Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Birthday and a Home Dedication

This week Mom celebrated her 85th year of life.  Whether 5 or 85, balloons, cards, phone calls, gifts, birthday cake, and singing helped make for a festive occasion.  Amazingly, the longer she lives, Mom remains pleased and delighted with little remembrances.  I am so grateful for the things Mom has taught and modeled through the years.  Even now, her contentment and appreciation of life are a blessing.  On the wall in Mom’s room are framed high school graduation pictures of all ten grandchildren.  Every night she prays for each one of them by name.  I do remind her to not to forget to pray for their parents, too, since thankfully she does not have our graduation pictures on the wall.  Her love and influence now includes nine great-grandchildren.  What a wonderful heritage for our family to be blessed with a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who loves the Lord.

 On Sunday, we will worship with Chad’s family at First Baptist Church of Gatesville.  Part of the service will be Home Dedication where parents make the commitment to teach and model for their children what it means to love, follow, and obey the Lord.  Our youngest granddaughter, Sawyer, will be part of this occasion.  It’s also a time for the church family and extended family to come alongside the parents to commit to pray and offer their support and encouragement during the years ahead.  What a special week to be able to celebrate and honor the oldest and youngest members of our family.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31:25-31

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, September 19, 2015


I find it interesting that the same letters that are used to form the word “Listen” are also found in the word “Silent.”  Amazingly, the words complement each other in what it takes to be a good listener.  Having grandchildren has helped me desire to be a better listener.  I want to be intentional in taking and making the time to listen to the little things they say now in hopes that they will entrust me with their thoughts and ideas in the years to come.  

One day, when Scott was young, he was telling a story and wanted me to listen.  I assured him that I was listening, as I busily unloaded the dishwasher.  He informed me that he wanted me to listen to him with my eyes, too.  What a wise lesson to take to heart then and now.

As I am beginning another Bible study, I also desire to listen and be silent so I can hear, see, and learn the lessons God wants to teach me during these days.  Although those are not necessarily easy things for me to do, the stillness, silence, and discipline will help me have a better chance to hear and see what God wants to say and teach me.

So may I be still and listen in silence with my ears, eyes, and heart so as to discern the lessons I need to learn.  And when I have heard and learned may I willingly and obediently put them into practice.

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
I Samuel 3:10

Let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—
Proverbs 1:5

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.
Proverbs 4:1

“Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways.  Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.
Proverbs 8:32-33

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
Proverbs 19:20 

 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
John 10:27-28

 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
James 1:19-20, 22

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Labor Day 2015

Labor Day is a time to reflect on and be grateful for the employment and jobs we have had through the years.  It is also a time to remember and be thankful for the work ethic that was taught, modeled and expected from parents, grandparents, and other significant role models in our lives. 

The Labor Day holiday is also another occasion for our family to get together.  During our growing up years, Mom would make homemade biscuits for breakfast to begin the day.  I’m not sure how or why this tradition started, but we enjoyed it.  Now we gather for lunch and enjoy spending the day together.

Four generation pictures were also on the agenda for this year’s celebration.  

 Debbie, Mom, David, Ryen, Sawyer, and Chad

 Andrew, Lena, Mom, Robin

 Robin, Mom, Andrew, and Lena's hands

What an important reminder of the privilege and responsibility of training the next generations to work with integrity, honesty, respect, and Kindness.   Most importantly, may they learn that in all they do to take it to heart as if working for the Lord.  May all who come behind us find us faithful working in and for God's Kingdom. 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
Ephesians 2:10

For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
I Corinthians 3:9

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
I Corinthians 15:58

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:9-12

 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 1:3

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Lessons from Blue Bell

The Brenham Creamery Company began in 1907 as a coop for the farmers in Washington County to make butter from excess amounts of cream.  In 1911, they began producing ice cream and in 1930 took on the name Blue Bell Creamery, after a local native Texas wildflower.  At first they produced 2 gallons of ice cream a day in wooden tubs full of ice.  E. F. Kruse took over as general manager in 1911 and it has been a family business ever since.  Blue Bell continues to depend on local farmers for the raw materials for the ice cream and frozen treats that are produced at their creameries in Brenham, Texas; Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; and Sylacauga, Alabama.  Their ice cream and frozen treats are now sold in 23 states.

In April of 2015, Blue Bell Creameries recalled all of its products and stopped the production of ice cream, after its ice cream was linked to 10 cases of listeriosis.  Due to the length of time for the inspections, shareholders were notified that Blue Bell might have to close and 37% of the employees were laid off.  Since then, the company has been diligent about inspecting the facilities, evaluating what needs to be changed and fixed,
setting up safeguards to prevent future problems with contamination, changing procedures, and training employees.   Chief executive Paul Kruse announced that Sid Bass, from Fort Worth, had made a large investment in the creameries and that “The additional capital will ensure the successful return of our ice cream to the market and our loyal customers.”

With much anticipation and excitement, on August 31, Blue Bell ice cream was once again for sale in grocery stores in Brenham, Houston, and Austin, Texas as well as Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama.  Hopefully, the plants in Oklahoma and Texas will be back in production soon so that workers will once again be employed and even more people have the opportunity to enjoy their favorite ice cream and frozen desserts.

Lessons from Blue Bell:  

* Don’t waste mistakes.  Correct and learn from them.
* When you have one chance to make things right, it may cost you extended time and money.
* It is worth having a quality product that is missed when it is out of stock or production.
* It is important to listen to and get help from experts and then make application.
* A reputation for quality helps instill trust.
* When things are not going as expected, it’s good to have people who believe in you, cheer you on, and offer to help.
* It’s important to look for ways to encourage and help others be successful.
* It is good to rejoice with and for people who successfully make a comeback for a product, even if you can no longer eat it.
* We each have our own “Ice cream dilemmas” in life and a choice of how we respond to making them right.
* Who you trust to help and guide you makes a huge difference.
* Never give up.
* Live a life worthy of being celebrated when you are present and missed when you are away or gone.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

But those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:2

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Romans 12:15