Sunday, December 30, 2007


My severely shy youngest son spoke up in church yesterday! It is a reason to celebrate. It was during a special program where all the children's divisions come up and share with the adults things they've been doing all year long. Matthew's teacher would ask questions about what they had been studying and he answered! I was thrilled. Normally he gets so shy he won't do a thing.

Greta also participated and both she and Matthew sang when the teacher led them in "This Little Light of Mine." Greta actually kept looking at the microphone and edging a little closer. She' s not usually shy when you pit a mic in front of her!

Matthew has a lot of musical ability, it seems to be one of the gifts God bestowed on him. My prayer is that he will be able to use his gift to honor God. Matthew's first composition (at four years of age) was pretty simple, but he played it at his recital and it was in a minor key and appropriately named "Jesus Dying on the Cross."

I've also seen a lot of progress in my oldest son, Michael as well. He's starting to come out of his shell a little and even ran for a class office at school. That totally blew me away.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying my kids always have to be active in everything and always up front. Please! But when it matters most, when God has a job for them to do using the talents He gave them, it's not the time to be shy. It's the time to do for God as He has done for us. And I personally believe they don't have to be married and 21 years of age or older before God can use them. God uses willing hearts, no matter what their age.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Okay, I admit it. Sometimes I do bribe my children. Our church has prayer meetings on Tuesday nights and tonight after the meeting was over, I wanted the children to get to bed right away, so I bribed them.

Last night, I didn't get home until 6:30, which made it difficult for my husband to get to a meeting he was supposed to be at precisely at 7:00. Tonight was a similar story. Although I work from 8 to 5, I rarely leave on time. I rarely get my full one hour lunch break. Often I'm sitting in the break room with the door open so I can hear when the patient is done so I can go and set up their next appointment and then get back to my lunch. Of course after two days of late nights I'm tired and just want to have the kids get to bed. After all, I barely made it home in time to even go to prayer meeting in the first place.

So, how did I bribe my children? As soon as we walked in the door, I announced there would be a prize for the child who was first to get into their pajamas. Michael, the oldest, ran off immediately to his room to get busy. He must have forgotten that one other time I had given a prize and it was a hug and kiss from mommy. Greta also went straight to her room, as fast as her little four year old legs would carry her.

Matthew was the interesting one. Immediately he sat down on the floor and complained that races aren't fair and he doesn't want to race and he never wins so he doesn't like them. I didn't budge. I didn't change my mind. He had to get going. Michael and Greta actually tied for being the first in their pajamas, and they were each allowed a special treat out of their "goody bags." These are candies and sweets that have been collected the past few weeks that we allow them to dip into once in a while. It would be too much mayhem to let them have it all at once and it's a funny thing that neither Karl nor I want to deal with that.

By the time the two winners are picking out their prizes, Matthew's heaving sobs are unmistakably growing louder by the second. He worked himself into a good cry and we had a talk about how his whining and complaining didn't help him get in pajamas.

This is not the first time Matthew has struggled with similar issues. If he doesn't think he can "win" a particular situation or event, he immediately begins to whine and complain and slow down and not participate. Well, he's right, he never wins. Not at this rate! His younger sister nearly beat their older brother, solely because she got busy, she didn't murmur and complain.

Now before a lot of people start saying I'm not fair to my children, Matthew does manage to get special treats and things. There are other things he is very good at, other than prompt obedience at times.

I've dealt with some patients, supposedly adults, who remind me a lot of what Matthew just did tonight. When they can tell they aren't going to "win" they immediately put on the brakes and start the grumbling process. Fortunately, the doctor I work for doesn't put up with that mess. Rules of protocol are clearly posted in the waiting room and there is no excuse for patients not behaving in a courteous and respectful manner. I've noticed that I don't enjoy checking in the patients who are eager to complain and murmur if things aren't going their way. I suppose to some degree we all would prefer to be around those who take responsibility for their actions and admit when they didn't do their best and so they didn't "win" the prize.

I'm hoping and praying that Matthew eventually grows out of the murmuring phase. I'm hoping and praying that I grow out of it too. Yep, it's made me think tonight about how many times I haven't been willing to accept God's will, because it just wasn't what I was expecting. I murmured and complained and even put on the brakes and threw a fit a few times. Watching Matthew, I realize that I have two choices. I can act, or I can whine and complain. In the end, action requires a lot less effort and I have greater fulfillment for getting the task accomplished. Whining and complaining wears me out, puts me in a state of depression and then I'm overwhelmed by all the other things that piled up while I was busy with my pity party. It sure seems like it's a far better choice to go for the action instead of the whining. Maybe Matthew and I will grow out of this murmuring phase together.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

That's Obvious

Michael is in that stage where it is just gross to see his parents affectionate toward one another. I'm sure he'll get used to it one of these days, but in the meantime he runs when Karl gives me a kiss.
One day, Karl said, Michael do you know that I love your mother? Michael's response was "That's obvious." I was so happy to know that it was obvious to our children that we loved each other. Karl asks me on a regular basis if I like surprises and it's been wonderful to come home and be surprised by his thoughtfulness. The children are practically jumping up and down waiting for me to find the surprise.

As I deal with situations at work and elsewhere, I find myself wondering if it's obvious that I love people and want to help them. Is it obvious that I'm a Christian? Is it obvious that I'm someone who keeps my promises?

Yep, I've decided, I want it to be obvious.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Round Two

I had a reason to celebrate today. I made it through a day of work without having to use a single cough drop. This is a major accomplishment.

Just before I started working at the doctor's office, I went through a bad upper respiratory infection. I did antibiotics, cough medicines the works. I eventually had to have a heavy duty prescription cough syrup to get some relief from my cough. It's hard to have any energy when you stay up all night coughing. What a joy to realize I was on the road to recovery.

The road to recovery was long and tedious. I lived on cough drops it seems. Alas, over the Thanksgiving weekend, I gave in to round two of the bug. What caused this? It seems that many people have experienced round two, but in my case, it most likely happened because I wasn't getting enough rest. It's hard to rest when you are recovering at the end of round one as your spouse is just getting into the thick of his own round one. Yes, this nasty bug has gone through the entire family.

Now that I've finished my second round of antibiotics and trying my second prescription of allergy medication, relief is in sight. I made it through the entire day at work without using a cough drop. It most likely seems minor to most people, but to me it is a major event. I don't have a jar of candy at my desk, I have a jar of cough drops!

There is a saying that faith walks out when fatigue walks in. When the whole family is suffering from colds/flu, bacterial infections and whatever, it's easy to get tired and weary to the point that your faith suffers. But illness isn't the only thing that can weary you and your faith.

Maybe you're tired of your job, your marriage or your church. You've grown weary of things that are happening in this area of your life. Warning: This is the time to hold on to your faith more than any other. You see there is this beautiful promise in the Psalms that God inhabits the praises of His people.

Paul and Silas were weary from being beaten. There was a temptation to let faith walk right out the door, but they needed God then more than ever, and so they praised Him. God's presence caused an earthquake and freed the shackles of the prisoners. What an event that must have been!

It's been hard to sing lately, as singing often starts a round of coughing for me, but I've been praising God in my heart. I know that this nasty bug will pass and I'll live to tell about it. I'm making progress and I know the Lord is answering prayers for healing. I need Him now more than ever it seems, so I'm not going to let the weariness let my faith walk out the door. I'm going to cling to my Savior and praise Him, because He promises to be near me.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Grace to behave as His child

There is a story that Andrew Murry, a dedicated Christian, experienced a setback. He spent time with His Lord and had these words to say.

“First, He brought me here, it is by His will I am in this strait place: in that fact I will rest.

Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace to behave as His child.

Then, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.

Last, in his good time He can bring me out again – how and when He knows.

Let me say I am here,

(1) By god’s appointment,

(2) In His keeping,

(3) Under His training,

(4) For His time.”

Andrew Murray

For me, the part about grace to behave as His child is what rings the most with me. You see, there are days and situations where I don't "feel" like being courteous and thoughtful. I love knowing that God gives me grace to behave as His child. It's not what I can do, but how much He wants to help me and God's resources are unlimited. I'm thankful to be His child, with a measure of grace to handle whatever comes my way. Praise God for grace!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Well, there have been some changes in our lives recently. With the move came the understanding that I would be trying to find a good job. Well, it looks like that prayer has been answered.

I started working as a receptionist for a doctor last week. She's an OB GYN and really cares about her patients.

I teased my kids yesterday and told them I had gone to the hospital. Since I had struggled with a virus and allergies since we moved to East Texas, my oldest was concerned. He wanted to know if I was okay. I laughed and told Michael I was fine and that I had actually gone to the hospital cafeteria to have lunch with a friend from church and her husband. Elaine works at a doc's office in the hospital and put in a good word for me to get the job I have.

My first two days at the office, Karl was out of town. That meant dropping off the boys at a friend's house before school and picking them up there after work and my 30 minute commute. It made for a very long two days. However, when my sweetie got home, he had many wonderful surprises that he brought with him and I was overjoyed.

It will be interesting to see how things change around the house. Since Karl works mostly from home, he'll be taking the boys to school, picking them up and handling all of the parent teacher conferences and stuff like that. He'll also have to rearrange the chores some. It will definitely be interesting as the family makes this adjustment.

The one thing I cherish right now is God's grace and peace. While I would like to have found only a part time job instead of full time and one that was closer to home, I know that God will sustain me and meet the family's needs. I praise God for His grace and peace.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We went to a police officer's funeral today. It was quite a moving experience to see the dedication and loyalty of fellow officers as they remember and honor one of their own. The playing of Taps and the 21 gun salute as well as the fly over by a rescue helicopter were all to honor Dale's selfless service. The church was so full for the funeral today that the overflow room was full and people were standing along the walls.

Dale's son is in Michael's class at school. He was a typical boy in 6th grade, but he also wore his daddy's cowboy hat with pride, including a little pin shaped like handcuffs that one of the officers gave him.

There was a reality check when we listened to the eulogy and Dale was born the same year as Karl. Dale and his wife were married the same year Karl and I were married. It was a sobering realization.

The beauty of today is that there were many people there to support Dale's family and they all had hope. They had hope of seeing Dale again when the trumpet sounds, but this time it won't be playing Taps.

I wonder what kind of exciting music is going to be played on Resurrection Day. I don't think it will matter to Dale. He's just going to wake up ready to go home.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Elephant Tongue

Greta loves to watch movies. One of her favorites, until the VCR broke and ate it, was Lady and the Tramp. I'm kind of glad that one is gone. I was starting to be able to recite it in my sleep.

Another of Greta's favorite "movies" is Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution II. It's actually a DVD and it is fascinating. One of the things it talks about that blows my mind is the blue whale. This creature is enormous of course, but to put it in terms that we can understand, the speaker on the DVD tells us that just the tongue of a blue whale can weigh as much as an Elephant!

Since I've learned this fact, it has caused me to ponder much about my own tongue. There have been times where my words were soft and gentle. Unfortunately, there have also been times where my words were as heavy and hard hitting as if my tongue weighed as much as an elephant.

The book of James talks about the littlest member of the body that can cause so much damage, the tongue. Since learning about the blue whale and getting a new perspective on the weight of the tongue, I'm going to ask Jesus for help that my words be soft and gentle. I don't want an elephant tongue anymore.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I like to visit the "What's Up with Kev" blog. I'm always blessed when I visit and this last time was no exception.

I'd like to encourage you to visit Kev and check out this great skit he's posted there.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The MOM Song

This has got to be one of the best videos I've seen. I'm so grateful to God that Sharon is such a wonderful mother.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Please Leave the Room

"What's going on daddy?" This from my nearly 12 year old son.
"Your mother has just laid me bare." Karl is swallowing his pride as he speaks.
"Twice." I say with laughter in my voice.
Karl can't handle any more. "Please leave the room."

This is what happened as my wonderful husband put together a new set of bunk beds for our boys in their room. Karl had me searching for a very specific tool needed to put the beds together, an Allen Wrench. I suggested Karl look in the materials that came with the beds, because ususally when you buy something that has to be assembled, they include the necessary Allen Wrench. No, Karl had already checked.

I search for Karl's really cool set of Allen Wrenches, but can't find it. I finally find one lone Allen Wrench and take it to him, hoping it is the right size. We try it and it works. Hooray! Then Karl discovers that indeed there is an Allen Wrench in the supplies that came with the bed.

Later, the framing for the headboard isn't going well. It's curved and the slats in the headboard aren't working. Karl is really struggling and I suggest that there ought to be different sizes of the slats. Finally, I pull the pieces apart and let all the slats fall out and measure them. Sure enough, there are two different sizes he was using and there were actually three sizes that came with the kit. I tell Karl the red line on them is a mark. He says it's nothing. Eventually, he comes to realize I was right. All the slats with red lines are the same size. The ones with black lines are the largest and the ones with no markings at all are the smallest slats. I don't say "I told you so" in exact words, but I mention something like, "Aren't you glad I'm in here helping you?"

Next we put in some bolts. The frame is big enough that Karl can put in one bolt on one end while I put in a bolt on the other end. He uses his own Allen Wrench, I'm left with the one that came with the bed. While I'm turning the wrench, slowly, Karl scoffs and says that's why he's using his own, because it works better. So, I change and use the Allen Wrench the way it is supposed to be used, like a crank since it has a crank handle on the end. I throw my husband a smirking look as I utilize the crank feature and zip my bolt in while he's still staring in disbelief. It is at this point that I'm laughing and Karl is saying he's going to get his cordless drill to do the rest anyway.

Next comes the interchange where Karl asks me to leave the room. His pride has been wounded, severely. I'm still laughing (though not too hard because I know how difficult this is for him) and I try to assure him that I love him. He says he believes me, but right now he just can't handle it. He asks for time to let his wounded pride heal and I respect his space.

Later I ask if I can come in and help with the beds some more and he says of course. There are other pitfalls and moments of near insanity, but we finally get the beds in place. The boys love them and everyone, even little four year old Greta got to help in some way.

As I sit back and think of yesterday's adventures, it makes me wonder if we do to God what Karl did to me. When our pride is wounded, when our souls are laid bare and we see ourselves for who we really are, dirty rotten scoundrels, do we ask God to leave the room?

Unlike me, God doesn't laugh at us when we come to the end of ourselves. Yet, if we ask Him to leave the room, He honors our request, because God is a gentleman. Pride is a dangerous thing and when it is wounded, we tend to push away the people that can help us the most. When we've been laid bare, that's when we need God the most, because only He can change us into the kind of people who reflect His love and mercy.

I pray I will never again laugh at my husband (let's hope we never get another set of bunk beds) when he's having shortcomings. I also pray that I never ask God to leave the room, just because my pride has been wounded.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why Marriage?

A question was asked in our Sabbath School class today. Why did God create marriage? What was the purpose. Of course there are many of the common answers, but I like what the teacher was trying to draw out of all of us.

Before Adam and Eve sinned and found their world turned upside-down, there was personal and visible communication between them and God. Adam and Eve had the privilege of walking and talking with God. They could have said things like, oh I'm so glad you created that adorable little creature and they could see the reaction on Jesus' face when the spoke of His creation. God longs to walk and talk with us today, but sin has separated us. We can't see the reaction on Jesus' face at this moment when we say, I really am glad for all You did for me.

What our teacher today presented was the fact that God created marriage for the additional purpose of being God's hands and feet to one another. Think of it for a moment. The Bible says that we only love because we love God and that's because God is love. So in a truly loving marriage relationship, God is to thank for that love.

When you've had a bad day, and your spouse can see it immediately and massages your shoulders that have become tense because of the pressures of the day, that's God's love coming through.

We have the privilege of being God's hands and feet and so forth, the body of Christ. We can share the love of God with others, especially with our spouse. I'm glad God created marriage and glad that He can be seen in the way we care for one another.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Groveling Cats

It is becoming official. I have a strong dislike for cats.
I won't go so far as to say I hate cats and I certainly wouldn't hurt one, but I strongly dislike them. It is a good thing 70 times 7 doesn't apply to cats because they have nearly reached their limit with me.

Now, I'm sure there are many people who adore cats and think of them as perfect pets. That's fine for them, but cats are going to have to do some amazing things and intense groveling before I even consider taking them off my strongly dislike list.

Where shall I start, there was the cat that started sucking on my mother's neck while she was sleeping trying to get to the milk she had drunk before she went to bed.

There was the cat that purposefully scratched me (by this time I was trying to avoid them) while I was pregnant with Greta.

There were the cats in Arizona that ruined all of our patio furniture and left cat urine running down the windshield of our car.

Then there were the cats that decided to get in a fight right outside our door and begin their screaming and howling that was most unnerving.

Most recently, a cat climbed onto my neighbor's hummingbird feeders and sent them both tumbling to the ground where they promptly broke.

Add to this that cats seem to think they are your prisoner instead of your pet. They don't come running when you call and you never know what kind of mood they are going to be in.

Now, I'm sure someone is going to stand up and say, wait a minute, they are just being cats! Well, that's interesting because it is a dog just being a dog when it bites someone that has intruded upon it's property, but we make laws about dogs. Someone please make a law about cats! No more double standards!

I'm sure there are wonderful cats out there, but somehow, I've mostly been exposed to the rotten ones (the only cat I did like when I was little ran away). Unfortunately, this is the same way many people look at God.

Perhaps they have run into people that claimed to be Christians, but were really full of self, not Christ. Perhaps they were only exposed to painful experiences and have no idea that there is a Savior with a heart full of grace.

I must confess, I've been one of those so-called Christians in the past who was full of self instead of Christ and I had many interactions with people through those years. I can only imagine the number of people I hurt. I pray now that somehow they will meet someone who truly lives the grace of Christ.

Somewhere out there is a nice cat. Somewhere out there is a Christian with a heart for others.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Shaking in Their Boots!

I have discovered something. I am death to can openers. I have yet to find a manual can opener that lasts for longer than the pretty finish on the handles.

As I was mourning my latest mechanical victim (actually it's only a slight injury, if I hold my tongue just right, the thing still works) I expressed my woe to my husband. Karl quickly pretended to be a can opener sitting on the shelf and begging me not to pick it up and put it in my cart, because it didn't want to die. "Please take the other guy. He's cheaper."

I laughed out loud when Karl started shaking as if in terror. If can openers could think/feel/speak, I'm sure they would have thoughts similar to what Karl was portraying.

So, why can't I find a can opener that will last? I promise that I don't throw the things around. While it's true that I've dropped them a few times, it was never intentional. Some may say I should get an electric can opener. For one thing, I really don't have the counter space in my new home. For another thing, I'd be scared that it would electrocute me some day to avoid being destroyed in my kitchen!

I suppose that if going through can openers left and right is my worst problem, I don't have much to worry about, but I still wonder why. Why am I death to can openers?

Right now, it's a bit of a perplexity that may keep me awake at night for the rest of the week. Soon I'll have something else to ponder, I'm sure. But when I think of the grand scheme of things, when I have the chance to ask God any question on my heart, I believe that can openers will suddenly pale in comparison to things such as, why did you love me enough to die in my place?

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Friday morning we wake up to the smell of skunk in the house. Yuck! Evidently one of these black and white creatures lingered long and left a mark somewhere outside our home. Just great!

Of course my mind is racing to our plans for that evening. Of course the house would smell like skunk when we have company coming over that night for dinner. Perfect timing, right? I was thankful that I knew where my incense burner was and that I could soon fill the house with something that smelled much better. Karl prefers spray air fresheners in general, but sometimes the smells are so long and lingering, you have to use the incense. The skunk smell definitely called for the incense.

I had the incense on the table next to my recliner. This is my favorite spot in the morning as I read my Bible and have that special time with God at the start of my day. As I saw the fragrant smoke going up from the incense stick and how it was covering up the smell of skunk, it made me think of the incense in the sanctuary in Israel.

The skunk smell was so horrible, that I had to mask it just to survive the day, starting with my time of Bible study and prayer. It was much the same with God's people in Israel. Their sins were so offensive, that God wanted them to have a picture of just how offensive it truly was. As the priests ministered before the Lord, interceding for the people, the incense would go up as a sweet aroma, compared to the nasty offensiveness of sin.

As I pondered this, I was grateful for the sweet aroma of Christ's wiling sacrifice for me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Do you ever wonder how God works? Do you ever wonder if God smiles just before He orchestrates some incredible blessing or maybe a series of little blessings in your life?

For me, relocating to East Texas has had its challenges, that's for sure, but it has also had blessings both great and small. It's taken me a while to recover from being sick during the moving process (mostly due to an all night packing frenzy and not taking care of myself to where I couldn't hold down food for a while) as well as the ordinary adjustments that have to be made when you uproot your family.

There have been moments of frustration, but Karl and I each remember our Source of strength and press on. One little blessing was school supplies. If you've never had to purchase school supplies before, you just don't understand, but it can be a chore. If you're on the more thrifty side, you may be trying to get everything your child needs on the list for the cheapest price you can and maybe just maybe he can have one thing that is really in style. If you are on the more lavish side, it may be a real struggle to make sure everything is fashionable enough. The lists are often demanding in some areas and vague in others, leading to great amounts of confusion and frustration for the parents and students. Then the teachers on the other end have to deal with seven different types of glues and how it affects the art project they had planned. No such troubles at the boys' school. Each child paid a $20 school supplies fee and the teacher bought the supplies! Oh what a blessing! Let the teacher decide which type of glue she wants and what kind of notebooks to get. Hey, she can even get a good deal by getting them in bulk! Sure, it's a little thing, but since we just moved and I was sick to my stomach and even worse, it was a relief to not have to go and get school supplies!

Then there were bigger blessings, such as getting a refund from my former electric company just before the tiny final bill I had to pay (still don't know how I ended up with a credit on my account, but God does) and deposits for current utilities getting lowered or waived. Yes, sometimes I really do wonder if God smiles when He pours out blessings. Wouldn't you just love to see that smile once?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Owens Corning

What do you think of when you think of insulation? I think of those old commercials with the Pink Panther lending his celebrity to the famous pink insulation manufactured by Owens Corning. Why am I talking about pink insulation?

As we have tried to settle into our new location in East Texas, we have put well organized boxes marked for storage into the attic. I should say Karl, not we. He's been doing all of that hot and dirty work. You'd have to have a Doug Rye home in order to have an attic that wasn't hot. Anyway, in the process of doing some repairs that needed to be done in the attic and putting boxes up there, Karl managed to get insulation on his clothing, although it wasn't really visible.

Karl took a break before going back up to the attic. He needed some time to cool off and get the next load of boxes all lined up. During this time, Greta was preparing for a nap and wanted to cuddle with daddy. It took us a few hours to catch on to what happened, but those present but practically invisible insulation fibers on Karl's clothes found their way to Greta's clothes.

In the process of being a four year old child, Greta managed to get those fibers all over herself and declared later that she was itchy. We thought it was just dry skin, her body adjusting to the move and new house and so forth. When Karl took Greta with him to the gas station and Greta lifted up her shirt to scratch, the gas station attendant gasped and thought Greta had posion ivy.

It was at this point that the light came on and Karl rushed Greta home for a bath. I searched in vain on the internet to find what is the best treatment for a child who has been exposed to insulation fibers. Finally, I resorted to calling a manufacturer of insulation, but I couldn't recall any names, but I did remember the Pink Panther.

My search on the internet soon brought me to the trademark pink insulation of Owens Corning. I located their toll free number (after searching their website for recommendations as to how to treat someone exposed to insulation fibers) and after going through a short maze of prompts found myself speaking to an operator. When I explained the situation, she responded immediately by saying she would connect me to a man named Jim who could help me. She got Jim on the line who said he was on another call and would call me back immediately if I gave him my number, which I did.

Less than five minutes later, Jim called me back and said that most people who get insulation on them don't have an allergic reaction. It's actually a mechanical reaction to the small glass fibers of the insulation that irritate the skin. The problem comes when people scratch at it and make their skin bleed. He said the best thing to do was get Greta in a warm bath with mild soap to wash off any of the fibers that were still on her and make sure she didn't scratch anymore.

In the process of our conversation, Jim and I discovered that our insulation was yellow and not even manufactured by Owens Corning, but as he put it, it doesn't matter when you have a child that is covered in insulation fibers.

I really appreciate Jim's willingness to help in my situation, even though it wasn't even his company's product. I learned a little more about insulation and I also learned that just because you don't see it on your clothes, doesn't mean it's not there.

Sometimes our sinful attitudes and selfishness seem microscopic to us. We can't see it, so we think it's not there. We discover the truth when we get close to someone and they begin to react to our selfishness. Hopefully, it breaks our hearts to see their pain and suffering that is a result of our selfishness. Hopefully, we learn to apologize for our behavior and learn how to not repeat it.

Best of all, there is Someone who didn't have anything to do with our misfortune, but He still is available to help us when we call Him.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Life is interesting. I have no fear of being bored at the present moment. Unpacking a family of five into a house that is about 300 square feet smaller than our last home is certainly not boring.

We are enjoying the small East Texas town we have moved to and the friendliness of the community and our church family. Everyone has been wonderful and we have been greatly blessed. That is an understatement. I wouldn't know where to start in recounting the blessings, but there were many.

Our greatest challenge right now is living within sight of a railroad track. We've been told that after a week or so you get used to it. Well, I hope that does indeed happen because currently it is hard to sleep sometimes when a train blares numerous times in the middle of the night. In addition to this, a certain four year old girl is absolutely terrified by the trains and is very difficult to comfort. We have been awakened numerous times the past week by Greta sobbing saying she heard a train and it scared her.

My father-in-law did some research and said there are railroad tracks on three sides of us. It's no wonder we hear so many trains! Hopefully we will get used to it soon, especially Greta.

Despite the trains and having to adjust to a smaller home, we are thrilled to be here. I'll share more when I'm not staring at tons of boxes and still trying to keep my eyes open, but I know God has blessed.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Moving Miracles and More

One of the things our moving process has taught us is that God is definitely involved in daily life, even stressful daily life.

The moving truck couldn't make it to our house as it was, because of too many overhanging tree branches. So, we called the city and asked them to trim. Now, this is a town of less than 1,300 people and the mayor said he was sorry, but he just didn't have the crew to do the trimming, even though it's a city maintained road. At least, he didn't have the crew to get it done before our truck came.

Karl called around and found a tree trimmer who was licensed and so forth who came and looked at the jungle and gave an estimate. He said he'd trim the trees for $200 and we'd have to follow behind him and clean up the mess. He only trims.

Where are we going to get that much extra money and time from? But, it has to be done, we don't have a choice. The trimmer and Karl settle on a date for the work to be done, but the man doesn't show up. Finally, later that afternoon he asks Karl if he can come the next day, to which the answer is no! We had plans to be out of town all day and it couldn't be done then. Since we have to be present to pick up all the tree limbs, we had to put it off until a later date.

In the meantime, Karl is speaking with someone else who says he could do the job. It turns out that he will also clean up after himself, haul off all the branches and limbs with his own trailer equipment and he'll do it for less than half the price of the other man (who we since learned has a reputation for having high prices for his work).

This is just one of many instances where things were looking rather stressful and not going the way they should and God turned them into blessings. I remember telling Karl that we should be grateful the professional trimmer didn't come, because maybe God had another plan (and He did!). Soon after Karl had to tell me something similar when I faced a dilemma.

Life is a lot more enjoyable when we surrender our problems to God and let Him take the stressful situations and work them out for us. He has a much better track record anyway.

On a similar note is a message from my friend Gene. He sends me good stuff like this and I just have to pass it on. Enjoy!

When you’re totally drained in every way and you feel out of control, confused by other people’s expectations, it’s easy to become numb to what you really feel inside. Your decisions are all over the place because you’re being tricked by all sorts of emotions. For example, if you’re really tired you become more likely to snap at someone or react in a way that is unlike the real you. When we get exhausted we stop communicating and sometimes we end up doing an ostrich impression, burying our heads in the sand, hoping it will all go away!

So what’s the answer? God said,

In repentance and rest is your salvation.’ Isaiah 30:15

In other words, for fast effective relief – stop! Instead of pushing, struggling to keep going, stop and talk to God about what’s happening. Rather than feeling overwhelmed and weighed down by how hard your situation is, get God involved by praying: ‘Lord, help me keep my mind fixed on You. During this time of busyness and stress help me to get my priorities in step with Your will, to think Your thoughts and focus my heart on Your love for me. Your Word says You’ve planned peace for me. Because you rescue and protect me I will not let myself be worried or afraid. Thank You Jesus for helping me stay peaceful today.’ God didn’t design you to be numb; he designed you to be sensitive. If you feel you’re getting out of balance, keep going back to Jesus.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Unlikely Time Capsules

As we go through this process of moving, we come to that point in our lives (some of us come to it often) where we realize it is time to sell, give or trash many things we have been holding on to for months or even years.

We have two weeks left until the movers come. This would be our first move using professional movers. We do the packing, but they supervise the loading/unloading and do all the driving. This frees us to drive our minivan with the family at our own pace. I kind of like it. But there's still a lot to do in the next two weeks.

We had a moving sale, and got rid of many things we realized we didn't need to take with us to Texas. Greta's baby toys were phased out. Since she is four now, we decided it was time to remove the baby rattles and so forth. She rarely played with them, obviously, but she hated to see them go. This time, we held firm - the baby toys have to go!

An interesting thing happened along the way. We had to go through drawers. All drawers in furniture have to be emptied in preparation for the loading. When we have moved ourselves in the past, we simply took the drawers out, loaded the dresser on the truck, then put the drawers back in. We followed this same procedure for unloading, in reverse. This time, all drawers have to be emptied - period. Karl found himself going through his nightstand drawers. Although we have moved three times in the last 10 years, we didn't have to empty the drawers before. Now that he was going through them, he found what amounts to a personal time capsule.

Karl and I had several good laughs over the outdated, useless and 'did we really keep that' things in his nightstand drawers. There were many wonderful memories in there as well, pictures of the family and so forth.

I found myself wondering, how long would it have been before we went through these drawers, weeding out junk and waste if we weren't forced to do so because of the moving truck company's policy? There are many things we should do for ourselves, but we don't often do them until we are forced to by some sort of outside circumstances.

I also wonder how many things are in my life, in my heart, that really need to be weeded out? Perhaps I need to let the professional heart surgeon give me guidelines that will force me to go through, open up and get rid of that which only ties me down.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Journey of Faith

This is often a very hard concept for people to understand, but faith is a journey. What do I mean by that? Well, we can look to a pillar of faith, Abraham for the best example.

Most everyone has heard of Abraham, the man of faith. But a closer look at the story also reveals many times when Abraham didn't have enough faith to carry him through some difficult moments. Hence the lying about Sarah being his sister and the attempt to produce his own heir through a slave girl, Hagar.

So why does everyone call Abraham a man of faith if he failed so many times? The answer is simple, although it is two fold. First, Abraham didn't fail every time. Second, Abraham was on the right road of faith.

I live in North Central Arkansas. When I want to visit my family in Oklahoma City, I'm eventually going to find my way on to Interstate 40. It goes straight to OKC and is not far from my mother's home.

Being on I-40 doesn't put me automatically at my mother's front door. But being on I-40 will get me there. So it is with the journey of faith. We get on the right road, and we may make mistakes, but we will eventually get there. The mile markers on the road become faith markers, showing our progress along the way.

Jesus helps us when we have a flat tire along the way. He loves to help His people. He's just so excited that you are on the right road, the road of faith.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

On the Move

Change is stressful. Whether good change or bad change, it's still stressful. It's just the nature of the beast I suppose.

Our family is going through a change. We will be moving from North Central Arkansas to East Texas. We are all excited about our move and my husband's new position. However, change is still stressful.

If I don't put up a new post every week, please forgive me. I may be pulling my hair out as I try to pack up a family of five. Needless to say, any and all prayers would be appreciated, especially from those of you who know what it's like to move with small children in the home.

In the meantime, I can share with you this news: God still answers prayers. God is still in the business of making His will known to His people and leading them to where they need to go.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Braden's Heart

There is a man at church who is a proud grandpa. He and his wife both have talked excitedly many times about their first grandchild. Now they often bring up little Braden's name in prayer, because he has a hole in his heart.

Grandpa got up to tell the children's story at church this weekend. He said he's been looking for faith, to believe his little grandson will be healed. Grandpa realized he only had a little bit of faith and wanted God to show him where he could get more.

That's when God told this man where there is great faith, in the little children. So Grandpa, in front of the whole church, asked the children to pray with him for his little infant grandson and the hole in his heart.

Jesus said, unless you have the faith of a little child. When was the last time you learned from a small child about the need for complete and total trust in God who knows the end from the beginning? Great faith brings great freedom. Children often don't worry about things the way we adults tend to. Freedom to believe whole heartedly in God's promises. In the yes and amen promises in His Word.

My heart was touched this weekend. I valued my own children more and praised the Lord that He uses little people to teach big lessons. And I find myself praying earnestly for little Braden and his entire family as they experience the healing miracle God is sending their way.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

My excuse left the building

Karl and I had a great day yesterday. There were obstacles of course, like lying in bed with a heating pad for company and praying I could eventually make it to church.

Through it all, God blessed. We visited a church we used to attend a year ago and enjoyed seeing old friends. They were having a special speaker who sang through his sermon. It was incredible. We were so blessed.

Karl made sure I had plenty of time to rest yesterday afternoon and he also got in some good wrestle time with the kids. I love the sounds of laughter on a Sabbath afternoon and so does my mom. I had a great phone call with both my sister and my mom yesterday and they could hear the laughter and fun and I could almost sense their smiles over the phone.

But last night, we caught the end of a program on tv. It was a sermon presented by David Ring of His Word Alive. Brother David's message was inspiring and stripped us of any excuses we have about getting out and serving the Lord.

I have said enough, I'm not going to try anymore when I was put down because of my age or that I was a woman.

Brother David explained how difficult it is for him to eat, since he has Cerebral Palsy. He explained that his hand shakes that often times there is no food on the fork by the time it gets to his mouth. He asked the audience where he would be if he threw down his fork and said that's it. I give up! Brother David then reminded us that it's not how many times you fall down, but how many times you get up.

Karl and I both sat there in disbelief at first. If this man can endure constant pain from his disease and constant frustration over his limitations and still reach people with the love of God, no matter how many times he falls in the process of trying, then what is our excuse? As Brother David put it in his message, your excuse just left the building.

People may continue to judge me because I'm female and I'm only 35. So be it. When God puts something on my heart, I'll keep serving Him, no matter how many times I have to try again. May God help me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sweet 16 and Tiramisu

My husband and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary this week. It was nice to have all three children with a babysitter while Karl took me out to a carefully chosen Italian restaurant.
After our delicious dinner, the waitress asked if we were interested in dessert. Of course the answer was yes! Our options were Cannoli, Tiramisu and several flavors of Cheesecake. Obviously, the cheesecake was out for me as I'm allergic to cheese. I couldn't remember if Tiramisu had cheese of any kind in it or not, but the waitress told me for sure the Cannoli did.
Our waitress was kind enough to look up the ingredients for the Tiramisu, but she didn't know what mascarpone was. She thought it was some sort of pudding or filling. Since I have avoided cheese for 18 years now (it is much better than enduring days of intense pain and recovery), I'm not that familiar with Italian cheeses either, but that is what Mascarpone is.
I finally decided on the Tiramisu since the waitress believed it had no cheese in it. However, when she brought out Karl's strawberry cheesecake, my Tiramisu was in a bag. The waitress apologized that it was frozen and thinking it was my only cheese free option for a dessert, she gave it to me on the house, saying I could take it home and eat it after it had thawed.
Right then and there, I believed I had been spared intense pain. This morning I did take the time to look up Tiramisu on the internet and discover that indeed, Mascarpone is a cheese not just some custard type filling. I know God used a frozen dessert to spare me unnecessary hours of pain and misery.
I'm glad that over the years, God has been trying to teach me to accept the things that happen in life and look for His blessings. Had I gotten angry about the Tiramisu and demanded the restaurant take immediate actions to somehow thaw my dessert, I would have been miserable.
All things work together for good, even a frozen dessert.

Friday, June 8, 2007


My husband is preaching a sermon this weekend on "More."

The basic premise is that we should be content with what we have, but never satisfied. We should be happy with God's blessings, but want more. Not for our own selfish purposes, but more for the glory and honor of God's kingdom.

It's a challenging sermon, because it helps us to see that we should, like Elisha, want a double portion of God's Holy Spirit so we can accomplish more for Him.

It's also a time for introspection as God may be giving us more to do right now and in a different way than we have ever done before.

God wants to give you more, so you can do more, abundantly more and have life more abundantly.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

What God is asking for: According to a four year old

We have these short kid-oriented devotional readings we read together as a family at the breakfast table. In one of the books we read, we're hearing some exciting adventures of how God protected missionaries in Burma and India during WWII.
The stories are full of amazing miracles and blessings even though they don't seem like it at the time. Who would have known that one car getting stuck in the sand in just the right place would allow the missionaries to get the hub of the wheel on another car repaired by the staff of a local business executive, when no one else in the area was able to do it? Truly amazing stories.
When we got done reading, Greta, my four year old and at times insightful daughter had this statement to make: "I think God is asking for love."

God doesn't force, He asks. He shows what He wants to do for us and bless us, yet He still asks and doesn't demand for love. On top of that, God gives so much more than He asks for.

Perhaps God has been knocking on your heart and asking for love. What is your answer?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The answer was a woodpecker

We are by no means ornithologists, but our family loves watching the backyard birds. It started with Karl and I in Illinois, before our oldest was even born. We began wedging halves of citrus fruit in the crooks of trees just to watch the woodpeckers come and devour them.

Karl never tired of the swallows that followed him while he mowed, because he knew he was stirring up the insect world and the birds were having a feast.

Now that there are three children in the house, we often begin Sabbath with a special surprise. Sometimes the kids have to answer Bible questions to get their surprise and sometimes they are given clues and they must hunt for it.

The surprise isn't always something for "them." Sometimes it's special paper and stickers for them to make notes to give to people at church. Our pastor is often a recipient. One lady that Michael gave a special Sabbath note to still carries it with her each Sabbath, because it meant so much to her.

Our latest surprise for the children was a woodpecker brick and a suet cake. We already had a suet cage hanging up by the back porch, which we have huge windows from the dining room that give us an excellent view to.

Karl and the children refilled the suet cage and hung up the brick Friday night. Saturday evening, when we were having family worship together, Matthew insisted we pray about the woodpecker brick and that God would send a woodpecker to enjoy it.

There is something wonderful about our God. He loves to answer the prayers of children, because they have such great faith. Sunday morning our house was alive with joy and happiness as the children were jumping up and down in their seats admiring the Red-bellied Woodpecker that came to enjoy the brick. Matthew, who had made his request so earnestly, was the first to say that God had answered our prayers.

I'm wanting an answer to prayer right now. Perhaps I need to be more like my little Matthew and pray more earnestly and have much more faith.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My latest read

The latest book I've read is "Romancing Your Husband," by Debra White Smith. There is a companion book of course called "Romancing Your Wife."

I was really impressed with the solid Biblical foundation for Debra's writing and how open she was about the topics.

Debra points out various things that can happen to Christian couples that take the romance out of their marriages, including past abuse and hurts. Her sensitivity comes through being there and knowing what it is like to overcome abuse and pain.

The most wonderful part about the book is what Karl said. When he read the title, he said I could have written the book. Of course, he was only teasing, but he made his point. I do enjoy romancing my husband.

Has it always been this way? Unfortunately the answer is no. Like Debra White Smith, I also had to overcome some past abuse and manipulation before I could say that consistently I enjoyed romancing my husband.

The good news is that God is faithful. He wants revival in more than just our churches. He wants revival in our hearts, in our homes and in our marriages. Give God an opportunity to start reviving your relationships and you just might be amazed.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Merry Heart

So, the Bible says a merry heart works like a medicine. My eleven year old son is determined to give his parents as much medicine as he can!

Michael's wit is growing by leaps and bounds. He has actually left Karl and I with our jaws hanging out at how fast he has come up with some great bits of shredded wit.

Today, Michael was reading me some riddles out of his Ranger Rick magazine and I laughed the hardest at this one.
Q. Why did the deer have to get braces?
A. Because it had buck teeth.

My all time favorite, however, is one that Michael made up himself more than a year ago.
Q. What do you get when you cross a burger and a bee hive?
A. A Honey Bun.

Sure it's just simple childish jokes and laughter, but Jesus said we had to become like little children. Have you forgotten how to laugh? Have you forgotten that Jesus promised us a life of joy, despite the trials and struggles?

Take a moment to remember the last time you really laughed and then imagine the jokes and riddles Jesus must have heard when the little ones sat on His lap and He blessed them. I'm glad Jesus gave us the ability to laugh and smile.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

True Meekness

Our pastor had an awesome sermon today. He talked about true meekness. He gave some definitions as to what the Greeks used the word meekness to describe (makes sense as the New Testament is written in Greek).

Two of those definitions were: a softly blowing breeze and a bridled colt. Something interesting the pastor brought out in his sermon is that meekness doesn't mean having no power. I repeat, meekness doesn't mean having no power.

Instead, what our pastor focused on was the fact that true meekness is power, under control. How many of us know someone who is constantly flying in a rage at the slightest provocation? That's power, out of control.

I've met some truly meek people. They had power, God's power and they had control as they had submitted themselves fully to God.

True meekness is power, but that power is under control. It's a beautiful thing to ride a horse. There is power there. You can feel the animals muscles under you as it gallops across a field. But it can be a nightmare when that power is uncontrolled. I know what it is like to have hundreds of pounds of horse nearly crush your leg because it's power is out of control.

"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind." (I'm going to be ornery and not give you the reference). God wants us to have true power, that is under control.

Are you interested in true meekness?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

No More Somedays!

This is actually Sharon's husband. She gave me permission to post here, since my two blogs have not seen any new posts from me a LONG time. And there weren't that many visitors while I was anyway. I thought ya'll might get some enjoyment from this.

As a family, the past year has seen us making MANY more trips to Clinton – a town about 30 minutes south of here. We’ve begun attending a church there (usually 2 or more trips a week) and we are members of the community band in that county. Our rehearsals take us there at least twice a month. Then, we’ve had a number of other trips that have taken us that direction as well.

About a year ago, construction began on a house about half-way between here and there. It was beautiful on the outside – all wood. It appeared to be cedar. Lovely! Once it was built, in front of it sprang up a very beautiful FOR SALE sign. Now, our finances are nowhere near what they need to be to begin purchasing our own home, but it sure is nice to think about. So I thought, “Hey, just for fun – or perhaps just to fantasize – someday I’m going to stop and take a look at that house.”

Well, the first trip down, we left a bit late. The next time it was dark and we couldn’t see anything. The next time, we had another appointment so we had to be in Clinton early. The next time…well you see the pattern. Someday, someday, someday!

Then one time when I was headed to Hot Springs, AR to work on a low-power radio station there, I passed it one more time and again thought, “Well, I’m late right now, but someday, I’ll stop.” And then it hit me (at this point you’re probably thinking, WELL DUH!!).

SOMEDAY had not accomplished anything, and never will. It was then that I realized that far too much in my life has been living in the House of Someday. While the house may be beautiful on the outside, the inside is empty. When you live you life in SOMEDAY it too is empty. There may be areas that are somewhat pleasant, but look inside and they are as empty as that house. That beautiful house with reddish wood outside and lighter – I think pine – inside, sits just a short way from Highway 65, the main road from Little Rock, AR to Branson, MO. To me, that road is TODAY and, no matter which way you go, leads to TOMORROW.

I guess that I am just to the point where I’m tired of living in the empty House of SOMEDAY and am ready to get on with life. No more, “Someday I’ll get more involved in the community.” “Someday I’ll follow God fully and go back to school to do what He has truly called me to do.” “Someday I’ll arrange my schedule so I can spend more time with my wife and children.” “Someday I’ll really begin to get back in shape physically.” “Someday I’ll truly turn my back on the things of this world and commit my life 100% to Jesus.” “Someday…”

Now, I will admit that some of the “somedays” are beyond my control at this time and, by necessity will be left in that category. Such as, “Someday I’ll go bungee jumping.” “Someday I’ll go skydiving.” “Someday I’ll learn how to scuba dive.” What I’ve discovered, and you may have too, is that, without actively fighting against it, more and more things keep getting moved to that House of SOMEDAY. The problem is that, like that house that is so close to the highway; it’s just sitting there while life passes by.

So, as you can see from the pictures posted, I made a plan, I arranged my schedule, we left for band practice early and I stopped to look at the house! That’s one SOMEDAY off the list. The first of many, many, many. Life’s just too exciting to live in the emptiness of SOMEDAY. Are you ready to move????

Monday, May 7, 2007

Rite of Passage

I recently received this from my friend Gene in Oklahoma. Being of Cherokee ancestry myself, I found it very interesting. A lot of my heritage is lost to me because my ancestors opted not to put themselves on the Dawes Rolls and chose to merge into society. When it comes to my heritage as a daughter of God, nothing is lost. God has given me many stories from the past to help me as I journey with Him.

"A friend recently passed on to us this legend of the Cherokee Indian
youth's rite of passage.
His dad took him into the forest, blindfolded him, and left him alone. He
was required to sit on a stump the whole night.and not take off the
blindfold until a ray of sun shone through it. He was all by himself. He
could not cry out for help to anyone. Once he survived the night, he would
be a MAN. The boy was terrified and could hear all kinds of noise. Beasts
were all around him. Maybe even some human would hurt him. The wind blew
the grass and earth and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically. Never
removing the blindfold. It was the only way he could be a man. Finally,
after a horrific night. the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It
was then that he saw his father sitting on the stump next to him - at watch
the entire night.
We are never alone. Even when we do not know it, our Father is beside us,
protecting us. He has called us to face our dark nights - not running from
them looking only for sunshine and flowers. He knows that the dark nights
reveal our fears and give us the opportunity to face and overcome them.
However, our Father is not the One who has blindfolded us. An enemy has.
Satan blindfolds us with misconceptions and lying thoughts about our
Heavenly Father and he tells us that we cannot cry out for help.
Are you passing through a dark night? Do health issues, marital problems,
family discord, financial difficulties, or perhaps social challenges
threaten to overwhelm you? Do you feel alone? Our heavenly Father removes
blindfolds. (Psalm 146:8) He wants us to know He is right there with us. He
urges us to call upon Him and promises to answer us. (Jeremiah 33:3). He
offers to hold our hand and help us. (Isaiah 41:13) He has promised, "I
will never leave you, nor forsake you." Therefore we can confidently say,
"My Father is my helper, and I will not fear what any beast of the night can
do to me." (Hebrews 13:5, 6 paraphrased.)
What misconception from your history blindfolds you to the presence of your
Father? What lying thought keeps you from crying out to Him and listening
for His answer? What keeps you from taking His hand and walking through
your night one step at a time?
He is there for you! "

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

10 Commandments Crush or Break

We were talking about the cornerstone at prayer meeting this week. Historically, the cornerstone for the Jewish temple was first rejected, then the builders realized their mistake and put the stone in place.

Jesus used this historical fact to explain that He was the cornerstone. Interestingly, the cornerstone if fallen on will break you, but if it falls on you, will crush you. Very interesting words of Jesus.

But then you look at other stones, such as the rock cut out without hands and the tables of stone containing God's law. Wait a minute. God's law. How about that. Isn't it a cornerstone to our faith?

Let's take a deeper look. Where are the tables of stone with the 10 Commandments? They were last seen in the Ark of the Covenant that the prophet Jeremiah is reported to have hidden for its protection before the Babylonian captivity. The Ark of the Covenant, the lid covering the 10 Commandments, is called the Mercy Seat.

What could this mean? Jesus said if we fall on the cornerstone we will be broken. If we fall on God's mercy, on the mercy seat, falling on the law, we are broken and have a humble or contrite spirit. God says He works with a humble and contrite spirit.

If the law falls on you, you are crushed. You are ground to powder. If the whole weight of the law falls on you, it is devastating. But fall on the mercy seat first, and you are merely broken and reformed to reflect God's image.

As many people around the country celebrate the Ten Commandments Weekend, ask yourself, are you trying to nail the Law to the cross and find yourself being crushed by it, or are you falling on God's mercy and asking Him to help you reflect His perfect character?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Utter Joy

I told my husband today that he was exuding sweetness. He had been so thoughtful and wonderful. He responded, just dip me in sugar and call me a Krispy Kreme.

Did my husband present me with diamonds, flowers or romantic cards? No, it was something even better. Karl knows how much I love waterfalls. Living in the Ozarks, as you drive through mountain passes and high bluffs, it is not uncommon to see water gushing over the rocks. On our way to church today, we passed two of these waterfalls (in the winter, when it freezes, it's like you're driving through an ice pass, with huge walls of icicles on either side of you).

Knowing how much I love waterfalls, Karl rolled down my window just as we passed it, so I could hear the rushing water sound. I never asked him to do that, he just did it because he knows how much I love waterfalls.

It was little things like that all day today. It was my husband knowing me, taking the time to learn what makes my heart full of joy, and doing everything he can to help me enjoy those things.

As we continued our drive to church, other things happened as well. They seemed to be little gifts from God all along the way. Just as Karl and I enjoy doing special things for each other, based on our interests and favorite things, so God longs to do special things for us. We often find Him outdoing Himself on Sabbath.

Jesus desperately wants to send lots of little thoughtful sweet moments our way. Have you been looking for them? Jesus knows your heart. He knows the things that bring you joy, and He thrills to do special things to give you joy, especially on Sabbath.

Enjoy the special things that God wants to do for you. Spend time with your Lord and you just might begin to notice how many of these special things He's been doing all along.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Knit Armor

I never know what to expect when Greta gets up in the morning. Last week, she came to where I was in the kitchen preparing breakfast. She had her broomstick horse and a square pillow from her bed. She was using the pillow as a shield and the horse as a sword. Her words were simply, "I'm ready to fight."

The 'I just got out of bed and I might still be grumpy' look on her face told me that she was indeed ready to fight. I was fighting too and I lost. I totally gave in to laughter.

Today, that precious four year old girl was again wearing armor and playing some kind of game with her brothers. Only this time, her sword was a long pink feather and she had a square pillow featuring the cartoon character, the Tasmanian Devil, as her shield. This time she kicked it up a notch, she was wearing a knit hat for her helmet. Of course, having seen pictures in the Encyclopedia, Greta knew that the helmet covers the whole head. So she had the knit hat pulled all the way down over her eyes and was trying to chase her brothers without bumping into any walls.

Again I lost the battle and gave in to peals of laughter. Then it made me think. Greta didn't have a real helmet, so she made one up. But because it wasn't a real helmet, designed to protect while still allowing you to see and function, her makeshift helmet was actually keeping her from fully enjoying her play.

It made me wonder if we don't do the same thing. God says plainly in His book that there is a helmet of salvation. The Bible makes it very clear that salvation comes only through faith in Christ. It is nothing we do of our own. Yet many times, we refuse the helmet of salvation generously given to us, at the cost of the life of the Son of God, and choose to put on our own makeshift helmet of righteousness by works.

Like Greta, we eventually discover that it's not the real thing and not designed to protect us the way it should. Like Greta, we bump into walls and get hurt because of our makeshift helmet.

The armor of God is available to all. Have you put on the true helmet of salvation lately?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Don't believe the lie

I was reading this morning about Bible Prophecy Fulfilled. Jesus says He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. That means He was in the beginning and He also knows what happens in the end. God knows the future and in His mercy and loving kindness, He reveals that future to His servants, the prophets.

When we look back on the prophecies in the Bible that have been fulfilled, to the letter, it is absolutely amazing! What accuracy, what detail and what a miracle that it was foretold hundreds and even thousands of years in advance!

Hitler and Napoleon had to come to terms with the fact that Bible Prophecy said their plans would never come to pass for another great world empire. Napoleon eventually saw it and his folly. Hitler grew angry and vowed that God would not get in the way of his plans. But history tells the story, that God predicted thousands of years before.

There are those who mock and scoff when we say we are Christians. They even say things such as we are believing in some kind of fairy tale or myth. Really?

Never give in to the lie that we have nothing to hang our faith on. God's Word and prophecy fulfilled are a sure foundation. God doesn't leave us without any reason for our faith. He merely asks us to exercise it.

We have more than enough of God's power and providence to hang our faith on. Faith is not blind trust. Faith is believing in the promises that are in the future. Promises made by One who has already shown that He keeps His promises. It is not blind faith. It is faith that must hang on through the trials, because in the end that faith will be rewarded because God is faithful.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lauren and Hosanna

My daughter just celebrated her 4th birthday. She got a package in the mail from her Oma and Opa who live in Georgia. They sent her a beautiful doll. It's from a special series and the doll has a name, Lauren. Lauren also comes with her own baby doll. My little girl decided to name Lauren's baby doll, Hosanna.

It's kind of neat going through the house and seeing my daughter playing with Lauren and Hosanna.

My prayer is that praise to God will always be on her heart. Especially as Jesus is coming back to take us home.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Shields Up!

So I gave my oldest son this assignment in school last year. It was looking at our doctrinal beliefs and putting them into his own words. Any big words he didn't understand, we looked up in the dictionary, so he wouldn't just be taking my word for it, but really making sure he learned new things.

When it got to the belief on Spiritual Gifts, Michael put it in his own words that Spiritual Gifts are a shield. A shield? How is that you may ask. Well, according to our church's fundamental belief on spiritual gifts, when we have a gift and use it, we guard ourselves against false doctrine and false manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Michael, being a 10 year old boy and seeing the word guard, automatically thought of a shield.

But think about it. God gives gifts to each of His children. Everyone has at least one gift. You can read about Spiritual Gifts in Ephesians 4, Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. If you were to have the gift of exhortation, meaning to strongly advise or urge earnestly for the good of your fellow Christian, and you didn't use that gift, then someone else may take it upon themselves to do the job God gave you to do. What happens when a car mechanic tries to do brain surgery or a dentist tries to build a bridge? People trying to do things God didn't gift them to do can cause hurt and pain and problems in the church. So by using your God given gift to minister to your fellow man, you are protecting your church from harm.

Don't be afraid to use the gifts God has given you, but always use them for His glory and to further His cause. Shields up everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Matthew and Ruby

This is my little man, Matthew. He is five years old and doesn't hesitate to say when he sees an awesome car, like he did the day this picture was taken. The lady who owned the car thought this little kid in camoflauge clothes who was talking about how cool this car was and how he wished he had one was just too adorable, so she had to take a picture of Matthew with the car. She told us the car's name is Ruby, which happens to be one of Matthew's favorite gemstones (sapphires are his absolute favorite because they are often blue), as most kids his age go bug eyed for hidden treasures.
Matthew's reaction to the car was natural, and we ended up with a cute photo and story. What are your natural reactions? Do they include compliments, encouragement, acts of kindness and compassion?
One of the natural reactions I'm struggling with right now is frustration when my husband can't remember something I recently told him. Well, at least I know what I need to pray about!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

What is your girlfriend's name?

Our pastor has three churches in his district, and he recently organized a weekend retreat at a camp for any of the members of all three of his churches. It was fun to meet people from the other churches that we have prayed for and rejoiced with.
Matthew, my 5 year old, hit it off with a little girl at the camp. They soon became inseparable. They went everywhere together and participated in everything together and I often heard one of them or the other saying, "come on, let's go play." Matthew's little friend is just a couple of months older than him. They are the same height and they are about the same size and they just found each other to be perfect playmates.
I asked Matthew what his little friend's name was, and he said he didn't know. She knew his name, but he didn't know hers. I found out later his little friend's name and shared it with him, but it didn't make any difference to him. All he needed to know was this was his friend, it didn't matter what her name was.
I was amazed at the beautiful innocence of my son's relationship with this little girl and the lesson it taught me. Two children who love to play, run, chase each other, swing and slide on the playground and jump in leaves could enjoy being together even if they didn't know each other's names. What was important was they knew they had a friend.
Jesus isn't concerned with whether or not I know all of the names He is called in the Bible. What matters most to Him is that I know He is my friend.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Ernest Shackleton

Years ago, I took my children to see an I-max presentation on the arctic adventure of Ernest Shackleton and his crew of explorers. It was inspiring to say the least. Shackleton's dedication to seeing that all of his men were rescued is something we don't always see today.

The story itself, as presented by I-max was so incredible, that it made you want to be a better person. But it wasn't until recently that I heard more of the story.

In Shackleton's ordeal, it was down to himself and two others to cross mountains previously unexplored to get to a whaling station on the other side of the island and get help for the rest of the expedition. They were without the arctic mountain gear they needed so desperately, but they clung to the fact that men would live or die by their efforts. The way was treacherous, from all accounts, yet Shackleton records in his personal journal that at times there were four of them on that mountain, not three.

Shackleton knew that God was with them and it gave them courage to press on, but you won't find that in the I-max presentation.

So I began to wonder, if we were to dig a little deeper into all kinds of inspiring stories, would we find that many of these examples of courage and bravery gave credit to God? Somehow, we tend to screen that out when the stories are shared. Maybe it would be good for us all to dig a little deeper and see how many people give credit to God.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Which do you like better?

My eleven year old son devours books. This is an understatement. In his 4H club, there is a group that gets together to work on hiking, one of Michael's favorite interests, other than reading. On this hike, they tried to learn about each other and pick nicknames based on observation. Since Michael spoke most of the time about books he had recently read, he was given the name reader. It was very appropriate.

You know a child is crazy about reading when he keeps a book in the car with him and then when you get home from piano lessons and the sun in shining so bright that you just know the children can't resist playing outside; but he does because he's only got one chapter left to finish the book. He wouldn't play outside until he finished the book.

Michael's two latest reads are "The Lucifer Diary" and "The Edge of Eternity." After he finished the 2nd book, Karl asked him which he liked better. Michael said that both books were basically about the story of the world from the earliest beginnings through to when Jesus comes again. The first book was from Satan's assumed perspective. The second book is from God's assumed perspective. Michael said he enjoyed both books greatly, but he liked the 2nd better, because it was from God's perspective.

I'm soon going to have to get Warrior Culture for him, Donny Prater's book, because it's never too soon to learn how to be a man of God.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Not ashamed

On this Valentine's Day, I challenge you to look up a couple of verses in the Bible. They happen to be my husband's favorite verses. Proverbs 5:18, 19.

When God touches your heart, and you know you are a recipient of His grace, are you not thrilled?

When God sends an angel to rescue or shield you in a moment of peril, do you not know His loving care over you?

When God sends the Holy Spirit to chasten you and bring you back from the path of destruction, are you not grateful for His guidance?

Of these things we are not ashamed.

However, if God has blessed you with a partner in life, a godly spouse, are you ashamed to enjoy to the fullest God's gift?

Spend some time today in God's Word, realizing that marriage is to be full of joy and wonder, then go experience it.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I got away to a Women's Retreat this past weekend. Wonderful. Incredible. It was just what I needed and an answer to prayer.

I came home even more encouraged and ready to do whatever task lies at my door, especially encouraging and supporting my husband in all that he does.

God is good. I've been strengthened to come back and be all that my family needs me to be and all that I long to be.

I think there is a reason why God says come apart for a while and be refreshed. I was refreshed. My husband could tell when I got home that I have been refreshed.

Some negative people had tried to get me down because of my age. It's true I'm only in my thirties, but that doesn't mean that I don't have anything to say or share. This retreat showed me that I was valued. I had a chance to say and a chance to share for God's glory.

There's nothing like the feeling of knowing that God can use you, defects and all, to bring Glory to Him. It's an incredible and wonderful feeling that people had been trying to steal from me.

I won't let anyone try to steal it again. Your own special relationship with God is worth hanging on to, no matter what other Christians say.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

A different kind of perfume

"A little blind boy was asked one day what forgiveness is, and he said, 'It is the perfume that flowers breathe out when they are trampled upon.'"

From "Make God First" by Eric B. Hare

This little tidbit touched me so I hope you don't mind my sharing it with you.

Monday, January 29, 2007


My life is a pair of bookends.

Currently, between those bookends are more than 200,000 words that I've typed on two different books. My brain is giving me no relief. I already have the material for two more books in my head.

There are days when a mother of three who home schools begins to wonder if she'll ever get it all done.

So, thanks for your patience, for those of you wondering why I haven't been very active lately on the blogs.

For those of you who have already published a book, feel free to give me any and all advice you have. My current search for a publisher is taxing my poor overloaded brain.

If you happen to run into my sanity any time soon, would you please let it know that I miss it greatly.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Well Done

My kids got a Veggie Tales DVD for Christmas fron their aunt & uncle. This one is about Gideon Tuba Warrior. Of course my Tuba Torquing Husband loves it!

In one scene Gideon tells the angel he was hoping the message from God would be something like 'well done good servant' not 'I want you to fight the enemy that greatly outnumbers you' so the angel simply says 'if you want to hear God say well done, then you need to do what He asks.'

God sure knows how to nail me, and with a kids video! Anybody else wanting to hear 'well done?' Then I guess we better get busy and do what He asks. I think Micah 6:8 is a good place to start.

New Year's Letter

So, I gave up on Christmas cards years ago. I like New Year's Letters much better. This way, you get the whole scoop of what we did at Christmas! This is my fourth annual New Year's Letter. It's a little late because I accidentally ate something I'm allergic to and have had to spend the first week of the new year trying to survive. Forgive the copy and paste, but this is it!

Greetings from the Leukert Family!

You know you are experiencing life when it gets in the way. Such is the case with my attempts to get this Fourth Annual New Year’s Letter in your hands before the first week of January was over. Hopefully, you will still get a blessing from this update on our family.

When we take a moment to look back on 2006, we see it as a year of changes, firsts and amazing discoveries for our family. For the most part, it seems to have all started with our Searcy County Spelling Bee in February. It was Michael’s first spelling bee, and he was representing the home schoolers of Searcy County. Our 10 year old 4th grader did well against the reigning champion 8th grader for several rounds then finally lost. We, the parents, had merely been hoping Michael would make it past the first round, as this was his first spelling bee. By the time it got down to just Michael and the 8th grader, we were a nervous wreck. Michael agreed with us in the end that he was glad he got second place. He wasn’t ready to have to go to the state spelling bee. Yes, sometimes it’s nice to come in second. We were all surprised when he was handed a certificate and an envelope with $15 in it. Needless to say, he’s getting ready for this year’s spelling bee.

March brought green into our family and not just because of St. Patrick’s Day. Several home schoolers in our group decided to start a new 4H club in the Searcy County area. The parents met a few times and finally we had our first meeting with the kids. There are many things we have learned in the past year about 4H, but I appreciate their basic premise: equal training of the head, heart, hands and health.

April is the month when our world to some extent turned upside down. It wasn’t the fact that Greta turned three. It was our transportation. Sharon and our 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan ended up in a flooded creek after Sharon missed the left edge while trying to cross a low water bridge. The van was stopped dead in the water, but good people of Searcy County towed her out and got Sharon to a phone to call for assistance. The hardest part for Sharon was watching other vehicles crossing the low water bridge without incident, even though they were 4x4 trucks and so forth.

Thus began months of being without a vehicle of our own. Generous friends loaned us extra vehicles at different times for which we were grateful. Our insurance agency totaled the van and gave us a reasonable settlement. After searching for a good vehicle that would meet the needs of our family, we finally settled on a 2004 Chevy Venture that needed a little bit of work done on it. When the work was finally completed, we were quite pleased with our new vehicle and thankful for our own transportation again. It’s wonderful having a back seat that can fold down flat and a powered passenger door.

In May, Michael participated in a forestry competition through 4H at the local county level. Michael learned to scale (measuring for lumber, not climbing) trees and identify them. Since Michael has always loved trees, this was a natural for him, but it still took us by surprise when he won first place in the competition. This qualified Michael to attend the regional competition in Ozark, Arkansas. Since the competition landed on Karl’s day off, we made it a family event. Neither of us has ever been to a 4H rally before. Neither of us has ever seen so much green in our lives. It was an unforgettable experience. Michael placed 4th in the regional competition and learned some valuable lessons about preparation and paying attention to details.

Matthew is finally old enough to be a Clover Bud in 4H this year, so he is excited to be joining the ranks of our Caring Clovers Club. It will be several years before he’s old enough to participate in the competitions and so forth, but he’s already learning teamwork, cooperation and paying attention. He keeps asking when his favorite sidekick sister, Greta can join.

This summer gave us a special treat. A friend of ours, formerly from New Mexico, and his new bride were in the Branson, Missouri area for some meetings for his job as a pastor. It is only a 2 hour drive from our house so we met with them on their free afternoon before they left for home. Steve and Heather had lots of stories to tell, including how God has blessed them since their house burned down in a major fire that took many homes in their community. We greatly enjoyed our visit and hope that we will get to see them again in the future.

August brought two of the big events. Michael had approached the pastor and asked to speak with him at length in the church library. The pastor said talking with Michael is like speaking with a miniature adult. Michael said he felt he was ready to give his life to Jesus and be baptized. So, on August 19th, Michael was baptized and became a member of God’s family. It was wonderful to have many friends and family members witness this wonderful event. Michael had been very nervous, but he told the pastor later that all that nervousness left the moment he came up out of the water. Perfect love casts out fear.

The very next day was the first piano recital for Michael and Matthew. They have been taking lessons for more than a year now and were very excited to play in their first recital. Michael had one piece to play by himself as well as a duet with his piano teacher. He also participated in a Celtic band that played several pieces. Matthew played a piece from his piano book as well as his own original composition about Jesus dying on the cross. At the end of the recital, all of the participants were asked to come up on stage all together. Matthew went in his mother’s arms, because he had fallen asleep. A first piano recital is hard work for a 4 ½ year old boy.

In November, both boys had their birthdays. Michael turned eleven and Matthew turned five. We took them to the Mid America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arkansas. We had a great time at the science museum and even got to play at the circus themed activities that were on special display at the museum. There was even an area with a platform and costumes of all types and sizes where families could dress up and take pictures. Greta was a ballerina and a clown. Matthew was a strong man and a bear and a cannon ball rocket man. Michael enjoyed dressing up as the leader of a marching band and a strong man and a leopard. Karl was a bear and Sharon was a clown. It was a fun experience for the family and we are glad that sometimes birthdays can be celebrated in other ways besides a party.

December brought Christmas in Georgia. We were grateful to be able to spend the Christmas holiday with Karl’s parents in Georgia. The whole family was there, including Karl’s sister, her husband and two sons as well as Karl’s brother and his wife. It was also a treat to spend time with Aunt Luella, Karl’s great aunt who is an amazing story teller. Believe it or not, we managed to get 13 people to pose for a family picture that had everyone smiling and with their eyes looking at the camera. Greta much enjoyed being the only granddaughter and getting attention from her brothers as well as her cousins.

It looks like 2007 will be full of many wonderful things. From our family to yours, may you have the peace that passes understanding and the joy of the Lord as your strength!