Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Real Meaning of halloween

I have posted this post every year since I've wrote it, I believe, but every time Halloween comes around, I just can not say nothing. So here it is again.

It's such an innocent holiday right? I mean the kids dress up as their favorite character and are more than happy to go around getting loads of candy. But where did the skeletons, evil, demonic faces and ghosts come from? Is it just a silly coincidence that they are used as decorations for halloween?
No, they come from the superstitious beginnings of halloween.
It started as the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st, as it was the end of summer and the time of harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter; which was a time that was associated with death. They believed that on October 31 the worlds of the living and the dead crossed. The souls of the dead were believed to return to their homes in hopes of food and shelter, if these were not provided the evil spirits were believed to cast spells on those who did not give them what they wanted. The spirits caused crop damage and were thought to be able to make predictions of the future.
To celebrate the event, they would build bonfires and burn crops and make animal sacrifices to the Celtic deities. They would also dress up in costumes made of animal heads and skins and then try to predict each others futures.
It was widely believed that at death, the good spirits took the good people to paradise, but the wicked men were banished to the unseen world. These spirits were known to haunt the living and in order to exorcise these spirits, people had to offer them food and shelter during the night and if they were satisfied they would leave you alone, but if not they would cast a spell on you.
Today, Satanism and Witchcraft say this is the day that Satan comes to fellowship with his followers.
In 609 A.D. the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church and later included all saints as well as martyrs. It was celebrated on November 1. By the 9th Century Christian influence would spread into the Celtic lands and the church called November 2nd All Souls Day, to honor the dead.  The All Saints Day celebration was called All-hallows or All-hallowmas and October 31st began to be called All-hallows Eve, which eventually turned into Halloween. It appears that the church was trying to replace the evil Celtic festival with a church-sanctioned holiday, but without making the pagans drop their evil practices and accept Christianity, it just made it easier to miss the real meaning of halloween.
Did you know that Jack o' Lanterns were used to ward off evil spirits? That was their intended purpose.  To read the whole story, go here.
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
- I Peter 5:8
"reject every kind of evil."
- I Thessalonians 5:22
"Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead."
- Deuteronomy 18:10

This year, my oldest son is 4. Every store we go into has some kind of nasty, evil looking costumes, decorations or something along those lines. I don't want him seeing that junk, so I have been reminded over and over again how seemingly no one thinks about what Halloween really stands for. I hope you take this post as a jump start to thinking about how you and your family want to treat Halloween.
I know that this post is likely to not be very popular. It will likely step on toes and it is often a subject that people are totally for or against. I am simply hoping that through this post, that you will do some research of your own and see what the Bible has to say about such subjects. Then let God give you the conviction for how you are to treat halloween.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Downfall of our society

I wrote this post shortly after starting to do foster care, so it has obviously been sitting on the virtual book shelf for awhile since we have not even had the girls for 4 months now. So take into account that that is where this thought process was coming from...

It's no secret that our society as a whole has become a complete mess! Since starting to do foster care, I've come to a new realization of just how messed up it really is. Children go into foster care for all kinds of different things. Often times, these children have faced and endured things that NO child should ever have to go through. THEN, once they are in foster care, it is only half the battle. When working on reintegration, the children are passed back and forth from the foster family to the parents and back again. Rules are different, parenting techniques are different, and the emotional side effects on the children are heart breaking. Do you know what the saddest part of it all is?!
The children had NOTHING to do with getting themselves into such a mess. They just happened to have parents that couldn't keep it together enough to keep their children.
Seeing all of that first hand has gotten my husband and I to discuss such things quite frequently. There is another scenario where children pay a high price for the parents decisions. That scenario is divorce. When parents, for whatever reason decide that it is "best" to get a divorce, they have basically said that what they want is more important than what their children will have to endure after the divorce is finalized. Why is this such a bad situation you may ask? Well, because it is essentially the same concept as foster care except that the parents enter into it willingly. Parents willingly say, lets split our time with the kids. You take them this week, I'll take them next. Never one place to call home, never one set of rules, never an ounce of stability. Then the parents often, willingly bring in a new spouse that can complicate the whole thing for the children even more!
(Now I must say that in a case of infidelity, there may be grounds for divorce. The Bible even says so, but still I think a person must first think about how a divorce would affect their family before taking such a huge step.)
Now my last scenario, is going to be the stickiest of all. I'm sure plenty of people will think I'm going just a bit too far, but I'm going to go ahead and say it. If you've stuck around here for long, you must have some of the same thoughts and beliefs as I and I think you'll be able to handle this. The last scenario is daycare. How many perfectly happy married couples, send their children to daycare on a daily basis so that mommy can go to work? At least in this case, the children have interaction with their parents on a daily basis, sleep under ONE roof and have the stability of ONE home and TWO loving parents working together. In reality though, everyday those parents are sending their children off to be raised by someone else, with different rules and different beliefs.
(I do realize that in some cases mother's do indeed have to work and I'm not saying that you are a bad person if that is the case. I also realize that in some cases, people are able to find a daycare that has the same basic rules and beliefs as their own, but that is a rare thing to treasure if you are one of those lucky few.)
What all three of these scenarios boil down to is that, they all leave the children with multiple people in their lives acting as care giver, provider and nurturer. These children live by different rules depending on which place they are currently in, go back and forth from here and there, and are given less time to be trained and brought up in the way that God intended. I believe the emotional side effects of such things, are very high for children since they never have the stability of ONE home where they daily know what the schedule will be and know that their mommy will be the one taking the main roll of care giver.
In conclusion then, these are all things that contribute to the downfall of our society as a whole. Children are never given the chance to have a set of parents who are the TWO people they look to for all their basic needs and in the end don't get to see what a real working family looks like day in and day out. This in turn means that when those children have children of their own, they simply don't know how to be parents and the cycle is just begun again. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away...

I'm not sure this post will have a point or make any sense, for that matter.
Today as I was watching my little baby boy make his cute little faces, I realized that I've been on both sides of this life so to speak. I've sat with my mother, literally on her death bed and said good-bye to her within minutes of her death. I've also held two perfect baby boys seconds after they were born.
For some reason the thought of that is hard for me to comprehend.
"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." Job 1:21b

Just let that sink in for a moment.
I don't think most people ever see the last moments of someone before they leave this earth. Most people do experience the birth of a child. I never expected I'd experience both of these things within months of each other.
My year has been a roller coaster of emotions and for whatever reason, this thought occurred to me today.
One of these events was terribly sad. I watched the last moments of life on this earth for the woman who God used to make it possible for me to have life. The woman who loved and cared for me for years.
The other event was one of great joy and that we had waited nearly 3 years for. I realized that all the pain of labor and delivering a baby were completely and totally worth it as I held a little person that I had never met, in my arms, yet love more than my own life.
Life is a crazy journey.
We waited nearly 3 years to have our second baby. In those 3 years, there were months and months of waiting for 2 lines to show up on a stick. There were two babies, I will never meet on this earth.
One day my Mom told me she had cancer. She had some tests done and was told she had 2 weeks to 2 months to live. It's frightening what the end stages of cancer can do in 7 weeks. Four months before I had my baby, we buried my mother.
It's just the cycle of life, but for some reason, it's hard for me to wrap my head around right now.
While still being sad and missing my Mom, we were overjoyed by the birth of that little boy! It's amazing how God made us to be able to process so many emotions all at once.
Well, I'm done rambling for today and like I said, I don't know if this post made any sense or had any kind of point, but this is a glimpse inside my head...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Trying Again

I have a confession.
I haven't been doing a very good job of making sure I get the best deal on the things we need.
For a while I was doing great with the whole couponing thing, but I completely fell off that bandwagon. I don't know if I was burned out or just felt like I didn't  have the time. We had two foster daughters for a year (ages 1 and 4) plus our four year old son. I think that was a good excuse for me to think I couldn't fit in going to look for coupons at our recycling center and clipping them. In all honestly, I could have done it, but it was easier not too.
Well, fast forward to now.
We are no longer doing foster care, we just had our sweet baby boy a month ago and I'm realizing I need to and could be doing better with saving money on groceries especially.
Part of the groceries costing more is out of my hands. Our small town (which is the closest at 25 miles away and think mom and pop, not Wal-Mart type of stores) went from two grocery stores to one. When this happened I was so, so afraid that the prices would take a hike. And while I can't quite notice the hike when walking down the aisles picking up my items, when I get to the checkout and pay $40.00 no matter if I'm buying a weeks worth of groceries or just stocking up on a few sale items, I realized that somewhere the prices must of gone up.
So my plan, which I've said I should do for at least a year now, is to make one big grocery shopping trip a month to the bigger town an hour away.
Here I can go to Wal-Mart, Sam's and Dillon's just to name the main grocery type stores. If I can figure out just what we need to get through a month, with pantry and freezer safe items, then I can go to our smaller town grocery store just for fresh items that won't keep for a month and in the end save a bunch of money.
At Sam's I can't use coupons, but if I pick and choose what I get there, just buying things in bulk can save me a ton! At Wal-Mart and Dillon's I can use coupons and often times, Wal-Mart just has great prices, especially if you get the store brand (coupons can't be used on the store brand, but most of the time, the price is about the same as getting the brand name and using a coupon). It will take a little work to figure out what we need for a whole month and to figure out when to use coupons on the brand name items and when to just buy the store brand, but I think I can figure this out and cut our grocery bill way back!
So I'm telling you all of my plan, so that hopefully I will stick to it and actually do it this time!
Here's to saving money!!