How Does God Get Your Attention? See and Listen

Daily Truth:  “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why this bush does not burn.”  Exodus 3:3

God knows us better than we know ourselves.  He knows how to get our attention.  Are we being attentive?  Do you see?

School Buses

A bush that was on fire but not being consumed was what got Moses’ attention.

What does it take for God to get your attention?

God got my attention, as a new believer, with three bright yellow school buses. Our family was looking to relocate as my husband had a new job.  We had made several trips to the new location in hopes of finding a house to rent or buy.

As I was sitting at the McDonald’s in our current location, with our very young children I noticed three school buses in the parking lot.  Between eating french fries and opening Happy Meals I read the city on the first bus.  I thought how interesting, it is the town where my husband and I grew up.  Then I read the city on the second school bus and realized it was the town in which we were currently living.  On the third bus was the suburb that we had recently looked at a house to rent in the city where we were moving.

I then realized there in the parking lot was my past, present and future.  I laughed as I realized that God had to speak to me with three, huge, yellow buses.  By the way, we did rent the home in the suburb listed on that third bus.

In Matthew 26:36-46 Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He took Peter, James and John.  Jesus ask them to wait and stay awake with him as he was feeling deep anguish.  After praying Jesus walks back to the disciples and finds them asleep.  He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour?”

Jesus walks away again a second time to pray.  When Jesus returns he finds them all sleeping again.

After leaving a third time to pray the same prayer Jesus comes back and said to them, “You might as well sleep now.  The time is near for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners.”

Jesus tried to get the attention of his disciples three times.  The disciples did not realize the gravity of the situation even though the “Son of Man” was asking them to stay awake with him.

Why do we not know when God is trying to get our attention?  Are we too tired, depressed, over wrought with daily life, make no time for God and his Word, or maybe you have never asked Jesus to take your will and make it His own.  God wants to have a relationship with us.  He is as close as you allow him to be in your life.  God is always trying to get our attention.

God will meet your where you are.  God knows if you need three, huge, yellow school buses or if He can just point you to a verse in His Word.

Does God have your attention?

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

Easter

Picture

Hard to believe Easter is around the corner especially with 30 degree weather and wind gusts that knock over Porta-a-potties (True story.  Saw it down in a construction sight in our neighborhood). As I am writing this, it is Sunday afternoon and church has been cancelled tonight due to the anticipation of the 6-10 inches of snow we are supposed to be getting.  Yes, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Spring!  But I digress…..

So, I thought I would share some Easter traditions that we do in our family.  As most traditions do, these evolve as our family changes to meet the needs of the kids.  The ladies in my Sunday School group shared their family traditions either current or past.  It was such a sweet time to hear their memories.  

Of course what is Easter without the coloring of the Easter eggs.  This usually happens Friday sometime since Saturday is so busy with other Easter activities and because Sophia and Alexandra have Friday off.  The kids love coloring the eggs.  Mom, not so much.  Dye everywhere and the mess!  Then last year I got smart and put down a plastic table cloth over the island counter and amazingly the mess wasn’t such an issue.  The beautiful thing, just roll the table cloth up and throw it out!

Every Saturday night, after dinner, the kids and I make Easter Story cookies. Here is the recipe I use http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Easter-Story-Cookies.  It is such a clear and vivid illustration for the kids to help them understand what Easter is all about.  The only thing I change is I have the kids each take a turn with a cooking mallet and have them beat the nuts into small pieces.  This illustrates the broken body of Christ and the suffering he endured for our sins.

For family devotions Friday night, we use the Resurrection Eggs.  There are 12 eggs and each egg tells a part of the story of Easter from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday.  In each egg, is a verse and an item that correlates with that verse. For example, when we read about Christ being buried, their is a piece of white cloth to represent the burial garments.  Such a fun and once again, easy way for the children to understand what Easter is all about. ( http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Eggs-Familylife/dp/1572297220)

Dan and I hide the Easter eggs after the kiddos hit the hay.  I don’t know why it took me this long to think of a way to make sure the kids get the same amount of Easter eggs.  But it did…I would blame it on the hair but since it’s red and not blond.  Any rate, I got a different colored set of Easter eggs for each child this year.  Alexandra’s are camouflage (surprise, surprise), Sophia’s are pink, Micah’s are soccer balls, and Sam’s are basketballs.  

Every year, the kids get Easter outfits and I do my best to have us all coordinate.  My goal is NOT for my family to end up on a greeting card.  I just like to put a little more effort into what we wear on Easter morning.  I guess for me it is to help the kids  understand the importance of Easter. I want them to understand how important Easter is.  Many religions have a “good man” that they follow. Yet, they all died. But Christ was more than a “good man”.  He was and is the one true God and He too died.  But He ROSE AGAIN!!!!  I serve a living, true, holy God.  That is the importance of Easter.  Easter brings hope to those who feel hopeless, comfort to the hurting, peace to the restless, and the promise of eternal life to all those who believe in Christ as their Savior.  

Yes, I am one of those who will cry during the Easter service and it is not because I’m allergic to Easter Lilies.  It is because I am so overwhelmed of what Christ did for me on the cross.  God came down to earth as a man, stretched out His arms on a cross, hung there in shame, and died for MY sins.  But He AROSE again so that I can have life everlasting if I accept Him as MY Savior.

This Easter will have even more meaning for me.  It gives me hope that I will see my dad again and that I will hold two of my babes for the first time in a place where there will be no crying or pain.  A place that for now seems so distant but yet my heart longs even more for it. Heaven.

Go, ladies, this week with your hearts and mind ever mindful of what Christ did for you and for me on the cross.  

Until Next Monday,
Rebekah

“He is NOT here for He is RISEN!”


Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep……..

Daily Truth:

“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;

For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”

 Psalm 4:8

good night

Ahh it is the end of a busy  day.  Ending the day with beautiful music and God’s Word is a perfect ending to maybe a not so perfect day.

Listen to the excerpt from “Scripture Lullabies” provided in the link below.

“Hidden In My Heart” Scripture Lullabies

Days are busy and sometimes seem too long.  Sometimes just to complete the chores, activities, meals, homework, and then  to make plans for the following day can be overwhelming.  But actually time is short.  I have one married son and a daughter who will be married in 2 months.  Where did all those childhood days go?  Did I prepare them for life?  Was I a good example?  Do they love God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind?   As parents all we can do is our best each day.  My life verse is Philippians 4:13,  “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”  All days are busy and some days are better than others.  Looking back, on  good days I allowed Christ to give me strength and on the not so good days I allowed me to take over.

Beyond meeting the daily needs of our families, our main task is to point our children to Christ.  Children are blessings from our heavenly Father. He entrusts them to our care for a season.  Life choices, circumstances and Satan try to trip us up as parents.   Yet, Jesus has told us that He has overcome the world.  What words of encouragement that verse has become.  God gives us what we need to meet the needs of every day in every situation.

Time goes quickly so cherish the moments.  My daughter in law is flying in for my daughter’s wedding shower this weekend.  Bridesmaids are coming in from different states too. It once was play days and sleepovers.  Instead of a birthday party with friends, family and  gifts this weekend  it will be a wedding shower with family, friends, and  gifts to help  my daughter set up her own home. Today is a day of endings and  beginnings.  Take each moment to teach and impart God’s ways and words into your little ones lives for they grow up quickly to have families of their own.

The music previewed in the introductory video is a wonderful way to impart God’s Word.   This music with Scripture allows children’s minds and hearts to fall asleep to God’s love letters, His Word.  What better ending to a busy day:)

May we continually hide God’s Word in our hearts and minds.

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

Running on Empty

Picture

We all have had that heart stopping moment when we see the gas pump on the dashboard light up and we frantically start thinking where the closest gas station is.  Yes, that just happened to me on Saturday and my mind started racing ahead to all the “what if’s” if I ran out of gas before the gas station.  

As a runner, I have come to understand the importance of viewing food as fuel.  Healthy, wholesome food in my body will help my body work more effectively when I run.  Don’t misunderstand me, I still love, Love, LOVE my sweets.  Remember the cupcake with the mile high frosting for my birthday?  Super Yummy BTW!!! Yes, I run so that I can eat.  When I am in training or am coming close to a big race, I really try to curb that sweet tooth and eat only that which will most benefit my runs so that I am not running on empty. On the flip side, if I don’t refuel right away after I have logged a long run the results are not pretty.

You know, children are very much the same way.  They cannot run on empty.  I am not talking about food in this case.  I am talking about a powerful four letter word that is used so frivolously in our English language – love.  Their love tank needs to be filled daily and sometimes hourly.  It’s so simple to do, but in the business of life it is often forgotten.  A hug, a note in the lunch box, a thumbs up on a job well done.  Simple things, yes, but things that will not be forgotten.  

Friday was a busy day and my little Sophia came up to me and asked, “Mommy, can you play with me?”  I looked around the kitchen and saw dishes that needed to be put away and a floor that needed swept.  I took a deep breath, turned around, and said, “Sure”.  Well, rather quickly out came the play makeup, the nail polish, the “beauty salon tools”, and all other things needed to play a proper beauty shop.  Believe me, by the time Sophia was done with me I looked more like Morticia Addams from the Adam’s family than a beauty queen.  My husband chuckled when he saw me and gave Sophia all the praise in the world for making mommy look so beautiful.  (Trying not to take it personally…hee,hee) A picture you ask?  Well, I’ll let your imagination take over.  Honestly, it was fun playing beauty shop and Sophia’s love tank was brimming over and yes the dishes got done, the floor swept, and the dinner made despite my trip to Sophia’s Beauty Shop. 

A small thing to some but to Sophia it was huge!  All four of my kids have different ways that they love to have their love tank filled.  Micah’s is helping, Sam’s is cuddling, Sophia’s is time and hugs, and Alexandra’s is quality time.  Believe me Alexandra, my tomboy, would not have had her love tank filled by playing beauty shop!

The other day, I needed to run 3 miles and the boys insisted on running with me.  Mind you, they are 4 and 5.  With a sigh, I piled them and the double jogging stroller in the car.  In and out they would go from the jogging stroller wanting desperately to run “just like mommy”.  By mile 2, I was cold and frustrated by the constant stop and go.  Then I looked up and saw my boys running on the sidewalk ahead of me holding hands.  Rebuked?  Umm…yes.  Suddenly the frustration melted away and the rest of the run became very enjoyable.  Why?  Because that memory is now seared in my mind of my two sweet and very busy boys lovin’ on each other.  My love tank was brimming over for the rest of the day.

I John 4: 7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”  

My deepest desire is to see my children grow to serve and love God.  How can I expect that outcome if I don’t show love to them.  God never withholds His love from us or forgets to let us know that He loves us. By my showing love to my children I am demonstrating the love that God shows to us.

So how are you filling your child’s love tank?

Until next Monday, ladies,

Rebekah


Who was Saint Patrick?

Picture

Saint Patrick’s Day is just not a day to  wear green and eat green cupcakes.  There is a man behind this day that tried to tell the country of Ireland about Christ.

Patrick is not really a saint with a capital S as he was never authorized by Rome.  He was a saint in the Christian definition as a saint is one who is holy and set apart. 

Patrick was sixteen years old when he was taken from his homeland in a raid and became a slave.  He was taken to, at the time, the pagan country of Ireland.  While there he wrote that he prayed nearly a hundred times a day.  He was a slave for six years until he managed to escape.
 
After forty years he felt called to go back to Ireland and witness to the people there.  It has been said that he used the shamrock to witness by  explaining the Trinity.  Patrick introduced Latin to the people of Ireland.  Hand written copies of the Bible were completed in Latin for the people of Ireland.  This replaced the awkward Ogham scripts.  He stayed in Ireland as a missionary until his death. 

A good book to teach young children about St. Patrick is “The Story of Saint Patrick” by Patricia A. Pingry and Illustrated by Pamela R. Levy.

For delicious food and fun crafts for Saint Patrick’s Day check out Truths for Tots Saint Patrick’s Pinterest board.

Cathy Jo Johnson


St. Patrick’s Day Fun

Picture

A national holiday is this Sunday – St. Patrick’s Day.  You are probably thinking, “Ummm….really? That one slipped under the radar” .  I know this one would have slipped under my radar as well except for one little detail….it’s also my birthday!  My family doesn’t stand a chance!  There is NO WAY that this holiday will not be celebrated!  My hubs is reminded the day after Christmas that my birthday is March 17 and every morning in March until my birthday he is greeted with, “Good morning, honey. Only so many days until my birthday.”  See, they don’t stand a chance.  Oh, and that “Irish Princess” crown is part of the kitchen table decorations – and it’s not for my 6 year old. 

So, other than celebrating my birthday, here are some fun things we do as a family to commemorate the day.  “Wearin’ o’the green” is not optional in this house.  Every March 17, my husband dones a green shirt, and my kids all have green of some sort on.  Since this year St. Patrick’s Day is on a Sunday, I found some lovely green ruffle material to make skirts for my girls, the boys will be wearing green polo’s, and my hubs and I will be in our Sunday green best.  

We do the traditional corned beef and cabbage for dinner.  Since St. Patrick’s Day is on a Sunday I am going to try this crock pot recipe http://www.food.com/recipe/corned-beef-and-cabbage-dinner-for-the-slow-cooker-162853.  Actually, did you know that corned beef is NOT Irish.  A traditional Irish meal would have had cabbage and Irish bacon.  However, since that was hard for Irish immigrants to find in the New Land, they switched to corned beef. (Did I mention I used to teach history…). No birthday meal is complete without some form of yumminess.  Cupcakes from a local cupcake shop (you know the kind with mile high frosting) will be carefully handpicked with the recipients in mind to enjoy.

Of course, no St.Patrick’s Day is complete without watching two of my favorite movies.  Darby O’Gill and the Little People is watched with my kiddos next to the fire and some hot cocoa.  My sweet hubs endures watching with me the Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hare.

Last year, my eldest daughter and husband ran a local Shamrock Run with me. This year I will be running a 10k Shamrock Run with my honey the day before St. Patrick’s Day.  Why?  Refer back to the cupcakes with “the mile high frosting”.

I also discovered a birthday buddy in my church.  So, since this little three old shares my birthday (lucky him), I am going to make sure he gets a present from me. Plus, if time allows, I may bring in birthday treats for my Sunday school ladies.  Who wouldn’t enjoy a little sweet treat in the morning.

The sweetest memory I have was a tradition that my dad actually started for me. Every year I would get a green carnation from my him on my birthday and a sweet birthday card.  My dad was very sentimental and took the time to pick out just the right card. This tradition will not be fulfilled this year because my dad passed away almost 6 months ago. 

Do I believe that every mom should have her birthday celebrated as if it were a national holiday?  Absolutely!  Sure, you may not have a parade in town on your birthday, the town canal may not be dyed green, and it may seem like a blip on the radar of time to you and to other’s.  But that’s just it.  We don’t know how much time we have.  

    James 4:14
    whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

In preparing for teaching Sunday School this past week, the following quote from Warren Wiersbe came flying out at me and stopped me dead in my tracks, “What good is it for me to add years to my life if I don’t add life to my years?”.  Ponder that for a few moments.
 
I guess to others, celebrating my birthday this way may seem a little extreme or even a little selfish.  Honestly, I do this to create memories with my family.  Maybe one day, when they are grown, we will all sit around the kitchen table and they will say, “Mom, do you remember how you used to make us eat corned beef and cabbage on your birthday?”

So, how are you making today and each day memorable?

Until next Monday, dear ladies.

Rebekah


Make Eating Vegetables Fun

Picture

Cold winter night, fire in the fireplace, family, and homemade vegetable soup all go together.  What, you think your children will not eat vegetable soup?   Ask your children to help prepare  soup for supper  and they might surprise you and themselves.

Purchase vegetables  right out of the produce section or from a winter farmers market.   Get carrots that still have the tops.  Have your child peel and  help to slice carrots to make one cup of carrots. Green beans that need to have tips taken off and snapped in half make for a great group project. You will need two cups of green beans.   Find corn that still has the husks and it will provide for great teaching moments. After pulling off husks and silk from two ears of corn you will need to help slice the corn off the cob. Buy onions that need the skin peeled and after slicing and chopping one small onion  find out why  it made you cry?  Potatoes add that extra starch and two are needed.  Ask your children if they know why the potatoes darken in color after being peeled and chopped?  Add one can (49 oz.) of beef broth and one cup of water.   If you would like to add tomatoes  use a can (14 oz.) of crushed tomatoes or tomato juice.  Add other vegetables if so desired.   Simmer on stove for 45 minutes. 

While the soup is simmering read “Growing Vegetable Soup” by Lois Ehlert.  For some great Bible lessons and language arts ideas click here.  Maybe you could  plan a vegetable garden to plant in the spring.  Spring will be here before you know it.

Check out Truths for Tots Incredible Edibles Pinterest board to get some creative serving ideas for vegetables.

Soup played a big part in Genesis 27 .  Read together the story of Jacob and Esau.

Do your children enjoy eating vegetables?  What are some ways you prepare vegetables so your children will eat them?

Cathy Jo Johnson