Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Whatsoevers (thank you Jeni B.!)

Maybe my sisters remember. Dad told us to think about the Whatsoevers. I didn't know when I was 10 years old that he was teaching me how to control my thought life. It's in Philippians 4:8 where it tells us how to choose our thoughts.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is pure,
whatever is admirable
--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--
think on these things."

In the NIV it isn't whatsoever like in the King James I memorized as a child. These are the whatevers for my kids. What an awesome tool to protect heart and mind! Choose to think about good things. Should I replay the insults someone shouted at me in anger? Should I dwell on the gossip about a friend? Should I see the horror movie? Should I choose that computer game? Should I let my mind wander to the worrying uncertainties of my future? We can make a choice if we want to.

More than ever kids are bombarded with choices of what to see and listen to. Cell phones and iPods, internet and computer games, 24 hours of TV available every day with LOTS of channels! I had 5 channels as a kid. FIVE. No computer games with any moral content... remember the many variations of ball games on an old "Odessey" TV game? Ping-pong or handball... white paddles on a black screen with a ball bouncing between them? Uh, not much of a moral intrusion there Music was available on cassette tapes or records. If you wanted to see a movie, you went to the kid's flick at the cinema... once a year, with Grandma for a special day. Life is different now. Technology that is making it possible for me to send this message from Mozambique to whoever wants to read it anywhere in the world also makes it possible for me to CHOOSE anything to read or see or hear for better or for worse.

You know it is true. If you don't see bad stuff or hear bad stuff, it just isn't going to run through your head, is it? If you constantly play songs with edgy lyrics and watch whatever is on TV and see questionable movies and stuff your head with THAT. What is going to go through your head later? What pops out of your mouth before you can stop it? Images can be so powerful... and once they are seen, they stick, like it or not. It is hard to forget what your eye has seen. Protect yourself. Choose good things. They also stick!

In Bible Club at Zambezi Junior School we are studying the Fruit of the Spirit this year. We've come to the end of the Fruit lessons and have just a few weeks before starting to practice for a Christmas celebration. We have some time for "how to live a Christian life." My first choice for the additional memory verse was the whatsoevers. Kids need guidelines. Many parents aren't giving them. So, I have a unique opportunity to mold the conscience of a few kids. I have a chance to give them a choice. I memorized that verse about 30 years ago. How many times since then has God prompted me to choose right thoughts? Without even trying to remember, it pops into my head giving me a guideline for a choice. I can still choose to go against the guideline, but I KNOW what is right. I can choose what is right because I know I have a choice.

Another thing Dad said was, "Depression comes from believing a lie." How true is that? It fits right in with the whatsoevers. I can believe I will always fail or believe people are going to think bad things about me or believe I'm going to be taken by aliens. I can feel ugly and boring. I can imagine terrible things that could happen. Is any of that really true or right or lovely? No. So, I remember what Mom told us every night when she tucked us in, "Think good thoughts instead of bad thoughts." My Dad and Mom were a pretty good team, weren't they?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Just Stuff

A couple of week ago, I had the unexpected opportunity to hear Chris Tomlin on the beach in Panama City. Wow! It was amazing! I have wanted to see him for years, so to get to do it finally, and for free--what a blessing. My friend Bonnie and I went, and we had a great time.

We had a great day yesterday. We set out to visit the Ocheesee Creamery in Calhoun County. We didn't have an address, and they didn't have a very big sign, so we ended up driving all the way to Blountstown. That turned out great though because there's a little park there that is a tribute to the M & B Railroad--Marianna and Blountstown. It was the shortest railway in Florida in its time. It had a real engine and a caboose, and the boys, as well as Benjamin and I, had a great time climbing around on it. After that, we went back and found the dairy. The boys got to pet calves to their hearts' content. We capped the day off with a stop by Grammy and Grand's for a short visit. It was a great day!

I am grateful for my life and for my family. Thank you Father.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I have to say (again) how sad it makes me that I have almost completely quit blogging since I started "facebooking." I really enjoy looking back at the entries about the boys. Oh well. All I can do is try to do better. :)

I am a busy girl these days:

I am volunteering with bereavement services with Emerald Coast Hospice. I make phone calls to the bereaved families to see how they are coping with loss. I love doing it. I feel like I've been able to make a real difference for some of the people I've talked to. I also do the monthly mail-outs for the chaplains. I wish I had about one full day a month that I could devote to it, but it's completely hit and miss right now with everything else that's going on....

I have a part-time, mostly at-home job with a tutoring company. The No Child Left Behind Act provides tutoring services for students who need it and can't afford it, and I am the liaison between my company's corporate office and the teachers who are actually doing the tutoring in the schools. It's been an okay job so far, but we're gearing up for our busy time for about the next eight weeks, so I'll know after that how I really feel. :)

I clean house for two sisters on alternating Mondays still, and I really enjoy that work. I've been a little spoiled all summer though in that I haven't had to take the boys with me. They started back with me last Monday, and it's so hard! I wish I could hire a sitter, but that make me be cleaning almost for free--and I don't enjoy it quite that much!

Benjamin is back in school this fall, working on his bachelor's degree. He's juggling three part-time jobs in addition to being a full-time dad and going to school full-time. He handles it beautifully though, and once we get used to his new schedule, it will be fine.

I still try to drive a bus now and then, and I may be driving some for Venture this year. That remains to be seen, but I hope I get to. I really enjoy that, and it's a little extra money too.

Oh, did I mention that I have a 2 1/2- and a 4 1/2-year-old who keep me HOPPING?! They are so much fun! David is completely potty-trained, and we are so thrilled. Honestly, some days it seemed like it would never happen! He is so grown-up, and some of the things that come out of his mouth just amaze me. Of course, right now, I can't think of any of them, but I will. I'm amazed that this time next year, he will be in school. And I'm determined to make the most of this last year where I am his primary influence in life. :) It's been interesting to watch David gravitate more and more toward his dad this summer too. He asks about him when he first gets up in the morning and can't wait for him to get home in the evenings. It's very sweet.

Sam. Sam. Sam. What can I say about that little rascal? He is so mischievous! He talks up a storm and does his best to keep up with David in all things. Except potty-training. He's showing no interest in that! But I'm not stressing; it will come in time!

We've done some fun things this summer--two trips to the beach, one to Wilder's World or "the bouncy house" as Sam calls it. We've been swimming at the Oliver's several times. We took lots of pictures, and eventually those will make it off my computer and into scrapbooks.

Okay. I think I'm done for now. I intended to have more anecdotes, but the power actually went off in the middle of this (thank goodness for auto-save), and it's getting late. I will do this again before the month of September is out!!!!! I will. Seriously. :)