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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Redeeming that which is Lost

I came across this quote on Facebook, and wanted you, dear reader, to think about its significance. 
"Many, in seeking to discern right from wrong, inadvertently become judgmental toward other people. Yes, we need to discern sin, but we must also discern how to represent Christ in seeking redemption. Thus, our first reaction should be intercession. As John wrote, we are to "ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin . . ." (1 John 5:16). God does not want us to be judgmental, but prayer-mental."
I thought it was an accurately biblical response to how we treat those in our fellowship and those who are not. i think too often we think we can turn away from that which we believe is sin. Although i would never advocate someone to become steeped in sin, but Jesus never turned away from having fellowship with that which is sinful. Take the temptation by Satan for example. Or the passage in the Old Testament where Satan is allowed to approach God's throne and petition him, as depicted in Job. We want so easily to point the finger at someone and label them as a false teacher, yet Jesus calls us to redeem that which is lost. 
How does this quote change how you will strive to redeem that which is lost in the future?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Better to Give than to Receive

Many times as a child i heard these words" It is better to give than to receive." I never believed them, because the anticipation of Christmas Day overshadowed any gift I picked out at the church bazzarr. But, not I understand,it really is more about the joy of giving than receiving during the Christmas season.
I know I have gotten way more joy wrapping little surprises for my kids on Christmas morning, or helping out a co worker who has no money for gifts, or giving a token of appreciation to the women at the local shop that I see throughout the year than on any gift that come wrapped under the tree. Perhaps because Isaiah 58:10-11 speaks on this topic:
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, 
   with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 
 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry 
   and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, 
then your light will rise in the darkness, 
   and your night will become like the noonday. 
The LORD will guide you always; 
   he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land 
   and will strengthen your frame. 
You will be like a well-watered garden, 
   like a spring whose waters never fail. 
Yes, the joy lies more in the giving than in the receiving. After all, didn't God give us His son?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jesus' Christmas Letter to You

My husband received this from a worker at a local coffee shop. it was so powerful, I had to share it with you.

Letter from Jesus about Christmas
It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.
How I personally feel about this celebration can probably most be understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own, I don't care what you call the say. If you want to celebrate My birth, just get along and love one another.
now, having said that let me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting my birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put a small nativity scene in your own front lawn. If all my follower did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.
Stop worrying about the fact that there are people calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made the trees. you can remember me anytime you see any tree. decorate a grape vine if you wish. i actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look it up John 15:1-8. And please, quit complaining about Xmas- remember the fish symbol early Christians used to interact with others. Xmas can actually be a conversation starter since it tells so much  about me. IXOYE, Jesus Christ God's Son, Savior! It's not taking Christ out of Christmas, just including my name in another way!
If you want to give me a present in remembrance of my birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:
1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way my birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell me all the time.
2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
3. Instead of writing the president complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him you are praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up... It will be nice hearing from you again.
4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts toy can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of my birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.
5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.
7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday season, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there in Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day with their families.
8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary- especially one that takes my love and good news to those who have never heard of my name.
9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no Christmas tree but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy dome food and a few gifts and give them to a Salvation army or some other charity which believes in me and they will make the delivery for you.
10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief and loyalty to me, then behave like a christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in my presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one if mine.
Don't forget; i am God and can take care of myself. Just love me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work. time is short. I'll help but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember.
I love you,

Monday, December 13, 2010

Love You to Death

I was just watching the show Intervention on A and E, and was struck by a statement one of the parents said to their daughter who was struggling with an eating disorder. She said "It is not my job to love you to death." It is interesting to think about in terms of the Christian walk. I have always had difficulty understanding why grace and Christlike character are characterized by non-confrontative encounters and random niceties, as if merely being a nice person is enough to further the gospel. 1 timothy 5:20 says "Those who sin should be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning."
Please don't misunderstand me. I 'm not saying we drag every congregation member in front of the church so that we can throw stones at them. But, I do think we seriously downplay the role of the church in our lives. Sin affects a community, if it is functioning the way it was intended. We should all be in prayer for one another and helping each other "spur one another on toward love and good deeds." If we are not close enough to each other to be able to speak
into each others' lives, we are doing ourselves a disservice.Confrontation does have its place within the church body. Every time we don't gently correct each other in love, we are actually not bringing life, but death. Confrontation, if done in the right context, creates love. Love creates character.  Love creates new life in Christ.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My birthday gift

Today is my birthday.
You want to know what my favorite part is?
I enjoy the gifts
The cards
The cake
The pictures.
But, my favorite part is
thanking each and every person who writes on my Facebook wall.
It reminds me how much I have been through,
all of the people I have met
and all of the people that make up my friends and family.
You are all so special to me.
Every year the number of posts goes up,
which tells me I am making a difference in the world.
I like to write you all back a personal message
Because it is my way of giving back to you
a little of what you have given me.
It proves yet again
that in God's family
No one is excluded,
but all are welcomed.
May Jesus become as real to you as he has become to me
As we approach this Christmas.
That's one great birthday gift.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Grace isn't Cheap

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said ""Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."  In a blog post I did a while ago, I talked about forgiveness not being cheap. similarly, grace is not cheap, either. So, why do we dispense it so freely? I know I have often thought being gracious meant just letting people get away with whatever they want, and I simply turn a blind eye, especially when it was being done to me. But, how does that help the offender come any closer to repentance? Sometimes the only way someone will change their behavior is if you firmly assert yourself and tell them how you feel. Actually, without a person understanding who God is and his work in their life, grace is not only cheap, but worthless. It would be like Christians counseling someone without mentioning Christ. If the Holy Spirit is the true counselor a without him we are nothing, then are we doing people a diservice by giving them a raw deal? Redemption is not possible without a redeemer. Grace is cheapened without emulating the one who bestowed it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Still Waiting...

It has been 3 months now since I sent out my book proposal to David C. Cook publishing and I have not heard anything yet. I'm hoping this is good news because I think I would have heard by now if they did not like the proposal.  I cannot give it to the self-publishing company until I hear back because once they accept it, the own the rights to it. I'm trying hard not to get impatient, but the self- doubt is slowly creeping in....=)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Where does humility begin and end?

I have been wrestling with the concept of grace and humility lately, particularly when is it an appropriate time to stop being graceful and humble and start being assertive. I know the bible has a lot to say on this subject, with verses like " If you forgive, your father will not forgive you", " for it is by grace we have been saved...", etc. but what if the offense has been done to you and you are not at fault. Is it more humble and gracious to just let it go and not say anything, and keep letting yourself get walked on so the relationship will not be strained to keep in line with " As it stands with you, live peaceably with all" ? What if you have done this several times, and the relationship never improves? Since God wants to redeem all of mankind, how does not saying anything usher in redemption?
I was thinking about after the fall in Genesis when God confronts Adam and Eve in the garden. He doesn't just let it go so that Adam and Eve can keep on sinning, but confronts them with asking them why they hid. There is some sort of level of accountability. But, how does this translate to those outside the church body? Does the same level of accountability apply? What if the more kindness you have shown, the poorer you are treated? What if when you confront them, they take no responsibility for their part in the relationship strain?I could use some feedback on this. Feel free to chime in if you have any thoughts.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What I am thankful for 13

I'm thankful today for Starbucks.
I'm glad that I can have a place to go when I need a moment of rest and peace.
A quiet solitude I can only get away from my home and workplace.
I'm thankful for a place where I can focus on my thoughts and recharge my batteries.
A place where the hot chocolate and chai tea lattes taste so much better than what I can get at home.
Thank you Starbucks, for making my life a little bit better.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What I am thankful for 12

Today is my first day trying to avoid coffee- and it's KILLING ME!!! If I drink too much, my stomach starts to bother me and ultimately my back. So, I'm trying to commit to not drinking it.
I've tried this before, but wound up going back to drinking it everyday. When I took my first sip after going so long without it, I knew I had let myself and God down. I knew that God wanted me to quit because, as small a vice as it is, it was becoming between me and the Lord. I also knew I could come to him in repentance and try again the next day, and so a new day has dawned and I'm staring again.
And I am thankful for the gift to repent and start again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What I am thankful for 11

I have been filing my paperwork to get my CDA for my job renewed. I also had them review my transcripts to see if they could find 12 credits in Early Childhood Ed so that I would not have to renew it anymore. During the process, i prayed fervently that one class that dealt with the birth to five age group. after waiting several days, the board found that it would not accept my class. Filled with disappointment, I wondered why I couldn't have what I prayed for. I may never know the answer to that question, but realized that the reason why I was so disappointed was because I felt I deserved what I asked for and didn't get it. Then, i realized, I deserve a lot of things. I deserve death for my sins, because the bible is clear that the wages of sin is death. But, instead of death, i got a little something else: grace.
I am thankful for it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What I am thankful for 10

Today I am writing this quickly before I dash off to my triad. A triad is when 3 people come together to pray, read scripture and keep each other accountable on things they would like to change. I am thankful today that i can visit my friends; home with ease, not at all concerned that someone will tell me I can't or force their way into my home and tell me to stop. I am also thankful for the beautiful nature of fellowship and the kind of bonding that comes when " two or three gather in His name."
I am thankful for the gift of brother and sisterhood.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What I am thankful for 9

As I sit here writing this blog entry, I rest my aching back with my heating pad, worn from its frequent use. I am reminded yet again of how my chronic back pain becomes a nuisance to my daily routine. But I am thankful.
Because I am thankful that my pain, for the most part, has never caused me to call out sick from work.
I am thankful because in my time of greatest pain,. I am reminded that God is limiting me from working too much.
I am thankful that it has never required surgery.
I am, thankful because my monthly chiropractic and massage visits, although costly,
help keep the pain at bay for most of the month.
I am thankful that I have never needed prescription medication that could otherwise alter my activities.
I am thankful that I am not suffering from much more serious illness.
I am thankful that I can get out of bed in the morning and go to bed at night.
I am thankful that I can watch my children grow for another day relatively pain free.
I am thankful for my health.
I am thankful for my health.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What I am thankful for 8

A love story.
A letter.
that is living and active
and has the power to transform
and invite the reader
to repentance
and salvation.
I am thankful for the Word of God.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What I am thankful for 7

In America, I have the freedom to write this on a blog without fear of people coming into my home and forcing me to defame the name of Christ.
But not everyone has that freedom.
I was reading on yahoo news's website that Christians are being targeted in Bagdad. Militants have stormed churches in Iraq in the past couple of weeks and shot over 68 people. It is depressing to hear these stories and my heart goes out to those who are having to endure this persecution. After reading this story, I bowed my head and said a quick prayer to the Lord for these victims. " Lord, please protect the Christians in Baghdad, and please stop the killing that is going on over there." Then, I thought to myself, "Why would I want to pray for that?"
 For a moment, I must have thought that this life could somehow be better than eternity with God.
I am thankful today not only for the freedom to be able to meet weekly with my brothers and sisters in Christ without fear, but also that when this life is over, I have another, better life to look forward to.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What I am thankful for 6

I lift my hand over my head to stop this annoying sound every morning.
The countdown begins.
Exercise. Eat. Shower.
No time left.
I spend eight hours a day working laboriously at the expense of my back and neck.
I come home, hoping to relax and rest.
Until tomorrow.
The countdown begins again with the same sound.
I am thankful that I need that sound.
I am thankful I have a place that I go every morning.
I have a job.
I work.
I am thankful.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What I am thankful for 5

Has anyone seen the movie The Social Network? It tells the story of how Facebook got its start. I was not familiar with the story before I saw the movie, so I was shocked to finally understand the reason behind it. After viewing it, I wanted to stop using Facebook altogether. Given that the main reason it got started was that it was an extension of a website that matched girls on his college campus by which one was "hotter", I was a bit offended by it. But, then I quickly became thankful for it. Why? What other website allows me to proclaim the gospel to all of my friends in a matter of seconds?  What other website has allowed me to reconnect with people I haven't seen in many years just by the push of a button? Although the motivation behind the site might not have been the most pure, God, in His great mercy and redemptive nature allowed His name to yet again be praised to all nations. After all, if Facebook were a planet, it would be the fourth largest in the world.
Thank you, Mark Zuckerburg, for allowing God to use you as an instrument of His righteousness to redeem that which was lost.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What I am thankful for 4

It is hard to come by.
Sometimes it is deafening.
Take a moment and put yourself in a place in your home where you can experience silence.
No distractions.
No noise.
Can you do it?
It's hard, isn't it?
I'm sure it is almost impossible at times.
I am reading a book called The Kingdom Experiment , based on the Beatitudes.
My challenge from this book this week is to drive in silence.
Besides the sound of cars and the hum of the motor, I am driving in silence.
It is amazing how much I want to turn on the radio.
But, it is making me turn my thoughts to God.
Silence is golden, and I am thankful for that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What I am thankful for 3

As I am typing, I am being thoroughly by my two children, making the silliest faces and noises.
Their smiles say it all. Their joy and zest for life are infectious. As difficult as they can be at times, I am thankful for my two children. They love their parents, God and their neighbors.
Many parents, who sit by the bedsides of their children, wracked by illness and disease and unable to cope with the pain of life, hold their children's hands, the only solace they can offer to ease the pain. They would take their children's place in a second, but are plagued with the feeling of hopelessness that they cannot. They would kill for an opportunity to be entertained by their children's smiling faces.
I have that opportunity tonight.
They do not.
I am thankful for that.

What I am thankful for 2

I walked into the elementary school near my home yesterday.
I waited in line for only a few moments.
I took the special black pen attached to the white partition separating me from the two strangers on both sides of me.
I filled in the ovals neatly and completely.
I inserted my paper into the fax machine looking contraption at the front of the room.
I helped decided the future of my town and state.
I voted.
As a woman,
I take my right to do so very seriously.
A few decades ago, I would not have that opportunity.
I am grateful for that.
Thank you to all of the women who suffered, were ridiculed and even died for that right.
I am thankful for that.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What I am thankful for

As we approach Thanksgiving, I decided that for the next 25 days, I will write what I am thankful for. I notice it is more difficult for me to think about the negative things in life when I am too busy counting my blessings...
The first thing I am thankful for is my husband. We have been married for ten years, been in the ministry for all of those ten years and pastored three churches. We have done a lot together. The one thing we have never done is squashed each others' dreams. We have always sacrificed to make our passions and dreams a reality. I am thankful for that. Many wives think that submission means to sacrifice who they are to make their husband's dreams come true. I am glad that I am in a marriage that understands what submission is: equality and complementarity.
Thank you, Joe, for knowing that Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Friday, October 29, 2010

the waiting game continues

The waiting game continues....
It is has been two months and no word on my book proposal.
As much as this sounds discouraging, it actually is encouraging. From what I learned at the conference in July, they said any proposal goes through a series of "pub boards". The idea, if they like it, goes from the first pub board, to the next and so on until it gets to the top board. the more time goes by, the better my odds. The initial e-mail the publisher sent me said she would look at in the next few weeks, but I'm hoping that is not the reason I haven't heard from her.
Here's hoping...=)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Talking to my Father

Ray Stedman, author of "Talking with my Father", equated Jesus' prayer life to breathing.
It just came natural to him.
He never stopped doing it.
He couldn't live without it.
It gave him life and helped give life to others.
So, why do I reach for the temporal, false stuff,
That only bring me death?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blessed are the Meek

I was reading a book called the Kingdom Experiment, based on the Beatitudes. This chapter is based on the Beatitude " Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." I have always equated the word meek with attributes like timid, weak and soft spoken. According to this book, the Greek word used to translate it to the word meek, has been also used to describe a gentle breeze or a broken colt. In other words, it is spirit under control.
Have you ever heard the word meek used in this context?
It's like bridling a gale force wind or wrestling a bucking bronco.
Did you know Moses was considered the meekest on the earth?
Would you be considered the meekest on the earth?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The truth in my work

Thomas Merton once said" Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself."
This is so true of my life, particularly working in child care. When you have spent the fifth consecutive hour mediating which toy belongs to which child, it is easy to get bogged down in the low pay, long hours or high stress. But, this verse gave me a lot of hope in thinking about the reason why I do what I do. It took me a long time to consistently focus on what really matters in my job: the fact that I get to have a hand in shaping and molding the next generation of people. That is what keeps me going.  That is the truth in my work. That's the truth that makes it all worth it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Info for the Wannabe Author

I stumbled upon this article by Mary Demuth, an amazing Christian author. Some of you out there are in the writing business, and some of you secretly want to be published. whatever the case may be, I found this to be an informative and light hearted article and thought some of you might benefit from it. Enjoy!

10 Things I Learned as a Newly Published Author

October 14th, 2010 by Mary DeMuth

I found this article I wrote two years ago and thought it would be fun to share with you. I learned a lot as a newly published author, and many of those lessons are still valuable today.
What about you? Can you think of ten things (or four or seven) that you’ve learned since you’ve been published? Share them; we’d all love to hear.
10 Things I’ve learned as a newly-published author
I’ve learned a lot of surprising things as I’ve realized the dream of being published. For those of you in the midst of the pursuit, I offer a few snippets of advice that may help you along the journey.
  1. Make friends. When you go to a writers conference, be more consumed with making relationships with other writers who are in your stage of publication. These dear folk will become some of your closest friends. As you get published, you’ll be able to seek advice, ask for prayer, and kindly request endorsements.
  2. Get used to rejection. It happens on every level of the publishing process. You’ll be rejected by publishing houses, agents, magazine editors, people who DON’T want you to speak. And as you get published, there’s more rejection heaped on. Now that I’m a “midlist” author, I experience yet another level of rejection, getting messages like, “Well, we’ll talk to you in a few months, when we see whether your numbers are up.” Ouch. Repeat to yourself: rejection is normal; rejection is normal; rejection is normal. Rejection is the air you breathe in this crazy business.
  3. Realize that publishing is a BUSINESS. Though you may view your writing primarily as a ministry, the folks paying you advances see it in bottom-line terms. Be prepared to be a part of that. Realize that a lot of the onus for marketing will rest on your shoulders.
  4. Kindness will preserve you. Don’t burn bridges. Don’t be petty. Shun gossip. Yep, this is a weird business populated by all sorts of people. Realize it’s a small community and word gets out.
  5. Do your best NOT to be difficult. Meet deadlines. Answer emails promptly. Listen, really listen, to your editor. Unless it’s deeply important to you, acquiesce to their changes. That will allow you to go to bat for the things you think really shouldn’t change. But always, always communicate with kindness and respect.
  6. Make friends with folks in the industry whether they help your career or not. I’ve made some lovely, lovely friends who I will probably never publish with. The fun thing, though, is that this is a fickle industry. Editors and agents and publishers move hither and yon all the time. Connect with all sorts of folks, not for the sake of your gain, but because Jesus is fascinated by people and you should be too. Pay attention to the people God puts in your life. Perhaps that editor will become a lifelong friend.
  7. Don’t become so hootie-tootie for your own britches that you are beyond editing. Make it a goal to write a better book (or article or column) each time. Be teachable. Become a lifelong learner of the craft. Go to conferences.
  8. Give back whenever you can. Teaching enables you to learn more. Consider that helping other people become better writers is a gift you give to the future. You never know the impact Jesus will make through another writer.
  9. Get rid of jealousy. Life’s way too short to brood on someone else’s talent or success. Rejoice with those who succeed. No sticking pins (or pens) into the hands or brains of successful writer voodoo dolls. (Say THAT ten times fast!)
  10. Continue to read widely. Read different genres, classics, poetry, pithy articles, writing books, comics, and, of course, Watching the Tree Limbs. (Sorry, I’m simply obeying number 3 . . . yeah, baby, the marketing onus is on my shoulders!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I have heard it said that God collects our tears in a bottle.
If this is true,  with all he tears I have shed in the past month,
He'll need a jug.
But, admist the tears and sorrow, I have heard God tell me one thing.
So, what does it mean to yield?
Merriam webster says it is to submit or surrender yourself to someone.
That's a tough sell.
Especially when I know I am right.
But, I also know someone else who was right.
That was Jesus.
Yet, he still chose to yield.
To the crowds.
To His Father.
For us.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Taking off the Training Wheels

It id funny what leittle moments can do to make you thin kabout your relationship with God. Tired from a long day at work  we convened for dinner and went through the normal ritual of telling about our days. My husband told me all about his day with the kids and that he raised the training wheels on my son's bike, so that he could learn to balance more and not  worry about having no training wheels. I thought about this in my walk with God. As a beginner Christian, I was so worried about existing in the Christian sub culture. With all of my friends using Christian language I never could understand, such as  "salvation", "sanctification", and "accountability," I wondered if I would ever fit in. I constantly wanted to surround myself with those I thought scould speak the "language" and protect me from making a fool of myself. These people were my "training wheels." As I grew in the Word, continued going to church faithfully, and obediently folliowing what I felt God wanted me to do, the "training wheels" became less necessary.  As I submerged myself in that circle of  believers, my ability to survive became stronger and stornger. If i had quit because i felt intimidated, I would have never understood what it meant to be a Christian.
In the same way, my son is intimidated because he has not submerged himself in the discipline of practicing the fine art of bike riding. If he quits now, he will never learn, and miss out on the joy of cruising down the nearby sidewalk with the wind through his neatly trimmed hair. If I had quit becoming like Jesus because I felt intimidated by the people around me, I would not experience the joy of becoming like my"trainer".

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Four Leaf Clover

Just wanted to share this little poem I found in a book I got at a tag sale called "Portrait of Jesus"
I wanted you to be as inspired as I was when I read it.

"I know a place where the sun is like gold,
And the cherry bloms burst like snow,
and underneath is the loveliest nook,
Where the four leaf clovers grow.
One leaf is for faith and one is for Hope,
And  one is for Luck, you know,
But God put another in for Love,
If you search you will find whwere they grow.

But you must have Faith
And you must have Hope,
And you must be kind, and so-
If you watch, if you wait, if you look for the place,
You will find where they grow-
You will find where they grow.
( Found one day in memory's faded book)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A little wiggle now, means a lot less pain later

My son had been complaining that his tooth was hurting at dinner and when I examined it later on, noticed it was close to coming out. Since this is the first time I have ever been a "dental surgeon", didn't quite know how to deal with it. After a whole lot of screaming (him, not me) and a little bit of blood, my son's first tooth was nestled in my hand. After he calmed down, he proudly displayed his gaping hole in his mouth and enjoyed the ice cream popsicle as promised. After we were done, I told my son the story of how my father pulled my teeth when they were loose when I was a little girl. I told him that my father used to count "1,2,3," and wiggle it loose.Afther a few quick moments, we'd try again, as I'd scream and cry during every tug. One time, my dad tricked me. He counted as he had always done and I still screamed bloody murder. That is, until he showed me it had been out of my mouth and in that bloody napkin for some time.
It is never pleasant for me to put my son or daughter through a lot of pain. It would have been easier for me to let it go until it naturally fell out. But, I know that a little wiggle now, can lead to a lot less pain later.
It is the same in my christian life. I'm faced with many choices that would be easy to overlook. I can easily scream and whine when I'm faced with a challenge that seems too difficult. I could say that it hurts too much to face a trial or that to develop spiritually will just naturally happen on its own. But, I know, much like that tooth, that a little wiggle now, leads to a whole lot less pain later.

Monday, October 4, 2010


The more mature I become in my faith and the closer I get to the Savior, the more I give up my right to have a choice. The moment I choose to follow Him completely, the less choices I have, because I have allowed God to make my choices for me. When I yield my right to choose to God's will, the more I realize that what I was choosing between, weren't really choices at all. They were merely distractions to take my eyes off of Him and on to myself.
So, I guess I am pro-choice, in a way. I choose to give up my right to choose. I yield to God's will.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Forgiveness isn't Cheap 2

Forgiveness isn't cheap. It costs a lot. As I worked through the process of forgiving my coworker (which came more quickly than I thought), I realized how much I was going to lose by forgiving so quickly.
The first thing I was going to lose was my pride. If I forgave, I needed to assume a posture of humility because it meant that I knew I wasn't any better than them.
The second thing I would lose was my right to hold a grudge. If I forgave, I had to let it go, never to be brought up again.
The third thing I would lose is the anger I felt when I looked at them the next day.
It did cost me a lot to forgive. But, the freedom that I gained is way more valuable than what I lost.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Forgiveness isn't Cheap

I learned a hard lesson in forgiveness this week. I had a coworker verbally attack me in front of my boss. It was especially hard because I considered this person not only a coworker but also a friend. I felt completely betrayed, and was unsure how to consider our future working relationship. The relationship is still strained, but I know God doesn't want me to keep it that way. I searched my heart on the matter and still wished the best for them, but was still trying to work through he process of forgiveness.
While this person was hurling insults, I identified with Christ in a new way. I'm sure the physical beating he endured were brutal, but I think the emotional pain he must have felt that only one person bothered to come see him lose he very life He openly gave to everyone he came in contact with. That was how I felt with this person. I spent time with them, said no unkind words about them to anyone,and stuck up for them when others judged their work performance. I felt like I did everything I could to be a good friend, and received nothing but scoffing in return. It cut me to the core, and I'm sure as his body slowly suffocated him, the neglect and betrayal of Jesus' closest allies took his breath away long before that. It cost him quite a bit for us to receive the freedom of forgiveness. How does he repay them? "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.."
My response to this coworker should be the same.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The look of Community

I entered the cozy living room and plopped down on the big red and white couch with my Bible in hand, waiting to engage in our weekly bible study. As the others arrived, we engaged in small talk about the week as we sipped on our coffee and consumed the assorted pastries in the kitchen. Soon, it was time to begin. The study began as it always did with the sharing of prayer requests. As one man shared, he paused for a moment, his face quickly reddening with embarrassment. He uttered one word, and we all knew what he meant. He simply said “Help!” Although he never fully explained what was troubling him, we all could relate to his feelings of helplessness and despair. As a group, there was not much we could offer him. So, we did the one thing we could do in that situation, we gathered around him, laying hands on him and praying for him. When we were finished, I looked at the clock. In what seemed like a second, I realized that an hour and a half had gone by and it was time to go home. We ended the night and we all got into our cars to began our journeys home. It has been over fourteen years since that fateful night, and it still remains one of the most important bible lessons I ever learned. That night was a turning point for our group. We went from acquaintances to a community of believers, from friends to brothers and sisters. It was the first night where we set aside our agenda, and looked to see what God was doing.
Some of my biggest God moments have happened sitting on someone living room sofa or in a big, comfy chair at the nearest Starbucks. They don't look like places where God would move, but God will use anywhere to accomplish his agenda. Community is vital to a Christian's spiritual walk. If you open the doors to your home, open up the opportunity to "sharpen" the people in your life.   

Monday, September 27, 2010

With My Headphones Off

I made an unexpected trip to Starbucks last Sunday with an agenda. I wanted to get a good chunk of writing done after church. I came prepared with all that I needed, including my books computer, and best of all, my headphones for my i-pod.  I love nothing more than to shut out the world with the background noise of my music entertaining me while I wade through commentaries and resources. I set my table out and got ready to begin. I bent down and searched through my bag looking for my headphones to no avail. A bit miffed, I started flipping through pages with only the drone of the piped in tunes that has given Starbucks its appeal. Then, something quite unusual happened.
A police officer that had come through the door saw my book's outside cover and asked me if I was doing something with art. When I replied no and explained that I was writing a "religious" book, he said " I read the DaVinci code once. That's as about as close to religion as I get." A woman, who had overheard the exchange, asked me what I was working on. After my reply,she wished me luck and applauded me for attempting such a huge undertaking. A few moments later, a man sat next to me at the adjacent table. When he spoke to the nearby woman about his computer, he remarked that he was a writer. The woman said to him, " She is a writer, too. You two should talk." This then led into a forty minute conversation,in which he gave me lots of information about opportunities in the area, as well as some insights into the writing business. I left the exchange feeling like it was a God moment. This would have been one that I had missed, if I had my headphones on.
But, with my headphones off, I gave God room to move.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Banquet Table

The table is ornately decorated with the finest of fare.
The scent of decadent food wafts through the air.
I take my seat thoroughly anticipating a feast.
Sometimes I run to the table and on my toughest days, I am carried there,
but I am always welcome.
"Taste and See that the Lord is good."
I sit, dine, and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Ebb and Flow of Writing

As I wade through the ebb and flow of writing (with more ebbs than flows) I realize how easy it is to get caught up in the approval or disapproval of others. After my second rejection of my magazine article, I felt myself doubting once again that I am cut out for writing anything of value, let alone a decent magazine article. It is in these moments that I am reminded of God's calling not only to me but also to all of us. Proverbs 31:26 says " She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Whether spoken or written, I should always be prepared to "give a reason for the hope I have" because I never know who God might be putting in my path.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A small snag

I have a hot a bit of a snag on my writing journey. I have been dealing with the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome for the past month. It has been getting to the point where I can only write pain free for about twenty to thirty minutes. It is a major source of frustration for me right now, and I realized that my entire house is not conducive to good writing posture. As I make adjustments to help combat this problem, please join me in my prayer that I can find natural surgery remedies. Thanks!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Always Welcome at the Table

My children take great delight going to church every Sunday, but they especially love one part: communion. They smile with glee as they dip their bread in the cup like the rest of the people around them. I delight in watching it myself. Most people probably think my husband are nuts to let them participate in this holy tradition, but my husband and I made a pact that they could choose to participate in whatever they want when it comes to service to allow them their rightful place. I have always loved Jesus when he said "Let the little children come to me,and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. then He put his hands on them and blessed them. " God has a heart for children. He came to earth as a baby, after all, instead of like the king he already is.  Jesus loves children. I do not want to prevent them from having an experience with Jesus.  My children will always be welcome at the banquet table of Christ.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Love is a Verb

One of the most life-transforming verses in the Bible for me is Isaiah 58:9-11: “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will shine in the darkness, and your night will become like noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Love is an action, not a feeling. Love is a verb, not a noun. It doesn’t magically fall into your lap or fall on you with a wave of a magic wand, like an intoxicating spell. Love begins as a feeling, but it must be cultivated with action. Fire starts with a spark, but if it is not nurtured, burns out very quickly. If it is fed with the right ingredients (carbon dioxide, oxygen, etc.) it can grow into a flame that is impossible to burn out. Love cultivated by action turns into a flame impossible to burn out, and can easily engulf anything (or anyone) to which it is directed. 
Do you have the type of relationship with Jesus that is burning and impossible to burn out, or smoldering, and it is a struggle to maintain?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Leaning Against Jesus 3

Larry Crabb, in his book Understanding People, goes into great detail about the inner workings of people. He first asserts that we are all made in the image of God. Because of this likeness, we follow a certain pattern for fulfillment. God exudes the same characteristics, but He is already the fulfillment of our inner longings. We bear the image of God in four ways: we deeply long for relationship with God and others, we rationally evaluate our surroundings, we feel emotions based on those thoughts and we make choices based on those feelings. (1977,p.95).
We were made for relationship. This is evident from Genesis all the way to Revelation. God created us for His divine pleasure and relationship. In the same way, we long for deep, meaningful relationship. Unfortunately, we look to meet that need in relationships other than God. When those relationships fall short, we become disappointed. We react to that sadness in two ways, we run from it and swear off relationships forever, or we jump into the first one that comes our way. In Genesis, God made everything good until one thing: “It is not good for the man to be alone…” We have been looking to fill that void ever since.
That’s where love comes in. We feel love, which comes in many forms: erotic, brotherly, love for things, love for family. That feeling compels us to reciprocate in some fashion. The problem is that when someone lacks that love they once had for whatever reason: divorce, rebellion, death, etc. they stop doing loving things for them. They allow the feeling to dictate the amount of actions. God is love. He embodies love. He does not allow action (or lack thereof) to dictate His loving actions. He calls us to love in this same way. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Leaning Against Jesus 2

Yesterday, I wrote a little about the interaction of John leaning against Jesus' bosom in chapter thirteen of his gospel. He chooses to focus on the theme of love. Gary Burge comments on this account by stating “This is not a sentimental attachment Jesus expects among his followers. Rather, this is love that translates into a decision to act in profound ways. This is why John chooses to include some of His most loving acts toward His people. He also gives his commands to love that John chooses to emphasize in his account. John’s gospel is where the reader learns of God’s great love for the world (3:16), His mission to save it (4:42), and to give the world light and love (6:33 and 12:46.) Jesus then commands his disciples to show their true loyalty by going out into the world and meeting the needs of the people (17:18, 20:21).
Although John’s gospel can be summarized as a proclamation to believe in the Son of God, John is also known for telling the world of God’s love. I believe it is from this one event that he speaks from experience. I’m sure there are many times when John experienced Jesus’ love first hand. But, out of all of the events John chose to highlight, This is the one that I experience Jesus love for myself.
With any love relationship comes a certain amount of heartbreak. Otherwise, you would know right away that you never really loved someone. John had every right after Jesus’ death to forget him in an effort to not open up the heartbreak of losing his dearest friend. He could have denied His existence. He could have chosen not to invest in Peter’s life, the person whom he is cited to be paired with on more than nine occasions. Instead, he chooses to carry on Jesus’ work and start a church based on those lessons. The love that John is talking about is not a feeling. Love is only love when it is translated into action. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Leaning Against Jesus

Remember for a moment your first boyfriend or girlfriend. Remember what it was like in those first few months of dating. Your mind is consumed with thoughts of him. You long for the moment when you can see him again. You can hardly function in your daily routine without your mind drifting towards that last intimate phone call or romantic escapade. You remember all of the hand holding, the gentle peck on the cheek or the arm around your shoulder. In hindsight, you wonder how you ever survived the day before that relationship.
I’m sure as you remember the fondness in the beginning phase of that relationship, your mind quickly jolts to the end of it. The gut wrenching pain that accompanied the words “ this just isn’t working out between us” or “ It’s not you, it’s me”, or the dreaded “I just want to be friends.” You vowed you would never love again. In hindsight, you wonder how you ever survived the days after that relationship.
Maybe you were lucky enough to have married your first boyfriend or girlfriend.   But you are probably like the majority of us who hit a home run in love once, only to strike out a few months later. I can safely assume that in the first few months after the break-up you felt like you were going to die. I’m sure those once romantic thoughts turned into thoughts of despair and desperation, saying to yourself “I will never find another love like him.” Eventually your heart moves on to the next cute guy on the college campus or working the cash register at your job. And then you love again.
John had that relationship with Jesus. John was one of the lucky ones to be a part of the inner circle of Jesus. He followed him wherever he went, saw things only he and two other people saw and sat and learned from the Master. The Bible gives many illustrations of the intimate relationship John had with Jesus. But, none are quite as tender or revealing as John 13:25: “Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him ‘Lord, who is it?’”
Because the twelve are eating a meal, it was customary for them to recline. However, only one disciple chose to lean back against His bosom and speak to him privately. Only John dared to enter Jesus’ personal space and ask him such a personal question in such an intimate way. Compared to today, if someone decided to enter my personal space, I would automatically want to back away from that person. But, Jesus doesn’t do this. Instead, He chooses to honor John’s question and answer it plainly. Jesus was famous for answering a question with a question. He was also known for explaining things in stories to make the listener wrestle through things and draw his own conclusion. This time, he wanted everyone at the meal to know who his betrayer was going to be. He also wanted John to be the first to know. He didn’t shrink away when John got close, or turn his face from him. He answered him quickly and plainly. 

Do you have the type of relationship with Jesus that you feel comfortable leaning against Jesus or backing away from him?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Of Little Importance

I talked with my mother-in-law yesterday and she told me a story about one of her staff that intrigued me. She told me that she passed by a staff member and she was cleaning the garbage pail lid. My mother-in-law said " I have never seen anyone do that before." To which the staff member replied "I am a neat freak." This in and of itself is nothing exciting, but it got me thinking about the fact that my mother-in-law never saw anyone taking the time to do the most menial of tasks. I'm sure it is not a part of her job description, or anyone's for that matter, but she took the time to make sure her workspace looked its best. That to me said a lot about this girl's character.
It reminded me of what Jesus said when he talked about the "least of these." Whenever we do a small thing for someone of little importance (water, feeding, etc.) Jesus is pleased, because it is like we are doing it for him. In the same way, this girl who took the extra time to do more than the required task pleases Jesus, too.
Do we take the extra time to do more than the required task, or do a small thing for someone of little importance?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Change is good ( I think...) 2

The wind lies stagnant, unmoved by the world around it.
All is well, and equilibrium has been achieved, for the moment.
In a moment, the stillness is disturbed.
The temperature changes
The wind picks up motion
In that moment,you know what it is.
It is the wind of change.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Change is good ( I think...)

I am in the process of transitioning from the front classroom to the back classroom at work and trying to make it a preschool room. It has been a lot of work, but it is coming together, and in the end it will be a good change. Change at anytime can be bittersweet. Bitter because I have to say goodbye to some of the children I have spent the last 5 months with, sweet because it is a new beginning and a new change of pace.
Even though change is good, why is it so hard to adapt to change? Things are constantly changing all the time: the seasons, our age, the weather, all run on a schedule of constant change. So, why is it so hard to adapt when change comes around the corner?
Why is it so hard to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

That's What it is all about

This marks my 200th posting for my blog. When I think back to last year when i first began this blog, I nervously signed up for an account, on the advice of a speaker I had just heard, thinking "What will I write about?" I started with my first post, introducing myself and hoping someone, anyone, might be on the receiving end of my message. Now, I can't stop writing about the journey God has placed me on in the area of writing, as well as all He is doing in my life. In the beginning, I struggled with finding topics and subjects that would be of interest to my readers. But, what God has been showing me is that if I am seeking Him, and an faithful to what he has called me to do, what I have to say will always be interesting, because it will be honest, genuine and real. People will want to know more. They will want to know more about me, and ultimately, the one I serve.
That's what it is all about.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Learning to Fish 2

Mark 1:19-20 says “When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him."
The second thing I noticed about learning to fish is that John and James "prepared their nets". John and James most likely learned the trade from their dad. I'm sure he taught them everything necessary to catch fish and earn their living. I'm not sure how nets are prepared. But, what if they were not prepared? Would they catch the fish they desired most? 
Will you catch the "fish" you desire most if you are not prepared?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Learning to Fish

As I have been referencing the Apostle John for my book, I came across the first time we meet John in the gospel of Mark. "Mark 1:19-20 says “When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him." As I have been doing this, my sister contacted me to ask if my husband would take my nephew fishing. I couldn't help but see the parallels between my nephew's desire to fish and the bible passage. 
The first thing that I found is that both my nephew and John would drop everything for something they loved. In my nephew's case, it is the actual fishing, for John, it was an invitation to follow Jesus. 
I guess it is an innate part of all of us to be motivated to drop everything for something we feel is worth it. 
Are you willing to drop everything for Jesus?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Update

I must take a moment and praise God today for all He is doing in regards to my writing. I have been faithfully blogging, writing magazine articles and revising book chapters for almost a year now and to see how far I have come is nothing short of miraculous.
I want to give you all an update on how my book saga is taking shape. After much prayer, consideration and revision I have changed many of my chapter titles as well as the actual book title. the book is not called " Finding your place in the story of God" and I have used the overarching theme of the story that God is writing for our lives. I invite the reader to find their place in the story as one of his main characters and challenge them to "edit" their stories to realign themselves with God's will for their lives. I am still weaving the apostle John and his intimate love relationship with Jesus, but it is no longer the main theme of the book.
I am still prepping my book proposal for David C. Cook and am a couple of weeks away from submitting it, as well, as my first three chapters ( I rewrote the introduction and chapter two). I am in the process of submitting it to an editor to start the long revision process.
At the conference, I also pitched my idea (the original "Becoming the disciple whom Jesus loved" ) to a self- publishing company called Winepress Publishing. I received a call from them about a week later and they said, although they do not take every submission sent to them, they loved my idea and would definitely like to work with me on it. I mentioned I thought about changing some things and changing the theme to the story, and the representative said he liked that even better than my original chapter titles. I will send them a copy of my proposal just to make sure they still like the idea.  It is very encouraging to know that all my hard work will be published, I just don't know where yet.  While i wait for a response from David C. Cook, I will continue to revise the rest of my manuscript to get it ready for Winepress.
Please keep me in prayer as I continue to seek the Lord's direction on what he wants to do with this book.
Please continue to help me by following me on this blog if you have not already done so.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On the outside instead of the inside

My husband preached on Revelation Sunday morning. It already is a difficult book to meander through because there is so much literal and figurative language used, but Joe was able to make sense out of a lot of hard to comprehend passages. One questions he posed, which was a good one was this: in Rev. 3:20 when it says " Behold! I stand at the door and knock.." he asked "Did you ever wonder why God was on the outside of the door in the first place?
Interesting. I had never stopped to think about that reference, but looking at the passage a bit more closely today, the reason why he was outside for that church is because they were separated from Him. John makes reference to it earlier when he says " shameful nakedness" the same thing God said about Adam and Eve in Genesis after the fall. Because of their sin, they had separated themselves from him. In the same way, this church had separated themselves from him by their pride and arrogance, thinking they are rich and independence, when they really were poor in spirit. It is something to think about this week.
Is Jesus on the outside of the door, when he should be on the inside?

Monday, August 16, 2010

If You are Going to Run a Marathon, You have to Put on the Shoes

Good shoes. Lots of water. A comfortable outfit. These are just a few of things that are absolutely necessary to run a marathon. In fact, without them, you probably wouldn't get very far. So, then, why do we as Christians expect to "run the race marked out for us" without the proper tools? When is the last time you read the bible thinking it would prepare you for the days or months ahead, instead of reading it merely because you think you have to? When is the last time you prayed to find out what God's plan was for your life, instead of praying because it's the right thing to do?
In the same way, if we want to run a marathon, we need the proper gear. We also need the proper preparation to prepare for the trials ahead in order to "run the race with perseverance".
Are you prepared to run the race marked out for you?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Consider Others Better than yourselves

I gave my daughter the choice yesterday as to whether or not she wanted to go to VBS ice cream social or come with me to a friends' party. When I gave her the choice, I thought I already knew her answer? Who would want to pick their mother over ice cream? But, without hesitation she said" I'm going to to go with you mom. So, you won't be alone." What a generous, kind statement to make from a four year old! I hope I will always make the cut when she soon chooses between friends and her mom, or her new boyfriend over her mom. It's not that I don't want her to have friends and socialize, but I hope that she will always consider others' needs before her own.  It was a great day, and a great memory for me.
Although she did ask me " Will there be ice cream there?"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just Look at your Father

My son reluctantly accepted the offer to be my brother-in-law's ring bearer for his wedding. I say reluctant because he was nervous that he would have to walk down the aisle by himself. I explained to him as I escorted him to the back of the church before finding my seat, "Just look at your father" (my husband was officiating the ceremony). It was one of those moments that made me remember all those same moments in my life when I needed to "look at my father" when I was nervously anticipating the road ahead. Sometimes all I needed was that reassurance that God was in front of me, going ahead of me and guiding my every step. Sometimes I trusted in the fact he was guiding me, and other times, like my son, I didn't have the self-confidence I needed to believe I could complete the task at hand. It wasn't easy in those moments, and has not gotten easier since those times. I probably will always need God to say to me " Just look at your father."
Have you taken your eyes off your father?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Look

I've seen that look.
The look that signifies disappointment, frustration and hardship.
I know that look because I have expressed it myself many times before.
I saw that look again as I passed by a woman at the conference last week.
I didn't know her, but I felt her pain.
She didn't look directly at me.
She didn't have to. I saw her look away with tears streaming down her face.
I knew where she had just come from.
The large spiral bound folder in her hand told me everything I needed to know.
She had just been at a publisher meeting.
I know what they had said.
My mind raced back to high school when i saw that look.
During my sophomore year of high school, i ran for student council.
I had never run for anything before, and didn't think i could win.
Only the cool people got onto student council.
My look was one of surprise when my name was announced over the PA system as one of the winners.
I left the classroom ecstatic, only to see that look again.
That same look of disappointment, fear and frustration.
The look belonged to another classmate who ran for student council.
Her name was not called over the PA system.
Our eyes met as I made my way down to the school office.
I never forgot that look.
I knew what that look meant then.
I know what that same look means now.
I thank God today I didn't have that look.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Missing Puzzle Piece

Have you ever felt like you don't fit?
I purchased a 100 piece puzzle for me and my children to complete while on vacation. After five minutes, I was the only one sitting at the table, struggling to put pieces in their proper piles. I tried to put many of the pieces in spots that I thought worked for them, but to no avail. After about thirty minutes, my patience had worn thin and I wanted to give up. Then, I found one piece that set into motion all of the pieces falling into place. It was like I had picked up a key that unlocked the mystery to solving the puzzle. After an hour and a half, I put the last piece in place, lifted my hands and said "Yes!" Sometimes the littlest things in life please me the most.
As I thought about this, I thought about my life before Christ. I tried so hard to fit myself into the mold that I thought was right for me, but to no avail. When Jesus called me, it was like the mystery that unlocked the key to the rest of my life. The moment I prayed to ask Jesus into my life, the pieces of my puzzle fit into place.
Sometimes the littlest things in life please me the most.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Zephaniah 3:17

I was listening to my Ipod the other day and came across this Jeremy Riddle song. I wanted to share the lyrics, with you, dear reader, in the hopes that you may be reminded of the depths of God’s love for you. It is hard to even fathom at times, yet these lyrics capture the essence of His love for you:
He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden,
 I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
              And I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great your affections are for me.
May the Lord rejoice over you with singing today (Zephaniah 3:17)

Friday, August 6, 2010

As Exciting as Friday

I was watching The office the other day and Michael (surprisingly) said something insightful. He said “ You all are working for the weekend. I’m working for the week.” Part of the charm of the show is that most people either work or know someone whose office looks like that: a set of people working in an environment who barely know each other (and don’t want to) trying to get through the mundane activities of the week, looking for Friday to welcome us, and our plans, with open arms.
But, what if everyday could be as exciting as Friday?
What if we lived our lives worshipping God everyday and looking for the people and unique circumstances God has put in front of us to help bring forth His kingdom here on earth? What if we lived in the knowledge of Zephaniah 3:17 which says “the Lord your God is with you, the Mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Wouldn’t that make everyday as good as Friday?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Make every moment count

I had the opportunity this week to reflect on my week off on vacation. Here are some things I took with me:
1) Sticky marshmallows and paper towels are never a good combination
2) Shopping can wear even me out
3) Treasure the small moments in life- the second game of Trouble, watching kids explore the outdoors in a new way, every car ride, walk around the block and cool summer day
4) Those small moments will only be snuffed out by the everyday duties of adulthood
5) Those moments are the things in which memories are built, character is developed, and God thoroughly enjoys.
Make every moment count.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My favorite part

My most favorite time of my vacation is never the zoo, the shopping or the swimming, but the peace and quiet that comes from a long hard day of shopping, walking and sightseeing. I don't get much of that in my daily life, so it is a treat when I get to sit in that big, comfy chair overlooking a placid pond in our rental cabin. I love to sit in that chair for hours, inhaling the cool, clean air that is a staple of life in Maine. It is here that I write, or think, or read or pray. It is also here that I spend quality time with God. This is also something that comes in small quantities in my life, so when I have those moments, I try to take them as often as I can. My husband goes fishing in the evening and the kids, worn out from the day, fall asleep to the gleam of their TV screen playing their favorite video. I become one with nature, in a sense, enjoying the riches of God's creation in a way not presented to me in my home in CT. It brings home Psalm 119 which says 
 The heavens declare the glory of God; 
       the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
       night after night they display knowledge.
 3 There is no speech or language
       where their voice is not heard. [a]
 4 Their voice [b] goes out into all the earth,
       their words to the ends of the world.
       In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
 5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
       like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
 6 It rises at one end of the heavens
       and makes its circuit to the other;
       nothing is hidden from its heat.
 7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
       reviving the soul.
       The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
       making wise the simple.

It is in the quietness and stillness that the mountains are more majestic than I can fathom, the skies are more vast than the world can hold and the sovereignty of God is greater than my mind can comprehend.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Taking the Backseat

We were at the zoo the other day, and this zoo has some kiddie rides. Since we have gone to this zoo every year since the kids were born, we knew it well. My son has always liked trains, so he jumps every year at the opportunity to go on the train ride. The train has a huge bell which he likes to ring as he goes around the track. But, this year was different. A little boy, equally excited about the ride jumped in front and wanted to ring the bell. I can see the disappointment in his eyes, especially when my husband said " Let him ring the bell. Take the backseat." My son had the opportunity to make that situation a huge scene, but he didn't. Instead, he climbed in the back seat quietly and smiled and waved at us as I enthusiastically took his picture.
It reminded me of the battle we face as Christians between doing what we want to do vs. what would be in someone else's best interest. All of us struggle between selfishness and selflessness, humility and pride, gentleness and harshness.
Luke 14: 7-11 says  "When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
It is easy to want to take the best seat, the most convenient or the most prominent seat. It is in our nature to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. But as a follower of Chtrist, we only have one choice of seats - the backseat. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Can you do me a favor?

Hi Everyone!
The conference was amazing! One publisher, David C. Cook is interested in seeing a book proposal for my idea! I'm very excited, but there is a lot of work to be done. That's where you come in!
One of the main pieces of advice I received at the conference was to establish a "platform"- these are the ways I can get the book out to the public. If I can establish a large enough platform, the publisher will be more interested in making a deal. Since Facebook and my blog are two of my main ways I want to market my book, I need a large amount of "followers". If you are reading this, and you are not signed up to follow my blog, please do (even if you do not read it that often or have never read it). There is a follow button on the page that you have to click. You need to sign up for an account (it is free and your info will not be sold to anyone.) If you can post a picture, that would be great. But, I don't think it is necessary. If you can post a comment either on my blog (although I don't think it is letting people do that) or on Facebook, this would help, too.
Canadian friends- It would be so important from you, too, as it shows I can break into the American and Canadian markets.
It should only take a few moments to complete. You would be doing a huge favor to me personally and I appreciate it! Thank you so much!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blogging Hiatus

This will be my last blog for a little while, as I'm off  on vacation this week and next weekend is my big conference. Please pray for me and my family as we travel, and that God would reveal himself and his will to me at the conference. Please pray that I make some connections with people who might be "useful to me in my ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11).
Pray that the feedback that I receive whether from the speaker evaluation group or the publishers would be constructive, and if the publishers are not in the market for a devotional at this time, that they might give me some tips on how to change it into something a publisher would like, such as a Christian living book. Pray for God's boldness as I speak, that God would give me the words to say and the smoothness and ease of voice to say them. Pray that I might be able to also show my magazine article, that Fullfill magazine wanted to publish but had not room for, to another magazine company that might be interested.
Pray for my husband and my children, that, in the midst of God's movement, find things to do and don't drive each other crazy!
I can't wait to share with you all that God is doing in my next post. But, until then....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Learning how to be Generous

My son and daughter teach me about generosity every day. Recently, my son received some stickers from a friend. He stared for a while at the small white papers adorned with colorful rockets and floating astronauts and stared at it for a little while. Then, without another thought, tapped me on the shoulder while I was cooking dinner. As I turned to face him, he placed two rockets on my sweatshirt and said "for you." In a similar fashion, my daughter split her peanut butter and jelly sandwich in half and handed me one. They don't think twice about giving to me or my husband, but it wasn't always that way.
My children needed to learn generosity in the same way that we need to learn how to be contrary to our nature and be generous. How do we learn that? By extending generosity.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Perfect Outfit 2

I took out my high school graduation dress with a vision. It had been 10 years since my last days as a high school student, and that dress instantly flooded me with memories of prom, Spanish class and the big "boat"  known as the driver's ed. car. I put it on, and to my surprise, it fit.
It was going to be a good day.
That was, of course, until I heard a small #rip# that turned these great memories into instant regret.
I tried with all my might, contorting my body in so many ways to get it off  I would have made the Ringling Bros. applaud with delight.
Frantic, I grabbed the kitchen shears from the knife block and began chipping away. In what seemed like a second, my dress was shredded into  a million pieces, and with it my hopes.
The question I want to ask you, reader, is this: Why was I so adamant about wearing this dress?
Was it because I still liked the dress and thought it would be a nice addition to the week's sunday service?
Or, were my priorities in the wrong place and God, in His grace, was teaching me a lesson?
I was focusing on the wrong thing.
If I had put my hope in God and not in what I looked like, or what the dress symbolized, the fact that I had to take the kitchen shears to it would not have disappointed me so much.
For me to put that dress on only to achieve bragging rights would not have encouraged me or anyone else that came my way that day.
It was a lesson in humility I have not forgotten, and probably won't for a long time.
Are your eyes focused on the wrong things today?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Perfect Outfit

Have you ever searched at the back of your closet to find that one favorite outfit you have been thinking of wearing, only to find it doesn't fit quite as you had hoped? You stretch it and contort your body in a million different ways to still not achieve that look you wanted.
That's how I feel about the Christian life.
I stretch and strain trying to conform to Christlikeness, and when I feel like I have been bent out of shape, I find I am still far away from my goal.
I still have more to do and more to not do.
Sometimes I need a spiritual diet.
The one thing I do notice is that the closer I do get to my Christlike character, the less desire I have for stuff I want, and more desire for what He wants.
It also means I don't desire the "junk" anymore.
It gets me one step closer to choosing the "clothes" that the Bible speaks of: humility, compassion and gentleness.
Those fit me just right.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Be a peacemaker

I have been challenged lately with the concept of being a peacemaker. What does that mean? Does it mean not saying anything and letting conflict blow over? Does it mean confronting in love and challenging someone to move forward from their present state into christlikeness? Does it mean being aggressive and prideful and arrogant and showing someone  who's "boss?"
I have had some of these opportunities recently. Instead of being who I want to be and read someone who has hurt me the riot act, I have chosen to be a peacemaker. I have chosen to extend grace to those who have chosen to be unkind to me and I have been firm in the times when I have needed to be. For me, being a peacemaker means being different things at different times. Sometimes firm, sometimes gracious, but in all things, Christlike.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Learning to Read

Why is the English language so hard to understand?
O'm trying to teach my son to read. He is doing well, but oftentimes he will ask me " is that a long vowel sound or short sound?"  It's hard to tell him the hard and fast rules of the language, because those rules don't always apply. The same word the appears two pages later is not pronounced the same way as the word that looks exactly the same two pages before. How do you explain a language to a five year old when you don't understand it yourself?
Does anyone have any advice?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Power of Anticipation

Did you ever notice what the key to fear is? It doesn't have as much to do with what the fear actually is, but the anticipation of it. The fact that the object of the fear is uncontrollable gives the fear its power. Its pretty amazing to think that one way get rid of a fear is to not worry about the outcome. For example, the fear of heights is not the height, but whether or not the person is going to fall. A person afraid of snakes may not be as afraid of its appearance as they are of what the snake will do to them.
The other key to avoiding fear is faith. If a believer has faith in the Lord that He will save them from whatever troubled circumstance comes their way, how could someone be afraid?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


My one shot.
To be more like Christ.
At my job.
In my home.
In my life.
I should view every day like this.
But I don't.
I worry too much about tomorrow.
And the next week.
And the next month.
And the next year.
I only am guaranteed today.
And I should make the most of it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cast Your Cares on the Lord

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the preparations for this conference at the end of the month. I'm trying hard to take things one day at a time, but it is so hard to only worry about today and not tomorrow. Whenver I'm feeling like this, I am reminded of Matthew 6:34 that says "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own". the verse preceding it asks " Who by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" This is true. I've probably lost more hours wringing my hands asking myself what to do next than I would if I "cast my cares on the Lord, who cares for me." 
Do you have a problem with worry?
What areas in your life could you " cast" on the Lord?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sometimes I Need a Little Clarity

I am the tag sale queen. Every Saturday my family and I hop from town to town looking for the next best sale. My pet peeve, though is when the tag sale signs aren't clear enough to know where it is. Sometimes the sign contains too much information that I miss it as I strain to read it. or, it simply gives an address and I'm not familiar with the area. Sometimes I wish the sign would just say "tag sale today" with a big arrow. Sometimes less information is more to get the main idea.
It's the same in the Christian life. Sometimes I wish God would just make a sign with a huge arrow to tell me where I am going. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Sometimes I get too many conflicting opinions that I miss the main point. Sometimes I'm unfamiliar with the direction God is taking me and I don't feel he is speaking clearly. I think sometimes I need to go my own way, and block out the drone of others' opinions in my ear. Sometimes I need to go to his word or pray for more information. But, a little clarity is sometimes all I need to finish the race marked out for me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Extend Grace

I had a discussion with a friend this morning about some miscommunications we had over the past few weeks. When I first heard that their was an issue, I was upset that this person decided to talk about me to other people as opposed to coming to me directly and working out the issue. I could have ranted and raved about the hurtful treatment I received from this person. I could have pointed out all of the things this person had done. As I prayed about how to handle the situation, I felt God saying to "extend grace." During this morning's discussion, I was able to share a bit of the gospel and my conviction that if I claimed to be a Christian, I had to be gracious.  I couldn't be anything but gracious. I think my light shined more brightly and I ushered in the kingdom of God more quickly today because I made the choice to extend grace.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ten Years

Today is my ten year wedding anniversary.  The time has truly flown by.
My husband and I have done so much together in our ten years: pastored 3 churches, one of which was started from scratch, traveled cross country twice, lived in a foreign country,had 2 children and completed bachelors and masters degrees. It has been a whirlwind.
And I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thank You

As I prepare for the conference in July, my heart is filled with awe and excitement at all god has done with me and through me inthis past year. Just to say I have something to work on and edit even though I have only been writing since November is an accomplishemtn. I'm sure many writers stare at blank cursors on blank computer screens with equally blank faces wondering what to write. I do not take this accomplishment lightly.
I hope I have made the right choices in my publisher appointments, but even if I have not, I am going to put my best foot forward in presenting them with a well polished manuscript.
I also want to thank all of the support I have received over this past year in my writing. Everytime I think a door is closing in this area, God presents me with somoene who reopens it. from little nots of encouragement, to gifts and discounts, I appreciate it so much. It has made a potentially expensive calling much more affordable! Thank you al ,and I hope you will all continue with me on this journey, no matter down which path it leads.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Check your Celebellum at the Door

I've been listening to the song " O'm Not ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie chicks lately ( I know, I'm just as surprised as you are by my new country music fascination). Now, i don't know much about the background behind what the Dixie Chicks said against the president, but I do remember the backlash from it. I remember people's mistreatment of them because they expressed their opinion about the president's actions. But, I was quite surprised at some of the lyrics in the bridge:
" And its a sad,sad story
That a mother would teach her daughter
To hate a perfect stranger
And how can it be that the words that I said
Would send someone right over the edge
That He'd write me a letter
Saying I'd better Shut Up and sing
Or my life will be over."
As a pastor's wife, I've heard a lot of secrets, all of which I've kept over the years.
I know how I'd feel if someone aired my dirty laundry all over creation,
and I know those who have confided in me with theirs, want me to respect their privacy.
Because I disagree about something that I see or hear,
does not give me the right to criticize him or her about it.
I always have the choice to respond with words seasoned with grace, or tabasco sauce.
I always want the grace.
I should be willing to give what I want to get.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Raccoons Don't stink

My daughter told her teacher this is what she wants to be when she grows up...
"When I grow up, I want to be a butterfly. She actually tickles your finger when she lands on you. She flies away to her family- She has a mother, a daddy, a sister and a brother. Her brother's name is Willy, her daughter's name can be silly, her mother's name can be Silly, too.
Or, maybe I can be a raccoon because they don't stink."
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? Was it as whimsical as my daughter's, or was it a real aspiration?
Are you doing it now?
Why not?
Was there someone who crushed your dream?
Did they tell you it wasn't a real dream, or you wouldn't be cut out for it?
Do you have dreams that you are not realizing today?
What is stopping you from realizing them?

Friday, June 11, 2010

In the Blink of an Eye

Did you ever stop to think what can happen when you blink your eye?
I've never thought that much about it.
I'm sure not much happens in that millisecond of time.
But, overtime, those milliseconds add up.
Milliseconds to seconds, seconds, to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days, months, years.
It's amazing what can happen in the blink of an eye.
I swear my son and daughter were crawling around the floor in their sagging diapers, went through the exhausting process of potty training, starting a new church and saying goodbye to our old one a minute ago.
Now my son graduates preschool today, and my husband finished grad school this month.
Where did the time go?
I don't know what happened.
I must have happened in the blink of an eye.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Live by Example

 I came across this verse the other day, and was by the example of these two women that led a whole church into righteous living: 2 Timothy 1:5. "I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." It amazes me that Paul would even choose to write about these two women, so that tells me that their example must have been an astounding one. It is so beautiful to hear of these women being pillars of the faith and carrying on the legacy of the gospel through their lives.
Will you be remembered by the example you set forth in the world? Will you be known as a pillar of the gospel?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Choose Life 2

Give life to the people in your life through intergenerational mentorship. Paul refers to the gift of investing in those around us more than any other biblical leader.  In fact, 2 Timothy 4:13 talks about the importance of passing things onto the next generation. "When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments." What I love about this verse is that Paul himself values teaching and leaning. He values the books, which shows me that he is not above learning something new. Here he is saying I need to learn, too. He brings Timothy with him, sort of his right-hand man to disciple. He allows him to do it through hands- on training. He goes with him, learns what Paul does, and then is sent out to do it himself. But, he also places an emphasis on “ the parchments”. Parchments in those days were made of a certain material so that it would last, and not be lost. So, whatever he is learning, he is writing down. Why? So, that generations after him can benefit from what he has learned. It’s that give and take relationship that benefits the body of Christ.