Stone Sunday Chronicles

Today was a spectacular day full of rest, family, and friends.  I had originally planned to be at an educational conference this weekend with the hopes of finishing the weekend with friends in Frisco.  Ah, but we’ve had one financial excitement after another, so no conference this year nor weekend away.  But I had scheduled a substitute for our pre-k class at church today, so this is how things unfolded in our family on our day of rest.

Since our coffee maker broke, the rule is, whoever wakes up first on Saturday goes to get the coffee…and since we couldn’t get coffee at church today, husband was the coffee man.  After breakfast, he took our youngest and went to finish a paint job he’s working on.  Youngest said he had a fabulous time, and for a while was entertained by a vice by crushing things, as well as two jumping spiders.  By the way, today was no electronics day for either boy.  We’ve been on a break for a week, so they’ve had more free time for screen….and I think they’re fried.  Not the screens, but the boys!

So, no screen time amounted to this LOVELY vision of our oldest on the couch, relaxing and READING.  Oh, I can’t tell you how I adore such scenes.  This is my boy who has been busy from the words “in my womb”….always  on the go.  He played some ball.  Then read some more.  Visited some neighbors.  Read some more.

I piddled.  Now, the dictionary’s definition of piddle is this:  to spend time in a wasteful, trifling, or ineffective way.,  However, I don’t agree with that definition.  Piddling can be productive…and pleasurable.  So that’s what I did.  Nothing hard, but relaxing piddling.   Part of my piddling including drawing with my new coloring pencils our oldest gave me for Mother’s Day.  I also did some repotting of plants.  I made another bird feeder out of an empty vinegar jug.  Love watching my birds at the feeder.

The mid afternoon sent us flying down the road to exchange boys.  Youngest and I headed off to the dance recital of a dear friend -we’ve been friends (and her mom and I) have been friends since they were babes.  We had a lovely time watching such beauty and art in the dancers, their costumes and music.  So all of the dance routines include girls…until….the next to the last; and here come 4 cute boys doing a Hip-Hop routine.  So that was indeed, my dear boys favorite!  And he’s considering dance lessons….hmmmm.  I love exposing to him to the art of dance with such beauty and grace, as well as the different styles of dance and music.  He’s wanting to hear more of the Phantom of the Opera music since that was one of the tunes included.

Our evening landed us at home, with Dad and Bub at the deer lease doing some clean up work.  All were joyfully delighted with my offering for dinner of beans and rice….I have a great bean recipe I’ve been making for many years now and it’s a hit.

So, I’m off to read.  My soul has been at rest today and it has worshiped quietly and joyfully amoung few.

God’s best to you and yours,

Stacy

The Wag of the Tail: the welcoming spirit of a dog

It’s strange  how when you lose someone you begin to look for perhaps something to replace that void.  Completely impossible.  It wasn’t a month after my dear FIL passed away and I responded to a friend of a friend’s request for possible care of their precious toddler part time.  After conversation with my husband and prayer, I knew that wasn’t what I was to do.  In fact, my husband’s response was, “Don’t you think you need a bit of a break?”  When my mother in love had passed away, it wasn’t long before we moved my FIL, “PawPaw,” in with us.  Our family worked as a team to help care for him and love on him.  Most interestingly, we never sat down and said “You do this, you do that”; we all seemed to operate in our strengths for the most part, each one of us bringing something different to the table.

So a few months later I began a search for a Schnauzer.  Tony and I had two Schnauzers before the kids came along:  Scruffy and Toot-Toot.  We loved those dogs.  Their passing would have been much harder on us had our kids not been very young, keeping us busy!  I searched and searched…and found my searching was becoming a bit obsessive.  Tony had finally acquiesced to a second dog.  Yep, that’s right.  We already have a dog.  But he’s an outside dog, and I was looking for an inside dog.

My obsessiveness was an alarm that went off inside me and I backed off.  I decide to “Love the dog your with.”  Each of us loves on our dear dog, but there are times when I’m sure he goes through periods of neglect.  And I’m sure with the caring of PawPaw, there had been some of that.  So every night I began taking time after dinner to go sit on the back porch in the rocker and brush him.  He was very receptive!  I began taking time to throw the ball for him, which he loves chasing after….if only he’d learn to “drop” the ball so I don’t have to fight him for it!  We’ve worked on that with some treats, which he gladly exchanges the ball for a treat…but then we run out and I forget to pick up more at the store.  Alas, I go back to fighting him for it sometimes.  Then I started taking him with me during our walking time.  Then it was winter and I started letting him stay in during the night.  Yes, read between the lines:  SPOILED.  He thinks he now belongs inside. He comes in, checks out a few spots where food might have been dropped, and then lays himself down on the cool floor.  It’s now near summer here, and he’s back outside for a while, but still thinking he belongs inside with us.

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What I came to enjoy about loving the dog I was with was this:  almost every time I interact with him, he wags his tail for me.  He looks up at me with those big brown eyes and wags his tail.  His wagging tail is a smile for me – and I smile back.  He’s happy.  And that makes me happier.

 

 

Stone Sunday Chronicles

Today began early with a near 4am frantic knock at the door, not once but twice!  I was already a bit awake, but this was a cause for my husband to be woke up.  He handled it like it was nothing (because he’s a near 20 year veteran police officer) – yet something more, because he was protecting his family.  It was a teen boy and girl on our front porch – their friend had been yanked out the car, assaulted and the keys taken by the assailant.  Husband called 911 and didn’t step out until the police showed up.  *Sigh*.  The boy beaten up is someone we are familiar with – several summers back he spent much time down the street at a neighbor boy’s home.  The neighbor’s  momma had to eventually cut all ties with him as he was becoming a bad influence on her son.  I’ve prayed for this boy since then (and since then he continues to run into trouble with the law for truancy and theft).  So last night was a reminder:  keep praying; he’s not hit rock bottom.  And this is not the first time he’s been beat up.  I’m praying he turns around before it gets unsurvivable.  All I could think about last night as I tried to go back to sleep was how his Momma might feel – him being out (in HER car) at 4 in the morning and getting beat up.  How heartbroken I would feel if these were the choices my boys were making.  She’s a single mom, from what I remember.  I know God can rescue Him.  I’m praying He does.  Will you lift him up and ask God to send help for a turn-around?  A do-over?

So, corporate worship we missed, but serving we did ;)  Our preschool class is a high-light of our Sunday.  At one point, I had them sitting on the floor so I could give them some information before we headed outside….and one after the other kept getting up to give me a hug.  It was hilarious and heartwarming!  Now I’m realizing that perhaps it was because my family was out last week!  I completely  believe in having consistency in ANY ministry, but especially with children.  It is so much better for them to be able to adjust to new teachers each August and those same folks show up week after week to love on them and tell them the Good News, not to mention the opportunity to connect with their parents.  JOY!

Husband was out pittin’ yesterday so we had some fine pork but with KFC sides.  Boys did some dish washing and putting away as they are the elected dishwashers since ours is fried.  Maybe we’ll get that replaced next month.  This month:  we are repairing my driver door which was pummeled by a doe a week ago Friday.  *Sigh*  It has been one thing after another….I refuse to give up my joy over these trials that are light and momentary troubles, achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV).  But I have lost it at times…mainly over the dishes, hence, boys are now evening dishwashers.  Tony and I sat in the swing outside Friday evening, watching them through the kitchen window work together – dancing to loud music.  It was lovely!  I think the dishes were clean….

Our evening ended at church to hear our Pastor’s vision for reaching 10K households in 3 years, and what that would mean for our church.  It is very exciting.  I want to be challenged in this area – to reach others for Christ.  I’m looking forward to how God asks OUR family to engage others in the hopes of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Something I saw today:  the heart of one of my boys turn around quickly when he’s realized his response was not respectful (and I didn’t give him the evil eye to let him know).  And the heart of the other boy, who complained about going out to the lake area of our church to pray – and then found fun at the end with some Frisbee, fellowship, fishing, and popsicles.  He apologized on the way home for his bad attitude….not a bad ending, eh?

 

Stone Sunday Chronicles

It is a month from my latest post of Stone Sunday Chronicles.  My husband did hijack the computer two of those weeks, editing his GoPro fishing videos.  And probably my other Sunday late evenings were spent going to bed at a decent time.  Nonetheless, here alas, is another chronicle of our Sunday, my favorite day of the week.

If you asked my husband his favorite part of Sunday corporate worship, he’d definitely say “preaching.”  He’s not much of a singer, although he confesses to singing in his heart and mind ;)  Me, it’s always been the music.  I was raised in the Church of Christ, so at that time we sang Acapella from the hymnal.  I was all about it.  When I hopped over to the Baptist in college, I sang in the BSU choir with an electric keyboard and loved it!  I’m also an instrumentalist, so I’d just say, music moves me.  One of the songs this morning caught my heart – Raised to Life – and here’s why it spoke to me.  You see, I want to walk in Truth.  I want all of the abundant life God offers me this side of heaven.  In John 10:10 (NIV) it says 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  Well, I want it to the full.  And I believe that to have that, I get to practice believing Truth revealed to me in HIS Word.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says “ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!”  I want to live that!

So, here are the words that landed in my heart – and with each repeat, I could sense a reminder to believe HIM:

Sin was strong
But Jesus is stronger
Our shame was great
But Jesus You’re greater

Some days it’s seems like the opposite, huh?  But Truth is that HE is stronger and greater than our sin and shame!  Isn’t that glorious!???  I hope you will come along with me and choose to hang your hat on this Truth and walk in it!

Through the message this morning, I was challenged to consider what lies/false gods I am hanging onto as I seek to enter the promised land of this abundant life, here and now.  My other challenge was to consider how I am perceiving those who are non-Christian around me.

Our 2nd hour was spent with 11 fabulous 4 year olds.  We had a great time telling the story of the woman at the well.  One of the things I’ve begun to do with them is practice reciting scripture with me.  They are each so happy to come say scripture with me and get a sticker!  I still think they like my husband better than all of us!  He had been out two weeks and they were each so glad to see him and ran and gave him a hug.  Today was also Teacher Appreciation day, and one of our child’s families made us small yummy treats and our Preschool leader gave each teacher a wonderful hand-made pie for serving.  We are grateful for the privilege of serving these children in His Name.

Husband and I had an afternoon date time as we dined alfresco and it was so relaxing.  The boys enjoyed time with their MeMe.  I came back after an afternoon of doing nothing and made Scrambled Eggs in Muffin Tin.  This recipe is so easy to work with; I threw in diced baked potato to saute after my sausage had cooked.  The boys were delighted to have it as dinner (as I don’t cook on Sunday nights, so this was a treat!) and husband gets a few for an early morning breakfast.  Score for me!

Here’s the link for the Raised to Life video.  I hope you have time to enjoy worshiping – basking in His love for you and choosing to believe and walk in Truth revealed.

God’s Best to you,

Stacy

In ALL things

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When I’m going through a particularly difficult time in life, I put on my Euchareste0 bracelet given to me by a dear friend.  When I would see it, it reminds me to give thanks.  Strong’s defines eucharisteo (pronounced yoo-khar-is-teh’-o) this way:  to be grateful, i.e. (actively) to express gratitude (towards); specially, to say grace at a meal:–(give) thank(-ful, -s).  Thankfulness ushers me into His presence.  Ingratitude leads me further to despair.  Thankfulness reminds me of what I truly believe about my Heavenly Father:  He could be trusted in all circumstances.  Ingratitude leads to the false belief that I’m all I have to see me through, counting out God’s presence and help.  The painfulness of a solitary journey through difficulties lead me back to Him pronto!  Make sure, He doesn’t leave when we choose the opposite of Truth – yet when we walk in unbelief, we are acting as if He’s not there.  That, I’ve found, is painful for myself and I believe for Him as well.

1  Thessalonians 5:18 New International Version (NIV) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

The Message (MSG) puts it this way:  16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

Life is difficult, full of problems, challenges, dreams unfulfilled, failures, disappointments. One of the conversations I continue to have with my children is: What are you going to do with disappointments? When things don’t go your way? How are you going to respond? And they think….and I allow them to think. Offering them the opportunity to prop themselves up on the Truth of God’s Word.  My prayer is they will choose to lean into God’s Truth to see them through anything.

M. Scott Peck’s take on “life is difficult” goes like this….I think I like it.  I want to transcend it.  John 16:33 (NIV) puts it this way:  Jesus is speaking and says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  Several other versions say “take courage” or “be of good cheer.”  I find that possible when I’m looking to the One who is with me through it all.

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So how can we cultivate this giving thanks in all circumstances – thanking Him no matter what happens?

  • Speak out loud your faith in Him – when I’ve found myself floundering in unbelief, I’ve gone back to what I know about Him, and I begin to speak it out loud.  And you betcha, other people, especially my children, have been around during this time of remembering who He is to me.
  • Handwriting scripture – during the holidays, my boys and I were practicing our writing most days by writing out scripture; it was such a blessing to each of us.  We would remember the Truth throughout the day and it would minister to our hearts (well, at least mine – I’m trusting it was in there’s as well).  I’ve been meaning for us to get back to it – here is a great resource for that at Sweet Blessings.  She has a daily scripture writing plan for each month.  If you’re a recovering perfectionist like myself, get yourself a pretty notebook – but if that’s not near TODAY and  your heart is needing some speedy recovery TODAY ushering into HIS presence, get a blank piece of paper and get to it!  You’ll be blessed!
  • Sacrifice of Thankfulness jar – I’ve wanted to try those “Thankfulness” jars during the month of November, or a yearly jar of gratitude.  But those are for the wonderful things happening, big or small.  Perhaps what we need is a sacrifice of thanksgiving jar, because we’re wanting to practice giving things in the hard spots of life, trusting God to see us through.  Then at the end of the year, we would read the slips of paper of the hard things, and recall God’s faithfulness to see us through.

God’s best to you and yours,

Stacy

 

The Stone Sunday Chronicles

Today seems like the best day ever to TRY to begin my weekly Stone Sunday Chronicle where I’ll share a bit of our worship experience.  Why is today the best day ever?  Because HE IS RISEN!  Celebrating this Truth for me and my family brings me great joy.

By God’s grace, we woke up  late but made it to church early enough to get some coffee!  So today, we find ourselves in worship all together, including my youngest who is 9, as on other Sunday’s he is in his classroom.  So while I’m taking notes on my phone app provided, he’s taking his own…my heart exploded with joy as I unfolded his church bulletin I was about to toss in the trash to find the following:

So, I’m thinking he gets it.  That Christ passionately pursues him with a never-ending, never-forsaking love.  To love the heart of Christ is to recognize His heart for you.  My Momma-heart rejoices and turns to pray that my dear one will daily recognize the Truth of God’s love for Him that sent His Son Jesus to the cross to bear the weight of our sins – so that we could be with Him forever.  And that God IS with him NOW, by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in his 9 year old heart – a seal of promise that my boy belongs to God.

Well, this one also offered up a hilarious moment that I hoped did not turn into a meltdown, as Pastor ask for those wanting to accept Jesus to raise their hand, to which he did.  Why?  Because he wanted to do it – again (he’s already accepted Christ several years ago), so that….he could get the new bible they were offering to new believers (this child needs a new bible…).  So I joyfully promised him a new bible forthcoming.

After worship, our oldest and husband and I then serve in our preschool ministry.  I love seeing these kids each Sunday.  All of the 4 year olds were together as we waited to go see our special guest, an Illusionist that would present the gospel.  Each Sunday, seeds of Truth are being planted in the hearts of these children.  Our family considers it a privilege to be a part of something bigger than ourselves – seed planters that others will come along and water, and God will grow in His time.

Our afternoon was spent with both sides of our family as we celebrated Easter with a burger cookout.  My man is the king of the pit.  We were blessed with great time together.  Our oldest wanted to lead in our prayer of blessing.  Past the food, he was looking forward to some basketball court time with his dad and uncles.  I was delighted to visit with one of my SIL, my Mom, and a friend that stopped by.

May you and yours be blessed,

Stacy