Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!! Hello 2013...

Welcome 2013!

As I say goodbye to 2012 forever, I look forward to 2013 with much joy and eagerness because I know it's going to be a challenging, inspiring, and unforgettable year.

Looking Back

I set some goals for myself in 2012. Some were met, others were not. I remember anticipating the start of classes toward my doctoral degree with Grand Canyon University. However, that did not happen.

And that's okay!

I remember anticipating my manuscript, The Warfare Club, being picked up by a literary agency. However, that did not happen.

And that's okay, too!

What did happen?

I did accomplish a few things in 2012...

I managed to blog weekly for most of the entire year. That was a major milestone!

I managed to run a half marathon after a back injury. That was an accomplishment.

I was hired to teach Wiring and now have my own classroom. God was gracious.

The Lord allowed me to go back to Slovakia in June. He was also gracious in allowing me the chance to visit Poland and see Auschwitz. A life changing event...

And I was able to write more than I have ever written before in my life! I finished two manuscripts this year.

God is so gracious in what He provides for us.

Goals for 2013

I'm a goal-oriented person. So, here's a list of goals for this year:

  • To be more consistent in blogging.
  • Start an author web site.
  • Complete The Dragon Forest trilogy.
  • Be part of the mentoring ministry at our church.
  • Finish a Bible study I wrote many years ago. 
  • Draw more! Paint more!
  • Go to Hawaii with my husband to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary!
  • Mentor my son as he starts college to study art. 
  • Be a better teacher for my students. 
  • Listen more, talk less. 
  • Run a marathon.
  • Run an ultra-marathon (52 mi)
  • Be a better wife and mother.
  • Be a better friend.
  • Be a mentor.
  • Make new friends!

So, as the year comes to an end and another year starts, I can look back on 2012 and see God's hand over my life. I can see when He picked me up and carried me and I can see when He let me fall and pick myself up. He showed me that I am stronger and smarter than I thought I was.

I am so grateful for my family and our good health. God worked on my heart this year and helped me work through some issues with resentment and bitterness I have been clinging to. I am not perfect, but am a work in progress.

God has so much in store for us this year. I pray He blesses you with every spiritual blessing!

What goals do you have for 2013? 

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Who is This Jesus? Part II

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God,
 "who is and who was and who is to come,
The Almighty."

Revelation 1:8

No Other Man

No other man could utter these words found in Revelation 1:8. Not Martin Luther King, Jr. Not Joseph Smith. No President. No King. No Queen. No Pope.

No other man could utter these words except Jesus Christ.

Because no other man's tomb is empty.

No other man conquered death as Jesus did.

His birth and death fulfilled over 300 prophecies.

Can anyone say that about good man Martin Luther King, Jr.?

In Death

Martin Luther King had his life taken from him.

Jesus willingly gave up His life.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, he was with friends. He had family. He had followers.

When Jesus died, He was completely alone.

He was betrayed by one of His followers, all His friends scattered, and even one friend denied Him three times.

There was no grand funeral procession. No marches. No dirges played.

But there was mourning. Even creation mourned His passing. There was darkness in the middle of the day and the earth shook.

No other man experienced that at his passing.

No other man.

Therefore, as I complete these posts about Who Jesus Is, I wanted to show this video clip by the late Bing Crosby.

He recites the poem, One Solitary Life.

The words are perfect. They describe how no other man, alive or dead, has affected the world as Christ did.

And that's what separates Him from any other man who walked this earth.

He gave His life that we might live...

My hope is that through these posts, you can clearly see how Jesus Christ was not a "good man" like Martin Luther King, Jr.

If MLK were alive today, he would be appalled that anyone would try and compare Jesus to himself.

No, Jesus Christ was unlike any other man.

For this reason, I urge you to seek Him...and live.


Friday, December 21, 2012

First Christmas 1988

I thought I'd share my most favorite Christmas memory and
maybe encourage you to share yours!

Thanksgiving 1988

Scott and I had been married in July of 1988, but Scott had to leave to head overseas with the USMC aboard the JKF Aircraft carrier one week after our wedding. I lived alone in a studio apartment working to fill the time until he returned to pick me up and take me to where we would be stationed: North Carolina.

On Thanksgiving night, Scott was able to call from the JFK. I was so thrilled to hear his voice as his calls were few and far between. He quickly asked me a special question, "Why don't you meet me in Paris, France for Christmas?" I was so excited! The JFK would be docked in the south of France in December, so Scott arranged to have leave in order to fly to Paris and meet me there. 

We didn't have alot of money and had to borrow some from the in-laws, who tried to talk me out of going ("he'll be home in a month..." they said. Of course, a month to a newlywed is like TEN YEARS!) With money in hand, I asked a travel agent I knew through work to help me make the arrangements. You see, I wouldn't be able to talk to Scott again until we were face-to-face in Paris, so I had to arrange the hotel and flights THEN write a letter to him explaining all the arrangements in hopes that the letter would reach him in time and he would know where to go in Paris to meet me. 

My travel agent was superb in that she found a quaint hotel and flights for me all at a reasonable price. It was all set! Except for one small detail: my passport. I didn't have one. The wait time for a passport was usually 3 weeks, but then I would have to send it to L.A. for the French Consulate to stamp it with a travel VISA...and that usually took another 3 weeks. My travel agent friend was honest with me in that she didn't think this was going to happen. Plus, I didn't have much vacation time accrued, but my boss wasn't about to stop me from going to France to see my husband of 4 months! 

I remember I prayed and asked the Lord for His will. "If you want me to go, Lord, then I know you will get me my passport in plenty of time..." I wrote a sad sad note telling the French Consulate my whole story and included a check for them to send me my passport back Federal Express overnight. Then, I sent it off with a prayer and a lot of hope. 

I got my passport back that next week with my stamp! I was all set to go. I packed my bags, said good-bye to my family and headed overseas alone to meet my husband...and I didn't even know if he was going to be there. Well, if not, I knew I would find something to do in Paris for 5 days!

After a long flight, I arrived on December 23rd at about 10 am and took a taxi to my hotel. We drove through the streets of Paris and it was so lovely. The city was decorated for Christmas. I arrived safely at the hotel and told them who I was. They remembered the story and proceeded to tell me that my husband had not yet arrived, but they would alert me when he did. So I went up to my room, showered, and fell asleep. It was the phone ringing that woke me to a dark room. I thought it must be midnight, but it was only 5 in the evening. 

The voice on the other end was Scott! "Where are you?" I asked. "In the lobby," he answered. "Well, get up here!" I ordered. A few minutes later, we had our blessed reunion together in Paris, France. 

We were 21 year old kids together in the City of Lights. We didn't have much money and the museums were closed because of a strike....but we had each other. We had so much fun together. It was cold and rainy, but we didn't care! We walked the streets and ate hot dogs from a vendor. We had one special dinner at a small cozy restaurant near the Opera House one night. 5 fun-filled days.

Then it was time for me to go home. Saying good-bye (yet again...) at the airport was tough. We were pros at saying good-bye by this time in our married life! But there was the hope that Scott would be back in Phoenix in February 1989. 

Well, that was our first Christmas as a married couple. I am so glad I didn't let sensible people talk me out of going! It was unforgettable and a true testament to how God is in control over every aspect of our lives. He hears prayers. He answers them too. He was gracious to us silly romantic kids! I know we'll return to Paris one day....

I thank the Lord everyday for my life with Scott. It has been quite the adventure. But I mostly thank the Lord for Christmas and the gift of salvation. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year....

Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

So Who is This Jesus?

Who is This Jesus?

Some say He was just another good man, or a community organizer like Martin Luther King, Jr.

Well, let’s compare the two men…

Was the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.  predicted thousands of years before it happened?

The birth of Jesus was.

His birth fulfilled many prophecies:

Is  11:1-5-  Born from the line of Jesse
Jer 23:5-6 Born from the lineage of King David.  Called LORD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Is 7:14-  born to a Virgin
Is 9:6-7-  A Son on the throne of David- called Mighty God
Micah 5:2- One Ruler born in Bethlehem
Number  24:17- Wise men would follow a star

Was the birth of MLK predicted to such detail?


What about the life of MLK? 

He was a decent man who took up a cause and helped bring to light the horrific treatment of minorities.  He made many sacrifices and even received death threats to himself and his family. He had many followers who devoted their time and talents to his cause.

And the life of Jesus?

We see in the Bible that Jesus was not just another ordinary man.

 Oh yes, He also did good things, sacrificed His time, brought to light the horrific treatment of minorities, received death threats, had many followers who devoted their time to His cause.

But Jesus proved He was more than a mere man…

Luke 8:25-  He showed His followers that the Natural obeys His commands.
Luke 8:26-39-  He showed His followers that the Supernatural obeys His commands.
Luke 8:45-48-  He showed His followers that Disease obeys His commands.
Luke 8:40, 49-56- and finally, He showed His followers that even Death obeys His commands.

Jesus, walking the earth in the form of Man, showed all of His followers that He could defeat all forms of evil:

Natural    Supernatural   Moral

As you can clearly see, there is a remarkable difference between good man Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesus Christ .

Next time I will show who Jesus said He was when He walked the earth….and He didn't call Himself “good”  or a community organizer, or a teacher.

He called Himself God, fulfilling the scriptures:

“…and his name shall be called
Wonderful  Counselor, Mighty God,

(Deut. 10:17Neh. 9:32Jer. 32:18[Ps. 45:3])


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Joy Through Suffering

"Consider it all joy..."
James 1:2

I remember reading the book “Surprised by Suffering” by Dr. R.C. Sproul years ago and listening to him discuss the topic on his radio show.

As I listened to him speak about how Christians should not be surprised by trials, I thought back to how I responded to certain trials in my life.

And I cringed.

As Christians in America, we tend to be sheltered from true suffering. What I mean by that is, most Christians in other countries have experienced persecution and even death threats simply for following Christ in addition to pain and suffering from physical ailments or familial rejections.

But we American Christians are genuinely surprised when we suffer from rejection, physical ailments, or persecution.

Dr. R.C. Sproul takes us back to Scripture to remind the Christian never to be surprised by any kind of suffering we endure because if Christ suffered…then we must suffer.

I want to share a testimony from a friend, a strong woman of faith, because she has not only suffered as a believer, but understands what Dr. Sproul meant in his book:

Christ is there with us as we suffer…


Romans 5:1-5  “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ....We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance character and character, hope...  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in your hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. “ 

Those verses helped me through some of the hardest trials in my life.

 A few years ago I started having abdominal pain.  An MRI was ordered and they found a tumor on my pancreas.  The doctors decided that a “Whipple Procedure” needed to be done. 
 Our surgeon removed part of my pancreas,  part of my stomach,   part of my intestines,  gall bladder, bile duct and pre-cancerous cells.....all removed!  

Yes, half my insides are gone!

 It has been a very painful healing process.   I have been in the hospital about 7 times in the past year and a half.   My husband Russ took wonderful care of me and had to prepare an IV bag for me with all my medications.  He would have to clean the IV and flush and insert it back into my arm.  He did this for 2 months.  The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful husband, and the Lord has blessed us with His loving kindness and mercy through all of this. 

 Russ and I prepared for many years saving for our future retirement.   We invested well and saved in the way we felt the Lord had prepared for us to do.   During this time, the economy fell and so did the housing market.   We chose to do the right thing in the midst of seeing a lot of worldly people do the wrong thing, and not pay their bills.   We suffered a great financial loss that will never be recovered, but we know our reward will be in heaven.  

Our toil is not in vain...Praise His name  I Cor. 15:58! 

 Our daughter and two beautiful grandchildren went through a divorce.   It broke my heart.  To see your family broken apart is one of the hardest things to endure...especially when it involves your grandchildren.   

 I lost my beautiful godly mother to pancreatic cancer 5 years ago.   I am now losing my father to Alzheimer’s.  He is in the second stage.   My sister and I and our husbands have taken good care of him, but he is now in a home with a precious caretaker, who can care for him in such a beautiful way.    My father does not recognize me most of the time.   As heartbreaking as that is, I have hope in my Lord! 

II Cor. 4:16-18  informs us... “Therefore do not lose heart.   Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.   So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!”  
 I have endured many other personal trials that I cannot share at this time.   But we have the promise that the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us.  Scripture is the only true comfort that we have offered to us at any given time!  Praise His name!

  II Cor. 1:4 says...”Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”   
 We need to look at our blessings that the Lord has lavished on all of us who know Him!
I thank the Lord for exchanging His robes of righteousness for our filthy garments.
I thank the Lord for His covenants that He has shared with us.

We remember His precious and magnificent promises.

We understand that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.

 And He has promised us peace that surpasses all understanding....Praise His name! 
Love in the name of Adonai... our Lord and Master,



Thank you, Tammy, for sharing your story!

God has been with my friend and her husband throughout the storms that come in life. It is the promise that gets her through it all:

Christ is there in the midst of the storm.

Tammy's and my prayer is that, as you read this, you will never be surprised by suffering or trials and tribulations, but instead rejoice in knowing that the Lord is there with you through it all.

Because Christ suffered…we, too, will suffer.

Tammy will be having more surgery this week. If you could, please lift her up in prayer.