Monday, October 20, 2014

A few weekend photos

Saturday was Game Seven, and the final game of the rocket football season for Chris. It was another home game: Comstock Park vs. Martin Luther King Park. The game ended in a 20-20 tie, giving Chris's team a perfect .500 for their season: 3 wins, 3 losses, and one tie. It was 44 degrees Saturday morning and the game began at 8:30, and it was very windy, making the cold seem all the more cold!
We decided we were too cold to sit in the stands and watch the game! So the kiddos and I walked around for a little while, but then we wimped out and sat inside my car to get warm for awhile. 

 Katie-girl was very pleased to be out of the cold. She explored my little car, every single inch of it, while we listened to happy music.
The back of Katie's pony-tail (above). 
We thought the game was OVER, so we left the warmth of my car and returned to the stands only to find out the 4th quarter was just starting. Thankfully, there weren't many flags or time outs ... 
… but our little Kaity lady was cold enough to allow herself to be zippered into Jesse's coat to stay warm. 
I'm glad I got to at least see a little bit of each of the seven games. Chris is a very enthusiastic football player, and this has been very good for him.

Sunday afternoon, the three older kids came over and hung out at The Beach House for awhile. I had picked up one of those Rainbow Looms at Michael's last week so that the children could make bracelets and other crafts with brightly colored rubber bands.
Emma made me a "ladder" bracelet using green and yellow (the Comstock Park colors) … it turned out very nice, but I neglected to take a picture of it.

Emma really does a nice job with crafts, partly because she is so patient, as well as mechanically-oriented. This loom did not pose a challenge to her at all. 
We had a lot of fun together doing this, and the boys joined us a little bit later and worked on projects as well. 
But mostly, they played together in the back room ... 

 Emma and I got on-line and watched an instructional video about how to use the loom to make the ladder bracelet. I'm going to have to watch a few more in order to do it without Emma's help.
We enjoyed a nice meal together with home-made brownie's for desert. AND THEN … it was time for our Bible story. This week, we learned about Peter and Cornelius. 
 Cornelius was a Roman Centurion, who loved the God of Israel. Our story was about how Peter was given a vision from God about how God loves all people, not just Jewish folk ...
 We talked about Peter's vision, and the vision that Cornelius had, and how they met each other, and how Peter told Cornelius and his family and friends all about Jesus.
Peter's vision about the unclean animals
and how God told him that nothing was
unclean anymore ...
 I was able to share with the kiddos that this story takes place in Caesarea and how I had visited that port city on several occasions. I showed them some of my pictures of it.

We had another wonderful story time. I love teaching the grandchildren the wonderful stories of God. The Bible tells us that God's Spirit came to Cornelius, his family and his friends, just like He had come at Pentecost, and that God's love is for everyone who believes. The children are keeping all of their colored pages in a special file here at my house. Emma says that when we have finished doing all of the Bible stories (!!) she is going to make her pictures into a children's Bible storybook.
I showed the kiddos this hunk of marble that was found on the beach at Caesarea that probably dated back to the time of Herod the Great!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A straight path ...

I've been a part of Monday Night Bible study over at Calvary Church for almost three years now. This semester, we are studying Joshua. Each week, we've been asked to memorize an assigned Scripture verse. I don't memorize very well! I find that unless I think about the verse for a long time, look up and define the words, and almost dissect each sentence, I can't begin to memorize it. I need to make it personal first.

Our first verse, however, was VERY familiar. I had memorized it as a child! But … had I ever really taken it apart … looked at it carefully … tried to figure out it's meaning … meditated on it? 

Trust in the LORD
with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways
acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart." What does the word "trust" mean? It literally means: "To lean on, be confident in." Webster defines it as "Assured reliance on the character, strength, or truth of someone or some thing; confident hope." So, who am I to have confident hope in? Who can I rely on? Myself? Other people? Friends? Family? Politics? Government? None of these are mentioned!

I am to lean confidently on the LORD (all caps). Not "a" LORD (one of many, nondescript, nonspecific), but the LORD. Who is this LORD?! He is Jehovah: literally, "He who IS". Not He who was (although that is true), not He who will be (although that is also true), but "He who IS." The One who transcends time, because He always existed! And I am to confidently hope in HE WHO IS with ALL my heart, not just a percentage (either big or small), but ALL of me.
"Lean not on your own understanding." Well, basically, my own understanding is pretty limited! How many times do I say to myself: "This world just doesn't make sense!" And when I try to figure it out, all the sadness and ugliness, the evil and pain, that comes around in our lives -- life is so hard sometimes, isn't it? For some reason, though, when I remember that the LORD is worthy of my trust, that He has everything under control, that He is completely GOOD … well, then it doesn't matter any more whether any or all of it makes sense or not. 
"In all your ways acknowledge Him … " In some of my ways? In most of my ways? No. In ALL of my ways, leaving out nothing, every single one of them! And what on earth does it mean to "acknowledge Him" ?? The word acknowledge means: "To recognize the rights or authority of; admit as true." I think it means to defer to His authority and control, because of who He is! Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14.6). Jesus, only Jesus!

" … and He will make your path straight." What is the promise given to me if I rely on the LORD to support me even when my heart is broken, when life is so messed up? Proverbs says that He will "make my path straight." I'm not sure what that means! I would like my life's path to lead directly to Jesus, without road blocks or detours! A nice straight pathway … all the way to His strong and loving arms. I hope that's what it means!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Our Sunday afternoon adventure at Schwallier's!

I think this past Sunday afternoon will be a memory that I cherish deep in my heart for a very long time. It was so filled with JOY and BEAUTY and PEACE … and FUN. I picked the grandchildren up and we drove over to Schwallier's Country Basket over on 9 Mile and Alpine. It officially has a Sparta address, but it's not a long drive at all.
We had visited 2x last fall, both times an after-school afternoon. I figured it would be crowded here on a weekend, but decided to take a chance anyway. Oh my! Had I known that 5 million other people would be here, I'm not sure I would have come. But thankfully, after waiting almost 20 minutes just to find parking, we jumped out of my car and … well, we had the time of our lives.
 Naturally, we fed the goats first!
 Everyone got in on the action … these kiddos never get tired of this kind of activity. I'm so glad. It's so good for them!
Look at their beautiful, happy faces! I just love them so much.
We also took a stroll through the orchard. The air and beauty was simply delicious.

We went inside the nice shop where they sell everything from apples to Halloween decor, but most wanted was the fresh-baked donuts … oh, but the LINE to wait for them was SO LONG! So, I got in line and sent the kiddos back out to play. Thankfully, they came back just as I was finally (!!) up to the donut counter and were able to order their own donuts … all but Christopher, who was still out playing. We picked out a donut for him anyway ...
Pictured above is Christopher eating his donut … well, he's getting ready to lick the wrapper the donut was in that he'd just gobbled up. An hour later, he didn't remember having ever had a donut … but he did!
There was a nice haystack to climb ...
 So, of course … it was climbed!
 And all of the kiddos enjoyed this water/rubber duck play area ...

 They played here forever!
 We took an absolutely FREE wagon ride out in the fields, not realizing that there was a corn maze out there where they were dropping folk off and picking others up. Not everyone opted for the corn maze, being that it was $6/person. The kiddos weren't overly interested in that anyway … so we just rode the wagon back through the orchard.
It wasn't a thrilling ride or anything, but it was just a nice relaxing experience.

A place like this is such a great photo opportunity … I took over 270 pictures!
Emma wanted to walk through the pumpkin patch ...

 Emma looked so lovely in this setting … she is a beautiful young girl, isn't she?
The kiddos had seen this funny "cow train" zooming by as we were visiting and they wondered if they could ride it! We decided to check on the cost and since it was only $2/each, we (meaning ME) got in line to wait while the kiddos played nearby ...
I gave Emma my camera and asked her to follow the boys and snap a few pictures. She did an excellent job with my camera!
Chris and Matthew played inside this small silo-type thing filled with corn kernels … as well as lots of other children ...
I love this picture of Matthew!
And this one of Chris too!
Emma loves cats and kittens … so she snapped this little calico's picture a few times ...
And then, after about a 30-minute wait, it was their turn to ride!

Emma rode on a cow named "Margie", Christopher's was "Suzie-Q", and Matthew's was "Queenie."
Aren't these the cutest pictures?!!
The 11-car cow-train was pulled by some type of 4 x 4 vehicle, and the driver liked to go F-A-S-T!!!

I was cracking up watching them zoom around in this crazy contraption! They told me they had a blast.

And afterwards, we couldn't possibly leave without visiting the bunny-rabbits, now could we?

These bunnies were SO SOFT!

Oh! I almost forgot the tube slide! There was such a crowd around this when we first arrived that we didn't bother with it; but later on, the crowd thinned out a bit to where the boys enjoyed themselves hugely.
What a wonderful time we had together. I'm so thankful for days like this, and for digital photography that can capture it so that I will be able to look back, even many years from now, with joy on this day.