Generation NeXt Parenting
Thursday, November 30, 2006
1. Legos, pennies, and broken crayons will pass through a toddler's digestive system.
2. The 18-month-old won't remember the expensive Disneyland Trip when he grows up, no matter how many life-size characters you meet.
3. Don't teach your child a new trick at 6-months that you'll discipline her for at three years.
4. Store bought cookies are just as fun to decorate and half the stress.
5. If you have a gut feeling that you better check on your too-quiet toddler ... RUN.
6. Your comments about your mother-in-law WILL be repeated if spoken within 150 yds. of the nearest toddler.
7. There is nothing more heart-warming than a two-year-old voice singing "Jesus Loves Me."
8. Yes ... you will laugh about it some day.
9. Don't allow your husband to lend out your video camera without reminding him ELEVEN times to copy off your child's birth.
10. A mother's spit works just as well as antibacterial wipes ... but never apply around friends, in public, or once they're old enough to shower and shave.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
A Christmas Story(Goyer Christmas . . . ten years ago.)
I don't know about you, but I can't believe it's almost Christmas already. Since I live in Montana the snow is one thing that gives this season away. The carols playing in Target is another. And the Christmas presents for far-away family, scattered around my room, and waiting to be wrapped would be the third clue.
Ever since my kids are small we've had a fun family tradition--every year on Christmas morning we act out the Christmas story.
The kids were just toddling when we first started. Leslie was Mary. Nathan was Joseph. Leslie's doll was baby Jesus. Cory was the angel announcing the birth of Christ to the stuffed animal shepherds and sheep. I always played the part of the innkeeper who had no room in my Inn.
John read the story and the kids acted it out . . . Nathan pulling (with help) his sister across the room on their rocking horse. She had a pillow under her shirt, until the doll replaced it.
Did our tradition help our kids understand the story better? I'm not sure, but it is still a sweet memory.
I'm not sure how many more years we'll continue acting out this story--Cory is seventeen after all, and he is starting not to appreciate the angel costume.
Still, we'll keep giving it a try. And even if the kids decide they're too old to dress up, I'm certain of one thing . . . there will be new traditions to try and new memories to make.
Because that is what family is about.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Guest Blogger...Cara PutmanChristmas Memories
This weekend we dug the Christmas trees out of the attic. Even though it’s hard to think Christmas when it’s sixty degrees outside. Not the typical end of November temperature in Indiana.
As we dug through the ornaments and decorations, I started thinking about how we will incorporate Christ in Christmas this year. Abigail is six and Jonathan is three, so both are old enough to understand this year. Here are my initial thoughts, but I am eager to read your comments on how you incorporate Christ in your Christmas.
First, we’re going to use Family Life Today’s Adornaments for our family devotions. The Adornaments are a set of ornaments that focus on various names of Christ:
He is Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23).
He is the Door (John 10:9).
He is the True Vine (John 15:5).
He is Living Water (John 4:10).
He is the Light of the World (John 8:12).
He is the Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16).
He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).
He is the Lamb of God (John 1:29).
He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11).
He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15).
He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35).
He is our Savior (Titus 3:4-7).
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to use this season to help our kids understand that Jesus is so much more than a baby in a manger? We’re going to try.
Second, I plan to take the kids shopping for kids that are less fortunate. If your church has an Angel Tree in its foyer, then the task is made pretty easy. Pick an angel, and you’ll know exactly what a less fortunate child longs to receive at Christmas. Or check with another social service agency or non-profit. I plan to touch base with our local Salvation Army.
Third, and tied to the second, I hope to have the kids go through their toys and select a few nice ones to give to a shelter. We have so much, and with a fresh influx of gifts on the way, I hope this will help keep the “give-me’s” at bay.
Fourth, we will take plates of cookies to neighbors. My daughter is my partner in baking the cookies and delivering them. Last year she loved ringing doorbells and saying “Merry Christmas.” It isn’t much, but it is a great way to start or continue relationships with neighbors. And it’s another way to keep the focus on serving and giving to others.
Kim Wier and Pat McCune have a practical, idea-filled book if you’re looking for other ideas: Redeeming the Season. Another resource I enjoy because of all its great ideas is Lisa Welchel’s The ADVENTure of Christmas. The artwork in that book is wonderful.
So how will you put Christ in your families Christmas?
Monday, November 27, 2006
Where I've been in the e-world...while I've been traveling in the real world.
A review of Generation NeXt Parenting...
Tricia again hits the hard topics in a way that doe s not make you feel like the mountain is impossible to get over, but there are practical ways to reach your goals in parenting. This book is available in local Christian bookstores as ...
read the rest: Artyomenko Family Happening's - http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/Martha/
and...in praise of the blog...
I've found a new blog to read, Tricia Goyer and Generation NeXt Parenting. I feel like I've found a home... every post spoke to me.
read the rest: The Writing Mother - http://thewritingmother.blogspot.com
Friday, November 24, 2006
Guest Blogger...Judy FedelePatience Unraveling
Long lines and short tempers. Instant coffee in the microwave. Frozen “convenience” foods that cater to the “I need it yesterday” mentality as a culture. I’m late, I’m late, I’m late! we scream as we dash out into rush-hour traffic. Seems like everyone’s patience these days is worn thin with all the hurrying, scurrying and worrying.
Patience. That’s one of those little ‘object lessons’ that I definitely object to. I’ll give you a ‘for instance’. I recently found a cool thing for our basement rec room, one of those retro beaded curtains that hang in a doorway. I wanted to string them up (well, down, actually) the open space going down cellar. The individual beaded cords had to come off the hanging rod, since the area was wider than the rod. So I did that. But then … those beady little strings managed to get intertwined into a big, knotted mess. It was unbelievable. I had to disentangle each twisted string from the heap.
So, naturally, I copped an attitude while I was doing this. What is the point of this … nothing is ever easy... why, Lord, whhhyyyyy? Thoughts turn cosmic when things make no sense.
But after a while, I got into a groove working on these silly strings, unraveling the knots one at a time as if they were wound into a kind of puzzle. And rather than hang on to my frustration, I began to see that even the most ridiculous of situations can be turned into a lesson in patience. That’s one of those “fruits of the Spirit” we often think we acquire “instantaneously” when we proclaim ourselves Christians. But fruit takes time to ripen and grow, time to cultivate its sweetness. There’s no shortcut, no easy way to learn patience. It must be developed in us. And that only happens when we allow God to teach us through the trials (major, minor, or just plain annoying) that we experience daily. No express lane thinking for me, thanks. I’d rather take the scenic route, and learn to enjoy my life instead of just rushing through it.
Well, the beaded curtain did get up after a while, and it looks great. Though only a small lesson in patience, it may yet prove handy.
Winter’s not too far away. And I can’t wait to see what the box of Christmas lights looks like.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Changing of the GuardGuest Blogger Hope-Giver
Tonight, My beloved and I had a splendid night out with our friends. It was a simple night, but glorious. We ate delicious potluck dinner (roast pork loin, herbroasted new potatoes, caesar salad and herbed beer bread).
One of our friends hosted so we got to get out of our own house strewn with laundry and visit their sparkling clean house. It's only fair. We take turns hosting. As hosts, it was their turn to tidy up and our turn to enjoy it. We talked about this and that, passed around the newborns, spent a few minutes praying for each other, and drove home. Holding hands and listening to the radio. Ooh!
Before we left, I'd dropped our son off at our neighborhood babysitter. We were lucky to get her on such short notice, as our babysitter has grown up and become a social butterfly highschooler. Her dance card is nearly full. But tonight she was available. The plan was for us to drop our son off at her house and later our son and the sitter would migrate over to our house after dinner to take advantage of the celebrated new gamecube game.
When I dropped our son off at the sitter, I had been awash in memories. She's been his babysitter since he was eighteen months old. Tonight, they stood back to back and the top of his head grazed her ear. "Our baby is growing up!" she said. Imagine my surprise when we got home from the party to find the babysitters's little brother answering the door.
My first thought was, "how nice, the little brother came over to play gamecube while his sister babysat our son." I asked where she was. "She's next door. She had something she had to do at home and she told me to call if I needed her." A little skeptical wrinkle appeared between my eyebrows. "How old are you?" I asked him. "Eleven." My frown dissolved into a smile. My goodness how time flies. "That 's how old your sister was when she first started babysitting for us." "I'm only eleven", she had told me, "but my mom is right next door if I need anything." I remembered her hopeful words and how I'd entrusted my tiny toddler to her back then. Surely this boy had kept my gangly seven year old out of danger for a few hours. How time flies!
So I hugged him and bragged on him for how grown up he is now. And I gave him the twenty dollar bill I'd intended to give his sister. It was the changing of the guard.
Jai Bonne Esperance - I Have Good Hope
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Guest Blogger...Cara PutmanResources to Help Us Disciple Our Kids
My husband and I are always looking for resources to help us disciple the children God has entrusted to us. It can feel like an overwhelming task until I realize how many tools are available to us. Following are a few of my favorite resources for young children.
Karyn Henley (http://www.karynhenley.com) has some great resources for young children including fun videos and her Day-by-Day Devotion books (http://www.karynhenley.com/site_pages/Bibleprod_new.htm#anch_7minutes) .
Her website describes the devotional as “An active devotional tool to help you invest your time well, Day by Day Devotions contains a full year's worth of age-appropriate teaching.” After using this tool with our kids for several weeks, I love it. The devotions are short, to the point, and at a 5-8 year old’s level without dumbing down the principles.
Another tool I like a lot is John MacArthur’s A Faith to Grow On
(http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=304423&event=1010SBF12492531010) . It contains chapters on subjects like Creation, Sin, Faith, and Forgiveness. Subjects that can seem to difficult to explain to a child yet with the right tools can be discussed with confidence. I love the design of this book, too. It is filled with little captions, bright pictures, and is fun to flip through. It is designed to answer the questions of children who have accepted Christ as their Savior.
Struggling with how to encourage your children to pray more than a memorized prayer? I really like Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying Kid (http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=901221&netp_id=373079&event=ESRCN&item_code=WW). The book has a kid-friendly design and puts many of her principles in to is to grasp chunks. It is designed for kids in the 8-11 age bracket, but I have used it periodically with my 6 year old.
Abigail loves Shelia Walsh’s God’s Little Princess Devotional Bible (http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=308798&netp_id=439725&event=ESRCN&item_code=WW ). She received it for a birthday present and it’s at a level that an early reader can read many of the words – perfect for child-parent reading. I love how God’s Little Princess teaches girls that they are royal princesses in a light, fun manner. The Devotional Bible carries over that theme while telling Bible stories with fun manner quizzes, beauty tips, etc. interspersed with the stories. It’s a devotional that my daughter begs me to read to her, so that puts it at the top of my list.
Another one everyone in our family has enjoyed is The Rhyme Bible (http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=08299&netp_id=163742&event=ESRCN&item_code=WW) . The pictures are delightful watercolors and the stories are told in …rhyme. It amazes me how well the stories flow, without losing any key details, and yet they are such fun to read and listen to.
Final one for today – and I hope you’ll leave some of your favorites in the comments – I like the Little Boys/Girls Storybook for Fathers & Sons/Mothers & Daughters (http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=4596X&netp_id=235221&event=ESRCN&item_code=WW) by Carolyn Larsen. Then of course, there’s the Family Night Tool Chests published by Cook Communications. . .
My point: there are so many tools available to us. If you don’t know where to start on the journey of discipling your children, take one hour and flip through these and many other resources at your local Christian Bookstore. You’ll find something that will work well for your family.
Now, if I can keep from being overwhelmed by everything that’s available!
Monday, November 20, 2006
Check It Out..
Here is a review excerpt of Generation NeXt Parenting posted on Rave Reviews:
Parenting, Gen X Style
I don’t always enjoy parenting books. It’s not that I think I’m above advice. The problem is that I either end each chapter drowning in guilt because I can’t make the author’s methods work in my imperfect household or I find myself questioning how much time the “expert” (typically a man) actually spent in the trenches of raising children.
Then my friend and fellow author Tricia Goyer wrote Generation Next Parenting: A Savvy Parent’s Guide to Getting it Right. Tricia isn’t a psychologist. She doesn’t have a national radio program or multiple degrees. Instead she writes as one parent to another, in a style that feels very much like talking over coffee with a friend who really gets it. Best of all, this is a book especially for those of us in Generation X—children of the ’70 and ’80 struggling to raise Godly kids in a rapidly changing and frantically paced world.
Wow, thanks Rave Reviews!
To read the rest of the review and also the interview go to http://www.reviewsbyjeanette.blogspot.com/.
Friday, November 17, 2006
The Big FEED...Ok, let's talk... Turkey!
Are you ready for the BIG day?
I can't wait.
This year I get to have it at my smallish, oldish, drafty-ish house in Montana! My mom, dad, and brother will brave I-90 going west, sluicing from western Washington to western Montana just in time to start the cooking. My mom is an awesome cook and already knows what she's bringing: Paula Dean's corn casserole, Emeril Lagasse's sweet potato balls, and cranberry relish.
We'll make the rest when she gets here: fresh organic turkey from our local market, apple sausage cornbread stuffing, pumpkin yeast rolls, fab mashed potatoes, carmelized shallots, fresh green beans with ham, and the desserts...the DESSERTS.
This year I'm having a tough time deciding which ones to make. I love baking yummy treats and this year there about 10 I'd love to try. Everything from a sweet potato souffle pie, to a chocolate pumpkin layer cake to pumkin cake with brown butter icing to good ol' fashion pumpkin pie to egg nog custard to...well you get the idea.
Of course, we must have pumpkin pie, that's a given. I'm using my great-grandmother's recipe, I posted it last friday if you missed it) But, beyond the pie... I'd love to make a ton of stuff, but really how many desserts can 8 people really eat?
Oh, wait...I forgot, my brother-in-law and his family are coming that will mean 6 more people to stuff. Things are looking up! :)
Also I wanted to share this fun "Foodie" Thanksgiving guide with you from www.foodiecraze.com ! Click on the "Freebies for Foodies" link. The guide includes everything from Thanksgiving facts & history, a complete menu with recipes and how-to's, as well as fun games and decorating ideas. So if you're uninspired this year or just have a question, check it out. You can also register to win the Foodie Craze Trivia Game. Fun!
I'd love to hear how you celebrate Thanksgiving! What are some of your unique family traditions?
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Guest Blogger...Stacy StallingsThe Red Ribbon
Everyone wants a blue ribbon. Blue. First place. The best. Even kindergarteners want that blue ribbon. In sports, I was never a blue-ribbon person. In a race I was always last. In baseball I was as likely to get hit on the head as to drop the ball. In basketball I was fine as long as there weren’t nine other players on the court with me. Where I got my horrible sports ability, I don’t know, but I got it. And I got it early.
During the spring of my kindergarten year, our class had a fieldtrip to a park in a town about 20 miles away. Making that drive now is no big deal, but when you’re six and you’ve lived in a town of 300 all your life, going to a town of a couple thousand is a very big deal. Nonetheless, looking back now, I don’t remember much of that day. I’m sure we ate our little sack lunches, played on the swings, slid down the slide—typical six-year-old stuff. Then it was time for the races.
However, these were no ordinary races. Some parent had come up with the idea to have the picnic kind of races, like pass the potato under your neck and hold an egg on a spoon while you run to the other side. I don’t remember too much about these, but there was one race that will forever be lodged in my memory—the three-legged race.
The parents decided not to use potato sacks for this particular race. Instead, they tied our feet together. One lucky little boy got me for a partner. Now what you have to know about this little boy is that he was the second most athletic boy in our class. I’m sure he knew he was in trouble the second they laced his foot to mine. As for me, I was mortified. This guy was a winner. He almost always won, and I knew that, with me, he didn’t have a chance.
However, apparently he didn’t realize that as deeply as I did at the time. He laced his arm with mine, the gun sounded, and we were off to the other side. Couples were falling and stumbling all around us, but we stayed on our feet and made it to the other side. Unbelievably when we turned around and headed back for home, we were in the lead! Only one other couple even had a chance, and they were a good several yards behind us.
Then only feet from the finish line, disaster struck. I tripped and fell. We were close enough that my partner could have easily dragged me across the finish line and won. He could have, but he didn’t. Instead, he stopped, reached down, and helped me up—just as the other couple crossed the finish line.
I still remember that moment, and I still have that little red ribbon. When we graduated 13 years later, I stood on that stage and gave the Valedictory address to that same group of students, none of whom even remembered that moment anymore. So, I told them about that little boy who had made a split-second decision that helping a friend up was more important than winning a blue ribbon. In my speech I told them that I wouldn’t tell which of the guys sitting there on that stage was the little boy although he was up there with me. I wouldn’t tell because in truth at one time or another all of them had been that little boy—helping me up when I fell, taking time out from their pursuit of their own goals to help a fellow person in need.
And I told them why I’ve kept that ribbon. You see to me, that ribbon is a reminder that you don’t have to be a winner in the eyes of the world to be a winner to those closest to you. The world may judge you a failure or a success, but those closest to you will know the truth. That’s important to remember as we travel through this life.
You may not have a red ribbon to prove it, but I sincerely hope you have at least a few friends who remember you for taking time out from your pursuit of that blue ribbon to help them. I’m thinking those will be the ones that really count—I know it’s the one that counted the most to me.
Copyright Staci Stallings 2003
Looking for awesome, life-changing inspiration? Visit Homeward Bound http://stacistallings.blogspot.com/ Published twice a week by Staci Stallings, the author of this article, Homeward Bound will help you follow God’s light from wherever you are HOME!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Toddler RulesToddler Rules
If it is on, I must turn it off.
If it is off, I must turn it on.
If it is folded, I must unfold it.
If it is a liquid, it must be shaken, then spilled.
If it a solid, it must be crumbled, chewed or smeared.
If it is high, it must be reached.
If it is shelved, it must be unshelved.
If it is pointed, it must be run with at top speed.
If it has leaves, they must be picked.
If it is plugged, it must be unplugged.
If it is not trash, it must be thrown away.
If it is in the trash, it must be removed, inspected, and thrown on the floor.
If it is closed, it must be opened.
If it does not open, it must be screamed at.
If it has drawers, they must be rifled.
If it is a pencil, it must write on the refrigerator, monitor, or table.
If it is full, it will be more interesting emptied.
If it is empty, it will be more interesting full.
If it is a pile of dirt, it must be laid upon.
If it is stroller, it must under no circumstances be ridden in without protest.
It must be pushed by me instead.
If it has a flat surface, it must be banged upon.
If Mommy's hands are full, I must be carried.
If Mommy is in a hurry and wants to carry me, I must walk alone.
If it is paper, it must be torn.
If it has buttons, they must be pressed.
If the volume is low, it must go high.
If it is toilet paper, it must be unrolled on the floor.
If it is a drawer, it must be pulled upon.
If it is a toothbrush, it must be inserted into my mouth.
If it has a faucet, it must be turned on at full force.
If it is a phone, I must talk to it.
If it is a bug, it must be swallowed.
If it doesn't stay on my spoon, it must be dropped on the floor.
If it is not food, it must be tasted.
If it IS food, it must not be tasted.
If it is dry, it must be made wet with drool, milk, or toilet water.
If it is a car seat, it must be protested with arched back.
If it is Mommy, it must be hugged.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Guest Blogger...Cara PutmanParenting Plan: Do you have one?
Last week my parents were in town to visit their grandchildren. They like me, but I won’t deceive myself that I was the primary inducement for their visit. And you know, that’s okay.
But while they were in town, I decided to officially pick their brains. What could they say they had done that resulted in four kids (and their spouses) who serve the Lord? This time, they actually had some ideas for me. The fun thing was seeing that they identified some of the things that I highlighted last week, as well as a few I hadn’t.
First, and the one I want to talk about today, they had a parenting plan. A parenting plan? I had to ask what they meant. They had a set of parenting principles, or a parenting plan, that everything was held against.
Did one of us want to participate on a sports team? Great, but before they would give the final okay they held the commitment up against their parenting principles. Those principles then helped them make decisions on a day in and day out basis. For example, one of my brothers lived sports. He was invited to participate on a traveling soccer team and did for one summer. After that, though, my parents said he could play city soccer as much as he wanted, but no more traveling teams.
Why? I think most of us would believe an experience like that would be good for our kids. We might even hope for a college scholarship if the child is good enough to make a traveling team.
My parents decided the traveling team was too disruptive to the family’s schedule. Josh was the only member of the family on the team, and it required a lot of weekend travel. That travel meant he missed church frequently during the season. His weekends away also overlapped with Dad’s National Guard weekends, which meant Mom had to travel with Josh and my youngest brother got caught somewhere in between.
Bottom line, they let Josh try it and supported him that summer, but because experience said it didn’t fit their parenting principles, it was a one-time experience.
Next week, I’ll share some of their parenting principles with you. Until then, did your family have any – conscious or unconscious – parenting principles?
Monday, November 13, 2006
Change is God By Judy FedeleChange is God
Who ever came up with the idea that our lives were supposed to be comfortable? Settle down into a nice simple routine and never change or alter anything around us? It’s just not realistic. Life is chaos, baby. Don’t buy into those abnormally organized among us, those with set schedules, clean closets, and Palms on auto-Pilot. It’s not real! Not all of us have secretaries and personal trainers.
2, 4, 6, 8, watch that clock and don’t be late! They scream, feverishly working on their day planners far into the night. Who needs that? I know life is chaos. I don’t live by it, but I work with it every day. God never said we were to be comfortable. Even when He blesses us, there is always change in the blessing. There is change in every aspect of life. Changing careers, changing houses, changing diapers, loose change in our drawers. It’s everywhere. It’s pervasive. And why? Because God wants us to swing with it. He needs us to be adaptable, flexible, so we can be good stewards for Him.
I know people who get upset if you start messing with their concept of ‘cleanliness’ – that is, that the things around them must always stay nice and neat and never, ever get moved out of place. You mess with their stuff, you mess up their day. Change cannot be tolerated … We must follow our routine routines … We may not deviate from the defined path …
Get over it, folks! Get a coffee enema and join the rest of us in the real world.
All you have to do is look anywhere in the Bible to prove this point. Just where do you see anyone getting comfortable? (Okay, maybe God ‘rested’ on the seventh day, but you think he was lounging around in his Lazy-God for the rest of the month? No, way! God’s a busy dude. And He’s wired us the same way. “Do whatever your hand finds to do.” And there’s ever-cheerful Solomon in Ecclesiastes talking about work, work, work. Might as well enjoy it because God wants us to keep busy. And of course, Psalm 31 talks about the ‘excellent wife’ – does that woman ever get any sleep? No! She’s up and going, going, going.
There’s a great song by the band Guardian, called “Are We Feeling Comfortable Yet?” and some of my fav lines:
Dear Listener, are you comfortable? Put your feet up, close your eyes, let your senses dull. Float like a beach ball wearing cordless phones. Let the tide take you, groove to the mellow tones… God is skin on mohair - Just admit you itch there . Ever sweat bullets at the sight of blood? Ever drag a half-ton cross through spit and mud? Wouldn’t want to plan too far ahead- wouldn’t want to dwell on what’s beyond… Shift to the left, shift to the right, fidget, lock knees, cough, cough, fidget, don’t scratch, don’t break out in a sweat – are we feeling comfortable yet?
(song based on Ecclesiastes 7:2, Hebrews 10:22 – Psalms 51:7)
Now don’t get me wrong. I am a big proponent of ‘resting’. My husband and I love to grab the busiest of our friends and make them come home for a nice relaxing meal and some needed time out. It’s our family’s specific version of equipping the saints. If the saints can get a little down time, they’ll be better able to handle the stress of the days to come. And that’s important. Because there will always be stress, strain, sprains and change. It’s part of life. You cannot defend against it, you cannot be inoculated, because change will come where and when it will. We can only stand and do our best to adapt. To face the wind and not fear it when it comes.
God says we will not have peace in our lives. And that is true – because no matter how well-organized you are, you cannot predict events and forces beyond yourself and how they will impact your day. But… He does promise us peace, within our spirits. The peace that passes all understanding. We don’t have to understand it, we don’t need to set aside time in our planners for it – God holds it out to us, for us, so that we may embrace a tiny bit of Him every day in our lives.
So I don’t worry if life doesn’t go the way I “plan”. You can roll your eyes, but you still gotta roll with the punches. Don’t fear it. You can’t fight it. But He’s with us, His Spirit at work in us to help us through the turbulence of the day. So be at peace. “Hey mister, can you spare some change?”
Saturday, November 11, 2006
God Loves Clean FloorsRobin is one of God's beloved, a wife, mother, and writer. She writes, fiction, nonfiction and marketing communication...which is either fiction or nonfiction depending on what day you ask! She is a passionate storyteller whose work has been described as comforting, "dripping with joy", and " Everything you write I say yes and unhuh and me too".
Yesterday my pastor preached a real barn-burner of a sermon. For those of you not raised in the South, barn-burner does not mean fire & brimstone, barn-burner means 'engaging, well-presented, relevant sermon that feels so just for you that are wondering if your pastor has been reading your mail'. He was talking about how we have a wall or dividing line in our lives separating the Spiritual and the Secular.
To illlustrate this, Ben ran a line of yellow caution tape through the pulpit and down through the congregation. One side was Spiritual and one side was Secular. He took a person through their day and how they were busy hopping from one side of the tape to the other. If you want to hear the sermon in toto, visit 10/22/06.
Here is the quote that was most meaningful for me:"The maid who sweeps the floor worships God while she does it. Not because she might sing a hymn while she swept, but because God loves clean floors." -Martin Luther
That principle 'God loves clean floors' means this to me:whatever we do in every detail of our lives, we can do it to honor God.
God loves clean floors.
We worship God when we bring order and beauty to our environment.
God loves good meals.
We worship God when we create something nourishing and delicious.
God loves passionate sex.
We worship God when we are alive to pleasure perceived through the senses.
God loves brisk walks.
We worship God when we care for our bodies through exercise while admiring the beauty of creation.
God loves honest accounting.
(Anyone who lives in Houston knows someone whose life was affected by Enron.)
We worship God when we do our job with excellence and integrity even if it seems like no one is watching.
God loves good workmanship.
We worship God when we use our skill and caring to create something well-made, whether it's a mother sewing an award patch on a Royal Ranger uniform or a builder carefully fitting hurricane joists in a house even though he will be long gone by the time any storm arrives.
God loves clean diapers.
We worship God when we care for the bodies and hearts of people who are too weak to care for themselves.
God loves clean skin.
We worship God when we take the time for good skin care, not out of legalistic shame but out of the same pride and joy that inspires a teenage boy to wax his first car.
God loves engaging true advertisements.
We worship God when we serve our clients by writing an ad that truthfully portrays their product's features in a way that engages the attention of their target audience.
It's not only saying prayers or singing worship songs that honors God. We honor God when we care for our selves, care for his people, care for his world.As Ben said, this removes so much unnecessary guilt from our daily lives. For the mother of young children who wipes noses, wipes bottoms, wipes countertops all day long and feels guilty that she hasn't had time to be spiritual and sit down and read a chapter of her Bible. She's been serving God all day long.
I think of people I know who are actively pursuing wholeness and goodness in so many areas of their lives:
the married couple who worships God by obeying the call on their hearts to leave the big secure firm and take the risk to go into private practice.
the married couple who answer God's call to pursue parenthood by hiring a fertillity specialist, taking medication and faithfully making love whenever the calendar says so.
the young mother who spends most of her day caring for her baby and diligently searching for the best way to treat her child's health issues.
the child who without whining or complaining shows his own brand of diligent conquering by falling down countless times until he can skate with his new pair of rollerblades.
the married couple who honors and cherishes their marriage bed by hiring a sex therapist and learning how to better give and receive joy in their sexual relationship.
the single adult who works with a spiritual director to delve into his past and shed toxic attitudes before he begins his post graduate ministry career.
the husband who is nearing retirement age who carefully monitors his meals and medication to treat heart disease, because he knows his wife and family love him and need him alive and healthy.
All these people are daily living a symphony of worship and praise--even if they never hum a single note.
Col 3:17---And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Contact Robin at http://blog.hope-giver.com/
I read a book recently that gave me a little insight as to why I do what I do . . .I just recieved an awesome review of Generation NeXt Parenting. Check it out at:
Surviving the Chaos Blog
Here is a quote from Chaos-Jamie:
"I read a book recently that gave me a little insight as to why I do what I do in regard to parenting my children. And I thought I was just nuts. Apparently, there is this whole generation of us who want to "do it right" and that doesn't necessarily mean the way our parents did it.
"Okay, fess up parents (the 45 and under crowd), you've read at least one parenting book, haven't you? And probably not just one....say 10? At least skimmed. Because we don't want to screw up our kids, do we? I want to get it right. So much responsibility. So many things that can go wrong. So much judgement--or we see it even if it isn't there--if only from ourselves.
"So I picked up Generation NeXt Parenting by Tricia Goyer expecting her to tell me how to do it right. And she didn't.
"The nerve. The audacity. Ah, the freedom . . ."
It's really a great review if I said so myself.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Generations...Food Fun for Gen Xer's by Amy Lathrop
Good Friday to you... well not "Good Friday", but just a Friday greeting...anyway...
I just got off the phone with my Gram; not grandmother, or grandma, but just Gram. We have a weekly phone date. She lives in Washington State and I live in Montana. We have found that if we don't have a "weekly" date, it could be months between chats. We both realized that about the only time we talked was when I was sitting in her living room. Those visits were just too few and far between.
Gram's "real" name, (remember when you found out that your grandparents actually had other names besides grandma and grandpa?), is Edwina Alice. She turned 70 last year. All the girls (she has three sisters and a brother) in the family celebrated with a spa party. We all had manicures and pedicures and then went to lunch. My Gram is now the matriarch of the family. Her mother died three years ago at the age of 97. WOW! This is a role she relishes. She is the keeper of the history and the traditions. A job that will be passed down to my mother, as the oldest daughter and cousin, and eventually on to me. (But, I have years to prepare for that-ha!)
On the phone this morning, after we talked about the weather, the elections, my mother, her son-my uncle, her neighbor, her breakfast group, Phil--her friend in New Zealand, and her new patio, we began to reminisce. I was fortunate to grow up living five minutes from Gram. My brother and I spent a lot of time at her house playing games and just hanging out and talking. I love that she is such a huge part of my childhood. She has always been my special friend. No one roots for you like a grandparent does!
We were talking about some of the things she has told me over the years. Things that have turned out to be so true. Here's my favorite, "don't wish your life away, it will go fast enough". As a child, I was forever wishing I was older so I could do this or that. Gram would quote this to me without fail. Of course, it would always elicit a groan or a roll of the eyes. But, it IS so true. Now that my kids are older life just flies by and by and by and by. Does anyone know why time passes more quickly the older we get?
A friend and I are writing a generational cookbook for the busy moms of today (me, you and everyone we know). I'd love to hear some wisdom from your own grandma/grandpa. What are some of the things you were told on your wedding day? What advice were you given on how to find your way around the kitchen? What are some of your mother's or grandmother's stories about their worst/best/funniest kitchen experiences? How about recipes that have been carried from generation to generation? If you were compiling your own list of "Things My Grandmother Told Me", what would be the first snippet of wisdom you'd share?
And speaking of recipes, here is my great grandmother, Lennie Viola's recipe for
"My Favorite Pumpkin Pie"
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup rich milk (evaporated milk)
1 T. melted butter, add to milk
2 eggs well beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. ginger
mix all ingredients until smooth
The filling makes one pie.
(Recipe for 4 crusts, use what you need freeze the rest)
4 cups sifted flour
1 1/4 cup shortening
1-2 t. salt (to taste)
using pastry blender cut in shortening
add enough ice cold water to make dough hold together
This recipe is circa 1942. I'm going to use it this year when I make my Thanksgiving pies. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!
Happy Baking and give your grandparents a call!
Amy finds herself smack in the middle of Generation X. Born in 1973 and a graduate of The Evergreen State College (think greeners, granola and bare feet liberality). She's been married for 12 years to hubby Bryce, and is mommy to two awesome kids, Dakota 9 and Madison 8. She is a woman of many directions--part-time caterer, part-time writer assistant, part-time writer, bible study leader, and official Mom-of-the-Year award winner!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Shhh ... I have a secretAs a book author and blogging addict it seems that most of my life ends up on the written page somehow. It's not that I mean to share every detail of my existance with the world ... but it's natural for me to want to share my days and my heart. Yet, this morning I was challenged to keep a few secrets. And these secrets center around my caring for others. Elaine Prevallet writes:
When I was in the novitiate, in my early twenties. I decided to do one small act of kindness each day that was completely unknown to anyone. So I would keep my eyes peeled for something helpful I could do that no one would see. I wanted to be absolutely sure that I was doing it for no one but God, whom I loved with a kind of simple and quite passionate fervor. I made beds, or turned them down. I folded clothes, I tidied. At least one a day, and no one knew. That very infinitesimal act each day gave me enormous joy. It gave me a kind of inner excitement to do this only for God: a secret between me and God. It kept me alert to the small needs of others; maybe it provided spontaneity and creativity in an otherwise highly regimented situation.
So, what do you think? I sounds like an exciting God-adventure if you ask me.
And, though I usually enjoy tons of details in your comments, I'll leave this between you and God. :-)
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Leaps of FaithThere are times in our lives when we take baby steps of faith. Then sometimes God asks us to take LEAPS. This is one of our leaps:
It all started around 1994, we had some friends who had been to Kalispell, Montana and fell in love with it. We lived in Anderson, CA (near Redding) at the time. John was just finishing college and we were trying to decide what to do next.
The more our friends talked about it, the more we got excited about moving to Montana. John tried and tried for a good job around the Redding area, and he couldn't find anything worthwhile. There was also a lot of bad influence coming up from the Bay Area--drive by shootings, etc. We knew we didn't want to raise our kids around there.
At the time, John worked for a small business building computers. He got like minimum wage, but some commission too. He usually sold about two a week.
Well, one day we talked about it, and we decided we just go for it. We knew we'd need money to move, and money to live on until John found a job. We figured it wold take a few months to save that if we really tightened our belts. So John went to work and gave his three-month notice. We sat down together and prayed that God would make His path clear.
The next day at work John sold 11 computer systems! It was enough to cover all the money we had planned on saving! We were blown away, and we felt as if God was showing us that this was His plan for us.
When the time came, we had a friend who offered to haul all our stuff up for only the cost of gas. Other other friends had moved up there at the time, and they said we could stay with them until we found our own place and until John found a job.
Our families thought we were NUTS ... we had three kids ages 5 and under and we were moving 1,000 miles with no job. In fact, we hadn't even seen Kalispell, Montana before!
We drove into the Flathead Valley and fell in love. The day after we got here we found a rental. One of our friends had saw a sign in the yard, we went to check it out and the owner showed up. It "just so happened" that she forgot something and had to leave work to come and get it. Rentals were hard to find at the time, but we knew God was in control. We moved in right away.
We spent a few weeks getting to know the area, and then John got a job at Plum Creek. It was a computer job--a far better one than any he'd applied for in California. And we found out that Plum Creek is a Fortune 500 company, but it "just so happens" that their main techonolgy center is where we live. Six months later we bought our first home.
So, we've lived here eleven years. John loves Plum Creek and he's now a manager over an entire computer division. We found a great church and started a fun children's ministry. I've been able to stay home with the kids, homeschool them, and pursue my writing dream.
Yes, it was a huge step of faith, but we felt confidence the whole way. Not confidence in ourselves, but in God. And we discovered that great things happen when we follow Him.
So, what about you? I'd love to hear some of your LEAPS of faith.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Guest Blogger...Cara PutmanTrain a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Wow! That’s quite a charge. As the mother of a six-year-old and three-year-old, that charge weighs heavy on me. How do I lay the foundation so that my children will follow God wholeheartedly as adults? How do I train a child in the way he/she should go? Is there a pattern or formula that I can use to ensure my children are spared straying from the path of righteousness?
Unfortunately, I know the answer to that last question. There isn’t anything I can do that will guarantee results. Parenting isn’t a formula. Plug in these inputs, and the outcome is assured. But surely there are steps I can take that will at least head them in the right direction.
I’ve asked my parents what they did to raise four Gen Xers who all follow God and have married godly spouses. Their reply was a very helpful, “we’re not sure.” As an attorney, I want a little more than that. So I’ve looked back. Here are a few things they did that I think made a difference.
First, we were always at church on Sundays. It was a high priority. It might not have always been the largest church, but it was a church where the Word was taught and God was present.
Second, they homeschooled me and my siblings. Hebrews 11:7 was the theme verse God gave them: “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” A key foundation of most of our school days was studying books of the Bible. I am amazed at the fruit that was planted in my life during those times dissecting what the Bible said, the culture, history, and geography of that book.
Finally, they reached a point where they let go and trusted that they had done everything they could to raise us in the faith. I’m sure they prayed mightily over us – and probably still do. Even so, that had to be the hardest part. I see myself as a sixty year old grandma still dispensing advice – largely unwanted – to any of my children who will listen. Instead, Mom and Dad are there to offer perspective and pray for us, but the decision remains ours.
Next time I’ll look at a few resources I’ve found that our family loves. But what did your parents do (or do you wish they had done) that laid the foundation for you. Let’s learn together!
Monday, November 06, 2006
Guest Blogger...Stacy StallingsSunday Dinner
Meet Stacy: I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids, a husband, and a writing addiction on the side. My greatest accomplishment is learning to live in the ever-abundant provision of God!
No one appreciates mothers enough. In this life, that’s a given. The only one who comes closest to a real appreciation is a woman who has become a mother herself, and even she probably doesn’t fully appreciate the woman a generation above her.
Where did I come to this conclusion? Sitting in a church pew as the priest extolled the virtues of “Keeping Holy the Sabbath.” In the sermon he specifically forbade the parishioners from mowing the lawn, fixing up the house, or doing paperwork on Sundays. He said (and I quote), “Sundays should be a day of rest in which the whole family gathers around the table for Sunday dinner.”
Now, during my pre-motherhood days, this sounded like a great idea. You go to church, come home, watch some football on television, then go in and gather around the table for a full Sunday dinner, bow your heads, and have yourself “a day of rest.” Notice I said “during my pre-motherhood days.”
Throughout my motherhood days, however (which for those of you who don’t know that means roughly from the day you give birth until the child buries you), a more accurate picture of “Sunday dinner” is thus:
You’ve managed to get the kids bathed, dressed, and in the car with only a shoe missing and one coat on upside down. You get to church and sincerely ask the Almighty to just get you through the parking lot and to a pew before your knees or shoulder gives out from the strain of dragging in the full diaper bag, two sippy cups, an extra blanket and the 20-pound toddler who’s squirming to get out of your arms. You make it through the service with the toddler C-THUNKING on the pew ahead of you enough times to be stared at twice by your fellow parishioners only to make it back home in time for your husband to turn on the game and your kids to started yelling about who did what to whom.
In the midst of minor chaos, you whip something out of the refrigerator, wondering how long it’s been in there and if anybody will notice it’s been microwaved once it gets to the table. With the toddler clinging to your knees, you manage to put together a somewhat respectable meal—even if it does include chicken nuggets and French fries.
Wishing you had earplugs to drown out the crying of the toddler and the yelling of the others, you get the plates on the table and call everyone to the table for “Sunday dinner.” As you referee the current dispute about if one child said they didn’t like peas or not the last time, you do manage to get in a few bites before someone thinks of something you forgot… A serving spoon, salt, a fork, water…
A blink and the meal is over. If you’re lucky, you will get a “Thanks, Honey” from your husband just before he goes back to the chair for an afternoon nap. Then, I invite you, as you look around at the table strewn with dishes and pans, glasses and silverware, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and say a genuine prayer of thanksgiving for your mother.
I think that may be why God put the “Honoring Your Father and Mother” Commandment just after the “Keep Holy the Sabbath Day” one—because He already knew about Sunday dinner.
Copyright, Staci Stallings 2004
Friday, November 03, 2006
Guest Blogger...Amy LathropA Recipe and A Funny Story...
Here is a yummy recipe I adopted from the Barefoot Contessa (love her recipes) for an earthy rustic Spanish dessert called crostata. It is a WAY easy hand formed pie. In France, it's also known as a gallette, but it's basically the same thing.
Mixed Berry Crostata
For the Dough: Makes 2 pies
2 1/4 cup unbleached flour
3 Tbl sugar
1 3/4 sticks butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 t0 1/2 cup ice-cold water
Place flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until most of the large chunks of butter are gone. Add water 2 tablespoons at a time and mix with fork until the dough just holds together. On lightly floured surface separate dough into 2 balls. Flatten dough into disks, wrap in saran wrap and refridgerate for 20-30 minutes. You can make this dough ahead of time. It will be fine in the fridge for up to a week or you can make several and stick in the freezer until you need them. To thaw, leave on counter for 1-2 hours or in fridge overnight.
You can use whatever you have on hand: apples, berries, peaches, nectarines...anything.
This is a recipe for a Mixed Berry Crostata
3 cups berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, marionberries)
1/2 cup to 1 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of berries)
1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon peel or lemon extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Mix all ingrediants. If the berries are really juicy or you are using frozen, add 3 tbls of cornstarch to berries.
Preheat oven to 450, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
On floured surface, roll out dough in a circle, 1/2 inch thick.
Place fruit mixture in center of dough and fold edges of dough over fruit, leaving the center open. Brush dough with cream and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or with turbinado sugar.
Repeat with second dough.
Bake until fruit is bubbly and curst is med. brown.
Let cool 10 min.
And here is the funny story:
A few weeks ago my husband was watching our children while I was at a catering job (I cater, too). He and the kids went to our friends' house for a dinner of clam chowder, salad and homemade bread. Sounds great, right? Well, not to my picky daughter. She took one whiff of the clam chowder, and said "I'll just have salad, please". So salad she got, smothered in ranch dressing. My daughter loathes salad dressing. Think gag reflex.
So while the others chowed down, my daughter sat there quietly. Not eating. Trying to be polite and not draw attention to herself--hoping no one would notice that she wasn't eating so she could quietly get up from the table and go play. Of course, her dad was SO on to her. After several "Maddie, you need to eat your dinner", "eat your dinner, NOW", and finally "you're not getting up from this table until you have eaten your dinner"; she was left at the table alone.
And there she sat, sour look and all. Then...she got an idea. She sneakily loaded her salad into her napkin, squished it closed in her hand and asked to go to the bathroom. Once there she triumphantly flushed the hated salad down the toilet. Mission accomplished. She then went back to the table, where she was promptly greeted with, "Maddie, did you just flush your salad down the toilet"?
CAUGHT, red handed. We all know that is the worst feeling. After trying to deny it, she knew she had to confess, and confess she did--in a crying torrent of unintelligble words. She was so embarrassed. Even now, weeks later, if you just mention the incident, she turns bright red.
It made me think of how many times in my own life I try to get away with "stuff". How I fall into the mindset that if no one knows what I've done then it's like I didn't really do it. But, that really only lasts for so long. It is in these moments, that I see God's hand. How he uses our own stubborn willfulness to grow us up. Whether we are 8 or 33, the lesson is the same. I love to look back at the person I was and compare her to the person I am today. I am thankful for the convicting Spirit of God in my life.Amy finds herself smack in the middle of Generation X. Born in 1973 and a graduate of The Evergreen State College (think greeners, granola and bare feet liberality). She's been married for 12 years to hubby Bryce, and is mommy to two awesome kids, Dakota 9 and Madison 8. She is a woman of many directions--part-time caterer, part-time writer assistant, part-time writer, bible study leader, and official Mom-of-the-Year award winner!
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Breaking Point by Judy FedeleBreaking Point
I’ve been pretty frustrated lately. Big stuff, little stuff, and stuff I’d like to stuff, stuff. The never-ending pile of dirty clothes we’ve dubbed “Mount Washmore”. Pre-treating my laundry for stains, which don’t always come out.
I designate a nice quiet corner for my dog to have her food bowl, but she takes mouthfuls of dog food, carries them to far corners of the house, and leaves a trail of crumbs and kibbles everywhere. Which by the way the baby finds. And eats.
Anyone who knows our older daughter Jaime (8 going on 18)… knows my level of frustration in that arena. There’s at least a couple of essays worth with that kid.
I make the time and effort to cook homemade meals – and the kids prefer chicken patties and mac and cheese (or dog kibbles, in the case of the baby). Also Delia (2 years old) likes to eat with one hand and throw food with the other, which the dog catches and eats. At least they’re both getting something.
As for husband frustrations, (I’m sure we all could list a handful) my persistent favorite: toast crumbs on the counter. (Hasn’t the man ever heard of using a plate?) He’s good about the toilet seat thing, but consistently misses the hamper in favor of heaping clothes on the floor. Depth perception problem, perhaps?
I lose my temper these days pretty easily. One time I lost it so bad we had to check lost and found (ba-da-bump). Frustrations build and build in me until there’s a breaking point. And then I’m totally frustrated with myself for losing it.
Sunday I had a tea party with a few gals. I deep cleaned for days, planned, prepped, and micro-managed my time. Yet an hour before the party, I was tearing around with last minute things, both kids hanging on me and driving me crazy. Finally the tea was made, things were set up, and people were coming in. I realized I forgot to set out a milk creamer for the tea. Reached up in the cupboard to get it. Hubbie had emptied the dishwasher the night before and had glasses perched precariously in the cupboard. Opened the cupboard and crash! Down came a glass.
That wasn’t so bad, though it happened right in the middle of the party. But the glass came down on top of a teapot and knocked a chunk off the rim.
That particular teapot is my favorite, not the best looking, but it was my grandmother’s and very sentimental to me. I couldn’t find the piece that came off the rim. Maybe that part was shattered with the glass, maybe it’s lurking under my stove. Who knows. All I knew was that my cherished teapot was damaged for good. I had worked so hard to make a great party, and it totally dampened my fun. Frustration boiled over at a little thing, and I let it ruin my mood. My babysitter reminded me recently of something I said to her when she first started with us, “You can drop the baby, but don’t drop my teapots.” Tongue in cheek, of course, but it makes me wonder where my priorities are.
Are things more important than my kids, my husband, my friends? Of course not. While I enjoy the things around me, I know they don’t have real lasting value. If I have my priorities straight, then God should be first in my life. All the impermanent things I enjoy are just props to use throughout my day. I need to put my trust in the most valuable thing of all – in Him. I know my life on earth is just a temporary blip, a brief foray in what will be a fabulous journey when I go to be with Him.
So, yeah, I can get frustrated at the temporary setbacks in my life, at the minor annoyances and the heartbreaking losses that happen. But those things are superficial. That’s not where my true focus is. If I keep God as my focus, all those other things are put in proper perspective.
My daughter Jaime was very sympathetic that I was so upset over my favorite teapot being damaged. This morning she wanted to know what I did with it. I shrugged. “I used it to make tea. It’s still my favorite teapot - just a little chipped, honey.” We are all a little damaged in our lives. But God doesn’t see us that way. We are whole and beautiful and loved by him – unconditionally.
So maybe I’ll focus on Him a little more, and not take the other stuff so seriously. Now if you’ll excuse me… I think I’ll go make myself a cup of tea.
Publicity Director, Believers’ Chapel MOPS
Cicero, New York
To find out more about Judy's group, go to: http://www.orgsites.com/ny/believerschapelmops/
My Home Townby Tricia Goyer
There's a little town in Northern California, under the shadow of Mt. Shasta, that still holds a piece of my heart. It's an old mill town, with a little more than 3,000 people. And although Weed may not seem special to the casual observer, it's precious to me—that's the place where my childhood memories were made.
My mind can transport me to those familiar streets, the houses that line them, the faces of people who lived in them and most likely still live in them today. I can clearly see the elementary school and the bear cub mural I helped to create in the cafeteria. I can remember the large gymnasium at the high school where I timidly tried-out for cheerleader.
I remember the old, vacant houses that line North Davis street and the wild stories we used to create about them. Most of all, I think about the brown and white, double-wide trailer where my grandparents lived—the place of my fondest remembrances. But that is not my home town.
Today, I live in a community 1,000 miles away, in Montana. Now I am in the shadow of the Rockies. It's a bigger mill town with quite a few more than 3,000 people. This town is more popular because it's close to Glacier National Park. We've built our own home here, and we think it's a beautiful place to live.
I drive the streets and know exactly where I want to go. Yet, it seems I'm always discovering new places, seeing different houses, and meeting nice people. My husband has a good job, and we've been blessed with a wonderful church. We've also developed close friendships. But this is not my home town either.
My hometown is a place I have never seen—well at least not yet. One hymn writer describes the trip to my hometown this way:
Then I bid farewell to the way of the world,
To walk in it nevermore;
For my Lord says 'Come,' and I seek my home,
Where He waits at the open door . . .
It is sweet to know, as I onward go,
The way of the cross leads home.
My true hometown is under the shadow of the cross, behind the pearly gates, and at the feet of Jesus. It is the home I desire, the place of my Lord, my residence for ever more.
On earth I may move, things will change and my childhood memories may dim. But one thing that will stay the same is my hope, Jesus' sacrifice, and God's provision.
This is the way that will lead me home.
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