Sunday Takeaways 12-13-20

Sunday takeaway for today? I need to study my Bible more. Like, really STUDY my Bible and history and see how everything connects. I need timelines and maybe bulletin boards with string connecting everything.

In both the Sunday School lesson and the sermon, world history played a huge part in understanding what was happening during what we were reading in the Bible. And not just the history of the world, with the conflicts, the wars, rulers, etc but also Bible history, knowing how events in the Old Testament set up the events of the New Testament. Honestly, I’m kind of sitting here mind blown right now.

There is no way I will do justice to all the history I was told today but there are a couple of things I want to touch on. First, a lesson from Ray Vanderlan on New Testament events that was actually part of the sermon too. When King Herod died he split his kingdom among his sons; Antipas, Archelaus, and Philip. The sons disagreed with this – they all wanted to rule the whole kingdom – so they went to Rome to protest. Interestingly enough, a contigent of the people also went because they did not want Archelaus to rule over all of them because he was known to be as harsh as his father. Rome upheld Herod’s will and when Archelaus returns he slaughters all those who spoke against him in Rome. Fast forward a little bit to when Joseph is told in a dream to return to Israel from Egypt he begins to return to the area of Bethlehem. When he realizes that Archelaus is ruling over the region of Bethlehem he was afraid to return there and went to Nazareth instead. (Matthew 2:19-23) Thus fulfilling prophecy.

The point that Ray went on to make was that Jesus was very much involved in the world and culture around him. He used that knowledge to reach people. He did not separate himself from the world and then suddenly pop on the scene. In fact, according to Ray Vanderlan, the wife of the ministry of finance of the area very likely funded Jesus’ ministry when he began to minister full-time. People knew him and he knew people. He knew what was occurring in the world.

Back to the story of Archelaus above, read Luke 19:11-27. If you’ve been in church for a number of years you might recognize the parable of the talents. It’s usually told as a parable to represent how we are to use the gifts and talents that God has given us, but see if you notice anything about the parable now that you know some world history of the time. Interesting, isn’t it? Jesus used events that people were familiar with to bring understanding to them. There was so much more but it would require so much detail that I did not get it all written down. I think I need to watch it again to absorb it all.

I was really looking forward to today’s sermon as Mike had said last week that he was going to be talking about the Magi and how he had learned so much about them. Since they do seem to remain mysterious, i was curious about what he learned. It did not disappoint.

Again, for us to understand who the Magi (or wise men) were, we have to understand a little bit of world and Bible history. Who were they? Where did they come from? And why did they care about this Messiah that was to be born? A little world history first.

At that time, the Parthian-Persian Empire was to the east of the Roman Empire in what would be modern day Afghanistan, Irag and Iran (I think.) These two empires had a cold war going on at the time that Jesus was born. They weren’t actively fighting at the moment but they had in the past and were not trusting of each other.

Who were the Parthian-Persians? They would be the Babylonians of the Old Testament. This is where Bible history comes in. How did the Magi know about the Jewish Messiah? Why did they care? We know from the book of Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, laid siege to Jerusalem and took some of the Israelites back to Babylon with him in 605 B.C. (You should really read the first part of Daniel if you don’t know about the story of Daniel and his three friends.) Daniel was one of the youths taken. For various reasons Daniel grew in favor with the court and he was given the ability to interpret dreams by God. In the second chapter of Daniel he is made chief governor over all the WISE MEN OF BABYLON. Well, being wise and well versed in the scriptures, it’s easy to see how Daniel would have imparted that knowledge, including the prophecies of the coming Messiah, to the other wise men. I never knew this or thought of any of this correlating later! Wow.

Something else that was brought out is why did the arrival of three men alarm Herod? How did he even know that three men arrived? Because it probably wasn’t just three men that arrived – maybe as many as 10,000 men arrived in the contingent of wise men. Think about that. 10,000 men from the country you are sworn enemies with come to your town and ask where the new king is? That would be alarming. Oh, and these Magi were known as the “king makers” in their own country. So much to fully understand the story we’ve been told since children.

Another point that Ray brought out this morning that also correlated with the sermon is how money is not evil. How did Jesus and his disciples live while ministering? We all know you need money to buy food, clothes, etc. As mentioned before it’s thought by some that part of that funding came from people with lots of money to give. Jesus didn’t deny the use of that money because it came from rich people – it was God providing. Same with the wise men, if you look at the chronology of the events, Mary and Joseph didn’t have a lot of money – we know this by the type of sacrifice they offered at Jesus’ dedication (a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.) Where did the money come from to flee and live in Egypt? Well, who had come to visit just prior to that trip? The Magi. What did the Magi bring? Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Besides the significance of these gifts they were also practical gifts. The gold would have been like cash and the frankincense and myrrh could have been sold in small amounts to help bring in money also. I saw all of this as an example of the Lord providing just what we need as just the exact moment we need it. Something I’ve struggled with often in my life. We’re also told often in the church that money is evil. It is not, it is the love of money that is evil. Ray Vanderlan said that wealth is no different than your brain, your mouth, or abilities God gives us. They are all giftings God has given us. We are to use whatever God gives to further his kingdom.

I know this is scattered and maybe confusion. There was just so much to today, I’m overwhelmed! There was so much more in the sermon this morning that I highly recommend you watch the whole message and our amazing gifted singers at the end. Be blessed and have a great week!

Sunday Takeaways 12-6-2020

First takeaway – Christmas can get crazy around a church! Yesterday was one of those days that I have tried to make sure I do less of – running around like a crazy woman. This used to be the norm years ago. I was so involved in so many things I can remember telling my husband once that I’d like to go to church just to go to church!

Yesterday was just one of those moments where everything happened at once. Deacon board responsibilities, scheduling meals for a family with a new baby and church library responsibilities. I also had a couple of people I needed to touch base with.

So, during Sunday School I was stamping and processing new books for the church library but I did still take a few notes and as always found the history and lesson interesting. The biggest takeaway yesterday was the typical family structure during Jesus’ time. Families lived together is these housing complexes built around a courtyard. When a son got married, he added on to the father’s son. So the grandson’s house was added to this house and so on. Families lived and worked together.

This led into a discussion about our legacy. What kind of legacy are we leaving with our family? Are we sharing about what Jesus has done in our life? The difference he has made? Do we talk about the importance of having a relationship with Jesus with our kids? Leaving a foundation to build on takes a whole different meaning when you consider it’s the house they will be living in for the rest of their lives.

Our sermon series right now is on characters from the Christmas story and this week we were on “Gabriel – the Message that Changed the World.” Gabriel is a messenger angel of God. The first mention of Gabriel in the Bible occurs in Daniel in the Old Testament. He’s pretty busy in the Christmas story. Gabriel’s first mission (in Luke) to speak to John the Baptist’s parents fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 3:1. We also covered the five things that Gabriel predicted about Mary’s son.

Pastor Mike covered some interesting facts about angels too. Angels are mentioned in the Old Testament 108 times and 165 times in the New Testament. The term “guardian angels” is never mentioned in scripture. We are strictly told in the Bible to not worship angels. (Revelation 22:8-9, Colossions 2:18) They are not humans who have passed on. Angels are separate beings from humans.

The thing to take away from any message on the Christmas story is that God had a plan to save all of mankind. He orchestrated this plan from the beginning of time. He used humans, angels and the constellations to bring about this plan. Remember, you watch any of Pastor Mike’s sermons on YouTube on the Stromsburg Baptist Church channel.

JuvaFlex Vitality

One of the perks of being a Young Living account holder is the free oils I receive every month! Many times they are oils I wouldn’t have thought of trying and boy, would I have missed out.

I received a bottle of Juvaflex Vitality in May and as I started researching it I realized I really needed to try this one!

Juvaflex is a blend of Fennel, Geranium, Rosemary, Roman Chamomile, Blue Tansy and Helichrysum oils. Each of these oils has a powerful emotional component to it. Do you know that we store feelings in certain areas of our bodies? Anger and other negative emotions are stored in the liver. Juvaflex Vitality was designed to release toxicity (like emotions) from the liver.

After reading about these benefits in June. I started taking 2 drops in a capsule twice a day for three days and then pow! The emotional release hit. It was draining and cleansing at the same time. I know it was exactly what I needed with everything that had been going on in our world with moving, selling our home, pandemic, work stuff, etc. The recommendation was to try it for 30 days and I did. It was amazing how much better I felt after those 30 days. In fact, I think it’s time to do another cycle of 30. These oils are so powerful for my emotional health and I’m glad I have them.

Would you like to try Young Living Essential Oils for your emotional health? Right now, Young Living has a Holiday Starter Bundle with 9 key oils, a Leopard print carrying case, and Sweet Aroma Diffuser and a purse sized Thieves Hand Sanitizer. (I’d buy it for the carrying case alone.) This bundle is priced at a little more than half the retail and it won’t stick around forever. Let me know if you want more information.

Young Living Holiday Starter Bundle

Letting Go of the Wheel

I’m not sure why but I’ve never been comfortable riding with my boys on the interstate. They’re great drivers. No accidents. I have no problem riding with them on the highways or streets. Even Omaha. Interstate driving has always just made me a little twitchy.

He making sure he did things “correct” since I was taking a picture.

I think it’s a great metaphor for a mom as her children grow and mature. You have to put them in the driver’s seat of their own lives more and more. Even the fast lane of life. Like when they graduate college and they go off and get their own home, job, insurance. Aaron gave me a great compliment the other day saying I wasn’t a lawnmower mom. I don’t go ahead of them smoothing out the way. But what he doesn’t know is that I want to.

I always knew sending them out the door to college and life that they could fall flat on their face. In some ways I expected it. That way I was prepared for it if it did happen. (I don’t advise thinking this way.) How do you do this as a mom? How do you let go? How do you let them fail? In our society we’ve fallen into this trap that if our kids fail, rebel, or really mess up its the parents fault. Because of this parents have to make sure that the kids never fail, rebel or mess up and this doesn’t end when they become adults. For many, they never stop making sure their children have smooth lives.

I was the rebellious child. I not only rebelled but I really messed up, and failed at life for a few years. Because of that experience I can fully say, it’s not always the parents fault. In my instance it had nothing to do with my parents. I made my own choices. I had traumatic things happen to me that led me to make more bad choices. What turned me around? I got tired of the consequences of my bad choices. I started to make changes.

Ornery

I never once blamed my parents. I think it starts when the children are young. Give them chores and responsibilities. Let them figure the hard stuff out. I was raised this way. I raised my boys this way. Don’t always clear a path for them or do hard tasks for them. Let them experience little failures in the safety of your home. If they break a glass cleaning up the table or putting dishes in the dishwasher. Teach them to clean it up. Look for teaching moments and provide them for your kids.

Show your kids true love and affection but let them have room to grow. Don’t smother them. Don’t entwine them to you in relationships where they are fulfilling your need for connection or companionship. Find your own friends and let them find friends too.

I have sworn I will never beg my kids to come home. I want them to want to come home. I will never make them feel guilty for wanting a life of their own. Isn’t that what we are raising them up to be? Responsible adults with lives of their own? Ben is working out of town over Christmas break. We don’t get this last break with him but he came home this weekend and, as is his way, at one point this weekend he just walked up to me and wrapped me in his arms and held on tight. He’s the best hugger of the bunch. He knows Mom misses him. He also knows Mom loves him and the last thing I would do is tie him to me. I gave my boys wings but I also gave them a nest to come back to. Anytime.

Lord, help mommas of boys

Sunday Takeaways – 11-22-20

What a blessed Sunday it was! First, our Sunday School hour was shared among the classes as we had a guest speaker. She shared her heart for the Lord and others as she shared her humanitarian work that she does on a tiny island on the other side of the world. It was so good and very encouraging.

Our church used to be known for these amazing Easter Contata’s. They were true, full on performances with a big choir. Eventually we got kind of burned out on them but once in a while the director of those cantatas will put together an ensemble and they’ll sing a special. Yesterday was one of those days. It was so uplifting to hear those voices sing praises to God. We have so many talented singers in our church-the tenors really shined yesterday.

Pastor’s message was on Philippines 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. He focused specifically on praying. What a gift prayer is. How we have a direct connection to God through prayer. We can pray anytime, anywhere, under any circumstance.

Some nuggets I wrote down is that we should give thanks for even the gift of prayer. When things are bad we can give thanks that it’s not always like this. Acknowledge it’s a rough time and acknowledge that God is with us in those times. Worry cannot survive in an atmosphere of prayer. Read that again. Pray specifically. When your child comes running to you saying, Mommy! Mommy! You ask what they want. And you want them to be specific. We are to be the same with God.

The service ended with a musically talented couple singing Kari Jobe’s new song, “The Blessing.” What a blessing that was.

But wait! The day wasn’t over. It was the night of our annual soup and pie supper. A fundraiser for missions in our church. Time to fellowship with church friends and catch up. The speaker from the morning blessed us again by sharing more of her work and the culture she is in and just moved us all so much again.

Whew! My cup is full from such a Spirit led day of joining with others in the body of Christ. Truly a special, special day. Thank you, Lord.

Picture taken during the golden hour Friday. The way these “dead” flowers just glow in the sun is so beautiful.

Making Butter

I attempted making butter today! I felt so Pioneer-ish. But, man, I’m glad I have a stand mixer I don’t know how long it must’ve taken with an old-fashioned churn.

Philip grew up with a dairy cow. They milked each morning and always saved the cream for ice cream on Saturday nights. When Philip started getting raw milk from a local dairy again he was saving cream for that. Then I mentioned butter and he thought that was a good idea. But I literally have psyched myself out about for weeks. Like I don’t know what I’m doing so I’m not going to do it.

So I did what I always do. I read up on it. And read some more. And decided I didn’t have cultured buttermilk so I couldn’t do it. But the cream was going to waste!

I also worried about the noise. I hate white noise and from what I’ve read the mixer may run for hours and I wasn’t sure my nerves could handle that so again I put it off.

I had decided I was finally going to use the latest batch of cream while it was fresh and just do the thing this weekend. So today I had a full slate of work to do downstairs-perfect! The mixer can run upstairs and I’ll be far from the noise. I also read a few articles that said I didn’t need the buttermilk so we were good to go! Oh! And one said it could take only 15 minutes so I just did the thing!

Update:

Somehow I messed it up. Me, who can make pies, cinnamon rolls, and decorate beautiful cakes failed on making butter. I blame no Better Homes and Garden or Betty Crocker recipe. I need clear, detailed instructions.

I told my sister-in-laws about the disaster-my mixer ran for 6 hours! Kelly told me she makes butter every year with her second graders and they do it in a jar in 30 minutes. I have to try again. Butter is not defeating me.

Update #2

I did it! I watched a YouTube video and learned I needed to put my mixer on high. I had it on medium yesterday. I also took the cream out ahead of time as another blog said it should be room temp to start. And it worked! It all worked. Can’t wait to do it again. It takes such a short time it’s instant gratification!

My first round of butter

From the Empty Nest: Kitchen Hacks

I’m starting with kitchen hacks because I love to cook. I have an eye for good recipes and love to make all kinds of food. I get bored easily so I don’t have a menu rotation and we don’t make any of the same things each week. We ate together as a family every night and when schedules got crazy we just aimed for as often as possible. Our middle son was diagnosed with celiac at age 8 and when you live in a small town there are zero options for him. I was so happy when our little grocery store started carrying gluten free pizza!

So how did I do all of this as a working mom and needing to cook for a special diet? Here’s some tips.

Plan your meals. Do one week at a time, two weeks, whatever works for you. Buy all the groceries for those meals ahead of time. This way you aren’t running to the store and wasting valuable cooking time. You don’t have to religiously stick to this plan, but you at least have five to 14 meals planned and purchased for to choose from each day.

Cook double. If you are browning one pound of hamburger, brown two. Freeze one pound for quick meal prep later.

Cook chicken breasts in the crockpot, shred, and package in 2 cup servings. Most chicken recipes call for 2 cups of chicken. Voila! Yours is cooked and ready to go.

The crockpot and Instant Pot are your friends. Learn to use them. These two devices shorten time you spend in the kitchen. I never had an Instant Pot but I used my crockpot all the time. Throw the ingredients in the night before. Refrigerate. Take out and plug in before you leave the house the next morning and it’s ready when you get home.

Have your kids help. They can chop, stir, open cans etc. Have someone cleaning out the dishwasher, someone setting the table while you’re cooking. You’ll be amazed at the conversations that happen when you are all organically together. And they are learning to be a part of the family. To help each other. I always stressed that a family was a team and each person had to do their part.

Set the expectation for family meals when they are little. Everyone up to the table at the same time. If it’s a habit they don’t question it as they get older. Again, small town. We didn’t have many alternatives to eating at hone either and most of their friends were doing the same.

This is something I have started doing again now that we are empty nesters-freezer meals! When it was just three of us sometimes a recipe made too much. Rather than get sick of the leftovers (we did that a few times) freeze the leftovers. Sometimes if the recipe called for a 9×13 casserole dish I would intentionally separate it into two 8×8 pans and freeze one for later. I’ve started doing that again now that it’s just Philip and I.

This really came in handy recently when my back went out. I went to the freezer to get ingredients for the nights meal and saw some frozen leftovers. I made the smart decision to just reheat those rather than try to cook. Sometimes I’ll put them on my menus and sometimes they are there for just such an emergency.

I hope these tips help you as they did me! I still make menus every two weeks and wouldn’t know how to grocery shop with them now!

Young Living Holiday Launch

The Young Living Holiday Launch is happening today! (No, really, it’s happening this time!) While there are several new products being added to our catalog, there are also many limited time products so don’t delay in ordering.

Not a member yet? Let’s fix that today! Message me for an easy referral link that takes you right to sign up. Your Young Living membership is like a Costco membership rolled with Amazon prime. You get a 24% discount off retail, a loyalty program that earns you points to spend like money, free shipping on orders over $100, and free products! Let’s get you started in time to grab some of these products. There’s even a special Holiday Starter Bundle with a cute cheetah carrying case. 😉

Christmas Spirit is one of the best oil blends to diffuse and one of the most economical!

Young Living’s Balance Complete

Over the last few months I have tried all of Young Living‘s protein shakes and meal replacement shakes. More for variety than anything else. I’m surprised to discover that I actually enjoy the Balance Complete the most because I’ve heard some people just don’t like the taste.

I feel Balance Complete has the most moderate taste and lends itself to more variety. Although the Chocolate Pure Protein Complete would be a close second. I like the Vanilla Protein Complete fine – it tastes like a chai tea! But it doesn’t lend itself very well to different fruit combinations and such. The Slique Meal Replacement shake was probably my least favorite and that’s only because it’s berry flavored and I’m not a fan of that. It tastes like the strawberry part of neopolitan ice cream which I’m also not a fan of. If you like berry flavor you’ll probably love it.


Balance Complete is part of the 5- Day Nutritive Cleanse set from Young Living but can be purchased alone too. It features Young Living’s proprietary V-Fiber™ blend, which supplies an amazing 11 grams of fiber per serving, absorbs toxins, and satisfies the appetite while balancing the body’s essential requirements.* Instructions say to say 2 scoops in 8 oz of milk or water but I only used 1 scoop since I was using it as a snack not a meal replacement.

I typically drink it in just unsweetened almond milk at about 11:00. Sometimes I use it in my shake in the morning.

Favorite shake recipe:

I scoop Young Living’s Balance Complete

2 cups Great Value frozen Triple Berry Blend

1 cup unsweetened almond milk.

Blend

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Young Living products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Hamster Wheel

Do you exercise? What do you like to do? What kind of exerciser are you?

Up until about 15 years ago I was not an exerciser. I hadn’t been active and I recognized that it wasn’t a good idea to continue that way. So I made a change. I was really regular for a number of years and then life got in the way and I just got back to it a year ago. I’ve paid for a streaming Beachbody membership and so far I’ve done MM100, 21 Day Fix Real-Time, PiYo and then got hooked on Barre Blend. I’ve done two rounds of regular barre and now I’m doing Elise Joan’s Pre/Post Natal Barre Blend program using a calendar that Elise said would be good for anyone – even if you haven’t had a baby in 40 years! Since my “baby” is 19 that sounded good. I’ve seen great results from it and love it.

Due to chronic back issues I decided a couple of months ago that I needed to change the cycle of chiropractor visits and massage therapists and see if I could do something more long term so I talked to my doctor about physical therapy. My physical therapy has two parts; exercises to strengthen my smaller stabilizing muscles and walking. Walking, it turns out is one of the best things you can do for back pain.

I told my physical therapist I hate walking, it’s so boring! (And I’m also afraid of dogs so I won’t walk outside. Our town has too many dogs running around despite a leash law.) After finding out I have a treadmill he told me to find a 30 minute show that would keep my interest and turn it on while I walk on the treadmill. Turns out, I need the visual stimulus to keep me engaged. That’s why I find walking boring.

Except, I’m still bored. My treadmill is old and falling apart so none of the electronics work on it. My phone won’t fit on the holder because I had to go for the big upgrade and get the iPhone 11 Pro Max. I can’t see my timer while I’m walking. I find myself counting commercial breaks to guess how long I’ve been on the treadmill. All the shows I find are 40 minutes not 30 minutes (currently Gilmore Girls) so I’m getting good at figuring out how far into the plot we’ll be when I’m done. My goal is to get through a whole 30 minutes without getting off to look at the timer. So far, I’ve achieved it once. I’m terrible! I don’t know why it’s so boring to me but it just is. I’ve tried listening to podcasts, finding a dog-free route around town, varying my speed, all the things! Walking has just never been my thing. Can anyone else relate??

I’m doing really good at performing the exercises and my back has been so much better lately. Sometimes I can modify Barre exercises to my PT exercises and kill two birds with one stone but that walking, mmhmmm, well, we’ll get there. Hopefully.

Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota