Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen

Monday, December 24, 2012

Peace on Earth

 Two definitions of peace--1 from a man-written dictionary and the other from the divine inspiration of  God:
1.peace (from Bing online dictionary)
[ peess ]
freedom from war: freedom from war, or the time when a war or conflict ends
tranquility: a calm and quiet state, free from disturbances or noise
mental calm: a state of mental calm and serenity, with no anxiety

2.Most know that the Hebrew word shalom is understood around the world to mean "peace." However, "peace" is only one small part of the meaning .According to Strong's Concordance 7965 Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony.

Last year at Christmas as I was dealing with the loss of my father as well as some other life disappointments, I found myself lacking peace.  I was desperately longing for the type of peace that the world defines as a "state of mental calm with no anxiety."  Basically I was hoping to find peace by no longer having troubles, hard circumstances, and pain.  Freedom from....fill in the blank.

However, the bible clearly states in the book of John, 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

None of us are exempt from trouble...that is a biblical fact.  However, the bible is also filled with many promises of shalom-peace.  Including the biblical account of Jesus' birth where the angels are proclaiming the good news to the shepherds saying,“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14.

This is not the type of peace the world tries to deliver that requires the ABSENCE of something.  It is the shalom kind of peace that God offers.  The complete, whole, perfect, filling type of peace. Not the absence of something, but the presence of the only One who can complete and fill us with that type of tranquility and rest that we all long for.

This Christmas I am resting more in His promises than struggling to figure out the why's of difficulties.  I am not praying for the absence of difficulties but rather for the filling up of the Holy Spirit...daily...hourly...to truly experience rest.

 Are you struggling to find peace this Christmas season?  Are you grasping at a peace that can only occur if there is the absence of something? Peace on Earth is only possible in the souls of those who know God as their Saviour. John 6:38-40 says it like this: 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Look to the Son and believe in him and you too can have eternal life...and while you're here...Peace on Earth!  And that's a promise from the Prince of Peace himself--"Sar Shalom."

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fun Foto Friday

This is how I found Cutie Pie when I went to check on her before I went to bed the other night! :)

Josi wanted to braid my hair the other day and since I'd be crazy not to take her up on her offer, I proudly displayed my new 'do' for all to enjoy.  Even Nadia's bus driver liked the new look. ha ha

I think it turned out pretty cool, but most importantly, I enjoyed some much needed mother/daughter time with my teenager!
Hope you have a Fabulous Friday!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday

OK so I'm 2 weeks late in posting Thanksgiving pictures. My Christmas cards went out today, though, so that should count for something right?
Anyway, this year's theme which has truly been my theme for the past year, was written on pumpkins in the middle of the floral display to remind me of what I want my mindset to be at ALL times...not just on Thanksgiving:
REMEMBER who He is.
THANK Him for what He has done in the past.
TRUST Him for what He will do in the future.

My  heart overflows with gratitude for the family that lives within our four walls and the ones we get to do life with and share special moments with as shown in the following pictures!






Let's all carry a mindset of gratitude into the Christmas season as we:
Remember who He is--the One who sent His Son to be born and live among men.
Thank Him for what He has done in the past--in allowing His Son to die on a cross for our sins.
Trust Him for what He will do in the future--take those who have received Him as Saviour and King into Heaven for all of eternity!!!
How can we NOT be thankful when we focus on that!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This one too IS our problem!

This post is copied from my dear friend, Adeye's Blog.  Please take the time to read it and pray about your part in saving this little girl's life.  Thank you!

this one too IS our problem!

She's the face of desperation.

"I was hungry and you fed me."

Of injustice.

"I was thirsty and you gave me a drink."

Of horrendous, unfathomable neglect.

"I was homeless and you gave me a room."

And incomprehensible suffering.

"I was shivering and you gave me clothes."

She's another precious child of God so urgently needing to be rescued from her life of hell on earth.

This is Zoey.

A daughter of the Most High King! A darling little angel created in the image of a Father in heaven who never makes mistakes.

A priceless and most valuable TREASURE just waiting to be found.

Zoey is almost SIX years old!

And weighs a mere 10 POUNDS!

She is merely existing in the confines of her crib. She is fed by tube--which clearly is just not enough. Zoey NEEDS a family to rescue her. She needs medical attention and someone to love her passionately and help her to become all that she can be in this life. She needs parents who will become her biggest cheerleaders and advocates.

Zoey needs to be loved. Unconditionally. For who she is--fearfully and wonderfully made!

There are just a few weeks to find a family for this beautiful little girl. The thought of her not being chosen--and being left there to die--is honestly more than my heart can bear. Just like my sweet Hasya (and every other child on the planet!), this one too deserves to be given a chance at LIFE.

Proverbs 24:12 tells us that "Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act."

God holds us all responsible to act!

In his incredible book (that totally turned my life upside down), The Hole in Our Gospel, Richard Sterns so accurately said of many of us in the church when faced with dire situations, "Sorry, not my problem!" Of course this little girl IS our problem! "Our," as in all Christians. We're the ones who the Father has commanded to "care for the widow and the orphan" (as it says in the book of James).

The world is not called to care for the fatherless...we are!

We cannot turn a blind eye, walk away, and forget about the atrocious catastrophe that happens to the most innocent of human beings. We simply cannot.

There are times when we are called to rally for the sake of another human being--one who will never be able to pay us back or give us a single thing in return. As John Wooden once said, "You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."

Zoey IS our problem, Church! As the body of Christ, we are required to care for, to reach out to, to go to, to feed, to clothe, to give to...and to open our hearts to the 'least of these,' as the Bible calls them.

"Then the King will say to those on his right,
‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father!
Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom.
It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation.
And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes."
~~ Matt 25:35-38 (The Message)

Please, I'm begging you all, if nothing else, would you please be a voice for Zoey today? Would you help us to spread the word on her desperate need for someone to CHOOSE her as their daughter? Time is short! Not even one single day can be wasted.

Zoey's health is critical and she needs OUT of there as soon as is humanly possible.

We are waiting for updated medical information and photos of Zoey. She lives in the same country as our Hasya and Kael. I will share any updates as soon as I get them. For additional information, please contact shele337@gmail.com.

Pray, Church! Pray that this one too WILL BE SAVED!

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Plea for Orphans

In honor of Orphan Sunday, which was last week, I asked my son's permission to post a paper he wrote for school. He said ok as long as I didn't mention which son.  So, here it is:
(I apologize for the crazy formatting--I tried to fix it a few times but it still looks askew.)

A Plea for Orphans

     Do you know how many orphans are in the world? There are roughly 163 million children in
need of a loving family. There are so many orphans who are hanging on to a thin strand of life

waiting for a loving and nurturing family to save them.

      Hasya in Bulgaria is 14 years old and 14 pounds. My sister is the same
age and is 86 pounds. Big difference isn’t there? Many other children are in the same condition

as Hasya and even worse.

      Families all over the world who can’t have children or just want to add more can adopt a
child to have a family. People can have the awesome experience of a family, like children

 running to your bed during a thunderstorm. Or experiencing the deep love a family has for one

     It is our job as the church of Christ to help these orphans. In many scriptures God emphasizes
his love for the fatherless. James 1:27. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father,

is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the
world. So if we are Godly people then we should help these children who are waiting for a


      If a Christian family adopted it would shine God’s light to many people
involved. They would be thinking about how the Christians had given up their relaxed lives and

reached out to these children.

     As I strongly say in this paper, we as the Church should step up to the plate and show God’s
love to the orphan. So I beg you, please consider adopting a child or you can at least sponsor

a child. There are many children waiting to be adopted. You make the choice.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Bumper Crop of Fun!

That was the theme of this year's NC State Fair and we were determined to get our share of the crop of fun as we set out yesterday to "do the fair".

 First stop was to check out the kids' ribbons for the baked goods' competition.

Josi was excited to see her 2nd place red ribbon!

One of my favorite things about going to the fair is to snap tons of pictures.  Here are a few of my favorite face shots of the fam!

Then it was time for the rides.  Josi is my roller coaster gal so we went on the kiddie roller coaster first.
When I asked for a companion for the big roller coaster, Josi wanted to give it a try.  I had a moment's hesitation but decided to just go with the moment. It was almost a complete disaster except that I was able to turn my enthusiastic yelling (i.e. screaming) into something funny that kept Josi just far enough away from the brink of hysteria that we made it through the ride.
(We are in the back in case you didn't notice me screaming and Josi's anxious expression in her eyes) 

The bungee jumping is always Josi's favorite.  She loves trampolines and jumping high so this 'ride' is tailor made for her!

Last year Nadia only went on the Merry-Go-Round and didn't really like it.  She was much more content to hang out in her stroller.  This year, we were determined to get her on a few kiddie rides to see how she did.
We put the expert rider on with her so Josi talked her through the ins and outs of fair rides.
"So, we're going to go around in a circle and go up and down a little?"

"Yes, Nadia, and you are going to be great. We are going to have so much fun riding together!"
"Ok, here we go Nadia. Trust me, it's going to be a blast!"

"Oh, and we have to wave a few times at the camera so Mommy gets some good shots for her blog."

"Then we just let the wind flow through our hair and have fun! Are you having fun yet Nadia?"

"Yes! I am having fun!  I think I definitely prefer riding ladybugs to horses."

Meanwhile, the boys are getting ready to ride the Orbiter...a whirling, twirling, scrambler-type thing.
No thanks.

I love this shot.  Not sure what the conversation was about, but seeing our boys hanging out and having fun together comes under my definition of "bumper crop of fun".
More shots with my zoom lense that I really liked. This is also to show what they looked like before having their equilibrium messed with. ha ha

Allen went on this ride yesterday with his friends.  It's called G-Force. Enough said.
The orange and blue roller coaster is the one Josi and I went on.  I know you're impressed! ha ha

And last but certainly not least...FAIR FOOD!!!
The girls opted for the standard corn dog. These offer absolutely no temptation for me whatsoever since there is no chocolate involved.

The boys got some pizza and Jim had the Philly cheesesteak. yummy!
We all indulged in our sweets of choice ranging from funnel cake and elephant ears with chocolate, to fried oreos and ice cream! Extra Bumper of Fun!
To top off the day, we decided on one last ride that we could go on as a family. The big Ferris Wheel.

Nadia liked this ride as well.  I think anything involving wind in her face is a sure thing.

I think Josi just caught sight of her new nemesis--the orange and blue roller coaster. :)

"Ok, Mom.  Enough already!"
We claimed our share of the Bumper Crop of Fun this year!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"And the Winners Are..."

It's that time of year here in North Carolina.
Time for the State Fair!
Which for us, means time to do some baking and enter our best recipes in the Youth Culinary competitions.
We've had a lot of fun with this over the years and have tried to downplay the competitive aspect (for those of you who know me you know that's no easy task-ha ha).  But it sure is nice when the kids' efforts have been rewarded with a ribbon and perhaps a little prize money attached!
So, without further ado...here are the recipes we entered this year and the ensuing results:
Josi is working hard on her Ginger Snap batter which was entered into the "Drop Cookie" category for her age group (13-15)

"Mom, I can't concentrate on my baking if you're going to keep taking pictures."

Some of the yummy finished product. 
This recipe is Jim's Mom's and it brought home the 2nd PLACE RIBBON for Josi this year!  Woo hoo!  

She also entered a new recipe called "Pecan-Toffee Treat Bars"
Here she is pressing down the crust before adding the caramel mixture and pecans before baking.

Once it was baked, she added chocolate chips, let them melt, and then spread them to make the final chocolately layer.
She earned a 4th place ribbon (Honorable Mention) which was pretty nice for trying a recipe for the first time.

Michael also entered this year in the 10-12yr. category for 2 types of baked goods.
The first was another new recipe that we've decided is a keeper and will definitely be part of our Thanksgiving Dessert Table this year!

This is a pumpkin cookie that also went into the "drop cookie" category. Once you bake the cookies you put a delicious icing that glazes onto the cookie while they're still warm.  We had to quickly put the 9 entries onto the plate before we ate them all...they were that good!
He won a 4th place ribbon for this outstanding cookie.  I'm thinking the competition was pretty stiff in this category because these cookies were some of the best I've ever tasted!

He also entered fudge which happens to be my Mom's famous recipe. So, it was cool that both kids entered a grandma's recipe in the fair...and both kids ended up with a 2nd Place Ribbon with those recipes!!!

Here are the finished products... plated, bagged, and tagged and ready to be taken to the judges.
Can't think of a better way to start off the Fall Festivities than with baked goods and a few ribbons to boot!
Happy Fall!!!