Archives for July 2013

Prayer & Praise Monday – July 29, 2013

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Hi all!

I’m back from vacation and glad to meet here with you all once again to petition before the throne of our Heavenly Father. I was reading 2 Timothy 1 this morning:

“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.”
(2 Timothy 1:12 ESV)

Are you convinced that He is ABLE? He is able to SAVE and able to KEEP. What more do we need??

Here are some ways you can be praying with us this week…

• I’ve got an update from Troy, who underwent surgery a few weeks ago to remove a brain tumor…

“Just got back from LA and a follow up visit with my neurologist team. I still have total paralysis on the left side of my face. You don’t realize how vain you are until something like this happens. I know I’m still in recovery mode and they promise it is not permanent but it still is hard to deal with talking, eating and just looking weird. Anyway, the swelling has caused the issues with the nerves so I’m looking at at least a month of this with gradual results back over the next 6 months. It makes me appreciate all those folks that deal with much bigger issues than this when in public. Don’t stare…learn to smile (something I can’t do right now but when the healing returns I promise to do more)…and embrace the beauty of everyone inside and out.”

Great advice Troy! Let’s keep praying for Troy to have a miraculous recovery!

• A new friend, Patricia, emailed this week to ask for prayer for healing of her fibroids. Fibroids involve heavy uterine bleeding and cause Patricia to be continually tired. Patricia is waiting on the Lord for the gift of children so she is standing on his Word for healing. He is a firm foundation, Patricia! We are standing with you this week!

• Please join me in praising the Lord for His goodness and mercy in answering every one of the prayers we had for our family trip to Colorado. From meeting all of our practical needs to blessing our relationships (NO arguments, NO family drama…that’s a miracle!), God did more than we could have asked or imagined! Here we are with our tour guide after a trip 1,000 feet underground into the Cripple Creek Gold Mine.

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Yes, you read that right! We went 1,000 feet below the surface of the earth. A great test for my claustrophobia! 🙂 This happened to be Kevin’s and my 12th Wedding Anniversary! Quite a memorable celebration…

• God’s timing is perfect and He brought us all home just in time to gather around my grandfather’s bedside and sing him into Heaven.

 Grandpas bedside

Less than 24 hours from landing at the airport, we received word that Grandpa was on hospice care and they didn’t expect him to live for more than a day or two. He has spent the last 3 years or so in a nearby assisted living facility and has been in declining health. I’m so thankful that God allowed us to be there with him at the end. It was very hard but a huge blessing for my parents. Join me in praising the Lord that my Grandpa had made a profession of faith! I have confidence that He is now hearing perfectly, seeing perfectly, and running and jumping again with Jesus! I would appreciate your prayers for my family, especially those who are not believers, as we mourn the loss of Grandpa and make arrangements for his funeral. Pray that the Gospel would be shared boldly through his passing!

• Our church is preparing for Vacation Bible School (next week!). We would love your prayers for the opportunity to share Jesus with our children and with the community. We should have well over 100 kids there and have planned several outreaches throughout the week to the families of the children in attendance. Tami is specifically asking for prayer for all the technical details of the morning sessions and skits. Tami will be running sound, slideshows, Powerpoint, etc. Pray also for Deb as she puts the final touches on a wonderful week of crafts that she has planned for the kids. Who better to head up crafts, huh?

Thanks for standing with us and for lifting up these needs to the Lord! Let us know how we can be in prayer for you…

By His Grace and for His Glory,molly

 

Orphan Care Night Recap

Last month I wrote about how adoption has been on my mind a lot lately…it still is.  No, we don’t have a referral yet, but we are still eagerly waiting on God’s timing to reveal who our next kiddo is.  China redid their computer system for their adoption program in May and they are still working out the kinks which has slowed things down.  They were able to release a list last week, but we weren’t matched.  A woman at church yesterday reminded me that God is never late…those words were so encouraging to me!

In the meantime, though, our church hosted an Orphan Care Night.  I must admit I was a little emotional about going at first.  On the way home from the morning service that day I confessed to my husband that I was disappointed that we didn’t have a referral yet and that I didn’t feel like going to the event later that evening.  I have learned to share these thoughts with my husband instead of hiding them.  He spoke words of encouragement and promised to pray for my heart to change…and it did!

When I arrived I actually did get emotional, but for a very different reason.  I saw dear girl friends all around who had gone through the adoption journey.  I was overwhelmed with the gift that these women have been to me!  They understand the process and get the emotions I feel.

I had Ray snap this pic of Lesily and me.  She has adopted 2 boys and has been such an amazing friend (waiting for #3!).  Love her!  (Totally random, but there is a guy carrying a table on his head in the background, hehe!)

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There was a market space set up for some small businesses and ministries that serve orphans.  Molly and her sister Emmy ran the Throne of Grace booth and Molly donated a portion of her sales that night to our church’s orphan care fund…so sweet!  (Molly graciously gave me the night off so I could enjoy the event.  Thanks, Molly!)

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I had to grab a pic of Joy and her daddy.  She was recently adopted from China and I adore her (can’t wait to meet her sister Linda who arrived home last week from China!).

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We all gathered in the sanctuary for the program portion of the evening.  One of our pastors, Matt, shared about our motivation for adopting and/or helping orphans.  He and his wife Brianne have been an amazing testimony to me of having a huge heart for orphans.  Love them too!

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Then several families from our church got up and shared about their different experiences with orphan care.  Each story was unique.  It is amazing to see how God is using families in our church to meet the needs of these little ones!

Here are Joy’s parents sharing their amazing story (you can read more about their journey HERE.

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Here our Senior Pastor and his wife shared about foster care:

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After the program, you could go back out to the marketplace and shop or talk to different ministries.  Compassion International was there and we finally signed up to sponsor a child (what took us so long?).  There was a silent auction as well and some of the bidding got intense!

The night was so amazing and I enjoyed it so much!  Our church was able to raise money for the orphan care fund which was awesome!  I am so thankful that God led us to this church body.  We have been so blessed to have such dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

As I write this, I am mourning the loss of our dear wonderful pastor and friend Rick Wilson.  He was our pastor for 13 years while we lived in Dayton, Ohio.  He died suddenly last Friday morning at the age of 52.  He leaves behind his beautiful wife and 4 children.  My heart aches for his family as well as my church family back at Grace Covenant Church.  We loved our time at GCC and this week California feels so very far away.  Rick and his wife Deb were instrumental in both Ray’s and my walk with Christ.  They loved us and challenged us.   Rick loved his wife Deb beyond words…every time he looked at her, his face revealed his total admiration for his bride.  I have so many sweet memories of Rick and I am so thankful to have known him.  He loved his flock and loved his Savior even more.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep…therefore, encourage one another with these words.
(I Thessalonians 4:13-14, 18 ESV)

Love,deb

Growing Tomatoes

My dad is a wonderful gardener.  Every spring, for as long as I can remember, he’s tenderly cared for all kinds of vegetables including lettuce, squash, zucchini, and tomatoes.  All of his veggies are great, but nothing can beat my dad’s tomatoes.  They’re the best tomatoes you’ll ever eat, hands down.

This year, my dad me asked if I’d like to grow some tomatoes of my own.  I wasn’t sure at first… Did my yard have a spot with enough sun?  Would I accidently kill them or worse yet, would they become breakfast for the millions of bunnies in our town?

Finally, I agreed to try.  By the end of March, Dad had already started several plants from seed.  He gave me a large pot and two of his tiny little plants.  He recommended that I also get a trellis (my kind neighbor gave me one he didn’t need anymore!), special tomato fertilizer, and a roll of stretchy plant tie, and then I’d be ready to go!

I was instantly protective of my little plants.  For the first couple weeks, it was still too chilly to plant them in their pot outside, so I set them in the sun each day and then brought them back inside each night to keep them warm.  After a couple more weeks, they were ready to be transplanted to my pot.  I surveyed my yard to find the perfect spot, and replanted them.

Here they are just after replanting:

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After a few days, I decided that spot wasn’t as perfect as I originally thought!  As spring progressed and other plants in our yard started filling in, they began to block the sunlight getting to my tomatoes, so I moved them to the other side of the yard.

Here they are in their second spot – growing well!

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After a few more weeks, our side yard finally became sunny again, so I moved them there behind our fence to make sure they would be safe from bunnies.

Here they are in their final resting place.  With regular watering and fertilizing, they grew so fast that I could see daily growth!

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By early May, they had also developed flowers, which my dad said would turn into tomatoes! I was very excited!  Spring was a little chilly this year, however, and tomatoes like the heat, so while the plants looked great and were growing well, it felt like a LONG time before they finally grew any tomatoes.  One tomato finally started around the end of May.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pic of it, but here’s a pic of another one.  It’s so cute!

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In the beginning of July, my first tomato turned red!  I read online that tomatoes are ripe once they turn red and feel firm, but not hard.  This one still needed a few more days to soften a bit.

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My baby plants are now huge and thriving and full of tomatoes growing larger every day.  They’re also now over a foot taller than their trellis!

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I’m excited to harvest them and be able to eat tomatoes from my own garden for the first time!

To grow your own tomatoes, you’ll need the following:

1)    Tomato seeds or small plants – you want to make sure you’ll end up with at least 2 plants to plant together for cross-pollination.

2)    A large pot (at least 1 ½ ft. wide for 2 plants), a large raised bed, or a large spot in your garden for planting.

3)    Potting or garden soil for vegetables.

4)    Tomato fertilizer – Miracle Grow for tomatoes worked great for me, but any kind you prefer is fine.

5)    Trellises – 1 trellis per 2 or 3 plants, depending on the size of your trellis.

6)    Stretchy green plant tie.

7)    A spot in your yard or garden, which gets at least 5 hours of full sun or more – tomatoes love heat and lots of sun.

If starting from seed, plant your seeds in late February or early March.  My dad started them in soil in medium sized Styrofoam drinking cups with a small hole in the bottom for drainage – one plant per cup.  If you prefer not to use Styrofoam, plastic cups or anything similar that can stand up to soil and water would be fine.

If you plan to buy baby plants, you can buy them anytime in the spring, but sometime in late March to mid April is probably best, depending on your weather.

Transplant baby plants to your garden or pots around mid April, or once the weather is consistently in the high 60’s to low 70’s during the day.  Plant your plants in front of their trellises – about 6 to 8 inches from the trellis is fine.

Once your plants are about 1 ½ ft. high and/or have developed some flowers, begin gently tying stems to the trellis.  The goal is not to tie them up so they’re touching the trellis, but to tie them so the trellis is helping support their weight.

Here are a couple of examples of stems tied to their trellis.

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As the plants grow, continue tying up any stems that seem to need extra support.

Also, keep in mind that tomato stems can be very delicate and can break off easily – especially once they’re supporting the weight of tomatoes – so work with them carefully.

Water your plants every other day until the weather is consistently in the mid 70’s each day.  After that, water them every day, and if possible, at about the same time of day.  Give them just enough water so that the soil stays moist each day.  Once tomatoes form, be careful not to get any water on them or they might split while growing.

Fertilize your plants about every 2 weeks.

If any stems/leaves turn completely yellow and shriveled, pinch them off at the base of the yellow stem.  You shouldn’t get too many of these, but they may occur near the lower part of more mature plants.

Regularly check stems and the underside of leaves for bugs.  Pull or wipe them off if you find any. If desired, protect your plants from snails by sprinkling snail repellant around the base of your pots or around your plants in the garden (try to keep it as far from your plants as possible, while still close enough to make a difference).

Harvest tomatoes once they have turned red and feel firm, but no longer feel hard to the touch.  Feel them very gently, so as not to accidentally pick them before they’re ready!

Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Do you love to garden or are you just a beginning gardener like I am?  I’d love to hear if you have any questions or extra tomato growing tips!  Or, do you have another favorite vegetable or herb you love to grow?tami