Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm Thinking About . . . the Ear

Well, not just any ear. Let me explain.

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday followed by Holy Week or the week that includes the arrest, crucifixion, and rising of our Lord and Savior. Everyone knows the story. But there's one detail of the story that I think sometimes gets just touched on and brushed aside. Maybe not, but today it struck me as incredibly profound.

Luke 22:49-51 says, "When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, 'Lord, shall we strike with the sword?' And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, 'Permit even this.' And He touched his ear and healed him." Although all four books of the Gospel report this event, only Luke states that Jesus touched the ear of Malchus (the name of the servant according to John) and HEALED him.

There are lots of discussion topics in these three short verses - how the disciples were quick to act, not even waiting for the word of their Lord; how they were quick to fight for Jesus in the garden, but then Peter denied him 3 times just a short time later; how Jesus didn't fight his arrest although he did nothing wrong. In some of the other books of the Gospel, Jesus states that this HAS to happen, that He knew it was going to happen. Today I want to focus on the healing.

My first thought is a rather common one, maybe. I thought, "Wow! He even healed one of the men that came to arrest Him!" And it is amazing! But then I thought, "Why? Why would Jesus do that?" We know that Jesus taught His followers (us) to love our neighbors as ourselves, including our enemies. He taught us to turn the other cheek when we've been wronged. Jesus is the ultimate example of pure, true love. Even so, I would think in my pitiful human brain, "Didn't Jesus have enough to be concerned about with his pending arrest, trial, and crucifixion?" Obviously, Jesus still had compassion on this man and healed him as a result. I think maybe another reason He healed Malchus was to set an example for the men who would soon be responsible for carrying on His Word, but maybe, just maybe He had yet another reason.

There are lots of ways to learn. One of my dear friends is a visual learner. Many are tactile learners. I'm not for sure, but I think I'm an AUDITORY learner - I learn best when LISTENING to what I'm supposed to know. Malchus needed his ears to LISTEN and LEARN the full meaning behind what we know as John 3:16. Jesus knew that. So He performed His final miracle before His death and resurrection on a nonbeliever who never asked to be healed. What do you think Malchus was thinking and feeling inside as this man who he was coming to help arrest reattached his ear? How could any human being not be moved and forever changed by that? Do you think he wondered if they were making a mistake but at that point was too chicken to say anything? Maybe he was too freaked out to think anything until long after it was all said and done. I don't know what ever happened to Malchus. Who knows? Maybe we'll all find out "the rrrest of the story" one day when we get to Heaven. In the meantime, I encourage you to keep your eyes and your EARS open for what the Lord wants to teach you each and every day.

PRAYER REQUESTS: My heart is very disturbed with these two new prayer requests I need to lift up. First, I need you all to pray mightily for a 7-year-old boy named Ethan Bibb. Ethan is undergoing an approximately 8 hour surgery tomorrow, March 31st, at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for a brain tumor. Apparently, Ethan was sick for about a week with what everyone thought was just a "bug". After about a week of not being able to hold anything down, they took him in for more testing and found a tumor about the size of a walnut at the base of his brain. This touches me very deeply because my Alison is 7 years old. Not only that, but if you look at this growing list of prayer requests there are several children on it with a form of cancer or some kind of tumor. Why, God? Why is this happening to our babies??? I don't mean to question the One who is in control of everything, but I don't understand it! Please, my prayer warriors, pray tonight and all day tomorrow for Ethan. Pray that the doctors will have Divine wisdom. Pray that the Lord will guide their hands. The brain is so delicate and yet so incredibly vital to our existence. Pray mightily that they will find that this tumor is BENIGN and not malignant!! Pray that with all of your heart! Pray that the Lord will hold Ethan's parents, Ferris and Robin, and his big sister, Lana, close to Him in His loving arms through the surgery and during the recovery process. Pray that the Lord will give them an abundance of patience and a peace that passes all understanding. Pray that young Ethan will recovery quickly, that he will grow stronger in mind, body, and spirit with each passing minute and that his pain is minimal. I believe that the Lord has big plans for Ethan and his family. Maybe he will even be the one to discover a cure for cancer. I believe it! Just like I believe that there truly is power in prayer! I will most definitely keep you updated as I receive updates.

Also, I need you to pray for a gentleman by the name of Leif Sherry. Leif & his wife, Sarah, live in Falls Church, VA, the county that backs up to Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, Leif has been missing since February 24, 2009 and was last seen at 8:30am, when he dropped his wife off at work. He never arrived to work himself, and has not been seen since. His cell has not been active since the same day at 2 when it was used to check his voice mail, and has since been turned off. His credit/check cards have also not been used. As of yet, he has not been seen, and his car has not been found. Sarah, who is pregnant with their first child, a son, is in Louisiana to be with her family during this time. Above all else, please pray for Leif's safe return. Though we do not know where he is, our Lord does. Please pray that the Lord is with him where ever he is, whatever situation he is in. Pray that the Lord is making Himself known to Leif so that Leif does not feel alone through this. Just pray that Leif is found.

Updates: My granny, Betty Moltz, was recently readmitted to the hospital with fluid around her lungs. She had surgery this past Friday to drain the fluid and it went well. She is still in the hospital but out of ICU, so that's good. Please pray for a speedy recovery for her and for a steady increase of strength.

My little Olivia turned 5 years old today! My goodness, how the time flies!!! Well, I had to take her to the doctor, just to be cautious, because she was complaining of a belly ache and Alison is working on getting over strep throat. Thankfully, Olivia does not have strep throat. The doctor was only slightly concerned that if her platelets had dropped too far below what they had been (18K) it might be an issue with her spleen so he wanted to get a platelet count. :o( Nothing like getting "poinky" shots on your birthday! They got a count there at the doctor's office and it was 15K, not a significant drop and enough platelets that the doctor felt very comfortable that her spleen was okay. He said that sometimes the office got a bad reading (for whatever reason) so they sent it off to the lab and he would call me if the lab got a different reading. About an hour of so later he called. The office got a bad reading alright! Livi's platelets are up to 55K!!! What a GREAT birthday gift! We've been happy dancing all over our house since. This could mean that she is free to do certain things now like possibly even play softball. She has her 5-year-old check up on Wednesday so I'll know more then. Even though this is great news, please continue to pray for Livi as she still has some healing to do. Please pray her prayer: "Jesus, thank you for healing me and please put more platelets in my body!"

Always feel free to send me prayer requests (even unspoken) through my personal email address found under my profile at the right. There truly is power in prayer!

That's it for now. I plan on posting again on Friday to update you on the progress I'm making on The Heart's Journey Home and maybe include another snippet. Maybe. I don't want to give too much away, though! :o) Also, in the near future, as soon as I have enough time to do as much reading as I would like, I am going to be posting reviews of books of fellow Sheaf House authors, of some of my other author friends, and of some authors that I just admire and enjoy reading. So be looking forward to that. Until next time, love and blessings to you and yours!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Progress Report

Fridays (or possibly Thursdays or Saturdays, depending on how busy our weekend is) are progress report days. *Sigh* So I guess I have to report that progress has been slower than I would like. My progress is about like Olivia's - baby steps! *Chuckle*

I just finished a very sweet scene between Kate and her daughter, Madeline. Remember this story is taking place three years after the death of her husband and she is trying to take another stab at living again. It is a very tender, soul-searching time for them both, but Maddie, with her pure, simple, child-like way of looking at things adds another dimension to the issues of the heart and eases some of the pain. I love writing scenes with Kate and Madeline because it reminds me so much of the sweet conversations I have with my two little girls. So, this is pretty rough, and it will probably change some but I'm letting you get a sneak peek at this scene I just wrote. Let me know what you think. First, a little background info: Adam, ONE of the heroes in The Heart's Journey Home, asked Kate to go to a function with him just as friends. After all, he'd had relationship issues in his past, too. His daughter, Chloe, is one of Kate's students. One side note: don't let the ending of this snippet fool you. It's not Adam at the door. With that cliffhanger, here is the UNEDITED snippet from The Heart's Journey Home:

Madeline hadn’t moved from her place on the bed. “Mama?”

Kate turned. “Yes?”

“Are you and Adam going on a date?”

Kate’s heart fluttered but she quickly snatched the phrase she'd been keeping at the front of her mind. “Yes, but it’s just casual. Adam and I are only friends.”

“Oh-h.” Madeline dragged the word out.

Kate chuckled and returned to her jewelry.


Preoccupied with untangling the gold chain of a black onyx pendant, she didn’t pivot her attention to Madeline. “Yes?”

“Do you think you’ll ever get married again?”

The question hit her like a ton of bricks and it took a minute for her to recover. She immediately forgot about the pendant and sat on the bed beside Madeline.

“I don’t know.” Kate shook her head wishing she had a better answer for Madeline. “I have no idea what the Lord has in store for us, but I’m certainly not thinking about marriage right now.” She wondered if her date with Adam had affected Madeline more than the little girl let on. “Why do you ask?”

Madeline shrugged and fingered a pink embroidered flower on her bodice. “I miss Daddy.”

Kate pulled Madeline close to her, fighting back tears. “Oh, baby, I do, too. Everyday.”

“But Adam and Chloe make my heart feel not quite so sad.” She looked up at Kate with her big chocolatey eyes. “Do you think that’s okay?”

A small grin played with Kate’s lips, her eyes glistening with the threatening tears. Madeline was moving on, too. A wad of contradicting emotions lodged itself in her throat and she could barely squeak out a whisper around it. “Yes, I think that’s okay.” Kate tucked a stray wisp of hair behind Madeline’s ear. “Daddy wouldn’t want you to be sad.”

“Yeah, I know. He wouldn’t want you to be sad either.” Madeline hopped off the bed and did a twirl in front of Kate’s mirror watching her skirt float around her.

As Kate watched her, she replayed the words Madeline had spoken just moments before. Adam and Chloe make my heart feel not quite so sad. The truth of the matter was, they had the same effect on Kate.

At that moment the door bell rang.

So? What did you think? I wish I could give you more, but you'll have to wait until next Friday (or Thursday or Saturday).

PRAYER REQUESTS: I have several new requests to give you. Please pray for Ned Oeder. He was recently diagnosed with liver cancer and he has no insurance. He will be going this week to try a certain treatment, but there is concern that his lack of insurance will be a huge issue. Please pray first and foremost for healing. Please pray that Ned will have strength, in his mind, body and spirit. Please pray that Ned and his family, especially his dear sister Nancy who was the one who gave me this request for prayer, will experience a comfort that could only come from the Lord. Also, I want to pray that Ned's financial needs will be met and that his lack of insurance WILL NOT hinder the doctors from treating him. Pray that the doctors will be overcome with compassion for their fellow man in need. Pray for them to have the wisdom to treat Ned's cancer effectively and efficiently. Cancer is a tough competitor, but our God is TOUGHER!!!

I also need you to pray for Dave Dean, who is the brother-in-law of a niece of a friend of mine. Dave has suddenly gone missing. He is in his early 30s and recently lost his job. He left his cell phone behind in his apartment, but his keys and wallet are missing along with his car. He hasn't been seen since last Thursday. The police have checked his bank activity and he hasn't accessed his account since he disappeared. His family, naturally, is frantic. Above all else, please pray for Dave's safe return. Pray for a mighty peace for his family. I can't imagine the worry, fear, and concern they must be feeling. I'm asking you to pray that the Lord wiped that away with His presence and love. That He holds Dave's family tight in the comfort of His arms until their questions are answered.

UPDATES: If you remember several weeks ago I asked you to pray for Dave Coleman who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has his prostate removed in a very aggressive surgical procedure at the Cleveland Clinic. The surgery went great. There were complications post-surgery (including an infection and e-coli), and he ended up in the ICU for nearly three weeks. But the blessing is that he is home since last week and resting comfortably in his own surroundings, with the love and support of his wife, kids and grandkids. Praise the Lord for that! It's always good to be at home. Please continue to pray for healing and strength for Dave and peace and comfort for his lovely wife, Toni.

My cousin, Karianne Peltier who is expecting her first child, had a really hard week. She was in the hospital with terrible sickness. She has GERD which has to do with gastric . . . stuff. (I'm SOOO not a medical person!) and I believe it has been aggrevated with morning sickness. I'm happy to report that she is out of the hospital and is eating things like bananas, cranberry juice, and soft foods. She is suppose to always have something in her stomach. If she always has food in her stomach it will absorb the acid and hopefully prevent the GERD. She is also on a nausea med. Through all of this the baby is doing just fine! Praise God, again!!! Please continue to pray for strength and health for Karianne and for mighty protection for this new little life growing in her.

Our new little friend, Katie Leach, has had to go back to the hospital for an ultrasound on her lung. Apparently there was a spot on her lung that the doctors are confident will be taken care of with the chemo that they are going to treat her with. The oncology reports indicate that this cancer is "favorable" - that it will respond well to chemo. From what it sounds like, the purpose of the ultrasound is just for the doctors to be certain of their treatment options. Please pray that the doctors will learn what they have to and know EXACTLY how to treat this illness so that Katie will be completely healed. Pray for Katie to remain strong in mind, body, and spirit. Pray for Ashley and Ron. They have shown an amazing faith - so much so that I have been greatly inspired, but there is a knot in their bellies to know they had to go back to the hospital. They mentioned in a post that it is so easy to go back to worrying. I can understand that. Especially when it is involving YOUR child. So, I just pray that they can feel a peace that can only come from the Lord. I pray that they can just take a deep breath.

My best friend, Patty Smith, was in Houston this past week and got a positive response from the doctors there. They are planning on trying a new medicine. She will hear later this coming week regarding the specifics. Please continue to pray for her, Ken, and their kids for healing, strength, comfort and peace. I've heard from many of you that you are praying for her regularly and I'm so glad. There really is power in prayer! I'll continue to update you as I get new information.

My Olivia is still doing okay. Physically and spiritually she is the same sweet little Olivia that she's always been. I can't possibly know what her blood is doing. Please pray, as she does every night (It's so sweet!), that "Jesus will continue to heal (her) and help (her) make more platelets." She has more blood work scheduled in two weeks. I'll update you about Olivia then. As for right now, we are getting ready to have Olivia a birthday party so I'll be able to post pictures of her on Monday. It should be interesting. Ten 5-year-olds. Maybe you should pray for Chris and I! :o)

Until next time, love and blessings to all of you!

Monday, March 23, 2009

God's Will

First, I want to welcome my new subscribers! I hope that you can find some source of inspiration on this little "online interactive journal". I tend to look at things from a simple-minded point of view (after all, I teach 3rd graders) so if you're looking for something deep and soul stirring, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. I mostly update my readers on the progress on my first novel, The Heart's Journey Home, scheduled to be published in Feb 2010. (That's less than a year! *Squeal!*) I sometimes post snippets of chapters for preview and critique, occasionally I'll have an inspiring thought to share, but, honestly, the best part about this blog for me, the most fulfilling part, is that I get to share prayer requests with you, and there is so much to pray about in this world we're living in! It's why I'm posting again tonight.

Mondays (hopefully, if I can stay on schedule) are going to be set aside for a word or two that I'm learning in this Bible study my mom and I are doing together called, Experiencing God. I'm only on Day Two so I figured that I wouldn't really have anything to share tonight, but I did come across something that struck me personally as very profound.

Have you ever considered that you SHOULDN'T ask God what His will is for your life? I think that's all I've done and I've felt good about it because I was seeking God's will, right? WRONG! When you ask what God's will for your life is, the central focus is not on Him, but on you! Oooooo. Now I feel like sludge! So what should you do? That is what I wanted to know since I've apparently been doing it all wrong. The answer: simply seek God's will. PERIOD. It may have nothing at all to do with you, but if you see the Lord at work (And you WILL know it if you see it. It's beautiful to watch the Lord work! Simply beautiful!) make it your work, too. Jesus said in the book of John chapter 5, verse 19, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing because whatever the Father does the Son also does."

I know many of you are experiencing hardships. I'm thinking specifically of unemployment. I don't know for sure. Like I said, I'm pretty simple-minded about things, but I think that maybe if you seek the will of God in the world around you, do only what you see the Father doing, you will discover God's will for your life. Just a thought.

PRAYER REQUESTS: I'm afraid this is the real reason I posted again tonight. Prayer warriors, I need you to prepare for battle. The first one is breaking my heart as I type it. It's concerning a child and you all by now know how I am about kids. My heart strings are being yanked on. This prayer request came to me from a friend. This past weekend, her friends, Scott and Amanda Hunter, lost their precious 11-year-old daughter, Kristin, to MRSA, a type of staph infection in addition to pneumonia. Kristin spent about a week at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, but this sweet angel was just too sick to recover. Scott and Amanda will be burying their daughter this Wednesday at 11am. I am heartsick for Scott and Amanda. I don't know what else to say. What can be said to ease the pain and sorrow of the two people that have spent eleven years loving this child, watching her grow, hearing the sweet music of her laughter over and over? If nothing else, this should remind us all how fleetingly precious life is. Please, my prayer warriors, lift Scott and Amanda up as you never have before! Pray that they will have the strength to make it through these first terribly, almost impossibly, difficult weeks. Pray that each minute they make it through will bring them healing and a measure of peace. Pray that when they are weak they will find solace in the Lord's strong and mighty arms, and in each other. Pray that Scott and Amanda are wrapped in the comfort and love of their family and friends. Pray that their emptiness be filled with only the Lord. Please also pray for the children in Kristin's class. How can an 11-12-year-old child begin to try to comprehend what has happened to their friend? Naturally, they will wonder, "Will it happen to me?" It's the way children think. Pray that their minds are eased, their worries cast away. Pray that the teachers and counselors know what to say to help these children cope. I personally pray that every single person reading this will hug their children a little tighter this evening. Scott and Amanda, I am so sorry for your loss. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you. Until then, we'll pray.

I also need you to pray for Tammy Morgan. Tammy has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She will begin an intense regiment of DAILY chemo and radiation. The doctors apparently haven't given Tammy much hope, but we know that with the Great Physician there is always hope. Please pray for Tammy for healing first and foremost. Please pray that she will experience a comfort that she has never experienced before. Pray that she will just feel the Lord's strong arms wrapped around her, rocking her gently like the wonderful daddy that He is. Pray for a peace that could only come from Heaven. Pray for Tammy's family. It is not easy to watch a loved one go through somethign so difficult. Please pray that they will have the strength they need to help her every step of the way.

I also need you to pray for my cousin, Karianne Peltier. Karianne is going to have a baby, but she is very, very sick. Please pray first and foremost for the safety of Karianne and this precious life growing inside of her. Please pray that her sickness will ease considerably. Please pray for her doctors to have divine wisdom. Karianne was supposed to have seen her doctor today so hopefully I'll have an update for you very soon.

Speaking of UPDATES: My friend Patty Smith is getting ready to travel to Houston. She and her husband are going to be able to fly with an organization called Corporate Angels. I don't know that much about it but apparently they fly cancer patients to where they need to go for little or no cost. What a blessing! She will be heading out on Thursday and I will be waiting anxiously for an update which I will most certainly pass along to you. Please pray mightily that the Lord will be right there with them when they meet this doctor. Pray that this doctor will have the wisdom to know exactly what to do for Patty so she can be healed once and for all! Pray that Patty and Ken will be encouraged and comforted as never before!

Here is an update on Katie Leach from today written by her mother, Ashley: 3/22/09 7:30 p.m. ummmmmm--one of Katie's surgeon's just left. She saw our girl, checked her belly, asked a few questions. We told her Katie has been up in the chair since 11:30 this morning. Yes, you heard that right--Katie has been up almost ALL day long! yea! This particular surgeon said she is not the final say on this, but she also said Katie looks so great she might be able to go home TOMORROW!!!! Are we hearing that right?! We need to get a few more things settled--still waiting for that pathology report, Katie needs to do some walking and the other surgeon needs to sign off. But, kids--we might get to go home tomorrow! Keep praying! I'm thrilled beyond words! Don't know what else to say! May it be! :) Ashley If you have a facebook account, you really have to join the group "Praying for Katie Leach" and get to know this amazing family. They have made me see things in a whole new light. If you don't have a FB account, consider getting one. It's a really wonderful communication tool.

Also, my Olivia has another blood test tomorrow to check what her platelet count is doing. It's been a month and a half. Please pray that her body is starting to heal and that her platelet count will start coming up.

That's it for now. Please, always feel free to email me prayer requests (even unspoken). There is truly and undeniably power in prayer. Please, forward this blog address to all of your praying friends and ask them to join in lifting up our list of prayer concerns. Also, please consider subscribing to this blog. It's just a matter of convenience. It's free and you will be automatically notified of new posts. I sincerely appreciate your support of this ministry of sorts that I've started in hopes of spreading this little light of mine in a dark and gloomy world.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Proud to be a Tough Little Nut!

It's true. I really am proud to be a nut. Not the way you're thinking right now as you're chuckling to yourself. I'm not off my rocker or anything like that . . . yet (at least I don't think I am). I used to think I was that kind of a nut for wanting to make a difference in this world. What was I thinking? What difference could one very average and ordinary person make in this great big wide world??? Then I read a saying that Deb Kinnard, a very talented author also with Sheaf House, has as a part of her signature at the bottom of her emails. It read: "Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground." Is it even possible to make an impact in this world we're living in without being a tough little nut? I don't think so.

So here's to Einstein - no explanation needed. Here's to Benjamin Franklin - I mean, come on. He flew a kite in an electrical storm! If he wasn't a little off his rocker before his experiment, I'm sure he was after it!! How about Harriet Tubman or more recently Rosa Parks? Now there are two tough ladies that certainly held their ground! How about Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin, both founders of the polio vaccine? How about Billy Graham, probably one of the most notable evangelists in recent history? I could go on and on naming people, but you get the idea. It's okay, even good, to be a tough little nut!

I'm gonna move right in to tell you about a new little friend of mine who I believe is a tough little nut and will someday be a mighty oak tree. Katie Leach (pictured here with the permission of her mama, Ashley) is the great niece of a wonderful lady that belongs to the writer's group that I'm a member of. Sweet Katie is 6 1/2 years old and has just recently had a FOOTBALL sized tumor removed from her abdomen. She has been in a considerable amount of pain as this incision was rather large for her little body. That is the hardest part for me to read as a mama, besides the fact that you all know how I am about kids. They pull on my heart strings! Ashley and Ron (Katie's daddy) have done an excellent job updating Katie's status and SPECIFIC prayer requests on their facebook page so (with Ashley's permission) I'm going to copy their latest post for you:

3/22/09 8:45 p.m.Ahhhh-relief! After a morning of pain and fitful resting, Katie had a much better afternoon. The pain is very minimal at this time. We have some great meds on board and very scheduled throughout the day and night to stay on top of the pain, despite the fact the epidural being gone. Thank you, Jesus. Yet Satan continues to try to frustrate our plans. Although, it doesn't seem to bother her, she does have a small rash on her chest and neck. Benadryl is coming shortly to help relieve that; but we may have to play with the pain meds a bit to make sure it's not a reaction to the most recent changes. Please pray that Katie would feel relief and not have any more adverse reactions to her medicines. (She would crawl in a hole if she knew I was telling you this next part!) Katie had a bowel movement today! That's great news! And actually, that seems to have helped relieve some of the pain as well. The surgeon "guessed" that her moving bowels might have been causing the pain to some extent. I think he had some divine intervention! She's been moving herself up in her bed now, moving her legs around so much more while in bed and is so much more light hearted. She's feeling much better--even being silly with her nurses! We're seeing glimpses of our old Katie Bug again. I told her my heart was so happy to see her feeling better that I could just jump around the room! She smiled; but still doesn't want to laugh--it hurts too much! She did get up to the chair again today--sat for 90 minutes this time! Any little bit helps!Please continue to pray for her pain relief, either supernaturally or with drugs. Also, pray for her peace of mind. She gets so nervous when any hospital staff comes in that she tenses up and makes her belly hurt worse. That breaks my heart! So there is still a tremendous amount of explaining to do. Pray that the peace that passes all understanding would guard her heart and mind (and belly). If you find any other scriptures about peace that you could pray over her, feel free to do so! It's cool to pray God's own words back to Him!! Pathology reports are expected late tomorrow or Tuesday. Keep praying! Also keep praying for our other kids--they are missing their big sister and their parents. We're hoping to get the kids together once a day from here on out til we get home. Pray that does not wear anybody out! Praise God for fantastic nurses, a persistent surgeon who will not accept pain for our little girl; precious grandparents who are able and willing to help with all the "other" stuff; and facebook that allows us to update in an easy way. I'm still convinced and amazed at the goodness of God. I pray you know His goodness toward you, as well! (Romans 8:31-32)

Please pray for Katie Leach. I also want you to pray for Ashley and Ron. I have been so moved by they faith they have shown through this. What a wonderful example they are! If you have a facebook account, please go and join the group, "Praying for Katie Leach". If you don't have a facebook account, get one! :o) Seriously, it has been wonderful for me to reconnect with my friends from high school who I haven't seen in 15 years, to be able to stay in touch with my aunts and cousins who live in Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan, and keep up with friends that I see everyday! It is also a great tool for prayer and support when someone is going through a hard time.

Please pray for Lisa Fryer, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery this past Tuesday. I don't have many details right now but as soon as I get them, I'll post them.

My granny, Betty Moltz, has been in and out of the hospital two more times since her initial heart trouble, but is home now and doing well. Please pray for her for strength and continued healing. My best friend from high school, Patty Smith, who you all know because I've mentioned her many times, got some discouraging news about a week ago. The chemo that her doctor has been treating her with is apparently not working and they've run out of treatment options in Cleveland. The good news is that there is a doctor that specializes in rare ovarian tumors in Houston, TX, and she is scheduled to see that dr this Thursday. Know that I will be waiting right by my phone for updates on that situation. Continue to pray first and foremost for healing! I want my friend healed! Pray for travelling mercies. Pray that this dr in Houston will have a Heavenly wisdom when it comes to Patty's condition. Pray for her, her husband, and her children that they will have a supernatural peace and comfort. Again, I'll update you soon. My sister, Julie, and her husband, Jon, welcomed Kaylee Ann Roeder into the world this past Friday. They are home and doing well, praise be to God! Please continue to pray for them as they make this transition. Lastly, but certainly not least, my little Olivia has been stable since my last post. Her platelet count is still quite low but for several weeks now were still on the low end of okay. This booger of an illness just doesn't want to quit, as is the case with ITP. She will have more blood work on Tuesday and go from there. It has been week to week, watch and wait. Grrr. That is VERY difficult to a mama who likes things all laid out nice and neatly in black and white. Is there really room for gray area when you're a mama? I don't know, but I do know that I've learned a lot about my faith through this illness of Olivia's. I've grown tremendously throughout the past several years, I've grown some more just since Livi's been sick, and I still have a ways to go, but He is the Potter and I am the clay. As long as He's molding me, I guess I'm okay.

: Yes, I'm posting goals. As you can see, I haven't been very regular with this blog partly because I have been consumed with Olivia and partly because I've been consumed with my novel. My goal is to change that. I am doing a Bible study called "Experiencing God" with my mom and my intention is to blog on Mondays (starting next Monday) about what I've learned in this Bible study. Fridays will be my progress check in days. I'm down to crunch time. My OFFICIAL deadline is May 1st. I will probably be writing at least 500 words/night until then. Accountability is a beautiful thing. Any other days during the week will be dedicated to prayer requests and updates and any other insightful tidbit I might come across. So, if I don't meet you back here before then, I'll visit with you again on Friday, 3/27. In the meantime, I want to invite you to check out the wonderful Sheaf House website. We have some really remarkable projects that are already available and others that will soon be available. I'm very proud to be a part of this company and I think just by browsing the website you'll begin to see why. Also please stop by my friend, Deb Kinnard's website ( I've put up links for easy access to both. And always remember that if you have a prayer request of any kind (even an unspoken request) email me and I'll be more than happy to post it. Yep. You know it. There IS power in prayer!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mustard, please!

It has been a very stressful few weeks. Olivia is still recovering from her illness and we learned yesterday that she may be recovering for several more months. But God is good, and we witnessed Him work in our little family yesterday. But I'll save that for another post. Today I wanted to talk to you about mustard seeds. Yes, that's right, mustard seeds. (You know where I'm going with this, don't you?)

Did you know that a mustard seed is only about 2mm in diameter? For those of you (like me) who are NOT into the metric system and are perfectly happy with inches and feet, 2mm is equal to 0.2cm. That's tiny. Not grain of sand tiny, but tiny.

"So what? Who cares?" you might be asking. Well, I just think it's quite phenomenal that once planted and nurtured, the mustard seed grows into a shrubby sort of tree that not only provides adequate shelter for birds and other creatures, but the plant is persistent and powerful enough to crack cement when growing.

Above is a picture of a "tree" that Jesus may have been referring to when He referred to the mustard tree in his parables. Impressive? No, but I don't think faith has to be big and showy to be a force mighty enough to crack cement. It doesn't have to be huge to provide us with shelter from life's many storms. I've decided to blog on the mustard seed today because lately I've needed to be reminded of the power of faith, and I just thought maybe you could use a mini faith boost, too. If not, maybe this will at least be entertaining for you. :o)

Adam Sullivan, one of my characters in The Heart's Journey Home, is searching for the meaning and purpose of faith in a scene I recently wrote when he stumbles across Matthew 17:14-20 which says, "And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 'Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.' Then Jesus answered and said, 'O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.' And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, 'Why could we not cast it out?' So Jesus said to them, 'Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

The idea that from something so small and seemingly insignificant can come something so powerful and mighty that NOTHING is impossible is inspiring to me, and it was also to Adam. You'll have to wait to find out how it inspired him. As for me, most of the time I feel small and insignificant, like a mustard seed, my 2mm-sized faith is often at odds with the worries of the world. But when I see the difference my faith has on my children and my students, I can see the cement start to crack. When I hear the words of my dear friends as they pour prayers over me for Olivia and my family, I can hear that concrete busting.

It's not always easy to nurture even a seed so small. Most everyone I know has struggled at some point in their lives, whether it amounts to just a bump in the road or a major detour. The good thing is, as my friend Marsha helped me to learn, God has already planted that mustard seed in us, given each one of us a "measure of faith". By studying the Scriptures, sharing in fellowship with other Christians, and spending time in prayer, that seed is being nurtured and it's growing. And, as I've recently found out, when I can't physically or mentally nurture that seed myself, the Lord is faithful to send helpers to tend to it in my weakness. Thank you, dear Jesus!

*Shrug* I don't know where I'd be without my faith. I know it grows stronger everyday. Yep. I know the cement is cracking somewhere along this road I'm on. My prayer is that somewhere along the way, these words I write, these simple stories I tell, will inspire someone's heart and nurture their mustard seed so that more cement begins to crack. One by one, little by little, mustard can change the whole world! . . . Well, kind of. :o)

PRAYER REQUESTS AND UPDATES: I was recently informed by one of my high school friends that another friend, Jaime Smith, has been diagnosed with breat cancer. Jamie and her husband, from what I understand, had their first baby in December and then Jamie had surgery in February. I'm not sure if it was this past December and February or a year ago. Regardless, Jamie and her husband are in need of prayer. Please pray for Jamie for complete healing and supernatural strength. Pray that the Lord with comfort both Jamie and her husband in such a way that they know it can only be the Lord's loving arms. I will post an update on Jaime as soon as I have one. Also, please pray for my grandma, Betty Moltz. She has been readmitted to the hospital with fluid around her lungs. This is the second time since she was hospitalized with a mild heart attack. Please pray that her lungs and heart will be healed and that my Granny will regain her strength everyday. I also want you to pray for my friends Jen and Ryan Millard, who have received some devastating news. They need comfort and peace, a peace that goes way beyond the human capability, a peace that can only come from the Lord. Lastly, I am going to kindly ask you to pray for Olivia, that her body will be completely healed over then next couple of months. Remember, if you or someone you know is in need of prayer, please email me privately (through my profile) and I will be happy to include the request on our list. There IS power in prayer!!!