Tuesday, August 30, 2011

GUEST POST: Just Enough Grace

I want to share an article with you from my new blogging friend, Valerie. She is a pastor's wife, a homeschool mama, and a fellow writer. I recently found her through an article she wrote for Homeschool Enrichment Magazine, and contacted her on her BLOG. Here is her latest post. Thanks for allowing me to share this, Valerie!


2 Corinthians 12:9 - And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

When my husband was 16 years old, he began having severe pain in his lower back. After taking medication for many days with no relief, his parents took him to the doctor. They discovered through ultrasound that one of his kidneys was the size of a basketball. Further tests revealed that a vein had been attached to his ureter since birth. As he grew, the vein grew, finally closing off the ureter so that the kidney could not be emptied. By God's great mercy and blessing, the doctors were able to remove his kidney, repair the problem and then replace the kidney. It now functions normally!

He told me that while he was in the hospital, they gave him a morphine pump. When he needed pain relief, he need only to press a button, and morphine would go into his IV and into his blood stream. He often wanted more than the prescribed amount to relieve the pain from the 12 inch cut they had made in his side. He said, "I would push the button over and over, but it would only release the morphine after a certain amount of time had passed since the last dose had been released." In other words, the medical staff had made it possible for him to get pain relief on demand, but within reason. Obviously, if they had let him take as much as he wanted when he wanted, he could have overdosed and died.

Sometimes, I feel as though I'm not getting any help from the Lord, I'm not getting any "pain relief". Then I realize that I'm borrowing trouble, I'm fretting over something that may or may not happen. In those times, I don't need any grace, I need to re-focus. I need to stop worrying! He gives me the grace I need, when I need it. I may want grace for tomorrow, but I don't get it, not until tomorrow comes. I get the grace I need for today, for my current problem. Then tomorrow, I'll get the grace I need for that time. Day by day, moment by moment, I receive the help and strength that I need. Not a moment too soon, and not a moment too late. Right on time.

Just when life gets unbearable in the present, I cry out - I press the "pump"- and guess what? I receive the relief I need. He sends me an encouraging email or card from a friend. He allows me an up-close look at His amazing Hummingbird. He helps me to see the many blessings I've overlooked. He reminds me of the heroes of the Bible. For instance, when I feel forsaken, I remember how Hagar felt the same way after Sarah forced her to leave. She was ready to die, but God saw her and He took care of her.(Gen.21:14-19) God knows where I am, too. He will take care of me.

And in the process, I can boldly say with Paul, "His grace is sufficient!"

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Daily Prayer Schedule

I don’t know about you but, I have oftentimes found it very overwhelming to pray for the needs of each and every person in my life during my prayer time. I do think its important to spend time in prayer, but I also don’t want to be feeling like I need to rush through every person on my list, just so I can “get them in.” So, I decided to make a change that has been very helpful for me. In case it is helpful for someone else, I wanted to share it with you... All you need to do is make yourself a daily prayer schedule and pray for specific people on specific days. If there is an immediate need then, of course, you can (and should) pray for it, no matter which day you are on. But, for the general rule, keep it to a simple schedule such as this...


SUNDAY - Thanksgivings (Don’t ask for anything unless its an immediate need. Just thank God for all He has done for you.)

MONDAY - Church family (Requests mentioned in church on Sunday, etc.)

TUESDAY - My Spouse & Myself (health, marriage, jobs, decisions, etc.)

WEDNESDAY - Our children (health, behavior, attitudes, goals, spiritual growth, etc.)

THURSDAY - Our Parents & Grandparents (health, marriage, jobs, decisions, etc.)

FRIDAY - Extended Family (Siblings & their families, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, etc.)

SATURDAY - Friends & their families

Try it for a week and see how it goes! And, I would love to hear feedback on it, if you care to share. Or, if you have found a different way to simplify and/or strengthen YOUR prayer time, please feel free to share that as well.

Monday, August 15, 2011

#3 Refine, #4 Rejuvenate, and #5 Rest

Some people are born organizers. Some are not. I think a lot of it has to do with how we are raised, but I think personalities come into play as well. Regardless of our background or our personalities, it is possible to LEARN how to keep an organized home. The 3rd SESSION of “The Five R’s for Godly Womanhood” speaks directly about this topic. Last month, us Gabby Moms reviewed the first two sessions of this bundle from Lorrie Flem. This month, we delved into the last three sessions...

I think its important to explain here that Lorrie Flem is not a regular “Suzy Homemaker,” as some may call it. Lorrie was the oldest of four children, however, she did not really have a lot of responsibility around the house. Her mother did most of the housework by herself. It wasn’t until after Lorrie was married that she realized a change needed to be made in the way she managed her home. Apparently, she and her husband were visited by police officers one night after hearing a noise in the house, and the officers thought an intruder had “destroyed” the living room. It turns out, the living room was in its normal chaotic state. This was a big eye opener for Lorrie, and she began learning how to make her home more presentable. She also had to learn how to keep it that way without much effort. In this session, Lorrie shares 7 teachings on how to manage a home.

In SESSION 4 of this “Godly Womanhood” bundle, I had to laugh when I heard Lorrie tell of a young father licking mustard off his hand only to find out it was not mustard, but a need for his baby’s diaper change! Ewwww! It makes it all the more funny when I remember a similar event that happened to my husband when HE was a new father. He was holding our baby daughter and noticed the “mustard” on his hand as well, then ran disgustingly to the bathroom to wash up after realizing what it really was. Ha ha! I love that story! At least he didn’t lick it off, like the first guy. But, to move on, this story from Lorrie was told to represent how life brings us unexpected surprises while raising kids. Then, she goes on to explain how RAISING a child is not the same as TRAINING a child, and how the number one problem that comes up in child training is inconsistency. Training children involves a commitment of our time and efforts. In this session, Lorrie touches on several areas of Biblical child training and discipline. It is all very good food for thought.

SESSION 5 lets us know that, even with the most well-behaved  children, the demands of our families can sometimes wear us down physically and spiritually. Are you weak in spirit? Do you feel as if you need a rest from life’s demands? Lorrie believes when our souls are longing for rest, we are actually longing to find solitude at God's feet. Taking a warm bath or spending a night away from home might help for a little while, but it won’t make the real issue at hand go away. Taking a bath will help to refresh our bodies on the outside, but it doesn’t refresh us on the inside. We need the Living Water to do that, and the Word of God. Instead of relying on a bath (or something else) to “wash our blues away,” Lorrie encourages us in this session to give all our stress and worry to the Lord. “Give it up in order to get it all.”

To learn more about “The Five R’s for Godly Womanhood,” or to purchase the full bundle for $24.97, visit the PRODUCT INFORMATION page of Eternal Encouragement Magazine.

And, if you didn't already know, I received The 5 R’s to Godly Womanhood as an official member of The Gabby Moms blogging program. I did not receive compensation for this post and all opinions are solely my own.

If YOU have a blog of your own, and are interested in joining the 2012 Gabby Moms team, please take a look at this APPLICATION PAGE to read more about the program and/or to apply.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shepherd's Ministries

I remember the Handbell Team and the performance they put on at Moody Church in Chicago. I was so touched at how these adults with intellectual disabilities were serving the Lord in this way, traveling with Shepherd's Ministries in Union Grove, Wisconsin. This was the first I had heard about them.

Many years later, I had forgotten all about Shepherds, until my husband received some information in the mail about them through the church he pastored. I took a much greater interest in them at that time, due to our daughter's autism. I learned that Shepherds provides compassionate Christian care and training to adults with intellectual disabilities. My husband and I have been on their mailing list ever since, and have followed along as they have expanded their ministry to now have a small accredited college.

A couple of weeks ago, our current church, and our family, was blessed by a visit from the "Gospel Team" of Shepherd's Ministries. It was truly an inspiration to meet Al Pick and his buddy Saul. During the morning service, Saul stood up in front of the congregation and gave his testimony of how he came to know the Lord. He then recited verses to share the Gospel, and also sang an old Gaither song, "Something Beautiful," in acapella.

It was easy to see how he enjoyed being in front of people and telling others about Jesus. In fact, out of his 15 hobbies, he said his first and most favorite hobby is telling others about the Lord. It was truly a blessing to meet him and Al. People with intellectual disabilities tend to have such a wonderful example of childlike faith, and are great encouragers. And, if you make a friend of one, you have most likely made a friend for life.

Please, if you ever get the chance to head up to Union Grove, Wisconsin, I know Shepherds would be thrilled to have you stop by and see how God is working there. Al mentioned they have housing available for volunteers, if anyone is willing to come for a day or two, or even more. There are all sorts of ways to minister at Shepherds, including special music, teaching, being a spiritual mentor, maintenance and construction, prepare and lead a 30-minute chapel program, tutoring, and helping out around campus in various other ways. Of course, they are always looking for financial support as well, penpals for the residents, and so on. Give them a call and see how you might be able to make "something beautiful" happen in the lives of these special people.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

VIDEO Review: Paws & Tales - Putting Others First

There are 2 espisodes on this DVD, an approximate total of 50 minutes all together.

Episode #1 finds the two main characters, C.J. and Staci, running errands for their grandfather and meeting many obstacles along the way. They eventually need to decide what is more important - to finish all their errands on time, or to stop and help a friend in need.

Episode #2 introduces the kids' schoolmate, Tiffany, who is from a very wealthy family. She enjoys intimidating those who are less fortunate than her, and using "blackmail" to make C.J. do things he doesn't want to do. In the end, he has to once again make a choice that could potentially affect the future career of someone he loves.

These episodes had very good content in them, and my children enjoyed watching them. However, I do suggest a parent watch them WITH their children, at least for the first time around, because there were a couple of actions mentioned in episode #2 that I felt could have used a bit more clarification. For example, the idea of revenge is brought up and not completely dealt with. In the end, justice was served. However, some parents may wish to clarify that vengeance belongs to the Lord and not to us. Also, it may be important for parents to discuss what their children should do when faced with 2 decisions - one that is a wrong decision (such as cheating, by doing another student's homework), and one that could potentially cause someone else harm. This situation was also resolved, but may need a little more clarification for some children.

Overall, this new DVD is a great concept. Not only does it have two animated stories about putting others first, it also includes music videos and helpful teaching resources to print out on your computer. I haven't had a chance to print out the resources yet, but think they could be a helpful addition to the stories.

You can find this DVD and other Paws & Tales DVD's at TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS.
NOTE:  Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this DVD for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

GUEST POST: A Healing Touch from the Lord

Today's guest blogger is another special person in my life - my mother-in-law, Sharon. Please read her story below of how God intervened in a life or death situation, and laid His healing hands upon her. Thankyou for sharing this story, Mom. I'm so glad God's plan was to spare your life back then and that your family did not have to suffer such a great loss. I am also so glad to have gotten the chance to meet you, and to have you as a part of MY life.  

A Healing Touch from the Lord
By: Sharon Stankus

During the summer of 1978, I experienced what I believe was a divine intervention from the Lord. My appendix ruptured and I did not know it at the time. It is hard for some to understand how that could happen without my knowing it. You see, I had other issues that caused severe pain at different times, so that is why I did not recognize what had happened. It was 3 days later when I knew something was "not right" and went to my doctor. I was immediately hospitalized. There, I learned about the divine intervention that had happened. My body miraculously formed a sac that caught all the fluids from the rupture, something very rare that would not normally happen to a person. That sac, I later learned, was almost the size of a football.

The surgeon said he could not do surgery because he would break that sac and release all the poison into my body. I would have to be on heavy doses of antibiotics until the sac would shrink and surgery could be safely done. I was sent home. I was to be on complete bed rest, and the only time I could leave the house was to go to the doctor’s office. This was a challenge, as I had 3 young children. The oldest one is now this blog owner’s husband.

I felt myself getting weaker, not stronger, each day. One evening, when I could hardly speak, a friend of mine called me and she knew something was wrong. She hung up and immediately called mutual friends of ours, a pastor and his wife. They called me. They knew I was so weak I could barely speak, so they said, “Just listen while we pray.” After praying, they just kept talking to me as I listened. By the time they finished talking to me, I could already feel myself getting stronger. I could sit up and talk. From that time on, I grew stronger and stronger each day. The doctor reports were encouraging, as the sac was shrinking. When the sac had shrunk to about the size of a golf ball, after about 2 months, I had the surgery.

You may be wondering how the needs of my family were taken care of at that time. I could do nothing, as the doctors were concerned the sac would rupture. Well, the ladies from our church took care of us. They cleaned the house, did laundry and brought out meals for over 3 months. (And, we attended a very small church, so these ladies had their turn often.)

If any of you reading this think that, when you take a meal to someone who is ill, you have not done much, let me assure you that you have been a real blessing to that family; and, if you think your prayers are not important, you are mistaken.