Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Ten Highlights from 2012

We thank God for His presence, provision, and protection this past year. How thankful we are that God is always in control and that He is good and loving all the time! 2012 has been a memorable year in many ways.

1. After having MRI done, I was diagnosed with Adenomyosis.  I chose to not have my uterus removed and just to live with pain :).

2. Alyssa (our 19 yo daughter)'s short story, "Deadly Delirium" was published as an e-book by Musa Publishing in February. It's available on Amazon.com and on Musa Publishing's website.

3. This year, Alyssa passed the baton to Isaiah (our 11 yo son) in being a fundraiser for Steps for Life. We're so proud of him for raising $1,500 for Pregnancy Resource Centers; he got 2nd place in his age group.

4. In June, I took a trip to Thailand (after being away for 20 years) to visit my ailing dad. He passed away while I was there. I was extremely grateful that God allowed me the opportunity to see and share the Gospel with my dad for the last time. You can read my testimony of God's amazing work throughout my trip here.

5. In August, Alyssa started taking Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) classes and she has been enjoying it tremendously.

6. Our family had a wonderful vacation at Wallowa Lake in September. We had a great time fishing, motor-boating, paddle-boating, hiking, tram-riding (up to Mt. Howard), scenic driving (to Hat Point), miniature golfing, playing games, and just chilling out together.

7. We're so thrilled that Josiah (our 14 yo son) finally decided to be baptized. Eric (my husband) baptized him at Ramona Falls on September 14th.

8. Josiah enjoyed being part of a football team. His team, the Newberg Tigers, went to the championship game and got second place/silver medals.

9. Alyssa has been working as an on-call technical writer/editor for a local mechanical engineering firm. She also continues to volunteer in the preschool class at church. In addition, she is an online missionary through Global Media Outreach.

10. On Dec. 13th, Eric took Josiah to the Blazers vs. Spurs game (Josiah's birthday gift). They had a blast!

By the way, this year I had the coolest birthday date on 12/12/12 :). We thank God for giving us opportunities to continue serving Him in LJ Fellowship (LJ stands for Love in Jesus/Loving J.O.Y.--Jesus. Others. You.), an outreach to the international students who attend George Fox University. I also had a blessed time participating in a Christmas Flash Mob at Washington Square Mall on Dec. 22nd.

Here are some snapshots of our 2012.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

CHRISTmas Letter 2012

 Joy to the world; the Savior has come! It's the most wonderful time of the year because people around the world join one another in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, our Immanuel. We hope and pray that you and your family will savor the season of worship and fellowship as the year draws to an end. Please keep in your prayers those who are grieving and mourning during this time as we cannot imagine how hard it must be for them.

How thankful we are that God is always in control and that He is good and loving all the time! 2012 has been a memorable year in many ways.

Alyssa is now 19 and will be majoring in Digital Communication Arts (with an emphasis in video production) at Oregon State University in Fall 2013 while going through AFROTC there. A third generation Beaver :)! She has received the Academic Achievement Award so far and is waiting to hear if she gets the Presidential Scholarship or not. Alyssa's short story, "Deadly Delirium" was published as an e-book by Musa Publishing. It's available on Amazon.com and on Musa Publishing's website. Alyssa has been working as an on-call technical writer/editor for a local mechanical engineering firm. She also continues to volunteer in the preschool class at our church. In addition, she is an online missionary through Global Media Outreach. Alyssa enjoys Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense), videography, photography, music, and movies/TV shows.

Josiah is now 14 and is in 9th grade. We're so thrilled that Josiah finally decided to be baptized. Eric baptized him at Ramona Falls on Sept. 14th. This year Josiah enjoyed being part of a football team. His team, the Newberg Tigers, went to the championship game and got second place and silver medals. He also still enjoys playing basketball. On Dec. 13th, Eric took Josiah to the Blazers vs. Spurs game (Josiah's birthday gift). They had a blast. Josiah's favorite team is the Blazers and his second favorite team is the Spurs.

Isaiah is now 11 and is in 6th grade. This year Alyssa passed the baton to Isaiah in being a fundraiser for Steps for Life. We're so proud of him for raising $1,500 for Pregnancy Resource Centers; he got 2nd place in his age group. Isaiah enjoys playing basketball, Wii, and games on his laptop.

Eric is still working for the City of Woodburn. He took our family to Wallowa Lake for vacation in September. We had a wonderful time fishing, motor-boating, paddle-boating, hiking, tram-riding (up to Mt. Howard), scenic driving (to Hat Point), miniature golfing, playing games, and just chilling out together.

"A" still homeschools Josiah and Isaiah. In June, she took a trip to Thailand (after being away for 20 years) to visit her ailing dad. He passed away while she was there. She was extremely grateful that God allowed her the opportunity to see and share the Gospel with her dad for the last time. You can read her testimony of God's amazing work throughout her trip on her blog. She enjoys spending time with her family, putting Scriptures on the photos she has taken, reviewing Christian books & DVDs, and serving God in any way she can. By the way, this year she had the coolest birthday date on 12/12/12 :).

We thank God for giving us opportunities to serve Him in LJ fellowship (LJ stands for Love in Jesus/Loving J.O.Y.--Jesus.Others.You.), an outreach to the international students who attend George Fox University. We just hosted a Christmas party for them last Friday. It was so much fun! We're excitedly looking forward to participating in a Christmas Flashmob this Saturday at Washington Square Mall. Let's continue to be bright lights in this world of darkness and spread the Good News of Great Joy to all!

May the Lord bless you and fill your heart with peace, joy, hope, and love now and always! Have a very Merry CHRISTmas and a wonder-filled New Year!

Living in love with the Lord of our lives,
Eric, A, Alyssa, Josiah, & Isaiah

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Review: Not Just A Hearer But A Doer by Yolanda Shanks


ISBN: 978-0985361600 | List Price: $12.95 | Format: Hard Copy | Page Count: 144
Not Just a Hearer but a Doer - Deliberately Living Life Devotional Study

About the Author: Yolanda Shanks
Multi-published author, speaker, blogger, teacher, wife, grandmother—Yolanda Shanks wears many hats, but the one she most resonates with is her role as an advocate for living life to its fullest.

Shanks’ award-winning first book, Destined to Live, Despite Me, continues to be a source of hope for those battling effects from a prior suicide attempt. It garnered an enthusiastic Kirkus review, which stated the book was “a commendable guide for finding meaning after considering suicide.”

Her second book, Not Just a Hearer but a Doer (released June 2012) challenges the body of Christ to act upon scripture. In the Fall of 2012, she released a third project, entitled Destined to Live, Despite Me – A Cause to Be Thankful.

Check her website (www.YolandaShanks.com) for book events in your area and for weekly wisdom from this lover of life and committed Christ-follower.

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/yolandashanks

Facebook URLhttp://www.facebook.com/yolanda.shanks.75


MY REVIEW:
I collect devotional books :). I'm glad to add this book to my growing collection. I really enjoyed reading Not Just A Hearer But A Doer. There are 31 devotionals for 31 days, written in a Bible study format. Each one consists of observation (main Bible verse), background (about the verse), interpretation, application, and an empty lined space for writing down your thoughts. Additional memory Scriptures are included in some of them. These devotionals are short, easy to read, Biblically sound, and insightful. The book covers various topics such as self-control, love, service, giving, integrity, spiritual investments, and more. The author uses everyday experiences as springboards for spiritual application from God's Word. She encourages readers to put Scripture into action...to live a life of faith and love deliberately....to be doers, not just hearers.

"Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James 1:22



Saturday, December 1, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness 2012

For the month of November, I posted on Facebook daily what I was thankful for. I'd like to be able to look back someday so I'm reposting all of my 30 thankful status here.

1. I'm thankful for restful sleep. I hardly ever have trouble sleeping. It's truly a blessing.
"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8


2. I'm thankful for LJ Fellowship. I thank God for giving me opportunities to share His love with the international students and to serve Him alongside a group of awesome brothers and sisters in Christ. I love God and people ♥; His love causes me to love loving everyone :)!

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." ~Jesus
 


3. I'm thankful that the Lord has kept Josiah safe (without any serious injuries) throughout all the football practices and games so far. Having a kid playing football really makes parents pray much more :)! By the way, Josiah's team won the playoff game today and will be playing the championship game next Saturday. 

4. I'm thankful for the wind (especially when it blows on my face during a car ride or boat ride). It feels so good and refreshing! I know why dogs like to stick their heads out a car's window :).

5. I'm thankful for freedom in Christ and freedoms in this country. Please don't take for granted your freedom to vote and make your voice heard!

6. I'm thankful that God is always in control. I'm thankful for His sovereignty and faithfulness!
"Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting YOU ARE GOD." Psalm 90:1-2
 
 


7.
I'm thankful for fine shelter...fire in our wood stove...and fuzzy socks :).
Please pray for and help out the homeless.


8. I'm thankful that my kids are cheerful givers and don't get into consumerism. They enjoy shopping (for others in need) through gift catalogs from World Vision, Gospel for Asia, and Samaritan's Purse. We are blessed so that we may be blessings to others!

Please check out the gift catalogs from these worthy Christian organizations. Your gift(s) can make an eternal impact! Did you know that $1 can pay for 200 Gospel tracts and $4 for 8 New Testaments?

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." ~Jesus

9.
I'm thankful for my awesome husband who loves me as Christ loves His Church! I'm thankful for our Christ-centered marriage!

I was stunned and amused (I even laughed out loud) when I checked my FB messages in the "others" category (for the first time) and found several emails from men (some claimed to be Christians) trying to hit on me. Yikes! My profile clearly shows I'm married. I'm saddened by the decline of morality in this world.


10. I'm thankful for indescribable joy, peace, and contentment I have in Christ.

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15

11.
I'm thankful for all the men and women who have served and sacrificed so that I may enjoy many freedoms in this country.

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." Psalm 33:12a

12.
I'm thankful for God's Word, my light and my delight! My spiritual bread daily nourishes and strengthens me!

"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105
"Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors." Psalm 119:24
"Man does not live on bread alone but on every Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." Deuteronomy 8:3b

13.
I'm thankful for my eternal hope, security, and confidence in Christ. O blessed assurance!

"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:22-23

"I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day." 2 Timothy 1:12b


14. I'm thankful for Christ-centered, God-honoring hymns and worship songs. Those which are rich in deep thoughts about God, reverence for God, expressions of praise to God, and intimacy with God!

15. I'm thankful for my good health. Even though I do live with intense pain on and off, I am truly thankful. There are many who struggle so much more.

16.
I'm thankful for my friends...near and far...on and off Facebook. All have enriched my life; their friendship means a lot to me.

17.
I'm thankful for God's amazing grace and boundless mercy!

18. I'm thankful for massages I get regularly from Eric and occasionally from the kids :). Oh...so relaxing!

19. I'm thankful for God's constant presence and omnipresence!

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5b


20. I'm thankful for God's forgiveness! And I'm thankful that I live with very forgiving people :).

"He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities...As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:10, 12

"If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared." Psalm 130:3-4

"In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8


21.
I'm thankful for smiles and laughter that fill my days :).

22. I'm thankful for faith, family, food, and fun. I know from Whom all my blessings flow.

The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.” ~Dante Gabriel Rossetti


23. I'm thankful for my three children, bright and beautiful blessings from the Lord. They love Jesus! They're thoughtful, thankful, truthful, faithful, helpful, and joyful.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 4
 


24. I'm thankful for God's unconditional, unselfish, unending love ♥!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

"Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.
" Psalm 63:3-4

"Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:26


25. I'm thankful for hugs and kisses from my hubby and kids. I'm glad I live with affectionate people :).  

26. I'm thankful that I can talk with my Heavenly Father anytime anywhere about anything. We are super close :).

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 John 5:14

"I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live." Psalm 116:1-2
 


27. I'm thankful for high tolerance for pain, any relief from pain, strength and energy in spite of pain :).

"I love You, O Lord, my Strength." Psalm 18:1
 


28. I'm most thankful for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior!
Because of Him, I am who I am today...born again and blessed, complete and content, forgiven and free, saved and sanctified, treasured and transformed! Because of Him, I have a purposeful life, meaningful life, abundant life, and eternal life.

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ
lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24
 
29. I'm thankful for being able to stay home with my kids and homeschool them. I get to train and teach them, pray with them, instill God's principles in them, make memories with them, play with them, learn along with them, listen to their wild & crazy (creative) ideas, hear their laughter and music (piano-playing, singing)...and just be there for them...through it all...the good, the bad, and the ugly days :). Wouldn't trade it for the world!
 
30. I'm thankful for each day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it :). Every day is a gift from God!

Each day is an opportunity to love and serve God and people.
Each day is an opportunity to know Him more and to make Him known.
Each day is an opportunity to encourage and edify others.
Each day is an opportunity to live for God...to be used for His glory and His kingdom.
And each day is an opportunity to practice thankfulness to the Lord.