Hope you enjoy the blog; may it bless and encourage you!

Murphy Geer Toerner

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Austin TX and Baton Rouge, LA, United States
I enjoy helping people. I am an encourager and I can see the good in others. I want people to understand what it means to be an authentic Christian and not just a religious "nut." I believe if Christians lived and loved others as Jesus lived and loved others, we would experience more of heaven on earth than hell on earth. These thoughts and writings are intended to encourage you to be who God originally designed you to be. They are also intended to challenge you and make you think. Also, I want you to know that I'm praying for you every day. Blessings, Murphy Blessings to you, Murphy

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mike's Birthday

Today is my husband's 59th birthday. July 31, 1949.

He had a great birthday gift! An article, submitted to one of the educational accounting journals, has been approved! As you can imagine, we are both very pleased.

Please pray that a second article, which is currently under review by a different journal, will also be accepted. That would be one of the best birthday gifts ever ... or almost ever.

Blessings to all of you who care about the Toerner family.

We love you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tantrums - Part 2

How To Prevent or Diffuse Tantrums

The key to preventing or diffusing tantrums is to understand your child's tantrum triggers, and understand what it feels like to be little and out of control. Here are some suggestions:

Avoid tantrum-provoking situations. Use the candy-free check-out aisle at the supermarket.

Toy shop when you can leave your child at home — and definitely don't take your child to the store or any other possibly challenging place when they are tired or hungry. (Bring snacks whenever you go out if hunger is a trigger for your child). At home, keep things your child wants but can't have out of sight. When it comes to tantrums, a little advance planning goes a long way.

Spend positive time together. Dedicate some time every day to snuggling and playing with your child. (Reading together is a great way to snuggle!) Even if it doesn't totally prevent tantrums, it is good for your child—and for your relationship with her.

Let your child feel in control. Obviously, you are in charge. But when you can, give your child choices. Instead of saying "Time to get dressed!" say "Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the green one?" Instead of "Time to go to bed!" try "Which book shall we read before bed — this one, or that one?" (Limiting the choices to two is generally best.) When you do that, your child is less likely to feel bossed around—and is therefore less likely to struggle with you.

Use distraction. It's amazing how well this can work, if you do it at the first sign of trouble. Before your child gets really upset about not being able to play with a particular toy, swoop in with a different one and make a big deal out of it ("Wow, look at this truck! It makes noises and everything!"). Quickly suggest playing on the slide when someone gets to the last swing before you. Sometimes doing something really unexpected, such as breaking into song, or doing the Chicken Dance, does the trick. Take advantage of your child's short attention span.

If all else fails and your child explodes into a tantrum, don't despair. Here's how to survive it:

Take a deep breath. If you get upset, it's only going to make things worse.

Resist the temptation to give in. Giving your child what she wants may quiet things down right then, but teaching your child that tantrums work is not the way to get them to stop.

Let your child scream it out, in a safe place. That may mean leaving the nearly full grocery cart in the store and going home. If your child is older, send him to his room; let him know that he can come out as soon as he calms down.

Give hugs when he's done. It can be scary for a child to get that upset — and they usually know that you're not happy with them. Let him know that you love him, and that you are proud of him for stopping.

While tantrums are usually nothing to worry about, and will go away as your child gets older, it's important to call your child's doctor for help if:

The tantrums are getting more frequent, or severe
Your child is in mid- to late- elementary school and still having tantrums
Your child hurts herself or others during the tantrum
You have any concerns about your child's development
You are very upset by the tantrums, especially if you feel like you might hurt your child
Don't feel ashamed — the best thing you can do is ask for help!

content by:
Harvard Medical ...

Tantrums - Part 1

A Guide to Tantrums

Understanding, preventing and surviving them
By Claire McCarthy, M.D., Harvard Health Publications

I've been there, too — in public with a small child who is screaming her brains out, as if someone is pulling her fingernails out one by one. Of my five children, Natasha was the most dramatic:

Once I walked through Target pulling her along as she clung to my leg, letting the entire (huge) store know that she wanted the (very expensive) princess telephone. I know that feeling of anger, embarrassment, and desperation.

Why Tantrums Happen

Tantrums are a normal part of childhood. They are most common in 1- to 3-year-olds, but sometimes older children have them. They usually happen because a child:

Gets frustrated. Children ages one to three are learning to use language and their bodies. They become frustrated as they struggle to express themselves and when they can't do something they want to.

Gets upset. Disappointment and anger can be very difficult feelings to deal with, especially for a small child.

Is asserting his or her independence. This is the age when children begin to say no — sometimes purely for the sake of saying no.

Some Children Are More Prone to Tantrums

While every child throws a tantrum at some point in their lives, some children are definitely more prone to them than others. My eldest, Michaela, hardly ever threw one; I thought I was doing everything right as a parent — until my next child came along and threw plenty of tantrums.

Here are the most common reasons why some children are more prone to tantrums:
Some kids get frustrated more often than others, usually because they don't talk well enough to express themselves — or aren't yet physically able to do what they want to like running, climbing and reaching.

Temperaments vary. Some children are simply more emotional, more stubborn (that's Natasha!), or have more trouble handling disappointment than others. It was Michaela's thoroughly easygoing temperament that made tantrums rare for her, as opposed to my parenting of her.

Some kids need more attention. The attention they get for tantrums isn't really the kind they want, but it's attention.

Tantrums work. If you could get what you wanted by screaming, wouldn't you do it?

(Please check out Part 2)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dear God...

You have made me ...

* confident
* happy
* healthy
* wealthy
* smart
* fit
* safe

I thank you!

In Jesus' name...

(From Richard O.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

We Are Of God

1 John 5:19 - "We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."

There are two opposing concepts in this verse:
*we are of God
*the whole world lies in the power of the evil one

The "we are of God" part is pretty self-explanatory for Christians. It's the second part that gives us trouble. It seems as though many of us have either never read it or we've failed to understand its implications.

As Christians, we don't belong here anymore. Our citizenship has been transferred from earth to heaven. The instant we came to Christ, we changed from being children of darkness to children of light; but there's a catch. Although we now "are of God," we must live-out the rest of our physical existence on earth. We go home to heaven when we die.

There are some cool things about earth. We seek all sorts of experiences; thinking they'll bring us some happiness. But, ultimately, everything on earth is doomed to disappoint and let us down. Earth offers nothing that can compare to the life-giving, scintillating connection we have with God. He gives true life; not fake life. Yet, so often we settle for the counterfeit and fail to embrace the authentic.

It is hard to have faith in that which we cannot see. The visible realm is more believable because it's tangible. The visible realm woos us and manipulates us. This is a common tactic Satan uses to get us to focus more on the seen than the unseen. It is a powerful, useful trick. Satan loves twisting things around. He enjoys it when the object of our faith is some visible, earthly entity instead the invisible, supreme God of the universe. Satan is a menace. For a season, yet to be fully grasped, the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

Are you aware of the ways Satan twists things in your life? Has he messed with your internal plumb line by confusing your thinking, your ability to discern truth vs. untruth; or your ability to trust the One you cannot see?

When you are attacked, remember to turn (or return) to God and live by His truth. His truth is a solid foundation. Trust the invisible God whom you can't see more than anything on this earth in the visible realm. God is steadfast and real. Everything else is fading away. Be cautious about only trusting what you can see. Often, visible things are the least trustworthy.

Put your trust in the God who is sure, steady, and sound!

(Please check out http://www.murphytoerner.com/ for more articles and devotions.)

Blessings to you all...m

Monday, July 21, 2008

No Kid Leaves Home Done ...

I'm in the middle of a developmental stage. Some of you would never think that at 55+ I'd be navigating through a developmental stage. This is a term used for babies and kids in Pre-K through 8th grade, isn't it?

No, the truth is all of us navigate through a variety of stages throughout our lifetimes. My current one falls under the heading, "Role of Parent Quickly Changes as Son Launches." You see, my older son recently graduated from LSU and he moved on to pursue his career and fulfill a life-long dream. On one hand, as a parent I am thrilled to see the light at the end of the financial, money pit tunnel. Yet, on the other hand and with equal passion, I feel a sense of grief because of the changes in our close knit family unit. On another hand, (hey wait ... that's three hands) I struggle with a tiny amount of dread; realizing the truth of the Murphy-ism, "No kid leaves home done."

If you are a parent, you know what I'm talking about. If you are not a parent, you'll know in about 18 to 20 years. As your son or daughter launchs from your family, you will notice some values and qualities that you thought were present, but they aren't there. You'll also notice a few things you hoped would never reside in your son or daughter; yet there they are as big as life. It is a hard reality to navigate through.

Thank God our self-esteem as parents isn't dependent on our children's performance. If your's is, you're in deep trouble. Our sons and daughters don't leave home complete. You know how I know? I know because I'm 55+ and I'm not finished growing either. How could I possibly expect a 20, 21, 22+ year old be mature when I, as an old person, am not anywhere close to being as mature as Christ would have me be.

So, what are we to do? Here are a couple of things to consider: (1) Be ready for a continual stream of developmental stages thoughout your lifetime. (2) Don't expect your son or daughter to be totally mature when they launch from your home. (3) For sure don't link your parental self-esteem to the successes of failures of your children. (4) Trust that as your son or daughter launches, God will send a perpetual stream of people who will carry on in your place. They will be God's instruments in helping your young adult continue to grow, change, mature, and ultimately win (in the sense that they will be who God originally intended them to be.)

So, don't let the developmental stage you are in freak you out. Just hang in there and look for what God is trying to accomplish in you. He will show you at the proper time.

Blessings to you ... muchly, m

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Body of Christ - A Necessity, Not Just a Perk

Recently I spoke with a friend and she shared some things that were presently going on in her life. We talked for a while and then we ended our conversation in prayer. We lifted up our concerns about some fairly heavy personal situations. By the end of our time she said, "I did not realize just how much emotional stuff I'd been carrying until now. I feel so much better, almost lighter; and I'm able to relax and let it go."

It is a wonderful gift to have a friend and confident. It's more than a good thing or nice thing; it's a necessity. Sharing our lives with one another in deeply personal ways helps us keep our spiritual balance and emotional well-being. Of course, the first Person we need to speak with about any matter is God. He is the Source of all wisdom and grace; power and persistence. Often, He will send a human being with whom we can share. God knows the benefit of having friends who are safe confidants and faithful prayer partners. Every one needs at least one friend who can keep things in the "vault," so to speak.

Galatians 6:2a says, "Bear one another's burdens..." To fulfill this command, we need God and each other. Sometimes God will send us burden bearers. At other times, He will come alone. In our minds and hearts, both sources of relief are reasons to praise Him.

Do you have great friends; faithful friends? Are you a great friend; a faithful friend?

What are some of the qualities you look for in friendship? What is most important? Think about it and then, list what you come up with.

Blessings to you all, mt

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Know Who You Are

Mark 1:22-25 -- "They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (23) Just then there a man in the synagogue with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, (24) saying, 'What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who You are -- the Holy One of God! (25) And Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be quiet, (literally ... be muzzled) and come out of him!'"
When you were a kid, did you mom ever call you by your entire name; especially when you were in trouble? You know ... the proverbial, "Nancy Murphy Geer, get in this house!" Whether it was a mother, father, or in this case a demon, when someone uses one's entire name, they are attempting to exercise authority over that person.
Of course, no demon has greater power than Jesus Christ, God incarnate. 1 John 4:4b says, "... greater is He (Jesus) who is in you than he who is in the world." No created being, neither angel, fallen angel, nor man/woman has greater authority than Jesus Christ. The demon in this passage could not control or manipulate Jesus, even when calling Jesus by His full name. The demon knew who Jesus was but he had no love or allegiance for Jesus. He belonged to another, Satan.
Every evil spirit knows Jesus as the Son of God, but their intellectual assent does not mean that they worship Jesus or belong to Him. Be a child of God is based on our love, adoration, devotion, worship, and obedience to Him. Intellectual belief is based on facts and knowledge. Belonging to God (through the work of Christ on the cross) is based on faith and receiving salvation as a free gift.
Do you know about Jesus intellectually; the same way one believes the sun will rise in the east or the ocean is wide? Or do you know the Son of God by faith; have you asked Him to be the most significant Person in your life? There is a huge difference between the two.
Have you drifted away from Him? Has the personal relationship He desires with you weakened through lack of attention on your part (not His)? If so, what can you do today in response to His ever present call for an intimate, love relationship with you?
Tell me what you think ...