Finding Truth Under the Drama by Jo Russell

After Grandma died, four-year-old Kirby didn’t know what to make of this visit to Grandma’s church. His mom called it a “funeral.”  All the boy realized was that he would have to dress up.

Mom had said, “I know it’s hot, Kirby. Too bad. That’s why you have to wear these clothes. But it’s only for a little while.”

But he couldn’t stop thinking, Today would be better in a bathing suit. It was steamy outside. It was hot inside.  Even the flowers bent over in the heat.

At first Kirby settled on the bench behind his mom in the front of the church.

“Sit still,” Mom had told him. Kirby knew how to do that. He sat still for a while.

But Mom was reading from a black book and the words were so hard, she stopped and stumbled. He couldn’t hear her words over the clickety-clickety fans and the roar of the air conditioner.

Boring! Kirby decided to liven things up. First, the boy swung his legs in high arcs. People noticed. Next, he made faces, pulled his eyelids up, then grinned and looked around. Yup! They saw me, all right, but Mom didn’t.

Then Kirby quietly hoisted himself to his feet on the bench and looked around at the crowd. He pumped his arms skyward and moved his feet like a champion street dancer. Hmm. They seem to like that, too. Kirby marched up and down the padded pew, peering over his shoulder to see the crowd’s reaction.  Soon, he unbuttoned his vest and twirled it around. He scanned the audience and grinned, but his mom kept reading, her eyes and thick glasses locked on the tiny print on the pages.

I wonder if they’ll like it if I take off my shirt?

But about that time, Mom suddenly she stopped when she saw people looking over her shoulder.  She turned and caught Kirby swinging the vest around on his finger as he grinned at the audience. His mom riveted him with a look that would stop even the most hardened criminal from the heist of the century.

Mom pointed to the front row. Kirby served the rest of his sentence sandwiched between his uncles. But in his short period of experience and freedom, Kirby learned how to attention-getting behavior got the people to notice him instead of the truth and enlightenment in the words of the Bible. But no one had been able to hear the words.

Besides the noisy fans and Kirby’s antics, many other distractions steer people away from God’s words and his son, Jesus.

Jesus himself cautions his followers, “Watch out for false prophets. They come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly, they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs, or thistles?  Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” [Matthew 15-17]

The fruit of true followers? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” [Galatians 5:22-23]

In seeking a church or spiritual study group, if it’s more about Jesus and his teachings from the Bible, and members shine with the fruits of the spirit, you’re in exactly the right place!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com and her speaking engagements. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

If You Love Someone, Belt it Out! by Jo Russell

The jazz concert for Miss Martin’s elementary students was a welcome change from practicing spelling, math and reading. As she and her students were seated, the teacher felt a surprise coming on at her right elbow. Adam cupped his hands around his mouth. She reached out to stop whatever might be coming. With a smile that could light up a stadium, eight-year-old Adam stood and shouted, “I LOVE YOU!!” at the band. All five hundred sets of eyes turned to see where all that love was coming from. The other kids weren’t surprised.

Flushed with embarrassment, Miss Martin wondered what the right teacher thing might be to say. She whispered to Adam, “Saying ‘I love you’ is good, Adam, but it’s better if you say it to one person and mean it.” Then she remembered all of Adam’s notes. He often told his family and friends he loved them.

I tend to hold back, she realized, and began to see Adam was not in the “wait and see” school of love. Nor is God.

“Shouting in a crowd really takes a lot out of love, Adam,” Miss Martin lectured him. “Why don’t you save it for a one-on-one with your friends?”

“I was saying it to just one person,” he explained, still beaming. “Look there next to the big drum! That’s my cousin!”

How lucky are Adam’s family members! They know he loves them, will stand by them, be proud of them, and listen to them with all his heart.

Imagine someone loving, protecting and promising to take care of you like Adam does with his friends and family. There is.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” [Psalm 91:14-16]

Claim that someone like that for you—God. Accept his son, Jesus, and you’ll find you’re already in the family of God.

That’s a power higher than all of us, someone who never fails us, who provides for us and protects us. You are the picture-magnet on his refrigerator. You are in his brag-book. He knows your whole life ahead of time and cares about you anyway. God loves you!

Who in your life needs to hear that you love them? Belt out those powerful words!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

Seize an Attitude of Gratitute By Jo Russell

Beginning early, filled with the aroma and sounds of a crowd stirring, the American holiday of Thanksgiving  is a worthy celebration to honor God.

One can smell the gravy as Grandma browns the flour, adds butter, and cooking juices, and declares “This gravy is downright tender! Just taste it!”

More than just Thanksgiving Thursday and the taste of the feast are the memories of people like Grandma,  whose holiday cooking started at 3:30 a.m. Grandma and Mom began the baking and basting the all-important browned, juicy, main dish. Centered on a platter set on a lace tablecloth nobody remembered they had, the turkey heralded the gathering of family and much thanks for the year.

Family members swarmed into the house: a colorful collection of people whose blood and marriage ties bound them together with shared histories, experiences, and laughter.

Little George, whose talent– fueled with broccoli and cauliflower–could blow more fish out of the water with his emissions than with a stick of dynamite. He grew up to be a contractor, built houses, and worked outdoors, much to everyone’s relief.

In-laws who showed up only to borrow money or to eat – disappeared from the table as soon as the words “Wash the dishes!” came into the conversation. They were grateful for the free food they didn’t have to cook.

Holidays converted the house from quiet to chaos, with the thundering of little feet and “Petey, stop that right now!  Don’t give your gum to the dog!”

Family gatherings showed hands-on love. Into the messy kitchen came the devoted husband whose pledge was that whenever his wife cooked, he would clean the kitchen and the dishes. He saved her from the task that was to her as fun as tax day.

Thanksgiving continued with the sign on the USPO from the rural post mistress that announced, “We will be closed Thanksgiving. Enjoy your pumpkin pie!”

Giving thanks past and present to God is a good fit every day. He deserves our praise and a big “Thank you!”  Not just the happy times, but all times. For everything comes from God. Each of our days is a gift from him.

Tuck these words into your heart: “Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Seize an attitude of gratitude – for each day brings blessings. God loves you.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

Grounded? Be Thankful! By Jo Russell

“You know that when all of us and the relatives sit down at the table, Mom and Dad are going to ask us what we’re thankful for,” Maggie reminded her siblings as they searched for the stash of cookies. Their mom had made the treats for holidays and the Christmas programs.  She started every October.

Now that the three of them had found the treat stash–which was moved every year—the children were planning the best strategy for getting to the cookies.

This year, while Mom was at the grocery store, they found the sweets in tins on the very top shelf of the hall closet.

“I’m thankful Mom always makes extra cookies so we can sample them.” Even though the children were bigger and hungrier than years past, they felt entitled. Their mom wouldn’t notice a few less cookies.

“I’m grateful Mom is such a good cooker,” Robbie volunteered. “But the cookie stash is up two chairs high this year,” Robbie observed.

“I’ll get a ladder,” suggested his older brother, Ralphie.

When the three worked together, they each enjoyed a fistful.

“How many did you get?” Robbie, the ladder holder, wanted to know.

“I think about six,” Ralphie responded.  “But I had to get the ladder and climb it! That’s worth something.”

“No fair!” cried Maggie. “I only got four. I need some more.”

“Then I’ll make sure we each have had six,” Ralphie promised as he climbed the ladder and opened a tin.

After that, each was able to satisfy their sweet tooth on their own.

Thanksgiving dinner came and Mom smiled around the crowded table at family, relatives and friends crowded together, and offered, “We have delicious cookies for desert along with homemade ice cream. Give me just a minute and I’ll bring them out!”

But when she got on the ladder and brought down tin after tin, she found just three cookies total.

Strange that her children didn’t raise their eyes from their plates of turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce. “I don’t suppose you know what happened to all the cookies?” she ventured.

All three answered, “Dunno, Mom.”

Later, she informed each that they were grounded until Christmas. Their punishment was to help make more cookies—as well as wash every messy dish and clean the kitchen, too.  But again, the three had the opportunity to be thankful. For the advantage of their punishment was that they got to lick the bowls!

Far from any cookie stash, Paul wrote these words, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” [Philippians 4:12.]

An attitude of gratitude is a deliberate choice, for there is much to thank God for each day—even for the last three cookies and the children who enjoyed the rest.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

For the Love of Life and the Great Outdoors! By Jo Russell

In their small family, the go-to slogan to bring life back to her teen sons was, “Pack the truck! Let’s go to the great outdoors!”

With the destination the river canyon, Rob and Len shouldered the inflatable raft, oars, pump, and gear and were sitting in the truck before Joanna finished the egg sandwiches.

“Lord, let us have a safe trip and a fun time!” Joanna began.

Then to her 13-year-old sons, “After lunch, you’ll paddle down the river and I’ll meet you at the take out-point.”

“Sounds like a plan,” 13-year-old Rob affirmed.

Arriving at the river in a private recreation area, the family set up lunch under a picnic cabana. Rob and Len worked at pumping up the pontoons of the raft and were soon circling the calm water leading to river rapids.  But something was wrong. One pontoon was flat as a failed soufflé.

“What’s with the raft?” Joanna wanted to know.

“Dunno, Mom!” the two responded together.

“Try putting air in it again,” Joanna advised them. “There was nothing wrong with the raft the last time we used it.”

“Yep. We know. ”

But pump as they did, the pontoon would not hold air.

About that time, the park host appeared with a smile.  “Do you plan to use the water today? I’m collecting fees. You’ll need to pay each for to use the picnic cabana, the parking space, the beach, and the water, too. It’s $ for each use area and totally worth it!”

“But I only have $,” she responded.

“Then I guess you’ll need to take the raft out of the water and pack it up. Enjoy your time at the River Canyon Park! ”

As Joanna helped her sons pull the raft to the beach, she saw a two-foot long split in the flat pontoon hissing out the rest of the air.  Her sons avoided her eyes.

But God’s hand was an answer to Joanna’s simple prayer that morning.  He kept them safe.

“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’” declares the Lord.” [Isaiah 55:8 NIV]  Think on this when prayers are not answered the way we wish. For it is our job to pray for God’s will, not for God to fill our wish list.

In the case of Joanna’s 13-year olds, God saved their lives. Though both would become white water raft guides as adults, the teens knew nothing about navigating real white water. Plus a few dollars more – or lack of – and the flat raft kept them all out of the rapids.

Once home, the boys fessed up.  Len volunteered, “While you were still at work, we took the raft out with Nick and John and hit a bridge pontoon. It tore the hole in it. Sorry, Mom. We couldn’t fix it. We didn’t tell you.”

“It’s okay this time,” she pulled them close in a hug. “Because of that, I still have you.”

God’s ways are not our ways. His ways can keep us safe in or out of the white water.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

Rain? Why, its Water and Kindness from the Sky! By Jo Russell

As desert dwellers thousands of miles from home, Janelle and her boys didn’t know what to do about rain. No raincoats ever hung in their closets. An umbrella was something one might use in a school play. Windshield wipers in southern Arizona died of sunstroke, not overuse. Until this rainy afternoon, the family’s desert tents and gear had not had a moisture test.

In the last four days as Janelle drove east across Canada, rain had enveloped the compact station wagon with the four of them inside–the five-year-old twins, her teen nephew, Chris, and herself. Even when she turned the wheel into a spacious wooded campsite, the three boys glumly glanced at everything misty with rain.

“Cheer up, Boys! This rain can’t last too much longer!” Janelle quipped, remembering summer monsoon rains in the southwest that lasted about an hour, and then shut off like a faucet. After a monsoon, the Arizona ground would soon be as dry as crackers.

To make shade and a rain cover, most campers string a waterproof tarp between trees. Not Janelle. She still clung to the monsoon theory. Though they were being assaulted by rain, Chris and Janelle spread out the large dining canopy over the pine needles under some evergreens.

Soon the tarp was collecting puddles while the lady of the camp coaxed a hot dinner from the sputtering camp stove.

With the crunch, crunch of footsteps in the gravel, she turned toward the joyful Canadian voice, “So you’re all the way from Arizona, aye?” The senior’s raincoat was nearly dry. Janelle nodded. “Haven’t seen another car around here from Arizona for a month or more.”

Janelle noticed his puzzled look when he spied the three damp boys huddled on the tarp. The rain dripped over them and their dinner.

“Doesn’t rain much in Arizona, I hear.”

“Nope,” Janelle told him. “We’ve never seen it rain this much before ever!”

The smiling senior offered, “If it stops raining, I’ll come over and start a fire for you.” He jaunted back to his dry, warm travel trailer in which he and his wife were able to watch the camping drama. It was better than TV!

Chris and Janelle then set up the two-person tent camper for him and one twin. That’s when the zipper died on the tent trailer. She threw a tarp over the tent door. Chris and one twin started a board game inside, but drops of water squeezed through the keyhole and wet the board. An explosion of cards blasted out of the tent.

Chris announced, “That’s it! I’m finding a dry place!” Janelle thought how desperate Chris had to be as he sprinted to an outhouse nearby. She remembered that pit toilets were at the top of his hate list. Soon his face was pressed against the screen as he sucked great gulps of clean air and the smell of freshly washed evergreens. He was dry, but not a happy camper.

The Canadian campmate returned in his black rain gear carrying a hot pot of tea. “It’s not dry enough to make a fire, so I brought you something to warm you up,” he said. His smile was cheerful. The ceramic pot of tea he held up belonged in a tidy kitchen, not so far from town. The shiny black surface was decorated with delicate flowers and gold trim. Janelle thanked him and headed for the privy door.

“Hey, Chris!” she coaxed, standing at the privy door. “Open up!” Chris squeaked open the door wide enough to see the elegant pot of hot tea. Soon the four of them sat in the car, enjoying the warm drink. Their sense of humor returned as they all were filled with thankfulness.

Out of the thousands of miles they traveled, they would remember that couple’s act of kindness to strangers as an example of Jesus’ command to go and do likewise for our neighbor.

When Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, he illustrated an example of showing kindness to all—including to less desirable people. He himself took down the walls between people based on race, social status, economic condition, health or position.

The Samaritans, generations before, came about when Jews intermarried with their women. To Jesus’ audience, Samaritans were half-breeds and not worthy of any attention. Yet Jesus used one in his parable as a hero who saved the traveler from death.

When Jesus healed a group of ten lepers, who was the only one who came back to thank him and praise God? Only a Samaritan, a foreigner. [Luke 17:11-19]

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”[Jesus asked]

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” [Luke 10:36-37]

The Canadian who showed kindness could easily have sized up this woman with a car full of kids as poor – Who else would sleep in a tent? – and dumb – Who else would lay a tarp on the ground, instead of tying it up in the trees as a shelter from the rain? as well as naive – Of course it rains in the north. How else do the thick forests grow so green?

But instead, he showed kindness to strangers to foreign visitors—leaving them with a warm memory for a lifetime.

Who is your neighbor?

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

Honor Your Father and His Biorhythms By Jo Russell

While mothers have their maxims of wisdom, fathers leave behind memorable tidbits that span the generations.

Some are downright impressive.

“Anyplace worth going on vacation is worth leaving at 4:00 in the morning,” Jan’s dad, Leo, announced to the family before their two-week camping trip to Yosemite. “We’ll be leaving at exactly 4:00 a.m..” He hoped his wife, Jeane, and their three children were listening closely. “Be sure you have your gear packed and you’re in the car by then.”

Twelve-year-old Jan packed right away and laid out her clothes. So did Mom. Both remembered Dad’s power word was “early.” Perhaps coming to life early was in his biorhythms. He was a morning person. Scientists theorize such tendencies begin at birth.

Did Leo ever mean that the family should rise when the rosy sky heralded the sunrise? Nope.

In the pre-dawn’s darkness of vacation day one, Bobby, the six-year-old, couldn’t find two socks that matched and had packed his duffle himself – full of toys and stuffed animals. Without Mom’s help, he quickly buttoned his green shirt in the wrong holes, pulled on purple plaid pants and sat shivering in the back seat. Next to him was his fully dressed and alert 12-year-old sister, Jan. She had been waiting for ten minutes. Dad had the car’s engine warming up for the trip.

Jan’s older brother, Tony, didn’t wake up well or quickly even when roused by Mom. With slept-on hair sticking up like a whisk broom, he sprinted barefoot through the gravel toward the moving sedan pulling out of the driveway at exactly 4:00 a.m. He dived into the back seat in his pajamas and forgot his suitcase entirely. Fortunately, wearing pajamas at the mall had become the benchmark of fashion.

Dad’s power word “EARLY” dominated the weekday routine as well.

While it was hours before dawn, and because he had to be at work early, Jan’s dad prepared sizzling sausages to go with fried eggs, stacks of pancakes, and hot cereal for the whole family.

His love glowed through his time listening and teaching. As the children became teens, Jan’s father mentored them through the important phases of moving into adulthood – including getting up before sunup to make the best of one’s day – or anyplace worth going on vacation is worth leaving at 4:00 in the morning.

As we celebrate Father’s Day today, remember God’s take on parents in Exodus 20:

“Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12.

And whether the father in your life is a morning person or doesn’t come to life until evening,

honor him and his biorhythms. His life woven with yours is a great gift.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

All Seeing and All Knowing – Daddy Keith and Father God By Jo Russell

All Seeing and All Knowing – Daddy Keith and Father God

“Dad,” Janet requested, “Denise and I want to go to the show on Saturday. I’ve got all my chores done. I’m paying with my own allowance. Can I go?”

“What are you going to see?”

The teen told him.

“No on that one. It’s rated R,” Daddy Keith responded.

As he watched his family grow, Keith had proved to be an involved father.  He appreciated that in the rural community where he lived, friends and neighbors helped be extra eyes and ears when it came to all their kids.

Keith reminded his daughter. “There are plenty of other films to choose from at an eight-plex.”

“Well, all right then!” she stormed back with anger. “We’ll go see some baby flick instead. You know, like G. Would that make you happy? We’ll be miserable, though.”

“That won’t be necessary. PG would be fine, but only if you improve your attitude,” he told her.

“All right, Dad,” Janet remembered her manners, “Thanks for letting us go. I’ll tell Denise.”

But fifteen minutes after the film started, Keith got a call at home from his friend, Roger, who worked at the theatre.

“Did you know that your daughter and her friend bought a ticket for one movie, but went into the one that is R rated?”

“I’ll take care of it. Thanks for the tip, Roger.”

Daddy Keith high-tailed it down to the theatre, stepped inside and let his eyes adjust to the dark. He found the teen girls engrossed in the film while giggling and crunching two large buttered popcorns.
At first, they didn’t notice the newcomer. Without saying anything, Dad chose a seat. They  stopped. The girls stared. In the darkness, they blushed.

How could they help but notice that Janet’s dad, Keith, had taken a seat right next to his daughter and her friend? He stayed beside them through the end of the film.

So it appeared Daddy Keith was all knowing and all seeing. But that was thanks to Roger.

God, our creator, does it without any help. His omniscience – or knowing all – Is it a bad thing?

God knew Moses, raised as an Egyptian prince, would be a great leader to walk hundreds of thousands of people out of slavery in Egypt. He knew beforehand that Moses’ successor, Joshua, would conquer Jericho without raising weapons. It was a miraculous show of God’s power.

When Jesus was followed by large crowds who were far from any marketplace, Jesus might have smiled when he asked Philip, “’Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” [John 6:5-6].  And you know the rest of the miracle of God: Two fish, five loaves, and a blessing gave everyone food enough until they were full.

David writes, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.” [Psalm 139:1-4.]

Wow! Someone who knows us completely and cares enough for us to guide our lives and choices—even at the movies. What could you say about such a Father? He’s even better than Daddy Keith.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

Changing the World One Child At a Time – Thank You, Mothers! By Jo Russell

Motherhood: America’s humorist Erma Bombeck claimed it was the second oldest profession.

In the world’s oldest profession, the women’s dressier wardrobes were free of baby urp on the shoulders–a deposit that comes with motherhood.

If the Marines will only take and make the few, the proud, and the Marines, motherhood requires even more: 360 degree vision, a warm and welcoming lap, strength enough to leap tall buildings in a single bound with a child under each arm while answering the phone, fixing dinner, and keeping the cat from coughing up a fur ball on the rug. Plus during the teen years, a mother must continue to enforce and teach children who are hacking away at the umbilical cord with a machete. She finds the strength to hold tougher boundaries than a drill sergeant.

But the rewards come. In a job cut out for the proud, the few, the strong, a mother rises above all. God smiles at mothers. For their job is to change the world one person and one child at a time.

They do.

When Thomas Edison’s elementary teacher told his parents he was not able to learn and wouldn’t contribute anything to society, his mother took over with encouragement as well as teaching. She found he was drawn to read reference books. He loved those on science. When grown, the inventor/businessman contributed over 1500 inventions, including the famous light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera. His company supplied the concrete for the Yankee Stadium, built in 1922. He continued to dream, create and invent all of his life. Where a teacher had not seen his potential and believed, his mother did. And God never stopped believing in Edison’s ability and talent.

Thousands of years ago, a king advised his son to look closely for the sterling qualities of a good wife and mother. “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’” [Proverbs 31:27-29 NIV]

Along with the hard work of multitasking, mothers and grandmothers everywhere touch the world with influence and training about values. What character rises above and spans the generations?

What Mom and Grandma teach, plus the solid ideas and teaching of Christ from the Bible, help shape character, not just when children are young, but all through the years.

For example, Gina’s family and children grew together with daily Bible studies at the breakfast table.

When the teen years came, ATTITUDE stepped up to home plate. Gina had enlisted the help of many stable couples at church to continue her sons’ ongoing moral and spiritual growth. It had been a team effort. While she saw other parents let their growing children decide if they wanted to go to church, pray, or study the Bible, Gina didn’t.

Gina, who taught elementary school, thought that giving them a choice seemed to be something like the mom whose daughter flunked first grade reading and stood at the summer reading class door saying, “Honey, would you like to go to summer school with Mrs. MacArthur or go with us to Disneyland next week?” Gina MacArthur never saw the wee girl again.

Gina opened a small devotional with Bible studies at the breakfast table with her sons.

“Don’t give me that eye-rolling!” She warned them.

Instead, they sighed noisily. “Anything more to eat? Can we have seconds?” one asked.

It was Gina’s turn to sigh. At times, she felt there seemed to be so little feedback, Gina thought she was talking to the napkins. In spite of that, she persisted.

Her young men both left home, announcing they were glad to be out from under the rules of the roost!

Only months later, she got a package from her son, George, who had finished Army boot camp. Inside was a devotional inscribed with these words penned by my son: “Merry Christmas, Mom. God gave the greatest gift of all, but I thought this book would help in using that gift….Though there is such a distance between us, we can look to the Lord and know we are united in Christ. Merry Christmas and God bless you now and forever.”

The next year, her second son, Norman wrote her, too. “Things are awesome since I rededicated my life. People get along with me better. I smile more. I went grocery shopping, and for the first time in two months, I wasn’t in the ten items or less line!

Gina found herself wiping her eyes with a rag and saw that it was one of her son’s tattered cross country tee shirts. The caring parent cried even more as she realized that God had continued the work in her young adult offspring.

Moms, parents, and grandparents everywhere, persist as you raise your children. Teach them how to find the laundry hamper, but also how to find and seek out God. Your job is to plant the seeds. Count on God for the rest!

A big thank you for all you do! Happy Mother’s Day!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

 

Tattle-tale Talk By Jo Russell

With detailed reports, organization, and packing up the kindergarten classroom for the summer, Miss Roberts was feeling overwhelmed. It had been a terrible tattle-tale day. Miss Roberts wondered what had happened with her children who normally got along so well. Maybe they were cranky as they spotted the public swimming pool now open on weekends. Was it something hot and windy in the air so close to summer? Perhaps everyone was as eager as she was for a summer change of pace.

Then Miss Roberts asked, “Andy, you aren’t a tattletale, are you?”

“Just a little bit,” he admitted.

Coming from a place of peace makes a big impact on others. It is a healthy strategy for diverting anger, worry, and stress. Remember the words of King David, “He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” [Psalm 23:2]

Give yourself time to led God lead you to his place of peace.

As school winds to a close and the pace is hectic at school and home–let the peace of God calm you through all circumstances — even beyond the last day of school.

Peace be with you!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]