Category Archives: family

Create in Me

IMG_1150“Help me to choose to forgive many people. Oh Lord, I have such a mean spirit in me. Create in me a pure heart.”  Wait.  Where did that come from?  I was journaling my grumbles, complaints, and grievances about others and then all of a sudden that scripture popped into my head. Wow. I didn’t even know that scripture was in my head, but since it popped out like that, I thought I better listen to it.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. —Psalm 51:10       

I decided to explore some word definitions and give this scripture some serious meditation and thought.

Create – Bring into existence

Pure- Free of contamination

Renew- Resume after an interruption

Steadfast – Dutifully firm and unwavering

Pretty easy to understand. It’s only 8:05 a.m. and my attitude about others makes me certain that the Lord needs to create in me a pure heart because it doesn’t currently exist. However, the renew part makes me feel that my pure heart has only been interrupted so I can get it back!  God will do the creating of the pure heart, but I think that I need to do my part to keep my heart free of contamination.

This morning I recognize that some of the events of the last couple of days have contaminated my heart.  Hanging out with grumpy people, watching trash on the TV, allowing bantering political analysts to be the background noise of my day are just a few of the things that may contribute to the pollution in my mind and heart.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. –Psalm 51:10-12

I’m going to take my willing spirit and look beyond the rain that is falling outside today.  I’m going to seek out godly people to converse with and I’m going to turn on some praise music.  God can create in me a new heart and I will do my part to keep it that way.

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The Season of “Aha!”

IMG_1095I had a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year and now …Aha! I am in a new season.  Actually, I truly am in a new season.  The Season of Epiphany.  Growing up in the church, I was aware of the Christian seasons and the altar cloth and flower colors changing, but I never really studied the seasons or knew much about them.  I still don’t, but I intend to learn more in that area in 2020, but this year, I have decided to acknowledge the true Christian seasons in a new way.

First off, Christmas.  In a culture of one and done, it seems that Christmas is all build-up and little follow-through.  We celebrate Advent for four weeks and anticipate Christmas and then many times when it arrives we are too tired to give the holiday more than one day of celebration when in the Christian calendar, Christmas lasts 12 days.  Aha!  The familiar Christmas song of the 12 days of Christmas! There really are 12 days of Christmas and Christmas Day is Day #1.  So, on New Year’s Eve we should be celebrating Swans-a Swimming and on New Year’s Day maids-a-milking and finally, today we should be listening to Drummers drumming.  (Maybe I should let the organist know so our hymns can reflect that today?)

This year, I have been mindful of the twelve days and I firmly decided to enjoy each of the 12 days of Christmas. Of course, I didn’t host a dinner or a party each day, but I did enjoy the sweets this year instead of dumping the crumbs on the 26th. I’ve continued to ask family members to play board games or do an activity with me and I’ve continued to say “Merry Christmas” to friends. (Isn’t it something how the Christmas music on the radio disappears immediately after the 25th…talk about sudden withdrawal!)

But today is it.  The 12th day of Christmas.  Christmas is over and the season of Epiphany begins. Aha! I’m saying the season because Epiphany lasts until February 23rd this year! (Annually it ends the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday.) We all know how we traditionally celebrate Christmas, but what does one do for Epiphany? Well, in the past, I’ve done nothing, but this year I have hopes of taking the symbolic light we received with candles on Christmas Eve and taking it forward. In the hopes of keeping the spirit of Christmas alive a bit longer, I am embracing the season of Epiphany. Epiphany recognizes how a star led the Magi, the Kings, the Wise Men (I always got confused as a kid with all these different names) to the baby Jesus and for us, I believe it is to prompt us to lead others to Jesus as well.  That light we received on Christmas Eve, the gift of Jesus we received on Christmas morning is still here and we are to light the way to Him for others.

Others who have recognized this season have many ways of celebrating, but for me, I’m going to end my Christmas Season and head into Epiphany by allowing my light and some lights in my home to remain on for a while (not sure I can hang on until Ash Wednesday but we will see.)  I’m going to keep some twinkle lights on my mantle, battery-operated candles in my windows and I’m going to light candles more often. I’m going to do this intentionally to remind me to take the light and go forth as Epiphany intends. Aha! (Did you catch on to my wordplay there? Having an Epiphany about Epiphany?) Aha! Go Forth and shine your light!

let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  –Matthew 5:16

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Can I Help You?

IMG_0169Jesus said to me “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. — Matthew 11:28

As a church member entered the building with her cane in one hand and her purse in the other, I offered her help.  She handed me her purse, grabbed my elbow and said, “I never refuse help.” It was such a refreshing response. Many times when we offer help, we are met with rejection. “No, I’ve got it.” “No thanks, I’m good.” And, many times we respond that way when we are asked. Now I understand that sometimes when we are holding things just so, handing one item off would upset our balance, but many times we simply could accept the help and don’t.  So why don’t we?

Most of us would ask for help if we were lifting a refrigerator, but we avoid getting help with the smaller things.  The same may hold true when we are talking about our spiritual burdens. If a real crisis hits, we go to God, but these little pesky everyday burdens we choose to handle on our own.  We all know that if you keep adding pebbles to a bucket, the bucket eventually gets too heavy to carry and I believe the same holds true for our pesky burdens. They will keep adding up until they become too heavy to carry and then we will turn them over to the Lord.  We don’t have to do that. We can share our little burdens with God, just as we can accept help with some of the little tasks we face in our lives. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

So, for your spiritual burdens, give even the little ones to God and for your physical burdens, share them with your friends and family. That way we all get to participate in God’s plan for us.

Thanks, friend, for accepting the offer of my help.  I think it actually helped us both.

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Filed under Devotionals, family, Inspirational, Life, Scriptures

Want to Make a Difference?

IMG_0225While cleaning out my closet this past week, I came across a piece of paper with “If I really wanted to make a difference, I would ________”  written on it. The blank wasn’t filled in, and I have no idea when it was written, but I wonder what I would’ve filled in during that time.  If I had written it when I was a child, it might’ve said, “If I really wanted to make a difference, I would clean my room or study more.”  Maybe when I was mothering younger children, it would’ve read, “If I really wanted to make a difference, I would make my kids turn off the TV and play outside more.” But how should I answer it today?  What should I write in the blank?

If I really wanted to make a difference, I would _______.  Wait.  This time around, I realize I don’t have to include the blank.  It can be a complete sentence and a complete thought. “If I really wanted to make a difference, I would.”  I know how to make a difference and I have opportunities to do it every day.  If I really wanted to make a difference, I would raise funds for Haiti.  If I really wanted to make a difference, I would bake bread for my father in law. If I really wanted to make a difference I would organize a Salvation Army red kettle drive for our community. If I really wanted to make a difference, I would donate clothes to our local clothing drive or food for our local food cupboard.  If I really wanted to make a difference, I would help someone carry their groceries to the car. If I really wanted to make a difference, I would.

The season is upon us when we have the opportunity to make a difference in a variety of ways.  Instead of waiting to fill in the blank and consider what you would do to make a difference, just do it.  If you really wanted to make a difference, you would.  And, if you need any ideas on how just give me a call!

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In all things I have shown you how, working like this, you must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  — Acts 2035

Let every man give according to the purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. — 2 Corinthians 9:7

And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, truly I tell you, he shall in no way lose his reward.  –Matthew 10:42

Give and it will be given to you: Good measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will men give unto you.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured unto you. –Luke 6;38

James 1:22 says ” Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” 

 

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Decluttering

IMG_0170In the last few years, I have been taking a slow and steady approach to ridding my home of excess.  Remember, I said SLOW but I also said steady.  It has been on my mind and quite honestly, I have made some progress, but there is a lot more that needs to be done.  I have enrolled in an online course to try to implement some of the things I know about simplifying and decluttering my home.  It’s early in the course, but one exercise that was recommended was to walk through your home and look at each room, see what it is you like about the room and also note was is excess that you don’t even enjoy. THEN, (this is the hard part) get a garbage bag and within an hour, walk through your home and fill the garbage bag with things you don’t want. My level of anxiety was going up just as I read the instructions.  I know things are lurking in my home that I don’t need or want, but I also don’t want to get rid of them.  Why is that?

Fortunately, the article I was reading suggested that you might find garbage and outdated magazines and clothes that don’t fit.  OK, I can do that…but can I? A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out a portion of my basement and came across lids for large storage containers.  18 to be exact.  18 storage container lids with no containers! Apparently, I didn’t want to throw out the lid because I was sure that I would find the container, but either the container got lost or broken and it’s lid remained.  They are gone now, but I’m sad to say that some of those lids date back a couple of decades! In the spring, I cleared out over 30 wine glasses from my cupboard.  That’s a lot of wine glasses for a Red Solo cup kind of girl! Just for fun as I rid myself of some of these items, I will count them. It may entertain me, but at this point, it also may sadden me. I have SO much.  I have been so blessed and there are so many that don’t have anything. I want to be ever mindful of the less fortunate.  As I go through my house, I hope I find things that I can give away so that others can find a use for and I look forward to getting rid of the tote lids and other useless things! Care to venture a guess on how many unmatched socks I might find?

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Looking for Kindness or Compassion?

IMG_1497I am raising a 13-year-old girl.  (Applause please.)  No, seriously, I am raising a 13-year-old daughter and the truth is I’ve done this twice before, so I know I will survive it, but this time around I seem to struggle more with this reality.  The fact is 13-year-old girls are mean.  Not all of the girls all of the time, but all of the girls some of the time, including my daughter and yours!  The variable of this fact is that you never know which girl may be mean at which time.  My daughter will come home from school one day and say, “Can so-and-so come over to spend the night?” And I have to respond, “Is she even speaking to you this week?”  So, one minute, best friend, next minute, not speaking.  And, from what I’m hearing, this is not just occurring in my home, but in homes of Junior High girls everywhere. I googled “mean girls” and got 1,760,000,000 results in only 1.7 seconds! So I’m certain it just isn’t my daughter or in my house!

This fall I’ve been wondering what I, as a concerned mom, can do about it.  I decided that any time I had a captive audience (which means I’m driving teen girls somewhere) I would instill a message of kindness.  So, the standard “lecture” goes like this: “Hey, welcome! You get to get a quick little lecture from me! Have you ever had someone not talking to you? (the answer is always yes!) How does that feel? (bad, obviously.) Then, for goodness sake, don’t do that to someone else!  I am here to tell you that you should be kind.  Just be kind.  If everyone would just start acting kind no one would have to feel that way.” So in less than one minute, I can suggest that this teen be kind.  I then, write the name of that person on a silk leaf, place it on the wall and add members to this elite group when I can.  Currently there 12 girls who have officially been prompted to be kind.

But today, I wonder if I am missing something.  I’ve been talking a lot about random acts of kindness and kindness in general, but being kind means to just be friendly, generous and considerate.  All good qualities, but with these teen girls, I think we need to elevate it a bit and get them to become compassionate.  Compassion is being sympathetic and showing concern for others. So, while kindness may make us do something for someone, compassion is a feeling.  I want these girls to recognize how their actions make others feel. I think that alone will motivate them to be kinder.

It’s one thing to sit with a lonely person at lunch so that you can tell your mom that you did it later when she asks, but it’s another to really look at this lonely person and feel what she feels. To sit with someone that no one else is sitting with because you care about their feelings because you know what it would feel like if it were you.  That’s what I want these girls to recognize.

So, I guess I will modify the “lecture” a bit and promote compassion over kindness, and I also think I will recognize for myself that this, too, will pass. In a few short years, these girls will have survived this awkward mean stage and will truly become who they were meant to be!

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Be Kind & compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. — Ephesians 4:32

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. — Col 3:12

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one antoher, be compassionate and humble. –1 Peter 3:8

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A Book Review -Teaching Art in the Primary Grades

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About the Book

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Book: Teaching Art

Author: Jerry E. Twitchell

Genre: Nonfiction  EDUCATION/Teaching Methods & Materials/Arts & Humanities

Release Date: February 20, 2019

As Simple as 1-2-3

Everything needed to structure and teach an effective art program for grades one to three is made simple for the home-school parent or teacher.

This step-by-step process for teaching art is perfect for home-school teachers or parents with limited art skills or time to create their own programs. This system of insight, responses to judgments, ideas, and feelings aligns with public school and state visual arts requirements.

Teaching Art in the Primary Grades is designed to foster lifelong interest in the arts, provide a gauge of what can be expected of children at various ages and grade levels, and present a baseline for measuring growth and skill.

Lesson plans with goals, objects, time frames, techniques, steps, illustrated examples, and assessment of growth are included.

Click here to get your copy.

 

“Time for Art!”

Jerry E. Twitchell’s book Teaching Art in the Primary Grades does all the work for you so that you can simply say “Time for Art!” and dive right in. This 319-page book appealed to me from the moment I saw the cover and the simple structure.  The introduction prepares you to confidently teach art skills to your students. The grades are divided by units and lessons complete with goals, expectations, and ways to assess progress.

As a former homeschooling mom, I could envision my daughters completing each session.  While instructing on cutting, modeling, drawing, painting, and weaving,etc., Twitchell looks at so much more than simply the procedure. He adds important reminders regarding the child’s development, self-worth, and pride.  He reminds the teacher/parent to be aware of the differences in artistic abilities and achievements and also gives instances where the art project can be integrated into other academic subjects. He gives many examples of open-ended questions to ask the child so that you can encourage their creativity while furthering communication and understanding.

Though presented in an appealing simplistic way, it is not lacking in educational merit. It is full of concepts and terminology that were new to me. (I must admit that I didn’t know a weft from a warp, do you?) The author’s love of children and love of art is evident on each page and I believe that using this book as a curriculum will foster a love of art in all. I look forward to sharing this book with our school district’s art teacher!

About the Author

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Jerry E. Twitchell, DEd, is a retired educational administrator and art and history instructor. With over thirty years of experience as a teacher and principal, Jerry has nurtured primary through secondary students to experience the excitement of art. In his work with parents, teachers, and especially children, he has sought to bring to life a love and passion for art.

More from Jerry

Ever since I was young, I have always loved art.  It was only natural for me to be teaching and sharing the love of art to young people. Over the years, a number of parents, students and fellow teachers and administrators suggested that I should write a book about teaching art, particularly to the emerging beginning artist.  This would hopefully help them gain confidence in themselves in return would flow into their reading and writing subjects. After retiring, pondering and headaches, I started putting it together and throwing around ideas to myself on what should be included and “Wala”…..here it is.

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 12

Mary Hake, September 12

A Baker’s Perspective, September 13 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 14

Kathy Anderson, September 14

Vicky Sluiter, September 15

Lis Loves Reading, September 16

Creating Romance, September 17

janicesbookreviews, September 18

Texas Book-aholic, September 19

Quiet Workings, September 19

A Reader’s Brain, September 20

Older & Smarter?, September 21

Inklings and notions , September 22

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, September 23

The Artist Librarian, September 23

For Him and My Family, September 24

Beck To Basics, September 24

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Jerry is giving away Gift basket with Basic art Supplies, Stack Card and a Athabascan People of The North coloring book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/ec3a/teaching-art-celebration-tour-giveaway

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

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