Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Blessed is she who believed --

Luke 1.45 
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill HIS promises to her. 

Christmas has come and gone.  I was "blessed" with a fever and some sort of virus that descended upon me  Christmas Eve and I spent a lot of my holiday  time in my bedroom;  but, indeed God wastes nothing.  There were new prayer requests.  Requests I prayed for over and over.  And new insights into His provisions and His Word.   There were lots of dreams made. 
Lists that were started.  And there was just time to sit -- sit and realize how blessed I am, but also how protected I am from 'REAL' stuff at times.  

My heart has been hurting for a mom.   I got news of this mother right before the holiday.  She is extended family.  Her son has had a hellish year and  recently went to  her ex husband 's funeral.  And recently got a call that her daughter was involved in an accident.  Her daughter left an office  party in a car and she shouldn't have. She was only a mile or two from home.  She crossed the center line and two other lives met Jesus pretty quickly because there is usually fatality with head on collisions.  That daughter  is 25.  My daughter is 25.  I am not making excuses.  Drinking and driving does kill.  However, the fact that this mother is about my age just really HIT me hard.   That daughter is awaiting a hearing date and sitting in a jail cell.  My heart aches for ALL involved.  

It can almost get OVERWHELMING - but this is God's problem, not mine.  But the burden to pray is so real --

...there, but because of the GRACE of God go I.....
....there, but because of the GRACE of God  go.....

Christmas is a time for new birth and new promises and  it ushers in a new year.  
I have prayed for this mom and her daughter and her family as her family is very close to my family.  My heart aches -- but I will believe in the verse that GRABBED me this am -- Luke 1.45.  

Luke 1.45 
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill HIS promises to her. 

So, I am blogging this am -- for myself.  To remind myself of His promises.  THERE are hundreds in His Word but I will focus on these 7 -- I pray it will help another to believe that indeed -HE will fulfill His promises for YOU too!    - Michelle

What can be said about God's promises to us?

He has promised to supply every need we have. The Bible says: "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus". That's Phillipians 4:19. Now notice, God has obligated Himself only to the extent of our needs. That would include food, clothing, shelter, companionship, love, and salvation thru Jesus Christ. It would not include the multiplicity of luxuries that we have come to think of as needs.

  So, according to God's Word, I will believe and pray that a young woman sitting in a jail cell this  very moment believing that her entire world is never going to be the same ---I will believe that God will provide every need.  God knows what will come next.   I know she did not mean or set out to drink and drive but her choices did play into the end of some lives.   Now what is next?   As HARD as it is to sit here and  pray for God's will to be done, my heart hurts for her family and how to walk in this normal.   I pray for the families of the women who met Jesus that very moment and I pray that all involved will seek God to meet every need. 

 And, I will believe that HE will fulfill His promises for her--even in that jail cell.  

And I think of another mother in heaven whose son is still serving a sentence because of another's death and his choices.  I will never forget her face as she spotted me in Publix,   and  shared how she was thrilled to know her son had finally submitted his life to Christ and was making a difference in the lives of others -- even in his prison cell!    

...there but for the GRACE of God go I......

God has promised that His grace is sufficient for us. (II Corinthians 12:9). in fact, He has made provision for our salvation by His grace through faith. Read Ephesians 2:8. It is through an obedient faith hat we have access into the grace of God according to Romans 5:2.

So, according to God's Word, I will believe that the wife, whose husband walked out this past month and texted her that he wanted a divorce, possess the grace from God to help her in this new normal.  Will her husband repent and show godly sorrow?  Will her husband bypass his own selfishness and return to his first love and fight for their marriage and the family they have established?  I can see she is showing great grace and mercy, and I pray that the knowledge of His grace within her own life will be sufficient for her to wait. 

So I will believe that as she walks this new season out, He will give her the grace that is sufficient!  And I will believe that this marriage, who Satan has targeted, will be saved!!

 God has promised that His children will not be overtaken with temptation. Instead, He assures us that a way of escape will be provided. This promise is recorded in I Corinthians 10:13. Jude wrote: "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present your faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy" (Jude v 24). Darius, King of the Medes, said to Daniel, "Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee" (Daniel 6:16). He did deliver Daniel from the den of lions.

So, according to God's Word, I will believe that perhaps those choosing to continue in sin and destroy the relationship of marriages,  friendships, and /or other relationships  -- may not be His children.   !!  ??   This is a very hard promise to comprehend at times for me....  I guess, it is easier for me to think or believe that these people, that seem hell bent on destroying others and allow the enemy to dictate and guide their actions,  must be so FAR from the hand of God that ...well, that makes some sense to me. 

 Why would a person, who claimed to know God, loved God,  did God's work - all of a sudden turn his or her back on every godly practice and  destroy or want to destroy a family?   a marriage?   a relationship?     Some would say they never had experienced a true salvation with Christ.  I think they have chosen to deny God and they have hardened their hearts. 

  However, that is for God to decipher and for me to let God deal with.     Big tough thoughts!

But I will believe and pray for that wife holding onto the sheer promise of a wedding vow that her husband has destroyed  and   severed.  
And I will  believe and pray for that mom, holding onto the sheer promise of that baby smiling up at her and claiming to love Jesus  ....that the wayward thinking  young adult will come back into alignment with Jesus!   

I will just believe that those marriages CAN be restored.  Because of the GRACE of God...go I!  

God has promised us victory over death. He first resurrected Jesus by way of assuring our resurrection. Peter said: "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses" (Acts 2:32). Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3,4). Later on he adds: "but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 15:57).

There has been a lot of death in our community and around me in the past month.  But I praise God for those who are rejoicing today as their loved one is with Jesus.  I pray to God about the others as their lives did not display His blessed HOPE but indeed I believe that God revealed himself to each of them in His time and I believe each person will have a choice to choose HIM and eternal life before they meet their Creator.

So, I can believe the FORCE of God was with Carrie  Fisher.  It is interesting to see the world as it mourns a movie or pop icon, but truly, she is a child of God and I  know she met Jesus on Tuesday -- whether I will see her in heaven one day, that will be realized later.  But again, probably in heaven when we are all healed and whole -- we will ALL be ICONS with HIM!  

God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully (Romans 8:28). It may be difficult for us to see and understand how this is accomplished at times, but God has promised it, and He will deliver.

This promise -- I am banking ON!  All things....... all things...   all things....  even when it does not appear that God is  AT work - HE is! 

So, I will believe that the marriages that my husband and I are standing in the gap for -- will be restored as the wives in these broken marriages have enough faith to WAIT on God and believe like I did -- and GOD won!  

 God has promised that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved. (Read Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38).

Amen !!  

God has promised His people eternal life (John 10:27,28). In closing, let me appeal to you to live so that the promises of God will be yours.

I admit, laying in bed with a throbbing head, fever, and the chills -- I thought of heaven and how there would be NO sickness!!   I thought of how the people of the old testament waited some 400 years before the baby Jesus was born.  I thought of Anna who waited day after day  and finally held that baby in her arms.  And I thought of Carly as God has a beautiful plan for her life and I prayed that she would feel HIS loving arms around her in that jail cell.  And I thought of how protected I am and yet -- by the GRACE of God I go..... 

Lord, I pray this blog will meet a need - remind a person to pray today and know that Your promises are true and I pray that each prayer request represented and woven into this blog will be answered.  I am NOT begging you to answer, as I know YOUR Will, will be done, but I am asking that each wife mentioned within this blog and YOU know who they are -- I pray a blessing upon them today as if they read this or not -I pray they will hold onto YOUR promises and smile today and know that YOU have them in Your Right hand.  IN Jesus name, Amen! 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016 from US!

 Merry Christmas from Us!! 

The new  NBC TV Show, THIS is US is certainly a family drama that has gotten the world's  attention in just a few months.  I am a sucker for Hallmark movies, happy endings and seeing a family evolve from the 70's to the present is pretty cool.  I am not sure if you have joined the millions and watched an episode but there is plenty of time to binge watch it before January 10th when it returns.  Why?  Well, don't judge me but I crave  shows  about family and its dynamics,  and if I had teens in my home - I know there would be plenty of fodder for discussion at our night time devotion/prayer time.  But enough about that show- this is about "US"!    And it is kind of cool to see the 70's set and be reminded of my growing up!  

On plane, headed to Colorado!
Well, THIS is US -- My kids and my hunk of a man!  He is still cute, isn't he?   Sometimes I look at him and think, whoa -- I can't believe that 35 years ago I asked him to the Sadie Hawkins dance.  That would of made an episode of This is Us.   And I pray he looks at me and is thankful  that he agreed to go to Balistrarie's after that fateful basketball game!

Family time  -- that still happens,  it is just some  very treasured moments now, because they don't happen daily anymore but still often enough to make this "ma" and "mumzie"  so thankful!   Now, it  looks  like sitting around the living room after a rough week eating wings in our cramped little cottage ,  or in the family room of the cabin we enjoyed this past summer, or it could even been the banter back and forth in our family chat with our IPhones.  When one of my kids suggests a pod cast to watch and the other one mentions, " I did!" -- this 50 year old mother of 2 is on cloud nine!     Memories.   I think this past month when HP would text, "got a final today - please  pray" and I was able  to watch the rest of them reply, "done" or "I prayed" -- again, my heart would just swell up with appreciation  for Our God!   He is the perfect restorer!   We are a family -- prayerfully not to full of drama or ourselves, but full of the JOY of the Lord and  every week Brendan and I  relish the  extra  time  together when it happens!      This empty nest thing is not so bad and as your adult children grow,  become parents, and seek us as company -- it is a new normal that we are enjoying!  As the photos  display, we have enjoyed many meals together, trips to Wisconsin and Colorado, and the planning is already starting for next summer!! 

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 If you can't tell by the photo  above and the Owl, we are celebrating Hunter's graduation from FAU with a BAA in Accounting.  He begins an Internship with Grant Thornton in January and  after that -- he will be BACK at FAU taking  Master's Classes to finish the goal of being a CPA.

I actually asked him if he wanted to be a CPA and he replied, "well, that is not what I want to do the rest of my life!" He has actually considered law school,  different areas of accounting,  coming back to Okeechobee and helping with the Insurance office, but he'd really like to get into investment property where you flip businesses  and go from there -- he has plenty of time to figure it out!  He was blessed with  such a photographic mind and loves numbers so this upcoming internship will indeed help him decide what he wants to do next.  He will be working 60+ hours a week with different teams and auditing different clients.  He has been warned or told ahead of time that this sort of internship will provide several job opportunities so we will see where this leads.    We are very proud.  Yes, I posted a photo of his "magna cum laude" status but mainly I was SO impressed that ALL 4 of his names were on the program!  Hunter Edwin Lowell Pritchard!  He played Division 1 soccer his first two years at FAU and was a scholar student athlete, but the past 18 months he has been "just" an honor  student working a part-time job.  So, he finished in 3.5 years -- but as I stated he is not done.  Brendan reminds him daily to stay focused on what God is leading him to do and serve Him. 

He enjoys his soccer buddies and the friends he has made through his Scholarship Accounting Program so we don't see him too often, but that is also  because he has been working about 30 hours most weeks this past year and we entice him home for a home cooked meal and I do his laundry.   He also loves the beach and loves to add himself to pick up soccer games there and in local parks.  He also helps Team Boca still train the young soccer players.  I would LOVE to actually witness this in person  but neither Brendan nor I want to do that trek of driving during the school week ever again.    I spent a good amount of time this evening cleaning and looking through some old scrapbooks at photos of him when he was 3, 5, and so forth -- playing in the pool  or yard with Darby and Daron,  gaming with Diego, and hanging with Ben Vuleta.  And the soccer photos and the memories of Bren and he leaving town at 4:30 two maybe three nights a week to return by 10:30  where I would have a 'midnight' plate of food for both of them.   Memories!   All very sweet memories and I know he is an adult, but now,  my baby is  no longer a baby!   I guess it is pretty sweet of God to give me another baby....

At the Dog Beach one late afternoon - running the puppies!
 Speaking of trips, we did enjoy some Wisconsin time and we headed to Colorado as well.   Brendan plays in a Golf Fund raising Tournament for GNJPM.  It is a very worthwhile cause and he has made it an annual trip.  This past summer we took the kids with us.  We traveled to see my Aunt Gloria and Deb and then headed to the Springs to enjoy some time with Bren's cousin, Dean  and his wife  Linda.  We then we spent time in Buena Vista as well, as Dean and Linda graciously opened their cabin on the Arkansas River to us.   Their grandson, Wiley Skaret also has a very special project he is involved with and we were blessed to see a preview of a fundraising effort over in Colombia.  I would ask you to visit,  and consider making a donation.  Wiley's dad is our United States Ambassador to Columbia and I believe this international fundraising is certainly tremendous!   If nothing else,  please watch how our cousin, Wiley, plays the piano - he is only 14!!  I have two  nieces and nephew  that started piano lessons this past year and I was thrilled to watch them play Hot Cross Buns!  Wiley certainly has talent and I know he will play for the world one day!  Just watch -- I promise you, you won't be disappointed!

 Jake had been in the Springs as a Freshman and played for the Air Force Academy so that was one tourist spot we made time for.  We also enjoyed laughing and just being together as we explored Aspen, Black Hawk, Boulder, and Denver!   Rudy's was our favorite spot to enjoy BBQ and we had to stop here and there so Hunter could make his famous instagram/snapchat videos that had us rolling on the floor laughing.  Perhaps you follow him -- what a natural comedian!   And yes, we stalked the home of John and Lisa Bevere!   They live in Colorado Springs!  Hunter asked me, "mom what are you going to do, walk up to their house?"  I replied, "well, I don't know, if I see them getting their mail, I may just hop out and ask for an autograph!!" If you watch "THIS is US",  our  ( my ) stalking could probably make it a rather funny episode!   I must clarify -- so you don't think I need therapy.  John wrote a book Good or God and it released this year.  Brendan and I led a book study of it at our church and we did bring it with us to Colorado and we made the kids watch all six dvd's with us as well -- it is a VERY good book and a perfect study as we entered into the daily dram of the Election.  So, I just felt it would be cool to see if God would give me favor and perhaps I would see  them enjoying Rudy's one night or even out walking their dog.  LOL!   And if one of you hear this story from Brendan's point of view, don't let him fool you -- he was right there driving and suggested we explore their cul-de-sac! 

 Did I mention babies?   Taylor's dog Elsa  (Boston Terrier)  and Jake's dog Hank (Pit Bull)  ended up as  parents.  It is a very humorous  but expensive story, but 3 pups graced our family in January and it certainly was so sweet watching them grow.  The pups did not go far, Taylor and Jake kept one, Mickey.  One went to a friend from school so Nala is close for photo ops and one. Moose,  went to Jake's brother and the family sees their brother LOTS!

My daughter and my sisters!
Taylor and Jake officially got married back in September of 2015 but we celebrated in February of 2016 when family could join us.   Yep, we had a 2nd ceremony!   It was a beautiful day and God gets the glory!  It gave us the chance to get some photos done, entertain friends and family, and we also celebrated a birthday -- I was 50 over that weekend and Brendan turned 50 later in summer.   A milestone!  50 brings new challenges but we are loving this new number.  Often we realize we are the 'oldest' here or there and love each time someone says, "really, you are 50? I thought you were about 45!"  

Taylor and Jake both teach.  They are in the process of buying a home as they live in Ft. Pierce.  Jake teaches at a K-8 school  where he is an ESE inclusion teacher and Taylor is teaching 4th graders  at Central Elementary School in Okeechobee where she graced the halls some 15 years before!  Both continue to enjoy working out, watching movies, and hanging with their friends as well.  They also teach/lead Children's Church every 3rd Sunday at their church home which they love.   And, they are parents of more than just some crazy dogs! 

Several months ago, we all were blessed to meet  Ava Lynne.  She has indeed changed things up a bit!   In September, Brendan and I were able to meet and hold our little bonus grand baby!   You can't hold her too much, she began to walk by the second weekend we got to hang with her!  Ava celebrated her 1st birthday this past November.  Taylor gets to be a bonus mom and Jake is a wonderful, wonderful  daddy.   With God's mercy and grace,  we continue to pray that they will have her a little more than every other weekend but we know God is good!  In the past 3 months we have fallen in love with her -- and stop and think about how blessed we are to have her in our lives and how empty it would be without her.  Yes, there are challenges and difficulties when you share custody, but we believe God is bringing light  to all involved, and beauty out of this  new relationship  among all parents and grandparents involved and I am so excited to watch our  little Sweet Pea grow!   Both Taylor and Jake have their eyes wide open to what God wants them to do and how to handle this new normal, but His mercies are new every morning and she is certainly a gift.  When you think of Jake and Taylor,  I would ask that you say a prayer as all parents with toddlers need prayer!    It is funny, but she reminds me SO much of Taylor as a toddler!   Funny or is this God's favor? !  She is very animated and knows  how to get what she wants.   Currently she is cutting teeth -- molars and wants to chew everything she can - including my finger last weekend! 

 Brendan and I are enjoying our 29th year of teaching.  Brendan will retire after the next year.  30 is where he is going to  stop.  He still spends his afternoons marketing and working at the Insurance Office  as that is one of his passions.  We still have the Harley and we don't ride as often cause it is housed in storage,  but we still get it out and enjoy a trip for breakfast or an drive to see the lights!  He loves to read and college football is indeed the highlight of the week!  He checks in with the kids each day as he loves to hear what is going on and he is usually the one planning the get togethers  and trying to figure out how he can have more "Ava " time!

The 'original' US!
  Me -- I am teaching  at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School and this year I am part of a team where I am doing the writing instruction and history for 30 students!  I adore  the people I work with  and enjoy my job tremendously.  It is a new experience each day,  I have never worked harder from 8-3pm, but as I drive home the "hardness" is forgotten and I can enjoy the benefits of being a teacher.  It is a ministry mission now - teaching that is, whether you are in a public or private school.  But I get to share my love of God when He orchestrates is.  I am  truly blessed.   And this past May I convinced my dear pal, Rachel, to join us out there as she took a 4th grade  teaching spot.  It has been great fun car pooling and catching up on almost 6 years of not being 'neighbors'  each day!  We talk about everything from the children, our children, who were suppose to be married to each other (Darby and Hunter) to how to get the kids to use their Elizabeth Beck Vocabulary in their expository writings.   In my free time, I watch TV.  No -- I do other things too.  LOL!

We both are pretty active in our church home and enjoy being used of God and try our best to serve as He calls and leads.  We see HOW God continues to show favor and we consider our lives and our marriage  a miracle so we do approach the opportunity to pray for a couple or help another  believe that God does the impossible ---a task that He has prepared us for! A task He has anointed us to do!   God wins!   We do hope and pray that others see Jesus in us.  We  believe that no matter what the enemy may have one person thinking, we are going to stand and believe on God's promises and trust HIM to remain fighting for us.  Exodus 14.14 says that.  And if you have never read the book of Hosea, we believe that God will do whatever it takes to get the attention of His lost children.  Both Bren and I realize that time is short but God is able!  

God certainly is a God of second chances. 

A highlight of my year was flying to St. Louis with 3 really cool " sista chicks " and meeting another set of 3 really cool " sister chicks!"   My Wisconsin family joined my church family  and they "met us in St. Louis".  What a weekend!   I have to say, to see 24K women and a few men all praising God and  worshiping Him.   Tremendous!  Holy.  Breath taking!  God was speaking and ministering to EACH person  in that America's Dome.  It was a Joyce Meyer conference which ministered to me specifically.   It felt like God orchestrated the weekend just for me.  And I know each person there felt the same way if they allowed God in.  God is so stinkin sweet!  There were friendships fostered that  weekend that will remain forever special.   And God did a work in everyone's heart and head.  God won!  People changed.  I changed.  The weekend ended with an incredible anointing of peace -- that has not left me! It was a Jesus high that has not left me.  Prayerfully, I am going back next September!  So, if you are interested in meeting me in St. Louis - please contact me!! 

So, as I wrap this up  -- I will extend a warm welcome to  "hot" Florida. If you visit, NO, we still don't have a home -- living life in a cottage still -- but we are working on getting that house and we are VERY close.   Building soon or buying -- just waiting on God to show us directly WHAT He is going to do.   Brendan and I pray daily, hourly, for God to move in this area as we want a home!   However, Brendan and I can meet you anywhere if you want to visit  - we drive!   And I will call my sister - she has a guest house!!   ( Well, ok, a guest room - she won't mind!)

 Speaking of my family -- Jeanette and  her hubby still live here in Okeechobee.  My niece, Cali has a beautiful 3 year old and Jeanette and Craig were blessed with  another  new grand baby - a girl!  Jordyn is a daddy!   Daryl and Tiffany's oldest is well into nursing school  and they still have 2  football players at home!  Aaron and Laurie's oldest got married to a beautiful girl , Cora Rose, and he is still a Marine and they live in California.  My brother Nathan and his wife added their 4th son this year!  Chase is not the youngest nephew for now!  Oh wait, I believe he turned one  this past week!   His oldest is now a 5th grader and pen pals with my class!  Trevor and Marcie added a new dog to their family - well, maybe that was last year.  What he did add was a lake home so now we have a COOL spot for the 4th of July!    Chris and Kristi still have 4 but they are all growing so fast. All are very involved with sports and busy busy busy!   Diandra  ( aka, Dee) and Brad added a BRACE to their family.  Their 3 kids continue to grow and excel in sports and music  but she took a bad fall, while trying to run the dog on her bike,  and tore the ACL, MCL, or the PCL,  Patella Tendon, and flipped the mencius as well as chipped something.   I may of gotten the details mixed up but she did a number!!  Say a prayer for her if you will -- thanks!  She is 2 months since surgery and will have a 2nd surgery to fix the ACL in 3-4 months.  It gave me the chance to make a trip home in early November and I was able to enjoy the FALL colors and some fall weather as Florida still thinks it is summer!!

 My folks are good and well.  Dad added a new shed this year to their place.  My Mom still graces Wally World and I know touches many with her beautiful smile and words of wisdom.    Opps, I forgot the baby -- how could I?   Britty and her husband had their 3rd little girl right before the year ended and she recently turned one as well.  They live in Nebraska!   I think I need to make a visit there in 2017!  The youngest is  Rileigh Jennifer .  Wow -- that accounts for all  8 of my siblings.  

Merry Christmas from the Pritchards and the Padricks!
Brendan's folks are well, his dad added a new shed as well!  Quenten and Janette are still teaching and their two girls are now in 7th grade and Kindergarten!  And Brendan's sister, Becky and Carl  are good -- adding in some new construction to their home.  Becky has 4 girls - we are excited as  one of them, Jaiden  and her husband,  moved back to Florida a few months ago, she is stationed with the Coast Guard and it is nice to have her closer and their new daughter just turned one on the 17th!   Could you imagine the party when HP gets married?  There could be 4 little cousins all dancing on the dance floor -- like Alec was at Taylor's celebration.   ( Chase, Rileigh, Brinlee, and Ava!) He, Alec,  was a hit!   But, that is putting the cart before the horse - HP assures me he is not thinking about marriage anytime soon. LOL   ( Little does he know his mother has been praying for this gal since he was born -- God certainly brought the right help meet for our daughter so I am confident that He will answer our prayer for Hunter in His timing!)

Speaking about prayer -- it works.  It is a daily thing and that relationship with God, we pray it is so close to your heart and so much of your world and life that you have no fear and cast out the enemy whenever needed and proclaim victory and then live and walk in that victory.  God did not create you for mediocrity -- but breathed life in you to live abundantly!   May you be emptied of self and be filled with His Holy Spirit and walk with the Comforter continually! In Jesus' powerful name -- amen! 

From our cottage to your home -- we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.  May Jesus be the reason to celebrate and may He be so close to you there is NO FEAR!

 I think that about wraps up this Christmas letter or as my pal David Evans say, "Michelle's Epistles".  We will be celebrating Christmas with friends and family this week and I will continue to keep the a/c set at 68 degrees so I can pretend it is Christmas outside.  I will probably change my screen saver to the photo my brother sent me today with about 5 inches of snow on his truck!!   My Wisconsin family is missed -- but all family and friends are very close in heart.  Praise God for Facetime! 

If you have asked Brendan or myself to pray for you -- please know - we do. 
If you need prayer, don't hesitate to ask! 

Merry Christmas - with all my love, Michelle 
May this holiday not wear you out -- may it be filled with JOY!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


  Today we have a guest blogger.  Her name is Eunice.  I have posted her stuff before, she is dear to my heart but can't use her real name at this point, cause of circumstances but indeed I know God is using her to write and minister to others.  This blog ministered to me several days ago with another circumstance and the Holy Spirit reminded me of it this morn when I was praying and thinking of a precious family in this community.  

 I think words are some of the most powerful things God created to help another.  His Word is one big help.  His Word is truly the only thing that can point us to total freedom and knowledge, but I know God speaks His Words through other mediums as well.  

   Eunice  wrote this after something had happened all of a sudden.  Or was it  a progression and one just finally realizes it??  I get that.  One particular phone call, one day everything in my world turned around.  And I have had a few other days where I have asked God, "really?".  

  But, after these last ,ten plus, years, I know God is good and when a WHAMMY hits HE is right there and He was not surprised and I trust that.   

Today a family that is very dear to the community will celebrate a life that was suddenly taken.  It is very hard to see the 'why' in this now and we may never know the why.  It may be hard to see the 'what' in this, but God is RIGHT here -- RIGHT there and a comfort for me is that I know this family seeks the Greatest Comforter there is!!  

 The only solace in this is that -- we believe, we know once she was absent from the body -- she was present with the Lord!!    Amen.  

So,  as you continue to read this -- you will notice that Eunice's  circumstance may be a bit different -- but God is not.  
As you read this, you will notice that a wife is wounded -- but God is RIGHT there with her.  
And as I read this again, I thought of a young husband with four precious children and I know GOD is right there.   

And I know God is RIGHT there -- holding the hands of the mother-n-love that is doing her best to hold it all together. 
God is  RIGHT there for the father of a young man who will forever look at life differently.  
God is RIGHT there for my precious little "4th grader" who is so full of life and I pray that spunk is never lost!   I pray as she grieves the loss of her dear sister, that God will indeed bring beauty from ashes. 
God is RIGHT there for a brother who graced my classroom room one year, who himself had adversities to overcome and yet -- God knew and I pray that God is his total comfort!  

And God is RIGHT there for the other brothers -- the extended family -- the aunts and uncles...all of whom have smiled at me throughout these 29 years of being a resident of Okeechobee.  

I believe MANY hearts are reminded today -- that indeed this 'suddenlie' was not expected -- but it did not surprise God and in HIM we will trust.   

Leah, as a mom -- my heart is especially aware  today as you celebrate her life and as you walk out a new normal --
-----our continued prayers will be lifted for you and the entire family 
                      -- Michelle and Brendan 


Have you ever noticed how suddenly things can change in your life?

Sometimes, things happen that suddenly change for the good. Sometimes, things happen that suddenly change for the bad.

God’s word promises that no matter what, the good and the bad will be worked together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose for him. (Romans 8:28)

What the devil tries to mean for harm, God uses it for the increasing of His kingdom. (Genesis 50:20)

Two years ago after a company Christmas party, my boyfriend abruptly ended his relationship with me. It was unexpected and confusing. He said he just didn’t think he could do it. I tried to reason with him. Address the fears he was facing but despite my best effort, he left my home and I thought he was done. Suddenly in a state of confusion, I sat at a restaurant with my girlfriend trying to rationalize the suddenly that just happened.

The next day, during our Sunday church praise and worship, I cried out to the Lord. I knew he sent my boyfriend to me to be my future husband. And he sent him to me rather suddenly. So unexpected, I hadn’t seen it coming. But that’s how God operates…. Suddenly. Precisely. In His perfect timing.

Unknown to me my boyfriend had slipped into church sitting behind me. I’m not sure what conversations he had with God and what they worked out. I know he had a conversation with my brother in law and expressed to him he wanted to marry me…. But no ring.

As he sat behind me through church service, he made a paper ring out of the children’s Sunday school worksheet. This hand made paper ring, with Jesus’ name on it and the cross also had his handwritten ‘I love you’ on it. I sat in front of him and had no idea his heart had changed so suddenly.

After church, he approached me. Asked me if I’d love him forever, if I’d never betray him, hold his heart and cherish it. Honestly, I was bewildered and caught off guard but I promised all of those things and more. And then….. he knelt down and asked me to marry him. Our lives changed so suddenly.

While to most, my engagement ring was just a paper ring but for me, it is everything. It holds and signifies the foundational love of Jesus Christ, His love poured out on the cross and my future husbands ‘I love you’ written. This was more valuable than any precious and big diamond could ever compare to. And if I knew it wouldn’t rip or wear down, I would still have it on my finger today. Instead it’s safely in cased in my jewelry box where one day I can share our suddenly with our children.

Two years later, I sit, during the wait after yet another suddenly.

An unexpected suddenly that has left my heart broken and longing.

My husband, that man who suddenly proposed to me, left again. Despite my best effort to love and affirm him; to address his fears and concerns, he left….. Suddenly.

I’ve read many stories in the Bible where God showed up suddenly. Where He changed things.

Saul (eventually Paul) was a man that persecuted believers. He killed many Christians for their faith in God. One day on the road to Damascus God suddenly shown a light and spoke to him. From that day Saul (eventually Paul) suddenly turned away from his life of killing to professing the law and love of God. (Acts 22)  

A mother came to Jesus because her daughter was possessed. Even when the disciples tried to urge Jesus to send her away, He showed compassion and heard her faith filled cry. Granting healing unto her daughter…. Suddenly. (Matthew 15:21-28)

God suddenly changed a heart. God suddenly healed.

So, what do we do in our pauses and waits, during the mountains and valleys in between the next suddenly?

Expect your suddenly today but prepare for tomorrow and wait for the Lord to come to you. (Malachi 3:1, Matthew 24:42 & 44)

Do not fear. God is preparing you for deliverance. It will come suddenly. (Joshua 10:9, Acts 12:7 & Isaiah 47:11, just to name a few).

Do not give up on the promises and dreams God has given you. Do not give up in your faith and trust that in His perfect timing He will suddenly move in your favor.

My dear brothers and sisters don’t get so caught up in the pause between your suddenlies that you do not allow God to work through you to live a life pleasing unto him. (I Thessalonians 4:1-12)

Like the Holy Spirit fire suddenly came down on the day of Pentecost (Acts2) God will suddenly return to take His Bride of Christ home (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

Make Him your refuge. Allow Him to be your strength in these pauses of your suddenlies (Psalm 34:8)

In the pauses of both the pain and excitement God wants you to fully rely and look to Him.

Be ready. Be still.  For on the day of your suddenly, all will see that HE IS God by the magnitude of the suddenly (Psalm 46:10)

Trusting and waiting…….

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What are you seeking?

  JOHN 1. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

The questions I blogged about last night was, "Who told you that?"   

Tonight it is "What do you want?".  
In last night's blog, God is the one who asked the question, "Who told you that?"
 Tonight it is Jesus asking, "What do you want?".  

Teachers always use the Who, What, When and Why type questions to get kids thinking and responding so tonight I ask another question, "What do you want?".  

As  I conversed with God this evening, the Holy Spirit brought me back to this precious photo of when I met Ava for the first time.   What do I want?   
 I can't claim to the idea  of these questions, Beth Moore proposed them  first at the Love Life Women's Conference in St. Louis back in October, and she also had us look at Gen 3.9 - "Where are you?", Matthew 8.26 - "Why are you afraid?", and Luke 11.13 - "How much more?"

She stated that God uses questions to draw us in and Satan uses questions to distract us. 
She reminded us that we can ask questions. 
There are over 3000 questions in the bible which God already knows the answers to these questions but she challenged us to ask them and think, pray, and think more.  
Questions will keep me on the quest and keep me on the mark too. 

My question to myself RIGHT now is, "can I blog a shorter blog this eve so my pal, Rachel , can read it in 5 minutes or will it be one of those epistles again? "

But let me go back to "What do you want?"  

In looking at this photo - I want Ava to be ALL that God has planned her to be.  Psalm 139 reminds me that God KNEW her before she was in the womb.   

Looking at this photo, I want Ava to WANT all of what God has planned for her.  

What do you want?  What are you seeking?  

I can truly only speak for myself but for 38 years I know that mostly what I wanted was Prince Charming, a perfect marriage and home,  perfect kids, and for everyone to like me and notice me.  If you have read this blog for some time -- you know the rest of the story.  

But what do I want now?  

 Big ideas:  I  want the people I love around me to enjoy the life that God has for them.  
I want the people I love around me to see Jesus in me.
I want to see women  around me set free from the chains that bind them. 
I want to see the love Christ shared to use spread to others.  

I want the students I teach to learn much from me but mostly to see Jesus in me.  
I want to figure out the perfect way for kids to learn and retain their multiplication facts.  
I want to be funny and somehow squeeze in 12 hours of learning and teaching into my 5 hour day. 
I want to create life long learners. 

Thinking in vain:
I want to be 27 pounds thinner but I would go for 17 pounds!  
I want to be past the 'menopause' stage and just get through these hormone spikes.
I want to be able to get to my next nail appointment without chewing off the gel and get a positive smile from Sherri.  

Being silly: 
 I want to meet Donny Osmond.   Well, it is a child hood crush. 
I want to have hot chocolate with Lisa and John Bevere and then talk about marriage with my husband within ear shot.
I want to  sit next to Toby Mac, Kari Jobe, or even Robert Morris on an airplane and just chat. 
I want to have NO limits on a credit card one day and just buy stuff that I don't need. 
I would love to win the lottery - but I would need to buy a ticket and never had.  

OK - about now Rachel is ready to quit reading -- seriously -- 

WHAT do you want?  
WHAT are you seeking?  

Truly -- I am seeking  peace, joy, and just an incredible day to day life with Jesus and my man and my family and friends.  I want to be used by HIM and serve -- as I believe HE has brought me to such a time as this for HIS purpose - not for mine. 

So, after you find or carve out a good 20 -  30 minutes, take a journal and sit and jot down - what do you want?  

I pray it is from a spiritual aspect -- I pray that you will seek HIS word each day and as you read God's love letter to you and pray and just be in HIS presence, you will indeed get a true picture of WHAT you want.  

Then I pray you will take the steps needed and either change or do something new to work towards what you want.  

WE were made for SO much more.  
Lord, I pray that whomever reads this seeks YOU and ask YOU about what YOU want for them but I pray they also seek YOU. Lord, as I know, that you will delight in giving them the desires of their hearts if it is Your best for them.  You never bless one for just that one's purpose but use EVERY blessing for the ones around them and for the extended it affects.  You are a good good father and every good and perfect gift is from you.  

Lord, there are wonders, treasures, and knowledge in that book I hold dear - Your Word, I pray that the one reading this would SEEK You in there and find him or herself.  Lord, for the one like me who wanted Prince Charming and the house was shattered... may  You be her everything and may she believe that You will restore.  Lord, for the one like Ava - so innocent and just beginning to walk with you in this life -- may she or he be protected and grow deep roots in You.  And Lord, for the one who is afraid to truly seek and  state what she wants  -- may their courage come from YOU.  IN Jesus name.  Amen.   

I am humbled Lord - please use this to help another -- in Jesus name. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Who told you that?

Blogging has become somewhat of a 2nd thought thing.    I  used to want to blog every night.   I know God has changed me because at least 3 years ago each and every time something upset me or made me rejoice I would blog. I blogged a lot. 

 It was a part of my therapy.

 It just was.

 I am open, honest and perhaps sometimes too transparent,  but I am authentic.   I am who I am.  I realize that perhaps this medium of blogging scares the crud out of some or most and yet it gives me the chance to express what is on my heart and I pray it helps another.  

I don't mean to sound like a broken record but  a blog and some instant messaging through  social media changed my world and  holds a special spot in my heart.   God used that to speak to me in some desperate moments.   So I know that when Holy Spirit is speaking to me and I am to write - I do.  As I believe that it will touch someone or several.  

I have noticed that I don't blog as much these days  and I ask God, "why?" and the best answer I get from Him is that, "just continue to seek me and I will have you blog when it is time".  

I digressed - back to my thought -- I was just about headed to bed.  I had some  informative fifth grade writings to read and grade and yet my indigestion from supper would not allow me to rest so I just kept trying to do some tasks for school.  However,  I would doze off and awake to trying to complete the task I started  until I finally gave up and went to brush my teeth.

 But then,  Holy Spirit begins to speak and moves me to the computer screen--and I type, asking a loved one right now some very important questions.   Thinking and then seeking God in prayer as I type - please bless this blog and use it. 

Who told you that?  

This is my grand daughter.  Yes, she may be my "step-grandchild" but she is all  mine.   This photo is of our very first meeting.   Little did she know that I had been praying for her, at the point to which the photo was taken,  for over a year.   Even before she was born, I called her Sweet Pea and prayed for her.  I prayed for her heart, her head, and her disposition.  I prayed for her mother and I prayed for her daddy and my daughter - her bonus mom.   I prayed.  I even prayed that when she was born, God would be her will and that His will was hers.     It is hard to stop and think of what you are capable of until God allows it.  It is hard to imagine how just one event can change so much.

  So, I have been thinking about a few things, thinking about some  younger  women that still have tight skin and a full working metabolism and I was thinking of this precious grand daughter .  And I have been thinking about this question  that I want to ask...

Who told you that?

Who told you that you are worthless and stupid?   
Who told you that you would never be loved?  
Who told you that you were unwanted?   

I think of those questions and think of Ava and tears run -- I don't ever want her to think for one moment that she is worthless or stupid.   I would fight the person who told her that.   As I think of her and think of all the lies the enemy tells us -- I hurt.  As even at one year of age -- I just want to protect her and teach her about her identity in Christ.

And I think of another daughter -- one that I love dearly as if she was my own ......

Who told you that he is the best for you right now? 
Who told you that you could put on hold your dreams for this particular season?  

I really want you to stop and think and ask God.   Is this a godly relationship?  Is this Your best for me Lord?  The Lord will tell you -- but have you asked Him?? 

Way too often we settle because we are fearful.   Fear is Satan's way of keeping you trapped.  Have you read Psalm 139 lately and read HOW God knew exactly how everything would turn out as you were created in Your mother's womb?

I remember the dreams you stated and the hopes in the eyes and thoughts of your mother -- don't sell yourself short -- seek God and make sure that you are making decisions based on God's direction rather than your feelings!  

I remember when you came to me and asked for prayer and sought forgiveness and repented from stupid teenage stuff and wanted MORE of God.....I remember!  

Gen 3.11 - When Eve had taken a part of the apple ( Adam was RIGHT there with her ) and they hid themselves as God came through walking and Adam preceded to tell God that they hid cause they were naked and ashamed.  And God says, "Who told you that?".   

Did God actually tell you that this man, this boy, or this person is His best for you? 
Has God confirmed to you that this young lady is to be one to pursue?    I am just going to challenge you to ask God this week, ask that simple question and pray and watch.  God will answer - but are you willing to listen?   I pray you will. 

Who told you that you were to be the holy spirit for your husband? 
Who told you that you were the one  that  was to remind him that he is not praying as he should?  
Who told you that it was your responsibility to make sure,  you hounded him enough to attend at least one service over the holiday?  

 Oh this one could hit home.  Ladies, has God asked you to be your husband's keeper?
 Has God asked you to remind him of his faults and what he is NOT doing?
Has God asked you to be his Holy Spirit?

There is a very old saying about how, "you can't fix stupid".  Ladies, if you are unequally yoked to begin with -- how can you expect to be in a relationship without problems? 

I am not stating he is stupid.  But you CAN NOT change a man -- he can only change himself.

 Ladies, God asks us to train our children and not our men.   And can I ask you this?  Does your husband see in you ---all that you expect out of him?   So, what is the enemy trying to tell you about your husband that You don't want to hear?  As Satan can use anything to distract you.  Is the enemy encouraging you in that area?  
  And By the way -- who told you that belief or thought  was true?  I am just going to say it - so many of us are so overwhelmed with stuff that we have forgotten to place our Armor on Each day.   So we hear stuff and then we just take it as gospel.  How do you know what is true or not true if you don't spend the time to read God's word?

I would challenge you -- I believe the answers to every question and decision ARE within those books of the bible!!   So, bible study is what's needed. 

Her name is Ava. If I ever hear some stinking thinking coming from her, I am going to ask, " Sweet Pea, who told you that?".   I have to add --
It is just so  incredible to fall so head over heals in love with a person so instantly,  that it seems unreal.  And it seems she was designed for us.  That God knew exactly who her BONUS Mimi was going to be -- oh wait.  GOD did! 

  THAT love I feel for her - to protect her and show her exactly HOW much her Heavenly Father loves her -- is something I want to be able to do.   I crave it.

I believe God wants that as well, in fact I know He does.   God CRAVES to be so close to you, you know exactly WHAT HE is thinking.  

And I  want to share some of that  love with others too.  I want the women or young girls around me to learn all about life and love through their parents, or some good mentors, or grandmothers  around them.  I don't want  them to get their worth and value through social media, TV, or a boyfriend.   I want these ladies in my circle of influence to be spoken to in love and cherished by their  brothers, their husbands and  their men.
 I want them to see the goodness in Christ's believers and not feel the judgement of others.
 I want then to be the light in a dark world and enjoy the day to day life with joy in-spite of any circumstances.


So, tonight I just want to pray for those single young women around me and I pray they will ask God this evening, "who told me that?".   And I am thinking of a few very specific single women and one particular young man --   I pray they each  will re-examine their relationships and seek God to confirm what HE has said to them.   And I pray they truly obey what they know God has already told them! 

 Lord, I  pray and I implore each of  them to seek Your face and allow You to confirm what  Your plans are for them and to when to embark on them.  As Lord, I don't believe they are seeking Your love letter to confirm anything -- it just seems like they are allowing the enemy to justify why the relationship could continue and what is next.   But -- THEY are yours and they are adults!!   Lord, I pray that each one of us reading this will check out hearts and thoughts and question what is hailed at us or thrown at us.  I pray for all, including myself, that we learn to love like Jesus did and do His will - by going out and being commissioned to serve God in their capacity.  Lord, for this blog -- again, I just want anyone reading this to question their heart and thoughts. Lord, that they would empty themselves of their own selves and then allow YOU in to fill all the wholes and gaps, In Jesus name - Amen.