Friday, August 31, 2012

I Saw this Jesus Poster in Public Bathroom

Many of you know that friends of ours were in a terrible car accident one week ago today in which the car tumbled over several times. 

Our family was out of town when my husband got word of the accident, and we began joining countless others in lifting the families up to the Lord. With a heavy heart, I stepped into a bathroom in a public ice cream shop, and as I left—I suddenly was struck with the words, "AND HE SHALL BE CALLED..."—this poster was on the back of the door!

As I stood there, I was awed with WHO HE IS as I stood as I read the list of names for our Lord! I have chills right now reading the names of Christ.

I later talked with the owner of the shop to thank him for having that in the restroom! He told me it has hung there for 25 years. He said they had posters before and people always defaced them. He said, in 25 years, no one has written a word on the poster of the names of Christ. 

I told Emily about it (my good friend and sister in Christ whose daughter was in the accident and is in a coma as of this writing) and I texted it to both Emily and Lisa today (Lisa's daughter Tessa sustained multiple injuries in the accident). You may read Emily's blog at Soli Deo Gloria that she is writing at her daughter's bedside.

I introduced the readers to Emily's family and Lisa's family in a post earlier this week called Meet the Fountain and the Jones Families. Four high school girls were injured and two remain in the hospital. Janie, Emily's daughter, who was unconscious at the scene was placed on a medically-induced coma, and Tessa, the Jones' daughter, sustained multiple bone fractures and has undergone multiple surgeries. Please continue to pray for all the girls.

Walk by Faith,

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Unglued Webcast is TONIGHT! 8PM EST

Yikes, I nearly missed this again! I will try to give you more notice next time!

LIVE TONIGHT from Lisa Terkeurst is a free Webcast for women on the topic of conflict resolution tonight! I just love one of her guests tonight, Courtney Joseph, who I met last month. She is a ball of fire, and talks more than me! (that is a LOT of talking!)

You just wait, I mean it in a totally good way!
She can talk about 120 mph and you won't want to miss the great wisdom this young wife and mom has! She is such an encouraging speaker!

The second LIVE Unglued web-cast is tonight at 8pm EST!
Last week we had a bit of a traffic jam as everyone tried to log on to view the web-cast. I guess you could say K-LOVE’s server just came Unglued! This week we will be streaming from my website and are ready for round 2! So bring on the traffic!
On this web-cast I am going to tackle the topic of Conflict Resolution. My special guests will be two sensational bloggers we all love, Kelly Stamps and Courtney Joseph, as well as the President of the American Association of Christian Counselors, Dr. Tim Clinton!
And best of all, you can watch in your PJ’s from the comfort of your own home!
All you have to do to tune in is come right here, www.lysaterkeurst.comat 8pm EST tonight.
Walk in Faith,

Mary's First Day of School Pics! Then & Now!

Here's the first day of school8th grade2012! ☺

This is Mary's pen and paper! It is how she takes notes. (called a BrailleNote)

Her science homework!

Here's what she types her math and her letters to us from camp on. She says it all in 6 keys for Braille that we say with our 26 keys. Yes, that's dog hair on it, like a lot of things in our house!

What's the first day without a doctor's appointment! Here's Mary about to see her orthodontist extraordinaire! Dr. B! (And he lives next door to us. Talk about service!)

"... for we walk by faith, not by sight."  ~Corinthians 5:7

And this was some of our first days in our homeschool journey school ~  homeschooling our 4 kids ~ such joy ~ 13 years of homeschooling!

Alex teaching Mary to sort the silverware! ☺

I believed if the missionary Gladys Aylward could lead 100 Chinese orphans over the mountains in 1938 when they were invaded by the Japanese—this same mighty God that was her God was my God—and I knew He would help us teach our 4 children at home. Everyone always asked homeschoolers.... "But what about socialization?" If you treat your family with courtesy, you are far more likely to treat others well! 

By the way, Alex went on to public high school where he became president of his class of 511 in 2011 - 2012! And John, he is social chair in his fraternity at a university!

When we studied castles, my older kids made a portcullis for Mary to crawl through. That's when I learned what one is!

Mary first learning to read Braille dots! 

Blair, John, and Alex making mosques when we studied Isalm. Blair was such a good craft teacher!

Mary felt like she was a big babysitter when our little friend Adrianna came over, 
while her daddy installed some cabling for us. She "read" to her.

Here's Mary's first day of public school ~ 2008!  This was my very first blog entry ever!

I tagged it "Mary this morning before first day of 4th grade."  What was that about? I didn't know what a tag was!

Whether your kids go to public school or private school or home-school, we are all called to point them to Christ. They belong to Him. What an awesome privilege. May we treasure each day with themfor they fly away so fast.

"The years of our life are seventy,
    or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
    they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger,
    and your wrath according to the fear of you?
So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom."
~ Psalm 90:10-12

"Train a child in the way he should go,
    and when he is old he will not turn from it."
~Proverbs 22:6

Walk in Faith,

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Live Webcast Replay Now & Until Tomorrow Night with Lysa Terkeurst!

I almost forgot to tell you about the replay of the live web cast that was broadcast earlier this month! You can view it now and until tomorrow night (August 30) with Lysa Terkeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, and NY Times bestselling author.

She told our live audience of 650 at the She Speaks Conference that she surprised herself when she realized how candid she was about her own failures when re-reading her own new Unglued book.

It just hit the bookshelves earlier this month and already is on the bestseller list!

K-LOVE and Proverbs 31 Ministries presents the “Unglued” Women’s Webcast replay to help you make everyday life decisions in the midst of raw emotions. The Webcast was hosted by K-LOVE’s Amy Baumann, Amanda Carroll, Kelli Caldwell and Lauren Lee along with New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst and you can view the webcast right here online in the comfort of your own home. 

So if you catch yourself becoming "unglued," girls, tune in! You will need to create a free account to watch it. Don't wait too long—they take it off tomorrow night!

Walk in faith,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meet the Fountain & the Jones Families

I searched my Christmas Ziploc bags in the attic for pictures of the Fountain and the Jones Families. Many of you have been praying for these families who are good friends of ours whose daughters were in a severe car accident and who are still hospitalized.

First is the wonderful Fountain family. Preyer, Mary Norris, Richard, Peter, and Janie (L to R. Janie is the one who was in the accident).

Janie is in a medically induced coma and on a respirator. Pray that she not get a lung infection, and that she will respond to simple commands. Janie loves singing and tennis (she's sings in a group called OneVoice). I know this sounds funny, but I think of Janie everytime I take the lint out of the dryer. Emily once told me Janey loved that job when she was little. I lifted her up to the Lord again for His touch with the untold others who are praying—as I scraped the lint off today.

Emily writes a Christmas letter that I can't wait to get each December. (My Mary, who many of you know is blind captures Emily's high energy and incredible busy life with 5 children in her crack impersonation of her.)☺ Stop reading my blog and read Emily's at Soli Deo Gloria. She is now blogging bedside from Janey's ICU room. You will want to check out Emily's blog—I promise—you will not be the same after reading it.

I couldn't help but include the picture below even though it's a couple years old.

As for Richard, Emily's husband—everyone says he looks like Robert Redford. I agree! Don't you think so? To top it off, his favorite all-time movie is Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford stars in it if you haven't seen it). Richard came to know the Lord when he was still under his 20s at a Billy Graham crusade.☺

Now meet the Jones Family. Lisa, Tessa, Mary Courtney, Troy, Rob, and Clay. (L to R) This picture wass a few years ago—but I grabbed it when I saw it just now—the attic temp was rising—it would Christmas 2012 before I got this out! I want you to see who you are praying for.

Tessa is the one who was in the accident. She remembers everything and is very concerned about the other three girls. Tessa suffered multiple fractures, and has had wrist, shoulder, and hip surgery. She also has back fractures. (Her dad had very similar fracturea when he broke his back pole vaulting in college and missed the pad—from what Lisa told us—the back has to heal itself. Rob became an orthopaedic surgeon:-)

Tessa runs cross country—but I think her favorite activity is TALKING!!! A young woman after my heart!☺(Update to this blog: we saw Lisa and Tessa yesterday, and Tessa had her third surgery—her hip today, 8/29. I posted a very brief update of our visit here.)

Here's Tessa's brother Troy, with her before her neck brace was taken off: (I didn't take this, I wasn't there) Troy tweeted it with, "couldn't have asked to be with anyone else on my last day of summer."

We all live about a quarter a mile from each other and worship together at the same church—as do several other families who all live in the same neighborhood. Emily is our women's Bible study leader beginning in two weeks (she has a back-up teacher). And girls love going to younglife whose mission is to bring the good news of Christ to adolescence whose laughter and LOUD singing I could hear in our basement when we were blessed with the 80 or so kids here when it was our son's Alex's turn to host younglife.

I want to end today with what both families put in their Christmas Cards.

The Jones put Matthew 19:26 ~
"With God all things are possible."

And Emily closed her Christmas 2011 letter saying:

"... Whatever our blessings or our losses, Christmas has come to remind us that the Lord has come; the Savior is here! No loss is any match for the Lion of Judah. No fear can overwhelm the Prince of Peace. No sorrow can overcome the King of Glory. If He can redeem a lost world, then He will surely ultimately redeem all our losses for our greater good and His greater glory. May we all rejoice in Him!"

Thank you for continuing to pray for these and all the families in the accident (Crone and Bernard families as well) through this time.

"Those who know your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, 
have never forsaken those who seek You." ~Psalm 9:10

Walk in Faith,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Friends Make Huge Banner for Tessa & CaringBridge Site Set Up for Janey Fountain

I thought you might like to see this banner that was in the lobby of the university hospital where Tessa is—one of the girls who had shoulder and wrist surgery on Saturday from a car accident Friday involving four high school seniors. My son, Alex, is good friends wth Tessa and all these darling Christian girls;-) He took this pic soon after Tessa arrived at the hospital and tweeted, "Thank the Lord for the supporting community."

Tessa had just come over to see Alex a couple days before the accident. She brought him a graduation gift. Mary opened the front door for Tessa and being blind—she thought she had let Tessa in and Mary proceeded to chat to the air—she had accidently shut the door in her face leaving Tessa on the front porch! LOL!! Alex and Tessa got a huge laugh out of it, I'm sure. I wasn't here and missed it :-(

When I got home after hearing of the accident, the first thing I saw was a note for Alex I had jotted by the phone to be sure to remind Alex to write Tessa a thank you note. (Moms, can you relate?)

The girls had just stopped to get ice cream after leaving a nearby lake when the driver lost control of the car. While I don't know the two other girls as well—Madeline and Grace—please pray for their families, especially for God's abundant grace for the driver.

A CaringBridge Site has been set up for Janey Fountain, one of the four senior high school girls involved in a car accident last Friday who is presently in a medically-induced coma. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the families. Janey and Tessa's families are good friends with big families who know and love our Savior and whose entire households love and serve the Lord at our same church.

You can visit Janie's site here.

To visit on mobile you will find Janie’s site here. Or, enter janiefountain on your CaringBridge app for iPhone or Android.

Here is a picture of Janie's parents, Emily and Richard taken yesterday when we got to visit with them.  I thought you might to see the family you are praying for.

Emily has not had a lot of sleep, but they are hopeful. They hope to have Janie moved to a nearby hospital (same one as Tessa,—right now Janie is further away from home) since she was air-lifted to the closest hospital to the scene of the accident.

My husband led all these kids with our sons for three years when they were in middle school, FCA—Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I pray that through this accident they will gain physical healing and that their faith in Christ may be strengthened.

This week, I'd like to change what I had intended to write on and write about praying for others during difficult days and seeing God in everything.

I'm also going to dig through the Christmas cards to show you their whole families as you pray for them.

If you are a young friend reading the blog, thanks for reading this far☺and I pray that you will be strengthened in your faith right in the midst of these great trial of your friends. We will study what God's Word says on this on my blog, so I hope you come back!! I miss our young FCA friends!☺

Suggested reading today: Psalm 23 "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want." (verse 1)

Walk in faith,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Haley's Story on YouTube

Many of you read Haley's Story earlier this week where I printed her story in her own words. Today I'm posting a video that was shown at the celebration service of her home-going. 

I feel so inadequate as I write this. Unlike me, there are so very very many others that knew her so well. But even in just the few minutes I had with her, I was so blessed as I immediately recognized so clearly the One who lived in her as tears fell from the corners of my eyes!

There are so many scriptures that she embodied. 

More than conquerors. Wow. That was her. Your power demonstrated in weakness. Oh, yes! I only met her oncebut I know so much about her from that one meeting.

How her spirit soared in Christ in spite of her body losing its abilities!

Loving Lord & Heavenly Father, change me like you changed Haley. I want my spirit to soar with the very thought of your name. I want to give you more of my mind like Haley did. My mind is the real me. She gave you the real her in big gobs of time. When all she could do was blink to communicate, she joyfully blinked—like the widow's mite—the woman in the Bible who gave what she had and yet she gave all she had. Will you help me to be thankful like Haley was for what You gave hernot camping out and focusing on what was not given? Will you give me courage like Haley had to trust you in suffering? Lord, I'm scared of suffering and sorrowbut those are the companions you often choose in your servants that go to the high places with You. 

Thank you Lord for your servant, Haley. Her faith in You in her half-of-her-life relentless trial and that genuine huge deep-down smile of hers strengthens my faith in You. All of our hope is in You. Amen.

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."
-James 1:12

Walk by faith—as Haley did,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hidden Life Excerpt from Hinds' Feet Book

My daughter and I are right in the middle of reading aloud, Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. I cannot say enough about the value of reading great books, and the godly influence they can have on our lives. Proof is in the pudding! So I am giving you an excerpt.

Much-Afraid is a deformed, blemished imperfect central character (uh, that would be me, or hope you don't mind me saying this but—us, sinners who trust in a perfect Savior) who is on her way to the beautiful "High Places" that the Shepherd (Christ Jesus) has for her. 

She just came across a gorgeous patch of a multitude of blossoms that formed a beautiful carpet of sorts—more beautiful than even found in a palace.

She wondered why this beauty existed where goats would trample and in such remote a place that no one could gaze on its beauty or even appreciate it. The Shepherd replied to her:

" 'Nothing my Father and I have made is ever wasted,' he said quietly, 'and the little wild flowers have a wonderful lesson to teach. They offer themselves so sweetly and confidently and willingly even if it seems that there is no one to appreciate them. Just as though they sang a joyous little song to them selves, that it is so happy to love, eve though one is not loved in return.'

'I must tell you a great truth, Much-Afraid, which only the few understand. All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about or can only dimly guess at. Every inner response of the human heart to Love and every conquest over self-love is a new flower on the tree of Love.'

'Many a quiet, ordinary and hidden life, unknown to the world, is a veritable garden in which Love's flowers  and fruits have come to such perfection that it is a place of delight where the King of Love himself walks and rejoices with his friends. Some of my servants have indeed won great visible victories and are rightly loved and reverenced by other men but always their greatest victories are like the wild flowers, those which no one knows about. Learn this lesson now...when you get to the steep places of the mountains it will comfort you.' 

'...Come, the birds are all singing so joyously, let us join them too...' " 

Listen to these birds obeying God perfectly as they sang out in the early morning light last March 15, 2012, from the trees in my backyard. Listen how willingly and confidently they sing their best no matter if anyone is listening or not.

We serve the all-knowing powerful Creator God who made us and sees us. Think of it! The Creator of the Universe sees us!

Perhaps it seems as though no one appreciates something about your life. Give it to God! Offer yourself fully to him, just like the wildflowers do with all their might whether no one is watching or not! It is enough to know that your life was created by God, and nothing offered to Him is wasted!

May we both seek God as our life is hidden with Christ—I'm talking to myself, too!

May He help us to go against the world's message of self-love and seek self-abandonment in the life hidden with Christ!

"For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." ~Colossians 3:3

Walk in faith,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Haley's Story

Yesterday, I attended the funeral of a beautiful young woman. Since we are in the middle of a parenting series, I hesitated to post Haley's Story just now. That was until I thought about how much faith has to do with parenting for the Christian.

As I thought about the challenges of parenting, and heard Haley's mother, Linda, speak of the joy she has now as she can rejoice in knowing where her daughter is—I thought it was such an example to believers to receive everything in our lives as from God's hand—even among the most difficult challenges some face in parenting.

In the final years of Haley's life, she was paralyzed from the neck down, and could only communicate by blinking her eyelids. Here's her story in her own words, written in 2005.

     My name is Haley and I want you to know about the AWESOME LOVE God has for you!
     When I was young, I prayed to receive Christ as my Savior. I knew that my sins were forgiven and that if I died, I would be in heaven forever. Most of my life up to age 14 was pretty good. I was an honor student, volleyball player, soccer player, Cotillion queen and had lots of friends.

     Then, at age 14, my life began to change. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I was angry, rebellious, and selfish during my teen years. I chose to do a lot of things that were not pleasing to God. By age 20, I had lost the ability to walk, see well, use my arms or do any of the things most people take for granted. Finally during my darkest hours, I totally gave my life to Christ. 

     Since then, I am now 27; my MS has continued to worsen. But even with these circumstances, I have some good news to share with you...God is amazing!

     God not only sent Jesus to die on a cross so that we can have eternal life but He pours out his unexplainable power, love and grace in the lives to those who trust and believe in Him.

     Even though, right now, I am paralyzed in my body, my spirit soars with the love and joy that only my Savior can give.

Above picture is a tender moment when my daughter, Mary (blind), met Haley four summers ago. Haley's spirit radiated the joy and peace of the Lord!

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, 
so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

"The joy of the Lord is my strength."

~2 Corinthians 12:9, Nehemiah 8:10

Walk by faith,

Monday, August 20, 2012

Prayer for Parents from Babies to College

I want to introduce you to one of my life verses. I remember when I first heard God speak it right into my life and heart.

I had four children under six, and I was ironing (that was a rare moment, I'm sure). I heard Psalm 112:1-2 read aloud on the tape I was listening to. I stopped ironing and knelt down on the floor and wept. May it become a special word from God for you today, as it was for me then and now.

Walk by faith,

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Baby Boy Leaves for College Today

About to head out the door to take my baby boy to college, except he's all grown up! 

My eighteen-year-old son can lift heavy equipment, back-up a trailer, fix just about anything that's broken, produce a multi-media video, wire together anything that needs to be wired, spray paint it, draw it, stencil it, throw it, tackle it, fish for it, hunt it, and eat it! About the only thing not on his resume is cleaned his room everyday.

A few years back I  asked him if he had brushed his teeth, and he told me he just wiped them with a towel! Our dentist would be mortified. I embarrasingly forgot to teach him to brush his teeth (I wish I could say this was not a true story. I'm sure I hollered out, "brush your teeth,"— somewhere along the way, I forgot to inspect the process!), and by God's grace he has the whitest teeth in the house and has never had a cavity!

When we home-schooled, people would stop us as we trekked off to a doctor's appointment or in the grocery store with four kids in tow, and ask me, "Do you teach your kids at home? Aren't you worried about socialization?"(those who teach their children at home know we'd be rich for every nickel every time someone asked us this!)

One well-meaning neighbor couldn't resist asking me every time she saw me when I was putting my kids in school. Well, I needn't have worried! My son went on to play football in a public high school and became president of his senior class of over 500. Big smile on Mama's face! To God be the Glory! He deserves all the credit! 

As he was learning to read, he said, "I'll never learn to read!" But I believe late is better than early for close up work, especially with boys—and when he did start reading, he read everything in sight. One thing I know he loved reading—his acceptance letter below to his first choice college! To God be the glory, great things He hath done!

It's about time for us to leave, but I will leave you today with a favorite scripture that was on the bottom of Alex's announcement when his home-schooling years were complete, and wonderful for all of us to remember in whatever we face:

May I add two favorite scriptures below to all the moms (and we have a few dads, too!) who still have little ones at home, and the days seem so long at times---it passes so fast! Treasure each one in the season you are in, so you can live with no regrets!

"Teach us to number our days, 

    that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

~Psalm 90:12

"Let us not become weary in doing good, 

for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." 

~Galatians 6:9

Walk by faith, 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

They Grow Up So Fast

Oh, my! Some tears will be falling from my face in the next 48 hours. Tonight is my older son's last night at home, and by the time you are reading this on Thursday, we'll be moving him into college.

I pulled his old football pajamas out of my keepsake drawer for you.

A lot of times, at bedtime, we would stand down the hall away from his room (my boys always shared a room) and I would say slowly, "Get ready...get set....(they would wait with baited breath anticipating my next word)........GO!!!" They would run and jump into their side by side twin beds. Then they both would immediately say, "Let's do it again!" We'd do it over and over again. They had SO much energy!

Here are my children—Blair, Mary, John, and Alex—in what seemed like not very long ago~

And here they are more recently~

Our older son will be a junior, but it doesn't get any easier for me! Here he is playing the guitar while Mary sang at a Christmas event. ☺

I thought you might enjoy seeing all the last minute stuff done tonight at home for my duck hunting, fishing, golfing, guitar-playing son to pack it up for his third year in college. It's going to be way way too quiet when he's gone.

And here's my older son with my husband—the best dad, ever! Look out Duck Dynasty! My hubby and sons are painting this pink dresser brown—then my other son made a stencil so it can be—early camo! He wants his room to look like a hunting cabin. ☺

Yesterday, we talked about the parent as being the best companion for your young child. My hubby is such a great dad because he spends so much time with our boys especially. I once heard that as your children grow, you don't need to spend more time with them—they need to spend more time with you! Being alongside you in what you are doing! My hubby has done just that. 

After we get my older son settled into his college room—we come back home and move our younger son to college on Friday! My consolation is that they will be together again, at the same university, and I'm so grateful!

I'm lifting up a special prayer as I type this for any of you that may be experiencing an empty nest this fall! (God knows who you are!) Let's all cling to God's promises. (I need to be reminded of God's promises, too!)

"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."
 ~Proverbs 22:6

 "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, 
but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." 
~1 Timothy 4:12

Walk in faith, 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Here's Help for You to Find Great Children's Books

I'm writing you today from my back porch to the sound of all those morning bugs that chirp in the summertime! I love summer!

Today I want to pass along to you two fantastic resources to help you pick out great books for your kids: Books Children Love, and Honey for a Child's Heart.

I mark the books listed that I want, and head off to the library. (Some for my hubby or me to read aloud—others were picture books that my children enjoyed when there were little ones to quietly look at during "reading" time—or that I read aloud to them in their "Mommy and Me Time." More about "Mommy and Me Time" later in this parenting series:-)

Read, read, read to your children! You are giving them the gift of YOU when you sit cozily next to them and read. Don't waste time on just anything—pick great books. These guides give a description of the books, with recommended age spans.

A great book stimulates their minds (we talked yesterday about giving them something to think about!), increases their vocabulary, and lays the foundation for good writing later. But above all that, when you read you are demonstrating your love for your child and strengthening your relationship.

As if all that was not enough, I adored hearing their childlike comments (not childish as in foolish, but childlike as in the beautiful innocence of a child). If I owned the book, I wrote in the margins little things that my kids said. Even my blind daughter knows I still do this, and when I pause even if it is just to sneeze, she says, "Are you writing what I just said?" (usually I am!)

To me, their reaction was often every bit as good as the writing of a well-known author! (But even worth more to me—their thought gave (and gives, since I still read aloud to my youngest) me a glimpse into my child's imagination.

Be your child's primary companion—along with the great characters and books you introduce them to!

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." 
~Proverbs 13:20

Walk in faith,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Give a Child Something to Do, Think About, & Love

Years ago I heard the good advice to try to give a child something to do, something to think about, and something to love each day (I don't know who to attribute this to). I have never forgotten it. It's been something I've tried to do for as long as I have had children.

Something to do can involve anything from setting the table to putting the silverware away.

Something to love can be anything from watching an ant farm to petting a beloved family pet.

Something to think about is what I'd like to touch on today—reading aloud with your child!

Here's what I reading aloud right now with my youngest, and can highly recommend them:

Don't be mistaken! The books we read feed my soul as well. Not to mention it is a bonding time with my child, and it is good for their souls and brains! C.S. Lewis said that any book worth reading at five should be worth reading at ninety-five. In other words—if you select really great books—no matter what age you are—it will be a wonderful experience for everyone.

As someone else once said—don't pick potato chip books—when you can pick a great meal instead!

It helps to establish a routine for reading time; it will help you to stick to it. Try to anchor reading to another event that you know you will do—like eat.

That will help you make it a good routine. You know you are going to eat breakfast, so why not read the next chapter while everyone has just finished eating? Keep the book(s) that you are on very near the table. It is kind of like the dessert.

Our routine is to read the Bible aloud after breakfast (it was so so so much easier to do this when we home-schooled, now it is easy in the summer. I admit I now struggle with this during the school year— we home-schooled for 13 wonderful years and another day I will blog about why we stopped—not enough time today for that!). Then we read the next chapter in an overtly Christian book. For example, Friday we just finished Dangerous Journey.
Christian, the main character in Dangerous Journey (the story of Pilgrim's Progress, Warning: may be frightening for very young children), is trembling in the above picture as the lions were roaring, snapping, and straining at their chains to catch him. Just read what Watchful tells him:

"Is your strength so small? Fear not the lions.
They are on long chains. If you keep strictly to the beam of light,
 in the centre of the path, they cannot reach you."

What a good word for all of us to stay on God's path—not go to the right or the left! Proverbs 2:27 tell us, "Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil." (NLT)

Yesterday after breakfast, we began Hinds' Feet on High Places.

After dinner, we move to a really cozy setting, and read a different book. We are right now in the middle of Little Britches (my hubby's all-time favorite family read aloud).

Some days you just have to be flexible if something comes up—like today we are trying to leave town—so we cut out one of the books this morning.

I hate to leave you but I'm going to go pack up the car now! I've so much more for you on this, and a resource to help you pick great books for your family.

Walk by faith,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Interruption or Divine Appointment? Keep a Quiet Heart

I was all ready to launch a video today (...well if you call still had to call Apple to work out some software bugs and learn how to do it in the first place "all ready") to introduce our topic we'll be covering next, but I ran out of time. I had some things that needed to be done for my family.

My husband asked me to frame some beautiful fish pictures that someone gave my son. My sons can take some of them for their college rooms. (All 3 of my guys love hunting and fishing. Me? I like going out to eat;-)

Yep. My boys are leaving for college this week! (cry, cry) One will be a junior and one will be a freshman. I'm so glad they will be at the same university, but it will be way too quiet for me! I told Mary I want to rename her "Comfort," because she will be my comfort. She said she is not a bit sad, and wants to be an "only" child this year.

At first, it felt like an interruption to stop and frame the prints. Once I began, it didn't even take me that long, and to top it off, I got the the frames at Michael's with a 25% off total purchase coupon and they were on sale too!

At 20 and 18, they need so little right now and doing it for them ended up being a pleasure, but I almost missed it because of being busy doing "my list." I know that other "interruptions" though don't always go so wellmostly because of my bad attitude toward them.

Do you look at things you didn't expect in your day as bothersome or divine appointment?

Look at this quote I read this weekend by Annie Keary (English writer in 1800s) that urges us to keep a quiet heart about what we view as "interruptions."

"I think I find most help in trying to look on all interruptions, and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one's work. Then one can feel that perhaps one's trues work—one's work for God—consists in doing some trifling hap-hazard thing that has been thrown into one's day. It is not waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most important part of the work of the day,—the part one can best offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work; trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it."
~From Daily Strength for Daily Needs, M.W. Tileston

I've had this tactile fish Mary made for two years!!! Got it framed this weekend, too.

Maybe you like me, struggle with interruptions and need an attitude check. I want to trust God and hear His voice when I am caught off-guard with a sudden interruption. It could be a divine appointment especially if it is from an authority in my life or from those He has called me to serve. Usually, the very thing I was avoiding ends up being such a source of joy that I almost missed.

I know it does not honor God when I respond with an anxious spirit or worse yet, what I use to tell my children was an "unhappy face." I want to do better in that moment remembering He will give me the time and help me later to finish the work I had "planned" to do.

How about you? Do you struggle with this, too?

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might..." ~Ecclesiastes 9:10

"Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to." ~Deut. 15:10

Walk by faith,

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gather Your Children & Meet my Blind Daughter, Mary

Back by popular demand, I'm featuring Mary on today's blog to kick-off a new parenting series. Gather your children around your laptop or phone and let them meet our Mary.

Mary was our fourth and last child, born totally blind (and with a cleft lip). Many people ask me if we knew she was blind. We did not. She is a "rare and beautiful treasure*." (I had that on her baby annoucement, before she was born!)

Mary loves to imitate voices. ☺ She can even do the voice of a grown man. I don't know how she does it! God gave her very good ears, especially her right ear. If you leave a message on our answering machine, well sweetie pie, you are next! She loves radio drama and singing. To hear her do this, click here

She writes everything in Braille and has no use for pens, pencils or crayons. She can read in the pitch black dark. Isn't that cool?

Don't you think Mary has beautiful hands? I love watching her fingers read the dots. Her Braille Bible takes up two whole shelves. 

Scripture says that beautiful are the feet of those who give out the Gospel. That means Mary has beautiful hands and feet! She loves Jesus, and wants to be sure those she loves know Him.

Mary sings everyday. She sings in the tub, in her room, in the car, and sometimes, she gets invited to sing. Recently she sang on stage. I told her the lights might wash her face out, and asked her if I could put some makeup and lipstick on her before she sang this song. She said, "You sighted people. You are so into looks!" She did not want any. 

I learn so much from her. She is a walking picture of 1 Samuel 16:7: "Man looks at the outside appearance, but God looks at the heart." I'm so honored to be her mother.

Here's Mary singing that night:

Did you know the Bible tells us God sees us even before we are born? He sees our "unformed parts." Mary's eyes never formed, and Psalm 139 brought us so much comfort, knowing God loves her more than we do. He sees her "unformed" parts when he made her. So if God is good with it, so are we. 

He says "no good thing does He withold from those whose walk is blameless." (Psalm 84:11) If Mary needed physical eyes, He would have given them to her. I'm just glad He's given her spiritual eyes that can see God's love for her.

Once when Mary was learning to go down steps, she would not put her foot on the next step and she kept dangling it in the air for over 10 minutes. She had a hard time trusting the next step would be there. God spoke to me that very second. 

He whispered to my heart:

"Juana, when you don't trust me when you can't see the next step, it is just like Mary. Don't you want her to take it because you know it is there and you want her to trust what you say? Trust me Juana, know I only want good for you, just like you want for Mary. Trust me, and do what I tell you in my Word even when you don't understand and cannot see why."

Moms, you can read a personal letter to you that I wrote when Mary was born by clicking here.

Last month, my friend asked her to sing How Great Thou Art at a funeral. She memorized the verses in 2 days. Isn't God great? 

*Proverbs 24:4

Update: December 2013   Mary sang with The Tenors! To see the YouTube link, go to my blog post here.

Walk by faith, not by sight,

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Do You Come Unglued? Check This Out

Oops!! I nearly forgot to tell you that yesterday, Lysa TerKeurst's book, Unglued, was released! She told us all about it at the Proverbs 31 Ministries Conference that I just attended.

Lysa is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, and she is a New York Times bestselling author.

Her last book, Made to Crave, was about what goes in your mouth, and Unglued is about what comes out of your mouth. She described Unglued to us as how you can react (negatively!) with raw emotions when someone bumps into your "happy." Here, let Lysa tell you herself on this trailer!

 In Romans 12:2b we read:

" transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Look at these cute, colorful reminders Lysa gave us out of Unglued to go on our keychains:

Oh, and you can get the book here!

Christ in you—our hope,