Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teddy Bears...

I have known...

Most women my age, with the abundant blessing of grandchildren, can relate to teddy bears like old friends.  After all, we've read stories about them, purchased them in all different sizes and colors, maybe even patched up a favorite bear that has lost an eye or a leg or lived through some such terrible trauma.

As for me, I love the little bears, no matter the color or style.  I have even collected a few over the years.  When it comes to the bears, I could tell you some stories...!

One of my favorites conjures up memories of my father, playfully nicknaming his last child, a daughter, whose beautiful christened name, Teresa, was much too formal for my father, so he nicknamed her "Teddy Bear".  He was a kid at heart and loved the playful, sweet pet name he assigned to his last baby.  Teresa played along, dutifully cooperating with her tasks as a hug-able little doll, willingly giving and receiving all the kisses and hugs that are expected from a good teddy bear.  The name stuck with her probably far longer than she would have preferred!

When my first child, Christy, was born, my sister, then eleven years old, sewed a stuffed teddy bear as a gift for her new niece, the first grandchild born into this big family.  She was little more than a child herself, but made this little funny looking bear all by herself and named it "Buttery But!" Christy played with that bear for years, until it finally fell apart at the seams. Wish we still had it today!

I love the memories those two stories bring back for me. How about you? Any stories you attach to an old doll you had as a child? What memories do you picture in your mind when you think of that toy? Amazing how something like that can bring yesterday back as if it were today!

In honor of Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear, Pooh Bear, Buttery But, and my sister, "Teddy Bear!", here's a fun video of an old classic, "Teddy Bears Picnic". I hope you enjoy it and my trip down memory lane!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Every Good and Perfect Gift...

"Comes down from the Father of Lights..."
James 1:17

I am attaching, for your loving prayer support, a little story from Voice of the Martyrs regarding a group of ladies who live far away from our shores in Central Asia.  The short story from VOM tells us that these ladies have received the gift of sewing machines, which, on their own, they could not afford to purchase.  So they prayed and God answered their prayer.  

These women, simply because they are identified as Christians, are denied employment.  The sewing machines give them the chance to support their families through the work of their hands.  They also plan to use their machines (and their talent) to "bless the church" around them with clothing and hand made linens.  What a beautiful use of the gifts God has given them!

Please pray for these ladies, our sisters in Christ, across the sea.  I hope this short story inspires you to seek how God can use you and the simple gifts He has poured into your life.  Do you sew, crochet, paint, write, sing, dance...?  Do not underestimate the value of the gifts He has given you. They reflect the love of the Gift Giver for you - His magnificent creation...


VOM-USA Prayer Update for October 12, 2012

Thank you all for praying for this weeks important prayer
requests. Your prayers really do make a difference. Please print these up and share them with your praying friends.

Central Asia—Sewing Machines Help Make Gospel Outreach Possible
Source: VOM Contacts   James 1:17

Ten Christian women in a Central Asian country received sewing machines that will help them generate an income for their families. “Thank you for your blessing,” wrote one of the sewing machine recipients. “We wanted to buy a good sewing machine for a long time, but we didn’t have funds. It will help us to earn money and to bless other church members.” Nearly all the sewing machine recipients mentioned that they will also use the machines to bless other church members with clothing and linens. These families live in an area where potential employers first ask if job applicants are Christians. If the job applicants say they are, they will not be hired. Each of these families is involved in ministry. The sewing businesses will also allow them to be flexible with their work hours so they have more opportunity for ministry. One mother of four who received a sewing machine wrote, “I will teach my children, and we will serve our church and neighbors with a practical gospel.” Thank you for your part in blessing these women with sewing machines. Praise God for his work in Central Asia.

Used by Permission The Voice of the Martyrs www.persecution.com
PO Box 443
Bartlesville, OK 74005

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Do You Have in Your Hand...?

"And they said to Him,
We have only five loaves and two fish..."
Matthew 14:17

One of the purposes of this blog is to stir up the gifts that God has bestowed on all of us and to use those gifts to bless others.  That means getting creative about imagining how God might use the simplest little gifts He has given you and me. 

The question becomes, "What do you have in your hand?"  In other words, don't overlook the everyday "simple" talents He gifts us with each day.  We tend to look for some unusually exceptional talent and, if we don't find one in our possession, we dismiss all that He has given us that can be the seeds of something magnificent in our lives.  Much more common to most of us, it is the "simple" every day talents that God has rained down on us to be used for blessing others.  To me, that is the picture of the feeding of the hungry when Jesus took the simple loaves and fishes of the little boy who had just come to hear Jesus and left transformed by the glory of a God who took what he had and multiplied it over and over and over again, beyond anything this little child could have ever imagined.  Here is a modern day version of that miracle, in my mind.  What a beautiful picture of Jesus accepting our "little" and multiplying it for blessing of unseen multitudes... 

It is my privilege to introduce you to my dear friend, Lottie Krol, a two time cancer survivor, mom, grand-mom, and servant of the Lord.  Her story is both simple and extraordinary, all at once.  I hope it inspires you to open your mind to how you might be used of God to make a difference in someone's life.  Don't say you have nothing to give.  What do you have in your hand...?


A Crocheting Ministry

It all started with a hook and some yarn many years ago. As a child , my mother taught me and once I learned, my new talent lay on life's shelf for the next thirty years. Who knew that something I learned as a child would not only be a comfort to me later but also serve as a ministry to others.

In 2007, I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. During my recovery, I pulled out that hook and some yarn and proceeded to make a huge blanket. It wasn't pretty nor had it any design. I simply kept on crocheting a blanket that seemed to go on forever. It was the ugliest thing you've ever seen, just like my cancer .

Once again, last year, the cancer came back and once again, I pulled out that hook and some yarn. Only this time, I wanted to make something pretty, useful and meaningful for someone. After watching a telethon for St.Jude's, tears still streaming down my cheeks, I wanted to brighten their day. To make for them something colorful and playful to take their minds off their illness and their pain. I shared my desires for these children on my blog.

A couple of weeks passed and then one Sunday, at Church , a family handed me a basket full of yarn to realize that dream for St. Jude's that I wrote about... to make slippers for them to wear while in the hospital. I would give myself a whole year to make as many as I could during that time. They stood there smiling up at me as if they handed me a million dollars. I could only stare in disbelief, somehow managing a decent reply. Inside, I was wrought with fear because I knew that I was called out of my comfort zone and actually had to do it. I've never made a crocheted slipper in my life. Once I learned, it became easy and soon there were 300 pairs.

While on vacation, my son decided to interview me for his radio program. Fear and doubt settled in once more. People will think this is stupid. I am an amateur crocheter and these slippers are simple. Besides, I'm not sure that St. Jude's will take them. What if they won't want them? All this will be for nothing and I will end up looking like a fool.

Every time I 'd feel doubt, God responded with something positive to propel me forward on this project. After the interview, yarn came pouring in from people I never met, from Church, from friends. I felt like God was telling me to stop complaining and start crocheting. He would provide what I'd need to finish the project.

Even now, almost 600 pairs later, I'm amazed at how far I've come with this project... a ministry that I started. I still struggle with doubt and insecurity because I don't want to fail. I pray constantly for strength and endurance to finish through. To think it all started with a hook and some yarn...


If you would like to contact Lottie, she writes a blog at:    http://lottiekrol.blogspot.com        

She writes about her journey through cancer to encourage and assist cancer victims and their families and friends.