Friday, September 28, 2012

Meet My Daughters ~ A Total Blessing!

This is my daughter, Blair!  More photos below! (I have her permission to post this!) I'm so proud of her—especially her courage! She graduated from college and sought a job and secured one several states away in a large city with a communications company. She is a gifted creative writer (which I say began with all the great literature we read aloud when we home-schooled her until the 9th grade;-)

She recently gave me lots of practical help when I revamped my website.  She went to a small, private girls' high school where we live, and wrote up a storm (we've done all 3: home school 13 years, private school for high school for Blair, and public school primarily for high school for the boys & for Braille support for Mary).

Yesterday was my birthday, and Blair mailed me an elegant glass decanter and cup for my bedside table:-) If you're reading Blair, you already know how much I love it, & how I so appreciate your mailing it to me with all you have to do!

Blair prayed for a sister for her 6th and 7th birthdays—and when she was 8 years old, Mary was born. When Mary was born blind, I could not be with Blair to tell her. My concerns for her were relieved when I was told that upon hearing she had a little sister and that she was born blind she immediately said, "She's going to grow up to write lots of hymns!"

I knew in my heart she was drawing comfort from her memory of the stories I had told her when she was four about the life of Fanny Crosby. Fanny loved the Lord and was blind—and she wrote thousands of hymns.

The next morning after Mary's birth, my husband noticed Blair making her bed with her eyes closed. She helped me so much when we brought Mary home from the hospital. There was an overwhelming outpouring of love on us from friends in our community. Blair answered every phone call, voicemail, and doorbell—so I could concentrate on our new baby.

For those who have not met Mary before, you might enjoy reading more about her or the letter I wrote when she was born. You can click here.

Listen to this poem called, "Wanted: A Girl," that I found in the book, "Moral Lessons of Yesteryear," compiled by A.L. Byers. You can share it with your little girls:

The girls that are wanted are good girls—
Girls that are mother's right hand,
That fathers and brothers can trust in,
And the little ones can understand.

Girls that are fair on the hearthstone,
And pleasant when nobody sees;
Kid and sweet to their own folk,
Ready and anxious to please.

Girls that are wanted are wise girls, 
that know what to do and to say;
That drive with a smile or a soft word 
The wrath of a household away.

The girls that are wanted are good girls—
Good from the heart to the lips;
Pure as the lily is white and pure 
From its heart to its sweet leaf-tips.

Enjoy my favorite picture of Blair and Mary, and then some photos from Mary's room. Blair helped me to decorate Mary's room.

Blair decorated Mary's room with the little dresses that she & Mary wore when they were newborns.
This little pink hairpin box is in Mary's bathroom, I think it's so feminine & pretty. It reminds me of hiding God's Word in your heart somehow because God's word is beautiful and tucked inside our hearts when we memorize it.
The family that lived here before us had a little girl & the bathroom already had pink stripes!
I'm not too crafty, but a friend suggested I get this rusty iron decorated piece (it was not at all expensive, under $10!) and I painted it pink and sponged white paint on top!
I found these great tactile towels for Mary!
And these tactile heart towels!
A talented friend named Bunny painted this for Mary!
I totally described every frame of this border in Mary's room to her. It was already there when we moved in the house!
I love this tactile pink monogram on Mary's comforter.
I had picked out Proverbs 24:3-4 before Mary was born. It said she was a rare and beautiful treasure, which I believe about all four of our children (and all children!). When I picked it out, I didn't know just how rare and beautiful Mary would be since I did not know she would be born blind. 
Mary's first tactile picture she made with some help!
I put Mary's hair in a pony tail everyday from when she was 4 til about 8! I like this profile picture of her. I noticed that many of the childhood pictures of Helen Keller are also profile pictures.
My friend Emily S. had this made for Mary when she was born. She knew I loved this quote by Fanny Crosby (the Christian blind hymn writer that Blair thought of when she heard her little sister was born blind) I believe Mary's heart is reflected in the very words that Fanny wrote when she was only nine.

Now, I have a gift for you. Would you like a surprise treat? Listen to Mary sing recently here, and gather your children for Mary's radio drama here.

I love you, Blair and Mary! You bless me so much! I love having girls!!!

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth." ~Psalm 127:3-4

Walk by Faith, 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

So What is Suffering? Why is it in the World?

Today we’re going to dive right in by talking about suffering, then perseverance. I get your emails, and I know many of you are going through rough patches. You can’t really discuss perseverance until we face some critical issues about suffering.

For the new people joining us, let's review how I defined suffering in an earlier blog.

I once heard suffering defined by my one of the godly spiritual models of our day for women, and my mentor, Elisabeth Elliot, as follows: anything that you want that you don’t have, and anything that you have that you don’t want. Put that way, I dare say that everyone reading falls into that category in one way or another. So why is there suffering in the world?

Suffering is part of the human condition and first entered the world when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. No one is exempt from suffering—not even children. Because it is part of life to suffer, while we are on planet earth, we will suffer. Christians are not exempt from suffering. We may try to protect and shield our children from suffering, but we will not be entirely successful—for to be human means we will face pain and suffering.

While we as Christians cannot avoid pain and suffering, we have been given the Word of God and God’s grace to face suffering completely differently from the world’s response to suffering.  Because we have God’s truth and His Spirit living in us, by His grace we can face the pain in our lives that comes from that “thing we don’t want, or that thing we want that we don’t have” with faith and joy.

When we exhibit His joy and a deep faith in Christ amidst undesirable, difficult circumstances (that we would never have asked for!) instead of bitterness, anger, a vengeful spirit, or a complete loss of faith—we radiant Christ’s victory over our circumstances. Our circumstances may or may not change, but God’s grace is always there and available to us— as the constant well of life, increasing our faith and joy in Him.

Endurance is very similar to perseverance (and patience), but is an even more mature characteristic. Endurance includes continuing to stand in spite of pain, fatigue, difficulties, obstacles, distress or any hardship.

Okay, so how can we pack up perseverance into a meaningful sentence?  (You may want to put the following definitions on a 3 x 5 card in your car, bathroom mirror, etc with the scripture below as a reminder) Perseverance is continuing toward a God-given goal in spite of the obstacles. “Perseverance is knowing God’s love is more powerful than the obstacles evil people put in our way.” (~Dave and Neta Jackson)

Remember, Can ANYTHING separate us from God’s love? Listen to Romans 8:35,37:

“Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can troubles or problems or sufferings...No, in all these things we have the victory through God who showed His love for us.”

I’d like for you to take a few minutes to think on this: what obstacles in your life are keeping you from a God-given goal?

We’ll pick right back up next Monday with perseverance by looking at what the writer of Hebrews penned under inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help us in a practical way to persevere in our daily life. Until then, I’m praying for you dear friend—that somehow God can use my simple blog to seed God’s Word in you, and make a tangible difference in your life.

I love what George Washington Carver said. He was a fine, Christian man who loved God who overcame many obstacles in his life. He helped his fellow man immensely through his contribution to science which helped the southern farmer from losing everything through his many products developed from the sweet potato and the peanut.

He faced many injustices in his life, many just because of color of his skin. A godly, humble, wise man, George said, "If I used my energy to right every wrong done to me, I would have no energy left for my work."

Helen Keller, was was completely blind and deaf, said that we would lose "rewarding joy if thre were no limitations to overcome."

Don't these people inspire you who do not let "limitations" guide their lives? They encourage me to persevere.

I am on day 6 of laryngitis. (very hard for us talkers!!!!!) That is NOTHING compared to what these people faced. But today, even in that, they remind me to persevere and trust God.

I have more I want you to know about the above people and others. Pray photos will work again on my software. It quit today. We all need to persevere! See you on the blog tomorrow, Lord willing! I am praying for you!

Walk by Faith,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Be ONE IN A MILLION Parents—Teach Your Child to WAIT til Marriage!

Be one in a million parents! Or if you are reading for yourself, give your love life over to God's control! There is so much out there to help you in this! You CAN give God first place in everything!

Today I want to tell you about some GREAT resources to not only teach your children the birds and the bees, but to teach them about purity from God’s eyes and to WAIT until marriage!

Don't let the world squeeze its views about your child's body and future love life into them. Be a 1 in a million parent and take them with you on a overnight getaway to share God's heart toward sex with your preteen! But first, for some of the young people reading who are older:
I adore Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot. It is great for young men or young women. She tells her love story with Jim Elliot. It is beautiful. She waited 5 years for God to give her the green light, and she says, it was worth the wait! The subtitle reads: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control.

I also love the stories of hope given in Joshua Harris’ I Kissed Dating Goodbye.

For young children, I highly recommend moms take your girls, and dads take your boys on a weekend getaway with Passport2Purity by Dennis & Barbara Rainey.

I L-O-V-E Passport2Purity by Family Life Today for preteens which is designed to be used for an overnight getaway with your child. I took my youngest, Mary, on a beautiful fall weekend a couple years ago. I’m closing today with my reflections of my weekend alone with my youngest, Mary (blind) to share God’s heart with her about purity, her body, and waiting for marriage. I treasure the memories we have of our special weekend together. You can read about that here.

Here's Mary at the end of our overnight getaway together at our special dinner together! I presented her with a tiara at the end of our Passport2Purity weekend together to remind her that she is a daughter of the King! To read what we talked about click here.

"And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy." ~ Colossians 1:18

"Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:33 

"Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." ~Song of Solomon 2:7

Walk by Faith,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do You Rub Your Husband's Feet?

I blew it recently. I had an obvious opportunity right in front of me, but I'm afraid I let selfishness reign. But God wouldn't let me get away with it. Thank heavens the Lord and my husband are forgiving! You guessed it. It involved my husband. 

Last Thursday night it was late, and I was preparing the go to bed which for me—includes a routine. This is what my husband does: he gets in bed. Well, add: brushes his teeth. That's his routine! I'm sort of envious. I take off my make up, apply cream, drink some water, move things on the dresser, get up to do something I forgot to do, and eventually—I get in bed! I'm trying to learn to simplify like my husband, but have a long way to go! But back to the story...

The other night I was looking so forward to my last step: turn out the light! My husband mentioned he sure would like me to rub his feet. (Well, actually he saw me put cream on, and he asked me to put cream on his feet.) I did it. No more. No less. No foot massage. I remember thinking, "I sure hope he doesn't ask me to rub his feet right now."  

I was ready to turn out the light and I was already dreaming of my pillow. That's when he said something like he sure would like a foot massage, but I hemmed and hawed (that's how we say in the south that we don't want to answer) and said something like "You wanted me to put cream on your feet & something about when did he wash them last," to which he replied he had "just showered."  

The next morning I was up preparing to have some quiet time with the Lord. My husband leaves early, so it was very quiet as I settled in to read a devotion before I did my Bible study. I was already feeling a bit guilty about not really serving my husband well on the whole feet thing when here's what I read (I kid you not, I'm not making this stuff up!):

"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hand, and that he came forth from God and goeth unto God... John 13:3  ... we read that the next thing our Lord did was 'he took a towel, and girdeth himself...and began to wash the disciples' feet.' " 

Note that Jesus did not—like me—ask when did they last wash them as if he didn't want to touch feet that had not been washed lately! But there's more... listen as I continue what I was reading from Oswald Chambers, Daily Thoughts for Disciples, pgs. 176-177:

"Can we use a towel as our Lord did? Towels and basins and feet and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. (Juana: Ouch!) It is not the big occasions that reveal us, but the little occasions. It takes God Incarnate to do the most menial common place things properly.

'If I then, the Lord and the Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet.' Our Lord did not say: I have been the means of salvation of thousands, I have been most successful in my service, now you go and do the same thing'—He said: 'I have washed your feet: you go and wash one another's feet.' We try to get out of it by washing the feet of those who do not belong to our own set—we will wash the heathen's feet, or feet in the slums but fancy washing my brother's feet, my wife's, my husband's, the feet of the minister of my church! Our Lord said—'one another's feet.'

...'Now,' He says, 'show that one the same love that I have shown you.' If Jesus Christ has lifted us in love and grace, we must sow that love to someone else."

I IMMEDIATELY stopped reading (actually I don't think I made it to the end before I was convicted, asked the Lord to forgive me, and grabbed my phone) and texted my husband the words, "Please forgive me for not rubbing your feet, I was wrong. Happy to do it."

He wrote back, "No problem everything is okay." (if you're reading Hun, hope it's okay I'm saying this!

Walk by Faith, (and rub your husband's feet—if he likes it, that is!)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Seeing God in Your Circumstances

We've been talking these past few Mondays and Thursdays on trusting God with everything in our lives, especially in the areas in our lives that we consider suffering—having what we don't want—or wanting what we don't have. I conclude the video clip portion of our series today with this 46 second clip where I urge you to see God's will in whatever trial you may be going through.

Seeing God's hand in the trial, and trusting Him that He allowed it in your life—doesn't mean that we like the trial. We can still choose by faith to put our trust in God right in the middle of it. There is something in it we can learn and even be thankful for as we are going through it.

Corrie Ten Boom, that great saint who hid Jews in her home during World War II, detested the fleas that had infested her barracks when she was in a concentration camp after she was caught harboring Jews (her story is told in The Hiding Place, book and movie). The fleas were driving them mad. She learned to thank God in spite of the fleas. Soon, she discovered the cruel guards would not come into their barracks because of the fleas!

In Romans 8:28, God tells us he works all things for our good. I don't think that means everything is good but that He will work it for our ultimate good. We can thank Him that He is working everything out in our lives—even people who trouble or annoy us, as I said in the clip—for our patience and good. His will is always the will of love, and Romans 8:29 tells us God's purpose is to conform believers to the image of Christ.

God's will for us is to be joyful. This joy does not arise from our circumstances, but from the blessings of knowing Christ. He wants us to pray, to be thankful, and to be joyous. This is not given as good advice in the Bible—but a command! It is His will for us! (based on trusting the God who desires nothing but good for us as we just read in Romans 8:28)

My own daughter Mary provided a great example of this to me just last week as I was helping her with school work. Out of the blue, here's how our conversation wentas Mary spoke first:

"I'm so lucky."

"What made you say that?" I asked.

"I'm just sooo lucky that I was born blind."

"And why do you say that?" I wondered.

"People who go blind, like at 63, feel so sorry for children who are blind. It's so hard for them when they go blind at that age. I'm just so lucky that I was born blind. I'm fine!"

Can you hear her heart? Mary has a thankful heart. She "sees" other people and their suffering and she is naturally "other oriented." When she comes into a room, she immediately defaults to THERE YOU ARE! in her inner spirit. (unlike me—who thinks of myself, what I "look" like, if I have on right clothes, if I will say the right thing, if I sent that person a note yet, etc. which is false humility and not Christlike and shouts HERE I AM! in my inner thoughts). 

Now I can't get off the hook in this, because God has shown this to me; I aim to confess it as soon as I realize I have the wrong thinking again—and then ask God to help me think of the other person as I approach them over my selfishness that He came and died for.) 

For me to say, "Well, that's just how I am," is rubbish because Jesus lives in me and says that I am a new creation in Him and just like I trusted Him by faith for salvation—I need to go on trusting Him in faith to save me from the power that sin has on me.

May we all go on trusting in our perfect Savior. Our part is to trust, His part is to work. Remember to receive everything in your life from God's hand. Nothing can come to you without His permission. His will is always the will of love! 

Don't you want to serve our fabulous God who loves us with an everlasting love with your whole heart?

I'll see you on the blog tomorrow, and back for this series on Thursday when I'll introduce you to another of my other Christian heroeswhose faith inspires me right where I live to not be complacent in my faith.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew 
He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, 
that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters." 
~Romans 8:28-29 

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, 
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
~1st Thessalonians 5:16-18

Walk by Faith,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Easy & Deelish Salmon Recipe

I wanted to pass this deelish-and-easy Salmon dinner recipe on to you that my friend Ella made for us at our Meredith girls 20th beach reunion last weekend.  I made it this week for our family. I took the pictures below just before we sat down to eat. It literally takes about 10 minutes to prepare it and 30 minutes to cook it.  

Baked Salmon Recipe:

Buy fresh salmon (ah-hem, Ella, if you are reading ... keep on reading ... I confess below;-) at your local fish market. Have the butcher fillet and butterfly it. Lay the salmon open on a baking dish with sides (I also put down aluminum foil first for an easy clean-up) and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and thyme. (I had a thyme mix so you may see another spice in the picture.) Layer one onion cut in circles together with lemons cut in circles. Bring half of the butterfly portion over on top of the other half. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

(True confession: I sort of made 2 mistakes that I won't make again. I got my salmon from my regular grocery store and it was probably frozen first and mine above were cut into fillet steaks not butterflied. Ella was not happy with me when she found this out! It was not near as moist and fresh as hers were. The butterflying steams the salmon and keeps more moisture in. Do it her way for best flavor;-) 

You can have a big salad with it, but my husband had had a big salad for lunch already, so I cut up squash and sprinkled with sea salt, pepper, and dill. I sauteed them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, but for an even healthier option you could use fresh dill and steam them. (I couldn't find my steamer!)

I'll see you right back here on Monday. Have a great weekend, and a wonderful Lord's day worshiping where Christ is lifted up!
Walk by Faith, 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Does God Judge By Outside Appearance or Heart? & Family Pics!!!

In this 2 minute clip, I recount my disappointment after hearing the plastic surgeon tell me that he was not able to fix my blind, five-week-old daughter's nose disfigurement due to a "deficiency" of nose material at birth. In that dreary university hospital room, I learned a critical spiritual lesson that applies to all of usbased upon the words of 1st Samuel 16:7.

You might ask: You said on the clip, Juana, that God spoke to you in your sorrow about Mary when you cried out to him as you looked out that dreary window... how is it that 1st Samuel 16:7 popped into your head at that moment? 

The answer is that I had heard that scripture played over and over in my house and car for the previous five years for my other children before Mary was born. It was on a tape called, "GT and the Halo Express,"all scripture songs! God used scripture that was already thereHe brought it forward in my moment of need.

Any way that we can hide God's word in our heart is not a waste of time, is it?

Terry, the best daddy in the world,with Mary the day she was born!

Our sons, John and Alex, (l to r) lovin' on Mary 
Big Sis Blair, second mama to Mary,
 and my personal secretary to every phone call, voice mail, and doorbell!
She prayed for a sister for her 6th & 7th birthdays. She was 8 when Mary was born.  

This is just a few hours before Mary was born
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The world may think my youngest, Mary, is an unlikely candidate in certain instances with her blindness and her facial disfigurement. (she wears cute sunglasses by the way) We think she is beautiful! (My boys didn't want us to change her nose when they were growing up! We didn't let them stop us from trying.)

But I have learned that God uses the weak things of the world in a mighty way. In the Bible, Samuel the judge was a prophet whom God spoke through. When he was to anoint the next king, he asked a man named Jesse about his sons. One was tall and handsome and Samuel thought this must be the man for the job. But he wasn't the one. He checked out another son, and in turn he checked out seven of Jesse's sons. 

He eventually asked if there were any more sons. Jesse had not even thought to call his youngest son, Davidwho was only a shepherd boy; he called for him from the fields, and David was the the one whom God had chosen! Below are the words that God gave to Samuel that day, and the very words He whispered in my heart from His word that day in the hospital room with Mary.

 "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.' "
1st Samuel 16:7

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I can't wait to share with you next week in our Monday and Thursday Trusting God series the words of and a snippet in the lives of these modern day Christian heroes: Hannah Whitall Smith, George Washington Carver, Ahn E. Souki, and others.

We will cover these Christian heroes on the Monday and Thursdays blogs until we conclude this series on Thursday, November 1. (All Saint's Day! I'll tell you my tradition on that day that you might want to adopt, and share a special guest with you on the final day;-)

Someone once said, "We are the same people we were last year—except for the people we meet and the books we read." There may be a lot of truth in that, so get ready for me to introduce you to some God-inspiring people next week (and books to read more). I'm so glad you've chosen to come here.

Walk By Faith, 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

With God All Things Are Possible ~ Janie Home!

     I had a list running down my arm of things I wanted to talk with you about from organization (or lack thereof on my part!) to a delicious, easy (I'm talking Staples button easy) recipe that I got this past weekend from my friend Ella (and made last night;-) but nothing seems appropriate with so much good news yesterday. Everything will have to wait!!... drum roll...........

     Janie, who many of you have been praying for, came home from the hospital last night!

     Our neighborhood was decorated from the moment they turned in with purple and gold balloons (her school's colors!) lining all the mailboxes leading to her house. I need not say another single word about it because while my writing is full of holes (this doesn't apply to God's Word!), Janie's mom's writing (Emily) is Holy—no other word for it. So stop reading my blog and hop over to Emily's blog to read her wonderful Lazarus story on the grace of God in Janie's life.

     If you are just joining us, four high school senior girls were involved in a horrific car accident a little over a month ago. Click here to read a little bit I wrote earlier about the families. Janie was put into a medically-induced coma due to a brain injury, Tessa sustained multiple bone injuries (and came to church Sunday and received a standing ovation and clapping, as did Grace who was also there!) and the other two girls sustained injuries. Continue to pray for all these girls, and for Madeline who was driving at the time of the accident.

     To read Emily's blog, click here. Janie's Caring Bridge site is here.

 Walk by Faith,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our Disappointments are His Divine Appointments~Meet My College Girlfriends!


        Is this a happy bunch of women, or what? The picture above was taken this past weekend with a very special group of friends at our Meredith girls 20th annual college beach reunion on the east coast. We had a ball. We laughed together and we cried together. 
     There's nothing like being with people who you have lived with for four years—who know you so well—and somehow—still love you. That's true friendship! We truly love each other! Hi Jean! Hi Mae! Hi Ella! Hi Andrea, Booker, Jane, Bitsey, Lisa, Lou Ann, Amy, Kim, & Sheila!(missing those who couldn't come) We'll pick it right back up same time next yearlike a good ole pair of shoes. 

"A friend loves at all times, And a brother (we can add, sister, too!) is born for adversity."
~ Proverbs 17:7

     There is so much I could say about these friends and the bond we share. I've decided to do something totally different today, and let you get a sneak peak at what I said about them in my manuscript, but firsta little background.
      God's ways are mysterious, aren't they? We may plan our lives—but He determines the steps and is the giver of all good gifts. The story in the excerpt picks up below after I have just found out I did not get into the University of Virginia, my "first choice" college. 
      To read the one-page excerpt, click here. 
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      That refusal from the University of Virginia hurt when I read it all those years ago. Like a good doctor, God may have to hurt us, but he will never harm us. God's will for us is always the will of love! He has our best interests in mind!

      Here's one thing I do now with disappointment:

      Find a time when I can be alone with God.
      I close the door.
      I get on my knees. (Helps me recall He is GOD & I'm His!)
      I cup my hands. 
      I visualize the hurt or disappointment in my hands.
      I lift my hands up high over my head, with open cupped hands.
      As I turn my face up to Him, I acknowledge Him (aloud).
      I tell Him I am not going to lean on my understanding. 
      I offer the disappointment to God, and leave it with Him.
      I thank Him that He is in charge of my life.
      I entrust myself to Him anew again.
      Leave the consequences of my obedience in this thing to Him.

      The results of my obedience are none of my business; they are God's business. My business is to obey by giving the disappointment to Him. Our faith can actually be strengthened when we give our disappointment to Him in faith knowing nothing can reach us without gaining His permission first!  
      I'm so thrilled that my plans were refused all those years ago! It ended up being a gateway to joy, and how I met these wonderful girlfriends, my future husband, and ultimately—my Lord. God's refusals truly are His greatest mercies. Our disappointments are His appointments!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father" 
~James 1:17

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." 
~Proverbs 16:9

Walk by Faith,   

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Learning My Baby Was Blind Part 2 ~ Trusting God

I'm posting Part 2 today in the story how God led us in the birth of my daughter, Mary, who was born totally blind and with a cleft lip. To start where we left off last time, forward to 23 seconds. I will continue the clip above on Thursday in our blog series on trusting God in difficult circumstances.

I don't know what your situation may be, but I know the One who knows. He is able to guide you through something you perhaps would have never asked for, but have been given—it's what I call, "the gift of suffering." (I defined suffering earlier as, "having what you don't want, or wanting what you don't have.")

If you are just joining us, you can hear part one by clicking here.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be."
~Psalm 139:14-16

Walk by Faith, 

Friday, September 14, 2012

One Voice Sample & Janie/Tessa/Girls Update!

Many of you have been keeping up with Janie and Tessa, (and Grace and Madeline) the girls that were in a horrific car accident three weeks ago today in which the car tumbled over several times throwing the girls out of the car roof and windows like salt coming out of a shaker. Tessa sustained multiple bone injuries, and Janie was in a medically-induced coma for two weeks due to a brain shear. Click here to read more about their families.

We are rejoicing that Janie came out of the coma (the stone has been rolled away, as her mom called it referring to the resurrection power of Christ that rose Him from the grave!) and the other 3 girls are healing day by day. I thought you would like to see this picture taken in Janie's room (Grace on crutches, Tessa in wheelchair. I don't know Madeline...I know my sons do, but there are not here right now  could that be her in the sling? Let us know if you know! I was not there when this picture was taken!) I know one thing: it shouts, "Praise be to the living Lord!"

Janie is in a singing group called "One Voice," and they had sung at our church just 2 months before the accident. What rejoicing it will be when Janie stands up with them again and sing praises to her God!

Because I have a daughter that was born blind, I often record clips on my phone for her to enjoy several times after the fact! Enjoy this sound clip of One Voice with Janie singing with them last June, 2012. This song is a prayer. I will try to update words later, heading out to my college reunion, and my friend Ella is probably standing on the curb waiting for me to pick her up! Have a Christ-filled weekend! See you back here Monday as we continue our Trusting God in Everything in Your Life series! I prayed for you just now.

 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." ~Ephesians 3:22

Click here to read Janie's mom's awesome blog! You won't be the same after reading it!

Walk By Faith,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Learning My Baby Was Born Blind ~ Trusting God

In our series on Trusting God, and seeing God in everything, I'm posting this video clip to tell you the story of learning that my baby was born totally blind. (forward clip to 1:47 to begin story)

This current series on trusting God continues on Mondays and Thursdays. So—as they say in tv land—to be continued...For new readers, I blog on other topics like marriage or organization on most other days. (If I don't have anything to say, I just skip that day so I don't waste your time!) You can see my bio for more. So glad you joined us!

I hope you just watched the video! I was not in confusion when my daughter was born blind by God's grace, but perhaps there are some out there who are.

For those in confusion in your spiritual life, hang on to God confidently even if you don't understand and think He seems to you as if He was uncaring, unkind, and totally indifferent to you!

I wanted you to have this great word today from Oswald Chambers on how God is leading you:
"...taking you by a way which in the meantime you do not understand, and it is only by going through the confusion that you will get at what God wants...He will ultimately give you His clear revealing and justify Himself in all that He permitted...Stand in faith believing... though in the meantime you do not understand what He is doing."

You don't have to understand him to obey Him!

It's like we only get to see the underside of the tapestry; it's full of knots. God is working it all out into a beautiful design! 

"There are very few crises in life; the great crisis is the surrender of the will"
~ Oswald Chambers

"Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning." 
~Psalm 30:5

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose." 
~Romans 8:28

We walk by faith, not by sight,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Meet My Friends in Our Tuesday Morning Bible Study!!

Meet some of my real friends! Aren't they so beautiful?  I have been friends with some of these wonderful women for over 20 years! I wish I could tell you one thing I love about each person. There's only one person in the picture that's new to me, and I already feel sure she will be a new friend.

Hi Mary, Ashlie, Liz, Holly, Scottie, Carol, Susan, Rachel, Joan, Betsy, Pam, & Crystal! I love my sisters in the Lord! (L to R) 

I text one or two of my closest friends (Hi Brenda!) regularly if they don't already know about prayer requests or a weekend request for our children, and they text me in the same way. I love the support in prayer with my sisters.

I stood barefooted on Susan's beautiful sofa to get this picture for you, and forgot to even ask her if it was okay! (Susan is in the center in the pink blouse)

We just finished praying together using the ACTS method: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. We praised God, Confessed (silently if preferred), Thanked Him, and Presented our requests to Him.

It was a glorious time of constant, flowing, random conversation to the Lord as we all sat in a circle. (sorry those I missed who had just left & were not there! I love you, too! Emily will be joining us by October as our teaching leader; many of you have been praying for her daughter, Janie.) It was a glorious time.

When we finished, Joan (smiling above with glasses on who is our prayer coordinator for the study) said in her southern accent, "Now, whatin' that fun?" (that's how we say, "wasn't")

Look how the sun is pouring down on everyone! God loves it when we come into His presence to talk with Him. The sun looks like His arms around us giving us a great, big group hug! ((hug))

Next Tuesday, we'll be meeting for our first Bible study of the year, called Morning Glory! We also have a night group called Evening Grace that some other friends from our church are heading up. (Becky, we prayed for y'all!) Most likely I'll be blogging out to you a little later on Tuesdays.

We are all about to pop with excitement! (along with about 150 women who will be in the study of the book of John this year.) Most of the women in the big group picture are small group leaders that will have 14 women each in their group. Scottie, Ashlie, and Liz are our head cheerleaders and organizers extraordinaire!

My main job is the inside greeter—and my friend, Debbie—is the outside greeter. It's kinda like inside and outside sales, except we're not selling anything—we're giving away water—the Living Water of Christ, as we greet the beautiful array into the building of all the women into the study!

Have a wonderful day in the Lord, and I will see you right back here tomorrow. We started the new Monday series last Monday on my blog on Trusting God in Suffering, (with a video clip Intro blog before that) and I told you I might also do that study on Thursdays with you.

The Bible has so much to say on suffering/seeing God in everything! (and I've found encouragement through the pen of Hannah Whitall Smith, Ahn E. Souki, Elisabeth Elliot, George W. Carver, Helen Keller, my friend Emily, my daughter, Mary, who was born blind, and others.... that I want to make it a two-day-a-week-series!)

For you planners out there, I plan to blog on dealing with temptations and our failures in our next series next which will will start around November 1.

New readers, welcome! On Tuesdays, Wednesday or Fridays, you'll get anything on the blog from marriage to parenting to organization (ouch! did I say that? Yes! I need it!) to something my kids or blind daughter are up to if it ties in spiritually, to a great book—to a surprise!☺All of it is to encourage us (yes, me in there, too!) in the Lord! You are not alone in this!

I'm so glad you chose to spend time here. I don't take your reading for granted! I love and pray for you!

"My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; 
then I spoke with my tongue." ~Psalm 39:3

(I post video clips, soundbites, photos, & my pen because, like the Psalmist,
 I have a burning in my heart, for His glory!) 

Walk by Faith,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Surprising Someone You Love & Online Registration Opens Today for Oct 11 Speaking Event!

Online registration opens today for Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I will be the guest speaker on Thursday, October 11, 2012. I'll be speaking on, "Seeing God in Everything." Click here for registration.  

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Do you like surprises? Look at the surprise package we received in the mail on Saturday!

Doesn't this fruit look scrumptious? Our friends, Steve, Betsy & Kim sent us this fruit on Saturday after our youngest, Mary, who's blind, (new readers, see Mary's Story) recently sang How Great Thou Art at their dad's funeral. They had already given Mary a very generous Chic-fil-A gift card, but said they also wanted to give us this beautiful fruit!

The fruit came with a beautiful card telling a little bit about the peach. It totally brightens our kitchen up, and yesterday my hubby and I ate some of the peaches at lunch and they were ripened to perfection. 

The recipe at the top was tucked in our surprise box. All you need is honey, pecan, fresh peaches, and blue cheese. The peaches are heated on the grill first; I can't wait to try them. Let me know if you make them first!

I want to be a kind and considerate friend like our friends who sent us this beautiful gift.

They didn't have to do it; they wanted to do it! ☺

Don't you love to learn from the people that God has blessed you with in your life? The Bible says in Acts 20:35,  "...remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” 

Now I want to copy the kind act that Steve, Betsy, and Kim have done for us to someone else. (doesn't have to be same thing—just surprising someone that you appreciate with a simple gift.)

Who is someone you can bless today with some small, tangible gift? It doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive. It can just be a simple handwritten note on your husband's pillow, or a single pretty flower from your yard.

Update to this blog: their surprise gift so inspired me that today I mailed 3 care packages to my 2 college kids and my firstborn, and left my husband a note that says, "I love you!" It's amazing how a good influence can change you, a God thing!

"Be kind and compassionate to one another..."
~Ephesians 4:32

Walk by Faith,