Monday, October 28, 2013

A Weekend With A Niece

Since tonight is an off-night for Cookie Baking Night, I thought it would be a good time to share some pictures from a few weeks ago when my niece, Emily, spent the weekend at our house. 

We busied ourselves with a few projects over our time together. We made Sesame Street Cookies (Elmo and Cookie Monster--only Sesame Street cookie cutters I could find). 

Emily also helped me fill treat bags for Halloween. Halloween is one of the best times of the year to hand out gospel tracts. I used to try to grab some candy and then grab a gospel tract as trick-o-treaters come to the door, but I've found it's easier to have it all in one bag and hand it out that way. (Because I think everything's cuter with a sticker on it, I like to put stickers on the outside of the bags. Emily says "stickers are entirely unnecessary--the kid's are after candy" but she humored me anyway).

I think the cookies turned out pretty cute!

P.S. This is where I will put in a plug for spending time with the adolescents in your life. That 12, 13, 14 year old stage can be a tricky one. Best not to waste an opportunity to find out what they're thinking as well as opportunities to share the gospel message (the good news of Jesus Christ) through the course of everyday life. So, get out there, grab the nearest 12-year-old you know (gently and with permission, of course) and bake some cookies! (or whatever it is you do in your little corner of the world). 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bible Musings (Titus 2:11-3:7)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 2:11-3:7

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cookie Baking Night 10/21/13

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, and Alli. When we were setting up all the cookies we would make in 2013, it was decided that we couldn't skip over Pumpkin Patch Brownies in October because, as the kids told me, it's a tradition. So, tonight was the night we made Pumpkin Patch Brownies.

First, we made the brownies. 

Then we frosted the brownies and added the candy pumpkins 

Then we added the the green-frosting vines. (We always get a little vine happy, also a tradition). 

The finished product: Pumpkin Patch Brownies

Tonight we continued with our cup game that we've used to learn the books of the Bible. I called out the names of the books. Ethan and Carissa found the corresponding cup w/book title. 

And Alli ran across the room to line the cups up next to the fireplace. (A little something for everyone). 

We also read chapter 3 from Sammy and His Shepherd titled, "He Leads Me Beside Still Waters". This little book does a great job of expounding on the truths of Psalm 23. I highly recommend it. 

We ended the evening with a rousing game of Sequence for Kids

As usual, a fun time was had by all. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bible Musings (Psalm 131)

This afternoon I had the privilege of delivering a devotional thought for a baby shower for a young friend at our church. As I prayed about what passage of Scripture to focus on for the devotional, God brought me to Psalm 131. This is a Psalm that I've memorized and counseled my own head with many, many times over the past few years.

Psalm 131:1-3
O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother. Like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

I leaned on an article written by Nancy Wilson as I prepared the devotional thoughts for the shower.  I first discovered this article when listening to Revive Our Hearts in a teaching series on Psalm 131. Nancy Wilson did a great job expounding on the concepts of this Psalm, particularly the idea of a weaned child. I've included the meat of the article here for your consideration.

"We are accustomed to think that we have little control over the state of our souls. We observe the condition of our souls as though we are spectators, much as we might view the weather, thankful for the days that are not troublesome or disruptive to us, and hoping the turbulent days will pass quickly. But this psalm has a very different perspective. The psalmist has taken the initiative to quiet his own soul. He does not simply say, "I am having a difficult day." He has not looked to someone else to calm his soul. He has calmed and quieted his soul himself, and he compares his soul to a weaned child. What is a weaned child like? A weaned child is able to eat food other than milk. He is past the stage of fussing and crying for milk. He is no longer whining and complaining, and he is able to be with his mother without fretting for the breast or the bottle. How can our soul be compared to such a weaned child with his mother? This kind of weaned soul is the gentle, quiet soul described in 1 Peter 3:4. It is internal and hidden. It is incorruptible. It is very precious to God. A weaned soul is a soul that is comfortable and gracious, quiet and peaceful. It can rest in God's arms without fretting, worrying, struggling, or wanting. It is a soul that has been chastened and disciplined into quietness. Do you have a weaned soul? Have you learned to calm and quiet your own soul, or is your soul still unruly and demanding attention? Must everyone stop what they are doing to calm your soul for you? Are you more like the weaning child, whining and miserable, than the child who is weaned? A weaned child is moving on to maturity. A weaning child is still in its infancy and is still very dependent on milk. Which describes you? When your soul is troubled and disturbed, you must learn to calm and quiet it. Many things in this life can disrupt our peace and joy. As Christian women we must learn to take the initiative in this, and quiet and calm our souls. Is your soul inclined to panic and struggle at the first opportunity, or have you disciplined your soul to incline to rest and peace? Weaning is a gradual process. Mother begins to taper off the milk until the child no longer needs it. The child looks past the milk and is secure in mother herself. Little by little the child becomes able to go without, and eventually, one day is completely weaned. This is the way we must approach our souls. We must learn to say no to ungodly passions that well up within us (Titus 2:12). We must learn to identify the things that disquiet us. We must learn to speak to our soul comforting and calming words and direct our vision to Christ alone. This is a process that is linked very much to our sanctification. We are growing to become mature in Him. We must begin by disciplining our souls when they are discontented, frustrated, demanding attention, or troubled in any way. We must take responsibility for the state of our soul and have the goal in mind to wean our souls. Consider these examples. You may wake in the night and begin to worry about something. Meditate on this verse. Is your soul fussing like an unhappy baby? Perhaps your husband is traveling and you're worried about being alone. Can you calm your soul by reminding yourself of the truths of Scripture and the faithfulness of God? Surely, David had many trials and troubles, yet he was able to quiet his soul. Let your soul find comfort in God rather than in all His external benefits. Consider times of testing as opportunities for you to wean your soul. And be thankful. Feed upon God's promises, and don't whine for what He has not given you. Once we understand this concept, we will identify our own unweaned behavior, and it will shame us to recognize our own status as unweaned children. But then we can begin in humbled fashion to calm and quiet our souls and wean them from the cares and worries that so easily distract us. Then we can join with the Psalmist in saying, "Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me."

Something to ponder today.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bible Musings 10/18/13

No one writes a greeting to a letter quite like the apostle Paul. He manages to squeeze a lot of doctrine and instruction into one little greeting.

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior. Titus 1:1-3

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cookie Baking Musings 10/14/13

In mid August, 
a future Cookie Baking Night member made his entrance into the world:
 Enzo Allen Oseid. 

I posted a picture at the time, but I received feedback that some people weren't able to view it. So, here's a picture of Greg holding little Enzo at our most recent family gathering.

Enzo, we're holding a spot for you at Cookie Baking Nights. See you in about three years, give or take a few weeks.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cookie Baking Night 10/06/13

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, Carissa, and Alli.
When we decided to dub 2013 the "Year of the Cookie", we sat down and assigned a cookie to each night. Ethan really wanted a "pizza cookie", so I found a variation, and tonight we made the "Rocky Road Pizza Cookie" using chocolate chip cookies, marshmallows, choc chips, nuts, and caramel. The kids had a fun time putting them together.

The finished product is pictured below. 

We also read from our current book Sammy and His Shepherd, chapter 2 "He Makes Me Lie Down in Green Pastures". As the story unfolded this evening, we learned four things that sheep need in order to rest: The four things: 1. They must not be afraid. 2. No fighting or bullying present. 3. They must be at peace (free from pests such as flies and parasites). 4. They must not be hungry. A good shepherd usually provides these four things, and then the sheep can rest. The parallels between sheep and people very pretty obvious (even to the children) and so was the need for a Good Shepherd. The discussion questions at the end helped us explore this lesson a little more. 

We also had time for a few games of Zingo before we called it a night. As usual, a fun time was had by all. 

P.S. This picture is just for fun. Alli and her family joined us for dinner on Saturday night and I took this picture of Rylar (Alli's younger but not youngest brother)--in just a little over a year Rylar will make his appearance at Cookie Baking Nights. We look forward to his arrival. 

Cookie Baking Night 06/25/18

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, and Enzo (Allison and Rylar were attending a birthday party els...