Today is my sister's (Eileen Funkhouser Rouch) birthday. She is 5 years younger than me. That is her standing between Dad and Mom. Little brother Gene is on Mom's lap. And process of elimination tells you that I am the one standing at my dad's knee. My sister and I are very different in some ways. We are different in politics. We have differing views in some aspects of "religion". Maybe even a tad different in raising children, and fashion and jewelry, and maybe some other things. But we are sisters. We came from the same two parents, share a heritage of faith, integrity, strong work ethic, humility, and many other great inherited traits.
Over the years I for one have come to understand that she is always there for me. I am sure there have been times she thought I had lost my mind, gone over the edge, over the top, or dropped through the floor. But she has been there when I needed her to be. She has been an encouragement when I needed to be encouraged. She held me together when I thought I was coming apart. And she has taught her two burly sons (Jim and Josh) to do the same so I know they are there if I need them.
I heard some good thoughts just today on the radio about family. Some that stuck out were that families stick together, we fight for each other, we hold hands against the elements, we close ranks if we need to protect each other, and we open the floodgate when we need to. We cry together, laugh together, remember together, push forward together, put the pieces back together for each other when we need to.
After all, it was my little sister who brushed my hair for me just before my first (blind) date at age 15 with the man who was to become my husband a few years later. It was my sister and her boys who took great care of our mom in her later years till her death in 2008. It is my sister who has made sure she was at every major event, mostly weddings, that my own family has had.
Thank you to my sister, Eileen. And a very happy birthday with many more to share.
Many years ago when I was in high school, I wrote short stories. These stories were full of fantasy, fun, and fancy. My imagination seemed to be very vivid and flighty. But as real life took over due to a marriage at age 18 and illnesses in the family, eventually deaths, financial struggles, hardships that we all face, my imagination pretty much became invisible. Reality set it and my ability to dream diminished. I believe it is good for us to dream, to have goals that may seem impossible. That just makes the accomplishment of those goals all the sweeter and in many cases, miracles that can be attributed only to God. HE gets all the glory. Have you lost your ability to dream because of all the hardships this temporary life throws at us? We cannot depend on this fragile world to fulfill our every need and want, that has to come from Someone beyond the universe. HE fulfills our dreams but I think HE wants us to dream. After all, HE created us and gave us that ability to dream and to press on toward that goal. Dream, sisters and brothers, dream and dream big. Reach for the brass ring. Don't be defeated with the failures of the world. With God in the Plan, your dreams are very attainable.
Got a birthday card from my 4 year old grandson---who happens to be autistic. Yes, I know his mom picked it out. Yes, I know he doesn't speak words quite yet but this is oh-so Noah!
"Grandma, as I get older, I realize that you've been right about SO MANY things....I AM adorable, for example. And talented, and quite possibly a GENIUS. You were so insightful to see that. Happy Birthday. Ps, Of course I get all my best qualities from YOU."
That is sooooooo Noah cause I hear his wheels turning in his brain! And yes, Grandma does think he is an absolute genius!!
When I read the card, it was just as if Noah was speaking to me because I could just hear him. If you have an autistic child in your life, you understand what I am talking about. Each child is different, though. Noah has excellent eye contact with people. He looks at me and understands what I say, and you can see the wheels turning.
He is an excellent problem solver and very seldom whines about things because he generally solves his own problems. Except....the TV. He does whine about that and wants the channel changed but sometimes it is not clear what he wants to watch. Sometimes, I think he doesn't even know what he wants to watch. But in most things, he figures out what he needs and gets it done.
My hope is that people outside the autism spectrum begin to understand and respect the plight of the autistic child. In public, things do not run as smoothly as at home. In public, an autistic child may seem unruly, fidgety, disrespectful, noisy, undisciplined....and many may wonder 'why don't those parents take that child out' or 'why doesn't that mom punish that child'. Punishment is NOT the appropriate thing to do, especially in a public setting. Those children are reacting to many things such as sensory overload. They see things, hear things, smell things, that you and I cannot and their brains are assaulted by too much.
If we don't take Noah out to restaurants, stores, ice cream shoppes, hair clipperies, and deal with his quirks, he will never learn how to assimilate into "normal" life, or what most people call normal. Noah has to learn how to behave in public, how to respond properly, how to sit still, and how will he learn unless he is introduced to those situations daily. He has to learn how to deal with his sensory issues in a public setting.
So "normal" people, I urge you, when you see a situation where you want to jump to conclusions, don't jump. That autistic child, those parents, need your support and understanding. Basically, smile and mind your own business!! Well, mostly anyway.
I am studying New Testament and the first chapter in Matthew gives us the genealogy of Joseph, the legal father of Jesus. So I am thinking, "why is Joseph's blood line so important, when his blood was not part of Jesus' DNA?" I mean as believers we believe that Joseph did not contribute his sperm to the equation. That was God's plan. Jesus is God's Son fully and yet he is Mary's Son fully also. That is the whole point. HE came here to walk in our shoes and know who WE are and associate with US. Not to mention that little fact that HE came to give HIS life for our salvation, and HE came so that HE could be resurrected. So why is Joseph's lineage so important? I think it is because he was the earthly father influence. And that proves just how important fathers are. Know what I mean?? Fathers, dads, daddies, are extremely important as an influence to the children. We have to understand that. That is why Joseph's lineage is so important to the His-Story. The good, bad and the ugly of Joseph's lineage plays into the History of WHO Jesus is and how HE was raised as a human child. Fathers, when you feel unimportant, read Matthew 1 and remember how important you are in your child's life, history, lineage.
Doing my devotions this week, I find I am at the point of crossing from Old Testament to New Testament in the book by my friend, Diane Matthews. Diane has a segment about the period of silence. four hundred years of silence as far as the written scriptures go, between the OT and the NT. She also points out that although there was a period of silence in the writing of the Scriptures, God is always at work. I have had those "periods of silence" in my life where I wondered "What???" I have to remember there is always something going on with God and He is never really silent. There are purposes behind the so-called silence. Maybe I need to listen better. Maybe I need to be still. Maybe I need to study and pray more. Maybe I just need to pay more attention to what is happening around me. Have you ever had moments of silence? Moments whee we think God is not there, not listening, not paying attention, even not loving us?? We all need to remember, HE never sleeps, HE is always there.
With all your heart (reposted from earlier)
I am re-doing the Experiencing God Bible study that I did 20 years ago with the new book that says “Celebrating 20 Years” edition. It really is a life changing study if you haven’t done it. And even 20 years later, and again, is still awesome. The other day the theme was about God’s love for us. We talk about God’s love so casually and glibly but do we realize that God created us to have fellowship with Him. He didn’t create us to do magnificent things for earth, although many of us do magnificent things, but God wants our love and fellowship. Everything in my Christian life, everything about knowing and experiencing God, everything about knowing His will, depends on the quality of the love relationship I have with God. Think about that. How easy has He made it for us. Just love Him. You want answers to your questions? Solutions to your problems? Salve for your booboos? Just love God. And obviously when you love someone, you want to know him/Him better, you want to be with him/Him everyday. That’s what happens…then the love relationship grows and grows. Aaaahhh. The best kind of love. With all your heart.
Eat Mor Chikin
President of Chik Fil A, Dan Cathy, has made his statement clear. He issued a statement for Chik Fil A that the well-known and popular organization supports the traditional definition (Biblical definition) of marriage. That has brought much criticism and much praise. Why is this surprising? Chik Fil A is a family owned and family operated business. They are not open on Sundays. They are believers in the God of creation, and Jesus the Savior. Thank God, we still have men who will stand up for their convictions and not be bullied to go with the flow of what is “politically proper”. I support the big cow and I promise to eat mor chikin! I support Chik Fil A. Not only do I like what they stand for, and love that they actually “stand up” for it, they have great food and their people are super polite. You don’t hear that much anymore. Hmmmmm. There is something to this REAL Christianity, walking out your faith. Funny how Christians get jumped on for speaking their faith, AND get jumped on if they don’t speak their faith being accused of hypocrisy. It’s time, people, speak your faith. Loud and clear. And eat mor chikin!!!
I Confess, I am a Jewelry-aholic.
I love jewelry. Not the expensive stuff, although let me make it clear that I will accept gold, pearls and diamonds anytime you want to give them to me. But my day-to-day passion is costume jewelry. My new favorite place is Charming Charlie’s. If you don’t have one, GET one. Find one. Don’t walk, RUN. This store is amazing, and very reasonably priced. The “sales’ are amazing too. I have walked out of there with well over $100 worth of jewelry for $30. Every color, every style imaginable. The unique thing is that it is arranged by color, so if you are looking for something to match a particular outfit, it is easy to find. I also like, amazingly enough, jewelry from Avon. It is also reasonably priced and fun to wear. The new “in” is sterling silver and QVC has some awesome pieces of silver AND their Diamonique is gorgeous. QVC stands behind those products with guarantees and that makes it even more enticing to spend the money for some good stuff. What’s a little bling-bling among friends? Doesn’t hurt to have something that makes you feel good, attractive, fun, and my bling bling certainly seems to help define ---or should I say explain---who I am. When you have an ample frame, you can wear some ample bling. When you are colorful in personality, you should wear colorful stuff. I love it! I challenge you to be yourself. If you feel like being “buggar” green today (sorry, but daughter-in-law Amy calls hot green “buggar” green), then do it! If today is a “red” day, wear red with pride and enjoyment. And don’t forget the seasons, explore spring, fall for autumn, love Christmas time with new abandon. There is a whole new world out there undiscovered of color, dangle, and bangle. Makes me feel good! And, Charming Charlie’s, just send the commission check to Dottie Coffman, the one wearing the bling-bling!!
Tis Labor Day so, Happy Holiday! Many ask just what the heck is Labor Day anyway? In short, it is a day we celebrate the opportunities we have here in these United States. Many would say with the job situation what it is, it is hard to be thankful because the opportunities seem to be few and far between. But we cannot lose hope in America. It is the land of opportunity, but we must labor hard to maintain that. We cannot let it slip into socialism. The republic of North America was not set up to be socialist or communist. We are a free enterprise nation. We are free to start a business, grow a business, with as little government interference as possible. That is how it SHOULD be. But the trend right now is for government to hold all entities and make sure we are dependent upon the government for all our needs and successes. It should not be that way. Let us remember also that the government is US, you and me. We have a voice in this. What WE say matters.
My pastor preached just yesterday on “truth telling”. It is time for us to face the truth and to tell the truth. To heck with what is “politically correct” because politics is not correct on any level. And we certainly cannot separate our politics from our personal day to day lives. That is like saying “I am a Christian, but only on Sunday”. Our moral values, our character, the very thread of who I am is day to day, 24/7, cannot be compartmentalized. Those parts of my being are woven together like a quilt; it is who I am to the core. What I believe is what I live. And I should live what I believe. If I believe abortion, the killing of innocents and innocence is wrong, then I must walk out that belief every day. Those standards should be found easily in our businesses, our churches, our town squares, and even the Wal-Mart and Target stores. Wherever we go, whatever we do, our “quilt” reflects exactly who we are. Therefore our churches, our businesses, etc, need to be telling the truth. There are some brave people with brave truth-telling websites out there. Latch on and get involved. America needs us to step up to the plate and hit the home run now more than ever before. All those men and women we honor on Memorial Day cannot be discarded as irrelevant. Our blood, sweat, tears, ambitions, hopes and dreams cannot and by God’s grace, will not, be discarded.
As my pastor spoke yesterday, and as I was scrambling to find the Scripture verses, I ran across Galatians 5:14-16. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another. I say then, Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” The present administration hopes that we conservatives will bite and devour one another as we disagree and cannot seem to come together. But the warning here is that we must come together or we will be absolutely consumed by one another, and that means the opportunities established in our own Constitution will disappear and we can consider this Labor Day our last Labor Day commemoration. Don’t let that happen.