Mother’s Day 2013

Happy Mothers Day flowerpotPrayers and blessings to Mothers everywhere!  You are a special gift to those you care for.

I must say that I’ve had a wonderful week-end and a decadent Mother’s Day.  I am so blessed! On Friday, when our boys got home from school, my husband, Travis, and I were still working in the yard.  Camden (one of our 7 year old twin boys) came to the backyard to keep me company, while twin brother Austin chattered happily to his Dad in the front yard.  Camden was my sweet little helper buddy for a while, and then Austin came to the backyard, too.  At that point, both boys began picking flowers and bringing them to me, telling me that they love me and that they were bringing the flowers to me because it was almost Mothers’ Day.  They picked tiny yellow weed flowers and larger (half dollar size) white flowers from a flowering bush.  Since neither of them can keep a secret, they could not wait to tell me about the gifts that they had made at school and at church.  “I’m not supposed to tell you, but….”, they would say.  I heard all about the paper tea pots with a tea bag inside that they’d made at church.  Camden informed me that he had added paper “steam” to his teapot’s spout and that he wanted to share the tea with me since he likes tea.  From school, Camden had brought home a laminated placemat that he’d made for me.  It was already on the table.  Apparently, that was the first thing he did when he got home, since he was in the backyard with me in just a few minutes.  🙂

Austin's Paper flowerpot gift

Austin’s Paper flowerpot gift

Austin told me that he had made a paper flower pot with flowers that pull out.  It was already on my bed when I came upstairs later (to shower after my yard work was finished).  Each flower does pull out, and he had written on the stems his “I love you because…” reasons.  The orange tulip stem said, “You are nice.”   The blue one says, “You by me toys.”   The pink tulip’s stem proclaims, “You take care of me.”  The red one says, “You are sweet.”  And, finally, the purple one says, “You help me lern.”  I can just see him concentrating and cutting out all of those flowers with his little first grade hands.  His phonetic spelling and the way he sometimes forgets to put space between words just makes it even sweeter.  🙂

The frame our boys made at Respite, with a photo of all 6 boys

The frame our boys made at Respite, with a photo of all 6 boys

On Saturday, our younger 3 boys went to Respite care at our church (for special needs children and their siblings).  They came home with a Mother’s Day picture frame that they had made.  Our two biggest boys, Jared and Zach (ages 19 and 13) had helped us while the younger boys were gone to do some furniture moving, which we desperately needed to do.  Some furniture and musical equipment came down 2 flights of stairs, and some went up a flight.  Rooms were cleaned and re-arranged as we all worked together.  Having them willingly help their Dad and me with the heavy lifting was a great Mother’s Day week-end treat for me.   Having our younger boys so well cared for at Respite for several hours that day was also a great gift from all of the volunteers who help with that ministry.  🙂

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  I love you!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!

I got to talk to my Mom on Saturday afternoon, and the beautiful card she’d sent also arrived that day.  Of course, I’d planned to call her this week-end, but Mom is always the early bird.  She called me before I had a chance to call her.  While we were talking, she told me how she so often thinks of her own mother, my Grandmama Tinsley, who passed away due to cancer when I was 3 years old and my brother was a newborn.  I wish I’d had the opportunity to know Grandmama, but I feel that I know her to some extent from the stories that my Mom has told me.  Her name was Pearl, and she had a broad twinkly-eyed smile in every photograph I’ve ever seen of her, including one in which the family is celebrating my first birthday.  Pearl raised 8 children, passing away when her youngest, my Aunt Sandra, was only 13.  My mom has talked about wash days with the big iron pot in the front yard over a fire, improvised child gates made from chairs laid on their sides, the quantities of food that Mom’s 5 brothers would eat, and the way that her mother sang as she worked.  That “working song” gene was definitely passed down.  My mother often sang hymns or songs like “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”  (Come to think of it, I often sing as I work, too.)  🙂

eggplantGrandmama Pearl was inventive and hard working.  She kept her family fed and cared for during the great depression and throughout the rationing of World War II.  These are all things that I already knew, but my Mom told me a story on Saturday that I’d never heard before.  She said something about living in Florida and totally surprised me.  I only knew about her family homes in Ft. Mill, Liberty, and Easley, South Carolina; so I said, “I never knew you lived in Florida!”  Then Mom told me about how her father was promised a job as a construction foreman on a bridge build and moved the entire family (5 children at the time, I think) to Florida.  When they arrived, the job and the pay were not as promised, so they lived in Florida less than a year and experienced some very lean times.  At one point, Mom’s oldest sibling, her brother Ansel, was sent to a nearby field to glean some produce (legally) after the harvesting had already been done.  He took a flour sack to carry his gathered food and came home with it full of eggplant.  As my Grandmama Pearl would later say when this incident was discussed, “We ate eggplant rough and eggplant tough until we’d had eggplant enough!”  🙂

The front of my Mothers' Day card from Mom

The front of my Mothers’ Day card from Mom

My own mother learned from Grandmama Pearl and could stretch a grocery dollar until it whimpered.  Somehow, we always had all that we needed, even when my Dad was in graduate school.  My Mom is still a wonder is so many ways, carrying on bravely after my Dad’s passing in 2004.  She sold their condo, bought a house on her own for the first time, had some remodeling done, lived there for several years, and sold the house to move cross country and be near my brother and sister and their families.  She lives in a senior adult apartment complex that has a lot of common space and great amenities, and she always has a busy schedule keeping up with all of the activities and outings with friends.  She just joined the church she’s been attending, and she is still at work blessing the lives of others.  You can’t beat her to a phone call, and you certainly can’t ever out-give her.  I love my Mom.  🙂

????????????????????????On Sunday, my husband, Travis, who is a Minister of Music and Worship, went to church early, as usual. Our six boys and I were only two minutes late for early Praise Band/Praise Team and Orchestra rehearsal, which was great.  I was actually the first Praise Team member there (by just a few seconds, though).  Our oldest son, Jared, age 19, went to his Dad’s office during the early rehearsal, where he and I would later have our own Sunday School class. (I am studying with him through the gospel of John.)  Our son Zachary, who just turned 13, went on upstairs to the youth department.  During rehearsal, our four youngest boys were really good in the Worship Center.  They were just a little active, running around through the pews as the worship team rehearsed.  It was a little ironic to be singing a worship song about waiting on the Lord that began with the words, “Be still …” while watching their constant motion.  Even that was a blessing, though, knowing that they are healthy and happy.  🙂

When it was time for Sunday School, I took the four youngest downstairs to their classes.  Logan’s class had combined with the class that Austin and Camden are in for their “Muffins with Mom” breakfast, so Austin brought me orange juice and then Camden brought me a muffin.  It was sweet to watch all of the children serving their Moms and then sitting down to eat with them.  Logan was roaming around the room a bit.  He has Autism, and sometimes he just needs a little time to be Logan.  He was in a very good mood, though.  Camden and Austin gave me the paper teapot cards they had made, with the teabags and a hand-written “Happy Mothers’ Day” message inside.  🙂

Mothers' Day teapot card from Camden

Mothers’ Day teapot card from Camden (with steam!)

Camden stressed to me once more that he wanted to share the tea with me, so we’ll have to do that some time this week.  Logan had made cute little owl magnets.  🙂

Mothers' Day owl magnets from Logan

Mothers’ Day owl magnets from Logan

After attending “Muffins for Mom” with our 3 youngest boys, I went to Braden’s 3rd grade Sunday School class for more “Muffins with Mom”.  Braden was a sweetheart, as usual.  I didn’t need another muffin, but he presented me with a gift bag that had some fragrant hand soap and a printed bookmark that had been personalized with Braden’s answers to some questions about me.  Here are the statements, with his answers underlined.

My mother looks beautiful when she wears a white shirt with sparkles.

My favorite meal that my mother makes for me is macaroni and cheese.

I enjoy spending time with my mother when we work around the house together.

hug even tighterI feel most loved when my mother hugs me.

My mother teaches me about Jesus by telling me.

I love my mother because she prays with me.

I show love to my mother by hugging her.

🙂  Isn’t he the sweetest 3rd grader ever!  🙂

After attending the Mother’s Day “Muffins with Mom” events downstairs, I went back upstairs for Sunday School in Travis’ office with Jared.  We had a great lesson.  It’s always good for me to hear his thoughts about scripture and how God’s word relates to life.  I must say that even though I have a little bit of tech savviness, I am still getting used to the fact that his Bible is on his phone.

Both of our teen-agers were sweet with their Mother’s Day greetings.  When we were at home, Jared gave me a big hug and told me he loved me and “Happy Mother’s Day!”, and Zach did all of those things plus he gave me a kiss on the cheek!  It’s always good when teens appreciate and show respect and love for parents and for others who are helping them through life.  🙂

We had an incredible worship service at church.  To me, it seemed a victorious and hopeful service that really lifted up the Lord and brought glory to His name while also ministering to people (including me!).  Mothers were honored at one point in the service by having all of the Moms stand up.  There are so many wonderful women who attend our church, and I am so blessed to know many of these amazing Moms as well as other wonderful women who love the Lord and love people.  Some of the incredible ladies I know don’t have children of their own but have such loving and nurturing qualities that they bless the lives of everyone they know!).  🙂

Our twins, Austin and Camden, at a Firehouse Subs in Arkansas in 2010 (on the way home from a trip to Oklahoma).

Our twins, Austin and Camden, at a Firehouse Subs in Arkansas in 2010 (on the way home from a trip to Oklahoma).

After church, our family went to Firehouse Subs for lunch.  Their sandwiches are so good, and our boys love it.  (Me, too!)  The best part is that the location closest to our home currently has a “kids eat free” promotion on Sundays, which is great for our large family (Mom and Dad plus 6 boys).  Our boys enjoy picking out their own bag of chips and then getting a drink with the fountain machine that will mix your personal choice of soda.  When we first started going to Firehouse, we would come home with 5 of the plastic firehats.  They’ve almost outgrown that, but Austin and Logan still got a hat on Sunday.  What a joy it is to be with my family and hear their conversations.  I realize how much they have grown and learned.  They are such awesome boys!  🙂

The back of Braden's handmade Mother's Day card from school

The back of Braden’s handmade Mother’s Day card from school

When we got home, there were more gifts and cards.  I don’t deserve all of this, but I sure am blessed!  The sweet card that all of the boys signed says, “There’s only one of you for all of us, but that’s okay…  you always have plenty of love to go around.!”  Camden drew a stick figure Mom holding out a big heart.  🙂  Braden also had a bag of gifts that he had made from school.  There was a hand-painted flowerpot, some seeds, a laminated bookmark with a poem about mothers and a picture of Braden and Travis on the back, and a card that Braden had made that says, “Moms make children blossom.  My favorite part of that card was what Braden wrote on the back.  🙂

Logan had a gift for me in his backpack, too.  He had written a gift card himself (the first time he has ever done that), and it said “For Mom, Love, Logan”.  That is huge for him.  The gift his teacher put together was so sweet.  I will scan it like I have several of the other things and post the photo below.  It is a black and white photo of Logan, holding a heart that he had colored, with the words “I Love You” written on the heart.  Logan had written “Mommy” on the mat above the photo and his own name below in pink crayon.  The photo was in a black frame, but I did remove it briefly for scanning.  Here it is!  🙂

Logan loves Mommy

Logan loves Mommy

Our daughter, Meredith, is older than the boys.  She is married and lives in Oklahoma, so I didn’t get to see her.  She sent me an online greeting with a “Happy Mother’s Day” graphic and a message about how much she loves and misses me.  What a blessing it is to be able to communicate!  We can say, “I love you” through the internet or during a phone call and talk to each other as though we were in the same room.  Even though we are far apart, we can still stay close at heart! 🙂

Mothers Day graphic sent by our daughter as her e-card

Mothers Day graphic sent by our daughter as her e-card

ice cream freezerThe day was far from over.  I had not slept well the night before, so I actually had the luxury of taking a short nap Sunday afternoon.  Travis had an idea for a Mother’s Day treat for the whole family, so he went to the grocery store and purchased ingredients for home-made ice cream.  We had not made home-made ice cream in several years, so it was fun to see and hear the excited reactions of our younger boys to the process.  Travis made Butterfinger ice cream, and it was a very decadent treat after supper.  Travis cooked supper (grilled), and then he cleaned up the kitchen.  I was a totally spoiled Mom.  🙂

For me, it didn’t take expensive gifts like clothing or jewelry or flowers to feel loved and appreciated.  I enjoy all of those things as much as anyone, but the home-made and spontaneous expressions of love always mean the most.  Those tiny yellow weed flowers (blue-bell shaped, but I don’t know what they are called) were more beautiful than a professionally arranged bouquet because they were given with the purest love and a little boy sweetness, with a desire to say, “I love you.”  The hugs and the help and the “queen for a day” treatment were better than a spa day to me.  There have been past Mother’s Days when doing anything was an afterthought (as in a trip to the grocery store to buy a card after returning home from church), and there have been times when there were nice gifts that were given.  But whether my hubby was so busy giving of himself to our family (as he does all of the time) that he was a little late on preparation for Mother’s day or whether there were flowers and gifts or homespun treats, these Boyd men know how to let me know they love me.  When I get a little overwhelmed with all of the maleness around here, it’s a good thing to remember the loving hearts that go along with the messy footprints and stinky laundry.   I love them all dearly!  🙂

I know that it is a bit indulgent to share all of the details that I’ve shared in this post.  For me, it is definitely a story about the blessings of life and love, home and family, and a special day now and then.  Since I stay so busy with all of the chores that must be done, I don’t get as much done as far as keeping a chronicle of family memories as I should, so this is say to my family that they are awesome and that I love them all dearly… on Mother’s Day and on every day.  🙂

🙂 🙂 🙂  And, oh yes, I am blessed!  🙂 🙂 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day and every day to all of the Moms out there! 

Count your blessings, sweet friends!  So many loving and nurturing women never have the opportunity to become a Mom.  You are so blessed!

A wise friend once counseled me to enjoy each stage of my life, even with its difficulties.  She said that too many people effectively put off their own happiness by saying or thinking, “I’ll really be happy (or glad) when _______________ .”   Fill in the blank.  Are you waiting for a developmental milestone or for more independence for your children, a career boost for yourself or your husband, a move to your dream house or anything else before you really claim the happiness you could be enjoying today?  Don’t wait!  Take charge and determine to be happy right where you are, at this time in your life.  Don’t waste another day missing what you’ve never had.  Be thankful for what you do have, and move forward with such a contagious joy that you lighten the load for your entire family.  You can do it!  🙂

Happy Mothers Day photo pink azaleaHere’s short verse for you, Mom!
(from Braden’s bookmark made at school)

“Thank you for watering me with love,

feeding me with encouragement,

and nourishing me with time and energy.

I am growing beautiful because of you!”

Amen!

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The Secret Life of a Special Needs Parent

The Secret Life of a Special Needs Parent

A revelation of grace, grief, joy, love, blessings, and challenges

For parents of special needs children, family and friends who love them, and others who want to understand.

We're in this together.

We’re in this together.

 When it comes to the here and now and the practical issues of parenting,
there are certain facts that are true for every loving parent and child.

*  Every child is different, and their needs vary significantly throughout the constant changes of growth and development.

*  Every parent seeks to meet the needs of their child or children, no matter how challenging those needs may be.

*  Every loving parent tries to stay in tune with the heart of their child and to know and even anticipate their needs.

*  No matter what a parent experiences in caring for and loving a child, the love and the joy over-ride everything else.

*  The two most important goals of most parents are:
(1) to help their child go through all of the developmental stages in their emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical growth
and 
(2) to help their child learn how to become an independent and contributing adult with the skills, knowledge, wisdom, character, and faith they will need to live a life of meaning and purpose.

keep trying signSAME  GOALS, WITH INDIVIDUALIZATION
For parents of children who have special needs, these basic facts and primary goals are the same.  However, the methods of achieving these objectives can be vastly different, often with much different expectations and a highly individual timetable for development that is discovered only through continued effort and the constant need to adapt to the individual child’s own pace in learning and in reaching developmental milestones.

For some children, a developmental timetable can be relatively predictable.  However, many children with special needs seem to have their own internal pace.  Developmental experts can make predictions.  Teachers and therapists and parents can set goals, but the true timetable for learning and developmental progress cannot be set externally.  It is revealed by time.  Sometimes, the developmental milestones are met more quickly than anyone expected; and sometimes progress can seem to take place, only to be followed by regression.  Sometimes, progress happens but takes a long time.  Parents of special needs children come to know the unpredictability of progress all too well.  Special needs parents also learn to re-evaluate the very concept of progress.  If, for a special and wonderfully made child, the “norms” are not the norm, your hope for progress in every area possible must still be kept alive.  For some, progress can mean the absence of regression.
The Key Truth about goals:
Even if hopes for progress and positive change must be adapted somewhat for an individual child, those sparks of hope are kept alive (and fanned into a flame of persistent faith in the un-revealed potential within) by the deep love of parents for precious little hearts and souls.

Relying on God’s strength and seeing the child within
Every situation is different, and all parents of special needs children deal with ongoing needs and challenges that require all that we are and even more than our best.  God’s strength and His promise to work everything together for our good are crucial in my own life as far as mental and emotional well-being.  However, I certainly cannot speak or write for every special needs parent or for every kind of situation.  Special needs can be physical, emotional, mental, developmental, academic, sensory, social, behavioral, functional, ambulatory, or medical.  (Note:  I am not a special needs professional, so I may be leaving something out.)   The term “special needs” can also apply to any kind of combination of various types of needs.  However, … it is not the needs alone that special needs parents want others to seeIt is the child.  Certainly, an awareness of special needs can be crucial, but recognizing the uniquely precious child within is even more so.  Each child is unique not only in their needs and challenges but in the blessing of their precious life.

Dealing with the desire to “fix” things
Part of being the parent of a special needs child is knowing (and dealing with the knowing) that you cannot give to them everything that you would like for them to have.  Sometimes there are issues of health, mobility, understanding, communication, ability, independence, a “normal life”, and even length of days.  As parents, we can’t change everything, and we can’t fix everything as our hearts long to do.  Some things are out of our control and are in God’s hands.  Even the things that seem to be within our control are in God’s hands, and that really is the best place for them to be.  So, we hope… and we never stop striving to make things the best that they can be for our children.  We trust, and keep walking with God, knowing that our lives, our hurts, our hopes, our loves, and our deepest longings are in His hands, too.  Most of all, we love.  We keep loving, knowing that love is the best gift and that love is something we have in abundance only because God first loved us when we were sick and weak and lost and blind and unable to fully live.  He is our hope and the source of love.  He made our precious children, and He will someday give to them a life that is more than we could imagine, eternally whole and fully aware of how unique and special and loved they are.  We will surrender our need to make everything alright and trust that God will make everything right someday in ways that we never could.  Our job is not to “fix” or to “make everything better” but to love.  We will accept that some things will be different for our child, but we will never give up trying to make things the best that they can be.

Key truth about acceptance and surrender:
Hoping and striving, trusting that there is a purpose for your child’s struggles, and relying on God’s promises can allow us to focus on what is truly important.  God’s love for you and your child and your love for each other will always be the most important and eternal aspects of life.  Although the journey through life with your special needs child involves a lot of unknowns and griefs, love will carry you through them.

Look at me!   I may not be able to fly as high as some, but I am trying to fly my best. I am special.  I am unique.  I am beautiful!

Look at me!
I may not be able to fly as high as some, but I am trying to fly my best.
I am special. I am unique. I am beautiful!

difficult road aheadTHE MYSTERY OF THE JOURNEY

It’s as though a parent of a special needs child has begun a journey with an uncertain destination, incomplete road maps, and a set of broken tools.  The compass has no needle, so direction is unsure.  The spyglass has a broken lens, so you can’t see what’s ahead.  The GPS keeps chanting “Recalculating, recalculating…” inside your mind as you deal with an unfamiliar landscape.  Your watch has stopped working, so there is no accurate timetable or way to measure progress made against whatever progress might be possible.  Your cell phone has a low battery, so it’s difficult to communicate with your family and friends.  They are still there for you, and they also love and know your child; but it’s hard for them to invest enough time to truly know and understand what you are experiencing along the way.   Your pain comes through in spite of the dropped calls, but sometimes they don’t know what to do or say.  The rest of your immediate family is travelling with you and your special needs child, and hopefully your spouse is with you in every way as you face the journey together.  If you are a single parent, hopefully you will be able to build a support system of loving friends and family who will come alongside to help your child (or children) when needed and also be a help and support to you.

family journey in the fall

GRIEVING, HOPING, LIVING

Your other children each have their own journey, with their own issues and needs along the way.  They need you to travel with them as well, so you are simultaneously experiencing very real life journeys that are vastly different, depending upon the needs and special needs of each of your children.  In addition to all of the common struggles of growing up, your other children also face unseen hurdles and even their own griefs as they love and try to protect their special needs sibling.  There are a lot of things about having a special needs sibling that can be very difficult, but you try to teach your other children along the way that love and thankfulness are the keys to enjoying life moment by moment with their special needs sibling, while also grieving for them at times.  So, as parents, you are not only dealing with your own feelings and griefs and questions and challenges (in relation to the challenges faced by your special needs child), but you are also dealing with helping your other children to understand, cope, grieve with hope, love without condition, and handle their own feelings regarding everything related to their special needs brother or sister.

For parents, it’s incredibly hard to balance the unknown aspects of the journey with your special needs child (and each of your family members’ own struggle with the family’s journey on that road) while also experiencing the milestones and life changes of growing up with your other children.  These milestones and life changes have been revealed to the very core of your heart as something that cannot be taken for granted.  On the one hand, they are incredibly sweet since you recognize what a miracle each of them is for the child as you witness the wonders of growth and change.  On the other, you grieve inside for the fact that these same milestones and life changes are not all going to happen or are not going to happen in the same way for your special needs child.  The balancing act becomes one of grieving while rejoicing, often without revealing your heart in the moment (so that the internal struggle does not diminish the joys of very real accomplishments and life changes for the child who is moving forward).
Key Truth about living hopefully even while living with grief:
When the waves of grief wash over you, you eventually learn to immediately focus your thoughts on all of the blessings of life with your special needs child and all of the victories, from the most minute to the biggest of the big, that have happened in the life of your special needs child and in your heart as you have loved and cared for him or her.  Thankfulness is the only antidote to grieving that I know.  It is the lifeline that will pull you out of the crashing waves of grief and into the presence of Christ.

Gratitude is ...

LOOKING FOR THE BLESSINGS

One of the many blessings that is a part of life with the incredible gift of your special needs child is the fact that there is a sharpened and very keen level of awareness of the need to be more fully aware in all of life.  If I am more aware of the pain and challenge and difficulty and loneliness in my life, I must also become more aware of the joys and blessings and victories and wonderful moments and graces within the tough moments.  Here are some examples of the ways that this awareness of the need to become more aware manifests itself in my life as a special needs parent.

>  In my moments of the most acute need, when I am dealing with some aspect of now or of tomorrow, I can become so aware of the fact that the challenge is mine to face that I could miss the sweetness of possessing this need.  Here is part of the fuller awareness that I need to find and to remember:

I have this need because of an infinitely incredible gift.

*  I have this need because of life and because of love.

*  I have this need because somehow God saw something within me that could be made beautiful with the help of a precious little soul who has become my teacher.

every journey begins with first step

>  In moments when hopelessness begins to creep into my heart, I can become so aware of feeling overwhelmed that I miss the lessons of holding on to hope.  I can even miss the truth that hope is at its most powerful when the answer or solution or resolution or realization of that hope seems the most remote.

I have this hope, and I hold on to this hope, because I will never give up seeking to make life better and more full and loving for my child.

*  I have this hope because I know that there are people who have never given up on me, and I have seen how powerful this force of hope can be in my own experience.

*  I have this hope because all things are possible through Christ.

*  I have this hope because when desperation has caused me to lose my hold on hope, I fall into the hands of my Father, who surrounds me with His love and with the knowledge that all hope is found in Him.

*  I have this hope because life has infinite value and because I have been blessed.

My help comes from the Lord

REJOICING IN THE VICTORIES

>  In moments when a victory happens, I sometimes become acutely aware that there is almost no one that can really grasp the significance of this victory because so few see the entirety of the struggle.  I can become so aware of the loneliness of incomplete knowledge that I miss all of the blessings that should be my focus.  Here are some reminders of the blessings within each victory.

This victory has happened because of the will and the spirit of a little trooper who keeps on trying and is often so blissfully unaware of the fact that this moment was long in coming that nothing dims his joy.

*  I can rejoice in this victory because it means that all of the investment of time and love and care and therapy and intervention (which was valuable in itself, even without and before tangible results) has produced a positive change that has made life better in some way for my much-loved child… which, in turn, gives hope and motivation to keep going!

*  I can rejoice in this victory because it is a reminder that even though I may feel alone sometimes and even though there is no one (other than Travis and I) who has seen all of the parts of the story of our Logan from the beginning until now, I meditate on the fact that we have not been alone.  We (my husband, my family, and I) have had each other, and we have had the presence of God with us every step of the way, even in the hardest moments that no one else has ever seen.  I can also recall and rejoice in the fact that there are so many wonderful people who have loved our Logan (and still do) and who have been a part of his journey and ours in very significant ways, helping both him and us to reach the vantage point from which we can look back and see all that has taken place.  The feeling of loneliness and of recognition that few can fully grasp a victory is replaced with thankfulness for family and friends and teachers and therapists and specialists and doctors and volunteers in support organizations and respite volunteers and Sunday School teachers and workers, and child care givers, and special family friends who have cared for Logan, and Choir and Missions and Vacation Bible School teachers and helpers at church, and people who volunteer to serve as a “shadow” for Logan and focus on his needs, and every kind stranger who has ever spoken a word of encouragement.

uphill road

PERSPECTIVE ON THE ROLLER COASTER

It’s really difficult to explain this crazy roller coaster of parenting a special needs child.  There are moments of sheer terror or panic and moments of thrills and laughter.  There are many times when my heart and my life feels so full of love, and there are also many times when the uncertainty, the questions, and the challenges threaten to attack my peace and steal my joy.  There’s so much more involved in the experience than could possibly be contained in this article.  While it can be exhausting to experience the intensity of so many emotional highs and lows involved in the blessing of parenting all of our children (and particularly our son who has special needs), there is also a strength that is born out the the knowledge that for every awareness of difficulty and acknowledgement of pain, there are blessings and joys that come to light with the re-focus.

THE KEY:  It is this secondary focus on the awareness of the flip side (to every difficulty) that reveals burdens shared and lifted, victories gained, spiritual lessons, simple joys, and love… always love. 

And many, many times, that side (the blessing side, which we see by faith and also because it is very real) is what we’ve learned to see first.  We choose to see the positives There are a lot of blessings!  There is a lot of joy!

 

  Loving our special needs child has made us better people because he has helped us to see all of the joys and blessings.

Loving our special needs child has made us better people because he has helped us to see all of the joys and blessings that could have been overlooked.

Logan's most recent school picture

Logan’s most recent school picture

Many things are the same for us and for other special needs parents as for any parent and child.  Highs and lows are experienced in every family.  Challenges and heartbreaks come.  Victories and heart-warming moments come, too.  There are moments of recognition and realization that are so significant and memorable that they become part of the story of every parent and child.  Moments of realization with other children might be about discovering an ability or talent that can be nurtured.  A moment of realization with Logan might be a flash of recognition that we have been praying the same prayer (that this would be the year, the month, the day when he would finally learn to chew and be able to eat real food) for six years now.  A moment of victory with another child might be all A’s on a report card.  With Logan, a recent moment of victory took place when Logan finally did something that most children do as a pre-schooler.  Last year, there was a day when Logan took a paper out of his backpack when he got home from school and showed it to me.  It was the first time he’d ever done that (at age 7 rather than at 2 or 3.  A couple of weeks ago, Logan again brought me a paper; but this time, he spoke to me about it. It was the first time he’s ever brought me a paper and told me about it…at age 8 (almost 9).  He brought me this paper (I scanned it so that you could see it here), and he said, “Look, Mama!  It’s Logan’s beautiful heart!”  I could not have said it better myself.

"Logan's Beautiful Heart"  It's purple construction paper with a heart-shaped cut-out.  A dyed coffee filter is glued to the back of the construction paper so that it shows through the heart shape.

“Logan’s Beautiful Heart”
It’s purple construction paper with a heart-shaped cut-out. A dyed coffee filter is glued to the back of the construction paper so that it shows through the heart shape.

We certainly cannot deny the fact that our Logan is a child who has special needs.  More importantly, though, Logan a little boy.  He loves to have fun and be silly.  He loves to run and play.  He may not be able to experience everything in the same way as his brothers, but he experiences everything with his whole heart.  When he’s happy, he is whole-heartedly happy.  He makes others happy, too!  Logan does have a beautiful heart.

A beautiful life may be different from the lives of others, but it is still beautiful.

A beautiful life may be different from the lives of others, but it is still beautiful.

I believe that every loving, special needs parent, like us, experiences

a process of learning to  SEE   beyond …..

the needs,

the challenges,

the diagnosis,

and the uncertainty of the future

to the most important thing…

the precious and wonderful gift of their child.

There will always be many questions about tomorrow.

*  There are questions about how much progress Logan is going to be able to make.

*  There are questions about how independent he is going to be able to become.

*  There are questions about who will care for him when my husband and I no longer can.

In addition to those concerns about the future, there are many needs right here and now.  With our five other boys and all of their needs, it is hard to find enough time to do all that we need to do for Logan.  He is getting special therapy for his eating issues twice a week, but he also needs a lot of one on one time (as do all of our boys).  He needs us to read to and with him, to do math flash cards with him, to play board games with him, and to teach him to do household tasks.  There is so much that can be done and so much that will need to be done in and for his future.  However, we can’t let ourselves get so caught up in all of the tasks and all of the unknowns that we miss just simply loving and relating to Logan right now.  We need to enjoy him, and there is much to enjoy.  From his affectionate nature to his quirky sense of humor, to his fun personality and all of the things that he is learning, Logan is an awesome little boy.  Developmental targets and statistics and academic goals and plans for the future are all very important, but Logan’s beautiful heart and soul are the most important.

faith makes things possibleSo, while we don’t want to sugarcoat a life that has major challenges and many heartaches that no one else sees, we choose to look for the blessings.

While it’s true that we are always aware of our own human emotion and human reactions to life’s challenges, we are on a journey toward having a sharpening of vision.  We are learning to see the flip side of tough realities.  Our spiritual eyesight is responding to the lessons of the heart and soul and learning to see blessings first.

When we look at our Logan, we do see infinite blessings.  We know that many, many others see the blessing of Logan, too, and that’s really what we want as parents.

We want to know that when you look at our child, you see a little heart and soul that is a blessing of uncalculable and infinite worth.

–This post was written by Cynthia Boyd

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NOTE:  Even though this post is fairly long, it still feels as though I have published it in an incomplete state.  There is so much more to write and so much more to learn and experience.  There is so much in my heart, and I haven’t been able to put it all into words yet.  I can see the value in sharing the words that are already here, even though there is more to come and much more to understand.  So, here are the thoughts that have made their way into this revelation of life.  I hope they bring understanding and help someone.  If this post touches your heart, please share it with others, using this link:  https://familysong.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/the-secret-life-of-a-special-needs-parent/

For more on the story of our personal journey, read this post:  https://familysong.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/one-brave-little-boy/

Or, read some of the other posts in our  “Special needs, Special blessings”  category at:  https://familysong.wordpress.com/category/special-needs-special-blessings/

 

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Obstacles road signNote:  I love this little sign.  The figure is not stopped by the obstacle, he jumps right over it.  Parents of special needs children, this is you!  You are an overcomer of obstacles, a stubborn warrior who will not give up, and a tidal wave of love that cannot be stopped.  Sometimes, this is my sign, too.  And, sometimes, I need a sign that is a little bit different.  Sometimes I need the sign that shows the little figure being lifted over the obstacle or carried through the storm by the strong hand of Father God, and sometimes I need the sign that shows the little figure and his family camped out in front of the obstacle, working and hoping and praying for victory.  If you pan back a little farther on my camp out sign, you will see that the ground on which our campsite stands is not really earth.  It is the hands of God, where He is holding us as we wait and work and believe that this obstacle will be conquered.  If you don’t have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, I can assure you that nothing else would help you more with all of the challenges of life, and nothing else will make you more aware of your blessings and give you more hope for eternity.  If you have questions about life and eternity and God and purpose, please go to our page called, “Do You Know Jesus” at this link:

http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

There, you will find links to many web pages that have been designed specifically to answer any question that you might have.  Some of these pages even have the capability to be translated into multiple languages.  Let us know if you find the anwers you are seeking.  We are praying for you!

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Here’s a music video with some precious photos of special needs children and Moms and Dad. It will bless you!

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Note:  Here’s a link to an article for parents whose child has been diagnosed with ASD (Austism Spectrum Disorder).

http://thestir.cafemom.com/toddler/135651/10_steps_to_take_if?utm_medium=sm&utm_source=facebook&utm_content=autism_fanpage

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Grace…it really is Amazing!

Teaching topic:  God’s amazing grace, the expression of His great love!

Photo of the interior of the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel at Callaway Gardens (by Dea Minter Carey)

* GRACE GIVES,… out of the overflow of LAVISH LOVE!

Glimpses of grace come to us in all kinds of ways. We see the grace of God through His word, through an encouragement when we need it most, through the reminders of His love and mercy, and through the majesty and beauty of His creation, which is constantly sustained by His grace. We also see grace extended through the lives of others. We have been given lavish grace, and we have opportunities every day to extend this grace to others. In our lives, we all have stories of grace extended, grace recognized, grace blossoming, and grace overcoming darkness with light.

Sometimes we just don’t think about all of the manifestations of grace and may even take it for granted. We should think about grace, because we need to seek to extend God’s grace into the lives of people with whom we come into contact and into the world around us. The only way for us to extend the grace that we have been given by God is to do so intentionally. Grace is love that goes beyond. It is lavish love. It is not a mere exchange, requiring something in return. Grace gives when there is no promise of recompense. Grace reaches out through alienation and hurt. Grace heals, encourages, surprises us, and takes our breath away at the beauty of its motivation. For grace is pure. It is love that gives because it overflows, not because it is deserved or earned.  The best gift ever given, God’s only Son, Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the lavish, loving grace of God.  Grace really IS amazing!

* GRACE EMBRACES….out of a longing for relationship

As Jesus has loved us, so are we to love one another. We must remember that we have already been given that which we do not deserve…the love and mercy of God through our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is because of the lavish gift of salvation that we must choose to lay aside that which is temporary and embrace that which is eternal. When we embrace and value the lives of fellow human beings, we are most like Christ. Though He clearly saw the sin and sorrow in every life He encountered, Jesus healed, blessed, encouraged, helped, taught, fed, raised, challenged, transformed, forgave, and loved all who came across His path. The desire for a relationship with us because of His great love for us was more important to Jesus than any condemnation of our unrighteousness or exaltation of His own righteousness.

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17

* GRACE SEES…what could be

Because grace is lavish love expressed through undeserved mercy, grace sees.
Grace sees what could be….in the hearts and lives of people.
Grace sees what could be….in our own hearts and lives….and our need for growth.
Grace sees what could be….in relationships.
Grace sees what could be….in attitudes.
Grace demonstrates love to us right where we are….and sees ahead to what God will do in our lives as we yield our will and our hearts to Him.

* GRACE KNOWS US…right where we are…and chooses to show us love and mercy.

Grace is a choice that God makes in every millisecond of time to continue to show mercy because of His great love for us. The world keeps on spinning because of Amazing Grace. Our hearts keep beating because of the amazing grace of God. He could choose immediate judgement, but instead He chooses grace. And, from the dawn of time, His plan was to meet our need for grace by taking our judgement upon Himself because of His great love. We didn’t have to deserve or earn the right to forgiveness and salvation. He loves, He provides, He forgives, He sanctifies, He heals, He makes all things new, He comforts, He blesses, He gives joy and life more abundant, and His mercies are new every morning…because He is love. His grace flows out of the overflow of His lavish love, and the flow is never-ending.

“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, full of grace and truth; and we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father. And from His fulness we have all received grace upon grace.” John 1:14 & 16

“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, full of grace and truth; and we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father. And from His fulness we have all received grace upon grace.” John 1:14 & 16

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Post written by C. Boyd

This post was first published as a page on our WorshipSound Music Blog at http://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/grace-notes/

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

30 Thankful Verses

Thankful hearts, rejoice! Here are thirty verses about giving thanks to God. There is one verse for each day of the month, with some brief devotional thoughts to inspire you.  (Topic for teaching:  thankfulness)

DAY ONE

“The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; His love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud.” II Chronicles 5:13

Jesus prayed that we (God’s people) would be one. When we come together as one to praise and thank Him, God’s presence is made known to us. Today, let us thank God, as the trumpeters and singers did, for His great love that endures forever.

DAY TWO

“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to His righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7:17

He is holy and righteous. Thank God today for His righteousness.

DAY THREE

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart: I will tell of all Thy wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in Thee, I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:1 & 2

How are we supposed to give thanks to the Lord? This verse tells us that we should give thanks to God with our whole heart. A half-hearted thankfulness results from giving thanks out of a sense of duty, just because we know we should. However, when we spend some time thinking and meditating on all that God has done (His wonderful deeds), thankfulness is the natural overflow of our hearts in response to our great God. Spend some time thinking of His wonderful deeds, and thank Him with your whole heart!

DAY FOUR

“Blessed be the Lord! for He has heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.” Psalm 28:6 & 7

Thank the Lord today for being a God that we can trust. He has our best interests at heart. He gives His strength, protects us, and helps us.

DAY FIVE

“Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.” Psalm 30:4

His saints… He has accepted us as we are, saved us, and is at work in our hearts to make us like Jesus. Thank God for His mercy in all of these things!

DAY SIX

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.” Psalm 50:14

He has given sacrificially to us in every way, and He always keeps His promises. Thank God today for accepting your thankfulness as a sacrifice to Him, for the sacrifices He has made to you, and for His unchanging character as a keeper of promises.

DAY SEVEN

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30

Thank God for the songs that allow you to praise His name and bring glory to Him through thanksgiving. Sing one of these songs to the Lord today.

DAY EIGHT

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High; To show forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night.” Psalm 92:1 & 2

Thankfulness is a good thing! From morning until night, give thanks for God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness today.

DAY NINE

“O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.” Psalm 95:1 – 7a

He is a great God! Our God is the sovereign ruler and creator of all things! And yet, he regards us with tenderness, as the sheep of His hand. Thank God for His might and for His tenderness today.

DAY TEN

“Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.” Psalm 97:12

We can be called righteous only to the extent that His righteousness indwells our hearts. Thank God today for living within you.

DAY ELEVEN

“Make a joyful moise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness; come fefore His presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God; it is He that has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good: His mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100 (all verses, 1 – 5)

The Lord is good! His mercy lasts forever! (He never tires of showing mercy!) His truth will prevail, even when it seems that the world is full of lies. Thank God today for these great truths about who He is.

DAY TWELVE

“O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him; talk of all His wondrous works. Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice.” Psalm 105:1 – 3

We can rejoice and give thanks because when we call upon the Lord, He hears us. When we seek Him, He responds. Before we knew we needed Him, He met our need. These are among the wondrous works of the Lord. Thank Him today for being a God who knows us and who wants to be known by us.

DAY THIRTEEN

“Praise ye the Lord; O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can show forth all His praise?” Psalm 106:1 & 2

Thank the Lord that His mighty acts are so numerous that no one can name them all. Thank Him for the ways that He is at work that we cannot see. The Lord is good! Show forth His praise today.

DAY FOURTEEN

“Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wonderful works to the sons of men! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His deeds in songs of joy!” Psalm 107:21 & 22

No matter who we are, where we’ve been, or what we’ve done, God’s love for us is steadfast. Thank God today for His wonderful, everlasting love.

DAY FIFTEEN

“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn! I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples, I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth.” Psalm 108:1 – 5

God’s faithfulness reaches to the clouds. It is beyond any faithfulness that we have ever known. God’s faithfulness is not dependant on perfection from us. He is faithful is spite of our sinfulness. Thank God for His faithfulness today and every day.

DAY SIXTEEN

“With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise Him in the midst of the throng.” Psalm 109:30

Where did the Psalmist give thanks and praise to God? ….in the midst of the throng. And how? …with his mouth. Thank God today, no matter where you are and who is there with you. Thank Him out loud!

DAY SEVENTEEN

“Praise the Lord. I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.” Psalm 111:1

Where else did the Psalmist give praise and thanks to the Lord? …in the company of the upright, in the congregation. You will never know how much your presence and the testimony of your praise may mean to the heart of another believer. Do not forsake the worship of God with your congregation. As iron sharpens iron, the faith of others increases our own faith, and your faith increases the faith of others. Thank God today for those who have been a spiritual influence in your life. Give Him praise with your whole heart, and remember to assemble with the saints in your congregation every time that you can be there.

DAY EIGHTEEN

“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God upon the lyre.” Psalm 147:7

Why are we told in scriptures so many times to sing to the Lord with thanksgiving? It’s because we matter to Him, and our praise matters to Him as well. We were created to bring Him glory. Thank God that you matter to Him, and that He considers you to be of such infinite value that your praise brings Him glory. Glorify Him with your praise and thanksgiving today.

DAY NINETEEN

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.” Isaiah 12:4-5

To whom are we to make God’s name and His deeds known? …to the nations, and to all the world. Our God wants everyone to know Him. He values all people. He loves all people. Today, thank God for the fact that He has allowed you to be part of His great mission to make Himself known and to reach the hearts of people around the world.

DAY TWENTY

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” II Corinthian 4:15

Thank God for His wonderful, incredible grace, reaching out to us in spite of our sinfulness and covering our sin because of His great love.

DAY TWENTY ONE

“And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Eph. 5:20

For what should we be thankful? …everything. This is the most difficult thing for us to do, but He is with us and is working all things together for our good. Give thanks for the hard places in your journey.

DAY TWENTY TWO

“Do not be over-anxious about anything, but by prayer and earnest pleading, together with thanksgiving, let your request be unreservedly made known in the presence of God.” Phil. 4:6

Thank God today for the fact that we have the ability to talk to Him in prayer about anything. We are to come to Him without reservation. We do not need to worry. He hears our prayers and answers them in His wisdom.

DAY TWENTY THREE

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power, so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. Col 1:11 – 12

God continues to give! He gives strength through His glorious power, along with endurance and patience. He gives us an inheritance as His people. He allows us to live in the light of His glory and grace. Thank Him today, with joy!

DAY TWENTY FOUR

“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7

We don’t have to stay where we are in our walk with the Lord. He accepts us and loves us as we are, but He also continues His work in our hearts as we build our lives on Him. Thank God for His work in your heart and life. He will be faithful to complete it!

DAY TWENTY FIVE

“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

Thank God for His peace, and ask Him to help you allow His peace to rule in your heart no matter what circumstances surround you.

DAY TWENTY SIX

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:16 & 17

Thank the Lord for Christ our Savior! He has given His all for us, so may we live to bring Him glory!

DAY TWENTY SEVEN

“Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God–which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe. I Thessalonians 2:13

Thank God for the power of his Word, which continues to work in us, and for Jesus the living Word, who has been the physical incarnation and demonstration of the Word

DAY TWENTY EIGHT

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18

We belong to Christ Jesus! He has saved us, and God holds us in the hollow of His hand. How can we fail to be thankful?

DAY TWENTY NINE

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” I Timothy 2:1

Thank God for the people in your life…all of the people! And, when God brings a name or face across your path, thank Him for this person and ask God to help them.

DAY THIRTY

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably, with reverence and awe.” Hebrews 12:28

Thank God for His eternal Kingdom and His ultimate victory. With our thankfulness, we offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence for Him and awe because of who He is and what He has done. Thank Him for being who He is.

WORTHY OF OUR THANKSGIVING

For all of time, God has been the same. He has always been worthy of praise and thanksgiving, and He always will be. Our grateful hearts on earth foreshadow the thankfulness of the great multitude in Heaven. Give thanks to Him every day! Amen.

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multititude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying, ” Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.”
Revelation 7:9 – 12

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This thankfulness guide could certainly be used in the month of November as many people focus on thanksgiving to God. However, it can be used at any time! Everyday, we have 10,000 reasons to thank God and give Him praise!

Note: The verses used in this post were copied from BibleCC, the Online Parallel Bible at http://bible.cc/
The verses were found using the following search terms: ‘thank’, ‘thanks’, ‘thankful’, ‘thankfulness’, ‘thanksgiving’, ‘give thanks’, and ‘giving thanks’. In each case, the Bible translation which seems to convey the meaning of the verse most clearly was used, so the verses represent various Bible translations. There were other verses in which the thankful terms also appeared. However, many of the verses in Psalms were very similar to verses already chosen. Other verses were part of a narrative and would have sounded incomplete when used out of context. The 30 verses chosen were just the best representation of verses about the subject of being thankful or giving thanks.

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These scriptures were compiled and the devotional thoughts were added by C. A. Boyd

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Boys, Cars, and Blessings

Teaching topics:  Look for blessings, and trust God.

Life can be complicated.  At our house, lots of things are super-sized.  With Dad, Mom, and 6 boys ages 6 to 19, there are a lot of mouths to feed and needs around every corner.  There are many examples of our need for super-sizing through the years.  Some of these relate to the number of children we have, and some super-sized needs have related to the ages of our boys.  The youngest three are one and a half years apart.  By that, I don’t mean that boy #4 is a year and a half older than boy #5, who in turn is a year and a half older than boy #6.  Nope.  Boy #4, Logan, is a year a half older (18 months and 1 week) than twin brothers Camden and Austin, numbers 5 and 6.  Since Logan has special needs, he has often been going through some of the same developmental milestones as his younger twin brothers.  As a result, it was really like having triplets.  In fact, we were often asked if they were triplets.  We had 3 toddler beds for a long time, two high chairs and a strap-on booster seat, three potty chairs lined up in a row, and a double stroller plus a single one.

The blessing of Suburban transportation

For a while, we had to take 2 vehicles everywhere we went in order to transport the whole family.  I know that’s nothing compared to the truly super-sized families like the Duggars, but it is certainly different from anything my husband and I experienced as we were growing up.  I was the oldest of three children, and he was the youngest of three.  We’ve definitely been figuring out how to make things work well for a larger family while on the job.  We were so excited when we were able to buy a 2001 Suburban that was actually large enough to accomodate the four car seats that we were using at the time, plus our two oldest boys and Mom and Dad.  Travis had actually taken our car seats with him as he was looking at vehicles in order to determine which of the vehicles that were advertised as seating 8 could actually accommodate all 4 of the car seats with room for four more people.  The Suburban was the only model he found that could do the job, so we were thrilled when we found a used one in good condition.  It was great to be able to fit the whole family into one vehicle again.   This was about 5 years ago, and Mom and Dad were the only drivers in the bunch.  We were very thankful that one of us could drive while the other tended to any needs which arose during our travels.

Our Suburban is still going strong.  We did have to have the transmission re-built in July, but the occasional repair is preferable to payments.  Now, however, we have hit a snag in our transportation journey.  Our youngest three boys have just outgrown their final and largest car seats and are ready for booster seats.  When they were unable to buckle their straps on Sunday, we knew we had a problem.  So, last night, Travis and I were outside trying to figure out what to do.   Our problem is that our 2001 Suburban does not have a shoulder harness for the center passenger in either the middle row of seating or the back row.  This means that two of our boys will have to ride with no shoulder harness until we are able to find a solution.  We knew this was coming, so Travis had already been looking for a solution online.   He has found a retrofit shoulder harness assembly that mounts to the frame of the car, but it is really made for race car drivers, not for 2 six year old boys and their 8 year old brother who is about the same size.  We have also checked out the car seat options.  We have been unable to find anything but booster seats for boys as old and as big as Logan, Austin, and Camden.  The booster seats all rely on using the car’s seat belt/shoulder harness assembly, so we are back to square one.

After we had worked outside for a while last night and considered all of the options, Travis and I did come up with the new seating arrangement for using boosters.  Both of our biggest boys will have to be on the middle bench due to leg room needs.  Our 19 year old is over 6 feet tall, and our 12 year old is almost as tall as Mom.  It will work fine to have Braden, our 9 old, in the middle of the back bench with Camden in a booster on one side and Logan in a booster on the other.   They will get along well together, and they will have adequate room.  Braden can help the younger two with their seat belts.  It will be fine… except for the fact that Braden will have no shoulder harness.  And on the middle bench, we will have our oldest son, Jared, in the seat that has to be lifted up to allow access to the back bench, where he has been for the last 5 years.  Then, we will have to place Austin on his booster seat in the center of the middle bench and Zach on the other end.   Zach will have to help Austin fasten his seat belt before getting into his own seat.   Our new seating plan takes into account the width of the booster seats and difficulty buckling 2 or more that are side by side, Jared’s and Zach’s long legs, family dynamics such as the fact that Camden and Austin get too loud if seated side by side, and the way that we will function best in the vehicle.  However, again, Austin will have no shoulder harness either.   For now, it is what we have to do, but having 2 boys seated with no shoulder harness restraint is unacceptable from a safety standpoint.

We recognize that we need to provide a better situation as soon as possible, but our options are limited.   We cannot purchase another vehicle at this time.  Our Suburban is paid for and still running well.  We just down-sized our second vehicle so that we could have a more affordable option (3 years older and more gas effiecieny).  It does not make sense to get into a double payment situation.  We have both been brain-storming to try to come up with some solution that will keep our entire family safe.  Last night, after we’d gone back into the house and the boys were all in bed,  a possible solution occurred to me.  I wondered if we could find a replacement bench seat on a newer Suburban which did have shoulder harnesses in the center.   Travis had his I-pad handy and started checking the possibility.  He knew that later model Suburbans have seats that fold into the floor now and would not be compatible with ours.  But, were there some years after 2001 when shoulder harnesses had been added and the seats were otherwise still the same?  Travis has only had time to do a little research so far, but it seems that we might be looking at the range of 2004 to 2006 model years to find such a replacement seat.  He’ll probably do further research tonight.  We have no idea how hard it will be to find such seats at a salvage yard or how much they will cost.  But, we have got to find a way to keep our family safe and make this work.  It’s just another of life’s complications.

In the midst of the struggles like this, it has alway been a joy (and a survival tactic) to look for the blessings and to remind ourselves that we have an awesome God who has blessed us beyond measure.  With every problem we encounter, we have the opportunity to see that there are so many more blessings surrounding us than problems facing us.  We are truly so blessed, and we are confident that God will make a way to solve this problem.  We are so blessed!  May we never forget!

We have 6 healthy boys at home.
We have a roof over our heads.
Travis has a job that is really a calling (as a Minister of Worship)
God has been so good to us!
We live in a country where we can worship freely.
We have wonderful extended family and friends.
We have not just one but 3 working vehicles (old but still kickin’).
We have our needs met, the blessings of life, spiritual blessings here on earth, and a home in Heaven!

We are blessed!

Thank you, Lord, that we have the blessing of this need for safe seating for all 6 of our awesome boys.  We trust You and know that You will make a way for us to meet the need!  Amen.

Priceless gifts!

Psalm 23…He Restores My Soul

The Lord is my Shepherd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I shall not be in want.

 

He makes me lie down in green pastures….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He leads me beside still waters….

 

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil.

 

For You are with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your rod and your staff comfort me.

 

You prepare a table before me in the midst of my enemies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You anoint my head with oil, and my cup overflows.

 

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me

all the days of my life,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

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<< Psalm 23 >> New Living Translation

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd;

I have all that I need.

2 He lets me rest in green meadows;

he leads me beside peaceful streams.

3 He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

bringing honor to his name.

4 Even when I walk

through the darkest valley,a

I will not be afraid,

for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

protect and comfort me.

5 You prepare a feast for me

in the presence of my enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

My cup overflows with blessings.

6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord

forever.

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PSALM 23 for Today

By Toki Miyashiro

The Lord is my Pace-setter, I shall not rush;
He makes me to stop and rest for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness, which restores my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency, through calmness of mind.

And His guidance is my peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for His presence is here.
His timelessness, His all-importance will keep me in balance.

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity
By anointing my mind with His oils of tranquillity.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,
For I shall walk in the pace of the Lord and dwell in His house forever.

“Japanese version of Psalm 23″ as published in Guidepost Magazine

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This post was compiled by C. Boyd

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.boydbrainmusic.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Scriptures About Family

When God created mankind, His plan was for us to live in families. Since God created marriage and the family, our family relationships are important to Him. His desire is for every marriage to be happy and loving and for children to grow up within a loving family structure, secure in the knowledge that they are loved by God and by their mother and father. God love you and your family. He cares about your home and wants you to have a strong family. He will help you to accomplish this most important task. God has given us His commands and guidelines for strong families in His Word, the Bible. If we follow what the Bible says about families, God will bless and strenthen our families. Family has great spiritual meaning fo believers because the church, the universal body of believers, is called the family of God. When we receive God’s gift of salvation, we are adopted into His family. The Bible tells us that we become sons and daughters of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. God’s plan for family includes your family right now, and you will be a part of God’s forever family as His adopted child.

Bible Verses for Strong Families

1) Commit your family to serve and honor God.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

2) Live in Obedience to God and make the Bible your guidebook for life.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

3) In everything that you do, seek to honor God.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
Colossians 3:23-24

4) Allow the Love of God to flow through your life.

“Walk in love.” Ephesians 5:2

5) Be kind and forgiving to others.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God has forgiven you for Christ’s sake.” Ephesians 4:32

6) Pray for you famil and for others, asking for God’s wisdom in your relationships.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

7) Forgive each other.

“If anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:13

OTHER BIBLE VERSES ABOUT FAMILIES AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (NLT)

Joshua 24:15 “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (NLT)

Psalm 103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— (NIV)

Psalm 127:3-5 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. (NLT)

Psalm 128:3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. (ESV)

Proverbs 1:8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. (NIV)

Proverbs 11:29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise. (NIV)

Proverbs 12:7 The wicked die and disappear, but the family of the godly stands firm. (NLT)

Proverbs 15:20 A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. (NIV)

Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (NLT)

Mark 3:23-25 Jesus called them over and responded with an illustration. “How can Satan cast out Satan?” he asked. “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” (NLT)

Acts 18:8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized. (NLT)

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV)

Romans 9:4 They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. (NLT)

Ephesians 1:5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (NLT)

Ephesians 2:19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. (NLT)

Ephesians 3:14-15 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named … (ESV)

Ephesians 6:1–2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandmentwith a promise) … (ESV)

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to angerby the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (NLT)

Colossians 3:20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. (NLT)

1 Timothy 3:2-5 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? (NLT)

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (NASB)
BIBLICAL GUIDELINES FOR FAMILIES

Marriage is a Covenant and is Not to be Broken

1) Marriage is a Biblical Covenant to Be One

“…she is your companion And your wife by covenant.” Malachi 2:14

2) God Hates Divorce

“For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16

Bible Verses for Wives

1) “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

2) “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:23-24

3) “Let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

4) “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3-4 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” 1 Peter 3:5-6

5) Build Your House The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. Proverbs 14:1

Bible Verses for Husbands

1) “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… ” Ephesians 5:25

2) “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Ephesians 5:28-29

3) “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge… ” 1 Peter 3:7

4) ” …giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. ” 1 Peter 3:7

Bible Verses for Children – Obey and Honor Your Parents

1) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

2) “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3

Bible Verses for Fathers – Fathers Admonish Your Children to Know and Serve God

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

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This post was compiled and edited by C. Boyd

The scripture verses on this page and some of the content in the beginning paragraph come from these two sources:

http://www.usachristianministries.com/2011/11/30/what-does-god-say-about-families-bible-verses-on-families-bible-verses-for-family/

http://christianity.about.com/od/Bible-Verses/qt/Bible-Verses-Family.htm

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Hopefully…

hopefulIt’s just a little change in the word (and in thinking); but for me, this could be BIG!

Certain common phrases can pop into our minds regularly: “hopelessly lost, hopelessly behind, hopelessly chaotic, hopelessly delayed, etc.”

But what about hopefulness? No one is hopelessly lost as long as we continue to hope to find or be found.

HopeFULLY behind means I’ll never give up.

HopeFULLY chaotic means joyfully busy!

HopeFULLY delayed (or injured, or ill, or limited, or challenged) means the human spirit + God’s spirit can conquer obstacles that men name ‘impossible,’ ‘improbable’ or ‘highly unlikely.’ (Yes, Logan!)

Since we’ve been born again to a a living hope (I Peter 1:3), we are NEVER hopeless!

We may feel hopeless, but we have Christ in us, the hope of glory! (Col. 1:27)

Years ago, I bought a chapter book (about a pioneer girl facing challenges) for our daughter. The name of the book was “Be Ever Hopeful, Hannalee.”

We have every reason to be hopeful (Jeremiah 29:11). The Lord wants to give us a future and a hope!

It’s my new motto: “Be ever hopeful, Cindy B.”

See our page called “Hope” for Scriptures and quotes about hope @ https://familysong.wordpress.com/hope/

You Have a Lot to Give

His mercies are new every morning!

What does it take to make a real and lasting difference in your family and in this world? I believe that there are three key elements to living a life for Christ that has eternal impact.

1. A love for your Lord and Savior and a desire to bring Him glory.

2. A deep compassion for your fellow man.

3. A willingness to do whatever it takes to fulfill the callings that you discover as the Lord leads you in using the abilities and resources that He has given to you.

I believe that these three factors are most important for several reasons. First, in order for what we do and say as we live to have a lasting (eternal) impact, there must be a spiritual element involved. In other words, the task must be something which we believe to be our calling at that moment; and, we must have a strong desire to glorify the Lord in doing what He has called us to do. Whether our calling is teaching a Sunday School class, building or repairing structures on a mission trip, responding with kindness to people who come across your path, being the most effective worker you can be at your job, preparing a meal, helping someone directly, or singing in the choir, all that we do is important when we do it as to the Lord and not unto men. It we are not relating, serving, and working to glorify the Lord, then our lesser motivation will limit the effectiveness of our endeavors. Living to bring glory to God is true, lifestyle worship, and it is our purpose for being. (Romans 12:1 & 2)

Secondly, another key element of our motivation should be our love and concern for others, which flows out of our relationship with the Lord. People can tell when we really care about them. Any deeds or words that are accompanied by compassion will be used by the Lord to make an impact far greater than physical help or an emotional lift alone could make apart from that God-given compassion. What we are able to share becomes a far greater message that speaks to the hearts of people. The message given by acts or words of compassion accompanied by the Love of God is that we care and love people because God cares and loves them. This lets people know that God has initiated a response to their need because He loves them and has sent an instrument of caring to them in order to demonstrate His love.

Finally, our most excellent effort is called for in whatever we are doing. When we live our lives to glorify the Lord, it becomes our desire to really make our lives count for His Kingdom. However, we must remember that our job is to do our best with God’s help. He will take our efforts, indwell them with His own Spirit at work in the world, amd multiply what we are able to do or say in ways we may not expect or ever know about while on the earth. We are not responsible for the results. We are responsible for our love for God, our response to Jesus (repentence leading to salvation), our attitude and our growth, and giving our best. He will take all that each of us have to give and use it to accomplish His purpose in our lives and the lives of others.

So, don’t worry about which gifts you have or wish you had or about what the results of your efforts will be. Those things are all in God’s hands, Whatever your circumstances, you have a LOT to give! Your heart, your life, your compassion, your willingness, your obedience, your encouragement, your prayers, your hopes, and your efforts to allow God to work in and through your life are the best and most important ways that you have a lot to give to make a difference in this world. Everyone can give these things! From a prison cell, a hospital bed, a home full of pre-schoolers, a teacher’s desk, a business, a career position, and from every life circumstance, these gifts can flow! You have a lot to give! Blessings and encouragement to you as you do just that!

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This page was written by Cynthia A. Boyd. It was originally published as a post on our primary blog, which addresses the subjects of life, ministry, worship, music, and discipleship. You’ll find many other posts on our original blog which are not on this blog at http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Year Round Resolution ABC’s

A new year is full of possibilities…how will we use the time we have been given?

Teaching topic:  Living a life that honors God and brings glory to Him.

At any time of year, it’s good to think about ways to be more effective in living a life of intentional positive impact that is both practical and spiritual. As you strive to be an example for your children and to bring honor and glory to God (in the new year or in the current year) through all that you do and say every day, renew your resolve to be:

Aware of your blessings and the joy of the moment,

Bold in your efforts to do good deeds,

Caring to others, realizing that we everyone needs kindness and understanding..

Diligent in doing what is really important,

Encouraging to those around you,

Faithful in your commitments.

Gentle with the hearts of children,  (Not just your own children, but other children as well)

Helpful whenever possible,

Immediate in your prayers when you know of a need.

Joyful !

Knowledgable when it comes to the hopes of your loved ones,

Loving to those who are beloved.

Making the most of each day,

Near to the heart of God.

Original… and true to yourself,

Patient,

Quick to forgive,

Reasonable,

Surrendered to God’s purpose and plan for your life,

Truthful,

Understanding.

Vulnerable…opening your heart to the love of God and those closest to you,

Watchful, protecting what is good in your own life and the lives of others,

eXciting…think of ways to bring fun to everyday experiences and make life eXtraordinary!

Youthful in your thinking…do something spontaneous!

Zealous for God, for what it good, and for fulfilling your purpose in serving others, sharing the hope found in Jesus Christ, and glorifying God.

<o>+<o>+<o> Have a blessed year! <o>+<o>+<o>

Note:  Scroll on down for “Something to Do this Year” and for “Only One Life”

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Post written by Cynthia A. Boyd

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Here’s a list to remind you of some other good things to do in this year or any year. This list came from the newsletter of a Rural Electric Cooperative which provided the power for our family home several years ago. There was no author given. I have edited the list, but I did not write it.

“Something to Do this Year”

Mend a quarrel.
Seek out an old friend.
Dismiss a suspicion.
Give a soft answer.
Write a note or letter.
Encourage someone who is young.
Share some treasures.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep your promises.
Find the time…
Forget a grudge.
Think of someone else.
Forgive someone.
Listen.
Apologize if you are wrong.
Try to understand.
Don’t allow yourself to envy.
Examine your demands on others.
Laugh!
Be kind and gentle.
Deserve confidence.
Express. your gratitude.
Enjoy the little things in life.
Go to church.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Make sure your face is wearing a smile.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Open your heart to others by being real and vulnerable.
Speak your love.
Appreciate others and let them know it.
Love the people in your life and don’t forget to show it!

– Adapted from a quote by H. Hunter, published in an Oklahoma REC Newsletter in 1991, edited by C. Boyd, 2012

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ONLY ONE LIFE

Redeem the time!

Redeem the time!

“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
Living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

Missionary Charles Thomas Studd, author of "Only One Life"

Missionary Charles Thomas Studd, author of “Only One Life”

— extra stanza —

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”

– poem written by Charles Thomas (C.T) Studd

Missionary to China, India, and Africa  (1860 – 1931)

Note: To read a brief missionary biography page for this author, use this link:
http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/biostudd.html

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.boydbrainmusic.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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A Little Boydie told me…

Just a reg’lar Mom in a house full of boys

praise4ever

praise4ever

I'm a busy wife and mother of 7, with 6 incredible boys still at home and a beautiful married daughter. Our boys range in age from our 10 year old twins to our 22 year old. We have 2 in Elementary School, 2 in Middle School, one in High School, and one High School grad. They are all incredible and special. One of our boys has special needs. I'm a musician, singer, writer, composer, blogger, and teacher. I'm thankful for our home and family, for Travis, my amazing husband of 39 years, and for family and friends near and far. Most of all, I'm thankful for God's grace and mercy and that He has given the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

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Giving a Song to say “Thank You”

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

As a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband and a father of 7, and a Minister of Music and Worship, I am very blessed. For a total of 32 years, I have served as a Minister of Worship for some wonderful congregations in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia. It is a joy to lead God's people in worshipping Him through music, and I am very blessed to serve at First Baptist Church of Duluth, Georgia. I'm also a composer, lyricist, arranger, and orchestrator, with choral anthems, songs, and orchestrations published by Shawnee Press (now with Hal Leonard), Lorenz, Choristers Guild, and Lifeway. My web-based music publishing site, WorshipSounds Music (formerly Boydbrain Music), offers Choral Anthems, Orchestrations, Congregational Praise, and Vocal Solo music. Our worship blog has become an extension of worship ministry, and it is a privelege to share information and inspiration with other worshippers. My desire is to glorify God through my life, ministry, and composition work. I believe that music is a wonderful way to communicate the truths of God's love and mercy and to glorify Him. My wife, Cindy, and I have been married for 36 years. We have 7 children. Daughter Meredith lives in Texas. Sons Jared, Zachary, Braden, Logan, Austin, and Camden range in age from 7 to 19 and are still living at home.

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