Sunday, November 30, 2008

This is Hard!

First, congratulations go to my friends ADHD and Chatty Kelly. They won the drawing for the Dream Calendar. The rest of you who are planning to need a new calendar soon, click on over and order yourself one!

And now, for your daily dose of encouragement, join me at Fitness Together.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One More Chance to Win My Book

Hey, Debbie is giving away several things this week. And one of them is a copy of my book, Finding Joy. She'll be posting the info about it on Friday and will draw the winner Sunday. Just thought you might like to know...

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An Idea for You

If you haven't read this post about the Dream Calendar, please take a look. And leave a comment to win a copy!

Last night, the kids and I had a great time with Jesus.
We sat down to read the Bible and pray before they went to bed and I opened my Bible up to Luke 18 - the story about the blind beggar who received his sight. In this story, a blind man was sitting by the road calling out to Jesus as He walked by. Jesus ordered the man to be brought to Him and asked,

"What do you want me to do for you?"
"Lord, I want to see," he replied.
Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

Luke 18:41-43

I read the story and paused for a minute. Then I asked my children, "If you were sitting by the road and Jesus walked by, and He stopped and asked you, 'What do you want me to do for you?' what would you say to Him?"
I'm telliing you, the conversation that ensued delighted my heart as I got a peek into the hearts of my children. I told them how I would reply to that question, too, and then I prayed - asking Jesus to do those things for us.
And I look forward to praising God with them as we see Him meeting these needs in our lives!

Do you read the Bible with your kids? Let me encourage you to read Luke 18:35-43 together and talk about how each of you would answer Jesus' question. Then pray, and have faith, and praise Him together!

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dream Calendar

Have you noticed the date? We are nearing the end of November! That means a new year is just a month away.

And you know what that means, right? You're going to need a new calendar for 2009. Well, look no further. I have just the calendar for you!

OK, I don't have it. My friend does.
But I get to tell you about it.

You may remember a few times in the past when I have asked you to pray for the daughter of a friend of mine. Renee's daughter, Allie, has a blood disease called ITP. (Well, it's called something a lot longer than that, but ITP is all I can spell!) Anyway, God has been moving through their trials - bringing much good out of the "bad." The most recent thing has been the desire He has put into Renee's heart to see two playgrounds built which will be safe for children with special needs, like Allie.
But building playgrounds costs money.
Lots of it.
Yet, when God is moving, obstacles don't make dreams die.

I asked Renee to tell you about her dreams and the Dream Calendar.

As a mother of a special needs child, I have lots of dreams! My dreams often involve a total healing for Allie - selfishly, I want that to be an earthly healing. I dream of a time when Allie does not have to go to the doctor so frequently. I dream of a time when Abbie can play with her little sister without fear of injuring her. I dream of seeing my girls ride together on their bikes and scooters. I have a lot of dreams!!!!

But...the reality is, God has chosen our family for such a time as this. He is the ultimate Healer and when He is ready, Allie will be healed. He is the Great Physician and when it is time, Allie's doctor's visits will come to an end. He is the Friend who sticks closer than a brother and until Allie gets better, He will continue to protect her so that she can enjoy time with her sister. God is helping me to see that His dreams and plans for me and my girls are a lot more purposeful than my dreams for myself.

One of the new dreams that God has placed in our heart is to reach out to other families who are dealing with special situations as well. So, Clouds of Hope was formed. Clouds of Hope is a non profit organization whose mission is to reach out to families who are dealing with life altering illnesses. Our goal for the year 2009 is to help build two adaptable playgrounds in our community to offer a place for ALL children to play together - regardless of their ability or disability. In order for that dream to become a reality, we need your help!

Annie Agarwal Photography has graciously sponsored a calendar for 2009 - The Dream Calendar. The calendar features children in our community who will benefit from an adaptable playground. Each month is dedicated to a child who is facing some sort of life altering illness. Annie has captured their spirits and shared their stories! You can order one of these calendars and help keep our dream alive by going to And when you get one, could you take the time to pray for the families who are represented each month? Each one of them faces unique challenges everyday. And, from personal experience, I can tell you that prayer is what carries us through.

Soooo, I have purchased three Dream Calendars. One for me, and the others for two of you. Here's what I want you to do: Please follow this link over to the Dream Calendar site and scroll down so you can take a look at the pictures Annie took of these children. (When you get to the bottom of the page, click on "next page" so you can see more!)
They're beautiful!
Then come back here and leave me a comment telling me you would like to be entered into my drawing to win a Dream Calendar.
The reason I want you to go see the pictures first is because, while I am happy to give away my two extra copies, I really want you to buy a calendar for yourself if you don't win one. You know, to support the dream! And I am absolutely sure that when you see the pictures of these kids, you will want one of these calendars. (By the way, they're selling them for only $10.)
So, go take a peek and then leave me a comment, letting me know how precious you think these kids are. *grin*
I'll pick the winners Sunday the 30th, and will announce them on December 1. That way, if you don't win, you'll have plenty of time to get your own copy before 2009 begins.
Be sure to leave your email address if it isn't embedded in your comment so I can contact you if I pick your name!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Praise & Coffee Report

The Praise & Coffee Night last night was lots of fun. But I got home really late (Forgot I was training at 6:00 this morning. UGH! And Ashley didn't even have pity on me when I told her I had only slept 6 hours. *pouty face*) so I'm tired today.
AND, I forgot to take my camera last night.
But, Sue and Jennifer have come to my rescue by posting their own pictures. Thanks, girls!
So, if you want to see the fun we had, click on over and check it out.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When Trusting God isn't Easy

***As a general rule, I always try to keep my posts on the short side. But today there is much on my heart I need to share. Please, please - take your time in reading and allow God to speak to your heart.***

Sometimes it is easy to trust God, isn't it?
Sometimes He shows Himself so clearly and we cannot deny His presence. We see Him moving and we cannot help but rejoice and give Him praise. I love it when He moves like that, and you know I love to give testimony every time.

But sometimes trusting God isn't so easy.
Sometimes we don't see Him moving. We don't understand what He's doing and we wonder what's going on.

I have been praying for a few situations which have recently caused me to increase my heavenly petitions. The earthly circumstances had become grim, but God gave me hope anyway.
As He does so often, God had me in just the right scripture on just the right day. I was thinking about these grim circumstances and found myself reading John 11 – the story of Lazarus' death, and Jesus' demonstration of power and authority as He raised Lazarus from the dead.
I read that story and thought about Mary and Martha's belief that it was all over for Lazarus. They thought Jesus had missed the opportunity to help their sick brother, because he was now dead. But Jesus knew the sickness was not going to end in death. He knew the situation was for God's glory. And He told the women if they just believed they would have that for which they asked.
I rejoiced in that story and spent time meditating on the truth that things are not always as they seem. Lazarus' death wasn't the end. It was a resurrection in the making!
And I began praying for these grim situations with the view that – although they appeared to be deaths, they could just be resurrections in the making.
In the following days I continued to be in scripture which pointed to Lazarus' miracle and which reminded me that whatever you ask for in prayer, if you believe you have received it, it will be yours. (Mark 11:24) I felt like God was assuring me He was in the process of working miracles for these situations and I was praying and praying and praying. I was believing God would work a resurrection.

So yesterday I found out one of the situations has been put on hold. It isn't over. My friend is still fighting. But I was praying for a resurrection, not more waiting. And I have to admit I was disappointed.

And this morning I found out the little baby I have been praying for passed away yesterday. Sunday night I joined a bunch of other people – begging God to heal this little boy here on earth. It really looked like he was being healed. Even the doctors thought there was some divine intervention happening. I was sure He was going to bring a resurrection out of what had appeared to be a death.
I was sure of it.
Hadn't the Spirit been confirming these things to me over the past week?
But yesterday the baby died. And this morning I sat in front of my computer reading about it, with tears streaming down my cheeks, my heart breaking, and lots of questions flowing heavenward.
Why, God?
I thought You were giving us a resurrection. What happened?
Have I been hearing You wrong these past few days?
Was my faith not strong enough?
God, I know You have all the power and authority. What's going on here?
And what does this mean for all the other situations about which I have been praying? Can I still have hope for them???

The roads were icy this morning, causing a two-hour delay for school, so my kids were all home while this was going on with me. Thus I retreated to my bedroom to cry with Jesus, to talk with Him, and to let Him comfort me. I curled up with Him just like I told you about in this video, and I just let my tears and thoughts and feelings fall on Him.
And God's Spirit reminded me of this:
* God is still good. Though I do not understand the why's and wherefore's of His actions - God is still good.
* God did heal that baby boy. I wanted him to be healed here on earth, but that was not God's plan. That baby boy is free from all pain and needles and tears, and he is resting in the arms of Jesus right now.
* My friend's situation is not over. God may still resurrect her dream. Things are not always as they appear.
* God is worthy of praise whether He moves in the ways I want Him to, or not.
* And, I can trust Him in every moment of every day - to do what is good and right - whether I understand the reasons, or not.

So what do we do when trusting God isn't easy?
What do we do when we don't understand what's going on?
I have been immersed in these thoughts and I keep coming back to this one thing: I know who God is. I know He is good. I have seen His goodness and faithfulness in the past, and I know He doesn't change. And so...I choose to trust God, even when trusting Him isn't easy.

Where are you today, my friend? If you are in a situation like mine, I trust God has brought you here according to His perfect timing, and I pray He has spoken words of hope to your heart.
You can trust Him!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Hey, West Michigan Girls!

Do you know Sue from Praise and Coffee? She has started a new thing called Praise and Coffee Nights - a chance for the Girls to get together and share time praising God and testifying to the things He is doing in our lives.
The very first Praise and Coffee Night took place last week on the east side of Michigan and it sounds like it was great.
This Thursday there is another one being held from 7-9 pm at the Plainwell Coffee Mill in Plainwell, and I get to go to this one! The first hour or so is going to be a time of casual fellowship. (i.e. talking, laughing and drinking coffee...Yeah, except for those of us who don't drink coffee. I'm trusting they'll have some good hot chocolate!) Then Sue and I are both going to have a few minutes to speak.
I am looking forward to this evening together - to encouraging other moms, to seeing Sue again, and to meeting new friends. If you're in West Michigan, I hope you'll come!

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Speaking Thru Me

Are you involved in Women's Ministry? Are you ever in need of a speaker for your Women's events? Then you've got to read this article about Speaking Thru Me Ministries. I am on their speaking team and am excited to share this information with you!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beauty in Cancun

Yes, there was an awful lot of beauty in Cancun. These pictures testify to it!

But, for me the most beautiful thing in Cancun wasn't anything I could see with my eyes. I saw it with my heart and I'll tell you about it after you enjoy these pics.

Lovely, no? And this picture of Brian and I captures pretty well the way I was feeling throughout our entire vacation. Ahhhh, loving it!

Now, for the best part. Cancun was beautiful because God made Himself so obvious to me.
Each morning we were there Brian had meetings to attend, so I used that time to work on a talk I am preparing for an Advent Breakfast next month. The theme for this Breakfast is Rejoicing in God's Timing and I will be speaking from Luke 2.
On November 5 as I was preparing my talk, I considered the fact that Jesus needed to be born in Bethlehem to fulfill the prophecy about Him. But I didn't know where that prophecy was written in the Old Testament. That evening I asked Brian about it, he told me where he thought it was, and I determined to find it the next day.
Soooo, the next day before I began working on my talk again I was having my quiet time. I am into the New Testament now in my read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year program and the reading for November 6 was John 7-8. And do you know what it says in John 7:42? "Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" And the superscript letter in my Bible referred me to Micah 5:2, the Old Testament reference.
Can you believe it? Back on January 15 when I began this reading program, when I chose to read chronologically - rather than historically, or from beginning to end - God knew that on November 6 I would need to find that Old Testament reference. And He made it so.
Someone could try to tell me it was all a coincidence, but I know it wasn't. I know God timed that out just perfectly for me.
He didn't need to do it. I could have found Micah 5:2. But I am convinced God was working in the details of my timing to bolster my confidence as I bring the message of rejoicing in His timing to the women at this Advent Breakfast. And believe me - I was rejoicing in His timing that whole day!

If you are going to be near Marion, Ohio on December 6, consider yourself invited to this Advent Breakfast. It will be at Cornerstone Alliance Church. Tickets are $10 each and you can call them to make your reservation. I would love to see you there!

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Can I Get a Witness?

Sometimes God makes Himself so blatantly obvious, I cannot help but know He's acting on my behalf. And He did it again today.

I came home from the glorious weather I experienced in Cancun to...snow! Not a lot, but - still.
I don't think I'm going to be maintaining this tan.
*pouty face*
Anyway, it's getting c-c-c-cold around here, and today I realized I ought to make sure the kids are equipped for winter weather. As I was running down the list in my mind of all the things I thought I was going to need to buy, the potential price tag was beginning to overwhelm me. Boots, coats, gloves, hats. Oh, and snow pants! For all three of them.
But before we went to the store, I had the kids try on last year's gear to see if anything still fits. And I went through various closets to see if there were any items I had tucked away for "someday."

This is what I discovered:

Elizabeth's boots still fit.
Which is a good thing, since I don't think she ever wore them last year. She's at that age where she doesn't think it's necessary to wear boots. I can't really fault her - I remember going through that stage, too. But I cannot, in good conscience, not have boots for her. You know, in case she ever decides she ought to wear them.
Anyway, I didn't need to buy boots for her.
In the front closet I found snow pants for everyone. And I found Elizabeth's hat and gloves from last year, which will still work this year.
I already knew her coat still fits - so Elizabeth is good to go.

Joshua and I went through his closet and found a coat which fits him. And in the pockets were gloves! At the end of last winter I bought two hats from a store that was going out of business, so I knew Joshua's hat situation was set. Next, I found boots in another closet that friends from church had given us a while ago - which were really big then, but fit Joshua this year.
Another one, ready for winter.

Then it was Matthew's turn.
He's still wearing last year's coat, but in my search with Joshua I came across another coat which will fit Matthew this year, too. It's nice to have an extra! The second hat I bought last year was for him, so that was good. And I discovered a pair of gloves I had purchased with the hats - which I had forgotten about - and they fit Matthew this year.
But last year's boots are too small.

So my "Need to Buy For the Kids This Year" list came down to one pair of boots.
That's it!
Just one pair of boots!
It was as if every time I turned around and looked in a closet or on a shelf, or had one of my children try on an article of clothing, God was saying to me, Don't worry, darling. I've got you covered. I am going to take care of all your needs. Just trust Me, dear one. I can handle this.
After I had completed my "list" I came out to the kids and celebrated with them this very obvious expression of God's provision for us. He reminded me that I do not need to worry about what to wear, or what to eat, or what to drink. (See Matthew 6:25-34) He's got me covered!

OK, I need to get the kids going on bedtime, but God delighted me so much today with this display of His faithfulness I just had to take a moment and share it with you.

In the next day or two I hope to post the rest of my Cancun pictures and share another way God delighted my heart while I was there.

Now, can I get a witness?

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Friday, November 07, 2008


Hello, friends!

I just got online to check in for our flight home tomorrow.
Yes. All good things must come to an end, and the time has come for our vacation in Mexico to end. We have had a great time - went swimming with dolphins today!!! I hope to find a way to post the video from that experience, and I took several pictures which I want to share with you.

But I'm sure I'll be spending Sunday playing with my kids and getting re-settled at home.
And I'm speaking Monday and Tuesday.
And I have to organize some thoughts to share at a baby shower next weekend.
And I need to work on a short presentation for Joshua's class at school.
And...I'm not sure when I'll be able to give you a play-by-play of my adventures at the Barcelo Resort. So before I go back to my room, I'm going to post a couple pictures for you to enjoy.

This is the view out of my room. The handsome man is my husband - not part of the resort package!

And this is a picture from the beach, looking out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Now I'm off to enjoy one more evening of bliss!

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

I'm Leaving on a Jetplane!

OK, let's see. Where did I put that list?

Instructions for Grandma? Check
Meal plans written? Check
Groceries purchased? Not yet
Laundry done? Working on it
Bags packed? *sigh*
Passport ready? Check
Boarding pass printed? I'll get to it
Blog post for Wednesday? Check

Tomorrow at this time I will be at the Detroit Metro airport with my husband. We are so looking forward to this trip!
Of course, I will miss my bloggy friends, but I have put together a special post for you which will "air" Wednesday. And I WILL remember to bring my camera so I can share some of my memories with you.

I'll be back next week. See you then!

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Don't Touch Her Candy!

Just a quick laugh for you today...

First, you need to understand - my daughter has a very, very sweet tooth. Candy is a BIG deal to her. Hence, she has been looking forward to last night's trick-or-treating festivities and was thrilled by the loot she brought home.
This afternoon, Mindy managed to make her way downstairs to Elizabeth's bedroom, and she got into the candy. When I went down to check it out I was surprised by the mess I saw. Elizabeth proceeded to give me an inventory of each sugary item which our dear puppy had destroyed. Then she looked me in the eye and said, with all seriousness, "Mom, if there is a place that good little dogs go when they die, (pause) I don't think Mindy is going there."

Yep. Mess with Elizabeth's candy and you're doomed!

Whew, I'm sure glad there were some extra pieces left over from what I handed out, so I don't need to ask Elizabeth for some of her stash! *grin*

Enjoy your weekend.

*****Edited to add:
As far as we know, Mindy only chewed on one Milk Dud. She seemed to be on a search and destroy mission, rather than a search and consume. So, I think the only "sick" one is Elizabeth. Sick that she lost so much candy.