Friday, March 31, 2006

We all survived our first chat......

Last night was our first all-class chat session for Virtual Business and I really enjoyed it. Doing all your classes online means that you don't usually have much interaction with the rest of your class mates, so last night was a great chance to learn a little more about those I'm "in class" with.

One of the comments that really got me thinking was one that was made by Stuart (I think.) He mentioned that he had read an article that talked about how the Sears Roebuck Catalog was one of the first "virtual" business ideas. I never would have thought of that, but it is so true.

Now it seems like we are surrounded with virtual businesses and concepts. They are now a normal part of our daily lives. I mean, think about it - there are people all over the world (I was going to say country, but I know Susan will be reading this too!!) who will have immediate access to what I am going to post. Before the Internet, communication had to be by telephone or the postal service, but not anymore. Now we have email, chat rooms, instant messaging, and the list goes on and on. WOW!!!

I have many friends who are missionaries in other countries. Ten years ago we corresponded by letter (phone calls were way too expensive) and even those letters were only a few times a year - and I was fortunate if I got the see them every few years. Now, I can "talk" to them everyday if I would like - either through email or instant messaging - and we can even send pictures of things that took place that same day. And don't forget things like Webcam's!!!! So, what is your favorite tool in this virtual society we currently live in??

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Whose Fault Is It?????

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (John 9:1-3)

Many times when “bad” things start going on in our lives we examine ourselves to see if there is sin in our hearts or lives that is causing these things to happen. We ask ourselves if there is something we did to bring this terrible calamity upon us.

We need to remember that Jesus says that it is not necessarily our sin or our guilt that brought the terrible things that happened. It may be that God has a higher plan in mind and this is part of what is needed to achieve that higher goal.

When we lost Steven we actually had people ask us what sin was in our life that caused God to take Steven. Don’t think we didn’t search our hearts – we did. But the answer we got from the Lord was that Steven’s life AND HIS DEATH had a perfect purpose.

If you’re going through some tough and trying times and you know that you are right with God and in His will – you need know what you are going through is for a good purpose (even if we can’t see what that purpose is at the time.)

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Day of Reflecting......

Yesterday was Elisabeth's 9th birthday. I cannot believe how fast the years have flown by!! Looking at Elisabeth most people see a happy, healthy little girl - very similar to many other little girls her age. As I was looking at her yesterday I began reflecting on everything that led up to her birth - it is truly a miracle.

You see Jeff and I had been told we couldn't have any more children. With each of her older brothers I went into labor earlier and earlier in the pregnancy. We knew having more wasn't good for me or for the baby. But there was a wonderful lady in our church back in Minot who was convinced that we needed a little girl - this lady was Grandma Clare.

From the time Nicholas was three years old Grandma Clare prayed daily that I would get pregnant and have a baby girl. Several times a year she would ask me if I was pregnant yet, to which I would reply, "Grandma, we can't have any more children." She would just give me a hug and smile, then tell me that God had told her I would have a little girl. We would smile back and promise her if we ever had that little girl we would name her after Grandma.

When Nicholas was 8 years old Grandma Clare's prayer was answered ~~ I was pregnant. Jeff and I were completely shocked, but Grandma wasn't. When we went over to her house that morning (something we did quite regularly) she told us before we could ever tell her. By this time Grandma was almost 90 years old and had several health problems, in fact, they only gave her a few more months to live.

I was very sick from the very beginning of the pregnancy and at 14 weeks things had gotten so bad I was told by the doctors that I was going to lose the baby and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it from happening. I was heartbroken. Each day I woke up wondering if that would be the day I would lose this precious baby - and each day Grandma Clare would call and tell me it wasn't going to happen, that she had prayed and God had given her complete peace in the knowledge that I would have "her little girl."

At 16 weeks my midwife said if I could just hold on 4 more weeks my baby would have a chance - and I did just that. At 20 weeks we had an ultrasound and found out Grandma was right, we were having a little girl. We took her the ultrasound pictures, thinking it was the only way she would ever see the baby. You see for each day that I continued to stay pregnant Grandma continued to deteriorate in her own health. At that time my prayers were, "Lord, let me have this little girl and let Grandma live long enough to hold her."

Well, grandma held on and on March 24, 1997 - the day before Grandma's 90th birthday - she called Jeff and told Jeff to make sure I was well rested because I was going to have the baby tomorrow......on Grandma's birthday. We tried to tell Grandma that they wouldn't let me deliver that early (I still had 11 weeks to go and they had already stopped my labor several times.) Why did we ever question Grandma on this?????

At 1 a.m. on March 25th my water broke unexpectedly. There was no way to stop the labor this time. At 7:30 a.m. I called Grandma to wish her a happy birthday and tell her that I was in the hospital - of course, she wasn't surprised.

At 4:15 p.m. Elisabeth Clare Olson was born - she was born on Grandma Clare's birthday. She was 11 weeks premature - but perfectly healthly...yet another miracle. Yes, she was tiny, but other than that there was not one single problem!!!

Grandma Clare got to hold her little angel two days later. To see the two of them together brought tears to everyone's eyes. So many answers to prayers were right there between the two of them. I know Grandma prayed that she would live long enough to see her prayer request answered - and she did. Grandma lived another 4 months and spent many hours with Elisabeth. Even today we have pictures of the two of them hanging in Elisabeth's room.

Elisabeth may not remember Grandma Clare in person, but she will grow up knowing just how special her birth was and the special lady that "prayed her down from Heaven."

Thanks for reading as I reflected on a very special day, a very special lady, and my precious little girl!!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Boy, Oh, Boy - I have got some excited kids

We are going to the Monster Truck show in town this evening. Now, this isn't really my type of thing - but living with a bunch of boys means doing lots of "boy" things. So this evening Elisabeth and I will put in our ear plugs and join Jeff and the boys to watch big, loud trucks do crazy things!!

My boys think this is the greatest thing and not only do they get to see the show, but we also have pit passes, so they get to go into the pits and meet the drivers before the show ever starts. Last year they even got to ride in one of the trucks they had there.

Maybe someone can explain what is so exciting about this, because I sure don't see it. These things are loud and stinky!! (HAHA - sometimes that describes my boys too!!) I'm really not complaining though, I love when we can all go out and do something fun like this. It never fails that something will happen that we will spend the rest of the weekend laughing about.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hey Jamie.......

Did it work????

I learned something new today....

I learned that I am a "virtual worker"!! A virtual worker is "someone who performs assigned duties at an alternative site (usually home) during some or all of their work hours." THAT'S ME!!

I do accounting, bookkeeping, and taxes for 3 different businesses and several individuals ~~ and I do 90% of it from my home. I do have an office at one of the businesses, but most of what I do is from my home....and I love it that way.

I love my work - but what I love more is being home for, and with, my family. I love being the one to get my family ready for the day, preparing the meals, teaching my children, and caring for my home. Being able to bring in an income while doing what I love the most is a great blessing.

There are so many benefits to this arrangement - for me and for those I work for. I never take sick days, my productivity level is higher than that of the person my company used to have come and work for them in the office 40 hours a week, my kids know I am always there for them, no daycare expenses, my children are healthier and happier because of it, and most importantly for me ~~ my husband and family never take second place to my work.

These are not the only benefits to virtual organizations and virtual workers - but for me they are the important ones. God gave me a great responsibility in caring for my home and family; one I don't take lightly. He also gave me the ability to work well with numbers, finances, and computers ~ and now, through virtual organizations, I can do both to the best of my ability!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

To my fellow students.......

As most of you can tell, I already have several posts in my blog. That is because I started this quite a while back and Lisa said it would be fine to continue using it instead of having to set up a new one.

You will find out plenty about my family and I through the older posts, but I will also give you a quick overview now. I live in Bismarck, where my husband is pastor of Bible Baptist Church. We have 6 children ranging in age from 20 to 6, three of which are still in school ~ and we home school. And as if that doesn't keep me busy enough, I also do accounting for 3 businesses here in town, along with working on my Master's degree.

I am really looking forward to this Virtual Business class. I am amazed more and more with all that can be done because of technology today!!


1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Christianity Today did a survey of over 5000 youths from age 13-16 and asked them who was their greatest example of religion. When I read their answer I was very puzzled because I had never heard of this “person.” The person that over 50% of them chose was Ned Flanders.

That name meant nothing to me – I actually had to ask Jeff who that was, (since he was the one reading the article to me last night.) He went on to read that this is a character off the television show “The Simpsons.”

How sad is that???? It wasn’t their parents, or their preacher, not the pope, or some televangelist – but some cartoon character off of a show that we won’t even allow to be watched in our home.

It sure made me think, that’s for sure. So last night during family devotions Jeff asked each of our kids this same question – I was relieved to hear that we were their greatest example, because according to God’s Word that is our responsibility.

Here is my question for each of us today – are we being the example we should be to those around us…even if you don’t have children of your own, you are still being watched ~~ are you an example of the believers, as Paul wrote about in 1 Timothy?