Monday, April 28, 2014

Little Ben

Recently on my Facebook wall there have been a number of friends who have shared a link to a blog written by a mother whose 4 year old son, Ben, is dying of a brain tumor. Losing a child has to be the most difficult, heart wrenching, emotional circumstance that a parent would ever have to endure. I simply cannot imagine what these parents are going through. Just reading her blog brings tears to my eyes. Here is the link.

The mother, Mindy, shares from her heart and it is special that she is allowing many others to ride along with her on this journey. I'm sure that writing is therapeutic to Mindy and I know that she receives encouragement from many who are supporting her and her husband through this, but what constantly comes through in her writing is her steadfast trust in God. Even if God takes Ben from them, she refuses to be bitter and her trust in God is unwavering. Would I be able to be as strong as her, when going through the dark valley of death? I'm not sure.

I have learned to love the Sauer family--Mindy and her husband Andy, little Ben and his twin brother Jack and younger sister Megan. My heart aches when I see the beautiful pictures and I read the words that Mindy writes. Ben is so precious and such a joy to this family. It seems unfathomable that this darling little boy will be taken from this wonderful family and I am praying along with many others for a miracle.

Only God knows how this story will end, but reading Mindy's blog has made my faith stronger. She has made me realize that trusting in God does not mean that everything will happen the way I want it to, but it means that no matter what happens I know that God loves me so much more than I can imagine. Thank you Mindy, for sharing your story.

Mary Lehman
Secretary

Monday, April 21, 2014

Creativity

When God created the world, He used so much creativity. I enjoy so much variety in the colors and shapes of flowers, trees, animals and even in people. I am so thankful for my eyes to enjoy all of this variety.

The donations we get at the thrift store have lots of variety in them also. We are able to have things to sell that appeal to so many different people. Some come for the clothing, and some shop for the household items or knick knacks.

I also enjoyed the creativity that was so evident at our fashion show just over a week ago. All of the outfits that the models wore were from donations that had come into the store. Those that put these outfits together used creativity as they found tops to match capris, and then added a purse and jewelry to accent the outfit. And, it all comes from donations that come into the store.






Creativity was also evident in the d├ęcor at the show. From the items that were "borrowed" from the store to help create a boutique area, to the tablescapes created by  ElizabethKate Designs, everything looked beautiful.







We also enjoyed the creativity in the food that we were treated to. Our caterer Justine put together beautiful appetizers, and a delicious quiche and salad for us to enjoy. This was topped off by some beautiful and delicious desserts made by Berries and Butter Cakes.




I am so thankful that I was able to enjoy all of the creativity that was evident at the fashion show. If you missed the show this year, make an effort to join us next year. You will be amazed by the creativity that comes from items that are donated to the thrift store.

Deb Riddell
Thrift Store Manager

Monday, April 14, 2014

Just Say "No"

In recent weeks, I’ve enjoyed the practice of Lent. Traditionally, a person takes the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter to fast from food. Some churches or denominations ask their parishioners to abstain from some sort of pleasure or comfort or idle distraction. It’s a way to prepare our hearts to focus more clearly on our Lord and His sacrifice for us.

I chose to fast from all white flours and sugars (except I allow myself a “treat” on the weekends) and from television. I’ve had to say “no” to myself many times over these past weeks. When I’ve been craving chocolate or a piece of toast, I’ve been tempted to cheat. I find myself involuntarily picking up the remote to watch TV when I’ve wanted some downtime. It hasn’t been easy to deny myself my favorite comforts; but it has been good.

I feel a bit more confident as I say “no” to myself. I’ve had the epiphany, “Wow! I can practice self-control.” When I lay down my head at night, I’m pleased that I drew close to God during a time of temptation and He proved Himself faithful to give me the strength I needed to overcome the temptation.

So, in addition to drawing closer to the Lord, I’ve learned something about myself. My fast motivates me. I have consecrated this tiny bit of time in March and April to choose something other than my own desires and wishes. And because it’s for God, I can do it!

I wonder what would happen if every day I chose a fast of some sort? On Monday, I could choose to say “no” to grumbling and complaining. On Tuesday, I’ll deny myself the whipped cream on my latte. Wednesday, no gossip. Thursday, I will get up a half hour earlier and exercise. Friday, I won’t say anything negative about my husband. Saturday, I won’t spend money on anything I don’t need. On Sunday, I won’t nap, but instead I’ll visit with some elderly neighbors.

In other words, I will choose each day to sacrifice some comfort or unhealthy behavior. Not a bad idea for changing a life from self-focus to God-focus. And really, I think that’s what Lent is about.

Isaiah 58:6-8

Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh. Then your light will break out like the dawn; and your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you the glory of the Lord will be your rearguard.”
 
Shannon Shertzer

Monday, April 7, 2014

Patiently Endure

These past few months have been very trying for me, as I was admitted to the hospital three times in a matter of four weeks. I was in pain, exhausted and wondering how much longer until I would be able to dive back into my life. After all, I have things to do; I don't have time to be derailed by illness.

Many of us have forgotten the path of patience we must take to get to the next level  in our relationship with Christ. Sometimes that means enduring suffering. Having patience has been rejected by a society thriving on instant gratification, faster technology, and a fear of commitment. We want it now, or we don't want it at all. Even committing to a two-year cell phone agreement is considered a courageous feat these days. No wonder we balk when we hear the word "patience." Our culture has denied it, and most of us have forgotten it.

To discover God's dream for our lives, we've got to rediscover the forgotten path. Surely the path is paved with patience, but if you live your life constantly trying other routes, hoping that a quick devotion in the morning and a 10 second prayer for your neighbor with cancer will get you to the next level, you're likely to grow frustrated and resentful. We learn patience as we embrace tough times.

When you're facing difficult times, remember the hope found in the Easter story. Life can come after loss, and we can bear it because of Christ. The question isn't whether you will have tragedy and loss in your life. Those are givens. The question is...what will you decide to do with it? Will it take you under? Will it make you stronger? Will it take you deeper? Will you allow God to use if for His glory?

So Lord, I know it is daring to pray for patience, because that usually opens the door to difficulties. But the important lessons You desire us to learn usually do. So, teach me patience Lord. Patience to endure hard times and loss, patience to see that difficulties draw me nearer to You. Bring me to a higher level of relationship with You through the tough times in life. Amen.

Connie Hanten, BCMCLC

"Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:4 NKJV