Friday, December 31, 2010

Today's Inspiration

Each day I try to send encouraging words to a few special women in my life. Some days I struggle to encourage them because I don't feel encouraged. Some days I don't send anything but they are few and far between. But most days the encouragement is simply for ME.

Today is a day of looking back and looking forward. We inventory everything we loved about the year and of course the things we didn't. We talk about how we succeeded in this area and look to other areas to change. We have new goals. We have high hopes. Today is a good day.

Here, we don't "celebrate". We don't stay up to midnight. We don't drink champagne. We clean out closets, drawers and get our lives "in order".

But it remains a special day/night anyway.

Father God,
Thank you for new beginnings but without new beginnings we have to have endings. We may see a door close and an open window. We may see a door close AND a window close. But you always make sure that there is yet another window to open. We may be in the basement but we know that the Son is still shining even when we can't see it. Thank you. Help us to resolve to change us in the new year. Help us remember to point to You and most importantly, help us to know You more. In Jesus name. AMEN


This is the song I chose: All Things New by Steven Curtis Chapman.

This is the song that God chose me to pass on to you: Moving Ahead by Israel Houghton (We saw him perform in Hershey!)

Then I look for the verse, first checking biblegateway. My response is WOW. Go God!

“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” - Isaiah 43:16, 18-19

So, Happy New Year's Eve. Have fun. Be safe!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Grief: Finding Hope Again

The second post is underneath this one so you have to scroll down. I want you to read them in order. This one was written last night. The other was written this morning. Actually, not written as in "I wrote this". Paul David Tripp wrote it. I just borrowed it.

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God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

As I pull into Mom's drive-way the first thing that goes through my head is, "Dad's not here." When does that stop? The feeling, the thought, the...whatever?

So when I was cleaning out drawers on Tuesday night, I found a book about marriage. I also found one about grief by the same author, Paul David Tripp. I remember picking these two books up at "Cheryl's Church" back in 2006. They have remained in a drawer until now.

I love that God is never late. His timing blows my mind.

Wednesday started out feeling fresh and renewed but soon it changed. One minute I was listening to KLove and laughing. The next minute I was crying. The day continued with much of the same, laughing with Mom and Jeannette and sadness talking about Dad's final days.

Around 7 pm, I decided to find the little book of 15 pages that I stuck back in a drawer. Here are some things that I underlined:

You Are Never Alone in the Darkness

The experience of loss is powerful. The circumstances around death are individual and unique. It is normal to feel as if no one has been through what you now experience. People surround you, yet you feel like you are all by yourself.

Yet the sadness of losing a loved one is a universal experience. A company of mourners surround you. Yet there is an even more powerful way in which you are not alone. Your Savior has taken the name Emmanuel, or "God with us." this name reminds us that, as you came to Christ, you literally became the place where God dwells.

God understands the darkness we face. He is right there in it with us, "an ever-present help in trouble." The Lord of light is your friend in darkness. The Lord of life stands beside you in death. The Lord of hope is your companion in your despair. The Prince of Peace supports you when no peace can be found. The God of all comfort waits faithfully near you. The Source of all joy is close by when death has robbed you of joy.


I feel like this is a really long post, but I want to share this with you because we can grieve other things in our lives too.

Your Lord is present in the darkness. He planned the darkest things to result in redemptive good for his children. He surrendered his Son to death so that you could have life. He will not abandon you now.

There Is More to Life

Christ died so that we would no longer have to die. He rose again so that death would be put to death. Every time someone dies, it reminds us that death still lives. But every death also points us to the promise that Christ brings a resurrection once and forever. Through Christ, death has been defeated. One day, life will no longer give way to death. One day, life will give way to life in eternity.

As you weep, know this: the One who weeps with you is not content for things to stay as they are. His death was a cry and his resurrection a promise. The living Christ will continue to exert his power and you will grieve no more.

God approves of your tears! But he welcomes you to look at death through the eyes of Christ. The comfort and hope He provides does not remove your grief, but they allow you to grieve in a brand new way. And He promises one day to take you to a place where you will never cry again.


OK...I will continue this later.

Until then, hanging on to the Truth that GOD is always WITH US. I HOPE you are too!

Finding Hope Again

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”” - John 16:33

We all could use a little Hope Now.

WALKING YOUR WAY THROUGH DEATH'S DARKNESS

Death mixes happiness with sadness. But we can act in ways that show our hope in Christ.

Speak with Honest Emotion

Your faith in God should never silence you in the dark hours of grief. Rather, this is when we begin to understand how deep, rich, and sturdy God's love for us really is. He enters the darkest moments of human existence with boundless mercy, unending love, and amazing grace.

The Psalms record the cries of God's people: "For the Lord has heard my weeping" (Ps. 6:8). They invite us to bring our grief to the One who cares for us more than anyone else ever could. God never turns a deaf ear to the cries of his children. He listens - and answers. Have you poured out your grief to him?


Run to Where Comfort Can Be Found

In grief, we often seek out other comforts: memories, material things, distractions (TV, CD player, exercise, reading, crafts, work, food, people).

THIS BLOG

They all provide some measure of comfort but none can fill the one place where grief causes us to feel so empty - our hearts.

Only one Person can provide the comfort that restores your heart - the source of all true comfort, Jesus Christ.


Resist Grief's Temptations

In times of loss and grief, look out for these temptations.

Doubt

If you wander down into a dark, windowless basement and the door locks behind you, you can't see any light or feel the sun's warmth. But did the sun stop shining? No. Powerful feelings of grief can get in the way of our experience of God's goodness. But don't give in to doubt. Hold onto your belief in his love and mercy more than ever before.

Anger

It blinds you to God's true nature and ever-present help.

Envy

Envy is rooted in a disappointment with God that says, "You didn't give me what I want!"

Self-pity

Life becomes all about you. No one's loss or pain is as great as yours. Despite the way you feel, don't set aside the two great commands to love God and others.

Seek God's Resources

Paul tells us (in the book of Galatians)we should "bear one another's burdens" precisely because he knows that we will all encounter burdens too heavy to carry alone. (Gal 6:2)

This is important that we do these things!

1. Cry out in weakness and ask for help from others. God never expected you to do this alone. Asking for help does not show a lack of faith.

2. God promised to provide what you need to face what He calls you to face.

3. Those who help you will in turn be helped through helping you.


Look for Blessing in Your Grief

"give thanks in all circumstances, for his is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:18)

Again, Paul speaks. (My friend said the New Testament should really be called the Paul Testament because he wrote most of the books. I thought that was funny, and interesting.)

"Even in life's hardest moments, God calls you to look for His grace, to search for His love, and to expect His mercy." Don't let grief rob you of worship or permit a complaining spirit to replace a thankful heart.

You will find blessing in the middle of your grief. Perhaps there will be precious family moments. Perhaps it will be a sense of God's presence in a moment of struggle. Maybe the wisdom of His Word will guide just when you need it most. Perhaps your relationship with the Lord will deepen. Death has a way of clarifying truth for us. We see how weak and needy we are and we gain a deeper understanding of God's powerful grace. We learn to seek him in ways we never have before and spiritual growth begins.


Celebrate Eternity

Yes, you still miss your loved one greatly. You feel the stinging pain of loss. But your pain does not have to give way to discouragement, depression, and desperation. Even this moment of pain can be colored by your hope.

I told you it was a lot!

Give Away the Comfort You Have Been Given

The comfort God has given you is not only His loving ministry to you, it is His call to you to minister to others. You have experienced the pain of loss, but you have also begun to experience the comfort that only the Lord can give. You are God's agent of help and hope. God entered your darkness, not just to give your heart rest, but to equip you to give that rest to others.

That is my favorite part. God has placed many people in my life just at the right time. His timing!

SEEING LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

In the darkness, you can see the brightest light of God's truth. Your heart can embrace the hope that God will give you the resources to face what He leads you through.

I think we forget that so often because we are focused on the darkest, saddest parts of our lives. We need to get out of our own heads and out of our own way and make room for Jesus. It won't be in our strength because if it was, we would never do it. I laid in bed and would have done so all day but the Holy Spirit prompted me to get up!

Anyway...day by day...hour by hour...moment by moment, we find our way.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Cleaning

It's much like spring cleaning. Yesterday we cleaned all morning and then I went to lunch with a wonderful friend. We talked all afternoon. Then I returned to "clean out" some more. I went through clothes. I went through drawers. I went through stuff and more stuff. I found pictures of Dad with the "baby" (who is now eight). There is a really nice picture of Jeannette, Kayla, Amanda, Daniel, Mom, Dad and Me. I will try to scan it and get it on here. Oh yeah, and I found a $30 gift card from my Christmas party last year. And it doesn't expire until 11/12. Yippee!

In the midst of my cleaning, I also found a book called Marriage: Whose Dream? by Paul David Tripp. This is a little book of only fifteen pages. I am pretty sure I have read this because there were things underlined. But at the end, there is a wonderful prayer that he has written, that I wanted to share with you. I hope you like it:

Lord, it is so easy to get caught up in our own desires and dreams. It's so easy to think of You as the deliverer of our dreams, so easy to be excited like the multitude and lose sight of the spiritual reality behind the miracle. Lord, I pray that we would not just pursue our own hopes and dreams, but that we would express a hunger and thirst for Jesus Christ, and a desire to know his will in every area in our lives. We want Christ to rule in every room in our homes. We want Christ to rule in the darkest recesses of our hearts. We want to live in joyful submission and feed on You by faith. May we have joy, and faith, and courage even when we aren't experiencing physical bread. In those experiences of trial, may we say, "Thank You, Lord, for Your love - You are completing Your saving work." God, help us. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.


Thank you, LORD, for being my Strong Tower.

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WOW - Wednesday's Words of Wisdom
When you are down to nothing God is up to something.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Found Pictures

They weren't really lost.

Mom won't be very happy to find out I posted a picture of her in a bathing suit. But I just found these. I am sitting here going through pictures on my computer...avoiding quiet time and I found these. These were taken in August of this year.

As I look back I'm thinking "why did I take all those pictures of the silly cat?" Why didn't I take more of Dad? Oh well, there will always be things that we wish we do differently.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Our First Snow

I believe we got close to ten inches. I shoveled the walks this morning and then helped my next door neighbor. I think about my Mom and how hard it must be to have to do things like this. She has been taking care of my Dad since 2006. When is someone going to take care of her? Her neighbor came over with the snow blower and did her driveway opening.

We were on a quest to find a sled. The other day Daniel tried to talk me in to buying one at Redners. I said no. I just didn't have the money at that time. Now of course I wish I had bought it. There is not a sled to be found. We went to Dicks, Target, Kmart and Redners. He finally settled for a snow board.

I took them to the middle school hill for a quick trial run. It took us longer to walk from the parking lot then it did to actually try out the snow board. They both enjoyed the little time we had. I think we might have been there 15 minutes. The wind was kicking up fiercely.

I did capture just a few pictures before my fingers went completely numb. As you can see, the wind blew most of the snow off the little hill. So the board works well on grass too!





What can I do? How can I help?

I feel like I am sitting at a green light. That's the only feeling that I can really put in to words. Dad's been gone sixteen days already.

We were at the mall yesterday. I kept thinking "Dad loved the mall".

I've been thinking about the last couple of weeks and how many people have given us their condolences. When people asked if we needed anything, I responded with "Yes. A stack of twenties". Then everyone laughed. It was my way of easing the tension of the awkward moment. Because honestly, what can anyone do?

Well let me tell you what I need.

I need someone to clean my house. Clean my bathrooms specifically. And most importantly clean my children. Actually, that's what I NEEDED. Now that I am on vacation, I can do all of those things myself. Providing meals is always something well needed. Two of my girlfriends fed us with soup and a turkey dinner. It was so appreciated.

OK, well you are saying that you can't do any of that stuff. One think that my brother and I both needed was someone to go to the post office for us. He needed a letter overnighted because it was going to be late. I checked the computer and by the grace of God, I had prepaid several bills to correspond with my love's check. The pay date was December 10th. Dad died on December 11th. I have paid nothing since.

So, if you could open mail and just check the "due date", that would be helpful.

I have had a stack of bills on my desk since the beginning of the month. Today I opened one and it was due on December 17th. Oh well, what can you do now but pay it late? Another one is due on January 3rd, which isn't a big deal to most but it is a large bill that I should have budgeted for. Oh well, what can I do?

Anyway, it was just something I was thinking about. If you have any suggestions or additions, I'd love to hear them. I know we all would.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

A little different this year.

Yesterday we met at Mom's house at 3pm for Christmas Eve pizza. All eleven of us were there with Mom. We ate. We talked. We ate. We laughed. We ate. We opened gifts. We ate. And then we all went our separate ways by 6 pm. It was weird. NEVER have we gone to Mom's for Christmas Eve. It was the first time. Today, I went over early. Mom and I went through some paperwork and then Jeannette arrived with her two and my three arrived shortly after. We had lunch (your probably wondering how we could have possibly eaten any more, aren't you?) We had already opened gifts. So we watched television. I said to Mom, "it doesn't feel like Christmas". She said "no, it doesn't." We left around 4:30. Jeannette left shortly after that.

Christmas was a little different this year. Dad was on my mind all day. He loved to buy tons and tons of gifts. And he started early. But this year was just a little different.

Here are some picture memories.


Amanda gave Daniel a nano bug and he said, "oh thank you, Amanda and hugged her."






This little lady steals the show with her cuteness. Jeannette bought her a pink snoopy and she tore the ears off already. I caught her with snoopy in her mouth and the camera did this freaky green eyes thing. Freaky deaky!







This was one of my favorite gifts. It was given to Mom by Jeannette. She always has creative ideas.





But...we surprised Mom with a ticket to come along with us on an Alaskan cruise in June. It was truly the highlight of the day, I believe.







To end our day, I tried to take a picturesque "Normal Rockwell" type of picture. It kept coming up blurry but this one is to my satisfaction.




Last year (Christmas 2009)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dad's Day

Wednesday night (December 15th) was filled with lots of people, hugs and laughs. From about 6 pm to about 7:45, the people flooded in. We greeted people that we have never met. We greeted people that we haven't seen in fifteen plus years. And we greet those who we love and are helping us get through the days now that Dad is not in them.

At 7:45, my nine year old nephew, read The Dragonfly Story because the church said no. Then my brother gave an off the cuff eulogy again because the church would not let him. It was wonderful. (I've asked him to put in on paper for us. Someday, I'll post that.) It was heartfelt and it was spot on. Dad was a family man. One of my friends said one of the truly good guys. One of Dad's friends said that he was trying to find the words to describe "Reds" Flynn. He finally came up with "He was a nice, nice, nice guy". Yes he was.

Thursday morning started with an argument with my eight year old. My nephew's suit pants did not fit. He didn't want to wear the dress shirt. He tripped over his junk in his bedroom and got hurt. He fell in to a puddle of tears and that's when I lost it too. Daniel ended up wearing a plaid button down shirt with the suit jacket. He wore his black under armor baseball pants and his goldenrod baseball socks with his beat up sneakers (no, I didn't take any pictures, sorry). And I was just fine with that. I don't know what other people think of my kid, but I don't care, as long as he is comfortable and happy, then I am fine too.

We had another hour at the funeral home before heading over to the church. (I'll keep this part brief.) I am composing a letter and when I am finished I will post it here for your viewing pleasure.

The church vetoed "Where you there when they crucified my Lord" saying that it was an Easter song and it's the Christmas season. They did play the other 3 songs we requested. They did not allow John 14 to be read because it is THE GOSPEL and only the priest can read that. I am not sure why the priest didn't read that. He read something else. I couldn't even tell you what it was or about. My nephew read 1 Timothy 2:5-6:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.

The funniest part was when the priest gives the announcement about if you are a Catholic you can take communion but he does add that you have to be in good standing with the church. In other words, a practicing Catholic who has gone to confession. A certain someone went up to communion which sent my sister and I in to a fit of laughter. It was just what we needed at that moment to lighten things up.

From the church we went to the cemetery. It was bitter cold. Two service men were there and one played Taps. Then we sang "I'll be home for Christmas". This is when we cried. This was Dad's favorite song. He would sing it all year round. He would sing it at the mall in July and embarrass my Mom, she said.

Then as Jeannie Hopes put it "we drowned our sorrows in food". (Did I get that right, sister, dear sister. Sister, dear sister, come home with me now. Silly goose).

We had lunch and talked for over two hours until they had to kick us out. It was a wonderful day to celebrate the life of John (Jack, Reds) Flynn. I think Dad would have been happy with every single aspect of the day.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Need a Laugh? I do!

It's been a very long week. Dad's been gone 7 days already. The emotions hit like title waves. I spent 3 hours going through medical papers with my mom. Dad kept everything...receipts, medical papers, prescriptions AND made a copy of everything too. I have 3 large trash bags to go out on trash day. I made it all the way home before I started crying. I just had this feeling that I couldn't shake, a feeling that I just wanted to turn around and go back. The thought of Mom all alone at night just breaks my heart. She hasn't been alone (with the exception of 1995) for 45 years.

But on a lighter side, this should make you laugh. It helped me.

Dear Santa,

I've been a good Mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the pediatrician's office more than my own doctor, and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground.

I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room, between cycles....and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:
I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache, (in any color, except purple, I already have purple) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, 'Yes, Mommy' to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting 'Don't eat in the living room' and 'Take your hands off your brother,' because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare chocolate a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants me to feed him or take him somewhere..

Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet. (You promised me last year you would lose some weight with me so next year you and I could be a cute size six...) Okay, some requests go too far.....

Yours Always,
MOM...

P.S. One more thing...you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children, healthy, safe. And of course, young enough to always believe in Santa

~~~AUTHOR UNKNOWN~~~

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Rose Beyond the Wall

Celebrating Dad



Viewing
Wednesday Night
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Plunkett Louis Swift Funeral Home

Mass
10 am
St. John Bosco Catholic Church

Burial to follow
St. John Neumann Cemetery

Luncheon
Noon
Williamson Restaurant


The Rose Beyond the Wall
Near shady wall a rose once grew,
Budded and blossomed in God's free light,
Watered and fed by morning dew,
Shedding its sweetness day and night.

As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
Slowly rising to loftier height,
It came to a crevice in the wall
Through which there shone a beam of light.

Onward it crept with added strength
With never a thought of fear or pride,
It followed the light through the crevice's length
And unfolded itself on the other side.

The light, the dew, the broadening view
Were found the same as they were before,
And it lost itself in beauties new,
Breathing its fragrance more and more.

Shall claim of death cause us to grieve
And make our courage faint and fall?
Nay! Let us faith and hope receive -
The rose still grows beyond the wall,

Scattering fragrance far and wide
Just as it did in days of yore,
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will forevermore.

From the writings of A.L. Frink

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Dragonfly Story



John William Flynn
January 18, 1934 - December 11, 2010


"In the bottom of an old pond lived some grubs who could not understand why none of their group ever came back after crawling up the lily stems to the top of the water. They promised each other that the next one who was called to make the upward climb would return and tell what had happened to him. Soon one of them felt an urgent impulse to seek the surface; he rested himself on the top of a lily pad and went through a glorious transformation which made him a dragonfly with beautiful wings. In vain he tried to keep his promise. Flying back and forth over the pond, he peered down at his friends below. Then he realized that even if they could see him they would not recognize such a radiant creature as one of their number.
The fact that we cannot see our friends or communicate with them after the transformation which we call death is no proof that they cease to exist."

by Walter Dudley Cavert

Friday, December 10, 2010

Not Just a Farm Animal

I just had to add this because I left out a very important part of this message. I just cut and pasted this message from my sweet friend because she was the one who "reminded" me.

Thanks for sharing the part about how the shepherd has to break the sheep's legs and then how he carries the sheep until he heals. Amazing and the perfect example of how much God loves us and the measure He goes to to show us dependence on Him is where we will find true freedom and security. It could never be easy for a shepherd to do that to his sheep - never, it must break his heart. We break God's heart and then all He does is respond in compassionate love towards us - He does what it takes to remind us that He holds us close to His heart. Thanks for the encouragement and the verses. I still think it's funny you think I am funny, maybe it's just because we get each other ;) I love you and can't wait to spend time together soon. Praying for your dad. Love you!!!

"Heal" is the key word that I failed to mention. God will correct us. He will discipline us. BUT HE WILL HEAL US. Thanks D for the insightful comment.
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Father God,
Thank you for the bitter cold temperatures. You are the warmth that comforts us. Thank you for the dark morning. You are the Light. Thank you for all of the people who are so kind and supportive. But thank you for the ones who are difficult, as they teach me the true meaning of Jesus' love. It's easy to love a lovable person. No so easy when they are just not nice.
Remind us today that impossible is not a word but a reason for someone not to try. Nothing in our lives is impossible with You Lord. Nothing is too hard for You. Please comfort us all in the areas of our lives that only You can comfort us. In Jesus Name, AMEN.


He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
Isaiah 40:29 NLT


Click on the word: Faith.

My sweet friend and sister-in-Christ gave a beautiful presentation on Sheep last night. Does that sound funny? It was funny. She is a funny person who I wish I spent more time with. We talk every day...through it just email or text. She holds me up with her encouragement most days. (She thinks I am the encourager though, but she's wrong). Anyway...

My first retreat was to Sandy Cove. I believe there were about 700 women. The speaker, (Priscilla...can't think of her last name right now for the life of me... something) spoke about John 10. It was so moving, so powerful. It made me stronger and bolder to share my faith, which isn't always a good thing depending on who you talk to, LOL.

Anyway, one thing she did say that has been the tattoo on my brain ever since is when a sheep strays from the shepherd, sometimes He is forced to break the sheep's legs. The sheep is forced to listen to only the Shepherd's voice. And The Shepherd will then carry the sheep.

God never said it was going to be easy. He did say that He would never leave you. He is there for you!

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep." John 10:14-15

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WOW

These are words of wisdom but they are more than that. They are a WOW God moment!

I took my sweetheart to the train at an unbelievable early hour. As I drove home in the pitch black, I prayed. The song immediately entered my head. We will all stand before the Guest of Honor but not everyone will accept His invitation. I believe what the Bible says. I believe His Truth.


Click Here for the song that I've been listening to over and over. I just keep clicking "Replay". I love this song so much. Steven Curtis Chapman was one of the first Christian artists that I started listening to in 2001.

After I decided on the song, I wrote the prayer. I am so filled with emotion.


Father God,
Thank you for this time this morning. You stand at the door and knock. You don't barge in. You are not demanding with how we spend our time. You accept us just as we are. All we need to do is acknowledge You, Lord. Yet we are too busy to fit You in. Thank you for loving us when we find 30 seconds for you. Thank you for loving us when we give you our worst time of the day and fall asleep after 5 seconds.
Thank you Lord for all of the people praying for my father. I pray that his heart is prepared to hear the words and accept the Truth.
I pray for all of the people who are hearing these prayers and have yet to believe. May they all accept the invitation.
Bless all of the people who are giving us support. In Jesus Name.


Now I need a verse. And this is when I lost it, because you might not believe in an invisible God. You might think that it's my imaginary friend. But He is real. I talk to Him every day. He talks to me. God confirmed this fact with His Word for the day. Scroll to the very end.


June 2010 - Amanda's birthday




Daniel's 7th birthday (August 2009)



Christmas one year ago












Call it a coincidence if you wish, but I BELIEVE.

"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

W.O.W

Cracks in the concrete are just reminders that you fall apart, no matter how strong you are.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Beloved

I read over half of the book yesterday. I think I am on page 90. I have so much to learn.

I got up at 5 am and knelt beside the bed to pray. I never do this. I prayed that God would change me. In the book, the stories were ones I could relate to. I found myself saying, "that's me" or "that's him" or "I've done that."

For many years I've prayed for God to soften my husband's heart and let him see his godly responsibilities in the family.

But the truth is, he is a good husband. He is a good provider. He is a good father.

I think I get lifestyle mixed up with spiritual issues often.

I've made so many mistakes in the last ten years. I want to start over. I want to change. Thank you Lord for loving me despite everything. Thank you for Your amazing grace.

Well the thing I find most amazing
In amazing grace
Is the chance to give it out
Maybe that's what love is all about
Brandon Heath



Father God,
Good morning. Thank you for letting me wake up on this earth another day to learn how to love You more and serve You. Help me to love others the way You love me, unconditionally.
Lord, bless my husband. Use me to make him happy, to meet his needs and to be the completer of his faith. Thank you, Lord, for my husband and for my marriage. Please give me more love for him each day. Help me become the woman that he wants me to be.
In Jesus name. AMEN


Psalm 130:4
But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.


I hope that others can forgive me and see me as changing.

Brandon Heath has become one of my favorites.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Learning Each Day

I've started a new book. It is wonderful. It's a marriage book which will help me love my husband the way that God intended me to.

"A wife is fashioned by God to be complementary to her husband: to adapt and complete him. She is a balancing component in his life. Were he is weak, she is strong; where he lacks sensitivity, she is tender; where he is vulnerable, she is firm. And because a husband/wife team is structured to enhance each other's good points and supplement each other in areas of weakness, a wife can be her husband's greatest asset and aid. She can be used by God in unique, exciting, creative ways because she is suited to help him.


These verses teach me about attitude toward my husband.

Corinthians 10:31 (New International Version, ©2010)
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Philippians 4:11 (New International Version, ©2010)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 (New International Version, ©2010)
16 Rejoice always,

James 4:10 (New International Version, ©2010)
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

1 Peter 3:15 (New International Version, ©2010)
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,


These verses teach me about actions toward my husband:

Psalm 37:8 (New International Version, ©2010)
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Psalm 130:4 (New International Version, ©2010)
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ

4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

Proverbs 18:13 (New International Version, ©2010)
13 To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame.

1 Corinthians 9:19 (New International Version, ©2010)
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.


Galatians 6:2 (New International Version, ©2010)

2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sisters






My sister doesn't like pictures. She is hopeful. She is talented. She is big-heart. She is BEAUTIFUL! I think she is wonderful. But God is VERY fond of her!

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Congratulations, Amanda!


HONOR ROLL

FIVE A's and Three B's!

English - A

Social Studies - B

Pre-Algebra - B (Did you see that!? It a B...B...B!)

Science - B

Art - A

Music - A

Keyboarding (Typing our our generation) - A

Phys. Ed. - A

Monday, November 22, 2010

He's on our side

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

Father God,
Good morning. Thank you for allowing us to wake again on this earth to learn how to glorify Your name and live like Christ. We want to not only give thanks to You but we want to live thanks for You. Please help us achieve this goal. It is too important to continue with our bondage. Break the chains. Free us. Help us love others like You love us. Soften our hearts and make them teachable. In Jesus Name, AMEN.


Click here for His Truth.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Live Thanks



"The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3

Today's service was called "Live Thanks" instead of "Give Thanks". It was awesome. I arrived a little early. As I pulled in the parking lot, I said "yea, I'm here. I love Jesus". Actually, I screamed it in my car.

For me, LTM is my stress reliever. It is my exhale. There was a movie that I saw in 1995 called "Waiting to Exhale". It was a chick flick about four women and relationships with men. It really has nothing to do with my topic except I think a lot of times we are going through life, waiting to exhale. We hold our breaths through so much...fear, uncertainty, awkwardness, sadness, etc.

Jesus is my deep breath and LTM is my exhale.

Anyway, today I had a break through. I did something that I have never done before. I stood up and spoke in to the microphone. The place was packed with well over a hundred people. Paul asked us to speak about thankfulness. He gave eleven topics about God and we were suppose to speak about one of them.

The topics are:

Salvation
Glory
Marvelous Deeds
Great
Worthy
Alive
Creator
Splendor
Majesty
Strength
Joy

I stood up and asked the "bread man" Dave to hold my hand. I said "Strength because I have never spoke before and God has allowed me to do so. And Joy. Over the last two months when my days have been the darkest, God has given me Joy."

That's it. Those two tiny sentences but I did it!

But let's get back to God. It's not about me. It's all about God. We need to be giving thanks however we need to be moving to living thanks. "Our culture would love us to surrender the real reason by focusing on food, football, family, shopping, days off from work and school and sleeping in."

Thanksgiving is not just a day.

The first step is to stop the madness and stop the spending! Credit card debt has to STOP. And you might be agreeing because everyone else is but God sees it all. You can't pretend but you can try to. God did not create us for this. He created us to not just give thanks but to live thanks!

We need to not only live generously but we need to give generously.

Who is responsible to give thanks and live thanks? EVERYONE

When are we suppose to do this? DAY AFTER DAY

Where are we suppose to do this? AMONG THE NATIONS

Why are we suppose to do this? FOR GREAT IS THE LORD AND MOST WORTHY OF PRAISE

What and how are we suppose to do this? OFFERING (CARRY, LIFT, TAKE)

Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 1 Chronicles 16:28

Ascribe means to attribute to or give to. This requires action. Why do we feel like we can take, take, take and never give?!

Christ did it all. We don't earn brownie points but it is a gift and a sacrifice, an offering!

1 Chronicles 16:34-36

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.” Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting."

Cry out is a prayer of desperation. God rescues. Jesus saves.

Then Pastor Paul's 29 year old brother got up and spoke about how he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior on November 9th. I cried. I felt his enthusiasm. I understood his position. I could relate. He said he had thought that he was saved. He said he believed in Jesus Christ but he never received his forgiveness. He felt stuck for many years. But finally he cried out to the Lord (probably in desperation).

You can't just jump through and around Jesus. Jesus is the key. You have to receive Him. Once you put your faith into God for salvation, it is permanent. Nothing can snatch you from His hand. Being raised in a Christian home or going to church on Sunday doesn't mean you are received. You have to ask Him to come in to your heart.

If you have never done this, why not make today your birthday. All you have to do is pray. I'll even tell you the words, but I can't do it for you. If it was that simple, I would pray this prayer for everyone.

"I put my faith in Jesus. I want to be Your child. Forgive me for my sins. I receive Your forgiveness."

AND THAT'S IT. You don't have to continue saying this every day, every Sunday. You are HIS!

How awesome, incredible, amazing was service, because MY GOD is so awesome, incredible and amazing.

I left feeling so filled with the Spirit. The music on the way home was all the right songs for me to know that God is in control and watching over my life and yours. Click here to hear the Truth that I heard when I got in my car.

I then spent the next couple of hours on the couch watching Iron Chef and writing prayers in my journal. I am so thankful for my family. I am so thankful for my LTM family and I am so thankful for my Wee Care family. My heart is filled with JOY despite my circumstances.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Update on Dad


I was going to call this "quick update" but I already did that. Why is everything quick?

Dad came home yesterday afternoon. My mom was told that he was NOT being released by several people. Then the therapist said "the computer shows he has already been released". The nurse called the doctor and said that he was too weak according to the therapist and the order should be cancelled. The doctor said "what is the wife saying. I agree with the wife."

I had a call at 1:30, I think but they didn't get home until 3:30.

Dad had taken about six bites while in the hospital (four days). Of course he was weak. Mom wanted to get him home. He would be more comfortable and she would feed him.

There were a few errors made by the hospital. When he was brought in someone in the ER put in his chart that he had a seizure. He did not. Someone told my mother at 4 am that he was getting a room soon and sent her home. He did not. I think that because he could not communicate for the next 5 HOURS IN THE ER, and the seizure mix-up, the hospital put him on the stroke wing. He did not have a stroke. It was a fever caused by E. Coli. But because he was on that wing, all of his liquid was thickened. He wouldn't drink it! Would you?

If he had been on another wing, he might have been in a better frame of mind and would have eaten something.

I saw him last night. My brother thinks that this could be the beginning of the end. But only "God Know". I however don't feel that. I think that he is fully capable of getting stronger. He is shaky because the lack of nourishment for four days.

He has a cath. in place. He hates it of course. He opened his robe to show me. For a minute, I thought "what am I looking at?" Then I saw everything (and the cath.) Oh my! I guess you get to a certain age and it doesn't matter who you show what to.

Also, mom has called the attorney and he is drawing up papers to make her the power of attorney. The nurses and doctors didn't treat her very nice.

I am going over today with the children for a short visit. Then I don't know when I'll get back. The work week is always so busy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pressing On - quick update

Thankful Thursday, November 18, 2010
Correction: I said Acts. It's not Acts. It's Philippians:


Philippians 3:14 (New Living Translation)

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.


**********************************************************************************

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength.” (Proverbs 17:22 NLT)

I haven't had a cheerful heart since Sunday. That is when I saw my dad. He looked so sick. I was so sad for my mom who is just sick with worry. The tears filled my eyes as she talked about her fears. My heart has been heavy since. I put on a cheerful face in hopes that my heart will follow but this is the third morning that I have woke not feeling it.

Marvelous Monday was pretty good, but then something happened and I ended up in tears. I thought to myself, "it's been a long time since I cried like this. I guess I am getting stronger in Christ." I put on my happy face and made it through the meeting but was in bed before 8:30 pm.

Yesterday was very tough and I went to bed in tears. My day started at 5:25. I was having a Terrific Tuesday until about 10 am when I got a call from the school nurse.

Amanda was running a fever. She was at the doctors on November 5th. She had been coughing for about a week. She has been on amoxicillin and azithromycin, for the last ten days. Monday night the pediatricians office told me to try zyrtec (but gave her the generic for claritin because Redners didn't carry it). She spiked the fever the next day. So now she is on augmenten. They are horse pills. I am crushing them so she can take them with apple sauce. Her ears are fine. Her throat...fine. Her lungs...fine. But she is coughing and coughing and coughing. Now a fever.

I spent 2 hours and 20 minutes running around yesterday. I returned to the Good Apples eating lunch and just in time to put them down for a nap. Then I went to a meeting. After I picked up Daniel, I went to the hospital to visit Dad.

He has a blood infection called E.Coli, but not intestinal. It's not from eating bad food or touching a cow and putting his hand in his mouth (Jeannette's example, LOL). The doctors are trying to figure out how he got it so they can prevent it from happening. In the mean time, the aneurysm continues to grow. There are actually three of them.

After leaving the hospital, I call home to find out that my love is sick and he is going to skip cub scouts. I remind him that we are the snack parents and I would take Daniel. I swing by Redners to pick up juice boxes and we make it there only minutes late.

So my long day was...long. I went to bed with Satan beating me up. I was having quite the pity party. Then I woke up and it continued.

But it's Wednesday's with Beth on Life Today. I started watching it and right away knew it was a repeat. Not by the subject matter but by Beth's clothes. LOL. I watched it anyway. Heck, I got up at 5:18, I guess God wants me to watch it again.

It was the one about "pressing on". We are in a race. BUT...we need need to be in a chase. When you are in a chase, you are chasing after someone. That someone is Christ Jesus. I need to press on. I need to press on. I need to press on.

Pressing on is not going through the motions. I will read Acts again. And I will read it again. I will read it as many times as I need to in order to press on. I will go back and figure out where the bondage lies. I will break free.

Please pray for Dad but also pray for me. Thank you!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Big John






In October of 1995, my dad had an aneurysm rupture in his abdomen. The doctors gave him 1% chance of surviving the surgery. He beat those odds.

We were told in the middle of the surgery, that his legs would be amputated. He beat those odds.

We were told that they would have to amputate just one leg. He beat those odds.

We were told that he was going to be on dialysis for the rest of his life. After 45 days, he beat those odds.

This is a man of many miracles. God continues to bless him. In 2004, another aneurysm was discovered in his abdomen. The doctors have been watching it grow. It is now at the dangerous size of 6 cm. The surgeon gave him the option of doing nothing or having surgery. If he chooses to do nothing, then it would eventually rupture and he would bleed out, as it is on a main artery to the one and only kidney. If he had the surgery, there was no guarantee that he was going to survive it. Also, the kidney most likely would not make it, leaving him on dialysis for the rest of his life. After 1st deciding not to have surgery, he was persuaded to have the surgery. Only to later find out that his kidney doctor would be the one to strongly disagree with this decision. He would most definitely not survive since he only had one surgery.

It was three weeks of stress on my parents, going back and forth with "what should we do". My dad said two words that just stuck in my head "God Know" (God knows). He had several strokes in 2006 and his speech is not there most days. So no surgery, but my parents now live with the knowledge that the time bomb is ticking away in his abdomen, waiting to rupture.

What now? GOD KNOW.

I went to visit my dad yesterday. He was running a fever and had thrown up. Right before I got there, he fell and cut his hand. He was in bed. He looked terrible. In 1995 right before the aneurysm ruptured, mom and dad thought he had the flu. So of course that is on my mind as well as my mom's. She is a wreck with worry. I prayed for him (holding his hand)and then he slept the two hours I was there. He was awake when we left. Please pray for God to comfort them and take away their worry.

This is the BibleGateway verse "Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight."- Psalm 119:143


Yes, God Know!
I woke this morning not in my usual Marvelous Monday Mood. Please pray for me too. I am having "a feeling" that I am not too fond of right now. Thanks you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Chapel


Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1


Click here to hear the song that goes along with the above verse.


I work at the best "day care" in the entire world. It's actually called an early learning center but of course no one calls it that. We are a Christian center in the LTM building where I attend Sunday service often. The philosophy is Fruit of the Spirit. Every child will eventually learn their ABC's and 123's but who will teach them gentleness, peace, patience, love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control? We will, that's who!

I LOVE MY JOB. It's funny but I don't think it's a job most days. It is exhausting pretty much every day but that's just life. Today I sat and watched as two of the Good Apples glued little pieces of scrap paper on their "Scrappy Scarecrow". It was adorable. The pants I wore today has a lovely little (getting bigger) hole on the right knee. It's from too much crawling around on the floor. I'm not complaining because these such mentioned pants are fitting a little tight (thank you Cherry pie from Rohrbach Farm) and will need to be retired soon anyway.

I GET EXCITED TO GO TO WEE CARE. Do you get excited to go to your place of business each day? I have to be there by 8:00. I live approximately four minutes from the building, maybe a mile and a half. I start vibrating at 7:20 if we are not headed out of the house. OK, I do have an unhealthy relationship with time. I have removed the clock from the kitchen wall and set the microwave and stove clocks to read five minutes fast. It's my coping mechanism but I am BREAKING FREE with Beth Moore every Thursday nights (another post on that progress at a later date). I usually arrive at work about 7:30. It's like a big exhale when I get there. It's my break from life. I guess to most people that sounds odd. Who calls hanging with 13 three year old boys (and 4 girls) "a break"? Just crazy me. Yep, call me crazy. I've been called worse.

COULD MY JOB GET ANY BETTER? Some days I wonder that. And then it happened. Yes. It happened. On Wednesday, the preschool side of the building (ages 3-6) attended Chapel. To describe the experience in one word, I would have to say AMAZING. The Good Apples arrived first (because I have time issues and can't be late...BREAKING FREE) and sat in the first row. Then the Kind Coconuts and the Self-Controlled Star fruit followed shortly after.

THE CHILDREN LOVED IT! Pastor Paul and Pastor Steve (who was very funny) led the mini-service. We learned a verse with hand motions. We heard a bible story AND we sang two songs. The children were engaged. They participated and had a great time. I sat on the floor in front of three of the more challenging boys. The one little guy looked at me and said "you love God". I smiled and my heart was just so filled with love. I DO! I said. Then he pointed and said "Your book". It was a black Bible like I have in the classroom. The three wanted to jump up on stage and play the bongos but they had self-control, because I sat in front of them.

Miss Carolyn and I had a great time. We both agreed that Chapel should be EVERY DAY. We can't wait until December 22 to do it again (but we will be patient if we must). Today, the Good Apples practiced Psalm 118:1 again. Children are little sponges and are already learning it.

I am so blessed to be in a place that I love, working for people I love, teaching about Jesus every day (who I LOVE) and getting paid for playing LEGOS too. (Sorry, I had to add that part since I now have to buy a new pair of pants.)

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Desire

Each morning I share the Word with a friend. I send a prayer and a song. Each morning God gives me a song in my heart. This morning, I typed the prayer. I copied the verse and....I had nothing in my heart. So I went to the Klove site and saw "There will be a day" by Jeremy Camp. OK, I thought. Good enough. I went to youtube and clicked on it. Then on the left side of the screen, (actually, it's the right side), I saw the words "My Desire" by Jeremy Camp. Hmm? I don't know that song. I clicked on it. Oh how beautiful it is when the Holy Spirit leads us exactly to the words that you need to hear and share.



Click here to listen.



You want to be real, you want to be empty inside
You want to be someone laying down your pride
You want to be someone someday
Then lay it all down before the king

You want to be whole, you want to have purpose inside
You want to have virtue and purify your mind

You want to be set free today
Then lay it all down before the king

This is my desire, this is my return
This is my desire to be used by you

You want to be real, you want to be empty inside
And I know my heart is to feel you near
And I know my life
It's to do your will
It's to do your will

All my life I have seen
Where you've take me
Beyond all I have hoped
And there's more left unseen

There's not much I can do to repay all you've done
So I give my hands to use

The K-LOVE Encouraging Word for Wednesday, 10 November 2010:
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
(Romans 12:18 NLT)

W.O.W

Living Life:

Life is not a race - but indeed a journey. Be Honest. Work Hard. Be Choosy. Say "thank you" and "great job" to someone each day. Go to church, take time for prayer. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh. Let your handshake mean more than pen and paper. Love your life and what you've been given. It is not accidental - search for your purpose and do it as best you can. Dreaming does matter. It allows you to become that which you inspire to be. Laugh often. Appreciate the little things in life and enjoy them. Some of the best things really are free. Do not worry, less wrinkles are more becoming. Forgive, it frees the soul. Take time for yourself ~ Plan for longevity. Recognize the special people you've been blessed to know. Live for today, enjoy the moment.

I saw this in a catalog, which reads "...this earthy print by artist Bonnie L. Mohr...". I am not sure if she wrote this. But I am always looking to give credit where credit is due.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It is well with my soul

I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. Isaiah 57:15


Click here. How can you not be encouraged when you hear this story? It makes my worries seem so little.


When peace like a river attendeth my soul
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul...
~
You can tell someone you love 'em
From the bottom of your heart
And believe that it's the truest thing you've known
And even if you never break the promises you make
The river's gonna keep on rolling on

And if you haven't got a dollar
Not a penny to your name
Somebody's gonna miss you when you're gone
And even if you never find
Just A Little Peace of Mind
The river's gonna keep on rolling on

Keep on rollin' to the ocean
Keep on rollin' to the sea
Keep on rollin' 'till the love we need
Washes over you and me

God's love is like a river
At every turn and every bend
And faith in Him will turn your heart around
'Cause even though we sin,
There's forgiveness in the end
And the river's gonna keep on rollin' on

Keep on rollin' to the ocean
Keep on rollin' to the sea
Keep on rollin' 'till the love we need
Washes over you and me
Keep on rollin' 'till the love we need
Washes over you and me...
~
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Father God,
Thank you for stories like this that remind us that Your love is ever so faithful. That no matter what happens in our lives, no matter how crushed our spirit is, it is well with my soul. You will never leave me. You will give me courage to go on. You will pull me out of the pit and place my feet on the rock. I praise You in all I do and all I say. In Jesus name, AMEN.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Walk to Defeat ALS - 2010

Ray's Hope was formed in November of 2005. It was the same year that Ray Gould was diagnosed at the age of 34 with ALS Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Five years ago I didn't even know what the disease was. Now I can spell the words without using spell check.

When you are having a bad day, please go to the ALS website and educate yourself on this disease. It puts life in perspective in an instant!

We had a beautiful morning. The walk started at 11 am. We arrived around 10. It was brisk but sunny. Over four thousand walkers came out to support The ALS Association to either honor or remember a loved one stricken by this disease. The walk raised over a half a million dollars ($520,000 to be exact). Our team raised $4,200!

There was hot beverages, cold beverages, donuts, bananas, potato chips and Kandy Kakes! The walk was 2 miles. Daniel couldn't make it the whole way, so we took a short cut and crossed the street. We met up with the team and finished strong. Then there was a dance party.

Do you have a charity you are involved with? We did not choose this one. It chose us. We will continue to support The ALS Association and walk until a cure is found BECAUSE WE CAN!







Saturday, November 6, 2010

Meal Planning

Cheesy Hash Browns
Serves 8-10

1 package shredded hash browns
1 can of cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
¾ cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup butter, melted


Topping:
1.5 cups corn flakes, crushed
2 TB butter


My version
almost 1 package
1 can cream of mushroom soup
¼ cup muenster cheese
2 TB sour cream
No Onions
No Butter
3 slices of ham, diced

Topping:
2 pieces of white bread crumbs
2 TB butter
¼ cup parmesan cheese

Bake at 350 degrees (with nonstick cooking spray) for 45 minutes or until hash brown are tender.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

W.O.W.

"Our life is full of brokenness - broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God's faithful presence in our lives." - Henri Nouwen

Monday, November 1, 2010

Marvelous Monday

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” (Proverbs 17:17 NLT)

Father God,
Thank you for this beautiful morning. The chill in the air is more than some of us can bear. But it is a reminder of the changing seasons in our lives. You take us to the extremes. But You never take Your eyes off of us. You warm us in our bitterness. You let us curl up in Your always loving embrace. Thank you for Your gentleness. Help us have gentle souls.

Please empty our hearts. Soften them. Show us how to be more like Your son, Jesus.

We stand with arms high and hearts abandoned in awe of the one who gave it all. Our souls Lord are surrendered. All we are is Yours.
In Your precious Son's name. AMEN.

Click here now to listen to another song that God placed in my day yesterday.


Hillsong United - I'll Stand/The Stand

You stood before creation.
Eternity within Your hand.
You spoke the earth into motion.
My soul now to stand.

You stood before my failure,
Carried the Cross for my shame.
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders.
My soul now to stand.

So what can I say.
What can I do.
But offer this heart O God,
Completely to You.

So I'll walk upon salvation.
Your Spirit alive in me.
This life to declare Your promise.
My soul now to stand.

So what can I say.
What can I do.
But offer this heart O God,
Completely to You.

So I'll stand,
With arms high and heart abandoned,
In awe of the One who gave it all.

So I'll stand.
My soul Lord to You surrendered.
All I am is Yours.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Open My Eyes, Lord

Click here to listen to a song that will instantly have me in tears. I love it so!

I want to fast forward my life. I want to skip all of the hurt that is happening right now. I want to get to the end. I want to get to the place where I see Jesus face to face. I pray these words as I sing the words to this song.

"Because I'll never hold the picture of the whole horizon in my view". I don't understand why children have to die, why my friend has to have ALS, why my parents have to suffer the unknown of the aneurysm, why I have to walk this road in my marriage...again.

Great are You, Lord. All for Your Glory Lord. Bring the rain. I want to know You more.

I open my journal and write LTM in large letters, then next to it "hooray". I love this place, I think. Then I ask God to help me not make it an idol. I need to love Him, not a place.

"People Matter to God" and "God's Word Changes Lives" are today's messages. Actually, I think it was "OPEN MY EYES, LORD", with sub-titles of the other two, to be exact.

Pastor Paul speaks words that only God could have given him. I clung to every word, trying to quickly write them down to share with you. God knows exactly what we need to hear. Everyone hears something different. I was focused on listening to the words that were meant for me and not the words that "so and so" should be hearing. "Oh this message is for her! And she didn't even have the nerve to come!" I do that. I have acknowledged this sin in my life several years ago. I still struggle with what Beth Moore would call LEGALISM. I will break free of this.

Did you know that God is always moving us from here to there? He says "I am making all things new." He isn't changing. He is the same today as He was yesterday as He will be tomorrow. But He moves us. We may move from pride to humility, from comfort to uncomfortable, insecurity to security.

Where is my "here"? It's idolatry and legalism. Legalism has so many aspects. My judgmental character and self-righteousness has been obvious. But just in the last week, it really has come to light that I make "time" and idol. It keeps popping it's ugly head up. I find myself saying to myself before I do anything "what time is it?" Even this morning, I wondered if I had time to vacuum the carpet so I could move the couch back for Daniel. I don't want to be late. Can't be late! It was only 8:30. I had plenty of time to be there by 9:15. I left at 9:05 and then saw "Lisa". I spoke with her for a little while and it was good. I wasn't looking at the clock. I finally arrived at LTM at 9:17 AND THAT'S OK, God said.

Did you know that Humans have a pattern of opposing God's plan and His messengers/message? Why do we resist the Holy Spirit? We can not manipulate God's spirit? Why do we try, then?

The first thing we need to do (yes, you too) is acknowledge your stronghold, your obstacle. Then you need to tell someone. You need to have accountability in your life. So did you hear what God has shed light on in my life? It is idolatry and legalism. HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE, PLEASE!

These are the three areas that Pastor Paul touched on in response to those things:

*How might you be resisting God's plan and His message?
* Who/What is stealing your attention away from God?
*Who/What are you allowing to block your view of God?

One member of the body said that he spent over 400 hours watching baseball. He confessed this and prayed, asked for accountability and didn't watch any last week at all. Is it t.v. for you? Figure out how long you watch t.v. then cut back. God doesn't ask you for all or nothing. If you watch five hours a week, cut it back to four and spend that free hour praying, journaling, reading (His word). God is OK with baby steps, you know.

DO YOU WANT TO SEE JESUS?

Father God, thank you for today message. Thank you for the exact songs that were picked out for my ears. Open my eyes, Lord. I pray that you shape the way that I thing. My view is blocked. Open my eyes. I ask you again, Lord. Change and undo me. Why do I resist You so? Empty my heart of anything that is not of You. Fill it up with the Holy Spirit. Transform me, conform me to a more Christ-like character. In Jesus Name, AMEN.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What a day!

“ A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. ” Proverbs 17:17 NLT)

It's been a God-filled day, a day only God could orchestrate. I was at the grocery store at 7:06 this morning to get bread and fruit before I had to be at work for a pediatric first aid class. I pulled in the lot just when MY SONG came on the radio. Great, I'll miss it, I thought. But then I remembered how I make time an idol. I thought, "why can't I sit in the car and listen to this song? What will it do but slow me down for 3 or 4 minutes". So I sat and listened. I thought about my baptism and how my dear friend Cheryl read the words:

More than my next breath, More than life or death,
All I'm reaching for, I live my life to know You more.
I leave it all behind, You're all that satisfies.
To know You is to want to know You more.

Yes, I thought. Those are my words sung by Casting Crowns. I turned off the car, shopped and was home in time enough to not be rushed...and was still at Wee Care by 7:40 am. I sat in the car and prayed before I went in.

I want to do Your will.
Everything else I count as loss to know You more.
Help me be a blessing. Empty my heart and fill it with Your gentleness. Thank you for loving me when I am harsh. Thank you for never being harsh with me.


I came home to a hungry family who was vibrating to get out of the house. We went to Chick-fil-a for lunch and ran some errands. We finally ended up at the little strip mall near our house. The boys went one way and we stopped at Redners for some last minute party foods. (Amanda is having her first Halloween party. No, I am not happy but I am being a really good sport about all of these ghoulies hanging out in my house. There will be no pictures. Sorry to disappoint you.)

At check-outs I bought a $20 gift card at the last minute. As we walked by our favorite pizza place, The BallPark, I said to Amanda lets stop in. I knew SHE was in there. I asked the waitress who's bike was out front. She said "someone already paid for her meal". I asked, "is that her in the hat?". The waitress said yes.

Click here now.

Amanda and I went over to talk to HER. I asked if we could sit for a little bit. She said sure. I gave her the gift card. I introduced myself and Amanda. We sat and talked for close to an hour. Today is her birthday. She is 46, just four years older than me. She grew up in the same town as me. She went to the same schools as me and had the same teachers. She was very talkative. I let her talk and I listened. I did ask some questions. She has been without a home for five years. She is on welfare and they provide a phone to her. I gave her LTM's number and a contact name for our food bank.

Then I prayed for her. I held her hand. When I stood up, I hugged her.

Today my actions spoke louder than my words. God had his hand completely on every situation in the day. I am glad that I was obedient and overcame the fear and spoke to LISA.

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love." 2 John 1:6

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Harvest Day



Today was Harvest Day at work. The apples were so cute all dressed up. We had many super heros. I have grown to dislike Halloween over the years. There is nothing good about it. OK, maybe that's not fair. If there is something good about it, please let me know. Anyway, my co-worker reminded me of this analogy. I hope you enjoy it!

What's it like being a Christian?

"It's like being a pumpkin:
God picks you from the patch,
brings you in, and washes all the dirt
off that you may have gotten from the
other pumpkins. Then He cuts the top off
and scoops out all the yucky stuff.
He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed and despair.
Then He carves you a new smiling face
and puts His light inside of you to shine for
all the world to see."


The following I wrote last October. I love looking back and seeing where I am now. Or seeing where I still am. God has a way of taking us to a place, taking us around that place and then right back to where we were. However, I am breaking free! Journaling is very important to me. Do you keep a journal?

************************************************************************************

I wouldn't trade it for the world. Since 2001, life has been, well, not easy. Many people have not understood me. I've been criticized for my walk of faith. People who I never would have expected have hurt me deeply. But I wouldn't say that I've gone through all of this for nothing. I've learned how to dance in the rain. I've learned that I can be joyful when my heart is breaking in to a million pieces. I've learned that even when I am disappointed by my loved ones, I have hope. Jesus is my hope. I would have to say that in the last 14 months, I fell in love with my Jesus again.

When I first believed, I found myself thinking about Him all the time, wanting to please Him. This past year has been one of my toughest years. I discoved that through Jesus, I am strong. I am never strong in myself. Many times I have wondered why I lack self-confidence. Then I realized that, I don't even want it. I want the confidence that I find in Him.

I wondered why I am never happy. For the last nine months, I've tried to find peace in my life. Then Damaris said "Happy is something a child is. They are happy because of what's happening. You are to be joyful because His spirit lives inside you." I've noticed that people get so bothered by the weather, the traffic, their co-workers, the economy...I could go on. Those are all unpredictable things. If you are waiting and looking for something or someone to make you happy, well keep waiting and stop looking. He's right there and He is waiting on YOU.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share that with you. Many of you have known what's been going on with my marriage and my daughter. But I know that there are many who do not. I know that God has placed certain people in my life for a purpose. I am to learn and they are to learn from me. I am thankful for every good thing that has, is and will happen to me. However, I am very thankful for the things that have made me rely more on Jesus.

Be blessed and know that you bless others.

"The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense." Proverbs 27:9 NLT