Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Be Ready When Jesus Comes

Good morning! Today is the first day of winter, but here in my area it's warm. I'm not complaining, mind you. I prefer warmer weather. Just seems weird this time of year to not be a bit cooler.
   Today's reading is chapter twelve, verses 41 to 53. I do hope you take the time to read those verses yourself.  Jesus had just been speaking of watching and waiting till he comes again. Peter asked if his words for the apostles or for everyone. Jesus said blessed is the person who is faithful in doing his work when the master comes (v 42 and 43 paraphrased).  But for those of us who know that the master is coming and yet thinks there is plenty of time and  does wrong, he will be dealt with severely. Those who do not know and do wrong will still be dealt with, but not as severely.
  I remember a time when I was a young teenager, my brother and I had stayed home while my parents went out somewhere. My brother and I were supposed to clean up the kitchen and probably had some other things that needed to be done. Thinking we had a long while, we waited till the last minute and were still busily trying to clean when my parents got home. This earned us a lecture from my dad. If we hadn't done anything by the time they got home, the consequences would have been worse.
  As for us today, we know that Jesus is coming, but not when. We know what we should be doing till he comes. Are we doing it?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: The Parable of the Rich Man and His Barns

Good morning and happy Wednesday! Counting today there are four more shopping days till Christmas. That term, shopping days gets my goat, really. We hear it on commercials and the radio, and even sometimes see signs in stores reminding us to buy buy buy! Even some restaurants get into the act, with ornaments, books, tee shirts, etc that you can buy for your loved ones. It happens year round, actually, but it seems much more aggressive this time of year. 
    While there is nothing wrong with giving gifts, sometimes I think too much emphasis is on that particular part of the holiday. It's fun to give; I love finding or making just the right thing for my loved ones. I like getting things as well. When someone asks What do you want I can easily come up with a list as long as my arm of items I could use or really want. It is entirely too easy to get the Greedy Gimme's this time of year. While we tend to pin that fault on children (as well as try to curb that impulse, sometimes we adults face it as well, yours truly included. (I know, truly shocking, right? Yup, I fall prey to the Greedy Gimme's at times.)
   I had to smile when I read today's passage in Luke, chapter twelve verses 13 through 40.  Jesus was asked by a follower to step in and settle a dispute between the man and his brother over an inheritance. He wanted his brother to share.
  14. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
 Jesus then spoke quite a bit about covetousness. 
  15. 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 possesseth.
  The next few verses Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and his barns. This man had worked hard and his land had produced much. His first thought was wow, look at all this stuff! (Greatly paraphrasing here) My barns are all full to bursting so where am I going to put all this stuff? Then he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. He thought he had plenty for the next several years so he could afford to sit back and relax for awhile. Eat, drink and be merry. But God had different ideas. 
 20. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul will be required of thee; then whose shall these things be, which thou hast provided?
  Ouch. The man was so busy gathering for himself he had taken no thought for others who could benefit from his excess, or even of his soul apparently. His only concern in life was to have more and more for himself, but a dead man cannot enjoy the things we collect here on earth. 
  While it is essential that we have jobs so that our families are fed and clothed and have a roof over their heads, sometimes a little too much emphasis is put on our material wants and needs. 
   22. 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, whate ye shall put on.
   23. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
  Jesus knew that we worry over the things we need sometimes. But what can we change by worrying? God cares for the birds and the flowers of the field; how much more then does he love us, whom he created in his own image? While we may not get that snazzy new sports car or a large dream home that is custom built, we will have our needs met. It's okay to have some nice things, but it shouldn't be the end of the world when a beloved object breaks. We shouldn't worry so much when the cupboard is nearly empty and the wallet is even barer. God will provide if we trust him. Sometimes that means swallowing pride and asking for help. There will be times when others will need our help and we can pay it forward.
  If we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven rather than here on earth (verse33) then we can better watch for when Jesus will return. No thief has ever called to let the homeowner know when to expect him; otherwise the owner will be up waiting and protecting his home. Instead the home owner (hopefully) keeps an eye on his household and is mindful to keep his family safe. We should be watchful and ready when Jesus comes.      

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gratituesday: Young Preachers

     I have had the pleasure of hearing several gospel preachers through the years. I know a few who do not have congregations,  nor have they been to a school of preaching, but they have a tremendous love of God and his word and have been known to preach a sermon or two.  Some of the preachers I've known have passed on, one has left the ministry, and still others are continuing to preach the word and are instant in season and out of season. Some I've only been privileged to "hear" speak thus far only on Face Book. I enjoy reading their messages online and learning from them. 
  I think that we should encourage all men who preach the word, and pray for them, but these days my heart is tender toward the younger men who become preachers. They need our love, prayers and support more than ever it seems to me. There are some fine young men out there and I pray they continue preaching for many many years to come. If you have a young minister in your congregation, encourage him. Pray for him, and his wife if he has one. Although some of us tend to prefer older ministers because they are more well versed in the bible, don't forget we can still learn a thing or two from a fresh perspective. And after all,  our older ministers didn't get so good at their sermons by sitting on the pew each Lord's day until they became a certain age. A congregation or two gave them their start. 
  Just one more thing, when a young man has the courage to confide that he would like to become a preacher, please don't discourage him, no matter what you may think of him and his circumstances unless you know for certain he is living a life that goes against God's teachings. God can use a willing heart from anyone. 
  I am grateful for all the gospel preachers out there, but I am most grateful for our young preachers and their wives, because we need our young people to have the church continue and grow. 

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

A Morning Cup of Tea: God Takes Care of Us

  Good morning! I'm so glad you've taken the time to sit back with a cup of hot tea or maybe some hot chocolate on this cool morning! Or maybe it's warm where you live and you prefer something cool to drink. It's so nice to have a few minutes of time to savor God's word. 
   Today's reading is Luke 12:1-12. Actually this passage has a few lessons Jesus is teaching here. In the first few verses Jesus is warning the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees --don't get caught up in false teachings. 
  Also, Jesus tells us in verses 4 and 5, don't be afraid of those who can kill us. We should fear and respect he who has the power to take our lives and also cast us into hell.  What can man do other than hurt us or take our life? It's a frightening thought, but losing my soul is a worse thought. 
  But God loves us and does not want anything bad for us. He knows even the number of hairs we have on our heads!  As much as we love our children I don't think any of us know exactly how many hairs are on their heads.  He loved us enough to send his Son to die for us so that we might live. That's a truly awesome love. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Update to Confessions of a Disorganized Housewife

 I think my "get up and go" has got up and went, as the saying goes. But although my brain is seeing everything that still needs to be done, I'm going to try and focus on the positive: my bed is made with fresh sheets, two bags of clothes have gone out the door so hopefully someone else can use them, and I can see the floor in my bedroom again. 
  Santa has some things hidden in the closet so I'm not allowed to hang clothes up just yet, so those I can't put away are being folded and put in laundry baskets to hang later. I've discovered a few books that had gone missing shortly after they were given to me --under the bed. I also found that I in no way am addicted to magazines. Oh no. I'm a magazine junkie! 
   What's the difference between a magazine addict and a junkie? An addict has a fairly good pile of magazines. I have two magazine holders in my kitchen that are full, several magazines in my living room, and a stack of them by my bedside. Sighhhhhh. I think I have a teeny tiny problem there. Okay, I admit it; I have a huge problem! Real Life, Martha Stewart Living, Family Fun just to name a few. I have two that are gift subscriptions from my mom, one I got for free (yes, sometimes you can find really great deals, even free ones, online). Some seem to hop into my grocery cart all by themselves! Okay, okay, they have a little help getting into the cart.
    So. Next on the agenda: figuring out what stays and what goes, then learning to curb the readaholic inside me. Tonight close to bedtime I'll have a waste basket and a stack of magazines by my side. If there are articles or recipes I want to keep, I'll cut those out and file them. The rest of the magazine goes in the trash. Any magazines that are in good shape and keeps all their pages intact will get donated somewhere. 
   I'm really hoping I get another burst of energy sometime this evening so I can do more but honestly I'm quite happy sitting here writing for the moment. In an hour I'll fix dinner, then afterwards I'll write out my schedule for tomorrow. 
  Have a wonderful evening.

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus Dines with the Pharisees

Good morning! Today we are reading Luke 11: 37 through the end of the chapter, verse 54.  Jesus was asked to dinner by one of the Pharisees. Jesus went in and sat without first washing. The Pharisee was shocked to see this. The Pharisees required washing before meals not for sanitary reasons but for ceremonial reasons.  Jesus rebuked the Pharisee for paying attention to small, insignificant details such as washing the outside but neglecting what was inside. They had gotten to the point of following laws of their own making such as tithing mint and other herbs, but chose not to give much thought to God's laws .  He reprimanded the Pharisees for being showy in their piousness as well. Their worship  and lives in the community were all geared toward showing what great men of God they were supposed to be, not doing as God wanted them to do.
  A lawyer present at the meal was sure that Jesus' words were directed at him and his kind as well, and he was right. Jesus pointed out their sins as well.  Of course this did not sit well with the Pharisees and the scribes so they began working to trap Jesus  with his words.
   Jesus was a very kind and gentle man, but he was not one to let sin slide.If he had a teachable moment he used it, and wasted no time in letting those who were in the wrong know it. Jesus knew when to be gentle in speaking to others and he knew when harsher tones were called for. We need to know when and how to speak up against wrong doing. Most of the time a gentle voice is called for. At the same time, we should not get caught up in the "shoulds" of life. We think we know how others should be living but we cannot go around reprimanding others' faults, no matter how gently, if we are so busy seeing others wrongdoings we neglect to face and deal with  our own. We must deal with one another with love and understanding.

Confessions of a Disorganized Housewife --scheduling

  The new year is fast approaching and it's time to leave bad habits behind and cultivate better ones. Why wait till January first to start though? Why not begin today?
   If you read the introductory post to the Confessions of a Disorganized Housewife series  you know that I have several excuses for not getting a lot done during the day. A schedule helps me work more efficiently and I get more accomplished. Of course, if you are slightly scatter brained as I am, choose a good place to keep your schedule so you don't lose it. I prefer to have a small two year planner in my purse (you can get them for as little as a dollar at some stores or you may get one free through certain businesses) and also at home, a homemaking journal, or what I call my Sanity Saver. Mine is simply a bright pink 3 ring binder which houses calendar pages, a daily schedule, menu planner, and household hints, among other stuff. These are easily customizable to what you want/ need.
  For the calendar pages you can go to organizedhome   for printable calendar pages (and a plethora of others if you browse the site), use Swagbucks search engine to find other printable calendar pages, or simply use a free or cheap calendar that you like.  Since I keep up with my mom and brother I use different color pens for each person in the family and write down doctor appointments, my husband's work schedule (he does rotating shifts which makes it rather tricky to schedule appointments without this information), and I have general information like birthdays in black. I can tell at a glance what times I have available.
   For daily scheduling you can simply write down what needs to be done and keep it in your control journal or you can print one out.   has what she calls a Daily Docket that I really like. It has a place to write out your schedule, work/blog agenda, meal plan for the day, and if you're really harried, at the top it has a space to write the top three things that need to be done. Again, there are other styles out there. It all depends on what you like and what works for you.
   As stated before, I do a lot better when I use my schedule. Otherwise I'm tempted to sit and stare at the computer all day and nothing gets done. Through trial and error I've learned that I'm at my most productive during the mornings so if housework is going to get done I'd better plan on it then. Therefore when I schedule appointments I prefer afternoons unless I know it involves fasting bloodwork. Best to get that type out of the way quickly. I also have my writing time blocked in from three to five pm. As long as it works I'll continue keeping it at that time. Remember to schedule some time for things you like to do, whether it be a bubble bath while hubby or a friend watches the kids or time to read for five minutes. As moms we tend to want to do for others every minute of the day, or we are just kept busy taking care of others that we forget about taking care of ourselves.  No matter how busy your schedule is schedule time to nourish your spirit. Take at least fifteen minutes to do bible study and pray. It starts the day on a positive note. And dont forget to schedule in exercise time as well! I used to walk around the neighborhood each morning, and felt so good. It's time I got back in that habit.
   Next time I'll talk about some cleaning helps. In the meantime, it's your turn. Do you have organization tips you'd like to share? I love hearing from you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: The Light of the World

Good morning! It has gotten chilly again! Being that it's closing in on the end of December, that shouldn't be surprising, but although I find many things to adore about all the seasons, I much prefer the warmer months. I so enjoy being out in the sunshine when it isn't too hot or too cold. 
  Today my heart is with the church at Statesboro. Because my husband is working a twelve hour shift I won't get to be with them today. The soonest we will be back with them is Christmas morning. I look forward to that time. I crave that time I get to worship with others. I used to have a website or two that I could go to and listen to a live sermon or some lessons that had been archived online, but I've switched computers. I think I'll do some hunting today online and see if I can find them again. If you know some great Church of Christ websites, please feel free to let me know. If you have a comment at all, please feel free to speak up. I love hearing back from you.
   Today's lesson is from Luke 11:27-36. Jesus had been teaching about casting out demons and warning that the unclean spirit could come back with seven more just like him if we weren't careful.  (11:24-26)  A woman who had been listening to Jesus' teachings spoke up and said "Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked" (v 27). She was giving honor to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
  Jesus answered her with Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
  He went on to speak about their generation always looking for a sign. This sermon fits our time as well. How often do we hear people wanting a sign from God to prove he is real, or more often, people pointing to occurrences and and declaring them as signs that Jesus is coming soon. He is coming soon, but no one knows the hour or the day. We shouldn't worry about signs, we should be watching and praying, and living as best we can so that we will be prepared when he does come. But this is slightly off subject. 
  Jesus was telling them, you want a sign but the only sign you'll get is that of Jonah.  But you have someone greater than Jonah or any other who was sent to teach and urge repentance. These people had Jesus himself in the flesh! While we don't have him here with us the way they did, we do have the Word. We can read and see how God wants us to live, and what we must do in order to have eternal life.  
   He goes on in verses 33 through 36 to tell us that we are to let our light shine, not hide it. If our light is good, people will be able to see it. The same if our light is bad. I do hope you will read these passages in the bible for yourself. Jesus is a much better teacher than I could ever hope to be. 
  Have a wonderful first day of the week. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Confessions of a Disorganized Housewife

   Some houses have that lived in look. Mine has that just moved in look at the moment. You know, boxes everywhere, rooms in disarray. Not very pleasing. We live in a teeny tiny house with little to no storage space and both my husband and I are pack rats. So what do you do when you're tired of moving boxes back and forth from one room to another and the budget is so tight you can't afford a storage rental? 
  A. Move to a bigger place.
  B. Live with it a few months longer until you snap and end up on the 6 o'clock news  as the crazy lady who sneaks into neighbor's houses and leaves stuff.
  C. Throw it all out in one fell swoop and begin again.
  D. Call Clean Sweep or one of those other organizing shows for emergency help.
  E. Take a deep breath, realize this battle can be won, and set to work.
    So how did you answer? If you said E, pat yourself on the back. Let's face it, A isn't gonna happen anytime soon because if the budget won't allow for a storage rental, we're definitely not going to afford a bigger place just yet. That will come in time. B...not very appealing, ya know? So not how I want to be remembered. C sounds great at first, but then there's that pesky budget thing again. D is the same as B. Love to watch those shows (or at least I did when we had cable) but I really don't want to be on television showing my messy ways. Instead, I blog about it, ha ha! 
   I've read books off and on, perused organizing blogs, and read the magazine articles so I know the basics of what needs to be done. Right up front, purge. The first things that need to go are all the excuses as to why I'm so disorganized and the house is suffering from a major case of what Flylady 
calls CHAOS-- Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with Flylady other than liking her philosophy and trying to follow her schedules.
  I am a perfectionist to some degree. I also learned one thing from my father: If you can't do it right, don't do it at all. Actually, I think I learned that one a little too well. I love my Dad but it's not going to dishonor his memory to say that in a lot of cases he was wrong on that one. Instead of hearing his voice repeat that message over and over, I need to change that message to: It doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to be done. Later on if its necessary or it's really bugging me I can work on getting something just so. For now though it just needs to get done. This message also works for moments when the excuses are I'm feeling lazy or I'm feeling overwhelmed.
  One other excuse I have is I'll never have a spotless house because my son is working just as hard as I am, only in the direction of keeping the place messy. That one is true, but it can be overcome to some extent. As stated earlier, it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to get done. That and working harder at training him in what to do and what not to do in the house.  My home will never be a show place, and I can live with that. I can, however, control the chaos somewhat. 
  Okay, so we've established the fact that change must come and we can get this place back in order. Is that it? No. Do I have all the answers? No. But. I do have some tips, and I can share suggestions and point to websites, books, and other helps that may work for you. At least once a week, probably on Mondays, I will post more Confessions of a Disorganized Housewife. I'll share my progress and helpful information. Until next time, have a great day!

A Morning Cup of Tea: A House Divided

Good morning! How are you today? Are you sitting relaxed by the fireside admiring your tree, sipping a cup of hot tea? Or are you fidgeting and mentally going over the list of tasks still to be done before the twenty fifth of this month? I admit my mind is a little scattered this morning, especially hearing my dear son, who just ate two minutes ago (literally!) in his room singing "go eat! go eat!" Matters not to him whether we go out or stay in just as long as he's fed. But I'm getting off subject here and I should probably get back to writing things down as they come to me so I can focus on the task at hand.
  Having a divided mind though, is close to today's reading. Luke 11:14-26 tells us that Jesus cast a devil out of a man who, having been dumb, began to speak after the devil was gone.  Some of the people who witnessed this decided that Jesus was casting out devils through Beelzebub, chief of the devils (v 15).
  17. But he (Jesus), knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falleth.
 This is true in so many areas of life. When there is division two things can happen: a) continue to feed the fire and find the house or kingdom in ruins or b) realize the problem and fix it. 
  But Jesus was telling the people there is no way he could be casting out devils through Beelzebub because that would not help Satan at all. When Jesus or those whom he had given the power to do so cast out demons they were destroying Satan's work, not helping him.
  Jesus said in verse 23 if you arent with me you are against me. If you aren't gathering you you're scattering. (Paraphrased).
 We should heed these words in all areas of our lives --in our congregation, our marriage, our families. 
  In verses 24 through 26 Jesus warned that when the unclean spirit is cast out, the devil will look for a new home. When he finds none, he will come back to the original place and find it swept clean and empty. Then he will invite seven more just like him and the problem is even worse. Meaning? In ridding yourself of a sin, an empty space is left. If you don't fill that space with something good then the problem comes back. What happens when we clean out our closets, ladies? We throw out or give away clothes we no longer wear and then we see all that space begging to be filled. You can either revel in the fact that you now only have what you truly wear and can find what you're looking for then turn your attention elsewhere, or you can find yourself at your favorite clothing store buying items that look great in the store but at home you hate. And your husband is wondering why you're staring in disgust at an overfull closet declaring "I have nothing to wear!"
  Have a wonderful day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus, Teach us How to Pray

Good morning!
Today we begin chapter 11 of the book of Luke. The first part is what is commonly known as the Lord's Prayer or the model prayer. One of the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, just as John the baptizer taught his followers to pray. What he taught was a simple prayer that involves praise,(Hallowed be Thy Name); asking forgiveness of sins with acknowledgement that we should forgive others (v4); and asking for what we need each day (v 3. Give us day by day our daily bread).
  In verses 5 through 13 Jesus continues to explain that we should ask for what we need. We may not always get what we want in life, even with prayer and hard work, but our needs will be met. We have only to ask. We give our children great gifts, and we are sinful creatures. God is the Almighty Father. How much greater are the gifts he bestows on us!

Where Are You Christmas?

  If you've ever watched the movie version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas or listened to Christmas music on the radio or Pandora, you've no doubt heard the song Where Are You Christmas. The song tells how the feeling of magic isn't there anymore. It just doesn't feel right. 
 Here I sit in the quiet house because insomnia has struck again. The living room looks like a tornado struck. Two decorative stockings and six Christmas cards that came in the mail are the only signs of the holiday. Christmas is nine days away. In a few hours we will be joining many others in the madness known as holiday shopping. In seven days I will be at my mother's house pre cooking most of the desserts and side dishes for the Christmas meal. Apart from being with family, I couldn't care less about any of it.
   My husband seems to feel the same way I do. Apparently neither of us wanted the tree up this year, and he hasn't for several years, because although I stated several times I want the tree up, it hasn't been done. Honestly I feel like throwing out all the decorations and being done with it. Less clutter to deal with in an already too small house and I won't have to deal with battling feelings.
  I just can't seem to get into the spirit of things these days. I'd love to pin all of the blame on the apathy and depression of others -- my mom who sighs that the holidays just aren't like they used to be; my brother who wishes the holidays were over with already, mostly because he , like most of the rest of us, has only a limited amount of money with which to buy gifts; my husband who I'm guessing has been dealing with depression for several years by ignoring it. The truth is, they are only partly to blame for dampening my spirits.  Each year I come out of the starting gate raring to go! I have lists of gifts to make or buy, cards to send out, food to make. The cards get sent out, most of the gifts get taken care of. Some of the food gets made at the last minute. The last few several years the tree has been put up maybe a week before Christmas and then half heartedly. 
  Blah. I have an inward battle going on with myself. I used to be the ultimate six year old every Christmas. I would get excited about the lights, the smells, the sights, the family, the gifts, the whole bit. More and more it seems like I'm wading through a sea of battling ideas over why and and how to celebrate Christmas (not in my family but online and all around in real life) and trying to be the holiday cheerleader for family who seem to only be going through the motions of the holiday for the kids.  I wish I could block out the feelings of others. I wish I could stop celebrating altogether. But next year I'll be back to wanting a good old fashioned Norman Rockwell Christmas that in reality is more like a mix of The Waltons, The Simpsons, and the family in Nothing Like the Holidays    with just enough It's a Wonderful Life thrown in.   
   This year it's highly doubtful that a Christmas tree will be put up in my house. It makes me sad, but its not the end of the world. We'll have a good Christmas because family will be together. Those who can't make it will call or we will call them. We will be worshipping with our church family on that day. And I will be happy because my husband does not have to work that day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Mary and Martha

Good morning! It's another beautiful day outside. Here in my neck of the woods it's going to be a warm day, especially for this time of year. "Mother Nature" hasn't quite decided whether its going to be warm or cold continually so we get both every few days, translating into a mild season. Personally I'm thankful for mild weather. There are more warm days than cooler so far so we don't have to spend as much on heating.
  Are you ready for the holidays yet? I've got a list as long as my arm that needs to be done, most of which involves cleaning this house. I've never been good at cleaning and keeping a spotless house, and its at times like these when I think perhaps I should drop everything and clean. But actually, there's a time for everything.
  Today's lesson is Luke 10:38-42. I do hope you read it for yourself. It's the account of Martha, who invited Jesus into her home, and her sister Mary. Martha is what I consider a typical southern hostess. When she brings you into her home she's going to make sure the place spotless, you're all nice and comfy, and there will be plenty of food. She was running around taking care of all the details and serving, and just where was her sister? Mary was sitting, listening attentively to Jesus.
  This made Martha rather upset. Here she was doing all this work and she really could use a hand with all that she was doing. She figured surely Jesus would side with her. "Can't you see that she's making me do all the work? Make her get up and help me!" I'm greatly paraphrasing here, but you can see what is going on.
  The bible does not say that he did this, but I can just picture Jesus  standing up and going to Martha, giving her a hug and leading her to sit down and rest a minute. 
 41. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
 42. But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Like many of us, Martha wanted everything to be perfect for her guests, and probably wanted to put out everything, especially the best of all she had. Sometimes we get so bogged down in keeping everything perfect, or just tending to our list of things that "need" to be done right now that we dismiss , at least for a time, the chance to feed our souls.  While Jesus was probably appreciative of all that Martha did to attend to his needs and feed him, he most likely would have rathered she fix something simple and sit down to listen as her sister Mary did. 
  While it is good to get the housework done, wrap the gifts, cook our family's favorite meals, do all the special touches we think we must do, or even write the story that is buzzing around in our head begging to be told, we shouldn't neglect our spirit. Take the time for bible study whether here or elsewhere. Attend and participate in worship on the Lord's day.  Put the cares of the world on hold for a little while. Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Dream Home

  I am a dreamer. Always have been, I think. Some of my dreams will never come true, others are just within reach. 
  One dream I've always held onto since I was a young teenager is having a home of my own. The home of my dreams is one of the grand painted ladies  of old. I've loved Victorian and Edwardian style houses for many years. Will I ever get one of the originals? Ehhh, probably not. Never has stopped me from loving the style, elegance, and character of the old houses though.
  These days my dream is slightly altered. I want the old grand style, if possible, that part hasn't changed. A wraparound porch would be awesome. Think of it: rocking chairs so you can sit and watch the sunset or sunrise, watch kids play, whatever strikes your mood.
  I want a nice master suite with an adjoining bath that holds a clawfoot tub as well as a shower. Optimally I'd love the luxury of having one bathroom per person plus one, but I'd settle for at least 2 full baths.  While we are dreaming of the bathrooms in this house, in the one my son will be using, there needs to be a drain built into the floor. Yeah, I know, not very pretty to look at, but this is an overgrown child who loves water. I'm a mama who doesn't love flooded bathrooms or cleaning them up. His bathroom would have glassblock where the window should be. You would see these in his rooms as well, because they are harder for him to destroy and this way he can't throw things out the window, which is one of his favorite pastimes. The bathroom needs to be regulated so that he can't burn himself while preparing his bath or shower.
  Did you notice I said "rooms" for J? My dream house has two rooms for him: his bedroom and a safe room. Both rooms will be painted in calming colors. The bedroom will have his bed, maybe a beanbag chair, and a dresser for his clothes. I tried having his clothes out where he could see them. He promptly brought them to my room. Got the message. 
  The safe room would be where he can get away from stress and no one will bother him. Maybe a couch in there. Lights in both of his rooms will be ceiling only, and recessed at that. The simpler the better for him. And the ceiling needs to be raised so that he can't reach it. If there is a way to destroy light fixtures he will do it. 
  I'd like a swing in his safe room, something that would cocoon him and help him calm. I'd like one similar outside as well. (Dreaming here, and in dreams money is no object.) Also outside in the fenced yard is a water table, a pool that is gated and alarmed, and a trampoline. Both water and jumping are good therapies for J. They help center and calm him. Okay, the water energizes him for the most part, but it's still good for him.
  I want a mother in law suite complete with kitchenette and living room, or a small cottage out back for my mother. I'd feel better knowing she is where I can help her more.  She can decorate her space however she likes it.
  I want a craft room. It doesn't have to be insanely large, but I would like space enough for a table to sit at as well as space for a computer and a small tv and dvd player so I can either watch a movie or learn a new technique while I'm in my space. 
  My kitchen is another space where I dream big. I want a fairly large kitchen with a walk in pantry. I need counterspace (I tend to like to spread out a bit when I'm cooking and I'm a messy cook to tell the truth). I need a dishwasher, and a large sink. I would love to have an herb garden either in a windowsill or growing just outside the kitchen. Then just bring in someone to help me get organized so that it will stay organized and we're in business! I want a comfy table or breakfast bar so that others can sit while I cook (or I can sit while hubby cooks, hee hee!) and I want a corner specifically for J while he is in the kitchen. His corner will have his chair, a dorm size fridge, and a cabinet just for him. I want his space stocked with water, tea, and foods he can either grab and eat or prepare with supervision. I'm hoping this way he will leave the main fridge and pantry alone. Told you I'm dreaming!
  Well, there you have it. My dream home. Even if I never get my actual dream home I'd really like to implement some of the ideas in the place we eventually buy. 

A Morning Cup of Tea: Who is My Neighbor?

Good morning! I had wanted to finish chapter ten today, and I did read to the end of the chapter, but I wanted to separate the two lessons. So today's reading is verses 25 through 37. 
  A man asked Jesus  "How do I inherit eternal life?" Jesus asked him, What does the law say? 
  27. And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; And thy neighbor as thyself.
  When Jesus told him he ws correct and to go and do this, the man asked, Who is my neighbor? Jesus then told him the parable of the Good Samaritan.  A man was robbed and beaten, and left on the side of the road. A priest walking down the road saw the man and crossed to the other side. A Levite did the same thing. But a Samaritan saw the man who was injured, and ministered to his wounds. He put the man on his own beast and took him to an inn, where he paid to have the man cared for until he returned, even telling the innkeeper he would repay what the innkeeper spent in caring for the man.
  During this time Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans, and vice versa. But the Samaritan did not see differences that should keep them apart; he saw a brother in need. Our neighbor is anyone and everyone around us. We should have compassion and love for everyone. We aren't going to be buddy buddy with everyone, but we should not let our feelings get in the way of brotherly (sisterly) love. Our neighbors aren't just those we love and care for. Our neighbor is also the person we are angry with, or who has hurt us, or we haven't met yet. By showing compassion to others we are letting God's light shine.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gratituesday: The Simple Things

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

 Have you ever tried typing with a cat on your lap? In most cases, if you have a desktop computer that is not really a problem. I tend to work from a laptop, or more frequently these days, a pc with the keyboard in my lap because the desk has no space for the keyboard. Its a rather strange setup but I've gotten used to it for now.
  I've even gotten used to the intermittent growling from her highness the queen. She thinks my entire existence is to cater to her whims, whether that be feeding her or sitting still while she naps. The movements my hands make while I'm typing are completely unnecessary in her feline mind and should be stopped. She doesn't get her way on this one, needless to say. But she parks herself on top of my wrist in hopes that I will just sit quietly and pet her with my free hand.
  Angel, otherwise known as her highness or the Queen Mum, isn'tthe only one who perches on my lap at times. The others take their turns as well. Yesterday was Max's turn. He's much more complacent as well as independent. He isn't the attention hog that some of the other cats are, but yesterday he was determined that I would sit and allow him some mommy time. Max is a rather large tom cat, and he stretches a lot in his sleep, so he bumped me a few times, messing up what I was writing or the game I happened to be playing. I tried to move him several times but he'd come right back and plop back into my lap, giving me a baleful look. 
  Cats and dogs are great therapy. Just petting one can lower your blood pressure. They can calm me down quickly. And they do succeed in convincing me to sit and just relax at times. They are some of the simple things in life I'm grateful for.
  What are you grateful for today? 

A Morning Cup of Tea: Sending the Seventy

Good morning! Today's reading is Luke 10: 1-24. I do hope you will read it for yourself. This bible study has helped me because although I've missed a few days, I haven't given up. Things have been pointed out to me after reading, and I've realized how much I have yet to learn. I am by no means perfect. Although we should strive to be more and more like Jesus everyday, I am very thankful that we don't have to be perfect every single day. We have grace. That does not mean we can go out and deliberately sin without consequence. It means we can slip up and ask forgiveness.
  Today I learned through the reading that Jesus appointed seventy people besides the apostles, and gave them power to heal the sick and cast out devils also. I hadn't known that. They were sent out to teach, two by two, the way the apostles were, and were told not to take anything with them. They were to stay in one home in each place they went, and eat what they were given. They came back filled with joy at what  they could do and the power they had over devils. But Jesus told them something we should pay attention to Luke 10:20b but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.  They were rejoicing because of the gift they were given, having power over devils. He was telling them not to rejoice over that fact, but to rejoice because they were heaven bound!  No matter what we have here on earth -family, friends, possessions, special gifts, nothing should trump the fact that our names are written in heaven.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Receiving Jesus, Indecision

Good morning! It seems as if I am falling into a routine of not posting on weekends. Part of it, I think, is my husband's schedule. Now that we are dealing with just one computer we have to share internet time. Part of it also is busyness and laziness at times. I wonder though, should I continue this? Should I not?
  Today we are finishing up the ninth chapter of Luke, beginning in verse 46. The disciples were discussing among themselves who was the greatest. When they finally admitted this, Jesus took a child and brought him near.
  48. And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.
  Afterwards, when Jesus was set to go into a town of Samaritans, they would not receive him. James and John saw this and asked if Jesus was going to command fire to come down from heaven as Elijah did, and be done with the people there.  Jesus told them the Son of man did not come to destroy people but to save people and they went to another village. (v54-56)
  While they were on their way, various men came to him saying they wanted to follow him.Jesus had an answer for each of them. To the first he told them that the Son of man had no home of his own. To the second, who wanted to follow him but first wanted to bury his father, Jesus said "let the dead bury the dead." And to the third, who wanted to first say goodbye to his family, Jesus told him not to look back (paraphrasing all three).
  Jesus wasn't saying these things to be mean.He was addressing excuses and what I grew up knowing as backsliding.  While we do have responsibilities here on earth, we should not use our earthly cares as an excuse not to follow the will of God. How many times have I thought to myself, I can't teach a class because I have a child who needs me? Or, I can't have anyone over because the house is too small and too cluttered? Excuses all. And sometimes I let others make that first excuse for me. The truth of the matter is that while I may be hindered from teaching a class because of taking care of J or because of whatever reason, I am able to teach. J can either sit with his father or be near enough to me so as not to be a distraction. Or I can get my home cleaned up and invite others here.  What we want to do, we will find a way to do. If we really don't want to do something, we will find excuse not to. In the end though, we know the truth and so does God, and we will answer to our actions one day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Jesus Casts out a Demon

Good morning! I hope this shows up at the right time. This is the first time I've written ahead of schedule.
  Today's reading is Luke 9: 37-45. A man came to Jesus begging for help with his only son, who was afflicted with a demon. The evil spirit made him hurt himself and froth at the mouth. The man said he had asked the disciples for help but they were unable to make the demon leave the boy. Jesus delivered the boy from the spirit. When it was done, Jesus said to his disciples,
  44. Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.
 The disciples did not understand what he meant by this and they were afraid to ask. What Jesus wanted them to do was to pay attention. Really listen to what he was teaching them, because he would not always be with them in the flesh. His time of death was drawing near and he knew it. 
  While we don't have Jesus with us in the flesh we do have his Word -the bible. We don't know the time we have here on earth; we could be here another 50, 60 years or it could be over in the next ten minutes. We need to really listen and pay attention to what God wants us to know and do. 
 Have a wonderful day. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Moses, Elijah and Jesus

Good morning! Today is definitely a day for a cup of hot tea or cocoa! I must confess, although I love all the smells and beauty of fall and winter time I'm not really a big fan of the cold. But in order to have some of the things we like, there must be some cold weather, yes?
  I must confess something a bit more serious as well. Yesterday's reading was on taking up the cross daily. I'm grateful to have the chance for that today. Yesterday I set the cross down in anger because of a situation I found myself in. It's been resolved now, and my little hissy fit didn't last too long, but there it was. 
  I write these cup of tea posts to encourage anyone who reads them, and I freely admit that I am constantly in need of teaching and encouragement. I am so thankful for God's forgiveness.
  Today's reading is short and sweet. Luke 9:28-36.  Luke tells us that 8 days after teaching about taking up the cross daily, Jesus took Peter, James and and John up to the mountain to pray. The other three grew sleepy, but Jesus prayed and his face and clothing were altered. His raimening was white and glistering, according to the king James version. Glistering means it was shining, glittering. Moses and Elijah joined him, and the three discussed Jesus' death.
  Peter, James and John saw the three together, and Peter said to Jesus that it was good for them to see the three together. He wanted to build three tabernacles on the spot, one for each of them.
  Then a cloud came over the scene, and a voice was heard saying, This is my beloved Son. Hear him. (v35) When the cloud lifted Moses and Elijah were gone. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Take Up Your Cross Daily

Good morning! Today's reading is Luke 9:18 - 27. During a time when Jesus was alone praying, he asked his disciples, Whom say the people that I am? (v18). They answered John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the old prophets risen again. 
  He asked them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answered, The Christ of God (v 20).
  Jesus commanded them to tell no one, letting them know that he would suffer and die, and be raised on the third day. 
  23. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 
  24. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
 25. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
 26. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
  We are to take up our cross daily, following Jesus. It isn't always easy, but if we persevere, the reward will be great. We may not have a lot of money or fame or other worldly treasures, but what good are any of those things if we lose our eternal life? If we do have money or fame or whatever, we should use those things for good, and not for self. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gratituesday: Quiet Time

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

 The sounds of home life are all around me now: Jim, home on his weekend, is making tea and reminding me that I need to take my thyroid medicine; J is deciding whether it's bath time or time to stumble back to bed for a few more minutes ( last night was another insomnia filled party for him--loud giggles half the night); and the cats are sweetly brining to my attention the fact that their highnesses have not been fed yet. The royal feline family will have to wait because I forgot to stop by the store last night.
  I love all the sounds of life here at home, including the history lesson now being played in another room. Jim is watching a dvd  about the revolutionary war. But what I'm most thankful for today is the quiet time I had earlier. My husband was still asleep when I woke this morning, as was J, who, as I said earlier, had a hard time sleeping last night. The cats were awake, but at that point they were content to sit in my lap or play nearby, at least for a few minutes. The sounds of silence are what I crave after a night of giggles  and Christmas music and a Christmas movie and tossing and turning. 
 Now it's time to begin the day with the family and get some things accomplished. Laundry needs to be put away, breakfast needs to be made, the bed needs to be stripped and remade with fresh sheets, a trip to the store is needed. Because of my time to read and think, I'm just about ready to face the day.
  What are you grateful for today?

A Morning Cup of Tea: Sending Out the Twelve, Feeding the 5000

Good morning! Today's reading is Luke 9:1-17.  Jesus called together his twelve apostles and gave them power to cast out devils and to heal the sick. He sent them all out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He gave them specific instructions not to take even a second coat with them. No money, no food, nothing. He wanted them to realize that God would provide for them. And if they were not welcomed in an area, Jesus told them to argue with the person to try and convince them of the truth. No, that's not right at all.
 5. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
 Jesus told them to shake the very dust from their feet. When talking to others, sometimes it is easy (for me anyway) to want to try and change the person's mind when they are obviously set against hearing it. In cases such as that we should simply move on. There are people out there who will hear the word gladly.
  When the apostles returned from their mission Jesus wanted to take them to a desert place in or near Bethsaida. They needed some time to themselves. In more modern terminology (but still showing my age, hee hee) they needed to recharge their batteries. But the people soon found where they were and came to them. Jesus didn't turn them away though. He taught them about God and healed those who needed healing. Jesus had a genuine love for people.
  As the day grew shorter, the disciples asked Jesus to send the people away so they could go and find a place to sleep for the night, and to eat. Jesus said , Feed them."
  The answer of course, was, we can't. All we have are five loaves of bread and two fishes. The crowd consisted of about 5000 men, and no one really knows how many women and children were present, although we are pretty sure they were there. During this time only the men were counted.
  Jesus had them all sit down in groups of fifty and then he took the bread and the fish and blessed it, giving it to the disciples to feed the multitude. When everyone had eaten their fill there were 12 baskets of food remaining. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Site for Crafters

Do you like crafting, like scrapbooking and card making? There is a new site you may be interested in. It's free to join, go check it out!

Monday Morning Report

Good morning! It's a bit cloudy out but still looks to be a good day. Mondays have a bad reputation don't they? It's the start of the work/ school week for many, and some believe that if something can go wrong, it will  go wrong on a Monday. So far the only thing that went "wrong" is finding that dear son had hidden the laptop inside his bedroom wall. No clue why that had to be, other than he figured it needed to be put away. I'd dearly love to get inside that boy's head and see what he is thinking. My greatest wish is that he could talk. If he never speaks here on earth, he will in heaven. By then it won't matter why he put the computer in the wall.
  J gets to see his new neurologist today. He's no longer under the care of a pediatric neurologist. We had great respect for her and will miss her, but I am sure this new doctor will be a good one as well.
  Have you already decorated for the holiday? I have one large stocking and the first card of the season up on my walls so far. And I'm only about a third of the way done on my shopping. Nothing is wrapped yet. This week will be devoted to cleaning, wrapping, and decorating. Probably some shopping will be done as well. 
  I did get some Christmas cards made yesterday. I was thrilled for that, and it made me want to do even more. I hope I get a chance to do a few more this week. 
  Speaking of cards, did you ever go take a look at the cards from At Studio D?
While her Thirty Days of Christmas contest is over, I am leaving the button up on the side of the blog so you can check out all thirty of her Christmas cards. Damaris is also in the middle of a short series called Table Scraps, in which she makes cards using what she had left on her crafting table. This is one talented young lady, and I'm not just saying that because I was chosen as one of her winners. <smile.>  I enjoy card making, and I love getting inspiration from others. I hadn't made any cards in a long while, so the Thirty Days of Christmas series was the perfect shot in the arm for me. 
  I would like to add pictures to this blog sometime, especially to show crafts and such, and maybe incorporate a project once a week or so. We'll see if Santa brings me a camera so I can do that. : )
  I've talked your ear off long enough today I think. I hope you have a wonderful day. I love hearing from my readers, so please feel free to let me know what you are up to today.

A Morning Cup of Tea: Just a Touch

Good morning! Today we are finishing up chapter 8 of the book of Luke, beginning with verse 40. Jesus and his disciples are now back across the lake after being sent away from the people of the Gadarenes. Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue, came to ask Jesus to come to his home. His only daughter was ill to the point of death. On the way there, a woman who had suffered from an issue of blood for many years, and had seen physician after physician with no change in her health, determined that if she could just touch Jesus' clothes all would be well. When she touched the hem of his garment, the flow of blood stopped. 
   Jesus stopped also. Who touched me? he asked. He knew what had happened and knew that some of his virtue had gone out of him (v46). The woman had tried to hide, because first of all she was simply a woman, and second of all, she was considered unclean and should not have been in public. But Jesus saw her and told her Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
 Back on the way to Jairus' home, someone came from the house to tell Jairus not to bother with bringing Jesus there; the girl was dead. Jesus told him, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 
  At Jairus' house he only allowed Peter, James and John, plus the girl's parents inside. He told everyone to stop weeping, she isn't dead. They were scornful of him. But Jesus held the girl's hand and commanded her to arise. Luke tells us in verse 55 that her spirit came again and she arose straightway.
  In both instances, with the woman, and with the girl, they were healed with a simple touch. Jairus had faith that Jesus could heal his daughter, and the woman with the issue of blood had faith that just a touch of his garment could make her whole. However, had either of these people stayed home and not approached Jesus, nothing would have happened. They had to step out in faith and do something to get the healing they desired.   

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: The Man Living in the Tombs

Good morning! It is a chilly but beautiful day today. My heart is filled with joy and thanksgiving today even though I really wanted to stay in bed this morning, hee hee! A friend of mine texted this morning and showed me the most beautiful picture of sunrise. I wish I could share it but I'm not very technologically adept. God's artwork always puts a smile on my face though.
  Today we are reading Luke's account of the devil possessed man in the country of the Gadarenes, Luke 8:26-39. The poor man did not live at home anymore, but stayed outside of the city in the tombs. He was naked and someone had tried to chain and fetter him, but he had broken the chains. Jesus asked the demon's name, and the devil said Legion. There were many tormenting the man. And they knew who Jesus was. They called him Son of God most high (v28). 
  Jesus commanded the unclean spirits to come out of him, and they asked to be sent into a herd of swine nearby. Jesus assented and the pigs ended up throwing themselves into the water and drowning. The men who took care of the pigs were frightened. They went into town and told everyone what had happened. When the townspeople came to see, they saw Jesus, and the man who had been possessed of devils for so long was near him, clothed and in his right mind.  The people didn't know what to think of all of this, and it scared them. They couldn't get Jesus back on the boat from whence he came fast enough! The man whom Jesus had healed of the unclean spirits wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus told him no. He was to stay, and go into his home and tell everyone what good things had happened.
   We may not all be missionaries to a foreign land, may not be preachers or teachers, but we can teach others where we are. If some do not want to hear the message, continue praying for them but go on to another person. There are many who will hear the message gladly.
  I hope you have a wonderful day.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: "Master We Perish"

Good morning! Today we are focusing on just a few verses, Luke 8:19 thorough 25, and there really are two lessons here, but I didn't want to overlook them.
  In verse 19 Jesus' mother and brothers had come to see him, but couldn't get to him because there were so many people around. They were able to get word that they wished to see him, and in verse 21 Jesus had this to say: My mother and my brothers  are these which hear the word of God, and do it. Now, he wasn't disowning his family nor was he being disrespectful of them. I'm sure he was quite happy to see his family.But he had a teachable moment there and he used it. We as Christians say we are part of the family of God. Jesus told us clearly that his family are those who hear and do. If we know what the bible says and we don't do it, we are wrong. And if we do not read the word then how can we know what we are to do and how we should be living?
  And then on another day Jesus and his disciples were in a boat, crossing from one side of the lake to the other. Jesus fell asleep. While he was resting, terrible storms came up, and the boat was tossed about. It began taking on water and everyone knew that this was the end!  His disciples woke Jesus, saying, Master we perish! Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the water, and things calmed down immediately. Jesus asked his disciples, Where is your faith? (v25)
 When we find ourselves in the midst of a storm, do trust that Jesus is going to take care of us? Or do we panic and worry and start lamenting 'we perish'?
  Several years back when we lived in Texas we were part of a congregation that held FBS (Family Bible School rather than calling it Vacation Bible School) each summer, and in conjunction with the lesson them we did a play, doing part each night. One year the study was Noah's Ark. My husband played Japheth and I played his wife. Apparently my character did not have much faith because when Noah told his family there would be a flood, I shrieked "We're all going to die!"
  Sometimes when trouble hits, I am just like Jessica, as my character was known. Panic at the drop of a hat. Jesus could very well ask me, Where is your faith?
  While it is normal to be concerned when situations arise, but when we worry and fret aren't we essentially telling God, now you step back, I can handle this on my own?  When I try that tactic I usually fail miserably and I end up with tummy aches, headaches, and all sorts of problems. If I take a deep breath and realize that I'm supposed to do my job and Jesus is supposed to do his, I'm much calmer. It's not always easy because I don't like giving up control, but I'm learning. 
 Have a wonderful day.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea

Good morning! Today we begin chapter 8 of Luke. In this chapter Jesus tells the parable of the sower - some seed landed on rocky soil, some fell among thorns, and some fell on good soil. And some fell by the wayside.  Some of us let the seed get trampled before it has a chance to grow. Others start out great, but having no soil take root in --studying, and learning more , the light goes out as quickly as it came in. Still others hear the word joyfully and take root, but the cares of the world choke them out as weeds do in a garden. Then there are those who fall into good soil --they've studied, and continue to study, and pray to take out the weeds or thorns that could choke out the light of God, and they bear fruit. I've greatly paraphrased verses 5 through 18 so I hope you will take the chance to read it for yourself.
  I am not a farmer, and I haven't done well with even simple gardening. I do understand that for plants to grow and thrive there must be sunlight, water, and nutrients in the soil. Weeds must be kept at bay as well. My son and I are quite a pair. If I have plants indoors, I tend to forget to water them. J tends to believe they do not belong in the pots and takes them out. Neither of these things are good for plants. Our souls also need TLC in order to grow and thrive. Our souls need good soil -a tender heart with a thirst to know God. We also need Son light. We need to hear and read the word of God, and commit it to memory, and live as closely as we can to his word. We need water and nutrients --this comes by living faithfully, participating in worship and fellowship with other Christians regularly, so that we might encourage and be encouraged, and learn more than just what we might read. We must keep the weeds out as well. When we have a problem, we should be able to go to our Christian brothers and sister for guidance, for assistance, for prayer. And we should be able to go to one another in love --and accept when they come to us in love- to point out something that may be amiss. We do this not because we think we are living better than someone who has fallen, but because we love one another and want others to not miss the opportunity to reach heaven because a sin was ignored blatantly.

Should We Keep Christ in Christmas?

Hallee the Homemaker  linked an article on Christmas  that got me to thinking. I don't want to tell anyone whether they should or shouldn't celebrate Christmas, nor do I wish to tell anyone how it must be done. I simply wish to share some of my thoughts on the matter.
  Long before Thanksgiving I began seeing on facebook diatribes on Christ in Christmas --from both sides. Non Christians (and even some Christians) asserting that Christmas is a pagan holiday, those of faith insisting that Christmas must have Jesus as the centerpiece. Some that I've begun deleting as soon as I see them start out with, I don't care if this offends anyone. That's great, if that is how you feel about it. Personally I think the politically correct business needs to stop. On both sides. If someone says Merry Christmas to me, I say it back. If someone says Happy Holidays, I return Merry Christmas to them, also with a smile. If I know the person celebrates Hannukah or Kwanzaa I extend greetings to them for their holiday. And yes, sometimes I do say happy holidays because there is more than one being celebrated during this time of year.
  As a Christian, I do celebrate Christmas, but although I enjoy the Christmas carols speaking of Jesus birth, I don't celebrate it as a religious holiday.  Nor do I think we should spend every penny we have plus burn plastic to make everyone's wishes come true. It is great to want to spoil the children (and adults, lets be honest here) a little. Mom's had her eye on a Kindle Fire,  Dad wants a new set of golf clubs, Suzy wants an electric guitar and a doll and five hundred other things that catch her eye. One popular store sent out a catalog of nothing but toys all with little boxes beside each one. Hand the booklet to your child and let them check off all the toys they want. Easy shopping! I can imagine that most kids would have marked off most of the items in the thing. Or, as I like to tease my husband with a catalog of rubber stamps and papers and the like, hand it back with the answer Yes please. One of each, thanks. 
  There is absolutely nothing wrong with one or two gifts per person. Take some time, realize what you can realistically afford to spend, and figure out what the person really wants. If you can't afford to spend money, either go in with one or more loved ones to buy just one special gift, or make something. As much as I like gadgets  and pretty things, I adore items that took more time than money. Can't sew or craft but everyone loves your desserts? Bake one up and maybe tuck in a coupon for a free cooking lesson or two from you. 
 To get back to the main subject of this piece ( i do tend to get sidetracked on certain things, sorry) I've been thinking that sometimes we tend to get so focused on keeping Christ in Christmas, that he may lie dormant in our hearts until the obligatory time to think of his death and resurrection --Easter. Also a holiday with pagan roots. Although we pretty it up as well with chocolate crosses and religious stickers for the eggs, what do bunnies and eggs have to do with Christianity? Again, nothing wrong with the Easter Bunny as long as we aren't worshiping him.  But....But. Shouldn't we be reflecting on Jesus and why he came here on earth more than just twice a year? 
  The bible tells us we should be commemorating his death, burial and resurrection each first day of the week (Sunday.) There are more than one Sunday each year, usually 52. Scholars tell us that Jesus was most likely born in the spring or the fall. I have no idea because I haven't studied it enough. I'm content with the knowledge that the bible does not tell us the date, and since the date for many other things are mentioned, there must be a purpose for the omission. We can reflect on his birth at any time of the year, certainly at this time, but any other time as well. While we think of his birth, let's remember why he was born. He didn't stay a baby. He grew up to teach, and to heal, and ultimately, to give his life in exchange for ours if we will only accept that gift by hearing, believing, repenting, confession, being baptized, and living the life. 
  This year, my family will be at worship service on Christmas, barring any reason such as illness. We wont be there because it is Christmas but simply because it is the first day of the week. We will be with the church (the people) to worship, to partake of the memorial feast (the bread and the fruit of the vine) and to fellowship with other Christians for a bit. To gain spiritual strength for the week. Then we will go home and enjoy time with family, and friends too hopefully.The more the merrier. Bottom line? Keep Christ in every day.