Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Remember Me?

I guess I got out of the blog mode for a while.  But I'm back.

We've had a busy couple of months.  Cooper, now 3-1/2, is changing and growing every day.  Not only are his clothes getting too small, toys are being outgrown, and Mom and Dad are having to adjust to new attitudes and situations, deciding where to extend new freedoms to him and where to hold our ground while being constantly challenged.

We've had a fun springtime, getting outside once again and enjoying the sunshine.


And the mud.

Don's work schedule has been an adjustment for our family, mainly having him work every other weekend.  It was hard for me when I realized he had to work on Easter, but we got through it.  Hospitals don't stop for weekends or holidays.

We ordered a butterfly kit, receiving 5 live caterpillars, watching them turn into chrysalides and then into butterflies before letting them go.  This was an interesting project for all of us, and Cooper still talks about it.

I've been spending a lot of time working in my garden.  I have enlarged it once again and have it mostly planted now.  We got TONS of strawberries, which I planted last year and really didn't have to do anything to this year except cover them to keep the birds out, and pick them.  Now we're getting a few blueberries for the first time.  I planted them several years ago and just this year figured out that I needed to cover them too.  Apparently we've been providing quite a feast for the birds over the past few years.

Our Community Bible Study class ended for the year last month, and they had their usual end-of-the-year children's program.  As usual, it was more cute than anything else, except maybe chaotic.  Still, I'm thankful we can both be a part of this program.  Cooper has learned many Bible stories and songs, and it's an opportunity for him to be with other children from Christian families, and for me to study the Bible and fellowship with other adults.

Cooper went to his first baseball game recently, the Nashville Sounds.  It was kind of sentimental for me, as my dad used to take my brother and me when they first started playing in the 80's.  This is their last year to play in their old stadium, so I was glad Cooper got to see them there, and I got to see them one more time.  I'm not a big sports fan, but I do like going to games every now and then.


And now it's summer (well, not officially, but school is out, Memorial Day is past, and it's HOT, so I consider it to be summer).  We have joined the Y, and Cooper is taking swimming lessons this week and next.  He loves the water, and I enjoy it too.


We're looking forward to some visits from out-of-town family members and more.  Hopefully I'll stay in the blog mode and be better about writing more faithfully.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Forty Bags in Forty Days

Just before Lent began, I saw this challenge going around Facebook.  Several of my friends said they were going to take it on.  At first I just ignored it, but finally I actually opened the blog and read it and thought, "I can do this."  So I have been.

Though it corresponds with the season of Lent, I wouldn't necessarily consider it a spiritual thing, though in some sense it is: letting go of "stuff" I don't need.

The idea is to take on one project per day, one area of your house, for the 40 days of Lent (taking Sundays off), clean it and get rid of one bag (any size) of clutter.  This can mean throwing it in the trash, giving it away (Goodwill or otherwise), or setting it aside for a garage sale.

I haven't been overwhelmed by it, though it has kept me busy.  Actually, it (along with the warmer weather) has energized me, and I'm accomplishing much more than I thought I would.  My husband loves it (he actually (lovingly, of course) called me a "hoarder" when I told him I was going to do it, which further fueled my fire).

I have cleaned closets, desktops, my garage (which had to be broken down into several separate "projects"), cabinets, my freezers, my car and more.  I have gone through some boxes of old papers and gotten rid of a lot of them.  I have organized Cooper's clothes and toys, getting rid of some that he has outgrown, and traded out his changing table for a chest of drawers someone gave us, that has been sitting in our garage.  I have yet to run out of ideas and don't think I will before the project is over.

My house is cleaner and more spacious, and I feel lighter knowing it's all gone.  Plus, I have gotten to take several trips down "memory lane" as I come across old things, and have even shared some toys and books from my childhood with Cooper.

I hope to do this every year, though I doubt future years will be as dramatic as this one, since I have already gotten rid of a lot.  I guess it doesn't necessarily have to be done during the season of Lent, but that's what works for me.

This is a project that I would recommend to everyone, especially to other "hoarders" like me. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Praying for America During Lent

If you would like to join me in praying for our country during this season of Lent, this is a list of things I have come up with to pray for day by day.  I believe these are things God wants for us and have included a scripture for each.  These are just suggestions and are by no means exclusive; feel free to pray in any way the Holy Spirit may lead you.

Wed, 3/5 – Praise God for His sovereignty (Acts 4:24)
Thu, 3/6 - Praise God that He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103:8)
Fri, 3/7 - Ask God what areas in your own life you need to be cleansed of and confess those to Him (Psalm 51:10)
Sat, 3/8 - Pray for the theory of evolution to fall to the ground and die (Genesis 1:1)
Sun, 3/9 - For marriages and families to be strengthened and the divorce rate to fall dramatically (Matthew 19:6)
Mon, 3/10 - For children to be taught to respect their parents (Ephesians 6:1)
Tue, 3/11 - For any sexual activity outside of the marriage between a man and a woman to be regarded as sin (Hebrews 13:4)
Wed, 3/12 - For our leaders to fear God and seek His will in leading our country (Psalm 2:10-11)
Thu, 3/13 - For the people of our country to honor God and His word (Romans 1:21)
Fri, 3/14 - For same-sex marriage not to be acknowledged in any state (I Corinthians 6:9-10)
Sat, 3/15 - For God’s protection from our enemies (II Samuel 22:4)
Sun, 3/16 - For us to honor the Sabbath as a country (Isaiah 56:2)
Mon, 3/17 - For our welfare system to not support those who are capable of working (II Thessalonians 3:10)
Tue, 3/18 - For the word of God to go out in our country and not return void (Isaiah 55:11)
Wed, 3/19 - For Christians to band together and stand up against the evil (Romans 1:32)
Thu, 3/20 - For the Ten Commandments and other scripture to not be banned in any public buildings (Isaiah 59:14)
Fri, 3/21 - For the worship of idols to be replaced with a fear of God (I Thessalonians 1:9)
Sat, 3/22 - For the truth about God’s role in our nation’s heritage to be taught in our history books (Psalm 77:11)
Sun, 3/23 - For our children to be taught God’s truth so they can share it with the next generation (Psalm 78:5-7)
Mon, 3/24 - For our judges to use God’s commandments as their standard (Leviticus 22:31)
Tue, 3/25 - For God to have mercy on our nation (Psalm 143:1)
Wed, 3/26 - For courage for Christians for stand up against evil (Ephesians 6:13)
Thu, 3/27 - For unity among believers (Psalm 133:1)
Fri, 3/28 - For spiritual revival in this country (Psalm 85:6)
Sat, 3/29 - For many to repent and be saved (Romans 2:4)
Sun, 3/30 - For our president and other leaders to acknowledge God and allow Him to direct their paths (Proverbs 3:6)
Mon, 3/31 - For churches to grow and be strengthened (Acts 16:5)
Tue, 4/1 - That the fear of offending God would be greater than the fear of offending man (Ecclesiastes 5:7)
Wed, 4/2 - For our news media to focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8)
Thu, 4/3 - For our country to seek God’s solutions to our problems rather than man’s (Isaiah 55:9)
Fri, 4/4 - For children to be cherished as gifts from God (Psalm 127:3)
Sat, 4/5 - For God’s definition of marriage, between a man and a woman, to be the only definition (Genesis 2:24)
Sun, 4/6 - For truth to be taught in public schools (Matthew 18:6)
Mon, 4/7 - For our leaders to have wisdom that comes from God (James 3:13)
Tue, 4/8 - For abortion to become illegal (Psalm 106:37-40)
Wed, 4/9 - That Christians can band together across denominational lines and work together for God’s glory (Romans 15:5-6)
Thu, 4/10 - For parents to be diligent to teach their children God’s ways (Deuteronomy 6:7)
Fri, 4/11 - For believers to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to spread God’s word (Acts 1:8)
Sat, 4/12 - For believers to hold on to God’s truth and not believe the lies of the world (II Timothy 4:3)
Sun, 4/13 - For believers to demonstrate kindness and gentleness in correcting others (II Timothy 2:24-26)
Mon, 4/14 - For our country to view all forms of sexual immorality as wrong (I Corinthians 6:18)
Tue, 4/15 - That we will not seek to do what is right in our own eyes, but in God’s eyes (Proverbs 14:12)
Wed, 4/16 - That those who walk in darkness will know the light of Christ (Isaiah 9:2)
Thu, 4/17 - That God will turn the hearts of our leaders to Himself (Proverbs 21:1)
Fri, 4/18 – Thank God that by the blood of Jesus, we are saved eternally from our sin (I John 1:7)
Sat, 4/19 - That our rulers will acknowledge that their power comes from God (Romans 13:1)
Sun, 4/20 – Praise God for offering eternal salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection for those who believe (Romans 10:9)

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Prayer for Mercy

I recently read the book, The Harbinger, by Jonathan Cahn.  It is written as a captivating novel, but at the same time making a strong point: AMERICA IS IN TROUBLE.  While I’m not sure I agree with everything in the book, I strongly agree that basic premise.

Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, dedicated to God at the outset. 

[O]n the morning of the day on which our illustrious President [George Washington] will be invested with his office, the bells will ring at nine o’clock, when the people may go up to the house of God and in a solemn manner commit the new government, with its important train of consequences, to the holy protection and blessing of the Most high. An early hour is prudently fixed for this peculiar act of devotion and . . . is designed wholly for prayer.  (The Daily Advertiser, New York, Thursday, April 23, 1789, p. 2) 

Following this time of prayer by the people, Washington was inaugurated, and then he and other founding fathers gathered together to pray and worship in a little church in New York City, which was then the capitol of this fledgling country.  

In the years that followed, as a nation, we sought to honor God and follow His principles.  And He has blessed and protected us.  We have become one of the most affluent nations in history.  We have been a political superpower, seemingly immune to the problems that other countries suffered.  We have enjoyed freedoms unheard of in other parts of the world.  We are a land of promise that others long to come to.  God has blessed us abundantly because we sought to honor Him as a country.  

Until around 1960. 

It seems we suddenly felt we didn’t need God or His commandments anymore.  We took prayer and Bible reading out of public schools.  This led to an inability to teach children right from wrong.  How can you say something is wrong if there is no standard?  So instead they more or less began to be taught that it was perfectly acceptable to do anything your carnal urges led you to do.  And why not?  If there is no God, then there will be no judgment.  This not only led to the acceptance of nearly every kind of sexual sin, but to disrespect of elders, and eventually even to the killing of people who may rub you the wrong way, whether that be a fellow student, a teacher, a parent, or an unborn child that is a by-product of your sin.

In order to pretend there is no God, we must teach our children that the world just “evolved,” that there was never a Creator.  We all just happened by chance and are really no different than animals.  And we must re-write not only our science books, but also our history books, taking out the references to the God that our founding fathers served.  Check the literature books too – there might be a passage or two from the Bible still left in them.  That must be removed as well.  After all, we can’t “offend” anyone who doesn’t believe in Him.

Over time, we have sought to remove the Ten Commandments or any other mention of God from public places. Our courts no longer use God’s commandments as a standard.  Judges now try to force those who do still have a fear of God to forsake it and give approval to those who choose a sinful lifestyle.   Nearly every type of sin is actively promoted by the media.  We worship idols in the form of the Internet, cell phones, beauty, materialism, food and many others.

Somewhere along the way, "political correctness" came in.  We apparently decided we feared offending man more than we feared offending God.  It didn’t matter what HE thought anymore.  We either thought we could protect ourselves, and handle our own money, without any help from Him, or we were so arrogant as to think He would continue to bless us anyway, that we somehow deserved it, regardless of our attitude toward Him. 

We seem to think we can fix our problems with a band-aid, with man’s solutions instead of God’s.  Are people killing each other?  No need to teach them that God says not to kill, let’s just take away their guns.  Is homosexuality becoming rampant?  Rather than teaching people what God says about it, let’s just defend their right to live however they want to, even trying to change God’s definition of marriage to accommodate them.  Are venereal diseases resulting from sexual promiscuity an issue?  Don’t worry that God says sex is only for marriage; let’s just teach our children how to protect themselves when they do have sex . . . with anyone they want to.  That will fix it.  And what about those pesky pregnancies that may result from it all?  We’ll just take care of those with a “simple” procedure.  It doesn’t matter if God calls that murder.

Where was that church where our founding fathers gathered to dedicate this country to God?  It was St. Paul’s Chapel, in New York City.  It’s still there.  Just barely noticeable.  At Ground Zero.

Yes, the place where our country’s Godly roots began is the same place that the first crack occurred in our protection after we turned our backs on Him.  And thus began a chain reaction of events that may well lead to the economic collapse of our country. 

Did we see it is a warning from God and turn to Him in repentance, acknowledging our sin and our need for His protection?  It seemed for a few days after 9/11 that we might, but we quickly went back to our old ways.  Rather than being humbled by our helplessness, we arrogantly sought to restore our country in our own strength.

We sent our military out to defend us.  We tightened up security in airports, essentially taking freedoms away from our own citizens.  And as the money ran out, we took drastic measures to keep the economy going, all the while going deeper and deeper into a hole that we can probably never bring ourselves out of. 

And Christians, for the most part, are standing back and letting it all happen.

God is a God of wrath.  He will not let our sin go on forever.  But He is also a God of mercy.  I believe He sent us a warning on 9/11.  He desires for us to repent of our sinful ways and turn back to Him, so He can continue to bless us.  But if we refuse to repent, His next warning will likely be much worse.

Lent begins this Wednesday, and I am planning to fast from sugar (probably my biggest vice) and pray for our country.  Tomorrow I will be posting a list of things I will be praying for.  I invite you to join me in praying urgently for our country during this season of Lent.  I believe that binding together and praying and standing up against all of this is what we are called to do during this critical time.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  II Chronicles 7:14

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sunrise

It is around 6:00 a.m. as I am having my morning prayer time, pouring out my heart to God, worried about this world that my son will grow up in.  Another decision has been made that goes against God’s plan.  Gay marriage has been legalized in Texas, a judge overruling the will of the people.

I look outside.  The sun has not yet fully risen¸ and the world is suspended between light and darkness, and I have a vision of our country in this same condition.  We are mostly shrouded in darkness now, but there is still enough light to see by.  I see this light as representing the Christians who hold onto their faith in spite of the growing darkness.

And I wonder, is our country on the verge of a sunset, or of a sunrise?  Will the years ahead bring total darkness, or will the light return?

I can see us going either way, but the only way I see the light breaking through is if Christians bind together and stand up for what is right in God’s eyes.  We must stand against these forces of evil that seem to be overtaking our country.  We must elect leaders who fear God and seek to do His will.  We must teach the gospel to our children so they can be lights in the next generation. And we must pray like we’ve never prayed before, that the forces of evil will be broken, that we will see a revival in this country.

It’s not about making more laws.  We see the powers that be trying to save us by forbidding us to do wrong: by taking away our guns, by not allowing us to discriminate against others, by not selling food that is harmful to our bodies and other regulations that seem good on the surface, but something is missing that laws can never replace: a change of heart.  Unless this nation turns back to God, no regulations are going to save us.

As I look out the window, the darkness is slowing giving way to the light of day.  The sun is rising.  Soon the light will overtake the darkness.  And it gives me hope -- hope that maybe this will happen in our country as well.  Oh, how I pray that it will.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Thirty-Nine Months Old

I'm still here!  I've just been grossly neglecting my blog lately,  I've been caught up in doing my family tree on Ancestry.com, which has been sucking up most of my computer time, but now I have cancelled my subscription, at least temporarily, so I can get on with the rest of my life.

Don's new job is going fairly well, though it's hard work.  He comes home exhausted in the afternoons, but he's thankful to have a job.  His new schedule has been a bit of an adjustment for all of us; I'm trying to get up with him at 5:00 a.m., which involves going to bed earlier, which involves getting Cooper to bed earlier, which involves starting earlier to get him ready for bed . . .  Plus, Don has to work every other weekend, which has been kind of hard.  Hopefully at some point this will change so that at least he can be off on Sundays.  It does make us all really cherish the Sundays when we get to go to church together as a family, though.

It's been a pretty rough winter, weather-wise, at least by Nashville standards.  We had some of the coldest temperatures we've had in several years (and a really expensive electric bill) and very little relief from the cold, dreary days.  We had ONE nice, sunny day recently, last Saturday.  Thankfully, it was Don's Saturday off of work, and we all went to the park together.



Cooper got a little guitar with some of his Christmas money and has been "playing" it all the time:
video

He's playing it right-handed here, but most of the time he has it upside down and plays it with his left hand.  We think he's left-handed.

He's finally mostly potty trained!  Well, at least during the day.  That has been quite a journey, involving a lot of frustration, bribery, dramatic celebrations, and more, but I'm thankful we seem to have made it.

He got his first "real" haircut a couple of weeks ago (I'd been cutting it myself).  He did great, and afterward we went to Cici's next door for lunch.

We went to "Discovery Center" one day with my mom, a local museum sort-of-thing for young children.  Cooper had a great time!
We're still doing Community Bible Study (this picture was taken by his teacher)
and MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).  I met another 47-year-old mom there!  She has a 4-year-old boy.  We've gotten together a couple of times for play dates, and Cooper and her little boy have hit it off as friends.  I'm so thankful to have someone that I feel like I can relate to.

Thankfully, other than at Christmastime, we've all stayed fairly healthy this winter.  I'm believing that spring is just around the corner (at least I hope it is!), and I'm starting to think about what I'm going to plant in my garden this year.  I can't wait to get to go outside without bundling up, and to feel the warm sunshine on my face!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas

I'm glad I decided to let Christmas be good, even if it wasn't perfect (see my last post), because that's the kind of Christmas it was.

It begins with good news: Don got a job!  He's working at Vanderbilt Hospital and seems to like it so far.  He started last Monday, but . . .

He was REALLY sick that day, and all week, so it was a rough first week for him, trying to adjust to a new schedule, learn a new job and find his way around a HUGE hospital, while feeling terrible.  Thankfully, he only had to work 3-1/2 days last week.  He is mostly, but not completely better now, and still trying to find his way around the hospital.

Since business at hospitals doesn't stop for weekends and holidays, he will have to work some of both but, thankfully, he got to be off on Christmas.  However, Cooper had a temp of over 102 most of Christmas day, and I wasn't feeling too great myself.  We had planned to go to my mom's house, but decided to just stay home, which was kind of nice, to just relax.

My brother and his family came to town that night.  I was worried we wouldn't get to see them, but by Friday, Cooper was fine, so they, as well as my parents, came over (even though Don was still feeling pretty puny and ended up going to bed right in the middle of it).

We had a fun visit with them.  Cooper loves hanging out with his cousins.

I had done some genealogical research on both of my parents' families and put that in books for them for Christmas.  I am hoping that Cooper and my nieces and nephew will be interested in this too.

We had a nice meal which my mom, my niece Hannah and I prepared.

On Sunday we all went to church and then out to lunch together before they drove back to North Carolina last night.

All in all, it was a good Christmas, and I am thankful for the family I have to share it with.