Thankful Thursday

Iris at Sting My Heart has asked us to think about relationships this week. I am so THANKFUL for the relationships God has blessed me with.


I am sooooo thankful for the relationship I enjoy with my Savior. I thank God that He reached down and SAVED me from myself, giving me a brand new life....a hope....a future.

I am thankful that He loves me "just the way I am, but too much to leave me this way." I am so grateful that He is patient with my shortcomings and failures. I am thankful that He woos me and whispers to me...and fills me with such love. I am thankful that NOTHING can separate me from the love I have in Christ Jesus.

Brian...the love of my life!
Lord, I am so thankful for this sweet man you have brought into m life. I am thankful for his patience with my shortcomings, as well. I am thankful for his caring heart....that he is a sweet daddy....that he makes a mean "camp breakfast" and that he can make me laugh so hard that I get stitches in my side.

My boys.....

There is such a special bond between boys and their "mamas." I love the relationship I share with my guys! Andrew is growing up, and I am thankful for a maturing relationship that allows us to talk about "deep" issues.

And, Aaron!!!!!! How, how he makes me LAUGH!!!! We still have a "snuggle" relationship (although he sometimes tells me he is getting too old to snuggle) and I am so thankful to be able to scoop him up cover him with hugs and kisses!


Dolls, dresses, tea parties, lip gloss..... I love IT! Lord, thank you so much for blessing me with girls to enjoy all of the girlie "things" with. They are "like" me~ I can understand them! LOL! They love to listen to stories of my childhood. They love to LISTEN to me (for the time being!!!!). I am sooooo thankful for this experience of both boys and girls!

Lord, we had NO idea that our family was NOT complete until this little pumpkin came along... I am so excited to see the young woman she will grow up to be. I know you have amazing plans for her and I can't wait to see them! Thank you that she wraps her arms tightly around my neck and covers me with wet kisses.

Spiritual Sisters!!!!!!!

Lord, I am SOOOOO thankful for the blessing of my "sisters"~ Through bible studies and blogging I have been so blessed to meet other women who LOVE You, Lord and are seeking to go deeper with You. I am so blessed by these relationships! I am grateful fo their passion and wisdom. I am thankful, Lord, that You, on purpose cross our paths, "planting" us in each other's lives to grow and to nourish and encourage one another.

Please visit Sting My Heart to be encouraged by more thankfulness!!!

Wordless Wednesday

WHAT IS THIS???????????????????

Can you guess what this is a picture of? HINT: Scroll down to vacation pics for a clue.


Finally!!!!!!!!! Our Chicago trip!

Finally! Pictures from our Chicago trip a few weeks ago! I left my camera in our Illinois hometown when we stopped there on the way back to Iowa....and just got it back!!!

How I would love to post all 179 pictures, but I am sure you would eventually get bored! LOL!
Oh, how I wish I could sit down with you over coffee and share all of the exciting details. So, I will do my best to highlight our favorite parts of the trip.

The American Girl Store....

Every little girl's dream come true!!!!! If you aren't familiar with this phenomena, it can be quite a shock to learn there is a 3 story department store full of dolls, clothes, hair salon, theater, restaurant. Just Google it and you will find all the info you will need!
Anyway, the $10 hairdo at the salon was WELL worth it!!!

Aly's 1st AG doll~ KIT! Smiles:priceless

Of course, the dolls came with us everywhere for the rest of the trip!


The view from the TOP of the Ferris wheel...

at Navy Pier!

"Niki" likes the view, too! (Amazing view!!!)

Mommy and Aaron in the cart on TOP!

Well, if the girls get dolls, then the guys HAVE to go to the LEGO store!

Millennium Park
This place was AMAZING!!! This is the "Bean." It is a big mirror. Look closely and you can see people (me, too) taking pictures of their reflection....
THIS was so AWESOME! Digital images that spit on you!!! Kids loved it!

Get ready!


WALKING to the Buckingham Fountain...

Chicago skyline!

Field Museum..

Can you guess?
We had a blast! Hope you enjoyed the pics...

Amazing Grace....I'm over at Laced With Grace

“Amazing Grace”

You know the words.

“I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.”

What we don’t always realize as Believers, though, is that Grace is so much more than (just) being forgiven of sin. Grace is the power to be the women God has created us to be! Grace empowers us. God wants our hearts to be strengthened by Grace, as it says in Hebrews.

The Lord does not want us to be in bondage to failure. He does not want us to live defeated lives. He does not want us to believe and succumb to the lies of the enemy. He wants us to be free and full of joy....

Please click here to read the rest of this devotion at Laced With Grace!

At the Well....with boys

Welcome back to the well....
The topic today is so near and dear to me as mom of 2 boys (and 3 girls). Lori at All I Have to Give is hosting and poses these questions to us:

As a woman at the well, you'll be meeting women who are trying
to raise Godly men. These boys they are raising will grow up to marry your
daughters or become leaders in your community. What advice would you give to
them? If you are raising boys, what areas concern you most?
If don't have or
haven't raised boys, what is your concern for boys in today's culture?

Boys were new to me as a mom! Even though I had taught school, raising one was a bit foreign. I only have one sister, so roughhousing, war games, and legos were all new. I was used to dolls, reading in a quiet spot, dressing up....

When Andrew, our oldest was born, I was so excited. I always wanted our first-born to be a boy- a protector of any siblings to follow. But, as Andrew grew older, I was a bit concerned! I was NOT used to the jumping off furniture, the "battles" he and daddy loved, wrestling, "smooshing", and the love of toy guns and bow and arrows. My sweet husband, the middle child of 5 boys, continued to reassure me that these behaviors are all "normal," but until I read Dr. Dobson's "Bringing Up Boys," I didn't quite believe him!

Once I calmed down about the "wild" male behaviors (or at least decided to leave the room when the wrestling began), I began to enjoy my son so much! He is 12 and has been a joy. He has been my "little man." But, being the oldest, Andrew has learned how to help with household chores and take care of younger siblings. He is such a blessing to me. I have wanted him to grow in godly character with a kind, caring, and sensitive heart, aware of others and "loving" them.

My challenge has been within the last year as he has entered middle school. The pull of the "world" has become so much greater~ peer pressure, wanting to "fit it," to be "cool"... and girls! Oh, how I wish more parents of girls felt the same way I do about modesty, about boyfriend/girlfriend situations, about "pop culture." It has been a time of swimming upstream, really being a minority, which has caused battles with Andrew.

This has been the toughest part of parenting- being able to "back up" and explain to a middle schooler who is searching for answers and reasoning for reasoning and choices. I don't want to just say, "you aren't going to have a girlfriend- you are only in 6Th grade" (even though at times it has come the point of the dreaded "because I said so!"). I want him to understand that his choices in life are important. I don't want him to "awaken love before it's time" (Song of Songs). I want him to be secure in his relationship with Christ before he would even think of a relationship with the opposite sex. I want him to be secure in WHO he is Christ, otherwise, I know all too well, the temptation of searching for self-worth in the opinion of someone of the opposite sex. I want him to understand that giving away parts of his heart NOW would be giving away something that belongs to his future wife.

It is hard because in this culture, "love" and dating is pushed at our children at such a young age and it seems "normal" to have a girlfriend in 6Th grade and abnormal NOT to! In fact, an extended family member recently told Andrew, "What's the big deal? It's not like you are going to get married." Exactly. So, why even dabble? If kids are dabbling in 6Th grade, what will they being doing in 8Th? Have you seen the statistics of kids having oral sex in middle school? At school or events? At HOME???? As a culture, we are pushing kids into adulthood, not allowing them to be KIDS!

So, as a mom the first thing I need to do is pray!!!!!

Pray for protection.

Pray for wisdom for him and for us as parents.

Pray against temptation.

Pray for godly friends, teachers, mentors.

And, I for Andrew, as he battles against pop culture, I pray "that he will not conform to the patterns of the world, but that Andrew will be transformed b the renewing of his mind." (Romans 12:2)

The next thing I do is guard what the kids watch on TV, music, and movies. What ma seem innocent or "sweet," I take to God. I ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Do we really need to watch all of the Disney and Nick shows that promote love relationships? I talk to the kids about it. They don't always like that they can't watch the shows their friends can. Andrew certainly doesn't like that he "is the only one of his friends who doesn't have a girlfriend." It is hard sometimes. I feel like a "mean mom" sometimes. Lord, I ask that You give me strength.

We are "aliens and strangers" in this world. WE are to be different than "the world." We are supposed to look and act differently. Sometimes it is hard.

Please visit the well today form more advice and wisdom!


At the Well

Greetings from the well! "From the....well?" you wonder. "What does it mean to be at the well? In Bible times, women gathered (or didn't if they were outcasts of society) at the well to draw water and socialize. It was a time for shared "secrets," a time to talk to other women, perhaps to share favorite recipes and advice.....

I would like to invite you to a new meme I am so excited about- "At the Well." Chelsey from "Joyfully Living" has "dreamed" it, and has organized it with intentions to encourage women. Listen to what she says:
"Ladies, this is what the Well is all about. My prayer is that this will be a place to talk, laugh, maybe cry a little, comfort, share, listen, glean wisdom from those that have been-there-done that, and share wisdom that God has whispered in your ear, or maybe if your like me He has had to scream it real loud like!). A place to exchange ideas and lessons learned. A place to pour out your heart and maybe even heal a broken one. A place to feed your soul and nourish your spirit. A place to drink in His living water."

I am so excited to be a part of this new encouragement! Today's thought is:

What does being a Titus 2 Woman mean to you ?

It is important to first know what "Titus 2" says!

"Titus" is a book of the Bible where Paul is writing to Titus, a pastor in Crete, advising church members how to live godly lives. About the women, Paul writes:

"...teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be
slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is GOOD. Then they can train the younger women to
love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be
kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word
of God."

Wow! As you can see, we will be delving into some awesome topics for encouragement, challenges, and inspiration!

For today, to take the whole passage, and think about what it means to be a Titus 2 woman, I am pondering HOW I want to be this woman.

I think for me, it is leaving a legacy to my children, teaching them how to live for Christ.

No, that's not what I want...I want them to see what it's like to LOVE for Christ. I want them to have a relationship with Jesus. I spent most of my adult life searching...not know WHAT I was looking for until I found Jesus. WHEN they have a relationship with the Lord, they will WANT to live for Jesus. All of these principles flow out of a heart that LOVES the Lord.

For me, I want to BE that Titus 2 woman. I want these principles to be CAUGHT, as well as TAUGHT. I want to be a LIGHT shining for HIM.

Please visit AT THE WELL for more encouragement on Titus 2. Blessings!

Peace Like a River

This was a devotion I had written for Laced With Grace. If you didn't get a chance to stop over to read it, I am posting it today. Blessings!
I am not a stranger to the danger of the River.

When I was a baby, my father and 13 year old brother were swept away and killed in the Vermilion River while on a fishing trip. They were strong swimmers and familiar with the river, but were no match against its powerful currents.

But, watching first hand the devastation of the mighty Cedar River this week in Cedar Rapids, I am again overwhelmed by the river's power and magnitude. They have a saying here in Iowa, "The river goes where the river wants to go." This week, the river wanted to go through the downtown area of Cedar Rapids, the Czech village, neighborhoods, businesses, and schools, wiping out all that was in its path, flooding 1,200 city blocks and displacing 26,000 people from their homes. It leaves residents here confused, saddened, exhausted, and angry.

The catastrophic flooding here reminded me of Isaiah 66:12.

"For this is what the LORD says:

"I will extend peace to her (God's people) like a RIVER, and the
wealth of nations like a flooding stream..."

I can understand the part of the verse of God's overflowing, "flooding" blessing, but peace like a river? My experience this week has been a river being anything but peaceful. What does God mean in this verse?

The river "had a mind of its own."
Driving in all different areas and seeing the turns the river took, sometimes no "rhyme or reason", I definitely agreed that "the river goes where the river wants to go." Sandbags didn't stop it. People couldn't stop it. Cars, trucks, trains, or buildings couldn't stop it. It went where it wanted to go.
God's peace is like that.
He gives us "peace like a river."
People can't stop His peace.
Circumstances can't stop His peace.
Worry, doubt, frustration, fear can't stop His peace.
Flooding can't stop His peace.
Cancer can't stop His peace.
Bankruptcy can't stop His peace.
His peace is like a river.
His is the "peace that passes all understanding." Human understanding or reasoning can't understand or explain this peace. It is a peace, that logically, we shouldn't have. According to reason, according to what we can SEE, according to the "world", it doesn't make sense for us to possess this peace.
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is staid on
You, because he trusts in You."- Isaiah 26:3.
Lord, I know that when my mind is "staid on You," set on You, seeking You, trusting You, no matter what, THEN, I am filled with Your perfect peace. Jesus tells us that He gives us peace that the world can not give us. The peace that comes from a relationship with Jesus is not dependent on what is happening at the time. "Peace" is a fruit of the spirit.
When we know Jesus, we are filled with His peace, and when we trust in Him through the trials of life, His peace rules our minds and emotions. I pray today that you will trust in Him, no matter what is going on in your life. Turn to Him in the hard times, the unsure times, the trials that you face. And, Jesus promises that He will give us His peace.

Father, I pray that I will always seek You for peace. Thank You for Your comfort and Your peace that NOTHING can stop. Help me to remember that You are the Prince of Peace and You desire to cover me with Your peace that passes all understanding. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Our Trip to Chicago!

Chicago! It's my kind of town! We HAD soooooo much fun! I haven't gotten a chance to download pics yet, so I found this beautiful one on google. It was AMAZING to be walking down the streets among the skyscrapers!

The favor of the Lord.....
We had a wonderful time- much needed family time. We love Chicago (we are Illinois natives and "Chi town" is "old stomping ground.") We try to get back every year or couple years. We were so blessed on this trip- God was so GOOD to us!
I truly felt like a blessed daughter.
People everywhere were so nice- the weather was beautiful (even when it rained!), the food was incredible.......
One example that stands out was on Friday. We had been everywhere that day- Millinium Park, walking Michigan, gazing at the Chicago river, shopping, Buckingham Fountain (walking to all of these places!). It was getting late in the afternoon, but wanted to fit in the Field Museum. When we finally made it there, it was 4:10. They stopped selling admission at 4 and the museum closed at 5. We were so sad. And, we had to use the bathroom! We had been on the go all day and just trekked for an hour to the museum and NEEDED one desperately!!!!!!
So, the gentleman let us go in to use the bathroom. I took all the little ones inside while Brian, Andrew and Abigail waited in the lobby. When we walked back and began heading out, the man called me over. He said no one ever comes back from the bathroom when he lets them go in, but sneaks in. He said because of our honesty, our whole family could come in....for free!!!!!
There is a free trolley that runs a route around the major attractions. It is a great way to get back near the hotel for aching feet.
On the trolley ride, I was pointing out to Andrew the Lord's favor at the museum. It was then that our trolley driver began telling the trolley that there was something amazing happening. She was sure her passengers were not "getting it", so she explained that traffic was UNUSUAL! She said that normally it took at least a half an hour to move through stop and go traffic from the museum campus to the loop. We were "blowing through".
She went on and on....calling the passengers her "good luck charms." I just smiled, telling my family that we weren't "lucky," but favored of God!
Sometimes it is hard for us to think of ourselves as this, but we are children of the Most High God! We are blessed beyond measure!
As parents, we, too, enjoy blessing our children. I LOVED taking my girls to American Girl and the fellas to the Lego store. We loved to see the excitement on their faces as we rode the big ferris wheel at Navy Pier. We wanted them to have fun at Ed Debevics. We enjoyed watching them have a BALL splashing in the fountains. We wanted to bless them. Our Father wants to bless us.
"If you then, being evil (sinner)
know how to give good gifts to your son, then how much more does Your Father in
heaven want to bless you."
Here is what God wants me to share with you the most, though. Being blessed, being His child, Him loving us, being a Christian, does NOT mean that nothing "bad" will ever happen to us. We live in a fallen world. Life circumstances WILL happen.
On the last day of our vacation, when we thought we would be going the Museum of Science of Industry, we checked out to find that our van had a flat tire!!!!
So, our plans changed completely and our vacation ended.
But, God was still watching over us. Brian put the spare tire on, we made it to the suburbs to a Sears where we got a new tire, and went on our way back home.
Thanks, Lord!

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful for VACATION!!!!!!!!

Our family is in Chicago right now, and we are having so much fun!!! I will post pics later. It has been much needed time of relaxation and FUN. It is a "working" vacation for Brian, but today he is done and we have 3 wonderful days to just enjoy.

Thank You Lord for time together as a family. Thank You for hotels where there are such kind people to "serve" me. It is such a treat- no cooking, cleaning....Thank You Lord for this time to have fun and "recharge." Thank You, too, for hotel wifi that allows me to blog on vacation. Bless You, Lord!

Also, please check out my devotion today at LWG. Scroll down for info.

Fill Me Up! (but not with empty cups!!!!!!)

I was pondering Psalm 62 the other morning.

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is
my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken…Find rest in
God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my fortress, I will not be
shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2, 5-6

Wow! These verses gave me goose bumps. Oh, how they spoke to my heart. “Oh, yes, Lord!” I thought. “You are my rock. I do find rest in You alone! I will never be shaken!”

And I immediately heard, “Uh huh. Hmmmmmmm. Do you really find rest in me ALONE??? Do you really depend upon me? On ME ALONE? Am I really your fortress, Tracy?

OUCH. If I were to be honest, then, no, I had not been seeking my rest, my hope, my needs in God, and certainly not Him ALONE.......

I am over at Laced With Grace today!

Please click here to finish this devotion!


Wordless Wednesday

Do you know Him? Do you know that He died for you? That He wants to spend eternity with you? That His heart aches for you?
Do you know that if you don't accept Him, IF you reject Him, you will spend eternity separated from Him?
There are no "short cuts", there are no "other ways"....
there are NOT many was to God...
there is only ONE way-
Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life...
NO ONE comes to the Father except through me. "
Take a look at this picture.
Do you see the blood?
Do you see how He suffered for you? For me?
If there were other ways, then why would He have to, CHOOSE to die?
He died so that you could LIVE.
For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.
This picture was lent to me by an awesome young man named Izzy.
I visited his blog and it is AWESOME!
He is so talented~ here is a sappling of one of his songs:
"You are my shelter
When I'm falling apart.
You are the answer
To my lonely heart.
You're everything to me.
The air beneath my wings.
You are my heart..."-
"My Heart", Izzy Galvez
This is just one song~ his blog is FULL of inspirational songs.
Please visit his blog and say hi!
When you are there, check out his testimony:

Smells like......

Do you have a sensitive nose? Are you sensitive to smells?
When I came in this morning from my early morning prayer walk, after some wonderful time with the Lord, I was welcomed with the beautiful fragrance of my mom (who is visiting us). She was sitting in the kitchen and I could smell her lovely perfume the moment I came in....flowery, fruity, "girlie" mom! And, when I walked in to Abigail's room, I was assaulted with the smell of a very stinky diaper!!! I had to laugh because God was really "driving home" what He had just taught me on m walk!

After prayer and praise, talking to God, the Holy Spirit had just convicted me of some "smelly" behavior and lost opportunities to shine His Light. Without going in to all of the details, He brought two examples to my mind.

One example happened last night....

I had definitely NOT been m husband's "biggest fan", complaining about him to m mom. God had given me the opportunity to be a wife who honored her husband, even in the "irritations." I COULD have been the P31 woman, bringing honor to him, but instead had complained about him. I had the opportunity to be his "help-meet"- but "blew it." (Funny, too, since I have been studying this in the book, "Captivating". I love how God gives us opportunities to LIVE out what we are learning!!!)

The second example that God brought to mind was something that happened over a year ago. I had not even thought about it until this AM.....But God brought it to my mind- when walking, I greeted a neighbor who was also out walking, said a friendly hello and smiled. It was then that God reminded me of this neighbor and how I had "blew it" in another opportunity He had given me.

Let me explain.....Andrew had sold her Boy Scout popcorn and she wouldn't (or couldn't?) pay for it when we came to deliver/collect. All of my kids were with me when this happened. So, when we got back out to the car, I had some pretty "choice" words to say about her. It had been an opportunity to show grace and mercy to her in front of my kids. She never heard my complaints, but God heard and my kids saw that I was angry and talked badly about her.... I had had the perfect opportunity to be graceful and merciful, teaching my children these traits, even if the neighbor never knew...

So, as God revealed these two examples to me, it broke my heart. I had missed the opportunities to shine the Light of Christ to others...

Now, I knew God had forgiven me, that was not the issue. I received His forgiveness, but I was saddened that I had grieved the Holy Spirit.

What came through my mind was, "I had had the opportunity to be the 'aroma of Christ', but instead (my behavior) had been a "stench in the nostrils of God (like the Israelites). And, of course, I just had to LAUGH when He further "drove it home" by giving me the two different smells when I walked in!!!!

Father God, may I be a sweet aroma of Christ. I want to "smell" like You! I want to shine Your light. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Cafe Chat

The question today at the CAFE is about mentors.....

Do you have a godly (woman) mentor in your life? If so, describe
your relationship with her… If you don’t have a mentor, would you like one and
what would you hope to gain from the relationship?

This was from a post last May:

Dear Lord, I am so thankful for my good friend, Sister in Christ, but most of all, my "Spiritual Mama," Donna. She is such a blessing to me! We had the rare opportunity to go out to dinner together last night (thank you, honey, for watching the kids!) and just fellowship! We talked and talked (did we ever get one conversation finished before we sidetracked into another?LOL!) It was a precious, relaxing, fun evening! Thank you, good, kind hearted, loving God for arranging a wonderful time together, and thank you all-knowing, precious, sweet God for giving me Donna.

Donna is "especially special" to me for so many reasons- she will be truthful with me, not just "tickle my ears," she will grieve with me when I am sad, she makes me laugh, she is so wise, and she is a kind, loving, and caring person. She is a grandma, so she has experienced more life than I have, and she is willing to share her successes and failures, especially in parenting.
The most precious thing about Donna to me, though, is that she is my "Spiritual Mama" and my "fill-in mother/grandmother." I live far from my mom, so Donna is often the "mom" I call when I need someone. She is the one who could visit me in the hospital, check on me if I am sick... Her sweet husband has come over to mow our grass when we needed it. They have come to see my son in a school concert since he didn't have any grandparents here. Her husband even came over and freed me when I was locked in the bathroom!!!!! How fortunate that I was locked in with the phone- does that surprise you???? Because she is in my Bible Study group, I get to see and hug Donna once a week! So, it is a blessing to have a "mom" physically HERE.

But even more than that, Donna is my Spiritual Mom, a true Titus 2 woman. My own dear mom loves God and prays about everything, trusts God, and has a simple faith. But, she doesn't know the Word. She doesn't read the Word. Donna, on the other hand, KNOWS the Word and studies the Word daily, and LOVES the Word. So, when I need advice, I often ask Donna, instead of my mom, because Donna will give me Godly advice, based on the Word and then we always pray about it! She is so wise! But again, it is Godly wisdom. Truly, much of her advice is "foolishness to the world." Forgive that person???? How could I???? Because in His Word He tells us to and that it will bring His blessing. Be joyful in this situation? It will bring peace. Feeling not at peace about something, then, should you be doing it? The "world" would definitely give me different advice than Donna gives me!

Oh, how thankful I am for my dear friend and mentor. A mentor isn't some distinguished professor, but just someone who is a little "further down the road" than you are. Actually, Lisa Bevere says we DON'T want mentors- we want "mamas." A mentor teaches you what they know, not necessarily wanting you to do better than THEM, so they may hold back a little. (Think of the business world. Would a person want their "underling" to excel?) But, a Mama wants her children not only to do AS WELL as her, but BETTER than her. She wants her children to soar to greater heights than she did. This is Donna- she wants even more for me- especially spiritually.

Do you need a "mama"? Look around. There are many in blogland. I am sure there are many at your church. Be bold- ask a woman to "mama" you. Pray and ask God to bring you one.
Be a "mama". There is always someone who hasn't come as far as you yet. Build relationships. Help one another. Be an example.

"Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they should live.... and teach
what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and
children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to
be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."-
Titus 2:3-5

Father, thank you for blessing us with friendships. God, you made us as relational beings to crave companionship, friendship, and fellowship with one another. Thank you, Jehovah Jireh, "The Lord Who Provides" for providing us with mothers and "mamas." Thank you, precious God for caring about us so much that you give us friends, and thank you, Jesus, that you call ME friend! Lord, help me to be a "mama" to those you place in my path. Help me to see when you do. Help me to NOT be so busy that I miss it! Also, Lord, help me to be bold when I need a mama to ask someone. Lord, you are so good, so good. In the Savior's precious Name, the Name above all names, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

One Country, One Community, One Church....I am at the Cafe Today

Is it really the 4th of July? Could it be? For our family, this holiday is quite different than years past….

We are residents of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. You may have watched our plight on national (or international) news. We experienced the worst flood in the history of Iowa, and possibly the United States. It has been called a “catastrophic event.” The Cedar River crested at almost twelve feet higher than ever in recorded history, 20 feet higher then flood stage. More than 4,000 homes were flooded as 1,300 city blocks were inundated with water. Many of these people can not go back home. They have been “displaced”- living with friends, relatives, in apartments, two shelters set up in area schools, and now possibly FEMA trailers. These people have lost everything. Clothing, material possessions, pictures, keepsakes…..everything. My friend has lost eight homes in her family- it has affected her mother, brothers, sisters, and cousins.....

Please visit the Internet Cafe to finish reading this devotion. Blessings!