Posted in Faith

A Faithful Garden


pring has sprung in most of the US. And while many Northerners may still have frozen ground (and even a bit of snow), people are still anxious to get their thumbs green for the first time in 2014.  Whether you’ve been able to plant year-round or you’re patiently waiting for your inaugural opportunity, this major seasonal shift is a great time to think about how you may want to decorate your garden.  Your home’s outdoor space is the first thing people see, so focus on making the garden decor welcoming, personal, and representative of who you are.

If you are a person of faith, the great outdoors is likely an important reminder of God’s presence.  Consider sprucing up your outdoor space with religious garden décor from St. Patrick’s Guild.  Religious statues make for great garden décor.  St. Francis is a perennially popular garden statue and would be a wonderful nod to your own reverence for animals.  If you are self-deprecating, you might choose a St. Jude garden statue from St. Patrick’s guild – after all, he is the patron saint of lost causes and could be a wonderful guide if you love gardening but struggle to master it!  Many St. Patrick’s Guild customers choose religious angel garden statues.  Angel décor still accentuate your spiritual side, while being more universal than saint statues.

Beyond religious garden statues, garden stepping stones from St. Patrick’s Guild are a great choice if you want spiritual decorations with a lower profile.  Religious stepping stones for the garden can pay homage to your ethnic heritage (Celtic stepping stones are the most common) or they may depict an angel or other religious figure.  St. Patrick’s Guild also offers stepping stones that can honor lost family members or friends.   You may also like to select stepping stones with a spiritual quote.  Or mix and match all types!  Customers at St. Patrick’s Guild appreciate that stepping stones also serve the important practical purpose of guiding garden visitors along a marked path – rather than through precious flowers or plants!

If you have enough garden-level décor or you prefer to fill your ground with only living things, you can still bring a level of interest and a depth of color to your outdoor space with a religious suncatcher in your window.  With the flowers, plants, and food down below and the suncatcher displayed in a nearby window, there will be a sense of comprehensiveness to your outdoor décor planning and choices.  St. Patrick’s Guild carries more than 50 spiritual suncatchers to enhance your garden décor.  The fantastic thing about suncatchers is that they also bring life and color inside.  You may want a spiritual suncatcher that features the same lovely flowers as those in your garden, or perhaps a religious quote or bible verse is more your style.

Again, rejoice, because spring has sprung!  It is a universally lovely time (if a bit muddy!) so revel in the joy by planning your garden décor so you can enjoy it for the entirety of spring, summer and fall.

About the Author:  Jessica Haas’ family has owned and operated St. Patrick’s Guild since 1949.  One of the nation’s finest purveyors of Christian and inspirational gifts! Join in the conversation on Facebook.

Posted in Faith

Could YOU be a Bone Marrow Match for our Daughter’s Friend?


s I write this, if all goes as planned, 10 year old Bree is in surgery for her broviac line right now.   This is so she can begin chemo again, and have a bone marrow transplant. 

My 10 year old daughter who is friends with Bree, has been asking why she cannot be checked to see if her bone marrow matches Bree’s.  She wants Bree to get better fast.  When I told her she is too young, she said, But Bree is not too young to have cancer, so why can’t I help?  Ugh.  

No, my daughter cannot help, but possibly YOU can? Maybe you will be the match Bree needs?   Can you please pass on the link to BeTheMatch? It is very easy to join the bone marrow registry, by either applying online or finding a donor registry drive in your area.  

Bree’s CarePage Updates

Facebook: We Bree-Lieve

Could YOU be a bone marrow match for this little girl?  PLEASE HELP!

Posted in Faith, Family

Inspire Me Monday ~ Week 88


t’s my birthday today. And as I have done every birthday since I knew I was adopted, is think of my birth mother, probably even more so since having children.  I cannot imagine giving up a baby, my own flesh and blood.  I’ve often thought that it must be to many moms, a death.  And I know what that feels like, being we had a stillborn daughter.  I am thankful she gave me life, that she did not go to some hidden doctor’s office and have my blob of tissue wiped out of her.   So who inspires me now with this?

There are several.  In the last couple of years I’ve gotten to know a gal who gave up her daughter for adoption.  Her daughter is now about 16 years old.  It was an open adoption, so my friend is able to see her daughter every so often.  I just met her daughter last weekend.  What a beautiful story on both sides – missionaries who were not able to have children, being enabled to have children, and for the mom who gave her up to be rewarded with seeing her daughter mature and grow up in a good home and most of all, to be happy for her, with no regrets of giving her up.  

We have other friends who have been foster parents, now adopting, including a child who has serious health problems with seizures.  When they first got her, she was not having the seizures.  But this family has kept on loving her, and seeking the best for her health.  Besides the parents caring for her are two young girls, one in her late teens the other in her early twenties, and both are heavily involved in caring for the foster children.  These girls could be out in the “world” making lots of money, dating, partying, etc., but instead are loving on these kids.  The older daughter wrote recently, 

     Yes, things have to be done differently in our house now [since the seizures]. BUT! She can look at us, smile and even laugh! She can kick her feet and hold her head up and roll occasionally to her side. She loves music and eating her fingers and swinging in the tree and jumping in her jumperoo. But even if she couldn’t do these things, would she be any less deserving of love and family? No. It’s totally worth it guys!  Maybe you’re in the middle of a homestudy for your adoption… maybe there’s a baby like [baby girl] who needs you. Maybe you’re done raising your kids and are being called to start all over again with a baby like [baby girl] who NEEDS you (like my parents are!). Please be open to how the Lord will use you! Kids like [baby girl] are not and should not be scary. 

Yes, these families inspire me, when I’ve had rough days . . .  when I think of my past, when my heart hurts for my adoptive parents and my birth parents and the voids I’ve had . . . when I can see how God ordained where I was and has put the puzzle pieces together in such a way as only He could.  When I see what God protected me from, I am in awe.  

God continues to inspire me in the context of His family because I am

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Posted in Faith, Family

Happy 26th birthday to our oldest!


t’s hard to believe that 26 years ago today, I became a mom for the first time.  Being adopted, my baby boy was the first one I held and touched, that I was blood related to.  I remember the morning after he was born, just gazing at him in awe, and whispering, “I am your mama”.  He was also born on my grandpa’s birthday.  I’ve written about my grandpa before, who was a very special part of my growing up.  Believe it or not, I prayed he’d be born on my grandpa’s birthday, which made his birthday, 10 days after my due date. Also, my husband had been laid off from a job.  So I was praying both, that he would be born on my grandpa’s birthday and that my husband would have a job.  God granted the desires of my heart!  

And now he’s a godly, hard working young man with a beautiful wife. He was my first homeschool student who spoiled me, because he caught on to things very quickly.  He is very opinionated, and for the most part, things are either black or white with him.  There’s rarely and in between.  Growing up, that could cause some struggles, but now I see how he takes strong stands on both political and Christian issues and morals.  

I am proud of you Stephen!  I am thankful God blessed us with you!  Happy 26th birthday!

Stephen BabyBIRTHDt

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Posted in Faith, Family, Five Minute Friday, Grief

Five Minute Friday: AFTER Finding Joy in the Morning


start . . .
I really should just tell you to go read Lisa-Jo’s post on after today.  I can relate to her “after” thoughts.  This right here says a lot:

And holes that joy used to slip through are slowly closing over.
I’m a survivor of the after.

I am also the survivor of the after . . . many afters . . .

  • after my husband and I eloped and some family accepted after several months – other family never did;
  • after a wonderful home birth and then after two open heart surgeries for that baby;
  • after the burial of our stillborn baby;
  • after several job losses and finding a church family, 
  • after the death of my mom and no good-byes or reconciliation this side of heaven;
  • a half  a year later, after, the death of a 16 year old son, much of what time has been associated with;

after finding joy in the morning even in the grief . . . .

  • after the arrival of  our 12th born child and treasuring life and going on;
  • after three weddings in 15 months and a new daughter & 2 new sons;
  • after the continued joy and anticipation of our first grandbaby;
  • after learning and continuing to learn, that Jesus is enough;
  • after knowing I am a survivor because I am

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Joining Lisa-Jo and her Five Minute Friday.
” five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right “

Posted in Faith

Continue Praying for “Broken Baby”


ince numerous have asked for an update on our friends’ “Broken Baby” which I wrote about for Five Minute Friday, here are some links.  

They have both a Facebook page, Praying for Abbie Rose and a blog, By This I Know Love.  

Please continue praying for this precious little girl . . .  and her family.

 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will  ever preserve me!

Psalm 40:11


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Posted in Faith, Family, Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: AFRAID (Christians have Panic Attacks)


start . . . 

My first thought when I read this word is singing Steve Green’s song, “When I am afraid I will trust in You“, many times by Jessica’s bed, both in the hospital and afterwards.  When she went into heart failure a few years ago, it was while she was trying to go to sleep.  She could not breath well.  Her chest was hurting.  And she began to cough.  Thankfully were in a hotel that was in the hospital – for an early appointment the next morning – but not for her heart.  It was for her spinal defects.  Little did we know how God was orchestrating her spinal problems to save her life- to be at the hospital at the precise moment she needed to be.  

Yet, for many months afterwards, she had a very hard time going to sleep.  She was afraid it was going to happen again.  What if?  We prayed by her bed.  We’d sing.  We’d try different distractions.  We even had to get a prescription to help her.  She’d get herself so worked up.  There were even a couple times we took her to the hospital because we just could not take chances.  Sometimes now even years later, it still hits her.  She’s kinda like her mama . . .

Fears and panics . . .  being afraid can become quite gripping.  I know.  I deal at times with panic attacks. Sometimes they hit me so out of the blue.  It happened last weekend- at a retreat I was so looking forward to – getting away.  And then some unpredictable things happened and I did not know people and it caught me so off guard. It’s not a matter of just praying it off or snapping out of it. I had to get away and calm down – which meant, leaving the retreat which was very discouraging for me.  And I am sure it was misread.  And then it makes me want to avoid more…  Ugh….

. . . finished 

I did not know what today’s word was going to be until 5+ minutes ago, or even where my writing would trail off to.  It was a difficult time last weekend . . . embarrassing  hurting time, yet thankful for friends who care and love.  It had been many months since I had a panic attack – and I know God can heal this too and I am thankful that I am . . . 

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Posted in Faith, Family, Grief

In Memory of our 15 year old baby girl, Angela Hope

AngelaDaisesI think of her often. What does she look like? When I see her again, will Jesus hand me a baby or will she be a grown woman? I know when I am in heaven, it won’t matter, but I imagine her full of life, maybe 3 years old, fluttering around in a lacy white dress, picking daisies and grabbing her big brother’s hand to run through the green pastures.  

Does she play hide-n-seek with Uriah, Victoria and Timothy? Does she run with the many babies that came to heaven too early because of the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade today?

angelDoes God part the clouds for her to peak in on us? Did she see her twin sisters as they married last year in their pretty wedding dresses? Was she as excited as her sisters, clapping her hands as little girls do? Was she a silent flower girl, throwing daisy petals from the heavens?

When my seven daughters here (including my daughter-in-law), were lined up for pictures, was she peeking through?

I especially remember that precious little baby girl I held 15 years ago today, so perfect, yet so very silent, never to hear her first cry or see the color of her eyes.

Does she hear us sing happy birthday and watch as her siblings blow out her birthday candles?

Does she catch the kisses I blow to her today?

And does she blow kisses back?

I think so.

Happy Birthday our Angela Hope.

We love you.


Posted in Faith

What’s Your Bible Reading Plan?

 “God hands you lungs
when He hands you His Word and says —
These are not idle words to you,
they. are. your. life.”
Ann Voskamp


o you ever walk out of the church worship service so uplifted, knowing without a doubt you were touched by God . . . get that high you can only get from Him and wish it would last – last longer than the kids arguing in the car before you get out of the church parking lot?

Yesterday was one of those days.  No, the kids did not even argue, and I still have the hangover from the worship service!  It just touched my heart from the morning service, to the evening service, including little remarks my children made from their listening.  I want that every day, in my personal worship with Jesus. I want to share things I learn with my kids to keep them going. I need His life words to keep going.  Yet, the busyness of life, I procrastinate, am too tired, and get out of sorts, and skip here and then there.   Yet, there’s rarely a time, when I am getting those life words from Him, that it’s like, “wow . . . just at the right time.  Thank you Father!

I had several send me notes on devotional books that they love, yet, I want to mention, devotional books should not supersede God’s word.  So before I really share on devotional books, I’d really like to look at different reading plans.

I personally am reading through the The One Year ® Bible. I’ve read through it before, but the wonderful advantage of using the YouVersion Reading Plans, is you can pick various versions – even in the middle if something is not understood, switch to another version – then go back to the original one that was being read.  I like it too, because if you sign up on-line, you can get reminders, can read it through various means such as computer, cellphone, tablet, etc.  AND, verses can be highlighted to go back to later. I like to do this and then go back later and read them in my physical Bible, and sometimes note by it.  

There’s additional options too with the YouVersion Reading Plans (and of course other online reading plans) such as reading it Chronologically or Historically or in 6 months, 90 days, 1 year or even 2 years.  

Another positive, if you haven’t started yet, you can today- and you are not behind … start your year, 6 months or 2 years from today! 🙂

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What does an “Empty Vessel” look like?


ur older three boys’ former piano teacher’s husband, is fighting lung cancer. Brian has been writing some of his thoughts down, and I’ve appreciated his realism through this as he has shared openly.  I’ve been given permission to share:  


Walking this world I wonder at times,
am I vessel of honor, fit for God’s use.
 I find myself wondering if I were a little better person
perhaps my life would not be as it is. 
I reflected upon the condition of that vessel of honor,
what does it look like. 

It must look like our Savior Jesus.
He emptied Himself and became obedient.

An empty vessel.

That seems easy but I find it difficult
depending on what has to be dumped out.
The empty vessel is filled with what God would put into it.
Joy and pain, laughter, sorrow.
thoughts of yesterday, thoughts of tomorrow. 

Sovereign God fill this man with only You.
For only You will satisfy this image bearer’s soul.

I imagine many of us want to also mirror our Savior, but often turn away from the mirror because we do not like what we see.  His mercies are new EVERY morning, and so we can begin a new day, and a new year with an empty vessel, asking Him to refill us with Him.

I am sure Brian & his wife, Nancy would so appreciate your prayers and he continues to fight this cancer and Nancy as she takes care of her husband of almost 31 years.


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Posted in Faith, Family

Because He Came…Merry Christmas!


his is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

John 3:16, 17  The Message

from our home, to yours,

Christmas 2013

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Posted in And He Shall Be Called, Faith

And He Shall Be Called . . . Redeemer [Day 6]


ur family has another teenager today!  Melody13It’s hard to believe one of the “little girls” as our youngest three girls are referred to, is a teenager.  And yet, what a thrill it is to see her growing up, with a sensitivity towards others and God.  She’s such a blessing, and her name, was so God-picked as we never imagined.  She was born almost two years after our stillborn daughter.  It was a difficult pregnancy, fearing the worst.  While I was pregnant with her, my husband and I attended a seminar where Chuck Swindol spoke.  And he spoke of grace and the melodies in our heart.  And the babe in my womb was moving around, and it was so clearly spoken to me, to name her, Melody Grace.  Though even when I held the warm beautiful, healthy breathing baby, my heart still ached for what we missed on earth.  Melody could not and cannot fill that void.  But she helped us remember life again.  Little did we know that when she was five years old, her birthday would be close to her brother’s death date.  And each of the 8 years that have followed, we would HAVE to celebrate life!  She loves ballet and dancing and prancing about and how could we not smile through tears, to celebrate her and her younger sisters bringing life to shine through the sadnesses.  Though their hearts were sad their child-like faith told us how happy Matthew is and we will see him again.  And yes, in our hearts, there rings a melody!

Today we gave her several gifts, but the one she rejoiced the most over, was a new pink small Bible that fits perfectly into her purse.  She held it to her heart – and my heart overflowed.  How many 13 year olds are joyful over this?  Oh,  thank you our Father in Heaven!  And I imagine Matthew peering through the heaven’s rejoicing too.  He wanted a new red Bible too . . . .

names of God2

How does this fit into God’s names?  First I am thankful for names – the many names of God that fulfills all the different parts of my life and needs.  I am thankful He chooses names and has a special name for me and knows me by name.  And today, as I think of the joy of another birthday to celebrate with one of my children He has loaned to me, I am thankful for my Redeemer, who has redeemed so much in my life and continues to, who brings beauty out of ashes.  My Redeemer who has given us precious lives to worship Him!

I am in awe.  Such hope!  Such grace! And always a melody to sing . . .  because . . .

… I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last He will stand upon the earth.”
Job 19:25


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Posted in Faith, Meme

Thankfulness Through Song ~ “Thank You Lord” {Day 21}


‘m doing some baking today, getting ready for two family Thanksgiving dinners in the next few days.  Our family has changed so much in the past year, with now three married children and trying to balance it all so we can have a day when everyone is home, even if it’s not the actual Thanksgiving Day.  I am thrilled the older kids are still doing things together to make their own traditions, even taking some with them that we did at our home.  We will still have a full table on Thanksgiving day with 8 kids and possibly a few additionals and then Sunday they will all be here . . . an overflowing table with 15 of us.  I love watching the interactions with the kids – with adult children.  It’s different.  It’s good.  It’s another new normal we are fitting into.  And, I am thankful.

Today an old song I sang as a kid came to mind.  And this is ultimately what I am so thankful for . . . making all of life and the hope we have, possible.

Some thank the Lord for friends and home,
For mercies sure and sweet;
But I would praise Him for His grace –
In prayer I would repeat:

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul,
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole;
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free.

Some thank Him for the flow’rs that grow,
Some for the stars that shine;
My heart is filled with joy and praise
Because I know He’s mine.

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul,
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole;
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free.

I trust in Him from day to day,
I prove His saving grace;
I’ll sing this song of praise to Him
Until I see His face.

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul,
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole;
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free.

Thank You, Lord
Words and Music by
Mr and Mrs Seth Sykes

Posted in Faith, Meme

Thankfulness Through Song ~ “One Thing Remains” {Day 20}


0 much uncertainty – yet, there is always certainty! It’s one reason I so appreciate the  reminders in this song, One Thing Remains . . .  

I am thankful for the reminders in this song, that Jesus is constant, stronger than the power of the grave, that His love never fails, and He never gives up on me (or you!) nor does His love ever run out!  

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains

Your love never fails
it never gives up
it never runs out on me

On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death and in life
I’m confident and covered
by the power of your great love
My debt is paid
there’s nothing that can separate my heart
from your great love

One Thing Remains
by Jeremy Riddle