I "lost" a dear person this year. And, of course, SHE is not lost- she is in paradise with Jesus Christ, completely healed and whole. But, the LOSS we feel, those of us touched by her, is painful.

I didn't know Jamie long. I met her in the summer of 2007.

A pastor of our church, and friend, called and asked if Jamie could join my small group bible study. Usually a new member would not warrant a call from the pastor, but Jamie was different. I knew OF Jamie, but didn't know her personally. She was the young mother of triplets diagnosed with cancer. It had begun as breast cancer but moved into her brain.

Jamie and her family would need a small group to care for them through this hard time. According to the doctors, Jamie didn't have long to live.

So, Jamie came into our group and we began to pray.

She surprised us, I think, because she was so strong. I think I expected her to be weak or frail, but she was NOT. She was beautiful. She wore different hats each week.

Jamie had never been in a bible study before. This "relationship with Jesus" talk was a little different than what she had expected.

I watched Jamie over the next year and half grow in her faith, quietly taking notes, soaking it all in.

I remember one night, after Jamie had given us an update on her health, we laid hands on Jamie, praying for her healing. Each week we prayed for her, whether she was in attendance or not. Jamie was constantly in our thoughts and prayers.

I fought for Jamie. Many times I found myself praying in the Spirit for Jamie, shouting at the devil that he could not have her, had no power over her. The first time was back in the summer of 2007 when I first knew Jamie would be joining us. I knew that Jamie would not die.

Jamie was given a miracle of more than a year. It was time to spend with her babies. It was time to spend with her husband. It was time for to "get things in order."

When Jamie went home to Jesus on December 19th, I was so angry with God. I was mad that He would allow Jamie to leave her precious babies. We were all praying. We were all believing. We were all expecting....a miracle. I prayed in the name of Jesus. I reminded Jesus that He said, "I am willing" to healing. I asked and kept asking. I knocked and kept knocking. Why didn't He heal Jamie?

When I attended Jamie's funeral, I was amazed at this precious girl's faith.

When she went in for her last treatment, Pastor Jana went with her. Jamie and Jana talked about Jamie's wishes for her funeral. She gave Jana a list of passages to be read.

As I sat in amazement and listened, I realized that she was sharing Jesus with her unsaved family members. She shared Psalm 23 for encouragement, scriptures on how her body is now made perfect, not ravaged by cancer, and Truth about Jesus.

She wanted to tell her unsaved family that she is not dead, but alive forever, perfectly whole and healed, suffering no longer. She wanted to tell unsaved family and friends that through Jesus, we all have the promise of eternal life when we believe in Him. I sat in amazement as I listened to verses from John and Isaiah and Corinthians being read. Jamie was sharing the Truth of Jesus Christ with unbelievers that she loved.

Things I learned from Jamie:

What seems important is not always so important and what doesn't seem important is VERY important....like playing fireman with your children.

Like singing them asleep.

Like praying with them.

Living each day like it may be your last.....don't waste a precious moment.

I am reminded of the awesome Point of Grace Song, "How You Live- Turn Up the Music." Here are the lyrics:

"Wake up to the sunlight with your windows open

Don’t hold in your anger or leave things unspoken

Wear your red dress use your good dishes

Make a big mess and make lots of wishes

Have what you want, but want what you have

And don’t spend you life looking back

Turn up the music

Turn it up Loud

Take a few chances

Let it all out

Because you won’t regret it

Looking back from where you have been

Because it’s not who you knew and it’s not what you did

It’s how you Live

So go to the ballgames and go to the ballet

And go see your folks more than just on the holidays

Kiss all your children

Dance with your wife

Tell your husband you love him every night

Don’t run from the truth cause you can’t get away

Oh no

Just face it and you’ll be ok

Because it’s not who you knew and it’s not what you did

It’s how you Live

Where ever you are and wherever you’ve been

Now is a time to begin

So give to the needy and

Pray for the grieving

Even when you don’t think that you can

Cause all that you do is bound to come back to you

So think of your fellow man

And make peace with God and

Make peace with yourself

Oh yeah

Cause in the end there’s nobody else...."

Here is Jamie's obituary:

"Jamie Lynn Sell, 31, of Center Point, died at home, Friday, December 19, 2008, after a long illness.

Survivors include her husband Brian; children, Ava Rose, Connor James, and Skyler Pete, all at home; mother, Diana Brown of Alburnett; sisters, Lovey Brown of Alburnett and Morgan Lundgren of Florida; brothers, Adam Brown of Alburnett and Mason Lundgren of Florida; and grandmother, Betty Meaker of Cedar Rapids.

Jamie was preceded in death by her father, James Lundgren and surrogate grandfather, Glenn Temeyer.

Jamie was born January 5, 1977 in Cedar Rapids to James and Diana Meaker Lundgren. Jamie married Brian Sell at St. Marks Lutheran Church on August 17, 2002. She was a paralegal for Alliant Energy. Jaime was a past president of the Linn County Paralegal Support Group and had been named Paralegal of the year. She was a member of the Center Point Family Fire Auxiliary and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.

Jamie will be remembered for her greatest achievement; the love and devotion she gave to Brian and her triplets. "

video tribute

Waiting...I'm at Laced With Grace Today

With only one more day until Christmas Eve, my thoughts go to Mary. The couple was on their way to Bethlehem....one day away. Was she nervous? Did she wonder if she would make it? Did she fret about the birth? Was the journey hard...uncomfortable....treacherous....emotionally and physically painful? I couldn't imagine riding on a donkey being nine months pregnant.

With Christmas Eve only one day away, I think about my own "worries". Should I still attempt to send out Christmas cards? Do I have the "perfect" gifts? Will I have time to wrap? Should I still try to make cookies? Oh, we haven't made our gingerbread houses yet.....

As Mary contemplated giving birth to the Savior of the world, the Messiah, do we fret over silly things at Christmas? Have we become distracted by the details, instead of focusing on the Christ child?

This Christmas is very different for me. I am attending a funeral this morning for a beautiful 31 year old mother of 2 year old triplets. Jamie fought so bravely, so calmly, so peace-filled......

To finish reading this devotion, please click here...

I'm at Laced With Grace....

Have you ever wondered this question...sometimes faintly under your breath, sometimes at the top of your lungs?

Please visit me at for today's devotion....

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful for the gift of Jesus Christ.

As we prepare our hearts for Christmas, I am so overwhelmed by the gift of Jesus coming to this earth to walk among us. He came as a humble babe in the manger- helpless, sweet.... Jesus brought us hope. He brought peace. He brought joy.

And today, .
He still brings hope.
He still brings peace.
He still brings joy.

Jesus is the Light in a dark world.

"I think sometimes I forget to sit and ponder just how much Jesus means to me.

Jesus knew He was Savior BEFORE the beginning of time. Before creation, He knew “the plan”. He knew Adam would fall in the garden. He knew would have to die for my sin, to BECOME sin for me- the Spotless Lamb- to take away my sin. He would take on my punishment. BEFORE He created me, He knew in order to spend eternity with me, He would willingly, joyfully choose to be my Savior, to take my lashes, to take my punishment, scorn, ridicule, and death on the cross. Knowing ALL of this, He still chose to create me.

The love He has for me.... and you.

Jesus is the Creator of the universe- “through Him all things were made- without Him nothing was made.” He is the Word made flesh. He is the Living Word. He is the Written Word. Genesis through Revelation tells the “story” of Jesus. The Word- the Word that leads me and guides me…… Immanuel- “God With Us”- Jesus never leaves me, never abandons me, never is too busy for me. Jesus is with me in my trials and my joyful celebrations. Jesus is part of me- “I am in Him and He is me.”

Savior- Jesus is my Savior, saving me from my sins, saving me from myself, rescuing me over and over again…….. Healer- Jesus is my healer, healing me from ALL my diseases- body, soul, mind, and HEART.

My Deliverer ,My armor- (Ephesians 6)- my protection, my guard……..

Author and perfector of my faith- my biggest “cheerleader.” Jesus, you want me to succeed, you want me to grow and mature. Jesus, you don’t condemn me, but challenge me, encourage me, guide me and perfect me……..

Bridegroom- waiting in eager expectation to return in glory for ME. As a bridegroom, you rejoice over me with singing (Isaiah 61), Jesus, you are “enthralled with my beauty.”

Jesus is my Intercessor- Jesus is praying for me every day!


Friend, a friend that sticks closer than a brother, my best friend……

Freedom! I no longer am in bondage to anything!!!!!!!!

Lover- Jesus, you love me with an everlasting love that never ends……

Way- Jesus, you are the only way to the Father……….. I love you, Jesus."

Taken from a post last January.

Please visit Iris for more Thankfulness!

And please take a minute to scroll down and read "Christmas is Hope."

Have a "Mary Christmas!"- Sit awhile at the Cafe today!

Tuesday-Aly's Christmas Concert at School, Wednesday-All-Church Family Advent Night, Thursday-Christmas Party at the "Smith's." Send out invitations for an annual Cookie Exchange at our house. Send out invitations for our Christmas party for Brian's employees. Send out invitations for Ashley's birthday party....... Wow! Is your calendar as busy as mine? AND- it's only the first week of December!

As we begin to jump into the Christmas season, and all of the activities that surround it, I am again reminded that I must keep grounded on what Christmas is all about- the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the busyness, the things on all of our “to-do” lists, the shopping and entertaining…

Please visit me at the Cafe to finish reading this devotion.....

Wordless Wednesday

Please visit slide for a complete slideshow of our trip. Just click on "View All Images." And, scroll down for a story of our trip!

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Trust In Him!

We had an AWESOME time at Walt Disney World! (Check in tomorrow for Wordless Wednesday for all of the pics!)
The first night of the trip, however, I wasn't sure how it would be.
We ate a late buffet dinner with the characters Pooh, Piglet, and Tigger. We had a great time. The kids were having a ball being silly, reveling in Disney "magic". Andrew, 12, thought the oysters were especially funny and filled his plate with them. He was being silly, taking the oyster "meat" out of the shell, squishing it, putting it in Mom's face.....I kept telling him not to eat or touch it! I warned that he could get sick and repeatedly told him to put it down! (The one thing I forgot to tell him was to wash his hands- you know where I am going with this, don't you?) When he opened the last oyster, yellow gook exploded all over his plate. This was the last gross straw!
We didn't think much about the oyster- we watched "Wishes" an incredible fireworks presentation, shopped a little on Mainstreet, took our bus back to the resort and settled in for the night....until 3 A.M.
Andrew was deathly sick! He didn't even make it to the bathroom. He was sharing a room with Brian and I and the little kids were in the adjoining room. I sent Brian into the other room to sleep and "Mommy mode" kicked in as I got up with a sick Andrew about every 45 minutes. He was so sick! I had to call housekeeping to help clean up.
I was so worried- frantic! First, Andrew was violently throwing up every hour and I wondered if I should take him to the hospital. And, secondly, the thoughts of ruined vacation went through my mind as I pictured Ashley, Aly, Aaron, and Abigail all coming down with this virus. It was a restless night as I prayed for him, drifted off to sleep, awakened to him getting sick, prayed for him, drifted off to sleep....
I continued to talk to God through the night. I prayed that it wasn't a virus that would go through our whole family. I prayed that Andrew would be healed.
And, sometime during that long night, I released the situation to God, completely trusting Him. As I talked/prayed to Him, I reasoned that God had blessed us with this wonderful vacation and it was in His hands. I thought that God knows what is best for us and that He works all things together for our good. I knew that God was in control. And, even if (worst case scenario in my mind) we all spent the rest of the vacation puking, His plan was perfect and good. I kept telling God all through the night, "I trust You, God. I trust You."
I felt such PEACE!
Well, the next morning Andrew rested while the rest of the kids played on the white sand strips of beach outside our room (I think the beach was their favorite part of the vacation! It wasn't a swimming beach....a pretty beach with hammocks for relaxing next to the lake.) A wonderful waiter we met the day before asked Brian where Andrew and I were when Brian took the kids to breakfast. When he heard what happened, he sent up chamomile tea to help settle Andrew's stomach. (No coincidences!) By afternoon, Andrew felt fine and we were off to the parks!
Isn't it funny that this was the WFW post I made before the trip?

Having a "Mary" Christmas at the Well....

Having a "Mary" Christmas:

Keeping "Christ" in Christmas with Practical Ideas

Do you find yourself stressed each Christmas, trying to "DO" all of the activities of the holiday, only finding yourself depleted and wondering if your family celebrated the true meaning of Christmas?

What are practical tips and ideas you can share that celebrate Christ and simplifies Christmas?

Thanks for joining us at the Well....it's been awhile since I have joined in the conversation. Life has been crazy here at the Berta house (and two weeks without a computer- ugh!). But, I have checked the questions each week, pondering and praying over them. So, if you are unable to write about this week's question, don't sweat it! My prayer is that you will take time to ponder it, though, and think about your own Christmas traditions.

Are there ways to bring Christ into these traditions? (Like the "Gift with Purchase" idea below that spreads Christ's love during shopping.)

Are there areas which need to be simplified?

Are there areas in which do NOT glorify God and need to be rethought?

Please share your own thoughts, ideas, traditions if you can.

And, please check out my devotion on "Having a 'Mary' Christmas" at the Cafe on Thursday.

I have personality of doing and doing- kind of like Martha. My sweet husband used to say "you're going overboard, Tracy." I said "used to" because, thankfully God has helped me in this area. I want to do it ALL. I want to be involved in everything! But, I know that I have to be careful or I will do too much, stressing myself out and my family.

So, I have tried to make choices of WHAT to do to glorify God. For example, I love caroling. The kids and I love to carol and have hot chocolate (singing is NOT one Brian's favorite things). So, we go caroling at the nursing home.

Each year I host a cookie exchange. I love to entertain. I love to make food, decorate, give out door prizes....About 4 years ago I began sharing my testimony during the evening. I serve my guests, making sure it is a wonderful evening, and then share what God is doing in my life. I try to invite new ladies each year, including how important God is to me. This is a fun way to share my faith with friends and neighbors.

When I send out Christmas cards, I choose cards that tell about what Christmas is about- the celebration of the birth of Jesus. When I write our Christmas letter, I include what God is doing in our lives, taking the opportunity to share our faith.

With the kids, I love to do advent activities as a family. Family Life Today has a wonderful book and activity called "What God Wants for Christmas." As we look forward to Christmas, we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. We watch videos of the Nativity story. We want our kids (and ourselves for that matter!) to remember that the meaning of Christmas is Christ!

For me, the most important thing is keeping my relationship with JESUS the most important thing of Christmas! It sounds so strange- I mean, after all, Christmas is Christ! But, if I am not careful, I can let all of the activities interfere with keeping Christ the focus of Christmas. I can become stressed and anxious, taking it out on my family! But, this is the time when I should be experiencing perfect peace and creating peace in m home. So, when I become anxious, I step back, evaluate what I am doing and think about what I need to take out of my schedule. I have realized that I can say NO to things and requests. (One busy year I even decided NOT to send out Christmas cards! It was a relief not to have one more thing on my "to do" list.) We don't have to do all of our traditions every year. Christmas should be peaceful and joyful!

So, my prayer for you is that this Christmas is filled with peace, love, and joy. I pray that if you become stressed, you, too, will take a step back and evaluate what is important and what could be taken out. I pray that you will bask in the peace of Christ, filled with His love and joy. I pray that as you celebrate His birth, you will be overwhelmed with hope.

Merry Christmas!

Black Friday

Are you going shopping today?

It's Thanksgiving night and I just finished getting ready for the big shopping day, “Black Friday.” I have my list of “must haves” and my plan of where to begin at 4 AM. I have gone through the flyers and found the best deals.

And, as I write this, I am watching one of the funniest Christmas movies, “Christmas with the Kranks”. With their only daughter away with the Peace Corps over Christmas, Luther and Nora Krank decide to “skip” Christmas and go away on a cruise. Their decision to boycott the holiday has the neighborhood in an uproar.

This movie is hilarious because I can relate to all of the crazy details that we can get caught up in over Christmas- the cards, decorations, parties, lights….losing sight of WHAT Christmas is really about. Sometimes we can become so overwhelmed with the activities, forgetting that Christmas is remembering and celebrating the birth of Christ.

One of my favorite traditions of Black Friday is an idea that I got from the book, "Redeeming the Season."

One of the ideas is called “Gift with Purchase.” Our family makes simple crafts like ornaments, and then we give them to sales clerks, thanking them for working during the holidays. We make sure to include a scripture and message of God’s love through the birth of Jesus. The reaction of surprise and thankfulness of the clerks is so worth the effort! They love being appreciated!

This season, especially when you have the opportunity to spread Christ’s love with strangers, remember to keep Christ in Christmas. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed in the details, but remain in His peace. Help your family to bask in the gift of Jesus….His love, His peace, and His hope.

And, if you happen to shop, please give a friendly smile and thank you to those salesclerks!

Thankful Thursday

I am SO thankful for my computer! Oh, I am soooooo glad to have a power cord back!

Lord, I am so thankful for my beautiful family. I am thankful for an amazing group of ladies in small group with me. I am thankful for Your graciousness, goodness, PATIENCE with me!

This week Iris is having us ponder the theme of "life." She reminded us of John 3:16 and how our amazing God has given His life to give US life! I thought of "life" in a different way this week. I am so thankful that God has given us life to the FULL. I want my life to be full of LIFE! I want to have fun. I want to enjoy every day. I want to "rejoice and be glad" in every day that God has made!

All this to say, I am so thankful that my family is taking a vacation! Thank You, God!!!!! We are going to Disney World next week! What a blessing this vacation is. We were not planning it, but God has made it possible. He has so blessed every detail of the trip. Yay, God! Lord, I am thankful that that You fill our lives with "LIFE"- joy, fun, memories, (roller coasters!).

Please visit Iris for more thankfulness!

I'm so glad to be back.....and over at Laced With Grace!

I am sooooooo excited to be back!

Thanks to all who emailed to make sure I was "OK"! I have a power cord and am able to use the computer! There were SO mani emails to read after 2 weeks.....

I am excited to be at Laced With Grace.....writing about heart makeovers!

In this age of makeovers and “extreme makeovers,” we are always looking for ways to transform ourselves. We are not satisfied with staying the same, but are searching for ways to improve. So many times this concentration is focused on our outward appearance......The transformation we will be concentrating on is a makeover of the heart.

What is a heart makeover? What does it mean to renew and rekindle your heart? What does it mean to have a complete transformation of the heart? To have a heart for God? If you are like me, I didn’t even realize I needed to change my heart! I thought, “My heart’s OK. I’m a good person. I love God.” But, over the years, I have had a total transformation of my heart......

Please visit over at

to finish reading this devotion.


Do you fear?

I want to share a wonderful prayer that my dear friend Donna wrote....

Psalm 27:1,3
The Lord is my light and my salvation...
He is the one I have chosen to trust in--to place my confidence in. I will cling to Him and seek His Kingdom and His righteousness...make it my aim above all else.
Whom shall I fear?
The fears clamoring to rob me of my peace and distract me from the course I have decided to take --they are my enemies! I will choose instead to trust in Him, follow His ways. I will not listen to or give place to the fear which so desires to engulf my being and immobilize my faith. My soul, hope thou in God!!
The Lord is the strength of my life...
It is to Him that I look for the strength, the power, the courage to live each new day --trusting Him to lead my steps and give me His wisdom!! Waiting upon Him, I receive new life, a renewed spirit, and strength for the day. I will not grow weary or faint (Is.40:31) for my eyes are on Him (Heb.12:1-2)
Of whom shall I be afraid?
Therefore, fear of people, circumstances, inadequacies, of failure, of the future, etc. will have no place in me. You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You! (Is.26:3) You, Lord, are a resting place, a hiding place, my refuge and my fortress. And with you I am more than sufficient for each days requirements (whatever life brings my way Phil.4:11-13)
Though an host (army) should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident!

Listen my soul, and take heed. Though all within me and around me may want to cry out in fear, I will look to the God of my salvation and I will not be afraid. Eyes of faith are not moved by circumstances, or by what is seen. They look to what is unseen. They look to the Promises of God. They look to the God of the impossible. They live as foreigners and strangers in this world for their real home is in Heaven. They are citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom. Their eyes look to a reward which is reserved and waiting for them in heaven (1Pet.1:3-9, 13). They live with their eye set on the hope before them (Rom.8:17-18)...the same as Jesus did. (Heb.12:1-4)

Where are you?????????????


I have been gone for so long! I am jumping on Brian's computer for a quick minute.... my BEEPING power cord on MY computer turned out to be a (gadget/gizmo???) inside of it that DIED. So, NO computer!!!!!

Brian's laptop was out of commission as well, as his office was doing some sort of "housekeeping." So.....

I haven't blogged for VERY long!

I haven't answered email for 2 weeks!!! (I haven't seen my email as I can only access from my computer....) I am sure there are at least 500.....

Please pray for ME! :)

Hopefully getting a power cord this weekend (they are $100!!!!!!!!).

Blessings to you all!

Are you getting nervous?.....I'm at Laced With Grace

Are you feeling nervous about this election? If you are like me, no matter what happens, you will probably be relieved when it is over! It has been a hard election with much strife, ugly words, bringing division in our country.

Even though I am tempted to worry about the outcome,I do not have to fear. God already knows the outcome. He is not anxious. He is not worried. He is "working all things together for good."

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them." Daniel 2:20-21

God lifts up rulers and removes rulers. Our hope is not in the king or the next president, but our hope is in God, the maker of Heaven and Earth!

As my good friend, Michelle reminded me, "He is Sovereign. He reigns."........

Please visit Laced With Grace to finish reading this devotion.

Join Team Sarah!

Team Sarah

No Voice

She doesn't have a voice.....but you do. Vote McCain/Palin on Nov. 4

Please check out these awesome posts on the unborn.

Eight days of Prayer for our Country

“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face,
and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
-II Chronicles 7: 14

I found this online and was interested. It spoke to me!

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

I am writing to you today with heaviness deep within my soul for the people of our nation. My
heart has grown disturbed by the shadows of darkness which lurk in every nook and corner of our country. The cloak of wickedness is causing death and destruction to the very foundation upon which our great nation was built.

America was founded by our forefathers as “one nation under God”. So why are so many trying to take God out? The evidence of this is everywhere! Violence has increased, marriages are crumbling, our children stray from their family and faith, abortions continue in staggering numbers, and the name of God is mocked rather than reverenced. Sadly, the church echoes with complaints and complacency rather than fervor, zeal, and passion in serving the Lord. We as a nation have become comfortable. Our wealth and prosperity has poisoned us along with the accelerating busyness of our day…no time to rest, no time to eat, no time for family, no time for church, no time for prayer, no time for God!

Yet in the midst of these dark shadows across our land, there is still a thread of God’s grace…a
redeeming light through the act of one solitary man…Jesus! He is the hope of true freedom and
we as believers in Christ are also a light! God does not need any of us to fulfill His plan. He is
sovereign over all and chooses to use us. As children of the light for such a time as this, we must
humble ourselves as servants of the Lord and through His direction join in fervent prayer together for our nation to have an outpouring of the Spirit of God across this land.

The Lord has placed upon my heart a vision of churches across our country joining together in
concerted prayer for our nation and the upcoming election. My hope is to unite fifty churches, one in every state, in a “Concert of Prayer for the Nation”. This would start on Sunday, Nov. 2nd at 6 pm and continue with a 24 hour prayer vigil leading up to Election Day. The way this plays out in your church is up to you and your leadership. The way this plays out in our nation is up to
how seriously we take this message and unify together to stand up and pray for “such a time as
this”. We would love to have your congregation join in this combined effort to bring about a
revival for our country!

Please let me know if your church would be willing to participate in this network of
congregations joining together for a “Concert of Prayer for the Nation” by e-mailing
info@peopleunitedinprayer.org . Also, you can find this information posted on

Please feel free to pass the word along. Thank you!
For His Glory and the Advancement of His Kingdom,
Sonya Naugle with the support of the Pastoral Staff and Elders at Fleetwood Bible Church


Lord, I cry out for our country. Lord, help us. Guide us. Lord, pour out Your wisdom on us. Father, in the Name of Jesus, I come against all power of the enemy. I bind Satan and his demons. Father, may Your Truth and Your Light reign. Lord, I confess the sins of this country. We have turned our backs on You. We have denied You. Forgive us. Have mercy on us. Jesus, You have already done it all. The BLOOD of Jesus has washed us clean.

Heal us. Lord, bring together Christians under the head of Christ. Bring a Spirit of unity.

"O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

7 "Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.

"Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.

15 "Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

17 "Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."

Daniel 9:1-19

Thankful Thursday

This week Iris has reminded us of the importance of special friendships for her week of gratitude. I was thinking of a very special friend for my TT....

the Holy Spirit.

Last night, I was honored to come talk to the youth in our church about the Holy Spirit, and who He is to me. My passion is that they would know Him!

Sometimes we can get confused about this part of God. The Holy Spirit is also God! God is made up of the Father, Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, as Christians, we know and love the Father and Jesus, but we forget about the precious gift we have in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is God LIVING IN ME! He is the very Presence of God.

He is my Helper. My Counselor. My Friend.

He leads me and guides me.

He comforts me.

He fills me joy unspeakable!

He fills me with boundless love and peace and joy.

I couldn't live without His presence daily!

I pray daily to be sensitive the Holy Spirit.

He is always here whispering to me, gently leading and guiding me.

But, I know that I need to spend time with Him. I need to get still and quiet before Him, or other voices begin to crowd Him out- Satan's, my flesh, TV, the radio, phone calls.....

I am so thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit!

When Jesus was preparing the disciples for His death, He told them that they would be thankful that He (Jesus) would be leaving them, because when He did, then the Holy Spirit could come. "It is good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." And then, Jesus tells them that the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth. John 16:5-16

"...Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance of those who are God's possession..."
Ephesians 1:13-14

"...If you then now how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" Luke 11:13

And Paul tells us in Ephesians, "Be filled with the Spirit." (5:18)

And, when we don't even know how to pray, "the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express!" Romans 8:26

Answered Prayer!!!!

Thanks for your prayers!

My computer power cord was beeping and I couldn't use the computer. (Anyone know what that's about???) Now it is OK.

Brian fixed washing machine last night after work! Shoe laces (I didn't wash shoes!) clogging the drain......

Thanks, God!

At the Well

At the Well
Monday, October 20, 2008
Hostess: Natalie

Blog:I Am (not)

Topic:Our home is an extension of who we are.

How does your home reflect who you are?

I have to admit.....when I read the topic for this week's post, I CRINGED!

Gosh....here go all my insecurities, the things that I don't like right now.

My HOUSE is NOT where I want it to be-

Sure, it looks great if you are just a visitor seeing what I am allowing you to see. It looks clean. The decorations are out. And, most days if you visit, there will be a candle burning.

BUT, my walk-in closet needs to be organized- it's a MESS.

I am behind on laundry- there are piles of it in all of our bedrooms.

There is dust in the corners.

The floors need to be scrubed.

The kitchen counter has accumulated junk.

I try to be organized.

I want our house to be a HOME. So, my longing is that it IS tidy, organized, clean, decorated, bread baking in the oven and a beautiful candle burning.

I visited a friend's home last week and was reminded again, I need to spend time on my own getting it back to where I want it to be- for me and for my family.

So, when I read the topic, I thought, "Oh great. My home is a refection of me- unorganized, dusty in the corners, nice on the "outside", but don't look deeper....

And then it hit me.

My home IS a reflection of me.

It isn't perfect.

It needs some attention.

AND, most of all, it needs GRACE.

I need GRACE.

When I was pondering this week's topic yesterday, I looked at my Proverbs flip chart.

Oct. 19's was Proverbs 15:6.

It read, "In the house of the righteous there is much treasure."

How true! I am righteous becaue of Jesus. Inside ME is much treasure because of what He has done. There is love. There is joy. There is peace. There is patience. There is kindness. There is goodness. There is faithfulness. There is gentleness. There is self-control.



Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for posting late on Thankful Thursday!

Why, you wonder?

Well.....first because I am late due to a crazy morning! (Will tell you about it in a minute..) But, also because I spoke at a MOPS group this morning. If you would like to learn more about MOPS, or Mothers of Preschoolers, click here.

I am thankful for the incredible opportunity to share my beautiful Jesus with these precious women.

I am SO thankful for the organization MOPS, which connects women with other women who have young children. It gives them an opportunity to meet with other "grown-ups" a couple of times a month, fellowship, do a craft together, and listen to a speaker. Because they offer childcare, mothers are able to have a couple of hours of uninterrupted, "Mommy" time.

Today, I am thankful for a crazy morning. You know, one of those "every thing that COULD go wrong, DID go wrong" mornings!!!!!!

One thing that I haven't mentioned is that since the end of September, we have been "doing life" with 1 van (Brian's brakes went out)- which means taking the kids early to school, taking Brian to work (15 min. drive each way), picking him up, or getting him at lunch, HIM bringing me home, and me walking to school to walk kids home...... It hasn't been too bad, just a little hectic.

So, today, because I am speaking, I need to "get ready."

Andrew is the 1st one out the door. He came downstairs carrying Abigail, who had an EXPLODING poopy diaper. What timing, Abigail! Didn't have time for that!

I had forgotten to put Andrew's jeans in the dryer! OOPS! Got them in quickly.

Now, Andrew missed the BUS.... That means I have to run him to school quickly.

When I checked on the girls to make sure they were on time and on track, I noticed that Buddy, our Golden Doodle monster dog had eaten the kids' breakfast- scrambled egg sandwiches- off of the counter!

AAHH! Make another QUICK breakfast (do oatmeal raisin cookies count as breakfast? Oatmeal.....raisins....hmmmm)

Get the garbage out- it's garbage morning!

Take Andrew and get home before Brian panics- he can't be late for work!!!!!

WOW! But, on the way to Andrew's school, I realized that the devil was trying to STEAL the joy from our day- especially me getting ready to speak in less than 2 hours! He wanted me to be flustered and stressed.

I LAUGHED! I told Andrew what I was thinking and we prayed over our morning. I explained to Andrew that because I have the Holy Spirit living inside of me, I have the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control! He that is in me (Jesus) is greater than ani of the devil's schemes! I didn't have to get upset! I didn't have to lose my temper! I didn't have to scream! I chose to laugh! I chose to WALK in the Spirit and not the FLESH! It had NOTHING to do with ME, but all to do with HIM!

Lord, thank You for Your Holy Spirit! Thank You that when we walk in the Spirit, the fruit of Your Spirit flourishes! Thank You that You offer me peace and joy, no matter what irritating circumstances the devil will bring against me!

Thank You God!

Please visit Iris for more thanksgiving!


The next two posts (WFW and a tribute to Brian) are on "love." As I was sleeping, I was waking up off and on, pondering this...(do you ever do that? think while sleeping then wish you would have written it down before waking up???)

As I was thinking about "love" and our anniversary, especially in terms of the 1Corinthians verse I use below.....

I thought LOVE, true LOVE, is so much more than a FEELING. Hollywood sells us the "feeling" line, and when the FEELING comes and goes, we think there is something wrong and that we have "lost" the LOVE. This is one reason for so many divorces. People don't "feel" the same way and think that their marriage should end. Then, they go out and look for someone else to give them that FEELING.

But, LOVE is an ACTION. LOVE is a verb! Love is CHOOSING to be patient(or the NKJ says, "long-suffering") when we feel like exploding.

Love is CHOOSING to kind, even when the other person doesn't deserve kindness.

Love is CHOOSING to not to be envious, even when you deserved the same thing the other person got!

Love is CHOOSING to be humble, not proud. It is CHOOSING NOT to say, "I told you so."

Love is CHOOSING not to be rude, even when I am tired, or when the check-out girl has made several mistakes, delaying me several minutes...

Love is CHOOSING to look to someone else above and before m own needs.

Love is CHOOSING not to lose my temper, even when I am "right."

Love is CHOOSING does not "keep score." Love does NOT remind someone of past mistakes. Love forgives and forgets, NOT dredging up failures and betrayals from the past.

1Corinthians 13:1 says, "I speak in tongues of men and of angels," (in other words, no matter what I say or how beautiful my speech is, or how correct it is), if I don't speak in love, it sounds like a resounding gong or clanging cymbal." OUCH.

Verse 2 says if I have an AMAZING faith that even moves mountains, I am nothing without love.

Verse 3 says that no matter what m good works are, even "surrendering my body to the flame," if I don't walk in love, it doesn't mean anything!

Lord, may I always WALK out LOVE. With family, with Brian, with friends, sisters in Christ, may I look to LOVE as an ACTION even when I am not FEELING like it.

Word-filled Wednesday

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1Corinthians 13:4-7

In honor of our 20th anniversary, I posted one of my favorite verses from 1Corinthians. Whenever I read this verse, I am reminded that GOD IS LOVE. God is always patient. He is always kind. God is never proud, rude or selfish. God is NOT easily angered. God does NOT keep a record of wrongs. God never delights in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, is HOPE. God always perseveres.

Please visit 160 Acre Woods for more WFW!

Happy Anniversary, Honey

Happy Anniversary, my sweet man!
On October 15, 20 years ago, I married the love of my life and it has been amazing.
Brian, each day I fall in love with you more.
When we started out, we were kids. We struggled....We lived on macaroni and cheese and didn't even have a dollar for a slice of Garcia's pizza! We didn't know HOW to love one another. But, we always knew we wanted to- we knew that God gave us to each other. We've made mistakes over the years, but we have become stronger through them.
Brian, you have always encouraged me. You have always supported me. You have always lifted me up. I could never be the mother, daughter, speaker, writer that I am without your encouragement and support.
You are my best friend. Whenever I am discouraged, you know just what to say. When I am scared, you calm me. You make me laugh. I love being with you.
You are such a wonderful father. I love watching you with the kids. They love to play with you. They have such a love and respect for you....because you spend time with them....because you love them.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it
does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is
not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1Corinthians 13:4-7

Brian, you are patient. You are kind. You are not envious. You do not boast...you are not proud. You are not rude or self-seeking. You are not easily angered. You keep no record of wrongs. You do not delight in evil. You protect our family.
You are the love of my life.
Happy Anniversary.