Monday, June 30, 2008

A Change of Plans




I don’t think there is anything more exciting for me than sitting down to “make my plans”. I’m ready at all times to start my list and get things going. For me, making plans is just as much fun as the event I’m planning for.

I think it all started when I was a little girl. I planned whom I would marry, my wedding day, where I would live, and how many children I would have. I had all that figured out by the time I was about 6 years old! So, as you can see, I’ve been a busy little planner all my life.

Now don’t even get me thinking about an upcoming holiday or event, because you’ll have to hear about all my ideas on how to plan that special day. What can I say? I'm just a planner by nature.

When my younger sister was over last week, we were already planning our Christmas Tea for December. Yes, Christmas in July. Why not? It makes perfect sense to me.

Security for me is a well-made plan that is carried out to the letter. But then came those phone calls that suddenly interrupted my best-made plans.

I was only 14 years old when my mom was called to the hospital during the middle of the night. “There has been an accident”. And in one brief moment all the plans, hopes and dreams for her 18-year-old son came to a sudden end. Just like that, my brother was gone.

Several years later when I was in college, my dad called to tell me they had found cancer in my mother’s esophagus. My early college days turned into learning about that dreaded disease as I drove my mom back and forth for radiation treatments every day. My world was rocked to the core once again. Fighting for her life would be my goal that year, not grades.

And then there was that call from my cousin to turn on the late night news, only to discover it was a story about my father. As it turned out, he was struck and killed by a car while crossing the street in front of his own home. Once again, another shocking and unexpected call that turned the course of my life.

Finally, that call that only happens to someone else. This was the one I thought would be too much to bear. The doctor on the other end was saying she had found a lesion in my son’s brain. “A lesion! What is a lesion?” I frantically asked as I felt overwhelmed by this news.

Call after call; plan after plan; things change so suddenly. No warning; no time to prepare; everything going in another direction.

I expect there isn’t a person reading this that hasn’t experienced a call or some kind of event that suddenly changed the course of your life. Let’s face it; all of our best-made plans and ideas about life are subject to change at any moment.

So, what brings me comfort and peace? How can I know that no matter how plans may change it’s going to all be all right? From the beginning of time plans were made by someone much greater than us. And He has given us this glorious promise to attest to this magnificent fact in Jeremiah:

“I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you...” Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message)

Whew…just when you think things are completely out of control, and your life has been turned upside down, there is peace in knowing that it is still God’s plan to take care of you!

God’s plan is to “give us a HOPE, and a FUTURE”. God’s desire is to personally be involved in every aspect of our lives. His plan will succeed, and He never makes a mistake! I may not know the future, but I know the One who does.

I’d like to conclude with a declaration that David made concerning the plans of God.

“But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” (PS. 33:11)

Oh, what security lies in this wonderful truth. Our Master Planner knows the beginning and the end of our lives, and He has promised to always take care of us!

Lord, continue to teach me what it means to truly trust in you as I commit my life and plans into your hands. Thank you for the incredible future filled with hope that awaits us, that will last forever. Bless and encourage each woman who reads this as we journey together in your purposes and plans for our lives. In Jesus name, Amen.

If you are participating today, please leave your link so that we can visit!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Giving Thanks

“Once again I’ll go over what GOD has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts. O God! Your way is holy! No god is great like God! You’re the God who makes things happen; you showed everyone what you can do…” Psalm 77:11-14 THE MESSAGE

On this Thankful Thursday I’m grateful for so many things. I’d like to start out by thanking God for His precious WORD. Just as the passage above says, it seems like the more I ponder God’s magnificent ways, the more I’m left in awe.
Truly, our God is an AWESOME God.

♥ I’m so grateful for all the women who got to attend the “She Speaks” Conference. Oh my, I’ve enjoyed reading all the updates that were written about the event. I can tell that so many lives were deeply touched, and I rejoice with all of you.

♥ I’m also grateful for two very special bloggers who stay busy behind the scenes making two wonderful sites possible. Lori over at “All You Have To Give” and Amy at “In Pursuit of Proverbs 31” are the founders and contributors to the
Internet Café and Heart of the Matter Online. Not only are they talented, but their dedication and love overflows through their many hours of service "as unto the Lord” from which we all benefit. Thank you for being such givers and Godly examples. We really appreciate all you do!

♥ Finally I’m thanking God for
Iris who graciously hosts this meme each week. I pray God’s blessing upon your life and on your family’s as well. May God reward you for being such a blessing to the Body of Christ.

♥ I'm thankful for all you out there who take the time to stop by each week, your words bless and encourage me greatly.

Let's join many other grateful hearts over at Sting My Heart.

Monday, June 23, 2008

One Step Closer

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark." ~Charles Spurgeon~

Of all the values we can become skilled at and teach the next generation, I would have to say in my opinion is perseverance. To me perseverance is the cornerstone of true character.

Beginning with Noah, who spent 120 years building an ark, the bible is filled with stories of people who persevered. Men and women who never lost hope and stayed faithful because of the promises given to them.

In every generation there have been countless examples of men and women who, against all odds, tribulations, and opposition continued to press on until their dreams were fulfilled.

There are so many stories in the Bible that inspire, instruct, and instill courage within us to hold on to hope even when it defies all the odds. Through all of these stories run the common threads of endurance, determination, and perseverance.

One of the most precious and highly valued gems known to man is the diamond. Once just a piece of black coal, put under the pressure and heat of the very earth itself, now transformed into a beautiful crystal clear stone that sparkles as it reflects the light of the sun. (amazing I watched this process just today on TV!)

In the animal kingdom we see the caterpillar that builds a cocoon before becoming a butterfly. With each stage of the process there is a necessary struggle to become what it was destined to be. And like the caterpillar, each time we persevere through difficulties we are actually taking one step closer to becoming what God intended us to be. We are being transformed into more and more into the image of His son.

One of my most favorite chapters in the bible paints a vivid picture of perseverance. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is often referred to as Faith’s “Hall of Fame” because of it applauds the perseverance of many saints who against tremendous odds continued to persevere.
This one chapter summarizes some of the greatest accomplishments by those who chose to follow God no matter what the consequences. These are truly the heroes of faith whose lives are now examples to anyone who has put their hand to the plow and wants to follow after God.

So, what does perseverance look like in your life today? How can we learn from those who went before us? How can we truly spur one another on in this great race, which has been set before us? May God help us as we journey on to not loose sight of those who have cleared the path before us; else we grow weary and loose heart. But we are not the kind that should draw back, but like our Father Abraham, we will not turn back, but will keep our eye on the prize set before us.

I’d like to conclude with a poem I read recently called "Don’t Quit".

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
when the funds are low and the debts are high,
and you want to smile but you have to sigh,
when care is pressing you down a bit - rest if you must,
but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
as every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow -
you may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man;
often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor’s cup;
and he learned too late when the night came down,how close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out - the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
and when you never can tell how close you are, it may be near when it seems afar;
so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit -
it’s when things seem worst,you must not quit.

Author Unknown
Please join us over at Deborah's Chocolate and Coffee and see what other's have written on this quote today!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lost & Found

PS 119:2 – “Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all of their heart.”

Have you ever lost something that was really important to you, and spent hours, or even days looking for it? It seems like this is becoming a way of life for me these days.

Lost keys, cell phones, earrings, you name it and I've misplaced it. The other day I thought I lost my car keys, only to find them just where I left them. In the ignition of my car where I parked it …and it was still running! Now you have to admit it doesn’t get worse then that. OK, this is really bad.

When we loose or misplace something of real value, do we simply walk away and forget about it? I don’t know about you, but I surely don’t! No way. I immediately begin to dig in my purse (be careful…this can be dangerous), my desk, or my “whatever” and search for it until I find it.

Just the other day as I was looking for my address book with all my most important numbers and was frantically looking for it when I stopped and paused for a moment to ask God to help me find it. It was in that brief second He reminded me about an amazing lesson I had once learned.

Please join me over at the Cafe to find out my wonderful discovery that day...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Seeing Double

On this TSMS I’d like to dedicate a special song to my sister Stephanie. Now that I have moved away we don’t get to see each very often and I’ve really missed hanging out with her.

Steph drove up Thursday morning and from the moment she arrived it was like old times. We had so much fun catching up. We laughed our selves silly, shopped till we literally dropped, and stayed up late sharing so many wonderful memories. There is nothing like having a sister to share your love, life, hopes and dreams with.

Stephanie is my youngest sister. Everywhere we go people ask if we are twins! We always think this is so funny and so much fun. Maybe it’s our personalities, because we are just alike in so many ways. As you can see from our photo shoot, we have exactly the same taste in clothes. It was a riot being with her again, and although she just left this evening, I already miss her.

I love you Steph. I had a really great time hanging out with you. Let’s keep making these kinds of wonderful memories! This song is just for you...

More Then You Will Know (by Watermark) The song is now playing.

Something brought you to my mind today
I thought about the funny ways
you make me laugh
And yet I feel like it's ok to cry with you
Something about just being with you
When I leave I feel like I've been with God
and that's the way it ought to be, yeah
Cause you've been more than a friend to me
you fight off my enemies
cause you have spoken the truth over my life
And you'll never know what it means to me
just to know you've been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
more than you'll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah, more than you'll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah

You had faith
when I had none
You prayed God would bring me a brand new song
When I didn't think I could find the strength to sing
and all the while I've been hoping that I'll
do the kind of praying for you that you've done for me
and that's the way it ought to be, yeah
You have carried me
You have taken upon a burden
that wasn't your own, yeah
may that blessing return to you
A hundredfoldoh oh yeah, a hundredfold
Cause you've been more than a friend to me
you fight off my enemies
cause you have spoken the truth over my life
And you'll never know what it means to me
just to know you've been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
more than you'll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah, more than you'll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you'll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you'll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah

More than you'll ever know.

~Stephanie & I~

Please join us over at Signs Miracles and Wonders. Hope you have a wonderful weekend♥

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Life in Three Verses!

Luke 2:36-38 “Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.”

We don't know very much about the prophetess Anna. We do know that she lost her husband after only seven years of marriage, and after that she never left the temple but continued to serve God day and night with fasting and prayer..

Anna taught us what it means to hold on to hope no matter what may come our way. She showed us that our dreams and passions should be for things much greater than we could ever realize in this present life.

God rewarded Anna's perseverance with the privilege to be one of the first to declare the arrival of Messiah! (imagine that...) What a great faith, what a glorious conclusion.

Are you looking, longing and waiting for His return? Just like Anna, we also have that privilege each day to declare Jesus to those God sends along our paths.

Lord give me a heart that is longing for your return. Don't let me ever get satisfied and settled on this side of heaven. Show me the opportunities you give me each day to declare your Lordship in my life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Please join us over a Amy's 160 Acre Woods today. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Special Father's Day Gift

In addition to all the usual festivities on Father's Day, this Sunday we will also be celebrating the birthday of Jason, our oldest son. It was 29 years ago that God gave us our hearts desire when on Father’s Day in 1979 we were blessed with our first child. At the age of 16 I declared that I wanted to have “all boys(can you imagine such a prayer?) when I got married and my first one would be named Jason. I’m not really sure why I felt that way back then, but God surely must have heard that prayer because he answered it five times! Whew...and what a journey it has been!

When I think of Father's Day, I’m reminded of all the men God has placed in my life starting with my father who is now with Jesus. I was a young mom with 4 sons of my own when the Lord called him home. He left only three short years after my mother passed away. This was a very difficult time in my life feeling so alone, and I understood a little of what it might feel like to be an orphan. It was during that time that I learned to look to God in a greater way as my real Father.

The other greatest man in my life is my husband Rick. He has been there through “thick and thin” for all of us. No doubt he has the patience of Job, having lived with all of us these 30 years. Gentleness and kindness is the mantle he wears. Service is his love language, and I feel so safe in his care. I'm honored to be his wife. Happy Father's Day Rick, I love you!

Finally, as I think about my heavenly Father, I want to dedicate this song to Him. He is the solid rock upon which I have built my life. He is my shield, my refuge, and a high tower that I can run to and be safe from every storm. He is the lover of my soul, a friend, and my guiding light. I am nothing without Him...

(please mute my music player first!)

I love you,
All of my hope is in You,
Jesus Christ take my life,
Take all of me.

Please join us over at
Signs Miracle and Wonders to hear some more great music today. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend♥

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

From Head to Toe

On this Thankful Thursday I'd like to share a passage that I recently read in the Message bible. With all of the turmoil going on in the world right now it's easy to lose our spiritual focus, forget that God is completely in control, and become disheartened. It's seems like many times I find myself spending more time praying for understanding than just praising God for His goodness and mercy. When I truly meditate on the Word and all of God’s many the promises, I begin to realize how much we are truly loved. So today I would like to proclaim the goodness of our mighty God and thank Him for His countless blessings. I pray this will be a word of encouragement to you as well.

Psalm 103

O my soul, bless God.

From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
don't forget a single blessing!
He forgives your sins - every one.
He heals your diseases - every one.
He redeems you from hell - saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy -a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness –beauty eternal.
He renews your youth –

you're always young in his presence.

Dear Lord, how can I thank you enough for all of the many things you have given to me. Because of Calvary I'm forgiven, healed, and redeemed. Your love sustains me daily, your presence comforts me. Thank you for exchanging your strength for my weaknesses. You are faithful, you are true, and I bless your Holy name!

Now, isn't the Lord good? Please join us over at Sting My Heart to see how other thankful hearts are blessing God.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Beautiful Mind

When I read this week's quote, I could not resist taking a moment to share my thoughts on this powerful passage. The entire chapter of Philippians is one that I’ve been challenged by every time I read it.

I've probably seen this scripture quoted on more plaques, pictures and wall hangings then any other. It provides clear instructions for us to use as a filter to consider what we allow to fill our hearts and minds. It offers a guideline for our choices, and direction for how and where we invest our time.

Henry Blackaby wrote in his devotional Experiencing God…

“What you think about in your unguarded moments reflects what your mind dwells upon. What you speak about when your guard is down is a good gauge of what is in your heart” (Matt. 12:34).

How important are our minds to God? David said, "You perceive my thoughts from afar" (Psa. 139:2). I think it is safe to say that God is very concerned about what fills our thoughts each and everyday. In this passage, Paul was giving the believers in Philippi instructions that their thoughts, and thus their lives, should always be yielded to the Spirit of God and His Word. These believers were surrounded by a pagan society, in many ways not very different from our own, and he knew they would be challenged to live up to these Godly standards.

In practical terms, one thing I try to ask myself throughout the day is, “Does this music I am listening to, the TV program or movie I am watching, or the conversation I am engaged in meet the criteria Paul gave us in Philippians 4:8?”

Really we know what God requires, because as believers we have the Holy Spirit within us a guide. The test is simple, but getting a passing grade and living it out daily is not always so easy. In a word, the basic question is, “Does it bring glory to God?” In order to bring Glory to God the answer should always be “Yes” to each of these questions. Is it…

•Of good report?
Worthy of praise?

These are the standards we should use to judge our thoughts and actions. If we judge our own actions, we will never have to worry about being judged by others.

It's often too easy to become discouraged and allow negative and destructive thoughts to enter into our minds. To have my thoughts and actions be the kind that are edifying to both myself and others is my personal goal. Ultimately, the choice is up to each us.

“Lord, help me to renew my mind daily. Give me eyes to see your beauty and holiness to live each day. Give me a discerning and sensitive spirit to always choose to reject that which tries to destroy my peace and joy. Allow me to pursue that which is noble, and enjoy the things that are beautiful as I walk daily with you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Please join us at Nina's today. Thanks for stopping by♥

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Kindness of God

On this Thankful Thursday I want to thank God for his magnificent kindness. In Isaiah 54:10 it says:

“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”

With all that is going on in the world these days, I'm so blessed to know that God is still on the throne. Yes, He is in control and His covenant of peace sustains us daily. Where would I be without God's loving kindness and mercy? As I reflect on this wonderful virtue of our amazing God, I'm reminded of the many ways His kindness, which is often realized through others, has touched my life this past week.

♥ A picture from my son in Taiwan, finally! I miss him so much...

♥ Spending the day and night with my grand-daughter Kayla. Her joy and innocence captures my heart. My little drama queen!

♥ Shopping with my daughter-in-law to find the perfect decorations for her new home. Oh what a little "retail therapy" can do for the soul!

♥ Having our bible study group over for a BBQ. We had such a wonderful night of fellowship, deepening relationships, and making new friends.

♥ My baby got his first job! Yes, he's 17 and will be a senior this coming year. Where has the years gone?

♥ For all the new friendships I've made since I started blogging. As I sit and read your blogs, my life is so enriched, challenged, and greatly encouraged.

This list could go on and on, but I'll stop for now. Each day as I am touched by the tenderness of God’s marvelous kindness, my life is transformed. I pray that I can be a vessel, which He can also use to pass this same love and kindness on to others.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I'll look forward to reading what you are thanking God for this week.

Please join us over at Sting My Heart, you'll be glad you did.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Here Comes the Bride...again?

On this Marriage Monday I'm excited to share with you a video we made at our 25th Wedding Anniversary celebration.

It seems like yesterday that I was anxiously waiting for my big day. As a 23-year-old girl full of hopes and dreams, I looked forward to my future with great anticipation. Never in my wildest imagination could I have thought that only one year earlier I was praying for a
Christian friend, and God would answer by sending me my husband.

Now, nearly 30 years later, I'm more in love with that handsome young man, who was passionately in love with Jesus. Together we've learned so many things about the faithfulness of our mighty God. In joys and hardship, through sickness and many trials, we can testify that God is the Rock upon which we stand. We learned that love is a decision, and God is more concerned about our character than our comfort, and our holiness than our happiness.

The Lord graciously trusted us with five wonderful sons, and now three adorable granddaughters. Our latest surprise is that we now have our first grandson on the way.

I hope you will enjoy taking a peek at our special anniversary celebration as we renewed our wedding vows before our family and closest friends. I felt like a blushing young bride all over again.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. ~Mignon McLaughlin

(Please remember to mute my music first!)

Please join us over at
Chrysalis for more wonderful wedding day stories, this will be so much fun!