New Life

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly." Richard Bach

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Most Beautiful Woman I Know.....

 Photo by Susan Enjaian Wood

I first saw Ruth at church,
on Easter.
She was singing "Power of The Cross".
She sang beautifully.
When she was finished, everyone in the church stood up and 
applauded.  And her response was to point her finger up toward 

I will never forget that.

I saw some slight disfigurement on her face but barely noticed.   I knew I wanted to meet her.
I really believe God purposed that in my heart.
I introduced myself in the hall on the way to Sunday School 
class.  I was new.  I felt a little awkward.

She was so nice.  She told me about the rare cancer she had and 
that she had to have part of her jaw removed.  There was 
something about her, I couldn't put my finger on it.


"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all 
circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ 
Jesus" 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

She gave me a brochure of her testimony, "Finding Hope Through Suffering."  I couldn't wait to read it.

In Sunday school class that Easter morning, the teacher asked for prayer for Ruth (I realized it was the woman I had just met).
The cancer had come back.  Oh no.

I tried to listen to the Sunday School teacher but was drawn to the brochure again and again.  Wow.  She had joy.  I saw it.

Would I?

My circumstances seemed so utterly unimportant.  Sunday School seemed so utterly unimportant.  My perspective changed.


I thought about her for days.

Getting to know her, I asked if she would speak to our Hunger & Thirst prayer group and she agreed.

Ruth told us her whole story.  She spoke of the horrifying details.  She told of the pain (physical, mental, and spiritual), the hurts, the fear, the sacrifices.

I still saw beauty.

She played the song, "Bring the Rain" by Mercy Me

We all sat in silence and listened.  In awe.

She ate through a tube in her tummy that night.  It was humbling.

We laughed.  We cried.

Some of the hurts the women brought to the meeting included; a husband with MS, alcoholism, a death in the family, financial troubles, a recent miscarriage, and more.

She told us that all of our hurts were just as valid as before she came.  That they were no less significant despite her sufferings. 
Although impossible to conceive, we believed her.
She was right.

When she left, we were all changed.

She just gets more and more beautiful the more I know her.

Then just last year, she felt a lump in her temple and the cancer was back.  Again.  With a vengeance.  Her surgery was more intrusive.  More painful.  More scarring.

  "The Lord does not look at the things man looks 
at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at 
the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Funny thing, the first time I saw her just after coming back from her surgery & recovery was in the graveyard at our church.

On Easter.

Her husband wheeled her there as the Easter Sunrise Service had just started.   I thought she was even more beautiful in her bravery.

 "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting:  but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."  Proverbs 31:30

Later, at another prayer meeting, some friends and I asked if she would speak to our homeschool group with her talk that she directed towards students.  She did.

(3 Photos by Neecie Herndon)
It was Powerful.

What an awesome thing for children to see someone who constantly points UP.
My kids see love.  And they give it back.  Gabrielle rushes to hug her every time they meet.  Even she sees it.  And she is only 3.  Abigail painted her nails once and loved on her.  But Abigail was the one who was blessed.

It is life changing.

Ruth could be the woman next door.  She is just an average mom.  She has the same hopes, dreams, and fears we do.  Just like you or me ...
....but really....
... she is becoming more like Him.  I can see Him in her.

Fighting (a verb) cancer for 11 years.  A homeschool mama in the midst of the craziness.   Two beautiful boys full of strength and love and fear for their mom.  An Amazing husband, the kind you don't often see.

She is incredible. 
                                                      Photo by Cassy Mirich

                                          Photo by Susan Enjaian Wood

Ruth's sense of humor puts you at ease, throws you off balance, blows your mind, cheers your soul, and refreshes your spirit.
Just knowing her is a blessing.  She is a kindred spirit.

Constantly pointing up.
Giving God glory in her suffering.
That we would all be so wise.

My beautiful friend.

I want to be like her when I grow up...........the most beautiful woman.

Photo by Neecie Herndon
"Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and 
wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes – but the inner person 
of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil 
spirit, which is precious in God’s sight."
1Peter 3:3-4

If you would like to know more about this amazing woman and Bright Hope Ministries or to hear her words pierce your heart...
Contact Ruth Moran at
She is available for speaking engagements for women's groups, retreats, conferences, schools (assemblies/classrooms), churches, youth groups, luncheons, homeschool groups, etc...  Donations accepted and appreciated.
Also, please pray for Ruth and her family.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Drama Mama

Over the last three years, due to logistics, money, and timing; my search for drama classes for my girls were to no avail.

"God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow in them."  ~Author Unknown

I really prayed about this as it had been on my heart for some time.

I found (or rather God plopped into my lap) an American Girl Theater Production kit at a friend's yard sale entitled, Check Under the Bed.  It included basic instructions, six scripts required for six characters, prop suggestions and was approximately 30 minutes in length.

I didn't think much about it until Abigail (then 9) waltzed through the house reciting her lines for the next couple of weeks.
After reading through it, I was determined I could accomplish this.

"What ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."
Napoleon Hill

Besides, Abigail had almost all her lines memorized and I couldn't let her down.  I think she has acting in her blood and she also did a terrific job casting the actors.

Here she is as Carlotta Vandepepper.

 The kids were very involved with the entire production, made many of the decisions, and had great ideas for props and costumes.  They really worked as a team and it was humbling to see them pull together and move toward a common goal.

                                           Scene 3: Ms. Peabody faints

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 My dear friends (and fellow mamas), Kimberly and Beth, helped with directing, sound, props, and play practices.
And with their dedication, the play was a smashing success.  It required a lot of commitment from all of us as play practices do take time and everyone needs to be there.  (If you decide to undertake directing a play, consider the actors, their parents, and everyone's schedules as commitment is everything.)

The cast autographed the play programs for the audience immediately following the play and I have never seen kids so proud of themselves and their achievement.  I was one proud mama too.

Beth threw a fabulous cast party for the actors the following week.  We even had the kids do a two minute commercial "in character" and they walked in on a "red carpet".

Kimberly...Sound effects    

Beth...Script Prompter

Christina.....Margaret Maloney / Director

But the thing is, it wasn't about us or what we did.  God did this for us.
 Something as simple as a play for my children................a desire of my heart.

 "Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it." Psalm 37:4,5

I never would have thought three years ago, had you suggested doing my own play, that I could pull this off.  But God knew.

If we can do it, anyone can.  I write this to encourage you, reading this, that you can do this too.
With no experience.  With only prayer.

Play...... total cost $2
Pipe for Dr. Brockett.....$2
Brochures and play programs..... $21
Doing something I didn't think I could do and trusting God for the results.........Priceless!

"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."  Proverbs 16:3

From left to right:
Dr. Brokett played by Hamilton
Ms. Peabody played by JoBeth
J.T. Maloney played by Jessica
Carlotta Vandepepper played by Abigail and
Jane Crumb played by Ashley

The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers.  But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.  ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

~The Little Flower~

Our Little Flower Nursing Home Ministry is in our 9th year.  The moms and children love on the residents by doing crafts, hanging out, singing, and/or playing games with them every month.  We get more out of it than they do.  This is a tremendous blessing in our lives.  They love hugs.

(Call your nearest assisted living center or nursing home and ask to speak with the activity director to plan a visit. )

"The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person."
-- Andy Rooney   

Abigail submitted a poem for a contest in April about making a difference in your community.
She wrote about the Little Flower......
The Little Flower
"We visit them in the nursing home
The people there are often alone
Sometimes a game we will play
We usually come on the second Tuesday
Sometimes we bring a craft
Boy, it's great to see them laugh
Some don't get much love or touch
And so we love them very much
It is so good to see them smile
It makes it all worthwhile
The moral of this poem is YOU
There are nursing homes in your town too."
By: Abigail Parker Brown ~ March 2010~ Age 9

“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32

 One craft that made a big impression on me was creating a Hand print Heart for Valentine's Day made out of all the hand prints of the residents, staff,  and kids.  It was very touching as some of the residents hands are disfigured with age and do not lay straight.  It was humbling to trace these different shapes as some didn’t look like the other hand shapes.  The effect of all the little hands and big hands together was quite poignant.

"Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour.  With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow's hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life. " ~Charles Dickens

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Simple Gifts.....

                           Daylillies shared by a friend.

Cantaloupe plants for our garden....from Kimberly.

Our first squash of the season in little hands from Daddy.
Thank you Father for more on the way.

Rose of Sharon from Elaine.

Hydrangea from my girls......
Matthew 6:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Magnolia Tree from Uncle Freddie.

"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars."  ~Martin Luther

A tilled garden from Richard.
Shhhh.... Can you hear the potatoes growing?

Thank you friends, family, and Father.

 I Thessalonians 5:18- In everything give thanks...

“Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.” William Butler Yeats

 Keepers At Home--
Candle Making Skill:
Our host was Amy and her daughter.  Amy
passed on a wealth of candle making knowledge from her grandmother and years of experience.
She shared an old musty box full of old candles, wicks, and treasures.

Creating 4 kinds of candles:

Beautiful color...

Mold candles using ice chips.... wax was poured in over crushed ice.  The effect of the crushed ice was a beautiful lacey design on the candle creating a maze of intricate holes. 

Hand Dipped candles... pillar candle ...a slow process,  patience required ....if the candle wasn't dipped quickly enough, the wax would all fall off. 

pretty container candle..... choose your own color

novelty shell candle....shells shared by a beautiful daughter.

"For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness." Psalm 18:28

The art of writing beautifully...

Keepers At Home- Calligraphy Skill

We learned........allow yourself to make mistakes,  tracing isn't cheating, working with a rhythm, patience, and practice, practice, practice!

the finest behavior...

"Life be not so short but that there is always time for courtesy."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Keepers At Home:
" ...provides wholesome, fun-filled learning experiences while building character.......basic homemaking skills, spiritual skills, leadership & nature skills, and meeting the needs of others..."

Etiquette skill:
Our Host Beth and her daughter, invited all the girls to her house with a formal invitation which required an RSVP.  This allowed the girls to RSVP themselves and begin learning about etiquette in a the truest sense of the word.  Punctuality was expected.

Beth covered everything.  She taught the girls how to stand, walk, and sit like a lady.  They reviewed how to greet adults and others and how to properly ask for something.

She demonstrated table manners and provided a real meal for the girls to practice these skills.  Beth showed the girls where the place setting should be on their place mat and provided place mats for the girls to draw the setting themselves.  It was a neat keepsake to take home and also reinforced how to properly set a table.

The girls all role played answering the telephone and how to take a message from a caller.....what to say and what not to say.

Several of the girls even sent a thank you note to the hostess afterwards.

She blessed the moms and the girls.......  And I see the fruit of her efforts.
We appreciate you, Beth

"It costs nothing to be polite" Winston S. Churchill

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Desiring Love

I read an idea once about 1 Corinthians 13 and how injecting our own name and our children's names in the place of love will make scripture come alive to us and our children.  Try it, it is humbling.

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
1 Corinthians 13 (English Standard Version) 4-7

________ is patient and kind; _______ does not envy or boast; _______ is not arrogant or rude.  _______ does not insist on its own way; _______ is not irritable or resentful; _______ does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  _______ bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Blessings to you today.

Biblical Standards; Character Traits to strive for and their opposing offenses.

"Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion - it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ. "  Billy Graham

I developed this from several different sources.  I couldn't seem to find all of the character traits I desire in my children in one place, on one page,  that was easily accessible.  At our home, it is printed duplex and laminated.  I pray it is a blessing in your home. :)

 "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. " Philippians 2:1,2

Biblical Standards

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

God's garden

Flower used in my wedding.
My favorite flowers.  Strong and sturdy.  And yellow.