Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kelsey's birthday

I've been a little behind in my blogging lately but I'm trying to catch up. We just celebrated Kelsey's birthday.....okay, it's been a week or two. I really enjoyed decorating her cake this year. Hopefully she doesn't expect better each year. She wanted a Luau theme and thankfully a family in church just happened to have all the decorations I needed and another member had a relative who had a waterslide Fun Jump. So I decided it would be a good year to invite her friends. I don't think I'll do that again.:) Just kidding. I know she had a great time and it's only one day a year. After all, it was her birthday! I did a horrible job taking pictures. Especially when they were playing on the water slide. I completely forgot to take any until I was starting to clean up after everyone left. Now....what to do for McKayla's!

Acts 2:47

Okay,so maybe that's not what that scripture is talking about but that's what's happening at this church. Since this picture there are 4, maybe 5 more that I know of that are expecting now. These kids are going to have so much fun growing up together! What a great youthgroup in a few years!

Friday, August 14, 2009

In Memory of Opal Guest

I remember the first time I met Opal, she came up the stairs in church with her walker ("sputnik") squeezing her little bicycle horn to get through the crowd with a big goofy grin on her face and I knew I would love her. She truly was a Saint! I remember when we would go to the nursing home on Sunday afternoons and she would come along to visit the "old people". She was what, in her 90's? I really don't remember, I'm horrible with ages. For a special she would whistle one of her favorite hymns. I never used to be able to whistle but when I heard her whistling I wanted to be able to whistle like that when I get to be her age so I started practicing. I'm still not near as good but I can whistle now. Every time I do, I think of her. She always had a big smile on her face and something good to say or some story to tell. I especially loved hearing her stories about when she was a Sunday School teacher. Even though you had to come up several steps in order to get in our church building and then up some more to get to the sanctuary, I never once heard her complain about it. I hope I can be like that when I get to be old. I'm really going to miss dear Opal and I'm really sorry I won't be able to say goodbye to her one last time later on today at her funeral. She truly was a blessing in my life and I'm so glad I got to know her for those few years in Bemidji! It is such a comfort to know that this isn't forever. Some day I will see Opal again and she will be whistling away while walking without her sputnik. Goodbye for now Opal

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Is Heaven worth it?

Something has been eating away at me all week and I finally decided I have to talk about it and get it out of my system! I'm not sure it will help but it's worth a try. I tried rounding up some kids from our church to go to camp. I found 9 who wanted to go and I thought, "Great! Now I just need to find another vehicle and driver willing to help bring them." Not a problem, if I couldn't find someone, Jason and I would've driven two vehicles to make sure they could all go. Than all-stars picked their players. That knocked out 6 of the kids who could go. Okay, we still had three, that was all right. Than one had to work, one had summer school and the third one didn't want to come by himself. Especially after calling all the other kids he knew from another state and finding that none of them were going either, due to jobs or sports. I really don't blame that last one, I probably wouldn't have wanted to go by myself either to a different state when no one else I knew was going. We had to wait until Sunday Evening to leave since Jason is the minister and Sundays are his busiest work day. I had packed the car and was all ready to take off after church when we got a call from the camp manager saying that only 8 kids had shown up so there really wasn't a good reason for us to drive 1000 miles to come help out. That was truly a discouraging thing for me to hear. I know there were various reasons why kids didn't show up but I'll bet you anything the biggest reasons were jobs and sports. What I want to know is, why are "things" more important than Bible Camps? I want to saturate my kids with all things to do with Christ and surround them with other christian peers as much as possible so they know they're not alone out there, struggling to do whats right! In the world we live in today, it is tough to survive being a Christian for teenagers!!! They need as much help as they can get. Even for myself, if I had grown up only going to Sunday morning church and maybe one Bible camp a year I highly doubt I would be the Christian I am today. I remember the thoughts I had as a teenager, wanting to do what I knew wasn't right, but those sermons I heard, over and over, would pop into my head, and those memory verses we were forced to learn at camp would be there telling me no, that's not right! And I would be scared of going to hell and it kept me out of a lot of trouble. I don't think hell is real to our kids today. We don't have the hell, fire and brimstone messages we had back then. It's good that kids are taught the love and the grace of God because that is so important to know as well and I wish I had known more of that growing up, but the fear of hell is so important to a teenager. Sunday morning sermons are great but those aren't the ones I remember the most. I remember the ones we heard at camp, maybe because they were geared more for our age, I don't know, but whatever the reason they played an important part in my life. Our God is a jealous God and he says "there shall be no other god's before me." I truly believe that when you put anything; hobbies, sports, jobs, cars, etc. before opportunities to learn more about God, then you are making that your god. You can make all the excuses you want but at the end of the day, what's really going to matter? You go before the judgment seat and you chose...let's say.... sports instead of God do you think God's going to say, "Oh good, you made every practice and every game and are excellent at what you do, enter in, my child, for I need a good player on my team? I do like sports, and I do believe they are good for character development, but there is a time and a place for everything and when it comes down to sports or learning more about God, sports should always take back seat. Sports aren't the only thing to come before God, you can fill in the blank with whatever you like, but it's all the same. Where are our priorities? Aren't you scared about your child's salvation? You should be, because Satan wants them on his team and he's playing every card he's got. A lot of his cards look harmless but when played in the right hand, are deadly. What's Heaven worth to you?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We heard a thump against our window a couple days ago and looked out to find this little critter on our porch. He looked a little stunned so I went out to get him out of the way of my vicious little Jack Russell. He sat in my hand as calm as could be for quite awhile and it was neat to be so close to this beautiful creation. The girls and I marveled over him as long as we could and then the oven timer brought us back to reality. There were things to do so I took him to the tree outside my back door and tried to transfer him to a branch, but I guess he decided it was time for him to fly, so off he went. He stayed in a nearby tree for a little while singing to us like he was saying Thank you and then he took off.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Walk Down Memory Lane

I was lying in my bed tonight trying to sleep but my mind kept drifting. I was thinking about some friends and how short life really is and then I started thinking about my earliest memories. I don't know if someday I'll lose my memory so I thought I'd better write these down while I still can remember them. I don't remember how old I was for this one but my mom was babysitting a little boy and girl. The boy was still a baby and took a bottle. I remember thinking that I wish I could have a bottle so one day when mom wasn't watching and the baby wasn't in the crib, I snuck a drink from his bottle. I remember thinking it wasn't as good as I remembered it and I'm not sure if that was the last of that desire. Then I can remember, being four years old. My brother and sisters were getting on their winter coats, mittens, stocking hats and scarves and rushing out the door heading for school. I stood at the window in the den watching them walk down the sidewalk in the snow for as long as I could, wishing that I could go too. My mom was sitting at the desk in the den working on bills or something. On that desk she had a very old fashioned stapler. I remember being fascinated by it and playing with it, probably whenever she wasn't in the room. Then she would type on those big calculators that print out the paper and her fingers would fly over the keys. I remember thinking that I wanted one of those when I was older and I would practice on it, again, probably when she wasn't around. I still have not gotten one of those things, I don't know what they're called but they do still make them.
She worked early in the morning cleaning Pizza Hut and would get back home, normally before we would even get up, but one morning I woke up before she got back. I sat on the landing of the stairs watching for her to walk through the door. The landing brings back even more memories. We got pajamas with feet in them every year for Christmas from Grandma and Grandpa. We loved those pajamas and would run and slide down the hallway on the carpet wearing out the bottoms of the feet. Then we would bump down the stairs on our bottoms, wearing out the bottoms.
One day while I was home and my siblings were at school my mom called me into her room. She said, "I have something for you." It was a big green box and there were Phonics activities in it. Each month I would get a new shipment and it had a big poster with a huge tree on it and in each shipment would be a new elf and some more ladder to put on my tree. I loved those activities, they taught me my letters, numbers and had fun games, you would slip a sheet underneath a transparency sheet and write and erase. Just recently my mom gave me that box and I gave them to my daughter. I think I took much better care of my things then my daughter does. I still don't trust her with my barbies. Yes, I still have them.
Another memory at 701 N. Jefferson St. is my birthdays. Every year I would get to pick my birthday meal and my dessert. I don't remember what my meals were but my dessert was always angel food cake with homemade ice cream topped with black raspberries and strawberries. My Grandma and Grandpa Pickens would come for our birthdays and we would sit on the porch on the side of the house and crank that old ice cream freezer, usually trying to throw ice down one another's shirts.

We used to have Big Wheels, I'm sure some of you remember those. We had a hill on the side of our house and we would race down that hill on our Big Wheels. In the winter time we would sled down that same hill and then when we were frozen we would rush inside and Mom would have some hot chocolate ready in our brown, orange, red and green Tupperware mugs. We'd sit on the wooden bench with the leather seat that Grandpa made us.
We also had a park right beside our house and I learned to ride my bike on the basketball court, riding round and round in circles. I spent hours in that park, playing with those little seeds, from some sort of tree, that would whirl around like helicopters. I liked to tear them apart and use the seeds for pretend cooking.
This is turning into a book but the memories keep rushing back.
Kindergarten finally came! One day I had to attend a funeral of some great aunt so my mom sent me to school in the ugliest dress I can remember, (now I know where my daughter gets her pickiness), I'm sure the kids must have all laughed at me that day. Another day I felt sick in the morning but started feeling better before lunch so my mom made me my first sack lunch but instead of a cool cartoon lunch box, my lunch was in a brown Tupperware box with a big plastic handle. The kids did laugh at me that day. I remember getting in trouble one time in Kindergarten but don't remember why, I don't even remember my Kindergarten teacher at all!
I do remember having a tornado warning one day and I was sitting in the book section, watching the weather outside and worrying about my mommy at home, I did cry that day. My first crush was in that class, Matt Dalbey. I was worried he would think I was a baby so I was trying to hide.
Second Grade, Mrs. Brill's class - the first and last time I ever cheated. I got caught!
Third Grade, Mrs. Gray's class - the first and last time I ever got my name on the board, complete humiliation!
We moved from 701 N. Jefferson St. the summer before my fourth grade year and to the school my very best friend attended! Kari Kerkove :) Yep still friends! Also the school of my first "true love," yep, Kari knows who that is also. Unfortunately they both moved away to Missouri before the year was over and I was crushed. Kari and I went through our rough patches but it only made us better friends today. Okay, enough sentiment for one night, I'm about to bawl. Maybe I'll do a second half to this some other sleepless night. But it's 2 AM and I need to get some sleep.

Smells I loved today

Fresh toast popping out of the toaster
Freshly cleaned bathrooms
Fresh cut grass
My shampoo and body soap
The girls' clean hair
Pizza with my girls and girlfriends during our girl's night out
King Cake from Geautheaux's

Life is too short, take time to smell!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Apples of Gold

This afternoon as I was studying our Sunday night's lesson I came upon some much needed help by the author. I've been discouraged lately with my oldest daughter Kelsey and I realized that although she is a very good girl and has very many wonderful characteristics, I have been focusing on her weak areas and wasn't even seeing the good. I've been so worried that she wouldn't overcome those things about her that aren't so nice that I fear I have only been making them worse. The author, Karol Ladd, in the book "The Power of a Positive Woman" brought up the verse Proverbs 25:11 - A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. She went on to explain how words can be so valuable and powerful, lovely and life-giving, or sour and destructive. She also realized how she had been nitpicking at her teenage daughter for every little issue, important or not and determined to change that. She started encouraging both of her daughters with words like "I believe in you, God has a wonderful plan for your life, you have a kind and tender servants heart that is such a blessing to me and others," and so on just saying things like that to them throughout the day. Over time she began to see courage, discipline, and a renewed zest for life rising in both her daughters. I realized that I needed to do that with my girls. Instead of constantly berating them for their faults, I need to focus on their positive points and encourage them with uplifting words. I guess my reason for writing this is to ask for prayer as I work to change my attitude and help my daughters, that God entrusted to me, become who I know God created them to be. Another quote she mentioned was "Treat people as if they were what they should be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming." - Goethe
I hope that this helps others who might also be struggling with this same issue, whether it be with your children, husband or friends. God Bless and thank you for your prayers and support!