Y2Y, which stands for Youth to Youth, is the name of our youth group. Each month Y2Y direct a service in which every aspect of the service youth are ministering. They lead, sing, speak, usher, greet, and are used by God to minister to the rest of the congregation. This month, when their poster was hung announcing who had what job, it was simply a huge question mark. My husband decided we were going to have senior saints speak and tell the youth what has helped them along the way. The service began with songs from the hymnal such as "What A Friend We Have In Jesus," "Oh, I Want to See Him," and "I'll Fly Away." Sis. Jane (who you can read about in my "Influential People" blog) was the first speaker. She spoke of making choices and choosing to serve God. She stated, "Things aren't always black and white, right or wrong." "There is also good, better, and best." She was followed by some senior testimonies, more singing and then my husband and I each spoke. Sis. Jane's words made me thing of my blog about "Excellence." Sometimes we don't attain excellence because we only choose good or better. To make great choices, we must always choose "best." At the end of the service, I knelt at the altar with a darling young lady named Jackie. My oldest son met Jackie at college and invited her to church. Looking up through tears, she said to me, "I want to live for God." Jackie was making the best choice. Choose you this day whom you will serve.......please make the "best" choice.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle. This quote caught my attention and caused me to ponder about excellence. Oft times, people feel they can never attain excellence and actually fear the thought of reaching excellence. In Aristotle's words, it seems quite reasonable to attain excellence. "Get Ready, Set, Think," is a lesson I have taught on how to make effective change in your life. Scientific studies suggest that if a person makes a conscience effort for 21 consecutive days to act in a desired manner, that act will become planted in your subconscience and you will continue the desired act. In my lesson, I encourage people to make a conscience effort to read their Bible, pray, and attain goals in their lives. To paraphrase Aristotle, we don't have it all together because we have the Holy Spirit in us, but rather we have the Holy Spirit because we have made it a habit to seek after the Spirit and acted rightly to attain/maintain it. I am not sure if what I am thinking inside my head is being stated clearly in this blog, but if you desire excellence in your life let your right actions become habit. Voila! Tres bien!
P.S. I couldn't resist adding an "excellent" snapshot of an "excellent" girl
Saturday, January 27, 2007
"A friend hears the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails." - Source Unknown. After reading this quote today, I stopped and gave thanks for friends that realize when I need a song. As Christians, we have often heard people say, "There's a song in my heart." Our understanding of this phrase is usually somewhat euphoric. We feel so "happy" in the Lord and rejoice to the "song" in our heart. Yet, there are times in our lives we face difficulties and we forget the "song." It's in those dark moments we realize the importance of having a friend to sing that song to us. I have a dear friend who is an only child and her father is quite ill and currently in hospital. While speaking on the phone to her concerning her father, I could hear the distress and worry in her voice. To encourage her, I shared some of Bro. Stoneking's message that I heard via streaming internet from Landmark. Then, I told her you need a piece of chocolate cake. We both laughed and I suddenly realized I had two of her favorite desserts in my fridge. It was after 11 p.m., but I told her I will be right there. I am going to bring you some comfort food. When she found out what it was, she begin to laugh and tell me she would love that with a big glass of milk. In this time of stress, I had the opportunity to "sing" to her. I know after talking, her faith is increased and she is encouraged. The best part - whenever I need a song, I know she will sing to me.
P.S. The picture is of Bryn and her cousin Brooklyn
Thursday, January 25, 2007
After nine years of making his favorite dinner of spaghetti for his birthday, Blake requested I make burritos. I guess double digits require change. It is hard to believe that he has hit the big "10." There is something unique about this year. Blake is twice as old as his sister, and Bryce is twice as old as Blake. 5, 10, 20. WOW! The whole family came over this evening to celebrate. Another great achievement for Blake is his science fair project. His project won at his school (A California Distinquished School) of about 800 students, and continued on to region. He won a second place medal on the regional level, and now his project will proceed to the county competition which is the highest level 4th grade projects are allowed. The medal around his neck just won't come off! I'm wondering if he is going to sleep with it tonight. (smile) Blake is my middle child. Brilliant, inquisitive, extreme, funny, sincere, and even on his worst day, he is my sweetheart.
Wednesday night, we were once again with Pastors Mark and Debbie Pryor in Tustin, California at The Pentecostals of Orange County teaching. The theme for this week was communication, particularly for married couples. I won't give you my entire lesson, but let me skim through part of it. First, I told them of four potential hazards in communication; the negative "don'ts." I also included what would be the positive way to communicate or the "do's." Important factors in communication, are knowing how to listen, seeking clarity, and timing. Then, I read I Corinthians 15:33. "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." I asked them to consider reversing that scripture. If you consistently have good manners, chances are your communications will be more polite. Many people think nothing of using words such as "please," "thank-you," "pardon me," "excuse me," or even smiling at strangers. Yet, when they come home at night, they leave the manners at the front door. Your family deserves even greater respect than complete strangers. I have made it a point to always use manners in my home. If I need to step past my daughter playing in the floor with her toys, I will say, "Excuse me." This not only treats her respectfully, but it also teaches her manners. Certainly I will not bore you with my eight pages of notes, but for you women who think your husband never talks to you I must say he is actually biblical. Matthew 5:37 says, "Just say 'yes' and 'no'..." (The Message Bible) LOL Here is another favorite line from this lesson: Men go for the headlines, women go for the fine print. Now turn to your spouse and smile. :>)
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
This freezing weather has caused me to recall one of my favorite musicals. Lyrics to one of the songs are, "First frost is falling, winter's in the air, the cloudy skies are filled with snow, all by yourself nobody seems to care, you're on your own, Christmas greetings come from far away, but they don't chase away the chill, as each passing moment of the day grows colder still, where is the warmth your heart needs, where is the love you long for, come in from the cold, to the arms of love, to the only friend who's never giving in or giving up, He's always there when winter takes its toll, don't leave your heart outside where winter winds will blow, come in from the cold." "A tiny baby born so long ago, on a bitter winter's eve, the Man that died because He loved us so on Calvary, He is the warmth your heart needs, He is the love you long for, come in from the cold, to the arms of love..." In the cold, a warm place can always be found. When you bundle up in your coat and boots, be sure to have the warmth of His spirit in your heart and find someone with whom you can share His love.
P.S. The pictures are of some frozen bushes near our home.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Faith without works is.......what? Freezing cold and ice have been here, but the snow did not come as predicted. Since Bryn and Blake were praying for snow, we had to put some work into it and make it happen. That meant driving 50 miles up the mountain to Alta Sierra. We filled the thermos with hot chocolate and took a bag full of snacks. I will let you decide if they had fun.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Snow in Malibu?!?! From the Associated Press came the following statements, "A Los Angeles weatherman says it's the first time he's had to advise motorists how to cope with snow." "In the Santa Monica Mountains, beach-bound cars loaded with surfboards were replaced by a snowplow slicing through sleet." My imagination immediately saw a station wagon with colorful surfboards on the roof, and kids wearing summer clothing hanging out the window blanketed with white snow. How could anyone doubt the existence of God?! Global warming? Call it what you wish, but it is definitely a higher power in control. I think God is displaying His sense of humor, and I could not help but laugh with Him.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
"Give thanks in all things," and "All things work together for good," are biblical words I have spoken the past couple days. The temperatures have dropped low enough to wreak havoc here in the central valley of California. My Mother has extensive water damage in her home from a frozen pipe that burst in the attic while she was at church Sunday morning. Several people worked furiously to move furniture, towel dry many items, and find another place to put things. In the midst of all the work, I reminded my Mother that all things work together for good. We may not understand "what" good right now, but I am sure things will be better after the "recovery." Maybe it will be new carpet she has been wanting. Of course, we are grateful that nearly all her belongings have been salvaged and that insurance will take care of the structural damage. In the meantime, Mom and Veronica (who has been here visiting) have enjoyed the brand new Holiday Inn. Mom told me today they have the best cinnamon rolls and she thinks she will take a few extra tomorrow to have in her room. Maybe I will sneak in tomorrow and share a cinnamon roll with her. (The photo at left is my son Bryce with his cousins Amber and Sara and Mom at her 80th birthday party in 2004. At nearly 82 she still looks that good!)
Friday, January 12, 2007
Tonight, we were privileged to attend our section's annual ministry banquet. Rev. Paul Price was the guest speaker and is a man that our family highly esteems. (The photo is Rev. Price, Brian and I taken in December 2004) Although he claims the only message he speaks is "Knowing Jesus," his thoughts are fresh, brilliant, and awe-inspiring each time I hear him speak. Truly, this man lives what he preaches. I found it quite ironic that many things Rev. Price spoke tonight were similar words to a blog my husband wrote yesterday titled "Pseudo Christians?" www.brianallard.blogspot.com When my oldest son was about eight years old, we had Rev. Price speak at our church. During his sermon, he encouraged everyone to buy the tapes and listen to his words over and over. A few days later, we heard preaching coming from our son's room. He had used his own money to purchase the recordings of Rev. Price and has since nearly worn them out. Everywhere we went, those tapes came in the car and we were informed by our son that we would be listening to "Knowing Jesus." Now, at almost 21 years of age, our son was asked to write a paper in school about a prominent person. Who did he choose to write about? Yes, you're right. He wrote about the influence of Rev. Price and how he had affected his life. As I sat listening to Rev. Price this evening, I was convicted once again to know Jesus more and grateful my son had such a tremendous man of God teach him to "Know Jesus."
Thursday, January 11, 2007
My apologies for not posting yesterday, but I was away from my computer. My husband and I were invited by Pastor Mark and Mrs. Debbie Pryor to speak to the married couples of The Pentecostals of Orange County concerning How To Resolve/Avoid Conflict. Although I am no authority on this topic, 27 years of marriage has taught me a few things. The moment Pastor Pryor gave us the topic, I immediately thought of Proverbs 15:1. In The Message Bible it reads, "A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire." Borrowing Smokey Bear's famous quote, I titled my lesson "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires." Ephesians 4:26 instructs us not to use our anger as fuel for revenge. Although I will not take time to give you my entire outline, I pointed out six ways Jesus used anger properly. My husband has frequently told people, "Call me when there is a fire on the stove. I can probably help you save the house. Don't call me when the house is entirely engulfed in flames. It is too late to salvage anything." If you have a stressful relationship, there are three ways to avoid a huge fire. 1. Have a smoke alarm - that means you must communicate, communicate, communicate. 2. Have fire insurance - pray, pray, pray! 3. Get a fire extinguisher - love, love, love. Finally, always remember that you are for each other and not against each other. I hope you have a blessed day surrounded with love.
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
For all of you sweet people who have been asking, my CD is almost finished. To hear clips from the project, you can visit my new website: www.janaallard.com This was my husband's first attempt to create a website, and I must admit I have been quite impressed with his work.
Sunday, January 7, 2007
I just couldn't resist adding a couple more pictures of the old landmark. Bryn is standing barefoot on the porch of the old store. This photo was taken in the summer months and give another perspective of the place with lush greenery. The other photo is my great-grandfather's house in which my mother was born in 1925.
As promised, I am posting a picture of my great grandfather's store. This was the family business many years ago in Alma, Arkansas. It has become somewhat of a renowned landmark. I included the close-up picture with Bryce so you could see the beautiful stone work. As I stood there looking at this old structure, I began to wonder about the daily happenings when the store was in operation. Being somewhat in the country, I am sure Great Grandpa Wilson knew all his customers well. I wondered how many children came in for penny candy, how many clients he allowed to charge because they could not afford to pay, and so many other thoughts raced through my mind. I wanted Bryce to see this landmark in his family, realize its importance, and encourage him to build landmarks of his own. All of us have various landmarks in our lives. Each one represents a beginning and sense of direction. As we journey through life, take time to reflect on your landmarks and be sure to build some new ones. Build them carefully and prayerfully. Someone may visit your landmark someday.
Saturday, January 6, 2007
My blog title is a song I have recorded on my CD, but my thoughts today are about the wonderful world in which we live. While traveling to Nashville, we stopped in Arkansas to let our oldest son see his grandmother's birthplace, the remains of his great-great grandfather's store, and the old cemetery where ancestors lay in rest. Near my mother's birthplace is a creek where we stopped to take some pictures. My husband took the shot of the berries with the creek in the background. It was strikingly beautiful to me because of the color contrast. (Try clicking on the photo and see it magnified.) Much of the wooded area was in winter slumber and had the appearance of death, yet, God created these little berries to bring color to a gloomy, cold day. The media around us is so consumed with horrible happenings and, if we are not careful, the negative issues overwhelm us and we begin to think the entire world is pitiful. Please take time today, to notice something lovely in your surroundings. Thank God for the wonderful world He created just for me and you.
P.S. Tomorrow I will try to share photos of the old store. It is beautiful, too.
Friday, January 5, 2007
Graphic designs to the cover of my son's CD came in my e-mail today. I just couldn't resist sharing it with you. His CD is, hopefully, going to duplication tomorrow and will be released very soon. If you would like to hear some clips from the new CD, please visit his website. www.bryceallard.com Sorry for my constant bragging, but I am a very proud Mom.
Thursday, January 4, 2007
I will first say, I absolutely hate the "tag" game and have only responded to two of the many times I have been hit. However, since Ronda and I have been out of touch for so long, I will be courteous enough to respond. The only problem is that I could almost cut and paste Ronda's response into mine.
My mother also had problems with her pregnancy while carrying me and was encouraged by her doctor to terminate the pregnancy. After some mishaps my mom was convinced she had "lost" me, but God had other plans and here I am. :)
I, like Ronda, was a Tom-boy. Around the age of 14, my mother asked me to go to the store for her on my bike. Not really wanting to go, I decided to ride as fast as I could so I would hurry back home. On the return I was going approximately 25 miles per hour and I hit the back-end of a pick-up truck. This particular truck had a snap-on cover. Upon impact, I was thrown over the handlebars and hit that cover which served as a trampoline. I shot up in the air, flipped, and landed in a yard. The glass bottle I carried from the store was still intact, but the frame of my 10 speed Huffy was broken. This is the closest I have come to being a trapeze artist.
Ronda and I also shared the same friend. Nancy Shoemake Holsten and I traveled with our dads on a father and daughter motorcycle ride to Reno. We stayed up all night telling stories. One I particularly remember was Nancy telling how she was too sick to go to church, but forced herself because they were having special guest singers. At the close of the service, the son of the guest prayed for Nancy. Apparently, he thought he didn't get a good enough response and he got his father to come and pray for her. The dad began to pray so furiously that he literally knocked Nancy down. When she fell, they assumed she was in the spirit and began to shout. She was actually laying in the floor moaning from feeling so ill. PK's can tell some stories!
So you won't think we are entirely carnal, I will add I was a Sunday School bus captain and had a record attendance of 176 on my bus. We had to make two trips to get them all to the church, but it was so fun. The children hung out the windows screaming, "We're number one, we're number one..."
For many years, I have been asked by literally hundreds of people if I had made a recording. Truth is, I have never had a desire to record. Then, the past few years, I had some health issues and I began to think if I were to record, the finished product would be a part of me my family would have forever. So, next month I will have my first CD released after singing for over 44 years.
If there is going to be any type of calamity, it seems to always find me. I am the accident person in our family. I have had so many falls and injuries that sometimes I wonder how I even walk. Because I now live with chronic pain, I have found pain to be very intriguing. Yes, that sounds sick! The weird thing is that every pain is so different. Some very extreme pains I have had, and yet would describe them so differently, are - pain from: having a layer of my eye peeled away, concussion, ruptured ectopic pregnancy, gallstones, compressed discs in neck and back, crushed tailbone, torn tendons in knee, major surgery, broken toe, sprained wrist, ...........I better stop before you all commit me to a convalescent hospital!!! In fact, pain so intriques me I have put it into a lesson that I have used at different ladies meetings.
Like Karla, I am a very transparent person and there isn't much that people don't know about me. Enough about me - let me hear from you and what thoughts are inspiring you today.
P.S. I added the snapshot of Bryn and Blake because it looks as though she was tagging him.
Maybe I have a very strange way of thinking, but I hate to hear people talk about New Year's resolutions. Probably my dislike comes from knowing that most resolutions are not kept and they always concern issues people should be doing anyway. I have heard people state they would give up drinking, fast regularly, stop smoking, daily read the Bible, never eat chocolate again, and more. Well, if drinking is a problem in your life, it should not take a New Year for you to correct it. Obviously, when people state a resolution, it is an area in which they struggle. So where does "imagination" come into all this? Here's my thought - if people would take the focus off their weaknesses and transfer that energy into imagining something they could do that would make a difference in the world they live in, they would become so busy with the "new idea" that their struggles would be forgotten and gone. So if there is something you wish to rid in your life, start creating, imagining, and let your mind race with positive inventions. The positive mind set will enforce the good things you need to do and completely black out the negative issues. Take a few minutes and let your imagination soar.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Recently we sent our national Sunday School department a nomination of one of our Sunday School teachers as Teacher of The Year. This particular lady was my Sunday School teacher when I was two years old. She has also been the teacher for my 20 year old son, my nine year old son, and is currently my five year old daughter's instructor. While completing the forms for the nomination, I began to reflect on how much this lady has influenced my life. Her name is Jane Johnson and even after more than 45 years of teaching, every week she brings something fresh and new to her class. Not only does she teach about God, but she also gives instructions concerning manners, etiquette, social skills, and an appreciation for all God's creations. Her positive outlook in life and admiration for each flower in bloom, colorful sunset, singing bluejay, and all God's world, becomes contagious while conversing with her. Alumni from Jane's class include ministers, pastors, employees of NASA, prominent people in their communities, and more influential people. She has touched the lives of hundreds of children who are now successful adults. In considering all this, I couldn't help but dwell on her consistency and faithfulness. Great people are disciplined, faithful, and consistent in their every day routine. They do not have time for complacency or laziness. I have included a photo of Jane and also a photo of Tim Spell with my son Blake. He is another influential person who has become somewhat of a hero to my children. I am grateful that my children admire such Godly people. Now what do Jane and Tim Spell have in common besides God? They love to do what they are doing. Where does that leave us? We better find a place in our service to God that we thoroughly love so we can learn the art of influence.
I really do not want to put this in a blog, but to have my photo on my "About Me" section, it must first be posted to a blog and a URL number assigned to it. So, here's the face to the name. It is so weird that you can post any pictures to the blog, but only ones with URL's can be put on your "About Me" page. Furthermore, if after transferring the URL to the "About Me" page I delete this blog, it will delete the picture from anywhere on my page. Oh, well. Technology is amazing and strange at the same time.
Monday, January 1, 2007
New Year's Eve Service has always been a festive time at our church. Tonight was no exception. This service is the longest service of the year starting at 8:00 p.m. and lasting until well past midnight, but no one is left out. We had nearly 20 solos, six preachers, time slots for testimonies from all generations, and, of course, lots of praise and worship. I must not forget to add we took a break for refreshments. As my husband would say, "What Pentecostals do best - eat." LOL Many come dressed in their "party" clothes and the atmosphere is charged with gleeful anticipation. Throughout the day my daughter Bryn kept asking me, "Is it time to put on my sparkly dress and go to the party?" The night turned out to be wonderful. Blake was styling in his pin-striped velvet blazer, and Bryn was total bling in her completely sequinned sheath and matching cardigan. Also, Blake enjoyed helping the volunteers who prepared the food, Bryn loved singing with her brother Bryce, and Bryce sang, danced, and rejoiced. Our dramatic sign team, MACH 1 - breaking the sound barrier, gave a grand finale with their performance of the remix, The Presence of the Lord Is Here. Yes, it was a great party! Wish you could have been here.