Monday, September 25, 2017

One Year Ago . . .

       Last September, I started the adventure of a lifetime, when I signed a publishing contract with Ambassador International Publishing house. (You can read about that HERE) People have been asking me how it's going with a real publisher. Well . . . it's kind of hard to say because there are so many pros and cons between self-publishing and traditional publishing.
     For me, some of the things I've liked the most about traditional publishing, is the professional help on things like a book cover, book trailer, and editing. That has been a HUGE blessing!
     While I'm still working on lining up book tables at some homeschool conventions, and editing on a book, (I'll announce more about that later:) I've been distracted from my writing because of  the family corn maze. (And making pear pies:))This last week, we had a 'Building Memories with family' weekend and it worked out perfect because some of my cousins were able to come visit for the weekend.

      As usual, I was working in the gift shop most of the weekend, but my cousins were able to come in and visit with me there. Mom snapped this picture of me working. Yes, that hand does belong to one of my cousins! :) :) :)

I hope you're enjoying your fall! Here are a few Fall jokes to make you smile.

How do you fix a broken pumpkin? - With a pumpkin patch!

What is the cutest season?  - Awwtumn.

What do you get when you drop a pumpkin? -  Squash.

Monday, September 18, 2017

4 Statements That Aren't As True As They Seem

 You've all heard it said . . . "Just be you!" "Follow your heart!" "Do what makes you feel good!" and "If people don't like you, forget about them." These statements and statements like them, have become a part of our culture, but are they true?

 Number 1.  - "Just be you!"

    Have you ever been nervous about something . . . worried that someone won't like you or that something will go wrong, and a friend told you to "Just be you,"? I know I've said that to people, but as I think about it, this is NOT good advice.
   First of all, when you're 'just being you,' and people don't like 'you' it brings frustration, rejection, and self-image problems. I mean if people don't like me just the way I am, then don't I have to change? Absolutely NOT! The problem with just being yourself, is that the real 'YOU' isn't a very nice person. Ouch. That statement hurts, but it's true. Our natural sinful personality is NOT something that people enjoy being around! The real 'YOU' in and of yourself, is a sinner. A selfish, proud, disobedient, lying, and rude individual!
We should never want to just be ourselves.
      But if I can't just be me, then who should I be? 1 Corinthians 6:19  says, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" And in Philippians 1:21, Paul boldly declares that Christ is his life! Throughout Scripture, we can find example after example of men and women who put aside their own personal preferences, and served Christ. Do you think Stephen wanted to be stoned? Do you think he got up that morning and said, "I'm going to just be me today! I think I'll be stoned for it, but I'll do it anyways." NO! Stephen wasn't trying to promote his own personality. He was only concerned with glorifying God.
     God gives each of us different and unique personalities, desires, hobbies, etc... but even though God gave us all differences, He doesn't want us using our differences to make us feel good. To make us live for us! Rather than 'just being you', God gives us the privilege of being able to yield ourselves to HIM, and the privilege of being able to, as Paul said, 'Keep under ourselves and bring ourselves into subjection, so that God can use us. It's not about being you, it's about letting Christ shine through us. When people look at you, do they see 'just you,' or do they see Christ shining through you?

Number 2. - "Follow Your Heart!"

       WHAT!!?!?!?!?! Seriously? Jeremiah 17:9  says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" So the Bible tells us that our heart is deceitful and wicked, and now we're supposed to follow it? According to the Bible, we're not supposed to be following our hearts, we're supposed to be following Christ.
     The Bible doesn't just tell us to follow Christ instead of our heart, it gives us examples. Samson followed his heart and pursued Delilah and it resulted in his death. Jonah followed his heart and ran from Nineveh, and he ended up in the belly of a whale. Noah followed God's command to build an ark, even though it probably sounded crazy, even though it probably wasn't his life dream, and God blessed him for it. Peter, followed God's command to bring the gospel to the gentiles even though it wasn't what he had dreamed of doing with his life.
     Consistently, throughout Scripture, when people follow their hearts without God's blessing, they have heartache, trouble, and pain. But when people follow God, and the things that He commands and asks of us, it brings a joy, peace, and satisfaction.

Number 3. - "Do what makes you feel good."

We all know that feelings lie. Jesus didn't 'feel like' being crucified, but because of His love for us, He ignored His feelings and did what He knew had to be done. With Christ as our example, we can ignore the lie of doing what makes us feel good, and instead, do what we know God wants us to do.

Number 4. - "If People Don't Like You, Forget About Them."

    If you've ever been insulted by someone. Deeply hurt so that you don't want to ever trust that person again? If you were to ask advice from most of the world, they would tell you that you need to just forget about the person that offended you. They can't be a real friend, so forget about them. Ignore them and forget the pain. If you don't ignore them, they'll hurt you again. But Jesus said "LOVE your enemies, DO GOOD to them that hate you and PRAY FOR THEM that despite fully use you and persecute you." That doesn't sound like forgetting them. That doesn't sound like ignoring them. If someone doesn't like you, or hurts you, God requires us to respond with love. In Mathew 5:11-12 Jesus tells us that we're blessed when people treat us wrong. It's nothing new, they hated others who lived for Christ as well. As we follow Christ, we should expect some people to not like us, but rather than take it as a personal insult and be offended that they don't like our personality, we should love them back. We should show the love of Christ.

  So how are you doing today? Are you living like Jesus would want you to, or are you following your own ways and the advice of the world?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Yesterday was . . .

For lack of something better to post, I thought I'd give you a fun fact! Yesterday was National Peanut day. So, if you like peanut butter, peanut pie, peanuts of any kind, now is the time to eat them!

Image result for National peanut day

Thursday, September 7, 2017

What Do I Do In The Fall?

CORN MAZE!!!!!!  Now several of you have asked me what exactly the corn maze is . . . what is it about that place that keeps me so busy? I decided to do a picture post to walk you through life at the maze.

After the corn is planted in spring, we wait for it to grow till it's around ankle high, and then we cut it. Some mazes use a GPS to do this, but we do it with a pattern that Mom drew out on grid paper, and a weed-wacker. 

As the corn continues to grow, we have to upkeep the trails by mowing them, dragging them, and sometimes, we have to cut back the leaves by hand so that they don't hang over the trail.

Then, in July, we do a float in our town's parade, and hand out cards with information about the maze.

When the maze is open, you'll drive up and see this sign.

Your first stop, should be the Concession/Admission Stand, which is the small white building you see past the covered wagon.

Once you've paid, then the maze fun begins! You can see the Granary, (Our gift shop) in the background, and the fort, is full of fun games. As you walk by, make sure to get your picture by the 'How Tall this Fall' sign!

Around the place, there's plenty of nice photo spots to capture memories at the maze!

As you get farther away from the Concession stand, you'll find this tire dragon that's a lot of fun to run around on. Also, in the background, you can see part of the sign for the Maze-land game.

One of people's favorite's activities is the hayride, sometimes the hayride stops by a pasture and you get to help feed the cows!

Another favorite, is the bale mountain! It's a great place to play tag, run around for fun, or get pictures on!

It's especially nice for family pictures!

You'll also get to enter the "Ark"! As you go into the petting zoo, you'll be met by farm animals, and you may even get the chance to feed them!

Friendly and curious as ever!

Of course we have a lot of smaller games around the place, including these duck races!

We have a smaller corn maze for younger kids with a game in it for them to play.

The pumpkin patch is fun, and also educational!

On the back of the gift shop building you can look at the photos from other years. Every year we have  theme, and the maze is cut in the shape of the theme. This year, in the bottom right corner, you can see our "Building Memories" theme.

When you come out of the maze, you're greeted by the balloon booth! With the giant slingshot, people have fun launching water balloons!

If you hit one of these targets with a balloon, you get a free can of pop or bottle of water.

Then of course, the corn box. If it's been a rough day and you need a place to sleep . . . well, maybe this isn't the best spot!

There's plenty of great photo spots!

Over by the ark, there's the ball game where you can pick between a baseball, football, and a random green ball and try to get the ball through the right hole.

If you want a fun, short walk through the woods, we have the Waxy Willow Trail. It's really neat to walk it at night as it's lit up with mini lights!

In the fort, there's giant jenga, lookout towers, a sand box, box hockey and more.

Then of course, the entrance to the big maze! As you go in, you can grab a card from one of the mailboxes and play a game with signs hidden in the maze. If you turn in your card at the end, you'll get a small treat. The maze has around 3 1/2 miles of trails and usually takes around a half hour to go through. Of course, if you use the map, it can be done way faster.

Here we have the puckskee, and behind it, you can see the "Right Turn Only" maze. If you like brainy puzzles, you'll enjoy this small bale maze. I don't have a picture of everything, but that's what a visit to the maze would look like in a nutshell. So this is what I do in the fall. There's plenty of work to do to keep things looking nice, and of course I work in the Granary and Concession stand as well. So, if you get bored this fall, come visit us! There's plenty of fun to be had and you can build GREAT memories! For more information about the maze, you can visit www.countrycornmaze.org, or look the maze up on Facebook.