Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Somebody's Watching You!

Have you ever felt like someone was watching you in a crowd? Have you ever watched someone out in public that you found amusing? Have you ever thought your kids weren't paying any attention only to have one of them do exactly what you taught them to do and showed them by example?
    People are watching all the time. Some folks watch for the wrong reasons, maybe to judge another or in hopes of catching one little tiny wrong to justify their  own feelings about a person.  Sometimes though they are watching you to see if you are real and if they can trust you to help them with direction. If you are a Christian, they may be curious about the God you say you serve and want to see if your actions line up with your words. I think this should be easy to relay to a curious heart, but it is sadly not always easy. I fall short many times. I cannot count the times that I know I have been a poor witness and an unworthy lead. Over and over I have had to apologize to the Lord for my actions when they were less than what I knew God wanted from me.
     Once, I had a friend that didn't know the Lord. I was a kid and would ask her to come to church with us each Sunday. She went and she now knows the Lord and is a Christian lady! When she came to know Jesus, I asked her what made the difference and she said it was all the times that my folks came and picked her up on Sunday for church! Wow! She was watching!! It was nothing we did,I just wanted to take a friend, but she was wanting to see something and I guess we got to show her and didn't even know we were doing it. Her heart was being drawn by God!
      I have watched people and wanted to be like them before. I have watched people and DID NOT want to be like them. Working at a school, I find that kids are watching how we adults do things all the time. When we are respectful to them, it comes back to us. It is very predictable because when we aren't respectful of those around us, they aren't either.  In our home, if one of us is grumpy, the kids pick up on it and sometimes the whole house becomes a grouch!
     The Bible says in Matthew 26:41, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." Why is it important not to fall into temptation (to cuss, to drink, to lie, to cheat, to steal etc...)? Because, there are little ones eyes, coworkers eyes, folks in your churches eyes, critics eyes and your family's eyes watching YOU!  You never know what a difference that you can make by simply beginning to look at the words you are saying, or pay attention to the places you go for fun. If you are wanting to lead others to the foot of the cross where they can meet a Savior full of forgiveness and love for them, you have to begin to pay attention!  I had gotten away from that very thing. I was doing my own thing not hurting anyone (I thought!)  walking along and God said, "Wow, look at the words you have coming out of your mouth!" Those words were tearing down, not building up. That habit has been hard to break! I had always heard, "Words once spoken have a life all their own!" That is so true! Proverbs 16:24 says, "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." If this is true, then the opposite is true also. If we speak harshly or crudely, it grows bitterness and sickness to the bones. When we do that, all of the folks watching us see that and turn away. After all, what do we offer other than the same old thing they are used to in the life they already live.
    As I write this, I am taking a look at myself even closer and it kinda hurts I have to say!! I want more than anything to please God and be a light to others and I  limp around like a runner with a sprained ankle. I do fairly well, but I am not taking care of my walk enough to make it stronger and make my run smooth....and certainly no one wants to follow a slow runner!!  Is this you too? Anyone out there feel like this ever? I think I will make a plan to work on myself this next week starting today! If you see me out and about and I am faltering, will you please, in love, remind me of who I belong to and that I promised to make a better effort this week?? I don't want you to watch me if I am falling repeatedly, I want help so we can together grow stronger!!! 
    Have a wonderful week and remember that there is somebody...maybe several somebodies watching you! What are you showing them? Where are you leading them? What are they learning from you? God Bless you! Lori

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Tribute to Our Oscar Cat

Six years ago, Heather made out her Christmas list at the age of 9. Everything on the list was "LIVE"! There was a bunny, a kitten, fish, a puppy and numerous other "critters"! My brother in law and sister in law called to say that they wanted to get her a kitten. Chris and I talked it over and decided that it was a good idea. They couldn't come at Christmas, but came in January. The kitten was to be a surprise and Heather was thrilled! When they opened the carrier they brought him in, out stepped a deep blueish gray kitten with eyes the color of gold coins. Under his chin at the top of his chest, was a dot of white and when he ran it looked like a tiny white bell swinging back and forth. He was a little skiddish around all of us, but went straight to Heather's lap. She was a good Mama to "Oscar", as he would come to be known. Our son always called him George and Heather would get mad, but he only called him that to make her squawk!
     Oscar grew and we realized that he was hard of hearing and even though he was happy, never purred. He never went far from home and was usually found curled up in the loft of our garage on an old blanket, on snowy or rainy days. On warm sunny days he would curl up in our willow rocker on the porch.  When Heather would come home from school, he would come running with a meow of welcome to her. He would usually want to be picked up for a minute and he would put his paws around your neck for a "kitty hug". Oscar was not a demanding cat or a "persnickety" kind of cat. He was gentle and loved to be held, but was also content to be let in and lay under an old cupboard watching the action of family feet going by.
     We pray for the protection of our animals out here in the country. We have often said that our outdoor kittys are disposeable. Sad but true! If a cat doesn't come home, it is usually assumed that a coyote found them while they were out hunting. Oscar was different in that we had him for 6 years and we depended on seeing him every day. Once in a great while he would go off for the day, but he was always home at night. 
    On Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, my husband woke from a nap and asked if I had seen Oscar lately. I commented that he was probably in the garage sleeping since it was really cold and icy that weekend. He wasn't though. He had fallen into our pool and drowned. We were all devastated.  We had put a cover over the pool, but we had heavy winds through the field behind the house and the cover had blown off.  Our poor Oscar! Telling Heather was the hardest part. She was heartsick and cried for several days if his name was mentioned.
    Now we have aching hearts that he is gone. In the coming months, we will look for another kitten to love, but there will never be one as sweet and loyal as our Oscar Cat. He could never be replaced, he was the BEST!

Monday, February 6, 2012

He's the ONE!

     With Valentine's Day coming up, I wanted to talk a little bit about L-O-V-E and some of my thoughts on the subject! I am no expert, but I have been around awhile and seen some things in life.
       How does it happen?? How do we find that "One" that we are to share our life with?  When I was a young girl, I dreamed about what "Mr. Right" would be like. I was quite the romantic heart and my teachers always wrote on report cards, "Lori is a good student, but tends to daydream way too much!" That is probably true!
      I wasn't looking for someone when my husband came into my life. I had married right out of high school to someone much older. I think, looking back on it, it was more of just wanting to grow up too fast and get out on my own. That seems to have been the driving force. Nevertheless, it wasn't a happy marriage at all from the start and we divorced.
      I had always prayed for the Lord to bring "Mr. Right" into my life. I shared with God all of the qualities that I wanted him to have and when I was 19 and divorced, those qualities that I had prayed for were a strange, seemingly unattainable and distant memory. I just wanted to know that God still loved me, I didn't care about finding anyone else to share life with.
      It was not long after that I met "The Love of My Life". Now, we didn't either one of us know that then, we just became  friends and had many things in common, plus we were the same age and most importantly, we both loved the Lord! He lived in another state and so the visits were few and far between, but the friendship was the BEST! A few months after meeting, he asked me to go to dinner with him and he would drive the 500 miles to take me. I accepted with some fear. I didn't want to ruin our friendship, but over time love grew instead. We have been together for 26 years this Valentine's Day, and married for 25 years coming in May. I cannot imagine what my life would have been without him!! He is every bit of what I prayed for, daydreaming out on my parents front porch swing when I was about 14 years old. God was listening all the time!! I have often thought that if I would have just been patient and waited on God's timing, the scar and pain of divorce would not have ever happened. I hope to convey how important the "waiting" is to our children.
     Our kids are getting to the age where they will soon be finding that "Miss Right" for Jordan and those "Mr. Rights" for Lindsay and Heather. I do not know all of the qualities that they are looking for in a mate, but God does.  Chris and I have prayed for God's guidance on each of our children's lives and the lives of the ones they choose to marry since they were babies. Somewhere growing up in the world today are those kids! We have prayed for them and their families, for their upbringing and for the Lord's hand to be on their families and in their hearts, as well as bring them into our children's lives when the time is right for each of them. I have full confidence in this!! Their is so much sadness and disillusion in the world today over what marriage is and what a true commitment to another human for life takes. We have raised our kids to know that their are going to be amazing days of joy, hard times of grief and sorrow and mediocre days of just getting through. They have seen us argue intensely, love immensely and support unconditionally. They know there have been rough times, but they have seen a marriage grounded by God's presence at every meal, in conversation, in illness and job change. We have tried to cover all the bases we can. There will be things that they encounter in their own walks, but that is the "stuff of life" and it colors our story. 
     Our son (in college) Facebooked me the other day and told me that he was ready for the "bag" over his head to come off and for God to bring his "Miss Right" around.  He has been praying for her for a long time and looking forward to the day! I facebooked him back and told him 3 words...SHE IS COMING! I don't know when and I don't know who, but I know God is getting them ready to meet. That is exciting! He is a wonderful young man and I know will be a great husband and father one day. He is attentive and compassionate, Loves God wholeheartedly and has a great smile!
     Our oldest daughter is a Junior this year and Prom is around the corner. She has the dress and the shoes and looks beautiful in it! She does not have a date though. Her reaction? It is fine if she doesn't get one, she will have fun with her friends anyway. She is beautiful and a very responsible young woman! She loves the Lord and is also praying for the time when God brings along her "Mr. Right". Our youngest daughter is just getting started praying for her "Mr. Right". She has a tender heart and I know she will take her time. We stress to them to let God do the looking and for them to be patient while they wait.
     I do not know if there is a "Magic" way to know if someone is "The One", but I do know that if you trust the Lord to bring them, He will do it for you or if you have them, for your children. Don't ever be afraid to bring your wants and desires to the Lord, (Psalms 55:22 says, "Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you." That verse doesn't say maybe, it is a promise!)  If you have "The One" that God blessed you with, thank God for them and lift them up in prayer every day! We are our Best when God is at the center of our lives and the lives of our spouses or loved ones. I know....we pray for each other every day, won't you pray for yours!?!