Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Monday, March 31, 2014

Raring to Go With A-Z.

Tomorrow kicks off the A-Z April Challenge.  My theme this year is travel.  Last year I did Civil War information.  It was very historical and so this year I am trying for a lighter note....places I have been and places I on my bucket list.  I can see the wheels turning in your head and I know that you are asking yourself what is this odd little meme? It is very simple.  You start beginning April first with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until you finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z. It doesn't even have to be a word--it can be a proper noun, the letter used as a symbol, or the letter itself. The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.  If you are a reader then I am sure a good many of you are probably familiar with Sue Grafton and her best selling series of detective novels known as the "Alphabet Series" that started in 1982 with "A" Is For Alibi up to her most recent "V" Is For Vengeance". She has made a franchise with the series and there have been other authors who have taken similar approaches. This Blogging From A to Z Challenge will be in the same vein.  This is my third year of participating and I cannot wait!  BTW It is not to late to sign up. Here is the rest of the case you are interested.  The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.  Short posts are recommended,  and please turn off Word Verification, and last but not least visit five blogs (or more) a day beginning with the one after yours on the list.   To streamline legitimate blogs from advertisement blogs, the Co-Hosts will be visiting each blog on this list throughout the Challenge. Blogs on the list showing no activity once the Challenge starts will be removed.   There are categories for those looking for like-minded blogs. Select ONE category code and enter it after your blog’s title/name. The code applies to your blog, not your theme for the Challenge and is purely optional. However, if your blog has adult content or strong language with liberal use of swearwords etc. you MUST mark it (AC) or it will be removed from the list. Codes are as follows:

02. BOOKS: (BO)
03. FILM: (FM)
06. CRAFT: (CR)
07. ART: (AR)
08. MUSIC: (MU)
14. GAMING: (GA)
19. HUMOR: (HU)
20. TRAVEL: (TR)

Be sure to grab the badge and display it in your sidebar so we know you are participating and link to the A to Z Blog.

For more information we recommend you follow the A to Z Challenge Blog and the hosts:

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Author Stephen Tremp
Tina @ Life is Good
Jeremy @ Being Retro
Nicole Ayers - The Madlab Post
M. J. Joachim's Writing Tips
Heather M. Gardner
AJ @ Naturally Sweet
Pam @ An Unconventional Librarian

We also have a Facebook page, (
email address is,
and the Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge. 
Here is hoping I see you somewhere between A-Z. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Angels Among Us

Last Sunday one of the members of my church told me a story about her daughter seeing angels.  She asked me if sometime I could preach on angels and it really set the wheels rolling in my head.  I thought of nothing but angels all week and found myself researching angels in the Bible.  Today I am delivering a sermon on angels among us.

Today’s Main  Scripture is from Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 1:14, but I will be quoting other scripture references as I go.
Don, Tim and Jim were college students from the Midwestern United States and they all attended the same university in Connecticut.  It was Christmas break time, 1983, and they were all looking forward to going home for the holidays. One came from Fort Wayne, Indiana while the other two were from Chicago, Illinois. As they traveled by automobile on their way home they finally reached Indiana. They were now only two hours from Don’s home in Fort Wayne. The weather outside was bone-chilling cold and the ground was covered with heavy snow from a recent blizzard. The radio station they were listening to on the car radio was repeatedly giving weather updates and warnings advising travelers not to drive. The wind chill factor had reached a record-setting 80 degrees below zero! To get stuck outside in this weather would be life-threatening. Travel was slow but they finally arrived safely at Don’s home in Fort Wayne. Because of the severe weather, Don’s parents invited Tim and Jim to spend the night before proceeding on to their own homes in Chicago.  They wanted the boys to wait until the weather improved and it was safe to drive again, but these college students were anxious to get home for the holidays to their families in Chicago. After all, it was Christmas Eve and they had only four more hours of driving to reach their destination. They sincerely thanked Don’s parents for their generous offer but decided to brave the cold and snow and head home.  After leaving Don’s house, Tim and Jim continued on their way home. They had traveled approximately 30 minutes and had finally reached the access road that would lead them to the toll expressway. Tim’s automobile had done well in the bitter cold, but now it was beginning to sputter and lose power. The access road they were traveling was eleven miles long and it had been built along a hillside. It was a higher road then the rest. They were able to look out the car windows and see the many roads below, but they saw no other cars traveling that night. There were no houses within miles.  They assumed that other travelers had heeded the weather warnings and made the smart choice to not travel on such a dangerous night. Tim’s automobile continued to lose more and more power - and then with one final sputter and moan, the engine completely stopped. They were stuck in the middle of nowhere on the frozen road.   Soon the inside of the car became freezing cold. No other cars were anywhere to be seen. To leave the vehicle and attempt to walk to safety would likely mean death. No one could survive more than a couple of minutes outside in these record cold temperatures. Their feet were getting so cold and their bodies were becoming numb. They didn’t know what to do, so in desperation, Tim began to pray. “Dear God, You are the only one who can help us now. Please help us dear God, please help us!”  Within moments, from out of nowhere, lights appeared shining brightly through their windows. How was this possible? They hadn’t seen anyone coming and they had been watching closely for any sign of life at all. A big, strong-looking man approached their car and knocked on the window. “Need a tow fellas?” he asked. Excited and with a sense of great relief the two boys climbed into the warm cab of the tow truck. From the cab the boys used the driver’s truck phone and telephoned Don’s house. They would be spending the night after all! However, they would need some additional money to pay the driver who had rescued them. Don’s parents said they would be happy to help. The tow-truck driver drove through Fort Wayne and back into the neighborhood where Don lived. They thanked the driver for rescuing them and asked him to wait just a moment while they went inside to borrow the money to pay him. They jumped out of the cab and ran into Don’s house. Don handed them the money they had asked to borrow and they hurried back outside, grateful to pay the driver, but the tow truck was gone!   Don and his parents joined them outside, also wanting to thank the driver. The boy’s car was there, but there was no sign of the tow truck or its driver, nor was there any sign of a tow truck having ever been down that road. Neither Don nor his family had heard any sound when they had arrived, even though they had been listening for them. There were no tire tracks anywhere on the snow-covered road. There was no tow bill, no tow truck driver, no farewell, and no taillights that could be seen off in the distance. There was no evidence anywhere that any vehicle had even been down that road! The boys had no explanation other than that the tow truck driver was an angel sent by God to answer their prayer.
So I ask you church - do you believe in the existence of angels? Surely I do, because the Bible says that there ARE angels; and I believe the Bible to be the true Word of God, as written, from the first verse of Genesis to the last word of Revelation! At times in my own life, I have also sensed their presence around me.  Did you know that angels are mentioned either directly or indirectly nearly 300 times in the Old and New Testaments?  I believe with all my heart that millions of angels are at God’s command and at our service. The hosts of Heaven stand at attention ready to do God’s will at any moment of any hour of any day. His angels are on call at all times. They don’t take vacation days. They don’t take sick days. They don’t take off for holidays. They never age and they are always ready and available to carry out God’s plans! These angels of God are here to help us and they are prepared for any emergency, and Satan has no firepower that can match the heavy artillery of God! Amen!

Read Colossians 1:16 - The Bible teaches us that God created angels. At one time no angels existed; there was nothing but the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Angels are indeed among the invisible things made by God, for “all things were created by Him, and for Him.”  The Bible tells us that angels have the ability to change their appearance and to travel instantly back and forth between the glory of Heaven above and the earth below.
Read Hebrews 1:14 - We see angels called “ministering spirits.” They do not possess physical bodies, although they may take on the form of physical bodies when God appoints them to special tasks. God has given them no ability to reproduce, and they neither marry nor are given in marriage. (Mark 12:25).

I found a story about a Missionary and his Heavenly Helpers I want to share with you this morning.  The Reverend John G. Paton felt drawn towards missionary work. He had completed his education and training, and finally he and his lovely wife, Jenny, boarded a series of airplanes and moved to their new mission assignment in the New Hebrides Islands, where they would reside for the next year in a thatched-roof single room hut. Both Reverend Paton and his wife were concerned about the many obstacles they knew that they would face on the islands. Disease, deadly animals and fierce natives all figured to play a factor in their lives for the next year. Nevertheless, they knew and believed that God was in charge and they were where He wanted them to be at this time of their lives.  During their time in this remote mission field that God had called them to, they found many opportunities to hold Bible studies and to teach the local tribes about their faith, and about the Lord Jesus Christ.  However, there was one tribe in particular, known for their fierce fighting, which grew more hostile towards the missionaries with each passing day. For weeks they had threatened to attack the Patons and kill them, because they had interfered with ancient tribal traditions and taught their people a new and strange way of faith.  Soon the hostile tribe made plans to carry out their threats. Late in the evening of June 23, 1973, the Patons sat in their tiny thatched home, and listened to the sound of war cries outside their hut growing louder and louder. “They’re coming for us, John,” a terrified Jenny whispered to her husband. John nodded and said “Pray Jenny, talk to God, keep praying!” Then John began to pray aloud. “Heavenly Father” he began, “You have commanded us to come to You in time of need, and to ask for your intervention. We come before You now and ask You to protect us as You have so many times in the past. Please deliver us from the danger we are in. In Your name we pray, amen.”  For nearly an hour the sounds continued outside their bungalow. By the end of an hour the Patons could see dancing lights surrounding their home. “Fire!” John whispered, holding Jenny tightly. “Keep praying Jenny! I think they are going to try and burn us out.”  Another fifteen minutes passed while John and Jenny continued to pray for protection. Then suddenly, the screaming began to lessen and grow more and more distant. The tribesmen were moving farther and farther away from the Paton’s hut. Finally the sounds completely disappeared. Three months passed by and the Patons had no explanation for why the tribesmen had chosen not to kill them that terrifying night. Then, in a very strange turn of events, the chief of that tribe contacted the Paton’s and began asking them questions about their mission work and about Jesus Christ.   Shortly thereafter, the Chief accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior and received salvation. Then John decided to ask the Chief that burning question within his mind. “Why didn’t you kill us that night?” he asked, staring into the Chief’s eyes. “We tried” said the Chief, “but your guards wouldn’t let us past.” “What guards?” asked the missionary. The chief waved his arms dramatically. “Hundreds of guards, big men in shiny clothes with swords drawn and with torches. They circled your hut. We had no choice so we left.”
That was in our time….but in the same way that God had delivered the prophet Elisha and his helper from the armies of  the King of Syria, God had sent His angels to deliver John and Jenny Paton.

Do you remember that wonderful story in the Bible, found in 2 Kings, Chapter 6? The King of Syria had dispatched his army to Dothan, having learned that Elisha, the prophet, was there. When the prophet’s helper got up and got dressed in the morning and had looked all around, he had become terrified. He cried out to Elisha that the surrounding countryside was filled with many armies and the instruments of war. Elisha smiled and placed his arm around his young helper. and assured him, “Don’t be afraid, our army is bigger than theirs.”   You see, Elisha could see God’s great army of angels already in place, ready to protect both him and his helper. Elisha then prayed that God would open the eyes of his young helper, that he also might be able to see the hosts of protective angels there to protect them. God answered the prayer of Elisha! The young man’s eyes were opened and as he looked around he “could see horses and chariots of fire everywhere on the hills surrounding the city.”   In 845 B.C. God had sent His angels to protect Elisha and his helper, and again in 1973 God sent his angels to protect John and Jenny Paton. In the same manner that God sent His angels to protect Elisha’s helper and the Paton’s, God is ready now this day to send a host of angels to protect each and every one of you!

Angels in the Bible?  Yes, I believe in angels! The Bible tells us story after story of angels involved in the work and will of God. In Genesis 32 the “angels of God” met Jacob while he was on his way home, and Jacob declared, “This is God’s army.”
In Daniel 5 an angel appeared in the form of the fingers of a man’s hand as the fingers wrote on the wall God’s message to King Belshazzar, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. You have been weighed in the balances and been found wanting. Your kingdom is finished.” Not only were the days of King Belshazzar’s kingdom numbered, but also, God was finished with him and his life would be required of him that very night.

In Daniel 6 we read the story of how God sent His angel to shut the mouths of the lions, and also the story of how God used His angels to scatter the people of Israel for their sins.
In Genesis 18 we read about how God used His angels to bring judgment upon the wicked people of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and how His angels were used to first deliver Lot and his family.   Two angels of God visited Sodom to warn Lot and his family to flee from the wrath about to come. So evil were the inhabitants of Sodom that they wanted to physically molest God’s angels. God’s angels blinded the men of Sodom and prevented them from carrying out their desires.  And I believe that it is very important to note here that Lot, Abraham’s nephew, had drifted far away from the holy standards of God and had sought the companionship and the material benefits of an unholy and sinful alliance. Lot had turned away from God, yet God still sent His angels to spare his life and to assist him in avoiding the consequences of his own poor judgment. God always protects His own, even when we have chosen to travel down a wrong path.

It has been the nature of man to sin since the days of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It doesn’t say some – it says all! The Bible also tells us that “there is none perfect, no not one.” However, rest-assured that if God lives within our heart, regardless of the detours we may choose to take along our earthly journey, God still loves us and we are still His child.

In Luke 1 we read the story of the angel Gabriel who appeared to Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, advising him that his wife, Elizabeth, would bare him a son and that he would be the forerunner of the coming Messiah.  Gabriel would appear again in Luke 1 with his most important appearance. He appears to the Virgin Mary with an important message for not only her, but for all mankind. He speaks to her with some of the most wonderful words written in the Bible, a special message from God to Mary. “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus….And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
In Matthew 1 an angel appeared to Joseph telling and assuring him that Mary was with child through God, and not through another man.

In Luke 2 God sent His heavenly messengers to deliver the news to the shepherds in the fields of nearby Bethlehem that the Messiah, who had been prophesied in the Old Testament, had been born. “For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
And after the human death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary, as His body lay in the tomb, it was an angel of God that rolled away the huge stone guarding the entrance to the tomb, setting in place the events surrounding the resurrection of our risen Savior.

In Acts 12 we find the Apostle Peter, laying bound in shackles, in prison, awaiting execution. James, the brother of John, had already been killed, and there was little reason to believe that Peter would escape the axe of the executioner.   As Peter lay sleeping, an angel appeared, not barred by such things as doors and iron bars. The angel appeared unto Peter in the prison cell, shook him awake, and told him to prepare to escape. As a light shone through the darkness of the prison, Peter’s chains fell off, and he followed the angel out of the prison and into safety. Doors had supernaturally been opened! What a mighty deliverance God achieved through His angel.
So many times when we read God’s Word we find that He sent His angels to minister to the needs of His servants, and He will send His angels to meet your needs as well. Have you ever gone through a dark period where you have prayed and prayed and yet it seemed that no help had come? You felt as though God had disappeared and you were all alone to face your trials and burdens? God has a very special message for you today – He will never leave you nor forsake you - you are never alone! Yes, there are times when God withdraws to test our faith. He wants us to trust Him in the darkness, as well as in the light. Whether or not we sense and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit or one of the holy angels, by faith we are certain that God will never leave us nor forsake us.

Angels  are also seen as Avengers-Angels enjoy far greater power then men and they are used by God to do more things than minister to our needs. They are there to execute God’s will, and sometimes they must also be “avengers” who use their great power to carry out God’s judgments. God has empowered His angels to separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff, and one of them will one day blow the trumpet that announces impending judgment when God summons all nations to stand before Him in the last great judgment.
The Bible tells us that it took only one angel to slay the first born of Egypt in Moses’ day, and one to shut the lion’s mouths for David. In 2 Kings 19 God again used His angels to execute His judgment. King Hezekiah had received a letter from the commander of the Assyrian forces, and he immediately had sought God’s counsel. God gave Isaiah the answer to give King Hezekiah.  God told Isaiah to tell the King that not one Assyrian arrow would be fired into the city. He promised to defend Jerusalem on that occasion for the sake of David. Dramatically that night, just one of God’s mighty army of angels, struck the forces of the Assyrians that were camped on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The next morning 185,000 soldiers lay dead on the field of battle.

And greater still, the Bible also both prophecies and promises to us that one angel will come from Heaven one day. He will have a great chain in his hand. He will lay hold of Satan and bind him with that chain, and then cast him into that pit called hell. So I ask you, how great is the power of just one of God’s mighty angels?  God has created millions of angels and I personally believe that every child and every Christian has their own personal guardian angel. In Psalms 91:11 the Bible says “He will give His angels charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.”
According to Deuteronomy 33:2, ten thousand angels came down on Mt. Sinai when God gave the law to Moses. Revelation 5:11 tells us that armies of angels will appear with Jesus at the Battle of Armageddon when the forces of Satan gather for their final defeat. How can a person not believe in angels?

Another beautiful duty that God has assigned to angels will affect each and every one of us that is a Christian. We will all face death one day. We know that for the Bible teaches us that. But how wonderful it is to know that at our hour of death God has commissioned His angels to escort each believer to Heaven and to give us a royal welcome as we enter the eternal presence of God. Even as the angels escorted Lazarus when he died, the beggar that had sat at the rich man’s gate, so too, we have the assurance that when we are summoned by death unto life in the presence of Christ, that God will send His angels to escort us also.  What a beautiful thought for today.  Don't you think?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

God's Not Dead

We went to Knoxville on Monday for a few days away during Spring Break.  Both Frank and I had been wanting to see the new movie, "God Is Not Dead," but just had not found the time.  On Tuesday Chuck, Susan, Frank and I hit the Tuesday matinee and had 2.00 popcorn and cokes (refillable).  Susan and I got there ahead of the guys so we got to enjoy all the previews and trivia stuff that they show before the movie begins.  Not long after the guys arrived the room grew much dimmer and the screen parted as far as it could and we waited breathlessly for the movie to begin....and begin it did.  I remember when I was a freshman in college....and I thought I was a devout Christian....but I am not sure I could have done what Josh Wheaton (the main character) did. 
You see, present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton(played by Spencer from Good Luck Charlie), finds his faith challenged on his very first day of Philosophy class(I remember taking Philosophy and I remember how dogmatic my professor must be a Philosphy thing) by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson(played by Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words "God Is Dead" on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh finds himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that "God Is Dead," he must prove God's existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God's existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God?  It amazed me as the story progressed and young Josh finds his life shaking to its core....but his passion for God burning out of control.  There are several lives that are touched in this movie and I do not want to blow the movie for anyone.  I will say....if you are going for an action packed won't find it here.  The movie is a bit slow at times....but you cannot leave this movie and say it did not touch your life in some way.  If you get a chance....go see it....take a friend.....take a may make a difference.  You will leave knowing in your heart that God's Not Dead

Friday, March 28, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Mighty

So, here’s the skinny: every Friday for going on four years now hundreds of people have joined a kind of writing flash mob over here. This is my third year.  We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that I post here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FMFParty (It stands for Five Minute Friday Party). No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real. It started because Lisa Jo had been thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And she figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. So now on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Your words. This shared feast. It’s easy to join in, just: Check what the prompt is on Lisa Jo's blog. Write a post in only five minutes on that topic on your blog. {And if you don’t have a blog, no worries! Just leave your writing as a comment on her post} Link over to her blog by clicking here and invite friends to join in. Select the permalink to your post {so not your blog url but your post url } Using the blue linky tool at the bottom of her Five Minute Friday post enter your link. It will also walk you through selecting which photo you want to show up in the linky. Your post will show up in our Five Minute Friday linky. Be sure and encourage the person who linked up before you! Our most important requirement for participation: There’s really only one absolute, no ifs, ands or buts about it Five Minute Friday rule: you must visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community. 
The word for today is Mighty.
My mind is running wild.  What can I possibly say about the word mighty today?  I sat and looked at my screen for what seemed like hours and then I remembered my father saying "that was a mighty good meal, or that was a mighty good banana pudding" to my mother.  Mighty good when spoken by my father meant it was the best he had ever had.  He would also say to me, "darlin' I have a mighty big favor to ask of you."  I knew that meant he was going to ask me to do something larger than life.  It would be a favor so big that doing it would require extra work from me. So, I began going in that direction for this post but as I wrote I the lyrics to the song Mighty to Save is what came to my mind.  I can hear the song running through my head.  "Savior He can move the mountains.  Our God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save."  I stand here humbled because of these lyrics.  He is a mighty God that we choose to serve.  "What a mighty God we serve.  What a mighty God we serve.  Angels bow before Him.  Heaven and earth adore him.  What a mighty God we serve."  When I was in the Smokey Mountains this week and saw the majesty of those mighty peaks I was awed at the power and might of my God.  He created these beautiful places just for me (and you too) to enjoy.  It is by this might that he let His only child die on a cross for me.  That took a lot of strength.  Could I have done this?  I doubt it very seriously. I only have might because He is the King of my life.  He is my almighty.  He is my strength and shield because of His great Might.  Yep, He is Mighty to save.  Can I get an amen on that?


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Angel Gowns

Since 1976 I have kept my wedding dress stored under whatever bed we had in the house.  This dress is not the dress I wore when Frank and I is from my first marriage.  I kept it for years hoping one of my daughters would wear it....but they didn't.  I kept it thinking I would donate it to a theater group for a costume.....but I didn't.  I has just sat....taking up room and collecting dust in the box it has been stored in for 38 years.  Today I got a facebook post from my cousin and a dear friend that broke my heart.  The post was about an organization that makes gowns for babies who die in the hospital.  They make them from wedding gowns. I know where mine is going now.  Next week mine will be heading to Ft. Worth, Texas to be made into angel gowns.  I thought I would share their story with you and if you have a gown you have been meaning to get rid of but can't seem to part with....maybe this is meant for you.
Angel Gowns
NICU Helping Hands’ Angel Gown Program began in 2013 because we recognized the  overwhelming need to support families who lost a baby while in the hospital. Our Angel Gown Program provides comfort for families by providing a beautiful gown for final photos and for burial services. There is no greater gift that can be given to a grieving family than affirming the importance of the life of their child by offering this simple gift.
Sewn with love by volunteer seamstresses, donated wedding gowns are used to create beautiful gowns for families grieving the death of their child.
It is an honor for us to provide gowns free of charge to any family or hospital requesting our Angel Gowns. Other non-profits providing bereavement services to families can also request gowns. Requests from hospitals and non-profits should be sent to
All urgent or time sensitive requests from families or hospitals should be made by calling 817-584-1437.  Please note: This program is available nationally. Not only do we accept gowns from around the country, we provide any NICU with these gowns. We welcome volunteer seamstresses in locations outside of DFW.
Gown Donation Information
Donation via Shipping:  Gowns can be shipped directly to us at NICU Helping Hands C/O Ideal Partners, 6913 Camp Bowie BLVD Suite 181, Fort Worth, Texas 76116.  We suggest that you remove the crinoline from the gown so that it is less bulky and expensive to ship. Folding the gown neatly into a small box is preferred and wrinkling is not a concern as our seamstresses will be pressing the gown during the sewing process.
Donation in Person: If you are local to the DFW you can drop off your gown Monday-Friday 1pm-6pm at Bliss Bridal, 4624 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107.
Gowns We Accept: We accept all wedding gowns. Even if there are stains on the gown, we can use portions of the gown that are not stained. We accept pale colored bridesmaid gowns and other ball gowns as these often provide beading and additional silk and satin fabrics that are useful in making the Angel Gowns.  Unfortunately at this time we are unable to personally pick up gowns from donors’ homes. Thank you for your understanding.  If you would like a tax deductible receipt please include this request PINNED to your gown at the time of donation. We must have your name and mailing address on the written request as well. 
Volunteer Seamstress Information
If you would like to sew Angel Gowns for our program please read NICU Helping Hands Best Practices Guideline and Sewing Pattern. Please fill out our volunteer sign up.  We will contact you. We will mail gowns to out of town seamstresses or schedule a time for local seamstresses to pick up a gown. Seamstresses who prefer to collect gowns in their local areas for us are welcome to do so. All completed Angel Gowns should be mailed or delivered back to us so that we can prepare them for placement in a hospital or with a family in need. We take special care in packaging each gown individually in tissue and placing it in a nice white box, along with an additional keepsake for the family. In addition to the Angel Gown box, we provide hospitals and families with additional information so that they can contact us should they need other assistance for the family.
We respectfully ask that if you are sewing for NICU Helping Hands that you allow us to place the gowns at hospitals so all necessary steps are taken to make sure the appropriate gown sizes and numbers are provided to hospitals and families. This also ensures that families know how to contact us for additional support that might be needed. 
Your gift of love is priceless to grieving families and we thank you
from the bottom of our hearts for helping us comfort them through this program.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! When you click here to add your link at the end of Joyce's post, please make sure you're linking to your Hodgepodge post, and not your blog in general (or a non-Hodgepodge related post!)...makes for much easier reading for any visitors who wander your way. 
Here are my answers to this week's questions-

1. March is known as the windy month. Which of the following phrases best fits your March so far...'throw caution to the wind', 'three sheets to the wind', 'run like the wind' or 'see which way the wind blows'?  Throw caution to the wind.  We have done some rather crazy things this month...starting with attending a retirement seminar that actually made me think seriously about retiring....ready or not.  Scary....but may happen.
 2. Your favorite green food? Your favorite recipe made with your favorite green food?
I'm going with an avocado, and my favorite recipe made with that would be guacamole. The other green foods I beans and turnip greens...I eat pretty much plain.  There is no recipe.

 3. Ever been locked out of your home-car-office-anywhere? Do tell!  Yes, several times actually.  One night when I was coming home from college.  There were five of us who rode together.  It was pouring down rain when we got back.  Everyone jumped out and jumped in their cars and left.  I could not find my keys....because they were laying on the seat of my car.  A policeman made his rounds about 30 minutes after I got there.  I had no cell phone, I had no where to get out of the rain....I just stood there.  They managed to open my car after about 30 more minutes....and by the time I headed home I was a drowned rat and miserable.  When I got home....all my family was tucked in for the night and snoozing just fine.  I wanted to wake them all up....but thought better of it.  I ended up with a nasty cold and missed a couple of days of work.  I never let my friends leave me at home....or at my car....until I have my keys in hand and am safely inside.  
4. Yoda, Kermit, Shrek, The Wicked Witch of the West, Oscar the Grouch, The Grinch, or Mike Wasowski (Monsters, Inc.)...of the green characters listed, which one's your favorite, and why?  I am going with Joyce on this one and saying, The Grinch, because he's changed by the love, faith, and kindness of strangers.

5. "The first task of a leader is to keep hope alive."~Joe Batten  Do you agree? Why or why not?  Agree 100%. When hope dies people stop caring. 

 6. Share a favorite song with an emotion in its title.  Crying by Roy Orbison.  My dad used to play this song all the time and sing with him.  It always made me laugh.

7. What's a road trip you'd like to take?   Route 66 from beginning to end in a convertible.  My friend Mary and I were planning to do this the summer of 2012.  She died before we could take it. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.   It is Spring Break in my school system and Frank and I decided to come to Knoxville and visit with friends.  They have sold their house...close on April 11th....and have to be out that day..... and we have been helping them move some stuff from the house to the storage container.  They will be living in a camper on the property for a we thought we would make one more trip to see the house on Trailhead.  What do you do for Spring Break? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jelly Beans and What They Mean

Jelly Bean Colors & Meanings:
Colors & their meanings are as follows:
White = purity, Godliness
Black = sin, evil
Red = Jesus, blood
Yellow = sunshine
Green = life
Purple = royalty
Pink = happiness ("in the pink")
While we were in Knoxville this week I found this little thought provoker while Susan and I were perusing Lifeway Books. We were killing time waiting on the guys so we could go and see God's Not Dead.  Lifeway is one of my favorite places in the whole world.  I could spend hours in one.   I love this place and since it is getting close to Easter I jotted down the references to perhaps use them for my Children's Sermon one Sunday before Easter.  I can promise you I won't look at Jelly Beans the same any more.  BTW if you have not seen the movie yet you need to.  It is amazing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Kissing Bridge

About The Book:  In the third book in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series, award-winning author Tricia Goyer introduces a surprising new resident to West Kootenai as a young woman escapes from her stifling conservative Amish community to find a new life. Rebecca is an Amish woman whose pained past compels her to leave everything to become a nurse—abandoning her family and community. Caleb is an Amish man who is counting down the days until hunting season. At a crossroads in his own life, the excitement of hunting game is all he looks forward to. All the while he wonders what to do with the rest of his life. Even though he likes the Amish lifestyle, what good is an Amish man without faith in God?  An unexpected meeting pushes them together, and they embark with friends on a two-week-long wilderness wagon journey. Hardship tears down the flimsy walls of protection they've placed around their hearts, and as their friendship grows they open up to each other and eventually reveal their deepest secrets. While on the outside they appear to be traditional Amish people, inside they both know they are anything but that. Will their secrets pull them together or draw them apart? And will their faith in God grow? There is a bridge to cross at the end of the journey. Will true love take them across?

About The Author:  Tricia Goyer has written more than thirty-five books, including both novels that delight and entertain readers and non- fiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine.  Goyer’s fiction and non-fiction books have won awards from the American Christian Fiction Writers and Mt. Hermon Writers’ Conference. She is also a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee.  Tricia has authored several books on family and parenting, as well as co-written with Max Lucado and Robin Jones Gunn. She collaborated with Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges for Lead Your Family Like Jesus, published by Focus on the Family/Tyndale.  Tricia’s contemporary and historical novels feature strong women overcoming great challenges. She recreates historic wartime eras with precise detail through perseverant and comprehensive research. Tricia speaks to groups interested in these eras, with the intention of preserving and honoring the memory of the men and women who served.  She is a beloved author of Amish fiction, as well, writing the Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors Series. Tricia is currently working on The One Year Book of Amish Peace: Hearing God’s Voice in the Simple Things and a true Amish story co-written with Ora Jay and Irene Eash (contracted to release in 2013 and 2014 respectively).  Tricia is also the visionary force behind the new website, Not Quite Amish. Inspired by the writing process of her Amish releases, she wanted to create a community where Amish and simple living experts can become contributors. Launched in the fall of 2012, the Not Quite Amish lifestyle blog features daily posts about recipes, repurposing, simple style, beautifying your home, sewing Amish proverbs, and more. In addition to having more than fifteen regular contributors, readers are also encouraged to submit ideas, questions, and posts for topics they’d like to see written about.  In addition to Not Quite Amish, Tricia also posts regularly at her personal blog and is a contributor to other family and homeschooling blogs, such as The Home Educating Family, The Better Mom, Allume and MomLife Today. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by  Throughout the past ten years, Tricia has been interviewed by numerous national TV and radio programs and magazines.

My Thoughts On The Book:  This was a great  book to conclude the Seven Bachelors Series.  I have read all the books and was able to move from book to book with ease.  The reader would not have to have prior knowlede of the characters.  The setting and theme ae really the only things the series books have in common.  I was quite drawn to Goyer's description of the area around West Kootenai, Montana. My favorite part of this story involved the by chance meeting of  Rebecca and Caleb.  Here were two young Amish people running from something in their lives and trying to decide whether or not to leave the Amish church. The Mix of Marianne (Amish who left the church) and her Englisher husband Ben adds to the attraction.  I loved the wagon train, the discoveries, and the ending.   It is a clean romance with a bit of adventure, you'll love this book!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book through Thomas Nelson Publishing Company and Book Sneeze and Booklook Bloggers. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What Can God Do With A Broken Woman?

Our scripture today comes from John 4:1-4

MUCH HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT THIS WOMAN - She like many women today think that there is a certain man who will meet all their needs. And so she became the “Liz Taylor” of the New Testament looking for her perfect man.  If I can just meet that one man – he will fill my life and give me everything I want.  Men and women alike are looking for a Quick-Fix and simple solutions to their loneliness and lack of self-esteem.  David McCasland tells about a woman whose car was stalled at an intersection. The hood was up, and she flagged McCasland down to help. "I can’t get it started," she said. "But if you jiggle the wire on the battery, I think it will work."  McCasland grabbed the positive battery cable and it came off in his hand. Definitely the cable was too loose. "The terminal needs to be tightened up," he told her. "I can fix it if you have some tools."  "My HUSBAND says to just jiggle the wire," she replied. "It always works. Why don’t you just try that?" McCasland paused for a moment, wondering why her husband didn’t ride around town with her so he would be available when the wire needed jiggling.   Finally he said, "Ma’am, if I jiggle the wire, you’re going to need someone else to do it every time you shut the engine off. If you’ll give me two minutes and a wrench, we can solve the problem and you can forget about it." Reluctantly, she fumbled under the front seat and then extended a crescent wrench through the window of the old car.  As he tightened the battery terminal, it occurred to McCasland how many times he had tried, in his own life, to get a "quick fix" from God. "I have this problem, Lord, and if You’ll just jiggle the wire, things will be OK. I’m in a hurry, so let’s just get me going again the quickest way possible."  God doesn’t want to jiggle our wires, but to reconnect us. If you haven’t made a conscious decision to follow God, you don’t know him. You don’t start with it and lose it - you have to gain it first.  The answer to our inner thirst is a complete surrender to God. The woman at the well had been “looking for love in all the wrong places” One Quick-Fix after another.  The reality is that there isn’t a perfect man who will fill a woman’s life any more than there is perfect woman who will fill a man’s life!  In the process of hunting for someone to fill her life this woman became as empty of self worth, significance, and value as a dirty worn out sock in the corner of a basement laundry room.

Read John 4:1-42

In the words of the hymn writer,

"I tried the broken cisterns, but ah the waters failed,

Ev’n as I stooped to drink they fled, and mocked me as I wailed."

I’M SURE THE PHARISEES AND OTHER RELIGIOUS PEOPLE OF THE DAY, WOULD HAVE LOOKED AT THIS WOMAN, AND FELT THAT SHE WAS A LOST CAUSE - SO STEEPED IN SIN AS TO ’NOT BE THE TYPE’ TO BE SAVED!   Jesus always looks deeper than the surface. He looked much deeper, and saw the deep searching in her heart that had been left so long unsatisfied! He doesn’t concentrate on what we are, but is aware, and wants us to be aware, of what we can become – with his help. Jesus spoke to her before he ever opened his mouth and gave one religious word.  She was a Samaritan – part Jewish background and part Babylonian trash.   She was a woman – of no account in the culture and society of that time.  At noon – an outcast who came when no one else was there.  When he took the water and he drank it he spoke the most powerful words of all: Before he said another word this stranger had said a tremendous amount. He had said ’You are not worthless. You are someone who can help me. You are worth talking to.’ He had said "I am not afraid to cross over barriers of gender and race that put people down.’ He had even said ’It is all right to ask favors, and reach out to help and be helped by others.’ And he said a lot more beside before he ever opened his mouth again.


Fact #1: NOTHING IN THIS WORLD GIVES LASTING SATISFACTION!  SO OFTEN, PEOPLE ARE CONVINCED THAT SOMEWHERE IN THE EXPERIENCES OF THIS WORLD, THERE MUST BE SATISFACTION!  They are led a merry dance in trying to find it, often ending up with wrecked lives, as it just slips through their fingers time after time.  A little lad in the Sunday School, was called Callam. Now we were out on the Sunday School trip, and Callum had an Ice Cream, which unfortunately slipped of the cone, and fell on the floor. We were all most amused to see him desperately trying to pick it up with his fingers, only to find it was to no avail, it just slipped through his fingers again. NOTHING IN THIS WORLD GIVES LASTING SATISFACTION.  Not wealth; Not power; Not a man (or a woman)!  JESUS WAS MAKING THE POINT TO THIS WOMAN!   Here was a woman that thought there was some man who would meet her needs and satisfy her life.  Six men- Five husbands – last one was not her husband.  She had been looking for love in all the wrong places.  In the process of chasing after the wind she became empty. The water, or anything else from this world does not give lasting satisfaction.

Fact #2: JESUS KNEW ALL ABOUT HER!  HE KNEW ALL ABOUT HER MANY MARRIAGES! HE KNEW ABOUT HER IMMORAL LIFE!   He knew all about her fruitless search for satisfaction! He knew all about her loneliness and rejection. She didn’t need to tell Him any of these things!   THERE IS NOTHING THE LORD DOES NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU OR ME - SO WE NEED NOT TRY AND HIDE ANYTHING FROM HIM!   I’m reminded of a minister who arranged to meet for counseling, a woman who had made a decision for Christ the previous Sunday. She was late in arriving for the appointment. During the counseling, the minister, through the gift of knowledge, had a sudden insight flash into his mind. He turned to the woman, and said, "I know why you were late! You are a prostitute, and you have just been with a client!" The woman broke down in tears, being forced to admit the truth, and becoming painfully aware, that nothing is hidden from the Lord!  We are transparent to His gaze! He says, "I the Lord, search the heart!"

Fact #3: JESUS GIVES “LIVING WATER”  JESUS OFFERED HER LIVING WATER WHICH WOULD SATISFY FOR EVER!! Real Life with lasting satisfaction comes only from God.  Not religious rituals (not this mountain and not that mountain). God doesn’t really care if we sing hymns or “camp songs”. He doesn’t really care if we sing contemporary or traditional, with or without instruments, upbeat or slow and quiet.  He just wants us to worship him! It comes from the worship of God in spirit and in truth.   Do you remember the shootings in Littleton, Colorado.  I do.  THE NATION WAS SHOCKED AND ANGERED BY THE ACTIONS OF THOSE TWO YOUNG MEN.  The news has played up the fact of racial motivations and hatred of jocks. It becomes increasingly clear that one of the targeted groups on that HS campus was Christians.  Cassie Bernall - Cassie was a 17-year-old junior with long blond hair, hair she wanted to cut off and have made into wigs for cancer patients who had lost their hair through chemotherapy. She was active in her youth group at Westpool’s Community Church and was known for carrying a Bible to school.  Cassie was in the school library reading her Bible when the two young killers burst in. According to witnesses, one of the killers pointed his gun at Cassie and asked, do you believe in God?" Cassie paused and then answered, "Yes, I believe in God." "Why?" the gunman asked. Cassie did not have a chance to respond; the gunman had already shot her dead.  Cassie’s martyrdom was even more remarkable when you consider that just a few years before she had dabbled in the occult, including witchcraft. She had embraced the same darkness and nihilism that drove her killers to such despicable acts. But two years before her death, Cassie dedicated her life to Christ, and turned her life around. Her friend, Craig Moon, called her a "light for Christ."  According to the Boston Globe, on the night of her death, Cassie’s brother Chris found a poem Cassie had written just two days prior to her death. It read:

 "Now I have given up on everything else  I have found it to be the only way

 To really know Christ and to experience  The mighty power that brought

 Him back to life again, and to find  Out what it means to suffer and to

 Die with him. So, whatever it takes  I will be one who lives in the fresh

 Newness of life of those who are  Alive from the dead."


Fact #4: “LIVING WATER” CHANGES EVERYTHING   SHE LEFT HER WATER POT, AND RUSHED BACK TO THE TOWN!   Her purpose in coming, had been to draw water - yet she goes off without it! Why?   Suddenly, the whole purpose and direction of her life had changed completely!   HER FIRST PRIORITY WAS NOW TO TELL OTHERS ABOUT JESUS!  She wanted to tell them her personal experience of Christ! I find it interesting that we read she told "the men".   Perhaps her lifestyle meant that the women had rejected her - she obviously had many male friends. The transformation in her life, must have been amazing, because many came to see and hear Jesus because of her witness.  In verse 39 we read, "Many of the Samaritans of that city, believed on Him for the saying of the woman which testified, ’He told me all that ever I did’."


Being a witness is telling and showing

Being a witness is telling and showing others

Being a witness is telling and showing others you know about what you found

BECAUSE OF THE WOMANS WITNESS… A GREAT MANY BELIEVED AND FOLLOWED JESUS! THEY SAID TO THE WOMAN, "NOW WE BELIEVE, NOT BECAUSE OF THY SAYING, FOR WE HAVE HEARD HIM OURSELVES, AND KNOW THAT THIS IS INDEED THE CHRIST, THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD!"  No second hand experience was going to do for them! They had sought the Savior in a PERSONAL way! "Not because of what you said - but because WE have heard Him ourselves!"   They had very obviously accepted this Jewish Messiah, to be the "Savior of the World", with the inference that they had accepted Him as a PERSONAL SAVIOUR! IT ALL CAME ABOUT OF COURSE BECAUSE OF THE WITNESS OF THE WOMAN! All those people swept into the kingdom, and saved from a lost eternity, because of her willingness to TELL.   Often people say, "I couldn’t witness - I wouldn’t know what to say."   Hey….People….just BE LIKE THIS WOMAN - JUST TELL PEOPLE YOU’VE MET JESUS!! What made them listen to the woman was the CHANGE IN HER LIFE!!   If they see that same change in you and me - they will listen to us too! If you do that, then it will be a simple matter of directing them to Christ. After all when you’ve been there - you know where to go!!  The nail prints in His hands and feet are a daily reminder of just how much He loves you….and me.