Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Focus for the New Year

Another year has come and gone, and I assume many of us are thinking about what goals we have accomplished in the past year, and what goals still need to be met. We try and try at each new year to improve ourselves, which can be a good thing; but, should that be our main focus as each new year rolls around?

I often hear about New Year resolutions from those who want to quit smoking or start eating more healthy. I hear from those who want to attend church more often, or read their Bible on a regular basis. All of these goals will seemingly make their lives more meaningful, or more worth living; and it is definitely a good thing to want to improve ourselves in those ways. However, we don’t really need to wait until the beginning of each year to make those changes, do we? Those changes can be done at any time of the year.

So, here’s my suggestion for this year.... Instead of focusing on what the new year can do for us, maybe it would be better if we all focused on what we can do for others. How can YOU make a difference in this world? How can YOU minister to (or help) other people? Maybe changing your bad habits will help someone else. If that is the case, then great! The main point I am trying to make here is that, as James 4:14 says, we are only here on this earth for a little while. So, with that in mind, how can YOU make our time here on Earth a little better? If we all made plans and goals to minister to other people in some way, then I think that would be one kind of resolution that would definitely make our lives more meaningful and more pleasing to God.

So, how are YOU going to spend your time on Earth this year?

James 4:14 - Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are {just} a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. (NAS)

Have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

GUEST BLOGGER: Carolyn McIntosh

For as long as I’ve been alive, I've heard my mother (today's guest blogger) confidently share her faith with me and my brother and sister. I know for a fact how life has not always been easy for her and my dad; but, she has never ceased to cling to the promises God has shown her through His Word.

One thing I specifically remember is a necklace my mother wore, containing a tiny little mustard seed on the inside of a clear ball. This necklace is based on Matthew 17:20, and I remember mom explaining to us kids how our faith can move mountains if we only believe.

Matt 17:20 – “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (NIV)

These mountains are not necessarily physical mountains. They can be mountains of illness, mountains of financial need, mountains of overwhelming discouragement, and the list goes on....

Personally, these past few months have had their share of difficulties and discouragements for me and my family. Because of that, I am now wearing my own mustard seed necklace (thanks to a Christmas gift from my husband's parents). I will wear this necklace as a reminder of the hope I have in the Lord, and will someday share my faith with my own kids, the same way my own mother shared with me.

I recently asked my mother to write down, in her own words, what faith means to her. This is what she said.... (Thanks for sharing, Mom! I love you!)....

What is Faith to Me?
By:  Carolyn L. McIntosh

I think of the words to a song, “Faith is just believing what God says He will do. He will never fail you, His promises are true.”

Faith is trusting in Jesus alone as the one who died for my and your sins. Believe He was buried and rose again from the grave. He promised He would forgive us if we believe in Him and ask His forgiveness.

Faith is believing, if we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). God has moved many mountains for me and my family - both physically and financially. Why? Because He promised to supply all our needs. Not our wants, but our needs.

I have a prayer journal and have had it for about 40 years. I encourage you to do the same. Then, occasionally go back and read how God was faithful to you, in good and hard times, sometimes even giving you some of your wants. That’s how good God is!

God is faithful to us. We need to be faithful to Him. Believe His Word (His promises), read it and obey it. Cling to His promises every day and, if you are His child, believe His promises are true for you - because He said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Blessings

A Message from God
(Based on Luke 2:8-14)

Specially chosen shepherds,
were watching their flocks in the night.
They were people with no social standing.
Yet, important in God’s eyes.

Bright lights engulfed the darkness
as angels appeared in the field.
With peace and reassurance,
a message from God was revealed.

“A savior has been born!”
The angels declared the news.
They encouraged the shepherds to find Him,
praising God before they withdrew.

“Glory to God in the highest,”
The heavenly angels proclaimed.
“Peace on earth, good will toward men.”
They praised His holy name.

-Victoria L. Stankus

A quote from Charles Spurgeon: 
"We venture to assert, that if there be any day in the year, of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Savior was born, it is the 25th of December... Regarding NOT the day, let us, nevertheless, give thanks to God for the gift of His dear Son."

May you be blessed this Christmas as you remember the birth of our Lord!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Rebecca is a sweet young lady we attended church with while living in Petersburg, IL. She can be rather quiet, however, it is evident she has a love for the Lord and a desire to serve Him. Rebecca recently sent me this encouraging thought and wanted me to share it with all of you:

One thing most people may not know about me is that I have a habit of worrying. I know when I am worrying because I feel uneasy and weighed down. In fact, at one point, I think it made me sick.
But, recently I came up with an acronym for the word "worry". When I think of the first two letters of "worry", I think of the phrase: "Worthless Obsession." When you think about it, isn't that really what it is? We sometimes worry about things, and sometimes we are concerned. I have learned that there is a difference.
When you worry, you are only turning the thought over and over in your mind and making no real progress toward solving your problem. I like to think of concern as being aware of your problem but trusting God with it completely. On that note, I also thought of an acronym for "trust" which is: "Total Reliance Upon my Savior Today." 
I think it is important to note, however, that when one has a habit of being anxious and worried, it is not something you just "get over", it's something you work through, and it is something I continue to face on almost a daily basis, but I keep going and I know that if I allow the Lord to help me with it, I can overcome this nasty habit!

-Rebecca Cade


Matt 6:34 - Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NIV)


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Peace Be With You

A woman from one of my online communities (lets call her Margie) wrote a message one day about how she has never experienced peace from God, even though she had accepted Him as her Savior. Here is what she said:
“Before I became saved, I heard from ministers and others that walking with God would be a wonderful experience and my life would be changed forever. In many ways that has been true, yet I hear of other Christians as having peace and rest in God. I do not see that in my life. I feel no peace since becoming a Christian. If anything, my life is harder. It seems that, now, I am constantly having to make some "spiritual change" in my life, or some trial comes along, or I am constantly worried about whether I am raising my kids right, or wondering if ‘x situation’ really is God's will or my own will, since I do not seem to ‘hear’ from Him as others do. Where is the peace Christians talk about? What would it be like if I ever did have it? I feel like such a baby in the faith and it is not growing. What do I do?”
J.I. Packer, in his book, “Knowing God,” addresses this very issue in chapter 21. To be brief, he mentions how it is cruel for a Christian to tell an unbeliever that his life will be like a “bed of roses” once he accepts Christ into his life. (And, on the flip side, it is also not a good idea to stress only the “rough side” of the Christian life.) To be fair to an unbeliever, we must be truthful about the positive difference Christ has made in our own lives, but remember to give a balanced approach in what a person might encounter.

While it is true that a Christian can experience peace and rest through knowing Christ, the truth is that, in many ways, life does become even harder for us. Satan hates it when we turn to Christ, so he will do everything he can to keep us from becoming effective for the Lord. He tries to influence our attitudes, actions, and thoughts. It is definitely not an easy life! But, if we continue to stay in the Word, continue to learn what God's Word says, and continue to seek guidance through prayer, then we will GROW in the Lord, and we will have confidence in knowing He will always be there to help us through the difficult times.

As for peace, Margie had a misunderstanding as to what peace from God really means. Another definition of peace is "contentment." God does not promise we will never go through struggles. But, through Him, we can be content in whatever situation we are in - Contentment with the thought that God knows what is best for us; contentment in knowing the things He allows us to go through are used to help make us stronger Christians; contentment in realizing we are reaching our goal of becoming more like Him. Peace and contentment does not always come easily, but the more we walk with the Lord, the more He will show us that peace is something we encounter when we choose to abide in Him.

I hope this encourages you in your Christian walk - not only to explain things accurately to unbelievers, but to also realize we CAN have peace in the midst of our trials. In Christ, we have hope that others do not have. So, take courage, my friends; and, may peace be with you...

John 16:33 - "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."(NAS)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Suggestions & Ideas

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I thought I'd share the following suggestions. I found these several years ago on  ANNIE'S HOME PAGE

  • If you know a single person make sure that they don't spend Thanksgiving alone. Let them become part of your family for that day.

  • Spend one hour as a family at a shelter or nursing home volunteering.

  • If you can afford it take a single mother or father to the grocery store and pay for their thanksgiving day groceries.

  • Make two of each of the pies you make and give one away to a busy mother or senior that can't bake this year.

  • Be creative, there are so many ways to use your abundance to help those in need. Your abundance may be that you have a family that loves you and you can even share that with a lonely widow or widower who never had any children of their own. They can become an adopted grandparent for your children for Thanksgiving Day or any day for that matter.

  • Often it is just a matter of using your organizational skills to check and double check to make sure that NONE will be lacking in your church or neighborhood for the holiday season. Consider starting with your Sunday School class and make sure that each one will have a place to go on Thanksgiving instead of being alone.

  • Call one of your neighbors and see if they can come over for a piece of pie or have dessert with you this Thanksgiving Day.

  • Share your abundance of clothes and blankets this year. Gather some extra blankets and even the coat that is a little too small. Maybe bring that extra pair of gloves that you never really liked and take them to a homeless shelter.

  • Make some sandwiches and cookies and take them to the homeless people in your town. Get some empty shoe boxes and put a few seasonal treats and treasures along with some Thanksgiving cards in them. Then they can be handed out at the nursing home this Thanksgiving. While you are there you can ask the director if there are any people who might need a visit or some fresh flowers to cheer them up this year.

  • If you love the tradition of Thanksgiving Football games, that's great. BUT make sure you don't watch them alone. Invite a single person over to watch the game with you. Not everyone will either want to or be able to travel home for the holidays. You can even PRAY for the athletes as you watch the game this year. Also consider praying for the announcers or those in the stadium that are watching the game.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving as you celebrate with family and friends!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Mary is a good friend of mine. We both attended the same college, but at different times, and I "found" her one day in our alumni magazine. I was interested in getting to know her, as I thought she looked familiar, and I also saw she was a mother of special needs children (something we definitely had in common). I e-mailed her one day, and we became friends almost instantly. We have shared prayers and support, shared several family "outings," and have studied God's Word together. It has been a blessing to know Mary, and she has allowed me this opportunity to share a poem she wrote in her college days. It is a poem about Wisdom and how it's important for us to strive at living our lives in a way that would make God want to say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." 

Matt 25:21 - "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'(NKJ)

Now, here's Mary....

In college I spent some time serving the elderly in a particular apartment complex. We ran errands, fixed things, and spent time talking. One woman stood out in particular to me.


“Enjoy your youth,” the woman said,
Imploring with her eyes
I could not grasp her full intent
But knew that she was wise.

“I was young once, just like you,
And felt I’d always be;
But now I look back with regret
On all I did not see.

If I could relive my youthful days
I’d get it through my head
That life is short and I must grasp
Each moment, each word said.

Don’t demand love from your friends
And don’t expect too much.
Love them each for who they are
Don’t use them as your crutch.

Look for ways to be content
With what God gives to you
That way you’ll not regret
And to His word You’ll be true.”

As she spoke she brought me
To a state of deepened thought.
I thanked God for wiser people,
Praying others could be taught.

~ Mary Lee ~

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day!

My family and I attended the Veterans Day ceremony in town this morning. Here are a few pictures we would like to share....

Honor Guard veterans lined up on the courthouse lawn.

The Jr. High band played several patriotic songs
and did a great job!

There were over 400 flags on the courthouse lawn, with names on each one to recognize the deceased veterans in the County.
It was quite a site!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What is Veterans Day?

What is Veterans Day? Oh, I know, I know.... it’s a holiday that lets us stay home from school and work. We get the day off from our regular duties and get to do whatever we want to do, right? Well...yes....but why? Have you ever really shared with your children or grandchildren what Veterans Day is all about? I would guess that half the population really doesn’t have a clue as to what its for, aside from it being a day to sleep in.
Well, here's the scoop... Veteran’s Day is an annual American holiday that encourages us to honor all veterans (past, present and future) for their service to our country. 

So, who are veterans? They're the men and women who have served (or are currently serving) in the various branches of the armed forces: Army, Army Reserve, Army National Guard, Marines Corps, Marine Corps Reserve, Navy, Navy Reserve, Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air Guard, Coast Guard, Coast Guard Reserve.

By the way, the men pictured on today’s blog are all United States veterans. They are all related to either me or my husband in some way. This, by no means, is ALL of the veterans in our family lines. However, these are some of the photos I was recently able to gather.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day, which specifically honors military members who have DIED in service to their country. While deceased veterans are also remembered on Veterans Day, the focus is on their faithful service, and not on their death in battle.

Everyone who owns a calendar should be able to see that Veterans Day is coming up this Wednesday, November 11th. As the day approaches, please remember it is not a day to debate whether or not we should or should not be at war with someone; And, it is not a day to voice your opinions about the military and whether or not you think they are doing a good job. What it is a day for is a day to honor and remember all the men and women who have served for YOU and for the freedom you have here in America.

As Veterans Day approaches, I want to encourage us all to keep patriotism alive in this country and find some way to help our children (and ourselves) appreciate the sacrifices our veterans have made for us. This article from has some good suggestions on how we can do that:

In closing, I want to personally thank each and every veteran out there for your service to our country. God bless you all,
and God bless America!

Click below to hear Celine Dion sing a wonderful rendition of
God Bless America!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

GUEST BLOGGER: Dr. James L. McIntosh

I'm pleased to present my dad as a guest blogger today. He is an Instructor and the Academic Dean at Brookes Bible Institute in St. Louis, MO. A couple of years ago, he wrote this short message for the back of a church bulletin. With his permission, I am sharing it with you now....

I Love Fire Departments

While teaching a class in our small Bible Institute, one day a student asked what it means to be a disciple and how that relates to going to heaven. The Lord provided me with a good answer, as we have a fire department across the street.

In response, I told [the students] how one could become a “disciple” of the fire department. (They do like visitors, you know.) Each week, I could go there and learn what they have to do to put out fires. They could teach me about cleaning the equipment, getting it all ready for the next emergency, and what wax to use to polish each item. They could show me what mask to use for each kind of fire and what tank to use to breathe properly in each situation. They could teach me how to put the hoses away. They would call me by name and be glad I came, as we all are friendly. However, when the bell rings and they leave, I would be left behind. You see, I am only a learner, or a disciple. Not a part of them.

Each week, we have in our churches the same situation. Many friendly folk come and are learners. They can tell most of the facts of what Jesus Christ did for mankind. They can tell of His virgin birth, sinless life, death, burial, resurrection, and even ascension. Yet, when it is time to leave this earth and go to heaven, they will be left behind, as they were only learners. They were not a part of Him.

A disciple is a learner. Become a “truster” in what He did, not just knowing what He did. Place your TRUST in Him today.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Be a Blessing Today

Its that time of year - cold and flu season. So many people are, or already have been, sick with one thing or another. I’m not going to take the time right now to tell you all the best ways to keep from getting sick, what or what not to eat, what supplements to take, etc. There are many other websites out there that have already covered that. What I would rather focus on is how we can help each other during the times our friends and family are not feeling well. Here are just a few suggestions. You can do these without even entering the person’s home and exposing yourselves to their illness:

  • This may be obvious to some of you, but prayer is very important. Don’t just pray a blanket prayer like “Lord please help all the sick people get well.” Pray a specific prayer for each person you know who needs healing.
  • Send a “Get Well” card, or a note of encouragement, letting them know you are thinking of them. Even an e-mail or a note on Facebook can help to brighten someone’s day, if only for a little while.
  • Make them a simple meal, such as soup and crackers, especially if the main cook of the family doesn’t feel well enough to prepare meals. Or, for those of you who can afford it, ask the family what they like and go buy frozen dinners, or order take-out for them.
  • Drop off a basket of videos, books and/or games for the family to borrow while they are stuck at home. Or, go buy the kids a new toy or some coloring books to help pass the time.
  • Call the family up and ask if there are any errands you can run for them around town.
I think its important that we all try to remember each other in our times of need. Ask the Lord to show you who needs a special blessing today; and, most importantly, when some names have been brought to your attention, go and BE a blessing.

(click on the title above to hear the tune)

Words by Ira B. Wilson
Music by George S. Schuler

Out in the highways and byways of life,
many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife
making the sorrowing glad.

Make me a blessing,
Make me a blessing,
Out of my life
May Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O savior, I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.

Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love;
Tell of His pow'r to forgive;
Others will trust Him if only you prove
true ev'ry moment you live.


Give as 'twas given to you in your need;
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed;
Unto your mission be true.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

GUEST BLOGGER: David Stankus

We have a guest blogger today: My husband, David. He has been involved with Emergency Services for over 20 years now. Here's what he has to say about seeing the fruits of our labor... 

As a Paramedic, I don't usually get to see the end results of my work. I do as my medical protocols command, then let the doctor worry about the outcome. One day, my partner and I were thrilled to see the results of our labor as we had a direct hand in saving someone's life.

We received a call for a person choking. When we arrived, we found a man who was indeed choking. He was unconscious and not breathing. We followed our protocols and training and in a matter of a few seconds, we had the object out and his airway was clear. We began helping him to breathe and on the way to the hospital, he started to breathe on his own. About an hour later, we returned to the hospital with another patient and we checked on him and found that he was awake and doing fine.

It was exciting to see the results of our labor. Usually, when we deal with a patient, we assess the problem, begin treatment in our ambulance, and deliver him to the ER. That's the last we see or hear of the patient. We know we make a difference in that person's life but, sometimes, we don't get to see it.

This also has a spiritual application. We labor in the cause of Christ and, many times, do not see the fruits of that labor. It is easy to get discouraged and believe that you are not really making an impact or a difference for Christ. However, God said His Word will not come back empty. He does do something with the seeds we sow. Occasionally, we get to see the fruit of our labor. But, even if we don't, we must remember to do as Christ commands us, then let Him worry about the outcome.

Isa 55:11 - So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding {in the matter} for which I sent it. (NAS)


Sunday, October 11, 2009

I Just Came to Praise the Lord

When I was growing up, my parents enjoyed listening to various types of music and collected a large number of different LP’s for us all to listen to (an LP is a Long Playing record, for those of you who were wondering). Those were the days when the only thing available for listening to music was either the radio, a cassette player, or a record player. My parents instilled in me a love for a variety of good, wholesome music, as we would spend an afternoon or evening listening to our newest album.

One of the Christian albums we all enjoyed was by The Imperials; and, a song they made popular is a very simple chorus about praising the Lord.

I just came to praise the Lord.
I just came to praise the Lord.
I just came to praise His holy name.
I just came to praise the Lord.

On this beautiful Autumn day, I am coming to this blog to do just one thing - to praise the Lord and thank Him for His goodness. Through good times, and difficult times, He has been there for me and my family. I am thankful for all He has done for us.

Ps 146:2 - I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happy 90th Birthday, Grandma!

Yesterday, a gathering of 50-60 family and friends met at my grandmother’s church to help celebrate her 90th birthday! It was a nice day - a time to fellowship, share, cry a little, and laugh a lot - a time to remember the good times we’ve had, and to look back and laugh at the things that may not have seemed so funny at the time it first happened. It was a day to recognize a wonderful “young” lady who has touched so many lives with her love and compassion, her sense of humor, her strength, and her love for the Lord.

Grandma has been such an inspiration to me, and to many others as well. I am so “proud” to call her my grandma. She isn’t perfect (Who is?), but the overall way she has lived her life is a testimony of how I want to be remembered when I am her age.

Grandma’s favorite hymn is “Because He Lives.” As I listen to the lyrics, I can see how perfect they are, and how well they fit with my Grandma’s life. Through all the struggles she has encountered, as well as all the joyous times in her life, she has never forgotten what really matters.... Because HE lives, we can face tomorrow....

Even if you don’t know my grandma, please take some time to listen to this song and be reminded of how our lives are soooo worth living.... Just because HE lives....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Seeking whom he may devour

I have to admit, these past few weeks have NOT been easy weeks for us. It seems one thing after another creeps up to try and discourage us, bring us down, and keep us from accomplishing the goals we have tried to set in place. If you look back at my previous blog entries, you will see how, a few weeks ago, the fleas made their appearance. Shortly after that, there were behavior issues to deal with in our children and in myself. And now, this past week, we have all been sick and stuck inside the house, except for running a few necessary errands. I can’t help but wonder when it will end and when our lives can get back to “normal” again, if there is such a thing. (Sigh)

I also realize we are not the only ones experiencing struggles in our lives and, actually, OUR “problems” are very mild compared to some others I’ve heard about. But, you know what? It doesn’t really matter how big or small our problems are. What matters is that everything we go through in life is for a reason. It could be to strengthen our faith and draw us closer to the Lord. It could be to show others a witness as we “handle” things in a Christlike manner. It could be to test us for one reason or another.... Or, it could be Satan trying to discourage us from joyfully serving the Lord and making a difference in this world.

Satan knows how to hit us where it hurts. He is actively roaming around at this very moment, seeking whom he may devour. It’s true! Check out this verse....

1Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (KJV)

So, how can we survive when the devil pounces? The answer is very clear on that... Eph. 6:10-17.

Open your Bible and read it right now. Go ahead... read it! Once you've read those verses, you'll understand why there is a picture of our son here, dressed in a knight's costume. (If you can’t find your Bible, then that may be a sign right there as to why you are going through so many struggles right now. Maybe God is trying to "wake you up" and bring you back to Himself?)

Anyway, now that you’ve read those verses, take some time to PRAY and ask the Lord to give you the strength to put these verses into action. (If you don’t understand what these verses really mean, then go have a talk with a pastor or a church elder as soon as possible.)

But, also..... if you read on into Eph. 6:18, let’s not forget that we need to continue praying for and encouraging each other. We all need to stick together during these trying times.

Ephesians 6:18 - With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. (NAS)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ask for Wisdom

Whenever I ask the Lord for wisdom to help my husband and I figure out what to do in a certain situation (including this past week regarding our children’s educational needs), the answer does not always come immediately. Actually, it usually takes at least a day or two before we have an answer - sometimes longer. But, God does answer this prayer. In fact, there has never been a time in my life when He has not answered this prayer.

Trust me on this one - The Lord loves to answer this prayer for us, and He always gives generously when the time is right. All you need to do is ask for it. I promise you He will listen. And, if you listen back, the answers are sure to come.

James 1:5 - But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (NAS)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Encouragement of Friends

Prov 27:9 - Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel. (NKJ)

I am so thankful for the wise counsel of good friends...

Last week was incredibly frustrating for me as I tried to motivate the children to learn some new material. I admit I was in tears a couple of times and, one day, I even raised my voice out of frustration, reacting in a manner of which I am not proud. However, since then, I have had a lot of prayer support and encouragement from several other mom friends who understand the challenges we face with our children. I received wise counsel from them and, because of their willingness to reach out to me, I believe God has given me some new ideas to try with the children. Now, instead of looking at this coming week with fear and hesitation, I am looking forward to seeing what our week has in store. Thank you to all of you who reached out to me with kind and thoughtful words, a listening ear, and a prayerful heart.

This week, as the Lord brings your friends and family to mind, think of a way to reach out to them. Maybe God has brought them to your mind for a reason. Send them a "thinking of you" card, give them a phone call to see how they are doing, send them an e-mail, or say a prayer for them, even if you don't know what to specifially pray for (and then tell them you prayed for them the next time you see them). Let's remember to encourage one another, and to be there for each other, in a world where frustrations run high.

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Be Careful What You Pray For

What an interesting week we’ve had! (Life is never really boring around here anyway, LOL!) It all started because of a prayer request I mentioned at the last prayer meeting with our local homeschool group. I first asked for prayer that the kids (especially our youngest) would adjust quickly to a new school routine. Aside from that, I also told the group how I wanted to spend less time on the computer. During the summer months, I became used to sitting at the computer on a daily basis as I finished up my book about Communion and began the advertising process. It has been hard for me to break away from the computer at times. My housework, and other things, had been neglected. So, I asked that my time would be used more wisely. I don’t want to completely give up my computer time, but I DO need to start having a specific time set aside each day to be on.

Lo and behold, shortly after that prayer meeting, I found out our cats were loaded with fleas! Aaaggg! I ended up spending most of the week bathing the cats, giving them a flea treatment from the Vet’s office, and thoroughly vacuuming and cleaning the entire house. I also set up an appointment for an exterminator to come out and spray the house. We had to vacuum again thoroughly before he came, and move items away from the walls and off the floors as much as possible. Then, we all (including the cats) had to be out of the house for at least 4 hours while the treatment dried. (Thank you to my friend, Rachel, for allowing us to crash her place for a few hours!) When we got back home, the floors needed to be vacuumed once again before we could let the cats out and move furniture back into place. Ugh! What an exhausting week! Has anyone ever told you to be careful what you pray for? Well, this is a classic example of that! LOL.

Oh well.... I’m so thankful we found the fleas before all their eggs hatched and we had thousands of little hopping, biting black bugs all over us. God is good.... ALL the time.

Poor kitties.... No more going outside for recess....

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Like many others, this week was the start of a new school year for us. It has been a bit challenging at times, as we all try to settle into a new routine. But, I think this year is going to be one of the best we’ve had. I’m looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us. Our son is in 1st grade this year, and is expected to do more work than he did last year, so I’m not too sure he has the same positive thoughts as me. LOL. But, we are working on having a cheerful attitude, even about the things we don’t really want to do.

The verse we have chosen for our school theme is:

Ps 113:3 - From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised. (NAS)

You may already know this about me, but I am absolutely in awe of sunsets. There are several reasons for this. One is the obvious - their beauty is magnificent! Who can deny that a sunset is very pleasing to the eyes (if you really take the time to notice it, of course).

Another reason is the fact that God’s paintings of the evening sky remind me He is still there, watching over me, and holding my right hand. It reminds me to continue praising him, no matter what kind of day I’ve had.

It is my prayer that my family and I will praise the Lord in all things, even in the trials that come our way. I hope this is your prayer as well.

(Note: I took the above sunset picture when I was a teenager, visiting a Christian camp in Minnesota. This is where my love of sunsets was first realized.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Deer Park at Grant's Farm

Our vacation is over, and I’m finally getting a chance to post another entry on my blog...

Our vacation was made up of visiting with both sides of our family, celebrating 3 birthdays, doing some fun activities in Springfield (IL), swimming in various pools, and going to Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, MO. It was a full week and a half, but it was fun, and even educational on some occasions.

One of the most memorable events for me and my family was the tram ride at Grant’s Farm. As we rode through the deer park, the animals came so close to the tram that we could almost reach out and touch them. It was really neat to be so close to them in such a wide, open area.

As my husband and I discussed this later, he brought up a good thought... If there were no sin in the world, and we had been able to stay in the Garden of Eden, life could have been like that for us. We would be walking with and touching the animals on a daily basis. They would not be afraid of us, and we would not be afraid of them. We may have even been able to feed them from our own hands.

Unfortunately, sin did enter the world, and we don’t have many chances to safely commune with wildlife anymore. So, I’m glad my family and I had the chance to at least get a glimpse of what it could have been like for us in the Garden. And, I look forward to the future, after the Lord returns, when I know the animals will be a special part of our environment.

Isaiah 11:6-9 "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea." (NKJV)

If you ever get a chance to make it to Grant’s Farm, I recommend it. But, be sure to get there EARLY! The parking lot fills up fast!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Illinios Symbols

My family and I were on a little vacation get-away this past weekend. We spent some time visiting with family, and also did some fun things in Springfield, IL. One of the interesting things we did was visit the Illinois State Museum. The picture you see is a metal statue of a white-tailed deer, standing near the Visitor’s Center. At first, I wondered, “Why is there a statue of a deer here? What significance does it have?” I later found out the official animal symbol of IL is the white-tailed deer. Aha! Then, I also found out several other interesting facts about IL. Let’s see how many you know...

State Flower: Violet (chosen in 1907)
State Tree: White Oak
State Bird: Cardinal (chosen in 1928)
State Insect: Monarch Butterfly
State Fish: Bluegill
State Fossil: Tully Monster (a soft-bodied marine animal)
State Mineral: Fluorite
State Snack: Popcorn
State Dance: Square Dance
State Amphibian: Eastern Tiger Salamander (chosen in 2005)
State Prairie Grass: Big Bluestem
State Song: “Illinois, Illinois” written by C.H. Chamberlain & Archibald Johnston

Friday, July 31, 2009

Lessons from a Bee

This past Tuesday, as I was setting up the kids’ slip-n-slide in the backyard, I had the unfortunate occurrence of stepping on a honey bee. He was minding his own business, quickly going about from clover to clover when, out of the blue, this human lady steps on him and he lets her know he is NOT HAPPY about being stepped on! Talk about hurt! Its been years since I was last stung, so I forgot about the sensation of a hot needle piercing through my skin. I hobbled over to the back steps, all the while saying, “Ow, ow, ow, ow!” Two wide-eyed kids followed closely behind me, wondering what was going on. I sat down and removed the stinger out of my little toe. No, I did not take a picture of the stinger, but I did show it to the kids. (Even unfortunate events like this can be learning experiences!) I placed the thin black stinger so it was sticking upwards on the tip of my finger, and we watched as the venom sack continued to pump, moving the little stinger back and forth. Amazing. Good thing I acted quickly and removed the stinger within a short amount of time. I have read how the longer a stinger is in, the worse the reaction can be. But, even with quick action, I have still had to endure unpleasant side effects these past few days - redness, pain, swelling, intense itching, and a loopy head from the Benadryl I’ve been taking.

This got me to thinking... I guess sin in our lives can act the same way as that bee sting. Just one sin can cause many consequences (side effects) in our lives, and those effects sometimes take awhile to disappear - sometimes they never do. However, we know that God does forgive us when we ask Him; and he uses these consequences in our lives to make us wiser, while drawing us closer to Himself. If we are unwilling to quickly make amends (pull that stinger out), our spiritual lives will suffer. But, confessing our sins brings healing and a renewed relationship with the Lord. Here is a passage I found that talks about this very thing...

Ps 32:1-5 - Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah (NIV)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Creative Works

I had a simple, black tape recorder when I was growing up. I can remember making tape recordings with my friends - singing on them and telling stories - and I know my brother and my husband both did the same type of thing. It is so fun to listen to those old tapes and hear what we used to sound like.

Last summer, Dave and I found an old tape recorder at a garage sale, similar to the one I had as a child. So, we bought it for our kids. Our son is quite the little story teller now, and enjoys making stories on tapes, just as we both did. He has included his big sister in the productions and she enjoys taking part in them as well.

How can something so simple be so much fun for kids? Because most kids love to hear their voices, and most kids LOVE to create. This creative nature normally carries over into adulthood as well. Our labor, and even our pastimes, include architecture, various types of artists, authors, musicians, carpenters, designers, seamstresses... and the list goes on. This creativity is one sign that shows us we are made in God’s image, as God also loves to create.

Here are just a few verses which mention God’s creative works. As you read these verses, think about why you were created by God. What is your purpose for being here on earth?

Gen 1:31 - Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (NKJ)

Rev 4:11 - Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (KJV)

Eph 2:10 - For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Make Time....

Each day, as I sit at the computer, I get the privilege of Aggie’s company. She is such a dear cat, who has been a part of my life for over 12 years now. She and her sister, Dutchess, came to us as only 6-week-old kittens, before we were blessed with children of the human kind.

I have to admit, Aggie sometimes gets on my nerves, always wanting attention and nudging her nose up against my fingers as I try to type. It takes me a few times of lovingly (and sometimes not so lovingly) pushing her away before she finally either settles down on my lap, or on top of the computer desk next to my keyboard. On occasion, she will even lay on the floor near my feet. When David is home and is working on his computer, she is then blessing HIM with her presence. She will even follow him around the house from one room to another, wanting his attention.

Despite how adoring Aggie is, David and I have often complained about how “needy” she seems to be. But, you know what? On the occasions when she isn’t there, we wonder, “Where is Aggie?” It is odd to not have her around, and we actually miss it.

It’s the same between us and our heavenly Father. He desires fellowship with us and always wants to be near us, even to the point of following us around from place to place. But, how often do we push Him aside and say, “Not now, Lord. I don’t have time for You.”

Sometimes it takes something drastic for us to realize we are not close to the Lord, and then we miss having that closeness. I hope you are not feeling this way. But, if you are, please take some time today to strengthen your relationship with Him. Spend some time with the Lord in prayer and be comforted by his presence. He adores you!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Garden is Producing Fruit

In my entire life, I have never planted a vegetable garden but, this year, I decided to give it a try. I planted several tomato plants in 3 different varieties, zucchini, cucumbers & green beans. We also let our son plant some lettuce, watermelons and pumpkins. Unfortunately, out of all we planted, only the tomatoes and zucchini have produced any fruit, and it doesn't look good for the rest. I’m a bit disappointed that some of the items our son and I planted together did not even show any signs of growth. But, I figure this year’s garden is a learning experience for both of us. Next year will hopefully be different. At least I have tomatoes and zucchini, which I'm very excited about! Those plants have definitely produced, as you can see by the picture.

So, how is your garden growing? You may be thinking, "I don't have a garden." But, if you are a Christian, you have a spiritual garden. Its up to you to keep it cultivated, allowing it to produce good fruit:

Gal 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.(NAS)

On another note, we are not the only ones enjoying our garden. My family and I came home late a couple nights ago and found this deer standing in the middle of it, chewing on the leaves of the tomato plants. This picture isn’t the best, but she sure was a sight! One of God’s creatures right there in my own back yard. I hope she enjoyed her meal.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

The sun is not shining here today. Actually, it is cloudy and raining. I'm sure many 4th of July picnics will be very wet or brought indoors. Regardless, I hope your day is a good one as you celebrate what Independence Day really means.

You can find the following quotes, and many more, at The Quote Garden:

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. ~Thomas Paine

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. ~Elmer Davis

We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls. ~Robert J. McCracken

If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace. ~Hamilton Fish

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. ~Abraham Lincoln

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
~Lee Greenwood

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Praising God Today for His Protection of My Other Mother!

My husband's mother was in a car wreck last night. Someone sped through a stop sign and hit her car on the tail end. Mom's car turned around and ended up rolling at least 2 or 3 times. All the windows were broken. Mom was wearing her seatbelt, like always. The hospital kept her for observation last night but, so far, she seems to be okay (aside from a goose egg on her forehead and a few other bumps and bruises.) The Lord's angels were definitely watching over her. Mom saw the other car coming and veered away. If it hadn't been for that, she could have been hit square on the driver's door. Things would have been a lot worse. Thank you, Lord, for your protection!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Seventeen Years and Counting!

The last time we visited David’s parents, his mother told me she is so thankful David had found a wife (Me, of course!) who could “put up” with his quirks. She meant that lovingly, though. She wasn’t putting him down - no, not at all. She truly loves her son and wants only the best for him. But, at the same time, she is his mother and realizes he does have some behaviors that can be a bit peculiar at times. Her mention of this was to emphasize the fact that I am someone special to David, and to her, and she was glad the Lord had brought David and I together.

I, too, am thankful the Lord has brought us together. I truly love my husband with all my heart, and I’m so blessed to have him for my husband. We've had a lot of good times over the years, and have shared many of life's ups and downs. He's not perfect, and neither am I, but we are learning and growing together.

My life would not be the same without this man. He is kind and caring, has a heart for God, is a GREAT teacher and loves to teach about the Bible (especially about our free gift of salvation), is a GREAT Paramedic, is great at keeping track of our expenses, and is a loving and protective father. He has taught me so much, and has helped to make ME the person I am today. The kids love him, I love him, and our lives would not be complete without him.

Thank you, David, for being a special part of my life! Thank you for sharing the last 17 years as my husband. I look forward to many more!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Forty years and counting...

I celebrated my 40th birthday this year! Yay! We had a nice, little family gathering at my house. Nothing big - nothing fancy - just my family - just the way I liked it! And, I really like the number 40, too. So many people get so depressed about this milestone in their lives, but I have no regrets. I am happy with my life and I think 40 is a nice round, even number.

My husband, David, surprised me with the gift he and the kids gave me. I am wearing it today for the first time, as it had to be special ordered and took a few weeks to arrive. Its a mother's ring, something I have been wanting for quite awhile. A very special reminder of the two beautiful kids God has given me. I will cherish the ring forever. (But, of course, I cherish my kids even more!)