Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thank. You. God.

"Hey Soul? Who knows what could happen today? But no matter what unfolds, you hold in your hand the three small keys to open the door to Joy: Thank. You. God.
Use them when you want home to His Joy-- a thousand times today use those three small keys: Thank. You. God


We have nothing to prove. In Christ, we are already Preapproved. Life’s not about earning anyone’s love, but believing that you already are God’s beloved." Ann Voskamp


Tomorrow Nora is being released from the hospital. Between Vermont and Philadelphia she has been inpatient for SIXTY-EIGHT DAYS. Tonight is her final night at CHOP.

I thought I would reflect on the things, people and God whom I am thankful for:

1.   I am thankful that Nora is alive.
2.   I am thankful that she can see out of the left eye and hear out of the right ear.
3.   I am thankful that her right eye is "waking up".
4.   I am thankful that surgery will correct her left ear.
5.   I am thankful that she can sing, dance and laugh.
6.   I am thankful for Fletcher Allen Hospital in Vermont.
7.   I am thankful for the Ronald McDonald house.
8.   I am thankful for music, especially John Mayer.
9.   I am thankful for strangers that are not strange.
10. I am thankful for Neurosurgeons.
11. I am thankful for Life Flight crews.
12. I am thankful for Nurses.
13. I am thankful for vanilla scented candles.
14. I am thankful for answered prayers.
15. I am thankful for unanswered prayers.
16. I am thankful for Caring Bridge.
17. I am thankful for over  66, 015 visits at 10:41 pm
18. I am thankful for encouraging words.
19. I am thankful for Candy's ability to open up and share her heart.
20. I am thankful for all of the tears that Tim cried that made him stronger.
21. I am thankful for The Neely's and The Cobb's
22. I am thankful for neighbors that have become family (for Beck).
23. I am thankful for Amanda Grace...worthy of love and undeserved.
24. I am thankful for Daniel Curtis...God is my judge and courteous.
25. I am thankful for the love of my life and husband of seventeen years, Curtis.
26. I am thankful for Bob and Heather and the gift of being their baby's Nanny.
27. I am thankful for Robert.
28. I am thankful for walks, and matchbox cars and play dates.
29. I am thankful for Worship music which is always encouraging.
30. I am thankful for the Spring.
31. I am thankful for Girlfriends who are closer than a sister.
32. I am thankful for family pets.
33. I am thankful for my cell phone which allows me to text immediate prayer requests.
34. I am thankful for Sarah Young's "Jesus Today" devotional.
35. I am thankful that I live in the United States.
36. I am thankful that I live in a free country.
37. I am thankful that I have never gone hungry.
38. I am thankful I own a Bible.
39. I am thankful that I can read my Bible in public.
40. I am thankful for my church family (NVBC) that lifted Nora up.
41. I am thankful for bucket lists and camp mottos.
42. I am thankful for home grown vegetables and herbs.
43. I am thankful for picnic, cook-outs and camp fires.
44. I am thankful for soccer and Irish dancing.
45. I am thankful for Robert's Nonna and Grammie.
46. I am thankful for social media.
47. I am thankful for neighbors that have become family (Portland's & O'Connell's)
48. I am thankful that I can work from home.
49. I am thankful for the Flynn's and the Weil's.
50. I am thankful for Kentucky road trips.
51. I am thankful for late night blogging.
52. I am thankful for hand-written letters and cards.
53. I am thankful for glimpses of what Godly adults my children will become.
54. I am thankful for Cheryl, who taught me to read the Bible at age 38.
55. I am thankful for people who pray for my husband.
56. I am thankful for my Pastors, Joe and Mike.
57. I am thankful for piano music.
58. I am thankful for women's retreats.
59. I am thankful for new beginnings.
60. I am thankful that I didn't get what I deserved.
61. I am thankful for a personal relationship with Jesus.
62. I am thankful that Jesus is the Lord of my life.
63. I am thankful for grace that falls like rain.
64. I am thankful for God's mercy.
65. I am thankful that Good God trumps Evil.
66. I am thankful for room 316 (John 3:16). and tiny details.
67. I am thankful for everyone coming together for a Night for Nora
68. I am thankful that Nora is going home tomorrow.

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Reasons

 
 
These two are my reasons for wanting to be a better mom and wife. They are what keep me in prayer always looking to God's Manual for encouragement and wisdom. I didn't do anything to deserve or earn this position. That's a constant reminder from God each day...just like I can't do or earn God's love. It comes freely from Him. I am blessed!
 
 

 
Three simple mothering perspectives you must hang on to:

1. Don’t take too much credit for their good.

2. Don’t take too much credit for their bad.

3. Don’t try to raise a good child. Raise a God-following adult
 
 
Lysa TerKeurst

Sunday, May 25, 2014

NORA!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


I think I have only mentioned Nora once here briefly. Nora is the daughter of Curtis' childhood friend, Tim (and his amazing wife, Candy). Over the last fourteen years, we have lost contact with each other. We would occasionally receive a Christmas card but life just gets in the way.

On March 23rd, their lives changed forever, which in turn changed mine. I have faithfully kept up with her progress through her Caring Bridge site. I have prayed more in the last two months than I have in my entire life time. I have seen first hand the healing hand of God. His mercy has been showered on this dear family. My God is might to save.

There are over sixty journal entries. I have decided to only show you the beginning and the middle. Why not the end? Well, because God is not done with her yet!

If you would like to read the journal in its entirety, here is the link:

Nora's Journal


Written by her mom, Candy.

March 23, 2014

Nora was skiing this afternoon and had a bad accident. She is in a hospital in Vermont right now. She is in a coma but is in very good hands here at Fletcher Allen Hospital.

Nora is fighting. She really got banged up pretty bad. If you don't want the details, you might want to stop reading. For those who want to know what's going on, I'll tell you. Right now she is getting a procedure done to look into the blood vessels in her brain. They don't know clearly what is going on with the bloodflow from the MRI. The doctors here are super. I really feel like she is in the best care. She is on a ventilator and is heavily sedated. They tell us they think she knows we came in the room this morning because her blood pressure went up a little. What else? They have a monitor in her brain to keep an eye on pressure, etc. She has yucky lungs, I guess from vomiting when unconscious. They are draining that. She broke her left humerus up high by her shoulder. She broke her right collar bone. There is a fracture at the base of her skull and they are concerned about her carotid artery.


On April 29th, Nora was flown from Vermont to Philadelphia (CHOP).



May 22, 2014

They moved Nora's discharge date up! The original plan was to be discharged from inpatient therapy on June 5. They told us today that she will be discharged May 30.

Eight more days. We're coming home




I don't remember when it was but I stopped by a church that has a bookstore/gift shop in it. I bought a few little things and then I asked if I could leave a prayer request for someone. I wrote out a quick account of the skiing accident and was on my way. On Saturday, I stopped in again to pick up a few little things to take to our visit. The woman asked if they were graduation presents. I said "no, we are going to visit a friend who was in a skiing accident." She said she remembered me from the first time and said they have been praying for Nora. She said it's so nice to hear the end of the story. I said "it's not over yet!". She said it's nice to hear the "middle" of the story. A lot of times people ask for prayer but never follow up with the outcome.

I have started to keep a second journal with just prayers so I can go back and see how God has answered them. It took God TWELVE years to answer one of my prayers. God's timing is always perfect. We need to just be patient.

Today, this was my journal entry:

I lay in bed this morning, reflecting, I thought how I would go to bed with Nora on my mind. I would wake in the middle of the night and pray for her. I would wake in the morning and there she was, my first thought. I prayed throughout the day. As I drew closer to the Lord, He drew closer to me. But I confess that my prayers have been lacking lately. I guess you could say since Nora stepped out of those woods. Funny how we all come to God in the storm and rain, even the ones who don't know Him pray. But when the sun is shining, we/I seem to take the Son for granted. My prayer this morning is that God continues to reveal His mighty saving power to your family and that He doesn't make my life so good that I forget about Him and what He has done for me. She is the result of everything that is good in God. You have walked through the valley of the shadow of death and come out on the other side. May we all not forget who delivered you. Amen!

You can pray for me. I have been struggling with kindness again (especially with that smallish boy, who is almost as tall as I am). Pray that I am reminded every hour that I NEED the Lord.


Nora has a long way to go (well maybe not as long as we think). Keep praying for her. God is faithful. Here are a few things that you can be praying specifically for.


May 25, 2014

She can't hear a lick out of her left ear (until she gets surgery down the road), but the steroid drops in her right ear are magical. Nora can hear out of that ear. I mean she can now even hear Dr. Bryant, the rehab doc who is physically incapable of speaking up. Think Seinfeld. Now that Nora has been doing rewetting drops in her eyes every two hours for a week or so, she says she can see better out of her left eye. Her right eye lid is still closed. The sensation in Nora's face is sketchy. She can feel the left side of her face, but the right side is numb in places. Nora's mouth has been very dry, and she's been getting nosebleeds daily.




This song is the one that comes to mind when I think about Nora. God is good all the time. All the time. God is good!


Isn't she just beautiful?!

Making God Happy

This is for my NVBC family that wasn't able to make it to service today. Since it is a two part sermon, I didn't want you to miss anything.


Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1


Pleasing God (Part 1)

Colossians 1:9-14
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins


Intro:   How do you know whether you are pleasing God?

1.  Paul's discipline of "Prayer" has elements of (vs 9a)
  •          General, with thanksgiving
  •          Asking, specifically
It was Continuous, Corporate, and Intercessory

 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. Romans 1:9-10

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Ephesians 1:15-16


2.   Paul's Prayer is - they be "filled with the Knowledge of God's Will' in Understanding that the Spirit gives.

Followers of Christ - in addition to the law...

(Deut. 4:6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people)

(1 Chron. 22:12 May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God.)

...we are given the Spirit who equips us to lie the life Christ demands.

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. Jeremiah 31:33-34



I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27

The Purpose: live obedient and God honoring lives (verse 10)

QUESTION: How do you know (and live in) "the will of God"?

  • You must be born again

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

  • You must study God's Word

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 (Amanda loves this verse).


John 14:15-24


 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law.
Romans 2:18


  • Your mind must be transformed

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

  • You must commit to be a living sacrifice - obedience
******************************************************************************

The above is Pastor Joe's outline. The following are things that Pastor Joe said that I decided to write in my journal. Remember, we want to always be checking scripture with every sermon that we hear. I love listening to Pastor Joe. He is a father. He is a husband. He is human. And he does occasionally make mistakes. It's our responsibility to be Bereans and not believe everything we hear:

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11


My notes:

God's expectations for me are reasonable.

Do we pray for things like a better job, good health, more money? They are not bad prayers but Paul prayed and thanked God for their faith.

A General Prayer is "God bless them". A Specific Prayer is asking for something specific.

Through prayer I play a little part in God's power and will.

Remember:
  • God is Sovereign
  • God is a perfect God
  • God is good
Trust when I don't understand because He has a purpose that will work out in the future.

The danger is living our will and asking God to bless our will.

You must study God's Word!

What you know about God's Word must transform your mind.

God is trying to change our image to be more like Jesus.

Your will be done and not mine.

It's not about us and what makes us happy. That isn't good for us. It's not about what brings pleasure to us but in knowing what brings pleasure to God.


Live obedient to God and in that He finds pleasure

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Foundation of Motto

To be honest,
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices (Colossians 3:9)

to be kind
love is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4)

To seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

To always be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
 
Always put others first
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  (Philippians 2:3)

And above all, be transparent
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

To persevere,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:3)

be courageous
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

and confident before God
in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. (Ephesians 3:12)

To love,
'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
(Matthew 22:37)


 
trust
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)

and be thankful in all situations,
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever (Psalm 107:1)

pointing people back to Christ.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

May I never lose the wonder of the cross

Motto

Nora was in a tragic skiing accident 53 days ago. She is God's miracle. I am following her progress on Caringbridge. After her mom posted a rather depressing message, Nora got on her and said you have to be more encouraging. The next post was her camp motto:


To be honest, to be kind
To seek a deeper understanding of the beauty about us
To make the whole camp happier for our being here
To make and to keep friends, but to do so without surrendering our ideals
And above all, to be friends with ourselves
To grow, to have more courage and self confidence
And to take home an open mind and a kind and caring heart



I guess tragedy gives you a wake-up call. In the last 53 days, I have prayed more than I have in the last year. I have been consistently reading my Bible and started the prayer journal. Today I worked on a sort of motto of my own. Goals. Little Man napped for 90 minutes. It took me 90 minutes to write this:

To be honest, to be kind
To seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God
To always be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.
Always put others first
And above all, be transparent
To persevere, be courageous and confident before God
To love, trust and be thankful in all situations, pointing people back to Christ.
May I never lose the wonder of the cross


So far, I am honest. And that's where it stops. Hey, I am a work in progress. "I may not be where I need to be but I thank God I am not where I used to be.”



Do you have a "motto"? Please share!



Below is my quiet place. On the top of the couch you will find my Be Still journal, the remote, cell phone, Amanda's Duck Commander Devo and the Baby Monitor. In front of where I sit is the prayer journal, Jesus Today (Sarah Young Devo), a little Bible broken down according to topics (depression, worry, illness) and Heather's Life Application Bible. I love my Bible but Heather's has a concordance that ROCKS! Oh yes, and the Contemp. Christian music channel is on the television.

 
 




Nap Time Seat

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Financial Freedom Class - Week One

What does the Bible say about MONEY?

  • Money is NOT evil (but the love of it is).
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:10

  • Money does NOT equal happiness.

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:10-12

  • Money is NOT ours - we are simply stewards of God's money.

The Parable of the Bags of Gold             Matthew 25:14-30


  • Money is NOT our security.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19


Money meets needs but ultimately God meets all our needs.



My mind wandered and I didn't get the next word.

  • Money is ......? : it is neither good or evil; however our use and attitude of it can be good or evil.
  • Money is a tool to trade goods and services.



  • Money or our greed for it can keep us from God.

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9


  • Money allows us to be a blessing to others.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

Our generosity or lack there of affects our relationship with God and with others.

Is it affects or effects? I never know!



What does the Bible say about saving



Proverbs 13:11 "Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow"




Proverbs 10:4-5 "Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. 
 He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son"
 
 
 
Proverbs 21:20 "The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down"
 
 
 
 
Proverbs 13:7 "One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth."

 
 
 
God has shown in his Word that it is wise to save; however it is important that saving is not an end in itself. Saving gives us the freedom to give more liberally. Giving should be a large and joyful component in a Believer's life.
 
 
 

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;  their righteousness endures forever."   2 Corinthians 9:6-9
 





 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spring Finally!

Hello Friends. Remember me? I love this blog. I wish I could put half of my thoughts here. But there just isn't time. I commend the bloggers that post daily. They find the time.

Where should I begin? Spring is finally here. Did we have the longest winter of our life time?! February, March and April are my Blue Months. I finally have come to terms with this. I realized I am always having a tough time around my birthday. It's not because I am getting older. It's because if is in March. I remember last year journaling about being miserable. I determined not to go through another three months of miserableness.

February was filled with psychologist appointments for Daniel to have him evaluated for AD/HD.  The conclusion was that he DID have the disorder, like his sister. However, when I went to the pediatrician for a follow-up, the doctor disagreed. He believes Daniel has a processing disorder. I already had the 504 Plan for the other diagnosis but thought that maybe he needed learning support from the school. I requested an evaluation from the district. The paperwork came back stating "refusal for evaluation" on the grounds that he is on grade level. OH WELL!

February 21st
But Lord I confess that I don't do the job I know I need to do. I don't consistently read or pray. I don't have the quiet time that I know is necessary to grow in You.


March was a whirl wind. I was in a complete melt-down on March 21st because I had misplaced the most important folder, the one with the psychologist's results. The next day I read a devotion with the most perfect words:

March 22nd
God is always good and we are always loved...even when what He gives may appear ugly.

The very next day Nora was in the skiing accident in NY which left her with a fractured skull, broken humorous and clavicle.

I wrote these words:

Perspective. Soccer cleats and homework. 504 Plans and emails. Laundry and dishes. Life is precious The things of life...not an emergency.

Nora has made leaps and bounds. In the last six weeks. She was transferred to a Vermont hospital and then after five weeks, transferred again to CHOP. She is the product of God's miracle work! There is no other way to explain it.

I read a book a few months ago called Mistaken Identity. Much of what was being described by Nora's mom was also described in the book. However, in the book the recovery was not as amazing as Nora's story. It's hard to really tell you about God's healing power, you really need to read it for yourself.

If you would like to "meet" Nora, please visit her Caringbridge.

This was a horrific accident. Nora hit a timing box at Lake Placid while skiing an icy slope. She bashed her head and right side. She has NO brain damage. After six weeks, she is walking up stairs with assistance. She is what we all want to see...God at work!

I have prayed for Nora and her family EVERY day since March 24th. I have wrote about her in my journal and I have left messages in her on-line journal. I have read my Bible more in the last six weeks than I have in the last six months. I read a thankful devotional by Ann Voskamp. I also have been reading Jesus Today by Sarah Young that I received as a Christmas gift. What a blessing this little book has been.




 My relationship with Jesus has changed dramatically.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you" James 4:8 ESV

I  wanted to do even more. I started a prayer journal.





I asked people how I could pray for them. I have started to fill the beautiful leather journal that Curtis gave me with verses and prayers. Then I pray. I am loving this part of the day. Little Man has finally got the nap thing going on. He naps for about 90 minutes. Sometimes more. Then he will stretch and kick his legs and talk to his monkey for a little while. It's usually about TWO hours of quiet time I have with the Lord in the afternoon. That's great because it makes up for the time that I don't get in the evening. Sometimes in the morning I will actually have 45 minutes to myself. Sometimes!

And so it is May and the Blue Season has passes. The snow has melted. The trees have leaves on them. The flowers are pushing up through the ground. My vegetable/herb garden is planted.

And Life Is Good

And God is good all the time. Yes, All the time God is good!