April 29, 2009

Update on Dani

Dani is doing fantastic in her Day Hab program. Those assisting her all know sign language and she loves meeting all the clientele. Her teacher, Loretta, is so kind. She hurt her foot and has to wear a walking boot, something Dani is a bit obsessed over. Every time she refers to her teacher she signs the word "pain." (I am a bit obsessive about some things too I suppose. Shoes and sandals yes, walking boots...not so much. To each his/her own.)

In passing, Dani's teacher heard us mention church and immediately asked, "Oh, would Dani be interested in Bible study? We have various clubs and one of them is Bible study." Well, I was thrilled to here this good news and told her that Dani loves to share how much Jesus lovers her and what a sweet heart she has. Nothing would thrill her more than to learn more about God. She and the Lord have a special bond that is amazing to watch.

So there you have it. She's doing great and we are so happy for her. We love the program and they love her. That's all we could ask for. Thank you Lord for blessing our little lamb!

April 27, 2009

Annoying Habits

Ever have a day, week, or month filled with annoying things? We all have bothersome traits but I have to say living with a puppy and Autistic child tops the charts. This morning, while trying to write a Sunday school lesson of all things, I encountered a couple of things that prompted me to take every thought captive.

Annoyance #1
This is Dani's room. She does not play. She simply entertains herself by unloading everything she owns. She clears her bookshelves and dumps her bin of play food all over the floor; same spot every time. Clearly it provides her with some form of release, but not so oddly it drives me up the wall. The books are extremely slick if you step on them and make it virtually impossible to get into her closet, make her bed, or open her window. Whenever I feel my blood pressure rise at this sight, which can be often, God reminds me of His faithful grace to forgive me of the sins I commit on a regular basis.

Annoyance #2
This is our tiered garden. We planted lettuce, pepper, and tomato plants all for Cocoa Bean to dig seven of them up within 24 hours. His form of entertainment happens to be dirt, destruction, and delinquency. He received a controlled spanking yesterday from Jimmy...and it was my suggestion he do so. Jimmy went out the next morning at the crack of dawn to buy materials for a fence in order to protect our new plants. Here he is blocking the main entry into the garden. The back side, under the deck, is bordered with see-through green wire. This should do it!

Life is full of annoyances that are sure to steal our joy if we let them. Honestly, if it isn't one thing it's another. But great hope is founded in the truth that one day we will live in heaven with God where there will be no more books to trip over or gardens to redo. In His presence we will rest, relax, and rejoice in His glory. I look forward to that day. Till then I plan to captivate every thought, bite my tongue, and give every annoyance to the Lord.

“...In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33b

April 25, 2009

"A Regular Guy"

I met a great gal on facebook. Her name is Laura Shumaker. She too is the parent of an Autistic child and has written a book. She offered to send me her book, which I promptly received in the mail a few days later. I am currently reading two book, so when her's came in the mail I planned to scan the back cover and Table of Contents, then pack it away till I was done with my other two. As planned, I read the back cover then turned to Table of Contents, but I couldn't stop there. Something compelled me to read the first chapter and soon I couldn't put the thing down. I was hooked and it became my top priority.

Laura is not only a loving wife and mother of three beautiful boys, one with significant special needs, but she's also a very gifted writer. Never once did she break my cardinal rule of writing which says it is a sin to bore your reader. I laughed, cried, and sat stunned as I turned each page. Yesterday, toward the end of the book, the tension of my tears gave me such a headache I had to quit reading for the night. Her words eloquently describe our own trials so well that it touched my heart in places that are still tender with scars. Some things were down right hard to read, but as I finished the last pages just moments ago I felt a special kinship with her as well as great admiration for the tenacity she's had amidst such difficult circumstances. I can only hope to have a fragment of her strength as we too deal with the challenges of raising a disabled child.

If you know anyone with an Autistic child who might be ready to read Laura's account (and I stress the word ready) sent them her way. She speaks a truth that can bring great healing. This is also good for family and friends who want to know what life with Autism is like. I highly recommend this book to anyone!

April 23, 2009

Fun With Friends

Dani and I went on a photo shoot with Jimmy yesterday. The weather was beautiful and the company was fantastic. My good friend Judy's daughter is graduating from college so we went around town taking senior photos. Judy and Dani are best buds too so they had their picture taken as well. Two peas in a pod.

Here is Judy's daughter, Ashley. She was a photographer's dream. A real beaut!
Thanks girls for a wonderful time! (More photos)

April 22, 2009

Tough to Toss

My sister cracked me up Easter evening when we were at her home for dinner. She said, "Nan, I just can't seem throw away my Quik Trip cups!" Giggling at her confession I knew she spoke the truth for just behind her stood a stack of 32oz cups on her kitchen counter.

I couldn't judge her. I too have items I find tough to toss. For example I love paper. A few months back, when we had nine pooping pups, we found ourselves in sudden need of newspaper. Buying a newspaper each day wouldn't begin to touch the tip of the iceberg. We needed lots of paper and fast, so one evening Jimmy and I got the bright idea to reuse recycled newspaper.

With plan in place, once the sun went down, he and our son Drew headed for the closest recycling bin. In the cloak of darkness Jimmy peeked into the yellow and green receptacle and low and behold cast his eyes on sixteen perfectly good note pads; just the thing I love! Snatching them up first, he then helped himself to some puppy paper and returned home to show me the loot. (Is this stealing?) To my utter amazement not one notepad was torn, dog-eared, or blemished in any way. I use them with great satisfaction still today.

Along with keeping my eye out for a good sheet of paper, I also "save" boxes that are in good shape, zip-lock bags that still zip, and paper and plastic grocery bags. For some reason I am determined to find more uses for these particular items.

I believe God is naturally quite thrifty as well. He is cleaver in every way and never desires for us to waste good resources. In today's vernacular I think it's safe to call Him green! After all, He made that color and it's a beautiful one at that.

Now, I'm curious. What catches your fancy? What do you try to conserve, save, or reuse? Oh...and please share what other uses you find for these things that veer from their original intent. I love thinking outside the box!

April 21, 2009

First Day of Work!

Dani has been waiting for over a year to start working. The first place we looked into didn't work out and it's a good thing because we found one much more suited for her needs. She will be learning to cook, fold laundry, color, write, and do all sorts of fun and exciting things. She was so happy to go today she was in tears. As her daddy drove the car we prayed for her and her new adventures. She was welcomed with open arms and soon abandoned us to be on her own for the day. She will have many stories to tell when she gets home later today!

Jimmy and Dani.

Waiting to get started.
The Lord is with our baby and she is having the time of her life!

April 20, 2009


It's a beautiful day today. The sun is out and spring has sprung. Jimmy and I have decided to plant fewer decorative plants and more eatable ones. This year my pots are full of all sorts of delicious greens.

Garlic chives and lettuce (back)
Cilantro (front)

Oregano, garlic chive, and cilantro.

Spinach sprinkled with 
Cheyenne pepper to keep
Cocoa Bean away.

Lettuce, spinach, and...

Left over pepper, strawberry, 
and cucumber plants that will go in the garden.
What are you planting this summer?

April 18, 2009

Peace Amidst Trials

God's word is so timely. After six trying months of Jimmy's joblessness due to the global economic meltdown, it feels as though we've been put through the ringer. As God would have it I teach tomorrow on Romans chapter five which focuses on the reasons we have to rejoice, even amidst great trials. Let's take a peek.

Reason #1 - We have peace with God! Romans 5:1 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ..." When we have peace with God, that God-sized hole planted deep within each of us is satisfied, making us complete, content, and quiet in spirit.

Reason #2 - Trials prompt spiritual growth. Romans 5:3-5 "...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." 

Trials offer 3 spiritual benefits:
  1. Perseverance: The opposite of panic and the thing we all respect and honor in others. God desires this quality in each of His children as well. It is the supernatural fuel that enables us to withstand any and all trials that comes our way.
  2. Character: Learning to trust God during the most pressing times. Joseph is a perfect example of a man with godly character. While in Egypt he experienced false imprisonment and false accusations, yet amidst his trials he grew closer to God and in the end was exalted by both God and men.
  3. Hope: Faith against the odds. Trials in life will either snuff out your faith or kindle a new fire. The choice is ours and hinges on how we choose to view our challenges and respond to them. Viewing them as opportunities to grow brings victory every time.
David called his trials by name and noted God's deliverance,"The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37) Isn't it interesting that rather than wearing him down, David's challenges served to strengthen his faith? Choosing to view them as opportunities to see the hand of God move in his life, the "lions" and "bears" energized him for the next trial. Now, this is what you and I need girly girl!      

So, what lion or bear is threatening you and how are you viewing them? Through the perspective of a victim or the eyes of victor? Thanks to Christ we have peace with God and victory over any trial we face here on earth. With this in mind we have great reason to rejoice. May we lift our eyes to Jesus and what He has done for us and rejoice in the glory of God who lives and dwells in our future home...heaven!

April 16, 2009

A Little Salt Please

My niece has a beautiful little girl named Olivia. She is in elementary school and recently began having trouble eating in the cafeteria. The crowd seemed to overwhelm her to the point where she had to eat lunch with the school nurse. My niece tried everything she could think of to coax Olivia into the cafeteria at lunch time, all to no avail.

As a last resort, my niece said, "Olivia, just think about the other children in the cafeteria who are going through such difficult times. Some children's parents are divorcing while others don't have enough food to eat. Their school lunch is the best meal of their day." With that the wheels of Olivia's brain began to turn her attitude around. Of all the words my niece had said and all the discipline she had tried, these were the words that got her thinking. Pondering the needs of her class mates, Olivia's fear began to subside and soon she was back in the cafeteria. Her fear had turned to compassion; adding a little more salt to the cafeteria. 

Ladies, times are tough and sometimes it's tempting to retreat. But you and I are the salt of the earth and quite possibly the only hope some will ever see. Look around at others in need and lend a helping hand. My husband has been doing a lot of maintenance jobs for others lately since he is no longer on the road. He recently helped put up a fence for a woman who's husband abandoned her and her three children and is helping with the upkeep of another woman's home as she goes through a painful divorce. 

It is vital that we support one another in time of need for it is a beautiful reflection of Christ. A card, phone call, email, or plate of cookies can do a world of good. Sprinkle a little salt and watch God work His magic. My dad has faithfully gone to church for over 50 years all because a man from a local church brought him an envelop of money to help our family after we lost everything in a devastating tornado. That helping hand touched him like nothing else could in his time of need. It literally changed his life.

Who can you sprinkle a little salt on today? 

“You are the salt of the earth."
Matthew 5:13a

"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need 
but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" 
1 John 3:17

April 14, 2009

For the Love of Cocoa

These are my favorite "around the house" tennies. 
For some odd reason Cocoa has repeatedly attacked the left one 
and he put a real hurtin' on it the other day. 
Now it hardly stays on my foot.

My cute cocoa colored culprit.
It's a good thing I live by the motto of 1 Peter 4:8,

"Above all, love each other deeply, 
because love covers over a multitude of sins." 

Amen little doggy.

April 12, 2009

12 Reasons to Rejoice in the Risen Christ

Jesus came to us!
Luke 1:14 “He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth…”

We have peace with God.
Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,“

We have been made righteousness. 
Romans 3:22 “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

Our names are written in heaven.
Luke 10:20 “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Our joy is secure.
John 16:22 “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

We have hope.
Romans 5:2 “…through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. “

Christ knows and understands our pain.
1Peter 4:13 “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. “

Our suffering is not in vain.
Romans 5:3 “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;”

God’s grace abounds.
Ephesians 2:7 “…in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Our salvation is permanent.
John 10:27-29 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

Christ is preparing a place for us.
Revelation 19:7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.“

Jesus is coming soon!
Revelation 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.

Every year Easter becomes more precious to me. The closer I draw near to God the more I see how much I need Him, for without Christ I could not approach God at all. Because Christ conquered sin and death those who believe and put their trust in Him receive eternal life in heaven. What a great gift and good reason to be glad. Nothing can take away the security of our salvation and God's very Spirit guides, protects, and teaches us as we walk this earth. Sealed by His Spirit we, the bride, wait for our bridegroom, Jesus, to come and take us home. I rejoice in this good knowledge for it gives me strength and hope for the future. He is coming soon, He is coming for us, and He has triumphed over our enemy.

May the Lord bless you this Easter day. May His face shine upon you in a new way as you bask in the hope of His glory!

April 9, 2009

Darkest Before Dawn

Thank you Jesus for creating us in your image, (Genesis 1:26) for becoming God's Word made flesh, (John 1:14) and for dying for our sins so that we may have eternal life. Our salvation is through you and we praise your holy name!

"Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! 
See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed." 
Revelation 5:5a

"Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, 
standing in the center of the throne, 
encircled by the four living creatures and the elders." 
Revelation 5:6

April 8, 2009

Hiding His Word in Your Heart

I've long since learned the value of planting God's word in my heart. I am continually memorizing scripture and find that I pull from this well of wisdom many times each day. 

Today Dani walked into my office and pulled out a blank 3 x 5 index card from the stack I use to write scripture on. I asked if she wanted me to write a verse on the card for her to carry around, read, and meditate on. With excitement she nodded her little head "yes!" So, grabbing the nearest Sharpie marker, I popped off the cap and began writing a verse I knew how to translate into sign language.

When I handed her the card you would have thought I was Moses handing her the Ten Commandments. She just stared at it in awe. Together we signed the verse and then off we went, verse in tow, to McDonalds. With our meals in our laps we sat near a peaceful pond of water sipping pop and munching on fries. We practiced signing the verse over and over and she was so proud of herself. What a pleasure to share the Word of God with my little girl! 

"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth." Deuteronomy 11:18-21

April 6, 2009

Bright and Early

Ten years ago I promised God that I would spend each morning with Him in a time of prayer and Bible study. I've honored this commitment and been greatly blessed as a result.

The dogs know my morning routine and honor it as well. As I read and study, Ecclesiastes sleeps at my feet and Cocoa Bean is learning to do the same. This morning I looked over at Cocoa and giggled at the sight. He looks like he still has curlers in his hair!

By the way I am finishing up Beth Moore's Ester and it is fabulous. Please do this study if you get a chance.

April 1, 2009

Growing Like a Bean

Cocoa Bean is now four months old and grown oodles! 
Here he was just a few days old.

He still loves laying on his back in comfort.

Still spoiled too.
Love my boy.