Sunday, June 25, 2017

Photo of the Week #20: 25 Years As Husband and Wife

Wedding Picture - 1992
This coming Tuesday is our SILVER wedding anniversary - 25 years! Wow, hard to believe it was 25 years ago when my dad walked me down the isle to give me away to David. Here are some photos of us throughout the years. Some were definite anniversary pictures, while others were not taken on an anniversary but on the dates closest that I could find.

1st Anniversary - 1993
We defrosted the top of our wedding cake

2nd Anniversary - 1994

Camping - 1995
I was sunburned

At a friend's wedding -1996
David was the Best Man

5th Anniversary at Olive Garden - 1997

6th Anniversary, pregnant with 1st child - 1998

Family photo - 1999

8th Anniversary - 2000

Family photo - 2001

10th Anniversary, pregnant with 2nd child - 2002

Family photo - 2003

At a Fire Department dinner - 2004

13th Anniversary - 2005

David's 40th birthday - 2006

15th Anniversary - 2007

16th Anniversary - 2008

At a dinner theater with friends - 2009

Heading to another dinner theater - 2010

At home - 2011

20th Anniversary - 2012

Cancer treatments - 2013

22nd Anniversary at the local fair - 2014

Before David's High School class reunion - 2015

2016
June 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Photo of the Week #19: My First Father's Day

I don't have very many photos of my dad holding me as an infant. But, I did find this one which was taken shortly after I was born. That means, it was probably taken on, or very close to, Father's Day of 1969. It was my first Father's Day with my dad.

Today is Father's Day 2017, and it is another "first" for me - the first one without my dad. It is very different to not have my dad to send a card to this year, or to be able to pick up the phone and give him call. But, it is not a sad day. Instead, I choose it to be a day of remembrance and gratitude; a day to thank God for giving me a father who loved his family dearly (and one I loved dearly in return).


Father's Day Graphics


Sunday, June 11, 2017

BOOK INFO: God Puts Us Where He Wants Us

In February 2017, my family and I took a trip to visit my parents. While we were there, my dad (a retired Pastor and Bible College Instructor) handed me a 3-ring binder that included some of his memoirs, thoughts, and past teachings. He told me he finally wanted to start working on the book we had been asking him to write, and asked me to edit it and get it ready for publishing.

I looked over Dad's material, and began editing the book in March. Dad was mostly home bound at this point, but we collaborated via e-mail and telephone calls until his book was finally published on April 17th. This book was a goal Dad had wanted to accomplish, and I am thankful I had the opportunity to help make it happen for him. It ended up being his final project on earth.

A BRIEF HEALTH HISTORY:  It was over 15 years ago when Dad had aggressive, fast-growing prostate cancer. He was told he would only have several months to live if he didn't seek treatment. After weighing his options, he and Mom chose for him to receive brachytherapy which, in short, is the implanting of tiny radiation seeds that kill off the cancer. The treatment did its job, and Dad was cancer free for the past 15+ years. We are thankful he was given these additional years to take part in the lives of his family and friends. The drawback is that the radiation seeds caused damage to Dad's internal organs and, over this past year, his health began to take a drastic turn for the worse.  Ultimately, his liver failed and he went home to be with the Lord on May 12th, less than a month after his book became available.

Dad wasn't perfect, and he was the first to admit it, but he loved the Lord and was always looking for ways to serve Him. So, when he became home bound, it was hard for him to be less physically active, and he went through a difficult time of feeling somewhat "useless." But, what he eventually learned is that God can and does use us, no matter what season of life we are in. Even as Dad's health was failing, God used him in the hospital to speak with others about the Lord. God also used him to be a counselor and encourager when people would call and talk with him. Finally, God used him to write this small, easy to read, 86-page book that shares "where he has been," and "where he is now" through a collection of memoirs, meaningful moments, teachings, and observations.

Dad's hope for this book was for his readers to be Spiritually encouraged, and to help us understand how God places us where HE wants us, and then it is our responsibility to serve Him no matter where we have been placed.

Here is an excerpt from the book on Create Space:

And, here is the link to order a copy in either paperback or Kindle.
(FYI: My mother, Carolyn, is the beneficiary of any proceeds.) GOD PUTS US WHERE HE WANTS US


SIDE NOTE:  The church on the cover of the book was hand-drawn by my dad from memory. It is Belew's Creek Chapel, a little church he ministered at in Missouri. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Photo of the Week #18: See You Later, Dad

For the month of May, I took an unexpected break from blogging. The reason? I was saying goodbye (or rather, "see you later") to my wonderful dad, and then began trying to adjust to the new normal without him here on this earth. It has not been easy but, with God's help, my family and I are slowly adjusting with the strength given to us from above.

This photo was taken sometime within the 2 weeks my dad was at home in a hospice bed. Among other things, his liver was failing, and we all knew his "time" was getting closer; but, even at the end of his earthly life, it was such an encouragement to see him sharing the love of Jesus with us. As he spoke to us, we know he was trying to make sure he would be seeing his family again someday in Heaven. For example, at one point, Dad asked me directly, "What will you say to Jesus when you meet Him?"

I confidently answered, "I will thank Him for saving me from my sins. And, then I will also thank Him for giving me a dad and a mom who took the time to teach me about Jesus."

Although I miss my dad terribly, I have felt the prayers of others, and truly feel at peace, knowing he is in a better place, and that I will see him again someday. His favorite song by The Booth Brothers is "Look for Me at Jesus' Feet." I certainly plan on looking for him there when it is my turn to leave this world behind. I hope you will be able to join us.

Please watch this 5-minute video tribute to my dad, made by my brother, Daniel. This was played during Dad's memorial service on May 20th. And, if you need more information about becoming a Christian and want to be sure you have a right relationship with God, please take a look at: WHY WE NEED SALVATION.)





SIDE NOTE:  In the photo you can see a little toy figurine attached to Dad's watch. When he first came home on hospice, he asked for something from one of his grandkids that he could hold next to his heart. He loved his grandkids dearly with unconditional, unending love.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Photo of the Week #17: Staying Focused

Last weekend, we visited David's family a few hours North of us. While we were there, Grandpa John and David gave JJ and me a lesson on shotgun shooting. It was fun. The above picture is me shooting a .410/.22 Over-Under Rifle/Shotgun. I was only shooting the shotgun part.

After that, we moved up to a 20 gauge double barrel shotgun, which had a little more of a "kick" to it. Here are a few short videos of us shooting that one...









Along the same topic as shooting and hitting targets, here is a hunting parable I found online about staying focused on the things that are above....


PRAY, AIM HIGH AND STAY FOCUSED
Author Unknown

There was once a man who had nothing for his family to eat. He had an old shotgun and three bullets. So, he decided that he would go out hunting and kill something to eat for dinner.

As he went down the road, he saw a rabbit and he shot at the rabbit and missed it. Then he saw a squirrel and fired a shot at the squirrel and missed it. As he went further, he saw a wild turkey in the tree and he had only one bullet left, but a voice came to him and said "Pray first, aim high and stay focused."

However, at the same time he saw a deer, which was a better kill. He brought the gun down and aimed at the deer. But then he saw a rattle snake between his legs about to bite him, so he naturally brought the gun down further to shoot the rattlesnake. Still, the voice said again to him, "Pray, aim high and stay focused.'"

So, the man decided to follow the voice. He prayed, then aimed the gun up in the tree and shot the wild turkey. The bullet bounced off the turkey and killed the deer. The handle fell off the gun and hit the snake in the head and killed it. And when the gun had gone off, it knocked him into a pond of water.

When he got up to look around, he had fish in all his pockets, a dead deer and turkey to eat for his family. The snake (e.g. Satan) was dead simply because the man listened to God: Pray first, Aim High and Stay Focused.

Bottom-line: Pray first before you do anything important, aim and shoot high in your goals, and stay focused on God and you will come forth successful.

Colossians 3:2 - Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (ESV)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Photo of the Week #16: Stream of Living Water


This past week, JJ attended a "live-in" program at the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site near Charleston, IL. He was able to experience what life was like in the 1800's and took part in things like cutting a log with a two man saw, filling the wood shed, and dipping candles. I did take pictures of him and the other boys working, but don't want to share the pictures without the permission of the other boys' parents. So, I am sharing a picture of this stream instead. While JJ was working, EL and I took a walk on this beautiful day and we crossed a little bridge where I took a picture of this stream. It reminds me of the streams of living water, mentioned in Scripture.

John 7:37-39 - On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him." He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been received because Jesus had not yet been glorified. (HCSB)


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

500th Post on "He Holds My Right Hand"


I have been blogging for about 8 years, and this post is the 500th post! I have written about many different topics over the years, including devotionals, hymn studies, ways to encourage others, my cancer journey, autism, tourette syndrome, guest bloggers, book reviews, and more. It has been fun, and a huge learning experience for me in many ways.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you have been blessed in some way by at least one of my posts. Below you will find links to some of the most popular posts that have been published here. I listed two from each year...



June 26, 2009 (My very first post)

April 24, 2010


Do you have a favorite?



















Sunday, April 16, 2017

Photo of the Week #15: Full Moon in St. Louis

David was at a conference in St. Louis this past week. Even though this was a work-related conference, I know he enjoyed the chance to get away for awhile and to wind down from some of the pressures he has been under. 

While he was there on Tuesday night, there was a full moon. The weather was nice, so he went out to the plaza of his hotel and was able to take this awesome shot of the full moon positioned directly in the middle of the Arch. I love this shot. It is a reminder of how God's majestic creations can be found anywhere in the world. It is also a beautiful combination of man's God-given creativity (the Arch) with God's perfect handiwork (the moon).


Genesis 1:14-15 - And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.  

Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Photo of the Week #14: Brother Helping Sister


Last week, I mentioned how EL has been saving up her money for a "My First Flyer". Well, she was finally able to buy it this past week. The picture is a little blurry, but here you can see JJ helping his sister learn how to control the flyer. She loves it, and is doing well getting it to take off, and also with steering it. She still has trouble landing it without crashing but, with help from her brother, I'm sure that will improve over time.

Romans 12:10 - Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (ESV)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Photo of the Week #13: "A REAL Helicopter!" (EL's Words)

On Wednesday, we were in St. Louis for EL's 6-month Neurology checkup. All is well. She's doing great, and hasn't had any seizures for 8 months! (Yayyyy!) So, we will continue to keep her at the current medication dosages and return again in another 6 months.

While were were at the hospital, a helicopter landed. EL has had helicopters on her mind lately because she has been saving her money to buy "My First Flyer" (a remote-controlled helicopter she has been wanting). So, when she saw the helicopter on the landing pad, she looked at it and said, "Oh, its a REAL helicopter!" She was so excited to see a real one up close. She said she doesn't want to ride in one, but just likes to watch them fly.

I don't have any interest in riding in one either, especially not for emergency medical issues. And, I agree with EL that they are neat to see in flight. However, if you see one of these medical helicopters flying in your area, I encourage you to take a moment to stop and pray.

Pray for:
  • the safety of the pilot and crew,
  • the skill of the medical staff caring for the patient,
  • for the life of the patient on board,
  • and for the peace of the family members who are worried about their loved one. 
  • Also, take the opportunity to pray for their salvation (if they don't know the Lord), or that this difficult time will help strengthen their faith (if they are already Believers). 

1 Timothy 2:1 - First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people (ESV) 





Sunday, March 26, 2017

Photo of the Week #12: A Kind Man at Church

Every Sunday when we are at church, EL sits quietly during the service and loves to draw while listening to the sermon. She will go through several sheets of notepad paper, drawing a new picture on each piece; and she always makes sure to write, "To Gib, From ELS" on each piece. Then, after the service, she immediately meets up with Mr. Gib to see if there is a drawing he would like to have for his collection. Mr. Gib chooses a drawing he likes, then asks EL, "Will you take a dollar for it?" She always says yes, takes his dollar, and then (with a big smile on her face) hands it to me to put into her wallet.

I don't remember when Mr. Gib started doing this, I know it has been at least a year, maybe two. But, last Sunday, I took a picture of one of these little transactions. If you are reading this, Mr. Gib, I want to thank you for being such a blessing to our sweet girl in this way! You have developed a sweet connection with her, and she looks forward to seeing you each Sunday.

Proverbs 11:25 - Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Photo of the Week #11: Hot Potato Morale Booster

Today's photo is of EL and JJ playing a game of hot potato in our schoolroom earlier this week. It's amazing what this quick little game can do for our morale - just look at those smiles! (Prior to this game, none of us were in the mood for smiling).

Since EL recently bought this Electronic Hot Potato game, playing it has become one of our newest ways to: 
  • take a school break
  • relieve stress and/or tension
  • practice hand/eye coordination
  • and have fun as a family.

It is a a fun family game for ages 4 and up, and is just like playing any other hot potato game, only this one talks and plays music (Pop Goes the Weasel). As the music is playing, we take turns tossing the potato to each other. The last person to touch the potato before the music stops is given one "potato chip," and the first person to get three potato chips is out until the next game.

Whether you have kids or not, if you are looking for a fun way to boost morale in your home, school, or office, I encourage you to get this little game (or even just a rolled up sock), and start tossing!

Proverbs 15:13 - A glad heart makes a cheerful face...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Laura Story CD - Open Hands [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

Available for Purchase:  Laura Story's OPEN HANDS CD
You may remember Laura Story's well-known song about Blessings, which was inspired by her real life trials, specifically about her husband's diagnosis of a brain tumor. If you love that song, as well as the many others she has sung, then you need to grab a copy of her 5th studio album, Open Hands. The more I listen to it, the more I like it!

Laura says this about the songs on this new album:
We have this picture all the way through the Scriptures of all these great leaders in this process of surrendering everything. What the Lord is asking them is not, "You need to hold on tighter. You need to manage this better." What the Lord asks us is to surrender. It’s about learning to live with open hands, learning to live life in this constant state of saying, "Lord, my life is Yours. My time is Yours. My resources are Yours. All of this is Yours. Do what You will."
Here is the official lyric video of the title song OPEN HANDS:




What a great song about surrendering your life to the Lord! But, I have to say, my favorites on this album are the songs of old hymns that have been refreshed with new music. I love hymns. They have such great, timeless truths in them; and,then, adding new music to them really brings them to a new level. Laura obviously loves hymns as well. She says this about them:
"I’m pretty sure that the theology that I learned as a kid was from old hymns. It’s amazing, even now as an adult, how those hymns come back and really provide that sturdy foundation for life. It reminds me of how important it is for me to teach my kids those old hymns,” Story reflects, adding, “As long as I am singing, I will be singing hymns."
Here are two of my favorites on the album:

Please enter below to be included in a random drawing for a copy of this CD. Entries will be accepted until Saturday, March 18, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. Central time. One entry per mailing address. Must be 18 or older to enter.
 

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Photo of the Week #10: Jobs at the Senior Center

Friday, March 10th - EL preparing coffee filters at the Senior Center

Friday, March 3rd - EL rolling napkin

I mentioned in PHOTO OF THE WEEK #7 how EL and I have started volunteering at the local Senior Center. This past month, we have continued going there every Friday, and have been wiping tables and chairs, dusting, vacuuming, emptying garbage pails, filling napkin dispensers, rolling napkins around silverware, and (new for this week) preparing coffee filters. Vacuuming is still EL's favorite (even though she says it makes her arms tired), but she is doing a good job with everything she has been asked to do. I am proud of EL for doing this with me each week. She is a hard worker, and this has all been a great learning experience for her.

Side note:  She also enjoys eating lunch there on the days we are working. She loves to eat (don't we all!? Hee Hee); so, having lunch there is an added bonus for her.  

Colossians 3:23 - Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men (NASB)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Photo of the Week #9: Chipmunk at the Nature Center


My son, and several other Boy Scouts, took a Geocaching class yesterday at D.H. Nature Center. I was one of the drivers for the boys, so I stayed at the nature center while they took the class. While I was there, I spotted this little guy through the library window, and just had to take a picture. Chipmunks are so cute, aren't they? I love learning from nature up close - watching, listening, and learning from all God's amazing creatures.


Job 7:10 -  In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. (ESV)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Photo of the Week #8: First Aid Event for Boy Scouts

Yesterday, our local Boy Scouts joined several more troops at a big First Aid Meet in Springfield, IL. Each team went around to 13 different stations where they had to assess the situation and work together to provide first aid treatment to each patient. This was JJ's first year attending. He learned a lot and believes this event has helped him to improve his skills. I am thankful to see he has shown an interest in helping others if the need arises.

Philippians 2:4 - Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (ESV)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Photo of the Week #7: A New Learning Experience

This past Friday, EL and I spent our first day volunteering at the local Senior Center. I recently mentioned to one of EL's therapists that I had been thinking about finding a place where EL can gain a bit of work experience. So, the therapist took the initiative to set up a volunteer opportunity for EL and I to do together.

EL did a great job wiping tables, dusting, and vacuuming at the center. I don't think she was thrilled with wiping tables, but she did become excited when it came time to vacuum. I found out later, she likes to vacuum because she has fun imagining the vacuum being a monster who is eating all the crumbs off the floor. Ha ha ha.

I am looking forward to sharing this weekly appointment with EL. I know it will be a great learning experience for her, and we will both be able to serve others at the same time.  

1 Peter 4:10 - As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.  (ESV)


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Photo of the Week #6: Content Kitty

 Sofie has been with us for 8 months now. She seems to be very content in her new home.

Hebrews 13:5 - Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (ESV)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Kari Jobe CD "The Garden" [GIVEAWAY CLOSED


In the jacket of Kari Jobe's newest album THE GARDEN, she says the songs she wrote for this music project (her 4th one) are personal, raw and honest. They helped her through a dark time when her faith and trust was challenged. Kari says:
“The truth is we can all go through seasons of heartache and loss in our lives. We can find ourselves in places of grief and sorrow because the miracle didn’t happen in the way we prayed it would. But as we look up and around us, that’s when we can give God the opportunity to show us what He’s doing. How He’s not distant or disconnected from our pain. He’s right there, turning ashes into beauty in the midst of the difficulty.”
This CD is not one that you should pop in the CD player and listen to while you are busy doing things around the house. You will want to sit down and listen to it without distractions, read the words included in the lyric book, and just be still. Be still and listen to the beautiful voice God has given to Kari Jobe. Be still and listen as God speaks to you through her music. It is calming. It is healing. It is beautiful. It is worship.

Listen to the title song here:



MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE THEME OF THIS CD:
It’s said for everything there is a season. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. One by one, we experience these seasons throughout our lives. Our souls grow dark and weary in the thick of winter, and just when we think we can’t endure another cold night, we recognize the first signs of spring. Slow and unexpected, welcome shades of green break through the frozen ground. Sometimes our Creator uses His own creation to remind us that even amidst winter’s chill He is always at work. For it’s in the unseen where life’s most beautiful moments take shape. Worship leader Kari Jobe knows this to be true in her own life, and on her fourth album, TheGarden (Capitol CMG), she invites listeners to drink of the wellspring of hope she’s found in the midst of unimaginable tragedy. 
In the past two years, Jobe married her husband Cody Carnes and moved from her hometown of Dallas, Texas, to Nashville, where the couple bought their first home and had a baby. With due dates three months apart, Jobe and her sister, Kris, were excited to be pregnant at the same time. Yet, in the midst of happy life changes, heartbreak struck. Seven-and-a-half months into her pregnancy, Kris gave birth to a stillborn daughter, James Ivy. Jobe, four months pregnant with her son at the time, was devastated.
While the birth of her son, Canyon, was undoubtedly a milestone to celebrate, her sister’s loss weighed heavy on her heart. Yet, a reminder of God’s kindness came in a surprising way. As Jobe held Canyon in her arms, she stood looking out the kitchen window of her new home. And there in her backyard, she glimpsed the first signs of spring. When she and her husband purchased the house, a garden that resided on the property was overgrown; and though they knew it needed to be tended, they were advised to wait and see what it produced. The result was a breathtaking bounty of harvest. That day, Jobe made her way through the garden—a stark reminder of God’s faithfulness in all circumstances. Looking up, interwoven in the archway, she couldn’t help but smile as she saw what only God could produce: thick, green ivy lacing its way overhead, immediately reminding her of her niece’s namesake.
“Ivy is the most resilient plant there is. It can grow in the harshest of climates; it can grow in the harshest of situations,” Jobe explains, adding, “I’m standing in this garden. There’s ivy growing, and I just started to realize, ‘God, You’re moving in a way that is different than what I asked for, but You are moving.’ He’s at work and doing things we can’t see.”
In the time leading up to The Garden, Jobe has experienced both indescribable joy and unimaginable pain. Life and death, side by side. Yet, through it all, she’s found God to be inextricably faithful because she’s learned to trust the Gardner and the beautiful, unseen ways He tends to our hearts.

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing a sample of this CD in exchange for my honest review. I have shared my own opinion and was NOT influenced by monetary compensation. Enter below for your chance to win a copy of this CD. One entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from my sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Entries will be accepted until Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Central Time Zone. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Photo of the Week #5: Simple Pleasures


Yesterday, we visited with my parents, and EL took some time to sit next to her grandpa to show him one of her favorite toys, Alfie. As you can see by her smile, she was so thrilled to share Alfie with Grandpa, and to show him how it works. Listening to Alfie talk always brings a huge smile to her face. It is the simple things in life that make her happy.

Proverbs 15:13 -  A glad heart makes a cheerful face