Thursday, August 27, 2015

Article: Why Pregnancy Before Marriage Isn't a Sin

I realize a lot of people's minds are going to be tripped up over wording, but the underlying message of this article written by Ivan G is so important to convey. I agree, as does the author, that sex outside of marriage is a sin. What about the baby?

If we believe God knew and formed each human being in our mother's wombs, then we can't call any pregnancy an accident or a mistake. Children are called a heritage and reward (very good things!) with no quantifiers on when or how placed on that statement. 

If Christians do not give the hope that is in Jesus and reach out to young women who find themselves in this situation, we are worse than the abortion culture so loudly calling to them. Why do I say worse?  Because we have LIFE (Jesus) to offer while all the abortion culture is selling is death. God condemns sin, but He offers truth with love, mercy, hope, peace, and joy to the repentant. Our words and action need to reflect His plan of redemption.

"We tend to use words like “unwanted” for a pregnancy that is unplanned. But every baby is wanted by God. He/she is knitted together in a womb, and Jesus has died for that child. We should not use “unwanted” and “unplanned” interchangeably." read more at Why Pregnancy Before Marriage Isn't a Sin

"So my number one concern for those in this situation isn’t if they will have challenges, but how is her relationship with God? And that should be yours too. If restoration is needed, remember to restore gently (Galatians 6:1)." read more at Response to Why Pregnancy Before Marriage Isn't a Sin

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Graphic Warning Label for Abortion Pictures

Galations 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (emphasis mine)

I would like to express gratitude to the people who show compassion and thoughtfulness to mothers with baby/child losses by including a graphic image warning with a link on Facebook instead of an abrupt image of a dead baby. Thank you for not reawakening my grief and adding another heart burden as I make the effort to go forward. Like the women I counsel, some days are very hard, so I appreciate your efforts to not turn my challenges into obstacles. You understand God's command to encourage and uplift each other and to help carry burdens instead of adding to them.

My prayer is that God will send people to show you the same level of kindness and gentleness in the tender areas of your life as what you have shown mothers like me.

Today, I remember one of my nine. Rebecca, my little one, passed from my womb into the Lord's care. It's been years, but my heart still aches for her. Not another baby, but my daughter.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Article: Are the Duggars to Blame?

Are the Duggars to Blame?
"Some basic understanding of biblical theology is in order here. Whether you are parents as strict as the Duggars or not, if you are a Christian, there are some basic truths you need to understand:
  1. Nothing you do will or can save your children. Only God’s mercy can.
  2. Point one doesn’t, in any way, absolve us from our responsibility to raise our children in righteousness and truth. How we do this will certainly vary from one family to the next, but we are obligated to be faithful to our duty, even though the outcome rests in God’s hands.
...

The summary of the whole matter?

The Duggars are not to blame. If anything, they appear to have been more faithful and deliberate than most parents I know, to point their children to Christ, to warn them of sin, to show them of their need of a Savior, and to help them avoid the temptations Scripture warns us about.
Sin is to blame.
Satan is roaming the earth, seeking whom he may devour. That includes us and our children. We are duty-bound to be faithful, to love the Lord, to teach our children, especially by example, how to walk in truth and to hate sin because God hates sin. We must be transparent with our own sins, always reminding our children of their desperate need of a Savior. We need to beg the Father for grace over the lives of our children and pray fervently for them–for their salvation and for their sanctification. And then, we entrust it all to the Lord. And we don’t blame ourselves (or other parents) for the sins of our children.
We must do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God." 
read the rest of this very thoughtful article here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

His Grace

“I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize that He is able to carry out His will for me. It does not matter where He places me, or how. That is for Him to consider, not me, for in the easiest positions He will give me grace, and in the most difficult ones His grace is sufficient.” Hudson Taylor

Monday, August 17, 2015

Parenting Quote

"One of the questions they’re most frequently asked is why their children all obviously love the Lord and each other. Marilyn says they heard the answer from their son Nate, who told Marilyn that the Boyer children “never got the impression that we were burdens to you, that there was nothing you’d rather do than be with us.” 

Member Spotlight: The Boyer family/The Learning Parent



Saturday, August 15, 2015

Marking the Moments

Brandon is safely home! He stayed in a nice hotel in a business suite with a bedroom, den, office, and kitchen. He was driven around everywhere and was taken out to eat for all meals except breakfast. During his review, he was told he "exceeded expectations!" He was given a very nice raise which is his second in a year.

Brandon was picked up by an eager Amanda who sent me a text which said "I HAVE him!!" When he arrived hom, we attacked him with hugs and kisses all at one time. We decked his bedroom out in clowns and a big "Welcome Home!" sign. We made him a cake in the shape of a clown. We put up streamers everywhere in his room. We also parked his new car out front with a "For Sale" sign just for a laugh.

Monday, when he thinks he can get a rest from our fun loving family, he'll walk into his office which was also targeted with clowns and a note. 

I think it is important to make a fuss over family. It's one of the ways we show them we love them. 

Acting like every day is "just another day" makes life tedious, especially on the young. Life has many average days and far too many sad moments. When there is a blessing from the Lord, His people should celebrate! Marking those moments increases awareness of God's goodness in our lives. People will make an effort at things that matter to them, and God blessing you should matter. Welcoming loved ones home with rejoicing also helps us get a tiny glimpse of how exciting it will be when the Lord returns and we are gathered together in His Name!


Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Happy to Help!

Brandon asked me to look after his cat while he was gone. On the day before he left, I asked Brandon what, how much, and how often I needed to feed his cat." I just leave the bag on the floor, and he eats what he wants when he wants it." "How often do you fill his water bowl, and where is it kept?" "I keep the aquarium full. He hops up on the dresser and drinks from that." He changed the litter before he left. So, all I am really doing is petting the cat!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Prayer Request

Robin Riddick Blanchard, SCS alumni, is going home on hospice care. The cancer has continued to spread throughout her abdominal cavity. They are going to try to keep her as comfortable as possible. Please pray for her and her family. Her father has been also battling cancer, and this is very hard on her mother. Her husband, Randall, has stayed at her side. They have been hit very hard by the medical costs.

Update 8/12: Robin was not able to be moved to her home for hospice care. She was too weak and is not expected to make it through the night. Her husband is visibly hurting and needs prayers for strength.

Update 8/13 8:40 am: She is still nonresponsive. 10:53 am: I was requested to ask for prayers for relief for her and comfort and peace for her family. 
I took out some of the details that happened before she was moved because of their nature. 1 pm: She is with the Lord. Please pray for her family.

Obituary/Service Info

http://www.suffolknewsherald.com/2015/08/15/finished-her-journey-here/


Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Thank You, Lord, that this is not the end of Robin's story! The best is yet to come.

The Best Part of Waking Up...

I don't know whether to laugh or puke. Joshua just told me that when he was little he thought the Folgers jingle 

"♬ The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup! ♬" was

"♬The best part of waking up is VULTURES in your cup. ♬"

Monday, August 10, 2015

Want to Ruin Your Kids?

"Want to ruin your kids? Example is important. When your little one throws a temper tantrum, respond with one of your own. Either don't punish him, or punish him with a good show of anger. You must show him that he is being punished as a form of tension relief for you, not for the benefit of his training." -Rick Boyer

I have learned a great deal about Christian parenting and homeschooling from Rick and Marilyn Boyer, who are parents of 14 and were at the forefront of the battle for educational freedom in the 1980s. Their work enabled us to homeschool easily and without harrassment.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Baked Donut Recipe

Amanda made these for our family with different toppings. They are very tasty! I plan on making them again, but plain, and serve with almonds for a fast Sunday breakfast.

Cinnamon Baked Doughnut Recipe

Friday, August 07, 2015

Pictures of Croatia from Krzysztof in Poland

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These pictures were taken by Brandon's friend, Krzysztof Grziwok, who took them on his vacation somewhere in Croatia. "Chris," as we call him, gave permission for them to be shared here.

Thank you, Krzysztof, for sharing your pictures with us! Croatia is beautiful, and I can clearly see why your family chooses to vacation there. May God continue to bless you and your family.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Quote on Pride and Humility

They that know God will be humble; they that know themselves can not be proud. John Flavel

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Friendship Tip

When someone has a death in the family or has an important date for something like major surgery, I make a note of it on my electronic calendar. For the death or other traumatic event, I will have it remind me yearly so I can pray for them and call or drop them a note. For the surgery or other one day event, I use it as a reminder to pray and also send them a note of encouragement. It takes seconds to set it up and a couple of minutes to send a thoughtful e-mail or text, but it means so much to the people who are on the receiving end of it.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Parenting Quote

Common Scenario:

New Parent to Veteran Parents: "Wow! You're children are so well-behaved! And they like each other! And they respect and obey you! You are so lucky!"

Veteran Parents: "Well, it isn't really 'luck.' We teach them, train them, discipline them, love them, nurture them, shelter them, give them proper sleep, diet, exercise and nutrition. We cut out sugar, caffeine, and harmful television, internet and video game use. We demonstrate godly character and a good work ethic. We saturate them in a Spirit-filled home environment and soak their minds in God's Word. We maintain a strong, united marriage. We spend every minute we can with them and give them an education from a thoroughly Biblical worldview. It's a lot of hard work, but it's worth it!"

New Parent: "Like I said, 'You sure are lucky!'" -- Family Renewal LLC


Monday, August 03, 2015

One Way to Ruin Your Children

Children need the example, instruction, oversight, correction, and love adults give. Children emulate the behaviors they see around them. We are not raising children to behave like children. We are raising them to behave like adults. I personally believe one of the worst things you can do is segregate children from adults, parents, and siblings. Just because everyone else is doing it does not mean it is the best option.

"Want to ruin your kids? Age segregation is critical. Send them to a school where they'll be assigned to a class by age, regardless of ability level. That separates them from their siblings as well as their parents. Then put them in lots of age-segregated extracurricular activities to further insulate them from the adult world. Finally, put them in all the youth activities at church so that they don't have a common worship experience with their families and other adults. The idea is to surround them with immature social and spiritual models, because we have a strong tendency to become like the people we spend the most time with. Do these simple things and you can be assured that your kids will not grow up to be responsible adults any time soon." -Rick Boyer

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Conterfeits

I've heard of a counterfeit bill that got into circulation. It bought food for a hungry family, it bought medicine for some sick folks, it even went to church and got in the collection plate. but at the bank, it fell under the sharp eye of the teller and when he spotted it, it was all over... If you're a phoney, the day will declare it and you will be found out. ~Vance Havner

Friday, July 31, 2015

Fairy Egg

Images copyrighted by Wendy Asbell

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Pictured first is a normal egg where the yolk is clearly visible. The second photo shows a small egg without a yolk. This is called a "fairy egg" among other names. It happens when a bird's reproductive system is out of synch and is mostly seen in new layer or older birds. This is the first one I've encountered one which led to some research and another learning opportunity...after I scratched my head and showed my gang!

You can see imagines and learn about other types of egg variations here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Higher Calling Than a Dress

After I gave Emily her Elsa dress mentioned in the previous sewing post, her siblings called her down to share some pizza. I gently reminded her not to get food on her dress and that changing would be a prudent choice. She acknowledged my suggestion and went straight down to the table to eat. 

Pride loudly called out, "BUT, I JUST made that dress and put over TWO hours into it!! That thing gave me a fit!!!" The Spirit quietly answered, "The dress is insignificant. Learning to make wise decisions about caring for her possessions will bless her all her life." I was gently reminded by my Father that my goal as a parent is higher than a clean dress.

I mentally gave the dress to the Lord to use as He saw fit. It turned out exactly as I expected with a reward I didn't expect.

Emily came to me later and had a small stain. I calmly told her, "I see you have a stain on your new dress. Changing your clothes before you ate would have been a better choice. I hope the stain comes out in the washer. If you give it to me, I will treat it and most of it should come out." She said, "OK," and ran off.

A few minutes later, she came back and sat down. My daughter looked me in the eyes and said, "Mom, I want you to know I dropped a WHOLE piece of pizza on my dress! The pizza was stuck UPSIDE DOWN to me and there was a HUGE stain!!! I was afraid I had ruined my dress, but I prayed and asked God to help me get the stain out. I kept praying as I went to the bathroom and wiped the stain, and you know what?!!! GOD HELPED ME get all of the stains out except this one little spot! It was amazing!"

If I had told Emily to change her clothes, she would have missed out on learning from her choices and interacting with her Creator. If I had lost control of my temper and fussed over the stained dress with pride boosting, "I knew it! I told you so!" she would not have felt it was safe to share her story with me. I would have denied Emily a learning exercise and experiencing God's help. I would have missed out on something else too.

I think God left that one little spot for me, so I'd see it and make a comment. That comment led to me learning my just turned 8-year-old daughter has learned from her father and I where to turn for help. Thank You, Lord, for your gifts!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Cheaper Way to Get Fabric for Children's Dress Up Play

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Most gowns are worn 1-3 times and then donated to charities who try to sell them. I found this one on sale for 50% off $6.99. I know first hand from my work in a clothing ministry that if they do not sell, they are often thrown into dumpsters. (You would not believe how many articles of clothing are thrown away in every week by a single private resale shop. Sometimes we were given 80 big trash bags full of good clothing in one week!)

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These are the sewing materials I was able to salvage from the dress.

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This is what I discarded after cutting it apart.

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I put a good deal of my $3.50 purchase right to use.

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Here is what I was able to reuse from a white gown I found for $2.

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Even after making Em's Elsa gown, I had enough fabric left over for another dress, a pair of shorts, and other small projects. I am trying to teach myself how to make a nice looking double bodice. I had a time and the dress has many flaws, so I shall swallow my pride and keep trying to learn. Emily was easy to please and saw the love I put into it and not the flaws.

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The best part is that I get to make memories and share a skill with my precious four daughters. Amanda can make her own dresses. Bethany is well on her way in learning. Emily and Hannah have a few basic hand sewing skills and have ran a machine for a few minutes.

A big thank you to Mrs. Dell, SCS Home Ec teacher, for teaching us how to sew by allowing the class to make quilted aprons.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Grow Bag System Finds

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I found a couple dozen canvas tote bags for my "kiddie pool grow bag" test run for 28 cents each. Then, I found and purchased 10 kiddie pools for $5. I plan to experiment with this system this fall. In fact, my fall corn seedlings are ready to go into it as soon as I can get the time to fill the bags.

The features of this system which make it appealing to me are: 
You do not have to turn up earth. 
It has a small footprint. 
Weeding is reduced. 
Fertilizer and water use is reduced. 
It's elevated off the ground. 
It is easily relocated if needed.

YouTube has many videos from Larry Hall who freely shares his gardening set ups.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Make It Count

A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated for eternity. The same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, will exhibit forever. Each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny. How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness? It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us then each morning resolve to spend the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night, let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone indelibly marked. -Adoniram Judson

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Meet Magaret Sanger, Founder of Planned Parenthood

Margaret Sanger Founder of Planned Parenthood In Her Own Words has several quotes of Sanger to give you an idea of how she believed.

It is confusing to me why Christians are celebrating the life of Margaret Sanger. She had a very ugly heart towards many groups incuding families like mine (read the last quote on the page at the link). It is a tragedy this woman chose to ignore God's truth about the poor, different races, and children.* Her words call God a liar. Her actions were at war with God's revealed will in Scripture. I wonder how much wailing and weeping she will do when she and her followers stand before the Lord and realize the full weight of their legacy of death and destruction. 

"If you support Planned Parenthood, ask yourself what do you like about the organization? Do you look up to and praise the work of Margaret Sanger or does her eugenic and racist attitude sicken you? Is this the kind of organization that you want to be associated with? I don't ask these questions to condemn, but hopefully to get you to seriously consider these issues. Does "reproductive rights" improve a society or damage a society? What does "reproductive rights" really mean?"

Who Was Margaret Sanger?


*Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. (Wendy's note: Wouldn't the opposite also hold true?) Galations 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Wendy's note: There is no superior race. We are all human beings in need of a Savior.) Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. (Wendy's note: Forfeiting, despising, and killing a heritage and reward does not show a belief in God's Word.)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Free Kindle Books on Farming/Homesteading/Gardening

http://imperfectlyhappy.com/kindledeals/

Article: God Doesn’t Need My Kid To Beat the Odds

"But the testimonies of those who did not experience miraculous healing and power are just as important. Perhaps they show the alacrity of faith and God’s sustaining power even more; His “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). We imagine the rush of triumph from the deliverance of circumstances but God often makes faith triumph through the fire of trial. Think of Job, Paul’s thorn, the apostle John’s banishment, or Stephen’s stoning. God worked treasure through struggle and soul-refining rather than through remarkable deliverance. ... God doesn’t need Calvin to beat the odds in order to prove his goodness, faithfulness, power and salvation. Our weakness is precisely what he is using to show his power and presence." read more - God Doesn’t Need My Kid To Beat the Odds

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

PRAISE THE LORD!!

My friend's son, Seth, does not need open heart surgery tomorrow! They were able to fix the shriveled valve with a balloon! According to the surgeon, this should give him another five years before surgery is needed. Please rejoice and thank the Lord with us! Thank you to those who were praying along!

Monday, July 20, 2015

4 Pounds

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of elderberries from our elderberry bush with about as much more to come when they finish ripening. We were so happy to discover this growing wild beside our driveway! I will be making syrup and jam from them. I am going to try to propagate it. Elderberries are good medicine and are worth learning how to identify and use. We also found about thirty more persimmon saplings. Right as I am able to start putting these things to use, God has put them into my hand.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Wendy's Whole House Pick Up

We have a very busy life here at Contentment Acres. We have nine people with many interests and hobbies. Sometimes our den and dining room are filled with Legos, My Little Pony, circuit boards, computers, fabric and sewing machines, small engines under repairs, modeling clay, etc...all at the same time! The house can get messy fast! 

Many years ago, I started the "whole house pick up." When I noticed the house was getting messy, I'd call for everyone of a certain age* to help tidy the house. We'd spend 10 to 30 minutes putting the house back together. When you multiply 15 minutes by nine people, a lot can be accomplished in a short amount of time. There are days when I call for a pick up after every meal and others where I only implement it around 8 p.m. Then there are those Mondays where we start the day off with one!

At what age did my children start helping pick up after themselves? I've always figured that if they are old enough to walk and take toys out of the toy box, they are able to learn under loving instruction and grace to put toys back into the toy box. A three to four year old can help put things in the correct room, "Take these socks to my room and place them on my bed. I will put them in the dresser later." If Mom keeps her attitude right, putting the toys away can be as much fun as taking them out. 

If you teach your children that housework is a time for music, playfulness, and togetherness, it becomes something you do together. Storming around the house in a bad mood because you don't want to clean teaches them to dread it. Every minute you are with your children, you are teaching them either intentionally with purpose or unintentionally without direction.   

Remember you are given the task of home keeping because you have a HOME. Being physically able to clean it is another blessing. Having healthy children who are able to make a mess is another blessing. Having possessions that get used and scattered around is another. Please don't treat your God given blessings as a curse!

To keep it fun, I tickle my children, play "attack of the mommy monster," or spray water from the kitchen sink sprayer (Hey, the floor needs to be mopped anyway!), swat them on the butt with the broom as they walk past and play innocent when they look at me, or whatever makes them laugh! My efforts in instilling a good work ethic have paid off. 

My adult children are frequently praised  and have been rewarded for being hard working employees. My middle children are highly regarded by a neighbor, who says they worked better at 12 and 14, than his 17 year old nephew. He hires them to work for him and says they always exceed his expectations. My little girls are 6 and just turned 8. They are able to clean their own room and help with household chores. Emily can cook eggs for herself and Hannah and for our dogs. At this stage of life, if I am doing something, my children come over and give me a hand on their own. Sometimes, they take over!

This doesn't mean the house is always clean, because we don't serve the house. God gave the house to serve our needs as we work to serve Him. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Life Hack

Over the last 20+ years, I have had scores of people tell me they want the blessings I have in my life...a loving, godly husband, well behaved children, needs abundantly met, and my inner joy, strength and peace. 

None of them ever say they want my heartaches: abuse, abandonment, rejection, losses from natural disasters, thirteen rounds of severe hyperemesis gravidarum, nine pregnancy losses, death of good friends, and etc. The good often results from the bad, so they can't be separated. To have one, you must go through the other. Once a grade school teacher pointed out that concept, I no longer struggled with envy or jealousy. 

Very, very few of the people who have said they want my life want it badly enough to do what I did though...surrender my life (my way of doing things) for Christ's. 

Any good you see in me or my life is Jesus. I know Him. I love Him. I try the best I can to obey Him. My efforts are weak and very flawed. I mess up and have to crawl back on my knees asking for help. Still, He sees my heart and blesses me anyway. 

What you see in my life, I did not earn it. I am not that worthy. It's called God's grace. 


*~*~*~*~*~*

You know how you discover somewhere good to eat, and you tell your friends so they can go too. That's how I am about Jesus. He is good! He even says, "Try me and see how beneficial I am to your life."


Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Homeschool: Free Food Preservation Curriculum

One of our very large freezers froze up again as it does every year around this time. I own three of the same model, and this was the only one that kept having issues. It is now destined to become an egg incubator. Thanks to my awesome adult children, no food was lost. What Brandon and Amanda could not move into the other freezers filled a huge cooler. You know the kind that is about as wide as a truck tailgate? I worked nonstop for three days preparing and pressure canning meat. While reviewing times for my pressure canner, I came across this nice curriculum.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation's curriculum is a pdf with printable posters for teaching food preservation techniques. It covers different techniques of preservation

Put It Up! Food Preservation for Youth


How do I get a copy of the lessons?
To access pdf files of the curriculum, please click the link below and complete the request form. Once you submit the request form you will receive a username, password, and webpage address with the curriculum files. PLEASE DO NOT SHARE THIS USERNAME/PASSWORD/WEBSITE INFORMATION WITH ANYONE ELSE. In order to continue to be able to offer the curriculum at no cost, we must gather information about who is using it and how it is being used. Thank you very much for honoring our request.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What Should a Christian's Response Be to Troubling Times?

Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commands.

It is the same as we have been doing. Love God by obeying the commands found in His Word. Love others as ourselves. 
Father, help me love you more deeply by obeying You in all areas of my life. Give me a heart to love others as You would have me to love them. Help me to speak Truth boldy with great love. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Segway

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Linda, a former teacher, good friend, and mentor, passed along 2 two hour Patriot Segway History Tours for Amanda and Bethany to use. The girls are very thankful and enjoyed their tours! Thank you so much, Linda! It gave the girls a new experience and some fun memories they made together!