Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Go Ahead, Turn Loose, They'll Make It


This topic came up at one of our Bible studies so I got to thinking about it decided to share some thoughts.

It seems there are always questions about parenting and when our children become teens and make the transition to being adults sometimes it seems harder.

We're at that stage now.

Our kids are pretty much on their own living their own lives.

So here are a couple of things older wiser people told me and I have tried to abide by a lot of it.

First, love who your children love.

An elder in the church once told me that since the time their children had been very small they prayed for the people they would marry  and they also determined that they would love whoever their children married.
There is a lot to that.

They may not be who you would have picked.

They may not be as handsome or pretty or smart or spiritual or financially stable as you would like but if they love them we must love them too.

If it is truly a bad choice we will cut off any opportuinty we may have to help or infulence if we don't  first love.

Secondly, once they reach the mid to later teens or so, they already know what we beleive so we don't have to keep telling them.
They have been hearing it for years.
They will have taken i,t or they won't.
Or maybe they won't take it until later but there comes a time depending on the childs' make up when we just have to be still.
Now this isn't to say there aren't sometimes we will need to speak up but it is going to have to start being less and less.

Third,  we have to let them go.
You can't continue to call the shots for them.
You have to see them as the men and women they are and respect that.
Don't call them,, let them call you.
Don't give advice....listen.
If they ask give advice but not a lecture.

Be honest with yourself, go back to your youth.
You loved your mom and dad you respected them and wanted to honor them but there came a time you just had to move on.

Even now we all know how it is when our moms and dads start over parenting us.
What do we do?
We tune them out.
What makes us think ours won't do the same?

There comes a time you have to set them free, 

If we don't let them go, they will be forced to push away.

I don't call my kids very often, 
I let them call me.

I don't go to their houses unless I'm invited.
I let them come home.

I don't ask a bunch of quesitons.
I let them tell....well okay, I'm working on this one. ;)

The point is let's not rob them of the time of being young and excited and ready to take on the world.

Let them make their way, let them write their story.

Some of it will hurt but years later it will be the hurtful, hard parts they will treasure most.

It will be what makes them into fine young men and women and what will but the backbone in a marriage and the strength in a family.

So step back and let them go, besides after all these years, you probably need to go take a nap anyway.

It' okay go ahead turn loose, they will make it.



Monday, February 9, 2015

Sometimes It Really Does Need To Be All About Me, But Not In The Way You Might Think

Have you ever been going through something and you just don't seem to be able to get through it?

Have you ever been in a difficult relationship at work or church or even in the family?

I have.

Sometimes it's been an event, by event I mean something that happened that I didn't like or hurt or I didn't want to be.

Sometimes it's been a person.

What I've discovered is the same thing many of you have discovered.

It's never the event and it's never the person it's always me.

Now that isn't to say the event wasn't bad or the person wasn't wrong it's just to say I can't control that but I can control me.

I remember one event in particular, when the house burned and I was so busy doing okay with it and seeing the protection of God in it which is a good thing but I failed to stop and ask what I could learn from it.

What could God work out of me or into me through the losing of our home?

So I asked him and God being God he showed me.

There have been other things, things more to do with people.

I, like a lot of you have been criticized and discouraged.

I have listened more than once to someone tell me about something I or my family did that they didn't like and I have felt that feeling shoot through me that wanted to say, "Well yeah let me tell you about you"  but I knew I couldn't.

I knew while what I wanted to say about the other person may have been true, it might have even been more true of them than me but at that point it wasn't about them.

It was about me.

What was I going to do with what they said?

Would I bull up and sulk and not listen and learn or would I feel embarassed, ashamed and convicted and learn?

Now this doesn't mean everything a person says is right but it means that I need to be honest about myself and trust God to show me what I need to see.

The Bible tells us we are to examine ourselves. In the Old Testament King David asked God to search him and see if there was any evil way in him.

King David wanted to be right with God and that meant he was going to have to face what was ugly about himself and let God work on it.

That's what I want to do.

So often I will be driving down the road or standing at the sink and I ask God to give me a good look at myself.

Sometimes I can't believe what I see.

If it wasn't for knowing he loves me and sees me with the eyes of grace it would be to much to bear.

So I have said all of that to say this.

When we are going through difficult things are dealing with difficult people, things we can't change and people we can't change we might take the hint that it's us that needs to change.

Not saying that the other person isn't wrong or that the event wasn't bad but saying that I won't be a victim of it.

I guess I'm saying life is like sandpaper.

It's meant to rub the rough stuff off of us and if I never get rubbed the wrong way I will never be smooth.

I don't want to get to the end of my life and be just as "knot headed" as I ever was, I want to be smooth and ready for the finish.

I want to be ready for the laquer or the seal  you could say.

I want to know I yielded and became what it is he had for me to become.

I want to get my eyes off of everyone else and hear him say, "Well done my good and faithful servant. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mabye It's Time To Stop Trying To Improve On His Plan

Christian bookstores are full of books on how to grow a church.
Bible colleges offer courses on growing churches.

There might be some good things to learn from them but  a person can't help but wonder if we're looking in the wrong book.

Don't we already have the answer?

John 6:44 says,  "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them"
We need to be praying that hearts will be softened and that God will be drawing people to himself.
Programs are good but they won't get the heart, only God can do that.

In the book of Acts the New Testament church as we know it today was born or had it's beginning. Chapter 2 verse 47 says, "the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
The Lord added them, men didn't.

God speaks through His Word and hearts are convicted and lives are changed through His Word and yet somehow, the Bible the very power we need,  has taken a backseat in church.
We're afraid people won't be interested, or they won't understand or it won't be applicable to life today.

How crazy is that?
I mean do we really think the God of the universe wasn't capable of writing what was needed for all time?
Do we really think God gave us an out of touch book.
That would take some nerve to think no more of God than that.


The Word of God is living and active and shaper than a double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing the soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The very things that will produce results and never ever come back void or without effect is the Word of God.

Yet we in our new way of thinking put the Bible in the back seat and watch a movie on a Bible topic or read a book written by a man that was meant to be a supplement, not the meal.

"We have much to say about this, but it's hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand . In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food. Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."
Hebrews 5:11-14

If we could get back to the Word in our churches and not be afraid of it and turn it loose to do what it was meant to do the church would grow, because God will grow it.
The Bible, the Word of God is just the stick of dynamite needed to blow the doors of the church wide open.
The Bible, the Word of God the power of God lies still  and unused on our pews  while we go to the Bible bookstore to buy a self help church growth  book.
We have got to stop trying to come up with a better plan than God gave us.
We have to fall in love with Him and His Word,  we need to  repent, and change and  walk in a new life and  become the salt of the earth like God said we were to be.
Our changed lives will make others thirsty and then we can tell them about the Living Water, about Jesus.
Sadly most every Sunday morning in any given church you could go through the whole service and never see a Bible.
God forgive us.
What are we thinking?
The Word of God is how he speaks to us today but we're to busy trying to come up with our own plan to read and follow His.
Take your Bible to church Sunday and go even one further, read it today.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Don't Believe Everything You See or Hear About Farming.

Do you remember on a lot of the old movies or tv shows they would show life out west or on a farm and one of the points would be learning to deal with life?
A pet, or livestock might get hurt, become diseased,need to be sold or butchered and the difficulty of that was portrayed in the movie and the point was made that the child or the adult had to rise above it and do what had to be done when it needed done and it was always considered a noble thing.
We would watch stuff like that and hope our kids will have that kind of grit when they had to.
Things on the farm haven't  changed.
Farming gets you as close to the truth about life as almost any job can.
If you raise hogs, sometimes there will be birth defects that means the piglet will have to be put down,
The same is true for chickens, cows etc.
Disease control and medication will sometimes be needed.
A man can't always reason with a 1500 or 1800 pound cow, sometimes he has to help her see what needs to happen.
Abuse, no never that is always wrong and farmers are against abuse as much or more than anyone else.
They also know truth, they know about life.
They know that that chick with three legs is not going to make it, it not only won't make it it will be destroyed by the other chickens so the farmer makes the decision to cull the bird out.
A big cow gets down and doesn't want to get back up.
The farmer knows a down cow will soon become a dead cow so he does everything he can to get her back up.
He will push her, yell at her, slap her behind and maybe if all else fails use a loader or a chain to help her get on her feet.
Now if you darken a barn, play soft sad music and have someone talking in a forlorn voice about how the animal is mistreated it will look like the animal is being mistreated.
That simply isn't true.
I know what I'm about to say  is crazy sounding but sometimes things people say and believe  and spread over social media is so crazy and I guess crazy is what's understood, so I'll talk crazy for a minute.
How many times have you had  a sick child who cried not to go to the doctor or to have a splinter taken out or fought you about taking their medicine"
The child, the older person or even the sick middle aged person who should know better sometimes puts up a fuss and you have to make them do what needs to be done.
You hate it, you wish you didn't have to but,  you know some discomfort now is better than what happens if you do nothing.
Now lets take one of these scenes, one that has no doubt played itself out in your kitchen with your little one when you were trying to give them their medicine or trying to deal with an aging parent, lets, dim the lights, play sad music and have someone talk in a sad, quiet voice about child or elderly abuse.
It would cut us to the quick, it would make us want to jump in there and do something, but it would be a lie.
If we would turn the lights back on, turn the music off and change the tone of voice of the person talking,   things would look different, we would see truth.
Then we would see a young mother, struggling with a child who needed her help but didn't want it.
We would feel for that mom and think, boy I've been there and it's so hard, you love your child  so much and you want to help but the child doesn't understand, they won't cooperate.
Suddenly the mother isn't a beast, she is a loving mom doing what needs to be done even if her child doesn't like it at the time.
Like I said, a crazy, simple comparison but it is one we can relate to.
Am I saying animal abuse doesn't exist, of course not, remember I'm about truth and the truth is it does exist but is is not rampant on the farms of America like social media would have you to believe.
Farmers do everything they can to help their animals, even if it's hard and regardless of what video's make it look like when a farmer is doing his job,  that is still an honorable thing.
I say all of that to say this, when those video's against farming come up, take it with a grain of salt.
Don't believe everything you see on facebook or a commercial.
Farmers are good people who love and care for their animals.
Farmers are out in the snow and wind and the scorching sun getting dirty caring for their animals in a real world that isn't always pretty and it's a sad thing when someone takes the truth about them and what they do and twists it all up.
Lot's of good people believe this stuff when they see it.
They believe it because they are good people, tenderhearted people who care about animals.
I'm so glad they are, just remember the farmer is a good tenderhearted person too or he wouldn't be doing what he is doing.
The problem is our society has got so far from the soil we don't know about life anymore.
Get out and get your hands in the dirt, grow something, care for an animal, learn to make some hard choices and let's be people of character like our American Farmer.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Not To Buy Your Children For Christmas

I know we haven't had Thanksgiving yet but I also know the reality of it is many are already doing their Christmas shopping.

After watching television for a little bit I had a thought, I thought about the things we shouldn't buy our kids for Christmas.

Have you noticed the toy or educational commercials lately?

Have you really listened to or looked at them?

I  am always struck with the picture they give.

Now first of all don't read what I'm not saying, I don't think there is a thing wrong with a child being able to entertain themselves, I think it is an important thing to learn but I also think as humans we are prone to go to far one way or the other.

We all have to agree we live in a time that is different from any in history.

We spend less time with our children than any parents before us.

Truth is that means we have less time to speak into their lives than any parents before us.

We have done this so long we have lost sight of what we are doing.

We see commercials that show us a little one sitting alone in the living room playing with her toy/computer that is teaching her to read.

Her mother peaks around the corner to see her, smiles and goes back to what she is doing and the child is alone.

We buy snuggle blankets because it's a fact a little baby needs snuggled, but because we're so busy we buy a blanket to do it for us.

Now there is a time that those things are okay but the danger is we let them take over and it breeds selfishness in us.

It gets easy to let a toy teach our children or a blanket snuggle them so we can facebook or text or cook or visit or whatever we want to do.

Be aware of the things you buy this Christmas.

Buy things that will promote togetherness.

Buy toys that will get you on the floor playing with your babies, a blanket that will begin to smell like you because you spend some time each day just sitting snuggling your baby in it.

We have got to stop delegating our parenting to teachers, coaches, sitters, daycare and grandparents, and even toys and entertainment.

So back to the point, when you shop this year, shop for family items.  buy somethings that will unite your family, not separate it.

We have got to guard out family time, we can't keep giving it away.

The title of this blog was "What Not To Buy Your Children For Christmas",  but maybe we should end it with a question.

Maybe we should ask,  "How Will You Spend Time With Your Children This Christmas?"

Don't give the time away to a toy or anyone else.

Start a list today, not a to buy list or a stressful to do list, just a loving list, a list of little ways you love.

It's the best gift you will ever give for them and for yourself and it will be what they tell about when years from now the conversation turns to Christmas' of long ago.

Monday, November 10, 2014

When The Preacher Comes To Dinner

The preacher was coming to dinner and so I was up early preparing the meal and doing last minute things.

I had a couple of things to put away but being in  a hurry I just threw them in our bedroom on the bed.

When I got ready to dry my hair I was in a hurry so I just threw the wet towel on the bed.

I dressed, left the room and shut the door.

I wasn't worried, I mean who would be in there anyway.

So after church I  went home before Mark so I could get things on the table and when Mark and the preacher, we'll call him Frank got here we sat down to eat.

This was back when Lucas had his long hair,  so Frank was at one end of the table and Lucas was at the other. Frank  asked Lucas if he had ever considered going to Bible College, Lucas looked at him, looked at the bowl of mashed potatoes he was passing, flipped his head to shake the hair out of his eyes and said, "No."

I cleared my throat and asked if anyone needed more gravy.

Then Mark said, "Honey, Frank said he likes to lay down and take a nap after he eats and so I said he could lay down in our room."

I started to choke,  I smiled and choked out, "Ooh  yes, that will be fine."

I was in a panic.

How could I get into the bedroom and get it ready?

What was I going to do.

Finally Frank got up and said he was going to go freshen up so as soon as he got in the bathroom I flew into the bedroom.

I picked up the towel and to my horror there was a big wet spot on the sheet.

I threw stuff in the closet.

Mark came in and said,  "Honey, isn't it nice we can do this, isn't it nice he can rest here?
I shot daggers at him with my eyes but  I must have missed because he never noticed.

I hissed , "Help me get the bed fixed!"

Somehow we got it done, the room was fresh and ready and Frank went in and took a nap.

I went to the basement and had a nervous breakdown.

I don't through my wet towels on the bed anymore.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

RHONDA'S TWINKIE CAKE

Sometimes you just need a simple, quick dessert and this is one that works every time.

I got this recipe out of our family cookbook.

Rhonda Albertson, my cousin, I won't get into the once or twice removed stuff I'll just say my dad and Rhonda's mom, Regina are first cousins.

When I was a girl Rhonda was already married and lived across the field from us.

We spent a lot of time at her house and one of my favorite memories of her is the bike rides she would take us on.

We would start out from home there on Bear Creek, go to Martinsburg, down Dutch Creek Road, be on the highway for just a few feet and then turn onto Old Palmyra Road. We finished the ride by stopping at Frank and Regina's,  that's Rhonda's folks.

Which is worthy of a whole other blog, Frank and Regina's house was used as a stop off during the days of the underground railroad.

I remember going down in the basement and seeing the place it had long been walled up but you could still see the place where it was, their farm was mentioned in our history books at school because of this and of course I thought that was big stuff.

So now, I guess you see why  when I make this cake I think of Rhonda,  and how she loved to work outside, you would find Rhonda in a hay field sooner than you would in the kitchen, she loved and still does love sports and outdoor work.

I never asked her but I'm thinking that might be why she shared this one,  it's easy yet good.

You, like Rhonda used to do,  can make an impressive dessert and still have time to get to the game or get the last of the hay unloaded.

I know it's a common recipe, one you may already have, but if not give it a try,  I think you will enjoy it.

TWINKIE CAKE

1 yellow cake mix baked as the package directs,  (see I told you, easy peasy)

If you use a 9x13 pan for a real twinkie look slice the cake into lengthwise, and spread the filling on the bottom layer and lay the other layer on top.

I just made a round cake because it's easier for me to store.

Filling,  (let's face it, this is the important part)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Crisco (solid)
1 stick butter (real butter is best)
1/4 cup milnot

You can store in fridge and I do but I like to set it out and take the chill off before I serve it.