Thursday, February 24, 2011

Surprise Me!

Below is an article I wrote for my MOPS group's "Pitter Patter" newsletter way back in October of 1999 when my children were 3 and 1.  It was a good reminder to me of the goals I still have today.

Recently, I overhead a mother and her daughter talking outside the "Body Zone" exhibit at the Orlando Science Center. The mom was restraining her young daughter from rushing right into the mouth (literally) of the exhibit.  "Let’s read the sign and see what this is all about first -- let’s see what we are getting into here," she reasoned with the little girl.  "I’d rather be surprised," was the over-the-shoulder response as the little girl took off running.

This interchange reminded me how different people can be.  Whether by temperament or by choice, my kids will not grow up into miniature me's. They are their own individual selves and may be completely different from me.

I once heard the familiar proverb "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6) rephrased as "Train a child according to his bent..." This is a great wisdom that we should consider:  how to encourage our children in their individual gifts, abilities and talents rather than imposing our own ways and means and dreams on them.

The best way I know is to give lots of praise for each accomplishment, however small.  If Holly colors a picture – even outside the lines – she gets two thumbs up from me.  Will she be an artist one day?  Who knows?  If Elijah utters a "da," he gets a boat-load of enthusiasm from me. Will he be a preacher one day? Who knows?

My children don’t have to be perfect and they don’t have to be like me. I just need to encourage them to do what they like to do in they way that they like to do it. And give them enough room to read the signs ahead or to just "be surprised."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Goal Planning Monday

Today, I'm joining Katrina's Meme for goal planning Monday.  I am not sure what a  Meme is, so my #1 goal is to google it and find out.  After that:

#2  Getting back in shape.  This week, I will track everything I eat and list its weight watcher points.  I will drink water at meals and extra water in between.  And I will exercise every day.  I took one walk this morning and plan to take another longer one this evening.

#3  Make lasagna.  Tomorrow is my husband's birthday and I want to make him a lasagna.  It is one of those meals that feels so complicated that I haven't tackled it in years.  So, I hope it turns out well. 

#4  Wrap presents. 

#5  Spring clean the kitchen.  This job was supposed to be done last week, but didn't make it.

If I get these things done, I will feel I had a great week!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Parenting Nightmare

I was sucked into an Oprah show yesterday.  I only saw about half of it, but it was detailing the life of a boy with emotional problems.  Apparently, before he was age 2, he had “uncontrollable rages;” “not the normal 2-year old tantrums,” the mom insisted.  He was later diagnosed as having some sensory issues, being too affected by clothing textures, sounds, etc.  At age 7 or 8, he drew a picture (on the wall) about shooting his mom.  In his tweens, he picked up a knife in a threatening manner toward his mom.  In fact, most of his aggression is aimed towards his mom.  She realized that after the knife incident.
The treatment for his behavior has been medication, which caused him memory loss, educational loss, and probably some personality loss which is normal for those types of drugs.
My first thought was that his parents did not discipline him for his rages when he was younger, so they grew.  But, as they talked, there was more to it than that.  The boy hears “voices” in his head that tell him to do bad things.  He feels that they are “outside” voices, not his own voice.  Sometimes they sound like his dad or late grandfather.  He has been taught now that they are just “negative energy” and if he concentrates on “positive energy,” he is able to overcome them.  This is part of the therapy he receives from psychologists who have him concentrate on “white light” to calm the voices.
I am grieved that these people, both parents and doctors – probably all very well-meaning individuals – have no idea what they are dealing with.  Their problem is spiritual and their answer is spiritual. 
Matthew 17:14-21 (NKJV)
And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.  So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”

Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.”  And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Hearing outside voices is a sign of demonic activity.  There was some open door for this child at a young age – through New Age, occult, family curse, TV, movie or music activities, I would guess – that gave Satan’s hoard a foothold.  The power of the demons has increased exponentially because they are not stopped.  The boy may think that he has control now, but that will end as a lie.  Demons are great liars.  I dread to see him in court someday, a grown man, a murderer, saying, “It wasn’t me; it was the voices.”

At the age of 18 months, my daughter had horrible temper tantrums.  Mostly at home, mostly with me.  At the age of 2, she started having nightmares and then, later, night terrors.  She would be screaming and thrashing in her sleep for long periods, but have no recollection of it in the morning.  At first, we took the world’s advice – parenting books advised that this was “normal behavior,” a “stage” – and did nothing.  Then, the Lord began dealing with us.  This was a spiritual matter.  It needed prayer.  We began praying deliverance over our daughter.  In Jesus’ name, we took command over the devil that was working in her.  And that was it.  That night.  Done.  Cured.

We then went hunting for what had been the open door and shut it.  We found that, at too young an age, we had allowed her to watch TV and movies (Dragon Tales, Arthur, and even Disney’s Cinderella) which had spiritual components which we had laughed off.  Dragon Tales uses spells, Arthur’s friend is a fortune teller, and the stepmother in Cinderella was an evil influence.  We have been radical ever since in being vigilant over what our children watch.  They have been vigilant themselves.  Even as tweens and teens, they cover their eyes for most movie previews and for many TV commercials.  They watch very little TV and it Is a rare movie we can see at the movie-house.  They have “made a covenant with their eyes” like Job did (Job 31:1) and have agreed with David in the Psalm:

Psalm 101:3 (KJV)

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; [it] shall not cleave to me.

Our children started this because we mandated it.  But, they remain because they see the good effect.  They don’t get bad dreams.  They don’t have tons of bad thoughts.  When they get out from under this covenant, they know they suffer for it.

Oprah reported that there are millions of children in America diagnosed like that one boy, with “mental” or “emotional” problems.  She encourages them to seek out New Age treatments.  To be “one with the universe” and only allow “positive energy” to flow.  The problem is, that they don’t have access to the real “positive energy.”  It is the devil who poses as an “angel of light.”  They are seeking a spiritual realm, but they have not found God’s realm.  There is only one way to get to God’s realm – through Jesus Christ.  Without Him, their “cures” will be temporary and meaningless.  I prayed that this young man would find Christ.  He and his whole family.  And Oprah too.  If they don’t, America is facing nightmares ahead.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jesus Loves the Children

I had an awesome opportunity yesterday to witness God's hand at work in some very special teenagers.  I had been invited to attend the baptism of my 16-year-old nephew.  Scott is "special" because he is autistic.  He is not very verbal (except about food) and has many self-stim habits (hits himself on the head, can't sit still, etc.).  We don't really know what goes on in Scott's mind and body, but, we do know that Jesus loves Scott.  Jesus died for Scott.  And Scott has learned to affirm with his words that Jesus lives in his heart.  He "went under" like a champ and then swam like a fish out of the baptistry!

On the same day, Stacie, a friend of my niece, was also baptized.  She cried as she gave her testimony before the baptism, acknowledging that she was a sinner, saved by God's grace.  Jesus loves Stacie.  He died and rose again for her.

On the same day, and during the same service, Kaleigh, another friend of my niece, decided to give her heart to Jesus Christ.  Kaleigh was raised in a Buddhist household.  When asked what she would tell her mother, she replied, "Well, she'll just have to accept it.  There is no going back now!"  She did not have this boldness last week or the week before, but once she made the decision, Jesus gave her peace and the Holy Spirit gave her boldness to witness!  Jesus loves Kaleigh.  Jesus died for Kaleigh.  And her family.

Jesus loves me.  He died for me.  Jesus loves you.  He died for you too.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Face Facts

In the KJV, 1 Peter 3:1-3 says, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." [The underlining is mine.]

Or in the NIV, verse 2 says:  "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes."

How does that philosophy fit in today's world?  Ever dwindling, I am afraid.  I hear Walmart is now getting in the biz of selling cosmetics directly to infants -- okay, 8 year olds -- same thing. 

This picture has nothing to do
with geogirl, but expressed my
feelings perfectly!

As seen at

What exactly is geoGirl?It's a new line of 69 cosmetics products, from blush and mascara to exfoliators, aimed at the tween market. It's designed especially for young girls who want to use "real cosmetics, but with natural ingredients," says Joel Carden of Pacific World, the line's manufacturer.

These cosmetics apparently have anti-aging properties.  You know, so your 8 year old won't look too wrinkly.  Better keep those bath times short too! 

I will say, I have never objected to girls playing dress-up, donning fancy dresses and shoes, and smearing red lipstick all over.  I think it is an important part of "playing mommy" if your mommy wears make up.  And "playing mommy" is great for teaching girls how to be wives and mothers. 

But, what are the messages being given to an 8 year old who has her own make up to wear to school?  I am afraid they are this:

1.  You aren't very pretty.  We need to cover you up so that no one will stare.

2.  The valuable time that we could have spent talking or playing games or doing chores is better spent getting you "all dolled up" because your value is in how you look.

3.  You must spend money to be beautiful.  That is a gift of the cosmetic counter, not God.

4.  You are old enough now to begin attracting men.  Get busy!  You are nothing without a man.

I don't think I am going overboard here.  Personally, I want to protect my daughter from attracting men until the proper season -- young adulthood.  And then, I want her to attract the right type of man: the man who will find her beautiful, not the mask she wears.  (What a shock some men must experience when they wake up on their honeymoon and see their wives' real faces for the first time!)  Let him see her mischievious smile and twinkly eyes, her desire to do good, and her love for the Lord.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Below is a little lesson I developed for my children a while back.  My friend just reminded me of it and I thought I would post it here.  The topic?  Materialism.  The goal:  De-cluttering!

Compared to the rest of the world, do you think our family is rich or poor? [Rich.] There are many children in the world who go to bed hungry, have not enough clothing, and little or no shelter. They are not wishing for toys and video games, but about worried about being alive tomorrow and where they will find food.

We are also rich spiritually...we each have our own Bibles, we go to a church that is about to build a $33 million sanctuary, and we have had good teaching about the Bible. We can pray for more than just our daily needs, because our daily needs are already met.

What are our daily needs? [Food, clothing, shelter.] Who supplies our daily needs? [God.]

Matthew 6:20-24 - we shouldn’t be burdened by an abundance of things; God will provide our needs.Today, in America, most people, including us, have an abundance. We not only have clothing, but more than enough. We not only have food, but so much that we end up throwing away leftovers. We not only have shelter, but it is completely paid for and we have comfy furniture and can contemplate buying more of it.

Proverbs 25:27 - too much of a good thing (even honey), can be a bad thing.Our country has a spiritual disease in their world view. It is called "materialism." Materialism says, okay, my needs are met, now I want more! I have more than enough, but I still want more! How many storage facility buildings have we seen built in our neighborhood over the last 5 years? Many. People have more stuff than will fit into their homes!

This is a spiritual battle. Satan wants us to have lots of THINGS. Why? [Things distract us from God’s Word, His Work and from trusting in him.] Jesus said it would be harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to enter the eye of a needle. Why? Because a rich man begins to trust in his things more than trusting in God.

Things distract us because:

1. Busyness - we always have something we could do other than pray/read the Bible/good to others. We have games, and books, and toys, and video games, and other entertainments.

2. Maintenance - we have to dust it, get batteries for it, oil it, store it, look for it, put it away, etc. This takes time, money, and energy. 

Ecclesiastes 1:8 - all things are full of labor (maintenance)

3. Clutter - a cluttered room = a cluttered mind. It is hard to concentrate, when things are "calling me." And when there isn’t a clean spot to sit and think. 
4. Poor Health - when things can’t be kept clean, we can get sick. Dust = more asthma, sneezing, germs, etc.When we contemplate all our things, we have choices to make. We can:


Store (attic)

Throw Away


If we do this, we will be burdened by clutter, health, maintenance, and storage problems. Nothing will change. We have not helped anyone.
If we do this, we can save "treasures" for our (grand)children; things worth saving. Perhaps they can be used or sold later, good investment of storage space. (Recycling)
We can get rid of things that are broken and unusable as they really have no value. If things have sentimental value, we can take pictures before we throw away. This helps with clutter, health, maintenance, and storage issues.
Acts 2:45, the early church sold off their excess to help the poor. They did not use the money to buy more stuff.
If we do this, we can help other people who have little, to have enough. We make room for God to bless us. This helps with clutter, health, maintenance and storage issues.

*Hoard means: to store up or keep large quantities of (something), often in secret

In reality, how many watches does a person need? [1] How many backpacks? [1] How many necklaces? [a couple] How many piggy banks? [1]

What happens to things?

1 John 2:15-17 - Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.So, should we focus on things? [No.] Where should our focus be? [God, Bible, love others (2 great commands).]

John 10:37 - If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. Did Jesus do the work of the Father? [Yes] What was that? [Heal the sick, preach the gospel, servant to others; love.] What does God want us to do regarding those less fortunate (poor, sick, hungry)? [Help them, give to them, feed them, pray for them.] Think about the sheep and the goats. They had a choice to make. Each were faced with people who were poor, hungry, cold, etc. What was the difference in their response? [Sheep helped; goats didn’t.] What happened to the sheep/goats? [Heaven/Hell.] Which would we rather be?

Let’s talk about some other people who did and didn’t.

Matthew 19:22

Acts 2:44-48
- And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. 
- the rich young ruler went away sad because he had so much stuff – he didn’t want to choose between Jesus and his stuff. Because, what did he love more? [stuff]
Who pleased God? [early church] What did they do with their possessions? [sell, give away to those in need] What did the rich young ruler do with his possessions? [kept them, ignored Jesus]

Now, let’s talk about some principles about things and giving.

                    Luke 16:10 - he who is faithful with little, is faithful in much.

Faithfulness with our things means that we take good care of them, we keep them clean, and we don’t allow them to distract us from God and doing His work. I think we fail a bit in the clean and good care columns. We don’t often clean your rooms thoroughly, mostly because it takes so long because there are so many things to take care of. So, we just don’t.

1 Timothy 6:17 - Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.God gives us plenty and we can trust in Him to supply our needs and some of our wants. If we get rid of things, will He make it okay? Can we live without some things? What are we supposed to be rich in? [good works, not things.]

Matthew 6:19-20 - Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.What kind of treasures should we store up lots of? [heavenly, good works] What is wrong with earthly treasures [2nd law of thermodynamics, they decay!]

Luke 12:15-34
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knows that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
- And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
What happened to that man’s stuff? [descendants, rot] What happened to the man’s soul? [Heaven/Hell.]
What happens when we give?

Proverbs 13:7
There is that makes himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that makes himself poor, yet hath great riches.

Proverbs 22:9
He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

Proverbs 14:21
He that despises his neighbor sins: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Proverbs 28:27
He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hides his eyes shall have many a curse.

Luke 6:38
- Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
- give to the poor
- happy
- blessed
- spiritual riches
What kinds of things should be first on our list to give (easiest)?

1 Corinthians 13:11 - When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.Things we have outgrown in age or size and can no longer use. Things that are broken should easily be thrown away.

If we want to save MEMORIES, the best way to do that is with pictures, not with tons of STUFF.
What do you think we are going to do now? [Clean! Throw away! Give Away!]

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fountain of Youth?

The standards for youth and beauty have become impossibly high in our culture.  Last night I caught a glimpse of one of those insipid "TV news magazine" shows that pretend they have the inside scoop on all the stars.  The twenty-something reporters spent several minutes expressing their horror over some bad photos of Suzanne Somers -- probably the first bad pix she has ever taken. 

She really didn't look too bad according to normal standards, but her face was a little puffy.  A cosmetic surgeon speculated that she had received too many injections  of fat in her quest to look young.  Why would she do such a thing?  Well, she is touring the country hawking a book about how to maintain a youthful, she is probably under a lot of the normal pressures of traveling, late nights schmoozing, and being an old lady.  What?  Old lady?  Yes!  The poor thing is 64 years old!  Old enough to be a great-grandma!  But Hollywood demands that she always look her best -- no, much better than that.  They demand that she look 20...forever!  I have news for them -- she can't do it.  Our bodies -- since the fall of man -- run down.  You can push it off a bit, with makeup and hair dye, but eventually there comes an end to how much you can fool people.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears
the LORD is to be praised.  Proverbs 31:30

Why can't we value age and wisdom?  I think I will be more comfortable following the beauty secrets of a Betty White...look like a grandma, act like a grandma, and laugh a lot.