Archive for March, 2014

Are You Fearful Today?

I was talking with a friend the other day, and I shared with her concerns that I had about  a close relative of mine who is dying. I told my friend, “I don’t know why my relative is so fearful about meeting the Lord.” 

As I later began to ponder our discussion, I realized that people’s fears are connected with either dying or suffering. Someone who fears flying, he fears dying. Someone who fears having a car accident, he fears suffering. Someone who fears losing a mate, he fears being left alone.  Most of these fears are fears of the unknown.

If you are feeling fearful today, meditate on promises from God’s Word

·         God is always in control  (Psalm 91)

·         He always brings good from evil. (Genesis 50:20)

·         The enemy can only harm your body but not your soul. (Matthew 10:28)

·         When you die, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)

Try to focus more on fearing the LORD than fearing men or your circumstances. When you fear the LORD, you will reverence Him and realize His awesome power!

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Set Some Organizing Goals and Deadlines

If you do not  set any personal goals or deadlines, it can rob you of  your time and keep you from being productive.

  • Decide on areas of your life where you want to be more productive and write out some goals.
  • Keep your plan simple. Do not want waste valuable time updating charts.
  • Set definite and obtainable goals. Write down a plan of action to achieve that goal. (I want to lose 50 pounds this year—I will join a gym)
  • Set a deadline to reach your desired goal.
  • Set a goal to organize seasonal  and party items: (Buy nine large plastic boxes that you can stack. Store boxes in a closet, basement, or attic. Label boxes according to your needs)  The following is a sample of labeling:
  1. January-February (winter decorations)
  2. March-June (spring decorations)
  3. July-August (Patriotic decorations)
  4. September-October( fall decorations)
  5. November (Thanksgiving decorations)
  6. December (Christmas decorations)
  7. Birthday party decorations
  8. Gifts (small gifts when you need a quick gift for birthday, shower, or anniversary)
  9. Tea party books, pots, and dishes

                 Miscellaneous Organizing Tips for Your Home 

  • For a large family, color-code children’s items. (toothbrushes, towels, and file folders)
  • De-junk! Give away clothes you do not wear, broken toys, and kitchen gadgets you do not need.
  • Rule to control clutter: One item comes in; one item goes out. (Give to Goodwill or to a friend)
  • If you have limited space for storage, rent videos and books instead of purchasing them.
  • Keep a file drawer or box in the kitchen with each person’s name on a different colored folder. Put coloring papers, notes from school, and future homework assignments in assigned folder.
  • If possible, do all house chores in the morning.
  • Do quick bathroom wipe-down of tub, shower, toilet, sinks, and faucets with disposable cleaning wipes.
  • Make your bed as soon as you get out of it. (It only takes two minutes to make a bed)
  • Teach children to make their own beds. Instead of  children having to struggle using many sheets and blankets, make it easier for them by using duvet covers. (To make an easy duvet cover, use two flat sheets. Place sheets back to back and sew around the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch seam opening at the bottom. For the closure,  make two ties or use velcro tape around  inside edges)
  • When preparing meals, fill sink with soapy water and wash preparatory dishes before sitting down to eat.
  • Immediately do dishes or place them in dishwasher.
  • If you have small children, keep a basket handy to pick up small items such as small toys, clothing, and clutter.
  • When picking up the house in the mornings, give yourself a deadline.
  • Pick up the rooms that visitors will see first.

GOOD RULE TO FOLLOW: LEAVE YOUR HOUSE AS IF YOU ARE EXPECTING GUESTS!

A few years ago, a group of seniors from our Christian school invited us to join them for dinner at a nice restaurant. They had hired a limousine for the evening. After they had eaten, they had a few hours to spare. Since they wanted to stay together, I invited them to our home. If I had said, “Oh, my house is not clean enough,” those teens would have missed out on having a fun time together and making a great memory.

Teaching Manners to Your Children

If you study the meaning of the two words manners and etiquette, you will discover that the two words have completely different meanings.  Manners are the way people do things, the way they behave.  Etiquette, on the other hand, is more like a set of rules to govern polite behavior. 

A person may have perfect etiquette but have very poor manners. You might have heard someone say, “Boy, is that woman rude!” The woman might know all the correct rules of etiquette, but if she is rude and not kind to others, she has poor manners.

Etiquette is not just eating with the proper utensils or putting on an act in front of other people in order to impress them, it is displaying genuine kindness toward others. Good manners and proper etiquette is really just being kind and unselfish. It is treating others the way you would like to be treated.

Matthew 7:12 says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

A good manner to teach a child early is: Do not interrupt other people when they are speaking. One way to teach a child this principle:

If the parent is speaking, and the child wants to speak to him, the parent should instruct his child to touch his arm. The child’s touch on the parent’s arm signals the parent that the child wants to speak, and it signals the child that his parent will speak to him after he has finished his conversation.

If a parent fails to teach his child good manners at home, he should not expect that child to have good manners in public.

The greatest manner a parent can teach a child is treat everyone with respect and dignity. 

Many times parents teach a child a lesson when a various situation arises. If his child stares at a handicapped child, the parent says, “Don’t stare! It is not nice to stare!” It seems it might have been better to teach the child in advance. The following are a few manners that you might like to discuss with your children.

Manners when he walks on the street: 

  • Do not walk in groups so that you block others.
  • Do not stop to talk in the middle of a sidewalk. Step to the side to allow people to move around you.
  • Do not stare at or make fun of anyone, no matter how strange he may look.
  • Do not be a litterbug.
  • Do not mark on buildings or other public property.
  • If you bump into someone, say you are sorry.

Manners before he spends time in another person’s home:

  • Do not open a closed door until you have knocked and waited for permission to enter.
  • Do not go through anyone else’s belongings without asking his permission.
  • Do not read another person’s mail unless he asks you to read it.
  • Do not discuss the private affairs of your family with outsiders.
  • If you make a mess, offer to help clean up the mess.
  • If you spend the night with someone, make your bed and straighten up after yourself.
  • Be sure to say thank you for a meal or if he spends the night at his friend’s house.
  • Do not listen in on private conversations.
  • Do not whisper in front of another person.
  • Do not whine, tattletale, brag, or say mean things about others.
  • Do not ask personal questions like, “How much did that cost or how much do you weigh?”

Manners at the table:  Children do not learn proper table manners overnight. It takes years of repetition and training to teach them. Constant repetition and practice of good manners are the best teachers.  The best way to teach children good manners is by example. One of the benefits of families eating meals together is that it gives parents an opportunity to teach their children good table manners.

  • Even if you have a busy family, you should find times during the week to sit down with your family and enjoy meals together.
  • Use proper settings for table even for take-out meals.
  • Give young children the responsibility of setting the table. This is the best way to begin teaching them good table manners. Put place mats, napkins, silverware, plates, cups and bowls within the reach of your children so that children can easily reach the items to set the table.
  • For small children, buy dishes that do not break. If he drops a dish, it will not matter.
  • Demonstrate to children the proper place and use for each piece of utensil.
  • Demonstrate to children the correct way to hold their utensils.

If parents begin teaching manners to their toddlers, they will have a grasp on basic manners when they get older.

The following is a list of table manners that children should know: 

  • Wash hands and face before sitting down to the table.
  • Sit down in proper seats and put napkins in their laps.
  • Do not begin eating until everyone has sat down and been served.
  • Stay in seats without wiggling in chairs, going under the table, or getting up and down.
  • Say, “Excuse Me,” and ask permission to leave the table.
  • Do not put elbows on the table.
  • Keep mouths closed while chewing.
  • Do not put large pieces in mouths; pieces should be bite sized.
  • Never reach for any food that is not directly in front of you. Ask someone to pass it using the words, “May I please” and “Thank you”.
  • If you are passing food, do not help yourself first.
  • Participate in conversations during meals, but do not interrupt others when they are talking.
  • Do not make slurping, burping, squealing, singing, humming sounds at the table.
  • It is never kind or polite to make negative comments about the food.
  • When finished eating say, “May I please be excused?”
  • Thank the Cook.
  • If your food is too hot, wait for it to cool. Do not blow on it.
  • If you put food in your mouth that is too hot, do not spit it out. Reach for water and take a quick swallow.
  • Bring your food up to your mouth rather than bending over to reach it.

Manners for formal restaurants:

  • Do not be upset if you spill something. It happens all the time. The waiter will clean it up.
  • Do not pick up your silverware if you drop it on the floor. Ask the waiter to replace it for you.
  • Spread your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down.
  • For different courses, use silverware farthest from your plate first.
  • Do not comb your hair at the table.
  • Never place handbag, glasses, or keys on the table.
  • Never blow your nose with your napkin.
  • Do not use a toothpick in public.
  • Avoid the tendency to mix your foods together.
  • Place used knife or fork on the plate not on the table.
  • Use the tip of a knife or a small piece of bread to push small pieces of food onto fork; never use your fingers for this job.
  • If you need to leave the table say, “May I be excused for a moment, please?” Fold your napkin and place on your chair until you return.  

Ideas for Resurrection Sunday

Because of Easter’s pagan origins, my husband and I choose not to be involved in the commercialization of Easter. We like to call the day Resurrection Sunday. Here are a few ideas to celebrate the day with your church and family.

  • Make Resurrection Rolls for your family.

Recipe: Provide a large canned biscuit for each person.  Flatten the biscuit out until it is about 5 inches across.  Spread melted butter, sugar and cinnamon on it.  Explain that the spices represent the spices used to anoint Jesus’ body before His burial. Give one large marshmallow to each person.  The marshmallow represents Jesus.  It is white because it stands for His purity and sinless life.  Place the marshmallow in the center of the biscuit. Then fold the sides around it forming a “tomb”.  Put more butter, cinnamon, and sugar on the outside.  Talk about the sweet taste of the spices and that Jesus is the sweetest gift we will ever receive.  Place the biscuits crease side down on a greased baking sheet so that they will not open while cooking.  Bake according to directions on biscuit package.  Allow time to cool because the marshmallow will be very hot. When you bite into the rolls, you will be surprised to find the center empty.  The marshmallow has melted.  As each person discovers the empty tomb, discuss the Scripture Matthew 28:6 “He is not here: for He is risen. . .”

  • Two weeks before that Sunday, pass out printed invitations to your congregation. Ask them to give an invitation to one person and invite him to services for Resurrection Sunday. Tell them to either mail or hand-deliver the invitations.
  • Purchase an Easter lily and send as a donation to a local business, hospital, law enforcement, or school. Attach a small card from your church, “With appreciation for all you do for our community during this Resurrection season.”
  • Give children small gift bags of Jelly Beans with the Jelly Bean Story.

Jelly Bean Story 

Little jelly beans, tell a story true
A tale of our Father’s love –
Just for you and me.
Green is for the waving palms
Red is for His precious blood
Black is for the sin He washed from your soul and mine
White is for our hearts now clean from sin
Purple’s for the sadness of His family and friends
And Yellow is for the glory of the day He rose again.
Now you’ve heard the story, you know what each color means.
The story of our Father’s love told by some jelly beans.
So every morning take a bean, they’re really very yummy.
Something for the soul, you see, and something for the tummy.

Google: Jelly Bean Story of Easter to get graphics and ideas for gifts