Friday, December 23, 2011

When the Job is Too Big

It's so hard when the very thing with which you are encouraging and counseling others slaps you right in the face. (I thought I had this all worked out?) And immediately the accusations come and bring their friends...feelings of unworthiness and the thought that God must have gotten me mixed up with someone else more together or more "spiritual."

Do you ever feel like a big, fat nothing? A nobody? A complete failure? Like, who am I kidding and what am I doing?

It seems like every time I start on a project (article, devotional, study, etc), I immediately feel unworthy and inadequate...ill-equipped to successfully complete the task before me. Sometimes it feels too big and out of my league. I am, after all, just a small town country girl who got pregnant before marriage, never finished college, has piles of laundry, occasionally yells at her kids and gets mad at her husband.

It's so tempting to say, "No, I can't do this."

But I know God has another plan. And He IS all-sufficient and more than adequate and overly equipped...and He will equip me and you to do whatever it is He has called us to do. No matter how many times we fail or how many times we sigh the sigh of frustration or cover our face in anguish or clench our fists or lay prostrate in desperation...He is there to pick us up and hold our hand and take us to that place of refuge and restoration. Again, and again, and again.

In our stretching, in our enlarging, in our growing...often we break open, spilling and exposing junk that has been there all along but covered and hidden and deceiving. It feels good (to our pride) to think we have arrived...we are among the spiritually elite (whatever that means). But, really, none of us have made it, nor will we until we meet our Savior face to face.

We are all on a journey to becoming.

Are you overwhelmed or frustrated or discouraged today? Do you feel like God must have made a mistake because the job is just too big? Do you feel like you have messed up one too many times and you're now disqualified?

You are not alone, friend.

You are not the only one who gets tricked into believing these lies from time to time.

God does not measure our worth the way we measure ourselves or determine our value by our accomplishments, education, past mistakes, or other people's opinions of us.

Can I get a Hallelujah?

For 2011, I had a word for the year: Fearless.

For 2012, I have a scripture. It fits well in this post and my life.

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18.

As we continue to peek inside the Word of God and allow Him to reveal things, expose things, purge things...our journey of transformation continues. Our lives are living, breathing testimonies of what He can do when we cannot. Of what He can forgive when we fail. Of what He can do in His strength when we feel like we are going to pass out from weakness. Of what He can do when the job really is too big for us, because it usually is...and I think He planned it that way.

When you mess up, don't disqualify or count yourself out. Your Father doesn't.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future ~Jeremiah 29:11.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding ~Proverbs 3:5.

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the [whole] person; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple ~ Psalm 19:7.


Thank you, God, that no matter how many times I mess up, You do not disqualify me. You are taking my blemishes and scars and wounds and traditions and unbelief and restoring my whole person. You have plans to prosper me and give me hope and a future. Help me to lean on, trust in, and be confident in You with all my heart and all my mind. Thank You for mercy and grace on this journey of transformation. I am a big fat nothing without You, but with You I am a daughter of the King. All praise and honor and glory to You, my God.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

And the Stockings Were Hung

And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care  on the iron thingee I bought from Kirkland's because I don't have a chimney...

Sometimes our lives are not storybook or fairytale material. They may start out that way, but usually change somewhere in the middle of the first sentence.

Over the years, I have learned that we each have our own story. Different characters, different setting, different plot. But it's our story. And it's the one God wrote for us.

December is a great time to refocus and get back to the basics. Spend quality time with your family. Cherish them. Love them.

Let them know how special they are and what they mean to you. Don't just buy gifts, give yourself.

One of the ways I like to give to my children is to fill their stockings with personalized, fun, and sweet surprises. I think it takes really knowing someone and what they like to make it special. If you're not careful this can get expensive, but it doesn't have to. The dollar stores have something for everyone!
Examples are:
  • fuzzy socks in favorite colors or designs
  • favorite candy, gum or mints
  • hand-written coupons to be redeemed for their favorite things (favorite dinner or dessert, chocolate chip pancakes, movie night, game time, get-out-of-a-chore...although I wouldn't do too many of these lol, 2 hours in their favorite bookstore, a foot or scalp massage (my kids love these, too), popcorn on the stove instead of microwave, a ringtone for their phone or single song download from itunes, etc)
  • puzzle books or magazines
  • movies (I got some on black Friday for $1.96!)
  • cards or other small games
  • lipstick or nail polish
  • homemade cookies
  • items from the travel size bins (toothpaste, hairspray, body wash, body spray, hand sanitizer in favorite scents, etc)
  • a new toothbrush and flavored floss
  • favorite character bandaids
  • a new ornament for next year
  • ear buds
  • craft supplies (beads or string for making bracelets, scrapbooking items, paints, glitter, etc)
  • key chain or mini-flashlight
  • inexpensive bracelet or necklace
  • car scents
  • mini-devotional
  • $5.00 gift cards from Sonic, McDonalds, Starbucks or Blockbuster
  • and I could go on and on and on...the possibilities really are endless. Use your imagination and get creative. :)
This year, in addition to the material gifts, I am going to add a hand-written letter to my spouse's and each of my children's stockings. I want to encourage them, build them up and let them know how much I love them and believe in them. I am going to remind them of promises from God's Word that apply to where each of them are at this point in their lives. Will you try it, too?

And just as we love to give gifts to our children, even more so does our Father love to give gifts to us (Matthew 7:11). All those years ago, He gave a gift that is unending...His Son and the reason we celebrate.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

What are some special things you do for Christmas or plan to do this year?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

When I Don't Want to Pray Anymore

Setting this post up like our church service: Announcements first. :)

(These are cell phone pics so not great quality, but you can see now that I was telling the truth. I am a writer & a doodler.)

Now on to more serious things (not that I don't take my doodling serious).

What do you do when God is silent on a matter? When prayers go unanswered and mountains don't budge? When you say all the right things and pray all the right prayers and it doesn't seem to make a difference?

How do you keep praying and believing and standing and Keep. On. Keeping. On?

How do I?

With thundering voices shouting in opposition and hard circumstances contradicting your prayers and challenging your faith and demanding that you just give up, how then?

When strength is gone and you're tired and you don't want to pray anymore?

And what happens if I never receive the answer I want? Do I trust Him enough to allow Him to determine the outcome?

Do you think God has previous knowledge of the probability of our getting tired some on this journey of ours?

Of course He does.

He knows that our strength in itself isn't enough.

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" Galatians 6:9.

So in times when I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall without breakthrough and tempted to throw in the towel, I remind myself that even when I am depleted He is more than enough.

"He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies Me..." Psalm 50:23.

And I give thanks. Because gratitude and thanksgiving take the focus off me and recognizes that God is here.

"Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not grow weary, They shall walk and not faint" Isaiah 40:30-31.

And I trust that in my waiting, He is renewing my strength.

Keep on keeping on, sister. Remain in a place of gratitude and allow Your Father to renew your strength today. In your waiting, find assurance in His promises by meditating on scriptures that build your faith and remind you of His goodness. Soak in His presence and fill up once again so that you can continue pouring out into the lives of those around you.

He is more than enough.

Linking up today for the first time with three new communities: Good Morning Girls for Women in the Word Wednesdays, Tracy for Winsome Wednesday,  and Internet Cafe Devotions for Word Filled Wednesday (I realize my post is publishing on Thursday so I'm technically a day behind...story of my life Lol).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cross Ornament Exchange

I thought I'd do something a little out of the ordinary for this blog. Sometimes an unexpected interruption is just what's needed (especially if it's fun).

I am hosting my first ever exchange (swap). I've participated in a few over the years, but this is the first time I am playing hostess. I'm sure to make at least one mistake (*wink*), so thank you in advance for grace.

Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of Jesus, but the cross reminds us of why He came. During the holidays, we often need help keeping the right perspective - our new cross ornament can serve as a visual reminder of Who, what and why.

Each participant will be responsible for mailing one cross ornament or an ornament with a cross on it and will receive one cross ornament or an ornament with a cross on it.

Sound simple enough?

The exchange opens for sign-ups today, Monday, November 28 and will close this Friday, December 2 at 10:00 PM. After 10:00 PM Friday, no more participants may be added to the exchange. I will randomly select names and will send an email letting you know who you will be making an ornament for along with their favorites/preferences. You will not know who is sending an ornament to you until you receive it (this will not be the same person you are sending to). I thought this would add to the excitement. :)

Once you receive the name of the person you will be sending an ornament to, you will have one week to make or purchase your ornament. Cross ornaments must be mailed no later than Friday, December 16 (out of fairness to everyone, please do not sign up if you think you cannot make the deadline). If there are international participants, some ornaments may arrive after Christmas - but you'll have your first new ornament for next year plus a new friend in another country! :)  *You may specify whether or not you are willing to ship internationally (as this will be more expensive).

If you would like to participate, please email me at with the subject line Cross Ornament Exchange. In your email, include the following information:

1. Name
2. Address
3. Favorite color
4. Favorite metal (gold, silver, bronze etc)
5. Favorite finish (rustic, distressed, shiny, blingy, etc)
6. Theme (shabby chic, Victorian, western, vintage, animal print, etc)
(If you do not have a preference, simply state no preference.)
7. Are you willing to ship internationally? (yes or no)

Cross ornaments can be:
  • Hand-made
  • Store bought
  • Your favorite cross ornament taken from your personal tree
  • Wood
  • Fabric
  • Glass (just make sure you pack it tight)
  • Metal
  • You get the idea... :)
If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to ask. And if you see that I have left out some vital information in this post, please feel free to let me know :)

I love receiving packages in the mail!  Can't wait!

Let the exchange begin!
Linking up with Jen and others for the Soli Deo Gloria Party:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More Than Just a Day to Say Thank You

As the holiday approaches, I stop to contemplate thanks-giving. The subject of our celebration—gratefulness. The purpose of our gathering—the giving of thanks.

What is it that deserves this response of praise? This recognition of honor? What commands my thoughts as I meditate on this giving?

How can I choose when I have been given so much?

Yet to respond with a generic “everything” seems in itself dishonoring and inappropriate, ungrateful even.

To be truly thankful for all I’ve been given requires more than just a day of remembering.

It demands a life of acknowledging.

A life of choosing to see all that I’ve been given and responding to the One Who’s given.

More than just a day to say thank you.

A life of applauding instead of complaining, contentment instead of whining, appreciation instead of criticism.

A life thank-full.

Thank you, God, for life. For seven years cancer free and waking up in the morning to celebrate another day. For air to breathe, for food to eat, for eyes that see, and ears that hear.

Thank You, God, for family. For a husband choosing to walk this imperfect journey with me, growing and learning and loving together. For children who, like us, are not perfect but are ours and healthy and beautiful and Yours. For belly laughs and group hugs and family movie nights. For parents who love You and share wisdom and value marriage.

Thank You, God, for extended family and friends and acquaintances and friends who've become family and people who choose to smile in passing and offer love on the days I need it most.

Thank You, God, for the hard times I would have never chosen for myself and never want to go through again. Times that caused me to question and ponder and take a closer look and drink more deeply.

Thank You, Jesus, for the price you paid that I might be free and whole and healed and forgiven.

Thank You, God, for the Holy Spirit, Who empowers me to live this life and walk this journey and stay the course.

Thank You, God, for allowing me to choose and make mistakes and fall down and get back up and learn and find my way to You.

Thank You for choosing me.

Thank You for faith.

And love.

And mercy.

And grace.

And hope.

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalms 34:1

“…in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

And thank You, God, for pecan pie.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Like an unwelcome visitor, an uninvited stranger barging in, interrupting life, dragging bags of disappointment and unloading boxes of hard to swallow news.

Family members die, friends divorce, leaders abuse, children rebel, houses are lost, jobs end, cancer invades.

And still He whispers, "Trust Me."

No matter how much we pray or cry or wish or scream, sometimes things are not ok.

When plans fail and dreams fade and life. was. not. supposed. to. be. like. this.

"Trust Me."

The unexpected strips away all that is not anchored.

Like a punch in the stomach, the unexpected can leave us struggling to breathe.

But it can center. It can strengthen. It can remind.

Like Peter, if we take our eyes off of Jesus, we begin to sink.

But when we fix our gaze, though the storms may be violent and the unexpected may take us by surprise, our feet can stand firm and secure.

And when I want to pull the covers over my head and the water is swirling around my ankles...

I have to listen.

"Trust Me."

And fix my gaze...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Have I Made This Gospel Fit?

Last night I read a post on my friend Jen's page. She wrote of China and radical devotion and persecution and worship in the dark. Secret places and mountain caves and religion that is not free.

Her words and the picture created clenched my heart.

Jen...Just when we think we have given all, abandoned all, for His sake. We find, we have given little. A watered down faith, a comfortable gospel, a message that feels and fits just right. God is more. Thank you for stirring my heart with these words...Shelly

Would I have the courage to risk everything? Would my words be so bold? Would I desire enough to wake while everyone sleeps and love enough to be found hands lifted in a cave?

When compared, our worlds seem so different. Our faith, easy.

Suddenly, some things matter less. Some, not at all.

Other things matter more. Still others, most.

This life I live is not my own. Or is it?

Have I made this gospel fit?

Have I twisted and turned and stretched and found a way that is comfortable?

Have we?

Linking today with Emily for imperfect prose.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I try. I fail. I try again.

Yesterday I posted about being mindful of what I leave behind. In other words, how am I relating to people and what am I giving them? When they remember our conversation or point of contact, what things have left a lasting impression…good or bad?

One of my readers commented about being convicted of this very thing but in relation to her home, her own family. I thought about this all night.

Hope Unbroken said, "..perfect. and it brings to mind what i am leaving with those IN MY OWN HOUSE. i fear my aroma around here is often what it should not be, in spite of the scented lotion i use after the shower! i know this because i see it coming back at me in the attitudes of my children. . . convicting thoughts today. thanks for sharing!"

And then this morning one of my teenagers and I had an exchange that wasn’t so pure and lovely. Not that I cursed or stomped or threw my keys (no matter how bad I may have wanted to), but I was clearly frustrated and angry and probably (definitely) made the situation worse by my reaction and the way I chose to respond.

I am a work in progress.

I try. I fail. I try again.

God extends grace.

And then on the way to school (with my kids still in the car) I stopped at a four-way stop sign. I clearly stopped first but the big, bully of a truck on my left proceeded to go at the same time I did and I was in no mood to give. He almost ran me over. But I made it through first and was sure to give my meanest, dirtiest look as I passed by. Hmph. Teach him.

I try. I fail. I try again.

More grace.

He is teaching me and training me and molding me. He is correcting me and rebuking me and exposing me. He is loving and forgiving and merciful and grace-FULL.

It is easy to sit at a computer screen and type words that encourage and build up. It is easy to tell someone else, “You can do this.”

But sometimes, when I’m sitting here in my pajamas, hair uncombed, house dirty, bills due, kids fighting, projects unfinished…in all my messiness and all of life that is sometimes hard and sometimes not what I had planned, a voice (you know the one) whispers, “You can’t do this.”

It’s right at that very moment I have a choice. A very important choice. A life or death choice, really.

Sometimes it’s an easy choice, but a lot of times I struggle. I struggle to believe that He would use me, the me who at the end of any given day feels all used up. That He would love me, the me who is often so unlovely. That He would choose me, the me that sometimes rejects Him and doubts and denies and forgets.

But He does.

He chooses me.

And He chose you.

And He’s not going to change His mind, no matter how many times we do.

So, today, I try again.

I choose Him.

I choose to be corrected and molded and made into His image.

I choose to push through the difficult days knowing that He is here and He is cheering me on.

I can’t do this…alone. But with Him, nothing is impossible.

Choose Him.

Choose life.

Choose to listen to the voice that says, “You can do this.”

And when you try and fail (or scream at your teenager or give dirty looks to the guy trying to run you over), receive His grace, and try again.

Today I am linking with Shanda and others.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Medley of Perfumed Mists or a Dirty Residue of Criticism?

Last week at church I was keenly aware of the various fragrances my friends were wearing. As each of them greeted and hugged me before the worship service, bits and pieces of their perfumes dove into the fibers of my clothing. By the time I got to my seat I was a medley of perfumed mists, a field of flowers, a department store mix of designer samples, a smorgasbord of scents.

I know for some (especially those with allergies) this could prove disastrous. But for me (who had only an empty bottle of perfume at home that morning) it was a gift. And with each breath I was reminded of one of my sweet, scented friends.

Instantly, Holy Spirit challenged me with the question, "What are you leaving behind?"

Beyond actual fragrances, I can leave a number of things with those I come in contact with every day.

Is the character of Christ being poured out through me in my words and actions? Or do selfishness and pride create a dirty residue left clinging to those I touch?

Are love, mercy and graced being poured out? Or are judgement, critical words and condemnation the gifts I offer?

Refine me, Oh God.

I pray that others might desire to know Christ because of Christ living in me. Let me be more mindful of what I'm leaving behind. I pray that those who are looking might find Him in me. As I pour my life out as an offering to Him, let others see His goodness, hear His invitation and smell the sweet aroma of Christ.

What are you leaving behind?

Linking today with Jen at Finding Heaven and Michelle at Graceful.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sometimes It's Easier to Pretend It Doesn't Hurt

If my bedroom or closet is messy (and they usually are) I have a bad habit of walking through with tunnel vision pretending like I don't see it. Life is messy, too. Marriage and church and family and death and teenagers are messy. Sometimes it's easier to avoid the messes.

If I run into writer's block or only get 300 words in a day, I have a bad habit of closing my eyes and putting down my paper (or keyboard) out of frustration or disappointment. Sometimes it's easier to not push through and deal with the hard things.

If someone hurts me I have a bad habit of closing off, putting up a wall, and neglecting the relationship completely. Sometimes it's easier to pretend it doesn't hurt.

But sometimes, we must deal with the messes.

Sometimes, life is hard and we have to push through.

And sometimes we hurt.

God takes our messes (not my messy closet) and makes something beautiful. give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3).

He takes the hard things...His yoke is easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30)...and His grace is sufficient for me, for His strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 11:9).

And He cares about my hurts. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

The God Who created me...knows me and loves me.

The God Who created YOU...knows YOU and loves YOU.

Trust Him.

Even when it's messy.

Even when it's hard.

Even when it hurts.

Linking with Emily for imperfect prose on thursdays.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Where in the World is that Proverbs 31 Lady?

Bombarded by social media sites, blog rankings and the local P.T.A., women (and men) today face the temptation of becoming people pleasers and sometimes fall into the trap of performing for popularity or acceptance. Even in the church things can get a little mixed up.

Before you report me to the Pastor, let me explain...
To read this post in its entirety, please visit me and Lana (like Banana) over at ilovemy5kids where I have the honor of being her guest today. Hope to see you there! :)

Happy Friday, friends!


Monday, October 17, 2011

From This Place

I sit, pretending to be be far removed from distractions and responsibilities. Really, I have just placed my old plastic outdoor chair near a neglected back corner of my home. A place I have not lingered before so its seems new. From here my eyes scan acres of property, noticing and listening.

Three horses to my right stand grazing while their donkey companion plays and rolls creating a cloud of dust on the parched Texas ground.

In another pasture, my daughter's horse stands tall resting under a shade tree.

I notice the ease and grace with which these creatures move. Confident and strong they rest in who they are.

My ears tune to the birds singing a melody of praises as they celebrate.

The wind blows giving rhythm to the leaves around me.

I marvel at the variety of activity witnessed from this place.

All of creation purposefully existing at once.

Living, thriving, resting.

Knowing, accepting, being.

And I, another small part of His great design, sit writing.

I have found my place.

Give me strength, Oh my God, to live and thrive and You.

To know, accept and be who You created me to be in this place prepared for me.

Sisters and friends, I pray that you stand confident and strong, resting in the place created for you. There is a place for you. And you are not here by chance.

"My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret and intricately and curiously wrought (as if embroidered with various colors) in the depths of the earth (a region of darkness and mystery). Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days (of my life) were written before they ever took shape, when as yet there was none of them." ~Psalm 139:15-16

Linking today with Jen at Finding Heaven.

Monday, October 10, 2011

On Your Way to Your Greatest Place of Victory

Not too long ago I updated my fb status with these words:

Today I am thankful for bumps in the road...because when I hit one the rear a/c comes on in my Tahoe. So don't be discouraged if you encounter a bump in the road...something really cool may be about to happen.

I was, of course, being silly and serious at the same time.

It is true that my rear AC has some sort of short in it and comes on when we hit a bump. For those bumps, we are thankful.

But there are also times we encounter bumps (delays, setbacks, etc) on our spiritual journey to wherever it is we feel God has called us or whatever task He has asked us to complete.

It's during these times we learn to trust Him more. It is also during these times that we find out what we really believe and how our beliefs hold up under pressure or temporary disappointment.

For these bumps, I am also thankful.

I read a devotional last week in the DayStar Newsletter by Alan Bullock that echoes these sentiments. I hope these quotes encourage you as they did me:

"There are times when we have to garner great courage and push forward toward our destiny with determination, move past our setbacks by faith, and pray through our difficulties just like those in the Bible to reach our heavenly destination and receive the answers to our prayers."

"Before Joseph reached his place of leadership under Pharaoh, which enabled him to save his family from starvation and extinction, he learned the principle that 'We often experience detours on the road to our dream-release and sphere of influence before the final arrival at our place of greatest victory.'"

"After the rooster crowed three times, Peter had to learn the principle that, 'He could not allow his fears and failure to distract him from his call can purpose.' Remember, our destiny is often determined by our daily choices and decisions that we make to persevere...Peter had to push past his failure...and move beyond his soiled reputation. When he did, he became the man God used to reach the Gentiles and shape the spiritual landscape of Israel and the church."

Wherever you are on your journey, know that God is working in you and through you for greater purposes. Rejoice and give thanks in all things, knowing that growth and change are essential to maturing in Christ.

You are on your way to your dream-release and your place of greatest victory.

And if you hit a bump, remember, a cool, refreshing breeze may be on its way. :)

Linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven

Friday, October 7, 2011

Undercover Journalist, Smart Glasses & A Green Scarf

The past couple of weeks have been less than productive as far as writing, or rather, progress on my current book project. I know it's times like these I just have to keep pressing forward. I often find myself feeling anxious and questioning if I am in the "perfect will of God." I know that being anxious is evidence of worrying about the future and I know what the Word of God says about I am determining to live in the present while trusting Him for what is to come, whatever that might be.

I read something yesterday in one of my small books I keep around for motivation. It said, "God is not a magic 8-ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have a decision to make. He is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the way of obedience, and invites us to take risks for Him" (Kevin DeYoung).

Sometimes living a life of faith requires us to step out of what is familiar and comfortable and believe God for something we could not do on our own. That is risky. At the beginning of this year I determined to be FEARLESS, trust God with the impossible, and step out of the boat.

Part of that was attending my first Writer's Conference in July. It was amazing and I came back full of confidence and motivation.

But something happened.

I think one of the great philosophers of all times has spoken to me once again and shown me the error of my ways (I am talking about Dr. Seuss, of course).

"You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly purch. And your gang will fly on. You'll be left in a Lurch. You'll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you'll be in a Slump. And when you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done."

I'm not sure what a Slump is by definition, but I'm pretty sure I've been in one for a few weeks.

So, in a effort to un-slump myself, I spent a day alone (actually I've been spending a lot of days alone in this season) and went for a photo shoot and a professional journalism task . I sat outside of a nearby Starbucks with my notebook, pen, camera, briefcase and my smart glasses (you know, so I could look like I was doing something important, like say...a job) and took notes as I participated in a little People-Watching.

It can be quite entertaining.

I journaled about individuals and groups as they passed by or sat briefly at the table next to me. It's important to find ways to activate your imagination and thinking. This is a fun exercise. Want to read some of the things I wrote?

Sitting outside Starbucks and each time the door opens I am reminded that a white chocolate mocha is waiting for me inside. But I must put work before pleasure (because I am an important journalist, remember?).

So many varying activities going on around me.

An interview to my left. On my right, two girls and their laptops, a table with two friends sharing coffee, and another table, one woman sitting and one standing, getting in a few last words before life pulls her away.

An employee from a nearby shop sits to eat his sack lunch. I suspect he may be people watching as well.

Where is it that everyone is going?

A newspaper, abandoned and free, waves to those passing near.

A toddler splashes in the outdoor fountain, squealing joy as her hands touch the cool water.

An ATM stands erect, conveniently placed for those too busy to visit the bank.

All around me life reflects minutes, hours slipping away.

I pretend to check messages on my smart phone but really I'm just browsing updated facebook statuses.

The newspaper has garnered the attention of the man with the sack lunch. It is re-purposed as a placemat for a diet coke and what I suspect is a ham sandwich.

My sunglasses are sitting on a book on my table and I can secretly watch people behind me.

I'm undercover.

I have my camera and snap an occasional picture - because that's what bloggers sometimes do. I wonder how many of my new subjects are wondering about me?

The sack lunch man puts the newspaper in the trash and heads back to work.

A mother walking, holding her young son's hand makes me miss Logan.

After writing for a couple of hours, I reward myself.

Before heading home, I find a green scarf and remember I have birthday money left in my purse.

Happy Birthday to me, again. :)

Happy Friday, friends!

Write on fellow writers.

And don't be afraid to take a risk.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Fearless (repost)

Having computer issues (and working on some other issues) so I am quickly republishing a post that started my year off many months ago...and reminding myself and you that He is with us...even when our knees are knocking...

Fear can be crippling.

And, if you let it, it can steal your destiny.

This plundering thief, if given the power, has the potential to disable your spiritual authority, take your vision, prevent you from speaking/writing/singing or whatever it is that you are supposed to be doing, and bind your feet together, prohibiting any progression toward fulfilling your purpose.

Scripture assures us that fear does not come from God.

For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. ~2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

and the same scripture in the Amplified Bible:

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

So if not from God, then from the enemy of our soul. From the one who hates every fiber of our being and wants nothing more than to prevent us from doing our part to further or increase the Kingdom of Heaven.

It's the voice that says you can't do it. The voice lurking in your thoughts trying to convince you that you aren't good enough and God isn't big enough. The voice that says if you try, you will fail. The voice that laughs and says you'll never make it, they won't accept you, you're not smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, rich enough, you will only get hurt ...

Truth is, some of those things may be true, but they do not matter.

Ever heard the phrase "Do it afraid"?

All throughout scripture we find many examples of ordinary people, like ourselves, who were called to do extraordinary things. Just like us, they had a destiny, a little (or sometimes a lot of) fear, and a choice.

Open the pages of your bible and listen as God encourages Abram over and over to be not afraid. Walk with Joshua and hear the Lord say "Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid..." "Do not fear them..." "Do not be afraid" over and over and over....

These mighty men needed to be encouraged and reassured that they needed not be afraid because the Lord their God would be with them. This tells me they were afraid. And more than once they pushed through the wall of fear and stepped into the freedom of trust and fearlessness to obtain the victory that was already theirs.

They didn't wait until they were not afraid. They stepped out with knees knocking and trusted that God would do what He said He would do. And He did.

We are not offered the luxury of unending days, but with each new dawn we are are drawn closer to the end of our seasons on this earth. Life as we know it, is short. There is not enough time to wait until we are not afraid to do that thing which God has been telling us to do.

"Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom." Psalm 90:12 NLT

As I write this, I gain strength and can feel courage rising from inside. By faith, I declare that I will FEAR NOT. For my God is with me. I have a destiny and I choose to move forward, not waiting but pushing through whatever fear may try to hold me back. I am behind because I have allowed fear of man, fear of failure, fear that all my messy places will show - because they will - to keep me stationary and render me immobile. But man's opinion is of no value to me. Without the risk of failure, there can be no success. And God can and wants to work even in my messy places.

So for the New Year, 2011, my word is FEARLESS. God has given me a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. And I chose to walk in it.

And even when fear is present, I will do it afraid and trust and watch God do what He said He would do.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 ESV

I pray that you will find the courage to step out and answer the call that you have heard, probably more than once. And hear God whisper to your soul, "Do not be afraid. For I am with you."

FEARLESS. That's my word. And that is how I will take one step at a time closer to my destiny this year, hand in hand with my Father.

What is your word for 2011?
linking with Jen today...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Morning in the Prophetic

I woke up singing this morning.

Blow, mighty breath of God
Move upon this place
Blow, mighty breath of God
Come and move in power and grace.

It seems my spirit was communing with God before I even opened my eyes.

The last week and a half, though, has been challenging. There are things, spiritual things, contending for our future and the plans God has for us. We must be willing to fight back and overcome in the strength and power He has given us.

After my walk/jog this morning, I spent a very prophetic hour with my mom on her front porch. I am blessed she is such a woman of God. She read from her notes from a meeting last night a word that came forth from Chuck Pierce that spoke to my spirit and confirmed what I had already been feeling:

That which stopped you in the last season will be overcome with grace in this season. God is forming a new identity in you.

She then read some other words that she felt like were for me and I thought I would share in hopes that they encourage you as well.

There are things that you need to know before you can move forward, but don't push. Wait on Me, says the Lord, because everything needs to be in order and in perfect timing. Refuse to get frustrated when things aren't moving along as quickly as you would desire. Take a deep breath, rest in the assurance that I am in control, and trust Me. Everything will be all right. ~Marsha Burns (Isaiah 40:31 "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.")

You are somewhat discontented. There are just some unsettled feelings you're having. You aren't exactly sure why, but nevertheless the feelings are there and you are having a hard time shaking them off. You have been going at a pretty fast clip and one of the reasons for your discontentment is you haven't taken time to gather your thoughts. Take some time off, not time off to do other things. You don't necessarily need a change of scene, you need some quiet time, times of prayer and reflection on ways I am leading. You need to align yourself up with me, and not on the things going on around you. ~ Bev Robinson (Mark 1:35 "In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.)

Here you go again. You fell into the same old pit again. It makes you feel like a reprobate when you slip on the same banana peel again. You know better, right? The Lord says, "I love you. You are still my choice and delight. There is no condemnation and no punishment for those like you who are mine forever. Only a little discipline (not punishment) is necessary for you. Because you really want genuine repentance, I say unto you stop circling that same mountain again and again. Stop. Turn north instead to the good, the beautiful and the land for which you have longed, but thought you would never possess. Don't let the giants intimidate you. You will defeat them one by one. Only avoid the banana peels. You are mine and I am yours! My grace will always be sufficient for all that comes your way. ~Bev Robinson (Deuteronomy 2:3 "You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north.")

And one more...

I hear the Lord say, rise up My people. Weave for yourself new garments in this season, for the kingdom of God is at hand. The glory of that kingdwom shall become a covering to you and to those with whom you walk. So cast off the old, forgetting those things which are behind, run the race quickly to that which is ahead. Come into this newness of time and into this season with strength, joy and peace. Most of all come with a glorious expectation of My goodness, My presence and my power. For, surely, I am the Lord your God who forgives all of your iniquities, heals all your diseases, and provides all those things necessary for you. So arise to a new position of faith today and call those things which are not as though they were. Retain your joy and I will say again rejoice. For I have not left you, I have not forgotten you or forsaken you. And it is true that I will be with you always to lead and to guide you, to empower you and to teach you the things that pertain to the kingdom of God. For such is the time and such is the season. Come forth, My beloved, and be what you have been called to be, says the Lord. ~Bill Burns

I am reminded also of a couple of posts I wrote in January. I love how God continues to speak to me through past words written on this page.

Be encouraged today to rise up! Accept God's grace to overcome and push through whatever obstacles are seeming to block your path. Arise and go over, and be what you have been called to be.

Blow, mighty breath of God
Move upon this place
Blow, mighty breath of God
Come and move in power and grace.

Linking with Jen and Shanda today


Monday, September 19, 2011

CHS 20th High School Reunion & My 39th Birthday

(Photo by James Howard Hefley)

Today is my 39th birthday. Tomorrow begins my journey to 40 and since I'm a writer, I decided to write about it. You can read about my 20th Reunion and see more pics on my other blog: BECOMING 40.

Please pray for me. I am working on a schedule and some sort of plan of action to help keep me on track and complete more assignments. Seriously, I need help. lol :)

Happy Monday, my friends!


Linking with sweet, amazing Jen, proud to be part of the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood...and beautiful Shanda for On Your Heart Tuesdays.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Choose Joy

This morning at 5:30 A.M. I lay in my bed anxious to check the topic for today's 5 Minute Friday post. As I scanned the page my heart sank. The topic... JOY, but the inspiration for its choosing left me already struggling to find such. 

Sometimes it's hard to choose joy.

But that's exactly what Sarah has done. Found at the top of her blog, the words, CHOOSE JOY, courageously encourage all who visit to do so.

Choose joy.

In the midst of pain, in the midst of sorrow, in the face of death.

Choose joy.

Sarah chooses joy, because she knows it is not found in her circumstances. She has been sick for a very long time and received information this week that her body is shutting down. Hospice has arrived and a friend is updating her blog as she rests. I am continuing to pray, my friend, Gitzen Girl. :) You can read her story here.

I first linked up with Sara in July 2010. What a fun idea of bringing everyone together to create. A gracious host, an encourager of gifts.

Not to be confused with temporary happiness, joy is found deep inside, wrapped in the knowing of our Savior, the everlasting love of God, hope in the One Who never changes.

Our source of joy never empties...never runs out...never changes.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

I pray that joy continues to fill and overflow Sara, whether God chooses to heal her on earth or in heaven.  I am sad to think of her leaving, of not being able to read her words or see her pictures, but I find joy in knowing God has made known to her the path of life, and at the end of her life, her joy will be made complete.

I pray also for each of you. That you might know joy as Sara knows joy. That you might choose as she chooses...keeping before you the truth that this world is not our home but a temporary place on our way to a land too wonderful to imagine...a place where tears are wiped away and love is consuming and we are whole.

A place in His presence.

A place where our joy is complete.

In honor of Sara, I am linking with The Gypsy Mama and The Mom Creative.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

After the Fire

This morning around 9:30 A.M. our daughter left for a babysitting job. By 11:30, there was news of a fire and mandatory evacuations in the area she was located. Needless to say, I kicked into mama-mode. I updated my facebook status with a prayer request, called my husband and started praying. As I prayed, I found myself asking why. Why the outbreak of so many fires recently?

Over the last several weeks, Texas has had major fires and loss of land, property and lives. With the current drought and weather conditions favorable for acceleration, even a small spark could mean widespread devastation very quickly.

Please, God, no more fires. And not here.

News of containment brought relief to my anxious mama heart, but I knew God was speaking to me of another fire...

I am guest posting today for Jen at Finding Heaven. Please click here to read this post in its entirety.

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Choosing To Be Filled Again....and Again

Did you read my post yesterday? We had a powerful, emotional, hope-filled, proud to be an American service at church and I wrote about it here.

Recently I committed to posting scriptures and encouragement every morning on my facebook ministry page. Today was the first day to do so. I also had a few other things on my plate for this manic Monday. I literally hit the floor running from the time the alarm clock sounded. I was at the track by 7:35 for my second day of training for my first 5K (yes, you heard me correctly). I decided to run my first 5K in preparation for my journey to 40 on my new blog (also launched today) Becoming 40. - you can read more about my adventures in running (aka... walking fast) as well as some other light, funny tidbits on aging gracefully. Aaaand the last major thing on my list for today was to clean my closet. This was, of course, in addition to all the normal WAHM stuff like breakfast, clean-up, laundry, running the kids to school, more laundry, picking one kids u from school, picking another kid up from football practice, dinner and more clean-up.

That was a busy introductory paragraph. But I said all that to say this.

In encouraging, entertaining and taking care of everyone else, I forgot to encourage myself. Yes, I read a few scriptures, said a small prayer with my kids before school and sang along with tunes on our local Christian radio station, but it was not enough.

I empty myself out every day. By the time I get in the bed (which is usually very late), I am completely drained. If I do not pull away from everything first thing in the morning and spend some alone time with God, time to praise, time to refill and time to get empowered for the tasks ahead, my day goes downhill quickly. It's not possible to run on empty, so about mid-day today I was wanting to pull the covers over my head and not do or think about anything.

Outside pressures and circumstances that have been present for some time seemed bigger today and attempted to overwhelm. Financial pressures, decisions that need to be made, deadlines, concerns for friends and family, the search for a part time job, the need of a new, faster, more efficient computer, teenager stuff...just to name a few.

The difference between yesterday and today is that today I put my eyes on the tasks before me and looked to my own ability to complete them. When I take my eyes off of Him, my faith begins to shrink and my feet begin to sink. I know this from experience...time and time again.

Want to know what I encouraged my readers to do this morning? Exactly what I didn't do.

Today, put your confidence not in your own ability, but in God's.


And the scripture I provided?

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever....Psalm 138:7-8.

I am thankful His mercy endures forever. I am thankful tomorrow I can start over.

Tomorrow, the same circumstances and pressures will most likely still be there, but even in the midst of trouble, He revives me. He fills me, empowers me, and offers grace.

So, tonight, I am off to encourage myself in the Lord. Putting my eyes back on Him, I choose to believe His promises and accept His grace.

I choose to be filled once again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Linking with my sweet friends, Jen @ Finding Heaven and Shanda for On Your Heart Tuesday. If you have time to browse, be sure to hop over and read some other great blogs. And don't forget to check out my new blog and see my big, frizzy hair from my Senior Year Prom, 1991. :)


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday & A Tribute

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. We will not fear. Psalm 4:1-2

At the beginning of service this morning, the congregation rose, hand over heart, eyes fixed on our American flag displayed proudly at the front of the stage. In unison, voices pledged allegiance to the red, white and blue and sang of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

A Tribute to lives lost ten years ago, on the day that forever changed America and left hearts aching

In the middle of crisis, the fierceness of the storm, the heat of the battle, it is easy to give in and give up. But the victory comes with digging in heels and drawing strength from the inner depths of your being, strength you never knew you had, strength that overcomes the greatest evil...His strength in our weakness. We continue to rise above this tragedy and pray for America to remember who she is, to take her rightful place, to once again stand for truths upon which she was founded ...and to trust in God.

A Tribute to Fallen Soldiers, a moment of silence and prayer for hurting families

A Tribute to active/retired soldiers abroad and in our own congregation

Below is Retired Sgt. Brian Fleming - our guest speaker.
He gives a powerful testimony of one soldier's journey from being blown up twice in Afghanistan to using his story to bring hope to others and his voice to tell of the love of Christ all across the world.

We are the United States of America. We are the land of the free, the home of the brave.

God Bless America!

Linking today with Michelle at Nebraska Graceful

and counting gifts with Ann at A Holy Experience

76 freedom to worship
77 men and women who risk their lives for our freedom
78 the ability to forgive
79 courage to press on
80 hope to become better
81 love that covers and heals
82 His strength in my weakness
83 gentle reminders that keep things in perspective
84 grace for this journey
85 mercies new in the morning