Sunday, December 4, 2016

CHRISTMAS MEMORY: The Little Silver Tree

The word of the MONTH is MEMORY
: the act or fact of retaining and recalling impressions, facts, events, etc.; remembrance; recollection

For the month of December, I will be sharing some Christmas memories with you - some favorite moments that took place during the Christmas season. Today’s memory is about a little silver Christmas tree my family had back in the 60's and 70's.

We had a variety of different Christmas trees when my sister and brother and I were growing up. For a few years, I know we had a real tree but, most of the time, it was an artificial one. I mostly remember the typical evergreen model, but I also vaguely remember a little 3 ft. aluminum tree we put up once in awhile. My sister, Judy, remembers it better than I do. She says this about the tree:

“If Dan [our brother] was 1 or 2, then I was 4 or 5. We had a little silver tree. There was a color wheel that turned, it faced the tree and made beautiful colors. (You can't put light strings on the silver trees.) Dan and I were mesmerized and would sit close and just stare. As a side note: Mom tried to sell the tree at a garage sale. I'm very thankful it didn't sell because she ended up giving it to me! I still put it up every year. This was my first tree as an infant.”

What Judy didn’t mention is that, back in 1999, she and her husband lost their house and belongings in a devastating house fire. They lost everything. All except that little silver tree.

Judy's decorated tree


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: To Joey With Love (DVD)


Earlier this year, I was one of the thousands who was following Joey and Rory Feek's story on RORY'S BLOG. I didn't know anything about them until a friend of mine introduced me to them on Facebook. I found out that Rory is a singer/songwriter who began blogging in 2014 about his life with his wife, Joey, who was also a singer. At the time he started blogging and filming the big and little moments in his family's life, he didn't realize the impact it would have on so many people, including mine. God gave them a story to tell to the world, and that is exactly what they did.

TO JOEY, WITH LOVE is the true story of Joey and Rory Feek's journey as they welcomed their special needs daughter into the world, and then continued to share their faith during Joey's hard-fought battle with cancer. Their journey is about "life, love, and hope that never dies." It is a sad story, as Joey went home to be with the Lord in March of this year, but it is also a story of hope, as both Joey and Rory put their faith and trust in something far greater than themselves.

This documentary/film will be available on DVD on December 20th. You can pick up a copy at VARIOUS LOCATIONS or you can try to win a copy here, as I will be giving away one of the DVD's. The giveaway will close on Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. CST. One entry per person, ages 13 and up. US residents only.




Thank you to Icon Media Group for providing me a free screening of this movie, as well as the DVD for giveaway.





Sunday, November 27, 2016

Empty Brain


The word of the week is EMPTY
: containing nothing; having none of the usual or appropriate contents

That kinda describes my brain right now, since I can't think of anything to write about. Maybe I'm just in a writing slump, but I'm sorry to say I've got nothing encouraging to share with you right now.  I'm not sure when, or if, the words will come back. I hope they do soon but, like I said, for now I've got nothing.

Reminds me of a quote from a movie my son and my nephew watched over the weekend:

"Nothing. No ideas. Useless, empty brain."

Does anyone know which movie that quote is from?

ANSWER:  Big Hero Six

Regardless of my empty brain, I do know God loves me, and He love you, too! I hope you all have a good week.




Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thankful for ALL My Memories


The word of the week is THANKFUL
: feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative

Something I enjoy doing in my spare time (besides writing for my blog) is de-cluttering and organizing things around the house. These past few weeks, with my husband working a lot of hours, I have kept myself busy by taking on the task of cleaning out and organizing all of our family photos - not digital photos, but actual paper ones. We had so many pictures scattered in different boxes, photo albums, and envelopes that I thought it was time to put them all together in order, by years and then by months. I decided to put them into cute photo boxes I found on sale at Walmart. Then, when I am done with this project, I will eventually pick out some of our favorite photos and combine them into a couple different photo albums. The rest will remain in the boxes and will be easy to find when we need them, or when we want to look at them.


I have noticed this project has taken a lot longer than it could have, and that’s because, as I have gone through the photos, I have done a LOT of reminiscing. I have seen pictures of me growing up, David and me before and after we were married, our first homes, our first cars, our babies and how they have grown through the years, fun vacations, special events, and also some events that weren’t so fun to go through (such as a fire, a hailstorm, and several funerals).

As I look at the pictures, I see how my memories (my past circumstances) have helped to shape my life - through the good times and the sad. So, I appreciate all the memories I have been given. Of course, I love all the happy memories best, but I have chosen to be thankful for ALL of my memories, because memories - good and bad - are a part of who I once was, a part of who I am now, and a part of who I am striving to become. Memories are a gift from God that should never be taken for granted.

Consider the memories you have been given, and be thankful (appreciative) for them all, giving thanks to God for everything He has brought you through.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Command for Agapáo

On Sunday mornings before church, my husband and I enjoy listening to Dr. James Merritt on the TV. His sermons are informative and practical for Christians, and always give us encouragement to try and live out our lives according to God’s Word.

A couple weeks ago, Dr. Merritt spoke about “Crazy Love.” Not the kind of love we have for a family member or a friend, but the kind of love we, as Christians, are supposed to have for ALL people, even if we don’t really like them. As Merritt said, "Jesus doesn’t command us to like everyone, but He does command us to LOVE everyone."

The type of love Jesus is talking about is agapáo (an action verb) which, for a believer, means “actively doing what the Lord prefers.” It’s the kind of love that is patient, kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.  Its about thinking of others first (1 Corinthians 13). It’s not a physical kind of love, but a spiritual one. It’s not a feeling, but an action - a choice we make to treat others the way we want to be treated (Luke 6:31). WE ARE TO LOVE OTHERS THE WAY JESUS LOVES US.

As long as we are living together on this earth, we will not agree with everyone, and we will not LIKE everyone. But, according to God’s Word, when we meet up with someone we don’t really like, that doesn’t give us an excuse to be rude and inconsiderate. If we desire to be like Jesus, and want the world to know we are following Him, then we MUST show them love - agapáo love.



Sunday, November 6, 2016

How Are You Spending Your Time?

The word of the week is TIME
: the thing that is measured as seconds, minutes, hours, days, years...
Last Sunday, my dad went to the hospital due to internal and external bleeding. His liver and bladder have been scarred from a past treatment for prostate cancer. Then, last year, a heart stent was inserted and he was put on a blood thinning medication. The blood thinner is what caused the lesions on his liver and bladder to bleed excessively. He was severely anemic, low on blood, and dehydrated. After 4 days in the hospital, 2 units of blood, several units of saline, and some potassium and magnesium, he was finally able to be released.

My dad said this hospital stay gave him a lot of time to reflect on His life, how he has spent his time, and how the Lord has used him on this earth. Here is what he said:

“I found myself reviewing my past life clear back to about 60 years as best as I could. I found that God places us where HE wants us. As Pastor Doug White would say, we are not called to a specific ministry. We are called to serve the Lord. Then, God gives us a place and the people for it. It may not be what we would choose, but we need to be ready for His changes in our lives. I was able to witness to many people while at the hospital, praise the Lord.”

I am thankful my dad is still with us today, and for his willingness to spend his time serving the Lord no matter where he is placed. I am encouraged by his example to always try and spend my time wisely, because our lives are not our own, and only God knows when He will be finished with us here on this earth.

How are you spending your time?


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Where Jesus Slept [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]


Hardcover Book. Reading age:  4-7

When my kids were younger, I remember reading to them a funny little book called "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" by Pam Adams. It started with the woman swallowing a fly. Then, with each page, it added something new. By the end of the book, there was one very long sentence about all the different things the woman had swallowed.

I immediately thought about that book when I first started reading WHERE JESUS SLEPT by Norma Lewis, because it is the same cumulative type of story.
This is the bed where Jesus slept. 
This is the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept. 
This is the cow that shared the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept.
and so on.....
It starts with Jesus sleeping sweetly in a manger, and ends with the wise men bringing Him gifts. (I personally believe the wise men did not come to the stable on the night Jesus was born, but that is a minor detail).

Children will love the repetition of this story, as well as the appealing illustrations. Enter below for a chance to win a copy to share with your kids and/or grandkids this Christmas season. (U.S.A. addresses only). 

Giveaway ends Saturday, November 5, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. CST.
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of  Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Beyond Discipleship (Illustration by: Dr. James L. McIntosh)


The word of the week is DISCIPLE
Noun:  A person who learns from another, especially one who then teaches others : an active follower of someone
Verb:  To train, educate, teach 

Seven years ago, my dad was a guest blogger here, and he shared an illustration about what it means to be a disciple. I want to share it with you again. After reading it, take a moment to consider where YOU fit in as a follower of Jesus Christ.


While teaching a class in our small Bible Institute, one day a student asked what it means to be a disciple and how that relates to going to heaven. The Lord provided me with a good answer, as we have a fire department across the street.

In response, I told [the students] how one could become a “disciple” of the fire department. (They do like visitors, you know.) Each week, I could go there and learn what they have to do to put out fires. They could teach me about cleaning the equipment, getting it all ready for the next emergency, and what wax to use to polish each item. They could show me what mask to use for each kind of fire and what tank to use to breathe properly in each situation. They could teach me how to put the hoses away. They would call me by name and be glad I came, as we all are friendly. However, when the bell rings and they leave, I would be left behind. You see, I am only a learner, or a disciple. Not a part of them.

Each week, we have in our churches the same situation. Many friendly folk come and are learners. They can tell most of the facts of what Jesus Christ did for mankind. They can tell of His virgin birth, sinless life, death, burial, resurrection, and even ascension. Yet, when it is time to leave this earth and go to heaven, they will be left behind, as they were only learners. They were not a part of Him.

A disciple is a "learner." A true Christian (not in name only) is a "truster." Knowing about what Jesus did for you, and trusting in what He did for you are two different things. Place your TRUST in Him today.
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  Read more here about what it means to TRUST in Christ:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Say & Pray Devotions by Diane Stortz [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

Hardbound, 40 pages
Age range:  4-8 years
I remember reading picture books to my kids when they were very young. They loved cuddling on the couch next to me, and looking at the pictures as I read aloud to them. Some books were about God and/or the Bible, some were just for fun, some were educational, and some were all of the above. This new book, SAY & PRAY DEVOTIONS, by Diane Stortz fits the description of "all of the above" because it:
1.  teaches about God's love and how He provides for us
2.  has colorful pictures with adorable illustrations
3.  and, is full of sight words that help young children identify the words that go with specific objects.
If you are already familiar with SAY & PRAY BIBLE, this new partner book features the same fun style of artwork and educational elements. I love the small size and sturdy pages, perfect for little hands to hold. And, I especially love the included Bible verses and simple prayers that can help young children grow in their faith. If my kids were still young enough for this book, it would be at the top of my list to read together with them.

Enter below for a chance to win a copy of this book to share with your children or grandchildren. Entries will be accepted until Saturday, October 29, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. CST. One entry per mailing address. Age 18 or older.


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Serve the Lord with Gladness

 
The word of the week is SERVE
: to be in the service of; work for : to be useful or of service to; help : to render active service to (a sovereign, commander, etc.) : to render obedience or homage to (God, a sovereign, etc.)

It is good to be actively doing something for the Lord, isn’t it? Whether we are teaching a Sunday School class, being a good listener, or washing dishes and changing diapers, shouldn’t we all be using our gifts/talents to benefit others and to help share God’s love? Most definitely! But, as you are busy for the Lord, are you serving Him with gladness? Or, have you become distracted from your purpose and are serving with a grudge?

We can see in Luke 10:38-40 that Martha was serving with a grudge. It might not have started out that way. I'm guessing she was happy to be using her gifts of hospitality, and excited to make her guests feel welcome but, as she took her focus off of what was most important, her attitude changed:
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”(NIV)

If you keep reading, you will see how Jesus answered Martha in a loving way, explaining to her how Mary had chosen what was better - spending time with Him over "busyness" - and it wasn’t going to be taken away from her.
Luke 10:41-42 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Doing things for the Lord is a good thing; Jesus does want us to be busy for Him. But, He would rather we focus our attention on HIM first of all. If we aren’t spending time with Him and keeping our focus on Him, then the things we do will only be an act of “busyness” rather than what they should be: an act of service.

Serve the Lord with gladness.