December 30, 2008

A Special Lunch with a Special Friend

Ever have someone in your life that was extra special and clearly sent by God? In our lives it is Natalie, Dani's long-time speech therapist and friend. Natalie worked with Dani for well over ten years and she and Dani became the best of friends.

About two to three times a year we meet for lunch to visit and catch up on things and it's always a super special time for Dani. Today we met Natalie for our annual Christmas lunch and gift exchange. Natalie gave Dani some beloved pink bracelets and decorated socks. (Natalie used to wear socks with fun designs which always caught Dani's attention. It's their special bond.) Dani gave Natalie dainty pink and brown polka dot Post-it Notes and showed her the new books her brother, Drew, bought her for Christmas.






Since Dani is so limited in her ability to communicate she has virtually no friends to play with. Such a dear friend and therapist is special beyond words. Thank you Natalie for all you've done and still do for our little Dani and thank you Lord for sending Natalie our way!

December 26, 2008

Pup Update...

Drew, Lyla, and her nine pups came home this week for Christmas. He walked in with a television box full of rambunctious bundles of fur and the first words out of his mouth were, "Mom, I don't think I can take them all in the car again. Pilgrim keeps trying to climb out while I'm driving!" Thank the good Lord they all made it home safe and sound. 

Jimmy set up a live webcam for those interested in choosing a pup or watching the one they've chosen and while we were at my sister's home last night, we watched them sleep and play. Though seeing poo on a towel drove me nuts, because I wasn't there to clean it up, it was utterly amazing to watch these little guys from 45 miles away. What's even more astonishing is we can also watch them on Jimmy's phone via the Internet. I don't know what man will think of next, but I do know that all these modern marvels just make me love God all the more. After all, we were made in His image and no matter what new amazing gadget we may come up with, He is the great creator of all things and nothing man can ever come up with will ever match His wonderful glory and vast wisdom. He's named all the stars in the sky, knows the number of hairs on our head, lives beyond the bounds of time, and is far more creative than man will ever be. What a wonderful God we serve and what a privilege to celebrate the birth of His Son Jesus Christ during this holiday season!

The pups are four weeks old and totally weaned. Drew had to get back to work in Springfield, so he and Lyla headed back yesterday. The workload for him would be almost too much for him to handle on his own so we decided the pups should stay with us. Jimmy and I take shifts with their care. Last night he fed and played with them at midnight, then I woke to repeat the process this morning at 8 am. The procedure is always the same, they wake a bustling ball of energy, head for the cafeteria, make their way to the latrine, climb all over us for some lovin' and play, and then fall fast asleep atop one another. We have homes for five pups, two more potential takers, and two weeks to find homes for them all. One good thing about taking care of all nine is that it will make adjusting to Cocoa Bean joining our family a cinch. After all, what's one pup?

PUPPER CAM

December 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesus!

I love how the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir performed this song and thrilled to have it on file to listen to whenever my heart desires. Take a moment to wish Jesus happy birthday, enjoy the music and lights, and have a blessed Christmas!



John 8:12 "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”


December 20, 2008

The "Passion" of the Season

I can feel Christmas approaching. The beautiful lights, bustling crowds, and passion for the season abounds. Jimmy and I witnessed some "strong emotion" just the other day as a young lady in the Target parking lot began yelling out her car window for another woman to put a coat on her child. We got in on the last half of the interchange, but apparently the mother couldn't get her child (about three years old) to wear a coat. It was indeed quite cold but mercy what mother hasn't gone through that? The young woman in the car looked like a college age student, so I chose to assume she had no children and is still idealistic when it comes to raising children. Perhaps one day she will understand how intricate, delicate, and exhausting it is to raise another little human being. Sometimes you just can't win for losing. 

Then, my sister and I bathed ourselves in the bustling crowds of Wal Mart as we camped in an immovable line for 30 minutes. It was noon on Wednesday and who would have thought they wouldn't have had more checkers on duty the week before Christmas. The human check out lines were so long they ran into the clothing department, so I told my sister I'd show her how to do the self check. I thought for sure it would be faster, but no. With a cart too full to abandon we stuck it out, but it wasn't fun. We had a wonderful visit though!

Then Jimmy and I went to the mall yesterday. We found cologne for our son, but not one single solitary thing for Dani. Do you have any idea how hard it is to buy for an Autistic child? It's beyond awful. I wanted knee-hi socks for her to wear with her boots, but all I could find were ankle socks. I've been to Wal Mart, Pennys, Macys, and Dillards looking for these silly socks, all to no avail. If Target doesn't pull through we are out of options. She has one thing under the tree and time is wasting! She loves candies and cookies, so I think I'm gonna buy a cookie mix and put it under the tree so she can bake cookies. She'll be thrilled but what an odd gift.

Drew has taken Lyla and her puppies home for the weekend. He just texted me and told me the pups woke him at 2:30am. He worked till 11pm last night and had to be back to work at 6am this morning. He has no idea how this is preparing him for fatherhood! He'll be back here with the pups Monday through Christmas Eve and we can't wait. After the clan left yesterday Jimmy went in to check on the pups twice, only to find an empty pen. There is nothing like having a hankerin' to hold a pup and having a choice of nine to chose from. Sometimes we just sit in the pen and let them crawl all over us until they fall asleep. It makes you feel so special. Since many of you have asked, Jimmy and I have chosen the dark brown pup (formerly Hoss) and his new name is "Cocoa Bean." We'll get him in mid January. 

How is your holiday season coming along? Do you have your shopping done? Who is hardest to buy for on your list and what are you looking forward to most? Dear sister, I pray you stay safe, warm, and happy. Above all let's love and pray for one another even when we think someone isn't parenting well, we're forces to stand in long lines, or can't find a gift for that special someone. May we never feel compelled to judge or condemn, but rather love one another with the love of Christ!

 
1Peter 3:8 "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble."

Update: Found the socks. Target rocks!


December 17, 2008

Who May Approach God?


Psalm 24:4-6 

"He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob."

It's easy to get caught up in the concerns of the day and wonder where God is. Since God is holy and perfect, He never changes. We on the other hand continually flex and flow with the changing of the tides. 

Psalm 24 tells us precisely where God is and how we can find Him:
  1. God is found among "clean hands" or guiltless actions.
  2. God dwells among those with a "pure (sincere) heart."
  3. God is repelled when we "lift our soul" to worship anything other than Him.
  4. God cannot reside in a heart that "swears by what is false" or lies under oath.
In a nutshell, when we line our actions and attitudes up with God...He will be found. Like a magnet, all things pure are drawn to Him. Ladies, let that be us today.

"Dear heavenly Father, purify my heart, mind, and body. Sandblast the walls of my heart, removing all that is unholy. Fill me with your love and compassion and rid me of any wrong attitudes. Expose any false idols I may harbor within and lead me to your throne. Guide me in your ways and grant me the blessings of your righteousness,  for you O Lord are God!  Amen."

December 13, 2008

New Kitchy Floor


My Jimmy (who is handier than a pocket on a shirt)
finished installing our new wood kitchen floor
 just in time for my birthday today.
You did a fabulous job dear.
Thanks!

December 10, 2008

Mother's Day Out

We received our first snow of the season here in Kansas City, which allowed Lyla some time away from her pups.

Lyla

Lyla and Ecclesiastes


Have any of you received snow yet?

December 6, 2008

Various Sundry Saturday

I left the blog open for giveaway entries this week and things have piled up, so today is Various Sundry Saturday; a little of this and a little of that. 

NECK DIAGNOSIS: Did I ever tell you what was wrong with my neck that rendered me totally incapacitated three weeks ago? It's called "Acute Torticollis" and is basically the biggest pain in the neck a person can possibly have. It is a painful muscle spasm in the neck, similar to having a charlie horse in your leg. It's a pain I would not wish on my worst enemy, except maybe a terrorist. I hope in your lifetime you are aware of acute torticollis but never experience it for yourself.

ROCKS IN THE SINK: Jimmy, Dani, and I went to Best Buy the other day and upon arrival paid the restroom a visit. You're not going to believe it but all three sinks in the ladies restroom had about seven smooth stones, the size of the palm of your hand, placed in each bowl. As we washed our hands Dani looked at me and pointed into her sink as if to say, "Why are there are rocks in my sink?" I didn't know what to tell her, so I shrugged my shoulders and scrunched my mouth. On the way out the door Jimmy was passing by so I asked him if the men's bathroom had rocks in the sinks. His puzzled look confirmed it did not, so I grabbed his arm and said, "Nobody is in there. You gotta see the rocks in our sinks!" 

Now ladies, is this a new trend? Do you have rocks in your local sinks? I have never seen such a thing.


JEALOUS ECCLESIASTES: Ecclesi has been booted out of his bedroom and is kind of sick of hearing about the pups. To make him feel special Jimmy gave him a bubble bath and then he enjoyed watching me decorate the tree.







NEW BED FOR THE PUPS: The pups are trying to crawl and will soon be running around. Jimmy constructed their new home by laying down a plywood floor and putting up higher walls. Now mom and babes have a mansion.

The wait...

The move in.


December 5, 2008

And the Winner is...

I am pleased to announce Barbara as the winner of the Olive Leaf Ministries holiday giveaway. Barbara was the ninth blogger to enter the contest and since we have nine new puppies, nine was the number to be.

Thank you ladies for entering the giveaway. I look forward to doing this again soon!

December 1, 2008

Christmas Giveaway!

ENTER TO WIN AND TELL A FRIEND! 

(Giveaway ends Friday, December 5th at 6pm CST)

November 28, 2008

The Magnificent Nine...Day Two


Please pray we find safe and loving homes for these
beautiful creatures.

(Jimmy and I have one picked out. Any guesses which one?)


November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Delivery

Jimmy and I woke this morning to the sound of a newborn pup! Our son, Drew, found a lost Labrador Retriever on his college campus one month ago. He was unable to find her owner, so he decided to keep her. She was pregnant with a brood and blessed us with a beautiful litter of nine this morning!

Mama "Lyla"









Mom and pups are doing great. 
Lyla did a fantastic job delivering her babes and it was a marvel to watch.

What a Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2008

Coming Next Week...OLM Christmas Giveaway!

Mr. Snowman has a gift for you!

It's time for the OLM holiday giveaway and I can hardly wait! This is going to be fantastic because I'm giving away all my favorite things. Things that smell, look, and taste wonderful. 

The giveaway begins Monday, December 1st, and last through Friday, December 5th. Contest rules are simply, tell one or more of your friends and leave a comment. Simple as pie and just as tasty.

So, ladies start thinking about who you'd like to invite to the OLM holiday giveaway and come back next week ready to win. Until then have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

November 21, 2008

Thank You for Your Prayers

Ladies, thank you so much for all of your prayers. It's been a rough week but I am feeling much better. Dani is on the mend too. A good friend was checking up on me and asked if I was discouraged with all that was going on in our family. I said, "Not at all! I see God all over the place as He graciously provides for our every need." For example, there is no way I could have driven myself to the chiropractor Monday morning. My neck was so stiff and painful that dabbing tears from my eyes with a Kleenex triggered muscles spasms that sent me yelping in pain. Since Jimmy's job has him traveling out of town Monday though Thursday on a full-time bases, his being in between jobs was a clear blessing of provision from our mighty God who knew this would be a trying week.

I have to share with you how things went from bad to worse. Monday morning Jimmy took Dani and I to the chiropractor. I had to hold my head to keep it from moving so as not to trigger the spams. The doctor worked on me for 2 1/2 hours and adjusted Dani as well because she had quit eating and was constipated. Dani has always gotten instantly better after seeing the doctor but this day was not like any other. On the way home, as I held my head and yelped periodically, Dani began vomiting all over herself in the back seat. I couldn't even look back let alone climb back to help her. I just listened and wondered what else could go wrong. Jimmy had his hands full as things began piling up on him. After taking a quick glance back at Dani's mess, he turned back at the highway ahead and said, "This is a test." He was right and it was only the beginning. Before day's end she had vomited all over herself, the couch, Jimmy, and his laptop. 

Your prayers, however, got us on the mend. Wednesday we were all able to go to my sister's home to do a photo shoot for her Christmas cards. She lives on acreage and has three Silky Bantam chickens as pets. They are sleek and beautiful as far as chickens go. Jimmy got Dani to hold one and trust me that was a feat in itself. 



Then, I knew Dani was feeling better 
when she got into my make-up 
and used my cover up stick as lipstick.



It's so good to feel better and oh how I thank God for the health He's given us and the faithful and powerful prayers of the saints!

Blessings to all of you dear ladies and please share on this post any prayer needs you may have so we can lift one another to the throne of God.


"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, 
God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." 
1 John 4:12


November 19, 2008

Could Use Your Prayers

Ladies, we are falling apart here. I've had muscle spasms in my neck since 2am Monday morning and the pain rivals that of child birth. (It feels as though I've been in a terrible car accident.) To top it off Dani has been vomiting for some odd reason so she's a challenge in and of herself. Jimmy is home to help but the poor guy has his hands full. Please keep us in your prayers. I have nothing to do but pray so I'm praying for each of you. Hope you all are well and spasm free.

Gonna lay down now.


November 15, 2008

Help a Starving Pumpkin

In the grand scheme of things this is not overly important but help...I'm running out of soap! Last Christmas I bought spicy holiday soap from Bath and Body to put in my pumpkin dispensers this year and I'm already out. I certainly don't have enough to last till Thanksgiving. Any ideas where I can find spice scented (red/orange) soap for my starving pumpkins?

November 13, 2008

New Glasses

It was time for Dani to get new glasses. She is 20 years old (I swear she's found the fountain of youth and won't tell us where it's at) and we wanted a newer more modern look, so off we went shopping for just the right frames. She doesn't look like she was having fun (it's the Autism) but she was very much looking forward to a new look.

Before


After


She is so proud of her new glasses that yesterday when we got in the car she immediately pulled down her sun visor to look at them in the mirror. When we arrived at Target she bolted down an isle to look at herself in the mirror. She's all girl.

November 11, 2008

Daddy's Nail Salon

Jimmy is between projects at work and as he waits for new work 
we enjoy our time together. 
Dani's been begging for Jimmy to polish her fingernails and
she not only got a polish but a full manicure!

The soak...


more soaking...


Careful cuticle care...


The polish: 
Revlon "Apricot Freeze" #630


all done...
Thanks Daddy!

November 8, 2008

What Happened Over Night?

Tell me. 
How does a child go to bed fine 
then wake up looking like this?
These were Dani's favorite M&M pants.


November 7, 2008

Let Us Not Grow Weary

Isaiah 40:31 
"...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint."

It's rare I have little to say but this week I have been virtually blogless. For the last two weeks our family has gone through a time of significant trial and grief that's literally surrounded us on all sides. Coming from nearly every direction it's been enough to make our heads spin.

In an effort to regain my balance I've fervently sought God in a new way and it's proven to be an opportunity for God to polish me into an image that greater reflects Him. Faithful to always teach new things, God has delicately drilled into my  heart Romans 12:1, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.

While worship and sacrifice come in any variety of different ways, I am convicted to make a daily habit of giving up one thing for God each day. Whether it's a meal, time of recreation, or anticipated purchase, I will give up one pleasure each day and offer it as my spiritual act of worship. It's the least I can do for Him.

Dear sister, if you are going through a difficult time I encourage you to take a moment to worship God! Exalt Him for who He is and all He has done for you. No other person or pleasure will ever compare or satisfy. The world and everything in it will either let us down or lead us astray. Only God can provide the balance we so desperately need.  Hope in the Lord, renew your strength, and stand firm in Him! 

October 31, 2008

A Morning of Progressive Blogging


Definition: Progressive Dinner

At a Progressive Dinner a group of friends plan a meal together 
where each course is served at a different participant's home, 
so that the party literally moves from place to place throughout the evening.


I took this morning off from work to do "Progressive Blogging." Using my OLM address book (followers) I visited each and every blog...and what a fun time I had! It was like a coast to coast mini vacation. I prayed for those in need, saw the most fun fall pictures you can imagine, visited a Halloween party, giggled with delight at some serious silliness, marveled at some of the most creatively designed blogs, and came out thoroughly refreshed. 

Time simply doesn't allow me to progressively blog very often. I work in the mornings writing and studying and by evening my eyes are simply pooped, but I have to say it was a pleasure spending the morning visiting my blogging friends. You are all such a delight. I love praying for you and catching up on what is going on in your lives. You inspire me and I look forward to seeing you one day in heaven.

May you have a safe and wonderful weekend. 

Love ya all oodles!

October 28, 2008

Bed Time Stories and Hamburgers

I was walking by Dani's room tonight and saw Jimmy reading a story to her. 
Her leaning half off the bed tickled me so much I grabbed the camera.

What a great Daddy (and husband)

No sooner did I leave Dani's room I saw Ecclesiastes 
napping with his new hamburger.
Good Night!


October 24, 2008

Great Trio


I am finishing up a three book series called the "Mark of the Lion" by Francine Rivers and they are fabulous. I've sat wide eyed wondering what was going to happen next as the life of a character hung in the balance and fought back tears as the hardest of hearts came to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

Though it takes place in the ancient days shortly after Christ's death, each character and their story is a reflection of lives today. As the book of Ecclesiastes says, there is nothing new under the sun, and how true it is. 

This series came out in the early 90's but if you have not read it I advise you give them a try. These books are clean, thought provoking, and good for your own spiritual growth and development. You can't go wrong.

Now I'm curious. What are you reading right now?

October 21, 2008

A New Little Brother in Christ!

Here is an update on 8 year old Grant who has an unknown muscle disease. Please continue to keep him in your prayers. Only on the other side of heaven will we all see what your sweet incense of prayers are doing for this family.


From Grant: "I love my Lord, my God. I got baptized."

Grant's words are much harder for him to get out these days, and these 9 words were very heartfelt. He mostly communicates to us with the thumbs up or thumbs down sign. His facial expression and manner with which he gives us the sign usually gets his point across! We at least know when he's not pleased with something. Traveling has been very hard on him and therefore on everybody else as well. Getting to places like the farm and Grandma's house were mixed with happiness and tears as he remembered what his life was like when he was there the last time. He doesn't like to look at pictures of anything before we moved to Kentucky. I guess that is part of the grieving process. Overall I think his demeanor is much better though. Some acceptance of the situation is settling in, I believe.

But, there is joy amidst pain. The night before we came up here, we were at home. Grant was up almost the whole night because he was hurting. He wanted to sing. He started singing, 'Our God is an Awesome God.' He was singing at the top of his lungs much like at his baptism. You can't really understand him and it's very difficult for him to get the words out, but oh, how sweet that music must have been to the Lord. We sang for quite a while while Grant furiously directed us with his hands like a choir director. It is a moment I will forever treasure.

Thank you for all of your kind messages and for your prayers. We are tremendously humbled by your love for Grant and for our family. Please pray for Grant's doctor as he should be wrapping up the analysis of Grant's tests in the coming week or two. Pray for wisdom, discernment and for nothing to be missed. 

Thank you so much. We are eternally grateful!
Grant's Parents


 "Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, 
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Matthew 19:14

October 19, 2008

Internet Cafe Devotion


"Sweet as Honey"

“How sweet are your words to my taste, 
sweeter than honey to my mouth! “
Psalm 119: 103 


The Psalmist speaks of the many blessing that come from studying God’s Word. He describes the Word as honey, which sounds so wonderful. There is nothing like golden honey on a hot biscuit fresh out of the oven. It makes me hungry just thinking about it. This is how the Psalmist felt about God’s Word. He loved its taste, found that it nourished and regenerated his soul, and had grown to love it to the point where he savored it like honey in his mouth.  

I remember when His Word first began to taste sweet. I was working full time and began to notice increased difficulty in putting my Bible down in the morning in order to get ready for work. I had to be at work at 9:00 am and would have to dress and feed our disabled daughter and myself. I had made my commitment to God to spend time each day in prayer and Bible study for the rest of my life and was beginning to grow closer to Him. This closeness became evident when it was so hard to end my time with Him in the morning. I began getting up earlier each morning to have more time with Him, but still ended each study saying, “God, I am so sorry I have to leave for work now. You know I love you and wish I could spend all morning with you, but I have to go. I love you. Good bye.”  

Satan doesn’t want you to have a taste of God’s Word. He knows that if you have one drop, you’ll want more. He also knows that as it nourishes you, it weakens him. He will tell you that you don’t need it, or have the capability to understand it, but don’t believe these lies. God wrote His Word for you and through the power of the Holy Spirit, He will make it possible for you to understand it. You deserve to read, know, and understand God’s Holy Word because it was written for you!

We know God’s Word is like honey and if we get a little of it, we will want more. We also know the enemy doesn’t want us to have any of it and battles us every step of the way. So, how are we to begin? We must begin as the Psalmist began, by simply reading it. We read a little each day until we begin to taste the sweetness. Job meditated on God’s Word so much that he treasured it above his daily bread (Job 23:12). Can you say the same thing? It took me years to get to the point where I treasured God’s Word. For quite some time, I read it only out of my commitment to the Lord. As much as I love Him, I didn’t fully understand what I was reading, but because of my commitment, I continued. In return, God honored my efforts by teaching and guiding me all along the way. He taught me even when I didn’t know I was learning. Now that’s a good teacher!

My spiritual lips had acquired a taste and it left me thirsting for more. God, in all His love and mercy, honored my thirst for Him by eventually bringing me home to speak, write, and teach His Word through the Olive Leaf Ministries. Now I taste His sweet honey each day until I am full to the brim. He is so gracious when we put Him first. All it took was for me to dedicate time to Him each day and He took care of the rest.

I pray you acquire a taste for the sweetness of God’s Word. Dedicate time every day to taking it in, savoring it, and hiding it in your heart. God will do amazing things when you put Him first in your life every day!

October 18, 2008

Dogonit

Disappointment: (noun) the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations.

Last Saturday we visited a local chilifest. We arrived at 4pm only to discover we'd missed the boat. All the venders were packing up their chairs, tents, and coolers. There was not one bean to be had. 

Today we drove 30 minutes into Kansas for another chilifest. The weather was so beautiful we decided to bring Ecclesiastes. Upon arrival we drove past the entrance which said "No Pets." 

With the smell of every kind of chili still lingering in our car, we left with empty bellies and a lot of disappointment. We ended up eating at Sonic and coming back home. What a pooper.


Job 6:20 
"They are distressed, because they had been confident; 
they arrive there, only to be disappointed."

(Job wasn't referring to a chili fiasco but it'll do)


October 15, 2008

Handier Than a Pocket on a Shirt

Girls I gotta tell you I love my "address book" (followers' icons on right.) It is handier than a pocket on a shirt! I just finished praising God for Connie selling her home, giggling at dog pictures on Home on the Range, comforting a mother with a disabled child on Theextras, hearing that John Wayne gave the plan of salvation on Thegardenexperience, and visiting a wonderful blog dedicated to bloggers praying for one another at Dancing Wallflower

With this handy dandy rolodex, all my blogging friends are as close as a click of my mouse and I love it. If you would like to "Be a Friend of OLM" simply click FOLLOW THIS BLOG and you are done. Your icon will appear and I'll be able to visit you and keep up on what's going on in your life. It's like having you in the pocket of my shirt!


October 13, 2008

God Comforts

Several months ago I asked you to pray for an 8 year old boy named Grant. He is dying of an unknown muscle disease and their struggles get worse each passing day. Here is an excerpt from an email his mother sent to all who are praying for them. Please pray for this Christian family as they walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

Grant was in excruciating pain and we had trouble getting him comfortable. He was crying and upset. Something must have felt different for him because he told us he thought he was dying. He has never said that before. We cried with him and we prayed with him and over him. And finally he did rest. At one point while we were praying he held his hand up and said, 'Stop. God is talking to me.' He kept his eyes closed and nodded his head as if acknowledging the things that were being told to him. I don't pretend to understand how God reveals Himself to children, but I will say it is something to behold. Grant didn't question in the slightest that it was God who was talking to him. When he opened his eyes I asked him what God had told him. It took him a while to tell me, but it was basically this; 'He said He loved me and He was sending His angels to me and He was holding me in His mighty arm.'

In his worst hour, God calmed him. There are many things that occur in the course of a day that make me love the Lord even more, but I must say at that moment, I was overcome. He had done exactly what I'd asked and what many of you have asked as well. I had been asking God to reveal Himself to Grant and that He would see Him for who He is. And He did just that. There is joy amidst pain.


Psalm 23 
"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." 


Rahab


Home Study Notes

October 11, 2008

Take Heart (John 16:33)

With the global economy crashing before our very eyes it's easy to feel anxious about the future. Retirement, jobs, and homes are all on the line.  Life as we know it will change for everyone. What good could possibly be ahead when all appears so grim.

Just hours before Jesus' arrest He comforted His disciples as He prepared them for their greatest loss, His death. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

What great love. Jesus did not hide the truth. He told them they would have trouble in order to strengthen and prepare them. And notice He offered them peace by telling them they would have trouble. Seems a bit odd at first glance, but He did this in order to align their focus from the world and onto Him. He was not going to be the Messiah who would rescue the Jews here on earth. He would overcome in a much different fashion and they needed fair warning so as to not abandon the call after He was gone.

The word "peace" in this passage means quietness, prosperity, and rest...all the things we seek here on earth. But, true peace can never be found in this world, since this is the enemy's domain. Rest from despair can only be found in Christ, the one who has overcome the world. With this in mind we can be of good cheer even amidst troubled times.

Sister, if you are worried about the future you have nothing to fear. God lives outside the bounds of time. He knew this collapse was going to happen before the dawn of time and He allowed it. Nothing is too big for God, He never turns a deaf ear to His children, and He will never allow us to go hungry. He speaks truth, He provides strength, and guides our way. Only He can satisfy our deepest longing and He's waiting to do so in such a time as this!  

"Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. 
He who comes to me will never go hungry, 
and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." 
John 6:35

October 8, 2008

Mr. Swirly Pants


When Ecclesiastes was a little puppy we noticed cute little swirls on his hips. 
I feared he might lose them when he grew up 
but I am pleased to enjoy them still today!

Do any of your dogs wear swirly pants?

October 3, 2008

"I Love Your Blog" Award


Blogs are a labor of love and it's always good to receive positive feedback. A relatively new OLM friend, Thegardenexperience, passed this award to the OLM blog and we thank you! 


Answer these questions with one word. 
(I pray my answers don't bore you. I am not too exciting.)

Where is your cellphone? Charging in my purse.

Where is your significant other? In bed sound asleep.

Your hair color? Naturally auburn but I have highlights. (I feel like I'm on trial)

Your Mother? Is in heaven.

Your Father? Still with us.

Your Favorite Thing? I highly value my Bible. Wouldn't want a new one.

Your dream/goal? To completely fulfill God's purpose for me here on earth.

The room you're in? Office.

Your hobby? Making jewelry.

Your fear? Large expanse of water.

Where do you want to be in 6 years? Doing what I do now, writing, speaking, and teaching women the God's Word.

Where were you last night? At home watching the vice presidential debate.

What you're not? Boisterous. (Am I boring you?)

One of your wish items? I try to keep these things to a minimum because wishing breeds discontent (for me.) I strive instead to be content where I am and with what I have.

The last thing you did? Finished my morning cappuccino. 

What are you wearing? My PJ's.

Your TV? Is huge.

Your Pet? Is my friend.

Your Computer? Is an Apple.

Your Mood? Is good!

Missing Someone? No. I feel content with all my relationships.

Your Car? Is willow green.

Something you're not wearing but love to wear? Crop pants.

Favorite Store? Talbots and Macy's. (Love em both) 

Your Summer? Was great.

Love Someone? The guy in the other room who is sound asleep.

Your Favorite Color? Soft pink.

When was the last time you laughed? Last night. Jimmy was adjusting the timer on the deck lights and I was looking up at the stars. I saw a light moving in the sky that looked like a star but was too far away to be a plane. I asked Jimmy to look at it and by the time he got up from the timer the light was perfectly still. Clearly it was a star that had never been moving in the first place. I said, "Well...it was moving. Maybe it's a shooting star that decided to quit shooting." When I saw the look on his face I burst into laughter, piercing the quiet night air. The guy kills me. 

When was the last time you cried? I cried a few days ago over something that was very disappointing, but you know, God has used it to reveal His direction for me in this situation and for that I am grateful for the experience.


I pass this award on to the following ladies. (Of course if you've already received this don't feel as though you must do it again.)

October 1, 2008

Behind the Scenes

You're used to seeing me in front of the camera presenting weekly video devotions, but have you ever wondered what I see from my point of view? 

During a recent recording Dani and Ecclesiastes were very patient and relatively quiet, but a bit distracting just the same. When I saw Ecclesi turn nearly inside out I stopped filming and grabbed the camera. They were a little bored.


September 28, 2008

Healing

The following is an excerpt from my book, Freedom, Healing for Parents of Disabled Children. It is part of Barbara Boucher's blog carnival on "Healing." As a gifted Christian who is an Occupational Therapist with a PhD in philosophy, she has a special love for children with special needs and their parents. As a result, God is using her mightily. I am happy to participate in her carnival as I have learned first hand that God seeks to heal in all situations. He just does not heal the way we expect Him to sometimes. 

Chapter Eight
"It was a beautiful day. The air was cool as the sun glistened through the orange and red leaves of the trees. The humidity had lifted, there wasn’t a hint of rain in the air, and puffy white clouds hung weightlessly in the sky. On the outside, it couldn’t have been a more striking day, but on the inside a tempest was brewing deep within my heart.  

It had only been three years, but caring for Dani and her disabilities felt as if it had gone on forever. Feelings of anger, frustration and futility were beginning to surface, bringing with them a mighty storm. I hadn’t volunteered to be the mother of a disabled child, I couldn’t seem to get used to it, and it was beginning to take its toll on me. Something had to be done, so I did what I had to do; I called a meeting with God. It was time to put all the cards on the table and tell Him exactly what I thought, which is precisely what I did.  

I’d just arrived home after taking Dani to school when suddenly, as if out of the blue, I had enough. Talk about being honest with God. This session with Him either earned me a gold medal or knocked a few jewels out of my heavenly crown. To this day, I don’t know what triggered the episode. I only know I was smack dab in the middle of the living room when the storm hit. It was one of those rare times, spiritually speaking, in which I took off the gloves and got completely honest with God. In the past, I had more or less kept a distance between God and me, labeling it as respect and honor for Him. The problem was, I never got close enough to Him to have a good one-on-one talk. This day, however, was different. I laid it all out: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Every emotion I had kept inside was desperately poured out before Him as never before. Nothing was held back. 

I started by telling Him how tired I was with Dani’s lack of progress. Then I reminded Him of how many times I had begged Him to heal her, while He remained seemingly distant and uncaring. If that wasn’t enough, I went on to point out the fact that our cat gave me more attention than my own daughter, and I was sick and tired of not knowing how to help my own child. In ten minutes, I had successfully unloaded every grievance that had taken residence in my heart. The storm had hit, and to my amazement, I was still standing. Honesty with God hadn’t been so bad after all. In fact, it felt rather good.

Determined to weather it out to the end, I pronounced my closing statement. With tears in my eyes and a bony finger pointing toward the heavens, I shouted my biggest grievance of all… “Why won’t you heal her?” I didn’t expect a response from Him at all, let alone one that very moment. For years I had wondered why God hadn’t healed her, but never heard a response. Today was different, however. Conditions were ideal for me to hear Him speak, and He did. Calling me by name, He said, “Nancy, I won’t heal her for two reasons. First of all, you want her healed for you. You don’t want her healed so much for her sake as you want it for you. You want out. Second, I can do more through not healing her than if I do.”

That was it. God had spoken and His answer was clear. I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear, but the truth was remarkably refreshing, so much so I’ve never again questioned Him on this issue of healing. His words made such an impact on my heart that I continue to ponder them to this very day. Like a child in need of a good dose of discipline, I had never before considered the fact that my longing for her to be healed was rooted in my own selfish desires. Had any human on earth uttered these words to me I would have pursed my lips, furrowed my brows, and stomped out of the room. But hearing it from God Himself was an entirely different story. Yes, I loved my daughter very much and wanted only the best for her, but my request had become one that was more for me than for her. God knew it and loved me enough to address it up-front.

The selfishness of focusing on what I wanted had inflicted upon me a severe case of tunnel vision. I never considered that God would want anything other than what I wanted; His decision whether to heal her or not was never in question. He was going to heal her; I was convinced.

This notion, however, that God could do more through not healing her, now that was a new one. It boggled my mind, prompting me to think outside the box. For the first time in years, I began to realize that God was not only in control, but fully aware of our situation and had a specific plan for our family, one far greater than anything I could ever conceive on my own. New hope was born again and it did not involve healing." 

Read Chapter One of Freedom.

September 26, 2008

The Proof is in the Pocket

Before the washer and dryer
After...
Dani's shorts.
Proof she pilfered from my chocolate drawer!
The rest of the wash was untouched.
Thank you Lord!

September 24, 2008

A woMan's Man

My husband, Jimmy, is a manly kind of man. He loves to tinker in the garage, fix things around the house, and learn new manish kinds of skills. But I'm convinced even the most masculine of men will do things he's never dreamed of once married. Sunday morning was a perfect example. 

While getting dressed for church I peered down to see my big toe's french manicure had a chip. It wasn't the end of the world but it bugged me, so Jimmy took the white nail polish and filled in the gap. I was impressed.

Then, on the way to church, my vision began to feel weird. I wear mono-vision contacts, which allows one eye to see far and the other close up eliminating the need for reading glasses. (It enables me to read the price tag of things I shouldn't be buying in the first place. It's a wonderful thing.) After a quick hand over each eye check, I realized I'd put my contacts in the wrong eye. Coming to my aid again, Jimmy held out a cupped hand for me to pour saline. Placing my left contact in his make-shift bowl, I moved my contacts about till the world felt good again. We arrived at church no worse for the wear. 

What would I do without my manly man?


"If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:10

September 21, 2008

A Miracle of Prayer

On July 17th you all began praying for my friend Judy who is in the end stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her white blood cell count was threateningly low and her doctors were on the verge of putting her on last resort medications that are very harmful to the body.  Many of you began to faithfully lift Judy to the throne of God and I am happy to tell you He has heard and responded to each of your prayers!

Judy's lab result was astounding.  Her white blood cell count was a fabulous 5.4, the highest it's been in nine years!  Clearly God moves in profound ways when His children call upon His holy name. Thank you for praying for Judy and please continue to pray for her and her dear family. After church we took this picture to celebrate the occasion.


"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; 
make known among the nations what he has done."
Psalm 105:1

Clownin' Around

Yesterday our church, Abundant Life Baptist,  had its annual complimentary carnival. Everyone from all around is invited to come and all the food, games, and rides are completely free of charge. It's a wonderful outreach program and the turn out yesterday was by far the biggest we've ever had.

Jimmy spent the day photographing the event, so Dani and I mingled about on our own. When we arrived we found Jimmy at a booth taking pictures of kids with the clowns. Dani almost never smiles for a picture, but smiling wasn't a problem when she saw the clowns. Their colorful outfits made her day. (See more pictures at Jimmy's blog.)



Who says Christians don't have fun!