Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Story 2007

The Manger Cradled the King

by

Sue Cameron

Mary leaned on the doorframe, silently watching her husband work. She watched his hands, so skillful and steady, almost gentle as they worked with the wood. She also noticed the strength of his back and arms underneath his simple woven tunic. How can I help but love him? He’s taken me as his own. Her hand went protectively to the unborn child she carried. He’s taken both of us as his own.

He must have sensed her admiring him. “Mary? Is it already time for lunch?”

She smiled. “Your stomach usually alerts you.”

He wiped sawdust from his hands. “I could use a break.”

Her eyes traveled to the back of the small room. “I see you finished the yoke for Levi. What are you working on now?”

He blushed and she felt startled. “What? Are you embarrassed to tell me?”

He crossed to her and lifted her chin. “No, I just wanted it to be a surprise.”

Her eyes grew wide. “For the baby?”

“Yes.” He led her to the lovingly sanded wood and held it up for her to inspect.

She touched it carefully. “It’s smooth and—beautiful.”

“It will be the most wonderful cradle in all of Nazareth—in all of Israel.”

She clapped her hands and bounced up and down on her tippy-toes. “In all the

world! Everyone will come and see the cradle you have made.”

He placed his hands on her shoulders. “No. Everyone will come to see the

baby in the cradle.”

“Yes, the baby—” She looked up at him in fear, in wonder, in anticipation.

“Joseph, why me, why us?”

He wrapped his arms around her and held her. “Only Yahweh knows and that is

enough.”

* * * * *

Mary fought back the tears when she saw the discouragement in Joseph’s eyes as he returned to her. “No room?”

He shook his head and grabbed hold of the rope, tugging their weary donkey forward. “Caesar has no concern for us and the fact that we have no place to sleep tonight. His greed, wanting to make sure no one fails to pay him tribute, is the reason we had to make this difficult journey.”

She watched his hunched shoulders and wanted to comfort him, to encourage him. “At least we’re together.”

He stopped and came to her, stroking her cheek. “How are you feeling?”

“Good. I’m young and strong as an ox and—”

“Mary?”

“Oh!”

The color drained from his face. “Now? So soon?”

She swallowed and nodded. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry.” He took hold of the rope, yanked hard, and urged the donkey. “Come on.” He glanced back at her. “I’ll find us a place, I promise.”

* * * * *

There was more work and pain and blood then she had expected. Seeing others give birth did little to prepare her for her own experience. But in an instant all of that had been replaced by overwhelming love and wonder as Joseph laid the baby in her arms. She looked down at him and then up into her husband’s eyes. “He’s perfect.”

Joseph wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. “Yes, he is—more perfect than any baby ever born.”

She smiled.

He kissed her forehead. “I’m so proud of you.” When the baby cried he pulled back. “What’s wrong?”

She giggled. “I don’t know, maybe he’s hungry.”

“Then you should feed him, right?”

“I’ll try.”

As the newborn nursed, Joseph knelt at the manger to prepared his bed. “Ouch.” He sucked his finger.

“A splinter?”

Joseph nodded. They looked into each other’s eyes, mourning the tiny hand-woven blanket and hand carved cradle so tenderly prepared for this moment. He went to her, grasping her hand. He whispered, “He is here with us, that’s all that matters.”

* * * * *

When life doesn’t turn out as you planned, when dreams don’t materialize, when the journey is harder than you’ve ever imagined, just remember, Jesus is here with us, and that’s all that matters.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

SAVING FACE

Grandkids sitting on Granddad (Thanksgiving 2007)

Grandkids table at Thanksgiving.


It's been too long since I've visited with you. I want to share the story I wrote last Christmas, hope you enjoy it and MERRY CHRISTMAS.


SAVING FACE

Just after Christmas last year I purchased a three-piece nativity set. It’s made of an off-white resin/stone mixture. I chose it because the figures look realistic and I like the way the fabric of their clothes seems to flow.

We positioned the set high on a large rock in our front yard. My husband, Craig adjusted one of our spotlights to shine so that the trio would be clearly visible to those who pass by. Ethne, our granddaughter, loves the figures. As soon as she arrives for a visit she says, “Baby Jesus, see it.” I take her hand to steady her as we walk over the large uneven river rocks of our desert landscaping. When we reach the little family of three she says, “Baby Jesus. Hold it.” Then she lifts the figure of the Christ child to plant a tender kiss on his face. This new ritual delights me and I pictured it as a permanent part of our family’s yearly Christmas tradition. But that was before the winds came.

El Paso wind can be vicious. It blew in, swept Joseph from his place of honor and sent him crashing headlong into the stones below. Joseph lost face; in fact he lost all of his face. There was nothing but a huge empty gap where his features used to be. I collected four jagged pieces of his shattered image then picked up my broken Joseph to carry him inside. I hid him. I couldn’t let a faceless man watch over Mary and Baby Jesus.

In a strange way, I hurt for the lifeless figure, wondering why he couldn’t have fallen backwards where the damage wouldn’t be so obvious. Gluing the back of his robe would have been so easy. No one would even notice that he’d been damaged and repaired. But this injury was apparent, from ear to ear and forehead to chin, the Joseph I had enjoyed was missing.

I didn’t throw Joseph away or seek to replace him. I knew what he needed—a surgeon with skillful hands. Luckily, I’m married to one. Craig went to work on our statue and glued the plaster back together. Now Joseph is restored. He’s not broken anymore. His scars are visible, cracks crisscross his face and there is a small gap near his hairline where a small piece of plaster is completely missing. It’s obvious he’s been mended. But Joseph has rejoined his family.

Sadly, it is not unusual for a man or woman to fall publicly and their image to break upon the rocks of sinful choices. Sometimes they are those in high places, other times they are our neighbors, friends or members within our own family. With no place to hide, their brokenness is apparent to all and often causes pain for others.

When I consider this, I think of my Joseph. The cracks in his face will remind me, year after year, that Jesus came to restore people. He can mend every person who has lost face. Bind up every broken heart. Heal every shattered family. Christmas whispers that there is hope and healing in the loving hands of the One who is a surgeon of souls.

So, come to Him this Christmas, as you are—needy, frail, and breakable—fashioned of dust. Give thanks that the roaring wind hasn’t yet blown through your life, or that though you bear scars, you have survived. For at the manger, you will find Jesus reaching out to lift you up in order to plant a tender kiss of mercy on your face and restore your soul.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

MARRIAGE MATTERS

Here's a picture of Craig handcuffed for his Birthday surprise!
This is Craig's ice cream cake!

If you’re married, marriage matters to you, at least your marriage matters. It seems like there are so many people who are unhappily married, yet at the very core of who we are we long for and seek after a life-long loving relationship. I guess that’s why divorce isn’t much of a deterrent to remarriage. But marriage isn’t about finding the right person, it’s about being the right person.

It’s human nature to pass the buck and blame others for anything and everything in our life that goes wrong or is wrong. Just notice how quickly and easily we excuse or explain ourselves when confronted. From, “Well, I was low on gas,” to “If you would have called to remind me. . .” Self-protection is easy and taking personal responsibility is not. But in the end each one of us will answer for our own choices.

I think I’ll post some Blogs about marriage as I see it revealed in the Scriptures. How it is meant to be. Especially how wives are to operate in relation to their husbands. I’ve been married 30 years, my hair is silver so I may have something to offer you but only if you decide to be open and teachable, and allow the Lord to speak to you, not about how your husband could improve, but about how you’re doing. How good of a wife are you? One way to measure this is to ask, “How happy is my husband?”


Monday, October 29, 2007

Hi Friends!



Here I am (years ago) with our four children when they were dressed up.

Here’s a picture of Cameron (Spider man) and Kayla (Tinker bell) with our oldest daughter Sara, when we visited them over my birthday weekend.



Hello my friends. It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down for a chat. The good news is I’ve been writing—a story for Breakaway and an article for Focus, and just got an assignment for another article due November 20. It’s about, “Making Memories on a Shoestring,” so if you have any ideas, please send them to me! I’ve even begun to work on my novel again, which is a big deal, since I’d basically shelved the project (rewriting is just plain hard work.)

After the Novel Retreat, in N.C. (which was so good) I flew to KY to spend a few days with Sara and watch the kids so she and Mike could go away for a couple of nights. It just happened to be my birthday weekend and as a surprise, Craig picked me up at the Louisville airport. I was so confused that I didn’t act very excited, but I’m really glad he came and it made my birthday extra special!

I recently spoke to a local MOPS group on Prayer and even sold some CD’s! It was such a fun topic, because prayer is living and ongoing and I think we will be discovering new dimensions our whole lives (because the Lord is unfathomable and unlimited).

Tomorrow at WOW we’ll be talking about Psalm 139. What a wonderful, personal, joyful psalm about the Lord’s personal, loving care for each of us and how He designed with purpose. I praise Him for being infinite and also so concerned with the details of our lives, what an Awesome God we serve. Blessings to all.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007




I want to tell about these two pictures. This is us celebrating Craig’s ‘family’ birthday last Sunday. Our good friend, Kirk made his famous homemade-smoked ribs. They are truly the most wonderful, melt-off the bone eating experience . . .

His wife and two girls joined us. The girls sat in the front hall at a small table and Ethne sat with them. When it was time to eat I squatted by the girls and said, “It’s time to pray before we eat. Do one of you want to say the prayer?”

Ethne said, “Me.”

“Okay,” I said and we all closed our eyes and folded our hands.

Ethne prayed, “Lord Jesus, thank you sor (for) this sood (food). Thank you sor Grammy. Thank you sor my sriends. Amen.”

I was so moved. I had never heard my little 2 ½ year old granddaughter pray before and she included me! Wow what a blessing. Okay she also included food and friends. It was wonderful.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Quiet Place





Hi,
This is a picture of my quiet place and the verse the Lord 'spoke' to me while I was sitting there listening. It's the third verse I've memorized and placed into my 'memory' album, this has been a fun way to encourage myself to really hear from the Lord and to 'hide' His Word in my heart! I have an exciting adventure coming up. I'll be attending a Novel Retreat a few days of intense focus for writers working on a novel. (see link for more information). When I'm finished I'll fly to Sara and Mikes for a few days and they get to go away a couple of nights while I stay with our KY grandkids. Can't wait, should be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy 50th!




THE CAPTURE!






THE SURPRISE!





For my husband’s 50th birthday, my friend Pam and I planned a party. We held it two weeks early so it’d be a real surprise (and it was). Our son, Eric, blindfolded his dad while son-in-law, Robert put the handcuffs on (not without a struggle). They then drove him around in an attempt to disorient and confuse him—it all worked perfectly and we all had a wonderful evening.

Before taking Craig off to his surprise party we all ate pizza. Then he made chocolate-chip

cookies (from the tub). Ethne was helping him and said, “Granddad, you’re a good man to make

chocolate-chip cookies.” I think this was his very favorite part of his entire day, maybe even better

than a bunch of adults surprising him with a party and singing “Happy Birthday”!

Thursday, September 13, 2007



We started back to Bible Study this week. These are the other ladies on the ‘Servant’s Team.’ Back row: Kellie, Karen, Debbie, Front row: Molly, Shelly Stephine, Kim






Here is Aimee on her 24th birthday.







I really think I should know better. Whenever I’m feeling guilty about the good things I should be doing, and how I ought to be spending my time, there’s a problem. The problem is that I really shouldn’t being doing those good things, because they are not the good works God has planned for my life and for me.

Do you have a ‘life verse’? Mine is Eph. 2:10. Here’s how it reads in the New Century Version, “God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.”

Well, it’s up to me to follow His plan, not make my own. When guilt becomes the motivating factor, it’s a sure sign that I’m not following but leading. God’s not the one who accuses us, and makes us feel guilty, that’s the voice of the evil one. “You should be doing this,” “You ought spend time here,” “why aren’t you doing that?” Our heavenly Father’s voice is one of delight. When I’m doing what He’s designed for me to do, my heart says, “Oh goodie, I get to—.”

It took me months to identify the fact that what I was straining over accomplishing a certain assignment. I was miserable until I realized that every time I thought of that task I felt guilty. So I asked, “Lord have you asked me to do this thing?” “No, I’ve asked you to write and you are not writing.” He was right of course and I was set free. I’m so grateful for His longsuffering and kindness and for His voice of encouragement.

Blessings,

Sue

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

THE WITNESS OF PRAYER

I just read an amazing story in The Voice of the Martyrs, magazine. I want to share it with you. It’s about an Algerian woman who wanted to know God and kept crying out to Him. One night, when she was 15 years old, she said, “God, I know you are there, so why don’t you answer me?”

“I was crying on my bed and I saw heaven open and rays of light writing the words, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ I knew this was not a dream, I ran outside on the patio to look up at the sky. I was sure God had spoken to me.”

Later, she was given a New Testament and read the words of Jesus, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” she knew that they were the same words God had spoken to her, so she gave her life to Jesus. Time passed and she was charged with being a Christian in a land where that is illegal.

She went to court. The judge asked her, “What did you find in Islam that you didn’t like?”

She explained how she was searching for God and how He spoke to her and about the words of Jesus she had read.

The judge then asked her about Christian prayer. “Where do you pray? What do you pray?”

She said, “We can pray anytime, anywhere.”

He asked, “Can you pray now? Here?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, pray.”

“Thank you, Jesus, because we are sinner and You died for us. . . “ She knew that her prayer would be an opportunity to share the message of salvation. She prayed a blessing for the leaders of her country and that those in the courtroom would see the salvation of Christ.

She took 10 minutes to finish. “When I said, ‘Amen,’ the officials turned and to look at each other. The room was quiet. They were speechless. The judge said to me, “This case is dismissed. Go home.”

I turned to walk down the long aisle to the door. I heard someone running behind me. I

turned and saw the judge. He caught up with me and said, “Woman, when you pray to Jesus,

please pray for me."

What my name is?





Do you remember being little and playing make-believe, dressing up or just pretending?

Ethne, at 2 ½ is the queen of pretend. You never know who she’ll be. The Princesses have been

ruling in her life and ours lately. On any given day she might be Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel or

Jasmine. The other day, when we were at the park and told her it was time to leave, she said, “Oh,

no! Not yet! I’m Pocahontas, running through the forest with John Smith.”



Then, yesterday, her Mommy bought her some new panties, these are decorated with the fairy

Tinkerbell. I don’t think Ethne had heard of this tiny creature with wings before, because all

day long she kept talking about wings and asking me, “What my name is?” It’s a very strange thing

for a Grammy to tell her granddaughter that her name is Tinkerbell, but if I would have said, “Ethne,”

I know she would have protested. Besides, I still like to have an excuse to pretend, don’t you?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hot and Humid



We just returned from a quick trip to San Diego. It was great to be with Craig's family but boy was it hot and humid. When we got back to El Paso, we thought, "They should have come to see us, our weather is perfect!" Of course we don't have the beach--we took the girls and here are a few pictures to prove it! Happy Labor Day.
sue

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gifts and Green-Chiles



We were recently given some
fresh-shelled pecans and about five pounds of green chilies. It was a generous gift but one that required action. Today I spent most of the day making green chili sauce and then roasting and chopping the remainder of the chilies. I wore plastic gloves as I worked and kept thinking about how much easier it is to use the small cans of prepared chopped green chilies I usually buy.

It reminds me of the year a friend allowed me to pick wild blackberries in her yard. After buying the jars and sugar, picking, washing and preparing the berries I decide a buck or two really wasn’t too much to pay for jelly at the grocery store. I think the same is true for green chilies—but they were a gift after all I couldn’t just let a gift go to waste, could I? Someone had planted, watered and grown them—that took work. They picked them and brought them to us, that took work and so I just couldn’t break that cycle of productivity. And in the end, I learned a lesson, or at least made a personal application.

God gives gifts too. And like the green chilies, his gifts require a response in order to get the full benefit. If I refuse to do the work required to make the gift palatable to others I have failed to really appreciate the gift or the confidence the Lord showed when He entrusted it to me.

It’s one thing to be entrusted by God with a gift—it’s another to take the steps necessary to develop the gift in order to offer our time, our lives, and our efforts to Him as a living sacrifice of praise.

This is a picture of a verse found in Revelation 3 and it is challenging me to be diligent about the work the Lord has given me to do.

Blessings, Sue

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stinky Water



(Two pictures of Granddad with Emeline)



I just returned from two days up in the mountains of New Mexico. Aimee and Robert were the photographers for a wedding at The Inn of the Mountain gods, and I went along to look after Emeline, now eight weeks old. Our room was really large with a balcony that overlooked a beautiful lake and the surrounding pine covered mountains. Watching the light on the lake throughout the day was like witnessing the unfolding of a masterpiece. Just when I thought, “This is so perfect and fabulous,” clouds would roll in and the shadows would shift and take my breath away.

Last evening, after Emeline and I eavesdropped (from a distance) on the wedding ceremony, we went for a walk on a path that followed the edge of the water. I carried her in her snugly and as she slept I enjoyed touching the soft dark hair on her tiny head. My eyes were filled with the splendor of the water, but unexpectedly, my nose was filled with an unpleasant odor. Nope, not a baby diaper in need of changing. This smell came from the water. I don’t know if it was the water itself or a result of all the ducks that live along the edge or even rotting foliage, but I was unprepared for that odor.

It got me thinking about how sometimes we as people are like that. We look good from a distance, but if you get very close to us, you discover that we’re not as pleasant as we first seemed. In fact what others may envision is not at all the reality of who we are. We can try to hide it, but each of us has a stinky problem that dwells within us called sin and it seeps out at unexpected moments.

That is true of me, and that is one reason I have made a commitment to do

systematic Bible study. The closer I get to Jesus through studying His Word the more the

fragrance of His love, kindness and forgiveness flows out of my life. As summer winds down

and you look at your fall schedule I hope you will consider making room for a weekly Bible

study. It will sweeten your life and others may be pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Just Pictures again




I have a lot on my mind, but will need to find some time to blog -- for now here are some new pictures of Ethne when she climbed behind the sofa (I keep extra pillows and pool toys back there!) She wanted me to join her, so I did.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Jesus said to pray



I know this is a very serious blog but I couldn't resist showing you Kayla's most recent pictures! She's already a year old, wow!


In church, when Pastor Mike read the words of Jesus to us, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” I felt the heavy hand of the Lord descend on me. No individual came to my mind, but a whole group of people, perhaps even a nation. Specifically, I thought of the Islamic Nation and the Terrorists who rise up to defend her tenets by killing the innocent. Two men who drove a flaming car into Glasgow airport came to mind. And those who left two cars loaded with explosives in the middle of London, in order to kill and injury and terrify innocent people. I consider these people to be my enemies. Is Jesus is asking me to pray for them, and yes, to even love them?

This is very hard. It’s not within my power or heart to do this. It must be supernatural in order for me to obey Jesus’ command. Only His love in me and flowing out of me could be so pure and unconditional. He who said, over and over, “Forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

That I think I can say, because they don’t really know what they are doing, do they? They don’t know that they are following a false god who delights in massacre and death, in taking souls to hell. They are caught in spiritual blindness and totally deceived. So, in truth they don’t know what they are doing, not on a spiritual level at least. I can pray for them to see the Truth, for Jesus to open their eyes and hearts to Him. I can call out for their salvation and so take an active role in stemming the tide of hate and revenge—by praying in love for them. Just like Jesus told me to do.

“So, Lord, because you ask me to, I pray for these terrorists, so blind, so mislead, so lost. I ask that you would soften their hearts and bring your powerful Word to them and their children. That salvation would spring up and flow out and that many would turn to you and be set free. And Lord, I ask you to turn my fear and hate into love and concern. To the praise of your glory. Amen.”

Sunday, July 01, 2007

READING IN THE QUIET MOMENTS




The other day, while watching after Ethne I was delighted to find her sitting—comfortably—reading

one of my articles in a Focus on the Family magazine. I’m actually relieved she can’t really read yet

since it’s an article about sexual satisfaction in marriage and we all know that she is much too young

to be married.

AN APPOINTED DAY










Here are some new pictures of the new baby and some new thoughts from me.




ONE APPOINTED DAY

One reason I chose to sit in this place to work on my laptop is that I enjoy the view out of the large windows—but not today. My husband and I were just sitting in our usual places, doing our usual things, when we heard a thud. I looked up to see a small bird fall to the ground. He’d flown straight into our windowpane and now was gasping for breath on pavement that surrounds our pool.

I had not seen him coming. It happened unexpectedly, suddenly. Of course I prayed. Craig said, “It usually just stuns them and they’re able to fly away after a few moments.” Not this time. I watched as his little chest heaved. “Is there something we can do? Give him some water?”

Craig shook his head. “That would probably kill him.”

His little beak opened and closed several times and then stopped moving

as his eye lids closed over his shiny brown eyes. Just moments ago I watched him die and I feel really sad. I don’t know why the Lord didn’t answer my prayer and revive the little creature. But the Bible says, “There is a time for everything. . . a time to live and a time to die.”

I suppose each death seems sudden to us humans. Mine. Yours. Those we love. It will always take our attention away from the usual things we do and in stunned reaction we’ll pray and hope—and sometimes wonder why God allows death and does not rise the injured one back up.

The truth is we each have an appointed time to die. I’ve been thinking a lot lately that my days are limited and about how I want to live out the days remaining for me. I’ve decided I don’t want to just go along any longer, just allow life to take me as it wills—no, I want to take life. Take the life I’ve been given, every minute, every day and live it in such a way that others will know and love Jesus more.

I’m not really sure how to do this—how to let His life flow out from me—in increasing measure year by year. But I am ready to learn. To lay aside the life I have lived, where I take my days for granted and act as if how I live is my choosing, and doesn’t really matter. I want to begin to live like Jesus. To be disciplined in how I use this limited resource of time, which God has entrusted to me. To be constantly aware that all around me are people flying through life, headed for their appointed day of dying and to do what I can to help them be ready for that unexpected moment. To reach out and tell them that there is a God and He loves them so much He has made arrangements so that they can live forever, simply close their eyes and open them again on the other side.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Josh PhD


Hi Friends,
Today I'm posting the announcements we ran in our local newspaper. It's been fun to run into people around town who say they read them and then congratulate us. What a blessing!





Photo courtesy of robertfuel.com



Ten years ago, Joshua Cameron was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by Franklin High School’s first graduating class. This year he earned his PhD in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame where he’s now employed as a Visiting Professor.

Joshua’s dissertation, “Stall Inception in a High-Speed Axial Compressor,” has gained international attention and helped him to earn the Shaheen Graduate School Award as the outstanding graduate student for the college of Engineering.

His parents, Dr. Craig and Sue Cameron of El Paso, wish to acknowledge God’s faithfulness to their son and Joshua’s diligence in pursuing his dreams. Joshua and his wife, Shauna, daughter of Ron and Debbie Acton of El Paso, live in Granger, Indiana with their two young sons.

Eric & Amy


Photo courtesy of robertfuel.com


The parents of Amy Blevins and Eric Cameron wish to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for his blessing of uniting their children in marriage. Out-of-town family and friends witnessed the couple exchange wedding vows at Coronado Baptist Church on April 7, 2007. Then the newlyweds and their guests celebrated during a reception at Ardovino’s Desert Crossing, which included dinner, dancing and a beautifully decorated ice cream cake.

The couple met while travelling with Wycliffe Dinner Theatre. Amy, the daughter of Katie Blevins of Tigard, Oregon and Mike Blevins of Decorah, Iowa, earned a Theatre Degree from Seattle Pacific University. Eric, son of Dr. Craig and Sue Cameron of El Paso, currently works at Jaxon’s restaurant and is pursuing a degree in Film Production at NMSU.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

New Grand-baby!






ANNOUNCING

The birth of our sixth grandchild!

Emeline Liberty Feuille

June 15, 2007

6 pounds 4 ounces

19 ¾ inches long

We didn’t expect her for about three weeks, but she came anyway. In answer to Aimee’s prayer, her labor was spontaneous and she was able to deliver naturally. Her dad was there to help, in fact to his delight; he delivered his granddaughter into the world at 11:02 AM (between cases at another hospital). Although I rushed to the hospital I missed the actual birth arriving within moments of her first cry! What a little sweetie-pie. Right now I’m calling her “Squeeky,” because she makes a lot of little sqeeky sounds! Aimee, Robert and the girls are living with us for a week or two while Aimee recovers. We love it and are so thankful to the Lord for His generous blessings to us.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tea Picnic and Being Found





Ethne stayed with us this weekend and this morning she awoke early. I asked her if she would like to have a tea party. She got excited and said, “We’ll have a tea picnic?” Here are pictures of her having tea.

Recently, Ethne joined Craig and I at graduation party. She twirled, kicked and hopped around the dance floor. I swung her in circles and sway around a bit myself. Being near a dance floor, in charge of a two-year-old, is lots of fun. No excuses needed for acting childlike if you’re with a youngster.

We ate. Folks sang karaoke, we clapped for them. And from time to time we took the trip to the far side of the building to visit the bathroom. On the way back from one such journey, I turned aside for a moment to get a cup of coffee. Ethne was off to my left as I quickly prepared my drink. The next thing I knew she was rushing back toward the dance area, with a worried look and a little voice, calling, “Grammy!”

I squatted and reached out to her, turning her to face me. “What’s wrong?”

“You lost me!” she replied.

I didn’t. I hadn’t. But this truth had no effect on how my little granddaughter perceived losing sight of me, even though I had sight of her.

Do you ever feel like the Lord has lost sight of you? That He isn’t aware of where you are and maybe doesn’t even care that you’re afraid? Or, have you lost sight of Him? Has the image of His constant love grown dim in your heart?

It’s a good time to turn from where you are and rush into His waiting arms. Cry out. Let Him hold you and whisper truth, “I have engraved you in the palm of my hand.” The mark of you He bears on His wounded hands will never go away. You are always with Him, in His heart and in His sight even when you don’t feel like it’s true.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Listening Well


(Eric and Ethne working on their computers.)


The phone rang. Even though friends and I were in the middle of discussing plans for a women’s Bible study, I rose to answer it.

“Hello.”

My husband said, “Never mind I got it.”

He seemed to be talking to someone in the background so I asked, “What?”

“I needed a phone number, but I found it. Remember I’m going to lunch with Pastor today.”

“Yeah. Where are you going?”

“San Francisco . . .”

I almost blurted, “San Francisco? How in the world can you do that? We live in El Paso.” Thankfully I didn’t.

“. . . Oven,” he finished his statement.

I struggle with interrupting my husband with really stupid questions because I jump to conclusions before listening well. If I just allow him to finish his thought and complete his sentences, I usually understand what he’s saying. It’s not a problem in the delivery but in the listening.

I wonder if I do this with God? Think I heard what He was saying without allowing Him to finish and then jump to an incorrect conclusion and so miss the point altogether. “Oh Lord, please put a guard over my mouth and teach me the discipline of silence so that I can hear the all Words you are speaking to my heart. Amen.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

GOOD GIFTS


The Lord is the giver of every good gift. Some times, we act a little bit like Him and give gifts to one another. Recently I received a gift that means a lot to me. It is a quilt, handmade by my sweet friend, Jeanne. She is moving away. Usually when a friend leaves, they get the gifts, but she gave me this beautiful reminder of the years we spent ministering side-by-side in our ladies Bible study, W.O.W. (Workmen of the Word).

A few things you should know. When she moved to El Paso, she had a vision to begin this Bible study for women as a place they could be encouraged to study God’s Word on their own and a enjoy the friendships of other women. Remember, she was new to El Paso. She had left behind her support group of friends; she wasn’t a well known face around our church, yet she stepped out in faith and obedience. The result has been many years of lots of women gathering for fellowship and being changed by the power of God’s own expressed Word. WOW.

That kind of living speaks to me. She didn’t sit around longing for what she left behind, or complaining about what she didn’t have. I bet she felt lonely and so she prayed and the Lord showed her that other women new to the area also felt lonely. In His strength she took action and did something about her situation and many lives have benefited.

This is a good example. At times we may feel frustrated or unhappy with the way our life is or about a certain situation. I do and some of my responses are: blame someone else, get grumpy, complain, feel sorry for myself. Or when things are hard we think God should do something—and get mad when He doesn’t. Maybe He is doing something, maybe He’s waiting for us to do something.

Well, that’s the story of this wonderful gift given to me. Now I want to tell you about the gift we gave our son to congratulate him for earning his PhD. As background you need to know that when Craig earned his medical degree his parents bought him a recliner. We wanted to do this for Josh but wanted him to choose the chair. He actually wasn’t crazy about the recliners he tried out but really loved another chair with ottoman. So that’s the one he got and he calls it ‘the chair of all chairs.’ It’s nice to receive gifts of love and it’s nice to give them too! Here’s to gift giving, let’s follow the example of the Giver of all things and give with great generosity and joy!

Monday, May 21, 2007


(Cameron and Grammy having a picnic by the river)















(With sweet Kayla)










(Written last week, but I couldn’t get on-line to post)

Today we played with our grandchildren in Kentucky. First Craig and I took Kayla for a walk around the neighbourhood. She is a dainty little thing, nearly a year old, with a sweet personality. She watches her big brother and imitates just about everything he does. Whenever she hears some one laugh, she joins in. And her laugh is so cute that it’s contagious and so we all end up laughing. I think she liked having our full attention this morning and we sure enjoyed giving it to her.

When we picked up Cameron from pre-school we went to the river for a picnic. The day was perfect—the air had the feel of spring, with a slight breeze that was present but not distracting. Three-year-old Cameron joined Granddad in throwing sticks into the river. They were joined by a large black Retriever who did what he was born to do—by bounding into the water to fetch one of the sticks. Then the pup (I’m sure this dog was a youngster because he bounced with great exuberance) came up on shore and shook violently, sending a light shower of dirty river water on both boys. Now, this puppy didn’t have the slightest idea that Granddad isn’t a real fan of furry four legged animals of any kind. He just shook joyfully, rolled in the grass and then stood and looked around for some more fun.

By this time, Cameron had stooped and picked up another stick but before he could turn and throw it in the river, his new playmate rushed up behind him—front paws lifted—trying to invite our grandson to frolic. Cameron didn’t see the puppy coming, and it happened so fast there wasn’t time to shout out a warning, the dog knocked Cameron to the ground. He was startled but unhurt and at that moment the puppy’s owner, who was watching from the distance, yelled, “Come!” and off when the wet, blackhaired, four-legged-friend.

Granddad quickly scooped up our little guy saying, “The doggie wanted to play with you.” I think he might have been thinking something less positive.

Later, Cameron told his Daddy, “The dog jumped on me.”

Next, we raced up the hill with some wild flowers. Cameron presented these to his Mommy who was pushing Kayla in a baby swing. “Happy Birthday Mommy. I got you some flowers.”

These are two wonderful little people and they add such joy to our lives. It is such a blessing to know them. I’m just sad that we don’t live nearer to them, for I know from firsthand experience that when your back is turned, and you’re busy doing other things, time can sneak up behind you and knock you down and before you can right yourself, it runs off, taking your children into adulthood.

ENJOYING MY CHILDREN


(Josh and Shauna)















(With Josh after graduation)




Wow. Josh was one of only four graduate students up on stage, since he was chosen as the outstanding student for the Engineering department at Notre Dame. His name will be engraved on a plague that hangs in the office for Graduate Students. They presented him with a beautiful award that looks like a glass square with a golden engraved plate inside. He also got a check which means he and Shauna can go off together to celebrate their tenth anniversary (isn’t God good?)

When Joshua’s amazing achievements were being read I sat silently, thanking the Lord for the way He has held onto Josh and directed his steps. As a parent there were times when I nearly panicked over our firstborn. He could out think me from an early age so I had to try to out-pray him. While I’m not (in anyway) taking credit for all of his brilliance and hard work and good heart, I am acknowledging that the Lord has graciously intervened when Josh needed a helping hand to push him in a righteous direction. I am so thankful for this.

Today I am still praying and trusting the Lord as the Good Shepherd of my children, their spouses and our grandchildren. Only He knows how He has made each one. He understands what they need to live life joyfully. He can carry them in their sorrow and dance over them with singing in time of triumph. They are His, from the moment of conception, on loan to us to enjoy.

As a young mother this became my primary goal—to enjoy my children. I recognized that Scripture calls children a gift so I asked myself, When I give a gift to someone I love, why do I do it? I concluded I want them to enjoy it.

So, I figured that when the Lord gave me our precious four gifts He wanted me to delight in his presents (and be thankful to Him for His wise generosity).

Basic to enjoying a child is openly accepting and loving them for who they are and delighting in watching them unfold. It’s sharing their wonder as they discover their world. It’s liking to be with them. It’s not working to make them into someone different, but helping in every way to aid them in becoming who they are created to be. It doesn’t mean you don’t teach and give boundaries but it means (at least for me) you follow God’s pattern in the garden. Lots of free provision for fun and ‘yeses’ and only one ‘no.’ You might say, ‘Well that didn’t go so well, did it?’ That actually brings me comfort because God, the perfect the parent had disobedient children, and although He sure didn’t approve of their choice, He loved them and made provision to rescue them.

Well, I’m rambling. I just felt, as I saw our son cross that stage and be recognised at Doctor Cameron—Professor Cameron, that I felt thankful that when I think back to the years of raising him I smile, because we had so much fun and I sure did enjoy being his mom (still do.)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Amazing Show


A little blurry-- but this is a picture of what our counter looks like on Thursday nights, when a group of men join Craig to study the Bible. As you can see they studied the book of Romans (and so did I in a day time study I attended.) I cook for them, but we're taking a break for the summer.
Here is a strange and beautiful bird I saw in England. Does anyone know what it is? It looked like a Rooster/Parrot. Very bright colors and an awful sounding screech.


I've just finished looking at a wonderful slide show of Eric and Amy's wedding! (Take a look.) Robert and Aimee did a great job on the photography. If you watch it I want you to know that song that is playing is the one that was played as the couple was pronounced husband and wife and walked up the isle out of the church. ENJOY!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

ANNOUNCING—Let’s Pray Today!


The project produced four CD's. Prayer for Beginners, Praying to Overcome Anxiety and Depression, Praying for My Children, and Praying for My Husband and Marriage.



ANNOUNCING—Let’s Pray Today!

Since today is the National Day of Prayer, it seems a perfect day to announce the arrival of my newest ‘baby’—which relates to prayer, as you’ll see. I’ve always thought it was a bit weird for people to talk about their artist work as offspring, but in some ways the analogy fits.

Birthing a creative work demands a change in lifestyle and can even take over your life for a time. You might even feel nauseous from time to time or weighted down. There may be a craving for a bit of relief from carrying the burden of bringing the concept to life. Some days, you wish you could go back and not allow the idea to be conceived in the first place, so that life could just return to normal. Then, when time drags on and it seems as if the end will never come irrational fears creep into your mind. “This is never going to be ready,” and “Let’s just forget the whole thing.” But as in pregnancy, it is with an idea that presents itself, it will grow and grow and one day it will be too large to contain and will need to take on a life of its own. And even though you believe that the moment of birth will never arrive, and that you’ll never be delivered—it happens!

And when the baby arrives—oh, the joy, the wonder, the relief, and THE ANNOUNCEMENT! So, to all of you dear ones who prayed with me and for me as I wrote and recorded these prayers, let me present the offspring of our combined efforts. Thank you.

LET’S PRAY TODAY!

National Day of Prayer



Eric turned 21 and he really liked his dirt cake, Ethne liked it too!


Today is the National Day of Prayer. Will you join me in praying?

"Lord thank you that this day is a day to focus on praying for our nation, You are the one that
decided we woud be born in this land of opportunity. Please help us to make the most of all
you've given so that your kingdom would increase and your Name be lifted up. Give us hearts that are fully yours and minds and bodies that all we are would delight and honor you. Please give our leaders supernatural wisdom and hearts that hear you and follow your ways. Protect them from greed and power and falsehood. Give each one, at the national, state and local level a standard of righteousness lift up your banner of love over us. Forgive us, have mercy on us, save us Oh Lord make us a people who honor you in truth and live lives that bring you glory. Amen."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Today's lesson

(Katie, Amy's mom and I lighting the unity candle at the wedding.)











I’m always a bit stunned when I realize that I have miscommunicated. After all I’m a communicator—an author, teacher, speaker. Sometimes I’m paid for my words but that doesn’t mean that I don’t make mistakes. James 3:2 says, “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.”

It’s easy to admit I’m not perfect, but what that means is that I unintentionally hurt people. I hate that—don’t you? Thankfully the friend that I offended is mature enough that she called me and asked me to explain myself. Wow, if she hadn’t done that, things would have been so much worse.

This has reminded me of the mighty, weighty, power of words—for good

or bad. “Lord please help me to be a careful listener and wise in speech. Put a guard over my mouth. Holy Spirit, control my tongue and may I bring blessing and life with the words I speak and write. To the praise of Your Glory. Amen.”

Mt 12:36 -

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Just Pictures


Wedding pictures. Amy and her dad, Mike Blevins.


Eric and Amy Cameron cutting the ice cream cake (from Cold Stone Creamery.)



Beautiful cake table decorated by Amy's Aunt Sue.