Monday, October 31, 2011

Mommy, Do We Celebrate Halloween? *Repost*

I posted this last Halloween and thought it appropriate this year too! 

With Halloween right around the corner my kids are driving me batty wanting to know when it's trick-or-treating time!  Sam says he wants to be Robin for Halloween time and Spiderman for trick-or-treat time (you can't reason with a 3 year old that they are the SAME thing)!  All the talk about Halloween leads me to ask the question--do we celebrate Halloween as Christians?  Is it OK? 
Well, I googled the history of Halloween and found several different reasons as to why it started.  One of the most consistent was that it orginated as a Celtic festival that had something to do with crops and living/dead worlds overlapping on Oct. 31...Americans adopted the tradition of trick or treating and costumes first in the west and then it spread to the east.  Also noted that Disney firmly established the tradition in 1952 when they ran a cartoon called Trick or Treat.
In a book at Sam's therapy (I can't remember the name of it-I'll look Thurs.), Halloween is said to be a time to celebrate the fact that those we love who have died have gone to heaven and are enjoying eternal life.  It's celebration of what Christ provided for us when He died on the cross--eternal life!
I don't know how much of the research is true...just thought it was interesting.  I think that as parents it is up to us to decide whether to celebrate Halloween or not.  I grew up trick-or-treating and dressing up and I turned out just devil worshipping or witchcraft.  But you know your child.  I know that for us we celebrate fall.  I don't do Halloween decorations (except a cartoon ghost tablecloth) and we don't go to spook houses or watch scary movies.  We go to the fall festivals and the kids dress up.  We trick-or-treat on Halloween at the local Baptist church and neighborhood around the church.  I make sure to tell my kids that we are celebrating fall and not witches, vampires, or other scary things.
There are lots of things as Christians that we can do during Halloween time.  When carving a pumpkin, you can use the face to symbolize Christianity pumpkin carving.  The 'Pumpkin Patch Parable' by Liz Curtis Higgs is also a good book for kids about Halloween (you can get it at  Lifeway).   Another thing is to use the "Shine your light (Matt. 5:16)" saying with a carved pumpkin or picture (you can find this on Oriental Trading).  You can google 'Christian Halloween' and get all kinds of ideas about how to use this holiday for good in your child.
I know some will say that we shouldn't celebrate Halloween as Christians and I agree that we shouldn't embrace the world's celebration of it, but there are all kinds of ways to reach out to others during this holiday.  You can give out gospel tracts with your candy--you can get cute ones for kids at Lifeway.  You can host a fall festival with games and candy without costumes either at your home or church and invite kids you know don't know Christ.  The possibilities are endless!

My Superhero's this year (2011)-don't you feel safe?
Happy Fall Ya'll!!

Christmas Time's a Coming...and a Giveaway!

Step outside, take a big breath of cool fall air-what do you smell?  CHRISTMAS!  Yes, it's that time of year again.  Summer has come and gone.  Fall is on its way out, fading like the leaves and Christmas time is here. 
I love everything about the season:  family, serving others, giving gifts, caroling, and the movies.  Yes, I am a Christmas movie junkie.  Cartoons, love stories, National Lampoon's (hey, it's a classic), you name it-I love it!

This week, I was given the opportunity to review a great new Christmas movie by Thomas Kincaid, The Christmas Lodge.  Who knew the guy did movies as well a paint beautiful pictures?  The movie really got me in the spirit of the season.  Mary is a busy executive who longs for a simpler time in her life.  She runs into an old friend, Jack, and discovers he's remodeling the lodge her family stayed in when she was a child-Christmas Lodge.  A great story ensues, reminding us of what is really important in life...and who.
The movie is family friendly, with no innuendo's of any kind, clean romance, and faith is evident throughout.  What a relief to find a movie with values!

Now don't you want to see The Christmas Lodge too?  Lucky for you, I've got a copy to give away this week.  All you have to do is leave a comment here or on Facebook (as some of you don't leave comments here) on all the posts this week.  I'll be announcing a winner Friday afternoon.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services

mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:
"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday...

'Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.' Colossians 4:2

Ten years ago today, God gave me one of the greatest gifts, although I was completely unaware.  I married my sweetheart on this day, while Clemson played Wake was an away game, of course-the hubby still remembers.  We took a nearly empty airplane to Cancun (this was right after 9/11) and it was actually overcast/rainy the entire week we were there.  We got lost in the 'slum' area, didn't go on the beach, and went on a lagoon boat ride in the rain, but we loved it.  I don't even think the hotel we stayed in is still standing, lost in one of the hurricaines which hit Cancun in recent years.

We have had our ups and downs, tears and laughter, triumphs and defeat.... but through it all, we've stood firm to our commitment to one another and to Him.  We walk through our days together and I am so thankful to call him my husband.

Continuing to count one thousand gifts...
#141  my hubby (of course)
#142  my new phone (which doesn't work right now, but hopefully will tomorrow)
#143  this nosey baby at my side, digging in the drawers
#144  last soccer games of the season

#145  ready-made pizza
#146  hand-me downs from other people
#147  kool-aid when you run out of tea
#148  good reports from illness
#149  His faithfulness
#150  pumpkins :)
He'll kill me for this!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Word Filled Wednesday

Do you have a situation that seems hopeless?  One you are powerless to control?  Take God at His word today...He is faithful and true!

Friday, October 21, 2011

5 Minute Friday: BEYOND

Linking up today with Gypsy Mama for 5 minute Friday, a time where you write for 5 minutes with no editing or rewriting.  Today's topic is:  BEYOND.


Beyond this earthly life lies the unknown canvas of eternity.  We are all created for this eternity, of which there are two choices:  heaven or hell.  That's it, no second chances or re-do's...what is beyond here was set before time ever was.  Are you preparing for what is coming beyond?

He has given us breath for one reason:  to glorify Him.  We are not here for any other reason.  Not for our family, friends, success, material gain...just for Him.  He desires a relationship with us beyond any earthly attachment we could have.  Am I going above and beyond to cultivate a relationship with Him?

This life I've been given has been designed for me to go beyond myself and my comfort zone to love others with the love of Christ.  Getting uncomfortable for the sake of the gospel should be a given.  After all, the early church fathers did this without a second thought and they saw Jesus.  How much more so will we be blessed who believe (and act) who haven't seen?  Am I reaching beyond myself to love those around me?


Now it's your turn.  Pull up a chair and your keyboard and get to typing.  The rules are simple:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!
Today's picture is courtesy of my good friend Michael Charping.  He's a college student who has an eye for the beauty of God's creation.  Check him out at Charphotograpy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday...a Psalm of Ascents

'I will lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip, He who whatches over you will not sleep.  He who watches over Isreal with neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you, the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm-He will watch over your life.  The Lord will watch over your comings and goings both now and forevermore.'            Psalm 121

This is one of my favorite Psalms, I even committed it to memory earlier this year.  I get a little twisted up in my recall due to the numerous times the word 'watches' is used.  As I was repeating it this morning, I was struck with the desire to know what this word 'watches' means.  I did a parallel translation of the Psalm with several different versions and here are some of the other words that are used:  keepeth (keeps), preserver (preserves), protector (protects), guardian (guards).
These words present a glorious picture of what our Lord will do for us as His children.  He will preserve our lives,  protect us from all harm, guard our lives, and He will never sleep.  We will never be with our Keeper, even while we sleep.  If this isn't enough to make you grateful, then you need to get your meter checked out!


Continuing to count one thousand gifts...
#131  Aldi grocery stores
#132  Acting when I feel God's gentle nudge
#133  Changing leaves and seasons
#134  For the hubby cleaning the thingy that feeds water into my washing machine
#135  Napping boys
#136  Flu shot clinics for the kiddos that are ran smoothly (and with sweet nurses)
#137  Heat (even if it costs an arm, leg, and torso)
#138  Steady work for the hubby#139  Fall camping trips
#140  Fluffer-nutter's

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Word Filled Wednesday

Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  These commands I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them upon your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you sit down and when you get up.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.  Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Sam and Daddy (with Zach just out of the picture) spending quality time together!
 We had the opportunity to see the movie Courageous this past weekend.  I wanted to jump up at the end with a big "I will", but I restrained myself.  The statistics reported in the movie about fatherless homes were sobering.  Are you are Daddy (or Mommy)?  Take the time to make the most of the few years we are given with our kids.  They are the most important legacy we will leave on this earth.  If we lead them to a relationship with Christ, they will carry His name into the next generation. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Get Thee Up!

'And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?' 
Joshua 7:10 (KJV)

I don't usually prefer the King James version of the bible, mainly because I can't understand it, but I love this verse in the KJV translation.  Joshua is lying on the ground, wallowing in the dirt, crying out to God in his self-pity after Israel's first defeat.  And what does God say?  He doesn't coddle him or tell him he deserves his pity party...He tells him to 'get thee up'.  Have you ever been there?

We are doing Beth Moore's study of David (the re-vamped version) and the lesson this week used Joshua 7:10 and illustration.  She was teaching on Spiritual Warfare and I knew she was talking to me.  Isn't it great how God talks to us and even better when we listen?

She gave 4 bullet points based on 'get thee up' which pertain to us today.  In order to fight our enemy effectively we must:
1)  Wake up!  You can get up before the alarm, when it first sounds, or hit the snooze--wake early!
2)  Look up!  What is most important in your life?
3)  Stand up!   When you've done all you can...then stand.
4)  Dress up!  Put on your armor because you are a warrior called by God!
Simple, but oh so effective in the fight we face every day.  A fight for our testimony, our joy, our family, or anything else Satan desires to target in our lives.  He is not stupid.  He knows exactly where to push your buttons to make you ineffective.  Don't give him an inch...if you do, he'll be a ruler.  Get thee up, now!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

5 Minute Friday: CATCH

Linking up today with Gypsy Mama for 5 minute Friday, a place where you just write what is on your mind for 5 unedited minutes.  Of course, sometime those 5 minutes are broken up over the course of boys rolling, fighting, screaming, and needing Mommy-but who's counting?


Do you remember the days of being a carefree little girl, running through the yard playing catch me if you can?  I do.  I was the one who always got caught, but I gave a good chase, I think.  Our sweet Sam has Cerebral Palsy and he is at the age of playing those childhood games.

Only he can't keep up with the other kids.  He told us on the way home last night from big brother's soccer game that he couldn't run, everyone was faster than him-then the biggie--WHY?  What do you say to that?  The other kids are just older than you.  But that is a lie.  The fact is, he just can run as fast, and at this point they will always catch him.  I don't know why, that's just the way it is.

That is what I wanted to say, but as Mommy and heart-healer, I couldn't.  When he said the same thing again this morning, his Mommy reminded him that not to long ago we didn't think he'd even be able to walk.  But he can and he can run.  Not very fast, but he can run.  Mommy reminded him this is the way Jesus made him and He loves him just like he is....and so does Mommy and Daddy.

So it doesn't matter if he can't outrun everyone else and they always catch him, it is what he CAN do that matters.  And in Christ, he can do anything he wants.


This is what happens when you play one 'Catch' game to many!
Your turn: 1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back to Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday...Is Your Number Up?

'Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.' Colossians 4:2

Yesterday, I wrote about the fact of how He has numbered the days of my life.  Tuesday, my number could've been up.  I was traveling home from my parents house when I came to an intersection I pass everyday.  It is in the country and I've learned to slow down there as sometimes people drive a little crazy out here.  As I looked to my left, there came a Jeep I could tell wasn't going to slow down.  They continued right on through the intersection without a glance, brake, or acknowledgement they almost killed me and my kids.

If I'd have been 3 seconds earlier, I'd have been right in the middle of the intersection this driver of the year barreled through.  3 seconds and our lives could've been changed forever.  This guy wasn't going 35, more like 55.  I didn't even have time to react.  I was so stunned, I just said, "He could've just killed us guys.  Thank You God it wasn't our time."  I think sometimes He shows us how fragile this life is.  We think we're invincible, but He reminds us time and again this life here is just temporary.  We have no idea how much time we're given here, but the time we do have, we must make the most of it.  Not by accumulating stuff, having a good time, or worrying about tomorrow, but by doing the business He has sent us to do.

We all have a different calling.  Some of us know what it is, others are still seeking our paths.  But if we are a child of God, one thing we all share is the commission to tell others about Him.  We don't all have to be career missionaries to be ambassadors for Christ.  We can show His love right where we are by our attitudes and reactions to things of this life.  Make the most of the time you are given...our days here are numbered and one day each of our numbers will be called. 


Continuing to count one thousand gifts...
#121  the fact He has my days in His hands
#122  the rain He has sent our parched land
#123  the anointing He has given those He's called as teachers of His Word
#124  biscuits and sausage gravy (and Dr. Pepper)
#125  fall fun
#126  good friends and great movies (Courageous this Friday with small group)
#127  peanut butter and honey sandwiches
#128  hand me down's
#129  a roof that doesn't leak
#130  a new Lowe's on our side of town (OK still 20 minutes away, but closer)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rest Assured

I had a conversation with our Worship Leader on Sunday about whether or not someone should take cancer treatments.  Now before I go there, I am NOT saying you shouldn't get treatment for your illnesses.  The questions was posed If the doctors tell you that you are dying from cancer, why would they want you to go through chemo?    As a nurse, I have a definite opinion on this issue, but as a family member, I have a a not-so-certain one. 

My Worship Leader had a great point.  I know Psalm 139:16: All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  His Word tells me here no matter what I do, I cannot extend my life beyond the point He has already set.  He then pointed me to 2 Kings 13:14 where we are told Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died.  This reaffirms what was seen in Psalms.  Elisha wasn't going to be cured, it was his time.   

God knew when and how Elisha was going to die.  According to Psalms, He knew it before Elisha ever was.  The same goes for us.  If it's our time, nothing we can do will prevent the will of God from happening.  Why do we struggle, worry, obsess, and become enslaved to how or when we will leave this earth?  To me, it is comforting to know that He already has it planned out.  I don't have to help Him at all!  Rest in the assurance that your days are numbered by the very One who created you. 


Monday, October 10, 2011

Find Rest my Soul

Psalm 62:5
My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him.
He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault a man?  Would all of you throw him down----
this leaning wall, this tottering fence? 
They fully intended to topple him from his lofty place; they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. 
He alone is my rock and my salvation;  He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.

Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie;  if weighed on a balance,
they are nothing;  together they are only a breath.
Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase;
do not set your heart on them.

One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard:  That you, O God, are strong, 
and that you, O Lord, are loving.  Surely you will reward each person according to
what he has done.

Sweet Rest
 David talks about pouring our hearts out to God in this Psalm.  Pour out your heart to Him, only then can He fill it with Himself.  He can't fill what is already brimming with something else.  Empty yourself of you so you can have more of Him....
He also speaks of rest.  This Psalm was written at the time he was hiding in the cave from Saul.  I'd think he knew a little somthing about needing rest, wouldn't you?  He knew where to find his rest and it's in the same Person we can find ours today-God.  God alone.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thankful Thursday...and Biscuits

'The priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away."  1 Samuel 21:6

I am a true Southern gal and I love my biscuits.  I'll take them any way you hand them to me:  canned, frozen, or homemade.  But there's just something about a fresh, hot, dripping with butter (and honey) homemade biscuit.  There is nothing like it in this world.  My waistline is thankful I've never mastered the art of homemade biscuits, but I do know some folks who have (and I've tasted the proof).  Why settle for store-bought when you can have homemade?  I can't imagine any of the people I know who can make biscuits buying them from the refrigerated section at Bi-lo.

This is a picture of how we can treat the Word of God.  The Word is our daily bread.  Jesus calls Himself the bread of life in John.  The bread of the Presence offered to David in 1 Samuel 21 is the bread of the covenant He made with the Israelites.  It was a symbol to David of the covenant God had made with him that he would succeed over his enemies and would be King of Israel.  It was a promise of provision and faithfulness.  This same bread is offered to us today in the form of Jesus' sacrifice (the bread was His body, the scars forever being shown to God on our behalf).  Why would we settle for the bread of this world when we can have the Bread of Life?

Thank You Father that you became our substitute, our substance, our manna in the wilderness.  Continuing to count one thousand gifts...
#111  my daily Bread
#112  new seasons
#113 local Christian radio
#114  study buddies
#115  my vacuum
#116  cell phones
#117  Biscuits
#118  His mercy, faithfulness, compassion
#119  Farm Day
#120  our commercial trash bin (that someone else empties)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Slow Down...

Have you ever felt the gentle (or maybe not so gentle) nudge by the Father to slow down a little?  I have.  Just recently.  I've had it before, but just didn't recognize it for what it was.  My Daddy telling His girl to take it easy because she couldn't do everything He had for her all at once.  I've been burning the candle at both ends.  Keeping up with work, kids, home, hubby, sports (for kids, not me), 3 bible studies, kid's church, praise team, youth, blogging and 2nd grade (again, for my son, but feels like for me too sometimes).  And guess what?  I got nudged.  I actually got sick, but it was my heavy push from Him to let me know I had to slow down or burn out completely.

For me, letting go of something others expect me to do is hard.  I am taking a little time to refocus exactly what He wants me to be doing.  First, growing in my relationship with Him is number one.  Second is caring for those He's entrusted to my care and being the helpmate to my hubby that he needs.  All the rest will just have to fall in line behind those two things.  I've decided to start blogging just 3 days a week, WThF, as those are the days I don't have to 'work' at my paying job :)

I am thankful He loves me enough to show me when I need to take a break.  Hopefully, I will listen!