Journaling Through the Valley . . . and finding JOY in the morning!

Location: MICHIGAN, United States

Thank you for stopping by. It's my hope you find glimpses of my Savior interwoven thru my writings. I am the wife to one husband for over 25 years, a blessed mama to a dozen children, yes each born from me ~ two of which see Jesus face to face & ten at home, all of us yearning to see Jesus someday. We have been home educating for over 18 years with . . . well, another 15 years to go (the youngest is 3, the oldest 23!) I have walked through rejection, to continually learning I am CALLED, LOVED and forever KEPT by God - never, ever to be rejected by Jesus! (Jude 1:1) I've walked through deep sorrow to find that joy does come again, though the night may be long; I've witnessed God orchestrating miracles with my children still beyond my comprehension, & I am seeing new love forming as we begin a new road of older children finding life mates. My life has and is a journey, from the deepest, almost rock bottom pit, to stumbling through my faith and looking towards the ultimate climax of everlasting life in heaven. Will you be joining me here and there? ~ Loni

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sickies here

We are all sick here. The flu has hit. It has hit us older ones the worst. The little ones get sick - and then run about like they are fine, until they get sick again. Jayson has his first basketball game tomorrow and we are hoping to all go to it. It's been our healthiest winter in a long time, so if we get over this quickly, that would be wonderful.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Prayer Shawl

"For it was you who formed my inward parts, you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well."
Psalm 139:13-14

It was one of those days when something just really hit me as being so awesome and inspirational. I enjoy (too much) looking in the craft section of our local store - to get ideas - and see what's new and available and costs, etc. Today I was looking for something for embossing cards - looking for a green yarn for flower stems, and I came across a book called,
The Prayer Shawl Ministry - Reaching Those in Need. What an inspirational and encouraging book this is - though I don't necessarily agree with all the "spiritual" things in the book, the idea of it is just so neat. I did not get the book, but looked it up in our library system, and the book was lost. When I got home here tonight, I did some searches on it, and found some other neat websites and ideas for it. The first website I came across is, Prayer Shawl Ministry and they give ideas of uses for giving a shawl:

[For those] [u]ndergoing medical procedures; as a comfort after a loss, during bereavement, prayer or meditation, commitment or marriage ceremonies, birthing, nursing a baby; as a bridal shower gift; leading ritual; first menses or croning rites of passage, during an illness and recovery; ministering to others or just socializing...There are endless possibilities! To make a shawl personal, the giver or the recipient may want to adorn the shawl with beads, shells, feathers and charms. A blessing or ritual maybe offered when the gift is presented.

This Prayer Shawl Ministry has on their website instructions & guidance as far as doing this, which includes when you decide to make on and begin, first start out praying for the person you are making this for. They give a suggestion for doing these even in groups, and passing shawls around the circle, so you can then pray for that person's shawl you are working on. This site also gives a common knit and crochet pattern for making this, which appears quite easy. Many of the shawls are completed with tassles on the ends and there are suggestions for adding beads or charms to personalize it even more. As my readers know, I like making Mother's Bracelets, shawls can be made in colors according to birthstones. Or, imagine even having a neutral colored shawl and having children's birthstones woven throughout or on the tassles. Like with birthstones having a different color for each month, the Prayer Shawl Ministry website also has ideas for birthday shawls according to birthstone color and their meanings and also the possibility of enclosing scented sachets with the shawl.

Another neat website, which is a little less "new agey" is the Waiting Room Ministry which also has The Prayer Shawl Ministry. I love what they share as far as their suggestions for praying while making the shawl:

1. Begin by focusing on Jesus Christ. Thank God for His love and goodness toward the person you are praying for while making the shawl. Thank Jesus for His plan for good to happen in this persons life. Thank and praise the Lord for Jesus Christ's death on the cross and the Holy Spirit's presence as you knit or crochet. Visualize Jesus sitting with you as you make the shawl. See the person being held in His arms and feel the love they share.

2. Thank the Lord for the person. Have good thoughts about the person and focus on the potential for healing, for a quality life and believe that the person will be restored, healthy, and complete in God's time. Lift whatever needs the person has to the Lord in prayer.

3. Intercede for the person. Sometimes words are not enough and I sit with the Lord and simply hold the person before the Lord. Ask the Lord to guide you as you pray and knit or crochet. Pray for blessing on the person. Pray for strength and courage in the person's life and in the lives of loved ones. Pray for comfort and healing and for the doctors, nurses, and all who take care of the person. Pray for whatever need the person has in life. Let the Lord lead you and pray whatever Jesus lays on your heart.

4. Pray for the person to draw closer to Jesus and if the person is not a believer, pray for salvation. In your mind's eye see this person turning to Jesus and walking into the arms of God. Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead the person to Jesus Christ and for the person to be open to the Lord. Pray for this one's heart to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.

5. Keep praying - you can pray for one area that needs prayer over and over as you feel led. Sometimes you may feel led to pray for one area of life, such as healing of memories, or for blessing on the relationships in the family. Persevere in prayer and remember that God's purposes for the person are usually accomplished in the person's mind and heart as well as with the physical body. Pray that nothing can stop the working of the Lord on the mind and heart or on the healing of the body.

6. Be encouraged! God does not call you to pray in vain. Pray! Believe and praise the Lord till the answer comes. Even if you do not see or feel any changes in the life of the person, pray on! The Lord Jesus Christ will work in real and unexpected ways.

7. When you complete the prayer shawl, pray over it. Make a prayer link with the yarn from the shawl and keep the link to pray over often. Anoint the prayer shawl with a prayer of blessing for the person before it is given to them.

8. Trust the Lord to continue to work through the shawl when it leaves your hands. Visualize the shawl being given to the person and see Jesus wrap the person with the shawl. See the love and healing power in the prayers that are woven into the shawl. Now let go and let the Lord do the work in the person's life
I also like what the Lion Brand Yarn website said about the Prayer Shawl, along with their free pattern and great color chart for how their colors look:
What is a Prayer Shawl? Throughout the ages, shawls have come to symbolize shelter, peace and spiritual sustenance. Since the inception of the Prayer Shawl Ministry in 1998, the members of this ecumenical organization have lovingly donated their time and talents by creating hand-knitted and crocheted shawls for those in need. What started as a grass-roots movement has quickly grown into an international cause, with countless numbers of shawls being given to grateful recipients around the globe.The Ministry's message of caring is simple, universal and enduring. And we have seen time and again that the creation and presentation of a prayer shawl, like all acts of generosity, enriches the giver as well as the recipient.
I found many other links searching on Google for Prayer Shawls that you might find inspiring. If any of you gals have made one of these for someone, I'd love to hear how you did it and the story with it. I just thought this was something so neat, and something to share with my daughters to do - even together as a family project to do for someone as an encouragement. I will share with you later what we decide to do.

P.S. - The "basic pattern" that is repeated on several websites including the Lion Brand website, is a very simple and great beginner's pattern for knitting which even many young children can quickly learn. Also on the Lion Brand website is a free Learn to Knit tutorial which you can print out.


I am adding to this a little later because I have just found this so inspiring. Another mom gave me an idea with making one for each of my daughters and making sure I have left over yarn. Then, making one for myself, using the leftover yarns so I have representation of each of my girls. I just thought that was neat. (02-02-06)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Another Good Report! :)

Jessica's cardiology office called. They already got the holster monitor back and read it. Everything looked normal. Jessica told us a few times when she had the heart pains, and we marked these down, and even during those times, nothing showed up. We are all thankful and relieved! Now, we have to see what we can do to find out what the pains are, and give her some relief from that. You can pray about this!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


(Written by a former child)

A message every adult should read, because children
are watching you and doing as you do, not as you say.

When you thought I wasn't looking,

I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking,

I saw you feed a stray cat, and
I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking,

I saw you make my favorite cake for me and
I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking,

I heard you say a prayer,
and I knew there is a God I could always talk to
and I learned to trust in God.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick,
and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking,

I saw you give of your time and money
to help people who had nothing
and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't.

When you thought I wasn't looking,

I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it
and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking,

I saw how you handled your responsibilities,
even when you didn't feel good and
I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking,

I saw tears come from your eyes and
I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it's all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking,

I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking,

I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know
o be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking,

I looked at you and wanted to say,
"Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Good Report! PTL!

Well, we have been gone for over 6 hours and have good news to report! Our daughter's pediatric cardiologist (PC) was wonderful and spent a lot of time with us. It worked out great to be her last patient of the day. They did an echo & EKG, and these showed the same. The PC even did the echo since it was after hours and the technicians were gone. She did send Jessica home with a heart moniter holster to monitor her heart for the next 24 hours. We are to mark down any time she feels palpitations and/or pains. The PC really thinks it is either growing pains or a heartburn type thing. So, this is a GREAT relief. We will still have to take her to our general doctor and see if he finds anything and go from there, but that seems easier dealing with than the heart stuff!

Thanks so much for all the nice notes & FOR PRAYING!!

Please Pray

We are taking Jessica to see her cardiologist today. She has been complaining a lot lately of chest pains - and we are not sure if it is indeed her heart, or if it's more a reflux type thing. We do notice it after she's been running or sometimes after she's eaten (pizza bothers her) - so prayerfully, it is something like heartburn. But, we cannot let this go on any longer. Jessica has also been asking to go and even asked daddy the other day if she had to wait until March, when her scheduled appointment is. Today when I told her she was going today, she gave me a big hug and thanked me. I think she too just does not want to worry about it anymore. When I called her cardiologist this morning, they got her in right away this afternoon. We will try to update later tonight, but it will be late as it's quite a drive, and we will probably be there for some time. I am sure they will do an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), x-ray, and EKG which we will have to go to the hospital for.

Thank you.
PS: This is Jessica's webpage, but it has not been updated in awhile, but tells about her heart problems and her first two surgeries.
My flesh & my heart faileth;
but God is the strength of my
and my portion for ever.
Psalm 73:26

Sunday, January 22, 2006

In Memory & Sanctity of LIFE Sunday

In Loving Memory

Angela Hope
born still
January 22, 1998

To think,
the first face
she saw
and beheld
was Jesus.

We can only imagine!

Today is also Sanctity of Life Sunday. 33 years ago today Roe vs. Wade made abortion, legal. Murder, legal? Possibly had it been "40 some years" ago that it had been made legal, I would not be here. My birth mom thankfully, chose life for me. I was adopted when I was 6 months old.

The most dangerous place in the world is the womb. Pre-born babies are being killed in their mother's wombs at a greater rate than any other section of society. The mortality rate of pre-born babies varies from 1 in 4 to 1 in 3. That is, less than every 24 seconds an unborn baby dies.

Since 1973 more than 48 million babies have been aborted.

("Rachel, weeping for her children...")

No lullabies in joyous hearts
sung to unseen ears,
No mother’s gentle crooning
soothes these unborn babies' fears.

No glad anticipation
of what this child will be -
the future he will never have,
the triumphs she’ll not see.

These builders, artists, scientists,
formed to make a better day -
That plan will never come to pass:
their lives got in the way.

Wrong Sex, Wrong Time, Wrong Parent -
Is that reason to kill?
Convenience ends the lullaby,
though a heart is waiting still...

For a young voice calling "Mama?"
For the footsteps in the hall.
For a yard with dirt instead of grass,
for the crayon marks on the wall.

We're measured and found wanting
for those allowed to die
on the altar of convenience
while we passively stand by.

"A person's right to choose,"
we're told, "Stands above all else.
Besides, it's hurting no one,
since we're doing it so well."

"A truly victimless affair,
a blob of tissue, bit of hair,
a little pain, then life again
for someone in despair."

"No lasting harm, no ill effects
arise from this," we're told.
But tell that to the couple
with no child to ever hold.

As for this aging nation,
Searching everywhere for youth
to keep the country moving -
it's time we heard the Truth.

Our leaders came, and were despised --
the timing wasn't right.
So one of three, we sent them off
into an early night.

These builders, artists, scientists,
formed to make a better day
Never lived to see God's plans fulfilled,
their lives got in the way.

So tell the nation's hopeless,
who lay dying of disease,
who wait for the discovery
that will give their lives some ease,

That the inconvenient timing
of the one to cure their ill
resulted in an early death -
it is OURSELVES we kill.

Written by Poignant Musings
for Sanctity of Life 1/23/05

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Pro-Life Poem

Tomorrow marks the 33rd anniversary of Roe vs Wade. Certainly, not a good anniversary in our country as over 43 million babies have been aborted since then. Tomorrow I will have a couple more poems and also a piece in memory of our daughter that was stillborn on this date, 8 years ago. In many churches tomorrow it will be Sanctity of Life Sunday. Let's remember these little ones, to keep fighting for life.


Mommy keep me safe,
Mommy keep me warm,
Handle me with all your love,
Mommy keep me from harm.
I’m only six weeks old today,
This birthday gift to me,
A pair of bright blue eyes,
That someday you will see.
I’ve barely got ears,
A little puppy nose,
and at the end of my feet,
Little things called toes.
Looking forward to my life,
toys, teddy bears, snails,
and long fairy tales.
Where are we going mommy,
in a bath, on a bus ride or,
perhaps far away.
Where are we going

being pushed at all force.
How funny it feels passing through doors,
people dressed in green,
if they hurt you mommy just scream.
What’s happening mommy,
I’m starting to cry,
Mommy come quickly,
they’re making me die,
Killing me quickly,
Pulling me apart,
everything inside of me
even my heart.
Bye mommy, good-bye
But how I wanted to see
the grass, the trees,
hear a sweet song,
feel a sweet breeze.
Bye mommy
I love you
I really do
I just wish you could love me too.
author unknown

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


". . .Wash me,
and I shall be
whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness . . ."

Psalm 51:7b - 8a

Picture taken by our daughter today of the beautiful snow!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed!

The Pros: Written from a Conservative viewpoint for children at least age 15 or older, is a humorous story, seeing the Liberal side of how a business is supposed to be run! Help! Mom! There are LIBERALS Under My Bed! is about two children who want a swingset. Their wise parents want to teach them how to work for something, instead of just giving it to them. The good little conservatives have a dream of setting up a lemonade stand and then the problems they encounter in "Liberaland", from taxes to laws, to religious discrimination and even being told how to sell it, what to have in their lemonade, and what amount to sell it for! You might even notice some famous people mentioned in this book such as "Congresswoman Clunkton" and a very good cartoon picture of her who are a part of this plot!

The Cons: It is not for young children. Younger children would not have any idea what they are talking about. It makes for older children and especially adults, something humorous, especially if they are very conservative. It does not give "both sides" of the story, so in one sense, it does not allow for children to think out what side they are on. I also found quite a few grammatical errors, that has a homeschooling mom, I would not find this as the ideal for my children to read and learn from.

Concluding Thoughts: It would make a funny gift for someone that is either very conservative and would get a good laugh out of it - or maybe someone who is not conservative at all - but be ready for some wise cracks (or worse!)

This was written under the penname of Katherine DeBrecht, and published by World Ahead Publishing, Inc., in September of 2005,

NOTE: As a Mind & Media Reviewer, I was not compensated for providing this review. I received this complimentary book in order to review it and am thankful for this opportunity.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Have you heard of Salvia Divinorum? WARNING!

I got an e-mail alert, about "Salvia Divinorum." I had never heard of it. It's drug, that is not illegal in most states, including my state of Michigan. " . . . it is becoming a drug of choice, particularly among teens and people in their early 20s," says this article from the Oakland Press (Detroit newspaper).

It appears to be an herbal type plant that kids are using to smoke, that causes a dreamlike high for 15-20 minutes. It is a very accessible drug. It even mentions in the article how you need to talk to kids about this like you would the choking game. It seems like there's so much in our worlds to warn our kids of.

Where's the bubble wrap to keep them safe and the wood to build fences around our house? Unfortunately, it won't work. We need to keep hedging our children with our prayers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Lasting Testimony . . .

(This page may take awhile to load because of pictures. I have just downsized them more because I got several e-mails saying it would not come up for them. You will have to click the lower pictures to be able to see them. I hope this helps!)

I have thoroughly enjoyed my deeper Scripture study in these past weeks. I've always tried to keep up with "devotions" and read something along with a devotional book, but this has been different. It's been the challenge of reading through the Bible, and really understanding and digging deeper. I am by no means a Bible scholar, but just want to share things that have enriched me.

(Note: this was actually my reading from several days ago - and just did not have time to finish my posting here). Genesis 23 deals with Abraham's wife, Sarah at age 127 year of age, died. Did you know that Sarah's age is the only woman's age revealed in the Bible? I thought that was neat. Abraham's greif is showin in the 2nd verse: "Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her." It's ok for a man to weep for his loved one. Next, he wanted to find the right place to bury her, where his roots were, in the land of . I could go into a lot of detail of this, but what I found interesting, was even though he could have been "given" the land to bury his wife, he wants to make it right, and purchase the land for a fair price. It became a family burial place . . . Joseph was buried here too (Gen. 50:1-14).

I often look at commentaries at Bible.Org and found this interesting, especially after what we went through, now in burying two children:

While we may decry the “high cost of death,” let me suggest that some may overreact to burial costs in such a way as to affect their Christian testimony. Unbelievers, who see no life after death, no resurrection, may well dispose of the body as cheaply and irreverently as possible. The Christian should give serious thought to this, however.

It is our hope that both Angela and Matthew's gravestones can be a lasting testimony for the Lord. We put a lot of thought into what went on their stones, to represent their lives and give God glory. I think this is what Abraham did too. He had a testimony with dealing with the people of Canan. And as we often hear said, what we are living now can be our epitat.

Angela's gravestone we had a lot of children's songs/hymns sung at her service and she is God's little lamb. We chose the wording at the bottom, "Little ones to Him belong" (with the actual notes at the top).

Matthew's gravestone, has a lot of little part's of his life - he wore several rings with either the fish or cross symbols on them. He could not just come out and share his faith at work, but if someone asked him, then he could. There were several that did! He wanted a new Bible for Christmas, which we buried with him, and his favorite sone was from MercyMe, "I can only imagine" which the words from the top & bottom are from.

Also, is the gravestones of my husband's grandparents, which I find one of the most amazing testimonies and such honor to his grandpa and grandma. You can click the pictures to see them in more detail.

This is Norm's grandparent's gravestones. If you click the picture above, you can see more detail. The monument on the right, for his grandma, is a young picture of her, with her 12 children around her, which was drawn by Norm's mom.

The picture on the right is the top view of grandma's with the verse "Her children rise up and call her blessed . . . " and the one on the left is the back, with a poem her sister wrote.
Lastly this is Norm's grandpa's gravestone . . .the front on the left with one of his favorite says, esp. at the end of a conversation "Maranatha" and then the neat "Children's Reflection" from his 12 children, of their Godly dad.

Monday, January 09, 2006

God's Compassion

I’ve seen from the very beginning of Scripture God’s compassion. Where I really saw it, which I had never read in this way before, was when Lot was told by angels to leave Sodom with his family to so he would not be included in the punishment of the city. When this is told, Scripture next says “But he hesitated”. (Gen.19:16) How often when we know God wants us to do something, do we hesitate? But the angels “seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters for the compassion of the Lord was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.” (Gen. 19:16). The angels then tell him to go up in the mountains, but Lot says he cannot do that, “for the disaster will overtake me and I will die.” (Gen. 19:19) How often do we think our way is better than God’s way, and we have a better plan and we say “but Lord”?

Again God’s compassion is shown to Lot and allows him to stay in a small town, instead of going up to the mountain. But, he must be lingering – maybe his wife is taking her time – because the angel says to him "Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” (v22) God waited for him – even with Lot’s challenges and negotiating, He showed compassion and would not destroy Sodom until he was gone. How often does God wait for us, give us more chances, let us start over again?

My heart goes out to Lot’s wife, because she had to be urged too. The angel from the beginning told them not to "NOT LOOK BEHIND YOU" (v. 17). It appears she did not until just before she arrives to the town of Zoar and as you know, "she looked back, and became a pillar of salt." (v.26) Why did she look back? Was she yearning for her family that was left behind – close friends that were going to perish? Was it her home that she would miss where she bore her children? Would we look back? As a woman with emotions, I think most would.

I love another verse in II Peter 2:7-9a, comparing God’s compassion for Lot of to the compassion for us, and it also shows that despite his failings, Lot was a believer:

And if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation . . .

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Family Update . . .

I think of where we were a year ago, and things are much better, though our hearts still get that pang often. It's just not the overwhelmingness of despair at this point and not a fog. I do wish we'd either get more sunshine or snow to brighten things up a bit here. It's been just above freezing, so everything has melted and is muddy, brown and drab. The sun peeked out for a few minutes today, but that is it.

There's still tough moments, and probably the kids show it more, especially the younger ones. Jessica is our one that has good dreams of Matthew, which are neat, yet, make her miss him more. Melody will just break down and cry from the deep depths of herself, which seems too much pain for a little 6 year old. One of our girls still has problems taking a shower - as she thinks of the screams when she was in the shower, so this is something we just keep working with. Several do not like to go downstairs alone. And there's still the lingering questions we will probably have 50 years from now of, "why".

Jessica is our daughter with heart problems, and she seems to be having more aches and pains - in her chest but also just her bones in general. She is very petite for her age. She is noticing more now how much smaller she is than others her age, and it bothers her - and even moreso if someone teases her about being short and/or skinny. She also realizes more of her limitations - her restrictions and ours. She knows at AWANA when she has run enough. She can't play things like dodge ball or football. This past week our kids were outside playing football and she ended up falling and getting the wind knocked out of her - which scared her AND us. We had to restrict the football, so it's really hard for her, because she wants to do these things with her siblings. With roller skating, and biking, it's easier, because she can wear a helmet and be more "normal". But the chest pains bother us. Her next cardiology appt. is not until March but we are going to try to get her in sooner. We think she also may have a problem with heartburn. We'd like to ignore this all, but we know eventually, she will need surgery again. It's hard to even think of.

A week ago she told us at night she's even afraid of dying, and lays awake "listening" to her heart. She has an artificial man-made mitral valve in her heart, and it makes a "click" sound. If you are next to her and it's real quiet, you can hear it. She knows without a doubt she will go to heaven, but her unselfish fear is her sisters or daddy or I finding her gone in bed in the morning. When she shared this with me, it broke my heart, to think a 9 year old has to even think these thoughts. Ohhh . . . I don't even want my thoughts to go any further here . . .

Where were you when things began to unfold with the West Virginia coal miners? I had gotten an e-mail shortly after midnight with the heading saying "Miracle for 12 of the miners". I told Norm and we turned to CNN and watched the rejoicing, singing, tears, and then the woman with 2 children going to one of the reporters and saying 11 were actually dead. I thought at first this woman was making something up for national attention. It was unbelieveable. But, again, God allows these for some reason to happen. One of the miners that died, Jackie Weaver, was a believer, and would always write "Jesus saves" in the coal dust of his mine car as he and colleagues descended into the mine. The family planned to family planned to bury him next to his son, who died as a child about 20 years ago in a motorcycle accident. His wife said "He was a Christian, so I am not worried. . . I know I'll see him again . . . Eternity is forever. Our time here is just a vapor
." The minister for this funeral service urged worshippers not to look for someone to blame. Instead, worshippers should imagine they had only 10 hours to live, and write a note about how they would spend those final hours."

As I am typing here, a teddybear hamster in a ball keeps bumping on my feet. A couple of the kids put their money together and got a hamster & supplies this past week. We also have a cat. She is a good mouser. We hope that . . . well, you get the picture. But the kids have had fun with the hamster. If you are considering one, this is a website we found good info from. (Did you know they can breed when they are as young as 28 days old and breed again within 24 hours of having her "pups" and have as many as 20 babies??!!). NOT here!

We rearranged our living room a few weeks ago, and I so love the change. Changes around the house have been very good. Norm was gone for an afternoon, so the kids and I decided to "surprise" him. He usually does not like us doing this - likes things to stay the same, but he admitted a few days later he likes the change. It meant moving our entertainment center, and changing wires all around - which our oldest son did most of. But, it's nice. And it did not cost any money which is the best part of it all!

Norm is working more on our downstairs bedroom - mainly the walk-in closet and my craft closet that we decided to do a few months ago, as an "add-on" from the bedroom into the utility room. So, this will totally change the old boy's room, have a different look and set-up. We are getting more ready for this change. The girls are VERY ready as there is still 5 in one room!

Heidi has been making wonderful desserts lately. She loves to bake. Tonight she made a lemon meringue pie. I don't think "I" have ever attempted to make one, and she did great. It took her over an hour to make it - and of course especially with teen brothers, it took about 6 minutes to disappear! It's been neat to see her do these things. I never cooked my first meal or a dessert until my first summer after college! This does not help trying to lose weight though. You know, I just cannot disappoint her by refusing to eat something she makes! :0)

Well, I've rambled enough. I appreciate those that keep up with us, but most of all who continue to pray for us. Don't stop.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Pray for author, pastor JOHN PIPER

I received an e-mail regarding this. I was just introduced to John Piper last year, and have read several of his books and am currently reading "A Godward Life" by him. This post is from Between Two Worlds in the post Pray for John Piper:

On Thursday or Friday the Bethlehem Baptist Church family will receive a letter from John Piper explaining that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.The letter in its entirety is reprinted below. I know that he would appreciate the prayers of faithful saints before the throne of grace.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Dear Bethlehem Family,

I hope this letter will encourage your prayer, strengthen your hope, and minister peace. I am writing with the blessing of the other elders to help you receive the news about my prostate cancer.

At my annual urological exam on Wednesday, December 21, the doctor felt an abnormality in the prostate and suggested a biopsy. He called the next day with the following facts: 1) cancer cells were found in two of the ten samples and the estimate is that perhaps 5% of the gland is affected; 2) my PSA count was 1.6, which is good (below 4 is normal); 3) the Gleason score is 6 (signaling that the cancer is not aggressive). These three facts incline the doctor to think that it is unlikely that the cancer has spread beyond the prostate, and that it is possible with successful treatment to be cancer-free.

Before going with Noël to consult in person with the doctor on December 29 about treatment options, I shared this news with the Bethlehem staff on Tuesday morning, December 27, and with the elders that evening. Both groups prayed over me for healing and for wisdom in the treatment choices that lie before us. These were sweet times before the throne of grace with much-loved colleagues.

All things considered, Noël and I believe that I should pursue the treatment called radical prostatectomy, which means the surgical removal of the prostate. We would ask you to pray that the surgery be completely successful in the removal of all cancer and freedom from possible side effects.

With the approval of the executive staff and elder leadership, we are planning surgery in early February. The recovery time is about three weeks before returning to a slow work pace, and six weeks to be back to all normal activities.

This news has, of course, been good for me. The most dangerous thing in the world is the sin of self-reliance and the stupor of worldliness. The news of cancer has a wonderfully blasting effect on both. I thank God for that. The times with Christ in these days have been unusually sweet.

For example, is there anything greater to hear and believe in the bottom of your heart than this: “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him”
(1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)?

God has designed this trial for my good and for your good. You can see this in 2 Corinthians 1:9, “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” And in 2 Corinthians 1:4-6, “He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God . . . If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation.”

So I am praying: “Lord, for your great glory, 1) don’t let me miss any of the sanctifying blessings that you have for me in this experience; 2) don’t let the church miss any of the sanctifying blessings that you have for us in this; 3) grant that the surgery be successful in removing cancer and sparing important nerves; 4) grant that this light and momentary trial would work to spread a passion for your supremacy for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ; 5) may Noël and all close to me be given great peace—and all of this through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.” I hope God will lead you to pray in a similar way.

With deep confidence that

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your
O death, where is your sting.
The sting of death is sin, and
the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:54-57

Pastor John

With Sam Crabtree,
Lead Pastor for Life Training
Kenny Stokes, Lead Pastor for Spreading
Tim Johnson, Chairman of the Council of Elders
Ross Anderson, MD,
Bethlehem Elder

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Reading through the Bible This Year

Several of my children and I are going to read through the Bible together, this year. We've been encouraged from our Pastor and then we did some internet searches for different options. I really like the website, Back to the Bible, which has several options of reading it, We thought of reading it chronologically and have a chronological Bible, but then we landed on the One Year Bible Blog, and really like it. It is reading through the Bible starting in Genesis, but also starting in Matthew, and a chapter from the Psalms and Proverbs each day. The writer of the blog, Mike, gives good insights, and then has pictures and maps throughout his thoughts (yet, we are still to "prove all things"). He also has where you can click at the beginning of the day's readings, to actually read the verses on-line, and choose the version you want to read from.

We are excited about it. It's neat that I was the first one looking up on it, and reading different schedules, and then the kids one by one said they WANT to do it too, and WANT schedules!

I am also doing a reading through the New Testament with another woman and we each read the same chapter of the Bible, write down one thought or question about the reading, write out one verse from the reading, and writes down one prayer thought (request or praise). Then we e-mail each other with this information. It helps to keep each other accountable, and it takes only about five minutes a day.

I just thought I'd share this . . .maybe it will encourage someone else to do this with their children or individually. :)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!