Sunday, January 29, 2017

Photo of the Week #4: Our Careful Little Piano Player

This is a photo of EL practicing her piano lessons. She loves listening to music, so David and I decided to start having her take lessons, hoping to give her the ability to make music of her own. To be honest, she is not real excited about practicing on her keyboard; and if I gave her the choice of whether or not to go to lessons, she would say no. But, she doesn't refuse to practice when I ask. So, I admit I am pushing her a little bit in this area. My goal is not for her to become a famous pianist, or even to be perfect in her playing. I just want her to enjoy making music. I want her to have a "hobby" she loves, and can also use to bless others. If it doesn't work out, then at least we can say we tried.

As I've thought about it more, I think EL has a hard time with piano lessons because she is somewhat of a perfectionist (like her Daddy), and she doesn't like making mistakes. When she is practicing her lessons, she goes very slowly, trying not to mess up at all. But, of course, because she is still learning, she DOES make mistakes. So, when that happens, she stops playing, says "Oops," and then starts all over again at the beginning. She will not just ignore the mistake and keep going as if it had never happened.  

In the same way, no matter how hard we try as Christians, we WILL fall short of perfection while we are here on this earth. So, when we do mess up, God doesn't want us to ignore what has happened. He wants us to acknowledge it, ask for forgiveness, and then start over, making it a point to learn from those "mistakes."

1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (ESV)

Proverbs 28:13 - Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. (ESV)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Photo of the Week #3: He Still Loves Me

This past Monday was sort of an anniversary day for my husband and me. It was the anniversary of the day we first met - 27 years ago. So, David brought home these flowers to let me know he is glad we met, and that he still loves me. Awww.  

David was doing what King Solomon tells us to do in Ecclesiastes chapter nine. To be brief, Solomon says we should make the most of the days we have been given because death is certain to come, so we should live in the most meaningful ways that we can. One way to do that is to enjoy the days we have with our wives (and with our husbands).
Ecclesiastes 9:9 - Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun. (NAS)
I encourage you to make an effort this week to spend some quality time with YOUR spouse.
  • Tell him how much he means to you
  • Kiss her like it is your first kiss
  • Hold hands
  • Snuggle
  • Share memories
  • Show love

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Photo of the Week #2: My Lit Candle

This is a candle I was given for Christmas. Isn't it pretty? I love candles. They are so warm and inviting, give off a warm glow, and smell great if you get the right scent. (This one is called "Raspberry Ice" and it smells good to me.) I have it sitting on top of our buffet (i.e. china cabinet), and it is in a place where everyone can see it and enjoy it. It wouldn't make any sense to light my candle and then hide it under a bowl, or inside of a cabinet, would it? It is meant to be seen by all who are in the room.

That reminds me of a small portion from The Sermon on the Mount (Jesus' longest recorded sermon in the New Testament). The part I am talking about is found in Matthew 5:14-16, where Jesus says: 
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
One thing I noticed from the last part of these verses is how "shining our lights" (or, helping others to see Jesus in us) is not just about doing good works. It's about doing two things consecutively: doing good works AND giving the glory (or praise) to God. Let me share what Pastor Chip Bell has to say about this. He explains it well in an article on
The hope, the goal, is that people will give praise to God. This is an important point to catch. The goal is not that people will say, “What great people those Christians are. Look at all the wonderful things they do to help people. Look at how honorable their lives are.” Rather, the goal is that people will say, “What a great God they follow.”

You know, the only way that will happen is that if we make it clear that the reason why we are living moral lives and doing good deeds is because we are following Jesus. If we don’t give God the credit, then we are not being a light to the world. I think this means that in every good thing we do for our fellow man, it is important that we give God the credit. If we do good, but fail to point people to Jesus, then we haven’t done what light is supposed to do. Being “salt” means that our lives should be characterized by goodness. Being “light” means that people are able to SEE that God is the source, and purpose and cause of our goodness. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

EL's 5th MRI & A Visual Test

It has been over a year since I last gave a health update on EL. I have shared a few updates on my Facebook page but, for those of you who are not on FB, or for those of you who might have missed the updates, here is the latest info...

1.  After EL's medication was increased in November 2015, her seizures continued to return every couple of months. So, in July 2016, her Neurologist said it was best to add an additional medication. We were concerned, at first, with the possible side effects of this new med, but she did amazingly well and has, thankfully, been seizure free since then. It is great to know we finally seem to have the seizures under control!

2.  Her 5th MRI was in October 2016. There were no changes to the pituitary tumor, so that is another praise. She is now seeing a new Neuro-oncologist, and we like her. She seems very thorough and wants to make sure EL is getting the proper care needed. The previous doctor was good, but gave us the impression that we no longer needed to bring EL for any more follow-up MRI's (after this 5th one) because they keep coming back as unchanged. However, this new doctor explained that a pituitary tumor can grow at any time, so we need to continue keeping watch and do an MRI at least every 2 years from here on out, or sooner if she begins having symptoms.

3.  The new Neuro-oncologist also scheduled EL to have a special eye exam that tested her vision, specifically her peripheral vision, called a Visual Evoked Potential. A pituitary tumor can affect the optic nerve, so the doctor wanted to have a baseline of how well EL is currently seeing. The test was done on  December 14th in St. Louis. It was done in the EEG department, where they attached electrodes to her head and had her sit and stare at a red dot on a computer screen while black and white squares flashed around it. She did not like the test, but did fairly well considering her dislike. Due to the holidays, it took awhile to get the results back. But we finally got a call yesterday, and the test showed everything to be within normal limits.

So, with all this new information, the plan is to continue seeing the Neurologist every 6 months regarding EL's seizures. But, we will NOT need to have any more testing regarding the pituitary tumor (MRI's, Visual Tests, or bloodwork) until October 2018 (unless symptoms appear)! We are so thankful for this news, and are also grateful for all the prayers that have been sent through the years for our special girl!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Quick Update on Moving

It was a year ago today when I wrote:  GOD WILL BE WITH US WHEREVER WE GO.  I mentioned how my husband had taken a new job in December 2015, and we were anticipating moving to a different town 50 minutes away. So far, that move has not happened (which I am actually happy about) but that's about all I can share about it. Only God knows what the future holds, and we will wait to see what happens. But, no matter what, we continue to believe He will be with us wherever we go (or wherever we are).

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Photo of the Week #1: My Kids on New Year's Eve

It's the start of a new year, and I am going to try something new for my Sunday blog posts. I plan on taking various pictures throughout each week, and will choose one of them to share with you. (Or, if I don't have time for a new one, I might pull out an old picture to use.) I'm not exactly sure how this will all work out yet, but my hope for these photos is that maybe some of them will be encouraging and/or bring a smile to your face, while others will simply be thought-provoking and/or allow you to see things through my eyes - sort of like a peek into my life.

This first photo I am sharing was taken last weekend on New Year's Eve. These two kids of mine - I love seeing them get along. From the picture, you might think these two are ALWAYS great friends who get along well. But, no, they don't always get along well. They argue and they complain about each other, just like most siblings do. And, I actually had to ask them to put their arms around each other for this picture! But, despite the way they often get annoyed by the other one's actions, there are still many times when I see them warmly interacting. In these times, I can tell they really do love each other, and I am thankful that the love they have for each other overrides any wrong-doings. In fact, if it came down to it, I know JJ would even give his life to protect his special sister. That's what family is about. And, I believe this is a good example of how we all should be acting towards our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

1 Peter 4:8 - Above all, keep loving one another earnestly,
since love covers a multitude of sins. (ESV)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.