Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 10 Posts from 2014

Starting at #10, here are the "He Holds My Right Hand" Top 10 Posts of 2014.




 #Book Review:  Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe




It looks as if the ONLY giveaway post I did in 2014 was the most popular one. So, in 2015, I plan on posting a few more giveaways that are faith-filled and/or family friendly. Be watching for them!

Runner-up posts that were very close to making this list: 

 Thanks for reading, and have a great 2015! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

HYMN: Be Thou My Vision

I have been praying about which topics I should write about in 2015, and have decided to take a break from posting hymn studies every Sunday. I will still write about them as I feel led, but it won't be on a weekly basis anymore. Today, though, I want to finish out this year with one more hymn - one that has words which reflect the desires of my heart, and hopefully reflects yours as well:  BE THOU MY VISION.  

In my search for this hymn, I found a beautiful version of it sung by a contemporary Christian group called Selah. I love their music, but I had never heard this song sung by them before now. It has an Irish tone to it, which I absolutely love! (It makes sense, since the author was from Ireland, and the melody is a traditional Irish melody.) But, the words... oh, the words... they are a prayer to the Lord... a prayer we should all consider praying as we head into the new year. The words to this hymn share: 

  • A desire for the Lord to be our vision - that in whatever we do, day or night, we will  try to see things through His eyes and do what He wants us to do.
  • That He is more important than anything else in this world.
  • A request for wisdom. If we would all ask for wisdom before we speak, or before we act, what a difference it could make in this world!
  • Confidence and trust, knowing He is always there with us.
  • The focus of a relationship with Him rather than the desire for earthly treasures.
  • The desire for Christ to be glorified in our lives, that whatever happens, others will see Jesus in us.

What a great prayer! Click on the link below to listen to this song and, if you feel led (and I hope you do), pray this prayer as you listen.What better goal to have for the new year than to develop a deeper, more meaningful relationship with our Lord, seeking His wisdom and guidance, and striving to see things through His eyes. 

Sung by:  SELAH 

Irish Traditional Melody
Translated into English by:  Mary E. Byrne in 1905
Completed in 1912 into the modern-day hymn by: Eleanor H. Hull


Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father and I, Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart;
O King of glory, my treasure Thou art.

O King of glory, my victory won;
Rule and reign in me ’til Thy will be done;
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall;
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

You can learn more about the hymn and its history at http://be-thou-my-vision.com/

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Poll Question for 2015 Blog Topics

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I wanted to pop in for a brief moment to ask for your help on something. Consider it your Christmas gift to me.

As the new year approaches, I am contemplating which topics this blog should focus on in 2015. Could you do me a favor and answer the poll question that you will see in the left column? It will help me out a great deal, as it will give me an idea of which topics you have enjoyed reading, as well as which topics I could add. [UPDATE:  Poll Closed]

If you have a different idea for me other than what is already listed, please share in the comments section below. 

I enjoy writing on this blog, and I'm not overly concerned about how many are reading it. I just want it to be a blessing to those who ARE reading it.

Thank you very much! Enjoy your holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

God Gave Us Angels (Book Review)

Angels are fascinating to us humans. We may have different ideas of what angels looks like, and what their purpose is, but we can all agree that angels are beautiful, Heavenly beings created by God.

My husband teaches a class about angels and has done some extensive Biblical research on the topic. Based on what I have learned from his class, it is apparent that Lisa Tawn Bergren, the author of a new children's book "God Gave Us Angels," has done her research on this subject as well. She answers many of the questions that children (and even adults) have had about angels, including:
  • What do angels do all day?
  • What do they look like?
  • Do they have halos?
  • Do we have guardian angels?
  • Should we pray to angels?
  • Do angels sing?
  • Will we become angels when we die?
  • Why did God create angels?
  • Can we see angels?

Aimed at children ages 3-8, this book is a good foundation for teaching little ones about God's special messengers. The book is a great educational tool. The only thing I think it could use is some Scriptural references for parents to look up and read. For example, on one page of the book it says "we should be nice to everyone we meet, because some might be angels in disguise."  It would be good to have Hebrews 13:2 listed at the bottom of the page, or referenced in the back of the book, as the verse shares where this information can be found in God's Word.

Hebrews 13:2 - Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (NIV)

Other than that, I love the book and would definitely recommend it.

NOTE:  I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for the purpose of this review.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

CHRISTMAS HYMN: Who Is He in Yonder Stall?


Benjamin R. Hanby was born in Ohio in 1833. The son of a preacher who spoke about the evils of slavery, he wrote one of America's greatest antislavery ballads, "Darling Nelly Gray," but he was at his happiest when he was writing Sunday School songs for children. He took a special interest in children, and in music. Tragically, he lost his life to Tuberculosis in 1867 when he was 34 years old. About a year before that, this hymn was published. It is a Christmas hymn that doesn't just cover the birth of Jesus, or the shepherds, or the angels, or the wisemen. It goes much deeper and covers the life of Jesus from Bethlehem to Galilee. It gives us the full story of the Christ child and explains WHY he came to earth. He wasn't just a cute little baby lying in a manger. He was born to be the King - the Savior - of the world.

Psalm 24:10 - Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty - he is the King of glory. (NIV)

Who is He in yonder stall,
At whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He in deep distress,
Fasting in the wilderness?

'Tis the Lord! oh wondrous story!
'Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall;
Crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Who is He the people bless
For His words of gentleness?
Who is He to Whom they bring
All the sick and sorrowing?


Who is He that stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng
Greet with loud triumphant song?


Lo! at midnight, who is He
Prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?


Who is He that from the grave
Comes to succor, help and save?
Who is He that from His throne
Rules thro' all the world alone?

Merry Christmas!

Succor: Something that you do or give to help someone who is suffering or in a difficult situation


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Life With A Capital L - Matt Heard

Last month, I was searching through BLOGGING FOR BOOKS looking for a new book to review. As I searched, I came across a book by author MATT HEARD.

I knew that name. I knew a Matt Heard when my family and I attended Highroad Bible Church in Lockport, IL. I was a teenager then, and he was our pastor. Was this the same Matt Heard? It had been years since I had heard from him and his wife, Arlene.

I looked the name up on Facebook and found someone who looked like the Matt I knew. He was hard to miss with his red hair. Then, from his FB page, I saw a link to his WEBSITE.  The website talked about a new book, "Life With A Capital L." It was the same book I saw on the Blogging For Books site. So, yes, the Matt Heard who wrote this book is the same Matt Heard I knew as a teen. How fun! So, I snagged a copy of the book, and have been reading it for the past month.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I had a hard time getting into this book. Its hard to explain, but I'm guessing its just not the style of writing that I connect best with. I did, however, connect with chapter 4, and believe it to be the heart of the book. In chapter 4, Matt conveys how our notion of "eternal life" usually puts us in Heaven before we are allowed to experience it. Matt explains that, when a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, THAT is when his/her eternal life begins (pp. 44-45). Understanding eternal life in this way is when we can truly experience life here on earth.

Matt uses stories, personal experiences, Bible references, paintings, and words from other authors to help him express the ideas in this book. Things like: Life is everywhere. We can find good even in the midst of tragedy. Embracing humanity means going beyond merely existing and actually engaging in life. Our longings define us. Our ultimate longing should be for eternal life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have life (1 John 5:12).

To summarize with one short sentence:  It is important for us to realize our need for Christ, and to act on it, if we desire to truly experience life here on earth - Life with a capital L.

Thanks goes to Blogging for Books for my review copy of this book. In exchange, I have expressed my opinion.

CHRISTMAS HYMN: What Child Is This?


William Chatterton Dix wrote over 40 hymns in the course of his life, including several Christmas carols. He was the son of a surgeon and author, and grew up to be the manager of a marine insurance company in Scotland. But, his heart was in the written word - the poetry of worship.

As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, we can be thankful for the hymns that help us focus on the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, including this one written by Dix...

Words by:  William C. Dix, 1865
Music:  16th Century English Melody, Greensleeves

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Luke 2:7 - And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How My Mastectomy Has Affected Me

A "Get Well Soon" plant from my parents.
It was waiting for me when I arrived home after surgery.

It was December 11, 2012 - two years ago today. David and I woke up that chilly morning, left our children with my mom, and headed to the hospital where I had a life-altering surgery to remove my right breast. I honestly don't remember much of that day, and I wish I had written out my thoughts on it, but I guess I didn't feel the need to write about it at that time. Or, maybe I just didn't want to face it, the idea of losing a breast.

As I think back now, I do remember I had a mixture of feelings that are hard to put into words. For the most part, I was just thinking about what was best for my health. I wanted the cancer out, and losing a breast didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. But, I also remember being very concerned about what my husband would think. Of course, he told me he was only concerned about my health, but I still wondered how he would handle the loss. He, in turn, was wondering how I would handle the loss.

To be honest, there was an adjustment period, and I would be lying if I said it hasn't affected me. After all, the surgery has changed the appearance of my body, there's no doubt about that! And, yes, there were times when it made me feel like less of a woman, I will admit it. But, along with the adjustment process, I have also experienced some positive changes. Internal rather than external. Let me share with you what I've discovered since my surgery:

  • It has caused me to try and eat healthier and to exercise. I'm still struggling with this, but I'm trying.
  • It allowed me to feel the love of others which was poured out on me and my family during the recovery process. 
  • It has given me insight into the needs of those who are recovering from surgery or illness. 
  • It has caused me to sympathize more with others who have battled, or are currently battling cancer of any kind.
  • It has helped give me more confidence in who I am as a person.
  • It has made me realize there are more important things in life than the loss of a body part. 
  • It has helped me to feel closer to my husband, who has never said anything negative about the way I look. In fact, he still says I am beautiful.
  • It has made me re-evaluate my life and focus on the the truly important things. 
  • It has made me stronger in my walk with the Lord.

So, it's all good! I honestly have no regrets. I know I do not have a perfect body. (That would be the case even without having a mastectomy!) But, I am comforted in knowing my God is continually working in me and, hopefully, through me, until that day when I will be made perfect in heaven.

Philippians 3:12-14 - Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Micah 5:2 - "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

A traditional French Carol
Translated into English by George K. Evans in 1963

He is born, the holy Child,
Play the oboe and bagpipes merrily!
He is born, the holy Child,
Sing we all of the Savior mild.

Through long ages of the past,
Prophets have foretold His coming;
Through long ages of the past,
Now the time has come at last!


O how lovely, O how pure
Is this perfect Child of heaven;
O how lovely, O how pure
Gracious gift to humankind!


Jesus, Lord of all the world,
Coming as a Child among us,
Jesus, Lord of all the world,
Grant to us Thy heavenly peace.