Friday, July 26, 2019

A Message of Hope from a Mother Whose Child Lives in Heaven




My dear friend Susan Rau remembered her son Ian on his birthday today. She and Ian taught me much about loving and trusting God. Susan writes:
"July 26 – A very, very special day – God blessed our family with Ian-Michial born with determination and a sensitive spirit. 

Close to his second birthday, our only son was diagnosed with a rare cancerous tumor entwined in his spinal cord. The prognosis was not good, and the cancer took his life 15 months later. As we watched our son struggle and fight for his life, we prayed that somehow, we could trade places with him; that we could take his cancer on ourselves so that he could live. 

That’s exactly what God did for us. 

He took our “cancer” - sin - and allowed His only son to die in our place. 
He so desires for us to spend eternity with Him that 
He willingly gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, to make a way for us to come to Him. 
Jesus defeated death and rose again so that we would be able to dwell eternally with Him in heaven;
 we have only to trust and follow Him. 

Although young, Ian understood this with his child-like faith and 
now lives in the presence of the Almighty Holy God.
 If Ian could send a message to each of us, it would be only two words, 

“Be there!” 

Be there before the throne of our great God and King, 
where He will wipe away every tear, 
where there will be no more death, or mourning, or pain. 

Will you be there? 

'For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only son, 
that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.' John 3:16"

Thank you, Susan, for your words from God's heart and Ian's heart to ours. I remember when Ian was dying, you wrote me a letter saying God gave you peace when He wrote

"The Lord will fight for you;
you need only to be still."
Exodus 14:14

Those words have calmed many a frantic heart. What joy knowing that whatever our battle, the Lord is fighting for us and He always wins! Hallelujah!

Without assurance of Heaven, there are no splashes of serenity,

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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Book Give-Away in Memory of George Green, the Man Who Inspired Me to Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo


George Green loved baseball, cars, helping people, and cancer. Yes. Cancer. Why? Because his greatest love was Jesus and cancer gave him opportunity to tell people about his Savior.

When cancer hit me hard, I remembered George, his words, and his attitude. I, too, decided to praise the Lord and see cancer as a gift and not a curse. Thank you, George. You changed my life.

I write about George in Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality. Enjoy this partial excerpt from my book:

"'I have a praise report! I have cancer!' George smiled wide as he announced his diagnosis to a group gathered for a Wednesday night of prayer.

'George! How is that a praise report?' The stunned assembly seemed to ask in unison.

'Can you imagine the people I'll meet and tell about Jesus? Doctors! Nurses! All kinds of medical staff! Why, I'm having chemotherapy every week with the same seven people in the same room. I'm going to tell all of them 'I know I'm going to Heaven. Do you? And they won't be able to leave because we're all having chemo.'

For George, cancer was a reason for thanksgiving. Telling people about Jesus was his passion. Cancer opened doors to share his faith with people he otherwise might never meet.

I would have loved being in the doctor's office when the oncologist tried to heal George, and George tried to heal the oncologist.

'George, this is serious. You are a sick man.'

'Doctor, if you don't know Jesus as your Savior, you are a lot sicker than I am!'

Remembering my God-loving friend, I determined — like George — to look at cancer as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. . . . 

I walked into the cancer center with joy in my step and a prayer in my heart.

Every six weeks I receive a five-hour infusion in a private room with one nurse — what an opportunity to make a friend I may have never met, except for cancer. On my first infusion day the nurse and I talked about Jesus. . . . 

'You must be tired of listening to me.' I smiled as the sedative kicked in. My eyes and tongue were heavy.

'Oh, no! I could listen to you all day.' She meant it. Without a hint of flattery or a nurse's bedside manners, she spoke with sincerity as the Holy Spirit worked in her heart.

Later, with a hop and I skip, I left the hospital thanking George for his example and God for allowing me to share Jesus and hope with a new friend. Exhilarated by all God did that day, I got into my car proclaiming, 'Well, praise the Lord and pass the chemo.'"

Ha! My next thought was Oh no! That sounds like a book title! And so was conceived Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality. 

George was so excited to see the book! He bought multiple copies and passed them along to any in need. I remember his grin and excitement seeing God use him through this story.

George died July 7, 2019 at the age of sixty-six. I'm sure his smile is a mile wide and I suspect he's already asked Jesus if he wants a copy of my book. Thank you, George, for impacting this world and my life for Christ. I miss you. I rejoice that you are in Heaven with Jesus, the One you love most.

In memory of George, 
I am giving away one free copy of Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo. 
If you would like to enter the give-away,
 please leave a comment of any kind,
 a prayer for his family, 
or a memory of how you remember George. 
I will choose a name from a bowl
 on Thursday night, July 25, 2019 at 9:00 p.m. 




"But I have raised you up for this very purpose, 
that I might show you My power and 
that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
Exodus 9:16

And the winner of
 Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo is . . . 


Thank you for remembering George 
with your sweet words.
Thank you to all who remembered 
George Green. 
He blessed me, 
I pray he blessed you too.


Splashes of Serenity from George to you, because George knows the Christian life is the only life filled with serenity,

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Do You Want To Write A Book? Start with a Writers' Conference


Have you ever thought of writing a book, but you don't know where to start?

 Has God given you a message to write or to speak? 

Is your manuscript finished and you are looking for a publisher?

 Would you like to improve your communication skills?

Would you like to meet writers who become your life-long prayer warriors and friends? 

Would you like to spend a week with me? (Don't answer that.)

Would you enjoy a week of laughter and good ole Pennsylvania cooking?

Have you dreamed of dwelling at the historic farm of R. A. Torrey?

I've got a place for you!

 Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA
July 14-19, 2019
See the website WWW.MONTROSEBIBLE.ORG 
for more information and registration


Montrose Writers Conference 
is where my writing career began.

In the early 2,000's God called me to write a book, but I didn't know how. At Montrose Christian Writers Conference I learned the writing/publishing business and with God's blessing my first book was published.


Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms

A year later came
Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives  

Four years later 
We All Married Idiots: 
Three Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage and Ten Things You Can 
was birthed in English, Spanish, and Bosnian.

A cancer diagnosis nudged me to write my new release
 Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality. 

The specialness of Montrose Christian Writers Conference came to light as my Montrose friends (or odd ducks, as we call each other) walked with me and prayed me through my hard diagnosis. I am forever grateful for the prayers and love received from the folks who became friends at Montrose Bible Conference. With joy I am living a full life in good health. Thank you, odd ducks. You are the best!

This summer I am excited to return to Montrose Christian Writers Conference as a workshop leader teaching:

"A Writer Speaks to Touch Hearts"
 Speaking/Writing do's and don'ts that help us become writers/speakers who connect with our audiences, lead listeners into the heart of God, and motivate people toward action for the glory of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit.  

"Our Most Essential Writing/Speaking Tool—A Pure Heart" 
 We can write great books and be articulate Bible scholars, but unless our audiences see Jesus in us, unless they see love in our lives, our words are resounding gongs. Let us examine our hearts for sin lurking within and keeping us from  becoming the writers/speakers God gifted us to be.

"Be My Guest"
 Being the guest on radio, television, or newspaper interviews takes more than just showing up. We must prepare.

A myriad of authors, editors, speakers, publishers, and agents will bless and challenge us to write for the generation to come so

"That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord." (Psalm 102:18).   

For more information please see WWW.MONTROSEBIBLE.ORG.

What started in a small town in Pennsylvania swelled to a world-wide ministry speaking in Russia, Bosnia, and across the USA. Who knew? Well, God did when He directed me to a sweet spot called Montrose Christian Writers Conference.  Is God directing you to write? If so, I hope to see you at Montrose!

Splashes of Serenity!
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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Beyond the Surface Conference on Finding, Keeping, Fixing Friendships




Tired of shallow relationships? 
Me too. 

Join me 
for a women's one-day conference 

June 22, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 
Trinity Alliance Church, 
1275 Spencerport Road, Rochester, NY 

   a
BEYOND THE SURFACE


Finding Friendships 

Keeping Friendships

Fixing Friendships

For reservations and more information please click t     https://www.facebook.com/events/861249397544552/

 What an opportunity for friendships to go beyond the surface. 
Dive in and make your reservation today! 
Bring your friends!!! 
Love you! 
See you there!

" . . . love one another deeply, from the heart"
(1 Peter 1:22)

 For the glory of God with lots of splashes of serenity!

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A Mother Smiles From Heaven as Her Prayers are Answered on Earth

I love Divine Appointments! Many years before I knew I would have leukemia, I met a young mom with terminal cancer. On a three-hour airplane ride she shared her prayers and her dreams for her children, as well as lessons God taught her on her cancer journey. I asked if I could write her story and she gave permission. I wrote

A Mother's Day Message from a Dying Mommy 
to All Mothers of the World 
 (see below) 

In 2018, years after Paige's death, my book Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality was published. Paige's wisdom deserved two chapters in my book.

Before the book was released,
I searched for Paige's children in hopes of sharing their mother's thoughts.  
 I found no contact information. 
Just the lovely picture of three special kids with sweet Paige.
    
Then, this winter I received an email from California.
"I am Paige's cousin. 
I googled Paige's name and found your blog." 

What a thrill for me and for the cousin. She connected me with Paige's parents who communicated  their appreciation of reading Paige's words. I sent Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo to Paige's cousin, parents, and best yet, to each one of Paige's children along with a personal note of hopes Paige had for each child. (not included in the blog or book).

 Isn't God amazing and good!

Paige is smiling from Heaven
as I see her prayers answered on earth.

I pray Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo is a blessing to her family as I thank God for nudging me to write about Paige. She is gone, but her words live on and will impact mothers this Mother's Day. For the glory of God!

Don't you just love Divine Appointments!

A Mother's Day Message from a Dying Mommy 
to All Mothers of the World

Paige E. Hilfer was born on December 18, 1967 and died on March 22, 2012 at the age of 44.

Her beauty stood out more than her baldness. We didn't speak, and I didn't stare, but I sat in the airport terminal and wrote in my writing pad: 

"A true beauty is one whose features are so fine that she retains her loveliness 
even when her hair is gone."

Sad. So young.

Nestled in my assigned airplane seat, I hoped whoever sat next to me was prepared to sleep for the next three hours for I had a manuscript to edit. Oh yes, I did have work to do. Work God prepared for me to do before I was ever born.

Sweet bald-headed beauty stopped at my row and slid into the seat next to me.  I was quick to keep my eyes on the papers scattered in front of me.

"Hi. My name is Paige. Are you writing a book?"

Now that's a sentence that grabs a writer's attention. We started talking.

She had cancer. 
Deadly. 
And three children. 
Lively.

Eager to talk, she shared how her life and her parenting changed when she learned she had little time to impact the lives of her children. I told her I would write her thoughts and share them with the world. So, here is Paige's bucket list in her own words:

Meaningful moments will replace materialism as the goal for the day.

Family celebrations will not be missed.

My children are no longer my world. 
Instead, 
I want to show the world to my children.

Teach my children that  life is about real people who need real people
 — not about video games and the latest toys.

My days of selfishness 
— of materialism — 
are gone and 
my life giving back has begun.

Show my children the hurting in the world 
so compassion grows in their hearts
 and they see 
the world consists of more than 
what they see on video games.

Grow my children to be kind instead of selfish.

Grow my children to care more about people than possessions.

Teach my children that they are on this earth to be angels — messengers from God.

My new friend shared  how cancer changed her heart.

 I was such a selfish person, 
then cancer  hit 
and the angels arrived.

Angels without wings 
showed up daily at my door.

Angels handed me their tickets 
when they realized I was sick 
and there was no seat for me on the airplane.

Angels surrounded me 
with weeks of prepared meals 
and child care.

Angels gave $20,000 
to help with my medical expenses.

She smiled and said, 
"And God placed an angel 
in the airplane seat beside me today."

I felt the same way. God gave me the honor of sitting beside an angel named Paige.

Cancer was a gift that changed her thinking from

Let's see how many toys I can accumulate
to
Let's see how many lives I can touch before I die.

I'm thankful she touched mine.

I promised her I would write this Mother's Day message from her to you. May it live  on in your heart and in the lives of your children.as you teach them their purpose on earth:

To be Angels.
Happy Mother's Day dear moms! Cherish your babies every second God gives you to hold them and to teach them that  God has them on earth to be an angel to someone today.

Please pray for Paige's family on this Mother's Day. May they somehow find this post and be comforted.  Pray for all children who miss their mommy today and every day. May God splash serenity and 10,000 angels on their lives. And the dear  moms who watch their children die. May this Mother's Day be a day of beauty and peace that can only come from You, dear God.

"For we are God's workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do." 
Ephesians 2:20

Be an angel to a hurting mom this Mother's Day,


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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Splashes of Serenity: A Tribute to Teachers Who Changed My Life

Splashes of Serenity: A Tribute to Teachers Who Changed My Life: Happy National Teacher's Week to all the incredible, self-sacrificing teachers who love their students, fight for them, pray for them,...











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A Tribute to Teachers Who Changed My Life


Happy National Teacher's Week to all the incredible, self-sacrificing teachers who love their students, fight for them, pray for them, never give up hope for them, cheer them on, and influence their lives for good. You make a difference, dear teachers. Your impact is huge in the lives of kids who hurt and are confused and lost in a world that bullies and calls them names instead of understanding and healing the pain.


To Mrs. Eastwood

my eleventh grade business teacher, I thank you. When my baby brother had cancer surgery and I burst into tears in the middle of your teaching, you didn't scold or chastise or appear angry. You came to my desk (having no idea why I was crying) and put your arms around me and comforted my pain. I couldn't stop crying and I couldn't stop believing that I was in big trouble for disrupting your class. But no, you understood and cared and cried with me when I told you about my brother. Thank you. I never forgot your love shown to me that hard day. For years after you stayed in contact asking me how my brother was doing. Thank you.


To Mrs. Harrod

my fifth and eighth grade teacher, your influence in my life made a page in my book Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality. Thank you for noticing that I couldn't see the chalk board. Thank you for calling my parents and suggesting I have an eye exam. Twenty/twenty vision opened up a new world to me. How glorious to stop struggling to see! Thank you for imprinting my life by starting each day with the class singing "I Would Be True." Nearly fifty years later, those words still ring in my heart — your legacy to me.

"I Would Be True"
by Howard Walter

I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare;

I would be friend of all — the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift;
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up and laugh, and love and lift.

I would be faithful through each passing moment;
I would be constantly in touch with God;
I would be strong to follow where He leads me;
I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod.

Wow! As I read those words, I wonder what impact they would have on today's students. The message stayed in my heart and remained true for a lifetime. Thank you for being the teacher who took a stand for good.

Teachers, you have a difficult job, but also the most important job in this country. Let no one tell you differently. You are impacting the next generation for good. Kudos to you this week and thank you! Be the teacher your students remember and include in their books fifty years later. 

"Train a child in the way he should go, 
and when he is old  he will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6)

May your school year be filled with Splashes of Serenity!
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