Monday, February 27, 2012

Anyways...


People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  
Succeed anyway.
           
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  
It was never between you and them anyway.

-Mother Teresa


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Boon's Sunday Sermon #28 - The Song of the Animals


Title: The Song of the Animals
Elisabeth Elliot

The sea gulls who daily fly past our house have a regular pattern: east to the rock called Norman's Woe in the
morning, west to Kettle Island in the evening, with the setting sun rouging their feathers to glowing pink.
Sometimes, in a strong wind, they sail up and over our house, but they do not land nearer than the sea-washed
rocks. One day I was surprised to find a lone gull sitting on our deck. There was something odd about the way he
sat, and the shape of his head. Moving to the window I saw that he had the plastic rings from a six-pack of drinks
clamped in his bill and circling his neck. He sat very quietly, a little hunched, his head tipped inquiringly. He
was caught in the rings, unable to close his beak. Was he perhaps, by daring to perch on our deck, asking for
help? Slowly I opened the door and tiptoed toward him. His fierce bright eyes followed me unblinking, but he did
not move. When, incredulous, I nearly touched him, off he flew.
Captive to one of the complicated "blessings" of civilization that sea gulls were never meant to cope with, my
gull will have starved to death by now.
That ninety seconds or so on our deck brought to focus once more a phrase I turn over and over in my mind: the
redemption of creation.
"Redemption? But animals have no souls!" someone objects. Have they not? My Bible tells me of a great hope shared
not only by angels and men and women, but "all things, whether in heaven or on earth" (Colossians 1:20); it tells
me that all is to be "brought to unity in Christ" (Ephesians 1:10). What can this mean if not that in some way
unimaginable to us now the suffering sea gull, along with all feathered, furred, scaled, and carapaced creatures,
will be redeemed? "The universe itself is to be freed from the shackles of mortality" (Romans 8:19). Will not our
ears someday hear the Song of the Animals? I think so. I pin my hopes on the vision of John: "Then I heard every
created thing in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, all this is in them, crying, Praise and
honor and glory and might to him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever" (Revelation 5:13).



Copyright 1989, by Elisabeth Elliot
all rights reserved.

Have a blessed week, friends!


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 45

Down 15 pounds.  Just sayin'..  with a very big grin..

The only thing I've ever committed 45 days to doing is being a wife and mom.  So this is kind of a big deal.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Boon's Sunday Sermon #27 - More Than the Stars

Boon is in awe of the cosmic wonder.

This week the hoo-mans finished a bedroom makeover for their three boys.  Mom did the room in  a space theme.  Over a thousand glow in the dark stars, planets, and cosmos later, the room is complete.

Stars have always served as a source of fascination for us.  A family favorite past-time is laying outside on the trampoline to star gaze or watch meteor showers. One of our favorite scriptures says,

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."  Psalm 19:1

Glow in the dark stars on the wall.


It is hard for us to imagine looking into space and not seeing God.  To know that He created the universe and all that is within it, and yet knows the number of hairs on our head is beyond comprehension.

Psalm 147: 4 tells us:  "He determines the number of the stars 

   and calls them each by name."



And yet He knows and loves each of us as if though there were only one of us.  He sent His Son into the world to redeem us from our sins to bridge the gap we'd created and provide us a way to Him.  Amazing love!


Psalm 139: 17 says, "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!"




 Do you know that God loves you more than all of creation?  Do you know how precious you are to Him?  Take a couple of minutes and listen to this song by Matthew West.  It is God's love song to you.  He loves you more.





Have a blessed week, friends!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Boons' Baby Album

I wanted to share these last week during Boon's birthday celebration, but since I didn't.. here they are now.

Baby Boondocks:

I'm the cute one... in the bottom right corner.

Just a wee bairn.

Me and My doggie mom

Me, doggie mom, and doggie big sister

Oh, I still LOVE doing this.

Of course, I still like doing this too.  


And this is the picture that convinced the mom person to drop everything and go pick me up right that minute.


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Monday, February 13, 2012

Mandisa

Mandisa at the 2012 Grammy Awards.


I have loved Mandisa from the first time I heard "Only You" played on K-LOVE.  She is the only artist in recent memory whose CD's I have purchased on the day it was released.  Her music is that good.  

Not only is she a talented musician, but her strong faith and passion for Christ ooze from deep within her soul.

And the current road I'm taking is a path she's traveled before.  

Mandisa has lost over a hundred pounds since her appearance on American Idol. 


Mandisa has been very honest about her weight loss journey.  She's talked about the ups and downs.  She even kept a video diary of her battle - a battle she ultimately won.

Simon Cowell was a huge catalyst in Mandisa's pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.  Listen to his comments regarding her size below:



Mandisa's character, charm, and faith won against Cowell's cowardly remarks.  When Mandisa presented herself to the judges prior to the final cut-down to the season's 24 semi-finalists, she told Cowell: "What I want to say to you is that, yes, you hurt me and I cried and it was painful, it really was. But I want you to know that I've forgiven you and that you don't need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody. I figure that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you."  Cowell told Mandisa that he was "humbled" and apologized to her immediately.


You can hear much more from Mandisa herself about her struggles with food and how she finally overcame the addiction.  Below is a video from her appearance on Life Today with James Robinson:




I am thankful for Mandisa's witness and each of her songs have become a personal anthem in my life as I fight to lose the weight that I've put on over the past thirteen years.  


Some of my favorite songs to workout to, I have put in a playlist in the right side bar of this page.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and that they lead you to the one and only Deliverer.








**Update on my weight loss progress - Tomorrow marks week 5.  I have lost 13 pounds.  Still have a long ways to go but I know that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.**

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Boon's Sunday Sermon #26 - God Lessons From A Dog

*Used with permission*


A dog teaches her families some God-lessons (LifePoints)

Published: Thursday, February 02, 2012, 9:36 AM
The Huntsville Times 
Scoop 2.JPGScoop, a beloved family pet, taught her family, including Trevor, then 2, and Stuart Peck, 4, many lessons about love and God during her 14 and one-half years with them. (Courtesy of Emily Peck)
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- As most dog owners know, dog spelled backwards is G-O-D.

And in a backward sort of way, a family dog can teach God’s principles in ways the scriptures can’t fully convey.
Such was the case with our beloved yellow lab, Scoop. After 14 and a half years, she departed this world last week to be with her ultimate Master.
She was a Marley incarnate, a four-legged destroyer who chewed sofa cushions, devoured house plants and gnawed dryer vents. Her oversized paws could plow up flower beds in seconds. She once a pried brick from the house when told to retrieve a toy to throw.
But she was also gentle and tolerant with the patience of a rock. Her unwavering loyalty stirred her to constantly want be in the company of one of us whether it be curled up by a chair, sprawled in the yard, or simply riding in the car.
My wife and I got her as a pup while we both worked as reporters in Montgomery (hence the name, Scoop).
She was, a stray – lost but then found.
The first Fourth of July in our Huntsville house, she wedged her way into the crawl space to seek refuge from fireworks. Panicked by the noise, she made confetti out of our duct work and took out the entire air conditioning system. Our patience was thinner because we had two house payments at the time.
My then-four year old overheard me talking about getting rid of the dog. Later, he worriedly asked my wife if Dad would give him away if he misbehaved.
“No honey, you are part of the family,” my wife tried to console.
“But Scoop is part of the family,” he sobbed.
It was a lesson in forgiveness that God commands us to follow.
Labs are notoriously terrified of thunderstorms. Confine them to a room and they’ll claw up the door. Leave them outside and they’ll dig out from any fence. Chicken wire and dirt laced with cayenne pepper are no deterrent to a fence-burrowing Labrador retriever.
After coming home too many times to shredded furniture and overturned waste baskets, we started penning Scoop in a steel kennel when leaving in inclement weather. Bailing wire was enlisted when the hinges broke off from repeated head butts. A heavier duty kennel did the trick after reattaching the mangled floor with C-clamps. Doggie downers (prescribed by the vet) were incorporated into the storm regime – a solution that finally worked. Our dog was bound by her own sin of misbehaving.
But even with all the terror produced by thunder and lightning, we observed how she remained calm when in our presence, just as our maker brings peace in the storms of life.
scoop 1.JPGScoop on a snowy day. (Courtesy of Emily Peck)
Scoop ruled the roost until our children were born. With each birth, we introduced the baby’s scent with a blanket. She accepted her second class status with humility and never once lashed out with hostility.
She was a gentle giant, always turning the other cheek whenever they tugged her ears or donned her in a crazy Halloween costume and mocked her.
Jesus displayed that restraint during his crucifixion when his accusers were jeering him and casting lots over his clothes, saying, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:24).
Scoop accompanied us on almost every camping trip. A favorite was whitewater tubing in the North Carolina mountains. On our tube runs, she’d churn down the creek with sheer delight, half dog paddling and half bunny hopping in the shallower shoals. No matter how large our group, she’d routinely circle back to the last tuber in much the same way as the shepherd going after the lone lost sheep.
As the boys got older, they relished showing off Scoop’s skills. Her “wait” trick was the most entertaining and also provided us a great teachable example. In that one, the master would dangle a tasty treat while commanding with the other hand to “wait.” Moments could pass, often drawing drools from anticipation. Rarely did Scoop succumb to her fleshly desire. Her restraint came from keeping her eyes on the master and not on the temptation.
She was a loyal companion till the end. She saw us through Emily’s recovery from a debilitating accident, the births of our children, three moves, the deaths of our parents, vacations, backyard campfires, Frisbee catches, bedtime stories, jaunts to school and countless walks.
She had a remarkable sense of emotion and knew just when to offer herself for comfort. She did not crave material things nor covet what other neighborhood dogs had. She did not envy or boast or judge. And she never seemed to hold a grudge even after harsh disciplining.
I held her while she peacefully slipped away in our vet’s office, slowed by arthritis and nearly blinded by a sudden stroke. We all were able to give our tearful good-byes.
Our younger son, now 10, asked God the other night to make sure Scoop has a warm pallet and knows that we loved her.
Scoop, ole girl, you were a great dog. Priceless and not just because you were free.
Just like God spoke to Balaam through a donkey, the Lord used you to teach us many life lessons. May you now dig to your heart’s content.
By John Peck, editor of The Huntsville Times’ editorial page. He can be reached at John.Peck@htimes.com.


© 2012 al.com. All rights reserved.


Thanks, John and The Huntville Times for allowing us to share your beautiful message!

Have a blessed week, friends!


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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Boon's Sunday Sermon #25 - GAME DAY

Scarlet
Today is the big day - perhaps the most anticipated day in the United States second only to Christmas.  It is Super Bowl Sunday.

We here at The Love Shack are typically big Cowboys fans.  (Hey, don't blame us - our dad's from Texas!)  Today, however, we are proud to root for Eli Manning and the NY Giants!  (Eli's a Mississippi boy just like me!)


A few of the kids from Blair E. Batson Hospital in Jackson, MS where Eli has been a wonderful contributor over the years.
Regardless of who you are rooting for today, at the end of the day, there can be only one winner.  Not so, for believers.
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:14 - I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

Just like the two teams that made it to the Super Bowl fought through this football season to make it to where they are, we can fight through the seasons of our life knowing what lies ahead too - "pressing on towards the prize".
1 John 4:4 - You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.


Whatever "giant" you are facing today, know that we are more than overcomers through Christ Jesus.  Know that He has your best intention at heart.  Know that regardless of a football game's outcome, Satan is defeated and  YOU ARE A WINNER.  



Have a blessed week, friends!


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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wonder Dog

Just read the most amazing article.  It is long but so, so very good.  Deep down it is why each of us feel the love and the bond we share with our dogs.

Take a few minutes and let Chancer touch your hearts as he did ours:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/magazine/wonder-dog.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all .

Happy Thursday, friends!


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