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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Swinging Into Spring!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Swinging Into Spring!: Weather in Nebraska is never boring. Springtime false starts at least ten times before true spring settles in.Spring is a time of new life, ...

Swinging Into Spring!

Weather in Nebraska is never boring. Springtime false starts at least ten times before true spring settles in.Spring is a time of new life, new hope, and new dreams! Spring has always been special for me because I love the sights, sounds, and smells that are so inviting after a long, cold winter. It was also in the spring, 14 years ago, that God took me on the journey that found my birth family for me! That was the new life for me. Early Spring 30 years ago, God gave me the ultimate new life, when He got my attention so I would turn my life over to Him! That gave me the new hope of eternal life with Him when I die. Before that I did not have that hope, now I have God's assurance because I am His.

I love the smell of the wet earth after the first rain of Spring. I love the smell of rain. Now the early morning is different from Winter. Yes, it is warmer, but the light is different, the air is fresher, and birds are calling to each other. New tulips and irises are just beginning to poke their heads above ground. The grass is slowly losing it's brown winter coat, and exchanging it for Spring green. It brings to mind a favorite silly rhyme by Nigel Rees. " Spring iz Sprung, the grass iz riz. I wonder where the flowers iz."
March is notorious for wind in the spring. I personally don't like wind, but I think God sends the spring winds to blow the cobwebs of winter away! 

The warmer rays of the sun are so welcome after a long winter. It is a joy to lift my face up to those rays, and feel their warmth. From there I can see the incredible blue sky that says Spring. The first rains wash the dirt of winter away. Yesterday our association that our neighborhood is part of sent men to clean our streets and curbs. All
the sand and debris of winter was swept away, and today the rain finished the cleaning process. Stores start stocking mulch, potting soil, flowers, pots, and garden supplies. I so want to get my hands in the dirt, and get things planted. I have seeds and dirt and small pots to start the growing indoors. That will have to satisfy until it is a little warmer. 

It is fun to see squirrels again, baby bunnies, and of course all the birds. Crows are cawing, robins are mating, cardinals are calling from the trees, and a woodpecker is busy doing what woodpeckers do! That's why it is so fun to walk our Molly in the Spring. There is a never ending display of God's world, and God's rebirth of springtime in plants, animals, and weather. God's handy work is so amazing. Everything has a time, and a purpose, and it all fits within His time frame. God sent His son to give us a new birth, if we accept it. Yes, it was Spring, at the time of Passover, that Jesus gave His life on a cross for our sins, past, present, and future.  Jesus triumphed over death, and arose to full life. Talk about New Life, New Hope, New creation!  Spring is my time of year. It was my new birth twice, and the hope I have for eternity made me a new creation in Christ! Yes....Spring has Sprung!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: The Three J's

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: The Three J's: Children are a blessing from God. Those three J's are indeed blessings. Each is their own person, each is unique, and each are very clos...

The Three J's

Children are a blessing from God. Those three J's are indeed blessings. Each is their own person, each is unique, and each are very close to each other. John, James, and Juliane are not often part of my Blogging, but it seemed right to let the world know how special they are to their Dad and me. They have provided us with love, concerns, and lots of laughs. The memories they have left in our hearts will always be precious. John is the oldest. He was sometimes very quiet as a child, but he was always thinking. He was and is very creative, and a thinker. He is artistic, musical, and in his share of plays all through school. Whenever he got electronic toys as presents, he soon was taking them apart to see how they worked. Putting them back together was not always as successful. I remember when we went to the Black Hills for vacation, and their grandmother went too, John was a great source of concern for her. In the motel in Rapid City, she noticed he carried a small brown paper sack with him everywhere. She finally asked him about it. He said he carried his money in it. She was horrified, and as I recall, made him buy a billfold. As he grew up he tried all kinds of things from wrestling team to bungy jumping. He has always been our neat, courteous, caring child. When his grandmothers got older, he always made sure he visited them often, and did things for them. He is outgoing, and loves being with friends. One of his passions from childhood, he has now passed on to his daughter....magic. He loved doing magic tricks, and now Julia is doing them too.

James is the middle child. He was the one with masses of curly hair. When he was really little and in his stroller at the Mall, he was often mistaken for a girl. He was our inquisitive child. Especially in the car going somewhere. He was always asking questions. He loved Dukes of Hazard, and remote control vehicles. He too was very talented, and in numerous school plays. He loved listening to one of our friends on the Country  Radio station in Omaha. He is the only one who loves country music as much as we do. We found out that he would stay awake to listen to her show, which was fine, except she was on late at night until morning. He would stay awake as long as he could, and then call her around 2:00 a.m. Just to talk while she was on the air. He knew from then on what he wanted to do. He has been a DJ on various radio stations as soon as he graduated from college. His other love was flying. He loved airplanes, and because we lived very close to the airport, he often spent his time there watching the planes and talking to the pilots. He took lessons for awhile, but they became too costly to maintain. He tried Bull Riding for awhile. Unfortunately the last injury he got was so bad, he gave it up, to his family's relief. 

Juliane is the youngest. She started life as a preemie. She was an adorable girly girl that loved to sing and dance. We spent many times as her audience while she sang and danced across the living room. She often declared, "Dancing is my life!" Her favorite was Annie. We bought her an Annie dress, and she sang for us every chance she got. She loved Cabbage Patch dolls,  Candyland, Strawberry Shortcake, and Care Bears. She was dresses, bows, and curls. She was our picky eater, and delayed eating her food as long as she could. Many times we put her plate away, and when she wanted a snack, we reheated her meal. She hated tomatoes, but loved ketchup. We tried to tell her that was tomatoes, but she never believed us. One summer evening we had company over for a picnic. We kept telling Juli to eat, but she kept saying she didn't feel well. Like any good parents, we insisted. She promptly threw up. She looked at us and said, "I told you I was sick." Lesson learned.  She hated being John and James little sister. That's how their teachers referred to her as she got them also as teachers. She said, "I have a name you know!" She was in many plays and musicals through high school and college, and still sings for weddings and funerals. She is a talented hair stylist but also taught babies and toddlers in day care, and for awhile was a CNA working with the elders at a nursing home. She has infinite patience and love for both ends of the age spectrum. 

There are so many stories about our three but some just stand out! John disappeared one night and the usual panic set in. He was a teen, and level headed, but still, we had no idea where he would go late at night. Turned out he simply was suffering the usual teen problems, and went to sit in the back yard to think. When James disappeared, we soon learned he simply crossed a busy highway a block or two from our house to go visit the airport. Then there was the time at a huge auto show in Omaha, where James wandered off. In a packed multi level auditorium, we walked endlessly looking for him, and trying not to lose the other two. Then John decided to go look on his own, then we had two lost. We did find the boys, hang on to Juliane, and managed to see most of the car show. We never lost Juli, but she did come close to drowning. We were on vacation with my parents, on our way to Denver. We were at the motel pool, all close to the pool, but talking. No one noticed when Juli went under and did not come up right away. We all saw it at the same time, and her Dad jumped in and got her out. After a hot shower, and lots of cuddles, she was fine. We are proud of how they have all come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. They all have children they have raised well, and they are caring and honorable adults. Of course it gives me great pleasure to think on their childhood, where the Three J's always made life special. There was never a dull moment, they were and are each unique, and each loved for who they have become, and who they once were!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: What Now?

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: What Now?: How often do we help lead someone into a personal relationship with Jesus, then pat ourselves on the back, and walk away. We praise God for ...

What Now?

How often do we help lead someone into a personal relationship with Jesus, then pat ourselves on the back, and walk away. We praise God for using us, and then how often do we check on our new brother or sister in Christ? Taking that first step in turning our life over to Jesus, and being forgiven, is just that...the first step. Many times a new believer needs us to come along side, because this may be a whole new world that can be confusing. I always remember my husband John telling me about his brother. He may have been around 10, and came running home from either a  Church youth group or Sunday School. "I've been saved, I've been saved!"He shouted. When their mother asked him what he had been saved from, he answered, "I don't know." 

If we are blessed enough to be used by God to lead someone to Christ, we need to remember follow-up is so important. We believers who have been walking with Jesus for some time forget that this was once a strange new world for us too. I was blessed to have a sister-in-law who prayed with me, for me, and talked to me for several days before we left her house in Arizona. She helped me understand more of what my choice meant, and gave me books to take home to read. I also had a husband who was a believer, so he was there when I got confused. The two major things that were Vital were a Bible with study notes that I could understand, and a Bible believing  Church.

Mostly new believers need to know that someone is there, if they have questions. They need to be assured that God will lead them where they need to go, as He grows them Dailey in their walk with Him. We had an awesome Pastor who let me call him anytime if I had a question, or didn't understand something. He was a great encourager, and always led me to scripture I needed to reinforce my walk. New believers may sometimes need to be reminded that it is O.K. To call their pastor, Bible study leader, or other friends with anything they question. 

Prayers are vital. We all need prayer, but a phone call every so often with a new believer can be a great contact. When you call to see how things are going, and ask if you can pray with them,and you have let them know they are part of a family now. A family that will always be there with encouragement, prayers, and unconditional love. If you have a good book that helped you, share it. If you have a CD of Praise and Worship, share it. Don't just tell them to find a Church....offer to take them with you to yours. It may not be where God wants them, but it will help t
hem visit other churches until they find a good fit for them. The main thing is to be there for them. Mentor them, pray with and for them, take an interest in their lives. They in turn will be able to grow in Christ, and then they will be able to be there for someone else.  In all we do, whether planting seeds, ministering to a new believer, leading someone to choose Christ, it is never is all Jesus! It is the Holy Spirit that allows a heart to be open and ready to receive the word and accept it. It is us being open to being used! We can take no credit, but we can be the one God uses, and we can be someone's .....what Now!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Bold And Brave.....Who me?

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Bold And Brave.....Who me?: Can you be brave and bold, and not be fearful? Bold means fearless in the face of danger. Brave means feeling or showing no fear. What is th...

Bold And Brave.....Who me?

Can you be brave and bold, and not be fearful? Bold means fearless in the face of danger. Brave means feeling or showing no fear. What is the face of danger, and if you don't show fear, can you still be fearful? I think it depends on the situation, and on how one comes through that situation. There have been times in my life when I was very fearful, but I faced the danger without showing the fear. I went through the trial without retreating. Someone once said bravery is not the absence of fear, but the facing of fear. All children face fears of one kind or another. Adults face different fears every day. There is the fear of changing schools, not understanding what the lesson is about, or that horrible gut wrenching fear when called on in class. For adults it can be fear of losing a job, a mate, a child, or financial loss. We all face fears of the unknown. Whether it is a change in circumstances or a medical outcome, if we can't see the end, we can become fearful. For some the ultimate fear is death.

To me facing those situations, dealing with them, trying to form a plan of action, is a form of bravery. The alternative is to lock the problem out, and try to pretend it doesn't exist. That is cowardly, and I have done that in my life. What God taught me was, that the problem is still there, waiting to pounce, and it never goes away. It sometimes takes more than we have to be brave. Then there are times when we may surprise ourselves with our bravery, we didn't know we had. I was held up at gun point when I worked for a finance company. The gun was inches from my face as the gunman demanded all the money we had. Then he held the gun on all of us, and walked us to the back room. I remember thinking he was going to shoot us all in the back, and I waited with held breath for that gun to fire. I had to have been terrified, and yet I remember staying calm. Obviously, we weren't shot, but just locked in and warned to stay put for five minutes. If someone had told me this would happen, I probably would have said, I could never go through something like that, but I did and I was not as scared as I thought.

The biggest form of boldness I face today, is telling others about my Jesus. That should not need bravery or boldness, but even though we believe, and we know what God did for us, it can still be scary to share with others. We are fearful of not saying the right thing, fearful we don't know the scripture, or fearful they won't like us anymore. Our Pastor shared with us on Sunday, just how important it is to share and make a difference in others lives. As he said, "If not me.....who?" More and more as this world becomes even more worldly, I need to catch fire and share the Gospel of Jesus. Another pastor years ago shared that he had a neighbor who did not know Jesus. This pastor kept thinking, " I should go talk to him." He put it of, and put it off, and finally decided to go see him the next day. Only the man died in the night, and never heard that Jesus loved him, and he could have a relationship with Jesus and ensure he would go to heaven. Needless to say this pastor felt terrible, and lived with that regret. There is a song that says, Thank you for being that Sunday school teacher, that friend, that neighbor that told me about Jesus. Without our sharing what that means in our lives, some may never have the chance to decide for Jesus, and never make it to heaven. Am I brave enough, bold enough, on fire enough to tell others what Jesus has done for me? And if not me.....who?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Oh The Fur Babies I Have Known!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Oh The Fur Babies I Have Known!: Probably most people don't spend a lot of time reflecting on all the pets in their life, but for some nostalgic reason, they all paraded...

Oh The Fur Babies I Have Known!

Probably most people don't spend a lot of time reflecting on all the pets in their life, but for some nostalgic reason, they all paraded across my mind today, as I watched our Molly sleep. Fur babies whether dog or cat, are like human babies when they sleep. No matter how active, or mischievous they may be awake, when they sleep, they are the picture of innocence. I got my first dog when I was about two years old. I don't remember him, but I saw one picture of him. He was a little black terrier of some kind. I don't even remember his name, but I was told I liked to eat his dog food, out of the dish with him. Of course the first time my aunt witnessed that, she was horrified. I guess it didn't hurt me, and I grew up with no special cravings for Purina, or doggy treats. My next pet was a Shetland Sheep Dog. He looked like Lassie, except with a shorter nose. I got him as a bribe for going to Sunday School when I was five. Shep grew quickly into a big, lovable, playful pup. He loved playing with me and my friends. When he stood on his hind feet, he was taller than us. Shep had a dog house my Dad built for him. My Dad was a home contractor, so Shep's  house had siding, a shingled roof, wood floor, and was quite homey. When Shep wanted in the house he would lay across the door step, and would not move until his wish was granted. Perhaps his one claim to fame was when he tried to eat my mom's fine silk robe and nightgown. She had washed them and hung them on the line outside to dry. We went somewhere, and Shep evidentially was bored, so he proceeded to shread the things on the line. My Dad and I laughed, but Mom, not so much. I quess Shep was lucky to survive that incident.

When we moved to Iowa, Shep went to a ranch family where he could run, and play, and do what he was bred to do, shepherd cattle. Once settled in Sioux City, I missed not having a pet. After begging and pleading piteously, my Mom relented and let me have a cat. This little Kitty was coal black, and I named her Cinders. She loved car rides. She would lay in the back window of the car, and willingly go wherever I went. In the mornings when I left for school, she would walk me to the door and when I came home in the afternoon, Mom said she always knew when to run to the door, and sit patiently until I walked in. I think deep down, she thought she was a dog. She was the first fur baby I truly was old enough to be totally attached to. One day, while she waited by the door to welcome me home, my Mom opened the door to go out on our porch. It was then that Cinders darted out the door. I think she was going to try and find me, but she never came back. We searched the neighborhood, we called, and called for her, for weeks, but she was gone. I was heart broken for a long time.

Next on the scene was a miniature  Dachshund  called Sweetie Pie. She was an excitable little girl who drove my mother crazy. She also was very nervous, developed Mange, and when someone came to visit, she got so nervous, she pottyed on the floor. We finally called the vet, who found a good home for her, where the lady who raised Dachshunds, and fell in love with her. That was the last pet I had growing up. The next pet I had was a female Siamese cat. Tia was a sweet girl, and she was bred with another Siamese. When she had kittens, I kept one of the boys. Caesar and Tia were great cats. She was very petite, he was big for a Siamese.  Caesar was always in trouble. He managed to get sprayed by a skunk, he got chased by a big dog, and little Momma Tia went to his rescue, and his curiosity almost killed him. When I did laundry he liked to jump on the warm clothes in the drier. I would get him out, except one day after I did that, he jumped back in with the wet clothes. I did not see him. After I got upstairs, I kept hearing a banging in the dryer, like drying tennis shoes. I ran down, opened the door to a very banged up, burned, dizzy kitty. I rushed him to the vet. He was in shock, but we got there in time. The vet said even a few more minutes would have been too late. He and Tia lived to ages  17 and 18.

There were always a lot more dogs and cats at our house. Kitties saved from a life on the street by our compassionate son, dogs, including a small poodle, a beagle, a Bassette Hound, and an Afghan Hound. Our little Pomerainian mix, Killer was another sweet dog. We had him for many years, until he developed cancer. That's when we traveled to Iowa for our beloved Samson.
This Fox Terrier was our fur baby for 17 years. When he left us, we were so sad, we could not imagine another dog. God had other plans. Through friends, Molly came to us. Her mom had cancer and could no longer care for her. We had a hole in our heart that needed a fur baby. The rest is history. She is a delight, and we will love her, and care for her, as long as God leaves us all together.