Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lanning's First Christmas

There is nothing like a child's first Christmas, especially when they have just learned to crawl and pull up to furniture. Lanning was quite the little explorer. He wanted to touch and taste everything. There was a sparkle that appeared in his bright blue eyes each time a new object was found to be within his grasp. It was great! His whole world has opened up to him. He tasted everything from Polly Pocket clothing to Christmas tree ornaments and even got a taste of sweet potatoes, cool whip and cranberry sauce. (Grandma helped with the food stuff).

This little guy will be up and running when our next Christmas rolls around. By then he can reach even more bright sparkling things from the tree! Maybe even sit at the "little kids table" with his cousins.

Stay little while you can, little man. Growing up comes way too fast.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Eve Pie Making

I started a tradition with my grandchildren of making pies the night before Thanksgiving as well as on Christmas Eve when Caitlyn was just 3. This special project has grown to include Kylie and Haley now and next year will include Corey and John.These pies are not perfect but the care with which they are prepared is unbeatable. Yum! Yum! We serve the pie for dessert at our Christmas dinner and the girls are quite proud of their accomplishments. Enjoy the pics.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2 More Days and the Fun Begins!

Angie and Jeremy and the kids arrive in just 2 more days. Andrew and Crystal and their kids will come on Friday after work and spend the night too. I can't wait! This time together always wears me out but it is soooo worth it! Little boys playing ninja warrior with the swords, giggling little girls in the tub full of bubbles, laughter coming from upstairs where a wild game of cards is going on, snacks by the ton, all of us gathered around the table for meals. There is nothing like it.

God has blessed me with a week of calm before the excitement begins. It has given me a lot of time to think about Christmas. Not just the incredible time we will have with family, but of the Christ who came. I can't think of another living being that is celebrated and yet forgotten more than Christ. It is sad really. We celebrate his birth. The miraculous virgin birth of God made flesh. We spend weeks planning for this one special time. Food, family, friends, gifts, programs, parties. But how much time do we spend preparing our heart for Christmas? In the hustle and bustle of the season we forget about the baby. Makes me think of the saying "throwing the baby out with the bath water". But that is what we tend to do.

I encourage you to meditate on the gift of life that was given to all of us. Jesus Christ came to earth to be born a man and yet God. He lived a sinless life with no regrets. In the prime of His life, was crucified and paid the final penalty for our sins. All of them. For everyone. Because He loves us. He rose from the dead and has made a place for us those who give their lives to Him in heaven.

When the family leaves I want to remember my time with the Lord. My meditations on Him. When the gifts are all put away this is one gift I want to remember after Christmas. Enjoy the time with family, but remember Jesus in the midst of it. It will change your Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Measure, Stir, Bake, Cool, Wrap and Repeat

One of my favorite gifts to give is something homemade from my kitchen. I have been accused of having "a need to feed". Others say I have the spiritual gift of 'feeding'. ( not a scriptural spiritual gift, of course). I know it seems odd but I get great pleasure in feeding people.

The last two weeks before Christmas I make something each night after work. Banana Bread, Pumpkin Bread, Cookies, Chex Mix, Candies, Fudge, Dipped Pretzels. All the special things I don't make during the year. A few days before Christmas I box them up and give them away. I love it! Each staff member gets a box of goodies for the car trip to relatives or a variety of things they can use to entertain their family and friends who are coming to their house for Christmas.

The hardest part is keeping Mark out of the supply. He says everything must be taste tested. I have learned that the quicker it hits the freezer, the more I can save. Don't worry... he and all my children get their fair share when our family is all together. A tremendous amount of food goes through our kitchen in a short span of time. It is down right shameful!

It is the gift from the hands and heart that thrill me most. No store can begin to compare to the love in a hand made gift. It is a piece of yourself. A sacrifice. Not a huge present, but something small. This also describes Christ. He was handmade by God himself. Given from a love for sinful man. A true sacrifice. Not a full grown man but a small baby. What an amazing God we serve! The ultimate gift giver.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

All That Really Matters

People volunteer for all kinds of things. Sometimes we volunteer and we don't really mean to. Other times we sign up to help with an event and have no idea what we just signed on for. There is truth in the saying "Look before you leap". When scribbling your name on the line, do we ever stop and think about what our attitude is before the pen touches the paper? I know I don't always think about what might be involved. I just plunge head long into it and sign my 'john hancock'.
I ran into this very problem this past weekend. Not with myself but with several others. This season is full of hectic days and frayed attitudes. A few friends signed up to help with a project at church. When the time came, they showed up someone had already been jumping on their last nerve. Their 'servant heart' was no where to be seen. Upon the arrival of the first person the tongue lost all control. The complaints began to flow as if someone had opened the flood gates on the dam. Everything from the chairperson to the decorations, music and food was up for critical review. I could not escape the rounds of ammo that hit my heart. You would have thought there was a sign on my chest that read "Complaint Box." Needless to say, it nearly ruined the evening for me. I knew that the entire event had been planned with care and love for the Lord. It was intended to be a time of worship as well as a clear explanation of the gospel for those who have not yet believed.
I found myself in the back room, tears flowing, heart broken. The attitude of the heart of sinners always takes me by surprise. I forget that those whom I worship with on Sunday are sinners just as I am. We are only kind because of the grace of God. It is His righteousness that allows us to do anything good. It certainly is not a product of our sin nature.
The second night of the event I took precautions. I spent a few quiet minutes with the Lord asking Him to make this evening what he wanted it to be. To help me to focus on Him and the part that I would play in this witness of His birth. "Make me gracious and understanding. Patient and loving" was my plea. And He was faithful.
The night was a precious time of praise to the Lord. Oh there were still complaining hearts, but He was worshiped. And that is all that really matters.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Stop This Merry go round, I Want Off!

'Tis the season for hectic schedules and ours is crazy. We are having our annual Christmas Celebration at church and since I work there I am in the midst of the preparations. Not to mention Mark, Andrea and I all sing in the choir. This week's schedule is:
Monday - put up the trees and begin to decorate.
Tuesday - finish decorating the house and clean up.
Wednesday - Mark teaches Awana, I go to the grocery and cook dinner for a friend.
Thursday - Set up for the program followed by Ensemble practice and Choir practice.
Friday - Dress rehearsal for the concert.
Saturday - 15 college students from church for Christmas Brunch at our house followed by the first performance of The Christmas Celebration.
Sunday - first service our church, second service at Andrew and Crystal's church for Lanning's Dedication then back to our church at 5:30 for the second performance of the Christmas Celebration.

Sometimes it is like riding a merry-go-round that is spinning out of control and it makes me want to yell "Stop this thing and let me off!" I just need to catch my breath.

We get so busy at this time of year that we often forget why we do what we do. Why do we buy presents? Why do we celebrate Christmas? Why do we have family over? Why do we attend Christmas events?

Because Christ came to earth to provide for our salvation. If we miss the reason for the celebration, then we miss the whole purpose. I try each day to take a deep breath, clear my mind of all the hustle and bustle and think about Christ. Why He came. Who He is. How can I praise and glorify Him more. It keeps me grounded.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thankful/ Disappointed/ Hopeful

Thanksgiving day is over and the house is almost back to normal. Actually it seems extremely quiet. The kids have all gone home, Mom is back in Indiana and Mark's parents are back in Clarksville. This past weekend was actually a dry run for Christmas. We do it all again in 3 1/2 weeks.

Thanksgiving dinner did not go exactly as I had planned. There was no quiet moment to reflect on the Lord or even mention something we were thankful for. In spite of my disappointment I was reminded of a lesson learned many times over. It is not our timing, but His. Life is not run by my hopes and dreams but by the Lord's sovereignty. I am only to trust His sovereignty.

I have to admit. I am really disappointed that there was no clear witness of our love for Christ nor of our thankful hearts. But I am very thankful that God is trustworthy. I will trust Him for the timing.

Christmas is mere days away and there is another opportunity.......

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Annual Day of Thanks Giving

I have been pondering a couple of things lately.

1. Why do we spend one day a year to catch up on all the things we don't give thanks to God. Should we not be thanking Him every day for every thing? I am ashamed to admit that days go by without even stopping to thank God for one single thing.

2. Can you actually name something that you are not thankful for? Even the most horrible of circumstances are used by God to mold us into the person He wants us to be. So even the bad is a good thing.

We will be having 16 family members for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Most will be staying for a few days. For the first time we are going to take time to tell God how thankful we are. We plan to spend time in worship, read some scriptue and sing together. Isn't that what the day is for?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mother's birthday. She lives in Indiana so I don't get to spend the day with her. But I do want to honor her on her special day.

Many trials have come upon the life of Judy Sedruley. Some self inflicted and others thrust upon her. But each time I have watched her pull up her bootstraps and keep walking. She is a strong woman. One who does not "take it lying down". In the midst of life she continues to love her family.

I will never forget the night Stan died. Mom and I had mended our broken relationship. I simply called her and she came. No questions asked. There was no "It is late so I will come in the morning." I needed her and she came. That is what a mother does. She is a faithful mother and friend.

Mom in coming for Thanksgiving this year. I will be driving to Southern Indiana to meet my sister and pick up Mom on Monday. It is just too far for her to drive it alone. I can't tell you how thrilled I am! As you get older and somewhat wiser, you realize that just as your children, parents will not be here forever. Their days are numbered just like the rest of us. I pray this Thanksgiving Mom will feel comfortable in our home. That she will see her child rearing years did good. But mostly that she will see the love of Christ in our family.

I am thankful for my mom. I pray the Lord's blessings on her. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Holiday Season

Here it is. The Holiday Season. I bought a new sign for our front door that was just too cute to pass up and it was only $4! "Gobble 'til you Wobble" That pretty much sums up the season. Doesn't it. Someone said the other day. "We start the eating season on Halloween. We eat the candy like we don't get any for the next 364 days and then move right into the Thanksgiving stuffing of our selves like we don't eat during the winter hibernation and then with Christmas we cook and bake and eat like it is our one chance to "load the hump". All I can say is, enjoy!

I love the holidays. I love the sniff of noses as they come in the house when I have been baking. I love the planning of meals and extra goodies to be left out and enjoyed at any hour of the day. Giving gifts that you have really put some thought into. All the family being together 24/7. (yes, even though I escape to my room now and then). But most of all I love the meaning of the season.

We hear it every year "Be Thankful for what you have". There is actually more to it than that. Be thankful for what the Lord has blessed you with. It is an entirely different meaning. If you are thankful for what you have, you are only thankful for what you have worked for or acquired in some way. But when we are thankful for what the Lord has blessed us with, we are grateful for not only the necessities of life but for the abundance of gifts that He did not have to give. God could stop with just the bare minimum, but He doesn't. He gives us far more than any of us deserve. Have you ever thought about what kind of friend would stick around and take the neglect that we give to God? We get our feelings hurt when someone forgets to thank us for a small gift. How about forgetting to thank God for your LIFE!!!

(Sorry I jumped up on a soap box, I'll get down now)

No matter where you are or how many family members you have or how many possessions you have acquired there is always, always more room to improve in our thankfulness to God. I challenge you to make a list of specific things that you are grateful for. That means you appreciate them and find value in them. That you understand the sacrifice it took to get them.

Then find a quiet place with no interruptions and read that list in prayer to God. You will be amazed at how thankful you really are and how loved and blessed you will be.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Another Day, Another Blessing

Well, today I begin the 5th decade of my life. It is my birthday and I am 49. For the first time. Really. I have already been accused of claiming 49 for the second time but not true. My children like to remind me that my life is more than half over. But in reality this is a great stage to be at. The body is not completely ca put, my husband is trained (just kidding, love muffin) and my kids are grown. I have even more time to serve the Lord.
However, the real joy in all of this is that I have a growing relationship with God. It is a great day to look back through my life and take account of all the things the Lord has blessed me with. Have there been trials? Duh! Some minor, some major, some completely life changing but He has always remained faithful to my family. I have a great husband, 3 children all serving the Lord, 7 grandchildren, a fabulous job and incredible church family. What more could I ask for? Oh, I could easily ask for more, but why? Outside of see Christ is there really any present that would make a true difference in my life? Not really. Well maybe more grandchildren, but even that falls short of being in the presence of Christ Himself.
Birthdays are always a day of reflection for me and with a resounding voice I shout.
He has watched over me, blessed me far more than I deserve, and gives me the privilege of calling Him Lord. What more could you want for your birthday?!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ephesians 5

The hardest thing the Lord asks us to do is to follow Him. It sounds like such a simple task but to do it "by the book" entails more that we imagined. The second hardest thing is to live Ephesians 5: 22-33.
There are several families that we know who are going through great difficulty in their marriage. Some will not survive the struggle, some with just hang on for the sake of the children and some will actually get it. They will cling to the Lord, repent of their sins and make a fresh start. It is not an easy task to clean out the closet of your heart and discover that you are sinful and selfish. We may make that discovery but do we clean it out? Do we confess our selfishness to God and to our spouse and then do our best to put their needs above our own? It is not easy.

"Wives submit to your own husbands as the head of the home, as unto Christ;
Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her."
Wives, do we submit in a godly manner to the authority of our husbands? Do we submit to them as we would to Christ? With pure motives?
Men, do you love your wife as Christ loves the church? Are you willing to die to self for her? To put your needs at the bottom of the list?

See what I mean? It is not easy. Not at all and if you think it is, you don't get it. You don't understand the pure joy of sacrifice for the benefit of another. If we truly understand selfless giving of ourselves, would we be not be more like Christ? Would we all not be rushing to be of service to others?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pitiful Little Guy

JohnDavid called me yesterday morning. So pitiful! "Grandma, I frowed up 5 times. My tummy hurts." For a three year old this is heartbreaking. That means no playing today and playing is the life of any three year old. Our conversation did not last long but he made sure I knew all the details. He was laying in mommy's bed watching a movie and holding his ninja turtle. The turtles and/or spiderman go everywhere. Even to the bathroom to "frow" up.
It is these little moments of talking with my grandchildren in which I learn so much. I don't know if it is just old age or maturity, but I find such signifigance is many seemingly small things these days. The pleasure of comforting JohnDavid set the tone for my day. How wonderful to know that the sound of Grandma's voice could comfort a little one.
It is often the little things in life that make the difference. That one small thing you think about doing and then just pass it by. Life just gets so crazy that we forget that still small voice is sometimes the Holy Spirit nudging us to meet the need of another. Most of the time it not anything that grand. Just a little something to ease the care or the work load of another. Stop for a moment and listen to that voice. It could change everything.
As believers we are called to serve one another. To put the needs of others above our own. Sometimes this just means stepping out of our normal routine to give someone a call or drop them a note or just take a minute to listen. You would be amazed at what God can do with one minute of your time. Give Him one minute and then just sit back and watch.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Thankful For That Extra Hour!

Saturday night we did our annual "Fall Back" with the time change. Lord knew Mark and I needed the extra hour of sleep. Andrew and Crystal went on a retreat this past weekend and we kept the kids. Lanning is a precious joy! So relaxed and playful. You don't really hear from him until he is hungry or sleepy. Does not require much attention although it is hard to leave him alone. He looks up at you walking by and gives you that sweet toothless smile and you can't help yourself. You reach down, scoop him up and cuddle him. He just has a sweet spirit about him.

Haley is another story. Haley does not stop moving or stop talking unless she is asleep. Once you say good morning the conversation begins for her. Just because no one is answering her is no reason to stop talking, in her opinion. Something on her body is moving constantly. If she is not talking she is singing . If she is not walking or playing, she is running. And the faces! This child can make more faces than the professional mimes. I love that about her. She is very expressive. Her little brain is working overtime to come up with something to talk about. Then there are the "invisibles". There is always a puppy to pet that is laying on the rug by the front door, or a baby to feed that is crying and crying, or a jaguar to watch as it swims across the living room. Is this making you tired?

Now you know why I was soooo thankful for the extra hour. Our life tends to be hectic on a normal basis and when you add a 7 month old and a 3 year old things just require more energy. I can't think of anything else I would rather be doing on this entire earth that watching my grandchildren. I want them to remember their days at Grandma and Poppy's house. The saturday morning waffles would not be the same with out "What are you doing, Grandama? Can I have one? I want two waffles. Milk please. Come on Poppy the waffles are done. Lanning can't have waffles can he grandma? Waffles are for big girls. Poppy can have some. Do you like waffles Poppy? I like waffles................. All because we said good morning.

Thank you, Lord, for Caitlyn, Kylie, Dawn, JohnDavid, Haley, Cory and Lanning. Life would not be the same with out them.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Refuge of His Wings

In a span of just 3 hours I talked with 5 different people who are going through a variety of trials. Days like this make you low on encouraging words. How comforting to know that we are not the first nor the last to endure trials. The words of David come to mind. "Hear my cry, O God; give heed to my prayer, From the end of the earth I call to Thee, when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For Thou hast been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Thy tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Thy wings. "

Trials are no fun. Whether sickness, family issues, heartache or discovering the sin that has been hiding deep in your heart, there is a Comfortor. God does hear our cry. He strengthens the faint of heart. He is our refuge in the shelter of His wings. Think about that for a moment. I think of a eagle with its young. High in the very top of the tree where the branches sway violently in the winds of the storm. We have wondered out on a limb. Alone. Realizing the danger and fear we cry out. He gathers us in from the storm. And there we are under His wings. Safe, secure, warm, loved. How incredible is that?! Can you think of anywhere else you would want to be?

But, O we fools. Thinking we can handle life on our own. There is no better word for it. Its just plain stupid. Why do we wander from His care when we know the world is ready, with baited breath, tallons drawn, watching intently? As soon as we turn our eye it snatches us into its grip. And there you have it. We are snatched up again!

This day with all its trials has given me opportunity to be thankful for our gracious Lord. Right in the middle of all of life...... the good the bad and the ugly, He is there, holding our hand, guiding us through, mending our wounds. At the end of the day when we come to repentance the peace He gives covers us like a warm flannel blanket. The cold hard world seems to disappear because God is there holding us in the refuge of His wings.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Annual Fall Festival

Wow! What a night! Our church had their annual Fall Festival and it was a blast! The kids were just incredible. If someone did not have fun I would find it hard to believe. People donate candy, we set the gym up with carnival type games and 2 inflatables go upstairs. The kids play the games and win the candy. There were 4 large totes full of candy to give away. Everyone registers for the 31 door prizes from toddler toys to gift cards for the adults. We have hot dogs, nachos, chili and homemade donuts. It is a wonderful opportunity to invite the community and just have fun!

The day after the kids all have a sugar buzz and the adults are exhausted. But every ounce of strength put into it is worth the joy on just one of those little faces. One little boy was ready to go home after just 13 pieces of candy! That is a lot for a 2 year old. He could not believe he could have more. The chatter among the adults was mostly lighthearted although the Lord allowed for several opportunities for spiritual conversation and building of relationships. I would definitely say it was a success! Thank you Lord for a great time of fun.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Birthday, Guys!

My two favorite Guys, besides Mark of course, had their birthdays this week.

Andrew's birthday was Monday. We had them all over for dinner. As usual our kids are not fond of cake. And as always Andrew wanted Apple Crisp for his birthday. Each birthday they get to choose what they want for their special dinner. Of all the choices, Andrew picked pizza bread and salad! I think it was partly to make it easy on me but he could have had anything. We sang Happy Birthday before we ate the apple crisp and just as we all finished Haley says," Many more."

Jeremy, my favorite son in law, turns 30 today. I will have to fix his favorite meal when they are all here for Thanksgiving. Be thinking about what you want me to cook for you. We love you. I hope you have a wonderful day, Jeremy. Happy Birthday!

Mark and I have watched these two young men grow up and change over the years. It is truly a blessing to see them find their way in life, develop their own relationships with the Lord and lead their families. We are all very thankful for having them in our lives.

Psalm 127 says "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;"

Way to often we forget that God has given us children. It is not just a "step" in our adulthood to have children. We all know of someone whom God has not given children of their own. To overlook this blessing from the Lord is a terrible thing. It is by God's sovereignty that we are given these gifts. And no matter what they do or say, or how they turn out, they are still and will always be gifts that God has bestowed upon us. Take a moment today to thank the Lord for your children. I know I will.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mom Takes a Giant Leap!

Okay, I finally did it. The kids are always encouraging me to start a blog of my own. This does not sound like a major undertaking but being that Mark and I had to take Andrew with us to buy a high def television should explain it. These parents are just now crossing the time line into the 21st century. I think we have made great progress on our "cool" factor.

We will see how this goes. I have high hopes of giving information that is both encouraging and worth reading. Share my family and my thoughts on many topics. I pray this blog will be fun but always honoring to the Lord.