As Long As You’ll Permit

Dear Lord; Happy Friday Father!

Thank You Father!!  Thank You, thank You, thank You!!

What a wonderful Blessing You’ve given us Lord… Such a beautiful way to start the weekend!

For those who follow our conversations and don’t know the source of my joy Father, please indulge me while I explain.

A couple months ago, we had Jonathan in for his yearly check-up with his pediatrician.  It was a routine visit, but due to his complicated medical situation (Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis), doctor’s appointments always place some concern in our hearts.  For the most part, everything went quite well; nothing obviously scary to report.  Then the doctor examined some new “growths” that had popped up on him over the last year; up went the red flags, and down went our spirits.  She labeled them as “suspicious”, and indicated that we should have them looked at by Jonathan’s oncologist as soon as possible. We tried of course to stay optimistic, but the seed of worry had been sown all the same.

The oncology visit didn’t yield much in the way of answers either, but added another round of “concerns” and a referral to a pediatric dermatologist for a specialized examination and if necessary, treatment and surgical intervention.  The oncologist did however, indicate that the possible skin involvement was all that appeared out of the ordinary at the moment, and that all his other tests and scans looked perfectly normal.  That news certainly eased our fears a bit, but based on past experience with this disease, our guard was still up nonetheless.

Today, Jonathan went to see the dermatologist.

They’re moles Father… All perfectly normal, and nothing to be concerned about.  But You already knew that, didn’t You?  🙂

Please forgive my doubts Lord… I know he’s in Your hands no matter what, and I’m so thankful for that.  But each time we have the specter of this disease rear it’s gnarled claws, it takes our hearts back to that terrifying time of uncertainty and fear, when the possible loss of our son was very real.  And while I realize Lord, that this life is temporary and simply a step towards Your Eternal Kingdom, Shannon and I are selfish in that we love this little boy dearly, and very much want him to remain with us for as long as You’ll permit.

Apparently, that’s Your desire for the moment as well… And I thank You from the bottom of my heart for that Blessing!

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

P.S. September is Histiocytosis Awareness Month.  To learn more about this life threatening disease, and what you can do to help in the search for a cure, please visit :

Truly Special People

Dear Lord; Happy Wednesday Father!

This morning Father, the Malmstrom home was a flurry of activity.  Jonathan and Aidan eagerly prepared for their first day of the new school year, and Shannon got herself ready for the first day in her new full-time position as a Para-Educator at the school as well.  As we’ve discussed many times Lord, I’m very proud of my wife, and love seeing her so excited to take this step.

And with the vision of her smile drifting through my mind, my prayers this morning have been focused on Shannon and all the other educators that strive daily to prepare our children for the future.  Teachers are truly special people Father, and I thank You for instilling that love and sense of commitment in their hearts.

With that thought on my heart Lord, I’d like to close today with a prayer I found this morning.  It appears to originate from the United Church of Christ’s website, although I wasn’t able to track down a specific author.  It’s entitled “A Prayer for Teachers”:

God of Love, Thank you for every teacher who notices a child’s special gift. Thank you for teachers who are listeners and gentle guides. Thank you for teachers who expect much and love enough to demand more. Thank you for the special teacher each one of us remembers.

God of Mercy, Sustain teachers who give everything they have and feel abandoned when society expects too much. Strengthen teachers who assume the blame for so many problems beyond their control. Help exhausted teachers rest.

God of Strength, Encourage teachers to care and inspire them to nourish. Motivate teachers to keep on learning for the fun of it and to make learning fun for children.

We wonder at teachers who know how to quiet a class of five-year-olds or help fourth grade girls be empathetic. We admire teachers who enjoy middle school writers, or teach physics or math or civics. We cannot even imagine how to help every single student achieve Adequate Yearly Progress. Bless the people who are expected to accomplish these miracles and who know how to comfort children when miracles don’t happen.

God of Justice, help our nation find a way to steward our vast wealth to support teachers in their special calling, wherever they teach and whatever the race or religion or gender or wealth of the children.

We pray these things in the name of our Great Teacher, Jesus Christ.


~Phather Phil

Meditations Monday: Back to School

Dear Lord; Happy Meditations Monday Father!

To begin our week’s conversations Lord, I first want to give You thanks for the Blessings You granted me this past weekend.  Although a busy couple days to be sure, I was Blessed to spend them in the company of family and friends.  I regularly find myself overwhelmed by the gifts You bring to my life, and thank You for Your continued Presence.  I am indeed Blessed.

Well Father, this Wednesday marks the return to classes for Jonathan and Aidan.  And while they’re a little disappointed that the freedoms of summer are waning, they’re both very excited to dive into a new school year’s “education adventure”.  With that thought in mind, I decided to focus this week’s Meditations Monday Scripture selections on what Your Word has to say about the advancement of knowledge:

…That the path of learning is important to both our head, and our heart:

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out. – Proverbs 18:15 (NIV)

…That putting our children on the proper path will help guide their future:

Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

…That wisdom, understanding and knowledge work together to make our lives fuller:

By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;

through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures. – Proverbs 24:3-4 (NIV)

Heavenly Father, as our children begin another year’s schooling, please keep Your watchful gaze upon them.  Please help them not only to absorb what they’re taught, but to apply that knowledge towards fulfilling Your desires for their lives.  Open their minds and their hearts, and fill them with that thirst for wisdom that only You can instill.  Lead them Teacher, that they may grow both in this earthly realm, and in Your Kingdom as well.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

Thankful Thursday: The Right Perspective

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

You know Father, as I’ve mentioned before I really LOVE Thankful Thursday posts.  While I try to give thanks each day for the abundance of Blessings You grace me with, having a weekly post that leads me to recollect all the little things that bring a smile to my heart puts me in exactly the right perspective:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

I ran across a blog posting today at that said it beautifully:

“With God, ‘thank you’ should always come before ‘please.’ The first thing that needs to come out of my mouth in prayer and worship needs to be praise for who God is and what He has done. Not just instructions for what I want or even need Him to do.”

So true.

Therefore Father, with that perspective firmly embedded in my heart, this week I’ve been thankful for:

196. A silly, giggly, tasty dinner with Shannon and the kids at a new Mexican Restaurant.

197. Getting some “one-on-one” time with Aidan while Jonathan was away at Kay’s Kamp.

198. For a sweet Bloggy Friend who reminded me to look at flowering weeds as flowers, and not weeds (Thank you Jean!).

199. Cool, clear mornings which let me leave my windows down in the truck on the way to work.

200. A fun night out with my lovely Wife last Friday night.

201. Getting the opportunity to attend “Media Day” at Kay’s Kamp, and seeing the Blessed work they do for the children.

202. Inspiring testimonies from courageous people.

203. Getting well over 50,000 miles on my truck tires before having to replace them.

204. Free lifetime map and software updates available for my GPS.

205. Finding new school uniform clothing for the boys at Goodwill dirt cheap.

206. Jonathan having another wonderful week away at Kay’s Kamp.

207. Having inexpensive generic versions available for the medications we take.

208. Tootsie Fruit Rolls.

209. My portable digital voice recorder that allows me to note things I’m thankful for at the time they come to me.

210. Waking up next to the lady I love each and every day.

Heavenly Father, once again I thank You for all the Blessings You grace our lives with each day; both those that shine brilliantly with Your Light, and those that Bless us quietly, without fanfare.  I pray that You will continue to open my eyes wider to Your gifts, that I may appreciate them to the full.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

Do Unto Others…

Dear Lord; Happy Tuesday Father!

First off Father, I want to raise Kim Miller up in prayer to You once again.  Her powerful testimony in the video I linked to in yesterday’s post has very much been in my thoughts, and continues to inspire further introspection of my own Faith.  Lord, please grant Kim Your peace, Your comfort and if it be Your Will, Your healing that she may continue to know Your abundant presence in her life.

Today Father, I’d like to discuss manners and courtesy, or more specifically the lack of them I’ve been seeing as of late.

During a quick trip at lunchtime over to the nearby WalMart, I was confronted a number of times with blatant examples of selfishness, disrespect and a general disinterest in the feelings of others.  Simple little things like:

In a busy parking lot, taking up two full spaces to avoid being parked next to…

People not looking behind them when going through a door to see if someone is following close by before letting it swing closed…

Shoppers standing in the middle of a narrow aisle chatting while people and carts sit behind them waiting for them to move…

Parents allowing their young children to run around unsupervised and then getting upset when other people question them…

Leaving shopping carts rolling all over the parking lot when there are plenty of cart return stations nearby…

It’s very frustrating to witness such widespread disregard Father.  And while I certainly ran into several smiling, courteous folks today as well, they were somehow less obvious than those whose focus was very much on themselves.  Now, I’ve absolutely been guilty of allowing my mood to sidetrack my manners now and again Lord… I believe we all have.  This begs the question; how would You have us act towards others so as to best reflect Your Love?

With forgiveness and compassion:

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

With thought and empathy:

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31 (NIV)

In the spirit of peace and unity:

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” – Romans 14:19 (NIV)

With humility:

“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Luke 14:11 (NIV)

And with Love:

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”” – Galatians 5:14 (NIV)

It’s so handy having Your Instruction Manual Father.  🙂

Heavenly Father, please help guide our words and actions to best exemplify the behavior that You desire of us.  Make Your light visible through our lives, so that others may witness the peace and compassion of Your presence in us.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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