Pie Crust Promises

For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise]the LORD!
Psalm 117: 2
Many of us will eat pie for Thanksgiving this year. This devo features not just the pie but pie crust. Please remember to thank God for everything in your life, even the difficult parts. I’m working on these areas of thankfulness and it’s a challenge but worth it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pie crust breaks easily; not so God's promises.

Pie crust breaks easily; not so God’s promises.

In the movie “Mary Poppins” two lonely children become enthralled with their new nursemaid. One night after a particularly exciting day they implore her, “Promise you’ll never leave us!”

For all of her zany actions Mary Poppins replies wisely, “That’s a pie crust promise –-easily made, easily broken.”

People crave stability. Unfortunately most of us have had to deal with vows that crumbled: a business partner absconds with company funds; a spouse decides he/she is happier living with someone else. Even the government seems to renege on its laws.

Christians can rest assured that God’s promises won’t ‘fall apart’. He will never desert us (Hebrews 13:5). His lovingkindness is everlasting (Psalm 107:1).

Memorize Psalm 117. Then, when you’re given a ‘pie crust promise’, you can say with the psalmist: “Praise the Lord, all nations: Laud Him, all peoples! For his lovingkindness is great toward us. And the truth of the Lord is everlasting. Praise the Lord!”

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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Child-Like Praise

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies.” Psalm 8:2

Spending time with children can teach us about God.

Spending time with children can teach us about God.

Our family had trekked around San Francisco for five days and my legs felt like lead. My husband was tired too, but he had wanted us to hike Muir Woods before going home.
Our 11- and 13-year-olds didn’t want to go up yet another hill. Wondering how to keep everyone happy, I glanced at our youngest.
Eight-year-old Lindsay was brandishing a walking stick like a baton. “Thanks for tuning in to the Lunge Lindsay Aerobics Class,” she announced. “Today we’ll hike to the top of this mountain. Put one foot in front of the other, folks, and follow me!” She turned around and began climbing. The rest of us laughed and followed. Today, several years later, we still chuckle about how she got our family to climb that mountain together.

Children can lead us in behavior that praises God. God approved of our family activity that day because He established the family unit to love and honor each other. How can a child teach you to praise God today?

Prayer: God, thank you for children to point us to you. Help us listen to them to know you more. Amen.

Veteran’s Day Salute to Family Military Members

Our daughters were with us the day John received a plaque for retiring from the Air Guard a few years ago.

Our daughters were with us the day John received a plaque for retiring from the Air Guard a few years ago.

On Veteran’s Day I want to say a special thanks to my husband, John, for serving 21 years in the United States Air Force. He retired from the 122nd Fighter Wing at Fort Wayne International Airport. He always enjoyed his time with the Air Force and influenced our son to follow his footsteps in the same branch.
Chris flies Predators by remote control.

Chris flies Predators by remote control.

Chris is a pilot of the Predators, otherwise known as drones. These planes are flown by remote control and do not have pilots in them. He’s served in Afghanistan and now is stateside.

I am proud of them and all of the other soldiers serving our country. God bless you all with health, safety and peace of mind.

Pontiac Author Fair — Allen County (Indiana) Public Library

Presenting talk at Author Fair at Pontiac branch of Allen County Public Library in Spring 2013.

Presenting talk at Author Fair at Pontiac branch of Allen County Public Library in Spring 2013.

As an author of nine non-fiction middle grade children’s books, I’m always excited about opportunities to share about the writing process. This week I’ll be at the second annual Author Fair at Pontiac branch of Allen County Public Library on Tuesday, November 5 from 6:00-8:30. For more information go to <ahref="http://www.acpl.lib.in.us/&quot;.

Benita Browning, branch manager, hosted the first Author Fair at her branch in 2012. I participated and was so glad I did as it was fun and interesting to meet other area authors.
Authors at 2013 ACPL Pontiac Author Fair.

This year ten local authors are scheduled to attend!

We each talked to the crowd about our books and how we became writers and authors. There was a question and answer time and refreshments followed.

Day by Day with Taylor Swift by Kayleen Reusser for Grades 1-3.

Day by Day with Taylor Swift by Kayleen Reusser for Grades 1-3.

Approximately 10 local authors are scheduled to attend in 2013 so it should be another educational and helpful time! If you live in the area, please plan to attend and talk with people who love to work with words and create boatful stories for people of all ages.

Calvary Lutheran Church Helps Students Read

Pastor Jerry O’Neal ministers at Calvary Lutheran Church in Bluffton.

Pastor Jerry O’Neal ministers at Calvary Lutheran Church in Bluffton.

For the past year I’ve interviewed pastors of local churches as part of a new weekly column established by my local newspaper. This story was one of those columns. I particularly like the fact that members of the congregation have dedicated themselves to reading to children at a local school. What a vital part of the community’s needs they are addressing! Schools cannot keep up with the number of children who need read to/with. This church is helping. What can you /your church do to help children in your community?

In December 2012 the members of Calvary Lutheran Church
in Bluffton held an important congregational vote. “We voted on a new missions statement,” said Pastor Jerry O’Neal. “It is a faith statement really because at Calvary Lutheran Church Jesus is at work.”

The church, which averages 80 in attendance at worship services, approved a new outreach ministry of ‘adopting’ Lancaster Elementary School students. “We will volunteer at Lancaster in whatever ways are needed,” said O’Neal. “We will read to children, make copies for teachers, and provide refreshments for evening functions.”

Since he and his wife Amy moved their family to Bluffton in 2010, their children — Mary Grace, 14, and Andrew, 11 — have attended Norwell schools. Andrew attended Lancaster Elementary School. “I know it is a good school system and we want to support it,” said Jerry O’Neal.

A North Carolina native, O’Neal attended West Point Military Academy as a cadet after graduating from high school. The military bent was a family tradition. “Both of my grandfathers served in World War II,” he said. “One graduated from West Point. An uncle and I served together at Fort Bragg in Texas and Dad served in the National Guard.”

After graduating from West Point as an officer, O’Neal spent seven years with the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1994 he was deployed to Haiti for six weeks. His last position before being discharged in 2001 was of company commander for the 4th Infantry at Fort Hood.

Before his discharge O’Neal had thought of changing careers to become a pastor. “It was in the back of my mind since high school,” he said. “While in the military, I always attended church and served as the organist at an Episcopal church when stationed at Fort Bragg.”

Still he put it off. After his discharge, O’Neal earned a Master’s degree in operations research for math modeling. He worked a year for Delta Technology solving problems in logistics and transportation, then was employed for four years at Air Force Institution of Technology at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

He taught math at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, then pursued post-doctoral research. Though O’Neal was highly skilled in the sciences, he realized he would never be truly content until he followed his heart. “It finally seemed like the right time to become a pastor,” he said. “I was at the time of my life where I could see myself doing it long-term.”

With Amy’s support O’Neal attended Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus. Upon graduating from Trinity in 2010, Jerry O’Neal accepted the call to minister at Calvary Lutheran Church in Bluffton.

The O'Neal family has been a part of Calvary Lutheran Church since 2010.

The O’Neal family has been a part of Calvary Lutheran Church since 2010.

Calvary Lutheran Church is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America synod.

Calvary Lutheran Church’s Sunday school classes meet at 9:00 a.m. and a worship service is held at 10:00 a.m. A Catechism confirmation class meets weekly for middle schoolers. “It is a three-year process during which they learn about the Bible and Lutheran theology,” said O’Neal.

The Youth groups of Calvary Lutheran Church and St. Mark’s Lutheran church in Uniondale are led by Erin Raatz. “They meet together for Bible Studies and take summer mission trips,” said O’Neal.

Proceeds from rummage sales held at the church in April and October are distributed to local ministries, including The Closet which provides clothing for people in Bluffton.

O’Neal is thrilled with the church’s response to him, his family and the church’s goals for its future. “The congregation has welcomed us with open arms,” he said. “The church is willing to set goals to strengthen its impact on the community of Bluffton. We feel God has led us here.”

Calvary Lutheran Church
1532 N. Main St.

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