6.7.17 Ben Davis Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN
I was headed to speak to a group of seniors at the Ben Davis church. Senior citizens, that is. I love this age group, maybe that’s because I’m almost a part of it. Restaurant workers sometimes think that I already am, asking if I get the seniors discount. I get confused as to whether this should offend me, or please me. I usually smile at these clerks, and with a wink, tell them if they think I should have it, then I will gladly accept it. I had yet had anyone give me a discount for any meal.
5.7.17 Coal City United Methodist Church, Coal City, IL
After having had one Immanuel Quilt presentation in the afternoon, running out of gas and being led to an angel of mercy who would funnel me and my friend Nancy enough gas to get to the closest station – we finally arrived in Coal City, where we would be spending the night before sharing His Story the next day at a women’s luncheon after church.
We met Cathy, our hostess; a woman gifted with many talents including, the gift of hospitality. Cathy is an entrepreneur running a long time family business, a grandmother actively involved with her grandchildren, and a devoted member of her church. She is a meticulous housekeeper and an excellent baker. She had spent the day baking five three-layered cakes for the luncheon the next afternoon. She wasn’t only the baker for the event; she was the planner and organizer for it too.
5.6.2017 Winebrunner Church of God, Matoon, IL
My friend and I were in Illinois headed from Matoon to Coal City, and I ran out of gas! I know – who does this?
I had just finished speaking about the Immanuel Quilt and we were traveling to get to our next destination: Coal City. We were going to find the home where we would be staying the night before I would be speaking again the following day.
On our way to Coal City we passed through towns with plenty of gas stations. I just didn’t think to look at my gauge until after we had past them, and by the time I did, the needle was in the red.
I asked Siri, the woman on my phone, how far the nearest gas station was. She said, “Seven miles”. I assumed seven miles ahead, so I kept going. The vehicle started dinging its waring signal that I needed gas. After seven miles – we found no gas station. I got Siri on the phone again, and this time I asked for her to map me the directions. She told me to turn around!
5.5.17 Six Points Church, Sheridan, IN
An adorable little girl caught my attention. Seeing her in her lavender tulle dress, her pink cowboy boots, and the pearls around her neck, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus.
In the Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, each tell a about a woman who broke open a jar of perfume to pour on to Jesus. These might not be stories of the same woman; however the similarities between them I believe point us to a beautiful thing.
All, but Luke, say the perfume was expensive. Mark and John say it was made of pure nard. In ancient times both lavender and spikenard plants were called nard. The perfume these women anointed Jesus with could have been spikenard or lavender either one, it doesn't matter. What does matter, and is notable is that e the woman in each story, in humble adoration, gave Jesus all that she had. They demonstrated their love and devotion to Jesus by giving their all. And, Jesus called it a beautiful thing. He said what they had done was in preparation for His burial.
My friend and mentor, Rosemary was laid to rest yesterday. She was 92 years old. I met Rosemary in 1977 when I was hired by the insurance company where she worked. The agency manager told me, “Follow Rosemary’s lead. As long as you follow her example, you will do well.” Those words couldn’t have been more true. She influenced me in so many positive ways.
After Rosemary retired she began doing volunteer work for the humane society. She transported animals from the local shelter to distant rescue groups in order to minimize the local euthanasia rate. She loved animals, especially dogs.
I was not a dog lover. I didn’t dislike dogs, I just didn’t love them nor want one. Rosemary was well aware of this fact. So she was thrilled the day I called her with a request to let me know if the shelter ever received a specific type of dog.
Our son, T.J, was then in his senior year. He told me for graduation he wanted a dog. A white Jack Russell Terrier with one black eye.
12.18.16 Corinth Church, Brownsburg, IN
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. John 14:27
It’s Christmas Eve. And it’s late. Still not too late though for me to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. This week I posted the above picture on Facebook with the caption, “The stockings are hung by the chimney with care in hopes….”
Last Sunday morning I was sharing a message of Hope with the Immanuel Quilt at Corinth Church. (Listen here.) A year ago on the same date I was mourning the death of my Dad, trying to function through the days between his death and burial. My focus, my hope, is not on St. Nick.
The day before Dad died I was in Fort Wayne speaking and Tom was with me. As Tom was asked to pray for a woman’s seventy-nine year old husband, named Glenn to come to know the Lord – we did not know, that in that moment, God was preparing to take my seventy-nine year old father, Glenn, home.
12.9.16 Harmony Baptist Church, Avon, IN
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 ESV
Ugh. Equipment failure again? Really? I had bravely ventured out on the first snowy day of the season to share the Immanuel Quilt with the Harmony Baptist Church women's Bible Study class. Trying to get my equipment set up I once again was encountering technical issues for what seemed like the umpteenth time of the week.
I was at Harmony, but not in Harmony. Harmony was the name of the small Indiana town in Clay County where Tom and I used to live. Even though it had been eighteen years since we had moved I was beginning to get "homesick" for my old Harmony. It was for that reason the name of this church had caught my attention and had drawn me to want to visit a Sunday morning service. I thought if I couldn't be in Harmony, maybe I could find contentment in being at Harmony Baptist Church. However, instead of allowing myself to be in peaceful harmony, I was masking my frustrations with my malfunctioning equipment
11.10.16 CWC at Camille's on the River, Mt. Pleasant, MI
Following the morning brunch in White Cloud, Tom and I traveled further north to Mt. Pleasant to stay at the home of Lona and Ralph. They had graciously offered to let us stay with them before the luncheon I was to speak at the next day. The evening turned out to be quite eventful.
We went to Bible Study with them at their church. The women were doing a prayer study based on the movie “War Room”. Little did we know that a 911 prayer call would soon be necessary.
11.9.16 Newago Area CWC, White Cloud, MI
On Election Day Tom and I were headed to White Cloud, Michigan for me to share the Immanuel Quilt to a group of eighty women, the Christian Women’s Connection the following day. Just before dusk we arrived at The Shack, the place where I would be speaking and where we would be staying. It was anything but a shack.
10,11.16 Vincennes Women's Connection, Vincennes, IN
Do you remember playing the telephone game as a kid? Well, I still play it. I like whispering things like: The leaves are changing colors. Would you like a snack? Or Jesus loves me into the ears of my grandchildren. Macy is the only one yet old enough to play the game with me. I have been known to whisper Macy loves Grandma in her ear just to hear her repeat it back to me. She enjoys whispering her own little silly messages to me to try to decipher.
10.10.16 Dubois County Women's Connection, Jasper, IN
The timing of my friend Mary’s inquiry couldn’t have been better. Her message popped up on my Facebook feed asking if I was ever going to be in southern Indiana to share the Immanuel Quilt. Mary lived in southern Dubois County and yes, I was going to be there soon.
Mary was excited for an opportunity to see the quilt she had only heard about. And tonight was the night. She was finally going to get to see the quilt designed by God.
Mary came. She brought with her eight friends. Eight! I’ve had fewer friends attend my childhood birthday parties. Her enthusiastic personality is contagious. The more you are around her, the more you want to be around her. No doubt her ability to pass along her enthusiasm is what caused her friends to want to join her.
10.8.16 El Bethel Baptist Church, Avon, IN
De ja vu. In May 2014, just a month after the Immanuel Quilt was completed I was at El Bethel Church for a Mother Daughter Banquet to share its story. And now, here I was again, this time for a Women’s Conference they were hosting for area churches. After having chosen a theme of “Quilted in Love” they decided I should return to share its story.
I have spent time and energy creating special quilts myself. Quilts made for my boys with love; a labor of love to encourage them to pursue their hopes and dreams.
T.J.’s quilt was made first. As a Boilermaker fan he was certain he would one day attend Purdue University. He did not. I now know eighth graders don’t always know as much as they think they do. However, because he assured me Purdue was going to be his school of choice, his walls were painted in black and white with a Purdue paper border separating the two colors. His room screamed Purdue with metal signs, pennants, and even a funky, gorilla sporting a Purdue jersey capable of shaking his bootie. Obviously, T.J. got a Purdue quilt.
10.7.16 Robin Run Village, Indianapolis, IN
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk
in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
I was at Robin Run Village. Reverend Patty had invited me to the assisted living complex to share the Immanuel Quilt with the residents for their monthly gathering. Normally she asks one of their residents to speak and share their life story. You can imagine the interesting stories they can tell. They lived through the depression and wars, stories that shaped America. I hoped they would embrace the story I was about to share with them.
Oh, how they did! They loved God’s quilt. Questions were asked. The Lord was honored. And one gentleman, Mr. T I will call him, called out from his seat, “Wonderful!”
Each person came to get a closer look at the quilt. Mr. T came too. Steady on his feet with the aid of his cane, he came.
Mr. T told me his age. “Ninety-one” he said. With a grin he asked me to tell him how old I had thought that he looked. I said, “eighty-two” not sure if that was a compliment or not. He continued to smile and tell me his story.
10.2.16 Greenwood United Methodist Church
When our boys were young we used to have this monkey. Well, actually… it was a puppet. My husband purchased it so that he could entertain our boys with it. Tom’s golden furred monkey had long limbs that could be wrapped around his neck and waist to look like he was carrying it. The monkey would sit perched on top of the hall tree inside our front door waiting and ready for the next play time. Today I remembered when Tom used to take that monkey down from its tree and have it talk to the boys.
8.11.16 Tri-County Women's Connection, Milford, MI
Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God.
They were filled with awe and said,
"We have seen remarkable things today."
Our God is an Awesome God.
I was at Baker’s in Milford; an elegant restaurant and banquet facility. There I shared His Story in the Immanuel Quilt one final time before wrapping up with the Michigan tour. A small intimate group sat ready to hear about what they could see was a beautiful quilt
It didn’t take long for them to see the Invisible God and to realize He was the Master Designer for the Immanuel Quilt. His placement of very specific details caught their attention. Details with a specific purpose - to draw us to Him and to help us know Him better.
The flame of the Holy Spirit ignited. I saw tears trinkling down cheeks. Kleenix being dug out of purses. The Spirit of God was getting intimate, making Himself known. The women were filled with awe.
Tears couldn’t help but escape. Tears of Joy. Tears of sorrow. Tears of pain. God caught every tear in the palm of His hand.
The Almighty, Awesome God catches our tears too. He desires for us to place every burden and care into His loving hands. This does not diminish the sovereignty of God, but rather it shows the kind of relationship He wants to have with us…a close intimate friendship.
Drawing closer to God, one can’t help but to be filled with joy of being in His presence. Are you standing in awe of God? If not, ask Him to fan the flame of the Holy Spirit so that you may marvel at the beauty of knowing Him and honorably present Him your Tears of Joy.
8.10.16 Women's Connection, Midland Country Club, Midland, MI
It was a bright and sunny day, yet Tom and I were not off to a glowing start. You could say we were experiencing a communication break-down. Not a good place to be hours before a speaking engagement.
We were up and ready plenty early for our 9:30 a.m. departure to Midland, MI; the next stop to share the Immanuel Quilt. I had hoped this trip could also be a bit of a mini vacation for us. The previous night we had enjoyed some quality time cruising along the Cass River on the Bavarian Belle riverboat.
It was hard for Tom to completely relax though. He and the company he works for had been working for months to implement a new operations location in another state. As it would turn out the opening was coinciding very closely to this trip that had been scheduled many months in advance.
8.9.16 Christian Women’s Club, Frankenmuth, MI
Bright copper kettles, warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings, snowflakes and sleigh bells and silver white winters and apple strudels and Shnitzel with noodles. Does this sound familiar?
Maria sang about this list of her favorite things in the Sound of Music. Tom and I were in a town that fits the description of Maria’s favorite things. Frankenmuth is known as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria.” In 1845 German-Lutheran missionaries came to teach the Gospel of Jesus to this community that is now home to a year round CHRISTmas Wonderland. Over three million guests a year come from around the globe to visit this place that embraces its German heritage.
Frankenmuth has a replica of the original Silent Night Memorial Chapel in Austria. Silent Night is known as Austria’s gift to the world. On a silent night over 2,000 years ago our Heavenly Father sent His Gift into the world. He sent us His Son Jesus Christ so that we would come to know Him.
One hundred sixty women had intentionally come to hear the story about a unique quilt. Two men, Tom and John, had come under the persuasion of their favorite women. ; )
I’d had another bizarre dream. My husband is no longer surprised by my strange dreams, though he is amazed at how much I can remember of them. He used to dismiss my crazy dreams to me eating too much spicy food before going to bed. Not so much anymore. He has realized they are often a reflection of what is currently happening in my life. And such was the case with this dream.
I was walking along a long narrow dirt road through a green grassy meadow that extended as far as my eye could see in every direction. Sand was shooting from my mouth with a powerful force of that like a fire hose putting out the flames of a raging fire. This unusual behavior caused me no alarm, I walked along peacefully.
7.6.16 Ladies Connection, Ponderosa Restaurant, Plymouth, IN
The sound of the thunder woke me before the alarm sounded. I had finally dozed off after spending most of the night reliving the stinging words I had received the day before that caused me to question God. With each clap of thunder and every flash of lightning streaking across the early morning sky I became glummer and wanted to flee home.
I suspected Annie and I would be navigating our way to the luncheon in the storm and then have to cart the equipment inside through the rain. I had already been forewarned that Plymouth had a small meeting room and may not have the space to set up both the quilt and the projector screen. And I was still waiting for the evidence from God that I was telling His Story as He wanted. I questioned, “Is it worth it?”
7.5.16 Christian Women's Meeting, Matterhorn Restaurant, Elkhart, IN
We were finally settled in for the night at a fine Scottish Bed & Breakfast Inn. After adjusting the sleep number bed to a comfortable position I laid my head down and pulled the sheet up over my chest in hopes of a good night’s sleep. However, I was in anything but a comfortable state of mind so sleep wasn’t going to be likely.
My friend Annie and I had been to a luncheon supported by a 77 year old ministry. The intent behind Stonecroft Ministry is for Christian women to connect with one another and invite women who may not know Jesus to join them and then come to know the Lord. Speakers tell their own interesting God stories; which are part of His Story, in hopes of leading someone to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
6.28.16 Nemehiah Church, Avon, IN
Have you ever noticed our greatest experiences in life are those we have spent with people we care about? Whether it is parents with children, grandparents with grandchildren, siblings or friendships — life is better when it is shared with someone.
We take to Facebook posting who we are with, where we have been and what we are doing to share a piece of our lives with others. Such was the case when our son, Ty and his wife Tina, posted the good and wonderful news they are expecting their first child. They wanted others to experience their joy.
It was for the purpose of sharing the Good News the Immanuel Quilt delivers that I scheduled a presentation at Nehemiah Church. I wanted my friends to experience the joy of this journey with me and be inspired. The inspiration doesn’t come from anything I alone can say, it comes from the truth He speaks through the Immanuel Quilt.
6.21.16 Women's Connection, Terre Haute, IN
I had eagerly looked forward to this day that I would be sharing the story of the Immanuel Quilt with the Christian Women’s Group in Terre Haute, IN. I am excited for every experience but, this time I knew that a special woman from my past would be present.
Nearly forty years ago Carlene Dickison, and her husband Eddie, were mine and Tom’s youth group leaders. They were brave enough to take several junior high teenagers on a Christian retreat one weekend and Tom and I were two of those teens. I can’t recall the name of the camp or where it was but I CAN remember what happened. I accepted Jesus Christ into my life that weekend and …so did Tom. That was long before we were interested in each other but it is pretty amazing that we accepted Christ at the same retreat. After we graduated high school Tom and I, (dating by now) began going to another church and we lost touch with Carlene and Eddie.
June 14-16, 2016, Oglesby, Fulton, East Moline and Geneseo, IL
“Won’t you please come and go with me?” I asked my husband.
I had been unsuccessful at finding a traveling companion for this three day journey. Everyone I had asked to join me was not able to make the trip. I knew my husband had vacation days available but, in his mind going on a road trip from place to place to spend time with a bunch of women to hear me tell the same story over and over was not his idea of vacation. But, he went.
We rose early to begin the three hour drive to our first destination, driving through both sunshine and rain. Tom put up with a sometimes chatty wife, and a sometimes dozing, snoring wife. The sounds from the radio were not particularly his favorite either but he never complained.
The purpose for this journey was that I would be speaking in four different locations at Stonecroft Christian Women’s Meetings. At each stop I met wonderful people and heard stories confirming that God is still at work in the lives of ordinary people.
5.19.16 Circle of Hills Baptist Church, Kirklin, IN
The evening began with the hymn, "His Name is Wonderful."
By nights end, He had made known He is the mighty King, Master of everything.
“You have a calming and musical voice,” wrote one woman. Another said, “You have princess feet.” Wow! These were unusual, unlikely and unexpected compliments. And yes…they were directed to me.
I guarantee that neither of my sisters has ever described my voice as such. Even when I begin to sing to my granddaughter she says, “Please stop.” And although my shoe and ring sizes are the smallest that I can claim, (and therefore the most fun to shop for) I have never been told I have the feet of a princess.
The best compliments were directed to the One who inspired the Immanuel Quilt. God manifested Himself through the story of His unique quilt and revealed His glory. Nearly sixty women had intently looked upon the Immanuel Quilt and listened to every intricate detail with wonder. They described the story as amazing, overwhelming, and absolutely beautiful. The Lord enabled their focus to go from seeing the visible and ordinary to seeing the invisible and extraordinary.
This was exactly what I needed or at least that was the intent; a quiet, serene get-away, a place to focus on my writing. I have so many stories in my mind yet I can’t get the words down on paper.
My husband, Tom, had read about this place; a retreat for wanna-be writers in the foothills of Kentucky. He thought it would help me relax and clear my mind to write freely. So far I am still staring at blank pages except for the words I currently write.
The cabin is cute and charming and secluded. I like there is even a purple quilt on the twin-sized bed. Per se I am not much on secluded cabin life. I’m just thankful there is a bathroom! Had there not been one, I would not have come.