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Monday, May 28, 2012

As I Remember

It is with great pride today that I call myself an American. Though our great nation has its problems, it remains the nation of freedom---freedom purchased with great sacrifice and great sorrow. To those who have given their lives for my liberty and to those who fight for the same cause today, I say "Thank You.". I am grateful to each of you and proud of the service you have given to your country.

This is my uncle, Arthur Neace

I recall as a child my mother's brother, Uncle Arthur Neace, coming home from World War II. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and remembered seeing his comrades give their lives in service to their country. He was one of the fortunate who came home. I loved him dearly and he was so kind to me. His death when I was 11 left me with a sense of great loss. He was a great man.

This is my uncle, Junior Tomps Caudill

My father's only sibling, Uncle Junior, also fought for our country. He was in the Korean war. He fought in battle and was also a mechanic who helped repair the tanks and other vehicles used in warfare. He is now 79 years old but still remembers clearly his days in the U.S. Army. I love my uncle very much and am very proud of him and his service to his country.

My nephew, Derek Russell Caudill

I wrote a few months ago about my nephew, Derek. He has recently returned from overseas and is now stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. He is quite a young man and serves his country with pride and dignity. I am so very proud of him.

Last year, my daughter and her family took a trip to Washington, D.C. They had a wonderful time and my grandsons, Michael and Gabriel, enjoyed seeing all the historical sights they had learned about in school. One of the sights they saw was the Vietnam Memorial. As you know the names of those who lost their lives in service to their country are listed on the wall. When Michael saw the memorial and realized that all those names represented those who had died while fighting in the war, his little heart was touched. This picture says it all.

Today, I am grateful for the grace of God. I am equally grateful that His grace and mercy have rested upon America and allowed it to remain the greatest nation on earth. I love the words of the song, "America, America...God shed His grace on thee...And crown thy good with brotherhood...from sea to shining sea.". I pray His blessing forever remains on America and its people.

Blessings to each of you today.

In Grace,

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Sound of Your Voice
My handsome brother, Dan

This morning I was able to speak with my brother, Dan. As you know, he had surgery last week for colon cancer, is now recovering and doing so very well. Truly I am so grateful to the Lord for being with my brother and for bringing him through such a tremendous ordeal. He is still in the hospital but should be able to go home in a couple of days.

When he answered the phone this morning, I nearly wept at the sound of his voice. He has a very deep, manly voice (just like our father) and this morning it was clear and strong. I listened to him talk and thought about how much joy the sound of his voice brought to my heart. His conversation, his chuckle, his dry sense of humor---all made me laugh out loud as I chatted with him for a short space of time. Just hearing his voice made everything okay.

After I got off the phone with Dan, the thought came to me---are we as thrilled to hear the voice of God as we are that of our loved ones? Do we yearn for Him to speak to us, to calm us, to comfort us, as only the voice of our Heavenly Father can do? Are we as eager for the sound of the Father's voice as we are for His grace or mercy? Are we so preoccupied with what we want God to do for us that we have lost the thrill of the sound of His voice?

God speaks in so many different ways. He is in the words of a song, the sound of children's laughter, the rain falling softly in spring, or the whispered prayers of seasoned saints. Then, there are the times when He enters our thoughts, comforting us, directing us, strengthening us. God speaks to us through His precious Word as well, letting us know we are not alone in our despairs, our sorrows, or our joys. God is always speaking if we could but take a moment to listen.

Today, I am thrilled at the sound of my brother's voice. I love him so dearly and am so grateful to God that he has blessed Dan to be with us and not allowed the cancer to take him away. Oh, but now I yearn for the sound of a different voice. I yearn for the voice of my Heavenly Father as He comes to me in comfort, peace, and joy. The words of a song from the movie "Courageous" comes to mind, "Sing your song to me...there's no great thing...than to listen to the sound of your voice...". I cannot say it better than that.

Blessings to you today as you listen for the sound of His voice.

In Grace,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Grateful Heart

This morning my heart rejoices at how God answers prayer. As you know from my previous post, my brother, Dan was diagnosed with colon cancer a month ago. It was such a shock to all of us because he has such a healthy lifestyle and has never shown any signs of illness at all (other than a cold or flu occasionally). A diagnosis of cancer just devastated my entire family. We immediately began to pray for his healing and his recovery.

Yesterday afternoon, Dan, underwent surgery for removal of the cancerous lesion. Praise to the Most High, it was a very successful surgery. He had an excellent surgeon---one that I had worked with many times when I lived in Ohio. The surgery was very lengthy and tedious. However, the lesion was very contained with no involvement of other organs. It was removed, along with several lymph nodes, and he is recovering well at this time.

Dan doing his favorite thing---reading the business news

I cannot thank God enough for His goodness and His watchful care during my brother's illness. At each step of the way, He has had people there who were able to direct my brother to the right tests, the right surgeon, the right hospital. This whole episode began when my brother passed out at work. He was hospitalized and numerous workups revealed nothing specific. At a follow-up visit with his family physician, he was told to get a colonoscopy in an effort to determine if there was a cause for his blood work being slightly low. Dan is 49 and normally colonoscopies do not begin until an individual is 50. However, his physician was persistent and encouraged Dan to go ahead with the procedure. How grateful we all are as this was when his cancer was discovered. Waiting another year could have proven disasterous.

As terrible and heart wrenching as this has been, I am ever grateful for the Lord's watchfulness over my brother. He is such a fine man---I am so blessed to have him in my life. Please continue to pray for Dan and for my family as well. We are continuing to believe and trust in the Lord for Dan's complete and full recovery.

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. He really is.

In Grace,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Sister's Prayers

It has been several months since I have been able to write and keep up with all of my friends in the blogging circle. It has been a time of great personal illness and devastating family illness as well. My faith has been put to the test but I am as certain of God's power, mercy, and grace as I have ever been. God is so good. Even in the midst of the most devastating circumstances, He is ever faithful and true.

This is my brother , Dan.

As I write this, he is preparing for surgery for colon cancer. Dan is 49. Those of you who have followed my blog in times past will recall that Dan is a minister and one of the finest Bible teachers I have ever heard. He is a loving father, devoted husband, and a true man of God in every sense of the word. I love him so very much.

It is difficult to watch those you love endure such trying circumstances. My mind goes back to the little boy who would take my hand when crossing the street and would hug me tight before going to bed each night. I recall the first time I heard him teach when, at age 17, he taught my teenage Sunday School class the meaning of "Going the Distance". The night he was ordained into the ministry is a sweet memory for me as tears of joy filled the eyes of my parents---we were all so proud of him.

Now I am faced with the difficulty of being strong for him and for my family even though my own heart hurts so desperately for him. As a nurse, I know the severity of what he is facing---as a sister, I long to be able to make it all go away---as a child of God, I stand on the promises of a God who cannot fail. We are called to a higher purpose when it comes to intercession. It is at this time that we go before the Lord on behalf of another and seek God for healing and restoration.

It is a privilege to be able to pray for my brother. I cannot heal Him, but I know one who can. I cannot calm his spirit and give him peace of mind, but I pray to one who can. Will you pray with me? Will you, in your prayer time, ask God to be with my brother and to give strength to my family? I am so grateful for each of you and the kind words you have always sent to me in times such as these. May His blessings come to each of you in abundance today.

In Grace,