Monday, December 15, 2008

Prayer: The Most Beautiful Gift

I recently received one of the most touching gifts for my precious baby daughter. I will cherish the card that came with it until the day I pass it along to my daughter in her scrapbook.

"Enclosed is a blanket I made for J. The funny thing is that I finished it on November 30th (the date of her birth). Each time I sat down to crochet I would say a prayer for J regarding a certain aspect of her life. I prayed for her health as a fetus, her birth, her immunizations, her teeth, her bones, organs and development. I prayed for her infancy, her toddlerhood, her youth, her schooling. I prayed for the Special Spiritual gift God would give her and that she would come to know Him early. The outer layers of the blanket represent time spent praying for her future spouse, her marriage and ultimately her children. Each stitch was done in love. I sat at God's feet asking for blessing upon blessing for J, you, Rick and your other children. May God hear each word that was prayed on your daughter's behalf."

What a beautiful gift! Thank you so much to the special one who spent time in prayer for my newborn and family. I am greatly touched by your love and commitment to prayer! Thank you!

I encourage others to consider the gift of prayer my daughter and family received when sharing of their love while gift giving whether it be for baby gifts, Christmas or birthdays. Telling the person of your prayers in a written note (like my friend did) takes the gift to the next level because your note will remind the person of your prayers each time the note is read. Giving should always be bathed in prayer!

Again thank you to this special person!!

Edited December 21, 2008 to add:

I was just reading at Tiffany's blog and found a great quote on prayer that goes well with this post...

"If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this will lead us to prayer. Intercession is a way of loving others."

~ Richard Foster, quoted from Prayer

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm Still Here...

Just wanted to say that I'm still among the living, but am spending most of my computer time snuggling with a little sweetie pie. I'm also homeschooling my older two children as well. I want to share some really neat things surrounding the birth of my daughter, but finding the time to sit down and coherently type them up is proving to be a challenge... soon I hope...

Having this precious little bundle makes me wish I had 10 more :) Babies are absolutely INCREDIBLE! I'm snuggling as I type now...

Yesterday I started trying to catch up with blogs, but it will take a while. If you are on my list of blogs I follow know that I will eventually get back to checking once we have our routine established. Now my routine is feeding the baby, changing the baby and snuggling with the baby :) Of course the other two fight me for snuggling rights. They are both in love with their new sister. Everyone was worried about my son when they found out the baby was a girl, but he's absolutely crazy about her and is already a terrific big brother. My daughter is enamored with her too.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Welcome to Our World

Early this morning at 12:40 am - I gave birth to a precious baby girl. She weighed in at 8 lbs 2 0z and was 19 1/4 inches long. More info when I get home.

WARNING: ADVENT VIRUS

The Advent Virus

Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:
A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

A loss of interest in judging other people.

A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

A loss of interest in conflict.

A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)

Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
Frequent attacks of smiling.

An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.

An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

This virus can and has affected many systems. Some systems have been completely cleaned out because of it.


~ Anonymous via email

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dental Conversation between me and my five year old son...

Before I decided to go to college to become a counselor, I went to the vocational school for my junior year in high school and completed the dental assistant training one semester and medical assistant training the second. I probably would have gone on to be a RN had it not been for my spinal surgery (right before my junior year of HS) that left me very weak physically for the next year. I was unsure that I could keep up with the physical demands of the program for my senior year, so I went back to my high school and finished up with college prep studies.

Since I spent so much time learning about teeth in high school, I tend to call teeth by their proper names even now. This morning my five year old son lost his third tooth and I told a friend about it. She asked which tooth he lost and I said, "his right mandibular lateral incisor." If she wouldn't have been on the phone with me I probably would have been smacked.

After that I thought I need to educate my son, so I called him over and touched his bottom jaw and said, "This is your mandible." and then touched his top jaw and said "This is your maxillary jaw." Then I told him that the hole in his mouth once held his right mandibular lateral incisor. He looked at me with a straight, face and said, "Oh, I thought they were called teeth."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Not My Baby, But Precious

A couple days after my friend, Lynetta gave birth to John 4 lbs 13 oz and James 5 lbs 8 oz, I was privileged to visit her and the boys at the hospital with another friend. Since John was able to come out of the isolette while we visited in the NICU, Lynetta asked if I would like to hold him. What a joy it was to hold a baby at the same gestational age as the one I carry within... While I was holding precious little John, my baby got feisty and started kicking him and he kicked right back. I told Lynetta that our babies were already fighting.

Here is a picture of James in his isolette.

Continue to pray for Lynetta, Aaron, John and James as they adapt to each other and develop their routines.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Challenges of Marriage

Marriage – even the best marriages have challenges. When you take two people with different family backgrounds and experiences you are bound to have at least some conflict. I appreciate when people are real about their struggles because it helps the rest of us feel normal. When you look around the church and see all the happy, smiling people you could believe that they have no idea what it means to have a “discussion” about finances or about the best way to discipline the kids. We all walk through similar circumstances and can help each other by being honest about our struggles and successes. Sharing our testimony of God’s work in our lives could be the turning point or at least a slice of hope for another.



Someone close to me is in the process of going through a divorce and it breaks my heart to see this young family torn apart. One spouse sent me some information about marriage intensives and desires to save the marriage and family. They have young children the age of my children and it hurts to know that they are dealing with the pain of separation from one of their parents and that divorce is looming in the future. The problems the spouses are dealing with are definitely bigger than me and bigger than both of them. It appears that only one party is willing to attempt counseling, but God is bigger. Another hurdle is that marriage intensives and counseling in general are quite costly. HE can work a miracle in this situation that seems impossible. Please join me in praying for a miracle for this young, hurting family.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Is Your Marriage Fireproof?

Today I read in a Family Christian Store catalog that Fireproof the DVD is coming soon on January 27, 2009 and if you pre-order you will receive a $43.98 value for $19.99. The package includes the Fireproof movie DVD, the movie soundtrack, and a Love and Respect DVD seminar. This could be a useful resource for couples, small groups or churches. Marriage is challenging and we can all benefit from resources to help us along the way. For more info go here. This offer is valid online and in stores while supplies last or until January 27th. If you haven't heard about the Fireproof movie check here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reminder - Operation Christmas Child

For those of you who have decided to share your love and blessings with the Operation Christmas Child ministry this year, the national collection week is (next week) November 17-24, 2008. Just wanted to give you time to make your purchases and gather any information you need before the deadline. For more information - go here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What is your vision for America?

I was reading in a current events forum and came across at link that asks for our vision for the President Elect and how he should lead the country. I'm not sure what will happen with the ideas that are submitted, but it sounds good in theory. Submit your vision for America here. I'd also love to hear about your vision in the comments section.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pray for Our Leaders

This campaign/election process has been a long ride, but now it's history and we as Christians must unite (regardless of who you supported) and pray for our leaders. I've read several blogs that say it better than I could...

Randy Alcorn - It’s Over; but It’s not Over (one Day it will be)
Kay Day - The People Have Spoken
Robbie Iobst - Hope is a Good Thing
Tiffany Stuart - America's Choice My Response (go to post dated November 5)

I think its great when Christians can have different opinions and agree to disagree. Most importantly we need to unite in prayer! Check out the Presidential Prayer Team and commit to pray for President elect Obama. Go here to sign up to receive a 77 Days of Prayer for Our New President email in your inbox every morning until Inauguration Day, January 20. There is also a Presidential Prayer Kids page in case you have children who would like to join us in prayer (as of today it hasn't been updated, but hopefully soon will).

Scriptures to Consider:

Pray for those in Authority - 1 Timothy 2:1–2
Submission to the Authorities - Romans 13:1-3
Heal Our Land - 2 Chronicles 7:14-15

Join me in praying for our country and our leaders!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Freebies

Krispy Kreme will celebrate National Election Day by offering all retail customers with an "I voted" sticker a free STAR shaped donut with patriotic sprinkles.

Starbucks - If you vote, Starbucks buys your coffee - On November 4, 2008, Starbucks will give voters a free tall brewed coffee at participating U.S. stores. After voting, voters must go to a Starbucks store, where they’ll be given a tall (12 oz) cup of brewed coffee at no charge (limit one per customer).

Ben & Jerry's - wants to celebrate democracy by giving out a free ice cream scoop from 5 to 8 pm today.

If you haven't voted, get out and vote because YOUR VOTE MATTERS!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Letter to Senator Obama

My friend, Tiffany at Tea with Tiffany posted a letter to Senator Obama on her blog and she said it would be fine if others shared it too... so here it is:

Senator Obama, abortion is not a healthy choice for Americans. I am begging you to reconsider your position with this moral topic should you become our president.

I will try my best to put words to my "choice." Nineteen years old, I chose abortion. Sure, I could blame my boyfriend for not wanting the baby, but ultimately it was my choice. The worst choice I’ve ever made. I was too afraid to walk alone—pregnant.

In order to step into a cold, sterile abortion clinic, I had to emotionally die first. I don’t care what a woman’s beliefs are she cannot go through this procedure with a haunting that follows.

I know.

Sure, I tried to forget and move on with my life, but inside I couldn’t shake the reality of choosing death.

Death carries a sting.

Like a branding iron to my heart, I was wounded and forever scarred. Marked by my so called “choice.”

Senator Obama, you have two girls, can you honestly look into their eyes and say had they been conceived at a time other than your preferred choice that they don’t deserve a chance to live? a chance to change the world? to make a difference?

Senator Obama, have you ever sat through an abortion procedure? Have you seen the graphic images? Do you know how women are treated? Have you heard the moaning of a mom-to-be who sobbed for hours afterwards? What words could you possibly say to comfort her? None. The river of regret and shame runs too deep for words to penetrate.

I know.

Senator Obama, are you aware of Post-Abortion Syndrome(PAS)? Are you willing to comfort your girls should they decide to choose abortion someday? Because should abortion still be legal and an option, they will suffer. Even if from the outside she appears like she made it through unscathed, she is not okay. Something is bleeding underneath the surface.

I know.

My decision from almost two decades ago affected my marriage bed and relationship, my emotional well being every fall (the time of year I had my abortion), my ability to look deeply into the eyes of a newborn, and the way I morally view myself. It's a choice that keeps on giving. Giving death!

This “choice” comes with a price tag. A price tag I don’t want one more woman to pay.

Every woman who has had an abortion will one day have to look honestly into her reflection of her choices. Choosing death is not an image she should have look at and carry in her heart.

Choosing life is an image worth gazing at. Watching a baby grow up is an amazing experience.

I know.

My two children, Justin and Hannah, are nothing but gifts to me. Not mistakes. Not punishment. Nothing can replace their faces, voices, words, tears, smiles, giggles, songs, talents, or their caring hearts. Their lives are impressed deeply into my heart. And so is a baby who never had a chance. A baby I love and will never forget. A baby named “Grace.”

Tiffany Stuart

Thank you, Tiffany for sharing your heart so openly. You are brave and I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability! Thank you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trunk or Treat

I was uncertain how what my family would do on Halloween four years ago because I wasn't sure how I felt about celebrating that day, but found out about an alternative celebration at an area church that was open to the community called Trunk or Treat. It was really neat to give the kids a chance to dress up (they love dressing up even now four years later and not just on October 31). I've never bought costumes - we've just always used their dress up clothes. This year was the first time I went to so much effort to dress them up, but it was great fun!

Last night I took them to trunk or treat at a local Methodist Church again and they went as election booths. Half the costume was red and the other half was blue. The front said voting booth with McCain on the right side and Obama on the left side. Half the box was dedicated to McCain and the other half to Obama with propaganda from each on their side.

Picture taken by my friend Cheryl

Everyone loved their costumes. I told people they could vote early and often (early because its early and often because it was two kids). Perfect strangers were stopping us and asking for pictures of the kids. I was sitting on a bale of hay between my two kids and one man walked up and asked if I was Sarah Palin (obviously he was blind, but it was fun). We never had so much fun or attention at trunk or treat. I don't think we ever got so much candy either because people were putting extra candy in their candidates slot and the people who didn't want to reveal their candidate put candy in both slots. Several people went crazy stuffing the slot of their choice.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Need More Sleep?

Daylight Savings Time ends on November 2 (for a large portion of the USA), so many of us will get to sleep an extra hour Saturday night. The official time change time is Sunday, November 2nd at 2 am. Of course if you want extra sleep I recommend changing your clock before bed :)

It's also a good time to change/check the batteries in your smoke detector. Our local fire fighters encourage the community to change their batteries twice a year for maximum effectiveness of our smoke detectors.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Special Prayer Request

Please be in special prayer for my friend, Lynetta who is pregnant with twin boys - her due date is December 6. On Friday, October 24th her water broke for baby A. They admitted her to the hospital for close monitoring. This morning some complications arose and they moved her back to labor and delivery. Her doctor said she will have the babies one way or another TODAY! They aren't sure whether the placenta has detached or not - once they know they will do what needs to be done for the safe arrival of James and John. If everything is okay with the placenta they will start her on Pitocin to get labor moving. Please pray! I will update in the comments section as I hear from Lynetta.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prayer Request

Pray for me - I've had a hard day - really exhausted and have been having Braxton Hicks contractions all day long - too early for labor - still have six weeks to go as of Saturday. I'm trying to get ready for the floor guy to come and install a new kitchen floor tomorrow along with my normal responsibilities and I'm worn out. I'm babysitting right now and as soon as the parents get here I'm taking a nice shower and hoping that will make me feel better. Thanks for your prayers!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Discernment Tests

My friend, Carla sent me a neat email and I thought it would be beneficial to share with others too. Carla was my room-mate in college and she has interesting perspective on life (that we could all learn from) because she grew up as a missionary kid in South America. Her pastor preached a sermon a couple weeks ago that included the following:

1. The World Test – (Does it make you part of the world?)

2. The Quality Test – (Is it good for you?)

3. The Temple Test – (Your body is God’s temple. Is it good for your temple?)

4. The Glory Test – (Does it glorify God?)

5. The Blessings Test – (Can I ask God’s blessing on it?)

6. The Reputation Test – (Will it damage my testimony?)

7. The Consideration Test – (How will it affect others?)

8. The Appearance Test – (Will it look bad or immodest?)

9. The Weight Test – (Will this hold me back from doing God’s will and running the race?)

10. The Coming of Christ Test – (If Christ came back while I was doing this would I be ashamed?)

11. The Companion Test – (Can I invite Christ to be with me?)

12. The Peace Test – (Do I have perfect peace after praying about it?)

Remember: There are some sins that even when they are forgiven you will still carry the scars.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

As the Christmas holidays quickly approach, I wanted to take the time to share about a ministry that my church enjoys participating in - Operation Christmas Child. Basically what we do is collect shoe boxes (adult male shoe boxes work best) and fill them with goodies that a child would appreciate receiving at Christmas. It breaks my heart realizing that the gifts I can squeeze into this little box may be all this particular child receives for Christmas. My children love to go shopping with me to select gifts for a child of their age. It's a great project for young and old to join together and share their blessings with others.

From the Samaritan's Purse Web site:

Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God’s love. Since 1993, more than 61 million shoe boxes have been packed, shipped, and delivered across the globe. People of all ages can be involved in this simple, hands-on missions project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas—Jesus Christ.

National Collection Week is November 17-24.

How to pack a shoe box.
Frequently Asked Questions
Contact Samaritan's Purse

For more information you can contact Samaritan's Purse by calling (828) 262-1980 or checking their website.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Four, Four, Four, Four...

Kay from Loop de Loops in La La Land (love the name) tagged me with a Four Meme. Kay's blog is one of the first blogs I started reading when I began this blogging journey.


Four, Four, Four, Four...

A) Four places that I go to over and over:

Church, library, grocery store and the bathroom (I’m 7 months pg)

B) Four people who e-mail me:

Katie, family, Carol, my Pastor

C) Four of my favorite places to eat:

Panera Bread, Logans, Sweetwater, and home

D) Four places I would rather be right now:

Sleeping comfortably, Getting a massage, With my daughter reading a book at Panera Bread by the fireplace, With a friend having fun

E) Four people I am tagging: You can answer here in the comments section or on your own blog.

Tammy Bowers, Renee, Faith, and Jel

F) Four TV shows I watch:

None anymore, I spend my free time reading books and blogs.

So I’ll change the question – Four Blogs I read (I'm so cheating on this question because I can't list just four) These 13 blogs (in four categories - does that count for anything?) are all unique, bring smiles, and are thought provoking:

Kay’s – 1, 2, 3 (and her family – 1 - Julie, 2 - Kay's Mom, 3 - Jen, and 4 - Jen's Mom), Choices are Mine, Carol’s 1,2, 3, 4, and Life Adapted

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Special Prayer Request

Please pray for my little friend, Suzanne (9 months old). She is having surgery this afternoon at 12:30 (Eastern Time). Nearly two weeks ago she was rushed to the hospital via ambulance when she stopped breathing while eating. She has several medical issues. Once they stabilized her they transported her via helicopter to a bigger and better hospital where she is now. She is scheduled to have two surgeries today and possibly a third depending on how things go.

I will update in the comments section when I hear from her mom how surgery went later today! Pray also for her parents and big brother. Thank you for your prayers!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fireproof the Movie Opened Today

fireproofbanner

I haven't seen it yet, but Fireproof opened in theaters today. Sounds like an excellent movie. For more info go here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Baby Update - 77 days and Counting

I saw my OB yesterday afternoon and had my 1 hour glucose test done. W hen I get the results I will most likely just add them in the comments section. Since it was late afternoon, I had to take the kids with me. Fortunately everything went well and there were no problems with bringing them.

My doctor said everything is going great. The only note of concern she had (not really just something she mentioned) was that I'm measuring two weeks bigger than I should be. She already moved my due date a week earlier than the first date they gave me at the beginning of the pregnancy. One concern that I failed to mention (having the kids there kept me from thinking I guess) is that I'm having significant lower back pain almost constantly now. (77 days until the due date)

I've always suffered with lower back pain due to my scoliosis. However I've noticed that when I'm consistent with exercise I can usually manage my pain. When I'm not pregnant and I'm in a lot of pain I take 800 mg of Ibuprofen, use lots of heat, and wear my brace (none of which I can do now). Sometimes I have back pain that makes sense - when I make a bad decision thinking I can do something that I shouldn't do. Now, I think its from the extra weight that I'm carrying out in front. I'm in a lot of pain after sitting for a while or sleeping. The pregnancy belt I'm using offers minimal relief.

The doctor wants to see me again in two weeks and she said she will do a sonogram then because she wants to see how big the baby is. So pray that I can find ways to minimize the back pain.

On a positive note - I seem to be on the road to recovery from my sinus infection. I finished my antibiotic on Thursday and continue to flush using a Neti Pot - very odd and a bit gross, but quite helpful.

Bibles Unbound


I have another compassionate ministries opportunity that I would like to share and it's Bible's Unbound - A Ministry of Voice of the Martyrs. I was just browsing the Bible's Unbound website and saw that 68,615 people are waiting for Bibles. How many Bibles are in your home now? I have more than I use at this time - just to name a few, a Women's Devotional Bible, a Serendipity New Testament (that I used in college), a Parallel KJV/NIV I received from my Dad for my 17th birthday, and many more. It saddens my heart to know that so many people are hungering and thirsting for what is available so easily to me not to mention the click of my keyboard brings up the Bible in whatever translation I desire.

WHAT IF...

you could share God's Word with people in countries like China, Egypt and Colombia as easily as putting a stamp on a Bible and sending it?

Through Bibles Unbound, YOU CAN!

Members receive five or more New Testaments each month, along with all the necessary postage and packaging. Bible mailings can then be monitored online. Don't miss this opportunity to begin mailing God's Word into restricted nations RIGHT FROM YOUR OWN HOME.

(Members commit to a monthly donation for $30 for 5 New Testaments.)

Simply call The Voice of the Martyrs at 800-747-0085 to receive your Bibles Unbound Information Pack.

For more information check the Bible's Unbound website.

"Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the Word of God is not bound"
~ 2 Timothy 2:9

All info in italics used by Permission of Voice of the Martyrs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Every Bag Has a Purpose















Who Get's Action Packs?

Christians in restricted nations endure hardship and suffering to follow Christ. Many live in poverty and want because of oppression and discrimination in their countries. For these believers, an Action Pack represents a great material blessing. But more importantly, it reminds them they are not forgotten.



Where are Action Packs Delivered?

The Voice of the Martyrs delivers Action Packs in countries where our contacts have identified Christians that will be greatly blessed by receipt of the packs. You may designate your Action Pack for: Iraq, Pakistan/Afghanistan or Sudan. check www.persecution.com/actionpacks for the latest country information.

Why Send Action Packs?

Action Packs provide vital, practical help to Christians in need in restricted nations. But more than physical blessings, an Action Pack brings spiritual encouragement that these believers are not forgotten, that their suffering is not going unnoticed.

The Action Pack also provides an important way of spreading the gospel: every time an Action Pack is delivered, a Gospel book or audio recording is delivered along with it.

How Do I Get Involved?

It is simple to order an Action Pack. Call 800-747-0085 to order by phone. You can also order online. Please enclose $7 for each Action Pack you order. This covers the cost of the bag and the cost to ship it overseas. You are responsible for the shipping cost to mail the filled bag to VOM.

Once the Action Packs arrive at your home, simply fill them with articles from the list printed on the bag. You may also choose to enclose an encouraging note or a family picture. Then, return the bag to The Voice of the Martyrs, where it will be sorted for delivery.

"In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:17

All information used by Permission of Voice of the Martyrs.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blanket and a Bible

Sudanese Christians live a simple lifestyle, owning few or no material possessions. However, some items are essential to their survival. One blanket can make a difference.


To date, more than 250,000 blankets have been delivered. We are thankful to many American Christians who have given blankets, but more are needed.

Taking part in VOM's Sudan: Blanket and a Bible outreach is as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Collect good quality, new or used blanket(s)

2. Add $2 per blanket for handling, shipping into Sudan.

3. VOM will add a He Lived Among Us illustrated Bible storybook.

4. Send blankets and collected funds to:

"Sudan: Blanket and a Bible"
The Voice of the Martyrs
510 W. Adeline
Bartlesville, OK 74003

The Voice of the Martyrs Free Subscription Offer!

To receive your FREE subscription to the VOM Magazine, call 800-747-0085. Or write to The Voice of the Martyrs, PO Box 443, Bartlesville, OK 74005. Or go to their website.

Those who request the free monthly newsletter will also receive a Global Prayer Map highlighting the countries where our brothers and sisters now suffer for their faith in Jesus Christ.


All information used with permission of Voice of the Martyrs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

SPECIAL Prayer Request

A friend of mine asked for prayer for a man she works with and his wife. The 35 year old wife's name is Mary/Hyatt. Last week, Mary/Hyatt went into cardiac arrest and her situation is grave. Even if she comes out of the coma the doctors aren't sure she will make it. She has a 3 year old and a four month old (still breast-feeding) . From what I understand the baby rejected the formula initially, but is doing well now. Please pray for the family!

Updated 9-19-08

For more info check this blog.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

God's Presence and Work in Your Life

A good while back I read a book, Opening Windows: Spiritual Refreshment for Your Walk with Christ compiled by Mary Fairchild with entries written by a number of well-known Christian authors and speakers. Each chapter was followed with questions that encourage contemplation. Below is one of them. Feel free to share some, all, or none of your answers in the comments section. Regardless of whether you share ask yourself these questions and allow God to work in your life.

Reflect on God's presence and work in your life yesterday. What meaning do you see in your work, your conversations, and your activities? Then write a four-sentence prayer that includes adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

~ taken from Opening Windows p. 111

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remember 9-11


This picture was taken on October 27, 2001 in Arlington, VA at the Pentagon.

September 11, 2001 was a beautiful September day. I prepared breakfast for my husband and one year old daughter and left them watching Veggie Tales. I hurried off to work (part time billing job) at a friend's house. I hadn't turned on the TV or radio yet and was listening to Christian music on a cassette tape. I was feeling great. The tape ended, so I popped it out and the news came on from the radio saying something about the third catastrophe of the day. I was confused because I had no idea there had been any problem yet. The newscaster said something about the Pentagon being under attack as he spoke. I ran into Dianna's (my boss and friend) house and said do you have a TV somewhere that we can watch? She looked at me perplexed (it wasn't like me to rush in and ask for a TV, usually I just went straight to my computer after a quick hello. I told her what I had heard and we both rushed to her family room and sat transfixed in front of the TV for a long time as we watched the twin towers crumble and other horrible things I don't care to repeat. Needless to say, I don't think either of us got any work done that morning. I tried calling my husband and all circuits were busy. We didn't know what was coming next, so Dianna sent me home to my husband and baby.

About six weeks after that horrific day, we traveled to the Pentagon where the clean-up was well under way. There were still people all over the place mourning for the lost lives on September 11th. Today 9-11-08 they dedicated the September 11 memorial at the Pentagon, I wasn't there, but I watched the ceremony on TV this morning.

Where were you on September 11, 2001? Do you have any memories you care to share?

We must all be ready to meet Jesus at any time because there isn't one of us who knows what the next moment holds. We can trust HIM with our lives no matter what!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Quick Update

I haven't been on the computer too much lately for a couple reasons. This weekend we suffered some damage to our house and I've been very busy trying to get everything in order again. And for the past three days my allergies have been bothering me a great deal. I couldn't even sleep last night due to the congestion and pain, so I ended up going to the doctor's today. I found out that I have a sinus infection - antibiotics are flowing through my system. Hopefully they will help kick the illness quickly because I have so much to do and my house is in a shambles now because of the other problems. Please keep our family in your prayers. Thanks!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

100 Days to Go...

Today marks 100 days until my due date - seems like forever away and tomorrow at the same time. I have so much to do before the baby joins us.

I had my doctor's appointment this morning and everything went perfectly. The doctor said everything was as it should be and that the baby had a nice strong heartbeat. I did find out that I will have another sonogram at about 35 weeks.

Last month I had some liver function tests that were a bit off, so I had to repeat the liver function test today. The doctor suggested that I might have gallstones and said she wanted to make sure that my levels didn't continue to increase. I just got the results a few minutes ago and nothing is elevated now! Praise the Lord! One part of the test showed that one level was a bit low, but I'm not sure what that means. It was low last time also and this time its lower still. I guess she will tell me in three weeks when I go back. In three weeks when I return I will be changed to an every two week cycle for my appointments because of starting the third trimester. When I go for my next appointment I also have to drink the orange flavored sugar water then check my glucose levels an hour later. Everything was perfect today! I took my eight year old daughter with me to the appointment and she was just fascinated with hearing the baby's heartbeat and being there for the appointment. The doctor made her feel like a special big sister too.

Please continue to pray for the precious little one (who loves to jump around and kick) and that the next 14 weeks are healthy for the bundle of joy and for me. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Choices

Watch this powerful video that shows how a single choice ripples and can destroy a family... - (Thanks Lisa for emailing the link to me.)

* You may want to shield little eyes and ears from the start of this video *

Slow Fade by Casting Crowns

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

As parents we are entrusted with precious treasures when God gave us our children. When they are young its our responsibility to be careful what their little eyes see and ears hear.

It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. ~ Luke 17:2

Pray for families. Pray for men and women, fathers and mothers that when they make choices they are choices that will positively effect their children and their world... Choices that make our Heavenly Father smile... Choices that lead others to HIM!

"Let no Christian parents fall into the delusion that Sunday School is intended to ease them of their personal duties. The first and most natural condition of things is for Christian parents to train up their own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Serving Others















Rick in Alaska

Serving others through mission work can be life changing both for those who are served and those who have the honor of serving. This morning our Work and Witness Team (short term missions) to Alaska shared during our morning worship service. It was great to hear from each team member (five adults - my husband, Rick included and two teens) how God worked in their lives during their time in Alaska and to hear that some of them are considering future mission trips.

This morning in Sunday school we discussed the financial aspect of going of Work and Witness trips (mainly airfare). I was pleased to hear that others hearts are burdened to make a difference closer to home also and to use the money that would have been spent for travel expenses to make a difference in the lives of people closer to home. I think both types of trips have value.

This evening during our missions service we were privileged to hear from two of our teens who traveled closer to home for their Work and Witness project. Last year they traveled to Mississippi to help with the hurricane repairs (which are still ongoing). It touches my heart deeply to see young men striving to serve and finding their place in ministry. Pray for Nathan and Timothy that God will continue to work in their lives and lead them to the ministries where HE can use them.

Have any of you taken part in a short term mission project? If so how did it change your life and or world view? If you haven't been on a short-term missions trip would you consider it?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I am Strange!

Last week when I took my kids to the water park, I was walking in the lazy river (this picture is not of our community water park, unfortunately). The lazy river is about 3 feet deep and has a current that flows to move the tubes everyone is required to use. I put the tube around myself and instead of floating, I walk - have to get some exercise somehow since the gym was vetoed for me. As I was walking down the lazy river, picking up trash and stray tubes, a thought for a blog post came to mind, so I hit the next exit and grabbed my bag to find a pen and paper. How many people would jump out of their tube on the lazy river on a hot, sunny day to run back to their chair to jot down a few notes for a blog entry? I know, I'm strange!

My husband returned from a Work & Witness (short term missions) trip to Big Lake, Alaska last Wednesday afternoon and his short term service encouraged me to think about life. Our lives as Christians are 24/7 Work & Witness projects. No matter where we are or what we are doing we should look for opportunities to serve others regardless of their faith. Acts of service could be as simple as picking up litter on the sidewalk or holding a door for someone or they may require more thought, sacrifice and effort. We need a constant open line of communication with our Savior, Jesus Christ through Bible reading and prayer so we are alerted to His will for each moment of each day.

Are you floating down the river of life just looking at the scenery and enjoying the ride or are you looking for ways to serve and love those you come in contact with each day? As my brother, David, told me one day, he walks around with his eyes open. We should all strive to do likewise.

Remember, we may not receive a reward on earth, but keep living, loving and serving during your time as a stranger on this earth and prepare for eternity with Jesus in the home we were created for... All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. ~ Hebrews 11:13

Thursday, July 31, 2008

22 Weeks and Counting

My friends, Jim and Cheryl, took some pictures of me and the kids on Saturday, July 26th since I've been negligent on taking pictures this pregnancy.

I saw my doctor today (almost 22 weeks along) and she said that everything is going terrific with my pregnancy now. She had me do one blood test today to check for an issue with my liver that may be nothing at all. She said that I'm doing well and that the baby is doing great. My blood pressure was perfect today - of course I went to the appointment alone and didn't have to rush my family who would rather be sleeping off to an early morning appointment they would rather miss. Rick would like to be at every appointment, but he'd like to be beamed there without having to get out of bed. So I will be going to my future appointments alone unless there is some reason I need someone else to drive.

Thank you all for your ongoing prayers for me and the baby!

August 1 Update - I received an email from the lab with my results for the liver function tests and some of them are elevated. Then a while later I got an email from my doctor's office saying that the doctor reviewed my results and needs me to repeat the test at my next appointment and that the orders are in the system already. My guess is that they want to make sure the levels don't increase in the next month. The doctor said she wanted to do a test for Cholestasis of Pregnancy when I mentioned that I was experiencing itching all over my body. I thought that it might be from a combination of sun screen, chlorine and dry skin, but she just wants to be sure.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Up for a Challenge?

I receive email newsletters from Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Revive Our Hearts Ministries) and she posed a challenge in a recent message. Actually she gave options for multiple challenges (involving husbands, your pastor, your pastor's wife, and the television). Check out this link and decide on the best challenge for you and your situation. I think all four of them our worthy of consideration and any of the four could be a catalyst for spiritual growth in our lives.

Give it a try it could change your life!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Do Something that Matters!

My church (in cooperation with churches throughout our church district) is raising money for wells in Haiti through the Haiti Water Project. The Haitian wells were the focus for our VBS offering this summer and we are extending the opportunity to contribute to the offering over the next couple weeks in order to help the project even more.

Watch a short piece highlighting how the Haiti Water Project is making a difference in communities in Haiti -- and how we can all get involved.


For churches in Haiti—where more than half of the eight million people there don’t have access to safe drinking water— it means they can become the source of both the literal and spiritual water of life. Young children in Haiti have to walk up to six hours each day to retrieve water.

For approximately $1,000, a church can build one well that will affect the lives of two thousand-plus people for years to come. If each of the 500 Nazarene churches in Haiti had a well on its property, it would mean one million changed lives. Various groups are partnering with local churches in Haiti to empower them to provide sustainable water resources for the people in their communities. It’s a dream right now. What would it take to make it a reality? Consider making a donation.

THE HAITI WATER PROJECT: GET INVOLVED

The Haiti Water Project is a simple concept: Create sustainable water resources that empower local churches in Haiti to meet the needs around them. Here are 4 simple ways you can get involved:

Learn.

Find out more about the needs in Haiti and how you can get involved. Start with the Haiti Water Project site at www.caribnaz.org, and then do some research on your own.

Talk.

Raise awareness about the need for clean water in Haiti and the ways we can all get involved. Talk about it with people you know.

Join the Haiti Water Project cause on Facebook, and invite your friends. Spread the word about the need and the simple ways we can help meet that need.

Teach others through your words and actions about how they can get involved in God’s call for action in our world — and specifically in Haiti.

Act.

The cost of a well is as little as $1,000. Individuals can donate part (or all) of the cost a well, or groups can go in together to donate the cost of an entire well.

Come up with creative ways people can give.

• Example: Give Up Your Bottles. In the U.S. we spent $15 billion (yes, billion) on bottled water last year. That’s enough money to supply clean water for all of the 1.1 billion people in the world who don’t have access to safe water. Give the money you would normally spend on bottled water in a month to the Haiti Water Project so people in Haiti can have clean water.

• Example: Host a benefit [fill in the blank]. Showcase your talents (and/or those of your friends) and use the proceeds to partner with HWP. Make it a concert or writer’s night or photography exhibit or …

• Example: Organize a fundraiser to help raise money for wells in Haiti. If you’re into running, you could do something like a community-wide 5K race. If you’re a creative designer type, you could sell T-shirts you design. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.

Pray.

Pray for the people in Haiti. Pray for church leaders there. Pray for the children. Pray for the families. Pray that God would provide resources for the churches in Haiti to meet the needs around them.

God loves HIS children in Haiti and we as their brothers and sisters can make a difference in their lives through sacrificial giving and prayer. Prayerfully consider how you might ACT to help make the lives of those in Haiti more tolerable.

* Materials and photos used by permission of http://www.caribnaz.org/

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Midpoint Sonogram

This morning my family and I went for the midpoint sonogram. It's hard to believe we are at the halfway point now. The sonogram was quick because the technician said the baby was cooperative. The technician was actually running almost an hour behind before he saw me and said that he made up a lot of time with my appointment since the baby posed appropriately. He said that everything looks terrific and that we have a healthy baby. The pictures taken today (19 weeks) were a bit fuzzy (ok not even anywhere near true - they are incomprehensible) in my opinion, but I will scan and post one from today anyhow.
July 16 (19 weeks)

Since the sonogram from today is so hard to interpret, I'm going to share one from June 19th (15 weeks) also, since its a bit easier to see and I feel I owe you something with the title saying "Sonogram."


Please continue to pray for the rest of the pregnancy and for a quick safe delivery. Because of the rod along side my spine epidurals are not even an option. I've been blessed with two quick labors and am hoping for the same this time. Of course as I said before I don't want it to be so quick that I end up having a baby on the interstate so any number of people could see my face on the local news. I had my first baby 6 hours after arriving at the hospital (I wasn't in labor - it was just a precautionary thing because the plan was to induce me in the morning). My second child was born almost 2 hours after arriving at the hospital. We have a different insurance this time and the hospital isn't five miles from home like the last two times. The time the little one decides to bless us with his or her presence will let us know whether its a 20 minute drive to the hospital or a two hour drive (crazy traffic during rush hour). If this one is like the other two it will be born late at night which will eliminate the traffic issues. I guess we will have to wait and see!

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Vacation Bible School

My church is having VBS this week - the theme is Fruits of the Spirit! Please pray for the children that are attending (and those that have been invited, but not yet come) that they will feel the love of Christ and that they will come to a relationship with Him or that the ground work will be laid for them to come to the Lord. Pray also for the parents of those who may be un-churched that they feel comfort with our church or that they find a church somewhere that will meet the needs of their children and themselves.

Pray also for the children's ministers who traveled a great distance in an RV to share the love of the Lord with the children of our community and church. Pray that the workers from our church will sense God's presence in the work they are doing and that all the glory goes to God.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

~ Galatians 6:9-10

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pregnancy Update

I had my doctor's appointment yesterday and the visit went really well. My doctor's main concern was that my blood pressure is high whenever I come to the office. Interestingly enough when my blood pressure is taken away from the doctor's office its always fine. He said that if someone looked at my blood pressure record he'd have to explain why I wasn't on medication for high blood pressure. I assured him that my blood pressure is elevated because I'm rushing around trying to motivate my family to get to an appointment when they'd rather be sleeping. So from now on I'm going to go to my doctor's appointments alone and it will be better for the whole family. Getting myself out the door in time for an appointment is no big deal. The doctor asked the nurse to take a second blood pressure reading after my appointment and the results were perfect. He ordered a panel of tests for blood pressure issues which I completed at the lab yesterday and every single test came out within the normal range.

He still wants me to rest as much as possible and to say out of direct heat and sunlight. He also wants me to drink lots of water (I'm the Queen of Water Drinking) which is no problem at all. My gym membership is on hold until next January per doctor's orders. He said I could go to the pool as long as I went after the heat of the day and as long as I drank water even if I didn't feel thirsty because people often dehydrate while at the pool - again not a problem.

My sonogram is scheduled for July 16th and they will do a thorough check on the baby and the placenta. So I feel that my appointment was terrific news! Thank you all for your concern and prayers - keep them coming :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fireproof (the movie)

I recently found out about Fireproof, a new movie from the makers of Facing the Giants - check out this trailer - it looks great! If you'd rather read a synopsis go here.

fireproofbanner

Fireproof will be coming to theaters on September 26, 2008. Find a city near you.

The Fireproof website has many interactive tools you can use to help strengthen and grow your marriage. Visit Fireproof My Marriage today.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bed Rest

Prior to my pregnancy complications, I never really thought too much about what bed rest would mean to a person, but through this experience God has taught me so much. Some dear friends have showered me with God's love in some very practical ways and in some not so practical ways and they have all been greatly appreciated.

Some kind deeds:

* A friend from my church has delivered amazing meals to me twice
* Various ones have called and emailed to see how I'm doing
* Two ladies from my church loaned me DVDs
* A friend came over and painted my fingernails one day
* Last night a friend came over and baked a blueberry pie while we visited. Then she put some laundry away and washed the dishes in my sink
* One dear lady had an edible creation delivered (fruit – yum) – this was especially nice because I’m a fruit fanatic and many kinds of flowers aggravate my allergies.
* Another friend came over with her daughter and they cleaned bathrooms and vacuumed and made some meals.

During my time of rest I’ve had time to think about things that I could do that would make the life of a person on bed rest easier:

* Its best not to ask what you can do because most of us won't say anything because we don't want to admit we need help and we don’t want to feel as if we are a burden to someone else.
* Bring meals in containers you don't need back
* Bring fresh fruit
* Take some quick fix meals like sandwich meat or peanut butter and jelly that spouses or children can prepare themselves.
* Take paper products so they don't have to worry about the sink full of dishes
* Make sure they have necessary items like toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, and tissues on hand.
* Stop by and see if you can take out the trash or recycling
* Mow the lawn, rake leaves, shovel their snow, etc.
* Laundry
* Vacuum
* Call to check up on them if they are able to come to the phone or take them a cordless phone that can be placed by their place of rest. Some people may prefer quiet while others crave companionship – find out which the person needs by checking with the Pastor or someone who knows them well like a spouse or close friend.
* Ask if they are up for a visit (it can be lonely or they may need quiet depending on the circumstances)
* Send cards of prayers and encouragement
* Take them a CD of the sermon
* Pray for them, but let them know you are praying. You may call and pray with them over the phone, pray while you visit, write your prayer in a card you send – or if you are uncomfortable with those at least tell them you are praying. Prayer is powerful and encouraging.
* Send encouraging Scripture verses
* Loan them DVD's to watch or books to read or volunteer to pick up some library books
* Think of a unique way to share your love and concern specific to your gifts and talents

I am confident that everything is healing and that I should be lifted from bed rest by July 2nd after my doctor’s appointment - I will update after my appointment. Thank you for your continued prayers for me and the little treasure.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Special Prayer Request

Please keep me and the baby in your prayers. I fell in the church parking lot on Sunday (slipped on water). Then this morning I had bleeding and had to go into the doctor. She said the baby is okay, but that I have placenta previa. She wants me to do nothing for 3-4 days and to down scale my activities after that. She said that 90% of the time the placenta will correct itself.

I'm a very active person and I walk/jog 5 miles a day (six days a week). The doctor said jogging and running are now not an option for me and she wants me to walk slower than usual and to only exercise in 15 minute intervals. So if you see me misbehaving...tell me to stop it.

Keep us in your prayers!

Thanks,

Robin

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Contribution in Eternity


How can $4.00 make a difference in eternity? Because of the increase in the cost of gas these days $4.00 can barely buy a gallon of gas. BUT $4.00 supports one minute of World Mission Broadcast (WMB) airtime through radio, the Internet, or television. On the air since 1951, WMB reaches even the remotest parts of the world, with words of hope and holiness... Each year millions of people hear WMB programs and lives are changed because of what they’ve heard.



As of April 22, 2008, World Mission Broadcast is reaching the unreached in:

30 Languages
73 Countries
94 Programs
7,012 Broadcasts

Last year was the first year I was truly challenged to make a sacrifice to give to WMB. Previous years I just gave a token offering that didn’t require sacrifice on my part. The challenge came through a work of fiction based on real life – Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. His novel shares how radio broadcasts encourage persecuted Christians who can’t openly attend church and reaches those who don’t know of Jesus. Randy’s book made the plight of those who haven’t heard of Jesus very real to me – so real that it hurt and made me want to do something that mattered, something that made a difference.

Excerpt from Safely Home:

They have been praying for three hours before we arrived.”
“So the meeting must be nearly done?”
“No. Just starting. Chinese believers have motto: ‘Little prayer, little power. No prayer, no power.’”
(p. 289)

Join with me in prayer for persecuted Christians and for those who are yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ and HIS gift of unconditional love and salvation through World Mission Broadcast. Consider what amount you will share to reach the unreached with the good news of Jesus.

From WMB Website:

Giving to World Mission Broadcast provides the means to reach millions around the world for Christ, providing the funding for program production, airtime, and follow-up materials. Holiness programming, delivered by radio, television and the Internet, is reaching into the far corners of the world with the message of Jesus and his redeeming love and helping to disciple those who respond. The prayer and financial support of individuals and local churches are vital to this broadcast ministry.


Gifts to World Mission Broadcast can be given through the following methods:

Online – World Mission Broadcast

Send a check made out to:

World Mission Broadcast
6401 The Paseo
Kansas City, MO 64131

To learn more about the work of World Mission Broadcast sign up for the newsletter here.

Or

Contact WMB online or call 816-333-7000 ext. 2745


If you have a few moments, I encourage you to read through these requests and pray for the listeners they represent. Nothing will support the work of World Mission Broadcast (WMB) globally, like your prayers. Feel free to pass these requests on to your church’s prayer groups. Thank you for your support of WMB, and especially for supporting the listeners.

Rick Guilfoil, Director,
World Mission Broadcast



Responses from South America
www.Esperanza.net—October 2006


Below is just a small sampling of the prayer requests sent in by WMB listeners in October 2006:


“I need strength and hope to keep going in this world.”
Margarita, 41 (Venezuela)



“I want to know more about God.”
Gabriel, 42 (Argentina)



“I want to know Jesus.”
Felix, 20 (Peru)



“I need spiritual peace.”
Daniel, 45 (Colombia -Listening to the radio in a taxi)



“I want to know how to be a ‘valuable woman.’ I want to learn to be a woman of wisdom. I have low selfesteem.”
Carmen, 45 (Chile)



“I need to leave this spiritual poverty.”
Luis, 25 (Bolivia)



“How can I know the will of God?”
Islene, 32 (Colombia)




Please pray for these individuals and the families they represent and consider once again what you might do to make an investment in eternity! Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Prayer of the Heart

Please join in prayer with my friends, Tam and Papa. This week Tam shared a post - "Pressed to Pray" and Papa just today sent out a call to Please come pray with us! so I thought it would be a good time to continue sharing from Opening Windows compiled and edited by Mary Fairchild. I'm going to spend the next few posts sharing the discussion questions from Your Fresh Take.

On page 97 at the end of the chapter by Leanne Payne – Open to “Prayer of the Heart” the questions are:

Think back over your recent petitions to God. What do your requests tell you about the desires of your heart? For the next week, keep a daily prayer journal that includes a list of your petitions.

When I was thirteen I started my "letters to God" in a spiral notebook, when that book was full, I started another and on and on. Somewhere along the way I quit recording my prayers and regret it. They show you so much. First of all they give hope because you can see how God worked in situations you have long forgotten and secondly you see changes in yourself and realize that God is making you into His image one day at a time. You can also watch your handwriting mature - haha

As you have matured in your faith and knowledge of God, how have your prayer petitions changed? Do you sense that your heart is more closely aligned with God’s heart than it was five years ago? How or why?

My prayers definitely changed from the time I was 13 to my mid-twenties when I quit journaling them. They changed from fairly self-centered to thinking more about what God desires. I still have room for growth as I'm guessing most of us earthbound souls do... I'm a different person than I was five years ago because God has changed things about me that needed changing, but as I see myself now I know that I still have more needed growth in Him.

Choose several Scriptures passages that are meaningful to you. Turn them into petitionary prayers. To edify other Christians, discuss how God has made His presence real to you as you have turned biblical promises into petitions and waited in faith for God to work.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

What My Children Want...

Exactly two years ago on May 31, 2006 this conversation took place between my children:

Daughter (6) was doing her school work and Son (3) was playing. My son came up to me and…

said..."After Sister is done with her school work can we go buy a baby."

Daughter said,
"We can't buy a baby it has to come from heaven all the way down to the mom's tummy."

A couple minutes later...

Son said,
"I want a baby brother."

Daughter said,
"Too bad I think God is going to deliver a baby girl to our family."

Well, God didn’t deliver anything to our family…

until...

March 2008 I received one of these:







Then in April I got one of these:

















Then in May I got one of these – (three different poses – how’s a mother to choose)



















And in December the whole family will get one of these:
















We are thrilled beyond measure. The kids are still hoping for a same sex sibling, but I know they will rejoice with either when it comes down to it. My intuition says it will be a girl, but just about everyone else that has ventured a guess thinks it will be a boy. We have decided to keep it a secret from all, but God and the sonogram technician until the delivery because I’ve always wanted the surprise. For our first two we had the technician write the sex on a piece of paper that we opened over a meal at a restaurant.

Because of my back issues (see this post for more info) and the rod in my back, an epidural isn’t an option for me. I made it through my first two deliveries just fine. The first was harder than the second, but I got bolder the second time around and was able to tell the medical professionals what I needed to do instead of allowing them to make decisions for me that made it more difficult for me to manage. Even with the back labor I had with my daughter, I still thought her delivery was easier than my back surgery. The pain was shorter and the reward was greater. God blessed me with short labors – the first was 6 hours (I went from 1 cm – 10 cm rather quickly - they told me they'd have to induce me in the morning because my water broke and nothing was happening, but my daughter didn't want to wait and she came many hours before the schedule induction) and the second labor took four hours. I’m hoping to do better this time, but not so good that I deliver on the highway or anything. I don’t want my 15 seconds of fame that bad… Regardless of how long it takes, I’m trusting God with the details and I will be overjoyed to hold my newest treasure in my arms.

Please keep the baby, this pregnancy, and me in your prayers.

Thanks!

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. ~ Psalm 139:13-16

Friday, May 30, 2008

What role does prayer play in your life?

I'm reading a devotional thought type book called Opening Windows by a variety of authors - compiled and edited by Mary Fairchild. At the end of each chapter the author challenges the reader in a section called Your Fresh Take.

On page 61 at the end of the chapter by Thelma Wells - Open to Constant Communication the questions are:

Identify two or three times in your daily schedule when you are least aware of God. What conscious changes can you make to increase your awareness of God in these parts of your day?

For me the times I'm least aware of God are when I'm trying to be in control of my world when I try to take things into my own hands. I need to let go and trust God with all things especially the things that seem out of my control - because they most likely are...

How would your day change if God were the first thing you thought of when walking in the morning and the last thing on your mind before sleeping?

I do make an effort to have God be the first thing I think of in the morning and the last before going to bed, but I don't always succeed. I find that when I do things go better and I don't feel as much need to be in control because I KNOW that God is in control.

Do people who are important to you know you are praying for them? If not, what will you do to assure them of your prayers?

I'm pretty sure those important to me know that I'm praying for them. For some people mainly my immediate family and close friends I will pray with them during times of crisis. I'm feeling convicted that I should stop and pray with more people immediately as they share requests. The times friends have done that for me it has really impacted me in a positive way.

Feel free to share your answers in the comments section or just think and pray about them during your time alone with God.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Five Kind Things Meme

Jerri tagged me with this meme

The Five Kind Things Meme works like this:

List five kind things you do for yourself.
List five kind things you do for your closest friend, partner or child.
List five kind things you have done for a stranger.
List five kind things you do for fun.
List five people you are tagging with this meme.

Five things I do for myself:
1. I commune with God through reading, prayer, and music, etc.
2. I try to eat healthy.
3. I exercise.
4. I play on the computer – mainly with blogs.
5. Spend time with friends.

List five kind things you do for your closest friend, partner or child.
1. I listen when friends need to talk.
2. I try to encourage people and let them know their life matters and that they mean something to me.
3. I made my husband a special journal filled with thoughts, prayers to God on his behalf, poetry (other people’s not mine), etc. before we got married and gave it to him as a wedding present.
4. I write letters/cards to my children telling them how special they are to me and I have special journals that are in process for them also filled with similar things as my husband’s and pictures of them and me pregnant with them.
5. I try to help whenever and wherever I can whether it be serving them or loving them.

List five kind things you have done for a stranger.
1. I hold doors, return shopping carts, pick up things dropped, etc.
2. One time I gave a young man a ride home from work that I didn’t know well and my dad was quite upset with me when he found out because of safety issues.
3. Return money that they dropped – usually my children find it and I let them return it – makes their day to do something for someone else.
4. My children and I put together Crisis Care Kits that our church delivers to a warehouse and they are given all over the world in times of crisis. People who don’t have time give me the money to buy their kits and my kids and I go to the store to purchase the supplies in bulk and we are able to create more kits than if the people just bought the supplies themselves. My kids are always so excited to help in this process. We pray for the people who will receive the CCK too.
5. Make sure lost children in stores are returned to their parents. One time this spring my kids were riding their scooters along with a neighbor boy several times around our block and a little tyke about two years old started following us without their guardian knowing and I stopped those in my charge and said we had to take the little one back.

Five Things I do for fun:
1. Walk
2. Take pictures of family
3. Play games with my family.
4. Cook and bake with healthy or healthier ingredients
5. Blog

Five people to tag:
1. Life Adapted
2. Heather from Standing at the Crossroads
3. Carol from Journey of Hope
4. Ruthie from Just Ruthie
5. Faith from The Great Adventure

If anyone else would like to play along, please feel free and just let us know that you have answered the questions on your blog or feel free to leave the answers in the comments section.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Marriage















My dad walking me down the aisle.

What is marriage? Why do we marry? Why do so few Christian marriages go the distance? How is your marriage different? What advice to you have to share with those who are considering marriage or those in any phase of marriage?

Marriage according to Mirriam Webster's first definition is: 1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.

I remember when I was in graduate school, my Sunday School teacher, mentor and friend, Carolee Loar challenged our class of young singles to consider what marriage was and write out our definitions. I took the assignment seriously and wrote a great deal. I spend a long time this evening looking in vain for that piece of paper that I kept somewhere safe... Maybe someday I will find it...

Marriage was a frightening prospect for me back then because I was terrified of failure. I had seen too many marriages end badly and wanted to avoid that for myself even if it meant never marrying, but at the same time I wanted to be married so much. I wanted to be loved and to be special to someone. I spent a lot of time praying about marriage and for a possible future spouse and for several young men I hoped would fill that role at various times.























Next month Rick and I will celebrate our eleventh anniversary. We married on the 50th anniversary of my grandparents.

I've read some challenging books about marriage in the last year by Gary Thomas and I highly recommend them to anyone who is married or considering marriage. Sacred Marriage and Sacred Influence are both powerful books that have the potential to change the way we think about marriage. For more info check out my Reading Room Blog - do a search with Gary Thomas' name or the titles of the books mentioned. Consider this quote, Gary shares this quote in Sacred Marriage, "If we view the marriage relationship as an opportunity to excel in love, it doesn’t matter how difficult the person is whom we are called to love; it doesn’t matter even whether that love is ever returned. We can still excel at love. We can still say, “Like it or not, I’m going to love you like nobody ever has.”

Randy Alcorn, a favorite author of mine, shared some of his thoughts about marriage on his blog because an assistant of his married this weekend. Check out his post here.

Let's all spend some time praying for our marriages and the marriages of those who are dear to us. Marriage can be wonderful, yet it can be the most challenging thing we'll ever experience. Storm heaven on the behalf of marriages everywhere!