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Showing posts from 2009

The True Prize

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Happy New Year - almost! Today is the last day of 2009 - it is the last day of the first decade of the
2000's - a new century; and what a decade it has been. As I ponder all that has transpired in these last ten years I am amazed at all that the Lord has done in my own life and in the lives of my family members. In the past ten years I have witnessed the weddings of all four of our children; we have experienced the joy of the birth of 11 grandchildren; we have celebrated our 25th & 30th wedding anniversaries - and we have beheld the glory of God - breathtaking!

Today as we embark on the beginning of a new year and a new decade we can forge ahead with plans, hopes, and dreams for a bright future filled with promise at God's hand, or we can tread cautiously fearing the unknown; in reality we will probably do a little of both having a desire for the promise, but stepping hesitantly at times because of fear - that can be okay as long as we turn our fear into faith. "What…

Presents!

Merry Christmas Eve! As a child I always remember being so excited on Christmas Eve because that meant that soon I would be getting presents! I thrilled as the wrapped gifts mounted under the tree and I would find myself nearly beside myself with anticipation over what I would soon receive. I am sure that most of you can remember how hard it was going to sleep on Christmas Eve because you just couldn't wait to wake up and have it be Christmas.

I remember when my children were young the many Christmases that my husband and I would stay up into the wee hours of the morning wrapping presents for our children. It became a tradition that after the children went to bed we would watch "It's a Wonderful Life" and wrap gifts. It seemed that we no sooner pillowed our heads when our children would be knocking on our door asking if it was time to get up yet. Those are precious memories to me - what a joy it was to see their huge smiles as they opened their gifts.

My favor…

Its Always a Miracle

This week it is Christmas! In my desire to carry the heart of Christmas I have determined to read the Christmas story through a different portion of Scripture each day. I have often tried to put myself in Mary’s place and imagine what it must have been like for her. As I was thinking about all that happened to Mary, I saw some things that I believe every mother can learn from the Christmas story.

1. "And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee:" Luke 1:28

As a Christian mom I am so comforted to know that the Lord is with me – he promised before He left when he said, “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

2."And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and…

It’s a Celebration!

Merry Christmas! It is hard to believe that Christmas is just one week from today. This morning I have been thinking about Christmas as I have 90% of my shopping yet undone. The word Christmas itself means to celebrate Christ – so I began thinking about celebrating. To celebrate means:

1. To observe (a day or event) with ceremonies of respect, festivity, or rejoicing.
2. To perform (a religious ceremony)
3. To extol or praise: a sonnet that celebrates love.
4. To make widely known; display

I love celebrating! I believe that we should celebrate life everyday that we wake up breathing! As Christians we should celebrate Christ everyday through our actions by observing those things that are important to our Saviour – make reading your Bible and praying a daily ceremony with rejoicing for all that God has done for you; make singing to the Lord as much a part of your shower as cleaning your body and most importantly make all that Christ hath done for you widely known!

I don’t know about you, bu…

Its CHRISTmas - really!

This year as we began the Holiday season at Thanksgiving, I must admit I did so with concern that with everyone living in different homes, and especially with "Mom and Dad" (me and my hubby) living out of the area that things just wouldn't feel the same. Well, that is true, it did not feel the same; but that doesn't mean that it wasn't special. I feared that without having all of my decorations up or having the kids come to my house for Christmas that I wouldn't enjoy my holidays...sounds so shallow even as I type it, so I determined that if Jesus could be born in a manger, certainly I could have one year without all my decorations and traditions .

Now, I know that I said that, but in my heart I was still carrying a "poor, pitiful me" attitude until I really got a glimpse of Christmas. Our family went to Bethlehem where they did a re-enactment of the Christmas story. I enjoyed the time with my kids and grandkids and thought it was so neat to see t…

Do You Know the Way?

I have always enjoyed reading. I like to read all kinds of books and I have quite an extensive library of my own. One thing that I don't read well is maps! I guess you could say that I am "directionally" challenged. I get turned around very easily - in fact if I am shopping in a mall I have to determine the direction I am heading by the surrounding stores before I go into a store or I will not know which way to go when I exit the shop!

I am normally not a ditsy type, but for some reason I just am not good with directions. One good thing that has come as a result of my "weakness" is that I pay very close attention to detail when I travel, so if I am willing to give you directions I will be able to tell you not only the street names but all the landmarks that will help you to find your way. Of course as I mentioned before that is only if I know the way - if I have to check a map I am definitely not the person you want in charge of giving directions...my family ca…

Whose Making You?

As long as I can remember, I have always loved to cook and bake. I remember being a nine-year old girl and cooking dinner for my family - not that I was forced to do so, but because I wanted to prepare the food. One thing that I especially enjoy doing is tasting something, guessing the ingredients, and then preparing it for myself. For the most part I have been pretty successful, but there have been a few times when I just couldn't quite get the right flavor. When that happens I look up several recipes and then assemble what I believe my husband will best enjoy eating.

I guess you could say that when it comes to cooking I like to be able to make meals that are not only nutritious, or something used to fill our tummies, but also something that is made well and enjoyable to eat. When I begin to cook I always imagine the flavor I expect for the meal I am making to produce. I have thought a lot about making things and how that in order for most anything to be made you must follow…

My Cup Runneth Over

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The empty nest sounds like such a sad transition – it has even been named as a syndrome for when parents experience sadness and emptiness when their children leave home. We have had an empty nest for several years now as our youngest child has been married 4 ½ years now – however we have always had all our children living near to us – in fact for a short while 3 of our 4 children all lived on the same block with us! So now that we are living away from all of our children our nest really seems empty.

One of the best ways to prepare for the time when your children are living away from home is to make sure that you and your husband share time together as a couple not just parents. Be sure that you make time to be sweethearts; go on dates with just the two of you; and work at being best friends with each other. I am so glad that my husband and I always considered the fact that one day it would be just the two of us again – and now here we are. I will say though that we look forward to …

Good Byes

Nobody likes to say Good Byes. One of the things we all look forward to in heaven is that we will never have to say good bye. Last September our youngest son and his wife and their 2 children moved to the other side of the country...I did not want to say good bye; I wanted them to stay with us, but God had another plan and He is using them for His service where they have moved.

This past Sunday we had to say a most difficult good bye as after nine years of pastoring the Redwood Baptist Church we had our last service with the church family that we love so dearly. My husband has always been burdened about church planting, and about 16 months ago God dealt with his heart and that burden became a call. It has been such an emotional time for me personally - you know women like to nest; we like to feel secure about where we are and that we'll be able to cozy in and call it home forever...that has not been the case with me.

I remember when we were at our previous ministry I really strugg…

Swallow and Follow

Swallowing took on a whole new meaning for me recently when I underwent an endoscopy - that is a test where the patient (me) must swallow a tube with a small camera at the end so that the doctor can see all the way to the stomach. I knew I needed to take the test because of family history - but I was okay with it because I thought I was going to be asleep during the procedure. A few days before my appointment the nurse called to give me last minute instructions; I became apprehensive when she said I would have to be awake to swallow this tube! In fact I told her that it sounded like a panic situation to me...I did not want to do it so I fretted and stewed about having to swallow that tube for the rest of the week (that was a lot of help); but the truth is the only way I could get the results was by swallowing that horrifying tube. Thankfully I indeed was asleep during the procedure and so all that panicking was for nothing - Praise the Lord!

That word swallow is an interesting word…

Two are Better Than One

This past Friday I underwent a health test that required my having an empty stomach. I was instructed to have nothing to eat or drink after 7:30 in the morning but the actual test was not until 4:45 pm - so I had to fast all day. My husband woke me up a little earlier than usual to invite me out to breakfast - we finished our last bite and sip of coffee by 7:25. We spent the rest of the morning at the church getting some things done, and then we ran a few other errands before going back home for the afternoon. I was able to nap (to kill time and not think about being thirsty) and when I woke up my mouth was pretty dry - but I couldn't have any water. I didn't say anything about it - its not really a big deal, but my husband came downstairs to check on me and wanted to let me know that he was with me - that he too had determined that he wouldn't eat or drink anything either. Maybe that's not a huge deal, and I wouldn't have minded if he had wanted to eat and dr…

The Eye of the Beholder

"Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye." -Shakespeare 1588
"Beauty, like supreme dominion is but supported by opinion." -Benjamin Franklin 1741
"Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them." -David Humes Essays, Moral and Political, 1742
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" as we quote it today is a line from the book Molly Bawn written by Margaret Wolf Hungerford in 1878. The same sentiment expressed throughout history in these quotes is this - beauty is a matter of opinion.

I remember when my first child was born I thought he was the most beautiful child, so you can imagine my utter surprise when one of my sisters-in-law came by and saw him and said, "oh look, now he is getting cute." In my mind I thought, "Getting? What do you mean getting? He has always been very cute!" She had her opinion and I had mine - to me he was always beautiful and to her he was now getting cute (at least she had the …

Would Your Son Share His Lunch?

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On Sunday morning my husband preached a message about the feeding of the 5000. As he was preaching he mentioned the "lad" that had food to share. I have often thought of that lad as I have read my Bible and so many thoughts have flooded my mind about that situation...here is the account of what happened.

"When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when…

Don't Mind Her - She Cries at the Brady Bunch!

When I was a young girl I remember watching The Brady Bunch with my family. Of course I always related with Marcia because she was my age. I remember one episode in particular, and perhaps some of you that used to watch the show or those that have watched reruns will remember this one. The story in this episode was about Marcia trying to enter a contest so that her dad could win "Father of the Year" award. Throughout the episode she kept sneaking to do things so that she could get her entry turned in, and each time she did she got in trouble - she even sneaked out of her room and got caught! At the end her dad won the award and he realized why she was doing what she was doing. I was very touched by the episode and my eyes filled with tears (I was relating). My brothers (all 4 of them - younger than me) could not believe that I cried at the Brady Bunch! For many years after that my brothers would dismiss my tears (especially at movies) and say things like, "never…

Meet Grace

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Encouragement. Sometimes the words of kindness and support can be what makes all the difference when going through a difficult time. I can recall one of the most frightening, heartbreaking, and trying times that we ever endured was when our daughter was diagnosed with cancer. I have written a testimony about all that God did during that time and it is posted as "Surviving a Crisis."

I would like to introduce you to Grace. She is the beautiful doll that is pictured. She was given as a gift to my daughter while she was in the hospital shortly after her surgery. Grace is a reminder of just that - God's grace to us as well as a token of encouragement received when we needed it most. Grace is a porcelain doll that was made by the very special lady that gave her to my daughter.

In the letter that was given to my daughter along with Grace, Joy (the lady that gave my daughter the doll) told the story behind Grace. You see Joy had two daughters and one of them (the one with…

You Don't Need Calgon!

“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion. Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me. Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For thou art my hope, O Lord God; thou art my trust from my youth. By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee. I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.” Psalm 71:1-7

Why would I use Scripture that starts out asking God not to let me put to confusion? As a mother, you may not wonder at all. I remember when I was a young mom with 4 children ages 5 and under...it was quite a time. I have so many wonderful memories of great times and precious moments with each of my childre…

Of Some Having Compassion

One of the things that my husband and I sought to instill in our children is individual responsibility - in other words, accepting the consequences of their own actions without pointing the blame on someone else. One of the other traits that we worked on was that of being independent. I believe that all parents want their children to grow up to be responsible adults that will be an asset to their generation; both of the character traits I mentioned are vital - no one wants their child to be a "flake."

My daughter learned "independence" very early - maybe a little too early as she seemed to be compelled to do things on her own, even if she was too little or too young. I remember one Wednesday evening when she was just 4 years old, I was cooking dinner and we were getting ready for church. My daughter took it upon herself to shower on her own while I was cooking. Being the only girl, she was also very modest, so of course she locked the door for privacy.

At the t…

He Giveth More Grace

I have four children, and one of the things that my husband and I sought to instill in our children is individual responsibility - in other words, accepting the consequences of their own actions without pointing the blame on someone else. One of the other traits that we worked on was that of being independent. I believe that all parents want their children to grow up to be responsible adults that will be an asset to their generation; both of the character traits I mentioned are vital - no one wants their child to be a "flake."

My daughter learned "independence" very early - maybe a little too early as she seemed to be compelled to do things on her own, even if she was too little or too young. I remember one Wednesday evening when she was just 4 years old, I was cooking dinner and we were getting ready for church. My daughter took it upon herself to

Are You "One?"

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Do you ever just get a “hankering” for something? I have different comfort foods that somehow make me feel better when I have different types of ailments. As a little girl when I was under the weather, I remember that my grandmother used to make rice pudding – I don’t think she made it for any particular reason other than the fact that it was delicious, but now when I have a cold I think I need to eat rice pudding. If I have an ailment with my stomach, I eat soda crackers and grape juice (my grandfather’s cure). My all time favorite comfort food is Chinese cuisine.

One day last week I had such a day, and so I texted my husband the name of a couple of food items suggesting that he bring them home for dinner. I guess I wasn’t all that surprised to have him call me a few moments later telling me that he had already made the purchases and would be home in just a few moments – we have been married for 31 years after all…he should know me by now, right? I will say that though I wasn’t …

Amazing Grace

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Having your child get lost is a common nightmare that mothers share. I mean, how many of you never had the nightmare of seeing your child's face on a milk carton?

I know that it was certainly one of my greatest fears when my children were little; especially after my daughter disappeared for 15 minutes at the Beach & Boardwalk in Santa Cruz! It was early August and we went on a mini-vacation for a few days to the beach. Our oldest son was not quite 6 years old, our baby was just 5 months old - our daughter was almost 3; really, still a baby herself.

On this beautiful day at the beach we had enjoyed playing with the kids with a beach ball and building sandcastles. The 3 older kids were still building a sandcastle while I began to feed the baby. My husband was holding him as he didn't sit up by himself quite yet, and my daughter was sitting directly behind my husband so I could not see her. I remember asking him where she was and he patted her little head as she sat be…

Making the Hard Times Count

I like the old saying, “Necessity is the mother of all invention.” I believe this to be a true statement. My family enjoys a full array of recipes “invented” because of lack of either an ingredient, or necessary funds to purchase a more expensive option. In either case I have found throughout the years that the lack of something is not necessarily a bad thing.

I remember talking to Nanna about the Great Depression. We had this conversation in the early 80’s when the economy was much like it is today. At that time there was a recession, plus the interest rates were extremely high (17-18%)! I remember the stories she told of how the neighbors would all get together and have potluck and play games because they couldn’t afford to do anything else. While the times were clearly difficult, she had great memories of the unity that was formed as a result.

I remember one year in particular when things were somewhat “tight” financially, but it was the first summer after our daughter complet…

My Best Birthday Gift

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Today is my birthday. It is hard to believe that I am already 52 – I remember anxiously waiting to turn 17 thinking it was such a mature sounding age...my how time flies. As I see time marching on, each year on my birthday I like to spend some time pondering my life, setting goals, and making plans for the coming year. I also always remember my special birthdays.

I remember my 16th birthday when my parents gave me an almost surprise birthday party. They planned the party for me, but on the day I was to be surprised my mom didn’t want me to not be prepared, so she told me that I was going to be surprised that evening. I always wondered if anyone believed that I was surprised when I showed up with my hair done professionally in my new dress! I also remember my 21st birthday because I was a newlywed of 1 day. We flew to Hawaii for our honeymoon and everything in life was brand new.

The birthday that I remember above any other is my 25th birthday – on that day I received the absolute…

Its Not Getting Old, Its Getting Better!

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When I was 17 years old, I began dating my husband. By my 18th birthday I knew I wanted to marry him - I knew that I loved him and wanted to be his wife for the rest of my life. Well, it took a while for him to get with it, but finally on the eve of my 21st birthday we were married - 31 years ago today! What a journey we have had thus far, and somehow though we have been together for so many years, we still share new dreams for our future together. Its not getting old - its getting better!

Several years ago I taught a lesson to the HomeBuilder's Ladies, "The Bride of Christ, The Church, and Your Marriage." This lesson was taken from the Book of Revelations where Jesus is writing to the Church, (the Bride of Christ) and paralleling it with man (made in God's image) and his wife. I believe that the truths I learned in preparing for that lesson helped us to build the truly marvelous marriage we enjoy today!

Here are the key points.

1. Keep your hubby #1 In Revelati…

Its Raining!

Its raining outside. I enjoy the rain, especially if I can be inside, curled up with nice cup of hot coffee or chocolate. Its the first rain of the season and this first rain always takes me back to one of the most trying times I have ever endured, and as well to the marvelous grace that God affords during those times.

The date was September 25, 1991; my nearly 9 year old daughter had just been diagnosed with cancer, she had undergone surgery to remove her kidney, and it was the day she would begin chemotherapy. I recall sitting in the hospital room with my daughter and reading to her from the Book of Psalms, as I had determined that I would read 5 Psalms a day, hoping for comfort and claiming the promise in Proverbs 4:20-22 which says, "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh."

On that particular day…

He's Watching Out for You!

When my oldest son was courting his wife, at times he had to drive a great distance to visit her and her family. On one of these visits he was awarded a ticket for speeding. The amazing thing about this was the fact that he was not going any faster than any of the drivers on the road; he was just keeping up with the flow of traffic. When my son stated this to the highway patrol officer, he answered and said, "I know, but the word came from up there (pointing towards the sky where the helicopter was monitoring the traffic) that I was to issue you a ticket.

At the time my son was so frustrated and it seemed unfair - but in truth the answer was very clear - God didn't want His son driving unsafely even if the rest of the world was travelling too fast. We have often heard parents say things like, "I can't control what other kids are doing, but you are my child and I do not want you doing that!" God, our Heavenly Father has different expectations from us as His c…

Promises, Promises

When my kids became teenagers we realized that as they were experiencing new freedoms, we had to set clear perimeters for what we would allow. One of the rules that we implemented was that our kids would not be permitted to ride in a car with other teen drivers. Well, one night after a special meeting (I think it was during Youth Conference) I spotted one of my sons in the car with a load of teens! I was in a dilemma because I did not want to embarrass my son, but I also didn't want to let him do something we had already ruled against. My son did not know for sure that I saw him, but I saw him not only in the car, but ducking down hoping I wouldn't see him. So, what did I do? Well, as much as I didn't want to embarrass him, I also knew I would never be able to live with myself if they got in a car accident - so I walked towards the car - waved my hand for them to stop - poked my head in the window and politely asked my son to get out of the car...ouch!

When my son got out o…

Got Talent?

When I was a young girl in the 6th grade I was very involved in the various activities my school had to offer. I was in the choir - and even was asked to sing solo parts at times; I was involved in athletics and was normally the fastest runner (amongst the girls) in my class. I was basically a straight A student and didn't face a lot of competition...that is until the new girl came to school.

This new girl named Bonnie came to school and as our class sang - she had the most beautiful and clear singing voice I had ever heard! She had an amazing talent that of course I soon envied. To make matters worse when we went to PE, she was the fastest runner (even beating out many of the boys!), I was doomed; no matter how hard I tried to beat her, I simply could not out run this girl. With Bonnie's presence in my life I realized that there were others that were far better than I was at what I thought were my best attributes. I was so disappointed at first, but it taught me a valua…

This is the Day Which the Lord Hath Made

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Have you ever tried to do something that you thought was going to be a good thing only to have it wreak havoc in your day? I remember a day many years ago when my oldest son was in kindergarten, and I was expecting my 4th child. I received a call from the school nurse because my son apparently had the stomach flu - so I had to go pick him up from school. This meant I had to load up my other 2 children, and my 7 month pregnant self into the car so I could bring him home. On the ride home I thought it would be a good idea to stop and get a video for the kids to watch since one of them was sick...bad idea!

I stopped at a small local shop to get the video, and since the shop was small and the car was parked literally in front of the door I had the kids wait in the car for the 2 minutes it would take to get the cartoon. Well, I am sure that it was the longest or definitely most eventful 2 minutes of my life! First my oldest son ran in to tell me that my other son had to use the restroom, s…

Story Time

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I am convinced that I had the most adorable grandfather in the world. My little grandpa was such a great man. He worked hard and provided for his family. He was innovative, intelligent, and funny. He was a barber by trade, and a successful one at that! In fact we had newspaper articles of his barber shop in Central America because he had come up with the idea of installing special "ride" type seats for children to sit on while getting their hair cut. Instead of having the ever intimidating barber seats for the kids, he had one seat that looked like a car, and one that was like riding on a horse. His idea worked and he had a very successful business.

One of the things I remember especially about my grandpa was that he would tell stories. He would often tell hilarious stories of things that happened when he was young, and he would get to laughing so hard that he could barely talk; this in turn would get all of us laughing without even knowing the whole story. Sometimes…