Sunday, November 30, 2014

HYMN: Hidden Peace

Today's hymn talks about the peace we can have when we know Christ and are abiding in Him. John S. Brown wrote this hymn in 1899. It is one of two that is known to be written by him, but there is no other information.

The hymn goes along with a blog post I wrote five years ago about a woman who wanted to know, "Where is the peace Christians talk about? What would it be like if I ever did have it?" You can read that old blog post here:


Also, read through the hymn below and you will see how it coincides with that old post. 

Words by:  John S. Brown
Music by:  L.O. Brown

I cannot tell thee whence it came,
This peace within my breast;
But this I know, there fills my soul
A strange and tranquil rest. 

 There’s a deep, settled peace in my soul,
There’s a deep, settled peace in my soul,
Tho’ the billows of sin near me roll,
He abides, Christ abides.

Beneath the toil and care of life,
This hidden stream flows on;
My weary soul no longer thirsts,
Nor am I sad and lone.


I cannot tell the half of love,
Unfeigned, supreme, divine,
That caused my darkest inmost self
With beams of hope to shine.


I cannot tell thee why He chose
To suffer and to die,
But if I suffer here with Him
I’ll reign with Him on high.


Philippians 4:7 - And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (NIV)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Graham Blanchard Learn, Absorb & Praise™ Board Books Set [Giveaway CLOSED]

Graham Blanchard Publishing Company, located in Austin, Texas, celebrated their first birthday on October 1, 2014. They specialize in board books that help parents teach their young children about God, and their books fall into three unique categories: Learn, Absorb & Praise™. 

LEARN books explore God's Word by weaving key passages with a child’s life. 

ABSORB books encompass the facts about God and help children understand what a relationship with God is like. 

PRAISE books celebrate the wonders of God that children experience every day.

In honor of Graham Blanchard's birthday, they launched The Learn, Absorb & Praise™ Classic Collection. This is a gift set of 3 titles, including Jesus Shows Me (from the “Knowing My God” Series), All of Me That You Can’t See, and Mud Puddle Hunting Day.

I was given the opportunity to offer a giveaway of one of these sets on my blog, and am thrilled to be able to do this. These books could make a good Christmas gift for some special little ones in your life. So, if you would like to enter for a chance to win, just follow the instructions on the entry form below. (NOTE: Each action is optional, but you will need to complete at least one action in order to be entered.)

The entries will close at 11:00 p.m. (Central Time) on December 1st.


Linked up with:

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

HYMN: Great is Thy Faithfulness


Today's hymn, GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS, is a special hymn to me and my husband, David for various reasons...
1.  It is David's favorite hymn. 
2.  It is the hymn our family and friends all sang together at our wedding.

3.  It is the theme song of the college we attended in Chicago:  Moody Bible Institute.  It was sung at many school functions and, let me tell you, hearing the echoing voices sing this hymn in a large auditorium, or at Moody Church, is something neither of us will ever forget.
So, yes, it is a special hymn to us. But, there is another reason that makes it special. Have you ever paid attention to the words? They are based on Lamentations 3:22-23:

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

What an encouraging verse! It tells us how loving our God is, and how faithful He is to those who trust in Him. It tells us our God cares about us, and will bless us on a daily basis, if we only take the time to look for those blessings.

The author of the poem-turned-hymn is Thomas Obadiah Chisholm. He was born in Franklin, KY, in a log cabin, became a teacher at the age of 16, accepted the Lord as his Savior in his late twenties, and became a Pastor at the age of 36. This poem/hymn came from his desire to express the faithfulness of God in his life - as well as in ALL of our lives...

Words by:  Thomas O. Chisholm - 1923
Music by:  William M. Runyan

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided --
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! 



Sunday, November 16, 2014

HYMN: How Great Thou Art

My father-in-law's favorite hymn is HOW GREAT THOU ART, which is a classic, popular hymn loved by many. 'Dad' has been involved with the Boy Scouts for many years, and is an obvious lover of the outdoors, so I can see why he likes this hymn. The words are so descriptive and magnificent. They give a musical picture of the great outdoors, and of the world our God created. 

The words were originally written by Rev. Carl Boberg, a Swedish Lutheran minister, in 1885. It is believed he was inspired by the beauty of his homeland.

Stuart Hine, a missionary who was serving in the Ukraine, came across the Russian translation of the hymn in 1927. He sang it in Russian for a few years, then translated 3 verses into English. Then, during WWII, he returned to England and took the translated hymn with him. Its popularity grew in 1948 when a 4th verse was added and the hymn was published in a religious magazine published by Hine. Then, in 1954, it was sung by the famous gospel singer, GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA, which increased its popularity even more.

Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Original words by:  Rev. Carl Boberg
English translated version: Stuart K. Hine
Music:  Swedish folk melody

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed,

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze;


And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin;


When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!



Friday, November 14, 2014

GOOD NEWS: EL's Lab Tests Were Normal

Last week, I posted about EL's BLADDER PROBLEM.  Since then, we received the order from her Endocrinologist to have a urinalysis done, collected it, took it to a local lab, and the doc called the next day with results. Everything was normal! Her Calcium was fine, she is not diabetic, and everything else pointed towards a normal Vasopressin level. This is great news because it means the pituitary tumor is NOT causing any problems. We're so thankful for that and, most likely, she won't need another brain MRI for at least a year from now. The Lord is good.

Unfortunately, EL is still having frequent bathroom breaks, and we don't know why. So, her Pediatrician will be referring us to a Urologist soon. I think we will be able to stick closer to home for this appointment, so that will make things easier.

Thanks for your prayers. I'll update again after we have seen the Urologist.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Own Domain Name

I don't know why its taken me so long to do this, but I finally purchased my own domain name for this blog.  If you remember, the address used to be pretty long. It used to be: And, unless I wrote it down for someone or sent the link in an e-mail, I always had to say "he, dash, holds, dash, my, dash, right, dash, hand, dot blogspot dot com." Talk about awkward! Ugh! It was okay for a start, but I've learned a lot since starting this blog over 5 years ago, and it was time for a change.

That led me to start researching which company to use for my new domain name. There are so many out there now, its a daunting task! As I searched, I read many reviews that said the best option for domain names is GoDaddy. But, as I searched further, I also found many reviewers who were NOT pleased with Go Daddy, mostly due to extra fees they don't tell you about. So, I decided to go with a newer company that has all good reviews from what I've found so far:

I purchased my new domain name from them, then followed their detailed instructions to have it transferred to my current blog. It was quite a challenge for me, since I had never done anything like that before, and it took up an evening of my time. But, by following their INSTRUCTIONS step by step, it eventually got done, and I didn't even need to contact their support staff. I'm rather proud of myself! 


There are no more dashes between the words, and "blogspot" is no longer mentioned in the name. It just uses the title of this blog as the address, and is simple and to the point. I'm happy about it.

The nice thing is, if anyone types in the old address, it will be redirected to the new address. So, you will still get here no matter which address is used.

If you are interested in doing your own research about NameSilo, to compare them with other domain registrars, here are some links to get you started:


NAME SILO REVIEW - October 2013 

NAME SILO REVIEW - October 2012 



Sunday, November 9, 2014

HYMN: My Country 'Tis of Thee

With Veteran's Day coming up on Tuesday, I think this patriotic hymn is a fitting one to focus on for this Sunday. It was written in 1831 by Samuel F. Smith while he was a theological student studying in Germany. It only took him 30 minutes to write the words (and the music came from the melody of the United Kingdom's national anthem.)

The hymn was first performed at an Independence Day celebration in 1831, and was later sung as one of America's national anthems before "The Star Spangled Banner" was adopted in 1931.

Thank you to all the Veterans who have served our country and sacrificed your time for our freedom. God bless you all!

Words by Samuel Francis Smith 

My country, 'tis of thee, 
Sweet land of Liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrim's pride!
From ev'ry mountain side,
Let freedom ring!

My native country thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love.
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
Sweet freedom's song.
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers' God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Author Fair in Charleston, IL

I am excited to announce the publication of my new book:  A Picnic Snack.

The book is currently available through for $14.95 plus shipping. If you order by November 11th, you can use a coupon code to get FREE SHIPPING. The code is:  HSQ2.

If you will be anywhere near the Charleston, IL area tomorrow (Sunday, November 9th), please stop by the Charleston Carnegie Public Library between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. for their first "Friends of the Library Author Fair." My family and I will be there with a table, presenting my two books: What is Communion? and A Picnic Snack.

This event is open to the public and is free of charge. Over a dozen Central IL authors are planning to be on hand with their books available for purchase and signing. (Note:  I will not have any of "A Picnic Snack" on hand for purchase tomorrow, but will have a sample copy available to browse through and you will be able to place an order.) This could be a great opportunity to get some of your Christmas shopping started! We would love to see you there!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

EL's 4th MRI and A Bladder Problem

EL getting ready for her 4th MRI
Our last update on EL was in August, and we had good reports from her doctors at that time. Since then, thankfully nothing has changed except for one thing - there has been a major increase in her going to the bathroom. We have seen her regular Pediatrician twice for this issue, and it has been determined she does not have a bladder infection, and is not in any pain (that we know of). She has also been given a mild laxative to help keep the urinary tract from being blocked. The Pediatrician said, if things do not improve, she would refer us to a Urologist. That may still need to happen but, last week, we took another trip to St. Louis and found out some interesting news related to this problem. It COULD be related to her pituitary tumor.

At last week's visit, we took EL for a follow-up MRI (EL's 4th one so far), followed by  two doctor appointments -  one with the Endocrinologist, and one with the Neuro-Oncologist. Things went well with the MRI. EL has matured a lot over this past year since her last MRI and, although she did not like being there, she cooperated very well. I'm thankful for the prayers of family and friends that I know helped her get through this difficult time. The worst part of it all was when they did the needle stick in her arm to put in the IV. But, she did not need Versed to calm her down beforehand. In the past, Versed has tended to make her REALLY grumpy while she was coming out of sedation, so I'm glad we didn't have to deal with that this time. 

After the MRI, we saw the Endocrinologist. He asked us if anything has changed since we last saw him. We told him the only thing that has changed is how EL seems to be constantly in the bathroom. The Endocrinologist informed us the pituitary gland could be a causative factor in increased urination. We did not know that! Apparently, the pituitary gland makes a hormone known as Vasopressin, which regulates the body's retention of water.  A deficiency in Vasopressin (which can happen with a pituitary tumor) causes frequent urination and thirst. These are symptoms EL has been having. So, the doctor ran a urinalysis while we were there. It was not concentrated enough to get the answers we need, so we are waiting for an order to come in the mail to have a morning collection done. Once we get that done, and get those results, we will know more. If there is no problem with the Vasopressin, then a Urologist may still be in order. I did, however, just recently find out there are two close family members who were diagnosed with a spastic (or overactive) bladder! Hmmmmm. Makes me wonder if that is what is going on with EL. Its hard to know, since she isn't able to communicate as effectively as needed.

The last appointment was with the Neuro-Oncologist. I'm happy to report there were NO CHANGES to the MRI! This is such great news. It means the pituitary tumor has not grown, praise the Lord, and the doctor does not recommend any treatment at this time. We are not sure yet when the next MRI will be. It could be a year from now, or it could be in 6 months. That will be determined once we get the next urinalysis results. I'll let you know how things turn out. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

"In His Presence" by Alec Rowland

I asked for a copy of Alec Rowland's book, "The Presence" for my next book review because I was curious to know what he meant by the subtitle of "experiencing more of God." What I found is that the book's main focus is not about having supernatural experiences, but on the revival of a Christian's spiritual life. Its about renewing our relationship with Him; about having a closer walk with God who is still alive and active in our world today, even though we don't always "feel" His presence. page 69 of the book, the author encourages us to look at our own lives and ask some important questions: "What will motivate me to actively share with others the story of my relationship with Jesus? What will make me want to pray? What will motivate me to dig into the Bible and truly study the Word of God with an eye toward having my life changed? What will infuse my worship with a deep and authentic hunger for God's presence? The only answer is a restored (revived) love for God."

The author uses personal stories/experiences of revival in his own life, as well as in the lives of others, to help motivate us in our Christian walk; to be on a mission to become more Christ-like. In that sense, it has very good things to say and I think it could be a decent book to help with Bible study conversations.

The book did seem rather long to me, though, and not super engaging. I guess that's why it took me so long to finally write a review (2 months), because it took me so long to finish the book.  But, overall, I found the book to be inspiring, and somewhat entertaining at times. 

NOTE:  Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

HYMN: Rock of Ages

There are many hymns that have been written around the Lord being our rock. Here are just a few of them (click on each title to see the words):
But, I think the most popular of all the hymn that speak about our "Rock" is the classic hymn Rock of Ages, written by Augustus M. Toplady in 1776. The words to this hymn came to him when he was taking refuge among some limestone rocks in England, during a violent thunderstorm. The rocks kept him safe from the storm. Likewise, trusting in the Lord gives us great confidence in knowing we can take refuge among the strongest Rock of all - Jesus Christ.

Words by:  Augusts M. Toplady - 1776 
Music by:  Thomas Hastings

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
[originally When my eye-strings break in death]
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.