Sunday, June 26, 2011

Quick Post for Prayer

I have been blogging all week - in my head!  I just haven't been able to get to the computer to share it with you. 

UGGHHH!  It's the thought that counts, right?

Actually, right now I should be sleeping since I have to be at church by 5:00 a.m. to leave for Student Life Camp.  That's only 4 1/2 short hours away.  But, I could not leave without asking you to please pray for camp this week.  God does incredible things in the hearts and lives of our students (and us adults!) at camp.  Pray for God's protection, presence and power to be upon us.


P.S. If I have internet access, I will try to blog from camp after everyone goes to sleep.

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Monday, June 20, 2011


*I wrote this last night, but had problems with uploading pictures
so it didn't get posted until today.*

Bright and early this morning before church, we headed to Bob Evan's for a Father's Day breakfast with (part of) my mom's family.

This was taken from one end of the table.

This was taken from the other.

 At church, my small group made cards for the fatherless - the orphans in Costa Rica and Ecuador.  Although these children may not have an earthly father, they do have a Heavenly Father who loves them more than they can imagine. 

We took a few pictures to send with our cards too.

After eating lunch at Sonny's BBQ (all dads ate for FREE - thanks Nana!), we spent the afternoon at my dad's with my brother and his family.  
(L to R: my husband Shawn, my brother Shane, my dad Max

There was a lot of cousin time too that included swimming, playing video games, and jumping rope. (L to R: Avery, Tanner, Sydney)

Faith Wrenn (above) and Lindsey (below)

I must say that Father's Day is a bit different now since my stepdad and my father-in-law have both passed away.  Don't take anything for granted.  Give your dad a hug or a phone call today!


After we came home from my dad's house, my husband turned on the TV
and guess what was on...???

A nature show on etv about AFRICA!

Check out this gorgeous RAINBOW at Victoria Falls in South Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia & Zimbabwe.


Loving MY HEAVENLY FATHER with all my heart & soul,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Being Called" to "Being Consecrated" - Part 1


It is obvious that God is calling us to Africa.  I would give anything if we could go right now! 

But God reminded me of something this past week.  He reminded me of the very first in-depth Ladies' Bible study that I did 9 1/2 years ago - Beth Moore's "Breaking Free."  He reminded me of the Bible verse that intrigued me.  The one that resonated with me the most throughout the entire study.

“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do
amazing things among you.” Joshua 3:5

Do you know what consecrate means?

It means to set apart as holy; to make or declare sacred for religious use; to devote or set apart something for the worship or service of God.

For us, this means that God is working in our hearts & lives and having us deal with our "stuff."  A few issues have come up recently that I thought had already been dealt with.  But, obviously some things still have a grip on us, and we need to break completely free before we can move on. 
God is growing us and wanting us to trust Him on a whole new level.  It is a process.  We are being refined.  We are being purified.  We are being consecrated.

A very wise friend told me one time that the "stuff" in our lives is like an onion.  God peels away one layer at a time.  And we have LOTS of layers!   

When I looked up the verse Joshua 3:5, I decided to read several verses (which turned into chapters) surrounding it so I could understand what was going on when Joshua told the Israelites to consecrate themselves.  I was amazed at what I read.

Don't you just love how God shows you something new from familiar Scripture you have read several times before??!!!

Joshua was telling the Israelites to prepare themselves to cross over the Jordan River into the Promised Land.  FINALLY - THE PROMISED LAND!  After being freed from slavery in Egypt.  After 40 years of wandering in the desert. After the death of the previous disobedient generation.  After the death of Moses.  After Joshua became their new leader. After waiting and waiting and waiting some more.  The Promised Land!

God dried up the overflowing banks of the Jordan River & let the Israelites pass through safely.  Just like He did for Moses & the Israelites at the Red Sea.  While Moses and his crew were breaking free from slavery, Joshua & his crew were moving into a whole new level of faith & fulfillment with God - the Promised Land.

The first thing God had Joshua & his crew do was to put memorial stones in place at the Jordan River so that they, along with generations to come, would never ever forget what God had done for them.

Joshua said to his people: "He (God) did this so
that all the peoples of the earth
might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful
and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”
Joshua 4:24

Then, do you know what God had them do next?

"At that time the LORD said to Joshua,
“Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.”
So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.
And after the whole nation had been circumcised,
they remained where they were in camp until they were healed."
Joshua 5:2-3, 8

WOW!  This journey to the Promised Land seems to get harder & harder instead of easier, doesn't it?  But I love how God gave them time to heal.  He is so compassionate!

Next, Joshua and his crew had to trust God, obey Him fully, and fight for their Promised Land.  The land was not empty & just waiting for the Israelites to move in.  No. There were ungodly people living there, and they had to go.

So you see, the journey into the Promised Land was quite difficult.  But, God was so faithful - He made it worth every single step.  

Now, my husband & I find ourselves longing for the Promised Land (spiritually speaking.)  Turning 40 has really intensified our desire too.  We want our lives to matter and point others to Jesus.  We want to make a difference, an eternal difference, in the lives of others.

So, why do we often find ourselves like Moses' crew wanting to run back into slavery when things get hard?  Running back into our old sinful ways & unhealthy habits?  Well, I guess because things are familiar to us there, and we know what to expect.  In a strange way, we find comfort there even though it's not where we want to be.  Not to mention that  moving forward into the unknown requires trust, lots & lots of trust.  And the journey can be hard - WORTH IT, but hard. 

So please pray for us. 

Pray that our trust in the Lord will increase each day as we wait for God's specific direction. 

Pray that the comfort we find in our slavery to strongholds & sin will become distant memories, replaced with new memories of God's deliverance and freedom in our lives. 

Pray for us as God circumcises our hearts & minds and then gives us time to heal.  

Pray that we enjoy the JOURNEY with Our Heavenly Father, no matter what it brings.  Because HE IS WORTH IT!!  HE IS SO WORTH IT!!!

Pray for us as God prepares us to go to Africa in His perfect timing. 

We obviously have a lot more to do than just pack our suitcases to be ready to go.

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

God's Little Surprise

We are so blessed to be a part of a church that has a heart for missions.  Our church provides so many outreach opportunities, especially during the summer.

In July, my son Tanner and I are going on a youth trip to Costa Rica to minister to orphans.  We recently had a meeting and found out that the guys on our team will need to wear pants (not jeans) while we are ministering there. But,Tanner doesn't have any pants that fit at the moment.  My frequent visits to Goodwill have not found any pants for him either.

This past Friday night was date night. 

After dinner, Shawn and I perused the shops at Rivergate.  Target was our last stop.  When we were just about to leave the store, I felt a nudge to check and see if they had any "missionary pants" for Tanner.  

I looked everywhere but could only find one rack of very dressy pants - not what I was looking for.  As I  turned to walk away, a yellow sign caught my eye. And look what I found...

missionary pants for Tanner!!!  I was so excited.  They only had his size left!!!  So, I bought a pair in every color!!! 

But check out the very best part...

For less than $10.00, God provided not 1, not 2, but 3 pair of brand new missionary pants!  That's less than Goodwill, and these are brand new!  And they fit! 

ONLY GOD!!!  He takes such good care of us!

"Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness.
Let the whole world know what He has done.
Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises.
Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds."
1 Chronicles 16:8-9 (NLT)

Praising HIM for His provision,

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Quick Update & Some EXCITING NEWS!

*** I wrote this 2 months ago, but was afraid to post it :)  When you read the EXCITING NEWS part, you will understand why.  I think it's safe to post this now! *** 

Let me start with a medical update.  I saw my surgeon Dr. White on 3/8/11 for a follow-up appointment.  Everything checked out fine.  The plan is for me to see him again in July and get a new baseline mammogram at that time.

On April 1, I saw my radiologist Dr. Bobo for a follow-up too.  My skin has recovered really well from radiation, and I will not need to see him again until October.  During my appointment, Dr. Bobo asked me about my plans for the summer.  When I mentioned going on mission trips, we (including the nurse who spent 4 1/2 years as a missionary in Rwanda) ended up having a lengthy conversation about God, mission trips, and His provision!

Then, I was able to spend some time with my friend Tonya who works at the front desk.  She was sick during the last 3 days of my radiation so we had not said goodbye yet.  What a strong Christian lady and foster parent!  It truly has been a privilege to meet her and the other wonderful people at radiation.

Now for some EXCITING NEWS!

Before I had my surgery on December 1, my friend Jamie B. from church sent me an e-mail making sure we had people bringing us meals after my operation.  My friend Sheri set up a meal website and Jamie helped spread the word to the ladies at Bible study.  

Honestly, I felt guilty.  I know that bringing meals is the Baptist Christian way, but my family and I are so blessed.  And God had already begun burdening our hearts for the people living in poverty in Africa, especially the children.  They were (are) literally starving to death while we had a pantry full of food and a list of people waiting to bring us more food! 

So we prayed about how to handle this.  God led my husband and I to make a donation to a ministry in Africa for every meal someone brought to us.  This was a win/win situation. We would donate the grocery money we saved (because generous people like you provided meals for us) so others in Africa could have their needs met. 

In my pea brain small thinking, I figured we would get meals for about a week.  Ha! Ha! Ha! I obviously forgot how BIG MY GOD IS and how much HE LOVES THE POOR & NEEDY!!!!!

"Praise the Lord!

Yes, give praise, O servants of the Lord.
Praise the name of the Lord!
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
now and forever.
3 Everywhere—from east to west—
praise the name of the Lord.
4 For the Lord is high above the nations;
      His glory is higher than the heavens.
5 Who can be compared with the Lord our God,
who is enthroned on high?
6 He stoops to look down
on heaven and on earth.
7 He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.

 8 He sets them among princes,
even the princes of His own people!"
Psalm 113: 1-8 (NLT)

The Message says
"He picks up the poor from out of the dirt,
rescues the wretched who've been thrown out with the trash,
Seats them among the honored guests,
a place of honor among the brightest and best."
Psalm 113:7-8           
Let's just say that one week of meals turned into 4 MONTHS of meals!!! 

God impressed upon the hearts of my friends (who would not take no for an answer) to keep organizing meals for us (no names - Tina, Angela, Sheri, Lisa!)  And God impressed upon the hearts of sooooo many of you to bring us meals, whether if you were scheduled to or not! 

Time after time, I would come home to find a meal waiting on the porch or get a call from one of you asking if you could bring over some food.  God prompted you to prepare a meal and you chose to be obedient!

What I want you to understand is that while you were blessing us with a meal, you were also ministering to the needy in Africa!!!  This was so much bigger than me, us and a meal. 

On 3 separate occasions, I thought the meals were finished.  I would be just about to make the donation, and then more meals would come!  Each time, I wanted to say no to the meals, but then God would remind me this was NOT ABOUT ME! 

And while God taught me many, many lessons about allowing others to help me, ultimately He taught me this:  When He prompts me to do something, like fix a meal, send a card, make a call, speak to someone I don't know, etc., I need to do it immediately - even especially if it doesn't make sense because He is at work all around me and on so many different levels.  I can't see the whole picture, but He can.  I need to trust Him.  I need to obey Him. 

It is such a privilege to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of others.  And I for one  do not want to miss a single opportunity or miss HIM!

Without any further ado......

Guess how many meals we received??!!!  Remember, initially I was thinking 6 or 7 at the most.  But, God had much, much bigger plans!  Are you ready???...

Drum roll please.........

!!!65 MEALS!!!

Oh! My! Can you believe it!!!  You all are so very, very generous! 

And because of your generousity and obedience, we decided to make a donation to 2 different ministries in Africa - Amazima Ministries in Uganda (I dare you to read Katie's blog :) particularly her June 3 post) and The Mercy House in Kenya (I double dare you to read Kristen's blog  :) as she and her family, including her 3 young children, leave for Kenya on Saturday for nearly a month - she actually has a prayer calendar you can download.  Be sure to read about Maureen too.  I heard her story at Student Life Camp last summer.  She is a very grateful, giving, God-fearing woman.  She is a living testimony of how God rescues people from poverty through the generousity of others.  In her case, it was through Compassion International .)

Why these 2 ministries you ask.  Well, those stories are God stories for another post.

So, if you felt prompted by God to bring us a meal but never did, you can still be obedient. You can donate the money you would have spent on the meal to The Mercy House or Amazima Ministries or to a ministry of your choice. JUST DO SOMETHING to help others!  No amount is too small.  What we consider to be a little ($3, $5) becomes a whole lot in God's hands!

I also wanted to add that Lucia brought us a delicious meal AND gave us some extra money to donate!  Thank you Lucia!

I've said it before but feel like I need to say it again... THANK YOU for the way you have ministered to me and my family through your meals, prayers, cards, phone calls, smiles, hugs, gifts, etc.  GOD USED YOU TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN OUR LIVES! AND IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE IN AFRICA!

Loving HIM with all  my heart & soul,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Africa Day

This morning, I took Faith Wrenn to the Health Department to get her travel vaccinations for her very first mission trip. 

She had to get 3 of them - including tetanus.  She was very brave, and she didn't even tense up when the nurse gave her the shots!

While we were sitting in the waiting room, there was a couple sitting behind us.  The wife was very anxious about getting her shots.  I sensed I should turn around and talk to them.  So I did.  And when I asked her where they were traveling to, you know what she said...


When I asked where in Africa, she said Swaziland.  It is in the southern part of Africa and just happens to be where our World Vision sponsored child lives!

I immediately asked them if I could take their picture because I wanted to pray for them.  I also shared with them how God was calling us to Africa too. 
Ron & Cindy

They leave the first of July and will return on July 16.  Please pray for them and their entire team.  They are going to work at a university and an orphanage.

They have 3 daughters and their youngest one is going to Swaziland with them.  She just finished her 1st year of nursing school.  She has felt called to Africa since 8th grade.  HOW EXCITING!!!

I was also asked to pray for one of their other daughters who is pregnant with a baby boy due in October.  She just found out yesterday that he has a heart problem.  This same daughter had a similar heart problem when she was born 26 years ago.  She had open heart surgery when she was 2 years old.  She is fine now.  Please pray for God to give this young couple (who are in the ministry in OH) His peace that surpasses all understanding.  Pray for the health of their unborn son.  Ask God for a miracle on their behalf because "He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted." Job 9:10.

This couple was so sweet and genuine.  They know one of the associate pastors at my church too.  I really enjoyed talking with them.  I was so engaged in conversation with them that the office lady came to check and see what was taking me so long to fill out Faith Wrenn's paperwork! 

It was another Divine Appointment, and I did not want to miss a minute of it.

After the Health Department, I had to go to my dad's to do payroll.  While we were there, I glanced through Sunday's paper and grabbed the coupons.  And what was on the front page (and all throughout) the Proctor & Gamble coupon section???.....

pictures of children from KENYA letting people know about the Children's Safe Drinking Water Program.  I cried when I saw these pictures!

Then later this afternoon, Tanner & Faith Wrenn had dentist appointments.  When we got to the dentist's office, it was VERY crowded.  We usually do not have to wait, but today we did.  There was a TV in the lobby and it was on ETV - PBS Kids.  After we had been there for awhile, Barney came on.  Guess what it was about???.....

And this lady was from KENYA! 




Now, if you will please excuse me, I've gotta go pack for Africa :) LOL!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Typing Through Tears of Awe

Jesus said, “Go into all the world and
preach the good news to all creation." 
Mark 16:15

I had to run some errands late this afternoon.  When I got home, I found my sweet husband sitting on the front porch waiting for me so we could have our daily after work talk time.  While we were talking, our neighbor Jeanie stopped by.

We talked with her for a little while before the conversation turned to missions.  Jeanie and her family have served as full-time missionaries in Italy and Germany.  Right now, they are serving locally and are an active part of WOC  (World Outreach Center) here in FM.  WOC does a lot to prepare and support missionaries.

Jeanie told us about a 12 week internship WOC does each fall - kind of like "How to Become a Missionary 101."  WOW!!!  My husband and I just had a conversation last Thursday about the research we needed to do on this EXACT subject.  We have a lot of questions.  Then today, God puts Jeanie in our path so she can share with us about the internship!  ONLY GOD!


Shawn and I are praying about this opportunity.  Given his work schedule, I would be the one attending the classes 4 mornings a week.  And I love to attend classes!  Not to mention, a mission trip to Mexico is also a part of the program!  YAY!  

Jeanie told us that the director of WOC has ties to Tanzania in Africa too!

Then, Jeanie mentioned that our neighbors 2 doors down will be going to GHANA in September!  I immediately went over and invited them to dinner so we can talk with them.  ONLY GOD!!!


I am beside myself! 

Tears keep flowing! 


I am in awe of how He works!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Friday, June 3, 2011

Time Flies So Make The Most of Every Opportunity

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is."  Ephesians 5:15-17

Last night, I was listening to the radio and heard the DJ ask, "How many summers do you have left with your children before they leave home?"

I don't even want to think about that!  But, as a parent I need to.  I need to understand that my children will not be young forever.  They are growing up every single day, and one day (soon) they will be old enough to leave my home & live on their own.  So I have to be intentional about how we spend our time together now.

I need to be keenly aware of what I'm teaching my children - with my words but more importantly with my actions. 

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:5-6

I want them to love the Lord, have a heart for Jesus, and serve others through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

I want them to experience God's forgiveness and be able to forgive others.

I want God's opinion of them to matter more than man's. 

I want them to "get God" and worship Him openly and unapologetically. 

I want them to pray continuously and trust God wholeheartedly - in good times and in bad. 

I want them to desire God's will for their lives instead of pursuing the American dream. 

I want them to make the most of every opportunity God gives them.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."  Galatians 6:9-10 

While I can't make these personal decisions for my children, I can demonstrate for them what a life totally surrendered to Christ looks like.  I can let them see the lasting joy and peace that comes only from a personal relationship with Jesus, in spite of our circumstances. 

Since school ended yesterday, I've got to start preparing for my intentional summer with my children RIGHT NOW!  While we have some big plans already, my focus will be on the small, daily things.  Nothing like Tanner's 8th grade recognition ceremony and the last day of school for inspiration.

Tanner marching in 

Tanner posing on the football field after the ceremony

 One day our children are here...

until time goes by so fast - like a blur...

And then they are GONE!
All grown up and living on their own!

After the ceremony, we had lunch with some other 8th grade graduates from church.

If only we could keep the boys on one side and the girls on the other side until they are 30!!! Lol!

Of course, we had to celebrate at a new skate park

in Concord

Goodbye 4th grade and 8th grade


Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,