Real Life

  • Faithful

    faithfulTonight my daughter Shelby’s blog post was inspiring to me!  She’s so open, honest and well…let’s just say she doesn’t leave you wondering what she’s thinking.  I love that about her!  In the past it has brought more than a few embarrassing moments when she “shared” her thoughts and feelings 🙂  When she was about three I had to take her to get some testing done at the hospital.  While in the waiting room she saw a mother from India wearing her native dress.  I could see Shelby staring at her checking out her clothes (she loved fashion from a very young age!).  All of a sudden she got up and walked right over to the woman blurting out before I could stop her “Why do you have a red dot on your head?”  I wanted to die!  I began to apologize but the beautiful woman, but she told me not to worry and explained to Shelby how it was like wearing a wedding ring to show people that she was married.  My kids always had a knack for sharing out loud as their teachers can attest 🙂
    In her blog, Shelby talked about how life is full of changes, but how God is our constant in hard times.  I’ve been up late doing laundry and while waiting for the next load to dry I was reading the Bible.  I read Psalm 145:13(b) and it says
    Ps 145-13b “The LORD is faithful to ALL His promises and loving toward ALL He has made.”  In Psalm 89:34 God says “I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.”  These verses are so very comforting to me when life is “seemingly” throwing a curve-ball, or when change happens.  God sticks to His Word!  He’s the Faithful one!  Psalm 146:6 says He “remains faithful FOREVER”!  Now that’s a promise I’m going to hold onto!  I’m thankful to God for taking care of Shelby when her heart was hurting so much and healing her wounds.  I’m so thankful that He is faithful to His promises, not matter how long ago He spoke them.  Seeing so many of them be fulfilled in the past two and a bit years is rewarding.  You just can’t give up because when you least expect it, God will do it!!!
    So, don’t lose hope today.  Keep the faith because your Father is FAITHFUL!

    If you want to read Shelby’s blog “Changes, love them or hate them?” click on the link http://www.faithandlace.weebly.com

    faithful always

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  • My Resurrection Story

    And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
    Romans 8:11 (NIV)

    My Resurrection Story - Blog ImageI love Easter.  It’s a season to spend time thinking about what Christ did for us on the cross.  Throughout Lent, St. James United in Waterdown, ON has been going through my book.  From the youngest to the oldest person attending they have taken the past 6 weeks to direct their focus to all that Christ went through to bring us I grew up in a denomination where they didn’t observe Lent.  I never knew much about it until this year.  It has me thinking so much about all that Christ has done for me… for my salvation… for my Resurrection Story!

    My “Resurrection” Story

    The reality is that…

    Something has to die for there to be a resurrection.

    When I went through separation and divorce it was such a difficult time of my life.  I had been in an unhealthy 20 year marriage that involved decades of counselling and many times of separation.  I lived for a long time separated and didn’t let my friends know. 

    I was embarrassed, full of shame.  I had a broken heart and a broken spirit.  I absolutely thought my life was over. 

    Every dream I had died with the death of my first marriage.

    When we’re going through hard times we’re often thinking, no one else has been through it this bad… it’s not fair…I don’t deserve this… God can’t understand me… but He can.

    ISAIAH 53:5 tells me that: 

    “he was pierced for MY transgressions,
    he was crushed for MY iniquities;
    the punishment that brought ME peace was on him,
    and by his wounds I am healed.

    ISAIAH 53:5

    Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities.  He suffered and it wasn’t fair.  He didn’t do anything wrong.

    IT’S MY FAULT HE SUFFERED

    IT WAS FOR HIS GREAT LOVE OF YOU AND ME THAT HE SUFFERED

    When I went through separation and divorce it was such a difficult time of my life.  I lived for a long time separated and didn’t let my friends know.  I was embarrassed. I had a broken heart and a broken spirit.  I absolutely thought my life was over.  

    If it wasn’t for my kids I don’t know what I would have done.  They were my reason for living.  They were struggling so much and needed a mom—more than ever before.  

    Before all of this heartache, I had been a “Cup Half Full” kind of person, always being described as “bubbly”.   There was nothing left in me to “bubble over”.  I was depleted of every resource I had.  With my marriage ending I thought any good plans I had for my life were over.  I thought I would never be able to fulfill the call of God on my life.  I thought I would die never having been truly loved.  I felt dead inside. Through so many avenues God brought healing into my life: good friends, books, music, counseling, Divorce Care, Church, but mostly through His Word!  His Word was always the place I ran to for refuge.  I’m SO thankful that I made that my practice when I was younger.  Reading the Word was my knee-jerk reaction to pain normally but with all the heartache I at first shied away from reading and praying.  I actually had to force myself to read the Bible for a while.  The book that had been so alive for me was just words on a page. 

    The more I read, the more faith began to rise up!  I began to understand that no matter if I never experience the true love of a man, my Father in heaven loved me and His love is more than enough! 

    I was attending and amazing church and each week it felt like the pastor spoke right to my heart and need.  A song that was sung often by the worship team was “Healer”.  As I sang, the words washed over me and Daddy healed my heart. 

    “Healer”

    You hold my very moment
    You calm my raging seas
    You walk with me through fire
    And heal all my disease
    I trust in You, I trust in You

    I believe You’re my healer
    I believe You are all I need
    I believe 

    It goes on to say:
    Nothing is impossible for You… You’re my healer

    When my heart was strong again, God saw fit to bring a wonderful man into my life.  His life and love have brought a deeper level of healing to my heart that is such a blessing to me!  Todd’s encouragement has helped me to move forward and walk into the calling God has always had on my life.  You reading these words are proof of that! 
    Since Todd came into my life I have published one book that he illustrated and have more in the works.  God has opened the doors for me to travel and speak.  My husband is publishing his first book.  We’re helping each other to follow our dreams.  Dreams God placed in my heart as a 19 year old girl!  Writing, speaking, one in marriage and ministry, my children doing well…these were all dreams that had died for me!   

    God resurrected them all! 

    The Bible is true when it says that, 

    if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:11 (NIV)   

    This Easter, if you’ve never opened up your spirit to Christ I beg you to invite Him in.  Once you allow Him in, the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead will be at work inside of YOU, bringing those places that you thought were dead to new LIFE in Christ! 

    If you are a believer, allow My “Resurrection” Story to increase your faith to believe for YOUR “Resurrection” Story!

    May you have the Most Blessed Easter!

    With love,
    Sherry Stahl

    #musicpic
    CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE HILLSONG CHURCH SINGING “HEALER”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7M6nTV1tFs

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  • 40 Days In The Man Cave

    Can’t seem to find a ‘Mans Man’ Devotional?
    Well search no more!
    My husband Todd—the firefighter, author, artist and illustrator of WATER IN THE DESERT recently completed a NEW Men’s Daily Devotional.

    40 DAYS IN THE MAN CAVE is scattered with humorous, interesting stories about the importance of men carving out a few minutes within their crazy schedules to spend time with God and ‘Crave The Cave’.

    40 DAYS IN THE MANCAVE COVER

    After years of searching the book shelves Todd feels God has placed in his heart the need for a “Man’s Man” devotional.

    This is for the guy who wants to uncover more out of the bible without having to hand in his Man Card!
    If this describes you, or someone you know, consider reading a pre-published copy.
    We NEED your input before 40 days in the Man Cave hits the shelves!
    7 guys will be chosen.. all we ask is..

    • Email:  toddstahlart@gmail.com     Subject Line: Book Review
    • Tell us why you want to be included for this selected group
    • We will be happy to send you a manuscript and a small questionnaire to complete so we can receive your honest input.
    • Simply fill out the questionnaire and email/mail it back to us so we can make the book even better!

    For your time and assistance you will receive a signed copy upon publication!

    http://WWW.TODDSTAHL.COM

    SAMPLER     

    CLICK HERE TO READ A DEVOTIONAL SAMPLER

    YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED!

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  • Faith & Lace With Shelby

    On Sunday Night my daughter, Shelby created a blog for young women called “Faith & Lace“.  

    Faith & Lace

    Shelby releasing faith and laceIt’s all about faith, fashion, music or whatever she’s feeling at the time!   Shelby’s one of those strange kids that watched Fashion Television from when she was about 4 years old, and has great fashion sense now.  

    I think she loved music since the day she was born!  Shelby would kind of sing herself to sleep in her little basssonette.  Somehow she’s been blessed with a beautiful singing voice and the ability to play multiple instruments.  She didn’t get that from her momma!  

    Shelby’s faith was strong from a young age, but was almost destroyed in her early teen years.  Thankfully, things have changed so much!  

    Writing Devotions

    cross Shelbys faith and lace siteShelby started her blog with a devotional called “What Is Your Cross“. I wonder where she ever got the idea to write a devotional 😉  (Twinkle in her momma’s eye!)

    In the post, Shelby talks about her inspiration for writing the blog when she quotes Luke 9:23, “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must… take up your cross daily, and follow me.”  Shelby goes on to say:

    I choose today to carry my cross of depression and anxiety high and follow God, no matter how painful and hard it may seem.

    So I ask you this, what is YOUR cross?

    Will you choose to let that cross bring you down and keep you in pain and discomfort, or are you going carry it with pride? Soon the cross will be dragged so long that it will slowly grind down to nothing, and you will truly feel free.

    Shelby has gone through so much in her short 18 years and has had to fight to get free.  It has come from accepting the cross she has to bear!  

    I couldn’t be more proud of her!  Interestingly, as she has accepted her cross and allowed God to use it, He has seen fit to lift the depression from her.  Steadily over the past year there has been a growing vibrancy and hope for the future in Shelby.   Her desire for God to use her and all she’s gone through make this momma’s heart sing!  

    Looks like we have another author in the house!  

    Since this post released, years have past… Her overcoming nature inspired a devotion and then Shelby shared her story in more detail on my Soul H2O Radio &Podcast Show. 

    Check out Shelby’s Blog:

    http://www.faithandlace.weebly.com
        

    Instagram:     @shelbysparkman

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  • A Great Weekend!

    Last weekend was awesome!  It started off with a great drive to see my Gram and Son!  My Gram is just the cutest–next to Todd’s Gram!  So blessed to have such wonderful women in my life!  I could never spend enough time with my son!

    I drove to Maple and slept over at my amazing friends, Mark and Andrea Giancola’s house.  It was so good to spend time with them.  I could never get enough time with them either 🙂  In the morning Andrea and I went to the Ladies’ Day Away that she organized for the church they pastor, Maple Community Church.  Such amazing women.  We had 27 great girls come out to the event. I had done a retreat for them about 8 years ago so some I knew from before.  I have been getting emails from some of these great girls all week long!  I’ve made some lifelong friends!  Their worship leader, Lindsay Fitch did an outstanding job.  She taught the girls the new song “Water In My Desert” and it became like our anthem 🙂

    It was so great to have my sister Lori come to the event and then to go back and stay at her house.  I loved spending time with my nieces and nephew.  My one niece did my nails for church.  I even got to go to church with them and see my youngest niece wearing her first pair of heels!  She’s just like her Auntie Sherry!  A Tom-boy who loves to dress up.  She had her heels on with her hockey team coat!  What a cutie!    My sister spoiled me too!  The Ladies’ Day Away was held at Pine Farms Orchard in King City.  They have the cutest lunch restaurant and store with home decor and delicious, healthy food you can buy prepared.  Lori bought me glasses that say “H2O” all over them!  How cool is that!  Such an awesome sister!

    I picked up Shelby and we were on the road again, heading for home…Gabbing all the way!  Now that was a Great Weekend!
    Heading to Waterdown tomorrow–I’m sure the journey will be just as Great!

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  • Lewisville, Texas

    Todd and I had the privilege of traveling to the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas in January.  There was manly stuff for Todd, and girly stuff for me!  What a perfect trip!  The first few days were spent at a Lighting show for Todd’s work with his cousin’s Matt & Michelle.  Two amazing people!  The trade show was so interesting!  Lighting is now Art!  We had the strangest shuttle bus.  It was a normal white hotel shuttle bus on the outside, but we knew it wasn’t normal as soon as we stepped in! Everyone began laughing as we took our seats.  The black and hot pink color scheme should have been a clue, but we didn’t even notice until I was looking at a picture a couple took for us that it was a “Playboy Bunny” themed bus!  The drivers decorate their buses to get better tips!  Who knew?!?
    We had so much fun at the Fort Worth Rodeo.  It was both Todd and my first rodeo.  I don’t know how people have the courage to sign up to do that?  It’s the most dangerous thing I’ve ever seen in my life and I grew up at a Dragstrip!  I loved shopping at Sam Moon’s Department Store sized Accessory Warehouse!  I could move in!  It’s fashion for less in the most incredible way!  I so wish they had stores outside of Texas!  I appreciate that Todd gladly spent time at a coffee shop and didn’t complain about my time, or money spent here J  You just can’t get this stuff back home!
    On the Sunday, we went to Victorious Life Church in Lewisville, Texas. https://www.victoriouslife.org  Pastor Mark Akers was preaching a sermon series on Going Through Storms In Life and had me share my testimony.   When I was done speaking, Christian Recording Artist and Worship Leader, Rachelle Fletcher sang the song she wrote after watching the video on my website of Todd and I giving our Testimony (Link to Interview). It was so inspiring and emotionally overwhelming for me at times!  This is only the second time Rachelle has sung it publicly.  The first was when she came with me last summer to speak in Detroit.  (Link to the Song on my Youtube Channel) God used the song so powerfully.  God orchestrated the whole morning!   My testimony and Pastor Mark’s message meshed together as if we had it planned!  I wish you all could have been there!  Hope you enjoy the pics!

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  • It’s A Wonderful Life!

    I know this may be hard to believe, but last night I watched It’s A Wonderful Life with my daughter for the first time in my wonderful life!  Shelby and I had never seen it before.  I now know why it’s a Classic.  I love the story!  There were so many lessons to be learned about God’s love and His plan for your life.  Too often we think that our lives are not amounting to much, like we’ve missed out on “the big thing”.   We can get so defeated and discouraged when things don’t happen as quickly as we would like them, or how we thought they would happen.  In the movie, George Bailey was ready to give up on life.  It was interesting to me how when the angel Clarence asked if George was sick that the other angel said “No.  Worse.  He’s discouraged.”  Discouragement is a dangerous emotion.  It can bring people to do crazy things or give up and do nothing.  It was amazing to see how rejuvenated George became when he realized that his life was making a difference and he did get to fulfill his dreams of building.  It was priceless when he saw the town sign said Bedford Falls, not Pottersville. You can see the confidence in his heart through his eyes and the way he cheered.   He finally saw his accomplishments!  He knew his life was making a difference.

    pottersville sign george realizing he made a difference
    I saw this same confidence in my friend Kevin Pauls’ eyes at his Spirit of Christmas Event last week.

    For years Kevin has put his heart and soul into singing.  He has seen some good times, but nothing like this before!  I was overjoyed to see my friend’s dreams come true, right before my very eyes.  You see, Kevin and his wife Wendy are lifelong friends.  He’s more like a brother than a friend.  We have all been there for each other’s triumphs and heartaches.  They helped me to not give in to discouragement by their words of encouragement and by the example they live.  Kevin has never given up.  I remember at a monumental birthday party (the big 4-0), Kevin’s brothers and cousins were “roasting” him and teasing, telling him to “get a real job”.   I was thankful to be at the concert and see the pride in his siblings faces as they bragged on Kevin’s excellent performance!   There are even talks of next year’s Christmas special being televised!   I felt like I was at a Bing Crosby Christmas Special with better music!  Kevin, Sharon Riley and The Faith Chorale, Tenore, Michelle Wright and the huge choir were all amazing!

    I’m so thankful that Kevin never gave up in times of discouragement.  I’m thankful for the example he is of moving forward and choosing to see the great possibilities that God has ahead!  I’m thankful that God has the same potential in ALL of us for A Wonderful Life…if we don’t give up!

    Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.                  Galatians 6:9 NIV

    Here are some photos from THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS event.  To check out more about Kevin Pauls and next year’s event, click on the links below:

    Kevin’s website      Kevin’s Blogsite

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  • THANKSGIVING

    Wishing all of my American friends a blessed Thanksgiving Day!  Hope you let your Worship Leaders and others who inspire you know how much you appreciate them!
    (See Monday’s Devotional “Every Time I Think Of You“, Just click on the words)
    Here are pictures from our Canadian Thanksgiving back in October.   Just like the American Holiday, only sooner!  It gives our stomachs longer time to recover and prepare for the BIG Christmas Feast  🙂

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  • Light The Night-2013

    This year we hosted a church event for our neighbourhood called “Light The Night” on October 31st.  It was so much fun!  We had a hot dog BBQ in our garage all decorated for the evening.  My daughter Shelby, Lorraine Heath, Nicole and Art Barron, along with their  girls helped us with the BBQ.  The Barron girls handed out candy to all the kids.  FGT Family Church is all about reaching the community with the love of Christ!  We served over 100 hotdogs and gave out candy to around 150 kids.   Pastor Drew and his boys, new cast members on Duck Dynasty 🙂 came by to take photos and have some fun!  It was a great night and lots of fun seeing so many of our great neighbours!!!

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  • Visiting With My Son

    Since Brandon lives on his own now over 2 1/2 hours away I value every minute I get with him!  Not that I didn’t value it before, I’m just more aware of it now 🙂  He’s a great son and I’m so proud of the man he’s growing up to be.  Working for my parents he’s helped to increase their sales and allow them free time, something they’re unaccustomed to!
    Image 2 IMG_2361 DSC_0418

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