Monday, November 30, 2009

The Secret Things Of God



Have you ever stopped to think about the secret things of God? What mysteries the heavens must hold! There are certainly some things about God we will never know or understand.

There are secret things that belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our descendants forever, so that we may obey these words of the law. Deuteronomy 29:29

There are three things the children of God can be certain of:

I - Our Home Awaits Us In Heaven
A. Heaven is a prepared place
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2
B. Heaven is a promised place (Revelation 21:10-11)

II - Our Faith Is Secure In Christ - Forever / For All Eternity
He will do what He has promised.

III - Our Departure Is At Hand
A. Jesus promised He would come
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2

Are you living for Jesus? The stage is set for the return of Christ.

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

Please be in prayer for the family of Danny Branch. He was in a near fatal tree cutting accident last week.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Spider, A Remix, And Grace Returns

Can you name that tune?



So, maybe she got a bit mixed up on her songs or just maybe, she meant to do that!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

2 Chairs And A Blanket

Even though my dearies have a "real" play tent, somehow the "2 chairs and blanket" tent is always way better.
Erin also thought this would be the greatest place for a photo shoot!

These are the results. dum-dum.








The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration
A Call of Christian Conscience

Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:

1.the sanctity of human life
2.the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
3.the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

You can sign the declaration here
Or find out more about it here

The Manhattan Declaration

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Let The Decorating Begin





After asking every.single.day for a week now, my dear daughter finally got to decorate the tree!
And when the decorating seemed to go on forever, Luke decided to join in too!




note the extreme cluster concentration of ornaments in this area,
and how incredibly sweet and well behaved my children are working side by side without arguing...yet


Happy Birthday Jesus!


I Am...



Humbly thankful for so many things...

a loving, hard working husband
beautiful, healthy children
a pantry full of food
a Mom who always loves me
a warm house & bed to sleep in
long, hot weekend showers
a Saviour who gave His life for Me
a wonderful country to live in
family...



...experienced turkey carvers & daughters who WOULD NOT mock their sick Mom on Thanksgiving


paw paws & 1978 tv trays (thanks Aunt Hannah)



fathers and daughters...mothers and sons



and Dad's new wii :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What The?

Something crazy happened with my Sunday post (all on it's own), and I couldn't figure out how to get it right again. So here are the pictures I had to remove. They were too cute just to leave off.



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Towel

A worn towel changed my outlook forever.
One day it was my turn to deliver donations to Unity House, an apartment complex for women who had come through drug detox. Most were setting up homes from scratch and lacked basic supplies.

"Mary", one of the women called, "here's a towel for you."
A new resident of Unity House, Mary dashed forward and took the frayed towel with eager hands.
"Thank You!" she said joyfully. "This morning I wanted to take a shower, but I didn't have a towel." She caressed the terry cloth as though it was made of gold.

I thought with shame of my linen closet - so full that towels fell out on my head. Every closet in my house was the same. Why should I stash things away when these women needed them?

I went home and cleaned out the linen closet. Then my clothes closet and kitchen cabinets. Perfectly good items I hadn't used in years came to light. It took three trips to get everything to Unity House.

God has blessed me abundantly. Now I know why: so I can share. Good stewardship doesn't lie in stashing and saving, but in giving. A priceless lesson from an old towel.

Taken from Focus On The Family Bulletin - November 2008

I have kept this on my refrigerator since I clipped it a year ago and do my best to live by it. Clothes, toys, books. We only need so much, others have so little. We truly are abundantly blessed. And I am thankful.

And all the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to OUR GOD forever and ever. Amen
Revelation 7:11-12

May you all have a very happy, blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday - Anything But Lazy


Activity # 1 - Wrestling Teaching {13} 4-5 year olds this morning at preschool church. The goal was to keep at least 1 in time out the entire time. I was almost successful. And I may have overheard someone say I was mean. And if the criteria for being mean is not allowing the following... You can not fling soap & water all over the bathroom after snack, you can not take toys away from others, you certainly can not pull someones shirt or push them IN THE MOUTH with your FOOT because they are pulling you (must I go on)...Then yes, mean I am. Get me a shirt.

Activity # 2 - Little Miss Birthday turns 5! It was great fun. Lots of laughing, squealing, sweating, and monkeying around.




Activity # 3 - Mom, can we PLEASE stop at the fishing store? Look at the lights. Ok 15 35 minutes. We did miss Santa, but saw a man who must have been his brother, with a genuine beard, carrying black boots, walking into the restaurant. Then Erin & Luke each picked out their very own 4 wheelers for their wish list.


Pink for the little lady...


And a very large, more masculine one for the fella...to chauffeur his sister of course.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Her First Deer

Erin's Thanksgiving program was today at preschool. To my surprise, the little pilgrim had apparently been on her first hunt!



And Mr Silly Pants get honorable mention for waiting so patiently for the program to start!



Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's Not Friday...

But let's have a flashback...




Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Worth Of Sacrifice



I think sometimes we don't consider how God felt when He gave us His Son.
I can't imagine giving my child to the world to suffer for scum, killers, drug addicts....or someone like me. But He did, and He loves each one of us.

Busy

Sometimes when you get a bit too busy with everyday stuff, you forget to do the things you enjoy.
So, today, I will....



for the quiet time I have to paint.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Protecting Your Child In A Dark Culture

The webcast on Focus on the Family tonight & tomorrow night is an interview with Rebecca Hagelin. If you have 30 minutes to listen to it (while doing other things too, of course), I suggest it. After the intro, she makes some good points about how our culture is affecting our children and how we can still train them in the way they should go.

Part 2 should be on the website tomorrow.
Here is the webcast, then click "listen now"

Proverbs 22:5-7 (New International Version)

5 In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares,
but he who guards his soul stays far from them.

6 Train [a] a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.

7 The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thanksgiving Is A Choice

When you think your life is hard, just look around. Visit those who have no one to take care of, those that are too sick to take care of themselves. When your job is "can't stand to get up in the morning" awful, think of those who have no job. No money to pay the house note, no money for groceries. When the kids are driving you crazy and you don't know how you will make it through another day, think of how lost you would be without them. Not just for a relaxing weekend, but if you had to live the rest of your life without them. Things aren't quite so bad....

In the year 1620, 102 pilgrims had come to this continent to build a new world where they would be free to worship Almighty God. In that first year, 56 of them  had died from cold, starvation, sickness. They had every reason to be depressed and discouraged, but they chose to give thanks.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.  Habbakuk 3:17-19

I - Thank God For His Unchanging Sovereignty
I may not always be able to rejoice in my circumstance, but I can always rejoice in my Sovereign God. He is never taken by surprise. We must choose thanksgiving without questioning and complaining about our circumstances.

II - Thank God For His Unceasing Salvation
No matter the circumstance in our lives, it can not alter our salvation. God is using circumstances to shape, mold, and refine us, however unpleasant that may be at the time. Our lives can change in a single moment....one accident, one phone call. Be thankful!

III - Thank God For His Unlimited Strength
God's strength and grace is sufficient for you.

I have never had real hardship in my life. I have never worried if we could provide food for our children, a home for our sleepy heads. No money for extra fun stuff? Sure. But those things are insignificant. I have never been gravely concerned about my family's health. Or if we wouldn't all be together tomorrow. I pray that I can be as sincere and thankful in serving the Lord as Habbakuk and Job. That I can rejoice in the Lord in all my circumstances. That I can choose to give thanks.

Greenwell Springs Baptist Church
November 15, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandma

Happy 79th Birthday Grandma Dean!



(and as always, thank you for the rocks/gravel/marbles we scavenge from your driveway)


The Health Plan

Below are 2 letters I have received from our Senators this week regarding the health care issues. And I would like to add (because I can), that I don't know ANYONE who is opposed to health care reform. Clearly, insurance and health care costs are rediculous. But I am certain we are not heading in the right direction when we are threatened with jail for not purchasing insurance.

========================

Thank you for contacting me in opposition to a public health insurance plan. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue, and I agree with you.


The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that the Obama health care plan will cost more than $1 trillion over the next ten years and will still leave 34 million people uninsured. Other independent studies show 120 million, or 60 percent of Americans who currently have health coverage, would lose it and would be forced onto the public plan. Also, the CBO Director stated that the proposed plan would hurt the already weakened American economy, creating an even greater national debt.


Like you, I understand that Washington-run health care would decrease access, quality, and choice in health care for Americans. Health care decisions are best made by patients and their doctors, not by bureaucrats and politicians in Washington. Important, life-saving surgeries and procedures are often delayed for people living in other nations that have government-run health care. I support and want health care reform, but cannot support a Washington takeover of health care that decreases access and choice and results in delayed and denied care. Rest assured that I will continue to work in the U.S. Senate on legislation that promotes health care choice for Americans in a free market.


Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about other issues important to you.


Sincerely,
Senator David Vitter
United States Senator


========================


Thank you for contacting me about health care reform.


As a nation, we have debated this issue not just for years, but for generations. The status quo is no longer an option for Louisianans who struggle every day with skyrocketing costs and few choices. If we do nothing, the federal government will simply go broke over the next several decades. If we do nothing, Medicare will be bankrupt in less than ten years. And if we do nothing, middle class families in Louisiana will be spending up to 60% of their household income on health insurance by 2016.


While we have come a long way towards reforming our broken system, Senate health care legislation is still taking shape and your input is invaluable as I continue to advocate for Louisiana. As you may know, I have been a co-sponsor of the "Healthy American's Act" (S.391) which guarantees every American high-quality, private health insurance that is portable from job to job. I support the bipartisan principles in this bill, many of which are included in the current proposals before Congress. These common ground principles include consumer protections which prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions or dropping coverage if you become seriously ill. They will also limit out-of-pocket costs, ensure free preventive care, end gender discrimination, eliminate annual or lifetime caps on coverage and extend coverage for young adults.


While most Members of Congress support these protections, there remains a great deal of work to achieve the right kind of health care reform. Let me be clear about what my priorities are as we move forward: " I support health care reform that will reign in out-of-control costs without out adding one dollar to the national deficit. We need to lower our costs if we are to stay competitive in the global economy. "


As the Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business, one of my top priorities is to ensure affordable insurance and organized choice for small businesses. " A competitive marketplace will provide Louisiana consumers with access to low-cost, stable health insurance. We must increase competition and choice in Louisiana where today, the top two health insurance companies dominate 87% of the individual insurance market. Providing more and better private choices will help taxpayers hold insurance companies accountable and drive down costs. " Health care reform must provide subsidies to low-income and middle class families to purchase health insurance, thereby giving them greater choice and affordable coverage. " Health care reform must include legislation that ensures every child so vulnerable that they had to be placed in foster care has consistent and portable health insurance coverage. It must guarantee that foster youth are never dropped from coverage and create a safety net so they continue to be covered even after they age out of the system.


Opponents of reform have circulated a lot of misinformation about what health care reform will mean. I'd like to set the record straight on a few things. Health insurance reform will not create a government-run system with rationing. The reality is that insurance companies are already rationing your care. Right now insurance companies dictate what services you can and cannot get, not based on what you need or the best treatment, but based on the kind of insurance you have. Moreover, given the uncontrolled costs without reform, there is no guarantee that you can keep your coverage even if you like it.


I am fighting for real reform to make sure that everyone has stable access to health insurance even if they change jobs or get sick. Here are some other facts about the bill before the Senate: " Eliminating the fraud and waste in Medicare Advantage will not affect benefits for seniors. Medicare will be safe and stronger with reform. " Members of Congress will not be exempt from reform. " Reform will expand your choices, not limit them. " There is no panel to decide end-of-life care in any of the bills. " Reform will not cover illegal immigrants. " Taxpayer dollars will not be used to pay for abortion.


Misinformation like this stopped health care reform 16 years ago, and since then our costs have sky-rocketed. Between 1996 and 2006 alone, the average annual premium for family coverage obtained through an employer increased by 85 percent. We simply cannot afford the status quo.


I am also committed to a transparent and informed public debate on this key issue. In fact, I recently joined seven of my colleagues in a letter urging the Senate leadership for increased transparency and public engagement as the health care debate moves to the Senate floor. We asked that the complete budget score and entire bill be posted publicly online for at least 72 hours before it is brought to a vote. I believe it is critical that constituents have the opportunity to evaluate these policies and communicate their concerns or support to their Members of Congress.


As the Senate discusses health care reform, I want to hear from Louisianans, answer questions and keep you updated about what I am doing. That is why I have launched several new outreach initiatives. These new activities include a weekly internet address available via YouTube at www.youtube.com/SenatorLandrieu. I will also be conducting telephone town halls and local radio talk show interviews. Additionally, my office sends out a weekly email newsletter with newsworthy items and surveys that give Louisianans the opportunity to send feedback on which aspects of the health care debate are most important to them and what specific issues they would like to see addressed. To sign up, visit my website at http://landrieu.enews.senate.gov/mail/.


Again, thank you for taking the time to send me your input and concerns on health care reform. Health care reform is not about Washington games; it is about the millions of Americans throughout this country who pay thousands of dollars to insurance companies and then get cut from coverage when they need it most. In the end, my main goal is to ensure that whatever Congress does will lower costs to families, small businesses and the nation. I trust that you will continue to contact me on matters of mutual concern.


With warmest regards,
I am Sincerely,
Mary L. Landrieu
United States Senator


P.S. I am excited to announce that my office is launching new e-newsletters to keep you updated on what I am working on here in Washington, D.C. If you would like to receive the e-newsletter, please go to http://landrieu.enews.senate.gov/mail. Please include your zip code and interest areas so I can stay in touch about issues you care about most.

=======================

Now, we know what they say, let's see how they vote.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Becoming A Bold Believer

John 7: 1-53

I - Be Resilient To Ridicule (vs 2-13)
Even those whom you love most may mock you, but keep on, they may also become believers if you continue the faith.

II - Be Commited To God's Will (vs 14-36)
Spiritual understanding doesn't come solely from studying the Bible. There must also be a commitment in our hearts to do God's will in our lives.

III - Be A Conduit Of Christ's Love (vs 37-39)
Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19:18) Yes, even if they are rude, snobby, jealous, spiteful....
He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (vs 36)

IV - Be Certain Jesus Is Lord (vs 40-53)
After hearing Jesus' words, some think He is the prophet mentioned by Moses in Deut 18:15. There are still many opinions of Jesus today and not all are great. So you really have to believe one of 3 things....He is a liar (by telling everyone He is the son of God), He is a lunatic (because He actually believed what he said), or that He is the Lord (because He is who he says He is)

We are saved by God's grace through our faith in Jesus. He requires nothing else of you, He will provide all else.

Happy Birthday Patrick

Happy Birthday to my "Super Guy"

Super Husband
Super Dad
Super Dedicated

We love you and hope you have a great day!



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mom aka Circus Ringmaster


Monday, November 9, 2009

The Littlest Pilgrim

I realize how insignificant this post seems in comparison to mckmama's day. So if you have a moment to read up on Stellan's story, I recommend it. And I don't do it nearly often enough, but tonight I thank the Lord for my healthy, beautiful children.

On to the Littlest Pilgrim... Last week, Erin brought home a paper from school saying she would be a pilgrim in their Thanksgiving program. She would need to wear "pilgrimish" attire. Where in the world am I supposed to find that? So Sunday afternoon, we set out to the trusty Goodwill store to see what we could find. Handkerchiefs and a slightly too big brown shirt. hmmmm. I may be able to work with that.

Here is what we came up with.



I suppose we'll have to do something about the nail polish :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Early Veterans Day Thank You!

My heart never fails to swell with pride when we honor our Veterans. Over 30 men at church have served in the military and I am proud to worship with them. Had it not been for these men and their sacrifices, and for men who served long before me, men who gave the ultimate sacrifice, we may not be able to worship Jesus in the way we are able to today.

I personally want to thank the men I have had the privelege of knowing....Pappy, Paw Paw Floyd, Mr John, Howard, Jack, Tony & Brian.

Thank You and may God continue to bless you and our wonderful country!





Saturday, November 7, 2009

When You Have Problems

I don't normally post Wednesday night studies, but really, who doesn't have problems that need a bit o' help?

John 6:1-71

During this time of teaching, Jesus performs the "feeding of the five thousand" miracle. It is the only miracle that is recorded in all four gospels. It also gives us three principles to follow when you have problems (or when you aren't having problems, for that matter).

I - Include God In Your Calculations (vs 5-15)
Jesus inquired of Phillip, "Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?" Phillip responded that they only had 200 denarii, not nearly enough money to buy a sufficient amount of bread. Then Andrew spoke up and said there was a boy with 5 loaves of barley bread (which were more like pancakes) and 2 small fish. Jesus ordered everyone in the crowd to sit down, and in the end, they had 12 baskets of food left over (one for each disciple to carry home) as a reminder, to never leave Jesus out of their calculations.

When Phillip left Jesus out of the equation, he only realized that they did not have enough money. Another very important note, Jesus was only given a little, but He gave thanks for it), and everyone got all they wanted. (vs 11)

II - Be Ready For An Examination (vs 16-21)
In the middle of a severe storm that night, approximately 3-4 miles from shore, or halfway across the sea, the disciples see someone walking on the water. (Mark 6:48 tells us that this happened on the 4th watch of the night, around 4-6am. The men were exhausted from rowing in this terrible storm.) Peter challenged the Lord that if it was really Him, allow Peter to walk on the water too. Which he did, UNTIL he took his eyes off Jesus, then he began to sink. After Jesus got into the boat with the men, they were immediately on the other side of the sea.

III - Make Sure Of Your Salvation (vs 22-71)
The very next day after Jesus fed the 5000, the crowds were all looking for Him, for selfish purposes. So He would feed them. Jesus told them not to look to him for perishable food, but for eternal life.

For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world (John 6:33)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Cubbie Bear

As some of you know, Erin attends AWANA Cubbies on Wednesday night at church. It is a great program, and each week at home, we read a story from her book & she has to memorize a corresponding bible verse for the upcoming weeks' class. Tonight the verse to recite was "They word is true, from the beginning... Psalm 119:160" For some reason neither of us did very well memorizing this one. Distraction maybe, it wasn't catchy to a tune, who knows...

So I go to her class after bible study tonight, and her teacher says, "I want to ask you something". Uh-oh. Is this ever good? "Can Erin read?" I sheepishly responded (because I KNEW what had happened), "Well, yes, some." She said, "I've noticed her looking at the book the last few weeks when she recites her verse."

Busted, baby girl!

So, while I am incredibly proud of my smart cubbie bear, (and her teacher was proud of her reading skills), I think her book may not be placed beside her next week!


Laugh it up!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mom, Can We Go To Pooh Sticks?

On this incredibly beautiful, perfect fall day, how could I say no?





Fruit of the Groom

John 15:1-16

Jesus reveals His plan for his disciples lives after He has departed and the Holy Spirit has been sent. Jesus is giving them instructions on not just how to survive, but to thrive in a world that will hate them for believing in Him.

I - Follow The Truthful Word, The Holy Bible
It is unmatched in its provision and unequal in its promises

II - Have A Fruitful Walk
A. Vines and branches are used to depict the relationship of Jesus with His followers.
Without the vine, there are no branches. Without the vine, we do not grow in Jesus. (Psalm 90:8, Romans 11)
B. Eight times in these scriptures we find the word "abide" which means to stay or continue. We must abide by Him. If we do, others will see our fruit of Jesus.
  a. If you are born again, you will tell people about Jesus
  b. You will make progress with Jesus and become more like Him
  c. Offer praises to Him continually

III - Be A Joyful Witness
A. Have a relationship so special with Jesus. He loves us as much as God loves Him
B. Have a friendship so sweet (vs 12) This is my commandment that you love one another...
  a. Be compassionate
  b. Have confidence (vs 14) You are my friend if you do what I command
  c. Be committed (vs 16) Go and bear fruit

I am going to heaven, will you go with me?

Greenwell Springs Baptist Church
Sunday, October 31

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lord I'm Amazed

You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound

Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
And how You love me

You paint the morning sky
With miracles in mind
My hope will always stand
For You Hold me in Your hand

How deep
How wide
How great is Your love for me