Why?


“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world 1253045942Xr6lMiand against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:12

Why can’t we have peace on earth?

In the beginning, there was peace on earth, but God created humans with the ability to make free choices. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, all future mankind bore the consequences. The peaceful existence that God desired for us was traded for a world full of chaos and pain, where evil has free reign.

Why do awful, unthinkable things happen?

When tragedy strikes, we look for someone or something to blame. After the recent school shooting, people placed blame on many things:

  •  No prayer in our schools: Some say that God isn’t allowed in our schools because policy dictates that schools no longer have times of public prayer. As a Christian, I of course want the whole world to accept the practice of corporate public prayer, but lack of public prayer within the walls of our schools did not cause this tragedy. There were Christians in that school that day, and I have no doubt that there were prayers being said there as well, so yes God is still allowed in our schools. As long as Christians continue to pray, there will be prayer in our schools.
  •  Guns: Some say guns should be banned or at least better controlled. This didn’t happen because people are allowed to own guns. Criminals will always find ways to get weapons. Evil causes people to kill others with guns.
  •  Mental Illness: Some say this individual was mentally ill? Even so, most mentally ill people do not commit horrific acts of violence. Evil will however, take advantage of the weak.

Why is it so easy for a mentally unstable individual to acquire a gun?

Perhaps if he had been exposed to prayer and Bible readings while at school, he might have turned out different. Perhaps if more funds were allotted for research and treatment of mental illness then he could have been helped before he became violent. Perhaps if there was better gun control, he would not have been able to get the gun.

Why? I don’t know.

Why did it have to be children who died?

I can’t make sense of this but I know that only evil could do such a thing. The purpose of evil is to destroy all that is good. The best thing about us as humans lives inside our children, who have yet to lose their innocence. When children are harmed, the damage and pain is far-reaching.

Why does God not intervene and prevent horrible tragedies?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8

God is always at work. He protects, He heals, and He does intervene much more often than we realize. Throughout life, things happen that influence our decisions or the paths we choose. Many times it’s as simple as running late for work and later realizing that if we had been on time, it might have been us involved in that fatal accident. For unexplained reasons, we left the house a few minutes later that day and reached that intersection just minutes after the accident.

When God intervenes, His hand is invisible because we choose not to see it until it’s more visible against the dark backdrop of evil. It seems that we only look for the hand of God when evil is present.

Why? I don’t know.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”    Psalm 34:18

As I write this, I try to choose my words carefully. I don’t want to minimize the pain, the suffering, and the loss for these families. There is no acceptable answer, to “Why”.

I don’t write as a scholar, a philosopher, a psychologist, or any kind of expert. I don’t have the answer. I write as a mother, a grandmother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, but most of all as a child of God, who needs to express my own sad and confusing thoughts. Writing helps me gain clarity, however this time… I still question… Why?

On December 14, 2012, evil walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, CT and took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults.

10020_10151118997181895_1459936107_n

 

Never too late


Bible“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” 

Deuteronomy 6:7           

 

I became a mom at the young age of 17. Talk about being clueless… I was completely head over heels in love with that precious little girl but I didn’t really know how to help her grow up. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do to prepare her to leave home and build a life of her own or to raise children of her own.

266530_2201825971834_7087455_o263062_2201835892082_4845551_n

That little girl is now 33 years old and has two little girls of her own. I also have a 28 year old daughter, and a 26 year old son. In spite of my youthful ignorance, they all survived and I’m proud of the adults they have become. I do however, think about all the things that I “didn’t do”, that I wish I had done with them when they were children.

I Did Not:

  • read them bedtime stories
  • help them say their prayers at night
  • always teach them to pray and give thanks for meals
  • have a time of devotions and Bible reading with them
  • give them an allowance and teach them to be good stewards
  • get them involved in giving to charities and helping the needy

280018_2201835932083_274562_o

263062_2201835972084_3880617_n

As I watch my children today, I realize that even though I didn’t do all the right things, it is not too late to be a role model and to teach them by example. They still call me for advice and they still look to me for answers, so I know that I can still have an influence on them and  help them be better role models for their children.

What I Now Do:

  • I read a lot and I share what I am reading with my children.
  • I pray for my children and I tell them that I’m praying. My children will tell you that Momma’s answer for everything is “let’s pray about it”.
  • When we have meals together, we give thanks.
  • I have a time of devotion and Bible reading with my husband daily and my children are aware of this.
  • We are missionaries, so we live on a budget and my children have seen how God has provided for our needs and how we  practice being good stewards of God’s blessings.
  • As missionaries, we serve others in need.

I hope that my life today influences the lives of my children but even though there were things I failed to do, they have grown up to be healthy, happy, godly adults. This is not because of what I did or did not do but because God took care of them. As a young parent, many times I didn’t know what to do, so I just prayed and I still do that today… I pray over my children and God takes care of the rest. If your children are not “children” any longer; don’t look back and regret the things you didn’t do or the things you did wrong, it’s never too late to be a role model. Be an example of Christ for your children, no matter their age.

706053_480298828680824_1728242520_o545493_3935186062956_1885488666_n327164_3773311496193_497382657_o

What About Santa Claus?


santa_clausA large part of the Christmas season centers around the tradition of “Santa Claus”. However, many people may question whether or not Christians should take part in this tradition. As Christians, we believe that Christmas is meant as a celebration of the birth of Christ and as a reminder that Christ was a gift from God to all who will accept Him. So, is it ok to allow our children to believe that there is a Santa Claus? How parents approach this question is a personal choice but I feel that the key is to keep “the main thing, the main thing”… meaning that Christ is the main thing in Christmas, so keep Him the main thing.

Allow children to enjoy the “magic” of Christmas but don’t go to great lengths to tell lies and perpetuate the fantasy of Santa Claus. Children are going to learn about Santa, elves, and the North Pole from other places even if parents don’t put a big emphasis on these things. When they are old enough to ask questions, then that is the time to evaluate just how well they can separate fantasy from reality. When children are old enough to ask, “How can Santa Claus visit all the children in the world in one night?” they are beginning to develop reasoning skills. This may be the time to explain that mommies and daddies actually help Santa… this is the first step to helping children separate what is real and what is fantasy. Don’t lie to children when they begin asking questions; allow the natural process of learning and discovery to take place. With or without the belief of “Santa Claus”, Christmas will still be a magical time, and there will still be presents under the tree when they wake up on Christmas morning.

Parents can use Santa to teach biblical principles to children. There are many similarities between Christ and the persona of Santa.

  • Both encourage children to come to them.
  • Both are givers are good things
  • Both reward good and punish bad
  • Both can be in multiple places at the same time
  • Both live forever

The list of comparisons could go on and on. These similarities can be viewed as either good or bad depending on how you look at them. Parents can use them to teach and reinforce the true meaning of Christmas. They can teach biblical principles such as hope, giving to others, caring for the needy, and loving others. Parents can explain how Santa is a secular symbol for these things. The parallels between Christ and Santa can be a bad thing however, if parents allow Santa to become a replacement for Christ during the Christmas season.

Nativity

The Christmas season actually begins the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, so there is plenty of time to focus on Christ and the true meaning of Christmas. Santa Claus really only has one night, he arrives on the 24th of December; on Christmas Eve… so keep Christ the main focus on all the other days of the season.

Christmas is a special time of year and regardless of how commercialized some people make it, Christmas is a Christian holiday. Without CHRIST there is no CHRISTMAS.

This was reprinted on faithwriters.com

Wedding on a budget — With a little help from my friends


In 2009, our daughter decided to travel to Belize to visit us and to have her wedding here. After paying for airline tickets and other expenses, she could not afford a large wedding. All she wanted was to exchange vows with the love of her life on the beach. We wanted her to have a nice wedding but of course on a missionary budget, we couldn’t afford an expensive wedding.

I had never planned a wedding before but it became my mission to give my baby girl a nice beach wedding with just one little catch… it had to be done on a very small budget. Two things that made it all possible was that I (mother of the bride), also served as the wedding planner, the wedding director, the  caterer, and the photographer. The other thing that made it possible was that I recruited friends to help. My hubby of course was in charge of a lot of the heavy work, such as loading and unloading the van, moving chairs and tables, and he also helped with much of the decorating. Oh and most importantly, my hubby performed the ceremony.

My sister back in Alabama did all the flowers for the wedding, packed them up and shipped them to my daughter, who then brought them all to Belize in her suitcases.

We have talented friends here in Belize as well. One friend made the cake and another missionary couple provided both live and recorded music for the wedding.

Even with all the help, there was still many things that this mother of the bride had to learn how to do in a short time. I did Internet searches to learn how to make flowers from tissue paper and how to decorate the tables for the reception. I didn’t have the convenience of Pinterest back then. After learning a few decorating tips, I still needed to buy serving dishes, table clothes, plates, napkins, forks, cups and all the food.

I was able to find most of the things I needed at discount stores such as the Dollar Tree, and online at Oriental Trader. We bought the colored sand for the unity ceremony at Hobby Lobby.

Like I said, I was also the caterer so I made chicken tenders and served them with different sauces. I made mini quiche (bacon, veggie and cheese), I made chicken salad sandwiches in the shape of sea shells and star fish (I used cookie cutters to cut the bread). I made a bowl of mixed fruit served in a watermelon basket (I watched a youtube video to learn how to make the basket). I served mixed nuts and made a simple punch and served everything on the trays and plastic serving dishes that I bought from discount stores.

Since my daughter could not afford to have a full bridal party fly out to Belize, I wanted her to still have a wedding party so our god children served as ring bearer and flower girl and some of our dearest friends served as groomsmen and bridesmaids. My son-in-law’s grandfather and sister flew in from Puerto Rico to serve as Best man and Maid of Honor. Now we had a wedding party so we needed clothes for everyone.

I found my dress and the flower girl’s dress on Ebay. I paid $80 for the two dresses. The colors that my daughter chose for the wedding was blue and yellow so I bought yellow material locally and found a photo of the style dress we wanted and then had someone make the dresses. The dresses ended up costing me only $12 each. We ordered blue shirts for all the guys.

I know that a simple wedding such as this one is not for everyone but as you can see all you really need to have a pretty wedding is a pretty setting, such as the beach  or backyard garden; supplies from craft and discount stores; a little luck in finding bargains on bridal clothing; a few skills and A LOT of help from friends and family….. and of course one happy couple blessed by God.

Meme child-proofs an entertainment center


If you have toddlers in the house, you know how clever they are and how quickly they discover new things and new areas to explore. Last December I traveled to Louisiana for the birth of our fourth grand baby. For this daughter, it was baby #2 — she would now have a one year old and a newborn, so of course Meme needed to be there to help my baby girl.

During the time I was there, the #1 grandson began to walk, so we now had a “Toddler” in the house. This just added more chaos to the mix of sleepless nights, endless loads of laundry, piles of dirty diapers, meal times, nap times, bath times, etc. Oh, and by the way, they lived in a townhouse apartment so the bedrooms and the only full bath was upstairs…. Meme’s knees were not too happy about the stairs. Well, I think you get the picture so you can imagine that our little toddler was quickly finding anything that had not yet been child-proofed.

My daughter and son-in-law had a very nice entertainment center. The cabinets had glass panes in the door and I was concerned that our toddler was going to break the glass. He loved to throw things or just pick up toys and bang the glass… not to mention that he would often stumble and fall against the doors so I was worried that he might break the glass. After pointing this out to my daughter and of course getting her permission…. but who’s going to say “no” to Meme… I headed to the local craft store.

This is the before photo. The glass panes were actually one solid sheet of glass that was held in place by several small rubber thingies or do-hickies. The glass was easy to remove. My son-in-law stored the glass so they could put it back when the boys were older or if they decided to sell the entertainment center at some point.

I replaced the glass with art board that I found at the local Hobby Lobby. You can use basically any type material that will fit. I just found something that was the same size and thickness of the glass panel.

My daughter printed out eight 5 x 7 photos of the boys and we used Mod Podge to attach them to the art board. I first put the art board in the cabinets and used a pencil to trace around the panes to make it easier to get the correct placement of the photos. After letting the project dry, we just put the boards in the cabinet and secured with the same rubber do-hickies that had held the glass in place.  If you have not used Mod Podge before, don’t worry. There are 100’s of sites that explain how to put photos on canvas or other materials. Just search Pinterest.

One last thing, this did not stop our toddler from opening the cabinets and pulling out things. I first just emptied the cabinets and then went in search of child safety latches that would work. It was not easy to find them for cabinet doors like this. I finally found them on Amazon. Finally, we have an entertainment center that is safe and displays eight photos of our beautiful baby boys.