Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another Snowy Day

Just when I thought we were having a sunny, mild weekend, I opened the front door to a snow covered environment yesterday morning. It was beautiful...the snow looked like cotton balls on the you could pick it off. This afternoon we had another blowy, snowy front come through. But the sun is shining now, and everything is just snow white outside. A nice day to stay inside!!

I've been spending my evenings studying about Route 66, the historical Mother Road that was initiated in 1926 and became the major route from Chicago to Los Angelos mid-century. Alas, the cry for speed was heard and the interstate system was put into place, bypassing the icons of where you could get your kicks on route 66. I ordered materials from AAA and from to better understand this part of our American history.

We plan to make a trip down that route in a couple of months or so. I like the idea of the road trip itself, being our "destination", rather than a place. I'm not one that wants to go to the cookie-cutter cities of our nation to shop the mega malls that have all the same stuff, or to eat in chain restaurants that serve the same food. I like "distinctively different" routes, rests, and eateries. I guess that is why Route 66 is beckoning to me. I am so enjoying reading about it.

We had a camp board member take us out to eat this week. That was a nice treat!! Then we turned around and took our camp head nurse out to talk about the upcoming camping season. Time to start getting everything lined up and ready for another fun-filled summer!

We have a scrapbooker's retreat going on this weekend in our Learning Center. Several women gathered around tables, some in their PJ's, with their paraphernalia spread out in front of them. Lots of yakking, nibbling, clipping, some games, a good time to relax with a favorite hobby and friend. I am not a scrapbooker, but I enjoy visiting with the ladies.

The first month of 2012 is almost gone. January went sort of fast for me, as I was quite busy at the office all month. I don't mind the winter months slipping by. My favorite season is just ahead....SPRING!!!

Now for my weekly devotional recap:

January 23-29, 2012 Devotional Thoughts

The Word for You Today

1. “How to Handle Bad News” (1)

  • Honor God as Lord of your situation
  • He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. (Ps. 91:15)

2. “How to Handle Bad News” (2)

  • Before you act, stop and pray, think rationally, gather the facts
  • Responding in faith makes a crisis into an opportunity
  • Don’t get in God’s way when trying to help others

3. “Trust God’s Word, Not Your Feelings”

  • He was strengthened in faith. (Rom 4:20)
  • If you live by feelings you will be messed up
  • Get over your feelings of hurt and bitterness
  • Trust God’s Word, grow in faith, practice love

4. “Keep Your Sense of Gratitude”

  • Forget not all his benefits. (Ps 103:2)
  • Each morning God’s mercies are new, and so should our gratitude begin afresh each day
  • His love, faithfulness, and mercy are there when we wake up, and we should being our day very grateful for that
  • Don’t look at the problems, but see the blessings, count on His Promises

5. “The Power of Perseverance” (1)

  • Let us not grow weary while doing good. (Gal 6:9)
  • Quitting is more about who you are than what’s going on
  • “stop trying” is a guarantee of failure

6. “The Power of Perseverance” (2)

  • We shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Gal 6:9)
  • With faith in God and confidence in ourselves, we can make it
  • Dreams unfold one day at a time
  • God will give you grace and strength for each assignment He gives you

7. “Don’t Give in to Bitterness”

  • Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. (Eph 4:31)
  • Bitterness is contagious – it affects others
  • Overcoming bitterness is a way to spread God’s blessing to others
  • How to overcome it:
  • acknowledge it
  • don't rehearse it in your mind or in your speech
  • repent of any un-Christlike attitudes
  • ask God to give you self-control
  • submit to His authority
  • forgive others so you can be free to enjoy your relationship with God and others
  • find ways to be kind to those who have hurt you

Sparkling Gems

Colossians 3:16 (NLT)

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

  • As a child of God I am a spiritual billionaire
  • “richly” – incredible abundance, extreme wealth
  • When the word of God dwells in us, , our hearts are full of joy, our minds are full of wisdom and understanding, and our spirits are rejoicing
  • When we are filled with the Word, we affect others around us in a positive way, we are encouragers

Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

  • “surrounded” – completely encircled by something that is stacked high on every side
  • We are surrounded by Godly examples of people in the Bible who faced difficult challenges yet held fast to their faith in God.
  • It’s not a matter of “if” I win, but “when” I win, for God will bring the victory

2 Timothy 2:4 (NLT)

Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.

  • “entangles” – being caught in a vine that is woven together; running, hindered by a long robe
  • We are not to get too involved in non-eternal matters
  • Our focus should not be on material things
  • We can wrap our hands around material things, but not our hearts…we must be willing to let “things” go
  • Stay balanced by focusing on what truly matters, things that have eternal value

Hebrews 10:32 (NLT)

Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering.

  • “sufferings” – mental pressure, attach on your mind
  • satan likes to attack the mind with negative thoughts, accusations, past reminders, anything to divert you from God’s plan
  • Be encouraged because you must be following God if satan is attacking you, trying to stop your effectiveness
  • Hang on, don’t give up, trust in God and His Word
  • Resist the devil and he will flee from you

Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

  • Your environment will impact how you think and act
  • “easily trips us up” – something around us that feels comfortable
  • Your must leave behind the comfort zone of your sins if you want to become a strong person of faith
  • Avoid relationships and places that drag you down and entice you away form Jesus

John 14:18 (NLT)

No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.

  • “abandon” – like a child left without a mother and father, or a student abandoned by his teacher
  • When Jesus ascended to heaven, He did not leave the world alone…He sent the Holy Spirit as our guide and comforter, and teacher
2 Corinthians 5:20 (NLT)

So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

  • “ambassadors” – agents or representative of a king or country, authorized to speak on behalf of the one who sent them
  • We are representatives of heaven to the world around us, our neighborhood, our family, our work place
  • As representatives for God, we have given royal power and the authority of the blood of Jesus and all the resources of heaven are ours for the asking

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mid-January - Is Winter Over Yet???

One could only wish!! It's not been a bad winter, but I don't like having to put on coats and boots and hats to go outside, and then walk carefully so as not to fall on ice. The dogs' paws get cold, so they don't walk as much either. We are all tired of being inside so much!! I take the dogs to work with me just to give them a change of atmosphere, and some fresh air in between. We have had lots of snow and sleet this past week, not the best of weeks to be out and about. So glad I live close to where I work!!

Well, hubby had to help me with fixing my blog today, so I am just now getting around to post. I obtained a new email last fall, and today I tried to delete it from the blog domain, and ended up deleting the blog. He was able to get it back for me. Without him, I wouldn't be able to navigate very well on computers. I'm just not naturally technologically savvy. I need icons to direct me, and I need to have procedures written down. And when everything should be getting easier, it seems "they" change things to be more difficult...too many choices, and they don't always make sense to me. So glad hubby is patient with me!! Hey...want to see his picture? I have a picture on my profile that shows my husband, my two sons, and myself. My second profile shows my granddaughters and myself. I have the two profiles because of having the two emails...can't seem to get rid of the original one without deleting the blog, as previously mentioned.

I spent a lot of time at the office this week. Annual invoices were due, so there was a lot of mail to process. I enjoy that kind of work, and paying the bills with the income!! We had our first staff meeting this past week in preparation for the summer camps. We took a friend out for a steak supper one night...our belated Christmas gift to her. I had to get a new key programmed for my vehicle so as to have a spare. I have locked my keys in my vehicle twice in the last few months, and I needed a back-up plan in case that happens again (a sign of aging??). Anyway, it's not cheap to get a new key programmed...costs pennies under $100.

Our cats have been missing for a couple of weeks now...the regular ones that visit the porch for food. I still have a few, and I have two new kittens starting to visit, but about half dozen of the regulars seem to be gone. I hope they found a warm place, like a barn on a farm. I don't want to think of them being hurt or trapped somewhere. I can only do my part, and the rest is up to nature.

Let me share my week's devotional highlights:

The Word for You Today
1. "Learn to Respect Authority"
  • though you were working for the Lord. (Col 3:23)
  • until you know how to take orders, you won't be qualified to give them
  • to be treated with respect, you must treat others with respect
2. "Stop Condemning Yourself!"
  • There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1)
  • when God forgives you, and you don't forgive yourself, you are making yourself more important than God
  • forgiveness comes by faith, not feelings
  • tell satan how your sins are covered by the blood of Jesus and he will flee
  • learn from your failure, grow stronger, testify to God's grace, and move forward
3. "Building Up Your Faith" (1)
  • Building up yourselves on" (Jude vs 20)
  • mechanical faith - flipping on a light switch
  • intentional faith - believing God can do the impossible
  • faith is like a muscle which must be exercised or it will become useless
4. "Building Up Your Faith" (2)
  • We are more than conquerors. (Rom 8:37)
  • to be a conqueror you must fight to win the battle
  • to be more than a conqueror means Jesus fights the battle, which He already has, and He won!
  • the power He has for us comes through praying and allowing the Holy Spirit to live in us and work through us
5. "Caring for God's Creation"
  • God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. (Gen 2:15)
  • just because heaven is our destiny does not mean we have the right to trash the earth, God's beautiful creation

Sparkling Gems

1 Timothy 4:16

New Living Translation (NLT)

Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
  • to effectively serve others, you must set aside time to develop your personal relationship with God
  • your spiritual development must be a priority because you can only give out from what is within you
  • when I am in tune with God and filled with His power, then I can adequately serve others

1 Thessalonians 2:18

New Living Translation (NLT)

We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us.
  • "prevented" - hindered, a road impassable because of its dangers; a runner shoved out of the way; dangerous and unexpected bumps along the way
  • the devil never gets the last word in God's plan, so hold on because what God has promised will happen

2 Corinthians 1:9

New Living Translation (NLT)

In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.
  • some of life's problems cannot be handled in our own strength, and death seems to be the only way out
  • the end of our road is only the beginning fro God to step in if we will trust Him
  • a loving Father always brings us hope and a way to move forward
  • God's life-giving power can turn dead-end situations into new beginnings

1 Thessalonians 5:27

New Living Translation (NLT)

I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters.

  • "brothers and sisters" - born from the same womb; coming from the womb of humanity we all experience similar emotions, feelings, difficulties in life
  • we are also brothers and sisters when we are born from the womb of God through the blood of Jesus, belonging to God's family
  • brothers are soldiers who fight the battles together with their weapons
  • Paul wrote to the Early Church and called them brothers because he recognized they were in the same fight together, overcoming the enemy...satan
  • he encouraged them to stay committed to the cause of Jesus Christ and to be faithful in their struggles against sin and worldly powers
  • it isn't how well you fight the battles of life, but that you continue...keep on fighting

Romans 8:37

New Living Translation (NLT)

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
  • "overwhelming victory" - more than conquerors - over, above, and beyond, superior and unrivaled; overcomers, victors, masters
  • people will perceive you as you see yourself
  • with Jesus Christ we are an overwhelming force who always wins...we are never a loser
  • we must see ourselves as God sees us and live in that power so others will also see us as sources of God's power who can defeat any foes satan may send our way
  • we must quit looking at our failures in the past, and focus on the resurrection power Jesus has instilled in us

Ephesians 1:17

New Living Translation (NLT)

asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.
  • "wisdom" - special or divine insight beyond natural ability
  • "insight" - revelation - something hidden that is made clear suddenly, like pulling back a curtain to see what has been there all along, but hidden by the curtain
  • the kind of wisdom we need must be revealed by God to us, for He alone can replace our ignorance with clear understanding...we just need to ask for it

Jude 1:23

New Living Translation (NLT)

Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
  • sin is life threatening as it separates men from God
  • "snatching" - pulling, seizing others out of danger
  • when people don't want to change their sinning habit, we must have a sense of urgency to speak forcefully to them and truthfully so they see their need to be freed from that which is destroying their lives
  • we must continue to pray for their deliverance if they refuse to listen to us

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Finally Arrived in Michigan!

Up until Thursday night, I would have to say we have had a pretty mild winter in Michigan thus far...not much snow, not super low digits...just lots of dreariness.  Things changed on Thursday, and it's been snowing off and on ever since.  I think we are at around 12-14" of snow...only measured by the height of our doggies.  The snow is as deep as our doggies are tall.  Hubby had to shovel out a path for them out back.  The snow has been pretty, and I love seeing all the pine trees covered in snow.  But there is ice under that snow, and I do not like driving or walking on it.  And this morning we woke up to a temperature of 5 degrees.  Brrr!!  I'm warming up with oatmeal and raspberries for breakfast.

I was delighted to finish my 2011 tax paperwork for the office this past week!  It's something I dread every year, but when it's done I realize it's not really that bad.  Now I'll be glad when we get our personal taxes completed!  I did spend quite a bit of time at the office keeping up to date and learning new systems.

I had a Girls' Night Out one night when hubby was gone to the district office for a meeting.  Four of us went out to a Mexican Restaurant and then did some shopping.  It was a fun evening.

Hubby and I have been playing Sequence almost every evening...the best two of three.  We end up having to play three games most of the time, but he's usually the victor, of course!  Yesterday we ran some shopping errands in Portage and had lunch at a Mexican Restaurant (couldn't get it enough of it earlier this week!!).  Last night we were invited to some friends house for supper and games.  So it's been a busy, full, and fun-filled week, and we are surviving in the snow.  As long as the sun shines, I can handle most anything weather-wise.  I just don't care for dreary days...and it seems that Michigan has more than her share in the winter.

Today we are going to church in Battle Creek and then meeting family for a birthday lunch for my father-in-law, who turns 83 today.  He has chosen to eat at, guess where, a Mexican Restaurant!!  I can handle that!!  

I'm still enjoying my new devotional book with the word studies.  Here's my highlights for this past week:

The Word for You Today
1.  "Overcoming the Fear of Loneliness (2)"
  • Nothing can ever separate me from God's love.  (Rom 8:38)
2.  "Get Up and Go On with Your Life"
  • you must first make things right with the ones you have offended and with God, then you can confidently move on
  • deal with your emotions of grief and/or guilt through God's forgiveness to experience the joy that lies ahead
  • move forward with your life and leave the past behind
3.  "When God Calls You"
  • Follow Me, and I will make you.... (Mark 1:17); when God calls remember:
  • there's a price to be paid for God's best
  • there's a path to be walked in faith
  • there are principles to be followed, for you must do God's will in His way
  • there's a promise to remember - God will be with you always
4.  "Christ - There's No One Like Him!"
  • Then Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been give to me."  (Matt. 28:18)
5.  "Dealing with Uncertainty (1)"
  • We do not know what to do, but we are looking for you to help.  (2 Chron. 20:12)
  • I will instruct the way you should go; I will guide you.  (Ps. 32:8)

Sparkling Gems
Ephesians 1:16
New Living Translation (NLT)
I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly,
  • "thanking" - an overwhelmingly good feeling with love and grace flowing from the heart to someone you love
  • when we think of our close relationships God has placed in our lives, we should have a deep sense of gratefulness and appreciation for these people

Romans 8:14

New Living Translation (NLT)
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
  • "led" - to lead - we are to let the Holy Spirit be the leader of our lives
  • our surrender to His leadership causes us to be obedient followers
  • our human nature rebels against not being in control of our lives and choosing our own way
  • the human nature must be crucified so that the Holy Spirit can lead and we can follow
  • be sensitive to the nudge of the Holy Spirit in your heart so you can follow Him - His way is best for He is all-knowledgeable and loving, whereas our human nature is limited and selfish
  • He has a plan for you - follow Him

James 1:21

New Living Translation (NLT)
So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
  • "filth and evil" - refers to bad attitudes, being negative, pessimistic, cynical, gloomy, uncooperative
  • lay aside old habits and attitudes and never pick them up again
  • do this in the power of the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 6:10

New Living Translation (NLT)
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
  • "strong" - explosive power in some type of container
  • God's divine power is deposited in us as we open our spirit, mind, and body to Him
  • God gives us supernatural strength to overcome the attacks of the enemy
  • we are created by God to be a container/vessel for the Holy Spirit to live in and give us dynamic power to live for God and against the enemy

Hebrews 10:25

New Living Translation (NLT)
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
  • we need the fellowship of other Christians to encourage us
  • we need to feel the presence of the Lord, and that should be found in fellowship with other believers in the church

James 1:22

New Living Translation (NLT)
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
  • be creative to accomplish the tasks given us
  • we must put into practice what we have read and heard from God's Word
  • the Holy Spirit will guide us in opportunities that come our way

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sparkling Gems

A new year, full of promise and hope.  There does seem to be an optimism in the air about this year.  I am choosing to expect great things to happen this year...and I expect God to see us safely through 2012, no matter what comes our way.

I am excited to begin a new devotional book for this year.  It was a book given to me by a former Greek student of mine.  "Sparkling Gems from the Greek" is a book of 365 Greek word studies for every day of the year, designed to help sharpen my understanding of the Word of God.  I am 8 days into this book, and I am loving it.  Every day the author, Rich Renner, takes one verse and chooses one or two words out of the verse to expound on.  There is a lesson to learn from each verse.  I'll probably be blogging my notes on these daily readings, for those of you who read my blog as a devotional for yourself.

I gave an in-depth detail of our Christmas vacation trip in my last blog, and closed out 2011 with it.  I spent the rest of this past week catching up at work, including working on the year end tax papers.  I always dread doing that, but once I get started, it really isn't that bad. I have the W-2's ready to go out this week, and everything else goes out by the first of February.  Whew...another year behind me!!  Will I still be here to do 2012 tax papers?  God only knows.

I love changes.  I am ready for changes.  Only my granddaughters love coming to visit us on this campground, and I want to be here for them.  That's why it's best to leave our future in God's hands, for He alone knows what's best for all concerned.

I'm back on the cash only basis for daily expenses.  Time to pull the belt in a little bit.  But that's okay...I need to.  I am also starting the new year with continuing on the fasting plan I was on last year...Sunday night 6 p.m. until Monday night 6 p.m., liquids and fruits only.  I was ready to quit for the new year, then the sermon we heard last Sunday was on fasting!  Who ever preaches on fasting??  The Lebanon, MO church is on a 21 day fast starting today.  I am going to give up chocolate from today until February 1st as my special fast, but I intend to keep the weekly fast part of my routine.  I need it.  It's the least I can do for God after all He does for me.  I take that 24 hours to focus more on His will in my life, and my need of Him in our camp finances, home finances, and our family.  He has way out given me.  In fact, I give Him all the credit for protecting us and our son and his wife in our freak accidents during our vacation (read previous blog).

Today we attended morning worship at Family Valley Church.  Very good sermon on making goals for 2012 so we have a direction to move in to living lives more pleasing to God.  I believe my daily readings are also going to help me do that as it chips away at the ugly things hidden within me.  I want to be more Christ-like as I walk through this year.  I want to have His attitudes, His responses, His compassion, His patience...all areas of my life that I need to strengthen through Him.

Now to my devotional reading for this past week:

The Word for You Today
1. "Launch Out"

  • be willing to leave the safety of where you are, and go where God wants to take you
  • set goals, make a plan to reach them, and become accountable
  • devote your life to something greater than yourself
  • stay in sync with God's will, confront your fears with the attitude"God is with me.  I will fear no evil."
2.  "Who Are You Relying On?"
  • you will never know what God can do until God is all you have
3.  "Gossip"
  • Troublemakers listen to troublemakers.  (Proverbs 17:4)
  • people who gossip can't be trusted
  • stop them by asking "Why do I need to know this?"
  • ask these three questions to determine if it's gossip:  

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it kind?
  3. Is it necessary to tell?

4.  "Overcoming the Fear of Loneliness" (1)

  • The Lord...will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Deut. 31:6)
  • understand who you are - a unique being created by God Himself
  • understand who God is - He is your Father, and He exemplifies warmth, security, acceptance, concern, compassion, assurance, provision, etc for His children...and you are one of them!

Sparkling Gems

Colossians 3:15
New Living Translation (NLT)
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
  • allow God's peace to dominate and govern every emotion and situation you face
  • "rule" - God's peace works like an umpire or referee in our hearts, minds, and emotions.  (it is a choice we make to allow His peace to rise from deep within us.)
  • peace calls the shots, not anxiety or worry
  • when you feel overwhelmed by problems or emotions, stop and deliberately set your heart and mind on Jesus and God's Word.

Philippians 1:19

New Living Translation (NLT)
For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.
  • when it looks like your resources are drained and you can't go on, that's when Jesus Christ steps in to provide a generous contribution of the Spirit's grace and power.  He will give you all the strength you will ever need.

2 Timothy 1:6

New Living Translation (NLT)
This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.
  • "remind" - recall memories of God's faithfulness, and play them over and over again
  • we must take our eyes off our current troubles and remember how God has never let us down, and He never will

Ephesians 6:18

New Living Translation (NLT)
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

  • "at all times" - at each and every occasion
  • pray anytime there is a need - no matter where you are or what you are doing
  • use every possible moment, in every season, on all occasions to pray

Ephesians 4:30

New Living Translation (NLT)
And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

  • "bring sorrow" - grieve - the kind of grief that is experienced between two people deeply in  love
  • the Holy Spirit deeply loves us...He longs for us and wants to be close to us.  We are in His thoughts all the time, and He wants to show Himself to us
  • when we deliberately choose to sin, it brings deep sorrow to Him, just like being unfaithful to a spouse

James 1:21

New Living Translation (NLT)
So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
  • "get rid of" - lay apart - laying something down and pushing it out of your reach
  • you don't go to bed in clothes that are dirty, and you should not go to bed with an attitude that is wrong
  • the negative things in your life must be removed

James 1:22

New Living Translation (NLT)
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

  • being a listener only is like auditing a class rather than taking it for are entertained by the information, but nothing is required of you
  • God wants us to act on what we know from His Word

Jude 1:23

New Living Translation (NLT)
Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
  • "rescue" - save - a present imperative, a command calling for immediate action, continuous action
  • we are to act immediately to help deliver our fellow believers from situations that are brought about by their sin; we must confront them, but be merciful to them
  • speak the truth in love

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011 Wrap-up

The first week of 2012 has quickly passed, and I am ready to move forward!!  However, I want to complete my journal blog for 2011.  I will attempt that tonight, and tomorrow, Sunday, I can get back on my regular blogging schedule.  

We left on Friday, December 23, for our family Christmas vacation...destination Branson, MO.  We were to spend two nights in St. Louis at our son's house, and leave on Sunday morning, Christmas morning to drive on down to Branson, where we would meet up with our son and his wife from New Mexico (they drove in also).

We were on I-70, an hour's drive from our son's house in St. Louis, when it sounded like a tire blew out.  We quickly pulled over to the shoulder of the road, and found that our wheel was about to come off.  A tow truck took us to a Firestone Auto Repair near our son's house...60 miles away.  The shop was already closed for the day, but they had said they could look at it on Saturday...Christmas Eve day.  I was sure we would end up having to rent a vehicle to go on to Branson, but sure enough, they were able to fix the wheel by mid-morning on Saturday.  Now, if that wheel had come all the way off before we got pulled over, or it if had been in the midst of St. Louis I-270 traffic, we could have had a real disaster!  Who but God could arrange the details to our best advantage?  Instead of having to rent a van for $1,000 for the week, we were able to drive our own van on down to Branson.  And believe me, it was loaded to the hilt, plus five people!

We had a wonderful week with the family in our time share resort.  We actually had three apartments that were connected.  Each family had their own place to escape to...each had a bedroom, two baths, living room, kitchen/dining area, and washer/dryer.  Two of them had Jacuzzis.  Having all that space allowed everyone to be together when we ate, played games, had sharing times together, but gave room for getting away to a quiet spot and relaxing, reading, taking a nap...whatever.  We also had an indoor pool with two hot tubs two buildings down from where we were located.  

It was our intention to spend most of our time together at the resort, and not spend any money on the tourist traps of Branson.  Believe me, there's a show for everything and everybody, but starting at $35 a ticket.  That's just not how we wanted to spend our time and money.  We ate our Christmas Dinner out at the Grand Country Buffet (where I got to have my favorite meal...turkey & dressing), but most of the meals were prepared at the resort.  I had asked everyone to tell me what their favorite entrees, salads, and cookies were so I was ready with a menu.  Monday morning I did my shopping for the week.  Everyone pitched in with the cooking and the cleaning, but I loved preparing meals for my family!!  By the way, we did drive around Branson on Christmas night to see the lights...very pretty.

Every day my granddaughters and I made a batch of cookies...everyone's favorites.  We also worked on crafts together, played games, and watched movies.  Each night a different person was in charge of sharing time.  Here's what transpired each evening:
Christmas Night, Sunday - Carol - we as a family walked down memory lane recalling all of the previous time share trips (one every other year) since 2003.  Lots of laughter there.  Read Max Lucado's story "The Crippled Lamb", and read the Christmas story from Luke chapter two, and had prayer.  We then celebrated first son's birthday and second granddaughter's birthday, after celebrating the birthday of Jesus.  We played a game "Wits and Wagers".  First time to play was fun.  Also played "Apples to Apples".

Monday Night - second son - shared the movie "Toy Story".  Prior to watching it, we played a card game of "31", which is a game where people drop out one by one.  As each one dropped out, they got to open a gift...a box of candy.  The next person could either steal candy from another person, or draw a new gift.  I had made sure to get each person's favorite theater candy.  We all ended up with our choice of sweet and had that to munch on during the movie.  By the way, this son also made supper for us that night...Fiesta Burritos, his meal of choice.

Tuesday night - daughter-in-law - asked us to share family traditions around Christmas.  That was interesting.  On this day we took a drive to College of the Ozarks, which is where one of our granddaughters thinks she would like to attend college...very nice campus.  We also spent time driving around Historic Hollister and Historic Branson.  We played a game of "Pit".  DIL's favorite meal on this night was beef and noodles.  Tuesday morning I gave out craft gifts to everyone...each adult receiving their favorite power car...a model to put together, and the girls received one to do with Dad, plus they had butterfly jars to make and some foam art.

Wednesday morning our New Mexico couple made us breakfast burritos...a staple in their diet.  Some of us went to the pool and the playground on this day...nice weather out (pool was indoors).  The meal this night was the request made by my two granddaughters, Curley's Spaghetti.  They, along with Grandpa did the sharing time for Wednesday.  The youngest one had drawn a picture of herself and Grandma to share with all of us.  The oldest one had written a poem/song about "The 7 days of Christmas my Grandma gave to me...."  It was funny.  Grandpa had us play a game of Bingo.  We had a basket of snackies and goodies, and whenever a person won Bingo, they got to pick something from the basket.  

Thursday was shopping at Thrift Shops and Outlet Malls.  This was more or less for the girls.  The guys did their own thing.  We had Ground Beef Stroganoff for supper, choice by first son.  He had sharing time and we talked about what it meant to be good.  We played a game of spoons, and I gave out white elephant gifts on this day.  Simple things from our home that seemed to be a right choice for each person.  

Friday our New Mexico couple took off for Kansas City to spend the night with friends, and would be back on Saturday.  The rest of us went to Silver Dollar City, where we met up with Nana and Papa, the girls' other grandparents.  The day was sunny and nice, and we spent most of the day at the park riding rides, seeing shows, and watching the lights at night during the parade and on the train.  We ate supper at the Golden Corral buffet, and then Nana and Papa came back to stay with us at the resort for the night.

Saturday the girls left after breakfast with Nana and Papa to head back to the St. Louis area for their family Christmas.  Hubby, myself, and second son drove to Springfield, MO to meet up with New Mexico couple for lunch at a pizza buffet.  On the drive back to Branson, we were leading in our van, and the other car was a couple of miles behind us.  We got a call from them, and their vehicle was totaled in a freak accident.  We turned around to go back to pick them up and assist them in the situation.  

What happened was that a metal cow feeder fell off a trailer right in front of their time to stop or avoid it.  Their air bags went off, and the windows were pushed outward instead of glass being shattered all over them and the car's interior.  The car was pretty mangled by hitting/running over the metal feeder.  A tow truck was called to haul the car off, which was deemed totaled.  They were not injured at all.  This could have happened to them in Kansas City or on their trip, instead it was two miles behind us...and we were there to pick them up.  They could have been extremely injured in this accident, and they came through without a  scratch or a bruise.  Who but God could have worked things out in such good ways.  They ended up flying back to NM from St. Louis (rode up with us from Branson on Sunday), and got a rental car for now until their car can be replaced.  

New Year's Eve we spent just chatting, talking some about where to go in two years for our next time share gathering.  Hubby was sick and went to bed early.  The rest of us saw the New Year in, and then went to our bedrooms.

Sunday we checked out of the resort and headed back to St. Louis, stopping in Lebanon, MO to attend church were a former pastor of ours now preaches.  They joined us for lunch at a Mexican restaurant after church, and then we drove on to St. Louis.  Flight back to New Mexico left early evening.  Hubby still sick, pretty much slept most of the day and night.  

Monday morning we left St. Louis to head home to Michigan.  Hubby drove a couple of hours, but then too weak and tired to drive, so I took the wheel of a van I wasn't used to driving...too big for me.  Ended up driving all day, and we still didn't make it home.  Weather prohibited us driving any farther than South Bend, IN.  Snow was coming down in sheets, fast and heavy, and it was after dark.  With hubby being sick, and me not sure how much snow would be out on the dark, unplowed roads, I opted for a motel room for the night.  We checked in, ordered a pizza, and had a nice relaxing evening.  The next morning we drove on home, picked up the doggies, and was home by noon.  Spent the afternoon getting unpacked and settled back in, doing laundry, catching up on mail, email, bookkeeping, and planning a menu for my weekly shopping trip.

We are now into the new year, and that's for the next blog.  I need to wrap up this long, detailed vacation blog with my devotional reading for the last of 2011.  I did complete reading "The One Year Bible".  Revelation and the minor prophets didn't speak to me a lot, but there are a few verses to share here in the blog.  Here goes:

The  Word for You Today
1.  Your Habits Determine Your Future

  • if you can do something consistently for 21 days, you have proven that you can do it for 21 years
  • your success is found in your daily routine
  • "continuing" is the secret of greatness
2.  Start the New Year Right
  • Forgive whatever grievance you may have.  (Col 3:13)
  • grudges isolate you from others and shorten your life because of the deadly enzymes produced in your body that lead to physical ailments.
  • people who are at peace with themselves have learned to forgive and let go

  • Here is your part:  Tell the truth.  Be fair.  Live at peace with everyone.  Don't plot harm to others; don't swear that something is true when it isn't!  How I hate all that sort of thing - says the Lord.  (8:16-17)

  • See, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me, to repay everyone according to the deeds he has done.  I am the A and the Z, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.  Blessed forever are all who are washing their robes, to have the right to enter in through the gates of the city, and to eat fruit from the Tree of Life.  (22:12-14)
  • He who has said all these things declares:  "Yes, I am coming soon!"  Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!  (22:20)

  • The Lord is fair in everything he does, and full of kindness.  He is close to all who call on him sincerely.  He fulfills the desires of those who reverence and trust him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them.  He protects all those who love him, but destroys the wicked.  (145:17-20)
  • Let everything alive give praises to the Lord!  (150:6)

  • Charm can be deceptive and beauty doesn't last, but a woman who fears and reverences God should be greatly praised.  (31:25-31)