Saturday, December 25, 2010

Make Some Noise

I heard the story of two men--one Jewish and one not Jewish. They sat in the living room of the Jewish man's house. The friends heard the sounds of singing and music coming from a church across the street.

The Jewish man's friend asked, "Doesn't this singing and music annoy you? I mean you're Jewish and they're Christians. Don't you wish that they would stop making so much noise?"

The Jewish man pondered the question for a moment before answering.

He said, "No. The singing and the music don't annoy me. I don't want them to stop. You see, they believe that their Messiah has come, and they're worshipping him. And if I thought that my Messiah had come, there's no power on earth that could make me stop."

Oh, I've got good news: Messiah has come!

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the One who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him" (Matthew 2:1-2).

The Messiah's name is Jesus, God's Son. He is the Promised One. The Anointed One. God with us.

He is the Savior of both Jews and Gentiles.

He is worthy of our love and our devotion.

Let's worship Him today and everyday, and may no power on earth stop us.

Let's make some noise!

Merry Christmas, sweet girl.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Khaki Makes Me Happy

Recently, I made an important discovery: Khaki makes me happy. See, we've lived in our current house for eight years, and we've painted the dining room four times. First, we painted the walls a soft shade of off-white. Not bad, but still the room seemed underdressed, like wearing a flimsy dress without a slip.

Not that I've ever worn a flimsy dress without a slip. And not that I think you have either. I'm just trying to describe my dining room so that you can see how it lacked something.

So, about a year later, we--ok, actually I--decided that we needed to repaint. I chose a gorgeous, traditional red. I loved the color! The room was transformed into a warm, inviting, and dramatic space. I determined then that I would always have a red room in my house.

But of course, you know how that kind of thing goes....

Yeah, after a few years, I changed my mind about the red.

For some reason, the color grew dark and overwhelming. Definately claustrophobic. Now, I can deal with a lot of things, but a depressing room isn't one of them. The only cure that I could think of involved painting again.

Don't you agree with this remedy, sweet girl? Because, like, all of the decorators say that the cheapest and quickest way to change the look of a room is to paint. Right?

Well, my darlin' husband didn't exactly agree with us. He said something about how he didn't care what the decorators say. Paint is not cheap, and there's no such thing as a quick fix, he said. Painting is hard work, makes a mess, and takes time. Then you have to touch up the trim.

Besides, he didn't see anything wrong with the room the way it was--manic red and all.


... because he indulges me way more than he should, we painted. Don't you love a man like that? I so love mine.

We painted once more. Now, since it was summer, I was displaying my seashells--some sand dollars and starfish--and we had been to Miami, even drove down to Key West--so, I was definately in a beach state of mind.

Maybe that's why I chose blue.

Or, maybe it's because I saw a picture of a blue room in a magazine and thought it was way cool.

Plus, blue is my favorite color.

In retrospect, I'm really not sure why I chose blue.

My darlin' even asked are you sure you want blue?

Yes, I said. I'm sure I want blue.

Well, we went blue.

Oh, my goodness! How could I have known? Blue is a t-r-i-c-k-y c-o-l-o-r. I mean red is deceitful--I knew from past experience to beware of red--but blue? Innocent blue. No, not at all. Blue is like way tricky. The trickiest color ever.

It looked so awful that during Thanksgiving week, my darlin' hub suggested that we go to the paint store.

This time, with my man's blessing, I selected khaki. Sound. Solid. Soothing. The black furniture pops. The white trim pops. The color works. He's satisfied.

And, I'm loving the room.

Seems that all it took to make us both happy was a simple color like khaki.

Kinda sad that I had to learn the hard way that it's the simple things that bring true happiness. Simple colors. Simple things. Like spending time with my family. Watching two little girls' first dance recital. Cleaning my house.

Yes, I know the last phrase sounds crazy, but cleaning and organizing really do make me happy.

Reading God's word also makes me happy.

So, I'd like to share this verse with you:

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple (Psalm 19: 7-8b).

May the simplicity of His word bring wisdom and happiness and joy to you, sweet girl, during this Christmas season.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Our Choice

She stumbled out of the doctor's office that day, feeling like she had just received a death sentence. See, Leigh's dad died of a heart attack when he was only thirty five, and she was about that age when she got diagnosed with high blood pressure. The doctor wrote her a prescription and said she would be fine as long as she took the medication--probably for the rest of her life.

She felt the sting.

My friend could have let that diagnosis cripple her, but she didn't. Her mother said, "Leigh, you can sit around the house worrying about this, or you can live and have fun and love your family. It's your choice."

That was two years ago. Leigh took her mom's advice. She made some good choices about exercise and nutrition and discipline. Leigh no longer needs medication because she no longer has high blood pressure.

I wonder if you've ever felt the sting of a death sentence. Maybe the sting came, like Leigh's did, in the form of a dreaded diagnosis. Or, maybe, you experienced the sting of death in a relationship. A marriage. A career. Or a dream.

I've sure felt that kind of sting before. Well, truthfully, I'm feeling it pretty strong right now. But you know, we're not the only ones who have dealt with a death sentence.

This guy named Paul can so relate to us. I mean he went through some bad stuff. Like being shipwrecked and beaten up and put in prison a few times.

He suffered so much that he thought there was no hope and no way out and no way through. He wrote these words: Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death (2 Corinthians 1:9a).

Yeah, I think if Paul were alive today, he might commiserate with us a little bit because he's been there and done that. And I think that he would remind us of a promise that he chose to believe. Paul penned these words:

But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will continue to deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us (2 Corinthians 1: 9b - 10).

Paul chose to remember how God had delivered him in the past. He chose to believe that God would deliver him again. He chose hope over helplessness.

Sweet girl, we can learn from Paul. He didn't sit around the house worrying and fretting and getting in a tizzy about his situation. I don't think that we should either. Yes, it's tempting to shut others out--to shut down. A sting hurts.

The sting of a death sentence hurts real bad.

But our loving God has promised to deliver us from death's sting. He sent His only Son, the Promised One, as proof that He could deliver the promise in full.

It's our choice. We can choose to live and have fun and love our families and believe. And have hope. [And write]. Or we can choose to let our spirit and our heart atrophy.

I so love these words:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10: 23).

Paul, the guy who felt the sting of a death sentence in his heart, wrote this verse. Don't you love it? The One who made the promise keeps His promise. Always. Always, sweet girl. I wish that I could sit beside you, and we would read over and over He who promised is faithful. He who promised is faithful.

He who promised is faithful.

And while we may still feel the sting, together we would choose to believe and to hope.

And we would say we will hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.

Because He who promised is faithful.

Our loving God.

He promised.

And He is faithful.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Flour on My French Toast

Breakfast on a school morning? Well, usually, I eat a protein bar or instant oatmeal after I get to work. And I have been known to get a pack of crackers out of the snack machine. But not this morning.

No way. Today, I cooked French Toast for the two little girls who hold my heart in their hands. As I stood in the kitchen one of them said, "Umm, I don't want flour on mine...cause last time the flour made it taste awful...and I couldn't eat it...ok, Nonna?"

You may be wondering why anyone would sprinkle flour on French Toast. I mean syrup or jelly, sure. Honey or molasses, maybe. But flour?

Definately dumb.

So, let me explain what happened the "last time" I made that delectable dish.

I dipped the bread into the egg and milk mixture. Put butter in skillet. Transferred bread from bowl into skillet. Cooked bread. Removed bread. Got clear canister containing white powder out of pantry. Sprinkled white powder onto my Perfectly Prepared French Toast.

Left my PPFT on counter to cool.

Went upstairs for something. Don't remember what.

Returned to kitchen.

Darlin' husband asks, "Why did you put flour on your FT?"

I give him a certain look. You know that kind of look, don't you, sweet girl?

The kind that says: You Have So Lost Your Mind If You Think That I Would Ever In A Million Years Put Flour On My Perfectly Prepared French Toast.

But I simply reply, "Why do you think there's flour on my PPFT?"

Darlin' hub ignoring the fact that I'm glaring at him--I mean giving him that certain look--says: "Well, I know there's flour on your FT."

Me, smugly. Because I know I absolutely Did Not put flour on my PPFT ask him: "And how do you know that?"

Darlin' says: Because I tasted it when you walked upstairs. And you put flour on your FT."

So then, I tasted my PPFT.

And it did taste awful. Because I had sprinkled flour on my PPFT. But it wasn't supposed to be flour. That white powder in the clear, unmarked canister with the blue lid looked like sugar. It should have been sugar. I thought it was powdered sugar.

But I was way wrong.

And I was way annoyed. I looked around the room to find the culprit responsible for ruining my PPFT.

I demand: "Who put flour in that clear canister with the blue lid?"

Darlin' hub vehemently denies the deed. The four-year-old and the ten-year-old reply in unison, "Not me."

Only one person remained. She was way too proud to admit that she had sabotaged her own PPFT. So she put it in a ziplock bag. Took it to work. Microwaved it. And ate the ruined, nevertheless, PPFT anyway.

And the moral of this story? Well, there are two of them.

The first comes from a guy named Micah.

He [God] has shown you, O man [and us sweet girls, too], what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (6:8).

And the second moral is this: Either label your canister, or keep your powdered sugar in the box.

Following these guidelines should make swallowing our PPFT and our pride a little easier.

Sweet dreams,


p.s. Have you ever thought you were oh so right only to discover that you were way wrong?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One For the Road

My alarm went off at 4:30a.m. We pulled out of the driveway by five, heading to Miami for the second time this summer. A long, hard drive for sure. Naturally, I took a little something for the road.

In addition to traveling with my darlin' husband and my sweet son, I held a special companion in my hands. Yeah, I had a little Peace for the Journey--Elaine Olsen style. And I so needed peace on this journey.

About six hours into the trip, the air conditioner in the truck stopped working! We spent the next four hours--and, no, I'm not exaggerating about the time either--in a dealership waiting room while mechanics installed a new compressor.

And guess what I did during those four hours? That's right, sweet girl, I read Peace for the Journey.

Elaine writes about having peace in our lives wherever we are along life's hot, dusty road. Even in a dealership waiting room. Or in a hospital waiting room. We can have peace if we know Jesus Christ because He paid the price for our peace.

Elaine teaches from lessons that she learned through her own seasons of suffering and struggling. She inspires us to walk closer to our Savior than we've ever before walked. She prays for us.

Most importantly, Elaine challenges believers to reject the easy road and to walk down the path of a higher level of obedience to our loving God. She writes, "Some of the best work we will ever do with God will be fleshed out upon the sands of a heated obedience."

Elaine doesn't claim that this kind of whole-hearted obedience will be easy. The fleshing out of our obedience is never easy, but the reward of complete devotion and obedience can't be surpassed.

The reward "of a heated obedience" is peace.

Everlasting peace.

And Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace.

For He Himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14a).

How about you? Do you need a some peace and encouragement for the road you're traveling? If you aren't already following Elaine's blog, why don't you check it out?

On my last post, I promised to give away a copy of Peace for the Journey. And the winner is mchristiangirl!

This book is definately one for the road.

Sweet dreams,


Monday, August 9, 2010

I Got What I Wanted...Didn't I?

A nice, big office! New desk and chair. I don't have to share this space with anyone else. Sounds like a tremendous improvement over sharing offices with everyone from the cookware salesman to parent volunteers. I got what I asked for, I think.

Umm, maybe not.

See, my new office isn't located at either of the two schools that I serve. Last year two other facilitators moved to off-campus offices, and I thought it would be way cool to do that. I've only been back at work four days, and have quickly discovered that this change may not be so cool at all.

Actually, I'm thinking my job is going to be more difficult because I won't have a work space at my schools.

Guess I got what I wanted. Didn't I?

Why do I keep doing this? I see what someone else has, and I want what they have. Or, I think that I know exactly what I need. Sometimes, I even tell God what will work for me.

But I want to be content with what He has already provided. I want to trust Him to meet my needs and wants and dreams according to His amazing love and grace.

For your Father knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6: 8b).

Don't you love this verse? Our great God knows everything about us. He knows our heart. Where we hurt. Why we hurt. He knows how to heal our pain.

He knows what we need before we ever tell Him. And He has the power to meet both our needs and wants. He is prepared to take care of us from the big things down to the smallest detail.

And this office situation? Well, I got what I thought I wanted.

But everything will work out all right.

My Father knows me better than I know me.

Now, that is way cool!

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P.S. I've got a wonderful book to give away. It's Peace for the Journey by Elaine Olsen! I'll be sharing some insights from her book a little later this week. All you have to do to win is to leave a comment or shoot me an E-mail.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More Than Wishful Thinking

Last week I had hope. Last week God gave me a verse about how He delights in those who put their hope in His unfailing love (Psalm 147:10). Last week I prayed and lived with expectation that God will do all that He has promised. But this week, I'm wondering if it was nothing more than wishful thinking.

So, what's changed?

Well, some old acquaintances have reappeared: Conflict. Challenge. Comparison. Cares (of the world). Contentment (a lack of).

They've left me feeling hopeless and helpless, and I'm questioning the truth of God's word.

I mean, does this sound familiar? Have you been there?

Like God gave me this writing dream thing. I stepped out in faith to start a blog. Now, I've made plenty of mistakes--spent too much time trying to grow the blog--and in the process, I neglected some important people. People who love me, and I love them too--more than anything in the world.

I realized that some days I spent more time visiting other blogs than I spent with my loving God. And He's the reason that I write. Now, that's way wrong.

I had to make some changes.

I read my Bible before I read anything on the computer. If my darlin' husband is at home, I don't blog. If the little girls who call me Nonna are here, I don't blog.

As you can see, I haven't blogged much in the past few months. My blog isn't growing. My writing is limited to my journals.

How will I ever become a writer?

This dream seems hopeless, sweet girl, like wishing on a star.

But then I read what a guy named Paul wrote about a guy named Abraham.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be" (Romans 4:18).

See God made a promise to Abraham. Abraham dreamed of the day when he would see the promise fulfilled. He waited and waited. Still, no promised son. Abraham's dream began to seem hopeless to him.

Just like my dream seems to me. Like maybe your dream or situation seems to you.

But look at these words: against all hope.

I love this message! When we think that there's no reason to hope--that hope is gone--we are wrong.

Sweet girl, we will always have hope.

Against all hope, we can hope.

In spite of the conflicts and challenges that we face--in spite of how we sometimes focus too much on the cares of the world--what we're going to eat, drink, and wear--and in spite of feeling an occasional lack of contentment, we still have hope.

Our hope is based on more than mere wishful thinking; our hope is a person. His name is Jesus Christ, and He loves us with an unfailing love. A love that will never, ever disappoint or disappear.

Abraham put his hope in God.

Against all hope.

May we do the same.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Ok, ok. I confess: I'm having way too much fun this summer. I spent almost two weeks in Miami with my darlin' husband. Can you guess what I did while he worked? Sweet girl, you know me so well. Yes, I went to the beach everyday! Hey, I've got a nice little tan going on, but my flower garden sure got neglected while I was away.

Especially my pretty petunias. Before I left, I pampered these flowers daily. After watering them each morning, I changed the hose from soaker to mist. If there were any wilted petals, I pulled them off carefully. I talked to my petunias. Just kidding! But I did admire them.

They were lovely and healthy when I left...but not so much when I returned.

There was no glorious show of purple and white blossoms, only sickly-looking plants. In order for them to become healthy again, I had to remove whatever was wilted or dead: blossoms, leaves, and stems. And sometimes, I inadvertently broke off a few healthy stems.

Poor petunias! What an awful procedure to have to endure. But if I don't take the necessary steps to help them become well again, bad things will happen. They won't grow or bloom, and they will be susceptible to enemies who will want to devour them.

Funny, how these flowers seem to try and hold on to everything. even if it is no longer any good.

I understand how the petunias may feel. See, several months ago God impressed on my heart that I need to let go. I asked Him: Let go of what, Lord?

He said that He wants me to let go of all that binds me, all that holds me captive, and all the things that I think make me look good.

Whoah! This is heavy. This is impossible. Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too.

But our loving God is so good. So gentle. So gracious. He's taking me through this process just like that. Lovingly. Gently. And with grace.

As soon as I'm willing to let go, He removes the thing that is wilted or dead or unhealthy.

Is the procedure painful? Yes. But God is the Master Gardner. He knows exactly when and how and what needs to be removed.

See, my petunias can't be or do what they were created for until the letting go process is complete. They can't bloom. They can't be food for the bees. They can't produce the fragrance that's uniquely theirs.

Neither can we.

God created us to be salt and light and to do good works.

"You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (from Matthew 5: 13-16).

If we're going to fulfill His purpose for our lives, we have to grow. We may have to let go of a few things. Even when letting go is hard and hurts.

So, how is your garden growing?

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Thursday, June 10, 2010


Thought I better let you know that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, just in case you've been wondering. So far this summer, I've spent a few days at the beach. Took two sweet, little girls to the water park.

Plus, this week is VBS at our church, and I helped with the pre-school class. Have mercy! More about that later.

And tomorrow I'm going to the Southern Christian Writers' Conference in Tuscaloosa. Should have some fun there, don't you think?

Oh, and guess what? My darlin' husband was at home with me ALL last week! Now, that's the way to get Summer started.

And I've been trying to sit some too. Yeah, sitting. Sounds crazy, I'm sure. But kinda like what David did in 2 Samuel 7:18, Then King David went in and sat before the LORD....

After David sits in God's presence for awhile, he acknowledges God's sovereignty and His goodness and His faithfulness to His promises.

So, it's not exactly my study time or my journaling time or my devotion.

It's just sitting.

Does sitting come naturally? Not for me.

Does sitting require discipline? Oh yeah.

Have I mastered this discipline? No, got a long way to go.

But listen, at least I have all summer to work on it!

Hey, I miss you, sweet girl. Hope to get a blogging schedule in place next week and will stop by to chat.

And I hope that your summer is sizzling!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

When You Don't Get It

I don't get it, my seventh-grade students used to complain when I taught the parts of speech. Perplexing for sure. I mean a gazillion grammar rules that overlap, overwhelm, and often contradict each other. And you have to know all of them, right?

Not really, I told them. You just need to know one rule.

Sounds weird, but it's true.

Here's the rule: Look at how you're using the word in the sentence. How the word is used determines its part of speech.

Verb. Adverb. Adjective, or whatever.

Ok, relax. My students had to take a test on this, but you don't. Although, I know that you would ace it!

Anyway, they struggled to "get" that little grammar lesson, and I sympathized with them. Sometimes, I find it difficult to "get" the lessons that God wants me to learn.

Have you been there? Like you just want to go after something that's important to you, and it's a good thing. But God says that you've got to be still. And silent. And you've got to surrender everything to Him. And you have to keep it that way.

I don't always "get" why God does that, you know. Do you?

But I'm trying to do what I instructed my students to do: Look at how I'm using the Word.

The Bible tells us that there's a right way and a wrong way to manage God's Word.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

The right way to handle the Word is to get into it every day. Sweet girl, His Word is so good. His Word gives life. And light. Strength. Comfort. Encouragement. He offers help and hope.

However, if we're not getting into the Word, then we can't get anything out of the Word. I mean that should be pretty simple; but it isn't.

Using the Word correctly involves choices. Using the Word correctly includes forgiving ourselves when we make bad choices, and our commitment and consistency aren't exactly stellar.

There's so much that God wants to give to us through His Word.

There's so much that He wants us to give to others.

When we don't "get" what God is doing, He wants us to look at how we're using the Word.

Because we hold the words that the whole world needs to hear.

And He so wants us all to "get" it.

To "get" that He sent His only Son. Precious Son. Beloved Son. To die for us.

To "get" His amazing love.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Mama's Prayer

I tried to think of a little something to give you on this special day. Now, that would take a big, big budget. Which I don't have. But I did come up with this idea. It's a mama's prayer that I often offer for my family.

I'd like to share it with you:

Abba, thank You for the ones that You have given to me. Thank you for choosing me me to be their mama. There's no higher calling. They are the greatest blessing that I could ever receive.

Protect them by the power of Your name--the name of Your Son, Jesus.

Protect them from the evil one.

Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.

May our family live as one just as You and the Son are One so that the world may know that You sent Jesus.

And so that the world may know that You love them even as You love the Son.

I pray in the name of Jesus. His precious name.

I based this prayer on Christ's prayer as recorded in John 17. These words calm me. They give me peace when I'm anxious and apprehensive about my family.

May they do the same for you.

Happy Mother's Day, sweet girl!

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Monday, May 3, 2010

A Hurried Heart

"Hurry is a devious enemy." I read these words on a church sign as I drove by a while back. Told myself to remember them. Yeah, right.

By the time I got to my own church--a few miles away at the most--the only word of that five-word sentence that I could recall was the word hurry.

Should have known better than to rely on my short-term memory skills.

And I hear you laughing, sweet girl. Guess I deserve that one.

Are you wondering why I didn't just pull the car over to the side of the street and copy this meaningful little maxim on a scrap of paper while the sign was right in front of me?

Was there room on the street to pull over? Yes.

Was traffic a problem? No.

So, what happened? All right, I'll tell you why I didn't stop.

I was in a hurry.

Had a bad hair day. Clothes didn't look right. Had to change into a different outfit. Still not better. I was running way behind schedule.

Please tell me you've been there too. Hurrying to work or rushing around on a Sunday morning or sometime.

Just make me feel better, ok?

Well, later that week when I wasn't in such a big hurry, I went back and copied the quotation.

Now, I do admit to having a bit of a problem with that devious devil.

Like, I'm thinking I have a hurried heart at times when it comes to my relationship with God. Not a good thing, I know.

A girl with a hurried heart is hard of hearing. All she has time to listen to is the sound of her own voice. Not God's.

A girl with a hurried heart holds on to the wrong things. She seizes whatever looks good to her at the moment. She doesn't acknowledge that His desire is to hold her in the palm of His nail-scarred hands.

A girl with a hurried heart hesitates to ask for the impossible. She becomes increasingly self-reliant, but her strength isn't enough. She still can't do what only God can do.

I don't want to have that kind of heart anymore.

I want to hear Him. Want Him to hold me. I want to believe that He will do the impossible.

For it is with your heart that you believe...(Romans 10:10).

And I believe.

So I've asked Him to do a transplant. To take my hurried heart and give me a hungry heart. A heart that hungers for more of Him. His word. His will. A heart that believes that He can do anything.

No more hurry.

Just some time with our Savior. Slow. And sweet.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crazy Story!

Ok, in my last post, I told you how much I missed my darlin' husband. But that he was coming home. He did. Sort of. So, how do you sort of come home? Yeah, I know. It's a crazy story.

Thursday morning he was almost home--about 80 more miles to go. He got a phone call from work. Heartbreaking news. Said he had to go back to Houston. Had to be there early the next day.

So, you know what I did, don't you? Oh, yeah!

I took off from work so that I could go with him. Not what we had planned, but definately better than not seeing him at all.

A short weekend, but really sweet.

A long drive back home Sunday for my daughter-in-law and me. But worth it.

And there's more. I've got dinner ready. Well, except for baking the rolls. I'm waiting for the oven to preheat.

And guess who's coming to dinner?

Sweet girl, you are so right!

My man and I are dining at home tonight!

And I may cook every night this week just because he's here.

That would add even more craziness to this little love story!

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Not Good at Pretending

Loneliness and depression. Not typical topics for me. Not the usual, sweet story either. But it's where I am right now. And ignoring how I feel seems to be a little bit dishonest.

You know, like when someone asks how you're doing and you answer that you're fine, but you're really not. Because you don't want to admit that there's a problem.

I'm not that good at pretending that nothing is wrong when something is wrong.

Does that make sense?

Thanks, sweet girl, I knew that you would understand.

Uh, I know that you didn't actually ask me how I'm doing or why I'm sad. But I'll explain everything anyway. Just in case you're wondering.

I'm depressed because my darlin' husband is working in Houston, Texas, and I'm in Alabama.

We haven't seen each other since the first of March. He always travels, but he's never had to be away from home for almost two months.

And I'm not handling the separation very well either. I miss him so, so much.

Yes, I know that there are military wives whose husbands are gone for way longer than six weeks. More like six months to a year or longer. What a sacrifice! I couldn't do that.

I'm having all kinds of problems with my man's short-term absence. Have to make myself push the trash cart to the street. Or get the mail out of the box.

And other such simple, routine tasks.

Who could imagine how much emotional energy is required to perform them?

Do I sound like a selfish, spoiled brat?


Well, sorry.

It's just that I feel lost and lonely when my sweetheart has to be gone for so long. He's my best friend. He makes everything fun and fulfilling.

He loves me. Protects me. Provides for me.

And the most amazing thing is that he understands the little girl in me. The one who grew up afraid of her daddy. Of not being good enough. The one who always loved words but was too insecure to put hers on paper. The one who desperately wanted to be loved and affirmed.

You can't help but miss a man like that.

And feel lonely and depressed when you're not with him.

I hope that I haven't caused you to feel depressed with my sad story. You've heard the old adage: Misery loves company or misery loves to make others miserable. Something like that.

Well, I have good news. When we do feel alone and depressed, we don't have to deny or ignore those emotions. We don't have to feel guilty that we're not deliriously happy at the moment.

Jesus experienced loneliness and depression too.

You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend (Psalm 88: 18).

The psalmist writes about his own battle with loneliness, but his words also refer to Christ and how all of Christ's disciples--His friends--abandoned Him when He needed them the most.

The image portrayed in this verse is so sad to me. That our Savior felt so alone that He counted the darkness as His close friend.

You know what? I've never been that alone before.

You know why? Because Jesus promised that He would never, ever leave me. Or you.

I'm glad Jesus made that promise.

I'm glad that He understands loneliness and depression.

I'm glad that when we're lonely or sad or depressed, we don't have to be good at pretending that everything is cool.

And I'm glad that my darlin' husband is coming home this weekend.

And did I mention that he's way handsome?

Oh, sweet girl. He is!

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Hollywood, Swing the Bat!

Anxiously, the coach watches his batter. Full count. And a pitcher who can throw a strike when it matters most. Coach shouts, "Hollywood! Hollywood, swing the bat! If it's close, swing at it. You can do it."

Hollywood looks in his direction and nods nonchalantly.

She waits for the pitch.

Standing in the circle like she's posing for a photographer. Cleats dug down into the red dirt. Knees slightly bent. Her bat in position. Perfectly poised to get a hit. Wants it real bad.

But inside she feels the pressure to perform. Very scary.

Especially for a ten-year-old.

Especially one who got nicknamed Hollywood when she wore her mama's razzle dazzle sunglasses to practice one afternoon and adamantly refused to remove them.

Cause you know how bad the glare is when you're playing leftfield. Right?

Besides, I'm thinking that all girls need a little glamour every now and then.

So, Hollywood sure can look the part, but can she hit the ball? Well, uh, that depends. Are you talking about at practice or at a real game?

She's got plenty of potential.

But honestly, she struggles some at games.

Maybe tonight will be different...maybe she'll knock a homerun...or at least get a base comes the's smokin'... Hollywood stands ready....

The umpire kicks one leg forward. Foot flexed. Right arm goes into an upper cut. All in one merciless, melodramatic motion.

"She's Oouuutt!" he shouts.

And my sweet, little Hollywood never swung the bat.

I really didn't care if she hit the ball or not, but I so wanted to see her take a swing.

But sweet girl, you and I understand, don't we? Swinging can be scary. And pressure to perform according to some self-imposed standard or one set by others can paralyze us.

And sometimes we think of God like He's an umpire. Calling strikes. Just waiting to strike us out. Willing us to go back to the dugout and stay there and feel like a loser.

How sad when we think like that.

That's just so not our loving God.

He's cares about us. Although we may not see our potential, God sees it. He doesn't demand a perfect performance.

Our participation and our obedience bring Him joy.

"...For the LORD delights in you...(from Isaiah 62:4).

Even when we strike out. He's ok with that.

But He does want us and Hollywood to swing the bat.

Batter up, sweet girl!

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter's Choice

He lived. A sinless life. Son of Man. Son of God. He chose to give Himself, the only acceptable sacrifice. For me and for you. His death gave to us the way to God. No other way. No other choice.

His resurrection. Our hope. Not just ours, but hope for the whole world. Because He loves the whole world.

Atheists. Agnostics. Buddhists. Hindus. Muslims. Jews. All who are lost.

God loves.

Gave His precious Son. His One and Only.

He loves.

You and me.

He forgives.

You and me.

He gives power.

To you and to me.

He gives hope.

To you and to me. To the world.

Jesus Christ. Yeshua. Messiah. Anointed One. Promised One. Living Hope. Hope of the world.

Easter's choice.

He chose us, sweet girl. He chose us.

Are we choosing Him?

I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death (Philippians 3: 10).

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Recipient or Reject?

Approximately three hundred women entered the writing conference contest. But only four scholarships were awarded. So which one am I, recipient or reject?

Are you thinking about those numbers? Me too.

And of course the enemy of my soul is capitalizing on that way, way upsidedown ratio.

Messing with my mind. Mocking me.

You know what I'm talking about. Like this:

Why did you enter that contest in the first place? You're not good enough. You don't have what it takes to be a writer. God's holding out on you.

And I've been grappling with these questions for the past few days. Trying to reconcile myself to the very real possibility. Okay, probability of rejection here.

So, what answers have I derived?

Well, let's see. I wrote a post for the contest because my loving God led me to take a step of faith. He led me to put myself out on a limb for Him.

To risk a little rejection. A little humiliation.

Applying for the scholarship wasn't totally about the money; for me, it was more about obedience, and, if I'm honest, seeking acceptance of and affirmation for my writing.

I don't know what the She Speaks scholarship judges thought about my entry, but I believe that God is pleased with my effort.

And as far as God withholding something from me, that's just another one of satan's lies.

I chose to believe what God has spoken to me through His holy word:

Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me! (Psalm 66:20).

If I receive a scholarship, great. If I don't, the rejection will hurt. But I'll survive this sting because I am confident that my loving God, my sweet Savior has not rejected my prayers. He hasn't rejected me.

Sweet girl, He hasn't rejected your prayers or you either. He will never, ever reject us!

He will never withhold His amazing love from us either.

No matter what happens, let's don't listen to the liar who wants to steal God's promises from our hearts. That liar wants more than anything else to destroy the dreams that God Himself has lovingly, graciously placed within us.

No matter what happens, we are the recipients of God's love. His compassion and mercy. His great grace. His strength. His power. His resurrection power.

No matter what happens, we are not rejects in God's eyes.

May we see ourselves through His eyes and through His heart!

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

She Dreams

I'm a dreamin'-wanta-start-a-wildfire-with-words kind of girl. Want to share the story of my sweet Savior like that. But I need some help. And lots of encouragement. So, I dream of attending She Speaks!

She Speaks?

Yeah! The creme de la creme of Christian writing conferences.

A gathering of talented writers and speakers and renowned editors and publishers. And a great place for writers at all levels to gain both knowledge and confidence in the writing/publishing process.

And guess what? Like, I'm so excited!

Lysa Terkeurst, founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, is offering a few scholarships for bloggers who want to attend this year's conference.

These scholarships are valued at $575.00 each!

Wow! is right.

The link to her post that explains the scholarship contest is at the end of this post.

Ok, ok. So, I just lost half of you. Cause you scrolled right on down to that link and are headed over to Lysa's as I speak. I mean, type.

Note to self: Next time discuss conference first...contest last!

Anyway, for those of you who are still with me, I want to tell you a little bit about She Speaks. And then you'll probably want to click on that link like everyone else has already done.

She Speaks offers something for everybody: writers, speakers, and those who are in women's ministry.

Because my dream is to write for Him, I'm most interested in the writer's track. All of the session descriptions for each of the three tracks sound wonderful, but I'm especially interested in the following classes:

"From Blog to Book Deal" - Can you imagine?

That really happened to Emily Freeman. I'm so not kidding. And the same thing could happen for one of us. Oh, how cool!

By the way, Emily and her editor will be leading this session.

And then there's "Magazine Writing 101" - I've always wondered how it would feel to have an article published in a magazine. I'm thinking it would feel sweet. Real sweet. What are you thinking?

Oh, but before I get way caught up in this wanting to win a scholarship thing, you need to know that Lysa will be leading a session called, "How to Write a Book."

Now that should be informative and fun!

What did you say? Ok, yeah, you're right. I should have an idea for a book if I'm going to that class. Didn't think about that.

Guess I'll just have to enter incognito, won't I?

Can you tell that this is going to be one-rocking-Concord, North Carolina-startin' a fire for Him-July 30th - August 1st conference?

Feel the heat. Feel Him.

Are you dreaming yet?


Here's the scholarship link that I promised. Click and go, sweet girl, if you haven't already done so.

Hope to see you at She Speaks 2010!

We were like those who dream (Psalm 126: 1b).

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Do You Really Want to Settle for Less?

He took his family with him: son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. Left his home behind. Set out for a new land. A place of promise. Terah knew where he wanted to go, but he never made it. Instead, he settled for something less.

He had good intentions.

I think Terah dreamed of reaching the promised place, but something happened along the way.

"...together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there" (Genesis 11: 31).

He got off to a pretty good start. He set out. And that's important.

But Terah stopped short of his destination. Why?

The Bible simply says that he stopped in Haran and settled his family there.

He settled there.

Not in Canaan. But in Haran.

I wonder if the popular culture of that day influenced Terah: "Uh, Dude. Are you for real? You headin' where? You can't be serious! Haran is the party place--where everything's happenin', man. Come on, stay here. Be cool. Just hang with us.

Or did Terah's stopover in Haran last a little too long? Long enough for him to unwind and relax. You know, establish a casual, comfortable lifestyle. Set up a comfort zone and stay there. Feels good, right?

And don't forget that Haran was much more convenient than Canaan. I mean, duh, he was already in Haran. Why go any further? Way too much trouble. Terah had followed that dream far enough already.

So, he settled.

In Haran. For Haran.

Like Terah, I've been guilty of settling in places where I don't belong. I've settled for less than what God has been promised. And for many of the same reasons that old Terah settled.

I got too cozy with culture.

I developed a casual attitude toward Christ.

I placed an unhealthy emphasis on personal comfort and convenience.

So, is there a way to keep from settling in Haran? Or a way to get out of Haran?

Oh yes, there is a way. Jesus Christ is the way. We have to focus on Christ and follow Him. His commands. And His promises.

He will lead us to all that's been promised.

We won't have to settle for anything less.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sarah's Syndrome

Sarah, sweet and good. Submissive. Followed her man to a foreign country. She took her dream with her and waited. It seemed to her that she had been waiting for this dream to come true almost all of her life.

Seemed that she had been waiting on God forever.

Waiting on Him to give her the baby that she dreamed of holding and cuddling and tending and loving.

Because God had promised her man, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them" (Genesis 15:5b).

Ok. So, what to stars have to do with dreams and babies? Well, that was God's way of saying that He planned to give Sarah and her man a large family. Um, more like a nation, actually.

Sure God had made a promise; still, God wasn't doing anything. Right?

I mean there were no sons. No daughters.

It didn't seem like God was working.

Sarah waited year after year. Nothing.

So, she gave up.

And that's when she succumbed to the syndrome.

Sarah--tired of waiting on God to fulfill His word--traded the truth of God's promise for lies from the father of lies.

She decided that God was withholding something good from her.

She determined that it was fine to get what she wanted on her own even without God's blessing and His permission.

Definately, not good.

But I have to tell you that I'm susceptible to Sarah's syndrome. It's hard to wait on God when I don't think I see Him working in my life. At those times acting independently of God can appear to be logical or justified. And believing a lie about God becomes easier than waiting for a promise to be fulfilled.

Do you know what I'm saying? I can understand Sarah and how she felt and what she thought and how she tried to manage things herself.

Sarah's dream did come true. God kept His promise. She had that precious baby. And named him Issac.

I believe that God is going to keep His promises to you. And His promises to me.

So, I think I'll put on my jacket--walk outside--and look up at the sky.

I want to see how many stars I can count tonight.

And for each star that I count, I'll wait on the fulfillment of His promises another day. And another. And another.

Because He has the cure for mine and Sarah's Syndrome.

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Monday, March 8, 2010


He had a dream. He wanted to dig wells in countries where people didn't have clean water to drink. She said that she would follow him and his dream. Now, they live in Africa nine months out of the year. They drill wells.

Their names are Gary and Elizabeth. They're the founders of By Provision. And we're partnering with them to fulfill our own well-drilling dream. We believe that our loving God led us to By Provision, and He has given us PEACE in making this decision.

Gary and Elizabeth can drill one well for $5,000. Thanks to the generosity of our Sunday School class, we're half way to funding our first well!

You can visit Gary and Elizabeth at They would love to have you stop by and get to know them.

Thank you for the LOVE and concern that you've shown toward Jody and Kim and their family. I appreciate all of the comments, E-mails, and prayers. You are the best! Jody and Kim are improving, and the girls are doing fine. Your compassion amazes me and humbles me.

And now for the 13.1! All of you runners out there know what 13.1 means. But just in case you don't know, I'll explain. A half-marathon is 13.1 miles.

And I ran my first half yesterday! No, it wasn't pretty at all. I struggled to run the last four miles. Had to run/walk. Actually, a lot of walking.

Really, really struggled.

But I made it.

It took two hours and forty-five minutes. After I finished, I felt nausated and weak.

But I got my tee shirt and my Vera Bradley tote bag. It's way cute.

I'm sore today.

But the sad thing is that I'm already thinking that I want to run another one.

Now, how crazy is that?

I run in the path of your commands, for You have set my heart free (Psalm 119:32).

May you sense His perfect PEACE and His amazing LOVE this week. And may you run/walk your 13.1 in obedience to His word.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

How He Wired Me

TJ Max. Belk. JC Penny. And Walmart. Some of my favorite stores. The problem? No one wants to go shopping with me. I create a scene entering and exiting stores. It has something to do with how I'm wired.

Like sometimes when I leave a store, I set off the electronic security device.

For no reason.

You know how the alarm beeps if the cashier forgets to remove the tag on certain merchandise. Or when a customer forgets to pay for merchandise--aka shoplifting.

Well, I don't fit in the first category. Sometimes the alarm goes off when I don't have any merchandise.

And I so don't fit in the second category. Enough said about that. I hope!

Still, greeters, clerks, and assistant managers hear that familiar buzz, and they dash to my side. If I have a package, they check the receipt and the items; of course, they find everything in order. Then they say, "Uh, I guess we have a glitch in the system."

And like, if I don't have a package, they say, "Well, maybe your cell phone caused the alarm to activate."

But I know what they're really thinking. I mean, wouldn't you?

I can also set off the alarm as I walk into a store. Talk about weird looks. Like I'm an alien or something.

I've become accustomed to this phenomenon, but it's so embarrassing for my friends. Especially if this is our first shopping extravaganza. (And usually our last).

I don't how it happens. Don't know why it happens. It just happens. Not always. But frequently. It isn't my cell phone. It's not the wiring in their security system.

It's me. How I am. How God wired me, I guess.

You know, God created us. He wired each of us with unique--sometimes quirky--personalities. With different temperments. Goals. Ambitions. Dreams.

He wired me with a dream about writing. I have, like, this love for words. For His word. I always have. Even when I was just a little girl.


I love to read His word. Study His word. Teach His word. I love to share what He's teaching me through His word. I love to share my sweet Savior like this.

With words.

Like articles. Devotions. Bible study lessons. That I long to write.

But then He said to me: Be still, sweet girl. You've got more to learn about loving. About loving Me with all of your heart. All of your soul. All of your mind. All of your strength.

I think He said that to me because that's really how He wired me. Actually, that's how He wired all of us.

To love Him like that.

To trust Him like that.

To believe in Him like that.

Because while I believe He gave me the dream, my hope is not in my dream; my hope is in my God. The Dream Giver.

I don't trust in my dream--I trust in my loving God.

I'm trusting Him to shape me. To shake me. Sift me. So that I will fit His dream for me.

And He will.

He knows me:

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you" (Jeremiah 1:5a).

Oh, yes, sweet friend. He knew me before my life began. He knew you before your first heartbeat.

He knows what He's wired you to do and to be.

Do you know what's on His mind? If you do, please feel free to share your story. If you don't know exactly what He has for you, I'd love to pray with you about it.

Oh, by the way.

Is anybody in the mood for a little shopping spree with me?

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Monday, February 22, 2010

In Need of a Little H2O

A virus--vicious and violent--attacked me with vengeance. Left me feeling lethargic. With a low-grade temperature. Low blood pressure. And lying in an emergency-room hospital bed. Not exactly how you want to spend Valentine's Day with your sweetheart.

But that's where we ended up this year. That ill-bred virus depleted me of fluids in record-breaking time.

Took me totally off of my feet.

Several nurses had attempted to start an IV but couldn't. Then one determined nurse came in, wrapped that rubber band thingy real tight around my arm, and found her mark. Aimed. Stuck me successfully. Fluids flowed into my dehydrated body. Along with some heavy-duty medication.

The fluids and the meds worked a little magic. I started to feel better.

I was really thirsty. So, I asked for a cup of water.

But the nurse said, "I'm sorry. You can't have anything to drink yet. We're not sure what's wrong with you--we're running tests--and until we know, I can't let you drink anything."

Just one sip of H2O?

"No, I'm sorry."

How about some crushed ice?

"No, sorry."

Are you thinking this nurse was so not nice? Well, that's exactly what I was thinking too.

Finally, the doctor reported that the test results had eliminated suspicious stones and other stuff like that.

So that's when the nurse gave me the cup of water that I had been wanting for hours.

Water. Clear. Cool. So good.

Each swallow soothed and strengthened me.

Nothing else rehydrates our bodies like water does. That's how God made us.

He also made us to need water for our heart and our soul. A different kind of water. Living water. He offers this living water to us, but sometimes, we don't accept it.

This is what God said to Jeremiah:

"My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken Me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water" (Jer. 2:13).

You know, I've committed both of these sins before. Like, when I go to another source to satisfy my thirst for affirmation and assurance or for any other reason, then I've forsaken Him. My actions say to Him: I don't need You in this area of my life. Someone or something else will do just as well. You alone are not enough to satisfy me.

I break His loving heart when I do this.

I've even attempted to dig a few cisterns of my own. I try to create and control circumstances to bring about selfish satisfaction. My efforts to manipulate others and God don't work at all.

Only living water from God can rehydrate our souls.

I was just wondering if you're in need of a little H2O. Are you feeling a little bit of lethargy when it comes to your relationship with Him? Like things aren't the way you really want them to be. Maybe dehydration is about to get the best of you.

I know what that's like. It takes a long time for our bodies to recover from the effects of dehydration.

Our sweet Savior says that if we come to Him, He will give us living water. He won't withhold from us. We can drink. Again and again.

So what do we do when we're in need of a little H2O? We spend time with Jesus. Reading His word. Talking to Him. Listening to Him. Getting to know Him better and better.

I think that these disciplines help us to acquire a taste for the only One who offers living water.

May I offer you a drink of water?

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Friday, February 12, 2010

A Baby Day

Yesterday, I watched the miracle of morning. The sky contracted. Silent heaving. Pushing. Darkness disappeared. A baby day was born. Fragile. Wrinkly. But pink with promise.

I so needed this reminder of God's promises.

You see, the past few days have been rough for our family.

Tuesday night, my nephew, his wife, and three of their daughters were in a car accident.

Jody had surgery Thursday morning. He faces one more operation and physical therapy. Kim had surgery Thursday afternoon.

Six-year-old Mary Kate is still in the hospital. McKenzie was released Thursday night. Sara, three months old, wasn't injured at all. And four-year-old Grace wasn't in the car when the accident occurred.

We hope that Mary Kate will be released today. But the doctors haven't mentioned a going-home date to Jody or to Kim.

Yeah, these days are tough. Tense. Stressful.

But you know what? It's been amazing to see how our whole family has come together to show their love and their support.

Jessie, my niece, has had Sarah since Wednesday night. Keiva and Trey--my kids--drove to Birmingham to pick up McKenzie from the hospital. So, now Jessie has both babies. Big Sis helped with the babies yesterday. Keiva is helping today. JP (second sis) has been to the hospital several times. And Candace, another niece, helps each day when she gets out of class.

You know how things are today. We all have our own families, jobs, school, and other responsibilities that require our time and attention.

I could go on and on with how each member of my family is helping, but I think you're getting a pretty good picture of their love in action.

Now, please don't think that we're a perfect family. We're not!

At times, we're a faultfinding bunch. Ready to fude. Ready to fight.

One word can light the fuse.

But when days come like the ones we've experienced this week, we lay our arguments down. We reach up. We reach out. We help out.

I'm thankful for my family.

I'm thankful for the special reminder that our loving God gave in yesterday's early morning hours.

That each baby day brings His promises to light.

The promise of hope. The promise of help. The promise of healing.

May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in You (Psalm 33:22).

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p.s. We're trying not to spoil these babies, but it's very hard. They are like so adorable!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Who's Cheatin' Who?

Food is not my friend. Food is fuel. And no carbs at night. That was my strategy last year for losing weight. It worked! I lost ten pounds in five months. Ok, ok. It shouldn't have taken that long. Maybe I cheated once. Or twice.

Nobody's perfect. Right?

So, I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Like my jeans. The ones that I had to lie down on the bed, inhale, and then zip. After losing the big ten, I got 'em on and zipped standing up.

Not bad.

Then summer came along. And I slipped a little bit on my strategy. Made some bad decisions about what to eat. When to eat.

And how much to eat.

I wa cheating a little.

But I thought everything was still cool. No, I didn't weigh or measure. That would have been the smart thing to do.

Of course, I realize that now.

Somehow, I slid back into some old habits. Became a big-time cheater. If the food looks good, eat it.

Don't worry about nutritional value, calories, etc.

Eat and be happy!

So I did. During Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, too. Mercy!

Yeah, you guessed. I gained the ten pounds back.

After I worked so, so hard to lose weight. How could I let that happen?

Well, I made bad decisions. I got careless.

I've done the same thing in relationships. Like with God. When it comes to praying. And reading my Bible.

Other things look more appealing and fulfilling. So, I spend time there instead of with Him. And when I do that, I'm cheating Him.

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16: 11).

When I cheat Him, I miss out on being in His presence. I miss out on the peace and joy and pleasure that He promises us.

When I cheat Him, I cheat myself.

And about those jeans? They got tossed into the bag labeled thrift store.

Now who's cheating who?

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oooh la la!

Check this out. My new blog makeover! It's everything that I wanted. Soft. Sweet. Sensational. And oh so dreamy. So definately oooh la la.

Did you notice how the words in the header are all shadowy and seem to float across the page?

And the color combination. Blue with black. And blue is my favorite. Cause my eyes are blue. The shapes. Polka dots. The entire layout. A perfect design.

And guess what? I've got that cute little button--you can grab it if you like; I won't mind. And I've got the little-you-can-send-me-an-E-mail-button-if-you'd-rather-not-post-a-comment-button. Just click on it. How cool!

Remember how I listed a new blog design at the top of my Christmas wish list? Well, my darlin' husband didn't read that post; therefore, I didn't get my makeover. :(

But guess what? eLisa at Extragvagant Grace did a blog makeover giveaway on her absolutely fab blog! I can hardly imagine someone GIVING away a blog makeover. Can you? I mean investing all that work. All that time. But that's exactly what she did.

So, who got blessed by eLisa's generosity? You are so right. I did!

This blog makeover of my dreams is a gift from my friend at Extravagant Grace. And I'm loving it.

Thank you, eLisa. You Rock!

Oh, and check out this little personalized signature below.

Just a little more Oooh la la. Don't you think?

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Everyday Girls

She makes mistakes. Says things that she shouldn't. Occasionally, she gets stuck on stuff. Her faith? Oh, at times, she's fiery and fiercely faithful. But other times, her faith is frail. Fragile. Even faulty. Still, she's sweet. Just an everyday girl. I actually like her. You see, she struggles in loving God with all of her heart. Soul. Mind. And strength. She struggles with being still in His presence. Being obedient. Being faithful to Him. In her everyday. And so do I. You know, I've shared things about myself on this blog. Things that I never imagined I would share with anyone. Like times that I disobeyed God. Disappointed Him. Or disregarded His word. I may have shocked you with a few of these disclosures. Sorry, if I did. It's just that I want to be honest with you about my everyday life. And walk. And faith. I don't have it all together. No where close. I'm not perfect. I will never be perfect. I don't have to be perfect. And you don't have to be perfect either. I know, what a relief! Our God loves us. Right where we are. Just the way that we are. Anytime I goof up. Everytime I goof up. When I sin against the Lord who is holy and righteous and just and perfect, He convicts me about my sin. That means He loves me so much that He tells me what I've done wrong. And then my heart hurts because I've hurt my sweet Savior. So, I go to Him. I confess. I ask Him to forgive me. To strengthen me. To give me a heart fully devoted to Him. He's so good. So good to listen. To forgive. To strengthen. To shape my heart. You see, God doesn't love me only on my good days. When I see victories and success. When I make progress. He loves me on the bad days as well. When my faith turns flimsy. And I falter. And I flee instead of standing firm. He loves me in my everyday. When I worry about my family. Stress about work. Ponder what the future holds. Feel overwhelmed with responsibility. With guilt. When my good intentions don't materialize. When my mouth gets me into trouble. And I was thinking that you may have experienced some similar days in your everyday. Because maybe you're an everyday girl too. And I want you to know that our God. Eternal. Everlasting. Everloving. Is an everyday God. Who loves His everyday girls. Every day. By day the LORD directs His love, at night His song is with me--a prayer to the God of my life (Psalm 42:8). I really want to hear about your everyday. And how you're doing. Sweet dreams, Deb

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Just Shut My Mouth

They strike. Slice. And slash. Like a sharp shooter. Ricocheting through the air before I realize what's happened. My words. Oh, so sassy. So hard to control. Why can't I just shut my mouth? And keep it that way. You're right, I'm dreaming the impossible dream. Again. I'll have to make a lot of changes if this one's gonna come true. Because I like to talk. Sometimes, I talk way too much. Even when I don't have anything to say, I'll say something just to hear myself say something. I guess I like to hear my voice. Or my words, maybe. Kind of like I'm doing right now. Except I'm writing, not talking. Know what I mean? Anyway, my most recent opportunity to display a total lack of finesse in mouth management started--of all places--at church on Sunday morning. A friend in our class asked a question. A simple question. So, I seized this perfect opportunity to state my like way, way extensive biblical knowledge of the subject. I went on. And on. And on. I even contradicted a statement that he had made. Made him feel uncomfortable. Unvalued. As I finished this diatribe, I glanced toward him. Saw his face. And the slight, split-second change in expression. Pain. Caused by my careless, cutting words. Words that I spoke because I wanted to look good. Be right. Show off. And I'm sorry to say that I could give you more scenarios from this week when I should have kept my mouth shut. I didn't, and I hurt some more people. I want my words to be sweet. Soft. Sensitive. Like we're instructed in this verse: He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend (Proverbs 22:11). Don't you love this verse? I do. I just have a hard time living these words in my everyday. But I want to hide these words--about pure hearts--about gracious speech--close in my heart. So that my thoughts and words and actions will show that I am truly a friend of the King. The King of all Kings. Jesus Christ. He forgives me. Helps me. Will never give up on me. Even when I should just shut my mouth but lack the willpower to do so. You know, there's no god like our God. Is there? Sweet dreams, Deb What suggestions do you have to master this monster? I'd love for you to share.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

In Sync

Lately, I've been wanting to branch off from blogging a little bit. Write a few devos. An article or two. Get them published! See my name in print! Oh, yeah! I am so digging that. However.... Since God is actually the One who gave me this writing dream in the first place, I decided that I should ask Him about my brilliant idea. You know. Be sure that His plan is in sync with my plan. And all of that kind of stuff. Like now's the time. The right time. Best time. The only time. To make this transition. Probably not a problem. But I asked anyway. And this is the answer that I got: Be still before the LORD (Zechaiah 2:13a). Be still! You've got to be kidding! What happened to our harmonious plans? Does God really want me to be still? As in no motion. No action. Just be still. Before Him. And if I am still, how will I ever get to where I'm going? Where I want to go in my dreams. Obviously, He has other plans for me right now. At first, I was sad, but not now. I'm learning about being still before Him. Not just when I read the Bible and pray and write in my journal. But He's teaching me to be still during the day. At work. At home. Wherever I am. Whatever my circumstances. Even when things are beyond my control. I'm discovering the blessings that God gives to us as we get still before Him. His presence - so sweet and tender and loving. His peace - not the fractured, short-lived kind that the world offers, but a peace that passes all understanding and is eternal. His protection - nothing can touch us that hasn't been sifted through His nail-scarred hands. His preparation - on the mountain top, in the valley, in the wilderness, and, yes, even in the desert. Wherever we are. His plan - will be brought to perfect completion. His promise - that He the Dream Giver is our very great reward. Do I still want a little writing action? Sure. But if it doesn't happen, I'll be ok. Just wondering about you. Any stories about your plans being out of sync with God's plans? How did things turn out? Let me know. Sweet dreams, Deb

Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking Back.

Up late last night. Had a New Year's Eve party. Our Sunday School class came over. Friends. Food. Fun. A great way to bring in 2010. But today, I plan to look back. You know, take a trip down 2009 Memory Lane. Think about lessons learned. Blessings received. Mistakes made. However, I won't dwell on the negative. Because I made progress. I determined that 2009 would be the year that I started facing some of my fears. And they were plentiful. I faced my fear of running in a race. Ran my first 5K in January. Loved it. And have run several races since including an 8K. I hope to run a half marathon in the spring. I faced my fear of being a failure at writing. Stepped out in faith and began blogging. Now, that may seem like a baby step to you, but it was a big deal for me. I asked myself. Can I really write? Or am I just dreaming? Will anyone read what I write? Will they like me? Sounds like I was just a bit paranoid. I was. And then you came along. Generously giving feedback. Always encouraging. Always understanding. You changed me. Helped me to have some self-confidence. And you have prayed for me. Thank you. For everything. I appreciate that you take the time to come into my world. I consider you as a friend. Maybe it sounds wacky. Even weird to say that about someone I've never met face-to-face. But that's how I feel. The following verse is my prayer for you as we begin the coming year: You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance. (Psalm 65:11). As we enter 2010, may you experience God's grace and goodness. May each step that you take be blessed abundantly. I look forward to what God is going to do in this new year. Thanks for looking back with me, friend. Sweet dreams, Deb