Saturday, January 29, 2011

Drew's Dreams

Every child is intentionally created with intrinsic value and purpose by God Almighty. But, I have to tell you all about today because we had a special time celebrating one very special child, Drew.



Many of us laced up our walking shoes and gathered at the mall


to show support in finding a cure for juvenile diabetes
because each day this little boy that we all know and love is pricked around the clock and gets insulin through a pump to manage his health. Amazingly, he doesn’t even wince when it’s time for the blood draws. He’s a tough little man.

As we drove to the walk, I was remembering the call his mom made to me from the ER. Sara has been one of my best friends for many years. Naturally, when I heard her tear-filled voice on the other end telling me that Drew, then only a year and a half, was diagnosed with diabetes, I got teary too. “I don’t want this for him.”

My heart broke.

Drew was not only her baby, but now her baby that was in for a radically different life. Constant monitoring and management would be a way of living. He wouldn’t just eat and leave the dinner table for his bath. He would get poked first. He couldn’t just run around like a growing boy and then relax. There would need to be a blood draw.

In fact, the news aired this clip on them this week-

But, as we left the walk, I praised God because if you met Drew’s family you would know that John and Sara appear cool as cucumbers. Sure, they didn’t want this for him. Nobody does. However, God knew what He was doing when he made John and Sara Drew’s parents. They are brilliant beyond measure. They know exactly how to balance letting him live like an active four year old boy while meeting all his health needs.

And, in the midst of it, we’ve seen them live out Faithfulness.
They are all-

Patient – “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 14:12

Wise – “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise” Proverbs 19:20
Fearless – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Determined – “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

At Peace - "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?" Matthew 6:27
Hopeful – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Joyful – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” Philippians 4:4

Prayerful – “pray continually” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Though this challenge is one the family would never choose, they have become a living witness to everyone around them. So, to the entire Weber family, thank you for showing the world today and always how to glorify God despite circumstances we are made to face. We admire you.

May we all look at our circumstances and find comfort knowing we are in the loving arms of an incredible God!



In thanks for the gifts this precious boy has both shared with & taught me, I'm linking up to

Friday, January 28, 2011

"Love" & Dating

“Could you please rock me, mom?”

With prayers completed and the day at a close, my 3 year old's gentle voice offered an invitation I couldn't decline.

Once she was snuggled in on my lap, she softly whispered, “I love you, mom.”

Breathing in the smell of Hannah’s strawberry shampoo, I rocked back and forth with one of the most special people God has entrusted to me and thought about her words.

LOVE.

It is one of the most loaded words in the English language. It carries tremendous power for good and Godly peace. And, yet its meaning has been so twisted by selfish desires that the simple misuse and misunderstanding of this word has destroyed lives and relationships.

I love you too, Hannah, and I thank God for you. Please Lord, protect her. Help her to grow in You. And, as she grows, help her to understand love as you define it so that she can experience the best.

I get done praying, lay my sleeping child into bed, and begin signing some books.

Just a few weeks ago, Pam Stenzel and I released our first book together (with Regal Books). Entitled Nobody Told Me, we compiled approximately 8 years worth of the best teen and young adult stories and questions and put them into a fun Facebook like format with Godly teaching and important up to date facts, making it a powerful read for any student 12 and up, as well as for parents, youth leaders, and mentors.

We want teens to understand love in a Godly way that will empower them to choose abstinence (or recycled virginity if they’ve made past mistakes) and set healthy boundaries.

MUCH of this is accomplished through being informed, setting boundaries in advance, and thinking ahead.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of you are watching your daughters of dating age throw around this word and make plans.

So, what can you help them understand "love" and think ahead before they date?

Finish reading my post at MODsquad

*Also, I'm honored to be guest posting with Tricia Goyer today at Real Life, Inspired. Check it out!*

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So Where is Your Book Sold? Is it on Kindle?

Over the past few weeks several people have asked these same questions. Is it only on Pam's site? Or, is it all over. And, the answer is ALL OVER. In fact, last night it was ranked #6 on Amazon in the Teen Books Dating & Intimacy grouping!

You can certainly go to your local Christian bookstore and if they do not have it on the shelf they can easily order it in. All you have to do is ask for Nobody Told Me by Pam Stenzel and Melissa Nesdahl. The publisher is Regal press.

Likewise, you could walk into your area B&N, Borders, etc. and do the same.

Or, if you are an Internet shopper, there are several places to get it as well. Please visit Pam's Website, Amazon, Christianbook.com (where at the time being they have it for $7.99), Barnes & Noble, or whever you prefer to shop from.

As to the Kindle question- it is not yet available for the Kindle, but it IS on the Nook.

The first review in on the websites is 5 out of 5 stars (wahoo!) and we are getting great feedback from teens and adults alike that are going through it.

We don't care where you get it from. We just want you to have it!

And the timing for the teens you love is great. Get it in their hands before Valentine's Day to get a Godly perspective of love!

Also remember for a few more days you can enter to win a copy of the book as well... and who doesn't love free? :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Birthed in Courage, Adopted in Love (Pam Stenzel’s Story)

Many have asked me who this co-author, speaker friend of mine is. Outside of being ridiculously fun and an avid Minnesota Twins & Vikings fan (reflecting impeccable taste :) ), she has an incredible story. And, today is the perfect day to share it.

Here it is in her words….

Forty-six years ago in Michigan a young woman became pregnant. She had a lot of difficult choices to make, maybe more so than some because she was raped. Abortion may have been legal in Michigan in the case of rape in the 1960’s, but this 15 year old girl chose to give her child life and then to place that child with an adoptive family. That child was me.

My biological father is a rapist. I don’t even know my ethnicity, but my life still has value and it isn’t worth any less than any of yours just because of how I was conceived. And, I do not believe that I deserved the death penalty because of the crime of my father. All of my life I have had to listen to the rhetoric that every child should be wanted and planned. I have heard people say, “I wouldn’t have an abortion that would be terrible but if it were rape, well then…?” I guess that means that I am a “mistake!” I don’t believe that. I believe that every child is wanted by someone, and I believe that God in His mercy had a plan for me.

I’ve asked all the tough questions. Did God plan me? Does God plan rape? I memorized the verses when I was little like “You loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24) and “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). Did that mean me? I might not have all the answers to those difficult questions, but this is what I do know; I know that my God is so awesome and so amazing that He is capable of taking your worst pain, whether it was something that you chose or whether it was something that was done to you, and my God can make something very beautiful come from that. That is Amazing Grace – the ability of God to even take what Satan meant for evil and make something good come from that.

Please do not think for a moment that I would ever stand before anyone and justify rape by my existence. My existence does not justify rape. Never. Rape is still wrong. Rape is still a horrifying violation of another human being. What we can say very clearly though is that the behavior was wrong but the child is a gift from God, created in His image.

I’ve not met my birth mom but if I get that chance I’m going to wrap my arms around her and tell her that I love her because she loved me. She loved me enough to give me my life, and then loved me enough to give me the next most special gift that I was every given, and that is my family. I am eternally grateful for her selfless act of love.

(This story is shared in Nobody Told Me)

Pam’s personal story and passion for life prompted her to get involved in Pro-Life ministries. After years of counseling in a crisis pregnancy center, she learned a lot from her clients. She asked them what they could have been told before they had sex to help them make a better choice. And, with that information, she started a speaking career.

Let me tell you, she is incredibly talented. I’m pretty sure she could talk about the color of the sky and it would be completely captivating, but thankfully she is using her God-given gift to share a more important message about God’s heart and desire for all to experience His best.

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and in honor of Pam’s story and our book I’m giving away 5 copies of our book, Nobody Told Me. Here is how you can enter-

1) Leave a comment about what you would like this book.
2) Become a follower of this blog via Google or Networked Blogs
3) Tweet about the giveaway, including this link
4) Facebook about the giveaway with a link to this post http://bit.ly/gEcn2G

For each of these four things that you do, please leave a separate comment in the comments section of this blog post and I will use random.org to pick the winning numbers.

Be sure to leave our email with each entry so that I can contact you if you win!

There you have it! One person has four potential entries! This book (more info on our book encouraging abstinence & its complete message here) is perfect for students 12 and up, parents, youth ministry workers, mentors, crisis pregnancy center workers, etc., so don’t miss out! You can enter until Feb 1 at noon.

Also, know that Pam is going to appear live on EWTN tomorrow during the March for Life in Washington D.C.! And, I’m writing for a blog tour & ministry newsletters promoting the new book. If you have interest, please include that note in one of your entries. I’ll be sure to follow up with you! :)
*This contest is now closed for entries*


In honor of Pam's life & faith, the new book, & my opportunity from God to share, I'm linking this to -

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cooking with the Kiddos

Outside of my window the snow is slowly increasing. Fearless neighbors are braving the NEGATIVE 11 degree temperature (That is not a typo my reader friends down south. It is simply an ungodly temp.) to snowblow, clearing driveways and walking paths.

When the weather started dropping on Sunday, I told the kids that we wouldn't be going anywhere except preschool. The risks of the cold temperatures hurting their skin & my healing injured foot in my second trimester of pregnancy just doesn't make it worth it for any of us. But, but, the weather just keeps getting colder. In fact, today is apparently considered balmy to the temperatures we will endure tomorrow. Awesome.

Needless to say, the boundless energy of my 5 and 3 year old girls has required some indoor creativity. We've colored more pictures than I can count, played lots polly pockets, and we've capitalized on their love of cooking.

Since many of you share my somewhat homebound situation...or just have kids that enjoy learning the fine craft of cooking together, I thought I'd share our latest recipe.



Cookie Pizza (out of the Favorite Brand Silly Snacks cookbook)

1 (18 oz) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14oz) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 c. M & Ms
2 c. miniature marshmallows
1/2 c. peanuts

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Press the cookie dough into a 12 inch pan. Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven.

2) In medium saucepan, melt chips with Eagle Brand. Spread over crusts. Sprinkle with M&Ms, marshmallows, and peanuts.

3) Bake 4 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly toasted. Cool. Cut into wedges.
Because my girls don't like peanuts, we omitted those. But, as you can see, it is a super easy recipe that is easy & fun to make with the children. AND, it's good! It may even make it's way to our annual superbowl party this year. :)

However, we can't keep making food (my OB wouldn't appreciate it!) and like many of the rest of you, I'm always game for fun new ideas with the kids. So, what have you been doing (crafts/cooking/fun) with your kids? I need to start something new but I don't know where to begin. I'm stuck...and before taking the next step forward I need a plan. (Although it seems miniscule, this is how stay at home mom's spend their day & all their kids are exposed to doing. It is important for all of us!)

Please share links and ideas in the comments section so we can execute some new fun. In the midst of this arctic blast, we can ALL gain from shared ideas!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

$7.99

What can you get in life for $7.99?

If you think about it, very little anymore.

But, yesterday I noticed that Christianbook.com has our book on sale for a mere $7.99 so I thought I better let you all know so that you can race your fingers across the keyboard to get it while it is at this good deal!

I have no idea how long it will last. Don't be left out!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Traversing Life's Desert

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary & carry heavy burdens….”

Sometimes life feels like a desert.

Dry. Harsh. Thorny. Bleak. Desolate.

This week many around me have experienced unwelcomed pain, leaving people feeling parched and lonely. I’ve had prayer requests for difficult work situations, challenging health diagnoses, rocky relationships, etc., and I’ve joined twitterverse in praying for a family who lost their home, a young mother whose husband died in a tragic accident, and another wife & mom who suffered from a stroke.

The heat of life sucks away one’s breath.

But when life dehydrates us, God fills our pores with His hydrating spirit.

One with an open heart doesn’t necessarily see circumstances change immediately, but they are provided Life-Given energy to put one foot in front of another. Uninvited fear and pain gives way to refreshed peace. There is hope.

God promises to be living water (John 4:10) every moment of every day. He gives us what we need in every situation so that we no longer seek comfort and strength from the things in this life, but from the One who has conquered this world.

So drink the Living Water.

And, as you do so, I invite you to share in the comments any prayer requests that you’d like others in the body of Christ to raise on your behalf.

You are never alone. Christ meets you intimately where you are at. And, the community He created you in lifts you up.

We ALWAYS have what we need in the Lord.

Beyond that, He promises

...and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Baby Kicks


The air outside is frigid. Wrapped tightly into a blanket after another busy day with the kids, I’m thankful to be relaxed and swept away into another world on TV. And that is when I feel it.

Kick.

My hand moves and finds a resting place on my abdomen.

Kick. Kick. Kick.

Clearly the baby is awake and playing soccer in utero. Although I’m only 24 weeks, I feel his or her force through the blanket.

My husband rushes over and moments later is booted himself.

Life is in full force.

My mind drifts away from the show’s story line and begins to dream. Having seen this little person’s face, I wonder if we will soon be swaddling in pink or blue. If this baby will be as active outside the womb as it is in. If it will ever sleep. I begin to imagine the sound of his or her cry and the warmth of newborn cheeks.

My stomach tightens and for a second my breath is taken away.

A Braxton Hicks contraction.

Smiles fill my face. In four months or less we will see this person. Our hearts will be filled with joy as we tenderly embrace the person we dream about today.

But, tonight, we cherish the kicks.

Thank you, Lord, that I had put down my writing to relax this evening. In doing so, I was alert enough to celebrate the extraordinary too often missed in busy ordinary moments.

Slow down, my friends, and truly enjoy ALL that He has given.



Thursday, January 6, 2011

This Baby Will Be Named...

(23 weeks)


Since we didn't find out the gender of this baby, people keep asking if we are sharing baby names - and we are. So here is the inside scoop....

Both my husband & I have always loved surprises and life offers very few of them anymore. Consequently, waiting for the delivery to find out gender is an easy choice. Well, except for the fact that Gymboree is having their bin sale right now and TONS of stuff is $1.99 to $6.99. Calling the clinic to see what was written down briefly crossed my mind, but I digress. :)

If it is a girl we will name her Ava Marie.

Ava means "breath of life." Since we prayed about God's will for family size - to expand or not - and I instantly got pregnant we feel this name truly honors God breathing life into the womb.

Marie is my middle name and we've always chosen middle names in honor of someone.

If it is a boy we will name him Josiah Robert.

Josiah is translated to mean "Jehovah helps" or "Jehovah heals." In Scripture, King Josiah started his reign at the tender age of eight and under his leadership people turned away from idol worship to God. Check out more about this incredible Godly leader in 2 Kings 22 & 23 and 2 Chronicles 34 & 35.

Robert was my father's first name. He passed away when I was in college, and my husband and I have always known that if we were ever to have a boy we'd name him after my dad.

Thanks to all who have prayed over my health. The pneumonia is no more and my breathing is back to normal. To top it off, I haven't had to take any anti-nausea meds for a couple weeks! Praise God! Baby remains active (lets hope this is solely an in utero thing or lets just say I will get A LOT of writing hours in around the clock!) and its movements are strong enough now that people can feel it when they place their hand on my belly.

As I write this, I'm experiencing a very random Braxton Hicks contraction. Ava or Josiah? In around 4 months we shall see. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Intentional Living in 2011

Today many people awoke geared up to execute a New Year's resolution. I've never been a fan of New Year's resoultions in my own life because it is typically one self-focussed thing that I forget about or fail to achieve. BUT, I do want to live intentionally. Rather than improving just one aspect of my life, I want to grow in all areas of life so that my life models the faith I profess and my everyday actions extend His hands and feet to the people around me.

Given the times we live in, here are the ten things I am choosing to focus on and would challenge you to do the same.

1) Put God first and trust in His goodness…even when life doesn’t “feel” good. Reading Scripture regularly will help.

2) Tell your family you love them every day.

3) Tell your friends you appreciate them. Don’t just wait for “thank you” moments.

4) Take care of your body. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

5) Don’t let our technological age replace quality face to face, heart to heart conversation.

6) Aim to bring a smile to the face of another – volunteer, send snail mail, sponsor a child, etc.

7) Slow down. We live in a fast paced society that causes us to miss the small blessings He places before us. (I’m trying to be especially cognizant of this as a stay at home mother of two small children with a third on the way.)

8) Reach for your goals/dreams. Don’t just sit around waiting and thinking about it. Actually put one foot in front of the next and trust that if it is from God it will be blessed. (My goal is to complete another book manuscript in 2011!)

9) Do something special for you. You need “refueling” to be spiritually full and able to extend His blessings to others. (I accomplish this through a girl’s getaway to Women of Faith each year!)

10) Let go of “to do’s” so you can follow God’s agenda each moment of every day. It will benefit and bless you far more in the long run.

What are you focussing on this year? Whatever it is, I pray that you bring it to Christ, the author and perfector of our faith, to bring eternal fulfillment to your days ahead.

Happy New Year!
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