Monday, April 29, 2013

Have You Read This?

Friendships Live on in My Heart

Submitted by Courtney Winkler

A Mother's Prayer: Yes to the Big Ones

Non, Nein, Nyet.
I know how to say it in other languages, Lord,
why can’t I say it in English?

The teacher asked me to assist with computers
on the one afternoon I had reserved for myself.
I hear myself saying, “Yes, I’ll be there.”

The Bible Study Coordinator called and said
they were in a pinch. Could I teach this year?
Every week. 34 weeks. Sure. Why not?

The Brownie leader stopped by and introduced herself.
Any chance I could help at the meetings?
No problem,” I chirped. “I’d be happy to.”

Who wants to be in charge of soccer pictures?
I look around. No hands are raised.
It can’t take much time,” I thought. “I’ll do it.”

The Food Pantry called. They need volunteers.
You told us to feed the hungry, didn’t You?
Of course. I can do that. When do you need me?

But somewhere along the line, I learned to
say it, Lord. I heard myself saying “No.”
My daughter asked, “Can you read to me?”
No, not now. I’m working on my lesson.”

My son limped in from football practice. “How
about a back rub, Mom?”
Sorry, honey, I have to get to a meeting.”

My husband called home from work.
Can you meet me for lunch?”
Afraid not, dear. I have to work at the school.”

And You whispered in my ear, Lord, and
asked me to spend some time with You.
I can’t. I’m really busy,” I said. “How about next
week? Maybe I’ll be caught up by then.”
Yes and no. Little words. Big implications.
Give me the wisdom I need to say no to the
little things so I can say yes to the big ones.

And, yes, Lord, that means You.
In Whose Name, I Pray, Amen

Sue Busler

A Mother's Prayer: Lord, the Real Coach

Lord, I praise you for youth sports,

For the excitement of getting that first uniform.

A t-shirt with his name and a bright yellow, too big hat,

Too big for his head, but not for rocks and flowers and already chewed gum.

Thank you for the joy of finding that his friend is on the team.

Which means a mother for me to talk to in the stands.

And thanks for the smiles when the ball goes in the net, and I am watching,

Or the healthy snacks that turn out to be a can of Coke and a Twinkie.

Lord, forgive me when I grumble about Saturday morning games, and rain delays.

When I complain about fields across town, and being two places at once.

When I groan at the prospect of slicing a dozen oranges for halftime,

And sigh at the pile of sweaty uniforms by the washer and the mud-caked cleats by the door.

Don’t let me forget that image of him kneeling in the outfield, picking dandelions,

Or that ear-to-ear grin when he received that first plastic trophy.

Etch on my heart forever the sight of that big glove on the wrong hand,

And the high-pitched sound of little ball players “chattering” in the field.

But, Lord, if it’s possible, take away that picture of my son sitting on the bench,

Eager and bright, waiting for the coach to call him into the game.

And later in the contest, the same young man, slumped and defeated,

Still on the bench as the buzzer sounds and the cheers go up.

Oh, wipe away his hurt and my hurt, it wasn’t supposed to be this way.

These are just youth sports, aren’t they? When did the rules change?

Help me to find the words to convince him of his worth,

To encourage him, and assure him, and love him.

And forgive me, Lord, for my anger, product of a child’s broken heart.

For my envy and petty jealousy, my bitterness and my spite.

Help me, in renewed wholeness, to depend on You, the real coach,

The One who leads us to victory in this difficult game of life. Amen.

Sue Busler

There's Nothing Like a Mother's Love, Except God's Love!

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” - John 15:9-14 

Something happens the day your baby is put in your arms for the first time. It may be a matter of simple logistics. Since your hands are full of new life, you’ve got to let go of some other things, including your self-centeredness. That is, in the new family galaxy, the baby assumes your role in the center, and all of a sudden you find your life revolving around his or her or their needs. It’s been thirty-one years since that first baby came on the scene in our home, and I’m still in orbit.
You see, almost overnight, children seem to teach us the basics of agape-like love. Sometime between the baby’s very first 3 AM feeding and the day that shriveled umbilical stump falls off, we find ourselves consumed by a love that is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. It is unconditional, it is intentional, and it is sacrificial; it virtually overflows from a boundless source in the center of our hearts. We would do anything, or so it would seem, for that infant so fearfully and wonderfully crafted in the image of God . . . a masterpiece bearing His very fingerprints.
Our infinite love for our child plays out in ways large and small, trivial and magnanimous. When it comes to food, we mothers always eat the smallest, most bruised, most burned, ugliest piece of whatever it is, don’t we? We make taxi runs ‘round the clock even when our hormones are staging an uprising, we’re recovering from the stomach flu, and it’s been snowing for the last two days. We delay the bathroom renovation we’ve been planning foreevvvver so we can pay for braces, or band instruments, or dance lessons or all of the above. We volunteer to help with the Scout sleepover even though our roots are showing, we have tickets to the Fabulous Fox, and we’ve got a yard sale in the morning. Without a moment’s hesitation, we would donate blood, or bone marrow, or our kidney to save our child. Some mothers would go even farther as evidenced by the following excerpt from Love Is a Costly Thing by Dick Hills:

            She was lying on the ground. In her arms she held a tiny baby girl. As I put a cooked sweet potato into her outstretched hand, I wondered if she would live until morning. Her strength was almost gone, but her tired eyes acknowledged my gift. The sweet potato could help so little -- but it was all I had.
Taking a bite she chewed it carefully. Then, placing her mouth over her baby's mouth, she forced the soft warm food into the tiny throat. Although the mother was starving, she used the entire potato to keep her baby alive. Exhausted from her effort, she dropped her head on the ground and closed her eyes. In a few minutes the baby was asleep. I later learned that during the night the mother's heart stopped, but her little girl lived.

Laying down one’s life for another!  Yes, as mothers, God blessed us with a passionate, deep-seated, unconditional, self-sacrificing love for our children. What a joy it is to yield to and wield that powerful gift, regardless of what it costs us in terms of time, money, sleep, elbow grease, or gray hair! A by-product of loving our children (and our husbands) in this way is that we learn to extend agape love to others as Christ commanded us in John 15. In time, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can love neighbors, even enemies, in a sacrificial way . . . putting them before ourselves!
Moms, we love because He first loved us. God loved us so much, as a matter of fact, that He “spared not His own Son” to love us, and teach us to love as He does.  May it be so! 

Sue Busler

Sunday, April 28, 2013

We Are a Homeschooling Family

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and your gates."  Deuteronomy 6:5-9

6 years ago, my oldest daughter was 4 years old.  She was very bright and very eager to learn.  I always thought that we would send our children to school.  I grew up in a very small school district, and it was a wonderful experience.  We currently live in the same school district that I went to, and I was excited about sending my children to the same school.  That was until it was time for kindergarten registration.  Something in me felt the urge to want to homeschool my children.  I had never really thought about it before.  Before I had children, I was an elementary school teacher for 5 years.  So, I knew that I was capable of doing it, but never had really given it a second thought.  Until that day 6 years ago. 
That day sparked something in me as a mom. I really wanted to be involved in the teaching of my children.  I wanted to help them grow and learn academically and spiritually at the level they were ready for.  I wanted to teach them life skills and "the facts of life" on my schedule, not the school district's.   I began looking through several curriculum companies that I was familiar with from having taught in a Christian school.  If I was going to homeschool my children, I wanted the curriculum to be firmly grounded in the word of God.  That was of extreme importance to me.  I began that year with a curriculum company I was familiar with.  It worked well for that kindergarten year, but the next year I felt the need to change.  Something just didn't work well for us, and so we tried another curriculum.  We plugged through that first grade year, but I knew this was not the curriculum for us.  Finally, in my daughter's second grade year, we discovered Bob Jones University curriculum.  And this scripture from Deuteronomy kept echoing in my head.  The thing I absolutely love about this curriculum is the word of God is infused into every subject.  It's wonderful.  A perfect fit for our family.

Since that day 6 years ago, we have added two more girls to our family.  We are just finishing up our 2012-2013 school year.  My oldest is finishing up 5th grade and my middle child with 1st grade.  In the fall, my youngest will start pre-kindergarten with me.  I really am so glad that I started homeschooling 6 years ago.  I love the flexibility of it.  My oldest is usually done with her school work in about 3 hours or so, and my middle child in about 1 1/2 hours.  If something happens and we need to be gone for a day or two, we can pack up our school work and take it with us.  We also start our school year before the schools in our area do, and thus we are finished before the schools are.  I also love it because I can challenge my girls in ways that they cannot be challenged in a classroom.  And the main reason I love homeschooling is because my girls are also getting a biblical education alongside their academic education.  As I said before, our curriculum is infused with scripture.  We are always looking up scripture to answer questions, make crafts to help us remember verses, and talking about what we are learning in God's word.  As the Deuteronomy scripture says, God's word is being impressed on my girls' hearts.  They are talking about it when we are at home, when we go for walks, when they go to bed and when they wake up.  We tie God's word on our hands and foreheads (often with glitter and/or stickers).  We write God's word and tape the girls' masterpieces to the door of our house.  We are a homeschooling family, and I am so glad that we are!

Lisa Powell

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Connect with Barb Buck

RUBY: How long have you attended Troy United Methodist Church?
Ever since we moved to Troy, back in the fall of 1998.

RUBY: What drew you to this church?
Family-friendly atmosphere where the Word of God is taught not only to adults, but to the youngest of children as well. We wanted to attend a church where there were lots of opportunities for our kids to be nurtured in their faith and to develop friendships with other Christian kids from their neighborhood and their school.

RUBY: Which service do you typically attend?
9:00 Service

RUBY: Share a favorite Bible verse and/or inspirational song, and why this is a favorite.
Favorite verse: 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 a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I have liked that verse for a long time because it speaks to God’s love for us and to the assurance that even when I might be discouraged or feel like I’ve lost my way, God knows the end of my story and has plans and promises beyond what I could ever fathom. I think this verse became even more significant to me after we adopted our daughter, because I am assured that even though she was born on the other side of the world into what many would call tragic circumstances, God had a plan and a promise for her life. I am blessed to be a small part of that story.

RUBY: Tell us about your involvement at Troy UMC and/or the community.
Over the years, I have been involved in the children’s ministry, been part of small groups and numerous classes, served on committees, hosted events and youth in our home, and sing as part of the 9:00 praise band.

RUBY: Tell us about your family.
I’ve been married to my husband Jordan for 22 years. We have four amazing kids, each with very distinct personalities and unique gifts. Andrew is 19 and in his first year of college. Claire just turned 16, and is a sophomore. Jackson, my third-grader, is 9. Ella just turned 7 and is in first grade. Quite an age span. Last year I had a senior in high school and a kindergartner. It gets pretty exciting around our house some days!

RUBY: Given that you had three children of your own, what led you to adopt another child?
I grew up in a family where taking in kids was something that my parents did quite often--kids who were in a bad situation for one reason or another and needed a place to feel safe and loved. Some stayed for a few days and others became a permanent part of the family. So I’ve always had a heart for adoption and thought that I would do that at some point in my life.

Several years and a few kids into our marriage, Jordan and I were particularly touched by words from Steven Curtis Chapman at a concert we attended. In sharing about his own family’s adoption journey, Steven shared his realization that God’s word tells us to “care for those in need… care for the least of these… care for orphans and widows,” not so that we can check off chores from our to-do list. Rather, they are invitations from the God who made us, who knows us so well, saying “if you want to know Me, then come where I said you’d find Me. Come to those who are the least of these…step out of your comfort zone and act in faith…be my hands and feet to the people that I created and I love.” He went on to say that it’s not just a story of adoption, but that it’s our story as Christians… the story of God’s grace. We were hopeless and helpless, and God came through space and time to find you and me, to take us into His heart, to adopt us into His family, to say that He will give us a hope and a future. He’ll give us a name, His name, and He’ll give us a love that not even death can take away.

A short time later, Jordan and I stepped out in faith and started the adoption process to add a new member to our family. At times, this journey has been a test of our faith, our patience and our notions of what it means to love unconditionally. Months later, we travelled to China to adopt our new daughter. We held Ella in our arms for the first time at the age of 13 months, appropriately, on Mother’s Day of 2007. Six years later, we can testify to the blessings that we have gained through this experience. Even though we have felt tested at many turns and have totally abandoned any foolish notion we had about having “parenthood” figured out, we are blessed beyond measure and can honestly say that our family was not complete until we brought that little girl home.

RUBY: What does being a mother mean to you?
That’s a big question. A mom is many things at different times and at different stages of their child’s life. At times a mom is nurturer, cook, teacher, disciplinarian, chauffeur, cheerleader, prayer warrior, role model, and the woman who loves their dad.

Author Lysa TerKeurst once said, as a mom, you can love your children, teach them, pass our faith along, and pray for them, but eventually you need to turn them over to God and trust Him enough to write their story—their own testimony. As someone who tends to want to control situations, I think that is a remarkable insight.

RUBY: What trait do you most admire in others?
I admire those who have traits of wisdom, patience and a gentle spirit, mainly because those are traits I do not possess, but wish I did!

RUBY: How may we contact you in order to make a further connection?
You can find me on Facebook, email me at or call my cell: 618-363-2847.

Friday, April 26, 2013

When Mama prays . . .

When Mama prays, I hear her voice so lilting and so light.
When Mama prays, I lay me down and drift off into night.
When Mama prays, I clasp my hands and bow my little head.
When Mama prays, we bless the meals and bless us into bed.
When Mama prays and asks the Lord to fold me in his arms.
When Mama prays it comforts me and keeps me far from harms.
When Mama prays me off to school, I know my day is right.
When Mama prays, “God guide the steps,” I know His strength and might.
When Mama prays me out the door and on my merry way,
When Mama prays, He sees the strife and keeps the cares at bay.

Beth Miramonti

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Artisan Mothers and Artisan Chicken

Do these words resonate with any other moms?

Making memories past and present

One person wearing many hats

Together now and forever

Helping, hosting parties, handling problems

Encouraging, explaining, educating, explaining, enforcing rules and more explaining

Running, repairing and rescuing

Solving mysteries (lost toys, lost keys, lost books, lost papers)

A recipe to share . . .

Artisan Chicken

4 oz cream cheese (microwave 15 seconds to soften

2/3 cup light mayonnaise

1/3 cup bleu cheese crumbles

3 T teriyaki sauce

1 T port wine

4 T bread crumbs

6 T chopped pecans

8 small chicken breasts

Add cream cheese, light mayonnaise, bleu cheese crumbles, teriyaki sauce and port wine to a bowl. Mix well with a spatula:

In pan lay:

8 pieces of chicken

spread cheese mix evenly over the chicken

sprinkle bread crumbs over each chicken

sprinkle pecans over the bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Enjoy, it is yummy.

I served it with rice and steamed broccoli.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Julie Ford

Have You Linked up to Women Living Well Ministries?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dannette's Devotional

Wisdom from Mothers around the World
by Dannette McKellar

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue . . .
 Her children arise and call her blessed . . ."
Proverbs 31:26, 28a

Mothers are full of wisdom. Whenever I brought a new boyfriend home, my mother told me, “He’s nice, but you can do better.” But when I brought Andy home, she said, “See, I always told you that you could do better!” Three decades later, I can say, “Mom, you were so wise.”

I learned much from my mother’s wisdom as I was growing up. More recently, I’ve learned from the wisdom of mothers around the world.

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
   and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you."
Isaiah 49:15

Years ago, I had a warped view of sponsor children’s parents: Either they didn’t love their children, or they weren’t good providers. Our first Compassion Sponsor Tour shattered that image as I learned truths about poverty and visited with two special mothers.

During child visit day at the zoo, we met Yefy’s mother, Rosa. We couldn’t understand their mother-son conversations. But it didn’t take an interpreter to see the depth of Rosa’s love as she watched Yefry scamper from exhibit to exhibit, and as she helped him read the interpretive signs. We shared lunch at Pollo Campero, Guatemala’s famous fast food chain. Toward the end of our meal, I noticed Rosa, quietly wrapping leftover chicken in a napkin. I offered her my extra piece, which she gratefully accepted and stuffed into her purse with the others. I don’t know if Rosa wanted her family to share in Yefry’s special day or if she was providing for their basic needs. Either way, I sensed tremendous love in her actions.

On a different day, we visited homes of sponsored children. Oscar Emmanuel and Anna Maria led us along a narrow alleyway, zigzagging between tiny homes, crammed together. When we arrived at their dingy two-room home, their mother, Maria, welcomed us. Two beds, a dresser, and a small table filled their living area. The ceiling was a blue plastic tarp. Across the tiny outdoor courtyard was a kitchen, too small for more than two people to stand on the dirt floor. Sun streamed through gaps in the wooden walls and roof. In that setting, Maria mother shared about her difficult life: Abandoned by her husband, she cared for her three children and ailing mother, earning what she could by sewing and doing laundry. But she was filled with hope: She dreamed that her children would finish school and become professionals, earning a good living.

Rosa and Maria taught me that mothers in poverty are similar to the mothers I know here at home. They love their children greatly, and have hopes and dreams for their children’s futures.

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in 
Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

In South India, we also came face-to-face with poverty.  At one home, we crouched to enter the small doorway.  With no furniture, our group of eight sat on the dirt floor, filling the one-room house.  Sunlight filtered through the open doorway, dimly lighting the unpainted walls, while ants fell from the thatched roof above our heads.  In those dismal surroundings, the mother shared about her difficult life and how Jesus had blessed her through Compassion.  In addition to helping her baby, she had learned candle making and how to write her name.  Now she could sign contracts and join with other women in a candle making business.  She had even started setting aside a little money for the future.

   “What would you like us to pray for?”  With so many obvious needs, her answer amazed us: "Please pray that life would stay so good for me and my family."  By our standards, her life didn’t seem “so good.”  But this mother wasn’t focused on material things.  She knew how life had been before the church had reached out in love, and before she and her family had experienced the hope that comes from Jesus Christ.  That hope changed the world for her and her family. 

 Her example taught me that hope is more valuable than material blessings and to be more grateful for all God has given me.

". . . yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior."
Habakkuk 3:18

". . . the joy of the LORD is your strength."
Nehemiah 8:10b
I’ve never met anyone like Lilian, our sponsored student in Uganda. Lilian squealed with delight as she pulled the toothbrushes and tube of Crest from the backpack of gifts we brought to her. It didn’t matter that her household included 11 people and we brought only five toothbrushes (“the boys can share this one and ...”). She was as joyfully grateful for the inexpensive, practical gifts as she was for the study Bible and silver cross necklace we gave her.

Lilian’s smile and enthusiasm were so contagious it seemed as if she didn’t have a care in the world. No one would guess that she was balancing her full-time university studies with the responsibilities of being head of her household. She had become a mother without family support when relatives rejected her and her younger siblings after their mother had died. Her family had grown with her sister’s babies and again when they took in street children with nowhere else to live.

We were thrilled to reconnect with Lilian through email a few months after she graduated from Compassion’s Leadership Development Program. Still, it was heartbreaking to read about her struggles to find employment and support her household, even going without food at times. But in the midst of her desperation, each email reflected hope. She recently wrote, “But now I know we just have a little time on earth, so if we focus on life-threatening issues, we are losing it all. Come on let us be happy.”

Lilian taught me that being joyful gives me strength when life gets difficult.

Beth Howard's Making Piece Book Club

Having read about Beth Howard's Making Piece last year in Midwest Living, I knew this was a memoir I wanted to read, one involving the trials and ultimate triumph of a forty-something widow, mother to Team Terrier, and pie baker.  At the time I read the article, the book hadn't been released yet, so the title ended up being lost in the pile of paperwork on my desk.  Strolling through the nonfiction aisles of the local library this past Sunday, this book cover jutting out from the shelf rang a bell.  Eureka!  I had found the book to pull me out of my reading slump.  Immediately I dived in and was finished in less than 24 hours.  Since the notion of pie plays such a prominent part in this memoir, I was thrilled to discover the addition of recipes in the back.  Bonus! 
For the purposes of book club, each book club member should shop the local Aldi (first introduced to the author in Germany by her husband) to retrieve ingredients for a pie recipe of her/his choosing from those offered in Making Piece.  I did just this today with my squirt and found everything I needed for "Lana Ross's Better-Than-Sex French Silk Pie"  (305).  Never having attempted a true homemade pie (minus the store-bought pie crust and instant pudding) before, I was looking forward to this bucket list item being wiped from the slate.  

I didn't think I overworked the dough . . .

Attempting not to overwork the dough as Howard repeated throughout during her pie-baking classes, I opted for use of the food processor instead of working the dough with my hands thinking a few pulses would be more efficient and more speedy since the thought of eating a "better-than-sex" pie couldn't wait.  Instead of allowing the crust to cool completely, I popped it into the fridge while mixing my thick, rich, 70% cacao filling.  Wasting no time, I spread the mixture onto the crust and immediately began whipping the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla.  I'd now like to say with all earnestness, "So long to store-bought whipped topping forever."
It's easy to make whipped cream.  Who knew?

In lieu of waiting the suggested four-hour cooling time, I dove right in.  

Complete with shredded dark chocolate.

Due to my sense of urgency, the filling was a little grainy since I hadn't allowed time for the butter to come to room temperature in order to cream properly with the sugar.  Who cares!  The crust was, perhaps, a tad tough.  Okay, it was tough as my squirt asked, "What is this hard stuff on the bottom?"  Yet, I ate it with glee knowing this was only my first, but definitely not my last attempt at homemade crust.  Next time I'll allot more time for proper recipe compliance.  What's nice to know, though, is that due to this inspirational read, Making Piece, there will be a next time. 

Courtney Winkler

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Daily Wisdom

Suppose someone should offer me a plateful of crumbs after I had eaten a T-bone steak.
    I would say, "No, thank you. I am already satisfied."
Christian, that is the secret - you can be so filled with the things of Christ,
    So enamored with the things of God that you do not have time for the sinful pleasures of the world.
~Billy Graham~

Submitted by Carol Pigg

Monday, April 22, 2013

RUBY Tuesday

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize.  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." 
                           - 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
 88-Year-Old Momma:  On the Treadmill Not Quite a Month after Stroke
Granddaughter Annabel celebrating an early victory in the long race!  Run to win the eternal crown!
Share how you, too, are running to attain the prize. . .
Sue Busler 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Momma Pigg

I am a mother.  However, it is another title that is just as important, for I am a MOMMA.  Momma Pigg to be exact.  How did I get that beloved name?  Read on.
About five years ago, I started a search for how to fill my empty nest once our son, Andy, left home to join the Navy.  Our daughter, Amanda, and son-in-law, Peter, have lived in Korea and Germany for several years now, which made another gap in our home. Many of you know me through Troy United Methodist Church for organizing “Treasure our Troops” at the holiday times for sending care boxes to those military members associated with our church.

"Mom Sandwich" Picture

Another "Mom Sandwich" Picture
But first, I was a Momma through Molly’s Adopt-a-Sailor.  I began writing letters to young men and women at our Navy boot camp, who were not receiving any mail from home.  My group of  12 Moms (isn’t 12 a familiar number?) had children leaving at regular intervals to join boot camp, and our hearts broke when we learned some of our finest were not receiving mail.  So we started letter campaigns.
As these young sailors then left on business trips, they wrote back to us about their shipmates who were not receiving any care packages, either.  Our hearts broke again.  And we started shipping love out once a month to groups we adopted through our networks.  Our first adoption was 250 people, and we worried we would not be able to stretch our group of then 50 Moms to cover them all with some love.  So, we asked our friends for help.  With God’s blessings, our mission to provide 250 international calling cards grew to 750 calling cards!  We knew our hearts were healing.

Throughout the past five years, we have sewn pillowcases, neck coolers and head wraps for troops.  We have sent warm scarves.  We have provided socks, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste.  We have sent peanut butter, nuts, beef jerky, and donated Girl Scout cookies and Boy Scout popcorn.  Our families have grown.  We have made emergency runs to the Dollar General Store with flat rate shipping boxes and address in hand to provide a birthday box to those whom we learned were ignored on their special days.  Our church has provided shipping money and gifts to keep our troops surrounded with love.
The emails and letters have been sporadic, but constantly I have been called Momma Pigg.  It is a name badge to wear with honor.  It is a testimony to the love of Christ that has blossomed to full bloom.  It has been on the lips of those whom have returned and needed to talk with someone about their newfound problems.  It has accompanied me to military funerals.  It is shared with our family without any jealousy. 
Momma.  What a sweet sound.  

Momma Pigg (a.k.a. Carol Pigg)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

May is the Month of the Mother

According to, the definition of "mother" is as follows . . .
1.  a female parent.
2.  (often initial capital letter) one's female parent.
3.  a mother-in-law, stepmother, or adoptive mother.
4.  a term of address for a female parent or a woman having or regarded as having the status, function, or authority of a female parent.
5.  a term of familiar address for an old or elderly woman.

In its verb form, the word "mother" comes to life.

verb (with an object) 
15.  to be the mother of; give origin or rise to.
16.  to acknowledge oneself the author of; assume as one's own.
17.  to care for or protect like a mother; act maternally toward.
verb (used without object)
18.  to perform the tasks or duties of a female parent; act maternally: a woman with a need to mother.

As women, the term "mother" affects us all whether through the fine examples set before us from our own mothers or our striving to be the mothers we always yearned for, whether through the mothering of our own children,  chosen children, or nurturing animals in our homes, whether through "mom sandwiches" or the sponsorship of children, we are mothers.  
Please check back with RUBY Magazine often as we celebrate the Month of the Mother with devotions, essays, interviews, and interest pieces devoted to the ideal of Mother.  A special printed issue will be distributed after each Mother's Day service- 8, 9, and 10:30 a.m.- on May 12, 2013 at Troy United Methodist Church.  Join us in worship and then share your copy of RUBY Magazine with someone.  For the goal of RUBY Magazine is to connect all women through Him.

Matthew 12:48-50 ESV

But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hear Bells?

Missouri Baptist Handbell Concert

Sun, April 14, 2013 7:00 PM
The Missouri Baptist University Handbells will be presenting a concert at Troy United Methodist Church on Sunday, April 14 at 7:00 pm. You won't want to miss this five-octave handbell choir utilizing the talents of approximately 12 to 13 students, who audition for the group at the beginning of the Fall semester.
The MBU Ringers have been organized as one of Missouri Baptists Premiere Performance Groups since 1997.  under the direction of Mrs. Cathy Benton, this group will inspire you through beautiful music. 

Ready to Try Something New? We Want YOU!

Find Your Place Now at TroyUMC

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Got Crayons?

It's a letter-writing, card-making, kid-drawing campaign.
Our MASH hospitals in Afghanistan, including the concussion unit, have a special request for our injured troopers in “the sandbox.”  They need your healthy happy kids to draw pictures, write short notes, or make cards.  These will be used to decorate their recovery areas before they are either shipped back to their working sites or sent to larger bases or home to recover.
Many troopers, sadly, may not hear from their families back home.  Sometimes because they are afraid of the unknown, sometimes because they are fortunate enough to recover quickly enough to be returned to work.  In either case, they need hand-drawn pictures on any kind of paper.  No glitter please as it can't be cleaned from surgical areas or recovery room floors.
Families can help, too.  Write fun, newsy letters about spring in Southwestern Illinois.  Write about planting a garden.  Write about the family pet.  Write about favorite meals you are cooking right now.  Write about opening up the BBQ for spring cooking.  Write about your favorite sports---for the kids and for major leagues.  Include a picture or two.  Make it fun.

These will go out April 20th.  Be sure and get your drawings and home news filled letters and notes to Carol Pigg.  Contact her at or (618) 972-9131 if you have any questions.
Got your crayons out yet? 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Just Paint It

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . .
                                                                           -Ephesians 5:25

The beginning of spring, a beautiful day, and the weekend- together these ingredients comprise the urgings of a home improvement project despite the grumblings of the hub.  This particular project called for bringing the outdoors (i.e. green, my favorite shade) inside via paint on the kitchen cabinets.  Now, I do enjoy hands-on projects especially when the means involves paint, spray paint that is . . .  
Yes, I thought to myself and aloud to the hub, let's speed the process up for this project and use spray paint on our cabinets (did I mention I like projects which don't require a great deal of time and work?).  Okay, we'll just skip over the hub's initial reaction, not an essential element of this telling.  What matters is that after some convincing, though, he was finally on board.  I think my justification of minimal work is what sold him this time around.

We prepped the area with painter's tape and cut a large piece of cardboard into manageable pieces to block paint spray from landing anywhere but on the surface in question, the cabinets (hey, this idea was a good one in theory, I thought).  For the drawers of the cabinets, we made use of manila folders which offered more flexibility for deflection of stray spray.
In lieu of tedious sanding, we opted for a chemical application of Easy Liquid Sander DeGlosser.  So far so good!
Thus, two fume-filled hours later, our kitchen rehab was complete. . .

Here the Big Guy is enjoying a sandwich to celebrate our success.
The good news is that the hub and I are still on speaking terms, I have the colorful kitchen of my dreams, and am actively seeking further pieces to paint. 
Folding metallic chairs in breast cancer awareness pink.
Now, I had better return to wiping all of the stray spray paint off of the floors, fridge, walls, drawers .
. .

Courtney Winkler