Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reece's first day of pre-school

Reece started pre-school this week (tuesday).  I really wasn't sure I wanted her to go this year but we kind of last minute got into the program at Normal West.  It's free and my neighbor who is a retired teacher from there highly recommended it.  We planned on sending her next year to a pre-school that has a spiritual side to it, but we didn't think it was necessary to send her two years ($) with all the other activities she is in where she is learning and socializing.  Since this was free and worked out with our schedule, we decided to give it a shot.  Her schedule is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 9-11.  Now Tuesdays she is suppose to go with me to Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) from 9 to 11 instead, but as of yet, she and Brody have not gotten into the children's program.  Still praying about this!!

I noticed recently that was Reece was getting bored and either getting into trouble around here or starting a fight with Brody.  So I thought this might be good for her and provide some structure.  So far I have seen improvement in her behavior just in the 2 days she has gone.  When she comes home she is so excited to see us and says how much she missed us.  She is very loving and tells me she loves me very much!  On the way home from her first day of school she said "Mommy, when I get home I am going to give you a big hug and kiss because I am so proud of you and love you so much".  I said "Wow, you're proud of me?  What did I do?"  She said "You sent me to school and I love you so much for it".  I say for that reason alone, send your kid to school!! :)  I guess it's like the saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder". 

Here she is so proud on her first day of school 

Thoughts on Kindness and Thankfulness

This weeks lesson from my Apples of Gold session was on kindness.  I have been thinking about this topic all week and discovered some things through searching my heart, my own life, and His word. 

When I was growing up, we were not "forced" to say thanks all the time.  In our home it was just a given that if something good was done to you that you were thankful and appreciative.  We were always told to do kind things for people and this would also show our thankfulness in our giving back to others.  Once I left my home and got out in the real world - a real job, real friends, a new family, etc - I was highly criticized for the many times I have not said "thank you" to someone who did something nice for me.  I am all about writing a thank you note, but the words have been difficult for me to say since it was not required of me as a child.  I often wondered where the criticism came from since I did "X" for them before or in return.  I didn't realize the actual words were necessary in showing my appreciativeness.  I also realized that people don't always "pay you back".  I remember time and time again being taken advantage by my giving heart and then giving up when I saw no results.  I guess I was looking for something in return.  I was reading in the bible a few months ago about this with kindness. We are expected to be kind and that we shouldn't expect anything back and that if we do, that our motive is wrong.  I began thinking and research about this subject a little more.  I think the bible highly encourages us to be kind no matter what and that you should "pay back" but that it isn't a requirement.  I think the same is sort of true for saying the words "thank you".  I think we are to be thankful and give thanks to God for all things, but I don't think that saying thank you is a requirement for an act of kindness. After all, thankfulness isn't even considered a "fruit of the spirit" like kindness is.   Let me put it this way, when you do something kind for someone, do you anticipate them (or even expect them to) saying thank you at least once? twice?  maybe you want them to go overboard?  I know for me since I wasn't taught that, I don't expect anyone to thank me.  It was suppose to be "my pleasure", right?  Now, I am not saying we shouldn't thank one another for acts of kindness, gifts, etc.  According to Etiquette 101, this is something a person should do and I know that God wants us to be thankful (although He did not define what this looks like in the bible).  I am just saying, if we are all sitting around expecting to be thanked each time we give a gift, do or say something kind, then what was our motive?  It's kind of like waiting around for someone to "pay" us back for the good deed, isn't it?  When we do something nice for someone, it should be just do something nice for someone.  All I am saying is just don't get all hung up on the return of a thankful word or deed in return.  I have been there before and all it leads to is frustration when the person doesn't.  If you really know the person, then you know their heart.  If you don't know them, then you don't know how they were raised, what they were taught, what they might be going through, etc. 

Verbally stating my thankfulness has been very difficult for me for some reason.  It is something I do work on each day and it is a requirement of my children.  I don't want it to be difficult for them to be able to say it.  I figured if I got them saying it young, it will just roll off their tongue with ease.

The main reason I felt the need to write about this is that I have mentioned before about the fact that Christians are often regarded as hypocrites and I think this is one of those things.  If we are sitting around waiting for everyone to thank us for something nice we have said or done, then our motive for kindness wasn't just an act kindness or a "my pleasure" kind of a deal...the motive was we wanted some recognition for it.  That's not to say we don't deserve the recognition for a good deed, but not all rewards we will see here on earth.  Don't forget that God sees all we do and he will recognize us for it. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

An Act of kindness

This week our Apples of Gold study is on kindness.  One of the questions in the homework was "share an act of kindness that was shown TO YOU recently".  I thought and thought about this and I couldn't really come up with much.  Not that people aren't kind to me but when I think of an act of kindness I think of someone going above and beyond.  I thought of the neighbor who watches my kids and I thought of the kind words of encouragment I often receive after a post on the blog.  I put them down my sheet thinking I wouldn't be looking at the study again for a week.  Almost as if I were asking for an act of kindness, God presented one.

On my way to Awana with Reece on Monday night, my "check tire pressure" light came on.  We live just a few miles from church and I thought to myself "this has come on many times before.  I just need to tell Brock when I get home, and he'll put some more air in the tires".  As I turned onto white oak road just a few miles from church, I noticed the car was driving funny and I started to hear a noise.  I turned down the radio to listen.  I said "Reece, do you hear that noise?  I think maybe we have a flat tire".  She confirmed that she heard the noise and said "No, I think the tire is okay, mom".  I drove a little further doing a few swerve tests and speed up and down tests on the car.   No...something's not right.  So I pushed the button on my dash to see further detail of the warning.  It said about air pressure "left side - 34 right side - 3"....uh-oh...then I saw and smelled smoke.  Time to pull over.  I was so close to the church I could almost see the steeple. 

I immediately put on the hazards and called Brock from my newly acquired cell phone.  No answer.  He and Brody had gone out to play.  So I called the neighbor and asked her to go out and tell him to call me and that I had a flat tire.  I called Jodi to let her know that we'd either be late to Awana or not there at all.  Brock called back and I told him what happened.  He said he'd be right there and would be bring the good "jack".  My neighbor took Brody as I had his car seat in my car.  After I hung up, one of the guys from church came back after he dropped his kids off.  He offered to help. I told him my husband was coming and he said he could help us.  He started working right away.  Another guy from the church stopped by and asked if Reece and I wanted a ride to Awana.  I knew Reece wouldn't go without me and I figured we better stay and wait for Brock.  That guy dropped off his kids and also came back to help us.  Then another guy who did not go to our church but was on the fire and rescue team, stopped by to see if we needed something too.  He left after awhile but then a state trooper stopped as well.  Brock finally go there and they all got the tire off and on within a 1/2 hour.  The longest part was just finding where the tools were and how to get the new tire out from under the car.  After that was done, putting the new tire on only took a couple of minutes. 

Now THAT is an act of kindness!  So many people stopped to help us.  I will say there was a lady following me that would have saw the whole thing.  She never stopped to see if I was okay or to see if I needed to borrow a cell phone.  It made me really think about times I haven't stopped when I have seen other people helping or seen someone on the side of the road with their hazards on. 

I am always amazed at how God works.  I guess He felt I needed to see above and beyond kindess so I had a real story to tell next Monday!  There were a few things that really struck me about the situation.  The fact that I didn't have a cell phone for almost 2 years.  During that time, nothing happened to me where I really needed to use one.  There is not one time I can think of where I was just desparate for a phone.  I am so glad that I had one for this moment.  Secondly...I am very thankful that the kids and I did not go anywhere during the day.  We usually go somewhere and the fact that we didn't was a sure God thing.  If I had gone somewhere during the day, I would have had both kids with me and a husband who was at work.  It probably would have taken a lot longer, could have been close to nap times for the kids, and could have taken place in an area not as safe as the one I was in.  Thirdly, that there was no serious blow out or accident.  Reece and I had been practicing her verse so I probably wasn't paying that close attention to things.  That could have resulted in an accident.  Very thankful to always have Gods hand and plan in all situations.  Thank you to all who expressed concern and offered a hand in our time of need.  I know it was "just a flat tire" but it truly showed me an act of kindness!!

My little man is turning 2

Brody will turn 2 on October 7th!  Aunt Jo-Jo captured some awesome pictures of him to celebrate his day.  This year we are focusing on a construction-type theme for his birthday because it's soooo him.  He loves big trucks or anything that moves and makes noise.  And he loves hats...maybe because he wore a helmet for like 6 months of his little life!  He has such a sweet personality.  Here are some of his pictures!

(So glad he isn't ready to go to work yet!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

All it takes is ONE

Our fall schedules are almost in full swing.  Monday I started a mentoring/bible study called Apples of Gold.  It will be an 8 week study with older women mentoring the younger women.  I am really excited for this study!  It's a fairly new study which started a year ago with around 8 mentors and 8 mentees.  I haven't been able to do the study in the past due to having another bible study that meets on Monday nights.  Due to our busy schedules I decided to sit out of my other study and have a day off.  So why did I pick up Apples of Gold?  Well, the co-lead called me a week before it was to start telling me they had an opening to fill due to some last minute changes.  Since I really, really wanted to do this and it was only an 8 week committement (as opposed to my 9 month study), I thought this would be a great time to do it.  I am already seeing why God has placed me in this group at this precise time (more on this later)

This year I also signed up for Bible Study Fellowship (BSF).  BSF is unique in the fact that it is offered all over the world and all the participants study the same thing!  This year, we are studying the book of Isaiah.  It meets on Tuesday mornings from 9 to 11 and the kids get to go to an excellent children's program.  The problem (or blessing) currently is that so many people enrolled this year that they do not have enough childcare workers.  This means at this time, my kids are not enrolled.  They are working hard and are confident that my children will get into the program.  In the meantime, I need to find childcare on Tuesday mornings or I won't be able to attend.  This week my neighbor watched my kids so I could go.  Not sure what I will do next week.  I know that if this is where the Lord wants me right now, then this will all be worked out.  If not, that is okay!  Please pray on this issue with me!  I went on Tuesday and again see God showing me His plan is always the right plan. 

Wednesday and Thursday Reece will be attending pre-school at Normal West.  She starts next week and is really excited.  She also gets to be in the homecoming parade next Friday.  On Wednesday nights, Reece does Awana at our church where she is a Cubbie and I get to be one of her Cubbie line leaders.  It's really alot of fun to see her learn God's word!  She is enjoying it so much. 

When I walked into BSF on Tuesday morning, I was shocked and excited to see that 500+ women attend this!  It is exciting to see that this many women are free and love to study God's word together on Tuesday mornings.  It is shocking on the other hand that I have not really heard much about it or see its fruit in the lives of the women in our community.  If there are that many women attending this, why don't I meet more women who talk about their love of Christ?  I know I have been in, day out living life without a word or action of Christ living in my life but we've got to step it up, ladies!  Enter Isaiah...a man whose unwavering love for God was very obvious in his life.  He was not swayed by peer pressure, politics (Kings in his day), selfishness, etc.  They days of Isaiah were no different than fact, there is a chilling parrellel that is seen between what went on in his day and what is going on in our day currently.  Isaiah was considered a prophet.  Prophets were judged by how many of their predictions/visions came true.  Based on Isaiah's tract record, he scored an A.  He predicted the Babylons would conquer the Meades and that happened 150 years later.  He predicted there would be a King Cyrus who would allow the Jews to return and rebuild (even predicted his name) and that happened 200 years later.  He predicted the 1st coming of Jesus Christ as a child, as the Messiah.  There is one prediction he made that has not come true yet...that is the 2nd coming of Christ.  Based on his tract record, don't you believe this will happen?  Let's not die because of the lack of knowledge.  The fact is, we believe what we believe because of what has been passed down to us.  The book of Isaiah shows that ungodly behaviors have been continually passed down...even patterns we thought that were godly, aren't so godly...they've been passed down like gossip in a rumor mill.  We think we know the truth but where are we getting our information?  Are we going back to the place it all started?  As you know, I've been reading a lot of books lately and felt very overwhelmed by the information I was getting.  Not that these books didn't have good information because they totally did and I learned something from each of them.  But if I really want to know the truth, I need to get back to the real, true book - the Bible.  About a month ago I started doing "the bible in one year" program.  It doesn't go in order of the bible but I can already see purpose for this.  I just got out of 2 Chronicles where it talked about all the kings that lived during Isaiah's time and what was passed down through each of them...a day later I was sitting in BSF hearing about all of it through Isaiah.  God's word is amazing.  I don't even feel worthy enough to write about it...I not even worthy enough to be shown all the things that He has been showing me.  But for some reason, He thinks I am.  And he thinks you are too!  Get in His word...He won't dissapoint!  One last thing I just noticed in my notes from Tuesday...It is amazing what God can do through ONE person...500 would be nice but what He can do through just one of us like Isaiah is...well, all Him.  The life of Isaiah is still affecting lives today...hopefully the 500 that attend BSF...hopefully you...hopefully me.  All it takes is one, friends.  Will you be the ONE?

A principle from I got from BSF to take with you "A consistent lifestyle combined with uncompromising obedience to God can profoundly influence a culture"

Some mind boggling parellels between Isaiah and the Bible as a whole:
  • The bible has 66 books; Isaiah has 66 chapters
  • The first 39 books (old testament) of the bible are full of conviction and judgement; The first 39 chapters of Isaiah contain the same
  • The books 40-66 of the bible (new testament) offer a message of hope and comfort as do chapters 40-66 of Isaiah.
I have a feeling the book of Isaiah is going to do big things for me...for the 500+ in BSF...and hopefully for Bloomington Normal and beyond!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thresherman's Reunion

Saturday we took the kids to the Thresherman's renuion in Pontiac.  They had a blast looking at old tractors, steam engines, trains, & antiques!
Train rides...

This thing was really cool on the inside...little seats and all!

I just loved this little train!

Proud moment...

Daddy's proud moment...
Daddy's not so proud moment...