September 29, 2011

Winnie Wants You...


Click here to vote.

Sick

Wheezing... Sneezing...coughing...blowing... No fun for vacation!

September 28, 2011

Pretty please?

Click the button on my sidebar and vote Art's Chili Pepper for one of the top big family blogs. ACP has fallen from fifth place to ninth. If every follower votes just once ACP can move all the way back up to fifth place. Remember you can vote everyday from every computer and phone. Pretty Please?

Kayaks on Horsepen Creek

Princess on the beach

Can you tell who this belongs to?

Only Jesus Could Heal Me by Pamela

I wanted to first thank Kat for such a wonderful blog, it is such an inspiration to me. Thank you for letting me be a part of it while you are away. Okay a little about myself, where do I start.  I am Pamela and you can find me on Created to mother. I am a Christian Christ following wife and mother of one wonderful husband and 7 daughters. We are a home schooling family traveling down a road not traveled very much by most. I thank the Lord each day for allowing me to school our girls even though it can be tuff at times.

The greatest challenge that I have had to face came before I was a Christian. This challenge lead me to the Lord in the end, and all I can say is AMEN!

I started suffering from a lot of anxiety in my eary 20's and I only had 1 little girl at the time. The death of my uncle hit me very hard.  I am not sure why it hit me so hard the day I heard the news. I was not very close to him but he was always very kind to me when I was with him.  He was my dad's only brother and I knew he would be upset. Thinking I was going to have a heart attack at any moment, I started to have anxiety attacks about 1 week after I heard the news.  My uncle died from a heart attack, and never made it to the hospital.

Day after day I could not be alone I had to be with someone all the time.  I went to the ER about 5 times in just a few months. Things were not good and I needed help.

I remember listening to a Christian radio station on the way back from town one day and it hit me. The man on the radio told me that Christ could help me and save me from what I was going through. I arrived
home and just fell to my knees praying and crying out to the Lord for help. I knew that the only way to heal was to allow the Lord to take over my life. I just could not do it myself. I knew he was the only one
that could heal me from all the pain I was going through. I ask our Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only savior of the world, to forgive me for all my sins and I asked him to take over my life from that day
forward.

I had Victory through Jesus Christ and my anxiety was gone from that day forward. I could not believe it how free and loved I felt. It was not pills or a doctor that healed me, it was my Father in heaven who
took my scars and pains from me.  After becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, I changed all kinds of things and I did like a 360 in my life.  God opened my heart to home schooling and changed my views on children; I now wanted to leave it in his hands. I feel him working in my life every day and he never leaves me when I fall. What a blessing. I have grown in my walk with Christ and learn new things every day. I pray that in hard times, us as Christians don't lose sight of the Bible and God's love.  Blessings to all of you.

September 27, 2011

A Tribute to Mom by Peggy

We are not in control of what time in history we will be born, or in what body we will arrive. Nor do we get to choose our parents. However, I feel that God absolutely makes perfect choices for us. I know that the mother he gave me was precious, and I will always love her.

I am one of eight children…the second child and the first girl. We ranged in age from newborn to 17….five boys and three girls. I could write volumes about myself, but the condensed version is that I have been blessed with a wonderful life with not too many traumatic events interrupting it.

My father passed away in his 50’s, so my mother raised us by herself. She was always thought of as the best mom ever…the one that all the neighborhood kids wanted to be their mother. She was not only beautiful on the outside, but she had an internal loveliness that was evident to everyone. She was a leader in her home, as well as a person who showed her love and compassion for others in her church and community. She shared her life with anyone needing help or encouragement. My mom was always there for us, no matter what sacrifice it meant for her. She quietly and sweetly gave us love and direction. Her patience in the midst of chaos was always beyond our understanding. Absolutely, she was one of a kind.

I could write so much more about my mom, but I am only sharing the tip of the iceberg so you will know something about my relationship with her. Kathleen has asked us to write for her blog about the greatest challenge we have had to face, how we saw the Lord in this struggle, and how God gave us victory in this trial. Immediately, I knew that I would write about an incident with my mom.

We celebrated my mother’s 90th birthday two years ago in May. She was in vibrant physical health and her mind was still sharp and quick. The party was a grand event with about a hundred people in attendance. The eight siblings had planned extensively, and guests arrived from all over the country, covering years of past relationships in my mom’s long, beautiful life. We will always be grateful that we had that special day together.

About four months later, my mother began having a few seemingly minor health problems. She made several short trips to the hospital, but nothing significant was discovered. On the eve of my birthday in November, I got a call from the retirement home where she lived. She had been taken to the hospital complaining of back and stomach pain, and difficulty swallowing. I immediately went to be with her, and she was admitted early the next morning….on my birthday. Siblings began arriving, and the second day we met with the doctor to receive a diagnosis. (Here comes the “greatest challenge” part). We were literally shocked to hear him say that she had terminal cancer. It didn’t seem possible…or correct. She had jokingly planned to live to be 100, so this was 10 years too soon, by our calculations. It was just not believable, and we were devastated.

I have been a Christian for over 40 years, and have never had to go through anything this difficult. One of my sisters and I were the two siblings who spent the most time at Mom’s bedside….talking, praying, crying, laughing, sharing, loving, feeding, sleeping, singing, soul searching, planning….just trying to make sense out of what we had come face to face with….the fact that death comes to each of us….ready or not. However, in my mother’s last moments on this earth, only 12 days after she entered the hospital, God gave me the distinct privilege of being alone with her as she slipped from life as we know it, into the arms of our loving Savior. I had never been with anyone through that experience, but I knew without a doubt, that it was God’s perfect plan for my mom and me.

During those twelve days, and many times afterwards in the following two years, I saw how God cared for each family member and friend of Mom’s in a special way that was pertinent to that person. I also experienced His tender, loving mercy toward my mom during her illness. He touched hearts and affected lives in different ways. All eight of her children loved her dearly, but it became very clear that God wanted my one sister, mentioned above, and me to speak at her memorial service. He graciously gave us a month to prepare, and I was convinced that it was imperative for me to share about Him. I prayerfully and carefully chose my words, and selected scriptures that would honor Him. In my tribute to my mother, I presented the gospel to a church filled with individuals from varying religious beliefs, and the results were amazing, as they can only be when God is working. God led me through something I never could have accomplished without Him, and I thank and praise Him for that.

I am positive that I am a changed person because of this event and all the surrounding circumstances. I now see life from an entirely different perspective….more reflective and with a depth of understanding, as well as a desire to know more of God’s plan for my life. The victory in this trial comes slowly on a daily basis, as I am still a work in God’s process. He comforts me and gives me a sense of peace through my pain.  My prayer is that I will continue on my journey to be the best possible witness for our precious Lord so that when my time comes to slip away and be with Him, He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21).


Peggy is wife to one, mother of three, grandmother of 8 and my real life friend.












September 26, 2011

The Sunrise

This is the view I see from our bed each morning when we wake up. No matter how often I have seen it, I never tire of the sunrise over the low country.

Good For God is Not Enough by Gaby


 My childhood was full of all kinds of abuses, which led me to have low self esteem, lustful lifestyle, you name it, I had it. During our dating life (hubby and I), being in bondage to sin, I was unfaithful to him a number of times and kept it a secret carefully tucked away.  After a year of being married,  I gave my life to Jesus, and soon after me, my husband also surrendered his life to God.

Since my husband and I  got along so well, I figured we had a good marriage, but I always felt something was missing.  As my prayer life and Bible reading life increased, I got closer to God, and my desires became His.

When we would attend marriage retreats and conferences, and saw how affectionate and loving other couples were, I would feel so uncomfortable and my husband could tell I felt that way.  He would  ask me why I couldn't look at him in the eyes.  And to be honest with you,  unconsciously I was doing that.  At that time, I wasn't able to see that, because of my unconfessed sins.  I wasn't able to love freely, as God intended it.
We got along well.  We had fun together, a good  life, a good marriage, but God planned our marriage to be excellent and good was not good enough.  A deep spiritual connection was missing, and only through God that connection would be made.  Well, at the beginning of this year, wonderfully orchestrated by God, that connection began... 

At our church, there was to be a fast and our whole church was encouraged to be a part of. Well, we didn't plan for the fast.  That Sunday morning, God gave my husband a dream:  He says in  the dream, I handed my husband a basket full of dirty laundry, and then my husband found himself in the middle of our yard, just standing there in the middle of a strong windstorm, and on our deck he could see a man and he knew that man was God, and that the man was sitting there peaceful as can be, and the man was aware of my husband in that storm, and how all he had to do was to reach out to that man and he felt sudden peace.

When My husband was telling me the dream, in my heart I knew exactly what the dream meant. Now my husband had always suspected things about me, but he never asked me anything.  He just lived with the  doubt and it was killing him. He asked me what I thought the dream meant.  And so our long confession session began, and let me have you know, that never would I had thought I had to confess anything, because I thought and believed, okay I am forgiven, my past is my past and that is that. However God's thoughts are higher than mine and amazingly better.  (Isaiah 55:8)

God's sovereign grace just showered us as confessions were spoken out.  It was so very hard for me to confess, and painful for both of us.  I hated the pain this caused my husband.  And don't think the enemy of our souls didn't take his part in this.  I was hit with so much fear,  anxiety, and just couldn't muster out the words.  Even doubt creeped into my mind, doubt of my husband being able to handle all of this. I had to hold on tight to God's word.  God kept bringing verses to my mind.  And I just had to close my eyes, trust and obey.  I couldn't even see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Never had obedience been so painful.  And I had to obey, if I say I love the Lord. There was no turning back.
Forgiveness happened. God left me (us) in awe! I imagined the worst happening,  because that is what our soul enemy would have wanted, but my God...oh My GOD said,  "Oh no you don't, she's mine now!"  Sweet victory in Jesus! Which I am reminded of the song "Blessings" by Laura Story, "...what if your healing comes through tears."  And only good has come through this.  Praying for each other, total freedom to love each other.  A deeper intimate level.

When we confess our sins to God, we are certainly forgiven.  Some sins have to be confessed to others as scripture says in James 5:16 
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
And healing for us has certainly been through a lot of tears... And victory can also be yours, but we have to  trust and obey, even if we don't know what the end result will be, there is absolutely no other way~

After this very long day, we were weak and hungry and my husband said to me,  "Now don't you think that we have done a true fast?" as it reads in Isaiah 58:6-12. 

6"Is not this the fast that I choose:  to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?  7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?  8Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.  9Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.  11And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.  12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

Blessings to all~
Gaby

Hi, My name is Gabriela.  I am a 35 year young Hispanic Christian woman.  I am married to a good man for 16 years and God has blessed us with four children.  God has given me {us} so much more than we ever could have imagined~


Gaby blogs about family, faith, and everyday life over at True Blessings.

September 24, 2011

A Day On the Boat

Saturday our friend, Sonny took is out for the day on his boat. The weather was fabulous and we had a time of memory making as we docked to climb a lighthouse, had a picnic, observed the dolphins and other wild life and later docked at a private island where we walked in the waves, collected sea shells, studied a loggerhead turtle nest and marveled at an enormous piece of drift wood.
There is something incredibly magical about being in a place where there are no other people or any buildings as far as the eye can see.
Ellie thought her life vest was so stylish she didn't even take it off to climb the lighthouse.
This boy was made for the water.
One of the nest of the beautiful endangered turtles.
Winnie's life vest was as big as her!

Parakeet Humor


September 23, 2011

Wipeout

So I was sitting on the beach today watching Allen ride the board when all of a sudden he wiped out... Which never happens. It happens to me all the time, but never to Pa.

When he came up I first noticed that his St. Louis Rams hat was gone. Brianna and I were bummed for him because that was the one late Pastor gave to him. I stayed with the baby while Brianna went to help look... Not that we thought it would be found but You have to at least make the pretense, right?

As I watched her make her way down the beach, I noticed he had let go of the rip cord and his board was about to wash away. Brianna got it just in time.

That is when I realized we had much bigger problems because he wasn't wearing his glasses. Brianna called everyone into the ocean and they all started digging around aimlessly. As if there was any hope of finding them. But still we searched, because we are Wachters and even if it is pointless, we do what we can to help each other. Ellie cried because she knows Pa is almost blind without his glasses. When we resigned ourselves to the situation, we started to laugh. Because what else are you going to do?

Then we started to work on a plan. First, we called our friends back home, who are house sitting, and asked them to overnight his spare pair. Except it's Friday so they would not arrive until Monday and that is a lot of stumbling around in the meantime.

Plan B. We called our doctor's office back home. After a good laugh with Rhonda, Dr. K's right hand gal... She's had lot of eyeglass emergencies with our family... We had an rx faxed to a one hour place. Allen and I drove to the city and a few hours later, with the help of our new friend, Denise, from Ohio, we returned to vacationing with the disaster diverted.

And a new lesson learned: remove glasses before entering the ocean.

A View From My Beach Chair

Shade For Winnie

Trust in the Lord, Not Man -by Ashley


I was so thrilled and honored when Kat asked me to be one of the guest posters while she is away. It didn't take me long to figure out what I felt I should write about, but I guess I should probably start out by introducing myself a little bit.

After Kat asked about posting I knew I wanted to write about a situation with my sister, and what the Lord taught me. I'll leave out many details, but I believe that is for the best, but I mostly just want to be able to brag on the Lord.

Four years ago my sister, who I considered my best friend outside of the Lord, got mixed up with old friends and old habits. One morning she just left. She left it all. Her husband, her four children, and I felt as if she just left me. Maybe I took it a lot harder than I should have, but it hurt. I can't pretend like it didn't. There were many nights when I would just sit up crying to the Lord. Most nights I didn't know what to say, but the Lord knew His child's heart. He heard all those words I couldn't say. 


Over the next few months I saw a sister that I loved and thought the world of in a life I never thought I would. I hate to say it, but it didn't take long for my brother in law to take the same path. Sometimes I think it was because he just hurt so much.It's crazy to think that they once were so in love with the Lord, but I'm not naive. I know it happens. The devil knows our weaknesses. He knew theirs.


I would be a fool to say that my sister and brother in law aren't saved because they live such a life. It could be me next week if I let my guard down. It took me some time to forgive my sister and brother in law. Actually it took me about two years or more. I held so much bitterness towards them because I felt they had let me down. That's just it though. They let me down. It was ridiculous of me to never think they would. It's ridiculous for me to think that a human never will let me down. 


One morning at church the Lord just broke me. I knelt there at the pew I was sitting at, and just told Him I was sorry for putting my confidence in man.

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man-Psalm 118:8


I was so guilty of that. For years it was my sister and brother in law that I watched. I didn't think they would ever fail me, but guess what? They did. I wish I could say that a human won't fail, but I am one, I know how we are. The Lord taught me so much about putting all my trust in Him. For a while I felt so alone, but the Lord was using what happened to help me to grow. I grew in my faith, I grew more dependent upon my Saviour, my love for Him grew, and that trust grew. He has never failed me, and He has never hurt me. I can't say that there aren't still times now when it hits me. It mostly happens when I'm at church and turn my head to an empty seat where they would once sit and praise the Lord. There are still times in the late night when the tears come, but I'm thankful for that.


Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song my prayer unto the God of my life.-Psalm 42:8 


The choices my sister and brother in law made He didn't choose, but He knew how to use it for His glory, and I could never thank Him enough for that.

I think about a verse from the song God's Been Good often.

Times replay and I can see that I've cried some bitter tearsBut I felt His arms around me as I faced my greatest fearsYou see I've had more gains than lossesAnd I've known more joy than hurt as His grace rolled down upon me undeserved.

God's been good in my lifeThough I've had my share of hard timesBy my side He has always stoodThrough it all God's been good.

He has been and will always be good in my life.


--Ashley Coutu 
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Colossians 3:23










I'm Ashley from Life Is Beautiful. I'm just a 22 year old sinner saved by God's amazing grace! I've been blogging quite a few years, but it took me some time to find out how awesome it really is, and I've not looked back since!

September 22, 2011

Just a reminder...

...to vote for ACP! Hi, this is Näna coming to you live from a little tropical island in southern USA.

Here's the deal: Mom gets about 200 hits a day but she only has 172 votes. Hmmm....

We are checking her progress and rejoicing over every single vote. So go here and vote. You can vote (each person) every day between now and October 3rd.  Go vote. It will make Mom happy :P

Cherry Limeade

We so can not stand the food at Sonic, but one of the things we love about visiting the South on vacation is cherry limeades for happy hour.

September 21, 2011

Forgiveness is a Choice by Andrea

~What is the greatest challenge you've had to face?

There have been many challenges in my life, but the greatest challenge by far was on the evening of April 14th, 1989. Standing in a dark hallway in Spartanburg Regional Medical Center I was told my baby sister, Dayna had died as a result of massive head and chest injuries (car wreck). Within minutes, I was chosen to go into the room with the young man responsible for Dayna's death. He was alone and obviously upset.

Full of emotions, I agreed to go. As the curtain was pulled back by the RN, he began crying out, "I killed her.....I killed her."

My mouth opened and out stumbled, "I forgive you!...but that's not what's important. You need God's forgiveness, not mine! You need to ask God to forgive you!"

~How did you see the Lord in this struggle:

GOD is "all" over this struggle. Left to my own devices, I am not a good person. I wanted to kill this young man, not forgive him. If God had not placed me in this position and if God had not opened my mouth and spoke those words through me, I would have likely never forgiven this young man. I would have spent my life full of bitterness and anger.

Yes, GOD gave me a choice on April 14th, 1989. I could have said, "NO," but THANK GOD, I chose to obey Him. In my frail obedience, HE was faithful to give me just enough strength for each moment that evening and HE has never failed me, neither before or after that day.

~How did GOD give me victory during that trial?

Victory abounds daily as I choose to forgive those who may intentionally or unintentionally hurt me. After forgiving the person responsible for my sister's death it is easy to forgive all other offenses and leave it all in GOD's hands.

~Life Lesson:

Don't ever forget: Forgiveness is a choice! Your spiritual freedom hinges on that one single choice. Do NOT choose bondage, choose freedom in CHRIST!

By His mercy and in the grip of His grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue



Hi, my name is Andrea Bowling Perdue. I am a crazy, animal loving, child of GOD! Each day, I find myself crawling, stumbling and falling into the arms of my Heavenly Father. I have two blogs:

Arise 2 Write embodies life lessons and devotions from the meadow to the mountaintop of my heart.

All God's Creatures is written in the voice of one of my three therapy dogs, Sitka. We are privileged to be the humans at the end of the leash as GOD uses our dogs in the lives of suffering and struggling humans. Many of the older posts reveal God's miracles in some of those humans lives. Sitka also shares life lessons and often what's happening in our home, affectionately called, "The Perdue Zoo."

September 20, 2011

Ladybug

Ellie spotted this little lady on the ceiling during Bible study last night. After the demise of her last friend she was tickled.

Any one for a bath?

Sunday the boys had a successful time crabbing. They came up from the dock just as it was time to settle down to join our home church, via live streaming, for our evening Bible study. By the time we had heard the prayer requests and service back in Maryland was wrapping up, we had just enough time to get to the evening study at the Chapel down here. We had a bucket full of crabs and no time to cook them. After church, Allen and I went to dinner with the Pastor and some friends. When we got home, the girls were watching a video and this is how I found the boys... And the crabs. (Laura, does this fall into that category of things we probably don't want people to know?)

The Problem With Christians by Erin

Dear Readers,
Please carefully read this essay written by one of my long time readers and addressed to Christians. When you are finished please take the time to read my thoughts at the end.
 Prayerfully yours,
 Kat
Do you ever stop to listen to yourself?

 Sometimes I wonder if my Christian friends ever actually hear themselves. Do they know how intolerant they sound? Do they know how much their words belie their stated beliefs of tolerance and love?

Let me back up. I am a product of a truly secular household. Neither of my parents had a religious background to bring to our home and so my brother and I were raised without religion. We were taught at a young age to respect the different beliefs of our friends and to understand that there is a different path for each of us. It was expected that we would explore on our own and find our paths.

This is a very different thing than being raised in a church and changing to a different church. We are not talking about doctrine, here. We are talking about fundamental beliefs. What so many of you take as obvious, we were taught nothing about. We were not raised with a belief in God or in Jesus, but we weren't raised to reject those beliefs, either. We weren't raised atheist. We were raised agnostic. We were allowed to join friends at various religious services and expected to be respectful as we heard conflicting assertions proclaimed to be the "one truth".

We quickly learned that there are many different "one truths".

For my brother, he turned away from the spiritual completely. He found the hypocrisy and self-righteousness representative of a lack of basis for any truth.

For me, I had a different journey. I have spent my entire adult life learning and questioning. Figuring out what I believe has not been easy. In this journey, I have found myself surrounded by people of religion. My friends are primarily Christian, especially since moving to this part of the country, but are of many different denominations. I am blessed to have caring friends who worry about the immortal souls of me and my children and for that I am so grateful. I have been blessed to have friends who will talk with me on many different subjects, including religion.

But... I wonder. The following are just a few of the things I've experienced or questioned as I've been on my own journey. 

Does an all-powerful, all-knowing God really care how wide the straps of my tank-tops are?

Or whether I cut my hair, color my hair, or wear make-up. Really?

Does an all-powerful, all-knowing God really love the people who attend your church more than the people who attend a different church that doesn't meet with your approval? What about the people who attend temple instead? Really?

Oh, I know you say "no, of course not, God loves all his children". But then your actions betray your beliefs to the otherwise. Many of you do believe there is a right way and a wrong way to believe in God and in Jesus. Do you not see that you're becoming elitist when you talk about "our" ways vs. "their" ways?

I hear stuff like this all the time: "Oh, the Catholics aren't Christian the way they're supposed to be." "Oh, those Mormons are a cult." "Oh, those Baptists are just weird." "Oh, the Jews are wrong." Then it is followed by, "Our church is Bible-based, the way it is supposed to be." The only problem? When I ask my friends about their own beliefs, with the exception of the Jews, they ALL say their church's doctrine is based on the Bible. Hmmm...the Bible tells you all to judge other churches and find them lacking as compared to your superior one? That is troubling.

Would Jesus have told my then 7-year old daughter that our entire family was going to burn in the fires of hell because we hadn't been baptized and didn't attend church? Really? The same man who lovingly washed the feet of a prostitute? I don't think so.

Would Jesus be impressed by funds raised for Coffee Bars and Stone-fired Pizza ovens in the name of fellowship? Video Game Consoles and Flat-Screened Televisions in the name of Youth Outreach? Really? The man who eschewed wealth? Again, I just find it find it hard to believe.

This is just a sample of the things I've heard and observed over the past 25 years, but it is representative of the basic message. Is it any wonder I'm reluctant to label myself and my beliefs? To commit to standards that are, to my observations, inconsistent when applied to self?

To be fair, not all of my friends convey such intolerance or such seeming hypocrisy.

A family that was some of our dearest friends hadn't noticed the gradual change in their church before we started talking about religion and, frankly, I started questioning some of these things aloud. They'd be going to this church for their entire marriage and it took them awhile to realize that the church no longer represented their beliefs. The pastor wanted a mega-church. They wanted a place of worship and simple fellowship. They changed churches and felt much more in sync with the mission of the church.

Another friend demonstrated amazing faith when we were discussing my lack of testimony. As she put it, her faith in Jesus allowed her to understand that their is a plan for all of us and I was living my plan. Just because she was impatient for me to be a Christian, didn't mean it was supposed to happen on her timetable. It was on God's timetable and if she truly believed that, she had to find peace in that knowledge, that faith. Her door and her heart were always open to my questions and concerns, but she never grew impatient with me. After all, a coerced testimony is no testimony at all.

I ask you all...as someone who is trying to find her way and appreciates that so much of what you say comes from your faith...do you ever hear yourselves?

Did you mean to say that?

Erin,


As a professed Bible believing Christian, I agree whole heartily with you and with the friend you speak of at the end of your essay. My family and I have this discussion all the time. And we sadly shake our head at how the attitudes of some dogmatic Christians about dress, music etc... ruin the testimony of Christians. While I do believe that God has set forth in His word, the Bible, standards for His people to live by (pertaining to worship, dress, child rearing, work ethic and on and on), He also clearly tells us that those standards, also called works, do not affect your eternal life. They are to be the result of a Christian who has chosen to live their life according to His will, not the means to having eternal life. Our choices on these issues can and will affect your relationship with Him just as the standards of any family, and the breaking thereof, affects the relationships of parents and children or husbands and wives.


However, if a person is not even sure that the Bible is the true word of God, and that person has not even made the choice to believe in Jesus and become a christian, than what good is it to tell them they have to conform to some standard. Unfortunately, this attitude among people who call themselves Christians, not only destroys the testimony of those who are living for the Lord but also creates much pain and confusion for people, like yourself, who are seeking and trying to figure it all out for themselves. I am heartbroken at what you have faced in your search. I am even more heartbroken at how these attitudes could prevent you from giving your life over to the Lord and lead to, what I believe, is an eternity of eternal suffering in a real place called Hell. I wish I could say it is uncommon. But sadly, it is not. This is the number one reason I hear for people running from God instead of enjoying the rich and beautiful relationship He has to offer.


As I said, I also agree with your friend, a very wise Christian, indeed. It is your choice. The Lord gave that to all of us. A free choice. He wants His people to come to Him out of love, not out of fear or because they were coerced. No matter how much I love you and your family and want to know that you will not just escape that suffering and, more importantly, enjoy the abundant life and relationship God has for you; it has to be your choice, in your time, or it isn't sincere and won't do any good anyway.


Just the other night, Brianna and I were having this discussion and she was moved to tears at the sadness of how many supposed Christians spend their lives walking by a set of standards and living out of fear instead of embracing the amazing beautiful love relationship that Jesus wants to have with them.


For the record, I do believe there is one true Bible. I do believe there is one true God. I do believe He has clearly outlined in the Bible His plan for one true church. As well as His desires for Baptism, Lord's supper, dress and every other facet of our lives on earth. I believe completely and whole heartily and without a doubt that He gave His inerrant word, the Bible, to be our manual for living the life His people are to live as His testimony here on earth until the time comes when He chooses to take us to Heaven for eternity, be it through death or the rapture of the saints.


I have chosen to print your article in hopes that it will speak to those Christians and help them to seek the truth of what the Lord has promised for their relationship with Him. I will be publishing this in hopes that it will show them the hurt and damage they are doing, supposedly in the name of leading souls to the Lord and building His Kingdom.


Erin, I want to thank you for your honesty and your willingness to put yourself on the line when you are already feeling so vulnerable. As I told you before, I will be praying for you faithfully and I would be honored to help you as you continue to seek the truth of it all. Most of all, I beg of you to stop looking to Christians and people for answers. We are all nothing more than sinners who make mistakes. Just because we have trusted in Jesus for forgiveness does not mean we are better than anyone else. Otherwise, we wouldn't need forgiveness at all. Instead, turn to the word of God, His Bible, and see what it says for yourself, that is where the truth lies.


Christian sisters, I implore you to consider the words here and prayerfully seek within yourself. Ask the Lord if this is the attitude you present to the world. Ask the Lord for forgiveness for those you have led astray and ask forgiveness of those you have hurt. And then fall on your knees and ask the Lord to open the door for you to reach those hearts you have injured and pray without ceasing for the Lord to give you the grace to speak to those hearts and remove the blood of their souls from your hands.


I would very strongly recommend to anyone reading this post, Christian or not, to take time to read Leslie Ludy's book Authentic Beauty. Even though, this is intended for young ladies, she does an amazing job of explaining what the Lord really intended for His relationship with those He created.


In His Name,
Kat





Erin blogs at 365 and a Wake Up where her family keeps in touch while "Superman" is away working over seas.

September 19, 2011

Embracing Life's Tests by Julianne

Everyone faces challenges. The question is how do you handle life’s tests? Do you embrace them and allow them to make you a better person or do you allow them to break you down and pull you further away from all you love – your family, friends, faith….

 I was diagnosed with exercise-induced anorexia the summer before my junior year of high school.  It wasn’t something I “planned” on happening.  I knew of girls in high school who had struggled with anorexia/bulimia and I never really got it – why didn’t they just go and eat a bunch of hot fudge sundaes??

But I played on the volleyball team and when our season ended I found myself getting restless and running more. That spring I was struggling with some stomach issues and was put on a special diet to help, before I knew it I was obsessively focused on eating healthier and exercising, so much so that I was consuming less calories then I was burning and my weight had dropped significantly. My parents were concerned, but I was in denial.

The first doctor they took me to assured me not to worry because “even Christians can have eating disorders.” I was blown away. Still struggling to face the fact that I had a problem, I was now being faced with accusations that my actions were a sin?

What followed was a year and a half of tears, pain, arguments, and mental warfare. It was a time I would never wish on anyone else. Their were fights with my parents about what to eat and when to eat it, fights with my body where I literally felt sick after going from eating around 1,500 (if that) calories a day to 3,500+, and the most challenging fight - the one with my mind.

 Anyone who has suffered a mental disease – and that truly is what any eating disorder is, a disease, will tell you that it’s as if someone else has taken over your body. Even though you might know the right decision, you are unable to make it. I would look in the mirror and see my 5’11 once size 6 body struggling to hold up size 2 clothes and be convinced I was fat and ugly. Satan told me that, and I believed him. The physical part was the easy part to correct. It took some time, but there was a point where I mentally accepted, and desired to gain weight, but even after the weight came back on I still struggled mentally with feelings of unworthiness.

Thankfully God blessed me at this time with 2 amazing women – my mom and my pastor’s wife. Both women became spiritual warriors for me - praying, talking, and constantly reminding me where my true worth came from. I had become so caught up in cultural lies – to be successful I needed to be thin and beautiful (which I thought I wasn’t), I needed to be popular (which I wasn’t), and wear the best clothes and jewelry (which I didn’t). Slowly my heart began to turn to God and his messages:

 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1
 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
It would be a lie to tell you that I never have body image issues or feel insecure anymore, but I can say my life is completely different today then it was during those dark days almost 8 years ago. But if you asked me whether I would like to go back and erase those years, I would also tell you no – God used them to draw me closer to him and shape me into the woman I am today.

My experience did make me recognize a problem – people in the church very often shy away from talking about issues that don’t fit the “perfect” Christian mold (i.e. addictions, behavioral or mental issues, temptations, etc.).  Now, I talk. If there is anything I learned from my struggle with an eating disorder it was:

1. That my worthiness comes from God, not from man, and
2. If I can do anything to prevent others from suffering from a similar situation, I will.

So I talk – to the high school girls I teach at church, in my women’s bible study, to my friends and to my nieces. And by sharing my story I have found others who have had similar struggles or fought with unhealthy thoughts. If I was walking down the street and tripped in a hole I would stand and call out to warn those behind me so they wouldn’t make the same mistake – how is this situation any different?
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30


My name is Julianne and I am a 22 year old child of God and passionate about my relationship with Christ. I am very close to my family, love being an aunt, and love anything chocolate!


 You can read more from Julianne at Between the Lines

September 18, 2011

September 17, 2011

Rainy day at the beach...

The weather is overcast and too cool for the beach but perfect for play dough and making cards.

Love,

Art, Chili and the little peppers

116 Great Things About Vacation

Our family keeps a vacation book.  In here we make to do lists, grocery lists, lists of books to get from the library, lists of things we want to do, job assignments, packing lists, menus, travel plans and journal memories of our time away.  It is always fun looking back at previous years.

Last week, when I pulled out the notebook, we found the list we made last year on our last day of vacation.  We relived some awesome memories as I read the list aloud.

116 Great Things About Vacation

1.  together time... all the time
2.  Marine Science Center
3.  Emma's Birthday Party
4.  Skippo
5.  Puzzles
6.  Boat Ride with the Solomons
7.  Pink Princess Potty (who do you think came up with that one?)
8.  Dolphin tour
9.  beach
10.  playing in the ocean
11.  touch tank at the science center
12.  catching crabs
13.  gourmet meals
14.  sand castles
15.  thrift shop
16.  burying people in the sand
17.  my suitcase (Ellie)
18.  building a baracudda model
19.  Worship at Chapel By the Sea
20.  Eggs Benedict
21.  Sunday Night Church Dates
22.  Watching Dolphins on the beach
23.  Digging pits on the beach
24.  Watching movies on rainy days
25.  Drive to Georgia
26.  Opening Windows when we cross the bridge to smell the ocean
27.  seaside sweets
28.  Walking on the beach
29.  sunrise stroll on the beach
30.  when mom and pa went on a date
31.  Kk babysitting the kids when Pa and Mama took Nana on a date
32.  cherry limeade at Sonic
33.  Sam and Mama playing cars
34.  Nana's birthday date
35.  fishing with Mama
36.  Nap-time (Pa)
37.  Than's treasure hunt
38.  Emma birthday date
39.  Catching cannon ball jelly fish in the marsh
40.  playing princess in the tower
41.  nap-time... (girls) reading and eating
42.  dish night
43.  not puzzle races
44.  tracing to make a coloring book
45.  snack time
46.  manicures
47.  cuddling in bed with Mama (Sam)
48.  Hiking Ft. Pulaski
49.  Reading Bible on the deck
50.  Walking to church
51.  Building Disney World in the Sand
52.  Pirate Park
53.  The Zebulun
54.  Sleeping on the cot
55. Camping in the living room
56.  fresh seafood
57.  low country boil
58.  chasing the crab around the kitchen
59.  Mexacali
60.  Mama's frozen coffees
61.  the Solomon's
62.  dessert with the O'connors
63.  Shopping for Emma's Birthday gifts
64.  throwing  balloons
65.  Wednesday coffee and Bible study and prayer meeting at the Chapel
66.  Clams in the Marsh
67.  God Abouts
68.  Putt-Putt
69.  Collecting sea shells
70.  Really bright full moon
71.  Miss Vickie
72.  Tropical Storm
73.  Pa and Ellie and Sam running in the waves
74.  Boogie board
75. Chalulas hot sauce
76. Checking tides in the morning
77.  Reading Boxcar children
78.  Ellie's princess doll
79.  pinwheels
80.  looking for the nickel
81.  Mrs. Jean McCordle
82.  Dr. Stephen Lee
83.  Seaside Sisters
84.  Baths after the beach in the jet tub
85.  Sea creatures in the bathtub
86.  butter
87.  sour cream
88. lunch on the pier
89.  The Breakfast Club
90.  Fried green tomato BLT's
91.  Reading
92.  Jet baths after dinner... with lots of bubbles
93.  balloon in the marsh
94.  chess
95.  play dough
96.  coloring
97.  football
98.  post cards
99.  sleep over in the girls' room
100.  Ellie waking Nana up in the morning
101.  walking to the beach
102.  holding hands
103.  fiddler crabs
104.  hermit crabs
105.  Bob's burial and un-burial at sea
106. sleeping in
107.  craft night
108.  audio books in the car
109.  McDonald's gift cards from Pa
110.  orange Julius for happy hour
111.  rearranging things
112.  IGA
113.  reading magazines
114.  photos on the beach
115.  sand ledge
116.  Lord's supper and the sermon of the 4-cups

September 16, 2011

Guess where we are!!!

Picnic

When we go on a car trip, we have the same picnic... Ham and Swiss on potato rolls, raw veggies, raisins and whoppie pies.

Writing from the I-phone... And I hate typing on this keyboard... So maybe some other time we will tell you why.

Until next time,
Kat

The Wachters On Vacation


September 15, 2011

Just Add Family

Why is it the vacation task that sends mama into a panic is the thing that kids look forward to the most?  From the Labor Day weekend until we pull out of the driveway, the kids are asking me every day if it is time to pack their suitcases yet.  At the end of each day I like to ask my kids what their favorite thing that day was.  Last night all of them said, "Packing!"  Meanwhile, I am exhausted and don't want to look at another suitcase ever again.

Packing for ten is a big job.  And it does take an entire day.  But we have worked out quite a system over the years that helps us get from point A to point B with as little effort as possible and with everything we could possibly need in tow.

On the computer, each member of the family has a packing list that we print out each year.  There is another list, I call extras, which includes all the items shared by the family like puzzles, sunscreen and fishing rods.

Brianna is the computer person, so it is her job to update, print and distribute the lists as necessary.  There are pictures of items to pack for little ones who can not read.

Kaitlin is in charge of laundry so it is her job to be certain clothes are washed, ironed and put away by packing day.  All the other kids are assigned to help her with that job.

Emma and the little kids are in charge of gathering the extras list.

In the meantime, everyone is washing and scrubbing the house, handling fall jobs (such as closing the pool for the year) and taking care of school preparations for when we return.

On packing day, always two days before we leave, lists are handed out and the children pack their suitcases accordingly.

When they are finished, they line up in the hall way outside my bedroom and await inspection.

This is carried out  by me and one or more of the bigger girls.  We check to be sure each item is accounted for and then carefully roll and pack each suitcase.

Space is at a premium so each child is permitted 4 outfits, 2 bathing suits, 2 pairs of pajamas and 1 set of church clothes.  After adding their toiletries and Bible they can fill leftover space with the extras packing list.    

Each child can bring one checked bag

one carry on bag

and one lap child

We did take a break in the middle of our work to enjoy one more dip in the pool

 and one more happy hour before summer officially ends for Wachter world.

This year with the addition of Carmella, we added a fourth row to our Suburban.  That means no trunk space at all.  So we were a little concerned about how we were going to manage all the kids and the luggage.  (Do you think it might help if we packed less books?)
So we added a cargo box to the roof as well. 

 Except someone waited until less than a week before our trip to order it.  And when it arrived, it was locked.  And it just so happens, they forgot to send the keys. This morning we spent some time trying to strategically get things onto the hitch.

As noon approached, I still hadn't had my coffee, Brianna was still in her pajamas

and we still had a buggy and several suitcases that wouldn't fit in the car.  We were contemplating leaving Pa behind when the UPS driver showed up with the missing keys.  
I wonder if the Lord knows He is teaching my hubby to procrastinate by always coming through when he waits til the last minute?  ☺

Regardless.  The key arrived.  The car is packed.  And vacation can continued as planned with everyone in tow.  

So here it is... Ready to go... Just add family.

September 13, 2011

Vacation and Vote for Art's Chili Pepper

Hello, Dear Readers.

Last night, I was amazingly surprised to find out Art's Chili Pepper was nominated as one of the top 25 Big Family Blogs by Circle of Moms.  I am so super excited.  And I don't get excited about much.  Just teasing.  I get excited by a lot of things, but I am REALLY excited by this.

So would you all please click on the link or the button on my side bar to pop over to Circle Of Moms and cast your vote?  You can vote once every 24 hours until October 3rd.

After you vote, I would be eternally grateful if you would perhaps consider adding a button to your side bar or posting about Art's Chili Pepper on your blog.

And while I have your attention, I want to let you know it is that time of year again.  That amazingly wonderful, I can hardly contain my joy, time of year when the Wachter gang heads out for 18 days of rest and relaxation.  Friday is the big day so I won't be around for a while.

Before you panic, though, Allen has downloaded the blogger app to his i-phone (okay, ladies, I am tired this morning... instead of "i-phone", I typed "eyephone" up there... no, kidding!) so, if I can actually get it to work, I will periodically post some pictures to keep you updated for those who just can't live without Wachter news for three weeks.  You know who you are.  ☺

And the rest of the time, I am looking forward to sun and sand and reading and visiting with our friends down there and fishing, and finishing the book of Revelation. With the fourth row in the Suburban now, space is limited... as if it wasn't before, so it may take a little longer to pack up the car this year.  Allen gave me a Kindle so I could save space by not taking a suitcase of books (yes, I read them all).  I wasn't really sure about the whole electronic book deal and I still am not sure I like it.  But I do think I have figured out how to work it.  I have downloaded several KJV Bibles, but haven't found one I like interacting with yet.  I would be very grateful for suggestions from those of you who have found one you like.  This week I have been reading Prayers for Troubled Times... it is so good, if you are looking for something to read.

So there is the update.  Vacation and  Vote for Art's Chili Pepper. 

Ha, I was so excited, I almost forgot to tell you the really fun something I wanted to tell you.  While I am away, I have asked several bloggers to guest post over here.  Some are familiar to you, and some will be new faces whom I believe you will find to be a blessing.

I have asked them to focus on three questions:  1- What was your greatest challenge?  2- How did you see God in it?  3- How did God give you victory in that trial?  So you won't want to miss it.

On a sad note, over Memorial Day weekend, my dear friend Miss Lorene told me she has, for the third time, been diagnosed with breast cancer.  She is a truly amazing woman who loves God and His people.  You can read more about her over here.  She has been such a gift to my family since we met in 2002 and I would appreciate your prayers for her recovery.  Most of all, though, I would appreciate your prayers that this would lead her three wonderful sons to know the Lord.

Until next time,

Kat

September 11, 2011

So They Will Know

Last night, we sat our children down and talked to them about what life was like before September 11, 2001. I wondered if that is how Adam and Eve felt talking with their children. We try to explain a world without terror and they tried to explain a world without sin. Just a thought.

Allen and I grew up during the cold war and watched the Berlin wall come down.  As young adults we were lured into a false sense of world peace and unity.  Even as our friends joined the military and our country went to war in Iraq we never felt the threat here on our soil.  But all that changed on 9/11.  

We told them how air travel was fun and dropping someone off at the airport or picking them up was a celebration.  They can't comprehend a time when you didn't have to worry about getting through security gates or when you didn't look at your fellow travelers for hints that one of them might be a terrorist.

We told them how the worst day in our country's history started out as the most beautiful day we have ever seen.  How there was not even one cloud in the sky.  Much like our parents told us about their steps the day President Kennedy was shot, we recounted for our children the events of that day.

And even now, ten years later, I was struck by how a day can start out business as normal... making the carrot juice, finding the girls ballet shoes, starting our school lessons for the day... and in a moment with no warning the world is changed forever.

The children wanted to know if it impacted us more because we were in the triangle of the three sights.  An astute question, but one I could never answer.  It was a day our entire nation was left breathless... violated... and speechless.  To me, it felt as if life, time and the world stood still and quiet for days.

We told them about the frightening silence that surrounded us.  As planes stopped flying and people went inside to hold their families or to cry and yes, even to pray.  The only sound we heard for days was the hourly patrol of the F16s flying over Camp David and circling around to the White House.

And then there was the eerie sight of tanks paroling the army base near our home 24/7.

And the story of how Pop pop, after all planes were landed, rented one of the last cars available with three strangers so he could make the long drive back home.

My sister was also supposed to be flying that day.  And my brother was working so close to the Pentagon that they could feel the explosion in his office.

As we waited for word that our loved ones were okay, I wanted desperately for my husband to be at home holding me.  But no calls could go through.  No cars could get through.  And so we waited and we watched over and over again the horrific sight of that morning.

Emma was the baby and we were expecting Nathaniel.  We wanted to get in a little trip before he was born.  That was the first year we took our vacation in the fall.  For no other reason than it happened to be when our friends beach house was available.  We decided to go on as planned and loaded the family into the van the following Friday morning.

Last night we talked about the flags.  On that trip, we drove four hours and every single bridge we drove under had the American flag hanging from it.  My big girls don't remember, but they counted them the whole way.  We compared the flags that flew that day and in the weeks to follow to the flags carried to battle during the Civil War.  We recently learned that the troops never repaired their bullet riddled flags, because those holes represented a fight bravely fought.  

We barely passed another car in all those hours.  And how the three days we spent with our family in that beach house felt like being wrapped in a cocoon.  Just grateful that we were all together when so many were hurting and mourning their husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children...

That is the only time I can remember our family having the television on for any length of time.  I don't think we turned it off the three days we were there.

We found so much comfort in the simple every day tasks.  Hours and hours were spent sitting at the kitchen table coloring and waiting with the rest of the world for news of someone, anyone, being rescued from the rubble.

When we drove to town for groceries, we saw candles.  Candles in homes.  Candles in shops.  People lining streets with burning candles.  One little way this town came together to mourn and grasp for some emblem of hope in a time that seemed hopeless.

Allen showed the children some footage on the internet so they could truly appreciate the horror of it all.  Ten years later, it gripped my heart just as it did that day.  Before  the video was over, even my boys were weeping.

We remembered so that they will know...

...There was once a world without terrorists.
...Men and Women freely have given their lives in the pursuit of a freedom we will never truly know again.
...God is judging our nation for turning their back on Him.
...We need to work even harder to share the Word with the lost and dying world.
...Because we never know when it will be too late.
...And we must pray as we've never prayed before for those we love.
...And for those we don't.

Allen and I shared what we had taken away from that day.  The importance of not letting a minute slip away.  Making sure we have things taken care of.  Most importantly knowing that we are ready to face eternity.

Indeed, we remembered so that they will know.  And then we challenged them.  Now that they know... what are they going to do with it?  How will they let this tragedy change them?

And the Lord blessed our time.

As we asked each one, are they ready for eternity, Nathaniel admitted he didn't know.  This didn't come as a surprise, because he is the only one of our children who has never had a clear testimony.  He  would tell us he knew he was saved but could not tell us when or how.  I have prayed a long time for the Lord to convict his heart or confirm His salvation for us.

The girls and I put the other boys to bed and went to my bedroom so Allen and Nathaniel could talk.  For what seemed like an hour, we hugged each other and wept and called on the Lord to save this son and brother we love so much.  We prayed for the terrorists who lived with no hope.  We prayed for a 91 year old man who is preparing to die and doesn't know where he will spend eternity.  We prayed for you, my dear readers, who have not put their trust in Jesus.  And still we cried.  And then we sang, "It is Well."

Shortly after we finished that song, Nathaniel came in to tell us that now he knows, he has put his trust in Jesus and given his life over to God.  He is ready to face eternity.  We cried some more.

Shortly after the tragedy in 2001, Kaitlin made the decision to turn to Jesus.  Since then I have prayed that she would come forward for Baptism.  Allen and I were blessed to see her ask for church membership in our service today.

After church today, our children asked if we could go soul winning instead of going out to lunch as we typically do.

And tonight, as we were eating dinner, Samuel and Elisabeth put down their sandwiches, took my hands (we hold hands in a circle when we pray as a family) and asked if we could please pray for the Muslims, "Because we need to get the Gospel to them."

The events of 9/11 changed you and me and the world for ever.  This weekend, because we remembered, those events have changed our children's lives forever, too.

I was trying to decide which video I wanted to include here.  Our Pastor shared this one today.  I knew immediately it was the one I wanted everyone to see.  Even though, it is about 15 minutes, it is worth every minute.  Show it to your children, your friends, your parents... it is an amazing story and Mr. Sheibner paints a beautiful picture of Jesus from his experience.