Monday, March 31, 2008

Daniel Update from Laura

Daniel had a grand mal playing in the living room near the front door on Thursday March 27, 2008. Because of his blindness, he loves to spin for self-stimulation. As Daniel was happily spinning, he had a grand mal and dropped to the floor. Daniel is fine, I believe he does not even know what hit him. We gave him diastat (rectal valium) to stop the seizure and he slept the rest of night and woke up as happy as can be the next morning.

Daniel is scheduled for another video EEG on April 16 - April 19 (72 hour test) at Children's Hospital. Whatever the test shows, we have no plans of getting anymore brain surgery in the near future.

Daniel has been diagnosed with severe encephalopathy (severe degenerative brain disease). Daniel has scarring on the right side of his brain and he has atropy on the left side of his brain.

Daniel is such a special gift from God and brings us so much happiness and love.

The Sluss Family

Please continue to pray for Daniel, his parents, and family. Pray especially for his dad (Mark) for the next two weeks as he is in Ethiopia for a Work and Witness (short-term mission) trip with three other members (David, Roz and Lorraine) of our church. For additional information see this post.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Writing Contest from Christian Women Online

Christian Women Online (CWO) has asked that members help promote a writing contest, so I'm copying their info here...

The "Her Life Reflected" writing contest is our favored promotion of the year, since it highlights women with a heart for God. So we're always excited when this time of year comes around! This year we have a great prize package, including $400.00 cash, that I'm sure many readers would be interested in, as well as the honor that it brings to their mothers. This contest is only for women writers, and is closed to CWO regular contributors :(

I have listed some of the details below, but they are also listed at our site along with a promotional button and code that you could use--should you wish to help us get the word out. I know that some of you can, but others may not have the platform where this type of announcement is a fit, and that's fine too! Perhaps you'd just like to put your pen to winning then! :) Here's the link:

And here's what it's all about:

Christian Women Online, in conjunction with Art Bookbindery, is sponsoring the “Her Life Reflected,” writing contest. We are looking for essays that tell us how your mother, or a mother that you know has reflected the heart of our Heavenly Father in her life. The winning essay will be one that is both written well, and of most importance, one that reflects God as being the central focus of one's life.

The contest is open to women aged 18 years and older, who reside in Canada or the United States. Employees of Art Bookbindery or regular writers of Christian Women Online, are not eligible to enter. Our judges will choose only one winner. That winner will receive $400.00 U.S. from Art Bookbindery, 2 copies of Darlene Schacht's humorous book, The Mom Complex (one for you and one for mom!), 2 copies of Kathleen Carnali's music CD, Dangerous Prayer, 2 Proverbs 31 mugs from Mugs of Truth (a design idea inspired by CWO friend, Iris of Sting my Heart), and an autographed photo of Candace Cameron Bure along with a DVD of her testimony. Now that's a great package! We will announce the winner on Mother's Day, May 11th, 2008, and will publish the at that time.
Live Well!

Darlene Schacht

Founder and Editor, Christian Women Online"Uniting Women of Faith"

Reshape your body and soul:

Darlene's Websites:


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Short Term Missions

My church is very active in missions whether it be local (compassionate ministries), in the states or abroad. Today four people - Mark, David, Roz and Lorraine left for Ethiopia to begin their Work and Witness (W & W) trip. While in Ethiopia team members will be constructing homes for widows, using local materials. At the same time people from the community will be working on the Training Center Project. W & W team members raised money to help with the cost of building materials. Initially it was planned that team members would participate in building the Training Center, but it was decided that locals should do the labor to give them a sense of ownership.

The W & W team will be showing the Jesus Film during their time in Africa as well. Please pray that our Ethiopian brothers and sisters' hearts are receptive to God's plan for their lives. Please keep, Mark, David, Roz and Lorraine in your prayers as they sacrifice their time and share their love. They will return on April 13th.

Side Note: Some of you remember Daniel - his dad, Mark and his Aunt Lorraine are team members from our church. His other Aunt Carolyn from another church is also on this mission trip. They are going during a time when it would have been easier to say no because of the trials they have been going through with Daniel's surgery and seizures and with their mom, Joan. Joan was diagnosed with cancer before Daniel's surgery and has had a stroke and some other difficulties as well. Please keep their whole family in prayer during this W & W trip and beyond. Also keep Laura (Daniel's mom) in prayer as she will be shouldering all the responsibilities for her family while Mark is away. Laura said she will be sending an update on Daniel soon too.

From Laura (Mark's wife)- 4-1-08

Hi Robin:
On the way to church last Sunday, I was missing Mark so much, then this song came on the radio by Audio Adreneline "Hands and Feet". I cried almost all the way to church because all I could think about was Mark and the team. I am so proud of all of them, especially my husband. I wish I could be there with him right now.

The link to the song and video is below, it is powerful. I think this video was filmed in Haiti, it is one of the poorest nations. Those people live off a dollar a day over there.

God bless,

P.S.: Please feel free to post my message above and the link to this song on your blog.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Who would you like to meet?

What is your favorite Bible story from the Old Testament?

If you could have met one figure from the OT, who would you pick?

What would you ask him or her?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Praying for...

Many times we pray for patience, boldness or courage, but we don't want the opportunities to prove that we are learning the lessons we just want God to work an instant miracle and make those virtues exist in us.

Its easy to feel kind, hospitable and compassionate when we are showing those virtues to people who are similar to us. The real challenge appears when we have to show kindness to someone who treats us unkindly, takes advantage of us, or has a different world view.

I've noticed that my children are "perfect saints" when everything is going their way, but their halos start to slide when everything isn't going according to their perfect plan. I wonder where they learned that? No, I don't wonder, I know. I so badly want to be a good example to my children and show them that I can be a vessel for God even in situations that aren't pleasant for me.

Let's encourage each other along in the faith and lift each other up in prayer as we strive to become more like our risen Savior and live the fruit of the Spirit in our daily lives, not just when its comfortable or easy!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. Acts 11:23

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. Romans 1:11-13

He is RISEN! He is RISEN indeed!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

MeMe in Fives

I was tagged by Julie at Flower of the Family to do a getting to know you Meme.
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post the player than tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they done got tagged and to ask them to play and read your blog.

What was I doing 10 years ago?
· I was in my first year of marriage
· Working at a Christian Counseling Center counseling individuals and families and working the crisis line
· Living in an apartment
· Teaching 2-3 year old Sunday School Class
· Little to no exercise.

Five Things on my to-do list today.
· Go to the gym – 5 miles on the treadmill and 1.5 on the bike (cool down)
· Clean house in preparation for my mother’s visit tomorrow.
· Get groceries for my mother’s visit
· Mail taxes (finally and buy some forever stamps before the price goes up AGAIN in May)
· Attend Maundy Thursday communion service with my children (husband is at work).

Five Snacks I enjoy.
· Ice cream.
· Homemade cookies
· Fresh, hot bread with lots of fiber and seeds
· Homemade smoothies
· Homemade pizza with lots of cheese

Five Things I would do if I were a billionaire.
· Pay off house
· Support my church with some special projects
· Get safe, reliable vehicles for my husband and myself
. College Scholarship Program for my Undergraduate University
· Support missions in a BIG way

Five of my bad habits.
· Worry about things beyond my control – must quit (Julie maybe we can start a self-help group – haha)
· Reminding my husband (okay nagging) about the speed limit
· Answering questions before its asked - sometimes my husband will look at me and I will answer a question he hasn't asked and he wonders how I can do that.
· Eating when I’m not hungry
· Telling anyone who will listen about whatever book I’m reading at the moment

Five places I have lived.
· Jefferson City, Missouri
· Mount Vernon, Ohio
· Lawrenceville, Georgia
· LaVale, Maryland
· Fairfax, Virginia

Five (+2) Jobs I've had.
· Deli/Bakery Clerk
· Cleaning Crew at Factory Midnight Shift
· Brush Hog operator
· Worker at Sporting Goods Warehouse
· Grocery Store Cashier
· Resident Assistant in College
· Counselor
· Executive Assistant

Five people I want to know more about (a nice way of saying TAG):

Carol – Journey of Hope
Indian Lake Papa Choice R Mine
Tam – In Progress
Tiffany – Tea with Tiffany

If anyone else would like to participate - please feel free and leave a comment letting me know that you played :)

Happy Easter Week!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

To Win a Riding Lawn Mower...

What would you do to help your best friend’s father-in-law win a riding lawn mower? Last June my friend called and told me that her father-in-law was in a radio station competition to win a riding lawn mower. Radio listeners wrote essays about their incredible father or father figure. The top 20 essays were put online to give the public a chance to vote. Contestants and anyone they could convince were allowed to vote once every ten minutes over a two-day time span before Father’s Day. The five stories that received the highest number of votes would then enter the next phase of the competition – “musical lawnmowers.” You ask, “How is that played?” From what I understand each man was asked to choose a numbered lawnmower. Then someone drew a number and the winner was selected.

I spent two days running to my computer every 10-30 minutes. My housework suffered needless to say, but it was fun to see his numbers climb. I sent emails to friends and solicited votes for a man I’ve never met (but have heard great things about). All of our dedication and hard work got him in the top five. Yippee! He was number one for a while, but a family with eight children stole his thunder during the last few hours of the online competition. But he still had a chance to win… Guess what – he didn’t win.

I committed a lot of time and energy to something so inconsequential… My friend and I both were disappointed when we processed our thoughts after the competition. BUT if I had it to do over, I would do it again because service to others no matter how small shows them that they are valuable. How can application be made to our spiritual lives? Do we regularly stop everything and run to our prayer closet every 10 minutes? I know I don't because I have children to teach and entertain, laundry to fold and dishes to watch, etc. Its not saying that I don’t pray as I think of things throughout the day, but I don’t make a plan to stop everything every ten minutes to go commune with my Savior. A riding lawnmower though very nice is only temporal. Prayer has eternal rewards. Let’s try praying like we want to win a riding lawnmower.

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. Acts 2:42-43

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:11-12

Monday, March 17, 2008

Looking for Love

March 26, 2007
Our family was leaving the gym and one of my husband's friends said something to us. My daughter (7) blushed and whispered to me that daddy's friend was cute and she wished she could marry him (not a chance thinks this mama he's in his late 30's or early 40's). Then we got in the car and my son says (with a straight face), "I'm never going to find a wife!" I was puzzled since he just turned 4. Has he been searching already??? I told him that I'd help him find a good wife. After a little while, my son asked, "How did Daddy get to be so lucky to find you for a wife?" That's my boy!

Yesterday (3-16-08) while I was making dinner, the kids were playing quietly...(every mother knows what that means)...

I'm sure you've heard of Superman, Batman and Spiderman, but there is a new Superhero in town...

My son (now 5) introduced me to Superloveman. Yes, I just typed what you read. My daughter (recently turned 8) drew a big heart on her brother's chest with a black pen and wrote LOVE in a all caps. The little guy made himself a cape out of a little blanket and went flying through the kitchen shirtless (so you could see his emblem I'm sure) to rescue the beautiful princess, his sister.

Oh my... this was while I was making dinner tonight...

Seriously, I want my children to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord and to find a godly spouses when the time is right. I want their lives to be living testimonies to God's grace, love and power.

Let's all pray for our children, regardless of their ages, that they find godly spouses one day and that we are able to impart godly wisdom to them during their formative years as they become men and women after God's own heart. If your children are already married, pray for them and their spouse that they continually look to the Lord for solutions to life's problems and that they become examples of God's unconditional love in a world in need of love - God's love.

Dear Lord,

Please protect my children from my mistakes and shower them with all of YOU and help them to become the mature, godly, responsible adults that YOU want them to be so they can have marriages, lives, ministries, etc... after YOUR plan. Amen!

Listen to this song and get your tissues ready just in case - Find Your Wings by Mark Harris

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What Are You Doing with Jesus?

Flower of the Family shared a post that brought this situation back to my memory...

Christmas 2006

My in-laws gave us a $300 Sears gift card to buy whatever we wanted for Christmas. We were thrilled. My husband loses things easily, so he asked me to keep the gift card. I'm a thrifty person and I try to use things as long as I can and maybe a tad bit longer. Well my wallet was falling apart, so I put the gift card in the front pocket of my jeans for safe keeping. I was traveling sick (antibiotics that didn't agree with me) and we had to stop 3 times with one time in the dark and rain. We woke up the youngest to go to the bathroom and as he got out of the car he stepped into a 6" pot hole full of rain water. It was so cold and the wind was blowing the rain. When we got home we unloaded the car and let the kids unwrap their gifts from my family and then went to bed.

Fast forward to January 10th

My husband asked me for the Sears Gift Card because he wanted to buy something with it and I realized that I had no idea where it was - aughh. They told us NOT to lose it because they bought it with cash and of course the receipt was with it. I was SICK! I could have lost it at any of our stops and I wouldn't have noticed it, especially the wind, rain, and crying stop. I spent the week praying I would find the card to no avail. We prayed that it would turn up, but were afraid that it probably wouldn't because I had no recollection of the gift card after stuffing it into my jeans pocket. I was so upset with myself because I'm supposed to be the responsible one...

Back then I wrote, I'm hoping that I can just rest in God's peace since there is absolutely NOTHING I can do to change what is done, but I have been beating myself up something awful. I'm hoping that it will turn up when we least expect it... I've been praying that God would teach me something through this yucky experience beyond the "Be careful with gift cards..." speech.

My friend, Karen helped to turn my mind with one of her emails. God spoke to me and asked me what I'm doing with the biggest and best gift I've ever received? My salvation and the gift of HIS Son Jesus Christ. I'm always concerned with being a good steward of money/gift cards, etc... and using coupons and getting the best price... But when you get right down to it - you don't take any of that with you when you die... You either have Jesus or you don't and then the question is what did you do with Jesus? Did you say thanks and stick Him in a closet or did you commune with HIM constantly? Did you ask what do YOU think, Jesus before doing anything? Did you seek HIM and HIS will? So if I had to lose $300 to get me thinking, then it was worth it...

Shortly after realizing the gift card was missing, I rushed out to the store and bought a wallet for $9.88. So now, I have my wallet worth $309.88 - for that price it better last 200 years (haha). In all seriousness, I hope the lessons learned here have eternal value beyond anything money could buy.

May 7, 2007

I'm so excited! The other day, my four year son got some books down from the bookshelf and messed it up a bit, so I decided I needed to straighten it up... I noticed a pack of batteries that didn't belong and a couple receipts and a little red piece of cardboard... Guess what I found? You're right - the $300 SEARS gift card. I immediately called my in-laws and shared the good news. They were overjoyed and as you can imagine so was I.

The Parable of the Lost Coin
"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:8-10

Monday, March 10, 2008

What Is Beauty?

A friend once told me that she was feeling exceptionally pretty one day, so she asked her daughter to take her picture. When she saw the picture she was disappointed because she didn’t see beauty, she saw a haggard woman.

When do you feel beautiful? I feel beautiful when I’m serving others or when I’m having a blast playing with my kids, or when I feel confident. But if I happen to pass by a mirror and see that my hair is disheveled or some other physical imperfection my confidence plummets. We buy into Satan’s lies when we allow our worth to be measured by mankind’s subjective idea of beauty. Physical beauty fades with years and can be taken away without a moments notice.

According to Webster beauty is: the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit: loveliness. God’s Word describes beauty in Proverbs 31:30 - "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

I asked my eight-year-old daughter what beauty is and she immediately replied, “Me” as she danced around the room with great enthusiasm and a smile on her face. I then began to read what I wrote above to her and she stopped me and said, “Mama you are beautiful even if your hair is a mess. God thinks everyone is beautiful because He made them and He knows His creation is very good.” Oh to have the untarnished confidence of a happy, little girl.

Real beauty cannot fade and can never be taken away because it’s part of your character. When we are assured of God’s perfect love and know who we are in Christ we won’t fall for the devil’s deceit.

When I look at my friend mentioned in the first paragraph, regardless of what she is wearing or how her hair looks, I see beauty. I see beauty that radiates from deep within because of her love for Christ, her devotion to her husband and children and the friendship she freely gives to me.

God’s Word admonishes us: "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." ~ 1 Peter 3:1-6

So go and shine for Jesus. Rest assured that you are beautiful because HE made you and loves you. In that confidence you can minister to others and share HIS love with a hurting world.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Update on Daniel from Laura

Daniel got his PICC Line out on Wed. March 5. He had a seizure right there in the doctors office after she pulled it out. Daniel had three seizures on this day and the third seizure was so bad at 8:00 p.m. at night that I gave Daniel his Diastat (rectal valium) to stop the seizure. Daniel has good days and bad days. I count it all as a blessing from God because Daniel is such a beautiful gift from God. Daniel's heart is so pure, Daniel is fearfully and wonderfully made by God.

I am truly blessed that we have had so many people praying for little Daniel and our family. Everyone's prayers have helped to sustain us and have given us so much hope and encouragement to know that we have so many brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus praying for us.

It is only by the grace of God that any of us can get through it all whatever it is that each one of us is going through.

As my dear prayer warrior sister in Christ (Jerri Phillips) said after she left her doctors office pertaining to her heart condition: "and I left his office with the smell of dust and rubble in my nose." "Jericho was down".

Hugs to all my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Shapes and Sizes

I have friends of all different shapes and sizes and I don’t care one iota about what they weigh or what size jeans they wear. All that matters to me is who they are inside, but I’ve noticed that many of us spend too much time lamenting the way our bodies look. We compare ourselves to airbrushed 17 year-olds and wonder why we were made the way we were. We wonder why God gave us a nose, hips, thighs, arms, etc. like He did. Some people are prone to gain weight in different parts of their bodies others gain weight all over their bodies, and some can’t seem to keep the weight on no matter how hard they try. God gave us all body types that are unique to us. We can abuse our bodies by overeating or eating foods that are just plain unhealthy for us and we can maintain a sedentary lifestyle. Doing those negative things does harm the body God gave us. Let's try to eat healthier and exercise more to take care of our bodies. But we need to first have an appreciation and love for what God created. We need to rest assured that when God looks at us HE smiles because HE made us with the characteristic HE thought would make us beautiful. The combinations are endless and HE loves them all!

"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

When we spend time worrying about what people think about us, physical characteristics, etc. we are too wrapped up in self to see the needs of others around us. When we are concerned with not being good enough we don’t step outside of our comfort zone as freely and give that smile or talk to the person who is waiting to find the love of Jesus. Satan uses our self-absorption to his advantage and keeps us from sharing God’s love and keeps us safe inside our little worlds.

Let's try to stop worrying about ourselves and concern ourselves with things that matter in eternity.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Daniel Update and PICC Line Removed

This morning Daniel had his PICC line removed. Right after they took it out Daniel had his second grand mal seizure of the day and had a third seizure this evening. Laura said they are discussing other options for medical treatment with the doctors. As soon as she has more info I will share, but in the mean time, please keep Daniel and his family in your prayers.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mini Daniel Update

I called to talk to Laura tonight and one of her older boys answered the phone and said she couldn't come to the phone now because Daniel pulled at his PICC line and the home health nurse was there checking out the situation. Please keep them in your prayers.

This morning in church Laura testified to God's goodness and praised the Lord that Daniel had three days with no seizures.