Monthly Archives: February 2014



Cape Blanco

Cape Blanco Lighthouse – Gina Femrite

She lived across a field from me and I often dropped in to say “hello.”  When the windows were open in the summer, I would usually hear the determined peck of the keys of a manual typewriter as I approached the front door. She spent most of her days writing letters to family and friends and working on a memoir to record God’s faithfulness to her and her family.

Aunt Mary, as her neighbors called her, had led an active life, as missionary to Bolivia, pastor’s wife and mother of six children. Now, though, with children grown and living hours away, and the unexpected death of her husband, she had only the ministry of a Sunday school class and her typewriter.

When I stopped to visit, I tried to keep my two-year-old from picking up all her breakable keepsakes and asked for advice about being a good mother and finding the right balance of discipline. And, she confided in me that since she didn’t even drive, she felt useless, unable to do much good for people anymore.  I assured her that her usefulness had not ended. She was an encouragement to me and her letters encouraged others.

I wish I could have properly explained to her what she meant to me, at that time in my life, but all I could say was, “You are a blessing to many people.”

Aunt Mary didn’t realize that sometimes I just stopped by to get a dose of hope.  To me, she was a lighthouse. Although she had faced salt-scarring storm tides and gale force tempests, and her outward body had started to chip and fade, the bright Christ-life within beamed brightly.

The presence of God that emanated from Aunt Mary was as a beacon that reminded me of God’s faithfulness in life’s storms and the importance of maintaining the Christ-life. Aunt Mary was more than a blessing, she was a Lighthouse to me.

A Tribute to Mary Barnard Enyart  1905-1992. 

Martha Hawn VanCise©2014
A special thanks to Gina Femrite for the use of the Lighthouse image.



Nice Touch

God Took Pleasure in Each Phase of Creation

And God saw that it was good…Genesis1:10
And God saw that it was good…Genesis1:12
And God saw that it was good…Genesis1:18
And God saw that it was good…Genesis1:21
And God saw that it was good…Genesis1:25

Snowy Mountain Peaks



On that first day
That you sifted snow across cragged
Mountain ranges, did you pause and
As an artist,
survey the wide-stretched canvas
and say

Nice touch.
I like that.
That’s good.

He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’  He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. (Job 37:6; Psalm 147:16)

Martha Hawn VanCise©2014
Photo by MHVanCise

Valentines From God

God supplies all of our needs

A Valentine from God

Another Short Story…

Several years ago, on a Saturday evening in early February , I tried to focus on the Sunday school lesson I was to teach in the morning. My attention, however, was on the bulging file of unpaid bills that lay on the desk. A recession was bankrupting our construction business. Loan officers had been calling about the car and mortgage payments.

With determination, I forced myself to read the lesson about Joshua. After crossing the Jordan into Canaan, Joshua had admonished the Israelites to keep telling the story of God’s deliverance to future generations. The lesson plan suggested that each person relate personal or family stories of faith to the class, then go home and tell the story to a child or grandchild.

I knew that God had answered many prayers for me through the years, but I could think of nothing very dramatic to repeat to the class or to my eleven‑year‑old daughter, Meribeth. I finally decided to tell the story my Dad had often repeated, “The Tomato Juice Story.”

Meribeth listened politely to the story of how my college-student parents had nothing to eat but a quart of tomato juice that turned out to be spoiled. Dad and Mom had prayed for food at 10:00 in the morning and at noon friends, who lived several hours away, had arrived with bags of groceries. Although I tried to show how God had supplied my parents’ need, I had the impression that the forty‑year‑old event seemed irrelevant to Meribeth. When she left the room, I felt that I had failed to communicate God’s faithfulness to her. I thought, “I wish she could see God at work in her generation.”

The weekend passed. Monday, I drained our bank accounts in order to keep the phone from being disconnected. Although we had a couple contracts that would provide future income, our only hope of immediate income was from one unanswered job proposal.

Late that afternoon, after using our last five dollars to buy milk and bread, I drove home through drizzling rain. In the kitchen, I placed the small bag of groceries on the table and picked up the pile of mail. It was all bills except one item ‑ the rejected job proposal.

When my husband, Dave, went out later to talk to a prospective client, I added the new bills to the overflowing file. Sitting in a daze, I wondered, “How can God ever bring good out of a situation like this?”

Meribeth tiptoed in and said, “I forgot to tell you, Mom, I need valentines for school.”

Pulling her to my side, I said, “I haven’t wanted to worry you, but you need to know. We have no money.”

“Get some at the bank,” she said.

“You don’t understand, Meribeth, we are out of money. We don’t have any in the bank. We have one dollar. We don’t even have money for food.”

She looked shocked and a little terrified then offered the coins in her piggy bank.

“We are going to pray about this,” I told her. “We aren’t going to tell anyone that we need money, except God. We’re going to ask for food and valentines.”

“Is this like the ‘Tomato Juice Story’?” she asked.

“Yes, this is like the ‘Tomato Juice Story.'”  After we prayed that night, she went to bed and I waited for Dave. He came home with good news about a future contract, but no deposit money. I didn’t tell him about Meribeth’s need for valentines or our prayer.

The next morning, when Meribeth walked out the front door to catch the school bus, Dave and I were both in the living room entry. She stepped back into the house and held out a large brown-paper grocery bag, “What’s this, Dad?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” he said, taking it from her. “It’s light. Maybe someone’s playing a joke on us.”

Cautiously, he opened the bag and pulled out a white envelope. He peeked in it and gasped, then gasped again. He pulled a thin slip of white paper from the envelope and read, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory.” And then he pulled out a single one-hundred-dollar bill, and then a second one-hundred-dollar bill. Meribeth looked stunned for a minute. Then she said, “It’s like the ‘Tomato Juice Story’ isn’t it?”

A horn sounded and as she raced to catch the bus, she called back, “Can you get a box of valentines, today?”

We never discovered who left the bag at our door, but the money provided valentines and food until we had income. With time, we recovered financially, and many unpleasant memories of that recession faded. For a long time I wondered if Meribeth recognized the dramatic way in which God had shown faithfulness to her generation.

Several years later, after Meribeth had graduated from high school, she attended a home Bible study with me. The leader asked us to relate personal accounts of God’s miraculous answers to prayer. Meribeth whispered to me, “Should I tell about the valentines?”

Martha Hawn VanCise ©2014