Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Know That I Know

This is how I know the Gospel is true. . .

I've seen people broken and damaged far beyond human repair come back to life.

I've watched cold, dead eyes begin to sparkle with hope again.

I've witnessed disastrous marriages becoming beautiful displays of grace.

I've held hands with the elderly who knew Christ so well, they couldn't wait to get home to him.

I've embraced people dealing with some of the most difficult situations known to man and sensed their strength and peace right in the heart of their storm.

I've listened to previously hard, selfish, dangerous men weep in grief over the pain they've caused others and then celebrate in joy what Christ has done for them.

I've hurt, but I've been comforted.

I've hungered, but I've been filled.

I've feared, but I've been calmed.

I've doubted, but I've been reassured.

I've run, but I've been pursued.

I've disobeyed, but I've been forgiven.

I've been broken, but I've been restored.

I've been crucified with Christ, but I've been resurrected to abundant life.

I have a new heart, and every day Christ does something in it that surprises me. Something that I never could have orchestrated on my own.

This is how I know the Gospel is true.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Good List 3-27-13

10. Capers. They're my new favorite addition to salads and sandwiches and all sorts of other things. I love olives, but they can get fattening if you eat too many. Capers add a similar tanginess with no worries of overdoing fat and calories. Yum!
9. The drink machine at Moe's. It's like a party in your cup! So many fun opportunities! :-D
8. The gatorade that almost makes me excited to work out so that I can enjoy this after. ;-)

7. Reading this Robert Frost book. It makes me feel very Vermonty. 

6. Homemade chicken noodle soup. I'm not a food snob, and I've eaten plenty of soup from a can, but you just can't beat the homemade stuff, especially after a few days of feeling icky.
5. Benadryl. I had the most bizarre reaction to a bug bite on my temple last week. Let's just say I was very grateful for Benadryl. (And VERY special thanks to our friend Barby for providing some quickly when we didn't find any in our medicine cabinet.) 
4. Adding another piece of cast iron to my collection, courtesy of my friend Barbara. Oh man. The only thing better than one big round cake of cast-iron baked cornbread with crusty edges is 6 individual pieces of cast-iron baked cornbread with crusty edges all around each piece. YUM! (Thank you, Barbara!) This bad boy's about to get a workout. I'm thinking cornbread, scones, "muffins". What are you hungry for? :-D

3. My very own copy of John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. Jared has one that he keeps in his office, but I can dig into this one at home and mark it all up and make it my own. Looking forward to it!

2. Fresh memories of precious Jack Jack giggles and sweet baby Luke snuggles. And let's not forget good ol' Glory. Love this family like they are our very own.

1. Jared and I are going to Disneyworld! Since we're making a trip to Orlando anyway for TGC, it seemed wasteful to be there and not visit Mickey. ;-) Macy and Grace gave us permission to go without them since it's only a couple days and Grandmom will be with them while we're gone. We honeymooned there, so it will be an experience rich with memories and overflowing with gratitude for what God has done in and through and for us through the years. Also, this will be our first opportunity to spend some extended time with our new sister-in-law, Danielle, who will be attending with Jared's brother (aka her husband :-D). LOTS to look forward to!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prayer Time 3-26-13

Today I'm praying for a precious baby girl currently in the care of my sister Jody and her husband Jon. Baby Lilli came to them as a foster child, but they would very much love to be her forever family. Important meetings will take place this afternoon during which many will weigh in on decisions which could certainly affect her entire future. Please pray for wisdom throughout the day, for God's presence to be deeply felt by those attending these meetings, and for peace, grace and confidence for Jody and Jon.

Also, please continue to join me in these prayers as we lead up to Easter this week. May we all feel the weight of our sin this week and understand the gravity of what Christ did for us, but SO MUCH MORE, may we rest in the finished work of the cross. 

What may I add to my list on your behalf? Prayer requests are welcome in the comments section, and as always, comments on this post will not be published publicly for the sake of those concerned with privacy.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Praying for Pastors and their Families this Week

It occurred to me last night as I was thinking through our week that Easter week is likely the most demanding time of the year for most pastors and their families. With that in mind, I would like to encourage all of those families who serve in leadership roles within their churches and let them know that I will be praying for them throughout this week. Additionally, I'd like to encourage EVERYONE to be praying for their own pastors and others as they serve throughout the week and prepare for the weekend.

Let's pray for quality time for pastors and their families during a week when quantity will most likely not be possible. Jared will be away from home every night this week except Tuesday teaching, preaching, or leading in some way. Some of this is just the "regular" events of any given week, but we have 2 added weeknight services this week for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. This may or may not be the case for all churches, but my guess is that there will be some level of additional responsibility for most every pastor this week.

Let's pray for focused and efficient preparation. In addition to the "normal" services and events of each week, our particular church family will have 3 extra services. Of course, each of these will differ in the intensity and level of preparation required, but certainly they will require extra time and attention from our pastors. This means either more time away from home in their offices or more time at home spent focused on their studies rather than their families.

Let's pray for pastors' wives who will likely feel like single Moms for much of this week. Based on the 2 points above, it is likely that many pastors' wives will not get much help or attention from their husbands this week, and in fact, many of these pastors will most likely need more help from their wives than they typically ask for. Rest assured that most of us know what we signed up for in our marriages to ministers, and we try not to spend the difficult times in fetal position in a corner. ;-) However, certainly there are times when it is easy to become so exhausted and distracted by "ministry" that we have no time for the sweet moments and fun times of the holidays with our own families. Let's pray that God will grant special moments for stillness in the midst of days that seem the opposite of still and fun memories of time spent together, however brief.

Let's pray for overwhelming grace for those who face this added workload in the midst of difficult ministries. By God's grace, our family is part of one of the most amazing bodies of believers I've ever encountered. They love, serve, and support each other (and us!) better than any community I've ever known. So while we will certainly be pooped out by the end of this week, we will be joyfully pooped out. We are not so naive as to believe this is true of everyone. In fact, we know some for whom this isn't true. Many pastors faithfully serve in already incredibly difficult situations. Places that don't feel like home. Congregations who don't support or respect them. Overly demanding expectations or many different sets of expectations which contradict each other. The list could go on and on. For those who live these difficulties week in and week out, their "normal" task list likely already feels like more than they can handle. Let's pray that rather than having the additional demands of Easter week make their burdens even heavier, that somehow the added focus on Christ's finished work on the cross will release chains and set their hearts to freedom.

Let's pray for hearts and minds stubbornly focused on the Gospel. I know it will vary from church to church as to the extent we see this happen, but I think it's a safe assumption to say that most every church will experience higher attendance this weekend than usual. I would imagine this leads to all sorts of creative thinking as to what is the very best message to offer to this larger-than-usual-crowd which may or may not be more heavily populated with unbelievers than our typical weekend gatherings. But the truth is that whether they attend church once a year on Easter Sunday or three times a week every single week, what ALL souls need is the Gospel. May our pastors stay focused on this and not be tempted to steer toward a watered down or more "attractive" message. What happened leading up to Easter was not attractive in any way EXCEPT FOR what it delivered to hopeless sinners. May we pray that our pastors will trust the Holy Spirit to open hearts to receive the truth. May they flee from all thoughts to deliver little more than a warm, fuzzy feeling on Sunday morning, and may they realize that for those who may only attend church once a year, there is no more critical message than the ugly, yet beautiful truth of what the Gospel really means.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Good List 3-13-13

10. A huge bag of yumminess from my friend Tammy. We have been enjoying it so much!

9. I don't mind winter, but it's starting to sound like spring around here, and I *certainly* don't mind that.
8. It's a short school week! We pick the girls up at noon today, and the rest of the week will be an amazing adventure. Albany tomorrow and then NASHVILLE!!! I'm so excited! Grateful for such perfect timing.
7. Choremonster. I've used "charts" with the girls for awhile, with varying degrees of success. This is an electronic system that speaks their language and ironically helps me keep them OFF electronics (other than their chore charts) until the work is done. So far they love it. Certainly this is the first system I've used that has them asking for extra chores to earn more points. ;-) 
6. Coming in September. Awesome. 
5. Crafty little Macy decided it was time for her striped long sleeve pullover to become a vest. I have to agree it's super cute this way.

4. This makes me a special kind of happy. Especially this part:

I love the hearts and minds of both of these men. Combining them just enhances the awesome of both. :-D
3. We're all booked for TGC in April! This week (and in alternate years the week of T4G) is one of mine and Jared's favorite and most refreshing weeks of every year. SO looking forward to it!
2. Gracie (9) has written her first manuscript. It was a lot of work just for me to re-type it, so I know she worked REALLY hard to write it! Quite entertaining, I must say!

Dedicated to her Dad. So sweet.

1. I'll be snuggling with these little monkeys in 2 DAYS!!!!! CAN. NOT. WAIT!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gracie's First Manuscript

The Miracles, Tragedies and Terrors

By: Grace Elyse Wilson

***This is the story of a woman's miracles, tragedies, and terrors, and how she gets through them. Written from the woman's point of view.

Dedicated to: my Dad who is an author, and also the one that inspired me.

Character Bio:

Name: Shirley Matthews
Hair: Curly, Long, Red Hair
Eyes: Dark Blue
Family: Bob (husband), Jake (1st child), Billy (2nd child)
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Food: Lasagna
Favorite Animal: Giraffe
Favorite Activity: Hiking
Favorite Book: Hunger Games
Favorite State: Kansas
Favorite Word: Discombobulated
Favorite Dog Breed: Bull Dog
Favorite Hobby: Writing Stories about herself
Favorite Number: 72
Birthday: March 18th
Job: Stay at home Mom

The Horror Because of the Nap

I was 2 weeks away from having my baby. The closest hospital was 3 hours away. My husband Bob and I knew that I would have to get to the hospital quicker when it would be time to have my baby. Knowing that, I planned to drive to a hotel when I was a little more than a week away from my due date. I packed everything I needed to bring to the hospital. I spent the week grocery shopping for my family and doing laundry so they would have clothes and food while I was away. During the weekend, I cooked the good they would need and printed the boys some new chore charts. I made a checklist to make sure my family had everything before I left. I still had 1 day before I left, but I wanted to be sure not to forget anything. I also made a checklist for my suitcase to make sure I had everything that I needed at the hotel. I didn't get enough sleep, and I was very tired. I knew I wasn't awake enough to take the drive, but I knew I had to, because Bob had to stay with my sons, Jake and Billy. I got ready quickly and made sure I had everything on my checklist and that my family had everything they needed while I was gone.

I put my suitcase in the trunk of our smallest car (because Bob, Jake, and Billy needed the bigger one), and then I got in the front seat and started the car. I got on the road and turned on the radio. I didn't find anything good on the radio, so I attached my phone to the car and listened to my playlist. There were 47 songs on it, so it lasted me almost the whole way. I think. When I was about 1-1/2 hours into the drive, I started to fall asleep. I feel asleep and while I was asleep, apparently the car went off the road and drove out in the middle of nowhere. I woke up in the car with the car upside down! I ran out of the car, surprised to be alive, and walked away from the car. I looked at the car in fear and right before my eyes, the car blew up! That scared me so much!

I started running while crying. While running, I fainted. When I woke up, I was breathing very hard. My vision was blurry. It took about 10 minutes for my vision to return to normal. I stood up, and my back ached. My arms and legs did too. My head was throbbing really hard. I felt like I was dead. I lay there for 2 hours. I was very scared about what I was going to do. I finally got enough strength in my legs to stand up. I started looking for something. Anything. A noise, a shelter, water, anything. The best thing I could find was a thorn bush with a big brown rock next to it and a cave right behind it. I found 2 pieces of wood and made a small fire with it. I found a bigger piece of wood and pushed it under the fire to where the fire was on the bigger piece of wood. I started walking in the cave. I kept walking and walking and walking. The small bit of light from the fire wasn't very helpful. All I could see was darkness and the little bubble of dim light. I walked a little deeper, and then the fire went out. "C'mon!" I shouted, and then a bat flew into my face screeching! I kept backing away from the bat, but it stayed right there in my face. When I finally backed up far enough to where I was out of the cave, the bat flew back way deep into the cave. I found a lot more wood, enough to build a small bonfire, and made a small bonfire inside the cave. The bat flew out of the cave and kept flying until I couldn't see it.

I knew I should probably go to bed. I found a rock to use as a pillow. I set the rock about 7 feet away from the fire, put out the fire, and went to sleep. I didn't sleep very well, though. I kept waking up in the middle of the night with my head throbbing because of the rock being my pillow. I woke up at 4:00am. I was very tired and had to use so much strength just to pick my head up. I took so much strength to bring myself to walk outside. When I finally got out of the cave, I shouted, "Hello!" to see if anyone was near. I got no answer. I knew I would be there awhile. I collected a lot more wood to last me probably about 3 fires and brought it into the cave. I made a fire and warmed my hands. Even though it was in the middle of the summer, I was freezing.

I thought about my kids. They are probably as happy as can be, not a single bit worried about me. They are so lucky. Wait. Now I thought about it, and the truth is that I am actually dumb. I could be just like them if I weren't so dumb. I would be safely at a hotel if I weren't so dumb. If there was such a thing, I would probably win the dumbest person on earth trophy. It's all my fault! To think I had enough courage to go to the hotel, when I knew I was too tired to make it all the way.

I just need something to eat or drink. I just need something to keep me strong for as long as I am out here. I just need someone to chat with. While I was out there, I decided I should make use of the time, so I started thinking of names for the baby. I thought of Jared for the baby if it was a boy, and I thought Jade would be a nice name if the baby was a girl. I thought about a lot of other names, but those 2 were my favorite. I had 13 boy names and 16 girl names. I fell asleep next to the list written in the dirt on the ground.

I shivered a lot, so I built a fire and gathered more wood before I ever fell asleep. I woke up, my back aching just like it had been every time I woke up since I had been in the middle of nowhere. I got up and started doing the small list of chores I had to do to try to survive. I had to collect fire wood, get fresh leaves for every time I would sleep, somehow (I used a different way each time) get the ash from the last fire out of the cave, and make sure there were no dangerous animals around. So far there weren't any animals except for that bat the first day I was there. I was in the middle of collecting wood when I fainted because of dehydration. I woke up with my back aching worse than it has ever ached, and right then and there, I knew this was going to be the hardest time of my life.

I was thirsty. I was tired. My hunger was getting higher.

I was about 1 week away from giving birth to my 3rd child. I was so scared. I didn't know what I was going to do. I looked up at the sky and saw a boulder falling! When it came closer, it fell very painfully onto my hand. An hour later my finger started to swell. "I hope I will get out of here before my baby is born," I thought to myself as I yawned and fell asleep. It was 12:00 when I fell asleep. I adapted to using a hard, brown rock as a pillow. So far I had succeeded in surviving out in the wild. I did not expect to be lost for so long. I was about 6 days away from having my baby then. I looked around to see if anyone was around me, and I saw a spider as big as a chair! Not even thinking, I ripped the only piece of nature out of the ground, held it by its roots, and smacked the spider in the forehead. There were about 15 thorns stuck in my forearm. It hurt badly. As I ripped out the thorns, I tried to control my pain. I walked forward to see if there was anything in my cave that could stop the blood, and I found nothing. I wished I didn't exist at that moment. Thoughts rushed through my head like I have no food, water, hardly any shelter, and nothing but an empty canteen. How will I survive? How will my baby survive?

I woke up feeling really gross, and just thinking about that made me miss my kids, because I remembered when my oldest child Jake had said, "Three days, no shower, smell the love!" I started weeping so hard I thought I would drown in my tears. I tried to make myself stop for 30 minutes, and when I finally pulled myself together I let out a scream as loud as I possibly could. I started to scream at myself, "I'M 5 DAYS AWAY FROM HAVING MY BABY!!! HOW COULD I LET THIS HAPPEN?!?" I looked around at the place where I was, the place where there's nothing but pain. I got up to walk around the place of pain and saw a big patch of wheat in a place I had not explored yet. "Did I just find a farm?!" I thought to myself excitedly. "Am I free?" I started to run through the field full of joy, and I took a glance around. "THERE IS NO FARM?" My joy went away. All I needed was a washcloth or a basket of food. Even just a photo of my kids would make my day. I wished I could redo the last 4 days. I walked back to where I was before I ran through the wheat field and grabbed a few pieces of wheat on the way back. 

I walked into my cave and stepped on a pinecone. "OWW!" I screamed. I wished I didn't throw my shoes in anger when my car went off the road. I kept walking deeper and deeper and deeper. . . .  "HSSSSS," I heard. I started to turn around so I could exit the cave, but before I could turn completely. . . SNAP! A rattlesnake bit me. The snakebite was incredibly deep. I got a little scared since I knew rattlesnakes were poisonous. My youngest child Billy wrote a report on rattlesnakes. "Oh, Billy, how I miss you!" I screamed. I could hardly bear being away from my kids and husband, 5 days away from my family. I couldn't stand it. I just couldn't stand it. "How could I let this happen?" I thought. "Is this just a dream?" I hoped. I reached down to pinch myself but stopped myself with my other arm. I didn't want to know. I just hoped that I would wake up clean, not hungry or thirsty, happy with my family in my nice, warm bed. All I did at that point was think about how I could be in my nice, soft, comfy-cozy bed and then wake up happy and ready to make eggs and bacon for me and my family instead of how I was then: cold, hungry, thirsty, tired, dirty. . .  The list could go on forever!

I woke up early in the morning thinking, "Yay! 2 days away!" But when I looked up and remembered where I was, I got scared I wasn't going to be at the hospital in time. I started to hyperventilate. I started to think soothing thoughts like maybe my baby will be born after its due date and things like that. I tried to allow myself to calm down, but it didn't work. My emotions started to go crazy! I was scared, sad, confused, disappointed, hurting, tired. . .  All I needed was a little bit of happiness at that time. "How could I disappoint myself like this?" I said quietly to myself. I thought and thought and thought. I remembered my lucky marble in my pocket and started telling it how it let me down. In the middle of a sentence, I threw the marble. "Am I really talking to a marble?" I said quietly to myself. "My baby," I said more quietly than I have ever talked before.

I freaked out. "How am I going to get to the hospital before it's time for my baby to be born?" I said a little louder. I ran faster than I have ever run before trying to hopefully find the edge of this ginormous ditch. I kept running and running. I ended up closing my eyes and saying a few little prayers that I will find something to help me get to the hospital. I opened my eyes, and after running for about 4-5 minutes, I saw a very faint and tall mountain. "Yes!" I said, out of breath. I sat down and took a little break, but the break only lasted for about 30 seconds, because I was so desperate to climb the big mountain. I started running again. I ran and ran and ran. When I was finally about 20 yards away, the mountain disappeared. "What?" I said in utter disappointment. "How is this possible?" I was determined to see what was going on. I reached down and pinched myself. "It's not a dream," I said to myself in my head. I started walking this time.

I saw a very faint figure and heard a loud, "Cut!" I walked forward and heard what I thought was someone yelling at another person. I walked closer, and then the figure was very clear. It was a person! It was a man! It was a man with dark brown hair in a tuxedo holding a megaphone. I gasped in excitement! The man looked at me. I was speechless. I didn't know what to say. Finally I blurted out, "Do you know anything about disappearing mountains?" 

The man looked at me funny. "It is part of a movie I am making. The mountains are special effects. What are you doing here?" he asked. 

"Uh, I just found my way here. I'm pregnant, and I am 1 day away from having my baby. I have a big problem."

"I see your problem."

"Do you have a vehicle or something I could borrow to get to a hotel?" I asked.

"I do, but what happened to yours?" he asked.

"Well, it's pretty dumb that I would do this, but I was driving to a hotel, and to make a long story short, the main thing that made me lose my car is. . . well, I was tired and kind of, sort of, partly. . . Well, I fell asleep, and I guess, while I was asleep my car went off the road, and by the time I woke up, I guess I kind of drove off into the middle of nowhere. When I got out of my car, I walked around to see where I was, and when I turned around, well. . . my car blew up," I said.

"That is pretty dumb," he mumbled under his voice. "So to make a long story short, your car blew up?" he asked.

"Yeah," I mumbled under my own voice.

"I do have one vehicle I don't need," he said to me. He walked me over to an ice cream truck.

"Great," I said to myself.

"It was in a scene for my movie, but we don't need it anymore."

"Don't you need to return it to where you got it from?" I asked.

"No," he said. "I used to be in the ice cream business. When I retired, they let me keep the old truck as a farewell present," he said. 

I jumped into the front seat of the truck. He handed me the keys. "Thank you!" I shouted and then closed the door. I started the truck and started driving away. It was about 8:00 by the time I got to the hotel. I checked in and went to my hotel room. It was so nice. I turned on the lights, got in bed and turned on the TV. As soon as I found a good channel, it was time. It was time to have my baby! I called the hospital and told them I needed a room, and I told them my name. Very nervous and excited at the same time, I threw on my shoes, turned off the TV, and opened the door. I ran to the elevator, pressed the down arrow button, went into the elevator, pressed the "floor 1" button, and screamed at the top of my lungs full of joy. When I reached the 1st floor, I ran out the door to my (ice cream) truck. I turned it on and drove to the hospital at the top of the speed limit. When I got to the hospital, I got into the first parking spot I saw. I ran into the massive hospital. I ran to the front desk and told them that I called. They brought me to the room, and I got all hooked up. I asked if there was a phone I could borrow. When I got the phone, I called my husband immediately. He did not answer, so I called his cell number, and this time he picked up. I told him I was at the hospital and that the baby was coming. He seemed very nervous. "Oww!" I screamed. I told him to come immediately and told him that I would be ok. Then I hung up. "Oww!" I screamed again.

When my husband, Billy, and Jake came, the doctor told them which room I was in. When they came in, I gasped with joy, then let out a big "Oww!" My husband came to the side of the bed and held my hand. Jake turned on his video game and turned down the volume, because he knew that I needed quiet from when Billy was born. Billy just climbed in a chair in the room and took a nap. "Oww!" I screamed once more. I had to say in the hospital for 4 hours. At 12:41 the baby was finally born! I woke up Billy, my husband and Jake and showed them their new little sister.

"What's her name?" asked Billy.

"Her name is Liberado Despues Abandonado Matthews. Which means 'Delivered after Deserted.'"

"Can we call her Libby?" asked Jake.

"Of course," I said. "This was truly a miracle week," I said. Then we got in the car and drove home.

The Sacrifice Because of the Sickness

I was home. I was scared. My baby wouldn't stop crying.

I was almost positive my baby Libby was sick. I ran to the phone and called the hospital. I told them that I thought my baby was sick. I explained to the doctors how she was pale, very hot, and how she would not stop crying. The doctors told me I should come to the hospital and get Libby checked out. When we got to the hospital, they did everything they needed to do to find out if she was sick. 

"How old is she?" one of the doctors asked.

"About 13 months old," I said. "She has been almost perfect and has been doing everything perfectly. I know something is wrong with her," I said.

They finished up and told me that Libby was sick. They said that she was very ill. I was really scared. I asked what we would need to do to help her heal. The doctor said the only way to help her is by feeding her at least one more bottle of milk than usual a day. At first I was happy that something so simple could help Libby get better, but the doctor wasn't done speaking. "But there is one problem," the doctor said. "If you get too close to your baby for too long, you could get sick also, but if your baby doesn't get the milk she needs, she could die."

"Couldn't I just eat more to get better?" I asked.

"No. If you catch the disease that your baby has, you will most likely die," the doctor said. 

"So the choices are I die or Libby dies?!" I asked.

"Yes. I am really sorry," the doctor said.

"We have to go," I said. I picked up Libby, walked out the door, put Libby in her car seat, got into my seat, closed the automatic doors, started the car, and drove away. I thought about the decisions. I wanted Libby to live and have a happy, long life, yet I wanted to live to take care of my family, and if possible, Libby. I thought about what I should do all the way home. When we got home, I still didn't come to a decision. I brought Libby inside, put her in her crib, and told Jake and Billy to watch her. Jake got the basket of burp cloths, little hats, diapers, toys, blankets and wipes. Billy got his DS. My husband and I went into the room farthest away from the nursery where Jake and Billy were so they wouldn't hear the news and get scared. I told my husband the news. It was quiet for about 10 minutes. I finally said, "I want to die. Libby still has so much life to live. Also, you know the boys have always wanted a little sister. Don't you agree?"

It was silent for another five minutes.

"Yes," my husband finally said. A tear dripped down his face. 

"This is the right decision," I said.

"You're right," my husband said.

I went to the nursery and told the boys to go play. 

"I am playing!" Billy shouted.

"Shh! You will wake Libby!" whispered Jake.

"She's asleep?" I whispered.

"Yes, ma'am," whispered Jake.

"Good manners. Now go play in the toy room," I whispered.

They both went to the toy room. As soon as I shut the door, Libby started crying again. I picked Libby up from her crib and then picked up her bottle. I fed her and slowly rocked her. I was scared about getting sick, but I was happy that Libby was drinking her bottle. She started crying again, so I picked her up, burped her, and put her back in her crib. She fell asleep. I walked out the door and closed it. I went and told my husband that I needed to go to the store and get some more hand sanitizer. When I was just about to walk out the door, I remembered I needed to get my keys. I got the keys and told my husband just to make the kids a frozen pizza and that he could have the leftover sushi. I got in the car and drove to the store to get some hand sanitizer. I looked in all the aisles but could not find a single bottle of hand sanitizer. I asked one of the people who worked there if they had any. They said that they had one bottle left. I got it and paid for it, then went home. By the time I got home, it was 7:55, so I sent the boys to bed with one squirt of hand sanitizer. As soon as I tucked the boys in, I was just about to walk out the door when I collapsed! I didn't feel well all of a sudden. The boys jumped out of bed. Jake stayed next to me, and Billy went to get Bob. When Billy and Bob finally got to me, they all helped me to my bedroom. I got into bed and was breathing really hard. Bob told the boys to go to bed. The boys didn't know what was happening, because we never told them.

In the middle of the night, Jake came into my bedroom and asked me what was going on. I told him the whole thing that happened in the hospital and told him what was going to happen. He started crying, and I told him that it was worth it, and I would be in heaven then, and that would be even better.

"That makes me feel better," Jake said.

I told him not to tell Billy since he would not take it as well since he is younger. Jake stopped crying, said "I love you" to me, and went back to his room. It made me cry to think he cared that much. I said a little prayer and went to sleep.

When I woke up, I carefully walked into the kitchen and made myself a small bowl of grits. When I finished my bowl of grits, I went to put the bowl in the sink and heard something coming from the boys' room. I put my ear up to it and heard the boys praying! As soon as I heard that, I went and put the bowl in the sink. Then I went and prayed myself. 

I stayed in bed all day watching Iron Chef America. Each time I would finish an episode, I would pray and then watch another episode. When I finished all the episodes on the DVR, I said one more prayer and then fell asleep. I woke up at 8:44. I felt fine! I ran into Libby's room, and she was laughing! I picked her up. She wasn't pale, and she wasn't hot! I called the hospital and asked if they could get Libby and me checked out. They said yes. I got Libby and myself dressed, and we went to the hospital. Libby got checked out first. She was well! Then I got checked out. I was well too! We still had a little bit of sickness in us, so the doctor gave us each a prescription. Libby got a liquid one, and I got pills. 

I told the kids and Bob that we were both perfectly well again. This terrible tragedy turned into a miracle!

Prayer Time 3-12-13

It's a gray, rainy day. So perfect to spend some time with a cup of coffee and a nice long talk with God. We have a lot to talk about today.

Please feel free to add to the conversation by leaving prayer requests in the comments section. These will not be published publicly for the sake of those concerned with privacy.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Good List 3-6-13

10. My current favorite healthy snack: grapefruit with cinnamon and a little honey. (Thanks for the tip, TaraLeigh!) I know it sounds a little strange, but it is SO delicious.

9. Chicken is in the crock pot. Brisket is slow roasting in the oven, and sausage is ready for the grill. It's BBQ night at community group! Who's hungry?

8. When the mountain is foggy and mysterious in the morning. I don't even know why I love it so much, but I do.

7. OZ! I'm pretty sure I'm more excited about it than the kids. It's been awhile since there has been a good "family movie outing" opportunity. Hoping to have one this weekend.
6. Friday night dance lessons at the church. So much fun! Currently learning the Texas Two-Step and Promenade. Love it!
5. Gracie's first *BIG* baking project that she wanted to do all by herself. And because she is her mother's daughter, she figured out a way to get at least 5 different kinds of chocolate in there: chocolate cake, chocolate ganache filling, chocolate pudding frosting with chocolate sprinkles added, and all topped off with chocolate mint chips. :-D

4. Since Indi occupied Lilly's bed while I was rocking her the other day, I just "had" to hold her all afternoon. ;-) (Pssst. . .  Thanks, Indi!)

3. Macy volunteers in the nursery at our church, and I get reports at least once a week on what a sweet and special job she does. She loves those babies! My sweet girl. . .
2. Another clean brain scan for Matt Chandler yesterday! Thank you, Lord!
1. My friends Richard and Erin Scott. I could write a book. . . They are remarkable. BECAUSE OF CHRIST! (They would want me to say that. ;-) ) Richard has stage 4 brain cancer. It has been a difficult journey. By all medical predictions and expectations, he should be with Jesus by now. He had an MRI last Tuesday during which I'm pretty sure his doctors had pretty low expectations. REALLY GOOD news would have been his tumor hadn't grown at all. Guess what. It shrunk. God is so good (whether or not he continues to heal Richard--again, they would want me to say that.) So grateful for His hand on this family and the way it is bringing hope and joy even in suffering to an entire community!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Prayer Time 3-5-13

Last night my 9-year-old daughter came into my room crying shortly after I had put her to bed. She was crying, because she missed her Memaw. Memaw died a few years ago, and sometimes Gracie still feels sad about it. We had a good talk and prayed about it together, and Grace finally decided that as long as she knew Memaw was happy in Heaven now, she would be ok. Then I found this noted tucked into her pillow this morning:

Just that simple. 

Please let me know if I might make a simple (or more complex) request on your behalf today. You may leave prayer requests in the comments section, and know that comments on this post will not be published publicly for the sake of those concerned with privacy.

Blessings in the Gospel today!