Saturday, November 28, 2015

Our Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving season started with the Thanksgiving Dinner at church on Saturday.  This is our 5th Dinner, and each year it grows.  We try to have a traditional turkey dinner with the trimmings, and we decorate.  Well, I don't decorate, we have a team for that.  I did carve 10 turkeys. (Never Again)(Ever)  It turned out as good as a turkey dinner for 180 people can.  
Everyone seemed to like it.  

So, when that is over, I don't feel compelled to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner at home.
This year was different, though.  Eileen is off at school and they had her scheduled to work over the holiday weekend.   For weeks she and I planned a surprise visit.  She managed to get Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday and Thursday off.  I can't believe we pulled it off, but she managed to get into the house on Tuesday night and give her dad the surprise of his life!   He kept staring at her in disbelief.  Then he started crying.  It was all she ever hoped for in a surprise. 

After all that emotion, and the hard work of the previous weekend, we decided to take it easy.  No big mess, ham instead of turkey, no homemade rolls or pie. We did get out Grandma's china, and the table looked really good.  Most importantly, we were thankful.  Thankful to be together.  We spent the evening putting up Christmas decoration, per Eileen's request. 

Eileen left on Friday morning.  Ronnie went to work.  Neil worked in yard, and I finished with decorating.  We ate leftovers.  It's been a great Thanksgiving weekend. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Getting ready for Thanksgiving!

From our first year here in Tucson, we have had a Thanksgiving Celebration on the Saturday before Thanksgiving for the Spanish Church at TBT.  This is our 5th year and we are so excited!  I'll be sure to post photos!

Thanksgiving is so important!  First, to remember the Pilgrims, what they did, what they went through and why. Second, to remember to be thankful to the One who gives us all we could ever need or want.

Thankfulness is a key ingredient to a happy, healthy life, and it's something that I want to cultivate in
my children.  Thankfulness is a powerful anti-depressant. Actually, it's more like a depression vaccine.  It's hard to stay discouraged when your are constantly remembering all that God has done for you.   Here are the lyrics to a song that has been a blessing to me recently.

Jesus Thank You
The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend,
The agonies of Calvary.
You, the Perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son,
Drank the bitter cup reserved for me.

Your blood has washed away my sin,
Jesus, thank You.
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied,
Jesus, thank You.
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table,
Jesus, thank You.

By Your perfect sacrifice I’ve been brought near,
Your enemy made Your friend.
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace,
Your mercy and your kindness know no end.

Your blood has washed away my sin,
Jesus, thank You.
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied,
Jesus, thank You.
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table,
Jesus, thank You.

Lover of my soul
I want to live for You

Lover of my soul
I want to live for You

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Taking care of yourself....physically

 Right before I get into Taking care of yourself... physically,  I want to add one more thing that will keep you from ever being healthy, no matter what you eat or how much you exercise.  Here it is......
Do not bottle up your emotions.  Do not bury or mask your anger, fear, frustration, sadness,  you name it. 

A lot of Christian women believe that they must always put on a happy face and never let anyone see any different.  First of all, that would be a lie.  We aren't always happy.  Sometimes we feel any number of negative emotions.  These are not necessarily wrong or sinful, but they must be dealt with properly .  To bottle up and cover over these emotions is stressful, and living in a stressful state is just setting yourself up for any number of illnesses and conditions.  We become susceptible to migraines and headaches, digestive problems, immune system problems and back pain.  These problems keep us from sleeping well and exercising,  and a vicious cycle begins its destructive downward spiral.  

  Starting with the spiritual,  take care of yourself.   Make sure you are praying, reading, and surrounding yourself with good Bible teaching.  If possible, cultivate friendships that help you spiritually.

  Second, take an inventory of your emotional life.  See what is healthy and identify what has been hurting you and keeping you from living your life as abundantly as God intended. 

 Third, be wise with your health.  Learn to cook and eat a variety of good food.  Exercise regularly.  Take care of your teeth.  I truly believe that if you follow Step One and Step Two, Step Three will be a piece of cake. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Taking care of yourself..Emotions and your finances.

     Along with your home, one of the things that can greatly affect your emotions is money and how you deal with it.  We all get pretty giddy around here at payday.  Tight finances tend to make us a little tense and negativity levels rise.

    As women, we can also experience fear, worry and panic when it comes to money issues.  Dave Ramsey says that women have an Insecurity Gland that spasms when we get nervous about money.  Or, we are totally, on purpose, oblivious to money concerns and we spend ourselves into deep debt.
Mary Hunt is a Christian financial expert.  When she was newly married, she got herself into 100,000 dollars credit card debt, without her husband knowing it!  She got her act together, paid off the debt and now helps others.  Can you imagine how stressful it must have been to be responsible for so much debt?  Can you imagine how hard it must have been for her emotionally?

Take care of yourself by taking control of your finances and your feelings about your finances.  You know that it all belongs to God anyway.  You know the He will supply all your needs according to his riches in Glory.  You know that you can be content, no matter what your circumstance.   Educate yourself.  Listen to Dave Ramsey or read Mary Hunt. Tithe and give. Refuse to try to keep up with other people and their toys, clothes, cars, houses, you name it.  You will never catch up, and you will never be satisfied.

Godliness with content is great gain, so your first financial goal should be godliness with contentment.  Then educate yourself about earning, saving and investing money.  The money that you make and save can make a difference in you life, and the Kingdom of God.   There is tremendous satisfaction and power when we are not indebted to anyone.   We  can give freely and take care of ourselves and our families when we are smart with money.  We can avoid marital woes that plague others when we are smart with whatever money God sees fit to entrust to us.

Taking care of yourself.......emotionally. part 2

I think I need to stay on this "emotions" thing just a bit longer.    I've thought about two categories that affect our emotions.  They can also eventually affect your health.

1. Housekeeping
There are two extremes in housekeeping.  One is homemaking perfection.  I know several homemakers like this and they are a wreck emotionally.  Everything has to be in place.   Children are a bother, and must be tightly controlled so that they don't make a mess.  Visitors are seen and treated as an intrusion.   This is not healthy nor helpful for a woman who wants to serve the Lord.  This is Martha to the extreme.  Your home, whatever it is, it a tool in the Master's hand. It's going to get dirty, and messy.  What you want, as a servant of the Most High, is for your family and others to feel comfortable and welcome in your home.  Trust me, you can clean up later.

There is a certain pride in having a magazine-worthy house.  But, as we know, pride is dangerous!   There is also insecurity in the thought of not being perfect.   You don't need to be perfect!  He is perfect.  Using your hospitality to serve is a must, and you can't allow your emotions, pride and insecurity, to keep you from it!

The other extreme is a lack of housekeeping.  This can and will keep you from serving God with your hospitality.  This can also affect your health and your family's health.  You have a hard time cooking creatively in a mess.  A messy house is not a peaceful house.  We eat and sleep better when we are at peace. I have seen children  embarrassed by the condition of their homes.  It's depressing to walk into a messy, dirty home.  It may be part of a vicious cycle.  You're depressed, so you don't clean your house, and then your house isn't clean, so you are depressed.

So many homemakers today were not trained by their mothers, as they were in past generations.  Homemaking skills were learned from Mother, who learned from her mother, who learned from her mother.  Since so many mamas have had to join the workforce, homemaking skills have not flourished.   We are overwhelmed by the mess, and can't see our way out.  

There are dozens of good housekeeping systems and helps.  The very best one is.......the one that works for you!  Find the one that makes sense to you, and dive in.   Personally, I love Flylady.  I don't even follow here system exactly, but I truly like her homemaking philosophy.

No matter where you are now, in a dorm, apartment, trailer or mansion, you can be a better homemaker.  For God's glory, and your peace and good health.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mini Vacation!

I went out to California for a few days last week to see my dear daughter.  Of course, there is nothing to do in Lancaster, so we met at Disneyland.  Honestly, it seems to bother people that we go so often, and we go as often as we can.  I often feel that I can't or shouldn't mention it, because of some people's negative reaction.  "You're going to Disney again?!?!?"

We live a wonderful life.  Every single day is a blessing and it is my great joy and privilege to serve the Lord.  We are so blessed.  But every once in awhile, it is so good to get out of the routine, and go someplace special.  Let me say it this way: if you don't want to go to Disneyland, fine.  Don't.  But go somewhere with your family!  You can be amazed to see how great it is to experience something wonderful as a family.  It is great to get away.  I love roadtrips!  We enjoy the journey.   I love the fact that it seems to me that my kids enjoy being with me as much as I enjoy being with them  We like hanging out together.  When was the last time you enjoyed an awesome fireworks show with your kids?

Life is work and work is a gift from God.  Work hard and teach your children to work hard.   But, teach them to play hard, too.  Both are a gift from God.  All good and perfect gifts come from above.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Prepare for ministry by taking care of yourself.

Sometimes I think about what they are teaching at Bible Colleges.  I know that the good ones are teaching the Bible, (hence the term Bible College), but is that all that a girl needs to be ready to serve the Lord? In thinking about my own dear daughter away at Bible College, here are a few of my thoughts about preparing for ministry.

Take Care of Yourself! Part 1
I am not just talking about being safe, I am talking about becoming spiritually self-sufficient. Not in a proud, arrogant way.  That is not at all helpful.  I am talking about being able to help others, because I am not needy myself.  Not that we will never be needy.  We are all needy for Jesus and the wise woman will learn to go directly to the only One who can care for all her needs.  Learn to find in the Lord what you need for yourself.  Know that no human being, not the most loving husband, nor the most devoted mother or father can be and do for you what God can. Learn to glean from Scripture all that you could ever need.

Learn early on to identify and control your emotions.  We live in an age where we allow emotions and moods run rampant until someone needs a pill.  The key, for me, is to identify unhealthy emotions early and, as the Scripture says, take them captive, 2 Corinthians 10:5.

An emotionally unhealthy woman cannot really be that useful in ministry.  She tends to shy away from what needs to be done or from people.  Or, worse, she alienates people with her caustic, irritable manner.  The Fruit of the Spirit includes temperance and that means self-control.  A woman who is controlled by her emotions is not controlled by the Spirit.  It seems that every lovely emotion has a horrible counterpart.  Learn the difference.  Don't wait until you are overcome by emotion to do something about it.

Find a person who loves you enough to be honest with you about your emotions. No one likes to be confronted with an uncomfortable truth, but we need it.  We need that friend who lets us know when our fear-negativity-anger-discontent-anxiety or whatever, becomes apparent.  A good friend or parent will help you nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand.

I love Tim LaHaye's Transformed Temperaments.  His classifications make sense to me and I feel better-equipped to see myself honestly.  Another thing I see is that as I become more Spirit-filled, my negative personality traits will become less apparent, and I will take on positive traits from all the other personality groups.  I will still be me, but better, and more completely useful in His service

Next: Take care of yourself physically.