Saturday, June 29, 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

Daily Wisdom

I can hardly recollect a single plan of mine, of which I have not since seen reason to be satisfied,
That had it taken place in season and circumstance just as I proposed,
It would, humanly speaking, have proved my ruin;
Or at least it would have deprived me of the greater good the Lord had designed for me.
We judge of things by their present appearances, but the Lord sees them in their consequences.
If we could do so likewise we should be perfectly of His mind;
But as we cannot, it is an unspeakable mercy that He will manage for us,
Whether we are pleased with His management or not;
And it is spoken of as one of His heaviest judgments,
When He gives any person or people up to the way of their own hearts,
and to walk after their own counsels.

~John Newton~

Reminds me that to everything there is a season.  I had to read this one a few times for the wisdom of it to really sink in, but it is such a good one it is worth the extra reads. 
Submitted by Carol Pigg

Thursday, June 27, 2013

FREE Family Fun Fair

There is a great FREE "Family Fun Fair" taking place in Edwardsville City Park on July 17.  The YMCA partnered with other area non-profits to provide a morning of fun! 

Family Fun Fair

Submitted by Deb Ellis

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Missed Opportunity

Today I took my squirts and their friend, Miss E, to the park after Music and Drama Camp.  We were all in high spirits after their fun-filled learning experience and were looking forward to roller skating after a visit with "Porky Pig" and "Wilbur" (our names for the pigs) in the park.  After saying our "hellos" to the two pigs in question, we crossed the road so that the girls could play at the park for a few minutes before the skate center opened.  While they played, I sat on the bench next to someone's Big Gulp.  A few minutes later, a younger woman who had just been pushing her child on a swing sat next to me and drank from the Big Gulp.  We started chatting about the weather, etc., which, in turn, led to discussion of activities for the kiddos.  When she told me she'd like to take her three children to Splash City, but that it was too expensive, I told her about a summer reading program which had offered complimentary tickets for reader participants and their family members (I love FREE and am constantly on the hunt for FREE).  She then explained how she was a single, low-income mother.  This conversation led to the upcoming FREE Vacation Bible School offered at Troy UMC.   Usually having a RUBY Magazine card on me, much to my disappointment, this day my pockets were empty.  When it was time for the squirts and I to leave, I told her my name, and she told me hers.  I told her I'd hope to see her again at the park or VBS.  When I left, though, I felt as if I should have acted on her need . . . inviting her to join us skating and paying her and her kiddos' way, asking for her number, something, anything, but I didn't.  Sarah Kirkpatrick's article on TWIGS was resonating in my subconscious, but I failed to act.  The girls and I skated, and much to our sudoriferous glands pleasure, in a nonworking air-conditioned facility.  Due to this uncomfortable environment, we were given complimentary passes for a future visit to the skate center.  Thinking about the tickets in my hand, I am hopeful the next time we are at the park I run into this mother of three, pass on the FREE tickets, and not miss yet another opportunity.

Courtney Winkler

Rescue, the Best Kind!

Saw the best bumper sticker, but it was raining and I was driving.  So, no pix.  While it’s for adopting pets, how good it is to think about God’s love for us.

Bumper sticker read:
Rescue, the Best Kind!

God rescues us continually, to help us strive to be the best people for him.  Don’t you just love the image of God going to our man-made shelters, and picking us up to love unconditionally?  No matter how dirty, no matter how matted, no matter how smelly we may be, HE loves us.  HE rescues us.  He makes us a home in His kingdom!


Carol Pigg

Monday, June 24, 2013

Twigging Out

After going through a divorce six years ago, I had to learn how to navigate life as a single mom to a one-year-old; and since child support was sparse, but debt wasn’t, I had to learn how to do this as a broke single mom. I think most people find divorce financially devastating, going from a dual income to a single one, tackling debt, maybe selling a house, and I was no exception. I was blessed with a lot of love and support from family and friends and after a few years had pretty much recovered. In the intervening years, I was promoted in my job and my daughter, Grace, started school (what a world of difference it makes not paying for full-time child care!). I never wanted Grace to know of my stress or to feel like she didn’t have enough.

I’ve shielded her from my worries and struggles, giving her a joyful and happy childhood, but now I’m trying to figure out how to teach her that not everyone has what we have, that even when we had little, others had even less. Children in the world are hungry, and not just the ones she sees on the glossy brochures at our church. I want my daughter to know that families in our own community don’t always have enough to eat, let alone the dolls and other toys that she has. But I also want her to hold onto her innocence and optimism and believe in magic.

In May, I learned about the TWIGS program. The TWIGS program began in the summer of 2011, in Granite City, and seeks to provide free summer lunches for children of all ages who are at risk of not having a lunch during the summer months. You can learn more here. This summer TWIGS came to Edwardsville. Coordinated out of Emmanuel United Methodist Church, multiple area churches have provided volunteers to hand out lunches. This seemed like a great opportunity to give back in my community, and I could include my daughter.

Another girl her age from our church, Sloan, also came with her mom and both of them were eager to help. The first day, Sloan saw a girl from her class, and they gave her and her siblings lunches. After, Sloan said to her mom, “But she’s in my class?” And she and Grace hadn’t understood what the face of hunger could look like, that there were children they knew, children without enough. Both girls have a better understanding now and they also learned they can help and impact their community. They sit under the trees with the adults, listening to us chat about all of the wonderful people and businesses that have donated food and money to the TWIGS program, and I realized that beyond teaching her about the socio-economic diversity of our community, she has seen the goodness of people who can help and that she, too, can make a difference.

Sarah Kirkpatrick

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Faith Full

From Faith Full on Facebook

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." 
                                    - Proverbs 17:22, KJV Verse of the Day

Submitted by Carol Pigg

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Day with DaVinci

Reading through the newspaper, I discovered the DaVinci Machines II:  The Australian Exhibit, described as an "Interactive Exhibit for the Whole Family."  Sold!  
In preparation for our visit, I perused the Teacher's Guide online and found a Scavenger Hunt for the squirts to fill out while at the exhibit.  This increased their anticipation resulting in fussing over who was going to be able to hold the clipboard and who was going to hold the pen.  

After it was agreed we'd all take turns, the squirts and I loaded into the van and headed to Downtown St. Louis to explore.  Purchasing our tickets, I realized students and teachers were granted discounts.  Nice!  
We headed for the interactive exhibits located in a subdued candlelit background and began recording our findings.

We then headed for the children's area where we found Mona Lisas galore and were able to create our own unique version.

Breast Cancer Awareness Lisa
Muscles Lisa
Princess Lisa

Besides the Mona Lisa activity, visitors were also able to create a DaVinci parachute and attempt to assemble one of DaVinci's inventions, the Portable Bridge (the bain of my existence).

After many close, but failed attempts at building success, we rolled on the floor laughing deciding it was time to move on and allow someone else to experience our frustration.
Don't miss out on your chance to explore, too.  This exhibit has a limited engagement. 

Courtney Winkler

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy National Flip Flop Day!

On this first day of summer in 2013, peel off those socks and slip those toes right into some flip flops in celebration of National Flip Flop Day.  Throw caution to the wind today and ignore the latest research suggesting this style of footwear wreaks havoc on our arches.  Let those babies breathe!  

Quiz Time
Are you able to match these women blessing pigs to their rightful owners?  Use the Answer Choices below.

1.  Three Women Blessings Preparing for a Certain Someone's Graduation

2.  A Zombie Fan . . .
. . . and Her Squirt
3.  Pigs with a Bee-attitude!

4.  A Woman Blessing Flip Flop Top . . .
. . . with Shoes to Match

5.  A Woman Blessing with Sparkles on Her Toes
6.  A Fit Woman Blessing with a Faithful  Squirt

7.  A Teen Woman Blessing Who Lives Next Door
8.  A Woman Blessing Chick Who Knows How to Use a Stick

9.  Woman Blessing Pigs

10.  Pink Sock Toes Are the Way to Go
Answer Choices
A.  Beth M.
B.  Carol P.
C.  Melissa S.
D.  Jennifer Z.
E.  Courtney W.
F.  Cindy W.
G.  Geneva C., Carrie C., and Sarah C.
H.  Krystal R.
I.   Sarah B.
J.  Sue B.


Romans 10:15 ESV 

And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 

Isaiah 52:7 ESV 

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” 

Nahum 1:15 ESV

Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace! Keep your feasts, O Judah; fulfill your vows, for never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off. 

Psalm 119:105 ESV

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 

Ephesians 6:15 ESV

And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

How Satan Used Burned Chicken

Tonight was another game night.  We've had games every night this week between our two girls, so suppers have been quick so we could get out the door.  Tonight was no exception.  I had bought 10 lbs. of chicken leg quarters on a really good sale at our local grocery store and had thawed them during the day.  When my husband got home early from work, he offered to grill the chicken for me.  Great.  I had had a really long day with our 3-year-old, and I welcomed the chance to sit for a minute in blessed silence while he started supper.   He asked for help getting the chicken ready to put on the grill.  Again, no problem.  He took the chicken out to the grill, and we were good to go....or so we thought.  I just mention that we just got a new grill a couple of weeks ago and are still getting used to how to set the temperature, etc.  About 10 minutes after he had placed the chicken on the grill, my husband comes in the house and tells me that all of the chicken is ruined.  He turned all 3 burners on high, like he used to do with our old grill, and the temperature got up to 700 degrees inside the oven and totally burned all of the chicken.  I mean, total charcoal, no saving it, no nothing. 
And here's where Satan comes in.  We immediately start fighting about the chicken.  I mean fighting.  Screaming, yelling, blaming, you name it.  It wasn't pretty.  I'm not proud of it, just trying to be real people.  And we didn't let up.  Satan really got to me too.  I was thinking extremely negative thoughts about my husband.  Totally ludicrously stupid thoughts.  THAT'S how you know it's Satan!  When something like that pops into your head that you think later "Why would THAT even be there?"  It's probably Satan!  Satan had my husband and I really fighting this awful fight over BURNED CHICKEN!  We had let this happen.  Only much later could I look back and realize what had happened.  Did I really care about the dang chicken?  No way.  Was I frustrated that we had very little time to make anything else before the game sure, but it was not something we should have fought about.  But Satan knew that he could use burned chicken to get us to fight, to think thoughts about each other that no married couple should ever think.  OVER BURNED CHICKEN!

John 10:10 says "The thief (Satan) comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy." 
John 8:44 says "When he (Satan) lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Don't let Satan use petty things like BURNED CHICKEN to cause problems in your marriage.  I am going to try to be more aware of this the next time something like this pops up in our marriage because I'm sure it will.  But next time, I'm going to try to be ready to recognize what the cause of our problem is and refuse to let Satan get his way with our marriage. 

Lisa Powell

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Need Tunes for Cleaning the House?

Keeping calm and mellow?
Enjoying the morning?
Taking a sunny stroll?

Then, download the FREE app at Songza

Without any help from the hub or my thirteen-year-old neighbor (I only needed her help increasing the volume on my kindle), I was able to download this FREE app to not only my phone, but also my kindle.  Oh yeah!  Who's the techy now?  
As I'm sitting here typing this post, I'm listening to a mix of music designed specifically for cleaning house.  I may not clean house, but I can listen to music saying I do.

Courtney Winkler

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Show Us Your Pigs in a Flip Flop

Can You Guess Whose Pigs These Belong To?

In celebration of National Flip Flop Day on June 21, 2013, show us your pigs!  Display those bunions, corns, and callouses with pride.  Send your picture by Thursday to, and we'll post your picture this Friday.

Daily Wisdom

We don't always need to know where we are going as long as we know WHOM we are following.
Even when we wind up in strange places or unusual circumstances, the Father IS NOT caught by surprise.

~Mike Clay~ 
Submitted by Carol Pigg

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Father Is . . .

When I was in my twenties I was oh so young and immature resulting in an off-kilter picker.  Luckily with some age, heartache, and experience under my belt, my picker was finally ripe for the picking in my 30s.  Thus, enter the man of my dreams who ended up being the consistent ever-present father for my girls I had always yearned for . . .

So, with this, a warm father's day to all the men blessings out there who . . .
"loves [their] . . . wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her"  Ephesians 5:25

care and nurture their children from birth into adulthood

Not Missing a Feeding in the Special Care Unit


love other children (including animals) as their own

A Cat Inherited through Marriage
London Bridge with a Daughter and Her Friend


spend quality time with their children

Building a Snowwoman
Father/Daughter Dance

"Mother"/Daughter Tea Party at the Library

So, here's to all of the fathers out there who have earned the familiar name of dad.  A prayer of thanksgiving to you . . .

Courtney Winkler

Friday, June 14, 2013

I Dined Out for the Cure and then Some

Today was the 5th Annual Dine Out for the Cure in St. Louis sponsored by Susan G. Komen St. Louis.  Being a one-year survivor of breast cancer and a lover of food, this was a no brainer for me.  The difficult part of the day was deciding just where to eat.  Alas, the belly chose Pickles in the Central West End not only for its delectable sandwich options, but because it donated 50% of its proceeds to the fight against breast cancer.

Moist, Mile-High Brownies
The Pickles Club

As we approached the deli, a line was formed outside the door.  Yes!  Thank you to ALL who joined forces in the fight today.  The menu was posted on chalkboards behind the counter, so the squirts and I salivated in anticipation of our ordering.  The wait was well worth it with sandwiches piled high with various meats and cheeses.  After taking our last bites of mile-high, moist brownies, we headed to the World Chess Hall of Fame right around the corner.

Since my squirts and I are chess addicts, we looked forward to this outing.  On the main level, an art exhibit by Bill Smith entitled Beyond the Humanities was our first stop.  The docent was kind enough to turn off the lights for us so that we could experience the full effect of his spherodendron.  From there, we had two more floors in which to explore antique chess sets.

Victorian 4-Player Chess Setl

Upon our return to the first floor with free posters of the art exhibit and chess museum in hand (or rather in MY hand), we perused the Q Boutique, voted Best Gift Shop 2012 by the Riverfront Times.  Here we found some goodies for Dad (okay, for me too) for Father's Day including Amanda E. Doyle's Finally, a Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis by and for St. Louisans Neighborhood by Neighborhood.  Looking forward to reading through her book and planning a new adventure. . .   


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lessons from the Corn Wagon

We live in the country. We have a corn/pellet stove that heats our house in the winter.  We also have a small corn wagon that we store corn in. This morning I was outside and noticed this terrible smell coming from that area. I went over to the wagon and what I discovered turned my stomach for many reasons. Apparently my husband and I assumed that the wagon was empty. We also apparently thought the wagon was dry. Both were very very incorrect. What I discovered was some of the smelliest and most rotten substance I have ever encountered and hope to never encounter again. As I was shoveling it out and holding back the urge to vomit, the thought occurred to me that this wagon of disgusting rotten corn is ME!!

Me? How? The wagon full of rotten corn reminded me of me because it made me think of my "hidden sins."  The sins I have in my life that I don't want anyone to find out about, or maybe the sins that I haven't confessed to God because I'm so ashamed, or maybe the sins that I think are "not that big of a deal" so they go unrepented.   Whatever the case may be, all of those sins are still sitting there, rotting away my relationship and closeness to the Lord.  What I realized as I was shoveling out the corn wagon grossness was that this is what my sin is like to Jesus.  The sins that I commit daily turn His stomach too, if left unrepented.  He wants me to acknowledge my sins on a daily basis and come to Him with them and ask for forgiveness.  It's a free gift that He offers to me, and yet sometimes, I choose to not accept it.  I choose to think "it'll be ok."  And just like me thinking the corn wagon was "ok," it's not.  The unrepented sin sits in my heart and soul and rots.  It spoils my relationship with Jesus.  It keeps me from being closer to Him and feeling His presence.  And just as I had to shovel all of the rotten corn out of the wagon, I realized that I needed to get rid of all the unrepented sins in my life.  I needed to acknowledge them all, everything weighing on my heart and spoiling my relationship with Christ, and clean out my heart, ask for forgiveness, and be ready to be filled again, just like I did with that yucky corn wagon today. 

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and His word is not in us."  1 John 1:8-10 NIV

Lisa Powell

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl

This study will make you laugh and bless your socks off, Lysa knows how to speak, write and has such transparency in her own life, you will be able to relate, hopefully!!  Come for one evening or all.  We can't wait to see you!

Lysa TerKeurst
When:  Starting June 11th from 7-8:30 p.m.

Led by Woman Blessing Julie Ford 
Hosted by Woman Blessing Deb Inman

Contact Deb at or 288-4778 for more information.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Going Dark, Radio Silence, Unplug, Disconnect

While exploring a new area, I like to pick up the local free reads at the grocery store or a restaurant.  I find out a lot about the area and discover hidden gems.  On a recent vacation, I picked up a free Emerald Coast Guide.  While reading through the pages, I discovered some local treasures along with some friendly advice in the form of satirical writing:

Spend time with the one you're with & enjoy where you are.

'Traditional-family' vacations are dinners out, walking on boardwalks hand-in hand, fishing and sailing expeditions and beach excursions . . . [mixed] with instances of walking with arms folded in stubborn disagreement . . .

A new edition to the 'modern-family' vacation is a hand-held device stuck to the ear or held out in front with fingers rapidly punching away.  No longer are eyes wondering at the surroundings or ears listening to family conversations.  Even though friends and work are physically still back at home, they 'virtually' are also walking along the boardwalk, lying on the beach, in our cars, at the restaurants and in our expensive accommodations.

When a vacation has ended, there is no catching up with friends upon your return, answering questions of your vacation experiences to your co-workers or having a better understanding of your own family.  It would be as if you never left home.

Worst of all, should there be future trips to the area by the family children, they won't have the slightest memory of how to get from point A to point B.  (20)

As luck would have it, my phone battery lost all ability to maintain a charge on our arrival in Florida.  I didn't fret and certainly did not attempt to find a replacement.  Instead, I savored the uninterrupted time with my family.  The days seemed so much longer, I read an entire novel, played a week-long game of Monopoly with my family, and returned home feeling more refreshed than I have felt in a long time (even without the use of my CPAP machine).  I know I may be considered old school, but I think there may be something to the ways of old.

Courtney Winkler

Monday, June 3, 2013

His Place in the World

It was a great opportunity to see our son, Andy’s, workplace.  Family Day was approved, and we had our security clearance to get on base.  We have been on base before, and toured a couple of large ships.  This time, however, we would be going down, into a submarine!  The USS W. Virginia.  Could I overcome my fears of ladders and the unknown?

The USS W. Virginia

Andy asked if I wanted him to go first, so he could guide me down the absolutely straight up and down ladder of 25 feet.  Or, as he said with his great sense of humor, “Make the first step; otherwise it’s 25 feet to the next one!” “ Ok, Mom, take that first step, then I want you to lean backwards as far as you can go.” “  Lean backwards? Questioned I.”  “Yes, lean backwards.”

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Sure enough, by leaning backwards, I could easily climb down, as there was a cage apparatus to rest my weight upon, making it much easier.

Made it to the second level! 
Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
There were other crew members there to help make sure I was feeling secure in my climb.  YES!  I did it! 
We toured that level and learned from many of his shipmates.  Many things of course were still secured, but with white boards and knowledge, his co-workers explained things in simple terms for us. 

Exodus 31:3
and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—
Down again.  In all, we weaved in and out of three levels of the submarine.  Our ears were popping.  Certain areas were closed off for national security reasons.  And that was fine.  I now could picture where my son worked.  How much more easily I would be able to pray for him and his shipmates, after meeting them and viewing their workplace. One of the last places we visited was Andy’s “rack,” better known as his sleeping quarters.  There were nine wooden box- like beds with thin mattresses on them.  Nothing at all like we enjoy at home.  When I asked him how he could sleep on them, he said, after the work days that we put in, you could sleep anywhere. 

Genesis 28:11
When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep.
After our tour, we climbed back up into the day light.  I was filled with the heart of all his shipmates, knowing that they are well trained, intelligent, and hard working for our American causes and needs.  

Petty Officer 1st Class
 Our reward came later, as we watched our son receive a special award for his hard work bringing the USS W. Virginia from dry dock and eventually getting ready for sea trials. By this time, we were packed under a park shelter as it was raining sideways and the temperatures had dropped twenty degrees in one hour.  Our son, Andy, or Andrew, or Pigg as we heard throughout the submarine, was now a Petty Officer 1st Class!  Named Andrew after his paternal grandfather’s middle name, little would we know how prophetic his name could be.  Andrew, fisher of men.  Christian.  United States Sailor.

Dry Dock

Matthew 4:18
[ Jesus Calls His First Disciples ] As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.

Many times through that day I was reminded of Corrie Ten Boom’s words she wrote after surviving as a prisoner of concentration camps.  Her book, The Hiding Place is a powerful testimony to believing in God’s words. 
“What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.”  Oh Lord, please keep our military and their families safe.
“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”  No matter how far Andy may be in the submarine, I know that God will love and protect him.
“There is no panic in Heaven!  God has no problems, only plans.”  For a while, we wondered if Andy would find his place in the world.  We are assured that he has. 

The Submarine Ball with Heather

Carol Pigg