Online Bible Study

Online Bible Study

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My last wonderful day with Harper!

Today was my second, and last, day with Harper this week; and we had a fabulous time!  My helper, Aunt Brooke, decided to take the day off; I flew solo! 
I am so thankful to Chelsea's mom and dad for caring for Harper every single day since Chelsea returned to work; after Harper's birth!  I wish I could help more, but volunteer to watch Harper whenever I can! I love every minute I am privileged to spend with our precious baby girl!
After my fiasco yesterday (see post dated December 30th), I decided to play it safe today!  Harper still had the privilege of riding in the wagon, but it was a little different today (see pictures below):

Harper riding in the wagon, while watching Miss Patty Cake (in the safety and warmth of her home)!

More Miss Patty Cake's singing and dancing!
At the end of our ride today, we noticed a souvenir from yesterday, in the trunk!
More to come of "The Adventures with Harper Noelle" on the next government holiday or vacation day!

Monday, December 30, 2013

My Graceful Moment....

You may be wondering why I added the picture to the left on a post entitled, "My Graceful Moment."   I can't wait to tell you ALL about it!

Today was a fabulous day; my daughter, Brooke, and I spent it with my granddaughter, Harper Noelle!  Not only was she a complete Angel, we had a great time watching movies together, watching her drive her new wheels in my son and daughter's driveway, and watching her enjoy her new Christmas toys!

Although it's winter in Virginia, it's been relatively mild (it was actually 80 degrees a couple of weeks ago!).  That being said, we decided to go for a little walk with her new fancy wagon (it even has a trunk, for heaven's sake)!  It became apparent early, Harper wanted no part of riding in the wagon; she was content walking (holding my or Brooke's hand).

Everything was going extremely well, until I decided to take a picture of Brooke and Harper walking hand in hand in front of me.  It was the first picture taken on our walk and not very well thought through.  We were walking on an asphalt path surrounding a beautiful lake, in a subdivision located next to theirs.  The ground was completely saturated, as it had rained off and on most of the day before.  As I stopped to take the photo, I didn't realize the path was on an incline; and I left the wagon unattended behind me.  As soon as I had the camera "in place" for the perfect photo, I heard a noise behind me.  As I turned to get a look, I saw the NEW WAGON heading straight for the lake!  I started to panic (like any good grandmother would) and took off running to save it!  I wasn't sure how deep the lake was and didn't want to find out (by jumping in to save the wagon)!  As I began to gain speed, just about to grab the wagon, my feet FLEW out from under me, causing me to fall and land on the ground.  Although I was wet, I am happy to report I wasn't hurt.  

The best news:  I SAVED the wagon!  The better news:  Brooke DIDN'T have her video camera on!  Although she was laughing at the top of her lungs, I must admit, I was too!

Harper in the driveway with her NEW WHEELS!

Brooke and Harper (the beautiful lake to the left)

Harper finally going for a ride in the wagon (notice the trunk)!

Granny STILL enjoying the beautiful walk, lake and day with her daughter and granddaughter!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Did you know I was adopted?

As long as I can remember, I knew I was adopted.  As a matter of fact, my mom told me she rocked me as an infant and told me; she said adoption made me special - BECAUSE I was adopted.  I remember as I got older, her explanation included that unlike children who were NOT planned by their parents, not only was I planned, I was SOUGHT OUT!!!!  I always believed her, why wouldn't I?  She never lied to me.  (I WAS special!)

I'm the second one from the left (the youngest)
After my parents passed away (in 1980 and 1981), I experienced a fleeting moment when I considered finding my natural mother.  After obtaining my "non-identifying papers" and attending one support group meeting, I decided it might not be a good idea.  Although I lost my REAL parents when I was young (and more immature than most girls my age), I was not ready to open myself to the unknown heartache possibly awaiting me.  I learned at the support group you're never guaranteed a "happily ever after" ending; and I already had enough to deal with in this life (and to overcome).

On the other hand, my sister, Tammy, found her natural mother very shortly after we lost our parents.  I was so grateful she made that decision (not immediately, but eventually), as she restored a loving relationship with her natural mother.  Her mother played a vital role in her life and the lives of her two children (Christopher and Brian); especially after she unexpectedly passed away at the age of 36 from brain cancer.  (It's true the good die young; she was a saint!)

Here it is 2013 (approximately 30 years later), and I made the decision to give it a shot.  The laws in the state of Virginia have changed over the years and all that's required of me, the adoptee, is to ask social services to locate her.  Of course, she will be given the option to say "No" if she would rather not "meet" me.  But it's only fair she be the one to make that decision, to reopen a very private (and most likely secret) part of her life; or to allow the decision she made all those years ago to be her final one.

The motivation for my search is different now, too.  As I consider the reality of abortion and how much easier it would have been for her to eliminate my existence; I NEED to thank her for giving me life!  Her giving me life allowed ME to give life to three amazing children (Peter, Brooke and Kristina) and a PRECIOUS granddaughter (Harper).  And, as a mother myself, I can't imagine how difficult it must be to live your life not knowing what happened to your child.  I NEED to tell her I had a wonderful life; I was loved beyond comprehension, and provided everything I ever needed (and wanted).  I need to tell her, "THANK YOU.  You made the right decision, to put me up for adoption."  Anything beyond that (a possible friendship) would be icing on the cake.

From what I've been told at this point in the journey, the social worker was able to contact my natural mother (at least they believe she is my natural mother) and left  a voice message asking her to return the call.  Although I don't know what the voice message said, I was told it could take years for her to return the call (if she ever does).  No matter what happens, I told the social worker my reasons for wanting to contact her and I pray she passes the information along, even if she isn't open to meeting me.

This is another one of those times in life where having faith provides MUCH comfort.  I KNOW without a doubt, if He wants us to be reunited, we will be.  If He doesn't, we won't.  Either way, I am truly grateful for my many blessings!

Jeremiah 29:11

English Standard Version (ESV)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Luke 12:7
New Living Translation (NLT)

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Facebook Treasures of the day!

"'For all thy blessings, known and unknown, remembered and forgotten, we give thee thanks,' runs an old prayer, and it is for the all but unknown ones and the more than half-forgotten ones that we do well to look back over the journeys of our lives because it is their presence that makes the life of each of us a sacred journey. We have a hard time seeing such blessed and blessing moments as the gifts I choose to believe they are and a harder time still reaching out toward the hope of a giving hand, but part of the gift is to be able, at least from time to time, to be assured and convinced without seeing, as Hebrews says, because that is of the very style and substance of faith as well as what drives it always to seek a farther and a deeper seeing still." - Frederick Buechner 
(Thank you, Jessica Winkley)

How many books do you plan to read in 2014?


Experiencing Charlottesville, Photo by James Marshall

My prayer!

With four day greasy hair, I'm sitting here this morning thinking about 2013. It hasn't been an easy year. I've been stretched, humbled, heartbroken, challenged, and forced to come face to face with some of the toughest questions in my faith journey. Ultimately it's this question that I want to answer with a resounding yes...

"Lysa, if you are a woman with faith then are you willing to live a life that actually requires faith?"

Lord, I am. There has been a time for tears but now they've turned into a battle cry! So with a sometimes trembling heart, I grab Your Word, I proclaim Your Wisdom, and I walk in Your Way. What the devil meant for evil, You will surely use for GOOD! I'm believing it. I'm living it. Amen!

Onward and Upward, sweet sisters. Together!!! But first, a shower:)

Lysa Terkeurst

Carter Mountain (More from Charlottesville)

Beautiful Snow Fall in Charlottesville

Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies's photo


Friday, December 27, 2013

Teaching of Heather Zempel

The first time I was introduced to this amazing lady, Heather Zempel, was at Northside Christian Church's Small Group Leaders gathering many years ago.  Although I don't remember everything she said that morning, I remember her passion when she said it!  I also remember how much she respected her Lead Pastor, Mark Batterson, and how frequently she spoke of him.  Ever since that day, I have been on-line followers of both of them!

Mark is the Lead Pastor at National Community Church in Washington, DC, as well as author of many fabulous books.  

Mark Batterson

Heather serves as Discipleship Pastor and authors books too!  

Heather Zempel

They both maintain blogs, which I follow (and actually read), as well as post sermons on their Church's web-site:  I would encourage you to follow them too!

What I love most about Heather is her intelligence (although I love many other things,too!)!  She is SO DARNED SMART!  And she calls it like she sees it!  Like it or not!  She reminds me of another good friend - Michelle, if you're reading, you know it's YOU!!!

When she teaches, I learn things I never knew before!  EVER!  Things I never thought about!  For example, I remember a sermon I listened to online concerning the passage in Jeremiah 29 - if you are familiar with the Bible, you know the verse:  11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[b] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  So many of us (Christians) love to memorize that Scripture and pull it out whenever we "need" it (Which is a great thing - please don't misunderstand my point here).  However, Heather mentioned the verse just prior to verse 11:  10 “For thus says the LordWhen seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.  How come I never read that?!?!?!  It's immediately before the verse!?!??!?!  Heather spoke about the suffering the Israelites had to endure PRIOR to the blessing!  WOW!  Maybe I would have to endure suffering too!  That message gave me HOPE!  (I sent a request to NCC this morning asking for the link to that message. I would like to listen to it again - and would be happy to post it on m blog if you're interested in hearing it too!)  Here's the Link: Thank you so much, Heather and Sarah!!!

Today, I saw Heather's name on a post from the Orange Leaders blog, here is the link:  That message is what prompted this post today.  I hope you will take a minute to read it too!  I was blessed, as always!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pictures Speak Louder than Words - Christmas 2013

Christmas Memories 2013

Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24th

Presents wrapped for family - some "hidden" in other locations!

Christmas Eve tradition - Family and good friends over for dinner after Worship!

Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25th

Day begins at 5:15 am - Brooke, Kristina and I drive to Virginia Beach to see Harper experience Santa for the first time.  Last year doesn't count as she was only 4 months old.

My Children!  Kristina Elizabeth, Peter Joseph, and Brooke Marie!

Mommy brings Harper downstairs!!!  
(Why is everyone in our family here at 7:00 am!?!?!?!)

Chelsea introducing Harper to her Christmas Stocking!

Part of Harper's Christmas presents!

Other part of Harper's Christmas presents!

ONE of my AWESOME Christmas gifts!!!!  
(NOTHING on earth compares to being a GRANDMA!)

Then drive home for our girls' Christmas!
Kristina above
Brooke below

After the gifts are unwrapped upstairs (and the girls not getting what they wanted MOST), 
Daddy announces Santa left a couple of gifts down in the Sports Room (MAN CAVE)!!!

Kristina above
Brooke below

Beautiful Flowers given to me by Brooke's friend (Genevieve)

BEAUTIFUL "H" for the front door!

Day after Christmas, Thursday, December 26th

Izzy and I are POOPED!!!!  

Izzy and I enjoy the day at "The Porch"
Reading, watching television, wearing pajamas!!!!  

We are blessed beyond measure!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

More from Lisa Harper's study of Hebrews!

I am extremely thankful for His Word, the book of Hebrews and Lisa Harper's study!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

For many, many years, the Haskins' family has gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Although family members change from year to year (due to various commitments), I enjoy the fellowship, food and friendship!  I have so much to be thankful for!

The THREE gorgeous Haskins' girls!

Taking "Selfies"!

My two - Kristina and Brooke (left to right)

Looking down the Thanksgiving table!

The young men (at least the old one thinks he is)!
The Haskins' men (minus the Haskins' in Ohio - we MISSED YOU ALL!!!)!

Thankful for Lifeway Women

Hebrews Launch Team #NearJesus

Thankful for my High Priest on Thanksgiving!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pastor Rick Warren - TIME MAGAZINE asked me today to write a piece on Thanksgiving

This is what he sent them:


Rick Warren

Thanksgiving is a difficult holiday for many.

How can you be thankful when your doctor says it’s cancer? How can you feel grateful when the one you love just walked out of your life? Or when you’ve been fired . . . or your dream has collapsed . . . or an economic tsunami has wiped out all you’ve worked for?

This year became the worst year of my life when my youngest son, who’d struggled since childhood with mental illness, took his own life. How am I supposed be thankful this Thanksgiving? When your heart’s been ripped apart, you feel numb, not grateful.

And yet the Bible tells us “Give thanks IN ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” The key is the word “in.” God doesn’t expect me to be thankful FOR all circumstances, but IN all circumstances. There’s a huge difference. The first attitude is masochism. The second shows maturity. We’re not supposed to be thankful for evil or sin, or the innocent suffering caused by these things. But even in heartache and grief and disappointment, there are still good things that I can be thankful for.

I used to think that life was a series of mountain highs and valley lows, but actually we get both at the same time. In our world broken by sin, the good and the bad come together. On the cover of my wife’s book, Choose Joy, is a photo of a railroad track heading into the horizon. Like that photo, our lives are always running on two parallel rails simultaneously. No matter how good things are in my life, there are always problems I must deal with, and no matter how bad things are in my life, there are always blessings I can be grateful for.

So what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving?

  • I’m thankful that, although not everything that happens is good, God is a good God. Having had a close friendship with him for nearly 50 years, I know without a doubt that God sees all I go through, he cares, he grieves with me, he is close, and his strength is available at all times.

  • I’m thankful that, even though I don’t have all the answers, God does. In tragedy we seek explanations, but explanations never comfort. It is God’s presence that eases our pain. I’m thankful that this life is not all there is. It’s not the end of the story. One day God will right all wrongs, even the odds, and settle all accounts. Justice will be served. Evil will not win.

  • I’m thankful for the hope of heaven. I won’t have to live with pain forever. In heaven, there are no broken relationships, broken minds, broken bodies, broken dreams, or broken promises. The Bible tells us “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.”

  • I’m thankful for my church family. For 33 years, I’ve had the privilege of loving, serving, and leading the people of Saddleback Church. But in our darkest hour as a family, they gave all that love back in a split-second, the moment Kay and I returned to speak after a 16-week grief sabbatical. We can handle anything with prayers and support like that.

  • I’m thankful that God can bring good even out of the bad in my life, when I give him the pieces. It’s his specialty. God loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections, and then benefit the whole world. God never wastes a hurt if we give it to him.

Itzhak Pearlman once broke a string at the start of a Lincoln Center recital. Rather than replacing it, he played the entire concert with a broken instrument. At the end he said, “Sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.” That kind of humility honors God. This Thanksgiving, don’t dwell on what’s lost, but on what’s left.

I am truly grateful for Pastor Warren's witness - in good times and in bad. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Please join me #PrayForZero

Margaret Feinberg was diagnosed with breast cancer on July 8th of this year.  Please join me in praying for ZERO cancer cells in her body (and her dad who was recently diagnosed with cancer).

Hebrews Trailer - Lifeway Women #NearJesus

Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus Trailer from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

A preview of what's to come!  I can't wait!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Harper's Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

What a fabulous time I had with my daughter-in-law, Chelsea Kubesh, and my granddaughter, Harper Noelle Kubesh!

I love to capture the precious moments with photos!  I hope you enjoy every one of them!

The Pumpkin Patch at our local produce market - Dean and Dons

Harper posing with the scarecrow!

Harper didn't miss a thing!

Harper organizing the pinecone
(if you know her mother, you understand this!)

There are so many pumpkins to pick from!  I think I'll look at the one over here!
It's so hard to make a decision!
I think I'll "love on the deer" - my daddy loves deer!

Don't forget the show!  Mommy and I can't wait!

Is the show over yet, Mommy?  I think I've seen enough!

Maybe if we go to the front, it will be more exciting!
 I have heard all my life (as you may have too) there is nothing like having a grandchild.  I'm excited to tell you, it's ALL TRUE!  There are no words to express how much I adore this little lady (and her parents too!)