THE NEW EWE

"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

February 10, 2010

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Valentine's Day is coming up on Sunday. It's a day that is associated with love and romance. Many times people will wear red, and you may see hearts or cupids as symbols. Roses, special dinners, chocolates and special gifts are sometimes given to those you love. Many couples get engaged on February 14th, and it's also a big day for weddings.

Five years ago, I thought that Jon was going to propose to me on Valentine's Day. We had talked about getting married, and I knew he had a ring for me. I first thought I was going to receive it from him for Christmas. When that didn't happen, I thought possibly it would happen on Valentine's Day. But Jon once again surprised me (a good surprise that time) by proposing a week early, on February 5th.

My dad and stepmother were in town and we went to my sister's home to visit them. A few other family members were present. After lunch, I went to the bathroom and while I was in there, Jon asked my dad's permission to marry me. When I came out, he knelt down and proposed to me. Needless to say, I was caught off guard and was quite surprised at his timing. He was quiet and more shy at that time, and I couldn't believe that he proposed in front of my family.

Valentine's Day is probably one of the most celebrated holidays for couples. So with it coming up, what better subject to write on this week than love?

Since August, I have been babysitting my great-nephew, Jax, three mornings a week. It's been fun watching him grow from a small 4 month old baby into a very active 9 month old. He has changed so much these past few months, and I've learned a lot about babies!

Jax's only vocabulary consist of saying, "Mama" and "Dada". He isn't able to tell me what he wants, and he's not crawling or walking yet, so it's up to me to try and figure out what he needs. After being around him so much, it's beginning to get a little easier. When Jax is sitting in the floor and turns around to look at me, while grunting and holding out his arms, I know that means that he wants to be picked up and held. When it's been a while since he's eaten and he gets fussy, I know that means that he's getting hungry and wants something to eat. When he starts rubbing his eyes and nothing makes him happy, I know he's ready for a nap. He has no other way to communicate with me than to cry, fuss, grunt, reach out his arms, smile or laugh. That's where his level of maturity is at this point in time.

During this period of Jax's life, it's my responsibility to try and figure out what he needs or wants, and to cater to his every whim. Okay, maybe I don't have to cater to his every whim, but spoiling him is my prerogative! Bottom line is, when Jax is in my care, I have to watch him and make sure he's being well taken care of. I can't just ignore him, but have to keep working until I figure out what's wrong or what he's wanting. I expect nothing more of less of him at almost 10 months of age.

But the day will come when he'll begin learning new words and will more easily be able to tell me what he wants or needs. He will continue to mature and change over time.

1 Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter in the Bible. The first few verses describe how a person is to conduct themselves where love is concerned. It tells us what love is and isn't.

For example some of the verses say, "Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag, and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered."

I used to think verse 11 didn't really fit in with the rest of the chapter and wondered why it was in there. The Apostle Paul is writing this chapter about love, then all of a sudden he writes these words:

"When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things."

But I finally got it!

I cannot conduct myself with Jon as Jax does with me. I can't just grunt or cry and expect him to jump up to try and figure out what I want. I can't get upset if he doesn't cater to my every whim. My love for him isn't based on what he does or doesn't do for me, or if he always gives me everything I want to make me happy. I cannot throw a tantrum if I don't get my way. But my love for him goes beyond that.

First of all, Jon is not a mindreader. If I want him to know something, then I need to tell him, and not expect him to guess or just somehow know. I've heard so many people get upset or aggravated at their spouse for not doing something for them; thinking that they should have known what they wanted without them saying anything. Or they think their spouse should know why they're upset with them; even though it may be something that happened a few days ago.

For example, I've learned if I want to do something special for our anniversary, then I need to tell Jon so he will know. I can't be thinking about wanting to go somewhere or do something special, without telling him, and expect him to know what's on my mind and make plans for us. If I do so, then he doesn't plan anything, I'll end up disappointed and upset. It's then easy to get my feelings hurt and pout, which is pretty childish.

If there is something that I want for Christmas, then I tell him. In fact, beginning in November we both start a Christmas wish list on a note on our computer desktop. But how fair would it be if one of us really wanted a particular thing, but never mentioned it; then was disappointed because we didn't get it as a gift. We've both discovered that subtle hints don't always do the trick. We may think we're being plain about what we're wanting, but if the other person has other things on their mind or is in the middle of doing something, then they may not pick up on the hints.

So what this scripture is saying is that there is a time when you have to grow up and put away childish things and childish attitudes and actions. If we truly want to give love and receive love in the manner in which the scriptures prior to this speaks, then we have to grow up and behave as men and women.

This isn't just in respect to how we interact with our spouse, but also in how we love others. We're not always going to be the center of attention, even when something exciting happens and we feel that we deserve to be. Others may excel more than we do, have nicer cars and houses, have bigger bank accounts, etc. And there may be times when we're the ones being blessed. But real love doesn't become jealous and doesn't brag; depending on the circumstances. Love doesn't try to get revenge when our feelings have been hurt. It doesn't judge or put others down. Love doesn't get it's feelings hurt and pout, then go around and tell others about how mistreated we feel. Love isn't easily offended.

We have to move beyond being babies where we cry and want others to run and try to figure out what we want. We move beyond the stage where we're so emotional and jealous.

But we grow in love where we're patient and kind, even when it's difficult. We grow in love where we can trust and move beyond jealousies. We respect and love others in a way that's not arrogant. We don't react in a revengeful manner when we feel we've been wronged, and act in an unbecoming way. We don't allow ourselves to be provoked, and don't hold grudges.

Let us each grow and mature in love and put away childish attitudes and actions.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I'm sure Jax loves his parents and Loretta in his own young way, too. But I suspect it's more like the way I love chocolate. I wouldn't give up my own comfort or well being to make chocolate feel better. I just love chocolate for what it does for my taste buds.

Jax probably loves the way Loretta will feed him when he gets hungry, but would never wait for food just because he knows she's busy with laundry. On the other hand, Loretta shows love as an adult. She would gladly sit still and let him sleep on her lap, even if she's thirsty.

ON THE MENEWE:

Super White Coconut Cake

Bake any white cake mix per directions on box. Remove from oven and poke holes in top of cake the size of a straw. (If you don't have a straw to use, the end of a wooden spoon works well.)

Heat in a saucepan (do not boil):

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Pour over the top of the cake while warm. Cool, then frost with 1 large container of Cool Whip. Top with coconut and refrigerate until ready to serve. Any leftovers need to be refrigerated. Moist and delicious.

LAMB TALES:

I have a nephew who is in the process of starting his own business handcrafting beautiful wooden urns. He uses several different types of wood and has come up with a variety of patterns. His son, who is age four, has seen his dad draw up various ideas for the urns he makes. A while back my nephew saw his little boy drawing all these different shapes on his etch-a-sketch. He asked him what he was drawing -- urns! Not what every little boy spends time drawing sketches of!! Just another example of a little boy wanting to be just like his daddy.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

If I give all my possessions to the poor.... but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:3

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

Thank you so much for reading our weekly newsletter. We pray that you will be encouraged and blessed.

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org