Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or . . . Blessings!

It's October 31st, otherwise known as Halloween. Chris and my little "ghouls" (ha! ha!) are out trick-or-treating right now while I'm passing out candy. (Aren't they cute? Ali is a Spanish princess and Livi is, yep, you guessed it - SUPER GIRL!) In between the doorbell ringing, I'm pondering Halloween's evolution. Believe it or not, Halloween was not always just about dressing up and certainly not about getting candy (which is always what it was all about when I was a kid).

After some research, I discovered that Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year."

So where did the ghosts, ghouls, and witches come from? Turns out the ancient Gaels believed that on October 31 the boundary between the living and the deceased dissolved, and that the dead could actually walk among the living. The Gaels became concerned that the dead would cause problems for them such as sickness or damaged crops. Their festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them.

The transatlantic migration of nearly two million Irish following the Irish Potato Famine that took place during the years 1845–1849 finally brought the holiday and the traditions to the United States. Of course, we took it and added our own unique twists. That is, after all the American way, right?

Anyway, I thought it would be nice for a change to focus on the celebration part of Halloween and not in a trick-or-treating sort of way but a celebration of Thanksgiving as I'm sure the Gaels did when their harvest came in. What did you say? That's what Thanksgiving is for next month? That's true, but it is stated several times in the book of Psalms, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever." So I think it's okay to count my blessings more than just once a year, hmm?

A beautiful young lady who is a Senior at our school and who is an amazing witness for Christ at her young age (Really. See for yourself. The link is under My Favorite Blogs and it is the one titled "Set Apart for the Grandeur of My Master".) came up with the idea on September 30th to name 30 blessings, 1 for each day of the month that had just past. So, I hope she won't mind if I "borrow" her idea for October.

I have compiled a list of 31 blessings in my life, not counting the Lord, my family, or my friends. Obviously, there is nothing in this whole world more important to me than my Lord and the ones I love. These are the little blessings (listed in no particular order) that sometimes I forget to be thankful for. Read on and you'll see what I mean:

#1. Clean sheets. I LOVE the feeling of snuggling down into freshly laundered sheets.

#2. Gut busting, roll on the floor laughter. Whew! There's nothing like it!

#3. "Holy Spirit tears" - the ones that come when He's moved you. It's so cleansing.

#4. Imagination. I love slipping off into my fictional world, and I love watching my kids play make-believe.

#5. Parents at our school who show their appreciation by taking time out of their busy days to make lunch for the teachers. We've got the best parents in the world!

#6. Children at our school who ask Jesus to come and live in their hearts. A little girl from my class did yesterday during our chapel time and I am just so thankful that I get to be a part of that. It was beautiful, truly beautiful!

#7. My little girls' teachers. Thanks to the wonderful ladies who have dedicated their life to serving the Lord, Ali and Livi are already getting a firm foundation in the Lord at 7 and 4 years of age. It makes my heart just soar! I'm so thankful, SO thankful!

#8. Cool mornings that warm up into beautiful, sunny afternoons - like today!

#9. I'm also thankful for the gloomy, damp, cold days that are good for putting a fire in the fireplace and curling up on the sofa with a cup of coffee and a good book.

#10. The patchwork landscapes you can often see driving down any road at this time of year in Tennessee. Truly the work of an Artist!

#11. The doctors at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. Man, they are the best!

#12. Our health. Oh, I'm so thankful for our health!

#13. Good medical insurance . . . for when we do need it.

#14. Okay. I'm gonna sound a little shallow here, but . . . texting. I am thankful for texting. It's just so convenient.

#15. While I'm going in this direction, I might as well add digital cameras. Now, I would HATE to wait to get a roll of film developed to see what kind of a picture I took!

#16. And even though it crashed on me, I'm thankful for my laptop.

#17. I'm thankful for my dishwasher. Quick story: when my sisters and I were growing up we'd tell my mom she really, really needed to get a dishwasher. Her response? "I have four of them!" (My three sisters and I!) Love you, Mom! :)

#18. Ooo, and along that line, I'm really thankful for indoor plumbing. Just imagine what our lives would be like today without it! Let's just say it would really stink! Ha!

#19. Serious now, I'm thankful for the sound of children singing, especially during our chapel time.

#20. I'm thankful for the sight of children worshiping. I promise there is nothing in this world more honest and pure than to see a child worship our Lord and Savior.

#21. I'm thankful for what the Lord reveals to me in His Word.

#22. For His peace, especially in uncertain times like we're facing.

#23. I'm thankful for the excitement that builds from now until Christmas.

#24. And for little, fun surprises like SNOW DAYS! (I love my school. I adore my class. But snow days are FUN! Every teacher reading this understands that!)

#25. I'm thankful for lazy Saturday mornings (especially after late but productive Friday nights)

#26. I'm thankful for the Charlie Brown T.V. specials that are on at this time of year. I have favorite parts in each one, but my very favorite is in "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown" when they all make fun of Charlie because of the puny tree he picked out so he goes home and decorates it himself and "the gang" shows up, says, "It wasn't so bad after all." Then they all gather around the tree and sing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing". It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

#27. I'm thankful for the lights that will be coming out soon. Who doesn't look forward to taking a drive through the neighborhood to see the lights???

#28. I'm thankful for my home, humble as it may be, and that our cupboards are stocked. There are so many needy people in this world!

#29. I'm thankful for hardships. Yes, I am. They may not be fun, but they build character. It took me a while to learn that - a long while.

#30. I'm really thankful for the hugs and kisses I get from my girls. They keep me going.

#31. I'm thankful for prayer. I've seen what prayer can do. It's surely a supernatural weapon of defense in any situation.

There you have it. A list of random blessings. I'd love to hear what you are thankful for at this time of year and all year long! Doesn't it make you feel so much better to focus on the blessings in your life than on the worries of the world that is plaguing us from every branch of media? Come on! Count your blessings with me!

Going back to #31, it's time for PRAYER REQUESTS AND UPDATES: I don't have any new requests at this time, but I do have several updates. Our 2-year-old, Tyler, has had about a 50% reduction in the size of his cancer. Praise God! Please continue to pray for Tyler that God will heal that last 50% and that little boy will be a walking talking miracle. Also, please continue to pray for strength for Tyler's parents. Larry Harris continues to improve. Just the other week he drove himself to get his hair cut so that was a big step for him. Please pray for continued healing and returned strength. I have a feeling it won't be long before we have to take Larry off the list. :) My best friend from high school, Patty Smith, is feeling pretty good. The cancer seems to be negatively affected by the chemo, but her blood platelets are down so that is a concern. Please pray for her continued healing and strength. Kelly M. is still very sick and the doctors are having a hard time diagnosing her illness. Please pray for her, her mother who is is nervous wreck, and her doctors. I have a great update to share. My sister and brother-in-law, Julie and Jon, just found out that they will be having another little girl in March! Their 2-year-old daughter, Mallory, is thrilled to be having a sister! Always remember, if you or someone you know has a prayer concern (even if it is unspoken - God knows all of our needs after all) please email me personally through my profile and I will be more than happy to post it. There IS power in prayer!

Wishing you all a happy harvest celebration!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Has It Really Been Almost 3 Weeks?!?!

This is terrible!

I can't believe that it has been almost 3 weeks since I last made a post! The only reason I can give is . . . well, let me put it to you this way:

Have you ever watched a juggler juggle? Have you ever noticed that his eyes are on each ball and yet at the same time not seeing them? He's just making sure it's right where it needs to be so he can keep it moving. If you're an expert juggler, I'm sure you don't lose track of any detail . . . or maybe you do and are just able to cover it up really well. As for me, suffice it to say that I'm NOT an expert juggler and some details get overlooked sometimes.

What I haven't overlooked is my list of prayer concerns. This ministry is very important to me and I'm going to vow right now to update the list of prayer concerns, if nothing else, weekly.

So what has caused me to lose track of my . . . juggling objects? My priorities, I guess. After I made the last post, I had parent/teacher conferences that I had to prepare for, which went very well, but is still always a little nerve wracking for a teacher. Then most of last week we spent in Ohio visiting our family and friends. It was great to visit with everyone. We kept up some old traditions (Chris got out his dad's guitar and we had a little jam fest in his parents' living room) and started some new traditions (My granny, grandpa, and Chris taught me how to play pinochle. It was Grandpa and me vs. Granny and Chris. Who won? GRANDPA AND ME . . . but the important thing is that we had fun, right???) Fall was in the air and it was very inspiring creatively.

So now, though I've had to revise my personal writing goals, I'm invigorated and ready to work steadily on it again starting this weekend. I know I promised you a snippet last time, but today I want to tell you another story of a little boy to touched my heart very deeply. I hope you don't mind.

This little boy was a nominee in my contest - his grandmother nominated him and his mother. Now, mind you, all of the entries that I received were very touching, truly, but this story touched me especially because little Kole would be about the age of my oldest daughter. He didn't win, but his story (and his mother's) is one of courage and perserverence and in these troubled times I think our world needs a little more Kole. These are the words I read from Kole's Grandma Nancy:

My nomination is Kole, my 6-year old grandson, who died 4/9/07 from a brain tumor. He touched everyone’s heart – especially Grandma & Grandpa’s. Because of what he went through and the pain he had to endure, I’ve developed a deeper meaning for our short life on earth and life after death. On 12/1/05, Kole (who was 4 at the time) was diagnosed with a growth in his brain. He was immediately transferred to Cleveland Clinic and on 12/2/05, Kole underwent surgery to remove the tumor. At first he was afraid. What he had to go through, no one was prepared for – especially Kole. After the tumor was removed, he couldn’t walk any more. But by Christmastime at St. Jude’s Children’s Cancer Research Hospital, he mastered his skill to walk again. Poor Kole had so many setbacks. Just when we thought everything was going in his favor, he had another setback. He never complained or asked, “Why me?” He just dealt with whatever was handed to him, and kept moving forward. He was a VERY smart little fellow. They tested him (now at the age of 5) during his stay at St. Jude’s, and his reasoning skills were that of a 5th grader. I had the pleasure of taking care of Kole by myself for a weekend at St. Jude’s without his parents being present. He’d have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and it wasn’t easy moving slowly along with his IV, and I expected to help him, but at the age of 5 he did it by himself and was proud of himself that he could. I praised him and told him, “Kole, you never cease to amaze me.” It brought a great big smile to his face. I also had the privilege to give him a shot in his internal port. Even though I’m not nurse material, I felt honored to help with Kole’s medical needs. And when I say I’m not nurse material, I truly mean it. As I was giving Kole his shot (breaking out in a sweat from nervousness), he pointed out to me that I was doing it wrong. At first I didn’t believe him, but he was right. He observed every move and learned from every experience. Grandma & Grandpa had the honor of allowing Kole and his family (Mom, Dad & his 2-year old sister) to live with us while their new house was being built. Kole loved life – he loved his trucks, he loved writing notes and mailing them, he loved making gifts for others, he loved learning and was working on mastering his reading skills. All this he did while he was recuperating from the surgery, the radiation and the chemotherapy. He even re-learned to ride his bicyle without training wheels. If Kole was faced with a challenge, he stepped up to the plate with much courage, and accomplished the task at hand. Kole hung on to this life to see his new brother, Judah, enter into this world. Judah was born April 1, 2007 and Kole was delighted to see him and hold him. He shared in the joy of Judah’s birth even though Kole’s days were numbered (now just 8 more days with his wonderful family on this earth). He turned 6 two days before his death. Even though he had been comatose for a short while, two days before his birthday he asked that my friend bake his birthday cake with Superman, Spiderman and Batman all on it. He was delighted with the cake (his last cake) and even asked for a few of his friends to stop by and celebrate with him. When they arrived, he knew exactly who they were and why they came. He even asked that the mother of his friends sing his birthday song solo to him (she is a music major with a beautiful voice and he even had enough faculties two days before his death to know this). On his 6th birthday, he and his family moved into their new home. He was able to enjoy the bedroom he helped decorate. It was blue (to match the colors of his Dad’s school colors) and was decorated with all his gifts from so many loving people who honored Kole throughout his illness. Two days later he died in his bedroom. It was his dying moment that probably touched us the most. After struggling with his breathing for a whole day, he cried two tears and smiled a BIG smile. When that happened, we all knew that he had seen something glorious and was happy to be with his heavenly Father. Thank you Kole for your bravery, your courage, your positive attitude and especially for your gift to us of that one last wonderful smile.

Rereading it now I have tears in my eyes. You know I have a weakness for kids. I cry for the pain and suffering Kole had to endure, but I'm also reminded that the Bible tells us that Jesus cried before He was crucified but He told His followers that He wasn't crying for what was about to happen to Him. He was crying for His friends stuck here on this sin-filled earth. (Of course, I'm paraphrasing.) Still, I cry. I cry for the shame I feel at knowing I couldn't have been so brave. I cry for his family as I'm sure they still deal with heavy grief everyday. I cry for Janni, his mother, who was nominated by Grandma Nancy for the female entry. Janni had to go through Kole's sickness with him while caring for Kole's younger sister AND becoming pregnant with Kole's little brother! I don't know if you caught it or not, but Janni had Baby Judah just 8 days before Kole went Home to be with his Heavenly Father. 8 days!!!! I don't know about you, but I can't go there mentally - the extreme joy coupled with the extreme grief. Truly this is a remarkable family and I thank you, Nancy, so much for sharing your precious family with me and giving me permission to share Kole and Janni with my blog followers.

: I don't have any new requests this time, but I do have some updates. Amanda Belsich unfortunately has not had a good report. The cancer was found in lymph nodes all throughout the 16-year-old's body. Please pray for healing for this young lady, that the Lord will do a mighty work in her and all will know the power of God! Pray for strength for her and her family. Please pray for wisdom and guidance for her doctors. Also please pray mightily for my very dear friend from high school, Patty Smith. She had a chemo treatment last Friday and I think she had one today, but in between she also had to have a blood transfusion because her hemoglobin count was down. Also, she asked for prayer specifically because her "cancer marker" was up and they suspect that the cancer will be a tougher opponent than they originally hoped. Please, please, lift my friend Patty up. Pray for her strength and healing. She has a son, three step children, and a foster child that they are wanting to adopt. Patty MUST be healthy to care for these little people who need her! According to 1 Kings, when Elijah prayed for the Lord to bring rain and end the famine, he prayed tirelessly and sent his servent up the mountain 7 times to look for rain clouds, but he also thanked God IN ADVANCE for the mighty work that He was going to do. And on that seventh time, the servant reported that there was a cloud the size of a man's hand on the horizon. By the time it reached Mt. Carmel it was a full out rain storm!!! I thank God in advance for the healing that is going to come to Patty and I pray that the tiniest sign of hope will multiply exponentially until she is receiving showers of blessings. I saw my grandma, Angela Dominick, while we were visiting in Ohio and she seems to be healing little by little. I think she has almost graduated from the walker to just using a cane. She still has some pain so please pray for that and she is still adjusting to her lifestyle change as she was a very active person. Carie Lawyer's father is home from the hospital and still recovering after having a stroke. I believe he is doing well, but please continue to pray for complete healing for him. I have had several families on the list who have lost loved ones. After speaking with the contact person for each family, I can report that they are all doing "as well as can be expected". Anyone who has ever lost a loved one knows that it's a long road ahead filled with some good days and plenty of hard moments. The Lord will continue to heal their broken hearts as the days go by. I believe our prayers got these families through the very difficult and most likely shocking devastation before the rebuilding has to come. So, I am going to take these families off our list, but I will continue to update you on them as I receive updates. Until then, if you or someone you know has a prayer concern (even if it is unspoken - God knows all of our needs after all) please email me personally through my profile and I will be more than happy to post it. There IS power in prayer!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

And Now For . . .

Congratulations to Brenda Olien who won the “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life” contest. Brenda nominated her husband, Dan Olien, a gentleman who made a difference in many lives as you will soon see. A special thanks to Dan’s sister, Jenna Harris, who shared with me some additional factual information and special memories which helped me to tell Dan’s story and create his character to the best of my ability. Now, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to . . .

Dan Olien

Dan Olien was a runner. He began running competitively in middle school and continued to run track and cross country at Newark High School and Otterbein College. As an adult, he ran the Columbus Marathon twice and qualified for the Boston Marathon in addition to running dozens of smaller races.

It was only natural that Dan would choose a career as a physical education teacher and a track and cross country coach. While Dan enjoyed teaching, coaching was his calling, his passion. He loved his runners. He was thrilled to see them succeed and cried with them when they had a bad race. He motivated his team before each race by quoting positive sayings such as, “Go give them the business.” He even designed the team’s shirt each season. Dan was district coach of the year for multiple years and was a district representative for the Ohio Association of Track and Field and Cross Country. He always did his best to promote the sport of running.

The only things Dan loved more than running and coaching were his wife and his son. Unfortunately, his time with them was short. Dan and Brenda met at New London High School where they both taught. They went on their first date on December 6th, 2002. On January 6, 2003, Dan was diagnosed with brain cancer. Deciding not to waste any of the precious time they had together, they got married on June 7, 2003, just six months after their first date, and a little more than two years later, on September 20, 2005, Dan became a daddy. If Dan was happiest when he was coaching, he was proudest when his baby boy, Jon, was born. He would say of little Jon, “He has my profile.” Dan and Brenda took Jon to his first cross country meet when he was just two weeks old, and to the state meet when he was only two months old. Dan loved to show off his little “profile.”

In early 2006, Dan’s health began to rapidly deteriorate. On July, 6, 2006, after running a three-year race against an unseen opponent, his body finally succumbed to the cancer. But Dan Olien’s legacy as a loving husband, a proud father, and a dedicated coach will live on forever as illustrated by the crowd of people that attended his viewings and funeral.

In The Heart’s Journey Home, Dan’s character is a strong, healthy cross-country coach and physical education teacher who helps Kate, the main character and a former runner, train to run her first marathon. I pray that through this experience Dan’s memory is honored in the utmost way: that everyone who reads The Heart’s Journey Home will be inspired by Dan and filled with the desire to “go give them the business.”

I am going to ask you to pray today for my dear friend and fellow teacher, Jana Iwanowski. I mentioned her two posts ago. She doesn't know that I'm adding her to my list of prayer concerns so I hope she's not too mad at me :) but she has been trudging up a mountain here lately that would make most of us want to give up, I think. Jana is a wonderful mother of beautiful, 5-year-old triplets (two boys and one girl) and a very dedicated and effective fourth grade teacher. Recently, Jana had to face the grim reality of admitting her mother, whose health has been rapidly deteriorating due to Alzheimer's, into a nursing home. My heart has been so heavy for my friend and I just can't imagine the burdens she is having to shoulder. She is a very, very strong Christian - one of the strongest I know, but that doesn't mean that her heart isn't breaking or she isn't feelign the pressure of having to care for her three children and her mother. Thankfully, she has a wonderful, supportive husband and mother-in-law, but extra prayer can never hurt so please lift my friend Jana and her mother up today. Pray for them for peace and patience, for understanding and discernment. Also, I'm asking for prayer for my friend, Carie Lawyer, whose father has recently had a stroke. I don't know his name, but the Lord does. Please pray for healing for Carie's father and for peace for Carie. Now for the updates . . . my best friend from high school, Patty Smith, is still going through chemo for ovarian cancer, but I'm pleased to report that she's doing okay with it. She is in between treatments right now and her mother and father are taking her, her husband, her sister, and her sister's husband to Williamsburg, Virginia, for a little, much needed get-a-way. I'll be seeing her next week (the week of the 13th) and I'm sure I'll have plenty of photos to share with you after we get back. Her next treatment is scheduled for Friday the 17th so be in prayer for her about that - that it can continue to go well and be effective. My sister, Julie Roeder, who is expecting her second child in March (and who I will be seeing next week also) continues to do well. She has a doctor appointment at the end of this week so pray that everything keeps moving along smoothly and that my little niece or nephew is developing perfectly. Our little friend, Tyler, the two year old with cancer, has been undergoing treatments and is very sick. The good news is his tumors are shrinking! Praise God! The not-so-good-news is that the poor little guy has already has a bone marrow transplant and may have to have another. It's so much for a little boy to have to bear. Please, please, pray for little Tyler. Pray that God continues to shrink those nasty tumors and that the Lord will restore his health. Pray for his parents to have a supernatural strength to help their precious baby boy through this. I can't imagine the heartache they must been feeling. Pray for his doctors to have the wisdom to know exactly what to do to help our little friend battle this rotten opponent.

I guess that's it for now. Stay tuned. My next post will include a snippet, I promise. And remember, if you or someone you know has a prayer concern (even if it is unspoken - God knows all of our needs after all) please email me personally through my profile and I will be more than happy to post it. There IS power in prayer!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Introducing . . .

As promised, I want to publicly congratulate Tammy Ruthsatz, the first of my two contest winners. Tammy nominated her niece, Cassie D. Ground, a remarkable young lady as you will soon see. As I wrote Cassie's bio, I received a lot of help from Cassie's mother, Mindy Nutter, who provided me with factual information and memories so that I could tell Cassie’s story and create her character to the best of my ability. Now, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to . . .

Cassie D. Ground

Born on September 19th, 1985, Cassie quickly became a faithful servant of our Lord. At just three years old, Cassie sang in front of the entire congregation at Faith Memorial Church in Sandusky, Ohio. At the age of 11, Cassie was crowned Honor Star, part of a program called Missionettes Girls Club that required reading the Bible all the way through, memorizing many scriptures including some whole chapters, writing reports, and a list of other criteria. She then went on to be involved in youth ministry where she was the worship leader for several years along with her two younger sisters, Carlie and Cristina. Cassie was also a member of the adult choir and played the acoustic guitar in the worship band. According to her mother, Cassie “sang with the voice of an angel”.

Cassie was also an excellent student. She attended Bay Area Christian Academy in Sandusky through the 8th grade, and then Monroeville High School, where she graduated in June of 2003. Cassie then went on to work toward a degree in Elementary Education at BGSU-Firelands College where she had repeatedly made the Dean’s list. Cassie simply loved being in college and was so excited about accomplishing her dream of becoming a teacher!

It was during her senior year of high school that Cassie met the love of her life, Jordon Berberick, and they planned to get married on July 27, 2007. Everything seemed to be falling in place for Cassie . . . until that fateful afternoon on August 30, 2005. It had been raining heavily, and as Cassie was on her way to pick her sister up from school, she was in an accident and was killed. She never got the chance to teach a classroom full of third-graders as she had hoped to. She never got the chance to marry her true love. But I truly believe that Cassie D. Ground will spend all of eternity faithfully serving her Lord and singing “with the voice of an angel”.

In The Heart’s Journey Home, Cassie’s character is a vibrant, beautiful high school senior who was highly recommended by the pastor of her church to provide child care during a newly established ministry for single parents. On several occasions, Kate, the main character, watches from a distance as Casssie sings, dances, and plays “Go Fish” with the children, who instantly adore her. I pray that through this experience, Cassie’s memory is honored in the utmost way and that everyone who reads The Heart’s Journey Home will come to know and love Cassie the way all of her family and friends still do.

Tammy and Mindy, thank you for sharing Cassie with us!

: I also promised that I would have some updates for you. I've been like a fish out of water since I had the computer problems and I apologize profusely that I haven't updated you before this. An update the the computer issue: Rob McCabe, the hubby of our computer teacher at school, was able to retrieve my ENTIRE MANUSCRIPT and some other less important documents that I had wanted! Bless you, Rob! And, surprise, surprise, I got on the phone yesterday with Dell, they had me do a few things, push a few buttons and decided I needed a new hard drive. DUH! But, I can't complain because they sent one out, no questions asked, and I got it TODAY! Yes, right now I am working on my laptop (with all of my documents backed up on flash drive AND email) so we are back in business! :) Onto the important stuff . . . Sarah Grundler, my cousin, had her baby - a littler girl named Marina. Both mama and baby are doing fine though Sarah is tired, as to be expected. I'm going to keep her on the list a little while longer though because every new mama can use prayer! Please pray for strength for Sarah and for continued good health for Baby Marina. Larry Harris is out of the hospital after being there for almost two weeks! His surgery went fine, but now his wife, Kathy, tells me that he is having some nausea and is having a hard time eating anything. Please continue to pray for healing for Larry and that his heart will strengthen daily. Pray for the nausea to subside so that he can eat and get his strength back. And, for Kathy, pray for strength and peace. Phyllis Gentry is recovering, however, the doctors want her to have a bone scan and an MRI on her back before she can go back to her regular duties as being a care giver to a physically handicapped young woman. Please pray for continued healing for Phyllis and strength for Ramona (the young woman's mother) who is doing all of the lifting in Phyllis' absence. Robin Baughman had emergency surgery on the tumor on her brain and, amazingly, within just a few days she was up and walking! She is in good spirits now. She is experiencing some headaches possibly from swelling. She has to wait for her brain to heal before she can start the chemo for the cancer in her breast and lung. Please, lift Robin and her family up today. Pray for her supernatural healing. Pray for peace and comfort to surround her like a warm, fuzzy blanket. Pray for her husband to have the strength to be all that she needs him to be right now and pray for her four children see the love of Christ through their mother's struggles. William Hickson's seizures are under control now which is wonderful news, but a recent MRI indicated that he has some brain atrophy (or a decrease in size). Please, pray for little William. Pray for his doctors and especially for his mama and daddy, Alice-Lyle and Stan, as they search out what this means. Pray that Alice-Lyle and Stan can experience a peace that passes all understanding and can make decisions regarding their son's health and care with a godly wisdom. Pray that they can experience a supernatural strength - in themselves, in the Lord, and in each other. And pray for little daily miracles for William.

In a few more days, I will introduce you to my second contest winner, Brenda Olien, and her nominee so make sure and visit again soon!