"Blessed is she, who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Monday, March 30, 2009

Plus One to THE One

This month's topic for Marriage Monday is "Friendship in Christian Marriage".

Once again, I am going to head off on my own trail with this one. (The topics are so broad my mind can't be contained to just one path. I like to wander around and make my own way :)

When Bob and I got married twelve years ago, we didn't invite someone to the wedding. Luckily, he showed up as a plus one with some of our family and friends. Of course, he didn't sit in the front row, but he was out there in the crowd somewhere. He watched us "tie the knot", nodding his head and smiling this little half smile. He knew what had just begun, and where it would lead. He also knew what it would take to get us there.

You see, we never invited Jesus to our wedding. He managed to sneak in with some friends, but because we didn't ask for him to join us, he sat quietly in the crowd, watching.

Fast forward to about two years ago. We are both now completely dedicated to living our lives for Christ. We wanted to fix our marriage so Bob and I both read scripture, read books (OK, I read books, he looked at the covers ;), talked to friends, sought out council and so on, but we still were missing the big picture. We worked so hard on fixing our relationship that we didn't even notice that Jesus was always there, waiting to the side, just taking it all in; once again with that little half smile on his face.

On and on the struggle went, knowing how it should be but never able to GET there. Working in our own power.

By this time, we had a great relationship with Jesus. He joined us for meals, prayer time, celebrations and deep discussions. We asked his advice and direction on parenting, ministry, service, and even started to listen to his direction on finances. Our friendship with him had grown and deepened and become wider and higher. All of a sudden, there it was! The answer we had been struggling to find!

We still hadn't invited Jesus to the wedding. He was still sitting in the crowd, watching, and smiling that little half smile. He had to wait for us to realize that we had never asked him to join us.

Jesus is the best kind of friend. Always there, but never pushy, never overpowering. He wants us to take the step of trust that is required in all relationships. He wants us to lay it all out. The ugly, the dark and damaged, the forgotten and the hopeless. Then he can work in his power to repair, replace and redeem what was lost. But you see, he won't take it all. We have to willingly hand it to him and admit that we just aren't enough.

By removing Jesus from the guest list that kept him as a "plus one" and inviting him to be in the middle of our marriage, we found that all the broken places were made whole. The pieces that were missing suddenly were there to complete the picture. It took HIS light and healing to change our marriage. Not our power. We have none. It had to be his. Jesus needs to be THE one if our marriage is to work according to God's plan. The one that directs. The one that disciplines. The one that refines. The one that leads. The one that is glorified.

Bob and I will eventually renew our vows as an outward sign to our friends and family that we are still dedicated to each other. It will be a time of celebration with friends. But what matters most has already changed. Our commitment to each other and most importantly, removing Jesus as a "plus one" from the crowd and making him THE one in the middle of our marriage.

Oh, and that little half smile he seemed to always have? It's a full blown laugh now.

For more stories of Friendship in Christian Marriage, head over to marriage Monday by following the link in my right hand column.

Hot Pockets ~ Have a laugh!

I like hot pockets. But this is funny!



Sunday, March 29, 2009

Worship with Lee

I spent the weekend at a Dare 2 Share conference with teens from our youth goup, so I hope that you will be OK with my very late posting of my Saturday song.

As you know, I love Leeland. The depth of the lyrics and the melodies are exactly right for my worship style. They performed Saturday night and they were just as great as I had hoped they would be. We sang a couple of old hymns. They had been updated to fit Leeland's style, but still had the same beauty and richness that old hymns do. We sang "I have decided to follow Jesus" and it was just awesome (in the TRUE definition of the word).

I came across this video while looking for that song and just had to stop and worship for a few minutes. I hope you are as blessed by it as I was.




For more great worship songs, click on the TSMSS button in my right hand column.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Ok, I really and truly struggled this week to decide on my five. There was a lot of things to be thankful for. Here are my top of the tops...

1. Ok, I know that you guys have been waiting and praying for this one so get ready to laugh, cheer, praise God and just be happy...

our teen that was hit by the SUV was at youth group last night! He looks really good and is doing amazingly more than we ever expected, especially for just four weeks after the accident. He even fussed at us for telling Kevin the truth of his condition...he didn't like the fact that Kevin worried about him. I told him that we have seen Kevin grow in his understanding of prayer through this so we aren't sorry we told him. (I guess this is a two for one praise huh?)Our teen still has quite a way to go, but he is doing great!

2. We had several teens accept Christ last night at youth group. It is just awe-inspiring to see the Spirit move in such a mighty way.

3. Our banquet for the crisis pregnancy center where I work exceeded our goal! This is so exciting. We had several people indicate that they would like to volunteer, and from what I was told, there were a couple of people there that got to hear the message of salvation and hope for the first time! I got to hear the most amazing testimony. Our keynote speaker was Kathy Sparks. I would highly encourage you to follow the link by clicking on her name. I have linked it to her testimony she gave on Focus on the Family. It will be a blessing to you!

4. My wonderful husband. I don't need any qualifiers here. He just rocks and I am thankful for him. (ok, just one little one here: he thinks I am hot no matter what I look like. He REALLY does!)

5. There are some women in the church that I love and have had a friendship with for several years, but we are starting to push below the surface and get to know each other on a deeper, spiritual level. That is a blessing.

* I would like to add a prayer request: I don't know the person that was driving the SUV that struck our teen, but I know she was struggling with it. I don't know what she has dealt with or what feelings and emotions she is struggling with, but I just ask that you pray for God's peace on this situation. That if there is any guilt (we all know that she couldn't have done anything about it, it was NOT her fault)or lasting emotional or spiritual pain, that she would be healed and freed from those situations.

For more Thankful Thursday posts, please follow the link in my right hand column.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This is just Fabulous!




I was so honored when I saw my little name listed on Kelli's blog, Faithful Life! What a wonderful thing to say about a person! I invite you over to check out her blog and get to know her, she is really fun!

I was doubly honored when I visited Godsown at My Journey and saw that she had honored me with this award as well. It is a blessing indeed to be acknowledged by two such wonderful women.

OK, so there are two rules that accompany this award:

1. Confess 5 things you are addicted to.
2. Pass the award on to 5 deserving bloggers

Here are 5 random addictions that I have:

1. Chocolate (chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake or dove dark chocolate promises are my preferred methods of consumption!)
2. I absolutely LOVE The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, and Biggest Loser. I get really involved in these shows and then become sad, as if my friends have moved away, when the season is over.
3. being technologically connected. If you see me, I will generally be texting, blogging, twittering or checking my facebook or myspace, or my gmail or hotmail accounts.
4. I become addicted to "going". I don't care what I am doing as long as I am out of the house going. That isn't really a good addiction because it affects everyone and schedules get thrown off and eating times are not regular. Not healthy for toddlers and big kids alike.
5. Trying new health and beauty products (with the exception of my face powder, it works at keeping my skin from looking like a teenager's skin so I am ALL about loyalty on that one!). I love new colors, scents, textures, and formulas. I don't buy the hype, I just want to try it. I hardly ever buy anything the same twice. It is fun for me.

OK, now the really fun part. I get to introduce you to 5 people whom I enjoy "knowing" in the bloggy sense of the word.

1. First, you have to meet Tara at Giggles n' Gulps. She is so random and funny. And did you know she started her own resource website on post partum depression? She is inspiring as well, Ladies!

2. Shanda over at A Teachable Heart
is so inspiring and uplifting for me. She, along with Tara, are two ladies whom I would be honored to meet in the real world. I have really enjoyed getting Shanda's encouragement and insights over the past few months. I'm sure you will see what I mean after you spend some time on her blog.

3. No list would be complete without my friend April over at Ramblings of a Mother and Wife. She's frugal, crafty, creative in the kitchen, dedicated to being real about her life as a wife and mother, and also an advocate for RP. And yes, she is the same in the real world as she is on her blog!

4. I first met Gayle over at The Westie Crew a day before she started her blogging fast. Yes, ladies, this woman has not blogged since February 25th! I decided her blog would be on my top ten list when she posted the most amazing blog about making cake in a coffee cup in your microwave. I mean, how truly beautiful is that! She will be back after lent so make sure you check her out!

5. Finally, I want to introduce you to Kelly over at Kelly's Korner
I followed a link to her blog from another blog, and there I found the most amazing testimony in the making. Kelly's daughter Harper had some pretty serious stuff going on when she was born. Kelly's testimony through it all, and her unwavering faith in God to pull them through the situation, was a blessing to read.

If you have received the award already, then just accept it as confirmation of your blogs impact.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The BL-Thought Closet-Memorizing-Serving Spiritual Spring Cleaning...HUH?

What does all that title mean? Read on!

Over the past several months, I have been really "getting" scripture. It is like a light has been clicked on in my head. I am applying it better than ever before. I am retaining it better than I ever have. I am using it to enrich and deepen my relationships. I am just in a "get it" time in my life.

Before you think I have decided I am the Oh-Great-Enlightened-One, let me tell you, I have some pretty big strongholds that I just can't seem to allow God to break down. I have decided that this is the year to do it. And of course, any time the seasons change (such as springs arrival, along with Easter and warmer weather) I am inspired to "clean house". This time I am just going to clean house in ME.

How? I am taking a body-mind-soul approach.

Body: Biggest Loser (BL)

I am not healthy. I am overweight, under-strength, endurance and lung capacity challenged. I have had every excuse in the book as to why I can't or don't want to lose weight. Some were legit (under-active thyroid, now behaving nicely thanks so much, and shin splints which are still around and kicking) and others that were not so legit, like laziness, poor time management and just plain 'ol stubbornness.

I have come to see that the body is very important in pretty much every aspect of my spiritual life. I use it to serve, to learn, to build, to comfort, to entertain (I work with teens and I have kids, I'm either getting a laugh at my 80's dance moves or am a jungle gym for my toddler)and also to house the Holy Spirit. If I do not keep my body in good shape, I will not be ready and able to perform whatever task the Lord sets before me. So, I have enlisted some friends who will keep me accountable and I have actually committed and am sticking with a workout. We meet twice a week to do Biggest Loser workout DVDs and (prepare yourself for the horror!) I have been fasting from chocolate for the last three weeks! I still have three to go! I realized that I had turned chocolate into the major food group in my diet. And yes, Ladies, there IS something wrong with that. So, I promised God I would get chocolate under control in my life and to do that I had to say goodbye to it for awhile. Thanks to my friends it has been mostly fun, but there are days I desperately want some. That shows me that I still haven't given up that strong-hold to God, so I continue on.

Mind: (Thought Closet)

I am the very first person to tear myself down (and truthfully, probably about the ONLY person to do it) and I am pretty viscous about it. There is a whole litany of things that I constantly remind myself that I am just not good at, don't qualify for or have the power to influence in. Now, I KNOW what God says about me. I have read his thoughts over and over. But, I allow my own thoughts to drown him out. These thoughts go back a lot of years, and I just can't seem to get them out.

How do I fix that? I joined and committed to completing the new Bible study in the ladies ministry at my church. It is called Me, Myself, and Lies. It is all about the lies we speak to ourselves every day. I am determined to allow God's voice to boom out over the little mutterings of my own mind. This study is my chance to finally break down this stronghold of self-talk in my life and truly allow the word of God to be the voice I hear.

Soul: Memorizing and Serving

What am I feeding my soul with? Well, up until the first of the year, not much. I would read the Bible but not spend the time to really study it's content. It was not so much a love letter to me as it was a quick reference guide. In order to grow, I knew that had to change. I dedicated the next 12 months to learning 24 Bible verses. That's 2 a month. Now, for someone that can't even remember her husband's cell phone number (speed dial #2, thanks so much), this was a daunting task. But, I gave it to God and away I went. I am actually doing pretty well! I got a little enthusiastic with a couple and I am still trying to learn them, so I decided to keep to the shorter verses after that.

Amazingly enough, I don't struggle to decide what verse to commit to next. It always seems to just "pop up" in that way that you know God is giving you a hand. I have now committed 5 verses to memory. And yes, they do come to mind when I need to get a little reassurance or guidance from God.

I am also stepping out into some new service in my ministries. I continue to learn and develop the truth that to grow in Christ I need to be serving his people. I connect more deeply, love more strongly, and grow deeper the more I strive to have a servant heart.

So, I guess my spring cleaning is more of a complete overhaul, but if you are going to do something, the worst thing you can do is do it halfway.

I hope something I have mentioned here might spark a desire for you to check-in with your body-mind-spirit condition. Is everything in good working order? No clutter to work around? No junk that needs thrown out? Maybe you just want to re-organize or, better yet, make-over something that is worn out and just not working like it should. There is no better time than the spring, with the reminder of Easter just a few weeks away, to focus in on what matters most, and what needs to be gotten rid of.

Happy Cleaning ya'll!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Yes You Have

As I look further and further into my realtionship with Jesus, I see more and more that I am drawn to him, not that I am seeking him. Once I accepted the grace that was offered to me, I began this relationship with Jesus that was so unbalanced. He gives and gives and pours into my life and refuses to leave me or give up on me. I have nothing to offer him. I never did. I never will. But he just doesn't care. I am his.

He died for me and therefore I am his.

The further I go in this relationship with Jesus, the less I can do without him. I love that my dependance on him grows and deepens with each passing day.

I can not highlight just one phrase or lyric in this song. They just speak my heart much better than I know how to say it myself.

Leeland ~ Yes You Have





Every tree and every stone
Every rushing wind that moans
They sing Your praise
My God, they sing Your praise
Every star and open sky
Tell of Your glory divine
They shout Your praise
They shout Your praise, yeah

You’ve stolen my heart
Yes, You have!
You’ve stolen my heart
Yes, You have!
You’ve wiped away the stains
And broke away the chains
Yes, You have!!

With Your love You set me free
Three nails gave me liberty
So I’ll sing Your praise
My God, I’ll sing Your praise
Oh, with Your love
You forgave my sin
Forgot my past
And brought me back again
So I’ll sing Your praise
I’ll sing Your praise, yeah

If I ascend into the sky
Or hide behind the night
I can not run Your love is chasing me
If I fall into the sea
Your hand will rescue me
No one will take Your place
Because

This is all for You
Yes, this is all for You
You’re the King of the world
You’re the King of the world

As always, there is much more worship to be found at the The Sings My Soul blog party. Just follow the link in my right hand column.

Learning how She-Speaks (scholarship give-a-way!)



Every year I see postings on Lysa TerKeurst's blog about the She Speaks conference.

If you have never heard of She Speaks you must immediately, I mean IMMEDIATELY go here (But come back when you are done!).

Are you back? OK, great! Now, doesn't that look like just the most AMAZING thing ever? Do you want to speak to women? There's encouragement and guidance for that! Do you want to write about God's grace and mercy lived out in your life? There's guidance for that! Do you want to grow your women's ministry into an amazing testimony of God's love through people? There's guidance for that! Besides that, a conference full of women who love God, love women, and want to grow in their gifts and callings? WOW!

I have been eyeing this conference for a couple of years because God is working this strange new gift in me, and I am not sure what to do with it or what direction I am supposed to go from here. I just know I absolutely LOVE when something that I have shared from my own life and journey impacts someone else. I truly believe that we each have an amazing, God-given ability to change the world through our life story. As for me, well, there will be some writers there that I would love to get some info from, as well as just seeking guidance as to what I am supposed to DO with this thing sitting in my head.

Now, as you know, I would love to win this scholarship (as you probably guessed, for the writing track) since I would never be able to afford it on my own. But, I may not be the person God has intended for this reward. It might be YOU! I would like to really encourage you (again, yes YOU!) to head over to Lysa's blog and get all the info and get yourself registered for the scholarship give-a-way. To find out what the scholarship includes, go here.

Ladies, We all have stories to share and people to influence in the name and cause of Christ, and this is a great opportunity for you to see just how you can do it!

Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Video on exercising

In honor of my not losing any weight yet, I give you a little Tuesday laugh.

Don't worry, I think my body is storing up the weight loss, and I will wake up one day a size 10. (Hey! It's my dream. Don't try to take it from me!)


Zephaniah 3:17 in the little things

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
~ Zephaniah 3:17


I picked this verse this week because one, it was referenced in half of the workshops I took over the weekend, and second, well, I need it.

When I read verses like this I feel like they are good to have in my memory bank for when the big stuff comes. However, I have recently really started to see how these "storms of life" verses apply to the day to day life we live as well.

"The Lord God is with you, he is mighty to save".

How wonderful to be able to remember this when you are frustrated with your children, or feel slighted by your husband, or let down by your friends.

It's times like that when you make little mistakes that could have big repercussions. You overreact in your punishment of your kids and then the whole family has to live with it (we have lost many weekends of fun because I didn't stop to consider the big picture and allow the molehill stay a molehill) , your bitter words to your spouse cause damage and heartache, or your response to a friend's action causes distance and hurt.

What if we remember that God is with us and allow him to save us from all of this junk in our relationships? A few minutes getting God's direction will have long term and lasting rewards in our relationships, instead of our snap human response tearing them down.

"He will take great delight in you"

We are still stuck in the belief that God expects the grand gesture every day to prove our love and commitment to him. How wrong we are! God delights in every right choice, every instant of compassion shown, and every struggle that we take another step out of. Of course he wants us to stop and help the jobless man on the corner, serve at the homeless shelter, donate our money to worthy and compassionate causes and preach the Gospel whenever we can. He wants us to finally lay down that addiction and give it to him completely, to respond naturally with compassion and love in every situation, and to proclaim our testimony of it all.

But...

He delights when we remember to hold our tongue instead of yelling at our children. When we stop ourselves from going back for that second helping at the dinner table. When we pass by the sale rack without even looking. When we dedicate that few moments of free time to reading our Bible instead of playing video games or watching TV. When we take a deep breath and ask the question that will push our relationship with someone else past the superficial and into the area where true growth in God happens. It's not always about the giant leaps (although they are important and should be taken when God gives us the opportunity). It's also about the little steps that seem so hard to commit to, to stick with, and to push past. He delights in us whenever we strive to glorify him, no matter what we do.

"He will quiet you with his love"

Have you ever had a day that just seems to be full of "little things"?

The kids were hard to get up and ready for school. You are stuck behind someone going below the speed limit or are cut off in traffic. You didn't get to get all of your errands done before the baby needed to go home for a nap. You realize that there is never going to be an end to the laundry, and it seems like your stuff is always the last to get washed. You stub your toe on just one more thing that was left out instead of put away. At 10:00 pm you are still looking at the dishes from dinner that didn't magically get washed and put away. Little things. But as they come along they grow in your heart a frustration and dissatisfaction with where you are in your life. These things can just keep building pressure in you until you blow. Then you have a lot of damage control to handle. What if we look to God when a "little thing" pops up? Allow him to quiet our thoughts and frustrations with his love? He wants to be a part of ALL of our life. Not just the big stuff that we know we need him to take, but for the little stuff that we think we can handle on our own.

"He will rejoice over you with singing"

We as parents rejoice over every smile, hand clap and step our child takes. Every right decision, every moment of perseverance, every time their Godly character takes them against the flow. How can we think that God does anything less with us? When we take a stand for God against popular opinion he rejoices. When we quietly open our Bible to correct our child instead of yelling, God rejoices. When we give God the victory over our habits and addictions, he rejoices. When we sit down and quietly tell him about our fears and joys, he rejoices.

How wonderful to know that God, the creator of the universe, rejoices over you with singing when you come to him in weakness, in joy, in pain, and in celebration. Nothing is too small for God to rejoice over. He loves us more than we can ever fathom!

As I strive to understand this scripture in my life, I feel more and more drawn to learning more about God and what he wants for my life.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blessed by Support

How lucky I am!

I know after the 10 Days of Bob you might not want to hear any more about him, but I just have to brag on him a little!

I was gone all weekend at a women's conference (which he encourages me to go to, works extra hours to pay for, and takes care of the home front so I can go).

He took care of the kids, cleaned the house, worked on laundry and had all the dishes done. He even got the rugs back down!

It is so wonderful to be supported not only in the big, out front, hard work, making waves ministries, but also for the quiet, behind the scenes, overwhelming, amazing, rewarding and frustrating day to day world of motherhood and family.

I just have to say again, I LOVE MY HUBBY!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Here With Me

This weekend I went away to a women's conference. I only asked of God that he allow me to feel him intimately working in my heart this weekend.

His presence was so strong in my heart today all I wanted to do was stand and raise my hands or fall to my knees and just let his love wash over me.

My new memory verse was given to me today as well.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.

~ Zephaniah 3:17

"I can feel your presence here with me, and suddenly I'm lost within your beauty."

What other song could I post today?




Please follow the link in my right hand column to see how God ministers through music in the lives of others.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Once again, it is harder to decide what to cut out so the list stays at five.

1. That I am stepping into a new ministry in my church. I have felt pulled to the women's ministry for some time, but knew it was not in God's timing that I serve there. I also have felt that it is an all or nothing thing. I serve all my time in one ministry and none in others. I know it is not time for me to step away from youth ministry, as I love LOVE the teens in our community, I love my service there, I have grown and am still growing there, and I am good at what I do. I am so glad that God has shown me how to be effective (hopefully!) in each.

2. That I am getting to go away for a couple of days with my girlfriends. I am so busy with what I do in my ministries, as well as work and guarding over my family time (I learned that lesson the HARD! way) that I feel I have neglected some of the friendships that God has blessed me with. I look forward to this weekend to refresh my attitude as well as my relationships with these women.

3. That I have friends that are so affirming and uplifting of me. I am finding that God has given me a talent that I am only starting to poke at. I am not sure what I will do with it, I only know that my friend's have seen this new talent and are already encouraging me and helping to develope and grow it.

4. That it has been TWO WEEKS!!!!!!! since we have gotten a disciplinary notice from Kevin's school. This is such huge deal! I can see that he is trying harder and that he is starting to see that he chooses his reactions, actions and attitudes.

5. That God has, and continues to do mighty miracles in the life of the teen from our youth group that was injured several weeks ago. That his mother recently committed her life to Christ is about as beautiful a thing as I could have wished for this situation, but God continues to provide above and beyond by bringing him further and further back to his former self. He will have lasting damage but nothing even close to what it SHOULD have been and that is all God. If you ever hear anyone say that God doesn't perform miracles anymore, send them my way. I have something to say about that!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Deeply spiritual? Nah, just fun!

So, I saw this quiz over at Falling Around All Apart Me and it was just too tempting to pass up!

Have some fun and head on over to blogthings and find out what kind of Girl Scout Cookie you are!


I'm a peanut butter sandwich/Do-Si-Do

You are easy going and naturally happy. You don't need a lot to make you smile.
You genuinely care about people and are a great friend. You're always doing your best to make the world a better place.

Even though there isn't an immature bone in your body, you still are like a big kid sometimes.
Why make life complicated when the best parts are actually quite simple? You enjoy the small joys of life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday ~ April

The Latin meaning of April is "open".

The Shannon definition is "to adapt".

The last few years of my friend's life have been pretty crazy. So much has changed for her and her family that I know there are days that she doesn't know if she is coming, going, or just hanging on by her fingertips. Marriage, friendships, ministry, self, spiritual. They have all gone through radical changes.

Last year her son was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa Since then I have watched a roller coaster/merry-go-round year unfold for her and her family. I have watched them all go through many emotions. I have seen many "down" days. I have seen many "up" days to counter them.

During this time, she and her husband stepped up to the call from God to step out of their safe zone and lead a marriage small group. Of course, as with anything that you are truly excited about and want to make a difference in, the first time out was disappointing and frustrating.

Also during this time she has a teenage daughter. Need I say more?

I have been very honored to watch her battle her way through sadness, anger, depression, confusion, frantic research, more sadness, more anger, more confusion, to a deeper relationship with God.

So many people would allow a devastating diagnosis for their child to then BE the definition of their child. I am so excited that she did not allow that to happen. She has a son who happens to have Retinitis Pigmentosa. It goes along with his sense of humor and gentleness. So many people let the diagnosis change the way they see their children, but she has been able to see him as her son, not his diagnosis.

Likewise, she did not allow the first experience in a new ministry color her vision of what it can and will be. So many times when we get a less than amazing outcome when we step into a new ministry, we are tempted to throw our hands up and say that "I am just not the one that God wants to use for this". I am so excited that she hasn't done that. I can't wait to see how much they grow through this new year and new group!

Through it all she has adapted to each new challenge. I encourage you to check out her blog here.

you may wonder why I picked this picture instead of a more formal one, but this is just her. How I know her and love her. Of course I would pick this one. If you want formal, check out her blog :)

For more great examples of women living the Titus 2 life, click on the button in my right hand column.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I'm a "Guest Writer"!

I was very honored when Tara from Giggles n' Gulps sent me a message asking me to guest write for her website's blog. It isn't often that I get to share this particular part of my testimony, so to do so, and on such a wonderful website, was indeed an honor that I do not take lightly.

Too many women suffer in silence with Post Partum Depression. Feeling too embarassed, scared or alone to open up to even their closest friends and family.

This website is a wonderful resource for women and men who are dealing with the condition of PPD and other perinatal mood disorders.

As always, I am willing to answer any questions or listen to anyone who needs to talk. Also, Please feel free to check out

Out of the Valley Ministries, Inc.


Only by exposing such issues to The Light can we truly put an end to the darkness they bring.

John 8:12

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Please feel free to read about my experience with PPD on the Out of the Valley Ministries, Inc. blog.

Bit's n' Pieces

~ My daughter is the walking wounded. She tripped and fell Friday and bit a huge chunk out of her tongue. It is also cut in a half-moon shape from her teeth where they clamped down on it when she fell. THEN, she fell Saturday and split her lip and then fell again, and scrapped her hands. I feel so horrible for her, especially since she comes by it naturally. I have always been a bit of a klutz so it seems it's genetic.

~ Kevin finished his first week of ISAT testing. He has never had to deal with a state testing environment and I think he did really well! Tomorrow they are having "relax after testing" day and are wearing their pj's to school and having a fun day.

~ Kevin is participating in a math-a-thon for St. Jude's Children's Hospital and has raised over $150.00! I am so proud of him for wanting to do this.

~ Kevin has also been praying for the teen injured in a car vs. pedestrian accident a few weeks ago. Apparently they were buddies and I didn't know it until just this week when my husband and I were talking about the fact that the teen still can not recognize anyone. Kevin was upset but still intent on praying for this teen's recovery. Most of the time I don't think he is deeper than a glass of water (spiritually) but then he up and proves me wrong and makes me so very proud of his depth of understanding.

~ I am so excited that Dancing with the Stars starts tomorrow night.

~ I have been in a dark mood all week because of money. I really hate it and hate that we are in debt. I should be really excited! We paid off our next to last credit card friday, as well as a few medical bills. I guess it just highlighted to me how far we still have to go. I am better now, ready to get back to chipping away at it.

~ I am in the process of testing some "guarenteed" nail products. They make big claims about peeling, chipping, cracking, strength and appearance. I will be updating later in the week!

~ I am getting ready to watch two chick flick movies. "The Secret Life of Bees" (my friends current fav) and "Elizabethtown". I took a nap today for about 4 hours so I am gonna be up late!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Pure

pure

According to Dictionary.com, this is the definations for "pure"

1.
free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter: pure gold; pure water.
2.
unmodified by an admixture; simple or homogeneous.
3.
of unmixed descent or ancestry
4.
free from foreign or inappropriate elements
5.
clear; free from blemishes
6.
straightforward; unaffected.
7.
abstract or theoretical: pure science.
8.
without any discordant quality; clear and true: pure tones in music.
9.
absolute; utter; sheer: to sing for pure joy.
10.
being that and nothing else; mere
11.
clean, spotless, or unsullied
12.
untainted with evil; innocent: pure in heart.
13.
physically chaste; virgin.
14.
ceremonially or ritually clean.
15.
free of or without guilt; guiltless.



for more songs for the soul follow the link in my right hand column.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How do you really feel about how God feels about you?

My new memory verse is

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."

~Psalm 19:14

I chose this verse for several reasons.

First, it is the main verse of the Bible study we will begin this month. We will be studying the lies we as women tell ourselves. I am very excited about this study. It not only will help me to grow in my personal relationship with God, but with other women in my church.

Second, it is a good reminder that we have to pay attention to not only what we say, but what we think in our hearts. Sometimes we feel like if we don't say what we are thinking, we are OK; we conveniently forget that God sees the INTENTION of our actions and words. I have gotten much better about being a good gatekeeper of my words. I will try to judge for myself if what I am about to say is going to lift up, lead in a Godly way, or educate the person I am speaking with. I am working on gentleness with my words. I am much better at it than I was a year ago anyway. But, I tend to have this inner monologue that runs all the time. I am pretty sarcastic in my thoughts and even though I know it is wrong, I still tend to lead with that attitude. So, the meditation of my heart is still pretty prickly, not gentle.

Third, I really struggle with the way I talk to myself and think about myself. That inner sarcastic voice? Well, it is directed at myself way more than it is ever directed at others. I was asked to do a short devotion in January for a women's game night. For the entire month I struggled with thoughts like, "What do I have to offer? I'm such a screw up that there is nothing I can offer them". Or, "I'm sure no matter what I think of everyone else will already know it. What's the point?" Even after I spoke, I was thinking about the part I skipped, that silly remark that got a laugh, but probably made them all think I was stupid, and how I should have talked about THIS instead of THAT. I do this kind of thing no matter what I endeavor to try.

So, I have chosen Psalm 19:14. It is making me look at how I talk to myself and how I even approach my relationship with God. I have been asking myself, "How do you REALLY feel about how God feels about YOU?" It's easy for me to read in scripture about how much God loves us, what he has done for us, how he sees us...but I still put limitations on how much I think God can really love a screw-up like me.

I have learned that the best way to change something is to start with something small, and work my way up. so right now I am going to work on changing the way that I think and talk to myself. it's so much easier for me to change the way I treat others than the way I treat myself. Maybe I should take a cue from the grace I extend to others and start giving some to myself. After all, Jesus thought I was worth dying for. That should tell me something, shouldn't it?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday ~ Anne

I have a friend who will call me from hundreds of miles away just to tell me that she is really excited about my blog.

She will then go on to tell me exactly why she likes it. Then she will answer a question that I had never asked but that she knew I would have echoing around in my head. Then she tells me how excited she is for me in all the growth and connection I have made over the last several years.

Oh, and did I mention that she is the one who planted the seed many years ago by inviting me to a Bible study? (I grew up in the church, but drifted away before I was a teen). It took several more years and a couple of really big tragedies in my life to get to Christ, but she took my shoulders and turned me in the direction of the path I would need to walk.

She is one of those friends who never struggles with telling you the truth, she just more often than not does it in such a funny way that you don't ever have the chance to figure out if you should be insulted, angry or hurt. It's just all good.

I miss her a lot and look forward to the day that she moves closer again. We have talked about it and have already started making "someday" plans to visit back and forth.

I guess if I had to pick one Titus 2 quality to highlight, it would be the fact that she started me on the road to knowing Christ in my adult life. They say salvation is like a chain. There are many links that get you there. She is definitely one of the first.



Monday, March 2, 2009

Update on the teen from my youth group

I have had several requests for updates on the teen from our youth group that was hit by a car last week.

I am so sorry I haven't updated!

He has had a recovery full of miracles that can only be explained by God's amazing power and mercy.

As of this morning he was responding to requests, his breathing tube was removed and he is healing well! He doesn't remember anything about the accident, and there are some gaps in his memory and recognition that they are hoping are temporary (considering all the miracles God has brought out of this situation, I am confident that he will recover from these things too.)

Never again will I limit God's power to my little box of understanding.

Our teen:

should have died at the scene
should have died in transport from hosptial to hosptial
should have died in lifeflight to the third hospital
should have died during surgery
should have many more injuries from the impact than he did
should have more brain injury than he apparently does

The ONLY way to explain why all these should have's haven't happened is because we all prayed BELIEVING that God would work a full recovery in this situation. Never once did we pray "just let him". When we pray for God to use his full power to do all the mighty and amazing things that we not only know to ask for, but for all the things we DON'T know to ask for, he can run wild blessing us with YES!

Thank you so much for praying for him this past week, and we ask that you continue to pray for him in the weeks and months to come. There is still much recovery to go through.