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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Makes Me Smile

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Two shall become One ~ The Way of Wives

I watched this video and thought it was very good.
I know it's hard to just sit and watch a video, so here's what I do, click on it and clean my office!
You'll get refreshed and encouraged while getting something done. :)

Here's a quote from the video:
"Of all the disintigrating factors (threatening familes) the chief is the loss of the sense of meaning of what a family ought to be. Our basic failure is not a failure to live up to a standard that is accepted, but rather the failure to keep the standard clear!"

Here is Dr. Jim Shaddix:
The Way of Wives

I'm praying for our marriages!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things

The rain has made it difficult to get a good picture of my flowers, but here is a collage of some of the flowers I enjoy.

Psalms 68:3
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Praying for China

Sometimes I have these deja-vu type moments and I remember. A smell, a sound, whatever it may be, brings me back to China and a flood of emotions overwhelm me.

Of course when we went to China 2 years ago, I was over the top excited to be meeting my daughter. After kissing pictures of her and rocking alone while crying because my arms ached to hold this little girl who captured my heart, I finally was able to feel her in my arms. To look into her little eyes and see her gaze back at me- as if she's seen me before. We prayed that the Lord would give her sweet dreams in the orphanage and I believe with all my heart, he showed her the mother that was coming. I'm telling you...that me crazy- I don't care...she'd seen me before. Her eyes said to me- "it's you."

But I'm going to be brutally honest with you. Aside from the joy of receiving my daughter, I did not enjoy China. I did not have a love for her culture or many of the people there. The lack of respect for life, especially life that may not be "beautiful" or "normal," angered and saddened me.

A woman in the park (ie. a large concrete slab) smiled at Lauren until she saw her scar from the cleft lip, then quickly pulled her child away. It is common for children like Lauren to be kept in rooms "for the deformed" while in the orphanage.

The society is void of God as a whole because of the Communist government. They are so deceived. They still worship Chairman Mao decades after his death. His pictures hang everywhere, most notably in Tiananmen Square (as seen in the picture of us while in China). This man murdered 10's of millions of Chinese people with great satisfaction. The horrors he brought to this country are since forgotten by many and now they adore him, mostly due to the political campaign to keep Communism alive, for fear of the government losing control.

It has taken me some time to get to the point of hurting for these precious people. I know that most of them think the way that they do because it has been programmed into them since birth.

While I still am upset with the Chinese government, I know that our battle is not with flesh and blood, but with the evil forces behind the deception. I now feel a great love for these precious people.

I did share the Lord with our guide Jane while in China. She was very sweet and I pray that she opened her heart to Him.

During this Olympics, we have an incredible opportunity to reach people that don't know Him. I believe that many will come to know the Lord in China at this crucial time in history and our prayers are essential to their salvation.

Here is a headline from the Voice of the Martyrs:

Pastor Sentenced to Re-education Through Labor - China Aid Association

On July 4, Pastor Zhang Zhongxin was sentenced to two years re-education through labor in Jining city in Shangdong province. According to China Aid Association (CAA), "Shandong Re-education-Through-Labor Management Committee issued a written decision sentencing Zhang Zhongxin to two years re-education through labor.

Authorities accused him [Zhongxin] of cult participation in the ‘whole scope of the church' organized ‘Sunday school training courses, preaching the gospel to the northwest, Tibet and other places for missionaries and pioneers sermons.'" CAA added that in 2005, Zhongxin established The Rainbow Missions Fellowship and Timothy Bible Training School in Jining city, Shandong province, where Christian leaders are trained.

Zhongxin has appealed his sentence. Pray for Zhongxin and his family during this difficult time.
Ask God to give them courage as he appeals his sentence. Ask God to protect believers in China who face trying times as the government cracks down on believers ahead of the Olympics next month.

It is hard for me to believe that this happens even today.
Voice of the Martyrs is offering free bracelets to remind us to pray for China.
I encourage you to click on the link in my sidebar for your free bracelet and pray for the Chinese people. They desperately need it.

Also, I just want to say how thankful I am and always have been for Lauren's birth mother who 1st chose to give her life and then when realizing she could not care for a child with special needs (and I DO understand this- it would be terribly difficult given the expense and stigma) that she laid her on the steps of a very busy temple knowing that she would soon be found.
To her, I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Two shall become One ~ Five Communication Tools


In my searching the internet to bring you great information on marriage I came across an awesome article, the whole article can be found HERE.

Here is the beginning of the article:

Five Communication Tools that Saved My Marriage
Rob Flood

We were blissfully in love and thrilled to be on our honeymoon. Then came day five-we had our first argument. That put us on a slippery slope moving swiftly toward desperation. Within the first nine months of our marriage, Gina and I were both convinced that we not only married the wrong person, but also were condemned to a loveless marriage.

One very tangible side effect of our difficulties was poor communication. I would ask, "What's for dinner?" She would hear, "I can't believe you haven't prepared dinner again tonight?"

She would say, "What time are you coming home?" I would hear, "You better get here and help me because you're never here."

We could not express anything we wanted to. We resorted to hurting each other with our words. We did not build each other up...we tore each other down and caused deep, emotional pain.

Quite honestly, we had endured so much hurt and hurting that we could not see any hope for ever communicating well. Our despair was overwhelming.

Click on the link above to finish this article.

I'm praying for our marriages,

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Turning 4 is a blast...literally!

The whole family got together today to celebrate Lauren's birthday.

It started out with all of us going to church which she loved because her whole class sang "Happy Birthday" to her! And she was thrilled to see an old friend, Sophia, that was also adopted from China.

We all sat 'round while she opened her gifts.

Aunt Tracy showed up with more gifts!
If you look close you can see that instead of giving her Aunt a hug, Lauren has snatched
the giant ball out of her hands and is running for third base!

"I think we should do this everyday!"

Steph got into the spirit of things!

Matt and his girlfriend CJ, looking a little tired after just returning from New York this morning.
Matt has been at the American Comedy Institute attending a training seminar and audition for their year long school- which he was accepted for! So he will be leaving for New York in September, more on that later....

"Grandma, I just love you!"

OK, so here's the cake story...
Mark and I took her out to pick out a cake.
There were princess cakes, flower cakes, cakes with butterflies and beautiful decorations...but does Lauren want them...NOOOOO.
She picks the only monster cake in the bakery!
She cracks me up that girl!

I have about a 100 pictures of her blowing out the candles because she enjoyed this part so much, we lit the candles and sang "Happy Birthday" 4 times.
Yes, we're weird,
but we're happy, how about you?!! :)
More blowing!
(Actually, I am always a little touched when she blows out a candle
because when she came home to us she could not blow at all due to the cleft palate,
so every blow does a little something to my heart.)

What 4 year old's birthday would be complete without dangerous fireworks
and hap-hazard sons playing with them?
Yes, that is a bottle rocket flying out from his hand.
DON'T try this at home please.
And really- don't try this....
they set one in my flowers but it didn't lift off
so it blew my flowers to smithereeens!
Notice the smoke wafting out of the lovely watering can.

Then my son ran away like a little boy and drove
his scared little buns to the store to buy me new flowers LOL!!

It was a very good day, and the passed out child on my bed is living proof of it!!

Happy Birthday sweet darling, we love you!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cancer's Unexpected Blessings by Tony Snow

I have to say, I shed a tear and said a prayer when he first announced his cancer. Tony Snow was obviously a man of character, highly respected and loved by those around him. He was a breath of fresh air at the White House and I loved watching his interviews on FOXnews.

Even though I never knew him, I was sad to hear that he died. I wanted to write about it, and when I saw this on Joel Rosenberg’s blog, I just had to share it with you.

Tony Snow wrote the following article for Christianity Today a year ago this weekend.

Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow announced that he had colon cancer in
2005. Following surgery and chemo-therapy, Snow joined the Bush administration
in April 2006 as press secretary. Unfortunately, on March 23 Snow, 51, a husband
and father of three, announced that the cancer had recurred, with tumors found
in his abdomen—leading to surgery in April, followed by more chemotherapy. Snow
went back to work in the White House Briefing Room on May 30, but resigned
August 31. Christianity Today asked Snow what spiritual lessons he has been learning through the ordeal.

Cancer's Unexpected Blessings
When you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change.
By Tony Snow
Christianity Today
July 20, 2007

Blessings arrive in unexpected packages—in my case, cancer.
Those of us with potentially fatal diseases—and there are millions in America today—find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God's will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence What It All Means, Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.

The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the why questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is—a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.

But despite this—because of it—God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.

Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.

To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life—and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many nonbelieving hearts—an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live—fully, richly, exuberantly—no matter how their days may be numbered.

Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease—smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see—but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance and comprehension—and yet don't. By his love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.

'You Have Been Called'

Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet; a loved one holds your hand at the side. "It's cancer," the healer announces.The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa. "Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler." But another voice whispers: "You have been called."

Your quandary has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter—and has dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy our "normal time."There's another kind of response, although usually short-lived—an inexplicable shudder of excitement, as if a clarifying moment of calamity has swept away everything trivial and tinny, and placed before us the challenge of important questions.

The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing though the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes (Spain), shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.

There's nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue—for it is through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do.

Finally, we can let love change everything.

When Jesus was faced with the prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for Jerusalem before entering the holy city. From the Cross, he took on the cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on our behalf.

We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us—that we acquire purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God's love for others. Sickness gets us partway there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of two people, while loved ones accept the burden of two people's worries and fears.

Learning How to Live

Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward God's arms not with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so doing, they have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by transmitting the power and authority of love.

I sat by my best friend's bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at least one priest. Here was a humble and very good guy, someone who apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest uncomfortable. He retained his equanimity and good humor literally until his last conscious moment. "I'm going to try to beat [this cancer]," he told me several months before he died. "But if I don't, I'll see you on the other side."

His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn't promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity—filled with life and love we cannot comprehend—and that one can in the throes of sickness point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms.

Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?

When our faith flags, he throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it.

It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up—to speak of us!

This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.

What is man that Thou art mindful of him? We don't know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place—in the hollow of God's hand.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Remember summer vacations as a kid?

Weren't they the best??

I live in the country, but there are kids that live in the inner city of New York that have never experienced anything but the life of the city.

There is a organization called Fresh Air that facilitates summer vacations for inner-city children in New York.

They contacted me to get the word out as they still have 200 children that want a vacation and they need to get these kids placed ASAP.

A little about Fresh Air Fund:

In 1877, the Reverend Willard Parsons, minister of a small rural parish in
Sherman, Pennsylvania, asked members of his congregation to provide country
vacations as volunteer host families for children from New York City tenements.
This was the beginning of The Fresh Air Fund tradition.

By 1884, Reverend Parsons was writing about The Fund for New York’s
Herald Tribune, and the number of children served grew. In 2007, close to 10,000
New York City children experienced the joys of summertime in Friendly Towns and
at five Fund camps in upstate New York.

If this is something you are interested in and live in the areas needed, please contact Angie at or 1-800-367-0003 (212.897.8900) and she will speed you through the process.

Click here to learn more about Fresh Air.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Two shall become One ~ The Crazy Cycle


It happens all the time. We end up in a cycle of craziness in our marriages.

Here is a short clip on the subject of love and respect. It compels us to understand our diffences and want to meet the deepest need of our husbands=respect.

The Crazy Cycle

After watching that short clip, check out these two stories.

Two stories I hear over and over.

They will make you laugh and touch your heart!!

I'm praying for our marriages!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Let's Live It!

Galatians 5:1

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves

be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.


I'm sure this verse applies to us all in different ways.

What did God speak to your heart about when you read it?
That's what He wants to help you be free of.
Oh, He is so good!!!!!!

Let's apply it!!
And of course, you know me by now...worshipping the incredible God we serve is key to our freedom!
Here's one of my latest ipod favorites!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

July Winner and my thoughts on love...

The July winner of Praise and Coffee is:
Congrats Alexia, email me your home address
and I will send out your coffee and CD!!


I have been thinking alot about walking in love lately. Maybe it's because I'm being challenged in this area right now.

The Word of God says:
1 Cor 13:1-3
13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

It seems that no matter what I do...if I don't walk in love, it is all for nothing.

Even if I speak with words that pierce people's heart and sound like the angels themselves speaking, it matters not -unless I walk in love.

Even if I am flowing with wise words and my faith changes my life and those around me, it matters not unless I walk in love.

Even if I give of my life like Mother Teresa, and am willing to sacrifice my life for others, it matters not unless I walk in love.

If I truly want to honor the Lord with my life, it will be one that is marked by my love for people.

Here's what God says that looks like:
1 Cor 13:4-7
4 Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
5 It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects,
always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Cor 16:13-14
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;

be men of courage; be strong.
14 Do everything in love.

Gal 5:14-15
14 The entire law is summed up in a single command:
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other,
watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

This really hits me. I've got a long way to go. It humbles me.

This one really gets me too:
1 Peter 4:7-8
7 The end of all things is near.
Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled
so that you can pray.
8 Above all, love each other deeply,
because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Above ALL???
In other words- this is more important than anything else you do. Wow.

But God, do you SEE these people you are asking me to love???
Do you see what they are doing???

1 John 2:5-6
5 But if anyone obeys His word,
God's love is truly made complete in him.
This is how we know we are in Him:
6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

This is how we know we are in other words-
my reputation should be-more than anything else- that I love people.
Oh, how I want that.

God's Word is life.
Let's meditate on it and see how the Lord would have us love deeply and completely.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Are you feeling used by others?

Here's God's response to that...

Luke 6:32-36
32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?

Even 'sinners' love those who love them.

33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you?
Even 'sinners' do that.

34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?
Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full.

35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.
Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

This is good news girls, if your heart is set on honoring one can take advantage of you!
Let your heart be set free from bitterness.
If you're waiting for a "thank you" didn't really give.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Two shall become One ~ Resolving Conflict


If you are married, surely you face conflict on a regular basis. Daily we are given opportunity for arguments and strife. I put together a list of things to consider before your conflict grows to the point of no return.

1. Avoid the words "you" and use "I" instead.
When we point the finger at someone it immediately makes them feel accused and they will automatically respond defensively.

2. Don't use the words "always" and "never" while having a heated discussion with your spouse.
Chances are, it won't be a truthful statement, and it will bring a sense of hopelessness to the situation.

3. Think before you speak!
Sounds simple, but it is so easy to blurt out a statement without thinking through the possible reprocussions of it. Boy do I know this one!

4. Apply this verse during a disagreement:
Prov 15:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger.

It is amazing how just softening your tone can change the atmosphere in a room.
Think about it like a can either pour gasoline on it or water. A gentle answer is like pouring water on a fire. A harsh response is like gasoline.

5. One of my favorite sayings, look in the mirror first.
What do I need to change? How have I escalated this situation? What can I do differently?

6. Deal with bitterness and unforgiveness.
Many times the argument at hand is just a symptom of a deeper issue that is unresolved. Sometimes we hold on to things for years and never deal with the hurt and anger than lie beneath.
Get alone and pray about it. Ask the Lord to heal your broken heart.
Forgiveness with most likely be involved in this process.

Here is an article I wrote about my story of a broken heart:
Bring God Your Broken Heart

7. Empathy.
Put yourself in your spouses shoes and try to see things from their perspective- especially considering their personality type...etc.

8. If you can't resolve things, please talk to someone who will give you Godly advice.

This is a short list, so feel free to add more in the comments!

I am praying for our marriages,

Don't forget to sign up for the July Praise and Coffee Giveaway!

Friday, July 4, 2008

God Bless America!

Thank you to all our servicemen and vets who have fought for the freedoms we enjoy!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with some great family time!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Lauren and her buddies!

My friend Sheila took this of Lauren and her boys and sent me the quote.
I love it!

A true friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart.

~Author Unknown

  ©Blog Design by Amy Bayliss.

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