Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Endings?

Mary Burleson is one of those pastor's wives whom I've learned as much from as I have from her husband. So I was delighted to find out she was blogging! She recently posted this blog. Just as a preview, I'll tell you that she was questioning why we never hear the testimonies that don't have the happy endings. God is still at work...right? I hope you'll check it out. I've had so many friends question God's love because there wasn't a happy ending to their story. And Mary addresses this issue with honesty.

You're going to want to start following Mary's blog. I can promise you that she'll challenge you're thinking! You'll find her blog to the right on my blog list.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Most Excellent Thanksgiving

I wish I'd taken a picture of Amy's whole family---and certainly didn't think of it when they unexpectedly showed up on our doorstep Wednesday night! It was a total surprise---and something I couldn't even wrap my mind around for awhile. The other kids were in on the secret and no one let it slip--not even the grandkids! I was excited that I was going to have some of my kids for Thanksgiving, but to have all of them at some time or other met a need in my soul. What a gift!!

Pretty girl! Olivia. This is the little girl I work at bonding with--since she moved away when she was only a year old. I want her growing up knowing her Gee!

Olivia discovered her mommy's stocking on the Christmas tree.


Huddle!
Bryson joined us to play guns. Bryson, Josiah, Isaac & Ryan. Isaac & Ryan have a special bond. When Isaac saw Ryan for the first time Wednesday night, he wrapped him up in his arms and began crying, saying, "I missed you, Ryan!" They really love each other.


The kids' table. The things they were thankful for? Sharks (Isaac), Kitty Cats (Addie), Our New House (Ryan), Jesus loving me (Josiah).


The 20-something's table.


Andy, Liz, Janis, Wynola & Mike--or our Senior Adult table.


Shanna, Isaac, Josiah & Mumzie (Zach)


Aren't these girls beautiful? Amy, Lindsey & Shanna---sisters-in-law. Don't you love how God puts family together?

Pops taught Caitlin how to drive the riding lawn mower. Here, he was showing her how to stop it. (Good to know!)


Pops taught Alexis how to drive the lawn mower also. But she really wasn't heavy enough to weight the seat down to keep it going. Plus it was too loud, she said!


Today, we had the Sanders Family Reunion in Waka, Tx. There were only 6 cousins and 1 aunt in attendance, spouses and some kids. But what fun!! This group knows how to laugh!! (LOUD)


video

The little guys all got guns to play with. And they played their hearts out for 2 days---non-stop! Here, David is the monster that the guys have to "take out!" They had so much fun together!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, Ya'll!

Hope your Thanksgiving goes perfectly---that you have plenty to eat and that you have fun with your family.
Don't forget to give THANKS!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Partiality

I was talking with a friend today who was struggling with partiality in her family. A parent had been partial to a brother and now--even though they're adults--there are still consequences to that partiality. The pain, anger, and hatred has only grown.

Have you ever seen partiality in action? It's not beneficial for anyone. The favored child has expectations the rest of their lives (unless they recognize it and overcome it). The less favored child never feels as if they measure up (unless God transforms them by renewing their minds). The favored child usually lords it over their sibling who is less favored. One feels significant while the other feels unloved. I've never seen anything good come out of partiality. You know....it's o.k. to appreciate the different strengths each child might have...as long as you're appreciating strengths in each child. It's only natural that your personality may mesh well with one particular child's personality. But that only means you need to put forth more effort with the other kids.

The Bible has several examples about one child who is favored over another. Ishmael & Isaac. Jacob & Esau. Joseph and his 11 brothers. It's hard to have a happy ending where one child is shown more favor.

I challenge each of us to examine our hearts and make sure we're not being partial to one child--or grandchild--over another. Ask God to search your heart with Truth. And have the same attitude towards your children that God has towards us.

"For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another]." Romans 2:11

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving at Living Water

I'd love for you to check out Living Water's blog and see what God did there today. We served 159 families! Wow! But it didn't come without a battle. We had 2 men pass out (strange!), 1 woman have a diabetic meltdown, the preacher's pick-up broke down and he had to walk to get there, etc., etc. That's when you know God is up to something good---and Satan doesn't want it to happen. Seeds were planted in 190 people's lives. Now that's amazing.
I have no idea how this precious baby slept through the craziness of our morning! But isn't he beautiful? Don't you love how Piglet & Tigger are looking at him?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Guys & Christmas



I have sooo many ideas for girls for Christmas this year (in fact, too many to get them all!)---but none for the guys in my life (adults). Does anyone know what is the latest and bestest thing out there this year??? HELP!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Third Generation Male


Deja Vu. Ryan & Addie were here tonight (while their dad led worship for the youth) and Ryan was walking into the bathroom, getting ready to go home with his dad, singing "O Sole Mio." Andy has sung this song ever since I've known him. My kids grew up hearing it all the time. But here's how he sings it:
O Solo Mio
O Mio My-o
O Costa Rico
O Gorvadio.
(Don't waste your time trying to figure it out!)
So now...Ryan is growing up hearing his daddy singing the same version.
And now Ryan is continuing this male tradition.
I just wish I'd filmed it. As the guys realized what he was doing, we had the full-blown version from the first two generation males once again.

Our Responsibility


Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer [insects and plagues] for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts." Malachi 3:10-12

Yesterday, I read this to my prayer group. Do you see what our responsibility is in these verses? Just to bring our firstfruits...our tithe to God. And the rest is up to Him. He will open the windows of heaven. He will pour out a blessing---so big we can't even receive it. He will rebuke the devourer. He will bless us. What a deal!! We just bring a tenth (of what is already actually His) and by our obedience, His order comes into our lives. His blessing. Just by loosening our hands, God's natural flow begins.
Test it out!! He invites you to do just that..."prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts..."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This Little Light of Mine

Ryan & Addie's Cubbies' group was singing at our church this morning. And it just so happened that they were spending the weekend with us---so they "got to sing on stage," as they put it. (They kind of like the stage)

Here they are in the middle of the group.

This is their pose. For some reason, Ryan started posing with his hands like this each time! ha!

I had to include this photo. Not just because they were laughing hysterically, but because Ivy is next to them crying. Poor kid...she was having a bad morning.

Bryson stole the show last time he was on stage...I was hoping to catch him on video...

But alas...his dad was giving him a big "talking-to" before the performance. Dadgumit!

I was careful of which panties I put on Addie---I thought this might happen. When we got home, I realized her mom had packed tights that I had missed somehow! ha!

The kids (except my 2) were getting ready to watch the baptism. (I doubt Ms. Georgia or Ms. Amber would appreciate this photo.)
And this was how they watched the baptism....you'll see the importance of this later...

Ryan & Addie clapping for the baptisms


Ahhhh....some kids never recovered from watching the baptism...ever!

video

I didn't think my camera was recording....

video

...finishing up This Little Light of Mine

video

And the Grand Finale---The B-I-B-L-E!

After they finished singing, our pastor told them what a GREAT job they did. And then he compared the kids to our church---some dance to the worship, some cross their arms and hardly sing....and some just sleep right through it! LOL!

Friday, November 13, 2009

I was wrong

I didn't think I'd get to have Christmas lights this year, but they were hung today!! I hired the Two Brothers. Donny & J Hope are actually brothers who do all kinds of things to support themselves. They trimmed a tree for us this summer. They rake leaves, clean out gardens and yards, clean alleys, move furniture---just about anything. I knew they were looking for work, so I suggested they might could hang Christmas lights (I hope I wasn't manipulating...). So they came and hung mine first to get the hardest behind them. They've had a few more calls, I think.
So...if you're looking for some strong guys to hang lights or just about anything else, the Two Brothers are your guys! Let me know if you need their phone numbers.

I thought Andy would be so excited that he wasn't going to have to do the job. But the first words out of his mouth were, "I was going to do that!" *sigh* Who knew?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

History of Becky & the Computer

An early Apple computer

In 1989 (or there abouts), First Baptist Church, Borger got their first computers. They were little Apple computers. The church offered computer classes for the staff and then they were able to bring those little Apple computers home so they could practice what they were learning. Andy would bring that little computer home at nights and then teach me what he was learning. We learned together. I loved that computer. In fact, there were some things we learned that were so easy---I don't know why they were ever changed.

After that, internet was created. I can remember hearing about the information highway on television and had no clue what they were talking about. I think one of my first connections to it was when Caleb Mitchell brought a laptop to the Huff's house at a youth function and wanted to plug it into the phone line and show Matt something. I panicked---was there going to be a charge on their phone??? I could only pray there wasn't. He convinced me there wouldn't be--I had no clue!

I began working at the church library and they had a computer that I worked on. And because they were soon hooked up to the internet, I began learning my way around. Because the lady who worked with me was so intrigued with what I could do, she bought me a computer for my home. Seriously!! So my family became computer literates. We set the computer up in our kitchen and took turns on it.

There were days that I would sit at the computer all day long. In the early beginnings of the internet, the new internet sites would offer free things to entice you to come by their sites. So I would sit at the computer and go to free sites (there were searches just for free sites---way before google!). On webmd.com, I got dozens of Nike shoes. I got free golf clubs, free golf balls, free wooden spoons (wish I'd gotten more of those---I'm still using the one I got!), free jewelry, free make-up, free lotions, free purses, etc. There was even a network of "stores" that you could rack up points by logging onto their sites and then spend the points in one of the stores. I remember I got about $300 worth of groceries from a grocery store--delivered to my doorstep. That Christmas, I gave away about $1000 worth of gifts I'd gotten free!! I had a full-time job cruising the internet.

By then, I was also conversing with Marcy Griffin who was in Asia. We'd chat for hours. It was so much fun. I was also her "gatekeeper" by sending her emails to her friends--to keep her secure. After that, I became Ko's gatekeeper. It was also during this time that there were family sites where you could meet with your own family members and chat. It was so much fun! My dad was becoming quite an internet cruiser and my college kids, dad & I would meet in this family room and chat together. Dad loved it!

Then came google and myspace. While I was doing myspace, Marcy suggested I begin blogging. She thought I would enjoy it since I liked to write. I couldn't imagine blogging. In fact, I just didn't think I wanted to since I was blogging on myspace. But I decided to give it a try. And as you can tell, she was obviously right! I love blogging!! Then came Facebook---the grown-up version of Myspace! Then iPhones came along as well as Twittering. I can only wonder what's next. Can you believe how far we've come in 20 years? And just think---your children will never know a time when there were no home computers. And to think I was on the ground floor.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veteran's Day


Veteran's Day isn't just a date on the calendar to me. It's faces. Faces of men and women who have sacrificed for my freedoms...and not just my freedoms, but what 90% of the world would consider a life of luxury. Those faces include people like my dad, Lindon Sanders, who served in the Navy and my father-in-law, Bob Dietz, who served in China-Burma-India during WWII. I think of Herman Mos who also served in that war. Jodie Brock is one of those brave men who fought in the Korean War. And there were people of my generation like George Nies who went to Vietnam and fought valiantly. But they didn't come home to flags flying and pats on the back...and that still grieves me. And I see a young man named Jim Clark who enlisted after the attacks of 9-11 and fought for his country--and his family--in Iraq. No, Veteran's Day isn't a date on the calendar. It's a slideshow in my mind of faces. Faces of people who were willing to sacrifice so much for so many. And I personally want to thank each and every one of them---they make me proud to be an American!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Christmas Bug

I'm getting the Christmas bug. I've loved fall---it's the most beautiful fall I remember ever experiencing in the panhandle of Texas. The colors are still vibrant on some of the trees. But I'm ready. I'm ready for the cold weather, a fire in the fireplace, Christmas lights--all of it! But with the cough Andy's had these past 3 weeks, this photo above may be the best I get this year. Oh sure...I'll put the Christmas tree up, but I have a feeling the rest may not make it up. Of course, every year he says it's not going to happen, but then the neighbors all start putting their lights up and the pressure's on. He can't stand that. OH! And the other thing I have going in my favor is that he bought all new lights after Christmas last year. Maybe he'll want to try them all out!
We could always do this:


Jesus is coming today?

Ember told me that she'd read the headlines on The Enquirer this weekend and it said that the rapture is taking place Monday. So in case Jesus does come...I'll meet you in the air! AWESOME!

Seriously, though...have you been listening to the news? There's more and more being said about a one world government. Listen up! It's coming. There's also more and more natural disasters taking place. There's a great tension building with Israel--our country is sadly turning it's back on God's chosen people. I believe that we'll soon hear of Israel defending itself in war. Keep reading your Word, keep listening to what's going on in the world...and keep looking up!

"He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."
Revelation 22:20

Friday, November 6, 2009

Broken Bodies


WARNING: THIS IS LONG. AND I'M PRETTY PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS ISSUE.

Don't you hate hearing about a broken body? There have been so many in my lifetime. Physical and spiritual. But tonight I want to talk about the spiritual--the broken body of the Church.

My heart is devastated. I can think of 3 churches very close to my heart that have broken in the past year. And it's not the first break for 2 of those churches--they've become splintered. Why? Why can't people love...get along...learn the scriptural process for restoration? Is it because people don't know how? Or is it because they won't?

I know one of the churches I'm talking about even called in the help of a third party...but it still imploded. It's no different than a divorce. People who once loved one another are now on opposite poles on so many issues. The difficult part of this is that the Church is supposed to be a picture of what restoration looks like. And if we don't know how to do it, how can we expect our families to reconcile? We're to be salt and light and yet we can't even get our own relationships right.

I don't want to sound sanctimonious...not at all! I've had my share of difficult relationships in the church. And I've also been the problem in some of them. Seriously. But God has continually pointed me towards restoration. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to seek forgiveness for my attitude, words, or works. I've also had to confront people--which I hate even more. God showed me a few years ago that my biggest problem in being divided with a brother is a lack of submission on my part.

I can tell you as a mom that I hate it when my children don't get along. It grieves me with gut-wrenching grief. I can't imagine that God likes it any more than I do. But I've loved it when I've watched one of my kids humble themselves and seek restoration. And that's really what it takes--humility.

Now I do know of people who have humbled themselves. They have sought restoration--and it didn't happen. Just like some marriages. It does take 2 to have a relationship. BOTH parties have to be willing to come to the kneeling bench of communion and forgiveness. But shouldn't they, if they're believers and have the same Spirit of God living in them? I believe we give up way too soon if it doesn't happen immediately. It means praying and keeping your heart open until that person's heart is open. And it's keeping your mouth shut in the meantime. Too many times we want to expose that person for being wrong so everyone knows we're right. (Speaking from experience here!)

I remember when my grandson, Isaac, broke his leg. He was only 2 years old. It was so sad. I remember that before we knew it was broken, he was in our car and someone was messing with his foot and he started crying. It hurt! After going to the doctor, he got the cutest 4 inch cast. But he was careful with that leg for the longest time. The Church is a lot like that broken leg. If left unattended, it may heal but it will always be crooked and lose it's power. But a surgeon can put it back together like it needs to be. Healing can take place--correct healing. And even though the body of Christ may "favor" that leg for awhile, being very careful with it, soon it will return to full working order. And just like Isaac, they'll soon forget there was ever a fracture.

I'm just afraid that the body of Christ is becoming so broken, we're losing our ability to walk. Is anyone going to the Great Physician? Are we more concerned about being "right" than we are about our Father being grieved over our broken relationships? Would we rather suffer a division than have to humble ourselves and seek restoration with a brother in Christ? And if we do refuse to be reconciled, then do we feel so pious that we continue to tear down those we've separated ourselves from? How can that be right? How can those people be right? Where is the love? Where is the humility? Where is the Truth?

Like marriage, God never said these relationships were going to be easy. It's hard work!! I'm sure you know young people who say, "I'm never going to get married---I don't want to end up like my parents!" I think lots of people are saying the same thing about church, "Why go? They're no different than me." And yet we're supposed to be different. Didn't God tell us to be different from the world? I'm praying we get this right. We need to get this right. No, we must get this right! The health of the Church body depends on it.

Humility.
Submission.
Love.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
I Peter 4:8

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I know you don't believe it...

But there are actually 7 days happening in a 2 day time period now. It cannot be Friday tomorrow. It just can't!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oswald Chambers

In light of my post about Entitlement vs. Suffering, I was very interested in the following devotional in My Utmost for His Highest for Nov. 5. (I thought today was the 5th when I read it this morning.) And by the way, you can read his devotional online here.

If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all. They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others. Because of this process, you will never be surprised by what comes your way. You say, "Oh, I can’t deal with that person." Why can’t you? God gave you sufficient opportunities to learn from Him about that problem; but you turned away, not heeding the lesson, because it seemed foolish to spend your time that way.
The sufferings of Christ were not those of ordinary people. He suffered "according to the will of God" ( 1 Peter 4:19 ), having a different point of view of suffering from ours. It is only through our relationship with Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. When it comes to suffering, it is part of our Christian culture to want to know God’s purpose beforehand. In the history of the Christian church, the tendency has been to avoid being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ. People have sought to carry out God’s orders through a shortcut of their own. God’s way is always the way of suffering— the way of the "long road home."
Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp out our personal ambitions? Are we prepared for God to destroy our individual decisions by supernaturally transforming them? It will mean not knowing why God is taking us that way, because knowing would make us spiritually proud. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through— we go through it more or less without understanding. Then suddenly we come to a place of enlightenment, and realize— "God has strengthened me and I didn’t even know it!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

18 Kids & Counting


You can say what you want about a family having so many children, but isn't it refreshing to see a family who loves and respects one another? I personally love that TLC has chosen to feature a family with such strong Christian values. After watching the 25th anniversary of Jim Bob & Michelle, it made me happy to hear the kids say that they knew their parents loved one another--and even act surprised that they were asked such a question. Even though they allow their kids to be kids and embrace each of their personalities, there's still discipline and consideration for one another. I just can't get past the word "respect" when I think of the Duggar family. If you'd like to thank TLC for featuring their show, go here and send an email to them. It's a little bit of a process, but worth it to let them know we appreciate them! And by the way...I believe every child is a gift from God.

After hearing Kate Gosselin tell her story tonight, it just made me so aware of how much we need to be praying for people in the spotlight---especially Christian brothers and sisters. They're no different from us except maybe the temptations become bigger when they're set up as a Christian example. (And maybe the fact that their warts are out there for all to see while ours remain somewhat hidden.) I encourage you to be praying for these families. Pray that God protects them---and redeems them.

Of a Captive Heart Releases Today!


A Road Less Traveled releases their new CD today! I'm really excited about it. For the 2 people who may not know, the guy in the center is our youngest son, Zach. He's the lead singer for the band. We claim the rest of them, too, though.
I'm really proud of these guys. They walk the talk. They're all involved in their local church, hold down a full-time job, and sing/play at every opportunity. If you'd like to purchase a CD for a measly $5, go here. You might consider buying them as Christmas gifts or give them to your local youth minister to give away as prizes. You can go here and take a listen! Please be praying for them---it looks like some awesome opportunities are peeking over the horizon.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hey Blogger Friends!



Thomas Nelson and Bethany House are signing up book reviewers who will write reviews on their blogs. You sign up for the kind of books you like to read, get a free book, read it, and then write a 200 word review on your blog and on a retail website about that same book. It takes a couple of days to get approved. And...I'm assuming it helps if you write on your blog. ha! As soon as you write your reviews, you sign up for another book. Keep those free books coming!! And by the way...apparently you can do this with Thomas Nelson even if you live in another country. Thanks for the heads-up, Sandra! I'm waiting on my first book.

Cooking?


I have GOT to get back into the habit of cooking.
How did I ever get out of it?
And how do I get back into it?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Entitlement vs. Suffering

You know, I was joking (kind of) about the boys last night who came trick-or-treating at my house and looked at me liked I'd gypped them. They seemed to think I owed them lots of candy. I've been thinking on that because I see this same attitude in some of the adults who come to Living Water wanting help.

I've always said that I have a great vantage point at the age of 53. I know how hard my grandparents worked. They worked hard from sunup to sundown. HARD work. Physical work. People didn't have a long life span then. My grandparents were from the lower class and my mom remembers when she found out they were poor. She didn't know until other kids in their farming community were making fun of them--about their family having 8 kids and pointing out the kind of clothes they wore.

I know how hard my parents worked. (And, by the way, they worked their way up to middle class.) Their generation wanted to make their childrens' lives easier. They wanted to give them the gift of a college education---something most of them never had. I know my dad held down 2 jobs most of my life---sometimes three. I never resented that my dad wasn't home in the evenings--in fact, I can still taste the excitement I felt when he came home at night. I knew he was working for us as a family. I'm sure that attitude came from my mother who never complained about how many hours he worked. In fact, as soon as my brothers were old enough, they had to help him with that 2nd job.

I also know how much work I had to do, or was expected to do, as a child. We couldn't go out to play on Saturdays until the house was spotless. I was cooking for the family by the time I was 13 because my mom had begun working outside the home. It was expected that we would get jobs in high school and pay for our own necessities and gas for our cars. We were also trained in helping others--giving our time and resources to help those in need. I also watched my parents take care of their parents as they aged.

Do you see how much less was demanded of each generation? My grandparents' families wouldn't have survived if everyone didn't pitch in with the farm work. The same was true with my mom's family as she was growing up--cows had to be milked and hay had to be baled. I had to clean house and cook. It seems every generation has wanted to do more and more for their children. I know I did. I didn't always have the money to spoil them much, but that was probably for the good and I didn't even realize it. I would have if I could have, though.

I'm just wondering if we've led our kids in the wrong direction? Have we led this next generation to expect even more--while we expect even less of them? Do they think they deserve the best to the point that they demand it? Even watching HGTV frustrates me. You see young families who aren't content in the home they live in because "it's not big enough now that we have another child." I know my mom had 3 sisters. All 4 girls shared a room----and a BED! So...having another baby now means you need another 1000 sq. ft.?

I guess I'm just encouraging you young moms out there to please be careful. Don't teach your children they deserve---ANYTHING! Teach contentment. Teach gratefulness. Teach responsibility. Bless your children with a godly heritage.
"But godliness with contentment is great gain." I Timothy 6:6

Addendum:
I just got home from church and as we sang, "Knowing You," I was struck with the heart of this message: "to know you in your suffering..." That part of the verse comes from Philippians 3:10, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..."

Paul Burleson used to teach that this verse is a cycle--we know Christ...and because of that we experience the power of his resurrection...and then we fellowship in his sufferings...which causes us to know him more...and on and on and on...

We don't want our children to suffer. Lindsey & I were talking about this the other night. What a big, great God to allow us to suffer. He doesn't just lavish gifts on us. He knows that would harm us. He allows us to suffer. Suffering causes us to know him more. It also builds our character--like James tells us. It makes us stronger people, able to withstand attacks of the enemy. Will your children be surprised if they have to suffer? Are we really making their lives easier by giving so many gifts and advantages to them? Or is God's example as a father the right one after all?