February 29, 2012

Twice Given for God's Glory by Tom Williams

During our library challenge, we had to seek out two specific men and ask them what their favorite books were.  The one gentleman said no book had affected his Christian walk as much as Twice Given for God's Glory by evangelist Tom Williams.  I figured if this Godly man was so affected by this book I had better give it a read.

This title is long since out of print so I popped over to eBay and found one copy for $3.67 with free shipping.  It is available through Amazon third party sellers for next to nothing.

This itty bitty book is a must read if you are struggling with trusting the Lord... or if you are trying to care for a sick loved one... or if you want to read a beautiful story about a man who loves his wife even as Christ loved the church... a man who was willing to give himself for her.  And that is just the beginning.  Really, just read this book.  It won't take you any time at all and you will be so glad you did.

In his simple and honest writing, Cowboy Tom, as he is known in Christian circles, tells the story of his wife, Pam's fight to survive what doctors termed the worst case of bacterial meningitis they had ever seen.  After three specialists told Mr. Williams his wife had less than 24 hours to live, Christians all over America fell on their knees before the Lord to petition for the life of this faithful Christian, loving wife and dedicated mother.  The Lord intervened and spared her life but the prognosis was grim.  Doctors reported she would never come out of the coma and would remain in a vegetative state for the rest of her life.  However, her husband and children didn't think that was acceptable and prayed unceasingly for her to come back to them.  When she did, they gave their lives over to her physical and occupational therapy starting with the most basic skills like potty training, feeding herself with a spoon and learning to brush her teeth.

Oh, and by the way, they did this while living in a motor home, homeschooling the younger children and preaching the Gospel across this United States of America.  And all along the way, Mr. Williams used this trial as a way to win lost souls to the Lord.  The miracles of God and the love of Christ, as displayed in the Williams family, are written all over this book.

Read it and love it and tell me how it inspires you to give more of yourself to others, to care for those sick parents, and to get busy about the Lord's work in spite of and because of the obstacles He might put in your path.    

February 28, 2012

The Right Romance In Marriage by Cathy Rice

About a year ago, one of the women in our church began working to revive our library.  Her first effort was to get members in the habit of using the library again.  In order to reach this goal, the librarians have held quarterly challenges for the last year.  This has been a fun way to become reacquainted with the long lost cupboards in the basement of our Church building.

Even though, I love to read, I wouldn't otherwise visit our church library because 1- I don't have much time for reading and when I do have time to read I use it for Bible reading.  2- Most of the books that are in our church library, I have already read and many of them are in our personal library.

However, I have still tried to be part of the challenge because I want to encourage these ladies and because it gets my children really excited.  This quarter I had a little extra incentive to be involved because our oldest girls were in charge of planning and executing the challenge.
They decided on a  plunder with the idea of finding the treasure hidden within the library.  I had fun watching them spend a few days working out the details and using their magic to design a display and treasure map.  Among the items we had to check off was memorizing Revelation 1:3, finding words hidden in a book within the library, seeking the scriptures for verses referring to the study of the written word and asking the Pastor for the name of his favorite book.
To meet part of the challenge I needed to check out a book last Sunday.  I dug for something I hadn't already read and came up with The Right Romance in Marriage by Cathy Rice.   I chose this one for three reasons.  1- I hadn't read it.  2- I love these sorts of books (marriage, child training, organization, home making).  3- This was a vintage book and I adore vintage books.
But truthfully, I didn't expect to get too excited about this little yellow edition because really, I think, I have read it all when it comes to how we are to be a good wife.   And really, everyone seems to say the same thing but in more words than the last guy.

I was so delightfully wrong.

Mrs.  Rice wrote this little gem in 1966, after 30 years of wedded bliss spent raising four children while serving beside her good husband ministering to the deaf.


Is really too small a word for this tiny book.  Mrs. Rice doesn't say anything I haven't heard or read before. But she says it all so simply and beautifully it is a breath of fresh air.  I read so many books that say just one thing and take 206 pages to do it as they seemingly strive to say it in a fancier or more complicated way than the last gal did.

To begin with, I am not a very cerebral person.  I just want to know what I need to know and do what needs to be done.

For another thing, it really doesn't make much sense.  In this day and age when we have more to do than ever, why are we saying the same old thing over and over?  And why, please do tell me, do we waste so many words saying it when we scarcely have time to read the ones that are already written?  If it has already been said, why waste time saying it again?

In all those words, I am saying Cathy Rice says all a wife and mother really needs to hear to last through her life with Christ, her marriage and her child rearing years and she does it in just 128 pages.  She says it clearly and concisely giving enough anecdotes to keep it interesting and enough personal and real life examples to make her point clear to the reader.

In this tiny volume she covers topics such as waiting for God's perfect choice for you mate, God's plan for marriage, sex, romance, child training, ministry, growing old together and so much more.  There is also a beautiful introduction by her husband, Dr. Bill Rice.

This book is required reading for our daughters and I will be adding a copy to their hope chests.  You can find it over here at Amazon or at eBay.

I recommend this book for every woman who is married or plans on being married one day, but especially for the young brides to be.

February 26, 2012

Come To Worship

No church home to visit today?  Stuck at home sick?  Wondering what it is those Christians do, anyway?  Join us in worship via live stream.  Follow the steps to check it out.

Sunday February 26, 2012
10:30 AM
5:00 PM

1.  Go here and click on the Live Stream tab.
3.  Click on the play arrow in the middle of the video box.  They usually have the live streaming up a few minutes before service starts.  If it isn't up when you open the page click on the arrow in a few more minutes.
4.  You can click the 4 arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the viewing window to make the picture full screen.  To return to the viewing box size, tap your computers ESCAPE key.

If you would like to learn more about VBC you can visit our website here and Facebook page here.

I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know that you were here today.  Leave your questions and contact info and I will get back to you.  Or, as always, if you prefer a private discussion, click my email button on the side bar.

February 25, 2012

The Influence You May Not Want In Your Home

I understand Lent is upon us.  Our family does not observe this season, per se.  We try to focus on living every day for Christ always remembering what He has done for us and the reason we love Him.  I tend to shy away from different things which were part of my Catholic upbringing, where observation of Ash Wednesday, Lent, the Stations etc... were just one more thing in the long list of items to do in order to get in God's favor for entrance to Heaven.  However, I see nothing wrong with taking part in this time of reflection and fasting to draw closer to the Lord, if one does it because they love the Lord and want to have a deeper relationship with Him.  

Anyway, that's a little side note.  ☺

With all that said... I am hearing about what everyone is doing for Lent.  How exciting to see so many people really setting aside time to focus on growing their walk with the Lord.  One friend is giving up television.  I am really proud of her.  She lives alone and television is a way for her to have company in the quiet evening hours at home through the dark winter months.  Giving up television is not just giving up mindless entertainment but giving up her companionship.

Talking with her about this got me thinking again about the damaging influence of television in the home.

Now, let me climb onto my television soap box and say I can not believe that Christians still have television in their homes!  Especially, those with impressionable children at home.  I mean really let's face it.  What is on the television that is really worth your time these days????  Oh, I know, the home improvement shows and the cooking channel are pretty nifty.  But, are they really improving your life and work for the Lord enough to justify the time you spend watching?  And even if the answer is yes, is it worth the risk of having such a negative influence in your home as all the other programs present?

We know Christian parents who would not allow their children to go into a bar, but will allow them to watch programs and advertisements that glorify drinking.  They tell their children about the importance of purity but allow them to watch programs and advertising which glorify premarital sex, adultery and fornication.  They teach their children to guard their hearts but allow them to watch programs that give the opposite message.  We would not allow our children to walk among people we consider to be poor examples, but we invite these very people into our homes through the big box we call television.

If that is not enough to convince you to consider turning off the television in your home, what about this?  What else could you be doing with that time?  If your family spends every evening in front of the television, what else are you missing out on?  What great blessings could you have if you pushed that off button and interacted with each other for an hour or two after dinner.  Reading the Bible, playing a game, doing crafts, chit chatting, learning something new together, playing your instruments for each other, singing together... the list goes on and on...  Unlike most of us, my friend is in the position of living alone and television is her companion.  How she would love to have a family at home to occupy her evenings.  Yet, how many homes are filled with a dad and mom and children who all go to their separate corners to watch television in the evenings.

So when my friend said she wanted to give up television for Lent, she asked us to pray she would have the strength to do this.  We have indeed been praying for this request.  To encourage our dear friend, we went one step further and drew up a list of fun activities to fill the evenings.

Allen said you aren't married so there goes number one. :-)
2. Write your nieces and nephews
3. Cross stitch, sewing, knitting, crochet, needlepoint
4. Craft anything
5. Retail therapy (shopping)
6. Read
7. Baking (you could take it to neighbors... great outreach opportunity)
8. Drawing or painting
9. Play with pets
10. Practice piano or some other instrument
11. Volunteer (library, nursing home, hospital)
12. Replace tv with audio books, audio bible, christian radio, preaching cds, christian music for company and background noise and entertainment.
13. Paint your nails. Better yet, go to a nursing home and paint other peoples nails.
14. Start a Bible study with other ladies
15. Go to bed earlier... mom will be jealous
16. Bible reading
17. Bible study
18. Read the Bible through in a month
19. Be discipled
20. Disciple someone else
21. Get out in the neighborhood and share the gospel

Today, I challenge each of you to turn off your television for a week and fill those wasted hours with some family bonding time.  After just seven days, I am willing to bet you will wish you had done it a long time ago.  Let me know if you have decided to give it a go and our family will be praying for you.  Let us know what else you would add to this list.

A few other tidbits to encourage you, keep a notebook where you jot down what you like about having the television off.  When you feel tempted to turn it back on, consult that list.  My friend sent me a text on the first evening and said she was amazed at how much she got done in one evening without television.  Big plus, there for us who are always pressed for time.

Think about how much money you could save by turning off the cable or satellite.  Use the extra money to save for something special.  Or perhaps treat the family to some pizza for a family game night once a month?  Better yet, put it in that vacation jar and when you are walking on the beach this summer ask yourself which was better?

Have you already done away with television?  Do let me know how that has worked for your family.



February 23, 2012

A Little of This and a Little of That

I am feeling miscellaneous this week.  That is where our lives have been lately.  One minute I am on a date with my little man, the next we are talking house plans with our friends and still the next I am talking a friend through a difficult situation.  And that is all in one evening.  

I have a bunch of started posts but have not had time to finish anything this week.  However, there are some fun little snippets that don't really stand on their own but are too good to pass by.  

Like this picture a young lady from church took on Sunday.  Miss Lorene has a precious friend to us over the years.  We are really trying to teach our boys to return to the old rules of chivalry and looking out for others.  One of the ways they encourage and bless me is by seeking out people who need a little extra help or the ladies with their hands full so they can help them out.  As soon as we close in prayer each Sunday, they are rushing to ask me if they can go help Miss Lorene to her car.    
The weather has been bizarre.  Do you remember two years ago we had four feet of snow at this time?  Today it was 63 out and all my plants are in bloom!

Saturday we took advantage of the warm weather to split a few cords of firewood.  I love this type of work, as does the family.  It felt great to be outdoors again.  The boys are not allowed to swing the ax yet, but the girls had a blast taking turns splitting logs.
 Only at the Wachter's could this become a spectator sport.  
One of our neighbors drove by and saw the girls splitting wood while Allen was running the chain saw.  He didn't say a word but just went home and hooked his log splitter up to the four wheeler and hauled it up here.  Allen tried to explain that the girls were doing it for fun and we don't actually require them to do such heavy work.  But Randy stayed and spent all afternoon helping Allen work on the pile.
I don't swing an ax nearly so well as I did years ago.  But I do love getting out there and working hard stacking and smelling the fresh cut wood.  The boys are such amazing workers.  They hauled huge pieces of wood to the splitter for hours on end and never slowed down.  I am so grateful that they have developed their pa's good ethics for hard work!

In other news... I like to periodically switch the division of labor so all the kids are learning new skills.  This week has been a shifting week.  Emma is taking over the bread baking and teaching Nathaniel how to make the muffins.  Nathaniel is teaching Aedan how to make the yogurt and granola.  And Sam is teaching Elisabeth how to empty the waste baskets and put in new liners.  All in all, it went rather smooth.
Last summer Nathaniel had won a gift card to Chipolte from a contest at church.  Somehow it was forgotten.    He came across it a few days ago and asked if we could go on a date and discuss our Bible study.  He even had a plan to take me to Starbucks after wards with earnings from his granola sales.  Allen had to cancel but we went anyway.  We had a nice time sharing about what the Lord has been teaching us.  Have you all ever eaten there?  Those burritos are so huge even the two of us couldn't finish one.  
 Aedan has become quite the inventor.  This week he invented a pool filling machine.  I told him that is what we used to call a hose.  ☺He made his prototype with these recycled goods.  The hose connects at the top to the water bottle.  It runs down through the egg carton and lands in the pool, represented here by the pie tin.  He tells me it didn't work well when he added water, but I understand as I write he is back at the drawing board out next to the recycling bin.
 We finished our model of the solar system.  This is rather nifty and hanging above our school table.  Just about everyone has bumped their head on Saturn today.  Ah, the fun public school kids miss!
And speaking of fun.... as I said earlier, I am not sure what to make of this bizarre weather.  Since New Year's Day we have been waiting for winter to set in.  We've barely had more than a dusting of snow and what we have gotten has been gone the next day.  I have resisted the urge to get in my gardens and get busy.

Until today.  I told my girlfriend that if I went to the garden we would be sure to get a blizzard.  She said, "Well get out there then."

And so I did.  Thanks, Katie.  I hope you are happy.  I spent the afternoon weeding. Trimming, pulling up vines, cutting trees and raking leaves.  My hands and arms are full of thorns and every muscle in my back aches.

Gee, I haven't felt this good in months.  There is nothing like good hard work in the great outdoors!

Winnie loved it, too.  The kids tucked her into the wagon with lots of pillows and fluffy blankets.
When the sun got in her eyes, Elisabeth fetched her an umbrella for shade.  
She sat and chewed on toys (one of her favorite past times) and watched the rest of us work.
Oh and she definitely was tickled to be pulled around the yard by her cheerful chauffeurs.   
After a day like today, it is tough to  believe we are in the middle of winter.  And it is even harder to decide if we should keep hoping for a blizzard or start getting ready for planting season.

Which side of the garden fence are you sitting on?

February 20, 2012

Sweetheart Banquet 2012

Friday night was the VBC Sweetheart Banquet held in honor of the married couples in our church.  Our beloved church secretary, Miss Jackie, took charge of organizing the event.  From decorating to china to cooking and music, this hopeless romantic worked herself to exhaustion to make the event extra special for everyone in attendance.  She wanted everything to be a surprise and didn't want the couples doing any work for the occasion.  In a church as small as ours, that means a lot of work for those who are left.  

Miss Jackie, after hearing of their work for my birthday party, recruited the girls to help out.  I was once again floored by their hard work and creativity.  The three of them spent an entire week brainstorming, hunting, gathering and crafting to pull it all together.  

The day before the banquet they worked with Miss Jackie to decorate the auditorium, which was transformed into a posh dining room.  I was forbidden to come inside when I arrived at the church building to pick them up.     
Meanwhile, the ladies got excited about dressing up and primping to make the evening an extra special date night.  We spent a week trying on gowns, borrowing jewelry and shopping for shoes.  It was a real blast for me as ladies stopped by during the week to try on some of my long forgotten evening gowns.  Even Elisabeth got in the spirit by pulling one of her evening bags to lend to Mrs. Braun.  I can't believe how perfectly this dress fit... doesn't it look like it was made for her?
The girls offered to make a spa to do hair, nails and makeup for the ladies on the afternoon of the banquet.   They ended up spending a lot of time last week trying out up dos and each other and researching the texture of the hair of the ladies who were coming to find just the right style for everyone.  
This friend is allergic to a lot of stuff!  I didn't want her to be miserable the night of the banquet so we got together ahead of time to try out some different makeup and see how she would react.  It was a blast doing so many makeovers at once.
With all the ladies looking forward to the event and working so hard to wow their hubbies, Allen decided to get a tux.  I think the last time I saw him in a tux was at our wedding!  Just the fact that he thought it up himself was impressive.  When Elisabeth saw him trying the shirt on she was tickled pink.  She said, "Pa!  You look so cute."  (Don't you love her choice of words?)
And then she had to give him a great big Princess kiss.  It is hard to think of anything more precious than a little girl who adores her Pa.
On spa day, the girls decorated with candles and flowers and put out dishes of candy.
And, specializing in the little touches, they even found some calming music for the background.
Emma volunteered to run a hot beverage bar, where the Salted Caramel Mocha Lattes were the hit of the day.  She recruited her friend, Grace, to help with serving the ladies, tending to odds and ends and watching after the little ones who came with their mamas.
The chalk board from my birthday party (I know you haven't seen it yet, but I swear there is a post in the works) made a great menu board.
The makeup station.  I thought the three of us ladies had a lot of makeup, until my friend Krystal arrived with hers!
The girls called in help so we could have two stations going at one time.
Terri joined me on makeup duty.  The ladies were so trusting and let us try all sorts of things they haven't done before.
Even though she had some trouble from her test makeup, Katie asked me to still do her face on Friday.
The girls also called in help from my friend, Katrina to set up a manicure station.
She did an amazing job of single-handedly doing five manicures in 3 hours.  All the girls had fabulous looking hands.  I am looking at this picture thinking how funny that there is coffee everywhere... especially because we are all caffeine free people.  ☺
Meanwhile, Kaitlin and Brianna worked diligently at drying and curling and pinning and just working some fun magic on hair.
That is Katie under those beautiful curls.
Along with all her other hard work, Gracie jumped in to hold the curling iron when we started getting down to the wire.
But, Wow!  Will you seriously look at that beautiful updo?
And Mrs. Swett's hair that has never held curl?  Brianna and Kaitlin determined and strategized to figure out how to get some body into her do.  Miss Cindy was amazed.  We were all stunned.  Except Kaitlin and Brianna who never doubted they could pull it off.
My friend, Alayna, saw the style the girls were practicing on Elisabeth's hair and requested a do like hers.
And Voila!  She got it.  Rapunzel flowers and all.  Isn't it fabulous?  
The bedrooms were converted into dressing rooms for ladies who would be going straight on to the dinner.  Mrs. Swett looks beautiful in purple. 
And Mrs. Adams was equally elegant in her evening wear.
After working so hard all week and through the afternoon, the girls were probably ready to collapse.  But it wasn't to be.  They were babysitting for the evening.  I think I counted, with our kids, 15 for a fun filled night of pizza and videos.
I was so busy with everyone else, I only had 30 minutes to shower, do my own hair and makeup, dress and nurse the baby.  Somehow, though, I pulled it off just in time to catch my sweetheart before he headed out the door.  (Just teasing.  He wouldn't go without me.)
But he did have a beautiful bouquet and romantic 1940's music playing in the car when he walked me out.
Everything at church was decorated very posh-like.
 Notice the red, pink and white paper napkin poms.  The girls liked the way they turned out on my birthday and decided to work them into the decor.
 I love the wedding photos scattered about.  It was so neat to see our friends as newlyweds.
 Nice touch with the rose petals on the tables, don't you think?
 And these simple but elegant centerpieces.  A little candlelight goes a long way towards ambience.
 I am crazy about this garland made with wedding photos, twine left over from my birthday party and heart doilies.
 It was a neat contrast to see the photos of couples married through the different decades starting with the fifties right up until 2006.
 See that couple on the red doilie?  Brother Harry and Sister Lily have been married a beautiful 53 years!
The photo booth was such a hot idea at my birthday party, there had to be one for the evening.  Here are some of our makeover ladies with their dearest.  Wayne and Alayna Allen.
Ben and Krystal Coats.  Don't you love that he coordinated his shirt with her dress?  Love the way the color works with her red hair, too!
I think Dave and Katie were one of the handsomest couples there.  Despite his threat to wear his "holy" jeans, Dave pulled it all together to coordinate his tie with Katie's sapphire velvet dress.
And the pictures I promised you, Dawn.
Well, wouldn't you?  Have you ever seen anyone "cuter" than my darling?
The youngest couple in attendance, Matt and Dawn Adams.
Miss Cindy was pleased to announce, "Bob liked the curls!"
So the meal was delicious and elegant.  The young men handled the food while the young ladies served.  There were some very nice dessert choices to end the meal.  My favorite being the chocolate cake with chocolate dipped strawberries.

After we ate, Pastor spoke on keeping the fire burning in your marriage.  And of course, there were games.  And here lies my only complaint.  And it is a big one.  Why is it every couples meeting, gathering, retreat, etc... always involves someone getting covered with something?  Over the years we have been doused in water, covered in whipped cream, slathered with shaving cream, stuck with eggs, and an array of other messy goods.  WHY?  Men may find this amusing, (although mine does not) but quite frankly, us women do not!  And really, at family camp it might be one thing.  But come on!  In this setting is it really necessary?  We ladies are told time and time again to make ourselves attractive to our husbands.  And here the ladies prepared for a week and spent HOURS primping to look lovely.  And then we are expected to end up covered in sticky orange juice?  And in dry clean only dresses to boot?  Get real!  When this little party game was announced, I immediately heard at least three ladies let up a cry of how it would ruin their makeup.  And at least one of those ladies is a gal who never puts makeup on and went to great lengths to do so.  Surely, there must be some other amusing way to pass the time.  I am not ashamed to say, I refused to take part.  Although, my dear husband did sweetly peel the oranges for me to eat.  Now that is a sweetheart.

In all fairness, I must say, the lovely Rampersaads pulled this little feat off more elegantly than one could imagine.  I guess that's what happens after so many years of working together.

We thoroughly enjoyed the preparations, the food, the fun and the fellowship of the Sweetheart Banquet.  We are grateful to Miss Jackie for her hard work and dedication to keeping the romance in our lives.  We are thankful for the young people who diligently applied themselves in decorating, cooking, serving and cleaning up.

We decided all this poshness is exhausting work.  After falling into bed at 1 AM, I didn't drag myself back out until after 8:00 the next morning.

Pastor declared the evening a success, as did all those in attendance.  It will be hard to top next year! 

Well, except for the oranges, that is.