Repost: After the Last Bullet

chocolateorelse:

Several weeks ago I reblogged, Because Life’s Not a Beach, by my friend Lisa Fisher. She wrote, “So blissfully blind to the upset just around the next bend.” She spoke of her oldest son’s traumatic death.

This article is written by one of her daughters, Anna Graham, and is the precursor to Because Life’s Not a Beach.

Please take a moment to read this beautifully written entry.

Originally posted on Funhouse:

Repost from ‘About the Platen’,  January 6, 2014

After the Last Bullet

 

It’s been a month since Ben died, and this could not have been more timely:

Screenshot from video journal by Tenth Avenue North. 
 
The crazy thing is, when I look back and feel the raw spot where Ben was torn away, I don’t feel cheated of a miracle. A freak accident – a tiny calibre bullet that could have gone anywhere – a wound that might have been a simple shoulder shot. Would surviving that constitute a miracle? No – by ordinary means, Ben should have walked away with a sling on his right arm and a rough experience under his belt (which he would have taken great pleasure into turning into a classic Ben-reenactment).
 
 
Instead, something unusual happened. That tiny bullet – fired from the chamber of a gun he knew how to…

View original 607 more words

Toxic Tuesday: Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders Part 2

Part 2

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 18:10 ESV

I am concerned about many churches in America, and abroad, regarding their lack of discernment or care for children’s safety.

For background leading up to this post see Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders: Part 1

I am not a confrontational person at heart but last week the Lord gave me an assignment; a difficult uncomfortable lesson to present to people in places of church leadership and authority. I would rather pass on this project but at the same time; I am privileged for the option to obey.

So here it goes.

How would you feel if a sexual offender were in your house attacking your child, or had just left your house after attacking your child, and you called 911 for help but the 911 operator did not believe you? Instead they asked to speak to your attacker to hear their side of the story. Then they believed the attacker instead of you which in my book is the same as saying, “You’re crazy! Your child is lying! It never happened to your child; in fact, you invented this propaganda and told your child to repeat the lie. Admit it, you don’t like this person and you are trying to run them out-of-town and ruin their career. How could you say such a terrible thing about that person?” The operator then threatened you and your family should you decide to involve the law.

You turn your attacker in to the local authorities on your own but for doing so you experience hostility from the 911 operator and the staff from their office. You receive threats and your name is slandered in the community.

This is happening to children and their families in the church world-wide. There are predators in our society who are attending college and seminaries to train for working in the church to gain access to supply; children. Unsuspecting leadership and church goers are clueless to this fact so it isn’t surprising that when sexual abuse allegations come up; they are quickly denied by the perpetrator, not believed by the church staff or members, quieted or ignored.

I am disappointed, sad, sickened and frustrated when adults do not believe the children or take seriously the Biblical mandate to look after and welcome the little children; especially when they need protection from a predator. Children need to be believed.

I have witnessed churches, friends and ministry associates support such an offender and I believe they have much to answer for to the Lord, to the church they were entrusted with in leadership roles, to the children, and to the children’s families. I’m not alone in my opinion.

Here is a note I received from a well-respected man of God who specializes in bringing to light the plight of child sexual abuse in the church, Christian universities, para-church organizations, and on the mission field.

“Though I am glad this predator was finally caught and removed from having more opportunities to abuse little ones, I am sickened by the fact that the faith community has embraced him and advocates for his innocence. I have no doubt these individuals will one day be called into account for their failure to protect the vulnerable as they were too busy protecting evil. So glad that justice finally arrived…”

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42 ESV

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40 ESV

Church is one of the places where children and abuse survivors should be the safest. The unfortunate truth is that molesters, pedophiles and sexual offenders know that the church is the one place where they can  be a new attendee, volunteer to help in children’s ministry, and be gladly received.

Most churches have a process in place for doing criminal background checks on volunteers but the fact remains that many people with sexual addictions and attractions to children have never been arrested; therefore, they pass the background check.

I’ve heard of numerous instances where churches hired staff knowing there had been child sexual abuse allegations in the person’s background but the church believed the, “I’m innocent of the allegations. Someone was mad at me for ________ (fill in the blank). The church leadership and/or search committee believed them and gave them the authority to abuse more children. That’s exactly how I look at it.

Here is one example of a convicted sex offender: “The allegations were false’: At the time he was hired, the pastor informed the church of his past conviction and claimed the allegations were false. Despite the fact that a court of law found sufficient evidence to convict this man of a sexual offense against a child, the church preferred to believe his words. I have seldom encountered child sexual abusers who did not claim that the allegations made against them were false. I even prosecuted cases where the defendant gave a full confession to law enforcement as he maintained his innocence to friends and family. Anytime we are dealing with someone who has been prosecuted for sexually abusing a child, we don’t have the luxury to accept his or her words of denial.” [i]

The church needs to be concerned about the safety of children not concerned about the church’s reputation. When children are protected, families and people will know they are part of a loving godly ministry. While on earth Jesus did not teach, “Protect the reputation of the church, the pastors, or the leaders even if it means sacrificing the children.” This is not scriptural.

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:5-6

Beginning today I pray that churches, pastors and friends recognize God has set local authority over us; therefore, we need to use God’s tool (local authorities) by getting out of the way and allowing the law to do its job.

The church must believe and protect our children. We live in a world where drugs are readily available to help lessen or deaden the pain and where suicide claims the lives of so many children and young adults who have suffered at the hands of molesters and pedophilic offenders. If the church were doing its job drug usage and the suicide rate would be considerably less.

Pastors, friends and family members need to do what is right and when they don’t; we need to make the consequence a heavy weight that reminds them and shows people around them the importance of believing and protecting the children. It isn’t your job to decide guilt or innocence. Always report sexual abuse allegations to the authorities and allow the professionals to do their job. Children rarely lie about sexual abuse.

For the church members and friends who stood as character witnesses with the above/below mentioned pastor or wrote letters of reference for him to the court; you should have made a few phone calls before helping this sexual offender. The ex-wife, previous ministries and former mentors would have been the obvious choices. There was a trail of legal paperwork, medical paperwork and witnesses which should have removed any doubt or at least placed doubt and many questions in your mind.

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:5-6

Here are excerpts from the Independence Daily Reporter article, by Allen Smith, about Butler’s Montgomery County District Court sentencing.

“The former minister of the Community Christian Church of Independence, Kansas, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years for aggravated criminal sodomy of a child.”

The next portion is by the mother of the then 3-year-old boy who Steven Paul Butler was sentenced under Jessica’s Law for victimizing.

“I have prayed many different prayers over the past 4 ½ years. In one of the constant prayers I have asked God, that no child would ever be hurt by Steve Butler,” She said.

“I have watched my son go from a joyful confident child, to a shattered mess of confusion, fear and heartbreak, shame and anger.”

“He feels unworthy of love, friendship or success,” she said.

Then she focused her anger on Butler.

“I trusted a man who acted like a great man of God with the most important things in my life, my children. He abused his power. My son has suffered so much and the only hope he has, the light at the end of the tunnel, is Mr. Butler will never hurt another child again.”

“I merely ask you not to let my son’s suffering be in vain,” the mother wrote.

The boy’s grandfather also spoke at the hearing.

“This act of sexual abuse towards our grandson has robbed him of his precious childhood innocence,” he said. “He has had to relive the incident over and over for the past four years.”

“When he should have been enjoying things like Christmas, birthdays and the simple things of life, he has spent these years in fear, worrying that Steve Butler would be set free to come after him and harm him again.” [ii]

Here is the last segment I will share:

“Cullins (the judge) acknowledged he had received and reviewed ‘thoroughly,’ letters of support from several people including, David Bycroft, pastor at the Tryo Christian Church, Reggie Epps, Dave Rutherford, Larita Jones, Charles Rice, Ilene Vance, Bess Clark and Vicki Edington, among others.” [iii]

The local newspaper reporter believed one of the moms and her child to not be believable. Let me point out that this momma and her child were the perfect targets for any child predator. No, she didn’t show emotion. Yes, her child suffers from mental illness. Any child victimized before the age of 6 is at high risk for developing personality disorders. This momma’s child was 5 when the defendant was accused of molesting him. If the defendant followed his usual plan of attack he knew the child’s history of emotional difficulties, including abuse, and knew the mom’s personal and family history; preying upon the child specifically for these reasons. The defendant knew that even if he was caught, no one would ever believe the child or his mom. See : How Sexual Predators Choose Child Victims and Pedophile or Molester

Ronnie Epps, founding pastor of Johnson County Christian Church/Legacy Christian Church in Overland Park, Kansas, and Reggie Thomas of White Fields Evangelism in Joplin, Missouri attended as supporters of the defendant. As a former adult victim of the defendant I can tell you that it felt like they were screaming at me, “He never raped you. He never abused your child. You’re crazy. How could you say such a thing about this wonderful man of God?”

I understood the words of past victims who have said, “It felt like I was being violated all over again.” That was exactly how I felt and it was painful but the torment came in how I felt for the helpless children who weeks earlier had to testify in front of their abuser while church members and pastors/evangelists sat there supporting the defendant. I pleadingly submit to you; the church should have been there for the children.

You blindly supported a sexual offender without investigating past allegations by contacting former churches, mentors and former family members and you betrayed innocent children; the apples of Jesus’ eye.

Now all of you who are supporters of this man have some accounting to do. You didn’t allow the little children to come to Jesus. You owe them and their families an apology. You need to decide how you can minister to them and help facilitate healing.

I understand that you may not recognize or understand a fraudulent deceiver when you see one because you are not deceitful. Perhaps you had no idea what to look for. But the fact remains that when the allegations arose you should have thought first and foremost about the innocent children and dug into the accuser’s background. You didn’t.

Some people have asked, “Where was God?” This question is an easy way of bucking the church’s responsibility.  I ask where the church was.

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42

The local church needs to publicly apologize for their inexcusable behavior and the denial of the facts; for not investigating past allegations as soon as they learned about them, for believing the offender, for leaving children alone with Butler, and for not supporting the children and their families in court. I believe you have lost some of your reward. Have you regretted second guessing, remaining silent, or not supporting the children? You are partly responsible for the abuse that took place in the church building. I whole heartedly believe Jesus wants you to make amends and make sure children in your care are always protected today, and in the future.  For help on how to protect children in your church and how to minister to abuse survivors I recommend, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment or visit G.R.A.C.E. at their Facebook page.

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16

The church and the defendant’s supporters hindered the little children. You added to their heartache. The children will likely always remember that the church, Christians and Christian leaders/pastors did not believe them. This will make their journey to healing more difficult and could possibly interfere with a how they relate to God their Father. It has the potential to keep them from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. They will have a tendency to resist the Holy Spirit. Did you stop and ask if your response would hurt the child’s relationship with the Lord or if your support would add trauma to an already difficult circumstance?

Now for the good news; the reminder. The Lord in His great mercy, grace and beauty offers all of us the gift of repentance.

Repentance is not God’s way of condescendingly reminding us of our sin, failures and mistakes. Quite the opposite. It is our chance to approach Him, and through repentance, receive forgiveness, healing, power, wisdom and blessing. God does not dole out punishments, although there may be natural consequences, but instead gives good gifts to those seeking His heart and will.

I will end this week’s post with a quote from my friend Cindy Sigler Dagnan’s Facebook author page. She had no idea about my blog or the fact I was asking the Lord if my post was appropriate.  I was inquiring of the Lord what to write and how to handle a sensitive subject. I knew I was to show firmness from a biblical viewpoint fueled by love for the Lord’s church. At the same time I was feeling completely inadequate and questioning what I had written. Then I felt the Holy Spirit almost blow me over as He reassured me through Cindy’s Facebook status update. I read it, then re-read it through blurry tear-filled eyes.

“It’s a poverty when God’s words are watered down for the sake of being culturally sensitive, in the name of comforting others or not being offensive. His absolute truth is by nature going to offend because it requires of us change. Perhaps more scary, it requires us to do nothing but ACCEPT His grace and the promise of salvation — we CANNOT earn it! We can sooo love others to Jesus without backing down. Confronting wrong is NOT the same as pointing unkind judgmental fingers. After all, Jesus saved His most pointed comments for those who should KNOW BETTER, not for the unsaved. He loved them, but gently and firmly said, “Go and sin no more.” He DID NOT say, “That’s not really sin if you really want to do this.” Cindy Sigler Dagnan 9/14/2014

Next week: Part 3 of Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders

 

[i] Allen Smith, “Former minister Butler receives life sentence for aggravated sodomy”, Independence Daily Reporter, August 22, 2014

[ii] Smith, “Former minister Butler receives life sentence for aggravated sodomy”

[iii] Boz Tchividjian, “4 lessons we can learn from a church that hired a sex offender”, Religion News Service, June 27, 2014- See more at: Religion News Service

Moms’ Night Out—Now on DVD

If you like comedy this is the movie for you. To top it off—it’s also clean!

It was refreshing! I needed to laugh and Moms’ Night Out provided the source.

I know some mothers who take a mom’s night out once a week, some who take one occasionally and some who rarely if ever take one. Do you have a friend to enjoy a mom’s night out with?

Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Seeing Moms’ Night Out guarantees good medicine.

I had not experienced such unbridled laughter since reading the Pioneer Woman’s,  All I Wanted Was a Doughnuthttp://thepioneerwoman.com/blog/2011/12/all-i-wanted-was-a-doughnut/

The thing that made the movie better was the longevity of it.  It was an extra-large jumbo size dose of good medicine and a timely lesson from Bones. (You will have to see the movie to find out about Bones.)

I thought the movie would strictly be a ‘Chick-Flick’ but no; I heard and saw men laughing as uncontrollably as me.

I have never laughed so much, so hard, so loud in any movie. Hysterical laughter, tears from hysterical laughter, snorting from not being able to catch my breath due to hysterical laughter. Side splitting I tell ya!

There you have it. My encouragement for the day: Laugh. Funny movies, funny books, comedians or funny friends; find your funny and take a full measure of it.

Buy or Rent Moms’ Night Out  tonight!

See the right side margin : A Cheerful Heart…for multiple opportunities to laugh.

Original Moms’ Night Out: You Need to Laugh post

 

Toxic Tuesday: Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

 

Part 1

Matthew 18:10

“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

 

This post has kept me up late at night shaking—literally. I know the Lord has called me to blog about my prayer life, about the boundaries He is patiently helping me learn to set (I’m an extremely slow learner in this area) and about the life difficulties and traumas I have experienced. The subjects tend to be downers; heavy and sometimes dark instead of fun, witty and uplifting. I’m a girl who wants to have fun. I want to quit writing about the subject content of a sex offender’s recent trial I waited, for what seemed a life time, to be successfully prosecuted and I wanted last week’s post to be the end of the subject, but I had no peace about my decision.

This week a statement kept surfacing in my mind, “My people who are called by my name, my church, is not protecting or believing the little children.” I wanted to know if this was my discernment or words from the Lord. The statement wasn’t during my quiet time or during any prayer time. I’m good at reminding the Lord I am made from dust and fully capable of making mistakes, misreading Him or disobeying. I don’t want to be guilty of any of these things and I needed to confirm His heart and will in the matter and make sure my frustrations weren’t taking over my thought life.

I was awake at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning wondering if I was really supposed to continue with the ‘trial’ subject. I prayed about it—a lot. There was no instant answer so I asked questions, gave thanks and told the Lord I would skip it for this week, maybe forever, unless He specifically spoke to me on the subject in any way of His choosing.

I woke up Tuesday morning opened a workbook I studied years ago and which I am now taking my boys through for morning Bible study.  The study is, Jesus the One and Only by Beth Moore. We began week 8, Day 1, Causing Others to Sin. Please read Luke 17:1-5 to familiarize yourself with the passage.

Then at lunch my boys and I listened to Eric Metaxas on YouTube speak about Bonhoeffer. My boys enjoy listening to Eric Metaxas so I pulled up YouTube, searched his name, and clicked on Bonhoeffer so we could count it as part of a history lesson. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man who did the right thing, a hard thing, despite the resistance and social climate of the day. He was a Nazi resister who defied the evil and false biblical teachings surrounding him to the point of death by execution in a concentration camp.

Great heroes of the faith who have gone before me climbed to much braver, more difficult, impossible, and courageous callings—unto death.

I received an easy assignment: Share what the Lord is teaching me through typing. I can do this.

Back to Beth’s lesson: In Luke 17:1-5 Christ was addressing his disciples about things that can cause people; more specifically, little children to sin. Jesus said, “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.” Luke 17:1

I will not attempt to re-teach something Beth Moore has taught. Here are a few excerpts from week 8, day 1. I will refer to the sex offender as the trapper and defendant but the message is to the people who attempted to shield the trapper:

The Greek word for offenses, skandalon, means, “the trigger of a trap on which the bait is placed, and which, when touched by the animal, springs and causes it to close causing entrapment… .Skandalon always denotes an enticement to conduct which could ruin the person in question.” [i]

It is obvious the trapper is the defendant but I believe the defendant’s supporters (those who attempted to shield the trapper/defendant) should ask God to show them why they so easily and foolishly were vulnerable to the defendant. Then they should be resolved, that if ever another situation like this comes to light, they will demonstrate due diligence in performing a background check to the best of their ability—and believe the children. Young children rarely lie about sexual abuse.

“Christ issued a woe to anyone who causes another person to sin. But look at the pronounced indictment against anyone who causes one of these little ones to sin. Who are these little ones? The original word is mikros. Study the following definition: ‘of age meaning small, young, not grown up; in the comparative degree meaning less, younger…figuratively, of dignity, authority, meaning low, humble.’ We certainly know Christ’s reference to little ones includes literal children because in Matthew’s version He actually ‘called a little child and had him stand among them’ before He issued these statements in Matthew 18:2.”[ii]

“Christ’s reference to little ones spotlights children,” those young in age, “…or inferior to the trapper in knowledge, experience, authority, or power—anyone of whom it might be easy to take advantage. That Christ holds the trapper greatly responsible is a gross understatement! He appears to be saying, if you have entrapped a weaker, more vulnerable person in sin,” a child, “you’re going to wish you had drowned in the deepest sea rather than deal with me.”[iii]

“A day of reckoning is coming. No trapper gets away with entrapment—of human kind or spirit kind.”[iv]

Let’s go back to who Christ was addressing; His disciples. “Christ wasn’t just issuing an assurance of horrible consequences for the trapper. He was also issuing a warning that His disciples better not be among them.” Shielders. “If Christ’s temperature rises over the godless trapper, can you even imagine how His temperature would rise over the trapper who bears His name?” (Or those who help or shield the trapper.) “God forbid!”[v]

“If God would judge those outside His own household, I think we can rest assured He would discipline His own…by all means let’s be on our guard never to cause another person to sin. The Word is clear we have that potential.”[vi]

“So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:3-4 (NIV)

“If we are functioning as a healthy body, ideally we should be able to bring issues that affect us to the table with one another and dialogue and, when appropriate, even rebuke or receive a rebuke. This type of approach demands the maturity expressed in Ephesians 4:14-15 (NIV)” [vii]  “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

Thank you for reading this introduction. I will continue on this theme the next 2-3 weeks of Toxic Tuesday posts. I’ll call them ‘Sticky Posts’ because they are about to become stickier.

 

[i] Beth Moore, Jesus the One and Only,  (Nashville, TN, LifeWay Press, 2000), 171

[ii] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 172

[iii] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 173

[iv] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 173

[v] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 173

[vi] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 174

[vii] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 174

 

 

Hospitality Bar Autumn Update

Hospitality Bar Autumn

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13

This is an autumn update of last year’s Christmas hospitality bar.

Fall decor on William Sonoma 3 tier tray
Fall decor on William Sonoma 3 tier tray

Having boys in the house necessitated adding another non-girly item. When my boys have friends over during warm weather we keep iced tea and lemonade on the bar but boys being boys, (translation = always hungry) we needed a quick easy snack they can help themselves to that takes care of their munchies.

I looked at the hospitality bar and saw the perfect slot for microwave popcorn, as well as, a place to add popcorn salts and disposable bags. (Pictures and details below.)

Top tier Fall decor
Top tier – Fall decor
Middle tier -Fall decor
Middle tier -Fall decor
Bottom tier - Fall decor
Bottom tier – Fall decor

 

 

I used gourds I grew in my garden, Burr Oak acorns (I have a love affair with Burr Oak acorns; they are huge, beautiful and unique), leaf trays and pumpkin/cornucopia creamers I found at Target a few years ago. I also used some silk greenery and a ceramic Blue Bird.

Top view of 3 tier William Sonoma tray
Top view of 3 tier William Sonoma tray

They say necessity is the mother of invention. My need to save time while preparing for a Mother/Daughter Bible study in my home led to this organized Hospitality Bar.  This saved me an easy hour of pulling all the drinks, condiments and mugs out of the cupboards and then organizing them into a centralized location. Add to that my incessant need to have seasonal or holiday decorations placed at this centralized location and—well—no matter how I tried not to worry myself about having everything just right; the hostess in me had no peace until everything looked pretty and was fully functional.

I did not care so much that my house was clean and picked up perfectly for other guests but Bible study was different. I desired for participants of the study to feel at home, relaxed and safe to share their needs and their hearts. I wanted them to feel pampered by me but more importantly, by their God who is crazy-in-love with them. I needed my attention off of the refreshment details so I could welcome, listen and interact with the mothers and daughters as we discussed and studied God’s word.

DSCN1987

Between homeschooling, driving to doctor and therapy appointments and keeping up with extracurricular activities I was finding it difficult to fully prepare for leading our study, cleaning the house and prepping the kitchen for refreshments. Thus I decided a central location was essential for storing all the refreshment items. Function was all I had in mind.

I began searching for cabinets that would match or coordinate with our current kitchen but could not find an equivalent or anything to bring together the old with the new while remaining within my budget.

Then one day while pulling in our driveway, a neighbor’s garage door was up and to my surprise I saw cabinets sitting against the wall of their garage that looked just like our cabinets. I did a double take. No. Yes. No doubt, they were a perfect match. Hmm?

A few weeks later I saw this neighbor and told them about my search for matching cabinets to install in our kitchen and my dilemma because the particular line of cabinetry was no longer available. I mentioned that I saw cabinets in their garage that looked like a perfect match and asked, “Do you have plans for those or are you interested in selling them to me for (a disclosed price)?”

Our neighbor was willing to sell them to me for the disclosed price and I found out the reason they were an exact match was because they  were a hutch that came out of our house.  We bought a foreclosed home and during the time of the foreclosure; friends, relatives and neighbors were allowed by the previous owners to take whatever they wanted out of the unlocked house. This explained why some appliances, some cabinets and all closet hardware were missing from the house.

Next, I planned how to use the hutch then took it apart piece by piece and gave all of it a good scrubbing.  2 X 4 lumber was used to build a frame behind the cabinets so I could acquire more depth for a deeper countertop.  I also pulled the shorter center cabinets out front more to add dimension to the unit. Bead board was added to the sides for decorative purposes and to hide the false depth. Since these are upper cabinets being used on the floor I added a one inch toe kick at the bottom to keep the doors from scraping the floor. I wanted to place feet underneath the cabinets but that would have required moving an outlet, changing the windowsill and making the countertop out of reach for young children. So, no pretty decorative feet but it overflows in functionality.

DSCN2642

I no longer have to prepare for guests’ arrivals. Relatives and friends know where to go for a drink when they come to my house. Below:  Ice water and a carafe of hot water. I also keep hot water in the tea kettle on the stove and in the coffee pot. This allows three separate areas for a large group to fill their mugs.

DSCN2019DSCN2035Left: I keep this 3-tier tray from William-Sonoma on the bar for seasonal and holiday decorations. And I always have a candle ready to burn. A guest will rarely come to my house without finding scrumptious looking chocolate on display. The only problem is that the chocolate usually isn’t real and I have offended a dear friend, and fellow chocoholic, on multiple occasions with my inedible treats.DSCN2037

If budget and space do not allow for a hospitality bar in your home; you could use a portion of your countertop, a buffet, a re-purposed dresser or a shelving unit to accomplish the same objective.

DSCN1994

Right: This is a bamboo utensil holder turned sideways for holding tea bags and coffee singles.

DSCN1996

Below: Flavorings and droppers for mixing flavors into drinks (3-4 drops does the job). Sprinkles – top cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkles or Cappuccino Accent Toppings; Cinnamon, Sweet Nutmeg, Vanilla, Chocolate.

I buy my Stash teas and bottled flavorings at the Old Towne Spice Shop, Main Street, St. Charles, MO. http://www.oldtownspices.com/ The Cappuccino Accent Toppings are from Main Street MarketPlace, St. Charles, MO. http://www.mainstreetmarketplace.com/

DSCN2657 - Copy

Right: Drinking straws. Small shelves: Sugar and sweeteners on top. Extra coasters on bottom. Hot Cocoa Mix and Hot Cider Mixes. (The compartments are a desk caddy organizer.)

DSCN2656

Below:  Flavorings and droppers. Sprinkles and Cappuccino Accent Toppings. Single serve coffee. Small shelves: Creamers on top. Napkins in bottom. Stir straws on right.

Popcorn salts/toppings
Popcorn salts/toppings

Above: I added microwave popcorn, flavored popcorn salts and disposable popcorn bags to the bar. The microwave popcorn is next to the apple ciders and cocoa packets; to the left of the red and white striped popcorn bags. Popcorn salts are in located with the popcorn isle and come in a variety of flavors. A word of caution about the popcorn salts; the Jalapeno Cheddar and the Buffalo Wing make us choke. It has nothing to do with the heat because we are huge fans of spice, but it tends to go down the airway and asphyxiate us—every single time. We now avoid these seasonings.

Popcorn bags
Popcorn bags

Left: The popcorn bags are from Hobby Lobby’s party supply department. I used a 40% off coupon so the cost for 25 bags is $1.93

DSCN2001

DSCN2025 - Copy

Above and Right: Extra tea supplies, extra sugar, Mullin spices for cider, pink and regular lemonade, drink pitcher.

DSCN2026

Left: Oregon Chai Tea Latte (Wal-Mart), Peppermint Hot Chocolate & Barra Mexican Chocolate (both need mixed into hot milk), Cappuccino Double Mocha (Aldi’s), Extra coffee singles, Cocoa, Diet-Sugar Free Swiss Miss Cocoa, French Vanilla Cappuccino (SAMS)

DSCN2028 - Copy Right: Mugs/Cups

Below: To go/travel cups with lids (collected from Hotel stays), Hot water carafe, cold water carafe.

DSCN2005 - Copy

DSCN2030Above right: Mexican Lava Rock Molcajete with coffee beans. Sometimes used for decoration but my favorite way to use it is for homemade Guacamole.

DSCN2016

Left: Windowsill decorations

Below: The rest of the cabinets that were not used for the Hospitality Bar were hung in the utility room. Instead of using wood filler for the dead space (on right) I had a bottom shelf and right side panel added for storing trays and cookie cooling racks. We added crown molding at the top to dress it up. I considered using the top for storage but only considered. It looked much prettier decorated with the gourds A.J. grew and I painted.DSCN2655DSCN2652

This new set of Whirlpool Cabrios replaced my Frigidaire front loaders. For a host of reasons I would give both sets back to have our older model Maytags! Newer is not necessarily better.

Anne Graham Lotz

911 Initial Confirmation? • AnGeL Ministries • Anne Graham Lotz

I enjoy using Anne Graham Lotz’s material with my ten and eleven year old boys for Bible studies and devotions. We participated in her 777: An Urgent Call to Prayer back in July and we participated in this week’s 911: An Urgent Call to Prayer for Jerusalem.

Do you remember how God used a rainbow to show HE heard our prayers for 777:

Read the below link to see what happened—again!

911 Initial Confirmation? – Blog • AnGeL Ministries • Anne Graham Lotz.

Toxic Tuesday: Manifesto of the Duplicitous

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

 

Here are remarks from an individual who was previously in a position of authority, leadership and influence over, unknown to them, a toxic character. Of this corrupted personality they write:

“…was duplicitous and deceptive, living a double life, disconnected from reality, certainly from spiritual reality.”

Here are the personal values of the Jekyll and Hyde described in the above quote. A soul in a bottomless pit of sexual addiction and mental illness.  A creature who blindly victimized the unsuspecting, the simple, the harmless and the innocent.   Who, by society’s standards, is an impostor perpetrating the vilest offenses.

This manifesto was penned to prove sincere devotion to God, to the ex-spouse, to the church, and to show they were healed and worthy of trust, respect, forgiveness and reconciliation.

  1. The economy of this nation depends on my acceptance of personal responsibility.
  2. I will seek to understand and empathize with others.
  3. My family is this nation’s citizenship.
  4. My family and friends are carefully selected allies with whom I have agreed to never war against.
  5. My happiness is not my first goal. Meeting my responsibilities is.
  6. True happiness is found in maintaining and growing in my relationships with God and others.
  7. I must daily be reminded that faith, decency and honor are the highest virtues of man.
  8. A poorly kept house is the first sign of danger: it is the thing most found in slums.
  9. Depression is a state of mind that wrecks the economy — not the reverse.
  10. Appreciation for nature and the arts are essential to maintaining health and centeredness.
  11. God is my First Love; my family and friends come second; I am third.
  12. I must gain independence before I can become interdependent with others.
  13. My attitudes, moods, and expressions must always be a reflection of God’s grace.
  14. God is Sovereign over the affairs of this and every life.
  15. ln every conflict and in every war — whether found from without or from within …is a Iust for what one hasn’t. May the passion of my heart, mind, soul, and strength be to love God completely; and my neighbor as myself.
  16. Faith, Hope, and Love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
  17. lf I bring anything of value, and pour it into the lives of others during my lifetime, may it all be of eternal value and for the good — not of taxing pain nor hurt by telling lies, victimizing others, nor of a pursuit for my own selfish gain and ambition.
  18. l am saved by Grace through Faith … my focus is not, nor can it be, on my righteousness for I have none. My focus is on Jesus Christ – the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He alone is the Righteousness of God, Who is received by Faith, reflected by Obedience, and revealed in Love.
  19. Although I have inherited a sinful nature, I am not captive to it. I have died to sin, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. He is my Hope of Glory.
  20. My life is a constant effort to remove idols and to tear down barriers. The television is my most visible idol and enemy.
  21. My daily regiment must include physical, mental, emotional, vocational, and most of all, spiritual exercise.
  22. Every meal should be eaten at the table.
  23. The windows should not be covered while the master is home. Light must be allowed to pour in.
  24. I will laugh and entertain with a clean sense of humor.
  25. Monotone fails to inspire … l will use effective and sincere inflections to motivate, challenge, and uplift others.
  26. l am committed to sexual and otherwise moral purity and excellence.
  27.  l will seek revival and restoration daily through confession, repentance and recommitment.
  28.  l will surrender my anger, frustrations, anxieties, and struggles to God daily.
  29.  I am a living sacrifice, not conforming to the world, but being transformed by the renewing of my mind.
  30.  Not a cent should be spent without giving thought to paying off every debt and investing for the future; however, it is acceptable to feed the birds on occasion.
  31.  The house and grounds are to reflect excellence and beauty – the canvass for a creative mind.
  32.  I am not an abuser who robs others of joy, but a gift-giver who offers all of myself to feed the souls of others consistently and in such a way that grows far beyond myself to touch lives within a darkened world in a very special, illuminating way.
  33.  Early to bed and early to rise, as a flexible rule.
  34.  My heart will not be allowed to grow cold, nor my conscience to be hardened. But I will maintain a sensitivity to things of beauty and a love for the Divine.
  35.  l will maintain a strong defense and readiness for personal or civil action as needs demand.
  36.  ‘The former ways” — even if only idealistic — are still to be desired over all others.
  37.  I will speak up and take a stand, even when unpopular, for the right.
  38.  I love my God, my family, His church, and the United States of America, and will honor, respect, and remember those who are older and wiser – and those who have gone before us.
  39.  The Bible will be open and visible in my home.
  40.  All I have is the Lord’s.
  41.  Verbal prayers will proceed every meal and will be said at the beginning and end of every day.
  42.  I will share my faith and the Gospel message with someone every day.
  43.  I will offer tithes and offerings, as God provides, to His storehouse, the Church.
  44.  l will not limit God by my unbelief but will seek to discover and fulfill His will for my life and for the lives of those entrusted to my care.
  45.  I will remember that humility honors God and welcomes His blessing.
  46.  I will remember that God seeks a bold, not weak faith in His ability rather than my own.
  47.  I will remember that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, not just for those in my tiny little circle.
  48.  l will remember holy days – birthdays, anniversaries, and celebrations.
  49.  I will maintain and build upon close and distant past and present friendships.
  50.  Only Jesus can erase sin and hold it no longer to my account: yet it is my responsibility to perform the ongoing ministry of reconciliation – that of healing and re-uniting broken relationships.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In light of innocent victims; numbers 15, 17, 23 and 32 are the most disturbing to me. Number 32 is off the charts unhealthy and twisted when considered in the context of predator and victim.

15.  ln every conflict and in every war — whether found from without or from within…is a Iust for what one hasn’t. May the passion of my heart, mind, soul, and strength be to love God completely; and my neighbor as myself.

17.   lf I bring anything of value, and pour it into the lives of others during my lifetime, may it all be of eternal value and for the good — not of taxing pain nor hurt by telling lies, victimizing others, nor of a pursuit for my own selfish gain and ambition.

23.  The windows should not be covered while the master is home. Light must be allowed to pour in.

32.   I am not an abuser who robs others of joy, but a gift-giver who offers all of myself to feed the souls of others consistently and in such a way that grows far beyond myself to touch lives within a darkened world in a very special, illuminating way.

 

I share this as a wake-up call to those in positions of leadership; especially within the church. If someone hands you a value statement similar to this; it may be time to pursue professional help for them.

The power of prayer and the courage of little ‘David’ voices against their Goliath put an end to this reign of ‘gift-giving’ and ‘illuminating’ abuse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

alarm clock

911 PRAY FOR JERUSALEM

Shared from the blog of Anne Graham Lotz

9 1 1: One Hour of Prayer

Aug 28, 2014

The end of all things is near.  Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.  1 Peter 4:7

Following dinner the night Jesus was betrayed, He took His disciples with Him to  Gethsemane and asked them to watch and pray.  When He checked on them, He found them sleeping. I can almost hear His voice choking with emotion as He said, Could you men not keep watch with Me for one hour?Because He knew the seriousness of the hour.  He knew His arrest, betrayal, trials, crucifixion, death and burial were imminent.  He knew His disciples needed to be pre-prayed.  Instead, they went back to sleep.  As a result they were totally unprepared for the events of the next three days.

When God commands us to pray, it’s for a reason. He knows what’s coming. And I know He has commanded me to pray.  Now.  For Jerusalem. While I’m not sure of the reason, I wonder if it’s because something very dramatic is going to happen in the Epicenter. Could it be the rapture of the church is imminent?  Could it be, when that moment comes and every born again believer is caught up to be with Jesus, along with the Holy Spirit who indwells them and presently restrains evil, that Israel will be more alone in the family of nations than she ever has been since her rebirth in 1948? Could it be that at that moment God will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication?  Is it at that moment that they will look on the One they have pierced, and recognize Him as their Messiah?

While I don’t know the answers to these questions, I am utterly convinced it’s time to pray for Jerusalem. For just one hour…

To pray for those living in His land, visit 911 Pray for Jerusalem for written prayers and scriptures to pray.

IMG_5773

Underwear Man: Cardinal’s Baseball

IMG_5789

Here was my Friday night, August 29, 2014:

Farm Boy called home from work to ask if I wanted him to bring home the company tickets for four he was offered to see the Cardinal’s game tonight against the Chicago Cubs.

Let’s see? Colson, A.J. and I are huge Cardinal’s fans. We get to see my Stillwater, Oklahoma, home town favorite, Matt Holliday.  And…wait for it…we had just finished reading the latest Cardinal’s Club update that Yadier Molina was back on the roster to start in tonight’s game. YES—yes! Bring home the tickets!

After we parked and made our way to the stadium I was reminded that there is no other city in which I would enjoy baseball more than St. Louis, Missouri, home of Cardinal Nation. I love the sea of red but just because we live in a sea of red does not mean I enjoy the humidity that goes with living by the sea. Could somebody push the delete button on the humidity please? I have to drive three house west of St. Louis to lose it.

The nightlife at Busch Stadium buzzes like never before with the new addition of Ballpark Village. People pouring in and out of every open door as fans were enjoying pre-game meals, drinks, dancing, and parties.

For my boys, part of the fun in going to the stadium is seeing which ticket dad hands them. Ticket stubs are treasure which are promptly hung on the bulletin board in their bedroom upon arriving home. Colson was ecstatic to be handed Yadi’s pic and A.J. thrilled to have Holliday’s. To my boys, these are the two most prized tickets to hold in their ten and eleven year old hands.

Here are the reasons my boys love Yadi and Holliday:

  1. They are Christians.
  2. Matt was born and raised in my hometown of Stillwater, Oklahoma, and the boys are faithful fans.
  3. Yadier Molina is the best catcher in baseball.

Then—A.J. dropped his coveted Holliday ticket as we stepped on the escalator. Farm Boy made a return trip, by way of stairs, to the bottom of the escalator but either someone had picked up the ticket or the escalator had eaten it. We had a sad young man but smiles were to be had again as we found our seats just past third base overlooking Matt Holliday.

We enjoyed watching Holliday catch multiple popflys, get on base, and score an RBI.

The crowd went wild as Yadi stepped up to the plate for his first at bat since his seven week recovery following thumb surgery on his throwing hand. This was the third time the fans wildly cheered for him and it wouldn’t be the last standing ovation. The next came after he struck out. Yep! That’s how true fans roll. We stood and cheered for him again—cause we love him and want him to always be a Cardinal. Always! I hope Yadi will be a part of this franchise to the very end, following after the likes of Stan the Man Musial.

Here is the information the night will be remembered for: The drunk man. At least I assume the man was drunk—that’s the story we told our boys because who after all, would jump down from their seat and run clumsily across the field, zigzagging, in hopes of avoiding being caught by security, in their underwear. Yes, underwear.

As soon as I realized what was going on I looked over at my boys whose mouths were  wide open in astonishment, with quizzical brows, looking at me like, “What on earth is going on?”

“He’s drunk,” I said and I looked back at the field. All the time I was watching I was thinking and praying, “Please don’t take them (the underwear) off! There are children watching!” There was a lot of movement going on. Legs possibly ready to give way underneath him and hands theatrically flailing in the air. Please leave the underwear on, please!

As soon as Underwear Man began running  in the outfield, in front of Matt Holliday and running toward second base, a security man or Busch Stadium staff member gave chase. Then security came running from different directions to help catch Underwear Man. Loyal Cardinal’s fans did not need to fear as we watched the first man to give chase, dive and take Underwear Man down by the legs. The crowd went crazy as five or six red shirts helped keep Underwear Man down while a police officer handcuffed the uncaped non-super hero. The crowd continued to cheer for the good guys who saved the night.

Security surrounded Underwear Man so the crowd couldn’t see him, which I thought was wise, but then for some reason security dispersed and Underwear Man, soon to be jail-bird, was led off the field by the police officer with the help of two security officials.

I later asked Farm Boy if he noticed Underwear Man ran like perhaps he had a disability, to which he laughingly replied, “His disability was drunkenness.” Okay, he had an elected disability; color me blond! It provided a teachable moment with our boys. They saw first hand the stupidity of being drunk and realized the consequences the man will have to live with; an arrest record, fines, and pictures and video permanently placed on the world wide web.

I wondered what Holliday was thinking. Was this the weirdest night of baseball he had experienced? Had someone more bizarre than Underwear Man ever made it onto the field and, if so, had they entered in left field?

IMG_5779

I wondered what Mike Shannon’s commentary was as he announced live on KMOX 1120 radio the escapades of the crazy man on the field. The above picture is the ball the Mike Shannon sits on as he announces the games in the announcer’s booth.

Here is a link to pictures of the night including Underwear Man. I had Farm Boy look at the pics first and he told me the boxer briefs were flapping in the wind. In other words the pics aren’t fit for viewing so only look at the first picture of the handcuffed uncaped non-super hero. Skip the second picture. You have been warned!

This made me thankful we had a backside view and not a front view.

The game ended with the Cards being pummeled by the Cubbies, 7-2.

The fun of the evening came while watching and listening to a group of Cub’s fans from Chicago, who were in town for a wedding, cheer for their team through the multiple home runs blasted beyond the outfield walls. Multiple. Home. Runs. Ouch!

Perhaps history was made not because of Underwear Man streaking across the Cardinal’s field at Busch Stadium but due to Cardinal’s fans and Cub’s fans, each other’s arch nemesis, enjoying an evening of an old American classic, baseball, together.

Tex-Mex Crock Pot Pork Shoulder

huppiemama.com Pork Shoulder Roast
huppiemama.com Pork Shoulder Roast

Freshly Pressed from Huppie Mama:

“{We often do family potlucks at my house with my sister and my parents. Usually it’s a ‘bring whatever you want’ kinda thing, and we end up with something like baked ziti, chicken…”

via Pork Shoulder Roast recipe & Caribbean dinner ideas.

I found Huppie Mama on Pinterest when I was looking to prepare pork shoulder/pork butt with a new twist and she provided the twist—of lemon and orange. I tweaked the recipe a couple of times and came up with my own Tex-Mex version.

I buy the pork shoulder or pork butt at SAMS Club for under $2.00 per pound. I served four people five meals with this recipe.

This recipe can be cooked, divided into 5 portions, and frozen in freezer bags. I sprinkle more spices on the meat before reheating because it tends to lose some of it’s flavor.

Here are seven meals I have made using the recipe:

  1. Pulled Pork, Cilantro Lime Rice (I add chopped cilantro and 1 juiced lime the last five minutes of the 20 minute cooking time for rice and stir.), 2 cans rinsed black beans in beef broth with ½ teaspoon each cumin, onion powder & chili powder; chopped zucchini, yellow squash & purple onion sautéed in olive oil with cracked pepper and Greek seasoning or Adobo seasoning. (I like all the above ingredients piled on top of each other; my boys like the foods separate.) Watermelon.
  2. Pulled Pork BBQ sandwiches (Spread butter on hamburger buns or Texas Toast {The yummiest} and brown in a warm pan. Serve meat on the bread with BBQ sauce {Head Country sauce is my fav), baked French fries, salad, grapes.
  3. Pulled Pork Nachos: Shredded Cheddar and/or Monterey Jack cheese, drizzled cheese or queso sauce, pulled pork and drizzled Chipotle BBQ sauce. (I used a medium aggressive heat, smokey Chipotle salsa from Cantina Laredo, the salsa they serve warm.) I made a mix of half Chipotle salsa and half Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce. My guys were making happy noises the entire time they ate; except when the stopped eating to ask for more of the sauce. (Any BBQ sauce with smokey chipotle will work. If in the St. Charles county area, Sugarfire has delicious Chiptole BBQ sauce.) Serve with fruit; mixed melons.
  4. Large Yukon Gold baking potatoes with toppings of butter, sour cream, cheese and warmed pulled pork in its broth. Ladle the pork and broth over the stuffed potato. (My boys were not thrilled until they took the first bite; then they were in heaven!) Serve with salad or fruit.
  5. Pulled Pork Chalupas. Serve on warmed flour or corn tortillas with toppings of your choice: Cheese, lettuce or spinach, tomato, onion, lime wedges (for a squirt of juice), chopped cilantro and salsa. Serve with warmed tortilla chips and fresh salsa for dipping.
  6. Pulled Pork dipped in BBQ sauce, baked homemade sweet potato fries drizzled with olive oil—sprinkled with seasoning salt and Rosemary, veggie & fruit.
  7. Pulled Pork Quesadillas served on flour or corn tortillas with shredded cheese. Serve with sautéed or steamed veggies and fruit salad. I core and cut 1 red apple, 1 green apple, 1 cup green grapes, 1 cup red grapes, 1 can chunk pineapple, ½ cup whole pecans; spoon 1 small container of peach yogurt over ingredients and toss.

GiveMe Tex-Mex or Else
GiveMe Tex-Mex or Else

Pork Shoulder Roast Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion cut in chunks, plus 1 whole onion skinned with the slightest portion of ends cut off; just enough to remove the skin off the ends. You want the whole onion to stay together until finished cooking.)
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 fresh lemons juiced, choose the heaviest fruits—they have the most juice
  • 1 large orange juiced or several Clementines juiced
    • (the two juices combined should equal 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • One 5-7 pound, bone-in Boston butt (pork shoulder, pork butt – I used a 7.5 lb pork butt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients, except the whole onion—NOT the whole onion, in a blender or food processor and puree.
  2. Pour half a cup of pureed mixture in bottom of crock pot.
  3. Place pork shoulder or pork butt in the crock pot and pour remaining mixture over the top and down the sides. Place whole onion is crock-pot. (I love onion flavor but putting one and a half pureed onions in the mixture messes with the texture of the finished recipe. The whole onion can be removed after cooking.)
  4. Cook on low for 9 hours. I checked mine at 7 hours. If it is still tough cut several slits across the top then turn it over and cut slits on the bottom.  It will finish cooking and be ready to shred at the end of 9 hours.

Yum!

 

 

protect children

Man sentenced to life in prison under Jessica’s Law

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Read: Man sentenced to life in prison under Jessica’s Law.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It is sad when kind-hearted people remain hoodwinked by smooth talking grandiose actors but it can happen to anyone; I know from experience.

This is about a man who was found guilty of aggravated criminal sodomy of a three year old and received a life sentence without the possibility of parole for at least 25 years under Jessica’s Law on August 22, 2014.

The church must begin believing the children!

This letter was shared by someone the pastor traveled internationally with working in orphanages and preaching the gospel. This was circulated in the evangelistic association’s newsletter to their supporters and evangelists worldwide:

“In past years you have read of Evangelist S in our newsletters. S joined our team of overseas evangelists several years back and served honorably and successfully winning many souls to Christ. S was not full time, he was part time. His full time service was as the Minister of the Christian Church in Independence, Kansas, where he preached and was loved by that congregation for over 6 years.

One year and a half ago S was suddenly arrested and jailed in Independence and he has remained in jail ever since. Many of us are grieved because we believe S is 100% innocent of the charge that has been made against him. We are asking all Christians to pray for Evangelist S. He is your brother in Christ. He was baptized as a boy by __________ at the __________Church_________, where his father and mother were among the founding members of that church. S was also ordained to the ministry by the Elders of the church after graduating from Bible College.

S’s trial will take place at the courthouse in Independence, Kansas, the first week of August. Several of us who live in the area and surrounding towns plan to be present for the trial and will be in constant prayer that God will lead the Defense Attorney to accurately present S’s side of the story. Please pray for S, pray for his wife, pray for the Judge and for each member of the jury. Pray that S may be acquitted so he can continue his effective work as an overseas evangelist.

Thinking about the Apostle Paul.

During S’s incarceration I have often written to him and he has written many letters to me. Receiving a letter from S in jail is very similar to reading Paul’s Prison Epistles in the New Testament. I want to  share with you one of S’s letters:”

‘Dear Friends,

Thank you for the wonderful and encouraging letter I received from you. I so much appreciate the news of our evangelists’ work around the world. I am keeping these in my thoughts and prayers—and hope to join you in the work again soon.

How could I possibly express how thankful I am to both of you for watching out for, comforting, and encouraging my wife through these terribly difficult times? May an abundance of grace be credited to your account. (Philippians 4:16-18).

Jail has exposed me to men who have engaged in the worst of all behaviors. Many brag about their addictions to drugs and sex—the most lewd descriptions I have been forced to hear. It is sickening to hear it day after day. The word to best describe it is TORTURE!

The good news is that one-by-one, they have come to me and asked questions about the Bible. There are moments of shame and despair. I pray throughout the day for all of them—for the Lord to reach their hearts.

One man, convinced that “all men are equal,” (not believing that anyone was better than him) he reacted violently toward me when I said, “Yes, I believe there are some who are better than others.” I used examples like Noah and Job and Enoch and Elijah. He nearly hit me he was so angry, he said that I was Satanic. Then after telling him that I loved him, I left the room. Later that day, I handed him a Bible reference…”Consider others more important than yourselves…” (Philippians 3:2). It amazes me how so many do not esteem others beyond themselves. Needless to say, there is little to no respect for authority.

I have always had “heroes in the faith”. These men refuse to consider anyone as being better than themselves. While I understand that “all have sinned” and “all need the Savior”, there are many who are “walking ina manner worthy of their calling.” We are to “Give honor to whom honor is due.” These are foreign concepts; they demand respect, but often forget to give it.

The hardships are discouraging, and sometimes I lose hope—but my faith is strong. I cannot deny the Lord’s word, nor can I deny His faithfulness.

Thank you again for all you are doing to help us in this difficult situation. I believe the Lord will deliver me home and restore my joy.

I love you both beyond words, S, Psalm 103′

OUR APPEAL IS THAT A LARGE ARMY OF PRAYER WARRIORS WILL SURROUND S WITH YOUR PRAYERS TO GOD FOR STEVE’S ACQUITTAL.”

Justice Served Super Sized for Children’s Sake

My Bed My Pew My Life

The Supernatural

Mene Mene Tekel Parsin

P.R.A.Y.E.R. for Innocent Children

Dead End

Reversal of Destiny

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

Toxic Tuesday: Justice Served Super-Sized for Children’s Sake

toxic-people-warning-keep-calm

Dear readers,

This is real life and reality isn’t always pretty with bright sunny days, snuggly soft puppy dogs and beautifully spoken words. Sometimes life is unbearable and the content of today’s post qualifies for the later. I’m warning you in advance that some of the content is heavy and ugly.

Remember all the past posts where we prayed for justice in the lives of little children who had been sexually victimized by predators.

Good news: One down—more to go.

Prayer matters and the prayers and scriptures you prayed with me will make an eternal difference in the lives of precious little children who attend church every week with their families and who will never find the ill fortune of becoming the victim of one specific predator.

I’ll never tire of thanking God for this answered prayer.

This offender received a life sentence under Jessica’s Law with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

Jessica’s law requires a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and lifetime electronic monitoring of adults convicted of lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years old. The statute also requires that if an offender is sentenced to a term of years, he or she must be given lifetime probation following the imprisonment. This law is to keep offenders who seek employment in places of authority and with access to children; such as coaches, teachers and clergy members from regaining access to victims.

The sad and frustrating side to this ruling is about the wife and her family, along with some church members, who each believe with all their heart that this man is innocent. I can only imagine how their heart’s break. If only they could understand the truth of the man’s history; that predates their relationship with him. Then they could walk away, pick up their lives, and seek understanding and healing for the deep blindness and betrayal with which Satan has oppressed them.

We may not have the ability to change the world by eliminating pornography and locking up all the molesters and pedophilic offenders, but we can make the church a better place by praying offenders into prison one by one. Keep praying!

Here are a few of the facts and testimonies from court: I refuse to post certain words on my blog; therefore, I replaced the words with blanks.

-Facts: Physical evidence was presented to the jury.
-Testimony of child: He touched my _____and _____while in the classroom during a Wednesday night children’s class.
-Testimony of Ginger Hill, outpatient therapist at Four County Mental Health Center: The defendant described to child what Jesus would do and say when he returned. And acted out Jesus touching people upon his return; touching the boy on his _____and ______.
-Two women employed by the Child Advocacy Center, Vicki Speer and Erika Rider, both testified they did forensic interviews,“The defendent touched them in areas that were inappropriate.”
-Victim told the jury the defendant ___________________ during a 2009 Wednesday night children’s class. The child said the incident took place in the bathroom while he was a part of a Wednesday night children’s class. The child identified the defendant, “He was the preacher at our church. He taught a class. He touched my ___________. He put his ___________________in the bathroom at the church.” He said he was off the stool at the time it happened.
-The mother of the child testified her child told her when,“We were at home, lying down and he said,‘I love momma, I love daddy, I love ______’” She questioned,“You love _____?”
“Yes,” the child replied,“But tell him to quit ______________________because it hurts.” That was in late February 2010.
-It was on Nov. 11, 2009  when the defendant stopped teaching the adult class. He then started teaching the children’s class that contained children from age 2 – age 5 alone. [i]
-Two separate children’s testimonies, who did not know each other, corroborated what happened to them at separate times by the same man.

I must stop and ask; what man wants to be alone with little children and have to take care of changing dirty diapers? And what man with a history of sexual abuse allegations against children would ever put himself in such a situation? A man who had lost his own parental rights to his only child. And what church would allow it?

But that’s not all.

He was alone in a classroom which had no windows and according to court records he locked the door while the children were in the class. He was also alone with one of the victims in the boys’ bathroom.[ii]

He was alone doing unthinkable things while describing to the children what Jesus would do and say when he returned while acting out what would happen. He (Jesus), “Would touch people upon his return.”[iii]

The mother of one of the victims discovered an “awfully quiet” classroom one Wednesday night. “She went to the door of the classroom and it was locked.” “I knocked three times on the door. It took the defendant several minutes to come to the door and he would only open it enough that I could see him. He said the children were working on a craft and it was a surprise for the parents.” “I never saw any crafts that were being worked on,” she told the court.[iv]

 

Read the Topeka Capital Journal: Former Kansan Sentenced to Life in Prison Under Jessica’s Law

Other links: 

We believe S is 100% innocent of the charge that has been
made against him.  Page 2  Page 2 White Fields Evangelism

http://www.kansas.com/news/local/crime/article1276724.html

Steven Paul Butler KSN.com

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

Topix Forum

[i] Allen Smith, “Children testify about alleged abuse by former Independence pastor”,Independence Daily Reporter, June 3, 2014

[ii] Smith, “Children testify about alleged abuse by former Independence pastor”

[iii] Smith, “Children testify about alleged abuse by former Independence pastor”

[iv] Smith, “Children testify about alleged abuse by former Independence pastor”

 

 

Electronic's Drop Off for under age house guests.

Toxic Tuesday: Underage House Guests, Technology and How I Protect My Kids

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

Technology opened up a new avenue to develop kids into toxic adults. As a mom with a nineteen year old daughter and boys ages ten and eleven I’m concerned, as I’m sure you are, about how to protect them from spiritually and emotionally harmful technology. I wonder how any boy in today’s world is going to grow up without becoming ensnared by pornography at some time in life. Their only hope is in the Lord—so I pray for and with my boys and teach them to make decisions now to be resolved that when they see immodest pictures they will bounce their eyes away and not look back. 

Statistics show the average age for boys to come across pornography on the internet in our technologically advanced society is age eleven. This leaves a high probability that a young male guest visiting our house has already been introduced to porn either accidentally or intentionally. 

And then there are apps. Companies produce new apps on a weekly basis targeting children and teens as their market audience and many of these apps are dangerous for many reasons. You will find links below for more information on apps and how to control them on your child’s phone.

For many reasons I decided to limit technology that enters my house by way of my young boys’ friends. There is no way to know what someone could have accidentally or intentionally found and saved to their electronic device while surfing the net, listening to music, watching YouTube or movies, using an App, receiving ‘selfies’ from friends, or utilizing Google search; including but not limited to, Google images.

Electronic's Drop Off for under age house guests.
Electronic’s Drop Off for under age house guests.

I tell A.J. and Colon’s friends that although I trust them, I do not trust the World Wide Web and for that reason I have a house rule they will need to follow when they visit us. The rule is this: All electronics stay in the kitchen at the Hospitality Bar. If they need on the internet for any reason I will be glad to log them on to my computer, at the kitchen table, and I will search for what they want to watch or do.

I am almost always in the kitchen which means I am within range of seeing or hearing the entertainment on the computer. If I have to step away I can always look at the ‘History’ to make sure all content was safe.

My boys live by this rule in our own home. No internet access on their own. I log them on and they sit at the kitchen table where I can hear and/or see what they are viewing or listening to. At this time they are allowed on educational websites for school, Lego.com and Tim Hawkins’ website. No web-searching is allowed since we do not have any safeguards in place.

Laptops, phones, iPads, iPods and MP3s all stay on the hospitality bar until young guests are through visiting our home.

Hospitality Bar: Electronic's Rug on the right. This is conveniently located beside the door where they enter and exit.
Hospitality Bar: Electronic’s Rug on the right. This is conveniently located beside the door where they enter and exit.

If you want to implement this idea for your house guests you could use a basket, bowl, tray, plate, towel or just the bare countertop for ‘parking’ electronics. I like my rug because it is decorative and because I can easily count how many devices are deposited and if any are missing during the visit.

Since my boys don’t have guests over more than once a week and since they don’t need to spend their time together being entertained by electronics, I limit the usage and tell them they need to spend their time more creatively. I suggest other indoor activities or playing tag or ball outside.

I admit, telling my boys’ friends this rule makes me nervous because I have a difficult time setting boundaries and not feeling bad about it. I falsely feel like I have to explain my every decision. It would be easier to ask God to protect them from all life’s inconveniences and harms; however, God gave these children to me and I can’t outsource every earthly nuisance back on God as if it is His responsibility just so I can avoid feeling uncomfortable. Our Heavenly Father gave us the authority as parents to raise our children to; like Jesus, grow “In wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

I use this ‘No Technology’ policy for my kids and for their friends. My goal is to keep everyone safe from internet vulnerabilities while they are under my care.

I cannot and will not abdicate my authoritative protection away to a youthful house guest or son; no matter how much I adore them and trust them.

So…you may have already heard from your child, “Mrs. Deevers has me leave my phone in her kitchen whenever I am at her house.” It is true—I do. It is for their protection. I hope you will return the favor when my boys visit your house.

Other helpful internet and app sights and articles:

MMGuardian Parental Controls for phones and apps

Ignore No More app Tired of her kids ignoring her phone calls, a Texas mom taught herself how to develop an app and created “Ignore No More.” Read the Washington Post article, Houston Mom.

Uncovering the Risks of Cell Phones for Teens

7 dangerous apps that parents need to know about. I’m certain this April 2014 list is behind the times but I could not find a more recent list I read two weeks ago.

COUNTERTOP/CANISTER RUG IS FROM: The Cobblestone Cottage, St. Charles, MO for local residents. The rug is not listed on the website.

D.I.Y. Student Divider Organizer

Colson's divider

 

After finishing a Monday of schooling necessity was once again the mother of invention. The day was long for this homeschool momma and for the students who were feeling defeated by their lack of concentration to get the assignments done. Listening, remembering and doing seemed the impossible goal—again. We have lost count through the years how many times my kids have heard and been shown how to put their blinders on by keeping their minds on the assignment, their eyes to their papers, and their mouths quiet. So on this particular day I decided to make the boys some ‘blinders’ complete with school supplies and their most used paperwork.

All through dinner preparations and the meal I took my turn daydreaming—about how I would make this divider tool.  As soon as my boys left for basketball practice I took inventory of supplies I had and supplies I thought I might need. My goal was to spend little money and use what I could find around the house. Then a made a quick trip to the store.

 

A Closer look.
A Closer look.

I was desperate to reign in daydreaming, distractions and endless chit-chatting. I’m still brainstorming  how to overcome the daydreaming but these dividers/organizers help tremendously to lessen distractions and chit-chatting between my two boys who are a year apart. Having almost everything they need within arm’s reach greatly reduced having to get out of their seat to sharpen their pencil or to retrieve a needed school supply.

We had a school room where there were desks but after A.J.’s severs traumatic brain injury three and a half years ago he could no longer tolerate being in the basement school room, with one north window,  surrounded by large shade trees. He needed to be in a larger open area so we began schooling upstairs at the kitchen table, next to large windows with abundant morning and afternoon light, and that is where we have stayed.

The boys sit at opposite ends of the table with their divider in front of them. There is plenty of room for a stack of books and workbooks or notebooks.

I began with a 36″ X 48″  foam core display board from Wal-Mart which I measured and cut in half with a utility knife/box cutter. (Display boards located in the office/school supply department.)

Elmer's 36" X 48" Display Board $9.99, school/office supply
Elmer’s 36″ X 48″ Display Board $9.99, school/office supply
Double-sided tape $2.00
Removable Double-sided tape $2.00, office supply

 

Elastic from my sewing basket
Elastic from my sewing basket

 

Command Large Damage Free Hanging Velcro Strips $3.55
Command Large Damage Free Hanging Velcro Strips $3.55, office supply
thumb tacks
Thumb tacks from the school room
binder clips
Binder clips my daughter had in her room; or I would have used painted clothespins
Hobby peel and stick cork roll from our art supply/craft closet
Hobby cork roll from our art supply/craft closet, available at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s Craft stores

AJs divider

marker board abcTop left: Marker board, from the school room closet, to record non-school questions/remarks. This keeps us from becoming distracted by topics that have nothing to do with school. So far my boys have not used the marker boards, which shows all of us the questions/comments CAN wait or aren’t significant. I used a binder clip to attach this which allows for other school assignments to be easily and temporarily added to the divider/organizer.

 

Bottom left: ABC cursive sheet of upper and lower case letters. I made this for free at Handwriting Without Tears Online Tools. You will need to create a free account and use the A+ GET STARTED Worksheet Maker. I used the Grade 4+ Spelling template. Red scrapbooking paper and ABC sheet held in place with removable double-sided tape.

animal tracksMiddle top left: Peel and stick cork board cut to size for extras that may need placed on the divider.

mult chart

Middle bottom left: Free printable Multiplication Chart 1-15 which I printed on scrapbooking cardstock. Removable double-sided tape for adhesive.

Weekly Scripture Memorization
Weekly Scripture Memorization

Middle top center: Weekly Bible memorization is held in place by a removable binder tab. I make these at Picmonkey.com for free under the ‘Design’ tab. Design possibilities are endless! Background scrapbooking paper. Adhesive is removable double-sided tape.

Middle center and middle bottom center: Scissors, ruler and calculator are held in place by elastic. I placed the objects on the board and made cuts thru the foam board on each side of school supply. I then pushed a piece of cut elastic thru the board and tied it in a double knot on the back of the board. (The white on white is not a terrible eyesore on the back side of the board.)

Math Measurements Chart
Math Measurements Chart

Middle top right: Symbols, tables, measurements and formulas sheet from Math-U-See student workbook. Adhesive: Removable double-sided tape. 

Center bottom right: Pencil bag attached with Command Velcro strips. This creates a strong hold that will not fall off when zipping/unzipping and removing/returning supplies; yet is removable. Supplies include: Pens, erasers, high-lighter, marker board markers, and Mechanical pencils which are on sale through the month of August at most stores that carry school supplies. Mechanical pencils eliminatethe need to constantly get up to sharpen pencils. (I feel the need to sing: If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!” Plus I have never found an electric pencil sharpener that lasts the entire school year. Grrrr!

daily schedule

schedule calendarTop right: Each week I add the new day-by-day schedule. This method has proved to work best for us. They know what has to be done each day and they place a check mark beside the assignment when it is finished.

Bottom right: I printed this free mini calendar and cut it into four-month strips then used removable double-sided tape to adhere it, on top of colorful paper, to the display board. This keeps the boys from asking, over and over, for the correct date to write on their paperwork.

This project took between 2-3 hours which included finding free printables and making copies on my home printer. I have included links to websites in bold red fonts throughout the blog post to make your search for printables fast.

AJs divider

These could be used at a desk or table.

My boys were thrilled with their new dividers/organizers and I received several hugs, kisses and thank-you’s throughout the day.

Two and a half weeks later—the boards have been used every school day.  Best of all we have saved considerable time. We have less distractions, a lot less talking while working on assignments, and no need to get out of the chair for school supplies or necessary charts. At the end of the day the boards are folded up and placed next to the school book shelves.

This project was a Win/Win idea!

 

 

 

 

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

Yes to You Means No to My Family

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

Do you ever feel like you are becoming your own toxic frazzled mess due to time restraints, over commitment to good people, places and projects, or being off-balance from interacting with difficult people?

I am not a person who likes to say, “No” when asked to do something and most of the time I know I can do, organize or delegate what is asked of me. If I know I don’t have the ability it is easy to say, “No, I am not able to help with that request.”

The last few years I have worked on protecting my time, my rest, my family and my sanity.

I am learning to say, “I’ll think about it”.

Sometimes I respond, “I’ll pray about it and get back to you.”

When appropriate I’ll kindly reply, “I’ll think about it and pray about it.”

But most often I’m finding myself answering, “If I say yes to you, or to this request, I will be saying no to my family.”

This isn’t an excuse to say no to everything or to find an easy way out; it is a necessary tool for running my household, loving and serving my family, and preserving my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

I can’t keep saying no to my family. When I become overly stressed, overly tired, or overly committed I am not caring for my family and in essence I am saying, “No,” to their needs.

 

Proverbs 31:28-29 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

 

I know my life is off-balance when I cannot find any fruit in my actions, thoughts or day.

 

Galatians 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.