Friday, February 29, 2008

Who would have thought?

I hope to be back to post again today at some point because I have to respond to a tag from CellyB and I have several things in my head that I want to share but I couldn't resist showing you this.
Apparently "Signs, Miracles and Wonders" is a hip thing. I promise I didn't steal my blog name from Mynista.

I tried to upload a picture, but Blogger wouldn't let me so you will just have to go there to see.

The only Rap I know is Doug E Fresh and Run DMC... but wait... that dates me doesn't it?

BTW... I was google searching Signs, Miracles and Wonders if you were wondering if I am into Rap.

Isn't great that God is into changing lives.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Other Words

I apologize for the long post... but hang with me. I pray you will be blessed.

I have never participated in “In Other Words” at Amy Bayliss’s site “In Pursuit of Proverbs 31” before but I have to say that this week’s topic really grabbed my attention and I felt like I had to share. The quote for this week was by Billy Graham

“Miracles have happened when God’s people come together in prayer.”

This quote struck a chord with me because you see I have experienced my own modern day miracle. Here is a little about what happened: (This is taken from the talk I give at epilepsy events.)

My husband and I had been married for about six years and we were beginning to get pressure from both sets of parents for grandchildren, so we decided we were ready to start trying to have a family. In March of 1999, I had a miscarriage. We were devastated but as my friends and family comforted me and I moved through the stages of grief we finally decided to try again.
This time, I had an uneventful pregnancy. I had morning sickness, gained 30 pounds, and craved every food imaginable – you know ladies, all the normal stuff. Everything seemed to be going along just fine until the time came for our delivery. We were so excited on our way to the hospital but still a little nervous about this unknown adventure we were embarking on called parenthood. On the night of December 28, 1999, I was admitted to the hospital to have our son Spencer. The labor was very long and hard. (Is there any other kind ladies?)

On the morning of the 29th Spencer was born, I knew something was terribly wrong because he was not crying. I remember asking the nurse over and over, why isn’t he crying? The neonatal team had been alerted and rushed Spencer out of the room to the neonatal Intensive Care Unit. As many of you may know a baby is given what they call an APGAR test at birth to evaluate the baby’s health on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best. Spencer was given a score of zero at one minute and a two at five minutes. You can imagine how scary that sounded, but they told me he was fine but having some problems. Once they got him breathing with the help of a respirator, we were told his blood glucose level was very low, he had very high acidosis, and that his blood pressure was dangerously low. We were told he possibly had lung, liver and brain damage due to asphyxia and was having some problems with his heart. The outlook was not good.

By that evening, Spencer had stabilized somewhat and was beginning to make positive progress. Early on the morning of the 30th everything started to go downhill. A nurse in the unit observed that Spencer was having what she thought was a seizure. At this time he was medicated for the seizure and apparently went into cardiac arrest. The doctor came to see us at 7:30 am and told us that Spencer’s liver, kidneys, and cardiac functions were all starting to shut down and that this was obviously a turn for the worse. The physician told us that if we had family that wanted to see Spencer that we should tell them to come immediately. Within the next 30 minutes, a fleet of nurses were in our room with a wheel chair to take us to the Neonatal ICU. You could tell by the expressions on their faces that it did not look good for Spencer.

When we got to the unit out worse fears were confirmed. The doctors and nurses were performing manual CPR and indicated that this had been going on for over an hour and that Spencer was not responding. They had exhausted every rescue measure they had available to them. The physician then came over and explained that they would have to stop CPR and take Spencer off of the monitoring, the IV’s, and the rest of the equipment if we wanted to hold him. Up to that point, Spencer had had so many challenges that we still had not had an opportunity to hold him. They then wrapped up my son in a blanket and a cap in an effort to hide the fact that he was already turning ashy and gray and handed him to us. Here he was less than one day old and we were to hold him for the first and last time. It was our chance to say good-bye. You see they were just waiting on his heart to officially stop beating so they could call the time of death.
We were placed in a private room just off of the NNICU and immediately my husband and I started to pray over our son. We asked for strength to face this situation and for God’s will to be done. We prayed Phil. 4:6-7.

“6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We were trying not to have fear, but were presenting our request to God but remembering to be thankful at the same time no matter what the outcome. Then we experienced God’s true peace that no one can understand.
We prayed Psalm 37:4.

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

We told God that our desire was for our son to live, but if that wasn’t in his will, then to please help us and give us strength for whatever His plan was.

During this time, the physician kept coming in to check Spencer’s heart rate. There was a nurse waiting with a death certificate ready to fill in the official time of death. We didn’t know this at the time, but with each visit the doctor made, his rate was dropping and got below 20 beats per minute. Phone calls were made on our behalf to our family and church informing them that our son had already passed away. On the doctor’s third trip to check Spencer’s heart rate, you could tell he was visibly shaken. He started to take Spencer from my arms and I said, “No, please don’t take him… I just want to hold him a bit longer. I don’t care if his heart has already stopped!” But when he pulled back the baby blanket we were surprised to see that our son had turned a pink color. The doctor then explained that Spencer’s heart rate was around 120 beats per minute and that he wanted to take him back to monitor him. When the physician left the room the nurse filling in the death certificate requested the time of death. The doctor looked at the nurse and said “this baby isn’t dead, he is alive.” We feel like we experienced a miracle that day.

We spent the next 2 weeks in the NNICU. Spencer had x-rays, several EEG’s, a cat scan, an echocardiogram, a spinal tap, an MRI, batteries of blood tests; so many test that I couldn’t possibly remember to name them all. The only thing that they could find was what the physicians called a small area of insult on the left lateral hemisphere of his brain that we were later told would probably affect his speech and motor skills. They thought he had possibly had a stroke and only time would tell whether he’d ever be able to talk or walk. At the end of those two weeks of testing, we took home for all practical purposes a healthy baby. We immediately started physical therapy and added speech later to make sure if there were any problems that they would be identified early. Little did we know there was yet another storm brewing on the horizon.

Everything seemed to go smoothly for the next three years. Spencer went to speech, occupational and physical therapy several times a week and was basically caught up to where he was supposed to be developmentally. We had a beautiful, smart little boy bursting with personality that won the hearts of everyone he met. My husband and I thought, “Hey, this parenting thing is pretty cool,” so we decided to try and have another child.

At our first ultrasound appointment – the storm hit. We were sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office when Spencer started to behave very strangely. He seemed to be trying to speak to us but couldn’t. The right side of his mouth and eye began to twitch and he started to drool. Then he threw up. We had no idea what was happening and even though we were surrounded by doctors and nurses, they didn’t seem to know what was going on either. By this time, Spencer’s right arm had begun to jerk and we called 911. We didn’t realize until later that Spencer was having his first seizure. Spencer went from bad to worse. After an ambulance ride that seemed to last an eternity, we arrived at the hospital where the doctors tried unsuccessfully to get Spencer’s seizure to stop. By this time, the seizure had generalized to his entire body. After giving him enough medication that they were ready to insert a tube into his throat to help him breathe, the seizure finally wore off. Spencer was heavily medicated and postictal for some time. For a parent that does not know what is going on, this can be scarier than the seizure itself. We thought he had had another stroke. He could not talk or move the right side of his body and his face was drawn down on the right side. We wondered if we would ever see our energetic, talkative, effervescent little boy again. Would life ever be the same? What did the future hold?

After a few days in the hospital, the medication wore off and Spencer seemed to go back to normal. We were released from the hospital and for the moment, everything was calm. But then, just a few months later, Spencer had another seizure. This seizure also did not stop – a term I have come to learn since as “status epilepticus”. Once again, we called 911 and ended up in the emergency room. It was after this seizure that my son was diagnosed with epilepsy. He had probably developed it due the asphyxia and stroke suffered at birth.

We still fight a daily battle with epilepsy and have had several hospital visits in which we thought again that we might lose Spencer. But God has used it to open so many doors of opportunity to share about Him and His love for us. We remind ourselves and Spencer that God uses everything for His good if we will let him… even things that the enemy has intended for harm.

Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

When people ask us how we do it…we are able to tell them that His power and strength is what gets us through our tough times.

Another amazing part to this story we learned after we got home from the hospital is that when the nurses informed my family that Spencer had died, my sister in law called a friend of hers who was known as being a prayer warrior. She asked this lady to pray for me and my husband because we had just lost our baby. Unbeknownst to us, this lady had been praying in her own personal life for about 2 months for God to let her see a modern day miracle. She agreed that there are so many things about our everyday lives that are miracles… but she wanted to see a Lazarus type of miracle. She had been reading John Chapter 14 and had been specifically praying John 14:11-14.

“11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

When she received the call from my sister, instead of praying for strength for me and my husband, she began to pray for God to raise Spencer from the dead. She was also telling people in her workplace about what was happening. When she received a phone call back from my sister that Spencer was indeed alive… she was not surprised at all. And… people she worked with prayed to receive Christ that day. We later received letters from those people whom we had never met. It was incredible to see how God weaves his tapestry of our lives together so beautifully. We can miss it if we aren’t looking. Also, members of my family that were lost whom we had been praying for for a long time also prayed to receive Christ that day…"the saving of many lives.”

If you ask Spencer what he thinks about having epilepsy or what happened at birth with his stroke, he will tell you that it’s ok that it happened. He will tell you it gives him a chance to tell others about Jesus and what a miracle He can do in their lives too if they will pray and believe.

“Miracles have happened when God’s people come together in prayer.”

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

10 Minute Tuesdays

Isaiah 44:9-11
All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.
Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing?
He and his kind will be put to shame; craftsmen are nothing but men.
Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and infamy.

These are the verses highlighted today at Faithful Chick for 10 Minute Tuesdays.

I read this scripture early this morning and I have been thinking on it all day. I know we are only supposed to think on the verse 10 minutes and respond, but this one struck a chord with me and I had to dwell on it for awhile. I’m not sure I have my thoughts totally together yet… but here goes.

The part of this scripture that stands out to me the most is “the things they treasure are worthless.” “They” referring to those who make idols. As Alicia says in her post, most of us Christians wouldn’t think of making a golden calf…but we do make idols in so many other ways. And when we make idols, the things we treasure change… and we begin to treasure worthless things. Instead of laying up treasures in heaven, we become attached to treasures here on earth – treasures such as material things, affirmation from others instead of God or even feeling like we are in control of our own lives.

In my NIV Life Application Bible, it says that an idol can be anything natural that is given sacred value or power. What things do we give power or value to in our lives… money, acceptance, power?

To me rebellion and idolatry go hand in hand. Rebellion has to do with obedience. I have found that I sometimes slip into a quiet rebellion in which I am going about life in my own way instead of the way God would have me go about it. It is then that I have allowed something other than God to have control or power in my life. I have allowed an idol to slip in. The idol may even be my self. I can sometimes become arrogant in that I have a false sense of self-importance or self control. I have to choose once again to be controlled by God’s Spirit. I also have to remember to not make excuses and not try to defend my position to God. Sometimes I do this when I am not really obeying or putting Him first. He sees right through this.

It reminds me of what Saul did in 1 Samuel 15:20 when he did not fully obey God’s commands to destroy everything when he waged war on the Amalekites. He decided to keep the best of the sheep and cattle even though God had told him to destroy everything. Then tried to say it was so he could sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel tells him:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23

Saul decided to keep the good material things from the Amalekites. He became more concerned with what other people thought of him and with doing things his way instead of God’s way. It cost him his kingdom.

When we want to keep the best things for ourselves… we make those things an idol. When we worry more about what other’s think than about what God says… we make other’s opinions an idol. When we try to take control of our lives and do things our own way… we make ourselves an idol.

We like the Israelites often choose our idols above God. In Exodus 32 the people actually do make a golden calf. The notes in the Life Application Bible say:

“Even though Israel had seen the invisible God in action, they still wanted the familiar gods they could see and shape into whatever image they desired. How much like them we are! Our great temptation is still to shape God to our liking, to make him convenient to obey or ignore. God responds in great anger when His mercy is trampled on. The gods we create blind us to the love our loving God wants to shower on us. God cannot work in us when we elevate anyone or anything above Him. What false gods in your life are preventing the true God from living in you?”

Lord help me to not put anything before you in my life. I don’t want to let anything prevent you from showering your love on me. Help me to be obedient to you and to love you with everything I am. Help me to live my life as a pleasing sacrifice to you.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Where in the World is Amy Wyatt?

OK... the travel schedule has been a little crazy. As soon as we returned from Pigeon Forge, we unpacked and packed again for a trip to Las Vegas. Before you go thinking I was there to gamble (not)... let me tell you about why I was there.

I have the privilege of speaking all over the country for a group called Epilepsy Advocates to share about what it is like to be the caretaker of a person with epilepsy. Spencer occasionally gets to travel with me and also speaks about what it is like to live with epilepsy. We also get to tell about his birth experience which opens lots of doors to share about Jesus.

Well, the company we speak for was having their National Sales Meeting there and asked us to attend to speak along with several other advocates. We had a spectacular time. Spencer spoke(in front of over 600 people) and he got a standing ovation! Makes a mama's heart proud. I can't wait to see what God is preparing for him to do some day!

We stayed at the MGM Grand and saw the Lion Habitat, went to M&M World, walked down the Las Vegas Strip to look at the lights, played in the arcade, ate at Emeril's, ate at the Rainforest Cafe and saw the Cirque du Soleil show KA. And we were only there from Thursday afternoon until Saturday morning. And we had practice and our actual meeting during that time too. It was a busy, fun filled weekend.

We also got to spend time with Michele and Rachel and their dog Cappy (also part of the advocate program). It was great for Spencer to spend time with Rachel since he really doesn't know anyone else with epilepsy. It was also great to spend time with Cappy. We are trying to decide if we should apply for a seizure response dog for Spencer. This weekend we got to see first hand what having a service dog is like. Please be praying about this for us.

Anyway, just wanted to let my few faithful readers know where I've been. It's been hectic, but I hope to catch up on reading blogs and writing soon. I have a post floating in my head about Las Vegas... but I haven't quite worked it out yet. More to come soon.

Sweet Blessings,

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"I Will Lie Down and Sleep In Peace" or "Be perfect"

Sorry I have been away a few days friends... we are on "holiday" as my Mother-in-love says. Our extended family on my husband's side has escaped away to the mountains. We are having a lovely time in Sevierville, Tennessee, in a beautiful cabin owned by some of our friends. Lots of shopping and eating and sleeping going on here ...or should I say attempted sleeping.
Which brings me to the reason for my post today. Yet another wonderful conversation with my son Spencer.

Let me set it up for you... Yesterday my lovely daughter woke up at 6am. Now mind you... she doesn't even get up until 7am during the school week... so why on earth she decided on a day that we could all sleep late to get up so early...I have no idea. She is the child who would usually sleep until 10am if I would let her. Anyway, she proceeded to wake up everyone in the house.

So, we made a rule that the rest of the trip, you couldn't wake anyone up before 8am.
This morning, my son Spencer woke up at 7am and wanted to go upstairs. (We have the basement level of the house.) I put him off until 7:30am and finally allowed him to go up to the second level where his grandparents were. I was sure they would be up. However, the last thing I said was..."Do not go to the 3rd floor and wake up your Aunt Liz and Walt!"

So what does he do?... He goes straight to the third level, opens the door to his Aunt's room and stands above her bed staring at her until she wakes up. Then his sister comes downstairs to tell on him. So I went upstairs to call him back to the basement for his punishment and in the process woke up my nephew, while calling for Spencer to come back downstairs. Let's just say... no sleeping is going on and it is before 8am... which is against the rules.

So, he comes back downstairs to the room where his father and I are sleeping... or attempting to sleep. We put him in bed to have a "talk" with him about his disobedience. A "talk" usually does the trick with Spencer because he is so tenderhearted. Upon discussion of what he had done wrong, (not necessarily waking someone up, but the exact opposite of what I told him not to do) he begins to cry. My husband is never one to be too harsh, so after we discussed what Spencer had done, he told him his punishment was to stay between us in bed totally quiet and still while we slept for another two hours...btw he was just kidding. (Side note...Spencer loves to get in bed with us, but it is impossible for him to stay quiet. The child talks all the time. Which the doctors said he would never do... but that is a post for another time) We were snuggling and "squishing" him between us and just talking.

Here is how the conversation went.
Greg: "Spencer, do you know what you could do to make me more proud of you?"

Spencer: "Nothing"

Greg: "That's right. Do you know why I am so proud of you?"

Spencer: "Because I am perfect." (No self esteem issues here people)

(Now about this time, I decide that I am going to throw in a Bible teaching moment and ask him why he is perfect... expecting him to say "because Christ lives in me" or something deep and profound... which he usually does... so I say:)

Me: "Spencer, do you know why you are perfect?"

Spencer: "Because I have two perfect parents."

Both of us burst out laughing at this point and freed him from his "punishment". At least he knows how to talk his way out of trouble. I'd say that was a good answer. Makes me feel better about this.

I think I need to make my chilren memorize these verses:

Psalm 4:8
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Matthew 5:48
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

10 Minute Tuesdays

Alicia over at Faithful Chick has started 10 Minute Tuesdays. Click here for directions.

Today's verse is Psalm 40:11-17

"Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased, O LORD, to save me; O LORD, come quickly to help me. May all who seek to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!" be appalled at their own shame. But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, "The LORD be exalted!"Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay."

I've read over this verse several times today and the parts that keep sticking out to me (kind of like a Holy Highlighter has marked them) are "come quickly to help me" and "do not delay."

David is desperate for God to act, to be present, to make Himself known. He is especially desperate because not only do his own sins seem to be overwhelming him; he is feeling attacked by others at the same time. (A double whammy.)

This is so how I feel on some days. My sins are so overwhelming and Satan and others are eager to point that out. I become discouraged and doubtful. On those days I am desperate for God to act, to be present, to make Himself known, to rescue me. However, the thought I had today when I read this verse was that I want to be desperate to see God act, to feel his presence and make Himself known everyday, in every circumstance even in the mundane every day tasks of life... not just when I feel like I am drowning and need Him to lift me up out of the pit. I want to seek Him, rejoice in Him and be glad in Him in everything. In other words, I don't want to wait until I am desperate to be desperate for God. I want to have an attitude of "come quickly God" and "do not delay" in everything.

The other reason these phrases stuck out is that sometimes God has a purpose for His delay. He requires a "holy wait" from us. This is a lesson I am still learning and have been for some time. I want to say "Hurry God" "Take care of this quickly" "Let's check this off and move on" but His timeline does not always match mine. I have to rest assured that whenever He acts, it will be in His perfect timing. And if he requires me to wait... it is for a purpose.

Uganda 2008

If you haven't visited Boo Mama or Rocks in My Dryer lately, you definitely need to. There are also links to the rest of the team visiting Uganda with Compassion above. These so moved me. I can't even imagine how they are writing about their experiences. I am only reading them and I am so overwhelmed.

How is this for a Random Act of Kindness - Sponsor a child.

Random Acts of Kindness

I got this from Joanne at Blessed, who got it from Mari at My Little Corner of the World. I thought it was really cool. This reminds me of the challenge my friend Carol at Sheep to the Right gave few months ago. If you would like to participate, visit Mari to sign up.
This is what Mari had to say...
Random Acts of Kindness Week Feb 11- 17
Did you know that this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week? I'm thinking this would be a good time to challenge you all. I would love it if you would think of some kind thing to do for someone this week. It can be big or small, you can do it for someone you know or a stranger. Just keep your eyes open for ways you can help someone this week. After you do something for someone, write a post about what you did and link to this post using Mr Linky. You may enjoy it so much, that you do more than one kind thing! There are some ideas above, but you may have some great ideas of your own. Please feel free to publicize this on your blogs, but ask people to link back here, so we can see what fun things people do.
Have fun being kind to others!
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
Colossians 3:11-13
I have to tell you about something kind my son did today. His teacher has really been encouraging them to do one good deed for someone each day. Everyday we ask him what he did, and almost everyday, he says he forgot. I'm not sure if this means he forgot to do a deed, or he forgot what his deed was. His meds and the epilepsy can affect his short term memory, so we are never really sure. Today was no exception.
When I picked him up from school, I asked, and he said he forgot. We went out to dinner tonight and he and his sister split a large chocolate chip cookie for dessert. I asked my daughter for a bite but she would not share. (She's four and every bit of it). Then my son generously offered me the last bite of his. Then he quickly added "Does that count as my good deed for today Mom?" Giving away the last bite of your cookie... I'd say that counts.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Welcome to Holland

Earlier in the week, I was very frustrated with dealing with the whole epilepsy thing. Sometimes the stress of everyday builds up to a breaking point, and I had reached that point. I haven't written much about Spencer's epilepsy on my blog, but it does affect every single decision we make and every part of our lives as parents. On the day I was having a breakdown, I received this in an email from a friend.

WELCOME TO HOLLAND by Emily Pearl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy.
You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

What a reminder to me. God didn't plan for me to go to Italy but to Holland. And He is my guide.

His plans and the journey He takes us on are always better than the plans and journey we have in mind for ourselves.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Isaiah 55:9
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Emily Pearl Kingsley’s article has been widely circulated in support groups and medical circles.Please credit as follows: As published in “That All May Worship and Serve,” July, 2002, as published on the United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries web site.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

National Epilepsy Walk

Just wanted to give you an opportunity to get involved in a very good cause. My son Spencer and I will be walking in the National Epilepsy Walk in Washington, DC the end of March. Spencer was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 3 as a result of a stroke he had at birth. Right now they just have me listed as a walker, but he will also be participating. We are part of the team called Epilepsy Advocates. You can find out more about the Epilepsy Advocate program by clicking here. If you would like to contribute to this cause, you can click here to make an online donation.

Passing on the Love

A few days ago, my dear, real life friend Carol at Sheep to the Right gave me the "You Encourage Me to Follow in His Footsteps" Award. Carol is really one of the ones who encourages me daily. She challenges me, motivates me and keeps me accountable. And for those of you who read her site regularly... Yes, she really is that funny and insightful in real life. I 'm blessed to get to hang out with her. Her personality and love for Christ truly comes through in her writing. I can't wait to see where her writing and love for the Lord will take her.
I would like to pass this award along to Janet at Living Oak Ministries. Janet too has been my real life friend for many years. We have cried, laughed, prayed and learned a lot about God together. She teaches me something new almost every day. When I'm down, she lifts me up and vice versa. We have laughed many times that God doesn't let both of us have a bad day on the same day because one of us calls the other to remind us what we know and believe. She is one of the funniest and most talented people I know. And I can't wait to see where God will take her singing ministry. BTW, if you need a singer for an event...she is definitely your girl!

Carol also passed along the Excellent Blog award. I purposely waited a few days to pass on this award because as I mentioned in an earlier post, I had not regulary read a ton of different people's sites... until now... all that has changed and I am hooked. I have added many people to my sidebar and am spending way too much time every day taking a peek into your daily lives and being encouraged by you.
I would like to pass this award on to Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee. I just found her site and was instantly hooked because of her two most recent posts. She is obviously a fan of Lost and anyone who loves Lost is a friend of mine. And, her Muppets post on the Candidates is way too funny! I can't wait to go back and read all of her old stuff while waiting on new posts. As one commenter put it... Linda is northern funny... different than southern funny. And if you don't think there is a difference in northern and southern, check out Micca's post from Feb. 4 entitled Southern Women at Reflections.
I would also like to pass it along to Kimberly at A Planting of the Lord. She claims to be beauty impared (not true) but her true beauty shines through in what she writes about.
I'm passing it to Jai at Wife of 1, Mom of 4 too. The story of her son Ethan is truly inspiring. Caution: take tissues to read here and here.
It's going to CellyB at Busy at Home too. If you haven't read her "tribute" to Judith Viorst's book "Alexander the the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" you need to. We all have days like these.
Also to Sue at Praise and Coffee. She's great at applying scripture to our everyday struggles and ... she gives away free stuff.
Ladies... You truly bless me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Deep Afterschool Conversations

So I told you about my conversation with Mary Lyndsey on the way to school this morning... Let me tell you my conversation with Spencer on the way home. It went like this:

Spencer: Why can't they pray in public school? I wish they would just tear all of the public schools down. (He's passionate that way about everything.)

Me: Well, we don't need to tear them all down. If we did, then where would everyone get an education? We need to pray for them that they will someday allow children to be able to pray again in school. They don't allow prayer because not everyone a Christian and some people don't believe in prayer. Unfortunately those people were in charge when that rule was made.
(I'm not sure if this is answer is correct in it's entirety but figured it would make sense to him.)

Spencer: Why aren't some people Christians?

Me: Some people aren't Christians because they don't believe in God or that He sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins.

Spencer: How can you not believe in God. He is everywhere.

Me: I wonder that too Spencer.

Spencer: Is Satan everywhere?

Me: The Bible doesn't say that Satan is everywhere... only God. But Satan does have demons working for him that can be anywhere. (I wasn't quite sure how to answer this one without scaring him to death but at the same time making him aware that evil is around us.)

Spencer: Are the demons the angels that left Heaven with Satan?

Me: Yes

Spencer: How did Satan trick them?... I mean how can one little angel cause so much nasty, dirty awful things to happen? (I told you he was passionate... and descriptive) And why did Satan get pride? Can't God control His angels?

Me: Yes, but He allowed his angels to choose to follow Him just like He allows you and me to choose. God doesn't make us love him and follow Him but He wants us to. And pride is something that Satan uses to get a lot of us to choose to not follow God.

Spencer: What was Satan's name when he was in Heaven?

Me: Lucifer

Spencer: Yeah Lucifer... why did his name change to Satan?

Me: Well, when we have a change in character, sometimes God changes our names. You know how Abram became Abraham and Sarai became Sarah and Jacob became Israel and Saul became Paul. When we change, we get a new name. The Bible says that God has a new name for each of us when we get to Heaven one day that only He knows. (Rev. 2:17)

Spencer: I hope my name has an S in it. I like names with S's in them... except for Satan.

Then he asked if he could play the Leapster when he got home. End of conversation.

I'm not sure how I handled all of these questions or if my answers were even entirely correct. He keeps me on my toes. Sometimes I have to tell him that we will have to ask the pastor or look it up because I don't know the answer. He sure is deep for an 8 year old.

We never know what their little minds are thinking do we?

Being Confident in Yourself

Ok, I had to share this quick story before I forget it in they busyness of today. On the way to school in the mornings, my daughter (4 1/2 year old) listens to my iPod. She is always singing along to one of her favorite songs. Today, she stopped the music and said "Mommy, do you want to listen to my voice in a different context?" (How does she know what context means anyway?)
"Sure" I said. So she started to sing a song she had made up. She informed me that "in a different context" meant that she could sing without the music. (Funny, I thought that was
a cappella) I can't remember the words but she is always making up songs and singing about everything.

In true mommy form, I see potential in her to be a great singer someday; so I asked her if she would like to take singing lessons to improve her voice. Her response to me:
"No Mommy, I am great the way I am!"

Wow, that's my lesson for today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


This past summer at Women of Faith, Anita Renfroe said that women invented comparison shopping. Retailers just followed their lead to sell more, because they knew women loved to compare things. We as women compare everything. We especially love to compare ourselves to each other. On a girl’s night out recently, my husband asked me why I was dressing up to go out with a bunch of girls – was I really lying about going out with the girls and just meeting some guy instead? (He was just kidding btw) I quickly informed him most women don’t really care about what men think; they are more concerned with what other women think.

Apparently, there’s been some comparison going on in the blogosphere lately. I have read several posts today that talked about comparing ourselves. Here, here, here and here. Hmm…do you think it was coincidence… or is God trying to tell me something?
Then, just in case I didn’t get the message this scripture was my devotion time today.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by[
a] one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[
b]? Do all interpret? 31But eagerly desire[c] the greater gifts.

I don’t know how many of you have Life Application Bibles by Zondervan, but in case you don’t…the notes on these scriptures said this:

“Paul compares the body of Christ to a human body. Each part has a specific function that is necessary to the body as a whole. The parts are different for a purpose, and in their differences they must work together. Christians must avoid two common errors: (1) being too proud of their abilities, or (2) thinking they have nothing to give the body of believers. Instead of comparing ourselves to one another, we should use our different gifts, together, to spread the Good News of salvation.”

The notes go on to say:
“Thinking that your gift is more important than someone else’s is an expression of spiritual pride. We should not look down on those who seem unimportant, and we should not be jealous of others who have impressive gifts. Instead, we should use the gifts we have been given and encourage others to use theirs. If we don’t, the body of believers will be less effective…. Your spiritual gifts are not for your own self-advancement. They were given to you for serving God and enhancing the spiritual growth of the body of believers.”

I think I get it. God has a special calling on my life that only I can fulfill. And He has a special calling on your life that only you can fulfill. He has gifted me in certain areas, and He has gifted you in certain areas. We can fulfill our calling while still being an encourager to others.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Obedience - The Word for Today

Apparently, I was on to something last week with the obedience lesson I learned from God... Today He sent me this in an email devotion: (from Prime Time with God by Os Hillman)
Isn't He so good to patiently keep telling us stuff over and over until we get it.

"I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things" (Isa 45:7).

God will use pain in order to create a love relationship with His creation. This statement may challenge your theology. However, consider that God allowed Jesus to experience incredible pain in order to create an opportunity to have a relationship with His creation. Consider how Jesus created a relationship with Paul. He blinded him and used a crisis in his life in order to bring him into a relationship with him and use him for God's purposes. Consider how God recruited Jonah for the mission He had for him. This is not God's first choice for His creation. Romans 2:4 reveals that God's preference is to show mercy and kindness: "Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" The problem is there are few people who respond to the goodness of God. God loves people more than He loves their comfort. He invests a great deal into mankind. He desires relationship with us and will go to great lengths to create such a relationship in order for us to receive the rewards and inheritance He has for us. I have observed this process in the scriptures in working with people through years of ministry. I have noticed three distinct stages. First, we live based on convenience. Our obedience is largely based on circumstances in our lives. We choose to obey based on the circumstances. The second stage is the crisis stage. God allows a crisis to come into our lives. We are motivated to obey God in order to get out of the pain of our situation. Many times God allows us to stay in this condition in order to demonstrate His love and faithfulness during our pain. Gradually, we discover something knew about God and often have a personal encounter with Him that changes us. Our very nature is affected by this God-encounter. This begins to move us into a third phase that is a relationship that is motivated now by love and devotion instead of pain. This is where God desires us to be. Another way of saying this is we are no longer seeking His hand. We are seeking Him. We want to know God personally. Obedience will not last when the motivation is only the removal of our pain. Obedience only lasts when the motivation is loving devotion. Where are you in your obedience and what is the primary motivation? If it isn't love, why not tell the Lord you love Him today and want to know Him for who He is and not for what He can do for you.

When we love Him... we will trust Him and obey His commands.
More to come later on First Time Obedience.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Learning to Obey

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

"If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John 14:15 (NIV)

"Intelligent children listen to their parents; foolish children do their own thing."
Proverbs 13:1 (The Message)

Earlier this week I was feeling frustrated…, defeated…, like the worst parent ever. Do you ever have those days when you feel like you could be a much better parent? I had made a solemn vow to myself that our “getting ready” time was going to run much smoother. “Getting ready time” is that time when you are getting ready to go out the door to some place. Most often for us it’s to church or school. It seemed lately that getting ready to go somewhere had become a circus. So, I started trying to prepare better by doing things like laying out clothes, packing bags, and getting baths the night before.

“I’ll have more patience,” I promised myself. “I won’t be so quick to yell.” However, this was a promise broken. Even with the advance preparation I had so carefully executed to make my morning run more smoothly, I still had to raise my voice to the level of surround sound to get my children to listen and obey. It didn’t seem to matter I had made the request to “brush your teeth” or “get your coat” at least four or five times. They didn’t seem to hear me until I was yelling like a crazy person. My behavior resembled one of those sports fans, mad at a referee for not calling in their team’s favor. And to think, here I was just trying to get them to a place they needed to be. After all, they couldn’t get there on their own.

After the yelling, they finally paid attention and carried out the request I had made. It came with “We’re sorry Mom,” “It won’t happen again, Mommy,” “We’ll listen, we’ll obey, we love you Mommy.” My first thought was to say “You don’t mean it. If you were really sorry, you would change your behavior. You would obey me and not make me raise my voice to get your attention.” But before the words could travel from my head to my mouth, I felt the gentle prod of the Spirit and heard Him say. “If you loved me, you would obey my commands.”

That hit hard. How many times have I myself not obeyed God’s requests even though He has asked me repeatedly? Sometimes I am so busy doing my own thing that I don't do what He has planned for me. And what He has planned is always better than anything I could ever do on my own. He is always trying to get me to a place I need to be, a place I can’t get to on my own. He’s not taking me to school, but to a place where He can teach me something. He’s not taking me to church, but to a place where I can worship Him and experience more of His presence. There are times when I have ignored His requests to the point I no longer hear his still small voice and He has to raise it to get my attention. He raises His voice by allowing circumstances to come into my life to get me to pay attention, to listen more closely to what He has to say.

All of these thoughts passed in just a few seconds, but in those few seconds, I was reminded of how good God is. How patient He is. How merciful He is. How forgiving He is. I cried out in my spirit… “I’m sorry God. It won’t happen again. I’ll obey. I love you. I want to do what you have planned. I want to go where you want to take me.” And then I felt it. Peace and unconditional love. The forgiveness He gives when I ask for it. The thankfulness that His mercies are new every morning flooded my heart.

I stopped what I was doing and looked at my children. I wanted to be sure I had their full attention. I told them I forgave them for their disobedience. I told them I loved them no matter what. I told them we would start over again tomorrow morning… and we would do better. Then I didn’t feel so frustrated… so defeated. I felt good because I know Christ is living in me, perfecting me day by day, forgiving me when I make mistakes, doing whatever it takes to get my attention and teaching me to trust and obey. If I can just pass that along to my children, then maybe I’m not such a bad parent after all.