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ZIP IT!

While visiting with a college roommate a few weeks ago we were reminiscing about what we’ve gleaned in the past few years and what we’re still in the midst of learning.  As we conversed about children and our propensity to “offer advice”, “suggestions”, and “counsel” to our children we laughed at how often our spouses draw a line across their mouths as if to say “zip it”! 

I couldn’t help but think about this illustration as we pray this month for self control for our grand children.  How am I demonstrating self control when my mouth opens and closes without my head being engaged?

Listening recently to a podcast I was reminded that the Lord gave us two ears and one mouth and they should be used proportionately!  One more opportunity to practice self control.

I love how God so clearly tells us what fruit bearing looks like – by daily practicing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness AND self control. These are not fruits to be dormant and rotting.  They are to be exercised and be in constant use.

May your week be one where you find yourself “zipping it”.  

Many Blessings,

Susan

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This month as we focus in our My Grandmother Is…Praying for Me we are sharing different verses regarding integrity – or being true to what we know and believe. 

One of the most challenging things is remembering who we are and who God is.  I found Oswald Chambers providing a helpful insight in his My Utmost for His Highest.  He simply states that we are to “notion our mind with the idea that God is there.  If once the mind is notioned along that line, then when we are in difficulties it is as easy as breathing to remember–Why, my Father knows all about it!”

That to me is the essence of integrity or being true.  Knowing that God is aware and knows all about it!  I can rest in the assurance that nothing comes to me that doesn’t go through the Father’s hand…and I am then enabled and free to be true to acting on what I know and believe.

May our actions this week reflect Him who is Truth.

Blessings,
Susan

Well, Grandcamp 2012 has come to a close. My three oldest granddaughters and I, along with some support from their Grandfather and a very helpful 14-year old friend, had a wonderful week exploring the life of five children in the Bible. We read their stories in Scripture, we did activities related to those stories, and we discussed God’s design in individual lives. I hope it was a very memorable, and inspiring, week for them.

This month in our book, My Grandmother is…praying for me, we are praying for the character trait of Integrity to be developed in our grandchildren. Integrity is the adherence to ethical principles, it is honesty, and it is the soundness of moral character. It is something we all need to be praying for! In Grandcamp one of the children we studied was Joseph. My grandchildren were intrigued by his “coat of many colors” and the unusual dreams that he had. We discussed where he might have slept when he was caring for the sheep and how long he might have traveled to find his brothers. We visited a park that had creative and unusual treehouse structures and pretended to be Joseph, sleeping by the trees. We made sheep out of construction paper and cotton and colored colorful coats. We also discussed how Joseph became a leader when he grew up because he always told the truth and didn’t compromise his behavior – he did what was right. Joseph was an example of a young man who demonstrated integrity. Although I don’t remember using the word integrity with my grandchildren, I know that they heard the message about living a life that is consistent with your beliefs – of doing what is right. Learning about moral character doesn’t have to be drudgery, in fact I have found that it can really be fun! I hope you will find the same as you interact with your children and grandchildren. Have a great week,
Kathy

Locusts have no king,

Yet they advance together in ranks.

Proverbs 30:27 

The Character trait for the month of June has been humility, and I especially like this proverb given on June 20.  I think the reason for this is it so reflects the way our book, My Grandmother Is. . . praying for me, was written.

When the three of us grandmothers speak at an event, we like to describe ourselves as three “ordinary women”, and I believe this is true.  But we are also strong-minded women with very different personalities and gifts.  Kathy is from Minnesota while Susan and I are both southerners.  Coming from different parts of the country presented interesting cultural differences as varied as language questions (“What do you mean by ‘might could’ or ‘fix’n?”) to relational interactions (“Is there always a Mississippi connection?”).

Sitting down and writing this book together over a 2 year period was not always easy.  Disagreements did arise.  Sometimes over theology, word usage, or relational sensitivity.  When this occurred the three of us had a choice.  We could become frustrated and angry that our “point of view” was not being accepted and quit.  Or we could believe God was in our midst working His will through our differences.  Thankfully, by His grace, we chose to believe the latter.

Practically the way this worked was when differences arose, we would stop, adjourn for the day with the commitment to pray about the issue, and return together on another day.  As we learned to submit first to God, and then to each other, He taught us to recognize that this sometimes difficult and painful process was the VERY means by which the Holy Spirit would accomplish the task at hand.

These little creatures, called locusts, reveal a true principle.  They exhibit great power when they submit to each other, unfortunately, not usually for good as they strip the land and ravish crops.   But if we, as the people of the Triune God, humbly submit to Him, and then to each other, accomplishments beyond our imagination can occur.  The question before us is do we insist on our will being done, or humbly submit, as Jesus did, to THY will be done?  Just something to think about. 🙂 

Happy June!

Pam

Good Medicine

Recently our oldest  grand girl spent the night at our house.  She is one full-of-life 3 and almost 4 year old little lady.   She brought her “monkey friends” to spend the night also.  And, a bunny “friend” too.  Before 9 am the following morning we had watered the outside and inside plants, made rice krispie treats for her dad, done several art projects, had breakfast, put multiple puzzles together, re-filled all the bird feeders at our house, played with the chickens, fed the kitty, read some books and played the “who made it” game.  It had been a full day before 9 am!

She has a life filled with opportunity and curiosity and is eagerly embracing each moment  I love interacting with her because she radiates life and learning.  And, she brings her “friends” along on all the adventures so they can enjoy the activities. 

When her dad and I were talking after taking her home I commented on what a joy she is…and she is! The scripture I think of when I pray for her is that a “cheerful heart is good medicine” from Proverbs 17:22.  A heart that is overflowing with joy and gratitude is good medicine.  There is a compelling love that will not let us go when we acknowledge how grateful we are for the gift of life.

May your week be filled with “good medicine”, great joy and gratitude.

Blessings, Susan

Yesterday in church our pastor quoted Anne Lamott when he said “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”  This month in our book, My Grandmother is …praying for me, the focus of the daily prayers is humility.  I am more convinced than ever that humility is not a natural character quality, but is one that is learned.  Our natural tendency is toward self-righteousness – a belief that our way is superior, that our thoughts are above others.  Therefore, there is a desperate need for parents and grandparents to teach and model humility to their children and grandchildren.  The book of Proverbs has many wonderful verses about humility and our book offers some great applications to help teach this concept.  One idea is to share with our grandchildren the stories of those who have exhibited great humility – such as Mother Teresa.  Another idea is to discuss Moses, the man that the Bible (in Numbers 12:3) cites as the most humble man on earth.  It may even be beneficial to share a part of our own stories about when we were humbled, or chose to demonstrate humility. 

Here’s a story I might share with my grandchildren someday. When I was a high school counselor, I made a mistake that was detrimental to a student and his family.  The mistake was made because I was confident that I knew the right way to accomplish a task and I forged ahead without consulting others.  I was devastated when I was wrong.  However, I learned a great deal from that episode – I learned my own limitations, I learned to seek the wisdom and knowledge of others, and I learned to respect the ability of others on our staff.  It was a very hard lesson, but often times learning humility is extremely stressful and difficult.  I hope that someday my grandchildren will benefit from hearing what God taught me through this experience.

I hope you have a great week,

Kathy

The month of May has been devoted to praying for generosity as the character trait for our grandchildren.  As this month comes to a close, I have been reflecting on the generosity of God, first as Creator and then as Redeemer.

As I went for my morning walk this morning, the sky was a brillant blue with not a trace of a cloud   The trees were a deep vibrant green due to all the rain we have had lately.  As I passed well-manicured lawns I saw a myriad of shapes and colors in the flowers and grasses.  After my walk I settled into eating the most delicious bowl of ripe red strawberries with thick smooth cream.  (Yes, I was splurging!).

The thought struck me as I reflected on my morning, the Lord could have created this world in black and white.  He could have created food for us that was in the shape of a pill with all the nutrients and vitamins needed to sustain us.  But here is the remarkable truth!  He did not!  In this world we are surrounded by beauty at every turn–colors, textures, sounds, smells, tastes.  All this given to us by our generous Creator Father.

But that is not all.  As beautiful as this world is, it is also broken, not what it was originally intended to be.  So what did our Generous God do?  He left all that was perfectly beautiful and glorious in heaven, and stepped into time and space of His own created world.  Why?  To show not only his generosity in His creation, but the generosity of His love.  By entering humanity Jesus revealed a love that knew no bounds. A cosmic love that was willing to take on all of our sin so that the Father could lavish His love on us as His children.

Oh, my goodness!  Surely knowing and experiencing these truths should make a difference in how we live!  So much so that our grandchildren could not help but notice and desire to do the same.

Blessings to you this Memorial Day weekend,

Pam