Friday, August 30, 2013

Marriage Advice Tip From My Very Happily Married Friend!

Psssssssssssst! It may look like it—but I'm not really blogging today—or for the next few days! My older daughter is home this Labor Day weekend, and we've having sort of a family reunion in her honor! I want to spend every minute I can with her since she lives in another state!

I'll be back to blogging in a few days. Today I'm re-posting for you below one of my older blogs that many people read and enjoyed about my friend Liz—what words of wisdom she had to say for a strong, Christian marriage!

Be sure to see my special giveaway coming later this fall at the end of the post—after our current beautiful ceramic prayer bowl giveaway launches next week! 

Feel free to return and search my archives later this weekend for a post that may apply to something you are currently facing here. God may have just the word for you there! ☺ Have a wonderful, safe, Labor Day weekend! Here's the post from my archives on Liz' tips!  

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I just recently began a series that I'm calling "Marriage Advice Tips from Successful Marriages." The responses are from several friends that live nearby that are committed Christians. All of them have strong marriages. You won't want to miss a single tip.

The tips are not in any certain order, I'm just rolling out what advice each woman offered t0 some soon-to-be brides. Today I want you to hear from my good friend, Liz. She and Jim will celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary next month! Jim's car has a bumper sticker that says, "I  my wife!"  You just wait—read on! 
Liz with her hubby with Mary, my hubby and me
 last month at Easter choir practice

Liz says, "I love the talk given by Shanti Feldman who I heard a few years ago. I cannot really improve on her list but I did add a few comments."

Marriage Advice Tip #4: 

1. Die to self ... John 12:24 (having my way)...using tools of manipulation to get what I want try to out serve your husband

2. Help our Husband ... Gen 2:18

3. Respect Him ... Eph 5:33 (Tone of voice, body language, facial expressions)

4. Actively Appreciate and Admire your Husband

5. Our Appearance is Important ... (what I wear at night is important too-men are VISUAL)

6. A Good Blast off in the morning ... making sure he leaves in a good mood

7. Re-Entry- Be looking for him when he is about to come home from work (try to beat the dog at the door)

8. Meeting His Physical Needs: FOOD and S*X ... mealtime is a ministry... make s*x important to you as it is very important to him ... Be available-Pray about it."

Isn't Liz a great wife? Any man would love to have a wife who aspired to live out the above attitudes and actions. Pass this list on! Christian wives should be the best wives on the planet, for we know the author of marriage. 
If you missed the first 3 tips, you can go to the right sidebar on my home page and scroll down to the search bar (it's under the "popular posts" column.) Enter the word, "marriage," then click "search."

Update on Labor Day Weekend 2013: I will be giving away a copy of Sheila's book soon! Follow my blog here, or my Instagram, or Pinterest to stay tuned.

Walk by Faith,

Thursday, August 29, 2013

David Platt Video Compels us to Engage in Today's Moral Battles

David Platt recently spoke on 4 Biblical Foundations from Genesis 1-3, and their relevance to today's culture. He calls Christians to take a stand in our culture for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can watch the entire video of this talk here. I introduced his talk in yesterday's blog here, along with some photos.

1. God creates us as a demonstration of his glory.

2. God designs us for the display of his Gospel.

3. God judges us by His righteous Law

4. God pursues us with His redeeming love

Watch the video to see how these foundations compel us to passionately engage in the battle against sexual immorality, pornography, abortion, so-called same sex marriage—and to defend marriage in our culture.
I'm all in! I'm taking a stand alongside David for the Gospel of Jesus Christ 
in the battle in these social issues! Are you in?
Walk by Faith,  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Meeting David Platt, Prayer Bowl Giveaway Coming & Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link-Up Party!

I was thrilled yesterday to be able to hear & meet David Platt! He is a man of deep conviction for the Gospel to make a tangible difference in the lives of evangelical Christians in the world today through urging us to take a stand against the social issues of our day.

May I add that David is an adorable husband and father?

Speaking of adorable, I went with my precious friend, Henni, to hear David speak.
It was a glorious morning of praise & hearing from God's Word.
Henni & I went to a tea room & enjoyed sweet fellowship together
reflecting on what God had put in our hearts. 

David's passion, hope, zeal and urgency for the Gospel of Jesus Christ radiated from his countenance as his voice even cracked with emotion as he challenged the several hundred Christians that were gathered  on issues where professing Christians and Christian leaders have been strangely silent.

He urged us to take the same Gospel—which burns in our hearts and compels us to speak against the horrors of injustices like the concentration camps, poverty, starvation, orphans, sex trafficking and slavery—to stand in direct opposition to the moral disasters of today of abortion, sexual immorality, and so-called "same sex marriage."

David gave us 4 Biblical principles drawn from the book of Genesis to show that followers of Christ do not have the option of being passive and silent on these social issues. He was particularly concerned about the lack of zeal among younger evangelical Christians (although not exclusively younger Christians) against these morally disastrous social issues.

I taped David's entire 45 minute talk and hope to get that out to you next time, to encourage you to not be silent on these issues in your life, but to take a clear stand to protect the unborn, socially accepted pornography (and worse), and marriage—just as you would if you lived in the days of the atrocities of the German concentration camps or the culturally accepted days of slavery in the South.

I'll give you those 4 Biblical foundations David gave us from Genesis next time, along with the entire talk to the professional video. Be prayerful for God's courage to help you receive and then stand up for Biblical truth!

Listen to his five minute introduction and challenge to Christians!

It's Wednesday and time for Wednesday's Prayer Girls and Link-Up Party!

Before we begin, I wanted to mention that I'll be giving away two gorgeous ceramic prayer bowls made in Portugal for in September! Be sure to follow my Pinterest Page here, or my Instagram here so you don't miss entering the drawing to win one of these beautiful bowls to hold your prayers for others (newcomers may want to follow my blog here).

Isn't this prayer bowl lovely?
Mine sits on my kitchen table where we can easily pray for others after we eat.
Christian bloggers are invited to share your blog link below on topics such as Marriage, Parenting, Christian Living, Prayer, Recipes, Homemaking, Organization, Books, or any topic you are passionate about! If any reader has a prayer request (non-confidential) I'd love to pray with you in the comments section below.


Enjoy visiting what other Christian bloggers are writing about!

Walk by Faith,

Monday, August 26, 2013

School Starts, Great Devotional & Little Britches!

It's a glorious sunny day where I live, and it is a great day for the first day of school here! Mary started high school this morning!!!  Wooooo-hoooooo! Go Spartans!!! (Welcome newcomers! Mary is our youngest who was born totally blind. You can read a letter I wrote when she was born here.)

I can't believe she is in high school now! She was a little bit nervous, but I know she will be able to relax when she gets to her chorus class! ☺ (Update: I picked her up & she was all smiles :-) When she got to chorus, the music was ready for her in music braille code!

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I'm dying to finish up telling you more about Little Britches, the book I just finished reading aloud on Friday. It is so fantastic! I introduced you to Little Britches by Ralph Moody last time. If you missed it, it's right here

But first, I want to tell you about yet another nugget I learned from Elisabeth Elliot. Mary and I have been reading a devotion together in the morning from an old book called, Daily Strength for Daily Needs. It contains one scripture (which I usually read more than once) and then some other poems or writings on the topic in the scripture. Then we pray for the day and for our family (oldest to youngest) and then other family and friends.

While we are still seated and we've finished breakfast and our Bible reading and prayer, we read the next chapter in our current book. I cannot say enough good things about Little Britches. Last time, I told you I would give you some more of my favorite sentences in the book. 

Be sure to read the great one from yesterday's blog that his father told him after an upsetting incident when Ralph was a young boy. My boys adored Little Britches, but Mary was too young to remember. I'm so glad we can refer to all these character building passages now!

Ralph's father also says to Ralph (a passage we've referred to many times over the years!):

“A man's character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do the things he shouldn't do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth.” 

You better believe we've talked about "not tearing the boards off your house!"

Here are some other nuggets from Ralph's father:

"You know, Son, sometimes a fellow has to take a licking for doing the right thing. A licking only lasts a short while, even it it's a hard one, but failing to do the right thing will often make a mark on a man that will last forever."

And this last one I want to share with you:

"He said it would be good for me, as I grew older, to know that a man always made his troubles less by going to meet them instead of waiting for them to catch up with him, or trying to run away from them."

Keep reading great books to your children and other children you love! We all know children are like sponges when they are young! If they can so easily memorize commercial jingles, why not give them something good to put in their minds?

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." -Philippians 4:8

Walk by Faith,

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Little Britches by Ralph Moody

OMGOODNESS!!!  Just finished reading Little Britches by Ralph Moody aloud with Mary! (we got 1/2 way through last summer & just finished it, 270 pgs.) It is fantastic to read with your children about home, family, integrity, hard work, maturing esp. BOYS!

I have fond memories of our whole family of 6 piled on our bed with my husband reading it on our bed, but Mary was too small to remember (sometimes we just left out a word or two the rough cowboys said).  I drove Mary crazy these last couple weeks stopping to underline—but couldn't resist! 

LISTEN to Ralph's Dad talking to him when he was around 9:

"There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men & dishonest men. There are black men & white men & yellow men & red men, but nothing counts except whether they're honest men or dishonest men.

Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest. The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He planned it so that it would yield every single thing that the people on it need. But He was careful to plan it so that it would only yield up its wealth in exchange for the labor of man. Any man who tries to share in that wealth without contributing the work of his brain or his hands is dishonest.” ~Ralph Moody

I just began a couple of new Pinterest Pages that you might want to follow. One is called, "Fantastic Children's Christian Books," and you can follow it here. The other is called "Excellent Books for Adults (& Older Children!) and you can follow it here

You better believe I'm going to give you the top 3 or so things I underlined that Ralph's father told for my blog on it soon! School starts on Monday here, so I have to be sure we have food in the house and the clothes are clean or I would do it right now. Not to mention the ants are back and taking over the kitchen. If anyone knows a good remedy to rid of them, please let me know! They find food I didn't even know we had! One this morning was carrying a crumb from last night's dinner that was triple his size!! I hated to interrupt his work!  No wonder God said in Proverbs to go to the ant and see how he works!

That is actually a great tie-in for Little Britches. It shows the blessing of hard work—so run don't walk—get in to Little Britches with your children and the Xbox will be pale in comparison.

Walk by Faith,

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Wise Woman Nurtures And Then Lets Go

I love the poem below that depicts how we are to nurture our children, and to carefully live out before them the example of what a Christian mother should be:

A careful woman I ought to be;
a little girl follows me.
I do not dare to go astray,
for fear she'll go the selfsame way.
Not once can I escape her eyes;
whate'er she sees me do, she tries.
Like me, she says she's going to be
that little girl who follows me.
I must remember as I go
Through summer sun and winter snow,
I'm molding for the years to be 
that little girl who follows me.
~Author Unknown 

I have several friends and acquaintances who have become "empty nesters" this fall. I think this quote from Elisabeth Elliot's book, "A Path Through Suffering," is a good reminder to help us all when we move from nurturing to letting go:

"Relinquishment is always a part of the process of maturing. When Christian parents have done all that can be done to shape their children for God, the time comes when the hands must let go. The child, now a responsible adult, must be released. For any parent this is painful, even when the child is moving in the direction the parents prayed for. The child's continued development, and the spiritual health of the parents as well, depend on the willingness to accept this next stage of the cycle—hands off, ready to part without a struggle, giving up authority and control, entrusting that child to God."

May God help us as parents to let go and release our children to God when they become responsible adults!

"There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
   a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away..."
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-6

Walk by Faith,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Elisabeth Elliot's "Bless These Guests" (& Our Old River House!)

I love the words below that were on a wall plaque in Elisabeth Elliot's family vacation home in Franconia, New Hampshire. I copied them and put them in our river house after reading them:

Sleep sweetly in this quiet room,
O thou whoe'er thou art,
and let no mournful yesterdays
disturb thy peaceful heart.
Nor let tomorrow scare thy rest 
with thoughts of coming ill.
Thy Maker is thy changeless friend,
His love surrounds thee still.
Forget thyself and all the world,
put out each feverish light;
the stars are watching overhead.
Sleep sweetly, then, good-night.

That paper with the words (which I had written in a calligraphy-look type) that I had framed floated down the Pamlico River when Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast—two years ago next week. It took with it our river house! Nothing was left! 

We didn't even have insurance on that old river house, and we guessed we probably broke even after having the house twenty years. We were still way ahead because of the memories we made there with our children in the simple life we had there where our children caught fireflies and frogs and learned to kayak and fish.

Blair, our older daughter, made this tugboat out of the boys' blocks,
2 bottle tops, a sardine can, and some shells. I had just taken it out of the house before the hurricane. Isn't it so cute? She also had sketched the pier at the river house, and I can see it in my mind's eye.
It was in the house when the hurricane hit, along with John's tin fish that hung below it,
just like the one below that my son Alex made. 

We got the river house when some friends asked us to join them by going in on an old house that they already owned. We called it "the quack shack" as all our husbands were of the Duck Dynasty nature:-) I didn't want to go in on it at first, as I thought we could better use the money somewhere else—like the ultimate homeschooling field trip—Europe! My husband and I didn't agree, and he had to make a decision—so we moved forward by deciding to go in on the river house.

What a great decision it turned out to be. We adored our simple, quiet lives spent enjoying God's beauty  in the unforgettable pinkish-orange sunsets at the river. I can see my children going up and down the pier with our loyal golden retriever, Cinnamon, happily following along behind. I'm so glad my husband had the foresight to not listen to me. Remember it was Eve that was deceived? 

A godly man makes the decision he believes God would have him make that is best for his family even if his wife doesn't always agree. The Bible says the buck stops with him. 

It wasn't until I heard Elisabeth speak about her family's vacation home did it finally hit me that having that old river house was the best thing that could have happened to our young and growing family (it was about the same time period as when we were invited to go in on the house or shortly afterward).

For the simple, relaxed environment with God's beauty all around—I am so grateful! My children learned contentment there with the simple pleasures of life like catching shrimp off the pier (they would cling to the pylons), and fishing with their dad. Oh, the wonderful memories of fish frys and fireworks with our friends... (Hi Katie & Johnny if you happen to read this!!!) The very opportunity I wanted to throw away—became such a gateway to joy!

My hubby and me in 2002 with our youngest, Mary,
with Elisabeth Elliot, and her husband, Lars Gren & the dots are the back of my phone!
This picture is behind glass in our music room!

If you enjoy posts on Elisabeth Elliot, you may want to follow my Elisabeth Elliot Board on Pinterest to not miss any future posts on her. You can also search for previous posts I've written on her by inserting her name (be sure to use an "s" in Elisabeth) in my search topics blank box on the right side bar of my home page (you'll need to scroll down to it).

Next time—more from Elisabeth Elliot—a thought on letting go for empty nesters.

Walk by Faith,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Confession, Submission & Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link Up Party!

I have a confession. Remember last week I wrote on giving our husbands attention in the little things just to show him you love him? I had surprised my husband with a bag of Skittles which I left in a prominent place with a sticky note that said, "I love you!"

I ate most of the Skittles. But it gets worse. I didn't even ask!

Every time I saw the picture of that brand new bag of Skittles I posted to you (I put my blog pictures on my Pinterest Page, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), I felt just horrible and knew I had to tell you. The good news is my husband loved the surprise, and usually he eats them (plus I'm a chocolate person, and sour candy doesn't usually tempt me in the least), but I ate a few each time I walked by them! I've always heard the best thing to do in temptation is to get rid of the temptation! Remember Joseph ran when Potiphar's wife was after him? (Genesis 39:1-20)

Speaking of our husbands and paying attention to them, I've been paying attention to mine and that's why I was MIA the last 48 hours!

We have a second home on the coast (we are in the process of selling it, and plan to build another one nearby) A vacation home can be a tremendous blessing for your family if your family is able to have one.  Elisabeth Elliot's family had a home in Franconia, New Hampshire and I loved to hear her speak of the times their family spent there (and a beautiful wall plaque they had which hung in that home which I will give you next time).

We came down to spend a couple days at the beach, and my husband took off work. I brought my laptop and pulled it out because I had several blogs planned in my mind that I wanted to get typed out and ready in line to go out this week. My husband was enjoying the morning as we were drinking our coffee when he saw me typing on my computer and asked me what I was doing.

I told him I was going to blog for just a bit. Then he asked me not to do that while he was here (he also likes me to not be on the computer once he gets home for work. We've talked about how I have the daytime hours to do that while he works, and he doesn't want me doing it after 5 especially if he is home. Since I get to be a SAHM, I feel it is the least I can do!)

As I type this, I'm reminded of dear Elisabeth Elliot again. She has influenced my life so much, which is one reason I write and speak—to share all I learned from her. When she was on her honeymoon with her second husband, Addison Leitch, she sat down at a desk to write her daughter, Valerie (her first husband, Jim Elliot, Valerie's father, was murdered in Ecuador in 1956). Add, as she called him, got terribly upset. He felt that writing the letter on their time together totally cut him out! She had no idea!

I'm so glad that my husband tells me right away what he thinks.

Now before you think this submission thing comes so easy for me and hard for you, hold on there just a minute. The next thing I said was, "Well, I'll just get out a quick blog that says I won't be blogging for a couple days."

My husband kindly replied, "I asked you not to do that." {see how I don't get it all the time! And of course like the Skittles example—it gets worse. I'm not only independent by nature—I'm stubborn! (not proud of it, & usually don't recognize it 'til after the fact!)}

"So you, don't want me to blog out a note saying that I won't be blogging?"

"No, that would be blogging, and I asked you not to."

So maybe today that little lesson in submission is more important that the two messages I was going to initially blog out on Monday and Tuesday this week.

Now before you get mad at my husband and think he is a control freak or anything like that, you need to know we've been married 32 years and he knows me really well. He knows my little "just blog a note out" would probably have turned into a computer glitch or some other such thing taking me away from our time together (and it always takes longer than I think it will).

We had a ball! He's also very good at working smart and hard, and playing hard. He is fantastic about leaving his work behind, and enjoying relaxation.

We listened to the rain, & went bike riding together & just plain ole enjoyed one another and our daughter, Mary, who was with us. If you, like me, love the sound of rain, listen to these 13 seconds: (he doesn't mind me taking pics )

I really enjoyed my sudden fast from blogging to just relaxing and enjoying my husband for who he is. If he was here, I think I'd kiss him right now. But then if he were here—I wouldn't be writing you!

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It's time for Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link-Up Party!!!

I'd love to pray with you. Just leave your praise or non-confidential prayer in the comments section, & I'll be back later to pray with you there. I have a praise from a request last week, and a new request about the house at the coast. God cares about the details of our lives, and he works right in the circumstances you are in!

If you are a Christian blogger, I'd love to invite you to share a link to a post that you've written! I love spread the word on your beautiful blogs, so everyone can grab a cup of coffee and learn from your blogs by hopping around!

Oh, to my Instagram friends, here is a bigger view of the prayer I posted for our children that I told you I would post.

Walk by Faith,

Friday, August 16, 2013

Autobiography of Josiah Henson: An Inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom

I'm up early today with some welcome coolness in the air on this August morning. Today both of our sons head back to college (they attend same state university, but live in different places). My husband, Mary, and I are going too—in my case, more for me than them—as they are both incredibly independent!

I want to help them make their beds and help them decide where to put the lamps and the rug and pray together over them in their rooms for the upcoming year. We'll probably grab lunch at the popular hot dog place before the bittersweet goodbye! (they are happy as larks—bittersweet for me as I will miss them so much!)

I'll never forget what Jim Elliot told Elisabeth Elliot when he was going off on a jungle excursion as they both were missionaries in Equador. She commented to him that she was going to miss him, and he chided her for it. He said he was going to do God's will, and that her saying that made it harder on him to leave!

I'm not sure Elisabeth ever said "I'll miss you" after that! That Jim Elliot was one single-focused man! I think today while I feel the same way, I'll keep that to myself (and you!), to not take away from my sons' joy of the day. 

Last night there was a busy beehive of activity in our garage of packing up cars and trailers. When I walked in, my older son said, "Guess what, Mom?" I knew immediately! "You passed the real estate exam!" Yep! I was right. Thank you, Lord!

Going to College. Taking a real estate exam. May we not take your blessings for granted, Lord. Opportunities like these are blessings that are not available to everyone. They certainly were not available to a slave named Josiah Henson.

Josiah Henson's book, Autobiography of Josiah Henson: An Inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom is an excellent book. Harriet Beecher Stowe met Josiah, and based the character of Uncle Tom on Josiah (he devotes a chapter about meeting her in the book, and who some of Stowe's main characters actually were in real life).
Josiah wrote about his entire life. We hear how he heard the powerful words of scripture and how he entered into a personal relationship with Christ in his youth.

There's more good news! This is not a gloomy book of a man who suffered deeply. Yes, he is very candid about his suffering and his temptations—but what I love is the godly, intelligent man whose honorable character will inspire you in your walk with Christ.

Speaking about the remembrance of his wife from her deathbed scene:

We talked over our whole past life as far as her strength would permit, reviewing the many scenes of sorrow and trouble , as well as the many bright and happy days of our pilgrimage, until exhausted nature sought repose, and she sunk into a quiet sleep.
     I ... was permitted to close her eyes when the final summons came. She blessed me and blessed her children, commending us to the ever-watchful care of that Saviour who had sustained her in so many hours of trial; and ... after kissing me and each of of the children, she passed from earth to heaven without a pang or a groan, as gently as falling to sleep...
... I can truly and from an overflowing heart say, that she was a sincere and devoted Christian, a faithful and kind wife to me, even to the day of her death arranging all our domestic matters, in such a manner as to contribute as largely as possible to my comfort and happiness. 

And contrasting himself with the hero in Uncle Tom's Cabin and his gratefulness to God:

Though she (Stowe) made her hero die, it was fit that she did this to complete her story; and if God had not given me a giant's constitution, I should have died over and over again long before I reached Canada. I regard it as one of the most remarkable features of my life that I have rallied after so many exposures to all kinds of hardships. I am grateful to God for His abundant mercies to me in bringing me out of Egypt into the promised land, and I hope to be His faithful servant to my dying hour.

I highly recommend that you read it! I'd have a pencil handy so that you can go back and review key thoughts that Josiah so eloquently expressed that we can learn from and apply to our own lives from this man of outstanding Christian character. You will see the grace of God in this man. I look forward to meeting him in heaven.

I think today I'll pray as Josiah's wife prayed for our own children as we leave them in college to "the ever-watchful care of that Saviour" who sustains us.

Walk by Faith,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Giving Our Husbands Attention & Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link-Up Party!

Do you think it is way too easy to not pay your husband much attention? I do. How effortless it is for me sometimes with having multiple children (we have four—two girls, two boys) or even ministry work (understandable, but not excusable, is it?) to forget to pay close attention to my husband. Have you noticed that in your life?

I wanted to take just a couple lines today to remind those of us who are married to not take our spouses for granted. It's so easy to do—I'm talking to myself, too!

What made me pick this topic today was something a friend said in church to me last Sunday. In a certain part of our service while we are all standing, our worship leader encourages us to talk with the people around us. It was during that talk time that she came up to me and said, "I love the way you hold your husband's hand during church. I can see since I sit in the section behind you."

Her comment meant a lot to me. You see, since my youngest is blind, I whisper in her ear the words as they appear on the screen so she know the lyrics for the worship song or hymn we are singing. I do it now almost without thinking, and have learned to feed her the next line as everyone finishes singing the previous line.

I hold my husband's hand because I want him to know without words that he is important to me— especially since I give my youngest so much attention so she can keep up with what the congregation is doing.

Now you gotta understand, there are plenty of times when, sadly, I take my husband for granted. I repent (which means to turn in the opposite direction; I like to think of it as a U-turn!) Isn't it wonderful that His mercies are new every morning? We can start fresh at any moment in time! We serve the God of new beginnings! Second chances and hundredth chances!

I did manage to get a little something for my husband today!

Skittles—one of his love languages! I put it on the counter where he sets his keys when he comes in. It was worth his smile after a long day at work when he saw my note. A little kindness goes a long way, doesn't it? Small in effort and huge in effect by letting him know I thought of him when he was away.

I'd love to know what little things you think of to show your husband you love him! 

Someone has said, "the house that doesn't have time for kindness always has time for rudeness." 

Does your husband provide for your family? When was the last time you thanked him? Thank him!  I think I'll go thank mine right now!

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I had hoped to tell you today about a fantastic book I read this summer that you may want to look into, but between helping two sons get ready to go back to college on Friday and getting to see my mama and taking her to Costco (her love language!)—it will have to wait until next time! (not to mention searching all over town for mold killer to kill tons of mold on my son's futon that was stored in the basement over the summer!) Believe me—you would have searched high and low for it if you could have seen the upholstery!

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It's Wednesday I that means it's time for Wednesday's Prayer Girls 

and the Link-Up Party!!


Let's go visiting on blogs! Enjoy hopping around as you find encouragement from my fellow Christian bloggers below! Leave one or two of them a comment if they've spoken to your heart, which will be an encouragement to them. If I can pray with you on a non-confidential prayer—just put it in the comments below. I'll get you started with the first prayer!

"Gracious Holy Spirit, so much of my life seems to revolve around my interests and my welfare. I would like to live just one day in which everything I did benefited someone besides myself. Perhaps prayer for others is a starting point. Help me to do so without any need for praise or reward." -Richard Foster
Walk by Faith,

Helping Men Find Purpose: Men's Bible Study Begins with my Friend, Russ, in Raleigh, NC! Free BBQ TONIGHT!

For those of you that live near the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill Triangle, my good friend, Russ Andrews, is having a free BBQ dinner tonight to allow men to sign up for his Bible study that begins next month (What would NC be like without BBQ & Sweet Tea!)

Every man needs a Russ in his life!

A successful stockbroker for 20 years, Russ felt the call of God to attend seminary. He finished seminary and founded a minstry to men in the workplace and community. He founded Finding Purpose: A Ministry to Men.  Pray for Russ as he works with Finding Purpose full-time, and for this study on Tuesday nights comprised of about 300-400 men.

It is the mission of FInding Purpose to glorify God by helping men find their purpose for living. Thus the mission statement is simply, helping men find purpose. 

I can attest to Russ' teaching, as he is not only a good friend, but he teaches regularly as an elder in our church about once a month. He continually points us to the grace of God in Christ alone for our hope and salvation through scripture, and uses his own personal life, the gripping lives of others, and relevant current events in his Bible application.

Tell a man you love to check out the study here or to call Russ at 919-645-1616.

Come back next time, we'll have our blog hop here, prayer, and I want to tell you about a fantastic autobiography I read this summer of a godly man named Josiah Henson.

A slave in the 1800s, Josiah became a Christian and never wavered from His faith in Christ. He has an incredible story of God's grace and faithfulness. You will not want to miss it. It is amazing what God can do in a life that is wholly given to Him.

Stop now if you live in the Raleigh area, and pray to see if there's a man that you can invite to Russ's study or the free BBQ tonight so they can find out more about it.

"For in him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). 

Walk by Faith, 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Winner Announced of #PassionPursuit Giveaway & What's Coming Next!

The giveaway from Moody Publishers has been so much fun! Someone today has won Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are you Making? (by Linda Dillow & Dr. Juli Slattery) Today's blog announces the winner!!  

{confetti}  {confetti}  {confetti}

I used the very hi tech process of printing out all the names and cutting them into little squares.
 If you pinned, tweeted, or facebooked the link to the contest—your name went in again for each share;-)

Dumped my makeup out of this basket to use it for all the entries!
My daughter, Mary, pulled out a name with her beautiful hand....... and the winner was...........


Contact me today to claim your brand new, hot off the press copy of Passion Pursuit either in the comments below
 or email me at juanamikels(at)gmail(dot)com

Mary pulled two more names out in the event I don't hear from our winner by midnight tonight!
The 2nd place was Agape Love, & the 3rd place was Lucie (So Agape & Lucie, check back to today's comments tomorrow to see if our winner confirmed!) 
Thank you, everyone! Next time on my blog, we'll continue with great books we read this summer! You won't want to miss the sample passages to show you why these books and more are fantastic reading.

Be watching for more giveaways soon. I have some personal books that I've read that I will be giving away as we are cleaning out and I need to give-away!!!!!! (If you don't mind lightly used!)

God bless you as you seek to live for Christ's glory!

"The things that are impossible with men are possible with God." -Luke 28:27

Walk by Faith, 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Passion Pursuit Book Giveaway (2 Days Left to Enter!) & Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link Up Party!

Welcome to Wednesday and to Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link Up Party!


I just love to pray with you on Wednesday, so please leave your non-confidential prayer request in the comments to pray together! I listed the first one, and personally couldn't wait for today so I will have more people praying for a little {not so little} problem I have!

This week I'm also blogging about great books we've read this summer!

Be sure to read yesterday's post here if you love Elisabeth Elliot to know about her daughter's (Valerie Elliot Shepard) wonderful book of her simple, happy childhood in the Amazon Jungle!

We'll end the week with my summer giveaway on this Friday's blog (August 9) of the new book hot off the press August 1 by Linda Dillow and Dr. Juli Slattery entitled, "Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love are You Making?" (Retails for $17.99—but ooo baby, worth so much more if you want to be what the book calls a "Smokin' Hot Mama" like the Song of Solomon woman!)

Yep, it's a book designed to be a 10-week Bible study for married women on sexual intimacy in marriage. I've already read about 60% of it, and this book is going to make a practical difference in so many marriages!  ♥ To enter the drawing to win which ends midnight, August 8, read the blog post here. Be ready to read this Friday's blog to see if you won! {confetti}

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It's time for Wednesday's Link Up Party! I love hopping around your beautiful blogs to see what you've been writing! So if you're a Christian blogger—link up below with your post on faith, prayer, devotions, marriage, parenting, cooking, organization, books, special needs, or any of your God-given passions! We want to see what's on your heart! Try to leave someone an encouraging comment :-)

And remember if just one person wants prayer, put it in the comments! Where two or more (that's you and me, Sister... and we have a few Brothers out there too!) are gathered in the name of Christ, Jesus tells us He is right there with us!! I try to reply to every prayer with a short, written prayer in reply to your comment.

Walk by Faith,

Valerie Elliot Shepard's Book, "Pilipinto's Happiness" Kicks Off Week of Great Books!

In the summer of 1991, I was listening to my car radio as I was on the way to my prenatal check up for my second baby. I was riveted in my seat as I listened to two women's pleasant voices talk about teaching table manners to children. The younger woman was saying that she was teaching her children to pass the cookies around the table to their siblings before they took one if they were the first to pick up the plate.

Her description of teaching simple manners to her children left me wanting to know more. I desired to be the best mother I could be, and I didn't want to miss a word! As I sat in my driver's seat with my engine off upon arrival at the doctor's office, I was dissappointed that it was time for my appointment!

Who was this young mother of muliple little ones who radiated such contentment and joy in her motherhood?

It was the voice of Valerie Elliot Shepard—some 30 years after she was "Pilipinto," or little butterfly as you are about to find out she was called amidst the savage, yet simple, happy, uncomplicated Auca Indians of South America!

In March, 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting Valerie Shepard when her mother was staying in my home.  I wrote about her mom's visit here. We began a friendship that I know will continue as Sisters in the Lord together! Who would have guessed it?
Meeting Valerie in my home when her mom came to visit in March, 2013
And who was the woman she was speaking with on the radio? It was her mother—Elisabeth Elliot on her radio program, "Gateway to Joy." How clearly part of the legacy-gift given to the daughter and only child of Elisabeth and Jim Elliot was the unmistakable contentment and joy of the Lord!

In a world that desperately needs the simple contentment and joy that comes from the Lord, Pilipinto's Happiness reads like a soothing balm to the wound-up, strained muscles of our day. It is 5 wonderful chapters that I didn't want to end! Read it with your children beside you, or your grandchildren in your lap! Just maybe they can whet their palates for a simpler, carefree life.

How exciting to kick off this week on my blog dedicated to telling you about great books we are reading this summer with Valerie Shepard Elliot's fantastic children's book on her jungle childhood: Pilipinto's Happiness!

I'm honored to be Valerie's friend!

Valerie's parents are known throughout the world for their outreach along with four other families to reach the Auca Indian tribe in Ecuador. Jim and the other four husbands went missing in 1956, only to be discovered that they were victims of a mass murder by the savage Auca Indians. The very man who took Jim Elliot's life later converted to Christianity as did many other members of the tribe.

Valerie tells her childhood story of this amazing story, as she naturally and lovingly shares details of her wonderful childhood growing up in the Amazon Jungle with the Indians and her mother. Valerie, with her stunning blue eyes and her blonde hair stood out among the villagers, and the natives lovingly called her "Pilipinto," which translates "butterfly," since she frolicked to and fro the village like a beautiful butterfly. You will adore the simple childhood life of Valerie Elliot Shepard and the pure contentment she enjoyed as a child with so little—yet with so very much.

It is only fitting that I took all of today's pictures from Pilipinto's Happiness, with my camera and copy of my book Valerie gave me OUTSIDE! I've included the book captions from Pilipinto's Happiness (illustrations were drawn by Valerie's Uncle, Jim Howard, her mother's brother).
A kind Indian carried Pilipinto in a wooden chair.

The pilot would aim to drop the bundle right in the center of the clearing.
As Pilipinto played with her friends, she learned to speak their language.

They roasted catfish on the fire.

A place to lie down near the fire was home.

Pilipinto learned to like many foods we would never eat in America.

You may order your beautiful hardback keepsake of Pilipinto's Happiness to begin reading it with the special children in your life by sending a check for $19 per book ($14 + $5 Shipping = $19) made out to Valerie Shepard. Mail to:  3693 Sable Palm Lane, Southport, NC 28461

It was Valerie's mom, Elisabeth Elliot,
who first encouraged her to write her childhood story over a decade ago.
Val's blog can be found here.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." -1 Timothy 1:6

"If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content." -1 Timothy 6:8

"Live life to the hilt." -Jim Elliot

"Wherever you are, be all there!" -Jim Elliot

I'd love to connect with you wherever you most like on FacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter. You may follow my blog here.

Walk by Faith, 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Free Book Giveway! Passion Pursuit: New Moody Publishers 10-Week Bible Study Releases Today!

  New Book Released August 1, 2013
Enter to win below!

WOO-HOO!!! {Confetti}
Free Drawing on August 8, 2013 Enter to win below!
By Linda Dillow & Dr. Juli Slattery

Passion Pursuit is a bold, ten-week study taken from selected scriptures, including the Song of Solomon. When I was asked to review it by Moody Publishers, I didn't hesitate. At that point, I didn't know the subtitle. When it arrived,  I have to admit—I was a little hesitant to post it because I had no idea the book was on s*x.

The more I thought about it, the more I concluded—what better way to study the intimacy God intended for marriage than from God's Word. So here we are together! Me, telling you about the book which releases today! It combines the scriptures with the psychological expertise of coauthor Dr. Juli Slattery (formerly of Focus on the Family), and Bible teacher Linda Dillow (and wife of her husband for 49 years!).

This is a resource that years ago couldn't have been put on bookshelves. There are some good things about modern advances.

Passion Pursuit needs to be read side-by-side with your Bible.
It can be done individually, or discussed in a women's Bible study. 

It launches today & retails for $17.99.

Are you ready to enter the giveaway? You could be the next Smokin' Hot Mama! (per the last chapter title!)    Here's how to enter:

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Leave a comment below that says, "I want the free book!" with your first name & last initial if you have a common first name by midnight, August 8. Each time you facebook, tweet or pin this blog link out you enter again! (so tell me if you did that so I can put your name in more than once)

Winner announced on August 9, 2013! If winner doesn't claim the book by the day's end, I draw again until the winner contacts me back! So be sure to check the blog next week to see if you won!

I entered the first comment underneath my signature below to show you! 

"God saw all that He had made, and it was very good." ~Genesis 1:31

If you enjoyed reading this post, you may also enjoy reading this post.

Walk by Faith,