Family

I am going to run over your iPad with my car….

Posted by on Aug 13, 2017 in Blog, Family | 3 comments

Sunday mornings can be tough for families.  Many times, Saturday has been filled with fun activities which can include staying up late.  When Sunday morning gets here, it can be hard to get out of bed.

So it was for the Greene family this morning.

As the rest of us were up, getting ready for church, Sam was still in the bed.  He was dead to the world.  Time was ticking and I was growing impatient because the Lord knows how much I hate to be late.

After I had called him FIVE times, Sam was still not downstairs.  He had let out an occasional grunt to let me know he heard me, but he was still dreaming away in his comfy bed.

When you’re trying to motivate a 12 year old boy to obey, you use whatever arsenal you can find in your brain at that moment.  Sometimes things come out of your mouth that you did not plan for.  It is also quite possible that sometimes as a Mom, I may overreact from time to time.

Have you ever seen those videos of parents who get so frustrated with their kids and their electronics that they destroy them (the electronics, not the kid)?  I saw a video several months ago of a Dad who was at the end of his rope with his son.  The Dad was so outdone by the amount of time his son spent on his gaming system, that he took the gaming system out into the yard and ran over it with his lawnmower.

I guess this video stuck in my mind as a possible new parenting technique.

When Sam did not respond to me for the fifth time this morning, I had reached my “nice Mom” limit!

I walked upstairs and with a very calm, cool and collected voice, I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “I have called you five times this morning.  If you do not get up, eat your breakfast, put your clothes on, brush your teeth, fix your hair and have your Bible in hand ready to go in 10 minutes, I am going to run over your iPad with my car…….good morning, sweetheart.”

Ok, let’s wait just a minute here.  In hindsight, I probably overreacted and could have thought of a more loving (and less destructive) way to get Sam out of bed, but it was effective. Sam got out of bed….and fast!  Plus, he accomplished everything I asked him to, with his Bible in hand ready to go to church, on time.

Now, I’m not advocating that we take our kids’ belongings and run over them with our cars, but I am advocating that we take seriously the role we have as parents to teach our kids to obey.  I think this is one of the most difficult things we deal with as   parents, because as human beings, our nature is to disobey.

We see this from the beginning of time with Adam and Eve.  They disobeyed God.

The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it.  ~Genesis 3:6

When we continue to look into the Bible, we see this same theme of disobedience with the Israelites.  I am reading through the Bible this year and I just get flat worn out with these Israelites.  Over and over, they did not listen to God.  In so many instances their hearts were not set on following Him.  In fact, they wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years because they had not obeyed God, and they missed out on a BIG blessing because of it.

Might we take notice that there are consequences to disobeying God?

The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.  ~Joshua 5:6

God is always faithful and loyal to His people, but His people are not always faithful and loyal to Him.

Isn’t this still true of us, today?  We love God.  We believe in His son Jesus and we follow Him.  Yet, we struggle with doing what God tells us to do.  Too many times we do what we “feel” like doing instead of doing what God commands us to do.

As far as parenting goes, my encouragement to you today, my friend, is to not give up.  Whether it’s getting your child out of bed in the morning or dealing with things much more serious, parenting can wear you down.

As Moms, we make mistakes, but when you and I fall down, we must not stay down.  You and I will battle with our kids over their disobedience.  It is a battle we must fight, with love, as we obey God in our calling as Moms.

Remember, if a child will not obey a parent they CAN see, how will they ever obey a God they CANNOT see?

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’-which is the first commandment with a promise-‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” ~Ephesians 6:1-3

Just like God loves us and He promises to never leave us, our kids need to know how much we love them and how we will never leave them.  We may run over their iPads with our car, but we will always be there for them.

Thankful for you,

~Joy

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Make a Memory!

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Blog, Family, Growing Closer to God, Lessons Learned, Relationships | 2 comments

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Fall is in the air and it thrills my soul! It is my favorite time of year as I love the cooler temperatures, the colorful trees, and the smell of pumpkin spice.

This is the time of year when I pull out my crockpot and make chili beans, vegetable soup, homemade chicken and noodles and all of those warm, “feel good” one-pot meals.  

I sip hot chocolate (with lots of marshmallows), wear wool socks, thick sweaters and boots! OH yes—fall is the most wonderful time of the year, for me.

Some of my most favorite memories are centered around the fall season. Memories of family get-togethers, camping trips, pumpkin patches and snuggling on the couch with those I love on a cool October morning.  

What about you?

What comes to your mind when you think about the fall season?

I worked at Union University (in Jackson, TN) for three years and my Dean, Dr. Sheila Mitchell, would make a statement from time to time. We would be talking about an upcoming conference or a family vacation and she would say “while you’re there, make a memory.”

Dean Mitchell is one of those people who lives her life to the fullest! She has wisdom to know that life is precious and the moments we have are gifts from God. She is quick to tell you that there is always something to be grateful for and that life is too short to be miserable.

Why focus on what’s wrong with your life when you can have a heart of thankfulness and focus on what is right with your life?

Dean Mitchell lives with purpose. Not only does she live her life to please God, but she also lives her life to serve others. She plans creative way to make special moments with her family, friends and those around her. It might be an evening boat ride on the lake with her husband, or a special tea party with her granddaughter.

She knows how to love other people well and she works hard at making special moments with them. When those special moments come, Dean Mitchell fully embraces the moment. She doesn’t just let it slip away unnoticed. She soaks in all in and takes a snapshot in her mind that she tucks away as a treasured memory.

You and I have a role to play in making our life count.

God created you and me for a reason. He has kingdom work for us to do and He has good things in store for us!

It is easy for us to feel weighed down with the many responsibilities we have.

We need to clean our house, do the laundry, pay the bills, go to work and the list goes on. But, we also need to invest in our marriages, plan special outings with our children, show love to a friend in need, serve someone in need and take time to soak in the beauty of God’s creation.

There is much more to life than just the work we need to do.

Be determined this fall season to make special memories.

It is serving others that brings about the most joy so do your part to create special moments with your family, friends and those around you.

This fall season, start a new family tradition. Take your kids on a fun adventure. Serve at a local ministry. Plan a weekend getaway with your husband.

Put energy and time into planning something special as you love those around you.

As your special moments unfold, I hope you will stop and thank God for His goodness. I hope you will stop and soak it all in. I hope you will stop, take a snapshot in your mind of all God has done and “make a memory” that will last a lifetime.

So glad you stopped by!

~Joy

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.   ~Psalm 7:17

 

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It will be the best you’ve ever had!

Posted by on May 13, 2016 in Blog, Family, Lessons Learned, Relationships | 4 comments

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Ocean Isle Beach (OIB) is a quiet, family beach community where folks drive their golf carts on the roads and where life seems to slow down a bit.  It’s a small quaint place that Bryan and I enjoyed taking our children to when they were younger.

OIB is home to one of the sweetest ice cream shops around that serves the most delicious homemade strawberry ice cream.  I mean to tell you, it is yummmmmmy!

Years ago, my cousin Adam, and his family, vacationed with us at OIB for a week of fun and sun!  As we prepared for our trip down to the coast, I told Adam and Candace about the things we could do at OIB.  Of course, I mentioned this fabulous ice cream shop and the delicious strawberry ice cream.  I remember telling Adam it would be the best strawberry ice cream he had ever had!

Sure enough, while on our trip, we made our way to the ice cream shop and out of all the flavors available, Adam chose strawberry.  Smart choice!

I just knew he would love it as much as I did, so I paid attention as he took his first bite.  His expression was not as joyful as I had hoped it would be.  I wanted him to tell me how fabulous this strawberry ice cream was, but instead, he just told me it was good.  (Insert shock!)

GOOD?  What did he mean, good?  It is fantastic!

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Here we are—back in 2009!

Adam and I have laughed about this strawberry ice cream story many times since that OIB trip.  When we talk about it, he jokingly says, “Joy, you over-promised and under-delivered.”

What about you?  Have you ever over-promised and under-delivered?

Maybe it wasn’t about how wonderful a flavor of ice cream was, but maybe you told someone you were going to do something and then you did not do it.  Maybe you told a friend you would be somewhere and something came up so you were unable to go.  Maybe a coworker asked you to pray for them and you said you would, but then you forgot.

Maybe like me you have had good intentions and you really wanted to stick to a commitment that you made, but life got in the way and you backed out of your commitment, letting someone else down.

From time to time, we break promises.  We don’t follow through.  We are not true to our word.

We over-promise and under-deliver.

It happens to us all.

Lately, God has been reminding me of how important it is for me to do what I say I am going to do!  He has been reminding me that I should be careful not to overcommit myself to things I do not plan to stick to!

He has been reminding me that I should be a person of my word and that my integrity is vital to my walk with Him.

Talk is cheap!  Living out my faith takes action!

Jesus emphasizes this point through the parable of two sons:

 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’  “’I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.  ~Matthew 21:31a

The first son did not agree to go work, but he changed his mind later (another version says he repented), and he went to work.  The second son said he would go to work, but then he did not go.

Which son pleased the father?

When you and I fail to keep our word, it affects our trustworthiness.  It causes people to lose respect for us.

It also affects our friendships.  Friendships are typically based on trust and it’s almost impossible to trust someone who does not keep their word.

My friend, you and I need to be people who are trustworthy.  We carry the name of Christ.  We are to be like Him!

People should be able to count on us!  When we say we are going to do something, we should not need five reminders to do it!  If we say we are going to do it, then we need to do it!

You and I are human and of course none of us are perfect, but that does not give us an excuse to repeatedly not follow through on our commitments.

God’s Word is clear that our words matter!  We are accountable for our words—all of them!

“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”  ~Matthew 12:26

Let’s be ever-more cautious to be a person of our word.  When we make a commitment to do something, let’s be determined to stick to it!

Well, I know you have a craving for a delicious scoop (or two) of strawberry ice cream!  If you get the chance, make the drive down to Ocean Isle Beach and enjoy some at the local ice cream shop!  Regardless of what my cousin Adam thinks, there’s a good chance it will be the best strawberry ice cream you’ve ever had!   🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

~Joy

For more about keeping your word, check out this link:  https://www.openbible.info/topics/keeping_your_word

 

 

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The Christmas Hairdryer!

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in Blog, Family, Lessons Learned, Relationships | 3 comments

The Christmas Hairdryer

Every Christmas, as I gather with family, the story of the Christmas hairdryer emerges.

You see, when I was little girl, my Dad, sister and I went to buy my Mom a Christmas gift. My Dad is such a great guy, but this particular year, he was a little behind on buying my Mom’s Christmas gift. It was Christmas Eve and off we went to the department store in town.

Interestingly, my Mom rode with us. Once my Dad parked the car, my Mom stayed inside the car while my Dad, sister and I went into the store to pick out a gift that expressed our devout appreciation and love for her.

I was four years old and my sister was nine. We did not know what a young wife and mother would want for Christmas so my Dad decided on a hairdryer.

You know, something practical and useful!

We purchased the hairdryer and I was beaming with excitement! I was so happy about this gift that I was about to bust! I thought a hairdryer was the most glorious gift ever decided upon and I could not wait to see the joy on my Mother’s face when she opened it on Christmas morning!

I was so elated that in fact, I could not wait until Christmas morning!

As my Dad carried the hairdryer in the plastic shopping bag to the car to put it in the trunk, I ran and jumped in the back seat. My Mom was still sitting patiently in the front seat of the car.

Before I could even get the door shut, I was overcome with delight and said, “Mama, we bought you a gift. I can’t tell you what we got you, but I’ll give you one hint.” My Mom’s eyes were wide with anticipation as she waited for my hint. Then I proudly said,

“It’s something you dry your hair with.”

Around Christmastime, this story resurfaces in our family. We enjoy a good laugh about that Christmas Eve, but do you know what really makes me smile? The fact that I still remember the joy I felt in my heart over the Christmas hairdryer.

It did not matter to me that it was a hairdryer. What mattered to me was that we had a special gift for my Mom. I loved her so much and I could not wait to give it to her!

When I think a little more deeply about the gift of the Christmas hairdryer, God nudges my heart about the most special gift He gave over 2,000 years ago in His son, Jesus. My heart is convicted because sometimes the weight of the world feels like it is on my shoulders and I lose my perspective about what really matters in this life.

I wonder if you ever feel that way?

Do you sometimes feel the weight of the world on your shoulders? Do you sometimes worry about your life and forget that God is in control?

Do you ever find that you have lost your excitement about your faith?

It’s normal to feel that way from time to time. The important thing is that you do not settle for being in a spiritual slump.

The important thing is that you find the courage to confess your sins, repent and get back on track with God!

As we begin 2016, let’s be diligent to spend more time in prayer, more time reading our Bibles and more time serving others. It won’t happen just because we want it to happen. Like all relationships, our relationship with God takes work!

We can have great intentions but not make any progress because we do not implement a plan. We need to implement spiritual disciplines into our lives that grow us closer to God.

We need to seek after Him with all of our heart!

Here are a few ideas that I have found helpful:

  • Go to bed 30 minutes early or get up 30 minutes earlier than normal so you can study your Bible and pray.
  • Pick a Bible reading plan and stick with it. You don’t have to read the Bible cover to cover in just one year (although that is a great goal to have). Pick a plan that works well for you.
  • Download a Bible podcast or Bible App (like the daily audio bible https://dailyaudiobible.com). Set a time and listen everyday.
  • Start praying with your family or change up your family prayer time to go deeper into God’s Word.
  • Start a “joy jar”. A joy jar is an empty jar you can decorate and place in a prominent place in your home. On a regular basis, have your family write down moments of “joy” where God has answered prayers throughout the year.
  • Memorize scripture. You can use simple 3 x 5 note cards. Write down one verse a week and start memorizing. I have found that posting the verse in my car is a great way for me to memorize scripture. Read and study the verse over and over throughout the week. You’ll be amazed at all the scripture you can memorize in a year.
  • Join a Bible study at your church or at a friend’s church. Plugging in at your local church is so important for your spiritual growth.
  • Get your mind off of your problems and invest in others. Get busy serving!
  • When you feel discouraged, stop and count your blessings!

As a little girl, I was thrilled about the Christmas hairdryer gift, but you know what? As followers of Christ, you and I know the GREATEST gift of all, Jesus!

Sometimes we don’t feel as excited to share Jesus as we once did. This often happens because we get too caught up in the cares of this world. We lose our perspective and drift away from God.

The good news is that we serve a gracious God and we can come back to Him!

Do you want a closer relationship with God? You can have it! You need the right perspective, a plan, and perseverance!

Be determined to make 2016 a year of dramatic spiritual growth!

Grateful for you!
~Joy

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

-Jeremiah 29:13

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Speedy, the Three-Legged Turtle

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Blog, Family, Lessons Learned, Relationships | 8 comments

Sam and Speedy

I just had to write to you and tell you about Sam’s turtle, Speedy.

Speedy is a red-eared slider turtle that Sam found three years ago while we were living in Tennessee. Speedy only has three legs, so he is a special turtle!

Speedy lived in Sam’s room in a nice, big, aquatic turtle tank where Sam took good care of him.

What you might not know about red-eared slider turtles, is they can live up to 70 years! YES, that’s right! 70 years! I had no idea about this tidbit of information when I agreed to this turtle idea three years ago.

Last summer we moved to NC and of course Speedy came with us. It was then that I noticed how much he was growing. We already upgraded Speedy’s tank the Christmas before, but now he was growing even bigger.  I had no idea what to do about it, so I decided to do a little research and see what other people had to say about these terrapins.

It is never good when you come across a blog about red-eared slider turtles that reads, “Think twice before keeping that cute little turtle.” I learned that these adorable tiny shelled critters grow larger than a paper plate and require much attention and money!

One might ask why a responsible parent did not do this research before they gave an innocent child permission to keep the turtle. Yes, one might ask.

Well, by now it was too late! Speedy was a family member, and he was getting bigger by the day.  Bryan and I were not sure what to do, so we did what any desperate parent would do. We tried to talk our nine year old son into releasing a three-legged turtle back into the wild.

Yeah, it did not go so well.

We have a pond right beside our house so we began talking with Sam about how wonderful it would be for Speedy to have more room to swim. We told Sam that Speedy deserved a chance to have a family (including a wife and potential baby Speedy turtles). We talked about how happy Speedy would be basking in the sun on a nice big rock with other turtles.

You can imagine how that turned out. Sam would not have it! He was totally against it. He quickly reminded us that Speedy only had three legs and that he was not a strong swimmer. He told us that Speedy could never survive on his own and how he would most definitely die! AND–how could we do that to a member of the family???

At the rate this was going, I was quite sure Speedy would end up in the nursing home with me.

Much to my surprise, last weekend (out of the blue), Sam runs into the house proclaiming, “I am going to release Speedy.”

Wait, what?

I had already given up on this turtle moving out of my house, and had already begun researching 100 gallon turtle tanks!

Sam just up and decided he wanted to set Speedy free and he wanted to collect baby turtles in his tank. He told me he had been thinking about it and I was right.

Wait, what?

Speedy was getting too big for his tank, so he was going to set him free and set up a turtle care center in his room. Grow the turtles up, release them and catch new ones.

This happened fast, my friend!

Within minutes, Sam got Speedy out of the tank and he and his friend, Ethan, put Speedy on the bank of the pond. I grabbed my phone so I could capture this moment with photos and videos as we watched Speedy, the three-legged turtle, set sail on a new adventure!

Just like that!

As I watched Speedy’s shell sink beneath the pond’s surface, I thought about how hard it was for Sam to let Speedy go. I saw a few tears in Sam’s eyes, but I also saw joy on his face when he saw Speedy swimming on his own.

I was reminded of what it’s like being a Mom. We have these sweet little babies and little by little they grow up until one day we realize just how grown up they are. We begin to understand that they no longer need to be under the direct supervision of Mom and Dad. We realize they are ready for a life out on their own.

There is a time when we must let them go.

If you’re a mom, then maybe you’re like me and your kids are still at home. Or maybe your kids have already set sail on their own life’s adventure. Either way, life passes by quickly and with each season of life, there are challenges which pull at our heart strings.

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. There is a time plant and a time to uproot. God has made everything beautiful in its time.”

I think Sam learned a valuable lesson by releasing Speedy. He learned what it’s like to love something with all your heart and how to have the courage to let it go. He learned that some things in life only last for a season and then they are gone.

You know what? I learned those lessons all over again, too.

Sail on, Speedy!

~Joy

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SAM IS EATING CHOCOLATE, IN THE MORNING…..

Posted by on Apr 19, 2015 in Blog, Family, Relationships | 3 comments

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Just last week, my kids and I were leaving for school and we had some leftover Easter candy on the kitchen counter. So, unbeknownst to me, Sam (who is 10) grabs a handful of solid milk-chocolate eggs as he heads to the car. I begin talking with the kids about their plans for the day and I notice that Sam is unusually quiet in the backseat.

Sam is very rarely quiet, so I knew something was up.

Before I could say anything, my daughter Ellie (who is 12, and was sitting in the front seat), whips her head around and notices the crime Sam has committed. She sees the empty Easter candy wrappers on the backseat and she has a look of complete disgust on her face as she sees Sam’s cheeks puffed up with chocolate from one side to the other.

She blows the whistle on Him and yells, “SAM IS EATING CHOCOLATE….IN THE MORNING….AND THAT IS NOT RIGHT!”

Now, siblings will be siblings.  Deep down, brothers and sisters love each other,  but they can be very quick to tell Mom and Dad when the other one is doing something wrong.  

Is it ok to sneak milk-chocolate Easter eggs for dessert after breakfast, in the car, all the while hiding it from Mom?  Of course not, but that’s not the point of today’s blog.  My purpose today is to share with you how God used this situation to remind me of His Truth.

I can relate to Ellie in this situation.  Ellie is a child who has a deep conviction in her spirit for what is right and wrong.   Most nights, she and I lay down in her bed and she talks about her day.  Often, she confesses her sins to me and wants me to pray with her.  Her heart is concerned for justice.   

I can also relate to Sam in this situation.  Sam was tempted to eat yummy milk-chocolate candy.  Those eggs were laying right there on the counter and he could not help himself.  He knew better than to sneak them in the car, but he did it anyway.  Temptation got the best of him. Haven’t we all fallen into temptation?

In the book of Micah, there is a question answered as to what God requires of us.  

Look at this verse in Chapter 6:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  ~Micah 6:8

We are instructed to act justly.  To be “just” is to do what is right and fair.  We should treat others fairly and we should be honest, (even when no one is watching). God has told us in His Word what is right and good.  We should do what is right and good.

We are instructed to “love mercy”.  This means we should show compassion and kindness toward one another.  We often see the definition of “mercy” as “tender mercy.”  It’s easy for us to extend this type of compassion when someone has an illness, or a tragedy has struck their life.  It can be harder for us to extend this type of mercy when someone has fallen into sin.  

Lastly, we should walk humbly with our God.  The word, “humble” is also translated, “lowly.”  It is the opposite of pride and arrogance. Being humble is understanding our right place with God.   He is God.  We are not.  He is always right.  We position ourselves in reverence to Him because He is worthy of our worship!  We should walk with Him in this way.

The church should be a place that is safe for people to share their struggles.  The church should be a safe place for people to fall.  Sometimes, it is not.  Instead of being a group of believers who come alongside hurting and broken people, we often throw stones at them with our words and with our actions.  

I am guilty of doing this.  What about you?

My friend, you and I need to be people who do what is fair and right, while showing tender mercy and compassion to others.  Let us not think too highly of ourselves. We did not save ourselves. We are saved by the tender grace, and loving mercy of God, through the blood of Jesus.

I hope you will take some time today and think on this verse in Micah.  Let it penetrate into your heart and ask God to speak to you.

We need to be careful how we respond when we find out about another person’s sin.  There is the temptation of tearing someone down with our words or actions, but God tells us to extend tender mercy and compassion, instead.  

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”   ~John 8:3-7

 

Do justly, love mercy….walk humbly with your God.

 

I am very grateful for you!

~Joy

 

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