Thursday, July 30, 2009
I am looking forward to this trip home. I will miss Bruce, who will be roughing it at junior/junior high camp, but he will be so busy he will barely notice that we aren't there:)
Here's a list of my favorite things about going home:
2. The rest of the family...who I dearly love...but they aren't...MOM!
3. The awesome mattress on the bed in the guest room...heavenly.
4. My sister's cooking
5. My sil's homemade pimento cheese...totally the best in the world
6. My brother who chauffeurs us to Krispy Kreme donuts (I am seeing a food pattern here!)
7. The garden at mom's house
8. Early morning chats with mom and late night stories with my brother
9. Going to Discover Mills Mall with Amy
10. Noah's Ark Animal Refuge
I missed last weeks Thankful Thursday Post so I am going to do double duty this week!
Leave me a comment to tell something you are thankful for and you can head over to Truth 4 the Journey for more Thankful Thursday posts.
2. God's plan for my family
3. A week long trip to GA to see my mom. Leaving Friday!!!
4. A new church family
5. Old friends who are pitching in with the garden back in Gunter
6. Internet and Cable hooked up in RV
7. Library books
8. Good stuff going on with my job
9. My mom led a young lady to the Lord this week
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Going from a modest middle class home to an RV has been easier than I ever imagined. Albeit small, the home comes equipped with all our necessities. Air conditioning, hot water, refrigerator and other kitchen appliances and even two televisions! Wow…home sweet RV home. We’ve moved a week’s worth of clothing in and our toiletries and a few toys for the kids and we are set to make it for a while.
With all the modern conveniences we thought we had it made. I made advance preparations with groceries and toilet paper. We even waited one day before we moved in with the kids. Last Saturday night was our first night to spend the night. The kids were excited. We took our first showers, ironed clothes for the next day and took care of bedtime routines. Everyone was snuggled in bed.
We all fell asleep, slumbering like babies….until 2am when out of nowhere the loudest train ever made barreled through the city train tracks - located right behind the property where we are staying. As you can imagine we were immediately awakened and nearly horrified. None of us had given a thought to the train. We hadn’t prepared ourselves for the enormous noise and whistling.
The next night we were all more prepared. We talked about the train with the kids. We reminded them it would be loud and we assured them that nothing would happen to them. That night when the train came through, I was the only one who awakened.
Isn’t that just like trusting children? Children who trust their parents, who believe they will be taken care of. Shouldn’t that be just how we are with our Heavenly Father? Shouldn’t we trust his guidance? Shouldn’t we know that He will take care of us? No amount of noise, hardship, disease, pain, divorce or finances can keep us from His care. Thankfully we can sleep easy when we trust in Him.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Prep Time: 25 Minutes Ready In: 4 Hours 25 Minutes
"This is a very quick and simple no bake dessert cake. It uses graham crackers and a pudding mixture. It tastes just like an eclair, but there is enough for a crowd!! It is a great recipe for children who are learning to cook, there is no baking involved or any power kitchen tools. Just a bowl and a spoon!"
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped
3 cups milk 1 (16 ounce) package graham cracker
1 (16 ounce) package prepared chocolate
1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the pudding mix, whipped topping, and milk.
2. Arrange a single layer of graham cracker squares in the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking pan. Evenly spread half of the pudding mixture over the crackers. Top with another layer of crackers and the remaining pudding mixture. Top with a final layer of graham crackers.
3. Spread the frosting over the whole cake up to the edges of the pan. Cover, and chill at least 4 hours before serving.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 7/28/2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Several years ago my husband and I had the opportunity to be the caregivers for his mother as she battled breast cancer. Battle she did...and now 4 years later she is healthy and cancer-free. I admire the deep determination she had to fight the disease. I learned so much from her. I am thankful for the chance we had to take care of her. Books like When Someone You Love Has Cancer are few and far between. Caregivers look for a safe place to go to scream, cry, pray and fall apart. Many times these feelings leave caregivers feeling guilty and ugly. Cecil Murphey has done an excellent job addressing these issues and more. Take a look at this blog tour and be sure to respond for your chance at an unbelieveable prize!
A Word from The Man Behind the Words
When Shirley walked in from the garage, she didn't have to say a word: I read the diagnosis in her eyes. I grabbed her and held her tightly for several seconds. When I released her, she didn't cry. The unshed tears glistened, but that was all.
I felt emotionally paralyzed and helpless, and I couldn't understand my reaction. After all, I was a professional. As a former pastor and volunteer hospital chaplain I had been around many cancer patients. I'd seen people at their lowest and most vulnerable. As a writing instructor, I helped one woman write her cancer-survival book. Shirley and I had been caregivers for Shirley's older sister for months before she died of colon cancer.
All of that happened before cancer became personal to me--before my wife learned she needed a mastectomy. To make it worse, Shirley was in the high-risk category because most of her blood relatives had died of some form of cancer. Years earlier, she had jokingly said, "In our family we grow things."
In the days after the diagnosis and before her surgery, I went to a local bookstore and to the public library. I found dozens of accounts, usually by women, about their battle and survival. I pushed aside the novels that ended in a person's death. A few books contained medical or technical information. I searched on-line and garnered useful information--but I found nothing that spoke to me on how to cope with the possible loss of the person I loved most in this world.
Our story ends happily: Shirley has started her tenth year as a cancer survivor. Not only am I grateful, but I remember my pain and confusion during those days. That concerns me enough to reach out to others who also feel helpless as they watch a loved one face the serious diagnosis of cancer.
That's why I wrote When Someone You Love Has Cancer. I want to encourage relatives and friends and also to offer practical suggestions as they stay at the side of those they love.
The appendix offers specific things for them to do and not to do--and much of that information came about because of the way people reacted around us.
It's a terrible situation for anyone to have cancer; it's a heavy burden for us who deeply love those with cancer.
by Cecil Murphey
About the Book:
The World Health Organization reported that by the year 2010 cancer will be the number one killer worldwide. More than 12.4 million people in the world suffer from cancer. 7.6 million people are expected to die from some form of cancer. That's a lot of people, but the number of loved ones of cancer sufferers is far greater. What do they do when a special person in their life is diagnosed with this devastating disease?
Murphey brings his experiences as a loved one and many years of wisdom gained from being a pastor and hospital chaplain to his newest book When Someone You Love Has Cancer: Comfort and Encouragement for Caregivers and Loved Ones (Harvest House Publishers). His honest I've-been-there admissions and practical helps are combined with artist Michal Sparks' soothing watercolor paintings.
Readers of When Someone You Love Has Cancer will receive:
•Inspiration to seek peace and understanding in their loved one's situation
•Help in learning the importance of active listening
•Guidance in exploring their own feelings of confusion and unrest
•Suggestions on how to handle anxiety and apprehension
•Honest answers to questions dealing with emotions, exhaustion, and helplessness
•Spirit-lifting thoughts for celebrating the gift of life in the midst of troubles
Murphey explains why this is a much-needed book: "Most books about cancer address survivors. I want to speak to the mates, families, and friends who love those with cancer. I offer a number of simple, practical things people can do for those with cancer."
About the Author:
Cecil Murphey is an international speaker and bestselling author who has written more than 100 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper). No stranger himself to loss and grieving, Cecil has served as a pastor and hospital chaplain for many years, and through his ministry and books he has brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world. For more information, visit http://www.themanbehindthewords.com/.
Cec designed the appendix to be the most practical part of the book. He's witnessed too many situations where genuinely caring people had no idea what to do, so he has tried to givea few general guidelines.
1. Before you offer help. Learn about the disease before you visit. Determine to accept their feelings, no matter how negative. Pray for your loved one before you visit. Don't throw religious slogans at them, such as, "This is God's will" or "God knew you were strong enough to handle this."
2. What you can do now. As the first question, don't ask, "How are you?" Instead, ask, "Do you feel like talking." Don't offer advice. Be willing to sit in silence. If you need to cry, do so. Be natural. If appropriate, hug your loved one. Human touch is powerful.
3. Long-term caregiving. The overarching principle is to let the seriousness of the disease determine the amount of time and commitment you offer. This can be a time for you to help them spiritually. Think about tangible things you can do that say you care. Plan celebrations for every anniversary of being cancer free.
Ask them reflective questions such as:
•What have you discovered about yourself through this experience?
•What have you learned about relationships?
•How has your faith in God changed?
Leave a comment below about how you or your family has been affected by cancer and you'll be entered into the contest to receive the grand prize.
The Grand Prize Winner Will Receive:
When Someone You Love Has Cancer
90 Minutes in Heaven (hard cover)
Heaven Is Real (hard cover)
Daily Devotions Inspired by 90 Minutes in Heaven (hard cover)
90 Minutes in Heaven, gift edition (selections)
90 Minutes in Heaven, audio (5 CD set)
Heaven Is Real, audio (6 CDs)
Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story
Everybody Loved Roger Harden
Everybody Wanted Room 623
Everybody Called Her a Saint
Committed But Flawed
Immortality of Influence (hard cover)
Touchdown Alexander (hard cover)
Aging Is an Attitude
My Parents, My Children: Spiritual Help for Caregivers
1. The first sentence of your book reads, "I felt helpless." Tell us about that feeling.
Because her doctor put Shirley into the high-risk category, I felt helpless. To me, helpless means hating the situation, wanting to make it better, but admitting there was nothing I could do for her.
2. On that same page you also write, "One thing we learned: God was with us and strengthened us through the many weeks of uncertainty and pain." How did you get from feeling helpless to that assurance?
Shirley and I sat down one day and I put my arm around her. "The only way I know how I can handle this," I said, "is to talk about it." Shirley knows that's my way of working through puzzling issues. "Let's consider every possibility." If her surgeon decided she did not have breast cancer, how would we react? We talked of our reaction if he said, "There is a tumor and it's obviously benign. Finally, I was able to say, with tears in my eyes, "How do we react if he says the cancer is advanced and you have only a short time to live?" By the time we talked answered that question, I was crying. Shirley had tears in her eyes, but remained quite calm. "I'm ready to go whenever God wants to take me," she said. She is too honest not to have meant those words. As I searched her face, I saw calmness and peace. I held her tightly and we prayed together. After that I felt calm. Since then, one of the first things I do when I awaken is to thank God that Shirley and I have at least one more day together.
3. When most people hear the word cancer applied to someone they love, they have strong emotional reactions. What are some of them? What was your reaction when your wife was diagnosed with breast cancer?
As a pastor, a volunteer chaplain, and a friend I've encountered virtually every emotional reaction. Some refuse to accept what they hear. Some go inward and are unable to talk. Others start making telephone calls to talk to friends.
Me? I went numb, absolutely numb. That was my old way of dealing with overwhelming emotions. I heard everything but I couldn't feel anything. It took me almost two weeks before I was able to feel--and to face the possibility that the person I loved most in the world might die.
4. "What can I do for my loved one with cancer?" That's a good question for us to ask ourselves. How can we be supportive and helpful?
Many think they need to do big things; they don't. Express your concern and your love.
Be available to talk when the other person needs it--and be even more willing to be silent if your loved one doesn't want to talk. Don't ask what you can do; do what you see needs doing. To express loving support in your own way (and we all express love differently) is the best gift you can offer.
5. Why do you urge people not to say, "I know exactly how you feel"?
No one knows how you feel. They may remember how they felt at a certain time. Even if they did know, what help is that to the person with cancer? It's like saying, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself. I know what it's like and I'm fine now."
Instead, focus on how the loved one feels. Let him or her tell you.
6. Those with cancer suffer physically and spiritually. You mention God's silence as a form of spiritual suffering. They pray and don't seem to sense God. What can you do to help them?
God is sometimes silent but that doesn't mean God is absent. In my upcoming book, When God Turns off the Lights, I tell what it was like for me when God stopped communicating for about 18 months.
I didn't like it and I was angry. I didn't doubt God's existence, but I didn't understand the silence. I read Psalms and Lamentations in various translations. I prayed and I did everything I could, but nothing changed.
After a couple of months, I realized that I needed to accept the situation and wait for God to turn on the lights again. Each day I quoted Psalm 13:1: "O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?" (NLT)
I learned many invaluable lessons about myself--and I could have learned them only in the darkness. When God turns off the lights (and the sounds) I finally realized that instead of God being angry, it was God's loving way to draw me closer.
7. Guilt troubles many friends and loved ones of caregivers because they feel they failed or didn't do enough. What can you say to help them?
We probably fail our loved ones in some ways. No one is perfect. If you feel that kind of guilt, I suggest 3 things:
(1) Tell the loved one and ask forgiveness.
(2) Talk to God and ask God to forgive you and give you strength not to repeat your failures.
(3) Forgive yourself. And one way to do that is to say, "At the time, I thought I did the right thing. I was wrong and I forgive myself."
8. Do you have some final words of wisdom for those giving care to a loved one with cancer?
Be available. You can't take away the cancer but you can alleviate the sense of aloneness. Don't ever try to explain the reason the person has cancer. We don't know the reason and even if we did, would it really help the other person?
Be careful about what you say. Too often visitors and friends speak from their own discomfort and forget about the pain of the one with cancer. Don't tell them about your cancer or other disease; don't tell them horror stories about others. Above all, don't give them false words of comfort. Be natural. Be yourself. Behave as loving as you can.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I am a sucker for a good missionary message. I totally get swept away in the message and educational information about the country, the people and the customs.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Head on over to Truth 4 the Journey to read more Thankful Thursday posts or leave a comment here to tell something you are thankful for!
This week I am thankful for:
1. I am thankful for our new church family at CBC. They have been such a blessing to us.
2. The hotel we are staying in has more than met our needs...and who could ask for more than housekeeping done by someone other than me!!!
3. For the strong heatbeat and good report of my little neice or nephew. Brother and wife find out in just 4 weeks the sex of the baby. Life is precious.
4. For new friends for my children.
5. For an all-knowing God, who in His wisdom knows exactly what we need.
Happy Thankful Thursday to you....what are you thankful for?
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
It was a bitter-sweet day for me. I watched as these kids danced and goofed off and was reminded that today was our last day...mine in particular. This was my last official day with The Mission Gunter (I'll still be gardening...don't worry!) (http://missiongunterblog.blogspot.com or www.missiongunter.com) and as I was walking through the Mission Hall at the old school it hit me....yes, the water works began! Poor Keelie had to be the witness as the emotional goodbye filled my eyes.
After looking back through old email and just remembering how God has done such an amazing thing in Gunter has made me so thankful to just be a part of it all. When Keelie and I first started talking about starting The Mission 2 years ago, I doubt either of us knew how quickly so many God-size goals would be accomplished.
To date God has allowed us to:
coordinate food drives, distribute food to numerous families, open a clothes closet, begin monthly community meals for free, operate SAM Club for 2 summers, Mission Minds Tutoring program for the middle school, Mission Field Community Garden, Health Fair for 2 winters, sponsor numerous back packs for kids going back to school and more.
Please don't think I am tooting our own horn. I listed all that because somewhere down the road, there will be a day when I need to remember how God worked in my life in a giant way. This is my rememberance. My Ebenezer Rock. I Samuel 7:12 says Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it "Ebenezer" (Rock of Help), saying, "This marks the place where God helped us."
We all need a place where we can come back and remember. This list reminds me of how God:
uses any one who is willing,
is interested in people,
sees beyond our weakness,
and more and more and more.
It's been my privilege to work with the amazing people affiliated with the Mission. They are moms, dads, students, teachers, housewives, business owners, wealthy, middle class, poor, educated and uneducated...all loving God enough to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their own town. I've been blessed.
I'm so happy to know that God has given Keelie and the Mission Board of Directors the vision to minister to the people of Gunter. It's not surprising that God has worked out all the details. I look forward with anticipation to hear the great things that will be happening!
Now on to the next chapter of my life....I am equally as excited to be available for whatever God has planned! Stay tuned!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
1 a: to regard or treat with honor or respect b: to confer honor on2 a: to live up to or fulfill the terms of
In America, we honor many worthless things. We honor rock stars, movie stars, good food, entertainment, days off, vacations, holidays, cars, technology and more. Rarely do we even have the opportunity to really honor someone or something worth any real recognition.
I am proud to say that on July 11th, while most of the world was recovering from honoring Michael Jackson, thousands of Georgians honored a 39 year old fallen soldier who had died in the line of service on July 4th. The world hardly heard of his sacrificial death because of all the other media attention given to other more famous individuals, but he's worthy of the attention these GA folks gave him.
Below is a video link to the tribute of this fallen soldier. I urge you to gather your children around the computer, get your spouse, email it to your friends. We have spent hours upon hours honoring less worthy individuals, take time to honor this soldiers life by watching, giving thanks and remembering the sacrifice many have made for our freedom. Watch is all. Listen to the music. Watch the people. Explain to your children what a privilege it is to live in our nation.
Monday, July 13, 2009
I'm just so incredibly thankful that no matter where I roam, my heavenly Father, knows my name. With all the coming and going my family is doing back and forth to Sulphur Springs, I can barely keep up....but He is touchably near and doesn't forget that I need Him. He calls me by name...after all, all good fathers know the names of their children. He is enormously interested in my thoughts, cares, concerns and actions. He wants me. My name is important to Him.
Thank you Lord for your nearness, for YOUR name that we can call on anytime.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Every couple of days since our house has been on the market, I deep clean...dust, clean mirrors, sweep, vacuum, mop, pick up, throw away, you get the idea. I even have the kids in the habit or helping me...those Clorox wipes are awesome to give to kids to wipe things down.
With Tucker and Bruce already in Sulphur Springs for the week, Savannah and I set out on our cleaning expedition on Tuesday morning. As I was cleaning, I just kept thinking how I wished someone would at least come and see the house. It's been 3 weeks since the last showing. Anyway, I guess the Holy Spirit finally got through my thick skull and I realized....I need to pray about this. So, I called Savannah in and said, "Let's pray that someone wants to come look at our house while we are in Sulphur Springs this week". She agreed and asked if she could be the one to pray. So she prayed a prayer that included these details:
1. Please help someone drive by our house really slow.
2. Please help them pick up a flyer about our house.
3. Please help them like our house.
Can I tell you that not 10 minutes later someone in an SUV slowly pulled up to our house, turned around and came back and got a flyer. And guess who got to see it all....that's right...Savannah saw the power of prayer in action!
So, comically I said, maybe we need to ask God to send someone to the inside of the house. And guess what...within 12 hours we had a house showing!!! I know some people wouldn't think twice about all this, but God is most assuredly keeping me encouraged by these messages of answered prayer. Too often I just hope and wish and don't take the time to really pray specifically about things. Well....duh! I need to be wopped upside the head next time I do that. It's obvious God cares about these details in my life.
So, I am motivated to take things to the Lord in prayer in a big time way. I am thrilled that Savannah, at her age, got to see how quick and specifically God can answer prayer.
Now....I am off to pray about someone actually buying the house!!!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Click over to Truth for the Journey to grab your truth 4 the journey button and participate!
1. I am thankful for a wonderful July 4th with friends.
2. I am thankful for our new church family.
3. I am thankful for the hotel we are able to stay in until our home sells or we find something affordable to rent.
4. I am thankful for the house showing we had yesterday.
5. I am thankful that God very visually answered a prayer request of my 6 year old daughter. It was awesome to see it happen and then to hear her thank Him for it!
Happy TT to you....leave a comment and give God the praise for the blessings in you life today.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
In my lifetime, I can’t remember such media frenzy taking over the world ever.
Although I was never a fan of Michael Jackson, I do not deny the impact he had on pop culture. His music, his reputation (whatever you may think), his dancing, his plastic surgery, his children and the speculation about his life and death have made him the most talk about, downloaded and texted subject in modern history.
The scrutiny surrounding his life has only brought more awe to Jackson. His famous song, Man in the Mirror, reminds me of a completely difference gaze into a mirror. God’s word says “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." The mirror God’s word talks about is one that doesn’t look back at mankind, but looks forward to eternity. It looks deeply into the soul of a man for the important things- faith, hope and love. It doesn’t really matter what Michael Jackson or anyone else sees when we look at the man/woman in the mirror, it matters only that the reflection produces faith, hope and love. God’s gaze at us will produce an eternal destination. It only matters what He sees.
Today, as the world memorializes Michael Jackson, may Christians remember the most important reflection that they see isn’t a deceased individual with paparazzi paranoia, it’s the reflection of Jesus Christ shining through those who believe on Him.
Monday, July 6, 2009
The report is in and Bruce had a great first day. His new computer arrived just in time and I think he visited Mitchell this afternoon to get all the software installed. He has gone MAC so...he's got some learnin' to do.
Tucker stayed with Jo and Poppy during the day...and from what I hear visited the post office, library, walmart and the park. No doubt he will keep things hopping around there.
Savannah and I made a trip to town to pick up a few things and grabbed some lunch at her favorite place...Panda Express. We scooted home and while I was working this afternoon she found it completely interesting to count the dry rice in one of our clear canisters....hmmm....not sure what is up with that.
So we are settled in for the night and Savannah has decided we are going to start a PPV movie...Paul Blart..Mall Cop. I hear it is hysterical.
Day one...over and out!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
One of my favorite things to do when I have a leisure day is to browse through old cookbooks. I mentioned this in my porch post below and my thoughtful friend Scarlet handed me a stack of old cookbooks to look through while we waited for our dinner to cook on July 4th. This cookbook in particular caught my attention. It was Scarlet's mother-in-law's and happened to be chalked full of yummy vintage recipes.
This scares me a little.....I hope my family's security rest in something other than my cooking!
We got a good chuckle about some of these and other things we found in the cookbooks, but their point was expressed many times over and over in the book: Meal planning, eating together and overall family health...whether physical, spiritual or emotional can be nurtured around the dinner table.
Friday, July 3, 2009
In my imagination, this is the porch I would welcome each of my bloggy friends to for our 4th of July gathering. Isn't it charming? It's taken from Better Homes and Garden (the only magazine subscription I have ever paid for myself)...and whoever's porch it really is knows how to create that cozy laid back feeling I have on holidays. It makes me want to flip on the ceiling fan, grab a good book, decorating magazine, cookbook or house plans and dream away...possible literally! A nice nap on a cool porch has aways appealed to me.
So, if you were here, and I owned the house with this porch, I'd invite you to share a meal and some sweet tea or lemonade. We'd sit and visit or read or listen to the kids playing in the sprinkler outside and then later, we would eat homemade banana pudding. It would be delightful.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
1. Sonic Drinks/Slushes
Late yesterday Bruce and Tucker took off for Sulphur Springs and Savannah and I snuggled in for a girl's night. We watched a movie, some HGTV (yes, I am starting her early) and ate snacks.
This afternoon, I could tell she was getting restless, needing to get out of the house, so I suggested a quick trip to Sonic during Happy Hour. We slipped on our flip flops and walked to the car. When I turned the car on it said it was 111 degrees inside the car!!! WOW...that's hot!...not to mention I have a heat burn from the scourching leather seats.
Anyway, we made the long drive to Sonic (1/4 mile) and the air was barely cooling the car off before our drinks arrived. Savannah...orange slush and me- strawberry cream slush. MMM! Great way to cool off during a hot day!
I love me some SONIC drinks. What's your favorite summer beverage?
You can check out Sonic's Website for a free Route 44 upgrade with any combo.
Head on over to Truth 4 the Journey to read more Thankful Thursday posts or join in here and add you own comments on what you are thankful for! God's worthy of all our thanks!
1. Summertime snuggles on the couch with my kids. The laid back lifestyle summer affords lends itself to more time together...I love it!
2. A new job for my husband...and a move for our family eventually!! Bruce accepted a position as an associate pastor at Central Baptist Church in Sulphur Springs, TX. He starts Monday. We will be doing commuting, hotel stays and whatever else, until the house sells.
3. A little bit of rain...but rain nonetheless!
4. The kid's closet is finally reconstructed and painted and looks great!
5. For God's peace during these last weeks of searching for our place in ministry. His presence has been apparent.