Friday, November 30, 2012

Advent Devotions Begin Right Here on Dec 1!

Hi everyone! I’ll be daily blogging out a simple scripture until Christmas that you can read with your family to prepare your hearts for Christmas. A few minutes nightly will go a long way!

I know how hard it can be to focus on Jesus’ birthday with all we have to do to be ready for Christmas, so I promise you this simple time of reading a scripture at night with your family will help you to keep Christ uppermost in your heart. I’ll also suggest a short Christmas Carol and you can just sing the chorus together.

Wives, help your husbands by printing out the daily scripture that I‘ll blog out, making it easy for them so that all they have to do is sit down with their Bible and the family. Let him use it however he wants. I like us to gather in the room with the Christmas tree. 

Single moms can do this. Wives who have husbands who are not willing to do it—you can do it with your children when he is not around.

Okay, for you moms (or some dads!) that want to take it a step further, especially if you have little ones, I’ll be using Ann Hibbard’s fabulous book Family Celebrations: Meeting Christ in Your Holidays and Special Occasions if you want to make a simple felt advent tree.

You will making a simple felt figure to go along with the reading, like a star or a red heart very simple stuff. You can do it on the fly, the night of the reading if you have the felt and glue ready, or just paper and colored pencils or crayons. 

You could let little ones draw the suggested figure and put it on your real tree. For those who want to make the felt tree, go ahead and get the felt now, and I’ll tell you what to cut out each day. 

For those who want to make the felt tree (that you will re-use for years to come like us!), get a big strip rectangle of red felt about 48 inches by 30 inches. Get enough green felt to make a big, felt green tree that you will glue to the felt. Get lots of colors of the little 8 x 11 sheets of felt: red, black, yellow, purple, brown, etc. to make your daily symbols that you can pin to the tree after you sing your carol.

Even if you don’t plan to do the tree, read the scripture together. It will make a huge difference in your Christmas being meaningful as it focuses on keeping Christ the center of your Christmas!

And oh—thanks for the grace up front if I miss a day or two in 25. I’ll try to at the very minimum to just give you the scripture. I’m shooting for 25, but you know how life gets! Give yourself a little grace, too:-)
Walk by Faith,

Learn to See Christ in Your Husband (Part 5)

Brides eagerly come down the aisle—but for the Christian wife—the essence of what being a Christian is all about will be best displayed in marriage: denying ourselves. I'm talking to myself, too:-)

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.' " ~Matthew 16:24

Note from Juana: Jesus said, "would come," so "if anyone would come" means you don't have to be His followerbut if you are, if we are (I have to live by this, too!)—our trademark must be that we live a lifestyle characterized by denying ourselves.
Walk by Faith,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Learn to See Christ in Your Husband (Part 4)

Get your pen and paper out for the life-changing prayer I'll give in this one minute clip that I call the "Are you Willing?" prayer that I learned from Elisabeth Elliot (author is anonymous). We all want to know God's will— but first—are we willing to do it before He even shows it to us? It will change the kind of wives we can be.
I had the prayer I give in the clip in my kitchen for five years on a 3 x 5 card before my daughter, Mary, was born blind. This prayer ministered to me as I received what God had allowed into my baby's life. If you keep it in a prominent place, you will remember to pray it! Let's make it our life's prayer as natural as breathing so we are ready to do His will!

If you're just joining us, you can view the earlier clips in this marriage series:
Part 1: click here.
Part 2: click here.
Part 3: click here.
Walk by Faith,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Learn to See Christ in Your Husband (Part 3)

Today I'm posting part 3 of 7 short video clips on "Seeing Christ in Your Husband" from a recent talk I gave. If you missed part one, you can hear it by clicking here. For part two, click here. Today's key passage is Ephesians 5:33.
In the original talk last month, I addressed the first part of the scripture below too, but I deleted it from the blog clips so that I could focus on only the wife's part. Let me know if you want to hear that part, too.

"However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." ~Ephesians 5:33

Walk by Faith,

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving & my First Panoramic Picture!

I couldn't help but think of Psalm 68:6 that says, "God sets the lonely in families..." over Thanksgiving. My husband's mom is one of four sisters, and they all live in the same town they grew up in. It is wonderful on holidays, and Thanksgiving this year was my husband's birthday! 

He was born on Thanksgiving, and every so many years, it falls on Thanksgiving (I was the one taking the picture with the panoramic feature!) It's a little dark, but you can see all those Mikels relatives at the grandparents' house!
For those of you reading that are Americans, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I have been catching up cleaning and helping may youngest with homework, but we have much to cover this week on marriage. 

I became worried that I had lost my new and only DVD that I was pulling the marriage clips from a recent talk, but I found it today! Yay!! I had somehow put it in a book that I'm currently reading!!!

We will be back on track tomorrow with Part 3 of 7 video clips in our marriage series. I'll see you then! My husband needs me to give him a ride to drop his car off for repairs! Looking forward to connecting back with you this week after our extended holiday time!

Walk by Faith,

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from our Family to You!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!

Psalm 100*

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.    
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

*Psalm 100 was read by the pilgrims after they disembarked the ship when their feet touched the ground in the new world.

We thank you Lord, for eternal life, family, friends, our church and health! May everyone have a very blessed Thanksgiving as we remember that all good things are from above!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Walk by Faith, 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Our Family's Favorite Thanksgiving Resources!

First off today, enjoy this one minute audio clip (screen is black) as you think about those first small group of Christians known as pilgrims who journeyed across the vast ocean to start a Christian nation! You will LOVE this clip; I think it only works thought on the web view, not the mobile view. I get so inspired listening to the roots of our Christian heritage! 

This sample is excerpted from "Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember," by Barbara Rainey. I highly encourage you to listen to all of itperhaps in your holiday travels in the car!

Today I'm giving you all of our family's favorite Thanksgiving books! Curl up with your child and read such great picture books like, Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness. It tells the story on one year between 1620 and 1621 of the Allerton family. Her illustrations are marvelous—as you can see below!

C.S. Lewis said any book worth reading at 5 should be worth reading at 95! These are those kind of books! (The Bradford book below is for older children or adults from the journals of William Bradford.)

All of these books are excellent, and you will feel as though you are there! They are faith-building when you realized all the obstacles the pilgrims faced and yet—they were thankful people of faith. They had to be to even take the step of faith to face the perils of the sea to begin a new Christian nation.

I have read them all many times over with our children and never tire of them (the only one I have not read above is the Stories Behind the Hymns that Inspire America by Ace Collins, but I have read others of his books in his the story behind the hymn series and he is excellent.
 ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ 

What if that group of Christian men and women—who journeyed across the ocean in September of 1620 after saying goodbye to their friends and family—could come back today in 2012 to witness the great nation that they began with just a few people and a strong faith in God? 

Would our lives honor God and all the sacrifices and hardships they endured? 

Let's seek to bring glory to God together this Thanksgiving by living lives worthy of our calling in Christ Jesus!
Happy Thanksgiving! Walk by Faith,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yummy Pumpkin Bars!

I made these pumpkin bars yesterday for a friends' birthday (Happy Birthday, Lisa!) after having them myself at a friends' house. The name "pumpkin bars" doesn't do them justice; they should be called something like "Frosted Pumpkin Delight"—they are so good and easy to make!
Now I'm not a food blogger as a rule! This was the second time I made this recipe, and I was so excited to take pictures for you but between the mixing and the pictures, I couldn't remember if I had just put in the baking soda or the baking powder as I was adding! I think I put double of one and not enough of the other!

The center ended up being soggy! So I fear I did but 2 teaspoons of the wrong ingredient! When I give you the recipe at the end of this blog, just don't make my mistakes and you will love this dessert!  

Later, I was supposed to soften the butter and the creme cheese for the icing—not melt the butter (which is what I ended up doing by accident!) So hopefully next time I make this, I will get it right & the icing will be nice and fluffy like it was the first time I made it.

I want you to have fun when you go about your work! So put on good music while you cook—whatever are your favorites that inspire you:-) I put on Handel's Messiah as I was working in the kitchen making the pumpkins bars—I mean the frosted pumpkin delight! 

The cinnamon mixed with the pumpkin was a scrumptious aroma! The cream cheese icing is fabulous!

The recipe follows (I got it via my friend Wendy from Internet; Google: Food Network, Paula Dean, Pumpkin Bars)

Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.
To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Walk by Faith,

Monday, November 19, 2012

Learn to See Christ in Your Husband (Part 2)

Today I'm posting part 2 of 7 short video clips on Seeing Christ in Your Husband from a recent talk I gave. If you missed part one, you can hear it by clicking here. (Key passage: Ephesians 5:22)
Walk by Faith,

Saturday, November 17, 2012

See Christ in Your Husband! YouTube Clip

My "See Christ in Your Husband" short vlog series begins today! Filmed last month, I'll be airing this talk in my blog so you can hear the whole thing. So grateful for Elisabeth Elliot who made God's truth for Christian wives so clear to me. The foundational passage is Matthew 25:35-40.

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink... 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' " ~Matthew 25:35,40 
Walk by Faith,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Inspiring Christian Wives Pinterest Board By Courtney Joseph & Nancy Cobb's Marriage Tips

Finally! Today I'm giving you the other half of my notes and pearls of wisdom from wonderful speaker and author Nancy Cobb who I had the chance to hear two weeks ago (for the first half, click here). Thank you loyal readers for putting up with my blogging style that says, "Tomorrow I'll be writing on...." and then the next day I totally write on something else.

When you make as many mistakes as I do, I hate to pass up an opportunity for you to learn off of my blunders hot off the press!! Sort of a this-is-what-you-don't-do approach! I guess by now my dear regular readers have come to learn that tomorrow may mean literally tomorrow—or it may mean in a soon-to-come tomorrow!

Now, don't you love to read posts that encourage or challenge you to be a godly wife? That kind of pre-qualified, focused surfing is not a waste of time, but can speak right into your life from like-minded Christian wives.

So now, I want to tell you about a new Pinterest Board that I'm excited to be a part of! Christian blogger and author Courtney Joseph has added me as a contributor to a new Pinterest Board on her Pinterest page called Inspiring Christian Wives. You will love reading the pins of the wives she has invited to post there. I'm honored to be among them. To God be the glory!

Don't you love finding out about a gold nugget like that among the huge waters of the Internet? You can also find that board on my Pinterest page by clicking the Pinterest symbol on the top right hand corner of my website, or by clicking here.

Now, to Nancy Cobb's marriage key points; we were on point 6:

     6. Respect and accept your husband as he is (Nancy did qualify this to say if he is asking you to do immoral things or abusing you to seek counsel immediately). Say in front of the children things like, "I respected the way you handled that."

     7. Be one with your husband (Genesis 2:24) Put your husband ahead of your children. Don't hold your baby in front of your hubby and say things like, "You are the dearest one in the world to me;" instead say, "You are the dearest in the world to US!" Be intimate with him behind closed doors. The only reason the Bible says we are not to be intimate is to pray! Is that really your only reason for saying no? Are you really saying no because you both have agreed to pray during that time? (it's not very likely that's the reason yet that is the only reason scripture gives). Nancy said, "Don't turn him down, turn him on!" Oh my girls!!! Did you hear that? This is Biblical, it's the truth!!! We need to live that way, don't we? 

     8. Point eight said, "________________ for a married woman," but I missed getting that point! I have what the point meant though! (if you figure out what went in the long blank, then tell the rest of us!) I'm not a perfectionist or I could never blog! Ha! Ha! Boy, have I thought about what this point meant a bunch since Nancy said it. It was based on Genesis 2:18 which states that it's not good for man to be alone!

Is your husband lonely? Be his companion! You are his helper! Model noticing him and teach your children to say hi (as well as you) as your husband comes and goes.

Learn what interests him. Really learn about it. Nancy's husband loved football, and she bought a book on football. She learned so much and she could really discuss football strategies and plays with her husband. They were such companions with football that they eventually traveled to the Houston Astrodome to watch it live!
This is the Houston Astrodome where Nancy and her husband once went to enjoy a big football game!
She learned all about football to be a good companion so he would not be alone, and to help her husband.
Now it's a fond memory she now enjoys as her husband has gone on to be with the Lord.
Nancy was also her hubby's companion as he cut grass! She would literally watch him cut the rows and she would bring him a cool towel to wipe his sweat and a large glass of iced tea. She would compliment him on how nice the grass looked to the point he would often say, "So how do you want me to cut the grass today? On the diagonal? Which way do you like best?"

     9. Be submissive to your husband. (1 Cor 9:3; Ephesians, sorry I will update where this is later today! If you get to it first, feel free to put it in the comment section below:) She simply stated we all know what submission means because it is all in society—department stores, police, military, etc.

She said do these things a little bit at the time. She said don't try to suddenly do them all at once. She said she began doing them over a three day period at a time in her life when she was dissatisfied with her marriage and she said you can jump start your marriage in three days.

She remembers her husband spoke unkindly to her one evening. The next morning she greeted him with the newspaper, coffee, and a kiss. He replied, "I don't deserve this the way I talked with you last night." She responded, "I love you. I want to do this for you."
Walk by Faith,

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Me, Exercise?

I am writing you to the sound of Mary playing her violin! I love to hear her play. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord! She has a recital on Sunday afternoon. I wish you could come!! I'll post a bit of her playing in it next week:-) Her teacher says you must play the piece you are going to play in the recital 7 times a day for 7 days before the recital day!

Her teacher wants her to do well, and she knows that the piece must become second nature.

Well, I know one thing that is not second nature in my life. I mentioned it yesterday.


I just plain don't do it, and I know I am a terrible example in that area which really bothers me. I know that I am unbalanced to not be doing it.

You are not going to believe this.

Yesterday immediately after I wrote you the golf ball and sand story, I checked my email. I had an e-blast from the manager of a very large fitness center that was sent to all former members (I joined last year and felt I could have thrown the money down the drain quicker). I started out enthusiastically enough, but I missed a very days and then...I stopped going altogether so I cancelled my membership last spring.

Well the e-blast said we could come back for "free" till the end of the year as a trial.

I called and asked if it really really was "free" even if I decided not to join up at the end.

He said, "Yep, free." So tomorrow I am going. Please pray for me. This is the hardest thing in the world for me to do. I won't go through all my excuses, but I am going to give this thing another try. He also gave me a pass for Mary (for new readers, she is my youngest who I just told you played the violin and was born blind).

That was so smart, because I will do for Mary what I won't do for myself! But I still need prayer!

I need to practice what I preach in this and walk by faith that God will help me drive my car there and actually GO!

Am I alone in this struggle? Anyone else out there in the same boat? Anyone got any tips for us can't-seem-to-make-exercise-happen peeps??

OK, tomorrow I will give you the rest of my notes from wonderful speaker and author Nancy Cobb and a surprise new Pinterest Board from author and blogger Courtney Joseph!!!! It's all coming tomorrow!
Walk by Faith,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Golf Balls and Sand Story

I'm finally sitting down to write you. I had to get my golf balls and pebbles in the jar first! If you have no idea what I'm talking about—I'll tell you.

Let's say you had a small bowl of golf balls, a small bowl of pebbles, and a bowl of sand. Let's say you wanted to put them all into the jar. If you started with the sand and poured it into the jar, you wouldn't be able to fit the pebbles all into the jar—nor all the golf balls.
If you started with the golf balls, added the pebbles, and poured the sand in last—everything would fit as the sand would simply fill into the empty spots—just slipping in and around the other stuff that was inserted into the jar first.

The golf balls stand for the really important things in our lives. I'll give you an example from today in my life (at the risk of sounding like a know-it-all which is a joke for we all know I need all the help I can get! I'm the person who once tried to use a cell phone as a mouse for my laptop wondering just what was the problem with the cursor not budging. Not kidding you—that was me with about a few thousand other stories that unfortunately are terribly worse!!! One confession that haunts me is coming below. Keep reading).

Today some of my golf balls have included helping Mary get ready for school, taking her and picking her up from school, talking with my husband during lunch, attending Tuesday morning Bible study, and making some soup for my son who came home from school today with a stomach bug. (I say some because the day is not over, it is 4 o'clock P.M. EST on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 as I write this so there will be some more golf balls today!)

By the way, golf balls also include anything an authority in your life asked you to do.

My pebbles would be the things next in importance to be done today. Some of my pebbles included mailing our other daughter, Blair, some of her things she wanted and helping my younger daughter with her violin practice. I'm not positive, but I think my shower is a pebble. I definitely keep moving it around the golf balls. 

The sand stands for the other things that I still want to accomplish today that I "fill in" into the jar, because remember, if we start with the sand, we won't be able to get everything in the jar. One sand item is the load of laundry being dried as I hear the comforting humming of the dryer. (I say comforting because the dryer makes me feel empowered that I am accomplishing at least two things at one time!)

I sort of feel that if the sand got pushed to tomorrow, it would be okay. That's a good way to differentiate it from a golf ball item, or even a pebble. (Some items can move depending on their urgency. Paying a bill today that is not due for 2 weeks may be a sand item today, but if it is due in 2 days or there will be a hefty late fee, it just moved up to a golf ball.)

So now, at 4:00 P.M. I am able to write to you. I hope you are not offended that you are in the sand! My whole purpose in this little corner of cyberspace is to bring glory to God while encouraging you! But I know full well—if I start with you when I have golf balls to do—I may never get to my golf balls which would translate into not making my family a top priority and being a horrible witness to you!!!

So it is a win-win when I do it God's way! (I must admit that my nature if left to my own devices would be to write to you soon after my feet hit the floor---followed by checking my twitter and facebook accounts!) I have to guard against that desire & keep twitter and facebook in the "fill in" part so that I can keep the main thing...the main thing!

Some of you may be wondering...but Juana—where is your quiet time? Isn't that a golf ball in your life and you haven't even mentioned it today?

Yes it is a golf ball in the jar! It lays the foundation for the rest of the day as I read my Bible and pray. I also pray that the Lord will help me prioritize what I have planned for the day and He gives me direction as to what order to do things in.

BUT, on Tuesdays, because I go to Bible study—I don't have my quiet time early in the morning. Others do I know even on Bible study days and Sundays—but I don't have my quiet time early in the morning before the day gets going on those days. On those days, I have it later in the day (like on Sundays, it is usually not until about 4 o'clock in the afternoon for me.)

I also wanted to mention a big golf ball in my life that is, well—not even in the jar on most days. That is exercise. I confess to you that it needs to be, but it is not right now. I need to change that. (I would covet your prayers on that).

Well, I was going to give you some more teaching today via my time hearing speaker and author Nancy Cobb just a couple of weeks ago. I think the golf ball post was needed more today for someone. Maybe I'm the only one who needed to be reminded of that analogy! So we will pick back up with our marriage talk next time.

For new readers, you can read the first part of my notes from Nancy's talk on "Jump Start Your Marriage in Three Days," by clicking here.

The gist of the notes so far from Nancy said:

  • Invite Jesus into your marriage
  • Avoid the curse of Eve
  • Live under grace
  • Remain sane and sober
  • Be forgiving or God will come after you
Next time, we will pick up on Nancy's very next point to jump start your marriage!
Walk by Faith,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans' Day Video

Our pastor Leon showed this "In Their Own Words" clip yesterday for Veterans' Day before honoring all veterans who were present in the service. Hug and thank a veteran today!

Click here to see the clip.

Walk by Faith,

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Notes From Nancy Cobb on Marriage

Just a couple weeks ago, I was able to go hear author Nancy Cobb speak on marriage. She was excellent, and I wanted to pass my notes along to you!

A. God's Job description for your marriage
     1. Invite Jesus into your marriage (John 2)  Show love, patience, friendliness (Don't talk bad about him in front of kids) Nancy shared with us that years ago she had run out of love for her husband. Her little girl came up to her one day and said, "Mama, I want you to divorce Daddy!" Nancy asked her daughter why she said that. Her little girl said, "Because he's SO loud!" Nancy quickly thought of a story to tell her. She said that daddy was like a big grizzly bear and his roar was loud. It was loud because if anything tried to harm it's little cubs that the daddy bear loved so much, he could roar really loud to scare away anything that tried to harm his precious cubs! The little girl replied, "I love my darling daddy!"
     2. Avoid the curse of Eve (Genesis 3:16) We read in Genesis that part of the curse after sin entered the world is that we would have pain in childbirth and  we would try to control our husbands. She said to learn not to try to control our husbands and argue with them, but to embrace the grace we have in Christ. She said if her husband fussed at her for not folding her pants the way he asked her to, she would say (graciously, not sarcastically)..."How would you like me to fold them?"  She said it takes two people to argue and that usually we naturally try to control them and we say something argumentative back, to which they say something, to which we say something back... and that is how arguments start. She said, what is he going to say if we simply say and mean it, "I'm sorry. How would you like me to fold them?" I can still see Nancy up at the podium saying, "What's he going to say if you  say that?"
     3. Live under grace. (Ephesians 5:24) God provides for the woman who is obedient to His word. Don't let your home be a place of arguments! Children do not feel secure when Mama and Daddy are always arguing. Talk friendly in the home to one another. 
     4. Remain sane and sober. (Titus 2:3-5) She said ask Jesus to help you to be sane and sober. She said she "use to be insane." She said combustible people will just blow up in front of people! She said that is why if you google how many men say my wife is driving me crazy, there are thousands of more hits that the other way around. She said if you feel like you are going to respond by blowing up, leave the room! She said you can also drive yourself crazy. (She said the amplified version of the Titus passage actually uses the word be "sane.")
     5. Be forgiving or God will come after you. (Matthew 18:21-35) In this Bible passage, the king comes after the man who was unforgiving! Nancy reminded us that happiness is a choice. She said many say they cannot forgive. What they mean is they won't! We can choose to forgive! You can choose to forgive and the feelings are not there, but they will catch up!

By the way, here are three books on my nightstand that I'm reading right now by Nancy Cobb. I'm blessed in that I believe my husband does listen to what I have to say (See the title of her 2nd book below), but I want to read to learn anything that Nancy has to say that I can pass on to you!):
She had a few more points that I will give you next time we meet back here. I do hope the blog is making a practical difference in your life. Have a great weekend and remember not to let reading the blog replace your being in a church on Sunday morning where Christ is lifted up! I love you dear friend!
Walk by Faith,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Broken Marriage Mended Story

Whew! Busy Day! I'm at the periodontist with my son and he is actually in surgery! He'll be fine, he is getting a new tooth (well almost new, it's plastic I think!)

I was able to give my testimony this morning which always has me thinking about God's faithfulness. Here I was, 26, an unbeliever and didn't even know it. Terry and I were college sweethearts (we met the first Friday at school my first week of college and we dated the next 4 years!) I never had another date in college except my Terry. 

We married and at first we had the All-American marriage. Both of us had great jobs in sales with Fortune 500 companies. We both won annual sales recognition trips to wonderful cities. A lot of our college friends lived in town and we got together and grilled out with them on the weekends. Then, two years into the marriage, I became disillusioned. I felt that something was missing. I cried when I was idle. 

Terry would be getting ready to wash his car on beautiful Saturday mornings, and I would be crying saying I didn't want us to get divorced, and that something was missing.

I didn't know the 2 things that would prevent any two people from getting a divorce: seeking unity in the marriage and seeking the good of the other person.

I ended up leaving Terry just after turning 26. We were separated for 2 years. During that time, I became a Christian. I later wanted to reconcile with Terry, but by that point he no longer wanted to be married to me.

There's so much to tell, but not enough time here! (pray my agent locates a pubisher in God's timing!) 

We reconciled two years after separating. Terry became a Christian 7 years after me. 

I shutter to think all I would have missed had I not gotten on God's path! Next April, we will celebrate our 32 wedding anniversary.

A little bit over a year after our reconciliation we were blessed with our first child! We now have four beautiful children: Blair, John, Alex and Mary. (For new readers, Mary was born blind, her story is here.)

After I give my testimony, I often play this slide show with my favorite life verses. I know you couldn't be there this morning, so here's the slide show!!! Enjoy watching how God restored the years the locusts ate in my life! (Joel 2:25)

I'll be showing clips of the talk very soon on the blog, so it will really be like you were there too, no matter where you live! In the meantime, enjoy my life verses and pictures!
Walk by Faith,

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote & In God We Trust!

The media has stated that the evangelical vote may determine the outcome of today's vote in America. Get out today and vote those candidates who support Biblical principles. 

Never take your vote lightly—your vote matters! 

Let's vote with a kingdom perspective, it is not "who" we vote for (Republican, Independent, Democrat) but "how" we vote: with a Biblically informed conscience. "God didn't come to take sides, he came to take over." (Dr. Tony Evans) We are aware of who is really in charge so let's all together say our national motto that is what makes this nation great:


Let's together pray today: Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven! Our eyes are upon You, O Lord! 

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." ~Romans 13:1

Walk by Faith, 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Marriage Prayer

"God help me and forgive me for being much more interested in my own good rather than my husband's good, and failing to contribute to my husband's blessing. Lord, how can I respond in such a way as to bind us together in deeper harmony and deeper unity in Jesus Christ? Lord, show me what I can do to make my husband's life as easy and as pleasant as I can."  ~taught to me by Elisabeth Elliot

I insert my husband's name everywhere it says "my husband" and have this prayer written out on a card. At one time—for years actually—I had this prayer along with other prayers for my husband up on a bulletin board in my closet where no went except me for quiet time with a small lamp, my Bible and a note pad. Now I sit at the kitchen table with my Bible, and have the prayers I want to pray written down loosely placed in a folder. If the weather is nice, I sit on the back porch. The place doesn't matter. What matters is getting alone with God to read His word and pray.

I like to pray the above prayer along with the "I'll Take Him" prayer that I gave you in a recent blog.

Stay with me, as we continue in this marriage blog series for practical ways we can demonstrate our faith in Christ—specifically by the kind of a wives we are becoming.
Walk by Faith,

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Winners of the 3 Book Giveaway!

Thank you all for participating in my book giveaway this week! We will have more giveaways in future blogs! The winner of the 3 book set is......

Danita P.! Congratulations to Danita who will receive FierceWomen by Kimberly Wagner, How Should Christians Vote by Dr. Tony Evans, and the 40 Day Prayer Guide For Our Nation. Danita, please contact at juanamikels(at)gmail(dot)com. I need your mailing address and I will get them in the mail to you.

The runner-up was Kenneth P.! If for some reason I do not hear from Danita by Sunday, November 4, midnight, then the books will go to our runner-up!

May everyone have a Christ-filled weekend, and I'll see you back here next week!
Walk by Faith,

Friday, November 2, 2012

Make Your Hubby's Life as Pleasant & Easy as You Can

We have company coming tonight and I'd like to make my friend Liz's wonderful chocolate trifle cake. I've never made it. My husband's college friends and their wives are in town for a homecoming football game tomorrow (they're mine too, but my husband went to school with the guys!). He's already told me that if I run out of time just to serve ice cream—but I really want to make this. See how yummy it looks?
We've started a series on marriage and there is a LOT to it! Today I want to give you a prayer that I've given before, but we have so many wonderful new readers that I want everyone to have it (repetition is good for us all, too, right?)  I learned it from Elisabeth Elliot and I named it the "I'll Keep Him Prayer."

"Lord, he's your man. He's the one you've given to me—his peculiarities and his personality, you gave me. I'll take it. Help me Lord; show me ways, Lord, to make his life as pleasant and as easy as I can. Now Lord, you work in him the changes You think need to be done. Fulfill your purposes. Help me to remember 'in acceptance lieth peace. ' "(Amy Carmichael)

Start praying that prayer early or a time of day when you can be still and quiet before God. I really think when we pray for our husbands, God gives us the right perspective and our time when we see them will be better because of it. So, if they say or do something that cuts across our will, we can remember our prayer and say to the Lord, "Lord, he's the one you've given me, I'll take him."

Believe me, there's a whole lot of women out there that would love to have your husband, but he's the one the Lord has given you. Do you have a grateful heart? Yikes, I know I'm stepping on a lot of toes! 

Do we want to take on Grandmother Eve's attitude that said, "I know better than you, God. I'm going to believe the enemy's lies and not believe you and do things my way" ? Do we really think we can have a contest of wills with the all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God of the universe? I don't think so.

May we seek to have the attitude of Christ that shouts, "My life for yours." He didn't think equality with God a thing to be grasped but made Himself nothing when He took on the very nature of a servant. He became obedient unto death!

If He is to be our supreme model, we too, have to die! We have to suffer little deaths all day long. Die to our own plans. Die to our own agenda. Die to our own way.

I'll give you a teeny weeny example of dying to self. 

Any writer will tell you not to do what I'm about to do, because it will fall into the category of "tooting my own horn" so-to-speak. I somehow think it may help someone, so at the risk of sounding like some kind of a know-it-all saint, I'm going to give this example. Just know that there are plenty of things that I totally miss and mess up on and if you run into Terry todayI'm sure he could provide you a few thousand examples of those. I just want to share a teeny weeny victory with you I had a couple days ago.  

I like soft tacos. My husband likes burritos. I don't like burritos because they always come with rice and I don't  want rice in my burrito. The other night my son and I were running out to pick up Mexican take-out, and my husband and I like to split one burrito because we each don't want a whole one. The last two times I just got it like I like them... pinto beans, no riceplus a lot of other stuff. 

This time my husband had the list the way he liked it all written down. Rice! Are you kidding me? Black beans? No way! They're not half as good as pintos! 

Long story short, I told him I would get the rice on the side and he could put it on. I didn't have a bean solution yet. When I opened my mouth to order the burrito the way I like them, in my mind I heard my prayer, "to make his life as pleasant and as easy as I can."

Asking my man to reopen his neatly tucked burrito when he's hungry and can't wait to eat and add in his ingredients separately that I had all packed individually didn't match my prayer. 

So when the clerk said, "What would you like on it?" In the flash of an instant, my hands opened my husband's list and my voice read it out. It was really simple!

I thought, "It won't kill me to eat rice! In fact, people in other countries would love to have a bowl of nothing but just rice!"

... as pleasant and as easy as I can ...

(I must admit, I thought of you all, too at some point! The Holy Spirit and your accountability help me to do better!!!)

Later on, I was dying to say, "Did you notice Hun, that I had your burrito made just like you like it?" In fact, I could hardly taste my food because I kept waiting for him to notice my huge sacrifice on his behalf. But the Holy Spirit put a bridle on my mouth as I heard the Lord whisper in my ear, "It is enough that I know. Don't say anything. Keep your mouth shut. This is our secret. Remember your life is hid in Christ."

Unless Terry reads this, he has no idea—and it's going to stay that way because while he buys my computer and software and supports me writing youhe doesn't read it! (that's probably for the best!)

 ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ 

When we offer to God all that we are, have, do and suffer to be his—WE CAN REST.

We can rest knowing that the God of the universe is pleased with us and He will never leave us or forsake usand He always has our best interest in mind. He will work out everything in our life for His good pleasure and His good pleasure is always to conform us to the image of His son.

So instead of copying Grandmother Eve, let's copy the Son. 

And let's copy the beautiful, humble attitude of Mary who said, "Be it unto me, Lord, according to your word." She was saying not my way God, but your way

Do you want to be that kind of a woman?

I'm not a different kind of a Christian because I am a woman and wife, I am a different kind of a woman and wife because I am a Christian!

Even though you are on the other side of this computer or phone, I'm so glad you've chosen to spend a few minutes here. I want us both to take seriously what kind of a practical difference Christ makes in our lives on Tuesday morning, on Friday afternoon, and on Monday night. 

He wants to make a tangible difference in our lives. Let's be iron sharpening iron with one another. 

I'll see you back here tomorrow morning bright and early to announce the winner of my 3 books to one winner giveaway. If you have not entered and would like to, go to this link on my site (click HERE), and in the comment section leave a note that says, "I want to win the free books!"  It closes at midnight tonight!

Walk by Faith,