Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Week

Jesus explained to His disciples how to truly be great and first in Matthew 20:26-28. The two people who are first on my “great list” are my parents. In my childhood, they went out of their way to serve me. Now as an adult, I’m still overwhelmed by their self-less acts of service towards me and my family. This past Christmas week was no exception! When they come to visit, it’s like a mini vacation for us.

Here are just a few of the ways my parents served us.

1) My mom cared for the kids when they got up so Kempton & I could sleep in!
2) My dad played with the kids nearly ALL day which gave us many breaks!

3) My mom enjoys cooking so she cooked the WHOLE Christmas dinner!
4) They stayed with the kids so Kempton & I could go to the Christmas Eve Service together!
5) They know how to care for ALL of Christian's needs without needing explanations!
6) They were in on Kempton's surprise get-away night for me. They cared for the kids again that night and morning!
7) They helped in hanging our new window treatments, installing safety latches on cabinets, and putting up shelves in Carysse’s room.
8) As if this wasn’t enough, they came bearing gifts!

Mom and Dad, you are truly great examples of Phil 2:4! Once again you “outdo us in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10). You are very much appreciated & loved!



*****************************************************************************

Other Pics from the Week

The start of many grandma kisses!
Wake up Christian; it's Christmas morning!
Striking a pose!

This ones for you Christian!
Weeeee; this is fun!

Sister; check out my new toy!
Yummm; my 1st Christmas cookie!

This book's about Baby Jesus who is the true Reason for the Season.


We're about to leave for our evening get-away! My romantic husband is always full of surprises!


While the girls are out shopping, the guys are out sledding!
Dad graciously shoveling snow!


Mom & Kempton working on the window treatment!

Kempton making His Special Breakfast Burritos!


Thanks Grandpa for putting on my coat!
All ready in my Sunday best!
Daddy, you do my hair so pretty!
Two men and a tape measure on the next episode of Extreme Makeover!

Thank you Lord for yet another week of your Goodness towards us!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I’m Back to Reveal the Secret Giver!

The Lord blessed me with a wonderful Christmas week! I can’t wait to tell you all about it. But first, I want to reveal the giver of the Advent Basket.

This person has been a true blessing to me ever since I met her a year ago. Here are 10 Evidences of Grace that I’ve seen in her –

1. She whole-hearted serves God’s people. (Rom. 12:11)
2. She gives kind and encouraging words. (Prov. 16:24)
3. She encourages others to use their Spiritual gifts. (1 Cor. 12:4-11)
4. She doesn’t flaunt her title or expertise. (Prov. 27:2)
5. She refreshes others in her presence. (1 Cor. 16:18)
6. She is quick to listen and slow to speak. (James 1:19)
7. She is full of wisdom. (Prov. 31:26)
8. She upholds the importance of praying for the saints. (Eph 6:18)
9. She is definitely a Godly role model. (Titus 2:3-5)
10. She is a great friend and I’m honored to call her my friend…

She is none other than Mary Delk (click & scroll down)!

Thank you Mary for blessing my Advent Season to be extra special!


My Basketful of Blessings!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Signing Off!

With Christmas around the corner and family coming into town, I'm signing off for the rest of the year. Lord willing, I'll be back at the start of 2009!!!

May each of you have a Christ-centered Christmas &
blessed New Year!
~
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Matthew 1:21-25

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quiet Time - Misconception #5

Misconception #5 – I’m too happy!
Many times a person may think that when everything is going really well they don’t have to put that much of an effort towards a quiet time. That is actually saying that they only desperately need God when things aren’t good. Basically that person is seeking God’s hand of blessing more than His heart of beauty. As believers, we should ultimately desire to seek after God, dwell in His presence all our days, gaze upon His beauty, and meditate on Him (Psalm 27:4). I like what John MacArthur’s Study Bible mentions about David in this passage, “The primary issue in David’s life was to live in God’s presence and by His purpose” (p.765). David then said, “For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock” (v.5). In God’s presence, David received God’s promises which sustained Him in times of trouble. May we be people, “after God’s own heart, who will do all God’s will” (Acts 13:22) whether we’re in despair or happy.

As I conclude this series, I hope that you will “Bless the Lord at all times; let His praise continually be in your mouth” (Psalm 34:1) whether you’re having a quiet time or going about your daily duties. Never forget that “Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:10).

Quiet Time - Misconception #4

Misconception #4 – I'm too despaired!
Sometimes are hearts are too heavy and burdened to do our daily tasks, let alone have a quiet time. When my son was in the hospital suffering from numerous infections, the doctors did not know if he was going to live through the week. As his infections increased, I fell more in despair. It felt like it took effort to even breathe so I was sure not thinking about having a quiet time. But I knew that Christ was my only sustainer so I desperately needed Him. I remember leaving the hospital and going home not even having the strength to read my Bible or pray. So, I sat in front of our CD player and blasted the song, “Praise Him Through The Night” by Fred Hammond. I repeated it over & over til I was sobbing and felt as if God was holding me and saying, “Daughter, I see, I know, I care.” I’ll never forget that moment. So, I just want to encourage you to GO HARD after Christ in your dark times and do whatever it takes even if it’s blasting praise songs! Even when you can’t pray in your weakness, the Holy Spirit is interceding for you (Romans 8:26). Go to Christ and allow Him to give rest for your weary soul (Matthew 11:28).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quiet Time - Misconception #3

Misconception #3 – It gets too boring!
Your quiet time can be as versatile as you allow it. Some days the Lord may have you just pray the Word. Other days singing songs may take up the bulk of your quiet time. Sometimes you may read a whole chapter and other times you may be led to meditate on one verse that’s ministering to you at that moment. Each day can look very different. Be still and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you for that day whether it’s to continue on with your reading plan or go elsewhere.

For example, I have been striving to read a chapter a day of 1 Corinthians for the last few weeks. However, this morning was different. After I prayed for the Lord to put off sinful qualities in my life (eg. self-reliance, distrust, anxiety), I was led to pray that He would help me to put on the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace…). Instead of following with my planned reading, the hymn, “All to Jesus I Surrender” immediately came to mind. So I opened my hymnal and sang all 4 verses. Then I was led to read Col. 3. It was so nourishing for my soul.

Of course, I don't always have the time to do all of this. But God seems to use any little effort for my good. So, don’t box your quiet time in! God may be leading you on a new path, a fresh word for that day. May the Lord open our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out of His Word (Ps 119:18) in whatever ways He chooses.

Quiet Time - Misconception #2

Misconception #2 - You have to follow a set reading plan!
You don't have to follow a reading plan like reading the Bible in one year. It may take you longer so you can soak in and think about what you’re reading. As far as we know, there is not a reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ for the person who read the Bible the most times on earth. But we do know that we will be judged according to all our good & bad deeds (2 Cor. 5:10) and how faithful we were with what God entrusted to us on earth (Matt. 25:14-30). How well are you using your God-given time to invest in your spiritual well-being?

(Scroll down to the previous post to read the intro to this series.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quiet Time

Thanks for taking my poll about your quiet time with the Lord! In light of the poll, I think it would be a good time to talk about quiet times especially during the busiest time of the year.

Quiet times are a necessity in the life of a believer. We must have alone time with our Lord. God uses our time with Him to: 1. Sanctify us (John 17:17), 2. Satisfy us (Psalm 90:14), and 3. Strengthen us (Psalm 119:28). I believe that prayer, reading the Bible, singing praises/hymns, and meditating on scripture are staples in a believer’s life as flour, eggs, and sugar are staples in our kitchen.

That is why Col. 3:1-17 is one of my favorite passages. Having a quiet time reminds us that we have been raised with Christ therefore we should seek the things above and set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (v. 1-2). We should delight in spending time with Christ because we have died to sin and our life is hidden with Him in God (v. 3). God strengthens us to put off sin in our life (v.5-9) and empowers us to put on Christ-like characteristics (v. 12-15). This will enable you to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (v.16).

These are just a few reasons for quiet times. There are many, many, many other spiritual benefits of having a quiet time. One blog could not come close to listing all of them. However, for the next few posts, I want to discuss 5 misconceptions about quiet times. Here’s the first one.

Misconception #1 – It takes too much time!
There is not a set amount of time. What matters is the quality not the quantity. However, if we're spending 10-15 minutes with God and then rushing to get to our to do lists. But spending 30 minutes to 1 hr or more in front of the TV/computer or doing a hobby, we need to do some reassessment of our priorities.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From Sunny TX to Snowy MN

Out of curiosity, I clicked on the Weather channel site to check out the Houston forecast and they had "light snow" tonight. I probably have enough snow in front of my house to cover most of Houston! Not to worry Houston friends, it'll all be gone tomorrow with your high of 59 sunny day! Ahhhh!

Now, let's take a look at the forecast for Minneapolis. Snow tonight, snow tomorrow with a high of 22 and low of 5. Brrrr!

I definitely wouldn't say I like snow. However, a couple of weeks ago, I was in a meeting and someone asked, who doesn't like snow. Several of us raised our hands. Then she said, from now on whenever you see snow meditate on this, "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18). Wow, what awesome truth! When I want to complain about the snow, I remind myself of Christ's sacrifice for me and thank Him for a visual that reminds me of His ultimate act of love. Us Minnesotans get about 6 months to ponder on this truth :-).

The God who is sovereign over the snow deserves our praise (Psalm 148:7-8).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Take my poll about quiet time with the Lord!

Here's an opportunity for ALL my blog readers to contribute (Yes, even you faithful readers who NEVER comment :-). Take the poll to the right. It ends on next Tues, Dec 16.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Seven Days of Advent

On the first day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a snowman mug for my tea.

On the second day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.

On the third day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a writing pad, package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.

On the fourth day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a Christmas kitchen towel, a writing pad, package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.

On the fifth day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a reindeer candle holder, Christmas kitchen towel, a writing pad, package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.

On the sixth day of Advent my secret friend gave to me Bath & Body Works lotion, reindeer candle holder, Christmas kitchen towel, a writing pad, package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.

On the seventh day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a candy dish, Bath & Body Works lotion, reindeer candle holder, Christmas kitchen towel, a writing pad, package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.
~
Yeah!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Are You Talking About?


A couple of weeks ago, a dear spiritual role-model of mine blessed me with the book, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas. It's a collection of 22 short readings for Advent. Kempton and I read the first reading the other night which was written by George Whitefield. We underlined most of the chapter because there were so many good spiritual nuggets. The quote that gripped us the most is about what our conversations should be like when we talk with other believers. Whitefield said,

"If you are in company, let your time be spent in that conversation which profiteth: let it not be about your dressing, your plays, your profits, or your worldly concerns, but let it be the wonders of redeeming love. O tell, tell to each other what great things the Lord has done for your souls; declare unto one another how you were delivered from the hands of your common enemy, Satan, and how the Lord has brought your feet from the clay and has set them upon the rock of ages, the Lord Jesus Christ; there, my brethren, is no slipping" (p.13).

Tell of all God's Wondrous Works! (Psalm 105:1-2)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Just Got An Advent Basket!!!

I'm soooooooo excited and feel soooooooo blessed that someone would think of me at the start of this Advent Season. For those of you who don't know, Advent means the time of waiting for the coming of Christ. About an hour ago, I got a knock on the door. When I opened the door, I saw this -


The note inside read -


Stay tuned for more posts throughout the month as I open the gifts!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Poster Child

Christian was asked to be included in 2 International publications for the Sturge-Weber Foundation within the last 3 years. We gratefully accepted both of them.

The first one was a brochure made to send to all the families across the world affected by Sturge-Weber Syndrome (SWS). That was published a couple of years ago. Christian was 2 in the picture.


The second one was a book made for young children with SWS to help explain to typical children that although their faces may look differently, they have many similarities. This book was published a couple of months ago. Here's a picture of Christian looking at it for the 1st time.


Earlier this year, he was asked to be in a book written by a friend of ours from church. It should be out sometime next year. That makes 3 publications that he's been in before the age of 6! Stay humble lil buddy, stay humble :-)!

We thank God for how He is using our handsome lil guy to touch so many lives across the world. The works of God are definitely being displayed in him (John 9:1-3)!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I’m Thankful For the Fruit of the Spirit…

As a Mom of a Child with Special Needs ~

1) Love is unconditionally selfless like Christ - even if I’m still changing the diapers of my 5½ yr old and may be for his lifetime.

2) Joy is lasting gladness in Christ – even if my child has a seizure after celebrating one year seizure free.

3) Peace is calm assurance of Christ – even if I don’t know if my child will live to be an adult.

4) Patience is steady endurance from Christ – even if I have been working on my child feeding himself for 4 years.

5) Kindness is sweet tenderness of Christ – even when my child’s behavior is out of control.

6) Goodness is unwavering righteousness through Christ – even when I feel like I have a right to live in despair.

7) Faithfulness is constant allegiance to Christ - even when I’m tempted to have a “What about him” attitude.

8) Gentleness is humble meekness of Christ - even when I feel like I’ve had enough.

9) Self-control is restraining impulses through Christ - even when I feel like verbally lashing out to those who may stare, say ignorant things, or treat my child unkindly.

Praise God for his indwelling Spirit that works in us (Phil 2:13). I thank God for what He has taught me and continues to teach me on this journey of having a child with special needs. I am learning the secret of contentment… it’s ALL about Christ’s strength (Phil 4:11-13).

May the fruit of God’s Spirit be evident in you this Thanksgiving Season. May you walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:10).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Growing Pains

For the last 3 months, Carysse has often had teething symptoms (eg. fussiness, lose of appetite, waking up in the middle of the night). She's had symptoms, but no new teeth. I was starting to get concerned about my 18 month old only having 4 teeth. However, last night when I laid her down to put on her PJs, I looked into her mouth and saw 4 new teeth on the sides and back. I was so excited!

Then I thought, that is exactly how the Christian life is sometimes. We go through times of discipline and tests. In those times, we often become discouraged and think, "It's too painful, I don't see any change in me, I don't think it'll ever get better." Then one day, we realize that we're not the same as we were. We don't respond to circumstances like we used to. We have more joy, peace, contentment, and satisfaction in Christ. All these characteristics are evidence of God's work in us.

As we live a Christ-centered life, we must remember that...
1) God began a good work in us and He will see it to completion. (Phil 1:6)
2) God gives us what we need to approve what is excellent, in order to be pure and blameless. (Phil 1:9-10)
3) God fills us with the fruit of righteousness. (Phil 1:11)

So, we must cling to the Lord through the tests of our faith. He's disciplining us for our good (Heb. 12:10-11) so that we may be mature, complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spectacular Sunrise

Yesterday morning, when I walked into my kitchen, I saw a reddish-orange glow shining through the window shade. I grabbed my camera and headed outside. Even though it was cold enough (17 degrees) to see my breaths, the sight I saw was breathtaking.
~
When we see spectacular, breathtaking, & amazing things in creation, many of us stop and admire them. But we rarely let them be a pointer to the Creator of such things. God created all the beautiful, great sights we see--mountains, waterfalls, sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, etc. (Col. 1:16). When we see these things, we should use that opportunity to stop and glorify God and praise Him for the work of His hands (Rev. 4:11, Psalm 19:1).
~
As you stare in awe of God's magnificent creation, let it be a moment to magnify the awesomeness of our Creator!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Advocate As Though You Were Not Advocating

Before the election, John Piper wrote an article titled, "Let Christians Vote As Though They Were Not Voting." It was based on 1 Cor. 7:29-31. He stated, “Voting is like marrying and crying and laughing and buying. We should do it, but only as if we were not doing it. That’s because “the present form of this world is passing away” and, in God’s eyes, “the time has grown very short.”

Likewise, we should advocate as though we are not advocating. The word “advocate” is used so prevalently in the Special Needs community. We hear, “You are your child’s advocate…if you don’t fight for him no one else will!” Yes, we are supposed to want the best care, resources, services, therapists, and doctors for our children. However, not to the point to which we neglect everything else for the sake of advocating. As we support our children and seek out what’s best for them, we should always keep God’s eternal truth in mind. So, the next time you’re in a school meeting to go over your child’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan), God desires you to keep in mind His IEP (Infinite Eternal Perspective). Focus on these 3 truths -

1. God acts for those who wait for Him. - Isaiah 64:4
2. God gives what is good to those who walk uprightly. – Psalm 84:11
3. God fights for those who do not fear. – Deuteronomy 3:22


So, in other words – God is our Advocate! As you, “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30), He takes care of everything else. We must live for Christ, surrender to His will, and trust Him with the outcomes. Only in doing that can we advocate as though we are not advocating.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Great Paradox

"The Christian life is a great paradox. Those who die to self find self. Those who die to their cravings will receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life (Luke 18:29-30). If I crave happiness, I will beget misery. If I crave to be loved, I will feel rejection. If I crave control, I will feel every chaos. If I crave reputation, I will receive humiliation. But if I long for God and His wisdom, I will receive God and wisdom. Along the way, sooner or later, I will also receive happiness, love, order and glory. "Seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matt. 6:33).
~Quote from "How Shall We Cure Troubled Souls?" by David Powlison

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Madness Has Begun


The Mall Madness that is. Where there is no such thing as Thanksgiving. Everything is moved over for the holiday shoppers. We received at least 5 toy catalogs from various stores within the last week. What caught my eye and saddened me the most was a page advertising the Bratz dolls. These dolls are targeting older, pre-teen girls. As I looked over the page, words like -- sensuality, immodesty, worldly, lustful, and materialism popped into my mind. The ad and the website represent that, "IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!"

*IT'S ALL ABOUT my hair & my makeup.
*IT'S ALL ABOUT my outfit & my accessories.
*IT'S ALL ABOUT my house & my car.

And that I'm doing it all "IN STYLE"!

On the contrary, take a look at God's Word -
* 1 Samuel 16:7

* Proverbs 31:30

* 1 Peter 3:3-4

Whenever you shop for your daughters (& sons), be sure that the toys & dolls that you choose...
1. Represent Biblical values.
2. Represent Godly characteristics.
3. Uphold modesty and purity.

“Parents, our wicked culture is appealing to the sin in our daughters, alluring them to gain their identity and satisfaction from external fading beauty and not internal lasting beauty found only in the Beautiful One – Jesus Christ. Your daughters exist to become beautiful [attractive] to God. We need to promote any means that help our daughters toward this glorious end!” ~Kempton Turner

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Quote For Such A Time As This

"The question for me at this time is this: Can I continue to live Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone) under a President whose moral judgment already is questionable before he takes the oath of office? Yes I can, for I can be obedient to Scripture, praying for the one in authority (1 Tim. 2:1-8), honoring the one in authority (1 Pet. 2:13-18), submitting to the one in authority (Rom. 13:1-7; Tit. 3:1), and seeking righteousness for the entire citizenry (Prov. 14:34). These I will seek to do by grace. I will "honor the good appointment of God."
-Eric C. Redmond

Here's the whole article if you want to check it out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Unbelievable!


No matter how one voted, all have to admit that this is a monumental moment in U.S. history! The majority of the United States of America voted an African American man to be the next president. My mind still cannot fathom the reality of this. From slavery to presidency...INCREDIBLE! I never thought this would ever be; at least not in my lifetime or even my children's lifetime. My parents grew up in Birmingham, AL. They've shared countless stories of how life was in the deep south during the 60s. Not to long ago, most of this country embraced church burnings, lynchings, spitting on others, water hosing, police dog bitings, segregation, etc, etc, etc. Today, having the same country elect a black man to represent them in the Oval Office...UNBELIEVABLE!

However, as believers, we have total allegiance to our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ not to man. This moment is monumental but no man is our Messiah. We ultimately submit to our Heavenly Father. In submitting to our God, we must submit to whoever He chooses to put in the office.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Romans 13:1-2

So, whether today is triumph for you or tragedy, we must honor who God has exalted for His own purposes.

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor (president). I Peter 2:17

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Quest for Clarity

When it comes to traditions and holidays, you have to ask yourself…
1. Why the costumes and the candy?
2. Why the Santa and the Savior?
3. Why the bunny and the Cross?

Is it because…
1. You’ve always done it?
2. Everyone else is doing it?
3. It’s fun?

If you don’t, will you feel…
1. Left out?
2. You’re depriving your kids?
3. Others will think you are being too holy or spiritual?


I’ve pondered all of these questions. There are not specific commandments for how to celebrate holidays/traditions. If there were, it would be so much easier…like, “Thou shall never have your child sit on a chubby, red-suited stranger's lap”. Anyway, we still need answers, so what’s a believer to do? I don’t have any answers for you, but check these scriptures out -

* So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

* And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

* Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6


Hmmmm – The Quest Continues…

The Quest Conquered


My pondering to all these questions ended after I read the book, Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper. This book is a MUST read! It is an easy read and very practical (my kind of book!) In a nutshell, here are the 3 most profound statements that totally changed my way of thinking.

1. “Traditions are a vital way of displaying our greatest treasure, of showing what—Who—is most important to us” (p. 18). That statement reflects 1 Cor. 10:31.

Do the things you do on holidays represent the One you say you treasure?

2. “We should keep God’s Word as available and as visible as if it were hanging between our eyes—as if everything we see and do comes through his filter. His Word should be as if it were tied on our hands so that all our acts are directed and shaped by his Word” (p. 24). That statement clearly defines Deut. 6:6-9.

Do the things you do on holidays represent God’s Word?

3. “From their births, I have always wanted my children to know as much about God as they were able to grasp at whatever age they were. And I have wanted my life and our family to be a picture of God to others—that we be the body of Christ who presents an image of Christ to the people around us” (p. 30-31). That’s what Prov. 22:6 is all about.

Do the things you do on holidays send mixed messages to your child? Does your child have to sift through the loads of fairy tale to see the ounce of truth?

Basically, when we question something we do on holidays and say, “What’s wrong with…?” “That’s the wrong question. We need to be asking: Will it strengthen my faith and help me love Jesus more?” (p. 54)

"All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23

Friday, October 24, 2008

The True Woman

"This is the essence of the true woman. Regardless of the time in history when she inhabits this earth, she is one who lives in the presence of glory. Her redeemed character is shaped and driven by God's Word and Spirit. Because she is the very dwelling place of the Lord God, her reflection of Him is manifested in every relationship and circumstance of life. The distinguishing characteristic of her life is His presence in her radiating out to all who see her. The true woman's life is not segmented into sacred and secular. All of life is sacred because it is lived in His presence. The true woman is a true reflection of God's glory." (Susan Hunt - The True Woman)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

God’s Hand Is Not Shortened!

What an encouraging truth! It is mentioned 3 times in the Bible –

* And the LORD said to Moses, "Is the LORD’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not." Numbers 11:23

* Why, when I came, was there no man; why, when I called, was there no one to answer? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Isaiah 50:2

* Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear. Isaiah 59:1

This is basically saying, “The Lord’s power is unlimited!” Nothing can hinder His power! It is so encouraging because no matter how big our trials are, God is BIGGER! Like the song that the kids sing, “My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty. There’s NOTHING my God cannot do!” In what areas of your life are you acting like God’s hands are too short to reach? Let God’s truth overtake those areas today and trust His limitless power.

Click here to hear one of my favorite songs on this subject.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy 1 Year in Minnesota Day!


The Top 10 Things We Like About Minnesota


1. Our house is in walking distance to a park. The kids really enjoy our daily wagon walks.



2. My morning walk place is beautiful & serene. It really encourages me to want to rise up and do my prayer walk (not in the winter of course).





3. We like the change of seasons! The extreme beauty of each season is a reflection of our God.


4. We own bikes & ride them too!



5. Carysse & I like going to our weekly Baby Storytime at the library since she was 9 mos old.



6. I have 2 gardens! This is my 1st home-grown tomato!


7. Our new friends – they must be special because they got me to walk in the middle of a frozen lake during 20 below weather!



8. Christian has the best one-on-one assistants at church. Thanks Elisa, Rachel, & Jenny!

9. The Minnesotans that we’ve met have lived up to the state’s reputation for being Minnesota nice.

10. Our
church family


We praise God for moving us here. He has done, “far more abundantly beyond all that we asked or thought". (Ephesians 3:20)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bittersweet: Temporal vs. Eternal

When my kids are sick (like they’ve been all week), they hate to take medicine. It gets to the point that we have to pin them down and sometimes hold their nose (nurse trick we learned once). They don’t realize that what they’re rejecting is the very thing that will help them feel better. At the moment, all they’re concerned with is the bitter taste which is only temporary.
That’s exactly what some of us do to God. He is offering us His help in our current situations but because we don’t like His answer, we shun Him.

* Someone may be longing for a child, God is offering you contentment as you wait.

* Someone may be longing for a spouse to be saved, God is offering you a submissive heart in the meantime.

* Someone may be longing for direction & guidance, God is offering you faith as you trust Him.

* Someone may be longing for healing, God is offering you strength to endure.

* All of us are longing for an answered prayer, God is offering us joy & peace as we persevere.

We may think we know the right fix to our problems. But God is more concerned about our hearts changing than our circumstances. He is all about eternal, lasting results not temporal, quick fixes (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). So, perseverance in a trial may seem bitter, but as we trust in God and hold on to His Word, we will reap sweet blessings.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Sometimes God is more glorified by giving you strength to climb the mountain than by exercising His power in removing the mountain." ~ My Hubby

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, October 10, 2008

You Know You’re 33 if…

1) You’ve worn leg warmers as a fashion statement.
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2) You had the very 1st Cabbage Patch Kids (I still have my 3!)
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3) You watched The Smurfs when you came home from school.
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4) You remember when it was actually safe to play outside ALL DAY & not go in ‘til the street lights came on.
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5) While you played outside, you rode your bike WITHOUT a helmet.
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6) Your family owned the movie E.T. on VHS.
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7) You remember when NO ONE had cell phones, digital cameras, or iPods.
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8) You remember when snail mail was the only option and stamps cost less than a quarter.
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9) You can still name each member of the Huxtable & Brady Family.
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10) You grew up in the 80s when no one used E-mail, IM, Facebook, My Space, or Blogs and you still survived!

Thanks for celebrating my 33rd birthday with me! It’s been fun!
Have a God-exalting weekend!
~
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Psalm 33: 20-22

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Hardest 33 Days of My Life

My son, Christian Anthony, was born on February 10, 2003 at 25 weeks gestation, which was 3½ months early! He weighed 1 pound 13.4 ounces and was 13 inches long. The final words given to us just before our son was born were, “This baby will have a 50/50 chance to live. The first 48 hours will be crucial. We cannot promise anything, we’ll just see what happens.” Here’s a brief look at the 1st 33 days of his life.

Day 1
*Blood Pressure Low –- put on 2 medications
*Oxygen Saturation in blood dropping
*Lots of sedation


Day 2
*Our 1st family prayer together

Day 3
*Blood Pressure stable
*Only needs 25% oxygen from ventilator
*Peeing good with catheter
*1st blood transfusion

Day 4
*2nd blood transfusion
*Stable
*Weaned off of one blood pressure medication

Day 5
*We taped your testimony (Psalm 71:6-8) to your bedside
*Off one blood pressure medication & weaning off the other
*Ventilator setting down to 40 from 60
*Peeing in diaper — No catheter
*No sedation needed since last night

Day 6
*Off both blood pressure medications
*Given steroids to assist in development
*Ventilator setting continues to be turned down
*1st head ultrasound – No bleeding on the brain...Praise God!
*Little jaundice – needed to lay under a blue light
*Daddy was reading the Bible while we were visiting you and he saw this scripture: I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. Psalm 118:17

Day 7
*Start feeding on mommy’s milk at 11:00P.M.
*Fed every 6 hours – 1 cc (cubic centimeter)
*Blood gas pH level low – needs monitoring

Day 8
*HAPPY 1 WEEK OLD!!!
*Jaundice down – do not need blue light
*Found blood in lungs last night – went up on ventilator setting
*Mommy was encouraged by I Peter 1:21 which states that as believers in God through Jesus, our faith and hope are in God.
*Blood gas pH level good
*No more blood found in lungs all day

Day 9
*Daddy correlated Ephesians 2:10 to your birthday (2/10). It reads: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
*Your nurse says you’re becoming a big boy because you don’t make a fuss like you used to when she turns your head.

Day 10
*Heart report showed an opening in the valve between your lungs & heart

Day 11
*Day 1 of a very TRYING week for all of us
*Surgery to close the valve between your lungs & heart
*Feedings stopped for recovery

Day 12
*Recovering well from surgery

Day 13
*We touched you for the 1st time!

Day 14
*Oxygen level had to be increased – Lungs not doing well

Day 15
*HAPPY 2 WEEKS OLD!!!
*Infection in lungs from ventilator – put on 2 antibiotics
*Blood pressure dropped
*Not peeing
*Blood transfusion

Day 16
*Ventilator support lowered
*Off blood pressure medications
*Made sucking noises with the tube in your mouth :-)

Day 17
*Very uncomfortable – moving a lot
*2nd head ultrasound – possible abnormal cells

Day 18
*Day 1 of RELIEF for all of us
*Blood gas excellent
*Blood pressure good
*Down on oxygen support
*Only on 1 antibiotic
*Lungs look better
*Peeing good
*Feeding again

Day 19
*Moved to your own “home” – incubator
*No more lines in your belly button
*Fed every 3 hours

Day 20
*Fed 2 cc
*Slowly weaning off morphine

Day 21
*Fed 3 cc

Day 22
*HAPPY 3 WEEKS OLD!!!
*We saw you yawn for the 1st time. :-)

Day 23
*Fed 4 cc
*3rd head ultrasound – possible abnormal cells

Day 24
*Fed 5 cc

Day 25
*Fed 6 cc
*Only 1 blood gas check now instead of 2

Day 26
*Fed 7 cc
*Oxygen level at 30%

Day 27
*Fed 8 cc
*Eye infection – drainage – given eye drops

Day 28
*Fed 9 cc (1 cc will be added every 12 hours to 18 cc)
*Urinating and having bow movements regularly

Day 29
*HAPPY 1 MONTH BIRTHDAY!!!

Day 30
*Blood gas was not good

Day 31
*Blood gas good

Day 32
*No TPN (protein supplement) IVs
*All feeding done via feeding tube
*Growing infection in lungs – on antibiotics
*Up on vent support
*Blood transfusion

Day 33
*Infection in blood – on antibiotic
*IV for feedings – back on TPN
*More sedation


In all, Christian was in the hospital for 135 days! He had to endure…
* Ventilator (breathing machine) for 2 months
* Feeding tube for 2½ months
* Various infections
* 6 blood transfusions
* 1 surgery

But God said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” ~ John 11:4

The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. ~ Psalm 126:3

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The 33 Things...

That made my Birthday Special
11 cards
10 blog comments
5 phone messages
4 gifts from my sweetie
3 gifts from family/friends
~
The 4 great gifts my sweetie blessed me with are:
1. He took the day off!!!
2. He got me a spa gift certificate! My appt is this Sat. I can't wait!

3. He got me a brand new camera!!! I like my old camera but it's so slow between shots. It has only 3.2 mega pixels. This new camera has 8!!!!

4. He got the kids a babysitter and he took me to my fav. restaurant - Red Lobster. Of course I ate my 2 fav. foods...snow crab legs and shrimp.

Thank you so much babe for making my birthday extra special!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Life or Death @ 33

“Great age to die; you’ll be in great company!”

That is exactly what Pastor Piper said to me about a week ago when he found out that my 33rd birthday was coming up. Even though I knew that our Savior died at age 33, that comment still caught me off guard. However, it was the best thing that anyone could have told me. It reminded me that…

1) Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my [Christ] sake will find it. – Matt. 10:39
2) To live is Christ, to die is gain. – Phil. 1:21
3) Absent from the body is to be home with the Lord. – 2 Cor. 5:8

Thank you Pastor John, I was thinking about life, but you helped me to think about death which would be of greater gain to me. Whether I die at age 33 or not, I want to live a life worthy of the calling (Matt. 10:37-38). Lord, help me to walk more faithful with You. My prayer is that when I see your face, You will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matt. 25:23

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
~
(Pastor Piper's mom went to be with the Lord 34 years ago; she would have been 90 yrs old today. Click here to read the blog post that he wrote about her.)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me…I’m 33!!!

Praise the Lord for blessing me with 33 years of life!

My friend, Tricia
, gave me a blog makeover for my birthday! Thank you so much T, you did an EXCELLENT job!!!

Blog friends, what ‘cha think???


P.S. Those who know me well know that I love birthdays. So, in honor of my 33rd birthday, each day this week all my posts will have something to do with my birthday or the #33. A week long birthday celebration…oh yeah! :-)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Christ trumps Color!

If you are a believer of Jesus Christ, EVERYTHING you do should represent Him. You no longer live, but Christ lives in you. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

At the point of salvation, you belong to new family. God is your Father and other believers are your siblings. It doesn’t matter what color you are; that’s obsolete in the body of Christ. When Christ lives in you, He is the One who should govern your thoughts, words, and actions not your culture. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). Christ is serious about our love for Him. How do we love Him? We love God by living according to the truth of His Word (John 14:15).

When we as believers have an opportunity to choose someone to represent us, we should look closely at how well their beliefs and opinions line up with Biblical truths. The decision should never be based on their color.

Christ should trump color in ALL things! Think about that when you’re choosing a mate, a friend, or a church. By the way, be sure to remember that on November 4!

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:11

Friday, October 3, 2008

B is for Blessing!


Our baby girl is saying more words each day! When your only other child is non-verbal, you don't take any word or "attempt" for granted. Most of her 1st words all begin with the letter "B". She can say ball, bear, banana, baby, and the newest one is Bible. Of course, some of the words are missing a consonant or two, but you can definitely understand what she is saying. We're looking forward to the day that she can say Believer & Baptize, but not just say them but personally embrace them as truth. One day, I pray that I will be able to say --

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Membership Has It's Privileges

Yesterday, I parked for the 1st time in a handicap parking space when the kids & I went to Sam's Club. I got to park right up front! With Christian's disabilities, we qualify to have a handicap permit. So we got one!

Membership has it's privileges; however, no parent seeks out to be a member in this group...the disability group that is.

We may have received our membership card the day we got an ultrasound, after giving birth, after the 1st seizure, after the 1st CAT scan, or even after months of wondering why our child was not progressing as other kids their age. Whichever way, it doesn't matter...we are all members.

God knew that we would be part of this group before our children were even conceived (Psalm 139:1-6, 13-16). He had the sovereign power to not allow it, but he chose not to. Why? This is part of His plan for us. Some families' God-ordained plan includes kids that are all healthy and "typical" and some includes kids with disabilities. One is not better than the other; just different. If each of us embrace His will (no matter what that includes), we will see God's hand and evidences of grace throughout our lives. As we put our trust in our Savior Jesus Christ and choose to follow Him, we will witness His goodness all around us. Psalm 23:6a says, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life..." God's goodness does not depend on health or being "typical". It's about knowing God and becoming more like Him as we "taste and see that the LORD is good!" (Psalm 34:8a)

Well, I must run now...there's a parking space right up front at Target waiting for us! :-)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Proclaiming vs. Practical Atheist

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." Psalm 14:1a

Many of you aren’t Proclaiming Atheist so you wouldn’t dare say, “There is no God.” However, are you a Practical Atheist? In the details of life, do you act like there is no God???

When you rise up in the morning, do you acknowledge God’s presence?
When you to go the grocery store and spend lots of $ on food, do you acknowledge God’s provision?
When you drive & arrive safely to various destinations throughout the day, do you acknowledge God’s protection?
When you resist a temptation, do you acknowledge God’s power?
When you feel joy, comfort, and rest in the midst of a difficult situation, do you acknowledge God’s peace?

Many of us don’t hesitate running to God to be our problem-solver. But He wants all of our lives, not just compartments of it. May the Lord be so much a part of our lives that we become preoccupied with Him. We would then be so God-focused that when others see us they will see Christ.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2

Friday, September 19, 2008

ONE YEAR!!!!

Praise the Lord...Christian has been seizure-free for One Year!!!

It seems like yesterday when I wrote about his 7 months of seizure-free. The Turner family is overjoyed that Christian has been 365 days without any seizures. Our God is so merciful! The Lord blessed us with grace upon grace today! One grace is that it is a beautiful, breezy, 81 degrees outside! Another grace is that Christian had a great day at school! Yet another grace is that we had a wonderful family celebration! Our grace list can go on and on, but we want to share a few pictures that highlight our day.



Christian running and posing at Lake Calhoun.

We took our very 1st family bike ride to the park.


Christian really liked his cupcake.


Carysse enjoyed her cupcake too even though she was exhausted from our fun-filled day.

I'm holding up my 2 fingers to ask all my mommy's blog friends to pray that next year we'll celebrate 2 years!