Land of the Free, Home of the Brave…

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave…

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
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We hear and sing these words all the time, but do we really think about what they mean? Most people in the United States of America never give these words a second thought. We often take our freedom. We do not see freedom as a God-given right for which others dream and for which people fight and die.  However, my mother raised me to understand what these words meant.

My mother started out life as a child of privilege. Her family had a cook and a maid. Her father was a Korean government official before the Korean

My mother does not speak much about the war because of the painful memories.  I do not know all, or even most, of what she endured. I cannot even imagine what her family lived through.  When war broke out, her father had to go into hiding. Because he was a government official, he was wanted by the Communists.  He lived in a hole in the ground and her brothers sneaked food to him when they could. I am sure it was worse than we could imagine.

By the end of the war, they had lost all their worldly possessions, but they had their lives and their freedom.  Gone were the servants and all the luxuries. They had all survived.  There were still a lot of restrictions in post-war South Korea.  The government restricted travel, and they monitored speech.

Years later, my mother had a chance to come to the United States, where she met and married my father.  This country afforded her more than she could imagine as a child growing up in a war-torn country, things we take for granted.  She could do what she wanted, when she wanted.

My brother, sister, and I were born in this country. My mother raised us to love the United States and what it stood for. As a child, I did not fully appreciate what my mother had taught us about her life.  As a homeschooling mom reading the Declaration of Independence to my children for the first time, it truly hit me what the signers of that Document gave up for us. They declared their freedom from a tyrant so that we might live in a free country.  They risked their lives for a cause in which they believed.

I am so grateful, even with all the turmoil in our country now, that God allowed me to be born and live in this country.  For now, we still have freedoms that most people cannot even imagine.  When this country is all one knows, it is easy to take it for granted. It’s easy to not realize how fortunate we are that God inspired our founding fathers to take that leap.

I have seen my mother cry when The Star Spangled Banner is sung.  She is so grateful to live in a country so free. Just as my mother is thankful, we too should be grateful for our God-given rights and freedoms. We must work to protect those rights so that our children may also live in a free country where “land of the free, and the home of the brave” are not just empty words.

We still have the freedom to worship God, who sent His Son to die for our sins so that we could have FREEDOM from death.  

My prayer is that all who read this have or will accept Him and be free.  There is nothing like freedom through Christ.

From what types of bondage has Christ freed you?

Do your ancestors have similar stories of why they came to the U.S.?


Splinters: Allowing God to Heal and Restore

Splinters: Allowing God to Heal and Restore

I am a recovering Army brat who loves to travel and start new adventures. My handsome husband and I met at Oklahoma Christian University and he whisked me away to Kansas. So, I bought some ruby red high heels and made Topeka my home. I have a rough and rowdy Princess 4-year-old girl, amazing twin boys (almost 3) and a newborn baby girl who all make every day an adventure. We are grateful to be part of an amazing church in Topeka who regularly challenges and encourages our whole family. I have been both a full-time working mom and a stay-at-home-mom and/or both at the same time at one point or another. I am constantly seeking God’s wisdom on “balancing it all” and following His plan for my life, not mine.
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Last week my nearly three year old son had a splinter in the bottom of his foot. I told him to wear shoes outside on our wooden playset, but he chose to disobey and took them off before climbing the ladder. Lo and behold, he got a huge splinter. And it hurt him a lot.

My husband was working late that evening so it was just me versus the splinter. BIG SIGH.

I tried a few different tactics with my little boy trying to gain access to the bottom of his foot with my needle-nose tweezers, but he screamed and wiggled before I even touched him. I found myself contemplating sitting on him to keep him still. Seriously.

Finally, I grabbed him up in my arms and held him tight. I told him I needed him to relax and calm down and focus on the movie I turned on so I could help his foot feel so much better. He looked at me with tear-filled eyes and cried, “But mommy, no! I love the splinter.”

Suddenly, it struck me how similarly we act when we have a “splinter”–something harmful we hold on to when God is trying to make us new. But we can’t seem to let it go.

Whether it’s a particular sin we are struggling with, something we aren’t trusting the Lord with in our lives, a pain we are holding on to, or lack of obedience in our lives–how many times have you held on to your “splinter” and said you loved it instead of letting Christ heal your heart?


Psalm 31:19 says:

How abundant are the good things
    that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
    on those who take refuge in you.

It also reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce when he describes the man with the Red Lizard.  I found a partial transcript in Christianity Today if you want to read a longer segment, but pick up the whole book if you haven’t already. In this story, a man has a lizard on his shoulder which represents sin in his life. It’s a startling allegory about what separates us from God.

A mighty angel approached the man and asked, “Would you like me to make the lizard quiet?”

“Of course I would,” said the Ghost.

“Then I will kill him,” said the Angel, taking a step forward.

“Oh—ah—look out! You’re burning me. Keep away!” said the Ghost, retreating.

“Don’t you want him killed?”

“You didn’t say anything about killing him at first. I hardly meant to bother you with anything so drastic as that.”

“It’s the only way,” said the Angel…. “Shall I kill it?”

“Look! It’s gone to sleep of its own accord. I’m sure it’ll be all right now. Thanks ever so much.”

After much discussion and indecision, the man finally allows the Angel to kill the lizard. As the lizard dies, it transforms into a dazzling white stallion.

The man, now free from his torment, climbed upon the stallion that had been his sin and rode into the glowing sunrise toward the Savior.

That is available to all of us. We can be free from our torment. Free from the sin in our lives.


Galatians 5:1 assures us, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” {sin}

Walking around life with “splinters” in our feet is slavery. What pain, what agony, what self-inflicted misery we can wallow in if we don’t seek the forgiveness, restoration, and loving healing of Jesus Christ.

Why is our old nature so hard to let go of sometimes? We think it will hurt, and it might a little…but life will be so much better afterward.

Do you have a “splinter” in your life that you need to surrender to God? Have you experienced the forgiveness and healing of Christ? Did you know that even though it seems incredibly hard to be refined by God through repentance and obedience and trust in the Lord, that He loves you and wants to see you restored, healed, and following Him?

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Romans 8:1-4


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