Thursday, November 29, 2007

Finally...Wedding Pictures!

It has been a whirlwind weekend including 2 funerals and the wedding, but I am home now and as promised - here are a few pictures from the wedding.

"Come On and Kiss de Girl" - To the music of the Little Mermaid, Tara and Justin share their commitment kiss. You can see a little of the dresses for the bridesmaids - she had 6 and her mom made every one of the girls dresses, including the bride's gown. They did all the decorating too - I really like the arch in the background at the church.

Here is a closeup of the happy couple.

My hubby's mom and dad were able to attend the wedding - Tara is their 4th grandchild to get married. Our 3 children are older hand have been married for5, 10 and 11 years already. (Now I am starting to feel old...LOL)

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's a Weekend Wedding!

There has never been a Thanksgiving wedding in our family to date, but this year there will be. Rather than tramping the highways and byways shopping on this holiday weekend, well be participating in our nieces wedding.

The wedding is turning out to be a real family affair - her mom made all the gowns - yep! - from bridesmaids to wedding gowns. The bride and her sister are doing all the decorating for the reception hall and as is their family tradition, they really go all out.

I made the invitations and am doing the programs and my son is doing the pictures. One of the brides aunts on her mom's side is doing the reception dinner - a full course turkey dinner. The bride even made her own cake and will have it professionally decorated by a friend who works in a bakery.

Tara has been planning her wedding for as long as I can remember - collecting wedding paraphernalia whenever it was on sale - buying silk Calla lilies and everything - long before she met her future husband. She has always known what she wanted and worked toward that end even though she didn't know when it would happen.

What a neat reminder to us as Christians. We should be constantly aware that someday our "Groom" will come for us and we should be storing up our treasures in heaven awaiting that day while we go about our daily lives here.

God bless you Tara and Justin as you tie the knot tomorrow. May God's hand rest on all you do for Him.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A God-Smile for you!

My sister-in-law sent me this wonderful God-smile that made my day so I wanted to share it with you.

Happy Thanksgiving

(Photographer unknown)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Walking It Off...

In "Other" Words

This week's quote is:

"The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life."

~ James L. Christensen ~

Forty years is a long time to wander in the wilderness. Yet God kept His people there for a reason. If they had entered into the Promised Land too soon, they would never have lost the slave mentality Egypt had bred into them for over 400 years.

Think about being a slave for a moment. Your life is totally controlled from the time you wake in the morning until you go to bed at night. Even if you don't like it, you must do as you are told or suffer harsh consequences, maybe even death. The things you are commanded to do may be dangerous, distasteful or frightening, but you have no choice, no will of your own. There is never time to put yourself first - to rest if you are tired or to "veg" if you are emotionally or mentally drained.

A bitterness settles in your heart. When you have time to think about it and if you have the energy left, you may feel anger and resentment toward your captors. You may begin to desire revenge or you may just give in to the hopelessness of your situation.

It's little wonder then, that God had to lead Israel around in the wilderness for 40 years to give them time to hear His voice. They needed to hear the words - "I love you. I will take care of you." They needed to see God's faithfulness as He stood by His Words by providing manna, preventing their clothes from wearing out, giving warmth by night, protection from the scorching desert sun in the day and victory over their enemies during the wilderness skirmishes.

God was building character and faith in His people, making them "great enough for life."

We all have our wilderness wanderings. For me it was a four year period where I was actively going through an emotional healing process to free me from the slavery of the "abuse" mentality. Through that time, I sensed His presence with me as I never have before and I knew He was saying to me, "I love you. I will take care of you."

Looking back, I can see how even though I struggled against the difficulties of the wilderness, it was necessary. He was working to make me "great enough for life." I still have my struggles and times when life isn't easy, but God has given me what I need to meet the difficulties - as well as the wisdom to know how to help others as they meet their trials.

It isn't so much my Christian faith that makes me "great enough for life." Rather it is the Christ I walk and talk with everyday Who has done it in me by His grace.


If you would like to join us today, simply blog about the quote on your site, then visit Allison at "Simple Christian Living" to read her take
on the quote and to leave your link along with the other participants.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's here!

It's finally here! Today is the birthday of a brand new e-zine called 4Him2U filled with lots of inspirational reading including columnns, devotionals and articles both fiction and nonfiction. Constance, the editor, several writing friends and I have worked hard to birth this dream.

I will have a regular column appearing in this e-zine called "Patches of Grace" which is located on the Quilts and Quills page.

Please stop by and check us out - sign up on the subscription page to receive updates on new articles and issues and leave a comment on the Mail page!

We'd love to hear your reaction!
Thanks for your support.

Bonnie Winters

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mother-In-Law Love

In "Other" Words

This week's quote is:

"Love is beautiful, but it is also terrible--terrible in its determination to allow nothing blemished or unworthy to remain in the beloved."

~ Hannah Hurnard ~

Dan and I have been married for 34 years, but I can still remember the words his mother said to me when I met her for the very first time.

We left Bible College for Christmas break, but after a few days, Dan called and asked if I would like to visit his home. He drove 4 hours to my house and 4 hours back to take me to meet his parents. We had just started dating, but were head over heels "in like" with each other.

Because it was a long trip, I bunked overnight with his younger sister who immediately wanted to know if I was going to marry her brother. I replied that I liked him a lot and might marry him if and when he asked me.

Never confide in an 11 year old! She must have gone straight to her mother with the juicy news. When Mom got me alone, she looked me straight in the eyes and said, "We don't believe in divorce!"

Ouch! I wanted to run the entire 200 miles back to my house and forget I ever knew Dan at that point because I was certain his mother hated me. I just knew I would never be good enough for her son.

Many years later as we launched our own children into the adult world, I understood my mother-in-law's heart. Her marriage had gone through some very rough places and she loved her son enough to want to spare him from those rough spots. In her loving but determined way, she came across as seeking a "perfect" wife for him.

As I watched my children choose their mates, I experienced that same kind of love - I wanted the very best for my kids too. I wasn't at all sure their lives would turn out happy with the mates they chose, but thankfully, they have so far.

God's heart is like that as well - He has chosen the church to be a bride for His Son, Jesus. We are to be a helpmeet for Him and to bring forth spiritual children in His image. But He has high expectations for His Son's bride - nothing short of perfection and to put it bluntly, we'll never measure up.

Of course, He doesn't leave us floundering to achieve this perfection on our own - we are totally incapable of doing it by ourselves. So He molds us and works with us day by day, week after week, to make us into the women He wants us to be - the women He created us to be.

He loves us so much, He will never stop until the bride is exactly right, a perfect gift for His Son; a helpmeet that complements His needs to the fullest. Though it hurts to be pushed and pulled, poked and prodded into shape, I am thankful for His "terrible" and determined love for it is that love which will ultimately make us partners with Christ, at long last one with the One who loves us.


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Don't forget to check Christian Women Online on Friday, November 16th to preview next week's quote and the host location.


Alzheimer's through God's eyes

All the staff at the rehab center loved her - even though she could not carry on an intelligent conversation with them or care for herself. Though her face was sunken, pale and wrinkled, the speech therapist insisted she must have been a beauty queen at one time because of the shape of her face and the youth it still held at 77 years of age.

Other staff members agreed, her gentle nature touched a chord in them. Her smile could light up a room, though in her advanced stage of Alzheimer's, it was a rare occurrence now.

As they shared their feelings for my mother, I stood amazed. Grief over her wasted condition had clouded my eyes to God's ability to shine through the life of one of His children, even though she was nearing her final breath.

He spoke to my heart as I listened to the staff's comments - "I will bring glory to Myself - even through this terrible devastating disease because I am God."

Alzheimer's - the disease that steals a person's memory, life and dignity by inches - even this terrible disease cannot prevent God's Spirit from shining through the life of His child.

To me, it was a powerful reminder that we are all ministers for Him - no matter what our physical, mental or emotional condition. His Spirit will always shine through our lives and touch others if we develop an attitude of openness and servanthood for Him.

My mother knew that. Growing up in the Mennonite heritage, she knew what it meant to care for and serve others. Though she worked full time to help Dad provide for my brother and I, she made sure we were well cared for and loved. Later, she faithfully cared for others in nursing homes, through their singing and volunteer ministry. She has never ceased to minister for Him in one way or another. And she instilled the same philosophy of servanthood in my heart as well.

For those who say, "I am too old, what can I do to serve the Lord?" I have an answer now.

He doesn't measure our worth or our service by what we can DO for Him. He measures it in who we ARE for Him. As long as we allow Him to shine through us in everything we do or in every stage of our lives, He will continue to use us for His honor and glory. All we have to do is BE the person He created us to be.

Thank you Jesus - Amen!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

His Love Colors My Life

In "Other" Words

This week's quote is:

"In our lives the darkest times, the days that are bleak and black, add depth to every other experience. Like the dark bits of color in a mosaic, they add the contrast and shadows that give beauty to the whole, but they are just a small part of the big picture."

~ Amy Grant~
Mosaic: Pieces of My Life so Far

For the past two weeks, God has been using the darker colors of sorrow and grief to bring beauty to my personal mosaic, so today’s quote is so apropos to my situation.

My aging mother is in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. Over the last two weeks, her health has deteriorated so much that we are being forced to make some difficult decisions including separating my parents. Dad wants to continue on at the Assisted Living facility while mom now needs more skilled nursing care. She is not eating and is refusing medication so we must decide whether to continue rehab or call in Hospice.

In the midst of all the difficulties of the last two weeks, I took time out to attend our denomination’s Women’s Conference. Though I was hurting and exhausted, I decided to go since I had already paid for it.

During the worship time, He lightened the muted colors of my sadness with the brilliance of His presence as He comforted, lifted, and encouraged. The dark colors of my grief were interspersed with shining reminders of my mother’s faith and memories of happier days, as well as gilt-edged reminders of what awaits her when her suffering ends.

Coming home from the conference, I realized though the dark colors are still a part of my mosaic right now, the oppressive heaviness of their muted tones is gone. They are only a part of the whole picture creating the necessary contrast to bring out the true beauty of His face.

When I look around and see those who don't know Him, I weep. This world is blinded to the knowledge of the beauty of His Light that comforts, lifts and encourages. Their suffering must be oppressive indeed. So in the midst of my sorrow, Lord, I stop and pray for those around me who don't know Your Light. May You be a beacon shining into their darkness, turning their hearts toward You.


If you would like to join us today, simply blog about the quote on your site, then visit "extravagant grace" to read her take on the quote and to leave your link along with the other participants.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pumpkin hugs

It's the little things the Lord does that helps me to know He will handle the bigger things in my life.

Well, actually, these blessings aren't so little - the pumpkins weigh over 10 pounds each. I'm not sure what they are called - I only know them as Amish-grown long-neck pumpkins. Ever since I tasted pies made with them 30 years ago, I look for them each fall, hoping to purchase a few. The neck of these pumpkins is solid - only the bulb on the end contains seeds. They are much easier to prepare than the traditional round orange pumpkins.

I found one a few weeks ago, which made my mouth water for more, but alas, there were none to be had here in our new home town. While traveling this week I spied a whole bin of them at a roadside stand, but because of time constraints and heavy hearts we weren't able to stop.

It was just a little thing - but God knew my heart. Saturday, some friends and I stopped at a farmer's market near Hershey, PA. I was so excited to see whole pallets of these pumpkins. They ranged in price from $4 to $10 for the really huge ones, so I picked out two in the $5 range. I would have purchased more, but my funds were low at the time.

When I reached the register, the woman totaled my purchase. "That will be $2."

Two dollars total? She went on to explain that it was the last day for the market to be open for this fall season so everything was marked down. I went back and picked out one more, glad for the opportunity to fill my freezer with the prelude to pie.

Not only did God supply my wants, He supplied them at a bargain price!

It was the end of a long emotionally draining week filled with hours of travel, waiting rooms and difficult family decisions. The pumpkins were truly a gift from God just to let me know He cared. His concern for the little things in my life bolstered my faith that He will take care of the big things. And He has.

With each bite of pie made from these blessings, I will remember to be thankful for His love and provision in all the areas of life. Thank you Lord for pumpkin hugs.