Friday, August 31, 2007

Blogging Break

I think I may need to take a break for the next few days. I've got a few things around home that are needing my attention, and I don't have the time to devote to writing at the moment, and I'm not exactly overflowing with meaningful thoughts I'm ready to write about right now, anyway. I hope to back to blogging next week sometime, if I have anything more I want to say by then. Long weekend ahead, hope everyone enjoys it!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Random Thursday Thoughts Which Are Admittedly Quite Shallow

I’m wondering if perhaps I am supposed to stop drinking sweet tea. Yesterday after our Bible study, I took Boo to Chick-fil-A for lunch. Our meeting is over at 11:30ish and we live about 20 minutes from the church. If I drive all the way home, Boo usually falls asleep in the car, meaning she doesn’t get lunch before nap, and that throws off her whole day. So, usually I try to stop somewhere and eat lunch so she can eat before falling into that realm of deep baby sleep from which it is hard for her to awaken.

Anyway, yesterday none of the other ladies could go with us, so it was just Boo and me at the ol’ Chick-A-fil (someone in my dorm used to call it that and it has stuck with me ever since). While trying to maneuver the high chair with wheels in which Boo was sitting, and which I couldn’t park at the table while I was ordering lunch up at the counter because that would be irresponsible parenting since I couldn’t have seen her while I stood in the lunch rush line, and my precariously balanced tray, I lost my hold of my oh-so-wanted cup of sweet iced tea. It made quite a spectacle flying off the tray and kersplatting on the floor. I put my tray down on a nearby table and wheeled Boo in her high chair back up to the counter and got someone’s attention to let them know I’d made a huge wet mess of their floor, and by then I was too frazzled to ask for another cup. I just did without and apologized again when someone came out to mop up my mess.

And today, just now, I decided I’d pour myself a nice glass of iced tea to finish off my lunch (yes, I actually made it sweet with sugar this time – I don’t always and usually settle for Sweet-N-Low). This time I can’t blame Boo or her high chair since she’s down peacefully for her nap at the moment. Nope, this time it was just clumsy ol’ me. Anyway, I dropped the pitcher, knocking over the glass, and sweet tea cascaded over the counter, down the front of the dishwasher and into the floor, soaking my grocery list in the widening puddle across the counter. Two days in a row of sweet tea mop-a-pa-looza. Oh, well, the floor needed to be mopped today, anyway.

And while I’m musing away my lunch time, here’s a conundrum that could only plague a home with a packrat or two in residence. Why is it that at any given time in our home you might be able to find ticket stubs for a movie we watched 10 years ago, a brochure from the World Trade Center Twin Towers my husband picked up when he visited there in 1979 (and which he informs me is now a piece of history and I should be glad he’s hoarded, um, kept it all these years), any number of rocks of various sizes, drum sticks from high school marching band days (his, not mine), Hubby’s high school graduation video, matches from any restaurant a certain someone in our house has ever visited, newspaper articles that we cannot figure out why they were kept in the first place, and so on, YET (and here’s where it gets interesting) since moving into this house we cannot find several videos that we really liked, including some of the original Star Wars movies (before the new ones came out) and, wait for it….pause……deep breath of anticipation…..our wedding video?!!!

I have this sinking suspicion that we must have had all those videos in a bag that some good, kind, helpful member of the family took to Goodwill on one of the many runs there in the early days of purging of junk when we first moved in here. We had noticed the missing movies a while ago, and just the other day the boys and I went to see the wedding of a girl who had babysat for us once in a while, so they wanted to see our wedding video when we came home. That was when I discovered it is no where to be found in this house. At least, not that I have been able to discover yet. I suppose this is as good a time as any to put into practice holding lightly to material things. So, since we’ve been able to lose that without calamity befalling us, do you think I could go empty out all the ticket stubs, newspaper articles and the like?

On a positive note, my mother-in-law did tell me that she has a copy of the wedding video, so at least it is not completely gone.

And now, while Boo is still peacefully napping, I’m off to chip away some more at the spare room and try to bring it under control again….armed with many garbage bags.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Bad Poem

(My apologies to Dr. Seuss.....)

I am Mom.
Mom I am.
This Mom I am
This Mom I am
Such a job is Mom, yes, ma'am.

I love my job is what I say,
But please don’t notice my floors today.
There’s crushed up ‘Goldfish’
My feet have trod upon,
The remnants of Boo’s snacking dish.
She tossed them to our dog at dawn.

And please excuse our laundry mountain.
The basket flows over like a fountain.
Most got folded after lunch,
But still is left quite a bunch.

And if by chance you glimpse the playroom,
Please kindly avert your gaze from that gloom.
I’ve tried to keep it organized and neat,
But Mommy neatnik can’t quite compete
With pack rats and human tornadoes
(And, counting Daddy, we have four of those).

This afternoon when after school
We tackled homework, snack and drool
(The baby’s teething, please understand),
Son One had minor meltdown when assignment didn’t go as planned.
I talked him through it finally,
And Son One’s homework ended happily.
But only after learning this lesson:
When frustrated and angry, he needs a small break from the session.

Son Two was whisked off to practice football
By husband who hurried home to answer the call.
Then off to church for dinner we flew
And now all are home – Mom, Dad, boys and little Boo.
The kids are in bed and starting to sleep.
I don’t even hear one single peep.
The lunches are made for tomorrow’s enjoyment.
Did I mention I love my Mommy employment?

Though my house may not be as neat as a showplace,
It’s livable, comfortable, clean and there’s no place
I’d rather be than right here where I am
Being mom to these kids and wife to their Dad.
We’ll have plenty of time once these little people are grown
And the house is all quiet for the nest they have flown
For the house to be perfectly tidy and neat.
For now I’ll try to remember to greet
Each morning as one more fleeting moment I’m given
To hug them and love them and try not to be so driven
And thank God for the roles He’s allowed me to be.
What a blessing it is to be wife and mommy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Putting Away the Childish Things and Growing Up

The older I get, and yes, I’m aware that I’m not terribly old…yet…, and the more I grow in the faith, I’m finding that, typically, kids who grow up in Christian homes face a danger of being almost too comfortable with Christianity. I’ll try to explain what I mean, since I am one of those who did grow up in a Christian home and came to faith at a very young age. We are surrounded from before the time we are born with church and worship music and the talk of the Bible and Christianity. What a blessing that is! Unfortunately, so many of us don’t fully recognize what a wonderful blessing it is. I’m finding that there are dangers as well, and I want to remember this as I parent my children. It is helping me to focus how I pray for them.

We tend to almost be too casual about serious things, simply because they are so familiar. For the most part I was sheltered from much of the filth that is in the world, and that’s a good thing, I’m not complaining. And, by God’s grace, I was spared much of what we would say are “big” sins, though I want to be careful to note that I am aware that sin is sin in the eyes of God. Any sin mars me and separates me from holy God. Furthermore, we are born in sin. I am not downplaying the fact that all of us, every single one of us, has sinned and cannot reach God on our own merit, in fact we deserve hell. That is the wages of sin. What I mean is that since I came to saving faith young, I was spared much of what many people face by getting to young adulthood before coming to Christ. For this I am immensely grateful, there are not words enough to express. But there is a danger involved when we don’t realize how serious sin is personally. We can become too flippant and too casual with holy things simply because we’ve not really known anything different and they are so familiar.

I say all that to give this one example from my own life of something that I have recently done some thinking about. Maybe I’m being too serious again as I think about this, but this is where I am. Some of my Christian friends and I used to play this dorky little game in college when we would go out to eat or sit down together to have a meal, and I was recently reminded of it by someone I didn’t know back then but who had also played it. When we’d sit at the table, someone would, very quietly, without a word, put their thumbs up and sit quietly. As others noticed, they would quickly put their thumbs up. The last to notice and be left as the only one without thumbs up had to say the blessing before we ate. We all thought this was innocent and funny – I did, too. I played along and laughed as much as anyone, not thinking anything of it.

What’s wrong with that game, however, is that saying the prayer is seen as a penalty. The more I grow in the faith, the more I am becoming aware of what an awesome privilege prayer is. What a heavy price was paid so that we would have the inexpressible privilege to enter the throne room of Almighty God and present our petitions and praise. When we bow our heads to ask a blessing over our meal, which honestly is a gift in and of itself for which I’m learning to be immensely grateful, we are talking to the Holiest of All, the Supreme Lord of the Universe, our Creator and Lord. This is not a joke. I Peter 1:12 tells us the angels desire to look into these things (the gospel preached to us). We have been given something that we must not take lightly.

So, when someone asks who will pray, why is there so often the silence of crickets instead of all of us wanting to participate in the privilege? When a Bible teacher asks if anyone would like to open up the meeting in prayer and everyone quickly says, “Nope, you can do it,” what are we really saying? I understand not everyone is comfortable praying in public, but I’m concerned that we need to get past that and try to remember Who we are talking to. It shouldn’t matter to me what the people in the room think of my prayer. I’m not talking to them.

What an incredible privilege to pray. And know that in reading this, you are actually looking over my shoulder at a personal journal entry. I’m indicting myself here. I do not pray as I ought. How shamefully often I neglect the privilege, the indescribably immense and awesome privilege of praying to God. May I never joke about it again.

1 Corinthians 13:11-12 “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

Monday, August 27, 2007

Say What?

A dinner time conversation at my house earlier this evening:

Me to one of the boys: “This year you’ll actually have to do a science project. We should start thinking about what you want to do.

Drew: “Maybe we can ask your Grandad P. for ideas.”

Our son: “I could make a bomb!” Sigh. Yes, this is my child….

Drew: “No, you could go to jail for that.”

Our son: “How come?”

Drew and I explain about how they can’t bring weapons to school or even pretend to for various reasons. Long explanation I won’t go into for the sake of this post. And we also talked about how it would destroy other people’s property.

Other son: “But how can the Army make bombs if you’re never allowed to?”

Drew: “That’s different.”

Followed by more long explanations.

Drew: “Kids used to blow up toilets at schools sometimes.”

Much laughter by both boys.

Drew and I both sternly warned the boys that vandalism is a very bad thing.

One son: “What is that?”

Me: “Destroying other people’s property.”

One of the boys: “I thought ‘evandalism’ was a good thing.”

Me: “No, it’s bad.”

Then Drew looked at me and tried not to laugh. “Evangelism…..”

Me: “Oh! Evangelism is good – that’s telling people about Jesus. You’re right. Vandalism is wrong.”

Dinner at my house is interesting.

On second thought, ‘evandalism’ might be a fairly apt term for the damage we leave in our wake when we become so arrogant and full of ourselves that we hypocritically lose our compassion when dealing with those who are straying or lost spiritually or, on the other hand, when we are too undiscerning to recognize false teaching and allow it to run rampant in our churches and affect our own thinking because we are not grounded by a solid Biblical understanding of the truth. Just a thought.

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Job 19:25-27
“For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another,
How my heart yearns within me!”

What hope! What joy! I know that my Redeemer lives. Oh, Father, may my heart continue to yearn within me. May I never lose the hunger, the thirst, to know You and fall before Your throne. May I hold less tightly to the things of this world that cannot satisfy the deepest yearning of my heart, and that is to know You and live for You. I know this, but I fall so short, Lord. Let everything I do be for Your glory. When I clean the floors, when I cook the dinner, when I wipe a tear, Oh, Jesus, let the my love for You be so overwhelming that it spills over into love for others! Let me love them for the joy of loving YOU! Fill me to overflowing with the joy of the LORD which is my strength.

I KNOW that my Redeemer lives! I know that You, Jesus, are ever interceding for me at the right hand of the Father. Because You live, I have hope. Because You live, I am washed clean by the blood You shed. You are my hope, the hope that anchors my soul. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my Redeemer. Let me be a wife, mother, neighbor, friend, citizen, church member, daughter, whatever role You place me in, who will give praise and honor to You, because I have this hope, this earnest expectation, that my faith is not a blind faith! You have given Your Word that I might know You. You have given Your Son that I might be made right with You. And though today I see through a glass darkly, one day, one day! I will see God. Today I bow before You in my limited sight, but one day, I will know as I am known and bow in Your very presence and worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This is my hope!

I know that my Redeemer lives. Blessed be the Name of the Lord. When times seem easy, Lord, let me choose now, this day, that as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord in the easy and the difficult times, for I know there will be trials. I have seen and tasted Your faithfulness and mercy and kindness in past trials, let me determine now to hold firm, please grant me the faith that perseveres, so that I will be faithful to count it all joy when trials come, knowing I can only hold firm because You will never let me go. Let me determine today that I know that my Redeemer lives, and I want to desire You as the deer pants for the water. My thirsty soul will be satisfied even when the desert threatens to overwhelm. When feelings betray me and darkness threatens to fill my mind, I KNOW that my Redeemer lives! You are the Lord of even my thoughts. Turn my affections to You alone and please grant me the will and the energy to do what needs to be done today.

How my heart yearns within me!

Friday, August 24, 2007

That Will I Seek

M has a little toy kitten that he lost a while back. We have been looking for “Gray Kitty” for months. We’ve looked in the toy box, the dress up box, M’s dresser, behind all the furniture, everywhere we can think of. He has a habit of putting Gray Kitty in things like boxes, drawers, bags, backpacks, etc. and forgetting that he has done so. Anyway, I am beginning to work on the playroom (again…sigh….) and get it organized, and that was really our last hope for finding Gray Kitty. I just had run out of ideas about where to look.

Until today. And I wasn’t even looking for it. I was going through Boo’s closet and taking out clothes she has outgrown and organizing the blankets she had pulled out and spread all around the floor of the closet. While folding the blankets and deciding what could go in the give away bag, I found her little spare diaper bag, which I haven’t looked at in a long time. I don’t know why I decided to look inside it, but, lo and behold, when I did, there was Gray Kitty. Right where it had been all these months we’ve been tearing apart the house looking for it.

I am beside myself. I cannot wait to see M’s face when I give it back to him and tell him it’s been found! In fact, I’ve been trying to call Drew at work and tell him just so I can share the joy that we’ve finally found the thing that’s been lost.

I got to thinking. If I, as a very imperfect parent, have this much joy in restoring this little, unimportant toy to my son, how much more joy does our Heavenly Father have in giving His very important and very good gifts to His people?

Matthew 7:7-14 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 27:4 “One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.”

For those who, by faith in Jesus Christ, are on the narrow way which leads to life, God graciously turns our desires from the empty, vain pursuits that are the best treasure this world has to offer to the fullness of joy that comes in knowing and serving and loving Jesus. As I grow in faith and learn what He has revealed about Himself in His word and learn to delight in Him, He will give me the desires of my heart. When my chief joy is in glorifying Him, when I learn to seek Him as the treasure of all treasures, He grants me the supreme joy of knowing Him and fellowshipping with Him and worshiping Him. In fact, He delights to do so. He has granted me the inexpressible gift of grace that I might be reconciled to Him and brought from darkness into His marvelous light. As I seek Him, I will find Him. Because, of all the gifts He could give, the greatest gift of all is Himself. To know Him and be known by Him, to belong to Christ and find my joy in Him, this is the greatest and most precious gift of all. What an incredible thought!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Blogger by Any Other Name.....

A meme! Just the thing to postpone blog apathy, blogger’s block (as in writer’s block), blog slump or whatever it is that is threateningly looming over my blog horizon and is making coming up with a coherent post rather difficult. So, thank you, Elle at A Complete Thought, for something bloggable today, and thank you, too, for giving the green light to the word bloggable.

Well, I am to post these rules before starting, so here they are:


1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.

4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My middle name is Elizabeth. Hmmm…relevant facts, a rather long name and a brain that is melting into mush in the heat and humidity that have settled over our area like, well, like some kind of steamy and oppressive wall of invisible cloud of barely breathable water/air. By the way, my Yahoo mail apparently has forgotten where I live because it is giving me a “local” temperature of 61 degrees today. Maybe if I stuck my head in the freezer for a few minutes it might feel that cool today, but it’s definitely much, much hotter than that here this morning.

Anyway, on with the meme. How to come up with relevant, yet interesting facts for the letters in Elizabeth…..

E…Elated and exhausted were just two of the many, many emotions I experienced at the birth of each of our three children.

L…Learning to like living in the Low Country, or the Slow Country as I’ve been known to call it on occasion.

I…Ice cream is one of my favorite things…mint chocolate chip, pistachio, or vanilla with caramel sauce being just some of my favorite flavors.

Z…”Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” is a song that often gets stuck in my head. I don’t know why, but it really does.

A…Amazed by God’s grace. Truly, there are no words to fully express how awesome He is and how very undeserving I am. There are not enough words to sing His praise.

B…Blogging has become a fun past time, needed outlet for thoughts, and sometimes a little too time consuming. I can’t tell you how often I think about quitting when I realize I’ve let it take up too much time or when I fear I’ve run out of things to say or, on the other hand, when I find I've said too much.

E…Elephantine is the size my thighs will be if I don’t spend less time sitting at the computer and more time exercising. I have done fairly well at changing my eating habits, but I need to find a way to fit in more exercise.

T…Thinking is something I sometimes do too much of. And sometimes I wish I would think a little more before opening my big, fat mouth. Sometimes I talk too much. (Talk starts with ‘T’ also.)

H…Hungry is what I am. It is time to finish this and go have my little salad and hummus (another ‘H’ word!) for lunch.

Thanks, Elle, for the tag. This was fun! I do not think I can come up with 8 people to tag for this! (I didn’t count the ‘E’ twice or it would be nine!!) I’m wimping out on rule #4 and saying this: If you read this post and want to play along, please do! Leave me a comment so I’ll know you joined in the fun.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Linking to Good Reading

I have a lot of thoughts I'm working through, but nothing blogable just yet (is "blogable" a word?). I'm digesting some of what I'm reading in Desiring God, and, though I'm not sure I'll blog about it in detail since I'm not all that great at doing "book reviews" per se, I'm very glad I'm getting to read this book and I am appreciating how it points my thinking to a higher view of God.

Since I'm having a hard time writing anything myself today, here are some posts I've appreciated recently.

This one from Sojourner is along the same lines as I'm thinking, but ever so much better than I could have expressed it, and I notice Lisa has linked to it as well.

This is the first part of a four part series on prayer from Pulpit Magazine that I really appreciated. Start with the post I linked and read all four posts, they are all good.

And this post about praying for the lost is also a must read.

And this one about growing up Christian was also something that hit close to home for me. I grew up in a Christian home and am now raising children in one, and I can relate to the things discussed in this post. Definitely food for thought as we seek to be wise parents and as I examine my own heart.

Two from Team Pyro this week that were especially meaningful to me are this one and very much this one. The second is probably the best post I've read from anyone in a while.

And Carla has a good post about something that is a sore spot for me, too.

So, thanks for joining me on my Wednesday walk around some interesting blogs.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

And They're Back

The boys went back to school yesterday. Poor J is so much like me. I try very hard not to let the boys know about my back to school anxiety. Sure I shared it here on the blog, but I try not to share it with them. But J’s a lot like me. He can know all the right things and know that it’s going to be fine and that he actually really likes being there, but those anxious feelings are in the pit of his stomach anyhow. I can relate, son, really and truly, I can. Anyway, J had a hard time eating breakfast yesterday, but he braved it out and went anyway with no complaints. I’m proud of him.

Boo and I had a very quiet morning together, and I really think she misses her big “brubbies.” She was a little cranky and out of sorts, and I think she misses the noise and rowdiness her brothers bring to her day. When they came home in the afternoon, she was wired and ready to play with them. It was really cute. She just loves her big brothers.

When the boys got in the car after my 30 minute wait in car line (I’ve never had a 30 minute wait in car line before, where did all these people come from?), both were beaming. It’s going to be a good year, and J is happy to be back with his teacher and friends and getting into the routine again. And M is thrilled that all the first grade classes go to recess at the same time so his buddies who didn’t end up in the same class this year are on the playground with him. Hooray!

I took them to Sonic after school for a treat. I told them they could have a slush or a soda, whatever they wanted. You know what they both requested? Diet Coke with Vanilla. Go figure. They are their mommy’s boys.

M showed me something he had colored and written at school once we got home. Remember how I complained that his kindergarten teacher was convinced that he didn’t have the fine motor skills to write and color well last year? And I kept realizing that he has them, he just doesn’t see the need or point to color neatly or write in the lines. Well, these papers he showed me were excellent. I said, “M., you did such a nice job on these. I’m so proud of you!” He beamed and said, “Yes, I didn’t want my new teacher to be upset that I couldn’t do it.” Sweet.

I don’t have a deep theological truth to garner from all this, but I am thankful for the blessing of two boys who are smart and ready to learn, and I’m thankful for the blessing of a good education. I’m also very thankful for the privilege we have to be their parents, and I continue to pray for wisdom as we help them to navigate the public education world. And I pray we will be diligent as we continue teaching them at home at every opportunity, knowing they are learning from all we say and do – good or bad.

All in all, yesterday was a good day, and I’m grateful.

J and Drew as once again we catch J in mid-blink. And yes, that is Boo and me in the background.

M and Drew.

Must put the backpack in the new cubby!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

To Desire God

Isaiah 26:3
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Psalm 63:1-2
“O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.”

I still struggle with my stress and anxiety over the whole back-to-school time of the year. I mentally beat myself up often over what we should have done this summer that we didn’t and just wishing I were a different kind of mom than I am. But, I also know that most of those stressy and depressed feelings are lies. I love my kids and do want the best for them. And we are teaching them the things that matter. When I struggle with these kinds of feelings, I’m trying to remember to fix my mind on my God, who is the God of peace. He loves these kids even more than I do, and He will give me the wisdom and compassion to be the mom He has called me to be.

I have just started reading Desiring God by John Piper. I’ve heard so many people talk about it and about John Piper, but I had never actually read anything by him. So, when Desiring God Ministries had their two day online book sale, I ordered 4 books, and they came about a week ago. I can already tell that what I’m reading is going to be very good. It is good to begin thinking deeply about the fact that our chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. If I really, truly believe that I can enjoy God, in fact that my chief and only satisfaction is found in glorifying Him, what a difference that will make in how I live. What a difference it should make in how I witness to others and pray for the lost!

I am also reading a little book called The Cross He Bore by Frederick S Leahy. Thank you to Doug, a.k.a. Gojira for sending us this four volume set of books by Leahy and published by Banner of Truth. I am using the first book as more of a devotional and reading it through slower than I sometimes do because these kinds of books take more thought than a novel would. This book of meditations on the sufferings of the Redeemer is also helping me to think deeply on how great a Savior Jesus is. What a great and awesome and mighty God we serve!

How I long to grow in my desire to delight in God, purely for the fact that He is God. He is worthy of all praise and honor and glory. How I pray I will grow more and more to live like I really believe this! Because I do believe this. And I want to have such a hunger and thirst for His righteousness that I cannot help but have a compassion for the people around me who do not know Him and so desperately need a Savior. In our women’s study on Wednesdays, we are reading about Paul, and yesterday I read again his speech to the Athenians about the “Unknown God.” What a passion he had to open his mouth and tell everyone he encountered about the Lord of All, Jesus, the King of all kings. I pray that this kind of passion will grow in my heart, too, as I learn to really love God for Who He is, in all His glory.

Friday, August 17, 2007

This is Funny and Sweet

I saw this over at Lux Venit and just had to share it. It's hysterically funny, but, be careful, you just may tear up at the end.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Our Incredible Shrinking Dog

One of the funniest things about being a dog owner is how easy it is to mess with the dog’s mind. Our poor Oliver is convinced he’s shrinking. He used to sleep on our bed every night, and he could easily jump up on the bed with a running start. A few months ago, we bought a new mattress, and it is several inches thicker than our old one. This means the bed is a little higher than it used to be.

The first time Oliver tried to jump up on the new bed, I felt so bad for laughing at him, but it was just so funny when he confidently leapt up and was bounced right back down and he rolled backwards when he fell. Nothing but his pride was hurt. He looked at that bed with a confused expression on his face and then moped out to the living room. It was so sad. He has since figured out that he can get up on the bed, but it takes a few tries and some big leaps, so most nights he just doesn’t bother and has started sleeping on the couch.

Last night he tried again to jump up on our bed. He was repelled completely on the first attempt, and was about to slink out of the room when D patted the side of the mattress and said, “Come on, Buddy, you can do it.” Oh, that’s another thing, he probably doesn’t know if his name is Oliver or Buddy since Little Buddy became his nickname soon after we brought him home. He pretty much answers to both.

Anyway, Oliver sat by the bed and growled at it a little while after the first attempt last night, then he took a running leap and tried again. This time he got his front paws up there, but gravity won out and pulled his hind end back to the floor. He growled at the bed some more and at D, who was laughing at him by this time. Then he tried one more time, and got more of the front end on the bed and D helped him by pushing his back legs up the rest of the way. Oliver was quite offended by this and growled at D some more before curling up and going to sleep.

So, Oliver is convinced he’s shrinking because it used to be so easy to make that leap and now his people are laughing at him. He’s quite put out with us.

This is a picture of him this morning. Notice how he looks like he's sleeping and lazing around, but his ear is up so he can listen for interesting sounds, like food being put in his bowl or the back door opening. He actually lasted the whole night on the bed last night, and I had to make the bed around him this morning because Sir Oliver just wasn’t moving for me. I think he must have thought he’d earned the right to sleep in and stay there since it cost him so much pride to get there in the first place. Then again, he’s probably just comfortable. I don’t think he really thinks much further than, “Breathe in, breathe out, give me some food, I’m hungry, and so, which of you people is going to open the door and let me out so I can come back in and have a treat?” He has us trained well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blogging Maintenance

I'm doing some maintenance around the blog. That may end up in some posts being republished or taken down for editing. Sorry if this ends up reposting on Google Reader or whatever. If you're reading through one of those kinds of services, you'll probably just want to mark all as read since I'm not planning on writing anything new tonight. I've said before that one reason I have angst about blogging is that the personal nature of the writing makes it hard sometimes not to share more than I probably should, especially about things that are very near to my heart. Every once in a while I go back and look over the blog and re-evaluate. And the more I think about it, the more I'm really thinking I need to use my draft folder more often and not post things right after writing them since it's just about impossible to completely delete things once they have been posted. I'll get the hang of this blogging thing one of these days....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy, happy birthday to my wonderful husband today. I love you, Drew.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Morning at Walmart(s)

We were planning to go to Walmarts (when in the south, talk like you’re southern) yesterday afternoon, but when the time came, Drew and I decided we just didn’t feel like dealing with Walmarts that afternoon. He decided he’d rather mow the yard in the 150+ degree weather and I decided I didn’t really want to cart Boo around our favorite (cough, cough) store by myself, so we decided to go out to breakfast today and run over to Walmarts right after breakfast when it would still be less crowded than it would have been yesterday afternoon. (Now that I live in this southern drawl state, I seem to be excelling in run-on sentences, as well. My high school writing teacher would be appalled.)

So, anyway, it turns out that it is providentially a good thing that we made that decision, for in the mail yesterday afternoon were the letters we have been anxiously awaiting from the boys’ teachers for next year with the list of school supplies. Sweet! Only one trip needed to Walmarts rather than two back to back! And, we are extremely pleased that M was placed with the teacher we requested and J is with the teacher he had last year who is looping up to third grade with her class, and who we absolutely love. So, back-to-school supply shopping is completed (too bad it is the weekend after tax free weekend, but we just won’t go there today), and I think I’m feeling less angst about back to school now that it is. There is something soothing about seeing packages of brand new pencils, new and better backpacks, new lunch boxes and notebook paper, crayons and markers. Ahhh. I think we’re ready, now.

And on that note, I’ll wish everyone a good weekend. Spend the Lord’s day with His people, worshipping His great Name together!

Oh, by the way, that reminds me. My husband is the Sunday School director at our church, and we are revamping our whole curriculum, from babies through adults. He has been having many meetings with the pastor as we wade into new territory and break away from strictly Lifeway stuff. We just ordered the Desiring God for children for preschool and elementary ages and are looking for what to do for the youth. Drew found this online. Has anyone used it? Do you know anything about it? Do you like it? Is it handled biblically accurately? We like the premise of a 6 year plan to teach youth the Bible more comprehensively than just as isolated stories and how our faith informs our life and actions. Please leave me a comment if you know anything about this curriculum. We are in the process of researching and would like some input. Thank you!

Okay, now enjoy the weekend!

Friday, August 10, 2007

School Days, School Daze

It must be that time of year again. I can always tell when it is back to school time, or time for midterms or finals. The dreams start and they are always some variation of one of three types of dream. None of them are pleasant. Usually they start out with a dream about me either forgetting something important (like brushing my hair, wearing shoes or some other item of clothing) and trying desperately throughout the school day to have time to get back home and fix the situation. I had that one last night. Usually this progresses to some kind of dream about needing to get to my locker and either not being able to get it open or not having time to get there and to the next class before the bell rings. This progresses to me sitting in a class and realizing that we have finals in a day or two and I’ve forgotten all about one of my classes, have never attended it, can't even find the classroom, and it is too late to drop the class so I’ll have to take the final with no clue about what I’m supposed to know.

These dreams vary in the details, sometimes I’m still in high school, sometimes in college, and usually some weird combination of both. In the dream last night, I was the age I am now, but trying to get acclimated to a new year of high school, and in the dream this was all understandable.

These are not happy dreams. I wake up in a panic, just like I did at 4am today. I cannot in this format describe the emotional distress that is a part of these dreams, and just describing the dream doesn’t convey it.

I did very well in school, made good grades, and none of these dreams have bearing on my real life experience, except for the emotional turmoil going on in my own mind. That was real all through school, though I did a pretty good job of suppressing it and continuing on. I tended to overwork myself and feel that I had never studied enough. This intensified in college, so much so that, looking back, I realize that I didn’t really allow myself to enjoy college much at all. I did like football season and going to different activities, but I was so stressed about the reason I was there, my studies, that I never really let myself make those lasting friendships that I hear so many people talk about. And I regret that. I regret that I wasn’t as good a friend as I should have been to my roommates and that I didn’t get more involved with the church and campus groups I tried to be part of. It didn’t help that the major I chose ended up not being what I’m suited to. On the flip side, I did meet my husband while in college, and that is something I’m extremely grateful about.

It has been a whopping 18 years since I graduated from high school, and 14 since I graduated from college. Doesn’t matter. The dreams keep reminding me what time of year it is. When I tried to go back to school and finish my master’s degree for Speech Pathology, I was in a program which allowed me to work in the public school as a speech pathologist in training with a licensed mentor as my supervisor who came in about once a week to advise me. I threw up every single morning before going to work. I lost a lot of weight that semester, but I wouldn't recommend that diet plan to anyone. I finally, after many tears and prayers and the full support of my loving husband, quit the school job in October and finished that semester and walked away from my chosen area of study. Maybe, someday, I’ll write a post about that. Maybe not.

I have often thought about going back to school to study something else one day when the kids are older. I know that one day, when they are out of the nest, I’ll probably want a job. Granted, that’s a long, long way away at the moment, but I’ve thought about it. Every single time I think about having to write essays and get back into a classroom setting, the nausea I experience is real enough to put me off food for hours.

I am so, so, so glad I don’t need a Master’s degree to be Wife and Mommy. That is my real calling, and I’m extremely thankful for a husband who sees that and honors it and loves me unconditionally. What a blessing he is.

At the risk of entering dangerous waters, remembering that this blog is a personal journal of my own journey, not a soapbox to try to impose my struggles over this topic on anybody else, I say that this is also one of the many reasons we are not homeschooling at the moment. I admire families who do it well. I really do. I understand that many families feel a real calling to home education, and that’s wonderful, and I’m glad that the barriers to this are becoming less and less. We do not feel that calling. When I read about all the curriculum decisions and see pictures of very organized shelves and hear wonderful stories about how great it is, I’ve often felt that I am something less of a mom because, at this season of my life, I just do not have that desire. In fact, when I’ve seriously thought about could we do it, should we do it, I’ve gotten physically sick to my stomach thinking about taking on the day-to-day business of teaching math and English and science and etc.

I do not have those sick feelings about teaching them the Bible and our worldview, and I am aware that with them in public school I really need to be on top of knowing what they are learning there. I also know that we need to be paying very close attention and trusting the Lord each year that if we need to pull them out we will be able and willing to do so. But, right now, we have them where we do after praying and considering that decision carefully from many angles.

In our real life, we have known people who are so very convinced that homeschooling (as well as some other disputable matters) is the only viable option for Christian families we literally have felt emotionally beat up over this issue. This is a matter for each family to decide with much prayer and consideration. I long for the day when we will all be gracious to each other on this issue and build each other up rather than the opposite. And I’m not saying this in response to anything from my blogging friends – most of those discussions have been very gracious - but from things we’ve faced in our real life situation here. We Christians should all agree that training up our children in the Lord is of vital importance. It is extremely important that we teach them God’s word and teach them how His redemptive plan is woven throughout His word as a comprehensive work and that our faith and doctrine must inform how we live each day for God’s glory. How we do so is something we, as parents, are accountable to our Lord about. I do not take this lightly.

I hope I won’t regret having shared all that, but it is where I am right now, and it’s something I’m thinking about, with the beginning of school on August 20 bearing down upon us and my vivid dreams gearing up again.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Are We Really Surprised?

Saw this headline at FOX News today: Educational Videos May Not Make Baby Brainy, Study Finds.

No offense to anyone, but my first reaction was, "Well, duh!" I've always been suspicious of the idea that plopping my little baby in front of one of those videos would make them any smarter than good, old-fashioned interaction with Mom and Dad. People have tried to convince me how great they are since J was little, and I didn't buy into it. I'd rather not start the TV habit during babyhood, thank you very much. They tend to get hooked too young as it is, in my humble opinion. 'K. Rant over. Going on with my Wednesday now.

A Greeting Card That Made Me Think

Well, here I go again. I guess some people will say I'm being too serious, but here goes.

We saw a greeting card the other day, and in it was printed a scripture reference. I have no idea what version was used because it wasn’t listed anywhere, but here’s what was printed on this card we were looking at: “Your inner self, a gentle and quiet spirit, is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:4

Hmmmm. I read that and thought, that doesn’t sound right. Is that really what that verse says?

So, I looked it up in the New King James that I use at home. What I found is that you really cannot read that verse as a stand alone without verse three.

Here’s 1 Peter 3:3-4: “3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

And I looked it up in a few other translations.

Here it is in the NASB:

3Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;

4but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

And the NIV:

3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

And the ESV:

3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

And the KJV:

3Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

After reading several different versions, I kind of wonder if whoever decided on what would be printed in the card took part of the NIV version and just put in the words that fit what they wanted to say. At any rate, what is there and referenced as 1 Peter 3:4 isn’t exactly what that verse says, and that’s the point I’m making. One thing that really rankles me is when a paraphrase of a verse is given a reference with no notation that it’s just a paraphrase and not the actual verse. There weren't even any ellipses to indicate the missing words.

The paraphrase pretty much puts too much focus on me – like my inner spirit is just precious in and of itself. Reading the verse in context shows that the real point is that we are not to focus so much on outward appearance that we neglect the more important thing of cultivating that character of a gentle and quiet spirit – that is to be our most precious adornment. I’m precious to God because I’m bought with the costly shedding of Christ’s blood, not because my inner self is naturally gentle and quiet. Though the difference is subtle, there is a difference. Context is important.

Why do I even bother to bring this up? Am I just being nitpicky, as I sometimes fear I might be, and as I’m often told I am? I’m bringing it up because it got me to thinking about how important it is to be discerning when scripture is used to make a point. I am aware that the point of the card was to be encouraging, and no, I don’t go around and nitpick every card I read, but this one just stuck out to me as a strange use of the verse listed. But my point is, if you read or hear a scripture reference being used to make a point, and it doesn’t sound right, look it up and search it out for yourself. It’s important to read the Bible for ourselves and hide its words in our hearts and to pray for wisdom and discernment so that we will recognize when something doesn’t sound quite right. This is especially important when listening to Bible teachers. Just because a famous preacher or teacher says something, doesn’t mean we should just blindly accept it without doing our own study of the Word. There are a lot of people teaching things on TV, radio, blogs, and in some churches that don’t line up with the full counsel of the word of God, and if we aren’t spending time on our own opening that word and praying about what we’re reading, we won’t recognize it when something doesn’t sound right.

And context is important. We can’t just pull out a verse and say it means what we want it to mean. Even worse, we can’t just pick the words we want out of a verse and make it say what we want it to say. Its meaning is determined by its context.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

As the Heat Wave Continues and the South Swelters...

I’m sure my little weather updates are boring as all get out to you, my kind and friendly readers. But, ya’ll, it is 102 degrees in the sun today. I don’t know what the heat index is, 150 degrees maybe? :^) We’ve lived here 3 ½ years, and it took my in-laws moving here to learn one of the best kept secrets in town. My father-in-law, especially, is quite good at finding out these kinds of things. There is a county-owned, indoor swimming pool behind the high school. It is the pool the high school swim team uses to practice, but the important thing about it is that it is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC daily. For $30/month I bought a family pass today and Boo and the boys and I spent the afternoon in this very clean, not very crowded, very large swimming pool. Cool. Literally.

Gram and Grandad surprised us and showed up, too, and also offered to take the boys home with them to spend the night. So, when Boo got cranky for need of a nap, I left with her and swung through Sonic for a large sweet tea. Did you know that Sonic has half price drinks from 2pm to 4pm? Sweet. Literally.

Perhaps, since the boys are otherwise occupied this afternoon, I will be able to get in a serious post in a little while. Those may be a little sporadic for a couple more weeks until school starts. Now that we’ve learned the little secret of the very large pool, we’ll be spending many afternoons there, I’m sure.

By the way, Carla has a really good post up today about unplugging. I especially like the comments she makes about how young people in general almost can’t stand to not have noise. I noticed once when I was outside during the middle of the day that, for once, for just a moment, I couldn’t hear any human invention type noise – no motors, no radios, no cars, just the bugs and the quiet. It was really nice until the neighbors who can’t be outside without music going cranked up their radio. I have gotten to where I climb the walls if music or TV is on too long around the house. Sometimes quiet is just nice. But our kids are so used to music, video games, noisy toys, and all the electronic gadgets, even from early on that silence is almost threatening to some. My kids hardly even know how to play outside like we used to. And it doesn’t help that none of the other neighborhood kids are out, either. Anyway, it’s an interesting post.

Monday, August 06, 2007

It's Hot: A Monday Update

So, we did go to the park, and managed to stay for all of 20 minutes. Even with the breeze off the river, it’s just hot, hot, hot. The car thermometer said it was 100 degrees on the way home. We stopped at Sonic and got root-beer floats. That kind of heat just lends itself to an ice cream stop on the way home. And, apparently I do not have enough to do (ha, ha!) if I'm blogging about it. Actually, I'm avoiding cleaning up the supper dishes while the boys are taking showers. Guess I'd better make this quick.

The thermometer sensor we have out on the shed is reading 118 degrees on the reader we have in the house. That just can’t be right. I’m wondering exactly where on the shed my husband put that sensor, anyway. I suppose if it’s up on the black shingles directly in line of the afternoon sun it could register that kind of heat. Or, maybe that’s the heat index with our approximately 180 per cent humidity factored in? (Perhaps I exaggerate, but not much…..) Anyhow, the humidity is high enough that I might as well not have bothered with my hair and makeup this morning.

Life in the south. I’m grateful for AIR CONDITIONING!! Can you imagine living here and working here before that??? We’re so spoiled. So, I’m also grateful I live now and not then. For a lot of reasons. Okay, enough griping about the heat and the south and August in general. Oh, and I’m thankful for ice water – in it’s various forms, plain or tea – with buckets and buckets of ice. Must go rehydrate again…..

Random, Non-Important Monday Musings

Two different people stumbled across my blog the other day by searching for “how to make sweat tea.” Eww. Gross. I think “sweet tea” was probably meant, but, just, ewww……

(By the way, the key to good sweet tea is to put in the sugar (how much depends on taste, whether you just want it sweet or downright Southern-style syrupy) while the tea is still hot, stir well to dissolve the sugar, then chill it. Just in case anyone is interested.)

And on to other random musings of the day:

You can tell you are a mom of boys when your normally queasy stomach has become much more ironclad in what you can handle during a lunchtime conversation.

Note: if you’re one of the more queasy-stomached (i.e. not a mother of sons), you probably will want to stop reading now.

Anyway, while eating reheated leftover lasagna for lunch today, J had a fly die and land on his plate. We’ve had a time keeping our home housefly free this summer, and every time I kill one, two more fly in the minute we open a door. So, this fly just up and landed, dead, on his plate. Gross.

But not as gross as the discussion that followed. J went on and on and on about maggots, and how they grow to be flies and how in a book we once read about a boy in the 1700’s and his experience on a sailing vessel and a man who took a bullet to his leg and developed gangrene and maggots infested it and finally they had to amputate. Yes, I did read that book to them, and it was interesting and led to a fascinating discussion about modern medicine versus the 1700’s and the wonderful development of antibiotics. But I really had to end the discussion as I looked at the lasagna growing colder and colder on my plate because I couldn’t eat it and talk about maggots and gangrene at the same time. And, unfortunately, when J gets excited about a topic, he has a hard time letting it go, so, suffice it to say, I’m sticking to the diet today, no problem.

And that’s my Monday so far. Maybe we’ll get to go to the park after Boo finishes her nap. These kids need to go outside and run around a while.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Baptizing Them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Our oldest son was baptized today. Before he was baptized, the pastor had J give a verbal confession of his faith in Christ before the church. This was a good day!

In the car on the way home this afternoon, J said that he has been looking forward to today for a long time. Then he said, “Today is the best day of my life.” He first professed faith in Christ after talking with us at home a couple of years ago, and we have been teaching him and talking to him and waiting for the Holy Spirit to lead him to take this next step of faith. A few weeks ago, while Drew was away with his Army duty, J kept asking me during a Sunday morning service when he could be baptized and I finally asked him why he thought he wanted to. He said that he wanted to say publicly that he believes in Jesus. I asked him to talk to me after church, but he seemed so sure and so wanting to go forward that morning that I finally told him that if he believed it is time then he should go forward and talk to the pastor at the end of the service, and I would walk up with him. We have been talking with him so much that I realized that if this was true conviction, I needed to encourage him to obey. He did! We waited until his daddy was home to have the baptism, and that was today. My mom and dad drove up from Florida, Drew's brother came from North Carolina and Drew's parents were there, too.

I am thrilled to see J take this important step of faith and express publicly his faith in Christ. I pray that we will continue to disciple him wisely and continue to faithfully lead M and R to Jesus as well. What a blessing today has been!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

It's Saturday, and I Don't Have Much to Blog About Today

Why, yes, Mom, you did leave the baby powder where I could reach it. It was quite fun, thank you very much!

The boys have discovered Chess. It's a quiet pasttime, and it exercizes their brains. Not bad.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Direction of My Life

Psalm 86:8-13
“Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord;
Nor are there any works like Your works.
All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And shall glorify Your name.
For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.

Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore,
For great is Your mercy toward me,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”

I’ve noticed in my surfing around different blog conversations that it seems like discussions of our liberty in Christ always seem to focus on justifying how far we can go in looking and sounding like the world. I wonder what would happen if instead of flirting around with how much like the culture and how worldly we are at liberty to be we started looking at it the other way and focusing on how holy we are at liberty to be. Hmmm. The more I’m reading and hearing and seeing from the conversations that work so hard to justify certain language and behavior, the more I’m wondering this. Weren’t we told to be holy as He is holy? Not from a legalistic, pharisaical, prideful motivation – I don’t think I need to go around casting stones or making it my mission in life to look for faults in people who also claim to be servants of Christ. We are not reconciled to God by our good works, but through faith in Christ's righteousness alone. But when we are are trusting in Christ, we are saved from bondage to sin and freed to live for God’s glory. On matters of conscience, I think we should be full of grace, not legalism, understanding that we who claim the name of Christ all answer to Him and seek to have a clear conscience before Him. We are servants of Jesus, and only He knows our hearts.

But because we are clothed in His righteousness and are being conformed to the nature of the One who has redeemed us, shouldn’t the direction of our lives be toward holiness? Isn’t that what sanctification is all about? By the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, moving ever in the direction of the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount – poor in spirit and hungering and thirsting after righteousness and all the rest, seeking first His Kingdom. If we’re spending much time trying to justify behavior that honestly isn’t holy, we’re really wasting time, in my opinion, and sometimes I think some people protest too much, if you get my meaning. If we seek to live lives that are above reproach, do we have to waste much time justifying the language we use or the entertainments we enjoy? While we are living in the world and enjoying the good things that God has allowed us to enjoy, we must still hold lightly to the things of this world and seek first His Kingdom. We are to be in the world, yes, but not of it. There should be a noticeable difference in those who have been redeemed and washed in the blood of Christ.

The more I read and study the Bible and spend time in prayer, the more I’m wanting to echo what the Psalmist says here. Our God is holy. He alone is God. All the nations He has made will worship and glorify Him. I want to walk in HIS truth and fear His name. His mercy is incredibly great to me. And the more I know of Him, the more I hunger and thirst for His righteousness and want to be true to what He has shown me to be truth and to have a passion to be a faithful and compassionate witness to share the hope of His amazing gospel with people I meet who need to hear it. I can’t control the decisions other people make, but as for me, because of His awesome love and mercy and grace, I want to be holy as He is holy. I want the direction of my life to be toward His holiness. I want the focus of my life to be to make much of Christ in all I say and do and to lift to Him a life of praise and worship. Sure, there are times I slip and say or do things I wish I hadn’t. But rather than try to justify those things or allow them to be the character of my life, I pray I will confess them and ask God for the strength to grow in holiness. May I live life to the glory of Jesus and point people to Him by my words and my actions, for He is worthy of all honor, glory and praise.