What’s Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Good morning!

Every year I make my list of New Year’s Resolutions. You know, exercise more, learn a new skill, attend church regularly, yada, yada. We all have good intentions.  We start off great then we back slide into our old habits.

This year I want to be better. Intentionally better than I was last year. A better Christian, a better daughter, mother, grandmother, employee, and friend. More productive. Less wasted time doing idle things like TV, chatting, Facebook.

I always add a few goals of something new I’d like to accomplish to the mix. This year I plan to learn how to play chess. I plan to work on my alternative teaching certificate. I’d love to delve into a little freelance writing. I’d love to run the 5K at St. Jude’s. My wish list is to spend a night at Fixer Upper’s, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ bed and breakfast in Waco, TX. Love that show!

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How about you?

What are your goals or resolutions for this new year?

Let’s all ask God to cleanse us. Give us a new year. A new heart. A fresh new start. To do things better.

It’s the last day of the year! I hope 2015 brought you great memories! Here’s to an even greater 2016! Happy New Year my friends!  I hope each of you celebrates its arrival in a special way. I love you all! ♡

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

Love and laughter,

Sandy

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Cast The First Stone

Good morning!

Get ready! Today’s blog brings you homework for 2016.

Do you remember the story of the woman caught in adultery that was brought before Jesus to be stoned?

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I firmly believe there is just too much negativity, hatred, and dissing in our world, and we can change that. Corporately we can make a difference. One at a time we can accomplish it. Let’s stop pointing fingers at others and instead man up and look in the mirror at our own reflection.

What example are we leaving to others?

My challenge to each of you today is to go find a small stone for yourself. Then carry it around with you for 2016. Wherever you daily carry your spare change. In your pocket. In your purse. Somewhere you will be gently reminded of it each and every day. Those times you may quickly want to throw blame or judgment on others, pick up that stone. And think again. And let Jesus’ powerful words reverberate in your very soul, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Let’s stop the proverbial stoning of our fellow man. Let’s build him up rather than tear him down. Together let’s lay down our stones one by one and build beautiful stone bridges. Let’s bridge the gap.

I’ve got my stone.  How about you?

7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her first.” 
John 8:7

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Pente

Good morning!

It’s freezing out. Literally. It’s rained and sleeted and snowed for the past several days. School’s out for Christmas break. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be another inside day. A great day to fire up the fireplace, turn on some movies, and get out the game boards.

One of my favorite games to play is Pente. It means five. Five in a row or capture 5 pairs of your opponents stones, and you are the winner. Many of you may be unfamiliar with it. If you went to college in the late 70s,  early 80s, you probably played it. It was the campus rage. If you went to OSU that is.

In 1977, Gary Gabrel, a dishwasher at Hideaway Pizza, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, created it. It was the perfect pastime for customers to play on the checkerboard tablecloths as they waited for their Hideaway pizza.

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I bought one the year it came out on campus and still have it.

With schools out, now is the perfect time to challenge your minds to a game of strategy. A game of Pente. If you don’t have one of your own, you can borrow mine. Or head to Hideaway for pizza. I’m sure they still have those checkerboard tablecloths.  🙂 You might want to bring your own mandala stones to play with though. If you’re not in Stillwater and it’s no longer the 80s they may not have a clue what you’re talking about.

When’s the last time you exerted a little self-control while performing a healthy mental competition with someone?

Let’s all set our sights on winning not just a friendly round of Pente, but a prize that offers us greater reward.  Eternal reward. Let’s press on towards becoming victorious in the game of life. The greatest strategy game ever. Good vs. evil. The winner has already been determined. 

I pray you join me in supporting the winning side!

Stay warm, take “five”and get out your games, have some good wholesome fun, and may the best man (or woman) win!

Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. 
1 Corinthians 9:25

Love and laughter,

Sandy

You Might Want To Rethink That

Good morning!

I was watching television this morning when a commercial for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital came on the TV.  Now that is a cause I firmly believe in! Saving the children!

It was brought to my attention that Danny Thomas, the founder of St. Jude, was the son of Syrian refugees.

St. Jude was the patron saint of lost causes. Can you think of a more suiting saint to name a children’s cancer and blood disease hospital after?

Did you know that St. Jude charges absolutely nothing to their patients and their families that reside there?  They want all their focus on hope. Recovery. That’s pretty impressive to me.

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And then there’s Steve Jobs. His biological father was also Syrian. Do you have any idea where our world’s technology would be without Steve Jobs and Apple?

I’d encourage each of you to read both of their personal stories if you aren’t already familiar with them. Quite interesting reading. Great men doing great things for our country. Our world.

They had no boundaries when it came to the time, effort, and funds they put into what they believed in. Their dreams were held by no borders.

The next time you want to air your opinion about whether the Syrian refugees should be allowed within our country borders or not, you might just want to rethink that.

You might just be hindering the next Danny Thomas or Steve Jobs from doing something remarkable. Making a huge difference for our country. Our world.

The greatest man ever was no stranger to these lands of Syria and its surrounding borders. He grew up there.  He knows the conflict well. From beginning to end.

Christians and Muslims have been fighting for years. But both groups alike agree on one thing, the current Syria conflict points to biblical prophecy and the imminent return of Christ.

If you think what’s going on in Syria doesn’t affect you, you might just want to rethink that.

See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.
Isaiah 17:1-3

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Instant Gratification

Good morning!

Well, I hope everyone had a great Christmas! It’s hard to believe it’s already come and gone.

I started my Christmas morning off with my father offering to take him and me out to breakfast. We had already celebrated our family festivities on Christmas Eve, the day before. So it was just us two. I offered to cook, but he wanted to take me out since it was Christmas.  We jumped in the car and off we went. It didn’t take long to feel like we were in the Twilight Zone. I’d read the Left Behind series and after all, it was Christmas. But I never thought I’d be left behind! There wasn’t a car in sight. And everywhere we thought would be open, was not.

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Tulsa looked like Nagasaki had hit. McDonald’s was closed. The donut shop was closed. Sonic was closed.  Braums was closed. Phil’s Diner was closed. We went home, and I cooked after all. 🙂

Later that day I had plans to go out to lunch. Round two. The Asian restaurants were all that we found open. We decided to cook instead. All the grocery stores were also closed. All except QuikTrip. We purchased a few provisions from Quiktrip and decided on an alternate menu, and once again, I went home, and I cooked.

I found myself frustrated that the entire city was basically shut down. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a Christian and one of the biggest advocates of closing for Christmas. Letting employees have the holiday off with their families.

I realized my frustration lie in the fact that I was conditioned to instant gratification. I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it. Our society breeds it. With our microwave ovens and our smart phones and our credit cards and our 24 hour gyms and instant spray tans and fast food drive thrus. I had to settle for something I had on hand for lunch or something that Quiktrip carried. Neither were my first choice.

Here it was Jesus’ birthday and I was grumbling about my menu options. The only thing that was going to be hard to swallow about that meal was my attitude. Ugh! I gave it an adjustment immediately!

Jesus was not just found lying in the manger this Christmas day. He was in my heart convicting me of a selfish spirit. It was the company I kept not the food that mattered. It was about being content with what I had and making the most of it by sharing it with others. It was about being patient and waiting on the Lord. It was about Jesus coming to earth so He could die for our sins. God wanted me to see that. And I did.

The next time I think I want or need instant gratification, I’ll check it at the door. And instead focus on the eternal. I certainly wouldn’t want to get to the gates of heaven only to find a sign marked, Closed for Christmas!

“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”
Psalm 27:14

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Silver And Gold

Good morning!

I remember singing a song, a round as a matter of fact, when I was a young girl in scouts, entitled Silver and Gold.

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Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.

Last night I worked at The Children’s Hospital in the PICU. My former full time job. Since I had two weeks off from school for Christmas break, I could easily fill in Christmas night.
A night off for Mike to spend the holiday with his son. A night of double time for me. Win, win. I was in! 🙂

It was good to be back. 🙂 To see many familiar faces. Janie and Mary Ellen and Ann and Linda and Merridith and Rachael and Elisabeth and Teela.

You see, I’ve worked at Saint Francis for well over a decade. They are my gold.
My newer Jenks West friends I’ve known less than a year. They are my silver. 🙂

Both are precious. Just like metals.
One just has a little more history. Has withstood the fire a little longer.

I encourage each of you as you carry on and face some of life’s unavoidable changes that may come your way to never forget your gold. Make new silver, but in this disposable society we live in, never throw away the gold.

Gold and silver are valuable investments. Invest likewise in your friends. Keep in contact with them. Engage with them. Nurture them. Love them. Speak kindly to them and about them.

We can’t take our riches with us. But we’ll have eternity together with our friends. Invest well.

a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Christmas

Good morning!

It’s Christmas!

Christmas to me is all about the season. Not just one day, December 25th.
It’s a frame of mind.
Giving. Loving. Being of good cheer.

Thinking back on this past Christmas season, I found myself analyzing my own activities. I listened to Christmas carols every day in my car. I made a Christmas list and shared it online. I filled an Operation Christmas Child shoebox, dropped some spare funds in the Salvation Army pot a few times, and helped out a family that is struggling through another’s outreach. I exchanged gifts with several friends and colleagues. I gazed at Philbrook’s spectacular Garden Glow. I walked around Rhema and enjoyed the massive light display and the people doing the same. I even witnessed Christmas lights in good old southern charm. I kissed under mistletoe. I attended a festive holiday scarf exchange with those I work with. I wore my pajamas to work like in Polar Express. I watched Christmas movies with my grandchildren and daughters. I watched countless Hallmark Christmas flicks when this winter’s crud had me up all night coughing. I went to church with a dear friend. I drank holiday coffee with another.  i wrote numerous blogs on the topic of Christmas.

But what did I really do to make the season bright? That made a difference. I feel like all I did was go through the motions. Something was missing.

                           CHRIST.

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I did not put up a manger this year! There was no baby Jesus lying in the manger. 😦

When my children were young, each of them loved to take baby Jesus from His designated place in the manger and carry Him around with them. I’d find Him in the strangest of locations, left by young hands. Bathrooms, toy boxes, beds, dishwasher compartments. Sometimes it was spring before He resurfaced. But He always did. To such delight! No elf on a shelf or Waldo needed in our house to go searching for!

That’s kind of how it is with Christ. He has a designated place, but we can take Him with us wherever we go. And you never know when His presence will appear unmistakably. And it does now and always will offer such delight when we find Him!

Let’s all leave Christ in Christmas! Let’s open our hearts and our hands and hold Him close just like little children. Let’s carry Him around with us wherever we go, not just leave Him in the manger.  After all, He is the reason for the season!

Merry Christmas to you all!
I love you!
And I know without a doubt,
Jesus loves you too! ♡

6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:6-7

Love and laughter,

Sandy