Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Halloween Dilemma


Unfortunately, Christians are divided on what to do about taking part in Halloween parties and Trick or Treat activity. In my own church family, the different congregations around the country have not all handled this tradition the same way. I have done some very limited research and have found all kinds of differing opinions. Some have ridiculed their fellow believers for taking a definite stand against any celebration, and some try to provide what is called a Christian Alternative. Some say  there really is nothing evil in this "holiday" and not to worry, but it seems to me that any intelligent christian cannot TRULY believe this in the face of all the horror-type costumes and images that proliferate at this time of year. I have been out in the mall with my youngest children (at the time not school age yet) and they were terrified of the animated mannekins in some of the stores. Even going to the grocery store with them placed them in contact with ugly masks for sale and decorations that a christian cannot have pleasure in.



Yes, when I was a child, and I was the child of a preacher, we were allowed to do the neighborhood trick-or-treating; of course we never dressed up in any "gross" costumes. I am right under 50 years old and have seen such a great change in the way Halloween is "celebrated"...I am practically to the point of not allowing my children to take part. They are in a public school with a great principal and the last few years they have called this time their Fall Party and Great Character costumes are encouraged- by that I mean they must bring a book about the character they dress up as. If they do not bring the book, they must remove the costume. This year I had to provide the plates and napkins for my first-grader's class and was told that anything I brought would be okay, but not to have any "ugly" pictures. In all the school correspondence sent home, no mention was made of "halloween"- it was "fall party." My daughter is in third grade and one of the little girls dressed up Princess-style and brought a rubber rat along as part of her costume (I don't know what book this was from) and the teacher made her keep the rat put away. Personally, I say "more power to ya" and applaud our principal and the teachers for keeping a strict stance. I did allow the kids to dress up- Julia was Sleeping Beauty and David was a race-car driver. Our local photographer that produced the pictures for Galen's real estate brochure had a food drive promotion she called "Soup-erhero" and let parents bring in their children for a free portrait if they contributed cans for the food drive. I did take Julia and David there in costume- David changed to be Batman's friend Robin (I got him 2 costumes from the thrift store very cheaply) - and of course the studio was decorated with spiders and spiderwebs...I despise spiders!!



I know this sounds like I am talking out of both sides of my mouth...but I really wonder about this. I did tell the children not to say halloween, but costume day, or something like that. I know kids love dressing up and you hate to disappoint them, BUT ... I really have a strong belief that Halloween as the rest of our country "celebrates" it is WRONG. I don't know exactly what I'll do in the future. I believe there comes a time that we must take a firm stand on some issues and bear the ridicule and embarrassment that may follow if we do act on our convictions in a way that most everyone else does not understand or appreciate. It will not bring any lasting "damage" to the children- there were many things I was not allowed to do as a child because of the conservative christian beliefs of my family. I was embarrassed about some things but I was not resentful. Even in our adult life, "the world" will poke fun at us if our beliefs stand out from the crowd. HEY! I am not ashamed to be a conservative christian! I am Not Ashamed of The Gospel of Christ nor of my personal convictions that may differ from those of other christians. I am glad I finally got over my painful shyness that I had for so many years.

Anyway, above are our free portraits from Uniquely You Photography, Choctaw, Ok

(PostScript -I just found a letter from the principal-why didn't I see it before?- stating, "This week's activity on Friday, dressing up as a character from a book, is not a Halloween costume activity. Please don't spend money on this event. You and your child have an opportunity to be creative. If the book your child chooses is about a cat, draw whiskers and a black nose on your child and put some paper ears on his head! This is a literary event. Your child's teacher is going to use this event as a literature lesson...I'm not sure you would want to send your child to school all day in an expensive halloween costume that could get torn at recess and not be available to the child this Saturday night! So, be creative and have fun with your child. Remember, any child wearing a costume without an accompanying book will be asked to remove the costume.)


This is Julia and her best friend in 3rd grade, Brigid- as Sleeping Beauty and A Southern Belle


And here are the two friends with their teacher, Mrs Frieson. Julia is holding the pumpkin she painted and decorated with glitter.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tell God

rain drop gif Pictures, Images and Photos

"Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart to a dear friend. People who have no secrets from each other never lack subjects of conversation; they do not weigh their words, because there is nothing to be kept back. Neither do they seek for something to say; they talk out of the abundance of their hearts, just what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God.

Yet--

How rare to find a soul still enough to hear God speak."
-Francois De Fenelon

Peace And Quiet Pictures, Images and Photos

Thank You, Father, for this moment of quiet, and for the strength to pick up my tasks again, renewed and refreshed because I have paused to be with You. For the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. -Sherwood E. Wirt, "The Quiet Corner"



"The privilege of prayer to me is one of the most cherished possessions because faith and experience alike convince me that God Himself sees and answers, and His answers I never venture to criticize. It is only my part to ask. It is entirely His to give or withhold, as He knows is best. If it were otherwise, I would not dare to pray at all. In the quiet of home, in the heat of life and strife, in the face of death, the privilege of speech with God is inestimable. I value it more because it calls for nothing that the wayfaring man, though a fool, cannot give - that is, the simplest expression to his simplest desire. When I can neither see, nor hear, nor speak, still I can pray so that God can hear. When I finally pass through the valley of the shadow of death, I expect to pass through it in conversation with Him."
-Sir Wilfred Grenfell


Quiet Evening Peace Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Saying "Grace"



Whether it's called "saying grace," "table prayers" or "giving thanks," offering a blessing before a meal is probably the most common form of prayer in American homes. "We, as people of faith, understand everything we have is a gift from God, including the things that sustain us on a daily basis," said the Rev. Vince Rohn, a pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Springfield. "That's why we teach our kids to say grace before a meal. We want to thank God for providing us with that gift."

At a more secular level, a declaration of gratitude at the dinner table can strengthen the bonds of fellowship for those eating together, emphasizing the joy of belonging. Giving thanks for food can be seen in every culture and religion, according to the book "Bless This Food: Ancient & Contemporary Graces From Around the World" by Adrian Butash.

Some people improvise when saying grace, while others recite a specific prayer. Rohn recommends getting children involved by teaching them a simple blessing and asking them to recite it before a meal. "My son simply says, 'Thank you Jesus, for food, family and friends.'" Another easy blessing for children, Rohn said, is "God is great, God is good. Let us thank him for our food." Rohn says a standard grace prayer can be customized. "What our family has started doing is having the kids say 'God is great, God is good' and then my wife and I will follow with an extemporaneous prayer thanking the Lord for the day or something special or for watching over a family member who is ill," he said.

(post by Kathryn Rem, Gatehouse News Service, April 24, 2009)




My Louisiana family started a tradition of holding hands around the table while “saying grace” back when the grandkids started arriving. My little ones had learned the prayer, “God is great, God is good, now we thank Him for our food; By thy hand, we are fed, Thank you God for daily bread”, and my daddy began to have us say this all together when we would all be gathered at the home place. He has passed on now but we still do this when we all get together at my mother’s home, almost without fail.





In Norman Rockwell's autobiography he gives the story behind this picture. A reader of the Saturday Evening Post sent him a suggestion that he eventually used for this painting, which was the most popular cover he ever did. A woman in Philadelphia had seen a Mennonite family saying grace in an automat and she thought Mr. Rockwell could use the idea. He painted a Thanksgiving cover of an old woman and a little boy saying grace in a railroad cafeteria, watched by the people around them- some surprised, some puzzled.(From his April 29, 1959 diary)




For more about saying grace, visit this beautiful blogspot.
http://aparsonswife.blogspot.com/2009/02/saying-grace-and-grace.html

Monarch Migration Time!


Monarch Butterfly Antenna: A Hi-tech Tiny Toolkit   by Brian Thomas, M.S. (with the Institute for Creation Research)

Monarch butterflies have fascinated biologists for a long time. A 3,000-mile road trip in even the most comfortable car would prove daunting to many humans, but these beautiful insects can migrate that same distance every year from Canada to a specific grove of fir trees in Mexico each fall. The next generation of monarchs can then travel back to Canada in the spring.



Scientists are investigating the tools that these tiny flying creatures use to achieve this feat. One leading monarch researcher has discovered an important reason why the butterflies’ antennae are vital for successful navigation. Neurobiologist Steven Reppert and his team wanted to find out the specific mechanism in the antenna that enables the butterfly to migrate accurately.

In a press release reporting on their study published in Science, Dr. Reppert stated, “We’ve known that the insect antenna is a remarkable organ, responsible for sensing not only olfactory cues but wind direction and even sound vibration.” After observing the effects on navigation of removing or painting over the antennae, they discovered yet another sensor tucked in the tiny tendril—one that detects the angle of incoming sunlight.



Four years ago, Dr. Reppert discovered that monarch eyes detect a UV portion of sunlight, which is coordinated with a circadian clock in the brain. This year he was surprised to find a clock, or “time correction factor,” housed inside the antenna itself. The internal clock constantly calibrates the angle of sunlight, converting that information into cardinal directions. That way, the butterflies can fly south, or north the next generation, unerringly.

These butterflies, therefore, have a well-organized network of data coordination involving light information captured both with eyes and antennae, as well as circadian clocks in both the brain and antennae. After considering the chemical, wind, and sound detectors within the antennae alone—as well as the geographic information that is somehow transferred to the second generation that enables them to travel to a location they’ve never visited—one can see that such specifications could never be generated randomly. For functionality, they would require an engineer to specifically design them to work in conjunction with the complex systems present in the eyes and brain to steer the butterfly to its programmed destination.



And what better candidate for the identity of this engineer than the God of the Bible, who made every creature “very good” in the beginning, including the monarch butterfly with its amazing navigation system? (end of article posted on internet October 9, 2009)

"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised! and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. His tender mercies are over all His works. All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord!" from Psalm 145 -The Holy Bible

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

One Nation Under God...But Not At Home Depot?


By BRYAN GARNER WPTV Newschannel 5

Posted October 23, 2009 at 5:05 p.m.

 OKEECHOBEE — Trevor Keezer didn’t start working at The Home Depot to make a religious statement. He just wanted to earn money for college.“I want to go to school to become a nurse,” said the 20-year-old Okeechobee resident.Keezer says for 19 months, ever since he started working as a cashier at The Home Depot in Okeechobee, he’s worn a button with an American flag on it that reads: “One nation under God, indivisible.”Keezer sees the quotation, taken from the pledge of allegiance, as his way of supporting American troops at war, and of expressing his Christian faith. In December, his older brother Army Spc. Steven Keezer Jr., is scheduled to deploy to Iraq for his second tour of duty.

For more than a year, Keezer says none of his managers mentioned the button on his Home Depot apron, except one supervisor who commented she liked it.“She actually wanted to wear it,” Keezer said.Then, last month, when he started bringing his Bible to work, Keezer says his manager confronted him about the button.“That’s when I was told it had to come off, or I would be sent home. So they sent me home for six straight days without pay. And then today they terminated me,” he said.

Craig Fishel, a spokesman for The Home Depot, said he could not comment on specific personnel issues, but added, “The company’s dress code policy states that we do not allow noncompany buttons, regardless of their message or content.”Fishel says Home Depot has a “proud history” of supporting the military, and that it sanctions several of its own buttons for employees to wear, including one that reads: “United We Stand.” Keezer said he preferred to wear his button because “you can’t have country without God. Every pin they showed me had no ‘God’ on it or anything.” Fishel says the company gives employees several warnings when they violate the dress policy before terminating them. But Keezer says, “It never crossed my mind to take off the button because I’m standing for something that’s bigger than I am. They kept telling me the severity of what you’re doing and I just let God be in control and went with His plan.” Keezer says he was a model employee at Home Depot and he liked his job. “I was cashier of the month and I’ve won six ‘Homer’ awards — that’s the highest award you can get at Home Depot.”

Keezer has the support of his family. “I’m so proud of him,” said his mother, Francine. Local business owners are rallying to his cause, too. Jim McCoin, owner of Cowboy’s Barbecue and Steak Co., said, “Amen. I am proud of him. If you can’t stand for what you believe in, then why be there.” McCoin says he’d like to order some of the “One nation under God” buttons for the employees of his two local restaurants.

As for Keezer, he says he didn’t set out to make a religious statement, but now that he has, he believes he’s done the right thing. “I want to be a voice for the rest of the Christians and for the citizens of this country to stand up for the country. You know, quit being told to sit down. Say what you want to say and don’t be afraid of the consequences,” he said. (end of news post)



OKAY ANY FOLLOWERS OF MY BLOG: You have fair warning now that on some things I am a little bit of an activist. But it IS MY blog and you do not have to follow if you are afraid of being offended. I am coming from a conservative CHRISTIAN worldview, mindset, lifestyle, what-have-you. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." Romans 1:16 Also I am very patriotic - May God Bless America!



Saturday, October 24, 2009

Farewell

The gates of heaven opened this evening around 5:30 for the arrival of Berniece Williams, a lifelong acquaintance and godly woman. She will be GREATLY missed by her children and church family...a lovely spirit has taken it's flight.


Too Little Time



Fall is my favorite time of year...I love not having to run the air conditioner or the heater- except maybe at night if it gets a little too nippy. Better yet would be a wood fire in the woodstove! We miss that since we have been here in Oklahoma City. Our home in Ringwood had a beautiful Vermont Castings woodstove with a large window to watch the flames...
Ecclesiastes 1:8 "The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing." No matter how often I see the beautiful autumn leaves, it is never enough. The beauty of this season passes much too quickly. Here I go again complaining of the Oklahoma climate! It's either too windy or too dry usually for longlasting splendor, but this year has been exceptional in that we have had plenty of rain this summer, and so far this fall...anyway I must post more beautiful pictures while I keep current with the season! My usual run of travel keeps me in our part of town- and the leaves where I go day by day seem to be more brown than colorfilled even though they are the same kind of trees as across town where there is LOVELY LOVELY Color--Thursday when I dropped Julia off for her piano lesson at OKCU, I went wandering around that area just looking and the trees over there are so much more colorful! I don't understand why there is such a difference. I felt "stabs of joy" just looking. I made it a point to look in our area again these last few days, and the color is definitely more brown than red,gold,yellow...We have some nice pin oaks in our yard, but they turn very fast- but they keep a lot of leaves through the winter until the new spring growth pushes them off. Some day I would like to get to travel in the fall to the places famous for their fall color. I have been to see the golden aspens in Colorado over 20 years ago...


"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love,and a time to hate; a time of war,and a time of peace." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8



He hath made everything beautiful in His time.
  


"I know that...every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor- it is the gift of God."
Ecclesiastes 3:13


"Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth...Remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."  From Ecclesiastes 11 and 12, The Holy Bible


moving lake fall Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, October 22, 2009

WATCH D.O.G.S.



Today is Galen's first day as a WatchD.O.G.S. at Ridgecrest Elementary where our two youngest attend.This is a program from the National Center for Fathering focusing on prevention of violence in our nation's schools by using the positive influence of fathers and father-figures.(Dads Of Great Students) volunteer for at least one day each year at a participating school. During the day, WatchDOGS may read with students, work on flash cards, monitor and mentor, assist with traffic flow, etc. Their presence offers additional security at the school during the day. The program was founded by a father in Arkansas who chose to take action in response to a 1998 middle-school shooting in his state, and was joined with the National Center for Fathering in 2006. This gives students a positive male role model and the fathers get a glimpse of their children's everyday world. Thanks, Dad, for taking the time to be involved!

God be in my head, And in my understanding.
God be in my eyes, And in my looking.
God be in my mouth, And in my speaking.
God be in my heart, And in my thinking.
God be at my end, And at my departing. (Sarum Primer)
-This is one of my favorite prayers.









To Seek and To Save the Lost


My Prayer- "Jesus, I know you came Here with the express purpose to Look for the sheep that is lost. I know you are Ever Faithful and I look to You to do Your work well. Thank You that You are not willing that any lost sheep be forsaken, but You go out of Your way to find him and rescue him. You know all about Search and Rescue and all my hopes are in You. You Yourself said, 'The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.' Thank You for hearing My Prayer."
The saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" comes to mind...Notice the bird of prey swooping down on the little lamb? The depth of the gorge? The seeming impossibility of a rescue? Yet the Good Shepherd is doing His job at the risk of His own life...HALLELUJAH!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Rainy Fall Evening





The day is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains and the wind is never weary. The vine still clings to the moldering wall, but at every gust the dead leaves fall, And the day is dark and dreary.


It rains, and the wind is never weary...The hopes of youth fall thick in the blast, and the days are dark and dreary.







Be Still, sad heart! And cease repining: Behind the clouds the sun's still shining! Thy fate is the common fate of all - Into each life some rain must fall...Some days must be dark and dreary.

From the poem "The Rainy Day" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



It's raining at our house this evening...inside and out. Julia is well enough to go back to school tomorrow I think, but David still feels puny. We are praying with tears for our son Ben... he is struggling with mental issues concerning his life right now. But MY SAVIOR LOVES, MY SAVIOR LIVES, MY SAVIOR'S ALWAYS THERE FOR ME. In the words of the older song, "(Jesus) Holds the powers of hell at bay."
Our faith looks up to Thee, Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn Musing

"Autumn is ripeness...Our lives also must be allowed to mature, to be able to give to others. It is a strange paradox that fulfillment is so much about surrender. We recognize ourselves best when we give our selves fully. It is how we discover what we essentially are, or rather what we have been allowed to become from the gifts that were given to us.

Now the leaves are turning tawny or burning red and bright with gold. The joy of completion blazes in every direction. Fulfillment demands that we let go.

With a slight touch seed pods explode in the hand. All around is giving-ness. Just a small word, some ordinary event, or a simple touch can burst the seed pod of the self. Instantly there are new possibilities. We must open to let the hidden splendor out."

-from the book "A Mystic Garden" by Gunilla Norris

Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Marine Is In Distress


The road of life is taking him through bleak scenery today


Grace and Faith will bring him back into the sunshine.


Please pray for Benjamin.

The Turn of The Season




A SURE SIGN of the coming of fall-- the youngest children are getting sick! David is practically well today and hopefully can go to school tomorrow, but Julia is showing every sign of having whatever he just got rid of. It seems like every time they are out of school for a break, SOMEONE has to get sick and not start back when the break is over! This has been a nice summer here in Oklahoma, not too hot for a change. More rain than normal and not as windy! Today the wind is very strong- I had almost forgotton what it was like. It can be frustrating in autumn because just when the leaves start to turn color, it frequently gets cold too early for the leaves to stay any length of time on the trees; consequently our Fall Color Time is almost nil. I was born and raised in Louisiana, and though I have lived here for almost 25 years I am not totally reconciled to the weather extremes of this state!


Grace is a certain beginning of Glory in us.

- St. Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Even Fall Foliage Comes In Pink!


Lovely Fall Color

"Autumn means colored leaves: a spectrum of shades between the green shades of summer and the dull browns of winter. Crimson, fiery red, maroon, ruddy orange, pure orange, yellow orange, soft yellows and bright yellows. Red maples, yellow birch, scarlet sycamores, aspen golds. Mottled leaves of several colours in transition. Each deciduous tree, each bush, strutting its own autumn wardrobe. Naked willows dancing in the wind. In their midst, the smug conifers stand. "Evergreen," they say to us, "ever green."

Ahhh, those bright autumn spells that bring out the most vivid of hues. Days so delightful you can almost taste the colour. And those cold, crisp nights when the air has its own special vintage to entice us back outdoors one last time. A bouquet matched in no other season — aged in Northern realms and blended just right.

This is how I see and have seen Autumn over my half century of life. I hope such joy and beauty, such stability and changeability, surprises and rouutines, continue through my next fifty. I love a good season, watching it turn, engendering days of joy and days of melancholy. Sorry, must go. Adventure lurks outside my door."

This writing was written and posted by The Weather Doctor