Monday, November 30, 2009

Bloggle Study: Matthew 1-4

I didn't wake up as early as I should have this morning, so I am a little later than I had planned in posting this, but earlier this morning I read the first four chapters of Matthew. These scriptures begin with the geneology of Christ which has a signifigance that I am not qualified to explain, but it has been explained to me before, and unfortunately, I do not remember the explanation well enough to feel capable of adequately repeating it here, but I do know God had a purpose for including it in his word! I think I remember it has something to do with establishing that Jesus' lineage truely does fulfill prophecy, but that is all I will say there. From that point, it leads into the story of Jesus's birth which we celebrate this time of year. In chapter 3 we meet John the Baptist and come accross the words in verses 8-10 that spoke to my heart a little over a week ago and in combination with other scripture that God gave me during other study times that led me to write this blog and work on starting to add speaking to my writing ministry, Produce fruit in keeping with repentance...the ax is already at the root of the trees , and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. These words challenged me to question whether I was producing good fruit for God with the actvities I had been committing my time to since my stroke. I could not answer with a resounding, "YES," while at one time I could have, so I set to work evaluating my life in order to identify what might be hendering my fruitfulness. I remembered a different scripture God had lain on my heart earlier in the fall concerning laziness;however, I cannot recall the exact location of the verse only that it called me out on my sleeping so much that I didn't have time in my day to do anything beyond the necessary tasks of everyday life leaving time studying God's word and praying along with giving my best to actively serve him completely off my to do list for way too long! Anyway, this combination of messages from my Creator has spurred me on to kick it in gear although I have already confessed to failing to be faithful in getting out of bed at a reasonable hour this morning:P Hopefully, knowing that someone might be reading along will give me enough of a feeling of accountability to raise me from bed to spend some time with God on future mornings! Anyway, my goal these days is to get up early, so I have some uninterrupted time to spend with God, post my Bloggle study for the day in hopes of producing some good fruit for God. All the thoughts that led to this conclusion reminded me of another time in my Christian walk when I was called to fruitfulness...The details of this story can be found in my book,This Is My Story, but the scripture that was speaking to me at that time was Phillipians 1:22 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. This scripture has been a goal and a challenge to me for a long time now! Oh to love Christ so much that I truely consider it the greater blessing to die and be with him than to go on living in the flesh! I continue to pray that God will bring me to a full realization of this sentiment, but more recently, the words, if I am to go on living in the body have spoken to me more loudly than any others because I have faced the other if, the if I am not to go on living, but life is the if that God chose for me, so if I am to continue living in this body, this will mean fruitful labor for me! At least, I'm going to make my best effort at it anyway! Now, just to clarify, I don't mean this as a means of salvation because the Bible is quite clear that faith in Jesus is the only way to be saved, not by works. I'm not questioning my salvation here. I'm questioning my faithfulness to my Savior. I love him and want my life to communicate that love to him as clearly as possible, so I evaluate my life periodically to ask myself how well I am loving my Savior with my life. The answer I came accross this time was get out of bed and tell others you love him, so they might love him more too!:)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Peace and Joy: The Heart of the Holidays

Joy to the World....Peace on Earth...Do you ever hear these phrases, look around at the world/earth, and wonder what they are referring to or where they are? Where is the joy? Where is the peace? What do these two highly sought after but seemingly elusive states of being have to do with Christmas? Is it just a reference to the warm fuzzy feeling we experience when we are gathered with friends and family or watch children exclaim with enthusiasm over a generous and anticipated gift? I'm going to step out of the box and say NO WAY! The peace and joy referenced in these two phrases refer to something much more sacred and precious than those, and I must say that I believe its time we stop wasting the holidays yammering on about the relatively insignificant blessings of family and material possessions and actually get to the heart of the holiday season...the peace and joy that Jesus came to offer to each one of us personally! I'm talkinfg about the overwhelming peace and joy that dwell within an individual independent from her environment or experiences when she chooses to receive the gift of Jesus and accept him as Lord and Savior of her life. Those two words have become just as generic in our vocabulary as peace and joy, so I must stop to clarify what I mean when I write them...LORD: boss, individual to whom total control is relinquished...Savior: the one relied upon to save an individual.When we submit totally to Jesus in these two ways, Christmas reigns in our lives daily! I am sharing this because this is what I have experienced undeniably for over a year now, and I know it isn't a gift for me to hoard to myself but rather one intended to be shared among all of God's creation. I believe that if we ever embrace these truths along with the Bible's other teachings as a group that will be the time we will be able to look around and actually witness the possibility of peace and joy that God sent to the earth when Jesus was born being birthed into the world around us. My point is that the peace and joy spoken of during the holiday season are not enjoyable, mythic characters like Santa Claus. They are real, and true and tangible realities that are available for the taking to anyone prepared to accept the gift that Jesus offers through his birth, life and death on the cross and make him Lord of her life! I can attest to thir existance! If you don't believe me, come witness me personally as I hobble through life with only one functioning arm and the resulting difficulties as a constant companion. In spite of that, I dwell in the peace and joy of Jesus Christ every day! I want you to be able to experience these treasures that are available to you as well, so I continue to yammer on about them post after post hoping it will catch in your heart, and you will believe that Jesus is worth seeking out, and he promises that if you seek him, you WILL FIND HIM. (Matthew 7:7) So, seek out the peace and joy of Christmas this holiday season! Its been gift wrapped and waiting for you since before you were born at the foot of the cross:) Accept the gift God is offering to you his precious creation that he loves endlessly( so much so that he came to earth taking on human form in order to pay the punishment for the wrong things you have done and will do.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Birthdays are huge at my house! I'm totally over the top because I love the idea of celebrating life what a person has accomplished so far and what is yet to come along with a celebration of the plan God is working out in that person's life...a chance for a person to evaluate her progress down the road of life and commit to making whatever changes are necessary to reach the desired endpoint at the desired if she gets to coose either one of those things, but that is what I love about birthdays along with the party planning, decorations, cake, and gifts! so, what I'm thinking is....what am I going to do to make sure Jesus has the happiest of all birthdays this year? Of course, there is the party decor on which we are already working, and the birthday cake, but this scripture has been playing on my heart this year as the holidays have approached...just like Jesus wrote his wish list on my heart...Matthew 25:40 I tell you the truth, whatever you do for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me...So, that's it.....Jesus wants you, and me and everyone else to love the least in his name this and every year for his birthday! One very sinple idea...Tim, Lili, and I are baking and decorating salt dough ornaments to distribute at the rehabilitation facility where I was placed after my stroke...its cheap, its fun, and it creates wonderful memories all while you are giving an awesome gift to the creator of the universe. I mean, think about it who else has a life more worth celebrating? Not only did he live it perfectly and intentionally on our behalf, but he sacrificed it to pay the punishment for our wrong things! Now, that's something I'm going to celebrate!

Salt Dough Recipe

2 cups four
1 cup salt
1 cup water

Preheat oven: 325. Mix ingredients. May need to finish by kneading with hands. Roll out on a lightly floured surface. Use cookie cutters to form shapes or design by hand remembering that the thicker the ornament the longer it will take to bake! Add detail with forks, knives etc. Use a straw to poke a ribbon hole at the top of the ornament for hanging later. Bake in the preheated oven for 90 minutes. remove and let cool before decorating with acrylic paints, glitter, googly eyes, and ribbon.

for a ginger bread looking dough, add coffe to it before shaping into ornaments or use food coloring to create a custom look.also, possibly, I haven't tried this, so I can't promise it will work, add cinnomon, or flavored extracts to the dough to make it scented. If you try it like that, let me know how it turns out, please:)

Finally, string with ribbon and disrtibute to the least for Jesus:)

Call Me Crazy: A Belated Thanksgiving Post

I can barely think the thoughts required to type this post. Each one I have, my mind automatically stops and questions itself, but I've run over them so many times that I know they're true! I have come to the point that I am totally thankful for my stroke, the resulting brain damage and loss of physical function/independence, open-heart surgery, and the unsightly scar that came along with it( knid of like the toy in a kids meal!). Why do I say these insane things? Each of these additions to my life story ( to steal the words from a jewel of a therapist on one of my mopey days) has enriched my ability to experience life to the extent that the simplest moments are magical!:) I mean, how many people get the privelege of remembering a time when they couldn't get up in the night to pee independently or use the restroom in privacy no matter what call nature was sending and getting to celebrate internally(or externally if you want to wake everyone up, in this case.) each time you can in the future? Night time potty breaks aren't the only activity infused with this heightened awareness of what a privelege it is to be and do. The list goes on and on of what I couldn't and what I now CAN accomplish on my own, SO essentially thanks to my stroke,etc. my life is one little party after another:) The holiday really brought out the I can cook independently party!:) Anyway, I just adore this new perspective with which I have the rare privelege of viewing life!, so I am adding my stroke to my list of things for which I am thankful! Oh yeah, my scar...its just fun now that its battle scar, and it really freaks people out when they get a peek of it! Really, I guess its just how a person chooses to look at things in the end:) I praise God for helping me see these otherwise unfortunate events as blessings! Thank you Father! I love you SO, SO much!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A child's prayer-My love story

I always dreaded the question,"so, how did you meet?" because I didn't feel that Tim and I had a very good love story. We met my freshman year in highschool(He was a senior.) but didn't begin to date exclusively until I was a sophmore and neither of us being very committed to following Jesus at that point didn't necessarily make honoring God the highlight of our relationship:( One good thing other than us marrying eventually that came out of our relationship, Tim barely knew the name of Jesus when we met, but by the time we were married he had heard and embraced the gospel whole heartedly, which led to now, Tim being a fully-devoted follower of Jesus Christ and an amazing husband and father. See boring ,until...FLASHBACK...I'm, maybe, twelve huddled in the worn blankets of my bed in my parent's home with tear streaked cheeks illuminated by the street light shining through the high windows of our late 60's ranch. My heart is broken in the way only a pre-pubescent girl's heart can be broken by the cruel words of an unappreciative crush. Being just about as awkward and ugly as a 7th grade girl can be, I mean acne, braces, glasses...everything, the boy I had crushed on since 3rd grade had responded by barking like a dog that day when the secret I had held close to my heart for 4 long years became public knowledge:( Now, with my heart raw from rejection, I went to the only place I knew to provide eternal, unconditional Father-in Heaven. "Father, please, let me meet someone who will love me for who I am!" I silently sent the plea heavnward countless times not really knowing whether God entertained the silly, romantic musings of children or not, but I had to give it a try...FLASHFORWARD...Freshman year...all of the sudden...boys like me now including one intense and persistent boy named Tim who happened to be dating another girl at the time...see what I mean...what kind of love story begins with that!? Anyway, by the time Sophmore year rolled around, they were over, and Tim ever needing a companion called me up, and we quickly became an item in spite of the fact I suspected he might still be carrying a jones for the girl....see it just gets worse doesn't it!:P.....FLASHFORWARD As we dated I found out that Tim stuck like glue, and that glue kept its hold through two years of college and led to a marriage proposal during my sophmore year at the University of Evansville and a wedding date set for the summer( August 5, 2000) before my Junior year. I was a reluctant bride because I was never entirely convinced that Tim really loved me for who I was because of our crazy, totally unromantic beginning. FLASHFORWARD once again to a hospital room on the neuro-floor where a young husband keeps faithful vigil over his dying wife who, up to this point, has survived the massive stroke that has unexpectedly stolen half her physical function. When it becomes apparent that she was going to survive, he stayed right by her side fighting with her to regain as much function as she possibly could, but not once did he recoil from the task ahead even when the possibility existed that she might be dependent indefinitely. His only concern was her comfort and that she survive to share life with him rather than hoping that she might expire, so he wouldn't be burdened with the load of a nearly 30-year-old requiring assistance toileting. At some unexact point in the tedious weeks that followed, I realized that this man loved me exactly as I was for the woman he had known and still knew whether he had to help me wipe my rear and escort me safely to the restroom forever or not. It became apparent to me that I was a precious treasure to this man who had spent the weeks and then months following my stroke doting on me and ensuring that I had everything necessary to live comfortably in my new handicapped state no matter what the cost. My husband's unfailing love transported me back to that night in my childhood bed with the dark room lit by the street light and tears coursing down my cheeks when I cried out to God for just such a companion, at the time, not even realizing what I was asking for or to what extent I would need to be loved unconditionally in the future, I mean, this was a little more than glasses and zits, and I KNEW with all my heart that this man was and always had been the answer to that childhood prayer. How had I missed it before, now to think, I didn't believe I had a good love story!? Never will I take for granted the precious gift my husband is to me from my Father-in-Heaven, or will I feel ashamed of this amazing love story written by the creator of the universe.Now, Tim and I have shared nearly 10 amazing years together, and I love him more everyday, and I can honestly say our relationship is heavenly! I LOVE YOU, TIM! THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME WHEN EVEN I AM DISGUSTED WITH MYSELF!

Matthew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find;Knock and the door will be open to you . For everyone who asks receives;he who seeks finds;and to him who knocks the door will be open.

Thank you, Father in Heaven for listening and answering to even a child's earnest request! Never think that God hasn't heard you or responded to your prayers. You could be holding the answer in your arms already and not realize it! God has so got your back!:), and he is so absolutely serious about his promises, so take them seriously!

God's Houseplan

"This is PERFECT!"are the words my therapist explained as she walked through the doors of my new home on my predischarge safety home evaluation into the welcoming, wheel-chair friendly ,wide-open spaces of the home God had prepared especially for this moment in time, one that I never could have anticipated, but one that he lovingly prepared me for anyway. I had suffered a massive stroke a month before, and was excitedly anticipating the possibility of living in this home my husband and I had purchased not even a month before, our church family and my husband's work pitched in and moved all our stuff for us, so closing on our old house could take place as planned! At my therapist's exclamation, James 1:17 stormed into my mind with authority....Every good and PERFECT gift comes from above, coming dowm from the father of heavenly lights,who does not change like the shifting shadows, and in that moment I knew that this was a house that God built expressly for me, a revelation that has been affirmed a millon times since!
Earlier in the summer my husband and I had commemced with a serious house hunt when we sold our home unexpectly sold while we were on vacation. Not surprisingly, at first we had difficulty finding a home that fit our tastes in our price-range; however, we did eventually settle on a remodeled 1970's tri-level that boasted a ton of space and fresh paint. When our offer was accepted we rejoiced but continued to pray the prayer that we had muttered silently to our creator from the initiation of the tedious process...Father, please guide us to the home that will best meet our needs as a family in the future. We moped dejectedly forgetting the request we had made of our maker when the deal fell through after the home inspection, turns out no matter how pretty the paint job, a 1970's house is still over 30 years old!;) When my realtor spoke the words, "It must not have been meant to be. God has a plan that we don't always understand." I must stop here to say that the foreshadowing is freaky, and God, the author of our lives is my author hero as well as my every other hero! Anyway, when she spoke those words, I took them as a trite, albeit kind statement, you know the comforting jargon we pull out but don't really mean when someone is upset because we don't know what else to say. Turns out, she was dead right! Not long after these prophetic words were spoken, I fell to the floor on a Saturday morning while we were making plans to go shopping for the new house, the new construction one on 2.5 acres outside a small town similar to the one where we grew up that we had quickly chosen after the first deal fell through, so we would have a home when the new owner moved into our old house that we had sold what now seemed prematurely, because a blood clot had lodged itself in my middle cerebral artery preventing the flow of oxygen to my brain and effectively suffocating and killing a vast number of the brain cells that I relied on to run the left side of my body. When this event occurred, it left me in a state in which the 1970's tri-level would have been a complete nightmare to come home to after rehab, so God being faithful to answer our prayers, acted upon what he knew about future events of our lives and squashed the deal and presented us with the spectacular home he had begun to prepare for us more than a year prior to the life-altering event, and my therapist recognized his signature immediately,"PERFECT! Since then, as I mentioned before, God's perfect design in this home has beem affirmed countless times from the initially necessary walk-in shower in the master bath to the hose like faucet in the kitchen, I could go on and on about the special features that God included in this supposedly generic spec home that a builder just happened to build with no buyer in mind a year before my stroke perfectly accomodated to my post-stroke needs! Wow! Isn't God AWESOME to provide for his children in such PERFECT ways! I was reminded of this once again yesterday when I was able to fill a large pot with water in the kitchen without assistance thanks to the hose like faucet on my kitchen sink and, then, just slide the heavy water-filled pot to the buner accross the smooth suface of the counter and cook top. Significant to me because, otherwise, I would not have been able to accomplish this simple feat with my singular functioning hand and arm. I am in awe of God's PERFECT LOVE to the point of writer's block...there simply are no words! Oh yeah, I want to point out that God is taking care of you in the same way right now:):), so no need to worry about the future. Its in God's very capable, loving hands! Just trust him with it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Deep Breath

Whew! My daughter's emerging three-year-old independance has been rough on me today, and I have to admit to reacting to her behavior more like a three-year-old than a thirty-something a few times...I wonder often these days how God does it...keep his patience, I mean. The more times I fall short of his parenting perfection as a mother, the more I love him as my heavenly Father because it does not escape me that when my daughter responds,"because I wanted to!" after I ask"why?" in reference to her disobedience that it is no different than when I do the same thing to often do I end up saying"because I wanted to!" to him? Just as I, as a mother, set boundaries for my daughter that she cannot fathom a reason for their existance, so she jumps the fence right into the predicament from which I was trying to protect her, God sets boundaries for me that I don't always understand, and like my daughter, I often find myself knee deep in the mess God was hoping the daughter he loves could avoid! Hopefully, tomorrow I won't be so self-righteous in response to my lovely child's age-appropriate, yet annoying behavior and remember that I too am a developing child who has not nearly reached perfection with a Heavenly Father who, thankfully, manages me with perfect, never-tiring patience and love...I wonder how often he wonders about me,"how long is this stage going to last?" I wonder it about myself often enough! thank you ,Lord, for your patience as I grow and develop into the woman you want me to be! Help me to imitate that same patience as I interact with the beautiful creation that you have placed in my care!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Flipside

As I sop up urine from my wood floors for the third time today, I am reminded that there is a flipside to my faith that I would be remiss not to share. Luke 9:23-25 If anyone would come after me he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his very self? In my previous post I mentioned being intimidated and scared about heading down this road with Jesus, but i didn't detail my fears, then, so I will be more specific now. Did you notice before that I dropped the ball on God's calling before when I gave birth to my beautiful daughter now age three (potty-training age hence the pee)? When she entered this world, my desire to be an awesome mommy pushed every other priority in my life out the window or, at least, to the edge where I left them teetering unaware of their precarious location until recently when I finally became aware of God's call once again and realized that I had unwittingly gotten off track. As God called me back to faithful service, the fears that had originally pushed him to the side began to desperately fight for my attention, "What if this thing God is asking of me takes more time than I am comfortable giving? I don't want to give up any time with Lili, and what if this changes my carefree, relaxed existance?"Thankfully, the elementary curruculum I have been writing for my church's 3rd-4th graders has kept this verse from Luke 9 in the forefront of my mind, so as i faced these excuses in addition to doubts in my ability in the face of God's call, I was reminded that to truely be a follower of Christ one must be willing to deny her fleshly desires to further God's plan in her life. The first thing I've had to deny in order to move forward with Jesus is my laziness because sleeping in until 10AM doesn't leave enough time to devote to being a mom, housework, and marketing my book. Secondly, the whole Lili thing,not that I'm saying I'm going to push her out of the way now, not ever. I'm going to have to pray about that one because I don't know what it all means. I do know that doing things God's way is the only way to function in this world and still experience peace, joy, and contentment, so God's way it is! Pray for me as I strive daily to deny whatever fleshly desires crop up in an attempt to derail my journey down this new path with Jesus. Oh, yeah, back to the urine...there was a point to that...if I hadn't been blogging, I would have been more on top of my daughter's voiding and not had the messes, so it reminded me that soppping up pee was just my cross to bear for Jesus today;) Not anywhere near as uncomfortable as the one he bore for me and you!
This is all new to me. I'm a lot intimidated and a little scared, but I know this is where God has led me, so I press on trusting in my creator's wisdom and love as he sets the course for my life. This is by no means the first time we have set out on a journey together, and that is how I know that following Jesus, my light in this dark world, is the only thing I want to do whether I am unfamiliar with and intimidated by where he is leading me or not. Well over three years ago God called me to his service through a series of events that are detailed in my book This Is My Story(available at or, and I am just now picking up where I left off after my daughter was born in 2006. More recently, God has been calling me to continue using my life to praise and honor him in a manner that will produce fruit for his kingdom. Around a year and a half ago, I had an MCA (middle cerebral artery) stroke that has left me partially paralyzed on my left-side. Initially, I was wheel-chair bound and totally dependant, but after months of therapy I am able to walk with relative independance although I still utilize a muscle stimulation unit by Bioness, Inc., and have regained most of my independance:) My stroke was chased exactly a month later by open-heart surgery to repair what was found to be holes in the septum of my heart that had contributed to the occurance of my stroke. Something I noticed as I recuperated in my hospital bed after each trauma was that visitors and well-wishers arrived expecting to find a crushed young mother mourning the distruction of her life only 28 years in the making. I witnessed surprise play across face after face and realized over time that the surprise was rooted in the fact that I still had a smile on my face no matter how lopsided it was at this point. It was a wonder to most that I wasn't despairing because I believe they felt as if they would have been in a similar situation. This is by no means a tribute to myself but simply a shining example of why I am totally in love with Jesus Christ because having built my life on the foundation of his teaching, I was sustained in the storm of life just like his word promises in Matthew 7:24-27. I am, now, blogging because I want you to have a chance to be able to say the same after the storms of your life pass. God loves you and desires to sustain you in this life as well, so much so that he has called me to use my life as a means of introduction between the two of you. I love and value you because I know God does, and my love for him results in you being important to me, so I want to share this treasure I have found with you in a real and personal manner that I hope you will be able to relate! The best thing about God's suatenance is that it consists of a steady diet of joy, peace, contentment, and blessing! If that sounds like something that interests you keep reading My Little Light no matter who you are, a Christian, an unbeliever, a skeptic, or a seeker you are most welcome to read and consider the beautiful ways God has influenced my life, and more importantly, the beautiful ways he hopes to influence yours. I sit here typing with my affected arm contracted in an unnatural twist that creates discomfort in my shoulder yet I am,honestly, perfectly contented and at peace with my life. That's the place I hope this blog will lead you to minus the crazy arm!...only the peace and contentment to you!