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?