Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The End

I am not going to delete this blog nor continue to add to it.

But, I thought it was appropriate to end it with this quote:

“When you have come to the edge

of all light that you know

and are about to drop off into the

darkness of the unknown,

Faith is knowing one of two things will happen:

there will be something solid to stand

or you will be taught to fly."

Patrick Overton

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I have no idea if anyone is even visiting this blog anymore, but I thought I'd say hello and give an update.

I'm through the first 1/4 of the semester and it is going well, so far. I have a feeling it will get harder, but so far I have perfect scores on everything. I have a sociology test next week and I am pretty sure it will mess up my perfect run! The terms I'm having to memorize are complex and have similar meanings... hard to remember which is which!. But, I am loving being back in school. I wasn't expecting to really like it, but I do. I have a history instructor who has a terrific lecturing style.... it feels like you're just sitting there listening to a good story-teller. And, rather than giving you pages and pages of notes to copy from the board, he shows pictures. I'm a visual learner, so this is perfect for me. When I am trying to remember something, having a picture in my head really helps me to remember. I hope to get Hannah and Parker into one of his classes next semester, if the Lord allows.

Last week, I took my turn teaching one of my classes.... the professor has each student take a day to teach on a literary term for the first half hour of class. I have done quite a bit of public speaking in the past, but honestly, at college... I have wanted to just blend in rather than be noticed as the "old lady" in the class. So, I wasn't looking forward to it. But, it went okay and my professor told me today that I should consider going into education because I have a good teaching style. Maybe that comes from homeschooling for 14 years....

I recently mentioned on this blog that we were looking into replacing our gas guzzling van. At over $100 to fill the tank, it was adding up to a LOT of money each month. The van has something like 170,000 miles on it, and gets about 15 miles per gallon! Our daughter-in-love's father, who owns a car dealership, starting looking for a used car for us at auctions. He found an excellent car, roomy enough for Mark to use for the business (he needs room for ladders and tools), gas mileage is phenomenal, and the price was incredible. I actually feel kind of embarrassed to drive it, because it looks like we spent way more money than we did. But, we ran the numbers, and the savings in gas make the car pay for itself quickly. Another good thing is that it will look better than the old van when he has an inspection.... and probably make a much better impression on Realtors. Anyway.... all that to say.... God is amazing. He provided again for a need, I could not have imagined this could have worked out so well.

Please continue to pray for Mark and the business. Things are slow, but we seem to make steady progress in the right direction... just a whole lot slower than we'd like!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mamas Prayers

Well, as you can see I haven't stayed away too long. I got a ton of homework done yesterday, so I feel like I have a few minutes to catch up on my online work. I was able to edit and post some things on this morning. Then, I figured it would only take a few minutes more to share a quick story here before I go hit the books!

My second son enrolled in the same college I am going to this semester. One thing I've worried about is that his major will require quite a bit of psychology classes. And, I was a smidge worried about his taking this at a secular school. I knew all I could do was pray. So, I prayed that God would put him in the right class. And, funny thing... when Paul came home from his first day in Psychology he walked in and said, "Mom, did you pray for a Christian psychology teacher for me? Because, I'm pretty sure I got one!" Praise God!!

If you think of Paul, please pray that he will persevere.... he is feeling pretty overwhelmed with the homework, as well. He is working two jobs and has a very busy band that performs at least a couple of shows a weekend. So, he is tired and I just pray that he'll be able to keep up with everything and do well in school.

"In God we make our boast all day long
and we will praise your name forever."

Ps. 44:8

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

He Ordains Praise!

Today I was thinking about this blog and the probability of being able to continue blogging! I'm thinking that it isn't too great, quite honestly. I want to. But, I'm on day 2 of school and can already see that there will be little time for anything but school/work. So, my apologies up front to you... I'm sorry if you keep checking back here for updates and keep finding nothing new!

But, today I thought I'd take a minute to just share that things are going okay here. Mark's work is more consistent again. We wish it were more, but consistency is probably the main goal right now. If you think of us, keep praying for that, as well as growth. We've also made a decision to try to replace our huge conversion van. The gas costs are literally milking us dry. We kept putting it off, hoping that our circumstances would improve before we made that kind of change, but the truth is.... we could either keep putting the money into the gas executives pockets, OR put it towards a smaller vehicle. So, we've chosen the latter. God has even arranged for that need through our wonderful daughter-in-law's father. He has a car business and he is looking for a good deal on a car that gets great gas mileage. (He, by the way, is a Christian and an HONEST car dealer just a short drive from here... let us know if you are in the market for a used or new car and we'll give you his info.) Two days after deciding we needed to make this change, we got a message from someone interested in buying our van, as well. So, that could make it even better!

Another thing I wanted to do today, is share more from my Psalms of the Ascent studies with you. In particular, a quote from the study guide that comes to my mind again and again:

Sometimes the circumstances of our suffering may not change,
but the circumstances of our hearts are changed
in the midst of them
through a keen sense of God's presence
and a lively perception of His activity.

These words are so perfect, I cannot think of a better way to explain the last two years to you. In spite of circumstances that are challenging, scary, up and down, and illogical, I have great joy! Most of the time, I have a peace that defies human logic. We have witnessed so many miracles and amazing displays of God's care, His provision, and His love. That "lively perception of His activity" has been HUGE in our lives. It makes the trial all worth while. It is something I wish for every Christian. The drawing closer and closer to Him, because you find you cannot stand on your own.... there is nothing like walking in true dependency. I now know, what people mean, when they say you cannot truly learn to trust God until "whatever it is you trust in", is taken away. A bank account. A job. A paycheck. Health. Home. Family. Christians know they need to trust God, but I think for most of us it is more theory than practice... until issues come up that really test our faith and force our hand.

In all honesty, there are days when circumstances begin to overwhelm me with fear and strip me of my peace. The enemy begins to whisper deceitful words to me and it can cause me to become negative and doubtful! But, turning to God.... no, running to God, is my answer every time. Psalm 8:1-2 says:

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

Notice that second part, will you? Do you see it? We can silence the foe and the avenger! How?... go back up to the first two lines and there is the answer. THROUGH PRAISE! We can force Satan to zip his lips simply through our praise! If you find that you are being attacked by Satan, if you find your peace being stolen away, your joy being elusive, and/or are filled with thoughts that cause you to take your eyes off of God and onto your worldly circumstances.... just get on your knees and praise Him! I find that thought so amazing... to think that we can open our mouths in praise, and it causes Satan and his dominion's mouths to be "glued shut". It is an amazing weapon available to us for spiritual warfare.

Praisin' Him.


Monday, August 11, 2008


I just won a set of two cooking knives from my favorite cooking blog: Pioneer Woman Cooks!!

Ree (a.k.a. Pioneer Woman) has a fun-to-read blog with beautiful photography and terrific recipes. I enter most of her contest, but she has such a large readership it isn't unusual to see 5,000-10,000 entries. I was super shocked to see that I was one of the winners for this one! Another provision and blessing from God!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

God Meets Our Needs!

Since I am about to start college in a few weeks, I have been reevaluating all of my activities to see what I can eliminate. I was having trouble deciding what to do about the bread ministry. I started it about a year ago, but now my class schedule will interfere. Mark and I can still pick up the leftover bread, but I have classes during our bread distribution time. I wondered if we should just stop the bread ministry, or if I should try to find some people to take over.

Shortly after I started praying about this, I went into the church office and one of our secretaries told me a story.... The previous week, she came to our distribution area and picked up some bread for some people who needed it. She was about to go back to her office when she stopped and said, "You know, we have some missionaries from my church who just returned from the mission field. They have several kids and I bet they could use a little bit of assistance right now." So, we filled a couple of bags full of bagels for them. When our secretary called the missionary family and started with the typical, "Hi, how are you?".....she learned that the father was out of town and the rest of the family came down with the flu. The mother was very ill but the kids were beginning to feel well enough to start asking for something to eat. The woman said she was in no condition to cook, but.... "I was just thinking if I could just crawl out of bed long enough to go get some bagels from Panera's they could kind of fend for themselves for a little while." To which the secretary exclaimed, "That's what I was calling about.... I have two bags full of Panera bagels for you!" It was definitely providential that God brought that family to her mind that day!

God meets our needs.... Amen??

And, it was also a affirmation to me, that trying to continue the bread ministry would be a good thing. I put out a call for new volunteers and we'll wait and see what God does!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I have been really busy the past few weeks. I have a 'secret' to share with you today. I'll start out by saying that I quit college twenty-some years ago, when I gave birth to my first son. Mark and I were both college students at the time, but couldn't really afford for both of us to continue going to school and paying a babysitter, etc. So, I quit school and worked full-time, while Mark finished his degree. I always planned to go back "some day".

Earlier this year, I was preparing to fill out a FAFSA (financial aid application) for college for my son, Paul, and I thought about the fact that I would probably be eligible for some financial aid due to our low income. And then, I thought about wanting to go back to school some day, and the fact that we're only a few years from the empty nest. When the nest is empty, it would be nice to be able to go to work for something more than minimum wage.

Soooooo.... I filled out a FAFSA for myself, as well. And I began praying. I prayed that if this was not God's will, that He would close the door. I also prayed that if it were His will, that he'd provide a way for our two youngest kids, who are still at home and are homeschooled, to take some classes at our learning center. Well, that happened! Not only do I have enough aid to have my tuition and books paid for, but am able to pay for a couple of classes at the learning center for the kids.

Over the last few weeks I've been busy jumping through all the hoops at the college... verifying our income, sending transcripts, meeting with an advisor, etc., etc. And, finally, Monday I was able to enroll as a full-time student!

I am thinking of this as a trial run. One semester as a full-time student and then I will prayerfully re-evaluate. Is a full load too much? Do I want to keep going? Can I handle a little more? Or will the taste of what I thought was my dream cause me to change my mind all together? We'll see. I can't help but think of Stormie Omartian's book, "Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On." Sometimes we can only see the next step God is asking us to take. We don't know where it may lead or exactly why we are taking it... we may have plans, dreams, expectations... but we must turn those over to God and just trust whatever steps God leads us to take.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Walk by Faith...

There have been so many ah-ha moments during my study of the Psalms of Ascent, I cannot begin to share everything. Some things are so hard to put into words and I have had very little time for blogging lately. But, I occasionally look at the Google search terms that bring people to this blog, and it is obvious that many people end up here because they searching for assurance during difficult times. So... I will try. I will try to put it into words.

We studied Psalm 125 a few weeks ago and it begins,

"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion
which sits unmoved forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
the Lord surrounds His people, now and forever."

Isn't that an amazing promise??? When we trust in God, we are as steady as a mountain! Unshaken. Stable. Confident. Secure.
There is a ton of power in the decision to trust!

But, Beth pointed out that it is pretty easy to mix things up and put our trust in the wrong place. We were sent to Psalm 30:6-7, when David tells about a time when he began to feel secure based on his prosperity. Somewhere along the way, David made the mistake of feeling secure in the blessings of God rather than God himself. This is a statement I had to camp on for a while. We've been the recipients of God's blessings repeatedly over many, many months. If anyone is in danger of putting the trust in the wrong place, we certainly could be.

Where is my trust? In God's "doings" or in HIM? Usually, I have my trust in the right place. But, I must admit, there have been times when my trust was misplaced.... when I trusted a job.... a plentiful bank account.... a gift.... a pantry full of food.... a business..... All of those things and good and precious gifts from God, but I have to be careful to see that I am not worshiping at the alter of God's blessings rather than the alter of God, Himself. The first few words of this Psalm make it clear where my trust should be... "those who trust in the LORD...." This is the one and only place my trust should reside... and not because of what He does, but because of Who He is.

But, let's take it a step further. What if, for some reason, we do not see visible evidence that God is blessing us? Are we going to keep trusting Him, even when we don't? When difficulties surround me, when life is becoming less and less of what I expected it to be? How do I respond when he delays in providing something I think we need?? This is where the rubber meet the road. Do I have a fair-weather faith or a faith that will weather the most difficult of storms?

Beth Moore puts it so eloquently:

"We can grow secure in the favor God has shown us,
but God's favor and His person are not synonymous.
If our trust is in manifestations of God's favor rather than God Himself,
we will crumble like dry clay when He calls us to walk a distance
of our journey entirely by faith and not by sight."

The example of the apostle Paul comes to my mind here, who was imprisoned, flogged, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, constantly in danger, suffered from hunger, thirst, cold and lack of clothing. But, did he lose faith in God because of it? To the contrary, he saw it as an opportunity for God's strength to show through him. He is truly an example of not putting trust in tangible blessings as opposed to God Himself. Look back to the scripture where I began: Psalm 125... when we have our trust in the right place, when we trust in God, Himself... we are a strong and steady mountain and cannot be shaken in spite of what is going on around us. That is why Paul was able to endure so much. He was strong and unwavering in his trust and faith in God.

"for we walk by faith, not by sight..." 2 Cor. 5:7

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blessings, Blessings!

I wanted to share the blessings my daughter has had this summer. I've already written about her first youth trip this summer, she needed approximately $90 for meals and God provided exactly that amount the week before she left through two babysitting jobs. When she got home from that trip, she was home just two days before the youth group would leave on their second mission trip of the summer. She again needed meal money for the trip, approximately $30. She was asked to help someone mow four lawns on one of those days she was home. For how much? $30, of course.

This month, the youth minister has planned a reward trip for the youth to go to an amusement park in Ohio. My daughter wasn't planning to go because she needed to pay a small deposit and she didn't have any money. But, guess what? They leave on Wednesday, and someone just asked her to babysit on Tuesday. Once again, God provides in His perfect timing. It is so precious to see such precise answers to prayer. EDIT: I forgot to mention that because my daughter wasn't able to pay the deposit ahead of time, she shouldn't have been able to go. But, because of a problem with our youth minister's computer he accidentally bought a couple of extra tickets to the park. So, of course, he is now allowing her to pay that deposit late and have one of his extra tickets!

I have some wonderful stuff to share from this week's Bible studies. I hope to have time to write about it soon!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Give Thanks in ALL Circumstances

My Bible study homework this past week has caused me to revisit one of the most powerful books I've ever read... The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Corrie, with her family, worked to hide and save many Jewish people from the Nazis during WWII. Unfortunately, the Ten Booms were eventually caught and sent to concentration camps. Corrie ended up in the same camps as her sister, and at one point, they were transferred to new barracks. They found their new quarters to be a disgusting pit of filth.... with backed up plumbing, soiled and rancid bedding, and stacked platforms that would serve as their beds for the many months to come. As the sisters attempted to settle in, they discovered through the ensuing bites, that the place was also infested with a multitude of fleas. "How can we live in such a place!" Corrie cried out.... But, her sister prayed and asked God, "Show us. Show us how."

Betsie then remembered a Bible passage they had been reading earlier in the day. "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus...." "That's it, Corrie! That's His answer! Give thanks in all circumstances! That's what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!"

So, they began to thank God for many things that were true blessings... that they had a Bible, that they were together, and so on. Eventually, they also thanked God for the fleas, because Betsie insisted that there must be a good reason that God was allowing the fleas. But Corrie responded with, "There is no way even God can make me grateful for a flea."

"Give thanks in all circumstances," Betsie reminded her. "It doesn't say in pleasant circumstances."

Corrie and Betsie began using their smuggled Bible to lead Bible reading in a large room within their barracks. They were perplexed as to why there was rigid surveillance everywhere else in the prison camp, but they had very little supervision in the barracks. This gave them the freedom to openly lead large groups of women in Bible readings night after night.

Eventually, there was an incident when a guard should've entered their barracks but refused to do so because of the fleas. Betsie and Corrie suddenly realized why they'd had so much freedom to lead big Bible studies in that big room... it was the fleas. The fleas were the reason they were able to openly share God's Word night after night!

I thought of this story as I studied Psalm 124 in last week's Stepping Up homework. Beth Moore wrote these insightful words: "... in our humanity we tend to determine whether God is against us, for us, or tolerating us based on how He appears to act in our circumstances. In other words, our litmus test for whether we think God is really for us is circumstantial evidence." The problem with that is..... you and me.... we don't have a clue as to what is best for us. We cannot imagine how God might use the most despairing of circumstances for our good. We lack the imagination, the insight, the depth, to even come close to figuring it all out. If I may quote Beth again... "God will risk being misunderstood". He knows the glory of the future will be worth the difficulties of the present. He wants us to have crowns to throw at His feet!!

I believe, this is yet another layer to the trust lessons God is teaching me... To be thankful in all things. It is easy to feel thankful when you have circumstantial evidence that God is working in your favor. It is easy to trust when good things are happening. But, sometimes you don't have that kind of evidence... and sometimes you just have to trust that in spite of everything, God is at work!

"Dear LORD, show me how to trust You in this.
Show me how to believe you in this.
Show me how to be thankful in this."

Jesus said... "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
John 13:7