Friday, October 31, 2008

My Man

"Her husband is respected at the city gate..."
Proverbs 31:23


22 days ago, Jim and I celebrated the anniversary of our engagement, which happened on October 19, 1991. On that evening in 1991, Jim hosted a surprise engagement party for me, and he proposed to me in the presence of our families and friends. (He must have known I would say "yes"!) We were married May 23, 1992.

Over the last 16 years, our love has grown, been tested, stretched, challenged, enriched and has blossomed even more. Jim is a man who loves the Truth, and he keeps me accountable as a Christian woman, for which I am so thankful. He listens with care and sincerity. He challenges me on heart issues. He'll even ask me when necessary "what is your motivation?" Great question. He keeps my feet to the fire.

In the quietness and depths of my soul, I want to be that wife spoken about in Proverbs 31:11 "Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value." I desire to live an authentic life in our home to honor God first and then also, my husband.

Jim is not perfect. I am far from perfect. Of course our marriage is imperfect. Our pastor always says, "Marriage has three people in it, and only One of them is perfect." "A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecc. 4:2 The Perfect Third Strand has been our foundation. Jesus has been our Go-To Guy. He is our Center, our Redeemer. Even in moments of rebellion, He always brings us back to Himself. And I always am mindful that Jim was and is my brother in Christ first.

This week, I have been so blessed by Jim over and over. With my surgery on Tuesday, Jim planned to work from home the rest of the week. He planned that on his own. At first, I thought I'd be up and about right away (you hear those wonderful stories). But today was the first day I was able to do some "normal" activities. Jim would tell you I am pretty "low-maintenance" in general. However, these past several days, Jim made himself available to help me personally as I had post-surgical "high-maintenance syndrome". And he took over some of my usual parental delights, such as driving the kids to and from school (since I couldn't drive for a few days). If I needed help getting up, or needed fresh ice for my knee, or just wanted a glass of iced green tea, Jim was there. He lovingly tended to my post-surgery pain and "issues". Occasionally, I had to flag him down while he was on a conference call for work, but he just muted his Blackberry and came to my rescue.

I love my husband and I honor him. I have genuine respect for him. Yes, I am sure our imperfect selves in our imperfect marriage will have more struggles and growth in the future. But we are anchored in the God who loves perfectly. And the love Jim has continually shown me over the years, and his "loving me in action and in truth" always and so much this week are such blessings of life for me. Jim, I love you and I honor you. Thank you for keeping true to Him and to our wedding song "I Will Be Here" by Steven Curtis Chapman. I will be here, too, always.

When people ask me "What does Jim do for a living?", I can give a pretty intelligible answer. Recently, the company he works for interviewed him for an Employee Profile. Here is a really great answer. Click Here: "My Man" at work..."A Minute With Jim Sloan".

If you are married, tell us something you love about your hubby. If you are not married, tell us something we can pray for if you are praying for a husband.

"Marriage should be honored by all..."

Hebrews 13:4


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Phillies - World Series Champions!

Whoooeeeee! Congratulations Phillies!
World Champions 2008!

We were able to go to a game in September to cheer them on! :)
Here are a few pix.




Congratulations Philadelphia Phillies!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Worst Part About This Surgery...

UPDATED BELOW WITH PICTURES!

...I am required to take off all jewelry and my nail polish!!! Take off my nail polish! Oh sure, they say the medical professionals have to be able to see my nail beds to be sure my blood's oxygen levels are OK. Yes, I suppose that's important, but really...naked nails!?!?
Rest assured...I'll be doing my nails in the recovery room! :) Forget the graham crackers and ginger ale, bring me my Nailtiques Nail Protein and my OPI Pompeii Purple!

Jim will be keeping my engagement ring and wedding ring in his pocket during surgery...and he'll be asking me to marry him again all over the in the recovery room, too. I still say "I do". (Look at my ring finger...the skin is embedded with marks from my holy covenant "symbols of love". I like that.) And no, that's not an age spot (ah-hem) to go along with my other 44-year old accessories!

My ARTHROSCOPIC KNEE SURGERY is scheduled for this morning. I cherish the prayers! In the scheme of life and health concerns, this is minor. Still, being covered in prayer brings His comfort to this wife and mommy's heart.

So thankful to the Lord for our family and friends coming alongside in prayer and in helping shepherd and herd our two precious lambs today and this week! Our love for you runs deep.

UPDATED 10/29/08:

Arriving at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia yesterday at 5:45 AM! Dr. Bartolozzi and his staff of professionals are great!




Recovery Room: As expected, they gave me graham crackers and ginger ale! I had my Nailtiques and OPI Pompeii Purple in hand, but, quite honestly, I was feeling lousy! Let's just say on the way out of the hospital in the afternoon, I "tossed some cookies" (graham crackers actually) with many doctors, medical staff and patients looking on. Lovely.

My sweet friend, Cheryl, who come to my home last evening (after taking wonderful care of our cherubs after school and having them for dinner) gave me a gift certificate to my favorite nail salon for a manicure! How sweet! I feel all the love from our families, my church family, my girlfriends, Bible study gals and my P31 sisters...and am so deeply thankful. The Lord knows my heart, which overflows with thankfulness.


Snow in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on 10/28/08! Wow! This is what we came home to (it was raining in Philadelphia). Beautiful snow! October Snow!


I am thankful for this surgery for many reasons...the biggest one is that it gives me more understanding and compassion for people who have surgery, even "minor" surgery like mine.

This is also reminding me to be a gracious receiver. I really wanted and requested "no fuss" over this (other than the sweet covering of prayer) as it is minor is the scheme of health concerns. But the Lord is hushing my heart with His love and reminding me to be a gracious receiver. Truly thankful for all the love!

Now, I gotta go ice this knee and do my exercises....

"Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ours Forever...It Will Not Be Taken Away!

"But ONE THING is NEEDED, and Mary has chosen
that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:42 (emphasis added)
"I delight in Your decrees,
I will not neglect your Word."
Psalm 119:16

It is because of my love and out of my weaknesses that I purposefully structure my days around my quiet time with my Bridegroom. It is because I love and need Him and His Word, my Savior and my Sustenance. It is because as I abide in Him, staying rooted in His Word, living close to the streams of Living Water, then He will bear fruit in my life for my family. In my weaknesses, He shows His strength. I love Him, revere Him, and depend on Him. He loves perfectly and beautifully. "I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5 (NIV)

In the preface to his book "The Holiest of All", Andrew Murray writes: "I have not been afraid of continually repeating this one thought: Our one need is to know Jesus better, and the one cure for all our feebleness is to look to Him on the throne of heaven and really claim the heavenly life He waits to impart."

In the 20+ years I have walked with the Lord, becoming a wife and mom (hello....feebleness and "uglies" sprouting up all over!) brought me to the place of intentionally structuring my days around my quiet time in His word and in prayer. I treasure this time with my Bridegroom.

His Word is alive indeed. (Hebrews 4:12) And I do delight in His Word. It is a treasure. His Word is truth and life, and it brings us to a place of intimacy with Him. My heart craves it everyday, and I pray He keeps my heart postured in that precious place.

The other day, Chatty Kelly was asking about how we do our quiet time. I loved reading everyone's thoughts and ideas (do share!) So, I wanted to share how I replied here. Spending time with Him is the most important part of every single day's "to do list".

Morning Quiet Time: Since I am a morning gal, I wake up early while the house is truly quiet. It's hard to have "quiet time" when it isn't actually quiet!

Prepare The Evening Before: I prepare the evening before so my mornings have the least amount of distractions as possible. Lunches and snacks are prepared, school bags are packed, the table is set for breakfast, the kids outfits are ready to go, and the coffee machine is loaded and ready for a push of the button.

A Special Place: My special place is my dining room table. I keep my Bible, journal, pens, devotional, Bible study guides and books there. My seat there has become a sanctuary of sorts.

Go Straight to Him: Going straight to His Word and talking with Him is best for me! If I check e-mail or even an on-line devotion, I can get easily distracted.

Bible and Devotional: Trusting Him to lead me, I usually read through a Psalm a day, or part of a Psalm. And I like to read New Testament and Old Testament each day. I also have a favorite devotional ("Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young) that I use with a few other great books. Another great one is John Piper's "Pierced by the Word". A devotional that puts me into God's Word is what I look for. Currently, I am studying 1 Samuel and Hebrews with Bible study groups, so I have been spending a lot of time there.

He Gives Us Our Portion: He is faithful to meet us in His Word. Sometimes, one single verse pops out at me so strongly that I know I just need to digest that for a while. Some mornings, it's just that one verse that stirs and speaks to my heart. Other days, I may read a few chapters. If I am feeling like I am at a "dry spot", I just keep opening His word.

Devoted Time: I love having at least 45 minutes to an hour of quiet time, and that happens often. However, if I over-sleep or am interrupted and only have 15 minutes, then I go with it. All of the time, I have undone things on my "to do list". But I do not want to neglect His Word. (Psalm 119:16)

Grace...Grace...Grace: He wants our hearts devoted to Him. He wants our quiet time to be intimate and meaningful. If I miss a day of quiet time altogether, His grace covers that and we move on to my next quiet time. Don't throw in the towel or be discouraged if you miss one day...or more...of quiet time. He's there to meet us continually.

It Will Not Be Taken Away: The best part is...the time we spend with the Lord will not be taken away from us. (Luke 10:42) Those intimate treasures of Him are in our hearts forever. The investment of time we have intentionally made with Him is OURS FOREVER!

Please share your thoughts and ideas and any good devotionals you have read! Let's spur one another on!

"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And The Winner Is...

"The works of His hands are faithful and just;
all His precepts are trustworthy."
Psalm 111:7

Your testimonies of "God in the Details" of your lives were beautiful, touching, encouraging, and fun! Thank you for sharing them with us!

The winner is receiving:

1. "Holiest of All" by Andrew Murray (awesome study in book of Hebrews!)
2. Choice of one of Lysa TerKeurst's books:
"What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" or
"What Happens When Women Walk in Faith"
("Holiest of All" goes very well with either of these books)
3. Box of a variety of Herr's chips in celebration of the Chip Anniversary!

I wish you all could win, but then there would be a serious potato chip shortage!

THE WINNER IS: MOMMAHEN! Congratulations Mommahen! Please leave me a comment with your e-mail so I can contact you for your address. Also, please let me know which book of Lysa's you would like! Your salty serendipities will be on their way soon! Be blessed and enjoy!

Thanks to all of you for sharing how GOD IS ALL THAT AND A BAG OF CHIPS! (Lisa at The Preacher's Wife gave me that line! Loved it for the CHIP post!)

Look to Him and for Him in the details today!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Motherhood, Making Music, Meals and Memories

"I have no greater joy than to hear that
my children are walking in the truth."
3 John 1:4

A friend once told me, "Motherhood is the hardest job you'll ever love." Yes, absolutely the hardest job. And I would not trade it for the world. Yes, my friend was right, I love it, even though it is the hardest job. I love our cherubs beyond expression. 3 John 1:4, the anchor verse for our blog, really expresses the heart of a Christian parent, doesn't it? Truly, there is no greater joy than to know your child is walking in and with the Lord.

Motherhood keeps me on my knees before the Lord. Totally dependent on Him. Trusting His perfect love to accomplish His purposes for each of us. Daily looking to Him for wisdom, grace, strength, mercy and pure truth. Daily asking for and thanking Him for His forgiveness.

I am sharing this today because, after bringing my children to school this morning, I cried the whole way home. My heart ached as I felt as though I communicated so poorly to one of my children. My mouth didn't say what my heart and mind meant. I prayed for my child and asked the Lord for His truth and love to cover my jumbled words that I had misspoken. My husband reminded me that our children do see us trying to walk closely with the Lord. They see us seeking Him. They hear us ask for forgiveness when we really blow it (which sometimes seems all too often) with each other and with them. Above all, God is faithful, unchanging and loves perfectly.

In many ways, the awesome privilege and responsibility of motherhood is a precious threshing floor for me where He separates the wheat from the chaff in my heart. The threshing floor is bittersweet. Necessary. Fruitful. Precious. I am so thankful for His faithfulness and that He is my Kinsman-Redeemer.

The joys of motherhood fill my heart to overflowing as well. What a wonder and blessing to watch these cherubs grow and mature. It is delightful to just watch their sweet faces. The depths of a mommy's love is almost unfathomable. Truly, all we want is for them to walk with Him, abide in His truth, to honor Him, to be healthy spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. By His grace.

This past weekend, we enJOYed some autumnal fun at the pumpkin patch on Sunday after church. On Saturday, Gabrielle and I went to a local meal preparation kitchen and made some meals together. She did a great job measuring, stirring, packaging and labelling. Daddy helped Joshua do some research on Abraham Lincoln for an upcoming Election Day project at school. Joshua and I played a duet on the piano together...he is loving the duet thing! I haven't posted pictures in a while, so I am including some in this post.

To all of the "God in the Details" contest participants: the winner will be announced on Thursday! All of the "detail testimonies" have been wonderful! Can't wait to see who wins the chips, "Holiest of All" by Andrew Murray and one of Lysa TerKeurst's books! If you would still like to enter, please read the previous post!

















Thanks for visiting! Remember, the winner of the "God in the Details" Give-Away will be posted on Thursday! You still have time to leave your salty comment! :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

"God-in-the-Details" Salty Give-Away!

"...and He gave me understanding in all the
details of the plan."
1 Ch. 28:19 (NIV
)
My sweet sister in the Lord, Lysa TerKeurst, and I celebrated an anniversary of sorts recently. It was our "Chip Anniversary". "The Chip Story" (click here for Lysa's CHIPS post) is one of those stories that points directly to God, His divine assignments and His perfect care displayed in the details of our lives. Even when the details (like potato chips) are seemingly insignificant in the scheme of life, He meets us and invites us to "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Psalm 34:8
I recently heard Charles Stanley talk about how, when we see and recognize God in the details of our lives, our intimacy with Him is deepened. Beautiful. One of my heart's passions is hearing and sharing about how God is daily working in the lives of His people. How sweet (and salty) it is when we share of His faithfulness and provision in the details of our hearts. "Come and see what God has done, how awesome His works in man's behalf." Psalm 66:5
In this case, Lysa and her daughter Ashley tasted God's love for them in a salty snack. For me, it was a timely and loving reminder from Him that indeed "My sheep hear my voice". (John 10) And when He says, "Send chips", then send chips!

In celebration of His goodness and the Chip Anniversary, I am hosting a "Salty Give-Away". The winner will receive 1.) a box of a variety of Herr's CHIPs! , 2.) one of Lysa's books (your choice): "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" or "What Happens When Women Walk In Faith" and 3.) Andrew Murray's book "The Holiest of All", which is an excellent study on the book of Hebrews. This Bible study tool goes along very well with either of Lysa's books offered herein. Lysa's passion in life and in Proverbs 31 Ministry is to get women into God's Word so God's Word gets into them. These salty books do just that. (And thank you to my friend Jill who first introduced me to Murray's "Holiest of All"...I love it!)

I will share how God nudged my heart to send the chips to Lysa. Then, I invite you to post a comment here on how God showed YOU His detailed love for you and/or how He nudged your heart to be His vessel of love to another person. All commenters will be entered to win!


One morning, during my quiet time with Him, the Lord put a few things on my heart that He wanted me to do, and I jotted them down. Now, this doesn't happen all of the time. But that morning, I knew He had a few "divine assignments" for me. It is both humbling and exciting that He uses us as vessels, isn't it?
So, at the top of my list (actually HIS list) was "Send chips to Lysa TerKeurst". Yes, that's what I heard Him speak to my heart. I've gotta tell ya....I did wrestle with the Lord a bit on this. "Chips, Lord? You want me to send chips? I have never sent anyone chips, Lord! Can't I send chocolate? What woman wouldn't love to receive chocolate unexpectedly? Or perhaps some cute note cards or some pretty earrings? You really want me to send chips? This is a little embarrassing!! Why would someone want to randomly receive chips?"

I knew it was Him whispering to my heart. So, I was resolved to obey and send the chips. After all, the Bible says "to love is to obey." (1 John 14) However, still feeling a bit red-faced about how Lysa would feel about receiving potato chips randomly, I didn't rush to send the chips. Each morning after my quiet time, I would look at my note-to-self: "Send chips to Lysa". Yes, Lord, I will.
Finally, after a few weeks, the Lord impressed on my heart "Sharon, send the chips TODAY"! "OK, I get it Lord. Today is the day. I know I am obeying you, so the purpose of this random chip-sending assignment is in Your faithful hands."

Detail: It had been on my "Summer Fun Things To Do List" for several summers to take our two children to the Herr's Snack Factory for a tour, which is just an hour from our home. At the end of August 2007, out of the blue one morning, I called my mom and said, "Mom, we are coming to pick you up...we are going to Herr's Factory today!" It's no mistake that, after wanting to do this for several summers, a day in late August 2007 was the day we spontaneously did it. It was shortly thereafter that God told me to "send chips"!

I got on-line to www.herrs.com and ordered a box of 42 snack-size bags of chips. I did have fun picking out the varieties and flavors I thought the TerKeurst Family might enjoy.

Detail: When I finished my order, the Herr's site indicated it would take up to 7-10 days to fill the order, and then several more days for it to ship and arrive at the TerKeursts. That seemed fine to me. They weren't expecting the chips, so it was no rush really. According to Herr's customer service, they'd get them in a few weeks. I made a mental note of it and exited the site. My heart was content knowing I had obeyed the Lord. I was, however, still wondering what Lysa would think about randomly receiving CHIPS!

Detail: The NEXT DAY, I received an e-mail from Herr's customer service advising me that the order was processed and had SHIPPED. IN ONE DAY!

Detail: TWO DAYS LATER, I received an automatic e-mail from UPS telling me that the CHIPS had been delivered! In 3 days from when I placed the order, it was processed and the chips were on the TerKeurst's front porch! Again, I noted this in my head but did not have any idea the significance of it all. To be honest, I thought business at Herr's and UPS must be pretty slow to have handled this so efficiently in 3 days! In reality, they were unknowingly serving our awesome God.

My heart was at peace knowing the chips were there and that I had obeyed the Lord. The quiet little treasure in my heart, just between me and the Lord, of the joy and peace that accompanies obedience was good enough for me. I thanked Him and went on, content with that quiet little treasure in my heart.
A week or so after getting the e-mail notification from UPS, and just after arriving home from a scrapbook retreat with my girlfriends, I read the CHIP STORY on Lysa's blog. Literally, my jaw dropped and I lost my breath. Oh my! Lysa wrote how the chips were "a love letter straight from the Lord! He loves me, cares about me, fills in my many gaps, and loves for me to experience Him in the most wondrous ways." Chips! Yes, indeed, He wanted me to send CHIPS!
Detail: Lysa received the chips on her way out to a scrap booking weekend with girlfriends. I read her blog post about the chips on arriving home from a scrap booking weekend with girlfriends. I am still not really sure what significance that "scrap booking weekend with girlfriends" connection has, but it is interesting! Perhaps God was just making another "detail connection" somehow.
Tears streamed down my face! "Chips, Lord, chips! You wanted me to send chips! You reached down from heaven to put chips on the porch of a mommy who wanted to bless her daughter and fulfill her request for some chips for her school lunches. You filled in a gap for that mom. You care about chips, Lord! You care about the details of our lives! You love us so intimately and so perfectly! Thank you, Lord! Thank you that you spoke to my heart and entrusted this precious divine assignment to me! Thank you that you confirm to me that Your sheep hear Your voice, and that you want to use me, Lord. Thank you, Lord, for letting me see the fruit of obedience."

Detail: A few weeks later, our first "Proverbs 31 Gather & Grow" gathering was taking place in my home. The book we had planned to read: "What Happens When Women Say 'Yes' To God" by Lysa Terkeurst. He was so gracious to start us out on our study by giving us one tasty testimony of what happened when a woman said "yes" to God. Is He amazing!?!?
So, on this Chip Anniversary, we are remembering His deeds. And we are having a Salty Snack and Books give-away! Post a comment about how God ministered His love to you in a personal detail, or how He prompted you to be a vessel of His love for someone else. The winner will be announced later this week.
May God be glorified and may our relationships with Him grow deeply intimate as we testify about His deeds on our behalf. He is involved in the details!
And Happy Chip Anniversary to my very salty friend Lysa! Love you sister-friend!
Thanks for stopping by! Look for the winner later this week!
And speaking of tasty treats...be sure to visit my scrap-booking-and-gathering-and-growing dear friend Lucille's "Taste and See Psalm 34:8 Cooking Series" site. It's art a la carte as you learn truths from His Word.
"Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are His deeds, and His righteousness endures forever. He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate...the works of His hands are faithful and just." Psalm 111:2-4, 7
"I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples. With Your mighty arm You redeemed Your people." Psalm 77:11-15

Monday, October 13, 2008

The God Who Sees

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she [Hagar] said, "I have now seen the One who sees me." Genesis 16:3

If you read my previous post THE RAW TRUTH below, I wanted to bring you up to date. God is good! He has caused me to cross paths with the precious woman working at our local grocery store. For the purposes of this blog post, I would like to call her "Hope", as that is my prayer for her. May she will be filled with His hope, salvation and truth!

As I wrote a card out for Hope several days ago, I asked the Lord to give me a verse for her. He led me to the verse above...He is the God who sees her. He sees and He cares. In Genesis 16, we see that Hagar was "mistreated" by Sarai (v. 6). I imagine Hagar felt rejected, hurt and alone. We have all been there. He sees, and He meets us. I don't know Hope's story in any detail, but I know when she told me she had just gotten divorced, the pain and heartache were expressed on her otherwise beautiful face. God wants Hope to know He sees her. His eyes are on her.

I went to the grocery store again to look for Hope this past Friday, Saturday Sunday. Three days in a row...she wasn't there. I just knew she'd be there today (Monday) because Joshua and Gabrielle would be with me (they are home from school today for Columbus Day). God wanted to impress these precious moments on their hearts. He wants them to remember how, for God's glory, we reached out to a hurting woman with His Word and love. He wants them to pray for Hope along with me. This was another way for them to show His love in truth and in action. It's all about Him.

This morning, I still had the card and little package in my car for Hope. After going to our pediatric dentist with the kids and before heading to Princeton to have lunch with Daddy at work as a special treat, I stopped at the grocery store with Josh and Brie. I briefly told them about my previous encounter with Hope and why I felt the Lord wanted us to stop at the store today to look for her. While walking in the parking lot, this was part of our conversation:

Gabrielle: Mommy, is Hope a Christian?
Me: I don't know, but we are going to share Jesus with her today.
Joshua: What is in the gift you are giving her, Mom?
Me: A card with a scripture from the Lord for her, a Bible and a "Jesus Calling" devotional.
Joshua: I knew that's what you would give her, a Bible.

As we got near to entrance of the store, I noticed both of Brie's shoes were untied. This annoyed me a little because she knew she should have had this done already. When I asked her why her shoes weren't tied, she said "Mommy, I just wanted you to tie them today to make them extra tight." The Lord quieted my heart and I knew this momentary delay was part of His perfect timing.

As we entered the store, I saw Hope right away. A customer had just left her line (a la the shoe delay). THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE IN HER LINE. All of the other lines had customers. She stood there open and available! The children and I approached her gently.

Me: Hope?
Hope: Yes?
Me: My name is Sharon. I was in your line the other day and I asked you how you were doing. You weren't doing real well that day. I just want you to know you have been on my heart and in my prayers since then. This is a little gift for you.
Hope: (looking completely shocked) Oh my! Really?
Me: I have been in the store the last four days looking for you to give this to you.
Hope: You have? (with her hand to her mouth, she starts to cry)
Me: Yes, and I am going to keep praying for you, and I'll be back to check on you.
Hope: Oh my goodness, you are making me cry.
Me: Can I give you a hug?
Hope: YES!

We hugged and I told her God loved her and that we'd be praying for her. She smiled at Josh and Brie as tears were streaming down her face. She thanked us and we smiled as we waved good-bye and told her we'd be back again.

As we left the store, I just thanked the Lord again that HE ordained my meeting Hope. He does see Her and He does care. Thank you, Lord.

If you think of "Hope", please pray her broken heart is soft before the Lord. May His love and truth fill and satisfy her. Just as the Lord saw, heard and met the needs of Hagar in Genesis 16 and 21, He sees, hears and wants to meet the needs of dear "Hope". He is her Redeemer.

"For your Maker is your husband--the Lord Almighty is His name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit..." Isaiah 54:5-6

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Taste and See - Really!

"Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him."
Psalm 34:8

My dear, long-time friend, Lucille, has been given bountiful talents from the Lord. Not only is she a great artist, chef, quilt-maker...the list could go on...she has the art of being a true friend. It is a privilege walking this walk with her. She is faithful, honest and committed. She steadfastly and prayerfully sees me through times of pruning and growth, and she enthusiastically rejoices with me in times of rejoicing. She knows me...the good, the not-so-good, the refined and the yet-to-be-refined. She's there through it all.

In addition to being a wonderful wife and terrific mom, Lucille is a professional Food Stylist. She has worked for various television shows appearing on the Discovery Channel. Most recently, she has been food styling in the broadcast kitchen of QVC. Her work is amazing. Talk about "art a la carte"!

Lucille is beginning a new venture in which she desires to serve and honor the Lord. With her Taste and See "Psalm 34:8 Cooking Series", she is using the unique approach of culinary demonstrations to share truths from God's Word, fun recipes and great fellowship. These presentations are perfect for women's retreat break-out sessions, small home group Bible studies and Christian schools.

Some of the classes offered are: "A Broken Life Restored", "Breakfast at the Sea", "Let Us Give Thanks", "Feeding the Multitudes" and "Salt of the Earth".

While Lucille's site (click here) is still awaiting the finishing touches, it whets your appetite for what Lucille is dishing up. Take a few moments to pop over and visit a while. Her hospitality is unmatched...even in cyber space.

Honestly, I like going to her lovely home for any occasion. Even her snacks are a feast to behold! Joshua and Gabrielle, who affectionately call her "Aunt Lucille", love her culinary delights, too. Let's just say her kid lunches aren't the average peanut butter and jelly! (Everything tastes better when Aunt Lucille makes it!)

Lucille, I love you, friend. It is a humble privilege to journey together with you through this life and encourage each other as we grow in Him. I rejoice with you!

"Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul." 1 Samuel 14:7

Lucille and Me (March 2008)

Bon Appetit everyone!

"Men ate the bread of angels;

He sent them all the food they could eat."

Psalm 78:25

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Raw Truth

"Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
You teach me wisdom in the inmost place."
Psalm 51:6

Sometimes the raw truth takes your breath away. Sometimes it hurts. Yesterday, the raw truth did both of these things to me.

As I was going through the check-out line at our local grocery store, the cashier said "Hello". I returned a friendly greeting and then asked her, "How are you doing today?" Her response was one I had never gotten before. She said, "I just got a divorce. You'll have to ask me how I am doing another time."

In a bit of shock at her gut-level honest answer, my jaw dropped for a moment. I lost my breath and a lump formed in my throat. I felt tears pooling up in my eyes and just tried to keep it together. I didn't know what to say, and she kept her head down as to not make eye contact.

As I bagged my groceries, I just prayed for her. I prayed God would give me something to say. There was really nothing to say at that moment. I just prayed for her. I wanted God to touch and heal her heart that very moment. If I was reacting this way to the heartache of a stranger, how must her heart be broken to pieces at the personal devastation in her life.

We finished our transaction all too quickly. As she handed me my receipt, I looked at her face hoping she would lock eyes. She didn't. I used her name that I saw her name tag and politely thanked her. I was hoping that somehow the intentional soft tone of my voice and my sincerity would speak volumes of God's love to her. I left the store feeling tugs on my heart.

As soon as I got outside the walls of the grocery store, I reached for my cell phone and called Jim and told him about the brief encounter I just had. My heart ached for this woman and I just let the tears flow as my husband compassionately listened. I told him again how much I loved him and how much I appreciated him. While I do this on a regular basis, today it seemed even more important.

I remember the woman's name. I remember her words. I feel the heartache. My heart is still praying for her. As the Lord leads, I'll bring her a card and a book that will comfort her with His words. I know God put me in that check-out lane yesterday. She is on my heart. I am asking God to keep her on my heart and to speak to my heart about how to show her His love in action.

May His redemption, salvation, new life and perfect love satisfy and fill her heart.

The raw truth. How are you? Pour your heart out to Him. He is listening. He hears. He knows your heart. Perhaps read the first three chapters of 1 Samuel and see how God answered the prayers of Hannah, who poured her soul out to Him.

"In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. "I am a woman who is deeply troubled; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord." "
1 Samuel 1:10, 15

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mashed and Meshed

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
Col. 3:12, 14
I love Sunday afternoons with the family. As we all linger, play and relax at home, I am contently busy in the kitchen preparing Sunday dinner. Yesterday afternoon, I did one of my favorite things. One of those "simple pleasures" of life. What? I made mashed potatoes with my husband, Jim! Yes, mashing potatoes with Jim is one of those things I love to do...we work together in harmony without needing to speak, knowing the roles of each other and just what to do.
After I boil the red-skin potatoes (leaving most of the red skin on!), I drain them. While the taters are still very hot, Jim uses the hand-held masher to mash the potatoes while I toss in the softened butter (yes butter...and generous amounts of it!). Then I sprinkle the taters with salt and pepper while he is still mashing. Only four ingredients go into this decadent side dish, which we treat our family to a few times each autumn and winter.
Jim's mashing gets the potatoes perfectly smooth. After he mashes a while, we each take a spoonful for the taste test....and a few additional spoonfuls "just to be sure". I love making mashed potatoes with my man, with whom God has meshed my heart. We are bonded together in Him. When we are clothing ourselves in God's wardrobe of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love, we are meshed together in perfect unity. Kind of like a tasty and decadent side dish of mashed potatoes!
Now, as my dear friend, Laura Stokes, would say "Pour Some Gravy On It!"

Friday, October 3, 2008

Harvest Crusade & Autumnal Things

"Ask the Lord of the harvest..."
Matthew 9:38

The Harvest Crusade is here this weekend in Philadelphia! Looking to the Lord of the Harvest for all He has in store! We hope to see you there!

It's seems fitting that the Crusade is here in autumn! Autumn is a wonderful season. I love autumnal colors, autumnal decorations and autumnal clothes! I just love the word "autumnal".

The slight chill in the air is refreshing. Trees become a palette of crimson and gold...that is so comforting to me somehow. Perhaps because those colors speak of Him. My heart is warmed.

Enjoy this autumnal weekend. May the Lord of the harvest bless you!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Verses That Pop Out!

Don't you love when a verse just pops out at you? It reaches right into your heart very personally!

Recently, this verse really popped out at me! It became a prayer for me and my family. I have also been praying it, as part of her prayer team, for a sweet friend who is finishing writing another. I just love this verse!


"The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up,
and he let none of his words fall to the ground."
1 Samuel 3:19

Lord, thank you for remaining with us as we mature and grow up. By your grace, let none of our words fall to the ground. Let them be reliable, worthy and useful for You.

What verse has popped out to you lately? Do tell!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Place Near Your Altar

"Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young--A PLACE NEAR YOUR ALTAR, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they are ever praising You." Psalm 84:3-4

We are blessed you have stopped by for a visit. Please take a moment to read the blog post below titled "A Little Child Will Lead Them". As parents of two children with CF, our friends Wade Sr. and Cheryl cherish their place to "have their young -- a place near His altar".

Today, a devotion I wrote is published at Proverbs 31 Ministries about walking with a blameless heart before the Lord in our homes. Today's devotion key verse is: "I will be careful to lead a blameless life -- when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with a blameless heart." Psalm 101:2

Our home, our earthly dwelling place, is where we tend to be the most "real". Home is where we are authenticated. Home should be our sanctuary, our soft place to land. It is usually where our most stressful and challenging moments happen, too. Home is really where the rubber meets the road, isn't it? Our loved ones see the best and worst of us...at home.

"Blameless" does not imply sinless perfection. Rather blameless indicates a life of pure integrity before the Lord. A heart that desires to walk in obedience by faith in Him through His grace and strength. A righteous, upright life before the Lord.

"Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary? Who may live on Your holy hill? He whose walk in blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong...who honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts...He who does these things will never be shaken." Psalm 15:1-5

I want my heart's dwelling place to be near His altar and at His feet. That's the safe place to have my young (Joshua and Gabrielle) and to enjoy sweet koinonia with my husband, Jim. I want to dwell in God's sanctuary and reside with Him on His holy hill. In His strength, I want to be blameless in my own home, righteous, speaking truth from my heart, having no slander on my tongue, doing only good to others, honoring those who fear Him, keeping my promises even when it hurts. Truly, only by His redemption, strength and grace can this be so.

Amazingly, HE chose us to be blamelessness through His salvation and grace. "For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight." Ephesians 1:4

Take some time and do a Bible word study on the word "blameless" and look at all the promises God has for those whose walk in blameless! Here are just a few:

"Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for a man of peace." Psalm 37:37
"Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord." Psalm 119:1
"The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him." Proverbs 20:7
"He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless." Proverbs 2:7

"My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me;
he whose walk is blameless will minister to me." Psalm 101:6
Remember, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3
May these truths of His love minister to your heart through and through. Be still in your place near His altar.
Three Personal Notes:
I will be spending the day at the hospital today with my faithful mom, Eileen, who is having surgery on her back for three herniated discs.
Prayers are so appreciated!
I invite you to visit my dear friend Lucille's "Psalm 34:8 Cooking Series" site at www.psalm348cooking.com .
Having been a Food Stylist for Discovery Channel and QVC, Lucille is now using her culinary arts to share truths from God's Word.
Lucille, "Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul."
1 Samuel 14:7
Thank you to my faithful friends, whose steadfast love I cherish!
Thanks for keeping it real with me!