Messiah’s Mansion

During a church event this summer, our church brought in a special exhibit entitled Messiah’s Mansion. It is a full-scale model of the Mosaic sanctuary as described in the Bible. It was a very neat experience. All of the furniture and compartments of the sanctuary are made to scale according to the Bible’s measurements. They were on the campus of Oakwood University for a week and gave free 90-minute tours of the sanctuary. It was guided by college students that would explain each compartment and the articles of furniture and what they symbolized.

It was amazing to see in person, but it was even more amazing to see how the sanctuary represents the plan of salvation. You get a sense of how awesome God is to have a sanctuary as a pictorial representation of his love, what he sacrificed and how he paid an awesome price for us.

Messiah’s Mansion is mainly comprised of students from Oklahoma Academy and they travel from city to city to show this wonderful sanctuary replica. Check out the website (www.messiahsmansion.com) to see when they will visit a city near you. It is a must see!

What I Know For Sure

**I have re-learned an important lesson that I thought I knew and had mastered. That lesson is that Prayer Changes Things. There are many sayings, books, and stories on the power of prayer, how to pray, what to pray, etc. But, it is not until you come face to face with your own personal story that you learn that prayer changes things.

Here is my personal story: I have blogged several times about our son Lucas and his bout with chronic ear infections. He had his first ear infection when he was 3 months old and by the time he was 7 months old, we began a journey of constant ear infections that refused to go away. We tried 2 sets of tubes, 6 different antibiotics, shots, allergy medication, allergy testing and antibiotic ear drops.  He received his last set of tubes on Tuesday, January 27 and by Thursday, January 29, he had a 102 degree fever, runny nose, cough and congestion. We took him back to the doctor Saturday, January 31 and they prescribed another antibiotic and sat there dumbfounded unable to offer any answers or consolation. The doctor’s next suggestions were to put him on a round of stronger shots for 5 days in a row and try a new ear drop that was potentially toxic to the ears! What options are those?  How do you consciously choose signing your kid up for shots 5 days in a row and giving drops that may or may not cause hearing loss ?

 As a mother, that was my breaking point. I had enough and my heart ached with pain as I watched my one year old cry and fuss in pain and I had nothing to offer him. Absolutely nothing to offer to take the pain away. Isn’t that what mommies do? It is part of my job description as a mommy to take the pain away. Every time I laid him down and went near his ears or offered him more medicine, I was reminded that I had nothing to take away the pain. I then felt desperate and destitute of any answers.

After much crying and praying, I was moved to action. The thought came to me to send out an email to our friends and family asking for them to pray for Lucas. Instead of me not sharing what was going on, I decided to let other people know because they just might have a suggestion to try or if nothing else, they could pray. My goal was to flood the throne of heaven with as many prayers for Lucas as I could. Our friends responded quickly and in love. I received several emails and calls with encouraging words, prayers and suggestions.

The next course of action we decided was to try natural or alternative medicines instead of antibiotics. I was completely done with medicines, drops and anything the doctor prescribed. None of it was working and we had been doing the same thing for 6 months.

Long story short, we started giving Lucas 6-8 oz.carrot juice every morning and he sucked it down with no problem! Carrot juice is frequently called the “miracle juice” because of its amazing health benefits. Next, based on potential allergies, we eliminated soy milk from his diet and put him on almond milk. In his milk,, we would add garlic oil to his milk. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and cleanser. Lastly, we used oregano oil to help pull the infection and congestion out of his system. Oregano oil is also a natural antibiotic and fights infections. We rubbed it on his chest and the soles of his feet before he went to bed each night. It gets absorbed into the skin and draws the infection and congestion out.

We have done these treatments for 10 days and it has worked. Lucas went to see a pediatric ENT today and the doctor was puzzled and asked “Why are you here?” There was no fluid, redness or inflammation in his ears. We have not heard that report in over 6 months!

I am convinced that prayer changes things and I am convinced that God has given us natural ways of healing the body. I am ashamed that I did not turn to God and his way first before trusting in the doctors and what they provided. No one can tell me that this is coincidental or happenstance. I had a crying and sick baby on January 31. I got rid of all the doctor’s medicines and methods that day. We started God’s way (prayer and alternative/natural methods) and within 10 days,  the fevers, the coughs, the congestion and inflamed, fluid-filled ears. are gone. As a mommy, I am thankful and encouraged. What I know for sure is this…prayer changes things.

Be encouraged and know that prayer can not only change an ear infection, but it can change you:)

Education-Public or Private?

I grew up in public school my entire life. I never went to private school nor was it in my sphere around me. Simply put, we were too poor to entertain private school. So, I went to public school and excelled there resulting in scholarships to some decent schools.

My first thought of private school came to be after my husband and I got married and we had a conversation about school for our children. My husband, on the converse, went to private school his whole life. How polar opposites can two people be? You can only imagine that 1st conversation we had about public vs. private school. It was intense as I tried to defend that public school was just fine and turned out great students like myself while my husband tried to defend that private school was better because it was more like family, smaller, better Christian experience, etc. That first conversation did not end well. Luckily, we had these conversations before the 1st child was ever born!

Fast forward-times have changed since even I graduated in 2003 and I think we can all say that the public school system is different and that our kids have to contend with even more than we did. As time has progressed, I have a different opinion on the subject of private vs. public school. We have decided to send our kids to a private school, but not just any private school. A Christian private school based on our faith, denomination and beliefs which I think is important and fundamental.

Most people that choose public school do so because they say they cannot afford private education, but yet their lifestyles do not reflect that. My concept of whether or not parents can afford it may be more narrow than most. You see, I grew up in the projects in a single-parent home with 5 kids and my mom working two jobs at a time and we really could not afford it! We could not even afford lunches at school much less private school. So, that scenario I grew up in is my baseline for affordability. Parents that drive the car of their choosing and live in their neighborhood of choice are not the people that cannot truly afford private education for their kids. The truth is that they have chosen other things rather than private education. I am not passing judgment on those individuals. I am simply just stating a fact. We all have the right to choose and we all choose different things or place different priorities on different things. Private school in lots of cases may be a sacrifice, but it is not unaffordable! There is a difference.

Then you have the class of parents that do not see the value of “buying” education when you have an abundance of free or public schools. I was one of those that felt that way because I was a shining example and product of the public shool system that turned out OK. But, I can now see firsthand what a difference it can make through our daughter Lauren. She attends Hoover Christian School and it is a blessing beyond words. It is small, family oriented, successfully academic and most of all, a Christian environment. Lauren is in a class of 5 kids (yes, I said 5!) and they start every morning off with Bible, worship and prayer. I could just stop right there and relish in that. Do you know what a huge difference that can make? We tell her prayer is important at home and to always start your day with prayer. We model it at home and then she sees that reinforced in her classroom! That validates for her that what we teach is true and important. Christian private schools focus on character development whereas public schools focus on academic development. When Lauren misbehaves in school, they sit her down and talk to her about her behavior and God’s expectations. They talk about how to love, respect, and have good character. At public school, you misbehave and you are sent to the principal’s office or to detention. Which is better? I truly believe that character is of more value than academics. I also believe that good character will lead to good academics. You cannot put a price on great character. There is an old adage that states you get what you pay for. I truly believe Christian private education is an example of this!

“Bring back the days of yesterday”

Bring back the days of yesterday…the days when life was simple and the days where things just made sense. For example, the days when marriage was truly marriage between a man and a woman. You know..Man and woman get married, have kids, buy a picket fence home and glide into the sunset. Today, the world has taken a God-given, God-ordained principle such as marriage and now childbirth and have twisted it into something 360 degrees from its original design and purpose. I write this in frustration as I watched a snippet on Larry King Live with a segment titled “The Pregnant Man is Pregnant Again!” Let’s just stop right there with the pregnant man. Am I the only one completely disgusted that a man is pregnant?

Now, I can remember that when I was pregnant there may have been brief moments that I wished my husband could somehow experience the pains and changes only pregnancy can bring. But, I did not wish that literally. I think that would have taken transference of my pregnancy to another level.

I first heard about this “man” on Oprah a few months ago announcing that he was pregnant. I sat in shock and dismay as I saw him walk on stage seemingly pregnant. There I sat shocked, disgusted and sick to my stomach. At the same time, I was interested to hear the story so my mind could mentally piece together how this was possible. Apparently, the pregnant “man” was born a woman and had a sex change, but kept her ovaries intact. Result-woman turned man is pregnant! Some may be fascinated by this confusing, complicated and unnatural web. So, he and his wife gave birth earlier in the summer to a baby girl. Now, they have just announced that they are pregnant again!

 I just long for the simple God- given design where a true man and a true woman marry and have children. Simply put-husband and wife being fruitful and multiplying:) Bring back the days of yesterday. God had a perfect plan and it is still perfect today. It is just that simple.

Will I ever hear a sermon again?

Will I ever hear a sermon again? That is the question of the day as I spent another day at church not in church, but in the hallway or a classroom. Lucas is 10 months old today and one thing is true-he has not learned the church handbook that says be quiet in church. Today, we made it through the first song and then we were out the rest of the service. He was sleepy, but refused to go to sleep. Which also meant he refused to be quiet. Hence, there I was with 2 other mothers who were having the same fate. At the churches we attend in Birmingham, there is no official mother’s room where you drop your kid off and go sit and enjoy the service. There is a mother’s room, but it is the hangout where all the weary mothers gather and exchange Fruit Puffs and talk about new motherhood tips. After about 5 minutes of that, you look around and wonder if you are at church or at the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office?

At this age, what can you do to keep them quiet at church? Snacks do not work unless you want to catch them mid-air as they try to hurl them at the elderly lady sitting in front of you. The ol’ sleep hold also does not work. Once your child pieces together that you are trying to get them to go to sleep-they get a new determination to let the whole church know they are against that. Every week it is the same old story. I try to be a good mom and sit on the back row on the end, but even as close as I am to the door-it is never close enough.

I will be glad when he gets to the age where it is reasonably expected that he knows better and can sit in the church quietly. I would like to hear a word from the Lord occasionally. Right now, all I hear is the munch of a Fruit Puff and a whine for more Fruit Puffs. In the meantime, can you please pray that this mommy will hear a sermon again!

Nature’s Rewards

Picture of the mountains

Picture of the mountains

I am a city girl-born and raised in the city and do not know much about the country. Neither did I grow up being an outside girl. I was not signing up for hiking, camping, or anything of the sort. The most I have learned about the country has been through Marcus because his parents moved to the country when he was approaching high school and he has shared what it was like moving from the city to the country. When he first told me about it, I can remember turning my nose up and feeling sorry for him. Now, 10 years later I no longer turn my nose up at the thought of living in the country, going to the country, being out in nature, etc. I even went on my first camping trip 2 years ago and had a blast! I love being outside working in my yard, in the park, walking a trail and just being among nature.

Tree beautiful and full of color!

Tree beautiful and full of color!

Lucas having fun outside

Lucas having fun outside

Well, this weekend the family and I went to a spiritual retreat at Cohutta Springs Conference Center. Cohutta Springs is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Crandall, GA-about maybe 50 miles from Chattanooga, TN. The place is absolutely gorgeous and full of nature’s beautiful scenery. It is surrounded by beautiful foliage and lakes. They have nicely decorated, clean, and accommodating facilities. They have a gymnasium, a pool, canoes, walking trails and horseback riding. In between the services, we spent time outside in nature and it was beyond peaceful.

There is a reward of peace in being out in nature. It is hard to be consumed with the cares of this world looking out over the mountains that God has created. If you pause and look at nature, all of a sudden your steps get slower, your work thoughts begin to stall, and you enter in a silent peace and calm. What a beautiful gift! The city is full of hustle and bustle, therefore our thoughts and minds are constantly running just to keep up. Whereas in the country, it is slower and as a result we slow down. The next time stress gets to a maximum, go out in nature…..and let it take its course! You will receive a reward:)

View of lake and canoes

View of lake and canoes

Why Heaven?

Marcus and I were riding in the car yesterday and as he was driving, he looked up in the sky and remarked that he sometimes wonder what it will be like when Jesus returns. He talked about when he thinks about it, he gets a warm feeling inside. He said that when Jesus returns he wants to meet him in peace and not be one of those that are crying for the rocks to fall on them as the Bible states in Revelations 6:16. I then agreed with him and affirmed that I too wanted to meet Jesus in peace. As I said the words, I had a sobering thought pass through my mind. The question came to me-“Why do I want to go to heaven?” Do I want to go to heaven because I do not want to go to hell? Is my motivation just to avoid hell? If there were a 3rd option (besides heaven or hell), would I choose that option?

The mere thought caused me to think long and hard about my current commitments and the intent behind them. If I am just trying to avoid hell, will my intent alone get us to the desired result? Just questions that make you go ….hmmm. In my heart, I want to see Jesus face to face and be able to look upon the person that has saved me from this world. I want to be in the presence of the one who saw fit to die for my sins when I was so unworthy. In my heart, I truly believe that is my intent. Yet, I am thankful for the sobering thought that caused me at least to evaluate my intent. So many times, we have believed a certain way for years, but we rarely check in with those beliefs and validate them.

Why do you want to go to heaven?  If it is just to avoid the alternative, is that OK? Just questions.