Our Simple Journey of Faith, Family and Life

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


 We celebrated  our chapter of TOPS - (TOPS AR 55) -  which is the 2nd chapter created in  Arkansas.

Celebrating 44 yrs (Jan.29,1968) of Love, Support, Guidance, Friendhips, Programs, etc.

Come and join in the fun if your on a journey of a healthy lifestyle, We'd love to have you be a part of our group..

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Butterfly Attack

                                 Butterfly Attack

Walking down a path through some woods in Georgia , I saw a water puddle ahead on the path.

I angled my direction to go around it on the part of the path that wasn't covered by water and mud. As I reached the puddle, I was suddenly attacked!

Yet I did nothing for the attack was so unpredictable and from a source so totally unexpected.

I was startled as well as unhurt, despite having been struck four or five times already. I backed up a foot and my attacker stopped attacking me. Instead of attacking more, he hovered in the air on graceful butterfly wings in front of me. Had I been hurt I wouldn't have found it amusing, but I was unhurt, it was funny, and I was laughing. After all, I was being attacked by a butterfly!

Having stopped laughing, I took a step forward. My attacker rushed me again.

He rammed me in the chest with his head and body, striking me over and over again with all his might, still to no avail.

For a second time, I retreated a step while my attacker relented in his attack. Yet again, I tried moving forward. My attacker charged me again. I was rammed in the chest over and over again. I wasn't sure what to do, other than to retreat a third time. After all, it's just not everyday that one is attacked by a

butterfly. This time, though, I stepped back several paces to look the situation over. My attacker moved back as well to land on the ground. That's when I discovered why my attacker was charging me only moments earlier. He had a mate and she was dying. She was beside the puddle where he landed. Sitting close beside her, he opened and closed his wings as if to fan her. I could only admire the love and courage of that butterfly in his concern for his mate. He had taken it upon himself to attack me for his mate's sake, even though she was clearly dying and I was so large. He did so just to give her those extra few precious moments of life, should I have been careless enough to step on her.

Now I knew why and what he was fighting for. There was really only one option left for me. I carefully made my way around the puddle to the other side of the path, though it was only inches wide and extremely muddy. His courage in attacking something thousands of times larger and heavier than himself just for his mate's safety justified it. I couldn't do anything other than reward him by walking on the more difficult side of the puddle. He had truly earned those moments to be with her, undisturbed. left them in peace for those last few moments, cleaning the mud from my boots when I later reached my car.

Since then, I've always tried to remember the courage of that butterfly whenever I see huge obstacles facing me. I use that butterfly's courage as an inspiration and to remind myself that good things are worth fighting for.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

3-2-1 Cake

1 box of Angel Food Cake mix
1 box of any flavor cake mix
Put both cake mixes in a zip lock bag and MIX  completly

For one serving (in micro-safe dish or coffee cup)

3 Tbs. of cake mix
2 Tbs. of water (mix well)
1 minute in microwave on high

140 calories - AWESOME, Easy to make and Wonderful to eat warm

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crochet Tear's

                          —Wilma Derksen

For the last four years, our daughter Odia, an artist, has been crocheting little patches of wool, one after the other – cream coloured, simple patches that looked a little like misshapen pot holders.

She told us that she was crocheting 490 tears to portray her understanding of the answer to Peter’s question: “Sir, how often should I forgive someone who has sinned against me?”

Christ’s answer had been 70 times seven, an answer hard to comprehend, given the enormous victimization some people endure. Odia has endured her share, not only from her sister Candace being murdered 24 years ago, but from other losses and pain as well.

She was determined to finish those tears, then to suspend them from a frame, seven by seven, hung seven feet off the ground, to create a perfect cube. She wanted to crochet each tear by hand without any pattern, making each one unique, a reflection of the moment of creation.

Some tears are huge and chubby, some are long and thin, others tiny. She chose the colour cream because she wanted them to symbolize the purity of such pain.

The installation would be hung at “Standing: a journey of resilience,” an art gallery show I was planning as part of the Victims’ Voice program at Mennonite Central Committee.

As the opening drew closer, Odia started to pick up the pace in crocheting the last 100.

It became apparent then that 490 tears is a lot of tears. I noticed how often she would count them to make sure each one was accounted for.

When she completed each tear, Odia would pause and enjoy it for a moment. She often called the tears “my cuties.” Some of them were quite odd by the time we finished stuffing them. But she loved each one.

Toward the end, the stuffing of the tears became a challenge. I offered to help, and she let me, with reluctance. I took one bag of tears to church. Sitting in the congregation, the songs wafting over me, I felt the power of those tears. I succumbed.

It is always good to cry. And I wondered what my daughter had been feeling over the last four years, constantly crocheting tears.

Three days before the show, all 490 tears had to be strung up with fishing line – invisible, except when the light shone on it. Then the lines became silver streams, creating a glistening halo around the tears.

At two in the morning, when we finally finished, we were astounded at the power of the vision of 490 tears floating, their shadows playing on the white wall and floor, doubling the effect. The power of their combined presence told a story like nothing else could. Even though we were dead tired, we sat mesmerized under its spell for a long time.

“It’s a day’s worth,” she used to say when I commented on the number. “It’s only a day’s worth…”

Can you imagine the number of forgiveness-tears required over 24 years? No wonder God made tears, the symbol of grief, out of salt water, recyclable, because if we were to actually live with the reality of sorrow in our hearts – woollen crocheted tears – we would eventually suffocate under the mass.

Thanks to my daughter, I now carry a picture of what it takes to work through the grief of forgiveness before we can move on into happiness and freedom.

                      —Wilma Derksen

Friday, January 13, 2012

Walk With God

You cannot walk with God if you're holding hands with the Devil.

~Berean Watchman~

Christmas Lamb

             That's Odd -
article in our local paper (Daily Times)


CINCINNATI- (AP) - A lamb has been born unto a Cininnati nativity display.

The Krohn Conservatory says that a night watchman oversaw the Christmas Eve
delivery for a sheep that was part of the live-animal display.

The Cincinnati Enquire reports that conservatory officials the birthing went
well and the mother and lamb were doing fine. The conservatory's directors
says they are thinking of calling the female lamb "Merry"' for
"Merry Little Christmas."

Other details weren't immediately available.

Fathers Love

Love From the Father - From: God Vine

There once was an old man who lived in South Korea. After the war, times were hard and life for him wasn't easy. His occupation was that of a metal collector which was considered the lowest job possible at the time). He would search garbage can after garbage can looking for scraps of metal which he could sell to the government. He earned a measly ten dollars and spent five to buy food. He lived in a hut which he built on the mountain side and was a very lonely person and nobody cared for him. He lived a sad life for his face was severely scarred from a fire which killed his family. No one would look at him because he was so grotesquely scarred and because of this he kept very quiet and avoided people whenever he could. His main goal in life was to save enough money to fix his face so he could live a "normal" life.

Meanwhile, there was an orphan who lived in the streets every day. Both his parents left him when he was only nine. The boy was blind and suffered from severe malnutrition. Every day the boy begged for food but the people who passed by would either laugh at him or say evil things to him. In fact, some even kicked him or threw dirt in his face. Although he wished so much that he could run away, he couldn't because he was blind. Like the old man, the boy lived a sad sad life and nobody cared about him.

One day, as the old man was walking down the street and he was trying his best to avoid people while looking for scraps of metal, he saw the broken hearted boy and felt sympathy for him. Out of his kind heart, he took the boy to his home. There he fed him, clothed him, and treated him like his own beloved son. The boy was joyful and was so eternally grateful to this person who treated him like a loving father. For the first time in his life, the boy felt loved.

Years passed and the old man and the boy were very happy together. One day the boy said to the old man, "I'm sorry for being so useless. I wish my eyes would become better so I could help you work. You must be such a beautiful and wonderful person because you took care of someone as wretched as me. Maybe one day I could see your wonderful face."

The old man immediately became silent being too moved to say anything.

The next day he went to the hospital and asked the doctor privately how much it would cost for the surgery to heal his face. The doctor told him around a thousand dollars. He was Deeply saddened because he had saved up for ten long years and only had a little more than fifteen hundred. He then asked the doctor how much it would be to heal the young boy's sight. The doctor said fifteen hundred dollars will do. Without thinking, he knew what he had to do. He would give up his life-long dream for this boy whom he loved so dearly.

The next day, he took the boy to the doctor. He didn't want the boy to see him after the operation because of the scars on his face. Hesitantly and sadly, he went up to the young boy and said, "After you receive your sight I can't be with you anymore, yet I shall always think of you. I want you to be happy and live a good life."

After these words he paid the doctor and the tired man left knowing he could never truly reveal himself to the one he loved so dearly. The surgery was very successful and immediately thereafter the boy could see again. He was filled with joy and wondered why he couldn't see the one he who he owed his life to and sacrificed so much for him.

After the boy left the hospital, he started looking for a job and soon he found one at a restaurant. He became a waiter there and worked full time earning a good amount.

Chance would have it that the next day the old man came looking for metals to collect. He started searching around the garbage can of the restaurant. While he was searching, the manager of the restaurant came out and started yelling at him and commanding him to leave because he was scaring the customers.

The boy soon came to the manager's side side and seeing the old man creating such a commotion threatened him even more than the manager. The boy called the old man some foul names, kicked him a few times, and even threw dirt in his face. So quickly had he forgotten that he was picked on by other people in the same way years ago. Slowly....very slowly, the metal collector got up and began limping away aching from the pain that the boy had inflicted on him. As he was leaving he looked at the boy and he smiled a warm smile at the boy (although it was not well received) and left not wanting the boy to see him cry his happy tears.

Later on the day at the restaurant the manager said to the boy, "what an ugly man."

The boy's reply was, "I know, I hope I never see him again."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

God's Grace

There once was a man named George Thomas, preacher in a small Texas
town. One Sunday morning he came to the Church building carrying a
rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit.

Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, the Preacher began to speak. . . .

"I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming
toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three
little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.

I stopped the lad and asked, "What do you have there, son?"

"Just some old birds," came the reply.

"What are you going to do with them?" I asked.

"Take 'em home and have fun with 'em," he answered. "I'm gonna tease 'em
and pull out their feathers to make 'em fight. I'm gonna have a real good time."

"But you'll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?"

"Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy. "They like birds. I'll take 'em to them."

The preacher was silent for a moment. "How much do you want for those birds, son?"

"Huh?? !!! Why, you don't want them birds, mister. They're just plain old field birds.
They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!"

"How much?" the preacher asked again.

The boy sized up the preacher as if he were crazy and said, "$10?"

The preacher reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He
placed it in the boy's hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.

The preacher picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where
there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the
door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the preacher began to tell this story:

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. "Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait

I knew they couldn't resist. Got 'em all!"

What are you going to do with them?" Jesus asked.

Satan replied, "Oh, I'm gonna have fun! I'm gonna teach them how to
marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to
drink and smoke and curse. I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and
bombs and kill each other. I'm really gonna have fun!"

"And what will you do when you are done with them?"

Jesus asked.. "Oh, I'll kill 'em," Satan glared proudly.

"How much do you want for them?" Jesus asked.

"Oh, you don't want those people. They ain't no good. Why, you'll take them and they'll
just hate you. They'll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don't want those people!!"

"How much? He asked again.

Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, "All your blood, tears and your life."

Jesus said, "DONE!" Then He paid the price.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sarah & Santa

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Sarah & Santa:

Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at the McAllister Mall in Saint John.

The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl

"Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling. "Your friend?

"Yes, Santa,' he replied. "My sister, Sarah, who is very sick," he said sadly.

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

"She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!" the child exclaimed. "She misses you," he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.

When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

"What is it?" Santa asked warmly.

"Well, I know it's really too much to ask you, Santa, but.." the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.

"The girl in the photograph... my granddaughter well, you see... she has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even through the holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes. "Is there any way, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa."

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do. "What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "This is the least I can do."

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to the Hospital. "Why?" Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face. Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier that day. "C'mon..... I'll take you there." Rick said softly.

Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said, he would wait out in the hall. Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah in the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, Ho, Ho!"

"Santa!" shrieked little Sarah, weakly as she tried to escape her bed to run to him IV tubes intact. Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son -- 9 years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But, all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of, huge blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering "Thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good girl that year. As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands.

Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels. "Oh, yes, Santa... I do!" she exclaimed.

"Well, I'm going to ask angels watch over you." he said. Laying one hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that, God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, softly, "Silent Night, Holy Night.... all is calm, all is bright." The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.

When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah's frail, small hands in his own. "Now, Sarah," he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at McAllister Mall this time next year!" He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE.

"Yes, Santa!" Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room. Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed. Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank him. "My only child is the same age as Sarah," he explained quietly. "This is the least I could do." They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa was again back on the set in Saint John for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap. "Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"

"Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a "good" Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the "only" child in the world at that moment.

"You came to see me in the hospital last year!" Santa's jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. "Sarah!" he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus. He had witnessed --and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, "Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!