Friday, September 23, 2011


You put the light in me, The Spark, the shot to the heart
You are the hope that leads me out of the dark You let Your love shine down So that the world could see You put the light in me…..Brandon Heath

A number of things in my life recently have put “light” on my brain. First off; Bob and I work in Sparks –it’s a part of Awanas. Awanas is a church program for kids where they have fun (like games and stuff) while learning Bible verses. Sparks are the K- 2nd graders and Bob and I are leaders with the 1st graders. The Sparks are represented by “Sparky” the firefly.

There are many verses in the Bible about “light” These in Matthew usually are the first to come to my mind especially as I think of “Sparks” : You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:14-16 Part of the “Sparks” song says, “We are sparks to light the world…”

In the Disney movie “Tangled” Rapunzel is drawn away from the evil witch who she thinks is her mother by the lights she sees every year on her birthday. They are lanterns released by her parents who are the King and Queen! You can draw the parallel to Christ (our King) sending out His light of the Gospel to us while we are still in the clutches of the Devil.

For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah).However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 Amplified

Last Monday morning I didn’t jog, so I jogged that evening. As I jogged around our circle and was headed home I saw the full moon rising and it was beautiful! I was reminded of how the sun is what makes the moon shine, the moon doesn’t make it’s own light. In the same way, we are to reflect God’s light in our lives. It is said that when Moses went up on the mountain and talked with God, when he came down, “his face shone” (Exodus 34:29) “Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:3

Last Tuesday after I picked up Lydia, I took the recyclables. While I was there I met a really neat lady named Joan and found out she’s Ian’s friend's grandma. She invited me to the monthly “Womens Aglow” meeting which was the very next day. It’s a Charismatic women’s group that meets once a month. It was an awesome meeting, I was late but it was still wonderful.I even made it back to Lydia's school just in time to play my flute for the 1st graders music class! There it was again! The reference to light. These women are “Aglow” with God’s Holy Spirit!

I just finished reading a book by Marilyn Meberg that’s called, “Tell Me Everything; How to heal from the secrets you thought you could never share.” It’s about how it heals us when we’re able to confess our sins and bring them to God (and to a trustworthy person) and receive God's forgiveness. This is step 5 in the 12 steps, by the way and I know many would not agree with this but the 12 steps are in the Bible and they are for EVERYBODY! We are all powerless over the sin in our lives and we all need to surrender to Christ because He is THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SAVE US! Not just any (inferior, little, FAKE) “higher power” will do!

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. John 3: 18-21

These words from a “Tenth Avenue North” song come to mind:
Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won't disappear

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Sparks will fly as grace collides
With the dark inside of us
So please don't fight
This coming light
Let this blood come cover us
His blood can cover us “Healing Begins” –

Marilyn Meberg talks about Lazarus and says, “Breaking out of our tomb means repenting of our sins. The key to an abundant life in Jesus is to open up our grave of secret (and sometimes not-so-secret) sins, confess them, talk about them, repent of them and let the redeeming light of His love burn away the infection they have caused.”

But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. Proverbs 4:18

I have a journal I got at Hobby Lobby called “Everyday Blessings: Spiritual Refreshment for Women” It has a short note on every page on different subjects. I was just at the page that was titled, “Righteousness” It had the verse above (Proverbs 4:18) Then it said, “God knows where you’re going. As you journey on the road towards God’s purpose and plan for your life, the light of God’s love grows brighter with each step, bringing you closer and closer to Him. The more you know Him, the more quickly you know His will and His ways and can more assuredly step out in faith towards His righteous cause. Your steps are sure because your path is well lit with the goodness of God. You’re on the right path.” I thought that was pretty awesome because it was like “just for me” God can also speak directly to you in any way He chooses. He knows who you’ll listen to, who will grab your attention. The question is: ARE YOU LISTENING? DO YOU WANT LIGHT? OR DO YOU WANT TO STAY IN THE DARK? THE CHOICE IS YOURS.

The word “Light” is in the Bible almost as much as the word, “Peace”! Here are a few of my favorites:

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1:3

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle. Psalm 43:3

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

The people living in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD And rely upon his God. Isaiah 50:10

He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. Daniel 2:22

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. Matthew 6:22

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. Matthew 10:27

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “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

They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. Revelation 22:4-5

From November on my Mary Engelbreit calendar and it says on the bottom, THERE'S A CRACK IN EVERYTHING-THAT'S HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN. LEONARD COHEN

Here's some other posts about the opposite:
 Trust Him in The Dark
Whose Afraid of the Dark?

Friday, September 9, 2011

2001: A Story Odyssey:

Seeing as it's the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 I decided to post this. 2001 was an unforgettable year for the Storys and our nation! Bob gave me my website for Christmas 2002, so the 2001 letter is not on there. The last letter I wrote was 2008s about heaven- mentioning my brothers deaths had made my Mom sad- I hadn't meant to because I was talking about our hope of heaven- then in April 2009 Mom passed away- so there have been no more Christmas letters but last July I started this blog- so.......the story goes on....

These Christmas letters were a painstaking process! I would start thinking about what to put in them in August. But many times God would lead me in a totally different direction by December which was the way 2001 went. I have had “long versions” and “short” which are the ones I would usually send out. I’ve actually become pretty good at editing. Interestingly, by the end of 2002, our family and Chris’ had both joined Karrie's church! These are the two new friends I mentioned in this letter. I never would have imagined it but that is the way 2002 went! Also, on a somber note, I never would have thought I would be sharing the verses at the end of this letter in less than a year at my brother’s memorial service.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only forgotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!” Claire, 5, quoting John 3:16 as she was learning it for Awanas.

Dear friends and family,
We hope this letter finds you all well. We’d like to share with you some about 2001: A Story Odyssey:

By far the high point of our year was January 28th. That was Lydia Ellen’s birthday: she weighed 10lbs.1 oz. and was 221/4 ins. long. It was the longest labor I’ve ever had: starting Sat. [Bob and I were sent home in the middle of the night!] and finally ending Sun. evening. I know all the prayers helped us along , it was announced that I was in labor Sun. morning in church! Lydia has been our first bottle fed baby. The children all enjoyed feeding her and I still nursed her occasionally.

Another high point of our year was July 21st. This was moving day! Yep, that’s right, we are FINALLY IN our house! Many thanks go out to all our friends who helped us move [it was a BIG JOB!] and those who came to help us CELEBRATE. It has taken awhile to get settled and unpack. We’re still working on it!

Sarah and Teddy BOTH earned the privilege of going to Awana Scholarship Camp this Summer. Sarah also went to youth camp again. The topic was “Fearless Faith” and the verse on her T-shirt which she wears frequently is Gen. 50:20-21; “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good …Therefore do not be afraid…” It’s what Joseph says to his brothers who sold him into slavery, so that many bad things happened to him in Egypt. But in the end Joseph is a leader in Egypt and saves his family and everyone else from the famine. I believe this verse says so much: to me personally about this year and to our nation about the terrible tragedies of Sept.11th : Let me explain, what was a terrible day for us all, has bound our great nation together: “United We Stand”. We have been called to prayer by our own President. I also hear that many Muslims are rethinking the terrible ERRORS of their FALSE RELIGION. That these men were so deceived to think that they would go to Paradise for “destroying the enemies of Allah” killed thousands and themselves shows the power of the LIES of SATAN. Too bad they did not follow “the one true God, Jehovah and His Son, Jesus Christ” His word says, “Thou shalt not murder”. When all is said and done, the TRUTH will prevail!

I was exhausted again when Fall came this year! Last Summer I lost my break to morning sickness, this year to moving! Sarah started at Peach County High School on August 8th as planned. I was beginning to desire some relief, so I considered putting the others in school also. I did not have any peace about putting them in and we had not yet found their birth certificates so we couldn’t. We kept them home. I felt a great peace about that decision . I found help from an old book I have by F.B. MEYER called “The Secret of Guidance”. I had read it awhile ago, but went over it again to make this decision. So we tested Teddy and Ian [they did very well!] and sent for everyone’s books.

Meanwhile the other decision to put Sarah IN public school has been going smoothly: So far she has never missed the bus, which leaves at 6:50 AM every morning for the 30-45min. trek and she made the honor roll! Soon we will find out if she got in the gifted program which she was tested for. [She knows that regardless of what they say she’s still gifted in our book!] Still most of her friends from church go to different schools, she is learning to bloom where she is planted, and I do believe it’s where God wants her to be for now. She came home from school one day and was singing: “Come and go with me to my Father’s house, come and go with me to my Father’s house…It’s a big big house with lots and lots of rooms, a big big table with lots and lots of food, a big big yard where we can play football, It’s a big big house, It’s my Father’s house.” It’s a song by a Christian rock group called, Audio Adrenaline. She said “Mama, I want that CD, it’s their ‘best of’ album.” [called “Hit Parade”] I thought I’d get it for her since she was working so hard for her good grades [hard, especially when they put her in Algebra II Honors!].

In October my parents came to visit us and see our new house. I enjoyed shopping with my dad for an electronic piano. While we were out I got Sarah her CD. I also enjoyed shopping at our antique mall, here in Byron with my mom. I found more great antique books. Book collecting seems to end up being the homeschooler’s favorite hobby and I do often end up reading some of these books I find to the children for school. We are now almost done with the Christian fiction [The Story of Reuben Inch] I found while out with mom that day. Also in October we had “The Children of the World” at our church for a concert. This is a group of children from different countries who are traveling around raising money for World Help. World Help provides food, clothing, shelter and an education to many poor children in 50 different countries through child sponsorship. We, in America, DO NOT know what “poor” is, yet these children do. What we call “poor” over here is “rich” over there. I was supposed to be in the nursery that night, but they didn’t need me. Bob stayed home with the others and Sarah and I went as she has Awanas after church on Sunday night. We were so blessed by their singing many songs we hear on Christian radio and Sarah’s new CD: “Come and go with me to my Father’s house…” Their accents and hand motions made it even better!

It only took us 9 years to finally get Claire her lessons!

Sarah played soccer again this year, of course. Teddy , Ian and Claire started Karate in September in a class for homeschoolers. The boys have already earned their yellow belts! We’ve been very blessed to meet more homeschoolers: We were at Karate that morning of the 11th as in tears I watched the towers fall and prayed with Karrie. Another new friend from Karate, Chris was going to have “The Children of the World” at her church and needed more people to house them. So on November 13th and 14th we were pleased to have Leonard and Mark from the Philippines and Moon their chaperone from India. I just can’t help but remind myself that if I had put them in school I would have missed the opportunity to meet Karrie and pray on the 11th and Chris and house these children!

Well, maybe you’ll come to my house sometime. If not , that’s OK, I hope I’ll see you one day in My Father’s house. ( AGAIN the IRONY; I know I sent a copy of this to my brother Paul who was in prison unable to come visit us. He passed away August 24th, 2002 and I WILL SEE HIM ONE DAY in My Father's House!) Jesus said “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” Thomas said “Lord we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way.” Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life . No one comes to the Father but by Me.” John 14: 2, 5-6.

Yes, I did put the 2000 Christmas picture in the 2001 letter!

Merry Christmas! May God Bless you all! Love, the Storys [Bob, Susan, Sarah, Teddy, Ian, Claire and Lydia]

P.S. If you would like to send a tax deductible gift to World Help, here’s their address: World Help, P.O. Box 501, Forest, VA. 24551. Here's their website: