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Friday, July 30, 2010

I Wanna Be Like Them When I Grow Up!

I've seen lots of people post this video on their Facebook pages and had to share it here!  I hope Mike and I are this "spunky" when we reach 90!!!
Enjoy and have a blessed weekend!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

While The Zoo Keeper Is Away

I'm not sure if Mike will appreciate me referring to him as a zoo keeper, but something tells me that he would readily admit that's what he feels like some of the time!  He and Cecily are in Covington, GA with a group of youth and counselors from our church at youth camp this week.  This is Cecily's first youth camp experience and I'm praying God will speak to her in amazing ways this week!
JennaBeth has missed her snuggle time with Big "Sista" while she has been gone!  They have a special snuggle time almost every night with this same black and white blanket.  Cecily will say to her, "JennaBeth, it is time to snuggle.  Go get our blankie."  And JennaBeth will go get this same blanket every time!  Many nights, JennaBeth falls to sleep snuggling with her sister.  Well, Big "Sista" (what JennaBeth calls her) packed the snuggle blanket and took it to youth camp with her, which means JennaBeth has been looking for it!!
Bentley has been a really big help while daddy has been away.  He was "reading" (more like narrating through the pictures) to JennaBeth last night.  It was so sweet.  He calls her Jenna a lot and while he was reading, she wasn't being real still.  When she would get to wiggling, he would say, "Now Jenna!  Pay attention to the story!"
The other afternoon I was watching FoxNews channel and there was a story about a man who had died in a plane crash and the anchor woman mentioned he had three young children.  Bentley was apparently paying as much attention to the T.V. as he was his cars and he looked up at me and said, "If daddy dies and you, and me, and big tister and baby tister are still around, I'm gonna do all the things he does and take real good care of you!  Like take out the garbage and all the stuff daddy does."  Do you know my heart about melted right out of my chest?!?!

I am really thankful for Mike and all he does for our family!  He takes very good care of us!  And I do miss him when he isn't at home!  He helps tame the little monkeys in our zoo; and yes if you came to our house some days, you would think you were at the zoo!!!  I say all the time, "The cartoonist who does Family Circus needs to use a picture of our family for his stories!!!"  Having a teenager, a four year old and a 1 and a half year old certainly presents its challenges, but I guess I really wouldn't want it any other way.

However,  a momma can only hear "nack, nack" so many times a day before she wants to stick her fingers in her ears and go running out of the house....

And maybe the Senior Zoo Keeper won't mind a little monkey jumping on the bed just one time while he's away......

How's it going at your zoo?


Monday, July 19, 2010

In A Heartbeat: Sharing The Power of Cheerful Giving

Have you seen Michael Oher today?

According to Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy in their new book, we pass by "Michaels" everyday.  We just don't take the time to really see them.  Sean Tuohy in speaking about the Touhy's Popcorn Theory says,
"The Popcorn Theory is about noticing others.  It starts with recognizing a fellow soul by the roadside as kindred, even if he doesn't seem to belong in your gated community and, at six foot five and over three hundred pounds, is the biggest piece of popcorn you ever saw.  It's about acknowledging that person's potential and value.  It's about seeing him, instead of looking past him."
After many have read Michael Lewis's book The Blind Side and seen the movie starring Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy and Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, we think we know this family.  Through In a Heartbeat, the Tuohy family seeks to tell the story of their family in their own words.

I so enjoyed this book, because each member of the Tuohy family speaks about their experience.  Sean and Leigh Anne write the main chapters and in between each chapter is an interlude written by Tim McGraw, Sandra Bullock, Collins Tuohy (daughter), Sean Junior (son) and even Michael Oher himself.

The chapters are written in an easy going conversational style.  The reader gets a glimpse into the upbringing and circumstances that shaped Sean and Leigh Anne and what developed this deep understanding they have of the importance of cheerful giving.  They truly are a shining example of what it means to give yourself away and not just your money

As a parent, I appreciated how open Sean and Leigh Anne were in the book about how they raised Collins and SJ and the kind of people they hoped they would be.  The Touhy's son and daughter were challenged to give something away in exchange for every privilege they had.  They went to camps in the summer like every other kid in the neighborhood, but their first stop many summers was to the Camp of the Rising Son down in Choctaw Mississippi, which was a camp for underprivileged kids.  The Sean and Leigh Anne wanted their children to "get a dose of reality, so that they wouldn't be too sequestered by comfortable circumstances."  Leigh Anne shares at one point in the book that one of the questions they get asked alot is how did Collins, SJ and Michael accept one another as brothers and sister without resentment.  This is part of her answer:
"One possible answer is that we all laughed a lot.  Another is that Collins and SJ were open to Michael because they hadn't been raised in total privilege and prosperity.  When they were younger, they saw us struggle economically, so they grew up with some sense for how hard we worked and how fortunate they were.  We also tried hard not to sequester them socially - because when you're socially sequestered, you're susceptible to stereotypes and to viewing a lot of people as 'others.'  We never wanted our kids to view anyone as an 'other.'"
 I highly recommend this book!  You will be challenged and inspired by the story of real people and in Leigh Anne's words, you'll be encouraged to "Do small things with great love."

Thank you Audra Jennings with the B&B Media Group for providing me with a review copy of this exceptional book!!  In A Heartbeat can be purchased at Amazon.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Am I accomplishing ANYTHING?

Guilt is a young mother’s habitual shadow. It has a nasty way of soaking through many of her efforts at nurturing, serving and loving others. “Am I doing enough for my children? For others? What do they think of me? What does God think of me?”

As a young mother everyone wants something from you—your family, your church, your boss, your neighbor. And most likely, you give way more than you ever thought you could. But along the way guilt nibbles at your soul, eating away your inner peace and joy. And it often lingers through the years, even after your children are grown and gone.
Dear young mother, don’t waste your guilt!

Don’t waste your guilt, but instead listen to it and evaluate it. Take it out of the shadows and examine it in the light of Scripture. Lay out your feelings before Christ. Is this guilt legitimate conviction of sin? Then confess your sin, receive his forgiveness and ask him where and how he wants you to change.
But maybe your guilt is a nagging, self-focused fear that if you were just a bit better or worked just a little harder, then you would be noticed and admired enough to feel okay about yourself. That is false guilt, rooted in pride. It will hurt your family and hinder your relationship with your grace-giving Father. If this describes your guilt, then remind yourself that through Christ’s death and resurrection, you’re accepted by God. The solution to false guilt, as to true guilt, is the gospel.
Paul speaks of these two kinds of guilt in 2 Corinthians 7:10. There is a godly grief that produces repentance, and a worldly grief that produces death. Ask yourself this question: is what I give my time and energies to driven by life-giving repentance or life-depleting pride?

One reason a young mother can feel wrongly guilty is that she forgets that her first and primary mission field must be her children.
God values children. He places great importance on our teaching our children to love and serve him (Deut. 6:7-9). Jesus became indignant when the disciples didn’t value the worth of children in God’s expanding kingdom (Mark 10:13-16). And God tells us that children are his blessing to us (Psalm 127:3).
Mothering calls for the best in us as women. As mothers, we shape the souls of our children and ultimately influence the world. Children are our gift to the future. So accept your calling from God to serve your family. It is not godly guilt that would call you away from a wholehearted investment in your little ones for his sake. Don’t feel guilty over making your children your primary ministry investment when they are young. You are teaching the younger generation to form intimate emotional bonds with others. Your sensitivity, availability, devotion, affection, and unhurried attention are irreplaceable.

On the other hand, Paul’s word to me as an older woman is to “train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Tit. 2:4-5).
Why does the apostle have to tell us older women to teach these things to the younger women? Because it can be hard to love your husband and children. In fact, it can be easier to minister outside the home. Why is it more rewarding for us to plan a ladies’ retreat for two hundred women than it is to plan an indoor picnic with our preschoolers on a rainy afternoon? I think it’s because the rewards are more immediate and the demands are not so steady.
Being a young mother is plain hard work. At times it feels like slave labor! Young moms can identify with the cartoon of a toddler looking at a wedding album with his daddy and saying, “So that’s the day Mommy came to work for us!”
But God has called you to this ministry. He knows there are no neutral moments in a young child’s life, whose experience is one of continuous need and development. Your children will bear the imprint of your mothering throughout their lives because much of human behavior springs from imitation.
You are the only mother your children have. Your ministry to them is the deepest expression of your love for them. Raising your children has to be done right the first time around. It is one of the few places in life where you can not say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
You have received this commission from God. As a mother your privilege is to teach them how to respect their daddy and be kind to their siblings, how to choose good nutrition and wholesome entertainment, why they should value courtesy and orderliness, and which causes are worthy of their efforts, their reputations, and even their very blood.
Are you discouraged as you spend day after day immersed in the mundane tasks of mothering? Then think of the honor of guiding the spiritual and intellectual and social development of young minds and hearts. Think of the thrill of teaching them eternal truths from God’s Word. Think of the importance of teaching your young children how to live under authority, and of preparing them for future relationships by teaching them about love and trust. Think of the delight of sending one more godly, vibrant, strong, secure, loving young person into this needy world with the courage to live well for Christ’s sake. What a worthy investment!

Another challenge for a young mother is cultivating a love for the home.
God has called us to love our children from home base (Tit. 2:4-5). We can’t improve upon God’s design! This means more than staying at home. It means fixing your heart on your home. Women can leave their homes through more avenues than work or outside ministry. Cell phones, emails, and chat rooms can take a mother away from her primary ministry, too.
Ministry means being “all there.” It means rejoicing that you get to show your children how to peddle a tricycle, make their bed, build good memories, and share their toys with others. You serve your family, and ultimately your heavenly Father, by helping your child do that puzzle for the seventeenth time, by washing those sticky fingers, by planting a little garden, by acting out Bible stories and praying together, and by preparing for their daddy’s return as the highlight of your day!
What is the alternative? “A child left to himself disgraces his mother” (Prov. 29:15).
Remember this: you have the privilege of passing on to young hearts a sense of God! Should you feel guilty for that? As you let your children experience intimacy, nearness, and availability in their earliest years with you, you can point them to find those soul-necessities in Christ, their Savior, as they mature. And then you have the delight of sending them out with a light in their souls to bless this darkened world.
Someone is going to be influencing your children, inculcating values and imprinting standards on their impressionable young minds. Let it be you!

Does this mean you will never invest in others outside your family? Goodness, no. But if you are a young mother, use your primary ministry of mothering to guide your choices about where to serve Christ now. Don’t let anything woo you away from your unique role as a wife and mother.
This season in your life is just that—a season. And each season is a divine calling from our Creator and King. Organizing a new church event is important. Teaching your little boy to be kind to his sister is also important. But which one can best be done by you during this season? Serve God well by ministering to your children first. Very soon they will be grown and gone and all those uniquely teachable moments will be gone. And you will have ample opportunity to serve Christ outside your home in the seasons ahead.
“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).

Jani Ortlund is a former schoolteacher and holds a master’s degree in education. She is the author two books, Fearlessly Feminineand His Loving Law, Our Lasting Legacy. Jani is the wife of Dr. Raymond Ortlund, Jr.

©9Marks. Website: Email: Toll Free: (888) 543-1030.

Blessings on you sweet mothers,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Peak Inside VBS

As I mentioned yesterday, we are having our Vacation Bible School/Day Camp this week.  VBS is from 9 to 12 and then some of the kids stay in the afternoon for Day Camp.  The Day Camp portion of the week is full of activities.  Yesterday the group went to putt-putt golf and today they are going to Pump It Up, which is a really fun inflatable jump house.

Of course I have taken lots of pictures, so here is a peak at the first two days...
As part of the opening assembly, some of the youth are involved in a skit that introduces the theme for the day.  The setting for VBS this year is a carnival...
Each day the kids bring pennies for the "penny offering".  The group of ladies in the picture above come and count the pennies from that offering.  The boys and girls have a contest to see which group can bring the most pennies each day.

Bentley is excited about being involved in VBS this year.  Here he is giving his pennies today...
And it looks like the boys are still ahead after day two...
Yesterday, myself and another sweet lady in our church taught the mission moment for the week.  The focus was on India.  Jill had Indian style dress we could wear, so here we are in front of a map of the world that we have on a wall in our sanctuary...
 Four and Five year old class...
Bentley is in the red shirt sitting by his friend Seth...
Some of our youth are serving as guides for each class to make sure they get from one activity to the other...
Cecily is helping out with the crafts and the skit in the opening assembly as well has helping Mike teach the kids the motions to the songs...
Bentley and his friend Seth waiting to go in the sanctuary this morning...
Rapper, Pastor Mike...
We have a wonderful lady in our church, Sharon, who has an exceptional gift of organization in the kitchen and is getting a good lunch served to 40 plus people each day...
She also has a  faithful group of people helping her...
And finally for today a view from the nursery...
Nicholas and JennaBeth

I'll share more tomorrow about the Bible verses and themes for each day; good stuff and NOT just for the kids!!!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Salvation Has A Name

Our church is having Vacation Bible School this week in the mornings and a day camp in the afternoon until 5 pm.  As the choir sang this song on Sunday morning I was thinking of the kids we'll be blessed to encounter this week.  I'm praying they'll have an encounter with Jesus!  

Words and Music by
Sam Mizell, Bart Millard, Jim Bryson,
Nathan Cochran, Barry Graul, Mike Scheuchzer
and Robby Shaffer
Arr. by Mark T. Bovee

I come to the altar and I bow before You.
You are everything my heart desires.
A Friend that is closer than any brother could be.
I'm so amazed I can call out to You
and You hear me.

Salvation has a Name,
Mercy has a face.
Holiness was crucified and rose to give us grace.
Salvation has a Name,
Mercy has a face.
Jesus our holiness, 
worthy of all praise.

Every moment that I come to know You,
I find a new debt of love surrounding me.
Deeper than oceans,
higher than any mountain peak.
I'm so amazed at the wonder You hold,
I can hardly believe.

Salvation has a Name,
Mercy has a face.
Holiness was crucified and rose to give us grace.
Salvation has a Name,
Mercy has a face.
Jesus , our holiness, 
worthy of all praise.

the Maker of time,
the Maker of light.
You are Sustainer to every life,
God, our Savior.



Friday, July 2, 2010

God, Your Car is Broken

Two weeks ago the transmission quit on our 2005 Ford Taurus.  Mike and I were on our way on a Saturday morning to the funeral of a dear church member who had passed away.  Mike was responsible for leadership in the funeral; the preaching and music.  We were just driving down the rode talking when all of a sudden the transmission just died.  Thankfully we were able to coast into a parking space and another church member attending the funeral was able to come and pick us up so that Mike was able to make it there in time.

This is the car that we make the last payment on in January...this coming January...only 7 months away.

Now to say we've been discouraged by this would be an understatement.  Mike and I have paid our share of "stupid tax" as he likes to call it where finances are concerned.  But over the past 4 years or so we have submitted to God in some areas and we have seen Him pour out His blessings on us.  They really are too many to recount here!  We have buckled down and committed to living a frugal life and made some huge sacrifices to not go into any more debt and are looking at some huge things coming off our backs in the next two years.

We see the light at the end of a very long tunnel...and now this.

Last Sunday night our pastor was continuing a series he had started on "What Has Gone Wrong With Man?".  In answer to the question, "Why did God create man?" he shared these two points:
  1. To reflect God (Gen. 1:26-28)
  2. To represent God
While sharing some thoughts on representing God, he made mention of responsible stewardship.  This has been a theme for me and Mike as we've sought over the past several years to honor God more in our lives.  Pastor Hal encouraged us in his sermon to "hold our things with an open hand", reminding us that everything we have has been given to us by God.  As an illustration, he shared that if your way of transportation has been disrupted to say, "God, your car is broken."

I have to confess that I almost laughed out loud...but then I thought, "You know, he is right."

Now, don't misunderstand me or Hal.  God is not for one minute surprised by that transmission quitting!  I don't have to let Him know about it, because He knew about it long before it happened.  It's just a reminder that that car isn't mine to begin with!

So, we're looking at around a $2,000.00 repair on a car that is almost paid for...Sigh.......

After praying about this over the past two weeks and feeling the strong commitment to not go into any more debt, Mike has been led to the idea of using his God-given talents to hopefully glorify God, bless others and get our car fixed!  He has had people over the years in different churches we have served tell him that he really needs to make a cd of his music and singing.

So, that is what he is going to do.  He is going to make a cd with 10 songs on it including some old and new titles.  Here is what will be on the recording:
  1. I'm Unworthy of the Least of all Your Mercies
  2. Sound Forth His Word
  3. Adoration Medley (I Love Him; Lord, I Praise You For Who You Are, Jesus, You are Lord to Me)
  4. Bloom Where You are Planted (written by the husband of the lady whose funeral Mike led)
  5. I'm Gonna Live Forever
  6. In the Garden
  7. God of Grace and God of Glory
  8. How Sweet and Awful
  9. The Old Rugged Cross
  10. Thy Mercy My God
So, if you would like to take this journey with us and enjoy some good music along the way, we are officially taking cd orders.  The cd's are $5.00 plus shipping and handling or $10.00 and free shipping.  Let me know in the comments if you'd like a cd.  Be sure and leave me your email address so that I can communicate with you.  If you feel uncomfortable leaving your email address in the comments the just shoot me an email:

I'll leave you with this quote from William Law on the exacting requirements of a godly lifestyle:
"Devotion signifies a life given, or devoted to God.  He therefore is the devout man, who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God, who considers God in everything, who serves God in everything, who makes all the parts of his common life, parts of piety, by doing everything in the name of God, and under such rules as are conformable to His Glory."
God, your car is broken and I trust that You are going to fix it in Your way and in Your timing.  I thank you that we have another car to get us where we need to go for the time being.  Thank you for lending these cars to us and help us to be good stewards of all you have blessed us with. Help us to glorify you in everything we do and say,