"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

November 14, 2012


I have babysat Jax, my great-nephew, quite often since his birth three-and-a-half years ago. Over time, I have watched him mature from a baby to a toddler and it's been fun seeing him learn new things. Although, I was around all my nieces and nephews when they were growing up, my sisters sometimes lived away from me so I was unable to really watch the growing and learning process. Not having children of my own, being around Jax as much as I have has been a learning experience, because it's the first time that I've consistently cared for and been around a child from birth to toddler to see all the various stages of development they go through.

Even though Jax is no longer a baby who needs constant attention, meaning that he can play independently and do some things for himself, he is still a three year old and needs someone to oversee him and care for him. He doesn't always make wise decisions about what is safe or unsafe, and doesn't understand why he's not allowed to do some activities, and at times needs someone who loves him to tell him what to do so that he can learn right from wrong.

For instance, his parents give him flavored gummy vitamins. A couple weeks ago, Janee' gave Jax his vitamins. He was playing with his toys and she was vacuuming her living room. When she went to check on him later, she discovered that he had climbed on top of the counter, found his vitamins, and eaten the contents of the entire bottle. Of course, she was very concerned, so called poison control to see what she needed to do. Since the vitamins didn't contain iron, they said that he would be fine; which he was. But the next day, I babysat him and he told me that he had eaten all his vitamins and it made his tummy hurt and he wasn't ever going to do that again. Jax didn't have the maturity to know that eating all the vitamins, that tasted like gummy bears, could harm him.

I've also observed that when Jax thinks something is fun, he wants to repeat it over and over again. He will say, "Again, again!" and may want to do it for 15-30 minutes; or until the adult gets tired and either stops doing it or gets his attention onto something else.

Right now the stage that Jax is going through is that he either wants to pretend to be a pirate and watch "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" on Disney (or Aunt Loretta has DVR'ed him a few episodes so he can watch them whenever he wants), or he wants to pretend to be a firefighter and watch "Fireman Sam", which is a British children's cartoon, on Netflix. The thing is, even though I have 8-9 episodes of Jake recorded for him, Jax will request to watch the same episode "Jake Saves Bucky" over and over again. Or he will want us to play that we are firefighters and he will put a toy of Buzz (from the movie Toy Story) up on the brick surrounding our fireplace and pretend that Buzz "falls off the roof" (meaning he will have Buzz fall from the brick to the floor) and I will pretend to call Fireman Sam to the rescue. He wants to do this "Again, again!!"

When Jax was a newborn I made up a song just for him, and have sang it to him for the past three-and-a-half years. He doesn't particularly want to be sung to very often now, but when he's not feeling well or really tired he will let me sing to him, without saying, "Stop!" and holding his hands over his ears.

This past Monday when I kept him, he was tired and let me sing to him when he laid down for a nap. The song goes, "I love Jax; yes, I do. I love Jax; it is true. I love Jax; he's my boy. I love baby Jax." Although about a year or so ago I had to change the last words from baby Jax to big boy Jax, per his request. I was singing to him on Monday and he was lying beside me with his eyes closed, smiling while I sang. When I finished, he whispered, "I little boy Jax." So I sang it again and changed it from big boy Jax to little boy Jax. He then whisped, "I big boy." So it went back and forth from little boy to big boy a few times. Then he whispered, "I three years old." So I changed the words to, "I love three year old Jax." Then he smiled and said, "I three and a half." Once again I changed those last words. Finally, he whispered, "I five!" I stopped then and said, "No, you're not five!" He laughed, then rolled over and promptly fell asleep.

I am enjoying each moment that I have with Jax right now because I'm fairly certain when he enters adolescents that he's not going to be as thrilled to come stay at my house and spend time with me. Around age 12-13 he will likely think that he knows more than me and is much smarter than I am, and that I won't know what I'm talking about because I'm "so old" and just don't understand.

We are much like children in our relationship with God. When we first become christians, we need a lot of hand-holding and training and repetition. We sometimes may even fall back into the same sins over and over (we often do that as "mature" christians), and God has to reach down and pull us up and get us back on track.

We sometimes enjoy where we are spiritually because we don't have a lot of responsibility and can rely on others to carry us, and will say, "Again, again!," wanting to remain where we are and not having to move on and learn something else. Growing up, physically and spiritually, isn't always fun and sometimes we may suffer growing pains. And we may not enjoy the discipline that comes along with that growth. In fact, we often rebel against any type of discipline, because we don't like anyone -- even God -- telling us what we can or can't do; even when it's for our own good.

Why do you or did you, as a parent, discipline your child? Was it to be mean to them and show them who was boss; or was it to teach them so that they would learn and become better people? If you love your child, it's because of the latter. I saw a quote recently that said, "I may not be perfect, but when I look at my children I know that I got something in my life perfectly right." Most parents want their children to excel and become mature, responsible adults who do well in life and are happy. But that will only happen if the child is loved and disciplined correctly.

Proverbs 13:24 says, "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."

You discipline a child because you love them. It generally starts about the time they begin crawling and reaching for things that they shouldn't touch and you will say, "No, no." But as a child grows and gets more curious and more active, your discipline changes from, "No, no," to slapping their hand, to swatting them on the backside, to putting them in a corner, to grounding them....... Your punishment becomes greater as the child gets older and their offenses become greater; and as they get old enough to understand and know that they are intentionally being disobedient. Often, you tell them no and discipline them because you know that they could be harmed and you want to protect them.

When I take Jax some place, I make him hold my hand when crossing a parking lot. He doesn't always want to hold my hand and may tell me, "I can do it by myself," yet I know that he isn't big enough to be seen by drivers that may be backing out or zipping across parking lots, and he isn't mature enough to be cautious and look for oncoming traffic or to watch for vehicles backing out. I know that it is my responsibility, as the adult, to make him obey and hold my hand, regardless if he wants to or not. When Jax is in my care, it is my responsibility to look out for his safety and I can't let him do whatever he wants. I sometimes have to tell him no and make him do things that he'd rather not do. That's my job and my duty, and I do it because I love Jax and don't want him to get hurt. If he happens to pull away from me and run off, then I have to pursue him. And if he falls in the process and gets hurt, I can't help that; but I can care for him afterwards.

God corrects us, not to embarrass us or to be bossy or to be mean to us, but so that we will learn and grow and mature in our relationship with Him. He doesn't always let us do everything and anything that we want to do, because He can see the dangers and what lies around us that we can't always see. God desires to protect us and keep us safely in His care. But if we pull away from Him and take off on our own, He will pursue us and will be there to pick us up and take care of us when we fall and get hurt. God loves us and only wants His best for us, but sometimes we can be stubborn and want to do things our own way, and when we get into trouble it's not His fault, but our own. But He is there to forgive us and help us get back on track.

1 Peter 2:2 says, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."

A newborn is only given milk for the first few months, because that is all that they can handle. But there comes a time when you have to begin feeding it cereal, then baby food, then table food so that the child can grow and develop properly. A body can't live on only milk or it will be unhealthy and undernourished.

It's the same for us as christians. We have to grow in our salvation and in our relationship with God. We have to grow in our faith. We have to grow in our devotions and prayer time. We have to grow in our responsibilities. We have to eventually get off from the spiritual milk and move on to the spiritual meat and substance of a healthy, growing salvation.


Everyone does need to grow up, and start taking on the responsibilities God gives us. We don't want to grow up to be 40, and still live with our parents, living on cheerios, cheetos, and mashed bananas.

But just like kids when they keep trying to do it themselves, we need to do a quick check to make sure we're holding God's hand before we cross the road. We can do great and amazing things as long as we stop to make sure it's with God's blessing, and with Him in our hearts.

It's great that so many new christians are so excited they run out to tell everyone they know, and want to do everything they can for God. But a few of them get so excited they run out, and forget to make sure it's God's will.


Apple Dumplings

4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced

2 cans crescent rolls

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

1 tsp. Vanilla

Ground cinnamon

1 can Mountain Dew

Peel apples and slice. Unroll crescent rolls and separate into triangles. Wrap 2 apple slices in each crescent and roll up. Place in greased 9x13 baking dish. In a small bowl combine sugar and melted butter (mixture will be thick). Spoon the butter/sugar mixture over the rolls. Slowly pour the can of Mountain Dew over the rolls. Do not stir! Sprinkle the top liberally with sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.


I enjoy getting together with family, and more often than not, our time revolves around a meal. Jon and I have had family to our house many times for lunch or dinner, but I got this bright idea that I would like to prepare a brunch. So this past Saturday morning, I did so. It was a nice change from the normal lunch or dinner, and everyone really enjoyed it. I tried out a few new recipes and used my guests as guinea pigs; well, I hate to call family guinea pigs, but..... you get the picture!

Some of the things I did were: I tried my hand at making wassail which is a nice drink for cold weather, plus it makes your house smell good; I found a recipe for a breakfast casserole that could be made the day before and I only had to put it in the oven and cook it the next morning; I made some pumpkin spice muffins, which could be made the day before; I made sausage balls (which is one of nieces favorite and she always request them) which can also be made the day before and reheated. I also had chocolate milk, egg nog, and apple juice as drinks, for those who didn't care for the wassail.


Life is an echo.

What you send get back.

What you give..... you get.


We love you!

Loretta & Jon