Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Well, my books/DVD curriculum finally arrived!!!!!!!!! Yippee. I am now officially a student (unlike six weeks ago as I originally thought) I think I'll attempt to begin tomorrow. I am pretty excited. I hope I have enough brain cells left to pass this course with flying colors! Since I was unsuccessful in my attempt at finding my official college transcripts thanks in part to the good ole IRS, I will be doing this from the beginning I guess. It doesn't matter. I am finally going to FINISH my education one way or another.

I also will be attending the writer's conference out at the Carlisle Inn next month, in the hope of learning more information to get my book published, so I am really excited. I just hope that I am able to get answers to the questions that I have and get the encouragement that I need to continue. I did meet the Author of the book "Double Honor" a couple of weeks ago and she encouraged me to attend this seminar, and I am hoping that she may also be able to give me a few suggestions.

I am having a few friends over for lunch on Thursday, and then some other people that I have not met yet over on Friday night along with a couple that we do know well. So, I will be doing some cooking this week, and making some new friends too. That is something that I have missed doing since we changed churches four years ago. We used to have people over a lot, and we simply stopped, more than likely out of laziness. It seems that when you get out of the habit, you tend to just not attempt to start over. Yep, it's laziness! Sorry Lord!
The snow we got today was cold, deep and wet, but at one point early this afternoon it was snowing flakes so large that I just had to try to capture them on my camera. Here are a couple of them It isn't a great way for you to see how large the flakes were but trust me some of them were as large as the palm of my hand
AMAZING! I am not a snow lover, but I had to admit that it was beautiful. We must have about 4 inches on the ground right now, and if the snow had remained snow rather than turning to rain this morning I am sure we would have about 6 to 8 inches.
Well, my college boys will have their Spring break next week. Jordan is coming home, but Chris is going on a kayaking trip in Florida with IWU students and a few staff members. I am looking forward to seeing at least one boy this weekend! Jordan will be home for a week, then go back for about two weeks, then come home again for Easter, then go back again until the end of April when school is over for this year! Wow has it gone incredibly fast. Jordan is going to look for a job at one of the hospitals around here. So if any of you have any suggestions let me know!
I certainly hope all of you bloggers update your blogs, I have confided in one of my friends that yes, I am a blog addict or junkie! So all of you (you know who you are UPDATE your blogs PLEASE)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Unshakeable Faith

Wow, the Our Circle of Friends Women's Conference was amazing! I was so blessed to have the opportunity to attend. Thank you OCF women for all of your hard work! My sister and I attended and were blessed and ministered to. Carol Kent spoke right to my heart in so many matters that I have been dealing with lately. I struggle with fear. Mostly the fear of what others will think of something that I do. I know I have shared my insecurities before, but to me they are very real. Carol said something about fear and faith cannot dwell together. I have a hard time with that because I believe I have faith, but then that stupid fear seems to overtake it to the point that I cannot see what God is doing. I have come so far over the last 26 years that Jeff and I have been married. I used to wake up at night so overcome with fear that I couldn't breathe. Now, I am no longer consumed by fear, just annoyed by it. It tries to creep into any little crevass that it can.
Lisa T. asked me to write a devotional for the conference this past weekend. She asked me to do this last December. I had it in the front of my mind for weeks, but was so worried what "people would think" that I postponed it far to long. Jeff and I talked about it, and I wrote it and finally sent it to Lisa last Saturday (a week ago). A bit later than it should have been (by about two months) so, because of my procrastination and fear, only a few people were able to read it. I have included at the end of my blog (Unshakeable Faith). I hope maybe it will speak something to you.

I have another prayer request for all of you as well. On Saturday my nephew, Joshua was deployed to Iraq for six months. He is the young man that I asked you all to pray for last fall as he and his wife Rose were in grief as they lost a child to a stillbirth. Rose has MPD (see earlier blog in October for info) and they have been through the ringer so to say as they have gone through so much. Josh works as a civilian for the government and has been sent to Iraq to work on something to keep our soldiers safe. So please pray for him, for Rose and for my sister and her family as they trust God to keep Josh safe. Pray also that God gives Josh wisdom in the job that he has been sent to do. Thanks for praying!

Unshakeable Faith

In my life my faith has changed in many ways. As a child it was of course childlike, I just accepted it because God and the Word said I should. I never questioned if it was something that existed, or something that you had to conjure up by trust. It was simply and irrevocably there. The scripture about having faith the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20) always was a favorite to me. I figured that if that was all I needed I was going to be just fine because I had a lot more faith than that. As a teenager, I began to question my faith. I had many disappointments, but decided as long as I was going to church and heard a good message, I was ok. Then when I attend youth camp I realized that yes, I had faith, but I lacked zeal. I would get all fired up for that week and determined that when I went home that I would not let that lackadaisical attitude creep in. That lasted at least two weeks, then, as I got back in that teenage rut, I would again fall prey to the same old way of living.

As I matured into a college student attending a Christian college, I just knew that while I was there, God was going to do something in me. I didn’t realize that I needed to be an active participant. I would sit back and watch other classmates and wonder where their faith was, or how their faith was so different than mine. I was so determined that I was going to find the desires of my heart at that place. As I watched others around me I could see so many people that were serving the Lord with vigor, and in the very same room or office I would see people that were only there because it was necessary. What kind of a person was I? Again I was one of those people that had started out so excited to be at a place where people really wanted to be, where they were serving God. I soon realized that most of those people were much the same as I was. A lot of them were “acting” out the part, while another group was trying desperately to make a name for them selves. My whole world was rocked to see that. I realized that there were a lot of people including myself that didn’t see their faith as something real but, just as something to say they believed.

Then there was a group of people that were rarely seen you only heard about them. They were the people that were in the background, they were the people that were the prayer warriors the people not seeking anything other than God Himself. Quietly serving God, and serving everyone that was there within that ministry through prayer. People that were making a difference, they had a peace because they were called to be there to serve the Lord with all their heart. They had FAITH.

As I look at my life now, I see all of the stages that I have gone through and just wonder what God is going to be able to do with me? Do I really want to serve God, and what is my motive? Do I want to be seen by those around me, just acting a certain way or do I want to be one of those that are hidden in the background, one that is called and SERVING, with a faith that is real. Am I being a person that is trying to live faith, or am I a person that is trying to shake and test other’s faith?

When my faith needs stimulated or shaken, God tends to do that several ways. It is typically through trials for me. I have been shaken down to my core at times, and my faith has gone from something the size of a mustard seed, to the size of the rock of Gibraltar. As I see God moving in me, and changing me, my faith grows. No, I don’t like the trials. I don’t like being forced do anything, but sometimes God has to force me to look at what I have become. I am lazy, lethargic, and sedentary. My faith isn’t shaking, it doesn’t exist. I want my faith to move. I want it to shake me as it grows. I want it to be real, to know it’s alive.

Where is your faith? How would you describe it? Is it something that is real? Is it moving and growing, or has it turned into sand, simply blowing away each time the wind blows? Think about it? Do you have unshakeable faith, where it stands as a rock not to be blown away, or is your faith like the sand dunes always being blown around, never fully formed?

Romans 11:1-40

Blessings to you all!

Please excuse any typo's my spell check is not working!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!
I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day with a bunch of fru-fru. I usually fix a nice dinner, and set the table with nice dishes and of course candles. I did this when all of the kids were still home, to make it special for everyone! Tonight was no different other than the fact that I only had to set the table for two.

It was pretty and tasty! I have to admit though that I wouldn't have much of a reason to celebrate Valentine's Day if I didn't have Jeff! Oh how I love that man! We've been married for 26 years and he can still make me laugh! If you are anything like I am, that is one important factor in a marriage! I know my kids think their dad and I are a little crazy, they just don't understand the humor we have. Jeff and I only knew each other for six months before we got married, but we both fell pretty hard and knew after the first month that we would consider marriage. Oh, we've had some rough times to be sure, but the good times far out-weigh the bad. We have grown a lot in our relationship (I would hope!) We have survived a tragedy, and lived to testify about it. Thank you Jesus!

I am getting myself mentally prepared for the Women's Conference that starts tomorrow evening. I am really looking forward to it. I have heard Carol Kent speak before, and really enjoyed her. I am also signed up to attend her seminar called Communicating So People Will Listen. I am hoping to glean some wonderful suggestions to put to use when Jeff and/or I go to share our testimony.
I am hoping too to meet a woman that is already a published author. Her name is Missy, and my friend Lisa is going to introduce us in the hope that perhaps Missy will be able to give me some valuable suggestions about my book. By the way I have been working on it this week once again. That is exciting to me because I have been "waiting on God" since the end of June. In my mind, God is the only one that knows what is rolling around in this head of mine, and it's taken Him seven and a half months to get things sorted through all of the stuff rolling around in that "pink fluff" before He could settle me down long enough to write. So keep praying all of you that ask me "how is the book going?" It's finally in forward motion.

I don't know how many of you are dog lovers, but I'll have you know that we own the same type of dog that won "Best in Show" at the Westminster dog show! Yes, and I have to tell you that our dear little Buzz (our Beagle) has copped an attitude since he heard who won. He suddenly thinks that he should be included in our Valentine's dinner, he sat beside Jeff and whined the entire meal. He never does that. He thinks that since Beagles are so special and win dog shows they all need to be treated like royalty! He wanted to have the same Shrimp cocktail, steak, red potatoes, asparagus and parmesan bread sticks as we had. Here is a picture Jeff took of him as he walked around the table. He is so spoiled, but we love him

Well, I should close for tonight, it's almost bedtime and believe me I need my beauty sleep tonight. I need as much help as I can get because I did a no-no. I ate shrimp and I am allergic to them, so if you see me over the weekend and I am scratching my face like crazy you'll know why! Just don't laugh to hard when you see me!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My Heart

I can honestly say that I know what makes my heart sing.That is being an instrument that God uses. Last night we had our last GriefShare (there are 13 classes per session), it was amazing. That marks the fourth time we have offered the class and I have facilitated or co-facilitated a group. The first time we had to have out group every other week because of the emotional exhaustion we felt. It was the first time Jeff and I had participated in any type of grief support.The next time it was offered we had someone else facilitate, but we filled in at times. Then we offered it last Spring. Jeff and I facilitated that one then another offering in the fall of 2007, which concluded last night. We will begin another round of classes on March 18, 2008, so if you or anyone you know is interested please call the church at 330-602-5600 and ask for Chad Stutzman, or you may comment here on the blog.
It is such a wonderful thing when you feel God binding you together with the people in the group. We ended the group feeling like a family. My heart is so full this morning. This was our largest gathering of people for GriefShare in the beginning, but we ended with so many less that we began with. It is sometimes difficult for people to attend because it is so emotional. Sometimes people begin to soon, sometimes people are simply not ready to deal with their loss because that is how they identify themselves. I can relate to that because I sometimes think of myself as the mother of the girl that was murdered. That is not who I am, that is what happened to Liz.
Last night we had a time of food and fellowship, the watched the DVD,(the topic was Heaven) then we had our time of sharing our loved ones through pictures, and stories. I had a memory box for each participant, then we lit a candle to represent the light that each person represented in our lives. It was a real time of healing, tears and remembering. I also had long stemmed rosed complete with thorns, and read the story "Be Thankful for the Thorns".
We gathered together in a circle and closed the meeting in prayer, each of us praying for the person on each side of us, and feeling a peace beyond this earth in our hearts.
What a blessing to be involved in such an amazing opportunity. It is beyond incredible to see how each person is able to heal, and grow during this time. From the minute they walk in the doors their first time to when they leave the after the final class, they are truly different people. God has been able to meet them right where thay need to be met. I am so blessed to have been asked to serve in such a capacity. It has brought so much into my life including all of the people that are now a part of our "family". Thanks Chad for making this class available to our community. God is certainly moving in this place.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

My Birthday

Oh joy, ecstasy and delight... two of my three boys came home today to surprise me for my birthday. Surprise me they did! It certainly made my day (rather evening). Jeff and I went to get a movie and to pick up Chinese from Main Moon. I asked Jeff if he'd mind if I just waited in the car while he got the food. He got a funny look on his face and said he had a birthday gift for me and reached behind the seat and pulled a bag out, it was a digital picture frame. Cool!!!! I had hoped that I'd get one for Christmas, so I was surprised. Then I saw something out of the corner of my eye outside my car window, turned around and my babies were right in front of me!!!!!!!! I was so excited. Then while we were in picking up the food Micah called me to say Happy Birthday too. My day was pretty special.

I had the opportunity to do some reading from a book that a friend gave to me, (and Ifinished it too), then I got a visit from my friend Mary. We talked for like two hours, then I read a little more (I love to read). Jeff came home and practically insisted that we go out and do something. I am such a putz! I had no clue that I was going to get such a cool gift! Then I had another friend surprise me. Jean (queenie) as she is known to some of us, stopped to bring me a card and some cookies. I felt so special so thanks to all of you! I guess I don't mind turning 48 today as much as I thought I would.

I'm smiling like a Cheshire Cat at the moment, my heart is so full, and so is my tummy. I had General Tso's Ummmmmm!