Archive for September, 2010

Test Assured

Friday night football, backpacks, new clothes, homework, book reports, mediocre lunches. Does that list sound familiar? If you pretended you were on the game show The Pyramid and answered, “Things associated with school” you would have won the prize. Here I am on the first day of school with five of my ten grandkids.

Reading the “school” list may have sent fearful chills down the backs of some of you and others of you were smiling thinking back to the “good ole days!” Here’s another word associated with school that will probably cause all of you to squirm just a little. TEST. There it is. Probably the most dreaded word in “school vocabulary.” If that’s true then I would guess the worst two words are POP QUIZ. I can still get butterflies if I think about it very long.

To be quite honest, I really had a love-hate relationship with tests during my school years. I hated a test that I didn’t study for, but I loved a test I was totally prepared for. Are you with me? Remember how fun a “fill-in-the-blank” test was when you knew all the answers? I would write as fast as I could so I wouldn’t forget an answer before I had the chance to put it on the paper. Now, educators are smarter than they used to be and most tests are of the multiple choice variety. We had them when I was in school, but they were the “easy” tests because the answer was at least on there somewhere and the choices weren’t too hard.

But somewhere in the eighties, educators learned that memory work is the lowest form of learning (who knew?) and sought a way to measure higher level skills of thinking and processing information. Thus, the new multiple choice tests were born. They now include at least five choices, sometimes six, with two of them sounding alike, one totally opposite of the other five, one having nothing to do with what was taught, but you’re not really sure, maybe you didn’t hear her say you were to read that chapter, and then just for good measure they throw in “none of the above” and “all of the above”. Those are the tests that cause you to walk out the door with a headache yelling, “I have NO idea how I did!” And you truly don’t.

Yes, school is tough. Measuring a learned skill is tough. For most of us, those kinds of tests are now either happily tucked away in our memory banks or, if your had a very organized mom, in a plastic bin waiting for your own kids to discover and taunt you with later. In any case, most of us would rather not relive those days of studying and cramming information into our brains and are quite content to help our children get through the ordeal without ever mentioning our own “test” history.

But on closer examination, a test isn’t always a bad thing. A good teacher uses tests to measure how well he or she was able to get across a new skill and a serious student does the same. Actually, testing can be a most effective tool for evaluating many areas of our lives.

II Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless of course, you fail the test?” Just as a serious student of math or history would need to be tested, we, as serious students of God’s word, need to take the time to ask ourselves the hard questions. Not just the memory work, but the multiple choice questions that really make us think. And if we don’t come up with the right answer, we need to study a little harder. Then be ready for a pop quiz or two, every now and then!!

Here’s wishing you all a great week. Live this week and every week knowing God loves you!

Hugs,

Chrys

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

A few weekends ago about seventy friends and family members headed out to Atlanta to see the Braves play the Cardinals. Well, truth be known, some of us went to see the game, but the majority of us went to see my son- in-law, who is Willie Robertson, The Buck Commander and one of the stars of the reality show by the same name, sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame at the seventh inning stretch.

It was a much anticipated event and many have asked me since, “Is he a good singer?” thinking that is the reason he was asked to sing. My answer remains the same, “He does sing pretty good, but this wasn’t about his singing ability, it was more about his celebrity in the hunting world and the fact that he is quite a character.” Due to Willie’s reality show, event planners had seen evidence that he could entertain the crowd of 40,000 plus that day.

They were right. It was successful from everyone’s angle. Although just a beat behind the pre-recorded music, Willie led the crowd with gusto and finished with a strong, “For it’s one, two, three strikes your out at the old ball game!” The crowd cheered and our little “drop in the bucket” seventy fans from Willie’s hometown smiled at the accomplishment of our hometown hero.

I am rarely in a stadium that the scripture in Hebrews 12 doesn’t come to mind. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

The word “surrounded” is perfectly depicted in a stadium. Synonyms for surrounded are words like encircled, bounded, bordered and enclosed. A stadium is all of those words and Willie stood right on top of the dugout, surrounded by fans of both the Braves and the Cardinals, most who had never heard the name Willie Robertson before that day. But, they were all witnesses that day to his singing ability and his connection to the duck and buck hunting world.

Another question I’ve been asked is this one, “Was he nervous?” And I have to say, “Yes, he was.” But, he threw off everything that could hinder him from performing this task which he considered a high honor and persevered in front of the fans, friends, and family who were pulling for him. The picture I posted with this blog is one of my favorites from that day. After he sang, his wife, children, and other family members encircled him and told him, “You did great!”

The previous scripture I mentioned is found in Chapter 12, but in Chapter 11 of Hebrews we are told the names of men and women who have walked this road of life before us and are witnesses to God’s goodness and power. In verse 39, it says each of these men and women were commended for their faith.

Just as Willie stood, surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, we are also. Moses, Abraham, Sarah, David, Rahab and many more have gone before us and now say to us by their example, “You can do it! We’ve walked the walk you are walking and we surround you with our message of hope, love, grace, mercy, peace. Keep up the fight and, in the end, you too will be commended.”

Just think, one day we will walk through the gates of heaven greeted, surrounded, encircled by those who have walked before us and they will say, “YOU DID GREAT!”

Have a great day. Live today God’s way.

Hugs, Chrys

Say Thank You

Like many of you, last Friday night meant the first high school football game of the season. We were thrilled to discover a tiny cool front had made its way to our hometown which translated into a much welcomed pleasant evening. Usually, the first game of the year involves lots of sweating from both players and fans, so this was a very nice change for us southerners.

Another change we noticed this season is our grandkids are older and no longer trample on our feet and sit in our laps while we weave and bob to catch a few of the football plays. Now, they run up and get money for water or popcorn (I know, we’re mean grandparents and refuse to support the candy addiction in our country), then they go back down to play with friends. We actually get to watch the game in peace (except for my constant worry that they have been hurt or lost).

As we watched the game, I remembered a time when our grandchildren were younger. We had given John Luke, the oldest and eight at the time, money for a coke along with the proverbial instructions on getting change and giving it back to us. Off he went. When he returned, he had one hand behind his back and no change. “Two-mama, I bought you something,” he said smiling sweetly. Then, from behind his back, a glorious foam rendition of a green hand pointing one finger in the air came bouncing in front of my face. Of course, I praised him for such a lovely purchase and I held it high in the air. Pleased with himself, he ran off to play with friends.

Later, he returned and sat down beside me. He smiled up at me and said, “Do you know why I bought you that prize?” “Why?” I responded. He said, “Because you’re always buying things for me and I wanted you to have something.”

Doesn’t it feel great to feel appreciated? I was totally willing to forget that John Luke had used my money to buy a large green finger because, in his way, John Luke was showing value and appreciation to me.

One of the surest ways to keep a relationship rock solid and positive is to show appreciation. Saying thank you is one of our earliest learned tasks. Parents are filled with pride the first time a thank you is uttered from the lips of their toddlers. As a child gets older whether or not they say thank you appropriately is soon the dividing line between a child who is well disciplined and one who is not. But sometimes, as adults, we forget this most basic nod of appreciation.

If surveyed, most people would readily admit that a hug, a simple note, or a verbal “thank you” are among the most meaningful of gifts, because those are the ones from the heart. John Luke’s gift of a green finger took on so much more value once the words from his heart were added. What I love is that he looked for a way to say “thank you” to me.

Do you ever wonder how to thank God? I hope you do. Just as John Luke wanted to give back to me, we should want to give back to God. Psalm 116:12 puts it this way in The Message:

“What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me? I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to God! I’ll pray in the name of God; I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it together with his people…”

Wow, that’s really pretty simple–just complete what I promised God I’d do and do it with His people.

Look at your life and see if you’re giving God all you promised Him on the day He became Lord of your life. If you are committed to striving every day to do just that, I promise God is waving a big, foam number one just for you and cheering you on.

Have a great day!

Hugs,

Chrys