Friday, December 19, 2008

Peace In Hearts, Peace On Earth

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Let us not forget this promise from the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ as we live in a world of uncertainty. “Peace On Earth” spoken by the world is politically and socially correct but devoid of meaning unless the Peace is from the One and Only source of true and lasting peace. How do we find and receive this Peace? Just ask and believe the source Himself, Jesus, to fill your heart with His Peace. God’s Word tells us to “Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart” and “Let the Word of God dwell in you richly”. After we ask and believe the promise of God’s peace, we must let it rule and dwell in our hearts. God will give it, you must receive it and keep it! My favorite hymn is “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”. This hymn has helped me countless times to “let” the peace of my Savior rule my heart!

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—For more than conquerors we are!
His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Our prayer for you this Christmas is for God’s grace and peace to fill your hearts and minds. May your New Year be filled with God’s unlimited Joy!
Peace On Earth begins with Peace In Hearts!
Christmas Blessings,
David and Desiree

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Time With Martha

I found this devotional a few days ago on . It spoke to me, especially this time of year so I contacted the author for permission to reprint it here for the faithful few who visit our blog. May you hear the gentle voice of our Savoir as He lovingly speaks into your heart and life this holiday season. Thank you, Lori, for sharing.

I headed down the dusty path. I'd waited a long time to visit her. She greeted me as I expected, in an ankle length tunic with worn leather sandals. She opened her arms and hugged me as if we'd know each other a lifetime."Come on in dear. I'm so glad that you found your way here. You mentioned in your note that you wanted to talk to me." She gently led me inside to an open air courtyard and offered me a drink sweetened with honey and a pita-like flat cake."How did you do it?" I quietly asked."Do what?" she lifted her head from the jug that sh was pouring out of."Change your spirit," I asked.She giggled, and looked almost embarrassed by the question. "I had a feeling that you weren't here for my fig cake recipe.""Well dear, I had some help." A look came over her, the kind of look one gets when they are recalling a fond memory.She continued, "You see honey, I remember that day clearly. We were sent word that HE was coming and I did what I'd always done. You know, I did what I was born to do. I swept out the courtyard, I fetched water, I pitted olives, I pressed olives, I rinsed the stone dish, I prepared the honey and figs and if I had one of those fancy things that you call a "tub" I'd have scrubbed it too. I was prepared for this visit. I enjoyed it when HE visited, it was an honor to be in his company. HE could have chosen many homes to come and sup at, but HE chose to come and be with us, and I simply wanted it to be perfect."She glanced over into my eyes and we exchanged a look that said, "I understand."She went on. "I have to admit that by the time he walked up the path, I was READY, well my home was ready to receive HIM, but dear, my spirit wasn't. I don't even remember greeting HIM that day. I know I did, but I wanted it to be perfect, so back to work I went. I did everything as I'd always done, bringing out some fruit and water for HIM. I was still working and SHE just sat. I made it clear, as sisters will, just WHO had done all of this!""Do you know what I mean dear?"I replied with a smile, "Oh yes I do and it's exactly the reason I wanted to talk with you Martha. You see, I have a spirit like you. I too am a first born 'do-er' myself. I'm afraid that sometimes I hear your voice amidst mine. I came here to find the balance that you have found." She smiled back at me."Honey, I had many visits with HIM, but that one stands out. Not just for me, but for everyone that read about that day. I was a bit bothered by that for awhile. All those people reading about what I had done. But I learned so much that day and I'm pleased that HE chose to use me in that way." Martha moved closer to me as if she were going to reveal her heart. "We have been commanded to be hospitable, welcoming to all, to friends and strangers alike and full of grace. What I often forgot was how to stop. Does that make any sense to you.?"I was tempted to stand on my stone and shout, "girlfriend, you have NO idea." I refrained and simply nodded."That day HE spoke to me the way only a true friend can. You know the kind of friend who can tell you that you have been a real "whiner" and say it in such a way that you "hear" what they are saying. That is what HE did that day."She recalled HIS words clearly.
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her”.’ (Read Luke 10:38-42)Martha continued on, "I have to admit, I was taken aback for a moment, but it was the way that he said it, not as a scolding parent but as a loving friend and teacher. I had been missing precious moments. I'm not sure that any of this makes sense to you.""Oh, YES Martha it does. What did you do?""That night, what you don't get to read is that we sat and talked long into the night. He told me how much HE loved me and how much the FATHER loved me, and that because of this love they wanted my heart.HE told me how he NEEDED me to sit and listen at his feet~HE needed me to listen because HE needed me to hear~HE needed me to hear because HE needed me to share~Share what I'd heard at his feet.That is what HE wants you to know too. HE wants me to remind you to not STOP being you. I have to tell you I still prepare for His visits, but not just with the chores that have to be done, but with my heart as well."As I listened, I understood. She spoke in a way I understood. She spoke in a "kindred spirit" kind of way."Honey, I want to tell you one last thing. Hospitality, service to others and graciousness are gifts that come from the Father. Don't confuse what I'm telling you. HE wasn't telling me to change EVERYTHING that day, HE was just lovingly reminding me what was most important. Between you and I, nobody can make fig cakes like mine. I've simply learned how not to let the demands and distractions interfere with my spirit."As I rose, we hugged. I knew I'd love her. I knew I'd love her spirit, her spirit to "hear." She saw where she needed to make changes, heart changes, spirit changes, not abandoning who she was, just adjusting her spirit. It was a lovely afternoon and I felt peace.As I walked down the path, I turned around to take one last glance at my kindred spirit, and just as I suspected, she was back to pressing olives. There was work to be done. I smiled, knowing that she was preparing in more ways than one for her next visit with HIM. Martha revealed such wisdom that day. She helped me understand the Martha in me and what a special gift that is. As I walked I felt something in my pocket, I reached in....Martha's Fig Cake recipe! I gripped that recipe tightly and smiled!As I walked alone, I prayed...
Father, thank you for teaching me through those who have walked before me. Those who struggled in ways that I know. Thank you for gently revealing to me how I can change my spirit to be more like your Son, Jesus. Thank you for speaking always to me, for kindly guiding me on my journey.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Thankful Family

We love our families!

Speed Scrabble!

Gamaw and Hannah sharing the morning paper.

After dinner chat.

Special moments.
Nana, Pop Pop and Hannah

Just a swingin'

Quiet time.

Christmas Lights at Lemon Park!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wagons, Pumpkins, Shoes, Oh my!

I got to go to visit Hannah (oh yeah, Patrick and Jana, too!) last week. I decided a few weeks ago that Christmas was entirely too long before I was going to see her again. Patrick also called and asked if there was any way I could come to visit. How cool! I was disappointed that David couldn't go, but he was very encouraging for me to go. It was a really special time. I really felt a part of Hannah's life. We did lots of things. We went to the Farmer in the Dell pumpkin patch and picked out pumpkins, played in the corn and on the hay. We didn't take the hayride but Hannah, Patrick and Jana sat on the tractor (see Patrick and Jana's blog for more pictures).
I loved to give Jana some time to do things that she doesn't get to do as well with Hannah, like shopping and going to the library. Jana dropped Hannah and I off at Target and we wondered through the store for awhile. I had hoped to find a wagon for Hannah. After looking for a very long time and feeling very disappointed I finally found it! I also got Hannah a few books and 2, yes 2, pairs of shoes! David had bought Hannah a pair of sparkly, red Dorothy shoes for me to take to her.
Hannah woke up early from her nap so she and I started to put the wagon together. Hannah loved her wagon!
Unfortunately, I got about half way through and figured out I had made a mistake putting one of the wheels together. I was really frustrated. Patrick and Jana were on a lunch date and I wanted to have it all put together when they got home. Oh well...

As you can see, Daddy saved the day! It didn't take long to undo my mistake and finish up. We loaded up the wagon and headed off to the pumpkin patch!

I had a lot of fun giving Hannah several meals. She is doing so well learning to use a spoon. Jana is a wonderful mother! She takes a lot of time preparing for Hannah healthy foods from real foods, nothing packaged or jarred.

Hannah and I played and read books a lot! She is so smart!

Are you sure you know what you are doing, Nana?
Hannah and I doing self portraits!

Sparkly, red Dorothy shoes.
More new shoes! The timing was great! Hannah had just grown out of her shoes and really only had about one pair that fit. Nana to the rescue! I got to get her a brown pair and a black pair. So fun and so cute! She loves shoes, by the way!
I had a wonderful time. I am blessed. What a privilege to be a part of this child's life!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Better Than I Deserve

I recently went with several women from my church to our annual women's retreat in Pennsylvania. I had a wonderful time. I really felt the Lord's word for me for the weekend was LAUGH. Without knowing this, my special friend and roommate, gave me a gift of a charm with the word LAUGH on it. If that wasn't a confirmation than I don't know what is! The weekend was filled with lots of LOL moments! I also had a another Word(s) from the weekend that has really resonated with me. Nothing fancy but very profound. Whenever anyone asks "How are you?" I usually say fine or ok without much thought and sometimes without much truth. What I heard this weekend was "better than I deserve". A friend was quoting Dave Ramsey when she mentioned this but I was hearing the voice of God whisper in my heart. This little phrase has not left my mind and has really helped keep me focused on the right things namely God's great love for me and His great grace! My faith has been stronger since retreat. A Great God and special friends are a perfect recipe for peace.
I keep this poem by Beth Moore above my desk at work to help remind me of who I am called to be. Since retreat, I have read this with new eyes and have found great freedom. Enjoy!
Believing God
The Commission to Faith

Lord, today I accept my calling
Not to perfection or performance.
My calling is to faith.
I have been chosen for this generation.
I have a place in the heritage of faith.
I’m going to stop wishing and whining
And start believing and receiving.
What your Word says is mine.
I won’t let others steal my hope.
I won’t argue with a Pharisee.
I will believe and therefore speak,
For you, my God, are huge.
Nothing is too hard for You.
Our world needs your wonders.
Rise up, oh Lord!
Please renew Your works in our day.
I confess the unbelief of my generation
And ask you to begin Your revival of faith
in my own heart.
For You are who You say You are
You can do what You say You can do.
I am who You say I am.
I can do all things through Christ.
Your Word is alive and active in me.
Satan, hear me clearly:
My Father is Maker of heaven and earth.
You are under my feet,
Because today and the rest of my days,

I’m believing God!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mild Mannered Hanna and Great Expectations

Well, Hanna turned out to be somewhat of a non event. We have had some rain which was needed and not much wind which we didn't need. With memories of Isabelle and Gaston, people don't take hurricane related weather in Virginia lightly. We prepared some as well. David made sure our generator worked and went to the grocery store. With the exception of possibly having bad weather, we were looking forward to a rainy day with good food, good books and good movies. We have had a low key morning but it looks like the rain will clear out this afternoon giving us thoughts of running errands. Not necessarily what we expected but not a total waste either. As I am writing this, I am thinking about expections, met and unmet, and how they affect our lives. I think expectations have the most significant impact on our lives than anything else. By definition, expectation is looking forward to something, antitipation, hope. We either look forward, anticipate and hope for the best or the worst. When our expectations aren't met we either feel very upset or very blessed. Often our expectations are not based on truth but our perspective of truth based on our experiences. Our expectations are also more often of ourselves and others and the actions and attitudes of each. Of course experiences, actions and attitudes are all very fallible and cannot always be trusted. In our lives there is only One who is infallible, God. If our expectations are based on God's truth we cannot be disappointed. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (whatever happens or you think may happen), for the LORD you God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake(disappoint) you." Deut. 31:6, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear(fear of failure, negative expectations); but of power(God), and of love(love covers a mulitude of sins i.e forgiveness) , and of a sound mind(wisdom)." 2 Tim. 1:7 and " Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight(even the paths of your expectations)." Proverbs 3:5-6.
To summerize, proper perspective produces peace.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Oh Happy Day"

Some of you may be aware of a play we went to several years ago entitled "Oh Happy Day". We were on a romantic getaway to Lake Junaluska, NC. We like to explore a new area for fun opportunities. We discovered a community theater and they were doing a show called "Oh Happy Day". We couldn't tell what it was about but thought with a title like that it had to be fun, maybe a 50s style show. The only thing I will say about the play is it was not a "happy day" for us in the audience. It was the most depressing, boring, utterly ridiculous thing we had ever seen, about a husband and wife who felt like they were stuck in their lives (and they were literally stuck in something like a gopher hole, all you could see was their top halves sticking out of a huge gopher hole). After everything they would "complain" about they would sorrowfully say "Oh Happy Day". I hope you get the picture.

Our day today was nothing like the play I just spoke about, but like the old hymn...

Oh Happy Day, Oh Happy Day
When Jesus washed my sins away
Oh Happy Day
He taught me how to watch and pray
and live rejoicing everyday
Oh Happy Day
When Jesus washed my sins away!

We started our day early with time on our deck....

It was a beautiful, cool morning and the "view from here" was delightful. Hummingbirds and a Grandpa and granddaughter fishing. We set tea out in the sun to brew and headed out...

Every August we always have a church picnic and baptisms at Naylor's Beach. Admittedly, I am not always very thrilled with going. Today, though, my heart was "happy". It was a beautiful day, and I was with my husband and best friend, David.

A glorious sky and a glorious day for baptisms! Nine people were being baptized today, all new believers in the past year!

"To show my eternal devotion to Jesus Christ", "Because Jesus loves me and I want to show my love for Him", "Because I want to have the Holy Spirit fill my body and my heart", "I want live a life of faith in Jesus" were some of the testimonies shared before each person was baptized.

Oh Happy Day!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hanover Tomatoes and Friends

People in Hanover County and places nearby claim that Hanover County tomatoes are the BEST in the country. Apparently it is the soil. They may be but I remember years ago (18 or so) I grew tomatoes on our farm in Kansas and I thought they were wonderful. I really can't say if Hanover tomatoes are better than Kansas tomatoes but I certainly can say with confidence that I had the best time canning tomatoes tonight. I was invited to be participate in a family tradition of canning tomatoes at my friend Christy's home. Christy's sister, mom, grandmother, aunt and husband were all involved. Christy's 3 year old daughter even cut a couple of tomatoes. (With a safe knife, of course.) They have been doing this for many years and have a great system and I was able to fit in quite nicely. Living so far away from my sister and mom, I don't have the opportunity for this sort of family tradition. It was a blessing to be "a part" of this family's tradition. We peeled, cut up and cooked enough tomatoes for about 40 quarts. I know we will enjoy these tomatoes not because they are Hanover but because they are fruit of great love and friendship.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I wanted to show you what David and I are doing this week...

Our Vacation Bible School is "Outrigger Island". The sanctuary looks awesome, so much better than these photos reflect but you can get a good idea. We were really blessed to have several other churches loan or donate their leftovers from their VBS and we had some great people spend several hours organizing and decorating. The next two pictures are of the "HUA HUT"! (We made up the name. Hua is Hawaiian for Word.) David and I taught three classes each evening to 3rd - 6th graders. We totally decorated our room on Saturday. We felt really good with the results.
We used the beach towels for games and sitting areas. Here we were using them to play "Musical Outrigger Island" (yeah, like musical chairs. We made it up. Clever) The towels represented islands and the kids had to paddle around the islands while the music played...I'm sure you get the picture.

We used a variety of methods to tell the stories, teach Bible truths and memory verses. David even did a "Pat and Brett" style story to retell the story of the Moses, the plagues and the Red Sea.

David and I have discovered we are a really good teaching team.

A few times in each class we took a "Surf Break". You just can't be in the islands and not surf! The kids loved it! We would surf, hula and beach dance to great surfing music!

more "Musical Outrigger Island"...