Saturday, December 31, 2005

Laotian Missionary Murdered after Christmas Service

Laotian Missionary Murdered after Christmas Service
Prayer requested for wife, children

Missionary Aroun Warapong, who has been serving the Lord in his native Laos for years, was found murdered on December 23. No one has yet been charged with the crime.

According to reports received by Christian Aid from native mission leaders in Laos, Warapong went missing on December 22 after leading a Christmas service in rural Pakading district, Borikhamsay province. He left after the service to return to his home village of Heuysiak in Phaksan district and celebrate Christmas with his family. However, he never made it home that night.

Warapong's family members began a search for him that culminated tragically the next day, when they found his body abandoned in a creek, his throat slashed and his chest stabbed. "His face was all bruised and beaten and left dead," one witness reported.

It is not known whether or not the murder was religiously motivated. While many parts of Laos have been experiencing increased religious freedom in recent months, other more isolated areas remain dangerous for Christian workers.

Warapong had experienced some of this danger first- hand about two years ago, when he was arrested and imprisoned for over a year because of his outspoken faith. After his release, he continued preaching the gospel despite many threats against him.

"Now," writes one of Warapong's former coworkers, "he is with the Savior and has finished his race strongly and faithfully." Warapong leaves behind his wife, Ta, and their children. Pray the Lord would comfort them in this time of sorrow. Pray also that their needs would be met as the family faces great poverty with the husband and father gone.

Any readers interested in giving to support the family of Aroun Warapong may call 1-800-977-5650 or visit to make an online donation, using gift code 730-PERS.

Christian Aid Mission
phone: 434-977-5650

You have permission to share this Prayer Alert with any evangelical Christians whom you think would be interested in reading it. Permission is granted also to reproduce it in whole or in part in e-mail networks or print media as long as it is faithfully replicated and credit is given to Christian Aid Mission. Direct inquiries to

Weekly Prayer Items from Mission Network News

Greetings from Mission Network News, a daily news service of Cornerstone University of Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. This is your weekly Mission Network News prayer bulletin. You're receiving this update because you signed our guest book. If you'd like to be removed from this list please follow the instructions at the bottom of this email.Here are your weekly prayer items. Please pray over them during your personal devotional time and at your church prayer meeting.

It's been one year since the tsunami, much work yet to be doneIt was one year ago this past week that a massive earthquake off the coast of Indonesia changed 11 nations throughout Southeast Asia. A tsunami struck on December 26, 2004, killing more than 200,000 people. In Indonesia alone, more than 100,000 people died and entire cities and villages were destroyed. Bruce Smith with Wycliffe Associates says his organization had extensive work in Indonesia before the tsunami, but not in the hardest hit area, Banda Aceh. It was closed to Christians for a long time due to unrest in the area. But, Smith says the opening of the area up to relief and support after the tsunami was unprecedented. While physical work has been ongoing, it's paving the way for future outreach, Smith says, especially in the areas of language research and being in contact with people groups they didn't have contact with previously. The country of Indonesia has about 500 languages that are still without any Scripture at all, and Smith says their commitment there is long-term.Praise God for how He has worked amidst the devastation of the past year. Pray for those believers who are working and bringing the hope of Christ there. ___________________________________________________________________

Christians shore up hope as tsunami survivors face a year of change.Marking the one year anniversary of the tsunami, grief again grips Indonesia's Aceh Province. Food For the Hungry's John Frick says they're projecting that the rebuilding process will take a decade, with emotional healing perhaps taking generations. Within 24 hours of the disaster last year, FHI landed emergency response. Since then, they've dedicated personnel teams for the long haul, with an emphasis that has shifted from aid to rebuilding. A lot of FHI's efforts have revolved around livelihood and business restoration, as well as infrastructure and agriculture. Prior to the tsunami, Indonesian Christians were leery of going into the Aceh province because of the persecution. But, Frick says now they're goal is to involve Indonesian believers into the mix of everything they're doing, with the objective of sharing the love of Christ in tangible ways.Pray for those who are still suffering. Pray for the ongoing work of rebuilding and restoring what was destroyed. Pray that Indonesian believers will be a shining light of God's hope and peace to their own people.

Amidst the wreckage of the tsunami, hope exists and rebuilds.Along the shores of India, the visible marks of the fury of the ocean are slowly receding. Like many other aid groups, Hopegivers International's Bill Bray says they're out of emergency mode, and well into Phase Two of their tsunami reconstruction plan. They have several buildings under construction right now. They are being built for the children. They hope to have 12 Hope Homes constructed by time they're done. Bray says they're working on a five-year timeline for the homes. He adds that both this phase and the next and future outreach would not have been possible without the disaster. Through the tsunami relief, there are new open doors in many of the villages for ongoing relationships and evangelism. As their projects take on a life of their own, Bray says they plan to send teams to most of these villages to do church planting and establish a long-term presence.Praise God for new open doors. Pray for relationships to be strengthened and trust built to enable many to come to know Christ.

Indonesian rebels disarm--believers watch the outcome. The civil war in Indonesia's Aceh province may be over. Rebels have officially disarmed. Voice of the Martyr's Todd Nettleton says peace talks between the rebels and the government were already underway prior to the tsunami. However, once the disaster struck, priorities changed and both sides saw that in order to facilitate rebuilding, they were going to need to work together. Nettleton confirms the connection between humanitarian aid, relationship building and the ongoing potential for evangelistic work. Along with a connection to the local church, there is also discipleship for new Christians. However, prayer remains essential. "Thousands of people around the world prayed for this region because Indonesia is an area that has persecution, that has hostility towards Christians but the absence of armed conflict is obviously going to be a good thing for the people of Banda Aceh, for the people of the Aceh region."Pray for continued peace, even after the rebuilding isn't as urgent. Pray that the peace of Christ is what stabilizes that country.

Hope fuels rebuilding along Sri Lanka's ravaged coast.Fear of another tsunami haunts the survivors of last year's monster wave in Sri Lanka. With this week focusing on the one-year anniversary, those thoughts are prevalent. However, that hasn't stopped the people from resuming life. World Vision's Steve Matthews recounts a discussion he had with a survivor they built a home for and describes the scope of Christian ministry and Gospel impact. Matthews asked the man how he felt as a Muslim, receiving help from a Christian aid agency from the West, and looked at Matthews as if it was an absurd question. But then he told how he was curious about Christians and actually went to a local church a few times to find out what Christians were all about. Thus, relationships begin. World Vision plans to serve tsunami-hit communities for the next two to five years, implementing programs that first and foremost support the capacities and aspirations of the survivors, with a special focus on the needs of children.Praise God for the witness of His people. Pray for many who have encountered Christians and have questions. Pray that God's Spirit would draw many to Himself. ___________________________________________________________________

Mission Network News is dedicated to keeping Christians informed about missions and evangelism around the world. Our goal is to help you become engaged in missions through praying more effectively, giving or going to the field short or long term.

Thank you for your dedication and heart for world missions. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. May God richly bless you as you serve Him today!

In His grip,
Greg Yoder,
Executive Director
Mission Network News

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Missionary Stories to Inspire Children

A friend sent this list of books to inspire children about missions to me and I wanted to share it with you:

To Endure Hardships
Worth Dying For - Nicholas Stoltzfus
Deliver the Ransom Alone - Verda J. Glick
The Hiding Place - Corrie Ten Boom
God's Death Squad - Richard Belcher
Evangelists in Chains - Elizabeth Wagler
Coaks of Fire - Elizabeth Bauman
Trouble at Windy Acres - Mary Landis
In My Enemy's Camp - Josef Korbel
The Smoke of a Thousand Villages - David and Naomi Shirbley

To Be Brave At An Early Age And Stand Up For The Right
They Would Not Be Moved - Harvey Yoder
Little Daisy and the Swearing Class
Paula, the Waldensian - Eva Lecomte
Captive Treasure - Milly Howard
The Shining Sword - Carles G. Coleman
Courage of Sarah Noble - Alice Dalgliesh
A Father's Promise - Donna Hess
The Secret Church - Louise A.Vernon
Lost on a Mountain in Maine - Donn Fender
Run for your Life - Betty Swinford

To Be a Servant And Live For Others
Young Prince Hubert - Sidney Baldwin
Three Months under the Snow - reprint from Prism Publications

Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
Nobody Loves Me - O. F. Walton
Only A Servant - Kristina Roy

To Have a Zeal for Missions:
Age 6-10 years
Miguel the Shepherd Boy - Edith Witmer
Mohan in the Jungle - Ella Grove
Sooky of the Philipplines - Mary Miller
Pedro - Marilyn S. Martin
Escape - Mona Dunckel
A Question of Yams - Gloria Repp
Missionary Stories with the Millers - Mildred A. Martin

Age 11-15 years
At Every Gate a Pearl - Shirley Boll
The Smoke of a Thousand Villages - David and Naomi Shibley
Paula, the Waldensian - Eva Lecomte
Seiko - Olga Abrahams
Forbidden Sunday School - Karin Moret
When Will We See Our Father Again? - edited by Margarete Schmidt
Dilek - Mollie Zook
Children of the Hills - Isobel Kuhn
Sammy Morris - Fern Neal Stocker
Gladys Aylward, Bold and Brave for God - Fern Neal Stocker
Gladys Aylward, the Adventure of a Lifetime - Janet and Geoff Benge
Amy Carmichael, Rescuer of Precious Gems - Janet and Geoff Benge
Hudson Taylor, Deep in the Heart of China - Janet and Geoff Benge
William Carey, Obliged to God - Janet and Goeff Benge
Nate Saint, On a Wing and a Prayer - Janet and Goeff Benge
Lottie Moon, Giving Her All for China - Janet and Goeff Benge
Tekko Returns - Alie Vogelaar
What Will Tomorrow Bring? - Betty M. Hockett
Young Man in a Hurry - Iris Clinton
On the Alaskan Trail and Other Missionary Stories - Margaret Jean Tuininga
Trail Maker, The Story of David Livingstone - Robert O. Latham
Friend of the Chiefs, The Story of Robert Moffat - Iris Clinton
Imprisoned in the Golden City - Dave and Neta Jackson
More than Gold - Evelyn Hege
These are My Peple - Mildred T. Howard
Marita - Evelyn Hege
The Smuggler's Quest - Lily A. Bear

Youth to Adult
The Lim Family of Singapore - M. H. Finlay
Vanya - Myrna Grant
The Shadow of the Almighty - Elisabeth Elliot
In My Enemy's Camp - Josef Korbel
Behind the Ranges - Geraldine Taylor
Awaiting the Dawn - Dorcas Hoover
Reaching Muslims for Christ - William J. Saal
John Paton - Benjamin Unseth
Eternity in Their Hearts - Don Richardson
Lords of the Earth - Don Richardson
Peace Child - Don Richardson
Ten Fingers for God - Dorothy Clarke Wilson
Totally Surrounded - Christine Davis
Tomorrow You Die - Reona Peterson Joly
Revolution in World Missions - K. P. Yohannan
Bruchko - Bruce Olson
Torches of Joy - John Dekker with Lois Neely
God's Smuggler - Brother Andrew with John & Sherrill
Through Gates of Splendor - Elisabeth Elliot
The Savage My Kinsman - Elisabeth Elliot
The Great Omission - Steve Saint
Ann of Ava - Ethel Daniels Hubbard
Deliver the Ransom Alone - Verda J. Glick
Mimosa - Amy Carmichael
The Condor of the Jungle - C. Peter Wagner & Joseph S. McCulloughAnswering the Cry - Kenneth Eagle
George Mueller - Basil Miller
Jonathan Goforth - Rosalind Goforth
John and Betty Stam - Kathleen White
Isobel Kuhn - Lois Hoadly Dick
M. A. Thomas The Man with the Heart as Big as India - Richard P. Belcher
God's Orphan Army - Richard Belcher
God's Death Squad - Richard Belcher
Blazing the Missionary Trail - E. Myers Harrison
Judith - N. I. Saloff-Astakhoff
Hidden Rainbow - Christmas Carol Kauffman
In His Name - Edward E. Hale
God Knows My Size - Harvey Yoder
And the Word Came with Power - Joanne Shetler
Daring to Live on the Edge - Loren Cunningham
The Indigenous Church - Melvin L. Hodges
Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret - Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor
The Growth of a Soul - Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor
The Growth of a Work of God - Dr. and Mrs. Howard Tayor
The Man with the Bird on His Head - John Rush and Abbe Anderson
From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya - Ruth A. Tucker
Brother Andrew - Dan Wooding
Coffee on the Terrace - Bruce Grayden
The Torch of Triumph - Sally Laity
Child of the Crossfire - Alcyon Ruth Fleck
The Go Manual Compiled - Grahame Dryden and Anna Kim
John Hyde - Francis McGraw
Touching the Untouchables - M. A. Thomas
Thirty Days of Prayer with Christ for India - M. A. Thomas
A Passion for the Impossible - Miriam Huffman Rockness
Slices of Life - Aretta Loving
Stronger than the Strong - Louise Morris
The Spirits of Mindoror - Catherine L. Davis
Where There is no Dentist - Murray Dickson

Compiled by Helen Leibee. The books in bold are very highly recommended.

Monday, December 26, 2005

~*~Prayer Request~*~

The other day my oldest daughter's car broke down on the highway and my husband had to go get her. The car was towed to a local service station where our next-door neighbor works. Apparently a timing (??) belt broke. Some kind of belt broke that's all I know! Today we got word that the car needs a new engine. It looks like when the belt broke it messed up a bunch of other stuff in the car. (I wish my dh were here so I could explain all this correctly.) So now she is without a car.

We are boldly asking the Lord to provide us with another car--for free. We don't have the money to buy her a car. She will need me to drive her to and from work and on January 9 she starts attending the local community college. To tell you the truth, I have never prayed a prayer like that. It feels a little presumptuous but it is what we need. We're not asking for a new car, a fancy car, a big car--just a car that runs.

When this happened, my first thought was, "This couldn't have happened at a worse time". (Remember my prayer request a week or so ago? It looks as if my dh will be out of a job by March.) Then the Lord brought to mind a verse: "Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure." He has assigned this! It is coming from His hand so it is good!!

How am I going to accept this assignment? With joy and thanksgiving or with murmuring and complaining? A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough.

Will you pray with us that if it is His will, He will provide a car? And if not, that we, especially my daughter, will be content with that? Thank you!!



In the book A Sort of Life Graham Greene tells how he has struggled, ever since he was very young, to fend off boredom. He once had a dentist extract ("but with ether") a perfectly good tooth for no better reason than that he was bored and this seemed like an interesting diversion. He tried several times to commit suicide and six times played Russian roulette, using a revolver with six chambers--a dangerous game, but not, heaven help us, boring.

Dorothy Parker was famous for her wit before she was thirty. She had great charm, a fine education, a fascinating kind of beauty, and many interesting friends. But she was utterly bored. She, too, thought of suicide, and was quoted in John Keats' book You Might As Well Live as saying:

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.

Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Her life story seemed to me the exact illustration of acedia, or accidie, which is an old word for boredom, but a word that includes depression, sloth, irritability, lazy languor, and bitterness. "This rotten sin," wrote Chaucer, "maketh a man heavy, wrathful and raw." Poor Miss Parker had been so irritable and raw with people--she had treated even her friends unspeakably badly--that she spent her last years alone in a hotel in New York, her pitiful, neglected dogs and her liquor bottles almost her only companions.

Gertrude Behanna says, on her record, "God Isn't Dead," that she has come to believe that it is a real sin to bore people. When we stop to think about it, most of us would readily agree. But how many of us have thought of boredom itself, so long as it affects only ourselves, as a sin? The Bible speaks of joy as a Christian virtue. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and often we find that it characterizes the people of God whose stories we read in the Bible. The worship of God in the Old Testament was accompanied by the most hilarious demonstrations of gladness--dancing, shouting, and music-making. (This was to me one of the most impressive features of life in modern Israel when I visited there.)

Joy is not a word we use much nowadays. We think of it poetically as the opposite of sorrow, another word that does not often come into conversation. Both words represent experiences one does not normally have every day.

But I think we are mistaken. I think joy is meant to be an everyday experience, and as such it is the exact opposite of boredom, which seems to be the everyday experience (am I being overly pessimistic?) of most Americans. I get the impression that everybody is always hoping for a chance to get away from it all, relax, unwind, get out of these four walls, find somewhere, somehow, some action or excitement. Advertising, of course, has done a splendid job of creating in us greed for things we would never have thought of wanting, and thereby convincing us that whatever we have is intolerably boring. Attributing human wants to animals, we easily swallow the TV commercials that tell us that Morris the cat doesn't want tuna fish every day, he wants eight different flavors.

"Godliness with contentment is great gain.'' Those words were written a long time ago to a young man by an older man who had experienced almost the gamut of human suffering, including being chained day and night to a prison guard. Contentment is another word which has fallen into disuse. We think of it, perhaps, in connection with cows--the best milk comes from contented ones, doesn't it?--but it doesn't take much to content a cow. Peace and fodder are probably all it asks. We are not cows. What does it take to content us? How could Paul, after what he had been through, write as he did to Timothy?

C. S. Lewis, one of the most godly and civilized men I have ever heard of, exemplified what Paul was getting at. Lewis wrote that he was never bored by routine. In fact, he said, he liked it. He had what his anthologist Clyde S. Kilby called "a mind awake." Why should routine spoil it? Pictures of him show a joyful man. But he was not a man unacquainted with poverty, hard work, and suffering any more than Paul was. He knew them, but he knew, too, what lay beyond. "All joy," he wrote to a friend, "(as distinct from mere pleasure, still more amusement) emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings."

Those wantings lie in the deepest places of our being, and they are for the kind of joy that, according to Lewis, is "the serious business of heaven." So we waste our time, our money, and our energies when we pursue so frantically the pleasures which we hope will bring us relief from boredom. We end up bored with everything and everybody. Work which can be joyful if accepted as a part of the eternal order and a means to serve, becomes only drudgery. Our pettiest difficulties, not to mention our big ones, are cause for nothing but complaint and self-pity. All circumstances not deliberately arranged by us look like obstacles to be rid of. We consume much and produce little; we get depressed, and depression is actually dangerous and destructive.

But there is another way. Paul made it perfectly clear that his contentment had nothing to do with how desirable his circumstances were. "I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities." It is no list of amusements. How, then, did it work? It worked by a mysterious transforming power, something that reversed things like weakness and hardship, making them into strength and joy. Is there any chance that it will work for us? Is there for us, too, an antidote for boredom? The promise of Christ was not for Paul alone. "My grace is sufficient for you." It's a gift to be accepted. If we refuse it, nothing will be enough and boredom will be the story of our lives.

Copyright© 1988, by Elisabeth Elliot
all rights reserved.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Another Day--Not Quite as Busy

This morning JK and I went to a cookie decorating party at a friend's house. She bakes and prepares lots of cookies and then has an open house in the morning for friends and their children to come over to decorate them. It's so much fun. This is our second year and unless we are away, this will be a tradition for us!

After the party we went to the dollar store and picked up a few things. Five to be exact! We were looking for a portable doorbell that JK's friend had in her room but we didn't find it. It was so cute!

JK and JL are decorating the tree this afternoon. I have to admit that I really wasn't up to doing that task but they have graciously volunteered to do it! They are in the living room now giggling and having lots of fun!

I'm on my out the door to pick up stocking stuffers, pick up a DVD from the library and then do some last minute grocery shopping before the weekend. I am out of bread, oj and milk! Oh, and eggs!!

The weather is chilly but not windy so it's nice to be outside. The weather report says rain for Christmas so no White Christmas. I can pray, though! God can send a chilly blast of air if He so wills!!

How is your day? Are all your preparations complete? I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Day Full of Errands

I was home alone today and I used that time to get a lot of errands done. After meeting Kari at Barnes and Noble, I stayed there and shopped. I picked up a few books for my sister for Christmas and one for my dad. Then I found The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers on audiocassette (unabridged) for half price! I was thrilled. I had found The Return of the King a few months ago there for $7.99 but the first two were regular price. I guess they are getting rid of these because everything is going on CD but that's ok by me! I have a radio/tape player here by my desk and I can listen to them while I'm working at night. Yeah!!

After B&N I went over to Target for more Christmas purchases. I bought JM three pairs of jeans. He was definitely in need of these. I also got some monogrammed hankerchiefs for my dh. I bought three stocking hangers to use on the new mantle. Our old one had nails in it but I definitely don't want to do that to this one! After shopping, I had lunch in their snack bar.

From Target, I drove down the road to Wal-Mart to pick up film, ink and a camera battery. That was a quick in-and-out trip. Since I didn't have to push a cart, I parked far away. Wal-mart's parking lot is uphill from the store and when I go grocery shopping, I need to park close because it's very difficult for me to push the cart up the hill.

Next stop was the post office to mail Christmas cards, buy stamps and to get an airmail stamp to mail a card to Costa Rica. I don't think it will make it there by Christmas but definitely before the New Year! The line was long but moved quickly as they had three clerks on duty. Then it was on to the bank where I deposited my sons' paycheck. There were no lines so that errand was done in five minutes, if that!

There's more! After the bank, I went home to drop off all my packages and hide the presents. While I was home, I threw in a load of laundry and straightened the living room. I checked my e-mail and left again to get my hair cut and then it was home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

But I wasn't done yet.........once home, I changed clothes and rinsed my hair to get rid of all the little hairs flying around. I then gathered my notebook and headed out the door for a retreat planning committee meeting. It was very successful and we got a lot accomplished.

Now I am home and ready for bed. Good night!!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Frosted Pumpkin Puffs

Frosted Pumpkin Puffs

1 package yellow cake mix
2t pumpkin pie spice
1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin
2 eggs
½ C raisins or nuts, if desired
1 tub vanilla frosting

Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Mix cake mix (dry) and 2t pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and eggs with spoon until well-blended. Stir in raisins or nuts. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons about 2” apart onto sheet.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until set and very light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and let cool completely. Frost; sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.

Makes 4 dozen.

Friday, December 16, 2005

What I've Been Doing This Morning

After I got JM off to school, I started working on finishing the cards from last night. I've been stamping ever since! JK and my dh went to see "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" at a local theatre and I am home alone!! They will probably go to lunch afterwards and then shopping.

Christmas music is playing on the radio, the space heater is at my feet and I am rubber stamping without interruptions...........ah, bliss!!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thursday at Home

Cold and rainy!! That is the order of the day. No ice here but a cold, cold rain. It was off and on earlier but now it's pretty steady.

We had school today and JK continued to work with planes and lines. A fun and easy lesson! For her copywork she's been using poetry and most of it from Ogden Nash. She just thinks he is a hoot! I do, too. He's always good for a laugh.

I tried to make a recipe today using Saltine crackers, chocolate and nuts but it didn't quite turn out like I expected. I had to make a mixture of brown sugar and butter to pour over the crackers but when I poured it, it sort of went into a big lump. Well, I managed to spread it over the crackers but when I cooked it, there was smoke!! Don't tell anyone! Actually, they didn't turn out too bad. I'll post the recipe later since I don't have it in front of me.

Since school ended I've been working on making cards. I'm making some Christmas cards and ones for other occasions. I have a friend who just had a baby and another who is getting married so I need to do cards for those. Rubber stamping is so much fun--and addicting!

That's about all from home today. I'm off to Target to pick up a prescription and then I'm heading to Michael's with my 40% off coupon. There must be something I need!

How about you? How were things in your home today?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christmas Favorites

I got this from MamaBugs. It's a "non tag".

10 Christmas Favorites:

Favorite traditional carol with spiritual emphasis: O Little Town of Bethlehem
Favorite modern carol with spiritual emphasis: Mary, Did You Know?
Favorite secular Christmas song: White Christmas by Bing Crosby
Favorite Christmas music album: too many to pick just one!!
Favorite Christmas drink: hot chocolate
Favorite Christmas movie: Holiday Inn
Favorite Christmas treat: homemade frosted cookies
Favorite Christmas family tradition: Christmas Eve service and coming home to open on present
Favorite Christmas decoration: Precious Moments nativity set, and all the childrens' homemade ornaments on the tree
Favorite Christmas scripture: Matthew 1:21........for He shall save His people from their sins."

What are your favorites?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monday at Home

My title is Monday at Home but we haven't been home much this morning. My dh is on vacation this week! We took JK to a local bowling alley and played a few games. On Mondays it is only $1 for a game and shoes! I'll probably be taking her there so she can practice for her league. I got 118, 112, and 78. Not too bad considering I bowl about once a year!

After bowling we went to a local pharmacy that has an old-fashioned lunch counter with stools! It was a real treat for JK. The lunch was delicious but their "homemade" milk shakes left much to be desired. I'm sure we'll go back again but not get any ice cream!

We stopped at Lowe's to pick up a heater for our schoolroom. We have a small one in here but it's not enough to heat the whole room. So we picked up a bigger one and the small one is now under my desk keeping me warm .

In a few minutes I'll be finishing laundry and doing my Monday chores: vacuuming and dusting downstairs. A friend is dropping their toddler off this afternoon for us to babysit while the rest of their family goes to a Christmas party. We are so excited. He is just the cutest little thing and I know we're going to have fun with him. I'm going to have JK do most of the babysitting so she can get some experience while I'm here.

That's about it for our morning and early afternoon. No news on the job front! Oh, here's something funny. In Saturday's mail I received a booklet entitled "Cultivating a Heart of Contentment" from
RBC Ministries. I have a feeling the Lord is preparing me for big changes ahead! But "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength"!!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Hear Him Roar! I Did!

Hear Him Roar! I Did!A Review of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
By Rebecca GraceAFA JournalDecember 9, 2005

(AgapePress) - I was one of select group to have the honor of hearing Aslan roar from the big screen last weekend during a pre-screening of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And mind you, his roar was loud and clear as a tale of wonder and majesty unfolded throughout the film.

There was a rumble of excited voices as a steady stream of anxious viewers wearing everything from cowboy hats to wool toboggans made their way into a theater designed for about 300 people. It appeared to be filled to capacity as viewers readied themselves for what many expect to be the motion picture blockbuster of the year.

If you're one of those with such high hopes, you can rest assured that your expectations will not only be met but possibly exceeded as you watch the world of Narnia come to life during 125 minutes of theatrical grandeur. The film, which has been 13 years in the making, releases nationwide today, just in time for the Christmas season.

A Biblical DepictionIt is based on the literary masterpiece of the same title written by the late C.S. Lewis and first published in 1950. The author, considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, wrote the story as a supposal.

"The question was: Suppose there was a land or world where the animals could talk with the people and they lived in friendly harmony with mythological creatures like fauns and centaurs .... And suppose somehow evil managed to get into that world, and God had to save that world like He had to save this one," explained Douglas Gresham, Lewis' stepson. "How might this come about? What might it have been like? How would it have happened?
"His answer to that ? supposal was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which is a story of four children who stumble into a magical world through the doors of a wardrobe hidden away in an old professor's house.

As a result, Christianity is suffused throughout the story making it more than just a fantasy tale but rather a biblical parallel to the death and resurrection of Christ. It is also a very real depiction of temptation and sin, love and forgiveness, mercy and redemption, and Law and grace. I can thankfully say that Disney and Walden Media respectfully included these Christian elements in the movie.

Faithful to the MeaningPrior to my viewing of the movie, Michael Flaherty, president of Walden Media, assured me that the movie was a faithful adaptation of the book and whatever spiritual elements I took from the book I would also be able to take from the movie. He is a man who is true to his word.

I must admit that there was a particular point during the movie when I began to squirm in my seat thinking they were about to blow it in depicting the resurrection of Aslan. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that they got it right. They really got it right! And that means a lot.
In fact, they went above and beyond to include a line in the movie that is taken directly from a well-known passage in Scripture. It was not part of the book but was a powerful addition to the film, as were several other clever alterations.

Viewers who are avid-fans of the book and especially close to the content of it will be quick to notice a number of changes in the film. Some parts are eliminated while others are added. However, all of the changes are made in good taste and are done so as a means of dramatizing the story so that it works for the big screen. In no way do the dramatizations change the meaning of the message that is at the heart of the story. Rather they enhance it.

For example, the film has the perfect touch of humor prompting audiences to laugh at random times throughout the movie. The humor is mostly conveyed through the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who are highlights of the film. The comical elements are never corny but well-balanced and a delightful facet of the film that can be rather heavy at times.
"Not Safe ..."Since the climax of the story line is the death and resurrection of Aslan who triumphs over the evil White Witch, many viewers -- specifically parents of young children -- may be skeptical about the violence and evil that are central to parts of the film. Both elements are handled very tastefully with children in mind.

For example, there is a battle scene between Aslan's warriors and the White Witch's army that lasts about 20 minutes. The opposing sides are seen attacking each other with spears and swords. Some blood is seen, but the intensity of the battle is mild more so than gory and once again depicted in a way that is tactful yet necessary to the purpose of the story.
However, some of the contents may be inappropriate for children under six. For example, the White Witch's creatures are very grotesque and conniving, especially during the scene where Aslan is put to death. Although the Witch's sword is not shown going directly into Aslan, the intensity of the moment is felt and heard. Therefore, I encourage parents to evaluate the maturity of their children and even screen the movie prior to their children seeing it if there is any question about its appropriateness.

It is also important to note that the portrayal of the White Witch, who is the representation of evil, is a very accurate depiction of Satan. Her actions and her appearance are enticing in the beginning but repulsive by the end of the film. Although extremely mean and evil, she is not portrayed as the typical green-faced, wart-nosed witch. There is a sense of sinful appeal about her, but her character causes viewers to shudder at the same time.

Even more startling than the White Witch is her team of ferocious wolves who prowl around in an attempt to steal, kill and destroy. There are two times where the wolves jump out unexpectedly, startling viewers.

The movie, which involves a talented cast of actors and an inspiring soundtrack, is rated PG because of these themes. It also includes brief scenes of the Witch's cleavage and of the Professor smoking a pipe as well as what sounded like one use of the Lord's name in vain.
"But Good"But all in all, the elements of violence and evil, as well as the very mild obscenities, do not outweigh a message of hope and redemption brought to life through the world of Narnia where children enter a fantasyland of wonder and fun only to learn a life-changing lesson.
A similar lesson is likely to be learned from simply watching the movie and allowing oneself to connect with its meaning.

"There were some spiritual moments [in the movie] for me," said Lynn Noe of Nashville, Tennesse, who brought her five-year-old daughter Abi to see the movie. It was also a very moving experience for Abi as she watched Aslan die and come back to life.

"She is very tender," Noe said about her daughter. "She is still crying [and not out of fear]. She doesn't have the words for it yet."

But Abi's four-and-a-half-year-old friend Bailey did. "My favorite part was when the lion turned back alive!" Bailey said with a smile.

"It was the best movie I've seen all year," added Bailey's mother, Kate Sage. "I loved it!"
As did the rest of the audience who erupted in applause as the credits began to roll.

Rebecca Grace, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is staff writer for AFA Journal, a monthly publication of the American Family Association.
© 2005 AgapePress all rights reserved.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

~*~Prayer Request~*~

My husband has worked for the same company for 25 years--ever since he graduated from technical school in 1980. They have been without a contract for four years now. Four years, no raises, nothing. It's been hard! We received word last night that the company is going to reduce its technical staff by 103 positions. They have offered a few options. My husband can be bought out. He has 25 years so the amount of money he would receive would be significant. The buyout would also include a payment toward the cost of health insurance coverage continuation.

If he decided to stay, he would probably be relocated. The likely choices are New York, Los Angeles, or Washington, DC but it could be anywhere!

If they don't get enough people to leave, then they would start "involuntary reductions" until the 103 reductions were made. I think "involuntary reductions" is a fancy way of saying "letting you go". Of course, if he were let go, then that severence package would be out the window and he would get two weeks and bye-bye!

Please pray for my husband as he has this decision to make. This is a big, big decision. If he left, he would have to find another job and he doesn't have a college degree. Even though he has 25 years experience in his field, so many companies want a college degree. It's so frustrating.

Please pray for me also that I would be a helpmeet to him in this area. That I would be cheerful and encouraging. Of course, I would go where he goes but it would be a very big adjustment. I have really only moved one time and it was hard. My dad was in the Army when I was younger but when he bought our house in NJ when I was nine, we didn't move after that. My parents still live in that house. I moved out when I was 23 but only to the next county so I kept all my friends, etc. I next moved when I married my husband but only to his apartment and then to our first house. Again, it was right in the same community so we kept the same friends, the same church, etc. I had only been to one church.

Then in 1990 we moved here to Virginia. I left family, friends and church and it was difficult but I love it here. We have been in the same house since we moved and my children have grown up here. My two oldest were 4 and 20 months at the time and JK was not even born so this is the only home they have ever known. JM will be a senior next year and I would like to see him graduate from his school. And I have some dear, dear friends here. Our church family is so, so special!! It is our family since ours is in NJ and they are not believers.

So, as you can see, there is a lot to pray about. Please pray for God's wisdom and clear guidance! My husband sent out a letter today to some of the men at church to pray for him during this time. We only want to do what is best and to follow Him.

Thank you so much!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cups

Here's what I'm making for dinner tonight:

Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cups

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
5 slices cheddar cheese, quartered
1 can refrigerated flaky biscuits

In large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, celery, onion and green pepper. Drain fat. Stir in bbq sauce and salt. Simmer 2-3 minutes, uncovered. Meanwhile place 1 biscuit into each of 10 ungreased muffin cups. Press dough firmly into bottom and sides of cups. Spoon about 1/4 cup of beef mixture into each biscuit cup.

Bake 10 minutes or until edge of biscuits are golden brown. Arrange 2 pieces of cheese on top of each cup. Continue baking 1-2 minutes until the cheese is melted. Let stand 1 minute then remove and serve.
This is one of our favorites. BTW, I usually double the recipe.

Today at Home

The roads are clear this morning but the snow is on all the trees and grass. It really looks beautiful. I just read the weather report and we're supposed to get more snow on Friday. Wouldn't that be something? I hope it comes later in the day because I was going to surprise JK and take her to lunch and to see Narnia.

Today I'm catching up on some chores that need to get done. I'm doing my regular chores which are laundry and cleaning the bathrooms. The main thing I'm trying to catch up on is paperwork and cleaning my desk! I'm almost done. While I'm cleaning I'm listening to Christmas music which is making the time go faster.

How is your day?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It's snowing here in Central Virginia! We have made it north of the famous rain/snow line. It's rare that it happens! The weather forecaster said we would get 1 to 3 inches but we measured it around 4:00 and it was 4.5". Everything looks so beautiful.

The public schools were let out an hour early and I'm not sure if they'll have school tomorrow. I know to all of you who get that amount daily it sounds funny but it doesn't take much to close schools here.

We are going to have some popcorn and play some board games in a little while. I hope you all are snuggled up with the ones you love and staying warm. Even if you're in Hawaii!!

I've Been Tagged!

Seven Sevens Tag
I was tagged by

Seven Things To Do Before I Die
1) See my children serving the Lord and living for Him
2) Become more like Him every day
3) Read all the books on my very long reading list
4) Visit England
5) Move to the country
6) Finish a quilt I started years ago
7) Learn to play the dulcimer (I first have to get one!)
Seven Things I Cannot Do
1) Kill a bug
2) Mow the lawn
3) Change a tire
4) Make a decent biscuit
5) Sing
6) Sew (on a machine) without getting frustrated
7) Be normal

Seven Things That Attract Me To My Husband
1) His sense of humor
2) His love of the Lord
3) His work ethic
4) He always makes me feel good when I am down
5) His kisses
6) His love for our children
7) He kills bugs for me
Seven things I Say Most Often
1) I love you
2) Did you brush your teeth (or hair)?
3) Does anyone know where my keys and/or shoes are?
4) Go. Be free.
5) Oh, for Pete's sake!
6) Pooh!
7) Please clean your room

Seven Books (or series) I Love
1) The Bible
2) Jane Eyre
3) Persuasion
4) Pride and Prejudice
5) Loving God With All Your Mind
6) Roxaboxen
7) The Little House (by Virginia Burton)
Seven Movies I Watch Over and Over Again
1) Casablanca (I never, ever get tired of seeing this)
3) Pride and Prejudice (A&E)
4) Sense and Sensibility
5) Rebecca
6) Ball of Fire
7) The Maltese Falcon (or The Big Sleep)

I tag whoever would like to answer these. Just leave me a comment and I'll pop over to read your answers.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Christ is Able

Last night I compared Philippians 4:11-13 in different Bible versions. I won't post all of it but just verse 11.

NASB: Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

KJV: Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

NIV: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

NLT: Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little.

ESV: Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

I also did a word study on content. It's the Greek word autarkes (Strong's 842). Here's the definitions:

1. sufficient for one's self, strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support
2. independent of external circumstances
3. contented with one's lot, with one's means, though the slenderest

I like the third definition because our means are definitely "the slenderest"!!

From Calm My Anxious Heart:
At all times, in all circumstances, Christ is able and willing to provide the strength we need to be content.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Holy Habit

Yesterday as I was preparing to read "Calm My Anxious Heart", I thought to myself that I was fairly content with things the way they are. Well, there's some pride for you! "The heart is deceitful and desparately wicked. Who can know it?", the Lord says. He is so right, of course.

I didn't get far into the first chapter when I read about one woman's prescription for contentment:
Never allow yourself to complain about anything--not even the weather
Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
Never compare your lot with another's.
Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
Never dwell on tomorrow--remember that [tomorrow] is God's, not ours.

The author describes this woman as having a "holy habit" of contentment. A holy habit! I have to tell you that this is as far as I have read in the book. I just wanted to spend yesterday and today examining my life thoroughly, repenting of this sin of discontentment and practicing to make contentment a "holy habit".

More later....................