December 20, 2013

The Light of Christmas


And

God said,
"Let there be light,"
and there was light.
God saw that the light was good,
and he separated the light from darkness.
~ Genesis 1:3-4
 
 
When I was little, my grandmother told me when her dad went into town, misjudged the time and was caught by the quickness of the descending darkness, her mother would put a candle in the window to guide her loved one home. Grandma said candlelight can be seen from far off when it is totally dark out on the flat, treeless prairies.


You
are my lamp,
O Lord; the Lord
turns my darkness into light.
~ 2 Samuel 22:29

 
My husband and I have been enjoying the Christmas TV show "The Light Fight." It's amazing to see the creativity every one has displayed so far with all the Christmas decorations and lights. I especially love the twinkly lights, but my favorite is the house that looked like a gingerbread house. I have a thing for decorated Christmas cottages. . .

What
is the way to
the abode of light?
~ Job 38:19a

 
 
Which brings me back to the reason for the season. It's not about Santa Claus or how many gifts we must buy or how many we will get or the red-nosed reindeer or how many lights we can put up on our houses to outshine our neighbors. Simply, the reason for Christmas is that Jesus was born as a baby to Mary and Joseph. He came to light the pathway to God's salvation.


"Then
Jesus cried out,
"When a man believes in me,
he does not believe in me only,
but in the one who sent me. When
he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.
I have come into the world as a light, so that
no one who believes in me should stay in darkness."
~ John 12:44-46

 
So as you drive around your neighborhood this holiday season to view the Christmas light displays, remember those tiny bulbs represent His life and light. He brought light for everyone! 
Because
of the tender mercy
of our God, by which
the rising sun will come to us
from heaven to shine on those
living in darkness and in the shadow
of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
~ Luke 1:78-79

 
 
I appreciate Jesus' birthday, because I have no hope of an eternal life in heaven without His assistance. I'm not good enough to get there on my own. I go to church, but that won't save me. I live a basically good life, but that's still not good enough to get me to heaven. I need Jesus. He lights up the bridge into heaven.


"I
saw
the Holy City,
the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for
her husband. . .The city does not need the sun or the moon
to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp/"
~ Revelation 21: 2, 23.
 
My Thanks ☼

1. Jesus, the Christmas light!

2. The willingness of Mary and the missionary Paul to carry the light into the world!

3. For warm clothes, a warm house, and warm water to wash with!

4. For Bookworms, Librarians, and Packrats! Thank God for these three! They have made my hobby of researching my ancestors and magazine transcriptions so much easier. I'm glad they had the foresight to keep the history of this great nation from being tossed into a recycling bin somewhere.

5. I'm thankful for the Good Samaritan who helped my mother up when she fell on the ice last Friday taking the trash out.

6. And last, but never least, I appreciate my blog readers, whether you are a newbie or a re-Pete! Yes, you! Even if you don't add your gratitudes to this blog weekly like I do, you encourage me when you return to read my next postings. Thank you!

May you enjoy God's mercy, protection, grace, and the joy of His salvation this holiday season!

 
MERRY CHRISTMAS!


December 12, 2013

How You Live Your Dash


I have recently attended two cousin's funerals. Both pastors, during their eulogy, spoke of this poem and commended both ladies for living their dash for Christ so well.

This poem was written by Linda Ellis and another cousin, Glenn Ellsworth Ullom Hansen, a newspaper publisher in Rantoul, IL loved Linda's poem so much, that he added it to his wife's, Marguerite "Peg" Clark Hansen (1917-2001), funeral leaflet to be read during her funeral.  Here is Linda, reading her poem on a YouTube video.



How You Live Your Dash
By Linda Ellis.


I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend:
He referred to the dates on her tombstone.
From the beginning . . . to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For the dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth. . .
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars . . . the house . . . the cash.
What matters is how we live and love and
How we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard . . .
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be arranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile . . .
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy's being read
With your life's action to rehash . . .
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

December 04, 2013

Mastering ADD -- Part 1

I have ADD. Yes, that's right -- Attention Deficit Disorder. It's a misnomer though, because I can super-focus on something that really interests me, like my current research project. *wink* For most of my life, I felt like a failure and stupid, but guess what? The first eye opener for me was in high school psyc class. My classmates and I took IQ tests and I discovered I could qualify for Mensa! Wow! Me, a brainiac, no way!

Of course, then that led to "Dolores is not living up to her potential" statements on report cards. Is that a set-up or what? But, tightly sheltered in my hands, was a tiny shiny glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, I was not so dumb after all. Maybe giftedness was why I thought and acted differently from everyone else. Even then, I didn't completely accept myself, because I still was not "normal." I could identify with Pinocchio who wanted to be a real boy and later Data, on Star Trek, who sought to be human.

However, it was not until much later, after marriage and motherhood, that I discovered just who I was. All of us, our whole family was diagnosed at the same time by the same expert (Dr. Grace Ketterman. I've mentioned her before--here.) with ADD. Hallelujah! For me, it was such a relief to learn my state of being had a name and that it is neurological.
 
My autographed copy of
Dr, Ketterman's book.



The very first thing I needed to know after our diagnosis was practical coping skills, not only for myself, but also how to wisely parent our son. My doctor could not follow me around daily, handing out free advice. She had to make a living. We continued to visit her on a monthly basis for a couple of years and I journaled the most pressing problems to receive her advice, but I felt overwhelmed and at the same time, starved for information, so I turned to books. While medication helped to clear the cobwebs of foggy thots, most of the materials I read about ADD/ADHD, did not tell me how to manage living with it. What may seem obvious to you, scatter-brains like me before medication, do not have problem-solving techniques under our belts. I needed assistance -- helpful concrete step by step directions, written in sequence. I continued to read self-help books, adopting some survival skills along the way. If you think coping is a crutch, you may be right, but you wouldn't take crutches away from a one-legged man, would you, if he needed them to get around?

After six difficult years in public school, we decided to educate our son at home. I got involved right away in a local homeschool support group. Later I was asked to sit on a panel of parents and share some of my organizational tips. I went from being completely disorganized to over-the-top organized (one of the hazards of over-compensating for ADD deficiencies. *wink*).

Anyway, I love hand-outs which I collect in 3 ring-binder notebooks. It's something I can refer back to, if needed. So on the hand-out that evening, some of my suggestions were:

1. Make a master list and check it twice.

2. List all the most important tasks your family must complete (including lessons) in a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. Make "appointments" for each on one BIG calendar.

3. Store items near the place you use them.

4. Transform piles into files.

6. A place for everything and everything in it's place! Remember this rule: O.H.I.O. Only handle it once.

7. Pull weeds when you see them in the infant stage, otherwise you'll have Godzilla-sized problems in no time.

8. Date all papers. File or throw away papers that are no longer needed.

9. On scrub day, start at the door and work your way around the room.

10. Do each task one step at a time and complete the task before beginning on a new one. If needed, write down the steps of a job in sequence and laminate it. Post it near job site as a reminder of what needs to be done.
11. Go for the Gold! Visit stores with a list of the items you need and only purchase those items. I carry a small spiral notebook and pen in my purse for reminders and master lists. Somehow, that link from hand to head makes things stick for me!

12. If you can manage this without getting distracted, combine tasks to save time. If you are running errands, write down all the places you need to go, what you need to get, and "map" your way there in the straightest way possible. Don't backtrack as that wastes not only time, but gas.

13. Delegate chores. Many hands make a job light!

14. Learn to say NO! Know your limitations. After all, God rested after creating order from chaos all week!

15. Keep a pad and pen near your phone to write down important messages. Assign a place for posting them such as on the refrigerator or on a bulletin board near your calendar. This is for everyone in your family. Post the message and act on it as soon as possible if the message was for you.

16. I keep 3-ring binders or file folders for all loose papers. Other items go into themed boxes and baskets. I label them using blank index cards (temporary) or blank sticker labels (permanent).

17. Prepare lesson plans in advance. Write them down and put all items needed for the lesson together. Being organized means less frustration, less time lost and secondly, if you become ill and a substitute teacher takes over, everything will run smoother because the day was pre-planned in advance. (I wrote my son's assignments in a large spiral notebook, leaving him space to check them off as he progressed through them. It gave him a real sense of accomplishment and helped him know when those assignments were completed, he could play with his homeschooling friends up the street,
a real motivator for both. I also kept them as proof that my child was getting an education.)

18. Be flexible.

  ~~ <> @ <> ~~

Note: After retiring from homeschooling, the above list was helpful when I later went back to teaching in Pre-K Sunday School and was asked to prepare a teacher training class called "One of the Honey Bees of Teaching: Bee Prepared."
~~ <> @ <> ~~

"The Week's Calendar"
by Frances Heilprin.

Monday-- Watch the bubbles fly--
Tuesday -- See the wash get dry.
Wednesday -- Mend with all our might ---
Thursday -- Make things clean and bright.
Friday -- Bad for dust and flies. --
Saturday -- Good for cakes and pies.
Sunday -- From all tasks we're free,
After church we have our tea.
~~ <> @ <> ~~
 
 

Near to the end of our homeschooling days, I filled out a survey for a book called "Homeschooling the Challenging Child" by Christine Field.  She is a lawyer/free-lance writer/homeschool mom who had adopted a boy with ADD. Previous to that adoption, the lawyer in her blamed parents for discipline problems, but she soon saw that she couldn't lay all the blame at parents feet, because despite doing all the "right things," her son was still struggling. She quotes me four times in her book.

1. Delores from Missouri notes, "Like David used harp music to soothe King Saul's nerves, we've tried to keep soothing music around." p. 55.

2. Delores in Missouri gave her son an interesting assignment. She writes, "He's always had Bible memory verses to practice his handwriting with and memorize at the same time as his spelling. I've tried to make his verses uplifting, positive ones since ADD people tend to internalize the negative, preachy ones (pessimism, discouragement, depression). Last year, he had twenty-five verses of joy and cheer to memorize! His outlook changed for the better--everyone noticed!" p.57. (see post below for verses)
3. Delores says her son is a tester, more so in his younger years than now. "He's one of those children Dr. James Dobson in his Strong-Willed Child book says was born with a cigar in his mouth." P. 72.
4. Delores from Missouri writes: "I learned to be firm, stand my ground when needed, but refuse to argue, and his privileges would go bye-bye! And he still had to do whatever was requested of him." P. 117.

To be continued. . .

Mastering ADD --- Part II

Here's the Scripture Memory Verses I mentioned previously in Christine Field's Homeschooling the Challenging Child book on page 57:

Week 1 -- Ecclesiastes 8:15 = So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.

Week 2 -- Psalm 118:24 = This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Week 3 -- Proverbs 15:23 = A man finds joy in giving an apt reply--and how good is a timely word.

Week 4 -- Psalm 65:8 = Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call for songs of joy.

Week 5 -- Nehemiah 8:10 = For the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Week 6 -- 2 Corinthians 7:4 = I have great confidence in you: I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

Week 7 -- James 1:2-4 = Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Week 8 -- Psalm 100:1-2 = Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Week 9 -- Psalm 5:11 = But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.


Week 10 -- Proverbs 19:22 = A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Week 11 -- Proverbs 15:15 = The cheerful heart has a continual feast.

Week 12 -- 2 Corinthians 13:9 = We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection.

Week 13 -- Philippians 1:3-6 = I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Week 14 -- Galations 5:22-23 = The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Week 15 -- Ephesians 6:2-3 = Honor your father and mother--which is the first commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.

Week 16 -- Proverbs 23:25 = May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice.

Week 17 -- 2 John :4 = It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth.

Week 18 -- Psalm 20:5 = We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.

Week 19 -- Proverbs 12:25 = An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.

Week 20 -- Jeremiah 31:13 = The maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well, I will turn their mourning into gladness, I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.


Week 21 -- Acts 2:28 = You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.

Week 22 -- Psalm 28:7 = The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

 Week 23 -- Philippians 4:4 = Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

 
Week 24 -- 1 Chronicles 29:17 = I know, my God, that you TEST the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.

 
Week 25 -- Romans 12:12 = Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

 
Week 26 -- 2 Corinthians 9:7 = for God loves a cheerful giver.

 
Week 27 -- Psalm 96:12 = Let the fields be jubilant and everything in them, then all the trees for the forest will sing for joy.

 
Week 28 -- Psalm 98:8 = Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy.

 
Week 29 -- Job 8:21 = He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

 
Week 30 --Psalm 126:6 = He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.


Week 31 -- 1 Chronicles 16:10-11 = Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; see his face always.

 
Week 32 -- Isaiah 51:11 = The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing, everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

 
Week 33 -- 1 Peter 1:6-7 = In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire -- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

 
Week 34 -- 1 Peter 1:8-9 = Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

To be continued. . .

Mastering ADD -- Part III

In order to further understand ADD, when a friend in our church offered a free NAMI
(National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family-to-Family Education Program, I jumped at the chance. It's a very intense 12 week program, taught by a family member who has lived with a mentally ill family member, has graduated from at least one Family-to-Family Education Program (she had 6 classes under her belt, learning something "new" each time) and extensive training to successfully teach the class. Although the information mostly dealt with the most intensive forms of mental illness (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), I graduated from the class with a better understanding of medication, and brain biology, communication, and advocacy.

Recently, I watched a show on our second local PBS TV station called "ADD & Mastering It" hosted by comedians
Rick Green and Patrick McKenna, who also were diagnosed with ADD as adults. They listed 36 tips to mastering ADD. See how closely they resemble my own lists above:

1. Acceptance -- Embrace your Diagnosis of ADD.
2. Educate Yourself -- ADD is a neurological disorder, not a character flaw. It is everywhere. It's not about willpower. It's not laziness. It genetic -- it runs in families. ADD may be accompanied by secondary disorders. It looks like anxiety and depression. It's treatable.
3. Understand your flavor -- ADD or ADHD?
4. Bend the world to you.

5. Chunk it up. Start with one thing and break the task into small, manageable bits.
 6. Take action -- start, quit procrastination.
7. Use doorways to help you -- use the door to remind you to take something with you the next morning so leave your backpack or tote bag on the door handle, or use it as a bulletin board (leave a sticky note reminder for yourself), or a starting place to begin cleaning.
8. Make an Entrance.
9. Meditate -- use it as a focal point to refocus yourself on a task at hand. For example, place all your attention on the feel of your feet on the ground.
10. Seize the small opportunities.
11. Sing, Dance, Move.
12. Don't apologize for having ADD.
13. Apologize though when you screw up.
14. Choose the right job. Do something you love.
15. Find the Right Partner. Practice communication. Continue to educate yourself.
16. Simplify.
17. Start small.
18. Exercise.
19. Forgive yourself & others.
20. Make lists.
21. Reframe It.
22. Clarify Your Goals. ADD people live in the now. We have to project goals into the future, then lay the foundation for the steps to get there.
23. Choose Your Distraction. Baroque music or white noise generators are most helpful.
24. It's your Experiment.
25. List Your Strengths, meaning positive traits.
26. Journal.
27. Turn off the TV -- watch 1 hour less and put the time to practical use.
28. Laugh and learn to laugh at yourself.
29. Use only one master calendar. Use different colors for different people's activities.
30. Don't trust feelings of being overwhelmed.
31. Build a TEAM --of professionals (therapist, physician, etc.) and wise, supportive friends.
32. Keep It Together. Where you use it, store it there. O.H.I.O.
33. Get real about time. Figure out how long it takes you to do each step in a task, then allow that much time to complete it. Don't procrastinate.
34. EXPRESS GRATITUDE -- it will make you happier.
35. Create a bigger context.
36. Don't overdo the good things. Build one new habit at a time until you master it. Life is not a sprint, but a marathon.

12 Reasons Why You Should Love Having ADD

"You are not the Brightest of my four sons" by John Shuchart.

November 23, 2013

Thankful Journal

It seems there is a challenge and blog hop  going on at Gina K and Stamp TV. Despite my gently nudging my friend Karen Lange to get her own blog and she good-naturally resisting, she decided I needed to advertise the  Gratitude journal she made as she was inspired by one I made  located somewhere down in this blog. Stamp TV's  theme is "Thankfulness."

Karen: "It is a piece of design paper glued on front and back of a composition book, then embellished with layers of cardstock, ribbon and copper sparkle stickle. Lastly I rubbed the edges with a distressed ink pad. Inside is stamped GRATEFUL also inside the covers which is a clear stamp by Studio G."



November 18, 2013

Count Your Blessings

 

Words by Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856-1922)
 
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
 
Refrain
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
Refrain
 
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
 
Refrain
 
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
 
Refrain
 
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
 
Refrain
 

November 12, 2013

Be the Change and Pass It On

I've been transcribing names from old national women's magazines for publication in the Missouri Genealogical Association Journal recently and ran across this letter in one of them. It goes along with my theme here of thankfulness.

 
It's Worth Trying
I was deeply impressed by a conversation I overheard while waiting my turn in a dentist office. A patient had come to tell the doctor what a fine job she felt he had done for her in making her a dental plate. I watched the look of pleasure and surprise that spread over his face as he said, "You mean to tell me you came clear back here solely for the purpose of thanking me? This is very unusual! Some of my patients find time to come and see me when they have a complaint to make, but very few ever return to praise."
I couldn't help thinking how true this is of most of us humans. I wondered if perhaps this old world wouldn't be a far different place if we were to make a practice of handing out the words of praise and thanks just as freely as we passed around the faultfinding and grumbling ones.
Perhaps this has become such a life-long habit, that it's too well rooted to make a change all at once but I'm certain that, with a little effort, we could remedy it considerably.
~ Mrs. Elsie LOOKER, Beloit, Wis
Woman's Day, New York, August, 1947.

 

This article tells me that human nature, being what it is, hasn't changed much. In fact, in 2000 years it hasn't according to this story found in Luke 17:11-19. Don't you think it makes the Bible still revelant today?

 

Ten Healed of Leprosy

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"
When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."

 
A little less selfishness and a little more gratitude would make this world a better place to live. It starts with one person passing it on.

 
1. I'm thank God for friends who share my love of history, whose eyes don't glaze over when I talk about my latest exciting find! I explain genealogy to my friends like this -- it's a little like a scavenger hunt and and little like a jigsaw puzzle. If you like these games, it's a cinch you might like family research! J
2. I thank God for our new-to-us cousins found on ancestry.com!
3. I'm grateful that my latest medical screening test came out negative and I don't have to go back for 10 years! Woo hoo! Thank you, Lord, for your loving-kindness!
4. I'm thankful my mother-in-law's knee replacement surgery went well!
5. I'm thankful my old electric dryer lasted as long as it did. It gave good service for almost 20 years!

November 03, 2013

A Herald of Seasons


"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree:
                                  As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out,
                                                 you know that summer is near."
                                                   ~ Matthew 24:32; Luke 21:29,30

There is a maple tree up the street from me that is the most glorious shade of red in the fall. It is absolutely gorgeous. I had taken the fall colors for granted (shame on me!) and had never really explored them until a artsy girlfriend moved to Alaska and asked me to take photos of the leaves for her. She said Alaska had two color seasons, unlike the area in which we lived and she missed the resplendent colors of autumn.

Here was a God-gift -- a wonderful palette of colors to explore and one in which I was remiss to thank him for. I began by cruising up and down the street, treasure-hunting, inspecting the ground like a nut and gathering up the most interesting leaves I could find, bringing them home and scanning them. I collected a whole series of them to send to my friend, even getting creative with their arrangement. It was the most fun!

I've often thought of trees since then and wondered why God created them. He must have had fun doing it since there are so many different kinds, including the family tree! There are people who say "Save the Whales," but I say "Save the Trees." I never thought of myself as a tree-hugger until I read what trees do -- like taking in the carbon dioxide we exhale and giving off the oxygen we inhale. As a person with asthma, I can appreciate any fresh air I can breathe. Not to mention the other things that trees provide which we would miss if they suddenly disappeared -- bark (for baskets, clothing, cork, river transportation); climate control (provides cooling shade, holds the soil, windbreaks); fibers (chair strapping, rope); food (drink, fruit, honey, maple syrup, spices, nuts, oil); fuel (oil, firewood); sap (jewelry, rubber for rubber stamps, incense); wood (carved d├ęcor, the cross; furniture, paper, sawdust, shelter, toothpicks, transportation); etc.. Trees are also a renewable resource, meaning if you plant them, they will grow.

Did you know there are at least thirty kinds of trees named in the Bible? When we were homeschooling our son, we made trees a unit study and one of the verses he had for handwriting practice was "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." (Psalms 1:1-3). We took our concordance down from our library shelves and he read about trees in the first Book of the Bible to the last -- "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:15-17) to "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city." (Revelation 22:14).
Our son made a tree project notebook in which he placed samples of tree leaves sandwiched between pieces of clear contact paper with sticker label identification. At the time, we had eleven trees in our yard and various others at his grandparents' homes, so he had plenty to identify. We visited our local conservation station and saw samples of tree products from our state. Did you know Indians used the hardwood from the Osage Orange tree to make their bows and arrows?
In closing, I want to end with one of our former pastor's favorite verses. It is found in Isaiah, chapter 55, verse 12 = "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
1. I think it's wonderful that God worked out all the things people needed during his days of creation and crafted them for us. Praise God for his goodness to us!
2. I thank Him for watching over family members recently -- traveling ones, ones who've had surgery, and our son, who got a finger mashed at work between metal press rollers. At least he didn't lose the end of it, just some skin.
3. I thank God for the freedom that I have to pray for our children (sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, students; young adults) as they learn from the Board of Education in the School of Hard Knocks. It's tough to stand by as a parent (or teacher/Titus elder) and watch them wise up that way, but sometimes it's the only recourse we have when they stubbornly refuse to listen to us.
4. I thank God for our District Superintendent and for his preaching visit to our church. May God continue to bless him with strength as he governs our district with wisdom and grace. May God give him daily joys and the support of prayer warriors, to guard against and alleviate the troubles that orbits spiritual leadership.
5. I'm so thankful that my mammogram test results came back negative. Woo Hoo!

Postscript: I found a wonderful quote that fits right in with this post, so I'm adding it in:

"There is a very close relationship between appreciating beauty and worshipping. In fact, it is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. As long as appreciation of beauty is not substituted for worship, we need not worry, for beauty will enhance and add to the worship. The two experiences need not be separated.

Surely those who have seen the woods afire with autumnal glory understand this. They know a scene like that lifts the soul to worship the Maker of such a world. In the field of arts they know that the great and mighty music of Bach stirs them in a manner closely akin to worship. They are also moved by noble works created with brush and chisel, which are the expression of the artist's inner feelings about a scene or an idea. These works of art--great painting, sculpture, carvings--make us feel as worshipful as music or natural beauty does. "
~ Jean Louise Smith, Great Art and Children's Worship
  

October 24, 2013

Thank You

Lyrics by Ray Boltz.

 I dreamed I went to heaven
And you were there with me
We walked upon the streets of gold
Beside the crystal sea.
We heard the angels singing
Then someone called your name
You turned and saw this young man
And he was smiling as he came
And he said, "Friend you may not know me now."
And then he said, "But wait,
You used to teach my Sunday School
When I was only eight
And every week you would say a prayer
Before the class would start
And one day when you said that prayer
I asked Jesus in my heart."

 
CHORUS
"Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave."

 
Then another man stood before you
And said, "Remember the time
A missionary came to your church
And his pictures made you cry.
You didn't have much money
But you gave it anyway.
Jesus took the gift you gave
And that's why I am here today.

 (repeat CHORUS)

 One by one they came
Far as the eyes could see
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity.
Little things that you had done
Sacrifices made
Unnoticed on the earth
In heaven now proclaimed.
And I know that up in heaven
You're not supposed to cry
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes
As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord
He said, "My child look around you,
For great is your reward."

 
(repeat CHORUS)

 
I am so glad you gave.