Family

Caricatures Faces Funny Family Image

We have recently experienced yet another family upheaval. And once again I am pondering the meaning of the term “family”. Is family supposed to be based solely on genetic connections? Does the multiple combinations of combined and shared DNA define what a family is? Does family also include those who, by choice and by the lawful joining of two people thus create an even bigger family? Or is a family simply those people in your life who, regardless of genetics or lawful joining, are those people who love, support, comfort and encourage you?

In my own life experience, my unit of family made up of shared DNA, has shattered apart from a family of 5 to a family of 2. And has hard as I have tried to re-connect with my other DNA partners, they have not reached out to make the re-connection.

My unit of family created by the lawful joining of my first husband and myself grew to contain 2 more units of shared DNA family members. That family also shattered apart to become 3 distinct family units of their own, only one of which has any real connection to this parental DNA unit.

I am very blessed to still have a very strong bond with my DNA mom, 1 son, and granddaughter. 🙂

I was also very blessed to have a second chance at becoming another family unit by the lawful joining of myself to a wonderul new hubby. By osmosis, I have been included into his DNA family units and enjoy a great relationship with my in-law “brothers and sisters”. These “in-law” family members have become much closer to me than my own DNA sharing sisters and father.

The VERY TRICKY part of this new family combination has been my hubby’s 2 DNA family units – known to me as “the step-kids”. This new type of family forces DNA sharers from one family to try to encorporate themselves, willingly or otherwise, into a new form of family unit.

For the past seven years I have worked very hard at not becoming the stereotypical “evil step-mother”. However, I regretfully confess that the evil step-mother may have come out for a wild ride recently. The “good” (ahem) stepmother had the straw that broke the camel’s back placed upon her already burdened shoulders and she had had enough of watching her beloved hubby being taken for granted and misused by his DNA units. So she spoke what she felt was the truth – and the truth was not well received – not well at all.

This whole dysfunctional family thing just keeps making me wonder what, exactly, is family supposed to be? And if the traditional sense of family is no longer functioning, is it okay to walk away from it and find your loving family with other people, whether or not they are genetically or lawfully joined to you?

Webster’s 1829 Dictionary gives the following definitions of “family”:

1. The collective body of persons who live in one house and under one head or manager; a household, including parents, children and servants, and as the case may be, lodgers or boarders.

2. Those who descend from one common progenitor; a tribe or race; kindred; lineage. Thus the Israelites were a branch of the family of Abraham; and the descendants of Reuben, of Manasseh, &c., were called their families. The whole human race are the family of Adam, the human family.

3. Course of descent; genealogy; line of ancestors.

Since I believe that the institue of family was created by God, I am going to find out what He says about family in His Word.

The word in the Old Testament that has been translated to “family” is the Hebrew word “mishpâchâh”;
(mish-paw-khaw’) : a family, that is, circle of relatives; and by extension, a tribe or people.

In the New Testament, the Greek word “patria” (pat-ree-ah’) means: paternal descent, that is, (concretely) a group of families or a whole race (nation): – family, kindred, lineage.

Hmmmm –  after doing some research, my understanding of family has changed somewhat. I found it interesting to note that not once did I find a definition that actually states that a family is made up of people who love one another. According to Webster’s definition and the terms used in the Bible, family seems to simply mean humans who are connected through DNA and/or living arrangements.

Perhaps the misunderstanding of the term “family” is what causes so many problems? One assumes that to be part of a family means to be loved, yet so many of us know, unfortunately, that is not our reality. I think we believe that “family” automatically implies love, yet sharing DNA, or a lawful joining and/or a living arrangement does not guarantee love. In fact, it often inspires the opposite of love – hatred.

Since “family” seems to be a complex topic, I am going to do some more research and will continue sharing my thoughts in another post.

Blessings, and enjoy the following excerpt from “I’m My Own Grandpa” written by Moe Jaffe. 🙂

“I’m My Own Grandpa”

Now, many many years ago
When I was twenty three
I was married to a widow
Who was pretty as could be

This widow had a grown-up daughter
Had hair of red
My father fell in love with her
And soon the two were wed

This made my dad my son-in-law
And changed my very life
My daughter was my mother
‘Cause she was my father’s wife

To complicate the matters
Even though it brought me joy
I soon became the father
Of a bouncing baby boy

My little baby then became
A brother-in-law to dad
And so became my uncle
Though it made me very sad

For if he was my uncle
That also made him the brother
Of the widow’s grown-up daughter
Who, of course, was my step-mother

I’m my own grandpa
I’m my own grandpa
It sounds funny I know
But it really is so
I’m my own grandpa

 

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Mom’s Visit

My Mom came for a visit today. Neither one of us was feeling particularly energetic but as it was a beautiful day we decided to toddle around the arts and crafts show happening in our town square (really it’s more of an octagon).

We ended our time together relaxing in the living room while enjoying cool and sweet chai tea frappes. YUM!

Before Mom got into her car, she drew me into her arms and said, “let me enfold you in an embrace of great love and affection”. I thought that sounded so much more poetic than “give us a hug”.

I liked the saying so much that I just had to share it!

I think that is what God, through His son Jesus Christ, is saying to us – “Come to me my child, and let me enfold you in an embrace of great love and affection.”

Mar 10:15 Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter into it.
Mar 10:16 And taking them up in His arms, He put His hands on them and blessed them.

 

(Image from http://<a href=’http://wori88.com’>http://wori88.com</a>

Forget-me-nots

 

 

As I came out of the grocery store the other day, I noticed a lady sitting at a small table. She was volunteering her time to raise funds for the Alzheimer Society. Since my background is in Long Term Care nursing, this is a subject of both interest and concern to me. After I  deposited my ‘widow’s mite’ (lol) she gave me a package of Forget-me-not seeds – which I think is a great symbol for that worthy cause.

Later in the day, I was weeding in my garden. Along with the weeds, I pulled  several old Forget-me-not plants that had finished flowering and had gone to seed (they are great self-sowers). I dumped everything onto the compost pile and as I looked down, I noticed that my pants were absolutely covered with Forget-me-not seed pods! 

The tiny pods are covered with minuscule velcro-like hooks which do an excellent job of sticking to whatever they brush against. There was no simple brushing off the pant legs for me! I had to pluck each one off by hand only to have them stick to the ridges of my fingers! And the more I looked, the more I found – including between my toes!! I think it took me about 10 minutes to become ‘seedless’.

The seeds of this plant are an excellent physical match for their name – they make sure that no one will forget them!

Both the plant’s name and the nature of the seeds led me to think about God and His Word.

Deu 8:11 Beware that you do not forget Jehovah your God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command you today,

The clinging seeds reminded me of the following Bible verses:

Pro 7:2,3 Keep my commandments and live; and keep my law as the pupil of your eye. Bind them upon your fingers; write them upon the tablet of your heart.

Deu 11:18 Therefore you shall lay up these my words in your hearts and in your souls, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, so that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

At some point in time, perhaps as early as the 4th or 3rd century B.C., the above scripture was taken to be a literal command and so began the tradition of the wearing of phylacteries or tefillin by Jewish men.

Wikipedia explains:

“Tefillin (Askhenazic: /ˈtfɪln/; Israeli Hebrew: [tfiˈlin], תפילין), also called phylacteries (/fɪˈlæktərz/ from Ancient Greek φυλακτήριον phylacterion, form of phylássein, φυλάσσειν meaning “to guard, protect”), are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. They are worn by male observant Jews during weekday morning prayers.Image result for tefillin clipart

The arm-tefillin, or shel yad, is placed on the upper arm, and the strap wrapped around the arm/hand, hand and fingers; while the head-tefillin, or shel rosh, is placed above the forehead. The Torah commands that they should be worn to serve as a “sign” and “remembrance” that God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.” 

 

 

For an excellent article on the history and usage of phylacteries, check out:  http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12125-phylacteries

In doing a word study of “forget” as it pertains to God, I found it interesting to note that all of the scripture verses I found were in the Old Testament. In His Word, God was constantly reminding the Israelites to not forget His commandments and to remember His deliverance of, and, goodness to them.

Deu 4:23 Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of Jehovah your God, which He made with you, and make you a graven image, a likeness of anything which Jehovah your God has forbidden you.

Deu 6:12 you shall be on guard lest you forget Jehovah who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.

Psa 78:7 so that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His Commandments;

Psa 103:2 Bless Jehovah, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits;

Psa 119:16 I will delight myself in Your Precepts; I will not forget Your Word.

Psa 119:83 For I am like a wineskin in the smoke; I do not forget Your Precepts.

Psa 119:93 I will never forget Your Commandments; for with them You have given me life.

Psa 119:153 RESH: Look on my affliction, and deliver me; for I do not forget Your Law.

Pro 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments;

Although the above scriptures were written to the people of the Old Testament, they still serve as excellent reminders of the important things that we should not forget about our Heavenly Father – His covenant with us; His deliverance; His mighty works; His benefits; His Word; His precepts and commands; and His law.

I would also add that we should never forget His love for us, nor His grace or mercy.

Perhaps the New Testament does not use “do not forget” in the same manner as in the Old Testament because, rather than having instructions from and about God written on external things like stone and paper, as in the Old Testament times, we, who have received Jesus Christ as our Saviour, have these things ‘written’ on our internal ‘hearts’ through the indwelling presence of God’s holy spirit.

Alzheimers can have a devastating effect on our physical lives. Forgetting God, who He is and what He has done, as well as all His goodness, also has drastic consequences!

Job 8:13 So are the paths of all who forget God; and the hope of the ungodly shall perish. 

Psa 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, all the nations that forget God. 

This is my prayer for you:

Rev 3:3 Remember then how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. 

 

Blessings

 

Edit note: Although I tried my best to find an image of forget-me-nots that was copyright free, I guess the one I chose was not as I see that it was replaced by a notice of “no hot-linking” (whatever that is). My apologies to all concerned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day re-blog

 

 

I was going to write about Father’s Day today when I realized that everything I had wanted to say, I had already said in last year’s post on Father’s Day. So here is the link to last year’s post: Father’s Day

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY 🙂

Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

Col 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they be discouraged. 

Eph 6:4 And fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

(Image from fathersdayprintables.com)

 

Grace vs. Mercy

Image result for grace and mercy

In a recent Bible study of the Book of Job, the question arose as to the difference between God’s mercy and God’s grace.

A word study of the definitions of both those terms may lead one to believe that they both mean one and the same thing. Although there are similarities, there are some major differences.

Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 defines grace as:

1. Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace.

2. Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.

Whereas mercy is defined as:

1. That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.

 

In simpler terms,” grace is God giving us something we do not deserve; while mercy is God not giving us something we do deserve.” [in a punishment sense] (Compelling Truth )

Rom 5:15 But, not as the offence so also is the free gift; for if by the offence of the one the many did die, much more did the grace of God, and the free gift in grace of the one man Jesus Christ, abound to the many;

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law, but under grace. 

Grace has often been defined as “unmerited favour”, meaning that we have done nothing to earn or deserve it.

Rom 11:6 But if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it is of works, then it is no more of grace; otherwise work is no more work. 

 

Mercy basically means that God does not give us “our just desserts” – or the punishment we deserve when we have done something that we shouldn’t have or not done something we should have.

Psa 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
Psa 103:11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is His mercy toward those who fear Him.

Eph. 2:4,5 His great love with which He loved us, (even when we were dead in sins)


The apostle Paul says this about himself and the mercy extended to him:

1Ti 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who strengthened me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry–
1Ti 1:13 the one who before [as Saul] was a blasphemer and a persecutor and insolent. But I obtained mercy, because being ignorant, I did it in unbelief.

 

Grace and mercy are two important aspects of God’s character.

Psa 86:15 But You, O God, are God full of pity, and gracious, long-suffering, and rich in mercy and truth.

Psa 103:8 Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and rich in mercy.

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us
Eph 2:5 (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved),
Eph 2:6 and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,

 

I pray that you will acknowledge God’s mercy and accept His grace in your life.

2Jn 1:3 Grace will be with you, mercy and peace from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Blessings

(Image credit: “56: Daily Inspirational Bible Verse” by Tito & Eva MarieBalangue (CC BY 2.0) via Pediaa.Com)

Sweet Fellowship

Act 2:42 And they were continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and in fellowship and in the breaking of the loaves, and in prayers.

I really enjoy hosting a gathering of friends over a cup of tea and a plate of yummy baked goodies. Although I have wanted to host regular gatherings this past year, it always seemed like something would happen that interfered with my plans. Finally, this past week I have been able to host a tea on two separate occasions.

At the first one, I invited the gals from a home Bible study that I attend which is hosted by a dear friend and sister-in-Christ. She is a wonderful baker and always has some tasty treat for us to enjoy during study. (My waist says no-no but my mouth says yes-yes!)

I didn’t want to serve store bought goodies but I am not the best of bakers ( I blame it on my very temperamental oven) so I wasn’t sure what I should make. Since I don’t bake very often (called the “if I don’t have it I won’t eat it diet strategy”) I don’t have a wide variety of ingredients. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money so I wanted to find recipes using ingredients I had on hand. I decided to try some “no-bake” recipes that I had saved from Pinterest (gotta love Pinterest!).

I was able to “whip up” three different recipes in a couple of hours and re-use most of the same dishes and utensils without having to wash dishes in-between recipes. (Gotta love that!) I started with Chocolate Coconut Cups and while they were setting up in the freezer I made 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Oat Squares. Then I got my hands dirty rolling  Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites . Plus, I already had a batch of gluten free Blender Banana Oatmeal Muffins in the freezer.

My second tea was more of a breakfast so I made a large pan of Baked Oatmeal with mixed berries. I served it warm topped with Astro Original Coconut Yogurt. We use this thick, creamy yogurt in place of whipped cream and it is absolutely delish! The Baked Oatmeal was a hit, even with two of the gals who dislike oatmeal!

Both teas were filled with sweet treats, sweet sisters-in-Christ and sweet fellowship. Fellowship with like-minded ladies is a real blessing to me.

For several reasons, I don’t attend church. Yes, as shocking as it may seem to some Christians, I am a Christian who doesn’t go to church. In the “good ol’ days” (??) I may have been labelled as “back – slidden” because I didn’t attend church. It would seem that regular church attendance is required in order to be considered a Christian. However, I have yet to find the scripture wherein God commands that we attend church.

Instead, I believe that Christians have been called to have fellowship – with God, with Jesus, and with one another.

1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called to the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1Jn 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

“Fellowship” in these verses comes from the Greek word koinonia and means “partnership, participation, communication, distribution and fellowship”.

When I get together for tea with my “sistas”, we are partners in our faith in Jesus Christ and in praying for one another. We participate by bringing along goodies to share with one another. We enjoy a real good ol’ “chin wag” with one another as we discuss (communicate) a wide variety of subjects as they pertain to our daily walk of faith. We distribute love for one another, share wisdom, and offer encouragement.

All these things combine to give us sweet fellowship with one another.

Fellowship doesn’t need a specific day, time or place. It can take place anytime and anywhere our daily lives bring us together – street corners, Post Office, grocery store, playground, living room or around the kitchen table. I think that we can even enjoy a type of fellowship through the use of tools like social media. I use email, Messenger, Facebook and my blog to reach out to others with love, support, encouragement and hope. And I receive the same back from others.

God did not command , “Thou shalt attend church on Sundays”. Rather, He invited us to have a daily, personal fellowship with Himself, His son Jesus, and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

And you may even get to enjoy some sweet treats along with the sweet fellowship!

Blessings

Heb 10:24, 25 and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Image result for free clipart baking