Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dear Woman of God,


Be still for a while and praise God for His favor, His grace and His awesomeness. God is able to

do the impossible and is always near.  He loves us unconditionally. 


Let's all say this prayer during the next hour: 



Dear God, 

These are my friends whom I love, and this is my prayer for them. Help them live their life to the fullest.  

Please cause them to excel above their expectations.  Help them to shine in the darkest places where it is 

impossible to love.  Protect them at all times, lift them up when they need You the most, and let them

know when they walk with You, they will always be safe. Amen!


"Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thirty-One Gifts

I love Proverbs 31:10-31. I get a devotional from the "The Women" each morning.

 10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?  
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.



I recently discovered Thirty-One, a faith-based company. I love it!


The name Thirty-One comes from the verses of Proverbs 31. These words may be thousands of years old, but I am constantly amazed by how today's modern woman can relate to them. The Proverbs 31 woman is dearly loved and respected by him and her children, yet she is an individual in her own right. She manages the home and property with kindness and integrity. Her savvy business skills are partly brought about by her desire to serve others, to do good deeds and prosper. I knew women just like this, and I wanted to find a way for every woman to be recognized for who they are and for their hard work!

Amanda is loving anything these days that comes in the color "hot pink". She is such a girly-girl like her Momma!

Isn't the above pattern fun? It's called Pink Circle Spirals. What else? I have also grown fond of the pattern called Painted Floral. I ordered the Pop Crossbody bag (which is in the bottom right corner).


I am having a Girl's Night on November 5th. I would love for you to come. But if you can't make it, send me a message with your order. One thing I forgot to mention is that it is BYOB, if you must. I will be serving coffee, tea, cider and snacks. Please say you will come! It's going to be so much fun.




Saturday, October 22, 2011

In Honor of Barb

Barb Ward, (an adult dancer) is back in the hospital fighting leukemia again.  Barb went into remission from Acute Myeloid Leukemia earlier this year and came back to dance the parade and all summer with us.  In late August, she went back into the hospital with a relapse and is now fighting Pneumonia.  Please keep her and her family in your prayers.


Barb passed away on October 18th, her birthday.


Have you ever gone to a funeral for someone you didn't know? I don't mean a friend's grandmother. I mean someone that you are not connected to in any way. Well that's what Amanda and I did this morning. I didn't even know Barb's last name. As I am writing this, I looked back at the email I received. It is Ward. Barb Ward's life was celebrated today.


Amanda was invited to dress in her Irish Dance dress and come to the funeral to honor Barb's life. Barb was an adult Irish dancer with the Nicholl School for fourteen years. Amanda has been with the school for the last eight. Our paths may have crossed but I never met Barb.


After the service at St. Bede's Catholic Church, the dancers lined up across from each other. They stood hand in hand. When the service was over, every one lifted their hands. I thought of Moses. I didn't know the story but I knew that two people held up his hands when he got tired. It's Exodus 17. I watched the people come out of the church crying. I watched the adult dancers crying to. I was on the verge of tears as well.


I felt so honored to be part of this group. I am NOT a dancer. Amanda is. But I was given "The Sweater and Black Shamrock Scarf" to wear. 


Let me back up and tell you about the service...Mass, for Barb. It was beautiful. Those old familiar Catholic feelings came back. The routine of saying the same prayers, same songs, same responses came so easily. The last time I was at a funeral (and it just happened to be Catholic) was Dad's. It is coming up on a year in December already. It's hard to believe he has been gone that long. I was very disappointed by the Priest at Dad's funeral and how impersonal it/he was. My heart was broken by Dad's death and then when the church would not let us give a eulogy, play the songs we wanted to and read the scripture I chose (John 14:6), again my heart was broken. But God in His sovereignty did allow Dad's church to OK one of the scriptures: 1 Timothy 2:5-6:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.



With all that being said, I sat with a guarded heart. And to my shock and surprise, the Priest read the Gospel, my chosen scripture, John 14:6. I almost burst in to tears. The Priest was a born-again Christian. It was then that I felt the Hope of Jesus. After communion (which we did not take out of respect because we are not following the "rules") Barb's daughter gave a eulogy. She described her mom and I could imagine Barb reflecting the face of Jesus. One thing that touched me so deeply was when she said that Barb was aching because she knew her children were aching and that she could not take care of them the way she wanted to. As a mother, that struck my heart's chords.


After the Mass, I was thinking about how I would be described at my funeral. I said to Amanda, make sure everyone knows that I adored my husband and adored my children but I lived for Christ. I don't think I really needed to say those words. Amanda knows.


We decided to go to the cemetery. I just felt we needed to. At the grave site, Barb's husband of 30+ years talked about how each one of their young adult children were unique in their own way. And each child had a different aspect of their mother. As we walked back to the car, I said to Amanda, even in her death she is changing lives. She touched us so dearly. Barb was a servant. She was a magnet. Everyone wanted to be around her. It makes me want to strive to be like that. Will people say that about me when I am gone?


God placed the right songs on the radio as we drove to the cemetery also. First we heard The Way by Jeremy Camp. Then we heard this song (Cry Out to Jesus by Third Day). Wow, God is so good. He knows our heavy hearts. How can my heart not be heavy for this family? They have just lost their beloved mother. Death is so final. One second we are here and the next we are not. We are just a vapor. 


I thought of the lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman's song With Hope. Music comforts me. Some people eat. Some people drink. Some people shop. I listen to music...and cry. 


"If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." Romans 10:9-10


I guess I am feeling melancholy (sad, gloomy or depressed). Funerals can do that to you. I don't know about you but they make me think about life insurance and arrangements. They make me think about songs and poems. They make me think about the LEGACY that I will leave behind. But all that's for another day.


Today I will make cookies with my beautiful Irish dancer and make the memories that one day she will pass on...in remembrance of another Irish dancer named Barb Ward.


June 2011




"His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!" Matthew 25:21









Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ADHD Awareness Week


I was going to tell you about my terrible, lousy, no good, very bad day yesterday but I've been busy packing for Australia. Ha ha. No really, I am moving on. I am not sitting in the belly of the fish for three days before I listen to God. He equipped me yesterday with a verse and I NEEDED it. I got to work and all HECK happened...twice! But I ended up taking a class last night...a class that I schedule weeks ago and didn't realize that the topic was Positive Behavioral Support for the school age child. Why would I have scheduled this? Because God knew I needed to hear those words at that exact moment. So, moving along, I wanted to share a little about AD/HD with you. It's a lot of information but it's the first step...what to look for and how to diagnosis your child.



*********************************************************

The following information has been taken from Help Guide


There is no single medical, physical, or other test for diagnosing ADD/ADHD. To determine if you or your child has ADD/ADHD, a doctor or other health professional will need to be involved, and you can expect him or her to use a number of different tools: a checklist of symptoms, answers to questions about past and present problems, or a medical exam to rule out other causes for symptoms.

Keep in mind that the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, such as concentration problems and hyperactivity, can be confused with other disorders and medical problems. Just because it looks like ADD/ADHD doesn’t mean it is, so getting a thorough assessment and diagnosis is important.

To be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, you or your child must display a combination of strong ADD/ADHD hallmark symptoms, namely hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention. The mental health professional assessing the problem will also look at the following factors:
§                    How severe are the symptoms? To be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, the symptoms must have a negative impact on you or your child’s life. In general, people who truly have ADD/ADHD have major problems in one or more areas of their life, such as their career, finances, or family responsibilities.
§                    When did the symptoms start? Since ADD/ADHD starts in childhood, the doctor or therapist will look at how early the symptoms appeared. If you are an adult, can you trace the symptoms back to your childhood?
§                    How long have the symptoms been bothering you or your child? Symptoms must have been going on for at least 6 months before ADD/ADHD can be diagnosed.
§                    When and where do the symptoms appear? The symptoms of ADD/ADHD must be present in multiple settings, such as at home and school. If the symptoms only appear in one environment, it is unlikely that ADD/ADHD is to blame.

When many people think of attention deficit disorder, they picture an out-of-control, hyperactive kid. But this is only one possible picture. The symptoms of ADD/ADHD are unique to each person and look different in adults and kids. 

The three primary characteristics of ADD/ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The signs and symptoms a child with attention deficit disorder has depends on which characteristics predominate.
Children with ADD/ADHD may be:
§                    Inattentive, but not hyperactive or impulsive.
§                    Hyperactive and impulsive, but able to pay attention.
§                    Inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive (the most common form of ADD/ADHD).

It isn’t that children with ADD/ADHD can’t pay attention: when they’re doing things they enjoy or hearing about topics in which they’re interested, they have no trouble focusing and staying on task. But when the task is repetitive or boring, they quickly tune out.
Staying on track is another common problem. Children with ADD/ADHD often bounce from task to task without completing any of them, or skip necessary steps in procedures. Organizing their schoolwork and their time is harder for them than it is for most children. 

Kids with ADD/ADHD also have trouble concentrating if there are things going on around them; they usually need a calm, quiet environment in order to stay focused.

Symptoms of inattention in children:

§                    Doesn’t pay attention to details
§                    Makes careless mistakes
§                    Has trouble staying focused; is easily distracted
§                    Appears not to listen when spoken to
§                    Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions
§                    Has trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
§                    Gets bored with a task before it’s completed
§                    Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items

Hyperactive signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD

The most obvious sign of ADD/ADHD is hyperactivity. While many children are naturally quite active, kids with hyperactive symptoms of attention deficit disorder are always moving.
They may try to do several things at once, bouncing around from one activity to the next. Even when forced to sit still which can be very difficult for them their foot is tapping, their leg is shaking, or their fingers are drumming.

Symptoms of hyperactivity in children:

§                    Constantly fidgets and squirms
§                    Often leaves his or her seat in situations where sitting quietly is expected
§                    Moves around constantly, often runs or climbs inappropriately
§                    Talks excessively
§                    Has difficulty playing quietly or relaxing
§                    Is always “on the go,” as if driven by a motor
§                    May have a quick temper or a “short fuse”

Impulsive signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD

The impulsivity of children with ADD/ADHD can cause problems with self-control. Because they censor themselves less than other kids do, they’ll interrupt conversations, invade other people’s space, ask irrelevant questions in class, make tactless observations, and ask overly personal questions.
Instructions like “Be patient” and “Just wait a little while” are twice as hard for children with ADD/ADHD to follow as they are for other youngsters. 

Children with impulsive signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD also tend to be moody and to overreact emotionally. As a result, others may start to view the child as disrespectful, weird, or needy.

Symptoms of impulsivity in children:

§                    Acts without thinking
§                    Blurts out answers in class without waiting to be called on or hear the whole question
§                    Can’t wait for his or her turn in line or in games
§                    Says the wrong thing at the wrong time
§                    Often interrupts others
§                    Intrudes on other people’s conversations or games
§                    Inability to keep powerful emotions in check, resulting in angry outbursts or temper tantrums
§                    Guesses, rather than taking time to solve a problem


The following information was taken from Psych Central


Up to 10% of school-age children now carry a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (also known as ADHD or ADD), and are in active treatment for the concern. The most commonly prescribed treatment is a stimulant medication such as Ritalin. But some parents and mental health professionals are concerned that ADHD is over-diagnosed, and not enough care is given to the specific conditions that are required to make an accurate ADHD diagnosis.

What to Look For in ADHD

ADHD is characterized by meeting at least six of eighteen inattention or hyperactivity symptoms. Usually both parents and clinicians can readily identify the symptoms in their child, and many believe that is all that is needed in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
However, the DSM diagnostic criteria for ADHD also specify a number of important factors that also must be met.
These symptoms must be present for at least 6 months in two or more settings, e.g., school and at home; play and at school; etc. If the symptoms have not been present for at least 6 months or the child meets the criteria only in one setting (e.g., school only), then ADHD should not be diagnosed.
The criteria also specify that some symptoms should have been apparent before age 7. The ADHD symptoms also must not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder,Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Mood Disorder, AnxietyDisorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).

 

 Making an ADHD Diagnosis

It is especially difficult to establish an ADHD diagnosis in children younger than age 4 or 5 years, because their characteristic behavior is much more variable than that of older children. and include features that are similar to symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder. Furthermore, symptoms of inattention in toddlers or preschool children are often not readily observed because young children typically experience few demands for sustained attention. However, even the attention of toddlers can be held in a variety of situations (e.g., the average 2- or 3-year-old child can typically sit with an adult looking through picture books).
In contrast, young children with Attention Deficit Disorder move excessively and typically are difficult to contain. The mental health professional making the diagnosis should always inquire about a wide variety of behaviors in a young child to help ensure that a full clinical picture has been obtained. Beware clinicians or doctors who ask only basic or shallow questions about the child’s symptoms, without taking time out to delve into the specific situations the behaviors are observed.
As children mature, symptoms usually become less conspicuous. By late childhood and early adolescence, signs of excessive activity (e.g., excessive running and climbing, not remaining seated) are less common, and hyperactivity symptoms may be confined to fidgetiness or an inner feeling of jitteriness or restlessness.
In school-age children, symptoms of inattention affect classroom work and academic performance. Impulsive symptoms may also lead to the breaking of familial, interpersonal, and educational rules, especially in adolescence.
In adulthood, restlessness may lead to difficulty in participating in sedentary activities and to avoiding pastimes or occupations that provide limited opportunity for spontaneous movement (e.g., desk jobs).
ADHD is much more frequent in males than in females, with male-to-female ratios ranging from 4:1 to 9:1, depending on the setting (i.e., general population or clinics).


Ensure your mental health professional takes the time to question both you and your child to get the most accurate diagnosis possible. While family physicians can help screen for a problem like attention deficit disorder, you should trust only a trained and experienced mental health professional to make an accurate diagnosis.






Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NO WAY!

Guess what the verse for the Keys for Kids was today!? Galatians 6:7-9

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.  Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."


This is definitely a message that God continues to speak in to my life because this is the third time I have read this verse in the last nine days!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Living HOPE

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].   
1 John 1:9 (Amplified Bible)

Today's sermon stirred some mixed emotions. I was telling Amanda how I felt as we drove to my mom's house. I asked her if she was listening to Pastor Paul's sermon. She said she heard parts of it. She later recited the part where the demons started talking (Acts 19:15). She said "I know Jesus and I know OF Paul but who the HECK are you." LOL. Pastor Paul's words exactly. She does pay attention.

At one point, Paul was walking back and forth and not really expressing a clear thought...in my mind. I was even thinking "Did you prepare for this?" LOL. I know that that was completely uncalled for but those were the thoughts floating through my blonde brain. What- is- he- talking- about?! And how does this relate to me? Because it's always about me. (Not).

Then about the last fifteen minutes, it clicked with me. I could totally relate. I said to Amanda, someone in those last fifteen minutes where saying "what does this have to do with me?" because the beginning of the sermon was what they needed to hear.

Anyway, I am going to share some key things that I wrote down. The sermon was called "the Supernatural Work of the Holy Spirit".

Wait. I need to back up. I had to walk out twice to find Daniel. He disappeared and after about two songs I found him coming out of the bathroom. Then after the music was over, we greeted everyone. Daniel disappeared again. I found him out at the drink table. He said he needed some coffee. Ha Ha. That boy needs anything BUT caffeine. So in Paul's defense, I did miss some of the sermon looking for my boy.

We are in the book of Acts, chapter 19. We talked about five Verbs of the Spirit. We talked about the word "WAY".

This is the part of the sermon that I am lost probably because I am trying to copy the notes off of the screen instead of listening to Paul's message. I really need to just listen and not really take notes.

Then Paul says "Who is the Holy Spirit to you?"

It's NOT about how much of the Holy Spirit I have, but about how much of me does the Holy Spirit have?


What evidence of the Holy Spirit is God producing in and through my life?

Ask yourself:

Is this Holy or is it not?
Is this evil or is it not?

Wow, Amanda and I had that conversation yesterday when she wanted to go see Footloose with her girlfriends. She didn't like my "absolutely never" answer.

"We need to examine our books, our movies and our songs. We need to check our hearts. Genuine repentance always bears fruit."

You don't have to tell someone that you are trying to change. The fruit will be evident!

Paul also talked about second-hand Jesus. I had never heard that expression before. That is when you are trying to live out Christianity through someone else's spiritual life.

Great sermon! I love how God uses Paul to speak the words that I need to hear. These were the affirming words that I needed to share with my daughter.

My guys are out having guy time at the farm, going out on the quad and tractor. Men things! Since I have been taking the Bringing Up Boys class, the "men" have been spending more time together doing "men things". LOL.

Amanda and I listening to Casting Crowns (Seek Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly with your God!). We googled the band and the lead singer has this fundamental message:

"I want to shake people up and help them see that Jesus is not a religion, and God is not a book. You can't pray to a book and you can't draw strength from an idea or standard. If there's no relationship with Jesus as a person to you, you're in trouble. It's about life, not religion. It's about relationships, not books." Mark Hall 

I love Sundays!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Suburban Secretary



Please go visit my friend,  Kathy. This is her first attempt at blogging. Leave her some encouragement to continue blogging. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Released

I have been wrestling with some stuff over the last six weeks or so. I wrote this on Septemeber 30th. Yesterday as I was driving, I was praying and talking to the Lord. I know that this is something that I have to leave at His feet. When I feel that "released" feeling, I say "thank you". It's a "sweet release" because I can feel Him. But it creeps back up on me, the fear and the doubt. The lies Satan whispers always starts out with "It's your fault..." Blame! I know that I will have to die to these lies each day. I know that I have to believe God. God is who He says He is. And I am who He says I am.

Last night Amanda went to a birthday party so it was just me and D. (Curtis works at a farm for this month driving a tractor.) Daniel disappeared upstairs and I didn't see him for a while. I thought he was going to get toys. He has his room set up with Legos everywhere. It is his favorite (right now!) I asked him if he was coming down and he invited me up to hang. I brought a Joyce Meyer magazine to read out loud. (He has to read or have someone read to him for 120 minutes a week).

The article was called "Don't Ever Quit". The verse that Joyce Meyer referenced had a word or two that I could relate to, "weary" and "season".

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9 (KJV)

REAP! That's another that God speaks right to me. That's my name meaning...The reaper or harvester.

I whispered, "Thank you, God, for the continued reminder that you know my heart and continue to work in it."

Joyce also said "When your hope is waning, God's Word remains true".

YES IT DOES!

After I put Daniel to bed, I decided to go through the magazine rack. We are not magazine people. What I mean by that is that we do not read magazines. BUT, we have a ton of them. Amanda has "Girls". Daniel has "Motor Cross" and "Boys Life" and I have "Joyce Meyer". I sorted the children's magazines and placed them back in the rack. I started going through the Joyce Meyer ones. There was a CBN (Pat Robertson) from last December that I started to read.

Then Amanda called. She was at a birthday party and wanted to sleep over. We had this conversation before I dropped her off. I told her that I was not allowing her to stay because I didn't know this family. Another time, perhaps. But now she was pleading with me. I stood firm and told her I was coming at 10. She asked for 10:30 and I told her I was falling asleep at 9! I would be there at 10:00. She was dejected as she was hanging up the phone. A few minutes later I called her back to say I would be there at 10:30. She was very excited as she hung up the phone.

I had my hot cider and my 700 Club magazine. The article was about Christmas traditions written by Terry Meeuwsen. She wrote:

"I am learning to trust God to speak to my children's hearts. My job is to provide the opportunity - in season and out - for my family to celebrate Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit's job to make it take hold in our hearts".

That was in response to her children complaining about a tradition she tried to start. But it is what stuck out in the article to me.

Then I gasped and said "Oh my gosh! No way!

Her article ends with Galatians 6:9

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (NKJV)

I just again whispered the words, "Praise You Lord". He is working in my heart but He is also working "on" my heart.

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My sweet, dear friend and mentor sent me these words after she read the post on September 30th:

...the word that stands out to me is "released." God has released you from the Thursday night group, but when He does that it is because He has a new place for you to be. In the actually proximity of time it is with Daniel or Curtis, as far as the Bible study it is with the morning group. I don't find those changes come very easy sometimes, but you are an example of being willing to listen to the direction God is giving you. He is intentional and purposeful. There is a reason.

I don't know is she knows how her words from God (she will make sure that you and I know that that word came from God) have given me peace over the last week. I still feel those feelings, which are real but not of God. I pray and remember the word "released". He calms my inner storm. He is AWESOME!

Do you know my God?

Who are we--- that You would be mindful of us?
What do You see--- that's worth looking our way?
We are free--- in ways that we never should be.
Sweet RELEASE--- from the grip of these chains.