Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meet my friend, Kathy

A few months back, I met Kathy via her blog, Blessed Builder. If you've never visited (or even if you have), let me encourage you to stop's an inspiring and insightful place to be. Besides her heart for the Lord, you are quickly drawn to the photos of the lovely piece of property she calls home...her house, farm and a most charming little gift shop called Bittersweet Farm.

One look at the Christmas photos of her shop last year had me wishing we didn't live several states away. If pictures like this set your heart aflutter like they do mine, I just know you're going to love it there.

Like me, you may not live in Wisconsin (or anywhere near) worries! Bittersweet Farm now has its own blog! You can browse the photos, e-mail Kathy with specific product questions and order anything you see. She's even holding a Spring Open House today, tomorrow and Saturday (despite the fact it's snowing there!)

That's my two cents worth. Please stop by and support this sweet sister in Christ. I had the privilege of speaking with her by phone today and she's just a delight. Who knows, something from her shop might just end up in my blogaversary giveaway that's just around the corner... (Oops...did I just say that out loud?) ; )

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Word-Filled Wednesday

(photo source: Google Images)

I was so excited when I found this scripture! It so beautifully describes what I've experienced since my surgery. In all honesty, I've been overwhelmed. I have the most wonderful family and friends! The e-mails, cards, flowers, gifts, food, visits (both in person and on the blog) have been such sweet and encouraging medicine, for not just my body but also my soul. If that wasn't enough, my dear hubby has taken extra time off work so that he can stay home to look after me, and spend time with me. I am incredibly blessed and my heart is truly thankful. I found it particularly meaningful that this verse relates kindness to honey. Besides the many wonderful health benefits of this amazing nectar, the taste is one of my absolute favorites...pure SWEETNESS.

Another benefit to this "down time," has been extra time with the Lord, both in prayer and in the Word. That too has been especially precious. I couldn't say it any better than the words of Psalm 119:103

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.

For more of His sweet words, join us here...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One Word Fun

Greetings! In my blogging time yesterday, I stumbled across something fun at Laurie Ann's place. Thought it might be good for today's post. Try it! It's not as easy as you might think. Your answers can only be one word in length...

Where is your cell phone? table
your hair? red
your father? helpful
your mother? caring
Your favorite thing? family
your dream last night? nada
your favorite drink? dietcoke ; )
your dream/goal? travel
the room you are in? kitchen
your fear? rejection
where do you want to be in 6 years? here
muffins? blueberry
one of your wish list items? puppy
where you grew up? Kentucky
the last thing you did? read
what are you wearing? sweats
your tv? off
your computer? red
your life? sweet
your mood? peaceful
missing someone? Brennan
your car? camry
favorite store? thrift
your summer? flowers
your favorite color? blue
when is the last time you laughed? today
last time you cried? Saturday
three people who email me? Looo, Dani, Jeannine
three of my favorite foods? Chocolate, Mom’s, Chinese
three places I would rather be right now? Beach, Shopping, Crafting

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Momma!

Today is my sweet Momma's birthday! As I've shared before, she's truly one of the kindest souls that ever lived, she's talented in so many ways and has a fun personality to match. I love this picture because it captures that cute little spark in her eyes.

Because my surgery fell so close to her birthday, my sister and I celebrated with her early. We took her to a wonderful local Chinese restaurant and then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping for fabric at JoAnn's. (If you know my Momma, that's about as close to heaven as it gets!) = ) She's always got lots of ideas and typically several projects going on at once. My sister and I had so much fun helping to pick out fabric for something special she is making for a certain couple getting married later this year...(wink, wink!) At the restaurant, they made a huge fuss over her, singing and bringing her a special dessert. Such a fun memory. She was blushing, but she enjoyed it so much. I love you, Momma! May your day be filled with all things special! = )

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Feeling your Prayers!

Just had to stop by to tell you how much I appreciate your kind prayers and encouraging words. First, they were able to do my surgery laparascopically (Hooray!) Today is a really great day! I have some soreness at the incision sites, but otherwise feel like my old self! I would have to agree with others who say recovery from this surgery isn't bad at all. My experience at the hospital could not have been better. I had the sweetest nurses and doctors anyone could ask for. Everyone was exceptionally kind. Since being home, I've had wonderful care from my hubby, flowers and treats dropped off by family and friends and lots of rest and relaxation. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Prayer Request

Hey there, sweet ones...could I ask a favor? Would you mind lifting me in prayer? Tomorrow morning I am having my gall bladder removed. If all goes according to plan, it will be a laparoscopic procedure and I will be leaving the hospital later in the day. (In a small number of cases when organs can't be seen clearly, an open procedure is required.) Personally, I'm praying (optimistically) that the laparoscopic method will work just fine! = ) Several friends of mine have had this procedure, all of whom tell me recovery is not bad at all. (These are good things to hear!) I've had a number of ugly flare-ups in the last couple of months so needless to say, I'm ready to bid this little organ of mine farewell. Thank you so much for praying!

Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.
~ 2 Chronicles 6:40

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Word Filled Wednesday (UPDATED)

(Photo courtesy of Webshots)
Does this Wednesday find you in need of some peace? This verse has become one of my all time favorites. On those days when life is anything but peaceful, take a few moments to quiet your heart before Him and claim this promise. You will find no greater source. I love the words to this beautiful song that seem to echo the message of this verse...

In the Presence of Jehovah
In and out of situations
that tug of war at me
All day long I struggle
for the answers that I need
But when I come into His presence
All my questions become clear
And in that sacred moment
No doubts can interfere

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

Through His love the Lord provided
A place for us to rest
A place to find the answers
In our hour of distress
Now there's never any reason
For you to give up in despair
Just slip away and breathe His name
You will surely find Him there

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

May your day be blessed!
For more Word-Filled Wednesday, visit 160 Acre Woods

UPDATE: Thanks to my kind friend,'s a beautiful rendering of this song...take a listen if you have a moment. You will be blessed.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Scripture Memory Challenge - Verse #4

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

~ 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)

Talk about an encouraging Word! Did you fully get that? I must admit, the first couple of times I read it, I didn't. The Lord kept drawing me back to it though, so I knew it needed a closer look. In order to help fully grasp its message, I broke it down and began looking for some additional definitions for these everyday phrases. It helped me appreciate the power of this passage anew...I hope it does the same for you.

And God is able (He has the necessary skill, power and resources)

to make all grace (the greatest possible degree of God's favor)

abound to you (far more than just adequate, but abounding; occurring in great quantities or numbers; to be rich or well supplied; overflowing)

so that

in all things (the greatest possible degree of actions, deeds or events)

at all times (continuously, without interruption)

having all you need (being supplied with the greatest possible degree of that which you require)

you will abound in every good work! (You will be well supplied in every righteous task or undertaking)

In context, this passage is referring to giving. You are perhaps more familiar with the verse just previous to this:

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

When God's Word teaches about giving, do you perceive it to only mean financially? My personal opinion is that He's referring to all our resources...our time, our energy, our prayers, our belongings, etc. What encouragement! Through God's power and favor, we are more than adequately supplied for every righteous task we may undertake. Our offerings (however humble they may be) need only be given with a willing heart. He does the rest! As we have freely received, we are to freely give. (Matthew 10:8) How about you? Does this speak in a particular way to you today?

It's never too late if you wish to take part in the Scripture Memory Challenge. It was started by Beth Moore on her blog as a means growing in her walk with Christ throughout the year. On the first and fifteenth of every month, those wishing to take part choose a verse they want to commit to memory. As a means of accountability, simply go to her blog, comment with your verse including its version (NIV, etc.) then add your name and city & state. To date, there are over 3,000 participants! We'd love to have you, too!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

May your day be special and filled with love! Take every opportunity to show the love of God to those around you...whether your family, your neighbors or even strangers. A hug, a smile, a kind gesture, heartfelt encouragement, a listening ear, an act of service, showing sincere gratitude...all of which speak straight to the heart (none of which are too small).

Two of my favorite quotes from Mother Theresa on this ...

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.


In this life, we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.

Have a blessed day, sweet ones!

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Our Town" Weekend - Part 2

Sorry for the delay! As promised, here are the remaining photos (and some observations) from the play. My camera was being selectively cooperative last weekend. Many of these were taken by Brittany Robertson (sister to Rachel Robertson who played Emily). Special thanks to her for sharing her photos with me! = )

Before the play and at each intermission, this Barbershop Quartet (The Uncalled Four) performed...they were wonderful!! The audience LOVED them. They're all members of the college staff.

Mrs. Webb dispensing motherly advice to her children, Emily and Wally at the breakfast table before they head off to school.

The first hint at the relationship that is to follow...George Gibbs asks Emily if she could help him with his homework. = )

Mr. Webb comes home late from work to find Emily stargazing (no doubt thinking of George!) This father-daughter relationship was so endearing.

George's parents, Doc & Mrs. Gibbs. Believing he works too hard, she is constantly encouraging him to rest. Here, she has coaxed (dragged) him outside to relax and enjoy the fragrance of her beautiful flower garden.

A number of years have gone by Emily and George are now in high school. She believes his baseball talent and other accomplishments have gone to his head because he seems conceited and hard to talk to, and she tells him so. A very nervous George invites her to the local soda shop to try and smooth things over...(take note of the shopkeeper! ; ) One of the most charming scenes of the play.

Through the course of this afternoon at the soda shop, they begin to share how much they've always loved one another and what that means for their future. One of my favorite lines is when George says to Emily with such innocence "I guess this is a pretty important talk we've been having." They decide they will be married after they finish school.

When the time comes for Emily & George to marry, they both have a major case of pre-wedding jitters. Emily's Dad steps in to assure them both it will be alright. He gives his daughter's hand and tells George to take care of his girl.

The wedding (recognize the Pastor?) The girl to Emily's right is George's sister, Rebecca (you saw her in the previous post getting her hair styled).

Several guests at the wedding...the women from town, a professor from the local college, and other friends and family. The costumes were amazing! Would you just take a look at those hats! They were incredible.

This is a heart-wrenching scene. Nine years have passed since George and Emily's wedding. In a brush with death as she's delivering their second child, she sees how her family would be impacted if she were to die. She longs to comfort those who are grieving her loss, particularly George who is devastated. Your heart just aches as you watch this scene. Emily realizes all she has taken for granted, and that she and most everyone around her has lived busily distracted by day-to-day routines, not fully appreciating the incredible gift of life. You can't help but reflect on your own life as you hear her thoughts. We were crying, people all around us in the audience were crying. (I can still feel that sadness as I share this.) You hear Emily say "I want to live!" and the stage goes dark for a moment or two. When the lights come back up, you are back at the home of the Webbs. The whole family is gathered, apparently waiting when you hear an infant's cry. A few moments later, Doc Gibbs emerges from the room holding the new baby. He tells everyone they nearly lost Emily, but she is going to be alright. God in his grace has allowed her to live, undoubtedly with new hope and great joy and appreciation for all she has. As the family celebrates, you're still crying, but now the tears are joyful ones. The Stage Manager (Brennan) appears to share his final thoughts and he closes the play by bidding everyone a Good Night. What a beautiful hope-filled ending! This play carries so many messages...these were just a few. I've been pondering on them all week and appreciating this passage in a new way...

…For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears
for a little time and then vanishes away. (James 4:14)

And this one, has become my prayer....
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

(Psalm 90:12)

May it be so.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Road Trip to "Our Town"

At last...I can tell you about our weekend! Tom and I both took a vacation day on Friday. After sleeping in a bit later than usual, we loaded up the car, picked up Brianna after her morning class and immediately hit the road. We were bound for South Carolina to see our boy!

Though we never need a special reason to go and visit Brennan, this time we had one. He and his classmates were performing “Our Town,” by Thornton Wilder. Until seeing the play, I was largely unfamiliar with the story, but it has quickly become one of my favorites. Set in a small New Hampshire town called Grover’s Corner just after the turn of the century, it follows the joys, struggles and heartbreaks of everyday life among its residents. Brianna described it as having the feel of a Norman Rockwell painting and I have to agree. While there are a number of distinct characters, the story centers mainly around the families of Emily Webb and George Gibbs. It follows their childhood, their courtship, their marriage and beyond. Brennan played the part of the stage manager, who introduces each scene and helps tell the story. In addition, throughout the play, he assumes various additional roles in several scenes that are portrayed.

The message of the play is lingering and unmistakable…to cherish every day of your life and live it to its fullest. This particular adaptation utilized scripture to drive home that point. As the lights went down in the theater and the play was about to begin, these words appear on the background of the darkened stage…

…For what is your life? It is even a vapor
that appears for a little time
and then vanishes away. (James 4:14)

followed by…

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
(Psalm 90:12)

This beautiful play takes you through a range of emotions, from pure delight to heartbreaking sadness. Every member of the cast did an amazing job! Though we had come to see Brennan, we know and love all these kids and we were so proud of all their hard work. Under the skillful direction of Nicole Stratton, it was extremely well-done, but also deeply affecting, challenging and convicting. I’m so thankful we had the opportunity to see it.

We made only two brief stops on the 6 hour drive in the hopes of making it in time for the full performance Friday night. Everything went smoothly and we arrived with more than an hour to spare! (Thank you Lord!) That meant having the opportunity to go backstage and see Brennan and a number of other cast members beforehand and of course, take a few photos…

When Breezy saw Brennan in his stage makeup, with aged face and eyes, and glasses down on his nose, she said (with the sweetest smile), "I’m looking at my future." (Awww!)

Gotta run for now...I'll share the rest of the photos tomorrow. Hope you can stop back!

Monday, February 9, 2009

God is our Strength

Good morning! Hope this finds you well. I’m anxious to tell you about our weekend but it will have to is a busy day! (I can tell you it involved a weekend trip to South Carolina to see our boy!) In the meantime, I wanted to share this short but impacting message I received this morning from one of my favorite devotional writers…Jon Walker of Grace Creates.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
~ Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

God is our strength; he does not give us strength.

In other words, he doesn’t take our tattered strength and prop it up with support beams and steel cable. Instead, he moves into our weakness and he is strong.

Where we are weak, there he is strong.

My friend Steve Pettit tells an amusing story related to this. The storied missionary to China, Bertha Smith, came to speak before his small Kentucky congregation. She sat down with several people to pray, and when one young man said, “Lord, I just need strength; please give me strength,” blessed Bertha looked up and said, “Young man, God does not give us strength. He is our strength. Now pray it right.”

You can take away from that either a gladness that you never voiced a public prayer in front of the late Miss Smith, or a desire that there be more prayer warriors ready to teach us how to get it right when it comes to understanding Jesus working within us.

You, my friend, could be one of those teachers. Do you believe God can make you so? Your answer to this question reveals where the blockage is because God wants to transform you into a mother of the faith, or a father of the faith.

God believes in you, but he’s waiting for you to let him be your strength. I can’t, but God can.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Just for Fun - The Point System

I've posted this once before, but because we're only days away from Valentine's Day...I thought what better time to share it again. God bless our sweet hubbies, trying to love us all through the month -- the good days, the in-between-days, and the days we're far from precious. In the interest of further "equipping" the men we love, I wanted to pass along the message below, sent to me by a friend. My hubby and I read it together and nearly laughed ourselves silly. Hope it brings a smile or even better, a belly laugh to your Friday!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
For thousands of years, men have tried to understand the rules when dealing with women. Finally, this merit/demerit guide will help them understand just how it works. Remember, in the world of women, one single rule applies: Make the Woman Happy. Do something she likes, and you get points. Do something she dislikes and points are subtracted. It's important to note: You don't get any points for doing something she expects. Sorry, that's the way the game is played. Here is a guide to the points system:

You make the bed (+1)
You make the bed, but forget to add the decorative pillows (-1)
You throw the bedspread over rumpled sheets (-2)
You leave the toilet seat up (-5)
You replace the toilet paper roll when it is empty (0)
When the toilet paper roll is barren, you resort to Kleenex (-1)
When the Kleenex runs out you use the next bathroom (-2)
You go out to buy her extra light panty liners with wings (+5)
in the snow (+8)
but return with something else like snack food (-5)
and no liners (-25)
You check out a suspicious noise at night (+2)
You check out a suspicious noise and it is nothing (0)
You check out a suspicious noise and it is something (+5)
You pummel it with a six iron (+10)
It's the family pet (-40)

You remember her birthday (0)
You buy a card and flowers (0)
You take her out to dinner (0)
You take her out to dinner and it's not a sports bar (+1)
You take her out to dinner and it is a sports bar (-2)
And it's "all-you-can-eat wings" night (-3)
And your face is painted the colors of your favorite team (-10)

You take her to a movie (+2)
You take her to a movie she likes (+4)
You take her to a movie you hate (+6)
You take her to a movie you like (-2)
It's called Death Cop III (-3)
Which features Cyborgs that eat humans (-9)
You lied and said it was a foreign film about orphans (-15)

When she wants to talk about a problem:You listen, displaying a concerned expression (0)
You listen, for over 30 minutes (+5)
You relate to her problem and share a similar experience (+50)
Your mind wanders to sports and you suddenly hear her saying "well, what do you think I should do?" (-100)
You have fallen asleep (-200)

You talk (-100)
You don't talk (-150)
You spend time with her (-200)
You don't spend time with her (-500)

I don't know about you, but this makes me want to go hug my hubby!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Word Filled Wednesday

Image from

I was so excited when I found this image. It's a portion of the first scripture passage I choose to memorize this year and it has become so dear to me! Let me share it again in it's entirety. I trust it will be an encouragement to you...

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. ~Lamentations 3:21-25 (NLT)

I don't know about you, but knowing God supplies new and unending mercies every morning is something that gives me incredible hope. Our Redeemer is Faithful and True!

For more Word-Filled Wednesday,
please join us at the
160 Acre Woods

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Breaking Free and Something to Think About

Tomorrow our office Bible study group begins Breaking Free. I've heard such great things about this one...I cannot wait! This is the 8th study my co-workers and I have done together! I praise God for the wonderfully diverse group of women He’s brought together from all stages of life – singles, young Moms, Moms with older kids and Grandmothers. There are new believers and those who have walked with the Lord for many years. Some are Catholic, some Lutheran and some Baptist, but one thing binds us all…a desire to draw closer to God. This time, I’m excited to welcome two new women! Because my church graciously allows us to use Videos/DVDs of any previously offered Bible studies, we’ve been privileged to study those written by Beth Moore, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Priscilla Shirer. Our only cost is for workbooks. In addition, our church's Director of Women’s Ministries has been an a wonderful support, through prayer and words of encouragement.

I can’t help but wonder if any of you have felt God urging you to start a Bible study, maybe in your office, or in your neighborhood? Can I encourage you by saying I am truly the last person who ever expected to be used by God in this capacity. If I had known a number of years ago this was part of His plan for me, I would have likely RUN the other way fast! Instead, it began with just one co-worker and I desiring to know God better and starting a Bible study together. Ever so slowly, co-workers were hearing about our study (in sometimes very unconventional ways) and wanting to know more. As the Lord would bring them, we’d welcome them in.

Truth be told, even after studying with many of these same women for the past 6 years, it still makes me nervous. Every.single.week. But you know what I’ve learned over all these years? If you are willing, God is able. Simple, yes...but true. Over the years, I’ve come to Him repeatedly, feeling ill-equipped saying things like…

Lord, you know I’m willing, but I am scared to death!
What if I misinterpret your Word?
What if they ask me a question I can’t answer?
What if they tell me they’re unsure of their salvation…what do I tell them?
Lord, I’m so bad at this…it feels so awkward…someone else could do this so much better, etc…

He inevitably brings this scripture to mind -

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) ~ But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Loosely translated...Don't you see? That's precisely the point! Those are the very things that keep you on your knees, relying on Me!
God doesn’t want people who believe they can do great things for Him! Instead, He wants yielded, trusting, humble and even timid hearts so that when His will is accomplished, there will be no doubt it was all Him, because of Him and through Him.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (NIV) ~ But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are so that no one may boast before Him.

The first time someone asked a question I was unsure of, I simply said…"You know…that’s a good question. I’m not really sure of the answer. Let me do a little research and get back to you." And I did. I’d come home that evening where I would read, research & pray. If I felt I was hitting a wall, I’d call the Director of Women’s Ministries and she would walk me through. I’d follow up with that person and share my findings. Without fail, God used those opportunities to strengthen our bonds of trust and friendship.

Please hear my heart…I can’t encourage you strongly enough if God if prompting you in this way…don’t let fear stop you, sweet one! If you’re willing, and know you’re a sinner saved by grace, that’s the only qualification you need.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV) ~ The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.

Pray about it, talk to a mentor or feel free to e-mail me via my profile. I’m praying for you!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Humbled and Blessed

I wanted to take just a moment to say thank you to any who may have nominated my blog for this honor. You can’t imagine my surprise to be included among so many beloved sisters in Christ. I am truly so very humbled that God is using my offerings here to be an encouragement to others. He is so good to me.

Giving God the Glory!

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
~Psalm 19:14

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Scripture Memory Challenge - Verse #3

Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)

Continuing with my theme of Renewal this year, I find such powerful encouragement in this passage! I especially love the way it starts... "Have you never heard? Have you never understood?" as if Isaiah is passionately asking could it be you are unaware, or without grasp of the strength that is yours through Christ?! This is truly one of the most powerful promises we have as believers! When we've done all our human strength allows, when we no longer possess the motivation to stay on task, when our spirits are discouraged or anxious, when we're so weary it's hard to even lift our heads...we need only to bow them and call out to the Lord. Even if all we can say is "Lord, help me," He promises to renew our strength with His limitless power when we wait upon Him. Something else? You never need to worry He is too tired or too busy. He stands ready and willing to help those who call on His name. How I praise you, Lord!