Thursday, January 27, 2011

Proud Momma Moment

Our school participates in the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) speech meet each year.  Last year, Jackson wrote an original speech for the meet and I shared it with all of you.  Cameron chose to write his own speech this time around and again, I want to share.  It is definitely a proud moment to see your child get up in front of others and speak...especially their own thoughts.  Enjoy...
What Basketball Means to Me 
In 1891, James Naismith invented the game of basketball. He created it because the kids at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, needed something to do during the winter. The game started out with 13 basic rules and used a soccer ball and a peach basket. Basketball is much different now, but is still fun, fast and a way to share your faith.
Basketball can be fun for everyone. It is enjoyable because you can play with your friends and make new friends. You can even join a team and compete against others. When your team wins a lot of games you can go to tournaments and see how far you can make it.
In basketball, you need to be fast as you run down the court and make layups. You also need to move quickly on defense so you can stay in front of your man. Passing can get your team down the court faster and can get you closer to the goal. One good thing about going fast is that you have no time to focus on mistakes.
Basketball is a good way to share your faith with others. While you are practicing, you can share Christ with your teammates by being nice and respectful to the coaches. When someone falls down, you can pick them back up and offer encouraging words. At the end of the game, whether you win or lose, you need to have good sportsmanship as you reflect Jesus.

The game that started with 13 rules and used a soccer ball and peach basket, is now a sport played around the world. James Naismith created basketball so kids could have fun. He met the need of kids by creating a sport they could play during the winter. Even now, we continue playing the fun game of basketball.
Should have guessed it would be about basketball!  Love that boy!!  He goes to the regional speech meet in February.  I'll let you know how he does.  Thanks for loving him, too!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Resolution Reboot

16 days into the new year and my new year's resolution is no more.  I gave in...did the very thing I wanted to not do anymore.  "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."  Thankfully, grace gives us a new start!  When I sin...or cave in...or drink more Coke than I isn't the end of the world.  All I have to do is reboot!  Press ctrl-alt-del and begin again.

I John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Stand in God's presence.  Bask in His grace.  Receive the forgiveness His blood provides and begin anew!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Turning Bitter to Sweet

I have been blessed with the opportunity to sit under the teaching of Jack Carroll each Sunday morning at church.  He is truly a teacher at heart and has an obvious passion for the Word of God.  He researches and studies in preparation for leading us verse by verse through the Scripture and I come each time with a heart of anticipation.  I am ready for the discoveries God leads him to present.  This past Sunday was no exception. 

We are working through Exodus with Moses leading the children of Israel out of captivity.  They have just experienced the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea.  You would expect them to be in sheer awe of God...I mean, His very presence is travelling with them and they walked through walls of water...on DRY ground!  WOW!!

Exodus 15:22-25 (msg)
"Moses led Israel from the Red Sea on to the Wilderness of Shur.  They traveled for three days through the wilderness without finding any water.  They got to Marah, but they couldn't drink the water at Marah:  it was bitter.  That's why they called the place Marah (bitter).  And the people complained to Moses, "So what are we supposed to drink?"  So Moses cried out in prayer to God.  God pointed him to a stick of wood.  Moses threw it into the water and the water turned sweet."

Three days without water...I just can't imagine.  I keep a cup of water at my desk and drink on it all day as I refill it to my heart's content.  Perhaps there is some justification in their complaining.  Wandering in the desert for 3 days without water with their families, which include small children.  You know toddlers...they tend to cry if they don't get what they want.  5 year old girls do, too...or maybe just my 5 year old girl!  I cannot imagine being in the wilderness with her for 3 days without water...ugly! 

When they finally arrive at water; it is bitter, undrinkable.  I wonder if perhaps it was a picture of their hearts.  There are times in Exodus where Israel begged to go back to Egypt because they had the basic necessities.  They weren't really living but they weren't miserable either.  They had become content in their bondage and perhaps they had become bitter towards Moses or even God for bringing them to the wilderness.  And they complained.

Complaining always brings about the desired result, right? NOT!!  In my home, complaining or crying is a guarantee that the opposite will occur.  God didn't give in to their complaints either.  Fortunately for them, Moses had a different solution. 

He prayed.  God answered.  He pointed him to a stick of a cross.

Moses tossed the wood into the water and it became sweet.  Cross + bitterness = sweetness

I like that equation.  I love that the blood of Jesus doesn't just cover my sins; it changes my heart.  The blood transforms my emotions that make Satan grin into the emotions that make God rejoice. 

There have been many things in life that have caused me grief that I could remain bitter about.  My mom receiving the ultimate healing from cancer as she is present with the Lord just months after our college spent 24 hours in prayer for one of our Deans and he was healed from his cancer.  A trusted denominational leader that did not follow through on his word and we lost our house, our ministry position and our confidence and ended up feeling abandoned and isolated.

I'm stopping there because I don't want to be reminded of the past because God has led me in forgiveness and understanding.  His ways are higher than mine and I trust Him!  I choose to view the bitterness through the blood of Jesus and see His sweet mercies.  When you feel the effects of bitterness in your soul, throw the cross right into the mix and watch and see His sweetness overtake you!

God's loyal love couldn't have run out, His merciful love couldn't have dried up.  They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!  I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over), He's all I've got left.  Lamentations 3:22-24 (msg)

Thank you, Jack Carroll for teaching me.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year


For a family that likes numbers, this year has some great dates in it and the year itself starts off cool!  My dad and stepmom got married on 2/2/02. I was born on 9/29/69 and saved on 4/24/74 (can't plan these things!).  Jackson was born on 7/8/99 and then Cameron on 6/7/00.  So their birthdays are 6/7, 7/8.  How easy is that to remember...and my dad needs help remembering!  :)  So, when we found out Chloe was due on May 9th we all prayed she would be born on the 6th so the birthdays would be 5/6, 6/7, 7/8.  However, that girl is an independent spirit and she came on April 26th!  (sidenote...LOVE that all 3 of my babies were born before their due dates!  thank you children!)  I was a little sad about her birth date until my dad pointed out that his birthday is April 13th and then 13 days later it is Chloe's.  Numbers matter to my dad.  :)

Numbers matter in the Bible as well and there are much smarter people than I to teach on it.  However, I do know 7 is the number of completion and 40 is the number of suffering.  I was glad to turn 40 because that meant my suffering was over...right?!  :)

This was not on mind when I began this did this happen?!  Rabbit trail before I even got going!  What a year this is going to be!  :)  hahahahaha

Last night we spent the hours leading up to the new year with close family friends and had a ball!! 

We had a bonfire which was fueled by a Christmas tree!  I was so mesmerized by the height of the flames that by the time it dawned on me to take a picture the flames had dropped by about 4 feet!  BIG flames!

With a fire, comes smores and the kids were not disappointed.  They were given pitchfork type prongs because regular hangars would not do, nor would regular marshmallows! Oh no!  We had gigantic, seriously HUGE marshmallows!  The kids laughed it up and toasted them up.  Can't beat melting chocolate with marshmallow and graham crackers!  BIG taste!

Then, we proceeded to the front yard with our bags of fireworks...sparklers, snap pops, roman candles, flashers, fountains and high in the sky fireworks!  The kids had so much fun and the dads were good sports to keep the fireworks lit and everyone safe.  Except for the moment when some of the bigger kids escaped to the end of the driveway and threw smoke bombs across the street and a small fire began in the neighbors yard.  They came running back up to the porch saying, "We didn't do it!  We didn't do it!"  I'm sure they didn' was a smoke bomb, however, back across the street they went with a bucket of water and an apology.  We stayed back and laughed!  BIG fun!

For our finale, everyone broke out their cans of silly string and a war began!  We had soldiers from 5 years old to grandpas and noone was free from attack.  Most kids went full blast with a can in each hand.  Some were more strategic and used just one to begin with and then pulled out their backup when others were out.  There was a mess all over the driveway but smiles all over the faces of everyone covered in silly string!  BIG, BIG fun!

We cleaned up as best we could and headed inside just in time to hear Dick Clark countdown the ball drop in New York City.  We kissed our kids, shouted "Happy New Year!" and headed home.  We tucked our children in bed and I watched the clock tick closer to our actual midnight celebration and enjoyed some quiet contemplation.

2010 was full of heartbreak, confusion and uncertainty but it was also full of peace.  It most definitely had to be the peace that passes understanding because who in their right minds would put those four words together.  It's like a Sesame Street "Which one doesn't belong?  Which one is not like the others?" game.  Peace and heartbreak...peace and confusion...peace and uncertainty?

Peace is the victor when the Victor reigns in your life.  It is a day by day positioning and I pray the experiences of 2010 have prepared me for the continual submission to the Authority who becomes my Peace.