Friday, December 20, 2013

Pray for Martin's Family

   Several years ago I started a tradition with my nephews. One of their gifts from me is actually a gift for someone else. Sometimes it's taking them to fill shoe boxes for kids in other countries. Sometimes it's picking things out of a catalog from an organization like Samaritan's Purse.
   I'm reminded of a time, I think about 8 years ago, when I "purchased" a goat for the boys. They were fairly young (6 and 8), so explaining the concept behind the purchase was a little challenging. I told them about the goat and how I bought it for them and it would go to a family in another country, somewhere in Africa. They were excited about it, but I thought they might think the goat was coming to their house because the oldest wanted to name the goat "Martin." I explained that they wouldn't be getting the goat, but it would go to someone who would use the milk to help their family. He still insisted we name the goat Martin. I tried to explain again why we couldn't name the goat. I could tell he was getting frustrated and finally he said, "Aunt Winna, we have to name the goat Martin so when we pray for Martin's family God knows exactly who we're talking about." I guess he did understand better than I thought.
   Even though it's been several years and I'm not sure of Martin's fate, I still, from time to time, pray for Martin's family. I have no doubt God knows exactly who I'm talking about.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


   I like fairy tales. One thing you may not know about me is I collect Cinderella Stories. I did a Cinderella literature unit in my class comparing the story from several different cultures. I have several DVDs of Cinderella stories; my two favorites are "Cinderfella" with Jerry Lewis and "Ever After."
   I came across a quote the other day that really has nothing to do with Cinderella, but made me think of fairy tales and how sometimes the stories help us deal with life. Here's the quote:
Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but  because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.   -G.K. Chesterton
     I've faced a dragon or two...or three...or more.  People are facing dragons right now. Dragons come in all shapes and sizes...illnesses, loneliness, finances, addictions, selfishness, and [insert your dragon here].  My Lord Jesus is my dragon slayer. My family and friends are my fellow warriors. So recognize your dragon(s), let the Dragon Slayer take control, and fight! The good news is that dragons can be beaten.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Few Life Lessons

   Tomorrow is the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known by most as Dr. Seuss. Generations of kids learned to read, rhyme, and remember verse using his books. It's interesting, as I've grown older and reread some of his work, passages of scripture come to mind. Dr. Seuss taught us many life lessons; I'd like to share a few I've learned.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go. (Oh, the Places You'll Go!)
    Oh, the Places You'll Go! is probably my favorite Dr. Seuss book. Several of the graduating seniors I've known have received copies with Bible verses included on almost every page from me. The above quote reminds me of  Proverbs 16:9 and Deuteronomy 30:19. We always make so many plans, but God has the ultimate say in them. It's so much better when we see where He is working and join Him. He always gives us the answer: Choose life!
Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! (Happy Birthday to You!)
   This quote reminds me of the importance of being who God created you to be.  The verses it brings to mind are Psalm 139:13 and  Jeremiah 29:11. From a very young age I knew I was suppose to be a teacher. As I grew up I was discouraged and told by well meaning teachers that I needed to use my brains and be a doctor or something besides "just a teacher." (Really? You want people without brains teaching?) I seriously thought about changing my major, but God (during a spiritually and emotionally draining experience) reminded me He had created me for a purpose an with Him by my side I would succeed. Teaching for 28 years, I have seen God's guidance and provision many times. Now that I'm retired, God still confirms that my future is in His hands. 
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
      There's been some dispute on if the above quote can be attributed to Dr. Seuss. Regardless, it's a good quote. It makes me think of Romans 12. The Message version says it beautifully:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
    I've learned that my identity is found in Christ. It's not something for Sunday mornings and Bible studies. My everyday, ordinary life is my identity. Who I am is who I am everywhere all the time. I try to recognize what God wants from me and not become well adjusted to my culture. I say what I feel with love and work at mercy, grace, and forgiveness. I thank God for the precious people He puts on this journey with me; they help and encourage me along the way.
    These are only a few of the Life Lessons I've learned. If you haven't read a Dr. Seuss book lately, pick one up and see if you don't lean something. If you haven't picked up your Bible in a while, you might want to give it a try, too.