Friday, March 19, 2010

Discipline: Oh the blessing of it!

My niece Jessica is my eldest brothers’ child. Jess and I have spent a nominal amount of family time in each other’s company, yet we share so many similarities one would think we came from the same womb.
A while back I invited Jess to guest blog on one particular topic she and I regularly battle, weight: more specifically maintaining a healthy weight. Jess wrote an excellent post, “I Will Not Be Enslaved”
This past month I was encouraged by my friend Robyn’s post on the same struggle.
God has used these gals and a bunch of other things to begin training me up in the way He would have me go. To my great surprise I find myself in some of the sweetest dialogue with my Heavenly Father and NOT about weight, but discipline.

dis·ci·pline (ds-pln) n.

1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.
2. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control.
3. a. Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order.
b. A systematic method to obtain obedience: a military discipline.
c. A state of order based on submission to rules and authority: a teacher who demanded discipline in the classroom.
4. Punishment intended to correct or train.
5. A set of rules or methods, as those regulating the practice of a church or monastic order.
6. A branch of knowledge or dis·ci·plined, dis·ci·plin·ing, dis·ci·plines

1. To train by instruction and practice, especially to teach self-control to.
2. To teach to obey rules or accept authority. See Synonyms at teach.
3. To punish in order to gain control or enforce obedience.
4. To impose order on: needed to discipline their study habits.

Discipline, has been a word I have vastly misunderstood. To my way of thinking, discipline was chiefly connected to punishment and NOT training….especially gentle training.

Every New Year instead of listing resolutions, God lays a theme on my heart, something He plans to train me up in throughout that year. Last year it was obedience and let me tell you, what a glorious year in obedience we had! Never have I known such joy, peace and blessed humility as God led me along, taking much care and His precious time while blessing me in so many ways. Obedience is a very good thing and always brings blessings!
“If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:” Deuteronomy 28:1-2

In 2010, God made it clear; this would be the year of discipline. I admit to a bit of trepidation, but reflecting back on "The Year of Obedience", I felt safe in my Father's care, looking forward with great anticipation for the sweet communion He and I would share during this year of discipline.

Oh the blessing of it!

"Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For He wounds, but He also binds up; He injures, but His hands also heal." Job 5:17-18

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Better Than a Hallelujah

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. " Romans 8:26

Friday, March 5, 2010

Birthday, Rodents and Bible Girl

This morning marks the last winter catch up post.
February arrived with a flurry of activity. Starting with our Deara Kyra turning 7. We found ourselves a bit unprepared for the bout of melancholy that struck the child during her last week of six.
The child really enjoyed six. Six had been good to her and she was not so comfortable setting six aside.
With much assurance that seven held a wealth of potential and should be given a chance Miss K decided to give it her best grade school try and so the celebration commenced.

The morning she turned 7 it was pouring down rain, but we had sunshine in our hearts. The girl surrendered her aging insecurities and with much fanfare we began a day of celebration as any good birthday should with a big dose of carbs covered topped in icing and confetti sprinkles.
Kyra's actual breakfast included a side of milk and not coffee as pictured above.
We must after all have some golden carrot to hold out there enticing the child to turn 8 next year.
Dutiful parent I am, at school days end I delivered juice boxes an assortment of flavorful cupcakes covered in rainbow icing and more even more confetti sprinkles to Kyra's classmates. The better to send them home sugared up don't you know.

Before dinner and games at Dave and Busters,

a few gifts.

oh the Birthday joy!

Yes that would be more Star Wars!
Our eldest baby grand was born and raised in Georgia. Mr. B and I hail from the Midwest. We love Georgia, but anyone who knows me knows how I adore snow. We do not get much 'real' snow in Dixie. The severe winter weather we have experienced since moving south would be a dusting up north. To be fair you should know Atlanta has a half dozen 'sand' trucks and one deicer at the airport. When a dusting hits Atlanta, the city virtually shuts down.
So my baby grand thought she knew snow.
A few days after Kyra's birthday we both received a gift,
about 3 inches of snow.
We were happy girls
Kyra got to build her first snowman
This photo was taken when we had about an inch and a half of snow,
which explains so many the leaf accents.
The next day mid winter break was on. The snow caused our flight to be canceled but we would not be denied, fearlessly we piled in the ol crossover and we headed for sunny Florida.
Besides spending all available time in the sun, on the beach and poolside, we took a day trip over to Tampa to spend some time with our good buddy Mary.
We had a fabulous lunch at Frenchy's on the beach. By days end we made our way back to our hotel home having collected treasure of cool shells, a real sea sponge
and a new friend.
Thank you Miss Mary.
Her name is Sugar
We were staying in Orlando so of course we visited another popular Florida rodent
At winter breaks end we took our rested sun burned tanned bodies home.
After a week, this was all that remained of our frosty friend.
This past Sunday evening Miss Kyra was part of 197 First graders honored to receive a new Bible and highlighter from Pastor Johnny.
This was the most beautiful and excited group you would ever want to see. Were they ever thrilled to have their new Bibles.
The next day after school this is who emerged from the sun room, none other than
'Bible Girl' Armed with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and highlighter at the ready.
Tuesday of this week Dr. Seuss's (had he lived) would have celebrated his 106th Birthday. In his absence and remembrance Kyra's school planned to celebrate by allowing everyone to dress as a Seuss character, have a big read-a-thon and fun snacks like green eggs and ham.
Her Seuss day celebration was cut short due to a dusting of our favorite winter treat.
This marked 10 days of snow in Atlanta this year, love it!
Wednesday arrived, the snow was gone and we belatedly celebrated the good doctors birth.
Our little Whovillian
So there you go dear blog, you are pretty much caught up.
It's now Friday, and I plan to join many others volunteering at the Casting Crowns concert being held at our church tonight. I go with great anticipation, expecting a blessing.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Haunted Christmas

Once we returned home I had a few short days before our family arrived.

This year, my son and daughter in love drove over night and arrived in time to wake Kyra and celebrate Christmas morning with the entire family.
What a time we had!
The first look!
This was this little fellows first Christmas and first visit to Georgia
Unpacking stockings: a favorite part of Christmas morning
Time to open gifts
The oldest grand is a heavy duty Star Wars fan
Her favorite gift was a Light Saber of course!

For Mister K, it was all about the cars

Imagine, Santa even got Kylie's gifts to Georgia, her favorite?
A breakfast meal from McDonald's' - that Santa!

The entire family stayed with us for almost a week. We played lots of games, put puzzles together to into the wee hours.

My arms and heart overflowed!

Dave and Beth were gifted with a cruise vacation leaving right after New Years.

After much twisting of arms (jk) we agreed to babysit.
This gave us an opportunity to spend a bunch of quality time with all the four grands.

The three older kids found lots to keep them busy
they usually do.

Did I mention Star Wars was big this year?

These two never get bored especially with each other

and this baby doll?

He reminded mawmaw of his daddy, sweet as sugar as long as he did not have a belly ache. Unfortunately, Mr. Brock had the tummy ache a great deal of the time. So B-Rock and mawmaw spent all kinds of quality time our jammies.

Rest at last
Bless their hearts!

Throughout the entire holiday and every day spent with my baby grands,
I was haunted with a memory....this photo summed it up

Note the Christmas catalog resting under this little guys head. This fella lived in a small home with his mama and 9 siblings. That afternoon, his house was filled to the brim with all of us who came to visit...yet he never budged.

What was he dreaming of just a few days before Christmas?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dear Blog

Dear blog,
Despite indications otherwise, I have not abandoned yea!

Let me begin, by saying it has been all shades of crazy busy around here. Undoubtedly the biggest struggle has been all the work keeping the ol laptop up and running, as we battle all manner of 2010 sickness (even before 2010).

I have a new respect for the ability and limits to my trusty Blackberry and personally believe there should be a special kind of punishment for those tech devils who create and distribute viral illness's for the sole purpose of vandalizing.

Okay, with that out of my system:

When last I blogged, we had just finished up the blanket drive for the Christmas mission to McDowell County, West Virginia.

Within days of leaving for McDowell, Mary and I were honored to serve up a special luncheon for many of our core group of workers and friends who helped see more than 15 football fields worth of fleece made into 500 plus blankets for our Appalachian neighbors.

The display a homage to

Some of the most precious ladies I know

Good Company!
Good food

Great fun!

How I love these gals!

Dear Mary, thank you for inviting me to join in this blessed adventure in fleece.
So many lives touched by a simple gift and our huge God.

Two days after the luncheon, I joined 21 others as part of a mission team to bring a little Christmas to several hundred families in McDowell County, WV.

I have never been so humbled in my life. Assisting with the big Christmas bash held for more than 500 that weekend paled in comparison to the privilege of spending time in these Appalachian hills and hollers visiting many proud people and hearing remarkable stories of perseverance and courage in the face of incredibly challenging circumstances.

Deborah shared such a story
Mother of three, grandmother to several, Deborah and her family live outside of Welsh in this newly built home. When we visited, Deborah, she and her youngest son (not pictured) had just moved into this roughly 800 sq foot home 4 months earlier.
Prior to that they were living in their family home a few yards down the hill

Deborah's husband was a Vietnam veteran, had health issues related to exposure to Agent Orange and ultimately killed himself, in this home in front of his children.

Deborah's only daughter was murdered in North Carolina after moving there to become a nurse. Deborah's youngest son was born with his umbilical cord around his neck depriving him of oxygen for some time. Deborah was told he would never be fully functional. The boy was recently diagnosed with dyslexia but according to Deborah, has a photographic memory, with complete recall of anything he is read, shown or instructed. He should graduate high school this year and hopes to be accepted to technical trade school to become a licenced mechanic like his older brother.

Deborah says the children were raised that there is no such word as 'can't'.

Deborah proudly displayed how self sufficient they are with gardens she cans and freezes from, their ginormous hog, goats and a pen full of chickens.

This family is so grateful for their many blessings. Deborah says their new house (built this past summer) is like her home of dreams. For the first time in her life she has built in closets and stays very warm and dry. This grandmother shared that up until a week or so before we visited it was so snug inside they had no need to even turn on the heat; that's how well her new home is insulated.

Last winter, Deborah and her son lived in a small corner of her old family home, as the majority of the structure was unlivable and had caved in due to leaks in the roof. Deborah would not allow anyone in to visit at her old place as the floors were full of large holes she had resourcefully packed with clothing filled plastic trash bags, and this embarrassed her. Deborah and her son physically huddled around a single heater last winter to survive the elements.

You can hear such pride when Deborah talks about her Mama's amazing wood cook stove (she has preserved under tarp in the old house). To hear her tell it, her stove is better than any Viking or La Cornufe and nothing beats it for canning, especially keeping her jars just right for packing. The only missing in Deborah's house o dreams is a small shed to house her two freezers. As you can see, these appliances are currently set up and operating out in the open.

This was our view as we trekked up the winding path of Deborah's homestead bringing sack lunches, meeting Deborah and some of her family for the first time. After visiting with Deborah and hearing her testimony we sang some carols and invited the family to join us for Christmas fellowship on Saturday.

oh, and

Deborah's eldest son, daughter in law and 2 grandchildren live in this RV at the base of the hill.

The next day......

We went to Iaeger Elementary School to celebrate Christmas with hundreds of folks from the community.

In the beginning

Everyone registered

were given sack lunches, vouchers for use at the Hope Chest thrift shop

The party guest loved this:
Everyone got a free photo taken. Folks could pick up their print later in the week.
For many, this might be the only family group photo they own.

Finishing their lunches and waiting for the show to begin

Another Georgia church provided Christmas entertainment
The tables are set and ready for shoppers

Look at all the happy faces!

Socks!!! Socks!!!
Glorious Socks!!!!
more than 1200 pair....Woo Hoo!!!

and what a blast it was to let everyone and I mean every one choose a fleece tie blanket!!!
( i about got in trouble because of hold ups in the line because
there were so many beautiful choices)


Look what she picked out for Christmas

A wonderful group of new friends, great cooks, hearty carolers, adequate drivers (grin grin) and big hearted lovers of all peoples and Christ. What a blessing you are!

To be continued....