Friday, April 20, 2007

Making His Faith His Own

Last night as I was tucking Mason into bed, I had such a precious and priceless moment with him.

He seemed a little unsure of himself, and then he sheepishly said, "Mom, can I ask you something?"


"Well, sometimes at church...when we are singing...well...I just want to lift up my hands to praise God. But, I'm afraid people will think I look silly because I am just a kid."

"Oh, Mason!" What could I say??? "That is wonderful honey! You should always raise your hands in praise anytime you feel like it. Mason, there is verse after verse in the Bible that talk about lifting hands in praise to God. Let me ask you something."


As I lifted my hands, I asked, "When my hands are up in the air like this, what am I holding on to?"


"That's right. My hands are empty because it signifies that I have given everything over to God and that I am holding onto nothing on Earth. Now, let me ask you something else. When my hands are raised, is there anything held above my hands?"


"Exactly. That is because I am giving God the highest honor and praise I can give Him. There can be nothing above Him. Mason...raising your hands up to the Lord in praise is simply a posture of worship. Truthfully, because of my understanding of who God is and all that He has done for is hard for me to sing without raising my hands! My posture in worship should reflect what is on my heart and, to me, that is what it means to me to raise my hands in praise."

Now that he was smiling, and at ease Mason said, "Mom, sometimes at school I really want to read my Bible, but I am afraid of what the other kids will think. I'm afraid they will think I am weird."

"Well, Mason, honestly they might think just that. However, if your motives are pure as to why you want to read your Bible then you should read it. If you want to read it to know God more then that is great! If you are wanting to read it to show off then you probably should not. Why do you want to read it?"

"Because I want to grow in my faith."

(Okay, by this time I am fighting back the tears that come to a mother when she is overwhelmed by seeing her children begin to make their faith their own.)

"Well, Mason, I have something for you. When you were a baby a friend in High Point, Dana L., gave you a Bible. It was a really nice Bible and I wanted to wait until you were old enough to take care of it to give it to you. You see, it's a 'backpack Bible' and I think this is the perfect time to give it to you. You can carry it to school tomorrow. Then it will be with you whenever you long to read it."

I gave him his Bible. He immediately began thumbing over the pages.

We hugged. I praised God in my heart. Then Mason said the sweetest words to me, "Thanks, Mom."

Mason - it is truly an honor and a privilege to see you grow! It is exciting to see you pursue your own faith. A mother could not ask for a greater blessing!

Lookin' Forward To Our Friend's A' Comin'

We got us some friends -
And they're a comin' to visit
Our little house here in Tennessee.
They're a thinkin' we're now hillbillies -
and a wonderin' how we live
I'd better let 'em Really SEE!

I'm a puttin' on my tank top-
Lettin' it all hang out...
As I'm shooin' the chickens outta the house.
Reid's pullin' some teeth
An' hitchin' up his overalls
As he's a carryin' out our dead mouse.

Yep, our floors don't need a sweepin'
'Cause they're just simply dirt
But for our supper...I don't know what to do.
I'll a make my Honey's favorite
I'll fry us up some vittles and
We'll have us some Possum Stew!

(Sorry this ain't one of my better poems, but we Tennessee hillbillies ain't got no guud edukashen to show us how to rite. Yee-haw! Gotta go - the 'coon dog's a barkin' at somethin'.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mason on the Pitcher's Mound

Mason finally got to take a turn on the pitcher's mound! It was his first time pitching in a game and he did GREAT! I smiled seeing his facial expression of concentration. I think he was mentally telling the ball where to go!

Franklin played well to, but I didn't get to snap any pictures of him. Braden busted his lip and I was tending to him.

However, I had to include these two pictures from after the game. Such an example of the "age of innocence." His blue eyes and freckles are precious to me!

He said a bad word!

Today Braden had a friend over to play. Braden was in the other little boy's way because he was blocking the gate. The little boy told Braden to "Go."

Braden called me. In a very serious tone he said, "Mommy, he said a bad word! He said 'Go' instead of 'Please.'"

It was hard to keep a straight face!

On Borrowed Time

Have you ever loaned someone something? Something that was dear to you. Truthfully, in loaning out something that belongs to us we certainly hope that the other person will take care of it...especially if it is something dear to us that could not be replaced. We hope that it will be used for it's intended purpose and then returned to us.

Now I would ask, have you ever borrowed something? When I borrow something from a friend, I care for it as if it was not my own. I want to return it as soon as possible. I honestly try to take care of it. However, that does not always happen.

Yesterday, I was placing some books on our bookshelf. I found one that belongs to a friend of ours in High Point. It isn't just an ordinary book, it contains a photo of the author and our friend with a personal inscription in the front. These are irreplaceable...and yet, I have not returned the book. Even though it is going in the mail today, I have been careless with something borrowed.

I have always heard the phrase "living on borrowed time." Last night, I think I began to fully comprehend the meaning.

Last night I went to NEW EVE Bible Study. One of Debbye's main points was for us to "Live with the end in mind."

At the end, I shared some about Ansley. The reality is that none of us are guaranteed to live a long life. Our "end" could come at anytime. With everything that has happened at VA Tech over this past week, what a reminder it should be for us all.

As I reflected on Ansley's "end," something struck me. Ansley did not start living with "the end in mind" when she was diagnosed with cancer. She began living with her "end in mind" when she accepted Christ. Her choices and decisions reflected living a life from the "inside out" to reflect Christ's love to other people.

I was driving home last night about 9:45. It was late for me, and it was dark. Our neighborhood sits off of a busy two-lane road. As I was driving I was thinking about the lesson.

All of a sudden - out of nowhere - a possum jumped out in front of my car! I could see headlights in front of me coming from the other direction, but instinct took over and I swerved my car into their lane! I believe the Lord took the wheel and popped my van back into the correct lane to avoid the accident. It was a very near miss. A split-second moment in my life!

My heart was racing and my first thought was "that could have been My End. This moment could have been my last one here on Earth." What a revelation...what a reminder!

So, this morning I have still continued to contemplate and reflect over the events of last night. I have come to know this:

1.) Reid does not ever want me to "swerve" the vehicle to miss an animal. (Ha-ha - that is my bit of humor in this BLOG - But it is TRUE! He did tell me that last night!)

2.) God gives us each day. He has loaned it to us, because our days belong to him. "The Lord knows the days of the blameless, And their inheritance will be forever." (Psalm 37:18)

3.) We don't get a second opportunity to make the day count so we better be intentional. The wasted minutes and hours of each day won't ever come back. "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." (James 4:14)

4.) God desires for us to take care of what He has given us. He wants us to take care this day and live it for Him "not by way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." (Ephesians 6:6)

5.) God knows that, although my heart's desire is to serve and please Him, I will fail. I will not be a good steward of every day, even as hard as I may try. "When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand." (Psalm 37:24)

6.) Even though I will fail; God will NEVER give up on me. His grace is evident when I awake in the morning to another day. God has entrusted me with more time on this Earth to reflect Him. "The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way." (Psalm 37:23)

So Lord, I know that this day belongs to you. Thank you for entrusting me with another day her on Earth. May I honor You and glorify You every moment of today. Today is yours, I give you my life lived out for You today.

"For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 9:37) I give you my life - TODAY!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Braden's First Bike Ride

This afternoon was an exciting one at our house!

Braden had broken the training wheels on his bike, and I had purchased new ones to replace the old. Last night, I asked Reid to put the training wheels on Braden's bike and Reid taught him to ride his bike instead! It was glorious to see Braden's willingness to try and succeed.

He entrusted himself to Reid in the beginning. Reid would carefully guide the bike helping Braden maintain his balance as Reid pushed the back of the seat. Reid ran beside Braden for several loops around the yard.

Then Braden was ready to try it on his own with just a small push from Dad. Braden's tongue was hanging out the whole time as he concentrated on his "glee" in his new found freedom while his brothers cheered him on in the background!

Braden took a few falls, but was always willing to get back up and try again!

We celebrated Braden's accomplishment at dinner. He got to eat on the RED PLATE! It's our family tradition to celebrate significant days in our lives with the "You're Special Today" plate! Braden loved the attention!As soon as the last bite was swallowed, Braden immediately wanted to get back on his bike! We decided to take a family bike ride...down to the nearest culdesac and back to the house...a really long way! Ha!

Braden dressed in his biking attire for this ride - he put on his helmet! Braden still needed some guidance from Reid as he climbed back on his bike, but then he just took off!
Our youngest son is growing up!As I looked back through these pictures, I saw the experience of God's love for us. He is like the Dad guiding us and pushing us along...patiently waiting until we are able to ride. Trusting in Our Daddy gives us the confidence to pedal even though we know we might fall. And, when we take a spill or crash, God helps us climb back up and ride. He provides the wind on our back, and, like Braden's helmet, god provides His protection to keep us from life's true harm. Finally, as I experience joy in watching Braden "grow up" to do something only "big boys" could do; I believe God smiles down on us when we grow and mature in our trust and faith in Him.
I had to close this BLOG with some photos of Weston in his new Bike helmet. He received it as a birthday gift and painted it himself! Absolutely adorable!

Turning Point

I still experience the feeling of loss and pain from Ansley's death though not nearly as frequently as in the beginning. I was able to sing in PRAISE to God on Sunday without tears rolling down my cheeks as I sang the words - "Blessed be the name of the Lord - On the road marked with suffering - Though there's pain in the offering - Blessed be the name of the Lord."

I was able to sing it with joy because she is finally in her HOME after living a life of being "homeward bound." It was a very strong turning point for me. I did not feel the heaviness and sorrow. I didn't feel the pain for her in my heart. I was truly FILLED WITH JOY AND PRAISE without the accompaniment of PAIN! Yippee and Yahoo!

Our God is so Great!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Blast from the Past - ASP Reunion

In the summer of 1988, I worked in Harlan County Kentucky for a mission project called Appalachian Service Project or ASP for short. I worked with three other staff members to manage our center hosting volunteer teams from around the country. The teams came to our center to spread the love of Christ and to help make homes in the Appalachian region "warmer, safer, and drier."

One of the Staff Members I worked with with was Kevin.

Although we only seen each other two times since our summer together, our families shared a meal together a few weeks ago! It was AMAZING! How special to reminisce and remember our fun times together while our children played together in the backyard!

Kevin's sister, Kathleen, hosted all of us in her home. (She is also a previous ASP Staffer.) It was really a special night, and one that shows that true friendships never die.

Kevin e-mailed me when he arrived back home and I have since touched base with another Staff member from our summer together, Graham. Very cool to talk to
people from my past - my nearly 20 years ago past! Wow!

It's time to PLAY BALL!

It's baseball time in Tennessee!

Mason and Franklin have started their Spring season of baseball on the Orioles team. They are able to play on the same team together and are having lots of fun! AND, they have the best-looking coach in the league - Reid! Ha! Their team is doing quite well. The boys have played three games and are now becoming comfortable with their abilities. This means they are stealing bases - ALOT!

Mason is playing Catcher most often and is moving faster and faster to cover the ball. His throwing is improving in accuracy from home to Third, First, and the Pitcher's Mound. He has become confident in this position and plays it well. When he is not in the catcher's gear, he is typically playing Third Base.
Franklin has mainly played First Base and Pitcher. Although he is the youngest player in the league, (we moved him up to be able to play with Mason) he can hold his own on the mound.

He is playing as an 8 year old in the 9 - 10 year old league.

At the last game, he "struck out" five batters in two innings. Okay, I know I sound like a proud parent. Truthfully though, my proudest moment was when Mason was Catcher and Franklin was pitching. It was thrilling to see them playing together! It was special to see them take their skills from "Catch in the Backyard with Dad" onto the field for a real game.

So, I know you are wondering...What do Braden and Weston do while their brothers are playing a game. Well...when they are not on the playground...Weston is usually holding the camera and snapping shots like this one. He takes some great shots! And, Braden is wanting something to eat...Imagine that?? One thing I have noticed about Mason and Franklin. Both of them put on their baseball belt without any prodding from me. In fact, the day I came home with it, they both had it on within 5 minutes. Why don't they do that when I ask them to wear a belt to church?? Hmmm....

There must be something about dressing out in their uniforms. The day of their last game they put on their uniforms - socks, belts, cleats and all - as soon as they arrived home from school. They were dressed for the game by 3:00 even though it didn't start until 6:15. Oh, the joy of boys!

Easter Celebration

Now that I know some friends are reading my BLOG occasionally, (yes, Amy, that's for you!) I'm going to try to get our family photos on a little faster. TRY being the appropriate word!!

Easter Morning - April 8, 2007

7:00 am - Christ the Lord is Risen - He Is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Easter baskets were waiting for all of the Boys on Sunday morning!
Weston's favorite Easter Basket surprise was his "pill organizer" for all of his nutritional supplements. It was the first thing he opened!!

9:00 am
Before heading to church, the boys posed outside for the "traditional" Easter picture. It actually turned out to be a great photo of all four of them!
Our Easter musical morning worship was filled with great songs of celebration about our Risen Lord! Since it was our week to teach, Reid and I taught the 8-11 year old class. Reid taught a seminary level lesson on the signifigance of Jesus' resurrection! (It's amazing what children can understand if given the opportunity!)
We ended the class with a Question & Answer time for the kids. We gave them the opportunity to ask questions about our faith. The kids amazed us with some of their questions and it was a blessed time allowing them to expose their curiosity to gain understanding. A mother from the class informed me that her son accepted Christ on the Monday night after Easter. How wonderful!! It's so exciting to be a part of nuturing younger ones to grow in the faith!
After the service, Fellowship Bible Church (the name of our church here in K-ville) hosted a covered dish luncheon and then a MEGA Egg Hunt for the kids. Our boys had a ball and let me snap a few shots of their "Loot."
It was very cold here on Sunday. Therefore, I dressed in my winter clothes and wore a dark brown outfit - How BLAH for Easter! However, we did get one great shot of the family after the Egg Hunt!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Me? Pretty?

I was talking to Mason about his day at school and somehow we got onto the subject of Lexie, who is currently his girlfriend. He was telling me some things that she had said, and then he caught me completely off guard.

He said, "Lexie thinks you're pretty."

I didn't really know what to say. I've never really thought of myself as "pretty." I just smiled and looked at him.

Then, music to my ears, Mason said, "What??? She's right!"

Wow! My son thinks I am pretty! That is pretty special!

Funny Sayings

Weston was measuring with his new measuring tape yesterday. He announced that his measuring tape was "130 cellimeters long!"

Braden is learning the names of all the animals. His two latest favorites are the "hippomonomous and the rhinonerous."

Braden always explores the top of the vanity while I am getting ready for the day. This morning, he picked up Reid's contact case and said, "Mommy, are these Daddy's eyetacs?"

Braden was looking at the map in the front of Reid's Bible. Without the knowledge that I was there he was pointing at the land masses and calling them, "Tennessee" while all of the blue portions were called, "The Holston River." I was laughing at his labels and, yet, amazed at the same time the he understands the "land" and "water" portions of a map. Pretty impressive for a three year old.

My sister, Wendy, shared that her family was listening to the song, "There's No God like Jehovah." When she turned around, her four year old, Camden, was singing, "There's No God like Pneumonia!" Mason though this was rather humorous, and was sharing the story with us at dinner. However, he said the original song was "There's No God like Jenovah." Jenovah?? I love it! As I was heading out the door last night, Braden was running around the house singing, "There's No God Like Ammonia!" Hilarious!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Washington D.C.

The boys and I went to Washington D.C. for Spring Break. We stayed with our friends, the Griffins, and truly enjoyed our time with them. They were wonderful hosts and took time "off" from work to show us the sights.

The first day we arrived in Washington D.C., Lisa took time to explain how to "cross the street" in the Big City! She was rather passionalte about it, too! Ha!

The kids were amazed and impressed to be able to stand this close to the White House. It was really amazing to think about all that takes place in our capital city. Probably the boys favorite tourist attraction that we visited was the new SPY MUSEUM. They loved all of the interactive objects, and getting to see all of the SPY GEAR! Very COOL and educational! It was rather obvious that we were "small town folks" in the "big city." One of the highlights of the trip was getting to "ride the Subway." The Subway attendants thought we were crazy for wanting to ride. After the ride, we realized why. It was a VERY SHORT WALK when we walked back to the car! We were obviously tourists!

Riding the Subway was obviously NOT one of My favorites - Ha!

These three pictures stirred my soul. The Vietnam Memorial was one I had never seen. The boys really began to grasp the price that has been paid for our freedom. My grandfather and a cousin fighting currently are both examples of men who have sacrificed for our country.

This picture of Franklin was a little "eery" to me when I looked at it. Just under his reflection is someone named "Franklin E Anderson." It represented "One who had gone before," and as I saw Franklin's face, it made me wonder...did this photo also respresent "One who would choose or be called to fight." It was a stirring moment for me as a mother.

The only picture (I think) of the boys and me. Taken on the Lincoln Memorial side of the National Park - What a great day!

A blustery day in DC - Everyone enjoying being together!
The kids imitate the monkey at the Smithonian's incredible display of photographs!
Franklin and Morgan find a shared talent - it's only okay for a picture!

It was great being with such a precious friend! You can't help but laugh and enjoy your time with the Griffin family!!