Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Last week, my youngest son T turned 6 years old. I thought it would be interesting to let him tell you about his birthday celebration.
Alright T, tell us about your birthday party. When was it and who came?
Uh, Mom, what's the day before Friday?
It was Thursday night.
And who came?
What was the theme?
What's a theme?
You know, like Dora or Pirates or a circus party....
It was Lego's and HotWheels.
What kind of cake did you have?
Chocolate ... no, wait .... it was blueberry.
What was on it?
Lego's and Hotwheels.
What else did you have to eat at your party?
I know, but our readers don't know. So, what did you have? What did you pick out?
Well, we had cake and icecream.
Think about it. You picked it out. It's something you eat on a bun with ketchup.
Right. What else?
Uh....nothing else...uh, chips and barbeque beans. And that's all I ate. Can I stop reading? I'm pooped.
You mean stop being interviewed?
I mean I want to stop. telling. people. about. my. birthday.
Can I stop interviewing?
No, let's finish up and then you can go to bed.
What???? You said that we could play!
But you said you're pooped.
I mean not that type. The boring type.
What's the boring type?
Uhh....when you don't want to do something, I'm bored.
Well, hurry up and answer my questions and then we'll stop.
So, what did you get for your birthday?
You mean my party?
Yes, at your party.
Okay, what I got was some Legos, some chocolate, some money, some marble set, some HotWheels. That's all.
What did you do on your REAL birthday the next day?
I can't tell you.
Oh yes you can. What did you pick for breakfast?
What did you have for lunch?
What did I have? Oh yeah, tortillas!
And we went to the park before lunch and you got to play with your homeschool friends. Then what did you have for supper?
Think about it.
I forget a lot.
You had macaroni and cheese with pizza.
Did anybody call you on your birthday?
No, Mom, no one.
Who's Grandmommy? And who are you?
Grandmommy is the woman who sent you fifty bucks!
And I'm the woman who gave birth to you?
And feeds you?
Mom! Wait, I'm serious. Can't we stop? I'm bored. I'm bored of everything.
We're almost done.
Who else called you?
No one else.
Who lives in the Tennessee Mountains.
No one called me except Grandmommy. Grandmommy is the only one who cares about me.
Um, Mr. Jeff Goins called you?
Oh yeah! Thank you, Mr. Jeff.
See you next time folks! I'm leaving. I'm pooped.
Rolling my eyes here.
(T re-enters the room.)
I wanna say everything.
But you said you were through.
Well, I decided not to.
Not to what?
[Not to stop.] I want to keep on going.
So what are you going to say?
Uh.....I haven't figured that out yet. Hold on.........
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh....
Okay, that's enough.
Ooh, ooh, ooh...
Let me count all those.
(He points to the screen and starts counting)
Let's get on with it T.
We did the basic jobs.
You mean you're telling what you did on your birthday?
Uh, yes, everything.
So you did your basic jobs.
Not me, the big kids.
No, you have basic jobs to do everyday like make your bed and brush your teeth.
I mean others.
Other people's basic jobs.
Okay, so people did basic jobs. All you're going to tell is that other people did basic jobs?
Yes. And since it was my birthday, after lunch, I didn't have to do much jobs.
Dang. You're really obsessed with this jobs thing, aren't you?
At which point T runs out of the room play screaming "AAAAAH...my mother doesn't like me!!!!!!!!!!!" Can you say over dramatic???
Yes, he's back. He keeps saying he's done. He's pooped. He doesn't want to do it anymore but he keeps...
YES, I DO!!!!!! I WANT TO DO IT!!!!!!!!
Okay, quit screaming.
I think this is enough.
T, it's enough.
I'll do some more tomorrow.
I've created a monster.
Monday, September 28, 2009
It's a Tim Burton movie. What can I say?
Sunday, September 27, 2009
My friend Lisa Samson, who also happens to be an amazing author, wrote this today:
I'm heading over to St. Raphael's Episcopal Church this morning to hear a friend of mine sing. He's so good, he's actually paid to lead his section of the choir. I think he's a tenor, but don't quote me on that.
While finding the service time on their website, I came across their vision statement:
“The World will know the love of God through the people who worship God at St. Raphael’s.” Which, naturally, led me to thinking about God's love for the world, and you can't think about that without remembering (if you at all grew up in Sunday School!) John 3:16. "For God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." (Sorry, I grew up on KJV.)
Then I thought about the churches so many who read this will attend today. Or already attended yesterday as we did 6:00 mass at Holy Spirit parish here in Lexington. If this isn't something you deal with, please disregard. But I get my fair share of emails from women who are so sick of church, of the same thing Sunday after Sunday, who feel inadequate spiritually and in many other ways, who wonder what this whole thing is really for if this is all it is and if it is, well, it's not all that hot and let's stay home and eat fresh bagels and read the paper. And it isn't merely about church, is it? It's deeper than that.
But today, off you'll go, and you'll sit in the pew, or the padded chair, or for some of you, the folding metal chair in the elementary school cafeteria. If you're feeling disillusioned about church and the basic Christian walk you're experiencing, I wonder if you'd be so kind as to write down that vision statement above on a slip of paper and take it with you this morning. Ask yourself: If your church folded in the next five minutes, would it make a bit of difference in delivering God's love letter to the world? Would it make a bit of difference if you decided it was all too much trouble? I sincerely hope not. But if the answer to those questions are yes, why not ask God how you can love the world as he does, and how you can lead your church to do that too? You may find that becoming an agent of God's love will help clear up some of the spiritual ailments you've been battling so long.
Just a simple little Sunday message from me. With love and hope.
ps: Chicken dinner at the Samson house today! Family, friends and neighbors gathering. Try it sometime. It's a yummy way to show love. (Now, the dishes are another thing altogether.)
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Crazy Love, Francis Chan
Hmmmm...very, very interesting food for thought...and prayer.
Friday, September 25, 2009
You are SIX years old today! WOW! I hope that this next year is even more fun for you than this past one...and that's saying a lot because you definitely already grab life and run with it!
I am so thankful to have you for my boy.
BIG HUG, little hug, BIG KISS, little kiss. I LOVE YOU!!!!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
By Steve Lambert, Publisher of Five in a Row
Today marks the 18th anniversary of the death of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Author of 46 children’s books, Geisel’s books have sold well over a quarter of a billion copies! Think of that- a quarter of a BILLION!
From foxes who wore socks to cats who wore hats, from wockets to whos, from red fish to blue fish, hardly anyone alive today isn’t familiar with at least a few of Geisel’s remarkably creative stories.
And do you know WHY the world knows Theodor Geisel’s works? Because Geisel refused to take “no” for an answer.
You see, Dr. Seuss was turned down by TWENTY-EIGHT different publishers before he walked into Random House. That’s right- TWENTY-EIGHT different publishers looked at Geisel’s manuscript of And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street and concluded nobody would ever want to read such a wacky, zany book.
Rejected TWENTY-EIGHT times in a row, Geisel persevered. He believed in what he was doing. He believed that children and adults alike would delight at the words he had put on paper. And he was right.
Random House publisher Bennett Cerf once said, “I’ve published any number of great writers, from William Faulkner to John O’Hara, but there’s only one genius on my authors list. His name is Ted Geisel.”
Have you been discouraged on your homeschool journey? Have you ever wondered if maybe this whole thing is a crazy idea? Have others told you this isn’t going to work? Two people? Five people? Twenty-eight people perhaps? Are you going to give up and quit? Or are you going to have another go at it tomorrow- like Theodor Seuss Geisel?
I would have given up after the first ten rejections I think. Certainly after twenty publisher’s rejections I would have concluded that I was never meant to be a writer. But not Geisel. He could see beyond today’s disappointments. But even Dr. Seuss never dreamed that his books would be in the hands of a QUARTER OF A BILLION readers someday.
We can never see the end when we’re in the middle. We have NO IDEA what the Lord wants to do with our lives or the lives of our children if we’ll just persist. Paul said in Ephesians 6:13 “… having done everything, stand.”
When it seems as if you’ve done everything in your power and it’s still not enough… stand. Don’t walk away. Don’t sit down. Don’t give up. Stand. Stand and watch what the Lord will do.
Gather your children today and read a Dr. Seuss book togther- and remember the extraordinary man who refused to take “no” for answer.
For more of Steve's reflections on life, faith, and homeschooling, go to his blog: http://homeschoolheaven.wordpress.com/
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The
more that you learn, the more places you'll go." --- Dr. Seuss
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
"It feels all sunny in my heart and not stormy."
Monday, September 21, 2009
Here at Graceland, we're obviously BIG about grace. It's changed my life. Set me free. Made all the difference in how I view God and those around me. I came across this post over at STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE, and I just had to share it. Here are the first few paragraphs:
Kanye West deserves less grace and forgiveness than I got.
I don’t know the exact amount, unfortunately the Bible’s not terribly clear on measurements. I mean sure, I know Goliath was six cubits and a span, everyone knows that, but when it comes to doling out grace, there’s not a clear form of measurement.
Is grace a liquid? In the songs people sing about God’s love it’s always in the form of water, “fall down like rain,” “wash over me,” etc.
So let’s say that Kanye West deserves one less gallon of grace and forgiveness than I got.
Or maybe a jug. It’s hard to say what the precise amount is but that’s what I was thinking when I heard he ruined Taylor Swift’s moment at the Video Music Awards. After he walked on stage, and interrupted the nervous teenager to tell her about another performer who deserved the award more than she did, a few thoughts popped up. I didn't think about the whole situation a lot, on the Jon scale of thought I gave the incident more time than Salt and Vinegar Pringles but less than the new season of "So You Think You Can Dance." But here's what ran through my head:
“Kanye West always does that. He’s got a history of doing that kind of thing.”
“Kanye West probably did that on purpose, it was staged. He planned it.”
“Kanye West just wounded a teenager, a kid, that is horrible.”
“Anyone who supports him is dumb.”
“He’ll probably apologize but it won’t be real.”
And I felt pretty good hating on Kanye. I got a hit of that, “I’m not as bad as somebody else” drug. I felt better than him and told my wife the whole story with smugness.
I understand that feeling of smugness oh too well. To find out what the writer did with HIS smugness, read the rest of the post: http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/2009/09/619-offering-grace-and-forgiveness.html
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
The Spirit within me said "are you going to spare food for your daughter and not give God right at your door?" Joy came upon my spirit right then and I went to the kitchen and began to make juice and took all the slices of bread put it on a tray and went to give the old lady outside. Her eyes immediatetly brightened at the sight of food. I watched her eat as if she had not eaten in days. When she was done I cannot remember how many times she said "God bless you my son", "Thank you so much" with that shaking timid voice. I watched her as she stood up to leave, her body telling a story of shame as she moved. As she disappeared she left me with a picture of a miserable face that does not remember any joy. Here is someone that has lived a life of shame most of her life.
Friday, September 18, 2009
My sweet friend Drewe Llyn has given me permission to share an article she wrote at her blog PALMS OF HIS HANDS with you:
“Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me.”
Marshall Ramsey, editorial cartoonist for The Clarion Ledger and two time Pulitzer Prize finalist, recently made an appearance at our local library. His reading of Harold and the Purple Crayon and display of artistic ability were mesmerizing – well, maybe not for the intended audience of two and three year olds, but certainly for their parents. (And for people like me who no longer have young children but who happened to be at the library at the time.)
One by one children were invited to draw a random line on Mr. Ramsey’s large pad of blank paper which he then proceeded to incorporate into a magnificent drawing. Not a simple stick figure drawing, but a creative piece of art. One line became a space alien, another a dinosaur, and still another a fisherman catching the “big one”. I was a bit skeptical when one child produced a very curly line that looked like, well, a very curly line. (At least to my untrained eye.) Undaunted, the master artist transformed it into a baby elephant with its mother, the very curly line all but disappeared.
While it is not my desire to discredit the budding artists who aided Mr. Ramsey, I do know he didn’t need those child-drawn lines to create his artwork. The real skill wasn’t in the child’s contribution, but in the artist’s ability to take a random line he didn’t create or orchestrate and turn it into something captivating and fun to behold. He merely invited the children to participate in his creative endeavor.
۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞
God wants to make something beautiful on the blank pages of our lives, and for some unknown reason He invites His children to participate in this creative endeavor by giving them the crayon of free will. Sometimes that crayon produces clever, imaginative markings, and sometimes it produces down-right brutal ones. However, if we allow Him, God supernaturally incorporates all those lines into an original work of beauty. The fact that He uses the dark lines doesn’t mean He caused them. And it certainly doesn’t mean He needed them. We must remember that redeemed situations, just like redeemed squiggly lines, are a tribute to the Redeemer, not an endorsement for human failures. And when it comes to redemptive art work, God is the Master.
© Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2009
 “Papa”, a god-like figure, to Mack who had indeed experienced an unspeakable tragedy from The Shack.
 “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5
 “And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” Acts 17:25
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Today is the last day of "FORTY DAYS OF PRAYING WITH THE CHILDREN". The prayer focus is on the future generation of missionaries...those who will be willing to leave it all for the sake of HIS call:
What if God would call your children to be in missionary work? How would you feel about it? Could you give your blessing and support? Many missionaries can trace the first awareness their call to missions back to their childhood. Let’s pray for parents to be supportive of their offsprings’ calling and give not only approval, but undergirding as well.
“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.” - 1 Samuel 1:27-28 (NIV)
Name: Dan Ohlerking
Church/Business: Healing Place Church
Position: Online Pastor
Name of Spouse: Vicki
Name(s) of children: Tori, JD, Lincoln, Rhodes, Rhett
Facebook: Dan Ohlerking
Lord, please use MY children in any way You desire for Your glory and the sake of Your precious ones. Help me be willing to let go. Help me be brave and trust. Help me to raise them up in the way they should go. Give me discernment to guide and direct them. But most of all, give them ears to hear YOUR voice which is always perfect.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
On Day 39 of Children's Cup's FORTY DAYS OF PRAYING WITH THE CHILDREN, today's prayer focus is for those who God may be calling in a very particular way:
Maybe God is calling you to full time service as a missionary. We want to encourage you to seek God’s direction both in the Word, and in the doors that open or close for you. It’s fair to ask God for clear signals to answer yes to this huge and exciting calling. Today we want to pray for all who want to become career missionaries.
“I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” - Isaiah 45:2-3 (NIV)
Ben and Susan Rodgers, Children's Cup missionaries to Swaziland.
To read the rest of the post and watch the accompanying prayer video, go to: http://childrenscup.org/v2/fortydays/?p=295
I wanted to share with all of you my 14 year old daughter B's BIG news:
"OK, so for you who don't know, I was applying to go on a month long missions trip to Romania next Summer with the same organization that [my sister] went with to Swaziland, AIM. Well, I filled out the five-page long detailed application and sent it in about a week ago. This morning was my phone interview--yikes.
I'm ACCEPTED. Now, I have to fill out a BUNCH of paperwork but you know, whatever it takes to get me there.
So. My Mom wanted me to write this and I am.
Why I'm going to Romania: Because for a long time gypsies and specifically Europe have been on my heart so the fact that AIM offers this trip was like a dream come true to me. Plus, this is like God's will for me to do this. And it's Europe, which IS a bonus, I must admit.
What I will be doing: OK, I don't have many details but I DO know that we will be helping out at orphanages there (a large population of the children there are orphans) and playing soccer. That's pretty much all I know. For now. I will make sure to keep youa ll posted.
When I will be going: I will leave sometime in June for training camp and will be back in July. If you ask me, it's not long enough. But that's just me(;
So will you all please be praying for me? I'm going to need a lot of support and there are a lot of needs that have to be met to get me over there. Thank you so much!"
I am so excited for her. I can't wait to see what amazing things God is going to do in her life and through her life over the next 10 months!
Monday, September 07, 2009
As part of the FORTY DAYS OF PRAYING WITH THE CHILDREN, Children's Cup asks to focus in on the spiritual lives of the children that they minister to:
There are hundreds of little African lives to whom Children’s Cup is teaching the ways of Jesus. They are learning about his life and death and resurrection. Pray with us that they will not only give their hearts to Christ, but also to dedicate their lives to full-time service in God’s kingdom.
“‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’ ‘Ah, Sovereign LORD,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.’ But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.’” - Jeremiah 1:5-7 (NIV)
Photo is of A's AIM Ambassador teammate Mary at one of the Manzini Children's Cup carepoints. They spent several days with these children.
To read the rest of the post and see an accompanying prayer video, go to: http://childrenscup.org/v2/fortydays/?p=292
Sunday, September 06, 2009
On Day 37 of Children's Cup's PRAYING WITH THE CHILDREN, please pray especially for the children of overseas missionaries:
Although blessed with knowledge of other cultures, languages and lifestyles, MK’s are often the target of the enemy of all that is good, scheming to destroy the work of their parents and the MKs’ futures. They need special prayer covering.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” - Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
To see the full post for today and watch the accompanying prayer video, go to: http://childrenscup.org/v2/fortydays/?p=289
Saturday, September 05, 2009
On this, Day 36 of "FORTY DAYS OF PRAYING WITH THE CHILDREN", Children's Cup asks you to pray this way:
Today we are asking God to super-bless the businesses that support [Children's] Cup and the work we are doing with the little ones. May their companies grow in spite of the economy because of their faithfulness to sow into the lives of those less fortunate.
“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall.” - Isaiah 25:4 (NIV)
To read the entire post for today, visit: http://childrenscup.org/v2/fortydays/?p=287