Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Day I Snapped

It was just a normal week day, with nothing extraordinarily significant going on. I had been taking pictures of my kids and other stuff, as I so frequently do. You can imagine how many pictures I have taken over the years with eight kids' lives to record! So, on this normal weekday with nothing extraordinarily significant going on, I snapped a picture that stood out from the rest. It was quite by accident, but the main focus of the picture, a flower, was crystal clear and the rest of the picture was blurred. It looked very much like I had done that intentionally, but it was a complete accident. My rather new camera, a Valentine's Day present from my hubby, was talented!

Later, I showed the picture to my husband and he commented on what a good picture it was.

My kids had already commented, "Cool pic, Mom."

So, I was hooked. I thought that if my camera could take such good pics with no special effort on my part, it could certainly take exceptional pictures if I really tried and utilized all its wonderful features.

I was hooked.

And that's the day I snapped. And I snapped. And I snapped all day. And on every vacation. And on every walk the kids and I took. And on every average week day. And when we saw some beautiful bird in the yard. I snapped and snapped and snapped all the pictures I could and I was having a blast!

Then, I entered some of my favorite pics in the county fair.

And they all won awards!

So, I snapped more. And I took an online digital photography course (Thanks, Digital Photography School!). And I snapped more.

And, this hobby has grown, passed onto a few of my kids and become a real joy in my life.

That's what happened the day I snapped.  I snapped pictures. And I had a blast. And I still am.

I now consider myself an award-winning amateur photographer. What fun!

Have you snapped lately?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What You Can't Afford Not to Have

I read an article today about a young woman asking financial expert Suze Orman some advice. She and her husband had three kids and she wanted Suze's advice on whether or not they should go for a fourth child. Because the young woman didn't know her mortgage interest rate, had inadequate life insurance on her husband, their mortgage was upside down and she didn't know a few more answers to financial questions, Suze advised her not to have that fourth child. She told her she can't afford it and that, instead, she should learn all the answers to the financial details of her family now.

I disagree. If we had waited until we could afford to have kids, we still wouldn't have any. We had to live on a strict budget. We had to make personal sacrifices. We had to deny the kids things their friends had. We had to bake from scratch and say "no" to designer clothes. We shopped for the kids' clothes at yard sales and thrift shops. We took extra jobs if we needed to. I remember at one point my husband, David, worked three jobs to keep food on the table...and so I could be a stay-at-home mom. (He did everything to make that one happen!) I have always found ways to earn money from home. I sold on ebay, did couponing, babysat and wrote and sold articles, all from home.

It was the kids who motivated us to do more for each other and them. Now that many of my eight children are grown and on their own, they don't remember not having stuff. They don't remember not having special opportunities. Recently, one of my sons was telling me that he remembers the long walks I took the kids on around town. He said those walks were so special and he felt like he was on top of the world walking down the street every day with his mom and siblings. That same son also told me that the best thing I ever gave him was his seven siblings.

And my kids had toys, and bikes, and shoes, and food on the table. They had everything they needed and many things they wanted. God supplies our every need at all times. In this you can trust....Phil 4:19.

If I did not have eight children, I would likely have a nice, modern home with all the amenities one could want. And it would be clean. I would drive a newer car, wear better clothes, and eat out more often at fine restaurants.

And I would be most miserable. I would be miserable because that nice, big new house would be empty, the car would never have a car seat in it, my clothes would never be stained with baby drool and fine dinners out would be less fulfilling because I knew I'd be going home to an empty house.

No, thanks.

There is no price on the joy one has in having a family, and a large one at that. I can't remember one time when we even thought about what it would cost to have another baby. We just had another baby. The news of another child coming into the family was always good news. We were always so excited and we didn't think about the money.

I was often criticized, largely by Christian people, for having "so many children." They often greeted our news with "Another baby? How many are you gonna have?" That mindset always baffled me because I hadn't thought much about how many I was going to have. It didn't seem to be up to me so I had no answer for those people.

Having eight kids was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I wouldn't trade this for anything. I am one of the most blessed people on the planet.

Suze Orman gives a lot of good advice. I've read a couple of her books and like what she says.

But, on this one, Suze is wrong. Never count the cost of having a baby or raising a child until you've done it. Count it up after they've grown and moved on. Only then will you realize you could not afford NOT to have kids.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Intro to Study on Prayer

I sometimes get requests for the Bible studies I've prepared and used over the years. There are groups using these studies regularly, a fact for which I praise our Lord and Savior. In response to those requests, I thought I'd post a few on my blog from time to time.

Lately prayer has become deeper and more necessary than ever in my life, so I thought I'd share an introduction to my study on prayer. This particular study is an exception to my usual approach. I normally approach Bible study one book at a time, verse by verse, until we complete all the chapters of any given book. But, at one point, a study on prayer was requested, so I researched and wrote a study on prayer. This is a brief introduction to that study. This is an elementary study, designed for an elementary level of Bible study students, which I had at the time I wrote this study. (Elementary meaning introductory level of Bible study, not referencing age. The students for whom I wrote this study were grown women who were (mostly) inexperienced in Bible study.)


Facts About Prayer

Old Testament
5 Hebrew words for prayer in the OT
with a total use of 81 times

3 words are used once

1 word is used 4 times

1 word is used 74 times

New Testament
8 Greek words for prayer in the NT
with a total use of 54 times

3 words are used once

2 words are used 5 times

1 word is used 7 times

1 word is used 15 times

1 word is used 19 times

Look up the following verses to see how they will fit into your prayer life. Don't just read this study; actually do the study for a more comprehensive understanding.

What is prayer?

I. Simply put, prayer is:
 1. Talking to God
 2. Conversing with God directly
 3. A beseeching - Genesis 32:11
 4. A pouring out of the soul - I Samuel 1:15
 5. Praying and crying to Heaven - II Chronicles 32:20
 6. Seeking unto God and making supplication - Job 8:5
 7. Drawing near to God - Psalm 73:28
 8. Bowing the knees - Ephesians 3:14
- Easton’s Bible Dictionary
 9. Looking up - Psalm 5:3
10. Lifting up the soul - Psalm 25:1
11. Lifting up the heart - Lamentations 3:41
12. Pouring out the heart - Psalm 62:8
13. Calling upon the Name of the Lord - Genesis 12:8; Psalm 116:4; Acts 22:16
14. Crying to God - Psalm 27:7; 34:6
15. Crying to heaven - II Chronicles 32:20
16. Seeking the face of the Lord - Psalm 27:
                                                        - The New Topical Textbook

II. Prayer has presuppositions; ideas based on faith:
1. It presupposes that God exists
2. It presupposes that God will listen
3. It presupposes that God has power to answer
4. It presupposes that God is interested
5. It presupposes that God will fulfill His Word
6. It presupposes that God is the One to go to

If prayer is simply defined as talking to or conversing with God, then our next question has to be:

I. Who is God?  Who are we talking to when we pray?
1. If we are going to pray, we have to know Who we are praying to
2. Prayer without theology isn’t prayer at all
II. Theology 101
1. Every believer is a theologian to some degree
2. Our very prayers show that we are theological to some degree
3. If we truly understand Who God is, Who we are talking to, it will influence the way we pray.
4. The more we learn of Him - theology - the more we will pray.
III. Who is God?
1. The simple definition is His countless Names.
2. List the Names of God you know. I've listed a few I thought of; add to this list:
The Great I Am God of All Comfort
Creator         God of Jacob
Almighty God         God of Isaac
Wonderful Counselor God of Abraham
Eternal God Lord of Lords
Father Lord of Hosts
Everlasting Father Lamb of God
God of All the Earth God of Israel
Prince of Peace         Redeemer
One         The Only Wise God
God of All Comfort God Most High

3. What do these Names of God tell you about God?
He is eternal He cares for us
He is Creator He is powerful
He is full of peace He is holy
He redeems He is over all the earth
He is wonderful         He is mighty
He is my Father He is the Only Wise One

4. How might this information influence the way you pray?
                5. Anticipate growth.