Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Look Back.

2006 brought many blessings with it; many that were unforeseeable at the close of 2005. In this post, I would like to highlight those blessings as well as recount them and tell what great things God has done!

January ~ For the past 9 years, I've had the opportunity to go to Teen Winter Camp; four of them as a camper and five of them as a kitchen cook/help. Camp is always a fun and encouraging time and this one was no exception.

February ~ February always brings my birthday (!) but even more exciting than that is to see during missions month (this month) the church auditorium covered with international flags from countries where we support missionaries. A highlight for us as a church was to see our Faith Promise go over $200,000 for the first time!

March ~ A group of about 30 people left our church parking lot to head over to South Africa on a missions trip. My heart went right along with the group, but I did not. God had another trip in store for me and the opportunity came on a Sunday night in March to ask a visiting preacher if I could join his church group in going to the Czech Republic! With only 5 weeks before the start of the trip, God raised up over $1000.00! What an exciting time to see His specific direction on what trip to take (and not to take).

April ~ At 23, I bought my first car. This might seem a little strange to be a blessing, but if you knew what car I did drive, then you would know just how exciting this blessing was! God provided a nice, little car for me and I've had no mechanical problems with it yet:).

May ~ Bright and early on May 1st, I excitedly pack my bag and drove 3 hours to join up with a Baptist Church group in Maryland before taking off from Dulles International Airport for the Czech Republic. The next two weeks were spent with a missionary friend and her family as we blitzed a couple of towns and held a creation seminar. It was on this trip that my friend started courting, and that courtship will culminate in a wedding this upcoming weekend!

June ~ I started this blog:) Really, it has been such a blessing to "meet" so many ladies across this nation and even be reconnected with an old friend from high school:). Also in this month, I babysat for 3 little girls so their mom could go to summer camp with her "older" kids. I had a blast!

July ~ This month started off with a very sweet wedding with a couple at church and continued on with weekly trips to St. Christopher's Hospital in Philadelphia. Thankfully, little Dillon came home this month!

August ~ My dear brother and sister-in-law moved out to Indiana and I went right with them - to help them move, not move myself! I'm so glad I had that time to be with them just a little longer!

September ~ School began at EBA, and with it my new job too. But it has turned out to be a blessing working with the high schoolers and I'm thrilled with the opportunity to work with them. Volleyball also consumed a huge part of my time but I loved working with the girls:).

October ~ Bro. Milton Martin came and preached and left. But the words that were spoken were not soon forgotten, and has impacted my life during the "Bible In Real Life" Conference. It was during Bro. Martin's preaching that the Lord began to work on my heart about another missions trip - which will Lord willing happen during this summer!

November ~ I had the opportunity to travel out to Indiana to attend a youth camp with a friend and her two daughters (plus see my western family:D). The preaching was needed and the fellowship was sweet. Thanksgiving was spent at home with some friends from church and my brother and his wife and what a time it was to hear some blessings from them!

December ~ The Christmas Cantata was a highlight for me (especially since we worked on it for 4 months;)). At the end of this month, I spent one whole week with my sister in Florida ~ absolutely wonderful!!!!

While those are the highlights, you can't see the day-to-day ins and outs. You don't see the tears, the laughter and giggles, the sweet times of prayer and Bible reading, the times of chastisement, the quiet, confidential talks, the times of ministry opportunities, or the hellos and good-byes. All that makes up a life, and overall, 2006 has been blessed. I look forward to this new year and am very excited as I see His Hand directing my life already.

"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23

Friday, December 29, 2006

Goodbye Vacation... Hello Life.

In less then 24 hours, life (as I know it!) will return to it's neck-breaking speed. Gone will be the enjoyment of sleeping in until 8:30 (pure bliss!). Replacing it will be early morning chaos. Gone will be the opportunity to make homemade cakes, cookies, and buns (yum!). Replacing it will be sandwiches, veggies, and snacks. Gone will be the late midnight girl chats (and laughter) with my sister. Replacing it will be a strict bedtime schedule.

But the time I've spent here in Florida has been restful... even though my sister and her family live smack dab in the middle of a huge tourist area (read: Disney). The sweet times spent in prayer and devotions have re-energized me for the work that is ahead. I feel refreshed and I'm ready to head home. I'm never ready to say "good-bye" to any loved one, but God's will for my life is not one continuous vacation! Can you imagine how boring that would be! But if you know me and the way God often leads in my life, you'll be hearing about another trip soon, I'm sure. God has given me a love for traveling and I praise Him for that. Just last week I was talking with a missionary's wife who doesn't like to travel at all. But I appreciated the spirit that she had about traveling for a missionary certainly does a lot of that!

So good-bye vacation... hello reality. Hello family. Hello church family. Hello preaching at LVBC. Hello Christian school. Hello Bible studies. Hello serving. Hello visitation. Hello ministry opportunities. Vacation's over. I'm ready to come!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Good Things.

The room I am occupying while I'm here in Central Florida has become a place of quiet for me to spend time with the Lord. The house is usually filled with "Bayley-isms" from 8:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night, so my quiet time will only be accomplished in this little room. I've enjoyed reading through a few chapters of Joshua, although I will admit it was kinda hard to follow which tribe owned what city when there's twelve tribes and they each owned alot!

As I came to a close this morning, the last two verses from Joshua 21 leapt off the page and struck me between the eyes. The first reason was because it said something different besides "so-and-so tribe owned such-and-such city and her suburbs":). But what really captivated my mind and eyes was that God's attributes were wrapped up in these two verses:

And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.".

I guess it could be summed up like this:

1 - "And the LORD gave them rest round about" ~ God gives rest. When the storms of life are beating and the waves seem to shake my tiny vessel, He whispers, "Peace, be still."

2 - "according to all that he sware unto their fathers" ~ God keeps His Promises. When He promises, He provides.

3 - "and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them" ~ God protects. The devil doesn't have a chance against my God. God will triumph over my enemies.

4 - "the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand" ~ God gives victory. It's as if He's putting a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae. It's not necessary; but that's my God!!! He gives over and over and over again!

5 - "There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel;" ~ God is faithful! His word, once spoken, will be brought to pass. God is not a man in that He forgets or that He does a half-job.

6 - "all came to pass." ~ God is complete. What started at Creation ("he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made") and continued at Calvary ("It is finished") is still being done today. A missionary recently said, "If God cares about the flowers of the field and the stars in the heavens, then He cares about you as an individual so much more."

God's will for my life is perfect and He will not rest until I am completely conformed into His image. And although the road is rough at times, and thorns may cause me pain, my God only has my good in mind and does all things with a purpose. As someone once said, God is never late and seldom early, but He is always on time. Those good things He promised me will eventually all come to pass.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Our Jerusalem And Judea.

The challenge was given; the goal was set. At first glance it seemed to be unattainable. The directions were few and the time limit was 40 minutes. The groups were divided and the session began. The two questions were then asked:

How do we get the Gospel to Pennsylvanians?


How do we get Pennsylvanians to the Gospel?

Go. Brainstorm. Shun no ideas. Let the juices flow. We need to reach
our state.

After our fall Bible Conference with Bro. Milton Martin, Pastor preached a message challenging us to pray for our state and to begin thinking of ways to reach our whole state. Today was the day that was set for us to have a brainstorming session during Sunday School.

The approach my Sunday School teacher took was to ask those two questions and then add "money is not an issue." Because he said that, my class was a little "outlandish" with ideas...
  • Buy a Super Bowl commercial spot
  • Place Scripture verses and on cereal boxes, milk cartons, and bowls
  • Billboards
  • In order to reach people groups like the Amish or prisoners, have a pen pal system set up
  • Take the handbells and minister all across the state
  • Have each class/table go blitz their specific area with tracts while having commercials on the local tv/radio station at the same time
  • Since we have State College to pray for (we're a college-age Sunday School class), go out there and hand out free food with Scripture labels on them
  • Have a pop-up window with an advertisement come up on web pages
  • Send forwarded text messages
  • Go throughout the state and place tracts/pamphlets/etc. at all the rest stops
  • Get an 18-wheeler tractor trailer with Scripture written all over it and head for traffic jams where all people do anyway is sit in traffic and read the sides of trucks (I thought this one was creative:D)
  • Offer discounted and/or free tickets to ski resorts, boating/hiking/fishing parks as long as the person would do a bible study
  • Put advertisements on buses, trains, and metros

The list really could go on and on; we're just praying that the right idea or ideas were mentioned and get tweaked. We have a wide array of people who live in our state, and the idea might not necessarily be "one size fits all". Praise God the Gospel does meet all needs and that the foot of the cross is level for all to come and bow the knee!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Sometimes it's just ironic. Situations are passed our way and how we respond does matter. I was laughing over irony yesterday because an all-too-familiar situation happened again! Last Tuesday the honor roll students were supposed to take a field trip to the Cheesecake Factory at the King of Prussia Mall, but due to unforeseen circumstances, the students couldn't go so it was rescheduled for yesterday. I was supposed to go along, but once I found out that over half the girls were staying behind, I chose to stay behind too and do our regular Girls gym class in the afternoon. While slightly disappointed at missing the Cheesecake Factory (I could do without the mall though:D), I continued through my day.

After lunch we got the call: "the school bus broke down on the way...". That's happened lots of times before. I have fond memories of sitting at a rest stop outside of Scranton after a camp with several of us singing at the top of our lungs as men from church drove vans to pick us up. Our bus breaking down happens often enough to make memories, but not too often that we don't step on the bus each time! But the worst part of the whole thing this time was that it was just fixed. I'm not sure what was fixed, but apparently they overlooked the back brakes!

I did feel bad for the girls who went on the trip because I think the girls who stayed behind had more fun in gym:o). Since I had a smaller group, I decided to play Sardines outside. Sardines is played by one person going to hide and then one or two people being dismissed minute by minute to go find the person hiding. Once you find the person hiding, you're supposed to hide with them, hence the name "Sardines" because you can get squished sometimes! We've played Sardines in the building before which is loads of fun!

The first girl who hid wasn't too creative; she stood behind the church bus and then when one of the girls spotted her feet, she ran inside the bus and hid while the other girl watched her do that;). The second girl was a tad more creative, for she chose a shed between the assistant pastor's house and Pastor's house to hide behind. She was soon found as well. The third girl I sent out took us a 1/2 hour to find because she didn't hear me say, "don't hide in trees" so that's where she was! The nice thing for me was I walked the perimeter of the church property twice looking for her so I didn't need to go walking in the afternoon;).

The last two girls (they hid at the same time) probably chose the most dangerous spot to hide. Since there was an unequal number of girls, I partnered up with #2 girl and thought to look near the woods since Eliza loves the woods. But as we were walking past Pastor's house, I noticed Kristen trying to walk over to this cement-covered stairway. I couldn't figure out why she was trying to go that way because all she had to do was go around the bramble pile to peer in. Plus I couldn't figure out why she thought Eliza and Jessica would hide in there. When the girls finally came out (I had given them a time limit and my watch so they would know when the game was "over") I asked them where they hid and they said "in the Hammett's basement stairway!"

I overheard one of the girls talking later about snakes but I pushed that off as just a bunch of teenage boys trying to scare the girls. Later on I asked my pastor's wife if there were snakes in there. Her answer was "probably" and said it was dangerous because the cement was crumbling. She then asked me why I asked. I told her, "I guess next time I have to be a little more clear in what's off-limits. I mean, you would have to be pretty dumb to hide in there!" Mrs. Hammett started laughing as she agreed with me, for she knew the two girls pretty well:D.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Sweet Friends And Honey Nut Cheerios.

Thursday night I drove down to Philly like usual and spent 2 hours talking with my sweet sister before we finally crashed into bed at 11:15. I've noticed recently that I've had many opportunities to spend time talking with dear friends. One time it was after the Thanksgiving Eve Service with two friends (that one last until midnight!). Another time was last Sunday night while everyone else went to celebrate a missionary's arrival from Chile with a "Fiesta de Chile" party. My friend and I had good intentions to go over to join in the celebration but we just started talking and before we knew it, the assistant pastor was coming around locking up the building. Then another friend and I went walking three times this week so we got to spend time talking too. Plus I went to help a friend twice this week which resulted in more talking:o). And finally I picked up a friend from the airport last night so we spent the two hour ride (courtesy of I-76 and rush hour traffic!) home doing ~ you guessed it~ talking:). But this friend I hadn't seen in a while so I really enjoyed catching up with her.

It was no surprise then to see that my sister and I spent that much time just talking. I was surprised to see her get out of bed (she's a teacher so she goes to bed super-early since she gets up super-early!) and come talk but I really enjoyed it. One thing I've really enjoyed since my teen years is friendships with a wide array of people, including my sisters and sisters-in-law. I consider myself blessed, for I've often read stories of brothers and sisters who won't talk to each other at all. I'm glad I've not experienced that at all. And I'm looking forward to the opportunity in two weeks to spend a week (a whole week!) with my sweet sister (and friend!) and her family in Florida where we'll play catch up.

One thing about friendships is that little things (read: hurts) can happen, but they need to be dealt with in light of the Word of God.
For example, yesterday morning my sister and I were trying to get ready to take Andrew to a doctor's appointment. We had a certain time in mind to leave by and as the minutes ticked by, we got a little more "rushed" with our actions. We were sitting at opposite ends of the couch doing our own things when my sister said, "Can you pass me a pillow?" Without looking up (I was brushing my wet hair ready to dry it) I reached over to the pillow and tossed it at her. Unfortunately for her (and me!) she had big bowl of honey nut cheerios and milk that spilled as soon as the pillow made contact. All I heard was "ahhhh... ahhh, ahhhhh, Annnnnnnnne!" I looked up and started laughing, which might not have been the best thing to do;). Here cheerios and milk were dripping off of her and onto the couch and floor. Andrew (who was playing on the floor) looked up and started laughing too, but I think that was because *I* was laughing. The situation grew a little more grave when she said that was all she could wear. With 10 minutes to go, I threw the outfit into the dryer with a dryer sheet and hoped for the best.

I really need to work on this, but I can't help laughing, no matter how serious the situation is. So I was trying to hide my laughter but little giggles would bubble out of me and she would just look at me. But there were no words of anger, huffs, or silent treatments from my sister. It was a honest, albeit funny, mistake and she recognized it for what it was.

Too often I tend to take a genuine mistake someone makes and get hurt that they did that to me. I mean, what were they thinking that they would intentionally hurt me? (that's said tongue-in-cheekedly!) One good tip that my Pastor passed along to us in Biblical Counseling class was this: we'll use the word "hurt" in place of "bitter". After that class when someone would say they were "hurt", a friend and I would have a twinkle in our eye and a smile on our lips as we gently but pointedly corrected them: "You're not 'bitter', you're just 'hurt', right?" Usually switching around those two words made a difference as the person would recognize what their true feeling really is.

It's funny what the Lord uses to teach and remind, isn't it? Cheerios don't just lower your cholesterol :o) they're also a visual reminder of friendships and how important they are to maintain. Oh, and the outfit was fine... no use crying over spilled milk!!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

All I Need.

"Oft times I've tried to live my life according to my will.
When darkness comes it's difficult to rest and just be still.
But Lord, you are my Shepherd, that guides me in the way.
And I will learn this glorious truth if I your word obey."

"You're all I need. You're the Lord of everything.
All I need, this is why I humbly sing.
Your strength is sustaining, and your grace has made me free.
You're my heart's lone desire, You're all I need."

"By wanting more, I've wanted less than all You've given me.
You gave Your all by laying down Your life at Calvary.
So I surrender all Lord, my past to You I give.
And thank You now for giving me a reason to live."

"You're all I need. You're the Lord of everything.
All I need, this is why I humbly sing.
Your strength is sustaining, and your grace has made me free.
You're my heart's lone desire, You're all I need."

"More than enough, You're all I need."

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Umm, Yeah.

Just tell me what is wrong with this. I can't admit to finding this on my own, but # 3 commenter did. So for the low, low price of $599.95, you could be the proud, new, sweaty owner of this treat for it *only* weighs 84 pounds.

After checking out their website, I found this , this, and this . If you're trying to find Christmas gifts but aren't sure what to get, try some of these suggestions :o). Oh, and if you're having problems with squirrels on your bird feeder, then try this!

I just want to know who had time to think these things up!

Saturday, December 2, 2006


In honor of this being my 100th post (yikes! I had that much to say?!?), I thought it very fitting to post this meme from Rachel .
ABC's Meme

A - Available/Single? I'm single and really enjoying it! A friend wrote me a card on the day I graduated from high school and said to use this season of singleness for God. I took her advice, and haven't been sorry :o).
B - Best Friend? Hmm, that's a tough one. I don't have one specific one... but I do have 5 extremely close friends and half of them are family! (so how's that for avoiding the question?;)
C- Cake or Pie? Definitely pie... specifically pumpkin!
D - Drink Of Choice? Water
E - Essential Item You Use Everyday? Deoderant
F - Favorite Color? It's a toss-up between pink and blue!
G - Gummy Bears Or Worms? Both!
H - Hometown? Wherever I pillow my head at night!
I - Indulgence? Cookies-n-Cream ice cream while watching a movie:o)
J - January Or February? I'm going to lean towards February since that's missions month at church and also includes my b-day;)
K- Kids & Their Names? I absolutely adore kids (which is why I work with them everyday!). I prefer more unique and old-fashioned and/or Biblical names compared to contemporary names.
L - Life Is Incomplete Without? God and snuggle time with my nephews:o)
M - Marriage Date? ? ?/? ?/? ? ? ?
N- Number Of Siblings? Three wonderful, terrific, protective big brothers and three sweet, caring big sisters
O - Oranges Or Apples? Apples of course :o)
P - Phobias/Fears? I'm not overly fond of creepy-crawly insects, bears, and sometimes I fear that I'll accidently cause major physical harm to someone else
Q - Favorite Quote? "I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." ~ Galatians 2:20; The Apostle Paul
R - Reason to Smile? I'm saved and on my way to heaven:o) and I just got to spend two days with a really cute nephew:o)
S - Season? I don't have a "favorite" season ~ I like them all! Seriously, the great things I love about living in PA is that I experience all the seasons here for the right amount of time! Just when I start to "tire" of the one, the next one comes rolling by ;).
T - Tag Two Or Three People? Kristi, Melissa, and Courtney .
U - Unknown Fact About Me? I'm not quite sure how I'm supposed to know if it's unknown or not because I already know it! But I'll scribble down a few: I sleep-walk, talk in my sleep, and snore. I am shy with a group of people I don't know very well, but usually handle a crowd ok. One of my favorite things to do is to light a candle, play music, and snuggle under a blanket with a good book. I'm very spontaneous and yet un-decisive at times. Basically I'm a study of contrasts!
V - Vegetable you don’t like? Eggplant... eww!
W - Worst Habit? Shouldn't that be habits? I have several that annoy myself and others so I'll spare you!
X - X-rays You’ve Had? My elbow and my teeth (what a combo!).
Y - Your Favorite Food? Ice cream
Z - Zodiac Sign? I wouldn't begin to have a clue and I really don't care :o)

Friday, December 1, 2006

That Day.

I started Thursday morning praying for my pregnant sister who thought she might have lost her baby and I ended the day praying my 1-year old nephew. The good news is my sister did not lose her baby; she hadn't felt movement for a while and was losing weight, but the doctor just said the baby was hanging out on the lower left side just trying to get comfortable :o). But the not-so-good news is that my nephew Andrew has a lot of problems with his little body. He was at the emergency room 3 times in 4 days and had all sorts of tests, x-rays, IVs and other stuff done to him.

My sister called me at work yesterday afternoon practically crying and begging me to come down early so I had to rearrange some plans (sorry Josiah & Tiff :-( ), but when I got down here to Philly, I could see that I was definitely needed. My friend and I were just talking the other day about when a people hit low points. Well, my sister definitely hit a low point with what the doctor told her on the phone. Although I felt badly about not being able to help my friends out, there's a verse that came to mind last night: "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord" and that was true for me yesterday. Normally on a Thursday night, I go to a Chinese Bible Study, but I decided against that last night since I had a family function (that I missed anyway:D) and I had told Tiff I would help her too. If this had been a normal Thursday, I would've been unable to come help my sister, so God worked it out for good!

Yesterday morning in my devotions I read about how Joshua conquered various cities but the Bible specifically says "and they took it on that day" or "he utterly destroyed that day" (Joshua 10: 35). God doesn't give us all the battles on one day... He only gives to us what we can handle that day and nothing else. How fitting that those were the verses I read in the morning!

If you think of it, please pray for my little nephew. Not only does he have mono, but he also has a very poor immune system so that means that even a little sniffle could be dangerous. But although he has been sick, I have enjoyed more snuggles, hugs, and laughter than usual :o).

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Of Girls And Giggles.

A mom of 9 called me up last week and asked if I would be willing to take one of her daughters between church services on Sunday. She and her husband were going away and were trying to find a place for all their girls to go to so big brother didn't go crazy at home:o). I willingly agreed to take the one and then through the course of conversation, suggested I take the twins and the next youngest one. These girls are in the Christian school and on my volleyball team, so I interact with them a lot and enjoy spending time with them.

The girls came traipsing over on Sunday after the service and immediately asked what we were having for dinner. I had thought of tacos so each girl got to work doing various things. My parents weren't home, so it was just the four of us happily chatting and laughing in the kitchen.

When we finally sat down for dinner, someone started tell a story. That led to someone else saying, "Wait til you hear this!..." On and on the stories went until our sides and tummies were aching from laughing so hard. The tacos were long forgotten as each girl tried to "one-up" the previous storyteller. It was in that moment when the thought hit me: these girls are reachable! Just because they grew up in a Christian home doesn't automatically mean they're saved. But as we sat around the kitchen table, I saw each girl for who she was.

In a group of 6 or 7 with their friends around, they seem very hard and give off a "go-ahead-and-just-try-to-approach-me" air. But get them on their own, and they open right up. I had so much fun on Sunday that I invited the girls (plus one more) over between school and church yesterday. And I smiled as the girls shared giggles and had a good time chasing each other with an empty soda bottle. I would rather cultivate giggles in these girls than a bad attitude.

A couple of us single girls just started something last night: meeting before church to specifically pray for the teens and the Winter Camp that is coming up in January. My heart aches for these teens as I see many do their own thing and ignore God. But maybe, just maybe, "the effectual, fervent prayer...availeth much."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Walking Down a Historical Path.

At the small Christian school where I work, field trips seem to be a novelty at times. The reason is rather simple: the principal (who is also the main teacher for the math and science classes) is so busy trying to make sure the school runs properly that he doesn't really have time to sit around thinking up amazing field trips that the kids will talk about for years.

Of course when *I* went to school, there was only one field trip we talked about all the time: the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. But we didn't talk about it in glowing terms with lots of happy memories. No, if Mr. Anger (btw, how's that for a principal's name?!?!) mentioned the words "field trip" and "Franklin Institute" in the same sentence, there were groans. Literal groans. I think a field trip to a factory where they make push pins might have been more exciting. There wasn't anything wrong with the Franklin Institute, it was just that we went there every year.

So it somehow became my responsibility to be in charge of field trips this year. Today we finally took our first one of this year; not bad considering we're 1/3 of the way through the second quarter! We tried to plan a trip before this, but between volleyball and soccer practices/games, special meetings at church, and a special junior/senior trip to DC, it just wasn't possible.

We happen to live in a very historical section of our state so for this field trip I chose The Moravian Museum in Historic Bethlehem. I grew up in Bethlehem and passed by this museum several times since it was on the way to the library, but never went inside. I am very interested in history and figured if it got the kids out of school for the day, they wouldn't mind :o). The bonus was we had never taken the kids to this place, although a long time ago a teacher took one of the grades there.

I realized once we got there that this specific tour was probably geared for 4th-6th grade students (it was funny to see tall 18-year-old Eric trying to fit on a carpet square:D), but I enjoyed learning about a culture of long ago. I don't think the teens took too well to being called "boys and girls" by the tour guide, but they eventually warmed up.

The thing that struck me the most about the Moravians was their passion for God. True, they did things very differently than we would today. We learned how everyone was split into a choir: Young girls choir, Young boys choir, Single girls choir, Single guys choir, married choir, etc and lived with that choir; gender-separated of course. They also took an 18-month old child and put them in a house where the single and young girls would raise them. From 5 years old and on, boys and girls were separated until they married and the way they got married was by choosing lots. Once you were married, your basic goal was to be a missionary. If you had a child, you left them behind and went out into the world to evangelize. I realize that this is not ideal at all to leave behind your child(ren) (nor Biblical, I might add), but their passion is admirable.

Another practice they had was to divide everyone up into two groups: the home group and the pilgrim group. What this meant was the home group stayed behind to build the buildings, work the land, and give all they earned to missions while the pilgrim group learned the languages and customs of the Indians (or whomever they were going to minister to) and actually went out as missionaries. Imagine that! They were intent on sending out someone from their group to go to a foreign place with a foreign language and actually live with the people they were evangelizing!

A guy in my group, Ben, got tired pretty quick of being told "he" was John so-and-so (they were given name tags of people who lived back then and found out about their lives) who was a missionary to the Ohio territory for 50 years. 50 years! The tour guide never said if he came back during that time, but I seriously doubt it for travel was hard.

I got to thinking about missions from this perspective. True, they were twisted in their child-rearing thinking and a few other things, but each of them knew they had a job to do in order for everything to run smoothly. Everyone worked together; there were no paying jobs. A lot of the money they received for goods they made went towards missions.

So if it was assumed and understood then, why do we have a struggle with it now? Jesus gave the Great Commission; end of story. Just go do it. There was a man baptized on Sunday night who made the comment, "This church helps me to fulfill the 'go ye' part of the commission". Missions is personal; throwing money towards Faith Promise isn't enough. I wonder if we have too many today sitting in the "home group" when they know they're supposed to be in the "pilgrim group".

Monday, November 27, 2006

Saving Her A Rant.

Before my sister-in-law Kim complains to me about not posting pictures of her kids :o), I think I'll post and save her a rant;).

This is probably my favorite picture of Trevor, for it is so typical of him! It's absolutely adorable the way he has his chin resting so nicely in his hand:D

Don't you love candid shots that catch you with your mouth open because you were talking when you thought the person behind the camera really wasn't going to take a picture.... yeah, that's what happened here. My friend (who shall remain nameless:D) couldn't get her camera working and then she was having problems turning it on and meanwhile Tiana and I were just sitting there. Tiana's look is one of "please take the picture" while mine is one of "you're not really going to take that picture, are you?" I suppose this is aunt-niece bonding...

This girl is Kelita who goaded me into wrestling on the living room floor. I figured we were both modest so I would share the picture:o). Kelita is a 15 year old girl who has three brothers and a dad and she just lost her mom last year. Kelita provided some very humerous moments for me for she was feisty, boisterous, and a big talker. The only reason why I got goaded into wrestling was because she insisted she could take me down. I was planning on minding my own business (read: go to the store like I planned), but then she came along and stole my sneaker. I was not about to go out into the cold November air (much less a store!) with one sneaker on or worse, dress shoes with culottes! Uh-uh! So I gave in to Kelita and put her down and we both had a good time;).

This is a happy Hammond family if I ever saw one! It's my own dumb fault for not taking a picture earlier in the week, like right after Sunday morning services. Nooo, I waited until 15 minutes before we left to go home to get a family photo. Apparently we wore them all out (except for Jack... he had nothing to do all week besides sleep, eat, and work;)...kidding!) so that's why their not exactly looking their best. But like it or lump it, this is my Indiana family.

And hopefully, I saved my sister-in-law a rant ;).

Friday, November 24, 2006

I Did One Today.

I realize it's been a while since I've done a post about doing my dumb thing of the week, but don't worry! I have been maintaining my dumb things for the week by actually doing them; I just haven't blogged about them;).

Today's might not appear as dumb as some other ones I've done in the past (go here if you want to know what I'm talking about!), but it was pretty silly. Two girls and I were decorating the large chapel/Learning Center school room/fellowship hall/Sunday school classroom/etc. today for Christmas. All we did was drape some garland at the top of the walls all around the room and then put garland and lights on some stair banisters. It sounds simple, but it wasn't!

You see, we originally started on the one wall just pinning and draping, pinning and draping. But then I looked at the 5 swags we had done and realized that they weren't even. Well, that drove me nuts to no end so Sarah offered to run home and get a tape measure so we could measure the walls and garland and figure out how much drape and swag we would need to make everything look even. It was quite the production.

So we had everything measured out and our in-house mathematician (read: Amanda) did the math and figured out the specific drape and the specific swag. It was very scientific which is kinda odd that *I* suggested it because I am anything but math and science!

Sarah climbed up on one of the student's desk and pinned the first one. When she was satisfied that it was held securely, she started to climb off the desk... and managed to fall backwards with the desk falling on her leg since it was so wobbly. Amanda and I alternated laughing and being sympathetic, because it was funny to see Sarah fall backwards with her arms flaring and her saying "ahhhhhhhh" but we also knew she was hurt. So after making sure she was *ok*, we continued on with me saying, "I'm glad that wasn't me!"

It must've been 5 minutes later when I was on a desk and pinning the garland up. After I was satisfied that it was held securely, I started to climb off the desk.... and managed to fall backwards with my arms flaring and me saying, "ahhhhhhhh!!!". Sarah and Amanda alternated between laughing and being sympathetic because it was funny!!!!

A Thanksgiving Blessing.

My little munchkin (translation: Mr. Andrew) flew south to North Carolina (with his parents, of course!) where they were meeting up with another munchkin who's a little bigger (translation: Mr. Bayley-boo) who drove North with his parents to spend Thanksgiving with my Aunt and Uncle.

My Indiana family spent time with Kim's side of the family in Wisconsin and my one brother went to my sister-in-law's aunt and uncle's house while my other brother and his wife enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving at home, just the two of them. They did that last year and had a great time just being home that they'll probably do that most years. So we invited a couple and another man from church over for dinner.

During dinner, we asked David (who is from India) about his recent engagement and how he met Sirithia (that's a poor shot at spelling her name, but at least you get the idea!). For starters, David is in his 30s and his future wife is 28, so they're not exactly fresh out of high school. But their story is so neat and it's evident that God put them together.

Our pastor was keeping an eye out for a single, Christian, Indian young lady for the past few years. David was also looking, but the few he found he disagreed with on some issues, so they parted ways. But then one day in April 2006, the lady who runs the church's bookstore got a phone call from a pastor who had a question. Mrs. P. couldn't answer it, so she turned it over to Pastor, who happened to be in the building for once!!! After Pastor answered the question, he asked the pastor on the other end where he was from and he replied India. Pastor immediately asked if there were any single girls in his church, since he had a single Indian guy in his church.... no sense beating around the bush;). The pastor on the other end was a little flabbergasted, to say the least (!) but asked Pastor to send some information on David while he and his wife prayed over it.

Pastor did and after praying about it, the other pastor approached one of the single girls with the situation. She agreed to pray about it and after a little bit, she and David e-mailed for 4 weeks and then talked on the phone for 2 months. David made a trip to India in September and from there on out, they did a lot of things according to Indian custom but they maintained a Christian testimony through it all. They got officially engaged and now they are waiting for her to be able to come to the USA. Hopefully all this will happen in the next 1-1 1/2 years, instead of the original 3! God provides!

Yesterday morning after I dropped Andrew and his parents off at the airport, I returned home but decided to stop at the gas station and get the newspaper in order to save my mom a trip. They didn't have any left, so I continued home, grabbed some coupons I needed for a few items and then went to Weis to get the items and the newspaper. No paper. So I went to Eckerd to get the paper. No paper. Seven-Eleven. No paper. CVS. No paper. Turkey Hill. No paper. I was getting discouraged because I was traveling farther away from my house and my gas tank registered empty. But then the Lord popped the thought in my mind to go to Don's, a little convenience store that I have never shopped at, although I do pass by it occasionally. I drove my way across town and pulled into Don's. Two people stood inside: a clerk and a police officer standing by the newspaper rack. As I approached the police officer, my heart sank when I saw what looked like an empty newspaper rack (again!). But it wasn't. There were two left: one for me and one for the police officer to read! God provides!

And that was my Thanksgiving blessing. Whether it is big (finding a spouse) or small (finding a newspaper), GOD PROVIDES. All worry, anxiety, fear, and fretting that I do so often during a day can be neatly wrapped up in the thought that God will provide!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


This is where I was....
(Fairhaven Baptist Church in Indiana)

But this is where I belong for now...

(Lehigh Valley Baptist Church in Pennsylvania)

It sure was good to get home on Sunday morning and be in services again, even if my eyelids were a little droopy!!! I'm *sure* my Pastor heard a conversation I had in the car on Saturday night as we drove home, for the message was what I needed... don't you love it when your Pastor "hears" your problem and then preaches on it in the message?!?!?! (That was said very tongue-in-cheek!!!). I'm struggling with making sure I know God's Will for a big decision coming up and my Pastor said this: "If you thank God, then you are in God's Will." Hmm... that seems to be pretty easy. As we approach Thanksgiving on Thursday, remember 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

I am so glad to be home!

Friday, November 17, 2006

It's Been Good, Part 2.

The Lord knows exactly what we need at each specific time, doesn't He??? The Lord knew I needed to come out to Empowered Youth 2006 at Fairhaven Baptist Church, and I do not regret for one second that I came out. There's no other way to describe it. I was able to hear 5 good messages (we missed the morning service on Tuesday) and the theme for the conference was "Lord, I'll Go Higher" referring to climbing a mountain spiritually. Although the messages were directed at the teenagers, I benefited from them greatly. Last evening the guest speaker, Bro. Castro (yes, just like the leader of a tiny island south of Florida... what a name!) was preaching on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and how the thought that Jesus could come back at any moment should cause us to live pure lives. "Jesus is coming... do you think you should __________ (fill in the blank)?" What a good message to think on as we all head back to our separate churches.

One thought that struck me is that I was blessed to come out here and now it's my responsibility to take what I learned and go back home and share it with those back there. So as we leave tomorrow night and prepare to slide in just in time for service Sunday morning, I go with a heart that is full and blessed. I am concerned about some things I see at home, but it's not my responsibility to make sure everyone makes right decisions. I just need to tell what the Lord has laid on my heart. It's been a good week and I pray the results will have an eternal impact.

You know, the one teenager said to me today, "I wish we were staying through Sunday so we could be in church." Wow. This coming from a lost girl who doesn't really like church can only go to show that God is working on her heart. She even wants to come back next year. So if you think of it, keep this 14-year-old-girl in prayer. If this conference brought her one step closer to salvation, then it was definitely worth it even more!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's Been Good.

I left Pennsylvania on Friday night (actually Saturday morning :D) at 1 AM and pulled into Indiana around 11:15 AM. Other than seeing 10 dead dear on the road with its insides not on the inside, there were no traffic mishaps. The teenagers slept most of the time (yay!) and it was only when we were a 1/2 hour from my brother's that they started to get antsy. I had done most of the driving with only an hour nap, so I crashed in the afternoon for a pick-me-up nap. But that left me feeingl rested and refreshed for the evening. Fairhaven Baptist Church recently built a gym, so we went over to the church to play some volleyball and to run off some excess energy.

The preaching on Sunday in both services was excellent, especially the night service. Bro. Whitaker (the principal of the school) preached about the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Consider this:
  • Sin looses its cover when you put it next to the Holy Spirit.
  • All sin is wicked; can any sin be tolerated then?
  • Sin is wrong because God is holy.
  • Sin originated in the wicked heart of Satan.
  • Sin is exceeding sinful because it is destroying everything around us.
  • Sin isn't partly "ok"; it is all poison.
  • Christians aren't intent at routing out sin because it doesn't seem that bad.
  • There is a roaring lion behind each sin.
  • I color code my sin.
  • Every sin is exceeding sinful.
  • There is no credit in trying to get rid of sin; it has to go.
That message nailed me right to the wall. God is so good about convicting me of sin that I had to write home and apologize to someone back at church for something I did to them. But the conviction hasn't stopped there. I was talking to my sweet sister-in-law and she was talking about an issue that broke her heart. As I listened, I realized that I'm very guilty of undermining or questioning authority. I caught myself doing it this week to my friend as she tried to determine if her teenagers were going to go shopping with us. I caught myself questioning why the kids here should go to school on Friday after they are kept up until 3 AM Thursday night. And as I thought about it, I caught myself questioning authority from back home. It is subtle but deceptive.

It has been so good to spend time in God's Word and not have to worry about getting to school on time. It has been so good to sit around talking about sin and dealing with it. It has been so good to hear the preaching and to pray for the teens here at this camp. I know only a handful of kids out of 250, but God knows each of their hearts. I don't need to know them to pray for them. Teenagers are teenagers, no matter where you go. Last night as I sat in the car with my brothers and nephews waiting for my sister-in-law, I noticed a guy and a girl standing outside "just talking". I made a comment about that and my brother said, "How do you know they are not brother and sister?" Well, because brother and sister act differently and these two were not acting that way. It was the classic "We're-just-friends-who-happen-to-spend-alot-of-time-together" act. Sure enough, one of the pastors here sauntered over to them and broke it up. Yes, teens are teens and they do the same things no matter what youth group they're from.

It has been good and I'm looking forward to the preaching today and tomorrow. God can do anything, but the question is do I believe that he can?

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Consider This A Quilt!

Have you ever seen a crazy quilt before? It's made up of all sorts of pieces and scraps of material, each having its' own unique design and color. That's how this post is going to be: full of random topics but pieced together by something called "Anne's Life":o). Here goes...

Sometimes I Wonder.

Teenage girls. The thought alone can strike terror in a person's heart! I'm around them often enough (read: every day!) that I have a pretty good handle on their quirks and habits. After stepping out of the school room momentarily, I returned to find Jessica turned around in her seat and towards the direction of Eliza. I also happened to notice Eliza smiling and laughing, a good indication that Jessica had said/done something funny. As I came up behind Jessica I said, "That's a demerit for talking." The excuses began to flow quickly so I went over to where Eliza was. I asked Eliza to honestly tell me yes or no to the question "was Jessica talking?". Eliza looked up at me, and said, "Well, what do you mean by talking?"


Eliza is in 9th grade and my frustration was evident as I wondered why in the world she asked such a silly question! As I shared this incident with the principal, he gave a knowing smile, and then let me in on a little secret: rather than ask "were you talking?" ask "were you communicating?". Communicating includes sign language, mouthing words, irrating noises and anything else, but not talking!

Ah... I see :o). There's a difference when you put it like that. So apparently the girls weren't talking; they were just *communicating*!

Argh! Teenage girls!


Along the same lines, we're experiencing a major problem at home with a pesty little animal which is anything but cute: a mouse. I am not a big fan of anything that can hurt me (you should've seen me dance away from the bee that flew into a room at work today!), and this mouse is no exception. While it is not "hurting" me, it did devour some beans that were going to make a bean soup. I was a little bummed because I never had a chance to make this recipe a few weeks ago, and it looked good!

Mouse: 1. Hammonds: 0.

So my mom had this creative idea to kill it and the method she devised seemed to be harmless enough (read: poison). But I think we have a smart mouse. My mom cleared everything away from the half-eaten bean bag and set the posion bits all around the bean bag. Now if I was a mouse, warning lights would probably be jumping off in my mind: "hmm.. last night all this clutter was on top of the microwave. Tonight there's nothing but the beans and these little green beads. I bet they're trying to kill me!"

So I checked the microwave this morning before leaving.

Mouse: 2. Hammonds: 0.

Would you believe that all the green beads were gone??? I started laughing as I thought about that poor mouse. I'm starting to have sympathy for it, because it does not know the determination of Mom to be rid of this mouse. I'm not sure how this whole escapade will turn out, since I'll be gone for the next week-and-a-half! I have a feeling the score will be

Mom: victorious!
Mouse: dead!

when I come back ;).

Name Calling.

Today at lunch, one of the 8th grade boys leaned over and said to another boy, "You are sooo stupid!" Wanting to put an end to that, I called Andrew over and explained why we don't condone name calling. Andrew walked away with a shake of the head, which I hoped indicated that he learned his lesson.


About 5 minutes later, Andrew calls out across the lunchroom, "Miss Hammond, may I tell him that his actions are stupid?"


What's In A Game?

I have never seen a game that requires skill, brains, and flexibility like the game that goes on in our school lunchroom every day. You know what I'm talking about:


Apparently you need a degree in Geometry, for getting the angle just right is important. You also need to make sure you brush up on your intimidation skills, because using a scare tactic on the person in square D is an important detail in making sure you get them "out". Plus it won't hurt if you take a class called, "How To Make The Other Person Mad And Lose While You Smile And Win". It's amazing that some of the most polite kids in the school are also the most vicious when it comes to this *innocent* game. I've seen it happen with my own eyes.

The sad part is, it's an endless cycle: you get in square D and get the person in square C out. Then you move to square C where three things can happen:
  • you get out OR
  • you get someone else out in one of the other three squares OR
  • someone else gets out one of the other two players and you get to move to square B.

After that, chances are (if you are a girl) you will get out OR you will make it to square A only to get"out" after one turn. You would think this never-ending cycle of a game wouldn't be played after the first few weeks of school, but no, it's still going strong! Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi.....

Was He Blonde? Seriously!

My parents had our computer fixed this week. They brought it home, and anticipation was mounting for my dad as he thought about checking his Ebay bids. Their excitement was short-lived though when they found out the guy who fixed the computer never thought to check to see if it worked. Cooooome on! Are you serious?!? *Sigh* It takes all sorts of people....

There I Go.

Tomorrow night I'm heading out to Indiana with (get this for a cruel joke) two teenage girls!!! But we do have a few cards up our sleeves, including driving through the night;). But if posting is sparse around here, you'll know why. Seriously though, I would ask you to keep these two girls in prayer. They both need to be saved and they're going to camp while we're in Indiana.

I'm hoping to get in some good family time with my brother and his family and the plan is to be back next Saturday. So until then, have a great week!

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Happy Birthday :o)

My sweet sister is 27 today!!!! 27 and feeling like ugh:(. She is a couple of months pregnant now and so she's not feeling too hot from that and my two-year-old nephew has been sick recently with a nasty cough. Happy Birthday, huh?!?

Just looking at that face, you know that Mr. Bayley-boo is a handful! He's probably devising ways to get into mischief;). But God never gives us more than we can handle. I'm so thankful to God for my dear, precious family and that includes my sister and her family! Happy Birthday!!!!

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Our Duty.

Don't forget to vote today...
But even more important than voting is PRAYING.

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD: and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance."

~ Psalm 33:12 ~

Monday, November 6, 2006


I love Sundays! Out of the seven days of the week, Sunday has got to be my favorite! Having the opportunity to go twice in one day to God's house and fellowship with other believers after you've been skinned alive by the preaching (well, sometimes:D) is such a privilege. Seeing the auditorium packed out with members and visitors ready to hear God's Word preached by the faithful man of God in the pulpit is a wonder. Knowing that you can cheer up someone's day with a cheerful "hey!" and a smile is encouraging. And you know that when a friend is missing from their rightful place, it's your responsibility to practice being a Proverbs 27 "iron" and check out why they were missing.

Yesterday was a great day! In the morning I got to teach 2's & 3's since the regular teacher is on vacation in South Carolina suffering through 70 degree weather while we get to enjoy 40 degree weather. Anyway, during our joint singing time with the 4's & 5's class, I noticed how the kids sang (and in some cases shouted!) "Deep and Wiiiiide! Deep and Wiiiide!" and how they did it with zeal. Have you ever stopped to think that Cavalry's fountain is "deep" and "wide"? So "deep and wide" that my sins can never not be covered! Wow!

Then during the morning service we had some great congregational singing! Sometimes the song leader will joke and say that down here on earth is just choir practice for the real thing in Heaven... it gives me the chills just thinking about that. It gets good sometimes, so Heaven must be perfect all the time!

Both the morning and evening messages were so timely. The youth pastor preached in the morning about the rich fool who told himself he would pull down his old barns and build new barns and that he would eat, drink, and be merry for many years. But there was one thing he hadn't counted on: that very night his soul would be required of him. Bro. Ronnie then said this: "where will you be in 100 years? If you plan half as much for eternity as you plan for this life would there be anything waiting for you in eternity?" Hmm. In 100 years I'm guaranteed to be long gone.

Then in the evening Bro. Reeder preached on "One Needful Thing" from Luke 10:38-42. You know the story. Martha was said to be cumbered about much serving. It struck me that I usually stick "with" in between "about" and "much" but that's not what the Bible says. It says she was cumbered about much serving. She was doing a good thing (serving) but it took much. Much what? It took time. It took effort. It took away from her spending time at the feet of Jesus, where Mary was. Wow. Again, that message hit me right between the eyes as I realized that nothing, nothing, is nearly as important as doing that "one needful thing".

The local newspaper will often run a full-page advertisement that says "Sunday mornings they go to church, but Sunday afternoons they worship here" indicating a football game. Oh no! May it not be said that something else (a game, a family get-together, school, a nap, etc) got me more excited about Sunday than meeting with my precious Saviour.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Would I Rather?

"I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand."

Refrain: "Than to be the king of a vast domain,
Or be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything,
This world affords today."

"I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name."

"He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead."

Saturday, November 4, 2006

It's Not Intentional.

I'm not intentionally letting this blog slip into boredom.... it's happening all on its own!!! Actually the real reason that you're seeing one, maybe two, posts a week is because my home computer called it ka-putz the other week. In other words, it was fried. My parents are in the process of getting a new one, but it's actually been kinda nice not to have a computer for a while. I finished a 400-page novel called "Shiloh's Autumn" within a few days and got to enjoy it too! So maybe it was a good thing that the computer gave us a break!

But in the meantime I do a little post here and there on my work computer, but not while I'm working :o). I'm also getting ready to head to Indiana Friday evening, but I will try to post before then. God has been so good with the preaching during the Bible conference and then my Pastor preached a great message on "How To Know If You're Hearing The Voice Of God" during the Sunday AM message. It's been good folks. But anytime God works, the devil is not far behind and that was true this week too.

So consider this my wave hello to y'all! Enjoy the beatiful fall weather out there and get ready: Sunday's comin!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Missionary's Farewell.

There seems to be a revolving door on the church's missions house. In actuality, it must be a revolving door on the duplex for both sides have experienced constant movement. For a long time the Wilhite family lived on the one side the Kuenzis on the other side. In October 2001 the Wilhites packed up their 9 (at that time - now it's 11) children and made the move to South Africa as missionaries. In 2002 the assistant pastor and his new wife moved into the side vacated by the Wilhites, but in 2003 the Kuenzis moved to West Virginia. November of 2004 brought the Wilhites home on a year furlough and they moved into the "Kuenzi" side. Before we knew it, November of 2005 came and the Wilhites went back to South Africa to begin their second term. Changes were coming again as the Heinz family made their way from Chile at the end of November 2005. They moved into the side that the Wilhites had moved out of a month before. Now on Monday we are getting ready to say a farewell to the Heinz family as the start back to Chile on a long flight for their second term. The missions house will not stay empty for long though; the Castner family will soon occupy the missions house for 4-5 months. The Hammett family will also be coming home for a 6-week visit with their families for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then in January our assistant pastor and family take off on a several-month trip to Finland.

It seems here of late we are always saying farewell to somebody or another but that's the way it is with missionaries. I only hope "I'll pray for you" will not be said tritely on Monday morning when we say good-bye to the Heinzes, for prayer truly is the best thing for us to give to missionaries.

"From Greenland’s icy mountains, from India’s coral strand;Where Afric’s sunny fountains roll down their golden sand:From many an ancient river, from many a palmy plain,They call us to deliver their land from error’s chain."

"What though the spicy breezes blow soft o’er Ceylon’s isle;Though every prospect pleases, and only man is vile?In vain with lavish kindness the gifts of God are strown; The heathen in his blindness bows down to wood and stone."
"Shall we, whose souls are lighted with wisdom from on high,Shall we to those benighted the lamp of life deny?Salvation! O salvation! The joyful sound proclaim,Till earth’s remotest nation has learned Messiah’s Name."

"Waft, waft, ye winds, His story, and you, ye waters, roll Till, like a sea of glory, it spreads from pole to pole: Till o’er our ransomed nature the Lamb for sinners slain,Redeemer, King, Creator, in bliss returns to reign."

From Greenland's Icy Mountains

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm Convinced...

The other day the little girl who we call around the church office our "secretary-in-training" :o) was in the office while her mommy directed the handbell choir and her daddy (an assistant to the pastor) continued working on the second-floor offices, a project which seemed to have no end, but is finally almost done! So this little 1 1/2 year comes to us (the main secretary and I) where it is our privilege to babysit for 45 minutes every Wednesday.

Since the place where we buy our copy paper was having a huge, once-a-year sale where they offer everything from free food to t-shirts (and oh yeah, they also have paper on sale too:D), the main secretary took two of the guys with her to "help" get the paper. In reality, they only went along for the free food since the guys at Expedx loaded the paper in the van :o). So when this darling girl's daddy brought her into the office after lunch, I landed the official "baby-sitting" duty.

Now GJ is just starting to talk and sometimes it doesn't sound right what she's saying, and that's no exception to the "frog", a keychain that holds some keys on it and hangs in the cupboard. GJ is absolutely fascinated with it and will stand under the cupboard and point up while she says, well, something other than "frog"!

Usually after the frog, GJ will move on to her next favorite item: a box of rubber bands that are conveniently (for her anyway!) kept on a bottom shelf. She loves to take them out, handfuls at a time, and make a mess on the floor! But she occupies herself for minutes on end with the rubberbands, all the while talking to herself too!

Well this time GJ picked up the box and walked to a corner of the office and sat down by a stack of boxes. I didn't pay too much attention to her since the door to the office was closed and I could see her in my peripheral vision, so I sat at my computer and continued working. Every once in a while I would glance over and see her pick up a few rubberbands and say "ooooh!". About the fourth time I looked over, I noticed the pile in the box was diminishing but I didn't see any on the floor. I was curious, especially since GJ was quiet other than the "oooohs!". Here she had figured out that the handle on the box could be pushed in and that rubber bands could be shoved into the box through the handle! It made sense why she was so excited but also why I didn't see any rubber bands on the floor :).

GJ's third favorite thing to do is take the dozens (ok, slight exaggeration:D) of butterfly magnets the main secretary has all over the filing cabinets and move them all around. Usually this results in butterflies upside down or on the floor or on the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet. But again, she is so entertained by these and will walk around the room babbling to herself and making us laugh too:D.

The thing I'm convinced about is that children do not need buckets and bins and rooms full of toys. Amy (the butterfly collector!) used to say when we first started watching GJ, "I need to bring in some toys for her" but now we know GJ doesn't need toys. Apparently frog keychains, rubber bands and magnets are enough :o).

Saturday, October 21, 2006

It's The Little Things.

I am blessed. Often that word is used when something good or exciting happens to/for us or those we know. For example, this week I heard two*big* blessings: a friend finding a future spouse and a little life that is on the way. Those are very exciting, but I also like to see the blessings in unexpected cases.

For me, I experienced some blessings that shouted God's faithfulness and love of the little details. Let me explain..

Thursday night I drove down to Philly and parked my car on the right side of the street. Friday morning I planned to run an errand but I never got around to it. Normally when I leave on an errand and then return, I'll park my car on the left side of the street instead of the right for the simple reason that it is right outside my sister's apartment. Since I didn't go anywhere in the morning, my car stayed on the right side.

Little did I know how important that would be!

It was round 1:45 when I put my nephew down to take a nap. I sat down on the sofa and as I did, I heard the wind rushing through the tree leaves outside. Thinking nothing of the loud "wham", I continued doing what I was doing. But then I wondered what that noise was.

I looked out the window and noticed a tree limb resting on a truck parked out front. I went outside and was horrified by what I saw. Here the wind had blown a tree over by its roots, and what I thought was a tree limb was actually the entire tree resting on the truck. The entire driver's side was smashed in, the windshield was crushed, and the hood was bent at an odd angle. The rest of the truck was *fine*, but that didn't matter because the damage was complete. The brand-new truck (the guy had just bought it recently) was totaled and useless.

I was stunned and shocked over the damage. And then the thought hit me: *I* usually park my car in that spot on a typical Friday!!!!! I looked across the street to where my car was parked and noticed that the tree (which fell from the right side of the road) missed my car by about 5 feet.


My car was protected by the same God that gave the car to me in the first place.

After I went back inside, I thought about what would've happened if that would've been my car. And then the second thought hit me: I just realized Thursday that my car insurance wasn't renewed automatically like I thought it was supposed to be. My car insurance works on a 6-month cycle, and since this is the first time I would have to renew it, I didn't know what *normally* happens at the end of 6 months. God is good!

Then as I was driving home last night on dark, country roads, my heart stopped when I saw what I thought was a dear... it turned out to be somebody's mailbox :o). So I continued through the woods on winding, curvy roads while I softly sang to myself. I had just gone around a curve and hit a straight part of the road when the words "I'll have a new life" stopped on my lips as I slammed on my brakes. Right in front of me were two dear, calmly standing in the middle of the road as if they owned it and looking straight at me. My dad has told me that dear usually travel in groups of three so I was searching the fields on both sides of the road for the third dear. The two dear walked away and I nervously approached the part of the road that they had occupied moments before, but I never did see the third dear. God is good!

Then today the teenagers went to a corn maze nearby, so I was asked to help put together the lunch for the teens. We just made hoagies and apple crisp, but it was so much fun because it reminded me of working in the kitchen at Winter Camp and getting up at 6:30 to feed 85 people! The nice thing about working in the camp kitchen is hearing the kids tell stories about other camps they've been to where the food was disgusting, but then hear them say, "But this food is the best!!!" We (the kitchen crew) truly believe if the food isn't good, then that's all the kids will think about instead of the preaching. So we make it our personal goals to give the kids the best food possible.

So anyway, we had fun in the kitchen putting everything together. I love working with Mrs. Lytle, who is the main cook. She's so much fun and so organized!!!!!! After the teens were all gone and the kitchen was returned to it's sparkling condition (well, this was the church kitchen where sometimes we have unexpected visitors, the four-legged kind, so maybe we left it better then it sometimes is;)) we girls (four of us) stood around talking for an hour. Poor Mrs. Lytle only has two boys :D, so she often counts on these *cooking times* to get in her girl talk :o). It wasn't much, but it sure was nice to just chat with others and share funny stories! God is good!

Blessings can sometimes be big and sometimes be small, but the most important thing is no matter the size of them that I reflect the thanks back to the Giver...

~"Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow"~

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


This past Saturday was my dad's 64th birthday, but he sure doesn't look it!!!!! His whole side of the family is extremely young-looking, so it's no surprise to me when people come up to me and guess my age to be around 16 or 17:o). I visited my Grandmother tonight (Dad's Mom) and noticed again that this lady does not look like she's going to be 87 in December! So I know which side of the family to thank for the genes and to put up with the comments now... for if I ever live to 40, I'm going to enjoy being told I look like I'm 28!!!

~My sister Sherri, Dad, and my brother Jack in November 2004~

But anyway, Dad's birthday was this past weekend so we had a family dinner on Sunday with my brothers and some friends. Now if you know me in day to day life, you'll know a couple of things: 1 ~ Dad claims to be a Christian, but it is seriously doubtful. 2 ~ God has taught me so much about being thankful for the situation he has placed me in. 3 ~ His grace is sufficient for all things.

I have wondered in the past why my dad couldn't be like _________'s dad or __________'s dad. I have also wondered if girls who grow up being "Daddy's girl" realize how absolutely wonderful it is to be loved completely and have that love expressed in a million different ways. I have bemoaned the fact that while others were encouraged to follow God's Will no matter what, I had to fight to explain why I made the choice to go to Bible Institute rather than the prestigious, nationally known college(s) that are nearby. Please do not misunderstand me for one minute and think that I've had a terrible life and that I was thrown in front of 18-wheelers:o). Now that I'm older, I have come to appreciate the Dad I have and I am so very thankful that my dear, sweet Mother is a faithful Christian who devotedly loves her God, and has also placed herself under her unsaved husband. (1 Peter 3:1 ~ "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.")

The topic came up today twice about having various gifts. In the first case, one girl was talking about how she wished she was a natural athlete like the captain of the volleyball team. But I told her, "you might not be a natural athlete, but you are a natural musician. And ______ is a natural athlete, but she is not a gifted piano player." So after telling this girl as gently as possible (you know me! I'm very blunt!) that she was having a royal pity party, I turned back to my work. Then tonight at visitation, the speaker mentioned how each and every one of us Christians are expendable in the work; God doesn't need us and yet He has gifted us with certain abilities to use for His glory.

So as I thought about my Dad, I realized I had a "gift" that most girls are not given. So the question to ask is this: why did God give me my Dad and the situations that came along? Was it so I could have one pity party after another? Was it so I would get puffed up with pride when I thought *I* had conquered that rebellious nature that flares up and bucks what Dad says? Was it so others would pat me on the back and say, "I don't know how you do it"? Was it so I would look longingly at the *greener grass on the other side*?

I daresay that at one time or another, those thoughts and actions have been played out in my life many times. But God's Word is so gentle, yet precise. It's a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart and is sharper than any two-edged sword! (Hebrews 4:12 ~ " For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."). God meant only for good what I saw as destroying my life.

I've been blessed to have a God in Heaven care so much about me that He wants to see me come through the fire, refined seven times and purified as gold. I would not ever get refined if I was placed far away from the fire. And although there were times that I thought the fire had gotten too hot, God had the temperature under control the whole time. He kept the heat on long enough to burn away the dross and impurities.

As far as I can tell today, my dad is still unsaved. But my walk with God is stronger as a result of my Dad. When I have been driven to the quietness of my room in tears, God's Word has been a tender, healing balm. When I have reacted in anger and spoken harsh words, God's Word and His Spirit have brought conviction to my heart that has often, but not often enough, caused me to go seeking forgiveness. And when my dad has praised me for something good I've done, I have walked away rejoicing that God has answered my girlish prayer to be a "Daddy's girl" ~ even if it is just for a moment.

I am still learning to be conformed to His Image... and my Dad is being used by God for that very purpose! As I finish this post, I have one favor to ask of you: please pray for my Dad, that he would be saved. If God brings him to mind in the future, pray for his salvation. All the hurts and pain of my past will be nothing compared to my Dad not getting saved.

Hurts are but for a moment; eternity in Hell is forever.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Baby Steps.

My sister called me yesterday with detailed instructions for my babysitting stint today. One of the things I was supposed to do was get Andrew in a nice little outfit, shoes and all, for his Grandma's birthday (my b-i-l's mom) today. So this morning, at 6:30 (by the way, this kid's an alarm clock!), I dressed Andrew in his outfit for the day and decided to stick his shoes on. As he lay on the table, he looked trustingly up at me as I fiddled with the tiny shoe.

I bet if he knew what I was doing, he would not have been so quiet!

Less than a minute after I put the shoes on (which were absolutely darling with the outfit), Andrew decided he didn't want them on. So he pulled them off and I gave in, since this was the first time in his 11-month life that I had ever seen shoes for him.

Later in the morning, I had to put them back on since we were going to go outside. I knew how easily he kicks his socks off, so I thought to keep his feet warm and his socks on by putting back on the shoes. This time I succeeded and I double-knotted them so he couldn't pull them off again! To quote Anne of Green Gables, "That's the one good thing about me; I never make the same mistake twice!"

Andrew is starting to walk with help, so I stood him on the floor while I held his hands. We stood in the hallway for about 10 seconds as I waited for him to begin walking. But the shoes posed an obstacle for him and he was unsure of what to do. Finally he lifted his left foot up (with the heavy shoe too!) and moved it forward just a tiny bit. But it was a step! Eventually his right foot was brought forward too, and he took a grand total of 3 steps in those awkward shoes before he stopped.

As I watched my nephew try to walk, I couldn't help but think about the fact that my Christian walk is very similar to what he was doing. I can be zipping along, comfortable in what I'm doing when an obstacle is placed before me, just like Andrew was used to walking in his socks and now was confronted with a new scenario of shoes.

But I need to make sure that I'm doing something... that I'm taking those *baby steps*. I think about what Paul wrote about running the race, and how it's more important to run the race than it is the be the first one done with the race.

Last night at an English Bible study for Chinese, one girl told me she had never heard the story of Cain and Abel before. At first I felt rather ashamed for taking the Bible for granted, but then as I thought about it today, I realized I have an opportunity to share, in baby steps, all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful stories of the Bible that point to one story: HIS STORY (history)!

My steps may falter and I might even stumble at times, but I know that baby steps are better than no steps at all!

"Direction, Not Perfection"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What A Great Idea!

I must admit I laughed out loud when I read this, but after the laughter died down at someone memorizing their Latin verbs in this way, I thought she was really onto something. Are you curious yet? Go on over and check it out:o)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Just One Of Those Days!

Today was such a happy day, and it wasn't like there was anything spectacular about it :o). Here's a run down on some of the little happenings in my small world today...

  • I think, I think, one of my student's now knows the difference between a direct object and an indirect object. After spending 30 minutes with her this morning, it was such a joy to see it finally *click* for her:). I love those "a ha!"/lightbulb moments:D.
  • I noticed a ton of PACEs, goal cards, and tests that needed to be filed so I began working on the mountain, hoping to finish it before the students returned to class. I filed the last test just as the kids returned. Hooray! What timing :o).
  • Everyone passed their different tests today... the lowest grade was a 94%! That's always an encouragement to a teacher ;).
  • I enjoyed watching a vigorous game of four-square and hearing the happy laughter of teenagers during the lunch break... fun!
  • I was able to fill up my Toyota with gas for $16.25 ~ under $20.00! I was one happy girl...
  • Tiffany brought Dillon to the volleyball field during gym class and I got to get some good "Auntie" time in :o).
  • Gym class was fun and it was very satisfying to see the girls developing their skills.
  • Only 7 girls went to the varsity game today, so we carpooled down to Oley. What a nice time to chat with Tiffany... I was so busy playing catch up with her that I forgot we had some players in the van with us :o).
  • The girls played well today, despite the fact that we were missing 4 players ~ two went away to Oklahoma to a family camp and two had their wisdom teeth out on Friday, so we didn't want to risk a hit in the face (especially considering the one girl seems to be a magnet for a volleyball to slam off her face... no thank you! I don't want her to go through any more pain:D).
  • Tiffany and I shared different *driving* stories and laughed and laughed at our silly mistakes, and then told the two teenagers riding with us that we hoped we didn't scare them with our stories ;).
  • On the way home, we stopped at a dairy place for some homemade ice cream.... yum, yum!
  • This evening on visitation, as we went door to door, we were pleasantly surprised to find a few people that were Christians. Also at another door, once we told the lady we had been leaving some tracts on her door for the past few weeks, she replied with "Oh, so you're the ones." Bracing ourselves for a verbal barrage, we were shocked to hear her say that she took the tracts and passed them out to other people! Wow!!! That sure beats getting turned down again;).
  • I found out today that November 11th through the 19th just might find me in the small, northwestern town of Chesterton, Indiana :o) ... I am so excited at the possibility of seeing my "mid-west" family again! I only have two small obstacles to overcome (and I'm hoping Rachel will help me out with the one:D).

Maybe I should have warned you that my thoughts were zing-zing-zinging around everywhere tonight, but it truly was an enjoyable day! When the kids all have their homework done, sweet attitudes prevail, and people were challenged about their soul, then it is a blessed day indeed!