Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Monday, January 21, 2019

Fun with games

We really enjoy playing games as a family.  Claire learned how to play Battleship.  We have the old-fashioned set from when our kids were children.  

Not this newfangled kind that is electronic.

Jill was instructing her how it works.

Her opponent was Papa.
"He hit my ship."  Look at those pouty lips!
But in the end, she beat her Papa; sunk all his ships first!
Way to go, Claire!

We learned a new card game.

Then we played our own version of  Telestrations.

We took paper and cut it down to size.  You need as much paper as there are players.  We stapled them together into a booklet so the kids wouldn't get them mixed up.  When we play with just adults, we just make a stack.  

Then you write down a phrase, anything you can think of.  
"Unloading the groceries from the car."
"Riding down a slippery slide at the park and landing in a mud puddle."
"Watching the movie Mary Poppins."
The more complicated, the better.  You wouldn't want to just write down "train."  

You hand the sheet with the phrase to the next player.  Then it is timed.  
They have 1 minute to draw that phrase and then pass it on.
The next player looks at the drawing and tries to figure out what it is.
It goes back and forth - phrase to drawing, drawing to phrase,
until it gets all the way back too the original person.
We just laugh and laugh as each person shows how their phrase morphed 
and what the last one guessed.

The game of LIFE!  This is an old game.  
The salary of the doctor and lawyer is $25,000.

One of my favorite games is Imaginiff.
You write down the names of everyone playing.
If there are extra spaces, you can write down anyone's name.
Your preacher, the president, Bugs Bunny, whatever.

Then you go around the room and each player on his turn rolls the dice to see who in the space the question will be talking about.  He reads the card.  Here is one play that happened.

Someone rolled Adam, and the question asked was:
"Imaginiff Adam were honked at by an impatient driver.  Would he...."
1.  Get out of the car and threaten the driver
2.  Ignore it and turn up the radio
3.  Honk 'em right back
4.  Wink and lick the window
5.  Give an apologetic wave
6.  Record the license plate and call the police

Can you guess?  The object is to try to guess what everyone else will say and those who have the most number right, move forward a space.

The one Adam said was definitely what he would do was #4!!   Now, if the majority had picked 6, that was the correct answer and those people moved up 1.  But most people guessed him correctly.  My son-in-law, a preacher, would do that???!!!    I would so do #5.

You might land on a "challenge" and you pick someone that you think will agree with you in an answer.  If you both agree and put down the right number, you move forward 4.  If not, you go backwards 4.  Here Sophie and Hannah answered the same way.  It was hilarious and they were so excited!

What fun games does your family like to play?

Saturday, January 19, 2019


 When the kids came there was a big battle.
They had been planning this for some time. 
Here is the map of their battle plan.
 It was FREEZING outside but it meant nothing to the children.  They were all excited!

Adam also joined the fight.

After almost 2 hours, they decided to carry the fight inside.
It went on pretty much the whole time they were here.

And what were the moms doing?

Our grandchildren had a battle plan - and God has a battle plan for us.  And we need to dress for battle in this world.  A soldier wouldn't go into battle without his helmet, bullet proof vest, his rifle...  Could you imagine a soldier walking into battle wearing a swimsuit?   

A Fight to the Finish  - Ephesians 6:10-18  The Message

God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Our family

I told the children we had to take family pictures.  This past year, I had several friends pass away.  We never know what the next year will bring.  The obituary is filled with people not only in their 90's, but young people, younger than me!  Even children.

2013 - This was our last photo with both of my parents.  We would never have guessed that by Christmas 2014, my mother would no longer be with us.

1987 - This was our last picture with Al's parents both living.  We knew it would be the last one, as Mom had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.  She passed away in August, 1988.

Treasure your family.  Pray for each one.  
I love the following prayer that Anne Graham Lotz wrote:

We pray for our families.  Father God, we ask You for what we know Your heart’s desire is.  Please.  Bring every single member of our families to a saving knowledge of Jesus before judgment comes, either at Your return or at their death. We will refrain from giving You suggestions on how to do this, but we ask You to do it.  We know in answer to Abraham’s prayer, You didn’t save everyone, but You did save His family.  You sent Your angels to drag them out of danger.6 If You would do it for Abraham, then in answer to our prayers which we offer in the name of Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ, would You please do it for us? Save our loved ones. Snatch them from the fire.  Drag them out of their sin.  O God of mercy, we can hardly bare the thought of going to Heaven without them.  We give You permission to do whatever it takes to get them there.
I pray for the salvation of my ______________
In the meantime, until You save our families, would You please use us to save someone else’s family? Give us a sensitivity to Your Spirit so that we follow His lead, go where He directs, speak to whoever He brings across our path, say what He brings to our minds and lips? Give us the joy of being the answer to someone else’s prayer as we lead their loved ones to trust in Jesus. Living Word of God, in these days of turmoil and fear, hopelessness and helplessness, sinfulness and wickedness…in these days of bad news, don’t let us be silent! We have Good News!  Compel us by our gratitude for the Cross, our love for our Savior, our compassion for a broken world, to open our mouths and just give them Jesus!
I pray for the salvation of ______________

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Best Gift

There was only 1 day that the family was all at our home at the same time, so that had to be the day Santa arrived!  He does not come down the chimney at our house.

After our talent show, we had a little break.  Usually the children follow Papa around the house, waiting for him to go to the "bathroom" and try to catch him changing into his Santa suit.  This year Jason snuck downstairs to put on the costume and then came to the front door and rang the doorbell!  He was a little bit skinny for Santa, but...

he helped Papa hand out the stockings and then said his good-byes.

We don't really do Santa in the traditional sense.  He doesn't come Christmas Eve and put gifts under the tree; gifts are put under the tree ahead of time.  He just pops in to say hello and pass out the stockings.  We have always celebrated Christmas as Jesus' birthday.  That's the important part, although for us, Santa is a part of the tradition.

My mother sewed a Santa suit for my dad many years ago in Japan.  I can remember him coming to our one-room school in Miyakonojo one Christmas.  After the play we performed for the parents, "Santa" walked into the school.  My initial thought was "My parents lied!  There IS a Santa Claus!"
Here is a picture of him passing out gifts to us missionary school children.  He is giving me a gift in this picture.  When I looked into his twinkling eyes, I KNEW it was just my Dad!!  This was in 1963, when I was in 3rd grade.  That year, he also put that costume on at our house and told us not to peak through the sliding dining room doors to the living room.  Of course we did and we actually saw Santa kissing Mommy!!
My dad continued to be Santa when they retired at the nursing home.
He dressed up to pass out gifts to the elderly there.
See his eyes?  What sweet, kind eyes!  
He loved to laugh and make us laugh!

And here is Allen who inherited that suit.  This is in 1981 and Josh and his cousin were visited by Santa.  The kids have since purchased Al a new suit as this one made in the '60's was pretty far gone.

* * * 

We passed out all the gifts first, then one by one we opened one gift at a time and went around the room admiring what each person received. 

Claire was so excited for her new pony barn!

Is there any other kind of gift this boy wants?  Nerf guns!
Well, and money from Aunt Mindy and Uncle Jason is pretty cool!

I gave both families a couple of DVD's of the Walton series.  I used to LOVE that show!  Good clean shows with family values.  And a lesson to learn.

A clue for one of the gifts I gave Mindy.

Food + net + work + sub(marine) + script (lettering) + shun (sheep being shunned)

Many of these pictures are from my son, Josh.  Between the two of us we were able to capture what all went on. But I didn't get a good picture of Mindy's gift to Jill.  The one I took was blurry.  So Jill sent me a picture.  Such a cute gift!

sister hugs

A gift I gave the kids this year was a "book" made up of airmail letters I found.  Letters my parents had written from Japan to my dad's parents in Kansas from the 1950's to the 1970's.  What a find it was and such a joy to read these letters of how God was working in them and through them.

A few of the children made us some gifts of art.  Love, love!

God has gifted each of our grandchildren with an artistic bent!

Staci and Emeri surprised all of us girls with sherpas!

Then we sat down to dinner.  I fixed a recipe from Deb Raney, she calls Copacabana Tacos. 

Season a medium-chuck roast with Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and bay leaf in the crockpot overnight, or until beef falls apart with a fork. Remove bay leaf and any fat, and reserve juices. Shred beef and set aside.
Make a gravy of the juices (I bring the juices to a boil and stir in a mixture of 1 cup water and one Tblsp. cornstarch, depending on how much juice is left.) Once the gravy is smooth and thickened, add the shredded beef back in.
To assemble: Spread warm flour tortillas with sour cream, spoon beef mixture in the center, sprinkle liberally with shredded cheese (I use the Mexican blend Kraft makes). Roll up tortilla and line them up in a 9x13 pan enchilada style. Cover tightly so tortillas don’t dry out, and bake just until cheese melts. (Usually 30 minutes is plenty if the beef mixture is warm when you start assembling. You can also make ahead, store covered in refrigerator, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.)
Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream and salsa (for salsa I use one can of Del Monte Mexican Style Stewed Tomatoes pureed in a food processor—I add about a teaspoon of sugar plus salt and pepper before I puree. Recently, I’ve been adding the salsa to the meat mixture.) Add your favorite Mexican trimmings if you like: lettuce, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, onions, etc.
A medium roast will usually make 10-12 large “tacos” and I squeeze them all into a deep 9x13 pan.

We asked the kids and grandchildren for a list of things they would like to have and of course, we shopped with them in mind.  It was so much fun shopping and finding just the "right" gift - what they would like and enjoy the most!  Although getting and giving gifts is a lot of fun, these gifts will one day end up at a thrift store, or perhaps in a garage sale.  Or eaten, if it was an edible gift.  

The BEST gift of all, that you could EVER receive is the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ!  That is God's gift to you!  That is the whole reason for the Christmas celebration!  He is the Gift that never will expire, go out of style or become worthless.  One day, all our gifts will be gone.  Even our lives will pass away, and all that will be left after this life is the human soul.  That lives forever.  

God is offering you Himself.  But you do have to accept Him in order to receive Him, right....I could give one of my kids a gift and they could choose not to open it or accept it.  Many people choose not to accept Christ, even though God desires to give Him to all people!

And what do I get when I receive Him as my Lord? 

First, eternal life in heaven!  If that sounds boring, you have not a clue what heaven is about!  It is NOT sitting on a cloud strumming a harp!  Randy Alcorn in his book "Heaven" and John Eldredge in "All Things New" will open up the Scriptures to you about that.  I highly encourage you to read these and get excited about eternity!  This world is not our home - THANK goodness!!

What other things does God give when you accept Him?  Right now, you can have these things:
Peace, such peace!
His unconditional LOVE!  
His Presence.  You NEVER need to be alone!  He promises never to leave you nor forsake you.
He calms your fears.
Wisdom - He promises to be your Counselor!  Ask Him if you need wisdom!
If your are discouraged, He will lift you up!
He will be your Provider.  
He gives direction.  He will be your Guide.

If you could ask God for any gift what would you ask for?  God listens to us when we talk to Him.  A friend of mine made me this plaque.

Ask Him for what is best for you.  Our kids didn't get everything on their list.  God knows what we need.  Sometimes He gives us what we ask for; like the kids opening up gifts they put on their list.  Sometimes He surprises us; like Staci did with those sherpas.  Sometimes He gives us something to stretch us - like going through suffering.  Suffering a gift?  Yes!  It really is.  He allows it for our good.  It may not feel good at the time, but He says He can turn it into good for His glory!  

What better gift for you than to receive than the gift God has for you, His Son Jesus!  


'Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift'—2 Cor. 9:15