Saturday, September 10, 2011

Church Family Sheltering

To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there. ~Barbara Bush

I am curious. Am I the only one who finds it cruel that the word “hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia” is defined as “the fear of long words”?  I trust you don’t suffer from “Xanthophobia:” The fear of the color yellow or the word yellow. At times I fear that I have acquired “Atychiphobia” (The fear of failure). “Can you really have a fear of a fear?” you may ask. Apparently so. Phobophobia. Thinking about this fear of failure brings me to the final phobia of my word study:  Scholionophobia. As I near a new chapter in my life, my fear of school intensifies with each day. September 6th I began my four year journey at Indiana Wesleyan University.

The weekend before my first day my precious church family held a party in my honor. Two special ladies decorated our educational facility in all things “IWU” and planned some of my favorite foods. I was overwhelmed with gratitude of the gift cards, personalized notebooks, coffee, mugs, book bags, money, and a very helpful-and-hilarious-mock “first-aid kit,” etc. -- all to help make my new experiences a smoother ride.

I don’t know if these wonderful people realize how much they sheltered me beyond their gifts, words of advice—both silly and wise, and pitch in dinner. For 10 years they have been preparing me for this time in my life. Day after day they lived their lives as Christ-like examples for me to follow and learn from. They have helped me grow in my relationship with my Heavenly Father by sheltering me with the love and guidance He illustrates to us. My prayer is that God will bless them for all the time invested in my life. Prayers were offered, smiles and hugs were shared at just the times I needed them most, and encouraging words were always ready to be whispered to me in hours of worry or discouragement.  When I consider all they have done for me, I am reminded of the lyrics: “Thank you for giving to the Lord; I am a life that was changed. Thank you for giving to the Lord; I am so glad you gave.”

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College First Aid

WD40: To Loosen Brain Freeze
Chocolate: For extra dose of Vitamin C (chocolate)
Rope: For the times you need to tie a know at the end of a rope and HOLD ON!
Odor Stopping Insoles: For those classes that really stink
Balloons: For all the "hot air" blown around by those "windy" profs
Laffy Taffy: For when you just can't find anything to laugh about
Nuts and Bolts: When you feel like you're going Nuts and all you want to do is BOLT!
Large Clothespin: When you feel like your profs have hung you out to dry
Travel Toothbrush: When you are just scrapin' by, by the skin of your teeth
Fancy Toothpicks: Eyelid props for the "classy" Co-Ed
Acrylic Nails: For when you've worked your fingers to the bone
Sticky Tak: For the times you feel as if you're falling apart
Sandpaper: For when the goin' gets rough
Chill Tic Tacs: For when you need a breath of fresh air
Symphony Candy Bar: For when the iPod battery runs low
Ear Plugs: To filter "Dad-talk" on the 45 minute commute.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Of Fat Pies and Kind Words

A word of kindness is better than a fat pie.  ~Russian Saying

What comes to mind when you think of a fat pie?  I made an apple pie for Sunday dinner -- what a delicious aroma filled the house! But when I put the rolls in to bake, we began to smell something -- and it wasn't the yeasty smell of Sue's Sunday Dinner Rolls.  When I opened the oven, smoke billowed out.  Lesson learned: Boiled over apple pie is not the cinnamon sweetness of the pie itself.

When we open our mouths to speak, we want our words to taste like juicy apple pie, not the burnt sugary mess in the bottom of my oven.  Every conversation should be filled with kindness.

Tears filled my eyes when I read that 160,000 children miss school each day because they fear what their peers will say about them. Doesn't reading this statistic make your heart just ache?  It reminds me why I tried to instill the virtue of kindness in my daughters on a daily basis.

Solomon knew the importance of kind words.  He said, "Kind words are like honey -- sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." Once we taste the sweetness, we are spoiled for life.  Because, not only can the person receiving the kind words taste the gift of bees, but we, too, can enjoy the sweetness that comes from bestowing the kindness blessing.

Blessing with kind words is not something we put on when we feel like it.  It's a way of life. With practice it becomes who we are.  

I'd like to challenge you to intentionally bless someone with kind words this week -- someone besides family and friends:
  • Pastor
  • Sales clerk
  • Medical personnel
  • Soldier
  • Coffee shop server
  • Policeman
  • Boss
  • A child
  • Harried Mother
By being intentional, you will begin a habit that will change the rest of your life.  Again, it is Solomon who gives us the wisdom of kind words: "Gentle words are a tree of life." As you bless with kindness, you will be growing leaves on your own sheltering tree -- a tree of life.  And that pie?  No comparison, because kind words really are better than a fat pie.

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Mini Pecan Pies

Pie crusts

1 lg. egg
1 1/4 cups brown sugar packed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans  

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mold pie crusts to mini muffin tins.  Mix the eggs, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt.  Stir in the pecans.  Fill each crust 2/3 full.  Bake 17 minutes.  The shells will be light brown and the filling puffed up.  Cool and remove from pan.  Yield: 30 pies.