changed.

This can be the year to not make a resolution to change but to actually change.  That’s my prayer.

Philippians 4:13

13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2010 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Sing with me…”Whoa Black Friday, Bam-A-Lam… ” Oh, the memories…

Yes, I know that the song is really “Black Betty”, but it is kind of catchy, don’t you think? I don’t know about you but Black Friday always seems to sound like such a creepy day that I think it needs something like a theme song.

I’ve never quite figured out why a day that kicks off the holiday shopping season has such a dreary name.  Black Friday… it reminds me of a day that we should either be in mourning or scaring the living daylights out of each other… “Move over Halloween, it’s Black Friday… Bwahhhahahaha….”.

I realize that the whole “Black” thing has to do with some accounting term about being on the good side of the economic table, but even having to explain the term “Black Friday” is so boring…. It seems like they could have created a name that is a bit more appealing to the laypeople.  Maybe they could have named it- “Really Big Sale Friday” or “Crazy Standing in Line Friday” or “Fight for your Deal Friday” or “Be Kind Friday”(Sending out a subliminal message, of course) or “Spend Lots of Money Friday” or “Camp Out Friday”… Do you realize how hard it is to convince a 7 year-old that you don’t have to dress in black on Black Friday??  Let’s just say that she now has a new black T-shirt….

Regardless of why it is called what it is, I have never really been a fan of it.  I have gone out a few times during the early morning hours but I will have to say that each time was only because my sister-in-law was at my house and I went to keep her company.  I’m more of a 10:00am, catch the mid-morning deals, type person, but when I’ve gone with her I admittedly have found a bargain or two.

This year there was a twist to our experience.  There was no 4:00am alarm.  Nope.  Toys R Us opened at midnight and we were going to get a deal.  We figured there wouldn’t be much of a crowd.  After all it was Thanksgiving evening and most would be gearing up for the next morning.  My two oldest were ready for their Black Friday initiation and at 11:50pm, off all four of us (my sister-in-law was obviously there) went to get bargains at the toy store.  As we got closer we began to see that traffic was pretty heavy for a midnight… and as we got even closer we found that it was pointless to take the front roads but instead cut to another road and slyly worked our way up from the back.  As it turned out, we weren’t the only ones who had that thought and we were in total disbelief…

Though there was no way to count, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.. hundreds, maybe even thousands of people…. there was a line that stretched amazingly around the whole mall building.  I couldn’t imagine that this could be the line for Toys R Us.  (Apparently, Zhu Zhu pets had gone under my toy radar and I was oblivious to the Zhu Zhu pet craze that allowed parents to actually get their child a clean smelling hamster..not a real one but close enough)…….As it turned out it was the line for the toy store or at least that is what we were led to believe.  We walked to the back of the line and answered as cars passed by and asked us if we were in the Toys R Us line.  We would nod our heads and shrug our shoulders at the same time because we, just like everyone else, just went to the back of the line without checking to see where the line went.  So, our assumption was that we, along with everyone else in Lexington, were waiting to go buy toys.

After a few minutes and a dozen or so cars asking if we were standing in line for the toy store, I decided to be bold and venture to the front of the mall area to just make sure that we weren’t standing in line for the makeup or furniture store. (I know, I know… no one would stand in line for a furniture store…makeup maybe but not furniture)  What do you know, we were in the correct line. But there is a catch to this…. it wasn’t the only line.  There was another line that was about 1/20 the size of the other line.  I got in the short line and called my sister-in-law to come join me and we giggled the rest of the time at our Black Friday maneuvers.  Oh, the memories…..

Well, our night didn’t stop there… one hour in line outside (yes, in the short line), two shopping hours and one more hour in line to check out…. it was now time for other stores to open.  Walmart had better watch out because the Hall ladies were tired, slap-happy and hungry…. Oh, the memories

We tackled the Walmart bargains and again went to get in line to check out.  I double checked my basket to see if it was worth the wait…. the line stretched completely from the front of the store to the very back of the garden center (for non-Walmart consumers, that is a long line) and yes, my goodies were worth the wait.  So we started walking to the back of the long line and it hit me… we were just assuming that this was the only line… while my sister-in-law waited in line, I again took off and navigated to the front of the store to scout out the line construction…. little surpise to find out that there were plenty of two to three people lines but those in the long line had no idea.

I hopped in a short line, called my sister-in-law and we once again giggled at our little Black Friday maneuvers.  Oh the memories…

I’ve thought a lot about those lines since Friday.  I think I was amazed at how easy it is just to get in line and not really know what lies ahead.  Everyone else seemed so confident and patient in those long lines… as if it was inevitable that the long line was the only line available… looking around at the confidence and patience it seemed as if it was the natural thing just to fall into that line, no questions asked… How easy that is with a spiritual walk as well…we know the relationship we need to have with God but then we look around and everyone else seems to be heading for that big long line… they talk the talk, whether it be faith filled or anti-faith filled talk, and seem very confident so we tend to just get into that line because it seems to be leading in the right direction.  We have no idea where it really leads but we scoot along blindly missing so much because we didn’t venture away.

I’m wondering how many people live their daily lives thinking that they are in the best line… maybe they are longing for something different, knowing that there is a shorter line out there just waiting… or maybe they are content to find out that others passed them by….I’m not pointing a finger a any one group of people…there could be many.

What line are you in? Are you tired of living in the long line? Have you stepped away to find the short line?
It is out there… seek it, you’ll find it.

After my Black Friday adventure I went home, fixed some breakfast and fell asleep.  Pretty sure now that the whole Black Friday name is because of the sleep you have to catch up on when you get home… well, deserved name then, I guess.  My father asked me if I enjoyed myself and I believe I said that I would never do that again…. well, at least until next year.

2 Peter 3:17-18

17 I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Hugging God…….Thirty things I’m thankful for

I once read that blessings are a hug from God and counting your blessings is giving God a hug back. I had a challenge earlier this month to daily write one thing that I am thankful for until Thanksgiving day arrived.   I have been faithful to that challenge but once I started writing them I began thinking of so many things, so I decided to add to my daily list by listing thirty random things.  Here we go:

 

  1. baby squirrels- Apparently these little guys are quite the popular internet search…and because I posted one little photo of a cute little baby squirrel in February, my blog gets a great number of hits daily just to look at my little squirrel. It is a great confidence booster when I look at my visitor numbers… I’m thankful that they help keep my blog alive.  I will definitely be embarrassed if I find out that “Baby Squirrel” is some rapper’s name or something like that
  2. creativity- I’m a person who loves to create…. whether it be a story or a sculpted caricature of someone….It is what I love to do… I’m thankful for a creative Creator and amazed at what He created
  3. gloves- don’t have to touch things that are yucky if I don’t want….
  4. crocs- the heavenly shoe of the wide-footed human like me… cavemen would have loved them…
  5. my parents-  by example they taught me how to work through arguments, dance, laugh, love each other and love God and church….
  6. my husband- he makes me laugh, is a great dad, incredibly dependable and is just an all around great husband…
  7. my children- such a great gift to be called “Mom”… they bring an unexpected joy… even when they are old enough to roll their eyes at you.
  8. bug spray- genius invention…. Take that, Mr. Mosquito!
  9. grace- thankful that I don’t get what I deserve…. because I can never do enough to get the good portion of deserving  all by myself….
  10. the alphabet- abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz…. may be a lot of them but thankful there are no ~ or ` or other symbols over the tops of them….
  11. medicine- had I been living 2000 years ago, I can imagine that without medicine I probably would have been one on the side of the road in need of healing when Christ walked by
  12. health- thankful that, though I should focus more on taking care of myself (I see a New Year’s resolution here) I can walk, talk, and do most anything I want to do because I have good health
  13. my home- I’ll confess…. there are times when I wish I had a bigger yard or one more bedroom or a live in maid, but I am blessed to have what I have and know it
  14. my co-workers– not too many have co-workers that feel like family…. I do and am thankful
  15. my family- I’ve already mentioned my parents so I’m looking at the other ones that I call family….no siblings but cousins, aunts and uncles… brothers and sisters-in- law, father and mother-in-law(deceased- but wonderfully remembered), a wonderful step mother-in-law…. so many great memories and wonderful little bundles of precious baby cousins
  16. my friends- some to laugh with, some to weep with, some both,  some who have passed in and out of my life, all have a special place in my heart
  17. waterfalls- not sure why they are so beautiful but it regardless of their size…. they are wonderful to enjoy
  18. cute animals-baby squirrels aren’t the only little things that are so cute… puppies, kittens, baby rabbits, baby bears, etc… well, except baby narwhals
  19. laughter- not at the expense of others but wholesome laughter might just bring the world together
  20. sense of humor- glad I have one, even if I am the only one who thinks I’m funny
  21. those who have sacrificed- sometimes I wonder why I live where I live…. how did I get to be so blessed?  Then I think about it …. not just happenstance that we live the way we do… some fought against much so we can have much freedom
  22. antibacterial items- can you imagine surgery without it??   that’s what I’m talking about
  23. the beauty of seasons- all goes back to creativity… I love red/orange leaves and the bright gray sky just before a good snow..and a loaded tree of cherry blossoms…. and the heat of sun on the concrete in the summer
  24. clay- maybe you have to be me to be thankful for it but it provides me with hours of entertainment
  25. computers- can’t imagine having to type this blog on a typewriter or by hand…. also am thankful that they have gotten smaller and smarter
  26. spices-cinnamon, garlic, salt, pepper…… just to name a few ……without them it would just be sugar toast for breakfast, bread with spaghetti….you get the picture
  27. chocolate-enough said
  28. peanuts- peanuts make peanut butter…. protein and yummy
  29. fruit-something good for you and tastes good too…. bananas, fuji apples, grapes, kiwi, raisins, watermelon, actually all melons, strawberries, cherries(my personal favorite)….. shall I go on?
  30. A Loving God- anyone who makes a way for you to get to them must love you a lot…. thankful that the Creator of all did that for me…. and for you…. so when I am thankful, that is who gets my thanks… without the Creator and his grace, all of the other things are pointless.

The challenge is on…. can you list thirty???

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2009 in Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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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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