Category Archives: Gifts

Happy 3rd Birthday, Beautiful, Precious Hannah…All God’s Blessings!!


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This was written by our Children’s Pastor…

My good friend, Marla…

About her daughter, Hannah’s birth…

Praying it blesses you!

Hannah’s Arrival

An awesome story of God working in our lives. –Marla-

I called out to my sleeping husband. 

No response. 

“Hey, hon…”

I called a little louder.

“Huh?  Everything okay?”

he asked groggily.

“Ummm…yeah, everything’s fine.  Could you come here?” 

He stumbled into the bathroom. 

“What is it?”

“I’m not positive, but I think my water just broke.”

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This is not what either one of us was expecting.  It was 4:30 AM on June 2.  Our baby girl wasn’t due for just over another month. Sure, I had felt like she may come “early,” but not this soon!  The nursery was still a glorified storage room.   Hannah’s baby shower was not scheduled for another 3 days.  We had no clothes for her, no diapers, not even a car seat to take her home!  All of those little things we were going to complete in the next few weeks were left undone.  But there was no time to do any of that now.  We scrambled around, made arrangements for Moriah, our older daughter, finished packing for the hospital and we were on our way.

Several weeks earlier I began asking God to give me a verse to meditate on through childbirth and in those often-difficult weeks after, when I knew our lives would be changed forever and we’d be navigating through the familiar but somehow distant waters of caring for a newborn and adjusting to a completely different lifestyle on little—if any—sleep.  I expected that completely changing our schedule and routine, then going back to work, would require extra strength and a greater measure of peace from God.  So I simply made my request known to God for a verse to cling to, maybe something along the lines of “I can do all things through Christ…”  I thought about different verses, but nothing clicked.  Then one evening a passage came to me very distinctly:

 …there was given me a thorn in my flesh,

a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 

But he said to me,

“My grace is sufficient for you,

for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,

so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 

That is why, for Christ’s sake,

delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. 

For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

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 I read the passage again and thought, “Yeah, having a newborn and adjusting is a bit difficult, but I would hardly refer to it as a ‘thorn in the flesh.’  Sounds a bit harsh.”  But I knew that this was the passage God gave me, so for several nights before Hannah’s birth, I read it again and again.

Once at the hospital, the nurses confirmed that I was indeed in labor and were very sure to tell us that we were having a baby that day.  We were both in shock.  Nonetheless, she was on her way.  A few hours later, at 10:15 AM, we heard the long awaited cries of our little girl.  Due to last minute medications during labor, I was unfortunately quite groggy the first few hours of Hannah’s life.  I held her and looked at her, but failed to pick up on the little details of her appearance.  I could hardly hear the nurses’ comments as they evaluated her.  I remember one nurse asking, “Does she look like your other daughter?”  And I answered that no, she had her own distinct look.

A few hours later, as I was trying to recover, the pediatrician came in the room and brought the news that changed us forever.  He gently told me that they suspected Hannah has Down Syndrome based upon her features and her weak muscle tone.  I was in shock.  Down Syndrome?  We had no idea.  We never imagined we’d be the family with a special needs child.

When Eddie came back to the room, I shared the Doctor’s report with him.  Thoughts came rushing through our minds.  Tears flowed.  Our joy was overshadowed by grief and fear of the future.  She’ll never be like other kids.  She’ll be made fun of.  She won’t go to a typical school, have a normal social life, go to college or get married.  Hannah will always be dependent upon us.  What will happen when we’re too old to take care of her?

Since then, I’ve thought a lot about those irrational fears.  What child comes with a certificate guaranteeing that she will live a successful life, go to college, get married and be independent anyway?  I’ve never seen that certain promise at birth yet.  Our responsibility as parents is simply to give our kids our best in way of care, training, and teaching and to raise them to know and love God.  We simply encourage them to be all they were created to be.

Family came to visit and see her.  More tears.  More feeling of loss of all the little things we had planned for our child.  Wave after wave of grief followed.

It wasn’t until later that evening that I remembered the verse and certain promise God had given me several days earlier:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

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     “Oh, God, I’ve never felt weaker in my life.  I need your strength, your grace,” I prayed through the tears.

 Sleep came sporadically that night.  I was able to visit Hannah in the NICU just a few times before I was discharged the next day.  They had to keep Hannah due to complications arising from her prematurity.  Leaving the hospital without a baby was somehow just not right.  (And in the weeks to follow, leaving her each day left me feeling like I was never home.  Wherever I was—whether with her at the hospital or home with the rest of the family—I was never complete.)  When I walked out of the hospital the day after her birth, my heart was still heavy with the news of her diagnosis.  I was thankful to have her, but somehow still grieving all the dreams I had for her that would never be realized.

Late that evening, I found myself the only one awake in a quiet house.  Seemingly out of nowhere I felt a sudden urge to read the verses God had given me, but in the Message version of the Bible.  I don’t often turn to the Message version, but I appreciate its plain, everyday language and way of putting God’s Word into a fresh perspective.  As I opened to the passage, I was amazed at the wording:

     I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. 

Satan’s angel did his best to get me down;

what he in fact did was push me to my knees…

At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. 

Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough;

it’s all you need. 

My strength comes into its own in your weakness. 

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. 

I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. 

It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. 

Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer…

I just let Christ take over! 

And so the weaker I get,

the stronger I become.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (the Message version, emphasis added)

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That instant, I had peace about Hannah’s diagnosis.  I knew that her unique and special qualities had been given as a gift, and I should see them as nothing less.

A few days after her birth, I was holding Hannah in her NICU room when the thought occurred to me: I didn’t even know what her name means—I, of all people, who usually obsess over things like this.  I, the mother who long before Moriah’s arrival had researched her name and written a poem based upon it’s meaning, could not even think of the meaning of my youngest daughter’s name.  A few months before, Eddie and I had deliberated quite a bit over what to name her, and finally agreed that Hannah was perfect.  I’m sure in the process I had looked at the meaning.  But sitting in the hospital room with her, I was in shock that I could not recall something so important.  With her in my arms, I managed to get a hand free and search for the name on my phone.  When the results came up, I was in awe.

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Hannah means “grace.”

“My grace is sufficient for you…”  God had promised.

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Whatever the future holds, for every unknown challenge on the road before us, so long as I call Hannah’s name I will have a reminder of God’s promise ever before me.  His grace will be enough to meet every challenge.  His grace will carry us through the frustrations and strengthen our faith in times of uncertainty.  His grace will flow through us and enable us to show grace to those who show ignorance or even cruelty toward her.

And God’s grace will pour out joy upon us as we delight in Hannah’s adorable smile and melt in her hugs.  His grace will sing over us as we cheer her on and take pride in her accomplishments. 

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Most of all, His grace will enable us to fully enjoy the precious gift of our sweet Hannah.


Every Little Thing You Do…


Really Does Matter To God!!

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1 Corinthians 10:31

“So whether you eat or drink

or whatever you do,

do it all for the glory of God.”

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1Peter 4:10

“Each of you

should use whatever gift you have received

to serve others,

as faithful stewards

of God’s grace in its various forms.”

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Colossians 3:17

“And whatever you do,

whether in word or deed,

do it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

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Ephesians 2:10

“For we are God’s handiwork,

created in Christ Jesus

to do good works,

which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

You’re picking up toys on the living room floor
for the 15th time today
Matching up socks and sweeping up lost
Cheerios that got away
You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips
and head out the door
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
‘Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of Grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do

Maybe you’re that guy with the suit and tie
Maybe your shirt says your name
You may be hooking up mergers, cooking up burgers
But at the end of the day

Little stuff, big stuff, in between stuff
God sees it all the same
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you do

Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
‘Cause He made you
To do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of Grace with every move that you make
And every little thing that you do

Well, maybe you’re sitting in math class
Maybe on a mission in the Congo
Maybe you’re working at the office
Singing along with the radio
Maybe you’re dining at a five star
Or feeding orphans in Myanmar
Anywhere and everywhere you are
Whatever you do it all matters
So do what you do and don’t ever forget to do

Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
‘Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of Grace as you do
Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
‘Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of Grace with every move that you make
And every little thing that you do
Every little thing you do

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This includes every Mom– smiling while wiping off the highchair, and the floor around it, yet AGAIN!!

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This includes every Teacher-cheerfully, reminding kids ONCE AGAIN to be kind to each other!

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This includes every Dad-happily playing with the kids, even AFTER a tough day at work!

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This includes every Waiter/Waitress/Salesperson/Cashier-being patient EVERY DAY with difficult customers!

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This includes every Student-Doing well in school, even when they’d rather be ANYWHERE else!

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This includes-WHOEVER YOU ARE



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This Includes YOU!




Teachers…Parents Are Sending You The Best That They Have!!!


Give Them The Best You Have!!

A Back-To-School Lesson!

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Romans 12:7

“If your gift is serving others,

serve them well.

If you are a teacher,

teach well.”

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Titus 2:7-8

“In everything

set them an example by doing what is good.

In your teaching show integrity, seriousness

and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned,

so that those who oppose you

may be ashamed

because they have nothing bad to say about us.”

For additional verses about teachers, go to:

Where according to:

Prayers for Special Help,

“These Bible verses about teachers enlighten us

first on the exceptional responsibility that one has while teaching.

Due to the impact a teacher has on a student,

one quote warns us that teachers will be judged

with a greater strictness than others.

Jesus is often called a teacher

and he himself confirmed that he was one;

the apostles were also teachers.

The teaching passages above

also insist that the ability to teach is a gift

in which the teacher serves others

and leads by example

with the objective to make the students

as wise as the teacher.

It is the teacher’s task to study,

handle the truth correctly,

and teach accurate information

while treating the pupil with respect.

These quotes identify integrity,



and lack of hypocrisy

as traits that the teacher should possess.

Overall, the teacher is warned about too much study

that does not focus on the fear of God

and living a godly life.”

Humbling stuff, huh???

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James 1:5

“If any of you lacks wisdom,

you should ask God,

who gives generously to all without finding fault,

and it will be given to you.”

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Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go:

and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

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Luke 12:12

“…for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time

what you should say.”

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2 Timothy 3:14-17

“But as for you,

continue in what you have learned

and have become convinced of,

because you know those from whom you learned it,

and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures,

which are able to make you wise for salvation

through faith in Christ Jesus.

All Scripture is God-breathed

and is useful for




and training in righteousness,

so that the servant of God

may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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Deuteronomy 11:18-21

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds;

tie them as symbols on your hands

and bind them on your foreheads.

Teach them to your children,

talking about them when you sit at home

and when you walk along the road,

when you lie down

and when you get up.

Write them on the door frames of your houses

and on your gates,

so that your days

and the days of your children

may be many in the land the Lord

swore to give your ancestors,

as many as the days

that the heavens are above the earth.”

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Teachers are going Back-To-School now!

We need Your help!!

Please help us to show Your love!

Even when our days are chaotic!

Especially, when our days are chaotic!!!


You’re The Reason For Every Good Thing!


It’s A Beautiful Life You Give!!

“John replied,

‘No one can receive anything

unless God gives it from Heaven.'”

John 3:27

“If you, then, though you are evil,

know how to give good gifts to your children,

how much more will your Father in Heaven

give good gifts to those who ask Him!”

Matthew 7:11

Busier than you should be???

Time won’t wait!

Don’t forget…

Or take it for granted!

I’s a beautiful life we live!!

Don’t want to miss a moment!

It’s a beautiful life You give!

You’re the reason for:

Every good thing…

Every heartbeat…

Every day we get to breathe…

Anything that lasts…

Every second chance…

Every laugh!!

Oh, Life is so sweet!

There will be days…

That give me more than I can take…

Jesus, make beauty from my heartache…

It’s our family…

It’s our friends…

It’s the feeling we get when we see our children smile!!

This life…

Everything we love…

It’s You alive in us!

You’re alive in us!!

Yes, You are…

You’re here in every moment…

You’re every good thing…

That’s ever happened to ME!!!

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above,

coming down from the Father of the Heavenly lights,

who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1:17

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“Now the God of Peace,

who brought up from the dead

the great Shepherd of the sheep 

through the blood of the eternal covenant,

even Jesus our Lord,

equip you in every good thing to do His will,

working in us that which is pleasing in His sight,

through Jesus Christ,

to whom be the Glory forever and ever.


Hebrews 13:20-21

Teachers’ Trials And Smiles!!


You May Not Know This…

But last week was “Teacher Appreciation” Week!!

At our school, all the students…

And the administration…

Showed their appreciation  to us with…


And Chocolate!!!


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On Day One…

I received this plant from one of my students, that said…

“Thank You For Helping Me Grow!”

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On Day Two…

I received this drinking cup from the same student, which said…

“Thank You For Quenching My Thirst For Knowledge!!”

On Day Three…

I received from the same student…

A Chik-Fil-A gift card!

On Day Four…

I received from the same student…

A beautiful card of appreciation from his whole family!!

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On Day Five…

I received from the same student…

An Entire “Teacher’s Survival Kit” Basket!

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Filled with…


For my zoo-y classroom…

For when it’s rough…

To help me stick to it…

To keep my day bright and cheerful…

To light my evenings…

To correct my mistakes…

To save my sanity…

To keep my marbles…

To give out confidence…

To hold it together…

To right wrongs…

To be flexible…

To let them shine…

To give me a burst of energy…

To wipe tears…

To pick out the good…

And most of all..

To pray each day!!!!


Please help me to strengthen their voices, bodies, and minds…

To express their feelings (and control them sometimes!)…

To explore what’s near…

And venture afar…

But most important of all…

To love who they are!


Can you tell that this kid’s Mom is a teacher, too!?!?!

God Bless all of you that are teachers…

And remember that parents are their first teachers!!

You are appreciated!!

And honored by God!!

Happy “Teacher Appreciation” Week!

God’s Gifts Of Spring!


Winter Snow Melts…

Spring Flowers Bloom…

New Life…

A New Song!

Born Again…

All Creation brings Glory to God…

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“God in His kindness gave each of us different gifts…”

Romans 12:6 GWT

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 “He has given me a new song to sing,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see what He has done and be amazed.

They will put their trust in the LORD.”

Psalm 40:3  NIV

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above…”

James 1:17  NIV

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“For God’s gifts

and His call can never be withdrawn.”

Romans 11:29  NLT

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“It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts.

He alone decides which gift each person should have.”

1 Corinthians 12:11  NLT

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“Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”

2 Corinthians 9:15  KJV

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“…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:23  KJV 

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 “For by grace you have been saved through faith.

And this is not your own doing;

it is the gift of God…”

Ephesians 2:8  KJV

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“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit…”

1 Corinthians 14:1

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“As each one has received a special gift,

employ it in serving one another,

as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

1 Peter 4:10  ESV

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 “Therefore if any man be in Christ,

he is a new creature:

old things are passed away;

behold, all things are become new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17  KJV

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“Jesus answered him,

‘Truly, truly, I say to you,

unless one is born again

he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”

John 3:3  ESV

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“And He who was seated on the throne said,

‘Behold, I am making all things new.’

Also He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”

Revelation 21:5  ESV

The Gift of Salvation is Free…

The Motive for the Gift is…

Nothing more than the…

Grace of the Giver!

Grace is a gift…

All Life is a gift…

Including Eternal Life…

Receive God’s Gift by Faith…

And Be His!