Sunday, August 28, 2011

Feeling Praise-ful

Birthday Gift Prayer Journal & Verses

My Prayer Journal (gift from son’s family) has become a favorite place to record some of my thoughts and prayers. I wrote this today:

Today was a good day. I was so stressed about a situation, and though I had turned it over to God, I kept taking it back. Give God the stress, take it back, repeat cycle. That’s what I do so many times. I’m such a work in progress. But He was again patient with me, patted the top of my head and took care of it, as He always does. Now I’m just left with the feeling that I want to praise my awesome God.

While reading one of my books this evening, I came across these praises, and although they are given as suggestions for difficult circumstances, they are good prayers of praise for me today, recognizing that God is in control.

From Lysa TerKeurst, from Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl:

God, circumstances change, but I praise you because you never do.

God, I praise you for never leaving me.

God, I praise you for being trustworthy.

God, I praise you that you are with me in this moment, and you stand in my tomorrow as well.

*God, I praise you for being the wisdom I can lean on when I have none of my own.

God, I praise you for your love and your compassion that never fails.

*This is my favorite. It seems so many times I find myself asking God to help me know what to do in a situation where I truly do not have the answer myself. I am thankful that I do not have to know everything, and that I know the One who DOES have all the answers.

Today is just one of those days when my heart is full, of praise for my Lord and Savior.

Monday, August 22, 2011

RiverOaks 9th Annual Bapti-Q

Over 200 folks attended the 9th annual ROC Bapti-Q. This has become a favorite event since our launch as a brand new church in September 2002. During our nine years in existence, we have baptized 163 people, a number only significant because it symbolizes changed lives. Named by our pastor in 2003, this event, held at a nearby Christian ranch, combines a fun family BBQ and activities such as swimming and sand volleyball, with the celebration of baptism. Sunday evening 15 people were baptized, to publicly profess their personal decisions to follow Christ.

IMG_2188 IMG_2182 DSC_0859 DSC_0856

 Mark DSC_0861

Saturday, August 20, 2011


There’s a popular “saying” right now: “Less is more.” But, the thought that has come to my mind recently is that, in an important arena of life, actually, MORE IS LESS.

In our culture and in this time, there are more and more methods of communication available to us. But it seems to me that the more ways we have to communicate, the less meaningful communication is taking place. In the early days of my growing up years, other than face-to-face communication, we had the US mail.

When my husband was in Viet Nam 1968-1969, we had one way to communicate: letters. We poured out our hearts to each other, with handwritten letters (of course, I had a portable typewriter, but no one would’ve even thought to “write” a personal letter, especially a love letter, on a typewriter).

In those days, many of us (myself included) did not even have telephones (too expensive). When I first got married, I communicated with my family via letters (real ones, mailed through the US postal system). When I did get a telephone, I couldn’t use it for very much communication with my family, because they were long-distance, and I couldn’t afford to pay for calls. I SENT personal letters to my family, usually one per week. And wonder of wonders, I RECEIVED letters from all of them (parents, in-laws, siblings) as well. We knew what was going on in each others’ lives; we knew each others’ thoughts and feelings. We talked about the stuff of life—all in letters.

Fast forward about 45 years…

Now available are these methods of communication, among others:

US Mail (still)

Home phone (usually free long distance)



Cell phone (with conference calling)



Instant messaging

Facebook (with facebook IM, facebook email)

Virtual face-to-face with webcams

But, with all these ways to communicate, I truly believe there is less and less REAL communication taking place. I’m talking about stuff-of-life communication--NOT “checking in” from Starbucks, or posting someone else’s quote of the day, or making general status reports that are the same for all your “friends” whether they are close family members or acquaintances whom you don’t even remember meeting.

Next time you are out, look around. You will see numerous examples of “couples” who are sitting next to each other, or across the table from each other, who are EACH using a smart phone (texting, or playing games, or whatever). They may be interacting with someone else, electronically. But where is the meaningful communication?

No wonder so many relationships are in trouble—not just marriages, but also parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, and others. People don’t know how to communicate any more (generally speaking, of course). Why? Because they don’t practice. You may think of yourself as a great communicator because you post numerous times per day and have lots of “friends” and send and receive many texts per day. But, does your mother know how you FEEL today? Do you know how SHE feels today? Do your siblings know what you think about the important things of life? Have you had a meaningful conversation over a nice dinner out, with your spouse, lately? Do you remember the common courtesy of turning off your cell phone during dinner?

These days, words are flying. Primarily, they are flying electronically. There is no shortage of language being used. Multiple methods of communication are used each day by each of us. Think back over your day. Was your “communication” an investment in relationships? Or was it meaningless, for the most part?

I’m not suggesting that we revert to snail-mail letters as the only way to communicate (although I will say that e-cards and facebook wishes are no substitute for Hallmark cards)! Heaven knows, I’m as “big” on technical stuff as anyone—I have an iPhone, iPad, laptop, wireless keyboard, a blog, and I’ve been a queen of email since it first existed. But I do think that we could all be more aware of using communication tools more effectively (quality is still more important than quantity), and of remembering (and encouraging our children/grandchildren to remember) that the art of personal and real communication must not be lost.

Of course, there are those who stay up with the latest technology and still manage to keep up real and meaningful interpersonal-relationship-type communication. I certainly hope and pray that I am one of those. But I believe I am observing a widespread problem.

Oh, yes, there are more and more ways to communicate. But those methods are being used with less and less real meaning, in my view. It’s a loss to our culture, I’m afraid. Sadly, I believe, in the case of communication these days, more is absolutely less.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Special Day with Mother

Just put together a quick digital scrapbooking page about spending a special day with my mother. She's doing well after her total shoulder replacement surgery, but it's a lot harder-going than she expected. Our adventure at Wal Mart included my almost having to "fight" to get an electric cart, which was an absolute necessity for her. They were in short supply, and in great demand. I won!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Making a Difference in Nicaragua

Our son and granddaughter just returned from a fulfilling mission trip to Nicaragua. The journaling on the page gives details, but these are the kinds of things difficult to document on a scrapbook page!