Every Christmas, Ed & I watch the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, about a man who faces hardship and wishes he had never been born, but he soon discovers how much of an impact he has made in other peoples’ lives

Ed & I have seen many people pass from this life in 2017.  Every day is a gift.  Ed & I talked at the end of 2017 and said that if there wasn’t a tomorrow, we could say, “it was good”.  We’ve accomplished a lot; however, we are thankful for each day God gives us to enjoy life, family & friends and to be used to bring Him glory.

Ed & I have faced many challenges over the past 30 years (having two daughters in heaven, overcoming an incurable disease, overcoming financial struggles, overcoming the rigors of running a business for 30 years), and it’s taught us to be thankful.  Going on mission trips to third-world countries has definitely taught us to be thankful for the little things we have.  As we answered God’s call to go into all the world (both locally and abroad), it’s been in helping others that we’ve learned things that helped us to overcome challenges.  God has taught us the importance of teamwork in marriage and in business.  So many times on mission trips, we would be asked to teach on marriage, so in the process of preparing something to share, God blessed our marriage and family and our business.  When we talk to God about needs, He talks to us about sowing seeds of our time, money and/or talents.

Also, God has taught us the value of relationships.  God would put it on our hearts to step out in faith to meet other people’s needs by taking them on a trip.  The power of your “YES” opens up blessings that are truly priceless.  There is a saying we absolutely love from our favorite Christmas movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life” – “No man is a failure who has friends!”  Just remember that when God puts it on your heart to reach out to help a friend, it’s not just for them, it’s for you as well.  You need people in your corner to help you when the storms of life hit.  We are so very grateful for all the wonderful people God has placed in our lives to help us along the way – my parents, the Penningtons, our children (Josh, Matthew & our daughter-in-law, Kendall, our grandchildren (Whitten & Olivia), our family, our friends, our church family, our UCS (University Christian School) family, our work family (our wonderful P&T Staff) and our CMS (monitoring station) family.  They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I would say it takes a village to help each and every one of us to run the race and finish the course God has set for each of us.

A dear friend shared how she found a specific scripture to pray over each of her children throughout the year.  That really touched me.  I thought that was a really cool idea.  At the end of 2017, God gave me a specific scripture to pray over certain people.  Also, God gave me one for me and my family.  I wasn’t specifically looking for one, but as I was reading Mark chapter 4, it jumped off the page, and God told me to pray this for 2018, and I want to pray it over you, our extended family.

It’s the Parable of the Mustard Seed in Mark 4:30 which says,

Again, Jesus said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?  It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth.  Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

May God grace us all to be like a mustard seed – albeit small – may we plant our life and allow our gifts and talents to not only bring value to our life but to add significance to other peoples’ lives.

May we strive to be more like Jesus who walked slowly thru the crowd and helped others.

May we not get too busy that we can’t be like the Good Samaritan who stopped to help someone in need.

May we grow in our faith so that we become large enough where others obtain shade from the blessings of our growth/increase.

May we count it all joy when we fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience.

May we let patience have its perfect work, that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

May God help us find joy through the troubles because we know that these troubles produce patience.

And patience produces character, and character produces hope.

And this hope will never disappoint us because God has poured out His love to fill our hearts.

May we continue to surround ourselves with many examples of faith and get rid of everything that slows us down or distracts us so we can run our race and finish our course with joy and never give up.

May you remember that someone is waiting on the other side of your obedience.

May you remember that you can make a difference in someone else’s life and you should!

May God grace you to leave this world better than you found it for our children, grandchildren, and future generations!!

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