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Apr 30, 2009

Terrorist to Evangelist is PUBLISHED!!... Hi/Lo Thursday

Finally, "Terrorist To Evangelist: The True Story of Ken McClinton" is published and available.

I (Brent) have put out both a paperback version and low cost eBook as well. If you truly, truly, truly cannot afford even the eBook version, let me know, and I will send you a copy. Please remember that writing is how I feed my own family too. I do not mind at all giving the book away to those who genuinely cannot afford the few dollars for the eBook. I just want folks to be honest.

Ken was a terrorist. He killed people, bombed things and lived a life of violence and hate. In solitary confinement in prison, all alone with an old Bible, God transformed Ken.

It is a modern day “Damascus road” conversion that took a man from being a killer to a believer, from violence to love, from terrorism to evangelist. Ken’s life is a fascinating story and it is nothing short of miraculous that he even lived to see that day of conversion. It's a story you can hardly put down.

I've been waiting for this day for FOUR YEARS. I hope you'll take a minute and check it out:
http://www.brentriggs.com/kenny_mcclinton_terrorist_to_evangelist.asp


Hi/Lo Thursday

When you participate in things like "Laughter Lives Tuesday", "Hi/Lo Thursday", or suggest a photo caption, you get links on our site to your blog, chances to be in our magazine and a lot of laughs and tears.

Hi/Lo Thursday is where we get to know each other by sharing our emotional/spiritual HIGH and LOW for this previous week. It's a great way to get to know each other!

Our HIGHS:

Finally seeing Terrorist to Evangelist published and even better, Abby having NO CANCER!
Our LOWS:

Abby's blood counts are VERY low, too low. We are stuck at home, and if she gets sick, we are back it the hospital. BOO!!!!!!!

Okay, now it's YOUR turn. Here's how:
  • Go to your blog, create a new post for "Hi/Lo Thursday!" Copy and paste ALL the HTML code below at the beginning your post.
    (NOTE: Make sure you are in HTML mode when you paste HTML code!):
    Then, use the form at the bottom of this post to enter the title of your BLOG and the link to your "Hi/Lo" blog post. (if you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment)

That's it! You'll be linked in today's entries and we'll have a fun and inspiring list of "Hi/Lo Thursday" posts for everyone to read! Can't wait to read your blog posts for "Hi/Lo Thursday". By the way, did you know it really helps YOUR blog to have a link on our blog (because of how much trafffic we get)?





Apr 29, 2009

Abby Update & Wedding Dresses

Thank you so much for praying for us today. We are finally home after a very full day.

The tests went well. Some of the results were not what we hoped for, but overall it was a good day. Abby was well sedated for the procedures. After the months of enduring painful tests, we are thankful she was comfortable. I was with her the whole time. She was still, didn't appear to be in any pain and doesn't even remember the procedure. Praise God!

There were NO cancer cells were found in her bone marrow or spinal fluid!

Brent and I were very relieved to hear Abby is still in remission. Brent and I will never forget how we felt in July when Abby was first diagnosed with cancer. To hear that Abby continues to respond to the chemo is a precious gift. Every day is treasured. Every hug, every kiss and every single smile is a blessing from God.

The news we weren't expecting is that Abby's immune system is VERY low. Their goal is for her to have an ANC of 1200-1500 (number that represents her immune system). A normal ANC for you and I is much higher than that. . Abby's ANC is 104. They went ahead and gave her IV chemo and chemo in her spinal fluid because those chemos don't work to lower her white blood cell count. They decided TO HOLD the daily chemo I usually give her every night. They hope we can give it to her again in a week or two, but won't restart it until her immune system working better.

Because of her low counts, we are back to being stuck at home. Abby can't eat raw fruits and vegetables (a HUGE deal for Abby, because they are her VERY favorite foods) and we are keeping everything as germ free as we can. When her ANC has been this low in the past, she ended up in the hospital with mucositis and infections. Even though Abby's g-tube has been removed, her doctor believes that the bacteria that caused the infection is still present in amounts that can hurt her when her ANC is low. We are praying she begins to recover quickly and can avoid hospitilization.

Brent and I are beyond thankful Abby's cancer is in remission. Abby is only 4 years old. She is sad that she is not able to go places and be with her friends. Mommy and Daddy know this will pass in a few weeks, but to Abby a few weeks seems like forever.

Please continue to pray for Abby's healing. Please also pray for that Abby would remain home and infection/complication free.

I would also love for you to pray that I can make this time fun for the kids, so the time will pass more quickly for her. I know for most of you spending a couple of weeks at home doesn't sound like a big deal but to our children (who have been either homebound or at the hospital for most of the last 10 months) it is difficult.


Sami and Abby love to play dress up. Here they have on
a combination of Ethiopian dresses, ballerina and wedding costumes.
I mean c'mon folks, I know they are our kids but puh-leeze...
aren't they just the cutest, most adorable little girls?

Apr 28, 2009

Update on Abby & Pray for Me, Pray for Others: April 29, 2009

Abby Update

Today is a big day for Abby... and a nerve racking day for Brent and I. Abby's doctor is doing a bone marrow biopsy on her, to look for cancer cells. Normally they do not do this test at the beginning of this phase of treatment, but because of Abby's unfavorable genetic markers, we need to make sure her cancer is still in remission.

She will also have a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) and have chemo injected into her spinal fluid, so they can protect her brain from cancer.

Both procedures can be painful, but Abby should be well sedated for them. Abby has been very hard to sedate in the past, but the medication they plan on giving her this time has worked well before.

We just found out the bone marrow test was going to be done. Brent will be at a meeting that can't be rescheduled, so I will be going alone. It is hard for both of us when he can't be there for the big procedures. He would much rather be there for Abby and me.

Please pray that:
  • Her bone marrow and spinal fluid are free of cancer.
  • She is pain free during the procedure.
  • Her white blood cell count is high enough that she will be able to go out in public and eat her very favorite food (salad)
  • For me (Michelle) to be calm before and during the procedure. If I am stressed, it makes ABBY nervous. Kids are so stinkin' smart and Abby reads me like a book. I don't want to make it harder for Abby.

Thank you so much for praying for us. I will be relieved when all of this is finished.

Pray for Me... Pray for Others

Brent: Facebook - Twitter . . . . . . . . . . . Michelle: Facebook - Twitter

Landis prays so sweetly for everyone in our entire family.


Pray for Me... Pray for Others is where we all get to pray for each other. It is obvious, and we don't pretend otherwise, that we cannot give full attention to every request and comment we receive. This feature on Wednesdays is a time we ask YOU for help praying for others, as they pray for you.

Pray for Me... Pray for Others is pretty simple:
  1. List a short prayer request for YOU, and a link for more detail if needed.
  2. Then submit a prayer request for someone else, or some other situation that you know about. Include a link for them if available. Be specific.
Be specific... provide a link for more information if available. I'm sure that other people will be VERY blessed to have you request prayer for them, and include a link to their blog so that those praying can visit them.

Questions? If you have suggestions or feedback to make this work better, don't hesitate to email me: brent@brentriggs.com

Pray for us:

See the list above

Pray for these folks:

Adam - Kayleigh's doctors have no hope for recovery. Please pray for a miracle! http://kayleighannefreeman.blogspot.com/2009/04/42109-please-lord-help-us.html

Amy and Philip - http://ourdailyblessinglife-amyb.blogspot.com/ Please pray that Amy will be healed, that her cancer would be in remission. Pray also that her son, Philip, would be free of seizures and pain. Both Philip and Amy have major surgeries scheduled soon. Dealing with cancer alone is unbelievable difficult. I can't imagine fighting cancer and preparing my son for a major brain surgery. Amy is an incredible mom. Please pray for my precious friend.

Pray for Me... Pray for Others - Instructions:
  1. Use the form below to enter your prayer requests. You must enter an "identity", and put something in at least one of the "pray for me" or "pray for others" in order to be included (links to blogs are not required).
  2. If you link to YOUR blog, please include the following HTML in a post on your blog so that we can create a linked network of prayers (your link will allow others to find us, and be able to participate; make sure you are in HTML mode when pasting this code).

  3. Put out an email or post on your blog and encourage everyone you know to come and join us in prayer.
  4. Look over the list and pray as God leads. Come back and visit the list two or three times today as it will grow all day long.
Remember... if you don't take the time to pray for others, then on what basis can you really expect God to lead others to pray for you? I created this with "community" in mind - pray for you, pray for me, pray for others - so that we are both giving and receiving as a community which is far more spiritually productive than simply wanting everyone to pray on our behalf.

Truth is, many people do not have a community they can ask for prayer. We hope to become that community for them.








Let me know if you have suggestions or questions about Pray for Me... Pray for Others. If this is a blessing to you, please leave a comment and let us all know.

Mud Puddle Thunderstorm Pics

We had a classic Spring thunderstorm blow through and dump a couple of inches of rain. The kids begged me to go outside and play. Abby went out too, but before I could get a picture of her having fun, she got cold and wanted to go in.


SpideyLandis did an episode of AquaMan. Michelle wouldn't let me
show you the great pics of his glorious buttcrack that made a grand
entrance a few minutes later.

Sami enjoyed it even more than the little ones. She started out slow...

... but soon was going all out enjoy the puddle. It didn't take her long
to make sure Landis was wet head to toe.

SpideyLandis was in hog heaven. He would have slept in that mud
puddle if we would have let him.

A classic thunderhead exploding in the Oklahoma sky.
The clouds grow tens of thousands of feet in minutes and unless you
10-20 miles away you can't hope to get more than a small
portion in the camera lens.

Abby was actually having a lot of fun too, but by the time I got
the camera, she was shivering and cold asking to go back in the house.

Laughter Lives Tuesday & the Truth About True or Not True

True or Not True? My Travel Day from Hades

You know, the thing that makes a good story a good story is that it COULD be true. Most people thought the whole story was true; a few folks got the truth backwards, but a hand full of you savvy hounds couldn't be persuaded.

The airport stuff is all true except for the car getting towed. The highway rescue? Not so much. Completely fabricated except for the thunderstorm part.

I had a lot of fun with this type of post, and it seems you guys did too. I look forward to the next one.

Laugher Lives Tuesday

If you haven't seen the April Issue of Serious.Life Magazine be sure to check it out... or if you only got to look at part of it, now's a good time to revisit the issue. I'll be putting up the first "new format issue" some time next week.

Laughter LivesLaugher Lives Tuesday is a day when we all get to look forward to a good laugh. No rules, no stress, just OPEN SEASON FUNNY!

Your post can be about whatever you want, just make it funny so we can all have a good laugh. I could use a good laugh. How about you?

Pics, videos, jokes, stories... stuff about you or your own family... stuff off the Internet... WHATEVER.

Our Laughter Lives

From Brent:

Last night I was looking for my water bottle. I’m trying to kick the soft drink habit so I carry about a big one liter water bottle all the time.

I had it at dinner time and realized I left it on the table at the mercy of the kids who were cleaning up after we ate. I go back to the kitchen, no bottle. Look in the sink and dishwasher, no bottle. Poke through the trash, no bottle.

“Garrett, what did you guys do with my water bottle?” Predictable answer: I didn’t do anything with it.

I track down Sami. “Sami, where did you guys put my water bottle when you cleaned the kitchen.”

Again predictable, ”Nowhere Daddy, promise. I didn’t do anything with it.”

“Christian!” I was on the right path now. My oldest son (living at home) is famous for such things. “What did you do with my water bottle? And don’t say ‘nuthin’.”

“I didn’t touch it Dad. I didn’t even clean off the table.”

“Well isn’t that wonderful” I announce loud enough for all the kids to hear. “That water bottle just grew legs and ran away all by itself” I proclaim, marching down the hallway into our bedroom.

I walked in the bedroom and my wife was sitting on the little loveseat we have in our room. “Those kids… “ I said exasperated, “Nothing is safe around here. They…”

As I walk over to sit down on the far side of the love seat, I look over on “my side” where I typically set my stuff, like books, or my laptop or my… my… oh, my…guess what was sitting there? Yep, there’s my water bottle. And the only person who could have possibly put it there is yours truly.

So, like the good father I am, I get up, walk to the bedroom door… and as I close it, yell down the hallway, “I better not find out who took my water bottle!”

“You’re awful!” my wife said trying hard not to laugh, but not very hard.

Okay, now it's YOUR turn.

Here's how you get your link on our blog for "Laughter Lives Tuesday!":
  • Go to your blog, create a new post for "Laugher Lives Tuesday!". Start by copying and pasting all the following HTML code at the beginning your post. (NOTE: Make sure you are in HTML mode or view when you paste in HTML code!):

  • Then, use the form down at the bottom of this post to enter the title of your BLOG (not your post, your blog), and the link to your blog, or the blog post, either one. (if you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment, but we would prefer you put up a post if you have a blog.)
That's it! You'll be linked in today's entries and we'll have a fun and inspiring list of "Laughter Lives" posts for everyone to read!

Can't wait to read your blog posts for "Laughter Lives Tuesday!"



Apr 27, 2009

True or Not True? Travel Day in Hades



[Note: “True or Not True” is a blog post where I tell a story about something that has (or maybe hasn’t) happened to our family. The fun is that you get to decide whether it is all true, all false, or partially true. Nobody believes half the crazy stuff that happens to us anyway, so we thought we should at least get to enjoy it! ~ Brent]

Last week, I (Brent) had to travel to Charleston on business. I’ve traveled a thousand times but nothing would prepare me for what I was about to experience.

To set the mood for the trip, on my departing flight I walk up to the ticket counter, “hi sir, do you have any bags to check?”

As a matter of fact, I did. But I didn’t have them with me. I had parked, waited for a shuttle, got on the shuttle, made the trip to the terminal, walked in the terminal, waited in line, got to the counter only to realize I had left my bag in the car. Now I was looking at being late for my flight too. So I ran back out, caught a shuttle and did the whole thing again. Fortunately, I was able to get through ticketing and security quickly and I made my flight.

Whew! At least I had all the bad stuff over with and the rest of my trip would be routine, right? Wrong.

I get to Charleston. I get off the plane. I go get my rental car. I drive over to the hotel. I check in. I go to my room. See anything missing in that sentence? Yep! I forgot my bag AGAIN!

So I hustle back to the airport and have to park my car at the curb hoping it won’t get towed as I sprinted into the Terminal praying my bag would still be there. I found it sitting out all alone with two other bags that were obviously unclaimed too. I snatched it up and ran back to the car which was of course… gone. AAAAAAHHHHHHHH! With ten minutes it had been towed because I was parked in one of the places where you are not allowed to leave the car unattended.

With bag in hand (I wasn’t going to forget it again), I trekked over to the car rental counter to discover that they tow rentals back to the company who owns them, so I just had to pay a big fine and I could get another car. I pulled out my wallet… my wallet… oh, crud… my wallet was in my briefcase in my hotel room. In my haste to get back to the airport, I had run out and forgot it. (I keep my wallet in my briefcase when I fly so that I can go through the metal detectors with no problems). This was getting almost comical now. I go out and BEG a cabbie to give me ride back to the hotel, promising to pay him when I get my wallet from my room. I think the only reason he believed me was because no one could possibly make up a story that good.

Fast forward a few days on the day I returned…

I pull up to turn in my car rental return and the only parking spot is THE LAST space in the last parking lot furthest from the terminal. Oh well, I need the exercise so I grabbed my briefcase AND MY BAG and march up the lot. I get inside the terminal to find that Delta is the VERY LAST ticket counter on the opposite side of airport. You notice a pattern starting to form here? Walk, walk, walk… I get to the counter and check my bags and head for security only to find out it is back on the OTHER FAR SIDE of the terminal where I originally entered. Hey, I wanted to start getting in shape, so here’s a jumpstart, right? No big deal.

I make my way through the predictably slow moving security line, and guess where my gate is located? You guessed it… the LAST gate in the terminal. I’m working up a good sweat by now and feeling sorry for whoever has to sit next to me on a trip I was already dreading: two long layovers on a flight that usually had one layover and took about 4 hours. This flight had two stops, and would take almost 11 hours. Fun.

We take off and land in Atlanta. Do we taxi right up to the gate and get off? Of course not. We sit on the runway for 30-40 minutes. Do we then proceed to a convenient gate location? Of course not. We pull up to the ________ gate in the terminal. Go ahead, fill in the blank. I’ll give you ONE guess. The LAST gate.

Now, if you’ve ever been to Atlanta, you know it’s a LONG walk from one concourse to the train, to another concourse. I’m now in danger of not getting to my other flight on time. I’m in concourse D and the next flight is in concourse E. My legs are aching about the time I reach the train but I make it - glad that I only had to go to the NEXT concourse. Wrong again. The train was traveling in descending order, so I had to go to C, B, A and all the way around back to E.

I get off on concourse E just KNOWING that my gate could not possibly be the LAST one in the terminal AGAIN. What do you think I’m going to say next? I know you think I’m lying. I was at the VERY LAST gate in the concourse. Holy cow… I was about to cramp out already. Nonetheless, I endured and made it to my gate only to find my flight had been delayed over an hour and I could have taken my sweet time getting there if only I had checked the Departures board first. I was still feeling triumphant that I got my bag checked, and now I had some good exercise too. All was well as I tried to humor myself with the thought of having some great blog material to write about.

Once we begin to board I hear the announcement, “now boarding Zone One”. I checked my ticket to see that I was in Zone Nine. Guess how many zones there were? No matter, I was getting on the flight even if I was last and except for a stop in St. Louis, was headed home.

We land in St. Louis. You think I’m going to say we were at the last gate again, don’t you? Well, I’m not. We were in the NEXT TO LAST gate! No problem. St. Louis is not that big of an airport, unless you land in Terminal “A” and leave from another terminal which of course I was. I had to go to “D” terminal but couldn’t figure out how to get there until a Delta employee informed me “oh, when you come into ‘A’ and fly out another terminal, you have to leave security, walk to the other side of the airport, and go back through security all over again.” Arrrrggghhhh!!!!! It’s true… look it up.

I’m already less than :30 minutes from missing this flight so I’m facing cardiac arrest to make this happen. But I did. I got out, then back in through security, and got to my gate (not quite the LAST gate, but close) hustling up to it expecting to run on to the plane as the door was shutting. Delayed. They had just determined some “security thing” needed to be finished and decided to delay almost an hour. At least I could go to the bathroom and catch my breath.

Well, I finally land in Oklahoma City. Home sweet home… close to it anyway, I still had a :45 minute drive. I did NOT forget my bag this time and it was going to be smooth sailing to hugs and a warm, soft bed. Wrong again... as it turns out, my day had only begun.

I’m driving home down I-35. It’s dark and raining. A thunderstorm had passed through and another appeared to be on the way. There are sections of the highway that are pretty well lit and it was one of these stretches where I saw a woman, in the rain, trying to change a tire. No matter what is going on, that is just not something I can drive by and ignore. I didn’t care about getting wet, I was already sweaty, stinky and tired, so what’s a little rain going to hurt? I pulled over, and backed up towards her.

She had stopped on the upslope of an over pass, and you had to park your car with one set of wheels off in the grass pretty close to where a steep hill started. I get out, walk around my car and toward hers. About this time an 18 wheeler comes blowing by and the gust of wind knocks her car off the jack. Either she had put the jack under the wrong spot on the car, or had placed it on soft ground instead of the road. Either way, her car kind of teeters for a second, then the jack tips over. The woman immediately runs towards me screaming as the back end of her car starts sliding towards and slipping down this wet overpass hill. Like a slow motion movie, the car begins to gain momentum and then just “whoosh!” down the hill it goes about 30-40 yards I estimated. I kept expecting it to turn and roll over but it stayed straight and ends up butt first in a heavy stream of water that had formed from the storm.

Meanwhile, the poor lady is screaming bloody murder because apparently her three year old is still in the car. At least the car didn’t flip, and hopefully the kid was in a car seat. I take off down the hill, wade into the knee deep water and get the door open. Yes, the kid was in a car seat, thank heavens. It was almost cartoonish to see water and mud pour into her car when I opened the door. It was like something you’d see in a movie, not experience in real life. I got the child from the car seat, who seemed amazingly oblivious to the whole situation, and had the presence of mind to notice her purse and diaper bag. I grabbed all that and slogged my way back up the hill. By this time, the poor woman didn’t care a thing about her car and was, understandably, only concerned to see her child was safe.

As it turned out, she lived in the same direction I was going, so I waited around for the tow truck to pull her car out and take it off wherever they take flooded cars, and gave her a ride home. She found the whole thing pretty funny (given that her child was safe) which was remarkable to me, and we both agreed it would definitely be a great story to tell the next day.

Believe it or not, I made it home with no further adventure or delay. It’s been pretty boring since then.

That’s my travel story and it happened just last week. What do you think? All true? None true? Some true? Leave a comment and let us know.

~ Brent

Open Season Answers From Brent

Rachael....chanan7@gmail.com asked:
I see that you are a busy professional blogger...etc, I have always wanted a 3 column blog, but I am not sure how to accomplish that. We also have a website www.iamgreenonline.com and I want to get someone else to work on it and also download it to another webhost. Can you help or can you direct me to someone who is willing to help us at a cheaper rate. We have a great product, but this site was not only to make the public aware, but to also help us pay on our adoption expenses. Please Help...

You can do a Google search for “three column Blogger templates” and you’ll find plenty, many of them free. As for finding web help at a cheaper rate, I’m not sure what you consider cheap. There are LOTS of people doing basic web stuff nowadays. If you ask around with the people you know and put the word out you’re looking for someone, you’ll probably get your choice. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone reads this from our blog and contacts you.

Sissy asked:
How do you feel or believe about divorces among Christians (reasons other than fornication) and then when they remarry, is that ok with Christ? Is it still unto death we do part that we are united to that person or are you free to go on and remarry in Gods eyes?

Since you ask the question “is that okay with Christ”, I’ll answer that God has given us His Written Word in the Bible, and the only thing we can say for sure is “okay with Christ” is what we can clearly find in Scripture. The rest, we are left to pray about and follow our own conscience, and then personally answer to God for those choices.

The Bible allows divorce for adultery and abandonment. In both cases, the “victim” is free to remarry only another Christian. The “guilty” party is not free to remarry. That is the nutshell of what the Bible teaches on the matter.

MY OPINION: As for those people who divorced for a reason not mentioned or allowed in Scripture and have remarried, they should NOT seek a divorce. God does not call us to disobey Him in order to go back and fix a sin. In other words, we are not to divorce now and say we are just trying to get back to some point of obedience because we never should have remarried in the first place. (I’ve seen people use this logic because what they really want is to be out of their 2nd marriage). Christians are to seek to obey God TODAY, in whatever situation they have found themselves in.

For those who are currently divorced for a reason not allowed in Scripture and not already remarried, if you are a Christian, the answer is categorically “NO”: you cannot simply remarry anyway and expect it to be pleasing to Christ. You are directly disobeying Him… how can that be pleasing? It doesn’t matter what we think or feel about this Biblical mandate. It is clear, and to ignore cannot please God. It’s not easy. Often we feel it’s too hard.

Most people, and pretty much all non-Christians, see the Bible’s commands about marriage to be punitive and unfair. They are not. They are intended to convey to Christians the seriousness of marriage, and make us award of how much God hates divorce. They are there to help us choose divorce only as a last resort, understanding what the consequences are. The destruction of the longevity and commitment of marriage destroys society, a fact we can well see in America today. Marriage is THE basic building block of human community, and to treat it lightly and casually is to invite all sorts of societal breakdown (again, something we clearly see in America and the West today). People, and even alarming number of Christians, view marriage like this: “if I’m happy, I’m committed; God doesn’t want me to be unhappy”. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked or heard “so you think God wants me to be unhappy the rest of my life?” I think God wants us to obey His Word and wait for His promise to bless us and care for us.

I truly wish I could tell some Christian who is divorced unBiblically to go ahead and remarry – just don’t make the same mistake again – but that would be clearly defying what the Bible states in plain language.

Sam asked:
You said we can ask anything LOL - how do you feel about circumcision? I know people of Jewish faith do it for religious purposes, is there anything in the New Testament that speaks either for or against it?

No, there is no New Testament command or implication either way. It is a matter of liberty for parents to decide for themselves. It is a matter of conscience.

JG asked:
Brent, Why do you think men are more reluctant or more skeptical to believe in God?

Twenty years ago I might agree with your premise, but anymore, I don’t think men are more prone to reject God. I think it’s pretty equal now in a society that has been raised to be skeptical about God and the Bible. In the past (25-75 years ago) I think maybe we just created a bit of an environment where it was considered “women’s work” to care for the family spiritually. Some might argue that it is harder for men because we approach it more logically, while women rely more on feeling and emotion (as a general rule). We are created in God’s image and He instill us with both: logic and emotion, intelligence and feeling.

Rejecting God on either basic (logic or feeling) is a blunder. There is irrefutable and undeniable logical and intelligent evidence that supports God’s existence, and the Bible as His supernaturally delivered Word. Rejecting God based solely on feeling is just careless and frankly, stupid. You want to risk your eternity based on your feelings? And yet, I cannot count the number of people who write me and say “I don’t care what you think; I FEEL LIKE God loves everyone and I KNOW IN MY HEART He would never send someone to hell.” Okay then, have it your way… base your eternal destination on what YOU FEEL while ignoring the evidence to the contrary.

I would never want to base my medical care on FEELING. I want to base it on feeling PLUS evidence, logic and fact. I’m not going to build my business on FEELING; I want to use feeling PLUS evidence, logic, principles and fact. I could name a dozen more things but you get the point. If I’m unwilling to base THIS life on subjective and often WRONG feelings, why in the world would I base my eternity on what I FEEL rather than making the effort to find out and consider the facts, logic and evidence? I’m amazed at how flippant and careless people are about their eternal destination.

People may feel good NOW appearing to be tolerant and “loving” by saying “I feel like God will accept everyone” but they are tossing their eternal destiny to the winds of their emotions based on NOTHING but their gut feeling. In that case, of course we FEEL LIKE “all roads lead to heaven”. To say anything less will invite both scrutiny and criticism. But the fact is our feelings are not trustworthy (by themselves) about many (most?) things, much less eternity.

On the other hand, you cannot come to a true relationship with God based solely on an intellectual or logical effort. It takes both: understanding and heart; emotion and logic; feelings and intellect. The FACTS compel us to believe and our HEART allows us to take that step of faith.

JG asked:
What happened to the answers to the adoption questions? Did I miss them?

Michelle is working on them. She wants to answer them all, but is just now finding time to really get to them after the long hard months of being in the hospital with Abby.

Deanne asked:
My husband and I are really frustrated with the reaction from others, especially Christians, about our choice to adopt a child from Ethiopia. My husband is to the point that when someone asks The Question all adoptive parents cringe at “why don’t you adopt from the US?” that he now just growls and walks away. Do you all have any suggestions?

Not really. That question is just one of several that are frustrating. You are never going to make everyone happy, so it’s really futile to even worry about it. If someone is particularly aggressive with that question, ask them “if you are so concerned why don’t YOU adopt someone domestically?” If that person has adopted domestically and is forcing their preference on you basically all you can say is “we feel like God wanted us to adopt from Ethiopia, and we are just obeying Him the best we know how.”

The one comment that my wife and I have to bite our tongue about (and it’s usually said innocently) is “so you have four REAL children and three adopted?” or “so four our YOURS and three are adopted?” I know what people really mean so we don’t get too bothered, but that is one of the comments that grinds on us a bit.

Deanne asked:
Hello, we are a family in WV. We have three boys and are in the process of adopting a little girl that is six months old from Ethiopia. I am a huge child advocate and HIV advocate. I was reading *Too Small To Ignore* by Dr. Wess Stafford. He mentioned there was no Childrens Hall of Fame anymore. I was so inspired that I created a Childrens Blog of Fame, since of course we cant actually build one. I am also wondering as is the reader above how to get more readers interested in this blog.

Getting people interested in a blog is simple: you consistently write good content, and you get the word out: email, commenting on other blogs, participating in forums, using social sites like Facebook and Twitter. There is no MAGIC, quick solution and beware of anyone who offers one. It’s a waste of time and money. It takes good old fashioned time and effort. It’s the snowball effect. Just start with a little, and start rolling it around. It will pick up size and momentum as you go, but you have to do the hard work in the beginning.

Amie asked:
Need some Biblical answers. Both my husband and I were born again Christians but walked away November 2007 after serious complications with the birth of our son. The pastors wife told the congregation the reason why we went through this was because we weren’t tithing our 10%. We totally don’t understand why this happened and we WANT to know where we can go in the bible that we weren’t being punished. Were we can find some peace.

First of all, I will say categorically that this “Pastor’s wife” is shameful and manipulative. She will face God personally for this kind of egregious spiritual abuse.

For those of you who would like some Bible answers about tithing, here’s what I’ve written on it:
http://www.seriousfaith.com/asr/question.asp?questionid=2540
http://www.seriousfaith.com/asr/question.asp?questionid=1325
http://www.seriousfaith.com/asr/question.asp?questionid=648

Are there times when Christians may suffer physical ailment because of sin? Apparently so since the Bible plainly says some people were sick and died because they were not participating in Communion in the manner which God asked. (1Corinthians 11:27) But the New Testament does not teach the commonly held notion that if you are suffering IT MUST BE BECAUSE you have some specific sin you are being punished for.

Sometimes we suffer the consequences of sin, of course. A pregnant mother doing drugs, smoking and getting drunk may birth a child with big problems. Is that being punished for sin? In a very real sense, yes. What about the wasteful, lazy person who finds themselves in poverty and hunger? Are they suffering because of their own specific sin? Yes. The principle here is clear and easy to identify.

Other parents may have children who get sick or have physical problems who are simply suffering the GENERAL consequences of sin… what I mean is this: when Adam and Eve sinned, they introduced the sin curse into all creation. Because of it, we get sick, we die, we suffer. One day, this sin curse will be removed and there will be no more suffering or sickness. In the mean time, every human, good or bad, saved or unsaved lives with the consequences of the physical curse of sin that causes sickness, disease and heartache. It’s a fact we are all painfully aware of.

Unless there is compelling and clear evidence (like the pregnant drug addict) to say “you are suffering from your sinful choices”, it is outside the realm of humans to be able to determine WHY things happen like what you experienced (except to generically say is it because we ALL have to live with the curse of sin and what it has done to humanity).

You need to find a sound group of spiritually mature Christians who will love you and show you real Christianity. There is a shameful amount of this kind of spiritual abuse by self-proclaimed Christian leaders who twist Scripture to get people to do what they want (often it is to get them to give money).

jpjack2@msn.com asked:
In photography, how can I get my backgrounds “blurry” while keeping the main object sharp? I am a a pre-beginner! Have regular Kodak digital camera and 7 gorgeous grandchildren for subjects!! Thank you so much!

This is difficult to do with a common pocket digital. Much of this ability comes from the camera lens which is just beyond what a pocket camera lens is capable of. The blurriness is caused by the size of the aperture opening of the lens which focuses on a foreground object and is “out of focus” on the background (blurry). You can get a little bit of this effect by shooting close to your subject and having the objects in the background far in the distance. That’s about as close as you will get with a pocket digital. You really need a DSLR with the right lenses to get this effect consistently.

You can manually blur the backgrounds with an image editor, but no matter how good you are with something like Photoshop, it never looks as good, or as real, as an actual photo that has the blur because of the lens.

If you want to find out more, go to Canon’s site, and research the capabilities of lenses. This will help you understand this concept better.
http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ProductCatIndexAct&fcategoryid=111

Fairy Wonderful asked:
I am new at blogging and I need any advise I can get... how do I get more traffic to my blog??? I am a stay at home mom with 3 kids the last one being born 3 months early and unfortunately I don’t do this as a hobby it is my livelihood... so any advise would be much appreciated. Thanks!!

Read the comment above where I talk about getting more traffic. Also, here is a great free report to read to get you started:
http://chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/overnight-success/

Also, for the mechanics of blogging, and ideas on how to grow your blog, one of the best sites is http://www.problogger.com/

Dene asked:
The negative comments that you’ve posted made me wonder if anyone has ever said those types of things to your face and how you reacted if they did. I’m thinking specifically of the ones who questioned your decision to keep Abby in treatment. You’re so cordial in your answers, but I wondered if it was harder in person. Praying for you.

It’s actually easier in person because you don’t have people hiding behind anonymity. People are much less “brave” face to face, and usually we are able to give a kind answer that helps them understand that these tough decisions by hurting parents should not be second guessed and criticized by those who haven’t walked in their shoes.

Sue asked:
Hi again! Just repeating the question about creative ways for spouses and children to stay connected through deployments, and the effect of deployments on families, as we prepare for my husband’s second deployment with our 3 children. Thanks!

When I was deployed for Desert Storm it was for a year and a half. Back then we had the phone calls but even email was not common yet. We didn’t have texting, Twitter, Internet or cell phones. All of those are common today but of course your husband needs access to them. I’m not sure how much the military makes that kind of technology available. Can some of your current military families enlighten me on what it available to the deployed troops?

The most important thing I tell the families of the deployed is to immediately plug in and get hooked up with a “family” of other Christians who can support you, and help you with the loneliness. The Christian men in your community and church need to STEP UP and help be good male role models for your children, as well as assist you with “man” stuff you need done around the house and yard.

Hopefully, Dad will have access to the Internet occasionally, and you can share video calls, email and audio pretty easily. That is a huge blessing that was not available a decade or two ago.

My Roller Coaster Life asked:
Hi Brent, can you explain step by step how to create a blog badge? Thanks!

I’ll do a demo on this soon…

Pita (PPrincess2424@aol.com) asked:
Brent I want to ask you a question about drugs ! My Mother has been in the hospital for doing 14 times in the last year with being on the vent 7 times ...my question to you is my mother going to make it to heaven even though she is a drug addict ? How do I deal with my anger and not blame God? I have been struggling with this for a while and since you’re a godly man and I trust what you have to say I just wanted your outlook on this.

Thanks for the kind compliment and your trust in my opinion and judgment.

First, your mother’s salvation is dependent on one thing only: her obedient respond to God’s offer of eternal life on His terms. I am not, nor could be, the judge of whether someone is saved or not. We can look at the “fruit” of someone’s life and have some indication. In the same way I can see apples on a tree and say “that is an apple tree”, we can see the product of someone’s life and have some idea of whether or not they are a “Christian tree”.

If your mother’s life is showing no “fruit” that would give you reason to believe she is a “Christian tree”, then your first and foremost effort should be to proclaim the Gospel to her: you are a sinner and only God can rescue you from both the life, and the life to come. Speak God’s Word to her which is sharper than a razor and able to cut deep into her heart and show her the Truth.

Why would you be angry with God about your mother’s choices? That makes no more sense than you being mad at me for what your mother chooses. Why are you angry at all? Sad, yes. Disappointed, of course, but why angry? Your mother has just as much right to choose her own course in life as you do. And you have no more control over her than she does of you. You anger is simply a choice. Don’t be angry. And certainly don’t be angry at God who is waiting with open arms for your mother to repent and be saved. God deserves the OPPOSITE of anger from you, for He is waiting and hoping and desiring that your mother turn to Him.

Pray for her. Love her. Speak God’s Word to her. Don’t be angry. Rejoice that as long as she has breath, God is waiting for her with open arms.

Melanie asked:
My husband’s family is very different from mine, they are not as touchy feely and can be a little flaky. I would love to talk to them all the time (they live a few hours away), but sometimes they don’t even call us back when we call them. They even reacted poorly when they found out we were pregnant with #3 and #4. I’m a really busy mom with 4 kids under 5yrs old, but I want to make time for them. Can you tell me what is the Christian way to react/reach out/respond to them? Thanks!

Relationship is a two way street. Our parents (or any of our family) are PEOPLE too just like us, with all their quirks and problems. Sometimes our family is not nice. Sometimes they are bums and downright mean. People are people.

I would say that you need to continue to reach out as “family” but if you think that “doing more” is going to change them, I’m afraid you will be disappointed. Sometimes we a choose a life (lots of kids and activity) that others in our family don’t like or don’t enjoy, and that’s just “life”.

The “Christian way” is to continue to honor them and offer to be a part of their lives, but if they don’t want it, or make it difficult, your first duty is to your husband and children, not parents. Ideally, it all works together and things are wonderful but sometimes we have parents who are difficult, selfish, manipulative, demanding and hard to please. That’s just reality. Only THEY can change how they behave. Your only Christian duty is to continue to be loving, make reasonable attempts to include them in “family” togetherness and make reasonable accommodations for their particular quirks. But when those quirks becomes Unreasonable, it is not incumbent on you to bend to the whims of others. Be kind, be loving, offer to include them, make an effort… past that, focus on your children and husband and just accept that the other is what it is. It’s a little disappointing when we have to finally accept that our parents (or some other family member) isn’t going to be the ideal we hoped for, but again, that’s just part of life that we cannot change, therefore we shouldn’t try or eat up our emotions with it.

Gary asked:
I don’t see much about your life history. Can you give us the 60 second, bullet point version of your life? Where you’ve been, what you’ve done, highlights of your life, what you’ve accomplished, what failed; don’t be bashful or humble. I think those of us who read your blog would know you better this way.

Michelle will have to answer this one for herself if she wants, but I’ll do a rapid fire version of my life. So to the best of my memory, here is a rapid fire highlight nutshell of my life:

Born in Clinton Oklahoma. Dad in the Army. Mom managed day care centers. We were never in day care though. Public schools. Typical childhood. Playing. Fun. Chores. Had a dog named Skipper. Fought with my twin brother a lot. High school in Claremore, Oklahoma. Competitive tennis from age 15 which I still do now. Played softball for decades. Above average in whatever sports I played. Was the “artist” in our school. Always knew I’d do something with art. Managed restaurants at age 19. A year of art school but computers came out so I dropped out to learn graphics on my own. Went into the Army. Drill Sergeant for many years. Desert Storm. Got married. Worked on the Space Shuttle for 5 years, 29 launches. Black belt in Kenpo. Learned to play the guitar. My first real graphics design job with Lockheed. Active in church, taught and spoke often. Led worship for many years. Sang in Southern Gospel groups most of my life. Lived in North Carolina building houses for a while then moved back to Oklahoma. Suffered through the heartache of unwanted divorce. Started writing. A fanatic at reading and self educating. Learned web development, programming and database. Together with graphics and photography, started creating my own websites and blogs. Helped start several businesses. Continued learning business and technology. More writing. Routine teaching, mentoring and consulting. Started some magazines and online stuff. Got married. Adopted kids. Live in a very small town, work from a home office. Write daily, teach, speak, create things. Love my family. Very happy… to be continued.

That’s probably more than you ever wanted to know, and there’s a WHOLE LOT more I didn't bore you with… if you have any other questions about my “life”, I’m happy to answer.

One thing I’ve learned in my short 40 something years… my life is neither more important or more significant – or less important or less significant – than the lives of 20 billion other people who have lived and died. So I’m pretty transparent about my life, good or bad. My only hope is that something I have done or will do, will make some difference in a few lives for the good.

Brent Riggs asked:
Do you think anyone will have any questions today?

I hope so. I love answering questions. What I can’t figure out is why you ask yourself questions that you then answer for yourself. That’s kind of weird isn’t it?


Apr 25, 2009

Sunday Morning Ministry: April 25, 2009

Blessed Lord's Day morning to you!

For those of you who may be at home with sick children or some other reason you are unable to meet with other local Believers, I've prepared a message for your encouragement and edification.

For those who would like to listen, here is an audio version, and the written version is below. It's not professional quality, but I hope it will suffice.

  • Be sure to sign the GUEST BOOK so we evaluate how useful this ministry tool is over time.

  • There is a blog badge below for the "Riggs Family Sunday Morning Ministry" if you want to post it on your blog so others can find out about it.


Help Me in My Un-Whatever!
Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (NKJV)

I read that verse for the ten thousandth time this weekend, and it struck me: if God can help my unbelief, can't He help me with my other un-whatevers?

You'll find a lot of funny made-up words in this message - on purpose. I hope they make the point. This message is NOT an exposition of Mark 9:24 so don't read it that way. The verse just caused me to think about all the areas where I struggle with having a solid, confident, tangible level of faith-belief-victory.

My revelation/question may seem more like "duh!" to you, but for me it was very striking. Not just as a surface thought, but really down deep where I fail and struggle with various aspects of sanctification and discipline. I wondered, "if God can help the unbelief of a father and his dead child, will He not help me where I fall short deep down in the heart of my faith, discipline, wisdom and sanctification?"

Here's some of the areas I considered:

Help me in my unbelief

Help me in my unbelief with regards to your promises guide to provide, protect, guide and overcome temptation. Help me in my unbelief that all things work together for good for those that love you. Help me in my unbelief that sacrifice now, is worth the eternal reward later.

Help me in my unforgiveness

Help me in my unforgiveness when I feel slighted and criticized by others. Help me in my unforgiveness when I am overlooked. Help me in my unforgiveness when someone takes advantage of me. Help me in my unforgiveness when I feel like it's not my fault. Help me in my unforgiveness when I'm mad at the other person, and have a right to be. Help me in my unforgiveness even when I have every reason to withhold forgiveness, humanly speaking.

Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (NKJV)

Help me in my uncompassion

Help me in my uncompassion towards those who aren't "helping themselves". Help me in my uncompassion towards those I can't see, but should be thinking about anyway. Help me in my uncompassion towards those who don't do anything to earn it. Help me in my uncompassion when it hasn't made any difference in the past. Help me in my uncompassion when I'm too busy thinking of my own problems. Help me in my uncompassion because I'm not paying attention or don't care enough to care.

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; (NKJV)

Help me in my unpatience

Help me in my unpatience when I don't think the other person is trying hard enough. Help me in my unpatience when I'm more concerned about what I want to do. Help me in my unpatience when I'm tired or don't feel well. Help me in my unpatience caused by my own selfishness. Help me in my unpatience when it's not something that is very important to me. Help me in my unpatience when it doesn't benefit me personally.

James 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (NKJV)

Help me in my undiscipline

Help me in my undiscipline when I make excuses for it. Help me in my undiscipline when I get my priorities out of line. Help me in my undiscipline when my flesh would have me be lazy and wasteful. Help me in my undiscipline when I'm tempted to exchange hours of my life that could count for something, for meaningless and useless activity (or lack of it).

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (NKJV)

Help me in my unhotness

Help me in my unhotness when lukewarmness is easier. Help me in my unhotness when lukewarmness is more popular. Help me in my unhotness when lukewarmness is of greater benefit to me. Help me in my unhotness when being cold would allow me to slip by unnoticed. Help me in my unhotness when being cold would allow me to avoid something uncomfortable. Help me in my unhotness when being cold opens the door to a fleshly indulgence.

Revelation 3:16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (NKJV)

Help me in my unholiness

Help me in my unholiness when I've been so focused on me, my life looks like "me" instead of Christ. Help me in my unholiness when I've chosen the flesh over the spirit. Help me in my unholiness when those around me cannot tell much difference between me and the world. Help me in my unholiness when my checkbook shows I care more about what I want, and less about what God wants. Help me in my unholiness when my daily life is devoid of sacredness and devotion.

1 Thessalonians 4:7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. (NKJV)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
But that's just me... what do you need help with?

Note: As is often the case, the Lord gave me an object lesson about what I wrote here. Shortly after writing this, I found out a certain fellow was unfairly criticizing me over some work. It bothered me for a bit, until God got my attention, and predictably brought to my mind, “hey, why don’t you practice what you preach?”

So I immediately prayed and asked God, “help me in my unforgiveness towards this person”. I can tell you with 100% honesty, that it was about 7 hours later I realized that starting THE MOMENT I prayed, I hadn’t had one single thought about that person, and even now, I only thought of it for a second to realize the God had answered my prayer, and “helped me in my unforgiveness”.

    Open Season Answers by Michelle

    Molly asked:
    How did your hospital meet Abby’s psychological needs, ie explaining procedures so she wasn’t scared, keeping her spirits up, etc. Do they have a person for that? I’m interested in working in Pediatric Oncology from a psychological standpoint, like a support person for parents and children...

    As for keeping up her spirits and familiarizing Abby with what was going to happen, our hospital has a wonderful Child Life Specialist, Kristen. Every time Abby had a new procedure she would bring in picture of where it would take place, of the equipment and talk about what would happen (from Abby's perspective). Then when she could she would bring in actual medical supplies, so that Abby and her could pretend to be the doctors and nurses (Sami was usually the "patient"). All disposable equipment would be left with Abby so she could play with it as much as she wanted to. Abby and Sami has logged in hours of play time with the treasures Kristen left them.

    Kristen with Abby

    When she was first diagnosed, Kristen also brought in tiny pieces of candy, in varying sizes, so Abby could learn to swallow pills in a nonthreatening way. Abby is now great at swallowing pills and the skill has made things much easier for her.

    Abby's nurses and doctors also spent time helping Abby feel comfortable and less scared. Abby loves all of her nurses and doctors.

    As for her emotional needs, Brent and I knew from the beginning Abby would have many potentially painful and/or scary procedures. We knew she would need to take a thousand doses of medication and we will spend many hours in the clinic and hospital. Our goal from day one was to help her be confident and secure while she fights cancer. Does Abby like pain? No. Would she rather be home having fun? Of course! But, praise God, Abby handles the tough stuff really well and is able to have a lot of fun while she is at the hospital and clinic.

    Brent and I spend a lot of time holding, comforting and playing with Abby. To make things easier for her, we want to teach her to handle everything she is going through. It is a pretty amazing to watch a sweet, beautiful, 4 year old girl fight cancer like the champion she is. You could say that we specifically took responsibility for her emotional and spiritual health.

    Mary (in MN) asked:
    I understand through your blog that Abby gets daily chemo and that Michelle is able to give it to her (what a blessing that is). How often does she have to go to the clinic to have blood work etc done?

    Most children, at this stage of treatment, only have to go to the clinic once a month, for blood work and to get IV chemo. They also get periodically chemo injected into their spinal column. Because of the complications Abby has had, her doctor wants her to be seen ever week, for an exam and blood work. She is being very cautious with Abby and I appreciate her doing it. The hope is that Abby will be able to go less frequently eventually.

    Abby also has to follow up with other specialists to monitor for complications.

    No name asked:
    Does Sami still speak Amharic (or whatever local language she spoke while in Ethiopia)at all?

    Sami still understands Amharic and speaks some. She can do it, but it is sometimes hard for her to "find" the right words. We try to encourage her to call her friends who were adopted from Ethiopia, but during some of the harder times with Abby, we weren't as good with that as I wish we were. She is now reconnecting with them and enjoying renewing her friendships.

    Kristin asked:
    How do you feed such a large family with probably very different tastes? Can you share a favorite recipe that everyone loves?

    I laughed when I read this question. We have been blessed with many, many friends bring us hot meals and frozen food. Until just recently my cooking has consisted of setting out meals others have brought. It feels wonderful to begin to prepare food for my family again, although the food people brought was wonderful.

    We serve meals that always have something each person likes, but we do not run a restaurant. If you are picky at our house you will be very hungry. Sami, when she first came home, didn't "like" cooked veggies, salad or many fruits. We always require the kids to eat a small helping of foods that are good for them. Now Sami loves salad and fruit. She even asked for salad for breakfast yesterday. :-)

    We account for the fact that occasionally there will be a food each kids just genuinely does not like… but we don’t tolerate picky eaters who want what they want and that’s it. It doesn’t hurt a kid to miss a meal if they are just being picky, and when they get hungry enough, like magic, all of sudden they like the food after all.

    Apr 24, 2009

    Can You Help?

    A sweet mother is remembering her angel baby Noah on his third birthday. She has a beautiful tradition of releasing balloons for him on his birthday and his angel day. She is asking that others release balloons in his honor and email her a picture of them doing it. details here

    Would you release a balloon for Noah? So many times we read sad stories about families who are hurting, but don't know how to help them. This is a beautiful way to reach out to a family who had to say goodbye to their son much sooner than they ever imagined they would.

    Thank you so much for remembering Noah.

    Open Season Friday: April 24, 2009

    Open Season Friday

    Open Season Friday's are when you ask us anything you want, and we post up several answers today and over the weekend.

    How many we answer really depends on how lengthy some of the answers are, and of course, what is going on with Abby.

    The list of submitted questions will tag along with THE NEWEST ANSWER POST, so that new questions can be added, and existing questions can be viewed.

    Ask your question using the form below. Obviously we won't be able to answer all questions... we'll just randomly answer whatever grabs us.

    Don't be bashful, ask anything you want... questions about:

    • our family, our life, adoption, cancer, parenting, marriage, marriage, family
    • blogging, photography, technology
    • marketing, personal finance
    • the Bible
    • what we do professionally...
    • ask for advice
    • WHATEVER.... hey, it's OPEN SEASON!!

    Apr 23, 2009

    Hi/Lo Thursday

    Sorry this is going up late... I'm traveling back, and Michelle has a crazy day out of the house...

    Hi/Lo Thursday

    When you participate in things like "Laughter Lives Tuesday", "Hi/Lo Thursday", or suggest a photo caption, you get links on our site to your blog, chances to be in our magazine and a lot of laughs and tears.

    Hi/Lo Thursday is where we get to know each other by sharing our emotional/spiritual HIGH and LOW for this previous week. It's a great way to get to know each other!

    Our HIGHS:

    Sorry this is so short... I'm posting quickly about to board a plane... Michelle is out running errands with the kids....
    Abby getting her G-Tube out! Ho0raay!
    Our LOWS:

    Being gone all week from my family (Brent).... and hearing about Kayleigh Freeman.

    Okay, now it's YOUR turn. Here's how:
    • Go to your blog, create a new post for "Hi/Lo Thursday!" Copy and paste ALL the HTML code below at the beginning your post.
      (NOTE: Make sure you are in HTML mode when you paste HTML code!):
      Then, use the form at the bottom of this post to enter the title of your BLOG and the link to your "Hi/Lo" blog post. (if you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment)

    That's it! You'll be linked in today's entries and we'll have a fun and inspiring list of "Hi/Lo Thursday" posts for everyone to read! Can't wait to read your blog posts for "Hi/Lo Thursday". By the way, did you know it really helps YOUR blog to have a link on our blog (because of how much trafffic we get)?



    Apr 22, 2009

    Abby Update


    We are so happy to see Abby outside, playing
    smiling... being "normal.


    Abby is really getting her personality back in full swing.
    Pun intended.

    From Michelle:
    Abby is doing GREAT. Abby is eating well, maintaining her weight and her pain in less over all. She has energy to run and play. She is getting stronger everyday and loves being able to keep up with Landis better. God is so good.

    She is doing so wonderfully her doctors recommended taking out her gastric tube. Abby REALLY, REALLY wanted it out. The only catch was they wanted to wait for someone from Surgery to come take it out (because of politics). This would mean waiting for hours for a surgery doctor (or more accurately, a med student, on his/her surgical rotation) to see us.

    Taking it out is VERY quick and easy. As a nurse I have done it more times than I can count and I told Abby's PA so. Abby's PA thought a much better idea would be for me to take it out myself and asked if I was willing. I said YES! She asked Abby if she wanted Mommy to take it out or someone else. Abby said Mommy. She was scared, but handled it pretty well. It takes literally about two seconds to remove, so she wasn't scared for long. She said it only hurt a tiny bit. It only took a couple of minutes for the hole to close up. It feels so good to take a huge step towards a more "normal" life.

    Afterwards she just wanted Mommy to hold her while she rested. It is tough work being brave when you are four.

    Landis, Sami and Abby are all sick, with respiratory viruses. Landis was diagnosed with bronchitis on Sunday. Oddly enough Abby is much less sick than both her siblings and is licking it faster, too. Thanks for praying!

    The not so great news, Abby has something that looks like old blood in her stomach contents and has been complaining about abdominal pain. She has been diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer before, so I am concerned. Her gastroenterologist and cancer doctor both agreed it would be best to take her tube out and treat the problem with medication.

    Also Abby's immune system has taken a nose dive. Her ANC was 6000 last week and is now in the 659. If it is under 500, she will be stuck at the house and eating fresh veggies/fruits will be considered dangerous. I am praying it stays over 500. We all enjoy our freedom, but will do what is necessary to keep her safe.

    Abby's hair continues to grow and her eyelashes and eyebrows are coming back. She has taken to carrying a mirror around, while doing a happy dance for all of her new hair. It is going to take months to grow back, but she is thrilled with any progress. Several parents of cancer kids are warning that hair can occasionally thin and even come completely out during maintenance (Abby's next 2 years). In fact, we know a girl who is losing her hair, 6 months before she is finished with chemo.

    We will hang on to Abby's wig, hats and ponytails, but choose to enjoy every hair on her head as long as they are there. Honestly, I don't expect her to be bald again, but I appreciate the heads up so I don't promise Abby something I don't have any control over.

    The kids miss their daddy and I miss Brent so much it hurts. Brent is such a wonderful father and husband there is a huge void here when he is gone.

    Please pray:
    • Thank God her liver is improving and her g-tube is out.
    • Abby's stomach to heal, inside and out.
    • Her pain to continue to decrease.
    • Her liver to heal.
    • And of course, for her to remain cancer free.

    We would also appreciate your prayers for Brent's safety while he in away.

    Please also continue to pray for Kayleigh. Her story is heartbreaking. She needs a miracle.

    Abby...

    Abby got her G-tube out today!!! Can I get an AMEN!

    More later...

    Pray for Me... Pray for Others... April 22, 2009

    Comment About a Comment

    To Marie from last Friday's Open Season Questions concerning her comment about my answer...

    You asked a direct question and I gave a direct answer. How is that "attacking you"? You said "what arguments?" when I called your points a "straw man argument."

    You stated your original question basically this: "you mean to tell me my good Muslim friend will go to hell while the pedophile Christian priest gets into heaven?" And you don't call that presenting an argument? Have we really lost all ability to discuss, point-and-counter-point in our politically correct pop culture driven country?

    You did say how much you enjoy our blog, and I did not address that in my answer because it wasn't relevant. I will say it now publicly, that I'm grateful you visit our blog and enjoy it. We enjoy you visiting. We enjoy your questions, we even enjoy the disagreement. We enjoy knowing people who can live, laugh, love AND disagree without descending into the common juvenile name calling that is so prevalent (ie. "bashing", "hate", "judgmental"... everytime someone writes something with which we disagree).

    Thank you for your questions. Thank you for your comments. I'm not attacking you (or any reader) anymore than you are attacking us by posting a question (which you are NOT, that's that point). We love that you come to our blog. We hope you keep coming. And we hope you'll keep asking tough questions, to which we will give our best honest answers. That's why people ask us. They want direct, honest answwers, presented with logic, confidence, experience and conviction. We are not wishy-washy, politically correct or worried about popularity. That's why people ask us something knowing that they will get an straightforward answer.

    We don't claim to know everything, or be right about everything. We are courageous enough (and love people enough) to give an honest answer based on logic, study, experience and pure motives. If people disagree, that's great, and it's to be expected. But agree or disagree, you know that you are getting an answer based in integrity and genuine love, rather than an answer filtered through political correctness, pop culture or the need to impress people.

    I'm only responding to Marie personally here to make sure she knows we appreciate her loving our blog even if we do have disagreements. More generally, I just want our friends and readers to have faith that when you ask a question, we'll answer with conviction. love and honesty, regardless of popularity or disagreement.

    We are concerned with TRUTH when it comes to questions of faith, family, marriage, relationships eternity and God. So we answer with what we believe is the truth even though we know that disagreement (and even offense) is inevitable.

    Pray for Me... Pray for Others

    Brent: Facebook - Twitter . . . . . . . . . . . Michelle: Facebook - Twitter

    Landis prays so sweetly for everyone in our entire family.

    Pray for Me... Pray for Others is where we all get to pray for each other. It is obvious, and we don't pretend otherwise, that we cannot give full attention to every request and comment we receive. This feature on Wednesdays is a time we ask YOU for help praying for others, as they pray for you.

    Pray for Me... Pray for Others is pretty simple:

    1. List a short prayer request for YOU, and a link for more detail if needed.

    2. Then submit a prayer request for someone else, or some other situation that you know about. Include a link for them if available. Be specific.

    Be specific... provide a link for more information if available. I'm sure that other people will be VERY blessed to have you request prayer for them, and include a link to their blog so that those praying can visit them.

    Questions? If you have suggestions or feedback to make this work better, don't hesitate to email me: brent@brentriggs.com

    Our Requests:

    Please pray for Abby to continue to improve and get stronger. Pray that we will quickly get to a point where we can take out her G-tube. We are weaning Abby off her pain medicines, please pray for her to handle that easily.

    Pray for these folks:


    Please pray for Brent's Dad who continues to have problems with blood clots and internal bleeding from several complications. He is a very active person, and months of dealing with medical complications has kept him indoors and it really is sapping his spirit.

    Please pray for our friends Joel and Dmea as they are in Russia pursuing an adoption.


    Adam - Kayleigh's doctors have no hope for recovery. Please pray for a miracle! http://kayleighannefreeman.blogspot.com/2009/04/42109-please-lord-help-us.html

    Amy and Philip - http://ourdailyblessinglife-amyb.blogspot.com/ Please pray that Amy will be healed, that her cancer would be in remission. Pray also that her son, Philip, would be free of seizures and pain. Both Philip and Amy have major surgeries scheduled soon. Dealing with cancer alone is unbelievable difficult. I can't imagine fighting cancer and preparing my son for a major brain surgery. Amy is an incredible mom. Please pray for my precious friend.

    Gavin http://www.mastomama.blogspot.com/ is very ill and his wonderful family is exhausted. Please pray for his healing, rest for him and his parents and wisdom for everyone involved.

    Continued healing for Stellan http://www.mycharmingkids.net/

    Pray for Me... Pray for Others - Instructions:


    1. Use the form below to enter your prayer requests. You must enter an "identity", and put something in at least one of the "pray for me" or "pray for others" in order to be included (links to blogs are not required).
    2. If you link to YOUR blog, please include the following HTML in a post on your blog so that we can create a linked network of prayers (your link will allow others to find us, and be able to participate; make sure you are in HTML mode when pasting this code).

    3. Put out an email or post on your blog and encourage everyone you know to come and join us in prayer.
    4. Look over the list and pray as God leads. Come back and visit the list two or three times today as it will grow all day long.

    Remember... if you don't take the time to pray for others, then on what basis can you really expect God to lead others to pray for you? I created this with "community" in mind - pray for you, pray for me, pray for others - so that we are both giving and receiving as a community which is far more spiritually productive than simply wanting everyone to pray on our behalf.

    Truth is, many people do not have a community they can ask for prayer. We hope to become that community for them.









    Let me know if you have suggestions or questions about Pray for Me... Pray for Others. If this is a blessing to you, please leave a comment and let us all know.

    Apr 21, 2009

    Laughter Lives Tuesday

    If you haven't seen the April Issue of Serious.Life Magazine be sure to check it out... or if you only got to look at part of it, now's a good time to revisit the issue. I'll be putting up the first "new format issue" some time next week.


    Laughter LivesLaugher Lives Tuesday is a day when we all get to look forward to a good laugh. No rules, no stress, just OPEN SEASON FUNNY!

    Your post can be about whatever you want, just make it funny so we can all have a good laugh. I could use a good laugh. How about you?

    Pics, videos, jokes, stories... stuff about you or your own family... stuff off the Internet... WHATEVER.

    Our Laughter Lives

    From Michelle:

    Today I HAD to buy Landis so more underwear. He was somehow down to 4 pair (who knows why/how that happened). I tried to find a pair of Abby's, for him to borrow, that were less girly than her normal attire. Princess, being a princess, had none that were even close to unisex. Since Brent is out of town, I just laughed and grabbed Dora.

    Landis didn't care at all, but Princess Abby was a little put off. Two hours later, when Landis pooped on Dora, Abby was totally disgusted. Needless to say, she is not willing to share panties with Landis anymore. (of course after Brent reads this, Abby won't be the only one who feels that way, hee hee.).

    While driving away from the store, with my packages of new Spidy underwear, I told the big kids what Landis did to Dora. They thought it was hilarious until I said, "since Abby won't share anymore, I let him borrow Sami's". Sami flipped and then begged me to tell her if I was kidding. I told her "of course I am not kidding, just ask Landis". Sami asks Landis if he is wearing her underwear, and he proudly pipes up from the back of the van and says, "Yes, I am!"

    To test us Sami, asks us what color they are. I said a little brown, because of a "small accident". Sami, turned to Landis, with a disgusted look on her face and asked if he pooped in her underwear.

    Landis proudly replied, 'Yep, I stinked 'em up!"

    To Sami's relief, 20 minutes later, we finally stopped the car so she could unbuckle and check to see if Landis was wearing her underwear (he wasn't of course).

    Yes, It is a true story. Dangerous I know to hand a joke over to a three year old, but he ran with it without skipping a beat. You have to love a three year old who knows how to make people laugh. Laughter lives!

    From Brent:

    We were driving Sunday and started talking about chickens.

    "I want a baby chick, Dad-dee" Abby loudly informs us.

    "You want a chick?" I said. "You know that baby chicks turn into chickens, right?"

    "I want to have chickens Dad-dee" Abby adds.

    "If we have chickens, you know they are not just pets right?" I asked.

    "I want to have pet chickens, Dad-dee" Abby continues undeterred.

    "Abby listen to me...." I get serious. "Little baby chicks are cute and fun, but they grow up to be chickens which we eat for food. You know, like chicken nuggets... those come from chicks that grow up to be chickens that we kill and eat..."

    A few seconds of silence.... .... .... Abby's eyes get bigger... ... ...

    "You have GOT to be kidding me!!!" our little four year exclaims with all genuine sincerity. I was laughing so hard at that point I could hardly drive.

    After regaining my composure, I asked "so who's going to volunteer to clean up chicken poop every day?" That's where the story quickly ended.

    Okay, now it's YOUR turn.

    Here's how you get your link on our blog for "Laughter Lives Tuesday!":
    • Go to your blog, create a new post for "Laugher Lives Tuesday!". Start by copying and pasting all the following HTML code at the beginning your post. (NOTE: Make sure you are in HTML mode or view when you paste in HTML code!):

    • Then, use the form down at the bottom of this post to enter the title of your BLOG (not your post, your blog), and the link to your blog, or the blog post, either one. (if you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment, but we would prefer you put up a post if you have a blog.)
    That's it! You'll be linked in today's entries and we'll have a fun and inspiring list of "Laughter Lives" posts for everyone to read!

    Can't wait to read your blog posts for "Laughter Lives Tuesday!"



    Apr 20, 2009

    Open Season Answers From Last Friday

    Karla_medrano@yahoo.com asked:
    I just wanted to ask... how to you cope with all the depression and sadness of having a child with cancer?

    Hope in God. Trust in eternity, knowing that nothing in this life compares to the next. Knowing that the WORST (the worst?) thing that can happen to Abby is that she goes on early to be with Jesus, and we see her in a little while. We would miss her terribly, but be happy that she was enjoying heaven.

    Marie asked:
    You seem like such loving, fun, positive, giving, just plain awesome people!! Do you really, seriously, truly in your heart believe that those that dont believe in Jesus are going to hell? I mean really...my dear kind Muslim friends Kaoki and Nadia are going to hell? My friend Ana who is the sweetest person but just doesnt believe in God? Will a child molesting priest really get in instead of them? I dont understand.

    Go back and read what I’ve written this topic. My premise is that we have NO TRUTH when we say ALL “truth” (religious ideas) is equal. We believe a “truth” and we have the courage to publicly proclaim it. Your arguments are anecdotal, out of context and straw man in nature. They have nothing to do with TRUTH, but only your gut feelings and personal experience.

    Muslims believe ONLY they are righteous and “saved”. If you are not Muslim, any HONEST Muslim is going to tell you that you are an infidel, worthy of only being converted by force, or killed. Of course many Muslims do what many Christians do… they ignore the plain and clear teaching of their faith for the sake of popularity or political correctness… or they do it in honest ignorance. Christianity teaches it is the SOLE way to salvation. Islam teaches the same. To deny either, is simply to not believe either, and insult whichever you claim to believe.

    You ask ME what about MY opinion of someone ELSE’s eternal destination. MY opinion doesn’t mean a thing about YOUR eternity, or your Muslim friend, or the pedophile. Your asking the wrong question to the wrong person. I simply believe what the God of the Bible clearly proclaims. I choose to believe that because I genuinely believe it to be the TRUTH as delivered by our CREATOR. So if you don’t like what HE has said, you need to take that up with Him.

    Will a child molesting Priest get into heaven because they call themselves “Christian”? Do I really have to answer that? But just in case:


    • Mt 7:21-23: "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (NKJV)

    Mandy asked:
    What does a *normal* day look like in your home?

    Fun, noise, laughter, standing in the corner, an occasional spanking, kissing, hugging, blogging, eating, playing, school, work, stress sometimes… almost NEVER any boredom or sitting around wondering what to do.

    indianamom asked:
    Random question, but do you think that marriage still applies in heaven? I always heard that things are as they last were. But if you are married and your spouse dies, then you move on to be with someone else - married or not - when you do, do you go back to being with your wife? Or what for your new partner to come and be with you? Or does marriage, etc no longer apply? Just wondering what your theory is.

    • Mt 22:30: For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. (NKJV)

    But our relationships and memories stay intact. We don’t “forget” who we were, or our family or friends. Watch my presentation on heaven: http://www.seriousheaven.com/

    Sue asked:
    Brent, I was wondering your take on the impact that the current deployment schedule/length is having on families? We have 3 young kids, my husband (proudly a soldier) got back 6 months ago from 15 months in Iraq. We are gearing up for a Dec. deployment to Afghanistan now. We do the normal things, lots of letters, pictures, webcam chats, videos, sending packages. Can you give any creative suggestions for both kids and spouses as far as staying close and weathering the deployment?

    Let me think more on this one… I was deployed for over a year myself in Desert Storm. Let me think on this for a week. Ask me again this Friday and remind me.

    Kristie asked:
    Okay, this is a fun question that is not intended to hurt anyones feelings. Brent: WILL YOU EVER GROW UP?

    Do you WANT me to grow up?

    Brent Riggs asked:
    I heard you were kind of a bonehead... is that true?

    Oh yeah… it’s definitely true.

    More…

    Michelle will answer the adoption related questions. I’ve got the energy for a few more questions tonight if you have any. Email them to me: brent@brentriggs.com

    ~ Brent