The Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13)

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Although I speak eloquently with a voice like an angel

Yet if I have not love or kindness,

I am like an annoying sound.

And though I proclaim God’s Word and understand all secret truths,

Without love, my mountain-moving faith

Amounts to nothing at all.

 

 

Though I give away everything, all my money and possessions—

Even sacrificing my life—

Without God’s love, I gain nothing.

Love is not jealous, boastful, or proud, or easily provoked

Love does not seek its own or act unseemly

Rejoices not in unrighteousness.

 

 

Love is patient, kind, and true. It bears, believes, and hopes all things.

It endures without wavering

And overlooks a suffered wrong.

Though tongues, knowledge, and prophecy cease and though I lie silent in the grave,

True love and faith and hope endure,

The greatest of these is love.

Heaven’s Treasure

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He was just a little boy
with a heart full of love,
yet God the Father called him
to his heavenly home above.

He was just a little boy
with so much in store,
yet on that fateful day
his life became no more.

He left behind a family
with mourning in their hearts
who sorrow at his passing.
His soul from earth departs.

Forever in God’s presence
his soul with God resides.
In heav’nly mansions yonder
forever to abide.

We know you cannot come back.
We miss you tenderly;
but one day soon in heaven,
united we will be.

1 Corinthians 15:54b-55
Death is swallowed up in victory.
O Death, where is your victory?
O Death, where is your sting?

In memory of Cody James Creech (January 24, 1995 – January 1, 2005)

When Death Hits Home describes the terrible tragedy that ended Cody’s life on this earth.

The Shepherd’s Psalm

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Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd;

No want shall I know.

He leads me and keeps me

In valleys below.

Beside the still waters,

My soul He will lead.

To luscious green pastures,

He guides me to feed.

When thru death’s dark valley,

No fear shall I know.

His presence will guide me

Wherever I go.

A bountiful banquet

Of plenty I see.

My cup overflows

With rich blessings for me.

God’s goodness and mercy

So boundless and free

He has given to me

For eternity.

My name Rachel means “lamb” so this psalm has always been special to me. You may enjoy reading about how God cared for me His special lamb in “Carried in His Arms”

When Death Hits Home

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 Cody Creech

I’ll never forget that phone call nine years ago.

“Rachel, this is Mom.”

From the tone in her voice, I sensed something was desperately wrong.

She quivered as she told me the news. “There’s been an accident. Cody was hit by a tractor trailer while on his four wheeler. He’s on life support at the hospital.” She barely sobbed out the next words, “They—they don’t think…he’ll make it.”

I was stunned, not knowing what to say. I had just seen my sister a few days earlier. Although miles separated my family from the rest of my extended family, and my sister lived even further away, I had seen my sister for a brief time before she and her family spent a few days skiing over their Christmas vacation.

That mild December night as I walked under the stars in my neighborhood cul-de-sac, I cried out to God to save Cody’s life, but most of all to give my sister and her family His all sufficient grace to bear the grief ahead and the painful decisions that had to be made.

I kept hoping that this was just a bad dream, and that I would wake up to find everything all right. Why would Cody, a bright young boy just shy of his 10th birthday, have to face the grim reaper? Cody was a delightful boy so full of promise. It seemed unfair that my sister would lose one of her two biological children, while I was expecting my 5th child.

I looked up at the stars and imagined Cody’s soul already in heaven. Even as I thought of death, the baby within my womb kicked reminding me of the life growing within me.

Nothing could be done to save Cody’s life. His soul had already left his body; only the life support was keeping his body alive for possible organ donation. On New Year’s Day when everyone else was celebrating, my sister made the painful decision to remove the life support.

Only those who have lost a child understand the deep pain a person experiences at the death of a child. I know the loss of miscarriage, but I still have my five children.

Yes, it hurts to know that you will never see your child on earth again, but we have the assurance that we will one day be reunited with him. The previous summer Cody had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior and he is waiting in heaven for us.

Even in his death, Cody made a difference: his organs helped others live. While the pain of death never goes away, you learn to cope and become a stronger person in the process. My sister has helped so many others in so many ways. And after being out of school for so many years, she decided to go back to earn her teaching degree (with highest honors). She is now making a difference in the lives of precious boys and girls as a 3rd grade teacher.

Yes, we miss Cody, but we know that one day death will be swallowed up in victory.

O Death, where is your victory?

O Death, where is your sting?

1 Corinthians 15:55

Cody Creech Memorial Site

Happy Birthday in Afghanistan

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Specialist John Keller

Specialist John Keller

Twenty years ago today was a very cold, snowy morning. My husband and I had carefully traveled the icy roads late the evening before in anticipation of our oldest son’s arrival.

He wasn’t due for another two and a half weeks and I wasn’t in labor, but my water bags had broken and my doctor suggested I come to the hospital. We didn’t relish the idea of rushing through more snow in the early hours of the morning so we left late that night.

Although I had taken childbirth classes, I really didn’t know what to expect since every woman is different. (And I can tell you after having five children that each pregnancy and childbirth varies even with the same woman.)

I tried everything I could think of to get my labor started, but it was past midnight and nothing was happening. I reluctantly agreed to pitocin. I assumed that my labor would be long, so when the pains became intense very quickly, I decided to try an epidural.

The anesthesiologist was with another patient and by the time he began giving me the epidural, I felt a strong urge to push. I was fully dilated and ready to give birth.

I don’t think the nurse realized how quickly I would progress, and if I had known, I would have chosen all-natural. (I chose all natural with the next four. Yes, I had an emergency, C-section with my fifth child, but it was only after going through the whole labor sans drugs, and I began pushing that the doctors realized I wouldn’t be able to deliver a double footling breech baby. Only then, did I agree to an epidural and the C-section.)

Shortly after 5 in the morning, I gave birth to my first-born son. He was one ounce over six pounds, and the most beautiful baby I had ever seen! My heart filled with love as I held him close and nursed him for the first time.

With the thoughts of joy, however, came thoughts of fear and inadequacy. How could I ever possibly teach this baby all he needed to know for life? Would he learn to love God and treat his fellow man with kindness and respect?

As the years passed, I tried to imagine what my son would look like as a grown man, and what he would become. Despite my mistakes—and I made plenty of them—my son John grew up into a fine young man.

My only regret is that this is the first birthday that I can’t give him a birthday hug and kiss. I can’t make him a special birthday meal or a birthday cake.

You see, my son is part of the United States Army, and his unit is currently serving in Afghanistan. It hasn’t been easy, but he is fulfilling his duty to his country, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. He also received his E-4 promotion today on his birthday, which makes him a specialist.

Congratulations, Specialist John Maynard Keller, and happy 20th birthday!

How does a mother feel about letting her son go out of her protective arms and across the world to a dangerous situation? Carried in His Arms. describes the emotional struggled I encountered as the day of my son’s departure drew near and how God sustained me during that time.

Dear Mom and Dad

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My husband and I received this sweet poem from our 10-year old daughter. I will treasure this gift for years to come:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Christmas is the time of year,

That I want to thank my parents dear,

For all the love, gifts, and prayer,

Invested in me each day with care.

I thank you for those family ties,

And modeling Jesus before my eyes.

Thank you for sending me to R.V.C.S.

Where I can learn with peace and happiness.

I love Christmas and I love you.

Thank you for all the things you do.

Merry Christmas!

Sarah Beth

15 Creative Ways to Recycle Christmas Cards

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Every year my mailbox overflows with Christmas cards. I enjoy decorating my windowsill with cards, or hanging them on the stairway railing or around doorways. The festive look reminds me how blessed I am to have so many friends think about me (at least for the time it took to sign and address the card). After Christmas I place the cards in a basket. Throughout the next year, our family pulls out cards and remembers that family in prayer.

Every year I have good intentions of sending handwritten notes with cards, but time has a way of disappearing before I get even a few written. I tell myself that after Christmas, I’ll send a New Year’s letter with all the family news. But once again I am busy with taking down Christmas decorations and preparing for a New Year. Well, perhaps a Valentine’s newsletter would show others how much I love them. Then it’s a spring/ Easter newsletter which quickly turns into a summer letter, and before I know it, school has started and I plan a Thanksgiving note to let my friends know how thankful I am for them.

Well, another year has passed and no family newsletter, but Christmas cards still appear in my box every day. I’ll leave the cards up at least through New Year’s Day, but eventually I’ll change the decor. I can’t bring myself to throw out the cards so I have some creative ways to repurpose them.

  1. Christmas cards really do add to the decorations, so display them somewhere–windowsills, railings, around doorways, etc.
  2. Use them as a great reminder to pray for others.
  3. Cards that have sentimental value can be placed in a scrap book.
  4. Many Christmas cards make great ornaments. Cut out various scenes and decorate with raffia, glitter, buttons, etc. You can make an ornament with a single card or glue two cards back-to-back. Cut into different shapes for variety.
  5. Try making some aluminum pie tin ornaments from those little pie tins. Cut a Christmas card to fit the inside of the tin. Glue the card into the center. Punch a hole on top and tie some ribbon to hang on the tree. (I made these ornaments when I was little and still have one that is about 40 years old!)
  6. Some cards make beautiful pictures when framed. Over the years, I have framed and hung some beautiful winter scenes from cards and displayed them in my house. No one realizes that they are recycled Christmas cards.
  7. Christmas cards make great book markers to keep for yourself or give away. A ribbon tied through a hole in the top adds a further festive look. I teach a 1st grade Sunday school class and each year, I make book markers from old Christmas cards.
  8. You can also create great craft from cards. Years ago my then six-year old son took a picture from a card. He made a popsicle frame for it and glued buttons and other decorations on the popsicle sticks. His craft won a ribbon at our local fair.
  9. Have your children make their own Christmas cards by cutting apart pictures and even the words from inside the card.
  10. Some Christmas cards make wonderful postcards. Write a message on the back and attach a postcard stamp. You save money on the card and postage!
  11. Cut apart the cards to use for gift tags. Use decorative scissors for more flair. Large cookie cutters make great shapes for gift tags.
  12. Make festive Christmas magnets with Christmas cards and stick-on magnets. These make great gifts, too!
  13. Design Christmas place mats. Cover with contact paper. Just wipe with a damp sponge or cloth when dirty.
  14. Create a coaster with a CD and Christmas card. You might want to shellac the coaster to protect it.
  15. Make a Christmas wreath or Christmas collage with your cards.

Be creative when reusing the cards. You may be able to use small pictures, verse, or words from the inside of the card. When you finish cutting apart the card, recycle the rest of the card instead of tossing it in the trash. What do you do with your Christmas cards? Feel free to share in the comments below.