Apr 11, 2013

mind your manners

I had the idea a while back that my Acteens would enjoy attending an etiquette class to learn the basics of etiquette....or brush up on what they already knew.  So I asked Mrs. Sandra (our pastor's wife) if she would help out with this endeavor.  Not only did she teach Home Economics in school, but she used to have her own catering business.  She has been in charge of some of the most beautifully decorated events at our church....like our yearly ladies conference.  I'm so glad she so willingly agreed to help.

She decided she'd like to do the class in two parts.....one class at our regular meeting, and one in an actual restaurant. 

discussing the proper way to place your napkin in your lap
 She also had handouts for the girls to look at while she explained the purpose for certain place settings.

The girls were put into groups and each group was given a sample menu.  They were to look at the menu and put together a place setting that would be appropriate for that particular meal. 

Mrs. Sandra went around to each group and made suggestions if needed and answered questions.

As you can see from the pictures, we didn't use real china for this!  We even had some paper cups on hand.

To allow the girls to put their knowledge to work, she treated us all to a special dinner a couple of nights later at Daphne Lodge....a local favorite near our community. 

my beautiful niece, Autumn is one of the Acteens

A couple of the girls couldn't attend the dinner, but the rest of us met at the church to head out to our special dinner with Mrs. Sandra.  Of course, we had to have a few pictures made for the parents dropping them off!  It's Prom season now, so getting dressed up in semi-formal attire was alot of fun for them :)

My sister, Suzanne (far left), myself, and Melanie (our youth pastor's wife on the far right) joined them for a picture too.

Here we are at the restaurant just before going in. 
Daphne is a family owned business that has been in existence since 1952.  It's located near Veteran's Memorial State Park near Lake Blackshear.  They have been featured in Southern Living magazine as well as papers like The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Check our their website here.

our table

our menu

Here's another group picture.  The second person from the front, on the left is Mrs. Sandra.  I wish I had taken the time to get a really good picture of just her.  She's a beautiful lady - on the inside and out!

It was a fantastic evening and I am so glad that it was well attended.  I believe the girls really enjoyed their special night out...maybe we should make it a yearly  affair? :)

Mar 22, 2013

this one's for the girls

I was going through the pictures on my phone the other day and realized I never posted photos of the Women's Conference at our church this year.  The pictures are too pretty not to share!

The theme for the conference this year was "The Rooms of Our Heart" and Mrs. Phillis Foy once again was our guest speaker. 

We did something a little different this year and also had small group time.  I was honored to lead one of the discussion groups.....my group was in room 3 and we had such a great discussion about our homes and how the rooms of our home can be so much like the rooms of our hearts.

We were once again treated to a delicious lunch.  The social hall is always decorated beautifully for these events, but they outdid themselves this year!  Since the conference was close to Valentine's Day, red and pink were the chosen colors.

Refreshing pink lemonade or water

Delectable desserts!

Beautiful red roses on each table

My lunch :) I'll have to share the recipes.
They gave them to us in our goody bags.

a room full of women

pink and red bows on the chairs 

and of course...handsome waiters ;)

It was a beautiful day and I was so thankful to be a part of it.  Mrs. Foy always does a good job, but this was her best yet!

Mar 12, 2013

beauty...inside & out

FBC Acteens with Jessi Lynn Young
 At our meeting this month, our Acteens had the pleasure of having Miss Jessi Lynn Young come spend some time with them. 

Jessi is America's Homecoming Queen and the reigning AutoZone/Liberty Bowl Queen

I was delighted when she agreed to come speak to the Acteens and share her faith in God and how He has been with her each step of her journey.

She also did an activity with the girls to help them learn to see the beauty they have on the inside.

She encouraged them to be who God made them to be and to put Him first in their lives.

After she spoke, we shared some delicious refreshments and fellowship.

Thanks again, Jessi for allowign God to use you.  We definitely saw Jesus in you!

Feb 14, 2013

Valentine's for widows

I am so proud of my Acteens! 

At our January meeting, I asked them to come up with our next monthly project.  They decided to make something for Valentine's Day for the elderly in our church.  From there, it was narrowed down to the widowed ladies in our church family. 

So at our February meeting, we got together and they made the cutest cards and goody bags for 10 widowed ladies in our church.

The bags were filled with decorative tissue packs, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, nail files, and candy.

The cards were decorated with Bible verses about love, ribbons, and cute little bows :)

They handed out most of the bags the Sunday before Valentine's Day at church.
Others were delivered to the homes of those not in attendance.

Their thoughtful gifts were very much appreciated and put smiles on the faces of those sweet ladies.

Never underestimate how the simplest of ideas can have such a HUGE impact on someone's life.

chai tea and teacakes

At a recent Acteens meeting, I talked my girls into trying some chai tea.  I've made it from 'scratch' before, but this particular blend was Oregon Chai from Walmart.....and surprisingly, they really liked it! 

I also made up a batch of 'Lottie Moon Tea Cakes' to go with it.  (You can get that recipe here). 

Because we had recently collected money as a church for the Lottie Moon Christmas offering, I thought sharing a little more about the life of Lottie Moon would be of interest to them. 

Lottie Moon was definitely not a boring person!  Our monthly literature was full of information about her childhood and how she came to know Christ and eventually become a missionary. 

Now....I just need to find out if Annie Armstrong is known for any particular recipes ;)

Jan 20, 2013

Choose Life

(published: Cordele Dispatch - 1/20/13)

Most anniversaries, such as birthdays and weddings, are occasions to celebrate.  There are other occasions, however, that are not to be celebrated but to remember a day of sadness and grief.  Today is such a time for Christians and pro-life supporters as we remember a day that would forever change the course of history in the United States, the decision of Roe v. Wade.
This Tuesday is the 40th anniversary of the 1973 landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court to legalize abortion.  In this decision, the court ruled that unborn children are not persons protected by the right to life set forth in the Constitution but that under the constitution, a woman has the fundamental right to choose to abort the unborn child up until the time of viability.  Since then, abortions are even offered for those past the first trimester.
As a woman, I myself want the freedom to make my own decisions concerning my body and my overall health.  However, as a Christian, it is my belief that none of us have the right to decide to take the life of an unborn child, regardless of the circumstances.  As with any sin, there will be consequences to pay, but I believe the consequences for willingly destroying an innocent life can have devastating effects on the human soul. 
Since abortion was legalized, not only have there been heartbreaking consequences in many of the lives of those directly affected by abortion, but our country as a whole has been affected. 
In its 2011-2012 annual report, Planned Parenthood revealed that it had performed 333,964 abortion procedures.  The reality of that is that 333,964 babies died at their hands. 
The Bible makes it clear that all life is created by God, regardless of the circumstances.  Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.   My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”. 
I believe America is being judged by God for our sins as a nation, and the legalization of abortion has led the way.  Our nation as a whole has not repented and called on His name to heal our land.  Yes, there are thousands of Christians that have prayed and worked hard to get this message across, but our voices have been overshadowed by those opposing biblical values.  Our nation as a whole has become so selfish and greedy that we only seek to satisfy our own selfish desires.  We want instant gratification and refuse to wait on the Lord’s instruction or to follow the principles laid out for us in God’s Word.
So where do we go from here?  Will it only get worse?  Will America eventually self-destruct as a result of our sinful living and completely turn its back on God? 
As the body of Christ, we must fight to keep this from happening.  We must not give up.  We cannot give in to the demands of those who oppose our way of life.  We must continue to make a stand and fight one battle at a time, for we know victory will ultimately belong to the Lord.
What can you do to help?  First, pray and ask God what He would have you do.  Prayer itself is the most powerful weapon we have to fight the forces of spiritual darkness that threaten to overtake this world.  But prayer alone is not enough.  We must put “feet to our prayers”.  We have to be engaged and learn to speak out for Biblical values in all areas of life – even in the political arena.  Though we may get weary at times and feel like we’re fighting a losing battle, we must not give in.
You can also support your local pregnancy care center, both financially and through service.  If you do not have a center in your own town, find the one closest to you and see what their needs are.  They can all use volunteers on a daily basis to help answer phones, communicate with donors, or even to clean and organize office supplies. 
Finally, offer your support to a young girl or lady who is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.  Don’t judge her for her circumstances.  She may not even know Christ and the fact that there can be a completely different life for her, a life found in the living Christ who loves us, forgives us, and wants to bless us.  Encourage her to choose life for her unborn baby if she is still undecided and make sure she has a support system in place to help her care for her child. 
Even if we never see the decision to legalize abortion overturned, we must not lose hope.  We must choose to be the voice of the unborn.  We must choose to fight for life each day. 
Hebrews 10:38 (KJV): “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him”.

Lynn Langford

Jan 17, 2013

Whom Shall I Fear?

(published in Cordele Dispatch 1/17/13)

Whom shall I fear?
As a child, it seemed to me that the people mentioned in the Bible were just characters in a book.  I believed that God’s Word was true, but it wasn’t until I grew in maturity and in my faith that these characters really came to life for me. 
We can learn so much today about the world we live in simply by studying the lives of those in the Bible and by referencing its past historical events.  The Bible is full of stories about those who chose to follow Christ, but we also read about the schemes of the wicked and Satan’s attempts to prevent prophecy from being fulfilled. 
In reality, nothing has changed much in today’s world – sometimes I think conditions are worse.  Since Satan and his angels were thrown out of heaven, they have continued to roam the earth, seeking to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  Just as Satan and his demons tried to prevent Jesus from fulfilling scripture, they are also busy today wreaking havoc in the lives of the just and the unjust.  Satan knows he is running out of time.  To prevent more people from coming to Christ through salvation, he makes it a priority to lay traps and snares for believers.  He knows if we fall for his schemes, we will not have an effective witness for Christ. 
Believed to have been written by Paul, the book of Ephesians offers us encouragement and advice for these troubling times.  Ephesians 6:12 (ESV) warns: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”.   Although we cannot see it with earthly eyes, there is spiritual warfare going on around us all the time. The book of Ephesians gives us the instruction we need to combat the evil we encounter in our daily lives.  We are to put on the “whole armor of God” and draw our strength from Him. 
At times we may feel that we’re fighting a losing fight, but it is then that we need to remember that the battle has already been won.  After dying a cruel death on the cross, Jesus Christ rose on the third day and defeated death.  In that moment, He made a way for you and for me.  Nothing formed against us can stand against His strength.
So if you’re feeling discouraged today in light of some circumstance that is beyond your control, take heart my friends!  With God on our side, who should we fear? 
In the words of Chris Tomlin: “I know Who goes before me, I know Who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always by my side.  The One who reigns forever, He is a Friend of mine, the God of angel armies is always by my side”.