Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful for my heritage…

I’m thankful for my heritage.  Every part of where God leads you, every person He allows you to be related to, contributes to who God has made you.  I come from a very loving family.  They love the Lord.  No matter what anyone does or doesn’t do, they love you.  I was born in Indiana (NORTH of the Mason-Dixon line!) and grew up in the deep south of East Tennessee.  Our Dad left us, but our Mom took good care of us.  We escaped the baggage of a Dad who wouldn’t have been a good influence.  I married into a loving family.  God has taken it all, and used it to His glory in my life, and I appreciate all those wonderful influences of my heritage!

Thankful for Scripture

Tuesday’s Post:

I’m so thankful for Scripture. 

It convicts me when I sin.

It tells me what sin is!

It comforts my heart.

It led me to salvation.

It tells me how to treat others.

It tells me how NOT to treat others!

There is no situation in my life to which Scripture does not speak. 

It has given our family a rock to build on, the rock on which, when the storms come and the winds blow, it stands firm.

Thank you, God, for Scripture!  The living, breathing, Word of God!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thankful for computers

I’m thankful for computers.  I’m thankful for the way they have allowed us to do our work more efficiently.  I’m thankful for the way they let us communicate with each other…email, facebook, skype…what marvelous inventions!  I’m thankful for Word and Excel programs, for printers, for photo editing, for all those programs that make our lives more fun.  Yes, for all the headache they can be at times, I’m thankful for computers!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful for our Church and Sound Doctrine

I am so thankful for our church, and for all those churches out there who are unashamed to teach the sound doctrine of the Bible. My son Daniel teaches sound doctrine at his church in Illinois.  I am thankful for his adherence to the Word of God.  There is still a remnant of men who are willing to teach God’s Word.  We aren’t alone!

The elders at our church are careful to teach sound doctrine, to shepherd the flock with truth and not with opinion, or “I think” statements.  Doctrine determines how we live, and how we flesh out the gospel.  Doctrine determines our perspective of heaven, life, Jesus, salvation, etc. Good doctrine gives us hearts of mercy and compassion.  Good doctrine makes us think less of ourselves, and more of God.  It trains us that our lives are meant to glorify the God who made us.  Yes, I’m very thankful for our church, and its sound doctrine!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thankful for Medicine

I’m so thankful for the medical care that we are privileged to have.    Daryl spent the last week ill with a high fever.  We have a great doctor, and he was given a prescription, and then a different prescription when that one didn’t work.  Our doc called us back, after hours, and listened to our needs on his own time.  God has blessed these medical personnel with great knowledge, and hearts that care. He’s starting to get better now, and I’m so thankful!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Month of Thankfulness...

I think I'll see if I can post a thankful thing for every day in November.

November 1: I'm thankful for all the little babies who have been born healthy the last couple of weeks. Our church and family and friends have had several births...and they have all posted beautiful pics of adorable little ones. As "Uncle Gus" always says as he lays his hand on their heads, "This one for Jesus!"

November 2: I'm thankful for the Lord's grace in my life. He has saved me, given me life, granted me salvation.

November 3: I'm thankful for the peace and grace God gives in times of trouble...a dear young couple found out yesterday that their baby is not alive, on the day they were to discover the gender. They are trusting God for His sovereign good in their lives. They are hurting, and trusting.

November 4: I'm thankful for Daryl. He's such a wonderful husband, dad, and friend. He's courageous and keeps going even when he doesn't feel good. He's my real life hero. Every season of life together is a fun, interesting trip!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Link to a Great Lesson

One Saturday recently Daryl had the privilege of speaking at a Men’s Conference on his favorite topic, men leading their families in the Lord.  As an elder, he and his fellow elders have been in all sorts of counseling situations.  In those situations, he will tell you that all except for perhaps one of those situations could be remedied, at least in part, by a husband/father taking seriously the task of leading their family in the Lord. 

If you are curious, or interested in any way, click on the link below and follow the trail to Daryl’s lesson.  I’m sure all the other lessons are good, too, but Daryl’s is the only one I’ve listened to.  :-)

Media: Men - Saturday AM - Countryside Bible Church

(Click on the lesson by Daryl Bennett on Being the Spiritual Leader in Your Home)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Teaching your Kids...

Today Daryl gets to teach a class for Men at our church on being a Leader at home. Not the "wife under the thumb" kind of leadership, but the kind where a man leads his family in the Lord. Talking to young ones (or old ones) about how to lead their families in the Lord may be in his top 5 things to do.

His favorite part of the lesson is telling Men how to have quiet times with their family. It isn't hard. You open your Bible and read a chapter. You talk about it. You pray together. If you have younger children, then you gear part of the quiet time for their age...younger Bible stories, tweak down the story to their age level.

What it does, is to train you and your children together that God's Word is the standard, regardless of the age group or gender. Then, as you raise your children, or have "discussions" with your mate, the standard is not opinions or moods or emotions: it's God's Word. It's pretty hard to come before the Creator of the Universe and stay mad at the mate sitting beside forces you to settle issues and talk things out, because you know where you aren't meeting God's standard, whether your mate is or not!

A friend of mine came to me this week and told me that she and her husband had started having devotions from God's Word with their newly blended family. She was amazed at how much the kids loved their new Bibles, which each had been allowed to pick out for themselves. She and her husband are amazed at the differences in the kids' attitudes. I could have shouted for more family has discovered the power of the simplicity of God's Word.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

God’s faithful servant, Daryl

Preamble:  This missive may not be completely perfect in progression of thought, but hang in there with me.  I’m not sure I’ll explain this well, but I’m gonna try. 

I’ve often wondered why God does not heal Daryl.  I have never met a more humble, honest, godly man than Daryl.  I have met men as godly, but never more so.  For the 36 (almost) years of our marriage, and the year before when I met him, his life has consistently been characterized by a faithfulness to the Word and to prayer.  He shepherds his flock at Countryside, and his flock at home.  So, of course I am amazed that God does not heal His faithful servant Daryl of his cancer.  And foot pain.  And fatigue. 

I thoroughly understand that God does not heal everyone of illnesses, and that His glory is the ultimate goal of all things in our lives.  I understand that nothing He does is wrong, and I don’t waste time on the “Why, God?” stuff.  I trust Him.  But I DO wonder sometimes, why did Jesus heal so many people, but not Daryl. 

I’ve even  gone the (wrong) route of, “is my faith too small?”  “Am I the holdout?”

So, I’ve been reading Matthew (not the son, the Bible book) 9. Jesus started by meeting people’s physical needs at the feeding of the 5000 back in chapter 6.  Free food gets people to listen.

Then, over and over Jesus healed people…masses of people…people who just touched Him…family members of disciples.  And He did it willingly, not sparingly.  It’s always been hard for me to read about all those healings, and not extrapolate it into Daryl’s need.  Today, I think I began to get the picture. 

After healing the masses, Jesus healed the demoniacs, and sent the demons into the herd of swine.  Okay, that affected the area’s economics, so the locals told Jesus to please depart their region. They didn’t get all excited about the man who was now well and in his right mind.

After that, the paralytic was brought to Jesus by his friends.  Jesus saw their faith, and said, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” Of course the Scribes yelled “Foul!  Only God can forgive sins, you’re blaspheming!”

Jesus (who is taking things beyond the shallowness of the “heal me next, heal me next” cries of the people) says, “okay, which is easier?  To say ‘your sins are forgiven you’ or ‘arise and walk’.  To let you know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins,” (turning here to the paralytic) “arise and take up your bed and go to your house.” 

That’s where I always miss the point.  The focus of the people was on the healings.The emphasis Jesus was trying to project in training his disciples here was His power to forgive sins. Jesus started off tending to physical needs. The healings were out of both Jesus’ compassionate heart, and His plan to train his disciples to focus on the eternal.  Matthew is showing us the progression of a plan to take those who follow Christ from self centered to seeing God.  

Then comes the point of it all…Matthew 9:8  “Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God”

The healings were not the point.  They were an avenue to bring the disciples' thinking from Point A to Point G.  God’s Glory.  To take us from the self-centeredness of “this will make me happy.  Being well will make my heart be of good cheer” to the point of understanding that my concept of happy is not eternal.  It is temporal.  God wants me to grasp and embrace the eternal.  Salvation, a right heart with God, is eternal. 

God is using Daryl’s illness to glorify Himself.  I knew that, and embraced it.  But I still wondered why God doesn’t heal Daryl, His faithful servant.  Like the people Jesus was teaching, my focus was on the healing. For whatever reason, Daryl with cancer glorifies God in a way that Daryl healed wouldn’t.  I’ll continue to ask God to heal Daryl.  But now, I’m confident that when He says “wait”, then it is for His own glory, and not because I lack faith.  My faith is, and always has been, in the right place.  :-)  And that, dear ones, makes my heart “Be of good cheer.”

Saturday, May 7, 2011

What I have learned as a Mother…

Being a Mom has been good for me. The experiences of Motherhood have been way beyond what I ever expected. 

I remember the night I went into labor with Daniel.  My overwhelming thought was, “There is NO way out of this!!!”  (Delivery, not motherhood.)  I’m so glad there wasn’t, or I’d have missed the ride of my life!

I’ve learned to sacrifice and love it, I’ve learned to stay up late, I’ve learned that I have to trust God to lead you, I’ve (almost) learned to listen and choke down words, I’ve learned that being a good parent on your own strength isn’t possible…leading your children in the Lord is.  I’ve learned it takes a church to raise a child.  I’m so grateful to all those in our church body who invested in our children and their spiritual growth. 

I want to thank you, Daniel, Andrew, Matthew, and Emily for taking me down a wonderful, interesting, full, rich path.  Just some of the memories along the way…in no particular order:

Scouting, camping, Debate (both between me and each of you, and when Daniel was on the Debate Team), Church plays, band, choir, home schooling, private schooling, public schooling, PTA, Skateboard Hill, Friblings, picking up the front line of the Varsity Harwood football team and keeping the van door open from the smells, reading books, movies, UHF, Pyromaniac’s Love Story, Princess Bride, art, the Giant Smiley Face, Computers, making dresses together, “girl time”, Peak, Odyssey of the Mind, 11 pm talks and tears, hashing out life together, reading stories, fun in the cul-de-sac, boyfriends, girlfriends, finding the love of your lives, weddings, funerals, births, being part of the friends from SACS in San Antonio, the River Walk, the Alamo, Ben Dog, Birthday Parties, swimming, swim team, Grandaddy’s Lake, cousins, editing papers, baking, mealtime, talking biscuits, my ability to garble words, sand box fun, building the swing set, BB guns, machetes, raking leaves, Cardboard Boat Races, Quiet Times, young heads in my lap trying to both grow up and not grow up, hugs, partings, coming together again, chalk drawings on the driveway, driving you to youth group, clay-mation, making movies, editing movies, Christmas Parties, Omega Virus,

…and watching you grow into 4 of the finest young men and lady I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.

I love you, kids, and love the life we’ve shared together.  On this Mother’s Day, I want to thank YOU for being fun, for being the godly persons you are, and for your love for me. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Friday, April 29, 2011

W is for Whitney

I think Whitney is the last of the family members for the alphabet.  Whitney is my son Daniel’s wife.  My mother-in-law taught me that there does not have to be a protagonistic relationship between mom’s and their son’s wives.  My mom has a good relationship with Daryl.  So it followed that I when I gained my first daughter-in-law, it was with the anticipation of a pleasant relationship.  Whitney has blessed our family in countless ways.  She and Daniel used to come to me while they were courting, and ask questions on spiritual issues, so I was allowed to get to know her on a deeper level early on.

Whitney loves our Daniel, and does an incredible job of travelling the terrain of being a pastor’s wife.  God has granted her great wisdom and insights as a parent, and as a counselor to others. 

Thanks, Whitney, for loving Daniel and being a great Mom to 4 of our grandkids and for being a great daughter in law!  Blessings today and always!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

V is for Vacations

We have had some fun vacations over the years.  I would say we actually had two kinds of vacations.  Most often, when we left the house, it would be to head for Arkansas to visit Daryl’s family.  We would go to Heber Springs, Arkansas, and play in the “Swimming Hole” at the lake and eat watermelon and enjoy time with siblings and cousins.  We’d stay up late, and at night, the cousins would sleep in the living room floor, spread out side by side in sleeping bags.  Oldest cousin got the couch, youngers were on the floor.  Granddaddy had a Ben Franklin stove in the garage, and during winter months, he’d have a fire going and would roast peanuts.  He had a huge garage, and about half of it was dedicated to pool.  This huge pool table came with the house, and generation after generation of kids grew up playing pool.  There were lots of times, when there were young ones, that the men and older boys would be playing pool, and the younger ones would be pulling a red wagon around the pool players.  There was a playground out back where the kids could play on swings and a spinning Jenny.

The other kind of vacation was when my folks came to see us.  My folks lived a 2-day trip away, which meant that by the time we spent 4 days on the road, our vacation time was spent, so my folks came to see us, usually for 2 weeks at a time.  I wasn’t working at the time, so I was home, and able to entertain and play with them.  They generally came at Spring Break or summertime, when the kids were off.  What fun we had!  No matter what city we lived in, we’d do the touristy things that our family seldom did without company.  In San Antonio, we’d do the River Walk and River boat rides.  We took picnics to the playground.  Mom would read to the kids, or do crafts.  In Bedford, we’d often find our way to things we had never done alone.  Once, we went to the Mesquite Rodeo.  Dub had such a good time!   I remember once, Mom went to the kids’ schools and told stories to their classes.

So, I’d say we have a history of some very fine vacation times.  We made lots of memories with lots of family members. 

U is for Underestimated

Something Daryl and I learned is that most people are underestimated.  For example, Daryl went on a campout with some men and boys.  He knew most of the men there, and considered some of them to be okay, but a bit shallow.  As they sat around a campfire and shared things about themselves, he realized that some of the men he thought to be shallow were men who had been through some deep troubles, or had served as missionaries. Their lives had depth. He realized that they were much deeper spiritually than he thought.  He had underestimated them. 

It’s an easy mistake to make.  We have surface relationships with people, and fail to take time for deeper conversations, in which we learn more about the real lives of people we come in contact with.  Sometimes, just one or two questions showing sincere interest will open up a person to share themselves. 

Since that time, I have tried not to underestimate people as much. Everyone has a story.  Everyone needs someone to show a sincere interest in them, and to have the Love of the Lord expressed to them.  Most always, I’m the one who walks away encouraged and awed by God’s work in others. 

T is for Teresa

Teresa is my sister.  There are just the two of us (so far as siblings go).  She is married to Tom, who is an awesome husband and friend to her.  He’s a good friend to us, too.  But, let’s get back to Teresa.  This isn’t about Tom!  :-)

When we were little, and in elementary school, I remember that she entered school when I was in 3rd or 4th grade.  There were dance “twist” contests at recess, and I didn’t want her to catch me, so I made her go away and not watch.  (I figured she’d tell Grandma, who had NO use for dancing!)  That’s a mistake I still regret…I should have gotten her into the contest too, so we’d both be in trouble, and join forces in keeping our secret! 

We lived with my grandparents for a few years, while Mom was in college, and had great times with our two boy cousins, who would spend the week during summers when their parents both worked.  We had so much fun playing monopoly and outside games, and just generally enjoying being cousins.  That’s when I developed the belief that cousins and siblings are the best thing to have for a kid! 

She has been through the loss of a child and cancer.  Those are big things in life.  Yet, through it all, she will tell you that God is good, and that He is always good. 

My sister is now a best friend.  Even though we’re far apart geographically, our hearts are ever soldered together.  We share history and memories and heritage that I will never be able to share with anyone else.  We are making new memories as adult friends.  I count her as one of my greatest treasures. 

Love you, Sis!

S is for Sarcasm

I’m not much on sarcasm.  The rest of my family are all adept at the art of sarcasm…however, when I try to be sarcastic, it just sounds mean.  Therefore, I swore off sarcasm decades ago. 

As a result, or perhaps I was this way anyway, I don’t enjoy sarcasm coming toward me, either, so I informed my kids years ago that I am not an available target.  I’ve never gotten the hang of the gracious deflection.  So, I admit that I don’t enjoy sarcasm when it’s aimed at a person.  It is, however, fun to sit by someone who has the art of gentle sarcasm that doesn’t sting or hurt, and they mutter little comments under their breath.  (I’m thinking of you, Andrew!) 

You’d think I could have come up with something more creative for S than this!  :-) 

Monday, April 25, 2011

R is for Ruby

Well, well, well!  Another family member!  :-) 

Ruby is my Mom.  She is a courageous lady, who has faced adversities, hardships, and difficulties.  She’s a lady who has traveled, and made friends everywhere, and enjoys life. 

I’m glad Mom is finally living in Texas.  It’s nice to have her close.  To get to have her at family events, instead of having to call long distance and say, “Wish you were here!”  It’s nice to have her great-grandchildren be able to see her more often.  In spite of my incredibly busy life, it feels good having her close. 

Our church is a little far, and the people live over a very broad area, so it’s hard to visit back and forth.  Mom has found a sweet congregation just down her street where the pastor does expositional preaching, and the folks are friendly.  She’s already joined the choir and sung in a special Easter service, on the backup teacher list for her Sunday School class, and going to dinner with a bunch of new friends on Monday nights.  They have a Wednesday night Church Dinner.  Her friendliness helps her quickly become part of a group.  Anyone who meets my Mom always says, “She’s so cute!” 

Mom is always willing to be a help to those in need, and doing for others is her passion.  May God give her a pleasant life here, and many years to enjoy her family!   Love you, Mom!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Q is for Quick and Quiet

I have had to learn to be quick about some things in life.  I can make a really fast rest stop now, after all those years of traveling.  I eat quickly, I guess since elementary school.  I suspect that I spent all my time talking, and had to gulp down food fast to get to eat!  :-)  I tease Daryl that he is so far ahead of me on any given day, that I have to rush just to catch up!  Even with cancer, sometimes he can work faster than I can think…he’s mastered the art of focusing.  He will focus on what he’s supposed to be doing, and gets it done.  I’m his “butterfly” as he calls me…flitting from one thing to another, getting distracted along the way….which probably, once more, leaves me with a small amount of time to accomplish a task, since I waste all my time flitting around!  Hence, I get it done quickly at the end! 

As for quiet, I love quiet.  Oxymoronically, I LOVE the noise of children playing.  I guess it isn’t so different…I don’t usually enjoy music or electronic sounds as much as I love quiet sounds…birds, crickets, children, breezes, ocean noises…but not those CD’s of nature sounds.  There’s no duplicating the noises I love.  I love the quiet of rain hitting a tin roof.  I love the little snuffling sounds sleeping babies make.   I love the sound of Daryl’s heart beat when I snuggle my head on his chest.  The sounds that are Quiet to my soul!

Patience, Priorities and Pools

Have patience, friends and family!  It’s been a busy week…and I just couldn’t think of what I wanted to write.  Eventually, even my sister was tapping her nails, waiting…thus, the topic, Patience! 

Patience…I’m a fairly patient person.  I generally don’t mind waiting for things I want or want to do.  I think I learned that lesson first in college, when we had to stand in line for the card you wanted pulled to allow you a spot in a certain class. (I guess I really dated myself there…now registering for classes is done online!) I realized that waiting is just part of the process, and I may as well endure with patience. 

Priorities….I have a hard time with priorities.  I very often go to Daryl with a long list of things I have to do, and ask him to help me prioritize things.  I also let him know that I am asking for recommendations, and it doesn’t mean I’ll follow the “recommendations.”  :-)  He’s incredible at prioritizing…he can separate the emotional part of his head from the practical, and look at things honestly and analyze them.  He’s a lot of help to me on this part of life. 

Pools…which I why I haven’t been able to think about the A to Z challenge…everyone of the Environmental Health Staff have been assigned to do an hour presentation on some aspect of Swimming Pool Inspections. I drew the assignment of teaching about the Virginia Graeme Baker Act, and pool suction, skimmers, and  outlets.  I’m down to the wire (as usual) and MUST get this presentation finished this weekend…Pool Seminar is on Tuesday.  I get the slot right after lunch…so I’ll have to wake everybody up after a good lunch together!  :-) 

More letters to come, folks!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

O Great God

Daryl has been having fun helping me think of things to write about on the A to Z challenge. Problem is, he's a bit too creative! :-) I can't even begin to remember some of his ideas!!!

This morning we were singing this song in church, and I knew it was just what I wanted to say for my O day. Text and Music is by Bob Kauflin, Copyright 2006 by Sovereign Grace Music. It can be downloaded in mp3 format from for 99cents. It is on an album called "Valley of VIsion", and you can hear the tune before purchase. Awesome song!

O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore.

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven's joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace

Help me now to live a life
That's dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From teh evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Noah

Not out of family members yet! 

Noah is my 3rd grandchild, the 3rd born child of Daniel.  Funny thing about 3rd born children in this family.  They tend to be a bit alike.  Or at least, they tend to identify with each other.  Daryl, Matt, and Noah are all 3rd born children.  They are all fun people, with a bit of a wacky sense of humor. 

A few years ago, we took Daniel’s family to Sea World, in San Antonio.  My kids lived there 6 1/2 years, and two of them were born there, so we have a good bit of family history there.  Daniel wanted to show his kids things like Skateboard Hill and the Alamo.

Each child was allowed to choose their favorite “souvenir”, and Noah chose a stuffed penguin.  Now, not any penguin would do…he had to greet and hold every stuffed penguin in the batch, and chose a specific one.  That penguin became “Pengy”.  Pengy is still, as far as I know, a bedtime buddy.  I’m not sure if it began on that trip, but Noah has a deep love for all things penguin.  

Noah has always been a good snuggler (he’s only 5…will be 6 in July).  When he was very small, he sucked his fingers.  Daniel and Whitney were trying to get him broken of the habit, and would gently remove his fingers from his mouth.  He used to climb in my lap and snuggle me good, and I loved it.  I commented on how much fun it was that he would snuggle me, and Daniel said, “It’s not you, Mom.  You just let him suck his fingers!”   I still believe it was me he loved!  :-) 

We love our kids/grandkids, and look forward to our next visit with them, hopefully in May.  See you soon, Noah! 

M is for Matthew

Matthew is my 3rd born child, and 3rd born son.  His wife says she’s never seen anyone so much like BOTH parents! 

We had a miscarriage between Andrew and Matthew, so when he was born, we named him Matthew  because it means “Gift of God”.  And that he is!   

A defining moment in Matt’s life was when his best friend, Mark, was killed by being hit by a car.  He learned the importance of parting from people you love with kind words, and it has made him very careful to never let partings be anything but pleasant, even if you’re still miffed at each other.

Matt’s very gifted at using his hands, much like his Grandfather Bennett.  He inherited a wall plaque that says “Benny’s Place”.  Any time he blogs about home projects, he puts up the “Benny’s Place”  picture. When Daryl first had cancer, he did a lot of the home upkeep for us, using those talents and skills, and developing some along the way that he still uses! 

Matt loves his family.  He loves the family-together evenings. 

Matt is a good husband who loves his wife, Amy. (Okay, that’s an easy one.  She’s easy to love!)   He’s a hard worker.

Matt loves the Lord, and is now doing a teacher-training class to learn to teach well.   He has a deep respect for the Word of God.  He’s taught little children for years, through Awana and Sunday School. 

Love you, Matt!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Lucinda

My Grandmother’s middle name was Lucinda.  Cecil Lucinda Black Campbell.  She always said she had some other names, but would never tell them to me.  After my parents divorced, Mom and Teresa and I moved in with my grandparents.  My Grandma and I connected.  We both were hard workers.  We both loved a challenge.  We were both more serious minded than sometimes other people were.  But when my Grandma laughed, it was fun to listen to.  She would all but whoop in laughter when she got tickled.

From Grandma, I learned to quilt and sew.

From Grandma, I learned to hoe a garden.

From Grandma, I learned to snap beans, shell peas, and dig potatoes.

From Grandma, I learned to love pinto beans and pickles.

However, I never picked up the cornbread in coffee thing that she loved.

She had a saying, “Things that you do, do with your might.  Things done by halves are seldom done right.”   I did a sampler for her when I was in high school or college with that on it.   She loved it, and I got to inherit it  when she passed away. It hangs in my living room hallway.  Even now, when I have a project to do, her words challenge me to go ahead and do a good job.   Thanks, Grandma, for all you taught me. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Kindness

I had to do some thinking about K.  The best K word I could think of was kindness. I treasure kindness.  People tend to be kind to me…even when I don’t always deserve it.  I appreciate that!  

When Daryl and I got married, we covenanted not to do digs or cuts.  We determined that those sorts of things, in a marriage especially, can lead to more hurtful communication.  As a result, there has been much kindness in our home over the years.  I rejoice as I see my children continue the trait of kindness in their marriages.

When I go into a restaurant to do a health inspection, a kind word can cause a restaurateur to relax, because I typically make them nervous. 

I like to be kind to people, because in my heart, I know that I am not kind on my own, so I know that if I am being kind, it is the love of Christ in me, and not myself, being kind.  It pleases me to reflect Jesus. 

I was thinking this morning of what God’s Word says about kindness.  There are some good verses here, which I will end with:

Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Micah 6:8  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. 

Galatians 5:22  The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience kindness, gentleness, self control…

Ephesians 4:32  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind…

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for Julia

Okay!  More family members!  Julia is the wife of our son Andrew.  Our families have attended the same church since the kids were in either 3rd or 4th grade. We’ve been friends with her family for years.  One of my earliest memories of Julia is watching her coordinate the Awana Quiz Meets.  She would have her Awana shirt on over a cute top, and be organizing, delegating, running in 5 directions!

When Andrew was in high school, we were frequently pointing out some of the godly young women we observed…and Julia’s name was always tucked in there.  Andrew later told us we almost ruined his interest by bringing her name up so much!  :-)  As God would have it, they were put on the same Mexico Mission Team (See, God could do it without me!), I think during their Junior year in High School.

We are grateful for Julia being in our family.  Her giftings are such a compliment to Andrews, and his to hers.  She loves her  Andrew, she’s an awesome mother to Alyssa and Brooke and,  like my other daughters in law, she allows me to be close to her, and have a sweet relationship. She freely lets us enjoy the grandkids. I am so blessed!   Love you, Julia!

ps….I also should mention Janelle here, my life-long friend Kathy’s daughter.  Although I could never mention all the folks out there who are like family, Janelle has been like one of my own.  We’ve always been close, and I get to enjoy her long distance through her blog.  Love you, Janelle!  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ichabod is Itchy, so am I

If you recognize that line, you have read Dr. Seuss to children.  If you know the title and can quote the whole book, you have read a LOT to children!  I fall in the latter category.

Emily and I were discussing the other day who read the most to her,  and whether or not I read very much to her.  We decided that I was probably not the person who read to her the most…it was probably Daryl or Daniel.  She was kid #4, and although we did lots of things together, reading may not have been our top activity.  I DID have the privilege of teaching her to read.  What a thrill when we were driving down the road, and she sounded out a word on a billboard! 

When Daniel was young, I read him Dr. Seuss and Berenstain Bears until I could quote them in my sleep.  I had an ulterior motive.  I love to read, but even more, I love to hold children close.  The rule was that you get to hold a kid on your lap to read to them, or snuggle up close at the very least.  Daniel and I were both avid readers, and he’d sit for long times having me read books to him. 

Then came Andrew, and I’d have a kid on either side.  Joy, joy, joy!  Lots of kid snuggles!  Then Matt, another snuggler/book reader.  By this time, I think Daniel was beginning to help with reading time, and by the time Emily came along, he was more than willing to have sister/brother time with her.  She was a good snuggler, too…no matter what we were doing!

All my kids are avid readers now.  I think the seeds were sown in those days of Dr. Seuss.  Maybe, just maybe, they, too, have sweet memories of snuggling their Mom for a story. 

Now, we read to our grandchildren.  When Hannah was small, we bemoaned the fact that she didn’t know our voices very well.  Aha!  We bought two copies of books, sent her one, and read to her over the phone.  We would tell her when to turn the page, and Daniel and Whitney even bought a speaker phone so she could coordinate turning pages and listening without having to set down the earpiece!  :-)  One of her favorites was a book that had been Uncle Matt’s…Six by Seuss! 

Emily asked me a couple of weeks ago if we still have the Teddy Bears Picnic, a book I read her lots of times.  She said Ben told her there was a song by that title, but that she didn’t think it was the same lyrics as the book.  She was right (and I remember the song from Captain Kangaroo when I was a kid…how did Ben know it???).   Maybe I read to her more than we thought! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Hannah

Notice that I am not out of family members yet!!!  Sorry to the rest of you, who had to share your letters with other family members!

Our first grandchild is Hannah Gabrielle Bennett.  The first grandchild on both sides of the family, she has brought delight to us from Day One, and set us all up to love being grandparents!  She is bright, intelligent, engaging, cheerful, helpful…everything a first born should be!  She got off to a rough start.  Linda (her Gran) was there for the first grandma visit, and I followed with my visit.  It was the night before it was time for me to leave, when Daniel woke me up in the middle of the night, telling me something was wrong and should we call 911. 

The rest of the night was a pile of miracles, one on top of another. It turns out Hannah had refluxed, then aspirated fluids into her tiny lungs. 

1.  Whitney had noted in the hospital that when Hannah got a little choked, the nurse used a syringe to remove the mucous. When I got upstairs, Whitney was using the syringe, which the medics said probably saved her life. 

2. I called 911, and miraculously remembered their address when I called because so many people had asked for it to send them congratulations cards. No time was lost through hesitation.

3.  The ambulance was less than 3 minutes from their house, which was a spot they waited in occasionally.  Miraculous that it was their night to be there.

4.  They grabbed her, went to work, and rushed her to a most awesome hospital.  They later told us that we had come within minutes of losing her.  Another miracle.

5.  Most miraculous of all was the work God did in Daniel and Whitney that night.  As Daniel sat there, waiting, he verbalized that he was trusting God, no matter what the outcome, that God was sovereign and he trusted Him with Hannah.  Can you imagine what an impact that night has had on Daniel’s ministry being pastor of a church, and on Whitney as she compassionately ministers to mom’s?

I know that isn’t Daniel’s favorite memory, because of how hard it was, but I remember it with great joy, because I saw God graciously allow us to keep our Hannah, and because I got to stay for a month, doing night duty, getting to feed Hannah and hold her upright at night.  We bonded.  How often does a Grandma get that kind of time with a grandchild hundreds of miles away?  How often do you get to serve your children when they are states away? 

Hannah is a neat girl…about to be 10 this month! She’s talented, happy, helpful, and smart!  She has her Daddy’s sense of humor and love for reading, and her Mommy’s gracious nature and gentle heart of service.  Happy Birthday month to you Hannah, the subject of the letter H! 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

God is the Source of All Good

Today, for the letter "G", I'd like to quote a vignette from a book, The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan Prayers. I thought abut God, Grace, and His Glory, and finally landed on this, God as the Source of All Good.

O Lord God, Who inhabitest eternity,

The heavens declare thy glory,

The earth thy riches,

The universe is thy temple;

Thy presence fills immensity,

Yet thou hast of thy pleasure created life,

and communicated happiness;

Thou hast made me what I am,

and given me what I have;

In thee I live and move and have my being;

Thy providence has set the bounds of my habitation,

and wisely administers all my affairs.

I thank thee for thy riches to me in Jesus,

for the unclouded revelation of him in thy Word,

where I behold his Person, character, grace, glory,

humiliation, sufferings, death, and resurrection.

Give me to feel a need of his continual saviorhood,

and cry with Job, "I am vile",

with Peter, "I perish",

with the publican, "Be merciful to me, a sinner."

Subdue in me the love of sin,

Let me know the need of renovation as well as of forgiveness,

in order to serve and enjoy thee for ever.

I come to thee in the all-prevailing name of Jesus,

with nothing of my own to plead,

no works, no worthiness, no promises.

I am often straying,

often knowingly opposing thy authority,

often abusing thy goodness;

Much of my guilt arises from my religious privileges,

my low estimation of them,

my failure to use them to my advantage,

But I am not careless of thy favour

or regardless of thy glory'

Impress me deeply with a sense of thine omnipresence,

that thou art about my path,

my ways, my lying down, my end.

F is for Family

I’ve heard it said that you can’t choose your family, and they have to love you. I’ve worked in a Junior High before, and believe me, the latter is not true! I’m thankful that in my case, they do!

I am blessed with a lot of “family groups” in my past and present. We may or may not see much of each other, but we are still family, and share a special bond.

My birth family loved me. Regardless of the problems my parents had, I was loved by them. (Okay, Daddy was questionable, but Dub stepped up to the plate in later years, and couldn’t have loved us more!)

When they split up, we lived with my Mom at my Grandparents (including an unmarried aunt, and an unmarried uncle). They loved us.

Mom and Teresa (my sister) and I lived on our own for a while, and we loved each other. Okay, we fought a lot, but believe me, any trouble from outside us had all 3 of us to recon with!

I married Daryl, and we were a new family. We loved each other, and treasure each other even more now, 35 years later, than we did at the beginning.

I was a part of the new in-law family, and they loved me.

We had 4 children, and were a large family (Daniel often called us more of a circus than a family!).

We’ve added 3 daughters in law, 1 son-in-law, 6 grandchildren, and my Mom, and we fill a photo now! We all love each other.

My sister added BJ, Tom, and Mandy and Michelle and Myranda. More family!

We’re part of a loving church family.

We’re part of a neighborhood family, who have raised a neighborhood of kids together.

We have friends we’ve shared life with over long years, and they’re family.

My kids’ in-laws have become more of the extension of our family, and we love them.

I’m also blessed that my office is like a family. Some of us are a little odd, but we have that family feel to us. We care about each other.

Some family members have gone Home…Grant, Mark, Myranda, Dub, James and Velma, Mama Greene, Homer, Cecil, James…and numerous aunts and uncles. So, we have part of our hearts in our next home!

So, I have to say that family is a warm, happy word for me. Not without it’s stresses and challenges…the trip here has had some thunderstorms along the way. But one thing is true: A family founded on Jesus Christ, the Rock, has a firm foundation, and can weather the storms.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for Emily and Ellie

Wow!  So far, I’ve hardly had to think!  We may have enough family members to make it most of the way through the alphabet!  :-) 

Emily is my girl.  I have 3 boys, then I had a girl.  Lest you think I don’t love my boys, let it be known that we always hoped to have 4 children. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it is nice to have a girl to relate to in life! 

Ellie is Daniel’s youngest child.  She has a sister and 2 brothers.

As I think about the girls, they have some interesting similarities!

They are both the 4th child in their families.

They both major in cuteness.  And know how to use it.

They are both unique among their siblings:  Emily is the only girl sibling, Ellie is the only adopted sibling.

They are both kind and sweet and loving.

They both give awesome hugs, and they both love me!

Both have “nicknames”.  Emily is often called “Em”.  “Ellie” is a nickname for her full name, Elizabeth.

Both Emily and Elizabeth are classic names. 

I love my E girls! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Daryl and Daniel

In case you don’t know, Daryl is my husband, and Daniel is my first born.  They’re a lot alike.

Both have names that begin with D. 

Both are in church leadership, Daniel as a full time pastor, and Daryl as a non-staff elder. 

Both have a strong sense of right and wrong. 

Both have mellowed as they have gotten older, yet are more and more committed to the narrow way of the Word. 

Both are good at counseling people.

Both of them are committed to their families, and are good Dad’s.

Both of them were born the first week of September. 

Both of them have 4 children. 

Both of them have male and female siblings.

AND…I love both of them!

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Carol

That’s me.  I like being me.  I have had the best of all worlds.  I grew up knowing I was loved, with a family who made me believe there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do.  Being poor wasn’t an obstacle to success in their minds.  Success was separate from income. 

God brought me my wonderful husband….Daryl is a great man, godly, an elder in our church, and has always been a strong leader of our family.  I have 4 kids, 3 daughers-in-law, 1 son-in-law, 6 grandkids, and there isn’t a rotten apple in the bunch.  They are all walking with the Lord, and active in the Lord’s work.  THAT is all God’s graciousness toward me.  I didn’t deserve any of this….God did it all! 

For the last 35 years, I’ve been a wife, a stay-at-home Mom, now am a grandma, and (at one time or another) a published writer, video maker (those slide show videos you show at birthdays and anniversaries and weddings), got to work at a school, and now I’m in my next job of  being a health inspector.  At every stage of life, I’ve had my favorite job, whatever it was.  When I wasn’t needed to be the Mom at home anymore, God gave me something else to do.  I’m incredibly grateful for the years at home with my kids…I got to sow into them, to know them, to be there for them. 

I’ve had enough troubles in life to teach me that trusting God is the only way to live.  His Word is sufficient for all my troubles, all my joys, all my needs.  He is all.  As my sister says, God is good, all the time.

I’ve got amazingly good friends, who would do anything for me.  That’s another treasure.

I’ve got a sister and Mom who love me.  In laws who have always loved me like birth family.  Relatives who have always been there for me.

C is for Carol.  I’m her. I like being her. 

B is for Bennett and Ben and Brooke

Taking a new name is a big deal. You want it to be a good, solid name. You want it to be one that isn’t weird. You write it with your first name over and over before he proposes, just to see what it feels like.

Think about the way names are a positive or a negative. Where I grew up, Campbell, my Mom’s family name, was an honorable name to have. My family had been in the area for years and years, and it was a thing of honor to be related to the Campbell's. Other names bring negative thoughts…Judas, Benedict Arnold, etc. You get the picture.

I like the name Bennett. I like the way Daryl makes it a good name, the way he has always brought honor to his family. I like the way he has protected it by living a life of integrity and honesty and faithfulness. He has passed that honor along to his children, so that when my boys were young men, mothers wanted their daughters to marry a Bennett. People trusted our kids, because they knew us. It was up to the kids to keep it that way, but the name we protected gave them a good boost in the community.

I’m glad that the kids have continued the legacy of Bennett being a good name. They all are adults known for their honesty, integrity, good character, and being nice people. Thanks, kids, for maintaining the family name.

And thanks, Ben, for bringing yet another good "B" name to the family. You, too, are a man of honesty and integrity and good character, and being nice to people. I'm glad our Emily married you!

Now, Brooke is the littlest Bennett. She is Andrew's youngest girl. She is sweet and affectionate, and gives awesome hugs! She just turned a year old, and has both sets of grandparents in the same city! She has a big sister, Alyssa, who was on of the A names. She likes to come to our house to play. Love you, Brooke!

A is for Andrew, Amy, Austin, Amy and Alyssa

I’m going to quietly try the A to Z challenge Mom does on her blog. I don’t think anybody will notice until I get several letters in, since I never blog and nobody expects me to, and by then I will either be on a roll, or, as usual, find that adding an activity was too much and bid it adieu as a bit of fun, but un-doable. I’ll catch up a bit…I’ve just missed two letters so far.

Today, is the letter A. I realized we have a lot of A’s in the Bennett family. Andrew, Amy (Halliburton), Austin, Amy (Bennett), and Alyssa. Did I miss anybody? I’m thinking of the multitude of A’s in our family. (I’m going to let you all guess what determined the order of names, like we used to do as a family when some “order” was called for. Guess how I chose that order?)

Andrew is my quiet, strong son. (This is where I get in trouble, and don’t do blogs. I’ll get challenged by the other 3 boys as to whether or not I think they’re strong. It’s a given he’s my only quiet man, just as he was a quiet boy. Don’t hassle me, boys! You’re all strong. Andrew is,too.) :-) He’s the one I like to sit next to and listen to his dry wit, the undercurrent of little comments. Sitting by he AND Emily, my other quiet one, is a riot! I love watching him with his little girls, and the way he treasures his Julia. He’s always been a bit stubborn, but that tenacity helps him do well and accomplish much. I’m so proud of his persistence to get his college degree, and his faithfulness to be a hard worker. I’m proud of his gentleness with his girls, and his firmness in being a good parent. He’s good with his hands as well as his mind, and has just built a wooden fort/swing structure for the girls and their friends.

Amy Halliburton is my niece, a treasure from day 1. She and I have always connected…how I treasure the days of getting to pick up she and Grant from the “meeting place” and letting the cousins play together (or dropping my kids off for time at their house). From cut feet (remember cutting your foot on the stoop to the garage?) to boyfriends, we’ve been close.

Austin, what a wonderful grandson you are! I’m so blessed that you have always talked to me and confided in me. I remember one time you were telling me your thoughts of adding a new sister. You think deep thoughts. You’re a good big brother, too. I love the way you still sit close to me and share time together. Looking forward to our next trip together!!! Yay for Cracker Barrel!

Amy Bennett…you are always so sensitive to my thoughts and feelings. I was blessed at already having two daughters in law with whom I connected…how wonderful that God allowed it to be all 3!!! I remember Aunt Kathy marveling at how I was so blessed with good relationships…beyond just the in-law thing…with my kids’ mates. You’re so very good to my Matthew. Glad you’re in the family!

Alyssa…the grandkid who looks like I used to! Grandpa calls you “little Carol”, and it’s fun to hear him do so with endearment! What’s fun is that you also have my sense of wonder and joy at all things. I love getting to watch you grow and have such fun having you here!

Well, those are the best A things in my life. Day 1 done. :-)