Saturday, December 27, 2014

words of wisdom

Dare to Be

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you
re feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.
When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel as you
ve done your best.
Dare to be the best you can

At all times, Dare to Be!

Steve Maraboli

Monday, December 22, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014


this will be me in about 10 years or so...

Friday, December 19, 2014

pause 'n ponder

grace and prayer:

The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “. . . in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”— that is where our patience is tested *(2 Corinthians 6:4). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now.

We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer. **(2 Corinthians 9:14)

*(Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;  2 Corinthians 6:4 NIV)

**(And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.   2 Corinthians 9:14 NIV)

(excerpt: Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

who is Lottie Moon?

(this isn’t an official post from the IMB – just my research and thoughts)

Charlotte Digges ‘Lottie’ Moon (December 12, 1840 – December 24, 1912) was a missionary to China thru the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board (later named the International Mission Board).
She is the namesake of the Southern Baptist international missions offering – the ‘Lottie Moon Christmas Offering’. 

Lottie was born in Virginia and raised by parents who were staunch Baptists.  Her road to becoming a missionary included a higher education with Master degrees.  She spoke numerous languages including Latin, Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, and was fluent in reading Hebrew.  She later became quite fluent in Chinese. 

By 1872, the Southern Baptist Convention had relaxed its policy against sending single women into the mission field.  Lottie, who was called to become a missionary, was officially appointed to China at the age of 33.  Like today’s missionaries, she was a hard-working Southern Baptist, follower of Jesus Christ, who worked tirelessly so her people group could come to know the Lord.  She spent nearly forty years (1873–1912) living and working in China.

Throughout her career, she wrote many letters urging Southern Baptists to become more involved and to support missions.  In 1888, one of her letters led to the first Christmas offering for international missions, enough to send thee additional missionaries to China.

That led to the annual ‘Lottie Moon Christmas Offering’.  As of 2013, the offering celebrated its 125th year, and at that time, over 3.5 billion had been given.  The current approximate numbers are: 46,000 Southern Baptist churches, 4,800 international missionaries, in 130 foreign countries. 

Every cent of the ‘Lottie Moon Christmas Offering’ supports overseas missionaries.  It’s important to understand that the number of foreign missionaries is dependant on the amount of this offering.  There have been missionaries called to serve God overseas that have had to wait until funds were available to send and support them.  That’s just how important the ‘Lottie Moon Christmas Offering’ is.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 NLT

Friday, December 5, 2014

funny friday

what kids say... (as told by their Mommy):

This morning ‘Ladybug’ was playing with Play-Dough and rolling the dough to makes snakes.  She kept calling them “sneaky snakes” which I just thought was too cute.  After awhile she began telling me about Adam and Eve and the Sneaky Snake.  I was knocked off my feet! I asked sweet 'Ladybug' where she had learned the story of Adam and Eve and the Sneaky Snake.  She titled her head to the side, looked like I must be joking with her and said, “In the Bible, mom.”

‘Doodlebug’ was crying from his bed while I was snuggling ‘Stinkbug’ on the couch before bed, and I said, "I'm gonna go check on ‘Doodlebug’..."  ‘Stinkbug’ jumped up and said, "I'll check on ‘Doodlebug’ and ran out of the room.  One minute later he came back (I could still hear ‘Doodlebug’ crying) and said, ‘Doodlebug’ doesn't have self-control."

Right after telling the kids I didn't have money for ice cream today...  ‘Ladybug’: (Pointing at an ATM) Look there's a piggy bank! You can get some money!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

life's tug

I came across this poem, ‘Life’s Tug of War’, the other day.  I read it once, and then read it twice.  I can relate to its description of life.  There are positives and there are negatives.  Every life is faced with that.  Nothing in life is guaranteed, either it is or either it isn’t, either it will or either it won’t, either it can or either it can’t...  You can’t control the good and you can’t control the bad.  There will always be a tug of war.  But, you can change your life.  It will still have the positives and it will still have the negatives.  

But, you can your life.  How?  You can become a Christian.  How?  If you confess your sins, believe in Jesus Christ, accept Him as your Lord and Savior, you will be saved.  This website explains the road to salvation, the acceptance of Jesus Christ:

Life’s Tug of War
Life can seem ungrateful and not always kind.
Life can pull at your heartstrings and play with your mind.
Life can be blissful and happy and free.
Life can put beauty in the things that you see.
Life can place challenges right at your feet.
Life can make good of the hardships we meet.
Life can overwhelm you and make your head spin.
Life can reward those determined to win.
Life can be hurtful and not always fair.
Life can surround you with people who care.
Life clearly does offer its ups and its downs.
Life’s days can bring you both smiles and frowns.
Life teaches us to take the good with the bad.
Life is a mixture of happy and sad.
Take the life that you have and give it your best.
Think positive be happy let God do the rest.
Take the challenges that life has laid at your feet.
Take pride and be thankful for each one you meet.
To yourself give forgiveness if you stumble and fall.
Take each day that is dealt you and give it your all..
Take the love that you’re given and return it with care.
Have faith that when needed it will always be there.
Take time to find the beauty in the things that you see.
Take life’s simple pleasures let them set your heart free.
The idea here is simply to even the score.
As you are met and faced with Life’s Tug of War.

If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."  Romans 10:9-10

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

d e p r e s s i o n

Welcome to my life.  I’m a sinner saved by the grace of God. I’m a Christian and I love God and I have faith in God and I trust in God and I believe in God and I have major (clinical) depression and anxiety and fibromyalgia.  I take medications daily, and thank God for every one of them.  Depression?  Surprised?  What about the stigma?  The shame?  My depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia isn't going away (unless it's God's will to heal me).

First I’ll begin with the words of a Christian who suffers from depression:
“Despite the fact that I was fighting for my life, I did not want people to know it and the stigma and shame of depression was such that the friends and family on the short list who did know naturally wanted to keep matters close to the vest. It’s hard to imagine another reason for a hospitalization – whether for a burn, two broken legs, or for cancer treatment – that would produce such a conspiracy of confused silence.” (anonymous)

Recently I was watching a sermon on TV. I’ve watched him very many times.  But, that Sunday, I had to back it up several times to make sure I had heard what I thought I heard. I had.

“If we focus on our difficult circumstances and negative feelings, we can easily be drawn into despair and depression.

But when we fix our eyes on our great, encouraging God, He lifts us up and sets us free.”
“...every believer has a choice to either stay in a pit of discouragement or to get out.”
“We can either allow circumstances to drag us down into depression and despair or...blah, blah, blah.”

So, according to this preacher, I chose the life I’m living and I chose depression and I enjoy being sick and my focus isn’t on God and I don’t have a believer’s attitude and I’m not praying for healing and it’s all my fault... What was he thinking?  

This is a short list of comments and opinions I’ve heard:
Real Christians don't get depressed
It’s your own fault
You don’t have enough faith
You can get over it if you repent
Taking antidepressants is playing God, He can heal you

I could go on and on and on...  But, I’ll end with this:
Is it a sin to be depressed? The doctor says I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that he can treat with medication, but a friend of mine says I shouldn't do this because I just need to pray and have more faith. Who is right? I can't stand this much longer.

Let me ask you a question: If you broke your arm in an accident, do you think your friend would claim it was a sin for you to have a broken arm, and all you needed to do was pray? I doubt it.

Neither is it a sin for you to seek treatment for a chemical imbalance in your brain. The Bible says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)–and it’s true: Our bodies and minds are very complex. Although doctors can’t solve all our problems, we should be grateful that God has enabled them to understand more about our bodies and minds, and has given them new ways to overcome many of our problems.

Don’t feel that you are somehow sinning by seeking treatment for your depression; it would be wrong for you not to seek treatment.

Don’t misunderstand me, however. God has given us the gift of prayer, and prayer should be an important part of your life as you struggle with this problem. Through prayer we draw near to God, and the closer we get to Him, the more we will realize that He loves us and wants to help us.

Make sure of your commitment to Christ, and then ask Him to guide you as you seek treatment. In addition, let God’s promises saturate your mind and heart. The psalmist wrote, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? … Put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:5).

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  Today is a holiday with the traditional turkey and all the fixings.  Families getting together, scrimmage football games in the yard, parades on tv, everyone talking and laughing and telling old stories and taking long naps.  Yes, that’s the ‘ideal’ Thanksgiving day.  There are far too many people that do without.  Too many people alone and hungry.  For these, that’s the reality of Thanksgiving Day.  (What Christians are called to do is a post in itself.)

So, what is Happy Thanksgiving all about?

Take ‘Happy’ first.  Happy: cheerful, glad, satisfied, delighted, thrilled, content, tickled, pleased... Add: joyful and blessed. (True joy is a post in itself.)  I’ll focus on blessed.  Take a look at the Beatitudes in *Matthew 5:1-12.  Jesus tells us what it means to be blessed.  He gives us a list, and some are those who grieve, those who are humble, those who are hungry, those who are compassionate, those who are peacemakers, those who are wronged...  I don’t have to be ecstatic, and I don’t have to be miserable, to be blessed. 

Now for ‘Thanksgiving’.  Thanksgiving: gratitude, praise, gratefulness, appreciation, admiration... Add: worship and praise. In the Psalms, worship and thanksgiving and praise in both song prayer is repeated many times over.  One well known verse is Psalms 100:4 (NLT) 'Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.'  Another favorite is 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT) 'Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.'

As for me, Thanksgiving is being blessed by God and worshiping Him with thanksgiving and with praise.  Every single day of the year.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Do you realize ??? that:
97% of pastors have been betrayed, falsely accused or hurt by their trusted friends.
70% of pastors battle depression.
7,000 churches close each year.
1,500 pastors quit each month.
10% will retire a pastor.
80% of pastors feel discouraged.
94% of pastor’s families feel the pressure of the ministry.
78% of pastors have no close friends.
90% of pastors report working 55-75 hours per week.

PRAY for your pastor!
These numbers are hard to process, and these percentages are heartbreaking, and these circumstances are real, and this list is a devastating tragedy. Pastors aren’t immune to the grief, and the loneliness, and the scrutiny, and the anguish, and the suffering, and the bitterness, and the pain, and the fear that may affect their lives. And, don’t forget the pastors’ wives and the pastors’ children. PRAY for the family! PRAY for your pastor! Faithfully PRAY!

And yet, with all of a pastors’ pressure, problems, perplexities, and stress, I believe many just want the church to PRAY!

Now rewind and take a short look at Paul’s life:  

And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.  Ephesians 6:19 NLT

And yet, with all Paul’s pressure, problems, perplexities, and stress, all he asked for from the church was PRAYER!

The following verses are similar to the discouraging statistics of pastors today:

23   Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.
24   Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes.
25   Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked.     Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.
26   I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from       robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.
27   I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.  2 Corinthians 11:23-27 NLT

And yet, with all Paul’s pressure, problems, perplexities, and stress, all he asked of the church was PRAYER!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Child of My Child

Child of my child
Heart of my heart.
Your smile bridges
The years between us...

I am young again, discovering
The world through your eyes.
You have the time to listen
and I have the time to spend,
Delighted to gaze at familiar,
Loved features made new in you again.
Through you, I see the future.
Through me, you'll see the past.
In the present, we'll love one another
As long as these moments last.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

it's for the birds...

Yesterday, while I was sitting in a waiting room, I found myself gazing out a large window. I sat there incredibly captivated with a crowd of birds sitting on a power line. Some moved about, some were fairly still, some joined the bunch, some huddled together, some constantly danced about, and some flew away. At one point, every single one flew away. But, I hadn’t finished watching them... 

Then as suddenly as they left, the same power line was quickly covered with birds. I was totally fascinated with the dancers, the content ones, the huddlers, and the restless ones. I sat there and began to wonder. Were some kin to each other? Why did they gather there on that specific power line? Were they chatting with each other? What made each one part of the group? Were they taking a break after a busy morning?  Why were they sitting facing the same direction? Were some shy and others outgoing? Were they searching for food? Then my name was called. But, I hadn’t finished watching them...

Friday, November 14, 2014


Happy 6th Birthday Hudson!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.
Abraham Lincoln
In honor of my family members who served in the military: Thank you.

US Army Air Corps - my father
US Army - my brother

US Marines - my nephew
US Navy - my nephew

US Army Air Corps - my father-by-marriage

Saturday, November 8, 2014

follow your dream

Follow Your Dream
~ Amanda Bradley ~

Follow your dream...take one step at a time
And don't settle for less, just continue to climb.
Follow your dream...if you stumble don't stop
And lose sight of your goal, press on to the top.
For only on top can we see the whole view
can we see what we've done and what we can do
can we then have the vision to seek something new...
Press on, and follow your dream.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

always have a dream

Always Have a Dream

~Amanda Bradley~
Forget about the days
when its been cloudy,
but don’t forget your hours in the sun
Forget about the times
you’ve been defeated
but don’t forget the victories you’ve won
Forget about mistakes
that you can’t change now
but don’t forget the lessons
that you’ve learned
Forget about misfortunes
you encountered
but don’t forget the times
your luck has turned
Forget about the days
when you’ve been lonely
but don’t forget
the friendly smiles you’ve seen
Forget about the plans
that didn’t seem
to work out right
but don’t forget
to always have a

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

quick quotes

Oswald Chambers: on Faith

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

nature - God's artistry

I absolutely love nature.  For as long as I can remember.  Flowers, creeks, and rainbows.  Trees, waterfalls, and stars.  Days, breezes, and rocks.  Sunsets, snow, and birds.  Mountains, rivers, and seashells.  Goldfish, gardens, and sunrises.  Clouds, streams, and forests.  Leaves, beaches, and nights. Butterflies, showers, and blooms.  Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

It’s God's majestic handiwork, breathtaking beauty, magnificent creation... 

Nature testifies.  All of creation testifies.  Testifies that God is our Creator.  God spoke and creation became into existence.  The day and night, the sky and land, seed-bearing plants and trees, sun and moon and stars, fish and birds, animals small and large...

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
Romans 1:20 NLT

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.  The skies display his craftsmanship.
Psalm 19:1 NLT

Because God created the Natural—invented it out of His love and artistry—it demands our reverence.
C. Lewis. God in the Dock

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday songs

How great are your works, O Lord!  Psalm 92:5 ESV

I've heard and/or sung How Great Thou Art hundreds of times.  Even so, the words still fill my heart with emotion.  I'm unable to comprehend the immense greatness of God, yet I know in His greatness, I'm humbled that He loves even me.  The story behind the hymn follows the lyrics.

How Great Thou Art

Composed by Carl Boberg

Oh Lord, my God when I in all some wonder
Considered all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy art throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
Carl Boberg
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

When Christ shall come with shouts of acclamation
To take me home what joy shall fill my heart
Then I will bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, My God how great Thou art

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

The hymn How Great Thou Art traveled a long road before it ended up a favorite edition to English hymnals. It was originally a poem written in 1886 by a Swedish pastor, Reverend Carl Boberg.  It was published in a periodical, and several years later he was surprised and delighted to hear his poem being sung by a church congregation, to the tune of an old Swedish folk melody.

Boberg's poem was soon translated into German by Manfred von Glehn.  In 1925, an American Reverend E. Gustav Johnson translated the Swedish poem into an English version that is somewhat different than the one popular today. For instance, the first line of Johnson's hymn reads Oh mighty God, when I behold the wonder.

In 1927, I.S. Prokanoff translated Glehn's German version into Russian, to be enjoyed by that culture also. Throughout all of these translations, the original Swedish folk tune remained the same.
George Beverly Shea

In 1933, English missionaries to the Ukraine, Reverend and Mrs. Stuart K. Hine heard the song for the first time, fell in love with it, and sang it often throughout their missionary journeys.  Hine also translated it into English, adding one or more verses.

Then in 1954, at Billy Graham's London crusade, someone gave George Beverly Shea a copy of the leaflet. Shea stuck the leaflet in his pocket, and didn't think much more about it at the time.  People often gave him copies of music for his consideration.  But later, Shea examined the leaflet more carefully, and was impressed by the power of the words.  He introduced it at the Toronto Crusade in 1954.  When George Beverly Shay and the Billy Graham gospel choir, directed by Cliff Barrows, began to sing the song at virtually every crusade event, How Great Thou Art soon became one of the most recognized songs around the world.