Easter Pictures 2011

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This is definitely one of the best times to have an old house…iron fences, columns and nice backgrounds galore for pictures.

Vivian took all of the pictures of me and Steven.  She did a great job.  She is going to be a great little photographer when she grows up. 🙂  She is reading this as I type it…hehe

Happy Easter!

KJV: Matthew 28:5-6

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Decorating for Christmas

Vivian helping with the lights. She's a good helper.

Its kinda hard to decorate for Christmas when half of your kitchen is in the dining room and the other half is on your back porch.  Nevertheless, we are trying to muster up some Christmas spirit in the Warren house.  I type this as I hear hammering in the kitchen as the new floor is going down.  Hopefully, after all the dust settles, and most of the items are returned to their rightful places, Viv and I can finish our decorating in preparation of opening our home this weekend to family who are coming.

Vivian knows that right after Thanksgiving, we decorate for Christmas.  This is her absolute favorite time of the year.  She always bugs me the whole week of Thanksgiving, perpetually asking “When are we going to decorate for Christmas?”  It was no different this year.  We finally pulled out the tree…even in the midst of the kitchen remodel, and got it ready for decorations.

Vivian’s friends came over and helped her decorate the tree in her room.

They did a wonderful job.  It looks beautiful!  When I clean up all of the construction dust and put things to rights, we will take pictures and post them next week.  Hope you are enjoying this wonderful season!

Andrea

Remodeling 101 by Mary Southerland

I read this today and laughed about waking up to see the toilet in the Master bedroom…I have many stories like that too!  Hahaha…read on….

Today’s Truth 
Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Friend to Friend 
I promised myself that I would never buy a house that could be described as a “fixer-upper.” I don’t like fixing things. I want everything to be fixed before I move in. But there I was, buying a town house that needed so much work even the realtor couldn’t believe my husband and I wanted to buy it. Why didn’t someone stop me? No one did, so the sale was made and we went to work. Actually, my son and husband went to work while I went crazy.

 I had no idea how horrible the process of remodeling could be. Layer after layer of dirt, grime, stains and ugliness was stripped away. Rotten kitchen cabinets were torn from the walls and rusty appliances were replaced. We basically gutted the whole place and rebuilt it – while living in it. I was not happy!

I will never forget the day I woke up to see a toilet sitting at the foot of our bed. It was at that moment I resolved to never set foot in another house that required so much work. I am so thankful God does not feel that way about me. 

Honestly, I used to wonder why God didn’t just demolish the old me and build a new one. Then He did just that – through a two-year battle with clinical depression. While sitting at the bottom of that deep, dark and slimy pit, the Father lovingly stripped away old fears and insecurities. From the walls of my heart, He tore the rotten attitudes, undisciplined thoughts and unholy desires that had walked me to the edge of my pit; then pushed me in. He replaced rusty old dreams with new ones and basically, gutted my life to build a new one, a better one, and a stronger one. Part of that new life was forgiveness. God taught me how to forgive myself so I could then forgive others.

Because forgiveness is so important, it only stands to reason that there are roadblocks that can hinder our willingness to forgive. We must make the commitment to identify and remove each one….. Click here to read the entire devotion

Religion

This is a very interesting post and worth a read.

Don’t know much about religion? You’re not alone, study finds

Odds are that you know Mother Teresa was Catholic, but what religion is the Dalai Lama?

How about Maimonides?

And – no Googling – what’s the first book of the Bible? How about the first four books of the New Testament?

Americans who can answer all of those questions are relatively rare, a huge new study has found.

In fact, although the United States is one of the most religious developed countries in the world, most Americans scored 50 percent or less on a quiz measuring knowledge of the Bible, world religions and what the Constitution says about religion in public life.

The survey is full of surprising findings.

For example, it’s not evangelicals or Catholics who did best – it’s atheists and agnostics.

It’s not Bible-belt Southerners who scored highest – they came at the bottom.

Those who believe the Bible is the literal word of God did slightly worse than average, while those who say it is not the word of God scored slightly better.

Barely half of all Catholics know that when they take communion, the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ, according to Catholic doctrine.

And only about one in three know that a public school teacher is allowed to teach a comparative religion class – although nine out of 10 know that teacher isn’t allowed by the Supreme Court to lead a class in prayer.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life is behind the 32-question quiz, polling more than 3,400 Americans by telephone to gauge the depth of the country’s religious knowledge.

Read CNN Belief Blog contributor and Pew adviser Stephen Prothero’s take on the survey

“When it comes to religion, there are a lot of things that Americans are unfamiliar with. That’s the main takeaway,” says Greg Smith, a senior researcher at the think tank and one of the main authors of the survey.

Smith has a theory about why atheists did so well on the quiz – they have thought more about religion than most people.

“Very few people say that they were raised as atheists and agnostics,” he explains.

About three out of four were raised as Christians, he says.

“They were raised in a faith and have made a decision to identify themselves with groups that tend to be fairly unpopular,” atheists and agnostics, he says.

“That decision presupposes having given some thought to these things,” which is strongly linked with religious knowledge, he says.

The single strongest factor predicting how well a person does on the religious knowledge quiz is education – the more years of schooling a person has, the more they are likely to know about religion, regardless of how religious they consider themselves to be, Pew found.

“The No. 1 predictor without question is simply educational attainment,” Smith said.

The think tank also asked a handful of general knowledge questions – such as who wrote “Moby-Dick” and who’s the vice president of the United States – and found a link between religious knowledge and general knowledge.

Very few people scored high on religion questions and badly on general knowledge, or vice versa.

People who were members of religious youth groups also did well, he said.

“Religious education is an important factor that helps to explain knowledge – people who participated in youth groups get an average of two extra questions right,” he said.

Jews and Mormons were close behind atheists and agnostics as the group who did best overall on the religion questions, and white evangelical Protestants also tended to get more than half right.

White Catholics averaged exactly half right, followed by mainline Protestants and people who said they were “nothing in particular,” both of whom got just under half right.

Black Protestants got just over a third of the questions right, and Hispanic Catholics just under a third, the Pew Forum found.

The survey was inspired partly by CNN Belief Blog contributor Stephen Prothero‘s 2007 book, “Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know – And Doesn’t.”

Because the Pew Forum couldn’t find any indication that such a survey has ever been done before, it can’t say if Americans today know more or less about religion now than they did in the past.

And the organization doesn’t claim too much for its 32 questions.

They “are intended to be representative of a body of important knowledge about religion; they are not meant to be a list of the most essential facts,” the Pew Forum says.

Only eight of the 3,412 survey respondents got all 32 questions right. Six got them all wrong.

Adoptable Dolls Are Now Available!

If you have ventured over to my other blog, BeautyofAdoption.wordpress.com, you know that we are working on an International Adoption.  We are working on a couple fundraisers to make this possible.  Today, I received the dolls in that are up for “adoption”.  They come with a Certificate of Adoption and a story about where they are from.  Check it out!  Christmas is coming soon!  These make great gifts.  Also, if you are a school teacher, your class can “Adopt” a child and you can teach them about the country and about adoption.  So many ideas!  Thank you for your help and support!

New Orleans Teddy Bear, available for $10 donation ($12 to ship)

Tatiana from Moldova, available for $12 donation ($15 to ship)

Lupe from Guatemala, available for $12 donation ($15 to ship)

Children in Handumanan, Philippines

You may remember me talking in July about having a school supply drive at our VBS.  The kids at our church packaged up the boxes and wrote letters to the kids in the Philippines.  We had such a great time and a tremendous outpouring of hearts during that week of VBS.  The school finally received our supplies and here are a couple pictures.  I love these kids!

This has truly made my day.

Andrea

Christian = Naive?

I am convinced that I must  not have the most recent edition of the good ole dictionary.  I am certain that if I look up the word Christian in the dictionary, that it most likely has the word NAIVE as the definition.  Or, is that just what everyone thinks?  I had to take down the sign in my yard touting my church affiliation due to the increasing number of persons knocking on my door asking for $.  Not only do they ask me for money and feed me some crazy, disjointed story, they get indignant when I tell them (truthfully) that I do not have any money, but I ask if I could feed them instead.  Need to get to the doctor in Leesville, don’t have a ride, need some money to make it there….do I look stupid????  Can’t feed your kids, you work at Sonic, you are hungry, need some money to buy groceries but are standing on my plywood porch puffing a smoke from a $5 pack of cigarettes?  Really?  I am, like most everyone else, trying to make ends meet myself.  In fact, in another week, I am marching back out into college world trying to obtain a second (hopefully more helpful) degree, along with a Masters.  I will be working part time, plus going to school full time.  We have cut several things from our budget to ready ourselves for the loss of my income.  We have not had DirecTV in over 6 years.  We recently were forced to get cell phones due to our rental business.  Before that, we were on a tight, no frills budget which did not allow for cell phones.  I do not have caller id.  Do not leave me a message saying “call me back” and expect me to know your voice AND your telephone number.  (Sorry, that is a side rant.  Am annoyed with persons who do not leave their name, telephone number and a brief message like my machine instructs them to DO!).  Anyway….

I have had more people turn their nose up at the food I have offered then I care to count.  If some of these people were “really” hungry, they would take what I offered.  I usually stock up on canned meats and different items that are easy to open and pack them in paper bags with disposable plasticware.  I had one guy tell me, I don’t have any way to cook or open anything you give me.  I told him that everything is cooked, all of the cans have pop tops and there is plasticware and a napkin in the bag.  He still didn’t want it.  Lol…some people!

I have even had some go so far as to say that they thought I was a “Christian”.  The next person who tells me that, I am going to ask them: “What is YOUR definition of being a Christian?”  Do they expect you to be a doormat?  Do they expect you to hand out money no questions asked?  Because they don’t get their way and I don’t hand over what they demand of me, that makes me NOT a Christian?  Sounds more like a toddler throwing a fit because they didn’t get their way.  I don’t remember Jesus waving his hands and creating money trees.   I am reminded of what Peter said to the lame man “Silver and Gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee…”  I think I am going to print that on cards and staple them to the bags….lol…although I think the point would be lost on most.

Ok, so what is my definition of a ‘Christian’?  A Christian is a follower of Christ through example and deed.  Being a good and responsible human being.  Being compassionate, but not an enabler.   Being merciful, but not smothering.  Loving others enough to hold them up when they need it, but also allowing them to learn on their own through trial and error.  To live your life morally, with integrity and weighing all things with a sound conscience, but not preaching to everyone else what they “should” or “need” to do according to personal opinion.  To have an understanding of Biblical principals and how to enact them in your life.  “…in all thy ways, acknowledge Him” Prov. 3:5. 

Above all, a Christian (or whatever you want to call yourself…Christ Follower, Bible Believer) is someone who enacts Matthew 25 in their daily life. 

Matthew 25:35-40

 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

 37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

I have to admit that I am quite a miser.  And to think of even giving someone a dollar gives me a headache.  I work hard, as does my husband.  We pay taxes (which I am all for and think as responsible Americans we should pay our taxes).  I give to missions.  I give to our church’s building programs.  I pay tithes and offerings.  I donate time and effort to local charities.  I take food to the sick.  I visit the elderly.  I take care of widows.  I live on a tight budget and do my best to control our expenses and do not spend outside of our means.  Even if that entails living with less or living without.  So, when someone, whom I don’t know from Adam, stumbles up on my porch and asks me for money, it is rather hard for me to justify handing over money — I pinch so tight George Washington yelps — to someone that appears to not have a job and be drunk.  I am sure if food was what they were going to spend it on, they would gladly take my food bag instead and not worry about the money at all.  However, when they balk at the food, I know that the money was not intended for nourishing the body.

I have since edited this post a little and I would very much like to point out Bryan’s comments below.  I cannot say it better.

Andrea