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Merry Christmas!


I know everyone is quite busy this time of year. I have a long list of “to do’s” myself. But I wanted to take a moment to share a quick message, and a prayer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas and the real Spirit behind it. Yesterday we were asked, “What gift would you give to God”? It is His birthday being celebrated after all. But from everything I have learned over all these years, I know that the one gift He desires most of all, is my heart.

Sometimes my mind becomes very distracted with the details and demands of everyday life, and I lose my focus on what really matters…God, my family and friends, and doing what I can to be a blessing to others.

So I want to take this time to tell all of you…you are the gifts that I treasure most in this world. Thank you for the time and the love you have given me. I wish you all the very best blessings of peace, love and joy to fill your hearts in the days ahead. Merry Christmas to all, and Happy Birthday Jesus!

Happy Birthday Jesus

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When Time Stood Still


(A letter to my son, Christian)

It was Saturday, November 13, 2010. A typical winter’s day in Alaska, with a beautiful fresh snow blanketing the ground. What started out as a normal day quickly turned into the most horrific day of my life…the day I held your head in my hands and watched you die, helpless to do anything but pray.

Many times I had heard the phrase, “cry out to God”, but on that day, I literally screamed to Him, begging Him to save my baby. There are no human words to describe what I felt, but it seemed as if time had just suddenly stopped. It was as if I was in another world, watching, and waiting.

I don’t know why it occurred to me, or how it happened, but I was suddenly and utterly filled with an indescribable faith, somehow trusting and knowing that God was at work here, and that everything was going to be alright. As I let go and placed your soul into His mighty hands, for you were already dead, there was a surreal peacefulness that entered my spirit. For the first time in my life, I felt the presence of God in me and all around me. I had sensed His presence before, but this was different. This time it was physical!

The paramedics said you were dead for about an hour, but time did not exist for me. I remember everything I saw, heard, thought and felt. But it was like a flash, and yet eternal. It was as if the beginning of the world through to the end, was all rolled up into one breath.

When your heart began to beat again and life returned to your body, time began again, though it seemed painfully slow for several weeks.

It has been 5 years now, and there has not been one second that I have not felt a deep gratitude in my heart for the precious gift God has given us. There have been difficult moments as is the case in life, and there have been times when I have forgotten to say “thank you”. But I have never stopped feeling it.

The love I feel in my heart, for God, and for you, has grown with each day. I can’t imagine life without either of you, and I wouldn’t want to.

I’ve been allowed the privilege of watching you grow and blossom into the young man you are today, and I just want to tell you that I am proud of you! You may not always make good and right choices, you may be irritating at times, but I count it all as joy in seeing you live, in watching as you grow and walk with God.

As a mother, I will always be concerned about you, because I love you. But in the very depths of my soul, as long as you are in God’s hands, I know you will be okay. And so that is my prayer for you, that you live your life by God’s word, walking in His ways, and following His perfect plan for you. Live for God, and you will live well.

In honor of your (re)birthday today, I give God thanks for you, and I praise His mighty name for your life. It is a precious gift to be your mother, and it is an honor to call you my son.
I love you Christian…you forever hold my heart!

Momma

A Thanksgiving Day Message


A Thanksgiving Day Message

There are so many reasons I have to be thankful for, I couldn’t possibly list them all here. But as I’ve been thinking about those reasons, I realized that I could summarize them all with this:

I am thankful for being loved, and for the ability to give love!

God’s love is the greatest gift of all. It is the beginning of and the reason for all the blessings we receive, including life itself. And because His love is so great, it cannot be contained in one heart alone. It grows, and then we can share it.

So I want to take the time to say THANK YOU to God, for the gift of love! And THANK YOU to all of my family, friends and neighbors, for sharing your love!

As we celebrate this Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, I pray that every heart on earth be filled with such love and joy, that the whole earth sings a song of praise and thanks.

Always remember, God loves you, and that is worth being thankful for.

10734112_738757919532732_3025219581875796871_nHappy Thanksgiving to all, and God bless! – Amber

The Gift


The Gift

Christmas is a time of giving gifts. The word gift is defined as: “a thing given willingly to someone without payment. “ God is the original gift giver.

To begin with, we are given the gift of life. There is also the precious gift to a parent of a child. Likewise, there is a precious gift to a child of a parent. There are gifts known as husband, wife, brother, sister, and friend.

Throughout our lives, we are blessed with many gifts. There are gifts of health, a happy home, companionship, fresh air, beautiful scenery, sunshine and pure water.

There are also material gifts, things we call presents. These can even be in the form of a service of some type.

Then there are the gifts of the spirit: Compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, kindness, loyalty, integrity, charity.

Of all the different gifts there are, the most precious gifts ever known, are God’s mercy, salvation, and His great love for us. The birth of Christ Jesus is the gift given to us, so that we may have everlasting life with our Creator.

In the busy hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, while we are scrambling through the shopping malls, or searching online, trying desperately to fulfill our goals of gifts to give, let us not forget to be thankful for the gift given us that night long ago; the gift of a precious newborn baby boy, lying in a manger; the child that came to die for our sins, paying the debt we owe. Let us not forget to wish our Savior a “Happy Birthday”, since it is His birthday we are celebrating.

The simplest of gifts, a “thank you” and a “Happy Birthday” doesn’t seem like much. But when it’s wrapped in our hearts and given with joy, it’s a gift that Jesus loves.

As a gift to all of my readers, I’m sharing this video of Cloverton’s beautiful Christmas version of “Hallelujah”. I hope you enjoy it, and God bless! – Amber

 

Be A Real Man


What does it mean to be a real man and a good father?

Young boys usually learn the most from what they see and hear from their fathers. It’s natural for them to want to imitate their dad. Then they begin to learn more from the world view. There are only a few relatively short years a father has to help guide his son into becoming a grown man. Fathers, teach your sons. The role model you are is based on what is in your own heart, and is the blue print that will shape the man your son becomes. Do you want him to follow God, or the world? There is no other choice.

Do you want to teach your son to be dishonest? Let him hear you lie.

Do you want to teach your son to be rude? Let him see you treat others harshly.

Do you want to teach your son to be lazy? Let him see you get others to take care of your messes.

Do you want to teach your son to be undependable? Let him see you change your mind frequently, and not keep your promises.

Do you want to teach your son to be disobedient and defiant? Don’t follow the rules when you don’t feel like it.

OR

Do you want to teach your son to be honest and fair? Then show him how, be honest and fair, be a man of integrity. (1 Kings 9:4)

Do you want to teach your son to be helpful and kind? Then show him how, be a humble man of compassion. (Philippians 2:3)

Do you want to teach your son to be responsible and productive? Show him how, do your own work and help others too. (Isaiah 65:21-23)

Do you want your son to be dependable and trustworthy? Show him how, be a man of good character and be consistent. (Matthew 24:44-46)

Do you want to teach your son to follow Jesus? Then show him how, walk with Christ and your son will follow. (Luke 9:23)

Do you want to teach your son to be a real man? TEACH HIM HOW TO BE LIKE JESUS!

“…but as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord”.  (Joshua 24:15)

Only Love and Wisdom Can Prevail


With the invention of the internet and social media, today we literally have the world at our fingertips. And there is a full barrage of information available with it. It can be quite overwhelming at times. On Facebook alone there is a deluge of posts concerning everything from recipes, craft items, baby photos and such, to links to news articles regarding heinous crimes of rape, murder, torture, etc. It is the latter articles I would like to discuss.

In less than 30 minutes this morning, I read 3 different articles involving vile and evil acts committed by different individuals. And while I in no way, shape or form, condone the acts committed, there was something more that bothered me about these stories. It was in the responses left by many of the readers. Responses filled with hate.

Yes, these stories described horrible acts of violence toward innocent humans and animals. And no, I do not think these crimes should be dismissed, ignored, or go unpunished. While reading these stories a very deep sense of sorrow towards the victims was evoked in my heart, and even a sense of just rage. But I have to ask, where should that rage be focused?

I couldn’t help but notice the rage indicated in the readers’ comments. Several of the comments suggested torture, dismemberment and slow and painful death to the offenders. In these comments, the readers were exuding as much violence as the offenders themselves.

Should violence and hate be re-paid with more violence and hate? And will that solve the problem and make the world a better place for us?

The answer is no. It will not change the past, it will not make the future better, and it will not make the present any easier to live in.

The truth is that while it may be a sense of decency in a person’s heart that causes them to feel outraged over an atrocity, if they were to act on that violent rage, that seed of hatred would eventually rot away their soul. It would cause them to become no better than the very thing they hated. And the hatred continues to grow and spread. It will not make anything better, not even for the victims.

As a Christian, I was reminded of three things I have learned from the bible:

  1. To hate the sin, not the sinner. (James 5:19-20 AMP)
  2. Do not re-pay evil with evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 KJV)
  3. Overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21 KJV)

Evil was unleashed in the world a long time ago, and it is alive and thriving at an unprecedented rate today. The enemy has many weapons and tactics to use against believers and non-believers alike, aimed directly at our hearts. He knows that if he can cause intense enough emotions in us, then we may stumble and fall into his traps.

I’ll admit, to obey the above three verses is impossible for me, apart from God’s Holy Spirit inside of me. The enemy is very clever in appealing to my sense of justice regarding what is right and fair. But through God’s wisdom I can see where the deceit is also appealing to a false sense of pride. Pride that causes me to think I have a right to sit in judgment over the sin of another. I might try to excuse that pride with thoughts such as, “I may not be perfect, but I’m not as bad as…” or “I could never do such a horrible thing myself”. And those thoughts would lead me to feeling justified in the desire to hate and seek revenge. Basically, I would be putting myself in God’s rightful place in judgment and sentencing.

The idea of forgiving those that would commit such atrocious acts of violence against an innocent being is a very hard concept to swallow. But one thing to consider is this: hate will only teach more hate and it will continue to spread to others. On the other hand, only by showing love can it be taught and spread. And forgiveness is a major part of love. It is the only way we can let go of the hate and overcome the evil.

Perhaps some of you that are reading this do not believe in God. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to convert you, that is not my job.) But I ask you to consider this…if you plant a tomato seed, do you expect it to grow cucumbers? Of course not. In the same manner, planting seeds of hate in your heart will not grow anything else but hate and no good can come from it. And if that is all we can show and teach, how can future generations learn anything but to hate more, becoming even more violent themselves? Isn’t inflicting that kind of hatred onto others or the next generation an act of violence in itself?

In conclusion, I ask anyone that might be reading this to consider it for a moment. Do you want to be like those offenders, spreading more violence and more hate? Or do you really want these atrocities to stop? One by one, one day at a time, we can make a difference with our own choices. Only love and wisdom can prevail.

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers for Mom


Flowers for Mom

 

As Mother’s Day was approaching, I found myself dreading it. This would be the first one without Mom, and it was hard to face. Since her death a couple of months ago, grief has hit me in waves and unexpectedly at times. For the most part, I’ve tried to push the thoughts out of my mind in order to keep functioning, to continue doing the day to day things of life.

 

Yesterday, as I was helping my son with his school work, a thought came into my mind out of the blue. The realization came hard that I can’t call my mother anymore, that I won’t hear her say “I love you”, or her words of encouragement telling me to “keep trying” or “well done”, and that I’ll never have another chance to tell her how much I love her. Never again will I be able to give her flowers, something that always put a beautiful smile on her face.

 

I thought back to this past Valentines Day. I remembered the smile on Mom’s face when my son and I surprised her with flowers and candy. A few moments later, Dad also surprised her with flowers and candy. Her eyes twinkled like the stars with happiness as she proudly placed her flowers on display. I was reminded of how when I was a child, I used to pick dandelions and other wildflowers for her. She always smiled with pride as she placed them with care into a glass or vase, something like I do now when my son brings me flowers.

 

As the tears began to fill my eyes, my son looked at me for a moment. Very thoughtfully he said, “It’s ok to miss her. We always miss what we love when it’s not here anymore”. Then he placed his hand on my chest and said, “But what made her special to you will always be in here. That won’t ever be taken away because God put her there in your heart for you”.

                 

Then a new thought began to form in my mind. I was thinking about how even though I found comfort in knowing that Mom was no longer in any pain, and that I would see her again in heaven someday, there was still a lot of sadness and a sense of loss. That’s when it occurred to me, I have lost something! I have lost something that was very precious to me, and I miss it very much! I realized that when you lose something important to you, it takes time to adjust to not having it.

 

My life is different now, a part of it has changed. It may be hard to accept it and adjust to the change, but change is a constant part of life. And my son is right, even though Mom’s body may be gone, she is still here with me, right here in my heart! Just as all those flowers from over the years have died and are gone, but the pictures of them are still in my memories and the joy they brought is still in my heart.

 

As I have stated in many of my previous posts, my faith and trust in Jesus is what gives me strength to carry on. And I am so thankful for everything He has done for me. Going through this grieving process is not easy, but I know He is helping me through it. He touches my heart on a daily basis through the comforting and encouraging words of others around me, like my son. He reminds me often of the beauty of His creations, when the rain is followed by sunshine and flowers. And His Word constantly lifts my spirit with the promises of His love for me. His Word also tells me to be helpful and encouraging to others. That is why I am writing this post.

 

I know that I am not the only one with a grieving heart. The world is full of hurting people. But it is my hope and prayer that my words may find their way to touch another heart that is hurting, to let you know that you are not alone. I want to tell you that there is hope, that even in the midst of pain, you can have peace and comforting. Jesus never promised that life would be easy, but He did promise that with Him, the burdens would be made bearable. A part of my heart may be hurting in missing my Mom, but Jesus gave me another part of my heart where there is joy in remembering the love we shared.

 

At first, I didn’t think I wanted to celebrate this Mother’s Day. I thought it would be too painful. But I have decided that even though I know there will be tears, I am going to celebrate it anyway. In memory of my Mom, and in honor of God’s gift of having known her love, I am buying flowers to give away. I am also giving away copies of my book, Faith, Hope & Miracles. And I will be spending the day with my youngest son, building more joyful memories to fill our hearts, and praising God for creating mothers.

 

I don’t know exactly what it’s like in heaven, but the bible says that “…with God, all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). So I’m asking God to give flowers to all the mothers who are in heaven, and that they know their love is remembered.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! You are forever in my heart. – Amber

 

 

 

My Mom is with Jesus


Dear Friends,

As some of you may know, I took some time off for a vacation to visit with my son and daughter-in-law in Texas, and then off to Virginia to spend some time with my parents. I arrived back home on Friday morning, then received news that my Mom passed away Saturday morning. I have returned to Virginia and do not know when I will be posting again.

I know my Mom is with Jesus now, no longer in pain or suffering, but free. It was said that she had been holding on, waiting to see Christian and I again. It had been almost 7 years since our last visit. She went peacefully in her sleep, and I am so very thankful that we got to spend time with her before she passed. I will always treasure our memories and the love we shared with her.

I allowed distance and cost to become obstacles preventing more frequent visits with those I love, and it is now a deep regret. Even though money was still an issue, God stirred my heart with a sense of urgency to come. Then He provided a way to make it happen, proving once again He is all knowing and a compassionate God. My Dad told me that our visit gave Mom peace and comforted her.

My heart is aching, but I know I must be strong now, for my family. I do not have any more words right now, except to say: never take the moments you have for granted because they will never come again, and never pass up the opportunities to say “I love you” because it may be your last chance.

Rest in peace Mom, rejoice in the presence of Jesus, and we will see you again someday. You are forever in my heart! Thank you God, for giving me the privilege of being her daughter!

 

Let His Light Shine


Sorry I’m late with the post today. It’s been a very busy week and I’ve let myself get behind on a few things.

First, an update on my son, Daniel. He ended up having a second open heart surgery on Tuesday due to some bleeding, but things went well and he is recovering now. I got to talk to him on the phone briefly, and though he was tired, he sounded good. I praise God and thank Him with all of my heart! I know He is there, watching over my boy, even when I can’t be. And I want to thank you all again for your loving prayers!

I am reminded often of how loved and blessed I am by all the kind and generous people God puts in my life. There are many that I may never meet in person here on earth, but I believe we will know each other someday in heaven.

I’d like to share a story that was posted on a new friend’s blog at Morning Story and Dilbert.

The Wise Woman’s Stone

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given

This story is the perfect example of what it means to let His Light shine in us, and through us. I know there have been too many times in my own life when I’ve ignored the opportunities my Lord has given me to reach out to others and show His Spirit in me. I don’t want to waste anymore time going through the motions, playing the part of a Christian. I want it to be real, in every area of my life and with my whole heart. When people look at me, I want them to see Jesus.

Lord, I pray that Your Spirit leads me where You want me to go, that Your love is always in my heart, Your truth always on my lips, and that my eyes will see others as You see them. Amen.

Kenny has a lot of inspiring stories over at his blog, full of truth and wisdom. So check out his site at http://morningstoryanddilbert.wordpress.com/

And last but not least, here is the #TBSU List for this week:

http://community321.com/

http://www.christianbook.com/

http://breadforthebride.wordpress.com/

http://sharpword.wordpress.com/

http://ghettoscorner.wordpress.com/

http://learningtobeblog.wordpress.com/

You know the drill, check ’em out and if you see something you like, please share! Have an awesome weekend, and God bless! – Amber

A Happy and Blessed New Year


A Happy and Blessed New Year

 

I want to wish all of you a very happy and blessed 2013! I pray that this new year brings a renewed joy and peace to your hearts, that your spirits are filled a burning passion for Jesus that shines bright, and that His great love overflows from you to everyone around you!

Over the past few weeks I have been spending some thinking about my priorities and my schedule. Life seemed to be getting filled with many frustrations of not being able to accomplish all of the tasks on my lists. I realized that I was spending too much time on unnecessary things, and not enough time on the things that really matter.

My first priority is God. Although I had made the decision for making Him my number one a long time ago, lately there had been so many other things in my life that I felt like I was rushing through my time with the Lord, to hurry up to get onto other things. This is not right, this is not treating Him with the honor and respect that He deserves!

This was also the situation for me with my family and friends. I was telling myself that I had to wait until all of the other things on my list of “to do’s” needed to be done first, and then I would have time to spend with my loved ones. The problem with that is my “to do” lists never seemed to get completed, or if they did, I was too tired to do anything else. And some of my relationships have ended up suffering for it. This is not right either.

In retrospect, I have always tried to be a responsible person, taking care of business and getting the job done. However, it was always my decisions and goals that I was working on. I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for the first half of my life, and seeking His guidance on what to do with my life has been a difficult thing for me to learn. Being raised with an independent personality, I was used to directing my own path, and I couldn’t figure out why things didn’t work out the way I planned. It wasn’t until I learned that I am not in control, that I even began to seek His counsel.

For the past couple of years, I have been feeling the Lord directing me in my heart toward certain endeavors. But I was trying to figure out how to follow His directions and mine at the same time. It was a hard realization to finally figure out that I can’t do both. But it was an easy enough choice to decide who to follow, especially with my established track record. My ways did not work outside of His plans for me.

And so I have spent a lot of time praying for His guidance, asking Him to reveal to me what He wants for me and from me. This was how the subject of my priorities came up. In addition to God now, my greatest passions have always been my family and friends, animals, and writing. There are many other things that I care about and enjoy, but these are the areas that Jesus wants my main focus. When I realized that I had been spending more time on things other than these four priorities, it made sense that this was where the majority of my frustration was coming from.

This past two weeks I had slowed down my hectic schedule and began spending more time with my son, just to enjoy his company. And I spent more time in prayer and reading the bible. I discovered that our time in church was also far more enriching to my spirit and my joy was returning. I also made time to spend with some of our friends, and with our pets. Even though some of my tasks did not get completed, I felt a renewed sense of joy that I have not felt in a while.

One particular thing that had been heavy on my heart was my family. Most all of my family lives far away, and it’s been many years since I’ve visited with them. Money and time have always been an issue, which in itself has caused a lot of stress. But a few nights ago, I was feeling a strong desire in wanting to see my family. I went onto the internet and looked up the specials on airfare and found a 65% discount available. I checked my savings account and found that I could actually do this! There may be some things that will have to be sacrificed for now, but my family is worth it! So I will be taking 3 weeks off in February to spend with some people that are very dear to me.

After making the reservations, the excitement in me has grown and created more energy than I have felt in years! God is leading me into a new direction, showing me the importance of letting Him have total control, and the precious peace and joy that comes from it. And I have a renewed spirit for my writing as well. My writing has always come from my heart, but lately it had started to feel more like an obligation or another task that needed doing. And it felt like I had to force the words out, one at a time, instead of letting it flow like water. But the enjoyment of it has returned, and I look forward to my time putting the words down again.

I can’t say exactly what all this new year will bring, but I can say there is a positive outlook to it. I am expecting good things, even though I know that it may not all be good. I am expecting joy and peace, even though I know there may be times of chaos. I am expecting many blessings, because I know God is good, all the time. He has already blessed me in more ways than I count, and I have learned that the greatest blessing of all is love! Jesus loves me! HE LOVES ME!!! What more could I possibly ask for? And yet, He gives me so much more! A family and friends that I love very much, the awesome beauty that surrounds me, a home that keeps me safe and comfortable, a Pastor with a heart for truth, a church where I know His Spirit flows, a mind that can form words and a desire to share them, comfort in times of trials, strength when I am weak, courage when I am afraid…the list goes on forever!

I know every day of my life is another chance for learning something new. Each day brings new opportunities and blessings. I have a new excitement in my heart, to see what wonders God will bring each day, and knowing that no matter what, He is always with me!

I am thankful for everything God has done and is doing for me. And I am thankful for the opportunity to share it with everyone. I pray that this new year will be filled with many good things for all of you, and I pray that many more souls will come to Him that saves!

God bless, and Happy New Year!

 

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