January 3, 2012

Guess What...

It's a new year and we've moved!

Yes, after only three years our address has changed. You are special and we don't want to miss your visit, so set your compass on our new address, bookmark our location, and better yet subscribe so you'll receive your own email message when a new OLM post pops up.

You can visit us at: Olive Leaf Ministries Blog

We'll be waitin' for you!

December 21, 2011

Which Christmas?

Our daughter Dani visited a new Sunday school class last Sunday. Though 24 years old, she's developmentally at a five to eight year level. She loves everyone and adapts well to her environment, all she needs is a little friend to help get her involved with the group.

After a warm welcome to the 3rd/4th grade class, I commenced with the standard speel, "This is the potty sign (I demonstrate the gesture), if she signs it she needs to go to the restroom as soon as possible. Please feel free to get me and I will do her toileting, we don't expect you to do that. She can hear with her hearing aids but because of the Autism she cannot speak so she'll do a lot of signs you won't understand, just tell her you'll ask mom about it when she come back. If you have any questions or problems let me know and I'll be happy to come help."

Eyeing a seat in the back of the sanctuary, on the off chance Dani might need help, we settled in to listen to the visiting missionary family. My patch of the pew was good and warm about the time a young woman appeared in my peripheral vision. Crouching forward she whispered, Dani needs you.

I could see the tears in Dani's eyes before I entered the class room, she looked overwhelmed. Drawing up a chair, I sat next to her and began to neutralize her sadness by remarking on the spread set before her, "Oh my. Monkey bread, two Twix mini candy bars, and cup of lemonade. Girl you've got it made in the shade!" My guess was she felt like a fish out of water and just needed mama for a time.

The class was having so much fun I found myself glad I'd been called to join. 20 Questions was underway. Give a clue about something to do with Christmas and the class had 20 chances to unearth the answer. A clue would be tossed out and the questions would fly. Whoever guessed right would go to the front, give a clue, and filter each question with a yes, no, or I don't know response. No one knew if the mystery at hand was animal, vegetable, or mineral, we had to ask questions.

Throughout the game I notice the most precious thing that still touches may heart today. Without fail, one girl would fire the first question before anyone else. She'd pop off her seat with the fingertips of one hand reaching for the ceiling and ask, "Is it about the real Christmas or the other?"

The question revealed so much about the heart of this little girl because the answer determined where she'd set her mind. A "no" question meant she'd guess things like Frosty the Snowman, Santa Clause, elves, Rudolph, and black coal. If the answer was "yes", however, it meant she'd begin rifling through the facts she'd learned at church about the story of Christ. This sweet girl had been taught so well, there was no room in her heart for a grey zone. When it came to Christmas, there was fact and fiction, simple as that.

While the young child's wisdom left me amazed, a burdened for society to possess more of this fine quality began to surface. What if in the relentless rush of Christmas we each asked ourselves, "Does what I'm doing, worrying about, or striving to accomplish, have anything to do with the real Christmas? Does it focus on Christ or the world? Am I anxious or at peace? Has the thought of the saving Messiah even crossed my mind lately?"

Children teach us so much, especially those blessed by the gospel. While the holidays so often bog us down by mixing truth with fiction, children lay it on the line by seeking the real deal.

Are you preparing for the real Christmas? Have you thanked Jesus for what He's done for the world and what's He's doing in your life and family? He is at work you know. He's always at work, never stagnate. Let's remember to keep Christ in our Christmas and strive to reflect Him to those around us so that they too may see the true meaning of the season.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

December 16, 2011

Your Two Cents is Priceless

Hallelujah...it's finished...the first, biggest, and most difficult step is complete. Olive Leaf Ministries' latest Bible study, One Size Fits All, Discovering Your Perfect Fit for Spiritual Success, is born!

The idea for this baby, the common struggle to discover meaning and purpose in life, was conceived in 2008, at which time life happened, forcing it to go on the back burner. Who knew I'd remain "pregnant" for the next three years.

Once life relaxed, writing resumed with a vengeance and as God would have it, this baby is stronger now than if born in 2008. She just needed a little more time.

As with most newborns, this youngster requires a good cleaning. She needs to be edited, reviewed, and designed, a good spiffin' up you might say, before going out into the public. That's where you all come in. Your opinion counts and will help tremendously when the time comes to advertise. You can help by skimming the study's outline below and answering a few questions.

Table of Contents:

week one – what’s my style?

· here i am

· what’s the deal?

· limited resources

· my fortune

· my secret

week two – gotta have it!

· how do i look?

· i’ll have what she’s having

· put it on my tab

· balancing your account

· spiritually blonde

week three – a trip to the tailor

· you’re hired

· a little more please

· can you see me?

· let me help

· i’ll serve

week four – top design

· high quality

· busy hands

· cast your carbs

· change of season

· follow the model

week five – royal attire

· ignore the cough

· penny for a thoughts

· did i say that?

· size p-31

· trust me

week six – the perfect fit

· a thank you

· wrap it up

· the pattern maker

· care instructions

· go in style


Does this topic of discovering meaning and purpose in life attract you enough to purchase this study? Why or why not.

Does the cover design and theme appeal to you? If not, what would you change?

Would you likely choose, the six-week Bible study version or regular reading addition? Explain why.

Would you suggest this topic to your friends and/or church group?

What would you hope to gain from this study?

Thank you ladies for you help. Please pass this link on to your girl friends on Facebook, Twitter, and personal blog to enlist more viewpoints. Every opinion is valuable.


December 10, 2011

A Godly Legacy

I've long since learned the importance of starting each day in the presence of God. Just a little time with Him orients my heart and mind on to a good and godly course. Like a cup of coffee, His Word is the perfect spiritual boost.

There are a variety of ways to begin our time with God, I like to spice things up to keep it interesting. Sometimes I read from my daily Bible reading, like when I'm reading through a particular book or I do a lesson in whatever current Bible study I am working on, which at the time is "From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest" by Leah Adams. After each reading or lesson, I pause to ascertain the theme of the day. Once this is boiled down, I pray that message over the individuals on my prayer list. It's a great blueprint.

Leah's Bible study directs us how to create a Godly legacy. As a Biblically sound teacher, she does a great job shepherding the reader through these valuable principles. This morning we went over the character traits of God, which refreshed my heart with the reminder that He is loving, strong, compassionate, gracious, mighty, true, and delights over me so much He sings over me. (This goes for you too!) (Zephaniah 3:17) I prayed these very things over those on my prayer list with the knowledge that when we pray God's word back to Him, He hears and answers with joy.

If you are shopping for a great women's study for your church/in-home group or personal study, consider Leah's work. This study would be a great gift for Christmas (it's not too late to visit her website and order your copy today) and upcoming occasions like Valentine's (friends) Day, Mother's Day, and birthdays.

Check Leah out today and whatever you do, by hook or by crook...stay in the word of God.

Blessings to you all!

December 6, 2011

Family Photos...Finally

You know how plumber's pipes often suffer the most neglect? After all, a day spent repairing other folk's leaks doesn't exactly entice one to go home and do the same off hours. The same is true with photographers, their family can be ones least captured in print.

This year we decided to make a change. No more battling Dani's Autism as Jimmy sprinted to beat the timer because 99.999% of the time Dani had fuss all over her face and Jimmy appeared stiff from trying to suppress the tachycardia from dashing back and forth.

No, none of that this year. We escaped it all by leaving it up to Jimmy's photographer friend, Christine with Click Photography. It worked out perfectly because Dani loved Christine and her husband Matt who assisted on the journey. Their professional eye allowed us to relax and go with the flow, as a result we are very pleased with the results.

Here's a few of our faves.

I think heaven will have a golden tint
like this beautiful background.

I don't recall this photo moment
but it must have happened.

This is in the middle of Kansas City believe it or not.

Also at Kansas City' brand new

We blew this up for Dani.
She'll get it for Christmas to put
on her bedroom wall.
She is signing "I Love You"

So there we go. The plumber's leak is fixed and the photographer's family finally has Christmas and family pics. Dani will be tickled come Christmas morn and Jimmy and I are thrilled to finally have a large and beautiful canvas print of us --- before we get too old and crinkly to agree to get in front of a camera again.

If you are of the notion, get your family pictures done too. They are so worth the while and make great Christmas gifts!


November 28, 2011

When All Is Said and Done...

Last year in Christmas 2010: Take Two I shared how, by blond impulse, I assembled our tree wrong. Putting long limbs above short, it resembled Charlie Brown's tree standing pathetic, gangly, and lopsided. Seems this season a brainless fiasco unfolded again.

After decorating the fireplace/T.V. room Saturday, I took a rest and began to load the tree in the front living room with lights Sunday. Pulling up the usual Christmas garb, I couldn't find a single strand of lights. I vaguely recall light trouble last year, but that describes every year. Assuming I'd tossed out the old and needed new, I purchased two boxes of brand spankin' new lights; the kind that fit outdoor bushes not indoor trees and have to go right back to where they came from.

By a whisker this little guy
almost became our tree for 2011.

Then...I remembered the light bag
I forgot to pull out of the basement!
Easter baskets propped on the top
threw me off course.

A quick test and waaalaaa!

Soon Beanie joined in...

Last but not least, the nativity.

After pointing each nativity figure to face baby Jesus, the Lord reminded me that it doesn't matter what glitch, malfunction, or disappointment comes our way this holiday season, peace is ours when we set our hearts on the reason for the season, Jesus Christ our Messiah and Prince of Peace!

The next time you find yourself frustrated or unhappy this season, stop and examine your focus. Is it directly on Christ and what He has done for you or centered on something of no eternal value? May we each determine to resist getting whipped up into the rush of the holidays all to forget the meaning behind the season.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9:6

Father help us keep our eyes set on your Son.

November 25, 2011

Holiday Hodge Podge

I hope you are enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday. Our son was off only one day, turkey day itself, so we loaded up the fixin's and headed his way. The trip was much easier than last year since we were not met with ice collecting on the windshield or glossy steps to trek up while unloading food, supplies, and excitable dogs. This year it was sunny and warm, we didn't so much as need a sweater. In fact, I balked at the pre-Christmas month and wore my sandals.

Like Meals on Wheels on steroids, we descended on Drew with all the Thanksgiving garb, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, homemade rolls, punky pie, deviled eggs, olives, stuffing, cookies, and the best homemade toffee you could ever want. After walking the dogs, eating, watching football, visiting, cleaning up, and walking the dogs again, we headed back home leaving all the treats behind. Now that's a good deal for a son if I ever heard of one.

That was the hodge so here's the podge.

After a good night's sleep we brought up the Christmas decorations this afternoon. (I thought I'd bring stuff up today and do the trimming tomorrow. No point in rushing.) Everything looked status quo as far as condition goes until I took a gander at my 10-plus year old Ginger bread man.

At first glance I thought he was chipped, but a closer investigation revealed something else. Given the forensic knowledge I've gained from watching CSI, I surmised that our little Gman had in fact not been broken, but rather nibbled on by a rodent, most likely a mouse. Take a look for yourself. His right leg and side of head is not the result of blunt force trauma. They are delicate nibbles from busy little teeth.

Double click to enlarge.

A little more podge.

Since I don't enjoy overly boisterous holiday crowds, we stayed home for Black Friday, we always do. I worked on the writing of my current Bible study, Dani pulled out a few miscellaneous Christmas decorations because she couldn't wait for me to resume tomorrow, and we enjoyed another warm day before the rains come in tonight. I'm also eating way too much toffee and may soon require an intervention.

So there's our hodge podge of a holiday. Just being together is grand. Hope you are having a great time with family and friends too.

Blessings all!

November 21, 2011

Anatomy of a Speech

I recently had the pleasure of composing an article for the writers and speakers of WINGS (Women in God's Shadow). The piece instructs how to create a presentation that excels beyond standing before an audience reciting a litany of facts. With the welfare of the audience as top priority, it details ways to educate an audience in an appealing and memorable way, avoiding a speaker's number one sin, boring an audience to tears.

So, fly over to WINGS. It'll only take a moment, I promise. If you or someone you know teaches or presents material to audiences on a regular or rare basis, share "Anatomy of a Speech" and the WINGS website with them.

Blessings to you all and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

November 15, 2011

Holiday Special

Hey girls. It's that time of year! Everyone and their dog is looking for just the right thing to buy their special someone.

Is that you? Do you have a friend who loves to dig into the word of God or perhaps want to gift your women's ministry leader with an idea for an upcoming 2012 event? If so, go no further because I have just the ticket, Elaine Olsen's Peace for the Journey.

I shared with you a few months back what her study did for me in part 4 of "Your Sista's Havin' a Hysta." To tell you the truth I still miss meeting daily with her work. It was so peaceful. Not too long each day or as a whole for that matter. Just the right thing in every way. That's why I keep nagging her to write another. I need it.

The book I received from Elaine was autographed and wouldn't you know her penmanship is neat as a pin. All swirls and scrolls twirl at a perfect angle, unlike mine which looks like a chicken ran through ink and across the paper. Yes, her study is perfect in every way and I encourage you to find out for yourself by visiting her blog.

For the holidays she is offering a special you have to see for yourself, and if that isn't enough, all books are signed, sealed, and delivered by this great author herself. Oh...and it's now available in eBook format too. Is that handier than a pocket on a shirt or what.

So ladies scuttle yourself on over to Elaine's blog and get your own dose of peace. Don't wait for the stores to become crowded or the mail system to bog down. Order your copies today, one for you and one for a friend or relative. You'll love it and be blessed, I promise.

I'm ordering mine now.

November 11, 2011

A"Holey" Ministry

I need to Google steel-toed socks. This holey pair is the fourth in just over a week of Dani's I need to darn. Her feet, though decidedly small, are a tad deformed, making shoes difficult to fit. Keeping her tootsies in constant motion, she kicks her shoes off every chance she gets and commences swinging her feet, dragging her toes on the floor with each wag. She's bloodied many a carpet in her day wearing the skin off her toes in the process.

My days of darning won't end any time soon and I've come to realize there's no point in getting upset. After all, there are worse things in life. I would rather have my baby and her perforated apparel than not have her at all. This is a small price to pay, so I do it with joy. In fact I accept this as part of my ministry.

You have a ministry too! One that is special, unique, and planted deep inside you by God Himself.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:7

As jars of clay, God in His all-surpassing power has placed within us a treasure or you might say, deposit of wealth. According to 2 Corinthians 4:1 this treasure is the ministry of the New Testament truth of Jesus Christ. To all believers this is our ministry, shining the light of Jesus in our corner of the world. Whether it's defending a client in the court room, performing intricate surgery, wiping a child's runny nose, digging ditches, or darning socks, we are called to do our work as if directly for the Lord, so others may see Him through us.

I don't know what lies ahead of you today but whatever it is accept it as part of your calling. Even seemingly small tasks can impact God's kingdom. Your smile may be the only ray of light in a passerby's day, do it with sincerity. Your note of encouragement may meet a friend at a very dark time, send it with affection. A child's illness may have interrupted your day's plans, accept it with calm restraint and compassion for in your very own home you are nurturing members of the upcoming generation.

I pray God's chosen ministry for you blooms and grows as never before. Nurture it with humble obedience and then watch as the abundant harvest ushers in. May the Lord bless you this very special day!

November 3, 2011

Holiday Fun

We sure hope you all had a great Halloween. Our son, Drew, was home for a visit so we had fun planning family time. Here's what landed on our docket October 31st.

A beautiful crisp sunrise.

Early morning make up session
with Dani for her bunny costume.

Quick picture before the bus arrives.

Afternoon of making homemade cinnamon rolls.
We tried to make them small
and they still turned out HUGE.

An evening of carving.
(Left) Drew's pumpkin, an alien
(Right) My punky, a surpised kitty

The only thing we didn't have time to do was see the movie Puss N Boots. Guess my cat pumpkin will have to suffice.

Only three weeks till Thanksgiving. Can you believe it!

October 28, 2011

Are We There Yet?

I adore Dani's teacher. She's fun, energetic, compassionate, and Italian from head to toe. She loves our 24 year old special needs baby girl as much as her own grandchildren, which is why we've hit it off since day one.

Loretta's made sure Dani gets Bible study in her day hab program because she knows how much Dani loves God. Perhaps that's why she invited me to her church's women's event last Friday knowing I'd enjoy the time with God too.

"Cabin retreat? You bet! Count me in. Just tell me when and where. It'll be so much fun!" I sqealed.

We set the date, talked about it for weeks, packed our bags, and blazed a trail to what has to be Missouri's most remote Christian camp. Clueless to the impending challenges ahead, we forged out of the city in her new light green Mustang with the wind blowing in our hair like Thelma and Louise. Had we known what waited ahead, we'd probably not stepped foot on the course.

Short of Loretta forgetting her washcloth, towel, and blanket, we were prepared for the trip. She had the directions her church had given her and I had my Garmen navigation thingamajig with the address typed in and the lady primed to boss us to our destination. Getting lost was as far from our minds as being abducted by aliens.

After driving an hour and a half the directions became foggy. Two highways merged into one somewhere along the way, but we were to follow only one. At one point the paper directions and the Garmen began to conflict each other, so I suggested we follow the eye in the sky rather than the more vague ink on paper. Despite our efforts, things went from bad to worse as the woman's voice led us to one isolated woodsy dead-end to another. (The horror flicks from my past began to surface.)

"Ok, everywhere we turn it's a dead end. I'll tell the lady in Garmen we want to go home and it'll take us back to the main highway we recognize" I proposed with shady hope.

Making our way back to the highway, we popped into the town hospital. (It was an emergency of sorts.) While Loretta checked the restroom's decor, I obtained directions from two employees in the lobby. With hope resuscitated and Loretta comfortable, we set out into what was now pitch black night.

Our new directions helped us get back on track but failed to account for a detour. We were tired and hungry by this time, so I got Jimmy on the horn at home and he began Googling our location in order to assist remotely, while Loretta called the women's leader at the camp. Her woman did not answer and I lost my phone signal. We were back to two conflicting directions and it was getting late.

At one point I recall saying, "When will we know whether to continue to pursue the camp? What if we never find it? Do we head back home, get a motel, or what?" I don't remember Loretta responding to the question. May she thought it was rhetorical. We were both so busy following the detour I don't recall waiting for an answer anyway.

Well down the detour, Loretta's phone rang. It was her pastor. I answered the phone, so she could avoid deer, and explained our location. Tapping Loretta on the arm, I motioned for her to turn the wild Mustang around for the umpteenth time.

After backtracking 5.8 miles we continued to follow the Garmen lady who was still conflicting our paper directions. "We're close, no actually we have arrived" I announced as we looked all around at nothing. Driving forward a little more, the destination flag moved behind us. We'd missed the no-so-obvious and had to maneuver a U-turn on a one-lane gravel road. "Turn around and take the first right and let's hope that's the camp" I said hoping it was my last act as co-pilot.

After following my directions to a tee for 2 1/2 hours, Loretta took a stand, "We aren't heading in the entrance until we know for sure this is it" as she positioned the "stang" to shed light on the entrance sign. Finally we had indeed arrived.

Topping off the adventure, we knocked the front spoiler of our athletic vehicle on a log that served as a parking stop which couldn't be seen in the inky air.

Wrangling our worn bodies out of the car, we dragged our wheeled luggage across huge gravel rocks and made our way to the front door of the lodge, which was locked. Checking the left side of the building to no avail, I returned to Loretta. About the time I got back to her, a beautiful collie rounded the other side of the house. As if it were her job to greet the guest, Lucy (whom I loved on a lot over the weekend) led us to the door that held the event.

Opening the door tired and hungry, we were greeted with the smell of homemade bread, chicken, rice, and gravy. The fireplace was crackling, the women were smiling ear to ear, and gifts awaited us at our seats. Perseverance had paid off. The worst was over and fellowship was about to begin.

We played games, sang, and spent our time focused on God. I came into the event knowing only one woman and walked away with 22 new friends, well worth our struggle to find the camp.

Believe it or not we got lost again when we left the next day, but got back on track more easily than the night before. I couldn't help but rest in the knowledge that with God we are never lost. He never navigates us to dead-ends or conflicts in His directions. He is a constant light to our feet and never leaves us or forsakes us. With Him we have peace no matter where we are.

We sure had a good time but it's good to be home safe and sound.

October 14, 2011

Imitating Faith

"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life
and imitate their faith."
Hebrews 13:7

As I watched this morning's news program on the latest trends sweeping the country, Hebrews 13:7 immediately popped into mind. Seems like every eye is set on monitoring and mimicking whatever the royals and movie, television, or reality stars are wearing. It takes but a tiny spark for a fad to blaze into every closet of this continent and beyond. Whether it's dresses, shoes, hair styles, make-up, jewelry, or the subtle hue of fingernail polish, millions of women monitor the higher ups with a fine tooth comb, seeking to copy and paste the rich and famous trademark into their own lives. Truth is everyone wants to be the cat's meow, fashion and style is just one way to accomplish it.

Interestingly enough, like this mornings style segment, Hebrews 13:7 teaches us to watch and reproduce what others do too, Christians are just called to emulate faith not fashion.

Recently, when reading this verse, I noticed for the first time an element I'd never noticed before, our mission to imitate a mature believer's faith, not their style, personality, or personal preferences. I think in the past I've crossed this boundary, and how easy it is to subtly shift from admiring a godly leader to emulate the person themselves, dropping God from the point of focus. My oh my how this grieves the Spirit of the Holy One.

So how do we keep God on the throne of our hearts according to Hebrews 13:7?
  • "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you." - Choose your leaders (those you learn the Word of God from) very carefully. Compare their teaching with the Bible, if it varies beware. Stick with the fundamentals, The Holy Trinity (God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit; three in one), Jesus is the only way to the Father, and Jesus was sinless and born of a virgin. Make these your cornerstone and you'll grow well in the knowledge of God. (Note: this list is not all-inclusive. There are more key fundamentals.)
  • "Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." -Observe the behavior of faith in those who have gone before us. This includes Godly men and women of the Bible (see Hebrews 11, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, etc.) as well as Godly men and women of today. As we consider their faith and how they lived it out, determine to implement this same faith in your own life.

    Remember, it is only by faith that we can please God. As we persevere in faith and revere God, we model a faith worthy of imitating.


Who or what are your eyes on today? Is it temporal or eternal?

What attributes are you copying and pasting into your life?

Who is watching and imitating you? Think outside the box. More are observing than you might think.

October 1, 2011

Child-Like Faith

You can view it one of two ways, sad and depressing or precious and encouraging. After all, our 24 year old daughter functions at a kindergarten level, a reality that hosts a variety of emotions depending on the day and circumstance.

I remember a time not long ago when her delayed development would hit me like a ton of bricks. Out of the blue, just one look at this truth would send me sailing of course. I'd be out of whack for days on end, depending how strong grief's grip got a hold of me.

This time, however, as she tried her hardest to copy words on the board, grief was nowhere in sight, not even on the horizon. Instead, joy took center stage as I watches our little baby work so hard to do her best.

As Jimmy and I enter our later years it's sobering to grow older as our little girl's development remains frozen in time. Life moves on for everyone but Doodle Bug. She doesn't worry about the future or suffer past regrets, she simply lives each day one at a time.

Truth be known, her simplicity used to bug the tar out of me. There were so many simple things she couldn't do or learn and it was all so far beyond my comprehension. Through the years, however, God has painstakingly revealed the power simplicity holds in the life of a believer. Simple faith, Simple following. Simple love. It's all so key to the kingdom of God.

Though Dani cannot read more than a few words and cannot speak at all, she knows God. She signs "Jesus loves me" to strangers she meets, never thinking twice how they might respond. She shares what's on her mind and moves on, no questions asked. Amazingly enough Jesus always seems to be on her mind too. The other day I had a post-it on the bathroom mirror and as I was brushing her hair, she leaned forward toward the mirror in attempts to read the note. Searching for something familiar, she settled on a word that started with "J" and enthusiastically signed "Jesus!"

Bless her heart, the word wasn't Jesus, but I didn't spill the beans. I just smiled, gave her a big hug, and marveled at how tender her heart is toward our Lord and Savior. Her world may be small but Christ is her rock and always on her mind. She teaches me so much every day as her presence offers opportunity to not only serve one of God's precious children, but to imitate a true life example of what it means to have faith like a child.

"I tell you the truth,
anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God
like a little child will never enter it.”
Luke 18:17

Change of Seasons

In one day the leaves have begun to fall. Our pool is still open as we await the tarp's return. The dogs have been so hard on it we had to send it off for repair. Wouldn't you know they said it couldn't be fixed. Fortunately, it has no holes, just loose straps that run across in a checkered pattern. It'll fit tight as a drum for the winter and keep unwanted rodents and debris at bay, that's all we really need for now.

Speaking of rodents, Ecclesiastes (the snooper in the pic) and Cocoa Bean (who's off somewhere else in the yard) still swim in the frigid water. They don't know it but every time they retrieve a toy from this still clean reservoir, they get a bath of sorts. With this handy feature at our finger tips, we don't mind dilly dallying the close. In due time the rains will invade, guck will accumulate on their paws, and it'll take more than the toss of a toy to get them clean. Case in point: less than a year ago, when our son Drew visited with his two dogs, we stood on the deck in the cold misty night air trying to concoct a way to effectively clean 16 paws before letting the herd in to trample the carpet. The pool would have been invaluable at that moment.

We're willing to fish leaves out of the pool for now. In time we'll have no choice but to close, which will force us to clean the mongrels ourselves after a good play. It's always kind of sad to close the pool as the summer season comes to a close. But life goes on.

What will you miss about summer and what do you look forward to as fall approaches?

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven" Ecclesiastes 3:1

September 27, 2011

I'm a Twit

Even I have to admit I'm a bird brain at times, like the time I sprayed Santa on the microwave door with canned snow. Who knew it would leave a permanent watermark on the plastic portal. Besides, who'd ever want perpetual snow? I assumed it would come off everything, even plastic, once the new year rang in. Seemed like a logical conclusion to this little birdie anyway. We eventually donated that microwave to missionaries heading to the hot tropics, perhaps it served holiday cheer to those dear folks sweating their socks off for the Lord.

I may not be the brightest bulb in the package or up on the latest technology, but better late than never. That's why I've taken flight with the flock of Twitters. Our pastor is a master Twitter and his flitter sparked my interested big time. Even though I can read his scripture verses through Facebook, it originates from Twit, peaking my curiosity all the more. I figure what's good for the goose is surely good for the gander. (Of course our pastor is no goose. It just fits the fowl theme.)

So how about it? Are you are interesting in spreading your wings and visiting me in Twitter Town? I'd love you to be my fine feathered friend. See you soon!

Join Nancy on Twitter

September 23, 2011

Run Dharma Run

A Bit of History: The Magnificent Nine born on Thanksgiving Day 2008.

Have you ever felt God's turned a deaf ear to your prayer or deemed some of your troubles too small for concern? If so, think again. He truly cares about things that burden our hearts. Nothing is too small or insignificant to Him if it's important to us; a truth we must cling to daily. And how do I know? Well, as they say...the proof is in the pudding.

Back in November 2008, smack on Thanksgiving morn, our son's dog unexpectedly delivered nine pups in our home. He'd found her wandering the Missouri State University campus a few months prior, took her in out of the goodness of his heart, and the rest is history, nine times over!

From the get-go we made a point to hold and cuddle the pups. Wanting them to be familiar with human touch, we'd embrace each pup several times a day and pray for God to place each little him or her in a perfect home. Like a mother burdened with the call to place her children up for adoption, the Lord understood how important it was for me to get these pups into happy homes and serve their owners in a special way.

So the question again, does God care about things that are important to us but small on a world-wide scale? Yes, yes, and I'm happy to say it again, yes! Check out Dharma in the videos below. She's one of the pups whom I've not seen since she was adopted.

Not only does God answer our prayers but He's so kind to reassure as well. Dharma is a pup I've not been able to keep in contact with, making me wonder if she's happy in her home. These videos put my heart to rest because anyone so proud as to video tape their dog fetching a ball must love them oodles. My prayers lifted while sitting amongst all those pups were not in vain, too small, or unimportant to the great I AM. He hears and answers your prayers too, whatever they may be.

"The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles."
Psalm 34:17

September 19, 2011


I kid you not, after yours truly's recent hyster, Jimmy warned me not to use our swing. With it hovering somewhere above or below 20 years old, he feared a bolt might give way and plop me to the ground in my delicate condition. Several years ago it did dropped our little niece. She weighed a little more than a feather and only fell a foot or so, but a warning was sounded just the same. Jimmy replaced the guilty bolt and all's been well ever since. Trust was restored, until the above said surgery.

I thought boycotting the swing was slight overkill but abided just in case; I didn't want to hear about it till the day I died. Besides, Jimmy's always right so it's easier to just comply from the start.

Caution waned for almost six weeks post-op until family came over for dinner one afternoon. That's when I caved, seeing my sister on the deck in the shade drifting back and forth like the ebb and flow of an ocean tide. By the time Dani joined her, I threw in the towel and joined the afternoon slumber. Never considering the fact that we three might be overtaxing the old original bolts, we swung in ignorant bliss...until...PLOP.

Once again Jimmy was right. My side of the swing gave way, abruptly plunging me a foot down. Fortunately all was well but the swing's days were becoming numbered, sparking a shopping spree for a new one.

Here's ole not-so faithful
repaired but cast to the pool area.

The new kid on the block,
a wooden swing that should
hold this old mama for
many years to come.

I just can't get rid of our old swing, she still swings wonderfully, not one rubber strap is broken and, how shall I say, it fits my behind like a glove. I love my new wooden lift, but it's still fun to throw caution to the wind and risk gliding on our old swing-a-ding-ding. You never know what's going to happen, which keeps things spicy and on the edge in our otherwise quiet home.

September 14, 2011

You Foil Girl!

I'd just put the first foil in my hair when the electricity went off. It was mid-day but my bathroom is window-less. My first thought was "why now?" followed by "at least I only have one foil on my head."

The lights returned on so I commenced parting, coloring, and foiling my locks. When all goes well it's not an easy job. It involves a healthy learning curve in the area of dexterity and coordination. I wish will all my might I could take off my head for just thirty minutes to do the job. It would be oodles faster, drastically easier, and such a favor to myself. But no, not only can I not remove my nogggin but it's round as a bowling ball, further challenging my fine motor skills. In and of itself foiling is a troublesome reach for beauty and would you know that with all these challenges already at hand, the electricity continued to go off and on, a total of 20 times according to my calculations. With the coloring process already started, I had to continue.

I'm forever haunted with some degree of fear when doing my hair. As the chemicals work their magic, I usually succumb to at least one nightmarish dream. It usually comes in the vision of Frankenstein's wife when first introduced to her man. The first thing we see is that unmistakeable blond/white streak poking straight up out of her head. Sends chills up my spine every time. A truly horrid hairdo. This day prompted double concern because on top of intermittent illumination, the colors I use are opposite when mixed. The highlight is the dark cream and the darker hair color is the light cream. It was quite a brain twist trying to keep the colors opposite in my head while dipping from the light of a camping lantern.

I continued to persevere even as the fire alarm beeped with each power loss, the dogs and Dani repeatedly approached me because household items were turning off and on, Jimmy texted me from his photo shoot, and our neighbor ringing the doorbell on two separate occasions, I presumed checking to confirm we were having power trouble as well. Of course I couldn't answer the door. He's a man and I was alone, bra-less, and with foil popping out of my head in all directions. Not sure what he'd have thought had I answered the door but I was in no mood to give him a chance to react. I was busy overcoming repeated obstacles. I wouldn't have answered the door for anyone, man or woman, in that state of attire.

When time came to rinse my hair, I headed to the shower. Since the flow of water doesn't require electricity, nothing stood in my way this homestretch. Choosing the shower with a window, I turned on the light only to see if the power would fail again, which it did two more times. I kept good pace with the shampoo, cream rinse, and soap, all while praying no color faux pas had occurred during the silly cosmetic escapades. Rolling my hair in a towel, I exited the shower no worse for the wear. Surely all was fine. I had faith.

So how did it turn out? The power was fixed soon after and has been working just fine. Thanks for your concern.

Oh...you mean...how did the hair coloring turn out. Well, Frank's wife's image didn't make its appearance...immediately. I dried my hair and began to run the curling iron through it and all seemed well until I looked at the back, then there it was. A huge blond patch at the crown of my head. Apparently I grabbed too much hair in one spot. It looked like I had a blond baby peacock tail perched atop my head. The next day it caught Jimmy's attention so I figured something had to be done. Pulling out my coloring bag, it took only two foil strips to get rid of the bird. Now my hair is back to normal, ending the closest call I've ever had with my biggest nightmare.

It's easy to get caught up with our outer appearance. The best policy, however, is to do our best with what we've got and thank God for each blessed day. Christ doesn't care if we are gray, wrinkled, or a little pudgy around the edges. He loves us way more than that and only cares about what's inside our heart and whether we truly reflect Him.

With that in mind, how is your heart today? Focused on an outward facade or seeking greater faith? The older I get the more I see that our bodies are very fragile and only temporal. Putting energy into our appearance is fine, it just shouldn't take center stage.

Moral of the story: Keep God on the throne of your heart and feel free to foil girl!

"The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." Hebrews 1:3

September 10, 2011

And the Winner is...

For me there's two ways to choose a giveaway winner.

  1. Read all entries and let the Lord draw me to one in particular or...
  2. Select a random name from the hat.

After reading all comments submitted to the OLM early Fall Giveaway, I knew it was going to be difficult to choose a winner using the first method. My heart was touched by all entries and I found myself trying to concoct a way to give everyone a study. As much as I would like to accommodate each candidate, doing so would breach the point of a giveaway and make this blog post a costly one to say the least, not that you all aren't worth it.

All things considered, choosing a winner using method #2 was my only option this go around. Still in my jammies, I grabbed a pad of paper and sat down at the computer to copy each name on a little piece of paper, making sure each tab was the same size to even the odds, and then cut, folded, and placed them in a bowl.

Jimmy was busy making breakfast smoothies at the time but knew what it meant when I glided into the kitchen holding a bowl over my head. "Pick a name for the giveaway dear." Motioning for me to lower the bowl (I guess in my entheusiasm I forgot he wasn't 7ft tall) he wiped a hand clean and plucked a winner lickety split.

I am happy to announce sweet SKOOTS1MOM won the OLM early Fall Giveaway. Congratulations Skoots! I will send you an email to get your address and send your study ASAP.

Thanks everyone for entering the giveaway and remember, if you are looking for a women's Bible study for yourself or a group, Draw Me Near can be purchased at the websites below. A Leader's Guide is available to tutor you through group sessions. It offers insight in to how to run a study as well as weekly group questions. Share this post on your Facebook page to assist other women in the same search. It'll be a great help to them.

Click Here to read Draw Me Near Table of Contents and Chapter One.

Click Here to see Leader's Guide Table of Contents and Introduction.


Olive Leaf Ministries Website
Draw Me Near Study $21:99
Leader's Guide $7.99

Draw Me Near Study $15.99
Leader's Guide $7.99

September 3, 2011

OLM's Early Fall Giveaway!

As summer nears an end, days become shorter, nights grow cooler, pools close, gardens are prepared for winter, and children return to school. With our schedules returning to a more regular pattern, many of us will be settling back into Bible study, as it should be.

I don't know about you but I'm lost if I don't have a Bible study at hand. I kid you not, my soul ached at the finish of Peace for the Journey. Closing the back cover for the final time, I sat in pause and sighed. What in the world could I find to top this walk of peace? That's what I thought then and why, just today, I encouraged the author Elaine Olsen to write another, ensuring her I'd be on my knees praying her through the process.

Since we all need to keep our heads in God's word, Olive Leaf Ministries is offering a help. For the next week (Sept 3-10) we are offering the Draw Me Near 10-week Bible study and correlating Leader's Guide to all blog and Facebook friends. (For a sneak peek visit OLM's home page and read an exempt from the study and leader's guide. See the right column.)

Bible study and leader's guide descriptions:

How is your level of intimacy with God? Is it all you want it to be? Better yet, is it all God wants it to be? Throughout history, man has struggled to achieve closeness with the heart of God. But there is more to intimacy with God than simply knowing who He is. The real secret lies within our selves and our willingness to be honest with Him. Honesty is truly the best policy. This is particularly true when seeking God. This 10-week study is specifically designed to deepen your walk with God. Whether a seasoned Christian or brand new, it will help you draw closer to Him. The journey is challenging, fun, and enlightening as it takes you to places you've never been before. You'll begin your study on one shore only to find yourself on another as you embark on your new voyage with God.

This guide is specifically designed to teach you how to conduct a "Draw Me Near" Bible study in your own home, community, or church. It includes step-by-step directions on how to organize this study, how to conduct your first meeting, behind the scenes planning a leader should do between each class, and how to handle various situations that might come your way. It also provides you with weekly discussion questions and even gives you examples on what to write or say when following up with the women of your group.

TO ENTER the giveaway, enter a comment on this blog sharing why you'd like to receive the study and guide, then on September 10th, a winner will be selected. Be sure to tell your friends and church women's leaders about this study too as they plan for fall and spring. It's a 10-week journey sure to lead hearts closer to God!

Olive Leaf Ministries Website
Draw Me Near Study $21:99
Leader's Guide $7.99

Draw Me Near Study $15.99
Leader's Guide $7.99

If you would like to receive an OLM brochure send your request via email to: olive leaf@kc.rr.com

You all are the best!

August 29, 2011

John 4:39-42

Many Samaritans Believed

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”


"Have you ever thought about letting Dani take communion?", Jimmy whispered sideways to me in the pew. With folks just ahead of us filing toward the front of the church, our time to stand was quickly approaching. I had just been thinking the very same thing, so I touched Dani's elbow, signaling for her to rise. As if all on the same page, she smiled, signed Jesus, and we three stood in one accord to walk forward for communion.

As we approached the pastor, he divulged the meaning of the bread and wine (juice). He explained that the wine represented Christ's blood and spoke of its healing. I stood with my hands on Dani's shoulders thinking of heaven and how wonderful it will be to meet our little girl one day, healed, whole, and complete. It was all I could do to hold back the tears.

Inching our way to the front of the sanctuary, we received our smidgen of bread and juice and then walked back to our seats. Like two halves of an Oreo cookie, once back in place, Jimmy and I nestled our little 23 year old baby girl between us as Jimmy began explaining the meaning of this gesture. We took the bread and drank the "wine" as tears filled our eyes. Dani cried especially hard; she understood the meaning all too well.

The congregation quietly dismissed. Without a word we walked out of the building to our car. Placing the key into the ignition, Jimmy broke the silence asking,"Did you see the girl in front of us staring at Dani?"

"Yes, I vaguely remember her but I thought she was looking past us toward the back door"

"No, she stared at Dani the whole service and I was getting a little irritated with her until we took communion. She continued to watch us and as we explained communion's meaning to Dani, she began crying uncontrollably on her mother's shoulder. When the service was over she continued to weep as they walked out of church."

Normally I would have noticed this girl in her early teens, but I was wrapped up in the thought of meeting Dani in heaven. I marveled at her sweet spirit and how tender it is toward God, even amidst severe disabilities. How our little girl is aware of an invisible God I'll never know, but she knows Him well and treasures His presence. Through her I've learned to never underestimate the faith of a child. That's why we allowed her to partake of communion that day. I don't question that she may have well gotten more out of it than some adults that day.

We weren't aware of it at the time, but our actions with Dani in church that day served as a testimony. I don't know who else saw what we were doing but one set of young impressionable eyes watched so closely they were reduced to tears.

I used to think one's testimony only referred to spoken words, like presenting your story of salvation to a group as the woman at the well did in today's study. I've since learned there's much more to it than that. What we do and what others see us do, speaks louder than the most eloquent of words, especially when we don't know we are being observed.

I have no idea what the Lord spoke to the young teen's heart or how He used Dani's first communion to touch her so deeply. I only know that even though we may feel invisible at times, people are watching. Naturally our spouses, children, family, and co-workers observe our behavior and responses to life's events, but strangers peer from afar as well. No doubt our testimony takes on many forms and impacts the world in ways we'll never fully understand.


When was the last time you observed someone's testimony? Did it have a positive or negative impact on you?

Could your verbal testimony use a little improvement?

How about your actions? Do they reflect the character of God or possibly lead others astray?