Friday, March 30, 2012

WOOT! Michaels now has 12x12 sheets of chipboard for .59! Wow! Woohoo! Yippee! Slightly excited over this.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Classes . . .

LOL! If you look at my "Classes" page, I really didn't put all those extra spaces in when I typed it. Seriously. I have no idea why they are there. Geez.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eyes Wide Open . . .

If you've ever been in an evangelical worship service, you've probably heard the preacher say something like, 'every head bowed, every eye closed, no one looking around.' You likely have also heard a pastor pray a blessing over the congregation at the end of a service. Neither of these things are out of the ordinary. But quite a few years ago my family started attending a new church and the pastor did something I found rather odd, and not just a little disconcerting for me at the time. At the end of the service he said something to the effect of, every head up, every eye open, every one looking around.

Then he began to pray a blessing over us, slowly looking around the room, looking each person in the eye as he prayed. He thanked God for us, telling God that he loved us, asking God to bless us and protect us, reminding God that we were His people. The uncomfortable feeling I had was such a mixture of affirmation and discomfort that I'm not sure I can even describe!

This pastor, Gary Maze, quickly became a very dear friend to our family. We learned that those benediction prayers at the end of every service were glimpses of  his open and honest attitude toward those God had placed under his care. And it started a habit with me that others may find as uncomfortable as I found his prayer that first Sunday. If you attend church with me, and you decide to check things out during prayer time, you may notice me looking around the room. No, I'm not looking to see how everyone is dressed, or who decided to use that time to check everyone else out. I'm praying for each person that my gaze falls on. Whether I know them or not. Whether I have any idea what is going on with them. I particularly do this during prayer for the kids in our church. Each Sunday in the church we attend now, the pastor has all the children come down front and we pray for them as a congregation just before they go to children's church. As we pray, I look over the group, one at a time, and pray for each child, by name if I know it.

It seems to me that we get so intimidated about prayer. So many of us tend to feel that we won't say the right thing, or we'll say something the wrong way, or we won't seem spiritual enough. Many of us just refuse to pray out loud in front of people. And, how many times do we say we'll pray for someone, but then forget? Or, even if we remember to pray for them, never let them know that we actually did? I've tried, off and on over the years, to pray for someone, out loud, in front of them, as soon as they ask me. I had pretty much gotten out of this habit. Just in the past week, I had made a commitment to start back. This morning I got that opportunity. My sweet daughter, just before she got out of the car to go to class, told me she really wasn't feeling well and she would appreciate it if I just said a little prayer for her today. My first instinct was to say, 'sure, honey, I will!' But I stopped myself. And just prayed for her. Out loud. Right then. With her listening.

Let me just tell you, her quiet, "thanks, Mom. I needed that," was one of the sweetest blessings of all time! I pray for my children all the time. I pray for their protection. I pray for their salvation. I pray for them to see God working. I pray all sorts of things for them. But I'm so guilty of not praying for them where they can hear me. I've been thinking that is taking the easy road. Maybe it's because I don't want to disappoint them when they see my actions not line up with my prayer life. Maybe it's because I'm afraid of not stringing the right words together. Maybe it's just that I don't want to take the time out of my busy schedule. Whatever the reason, I'm challenging myself to do better. Prayer is so powerful! I know God hears, cares, listens, and answers!!! But there is something amazing that happens when we voice our prayers out loud, over the person we are praying for, letting them actually hear us pray for them! There is an energy that is released that can only be attributed to the Spirit's moving. And, if we believe scripture, our audible prayers, just speaking the name of Jesus, sends Satan running for cover! That alone is plenty of encouragement for me!

Have you talked to your Father lately about someone you care about? Out loud? Try it. Come on, I dare ya! Head up, eyes wide open, looking directly at the person you're praying for. And when you do, just imagine the devil fleeing from you - and the person you're praying for - with his tail between his legs, trembling in fear of the awesome power of our God!

Blessings,
Renea

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Need an encouraging study on dealing with problems? Come to our new small group tonight at 6! We're meeting at my parent's house.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I saw it all. And. I've forgiven you. How long will you continue to let your enemy hold it over your head? Just come to me. God.

Clearance flowers at Michaels!

The Recollections bottles of flowers are on clearance at the north Jackson Michaels! Originally $6.99, now $3.99! Lots of colors! ( These were the only ones I got a shot of but there are others.) 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spoken for . . . but free

I love music, all kinds of music, but worship music is by far my favorite. I can hear a song, sing along with it on the radio a thousand times, and still have an epiphany moment from a simple phrase that I've heard numerous times before. That happened a few weeks ago. As usual, it happened while I was driving, with the radio blaring, singing along, not really thinking about the words. This simple statement caught at my heart and got my attention.

"I am finally free. My heart is spoken for."

Wow! If you aren't a Christian, or maybe even if you are, this may sound contradictory. How can I be free and spoken for at the same time?

The answer is simple. I'm spoken for. I belong to God. Totally, completely, forever and always, I'm His.

Because of that, I am free!

Free from my past sin. Free from the embarrassment of my past poor choices. Free from guilt over sins that haunted me for years. Free from the bondage of former failures, fears of making future mistakes, insecurity about day to day choices. I never again have to wonder if I'm good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, or wise enough to be loved. I'm free to know that I am accepted and forgiven by a perfect and holy God. I'm free to have the confidence of knowing that my Savior is guiding me and loves me passionately.

I'm spoken for.

I hope you are living in this freedom! Here's a link to the song sung live by MercyMe.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFfNa-cHTIA

Blessings,
Renea

Friday, March 2, 2012

MICHAELS OPEN HOUSE!

Come see me tomorrow at Michaels, north Jackson, 1-3pm, and meet all our awesome instructors! Scrapbook and beading classes will be 25% off tomorrow only. Get signed up to learn fun techniques and make cool stuff! And while you're there, go ahead and sign up for crop night, too. Fun, friends, and door prizes! What more can a girl ask for?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Children with disabilities and what their parents wish you knew

I'll never forget when my son was diagnosed with ADD. I was explaining to him what it meant. He was 7. Not explaining wasn't an option. When you have a super intelligent 7 year old that has just met with 500 (not literally, but seemed so) different medical professionals, the inevitable question of 'why' just has to be answered. I'll never forget his only question afterward.
Him: "Mom, does this mean I'm retarded?"
Me: "No, sweetie. It's sort of like your brain has a short in it, kind of like that lamp we have. Sometimes your brain does that. The information just gets lost before it gets to the right place."
Him: "Oh. That makes sense."
Done. Explanation accepted.
I made a point of always explaining to teachers, coaches, Boy Scout leaders, anyone who was working with my son that there were certain things that were difficult for him. He's brilliant. Really, he is. But as a child, put him in a contact sport where people were pushing, hitting, and everything was moving fast, and the possibility of a melt down was very real. Or give him 3 commands and send him off to accomplish them and chances were pretty high that none of them would happen. This is a kid who could memorize an entire page of dialogue to audition for a play but took at least 6 months to learn his multiplication tables - doing them every single day. This is a teenager who was so constantly distracted he could barely complete any assignment for school without a great deal of pushing, begging, threatening, and coercing but managed a basic working knowledge of at least 7 foreign languages and quantum physics before his 16th birthday. By the way, he has made it to adulthood with some major coping skills and, other than driving his wife crazy, pretty much manages his ADD successfully.

My point to all of this is that now I have 2 grandchildren who are considered by some to be in the category of 'different' than other kids. We have a beautiful granddaughter who was born with a lateral cleft. Personally, I never really notice her scar. But she does. And she thinks everyone does. She's only 4. Amazing and shocking how observant they are of the world around them.

We have a gorgeous grandson who is diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder. For those of you who don't know, that is in the Autism spectrum. Just google it. He's 5. He's so stinking adorable! Sometimes he has a hard time communicating what he wants to say. But even though he may not be able to tell you everything he thinks or feels, he hears everything you say. And furthermore, he never forgets it! Don't assume that children with disabilities don't notice the comments you make or the way you look at them.

While I may not agree with everything these moms say on their blogs or in their writings, I thought the comments they made in the following link might be helpful. I know it's hard to know what to tell your kids about children who are different from them. But my favorite explanation of understanding learning disabilities came from my youth minister when I was a teenager. He said everyone is retarded in some area; some people just have more noticeable disabilities than others. One of my biggies happens to be math. What's yours?
Anyway, I love the advice in the link. Hope you enjoy.
http://blogs.babble.com/babble-voices/ellen-seidman-1000-perplexing-things-about-parenthood/2012/02/29/what-to-teach-your-children-about-kids-with-special-needs/?pid=199#slideshow