Wednesday, June 21, 2017


William and Adelaide on the shore of Lake Superior

William and Adelaide at Park Point Beach in Duluth, MN

Summer is here! The kids have been out of school for over three weeks now, and summer break is in full swing. I don't plan on taking a blogging break this summer like I did last year, but my writing will probably continue to be sporadic for the summer, just as it was this winter and spring.

Lake Superior

Lake Superior and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

A few weeks ago we went on vacation with my parents to Duluth, Minnesota. It was beautiful! We had a great time. One of the nice things about Duluth is that it is farther north, and it is cooler there than where we live. I was able to be outside on several afternoons, which was great because Duluth and the North Shore of Lake Superior are so beautiful that you want to be outside!

Split Rock Lighthouse and Lake Superior

Split Rock Lighthouse

wearing my mom's sunhat

There was one afternoon in Duluth when we were outside for a quick stroll through the Lief Erickson Rose Garden. It was 76 degrees, which is too hot for me to stay in for long. It was also very sunny, which makes me "wilt" even faster. My mom let me borrow her SPF 50 sunhat, and I was surprised how much it helped! I still couldn't stay outside for long, but the sunhat helped quite a bit.

On the way home from vacation, my mom found an SPF 50 hat for me, so I now have another item to help me tolerate the summer heat. I hope to use it later on this summer to go to our county parade and the county fair.

Now that it is summer, it is usually in the 80s or 90s here in Southwest Minnesota. I am mostly confined inside my house where there is air conditioning, but I do have ice pack attire, and now great sunhat too, for when I need to venture out.

Lake Superior and Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth, MN and Lake Superior

If you want to see more photos from our trip, you can find some on Instagram. Will and I are both sharing them here.

William and Adelaide have a long summer break, so we have many more days of summer break ahead of us. If you have been reading on my blog for a while, you know that summer is hard for me. The heat and the extra activity of summer wears me out! Thankfully, we have friends and family who are helping us out again this year.

Summers are getting easier as the kids grow up and can help out more around the house. I can already tell that (so far) this summer is easier than last summer. But the help from family and friends is still very much needed and appreciated!

What are your plans for the summer? Are summers hard for you? What tips do you have for surviving summer? Do you have a sunhat? :)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Review: Beyond Suffering Bible

"But if we share in his glory, we must also share in his suffering."

This year I have been reading the Beyond Suffering Bible during my Bible study time in the morning. I received a free copy through the Tyndale Blog Network, and I am loving it! The Beyond Suffering Bible is a new study Bible from Tyndale and Joni and Friends. It was created specifically for those who suffer from disabilities and chronic illnesses and for their caregivers. 

The Beyond Suffering Bible is an encouraging and helpful resource. If you are wondering what the Bible says about suffering, disabilities, illness, and healing, but aren't sure how to look for answers, this study Bible is a good place to start. It is filled with study notes, devotions, profiles of individuals who have suffered, and many more resources.

Beyond Suffering Bible

As I have been reading the Beyond Suffering Bible this year, I have been reading through various whole books of the Bible, plus the study notes and devotions contained within those pages. But if you wish to follow a reading plan or a topical guide, those are available too.

The Beyond Suffering Bible has ten different five day reading plans on various topics such as:
  • Comforting Those Who Mourn
  • Disability and the Image of God
  • The Role of the Church in Suffering and Disability
  • Praising God through Suffering

There is also topical guide that will help you find devotions, profiles, and study notes on the specific topics you wish to study. This Bible has very nice maps, a concordance, recommended resources, pages for notes, and several articles to aid in your study of suffering from a biblical perspective.

overview of the book of Matthew in the Beyond Suffering Bible

There is a one page overview of each book of the Bible that explains the suffering and disability themes found in that book.

Tychicus Profile in the Beyond Suffering Bible

One of my favorite features in the Beyond Suffering Bible is the profile feature. The profile in the picture above is about Tychicus, and there are many more profiles featuring other people from the Bible. Some of the profiles feature people who are living today with disabilities or people from the past who faced suffering.

Connection Points study note on 1 Samuel 24:17 in the Beyond Suffering Bible

The connection points are another favorite feature of mine. These study notes are scattered throughout the pages of this Bible that help you connect what you are learning to your life affected by suffering and disability.

The Beyond Suffering Bible

Here is Joni Eareckson Tada to tell you more about this new study Bible. If you are reading this in an email, you will need to click over to the blog to see the video.

"Each person retains inestimable value because we are all created in God's image."

I am enjoying the Beyond Suffering Bible, and it is one I plan to keep in my library for a very long time. I received a paperback copy of this book, but I would not recommend the paperback version. The paperback cover is too thin and flimsy for such a big book that will be used often. If you are looking to buy a copy of the Beyond Suffering Bible, I would recommend getting either the hardback or one of the leatherlike bindings.

I received a complimentary copy of The Beyond Suffering Bible from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Raised in Glory

sunrise in the mountains

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power… Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.  
1 Corinthians 15:42-43, 49
My children never knew me when I was healthy and able-bodied. I have been chronically ill since before they were born, so all they have known is a mom who is tired, weak, and needs to rest in bed for most of the day. When they were young, this seemed normal to them. As they grew older, they began to see that other moms could go on walks with their children, take them to the playground, and spend more time working and playing at home.

It saddens my children to have to miss out on doing many things with me, and it grieves me as well. This struggle has provided wonderful opportunities to talk with my children about Heaven, the New Earth, and the life that awaits believers there (Revelation 21). My children and I grieve the things we cannot do together today, but we also dream about things we will one day be able to do together on the New Earth. We have plans for camping, hiking, climbing mountains, playing at the beach, and more!

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, He secured for us salvation from our sins, eternal life, and the redemption of our bodies. Christ rose from the dead, and one day we will be raised too. What great hope this gives to all who believe!

While on this earth, we groan and grieve as we experience suffering caused by disabilities, illnesses, and special needs. Maybe you have a child with special needs, and you hurt to see the struggles your child faces in life. Perhaps you are caring for aging parents, and you are saddened by the increasing weakness and frailty they endure. Maybe you live with a disability, and you dream of the day you will be able to walk or use your hands again in Heaven. Maybe you look forward to one day being able to speak or hear or see.

We currently live in bodies affected by the curse, and we await the redemption of our bodies. One day all who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ will be raised in glory, just as Christ was raised from the dead on Easter Sunday. These bodies that are now filled with weakness will one day be raised in power (1 Corinthians 15:42-43).

The hope of resurrection is one of the things that encourages my family and me to persevere through the hard days of disability. This suffering in bodies affected by illness and disability will not last forever. The redemption of our bodies is coming (Romans 8:23)!

What encourages you on the hard days of disability? How does the resurrection give you hope? What is something you want to do someday in your resurrected body on the New Earth?

This article was originally posted on The Irresistible Church.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Oh My Soul

About a month ago I was having more bad days than good days. My body was exhausted, and each day was a fight to keep moving. I was growing weary of the constant battle with fatigue. During an especially challenging week, a friend sent this song to me. The video has a lovely depiction of beauty in the ashes. The song encouraged me, and I hope it encourages you today too.

If you are reading this in an email, please click over to the blog to see the video.

Oh, my soul
Oh, how you worry
Oh, how you're weary, from fearing you lost control
This was the one thing, you didn't see coming
And no one would blame you, though
If you cried in private
If you tried to hide it away, so no one knows
No one will see, if you stop believing
Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
'Cause you're not alone
Here and now
You can be honest
I won't try to promise that someday it all works out
'Cause this is the valley
And even now, He is breathing on your dry bones
And there will be dancing
There will be beauty where beauty was ash and stone
This much I know 
Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
I'm not strong enough, I can't take anymore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
And my shipwrecked faith will never get me to shore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
Can He find me here
Can He keep me from going under
Oh, my soul
You're not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
'Cause you're not alone
Oh, my soul, you're not alone

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Christ Is Risen

stained glass window picture of empty tomb

Happy Easter! He Is Risen!

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. 
Luke 24:1-12

Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed
(If you are reading this in an email, you may need to click over to the blog to see the video.)

How can it be, the One who died,
Has borne our sin through sacrifice
To conquer every sting of death?
Sing, sing hallelujah. 
For joy awakes as dawning light
When Christ's disciples lift their eyes.
Alive He stands, their Friend and King;
Christ, Christ He is risen. 
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!
Oh, sing hallelujah.
Join the chorus, sing with the redeemed;
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. 
Where doubt and darkness once had been,
They saw Him and their hearts believed.
But blessed are those who have not seen,
Yet sing hallelujah. 
Once bound by fear now bold in faith,
They preached the truth and power of grace.
And pouring out their lives they gained
Life, life everlasting. 
The power that raised Him from the grave
Now works in us to powerfully save.
He frees our hearts to live His grace;
Go tell of His goodness. 
He's alive, He's alive!
Heaven's gates are opened wide.
He's alive, He's alive!
Now in heaven glorified. 
by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Ed Cash
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