Changes Discussed

 

Image result for how many lightbulbs does it take to change a person?https://www.newhopepublishers.com/shop/how-many-light-bulbs-does-it-take-to-change-a-person/

 

In our Ladies Bible study yesterday, we were on Chapter 12 in How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? with the subtitle: Bright Ideas for Delightful Transformation. It’s written by Rhonda Rhea, published by New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL and copyrighted in 2011.

The title of the Chapter is “Sometimes the Key to Change is…Change”. I almost anticipated her talking about pennies and dimes throughout the whole section, but I guessed wrong.

One of her favorite things is chocolate and it made the pages once again. She mentions candy bars and the various sizes available nowadays, but she got to the point of the title. We can’t change unless we’re willing to change. We have to shift gears and think differently, she tells us at one spot. God helps us with that, if we’re willing.

Then she quotes Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I love that Scripture. There are days when I need lots of hope, maybe more for others than myself, when I hear of losses and diseases from friends and on the news. Not that I don’t have stuff rear its ugly head, but I’m blessed with support from my family, our church, and friends. Scripture gives incredible comfort and prayer does, too.

I know some folks that sell or own essential oils and they’ll offer me a chance to inhale whatever fragrance that might help my mood to improve. I’m not against that, but today I anticipated someone saying, “Oh, you’re stressed. Let’s pray.”

They didn’t. They kindly opened first one bottle of diluted oil mixture and then another, suggesting I give it a try. I did feel better, but I think it was more because the person listened to me and the stressing agent wasn’t nearby. The aromas probably helped some, but it wasn’t a scientifically proven result.

Now I’m home, ready to continue my day. I haven’t written much lately because of housework and working on a story for children and babysitting grandchildren and practicing guitar for Sunday’s service with a pianist friend, etc., etc.

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you!

Advertisements

What Helps You?

I’m with some of my children and got to see all of my grandchildren. I love it when my son and his wife get vacation time. Grandparents Asian Grandma Grandson Grandphttps://pixabay.com/en/photos/grandparents/

For two weeks before this I drove north to babysit for four of my “grands” and scooted home for the weekends. At the end of the two weeks, I was worn out!

Every once in a while, my husband and I will look at each other and say, “I’m not in my twenties anymore.”

An advantage of seeing my son-he takes the time to work on my computer, which keeps freezing up and gets in the way of my blogging. Another reason I love being with younger people is because by the time you reach grandparent age, you’ve seen a lot of disappointment and sorrow with the joys of life balancing things out.

When I get overwhelmed with hard things, I hold onto Phil. 4:8, NKJV: Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of a good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.

The Apostle Paul continued in Phil. 4:9: “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

If I get hit with fear or my thoughts are all over the place and I can’t remember what I was doing or what word I need to describe something, I stop a minute and breathe. Then, I repeat 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

The Word of God is true and works. I also consider the physical aspect. Am I feeling tired or thirsty or am I trying to focus on more than one thing at a time? I take care of those things if it’s possible.

Have you used a Scripture and seen God fulfill it? I would love to hear from you! Have you taken a vitamin B tablet to help when you’re in a stressful situation? Or exercised? What helps you?

May God bless you!

Softball in the Spring

What a glorious day in Upstate, NY. I’m at my granddaughter’s softball game which is lasting longer than I anticipated.
Some of the parents are freezing in their shorts and t-shirts, wearing flip-flops on their feet. The breezes are picking up and I notice the cheers accelerating. “Come on, you can hit,” while some nearby mutter sincerely under their breath, “Please, Lord, help them get a homerun so we can get going!”

Image result for family friendly picture of a seagull

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=%2b8%2ft%2fdr%2b&id=85A3EEE24B2BE2B5CAA3DE786640CFCBFE27C0D4&thid=OIP.-8_t_dr-cW2-d38YDyLiHQHaE8&mediaurl=http%3a%2f%2fd2fbmjy3x0sdua.cloudfront.net%2fcdn%2ffarfuture%2fTSG9A-VrG_pip1z2S0KECDB4Ei-V5rzmi3ARIGiuIGk%2fmtime%3a1486706231%2fsites%2fdefault%2ffiles%2fstyles%2fhero_cover_bird_page%2fpublic%2fCalifornia_Gull_ByronChin_FlickrCC_314.jpg%3fitok%3d1K0eMtBo&exph=1600&expw=2400&q=family+friendly+picture+of+a+seagull&simid=608050028687196349&selectedIndex=13
Suddenly, diving sea gulls attacked a blanket for some chips or popcorn. A tall, husky dad walked over to the offending fowl and off it flew with a couple of others, to boot.
The coach’s wife removed the tempting foods and folded the blanket within seconds.
The low-flying birds reminded me of a time when I went to Florida to visit my uncle and aunt. Our family went on a picnic to the beach and as I brought a sandwich toward my mouth, a sea gull swooped down and hefted it skyward.
As I related the story, a white-winged fowl glided about two feet above my head and I let out a shriek in perfect timing with the telling of the theft of my lunch, and my kids and I laughed.
In the meanwhile, the game warmed up and two fine hits got the players on the bases and a third brought some of the runners home. The other team got last-ups and they quickly struck out.
“Thank You, Jesus.”
My oldest daughter’s goose bumps had grown proportionately to the amount of time we sat and from the brisker breezes. Then, as soon as she could, she made her way to the car.
Sports in the fresh air for families and friends is one of the marks that winter is far behind us!
“Thank You, Jesus for making a beautiful world and amazing birds-even close flying sea gulls.”

May God bless you,  friends.

From Creation to Confusion

 

My husband is teaching Genesis Chapter One to Chapter Eleven and he’s entitled it: “Creation to Confusion”.

Tonight, we went through Chapter Two verse by verse. This is where Adam gets put to sleep by God and Eve is fashioned from a rib or part of Adam’s side.

After Adam named all the animals, perhaps he noticed they were created male and female and as of yet, he didn’t have a female counterpart.

In Chapter Two, God speaks prophetically about man leaving his father and mother to unite with his wife as “one flesh”.

Adam and Eve didn’t have earthly parents, which is why leaving parents and cleaving together is for future couples.

The first man and woman at the end of Chapter Two were “naked and not ashamed”.

They were alone with God; they knew nothing of evil.

Next week, we’ll study Chapter Three in Genesis, when sin entered the world. The difference in Adam and Eve’s life must have astounded them and brought great regrets.

I like going to Bible studies because the leader digs into other resources. In our case, commentaries; dictionaries; experts; and of course, a thorough reading of the Bible and prayer for guidance are employed.

We decided Adam must have been more intelligent than we are now because he named every animal and bird. “How many could you name?”

One of the classmates said maybe thirty.

We guessed there must have been a huge multitude of animals and birds represented. It occurred to me, not only did the names need to be created, but remembered so he didn’t repeat himself. Yowza!

Adam lived to be eight hundred years old, so the children, grandchildren, and on and on, his following generations could have asked, “What was the garden of Eden like?”

In Genesis 2, it says God formed trees before Adam’s eyes.

So, for eight hundred years, he could tell of his personal experience with the Creator to anyone willing to listen.

I’ve read Genesis over the years. Tonight’s conversation brought some insights I’d never considered before.

That’s what’s so amazing about the Bible. There’s always more to learn.

My husband asked, “As God brought forth the animals living on land and the birds of the air to Adam, to be named, how would this newly formed man relate to God?”

I said, “He would have been in awe of God and His amazing creativity.”

When we considered that Adam hadn’t been around for more than a matter of hours, this was an opportunity for Adam to get to know God in a way we’ll never experience this side of heaven.

My husband and I believe Creation occurred over six twenty-four-hour periods of time. Adam, Eve and all animals, (with trees and herbs for food), came into being fully grown so they could function and then eat the produce immediately.

Genesis is an extremely important book in the Bible. If I don’t believe Genesis is God’s Word, inspired and given to men, then what else in the Bible can I pick and choose to believe or disregard?

May God bless you!

 

 

 

 

Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey (Everyman's Library)https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51FWZHBC37L._AC_US218_.jpg

I am about to read Chapter VI in Jane Austen’s novel, Northanger Abbey, with the Introduction, Bibliography, and Chronology copyrighted in 1991 by Everyman’s Library. It was published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY and elsewhere around the world.

 

It seems that I pick up a book or begin a chore more easily than I read the Bible lately, and my disposition suffers from the lack of the Word. So, I read some of the book of Joshua today, but in addition, the quiet sitting and thinking of the meaning of the passages has been avoided.

 

Another habit that’s slipped by the wayside- a regular writing of this blog!

 

So, tonight, I decided to just write a little and to say hello.

 

I wrote about Easter the second week in March because a lady did a devotional on the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I will type it out this week rather than go into detail tonight, although it is a very short blog.

 

One of my children, with our grandchildren in tow arrived at our house on Thursday and stayed until Monday morning. Making pancakes, and Easter bread, which came out well, (yay!) kept me busy, in the midst of hide and go seek, and monster tag, etc.

 

Since I bought a soft cast for my leg to support my sore foot, I decided to chase the kids with the big black velcroed boot on, which stiffens the whole leg. Extending arms and making scary noises started a new game a little while ago. That event caused them to beg for the chase again this week.

 

When we moved to the back yard, which is not flat and smooth, it made it awkward for me. My granddaughter stood before me to guard against the boy monsters getting me. When I told her she didn’t have to always be the monster, she said, “I’ll just be your apprentice monster.”

 

Kids grow up so fast!

 

I wonder what Jane Austen would think of modern day England and America. She mentions in Chapter V, “As soon as divine service was over, the Thorpes and Allens eagerly joined each other;”

 

The Christian world was commonplace to her in the novels I’ve already read, but she didn’t mention “divine service,” as far as I can recall. I liked that phrase, “divine service.”

 

Before the story begins, there are pages of narration in the Introduction and then there are a few pages of her history, and other author’s names and works, and the history of the world all in corresponding rows set up according to the years. The events of war and major political happenings concerned Europe and Russia and occasionally the United States. Napoleon was alive and engaged in taking over much of the world during her lifetime.

 

Today, I heard in the news that Chinese diplomats are talking to Russian diplomats and possibly America and South Korea will join the conversation. As I read the Bible, it makes me think of the alliances of nations that it talks about at the end of the ages. China and Russia are mentioned. The United States is not mentioned, as far as I can tell, unless we are included with Great Britain. It’s a little complicated.

 

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you and keep you in the palm of His outstretched hand.

 

 

 

Hindrances or Appointments

 

I’ve been north helping with my grandchildren. They all contracted fevers days apart from each other, so time stretched out.

Two nights ago, I asked my daughter if I could borrow her computer so I could blog. It wouldn’t work.

Then, I used my old computer which she has for a back up for her job. That didn’t work either. So much for blogging while I was away.

When I got home, I went straight to a meeting. In the morning, I arose early so my sister could get to the hospital for an operation which got delayed for three hours.

I’ve been reading a book on and off for over a year now. Today worked perfectly to finish it up. Now, I’m highlighting the significant parts of this non-fiction book and working the exercises.

One suggestion the motivational writer said that I read today, “Take care of yourself.”

I’ve noticed that the older I get, when I’m busy writing or babysitting or cleaning, whatever I’m doing, I may not pay attention to changing my position, or using correct posture, drinking enough water, exercising, or grabbing a healthy meal. I appreciated the reminder.

(I found this photo at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/thinking-for-a-change-john-c-maxwell with more letters and symbols for the address on Google.)

Years ago, I read a John Maxwell book entitled, Thinking for a Change, copyrighted in 2003, which I bought. Warner Books, Inc., New York, NY published it.

I thought my husband may like it as well, because he’s studied management principles and applied them to his life for years.

I don’t know if he read it, but I remember John Maxwell saying that he worked hard to achieve goals throughout his life so he neglected taking care of himself.

At that time, he realized he needed to work on his well-being or he’d be sorry. So, he too, recommended paying attention to one’s health.

I love spending time with my grandchildren and my children, but after almost twelve full days together I told my son I hadn’t done any writing and sometimes I feel like time is slipping away. He asked me, “Don’t you think this week with the kids is the best use of your time?”

That stopped me longing for working computers. I began the first book I mentioned while the children slept. So, I did do something else besides cooking, washing dishes, babysitting and laundry. Also, we played games and read books and I got to understand the rhythms of their lives in a way I didn’t comprehend before.

Plus, extended time with my grown children is a rarity, which I thoroughly enjoyed as well.

It’s amazing how a well framed question can turn my thoughts in another direction.

My sister’s surgery went well today and she is recovering for a day here unless New York weather gets so bad that the roads get closed down tomorrow. Then she’ll be here for two days. I don’t remember such crazy weather. February had been so warm. I wonder if that’s why so many folks have been sick. Warm spells and then a few days of cold and back to balmy weather. A few years back, we had a warm winter, but it was consistent.

Well, God knows what He’s doing in regards to the climate. He knows what He’s doing in regards to my schedule. I’d been feeling like I needed to play some games and relax. I got to do that with the children.

May God bless you and watch over you and protect you.

Finding Favor with God and Relatives

 

 

Dea Warford, an evangelist we know sent a message about “Ridiculous Favor” for Christians. Today as I read Proverbs 3:3-4, (NKJV), it stated, “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

The heading of Proverbs 3 is “Guidance for the Young,” and there are gems about money and health and peace and delights and correction. We all need God’s favor to navigate calm and rough seas, no matter what age we’ve attained.

Proverbs continually stresses wisdom and tells us the fear of God gives wisdom and gives knowledge. The Bible gives insight for daily living.

Ephesians 5:15-17, (NKJV), says: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

The following verses in Ephesians 5 show us what to do to please God and Ephesians 5: 22-31 instructs husbands and wives how to live together with love, submission, and respect.

Those three acts under God’s authority and with God’s help will cause marriages to thrive and families to prosper and feel secure. Ephesians 6 begins by teaching children and parents how to get along.

Talk about enabling favorable circumstances! We’re not perfect, but my husband and I have found them to be true.

May God bless you!

Favorite Things About Christmas

Do you have favorite things about Christmas?

I got some Christmas cards in the mail today. I really enjoy sending and receiving cards because we’ve moved enough times that I have friends I don’t hear from like I used to. At Christmas time, as I write out the cards, my mind gets flooded with fond memories of family and friends.

I love hearing the Christmas story in Luke and in Matthew. I try to picture how Mary felt and I feel awe for Joseph’s brave stances to buck society’s standards and follow God’s directions.

Mary On Donkey With Joseph Figurine  - Photo found at: https://www.christianbook.com/mary-on-donkey-with-joseph-figurine/pd/590021?dv=%7Bdevice%7D&en=google&event=SHOP&kw=ornaments-and-holiday-decor-0-20%7C590021&p=1179710&gclid=Cj0KCQiAg4jSBRCsARIsAB9ooatRNZxPJngIzobXSX6LPMcYuyMbtDHh0oGZ0qR6-U0vzUjqwuCLlsQaApIWEALw_wcB

 

This is the first year our church didn’t do the Christmas Eve candlelit service because of Christmas falling on Monday. My husband thought families would want to spend time together at night since they went to church in the morning. I always cherish the time listening to the people share their blessings. Seeing the expectant faces in the shimmering candle light with the overhead lights extinguished is precious. And beautiful.

Shopping for gifts for my loved ones is fun when there’s money in the budget. We always limit the amount and tell our family not to expect extravagant items. Some folks go into debt, we don’t go for that. To us, Christmas is about the Savior’s birth.

I think it’s fun to get presents, my husband doesn’t. So, our kids respect that and either give to charity in their dad’s name, or just say “Merry Christmas,” and leave it at that. His dad didn’t want us to spend money on him either, but an occasional small antique item, like salt and pepper shakers and a magnifying glass caused a smile to light up his face. I don’t expect anything from my children, but if they choose to get something, they know I prefer an inexpensive gift.

I’ve been more sentimental lately, and when my husband told the Christmas story from Mary’s point of view, her willingness to listen to the angel and then her obedience to the privilege of being mother to the Son of God, with all the unanswered questions she pondered over, well, I almost cried in church.

As my husband said, she really didn’t know what she was getting herself into, but she never hesitated. She trusted God. When I read Daniel a day or so before the sermon, I noticed that Daniel fainted when the angel spoke to him. The angel told him not to be afraid. When Daniel said his strength left his body, the angel supplied strength to Daniel’s body, mind and spirit. When the heavenly being told about end times, it kind of scared me, because so much of what was said seemed like it could be current events. Other things, I couldn’t make sense of. I wish I had my youngest son nearby because he graduated from college with a degree in History, and I thought he might be able to interpret some of the military battles. Some of the verses might have been referring to the conquests of Alexander the Great.

Mary heard the same thing from the angel that visited her, “Be not afraid.”

She also was called “highly favored among women.”

She is never called extraordinary. It doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that she should be prayed to. I think she did her best to follow and honor God. I also assume she was one of the best moms ever, imperfect but gentle and wise is how I imagine her.

Christmas carols prevail on the radio at this season of the year. There are so many beautiful tunes and choruses. I’ve heard some new ones this holiday time that touched my heart.

Well, those are some of my favorite things. Nice meals, Christmas cookies, and family and friends gathering for games need to be included as well.

I tried to write Merry Christmas and include a picture of a creche, but my computer kept freezing up, so I decided to let it rest for a day or two around the twenty-fifth. That’s how life goes sometimes, smooth as whipping cream or bumpy like a topping of walnuts.

May God bless you!

 

 

Christmas Play

Image result for christmas tree undecoratedhttp://exchangedownloads.smarttech.com/public/content/c6/c6b1f98d-2ee6-4c9e-ad05-71edfcd42f76/previews/medium/0001.png

 

As I stacked dishes to wash, I listened to a recording of lines I need to memorize for our annual Christmas play.

I don’t think I’ve ever memorized lines for a play and I’ve only been in three, maybe.

We have two more practices and then the play! I hope the kids will be ready. It’s amazing how fast time goes before a main event.

There’s a tree, candy canes, Christmas songs and lines declaring Jesus’ love. I’m praying God will bless our efforts.

Are you doing anything fun before December the 25th?

May God bless you!

What About Prejudice?

(photo from https://www.amazon.co.uk/Smoky-Night-Eve-Bunting/dp/0152018840)

When my husband preached on Matthew 15: 21-28 from the New Testament of the Bible this last Sunday morning on the desperate Canaanite mother with her demonized daughter, he made a comment that grabbed my attention.

“Prejudices are inherent, we all have them. We need to recognize them and fight them until they are gone.”

I like to read children’s easy reader books by Eve Bunting. One of her tomes placed a Hispanic boy in a big city with his mom. A local grocery store owner from an Asian country had a fat growly cat. The lady yelled at the children in the neighborhood, the cat hissed at them.

When their tall building caught on fire it changed all of their lives.

Such a great story: Smoky Night by Eve Bunting and illustrated by David Diaz, portrays people in a powerful way without preaching about their attitudes or circumstances.

This award-winning book was published by Voyager Books, San Diego; New York, NY; and London, and copyrighted in 1994.

I hope you are well. May God bless you.