Monday, September 29, 2008

The Day of the Shofar!

At sundown today the Jewish New Year begins, Rosh Hashanah!

The most obvious distinguishing feature of Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the shofar, or ram's horn. The Biblical name for this holiday is in fact Zichron Teruah (Remembrance of the shofar blast), or Yom Teruah. (Day of the shofar blast). In some English Bibles it is called The Feast of Trumpets.

As the Jews celebrate this holy solemn and day, I'd like to share a great song with you.

(Please remember to mute my music first, thanks!!)

This is day we long for and eagerly await as our Risen Messiah comes for his glorious bride.

Be blessed and enjoy!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One Blessing After Another

“From the fullness of his grace we have all
received one blessing after another.” Jn. 1:16

On this Thankful Thursday I'd like to offer up thanks for all many the wonderful things Jesus has done this past week.

* I'd like to start out by thanking Amy over at
Split Decisionz for the great makeover she did on my blog! Isn't it beautiful? I sure appreciate you Amy. If you have not visited this great site, you need to check it out now!

* I'm so blessed to have my hubby back home! It's been so wonderful having him here again. It was our longest time apart ever, but I must tell you, this reunion has been glorious. I'm so thankful for Rick.

* I'm so grateful for the newest addition to the Amato family, our first grandson, Cole Dylan! (Now, isn't he just adorable?)

(Go Tigers!)

(Look Grammy, I can hold him!)

* I'm so thankful for the 6 fun-filled days I got to spend with my precious grand-daughter Kayla while mommy was recuperating. Oh, she was such a delight to have here with me! We got to spend a lot time bonding together. My other grand-daughter, Grace Kelly, joined us on the weekend. Here are some special moments I captured:

(Grammy & girls on the way to church)

* I want to thank God for sending a friend of my son Joseph all the way to Thailand to stay with him for awhile. It feels really good knowing he's not alone any longer in a strange country halfway around the world. This does “good” for a mom’s heart!

* I am really enjoying my Breaking Free bible study by Beth Moore each week. God is truly using His word to reach into the deepest places of my heart. I'm also concluding my study on the book Anonymous, by Alicia Chole. I'm being drenched in God's word these days! Thank you sweet Jesus for your Word, it truly sets the captives free.

* Finally, once again, I want to give thanks to all of you out there who stop by and bless me with your prayers and many kind words of encouragement. I especially appreciate you helping out during this Cancer Awareness month by dining at Chili's on the 29th! Take some pictures. I'd love to see them.

“Lord, how can I begin to thank you enough for the countless way you bless our lives everyday? A lifetime is not enough to show you how grateful I am. Thank you for the gift of salvation, healing and restoration in my life. Your grace is amazing, your loving kindness sustains me daily. I'm so grateful for the loving family you have given me, and for my many faithful friends. My life would be empty without your presence. I give you all the praise and glory today.” Amen.

Please join many other thank-ful hearts today over at Sting My Heart! I'd now like to wish Iris a wonderful birthday, and thank her for being such a great hostess for Thankful Thursday!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Did You Know?

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

A few weeks ago a special was aired nationally on TV called
“Stand Up to Cancer”. I was unable to watch it because we did not have electricity thanks to a visit by Hurricane Gustav.

The show was used to help raise money for research in the battle to find new cures for cancer. Sadly, in talking to several friends who saw the special, I learned that there was only one doctor who represented childhood cancer out of all the specialists featured on the program! Wow...

I can only imagine how disappointed all the parents (myself included) of children battling cancer felt with such little emphasis given to childhood cancer. If the nation could only see this part of the cancer world where so many brave little soldiers are fighting for their lives everyday I know their hearts would have been touched.

While I greatly appreciate all the monies that are being spent on research for breast cancer, prostate, lung, and other cancers that seem to grip at the heart of our nation, I could not help but question…

“What about our children?”

Childhood cancer affects thousands of children each year. Did you know that in America - 46 new cases are being diagnosed every day?

Cancer is the most common cause of illness-related death in children. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in children, after accidents. 12,500 children are diagnosed with cancer every year.

So what can you do to help out?

Each year Chili’s donates 100% of their profits for one day to St. Jude. This year the date is September 29th. There goal is to raise over $50 million dollars toward research. This donation will be the largest donation from a single partner campaign in St. Jude’s history!

Last year the new Chili's Care Center was opened at St. Jude in Memphis . My son had the chance to be treated in this beautiful new facility on our last visit to St. Jude in April. It is a fabulous building with State-of-the-Art technology. This is a tribute to all those who gave and who still see childhood cancer as something worth fighting and beating!

(Thanks Chili's)

Countless MRI's, CT's, Pet Scans and various other treatments are being done daily in this awesome new building. Would you be willing to take your family out to dinner at Chili’s to help them reach their goal on Monday Sept. 29th, 2008 for a fun and rewarding time? Your children could even go online and Create a Pepper. It's fun and it's easy. Every dollar counts.

Another way you can help the children is by participating in a new Virtual Walk, which is being sponsored by CureSearch. One of my dearest friends, Tonya, has a Team she's designated in honor of her brave son Brent this year. He lost his battle here on earth, but his memory lives on and helps us keep fighting until this beast is defeated. For a donation of any amount, you can join her and many others this month. Please check this event out here. Thanks Tonya!

So many people, (and I once was among them myself), are totally unaware of the wide reaching effects of childhood cancer in our society. That is why I am so glad that September has been set aside to help bring this cause to the attention of our nation. Too many children will be diagnosed this year, and too many that have already been diagnosed will be lost. Time is so critical.

Alone the task seems to daunting, but together we can join our hearts,
our prayers, and our finances to conquer this giant.

I'd like to conclude by honoring some very brave warriors we have had the privilege of knowing during Jordan's journey. (There were many more, I just don't have access to their pictures now.) Some of these precious children are still in the battle now. They show us what bravery and courage truly looks like.

Let's help make a difference today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Best Gift Ever!

"Don't you see that children are God's best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior's fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don't stand a chance against you; you'll sweep them right off your doorstep." PS 127 3-5

We are so excited to announced that Cole Jason Amato has finally arrived! Born on September 16th, he weighed in at a whopping 8lbs 15oz and 20 inches long! Now that's a healthy size baby! He is as cute as a button, and Jason and Kristin could not be more delighted. Once again, as grandparents our hearts are just busting with joy!

Thanks so much for your prayers as we anxiously awaited Cole's grand arrival. For now we'll get some special time spoiling big sister Kayla who will be staying with us while mom is recovering!

Please join us today at The 160 Acre Woods for more WFW!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

He Covers Me

On this TSMS Saturday I'd like to dedicate this song to all the survivors and the families who were affected by the attacks of 9/11. Also, to all those who were recently impacted by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. And finally, for all of you that may have experienced a loss or disappointment in your life, (this covers many of us!) I hope that you will also be blessed and encouraged.
(please remember to mute my music player first!)

In Psalm 10, David asked the question many of us have asked God:

“Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”

It's so easy to feel forsaken and forgotten. Like David I pray you will discover that

God does see,

God does care,

and He's faithful to carry us through the most difficult times in our lives.

When I first got saved, Steve Camp was one of my favorite musicians. I recently discovered his blog, CHAMPONTHIS and I was so blessed by his thought provoking writings! He is now one of my daily reads.

Like the words to Steve Camp’s song says,

“Sometimes the pressure builds around me and I feel about to break, I suffer painfully from wrongs done to me but vengeance isn’t mine to take. So let me glory in my weakness till Your strength’s revealed in me.”

No matter what you may be facing, always remember this promise:

“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.” (PS 10:17)

Today, I would like to conclude with a prayer.
“Lord I lift up all those who were affect by these recent hurricanes. Please be with them in the coming days, weeks and months as they return to their homes and try to get back to normalcy. Encourage their hearts and build up their faith as they focus their gaze upon you each and every day.” In Jesus name, Amen.

Please join us today over at Signs, Miracles and Wonders to see what beautiful songs are being sung today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Giving Thanks

“O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name!”
1 Chronicles 29:13

On this Thankful Thursday I have a heart that is full of gratitude. God has truly shown Himself strong on our behalf. It did not take long for me to recall the many things God has done for us over these past two weeks. Before I share these wonderful things I’d first like to remember all those families that lost loved ones on 9/11. It’s been 7 years since our nation was shocked by this nightmare and all of our lives have been touched by it. Please remember to take time today to remember and to pray.

I'm giving thanks for:

· God's supernatural protection of our family during Hurricane Gustav. He sent friends and family to help us in our time of need. God is so good.

· I'm thankful for my brother-in-law that came to our rescue after some long hot humid days and brought us some much needed supplies!

· I'm grateful for my friends who checked up on us and so many of you out there who prayed for us.

· I thankful for ELECTRICITY, air-conditioning, the Internet, microwave and all the luxuries we usually take for granted on a daily basis. What a blessed nation we live in!

· I’m thankful that I was able to talk to my son Joseph for a long time through Skype this week! It was so good to hear his voice again. I miss him so much. Joseph is now living in Bangkok and ready to start a new teaching job there. He’s already planning the next country he wants go to. He wants to see the world, and I believe he will. Please pray for his protection as he travels, and for the Lord to send Christians along his paths. Here is a recent picture I received:

· I thankful for baby Cole (my soon to come 1st grandson) and for Kristin as she prepares for his birth this coming Tuesday!

· Finally, I'm thankful for my son Jason and all those other men and women of the National Guard that have come from across America to Louisiana to serve and protect us during this storm. They have sacrificed so much for our safety and to help during this crisis.

Now, let's keep Texas in our prayers as they prepare for Hurricane IKE, which is expected to hit this coming weekend.

Please join many other thankful hearts over at Sting My Heart today.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Keep The Fires Burning!

Oh, how women love "ROMANCE"!!! I don't think it takes very long for most women to share with their spouse what makes them feel loved. I know I often drop my little hints. I thought the cartoon was really funny and yet so often true. I've bought all the books, went to marriage seminars, and have had some rather lengthy conversations on this topic.

I'm so blessed that I can say my husband is eager to learn and we both work to keep those home fires burning. Yes, and after 30 years of being together that’s saying a lot.

For us it's the little things that mean so much. A handwritten note next to my tea cup in the morning, or a surprise text message during the day can truly turn a tough day around. Rick and I enjoy walks together after a long and hectic day just to get caught up. Dinners out are always a special way to spend some relaxing and uninterrupted quality time together.

♥Romance does not just happen; it takes work and a lot of time, but it’s sure worth the effort.♥

And finally, being apart at times does make the heart grow fonder, but oh those reunions can be some very special times we will treasure! And it just happens that I am without my hubby right now as he once again had to leave to go out of state for work. I truly am grateful for the love we share that continues to grow and mature with each and every passing year.

So here is a great big hug across all those miles - I LOVE YOU RICK – and I’m already looking forward to our REUNION celebration. Come home soon.

Please join us over at Chrysalis to see what others are saying!

A Very Present Help

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1).

I’d like to start out by thanking so many of you for your prayers and kind words of comfort during this past week as we dealt with the blow of Gustav. After going through all the challenges of Katrina only 3 years ago, I must say I had many concerns as I watched this storm approaching.

Now I can report that I’m so blessed to say that God was faithful to show Himself mighty in the midst of the storm! We were surrounded by His divine protection as the winds blew, and He sent the right people at the perfect time to help us out when we needed them.

We are especially grateful for our neighbor, Gerald, (who just happens to be a builder) that lives in our subdivision. He came over in the middle of the storm with a roll of plastic sheeting and helped Rick get up a temporary patch in our attic to cover the hole where the tree fell through the roof.

Oh, how beautiful is the body of Christ!

The next day one of my youngest son’s friends who was staying with us during the storm called his dad (who just happened to be a roofer) came over and put up some blue tarps over the roof that made the damage water-tight.

God’s hands were upholding us each day, and now looking back, my heart is so grateful for the many wonderful provisions He made for us during this storm.

After three long hot and humid days without power, my brother-in-law made the 2 hour drive from his house to bless us with food, ice, two generators, and a small A/C window unit. Wow, I thought I was in heaven, literally! Once again all we could do was to gave thanks.

So, what lessons did I learn from Gustav?

♥ I’d say first and foremost, our God is FAITHFUL. What the enemy tries to use to bring us down, God turns around to show Himself mighty on our behalf.

♥ I got to meet many of our neighbors, as we all went into survival mode and spent time outside of our electricity-free houses.

♥ I improved my cell phone text messaging abilities. ( yes, I’m slowly learning)

♥ I got to spend lots of precious time with my daughter-in-law and my two beautiful grand-daughters who stayed with us during the storm. They kept us entertained with their silly antics and child-like faith.

♥ I had lots of time to read the word, and completed my first week of homework for Breaking Free! Now, if you’ve ever done a Beth Moore study, you know that is a MAJOR to-do!

♥ Well, the list could go on and on, because in all hardships and times of testing there are always abundant blessings if you look for them.

Yesterday, as I pulled up for church, I noticed the doors all opened around the building. I was greeted with a warm smile and an ice-cold bottle of water. It was only then that I realized our church still did not have electricity. It didn’t matter; it was still a full house! Half of the people attending still had no power, but were eager to gather together to worship and bless our God.

In closing, I would ask that you would pray with us that this new guy in Caribbean named IKE, will dissipate over Cuba, or just be blown far off to the west where no one will be in his path! It would be very difficult for our state to take another hit this soon after Gustav. I already do not like watching the weather report these days!!

Again, thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts!

Here are some pictures of our house hours before the storm and how it quickly digressed!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Another update...

Hi Guys!

I did not want to keep you all hanging. Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement for the Amato family. I have been reading Mrs. Susan her comments, and she is so grateful for every one of them.

I brought Jordan back to Baton Rouge earlier today. Unfortunately, they are still without power, but on the radio today it said the subdivision behind them should have power restored tonight or tomorrow. Hopefully, that means good news for them, as well. Mrs. Susan's brother-in-law came to their house yesterday with 8 loaves of bread, 2 packs of turkey, 2 gallons of milk, and the best gift ever...a window unit! I can't begin to tell you the difference this has made for them! I know they were so grateful for this luxury in the heat. It actually felt semi-comfortable in there. =)

I will keep you posted as their situation changes. Please continue to pray for power restoration ASAP, and for the damage to their home to be fixed very soon. We really can't wait to get things back to normal.

My husband (and Susan's son), Jason, is still activated with the LA Army National Guard, and probably will be for the next 2 weeks or so. I am scheduled to have a c-section on September 16, so please also pray that Baby Cole holds out for his dad to return!

Thanks again for all of your prayers!

Love, Kristin (Susan's daughter-in-law)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Update on Gustav

Update: Thanks so much for all of your prayers. They are greatly appreciated! This is Kristin writing from my home. Jordan and I left this morning with the girls; my house had power restored to it last night.

It has been quite an adventure the past few days. Mr. Rick and Mrs. Susan had a few pines (I think 3) fall down in their backyard. One hit the roof causing lots of water damage, a hole in the roof, etc., and their neighbor's tree fell across their fence. I think you can get the picture; it is just a giant mess and very overwhelming.

Unfortunately, to add insult to injury, they are still without power. It has been 3 very HOT, LONG days and nights! Mr. Rick will remain home until power is restored in their area. As I type, they are waiting in a 2 hour line to get more gas for their generator.

Even through such a frustrating time, God is still good and in control. I know they would appreciate your continued prayers and encouragement. I will keep you updated.

Thanks again,