Saturday, December 13, 2014

Secret Pal Blessings - friends are the chocolate chips in the cookie of life

Proverbs 18:24  A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

friends are the chocolate chips in the cookie of life

Last night was our Secret Pal Christmas Fellowship at church.  We are Baptist, and Baptists like to eat, so there is always a fine selection of food at our fellowships, hahaha!  We Baptists have some great cooks!

Our Secret Pal Christmas Fellowship serves several purposes.
  • As mentioned earlier, it is an opportunity to indulge in some good food and fellowship around the tables.
  • Our Pastor’s Wife, a lovely woman with a great sense of humor, always has a great devotional prepared for us.
  • We reveal to ourselves to our Secret Pal, hoping that we haven’t done anything to tip her off to our real identity, and we give her our final gift of the year.
  • We complete new Secret Pal forms, and turn them in to a wonderful loving lady, who collects the forms through the middle of December, mixes them up, matches them up, and distributes them for the next Secret Pal year.

Last night’s devotional was so neat.  Our Pastor’s Wife, Deb, compared friendship to making and baking chocolate chip cookies.  She brought all of the tools and ingredients she needed to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies. 

As Deb added each ingredient, she gave us some thoughts about friendship.  It made me realize how very much I miss the friends that I don’t get to see or talk to very often.

At the end of the devotional, she popped the cookies in the oven and we shared warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies after we exchanged our gifts.  One of these days, maybe I can get her notes and share her recipe.

The Secret Pal Christmas Fellowship is always a sweet time.  It is so much fun to find out just who remembered you throughout the year.  It is such an encouragement to receive a card or a gift reminding you that someone is thinking about you throughout the year.

The Secret Pal Ministry is such a blessing.  The best blessing comes not in what you GET from your Secret Pal; the best blessings come from what you GIVE to your Secret Pal.

It is an honor to think about and to pray for your Secret Pal every day.  It is fun to consider the things she might need, or enjoy, and to surprise her once in a while with your cunning or your creativity.  It is such a blessing just to take the focus off yourself and to place it on her!

It is an honor and a privilege to be a blessing to someone else; and, if you try to remember that whatever you able to give your Secret Pal was first given to you by God that will be the best blessing you can receive.

My Prayer for Today...   Dear Lord, Help me today to remember to honor and cherish my friends, to love them and encourage them, to pray for them and to bless them with whatever You give me whenever I am able.  Help me Lord to reach out to others, to make new friends, and to introduce them to my best friend, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 17, 2014

God's Grace is Sufficient!
At a Crossroad in Life
Grace, God's Grace, is always sufficient.  The problem lies in my definition of sufficiency.  Sometimes I mistake my wants for needs and that causes me to doubt God's sufficiency.  It is not that God has failed to meet my needs; but that I have mistakenly categorized my wants as needs!  

2 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)  -  And he [Jesus] said unto me [Paul], My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

Today my husband has been out of work for over seven months, I lost my job last Wednesday.  We are totally dependent upon God, and upon God's Grace, for whatever comes our way.  Please pray for us that we can trust God to provide for us as we look for work.


Mary  ;-)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Think Before You Speak or Write!

Written by Carisa Stahl

Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. 
Psalm 141:3

In days gone by a lot of communication was done with the mouth. In the days we are living in much of our communication is done with our fingers on our phones or computers. 

Out of the five ways listed above I have texting and email, and Mary allows me to blog on her blog. Do I always watch what I say with my fingers? I'm sure I do not. 

Once we say something via the above ways of communication it's out there forever, able to be found in ways we could never dream of. 

Not only do we need to make sure what we say is true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind but if it is all of those is it really something we want the whole world to know? 

I've seen Facebook used for written sparring with very nasty, hurtful stuff said. Would the involved people act that way if they were face to face? I feel that very few would have the courage to do face to face verbal sparring. If they did would it end up in a physical brawl?

Amelia and I were working on a bulletin board for church today. The poster is a variation of that. If you'd like a copy please email me ( and I'll send you a PDF copy. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Eating Yellow Flowers – Making Smarter Food Choices
Meadow of grasses and wild flowers © Copyright Duncan Lilly and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

We live in a rural community and I drive about 15 miles through farm land (and new housing developments) to get to work and to church.  This morning’s drive was a little foggie, a light mist permeated the area, but it didn’t really hinder visibility.  The mist, and the light rains of the last few days, has greened everything up.  The grass is growing like crazy and little wildflowers dot the country side; it is just lovely!

I pass a couple of farms where they have horses out in the yard and I noticed something today that I’ve never thought about much; but, today it struck me and I need to share it.  That’s what blogs are all about right???

Monday, May 5, 2014


Written by Amy Stahl- a devotion given at a ladies meeting in July 2013.

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” When Mrs. Woodfield asked me to speak she asked me to speak on the first part of this verse,  "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD." Without going into a lot of details these last few months have been a time in my life when this verse has had a lot of meaning for me.

I turned 30 in May. When I was in my early 20’s I thought I would be married and have a few kids by the time I was 30. Well meaning people often say things like,  “You don’t’ have a boyfriend?” “Such a sweet girl like you, we’ll have to find someone for you.” My reply is, “I would rather be single the rest of my life than marry the wrong one.”

To me being “be still” means being content where God has me now. Everyone’s life is different. Everyone is in a different season of their life. My season is being single. Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” 

I wrote out an acrostic for “Be Still”:

Be content with where God has you now
Ernestly pray for God’s guidance

Stay close to God 
I myself and no one else but God
Listen to what God wants you to do
Live it!

Be content with where God has you now.
  • When we were visiting my grandmother in Michigan after Christmas there was a lot going on in my life. Mom and I were sitting in the kitchen one night, talking and I said, “I think this is my be still and know that I am God time in my life.” As we were talking one of my friends, who knew what was happening in my life, texted me to see how I was doing. Sometimes it is so hard to keep a text message short. I asked mom, “How do I answer that in a text message?” Mom said, “I guess you could say that we are in the, ‘Be still and know that I am God time again.’ “ 
  •  I Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

  Ernestly pray for God’s guidance.
  •  Psalm 57:2 “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.”
  • Psalm 71:1 “In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust, let me never be put to confusion.”

Stay close to God.
  • Daily devotions- Psalm 119:105  “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
  • Bible memorization- Psalm 119:11 "Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee."
  • Keep short accounts- make sure when you sin that you confess it and get it right.
  • Daily prayer time:
~ Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication   with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” 
~     I Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
~   Psalms 55;17 “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud, and he  shall hear my voice.”
  • Show my prayer journal- Photo album type thing with space for a picture and then a pocket with prayer needs.

  • Proverbs 3:5, 6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”
  • Trust  that what God allows to come into your life has a purpose.

 I myself and no one else but God!
  • If you are married you should be making decisions with your husband’s input.
  • If you are older and single it is still a good idea to get your parents advice.
  • When we need to make a decision about something we should be reading our Bible and praying and asking God for wisdom and seeking Godly council.
  • Ultimately in the end our decision needs to be made between us and God with our spiritual authority.
  • There are a lot of well meaning people in the world who mean well but can take our focus off God and what he really wants for our life and lead us the wrong way.

 Listen to what God wants you to do and do it.
  • We need to remember that God has a perfect plan for our life. He will help us do what he wants us to do.
  • Sometimes in order to do what God wants us to do we have to step outside our comfort zone. Doing the devotion tonight is stepping way outside my comfort zone but I knew God wanted me to do it.
  • Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things thru Christ which strengthened me.”

Live it!
  • When we are doing what God wants us to do he blesses us.
  • Psalm 68:19 “Blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth us with benefits.”
  • Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen.”
  • Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter, shows us many people that stepped out in faith. Their lives would have been totally different if they had not stepped out in faith and done what God wanted them to do.

Am I always content? Absolutely not. It’s not always easy BUT I know I am supposed to be and that is my goal.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

lose weight, get healthy, stay focused on God

Mathew 4:4 (KJV) - But he [Jesus] answered [Satan] and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

I’ve come to have great respect for those that blog daily and do it successfully.  It takes quite a bit of effort to come up with something honest, useful, witty, and entertaining to share on a regular basis.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sunshine and Raindrops - A Matter of Perspective
Sunshine or Raindrops
A Matter of Perspective
Matthew 5: 45 - (KJV) - That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Do we ever get tired of talking about the weather?  One person loves it, another hates it, and one person just doesn’t have an opinion.  God gave me some inspiration in today's weather.  

Please join me to see what God shared today...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Showers of Blessing

Showers of Blessing - Heavy Rain - Courtesy:
Showers of Blessing
Ezekiel 34:26 (KJV) – And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.

I was tempted to complain about the rain this morning.  I say tempted because God quickly reminded me that, even in this rain, I have plenty to be thankful for. 

Check out some of the reasons I am grateful for the rain on my blog!  I am grateful for the rain because...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Stress - The Tongue that Kills

Proverbs 15:1 – (KJV)15 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but
A Stressed Tongue
Must be Tamed!
grievous words stir up anger.

Stress can be a killer.  It will eventually kill you and/or your relationships.  Stress contributes to health problems, mental and emotional problems, and relationship problems.

I need to be especially aware of some of the symptoms and side effects of stress.  Stress can manifest itself in many ways.  Sometimes I experience pain; stress grabs me in my neck and shoulders and sometimes in my jaw (because I clench my teeth).  Sometimes, stress affects my stomach and bowels and rears its ugly head causing digestive issues.  Stress can do wicked things to our minds, our bodies, and our soul.  Not to mention our ears, and our mouths.  Yes, I said our ears and our mouths!

One of the first places I notice stress is in my ears; when I’m stressed out I hear everything with a critical ear.  I hear criticism, perhaps even where there isn’t any, and react rather than respond to people; why not share the stress?  The stress flows into my ears and out of my mouth.  It goes to follow, then, that my mouth is the next place I notice stress.  Stress makes me tense and irritable and it shows in my speech.  My voice gets sharp and edgy, I get that defensive tone to my voice, and I’m just not very pleasant to be around when I’m stressed out.

I am usually rock solid during the major dilemmas of life; but, long term stress causes me to overreact to the little things.  I may be all smiles one minute, but one wrong word, or some small mishap, and I may melt down or I may explode!  Not very pretty, huh?

What’s my first response?  Remorse?  Guilt?  Shame?  Regret?  NNNNNOOOOO!  I want to lay the blame on others!  I try to rationalize why I’m justified in blurting out what’s on my mind and spewing hurtful things out of my mouth like a volcano.  Not very Christ-like, huh?  But, God’s still working on me!

I cannot control all the stressors in my life.  There are situations that occur over which I hold absolutely no sway or power.  But, God’s word teaches me that I can, and must, control my mouth.  When I spit out grievous words (mean, hateful words) I have to deal with the ugly side effects of volcano mouth such as regret, guilt, shame, embarrassment, humiliation, and the loneliness of isolation.  No one wants to get too close to a verbal volcano!

God gives lots of instruction on the mouth in the Bible.  I find Proverbs 13:3 especially convicting.  But, I have hope in the fact that I don’t have to do this alone.  Philippians 4:13 reminds me that Christ will help me mind my tongue.

Proverbs 13:3 – (KJV) –He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Philippians 4:13 – (KJV) – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

My Prayer for Today...   Dear Lord, Thank you for the Bible and all the guidance you give us on how to live.  Teach me, Lord, to turn to you when stress levels are on the rise.  And, help me Lord Jesus Christ, to bridle my tongue so I cannot hurt my friends and family.  Give me opportunities to show your love by holding my tongue.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wash Me And I Will Be Whiter Than Snow
© Copyright John Brightley and
licensed for 
reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Psalm 51:7 - (KJV) - Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.


This morning’s commute was like riding through a winter wonderland.  There was a light frosting of snow on the trees and bushes.  Not enough to make driving too miserable but I did need to slow down so I wouldn’t find myself slipping and sliding all over the country roads I travel to and from work.

The roads were just a little slippery, and the snow was blowing off the trees and housetops making little snow storms along the route; but, really, all things considered, it was just beautiful.  I found myself thinking about how the roads looked yesterday.  They were clear of snow and ice and easy to drive; but they were also dark and dingy, unremarkable in appearance, and they lacked luster.

Then I had a funny thought!  I thought to myself that this must be what we look like to God after we accept Christ as our savior.  It’s not hard for me to imagine that I was dark and dingy, and nothing special to look at, before accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and my Savior. 

The Bible says that God can wash us and that we will be whiter than snow.  I just love that picture!  Someday perhaps God will show us what He sees when He looks at us; maybe we’ll know what we looked like to him before we were saved; and then, maybe we’ll see what God sees when He looks at us after we are washed in the precious blood of His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Until that day I’m going to imagine that the transformation is much like this morning, a lustrous snow covered, white and wonderful sight that only God could make.

My Prayer for Today...   Thank you, Lord, for helping me see You in everything.  Help me be grateful for all the seasons you give us.  Help me remember to share Your love with others as You have shared Your Son with us.  Dear Lord, give me an opportunity to share the Lord Jesus Christ with others.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Written by Carisa Stahl

Please pray for Mary, she had a tooth pulled today.

We have gardened a lot over the years and have tried various things. Today's post is about our plans for this year.

We've been busy planning our garden and working toward starting plants. Chuck set up 3 shelves with a florescent lights above each one- the top light does not show in this picture. A friend of Nathaniel's brought him 10 trays (for scrap metal) that a local fast food place was throwing out. They are perfectly fine except for looking grungy and 10 trays is exactly what fits under the grow lights. The top light does not show in this picture.

Jeffrey and I worked on modifying Styrofoam cups to start seeds in. There are  six slits cut in the sides of each cup- 3 from the bottom and 3 starting below the rim and going half way down.

Then you mix Styrofoam peanuts with your seed starter mix and put that in the cups. This helps the plants develop a very good root system. We did this about 25 years ago when we rented a farm house. The info for starting plants this way can be found in a book called NO DIG NO WEED GARDENING. 

This year we are going to try Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. His updated techniques can be found in ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING. His method uses mainly 4x4 beds. The middle can easily be reached from all sides and a trellis can go on one end. With SFG you grow your vining plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, melons, etc. on the trellis. With SFG you plant a variety of vegetables and flowers in each bed but just one type of thing per square foot. This helps the plants to have less disease problems. There are a lot of advantages to SFG.

Currently we have raised beds. Marking them out into one foot squares we have 246 square feet. We just need to come up with something to leave permanent grids on the beds. If we decide not to continue with chickens we'll have an additional 54 square feet to garden in. 

I used a spread sheet to mark out the square feet for each garden bed and printed out one garden bed per page. Then I marked where the trellis for each bed will go. I'm still praying about what to make the trellis' from.

We also have improved soil at the end of the house where I will use our 11 bean towers for tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, cucumbers, peas, and ground cherries (an annual fruit vine). We also have several feet in front of the sun room windows.

Last night I started marking each modified cup with what would be planted in it and what bed it will be planted in and even what square foot it goes in, in the bed. 

Before I progressed to far in my garden planning I decided that I had better study up on companion planting. I've been reading CARROTS LOVE TOMATOES & ROSES LOVE GARLIC. Some plants do well or even thrive by particular plants- others are not good to be planted by each other. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Seeds of Doubt and Needless Worry

seeds of
Seeds of Doubt
Needless Worrry
Written by Mary Carol Poggemann

It occurred to me today that I allow Satan to sow my garden with seeds of doubt. Sometimes, more often than not, I live in a world where I don’t have all the facts. And in those times it’s all too easy to let my negative thoughts run wild. Doubt is the first step toward being disobedient to God; He did not make us to doubt but to Trust and Obey. When we disobey, the doubt takes over our lives.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gossip Kills – Deceitful Meat

Gossip kills, bread of deceipt
Written by Mary Carol Poggemann

God has a lot to say about the people who we eat with, those that we spend time with, our associates, our co-workers, and our friends.  He cautions us to be careful and to “consider diligently” what is before us; but, that caution doesn’t apply just to the food before us, it also extends to the ideologies that are before us.

Proverbs 23:1-3 (KJV) - When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.  Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.

Have you ever sat down to dinner with someone who started out friendly and cordial; someone you thought a friend; but by the end of the meal, you were sick to your stomach?  You were not sick because of the food set before you; you were heart sick because of the poison that spewed out of your friends’ mouth during the meal.

Discontented people try to make others as miserable as they themselves are.  They tell you things you ought not to hear, they spread their malice like butter on the bread of your life, they seed your food with their hidden agenda.  They share the bitterness in their hearts and hope that you will share their misery and help them plant their seeds of discontent.

The unhappy camper may want to “vent,” or share a “prayer request.”  She tells how much she loves poor-so-and-so, but she believes you should know thus and such...  Then, before you even realize what is going on, doubt creeps in where none was before, suspicion takes over, and the next time you see poor-so-and-so, that malicious gossip pops up its ugly head and your realize that your relationship with poor-so-and-so is damaged.

Sadly, you just don’t see poor-so-and-so the same way anymore.  You realize that the food was fine, but the meal was tainted.  You weren’t invited to enjoy the table of Christian fellowship; you were invited to eat the poisonous bread of bitterness, anger, and deceit.  We just don’t need to tear down the people we love!

Beware the hidden agenda!  Your “friend” may try to make you feel special because she is sharing this information with you.  He may try to mask gossip by telling you that you have a “right to know.”  They may tell you it’s a “secret” and that they are only sharing it with you...   really.

Maybe she really is your friend.  Maybe you really do care about her.  Maybe she just needs some compassion or some help.  Nevertheless, I ask you to seriously consider this...  Your friend may need more help than you can give.  Her bitterness and desperation may spark enough doubt to send you into deep depression. 

Pray for your friend, but SAVE YOURSELF!  Do not associate with bitter, angry people, bent on tearing others down; they will eventually wear you down and take you down in the process.

I heard a saying...  “Bitterness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  Don’t let your friend make YOU that “other person.”

My prayer for today...   Dear Lord, Thank you for your blessings and help me have a thankful spirit.  Help me to be compassionate to those in need without becoming a victim to their desperation.  Help me love them without falling victim to the poison of bitterness.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Don't Be Like A Skimmer Bird

Written by Carisa Stahl

Recently while visiting another church the pastor showed a picture of a skimmer bird. They feed from the surface of the water.

He said the picture reminded him of a quote in the front of his doctrine text book in Bible college.

"The surface of the Bible is skimmed
 but the depths are ignored."
Too often that quote is too true, even with pastors preaching sermons. Sometimes we read our Bibles more than at other times. Sometimes we read it because reading our Bible is what a "good Christian" is supposed to do but it is not really our hearts desire. 

Not only should we be reading our Bibles but we should be studying it, memorizing, and meditating on it. 

I remember a big question in Bible college, "How much (quantity of verses) should we be reading? One answer has stuck in my mind, "If you don't have time to read a whole book a chapter is better than nothing. If you don't have time to read a whole chapter a verse is better than nothing." A much better answer that I heard many years later is, "Read till God speaks to your heart." Sometimes that could be a verse or two and sometimes it may be a few chapters.  It's always good to have a pen handy so you can underline verses that God uses to speak to your heart.

I have been in only one church in my life where the importance of reading your Bible through in a year was repeatedly stressed. Truthfully I think that for most people that is not a good idea. I feel that too often reading the daily quota of verses is just to reach the goal of reading the Bible through in a year. When you read to reach a daily quota is God really speaking to your heart? 

2/26/14 UPDATE to the above paragraph. I was having a discussion this afternoon with one of my boys. In the search for a Bible reading chart he said that what he read made sense. Even if you are reading for your daily quota of Bible verses you are familiarizing yourself with stories from the Bible and also where to find things in the Bible.
  • Psalms 63:1 "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;"
  • Psalms 119:11 "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
  • Psalms 119:105  "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
  • Psalms 119:133 "Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me."
  • Psalms 119:148 "Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word."
  • Psalms 119:162 "I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. "

Monday, February 24, 2014


Written by Carisa Stahl

For several years in a row my daughter Amy has chosen a word for the year. This year her word is, "Choose". Mary chose, "Constancy". I had no intention or desire to choose a word for the year. Back in January I was online and saw a news video clip where teachers had chosen a word for the school year. Their word choice was written on their hand and held up to the camera. The word NOW popped out at me and I felt that the Lord was prompting me to choose that as my word so I looked up definitions for the word, "now", chose the chorus from a Patch The Pirate Song, and chose a Bible verse and made a poster. NOW is not necessarily my word for the year, I am thinking it may be my word for the rest of my life.

Nine years ago I had health problems that put me in bed for a few months- barely able to even get up to the bathroom. Life was a struggle. Not feeling well is a good excuse for not accomplishing things. I still don't feel totally up to par health wise but I am realizing that I cannot let how I feel physically affect most of the things that I need to accomplish. 

About the time that I chose the word NOW I had a list of over 50 things that needed to be accomplished most of which can only be done by me. Most of them should be done NOW. I've accomplished a few but have many more to go and since then more things have been added to the list.

"How we live our days, of course, is how we live our lives."
Annie Dillard

I found the above quote last week which made me stop and think. If I am living my days by being a procrastinator and putting things off then that is how I am living my whole  life. That can lead to a lot of frustration because by not accomplishing necessary things as they come along I am only adding them to a continually growing TO DO list.
If you would like a PDF copy of my NOW poster (the fonts are varied sizes) please email me at with NOW in the subject line. 

My name is Carisa Stahl, mom of 6 which range in age from almost 15 to 32. No grandkids of our own so we've adopted 5 "grandkids" which range in age from 1- 9 years old.  I used to be a member of CBC where Mary is still a member.