Your destiny awaits you.

When I look into his eyes, I see the light of God. 

Pure, holy Fire that cannot be extinguished even though the devil has tried.

It is beautiful, refreshing, and life-affirming.

All the suffering was washed away at that moment, and God reminded me to keep fighting. Your destiny awaits you.

The Albino Turkey

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

In my attempt at family bonding, I like to bring crafting projects, yummy treats, and table decorations to my parent’s holiday parties. It doesn’t happen at every get-together, although I try to incorporate it into our yearly festivities.

You see, I lived away from my family for many years, and those holiday seasons brought me an indescribable amount of sadness. When I moved back home, I changed my focus and tried something different during the holiday season — doing table projects.

The Perfect Thanksgiving Craft

Last year was no exception; I spent a good part of thanksgiving week researching the perfect craft project. I perused Pinterest diligently, creating a Thanksgiving board of perfection with all of my top choices for the year’s family holiday crafting projects. There were so many to choose from, and with my son, Eli having autism, this was becoming quite a challenge. He has a limited attention span and it was important to me that everyone at the table enjoyed their time together.

Finally, after hours of contemplation, my husband Eric and I decided we would all color turkey hats together. This was a good idea, of course. I convinced myself everyone would just love it and participate. At the end of the day, we could take a picture of our masterpieces and each other; this was a win, win in my book!

As I reflect on this Thanksgiving day, I love to think about how much fun we all had making those silly turkey hats. Sharing our colored markers and pencils across the long table, helping Grandpa put his hat on correctly. Taking pictures of everyone smiling, laughing, and having fun.

The Albino Turkey

I’m giggling now as I think about my brother Jim and my nephew Sam on this day. They would not color their turkey hats! Telling me their turkeys were special because they were ALBINO TURKEYS—ones that couldn’t be colored.

 It makes me laugh to this day how unique and hilarious the two of them were. They joined forces to remind me how special an albino turkey was, how rare it was to find one, and how being different is not only ok, it’s beautiful. Tears come to my eyes even now as I think about how much those two taught me on my journey toward celebrating and giving thanks for everything. 

This Thanksgiving

This year, Thanksgiving will be at my parent’s house. I looked for a craft on Pinterest this weekend, searching diligently for that eye-catching idea to make a memory last a lifetime.

Things are different this year, as we lost Jim in February.

With an unbearable loss, I only know to reach out to the Lord and hold on to his word. I grasp onto it and repeat it as it sinks into the depths of my troubled heart. I’m reminded of the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 about giving thanks in all circumstances.

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to give thanks, especially now when my heart hurts. But remembering God’s promises gives me the strength to walk in faith and try to put one foot in front of the other. Believe me, this is not easy, but all things are possible with God.

So, this year, I’ve decided to do something unique and something a little of the same for our Thanksgiving crafting tradition at the table. I will put those crayons and markers out, and I’ll pull out some paper, and we will see what happens. As we all found last year, an albino turkey is rare and special. This is just beautiful.

  • This Side of Heaven
  • Stephanie Pavlantos
  • The Albino Turkey – Blog Post
  • Released Date: November 22, 2022

A Lesson of Perseverance

His tears lasted briefly……It was really for only a tiny moment in time. Wiped away clean by gentle movements from the palm of his hand. Inhaling deeply, he paused momentarily and was ready to begin his task again. This Mama will tuck away his perseverance lesson and keep it in her heart. Something for me to chew on and ponder when my heart is worn.

Speak His Love

My little guy shows me daily that his actions speak louder than words. With these tiny hands and these tiny arms, my child speaks. Although he cannot express his thoughts with spoken words, his sweet gestures talk for him.
I know that one day soon, he will perforate the air with the sounds of his words. When that day comes, it will be a blessing from God, and I will rejoice. Until then, these tiny hands and arms will speak his love to me.

Keep Singing

So, I’m having a no good, terrible, and what most people call a very bad day. It all started when my alarm was on strike, refusing to notify me of my need to wake up. Causing a string of unfortunate events, ultimately leading to my late arrival at work. 

Honestly, I was completely off my game for the rest of the day, and even my most comfortable work shoes couldn’t keep me up. Therefore, messing me up on an important work project. This caused some slight irritation in my boss and, honestly, in me. At that moment, I couldn’t see that the creator of chaos, “The Devil,” was fueling my every thought and emotion. He wanted me to do or say something that would allow this day to spiral out of control. 

By this point, those feelings of worthlessness and defeat crept inside my heart, and I began questioning why God would even put me on this earth. So, if you have ever found yourself in my shoes (and some of you probably have), I found something remarkable that might just turn that difficult day upside down.

Keep Singing… and no, I’m not suggesting turning your life into a high school musical. The Song “Keep Singing” by Mercyme has been a constant in my life for the last few years, an outlet for helping me make it through those most challenging days. Its lyrics softly praise God amidst all the troubles and tragedies we may face, the ones on this side of heaven. 

This powerful song has brought me back from the edge more times than I can count since its release in 2004. One of the most memorable parts of the music that always causes a wavy of calm to rush over me is:  

“Can I climb up in Your lap    

I don’t wanna leave    

Jesus sing over me.”

Every time I hear those words, I have this urge to close my eye and picture the goodness of God. Are you able to imagine it, too? Standing before the throne of God and standing in the wonder of his love. Would it be intimidating, or would it feel like home? I would wait patiently for him to notice me and look for him to beckon me up. I may revert to my childhood, climbing up his thrown so fast, like a squirrel scurrying up a tree. Plopping myself on his lap and resting my head on his crest. I imagine my breathing becoming in sync with his, feeling the stress and frustrations of life fly away. In this vision, he sings sweet blessings over my life, and I am comforted, safe, and wrapped in his unconditional love. 

I love this song and will always consider it my bad day song. No matter how hard my day is, I remind myself that God is always there to support me. To hold me when it’s rough and loves me despite my shortcomings. (which there are plenty of)

Suppose you are going through one of those no-good days. In that case, I encourage you to find a musical outlet (along with prayer) to help combat the devil and his attacks. Find a pair of comfy shoes, regroup, and recover. Hit the refresh button, play on the stereo, and just “Keep Singing.”    

Psalm 98:4

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”

  • A Life Without Limits: Rollin’ Into The Future
  • Debbie Waltz
  • Keep Singing – Guest Blog Post
  • Released Date: November 28, 2022

 Faith to the Rescue

Tears came to my eyes as I watched the other little boys in the classroom running around, playing a competitive game of tag. With laughter and giggles spilling out across the play area, the boys chose who was “it.” I watched in awe as they ran, mesmerized by all of the activity. There were other children too, playing with brightly colored toys, happily chatting away, interacting with their peers, and mostly ignoring us adults in the room. Only occasionally asking one of us for a drink or a snack. I looked over and found my little guy Eli huddled in the corner, present but in his own little world. Eli wasn’t playing with any of the toys surrounding him or interacting with the other kids, and this was breaking my heart. His autism diagnosis was still so fresh, and I could feel the tears building up, threatening to spill out of the corners of my eyes. Something had to be done, and FAST! My heart raced rapidly, just as quickly as my body temperature rose. Oh boy! I was entering the danger zone, sensing that full-blown sobs were only moments away. Digging my fingernails into the palms of my hands, I desperately tried to distract my heart from processing the scene unfolding in front of me. Thankfully this time, the panic inside blew over as quickly as it came, and I could smile my way through. For now, the moment was over, and time was moving forward, although peace was far from my heart.

     Arriving home shortly after, my husband Eric met us at the door. He could see that I was visibly distressed as he picked Eli up, and we walked inside. Of course, by the time I set my purse down on the cupboard, the tears were pouring down my cheeks, and I was crying uncontrollably. As I began to try and explain what had unfolded earlier, regret began to enter my heart. This was not how I wanted Eli’s and my day to end, and I certainly didn’t want him to see me again upset. Eric stood silently and listened intently, as he usually did. He comforted me, held me, and asked me one simple question. Did I have faith? Faith that someday Eli was going to something AMAZING. He was going to play! WHAT? Was he not here in this room with me, and had he not just listened to my concerns? Witnessed my tears? What did faith have to do with this? Kids were climbing on the walls today, and I’d barely held it together! What in the world did he mean? Exasperated and unable to process his words, I retreated.

What did Eric know, anyway? Deciding to ignore his wisdom, I bolted into the bathroom and drew a bath, choosing to soothe my aching soul with warm water instead of having faith. The water moved, up and down, just like tiny waves. I watched them intently when Eric popped his head into the bathroom, reminding me about the mustard seed verse. The verse about FAITH. He even had it highlighted on his phone and read it aloud. Annoyance bubbled inside of me as he closed the door. His exit left me pondering my faith. Was it the size of a mustard seed? My faith, just like those tiny waves, was wavering, going up and down. God wasn’t done with this family just yet, and we needed him now more than ever.   

     Later that evening, I pondered Eric’s words. Sometimes, especially in times of sorrow, I’m unable to speak and only able to cry. So often, my faith is so small and as tiny as that mustard seed. Thankfully life wasn’t slowing down anytime soon; it was moving on. Showing us that amazing moments happen because we serve an AMAZING God. Nowadays, my heart soars with happiness when I walk into a room, watching my little boy with his action figures. Moving them around in the air, PLAYING!!!! This is the place where faith has taken our family. A place of beauty and peace, and a place where I’m able to sing, “God is so good, he is so good to me.”

  • A Life Without Limits: Rollin’ Into The Future
  • Debbie Waltz
  • Faith to the Rescue – Guest Blog Post
  • Released Date: April 29, 2022


“I hate dogs!!!” was my thinking for years before a small, lovable puppy came into my life.
Before Ike arrived, my animal experience hadn’t been good for most of my life. In my short 40 years, I got scratched, bit, licked, and fell prey to the dreaded cat scratch fever (yes, it is more than an 80’s rock song). Having a dog would be out of the question. RIGHT?

Jumping back to 2011, I was 31, in love, and it was with the girl next door (literally). There was nothing that she could say that would stop me from marrying her. I had the ring, the girl, and a house for the girl to live in after the “I dos.”

So, the time had come. Everything was all set. I knelt down on one knee, nervously trembling as will you marry me, tumbled out of my mouth. Joy anxiously replied, yes, but insisted her dog Teddy was also part of the package.” Fear rushed over me like a bad case of food poisoning, and I awkwardly agreed as my stomach churned uncontrollably.

Our big day had come and gone by mid-august, as the wedding gifts were all put away, and my new bride was true to her word. Much to my dismay, a short time later, I was staring eye-to-eye with a little gray and white Shih Zhu as he stared back at me.

Teddy was a good dog, although, unfortunately, we never truly bonded. About six months after Joy and I married, God began to stir our hearts changing the family’s direction, and we could see a need to fulfill. Joy’s heart was torn; she knew how much her father, Roger, had bonded with Teddy when they had lived at the family home.

Roger missed Teddy after we married, and they moved away. So after much prayer and seeking the Lord’s will, Joy finally decided that Teddy should live with Grandpa and Grandma since he brought them so much love and happiness.

Although I could see Joy made a difficult choice, I thought everything was finally going my way; I had a wife, stepdaughter, house, and NO DOG. Life was finally smooth sailing, or so I thought.

Not long after Teddy’s departure, my new wife revealed she was unhappy without a dog in the house.

Reluctantly I went with the girls to our local shelter to just look at a puppy that Joy found on their website. It was a blow to my ego, and I was looking forward to the peace and quiet of living in a no-pet house.

His name was Ike, and he was a new arrival at the shelter. He looked pathetically adorable with his paw up on the cage, eagerly eyeing everyone as they walked by. When the girls came around the corner and saw Ike, I knew I was in trouble. They fell in love with him at first sight, and I wondered, out of all the dogs here, why Ike. I knew that if this was going to work, God would have to show up, and boy, did he ever.

Several other families wanted to adopt Ike and filled out the application; there were too many to count. Thankfully after much prayer, we were the family God chose, and the girls were overjoyed; I guess I was mildly excited too. We ultimately adopted Ike into our family and brought him home. It was a happy time for Joy, and she thrived with having a new puppy to love; it was a relief knowing that the decision to bring another dog home was just what she needed to adjust to married life.

My work schedule changed a year or so later, allowing me to spend more time with Ike. Then, Ike and I truly bonded and became the best of friends. The bond we developed has become a source of fuel for my creativity, bringing laughter back into my life and allowing me to tap into a new creative place of writing.

Seeing God’s plan for Ike in our family back then was difficult, but now I’m uplifted. He’s a comedian and gets the whole family to belly laugh. Nowadays, Ike is like our third child, spoiled by Joy, the kids, and especially by me. Ike is essential, and I can’t see life without him. I wouldn’t have believed it years ago, but with God’s direction, I went from being down on dogs to living my best life. One that I’m happy to confess includes my puppy best friend, Ike.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD,

thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Music Monday: “In Jesus name (God of Possible)”*

Preparing last Monday’s blog, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have such loyal friendships; I didn’t always feel that way. Don’t get me wrong; my parents have done their best to instill a positive self-image and confidence in me. They never really put limitations on me because of my disability – believing I was capable of anything that I put my mind to. This led to me being one of the first children to take part in a pilot program for mainstreaming in middle school.

The mainstream program was exciting to me at first because I got to interact with other people with disabilities who were just like me and who had encountered similar struggles dealing with a disability. In the mainstreamed classes, I met regular kids without disabilities. I was able to stretch my intellectual muscles and see what I was truly capable of in terms of regular learning. It also allowed me to interact with the regular students in a somewhat normal setting. I tried to make friends.

Learning along with my peers

My middle school years were tough. In the beginning, I assumed my peers needed time to get accustomed to having disabled students like me in the classroom. I thought that if they just got to know me, they would see I was just a regular “kid” like them, and they would accept me. Boy, was I wrong! My peers would have nothing to do with me, as I would often get picked last for group assignments or the teacher would assign me to a group because no one wanted me in their group. I remember the stares I received driving from class to class with my head-controlled wheelchair; the students parted like the Red Sea when they saw me coming.

Granted, some students were willing to help me; but sometimes I believe it was to get special recognition for “going above and beyond.” For the most part, I kept up with my academics, attempting to prove myself worthy of being in regular classes.

By high school, I’d accepted my disability and social life for what it was and tried to make the best out of a bad situation. Sure, I tried to interact with my peers, but I didn’t bend backward to make them like me. Because of my high academic standing, I was invited to join The National Honor Society. In spite of being unable to participate in many physical activities, I was given the unique responsibility of keeping track of everybody’s hours in an Excel spreadsheet.

By senior year, I was over the drama and ready to move on with my life. I had researched the pros and cons of getting my high school diploma immediately after graduation versus having the school keep it in exchange for receiving services until my 26 birthday. Thanks to the goals my Individual Education Plan (IEP) set forth. Even though I continued my education at a college while still living at home, I don’t feel it encouraged my personal growth as much as my time at Concordia.

Step of Faith

After getting my Associate’s degree in General studies, I was determined to spread my wings a bit further and brought up the idea of going away to get my bachelor’s degree. As expected, my parents were a bit hesitant. So we came up with a compromise. My brother was attending Concordia at the time, and it was only 15 minutes away from our house; we decided that would be a good fit. I would stay on campus during the week and come home on the weekends. The faculty and staff were so accommodating; they even walked me around the campus to see if there were any problem areas that would be difficult for me to drive my wheelchair through. I had heard college was an amazing time of self-discovery, and I was finally going to experience that for myself…

Still, there was the question of getting personal assistance during the week to give me up in the morning and put me in bed at night. Finally, we found an agency willing to accommodate those hours; but who would take care of me in the hours in between, making sure I got to my classes on time?

Biblical Views on Friendship

Before I finish my story about Concordia, I’d like to take a closer look at what the Bible says about friendship. In Romans 12:15, we read, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” In other words, a friend should take up your burdens and carry them alongside you, making sure you are not alone in your journey. It also says in Proverbs 27:9:

“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” Proverbs 27:9 (NIV)

A true friend knows someone inside and out and has their best interest at heart. My time at Concordia really taught me this and so much more.

Concordia Friendships

During this time, I prayed that this experience would be drastically different and I would find friends that genuinely accepted me for me looking past my disability

God had that already taken care of! That’s when I met BA. She introduced herself to my parents and me when visiting the college cafeteria; she was getting her degree in Special Education and wondered if she could help me. From then on, our friendship grew. Other students came out of the woodwork as well- more than willing to make sure I got to class on time and photocopy their notes for me after class. Of course, we were on a Christian campus, but you could tell it was more than that. They truly liked me for me.

Even now, my friends still contact me via text or Skype to see how I’m doing or catch up.

Although this blog is primarily about friendship, it’s important to remember that God is the best friend we could ever have. God can open doors other people can’t. That’s why I chose “In Jesus Name (God of Possible)”; we must never forget what our God is capable of doing. So if you are a parent of a disabled child, don’t give up hope. Anything is possible if you believe in Jesus.

For more information on Debbie Waltz CLICK HERE.

*”In Jesus name (God of Possible)” By Katy Nicole (2022 Centricity Music)

This Change is For the Good

When I moved back to Michigan fourteen years ago, I would have given anything to own a kitchen table. (Actually, any table, for that matter) In the last few months, I have stored many of my possessions, which makes me glum, including my beautiful oak kitchen table.

This table was my prized possession, and I honestly did love it. Doing my homework before purchasing it, pursuing the internet and researching all of the furniture stores in our area, window shopping in my spare time to look at different options, and saving to

buy it with my own money just before Eric and I married. It meant a lot to me; it was sturdy, extendable, and ready to seat the family for holiday dinner parties. This table was more than just furniture; it was a piece of stability that I believed would anchor our home and marriage. Boy, how wrong could one be!

God was orchestrating a big transition for us, one that was improving the resources available to our youngest son with autism, and this was important to me. We were temporarily moving into a much smaller house, which filled me with sadness; I wasn’t a happy camper. My husband Eric and I discussed moving the table into our rental home, and it just didn’t make sense. The new kitchen in the rental was much smaller than the one we were leaving, and my table would take up too much space.

I was heartbroken (although this wouldn’t affect our decision to move.) It was a done deal, and we knew God was moving our family north, giving us a new place to call home. It was also in God’s perfect timing after all the dramatic changes our family had experienced in recent years.

Seeing how distraught I was, my mom comforted me by quietly reminding me it’s a long way from the mind to the heart, and in this particular circumstance, I understood her sentiments entirely. Even though my mind understood the reasons to move, my heart had trouble catching up.

I had many unanswered questions, even though I was sure this was God’s will for our life. I needed a reminder that we haven’t stepped backward; sometimes, God stretches us before moving us forward to where he wants to grow and develop those deeper roots. I decided to take some time and ponder my mom’s thoughtful words and delight in her wisdom.

It took some time and many tears on my pillow, but acceptance soon followed. The sun came out, and I could see the light of God shining down. Seeing my son improve by leaps and bounds was enough motivation to keep me moving forward, and for this, I am so thankful to God.

Even though we are still getting planted in Midland and trying to grow those roots, we have found a wonderful community here and feel we belong. The boxes are getting unpacked, and the shelving is going up, although my beautiful oak table is still in storage. I’m learning to accept that this change is for the good and stepping out of my comfort zone to enjoy the transformation.

We are embracing the new, and I’m starting to admire my small farmhouse table. It’s cute, easy to clean, and tucks neatly into a kitchen corner. As a mom, it’s a definite win in my book! I’m learning to adjust to our new way of life, something I’ve instilled in my children to do all along. I know God is using this move to mold our family (especially me) to cultivate us so we are ready for the pruning season when the time comes.

Isaiah 5:6
“I will lay it waste; It will not be pruned or hoed, But briars and thorns will come up.
I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.”

Homemade with Love and Extra Butter

     Sitting at the kitchen table that morning, I watched Mom bustle around the kitchen, prepping for the family dinner party scheduled for later in the evening. My troubled heart filled with annoyance as she pulled out her old recipe box and set it on the cupboard. She took her time, flipping through some brightly colored cards and asking me what I thought she should make for dinner that night.

                 Like I cared? All I could think about was how ugly her recipe organizer was! Pea-green, plastic, and desperately needing to be tossed into the garbage, or so I thought. Eying the box and rolling my eyes with exasperation, I silently asked, what’s the secret ingredient, mom? You don’t even use the recipe. I was in a phase back then, a not-so-pleasant time in my life, where Mom’s gentle encouragements boiled more frustrations inside me than water, and I was drowning in those flames.

                Thankfully most of the time, she pretended to ignore my hurtful behavior, probably more for my benefit than hers. She effortlessly prepared the meal and danced around the kitchen while cupboards opened and drawers closed, pulling out all the required utensil essentials. Never once stopping her methodical rhythm or missing a beat. She was like an orchestra conductor, swaying a baton meticulously around. Something that I will never forget. Mom was content and at peace, knowing that her kitchen was the heart of our home and that family dinners had good food and laughter. 

    Years have passed, and mom is in the same kitchen, using all her favorite gadgets and, most importantly, still cooking and recreating her famous masterpieces, still using that vintage recipe box. Though now, I have learned to cherish that old box, even searching for one of my own. I love the memories that come with it, all the conversations, and especially the joy.

                 I’m reminded of God’s word as I watch mom make her way around the kitchen now. The verse about rising while it is yet night comes to my mind. It’s beautiful watching someone give of themselves for the sake of others, sometimes rising just before daybreak to ensure she finished her task. Sitting in her kitchen today, I watch and breathe it all in.

                Time may have changed the color of the walls, along with the places where we are seated, but I am still a daughter watching an essential lesson from Mom.

                Mom added a little of this and a little of that to a large mixing bowl. Seasoning and spices, into a bowl, for a recipe that she recreates often. Like the seasons of life, she has a time and a purpose for everything. Mom showed us, kids, that sometimes we have to change how we do things, like with a recipe, adding or substituting the parts that were not part of God’s bigger plan. To rework the parts that were soiled. Over the years, I’ve added spice to the equation when I need to add sugar instead. However, my mom knew and was willing to share that the secret ingredient was always love.

1 Corinthians 16:14-Let all your things be done with charity.