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I am a Christian. I am a loving wife to my Army-National-Guard-Recruiter-Husband of 15 years. I am a stay-at-home-mother to our four handsome sons. I am a photographer. My blog is about as erratic, eclectic and random as I am, painted with rainbows of photos and words that are hills and valleys you travel; so lovely sometimes that they hurt you. These are the stories of how far we've come in the last 15 years as Christians, as a family and as individuals.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Silent Tongue {Day 30} - THE END

Day Thirty - The Silent Tongue
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven... a time to be silent and a time to speak - Ecclesiastes 3:1,7

Not all silence is golden.  The previous devotions/Bible studies on Taming Your Tongue were to encourage us to abstain from various negative uses of the tongue.  By now you may have concluded you will never be able to say more than a few words for the rest of your life if you are to tame the little unruly member that sets the course of your destiny.  If you have decided a vow of silence is your only hope, read on...
Talking is absolutely essential to maintaining effective relationships.  As a child, your parents or teachers may have drilled into your head the proverb that "silence is golden."  The truth is that this is a half-quoted proverb.  The complete saying is, "Speech is silver, silence is golden." While keeping one's mouth shut is a great virtue, effective communication is to a relationship what oxygen is to the body.  To say, "speech is silver" implies that speaking has significant value.  Silver was once a primary medium of exchange, just as currency is today.  It was used to trade one value for another.  When we talk, it should be an exchange of valuable information.  All the previous TYT devotions/Bible studies have highlighted various types of negative communications that provided no value.  Let's now focus on those instances in which silence has no value.
Silence is not golden when one uses it as a passive, retaliatory means of expressing his anger or displeasure with a situation.  In fact, such silence is a direct violation of our Lord's command to confront those who offend us.
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone;  if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother - Matthew 18:15
Jesus is recommending pretty assertive behavior in commanding us to take the initiate in addressing an offense or a trespass.  Trespassing is an unauthorized crossing of  boundary.  Many times we feel we have been trespassed or wronged, but rather than discussing the issue with the offender, we resort to sulking and pouting.  Women are especially prone to keeping silent as most have been socialized to think it is unladylike to be so direct as to say, "I was offended by your actions.  Please don;t do that again."  Unfortunately, this lack of communication leaves many offenders totally unaware that their behavior has negatively affected us.  Thus, they are more likely to repeat the offense.
Silence is not golden when we refuse to defend someone against unwarranted criticism or vicious rumors.  We cannot let our fear of alienation or rejection cause us to allow slander and character assassinations when we are well aware of facts to the contrary. 
Silence is not golden when it results in us making an undesirable decision by default.  After all, silence can indicate consent.  Prayer was taken out of public schools in the United States because the majority kept quiet and did not protest.  In the book of Numbers, Moses reiterated that silence is indeed consent.  He gave instructions on how to deal with single women who made vows:
When a young woman still living in her father's house makes a vow to the Lord or obligates herself by a pledge and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, the all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand.  But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; the Lord will release her because her father has forbidden her - Numbers 30:3-5
He went on to instruct in verses 10-15 that the same rules applied to a married woman.  Her vow was to stand if her husband failed to protest it in a timely manner.  His silence gave consent to her actions.
A Japanese proverb states, "Silent worms dig holes in the walls."  To keep silent when one should be speaking is a sure way to dig holes in your relationships.

Today's Affirmation:
I will not keep silent when I should be speaking.

(Personally, I do not have THIS malady.  But it serves as a nice reminder to those who may suffer from it.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Garrett's After-Party

I kind of blew through this point in Garrett’s Whole Story post but it was no simple thing that Loma Linda’s ER attendants presented Garrett with birthday presents while he missed his party to have them fix his arm.  He wasn’t ready to open them in the hospital due to the medication he was given and its affects on him but when he was ready to open his birthday presents he wanted to open those first!  They hadn’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated!
Impressively, without knowing anything about Garrett’s personality or what his interests are they made remarkable choices in selecting the gifts to give him. 
He received a 10 pack boxed set of Hot Wheels,
 And a no-sew handmade fleece blanket, with a note attached from its makers/donators that read:
“Dear friend,
We made this blanket especially for you.  This blanket is meant to keep you cozy day and night.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it for you.  When we made it, we did it with lots of love.  Get well soon.  Never give up!
Your Friends,
Alani, Sarah & Michael”
-complete with a photo of them with the blanket and their teacher/mentor-
As Seth read the letter aloud, he choked on a few of the words and all of our eyes welled up with tears, especially Garrett’s.
 When he gingerly pulled this soon-to-be-his-favorite blanket out of its  plastic zippered bag, he realized it had dogs all over it!  He. Loves. Dogs. 
He wanted to pose with his gifts and have me take a picture so he can write a "thank you" letter to the ER staff and add his picture!  Then it took him some time before he was ready to open his other gifts.

But before he started opening his gifts from his friends, Hayden remembered he wrote a card for Garrett and made him a special bracelet at his party!
Can you feel the love?

Since Garrett's broken arm was still very sore and swollen, he let Tristen & Seth take turns helping him unwrap his presents.
-Back in March when Tristen & Seth got a lot of money for their birthdays, Seth loaned some to Garrett so he wouldn't feel left out when they went shopping.  Garrett's took his FIRST $30.00 and was excited to pay his brother back!
 Garrett enjoyed some birthday food that had been set aside for him.
He enjoyed coloring in Hayden's gigantic SpongeBob coloring book & he even had a visitor!
A few days later, when he was feeling up to it, I took Garrett shopping to pick out his bed set.
Overall, I'd have to say this was a very eventful birthday!

The Indiscreet Tongue {Day 29}

Day Twenty-Nine - The Indiscreet Tongue
Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you - Proverbs 2:11

One who is discreet shows prudence and wise self-restraint in speech and behavior -- and always reaps a positive consequence.  Indiscretion can be costly.  Some subject matters should simply be off limits for discussion.  You would be wise to never discuss your salary or bonus --especially with other company personnel.  Your sex life should also be off limits as an item of discussion with a non-counseling outsider.
Have you ever found out something about a leader or other prominent person and could not refrain from telling someone?  If God has trusted you enough to reveal someone's nakedness or sin, have you ever considered that you were not to "see" and "tell" but rather to cover that nakedness with discretion and intercession?  It can be a very uncomfortable position.  God may even call you to confront the individual regarding his or her wrongdoing.  He did so with Nathan the prophet, who confronted David about his adultery with Bathsheba and his subsequent murder of her husband to cover it up (2 Samuel 12).  Whatever God mandates, do it His way.  A public revelation is not always necessary as it can cause irreparable damage to the body of Christ.  David's sin with Bathsheba never became the topic of a public scandal.  However, David suffered the consequences through his family and other areas of his life.  A leader's punishment is God's business.
Caution!  If you serve in a position of authority, such as a member of a board of directors, then you have a responsibility to deal with ungodly behavior in a leader.  Confront with love and compassion.  No one is perfect, and no one has 20/20 vision on himself.  Remember that.  God may someday show someone your nakedness.  Pray that it will be handled with wisdom.  Plant the seed of discretion now.

Today's Affirmation:
My discretion will protect me and understanding will guard me.

Wow God Wednesday {6}

Congratulations to my Tristen! He's officially a Pirate now!!  June 23, 2011 he was accepted into Hesperia, California's Encore: Performing & Visual Arts School - Praise God!! That guy always has a surprise up His sleeve for me!  To all who have had to suffer my poor attitude and worrisome behavior over God's "mess up" by not having Tristen accepted to University Prep - I'm sorry and thank you for the prayers!! God worked it out even better!! Had it not been for me being hired to photograph Victoria Edsell's graduation ceremony, I would've never even heard of this school! Lord only knows why it took me 18 days to put two & two together and look this school up online. Literally! I went online June 22, signed up for a registration appointment (for the 23rd), drove over to pick up the enrollment packet, and the very next morning we met Tristen's new guidance counselor and got his class schedule!! This worked this out SO fast and with NO hic-ups, I just KNOW it was God!
I'm very impressed with Tristen's elective choices too! He chose Design Mix Media (where he will learn all about how to design web pages and video games), Karate, & Spanish. I'm SO proud of my boy! (And not-so-secretly thrilled that he doesn't have to go to Cobalt!)  I'm so stinking excited! I can't seem to function correctly! I'm overwhelmed with how God "tricked" me!!! I was SO BUMMED about Tristen having to go to the local public school but I was trying SO HARD not to show it. I was also very disappointed that God did not "answer my prayers" even though I was faithful, believed and spoke "truth" into Tristen going to University Prep... I know now that Encore is where God meant for Tristen to go all the while. It's amazing!  Wow, God!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hayden's Birthday Party

Well, since I wasn't there, there's not much I can say about this party - but that certainly won't stop me from trying to interpret the photos my wonderful, loving husband and sister took!

Due to Garrett's accident occurring only a short time prior to the party, we did not have time to cancel and since Garrett's friends are also Seth & Tristen's friends, there was no need!  Look at all his supportive friends!!
 Weeks prior to this party, Brad and I made "dinosaur eggs" to hide and have the pre-schoolers find!
 Looks like Lauren took on explaining the rules...
 The best thing about finding them is cracking them open to see what hatches!
 Why, baby dinosaurs, of course!!
I had an area set up for crafting - not all of the crafts got set out but looks like the kids had a great time beading!  
Time to open presents!!
 He loved this card!!!
Now for time to eat!  Hayden has been very much into dinosaurs and rainbows lately but chose dinos as his party theme - I wanted to incorporate rainbows too and did so with the food!  
You're familiar with Rice Krispy treats, right?  Well - I made Fruity Pebbles Treats, then cut them up and made marshmellow kabobs with them!
 I also made a TON of cupcakes and mini cupcakes in a "rainbow" of colors topped with dinosaur rings!
 Then for the big finale - the cake!  A six-layered cake decorated with dinosaurs (Hayden was in for a surprise once it was cut open though) - just look!
 After all the planned festivities were complete, the kids had time for free play, enjoy these random photos of the rest of the party.
 Hayden & Emily (apparently they are quite smitten with each other!)