Friday, November 28, 2008

Just Checking In **UPDATED to Include Pictures**

***See bottom of post for update***




Thanksgiving, the holiday not the state of mind, is over for another year. I cooked for 2 days straight and I think it might actually have helped my diet (well, the diet I have intended to start every Monday for several years now). When I prepare lots of food, it kind of takes the fun out of eating it for some reason. Suppose I should be thankful for that.

I baked a whole turkey again this year. Apparently I forgot how disgusting it was last year. This is the second year that I brined the bird. If you don't know what brining is, think of floating your turkey in a solution of spices and salt water for 24 hours before baking it....that's brining. It's the kosher way of fixing the bird, but really, we aren't Jewish. I place the bird in a huge clear plastic container in my fridge the day before I cook it.....it looks like some sort of freaky science experiment. I mean really, if you want me to throw up, show me a turkey bird floating in its own ummmm "juices" in my fridge (juices is the nicest way I can think of to explain all the gross stuff that comes out of that fowls orifices). Nasty is one word that comes to mind.

Anywho.........you guys may not know that I love salt. I always got into trouble for eating salt straight out of my hand when I was little (and when I was in high school). Why am I telling you this? Well, because it will let you know that the turkey I fixed was one of the saltiest pieces of meat I have ever put into my mouth. If I say something is salty....it IS salty. I threatened my dad and hubs with their lives if they said anything other than "This is the best turkey I have had in my entire life". They complied and other than a few comments, the sodium content of my bird was not discussed any further. These people should know better than to depend on me for a complete Thanksgiving meal.......I am only 36 years old for crying out loud.......a person should be at least 45 before expected to prepare a completely edible Thanksgiving meal!!!


In case you were wondering, I didn't go shopping today. I saw several ads for some really good deals, but the last time I went shopping at 4 am on Black Friday, I lost my Christian attitude by 5:30 am and I have decided that it is better for me to pay the difference than to hurt my witness (people get ugly when it's early and they want to be first in line for the "deal of the year").

So, I just wanted to check in and say that I am still alive and still Thankful even though Thanksgiving is over. My dad is here until tomorrow. Tonight we will be going to my sister's to eat some pizza and play some games. Maybe we can take some pictures to prove that we are actually related ;-).



Hope everyone has a great weekend. Have fun putting up your Christmas decorations.....don't want to rub it in, but mine have been up for a month now................








Me trying to look interested while the Geek Squad looks at my sister's new laptop.....I think they are irritated at my lack of interest...or maybe it is my lack of knowledge....not sure. Is it just me or are they looking at me with evil eyes?















My attention span is really quite short for a person my age.

















Proof that Bethanne, Alliekat, and Eddies Place are truly blood relatives (although I do not look like either of them, I am thinking that the adoption stories my sister told me when I was little might actually be true)......






These photos were taken by my brother in law who used to be a photographer for a living as evidenced by the very staged pose. Seriously, its like being at Olan Mills.
The picture on the wall behind me makes my hair look even bigger than it really is (who knew that was possible)....I kind of like it though...remember my motto: "The bigger the hair, the smaller the butt".

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Results Are In and I am Back

The hubs and I are back from a very successful trip to Pigeon Forge, but I am happy to report that our Christmas shopping is done (with the exception of a few things). God be praised. We had a great time, great fun, great food and we are extremely tired. I will be wrapping up many of our purchases today (because we have no room for them in our house except under the tree).
I would show you some of the wonderful deals we got, but most of the people we bought for read this blog.
I have to say that the outlet mall we go to was not extremely busy and many of the stores in it are closing. Unfortunately many of the employees at the stores will be losing their jobs by the end of the year. We really need to keep the people who are losing their jobs in our prayers this holiday season....there are so many that are facing dire circumstances right now and we tend to forget how blessed we really are (or maybe it's just me).

I really appreciate all your comments from this weekend. Even though out of hundreds of hits, there were only 28 comments -- come on people, what's a girl have to do to get you to comment? A giveaway? Yeah, we'll see, maybe I can do that soon too. While I don't know who left each anonymous comment, I have prayed over each one of them and am asking God to help each of you with your struggle in that area. I hope to use this information in future posts and I have another idea swimming around in my otherwise empty head, but will have to see what the Lord is up to before moving ahead with that.

So, my dad is coming to stay with us for Thanksgiving which means that I will be spending today and tomorrow throwing junk in closets and under beds cleaning and straightening. Wednesday and Thursday will be spent in the kitchen (which still has no microwave -- I am like the women in days of old, ya'll). So, my blogging time will be severely hindered by my household chores (dern - where's the maid when I need her? Oh wait, I AM the maid -- dern again).

Since I wont have a chance to blog much this week, I thought I would post some of the recipes that I will be making for Thursday........(in addition to these we will be having rolls, deviled eggs, creamed corn, green beans, dressing, turkey, spiral ham.......can ya tell I haven't had breakfast yet??)


My Sister’s Sweet Potato Casserole (served cold --- it is soooooo good!!!)

Layer 1
Crushed Ritz crackers combined with one stick butter. Press into 8x11 or 9x13 casserole dish and bake at 350 for 12 - 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Layer 2
Combine 8 oz cream cheese (softened), 1 cup sugar, and 8 oz. Cool whip. Spread on top of cooled cracker mixture.
Layer 3
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (cooked)
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 egg

Mix all together and spread on top of cream cheese/cool whip mixture and refrigerate.
Top with crushed pecans before serving.


Turtle Pumpkin Pie

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. caramel ice cream topping, divided
1 HONEY MAID Graham Pie Crust
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. PLANTERS Pecan Pieces, divided
1 cup cold milk
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided

POUR 1/4 cup caramel topping into crust; sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans.
BEAT milk, pudding mixes, pumpkin and spices with whisk until blended. Stir in 1-1/2 cups COOL WHIP. Spread into crust.
REFRIGERATE at least 1 hour. Top with remaining COOL WHIP, caramel topping and pecans just before serving.


Italian Marinated Vegetable Salad

1/2 lb. fresh green beans, cut in half
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
1 cup sliced stuffed green olives
1/4 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup KRAFT Tuscan House Italian Dressing and Marinade
ADD beans and cauliflower to boiling water in saucepan; cook until crisp-tender. Drain. Rinse under cold water; drain again. Place in bowl.
ADD remaining ingredients; mix lightly. Cover.
REFRIGERATE 3 hours or until chilled



O'Charley's Pie

2 cans of Eagle Brand condensed milk
1 pie crust
Cool Whip
Chocolate Chips and nuts

Remove all labels from milk cans. Do not open the cans. Boil the cans in water for 4-5 hours. I usually lean towards 4. While boiling, continue to check water depth. Add water as it evaporates to ensure the cans are covered. Let cans cool for 20-30 minutes. Open cans and pour caramel into pie crusts. Place in fridge to cool. Do not put cool whip on top until caramel has cooled. It will melt it. Top with any toppings. I use chocolate chips only, but many people add the nuts, too.


Corn Flake Cookies (for the kids)

7-8 cups cornflakes
1 cup light karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix sugar, syrup and butter in heavy sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil for one exact minute. Remove from heat and add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until blended. Add cornflakes gradually. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool.


One last thing: Yesterday, Lake was in the bathroom and Kaden told him that he was going to performa stunt show for Lake (using his little motorcycles). Lake said okay and Kaden said, "Before I start, remember, no smoking, no food or drinks and no Flush photography"...............

Thursday, November 20, 2008

If You Are Reading This, I Need a Favor

First, I would like to announce that it is snowing in East TN. Some of you are thinking that you would like to see actual proof of snow......knowing that you would not believe me, I went ahead and took some photo proof:

























Now, I know what you Northerners (and Colorado people) are thinking....and no, it isnt a lot of snow, but it is enough to get my kid out of school ALL DAY! Can I get a "Praise the Lord"? Here in the south, we just dont have the equipment to handle ice and snow (Praise the Lord) so an inch of the white stuff can shut down half the state for a day or two (unless the temps stay below freezing and then it could be weeks). Someone better call Al Gore, because I think his global warming theory might be a hoax ;-) (but dont get me started on that!).



Moving right along...........



Well..........This is it. Our annual weekend shopping trip that began the first year we were married and has become a family tradition. We are doing it a little later than usual (we normally go in late October). We leave the kids with the grandparents and spend the weekend in Knoxville/Pigeon Forge doing ALL of our Christmas shopping. ALL of it. We eat where we want to (usually here and here and here). We shop where we want to. We touch and feel everything in every store. We even buy a few "little" things for ourselves. Yep, fun times.


Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year ;-).........



So, you might be wondering what I mean by needing a favor from you.........


The favor is a simple one. I know how many hits this site gets per day and I know that most of you do not comment....EVER. Out of approximately 400 hits, only an average of 12 - 20 of you ever comment......and it is usually the same 12 - 20 people who leave their thoughts.


Here is what I am asking: I would love, love, triple, dipple love it if everyone who reads this post would leave a comment. And not just any comment either. I have a special request.



Please comment anonymously -- no one leave your name/blogspot - click the anon. before publishing your comment -- should make it easy for those of you who are "comment shy", because I will not know who you are.


AND most importantly, leave a comment telling me what your greatest spiritual struggle/stronghold is. For instance, do you struggle with sin (you don't have to be specific or you can - it is anonymous), with having a daily Bible study, anger, knowing where you fit-in in God's kingdom, knowing God's plan for your life, being judgemental, trusting God........etc, etc., etc. Those are just a few examples.


Whatever your struggle or stronghold, please leave it in a comment. As long as you leave it anonymously, I promise, I will not know who left each comment.



I am interested in the major struggles and hindrances that Christians face and plan to use your comments for some future research.



Thanks! Better get to the store and buy your turkeys and pumpkins - they are flying off the shelves as we speak! I hope to post some of the recipes that I will be making next week for our family Thanksgiving dinner which will be held at my house on Thursday (this time last year, we thought it would be held at our new house this year, but dont worry, I am not the least bit bitter about it ;-). Have a great weekend............

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Delayed Randomness



So, today started off pretty well. It was 17 degrees this morning so our school system decided to let the kids go to school 2 hours late (another reason why I love our school system). I know you Northerners are laughing right now, but we are Southerners and are not used to cold temperatures. Most of us don't even own heavy coats, much less the parkas our friends to the North love so much. My child doesn't ride the bus, but some of those kids have to catch the bus at or before 7 am in 17 degree weather...........well, I think the 2 hour delay thing is a wonderful idea. It allowed me to sleep an hour longer, I made breakfast, and the boys got to play before Lake had to go to school. I personally wish school never started before 10 am, but then again I live in a dream world most of the time.
Here are a couple of pics I took this morning before school. I am thankful that they still dont mind me dressing them alike. (And yes I know they will hate me for it one day, but I cant help it). Next year, when Kaden goes to school, I will have to stop (well except on Sundays ;-).


I told you in my last post that I would be back with some random thoughts so here I am and here they are:

Many of you probably have no idea about such indelicate things, but let me tell you that hardwood flooring is extremely heavy. How do I know???? Well, the same way I know how to tie steel re bar to pour concrete, the same way I know how to use a shop-vac (expertly I might add), and the same way I know how to moisture seal a home's foundation, and the same way I know how to do all the many chores that should be left to (male) building contractors........my husband allows me the privilege of creating pride of ownership in our new home (his words not mine......aka. we are too cheap to hire someone to carry our flooring). The hubs has graciously allowed me to share in the joy of hauling 216 large bundles and placing them in every room of our new house (approximately 170 lbs each - which I would like to add is more than I weigh! A lot more!).



In case you were wondering, Twizzlers??? Yeah they actually DO make your mouth happy.



Can someone tell me what in the world are table water crackers??? The name puts strange pictures in my mind and quite frankly grosses me out for some reason (kind of like goat cheese - gives me chills to think about it). What is table water anyway and why are they making crackers out of it? Someone tell me so that I don't embarrass myself (any more than usual) while standing around the cheese ball at Christmas parties over the next few weeks............



Someone sent me a quiz on Facebook the other day. It was called the American accent quiz. I took it and the results are in. I have a Northern accent. Seriously, that is what it said. The girl whose husband thinks "you-uns" is a word has a Northern accent? And all this time ya'll thought I a was a hillbilly......


My kids have children's choir on Sunday nights while we are in the worship service. When we got in the car after church on Sunday night, Kaden announced that a kid in his choir class punched him in the stomach that night. Our conversation went like this:



Kaden: A kid in my choir punched me in the stomach tonight.

Me: Who was it?

Kaden: I don't know his name - he's new.

Me: Oh. Did he get in trouble?

Kaden: No, he had little hands so it didn't really hurt.



I guess the kids with big hands are the only ones who get in trouble......hahahaha .......have I mentioned that Kaden is hilarious???



We took the kids to see Madagascar 2 Saturday night. Most of you know that we are not a fan of the movies, but Madagascar is our favorite movie, so we had to take the kids to see the sequel. As we paid for the movie and popcorn I remembered one of the reasons why we don't go to the movies very often:



Movie tickets: $30

Popcorn: $8

Large Sprite: $4.50

The look on my husbands face when he saw how much a night at the movies costs: Priceless




I have to wonder.....if we bailout the auto makers, how long will it be before we are having to bailout the rest of the businesses in the country? When does the bailing out stop and the paying back begin? I know that if the auto industry fails, America will be in big trouble, but where do we draw the line? And what kind of message are we sending to our kids? Dependence on the government is not what we need to teach our kids.....I believe it will instill in them a sense of entitlement. It seems that there are no consequences for anything anymore. Don't get me wrong, I don't have the answers, but I just wonder where all this financial woe will take us (both individually and as a country). I am guessing it is leading us kicking and screaming into dangerous territory......thankfully, as Christians we are not dependent upon the government.


I heard the other day that in a tough economy almost all purchases go down except LIPSTICK. In tough economic times, the sales of lipstick actually go up. Well, duh! When you don't have any extra money, you may not be able to afford to buy new clothes, but you can certainly afford a new tube of lipstick. A girl may be on her way to the poorhouse, but she doesn't have to look washed out on her way there!


The painters are working frantically at our new house. I love the smell of paint (and gas, but that is another issue for which I need help;-). It is nice seeing some actual color on the otherwise white walls. I just hope the colors I have picked out are the right ones. It occurred to me that I could really mess this house up, which is causing me to feel a little pressured.....ummmm a lot pressured. The painters told me that they loved the colors I chose and that they are the prettiest colors they have used in a long time. They said that I had matched and blended my colors very well from room to room. But then again, we are paying them and they want to finish the job, so can I really trust them? Probably not.




I was going to post a pic of the new couch my MIL bought me for Christmas,but I cant find a pic online.......allow me to paint a mental picture for you. It is big and has big arms and big pillows and it's gold. See why I could totally mess my new house up? Yeah, I thought you would.


Enough boredom for you for today. More boredom to come so stay tuned.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Focus

So, maybe you have noticed my brief absence from the blog world (or maybe you could care less). Once again, I have been doing life and have had little time for blogging. I have so many thoughts running through my head right now I could never put them all into words. No time to blog sends one into a state of backlog. Unfortunately, the time I have to type this post is quite minimal as well, but hopefully I will be back in a day or two with some randomness (I know you can't wait). AND, hopefully I will be able to catch up on all your blogs at some point today......if anyone knows what to do about the fact that my sidebar thingie does not show updates correctly please tell me how I can fix it.............most of the time, when I do not visit/comment on your blogs, it is because I didn't know they had been updated. My computer is fairly new, so I cant imagine what the problem is......ever heard of Murphy's Law? Yeah, it usually applies to me in most every area of my life ;-).



The Lord has really been speaking to me lately about keeping the main thing the main thing. What is the main thing, you ask? Why, Jesus of course. When I say that I am busy from the time my feet hit the floor at 6:15 am until the time I lay down at night (anywhere from 11-12 pm), I am not exaggerating one bit. Among COUNTLESS other activities, we have been working lots of hours at the new house, we have had church "stuff" to do, and to top it all off, Lake has basketball evaluations tomorrow night (which begins yet another season of round ball for the family). Don't get me wrong, I know that most of you reading this are just as busy as I am. Not for a minute do I believe that I am the only hurried and harried mother who has no time to even breathe. There are lots of us out there.....not just mothers, but both men and women are much busier today than they were 20 years ago.



Maybe it's just me, but when I am as busy as I have been lately, it is difficult for me to keep my eyes on Jesus. It is a struggle for me to stay focused on what is important when I am burning the candle at both ends (even when some of the busy-ness revolves around the church). Ever heard the phrase "idle hands are the devil's workshop"? I think the same can be said of busy hands. It is easy to get distracted when your attention is drawn in so many directions. It is easy to become discouraged or dissatisfied when you rarely have a minute to just be still and know. When we are in the business of busy-ness we are quick to take our eyes off God and it is very difficult to regain our 'Godly tunnel vision'.

God does not want us to be a slave to a schedule or to be held captive by a flurry of activity. God never intended for us to simply go through the motions in life.....if He did He would never have mentioned that thing about ABUNDANT life. We are entering the busiest season of the year for most of us, I am praying that I will be able to keep my eyes on Jesus (it IS His birthday)
and slow down enough to live in each moment rather than look back with regret. The devil loves a busy, preoccupied Christian.....we are easy targets.......we need to keep that in mind this time of year more than any other. When we are in the busy-ness business, we are making life much easier for our adversary and I'm certain that NONE of us wants to do anything to make it easier for satan to attack. Let's try our best to make this holiday season extremely tough on satan by keeping our eyes firmly set on Jesus.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lamp Unto My Feet

Most of you know that I started blogging at another site called Jesus Is Lord, A Worshipping Christian's Blog. The blog owner's name is Steve, he and his wife, Missi love the Lord and have a desire to see people come to Christ through their blog ministry. Jesus Is Lord gets thousands of hits every day and many of those readers are atheists. In case you didn't know, atheists are not always nice, especially when it comes to things of God and the church.

I have been blogging at JIL this morning. What we do mostly is read Christian news headlines and post the articles for discussion. This morning, the headlines are particularly frightening. Here are just a few of the ones that I have run across:

Lesbians, Condoms Go Wild In Attack On Christian Church

Thirteen Year Old Girl Sentenced to Stoning (According to Sharia) for Being Gang Raped

Bill Graham Replaced by Homosexual Bishop

Post-Election Harassment Continues Over Marriage Amendment

And those are just a few of the headlines that should concern us as believers. I hear Christian people say that they cannot listen to the news because it makes them depressed. I agree that the way the world is today makes it easy for us to become down and depressed. But God......

I read these headlines and I see the world going to hell in a handbag......it COULD be depressing to me, But God.........

I believe Christians NEED to be aware of current events and we need to know what is happening in our world. We need to know what the Bible says about gay marriage, abortion, homosexuality, stem cell research, end times events, etc. We also need to know about current events, because in Matthew the Bible tells us "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour".

The Bible does NOT say for Christians to keep their heads in the sand and wait, but to actively watch and to wait with our lamps burning. Jesus wants us to watch for Him. Part of watching means that we need to be aware of the signs of His coming..........there are signs all around us, but in order to know what they are, we have to study the Word (which is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path)......are you watching and more importantly, are you watching with your lamp burning????

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Few Birthday Thoughts

So, as many of you know, yesterday was my birthday. I was 36 (I guess I still am 36....for another year anyway ). It seems impossible that I am in my 30's, much less over half way through them!! Only 4 years until I am 40. I feel a mid-life crisis coming on, only I don't know what on earth a woman does in a mid-life crisis. I would get botox, but I'm afraid of it - it's poison for crying out loud. I could make myself a bleach blonde, but I don't look good with really blonde hair (don't ask me how I know that). I could lose 30 lbs, but that would require exercise and you all know how I feel about even the mildest of self-induced exertion. I guess I will just keep on keepin' on, but I'm afraid I don't age very gracefully.



Saturday, we went furniture shopping. I did find some living room furniture that I like, although I am not sure if I will get it or not. I always feel like I have to see EVERYTHING AVAILABLE before I make a decision.....I have shopped in NC, TN, FL, and GA. It would seem to some that I actually HAVE seen everything, but something in me says 'keep on lookin'. Yes, folks, I have a problem and my problem may just have my family sitting on the floor for years. My mother-in-law is buying us a couch for Christmas, so I guess I better decide pretty quickly, huh?



After furniture shopping on Saturday, we ended up at Chili's. I always eat way too much there and come away vowing to never eat another bite of food again. I always break that vow by the following morning. At least I am consistent in something.



Yesterday, after church, we went to lunch and then more furniture/house shopping. I had no idea we would be shopping after church as evidenced by the fact that I wore heels to church. My feet hurt so bad after a couple of hours shopping that I thought they might actually be bleeding. I didn't want to seem ungrateful to the hubs for taking me shopping, so I didn't mention anything much about the EXTREME, SHARP, CUTTING pain in my feet. I DID; however, sit down on every couch and chair we passed using the excuse that I wanted to see if they were comfortable or not. My feet were still hurting when I laid down to sleep last night....heels are of satan....straight from the pit.



Yesterday we were only home for about an hour before we had to leave for church last night. During that time, Lake and Kaden were playing 'swords' (no sissy play in this house). My favorite phrase around here is "It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye". Well, that almost happened here yesterday. Unfortunately, Kaden turned the wrong way and his eye met with Lake's sword. He has a bit of a black eye today and a little scratch under it (thankfully, it wasn't serious). This morning, before taking Lake to school, the boys were sitting closely on the couch reading and Lake moved his arm and accidentally elbowed Kaden in the other eye. Kaden immediately put his hand over his eye and said, "Why'd ya have to hit my good eye? Mommy, Lake hit me in the good eye". I was still laughing when we got to school.



Just so you know, the Christmas stuff is all up and it looks nice. I just keep the blinds closed when the lights are on so people don't know that freaks live here. I figure I only have to hide for a couple more weeks. The funny part is that I have seen several houses with their decorations up and I have actually said, "It's not even Thanksgiving yet, why do they have their Christmas stuff up?". Ever heard of overlooking the log in your own eye while seeing the speck in your brothers? Yeah, this is me, overlooking the log.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Another Video

So, here is another video. Accept my apologies in advance. I thought it might be time to lighten the mood in blogland, so I kind of changed the subject from the election to a post from last week where I asked if you thought it was too early to decorate for Christmas.

Let me say that I appreciate all your input. Most of you said that you thought it was way too early to decorate. Some of you said it is NEVER too early. Others said if I decorate so soon, I would have to dust my ornaments (good point and a point well taken).

Anyway, watch this video to see what I finally decided about decorating early......I will warn you that this video is very unorganized and hard to understand stream of consciousness and ends very abruptly. I had a short time in which to finish because I did it on the easy share -I had less than 2 minutes to talk....whatdya want, people, I am not Steven Spielberg!!!! ;-)

And I would like to say that I am thankful that the still shot below does not make me look like "Bethanne on Crack" as the other video still did.



video

Maybe you didn't understand what I was talking about. Our house might be finished right around Christmas time. I do not want to move at Christmas because I want to have a normal holiday. I know my hubs will want to move and will think it possible to have everything in its place by Christmas even if we move on the 24th (he has faith in his superwoman wife, ya know). So, I decided to remove all temptation of moving at Christmas ..........Talk about a surprise when he came home to Christmas lights and music. I figure if I keep the blinds shut the neighbors will never know know what a crackpot I am. Yep, that's how we roll in Tennessee people.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Remember When Israel Demanded a King????

As I told you in my last post, I received my copy of the Beth Moore Esther study in the mail on Monday. In the first lesson, she quotes a book called "How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth" by Fee and Stuart. One of the quotes she uses from this book is referring to Biblical narratives (Bible stories)......Fee and Stuart say "the story they (Bible narratives) tell is not so much our story as it is God's story---and it becomes ours as He 'writes' us into it"

This morning as I read 1 Samuel 8 & 9 (see the end of this post for a refresher course on this passage), I remembered this quote and thought it was very appropriate for 'such a time as this'.....................Remember when Israel demanded a king? They didn't really care who or what kind of king, but pretty much any king would do. Samuel prayed and the Lord told him that the people were not rejecting Samuel, but were rejecting God Himself. Are you seeing how America is being 'written' into this story???

America demanded a king. The people are so disgusted with Bush they were ready for any king (regardless of his views). The issue with our country is not about race, party, or political views. The major issue in our country is that America has rejected God. And our rejection of God DID NOT start with the election of Barack Obama. I cant tell you the exact time our rejection of God as a nation began, but I can tell you that over time it has only become more and more clear that America is no longer a nation that trusts in God. America may still be one nation under God (aren't we all under God?), but she is also a nation who is in love with sin (a trip to San Fransisco will tell you that).

In Galatians, the Bible says, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows". I believe this also applies to our country. As a nation, I fear that we just might be getting ready to reap what we have been sowing for years. Galatians 6:8 says, "one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life". No matter who you voted for, it is easy to see that over the past several years America has sown to please her sinful nature. We have stood by while innocent babies were killed and used the excuse that it is a woman's body and she has a right to do with it what she pleases. Anyone who claims to be a believer knows that is a lie straight from the pit of hell. We have remained silent while homosexuality has become commonplace instead of an abominable act that is not the norm. I have never read a version of the Bible that said homosexuality was ordained by God, but I am sure if I were to visit a liberal Episcopal church, I could find one. We have stood in silence as the word of God has been perverted to encourage our sinful lifestyles. If you are TRULY a believer, you know that homosexuality is sin plain and simple.....there is no grey area.....it's black and white.

Speaking of black and white.......This election has brought up so many questions and concerns for me (and not just concerns about the candidates). I am concerned by people who call themselves Christians, but vote contrary to the Bible. I am concerned by people who call themselves Christians, but continue to live like the rest of the world, look, talk and act just like the rest of the world. A Christian is not someone who looks like the rest of the world.....we are to be different. Can you truly say that there is something different about you? Whatever happened to being a "chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" 1 Peter 2:9. Don't misunderstand me here, I am not just talking about the election, but about satan's power to deceive.

I have to wonder (and not because of the election) how many people satan has deceived into believing they are saved, when they have never REALLY made the change that comes with salvation. I do not pretend to know anyone's heart (sometimes it is difficult to know my own), but the Bible is clear that where there is no change, there is no salvation. The devil is the master deceiver and he would love nothing more than to allow people to believe that they are on their way to heaven, when in fact, they are still lost and on their way to hell. It is easy to talk the talk, but walking the walk is a different thing entirely. Billy Graham has said that he believes that as many as 80-90% of the people who sit in the pews of churches every Sunday in America are unsaved. If that is true (and I know Billy Graham is only a man not God) then, there are millions of people who think they are "okay", but will split hell wide open. If that thought does not sober you, then nothing will !!!!



So, if you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that I have been passionate about this election. I am not afraid of what Obama will do as president, but I am concerned that his liberal agenda will cause America to slide further down the slippery slope of sin that she has been on for years. I fear that Christians will be silenced even more than ever in the name of tolerance. I believe our faith will be tested like never before in the history of America. I do not hate Obama (or anyone else for that matter). I hate sin because God hates sin. I hate sin because it nailed Jesus to the cross..........my sin, your sin, everyone's sin nailed Jesus to the cross.

When I voted last week, I voted not by party, but by Christian values and my candidate lost. So, the only thing left for me (and everyone else in America who is concerned) is pray. We need to pray for Barack Obama....pray that his mind will be changed on the issues of abortion and gay marriage among other things. Pray that he will be honest in his dealings as leader of the free world. Pray that he will not continue to oppose Israel. Pray for his safety and the safety of his wife and girls. Pray that prejudiced groups will not plot evil against him --- that his election will help ease the problem of prejudice in our country. Pray that he would not be able to rest until he is in right standing with THE One and Only Holy God. But most of all, we need to pray that God's will be done in America.



1 Samuel 8
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have."
But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."
Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."
When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Radical

I have heard reference made to the radical right more times in the past year than I care to count. For some reason, the term 'radical right' has a negative connotation to me. I picture crazed people who bomb abortion clinics or people like those at the church in Kansas who protest at soldier's funerals. But today, it occurred to me that my view of the radical right is not necessarily correct. The people who bomb abortion clinics and protest dead soldiers are not radical, they are brain-washed and somewhat insane - their behavior is not radical, but abhorrent.




As I was working today, I decided that being a radical Christian is not a bad thing. Matter of fact, I think if we are true followers of Jesus, we are called to be radical. One of the definitions of the word 'radical' is "Departing markedly from the usual or customary; extreme". I think that Jesus went WAY above usual and customary and was MORE THAN extreme in showing His love for us when He died on the cross, so why shouldn't we be radical in showing our love for Him? Considering what Jesus did for us, I think being radical in our witness, relationship to Him, and worship is the least we can do..........





Maybe it is time we all got radical for Jesus. To be radical means that there has to be a change in the status quo. Radical throws normal and average right out the window. Radical wants to know the heart of Jesus and do the will of Jesus regardless of the cost. Radical is not easy. Radical is not for the faint of heart or the fair weather follower of Christ........



Radical means it just might be time to leave that liberal church that says it's okay to live like the world from Monday through Saturday as long as you are there on Sunday morning and help in the soup kitchen downtown when its your turn. Maybe its time to exit the church where you go to hear a watered down message by a wishy-washy pastorette and start to look for a church that preaches the cross and the blood and judgement. After all, radical Christians don't live on milk anymore --- they live on the meat of the Word of God. A superficial message will not suffice for radical Christians. Acts 2:17 says, 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams'. Maybe its time we get radically filled up with the Spirit so we can have something to pour out.



Maybe its time to let go of the stuff that makes you just like the rest of the world.....might be time to reevaluate your priorities and put Jesus first instead of 2nd, 10th, 20th or last. Might be time to speak up for Jesus in that group of friends who love the world a little too much instead of remaining silent and giving them the idea that you are 'one of the crowd'. Maybe its time to be radically different in a family or workplace where Jesus is never given a second thought. Maybe its time you quit acting like the devil with one group of friends and like an angel with another. Radical believers cannot be two-faced or double-minded. The Book of James says "a double-minded man is unstable in all he does'. Radical means going against popular opinion and speaking the Truth even when it will make you unpopular. Radical is excited to see God's will done no matter the outcome. Radical does not look, act, drink, or talk like the world.



Radical does not put on airs. Radical is REAL all the time. To be radical, we have to remove the words "politically correct" from our vocabulary and call people to Jesus out of love for them and love for Him. I doubt there was any more radical person than John the Baptist. His outward appearance was radical, his diet was radical (he ate locusts for crying out loud - eating bugs is quite extreme if you ask me), and his message was radical......He did not water down the message of Jesus, but he called people to repentance because he didn't want to see them perish. Why did he care if the people perished? Because Jesus cared. It is not God's will than any should perish. Radical cares about others the way Jesus cares about them and Jesus cared enough to speak truth to the worst sinner, not to condemn, but to save them from an eternal burning hell. Jesus did not sugarcoat the sin of the woman at the well, He loved her enough to bring it out in the open and tell her go and sin no more. Which was radical considering He knew He would have to die for her sins (and ours). If we want to be radical, we have to love people enough to tell them that sin leads to death and without Jesus, hell will be their eternal home.



One thing I know for sure is that the world will criticize radical, but radical gets God's attention (John the Baptist is proof of that). God was radical in His love by sending His only son to die a terrible, humiliating, painful death for us. Seems like that makes being radical our reasonable service to Him.

Look what just came by UPS........


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Some Fall Festival Pics and A Short Video Surprise

At our church
He looks just like the actual Dash in the movie (and yes, I know Dash is not real - he is a cartoon character)


He loves to pose...gets it from his Daddy.



Rough Character....hope he doesn't grow up to look like this




Our kitchen was turned into a tattoo parlor yesterday





He actually had 2 tear drops on his face (like the guys in jail have -- it was his Daddy's idea, I promise) and I tattooed his name across his knuckles.....you might be a redneck if you dress your kid as a redneck for the church Fall Festival......yeah, that's how we roll.




















Just wanted to prove that my kids are unmarked and normal (well as normal as they can be considering who their mother is)



I would like to apologize in advance for the quality and subject (me) of this video. Am I the only one who hates to hear her own voice???? Or see herself on video???? Guess I have no future in the field of acting. At least this video is short....you will thank me for that later. Anyway, I hope actually hearing the accent and seeing me in motion does not make you think less of me......... hit play at your own risk.

video