Archive for September, 2012

{Joy Dare} 3 gifts shining:

~Dad’s Aunt Bonnie’s dress at her and Gene’s 50th Anniversary vow renewal ceremony and reception today

~the thank you gift packages on the table for each guest

~the chocolates in the thank you gift package

Everything looked so lovely today, so grateful to be able to attend.


The rest of my gifts from today:

~great breakfast

~hearing little feet running down the hallway outside our hotel room

~much needed time to study God’s Word

~Freddo saying telling me that my lost item…whatever it happens to be at the time…”is always the last place you look”…without fail, it makes me smile every time he says it.

~having the ability to read

~having a Bible of my own to read

~my great Uncle Raymond sharing stories about he and my grandparents as we waited for Gene and Bonnie to arrive, Uncle Raymond reminds me so much of my grandpa

~tears that fell today from those within our family that have lost loved ones this year…it has been a tough year for the Whitehead family, but we know God is faithful…especially in the midst of our pain

~My great Uncle Raymond giving his younger sister “marital advice” before the ceremony. When Gene and Bonnie got married 50 years ago, Uncle Raymond gave her away. Gene, Bonnie, Raymond and his wife Dorothy have had a strong relationship for so long. It is such a blessing to be able to see the love they share and the way that Gene and Bonnie have loved on and taken care of Uncle Raymond through the years!

~watching Uncle Gene endure with great valor, all this fuss for the sake of his wife and children. He is really a no frills guy, but he has a heart of gold and would do anything for those he loved!

~Freddo pointing out their hands and getting to snap this picture during the ceremony

~getting to see so many of my extended family on my dad’s side, our time was short with them, but the moments still precious

~my cousins that worked so hard to make their parent’s day a huge success, only I missed getting a shot of the muscle behind this day, their brother Ken, that drove Gene and Bonnie to the surprise party

~seeing so many beautiful trees really beginning to look like fall

~getting home in time to take 3 kiddos we love to Awana with us. The young man earned is backpack and book tonight, and the youngest girl will earn her bag and book next week, Lord willing…

~few minutes of conversation with a young lady that is dear to me, I love that she shares things from her life with me, such a sweetheart

~getting to work with three new children tonight in Awana, grateful for how hard they worked on their verse tonight, their smiles are the greatest gifts EVER!!

~Freddo getting two things from the mailbox tonight, a book he ordered and a “just because she loves him” gift from my momma

~getting home…so good to be here! We have had two great weekends the last two weeks, but we are grateful to be able to stay home for a while now


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{Joy Dare} Day 273

Choosing to be grateful for each moment within a day sure changes my perspective…sometimes it takes effort, but it is always worth it! Thank You,
God for:

~meeting a cancer survivor

~meeting a woman who lost her husband to cancer last January, there are so many stories of people hurting…if we will only stop to listen and encourage

~God helping me overcome my selfishness

~getting packed and the house picked up in record time

~Mom’s vehicle not having a “black hole” between her front seats

~pretzels and cheese

~fall looking trees along the highway

~laughing on the way to St. Louis and my momma and my hubby

~hearing that my dad has taken my mom to several art museums…who knew??

~seeing a person parachuting as we traveled…I sure would like to do that with my sons someday…maybe next year…

~laughing at seeing a dog in a seat belt in this jeep sitting at a stop light on a major road, thinking this was a normal ride for him

~driving by the newly remodeled DQ that my parents took me to when I was a little girl…you know the one where they always fed me the cherry until I was old enough to say in my little girl voice, “I don’t yike dose anymore.” I love the stories my parents have told me over and over so that it seems as though they are actual memories in my mind, even though I am too young to remember them myself.

~yummy pizza from Pogolino’s from downtown Festus/Crystal City…the place where my folks used to cruise the strip. They even used to eat at Pogolino’s…it has been around for a while, great pizza!

~hugs from family

~getting to see Deana for the first time in way too long 🙂

~Uncle Donnie inviting us down to see his awesome little fishing museum down stairs

~laughing as we sat around their table sharing moments…moments that pass so quickly that we could miss them, if we don’t stop to breath them in…taking in all the moments fully

~seeing my mom smile as she spent time with her brothers that are so quiet, as I watched the three of them I was reminded of the love I saw on their faces when they came for Dad’s celebration of life. Not sure those two guys will ever know what their presence meant to their sister on those days.

~mini fridge for the left over pizza for lunch tomorrow

~music for Momma to fall asleep by while I list my gifts


~rice crispy treat

~time with my mom, doing something that I know she is enjoying, even if it is hard…like staying in the hotel that we have always stay in while we are here, but this time without my daddy. I bit hard, but we are able to laugh a bit, cause he would want that!! Love you, Dad!

{Joy Dare} 3 gifts shelved:

~my Uncle Donnie’s (my mom’s older brother) fishing antiques, beautifully “shelved”, I might add

~My Uncle David’s (my mom’s younger brother) artistic talent, he had shelved it for years, but has been using it greatly over the last few years…check out his Harley Davidson painting. He has painted several different years of bikes.

~the opportunity for my cousin and me to talk one on one was shelved tonight. I have to be grateful to at least gotten to see her and visit a bit, even it wasn’t the kind of talk we wanted to have with each other. Even though we had to ‘shelve’ our one one one, we will take this off the self and get it done sometime soon, I pray!

I must say that spending this time with our family was priceless and I’m so glad we did!! Love to you, Deana!

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{Joy Dare} Day 272

God has been teaching me all throughout this year to take time to look for the gifts from Him in each day. Peace comes not in the gifts, but in the presence of God each day as I look for His gifts.


~hoodie that is soft inside

~how different days in the Joy Dare I do, challenge me to look up words and find their meanings, then search my day for ways that God brings those gifts to my sight, today may be a hard one. I’m excited to see what He shows me!

~our oldest, fireman son coming to spend the day with us, helping us as we “overhaul” the shop. Looking forward to him being here today and making us laugh, he is a great mood “lightener” (is that is a word…?).

~crockpot cauliflower soup with ham…yum!!

~reminders in my Bible study to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger”…painful, but great!

~seeing how God has changed the anger that used to spill over so easily in me…so grateful!! Things that used to really send me over the edge don’t seem as difficult now, but I know truthfully, that my kids are grown and the stress of life isn’t as intense on a day to day basis anymore and this helps me in regards to not responding in anger.

But I can truly see a change that God made inside my heart a few years ago. Something happened that God used to help me to realize that no matter what I do, things are going to happen that I cannot control. When I get angry in response to those kind of things, then I push away those around me that I love and I greatly damage my testimony…Christ would NEVER have acted in some of the ways that I have in the past. Which causes me to ponder…why am I here on this earth? Oh, yes, I know…to bring glory to God.

The verse that sticks in my mind after my time with God this morning is, “Man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” James 1:20. God’s work in my heart in regards to my anger is a huge blessing.

~seeing also that God will give me the strength to change in the other two areas of my study that I do not have a grasp on…being “quick to listen and slow to speak”. I’m so grateful for His unconditional love and His grace.

~our oldest son surprising us by stopping to pick up my momma, so she could spend the day with us

~hearing Mom laughing in the other room as that boy zerberts her, something he has done since he was little

~ a meal together the four of us, Freddo, Nath, Mom and me

~finding some of Dad’s old bottles as we cleaned out the shop, excited to find a way to use these in our home soon.

~getting much accomplished today

~Freddo calling to me from the other room, “Sheila, you gotta see this”, there he stands at the window looking out at the moon. I headed out to snap a picture of it, so full in the sky.


~blueberries and cool whip

{Joy Dare} 3 gifts shy:

~Mom’s dog, super shy, but she likes to come to our home

~stopping along the side of the road to pick up the stuff that flew out of the truck. It could have been embarrassing to have to pick up the trash that we were hauling, but instead God made me grateful to shyly (because of the cars coming) be able to clean up after ourselves, instead of leaving the mess behind, as the cars drove by.

~talking to a high school friend today about how her son is coming out of his shell this year. It made me smile to see her face as she talked of him and how he is doing now, as he has begun to shed that shyness…that does a momma’s heart good.

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{Joy Dare} Day 271

“Use me then, my Savior, for whatever purposes and in whatever way You may require. Here is my poor heart, an empty vessel; fill it with your grace.” D. L. Moody

God’s grace is an amazing gift, here is my list of God’s grace that He brought into my life today:

~Freddo getting home from work before I got up this morning and slipping into bed beside me, even if it was just for a little while before I had to get up

~being able to easily get pictures of our birthday boy’s birth and first year of life uploaded, technology can be a great thing, which meant no pictures for this post…

~not spilling my whole bottle of water on the floor

~cauliflower…lots of it…in all different stages

~being able to make up food for a few days

~getting my hair cut and highlighted…sure makes a girl feel younger…lol

~my Bible study asking me to go through all the years of my life and list the gifts…God has helped me learned to appreciate His gifts so much with this over this last year

~all the discussion at our Bible study tonight, great encouragement

~grocery store being open until 10 pm

~”And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”Acts 20:22-24

~hearing a guy singing “That Ol’ Egg Suckin’ Dog” on the TV, it reminded Freddo and me of the time that Dad taught Nathan that song when he was like 4. Let me just tell you that I didn’t understand what had been happening at my parent’s house, when Nath came home singing that song. Mom and Dad just laughed when I called to correct my father about what he was teaching our son…lol!

~making it all the way through Blane’s first Birthday spent away from us ever without being sad


{Joy Dare} a gift unexpected, uneven and unpopular:

~unexpected: Getting an email message when I got home tonight. I knew I was looking for a gift unexpected today, and was feeling a bit disappointed as we got home tonight (I hadn’t checked my email all day) as nothing unexpected had happened today. Then when I got home I checked my email for the first time today, I read the following message from my Aunt Julie about her daughter, Kristin:  “Kaylee Kathleen Marshall has arrived!!!! 6 lbs. 6 oz, 20.5 inches (she’s a little thing!). She showed up this morning, 5:25ish. Happy Birthday, Blane! Mama and baby are doing GOOD”. Not only did God show up with an unexpected gift, He gave me a very special one on Blane Robert’s birthday. Gotta say that I am pretty excited!! Now to just wait for her sister, Kim, to have her baby girl. Then both babies that we made quilts for will be here!!

~uneven: Mom providing the delicious baked Tilapia and me providing the two cauliflower dishes for our dinner together tonight, but our time together was the best part!!

~unpopular: my choice to try to give up artificial sweeteners

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The Day Blane Robert Was Born

Crazy as it seems, the baby of our family turns 19 today. Looking back it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was thinking I might never get pregnant, as we tried for a year. My goodness, what a tough year that was… I laugh as I think of the three of us, (Freddo, Nathan (5 yo) and myself) all standing in the bathroom waiting to see if the test was positive. We had waited and talked of this moment for quite some time.

I don’t recall much of the beginning of my pregnancy, but I am sure Freddo, my parents and my friend, Abbie, could share some stories due to the many low blood sugars I had, but I would probably prefer that they didn’t. Although I do recall the first time Blane moved. Nathan and I were in the recliner watching TV when I felt something, so I lifted my shirt and we could see some part of this baby growing inside of me move across my stomach. It was the coolest thing. I don’t know if it was his heel or an elbow, but the protrusion was obvious. I think feeling life moving inside of me was what I enjoyed most about both of my pregnancies.

During my last trimester I began to have trouble with my gallbladder. On several occasions I would begin throwing up due to my gallbladder, which in turn caused premature labor. Five times I had to go to the hospital so they could give me medicine to stop my labor. So I spent much of that last trimester not eating much and resting most of the time. Blane was an incredibly active baby…he often kept me awake due to his movements. I found myself frustrated and irritable that the doctor wanted me to rest so much, especially that last month. I wasn’t a very strong Christian then, as I had only come to know the Lord as my Savior 3 ½ years before this time, so my attitude toward this was not as it should have been.

On Sunday, the 26th of September, 1993, my gall bladder acted up, the vomiting started, and soon we found ourselves back in Labor and Delivery hooked up to an IV to stop the labor…again. Dr. Trammell came in on Monday morning (the 27th) and said he would probably send me home since my contractions had stopped. He left and came back to my room within a short amount of time and said he had it on my chart to induce me on Wednesday anyway, so he would break my water and let things progress.

He broke my water at about 10:30 am, and began Pitocin shortly after that. Blane’s heart rate dropped with each contraction. They inserted in internal monitor onto the top of his head, as the other monitor that went around my waist wasn’t picking up his heart rate well enough. Even with the internal monitor his heart rate kept dropping. So they backed off of the Pitocin. At 2:45 pm I felt the need to push. With three pushes he was out, but not without a struggle. The umbilical cord was around his neck twice and in a double figure eight knot. His collar bone was broken during delivery; since he was not breathing, the doctor had to get him out quickly. With each contraction his blood supply was shut off, thusly causing the trouble with the heart rate.

Dr. Trammell ended up leaving me sitting in the stirrups even before he finished with me to get Blane breathing. They had to use oxygen to get his skin to its normal color, since he was a bit blue. God had His hand in this all the way through and Blane Robert did great, with the exception of having low blood sugars and high bilirubin, which was so common in babies.

The nurse said, “Wow, you are so lucky he made it!!” In reality we KNEW that God protected him with my gallbladder issues that required me to be in bed for that last month and his quick delivery. Isn’t it just like God to use the thing I fussed about…being so sick during my pregnancy and having to be in bed, to keep that baby safe? And after his delivery I was able to thank God for that sickness.

It was a long and exhausting day, but our second child was here, safe and sound…with so much black hair. God had been so faithful through all of that, even when I didn’t even realize it.

A year or so later, I was listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast, as they were talking about babies that had died in utero due to complications with the cord being in a double figure eight knot and it being wrapped around the babies neck. I broke down and cried as I listened to those parents talk about their pain and loss. God had given me an incredible gift by allowing me to give birth to a healthy son, and yet, I had gone a full year and hadn’t even realized how blessed we were. From then on I reminded Blane regularly, “Son, God has a plan for you. Other babies in your situation died and for reasons unknown to us, He allowed you to live.”

We still don’t know all that God has in store for our youngest son. As the days pass, we see him grow in maturity and in his relationship with Christ, we are continually reminded that God isn’t finished with him. We keep praying that God will use him in mighty ways and that he will remain steadfast in the Lord, despite whatever may come his way. Happy Birthday, Blane Robert!!! We love you so much, and you will know we do, because we didn’t name you Duane Blane, like your brother wanted us too, lol!!

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I remember when Dad was sick and I began to work through the reality of him dying, I became very fearful that I would forget things about him. What if I forget his smile…or his laugh, a laugh so loud and his voice deep…so deep it scared our sons when they were babies.

What if I forgot how he always patted my back rhythmically when we hugged, holding me close with one hand, patting me with the other…in a way that says, without words, that all is going to be okay…in a way that only a Daddy could say it. What if I forget the way his eyes sparkled? Or the way he loved to talk to people that he didn’t even know in the line at a store, any store. What about how he could tell a joke and enjoy it completely, even if no one else laughed?

What if I forgot that his favorite food for the last few years was ice cream, tater tots and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches…or the way he held Mom when she was sad, or how we had to tuck him in bed and get his mask on? Oh, how I could go on and on, and someday I may need to, but for now, I am comforted knowing that I am not going to forget, cause my memories are vivid and my love for this great and imperfect man is strong.

I would have to say that the hardest part of this grief process is fearing that I will forget all the little things about my dad, the things that make me smile and feel warm and fuzzy, but the best part of all of this is that we are blessed with an incredible amount of memories that spanned 70 years, and honestly, I just don’t think I will forget. So when the fearful thoughts come, God reminds me that I do not have to be afraid, I just need to trust Him.

God blessed me so greatly today, these are the things that I found within this day to give Him thanks for:

~joy in my heart as I consider the opportunities ahead in my day

~excitement as I took simple gifts of bread to bless others

~hug and a smile from my friend, loved seeing her face as I walked down the hallway to greet her

~sweet little smile and a big hug from a little kindergartener that was surprised to see me this morning, so glad to get a chance to see her

~getting a package sent to that college son who has a few tests on the horizon

~being able to do a few things to bless my momma this morning

~spending time studying my Bible at my parent’s table this morning, door open, breeze blowing, thanksgiving decorations displayed beautifully

~sharing lunch with Freddo’s Dad

~hearing him talk of things that are precious to him, his eyes brimming a bit with tears throughout our conversation, his tender heart sure is a blessing

~sweet potato fries shared with him, and he didn’t think he liked them too much

~texting a bit with my sister-in-law

~getting a phone call from a friend that had asked God to do something miraculous and hearing her testify to me that HE DID IT !!!! What a faith builder, so grateful to see how God is working in this situation and how my friend’s faith in God’s power encouraged my faith!

~talking with a friend on the way back to Centralia, hearing that her kiddos are feeling better

~seeing a friend in Centralia that I haven’t seen in a few weeks, so good to visit and share how God is working, even amidst the pain of life

~few bites of cinnamon bread

~appreciation of Freddo’s co-workers regarding the cinnamon rolls, laughing cause some of them think I may need to “practice a bit more” so I can perfect the rolls…and of course I should bring the rolls to them so they can see if I have “improved”…lol

~text from a young girl that wants to go to church with us

~that same little kindergarten girl hanging on my arm, really wanting to go to church with me tonight…Sunday, I promised her. That right there can just rip your heart out…

~laughing about how silly some of the girls at church can be

~a young lady raising her hand, signifying she wants to know how to be saved

~the privilege of telling her about Jesus

~hearing her asking God to forgive and save her

~seeing the smile on her face as she told others tonight about her decision to follow Christ

~getting a text from our young son, who has been praying for his friend, expressing how excited he is about her decision to accept Jesus as her Savior

~seeing how easy it is to be a blessing to others

{Joy Dare} 3 gifts flourishing:

~fall decorations going up all around at Mom’s house and other places too, even God is beginning to change the colors of the trees…I see this as a way for us to visually remind ourselves of the coming season of Thanksgiving, a time of offering God our thankfulness for all that He is and for all He has done

~my heart and my spiritual life as I study the book of James and seeing God answering prayers today in two HUGE ways…overwhelmed by His grace

~Mom’s grief share Bible study support group, they sure seem to be growing closer to each other and to God as they share in this time together

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{Joy Dare} Day 269

”Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

What a huge encouragement this verse is for Christians that are going through difficult times.

James tells us here that those who persevere under trial are blessed.

Dictionary.com defines persevere this way: to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.

Knowing this we understand that we must stand strong, stay focused, following God in the midst of the trial.

The second half of the verse defines how we will be blessed and gives us an indication that our reward won’t be on this earth. We see here that having an eternal perspective is vital to our ability to persevere under trials. Too often I expect to see the benefit of my perseverance now, right in the midst of whatever I am going through, but this verse tells me that I have to look forwardly.

The crown of life…stop and think of that…can you just imagine that? The crown of life…that is what I am going to gain if I persevere under trial. When I have an eternal perspective there is NOTHING better than to gain the crown of life.

The problem comes when I forget or lose that focus. Ann Voskamp calls this “spiritual amnesia” in her book “One Thousand Gifts“. Spiritual amnesia is when I forget what I know to be the truth and begin to act as I did before I learned that truth…reverting back to my old ways…kind of like my sinful “default setting”. So my challenge today is to persevere under each trial, because when I do I am blessed. And when I am approved, I will receive the crown of life…and honestly, what more could I hope for…?

Thanking the Lord for the following gifts in my day:

~Freddo finding the library book I misplaced

~Mom getting into the doctor, finding out that one of her ribs is broken, and getting help to get healed

~a spot of rain

~bread made for gifts



























~clear plastic wrap

~sink full of dirty dishes










~Freddo commenting on how the good house smelled when he came home

~a sweet husband that doesn’t mind to wash dirty dishes…love being in the kitchen with him

~Freddo bringing me not just one or two Kleenexes…he brought me three…I think he loves me. ♥

~appreciation from the cinnamon roll samplers



















~a friend finding an even better deal on a hotel that will better suit our needs

~learning how to better pray for a friend

~seeing a friend and her two kiddos this evening while we were in town, so grateful she stopped to say hello

~Freddo sitting by me on the loveseat

~being able to get the computer to charge, even if I have to remind it every now and then

~getting to talk with both of our grown sons today…that makes it a good day

~heel file…smooth heels…much needed

~”Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth and the rough places, a plain. And the glory of the LORD will appear, and all humanity together will see it.”  Isaiah 40:4-5


{Joy Dare} 3 gifts finished:

~several loaves of bread










~ cinnamon rolls










~getting caught up on my Bible study

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