Me: Two peas in a pod right there!

Prodigal: Yes, we are waiting for your story!

Sometime around 1950, missionaries named Egert and Hattie Dyk went to work at Tseltal, an Indian village near Santo Domingo. All but one resident eventually became a Christian, but since there was much persecution from neighbors, the entire village packed up, walked for a day, and established a Christian community in the new place. The Dyks eventually left this settlement, but they heard about what transpired later from the missionary who took their place.

It seems that a man named Domingo Hernandez lived near this area and hated his Christian neighbors. He was determined to burn their settlement and slaughter all its inhabitants. Late one night he organized his fellow villagers, prepared pitch-pine torches and canoes and led them stealthily down the hill and across the river.

But before they had a chance to attack, they saw a bright light shining through the windows of every home in the Christian village. Then a strange luster shone over the entire area.

Domingo Hernandez and his men were so frightened that they turned and scrambled down the hill, plunged into the river, swam across and ran, soaking wet, the half-mile to their homes.

The next morning, as the women from Hernandez’s village were washing their clothes in the river, they called across to the Christian women on the other side. “What were those strange lights in your huts last night?” they asked.

“What lights?” the Christian women replied. “We had no lights burning. We were all asleep.”

Colossians 4:2

Continue in prayer and watch in the same with thanksgiving

Jennifer Van Allen



Your Love is Noticed

Me: Sometimes we think that nobody sees what we do.

Prodigal: I feel like that sometimes.

Me: That is not true.

I was cold.  The old farmhouse had no central heat and there was a hole barely covered in the living room wall.  All I had was several space heaters in each room.  I was questioning what had I done.  It was Christmas.  I had agreed to give my mom a couple of days break from taking care of my grandmother.  A year earlier my grandmother had a stroke and was paralyzed on one side.  She could not be alone for more than a couple of hours.   

My mother was taking care of her with almost no support.  She had moved into my grandmother’s house full time.  She would drive an hour to visit my dad and back to her home as often as she could.  I knew it was all very draining on my mom and that she needed a break.   I informed her that I would give her a break and take care of my Grandmother as a Christmas present. 

That began two very long days.  I quickly realized that feeding, changing, cleaning up bowls movements and moving my grandmother was very hard work.  I also knew in my heart that I was not that good at being a caregiver.  It did not seem to be natural to me, like I have seen it with others. 

My full-time profession is a mental health therapist.  I know how to support others.  The support I give though is all verbal, mental and not anything physical.  I had never had to give in such a physical aspect.  I struggled.  I grew frustrated at times and had to walk away.  My grandmother would call me in the middle of the night, day, and afternoon.  I had the demands of another person completely dependent on me. 

It did not take but a couple of hours to realize how much my mother was going through and how hard caregiving is. 

The part that really got to me though, was the relationship my mother and grandmother had.  My mother had been a daddy’s girl and he had already passed away years before.  My grandmother had an addiction to alcohol and pills until she had the stroke.  When my grandmother was drunk or high, she would become mean.  She was mean to everyone.  She would take it out on whoever was around.   

This created strain in her relationships.  She seemed to be mean mostly to my mother.  My grandmother had two other children.  Her son had died from cirrhosis of the liver already years before.  Her other daughter refused to take care of her.  My mom really had little help. 

My mother did this with little complaint.  She just got up and did what she had to do, day after day.  What kind of person would give up their home to care for others, would give up comfort, give up time, and give up sleep?   

This was the definition of a real caregiver.  This was something that really is not seen that often.  I know that she is not the only one who is really doing an expectational job of caregiving.  I know some of you are doing that also. 

Why are you giving yourself so completely?  I think love is the answer. 

How about when it is hard and nobody thanks you?  How do you do that?  

Some of you are frustrated.  Some are fighting with relatives over care.  Some are never appreciated.  Some may be caring for someone who has been mean to you before or because of illness can be mean to you now.  Some are afraid of what life will be like when this is all over. 

Others are barely sleeping, or having time for friends.  The caregiving has created isolation for you and you also feel drained in your own health. 

I just want to say that…..  

Your Love is Noticed. 

Your long days are noticed. 

Your long nights are noticed. 

Your frustrations are noticed. 

Your fears are noticed. 

Your loneliness is noticed. 

Remember your Love is noticed. 

Maybe you wonder if it is worth it, but I am here to encourage you that even if no one else notices, I notice, and GOD notices. Thank you, caregivers.  Thank you for caring.  Thank you for not giving up.  Thank you for making a difference in someone’s life.  Thank you for showing us how human beings should be with each other.  Thank you for showing love and not just saying it. 

Romans 6:3-4

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We are buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that , just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Jennifer Van Allen



Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: May we be a blessing to others.

Me: Amen!

This is a short video devotion on Proverbs.

click here to watch the video

Proverbs 10:31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, But the perverse tongue will be cut out. (NKJV)

Jennifer Van Allen



A Test of Self Esteem

Me: I don’t know if I am going to be able to put this quilt together.

Prodigal: Sometimes it is ok to admit that.

This is from the book Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, and Phyllis Hendry

Minister and author Norman Vincent Peale often sad the toughest test of self-esteem is bowing your head, admitting to God that you fall short of perfection, and accepting Jesus as your Savior. Norman told Ken that at times people would say to him, “Christianity is for weaklings.” Norman said when that happened, he would reply, “That’s furthest from the truth. The human EGO does not want to admit any weakness.” Moving from self-confidence to God-grounded confidence takes a big person and an even bigger, loving God.

Sometimes to make things right we need to admit our weakness. Swallow your pride. Don’t worry about what others think, and tell the truth. It is then that the Lord will start working.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:8-9

Jennifer Van Allen



The Midway Miracle

Prodigal: As I am resting my legs, I want to hear a story.

Me: I think you might like this story.

This is from the book Angels Beside You by James Pruitt

In the predawn darkness of June 4, 1942, Lieutenant Commander Jason W. Phillips, a navy pilot aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S Enterprise, strolled the deck of the massive carrier and stared our at the first gray lines of morning that seemed to be rising from the very depths of the Pacific Ocean.

Somewhere out there in the vastness of that ocean was a Japanese naval force three times larger than the one that had attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. They were commanded by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the architect of the December 7 attack that had all but devastated America’s naval power.

Yamamoto hoped that by seizing Midway Island, he could draw what remained of the American Pacific fleet away from Hawaii and into a decisive sea battle where his superior strength in numbers could destroy the remnants of the American navy, thereby giving Japan total control of the Pacific and opening the way for a full-scale invasion of the Hawaiian Islands.

What Admiral Yamamoto did not know was that American intelligence had broken the Japanese codes since the attack on Pearl Harbor. This stroke of genius, or luck, whichever you prefer, proved invaluable to the Americans. Immediately, America’s meager but determined armada of three aircraft carriers set a course to intercept the Japanese fleet, knowing full well that their only chance of winning the battle depended on total surprise. They would have to locate the enemy and strike a critical first blow against the Japanese before they could retaliate.

Two men who would play principal parts in the coming battle were Lieutenant Commander Phillips, a bomber pilot, and his navigator/radioman, Ensign T.J. Powell. Both men had met at flight school and had managed to stay together since graduating. They had made a perfect team when flying their Devastator bomber.

On the morning of June 3, the aircraft carrier Yorktown had launched its search planes, hoping to find the exact location of the Japanese fleet and radio the information back to the American command. But as daylight began to fade, Yamamoto’s force had not been located and the search planes returned to the Yorktown.

Just before dawn on the fourth, the Yorktown launched ten planes, again to search out the enemy. Twice the pilot crews of the carrier Enterprise manned their planes on false alarms, and both times the were recalled to the ready room to wait for the launch order.

Tension was running high among the pilots, as well as every member of the American task force. After the second recall, Lieutenant Commander Phillips requested that he be allowed to remain above deck for a while. He had begun to feel as if the cramped quarters of the ready room were closing in around him. The flight commander granted his request.

Around 0530 hours, Ensign Powell joined his friend and pilot on the flight line. The two talked quietly about home and their folks, friends, and girlfriends. Eventually, the discussion came around to God and the chance that this could be the last sunrise either of them might ever see.

Ensign Thomas Johnathan Powell was twenty-one years old and a native of Bristol, Tennessee. His mother had raised seven children by herself. Although they had been poor and lacked a lot of material things, their mother had been a solid Christian woman who taught her children the power of the Bible and the word of God.

Lieutenant Commander Phillips, on the other hand, was twenty-five years old, engaged to be married, and somewhat reluctant to discuss religious matters. Not because he didn’t believe, but mainly because religion was just something from which he had gradually drifted away over the years. Would the Lord hold that against him? He asked his friend.

Powell laughed and assured him that as long as he believed in his heart, he would have the protection of the angels.

Phillips wanted to pursue that theory, but before he had the chance, another alarm sounded and the two scrambled down to the ready room, where intelligence officers quickly gave them a final briefing. After a short verse from the chaplain, the crews rushed out of the ready room and headed for the flight deck.

Their faces were boyish in the growing morning light and each showed a fringe of peach fuzz; it was their ritual not to shave until a battle was ended. The flight crew’s close buddies, the ground crews, had finished checking, arming, fueling, and servicing the planes.

The young pilots climbed into their weapons of war casually. Nonchalance was the order of the day; no good for a man to betray nervousness or tension, that was considered bad form. They warmed their engines while planes that had already launched circle in the sky above the Enterprise.

There was hand signaling to the deck directors, a casual wave to a wingman whom they might never see again. The launch director raised his arms. The pilots revved their engines to maximum, then one by one throttled forward and streaked off the steel island for the sky above to join the formation overhead–and soon, perhaps, the heavenly feathered choir.

While Lieutenant Commander Phillips and his flight were making their way toward the Japanese task force, fifteen torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier Hornet, mistakenly believing they had carrier fighter support flying high above them, went in for the attack. Flying through swarms of Japanese fighters that seem to come from everywhere at once, the Hornet bombers continued to lumber their slow-moving planes straight at one of the lead enemy carriers. Antiaircraft fire was so intense that is seared faces and tore huge chunks out of the planes. One by one the brave crews were torn apart. Ironically, those few who made it close enough to release their torpedoes before they were blown apart were spared the sight of their bombs striking the target, then sinking harmlessly into the sea–the detonators on their torpedoes were faulty. In less than ten minutes, all fifteen planes were shot down. Of the thirty men from the Hornet flight, only one survived.

At 0950, Lieutenant Commander Phillips’s flight had been joined by a flight from the Yorktown. The two squadrons banked over and came screaming downward at a seventy-degree angle, with speeds rising to 335 miles per hour. The Japanese were taken completely by surprise. They were still trying to straighten their course after the attack of the Hornet squadron, and their fighter planes were just then beginning to climb toward altitude when the bombs struck the Japanese carriers like a sledgehammer.

Coming in low, Phillips released his bombs right over the flight deck of the lead Japanese carrier. Ensign Powell watched it penetrate the first deck before it exploded in the lower hangar area. Letting out a yell, he screamed into his radio, “We got a hit! We got a direct hit, skipper!”

Phillips was overjoyed at the news. Pulling up and going for altitude, he suddenly found himself face to face with an oncoming Japanese fighter. The Japanese Zero’s guns were flashing as a hail of bullets tore through the windshield of the Devastator. Screaming pain gripped Phillips as slivers of glass penetrated both of his eyes and everything went black. Lieutenant Commander Phillips was blind.

In panic, Phillips called to his radioman. “T.J.–T.J! Are you all right? Answer me, T.J.! My God–I’m blind! I can’t see!”

The wounded pilot called back to his friend and navigator once more, but there was no reply. A long moment passed, then a voice came over the radio. It wasn’t the voice of Ensign Powell. It sounded more like that of Lieutenant Commander Neal McCormick, another pilot in the flight. He was screaming for Phillips to pull up.

Phillips, in agonizing pain, pulled back on the stick and felt the nose of the aircraft lift skyward. He tried to wipe at the blood coming his his eyes, but the pain was too intense.

McCormick was on the radio again telling Phillips to bring the stick forward. He would tell him when he was leveled off. Phillips did as instructed, easing the stick forward until McCormick told him to stop. “Can you talk to your navigator?” asked McCormick. “Negative,” came the reply.

McCormick’s voice came over Phillips’s headsets in a calm and comforting manner. “Don’t worry, Jason. I’ll get you home. Just do as I say, when I say, and you’ll make it fine, okay? Now start turning to the right until I tell you to stop.”

Phillips did as instructed. The next order was to climb for altitude. Again Phillips complied. For the next forty-five minutes, Phillips flew his crippled aircraft, going only on the voice commands of McCormick.

In the silent periods between commands, Phillips quietly muttered the only prayer that he knew. The Twenty-third Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” At that point Phillips stopped. It had been so long since he had prayed, he had forgotten the rest of the words.

McCormick’s voice came softly through the headset, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me….”

Lieutenant Commander Jason Phillips felt a sudden peace come over him as he completed the rest of the verse by himself. Five minutes later, McCormick was on the radio again. Their aircraft was in sight. Now came the hard part landing on the deck of a steel-plated, bobbing island in the middle of the ocean. The peace Phillips had known only minutes ago began to give way to fear and apprehension. He wasn’t going to make it. Landing on a carrier was hard enough for a man with two good eyes. For a blind man, it was impossible. His voice trembling, he relayed these fears to McCormick.

The reply was totally unexpected. “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

Lieutenant Commander Phillips again felt the calm come over him as he repeated the words to himself and listened to McCormick’s commands. “Ease to the left…that’s it. A little more. Okay. Now start your descent…easy…easy…easy…okay. A little more right…that’s it. Now start easing the stick down. That’s good.”

Calmly the voice lined up the crippled aircraft on the one and only approach the wounded pilot would get.

“Okay, you’re on line,” said the voice. “When I tell you to drop it, you push the stick all the way forward and cut the engine.”

Phillips tried to answer but his mouth had gone to cotton. He listened intently for the command. When it came, he shoved the stick forward, cutting the engine at the same instant. The plane dropped like a rock, bounced once, twice, then the tailhook caught the cable. The sudden jerking motion threw the pilot forward into the instrument panel, knocking him unconscious. Lieutenant Commander Phillips was home.

The carrier crewman swarmed over the bullet-riddled aircraft, carefully removed the two occupants, and rushed them below to the medical room and a team of waiting doctors.

It was three days before Phillips woke from his ordeal. His eyes heavily bandaged and his entire body ached, but he was alive. His first question to his doctor was about the condition of his friend Ensign Powell. The doctor informed him that his navigator had died instantly from two bullet wounds to the head, inflicted by the same plane that had blinded Phillips.

Now the doctor had a question. How had Phillips managed to fly a plane that had been shot to pieces, and then land that same plane on a carrier while blind?

Phillips related the details of his ordeal to the doctor, who sat spellbound by the story. When he had finished, Phillips requested that the doctor please let Lieutenant Commander McCormick know that he would like to see him to personally thank him for saving his life.

Still stunned by the story, the doctor finally managed to speak. “Lieutenant Commander Phillips, I am afraid that will not be possible. Lieutenant Commander McCormick’s plane was one of the first ones in your flight to go down in the attack on the Japanese carrier. Both he and his navigator were killed.”

“That’s not possible,” said a shaken Phillips. “He was talking to me on the radio just before I landed. The radio room….the bridge, they had to hear the radio traffic. Didn’t they hear us talking?”

The doctor placed his hand on Phillips’s shoulder “Now, relax, Commander. We did hear you on the radio. That’s how we knew you were in trouble. We heard you praying just before you landed. But there was only one voice, son. We didn’t hear anyone else.”

You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

Psalm 17:3

Jennifer Van Allen



Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: Just singing to the Lord!

Me: Amen

This is a short video devotion on Proverbs.

click here to watch the video

The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth. (KJV) 10:30

Jennifer Van Allen



Moving In Strength

Prodigal: Cole looks prepared.

Me: Yes, He does!

This is from the book God Works The Night Shift by Ron Mehl

That’s why I’ve concluded that the people who move in real strength and power in this world, the people whom God delights to exalt, are those who are overmatched in life and know it. It is those who don’t know it or refuse to acknowledge it who will eventually find themselves in deep trouble.

You feel overwhelmed, but that it not a bad place to be. The Lord wants you to turn to Him. You don’t have to be perfect and think fear of failure means the loss of others. Just lean on God. Lean on His love. He will help you with your worries.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Jennifer Van Allen



The Progress that We See

Me: How is it?

Prodigal: It’s as dry as the heart of a haystack.

Me: Hopefully it will rain soon.

This is from the book Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges

As we seek to walk by the Spirit, we will, over time, see the Spirit working in us and through us to cleanse us from the remaining power of sin in our lives. We will never reach perfection in this life, but we will see progress. It will be incremental progress, to be sure, and sometimes it will appear to be no progress at all. But if we sincerely want to address the subtle sins in our lives, we may be sure the Holy Spirit is at work in us and through us to help us. And we have His promise that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). The Holy Spirit will not abandon the work He has begun in us.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established

Jennifer Van Allen



Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: Let nothing trouble you.

Me: Amen, not with God in control.

This is a short video devotion on Proverbs.

click here to watch the video

Proverbs 10:29 The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to workers of iniquity. (KJV)

Jennifer Van Allen




Me: I make the best quilts!

Prodigal: Don’t let pride take over.

Me: No, I sure don’t need that.

This is from the book Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, and Phyllis Hendry

Humility is realizing and emphasizing the importance of other people. It is not putting yourself down; it is lifting others up. It is saying to yourself and to others, “I am precious in God’s sight–and so are you.”

The humility Jesus demonstrated did not rise from a lack of self-esteem, love, power, or ability. His humility came from the fact that He knew whose He was, who He was, where He came from, and where He was going. That understanding freed Him to treat people with love and respect.

We can treat people with love and respect without having to agree with them. They do not have to be perfect or without sin to receive out love and respect. Just remember to be humble in the process.

We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:16

Jennifer Van Allen