"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

April 4, 2012

Happy Easter


A few weeks ago, Jon had to work in Houston for a week, so we decided to drive down so he'd have a car. One of the men he was going to be working with had recommended a hotel that was fairly close to where Jon would be working, so that's where Jon made our reservation. After arriving, we found that it was a newer hotel and the rooms were nice, but the location was in an area that we wouldn't have chosen ourselves. There was an older neighborhood behind the hotel, a mobile home sales on one side and an empty field on the other, with the interstate directly in front of it. The hotel didn't offer a free continental breakfast and there were no restaurants or fast food places within walking distance.

When we checked in and went to our room, we found that we were on the front side of the hotel and could hear the constant loud traffic noise from the interstate. We asked if they had any rooms available on the backside of the hotel, and was immediately moved across the hall; which I'm not sure was much better.

We didn't hear the interstate traffic, but the hotel walls were extremely thin and we could hear all the noise from our neighbors' rooms. The room on one side of us was quiet all week, with the exception of one night. There apparently was a group of guys from another country that checked in, and they decided to gather in the room next to us at 1:30 in the morning to visit. We couldn't tell what language they were speaking. The guys left to go back to their own rooms so Jon and I fell back to sleep. We were once again awakened at 3:15 and could hear the man on a phone call, using the speaker phone. We let it go for a while, but the call seemed to go on and on. My sweet, gentle-natured husband finally had enough. He assumed that the man didn't realize that we could hear him in our room, so Jon got up and banged on the wall between us. Thankfully, it worked and the man hung up and all was finally silent.

You need to realize that Jon and I are generally in bed by 10:00 each evening and we both like our sleep, and get cranky if we get woken up! And we are used to a nice, quiet house with only the two of us. But you know the hotel walls are thin when you can hear conversations from the next rooms.

On the other hand, we had very noisy neighbors on the other side of us for our first four nights there. The first night, only the husband was in the room. He woke me up at 10:30 having an argument with his wife on the speaker phone. The next day the wife and small son came into town to spend the next three days visiting the dad. From what I could gather, I'm thinking the son was probably around 1 to 1 1/2 years old. He wasn't talking yet but was noisy and cried a lot. The dad worked during the day, leaving the wife and son in the hotel room. The family went out each evening, returning to the room anywhere between 10:30 and 11:30. Most nights when they got in, the son was cranky and the parents were fighting.

Since there was nowhere close by to walk to, I mostly stayed in our room during the day reading, playing on my laptop or watching TV. I do understand that it would be stressful to keep a young child occupied and happy cooped up in a hotel room all day. But the mother seemed to enjoy being on her cell phone or sleeping, expecting her young son to be quiet and not get into anything. Wednesday morning was particularly stressful. The son had apparently done something he shouldn't have and the mom began yelling at him and making threats, using very disgusting language. She told him that she was never taking him to visit his dad again when he was working out of town. The way the mother was talking to her son, using the language that she was, really bothered me.

Probably an hour or so late, I'm not sure exactly what happened, but the boy got hurt. The mom was on her cell phone and suddenly the son started screaming. From what I pieced together from the conversation she had with someone a few minutes later, I think the mother was walking around talking on her cell phone and didn't realize her son was following her. She slammed the bathroom door and he got caught in the heavy door. I'm not sure if it hit his head, arm, hand, foot, or what. But the mother panicked! I heard her saying, "Oh no! Oh no! Let me see, let me see! I'm so sorry, I didn't know you were there!" I overheard her on the phone with someone saying that he was bleeding really badly and asking if she should take him to the hospital. Apparently, after she got him cleaned up she decided he didn't need to go to the hospital because she never left the room. The poor little guy cried and cried until he likely cried himself to sleep. The whole ordeal was upsetting, listening to it from my side of the wall. All I could do was pray for him.

That evening the family was out until 11:30. When they got back to the room the son was fussy, and the parents were cussing at one another and arguing. I overheard the husband yell at the wife, "It's your fault that he's hurt and in pain."

Jon and I were talking about what we had overheard and discerned that they must have a really miserable marriage. They seemed to be very unhappy people. I felt sorry for the little boy, and wondered what kind of home life he had. Does he have anyone in his life that truly loves him and shows affection for him? Does he have anyone to set a good example for him that will teach him right from wrong? His parents obviously needs Jesus in their lives. Is there anyone who will teach that little boy about Jesus?

I have prayed for this family whenever they come to mind. I was raised in a loving, caring family and now am in a healthy, loving marriage. I cannot imagine living a life filled with misery and fighting and having my spouse or one of my parents curse me. This situation made me once again realize how truly blessed I have been throughout my life. I had a family who cared about me, protected me, and taught me about Jesus. I had parents who were godly examples to me and my sisters.

Having been raised in a christian home, I was protected from a lot of the ugliness of the world. The family in that hotel room reminded me once again that there are truly a lot of hurting, miserable people in our world.

This Sunday we will be celebrating Easter. Jesus came to earth so that he could die on a cross to pay the ultimate price for our sins. Why? Because He loves us that much! He didn't want us to live miserable, wretched lives, separated from Him by our sins.

Probably the most quoted scripture in the entire Bible is John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

If only the world could comprehend and accept that love that God so graciously offers. We can't be good enough on our own or do enough good works to pay for our salvation. We can't do anything to earn forgiveness of our sins. It's only through the blood of Jesus Christ that we can receive forgiveness. Perhaps that's why so many people have a hard time accepting salvation and forgiveness of their sins; they want to "do" something to earn it. It's a free gift, given to us by God, and a lot of people have a hard time accepting gifts. They'd rather pay money or work for it. They have no problem giving gifts and doing for others, but they have difficulty accepting help or gifts from others. But God sent His Son to pay for our salvation, because none of us could ever do anything to earn it on our own.

Saying that God so loved the world doesn't make it generic, but it's very personal. We could each put our names in the John 3:16 scripture, "For God so loved Loretta (or your name), that He gave His only Son; that if I will believe in Him, I will not perish but will have everlasting life." When we put our faith and trust in Jesus and accept His gift of salvation our lives may not be perfect, but He will give us peace, regardless of our situation. We can have the assurance that God is always with us. He will place joy in our hearts that life's toughest situations cannot destroy or take away.


It's hard for me to imagine living in a family so filled with anger and rage that parents will cuss and curse their own children. I've met people who thought that's normal, and peaceful family life is the weird lifestyle. I hope they're wrong.

I know our Heavenly Father doesn't yell and cuss at us. He can be angry, but He is slow to anger. Psalm 103:8 says, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy." And Psalm 23:2 says, "...He leads me beside the still [peaceful] water." The Lord is a Father who would spend the day fishing in the still water with His children, not one who yells at them for being unhappy and crying.

We can't be just like God. But we can follow His example, and try.


Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 tsp. Vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. Cornstarch

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in. Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. (The tops will not brown, but do NOT cook longer than 10 minutes.) Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely. Makes approximately 3 dozen.

(My sister made this recipe and said they were wonderful! She put the leftover cookies in a ziplock bag in the freezer. This is nice to have on hand if unexpected company stops by or to have if you get an urge to eat a coule cookies now and again.)


Oh how times have changed! I remember as a kid that we would have Easter parties at school and have egg hunts. I'm not sure public schools still allow Easter parties nowadays. And if they do, I'm sure they use plastic eggs and not the dyed hard-boiled eggs like we used. I remember how much fun it was to use food coloring in water to dip the eggs in to color their shells. We always had our own chickens, so had fresh eggs to use. My mom or one of my sisters would help me. The room mothers would hide the eggs that each kid had brought in their baskets, then we'd get to go hunt for them. We would also have egg hunts following the Sunday morning service at church. No one worried about food poisoning, and we'd often eat the eggs that we brought home from the egg hunts. Seems like we'd either eat them with a little salt on them, or Mama would make deviled eggs out of them. Kids today miss out on all the fun of coloring hard-boiled eggs and eating them afterwards. I'm glad I grew up when we were still allowed to do some of those things. It makes for great memories.


"Jesus put death to death." - Luke Lang


We love you!

Loretta & Jon