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  • Abraham Lincoln on Criticism

    "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."
  • Consider the Cost

    "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." ~Winston Churchill
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  • Charles Spurgeon

    "Our blessed Lord reveals himself to his people more in the valleys, in the shades, in the deeps, than he does anywhere else. He has a way and an art of showing himself to his children at midnight, making the darkness light by his presence."
  • Progress through Perseverance

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or whether the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; And who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. It is far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight of life, knowing neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  • Psalm 7:10-17

    God will uncase the hypocrites ere long, and make them know, to their sorrow, what is was to trifle with Him." - Richard Baxter
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  • The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    “We must carry on our work with patience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from those to whom we seek to do good. When we have studied for them, and prayed for them, and exhorted them, and beseeched them with all earnestness and condescension, and given them what we are able, and tended them as if they had been our children, we must look that many of them will requite us with scorn and hatred and contempt, and account us their enemies, because we ‘tell them the truth.’ Now, we must endure all this patiently, and we must unweariedly hold on in doing good, ‘in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.’ We have to deal with distracted men who will fly in the face of their physician, but we must not, therefore, neglect their cure. He is unworthy to be a physician, who will be driven away from a frenetic patient by foul words. Yet, alas, when sinners reproach and slander us for our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to thank us for our advice, what heart-risings will there be, and how will the remnants of old Adam (pride and passion) struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man! And how sadly do many ministers come off under such trials!”
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Though He Slay Me, Yet Will I Trust in Him

In just two short weeks our family will say goodbye to the church family we’ve grown to love. Nine years of our life have been spent here. Most of my children grew up in this church. My first daughter was married here and gave us two grandsons. Eight of my children graduated from this school. My daughter and son-in-law served with us here on staff. All of this we have shared with our church family. 

church photocopyIt is a hard thing to say goodbye to friends who have over the years become more like family. It’s hard to say when that moment actually happens – perhaps somewhere between joy and suffering. It is good to make friends, but it’s even better when they become family. Family to me is a person who has knit their heart to mine.  Family is who you tell your hopes and dreams to or share your burden or hurt with. When suffering is shared, hearts are melded. It’s not in the telling, but the receiving. Your burden must be received and carried. Your load becomes lighter when you’ve shared it with someone who actually cares. I have experience this here. Some people call that person their best friend, but how do you do that when you have more than a dozen? You don’t have to share my blood line to become family. But then, that’s obvious when you look at our family. When we adopted, it was like taking a friend and telling them we wanted to be a part of their future.

So, we are at a close here where we serve. God is calling us away, but we can’t take our friends with us – the friends who have become family. This doesn’t seem right, but our ways are not God’s ways. We cannot know what God will do with the love that must be fragmented and sent on it’s way to develop in the hearts of others through us. It does make the yearning for heaven grow stronger where we will never have to part from those we love, those in our homemade family.

We’ve spent almost a decade here in this church. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve rejoiced and we’ve grieved. Some have loved us, some have cast us aside. Still, we’ve taken immeasurable treasure away with us that could only have been discovered here – to use in another place, at another time, to grow God’s family. I have to admit, God had to pry my fingers off one at a time, for I held on very tightly to this ministry we now call family. But I am not ashamed of that. I think it right to hold on to those whom God brings into our path, those we vow to serve – to hold tightly and not want to let them go. Only then, when my fear of losing them is so very great do I claim them. And, most likely, if you are reading this, you are counted among them – my very precious family.

You have been used by our Lord to change and shape us, to point us to Him and gain a better understanding of who He is. You have comforted us, encouraged and uplifted us. He’s used you to challenge us, to push us to pursue excellence, to become better in His service. Thank you, my church family. I will miss you beyond what I am able to express.

It’s All About Perspective – Lincoln & Isaac

In the nursery during our Wednesday night service 2 1/2 year olds Isaac (my grandson) and Lincoln were having a conversation. I listened in:

Lincoln: “Are you a big boy?”

Isaac: “Uh huh. Are you big boy?”

Lincoln: “No, the kids are.” “My brothers are big boys.”

So I asked Lincoln: “Lincoln, are you a big boy?”

Lincoln: “No, my brothers are big boys.” “I’m a little boy.”

So, there you have it. Isaac is 11 days older than Lincoln. So, I guess in eleven days, Lincoln will be a big boy too.

2008 PBS Spelling Bee

spell beeLevi took first place in the annual 2008 Spelling Bee for 9th and 10th grade today. Jacob came in second. The word that Levi won with was “plebiscite,” which means, “a direct vote of the qualified voters of a state in regard to some important public question.” Since our class has a spelling and vocabulary curriculum that is different from the rest of the high school’s, they usually study an additional 100+ words throughout the year so they may participate in the spelling bee with the rest of the school. This year the boys received the spelling words for the 9th and 10th graders’ spelling bee just three weeks ago. Not a bad turn out for them, in spite of the rush to learn the words! Congrats Levi and Jacob!

Let’s review Frania first place victories in the PBS spelling bees from our first year to present. The grade they competed in is listed after their name:

2000- Jacob (3), Jillian (4), Nathaniel (7/8) and Katie (9/10)

2001- Jacob (4), Mollie (5) and Andrew (9/10)

2002 – Andrew (9/10) and Lauren (11/12)

2003 – Caleb (4), Levi (6) and Andrew (11/12)

2004 – Daniel (6) and Levi (7/8)

2005 – Jacob (7/8)

2006 – Daniel (7/8) and Mollie (9/10)

2007 – Levi (9/10)

2008 – Levi (9/10)

’08 Senior Spring Banquet

We were privileged to attend our annual spring banquet at PBS on Friday. Mark and I along with Jillian (one of the three honored seniors) Levi, Jacob, and Jonathan enjoyed an evening at Brooks Lodge. I went home with Isaac and Hudson while April and Adam took the whole lot of them to Craig’s Cruisers in Grand Rapids after the meal. Wes was Jillian’s date for the night, a nice young man from our teen group who is also a senior.

updosThe afternoon started out with four of us going to a hair academy where April, Kayla and Jillian got the traditional up-do. We were very glad Jillian came out of there NOT looking like a moose! (That was a disaster that struck her for the ’06 Senior Banquet from which April and I had to rescue her!) Grandma Woodward made Jillian’s dress and handbag – it was amazing! It looked like the finest dressmaker had been flown in just for her senior banquet! My mom’s sewing skills are just amazing. Add to the hair and dress a tiara, scalloped crystal necklace and earrings, wrist corsage, glitter spray and light up glass slippers and you have one storybook princess. It was a magical night.

 Jillian & WesA & A

Jillian & AprilM & V

Scott and Devin

Devin and Scott have been married a little over a year now. They live in Indiana in a cute little apartment close to where Scott works. Scott just got a new job where he’s been working for ABC and NBC at Indiana’s News Center (21 Alive) as a video editor for the past year. Our family recently went to his job site where we were given the 25 cent tour. It was very interesting! He has just received a promotion as head of the Web Production Department. The job entails on-air reporting and online management. On the side he will continue to do some video editing for the evening anchors.

Scott & Devin

Jillian and I enjoy talking with Scott about the things he works with since we both are dabling in visual communications ourselves. It’s not unusual for us to be shooting the breeze over one of the Adobe programs that has us stumped. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts a little over a year ago with an emphasis on Computer Art and Design. He’s our resident expert! Last time Devin and Scott came up to visit they brought their Wii. While Devin and her dad were playing Cow Racing, Scott and I were chatting about our mutual interest – which is anything to do with computers. With a little coaxing, we even had Grandma playing the Wii! Devin had made me a terrific birthday lunch and brought accessories for Jillian’s senior banquet. April and Adam and the boys came over and we had a very nice cookout that evening.

It is such a small world. Who’d ever imagine we’d have a son-in-law that has a degree in the area that Jillian and I are so interested in. Devin and I were laughing about how much Scott is like Dad. It really is true about daughters finding someone to marry that are like their fathers. She is fortunate!