Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas in the South














We woke up to a white Christmas! I've lived in the south all my life, and I don't recall this ever happening here. I'm not a big fan of snow, but I must admit that waking up on Christmas morning to inches of snow was really neat. My kids thoroughly enjoyed playing in it and building a snowman. The dog didn't seem to appreciate it too much, though.

As I was thinking about this small "miracle", I couldn't help but thank God for it and ask Him to let the snow be a sign of larger miracles that I know others are in need of. Physical healing, restored marriages, jobs/financial security, just to name a few. God is still a God of miracles. Christmas is, in fact, a celebration of the greatest miracle of all - the birth of our Savior. Waking up to snow was, to me, a beautiful reminder that God continues to extend His love toward us in a variety of ways.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

YES! We Can!

A very good discussion was started on facebook the other day, and I wanted to give a more detailed explanation of what I believe. The question was, "Is it possible for a person to life life being sin-free? Or maybe a portion of life?". Several comments were made, with the majority feeling that it is NOT possible for us to live sin-free. There were also a few that leaned toward where I stand, that, "YES! We can!" (no, I'm not on the Obama band wagon, I just borrowed the phrase). Since this is such an awesome question that my friend asked, I am delighted to share what God has been and presently is showing me concerning how I live daily. In fact, I'm very eager to share what I stand FOR, since all too often I've been sharing what I stand against. So, let me get to it:

1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NASB) says, "Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." I believe that if Paul thought that we were, even as FORGIVEN believers in Christ, going to continue to sin because that's how it is, then he would not waste his breath telling us to "discipline" ourselves "for the purpose of godliness".

Galatians 5:16-17 (NASB) says, "I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets it's desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another." Again, why would Paul tell us to do something that is impossible? The exhortation to "walk by the Spirit" seems pretty clear to me. Now, is it easy? No. Possible? YES!

When a person receives Christ into their heart, he/she becomes a "new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17). Our daily battles are "not with flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Eph. 6:12), which means that we absolutely MUST not "conform any longer to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you WILL be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)

Christ lived a perfect life. Believers in Christ are IN CHRIST. It IS possible for us to live as He did. God tells us to "be holy because I am holy" (I Peter 1:15). God is not going to tell us to do something that He will not enable us to do.

Before I go any further, I just want to make sure that I'm being clear. I'm not saying that once we are saved we are perfect. I'm saying (what I believe the BIBLE to say) that we don't have to sin any longer! According to Romans 6, we have been set free from the slavery of sin. Did you see that? We have been, it's ALREADY DONE! Now, it's our job to believe what God says about who WE ARE. We are saints of God. The word saint means, "most holy". Have you heard the quote, "I think, therefore I am"? Well, I am learning that to be exactly what happens. If we continue to tell ourselves and think that we are only "sinners saved by grace", then we will continue to sin. However, if we believe what God's word says, that we are "saints", then we will more likely live like it! Our spiritual walk solely depends on what our mind-set is. We are told over and over to "live in the Spirit", to "set our minds" on things above, etc. In Romans 8:4-6 we are told, "in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace". Did you notice how a person lives? We live according to how we have our minds set. It's a spiritual battle and it takes place in our minds. We CAN live a sinless life. My Savior did not die for me to live an almost sinless life! He lived so that I may live. So that I might have life more abundantly (John 10:10)!

Let me close with Ephesians 4:22-24:

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

YES! We CAN!

Monday, October 18, 2010

an unpopular position

Let me start by admitting that my family has participated in past events that we now regret. I'm referring to Halloween. Although my kids have never technically done the "trick or treat" thing, our local church body has always provided some sort of "alternative" that we have participated in. In the earlier years it was a skating party where the church rented a local rink so that it was only our people who attended. The kids dressed up in a "nice" costumes. There was always a costume contest and of course the insane amount of candy to take home. Then a few years this changed into a "trunk or treat" event where the church members decorate their car trunks or truck beds in some sort of theme, and again the kids (and adults) dressed up. However, with this type of event it was opened up to the community with the hopes that it would be an "outreach" to them; you know, an opportunity to share Christ and our faith. A contest was held for the best in show, if you will. With the event being open, however, there is no control over the costumes. This means, of course, that anybody can show up with, say, an ax appearing to be slicing through their skull, or girls coming scantily dressed up as Elvira, etc.

I will say that throughout the years of participating in these events, I felt deep down that it was wrong. I just didn't want to "deprive my children of the fun", and calling it an "alternative" somehow eased the guilt - a little. But now that I have "grown up" (are you tired of my quotation marks yet?), I realize how wrong my husband and I have been in allowing this to go on. We've talked to our kids about it and ironically they both say that they've never really enjoyed it, either! What a shame! We've been sell-outs for no reason whatsoever!

Now I know, trust me, I KNOW that most people don't see the harm in Halloween. This is only because they (used to be WE) don't want to see the harm. As my husband said, all you have to do is look at the movies that come out every year to see how wicked Halloween is. Last year we decided to not watch TV during the month of October because of the commercials that come on (even on the "child-friendly" channels) advertising horror movies and such.

I have researched the origins of Halloween more thoroughly, and while I could share with you the information that I came across, I'm not going to. After all, you can google it for yourself if you are so inclined. Again, I'll agree with my husband that all you have to do is look around you. What is glorified during this time of year? Death. Fear.

Of course there are also multiple Scriptures I could share with you, but again, I'll leave that up to the one who really wants to know. If for some reason you don't have access to the Bible and you sincerely want to know, ask me and I'll be glad to provide those resources.

Another unpopular view - and this one is going to probably hurt the most - is concerning Christmas. I will be upfront and tell you that I deliberately have NOT looked into everything that coincides with this holiday simply because I don't know if I have enough fight in me! (I know as I type this that I will eventually research more fully our Christmas traditions and their origin. I just don't like to remain ignorant of things if I can help it). What do I mean? Well, I'm pretty sure that most of our symbols (ie, the tree, wreath, lights, etc.) are from pagan rituals, and if that is true, then I will not want to have any part of it. And of course, good ole St. Nick is near and dear to almost everyone's heart. Some of my closest friends practice the Santa tradition, and they know where I stand, yet by the grace of God we still remain close friends!

So those are just a couple of the unpopular positions that I take along with a lot of flack, I might add! However, I won't be answering to any man for my decisions; I'll be facing my Almighty God, and I desperately desire for Him to be pleased and Jesus Christ glorified.

Where do you stand?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Christian Fraternities

As I was checking my facebook page this morning, I came across a video snippet of a man sharing his testimony of how/when he became a follower of Christ. I got slightly distracted, however, when he mentioned that he had attended a Christian college and joined a fraternity. I thought, "What?! Fraternities at Christian colleges?!" That doesn't make sense to me. According to Webster, a fraternity is "a group of people associated or formally organized for a common purpose, interest or pleasure". Isn't being a Christian all the "brotherhood" one needs? Why model something the world does? Aren't we to be in the world but not OF the world (John 17)? Correct me if I'm wrong, or tell me to chill out if I'm making too big a deal out of this, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.

Regardless of my opinion, evidently God used this situation to draw the man to Him, as well as others in the fraternity.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

personality trait or sin?

Yesterday I was reading through the local newspaper when a particular article caught my eye. It was a little write-up about the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat that a local performing arts club has been putting on. Since this is my favorite musical of all, my attention was immediately captured.

The article was written by a couple of clinical psychologists. They entitled it, "Pain can turn around bad traits". The author's attempt to explain the events of Joseph of the Bible, which is what the musical is based on. As I was reading, I became quickly perturbed by their take on things. In the second paragraph the authors write, "What are referred to spiritually as 'seven deadly sins' are psychologically referred to as pathological personality traits". Throughout the article they continue to counter "sin" or "sins" with pathological personality trait(s). Following is the definition of pathological:

path·o·log·i·cal/ˌpaTHəˈläjikəl/Adjective

1. Of or relating to pathology.
2. Involving, caused by, or of the nature of a physical or mental disease.

If this is truly how the world views sin, and I've no doubt whatsoever it does, then no wonder the majority of the world continues to live hopelessly enslaved. You see, if things such as pride, envy, greed, gossip, hatred, bitterness, etc. are simply personality traits, then there isn't a whole lot that one can do to overcome them, now is there?! However, if we come to realize that those things are indeed sin and believe what the Bible says about sin, then we can also believe that Christ died for our sins and once we are saved we no longer HAVE to sin!Personally, even though it's not easy to admit when I've sinned, I would MUCH rather acknowledge and admit my sin and know that I CAN CHOOSE NOT TO DO IT AGAIN compared to a "pathological personality trait", which according to it's definition is a disease!

I'm shaking my head in disbelief as I write this. I guess I just don't understand the world's view and I must admit I'm glad that I don't.

I've posted a video to my favorite song from my favorite musical! I wasn't able to go see the local performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat because of budget and scheduling conflicts, which was a big disappointment to me. However, thanks to youtube, I can watch clips of it at my convenience.

The reason this song is my favorite one is because it portrays Joseph at his lowest point but he still has hope. Hope that can only come from a living, faithful God! Enjoy!



















Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Passions

There are many things in my life about which I would characterize myself as being passionate. The main categories would be:

  • My Faith
  • My Family
  • My Country

Concerning my faith: God has been and continues to be my Rock, my Fortress and a very present help in time of trouble. However, He is so much more than that! God has become my dearest friend. He is my mentor, my counselor and the shoulder upon which I often cry. He loves me, disciplines me, comforts me, exhorts me, sustains me. His Word means more to me today than it ever has before! It is for freedom that Christ has set me free (Galatians 5:1)! Daily He reminds me of how IN CHRIST I am no longer a slave to sin! I consider myself passionate about my faith! (read Colossians)

Concerning my family: Honestly I don't even know where to begin to explain how passionate I am about my family. Not only my husband and children, but my aunts, uncles, cousins and those dear friends whom I consider to be part of my blood-line. Because of my passion for my family I have begun a genealogical search so we can remember our roots. I home-school my children (Dwight's children, too, by the way!). I garden to provide fresh food and help with the finances. Also, I've recently begun to learn how to can/preserve the food we grow AND I've started a stockpile of sorts for "just in case" situations. I am passionate about my family!

Concerning my country: Well, these days so much seems to be going wrong with it that makes me want to weep. Daily I read the headlines and daily I am crushed. I scarcely recognize America as the UNITED States. It seems we are being torn apart piece by piece. This makes me want to know more about how America was started. WHY people risked their lives to come here in the first place, and WHY so many people today are content with being clueless about our past, present and future! I just don't understand how a person can be happy NOT knowing the answers! I am passionate about my country!

The above things are what I am passionate FOR. Below are the things I'm passionately opposed to:

  • Ignorance
  • Foul language
  • Complacency

Concerning ignorance: It agitates me. Not only ignorance concerning our country's heritage, but ignorance period. There is absolutely NO excuse for a person to be ignorant! The world is full of information just waiting to be absorbed. The main thing is to be sure that when you search, you search for TRUTH. The main truth that a person should seek is the truth about God. The Bible is clear in that every person knows within their innermost being that God exists! (read Romans 1) There is no excuse. (please don't think that I feel I know it all. That would be silly. I am simply passionate about being informed)

Concerning foul language: I see no reason to use curse words, except for the occasional stubbed toe situation. Even then, one could still find an expletive that isn't vulgar. My personal favorite is "JIMINY CRICKET".

Concerning complacency: I've been guilty of this to know that it's a sad place to be. My definition of being complacent is simply giving up. According to thefreedictionary.com, however, it's defined as "A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger, trouble, or controversy." A lot of people simply don't want to know what's going on in the world. Even if they do know what's going on, they don't care - as long as it doesn't directly affect them. The place this most concerns me is within the body of Christ. Again, let me say that this is an area in which I HAVE BEEN GUILTY in the past, so I am not pointing fingers are passing judgment. I just know what it looks like, and it ain't purty! Christians need to "wake up from your slumber" (Romans 13) and be passionate for their faith in CHRIST!

So now on to the minor things about which I'm passionate:

  • chocolate
  • coffee
  • quiet time
  • reading
If there is ever a day I can include all of the above - SWEET!

Now, how about you?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

unknown

Have you ever been burdened with something, but you don't know exactly what? I'm not talking about the type of burden where you have too much on you all at once, but more like an uneasy feeling. That's how I've been for a couple of weeks. There have been several times when I could just literally stop and weep for no apparent reason.

There is nothing going on in my own personal life that would make me feel this way. What I mean is, we are not going through any sort of crisis - praise God! I am personally growing closer to the Lord daily, so it's not a dry, wandering-through-the-wilderness type of feeling. I just don't know what "it" is.

If you've ever gone through a period like this, I'd like to hear about it. Scripture is encouraged!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

great quote

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I am an avid reader. If a person could earn a college degree simply from reading great quantities of books, then I would have several degrees under my belt by now, but sadly, no degrees adorn my walls.

Currently I am reading approximately three different books (I always swore I wouldn't do that). The one I'll be sharing the quote from is The Core of Christianity, Rediscovering Authentic Unity and Personal Wholeness in Christ by Neil T. Anderson. I have read multiple books written by Dr. Anderson. I have heard him speak at a Freedom in Christ conference and I have personally spoken with him. He is an amazing, humble, gifted person and exhorts people to seek the truth.

The passage from the book that I want to share with you is this,

"You can't focus on what is wrong for too long. It will have a negative effect on your life. We shouldn't be known for what we don't believe, rather for what we do believe. Growing Christians are proclaimers, not disclaimers. Commit yourself to know the truth and that will expose the lies. Just knowing the lies by itself does not reveal the truth."

I love that! I have to admit that sometimes I tend to focus on the negative way too much. I think it's because I see everything pretty much as simply BLACK or WHITE, RIGHT or WRONG. This was a gentle reminder for me to take a step back and remember that I personally need to SEEK THE TRUTH, which is the Word of God, because simply knowing the lie is not enough.

Psalm 25:4-5 says,

"Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long."

Psalm 26:2-4 says, "Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for Your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in Your truth. I do not sit with deceitful men, nor do I consort with hypocrites."

Proverbs 23:23 says, "Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding."

John 6:46-48 says, "No one has seen the Father except the One Who is from God; only He has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life, I (Jesus) am the Bread of Life."

John 8:32 says, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."







Tuesday, May 4, 2010

what will be your epitaph?

This past Sunday we had a special speaker, Dr. Jerry Spencer, deliver a message during our church service. His message was based on 2 Chronicles 20. In this passage it speaks of King Jehoshaphat and his response to the bad news of a large army headed his way. Jehoshaphat did not run around ringing his hands with worry and fear, nor did he automatically command his army to go meet the enemy head-on. Instead, he called ALL of the people together and inquired of the LORD. One of my favorite parts of this passage is where he readily admits to God, "O our God... we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You." (verse 12) How many times are you faced with a situation and you just don't know to do? I'm facing one now. It's good to know we're not alone, isn't it? Anyway, that's not the point of my post today.

This morning I re-read 2 Chronicles 20. Actually I started in chapter 19 and read through to chapter 21. There is a stark contrast which is what I wanted to focus on today. I've already mentioned that King Jehoshaphat, facing a dangerous and alarming situation, called his people together to inquire of God. Verse 13 of chapter 20 says, "All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD." I meditated on that verse for a bit. ALL of the men WITH their wives, CHILDREN AND LITTLE ONES stood there before the LORD. Oh, the things that could be accomplished for the kingdom of God if only ALL of us TOGETHER stood before the LORD! God was faithful to give Jehoshaphat and the people an answer, (vs 14-17) "Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel... as he stood in the assembly" (one quick observation about this verse - the answer came as he stood in the assembly), "He said, 'Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's.'" The rest of the passage goes on to give details as to what the people should do. Surprisingly, they weren't told to take up arms and prepare for battle. God had already told them that the battle was not theirs, but His, so what He wanted them to do was to, "... stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." So "Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD."

Now, the title of my post is "What will be your epitaph". Let me get to that point. God took care of the armies that were advancing toward His people while King Jehoshaphat and the Israelites were worshiping Him with praise songs (vs. 18-28). Because Jehoshaphat was willing to humble himself and pray, the Israelites were protected and defended by God Himself! It is said of Jehoshaphat in chapter 20 verse 32, "he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD." In contrast to Jehoshaphat is his son, Jehoram. After the death of Jehoshaphat, the eldest son, Jehoram, was crowned king of Judah. He was not like his father. He did not inquire of the LORD. He had his brothers killed. He had high places built (high places were alters to false gods) and he caused the people of Jerusalem to worship these false gods (2 Chronicles 21). Jehoram got an interesting letter in the mail one day. It was from the prophet Elijah and it informed Jehoram that God was not pleased with him and because of his sinful, rebellious ways, God was going to inflict him with a deadly disease of the bowels. Jehoram died in great pain and in verse 20 of chapter 21 it says, "He passed away, to no one's regret..." So here is the contrast that really struck me this morning. Do I want my epitaph to be, "She did what was right in the eyes of the LORD", or "She passed away, to no one's regret"? I think we all know the answer.

Brothers and sisters, let me encourage you to daily stand before the LORD and wait for His answer to your questions. Let's be willing to stand before Him, sing His praises and worship Him while He fights our battles. We cannot do anything in our own strength, except bring about our own destruction. May our prayer be the same as King Jehoshaphat's,

"O our God... we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Recognizing the Truth

I've been part of a particular church body for 20 years. I have seen and experienced a LOT of blessings and a LOT of pain. Currently we are going through more difficulty, but I'm not going to elaborate on that here. What I want to share with you is how God is growing me personally. After all, I'm responsible for MY relationship with Him, and not anyone else.

I've written off and on throughout this blog various struggles that I have gone through. I've dealt with depression since my teenage years and at different points of my life the depression consumed me almost literally to the point of death. God has used different people to minister to me, to help keep my head above water long enough for me remember to grab hold of my Life Preserver again - Jesus Christ! He has also used various ministries, one of which is Freedom in Christ Ministries. I regret to say that I don't remember exactly who God used to guide me to this ministry, but I'm eternally grateful. I was given a copy of the book Victory Over the Darkness. This book was a God-send, because at the time I was at a point where I could not get myself to read my Bible. This book is so saturated with God's Word, however, that I was being fed His truth anyway! I was surrounded by darkness, but He is the Light, and His light began to penetrate the darkness revealing to me the lies that I had been believing. Not only were the lies being revealed, but I was given the tools, or better yet, the weapons to use against this permeating darkness. I was reminded in Victory: I am a child of God and the evil one cannot harm me (I John 5:18), I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1, 2), I am God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) - just to name a few of the truths! Once I started voicing these truths - LITERALLY voicing them aloud - the devil had to flee! I started to feel alive again. I started WANTING TO LIVE again.

Not long after I read the book, I followed through with the Steps to Freedom. These are several different areas of our lives that we are encouraged to examine to see where the strongholds are and how to confront them, confess them, renounce them and be released from them. It was absolutely liberating!

I wish I could tell you that it solved everything, but it didn't. Why is that? Well, just like with anything else, if you don't keep it up, it won't work. If you don't eat right and exercise, you'll get fat. If you don't communicate with your friends and loved ones, you'll lose touch. It's the same thing with our relationship with God. If we don't read His word and pray, we won't grow in our relationship with Him. Unfortunately I didn't learn that completely, and I'm wondering if I have yet to learn that completely. So after walking in freedom for quite some time, I started to get lazy. I didn't read my Bible or pray as often as I should and I started living in my own strength. Of course that meant that my spiritual life started to decay once again, and I was susceptible to Satan's lies. However, having been through the Steps to Freedom, I was able to recognize the problem much more easily and more quickly, and so I started to do what I knew I should do. I started "taking every thought captive" which means realizing a deceiving thought and replacing it with God's truth, standing firm on His promises!

Let me fast forward to my current situation. As I mentioned in the opening, I've been part of local church body for a long time. We are currently going through some difficulties that have triggered in me a passion for knowing God's word even better. This is a good thing, right? Well, yes, however... I have been searching God's word so intensely about specific things because I want to know without a doubt what the truth is, and I have been praying so fervently and so often that in the last couple of days it started to catch up with me and I actually started to feel weary. As a result I haven't prayed much the past 2-3 days, or read my Bible. Last night as I was lying in bed about to go to sleep, I thought, "I need to talk to God about this". So I started admitting to Him, "Father, I'm weary of praying. I'm weary of searching Your Word about specific things. Father, you would think that I would be renewed and strengthened from all of this prayer and studying, but I'm not." Before I could continue He whispered to me, "That's a lie from Satan. I am the Bread of Life. I am the Living Water, if You drink of this water you will never thirst again." I was stunned, but grateful to Him for helping me to realize that I had once again started to believe the subtle lies of the devil. I promised myself last night that I would not let my morning go by without spending time in His word. I chose to watch a Beth Moore video online and what do you think she was talking about? The Bread of Life! How cool is that? God is SO GOOD! (Let me encourage you to watch the video, it's only about 15 minutes)

I know that I have jumped all over the place in this post. But what I hope I've made clear is that we are not "wrestling against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12 ESV). We MUST put on the Armor of God daily (Ephesians 6); we must be "transformed by the renewing of our minds" (Romans 12:7); we must "take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).

So, my dear brothers and sister in Christ, remember who you are in Christ Jesus. My dear friends who don't know Christ, I urge you to call on His name, for it is the name of Jesus that saves!

I John 5:1a says, "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God" and in I John 5:4-12 it says, "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God? This is He Who came by water and blood - Jesus Christ; not by the water only, but by the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that He has borne concerning His Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning His Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God, does not have life. "

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Made in USA

Lately I have become more aware of where items are made. Generally speaking, China has the market on pretty much EVERYTHING! It's extremely difficult to find things that are not made there.

Today while folding the laundry, I noticed that one of my husband's shirts that has a "USA" logo on the front was made in Pakistan of all places! How crazy is that? I wonder if the person who made the shirt silently cursed it as well. It angers me that so many of our goods are from other countries. If and when I do find items that are made in the USA, they are considerably higher priced. That's why China has the market! We shop according to our pocket books - we really have no choice. At least not the average, middle-classed, working American anyway.

I have been trying to stay away from the foreign made products as much as possible. I was pleased to find a few clothing articles made in the USA the other day at Kohl's. I found some socks (Vera Wang brand - though most of her stuff is not made in the USA) and underwear (Jockey brand). Stein Mart and Dress Barn also offer tops and dresses that are USA made. My best friend sells Premier Jewelry and ALL of it is American made. So, it's not completely impossible, just extremely challenging. I bought baby clothes for my cousin's first baby at Posh Mommy. They were about twice the cost of the everything else, though. I really have to remind myself concerning the cost that it has to be worth it to support our own. If nobody buys USA brand items, then it's only going to get worse. Now more than ever I think we need to sacrifice when we can to support our country and her workers. Maybe I'm naive, maybe I'm silly, but I am an AMERICAN and I want to help however I can.

As a side note, back in the day, my grandparents and even my mom, worked in a cotton mill. It was called Merrimack Mill and later changed to Huntsville Manufactoring Co. I remember them coming home with cotton on them from head to toe. They always looked so tired, too. We lived right across the street from the mill. I wrote a poem about memories of living in Granny's house and shared it here. I found this interesting article about Merrimack providing cotton overseas (it's very short).

I also wanted to share this link with you. It gives information on different companies with American-made products. Support the USA whenever you are able and God bless America!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Did you feel the mountain tremble?

OK, I've tried not to talk about the obvious, but I can't help myself any longer. Have you noticed the increase in earthquakes lately? Now I know that earthquakes happen pretty much every day, but I'm talking about these rather LARGE and STRONG earthquakes. Haiti, Japan, Chile, and now Turkey, just in the last few months. There were even smaller ones in Oklahoma and Illinois! How crazy is that? Here is a link about earthquakes in history.

My husband told me after the Chile earthquake that one of his co-workers commented, "What's up with all these earthquakes?". Dwight replied, "Haven't you read the Book?" After a pause and then realization, he said, "Oh yeah! Where is that found, anyway?" "Matthew 24", Dwight told him.

Off and on I check out this website to have a look at the earthquakes world wide. I find it interesting, and hopeful. Yes, I said "hopeful". I can NOT wait for the return of my Lord, and He said earthquakes are a sign that we should look for before His return! Get your Bible and read Matthew 24. If you don't have a Bible, but have internet access (which you obviously do if you're reading this), then click on the links I've provided, that takes you to biblegateway.com.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Are you ready?


UPDATE! A few hours after I posted this entry, I read this article on Fox News. Apparently I jumped the gun. The increased frequency of earthquakes is merely coincidental. My bad! (not!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

something I'm considering

I was looking back and reading a few of my older posts and I had the thought of possibly printing them out and making a scrapbook of sorts. I know that when my mom passed away, it was interesting (although painful at times) reading her journal . So, I thought that maybe I should make copies of my blog and hand it down to my kids for after I'm gone. That way they will have as a reminder some of the blessings, struggles, and convictions that I've experienced/held throughout life. So far, I've got a little over 200 posts. That's a lot of paper and ink! Do you think it would be worth the effort and cost? Have any of you already started this sort of thing? So far, it's just something I'm considering.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Heart" is not a verb!

I made a decision earlier tonight. One that just might prove futile, but nevertheless, I'm going to give it a go. I have decided that I will not participate in the abuse of the word "heart". Countless people, the majority being from the younger generation, are now using the word "heart" as a verb. Have you heard this? I blame TV. I was recently exposed to a horrid Disney commercial where the teens repeatedly said, "I heart Jonas", "Why do you heart your fans?", and so on and so on. That's when I had determined that enough is enough! I proclaimed to the TV (and to my kids watching the TV) "YOU CAN'T 'HEART' ANYTHING! IT'S AN ORGAN!"

So, in hopes of educating anyone reading this rant of mine, I wish to include a list of words that can and SHOULD replace the word "heart" as a verb:

LIKE
ENJOY
ADMIRE
LOVE
APPRECIATE
ADORE
RELISH
SAVOR
FANCY

There! Now that I have that off my chest (ha ha!), my heart can beat more regularly and I can now enjoy the rest of my evening.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

sweet family

Tonight my family and I went out to eat together. During dinner I brought up the subject of teaching my kids how to speak better. I mentioned this because of a video my daughter and I had viewed earlier.

After watching the video a couple of times, my daughter said that she didn't really understand all of it. So, I told the kids that I had an idea of how to teach them both to speak better. I suggested that they memorize and recite poetry. Oh, the looks I received! My son asked me if I thought they talked "dumb". I said that I wasn't criticizing them, but just suggesting a way for them to better themselves so that they will sound educated. My husband then instructed Dawson on how to better cut the steak that he was eating. He set down his knife and fork and said, "So do I have to EAT educated now, too?!" The look he had on his face was priceless! Dwight and I laughed and laughed. I actually started to cry I was laughing so hard! The kids were just looking at us like we were crazy. They didn't think it was all that funny, but I thought it was hysterical!

As we were leaving the restaurant, a couple stated, "You have such a sweet family", the woman said. "Yes, sweet family", echoed the man. I said, "Well, thank you very much." Ithen wondered out loud why they would say that, and Dwight thought it was because we prayed before we ate our meal. I told Haley that it might have been because we were all laughing and enjoying each other, plus, they might have been pleased to see a teenager who actually smiles. =0)

So overall we had a very enjoyable time together. The food was very good, but the company was very sweet.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

mental pictures

Many times God gives me mental pictures to help me better understand spiritual things. Today He showed me two different images. One relates to levels of spiritual maturity and the other relates to our dealing with struggles.

I've been a believer since I was about 10 years old. I am now, hmmm mmmm, 41 years old (there, I said it!). You would think that after 31 years of walking with Christ I would have "arrived" or nearly so. Well, I'm no where near having "arrived" and that's because I've diverted from God's path way too many times. You are probably familiar with the verses Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the LORD. Even though I KNOW that God has plans for me, from time to time I have devised my own plans, which caused me to stray from the path He has marked me (Hebrews 12 comes to mind). But when I DO finally achieve a level of spiritual insight/understanding, I sometimes find myself frustrated with the people around me who still haven't "gotten it". Why is that? If it has taken me so long to get to a certain point, why should I expect everyone else to be on the same page? So here is the mental picture God showed me today. When God finally freed the Israelites from Egypt, there were millions of them, right? So it took quite some time for them all to travel. Now those who were at the head of the line would reach a destination long before those at the end of the line (duh, I know, but bare with me). Now the Israelites were not very patient or content (who is?) people, so they griped and complained - A LOT! I was picturing those who were at the head of the line being the instigators of the pity parties, while at the back of the line the people were just getting out, still celebrating their freedom and were probably wondering what all the fuss was about. Now, griping and complaining are not good things and it's not spiritually healthy, so what's my point? My point is, we don't all arrive at the same destination at the same time! It's not healthy for us to become frustrated with other believers just because they are not "seeing" a certain spiritual truth when we do. We need to stop looking at the people around us, and keep our eyes on God, Who is the One with the plan. Of course I totally expect some, if not all of you who are reading this to have already come to this understanding; but there might be others who have just arrived at this place, like myself, or are still headed in this general direction of understanding.

The other picture that I had today was really more of a memory. When my daughter was around two years of age, she was diagnosed with asthma. After a scary episode that led to a hospital stay, she was prescribed albuterol in liquid form. This stuff was beyond nasty tasting! It was absolutely horrid! She fought so hard that it literally took her dad AND myself to hold her down to administer this medication. Remember, she was only two! She didn't realize/understand that this horrible tasting stuff was NECESSARY in order for her to be well. How many times do we struggle and fight against God because we are going through a difficult time that we don't understand? How many times has He promised that those difficulties WILL be worked out for OUR GOOD? How many times has He come through on His promises? EVERY SINGLE TIME! These struggles and difficulties that we face from time to time are NECESSARY for our spiritual well being. We don't like it. We don't want it. BUT IT'S NECESSARY!

So there you have it. God is so good, and faithful! Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands." PRAISE YOU, LORD!!!

If you are on a difficult, tiresome journey, don't give up. Just SEARCH for GOD's PLAN, seek His face and FOLLOW Him. If you are going through a difficult time that puts a horrid taste in your mouth, just trust God to work it all out for your good (Romans 8:28).