Duck Dynasty Fever

We are admittedly late joining the Quack Pack.  I heard people talking about it, but was skeptical so didn’t actually tune in myself until like late January, 2013.  You’ll be happy, happy, happy to know we’ve been catching ourselves up for the last month so can now safely give our top three favorite episodes.  If you haven’t watched, HEY, give it two episodes before passing judgement.  I really thought it was a stupid show the first time I watched, but can now consider myself a diehard fan.  If you’ve been a fan, add your top three favs to the comments.

Top three favorite episodes so far:

1 – The boys go on strike

2 – Phil & Si help out on Career Day

3 – Tied between Anders’ fav: Leave it to the Beavers, & Callie’s fav: Of Mattress & Men

Sure, it’s scripted.  So’s every other “reality show” on TV.  This one has not one, not two, but three generations of family fun going on, prayer at the end of every episode, & KILLER bumper/trailer/mash-up production.  Excellent combo.  Haven’t decided if I like Si or Phil better.  And the Willie – Jas rivalry is hilarious.  The Godwin/Martin sideshow is just icing on the boudin.

Favorite quote so far:

“Have y’all ever heard of the term NAM?”

You’ve only got two days to catch up before season three starts up, Jack.


Podcast Potpourri & Job

Just a quick check in to share a few podcasts that have really spoken to me in the last few days..

  • Prayer & the Sabbath – interview with Jack Hayford.  Well worth the listen.  Great ideas on prayer & thoughts on the Sabbath.
  • the physical & spiritual health connection – two part interview with Gary Thomas.  Well put!  Encouraging & insightful.
  • Forgiving – David Meece shares his testimony on how God delivered him from bitterness.  (There are two parts but if you’re short on time, the second gives you the meat of it.)
  • Is God Really Good? – fits well with just finishing up the book of Job.  Sooo many truths in this 25 minutes!  Psalm 119:68 – “You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.”
  • Heart for the Disabled & the power of words – Joni has been sharing various families to encourage all last week.  Listeners are invited to send notes to gather & have sent for Valentine’s Day for them.  I’ve been so blessed & encouraged all week, had to share this one, too!  Encouraging & blessing others is one of my themes for 2013.  Perfect!  Proverbs 25:11 – “Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.”
  • New fiction trilogy in the making – Can’t wait to read this one, Fatherless, by Kurt Bruner & Dr. Dobson.  Next up, Childless then Godless.  “You want to convince the unconvinced?  Don’t call to arms, call to art.” (Paul Harvey)  Part two of the conversation is excellent, too!
  • A Vision for Revival in Your Church – A panel of ministers talk about praying for revival in the church: Byron Paulus (from Life Action Ministries), Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Pastor Michael Catt, & Pastor Jim Cymbala.  Two part podcast, but well worth the time to listen.  Joining them!

Reading through Job these days.  Just finished so want to jot down a few reflections.  Lessons learned:

  • Wisdom – Seek it!  Make it a lifelong priority.  Be intentional about it.
  • Job’s friends were pretty good; even came a long distance to sit for a full week in silence before speaking!  They had a lot of great things to say, but much of it was honestly poor timing.  In the end, God was angry with them (42:7, 8) & God told them they were wrong about Him.  Praying for more ability to choose wise words & right timing.  Convicted about my words, timing, & tone.
  • Judgmental – don’t be!
  • God’s response to Job – There are times & situations were things just don’t seem right.  It can really be frustrating.  But even when things seem “unjust” or “wrong”, I can trust 100% that it is in the Lord’s safe hands & under His control.  Sometimes, no matter how wise you might be, it is impossible to see God’s perspective on a situation.  Job was completely innocent, but there was no way he could know what was going on in the heavenly realm.  It was frustrating to Job & baffling to his friends.  God doesn’t have to explain Himself to us.  Once Job heard God, he stood humbly silent before His Maker.  Good response.
  • Once again, PRAYER!  In chapter 42, God told Job to pray for his friends & THEN they would be accepted (vs.8).  Sobering.  These guys were godfearing yet wrong.  I find it interesting that God accepted Job’s prayers on their behalf.  Points out the power of prayer – beyond our understanding.

Great quotes heard lately & not to be forgotten…

  • “Show me that you are redeemed, then I will believe in your redeemer.” – Nietzsche
  • “God is good whether of not His choices seem right to us, whether or not we feel it, whether or not it seems true, and whether or not He gives us everything that we want.” – Nancy Leigh DeMoss
  • “What are you believing that’s not the truth? How do we counter that?  We always counter lies with the Truth. We replace the lies; we displace the lies with the Truth.”  (Goal in ministry – help your children & those to whom you minister learn to council their own hearts according to the Truth.)
  • “His name was known all over the empire. He was Caesar.  The whole of the Roman world bowed to his will.  The life of that mighty empire revolved around this man, Nero Caesar.  Then there stood before him this obscure little Jew, Paul the Apostle, from a despised Roman province.Paul stood in chains before Nero…  Yet today we name our sons Paul & our dogs Nero.” – Pastor Ray Stedman
  • “That happens.” – Jack Wayne, when his game chair rocked all the way back & he lay on the floor staring at the ceiling.  Hilarious!!
  • “I love you because that’s Who I am.” – a man said to his wife after her double mastectomy, reflecting how/why God loves us.  Beautiful.

Saturday Quick Links

It’s been crazy busy around here lately & blogging just hasn’t fit into the schedule of life. But I had to link a few great podcasts & jot down a few lines to remember before they escape me for good. Maybe a few of these resources will be helpful to you as well.

Jesus Calling for Kids by Sarah Young. Excellent way to start the day! Sample: “When Moses & the Israelites were wandering in the desert, they were given manna to eat. Each morning they were given just enough for that day. They could not store it up for the future. This day-by-day gathering helped them remember that they needed Me – every day…My peace works in much the same way. When you come to Me in prayer with a thankful heart, I give you enough Peace for today…” – Good stuff, I don’t care who you are! This looks like a very simple devotional book for kids, but don’t let it fool you. Adults will be challenged, refresh, & fed, too. The sample little thought from April 18th has been ringing in my ears for weeks. God gives us just enough peace, just enough joy, just enough love, (fill in each Fruit of the Spirit) for TODAY. We just need to go pick it up! Daily. Trusting Him for it. I love that picture. Every day, getting out of the tent first thing in the morning & gathering the Fruit God gives for that day.

Been listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss & every time, she brings just what I need to hear! Great listens lately…

Together Growing Appetites for God – We moms spend so much time, money, planning, etc. making sure our children have proper nutrition, but what about their spiritual nourishment? Do they hunger & thirst for God’s Word? Do you? This podcast has inspired me to switch our family club time of going through the CEF material to simply reading the Bible through together. Keith & I have read the Bible through together several times over the years, but I’ve never thought to do that systematically with the kids. We’re in Acts & loving it!

– For those of us with men &/or boys in your life, or those that have little girls that will be looking for a man someday, you need to take a listen here: Snips & Snails Series, and specifically Encouraging Men to Be Men. This along with another podcast, Singing With A Whole Heart, remind me of the many, many things I love about my man. It wasn’t good luck that God gave me a great one! I’ll have to blog some time on a list of things girls should look for in a man. For my daughter. Next time I have time! If you listen to the singing podcast, give a listen to the next one in the series as well, Why Should You Sing?. It’s another one well worth the time.

New Webkinz-like game with a purpose – iToadu.com Well done, fun, & not a time-waster. Praying more ministries do this kind of thing for our children.

Okay, that was quick & probably really choppy, but I had to share. My iPod is loaded & charged for the grocery store. Gotta run! Saturday chores call.


Oklahoma!

We went to Liberty U for homecoming this year & got to see Oklahoma! on stage. Jack’s been singing the songs ever since. It’s pretty comical to hear a 3 year old singing “Everything’s going my way…” Ain’t THAT the truth! When you scream about it anyway. But the best is when he gets the solemn look in his eye & bellows out “Poor Jud is daid. Poor Jud F-why is daid.” You just gotta hear it. This is staged so not as much gusto as when it just explodes from the heart, but gives you the idea. Enjoy.


Apple Time

Spent the evening cooking up some goodies for church tomorrow. This recipe has been in the family cook book for a decade & I’ve eyed it for years. For whatever reason, I whipped it up tonight. My only regret is that I didn’t do it ten years earlier. This is a good one! Thanks for sharing it, Aunt Charley.

Knobby Apple Cake

1 stick of butter
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
6 cups diced apples (around 6 medium apples)
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together & put in 13 x 9 pan.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Good topped with whipped cream. Tastes excellent served warm or cold!


Ramblings on Grace

Ever since writing the last post, I’ve been thinking it shouldn’t be left hanging, but the area of grace is such a BIG one! It’s been mulling around in my mind for these five months. Last month in church, the kids learned about Grace: getting something that you don’t deserve. This week in Club we talked about the three lost things (coin, sheep, & son) so it kind of got me thinking even more about it all.

Watch this video as it brings out the part about the little sheep knowing better, but not doing better…

Didn’t Oprah say, “If they knew better they’d do better.”? Sorry, Oprah. That’s not what Isaiah says. So many times I for one know better but sure don’t always do better. (Romans 7:14-25) It’s frustrating. It’s disgusting. It’s deadly if left go. It’s called sin. And Jesus died to remove it. He’s the Only One Who could. (Romans 8:1-13) It’s humbling & amazing & moving to realize Jesus hunts us down just like that shepherd even when we get ourselves into the thorn bushes & other such messes. There is not one person created that Jesus doesn’t love as much as that father who welcomed his lost son. None of us are beyond the loving reach of our gracious Shepherd/Father. Some who have wandered farther or take longer to turn to Jesus suffer longer-term consequences but there is ALWAYS hope! It’s never too late to turn to Him.

Just last night I was feeling down in the dumps; feeling like I was sitting in the thorn bush. How could I be so stupid & end up surrounded by these dumb thorns again?? But as Anders left for school this morning, because we talked about the lost things Wednesday night, I gave him a “gold” coin & told him to use it to remind him every time he looked at it or felt it today how MUCH God loves him. God goes after us when we’re in trouble; is always with us, never leaving us. “Coincidentally”, the verse for the week (B – we’re going through the alphabet of quotes from Jesus) is “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:20) He’s talking to the church here, not unbelievers. He’s talking to me! I’m thinking I’ll leave a coin or two in choice places to remind myself. He loves me & is so very patient with me. I don’t deserve it. This fact should give us all the grace & patience we need to deal with all the other sinners around us.

One of the biggest thing He’s working with me on (& has been for years) is the area of taking care of my body; not giving in to all the foods & amounts I want & stop being lazy physically. I know there is a spiritual connection to the physical. Some days/months/years I do well in this area & other times I am downright lazy & selfish. I eat whatever I want. I don’t exercise out of sheer laziness. No other excuse. God has given me several verses to “feed on” over the years. I share so that if this is one of your thorny areas, maybe these verses can minister to you, too. They’re not in any particular order…

Hebrews 12:1-2 – Fixing our eyes on Jesus is the key to getting & staying un-entangled.
Psalm 119:103 – God’s Word is what my soul was made to crave.
Genesis 25:27-33 – Esau foolishly gave up everything for food & instant gratification. Do I do the same thing?
Genesis 3:6 – Eve did what she wanted in spite of what God told her – even eating what God directly told her not to!
Psalm 34:8
1 Corinthians 6:19 – I am not my own. In this area, I get “a chance to die” as Amy Charmichael said.
John 6:50
Psalm 23:5
Matthew 5:6 – Do I know what it feels like to hunger & thirst after righteousness? Am I satisfied by it?
Psalm 19:10
Psalm 141:3,4
Luke 9:23, 24
Psalm 81:10 – We don’t have to live in Egypt – slavery to anything. He wants to fill us!
Psalm 63:1-5 – Is this the cry of my heart today?
Jeremiah 15:16
John 3:30 – I know JtB was talking about something else, but it is also true in my life. When I allow the HS to increase His will over mine in one area, other areas come more under His control as well as I decrease my will across the board.
Leviticus 3:16 – I used to joke about this one, but no more after last reading through Leviticus & reading further…
Leviticus 4:31 – I use this verse to remind me when I exercise, it is an offering to the Lord. I even use a red notebook & pen to record what I did for the day to remind me…and I believe He is just as pleased with my daily burning the fat on the EFX machine! “…it will be very pleasing to the Lord.” It has changed my attitude about exercise.

Like I said, last night I was down in the dumps about letting my weight once again get up so high my clothes are uncomfortable, etc. Graciously, God had Ryan Dobson talking to Greg Thomas yesterday & today so I just happened to be able to listen to the perfect podcast first thing this morning. Again, God is so gracious and patient with me! I know all this stuff, it’s just so good to be reminded gently again. (To hear the podcasts, go here.)

Can I share one more area where God has been so gracious with me? The whole last post was about the royal wedding, so I’ve been thinking a lot about Keith & me & how blessed we are by God’s grace in our lives. God protected us both as children. He saved us for each other. He brought us together. And He continues to remind us how blessed we are to be walking this road of life together. Our own children heading so quickly to adulthood (especially now that we have one in high school) has caused me to pray more fervently for their hearts. When I think about the guys I had a crush on as a kid, it causes me to pray, pray, pray as well as repeatedly talk to the kids about guarding their hearts & not trusting them. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) One of the guys I happened to like as a kid is now a divorced jailbird while another is living in homosexuality & chronic depression. Oh, what incredible pain God graciously spared me!!!! You can’t really help crushes – they just happen to you, but if I’d have acted on my crushes, I don’t even want to think about what a mess my life would be right now. Not to say those two aren’t beyond God’s grace either. In fact, I do hope someday to hear wonderful stories of how God has turned their lives around. I’m just super thankful I don’t have to walk through the horror with them on their rebellious road away & back!

I pray our children don’t foolishly act on crushes their deceitful hearts spring up on them. Many seemingly harmless books, videos, etc. these days try to tell our kids, especially girls, to “follow their hearts” – teach your children the subtle but very foolish lie this is. Just as my parents did for me, teach wisdom early & often in the area of marriage & pray for God to graciously bring just the right person for each of them at just the right time. With wisdom, they’ll recognize & be attracted to the character qualities that make for a strong godly home. Not to say there’s a perfect spouse out there – your child’s not perfect either! Pray that weaknesses (we all have them) will be honestly talked through on both sides & with prayer together, taken to the Lord to handle as a team with His grace. Honesty & teamwork against sin makes for a powerful marriage. Pray with your children for their future spouse sometimes. It is powerful when children hear our prayers for them. We’ve got to impress these things on our children intentionally & repeatedly as they grow though, because they are getting all the wrong messages from the world, setting them up for disillusionment, broken hearts, & broken homes. Just what Satan wants. And just what grieves the Holy Spirit. Jesus has better for us! (John 15:10-12) Which takes me right back to Rev. 3:20.

GRACE!!! I am so thankful for it! May the grace He’s given me overflow out of my life onto others today & every day.

PS – For that fan who’s wondering why in the world it’s been five months since a post, go here & here to see. I have been busy, just not here.


Wedding Day

The Royal Wedding was impeccable!! Absolutely stunning. I loved seeing all the hats & pomp & regalia. So romantic!! But even as I enjoyed watching & making up a silly Brit guest name for myself & all that, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Kate. I’ll tell you why & get a bit personal, even if perhaps it is a little uncomfortable, because I think it important to share especially for all those young girls yet to marry. It’s time we’re open about some of these things since the world so openly flaunts their side. I don’t want my daughter or nieces to grow up hearing/seeing that weddings are for “bridezillas” & a big show, all about the flowers & invitations, etc. which is what the world tells our little girls. I want them to hear Truth so they can make good decisions when it’s their turn. I hope the following words ring in their ears as they wait for their prince.

I’m sad for Kate because (hopefully) this will be the only wedding she gets. And although it was perfectly performed, neither of them had that sparkle in their eyes that comes from two people who saved themselves for each other. Sorry, I just have to say it. She was gorgeous! He was dapper (with his hat on). His smile would melt any woman’s heart. Since I really only follow royalty for weddings & babies, I hadn’t honestly even heard of Kate until this last week. But after hearing their story, I just couldn’t help but feel sad for her. They have been living together for how long?? She sold herself cheap to him years ago. And he didn’t respect her enough to give her anything but a hussy reputation & non-commitment for ten years. He didn’t even look her way until he saw her on a cat walk in lingerie! Now THERE’S real love, my friends. Goodness. I just shake my head. How embarrassing for both of them.

I know it’s “old-fashioned”. I know it’s passed off as to be expected, shacking up before marriage. I know some even think a “trial run” is a good thing, even after we’ve known for years that research proves premarital relations cause problems in marriage period, even if you don’t believe God tells us the best way to live this life in His Word. I know it’s perceived as “judgmental” to say anything. I also know without a doubt that what I’m saying is true & I just don’t hear people telling their stories to prove it much. I’m not sure if the quietness is due to embarrassment at themselves not doing it right, or for whatever dumb reason, being embarrassed at having come to the altar unscarred?? All I do know is I’m sick of seeing so-o-o-o many trodding down the same crooked, beaten down road; many not even having a clue there is anything wrong with what they are doing – that’s the truly sad part.

I say something out of concern because, as two who did get there unscarred, I can tell you without a doubt IT IS WORTH IT!! Only by God’s grace were we raised in homes that taught us the Truth & we listened. We didn’t see how far we could go without getting caught. We didn’t date around & give bits of our hearts to people before we met. Even after we were engaged, we didn’t do anything alone that we would be ashamed to have our parents or Jesus sit next to us & see. As a reward, Keith & I don’t have to wonder if the other still has feelings for some long-lost lover or live in guilt or shame, remorse, insecurities or comparing. We don’t spend any time untying tight knots of issues in our hearts from giving ourselves too early or to others. He respected me enough to wait for me. THAT, girls, is a PRINCE! I loved him enough to save him my whole heart. And the blessings that flow from a marriage free from all that garbage is beyond what all the money in the world could buy. So many never have that – I want that for my children! Keith & I pray for that now for each of our children and the little ones in our extended families & church. It starts by teaching them early that it’s worth it to wait for that special one God has for them. This whole crazy dating early stuff has baffled me for years! Why encourage that with children too young to handle it or be ready for it? Shouldn’t we as parents be protecting our kids from this? I just don’t understand that, but sorry, I digress.

Kate will never see in Will that look I saw in Keith’s eyes on our wedding day. It’s not anything I can put into words, it’s just worth waiting for!! I tear up every time I remember. I could feel God there. He made two people one that day. It truly is a mysterious thing, but it’s true. When we watched the video the next year, apparently a baby was fussing pretty loudly the whole time we said our vows to each other, but I never heard a bit of it. I was totally enraptured. All I remember was the tender love in Keith’s eyes & the complete heart I was able to give him as we promised ourselves to each other to the end of our days. I remember my heart fluttering & the flush in my face as Keith put his hand on my waist for pictures – that was the first time he’d ever done that. We had saved “quickening” our love inappropriately until our wedding day & it made that day inexpressibly precious! I saw none of that mystery for obvious reasons with Will & Kate. As beautiful, memorable, regal, ceremonial, etc. as it was Friday, for Will & Kate, it was just the beginning of a lifetime of that kind of thing. But that special day when you give yourself to another can never be recreated. God intended for that to happen on your wedding day to cement you two together for good. He knows best – He made us. I can tell you, it is worth the wait! And even if you spend tons of money & have the world a twitter at your smashing dress, if you don’t do it the way God intended, you end up with a whole lot of needless heartache guaranteed.

I say all that with no malice, only to tell those little girls (& boys) watching that they can have better! Kate & Will have NOTHIN’ on my wedding & it had nothing to do with the dress or fanfare, etc. I want for my children to have the awesome day God intended for them to look back on with wonder & romance & joy all the rest of their lives. It is not naivety, it is love & wanting only the best for our children. And as long as God gives me breath, I will teach them & guide them to that end until they say “I do”.

I pray Will & Kate have many, many happy years together. It will be fun to watch them have a family, her wear beautiful clothes, etc. I love that kind of stuff! But I also know, with the start they had, there will be major storms coming. Every marriage has storms, but they will have deep scars & issues due to the last ten years that will require either Jesus to heal (and He can!) or a whole lot of faking it to the media. It just makes me sad. I pray when those storms come, they look to Jesus to take their broken pieces & make something truly beautiful as only He can. I really do pray that for them.

Next planned post (a follow-up): Now What?
(For those who are already scarred; it’s never hopeless!!)