Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Hero and the Holocaust

I recently met an amazing man named Aaron Elster. His childhood ended before he was ten. War was not a game for Aaron to play like my grandson plays today.War was reality. Fear and death surrounded him. The horrors of the Holocaust held him prisoner and stole everything he loved.

His face, however, softened as he shared a pre-war childhood memory. He remembers mother tucking him into bed with a warmed, down comforter for a safe night's sleep. I believe there was a time when Sweet Dreams took him on nightly adventures and returned him just in time for daybreak.

However, with just a blink of his eye, Aaron went back to a place a little boy could not imagine in his wildest dreams. The nightmares of the Holocaust were real and he was wide awake. He remembers many cold winter nights wearing only shorts, shirt and shoes. Hiding alone in the forest laying on a bed of leaves with a loaf of bread for his pillow. Confused to say the least, little Aaron was afraid to sleep. What if Death surprised him and took him away? He saw so much death but it never became his friend.

Later, he hid in an attic - never leaving his small, lice and mice infested world for two years. The tin plate roof on a hot summer day was like living in an oven.No air, just heat day after day. But oh, how refreshing was the heavenly choir of raindrops on that tin roof. He could join in song or.... just scream. No one could hear. It felt good to do something. To help keep his sanity, he often imagined being The Hero of his dreadful story called Survival.

If Aaron were a hero, maybe he could save his younger sister, Sara, from the gas chamber. Maybe his mother would open her arms for a hero's welcome home. Maybe he could single-handedly get the bad guys so the killings would stop. Well, his dream came true but not as he expected. His sister and father perished, his mother rejected him and the bad guys murdered six million Jews before the war's end. But Aaron is a hero to me.

I'm sure he doesn't feel like a hero when he lost everything. He may not even be a hero by today's standards of being talented, famous or rich. But he is a hero from a biblical definition of one who is couragous and breaks through barriers so that others can rise to their best, to their destiny.
Heroes are not the ones that never fail, but the ones who never give up. - Author unknown

Aaron never gave up.
Today, Aaron has the courage to tell his story. He breaks through the barrier of hate and leaves a path of hope.

Aaron is a vice-president of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, Illinois. Our young author through True Stories By Me: Holocaust Series was there to meet Mr. Elster for an interview and write his true story. He greeted us with a smile but it quickly faded as we entered the "dark" side of the building representing the decent into darkness - The Holocaust. History came alive as we reverently walked the hallways. History also broke my heart and made me cry.

I tried to see reflections of the past in Aaron's eyes but they were so dark, so full of pain. But we kept walking, listening and remembering. We eventually moved into the "light" wing of the museum where stories of survival, liberation and the birth of Israel could shine. Hope was always around the corner, we just didn't know which corner but Aaron knew because he already lived it.

Heroes like Aaron make the world a better place.Heroes like Aaron encourage and enable us today to take a stand; to ask questions; to always remember there is hope.
>>>"Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children, and your children's children." Dueteronomy 4:9

To learn more about this hero visit www.aaronelster.comClick to learn more about The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Vacation to No Where - 3rd Day

My FaceBook friends have been posting pics of their trips to Disney, Europe, Las Vegas. I decided a wanted a vacation too. This week I am on vacation.
The third one in 30 years! This is a picture outside my house. What a beautiful time of year for a vacation.

I am on a vacation to no where to do nothing.
Sounds good to me! Some people may even be jealous- SORRY!

This is my third day of spending as much time as I want in God's Word...I'm lovin' that!
He reminded me "Be still and know that I am God..."Psalm 46:10
Then, I put on a bright yellow sweatshirt that says Sannibel Island. A great buy at Salvation Army. It makes me feel warm all over - literally!

Those who vacation know housecleaning comes in while you are lounging by the pool. I don't know where Rick found this housekeeper but she is wonderful.
I'm sure she thinks our family lives like they depend on the maid to clean things up. But in less than an hour, the house was transformed like we are expecting company. I do hope someone stops by. I'm going to pay her $30 for all she did!

With my $30 I'm planning a shopping trip this week! I'm so excited.

Then I did something out of the ordinary. one was watching, so what?
I did the chicken dance.

What do you do when know one is watching on your vacations to no where?

Now, the rest of the day is blogging, answering emails and writing. I'm not writing my book like I had's something bigger and better. Actually, quite unbelievable. It won't even work unless God is in it.

...I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world -Psalm 46:10

Talk tomorrow!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dancing with the Stars

What dance style best describes you?
Slow Waltz * Cha-Cha-Cha * Jitterbug * Ballet * Disco * Square Dancing * Rumba * Swing * Texas Two Step

Whatever beat moves you, motivates you, describes you - it's purposed!
For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb. - Psalm 139:13

God planted passions and dreams in you that only YOU can fill. Only you hear the beat. Only you sense His stirring to dance to your dream. Are you moving to the music or sitting your dream out?

Life's disappointments can drown out the beat. Over time music fades. Dreams die. Maybe you find yourself doing the Hustle to Stayin' Alive by The Bee Gee's
If you are not dancing or just surviving, ask yourself two questions: What did I expect to happen? What longing did I need filled from that expectation?
We long to feel: Significant, Secure, Spiritual, Successful, and Intimate.
In the dance called LIFE we often look to a spouse, friend, child or even career to fulfill those longings that lead and expectations that follow. By doing that, we can be disapointed and lose hope.
Unrelenting disappointment leaves your heartsick; but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. - Proverbs 13:12 The Message/NIV

Life is more purposed when you are DANCING WITH THE STARS - God * Jesus * Holy Spirit
God-given longings are placed in us to connect with God. Let His longings lead.
Expectations will never disappoint us when they are in Jesus. Follow His steps.
Passions move us to the beat of the Holy Spirit. Dance to the music of your God-given dreams.
Remember the day God asked you to dance? You said YES! Don't stop now.
May you always be Dancing with the STARS & your dreams come true!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"PRAYER POWER" Blog Tour with Peter Lundell

Are you hungry for God? Do you have intimacy with God? You can determine your strengths and weaknesses at the end of each chapter in Prayer Power:30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God by Peter Lundell.

In the crazy world around us, our prayers may too often seem ineffective. Do you want to connect with God when you pray and receive more direct answers? PRAYER POWER is the tool you need to build a more powerful and dynamic life of prayer.

Intensely practical and straightforward, PRAYER POWER helps you improve on thirty essential facets of prayer such as passion, routine, fasting, praying with others, listening to God, handling distractions, and spiritual warfare. In each brief chapter you'll be inspired by stories of people whose lives of prayer give us powerful examples.

PRAYER POWER can be used as a month-long devotional, a prayer guide, or a reference for help in specific areas. Whether you're a new believer or think you've heard it all, this book's refreshing and honest insight will guide you to a deeper connection with God.

ASK THE AUTHOR - Peter Lundell
What are some of the things God has taught you about prayer over the years - especially from the perspective of your leadership roles?
It’s good to listen before I talk. If I always dive into prayer and never spend time listening, I only dump my own “give-me list” on God. But his word says in 1 John 5:14–15 that when I seek and pray according to his will, my prayer will be answered. So the key is to first get in sync with God.

We’ve got to have a hunger, or thirst, for God. Without hunger, no program or technique or anything we learn will go anywhere. But with hunger for God, we could know almost nothing and still have a great prayer life. Hunger is singularly important—which is why it’s the first chapter.

When I pray with faith and don’t get what I ask for, God will soon show me why. There is always something to learn in unanswered prayer.

What advice would you give to people who struggle with God when they pray?
True men and women of prayer will sometimes struggle in prayer, as did many figures in the Bible, like Jacob’s symbolic wrestling with the angel and Jesus’ wrestling over his fate in Gethsemane.

Like anyone else, I struggle with unanswered prayer or major decisions to do something by faith, when tragedy strikes, problems of injustice, and healings that take a lot longer than I’d like. The key is to keep struggling—don’t give up and too quickly assume something is God’s will before you know for sure. The angel commended Jacob for not giving up until he got a blessing. God the Father actually sent an angel to help Jesus wrestle in Gethsemane. Sometimes wrestling in prayer is God’s will for us.

Wrestling in prayer is actually a good thing. It draws us closer to God. And it changes us in the process. And that’s what most of us hope for

1. Establish a designated place to pray.
2. Set a designated time of day to pray.
3. Use written prayers or music to help get started.
4. Repent of the things that hinder your prayer.
5. Pray out loud--this clarifies thoughts.
6. Personalize Bible verses when you pray.
7. Let yourself get in a situation where you have to trust God.
8. Seek the Holy Spirit's leading--and listen.
9. Be bold and persistent.

YOU COULD WIN THIS PRAYER BASKET! Leave a comment for an opportunity to win this GRAND PRIZE.
Prayer Power by Peter Lundell
When God Turned off the Lights by Cecil Murphey (Cec is one of Peter's mentors)
Committed but Flawed by Cecil Murphey
Also includes: Prayer Journal, Pen, and Candle

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

When Someone You Love Has Cancer

A Treatment of Encouragement and Prognosis of Hope
Cancer. One of the deadliest words spoken in modern times. The disease and side effects of treatment break the hearts of onlookers, leaving caregivers and family members feeling helpless.

Bestselling author, Cecil Murphy cared for his wife, Shirley, as she fought cancer.
About the Book:

The World Health Organization reported that by the year 2010 cancer will be the number one killer worldwide. More than 12.4 million people in the world suffer from cancer. 7.6 million people are expected to die from some form of cancer. That's a lot of people, but the number of loved ones of cancer sufferers is far greater. What do they do when a special person in their life is diagnosed with this devastating disease?

Murphey brings his experiences as a loved one and many years of wisdom gained from being a pastor and hospital chaplain to his newest book When Someone You Love Has Cancer: Comfort and Encouragement for Caregivers and Loved Ones (Harvest House Publishers). His honest I've-been-there admissions and practical helps are combined with artist Michal Sparks' soothing watercolor paintings.

Readers of When Someone You Love Has Cancer will receive:

Inspiration to seek peace and understanding in their loved one's situation;
Help in learning the importance of active listening;
Guidance in exploring their own feelings of confusion and unrest;
Suggestions on how to handle anxiety and apprehension;
Honest answers to questions dealing with emotions, exhaustion, and helplessness;
Spirit-lifting thoughts for celebrating the gift of life in the midst of troubles.

Murphey explains why this is a much-needed book: "Most books about cancer address survivors. I want to speak to the mates, families, and friends who love those with cancer. I offer a number of simple, practical things people can do for those with cancer."

From the cover of this beautifully illustrated book to the closing remarks, he guides caregivers through a gentle question and answer session. Prayers for difficult situations are scattered throughout the book and personal illustrations from cancer caregivers help validate and encourage readers.

An Interview with Cecil Murphy, author of 90 Minutes in Heaven, by Kathy Carlton Willis
1. The first sentence of your book reads, "I felt helpless." Tell us about that feeling.

Because her doctor put Shirley into the high-risk category, I felt helpless. To me, helpless means hating the situation, wanting to make it better, but admitting there was nothing I could do for her.

2. On that same page you also write, "One thing we learned: God was with us and strengthened us through the many weeks of uncertainty and pain." How did you get from feeling helpless to that assurance?

Shirley and I sat down one day and I put my arm around her. "The only way I know how I can handle this," I said, "is to talk about it." Shirley knows that's my way of working through puzzling issues. "Let's consider every possibility." If her surgeon decided she did not have breast cancer, how would we react? We talked of our reaction if he said, "There is a tumor and it's obviously benign. Finally, I was able to say, with tears in my eyes, "How do we react if he says the cancer is advanced and you have only a short time to live?" By the time we talked answered that question, I was crying. Shirley had tears in her eyes, but remained quite calm. "I'm ready to go whenever God wants to take me," she said. She is too honest not to have meant those words. As I searched her face, I saw calmness and peace. I held her tightly and we prayed together. After that I felt calm. Since then, one of the first things I do when I awaken is to thank God that Shirley and I have at least one more day together.

3. When most people hear the word cancer applied to someone they love, they have strong emotional reactions. What are some of them? What was your reaction when your wife was diagnosed with breast cancer?

As a pastor, a volunteer chaplain, and a friend I've encountered virtually every emotional reaction. Some refuse to accept what they hear. Some go inward and are unable to talk. Others start making telephone calls to talk to friends.

Me? I went numb, absolutely numb. That was my old way of dealing with overwhelming emotions. I heard everything but I couldn't feel anything. It took me almost two weeks before I was able to feel--and to face the possibility that the person I loved most in the world might die.

4. "What can I do for my loved one with cancer?" That's a good question for us to ask ourselves. How can we be supportive and helpful?

Many think they need to do big things; they don't. Express your concern and your love.

Be available to talk when the other person needs it--and be even more willing to be silent if your loved one doesn't want to talk. Don't ask what you can do; do what you see needs doing. To express loving support in your own way (and we all express love differently) is the best gift you can offer.

5. Why do you urge people not to say, "I know exactly how you feel"?

No one knows how you feel. They may remember how they felt at a certain time. Even if they did know, what help is that to the person with cancer? It's like saying, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself. I know what it's like and I'm fine now."
Instead, focus on how the loved one feels. Let him or her tell you.

6. Those with cancer suffer physically and spiritually. You mention God's silence as a form of spiritual suffering. They pray and don't seem to sense God. What can you do to help them?

God is sometimes silent but that doesn't mean God is absent. In my upcoming book, When God Turns off the Lights, I tell what it was like for me when God stopped communicating for about 18 months.

I didn't like it and I was angry. I didn't doubt God's existence, but I didn't understand the silence. I read Psalms and Lamentations in various translations. I prayed and I did everything I could, but nothing changed.

After a couple of months, I realized that I needed to accept the situation and wait for God to turn on the lights again. Each day I quoted Psalm 13:1: "O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?" (NLT)

I learned many invaluable lessons about myself--and I could have learned them only in the darkness. When God turns off the lights (and the sounds) I finally realized that instead of God being angry, it was God's loving way to draw me closer.

7. Guilt troubles many friends and loved ones of caregivers because they feel they failed or didn't do enough. What can you say to help them?

We probably fail our loved ones in some ways. No one is perfect. If you feel that kind of guilt, I suggest 3 things:

(1) Tell the loved one and ask forgiveness.

(2) Talk to God and ask God to forgive you and give you strength not to repeat your failures.

(3) Forgive yourself. And one way to do that is to say, "At the time, I thought I did the right thing. I was wrong and I forgive myself."

8. Do you have some final words of wisdom for those giving care to a loved one with cancer?

Be available. You can't take away the cancer but you can alleviate the sense of aloneness. Don't ever try to explain the reason the person has cancer. We don't know the reason and even if we did, would it really help the other person?

Be careful about what you say. Too often visitors and friends speak from their own discomfort and forget about the pain of the one with cancer. Don't tell them about your cancer or other disease; don't tell them horror stories about others. Above all, don't give them false words of comfort. Be natural. Be yourself. Behave as loving as you can.

Visit for a special discount price of $9.34, retail 10.99

I WOULD LOVE TO SEE ONE OF MY READERS WIN A $300 GIFT BASKET thanks to Cec. It could be you! The winner will be chosen from the blog site on tour with the most comments. Do you know someone with cancer? Leave a comment of encouragement!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Don't Give Up

The door didn't open. One step at a time, I sensed God's leading toward an amazing ministry opportunity. Okay, it seemed impossible but with God all things are possible, right? “My qualifications and experience didn't fit” they said through the closed door. Well, if Moses applied for the job to lead Israelites out of Egypt, his qualifications and experience didn't fit either. But God lead and equipped Moses along the way. I believed God's leading took me to the door so my expectation was to walk through the door. The door didn't open.

Immediately, I felt the sting of fiery doubt, disappointment, defeat and discontentment darts.
I wanted to give up. Just quit. This faith-race is too hard.
Have you been there, done that?

If it wasn't for parakletos, I would have thrown in the towel. Para-what? A couple energy drinks? No, parakletos is a person. The One who comes along side during the last miles of the marathon and sets pace. He cheers his friend and warns him about dangers in the road. He reminds the runner of the finish line. Parakletos means “one called alongside to help.” Jesus sends the “Comforter” (parakletos) to guide us (John 16:12-13 NIV) during our faith-race. The Comforter eased my grief and gave me hope.

Faith makes things possible....not easy

My Comforter reminded me of all the blessings on the journey and those yet unseen. I did not let that closed door rob me of victory that is mine or steal joy along the journey.

Karen Whiting offers added refreshment in her latest article, Multiple Streams of Contentment. Read and rest. Don't give up.

Article link: Multiple Streams of Contentment by Karen Whiting


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What language do you speak...check out the video!

How many languages do you speak? I speak two fluently and one kinda-sorta.
My English is the goodest :)
The other language I speak fluently is Christianeze.

When I realized I was a sinner, I confessed my sins and was born again, Jesus Christ became my Savior. I have a burden for other sinners and pray they repent and receive salvation to live eternally with Jesus.
TRANSLATION: I needed rescued and Jesus Christ was my Rescuer. Anyone who has ever done anything wrong, like me, needs rescued too. Just talk to God, tell him you are sorry and He will forgive you and give you life forever with Him.

While I am so grateful for a changed life, it wasn't those who talked Christianeze that helped me see the was all God!

This brief video below is funny but true! Check it out...

SundaySchoolThoughts: A Salute to Mr. Christianeze Speaking Person

Asta la vista!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Snacktime. One glass of cold milk to share. Two Double Stuf Oreos. One for my grandson and one for me. At 20 months, he knew what part to eat first - the middle!
Did someone teach him that or is it just natural to go for the good stuff first?
My attempt to teach him how to eat an Oreo slowly, didn't work. He wanted the good stuff now and wanted it all all over his face! With a chocolate cookie in each hand, he strutted to the waste basket and threw the rest of the cookie away. All done.

I think that describes... me. I go for the good Stuf in life first, want it all, want it now. And when I get it, do I even slow down to enjoy it? What about the other part, the not so appealing part? Do I just waste it?

What is the good, fluffy Stuf in life anyway?
A beautiful spring day (I'm too busy to enjoy).
A long hug from my husband (I cut short because clothes need folded).
A favor for a friend....(that took more time than I wanted to give).

Looks like I need to slow down. Enjoy the good moments! Make them last longer.
What about the rest...the hard part that just isn't as good without the creamy middle.
More month than money.
Rebellious children.
Everything breaking once.

That's the hard stuff. We wish we could throw it away and not deal with it, but the truth's part of the whole package.
God uses the hard part of life to make the double portion of good STUF taste even better.

When snack time rolls around again, I'm going to eat the outside of my Oreo first and take time to enjoy the good Stuf. Wanna stop by for milk and cookies?

Taste and see that the Lord is good....Psalm 34:8 NIV

Saturday, March 7, 2009


My husband and I just watched the newly released movie Australia. It starred Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. The romance, humor and action touched my heart but not as much as SIX SIMPLE WORDS spoken throughout the film....
Now, to explain the story you will need to email me. I will forward you my March 2009 free Heartprint of H.O.P.E. newsletter which unfolds the meaning of those words.

It reminds me of what Jesus did for me on the cross...
When I heard his love song in my heart, I ran into his wide open arms.

Listen...what do you hear?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Send a RED Envelope to the Whitehouse!

One ordinary mom with one EXTRA ORDINARY IDEA...

Here's what you can do if you are one of the millions who were pained when President Obama signed executive orders to release funds for abortions.
1) Get an empty red envelope.

2) Address the front to:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

3) On the back write a message like:
This envelope represents one child who died n abortion. It's empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world.

This represents a heart that stopped beating today because of abortion.

Put it in the mail today and pray that 50 million red envelopes will change the hearts in Washington, D.C.

This is not my idea...sharing it from an email I received.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lori's Top Pick From Hallmark Cards
That beat my heart skipped...
that breath I didn't know I was holding...
that vision I didn't know I was looking for...
That was you.
You make my world a better place...
you have touched my heart
and made it yours.
To receive Heartprint of H.O.P.E. February Newsletter email

1) Relive your first date. Return to the high school and hold hands. Celebrate at that special restaurant or just reminisce by candlelight.
2) Make an appointment for the two of you to get your photo professionally taken.
3) Make a list of top 10 reasons why you love him/her.
4) Leave love notes all over the house!
5) Attention Men! Buy a bottle of wine or non-alcoholic sparkling juice and offer a toast to her and share what you love about her.
Now share your favorite Valentine idea...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shock your man, just in time for Valentine's Day...and let me know what happens!

Does your man deserve the shock treatment? Maybe he does, maybe he doesn' it anyway.

Author Nancy C. Anderson shares three ways she makes her husband feel like a V.I.P.

Respect him verbally, intellectually and physically.

Cut out complaining and add compliments. "Compliments are like magnets," writes Anderson,"the more you compliment your husband the more he will be attracted to you."
Verbally compliment your husband once a day.

Men are fixers. Appeal to his intelligence. Ask him to help you fix a problem. "Honey, can you figure out a storage system for your tools in the garage?" Translation "Your tools are all over the place, clean it up."
Show them the facts, not your feelings!

Ask you husband what his top three needs are.Do it! When his needs are met, he will become more content. If you roll your eyes or mock his needs, you are wasting your time...he won't respond positively to your efforts.

One last bit of advice:
Don't do the shock treatment expecting him to change, you set yourself up for anger and disappointment. Put expectations on yourself like
I desire to be the best wife I can be
I desire to honor and show respect to God through respecting my husband.
As you change, he will change.

Use the V.I.P. shock treatment and let me know how it goes. I'll be reporting in too!

Visit Heartprints of H.O.P.E. online discount store for a great price on "Love & Respect" by Emerson Eggerich.