Monday, December 25, 2006

Sew Happy

I'm sew excited about the gift my family gave me for Christmas.... a Janome sewing machine! I've been wanting a sewing machine for quite a while. I can't wait to use my new machine. When I spent the week with my grandparents (a short review is on the way...), my grandma and I worked together to create a skirt. She taught me some valuable lessons. Thankfully, my grandmothers on both sides of the family are seamstresses, so I will have plenty of opportunities for special sewing days.

This year, my siblings and I decided to get a picture taken for our parents. It had been years since we had a picture made of the four of us. We got together over Thanksgiving break to have the picture taken, and managed to keep it a secret until today! Here's a picture of my parents opening their gift:

Here they are after they got over the initial shock and surprise:

I'm not sure what Tasha's laughing so hard about, I guess I missed it while I was taking the picture.

Here's a good shot of the picture. I am so thankful the picture turned out as great as it did. Our family is not keen on having their picture taken, so a picture this good is a rarity.

I hope the Lord has blessed each of you with an equally wonderful Christmas!

Celebrating the Birth of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ

Luke 1:46-55

(46) And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
(47) And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
(48) For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden; for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
(49) For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
(50) And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
(51) He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
(52) He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
(53) He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
(54) He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
(55) As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Christmas Past

To send a little holiday cheer your way, I would like to share this snapshot of a past Christmas in the Corn Family. This picture is one of my favorites of Isaac and me. It was taken in 1987, when I was nearly 1 year old, and Isaac was 1 1/2.

May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse,
freeThine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On the Road Again (Or.... In the Air Rather)

In the morning I will be taking the last of my final exams, then quickly heading to St. Louis to jump on a plane. I will be spending 6 days in Biloxi, Mississippi with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and two adorable cousins. This will be my first time visiting the area since Hurricane Katrina hit last September. I'm anxious to see the area, but prepared to be saddened by the scene. My grandpa has told me about the destruction of the old plantation houses along the coast. I can remember taking long drives along the coast to view the beautiful homes. I will be sure to take pictures and post them upon my arrival home.

My wonderful Grandma Kate and Grandpa Lester.

My energetic cousins, Alec and Adam.

Monday, December 11, 2006

One down...Three to go

I just got back from my first final of the week. Thankfully, it wasn't too bad. It was actually a lot easier than I was anticipating, which is always good! I figured up that I spent over 20 times as long studying for the final than the amount of time I spent taking the final. It's good to be over-prepared, right?

I have two finals on Wednesday and one on Thursday, then I'm done!!!! What a great thought.

I was able to get a few hours of sleep before I had to take it. The wonderful weekend we enjoyed was definitely worth the lack of sleep. Stay tuned to Strem's blog for pictures and a complete recap of the weekend. It definitely was a blessed time in worship and fellowship with God's people. Thank you for all the prayers concerning our safe travels and my final. God is gracious!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Amazing God

I just returned from having lunch with my good friend, Elise, and I want to share with you how amazing, awesome, and merciful God is. You see, Elise was in a serious head-on collision last Wednesday evening. She was traveling at approximately 60 mph when she was hit by a car also traveling about the same speed. After spinning around several times and hitting another car, Elise landed in a ditch on the side of the road. When the ambulance arrived on the scene they had to cut her out of her car and rush her to the emergency room.

Here's where I tell you how amazing God is. Elise survived the accident with only minor injuries. Her left leg is swollen, she has staples in her knee, and several bruises on her body. When I visited with her today, she showed me pictures of her car. The roof was torn off, the front was mangled beyond recognition, and glass was shattered all over. The hole that Elise occupied didn't look big enough to contain even a small child. The deflated air bag was resting against the back of the seat. How Elise survived the accident with only minor injuries is beyond my understanding. The only answer I can give is that God was completely protecting her that night. He had his loving embrace around her and, by His grace, she is alive today.

I am thankful that I serve such an incredible God. I am thankful for friends, like Elise, who continuously praise His name. In the several times I've spoken with her since the accident, Elise never fails to give glory to God, for by His grace she is alive and well today.

Psalm 107:1 "O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;"

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Early this afternoon Kelsie, Shelly and I headed up north to Lincoln, Illinois to attend the annual Christmas in the Chapel. This is a performance that Lincoln Christian College puts on each year around Christmas time. Each year the story is different, yet the underlying theme of Christ's birth, life, and death frames the storyline. This year's story, entitled "Do You Hear What I Hear?" revolved around a young girl who grew up being known as "The Voice of Christmas" in her town. As she grew older her passion for Christmas faded when her closest companion, her grandmother, passed away. The girl was transported to the magical city of Rhapsody, where she learned the reason and Song of Christmas. The story had a dual meaning, as the town and the townspeople represented sinners searching for the Song, Christ Himself. I realize my description doesn't do justice to how spectacular the show was. It was well worth the 3+ hours of travel time!

Here are the lyrics to the main song of the performance. I really enjoyed listening to the words and thinking about the meaning of the song. I thought you might enjoy reading and pondering with me.

Can You Hear?
Written by Geron Davis

Ev'ry road I walked had led to nowhere
Ev'rything I tried had turned out wrong
It seemed I'd lost a reason to get up ev'ry morning
I had lost all hope and lost my song

Circumstances said I wouldn't make it
That was all before I met the Man
Who put His arms around me, I hear Him say, "Forgiven"
And I knew I'd never be the same again

Can you hear my freedom Song?
Can you hear victory won?
No more walking on my own, no more facing life alone
No more struggling with guilt and despair
New life begins, can you hear?

Ev'ry debt was cancelled in the pardon
That Jesus purchased on a rugged cross
When He cried, "It is finished," Satan's rule was over
As perfect love restored what had been lost

The curse of sin and death completely broken
The bells of freedom's Song began to ring
Hopelessness was ended, a brand new day was dawning
With the resurrection of the King

Can you hear my freedom Song?
Can you hear victory won?
No more walking on my own, no more facing life alone
No more struggling with guilt and despair
New life begins, can you hear?

And now my heart is getting restless
I'm longing for the day He'll come
When we've fought the final fight
And our faith has been made sight
And the bells of freedom's Song begin to ring

Can you hear my freedom Song?
Can you hear victory won?
No more pain and no more fears,
No more death and no more tears
No more walking through the night
For the Lamb will be our Light
No more sin and no more burdens to bear
New life begins, Can you hear?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake...

Monday evening, Shelly and I headed to campus for CSF (Christian Student Fellowship). Due to Sacred Harp, Thanksgiving break, and various other reasons, it had been nearly a month since I had joined the CSF group for bible study. I was looking forward to seeing everyone, yet feeling reserved about the topic we were to discuss: politics & religion. To be quite honest with you, I was dreading it. I'm not very interested in politics and I don't care to listen to people have heated debates about political issues. This is what I was envisioning the bible study to be. Shortly after arriving and getting the discussion started, the Lord quickly rebuked me and my feelings changed. The study and discussion was one of the most insightful experiences at CSF for me. I experienced an "Aha! Moment"... a "God Moment" ... the light bulb was turned on, my heart was stirred, and I left with a greater understanding of the Scripture than I entered with.

Last week, Michelle posted an entry entitled "Relationship Between Submission & Protection." You can read that entry HERE. In the entry, she focused on the need for those in authority to provide protection to those who are to submit. While this is a difficult topic for most, especially when talking about a wife submitting to her husband, I have often struggled with my duty to submit to the governmental authority over me. Just what exactly does this word "submit" mean? What is considered "submitting?" Do I have to give up my rights and beliefs to "submit" to the government? These are all questions that I have entertained in the numerous attempts to grasp this concept.

Thankfully, the Lord blessed me to be able to answer some of these questions and better understand what the scripture calls us to do in reference to the government. As Michelle identified in her blog, when under authority (whether it be government, church, parent, husband, etc.) we have to submit.

In I Peter 2:13-14, Peter instructs us to be submissive to the government: "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well."

Throughout the last twelve verses of the I Peter chapter 2, Peter gives us 5 reasons to be submissive to the government.

1. (verse 13) "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake"

  • We are to submit to the government because it is pleasing and honoring to the Lord.

2. (verse 15) "For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men"

  • By submitting to the government, we put to silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. In I Peter 2:11-12, Peter makes reference to this: "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."

3. (verse 20) "...but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."

  • In the world, we may act in a way that seems good to us, because we fear God, but to others it may not appear good. When we are faulted for this, we are commanded to take it patiently. When we do so, it is acceptable with God. If you are faulted for wearing a shirt or reading a book that proclaims the name of Christ, our responsibility is not to fight back with the thought that it is our right. Instead, our responsibility is to be patiently silent, for this is acceptable with God.

4. (verse 21) "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps"

  • Christ suffered for our sakes, and we are commanded to follow after the steps of Christ, which means that we too are going to have to suffer persecution in life. We are promised this numerous times in scripture. Romans 8:17 says, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." Likewise, Philippians 1:29 promises, "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;"

5. (verse 23) "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously."

  • When we are put under the subjection of opposing authority, we can be comforted in knowing that we are committed to the ultimate Judge. Praise be to our God who judges righteously and eternally reigns on the throne!

When my eyes were opened to the depth and meaning of these passages, the Lord blessed me to better understand how God calls us to respond to the government. Our duty is not to actively stand against political injustice, propose laws that promote Christian behavior, or peacefully practice civil disobedience to laws that infringe our rights to practice our faith publicly. Our pursuit as Christians should NOT be to establish a Christian government.

For me, this was hard to completely understand and grasp. Honestly, I'm not even sure that I still do. I know I've read these verses several times before, but they never quite had the same impact on me. In society and in Christian circles today, we are often told to "stand up for what we believe in." (Thanks in part to the VeggieTales.) I would say that I now have to disagree with this catchy phrase.

I realize that some of you may be reading this thinking that I am a little behind in the times, considering that I am just coming to this realization. I suppose I might be a little behind. I also suppose that, had I understood this earlier, I might not have had so much trouble submitting to those in authority over me. I am just thankful to God for making this clear to me now. Just because I have a better understanding of my duties doesn't mean that it will be a breeze for me to fulfill this role. However, I will proceed in prayerful diligence as I strive to honor God and submit to every authority, "for the Lord's sake."

Romans 13:7 "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Psalm 100
(1) Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. (2) Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. (3) Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (4) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (5) For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Thanksgiving is....

Thanksgiving is a
time of gratitude to God,
our Creator and Provider,
whose guidance and care
go before us...and whose love
is with us forever.

Thanksgiving is a time
to reflect on the changes,
to remember that we, too,
grow and change
from one season of life to another.

Thanksgiving is a time
of changing seasons,
when leaves turn golden
in Autumn's wake
and apples are crisp
in the first chill breezes of fall.

Let us remember the true meaning
of Thanksgiving.
As we see the beauty
of Autumn, let us acknowledge
the many blessings
which are ours...
let us think of our families
and friends..
and let us give thanks in our hearts.

~~Author Unknown.~~

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Psalm 119

Psalm 119:65-80
(65) Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. (66) Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. (67) Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. (68) Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. (69) The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. (70) Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. (71) It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (72) The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
(73) Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. (74) They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. (75) I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. (76) Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. (77) Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. (78) Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts. (79) Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies. (80) Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.
The Lord has really placed this passage on my heart in the past few days. I keep reading it over and over, and each time I feel the Lord speaking to me. I feel David's words becoming my very own prayer to God. Verse 66 has especially been popping off the page at me: "Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments." How I long for 'good judgment and knowledge!"
I've also been encouraged by verse 75: "I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me." Thankfully, our God is perfect and all-knowing in His actions. We can receive comfort in knowing that the trials and afflictions we go through "worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Praise God for his tender mercies and abiding compassion!

Pictures of Folklore Village

Michelle recently posted a blog about our weekend in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, where we attended a Sacred Harp Singing at the Folklore Village. I agree with what Michelle had to say about the weekend...the singing, the people, and Folklore Village. It is such a beautiful and peaceful place with wonderful scenery.

I don't have any pictures from the actual singing, but I have these of Plum Grove Church, Farwell Hall, and the snow-covered trees. The pictures don't do justice to how beautiful that part of Wisconsin is.

The front of Plum Grove Church

The church was built in 1882, and moved to its current location in 1993.

This is a view of Farwell Hall as we're climbing up the hill.

A view of the scenery - - there were numerous pine trees covered with snow - - very picturesque.

One last picture looking over the rolling hills. You can see Farwell Hall to the right and an old silo to the left.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bible Game

This is a little game we played at bible study last night. Just match the bible characters to the most appropriate song according to their stories.


A.) Noah
B.) Esau
C.) Daniel
D.) Peter
E.) Adam & Eve
F.) Lazarus
G.) Esther
H.) Job
I.) Moses
J.) Samson
K.) Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego
L.) Jonah
M.) Elijah
N.) Methuselah


  1. Great Balls of Fire
  2. I Feel Pretty
  3. Stayin' Alive
  4. Hair
  5. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
  6. Got a Whale of a Tale
  7. Born to be Wild
  8. Up, Up, and Away
  9. The Lion Sleeps Tonight
  10. I'm Sorry
  11. The Happy Wanderer
  12. Strangers in Paradise
  13. The Second Time Around
  14. I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In a Poetry Mood

This is the result of several hours of boring lecture today...

A Season of Change

Falling, falling down,
Cast upon the ground’
Orange, red, yellow, brown
Strewn out all around.

A leaf, an acorn
Crunch beneath my feet’
The path is well worn,
Steps without a beat

An end, a transition,
a beginning, new birth;
Life ends and life begins.
A time of change has come.

A spiritual change,
A new man put on;
Fall down at His feet,
Follow His teaching.

His path I trod daily,
Diligently striving.
May His will by my own,
And never more wander.


Light to Guide

Waves of doubt,
Covering, blinding, misleading.
Don’t know where to go,
Can’t see the road ahead.

My heart is weak,
As a fatigued child;
Worn from the world,
Tugging and tearing.

A glimmer of hope,
A ray of light;
Light to guide my way,
A way of hope and trust.

His hand brushes mine,
I clasp on tightly;
He leads the way,
Down the road unseen.


Holy One

Rejoice, rejoice;
Praises aloud;
Lift up your voice,
Join with the crowd.

He is worthy
Perfect, complete
High above all,
None cam compare.

I worship you,
I praise your name.
Refreshed anew,
Never the same.

Come Holy Rain,
Pour out your love,
Down upon me,
My soul washed clean.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Thoughts on Justification by Faith

Thank you to those who have joined in the discussion concerning my previous post. I have been reading My Utmost for His Highest as my nightly devotional for about two months now. This piece, "Justification by Faith," was the devotional for October 28, and it has been on my mind since I read it that night.

When reading it the first time, it took me a while to fully comprehend all that Chambers is trying to convey. It is one of the deeper subjects that I have read thus far of his devotionals. Overall, I am very pleased with what he had to say, and I do believe it is a great devotional. As it has been stated in the comments to the other post, I would like if Chambers would make further comments on the actual subject of justification by faith. Bro. Joseph made this comment: " I would prefer greater clarification on the actual subject of justification by faith to make it clear that our "right relationship" with God as children is prior to our belief. Belief or assent effects my "relationship" with God only from the standpoint of my obedience and ability to manifest what He has already worked in me. " I agree with his statement, and also wish Chambers would have made more clarification about that.

The following sentence is another that I found to be interesting: "The Spirit of God brings justification with a shattering, radiant light, and I know I am saved, even though I don't know how it is accomplished." We know how we are saved and justified...through Christ's death on the cross. I think a better way to say this would have been..."I know I am saved, even though I don't know why it was accomplished."

My main reason for posting about this devotional was that I was very pleased with what Chambers had to say. In previous devotionals, and ones I have read since October 28, Chambers makes statements that seem very contradictory to what he said in this particular one. In"Justification by Faith," Chambers seemed to make it clear that our salvation and justification are already accomplished...completely finished...and there is nothing we can, or have, to do ourselves. He does not seem consistent with this belief in all of his devotionals.

While the piece was somewhat difficult to understand, I think it is a good explanation of doctrinal truths that are often difficult for me to put into words.

Feel free to make more comments and add your thoughts into the discussion!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Justification by Faith

From My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers:

"I am not saved by believing - - I simply realize I am saved by believing. And it is not repentance that saves me - - repentance is only the sign that I realize what God has done through Christ Jesus. The danger here is putting the emphasis on the effect, instead of the cause. Is it my obedience, consecration, and dedication that make me right with God? It is never that! I am made right with God because, prior to all of that, Christ died. When I turned to God and by belief accept what God reveals, the miraculous atonement by the Cross of Christ instantly places me into a right relationship with God. And as a result of the supernatural miracle of God's grace I stand justified, not because I am sorry for my sin, or because I have repented, but because of what Jesus has done. The Spirit of God brings justification with a shattering, radiant light, and I know that I am saved, even though I don't know how it was accomplished.

The salvation that comes from God is not based on human logic, but on the sacrificial death of Jesus. We can be born again solely because of the atonement of our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creations, not through their repentance or their belief, but through the wonderful work of God in Christ Jesus which preceded all of our experience (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-19). The unconquerable safety of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We do not have to accomplish these things ourselves - - they have been accomplished through the atonement of the Cross of Christ. The supernatural becomes natural to us through the miracle of God, and there is the realization of what Jesus Christ has already done - - "It is finished!" (John 19:30). "

Romans 5:10 "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."


I welcome your thoughts, opinions, questions, remarks, etc. I'm not going to state mine just yet, as I don't want to taint the discussion or lead it a certain way.

Friday, October 27, 2006



24 years and 7 days later.... the St. Louis Cardinals are finally World Series Champions again!!!!!


2006 World Series MVP: David Eckstein

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Church Bonfire, cont.

Brother Paul, Mom, and Dad keep warm by the fire as the temperature dropped throughout the night. Regardless, it was still a FUN time!

Shelly holding Abi. Abi wasn't too interested in the bonfire...she was more interested in sleeping. Sister Mayfield is in the background staying warm inside the car.

Brother Jeff helps Tressa roast a marshmallow....without getting too close to the fire!

Sister Michelle and Sister Sandy roasting some hot dogs and marshmallows.

Dad and Tasha standing by the fire. Tasha's really enjoying that marshmallow!

At the close of the evening, we left with thankful hearts and full stomachs. It truly was a great night of food, fun, and fellowship. We missed those who weren't able to join us. Hopefully we will be able to do it again next year...with a larger crowd!

Church Bonfire

Brother Jeff, Sister Tracy, and Tressa are listening to the rules for the hayride, waiting for the tractor to take off. We were blessed with a beautiful night for our hayride and bonfire.

Sister Mayfield and Brother Chris are bundled up for the chilly ride.

Sister Michelle prompts Tressa to shout out an animal during our attempt to sing 'Old McDonald.'

Sister Sandy and Sister Michelle take a break from singing during the hayride to pose for a picture.

Sister Tracy and Sister Barb enjoy the fellowship as they eat their dinner by the fire.

Sister Michelle shows off the hot dog she roasted. Looks tasty!

Thursday, October 19, 2006





God Will Lift Up Your Head

Several months ago I purchased the new Jars of Clay CD: Redemption Songs. I have always liked Jars of Clay, but never really went out of my way to stay updated on their newest releases. This summer I was wasting time on the Internet and came across a hymn sung by Jars of Clay. I quickly located their site and purchased the CD. What a wonderful decision that was!

The CD includes several hymns and other worship songs. One of my favorites is "God Will Lift Up Your Head." This song has been such an encouragement to me, as well as a couple of my close friends. Take a moment to read the words and really focus on the message the lyrics are conveying.

God Will Lift Up Your Head - - Jars of Clay

Give to the wind your fearHope and be undismayed
God hears your sighs and counts your tears
God will lift up
God will lift up
Lift up your head

God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
He will lift up, lift up your head

Leave to His sovereign way
To choose and to command
Then shall we wandering on His way
Know how wise and how strongHow wise and how strong


Through waves and clouds and storms,
He gently clears the way
Wait because in His time, so shall this night
Soon end in joy,
Soon end in joy
Soon end in joy,
Soon end in joy.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Today in Introduction to Special Education, we had a guest speaker come in to talk about her experience with a special needs child. This young woman, Becky, has a son with cerebral palsy. Now, CP is very much a vague umbrella term used to describe a group of movement and posture disorders, resulting from brain damage to some degree. Micah wasn't born with CP. In fact, when he was about 2 weeks old, he developed a severe form of jaundice, in which his bilirubin level grew to such a degree that it caused permanent brain damage. This specific form of CP is called kernicterus.

You may be wondering why I am taking the time to blog about this lady you don't know, and will never know. Well, many of you know that I have a sincere interest and care for children with CP. My good friend, Emma, was born with CP. It is so refreshing and encouraging to see families, such as Emma's and Micah's, have such a positive attitude about their life. Several times throughout Becky's presentation, she made mention of how blessed she felt to have a child with special needs, and what a blessing it is that the school system is so cooperative. She also mentioned that she believes God had been preparing her and her husband for this situation long before Micah was born. Her husband received his degree in physical therapy, and Becky has a degree in chemistry. Before she had children, Becky worked as a pharmaceutical chemist, experimenting with different drugs. Both of their careers have helped immensely in raising a child with special needs.

It is such a blessing to know that God is in control and has supreme ruling over the plans for us. Just from listening to Becky speak for a little over an hour today, I am confident that the Lord is with that family, and has been since long before we can imagine. I don't believe Becky and her husband are raising a special needs child by chance. I am thankful that Becky believes this herself, and was bold enough to proclaim that in a college classroom.

Becky shared a poem with us today that some of you may have heard before. I had never heard it before, but I really enjoyed it. The poem is titled, "Welcome to Holland," and it tells of the emotions that parents of children with special needs experience.

byEmily Perl Kingsley.

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Box City 2006

Here are some pictures of Box City on Thursday night.

Kurt and Josh (not show in picture) were kind enough to build an addition onto their "box mansion" for Shelly and me to sleep in. Kurt is shown here getting ready to add a side wall onto our "home" for the night.

It was quite chilly Thursday night. Here we are trying to keep warm in our hoodies by the fire.

When we finally went to bed in the early hours of Friday morning, it was approximately 31 degrees outside. Shelly and I piled 5 blankets on top of us and snuggled up together inside our little box. In the morning, I awoke to find myself alone in our box. Shelly was having trouble sleeping, so she got up at some point in the middle of the night and slept in someone's car.

All in all, it was a good time. It was great opportunity to raise awareness about homelessness and poverty. When I'm old and gray, I can add it to the list of crazy things I did in college.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Getting into God's Stride

For the past month or so, I've been doing my nightly devotionals out of Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest. I found tonight's devotional to be particularly good and thought-provoking. Mr. Chambers writes:

"The true test of a person's spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening. A person's worth is revealed in his attitude toward the ordinary things of life when he is not under the spotlight (see John 1:35-37 and 3:30). It is painful work to get in step with God and to keep pace with Him - it means getting your second wind spiritually. In learning to walk with God, there is always the difficulty of getting into His stride, but once we have done so, the only characteristic that exhibits itself is the very life of God Himself. The individual person is merged into a personal oneness with God, and God's stride and His power alone are exhibited.

It is difficult to get into stride with God, because as soon as we start walking with Him we find that His pace has surpassed us before we have even taken three steps. He has different ways of doing things, and we have to be trained and disciplined in His ways. It was said of Jesus - "He will not fail nor be discouraged..." (Isaiah 42:4) because He never worked from His own individual standpoint, but always worked from the standpoint of His Father. And we must learn to do the same. Spiritual truth is learned through the atmosphere that surrounds us, not through intellectual reasoning. It is God's Spirit that changes the atmosphere of our way of looking at things, and then things begin to be possible which before were impossible. Getting into God's stride means nothing less than oneness with Him. It takes a long time to get there, but keep at it. Don't give up because the pain is intense right now - get on with it, and before long you will find that you have a new vision and a new purpose."

Genesis 5:24 "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him."
From The Weather Channel:

Tonight's forecast: Clear; Overnight Low32°F Precip 0%; Wind: 13mph

Tonight I'm going to be sleeping in a box. Outside. At school. Pray I don't get frostbite.

Today in History

October 12, 1967: St. Louis Cardinals beat Boston Red Sox, 4 games to 3 in 64th World Series as Lou Brock steals a record 7 bases in 1 World Series

October 12, 2006: The St. Louis Cardinals will face the New York Mets in game 1 of the National League Championship Series.

What will you be doing at 7:19 this evening?


Just for your information....

1989: Last time the Chicago Cubs were in the NLCS (they lost to San Francisco)
1984: The only other time the Chicago Cubs were in the NLCS (again, they lost to San Diego)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"...I will never leave thee..."

Ps 35:18 "I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people."

This afternoon I was sitting on campus enjoying a nice lunch and chat with my brother and a few friends when something amazing happened. Our wonderful friend, Amy joined us and announced that the SIUE Gospel Choir was singing outside. Becca, Isaac, and I quickly bid ‘adieu’ and made our way outside. As soon as our feet were out the door, we could here the name of Jesus echoing in the autumn air. Right there in the middle of the Quad, a group of college students were gathered to hear the praises of our Lord sung by an incredibly talented group of singers.

Thankfully, my 12:30 class was cancelled today, so I was blessed to be able to stay and listen for nearly an hour. It was an amazing experience to be able to pause in the middle of my hectic day to give thanks and worship God with other Christians…ON A SECULAR CAMPUS!!! It’s not every day that I am able to have this experience. Praise the LORD!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


met-a-mor-pho-sis [met-uh-mawr-fuh-sis]:

1.Biology. a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism, as from the caterpillar to the pupa and from the pupa to the adult butterfly.
2.a complete change of form, structure, or substance, as transformation by magic or witchcraft.
3.any complete change in appearance, character, circumstances, etc.
4.a form resulting from any such change.
a. a type of alteration or degeneration in which tissues are changed
b.the resultant form.
6.Botany. the structural or functional modification of a plant organ or structure during its development.

Several weeks ago I had the privilege to take my ‘Little Sister’ to the St. Louis Zoo. One of the main attractions during that visit was the Insectarium. Upon arrival, I was excited to learn that there is no longer an admission charge to visit the Insectarium. In all my years as a St. Louis Zoo patron, I had never had the opportunity to visit the Insectarium, due to the price you had to pay to see a bunch of disgusting insects crawl around. Well, my opinion of the Insectarium changed once I went inside. Yes, there are tons of disgusting insects that I see far too many of in my place of lodging here at SIUE. However, my favorite part of the attraction was the butterfly garden. My little sister and I were delighted to have to opportunity to watch a butterfly emerge from its cocoon. We were able to see the whole process of it changing from this somewhat unattractive, green blob into a beautiful butterfly. Soon after the transformation, a staff member of the zoo took the case of butterflies and released several into the butterfly garden. Thankfully, this area is a separate room from the other insects. What a glorious feeling to be surrounded by so many plants and have hundreds of butterflies fluttering about. The docent directing us through the garden claimed that if you stand still long enough, a butterfly might land on your nose. Well, try telling a squirmy ten-year-old girl who is anxious to visit the penguins to stand still for more than 10 seconds…it’s nearly impossible. Regardless, the experience was a memorable one, and one that caused the wheels to start turning in my head.

The metamorphosis experience led to me to reflect on the changes that have occurred, and continue to occur, in my life. We all go through changes in ‘appearance, character, and circumstances,’ whether great or small. The changes that occur from infancy to adulthood are limitless. Among those changes are those that benefit us and those that hinder us. Regardless of the immediate outcome, all have worked together in creating the person we are today.

One of the most significant changes many of us experience is the transformation from the ‘old man’ to the ‘new man.’ Now, I didn’t have an ‘Apostle Paul’ experience; I can’t tell you a specific time or place when this transformation occurred in me. However, I can tell you that it has taken place, and that nearly every day I have to remember the instructions Paul gave the church at Rome (and to us): “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” It's no secret that I fall so short of meeting this expectation. With Chris and Michelle’s recent blog entries, I too have taken some time to reflect on all the things I have set out to do, yet have not accomplished. I think of the extensive list of things I would like to accomplish throughout my life, and know that some of those will never be checked off. However, when my journey here in this world comes to an end, I know “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” (Psalm 17:15)

We have the hope and promise that our greatest transformation is yet to come. When we enter into our Eternal Home, we will be transformed and will become perfect, spotless, and complete. That time will be more amazing than the most beautiful butterfly emerging from a cocoon. What a day that will be!

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:1-5)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

See You at the Pole

Students on high school and college campuses across the nation will be gathering together in prayer this morning. Why you ask? Well, today is See You at the Pole. Faculty and students of varying beliefs will unite in an effort to lift our hearts and voices in praise and petition to our Lord and Saviour. Isn't it amazing that we have the opportunity to do this? Praise God for the freedom we have!

This year's theme of SYATP is grounded in this passage out of Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth."

Let's pray!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We Praise Thee O God

“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.” James 5:16

Tonight in our Girls' Group Bible study, we focused on prayer. We had a Concert of Prayer. I was not familiar with this practice, but after the evening was over I felt it was a blessed time. Our time was spent praying about seven different areas: 1). Forgiveness 2). Thanksgiving 3). Worries and concerns 4). Government and authorities 5). Evangelism 6). Edification 7). Praise.

Throughout the 45 minutes we spent in conversation with our Lord, I felt encouraged and lifted up. It truly was a wonderful time. I felt really convicted that my prayer life has been suffering immensely. The Lord placed on my heart the desire and need to spend more time in prayer. I felt especially encouraged during the last portion of our Concert of Prayer: the praises. God has been doing amazing things in my life and I often forget to give Him complete acknowledgement. Today was a beautiful day, as the recent autumn days have been, and the praises were well overdue. Psalm 9:1-2 struck a chord with me tonight: “I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.” This hymn immediately came to mind and has since been running through my head.

Revive Us Again
Words by: William P. Mackay, 1863

We praise Thee O God! for the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus who died, and is now gone above.

Hallelujah! Thine the glory, Hallelujah! aman;
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, revive us again.

We praise Thee O God! for Thy spirit of light.
Who has shown us our Savior, and scattered our night.

Hallelujah! Thine the glory, Hallelujah! aman;
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, revive us again.

All glory and praise to the Lamb that was slain,
Whoo has borne all our sins, and hath cleansed ev'ry stain.

Hallelujah! Thine the glory, Hallelujah! aman;
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, revive us again.

Revive us again; fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.

Hallelujah! Thine the glory, Hallelujah! aman;
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, revive us again.

Praise God!

"Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee." Psalm 143:8

Monday, September 25, 2006

Come, Thou Fount

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise the mount-I’m fixed upon it-mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wand’ring from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wand’ring heart to Thee;
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above.

Robert Robinson (1735-1790), a Methodist preacher in 18th century England, began his walk with Christ at the age of twenty. Raised in a poor family, Robinson set to work at a very young age. He did not have the guidance of a father’s hand to steer him down an upright path. Robinson quickly found himself in the company of wayward men. After witnessing a group of his companions pursue a drunken gypsy, Robinson heard the words of Methodist preacher, George Whitefield. Whitefield preached the words of John the Baptist recorded in Matthew 3:7, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Robinson walked away from that sermon convicted of the sinful life he had been living. He lived in guilt and dread for three years. At the age of twenty, the Lord worked in Robinson’s heart, turning him from sin toward a life for Christ.

In 1757, Robinson went to work penning the words to the hymn, “Come, Thou Fount,” which tell of his life. The second stanza depicts his conversion experience. Notice the beginning of this stanza: “Here I’ll raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’ll come.” In I Samuel 7, the children of Israel have gathered together at Mizpeh when the Philistines came against them. Mercifully, the Lord struck down the Philistines. It is recorded in I Samuel 7:12: “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.” According to
Strong’s Concordance, Ebenezer means “stone of help.” Samuel is acknowledging the fact that the Lord delivered Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. In the words to the hymn, Robinson is likewise acknowledging that the Lord is his “stone of help,” that brought him out of the depths of sin.

In the third stanza, Robinson confesses his debt to God that is impossible to repay. He also recognizes his natural tendency to wander and stray from the footsteps of the Lord. Only God can keep us and ‘bind [our] wand’ring heart to thee.” Robinson did indeed stray from his Methodist roots and became a Baptist preacher. It is also supposed that he later followed Joseph Priestly in the Unitarian beliefs.

As we raise our voices in praise to our God and King, let us remember that He is our “Fount of every blessing.”

"For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." Hebrews 6:13-15

"And be not conformed to this world..."

Bait. Cast. Lure. Hook. Reel.

It's all been done. No longer am I just a "blog stalker"...I'm officially a blogger. Brother Chris and Sister Michelle: may this appease your sweet souls. I can't promise enticing or captivating posts, but I'm going to try to be creative in my entries.

May you sojourn here a while, then carry on with your blog stalking!