Izzy turns 17

Today is Israel’s 17th Birthday!

It was during the time of Desert Storm and I wasn’t sleeping well.  I’d stay up all night and watch the news releases about our soldiers then go to work each day, bleary-eyed and tired.   I was praying, in particular, for one young man who had been captured.  It was such a joy when he was finally brought to safety by our troops!

I’d spent the last two days walking in the woods behind our house, trying to “get the show going” with all that walking.  What I failed to consider was the size of a pregnant woman’s bladder versus the walk back up to the house.  I also failed to consider that those large Tarzan-esque vines that wrapped around the trees were not harmless.  Poison ivy and Poison Oak are not my friends.  They attacked when I was at my most vulnerable.  Sigh….

Nevertheless, with much reading of the Psalms and hours of prayer, little Israel Josiah came into the world.  Josiah was my favorite of all the Israelite kings, and Israel came from my childhood crush on Darby Hinton who played Israel Boone on the old Daniel Boone TV series.   (pretty sure it was Darby Hinton, he was a cutie)  We did have several people ask us if we were making a political statement by naming our son Israel.   Seemed pretty lame-o to tell them the reason behind his name!

Now that I know even more about the nation of Israel, the more I realize that God Himself used His divine sense of humor to help us name Izzy!  The nation of Israel is the Ultimate Come Back Kid!  With everything stacked against them, they continue to persevere.  They are a nation of achievers, with numerous Nobel prizes, scientific discoveries, medical breakthroughs, and amazing technological advances.   

Not a bad legacy behind a kid’s name, huh?

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem!

Amazing Grace!

Holly and I went to the Christmas Program at Victory Christian Center last night. Some of her classmates at VBI were in the performance — so we settled in to enjoy..and enjoy we did! Several moments in the production sparked rabbit trails in my mind…

When the angel announced to Mary that she would bear Jesus, she was also informed that Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy. I wonder if, when Mary told her parents what had happened, she also told them of Elizabeth’s miraculous news. (Can you imagine what was going through Mary’s parents’ minds? They undoubtedly had mixed emotions about it all — but hearing that Elizabeth, too, was expecting probably shook them even more!)

Then, when Mary arrived and Elizabeth immediately responded with the confirmation of baby John leaping with joy in her womb as well as prophetic words over Mary, what a refreshing and healing moment that must have been for Mary! Here was the ONE PERSON in the entire world who really understood what she was going through — who knew, without having to be convinced by any effort on Mary’s part, what an awesome moment this was for Mary! Mary’s mom probably couldn’t rejoice with Mary — she was likely too bewildered to know how to respond….but Elizabeth, she was the “God friend” for Mary! (to coin a phrase from Tammy) Elizabeth could share Mary’s joy, excitement, nervousness, wonder, and amazement! Who else would believe such a thing? Who else would be able to listen to all the things that were going through Mary’s heart and mind, and NOT be critical or jealous?

Elizabeth was so delighted for Mary that she had no other inclination than to humble herself before the mother of the LORD. How sweet that moment must have been! Elizabeth obviously taught that same delighted humility to John because his words seem to portray gratitude for being allowed the opportunity to prepare the way of the LORD. (That’s some excellent parenting, huh?)

As I watched Elizabeth welcome Mary with such joy, I imagined Elizabeth to be someone like my friend Lavon, the Queen of Hugs! Lavon is probably the most welcoming person I’ve ever met. If Elizabeth was anything like Lavon, Mary must have hungered for that embrace of total love and acceptance all the way to Elizabeth’s home! To be welcomed with such joyous abandon must have wiped away all the hurt of unkind tongues that Mary had experienced up to that time. There is such healing in a moment like that!

I think, too, of how Joseph must have suffered much from the sting of gossip — with people wondering why he followed through with the marriage, or if he, too, had broken the vows. Did people no longer do business with him? Did they make comments that he shouldn’t even be in the synagogue with that kind of “sin” in his life?

I think nearly everyone knows what it feels like to be gossiped about, or to have their loved ones gossiped about. It hurts. As much as we try to set it aside, it still makes us wonder why.

YET…

God is such a Wonderful Defender! As I imagine the shepherds rushing to the manger to share with Joseph what they had seen and heard from the angelic host, how Mary must have wept with joy! Over and over again, for every hurt, God supplied a glorious display of His Seal of Approval! For every judgmental tongue in the past, God brought out another exuberant shepherd proclaiming Christ and bringing others in to see the King of Kings!

I just gotta say HOW FUN IS THAT? Doesn’t it just make you want to run up to the throne of God and give Him a big hug! Way to go, God! Way to go!

Just Call Me FRECKLES

After the big three headed out the door for Tulsa and Luke got on the bus for school, I slogged around until the coffee was ready.  I got the inside chores underway and told the remaining boys that I’d go out to milk Ms. Moo while they fed the other animals, hoping that the dogs would stay away.

Sounds like a plan, huh?  The boys didn’t make it to feed the horses before I got out there, so I fed the ones in the pen and went to look for Ms. Moo and her baby.  I’m thinking of calling the baby Cleopatra because she has those beautiful black-eyeliner eyes that are so common with Jersey cows.

Ms. Moo was rather disgruntled at seeing the doofus dogs behind me, and I shared in her disguntlement.  (yeah, I made that word up, but it has lotsa syllables so it’s fun to say)  Ms. Moo did the whole “putting her head down and kicking up dirt with her front feet” thing — and I tried to keep an eye on her to be sure I didn’t get in between her and the dogs.  I hollered at the boys to call the doofus dogs — which was about as useless as running a vacuum cleaner on the Sahara.  The dogs know that milking time can mean fresh warm milk getting spilled on the floor.  They’re the buzzards of the milking barn.

Once Ms. Moo was in the stanchion, I brushed her down and told her what a great cow she is, how she’s so well-behaved and sweet tempered, etc.  *just speaking it into existence*  Seemed like she was settling in okay, so I sat down on the bucket and went to work cleaning her to be milked.  So far, so good.

Ms. Moo enjoyed her breakfast while I milked her and little Cleopatra prissed around the dairy barn, egging the doofus dogs on to come and sniff at her.  Sure enough, the dogs had to get just close enough to touch noses with her, which sent Ms. Moo into conniptions and resulted in me having a milk bath.  Nice.

After intense fellowship with the dogs, accompanied by rocks that rolled, I began milking her again.  Got a few more ounces out and then she began to cough — resulting in my second milk bath.   Okay, we’ll try again.  Back at it for a while longer and I’m making some serious headway on the process when she suddenly decides to relieve herself.  Yet ANOTHER baptism.   I got up from my seat and moved away until it was safe to return to my perch.

Allrighty now, the dogs are sidetracked elsewhere, her bladder is empty, so let’s get started!!!   I get several ounces out when there is yet another southern movement.  Yes, this is when I got my first round of freckles.  I moved again, waited for the event to subside and tried again.  A few more ounces and one of the dogs came over to sniff me.  Ms. Moo kicked at the dog, nearly sending me off the bucket and into the fragrant darkness on the barn floor.  I figured I’d better just hurry it up so I intensified my efforts to relieve Ms. Moo of more milk — when SPLAT!  Another wave of freckles came my way.  I exited my bucket chair, opened up the stanchion and released Ms. Moo and her baby back into the barnyard.

Yea, LORD, I stinketh.

But this is how I figure it: The day can only go up from here!!!!

Christmas Memories

http://www.5minutesformom.com/2545/pedal-car-giveaway/

 <a href=”http://www.5minutesformom.com/2571/christmas-2007/”><img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k210/5m4m/buttons/events/Christmas-Giveaway-180-by-200.jpg&#8221; title=”Christmas Giveaway 2007 Sweepstakes” alt=”Christmas Giveaway 2007 Sweepstakes” /></a>

Seeing this giveaway on 5minutesformom.com brought back memories of the old firetruck pedal car we had when we were kids.  I wonder where it went?

Thinking back all those years reminds me of Thunderbolt the Wonder Horse, Sea Monkeys and Ant Farms, Candy Cigars and Cigarettes, MAD Magazine, CRACKED Magazine, Boys’ Life Magazine, Highlights Magazine with Gallant and Goofus, RatFink and all those great hot rods.  Our Christmas stockings usually contained fruit, nuts, a new toothbrush, and plenty of magazines, with maybe a few Hot Wheels cars for the boys and some small plastic animals for me.  

Mom always ordered food from Swiss Colony and Bachmann’s, sometimes from Harry & David.  She kept Christmas music playing and decorations everywhere.  As she brought out the ornaments for the tree, she retold the story of each one.  As we grew older, and the boys grew more aggressive, the stories changed a bit.  One ornament now held pieces of several others that the boys had broken while wrestling in the living room. Another ornament might have lost an appendage due to another ‘accident’ when the boys were up to mischief.  Even one of Mom’s favorite light fixtures fell prey to testosterone-driven interaction between my brothers and some of their friends.  Seems like we were constantly trying to cover up something we broke!  I learned, before I ever had children, that breakable items would not play a large role in my future.

Christmastime seemed rather magic at our house.  Mom tried to find the perfect gift for each of us and we tried to find the perfect gift for her.  One year we gathered up all our pennies and I rode my bicycle to Martin Boys’ Florist Shop.  I dumped all the change on the counter and asked what we could get for that amount of money. :)   Mr. Martin looked at all the change and smiled.  He reached over and said, “How about this?”  It seemed like the world’s largest poinsettia to me!  It was a bit of a struggle to get it home, but I somehow managed and Mom was thrilled.

Another year, I had about $25 for Mom’s present.  That was a LOT of money!  The boys stayed home, of course, while I rode my bike to downtown Vinita.  I went into McElwain’s Jewelry Store and looked over all the Fostoria.  My Mom loved Fostoria!  I picked out a Fostoria picher and was able to pay for it to be wrapped, too!   I was pretty proud of that purchase, what I hadn’t figured on was the difficulty in riding my bike and holding something so breakable.  I trudged along past North Park, headed out toward our home near the High School, trying to balance the picher and the hold up my bike at the same time.  I must have timed it just right because my Mom came driving up behind me (Or perhaps the good folks at McElwains’ had called her?) and asked if I’d like to put my bicycle in the trunk and get a ride home.  Absolutely!

There was a little hardship involved in giving.  It was a bit of a struggle, but it was always worth it.  I didn’t grumble and complain about the complications because I wanted to do something special for Mom.  Love works that way.  Now, when I find myself groaning over having to find a gift for someone, I realize that I’ve allowed myself to get away from WHY I’m giving.  We give because God gives.  He delights in it.  Of course, He DOES happen to know what the Most Perfect Gift is for everyone — and that makes it much easier. ;)

So, in preparing for Christmas — both in my heart and in my home — my goal will be to add some of that Most Perfect Gift (JESUS) to every gift we will give.  It’s a lot safer and wiser than risking those Black Friday crowds! 

The Dangers of Home Education

At our homeschool,  we are studying Oklahoma History.  When we were listening to a lecture about the Vikings (Heavener Runestone, look it up online and tell me why a Viking would come all the way to Oklahoma!) there was a particular weapon that intrigued us all.  Being G I Joe afficianados, we like a good weapon.  There is a Viking record that says they were attacked by Indians, who threw something “about the size of a sheep’s stomach” at them, which exploded and scared the Vikings back. 

What in the world could THAT be?jungle-crazy-logo.gif

LET THE RABBIT TRAILS BEGIN!!!!!!!!

During our arrowhead hunt yesterday, our intrepid guide, Mr. White, mentioned that calcium carbide and water form acetylene — and that perhaps it could be an option to consider in trying to figure out what the “Native American Grenade” consisted of.  Hmmmm….

Well, with the intoxicating powers of the internet and help from The Baking Baker lady’s memory, I found this little gem on Wikipedia:

It is still used in the Netherlands and Belgium for a traditional custom called Carbidschieten (Shooting Carbide). To create an explosion, carbide and water are put in a milk churn with a lid. Ignition is usually done with a torch. Some villages in the Netherlands fire multiple milk churns in a row as an oldyear tradition. The old tradition comes from the old pagan religion to chase off spirits.

It is used in toy cannons (see Big-Bang Cannon.)

Be still my beating heart!
An opportunity to make something go KaBoom?????  It is the dream of every homeschooling boy across the world!!!!  (and a few of the homeschooling moms, too)

If it involves mud, dirt, animals, explosions, or excessive noise, WE WILL BE THERE.

First things First, please

watch-your-tongue.jpgZephaniah 1:6 caught my attention this morning:   ….those who have not sought the LORD nor inquired for, inquired of, and required the LORD [as their first necessity].

Ask the LORD first!  Seek the LORD first!  He is the Ultimate Necessity!

A situation came up years and years ago when people did not inquire of the LORD first, but instead, inquired of myself and my brothers.  My parents were divorcing and the dirt mongers were eager for a good story.  The most blatantly annoying comment was, “I just want to know how to pray — can you tell me what happened?”

Gee, how about praying:  Lord, bless this family as it goes through these challenges.  Father, bring healing and restoration into their hearts and minds — may this draw them closer to You!  May Your Name be mighty and powerful all the days of their lives, and may they give You glory for bringing them through, in the Name of Jesus.
That was pretty easy, huh?

I often find myself looking around at other believers who are struggling with the storms of life, and I pray that their ears will be shut to what is truly just gossip cloaked in  false Christianity.  I pray that wagging tongues will not be able to reach in and scar their hearts…that those who have a hunger to hear the “dirt” will suddenly become disgusted by the reality of what they are craving and that they will instead want to rush to Abba to make things right.

I have a handful of very trustworthy prayer warriors that I call upon from time to time.  The best thing about each of them is that they point the way back to Jesus.  With one friend in particular, our goal is to spend at least one day praying about the situation before we bring it to the table for discussion.  Then, once the issue is shared, we pray again and ask for wisdom in how to proceed.   We’ve all seen the damage that gossip causes and we know that it takes wisdom to know when to share and when to shut up.  :)

Another friend’s motto is, “God is my/your defender!” Which is a good thing to remember when under attack and the desire to set the record straight is especially strong!    And another says, “Okay, let’s just agree to be mad about this for the next half hour or so — and then we’ll pray about it, calm down, and move on.”   That one always makes me smile….I just need a half hour of Epic Volcanic Eruption to blow off all the steam and then I’m ready to clean up the mess for a fresh start.

In whatever way we cope, it needs to start with prayer.  When we see or hear of controversies or challenges in the lives of others, we need to take it to Jesus before we take it anywhere else.  He is the best Filter of what is Truth and what is just malarky and manipulation.  (and No, “malarky” is not a homeschooler word –  I heard it from my kinfolk in Arkansas and liked it.  Sums it up pretty well.)

This entry is kinda heavy  so let me end it with the “happy feet” verses from Zephaniah:
The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who Saves]!  He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exault over you with singing!

Anybody else hear music playing?

Gotta love Him!

Habbakuk and Juice for Breakfast

black-coffee.jpgSomebody kept me up wayyyy too late last night…. It was Java Man.  No, not the fake caveman of evolutionist thought — but a fat, round little machine who begs me to drink coffee until the pot is empty.  Beware Java Man!

So this morning, instead of a cuppa joe, I started off with Habakkuk and juice.
Check out chapter 3 …but I’ll start you off with verses 1-2 (and imagine this in T D Jakes’ voice with a full choir and orchestra in the background — the organist’s fingers flyin’, etc.)
A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, set to wild, enthusiastic, and triumphal music.
O Lord, I have heard the report of You and was afraid, O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make [Yourself] known!  In wrath [earnestly] remember love, pity, and mercy.
Okay, did you go back and read that first verse?  with all the wild, enthusiastic, triumphal music?  What a way to pray!!!!  Get rowdy!  Crank ‘er up, boys!

Even though Isaiah will pretty much always be my favorite prophet, I’m thinkin’ Habakkuk is a pretty “cat’s meow” cool kinda guy.