December 21, 2011

Which Christmas?

Our daughter Dani visited a new Sunday school class last Sunday. Though 24 years old, she's developmentally at a five to eight year level. She loves everyone and adapts well to her environment, all she needs is a little friend to help get her involved with the group.

After a warm welcome to the 3rd/4th grade class, I commenced with the standard speel, "This is the potty sign (I demonstrate the gesture), if she signs it she needs to go to the restroom as soon as possible. Please feel free to get me and I will do her toileting, we don't expect you to do that. She can hear with her hearing aids but because of the Autism she cannot speak so she'll do a lot of signs you won't understand, just tell her you'll ask mom about it when she come back. If you have any questions or problems let me know and I'll be happy to come help."

Eyeing a seat in the back of the sanctuary, on the off chance Dani might need help, we settled in to listen to the visiting missionary family. My patch of the pew was good and warm about the time a young woman appeared in my peripheral vision. Crouching forward she whispered, Dani needs you.

I could see the tears in Dani's eyes before I entered the class room, she looked overwhelmed. Drawing up a chair, I sat next to her and began to neutralize her sadness by remarking on the spread set before her, "Oh my. Monkey bread, two Twix mini candy bars, and cup of lemonade. Girl you've got it made in the shade!" My guess was she felt like a fish out of water and just needed mama for a time.

The class was having so much fun I found myself glad I'd been called to join. 20 Questions was underway. Give a clue about something to do with Christmas and the class had 20 chances to unearth the answer. A clue would be tossed out and the questions would fly. Whoever guessed right would go to the front, give a clue, and filter each question with a yes, no, or I don't know response. No one knew if the mystery at hand was animal, vegetable, or mineral, we had to ask questions.

Throughout the game I notice the most precious thing that still touches may heart today. Without fail, one girl would fire the first question before anyone else. She'd pop off her seat with the fingertips of one hand reaching for the ceiling and ask, "Is it about the real Christmas or the other?"

The question revealed so much about the heart of this little girl because the answer determined where she'd set her mind. A "no" question meant she'd guess things like Frosty the Snowman, Santa Clause, elves, Rudolph, and black coal. If the answer was "yes", however, it meant she'd begin rifling through the facts she'd learned at church about the story of Christ. This sweet girl had been taught so well, there was no room in her heart for a grey zone. When it came to Christmas, there was fact and fiction, simple as that.

While the young child's wisdom left me amazed, a burdened for society to possess more of this fine quality began to surface. What if in the relentless rush of Christmas we each asked ourselves, "Does what I'm doing, worrying about, or striving to accomplish, have anything to do with the real Christmas? Does it focus on Christ or the world? Am I anxious or at peace? Has the thought of the saving Messiah even crossed my mind lately?"

Children teach us so much, especially those blessed by the gospel. While the holidays so often bog us down by mixing truth with fiction, children lay it on the line by seeking the real deal.

Are you preparing for the real Christmas? Have you thanked Jesus for what He's done for the world and what's He's doing in your life and family? He is at work you know. He's always at work, never stagnate. Let's remember to keep Christ in our Christmas and strive to reflect Him to those around us so that they too may see the true meaning of the season.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

December 16, 2011

Your Two Cents is Priceless's finished...the first, biggest, and most difficult step is complete. Olive Leaf Ministries' latest Bible study, One Size Fits All, Discovering Your Perfect Fit for Spiritual Success, is born!

The idea for this baby, the common struggle to discover meaning and purpose in life, was conceived in 2008, at which time life happened, forcing it to go on the back burner. Who knew I'd remain "pregnant" for the next three years.

Once life relaxed, writing resumed with a vengeance and as God would have it, this baby is stronger now than if born in 2008. She just needed a little more time.

As with most newborns, this youngster requires a good cleaning. She needs to be edited, reviewed, and designed, a good spiffin' up you might say, before going out into the public. That's where you all come in. Your opinion counts and will help tremendously when the time comes to advertise. You can help by skimming the study's outline below and answering a few questions.

Table of Contents:

week one – what’s my style?

· here i am

· what’s the deal?

· limited resources

· my fortune

· my secret

week two – gotta have it!

· how do i look?

· i’ll have what she’s having

· put it on my tab

· balancing your account

· spiritually blonde

week three – a trip to the tailor

· you’re hired

· a little more please

· can you see me?

· let me help

· i’ll serve

week four – top design

· high quality

· busy hands

· cast your carbs

· change of season

· follow the model

week five – royal attire

· ignore the cough

· penny for a thoughts

· did i say that?

· size p-31

· trust me

week six – the perfect fit

· a thank you

· wrap it up

· the pattern maker

· care instructions

· go in style


Does this topic of discovering meaning and purpose in life attract you enough to purchase this study? Why or why not.

Does the cover design and theme appeal to you? If not, what would you change?

Would you likely choose, the six-week Bible study version or regular reading addition? Explain why.

Would you suggest this topic to your friends and/or church group?

What would you hope to gain from this study?

Thank you ladies for you help. Please pass this link on to your girl friends on Facebook, Twitter, and personal blog to enlist more viewpoints. Every opinion is valuable.


December 10, 2011

A Godly Legacy

I've long since learned the importance of starting each day in the presence of God. Just a little time with Him orients my heart and mind on to a good and godly course. Like a cup of coffee, His Word is the perfect spiritual boost.

There are a variety of ways to begin our time with God, I like to spice things up to keep it interesting. Sometimes I read from my daily Bible reading, like when I'm reading through a particular book or I do a lesson in whatever current Bible study I am working on, which at the time is "From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest" by Leah Adams. After each reading or lesson, I pause to ascertain the theme of the day. Once this is boiled down, I pray that message over the individuals on my prayer list. It's a great blueprint.

Leah's Bible study directs us how to create a Godly legacy. As a Biblically sound teacher, she does a great job shepherding the reader through these valuable principles. This morning we went over the character traits of God, which refreshed my heart with the reminder that He is loving, strong, compassionate, gracious, mighty, true, and delights over me so much He sings over me. (This goes for you too!) (Zephaniah 3:17) I prayed these very things over those on my prayer list with the knowledge that when we pray God's word back to Him, He hears and answers with joy.

If you are shopping for a great women's study for your church/in-home group or personal study, consider Leah's work. This study would be a great gift for Christmas (it's not too late to visit her website and order your copy today) and upcoming occasions like Valentine's (friends) Day, Mother's Day, and birthdays.

Check Leah out today and whatever you do, by hook or by crook...stay in the word of God.

Blessings to you all!

December 6, 2011

Family Photos...Finally

You know how plumber's pipes often suffer the most neglect? After all, a day spent repairing other folk's leaks doesn't exactly entice one to go home and do the same off hours. The same is true with photographers, their family can be ones least captured in print.

This year we decided to make a change. No more battling Dani's Autism as Jimmy sprinted to beat the timer because 99.999% of the time Dani had fuss all over her face and Jimmy appeared stiff from trying to suppress the tachycardia from dashing back and forth.

No, none of that this year. We escaped it all by leaving it up to Jimmy's photographer friend, Christine with Click Photography. It worked out perfectly because Dani loved Christine and her husband Matt who assisted on the journey. Their professional eye allowed us to relax and go with the flow, as a result we are very pleased with the results.

Here's a few of our faves.

I think heaven will have a golden tint
like this beautiful background.

I don't recall this photo moment
but it must have happened.

This is in the middle of Kansas City believe it or not.

Also at Kansas City' brand new

We blew this up for Dani.
She'll get it for Christmas to put
on her bedroom wall.
She is signing "I Love You"

So there we go. The plumber's leak is fixed and the photographer's family finally has Christmas and family pics. Dani will be tickled come Christmas morn and Jimmy and I are thrilled to finally have a large and beautiful canvas print of us --- before we get too old and crinkly to agree to get in front of a camera again.

If you are of the notion, get your family pictures done too. They are so worth the while and make great Christmas gifts!