This is just a blog about my thoughts, my family, my everyday life. Because I am a Christian and have ups and downs like everyone else, I hope it will encourage others to either turn to Christ for the first time, or lean on Him when times are rough. Often life is just random and funny. I started this blog after many years of writing to my church about our vacations. They began to encourage me to blog and finally I am. Thanks for reading.

"Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace!" Nahum 1:15

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. John Piper

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lost In A Corn Maze

Have you ever been lost in a thick green maze of corn?  What about a dead, brown one?  I was invited to join a homeschooling field trip to Froberg's Corn Maze in Alvin.  Several families participated and we all managed to get lost in a scrawny corn field. (You would think from looking at its sparsity that we could see the exit from the entrance, but not so.)
We met in the parking lot of the market and rode in a wagon that carried us across a field and deposited us at the beginning....of the long journey ahead of us. One port-a-can stood near the entrance.  I made it my goal to steer clear of that.  Our young and sassy tour guide told us that we must obey the rules and that she was not above kicking us out if she needed to. Nice.  I heard that part of what she said, but failed to hear the rules themselves as I was sitting up near the tractor motor that drowned out her sweet voice.
We all had useless maps in the shape of a pumpkin, a spider, and...well, something else unidentifiable.  Each maze led to the other.  But no one was following anyone in particular and each group thought they were on the right trail...fools that we are.  I was reminded that we must stay on the path and not cross the puny strings that roped off the fields.  There were dead ends marked by hay bales with signs that said, "ha ha wrong way." I saw those signs waaaay too many times.
Our group stayed together most of the time and so we stayed lost most of the time.  The teenagers ran wildly this way and that and we caught a glimpse of them now and then.  The little ones cried from starvation and weariness.  We were like Jews in the wilderness.  I stopped with my nephew Owen and niece Aubrey to shuck a cob of corn still hanging on the brown, dead stalk.  We did not pull it, but unwrapped it until we found yellow.  A voice told me that it was against the rules. I ignored it.
Soon it was clear that we were just going in circles.  As the others started down a repeated path, I chose to break the rules.  I cheated.  I was not alone in my cheat.  Rowan Green, an intelligent five year old - wise beyond her years - followed me.  Her mom Shiloh came, too.  She said she was following her cheating pastor's wife. Another nice.  We jumped over two ropes and in two turns and we were out!  Our joy was met by a table full of teenagers sarcastically remarking, "Y'all cheated?"  I replied with a bold 'yes!' and then told them to go find the other lost Jews. My son Lee was holding baby Ivy and asked how we could get lost. I ignored him, too.
The girls fell on the ground in a dead faint upon exiting, vowing to never enter a corn maze again.  Though I did not join them in the dirt, I silently made that vow, too.
Trouble - Keison, Brennan, Joel, Dallen

Stop!  Do not enter!!  Abort! Abort!




Trying not to look lost.

Shiloh and Rowan, free at last!

Owen, Emma, Molly, Aubrey

Lee and Ivy

Never again.

Duck racing.

Kasie, Aubrey, Owen
Luke, Emma, Bella

Keison, Layton, Rowan, Brennan, Dallen
Keison made his mom promise this would not be on Facebook.  I however, promised him nothing.
Molly, Owen, Aubrey

Gina, Joel, Seth

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Everyone Wants Something From Someone

Everyone wants something from someone. It may be something tangible and valuable, but most of the time it is invisible and costs nothing: a hug, a nod of approval, a smile, affirmation, confirmation.  It isn't that everyone wants something from everyone, but everyone wants something from someone - and usually it's a particular person.
Moms want hugs from their children.
Children want acceptance from their parents.
Employees want recognition from their bosses.
Wives want love from their husbands and husbands want respect from their wives.
If my self worth depends on another human being, I am in big trouble. Man will always fail man sooner or later.  If the people/things around me are what brings me comfort and security, then let me become blind to them.  If money in the bank and possessions are what bring me pleasure, then let them be burned.  If my peace and joy are determined by anything this world has to offer, I am destined for disappointment. I will never be satisfied. NO ONE on earth can bear the reponsibility of making someone else happy all the time.  It is impossible...and yet we expect it from others every day.
What I put between me and God hides His face from me.  Oh, how He longs to see my face and be my Source of peace and joy. God never fails man.

1 John 2:15-17  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions- is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 

Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. 

Romans 5:5  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Seeds of North Korea.

God loves to grow things from seeds. We eat from those seeds and nourishment is provided for us.  God takes the tiny and makes the big.  He is all about growing and He can do it wherever He chooses.  In fact, I believe God delights in doing the impossible.
Deep in a jungle in Ecuador, isolated from the world by fear, ignorance, and hatred, a people needed the Gospel.  They were a savage tribe - the Aucas. God spoke to the hearts of some men thousands of miles away and planted a seed of desire in them to 'go and tell.' After years of much planning and prayer, they went.  Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, Nate Saint, and Ed McCully may today be a forgotten group of men had they not been martyred as they were. And yet the seed spread because God grew it.
There are still deep jungles isolated by fear, ignorance, and hatred...and people still need the gospel.  Some jungles do not contain thick greenery and vines hanging from trees. Instead they are made of concrete and noise. Man in the city is a civilized savage and he continues to deny his need for a Savior. But God's seeds of truth go into the most unwelcomed and forbidden places, breaking down the walls of ignorance, hatred, and fear.  He won't be shut out.
When North Korea decided to execute eighty people for watching movies or owning a Bible...and forced ten thousand others to gather and watch, God watched, too.  In a country determined to control its citizens by limitng their freedom and secluding them from the world beyond their borders, God sent His Seed and it grew truth. In a country determined to silence truth, Truth overcame and was broadcast across the world.
'O Lord Jesus, May Your light shine brighter than ever in North Korea.  May the seeds of Your Gospel grow a kingdom of believers.  May man's attempt to squelch it be the fuel for encouragement and faith.  You grow hope wherever You desire.  Grow it strong in North Korea.  Grow it strong in me, too.'

John 8:31-32  Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jury Duty

This week I showed up as summoned for jury duty. I was number 1278.  Tommy went with me since he had nothing else to do - that is a joke - and I am glad he did because everything had changed.  The jury parking lot is now in a different location, and the jury rooms are as well.  There are four of them.  I was assigned to Jury Room #1.  It was full of people, anxiously waiting to see if they were to be the chosen or the unchosen....and secretly wishing to be the latter.  Okay, maybe some not so secretly by the expressions on their faces.  No one ever seems to want to be picked for a jury, and yet our country is envied across the globe for its fair judicial system.  Well, I guess it is as fair as they come, but not without its flaws.  We were soon told that all of us would be called for a panel and  so we watched the screen and waited for our numbers to appear.
I was in the second panel and once we were in the hall, I was given number 21 out of 24.  Not bad.  Number 20 asked me if she could borrow a pen.  (If you know me, you know I always carry several in my purse.)  I could have said, "What color?" but I refrained.  We began to converse and I learned that her daughter had lost a baby the day before. Tears filled her eyes and I knew there was another place she would rather be than here.  I promised to pray for them.
We did not get to sit together as they seated us in rows of 10 and she was on one end and I began the next row.  As questions began to flow from the attorneys in front of us, I was struck by people's answers.  They had all kinds of opposition and grievances toward both lawyers, but when asked if they could render a just verdict despite their opinions, they all answered 'yes.'  I guess no one wants to be labelled unfair or unjust when rendering a verdict to another human being.  Everyone had a story of mistrust and wrong doing, and I guess they were trying to convince the attorneys not to pick them. I said very little and they asked me very little.
Since there were only six needed for this jury, the selection ended with number 17.  I have been called to jury duty many times, but have never been chosen.  And so my record remains intact.
I always take a book or something to write on in order to redeem my time while waiting. Tim Keller's book, "The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness" went with me that day so I could drill it more into my head.  Ironically, I came across a court scene and some quotes from the book that are applicable to this subject.
Please read below:

From the book, p. 37
"...what we are all looking for is an ultimate verdict that we are important and valuable.  We look for that ultimate verdict every day in all the situations and people around us.  And that means that every single day, we are on trial.  Every day, we put ourselves back in a courtroom.  
...In the courtroom, you have the prosecution and the defence.  And everything we do is providing evidence for the prosecution or evidence for the defence.  Some days we feel we are winning the trial and other days we feel we are losing it.  But Paul says that he has found the secret.  The trial is over for him.  He is out of the courtroom.  It is gone.  It is over. Because the ultimate verdict is in.
p. 41...Jesus went on trial instead.  Jesus went into the courtroom.  He was on trial.  It was an unjust trial in a kangaroo court - but He didn't complain....He faced the trial that should be ours so that we do not have to face any more trials."  Tim Keller

This is the only courtroom that will ever matter to me. One Man crucified for my crimes against a holy God. I owed a debt I could not pay.  He paid a debt He did not owe.
What sacrifice, what love.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Morning Conversation With My Youngest Brother

Siblings have a language all their own at times.  It is unique and not everyone would understand the underlying connection made by the odd humor shared.  Though invisible, it is there and it brings a smile that lingers through the day.  I never see it coming, but I recognize the familiar key words to the progression into insanity. Once the word "mummy" is said, anything goes.
Early this morning, my brother brought over some soup in a crock pot for tonight's get together.  He has a key, so he came in and left the pot on the kitchen counter as we were still asleep.  I called him when I got up and asked him when to plug it in.
Me: Do I just plug it in?  Kasie has it set on low.
Wilbur: Yes, I guess so.  There is a cold front coming in and with it are coming some mummies, so watch out.
(There it is.)
Me: Do they have their blankies?
Wilbur: Some do, but the ones that don't are really mad.
Me: Do they have bologna sandwiches?
Wilbur: No, but they know Godzilla.
Me: Everyone knows Godzilla.
Wilbur: He is the big man on campus.
Me: Is that what it says on their Capital One cards - 'I know Godzilla?'

And then my day begins.  Just thought I would make you either smile or wonder at my maturity level.  Either works for me.  I am sixty, after all.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Looking Back

A few of the homeschoolers in our church are studying the Depression, which basically lasted from 1929 to 1940.  They wanted to interview some who had lived during that hear of their experiences and what life was like then.  I loaded my car with three 'young at hearts' (my mom, Tommy's mom, and Ernestine) and we headed for the Jackson home.  I felt like I was chauffeuring the Golden Girls. They did not all know each other, but their memories bonded them instantly.  Mr. and Mrs. Cole joined us there.  We were greeted at the door by the Jackson boys and the Johnson children.
After a delightful lunch,we sat in the living room and the questions began.
1. How many pairs of shoes did you own?
Two.  One for weekdays and one for Sunday and you never wore Sunday shoes during the week.
2. What was your house like?
Cold in the winter and the outhouse was outside....along with the outdated Sears catalog. (Smile.)
3. What candies did you enjoy?
Chum gum, Guess What's, BB Bats
4.  What games did you play?
Kick the Can, Jump rope, Jacks, Hopscotch, Scrub ball, Marbles
5. Food?
Lots of beans. BTW - my chiroprator recently told me that beans are a super food and the more you eat, the less gas you will have as your body adjusts.  Hmmm. Is that true?
Soup lines were for those who had no other means of eating.
6. What were jobs like?
Everyone in the family worked, either around the farm or doing odd jobs.  Everyone knew they had to contribute to the family, not all monetarily, but by helping to get things done.
7. What were schools like?
One room school houses with all grades.  Lunches were wrapped in newspaper and tied with string.  (My grandmother taught in a one room school house.)
8. Chores?
Feeding chickens, picking up the dead ones, and laundry.  Wash day took all day and was done with a wash board and tub. Some picked cotton in order to earn enough money for school clothes.
There were no specialty stores, just general ones.  Clothes were mostly handmade. Pennies were broken down into mills and that was the tax used on items bought. Phones had party lines and others could listen in on your calls. (I just can't imagine that, at all, but it might have cut down on gossip!)
My mother-in-law Shirley lived in Oklahoma and she and the other children would go into town on Saturdays just to watch the Indians come in. (Perhaps the Indians came to town just to watch the children.)
Once, a train went through her home town carrying President Roosevelt.  When it stopped, she was able to hear him speak from the back of the caboose.  Most Americans did not even know that he was in a wheel chair.  They gathered around the radio to hear him speak.
My mom lived in Illinois and my grandmother would tell her to keep away from the gypsies.  They often took whatever they wanted, and were even known to steal children.
Mr. Cole said that he did not know he was poor until someone told him.  Everyone else felt the same.  Isn't childhood wonderful?
When it was time to leave, we said our good byes and on the way home, the Golden Girls were busy planning the next adventure.  I will let you know....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Carpe Diem

Carpe diem.  Noun. Latin 1817. The enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future.  Pluck the day.  Seize the day.
Originating from a poem by Quintus Horatius Flaccus, more widely known as Horace.
The line in the poem is translated "Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow."
What a nugget of truth to be grasped!  Are you like me?  Do you ever fail to seize the day...or the moment?
Am I making the most of the time given me?  Will I one day think, "I wanted to do more, say more, play more?"  I doubt any of us will want to have worked more.  This moment, this day is what you and I have.  Seize it to the best of your abilities.
What difference can you make for someone else?  Do it!

James 4:13-14  Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit" yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 

Proverbs 27:1  Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Little Moment of Irony and Truth

Last night our family gathered for weekly Bible study.  The children usually come donning pajamas and some are even put to bed here.  My sister-in-law brought three of their grandchildren with her.  Holden, all of two, was wearing Superman pjs complete with cape.  He is literally faster than a speeding bullet.  None of us can keep up with him and after a while, we all give up.  (His plan works well, doesn't it?)  He is everywhere all at once.
"Momette" as Laurette is called by the grands, found him investigating  in a room alone and shooed him out.  He ran to me, wrapping his arms around my legs, crying, "Save me! Hold me!"  (If he only knew Momette and I were in this together.)  As I looked down at his little face, I had to laugh out loud.  The irony! Superman asking to be saved!  I wish I had taken a picture, but the moment passed. Before long, Superman was asleep, his super energy gone until morning.
He will be grown before we know it.  My prayer is that someday he will recognize his need of a real Savior.

Proverbs 20:11  Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright. 

Matthew 18:1-5  At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Providence Baptist Church's Annual Fall Festival

Jeremy and Aubrey Fleming opened their home again to all of us...and once again, we were blessed!  I think this was the largest attendance we have ever had.  The pictures really say it all. I brought three of my grandchildren with me and spent most of my time taking pictures and chasing them down.  Allowing for the possibility that one of them would end up muddy, I brought extra clothes.  Luke was glad I did. Somehow he managed to end up with dirt from head to toe. Hmmm.
There were hayrides, 'Guess How Many' candies in the jar, petting animals, and fishing.  Games of horseshoes and football also took place.  When the dinner bell rang, lines formed and plates were filled.  We ended our time together with singing as the sun went down.  God is good.
Molly holding Bella
Addicus, Karis, Penny, Ava, Logan
Caleb, Hannah, David


Treehouse fun!
Chris and Rowan...and donkeys.  One of them bit Rowans's hand after the picture!

Jesse, Hank, Layton and a very big catfish!
Victoria, Madeline, Gina, Michele

Amy and Amy, with Elizabeth and Ava

Micaella and Micah are the winners!  They tied!
Karen's famous apples


Bella and Emma enjoy a picnic of desserts!

Linda and Michele are worker bees.

Luke being a little boy.