Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3

October, 2011

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Mothers in the Bible – Hagar

“Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’”  Genesis 16:13

It seemed to me to be a little odd to consider Hagar as the second mother in this series, but she is the second mother chronicled in the Bible.

Hagar was the personal maid of Abraham’s wife, Sarah.  When Abraham was promised a son by God in his old age and it didn’t look possible for the 75-year-old Sarah to bear that son, Sarah suggested to Abraham that he try to conceive a son with Hagar.  In those days, a maid was the personal property of her mistress, and any child born to her would have been considered as belonging to the mistress.  Therefore, Sarah could give her maid to her husband and claim the child as her own.

Hagar did conceive, and the fact that she was able to get pregnant while her mistress was barren made her despise her mistress.  Apparently, she made this feeling very well known, as it wasn’t long before Sarah was complaining about it to Abraham, and Abraham told her to do what she pleased with the maid.  Sarah was harsh with Hagar, to the point where Hagar ran away.

There must have been some desperation on Hagar’s part to run away!  It wasn’t like they were living in a populated area, but out in the wilderness.  A young woman alone would have been easy prey for anyone who happened to find her – man or beast.  She likely had no skill or weapons for hunting, and there were no nearby towns where she could go for help.

Imagine the shock this young woman got when the Angel of the Lord appeared to her out in the wilderness by a spring of water and asked her where she was going!  I don’t know if Hagar knew at first that this wasn’t a mere man, but we do know that she figured it out pretty quickly.  In fact, Hagar recognizes that this wasn’t even just an angel, but the Lord Himself, when she refers to Him as “the God who sees”.

The Lord told Hagar to return to her mistress and submit herself to her.  Furthermore, He told her that she would give birth to a son and was to name him Ishmael.  As far as we can tell, Hagar obeyed, because we read that Hagar bore Abraham a son, but we don’t read any more of her for more than 15 years.

Sarah did bear a son to Abraham, as promised by the Lord, and named him Isaac.  There was a celebration held on the day that he was weaned, and on that day, Sarah saw Ishmael mocking her son.  That was the last straw for her, and Hagar soon found herself in the wilderness again – this time with a teenaged Ishmael after they were sent away by Abraham at Sarah’s request.

Whereas the first time, Hagar had found a spring of water, this time they wandered around until their water supply was used up and Ishmael became faint with thirst.  Hagar put Ishmael under the shade of a bush and went a distance away, because she could not stand to watch him die.  Once again, she was found by an angel of God.

The angel told Hagar that God was going to make Ishmael a great nation, and then opened her eyes to a well of water.  Hagar gave her son a drink, and he revived.  The only other thing we read about Hagar is that she found a wife for Ishmael.

How is my attitude?  Do I, like Hagar, ever think I am better than someone else because … I homeschool … I try to serve healthy meals … I have been married over 20 years … I have older children … I have a dog … I make my own hummus … I have younger children … I use a different curriculum … I drive a Ford … I have Boy Scouts … I like kale …?  I don’t have to say anything for a better-than-you attitude to come through.  Worse yet, I can pass that attitude on to my children, so that they display it toward others, as well.

On the other hand, am I obedient to submit even when circumstances are hard?  There are certainly times when I feel like running away from it all, just as Hagar did when Sarah treated her harshly.  Some days, I just don’t want to be the mother.  The job is too hard, the children aren’t getting along, the laundry is unending, no one likes the dinner I have worked hard to serve, I’m tired – you get the picture.  Hagar did go back to Sarah and submit herself to her for more than 15 years.  Am I willing to continue to submit to the occupation the Lord has given to me?

Finally, no matter how bad things get, I can trust the Lord to provide.  When Sarah finally had Abraham send Hagar away because of Ishmael’s behavior, the Lord met her and assured her of his plan for her son.  It certainly wasn’t because Hagar was such a wonderful person, but the the Lord is a God of grace and mercy.  He had promised Abraham that Ishmael would become the father of a great nation, and He made provision to bring that to pass.  I have been promised an inheritance in the Lord Jesus Christ – not because of anything I have done, but because of Christ’s work on the cross, and I can trust that the God of grace and mercy will provide for me, as well.

 

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Book Review – Just in Case You Ever Wonder

I just sat down to read Max Lucado’s Just in Case You Ever Wonder to my 3 youngest children, aged 7, 5, and 2.  When I finished, my 7 year-old commented, “That is a very special book.”

Indeed, it is!  I think the impact of the words would have been greater if it had not been for the fact that it was the first time I had ever read a Kindle book on my phone to my children and they kept wanting to turn the pages, but I think I’ll be reading the book over and over to them.

The simple language, the pictures with lots of detail to see, and the frequent assurance of the parent’s lasting love will make this a favorite with young children.  My 2 year-old didn’t like the picture that went along with telling the child to come to the parent when she sees monsters in the shadows, but we can flip quickly past that page.

My only complaint is that, when telling the child about Heaven, the book did not mention the fact that the way to Heaven is only through Jesus.  Instead, reading the book could give the child the idea that he or she will automatically go to Heaven.  Perhaps Max Lucado did not think that the book could properly address that, but I would have liked to see some mention of it.

Overall, though, I would agree with my daughter – Just in Case You Ever Wonder is a special book!

Disclosure:  I was provided with a free Kindle version of this book in exchange for my unbiased review, and the links above are affiliate links.  If the links do not work in a feed reader, please visit the actual page.

Monday, October 24th, 2011

$3 off a 6 pack of Zevia!

I just came across this link for $3 off a 6-pack of Zevia and printed the allowed 2 coupons, and then thought I’d share it with you!  This is NOT an affiliate link, and I don’t receive any compensation for sharing it, but the coupon is too good to keep it to myself!

Our family is planning to travel across the country to see extended family in a few weeks, and I’m planning to take these coupons with me to use for when we have 24 people getting together for Thanksgiving.  :-)

Have I mentioned that I LOVE Zevia?  ;-)  I think my favorite is the Grapefruit, followed closely by Orange, Twist, Mountain Zevia, Ginger Ale, Ginger Root Beer, Cola, Dr. Zevia, Grape, and Vanilla Creme!  What is your favorite?

Oh, you can still get a case of Twist from Amazon for only $18.56, too.  The price listed is $21.83, but you get an additional 15% off if you sign up for Subscribe & Save. I have no idea how long that deal will last, so get it while you can!

I can’t get the above links to work in my feed, but they seem to be working in the post itself.  If anyone knows how to fix this, I’d be delighted if you would let me know! 

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

George Washington Carver

 

Several years ago, my young teenaged daughter had a couple of neighborhood friends over.  We were baking cookies together, and for some reason my daughter  mentioned something about George Washington Carver.  To our utter astonishment, one of the girls, who happened to be black, asked, “Who is he?”

George Washington Carver was an important person in our history, and especially important in black history.  Born a slave and orphaned very young, he and his brother were raised as sons by their owners.  George had an insatiable appetite for learning, and was especially interested in anything to do with plants.  When he had learned everything his mother could teach him, he left home to travel to another town where there was a school for black students.  He quickly exhausted the supply of knowledge at that school and went on to enroll in several more schools, doing laundry and housekeeping to earn his way, before he being accepted at Highland College in Kansas City.  Devastatingly, he arrived at the college only to be told that, no matter what his grades had been, he could not be admitted because he was black.

Thankfully, there were colleges that were willing to accept George, even if they did not afford him the same rights as the white students were given.  He won his way into the hearts of those around him, however, and earned their respect with his accomplishments.

George intended to go on to earn his doctorate, but he was offered a position as part of the faculty at Tuskegee Institute, a school founded by Booker T. Washington (another black hero worth studying) to give even the poorest blacks a chance at a quality education.  Having faced an overcome discrimination many times himself, George jumped at the chance to help other blacks succeed.  He ended up remaining at Tuskegee Institute for the rest of his life, dedicating himself to his students and his laboratory.

George Washington Carver is perhaps most known for the fact that he discovered  hundreds of uses for the lowly peanut!  He also discovered numerous uses for the sweet potato and other commonly crops commonly grown in the south.  However, his contribution toward ending discrimination against blacks is not to be ignored.  He did not participate in protests or show any manner of violence.  Rather, he won people over with his quiet ways and amazed them with the knowledge and understanding he displayed through his many inventions.  Those who did not believe that black people were capable of reaching the same intellect as white people could not argue with the genius of this little man.

John Perry (author of Letters to God) has written a very good biography of George Washington Carver.  One of the Christian Encounter series, this book is one that could easily be read by a middle schooler, but is still enjoyable for an adult.  Perry does not leave out the importance of George’s faith in the Creator, as that was the basis for George’s entire life and work and a frequent part of his teaching.   As a homeschooler, I am frequently looking for good books for my children to read, and this one certainly fits the bill.  Perry has also written several other biographies, and I am looking forward to reading them, as well!

Disclosure:  I was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers with a free Kindle copy of the book in exchange for my unbiased review.  This post also contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Mothers in the Bible – Eve

“To the woman He said:
‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;’” Genesis 3:16

“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”  Genesis 3:20

I have decided to do a study of mothers in the Bible.  The obvious starting point is Eve, the very first mother. :-)

We really don’t know a lot about Eve, other than that she was deceived by the serpent into taking the forbidden fruit and that she was the first mother.  We are told that she gave birth to and named Cain (meaning “acquired”), saying “I have acquired a man from the Lord.”  Then we are told that she gave birth to Abel, and finally that she gave birth to and named Seth (meaning “appointed” or “substituted”), saying, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”  Of course, we also know that she gave birth to many other children, but we are not told anything about those children.

Although the other details of Eve’s life are not specified, I think we can safely assume some of them.  Can you imagine giving birth that first time?  Remember that first time you held your little one in your arms?  Remember that awe you felt looking at those tiny fingers, those tiny toes?  Remember being at a loss as how to care for such a tiny, fragile little package?  Remember the relief at there being someone there – a nurse, midwife, or mother – who had experience and could show you what to do?!

Those of us who have given birth to children are very familiar with the pain promised to Eve as a consequence of her sin.  Yet I wonder if the pain of childbirth itself is the only pain referred to here.  Has there ever been any mother who has lived to see her children grow to adulthood who has not also known pain in watching them make wrong choices?

With some children, the pain can start early.   I have one child who started throwing full-blown temper tantrums at only two months of age.  I didn’t have any idea that such a thing was even possible at that age!  Then there are the two-year-olds who say things like, “I hate you, Mommy,” when Mommy has just spent the whole day doing something special with the child but has had to say no to something the child asks for.  As siblings come along, there are the fights between the children which grow in intensity as they get older.  A child nearing puberty has increasing periods of sullenness and is more and more prone to backtalk.  Children in their teens are quite certain they know better than their parents, and are quite willing to tell them just how wrongly they are handling things.  And, in far too many cases, choices made in the teen and early adulthood years (or later) result in long-lasting consequences that can break their mother’s heart.

For Eve, I think it is safe to imagine that she was troubled as her oldest two children exhibited rivalry as they grew to adulthood.  She likely watched in sorrow as her firstborn rejected the Word of the Lord and insisted on doing things his own way.  And imagine the depth of her grief when her firstborn grew so resentful that he actually killed his brother.  How many times did she weep bitterly, wondering how different things would have been if she had obeyed the Lord back in the garden?

In 3 John 1:4, John states, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  Could it also be said that a mother has no greater sorrow than to hear that her children do NOT walk in truth?

When I was growing up, my mom used to tell me the story of my birth 7 1/2 weeks early, and how there was a point when they were not sure that I would live.  She prayed at that time that if I would not grow up to know and love the Lord Jesus, that He would take me then as an infant so that she would know that I was in Heaven.  I have prayed the same for each of my children.  So far, I believe that 7 of my 8 children have placed their trust in Jesus.  (Number 8 is only two years old.)   I have 3 in Heaven who were taken before they were born, and it is a joy to know that they are safe in the Everlasting Arms.

However, I have come to realize that it is not enough just to know that my children are saved.  My greatest desire for them is that they not only find forgiveness of sin, but that their lives honor and glorify the Lord.

While Eve faced the consequences of pain in bearing children, she was also given the promise that one of her descendants would be the Deliverer from sin.  She was comforted after Abel’s death by the birth of Seth.  While she no doubt grieved at the waywardness of many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, she did have the joy of seeing some of Seth’s descendants walk with the Lord.   I have no idea how much more time we have here on earth, but I pray that all of my descendants will walk with the Lord!

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Sale on Zevia Twist at Amazon

Have you tried Zevia yet? I LOVE this stevia sweetened soda, in all of its flavors! I just noticed that the “Twist” flavor (like Sprite) is on sale at Amazon. It is normally $27, but is now on sale for $21.83 for a case of 24. If you buy it on Subscribe & Save, it comes down to $18.56 for the case. That makes these just over 77 cents per can – an unheard of price for Zevia!

I will admit that I have had these on Subscribe & Save for awhile now. However, I’m getting an extra shipment now, because I have no idea how long this price will last!

Disclosure:  The link at the top of this post is an affiliate link.

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Obstacles Welcome


Leadership Books)

 Obstacles Welcome: How to Turn Adversity into Advantage in Business and in Life is a book that challenged me to not get so easily derailed.  Ralph de la Vega was separated without warning from his family in Cuba at the age of 10 to start a new life in the United States.  Immigrating by himself at that tender age was only the beginning of the challenges through which he persevered to better himself time and time again.

Now the CEO of AT&T Mobility, the second-largest mobile phone company in the United States, Mr. de la Vega uses what he has learned to help others – whether it be through providing excellent customer service in a crisis or challenging young people to see the opportunities in the middle of what seem to be hopeless situations.

While this book is largely about leadership and succeeding in business, it is a good book for anyone to read.  The book initially piqued my interest because my husband is in the mobile phone industry and has worked for AT&T in the past, and I am very glad that I chose it.  I was able to interest my teenaged Boy Scout sons in reading the book by letting them know that Mr. de la Vega is a board member for Boy Scouts of America.  I believe that anyone – teenagers, stay-at-home moms, college students, entrepreneurs, etc. – would benefit from reading Obstacles Welcome.

I was given a free copy of this book by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review.

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