Saturday, October 31, 2009
If you were a football player, would you put on your opponent's uniform and go out on the football field in the middle of an intense game??
Or, if you were a soldier, would you don the uniform of your enemy and saunter onto the battlefield in the heat of battle dressed in your enemy's uniform?
I seriously doubt it!
Yet, many Christians don't think twice of dressing up themselves or their children as witches, wizards or devils and celebrating the "devil's holiday," all in the name of "fun," of course.
I find that strange, don't you?
I guess many Christians just forget that we are in a spiritual battle.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."
And Ephesians 6:12 says, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."
And yet, we are told to "dress up" for the battle. The scriptures tell us what we are to put on:
"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." -- Ephesians 6:11
"Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand, therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of the salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." -- Ephesians 6:13-17.
The armor of God is to be the "costume" of the Christian, not just on October 31st, but on every day of the year, as we "fight the good fight of faith." (1 Timothy 6:12)
If you want to ponder this issue further, I encourage you to read this article from "The Teaching Home," which explores ideas on how to handle Halloween in a way that edifies our families and honors our Lord. You might also want to read my blog post from last year, entitled A Biblical View of Halloween.
* All Scripture references are from the New King James Version of the Bible.
Final Score 33-26!
This win was significant for a couple of reasons. First of all, this is the first time in school history that the football team has won a region championship, and it's only their second winning season with a notable record of 7-2. Winning the region championship gives Sherwood the home field advantage in the first game of the state play-offs next Friday night.
Secondly, there was a lot of behind-the-scenes drama that made this win especially gratifying!!! It all started when Sherwood's head football coach resigned late last spring due to health reasons. In the uncertainty that followed, he made the difficult decision to transfer his son, who was our star running back, to rival school SGA. In order for his son to be able to play his senior year (and not have to sit out according to GISA rules), he "transferred" there as well, joining SGA's coaching staff. Another player followed. Of course, this move created a range of powerful emotions for Sherwood football players and fans. Some disparaging comments about our team's size and abilities which were published only served to fan the flames of contention between the two teams.
However, Sherwood gained a new football coach and several new players, including our own star running back. What was once thought to be a tragedy for Sherwood, has proven to be a great blessing. Sherwood has overcome many obstacles, has achieved greater team unity and discipline than ever before, and with the Lord's help, has had a successful season. Then last night, they came out with a lot of intensity and a lot of motivation, determined to beat their rivals and proved that bigger isn't always better!!
This was just an incredible night for players, parents and fans, and I have a lot of pictures to share with you! First, some pictures of our tailgating party. With many of the booster club members contributing, we had quite a spread! The menu consisted of grilled hamburgers, venison burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and quail, plus all kinds of delicious tail-gating sides!
Then, we went over to the football field to watch the teams warm up. I took some pictures of our team warming up. I was fascinated with the way those big, tough guys move so gracefully and in unison, ballet-like, as they prepare their strong bodies for the physical exertion to come. My son, Joseph (#80) is in the center of the picture, at the end of his line, near the patiently waiting football.
Here are the fans all lined up, wearing their white t-shirts, eager for the team to run out on the field!
The cheerleaders are poised with their banner ready for the explosion . . .
And suddenly, the players burst through the banner, to the wild cheers of a large crowd of faithful fans!
It was a Joyful moment for Sherwood players and fans, but a couple of the senior boys were overcome with emotion at the long-awaited win! Tears streaming down faces, sweat streaming down arms, they demonstrated the depth of emotion that accompanies any hard-won victory!
My own sweaty son, Joseph, had a great game, and really man-handled the opposing tight-end, who had once been his teammate, before the transfer to a rival school.
Mrs. D congratulates her "adopted son", Joe for a game well played!
My favorite photo of all -- a proud papa and a happy son -- a true male bonding moment!! :)
Edit: I forgot to mention that after the game, a big group of us went to IHOP to celebrate! I'm not much of a late night party person, so it was pretty uncharacteristic for me to eat breakfast at midnight and get home at 1 am! Alan says I'm just getting ready for the new life that awaits me once I turn 50!! :)
Friday, October 30, 2009
They have a nice selection of attractive clothing at reasonable prices, and I find it easier to find skirts for myself and my daughters there than at the regular retail stores.
I went by there yesterday to pick up my check, and to look for some new jeans for long-legged Hannah. While there, I unearthed some real treasures! I thought I'd share some of my finds with you.
This vest is for Matthew. Mum Mum recently took him shopping and bought him some navy church pants and a white dress shirt to wear to church. (Yes, he is her special Pet!!) This vest will really pull that together and give him a nice "preppy" look! :)
I bought Bethany two skirts and a shirt, all originally from Old Navy. Each piece was either $4.98 or $5.98. Here is a peek at my favorite skirt with the cute little shirt. This will be quite a classy little outfit with her boots!
Here is my "golden nugget," but the picture just doesn't do it justice! It is a beautiful burgundy-red velvet dress with a black fur collar, that I picked up for a mere $6.98! Bethany will be beautiful in this dress for Christmas, and the short sleeves will be perfect for s Southwest Georgia December! :)
I hope to post a picture of her wearing it in a few weeks, so you can see how adorable she is!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Curious, I decided to take a look in my own pantry and refrigerator and learn which foods contained HFCS. Here are some of the items I discovered:
Are you surprised by any of these items? I was!!! It was certainly no surprise to discover HFCS in Hershey's syrup, dessert items, or even jelly, but I was totally shocked to see that it was in bread crumbs, diced tomatoes and Special K!!! Also, I was saddened to learn that it was in my beloved Heinz Ketchup, and in my favorite Yoplait yogurt, not just the regular yogurt, but the "sugar-free" light Yogurt!!! What a cruel trick on dieters -- why put Splenda and HCFS in the Same Product????
No wonder Americans struggle with their weight, when even "diet" products, such as Special K cereal, Fiber One bars, and sugar-free yogurt contian HCFS! According to the article in USA Today, not only does HFCS raise triglyceride levels and decrease insulin sensitivity, which both increase the risks of heart disease and diabetes, but "it can inhibit your body's ability to use leptin, the naturally occuring hormone that signals when you're satiated. In some people, it can actually convince us that we're starving, when when we've eaten our fill."
Like a hidden sin that destroys us from the inside out, this is a hidden ingredient with destructive qualities that needs to be eradicated from our pantries and our bodies! Unfortunately, this may prove to be a daunting task.
A day late and a dollar short!
That cliche really sums up this post!
In a perfect world, Weight Loss Wednesday would always be posted on a WEDNESDAY --- but, my Wednesday never seemed to yield time for a blog post! So, this is the Thursday morning version of WLW! :)
Likewise, in a perfect world, I would always post a loss of at least two pounds per week! (Actually, I guess I would not even be overweight in a perfect world!!!) In reality, I have lost 0 pounds this week. :( I really thought I would post a loss this week -- so I'm rather discouraged. Nevertheless, I plod along.
I am continuing to exercise daily, hoping I will soon turn the corner, and I plan to post about that next week. For now, I encourage you to read this article by Jorg Cruise on the Top Ten Diet Do's and Don'ts.
Jorge’s Top 10 Diet Dos and Don’ts Lifescript.com
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I've also experienced another unexpected blessing from blogging. Surprisingly, it has strengthened my relationship with my sister, who lives about 770 miles away. After launching my blog, I
This is not the best picture of us, but it was all I could find! We both have daughters who are into photography, so we need to commission one of them to take a picture of us the next time we are together!
Today is my sister's birthday! An astute observer might notice that we were both born on the 27th! My day is September 27th, and hers is October 27th. That means it is time to celebrate!!
First, I want to celebrate the woman my sister has become! Rebecca is an awesome person -- caring, compassionate, creative, and an incredible cook! (I think we should all meet at her house for dinner!!!) :) She Loves the Lord and her Family and works diligently in her home! She has grown so much in the Lord and allowed him to refine her into a priceless Proverbs 31 woman!
Now, I want to celebrate by encouraging all of my readers to pay Rebecca a visit and leave a comment or two on her blog. She has a wonderful blog where she shares about her family and her walk with the Lord, while serenading you with beautiful music. I'm sure you will enjoy stopping by her peaceful little home on the web. These are some of my favorite posts she has written -- here, here, here., and here. Be sure to check them out! While you're there, why not wish her a Happy Birthday! :)
Monday, October 26, 2009
You probably also know someone whose positive outlook and enthusiastic spirit is contagious! Their joyful spirit draws you to them like a magnet!
How about you? Which type of person are you? Are you an Energy Giver or an Energy Taker? Do you give energy to your family and fill your home with joy? Or do you drain the life out of your family with your negative, complaining spirit??
This dear lady, Laverne, is a lovely example of an Energy Giver. I met her at the Cracker Barrel in my town, where she works in the gift shop. I always look forward to shopping there, because I know that she will permeate the room with her joyful, enthusiastic, helpful spirit!!
My desire is to be an Energy Giver to those who come in contact with me each and every day. I try to encourage my children to be energy givers, as well. I've found that it comes more naturally to some personalities than to others. :)
Would you like to find out whether you are an Energy Giver or an Energy Taker? If so, take the Quiz below:
1. What is your attitude towards spending time with God and in His Word?
- You enjoy spending time with the Lord and in His Word.
- You regularly neglect your devotions or just go through the motions out of a sense of duty.
- You disdain God's Word and want nothing to do with God.
2. Which best describes your countenance?
- You smile at everyone you see and your eyes shine.
- You smile only at your friends, your face looks sad or disinterested.
- You are self-focused, sullen, and your eyes are dark.
3. Which of these best describes you?
- You are enthusiastic and fervent in spirit.
- You are complacent and lack initiative.
- You are negative and complain about everything that doesn't suit you.
4. Which describes your general attitude towards life?
- You praise others and look for good in every situation.
- You listen to critics and do not defend others.
- You are critical of others and look for the bad in every situation.
- You work with eager hands and look for ways to serve others.
- You avoid work and only serve yourself.
- You react to work and wait for others to serve you.
6. Which of these describes your spirit?
- You have a grateful spirit and eagerly thank God and others for blessings.
- You take everything for granted and rarely thank others.
- You are ungrateful, demanding, and have many expectations.
7. Which of these describes your sense of humor?
- You enjoy good, clean humor.
- You enjoy silliness and practical jokes.
- You enjoy foolishness, dirty jokes, and mocking others.
8. What kind of worker are you?
- You do more than is required.
- You do only what is required, no more.
- You do less than is required.
9. How do you respond when things don't go your way?
- You yield your rights to God and avoid responding in anger.
- You are irritable and easily offended.
- You are quick to anger and often blow up.
10. How do you respond when you are wronged?
- You forgive offenders.
- You hold grudges.
- You seek revenge.
11. How do you handle trials and disappointments?
- You count it all joy and trust God to work all things together for good.
- You are depressed and full of self-pity during hardships and trials.
- You react in anger and resentment to hardships.
Now, add up how many times you chose the first, second, or third response.
If you mostly chose the first response, you are an Energy Giver! Congratulations! You are a blessing to all who know you!
If you mostly chose the second response, you are an Energy Waster. You need to work on some of your attitudes and responses to consistently be a blessing to others.
If you mostly chose the last response, you are an Energy Taker. You need the Lord to transform you from the inside out!
I don't know about you, but I discerned a few areas I need to work on, as I truly want to be an Energy Giver!
"Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that
which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in
honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit;
serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant
in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of the saints; given to hospitality.
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not." -- Romans 12:9-14
Friday, October 23, 2009
"Our choices add up.
Habits into hours, decisions into days, lists into a life.
The way in which we live our moments, our choices for the gift of the next 24 hours, are rungs on a ladder. The rungs take us somewhere. These moments are rungs scaling each and every day . . . making a life."
To explore these thoughts with gifted writer, Ann Voskamp, climb to the next rung -- here.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The one good thing I can say is I have done a T-Tapp workout or taken a walk most days this week. So, I have been building my exercise habit, and I am happy about that.
For inspiration, I'm going to have to send you here, where you can read about someone who did lose weight this past week and also has a very helpful tip to share.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
When I first started teaching my children, I owned the belief that a good reader would make a good speller. In the early years, I spent many hours reading to my oldest children, who grew to be avid readers of their own books. True to my assumption, my two oldest daughters became excellent spellers with ease.
Then, I had a string of sons!
This theory, as well as many others, was soon challenged! While my oldest son did not read until he was 8, he quickly became one of my most prolific readers, reading multitudes of challenging biographies and autobiographies, huge history books, and as many G.A. Henty books as I could afford to supply him! Neverthless, he never did learn to spell! Fortunately, he gets by with Spell Check, as do many members of this generation.
None of my sons are great spellers. So, I am tempted to form a new theory -- that girls are better spellers than boys. Any truth to that? I don't know. I did a little research on the web and discovered that approximately the same number of boys and girls have spelled their way to the top of the National Spelling Bee competition.
I have observed that most boys are drawn to electronic entertainment over reading. Their fascination with computer games may help them develop finger dexterity, strategy, and even some general knowledge, but probably does little to help their spelling skills. Until now!
The Blue Back Speller has met its match with SpellingCity.com!!
I discovered this FREE website just two months ago, and have been raving about it ever since! This website allows you to create custom spelling lists to accompany your unit studies or copy standard lists from your children's spelling textbooks. If you sign in first, you will be able to save these lists indefinitely. Then your child can choose one of three options: Teach Me, Play a Game, or Test Me.
Under the Teach Me option, each word is spelled out loud while it is typed on the screen and used in a sentence. After the student is acquainted with the words, he or she can learn them effortlessly by playing a variety of fun spelling games. The favorite at our house is Hang Mouse!! Then, on test day, the child selects Test Me and each word will be clearly pronounced aloud and used in a sentence (if that option is selected) and the child simply types in the word and goes to the next one. Finally, the computer grades the test for you and shows your child what he did wrong! You can also print out the test for your records.
So, now I have a new theory -- that SpellingCity will improve the spelling of any child with its multi-sensory approach and computer game format. While this may not be a proven theory, I do recommend that you test it out! My daughter, Tiffany, is using this program with her 3rd-5th grade students with good results, and I have found that that SpellingCity has both simplified my life and improved the spelling scores at my house! Check it out!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Now, you must understand that Matt is not one to be put off! He is Very Persistent! And persuasive! When he gets something in his mind, you never hear the end of it!
So, as soon as I got home, he began telling me about this recipe and begging me to let him make it, assuring me it was Easy and he just knew it would be "Licious!"
I wasn't totally opposed to the idea of helping him make this cake, so I began to try to get an ingredient list from him. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: "So, what do you need to make this cake?"
Matt: "First you need bread crumbs. You put crackers in that thing that goes Bdlr . .bdlr . . bdlr." (Here he began to act out with not just his hands but his entire body the motion of the blender along with appropriate sound effects!)
Me: (holding my sides in laughter) "Oh, OK, I think you mean graham cracker crumbs! What else?"
Matt: "8 packages of cream cheese."
Me: "That's a LOT of cream cheese, Matt! This is going to be fattening . . . and expensive!!"
Matt: "You can just use 3 then, or 1! It doesn't matter!"
Me: "It will matter. We have to use what the recipe calls for. OK, we'll come back to this. What else?"
Matt: "That soft white stuff."
Matt: "Yes, flour. No, not flour."
Matt: "Yes, sugar!"
Me: "Confectioner's sugar or sugar like we use when we make cookies?"
Matt: (perturbed with me for my lack of understanding) "Just plain sugar!"
Me: "OK, What else?"
Matt: "That stuff in ice cream."
Me: (after numerous guesses) "Vanilla ice cream?"
Matt: "Yes! Nilla! but you know, not the ice cream, just the nilla. You know, nilla water."
Me: (very amused) "Oh!! You mean vanillla extract?!?"
Matt: "Yes, like you put in Haystacks! And you need chocolate too."
Me: "What kind of chocolate? cocoa? chocolate chips? baking chocolate?"
Matt: (sighing in frustration!) "You know, just normal chocolate, Mom!!"
At this point, I think you probably get the picture! Tiffany and I have never laughed so hard as we did trying to get that ingredient list down!! But, try as we might, we still didn't know what all the ingredients were, or how to put them together or anything really concrete about this recipe, which was causing much frustration on both sides!! Matt kept insisting that he knew how to make it and that it was easy and so licious! :)
I decided to try a different approach. I sent him to ask Mum Mum if she knew how to make the recipe that was featured. No luck there. So, I sent him back to ask her the name of the cooking show they were watching, thinking I could look it up online. He came back with the channel they were watching!!!
Finally, I talked to Mum Mum myself and learned they were watching Barefoot Contessa. Thinking that I was finally getting somewhere, I went to her website, but could not find any cheesecake recipes.
Then, suddenly, I remembered this recipe for a chocolate cheesecake that my Mom had given me the last time I was there. I decided it was time to try to make a substitution! I read the recipe to Matt, emphasizing how similar it was to the recipe he had seen on the cooking show. However, Matt knew his ingredient list far too well to fall for my scheme! He knew right off it wasn't the right recipe when he heard it used oreos instead of bread crumbs . . .
Another dead end.
Eventually, by some miracle, he quit pushing his recipe and decided to "own" mine! That was on Friday evening. So, on Saturday morning, we spent some fun time in the kitchen creating our delicious dessert together. We served the cheesecake Saturday night, and it was a huge hit with the family! Everybody loved Matthew's Cheesecake! Momentarily forgetting that I was on a diet, I was hoping to have a second piece on Sunday afternoon, but when I looked in the fridge, it was all gone!!! :(
Makes 16 servings.
1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while you're blogging?
Kashi Sunshine and dry roasted peanuts! (my daughter's invention!)
2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?
3. Beach, Mountains or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?
Beach 1/2 the year/mountains the other 1/2 :) I think Donna Gibson has this one all figured out!
4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?
5. Who do people say you remind them of?
different random people
6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying at home with the fam?
Depends my mood, but probably staying home to curl up and read a good book or watch a great movie or even work on a blog post!
7. What's your all time favorite movie?
The Sound of Music or Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea -- I can't decide between these two classics. They just don't make movies like these anymore~
8. Do you sleep in your make up or remove it like a good girl every night?
True confessions: I NEVER remove my make up at night, which makes me a bad girl! But I do remove my contacts every night and disinfect! Does that count??? :)
9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it?
I would like to learn web design; it seems fascinating to me.
10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?
falling asleep in the car!
11. What first attracted you to your spouse?
his thoughtful, caring spirit.
12. What is something you love to smell?
whole wheat bread fresh from the oven.
13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.
Having a terrible sense of direction! This irritates my hubby, who is a walking road map!
14. When you have extra money (HA!) what's the first thing you think to do with it?
15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?
Loud laugher. I laugh the hardest at the funny things my children do and say, especially Matt and Bethany! We always wonder what people without children do for entertainment!
16. Where is your favorite place to shop?
Kohls/Kirklands/The Fresh Market -- depending on whether you are talking clothes, home decor, or food!
17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time?
Read a book/Take a nap! (I wish I could say Exercise . . . )
18. Are you a big spender or frugal?
Somewhere in between?
19. Who is your favorite character of all time (from a movie or book)? (Can't be real)
20. Would you want to be famous?
NO! Slightly Rich? Yes!! :)
These questions are from the Harvest of Friends Blog Party. I encourage you to visit Lynette's blog and join the fun!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Did you know that today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day?
I didn't know either until I read about it on Michelle's blog. Michelle has become a dear friend to me through the world of blogging and emailing, and I was heavy-hearted to hear of Michelle's unexpected pregnancy and miscarriage this past weekend. You can read about her loss here.
September 19, 1994
The ultrasound was performed, but unlike previous ultrasounds, the technician was not friendly, did not tell me anything, and turned the screen so I could not see the baby. She would not answer any of my questions, either. Finally, she called the Radiologist into the room to view the ultrasound. I thought surely he would answer my questions and either confirm or calm my fears, but he never even acknowledged my presence in the room! He stared at the screen for a few moments, and then grunted and left!! The technician told me to call my doctor's office the next day for the results!!!! Can you believe it? At this point, I lost it! I burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably. Finally, someone had compassion on me and asked the radiologist to page my physician. After they conversed privately, he gave me the phone and I was able to talk to my family doctor, who told me the bad news -- the sac was appropriate in size for eleven weeks gestation, but there was no hearbeat and the baby had apparently died at eight weeks gestation.
My Mom took the children home with her for the night and told us to go out to eat and enjoy a break. She even slipped me some money, and told me to go buy something new to wear. She was so gracious and so wise, because it was good for Alan and me to be alone and begin to deal with our grief. Plus, going out together was much better than just sitting at home waiting for something to happen.
My pastor and his wife drove over to visit us that evening, and I began to receive cards, phone calls, and meals from thoughtful friends.
Soon, the older children were back from picking apples with their PaPa and I was able to comfort them and reassure them that I was FINE. My Dad had wisely taken them on an excursion, so that they missed all the "excitement" and were kept busy during those tense hours! Although I hated that I brought all the drama to my Mom's house, it did turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as my Dad was able to care for the children, while my Mom and Alan cared for me.
My 32nd birthday. Birthdays have no sense of whether this is an appropriate time for a celebration -- they just arrive anyway! And life goes on . . .