Tuesday, January 27, 2009


First, I want to thank those of you who commented on my scene 2 posts ago. Your input was very helpful. Based on the counsel of trustworthy and godly friends, I am planning on changing it SLIGHTLY. I don't think you'll be disappointed, but that is why I stress that the snippets are UNEDITED. Chances are they'll change somewhat.

I told you in the last post that I would give you more info on baby Diesel as soon as I got it. Diesel Rhodes was born in October to Tanya and Nate Rhodes. They live in California, but since Diesel was born they have been calling Memphis home. See, Diesel was born with three tumors on his back and three on his brain. The Lord is already doing a miracle in Diesel because He removed the three from his back sometime between leaving Bakersfield, CA and arriving at St. Jude in Memphis. Diesel has already been through so much in the 3 1/2 - 4 months he's been on this earth, but as I mentioned in my last post, I believe that their circumstances will knit that precious family together and to the Lord with an unbreakable thread. And I believe that the perseverance Diesel is already showing will mold him and shape his character into a true warrior for the Lord one day! Watch and see. The Lord has big, BIG plans for baby Diesel. He will certainly be a walking, talking testimony of the Lord's mercy and great love for us! Please pray for his healing and strength. Pray for strength, peace, and comfort for Tanya and Nate. Pray for the wonderful doctors at St. Jude, that they will know exactly what to do to for baby Diesel.

Little William Hickson is in surgery as I type. Please keep him, his daddy, Stan, his mama, Alice-Lyle, and all of his doctors in your prayers. I'll post an update on him as soon as I get one.

Also, Kristin Miller is preparing for surgery tomorrow. Please pray for a supernatural peace to fall on her and her husband like a gentle rain and for a warm, fuzzy blanket of comfort and hop to wrap around them. Pray in advance for her doctors. Pray now that the Lord will guide their hands during her surgery. As with William, I will post and update as soon as I get one.

Also, please pray for my grandmother, Betty Moltz. She had a mild heart attack on Sunday. She's in the hospital and is supposed to be having a heart cath today along with a stint or angioplasy to help with any blockage. My mom said her spirits are good, and sometimes, I believe, that can make all the difference in the world! Please pray for strength and healing for her. Please, pray for comfort for my grandpa. And pray for wisdom for her doctors to know exactly what to do for her. And please pray for me, that I can sit 500 miles away from her and the rest of my family and NOT go crazy!

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! There really, really is!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Time To Be Refined

I'm back! Surprised to hear from me so soon??? :)

Well, I've only received a couple comments about the scene I posted last time so . . . don't know if it's that terrible and you just didn't want to hurt my feelings or if you are just too busy to post a comment. I'm going to assume it's the latter and pray I'm right!

I wanted to share this with you, though. I've been studying the Bible quite a bit lately. Initially my time in the Word was to help me find passages for The Heart's Journey Home, but discovered that I've found a great deal of comfort and strength in the words on those pages so the reason for my Bible time has shifted and so has the momentum on the book that I'm writing! Thursday I got down over 1800 words! It's just amazing what can happen when you get straight with the Lord!!! It's also amazing to me how much writing The Heart's Journey Home has brought me closer to the Lord. It has truly been a blessing to me and I hope it's just as much of a blessing to all of you when it is finally "born"!

So, as I was saying, I was studying the Bible and I came across Romans 5:3-5 which says, "And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing the tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance , character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." After I read that I thought to myself that whoever thinks the Bible doesn't relate to today's world, well, they haven't really read the Bible! Wow! Aren't we all facing tribulation is some way, shape, or form??? Financial (probably most common), illness, relationship issues, etc. Have you ever considered THANKING GOD for those tribulations? NO! Of course, not because they HURT! Why would we thank anybody for something that hurts???

I've read this story before. I'm sure you all have, too. Unfortunately the author is unknown so I don't know who to give the credit to. I'm sure all of the other websites that have used it (Just google "refining silver" and it comes up over and over) are as concerned as I am. :-/ Anyway . . .

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."

Today I AM thankful for hardships/tribulation/fire, whatever you want to call it. I AM thankful that the Lord holds me in the palm of His hands and helps me to persevere. I AM thankful for who I am becoming because of it, and I have hope that one day the Lord will see His image in me!

PRAYER REQUEST AND UPDATES: Please keep our little friend William Hickson and his mama and daddy in your prayers this week. This is a snippet from what his daddy, Stan, posted in their Caring Bridge journal: "(The surgeon) determined from the upper GI results that surgery needed to be done again to repair his original surgery. William's surgery is scheduled for January 27th. The surgeon indicated that the surgery may be more involved this time due to scar tissue and will probably take 3 hours . . . Please keep our family in your prayers on the 27th. We'll keep you updated on his progress." The Hickson's are a beautiful family. Although I'm sure they have their moments, their unwavering faith through all that little William has gone through, is inspiring to say the least! Please pray for William on the 27th and on the days leading up to the 27th. Pray for his doctors, that they will know exactly what to do to help little William. And pray for Stan and Alice-Lyle that they will be comforted and experience a peace that can only come from the Lord.

I also need you to pray for a baby named Diesel. I am getting more information on him and will post it as soon as I get it, but Diesel was born with tumors on his spine and brain. He is at St. Jude's Children Research Hospital receiving the very best of care. Please pray for miraculous and permanent healing for baby Diesel. Pray for his doctors, that they know exactly what to do to get rid of those nasty tumors and heal his little body. Pray for Diesel's mama and daddy, that they will be wrapped in a soft, fuzzy blanket of comfort and have peace showered on them like a gentle, steady rain from Heaven above. As I said, I'm acquiring Diesel's story and I will share it with you as soon as I have it, but in the meantime, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!!

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! There really, really is!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quick Snippet and Updates

*Sigh* (It's never good to start a post with a sigh.) It has been a while, I know. I apologize. Those who know me best know that I have been working very hard on The Heart's Journey Home. I was all set to make a post a few weeks back on New Year's resolutions, and maybe I still will, in a week or two. I thought about posting my thoughts on the changes taking place in our nation, but, really, everyone has their own opinions on that so who wants to hear mine??? I need to make this quick and get back to work. As a reward for your patience with me, I decided to post a snippet of The Heart's Journey Home that I've recently worked on, and then update my list of prayer requests. I wish I had more to give you, but time is short and valuable for this wife/mama/teacher/writer. So, without further ado, let me set up what you are about to read.

This is PART of the unedited scene that I mentioned in my last post. I struggled with this scene because in order to write it to the best of my ability I had to "get inside the head" of a non-believer. I don't know how to not believe in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But anyone who writes understands that all of my characters are real and they are all a part of me, so I spent a considerable amount of time pondering the questions, "What would my life be like if I didn't believe in Jesus?" and "How could I, an adult living in today's messed up society, ever wrap my brain around the idea that someone loves me so much that they would die for my sins?" I wondered what questions I would have. I also wondered who I would seek answers from when I reached the "seeking" point - someone nonjudgmental, someone that I could relate to, but was NOT relation, someone who would teach or coach me to a state of believing and then to an actual relationship with Christ without being "preachy", ya know? I have to acknowledge two people who helped me with this scene: Pastor Bob Maier at my church and Daon Johnson, a teacher at our school who is also a pastor. They really helped me with the question, "What do you say to someone who just doesn't get it, but who just might be searching for it?" The unexpected blessing in all of this (because there is an unexpected blessing in everything, ya know) is that doing the research, talking with Pastor and Daon, and meditating on the "What ifs" have deepened my faith and love for my Savior in a very special way. In this snippet, Adam Sullivan, one of the two heroes in this book, is searching for answers from a sweet, wise 87-year-old man (Who I absolutely LOVE. Really.) Grandpa Clayton is, coincidentally, the grandfather of Kate Sterling (the heroine). Obviously, I can't tell you the outcome of this scene or what role this scene will play in the further development of the storyline, but I am very, very interested to know what your opinions or critiques are on this scene. Is it effective? Did it move you? Or did you feel, eh, just indifferent? Or, did you completely hate it? Remember, this is just a part of the scene and also keep in mind that it is unedited. Okay. *Holding breath* Here ya go!

“So, Adam, how can I help you?” Grandpa Clayton asked lifting his coffee cup to his lips with a shaky hand.

“Well . . .” Adam swallowed hard. Since when did water become so thick? He laid his hand on his grandfather’s Bible. “I need to know what this is all about.”

“I’m not a theologian. I can only tell you what I believe based on eighty-seven years of experience.”

Adam’s gaze swept across the table to Kate and then fell to his grandfather’s Bible partially
hidden under his hand. “And I can’t promise that I’ll believe it.”

“Think you can have an open mind?”

“I’ll try.”

“Fair enough.” Grandpa Clayton took another swallow from his coffee cup. “Welp, what I know about the Bible is what it says in John 1.” He opened his large print Bible, flipped a few pages, and adjusted his strong bifocals. “Verse one says, ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.’ It goes on to say in verse fourteen, ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’”

Creases formed on Adam’s brow as he considered what Grandpa Clayton had said. “What exactly does that mean?”

“It means that the Bible is more than just a book of stories. It’s Jesus coming to earth, fulfilling all of the promises in the Old Testament, so that we could have an actual relationship with God.”

Adam looked down at his grandfather’s old, worn Bible. All he saw was a plain, ordinary book. Nothing special. Certainly not Jesus. “I’m sorry. That doesn’t make sense to me.” Adam shook his head and sighed. “I’m just wasting your time. I’ll get Chloe and go.” Adam scooted his chair back.

Kate jumped to her feet and held a hand out to him. “Wait, Adam! You haven’t even given it a fair shot.”

Grandpa Clayton chuckled. “And don’t worry about wasting my time. I got nuttin’ but time.”

“Alright then.” Adam picked up his Bible, held it out, and shook it. “Explain to me how this is Jesus.” Adam didn’t mean to be disrespectful. He certainly didn’t want to make a bad impression on Kate’s grandfather, but his frustration was becoming unmanageable.

Grandpa Clayton very calmly flipped a few more pages. “In my Bible, John 1:1 is cross referenced to 1John 5:20.” He pushed it across the table to Adam and pointed at the verse. “Read it for yourself.”

Adam stared at the page for a moment, numbers and words all mingled together. It was very befuddling, but he began to read where Grandpa Clayton indicated. “‘And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.’”

Grandpa Clayton pointed at his Bible. “That is what it’s all about.”

Adam didn’t know how to respond. He silently read the verse twice more. The passage was a nice thought, but it didn’t seem to apply to his life, his circumstances. He gently closed the Bible and pushed it back across the table. “It’s a pretty tough concept to grasp. Logically, it doesn’t make sense.”

Grandpa Clayton picked up his coffee cup and studied the design around the rim. “That is the case with much of God’s Word, but when a person makes the choice to believe even when it doesn’t make sense, he suddenly sees things in a whole new light.” Grandpa Clayton looked at Adam, his eyes gleaming from the fire burning brightly in his soul. “It’s called faith.”

PRAYER UPDATES: My first update, unfortunately, is not exactly happy news . . . at least not for us here on Earth. On January 8th, Kimiko Bryant "graduated to Heaven", in the words of her daughter and my friend, Rika. The family has such a positive outlook that it is impossible not to be moved by Kimiko's passing. But, that doesn't mean that there won't be moments of grief and loneliness for Kimiko's family. Please, in the days, weeks, and months ahead, please keep Kimiko's family in your prayers. Our friend, Kristin Miller, is preparing for surgery on January 28th. She is nervous and understandably so. If you remember in my last post, her previous surgery was much more difficult than they anticipated. I have access to her patient website and will be able to give you updates as soon as Kristin or her husband updates the site, but in the meantime, please lift Kristin and Jason up. Pray for peace. The kind of peace that instantly happened during that raging storm when Jesus simply said, "Peace, be still." The kind of peace that only Jesus can give. Lastly, for now, Jennie and Garth Griveas, parents to premie Nicholas is thrilled to report that they are expecting Nicholas will be coming home within a few weeks. He's almost 4 pounds now (That still sounds SO small to me!) and learning to drink from a little bottle. He has to have hernia repair surgery next week, but apparently it is a very common procedure with premies. And after that, he'll be ready to go home! Of course that's a good thing, but there will be some adjustments for Jennie and Garth at that point, too, not having that safety and security of the hospital and hospital staff. Pray that it'll be a very smooth adjustment for Jennie and Garth and that everythign will fall into place in a way that it will be evident it could only have been orchestrated by the Lord! Also, please continue to pray for sweet, little Nicholas, that he will continue to grow and develop beyond even the highest expectations. I got pictures of Nicholas today. What an absolute angel! Maybe I can get permission to post one. It's always nice to see who you're praying for. :)

That's it for now. Time to get back to work. 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! There really, really is!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Betcha Didn't Know . . .

Several weeks ago now, Mrs. Alber from Diddle Daddle Designs listed under My Favorite Blog/Site List "tagged" me and I'm just now getting around to participating (partly because I am really average and ordinary and it honestly took me that long to think of 6 half way interesting things about me). I encourage you to visit Mrs. Alber's blog. She is one creative lady and the mama of the wonderful high school Senior I have mentioned before. So this is how this particular tag game works: 1. Link to the person who tagged you. 2. Post the rules on your blog. 3. Write six random things about yourself. 4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them. 5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. 6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So now, without further ado, here are six very random (and hopefully somewhat interesting) things about me:

1. With each passing year I'm becoming more and more of an introvert. Really. In grade school, high school, and college I was classified as a social butterfly. These days, however, I really love being in my home with my family and familiar surroundings and occasionally going out with small groups of my closest friends. Right now I am sitting in my living room with a small fire in my fireplace. Everyone else is in bed. I'm listening to Jim Brickman (I LOVE him!), getting ready to work on what could be a very moving scene in The Heart's Journey Home, and, I tell ya, I'm as happy as a whole bucket of clams! :)

2. I have recurrent nightmares about two things: flying (in an airplane) and tornadoes. Funny, because I've flown before and we had a tornado touch down in our town a few years back, and I'm still alive to tell about those experiences. Hmm. Any dream interpreters out there?

3. I have a "bucket list". Right now there are really only 4 things on it - take my girls to Disney World, go whale watching in Alaska, visit Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and ring in a New Year in Times Square. (I'm not oblivious to the fact that in order to accomplish any of these I'm going to have to get over #2.)

4. I've been writing since grade school and wrote my first novel when I was a sophomore in high school. It was titles The Dark Side of the Mountain and I wrote it in spiral bound notebooks. My friends would read it and write their names in the margins to mark where they left off. What a fun keepsake!

5. While I'm typically a happy person . . . I cry at the drop of a hat! Once we went to the Eagle Sanctuary in Dollywood and they showed a video of Osceola, an eagle who had lost his wing in some sort of an accident. He would never be able to fly on his own again, but the good people at Dollywood took him out on a hang glider so he could have one last flight. I was a mess! It was embarrassing, but I couldn't help myself. It was so touching! Don't even get me started on the St. Jude commercials. And when I pray in public, I can't even make it through, "Dear Lord," without sniffling. Pah-thetic!

6. Last one. One of my many flaws (but probably my biggest) is that I am a terrible, and I mean terrible, house keeper! Laundry is the worst for me because there is NEVER a light at the end of the tunnel! Even when every single stitch of clothes is washed, dried, folded, and put away (and I'm doing good to get to the last two) we are still wearing clothes so there is STILL laundry to do!!! Ironically enough, though, I really, really enjoy my house when it is clean.

Now, I'm going to bend the rules a little. Hope that's, okay, Mrs. Alber. Since most of the people I know with blogs are my writing buddies that I've already linked to and I know they are super busy with deadlines and such, I'm going to tag ALL OF YOU! Make a comment to this post and tell me some interesting facts about yourself or feel free to comment on any of mine. (I'm sure my sister, Karen, will not hesitate to comment on Fact #2! She is constantly teasing me about being a scaredy cat, but she never hesitates to watch my girls for me when I need some writing time so I let it slide. Love you, Kiki!)

But enough about me . . .

PRAYER CONCERNS: Please pray for my dear, sweet friend, Janie Thornton. Janie has made a lasting impression on my heart when she shared her testimony with me last year and everyday as I watch her dedication and faithfulness to the Lord. Well, Janie's 92-year-old mother went home to be with Jesus on December 19th. I don't get to see my mom at Christmas but I always know that she's just a phone call away. I can't imagine going through the holidays without hearing her voice. Janie remains very faithful to the Lord and to His promises that she will see her mother again, but I'm sure she will have very heartsick, lonely times in the weeks and months to come. Please pray for comfort for her. Pray that wonderful memories will fill her brain and sustain her through her lows. And pray that God's love and the love of her family and friends will wrap around her like a soft and cozy blanket. I love you, Janie! Also, please pray for Kimiko Bryant. Kimiko is the grandmother of three wonderful students in our school. She has been diagnosed with lymphoma and has a tumor in her stomach. Her spirits are very low right now. Her daughter, Rika, asked specifically that we pray mightily for the Lord to fill her heart with an indescribable joy, a strong desire to live. Please, dear God, I'm praying that You give Kimiko the disposition of a young child on Christmas morning, a young woman walking down the aisle to her Prince Charming, a soldier reuniting with his family after many months of separation, and that mother holding her grown son, healthy and unharmed, after she had spent so many sleepless nights praying for his safe return. Father God, fill Kimiko's cup to overflowing with the joy and hope that only You can give. I'm also praying for healing and strength, comfort and peace and for the wisdom of her doctors.

UPDATES: Two posts ago I mentioned Kristen Miller. Kristin has Marfans Syndrome and is preparing for open heart surgery to repair a leaking valve. Her surgery is scheduled for Jan. 28 at the Cleveland Clinic. If all goes well, she will be in the hospital for seven days and home for six weeks of recovery. Kristin is very nervous because she had an open heart surgery a couple years ago and had one complication after another occur which left her in the hospital for months instead of weeks. Kristin nearly died. She gave me permission (through a mutual friend) to include a link to a blog she was keeping in which she journals about her harrowing experience: http://white-picket-fence.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html. This is what I honestly believe with all of my heart: I believe that the Lord has big plans for Kristin. I believe that He is going to use her to further His kingdom and, I don't know about you, but I just can't wait to see HOW He uses her, what mighty work He has in store for her and her husband, Jason! In the meantime, however, Kristin has a major hurdle to jump, but she will make it because we are going to pray her through it! There IS power in prayer! We must start right now THANKING God for bringing Kristin through her surgery with flying colors. Pray that the Lord will comfort Kristin and Jason and fill them both with a peace that passes all understanding in the quiet moments leading up to the surgery. Pray that the Lord will guide the doctors hands throughout the procedure. Pray for supernatural healing and strength afterwards. Also, I need you to please pray for their finances. Medical costs add up quickly, even with good insurance, and Kristin will be on a meager disibility income for several weeks afterward. I know that we are living in a hard time, economically speaking. Believe me, I understand that. But I also understand that the Lord has taught us to care for one another in times of need. In Matthew 25:34-40 Jesus says, "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" If you feel you can offer any monetary support to Kristin and Jason during their time of need, please email me personally and put "Kristin and Jason" in the subject line. Thank you! Now, I have an update that I've been busting at the seams to give you! I don't know if you remember our friend, Robin Baughman. She is the 40-year-old mother of 4 on our list of prayer concerns because she'd been diagnosed with stage four cancer in her brain, breast, and lung. Well, I just got word today that her brain is CANCER FREE!!!!! Woo hoo! She is undergoing treatments for the spots on her breast and lung, but what a victory! One battle won in this war she is fighting! We just have to pray her through two more and she will have stomped that nasty cancer into the ground! Please lift her up whenever you think of her. I've said it before and I'll say it again, and again, and again: THERE IS POWER IN PRAYER!

I have been and am still working hard on this very crucial scene in The Heart's Journey Home. It has been challenging, as I was telling some of my teacher friends at lunch today, because I've had to "get into the head" of a non-Christian. Thanks to my wonderful mother who made sure we were in church AND Sunday school every Sunday with few exceptions, I don't know how to NOT believe - in the Bible and its promises and truths; in Jesus and the amazing price He paid for us; in God, the Creator who gave up His one and only Son because He loves us that much. I don't know how to NOT be moved by that. So I've really had to spend a lot of time searching my heart with "What if" questions. I've sought the counsel of my pastor. I've probably bugged Chris to death with "Hey, Chris, do you think about this . . . " and "Hey, Chris, what do you think about that . . ." I've done quite a bit of praying, too, that the Lord will just tell me what to make this character do and say. When it's done to the best of my ability, I believe that I am going to have a pretty decent scene. Maybe, just maybe, I'll let you weigh in next time. But then again . . .