Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Rhonda Stoppe: There Is Hope

Rhonda Stoppe speaks like a woman with “No Regrets.” Not like a woman who wishes her life had been different. Not like a woman who hasn’t made mistakes. She doesn’t preach like a woman who holds onto pain, and she doesn’t speak the Word like a woman who doesn’t understand It’s power.

Instead, she spoke at MOPS on Tuesday like a woman who’s seen a lot, if not “it all.” A woman who has had to go before the throne of God on WAY more than one occasion, to ask for very large things.

Like Forgiveness. Like Grace. Like healing. Like Love for her enemies. Like strength when she feels the most thin, and the most weak, and the most unable.

She spoke like a Mother. Like you and I.

When I hear the phrase “No Regrets,” it triggers all of my regret. I think, well, that’s not me, lady! I have stuff. I have things that I wish I could erase or do-over. But the more I hear the definition of “The No Regrets Woman,” according to Rhonda, the more I realize that IS me. That’s all of us. Or, it can be, if we choose it.

One way we can choose to have a No Regrets Life, is to look at our lives like a story. Like a narrative, still being written.

Often I look back on events past, and think about the decisions I made, and looking in on those little moments in time can be discouraging. But then I look at those events, mixed in with those moments of rescue by God, those times when I was at my lowest, and someone came to help me. I remember moments where it seemed hopeless, and a stranger saw me and gave me words of encouragement in a college bathroom. I remember being halfway across the country, and another believer took me into their home and treated me like family.

I still look at my hurt, I remember those who hurt me.

But I remember those who helped me more. And I know that those moments were God showing up. He never left.

He shows up in our stories. If we look for Him, we will most certainly find Him there.

And the beauty is that our stories aren’t done yet. He isn’t finished! When the little moments get me down, or I feel worn, or tired, or unappreciated, I will remember this is only a tiny part of a greater story of God’s goodness in my life.

I have hope to be a No-Regrets woman. And so do you, sister.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sharing the Joy of Books

Last week we were inspired to take our children, and our grandkids, on trips to foreign lands; to meet kings and queens, rulers and emperors, Indians in the Cupboard and Very Hungry Caterpillars. We were told we could have a P.H.D. by being a Parent who Has Desire to share the love of books and reading with our children.

I was struck by the generational passion for books that was so evident in this family. Cheryl had a mom who read to her, then she read to her children and now they are reading to their children. In the Bible we read about generational sin, sin that affects the 3rd or 4th generation. How wonderful to think about a positive generational habit to pass down to the 3rd or 4th generation and beyond.......the love of reading & books.

We were asked to think about some questions so I will highlight a couple.

1. How do I instill in my children a desire & excitement for books?
Start young! Train early!
Set aside time to read and remember that a busy schedule is a deterrent to reading!
Reading is the honey for your child's soul- sweetness of life, and we are capable of giving honey to our children even if it's only 10 minutes a day.
One book recommendation was Honey For A Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt.

2. Where do I find good books?
Visit the library, church and city libraries.....frequently & regularly. Go to story time, get them their own library card and let them pick out some of the books. Be sure to get books on tape for car rides and always have a book with you for doctor appointments or waiting in pickup lines.  There's also second hand book stores, Amazon Used Books as well as trading books with friends and family. Be sure to buy some books for your children to own - this will be the beginning of their library. Try buying books for each of the holidays and when you bring them out year after year a tradition will be born.

We were given ideas of practical times to read to our children:
During breakfast read a devotional.
During lunch show picture books.
During snacks after school, read them chapters from a novel.
During bedtime read more stories as everyone gets cozy and winds down.
Let them read in bed and never use their reading time as discipline.
Remember that reading leads to better writers & listeners and reading is the key to true learning.

We were challenged to be a commercial for reading by putting down our devices and model "SQUIRT- silent, quiet, un-interrupted, reading time". There are so many benefits to reading to or with your children including bonding with them and having an avenue to teach them your faith and values.

So with a B.A.- Better Attitude, a B.S.- Believing Spirit, a M.A.S.T.'R.- Make A Special Time to Read; you will end up with a P.H.D. Let's be passionate parents about reading and sharing the joy of books. Well I'm off to join Pa & Ma and their daughters Mary, Laura and Baby Carrie as they leave the Big Woods of Wisconsin to move West to Indian Country.
Happy reading!