Amazon Smile for Smiles

Help bring more smiles to these Kiddo’s faces by shopping with AmazonSmile this Christmas.

Did you know you can shop and Amazon and at the same time help children in need?

It’s so easy!

All you have to do is add the word ‘smile.’ in front of the normal Amazon web address, (smile.amazon.com), choose Compassion International as your charity, do your normal Christmas shopping, and then when you are finished shopping Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase to Compassion!

How AWESOME is THAT?!

 

Enjoy the Moment

I punched the address into our GPS and we hit the road not taking the time to look at the route we would be traveling.

We were off on another day of our road trip and were somewhere in between Niagara Falls and our new destination which was Cooperstown, NY.

About half an hour into our journey we seemed to be heading into the middle of nowhere so I decided to check the route on the GPS. Our destination was correct in the GPS but now I realized that the route was all backroads. We decided to go ahead stay the course.

We had started in a city turning off on to a small state highway leading to a small county road, leading to an even smaller road. Before long the smaller road we were on had led us into a road in the woods and we were now traveling down, down, down to the foot of a very large hill. Gradually we had passed fewer cars and fewer homes and now we weren’t passing anyone at all.

I started to get real nervous when we passed a sign saying we had entered a State Forest, BUT my biggest worry happened when I discovered that our cell phones didn’t have signals anymore!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am always up for a travel adventure, and I absolutely love visiting places that I have never been before, BUT… one thing I don’t like is getting lost… and especially in unfamiliar territory.

Getting lost is a big fear for me. The first time I ever got lost I was going to a school fair. I was 16 years old and a brand-new driver. I live in an area where the Mississippi River is the dividing line between Missouri and Illinois. I was heading to the fair and it was the farthest from my house that I’d ever driven. I remember making a wrong turn, suddenly finding myself crossing the river and a sign saying, “Welcome to Illinois.” I was lost in Illinois for what seemed like forever to me. I remember being really scared, I think in my teenage mind I imagined that I’d never find my way back to Missouri.

I did find my way back to Missouri and also to the fair that day, but ever since that day, I was always getting myself lost in the car.

And then someone invented the GPS!

Oh man, how I love the GPS! The GPS is the greatest invention in the world for people like me! All I have to do is just punch in the address and it tells me exactly where to go. Another great thing about it is, if I make a wrong turn it will reroute and put me right back on course!

But this day we had no signal!

The good part was – as long as we stayed the course that was already mapped out for us on our GPS it would still get us to where we were going because those directions would stay in place.

BUT… the bad part was – if we happened to make a wrong turn or if there were any road changes at all then we would be in trouble. If the GPS were to need to reroute that could not happen without a signal.

I guess you guessed by now that I was panicking just a bit…. okay make that a lot! I was also praying a little prayer over and over in my head asking God to please keep our GPS on course.

My husband didn’t seem worried at all. He just kept driving along.

But me over in the passenger seat had all kinds of worrying going on inside of my head which was enough for the both of us! I wanted so bad to get on a bigger road or in a town, anything that would get me back where there where other people traveling.

And then suddenly right in the middle of my panic, I heard a soft whisper say, “Just enjoy the moment.”

Just enjoy the moment??

It was like a switch was flipped and I suddenly was able to see my true surroundings.

Wow!

There were tall trees so massive, yes but wow they were so majestic, then I noticed the patches of wildflowers lining the road. A little while later we started going out of the woods and I could see a view for miles and it was spectacular!

God never ceases to amaze me.

Here I was in the middle of a beautiful adventure through nature with my husband and I was panicking about getting lost and I had almost missed the gift!

Seriously what was the big deal? I was on a road, it wasn’t like I was off in the woods on foot lost. I wasn’t in any danger and I would eventually come out into civilization again.

Something I realized in all of this is how thankful I am for my connection with God. Unlike my GPS signal, God’s signal is always here. It’s never out of range no matter where I go and that day he led me to see him in the beauty surrounding me. He led me to live right there in that exact moment and to truly enjoy it and also to enjoy Him along with his peace.

If you’ve never experienced God, if you don’t know God or if you don’t think he is real then I want to tell you this….

I used to believe he wasn’t real and I used to think people who wrote stuff like this were totally crazy. What I didn’t know then that I do know now is this – God is real and without him, I would be totally lost. I need him to guide my life or I would be a panicky mess all the time and then I would for sure go crazy. I really just don’t know what I would do without him and his reassuring voice to calm me when I feel nervous or afraid.

Our car’s GPS did stay the course that day and we soon found ourselves at our destination. We never got lost but if we had, I know that we wouldn’t have been alone, and I am pretty sure we would have still enjoyed ourselves. As for now in this moment I want to give thanks to God for that wonderful day that I enjoyed the moment in because of him. It will be etched in mind forever.

God is my true GPS.

I hope you my dear reader have a great day today and don’t forget to take the time to enjoy each moment that God has given to you.

Terri

The Time I was Given Salvation, but Decided to Give it Back

 

I never went to church as a child or adult other than occasional visits. When I was in my late 20’s I had been attending a church for a few months and one day I found myself walking down the aisle during a church service because I had just given my life to Jesus. I didn’t really understand the whole, ‘give your life to Jesus’ thing other than I knew that I had just been ‘saved’ and I was excited and happy about it!

Shortly after I was saved I was informed that because I was now saved, I could also become a member of the church. I hadn’t even realized until that moment that I wasn’t already a ‘member’ of the church.  I also soon found out that but there was a catch to being a member of the church.

To be a member of the church I had to be baptized.

I was still pretty new to all of this, and getting dunked underwater in front of everyone seemed horrifying to me. I really wanted to be a member of the church but did NOT want to get baptized!

And to make matters worse someone told me that if I didn’t get baptized then I couldn’t get into heaven!

Being saved by Jesus had somehow now turned into me freaking out about church membership, baptisms, and getting into Heaven.  None of this stuff had even been on my mind when I had asked Jesus to come into my life.

If this was what being saved felt like, I didn’t want to be saved anymore. I had felt a whole lot safer before the whole saving ordeal had happened!

Oh and also now added to the pot was this — my 7-year-old daughter had also been saved in Sunday school and she was scheduled to get baptized with me. The pressure was on and there was no way I could back out!

So the baptism happened and the joy I had felt at the beginning about being saved by Jesus was now lost under a huge weight.

Not only was the robe they made me wear to be baptized in heavy material that when wet made me feel as if I were coming out of the water with a couple of bags of rocks attached to my back.  But it added to the fact that I now felt weighed down with the overwhelming task I had in front of me to keep it together. I felt like a fake and knew I had to be good so as not disappoint God or anyone in the church.

After I was baptized I barely went church anymore. I felt like a huge failure and I eventually walked completely away from church.

The worst thing of all is that I also walked away from God. I felt like somehow I had been part of some crazy bate and switch scam and I decided that God wasn’t real.

I stayed that way many years but then I saw my father-in-law die and that was the day I met the real Jesus once again.

As my father-in-law took his last breath his face suddenly became peaceful, I can never begin to explain what happened, except that God let me see my father-in-law as he was entering his new home in heaven and the peace surrounding him felt as if it were surrounding me. There was this overwhelming feeling of peace and love and it felt like it was all put there just for me to grab hold of.  I remember going home that night with the loss of a loved one, yet I felt like I had gained something huge I knew at that moment that God was real and that He truly loved ME! Unconditionally.

I had been told by well-meaning Christians my whole life that I should go to church and somehow I had grasped on to the idea that if I didn’t go to church I wasn’t good enough for God.  I also thought I had to be good when just being who I was was good enough.

A hospital room at one of the darkest times of my life is where Jesus came and got me. For no other reason than because, He loved me… just as I was. There wasn’t a church building or baptism required to be a member of his family and the only strings attached were for me to believe in him and come into his arms.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Being saved by Jesus means that Jesus loves me so much that he gave up his life for me so I don’t have to be perfect.

The gift of Salvation is a God’s gift to ALL of us.

His gift is for any of us to take no matter who we are or where we are in life. It doesn’t have to be opened in a church building and we don’t have to be a member of anything to receive it. Once we accept it we are part of the family and will live in Heaven with him one day

I did eventually find a church that I now call my church home and I did even get re-baptized when I felt led by Jesus to do it not because I was forced to do it.

I love Jesus and the family of believers he has placed in my life and it’s good to have those people in my life because they help make that connection to Him even stronger. We worship together and learn about him together. We even help lift each other up in our times of struggle. So a church family is a good thing to have.

I did not share this story to condemn any church or denomination,  I shared it because I have met up with several people now who have had this same experience as me. I want others who read this to know that no matter who you are or where you are at you can come to Jesus just because He loves you and wants YOU right where you are.

If you already have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation that is awesome! If you want to share it with others and you are attaching strings to it, please stop doing that!

‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’ John 3:17

 

How God Sent Me a Message in a Pile of Yuk

terrisiebert.com

Warning… This post is kind of weird and maybe a little yukky…

A couple of weeks ago I was standing at the bathroom sink brushing my teeth when suddenly I heard this gurgling noise coming from the toilet.

It didn’t sound like a good sound and as I lifted to lid to investigate I realized that I was correct. The water in the bowl was bubbling and rising quickly to the top.  I turned off the faucet at the sink but the toilet continued to bubble up. I ran for a plunger and began yelling for my husband to come help save the bathroom from what I knew was most likely going to be a flood.

We were able to save the bathroom but after a lot of effort to unclog it, my husband realized that it was not gonna happen so he was going to have to call a plumber. Later that day the plumber came and spent 2 hours at our house unclogging the pipes.

Fast forward to today….

I was standing at the sink brushing my teeth when….

You guessed it! REPEAT of two weeks ago happened again!

Seriously??   I have been brushing my teeth all my life and have never seen a sink cause a toilet to overflow!…and now this was 2 times in 2 weeks!

My Husband came to the rescue again

He tried everything AGAIN

Nothing worked AGAIN

He called the Plumber AGAIN

But this time the plumber’s magic plumbing tools didn’t work. After about 2 hours of slinging nasty water all over my bathroom and hallway, the plumber said he couldn’t fix it and said he was going to have to call his boss who I guess must be his plumber…???

BTW who do plumbers call when they need a plumber??

Later that day the boss plumber came with some fancy water-jet-blaster-truck which sprayed from the outside of the house in…Ya… this story just keeps getting messier and messier! By the time he was finished I had to declare the bathroom as a hazardous waste contamination area (just my sarcasm but it sure felt like it) and there was a lovely pile of what looked like brown paper mache’ all over the basement floor. Gag… barf…  😦

That may sound like the worst of it but nope… the worst news of all is that the boss plumber put a camera in our pipes to see if he could find the problem and it was a big one. We live in a very old house and the verdict is that the pipes in our house are so old that they have disintegrated in places causing nothing to be able to get through.

Ugh! This was really ‘crappy’ news. But the good news was that he was able to unclog pipes BUT unfortunately, it is only a matter of time until they are clogged again so we have to replace them ASAP.

Oddly during all this, my husband who is the one who usually gets upset about this sort of thing seemed really calm …. but me on the other hand, the one who is usually calm about this sort of thing, started worrying about all the what-ifs and the cost of fixing it.

The night of the clog I had a class at church and then the next day I had to work so my husband was the one who had to clean up most of the mess. While I was at work I kept thinking about the mess in the house and starting to self-doubt as to if we are doing the right thing by moving here… etc.. etc… etc…

I should have known I have nothing to worry about now here’s the good part of the story –

When I arrived home my husband met me outside with a huge grin on his face and said, “look at what I found while sweeping up in the basement?” Then he placed a silver ring in my hand.

I recognized it! This was my ring I had lost 7 years ago!

The story of the ring – The house we live in used to belong to my husband’s parents and not long before his mother passed away I lost my ring at her house. I thought I had lost it in the bathroom but I had searched every inch of it and never find it. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it must have dropped down the drain or into the toilet.  Now 7 years later my husband had found it in that mountain of yuk in the basement.

This may not sound like such a big deal to most people but to me, this is huge… and not like you would think. This is not an expensive ring but what was written on it was worth more to me than you can imagine.

It’s a twisted band and there is a message engraved on it. – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

My husband and I had prayed a whole lot about the move to this house before we did it.  We both knew that moving here was what God wanted us to do.  It has been a lot of work getting here but also at the same time it has been fun and very rewarding to see how things have been coming out. We’ve had a few unexpected problems along the way but each one has turned out great and we really love living here. This house has felt like home to both of us since the moment we moved in.

I know that this life we are living is God’s plan and sometimes its hard to see the outcome of his plan when you are right in the middle of it.  But now (thanks to the reminder) I remember that as long this is God’s plan it will turn out good… because God is really really good ❤

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

Music Monday – Breathe

Hi everyone!

Happy Monday and Happy Spring! Wow, can you believe it’s already Spring?! Since my winter of surgeries and recovery, it seems like the time has been flying by!

Now that I’ve healed I am out and about and doing things again that I hadn’t been able to enjoy in a while. A few weeks ago my husband and I went on a short hike and just the other day we spent some time down at the River which was fun and also very relaxing.

We also volunteered at a few Compassion events which are always fun but now even more fun because I can stand behind the table the whole night if needed!

Two of my grandsons are old enough now to play sports. They played basketball at the beginning of the year and now they’ve just started playing baseball. I absolutely love going to their games and watching them play!

Later today I am going shopping and taking my granddaughter to dance class. The cool thing about this is not only do I get to spend time with my amazing granddaughter but now I am also able to walk through stores and actually spend as much time as I want shopping instead hurrying to get out because it hurts to be there….though now that I think about it taking time in the store may not be such a good thing after all because more time spent in the store means more time to see things I probably don’t need and to spend more money I probably don’t need to spend 😀

Speaking of shopping, I remember when I used to hate long checkout lines!  Now I am finding myself standing in long lines doing a happy dance in my head and thanking God for the miracle of my wonderfully awesome and amazing new knees that I can stand on forever and ever and ever! It seems as if my whole perspective on the inconvenience of waiting has changed. I used to hate to wait in line because it hurt to stand but now when I have to wait it gives me time to relax and reflect on where I’ve been and to thank God for all he has done.

This past season of my life has shown me that sometimes even the hard stuff can be a gift and that slowing down and resting is important. Before arthritis wrecked my knees I used to feel like I had to jam pack something into every minute of every day. After being forced to slow down  I realize it’s more about the quality of what I do with the time I’ve been given and who I spend that time with that matters most. I’ve learned to say no, I’ve learned to get rid of those things that were not part of God’s plan and enjoy the things that are.

Today’s Music Monday song Breathe by Jonny Diaz is a good one and also a great reminder of taking some time each day to slow down, relax in God’s love, and just breathe.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Have a great week!
Terri Siebert

 

Artwork in the Sky

This past week I went on a cruise to the Bahamas.

Each day I was amazed several times a day by God’s amazing artwork in the sky.

Artwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.com

There is something really special about having a front row seat right out on the ocean with a panoramic view for miles and miles.Artwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.com So many colors… Artwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.com Artwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.com No two skies were alikeArtwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.com Artwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.com Artwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.com Artwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.com Artwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.com Artwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.comArtwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.comArtwork in the Sky - terrisiebert.com

The heavens declare the glory of God;  the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1

 

Baking Classes to Help Ericka Become a Chef – 12 Days of Giving Christmas Away

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Today was Christmas cookie baking day at my house.

I started with M & M Cookies.

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Then moved on to Peanut Blossoms.

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And then for the big finish and my favorite, Fudge.

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As I was baking I started thinking about my Compassion Sponsor child ‘Ericka’.  This past September I had the opportunity to visit Ericka in El Salvador.

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The Moment we Met… Ericka and Me

me and Ericka

Ericka and Me at the Water Park

ericka family

Heraldo our interpretor, Ericka’s Father Salvador, Me, Ericka, and her Teacher

One of the things Ericka shared with me me during our visit is that she wants to be a Chef when she grows up.

The very next day after visiting Ericka we visited a Compassion project in San Salvador that had a baking class.

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Children in Baking Class at a Compassion Project in San Salvador, El Salvador

In the baking class the children were learning how to cook, and that day they were making garlic bread loaves. We were all able to sample them and they were delicious!

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The kids really seemed to enjoy the class and shared with us what they were learning and they told us they wanted to be chefs when they grew up.

By being in Compassion’s sponsorship program they were able to be a part of this class and they were learning a very valuable skill that would not only help them at home to safely prepare meals, but also would help them in the future as a job skill they would be able to use for creating and selling food in the market.

This was something I didn’t realize was available to the children and when I saw this I realized that what Ericka had said the day before about wanting to be a chef someday was actually a possibility and it was something she could learn right in her Compassion project!

How exciting is that?!!

So that brings me to today’s Giving Christmas Away gift the gift of Baking Classes.

As you have just read, learning to cook can be very valuable gift for a child in poverty.

To give the gift of a Baking Class just click the picture below of the little girl in the apron and it will take you to the gifts page

es baking girl

She is one of the kids I met in the baking class in El Salvador, just look at that smile. She was one very joyful little girl 🙂

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

Terri Siebert

Other Posts in the ‘Twelve Days of Giving Christmas Away’ 

Day 1. A Very Special Music Monday –  Kickoff to Twelve Days of Giving Christmas Away

Day 2. Water of Life – 12 Days of Giving Christmas Away

Day 3. Giving Christmas Away ~ Feed  a Mother and Baby

Day 4. Twelve Days of Giving Christmas Away – Good Tidings of Great Joy and the Gift of the Bible

Day 5. Pigs Chickens and Goats

Day 6. No Time to Write Because I Want to Read a Book and Go to Sleep