Wow! I just found 5.00$!

Friday, February 28, 2014


 Here is my post on the move from LR to St Louis by John and Marisa and Mr Wonderful.  Susan Desselle was an amazing real estate agent and helped them so much!  On Friday, Carl, Kaitlin and I went over to help get the last few things on the truck.
 Here is a picture of the beautiful family on the steps of their house.
 Carl is superman.  He drove the big Budget truck while pulling Marisa's car all the way to St Louis!  I drove our van and John drove his van.  I followed Carl.  John and Marisa made their way right to their new home.
 This is a picture of bunny and bunny's owner.  Atticus wanted a picture of bunny.  I love how they both have the same facial expression!
 Here we are on our way to church on Sunday!!!  A Mr Wonderful sandwich!
 Here is a picture of the family in front of their new home!!!
 Here we are at lunch.  Mr Wonderful is sharing a visit with his wonderful Gpapa.

 Here we are after our lunch on Sunday.  Mr Wonderful let all of us hug and kiss him lots and lots!
It was a long drive home and my spirit was very low.  I prayed for all those whose children are far from them even as far away as heaven and that helped me with my perspective.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thoughts on Smiling from Ken Sande

Seven Benefits of a Smile

Smile Full (400x600)Megan was eighteen months old when she decided to test her smile on a Hells Angel.

Just before a vacation in Jackson, Wyoming, she had learned what a fun response she could get from adults when she beamed a big smile and gave them an enthusiastic, “Hi!”

Whether we were sitting in a restaurant, browsing in an art gallery, or walking down the sidewalk, Megan delighted in greeting one stranger after another with her glad little smile.

And of course everyone returned her greeting with an equally cheerful, “Well, hello there!”

This was all very amusing to Corlette and me … until the afternoon I was walking alone down a deserted side street with Megan perched in a backpack looking over my shoulder.

A huge man came around the corner and walked right toward us. A full-fledged Hells Angel. At least 250 pounds, leather jacket, chains, beard, tattoos, and a scowl that said, “Stay outa my way!”

I was instantly nervous. The guy had a look that said “trouble,” and here I was with my little girl strapped to my back. I thought of turning around or crossing to the other side of the street, but was afraid such an obvious act of avoidance might provoke him. So I decided to walk past him as quickly as possible, hoping not to attract his attention.

Then I felt Megan shift on my back so she could see over my left shoulder. She had spotted her next target. “Oh, no,” I thought. “She’s going to irritate this guy, and he’s going to take it out on me.” My fear went up a notch, but all I could do was quicken my pace to get past him more quickly.

Then Megan beamed her big smile and let out an especially enthusiastic, “Hi!”
And the guy just melted.

I could not believe the instantaneous transformation. He stopped right in front of us. His scowl disappeared. He leaned toward Megan with warmth in his eyes and a smile that split his face, and said, “Hello, young lady.”

A simple smile had turned a scowling and ominous biker into a big, soft teddy bear.

We stood on the sidewalk talking for several minutes. He asked about Megan’s name and age, and warmly engaged us. She beamed and jabbered, to his obvious delight.

He and I enjoyed a few minutes of casual conversation, and then he softly touched Megan’s hand and said, “Good bye, Little One. You made my day.” As I watched him walk away, I was amazed to realize that my fear of this man had been replaced by a feeling of actual fondness.

All because of a little girl’s smile.

The Benefits of a Smile

Believe it or not, you and I have similar “smile power.” Probably not as much as a cute little toddler, but still far more than most of us realize or exercise. Here’s just a few insights that recent studies have revealed about the nature, power, and benefits of a smile.
  1. Smiling is a natural and universal human characteristic. It is common to all people groups, does not have to be taught, and is generally seen as a positive and reassuring gesture.
  2. Smiling improves your health. It reduces levels of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, increases levels of pain-killing endorphins and sleep-assisting serotonin, reduces blood pressure, and boosts your immune system. Smiling is a free and natural drug!
  3. Smiling makes you look more attractive, courteous, and approachable.People are more likely to trust, like, and seek assistance from a smiling person. When you smile, your face is saying, “All is well. I'm safe. Come and talk with me.”
  4. Smiling Improves Your Mood. It’s actually more difficult to think negative thoughts when you have a smile on your face, even if it’s forced.
  5. Smiling Is Contagious. One smiling person can change the mood of a room full of people. Why? Because when people see a smile, “mirror neurons” fire in their brains and evoke a similar neural response as if they were smiling themselves.
  6. Smiling Makes You Look Younger. The muscles you use to smile actually lift your entire face and make you look younger. As Meryl Streep observed, “The best face-lift is a smile.”
  7. Smiling Makes You Look Competent and Successful. Smile and you will appear to be more confident, self-assured, accessible, and helpful. You are also more likely to be hired and promoted than people who have habitually blank faces or frowns. A smile has real financial value.

Practice Until It Becomes Natural

Even if you’re not a world-class smiler today, a little practice can make smiling a natural and enjoyable habit. Here’s four simple ways to get started.
  1. Decide to like people. It sounds silly, but it works. As you approach a person, think to yourself, “I like you!” More often than not, you’ll find your face moving into a natural smile … especially if you think of specific reasons that you like that person (see Phil. 4:8-9). If you have no personal memories to draw on, focus on the fact that the other person is made in the image God and dearly loved by him.
  2. Smile with your eyes. You can fake a smile with your mouth, but your eyes are essential for a genuine, warm smile (commonly called a “Duchenne smile”). Some people learn how to move the muscles around their eyes as a matter of will, but the best way to trigger this kind of “full-face” smile is to deliberately draw on positive memories and feelings toward the person you are engaging.
  3. Smile everywhere you go. In bed, when your smile is the first thing your spouse sees in the morning. In the kitchen, when your sleepy children walk in and give you a chance to set their mood for the day. In the grocery store … seriously. As you walk through the door, consciously put a smile on your face, and as you walk down the aisles, try to catch the eyes of people who walk toward you. You’ll be amazed at how often you’ll get a look of surprise and then a quick little smile. You just changed their mood. At Starbucks and Wells Fargo … the barista and the teller may have had a hard day. At the office … your co-workers will love having you around. At church … of all the places to smile, shouldn’t it be where we are celebrating the love and forgiveness of God? When you’re all alone … practice thinking thoughts that naturally trigger a smile, so that muscle memory makes it easy for your face to move into a relaxed and natural smile. (Of course a woman needs to exercise caution before smiling at strange men.)
  4. Smile on the telephone. Really. Studies show that people can tell whether you’re smiling even when they can’t see your face. How? When you smile, the back of your mouth changes shape and makes the sound waves more fluid. When people hear that sound, they sense you are happy to talk with them, and guess what? They feel happy to talk with you. A friend of mine is so convinced of this dynamic that he has installed mirrors in front of his salesmen’s desks to remind them to smile as they engage their clients.
A smile costs you nothing, but it can win you great rewards and change the mood of those you encounter throughout your day, whether it’s a critical spouse, a grumpy child, a discouraged co-worker, or a weary store clerk.

If my daughter could change the heart of Hells Angel with her little smile, just think of the lives you could touch with yours.

Reflection Questions
  • Think of a person who smiles easily and naturally. What feelings are triggered when you think of that person? Do you think those feelings have anything to do with the fact that that person is typically smiling? Why?
  • Smiling is the first and easiest step in the SERVE acrostic. How does smiling open up the way for the other steps to occur? (Smile, Explore andEmpathize, Reconcile, Value, and Encourage)?
  • How do the following passages indicate the value of smiling: Num. 6:24-26; Prov. 12:25; Prov. 15:13; Matt. 7:12?
  • Which of the seven benefits of smiling would you most like to experience? Why?
  • Select one of the four ways to practice smiling and do it consistently for thirty days. Then select another. And another. In four months, all four practices could become habits.
Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2014 Ken Sande

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Retreat part II

I have had some requests for more pictures from the retreat!!!  

the first picture needs no comment
 We were assigned tables for our lunch and supper.  Below are all the tables

 The table decorations were beautiful!

Tiffany and LaDonna made an appearance telling us about Body and Chair.  It was very clever.

We woke up to a beautiful view on Saturday.

Maury, Kaitlin, me and Sara Martin

Below is our main speaker, Denise, with Nicole and Emily, who were in charge of the retreat this year.

Friday, February 14, 2014

going outside with Gpapa

In case you ever wondered how many people it takes to put a jacket on a cute little grandson!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 Women's retreat from Covenant Church.

 The Women's Retreat for my church was this last weekend. The Retreat was held at Lake DeGray lodge near Arkadelphia.  The folks there were outstanding!   The weather was very iffy. We had snow predicted for Friday night.  My goal was to make it down before the snow hit LR.  Above is KimT at the registration table.

My job for the retreat was to pray.  I was given a list of all the ladies that were planning to attend so I could pray for them.  As I was looking at the list, I realized that 9 mother/daughter combinations were on the list.  How cool is that?!?  A beautiful picture of Covenant theology in action.
 One of the mother's attending was my friend, Maury.  Maury and I met 28 years ago when we both lived in New Orleans.  We both attended the same church.  They were in New Orleans for her husband's medical residency.  Maury and I always shared lots of laughs.  Now her daughter, SaraM, and her husband, Hess, are doing their residencies here in LR!!!!!!  What a small world!  SaraM and her husband go to church with me here in LR.  SaraM brought her mama to the retreat.  It was so much fun to catch up with my friend, Maury this weekend.

After our session on Friday night we gathered to watch the snow fall.  It was beautiful.  Several ladies weren't able to make it down to us because of the snow and we were snowed in at Lake DeGray.  Several of the workers couldn't get in on Saturday morning but the staff that could get in took great care of us!

One of the many benefits of being snowed in was the wonderful visiting and laughing that went on because no one could go off site.  I sat by the big fireplace and visited with lots of folks.

 I am sad to say I don't have a picture of our speaker, Denise Richardson.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear her, I highly recommend it.

Here are a few things I learned about Rahab from the book of Joshua from our speaker-

-Denise wondered if Rahab was southern because all her family lived in the same town! ; )
-Rahab's evangelist was the Holy Spirit
-She had a choice between the spies or the soldiers both decisions could have led to death for her
-She looked at the soldiers and lied, just like the midwives with Pharaoh
-She hid the spies in her everyday work, all women spun flax-
-The sign for the spies was a red cord, like the blood on the doorposts in Passover, like the blood of Jesus, that is what saved her
-Did she marry a spy?
-After her story in Joshua we don't hear about Rahab again until we see her name in the genealogy in Matthew.  She was the mother of Boaz
-God is writing His name in your situation.  She said that we need to pray that God will write His name Big
-The best you will ever look is in front of you
-We need to hid God's word in our daily life, just like she hid the spies in her everyday life
-We are trained to not wait here in America but Rahab may have waited for the army of Israel for 6 weeks!  During those 6 weeks did her family ask her over and over and over again why were they all staying in her house.  As she told them over and over did that firm up her faith?  No one in her family told on her to the soldiers.
-Affliction is too much or too little of anything- this is a quote from Edith Schaffer
-Did she look out the window at the red cord for the spies?
-Did she and her family ride the wall down when the wall fell?
-Who else was shut up in a closed place waiting on God's deliverance - Noah in the Ark
-Pray that God will give us more opportunity to be obedient
-If you could bend yourself, there would be no need for Jesus to come, God bends you, satan tried to break you
-Your life is a visual aid to those around you
-Don't try to not have human feelings, Jesus didn't go to the cross skipping
-The story really isn't about Rahab but about God
-God saved Rahab not just from death but into a new family, culture and place to live.
-Rahab didn't know until she died that she would be in the line of Christ.
-She also didn't know that her daughter in law would have a book of the Bible telling her story.
-Was Boaz more open to Ruth the Gentile because his mama was a Gentile too?
-Rahab took care of her whole family, did she pass that on to Boaz and did he like that about Ruth?

ReneeR was our wonderful MC.  She did and amazing job!  Below she and Emily are giving away some door prizes.

 LauraL organized a flashmob during lunch on Saturday.  It was fantastic.  It was fun to see the looks on the ladies' faces when a small group just got up and started dancing!!!!  I was in that small group!  {Afterwards I kept saying that we did a flash dance, Kaitlin quickly corrected me, for which I am thankful}

 On Saturday evening we had a wonderful singing service.  It was very moving!  I was in the back praying during this service.  I had a bird's eye view of our group.  Several ladies were moved to tears and how beautiful it was to see friends offer comfort in the form of tissues and hugs and enveloping them in their arms.

 Saturday night was also BUNKO!!!!  I loved hearing the laughter, the screaming BUNKO, and all the smiles.  Prizes were given for most loses, most wins, and most BUNKOS.  After BUNKO there was some impromptu dancing, and those that were dancing know who.  I haven't seen the video yet but I have heard about it!

On Sunday morning after our last session we gathered our things and hugged and departed for home.  Our speaker told us all that what to expect when we got home.  She told us all to pick up supper on the way home, to expect carnage and that we would need to start three things, the washing machine, the dishwasher and the vacuum cleaner as soon as we walked in the door.  She encouraged us to listen to all that our families had done while we were gone and that maybe by Monday or Tuesday we could share our stories.  What wise advice!

It was a great retreat!


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