A Thursday for Your Thoughts

Meeting in the Landscaping 

By Terri Brentlinger

This morning I was looking in the landscaping and I saw this.  

As I stood there and stared at it I was amazed.  The first thought I had was how we all need the cross.  The plant is weak and needed something to hold it up.  

Then it hit me. So do I.  

I looked at the vine and I noticed it did not only wrap around in one place, but that it had wrapped several times around the cross.   The more the plant wraps around the cross the stronger it will be.  The more we wrap our self around God the stronger we will be.  

I do not believe we will be strong enough if we only go to church. That would be like wrapping our self only once around.  The more we do the stronger we will be also.  

We need to daily wrap our self in God’s word, in being a servant and in Godly friendships. There are many ways to wrap our self in God.  

Thank you Jesus for the little meeting in the landscaping!!

About Terri

Terri is soft spoken and one of the most gentle-natured, beautiful souls I've ever met. She has a warm smile that makes her approachable trusting that kindness guides her in her interactions. These were my first observations about Terri. Having gotten to know her even better, the spirit is evident within her-even loud. Anyone who meets her will know she loves people....and she loves Jesus. 
Read other guest posts by clicking on "A Thursday for Your Thoughts" in the menu. 

Don't forget that you too have an invitation to write a guest post for "A Thursday for Your Thoughts".  I take great delight in your sharing knowing we share many of the dames struggles and joys. And so often I find a common bond between us I hadn't known existed. Write about an experience that you've had or a lesson you've encountered. Shoot me an email if you're interested. 



This post was written by Rebecca Mosley.

I spend every weekday at a nursing home… and I’m a fan. reb I love it. I race wheel chairs and yell directly into eardrums… they prefer it. I spoon feed pureed nastiness, and witness a small miracle every time someone remembers my name.

Just the other day, I attempted to calm my severely frustrated and confused demented client by saying, “I love to hang out with you. I just want to be friends!” In which she responded with the most coherent, grammatically correct sentence she’s given me during our time together, “is that cause nobody wants you??”

Wait. What? Yes, I absolutely took it personal… Just kidding.

Everyday I leave with a story… or seven.

I often sing to them. I stereotypically yet voluntarily play bingo as often as possible,  I DO actually administer speech therapy (for any of my supervisors who read this J) and I listen to their stories. I have had clients who have been airline flight attendants, served in the military, owned six nightclubs, and lived and breathed life on the farm, and as much as I genuinely and eagerly love to hear their stories, there is a commonality as I continue from person to person...

Each story begins with, “Awwhhh, well back in my day…” In other words… “Let me tell you all about the things that I believe to have been purposeful in my life…”

Sharing a rose with a client
Sharing a rose with a client


I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 1:14

I have heard this verse before, but not in the way the Lord has been reminding me of it lately. My experience working in a nursing home has pointed me even more to Jesus. The stories my clients share are interesting… filled with memories of happiness, sadness, life, and love, but was their gift of life worth it? For some, yes, but for others, I don’t believe it.Unfortunately some don’t even remember their morning.

I pray, one day, I’ll get to sit down to share my story with a young girl, and tell her that I didn’t waste my dash of life. I spent my days serving the Lord and loving others. I didn’t allow drama to overwhelm, social media and technology to waste my time, I forgave when it was hard to, I chose to stand unashamed for the things of God, I wasn’t arrogant, boastful, or anxious and that anyone I met knew Who I belonged to and was encouraged because of it.

Oh, how I pray this prayer for others to. I imagine heaven. Meeting Jesus and telling him all about, “back in my day.” The days God has given me… precious, valuable, purposeful, days. What did I do? What stories will I share? What lives will I have touched? What people will I have reached? Don’t waste your dash of life: your two seconds in comparison to eternity. Ask yourself, “Will this matter when I’m 80?” and even more than that, “Will this matter in eternity?”


I met Rebecca through church and through my girls' twirling.  They love her and I do too.  She has been a jewel of a mentor to Hallie. I overuse the word awesome, but when I say Rebecca is awesome, I mean it....SHE'S AWESOME! She embodies the verse "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Beautiful in more way than I have time to mention, I consider myself blessed to call her my friend.

We all have a story, a testimony or a life lesson to share.  Won't you share yours on "A Thursday for Your Thoughts"? If you're interested, email me at kristiburden@gmail.com,  no matter your age or writing skills (I made C's in college English).      I'll be waiting.   Sharing is caring.


I can hardly contain my excitement.  My friend Lisa is sharing her powerful testimony with you today.  Can't let her talk without me telling you first how wonderful it has been to get to know her.  Several years ago we were having a Bible study at our church in Trinity.  We were told that there were some ladies at the local House of Hope who would be joining us, but needed a ride.  I was one of the ladies who volunteered a ride.  Lisa was one of the ladies who joined us for Bible study.  The House of Hope is a temporary home for those recovering from addiction.  I quickly grew to love those ladies, especially Lisa.  They were serious about their study of the Bible.  We also would have a snack and game night on Fridays, always a most enjoyable time.  These ladies are so strong.  Their wild faith pointed me to a powerful Jesus I had yet to experience (Oh me of little faith).

I've read over Lisa's testimony over and over, and I tell you, she's got me singing.

Come to this fountain so rich and sweet,

Cast thy poor soul at thy savior's feet;

Plunge in today and be made complete


Now I'll let you hear from Lisa:

Isn’t it amazing how God allows you to see what His Word has for you, in just the right time, at just the right moment?

     One instance that I refer to is during a service one night, the pastor was teaching out of John 5.  The story goes somewhat like this.
     Jesus had gone into Jerusalem for one of the Jewish feasts.  The First Fruits Feast. It was the feast when the people would bring in all their first fruits of their labors, being crops, animals, textiles, etc to be sacrificed.  The sacrifices would go to the priests, the Levites, because, by law, they were only allowed to go about their priestly duties, and studies.  They were not allowed to work, to toil in fields or raise animals.
     During these feasts, people who were ailing, ill, lame, or having other afflictions would come to bathe in the healing waters of Bethesda, meaning, 5 colonnades, or 5 porches.  Picture hundreds, maybe thousands of people trying to get to the water’s edge  so that when the water was disturbed by an angel, the first one into the water would be healed.
  During this one particular feast, was a man laying near the water.  He had been afflicted for many years, 38.  Jesus got word of this particular man, and went in search for him.  when Jesus found him, he asked the man if he wanted to be healed.  The man replied that he had no one to help him into the water.  Jesus then told the man to rise, take up his mat, that he was healed.
      We read and hear of the many miracles that Jesus performed  while here on earth.  Many people believe that  the healing power of Jesus continues today.  Some, unfortunately, do not.  I am here to tell you….That the healing power  of Jesus is amongst us today.
     I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart when I was 9.  I was raised in a loving, Christian atmosphere.  Because of poor choices, I became a drug addict, that eventually led me into a life of homelessness and prostitution.  I had been homeless about 6 and 1/2 years, addicted to a $400 a day habit of crack cocaine, after years of abusing methamphetamine, cocaine, morphine and heroin.  Three times I had entered secular rehabs, where I was told after about  a week, that they couldn’t help me.  They could find no funding for me.  I had no children, I was too old, too young, etc….
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After being on the streets of Houston about 3 years, an organization in Houston Texas called 45 & Hope, scraped me off the streets and found a place for me in a faith-based rehab for women in Trinity Texas, named, House of Hope.  About 3 weeks into my rehabilitation, we attended a women’s conference in Crockett, Texas, at Harvest Baptist Church.  I didn’t want to be there.  I spent all morning watching what time it was, going back and forth to the ladies room.
After lunch,  things changed.
     I don’t have a clue what the speaker spoke about.  When she asked if anyone needed prayer, I found myself surrounded by her prayer warriors, not remembering the walk I took to the front.  I didn’t request any particular prayer, but I later walked out of that church renewed through my faith and through Jesus Christ as being delivered from drugs, and in a walk with my Lord that would begin my healing emotionally and spiritually as well.
The man at the Bethesda and I have a lot in common.  We both were afflicted for 38 years.  Yes, I was an addict that long.  We both searched for help into healing waters that was not found.   Jesus came in search for us, found us, healed us.  Jesus told us both to stand.  Today I stand before many believers, doubters, and non-believers as proof that Jesus continues to heal and perform miracles today.
     Today, I am free to assist others in their search for deliverance, their search for healing.  I enjoy the fellowship I have with the homeless and addicts in the East Texas area.  I find renewed strength daily in prayer, in God’s Word. As a state certified Peer Recovery Coach, I help the homeless find shelter, I help the addict find a rehab that will benefit their needs, free of charge.  If you know of anyone who is willing and ready for help, call me on my cell at 903-522-0857.


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A Guest Blog

by Jaime Turner

Eyes Wide Open


One moment in July of 2004 will forever be seared in my mind. My firstborn son and I were in a head on collision a half mile from our home.

I can still see it in slow motion and was helpless to stop what was happening before my eyes.

I can still hear the sounds of my screaming baby as the other car slammed into ours.

I can still remember the eerie silence for the few moments after the impact when everything seemed to stand still.

I can still smell the smells. No one talks about them, but there is a distinct smell when all of your airbags deploy. I remember just screaming, “Jesus help!” in that flash of a moment.

What I will never forget, though, is the face that appeared at my driver’s window.

Almost immediately there was a man standing there. I could not get out of my door and was telling him to please help my baby. He told me to crawl through the other side. There were others who arrived and helped.

They got Elijah out of his car seat and showed this wreck-of-a-mother that he did not even have a scratch on him. One lady held him the whole time and comforted him. I am so grateful to her because I could not. The man, though, never left my side.

I still see his face, wrinkled and kind

I still see his clothes, tattered and dirty

I still see his hair, long and free

I still hear him, telling me that we were going to be okay—that he wasn’t leaving me.

He was standing in the middle of the road with me and then proceeded to tell me I needed to sit down. He sat me down in the car and that’s when I discovered my knee was cut wide open. How I was standing I have no idea. He tended to me until the firemen got there telling me all the while that he would not leave me.

The firemen did not expect to find us alive because of the calls they were getting. Fortunately, when they arrived, they were able to cancel LifeFlight.

I watched the long-haired man slowly walk away and down the road after that. Once my husband arrived at the scene he never saw him.

In the area we lived, there were lots of homeless people down the street from us. We would often stop and help when we could. I was certain he was one of those men, and I just wanted to find him and thank him for the way he helped me that day. I looked for him for months, but I never saw him again.

One day, my husband looked at me and said, “Did it ever occur to you that maybe God sent an angel for you just at that moment?” Until then, honestly it had not.

What I have learned since then is that Jesus doesn’t always look the way we think He might look.

God Speaking -by Mandisa
God Speaking -by Mandisa

He may show himself to us in the simple smile of a stranger on a rough day.

He may show himself to us in the kindness of a friend or neighbor.

He may show himself to us in the hug of a child.

He may show himself to us in the soft breeze that blows.

He may show himself to us in the helping hand of someone we may never see again.

I don’t want to miss him again. I want my eyes to be wide open to see Jesus, no matter where I am.

Get your love on by reading a Valentine's post "Love in a Taco Box; When Love Looks Different"  http://kristiburden.com/?p=7144

To read more guest blogs, click on the link "A Thursday for Your Thoughts" under categories on the menu on the right.

If you feel compelled to share your story consider sharing it on "A Thursday for Your Thoughts".   It's an opportunity to encourage and be encouraged; to connect with people who can relate.  If you have questions send me an email.

Sharing is caring.



A Guest Post
By Lori Lehrman

Are you ready?

For God to do something beyond imagination?

For God to bring women together in only ways that He can?

Then grab a chair, some coffee, and settle in because you guys I am so excited about this!

This is something I am extremely passionate about and I really have no reason to be. I don't know these women other than following their blogs & following them on twitter. But, I believe in their vision. I believe in what God has placed upon their hearts. Oh, I believe. They are women. Wives. Moms. Daughters. Sisters. Friends. They have a passion. They aren't afraid to dream. They have a calling and they are ready to live that out.


I can't remember exactly how I first learned about it or even when I first learned about it, but from the moment I did, I knew had to be part of it.

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Once I heard I had to know more.  Something about it resonated with me.  I had to read every post, every blog. Once they had a date out there it was in my calendar...yes, even the old school paper one I had (I've since joined the 21st century, thankyouverymuch!).


You see, I know I am not the only woman who was caught up in this IF movement.  The IF:Gathering ladies are on to something. They have struck a cord among women.  There is a need and IF is touching right on the center of it. A need for authenticity. A need for all women to come together without worrying about fitting in. A need to throw off everything that we've known and grasp hold of the unknown.


So, Monday comes...registration day! You guys, I. Am. Ready. I've got my computer set up. I've got my alarm set on my phone. I text my friend, Melissa. See, we had it all planned out...a little girl time and a whole lot of God time. I received the email that registration was open and bam, we were off. There were some technical issues that threw us for a loop at first, but it didn't hold us back for long. We refreshed our screens, entered the info in again and pushed register. We did this over & over & over.


Then Melissa texts me, "I got in! Keep trying. I am praying."


Oh man, the pressure was on. I am feverishly typing and praying and hitting the enter key. Over and over and over. My heart is pounding. "Please, God, You know how badly I want to go." Over and over and over.




I get the message... "Sold Out".




Tears began to flow. I know how dramatic this sounds. If you are reading this and rolling your eyes, I get it, I really do. But, I just had to be there. This IF:Gathering was tied to the time in my life that I finally answer God's call...when He asked me to step out on faith and follow Him and become a speaker/blogger for Him. There was a connection with this event and that calling. I felt that and I was devestated. I can't explain it.


Then I get this feeling...it's not over. You see the cool thing about the IF:Gathering is that they are making it available locally through a live simulcast. I knew this, but that wasn't MY plan. I immediately threw my arms across my chest and stomped my feet...yes, like a 3 year old saying "I don't wanna".


All along God had a different plan. MY plan was IF:Austin. HIS plan was IF:Local. I had to sit a while and come to grips with this. I'll be honest. It scared me to death. So many things ran through my head. So many what ifs...


I realized God was ready for me to step out of the boat again. Now I am ready. Ready to see that same vision be accomplished here...locally...IF:Southeast Texas! I couldn't just pick one city...would it be held in Port Arthur, Groves, Nederland or Port Neches? What about Beaumont? Or how about Bridge City? What if we got several groups together?!


How cool is that?! How cool is God? My heart is beating so crazy fast right now.


Are you ready? I want to welcome you to my home on Friday & Saturday, February 7 & 8...for a time of worship, teaching, communion, and authentic relationships with other women. It's new, there might be glitches, we might not know each other, but I will guarantee that it will be a sweet, fun time!


You can help us by being in prayer for God to open wide the doors not only here, but for IF everywhere. Let's see just what God can do throughout this world with women who are ready to live out their calling.

Feel free to email myself or Lori with questions

Check out Lori's blog: http://lorilehrmann.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/271/


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Kristen is a student at Central Middle School. I've gotten to know her through church and God's Girlies.  She's a jewel.  She recently had an opportunity to share her precious self with the people of Guatemala.  This is her account.

On Our Way

We were waiting to get on the plane. We had just met the other people who were going on the trip with us, and I could already tell that I would like them. They called up our group to wait in line to go on the plane, I was soooo nervous. This one lady behind us was talking to Papa and I really liked her and hoped she would be sitting next to us. I did have T-mobile unlimited text in all, I don't know , 180 countries. I would be able to text my friends when we landed. Deep breath. OK. We got on the plane.


Someone was already in the window seat and Blaine took his spot next to him and I took my spot next to Blaine. The guy in the window seat only spoke Spanish and he was very scary looking. Like, Very. I was really scared of him and just kept looking forward. Blaine then whispered in my ear "Do you want to trade spots? "No," I answered "Why, are you scared?" Blaine shook his head yes. I saw the fear in his eyes. "At least you and Papa trade seats," He said. "OK" I told him. "Psst Papa can we trade seats, Blaine's scared." So am I, I added mentally. "Why?" Papa asked. "Blaine's scared I repeated," Again, I added so am I mentally. "OK," he got up as the person who was supposed to sit next to him got in his seat. I got up, took his place, and Papa sat down next to Blaine.


Mr. John talked to him and told him that my Papa was sitting over there. After a long time we finally took off. They showed the normal safety video, and we took off. The only other kid (besides me and Blaine, his name was Mark) was sitting behind Mr. John. He had never ridden in a plane before and was pretty scared, but (of course) he got over it after we took flight. We were flying for 20-30 minutes when the flight attendant announced "You may now turn on your electronics." "Yes," was the response from the crowd I heard from where I was sitting. I saw every pull out there devices while he said it in Spanish. "Can I have my book?" I asked Papa. When we switched spots our carry-on's did not switch. "Sure," he gave it to me. "Can I have my kindle." I grabbed the Kindle Fire and he shook his head no. So I grabbed the plain-old Kindle and gave it to him. I read for a little while and the man next to me tapped me. I turned my head to look at him. He only spoke Spanish so I didn't know what he was saying until he said Banjo (which means bathroom) and I still didn't understand until he turned to Mr. John and Mr. John said "He wants to switch spots with you." He turned back to the man while I got up, "HER DADDY IS RIGHT OVER THERE." He tried to communicate with him. I was already up though so he went to the bathroom.  He got back and I kept reading.


The snack cart came around. The drink cart came around and I got a Sprite. Finally we landed. Nothing to special about the plane ride. We got off and we joined our group. Most of us were sitting right next to each other anyways. We got out and we were trying to find our sign . It was supposed to say Michelle's name but It said "Casa Angelina" , which was the orphanage we were working at is called. We meet Miss. Sarina and they put our luggage on the back of the bus. We sat in the bus and they drove us to a little spot right outside the airport. We were waiting for another group. We landed at 11:30 their time and that meant it was 12:30 here. I was HUNGRY!!! RAVENOUS!! (<-- vocab word) I needed FOOOOOODDD!!! We waiting and waited and waited. We were all hungry. Ann bought me and Blaine and Mark ice creams. I was still hungry." Grab the goldfish," papa said. I quickly jumped out of my seat and grabbed the goldfish. Halfway through the bag me, Blaine, and Mark were all eating in, I said " We better save some for later." "Yah," they both said. I put the goldfish bag up. We played Candy Crush on Mark's Aunt Shirly's iPad.

 Our Time in Guatemala

After hours of sitting there the bus started up. Cheers from our group came. We went back to the airport and got the people from the other flight, and we started to go to the hotel. Mark fell asleep, and soon after I did too. They drove through the mountains, but I was asleep. Glad I was too, because when I woke up I wasn't as hungry. We got to the hotel shortly after I woke up. Magnificent hotel too. (picture should be somewhere) Dinner was supposed to be served at six-thirty their time (seven-thirty here) but not till about seven was it served (eight here). The food was...Ummmm..... Well it looked.. Umm.. Cool, I suppose. Part of it had the crust of a chicken patty and on the inside it was spinach. The drink was EXCELLENT. It was lemonade, but it was much sweater. Delish! But the bread was good, it had sesame seeds on it .I ate goldfish....


Well, the next day we toured the city. We had an excellent tour guide. On Monday they picked us up at 7:30 their time and we went to Casa Angelina. When the bus got there all the little kids ran up to the bus and said "Hola" to us. I meet India (the grand-daughter of the woman who owns Casa Angelina) and Ariana. They spoke English. I had my own personal little translators! We went into the big meeting room place and they told us all the rules and stuff. Don't take the kids away from their house (they lived in houses that people build and they have house parents and all the kids are assigned their house and that’s where they live) and stuff like that. So we toured the Casa Angelina. We saw all the different houses. About half way through we found Ethan (India and Ariana's older brother, India is 9 , Ariana 7 , Ethan 10 ) and he toured us cause he was much faster. The adults stayed with Mr. Andrew (the dad of the kids I was just explaining, when I say Mrs. Bethany it is their mom) and we went with Ethan.


The adults were looking at the soccer field and talked about it. Us kids were much cooler and decided to play on it. When the tour was done we ate lunch. All the kids sat together. We talked about random stuff. When the food was ready India, Ariana and Ethan did not jump out of their seats to go and get food, like everyone else. "I'll wait for you guys," I told India. "Oh no," she said "We don't eat that food, we're vegans." Ok, weird. I jumped in line. Crazy food they served. I only ate the meat. After lunch us kids played on the playground. Then we visited the four widows homes. It started to rain while we were traveling up the dirt roads to their house.  After that we played with the little kids. After the little like meet and greet thingy they did, I mean. India said "Let's go see Wendy!" She was excited.  "OK," I said trying not to let the confusion be seen. We went to find Wendy and she was holding this precious little baby. She was one year old. I held the little baby's hand and she reached her arm out so I could hold her. How do you not hold such a precious baby when it reaches its arms out to you? I had to! I held her. What an adorable baby!


The house tutor (yes, they have tutors) took a picture of me holding her. I guess it was some big deal that I was holding her. India took her to someone else so we could play a game. There was a long ribbon and me and Wendy put it around our ankles. India did this weird jumpy while saying country’s crazyness and we would move it up higher. Then we had to leave. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay there and be friends with these little girls. But, I left. It was sad. We got to the hotel and ate dinner and we played a game with Mark in his hotel room. Tuesday they picked us up on the bus and the Georgia people did a devotion. I liked it very much. When we got to Casa Angelina a few kids came up. We had a devotion inside. They told us what we were going to do. We had to pick up the already painted fence out of the muddy covered area and put it down on the grass. There was a fence in between so we did it a weird way. After we did that we painted the fences that had not been painted yet. We had a team thing. There was team 1 (I was on team one ) and team 2. We were counting how many we got.


By lunch we had given up on that and did it a different way. Lunch, again I only ate the meat. We went back to work. The police showed up and played soccer. Blaine and Mark went to go watch them. I gave in soon after to go watch. Blaine and I went to the playground because we got bored. Then Mark gave in and came down to the playground. We found Ethan playing with his friends. "ETHAN!!," We kept yelling. Over and over. He didn't respond. "MOOOOO!!!," I finally shouted, trying to find something to get his attention. He looked over at us. "That worked? MOOOOOO, " Blaine shouted " ETHAN GET DOWN HERE!! MOOOO!! " He came running down rolled down the hill while his friends shot Nerf guns at him. One of them got him and dropped the gun. We watched them play and then I told Ethan he had bad aim and couldn't hit me if he tried. Then we played where someone swung the swing and someone else tried to shoot it. Then we played their game again.943693_10151921026918632_1891348986_n


Ethan decided to grab the Frisbee. "Let’s play Ultimate!" Mark suggested. Ethan didn't know what that was so Mark and Blaine explained the rules to him. We played it were I was ref on both teams, until another one of Ethan's friends came and made it even. Then I played on Blaine and Mark's team. Then we had to leave. On Wednesday we had our devotion on the bus again. We had our devotion when we got to Casa Angelina. Then Mr. Andrew told us we would be gardening and another group would be carrying cinder blocks. The boys were gardening with us until Mr. John came and told the boys they needed them. So then I was the only kid. I stood there waiting for someone to tell me to do something. Well.. I never got told to do anything. Lunch finally came and I went to the lunch room. I waited for India and Ariana. And waited... and waited.. and waited. Finally lunch was served and I realized that they weren't coming. I ate the meat and waited for dessert, ate dessert and went outside.


Blaine and Mark were already outside, swinging on the swings, Ethan right in front of me. They wanted to play Ultimate again and I really wanted to play with the little girls. When they decided to play football on the road I sat with the little girls who were watching. In Spanish I said "Hello," and they all said a Spanish hello back. I turned to one little girl in particular (Esmalando) and said (in Spanish) "How are you?" Her Spanish reply was "Good" She looked really shy. I liked her and her friends she seemed really nice. She was adorable too. Then one said something in Spanish to another and they all jumped up and went to their house. Do they not like me, I thought. No there just shy, my mind replied, there not used to you yet. A couple of times they came back and I ran up to meet them. They would go back after a while. I did that until India and Ariana meet me at the playground. "All the little girls are avoiding me." "They have a lot of chores to do," she replied . "No, they keep coming back," I tried. "They're shy. They're not used to you yet. Come up with me and I'll introduce you," She answered. "Nah, I'm good, " I said .


We went back to the hotel. I didn't eat dinner that night, I just ate the bread and some goldfish. Thursday was very eventful. Mark kicked me in the face that morning with the soccer ball. I traded from doing the garden to doing the sand buckets sometime before lunch. Then we had lunch. Ariana met me there, India was reading. India got there right before they served lunch. I didn't eat the food that day, I just had salt and bread. Mr. John asked Ethan, Ariana, and India questions the whole lunch time about what it was like and stuff like that. We went outside and we played. I didn't want to play because I wanted to talk to the little girls. When they decided they wanted to play soccer I went up to Edmond's house while Ethan got the soccer ball. I played on the playground for a while with a couple of little girls. Soon there were 10 of them.


Mark called from down the hill, "Kristen, you gonna play?" I went to the edge, "Yah!" I replied with the girls behind me. "Got some fans Kristen?" Mark asked. He laughed. "Maybe they can cheerlead." Whatever, I thought. I went down the stairs and joined Mark. I wish I knew how to say I have to go in Spanish, I thought, they might know then, I'll learn that first when we get back home. We played soccer until the police got there. Then we went back to the playground and meet India and Ariana. We played hide-and-go-seek then. We played in teams. India, Ethan and Mark on a team, Me, Blaine and Ariana on another. We played that until India got in trouble for not wearing tennis shoes. India and Ethan had to go. We swung for a while until I got bored. Ethan gave Mark the soccer ball so we could play soccer. Everyone was going, they were about to take the group picture.


We meet Ronald, the pilot on the way and he asked "Can I play?" (He can speak English, he needs to learn so he can go to pilot school in America, he needs to take the S.A.T's to go to pilot school) "Of course." We played him against Me, Mark and Blaine. He got two goals and then I outsmarted him while someone told him we were going to take the picture, I kicked the ball from the "holding the ball with your foot" position (I don’t know what it's called ) and made a goal. We took the picture and I got to play with Esmalando and her friend (Claudia). I played until we had to leave and Claudia gave me a little note. She was trying to write in English and it said ' I luv yu tu Kristina ' and it had a big heart on it . I said thank you and gave them both hugs and kisses. I had to leave then.


On Friday we were having a pizza party for lunch. But we had to work the first half of the day though. Just waiting for it to be time. It felt like five minutes and I was already hungry just thinking about it. After I switched jobs twice and I decided to grab a drink I ended up doing the sanding. Finally it was time for the pizza party. After we showed up some of the kids came in. They all came with their houses. I saw all my little friends but I sat with India, Ethan, Ariana, Blaine, and Mark. We ate our pizza and after that we played soccer. Everyone was really good at soccer but some were better. I cut short because I needed to get all my friends to sign my shirt. Ron the pilot's team won soccer. I saw my little Dora and thought, now what is your name in Spanish, well “K es too numbre” is “what is your name” so numbre is name. So I said while doing little writing hand motions "Numbre" Her and some little boys signed it. I got all my friends to sign it and Papa Ivan and Mama Kimberly signed it too.1424322_10151921024533632_236518227_n


On the bus ride back to the hotel I thought of how bad their life probably was and how much better it’s gotten with God's grace. I teared up a little while thinking this. On Saturday we had to leave. I was very sad but I knew I would not forget the trip. It was far too good of a trip to forget.  We saw Papa Ivan and Mama Kimberly and Sara with her baby Lincon at the waiting lobby. There was an older lady in front of us as we got in line for boarding. She talked to Papa a bit. As we got on the plane someone, we didn't know who, was sitting between us. The lady from the boarding line came and Papa asked," Are you sitting here, because I would like to trade spots with you. I'm sure you don't want to sit by these crazy kids anyway." She replied, "Oh yes exactly where I wanted to sit. I prayed for someone to change seats with me." And as she said that I thought, God answers prayers for a fact. Then they did the safety stuff and we took off. We saw the nice lady from the first flight and she asked us how it was. I really liked her. When the plane finally landed we did the whole "getting back into America, making sure you didn't smuggle anything in" process. It took a whole hour. We drove Mr. John home and we went to Mom's. Papa uploaded our pictures on his computer. And I thought, I'm going to have to go back.

This wasn't Kristen's first rodeo (mission trip) and I have a feeling it won't be her last.  In case you missed her last guest blog on Belize, click here http://kristiburden.com/?p=3501.

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12



I have this thing about POST IT notes…
                I would have a hard time getting through the day without POST IT notes. That may seem strange, but I use them for everything. I write cookie orders down for quick reference on my calendar, chore reminders, last-minute grocery list, reminders posted to the door so I will see them as I grab my keys and head out…the list goes on.
Recently, I saw a post it folded in half and tucked away in my husband’s wallet. I wish I had a picture of the faded thing he has been carrying around…it truly touches my heart that he kept it! I asked why he kept it, and he said “Why wouldn’t I keep it?”. (Aww, cue the tears, right?!) It occurred to me that maybe my post it's actually mean something to the rest of my crew around here as well.
You see, I had a couple of really busy weeks, with work and kids and LIFE, and in the meantime, my hubby was dealing with his own things, work, school, etc. As life happens from time to time, our schedules were not clicking as we would like. So after a late night of working, I stuck a post it to his wallet for him to find the next morning as he headed out the door. It simply said, “I hope you have a better day today. Can’t wait to see you after work! I love you”.  Turns out, that was just what he needed.
You can “post” your online usernames & passwords, you can “post” quirky quotes to hang along your windowsill, you can “post” things on the calendar, you can “post” your lunch, or you can let a post it hang out of your agenda book to hold your spot…but the best thing to “post” is a little note of encouragement. A little “post” it can go a long way!
Even better than all this…you don’t even have to have a post it to share an encouraging word!

My husband is not a note writer, he is my quiet rock. A doer, not a writer. So I felt pretty special and extremely loved when I found this waiting for me the other night…

The last clean towel with a note

0 (23)

So encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.
 I Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

About Jen


Jen Fournier is one cool gal.  She's serious about her God, her husband and her kids- in that order.  I've had the pleasure to get to know her through God's Girlies as we look above for help in raising our preteen girls with a Christian mindset.  I'm proud to call her my sister in Christ and my friend.  And she makes awesome cookies.

Please consider writing a blog-size "post-it" for A Thursday for Your Thoughts.  The holidays are coming up.  Share a beloved family story, tell us what you're truly thankful for, what Christmas means to you, or let us know how you make the perfect holiday fudge.  Non-holiday posts welcome too.  I can't say how excited I get when someone decides to share on "A Thursday for Your Thoughts".  -So think about it.  And then do it..... please.

You can send your post or questions to-

Written by Jordan Stoker

The Lord was good to me.

I did not get perfect parents.  They did not get a perfect daughter (anyone?) I always knewJordan and Mom.2 they wanted God's very best for me, though. I heard that and I visibly saw it.

One way was my mom started leading a Mom's prayer group (called Moms In Touch International) when I was in high school.  Every Monday morning my mom plus 3 or 4 of my friends' moms would gather at our dining room table.  My mom called it Moms In Touch.  I called it super inconvenient (I mean, was I expected to get my own jeans from the dryer??) and somewhat embarrassing ("Jordan's mom is like super religious").

Without fail, those moms met.  Sometimes just 2 of them, because of illness or other unexpectancies.  I never knew what they prayed specifically about.  Honestly, I never really cared to ask.

I just noticed, and I never forgot the image of those moms praying together.

Fast forward through college, getting married, and moving to Nederland.  I was attending the Women's Bible Study at FBC Nederland and I heard an announcement about MITI (Moms In Touch International, which is now called Moms In Prayer), I was immediately attracted to it.  I had my own school age kids now, and I wanted to be a part.

I was so nervous (even though Nita Hughes, who was the facilitator, was and still is one of the gentlest spirits I know) but I felt a connection right away with the other moms.  I went a few times and the next year my kids started public school one in 2nd and one in Kindergarten.

Three or four of us met, and I cried through the whole prayer time.  It hit me square on that these were the same verses and similar prayers that were prayed over me by my own mom.  God's mercy nearly knocked me out.  I realized wholeheartedly that the prayers of my mom's prayer group had been heard. All the poor choices, ugly situations, people I had associated with came pouring into my mind.

Jordan and Mom.1

He was showing me that I had been spared; perhaps by a debilitating car crash, disease, teen pregnancy, or possibly even death.  Maybe, but most importantly I believe I had been spared of a life apart from Him.

All these things were specifically prayed for week after week, and I am a living testimony that "..the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16).  I am so glad I didn't get what I deserved (and still deserve).

I am so thankful for my prayerful mom.

Jordan's Mom

I am not a praying expert.  

I'm just a mom with a desire to have God's very best for her children, just like my mom.


I think you can relate.

I want you to know that there is a small group of us that meets every week to pray specific prayers for our children and their schools.  I want you to know that we do not meet on Monday mornings while our kids get ready for school (yikes! I guess Monday mornings were different way back then). We would like you to join us. We meet for an hour or less.  We strictly pray.  It's confidential, and we take that very seriously.

We meet at FBC Nederland in the Education Building.

Room 108

Sundays @ 6:00

Wednesdays @7:00

We recognize it is a privilege to pray with moms, especially when it's about our most treasured "possessions."

I truly believe there should be many Mom in Prayer groups in our area.  If it doesn't work out for you to come to ours, start your own.

You can do it, and you and your family will be blessed.

(www.momsinprayer.org is a great resource, but I am sure there are others)

I want to end by doing a little exercise together -  insert your child or children's' names in the blanks below............

May the God of hope fill ___________ with all joy and peace as he/she trusts in You, so that ____________ may overflow with hope by the power of Your Holy Spirit.

(Romans 15:13)

May_________be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. May he/she put on the armor of God so that he/she can take his/her stand against the devil's schemes.

(Ephesians 6:10-11)

Now, go back and insert the children of someone else.

That's the heart of Moms in Prayer.

Be blessed,


About Jordan: Jordan is the mom of four fabulous kids and she's a coach's wife.  One of the things that amazes me about the Stoker family is their devotion to being at church; even every Sunday during busy football season.  She has a warm smile the size of Texas even though she's from Iowa.  She's one of the first people I text when I have a prayer need.  When she says she's going to pray for me, I believe it! She's a beauty; from her gorgeous long locks to her compassionate heart. I love this lady like a sister.

Please consider writing something for our "A Thursday for Your Thoughts" segment.  On second thought, don't consider it.  Just do it.  Knowing how you've overcome a struggle or hearing how God has blessed your family is such a joy for our readers. Have a good recipe?  Share it.  Is there a must-read book you'd like to tell us about? We've had nine year old writers and writers from the Pacific Northwest; everybody's qualified to share. All you have to do is send me your writing on email.  Pictures are great, but not necessary. Others will be blessed and you will be too. I'll be checking my email.

















I spent the past week in Seattle, Washington with my sister-n-law who's ill.  Time with her beautiful family on their turf made for an adventure with God written all over it.  Here are a few life lessons from the Pacific Northwest.

Being alone makes room for God. I don't like being alone.  I especially don't like traveling alone.  Wondering around in the airport, alone, makes me face myself in all my inadequacy.  What better companion than God; I hear him best when I'm alone. He helps me to see beyond myself.


The sun is always coming.  My nephew has a night-light that is timed.  It's a moon during the night hours.  And it turns into a sun in the morning.  Aidan went to bed each night with anticipation that the sun was coming; that's when he could get out of bed.  I saw him sitting on his bed one morning before the sun was "on".  Sitting cross-legged with his fists on his chin, he was hopeful.  He was sure,  The sun always comes.

  An empty plate is a happy plate. My sister-n-law and her husband are awesome parents (there should be a book with some of their tips).  The kids were encouraged to eat, because "an empty plate is a happy plate".  This is true for adults.  We clean our plates by meeting the demands of a busy schedule only to fill our plate again.  Find time to have an empty, happy plate.


 There's protection from the rain. I thought rain boots were mostly for decoration and puddle stomping.  But sometimes there's so much rain.  We need protection from it.  God is our covering.  Our bodies may be drenched by the rain, but our souls have protection.

There's super in the simple.  Find it.

 To borrow from Eponine of Les Mis, "Rain will make the flowers grow".

Used-up,  sometimes icky things, can be a part of a big beautiful masterpiece. My favorite part of sight-seeing happened to be the Gum Wall in Seattle.  Both horrible and beautiful.  Always have perspective to see the beauty.
  Love makes the world go 'round ...and it makes you go 'round the world........and back.  (Traveling across America seems that far). I'm thankful for a week of getting to love on and be loved by the Gatties.  I'm thankful to have returned to the love of my own "Burdens".


Thanks Seattle!

A Word about God's Girlies:

God's Girlies was originally a feeble (and desperate) attempt to have built-in Christian friends for me and my pre-teen Hallie; friends who would join in prayer and look to God's word together to help us along a blessed but sometimes difficult journey as girls, as moms, and as believers. I was also seeking women who could say to me, "I've been there" or "I'm there with you".  Surprisingly what has come about in the past year, in my eyes, is a beautiful and growing community.  This community consists of pre-teen girls and their parents who meet once a month, but also those of you who are connected electronically (on Facebook and this website) at a heart level. Your prayer and words mean more than I can express.

Another addition to God's Girlies is our High School girls who serve as mentors to our pre-teens.  They encourage the girls, and me, at meetings, but they readily shine God's light through hugs and words of affirmation whenever we're blessed to meet up with them.  God is good; his work is beyond my wild imagination. I continue to be amazed at how he uses each of us to encourage and color his world.

If you've been to FBC Nederland, be it Sunday morning or night, or any other time-chances are you've seen Caitlin Washburn.  I'm proud to claim her as one of our God's Girlies mentors.  Here's a little peek into Caitlin's walk.

Give a brief explanation of your testimony and how you came to know Christ as your personal Savior:

I was raised in the Baptist church.  One day when I was four, I wanted to have what my brother had.  So I went to my parents and asked them about it.  I got baptized when I was four as well.

When you heard about the opportunity, what made you want to be a mentor to God's Girlies?

I prayed about it and asked God to show me, or tell me if I was supposed to be a mentor.  I really wanted to, but I was nervous about it.

What is a Bible verse that is meaningful to you?

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

What are some things that you wish you would have known when you were a preteen that you know now after growing in Christ and maturing in your faith?

-That no matter what, don't think that no one cares; that you don't matter, because there is always someone who cares.


"A Thursday for Your Thoughts" is a perfect opportunity to connect through stories or testimony; consider sharing yours.  You'll be a blessing -guaranteed.