Saturday, October 11, 2014

"But A Vapor"...

      Death is a hard pill to swallow. It often leaves those involved confused, hurt, and angry. However, by God's grace, we will deal with our loss in a way that honors His name. As odd as it sounds, death is a part of life, and it's only through death that we truly live.

     It's not as if I thought something like this couldn't happen to me. I've always tried to resolve conflicts between I and a family member as soon as possible; making sure we didn't have a rift, particularly before the late evening, or as they were traveling someplace by car. The thought would cross my mind, "What if something were to happen? What if they got into an accident and I never saw them again?" Bearing this in mind, a hug, smile, signing "I love you", or the last lingering word before they left was always important, in my mind.
     But the reality really hits home when a loved one is truly gone. Gone, leaving a thousand things unsaid; leaving behind imminent memories that will never be made...

     I was talking with a couple good friends the other day. They mentioned some wedding planning Mother and daughter would be doing together. It struck a thought in my mind. That is something I will never have... Planning my future wedding alongside my Mom. It's just something that happens, it's expected... but something I will never experience.

     My younger siblings have been on my mind as well. They too will grow up without their Mother. Little Keturah, Josiah, the twins... So young. So many experiences to come and so much of life before them; yet they are motherless.

   I guess it's common to ask "Why?". Why would God take Mom from us, why would God let her suffer?... Honestly, I never really found myself asking these questions. We have so much more than we deserve and wishing Mom was still here with us seems almost selfish to me. She's so much happier than I could ever fathom. We weep now because we want her back. I want her back. I want these times with her. There are things I want to tell her. I want to go through my life, through the trials, the hardships, and all of it's joys and beautiful experiences, with her. It seems selfish.

    So I don't ask "Why"... However, this doesn't make the sadness any less, nor does it help the emptiness we now feel without her presence. It's amazing what one person's life can create in such a short amount of time and the lasting impression it can have on others.

   Of course, as expected, life moves on despite our circumstances. Memories will be made, sorrow will come, hardship, temptations, and experiences will sprinkle this path called life. Death is a part of life but the hole one leaves is hard to fill. I thank God we do not walk this path alone.

"... His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning"

   Don't take for granted the little things in your life. These are things that make a lifetime. These are opportunities that are fleeting. At once it's here and the next moment, dissipated like a mist greeted by the sun.

   So enjoy the little moments in your day; revel in them. Take delight in the gentle smile of a loved one, the dirty hands of a child at play, the reading of God's word together, young shouts of glee and enthusiasm, voices lifted in song, the strain and sweat of hard work, the grace of a kind word, a glistening tear in a softened eye, the honor in adversity as you journey through life with those you love... Each and every little thing create a lasting impression on those around you. Don't take them for granted. Don't let them pass you by unnoticed. Instead, step out and work through the moments. Stand strong on God's word and follow Him with a steadfast heart and unwavering trust in His love; for you, my friend, will be making impressions that last a lifetime.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Vegetable Soup-Vegan/Vegetarian/Paleo

Here is a soup recipe I made up for Mom and thought I'd share it with you all! I didn't put amounts down-They vary, depending on what you like. It's soup... Have fun with it! :-)

Kelsianne's Vegetable Soup (Vegan/Vegetarian/Paleo)

Vegetable juice pulp (Soup flavor will vary depending on what's in the pulp)
Organic Mixed Vegetables
Tomato Sauce
Canned Kidney Beans
Canned Pinto Beans
Canned Mushrooms
Mixed Vegetables
Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Salt (Opt.)
Olive oil/coconut oil (About 1T)

Put the pulp on the stove on Med. heat in some water. (Maybe about 2-3 cups of water to one cup pulp?-I just eye it) Bring it to a boil, then stir it, and turn the heat down to Med-Low and let it simmer for 1-2 hours. After finished cooking, strain the pulp from the juice. (Make sure to squeeze all the juice you can get out of it!) Put the juice (Soup base) back on the stove on Med heat.  Saute onions in oil till edges are golden brown.  Add them to the soup base. Then add the next five ingredients.  Add Bragg's, Salt, and Garlic to taste. Simmer for a few minutes or until thoroughly heated and kale is cooked. If you are able to have dairy, a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top really hits the spot. Enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2014


       As some of you know, my two brothers and I are with my Mom at a Euro Clinic in AZ as we try to beat this cancer that threatens to take over her body. The hand of God is evidenced by what I've watched around me; the body of Christ pulling together to encourage, pray, and give a helping hand in a time of need. Praise God.

      A few nights back, I had some thoughts that were coming to my mind in regards to a recent visit to a another clinic in the area, in hopes of getting some relief for Mom's arm, which is currently swollen with lymphodema. 

     It occurred to me how much hope is able lift one's disposition and on the other hand, how discouragement and hopelessness can bring our spirits critically low. 

      Back in NM, when Mom was first diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, we were offered very little hope. The best they could give us with contemporary medicine was "buying time" and "quality of life".  They stamped down a time-frame which, with treatment, could buy her a little time with her family. While even one day more with her was a blessing, this news was not favorable or encouraging. However, this was our reality. In our hands and through man's work, this was the most that could be done...... But God.

      When we did the research, we found a few places Mom could go where they were ready to try more than "buy time", but instead, bring her back to health. Were there any guarantees? No, of course not. But we had that spark of hope that kept us trying more, rather than throw in the towel. The interesting thing is, this in itself improves one's "Quality of Life", which seemed to be a buzz-word back at the hospital.

    So now we've been taking her to a clinic in Arizona and things are going pretty well, thus far. However, Mom's arm has been pretty swollen with  lymphodema, so we took her into another clinic and met with a woman who was going to do some massage, wrapping, etc to hopefully bring it down.

    We sat down with her and began our first meeting, the "evaluation", to determine where Mom was and what could be done to help her. It didn't go too well. The lady we met with was nice; very cordial and explained the situation and how the meeting would work... But it was pathetic. She saw Mom, heard she didn't have any lymph nodes removed or "real treatment" done, and shook her head in pity. Alternative medicine, in general, was not something she put stock in. She told us she was pretty sure she couldn't do much to help Mom's swollen arm but she would wrap it and see if that changed anything.

    Nearing the end of the meeting, I was trying to explain Euro clinic's methods for treatment to kill the cancer. She began to shake her head then looked me straight in the eye.

 "You do realize they're not ever going to get rid of the cancer... They're buying you time but that's it... You know that, right?"

    Yes, I "knew". I knew the clinic has been working towards more than "buying her time". I was very aware of the "Worst Case Scenario", if you will. I knew what this cancer may and should be doing to her. However, I also knew the God we serve is bigger than all that.

    As the meeting went on, the "lymphodema lady", (as we later called her) began to bring Euro clinic further into question. "So, how do they test progress?" Mom couldn't remember. The lady lowered her eyes and gave a knowing shake of her head. "See?" Her gaze fell on these poor, naive folks in front of her who were blindly following a pipe dream.

   At this point, the discouragement of Mom's condition and the lack of hope for progress was wearing on me, but I looked at "lymphodema lady" and manged a few words.

    "Back at the hospital, they gave us no hope with traditional medicine. The best it could do was give us a bit of time, and even then, they didn't expect her to last very long." I stopped as I swallowed the lump in my throat. "Just the fact that she is alive, and breathing, and functioning, to me, is progress."

    As I later thought about that meeting, I realized how much it reminded me of our experience back in NM. Mom was having tests done at the hospital, and the gravity of the situation was just starting to weigh on us. Every day we went, every new test that was done... was a struggle. The more we found out, the worse it got, and it was dismal. But praise God for the hope He grants us through the power of His name and the opportunities he puts before us that gives us the strength we need to go on.

    I don't know what the outcome of this story will be. However, no-matter what comes our way, I know without a shadow of a doubt that we do not walk this path alone. I don't know know what will happen... But my God does and it's in His hands to which our spirit's and our lives are committed.

  I pray that we, as the Psalmist, may declare with righteous fervor: "And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in Thee." Praise Him.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jonathan!

                                    Wow, hard to believe the little guy has grown up so much...

Some know Jonathan to be a serious person...

                                            But those who know him well, know better. :-)

Happy Birthday, "Little" Bro!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Stranger

      By Kelsey A.H.

While trotting down a dusty path
With aimless steps, we walk.
I'm heavy by my comrade's side
In disbelief and shock.

Oh how could I, a simple man,
Grasp all which happened there?
The place of my salvation and
The place of my despair.

I see a man approaching us,
His cloak drawn round his face.
His eyes: They penetrate my own.
A friend in such a place.

He speaks of things so wise and bold
And yet he does not know
About the trial and death of Christ?
The Roman's deadly blow?

And so we tell him of these things:
How Jesus bled and died,
The men who gave his body up
To have Him crucified.

The stranger listened silently.
Just nodding here and there.
He taught us, then, of all fortold,
Of prophets, Christ, and prayer.

At last we came upon the place 
We hoped to stay that night.
I held deep questions in my heart
As dark dispelled the light.

The stranger planned to leave from there
But by our urge to stay,
We sat to eat a humble meal.
The stranger bowed to pray.

Just as the cloaked man stooped to pray
My heart cried out in laud:
"Is he who sits before me now
And prays, the Son of God?"

This bold apocalypse denied
 Christ's death won over grace.
My swelling heart burst forth in joy,
Wet eyes look to His face.

But Christ had vanished-Then I wept.
Love vanquished my despair.
The agony and joy of grace
I almost could not bear.

Then rose we up to tell of all
His mercies would afford.
Behold Him: spotless Lamb and King,
Christ Jesus, risen Lord!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Naive Prayer

Out of fear of what we may sound like, do we sometimes avoid praying about a certain issue? Do we sometimes avoid utterance of a certain person or subject because we somehow feel it's too trifling, too silly, or too naive?
     Yes, we prayed for "So and so's" salvation but did we pray for that life to be completely turned around for Christ? Did we pray passionately for that heart to be dramatically changed, and did we truly believe it could happen?

     I think we get so used to things the way they are we don't ever think things could be different. "Well, Aunt or Uncle Deville have always been the black sheep of the family, and so it is what it is..."

     What ever happened to ardent prayer?

     I  believe what is at stake here, is our faith. That beautifully innocent child-like faith that is so sweet in God's eyes. Have you ever heard the prayer of a child? The tenderness of their words, naive to the world they live in? Simply bringing their innocent request before the throne of grace they leave it in God's hands.

     As that little child raises up his petitions, do we sometimes laugh in our heart at the simplicity? Honestly consider, as we've heard the young utterance for this or that, did our mental barrier come up? "Well, we know that probably won't happen, but how cute of them to pray for it!"

     What happened to our prayers? What happened to our humble, and yes, naive requests? We lack in wisdom and experience and thus we must wholly rely on Christ. These are the desired prayers of the saint. Humbly, we look upward to our mighty God crying, "Abba, Father!"; presenting our innocent request with a trusting heart that our Father can do anything.

     Praise God for the naive prayer! May they ascend the heavens into God's presence that He may show us his strength and wisdom. We shouldn't ever doubt something is possible when we know that through our God, all things are possible. Praise Him.

     The naive prayer of a child; may we all give utterance to this sort of prayer and, as a child trusts Father or Mother to know and act on what's best for them, even more so may we lift up our request to our heavenly Father, trusting the outcome in Abba's* mighty hand.

I'd like to encourage you today to dig deep into your prayer list and your heart. Is there that beautifully trusting, naive prayer? Then, child of God, lift it up that it may be as the Psalmist proclaimed: "[May]...My prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." 

    Don't fear the issue to be trifling or silly. Lift up your "Naive" prayer and see God move.

 *The name "Abba" is a deeply intimate term meaning litterally, "Pappa" or "Daddy".*

Monday, February 24, 2014

It's Released!

Announcing the Release of "Remembering the Alamo"! - Written by my friend Miss Alicia Willis. Check it out!

When Pastor Mark Siegler takes his youth group on a midsummer vacation to San Antonio, he anticipates teaching them about honor and sacrifice at the Alamo. But arrival at the historic landmark brings cutting disillusionment. A troubled teen is determined to make things difficult - and spread his embitterment to the rest of the group. 

Mark has two choices: give up or try again. Midst his own discouragement, he decides to give them the story behind the legendary Alamo. And his perseverance results in the unforgettable.

The sweeping events of the Alamo comes to life through the eyes of an 1800's wheelwright named Silas Edwards. As his tale unfolds, his decision becomes a difficult one. Is defending the Alamo so important? Or are the principles behind opposing General Santa Anna worth sacrificing everything for?

Join Private Silas Edwards, David Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Mark's youth group to discover the gripping events behind America's battlecry: "Remember the Alamo!"

Purchase your own copy HERE!   If you don't have a kindle, you can download the FREE Kindle app for your PC, MAC, tablet, phone, or ipad now and start reading!

Alicia Willis is a homeschool graduate and avid historian. When not writing or doing endless historical research, she enjoys being a church pianist, teaching music, singing, and playing volleyball. Her other passions include working in her church and spreading the love of Jesus Christ. She also manages a monthly e-newsletter entitled "Little Corners" and is working towards her degree in Biblical theology and history.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Happy Birthday, Josh!

On February 14th, 1992, my brother was born. I came along roughly a year later. Once he got over his indignation towards Mom and Dad for bringing "another someone" home, we became best buddies and have been ever since.

We have fun goofing off with each-other...

...Yeah, he has a pretty fun sense of humor.


Galatians 2:20          

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Happy Birthday, Josh! I can't wait to see how the Lord will use you in the years to come.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Flesh as Grass

     When we look into the world at our role-models; people we admire, it's easy to get caught up in the glamour and acclaim. Yes, we often admire those close to us, such as parents, and rightly so! However, we live with them, so we know first hand about their imperfections and failings. We don't usually form an unrealistic and idealistic opinion of how they live. We know they struggle like we do because we see it.
  So we look farther out. We see other families and people who have been temporarily placed in a position of authority in which many are watching. But do we really see them for who they are, or do we watch and unwittingly draw conclusions as to how we think things are? "Oh, we know they're not perfect, of course!"... Or so we reason. But in our hearts, do we really and truly believe this?

   The church at Corinth got caught up in an overemphasis on man. Some claimed to follow Apollos, a smooth preacher, some Paul, more down to earth, and some Cephas. Still others scoffed at those following a "Simple man". Who did they follow? Well, they followed Christ ! (1 Corinthians 1:11-13) The church members began to compare and contrast who, in their eyes, did a better job of preaching the gospel and teaching God's word. What they failed to realize was that Apollos, Paul, Cephas- they were all mere men! Debased sinners forgiven only through the work of their Savior, Jesus Christ, just like the rest of them. (As far as those who claimed only to follow Christ, I think it was more of a pride issue for them, than an over-focus on man.)

    The Church at Corinth was very much like many Christians today, it seems. We could care less about Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, or Justin Bieber, but that doesn't mean we don't form a "Christian icon" for ourselves, in the name of Homeschooling or godly virtues. We like to have someone to watch, who we somehow feel is better spiritually; someone who seems to us to be a superhero Christian. We like to let someone who "Has it together" bear the brunt of the criticism, do the hard work, and perhaps share some secret to good Christ-filled living. We watch them through rose colored glasses, seeing them absent of the grit and grime we "average families" experience in day-to-day life.

      Galatians 1:10
 "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."

    So for what reason do we hold onto these fallible icons? When you get down to it, I think we don't even want to see them "at our level" because it's downright discouraging. We get so tired trying to get past the immorality and muddle of the unregenerate sinners around us, plus trying to work through our own failings. We want to see someone who, at least in our glazed-over view, isn't caught up in in this; not bogged down spiritually; on fire and passionately serving the Lord. So we stare at the pile of laundry at our feet, the toys scattered around the room, and the dust on the bookshelf and sigh. "What if's" bog our mind as we wish we could do better. We raise our Christian figure on a pedestal rather than seeing us all as mere servants to our King. We are all fallen. We all struggle. We all need Christ.

    While this may discourage some, I think looking at it differently may change our perspective. Think about it: We all are striving to follow God's word and bring glory to His name. We don't have to watch those in positions of authority and shrink back in awe of their commission. Rather, we should be encouraged by their work and seek the Lord for how He wants to further use us. Perhaps it is a position of high acclaim, or perhaps the lowliest, most unseen job you can imagine. Either way, we can move forward trusting in God's best, rather than our own desires, or the toil of mere man's obligation.

     So often we seek the admiration of man when we need only seek to please Christ. It sounds like something we've heard before and "know" but have we really taken it to heart? Is it really something that shows in our thoughts and actions?

 Man will let us down. Man will leave us unfulfilled. We must put our every hope and confidence in Christ. He will give us our focus, mission, and the ability to follow through. This is something I must take to heart, and pray you do as well. Once we realize the fallibility and erroneous heart of man- only then can we fully give God all glory and acclamation. When we let Christ empty us of our flesh, He alone can bring fulfillment, leaving our cup overflowing with His mercy and grace.

  "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever."