Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sheep of His Hand

      Connor and I were watching a small flock of sheep at a local farm.  As usual, my camera was out.  I tried to get close enough to the sheep to get the pictures I wanted and the sheep were not cooperating.  This may have been due in part to my companion.  Connor was chatting away about the farm, the sheep, life at middle school, and mac and cheese.  I shushed him and continued to try to get the sheep’s attention without scaring them further away from me.
     Desperation struck.  “Baaaaa.” I called out to the sheep.  This little guy peeped out from behind a tree.  “Baaaa.”  I continued, feeling more than a little ridiculous, snapping away.
     Connor was pretty impressed with my sheep whispering ability.  He attempted a few “baaaa’s” of his own, then asked, “How come you can do a sheep better than I can?”
     I assured him, “Connor, I’ve just had years more practice at it.”
     So, do you want to be a sheep?
     The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
     He leads me beside still waters,
     He restores my soul,
    He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  ~Psalm 23:1-3
     The Lord cares for us like a shepherd over his flock.  We are the sheep of His hand.
     He tends his flock like a shepherd:
     He gathers the lambs in His arms
     And carries them close to His heart:
     He gently leads those that have young.  ~Isaiah 40:11
     In order to recognize the voice of our shepherd we should practice being sheep.  We are to listen to our shepherd's voice, through prayer, through fellowship, through the reading of His word and by caring for other sheep.  Here is what Jesus said about the Shepherd and His Flock:
     The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.  The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.  He calls his won sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.
     Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  He will come in and go out, and find pasture...I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep.  ~John10:1-15
     Do you want to be a sheep?  Baa, baa!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Congratulations, Patty!

      Our daughter, Patty, won two awards today for Culinary Arts!  We are so proud of her!  Senior Prom and High School Graduation are just a month away!
You can read about Patty's dream about being a pastry chef and our trip to Carlo's Bakery here.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Memorial Day: We Want You Back!

Uncle and his cheesecakes.

     What does Memorial Weekend mean to you?  Extra time with the family?  A three-day weekend? Eating?  Grilling?  Fun?  Or perhaps remembering others?
     My Uncle died eleven years ago on May 15th.  Uncle was my Mom’s younger brother.  He never married, so when I was a kid, my family was his family.  He used to drive up from Throgs Neck to stay with us for weekends and even went on vacations with us.
     Uncle was always a lot of fun to be with and acted like a big kid himself until he retired from the railroad.
     Uncle had a great sense of humor and loved to tell jokes.  He once told my two brothers and I that he had hidden an Easter Egg with five dollars in it at a campground where we were staying.  We looked for it at every opportunity.  The adults had some peace and quiet and we kids had the thrill of a treasure hunt.  He gave us each five dollars, a kings ransom at the time, for the souvenir shop, too.
     Uncle was not particularly athletic, but he thought if he had on a team shirt, he would look that way.  He had shirts from every team in every sport.  He always brought bags of shirts for my kids.  It didn’t matter what size the kids were, he thought bigger was better and bought extra large.
     My Uncle always arrived at my house with cheesecakes.  There would be one for each of us.  There could never be too much cheesecake where he was concerned.
     My Uncle never mastered the art of balancing a checkbook so he used cash and money orders for just about everything.  He kept most of his money hidden around his house.  His favorite hiding place was in a hole in his mattress.  We were all so upset when he died, that we forgot about that, and threw the mattress, and the money, away.
     Uncle had been in the Navy and so at his funeral two crisply dressed Sailors came to pay their respects, play taps, and present my Mom with a folded flag.  It was beautiful.  I stood there with my Dad, also a sailor, and thought of my son stationed in the Gulf on the Carrier USS John Paul Jones and prayed that I wouldn’t hear that mournful sound again anytime soon.
     After the funeral, my mom took care of tidying up the inevitable loose ends of paper work.  She paid  his last bills, sold his house, and had his mail forwarded to her in Virginia.  Sport Illustrated sent him a postcard proclaiming - We Want You Back!  Well, yes.  Yes, we do.
     Like most of us, Uncle will never be written about in a history book.  He is remembered by those whose lives he touched.
     On Memorial Day we remember those living and dead who sacrificed to give us the freedoms that we enjoy.  It is always sobering to reflect on the reality that the liberties we enjoy today came at a great cost.
It is the soldier, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the  soldier, not the reporter, 
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, 
who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer, 
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier, not the politician,
who has given us the right to vote.
    On Memorial Day, we pause as a nation to express our recognition and to collectively say we won’t forget.
     We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  ~1 Thes. 1:3

    Who do you remember on Memorial Day?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp

I Just Finished Reading:
     This is the story of an epic road trip told with warmth, grace, and laughter.  Shawn and Maile Smucker share their adventure of traveling 10,000 miles in a big, blue bus named Willie with their four children.  You accompany their family on the ride of a lifetime, complete with death defying experiences, tender moments of grace, majestic scenery, and honest revelations.
     Don't let comfort keep you from living.  Don't let fear of discomfort keep you camped on a back street of life.  Don't be scared to disconnect, batten down the hatches, and hit the road, if that's where your journey leads you.  ~Shawn Smucker
     At each bend in the road a lesson for life is shared.  Be prepared to want to gather your loved ones and take off in a blue bus of your own.
     This book was fun to read and yet left me with thoughts to ponder.   Have you read How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp?  What are you reading now?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Listen My Son

My Mother
Listen my son, to your father's instruction and do not forget your mother's teaching.  Proverbs 1:8-9
     Before I had children, I was sure how I would raise them.  I would lead them with a firm, but steady hand.  Discipline would take the form of dispensing asked for advice which my children would always treasure and follow.  I would create a functional and organized home, rich in love and tranquility.  Then  our first son was born and the crayon was on the wall.
My Mother-In-Law
     If you ask my children who provides them with the most lectures and unsolicited advice - my husband or I -  big surprise, they will unanimously agree that it is me.  But I like to think that I am giving them instruction for life.  Here are some of the things that I have actually said over the years with an accompanying scripture which may have worked just as well.

     Just wait until your Father gets home!  And now dear children, continue in Him, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.  1 John 2:28

     Don't sit so close to the TV or you will hurt your eyes!  Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.  Phil. 4:8

     Put a sweater on!  I'm cold!  Put on the full armor of  God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  Ephesians 6:10

     You want me to get a tattoo???  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault...  James 1:5

     What do you mean you lost your sock?  What happened to your pants?  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.  Hebrews 4:13

     You need to study for the test tomorrow!   Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test!  2 Cor. 13:5

     Get out of that bed!  You're going to miss the bus!  How long will you lie there you sluggard?  When will you get up from your sleep?  Proverbs 6:9

     That is a skinned knee.  We only scream like that if bones are poking through the skin, or for profuse bleeding.  See you are well again.  Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.  John 5:14

     Don't drink Mommy's coffee.  The last thing you need is caffeine.  Do not worry about what you will eat or drink...Is life not more than food?  Matthew 6:25

     You got that right!  You will apologize for your behavior!  You have answered correctly.  Do this and you will live.  Luke 10:28

     In case you were wondering, these are all actual scriptures...some, perhaps, taken a bit out of context.
     A Prayer of Jesus: I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of this world.  They were yours; You gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.  Now they know that everything you have given me came through you.  For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.  I pray for them.  I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  All I have is yours...Holy Father protect them by the power of your name.  While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.  My prayer is not that you take them out of this world, but that you protect them from the evil one.  Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, so I send them into this world.  ~ John 17:6-18
     Happy Mother's Day!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Before and After

     Patty decided to get her hair cut.  Not just trimmed.  CUT!  This is her before....
      and here she is after.
      She wanted a pixie cut.  My nerves were trembly.  The senior prom is in a month.  This is a big change.
      She looks lovely!  Good decision.  She looks stylish and fresh.  Patty is loving her new hair.

Updated:  Lots of people stop in to see the before and after pictures.  This is a recent one of her short hair on the night of the prom.  She still loves it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Vidalia Onion Side Dish

     My husband brought this little gadget home from the  grocery store.  It is a Vidalia Onion Microwave Cooker.  It was very inexpensive, cost just a few dollars.  The cooker is shaped like a large hollow onion, and an onion fits neatly inside.
     Vidalia onions have a delicate sweet flavor.  Some people eat them like an apple.  Microwaved, they make a delicious and easy side dish to go with steak, hamburgers, or pork.
     I'm hoping for a Mother's Day dinner of steak on the grill, mashed potatoes, and Vidalia onions as a side.  Yum!
     Vidalia Onion Side Dish:
     Vidalia onion
     pat of butter
     seasoning to taste
     How to:
     Peel a medium to large Vidalia onion.
     Cut off the top and bottom tip with a sharp knife.  Place the onion in the bottom of the onion microwave dish.
     Add a pat of butter on top.
     Season to taste.  We like to use Vidalia French Onion Seasoning, but I have heard that a beef bouillon cube, or garlic and paprika is also good.
     Cover the onion with the top part of the onion microwave dish.  Microwave on high for five minutes.
     Carefully remove the onion from the dish with a spatula.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before eating, as it will be quite hot.  Enjoy!
      Amazon has a microwave cooker here.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

God the Potter

     This beautiful pottery planter was made by our son, Anthony.  I love the rich colors in the glaze and the whimsical spirals in the design.
     When Anthony fashioned this piece, he took a lump of clay which he then pressed, pounded, and rolled with his hands.  He intentionally added small amounts of water to make the clay more pliable so that he could shape and mold the clay as he desired.
     The first chapter of Genesis describes the creation of the Sun and the stars, the earth and the seas, the animals that creep on land and the fish that swim in the ocean deeps.  Most of the verses in Genesis 1 begin with “God said “Let there be,,, and there was....”  All of these things were created by God speaking them into being, right up until verse 26.
     Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
     So God created mankind in his own image,
  in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.  ~Genesis 1:26  
    Here is how God made man:
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  ~Genesis 2:7
     God did not speak us into existence.  He formed us with His hands.  God took the time to put His hands in the dust; to pick up the clay and shape us in His image.  The Hebrew word translated “formed” means to press, mold, work with, fashion and shape like a potter.
     Isaiah captured this image when he said:
     “…O, Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand.”  ~Isaiah 64:8 
     And Paul said,
     “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  ~Ephesians 2:10
     We are God’s workmanship.  We are His work of art created in love for a relationship with Him.

I am flattered to say that this post was featured at:  Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy!
Inspire Me Monday

Pin It button on image hover