Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Blessed Christmas to you all. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, I am reminded of all the blessings God has given to us in the birth of His Son. These blessings continue to overflow into our lives.
Here are some things we are thankful for in this Christmas season.

1. The blessing of a warm place to live. Even though much of America has experienced a cold snap, we are all "nestled in our beds". There is food in the cupboard and everyone is healthy.
2. The blessing of family. As we grow older, we feel a greater need for connectedness to family. We don't know how long we will all have each other, so every minute we spend with our loved ones is precious.
3. Jobs and the hope for future employment. We're thankful for the schooling that enables us to find good jobs. Amy continues her college education and Roger finishes his Master's Degree. Now for the difficult task of finding gainful employment.
4. Shriner's Hospital - We're so thankful for this organization that reaches out to improve the lives of children with disabilities. Steven has done very well after his recent surgery. He's back to running and playing, although there still is some sensitivity in his knees.
5. Most importantly, we are grateful for the birth of Jesus Christ, who not only has revolutionized our world, but has changed our lives as well. Any accomplishments we have made in our lives and family is due to His generosity and kindness.

May the Lord enrich your lives and give Him the gift of your devotion.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shriners Hospital Surgery

Our family traveled to Shriner's Hospital in September for Steven's knee surgery. We were blessed to stay at the Ronald McDonald House during this three day adventure. He went through the procedure well, although he did have some leg pain for about two weeks. The doctors inserted a plate and screws over the growth place on one side of the knee with the intent of arresting growth and development of one side while the other side catches up. They believe this procedure will begin to correct some bowing in the legs and help to realign the lower body. After two weeks fo home-based education, Steven is now walking independently and is back to school. (Thanks to some friends, we were able to secure a pediatric wheelchair during his recovery.

Meanwhile, Samuel received his new prosthetic arm. It looks like a regular arm and hand with an external cable attached to straps. When he moves a shoulder muscle, his fingers will open and close. Right now he is a bit embarrassed to wear it in public - school or church. If he discovers a good use for the arm I'm sure he will use it regularly.

Student teaching is likewise progressing and should be completed by the end of the semester. Amy is also taking classes. But she doesn't know how much longer she will be able to stay in school because there are so few funds available right now.

I am reminded what it says in the Psalms: "The Lord's purposes for us will not fail."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shriner's Hospital

The boys are back to school after a lengthy doctor(s) visit at Shriner's Hospital. There were several doctors going in and out of our room: genetist, genetic counselor, orthopedic doctors and their assistants, occupational therapists, and a doctor that builds prosthetic devices. The bottom line:
1. Samuel will soon be receiving a new arm - Samuel still needs to understand that a prosthetic limb is a tool. It cannot be like his other hand and arm. Can't improve on what God made. They let him play with an arm and he was able to make the hand open and close by simply moving his shoulder. He will be able to use his new arm to ride a bicycle or even play a trumpet.
2. Steven's kind of arthrogryposis was determined to be amyoplasia. This is the most common type of arthrogryposis. There is not yet a genetic test to determine this condition. The geneticist came up with this conclusion by examining Steven's condition. He feels that Steven can actually improve in some his his movements with physical therapy.
3. The orthopedic doctors and surgeon are scheduling surgery for Steven to improve his alignment. An epiphysiodesis surgery will be performed. It should alleviate some of Steven's leg pain while helping to correct bowing in his legs. Perhaps he will not fall down as often as he does.
4. The occupational therapist is very good. She really knows her stuff! She was so excited to learn that Steven actually has biceps. She believes these muscles can gain some strength.

We're not sure how we're going to work out the details for the surgery with my teaching schedule. Both of us will need to be there since both children have appointments that day. They will miss at least three days of school.

Our daughter is now a college student! She's already getting acclimated and is making new friends. I'll see her tomorrow and perhaps spend some time with her.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What would you do?

There is a TV program on ABC titled, "What would you do?" Actors simulate situations to gauge how people would respond, if people will be kind or tell someone off. Would you give gas to a person who approaches you at the gas pump and asks for some help? Would you try to stop a crime from being committed? Why would you help someone? WWJD? I hope I am one of many Americans who will not hesitate to assist someone in need.
This month has been brutally hot in the Mid Atlantic, especially at our home where the heat pump is not keeping up with cooling us down. It's about 90 inside! I think we will need a new one before long - not good news. However, there is a bit of good news. Grad school is nearly completed. Student teaching begins soon and there's a new job on the horizon.
The boys will soon be visiting Shriner's hospital to evaluate their personal and medical needs. Steven will undergo some genetic testing to determine the type of arthrogryposis. Steven will better be able to communicate his needs now that he has a greater command of the English language. Hopefully they will be able to help him with some of his mobility needs.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Limited Connectivity

Have you ever had this error message on your computer? This is a regular occurrence around our home. For some strange reason if two people try to access the Internet at the same time, the router bumps us off. We know this is happening when we see the yellow triangle with an exclamation point positioned over the Internet access icon on the bottom of the screen. Though it states we have access, that access is limited and in truth, we don’t really have the kind of connection that allows for browsing the net.

As I was pondering my dilemma, I recognized the parallel between this situation and the spiritual life. We are guaranteed access by to God by faith in Christ (Romans 5:1-2). Nothing can change this connection to the Lord. It was purchased for us by the very blood of Jesus, who died for our sins on the cross. However there are times when a problem of connecting to God occurs on our end. And what can affect that communication? First, sin hampers our relationship with God so that we fail to hear him. Our spiritual senses become dull and we choose not to walk in His ways. We don’t log on to Christ and live by His power. If there’s no spiritual power, the connection fades and the signal becomes weak. Second, we fail to personally apply our faith in the Lord’s promises. At times, I become keenly aware of my inadequacies and my short-comings. I begin to question myself and fail to trust in God’s plan for my life. Recently, I struggled with feelings of inadequacy and I became discouraged and disheartened. I couldn’t find the words to communicate my feelings to the Lord. It was as if my connection was failing. I needed to be reminded of the words of Jesus who said, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” And again the words of Paul “For he who has begun a good work in us will bring it to completion…”. For those who feel discouragement, hold on to God’s very precious promises. God’s purpose and plan for your life will not fail.

One solution to the problem of limited connectivity is rebooting the router, modem, and computer. It works in the spiritual life too. Take a morning or a day off; get away on a date with the Lord and spend time in communion with him, away from distractions to read and to pray. Stay on your retreat until you make a breakthrough and you can really find the words to communicate and to listen. Yes, listening is an important part of connecting with God. Turn off the radio, cell phone, TV, iPod, CD player, computer, and other peripheral devices; use that time on the knees with God. Our generation is addicted to noise. Take this simple test to determine if you have a noise addiction. When you start your car in the morning and prepare to leave your driveway for work do you reach for the radio and turn it on? Try driving without any noise whatsoever in the car for one week. Can you stand being alone with yourself? Now take that time normally spent listening to the radio and use it to touch the face of God. Moses communicated with God face to face as a man talks with a friend. When he spent time with the Lord, his face glowed with the radiance of standing before the Holy One. He wore a veil to cover this glory and perhaps to cover his own shame as that glow began to fade over time. Perhaps it is this shame prevents us from connecting with God so we reach for noise to fill the space. The ancients often practiced the discipline of solitude as a way to commune with the Lord. How long has it been since you spent real time with the Lord, just listening for a change? The spirit within us desires more than five minutes of time with God. It craves for spiritual food and drink which only comes through spiritual connection. Don’t settle for limited connectivity.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Class in session

While the kids are out of school, I'm back in - a week of intensives, exams and presentations. And fantastic devotional sessions. There are times when one feels "will I make it?" The answer from heaven is "with my power you can". Just as Caleb asked for the mountain to conquer it at the age of 80+ years old, and Abraham entered the promised land as a senior citizen, so and I with God's help.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Congratulations Graduate

Another milestone - Amy has officially graduated from high school and she has the diploma to prove it! We're so proud of her accomplishments; we look forward to great things as she enters nursing school in the fall.

"Commit your way to the Lord", the Scripture says. That's just what she is doing as she pursues a career that helps others through their illnesses and hurts. May God bless her endeavors.

We'll celebrate her achievements with a small party this weekend with family and friends. The weather should hold up well. If I can find the camera patch cord, I'll upload photos.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Living Cross

We hope you all experienced the blessing of the Resurrection. Our family participated in the 22nd annual Living Cross at our church. Over 8,000 visited the event and 70 decisions were made during the 8 presentations. "What a blessing!" said one of our fellow vocalists.

One of the things I learned from the Living Cross was the fact that Christ came to die alone so that we may never live without Him. " This truth was reinforced as a fellow singer nearly fainted right next to me. I grabbed him and helped him get down to the lobby where a paramedic worked on him till an ambulance arrived. Thankfully he will be OK but I was determined to stay with him until help arrived. The Lord promises to be with us forever. "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." One of the most comforting passages of Scripture is found in Romans 8:38 ".... nothing will ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Can you fully grasp the extent that Jesus Christ went in order to bring life to you?

May we live daily with the profundity of this truth.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Scarce Commodoties

There is a principle in economics: People have infinite needs and wants and they draw from limited resources. There is scarce supply. We proved this principle last night when we asked the boys to go brush their teeth. They turned on the tap and nothing came out! Why was there no water? I checked the fuses to make sure the well pump was receiving electricity. I looked all over the house for the cause but couldn't figure it out. After putting the boys to bed we talked about all the possible causes. Did the boys turn on the outside faucet and leave it on? That turned out to be the case. And then we prayed that the pump had not burned out from continually sucking dirt.
This morning I as awoke from praying for the Lord to replenish our water supply, I had these thoughts:
1. In John 4 Jesus told a woman that the water she drew from would not satisfy her thirst. but the water that he gives would be eternally fulfilling. It's a supply that will never run dry.
2. The Scripture also states that the Lord will satisfy all your needs according to his glorious riches. (see the supply and demand working here?)
3. Jesus also taught us to pray "give us today our daily bread". Interestingly I prayed this with the boys last night before bedtime. We must pray believing that God cares about our needs and He will provide what we need for the moment. Someone once stated that God will supply our needs, not our greeds.

This morning we have water. I don't know how restored our water supply is, but we will have enough for today. For this we must give thanks. Therefore we can have confidence that God will supply gainful employment, enough funds to pay our necessities. And even when we have lean times, we can experience the security of knowing that God's unlimited supply of his love and grace is ours.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Children of the World

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to see the "Children of the World" International Children's Choir, sponsored by World Hope. These exciting, dynamic and energetic children from Uganda, Philippines, and Nepal have been soicially and economically deprived. Some have lost their parents to disease, polluted wter, tribal warfare, even AIDS. Some of their parents simply could not afford to take care of them. But despite theier tragic circumstances, they have the love of God in their hearts. They are children of hope because someone reached out to them and rescued them. They have been sponsored by people in America and now have good food, clothing, shelter and are receiving an education. They are learning everyday about God's great mercy and grace. And they have a wonderful message to bring in song! Go to and find out where they will be performing next. You won't want to miss it. All through their worship performance, I had to wipe the tears from my eyes. I kept thinking to myself, they could be my children! My boys had been abandoned but were rescued and brought to an orphanage. The God allowed us to bring them to their forever home in America.

Please take a look and think of sponsoring a child or in the least, allow the Lord to bless and touch your heart for the children of the world. So many can live if they only had clean water. $15 can supply water to one person for a very long time!
The blessing will be yours

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

World Records

Well folks, while 1oo,000,000,000 people in America are experiencing blizzard conditions across the East, effectivly paralyzing all of the East's major cities, we are snuggled closely in a warm home. Our children have not attended school for over a week (mostly due to black ice). Tomorrow we have a two hour delay. So many are without power in their homes. We only lost power for 16 hours last Friday evening. But we're used to that stuff. We're amazed at the figures - Philadelphia has more snow in these two past storms than the past two years combined. Whitte out conditions make the White House nearly invisible. No one knows where to put all of the snow. In Maine every town designated an area to transport snow. All these folk need to do is push it into the Patomac or the East River.

Look at the photos of our children's snowman creations. They even made one snowman lying down. We sent copies to our local news station but haven't seen anything yet.

Job creation still remains a big issue not only for our country but for our family. Please pray that God will provide what we really need. I don't recall if I mentioned that Holly is planning to return to school to gain skills as a CNA.

How about that stimulus money! Have you seen any of it yet? I heard one alarming report' because of the stimulus, every family in America will be 100,000 in debt.

Hope to hear from some of you.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010

This morning we are staying in as Virginia is being hammered with heavy snow. As I write, 17 million Americans are experiencing this storm across the nation. Our governor has issued a state of emergency. That's all the tv stations are talking about. The boys already went out to play and shovel in the yard. Steven's still out there playing in it! Holly threw some bird seed on the back porch railing. The red cardinals stand out in stark contrast to the weather. Amy's ministry team was supposed to go to a juvenile detention center but that was closed. Roger's recording project with the choir has been postponed to Sunday but no one knows how the roads will be whent he storm ends. In the last storm, the only one to plow our road was a farmer with his tractor and a small blade.
May the Lord keep you all safe from all the storms you encounter.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A collection of musings

Experts say that January 25 is the day in the calendar year when most people are depressed. Perhaps it's due to the lack of sunshine or snow 0n the ground. Or it may be from all the bills that are coming to your mailbox in the aftermath of the Christmas shopping. I know it has been a difficult month for us. Our cars had to go into the shop recently. In order for both vehicles to pass inspection, they needed repairs that cost about $200 each.

This morning when I walked Samuel down to the bus, the sun was just peaking over the hill but as we descended toward the street the sun was obscured by that same hill. But I know that very soon the sun will reemerge. In fact, it hadn't left. I was the one who moved. So, when you wake up gloomy and depressed, know that the sun is about to rise.

Recently the Shriners mailed us free tickets to see the circus in Roanoke. The boys had never been to a circus. In fact, Steven was afraid that he would have to touch a lion. We assured him that he wouldn't have to be near the animals. We even checked out books and videos from the library abou the circus so he could understnad what will happen there. So, I hope to have some photos of "the big top" in the next blog session.

School for Roger and Amy is in full swing and we have lots of projects, field experiences and exams to complete. Holly plans to go to school in March. She will pursue a CNA certification.

Last night the president gave his state of the union address. As a result of his first year in office, our deficit has climbed so quickly that it is estimated that every family owes $100,000. I'm not sure who the bailout is helping. Have you seen any of this money? Jobless rates climbed from 6 to 10% (That figure is probably higher because it only represents only those who are on unemployment compensation, not those who 'gave up looking' or who were self-employed.) Terrorist activities continue and those who are captured are receiving the same rights as American citizens while detained. His plan is for government to control more sectors of our economy, including our health care instead of empowering the States to assume more control over these issues. Frankly, I feel that the States are more in touch with the people than is the federal government.

After saying all of this, please understand that America's democratic system is still much better than other systems in the world. Simply travel outside of America and you will gain a greater appreciation for the red, white, and blue.

Outside our kitchen window, the birds flock to the yard to enjoy their morning breakfast of bird seed. The cardinal, blue jay, nuthatch, finch, and chickadee are regular visitors. A few weeks ago we saw some robins. Does this mean spring is on the way? Not according to our latest weather forecast. We're expecting a minimum of six inches of snow this weekend! Sadly, this means our church choir has to postpone a recording session with Lari Goss (Dove award winning producer and orchestrator). But we need not be discouraged because the sun is shining outside today.

One more musing: In preparation for the recording contract our choir has been working diligently twice a week to perform the music flawlessly. We have been doing our best to memorize the words. One particular song spoke to my heart yesterday.

"Suspended above the world that He made, and below His home in the sky;
God in flesh came down to man and man raised Him up to die.
And there on the tree the destiny of ev'ry fallen man,
Was held by nails driven through his sinless feet and hands.

* Somewhere between heaven and earth
stood a symbol of grace,Not based on our worth;
It was there he endured what we deserved
For a cross held the hope of the world,
Somewhere between heaven and earth

Somewhere between time and space, somewhere between judgment and grace'
He became the sin that He'd never known; And for that moment He was left alone
(repeat last paragraph)

Let this be your mediation for today. Christ did it all to purchase our salvation from sin and a relationship with the God who loves us. God bless you all