Monday, November 29, 2010

Merry Christmas

Here we go. December. Christmas. Not gonna lecture you on what this season is about. I know that you know that I know that you know that Jesus is the reason, no matter what the commercials say and how many snow men and santa claus' and presents and trees we gather and display, Jesus is the reason for the season.
I got my angel tree ornament, did you? I sent my son in with some cans for the food drive did you? Is that what Jesus died for, so that I could compete with or guilt someone into donating as much as me or feel guilty because they donated more than me? No, its not about that any more than it is about how many or how expensive the presents are that we buy for the people in our lives.
You don't need me to tell you what the season is about. So I won't.
Instead I will encourage you as I encourage myself to pray and speak and love, to worship and believe and give from our hearts. Only God knows what we can do this month, this year, this day that brings Him glory, that shines His light, that heals a heart or blesses a person, that changes a life in helping someone find Jesus by the way we live.
Whenever we are getting stuck in the trap of how much you have or don't have,
how much we want vs. how much we need,
how many more Christmases or how few,
be reminded that we have Jesus, so we have EVERYTHING and it is selfish not to share Him!
Ask Him what that looks like in your life and then listen and DO whatever it is He shows you to do.
Let's be a positive example of what it means to be a Christian, a Believer, a Follower of Christ!
Thank you for serving Him. Believe He is who He says He is, trust Him and expect miracles this Christmas!
Love and Praise in Christ,
Phillipians 1:27-30 Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people's trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they're up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There's far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There's also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You're involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through, on which you are now getting an updated report in this letter.

Breath of Heaven - Amy Grant

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Book Review - "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo is an easy to read and sweet story told from the father's perspective about his son's story of going to heaven during emergency surgery when he was just a preschooler. As a parent myself, it tears at my heart imagining this family having to walk through such a scary time where their son almost, and by medical standards, should have died. Their faithful and honest account of what they went through and then the amazing story of what their son shared that he saw and experienced is truly comforting as a believer in Christ.
I have to admit, especially as a Believer, I didn't realize I had become so skeptical but as I read I found myself questioning, could this really have happened, did he really say that? The bottom line is that there is no way to know for certain. I know in my heart and soul that Christ is real and there is evidence around me every day of a loving and powerful God. I can't promise that Colton saw Jesus, but I will say that I am convinced he did. The basic experience as described is very similar to many that are spoken of in stories all over the world as an out of body experience when someone's heart stops but is revived during a surgery, trauma or accident. What is remarkable about Colton's story is the details, the parts of his parents life before he was born that he now knows, the details about their whereabouts during his surgery and the fact that he is so young but is so consistent and specific about what he shares. I would recommend this book to anyone who wonders about heaven, whether you've ever read the Bible or not. I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed me to read it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson book publishers through

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book review - "Resurrection in May" by Lisa Samson

Resurrection in May by Lisa Samson is now one of my top 5 favorite Christian fiction books. I have read many Christian fiction authors but have never read anything by Lisa Samson before. Since reading this I have sought out her books. In Resurrection in May she does such a beautiful job of bringing the characters to life and getting the reader attached, certainly this reader at least. May, Claudius, Eli and Sister Ruth are all characters I'd like to meet if they were real. The story of May's journey from being a pleasant but shallow college student with little ambition, to taking a mission trip to Africa that taught her love, selflessness and purpose but came with great pain and loss, is full of rich characters, descriptive and diverse landscapes and caries you along wanting to protect and push May forward depending on the page.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and didn't want to put it down yet didn't want the story to end. My favorite setting was that of Claudius' farm in Kentucky and my favorite character was Claudius himself. The author made him appealing in all the right ways, kind, honest, loyal, patient and unselfish. We all need at least one Claudius in our lives. His strong faith and genuine trust in God was just what May needed to find her way back from fear to love, life and hope. The story takes a few unexpected turns but each of them believable and revealing in their wisdom and inspiration. I would highly recommend this book and have already loaned it out to a friend who loved it as much as I did.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A moment

Just having a moment.

I miss my Pastor.

I miss him all the time but today things lined up just right for me to have one of those sad/sweet moments where you just give in to the cry. I clicked on the staff pictures on our website and was relieved to still see his picture there, even though I know that will change in God's timing and will. At the same time, "somewhere over the rainbow" was playing on my computer and that was it.

Time gets to stop for a minute and I get to miss him without glossing over it, without thinking of the future, without being angry or broken.

I miss his voice, his calm presence, his funny laugh, the click of his shoes walking down the hall to my office to ask a question or follow up on an upcoming project, a need in our church, to help him plan for the story he'll tell in our preschool chapel......

This man who was my Pastor, my boss, my friend and mentor and counselor.

He's family and because of God's mercy and comfort most of the time I can be hopeful and even excited about what God's plan is bringing to our church and lives beyond the loss of Ken Dyal.

But today, in this moment, I miss my Pastor.

Thank you Jesus that I was allowed to know him.
Thank you Lord for giving me this moment.

Friday, May 7, 2010

It is well

It is well with my soul. That is one of my favorite, cry out, heal my heart hymns. "wanna hear it, here it go!" well here are the lyrics at least.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.


Here's a video link

There is an amazing story behind this song too. Look here.

I grew up listening to hymns in church. Music is how God helps me hear His voice, one of the ways He helps me heal, feel, understand, grow. I know I'm not alone in appreciating the blessing, beauty and magnificence that music, all kinds of genres and skill levels, is from our awesome God! I'm listening to the song list from one of my top 5 fav bloggers right now and being blessed by the fabulous, eclectic selection, all beautiful, inspiring, healing and moving.

I have been without words, so I haven't been able or even wanting to blog. So much has happened in the last month. So much sorrow has come that its hard to not feel paralyzed by it. When we grieve, its easy to get lost in it and angry about it and find ourselves overwhelmed and withdrawing in a scrambling, out of control way. (like when you see those scary/dramatic movies where the character is faced with that "monster" and they're knocked on their butts and backing away, trying to stand but can't get they're feet under them so their just scrambling backwards watching the thing that holds their fear with that panicked look in their eyes).

Reading my Bible, love, comfort and prayers of my friends and family and music is how I stand up and face that fear and sorrow and find peace in Christ when my heart is so broken.
His word says:

16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1Thes. 5:16-18) NIV

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 2:2-8) NIV

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. 29 He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. 30 Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, 31 but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31) HCSB

I could go on and on with the comfort, wisdom and strength found in God's word. Psalm 118, all of Isaiah 40, Hebrews 11..........

my friends and family:
hug me, send me cards, ask me how i'm doing, tell me and show me they love me, make me smile and laugh and remember how blessed i am with them and I am not alone.

music like It is well, I bowed on my knees and cried holy, Heaven is my home (the duhks), I am (Nichole Nordeman) He knows my name (TCAA Worship Team), Safe in His arms (Phil Wickham), so many more.

Thank you Jesus for loving me unconditionally and finding me when I call you, even without words. I can say it is well, not because it is easy or painless, not because I'm strong but because in spite of my brokenness and loss, fear and frustration, I know

You love me,
You died for me,
You hear me and answer my prayers.
You created the universe and love and me.
You know and see all that I don't.
You hold the future.
There is no place I would rather be than the palm of Your hand, the center of Your will.
I can't understand it but I trust you.
I love you.
I am yours.
It is well.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010



2 days old
tiny, helpless, new
loved but alone

man and wife
hurting but loving
wanting a child
needing each other
love to give

4 days old
going home
mommy and daddy
only child
loved, wanted, chosen

I'm adopted. That's a personal thing to share I guess. I don't think much about protecting this information, though it doesn't come up too often in conversation, I'm open.

I am blessed. I was adopted at 4 days old by a family who wanted, loved and cared for me and still does to this day. We are a family. I could not have chosen a better family if the Lord had allowed me to. I can share many memories and events that speak to how blessed I am.
If you've known me very long you probably have already heard some of them, and even some of the ways, like families do, they drive me crazy.

That's not why I'm talking about adoption though. I'm led to share because there is a thread of rejection that weaves all those who were adopted together. Rejection. How can you feel rejected when you were chosen? When, like my Daddy still says when he talks about my adoption, "you were handpicked", how can you possibly feel rejected? I don't know how really, I just know you do. We do. Every person I've ever met, heard a story about, watched that show on TV where people are reunited with there birth parent or siblings, I see and hear that thread, that feeling of unwantedness. That knowledge that before we were chosen, we were rejected.

I felt it for as long as I knew I was adopted. My parents have always been open about it. I don't remember the first time they told me I've just always known. But no matter how much I was loved and cared for, somewhere in the back of my mind I still felt rejected. I wondered what I could have done, though I was just a baby, new and blameless, for my birth mother and father to have given me away. What was wrong with me?

As I grew up I went from being hurt or sad to confused and angry. Then, when I was 16 I met a girl about my age, who had put her baby up for adoption. I didn't know her when this happened, we met a year or so later when we were on the same sports team. She didn't know I was adopted and one day, on the way to a game, she started telling me about all this. She got pregnant, she couldn't keep the baby so she put it up for adoption. It was a girl, the family was nice, they send her pictures of the little girl through the lawyer who handled it all. She's says the little girl is pretty, has dark hair and the family is happy. But the next thing she says changed my heart forever. I know now that God orchestrated that conversation to heal my heart. I will never forget it and share it every time God leads me to in the hope that He will use my experience to heal more hearts, encourage more adoptions, inspire life and hope instead of fear and death.

She says, "if I had to do it over again, I would have an abortion". I don't remember all that she said after that, something about, stretch marks and labor pains, etc. I just burst into tears. I couldn't help it. For the first time I finally knew that my birth mother had to love me. She loved me enough to have me. She loved me enough to give me life and give me away. I was not rejected, I was gifted with life and love. I still remember saying, calmly even if through tears, when she asked me why I was crying, "I was adopted and if my mother thought that way, I wouldn't be here right now".

I wasn't mad at her, I was relieved to understand and appreciate the gift that I was given for the first time. I came to understand more, especially after having children of my own. Life is a gift of grace. God has a plan for each life, each child, even if we can't imagine it because the situation we are in is too painful or difficult for us to see what that plan might be.

Love is a gift of choice. We have to choose to give it. I am so thankful I was given life and love. I pray that I make God proud, my parents proud (birth and chosen), my husband and children proud of how I choose to live this life I've been given.

It's a work in progress, and I have more to learn but my wounds no longer include rejection. I'm adopted by a loving family but the bigger picture is I'm adopted by the KING! My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! His love and will is perfect and only in Him do I find wholeness and acceptance and peace. I can't earn it, I don't deserve it, HE gives it freely. This is the real gift of life and love. Ask me about His gifts in my life. He comes up in conversation a lot!

Book review of "Lonestar Homecoming" by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson Publisher)

Lonestar Homecoming by Colleen Coble is all about Gracie, a young woman who is running from her past, and trying to create a better future for herself and her five-year-old daughter. While the story takes some dramatic twists and turns that are fun and interesting to read but not so easy to relate to, the character Gracie, her daughter Hope and the other main characters, friends and enemies are familiar enough and the mistakes made out of guilt, fear and pride are very easy to relate to. The relationship that Gracie finds herself in with Michael and the struggle between the fear of being hurt and the need to be loved is universal and even sweeter to read as the author weaves God's love into it all.

After enjoying Lonestar Sanctuary by Colleen Coble, I jumped at the chance to read this book. I am pleased to say I enjoyed it just as much. This writer has a great talent for Christian romantic suspense. The character's were well developed and interesting. Each new character was introduced in a way that flowed naturally, made sense and built upon the story as well as the intrigue. I love that the female characters of her books are strong women who come to face their fears because they learn that they can only do so with God's love and the help and love of the people He puts in their lives. I think this is such an important and relevant message women need to embrace. Myself included. Not all of our stories are so romantic but they could be much more so if we were looking for the one man God has sent to love us and then were willing to love them back, unselfishly. That is difficult to do, I admit but it is truly worth it. Reading these books reminds me of how and why I should do so in my relationships. I do recommend this book and I hope the story encourages and inspires everyone who reads it to focus on improving their relationships, especially their relationship with God.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Review of "Winston Churchill - Christian Encounter Series" by John Perry

Winston Churchill - Christian Encounter Series by John Perry

Winston Churchill is a fascinating historical figure and John Perry packs a lot of information about his life and character into this 158 page book. This author includes Churchill's relationship with his parents and Nanny, his frustration and boredom with school, his military exploits, how he met his wife and what kind of father he was. A reader can learn much about who he was and how he lived here.

I chose this book because I have great respect for Sir Winston Churchill and what I knew of his accomplishments and contributions to his country and the world prior to reading it. I am more typically a fiction reader but felt that because I wanted to learn more about the subject I would enjoy non-fiction. I especially looked forward to this book because due to the series title I expected the story or information to center around his Christian faith and beliefs. That was not the case with Winston Churchill - Christian Encounter Series, in my opinion and I must admit, while a book this size would normally take me an average of two evenings to read through, I struggled to finish this one. The comprehensive amount of information, though clear and detailed seemed disjointed and did not flow or transition smoothly from paragraph to paragraph or subject to subject. While I did learn much that I didn't know about Churchill I had to push myself to read the next chapter or pick it up again after I put it down. It was with a sense of commitment as a booksneeze member, rather than for enjoyment that I finished this selection.
That being the case I would only recommend this book to a reader that was doing a report on Winston Churchill and wanted a resource that included as much information about his private and public life in the least amount of pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book " Winston Churchill" from Thomas Nelson Publishers by being a member of Booksneeze.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

To church or not to church.

Sometimes I get tongue tied explaining why church is so valuable to a believer. Mostly when I feel like I'm put on the spot by someone who doesn't have a positive opinion of church. I got this email not long ago that explains it in a word picture (for those visual learners like me) that I think is pretty clear. It's old school and a dramatic, which I like here. Read on below.


A member of a certain church who previously had been attending services regularly stopped going. After a few weeks the pastor decided to visit him.

It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone sitting by a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fire place and waited.

The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone, then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow, then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember, and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more, with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said, with a tear running down his cheek, 'Thank you so much for the visit and especially the firey sermon...I will be back in church next Sunday'.

Why do you go to church?

Wisdom and Grace in Christ,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Who you callin' an Active Reactor?

What makes you act? Not Hollywood acting but the protect, care, love, hurt, help kind of act?

Act = "The process of doing or performing something."
React = "to act in return or reciprocally"

Are you a self-motivator who sets goals, makes a plan and achieves them without needing anyone to tell you what to do?

Are you someone who goes along with no purpose until you have to react to an event, attack, encouragement or presented need?

Most of us are somewhere in the middle.

We're Active Reactors.

(I think I made that up. It was floating around in my head this morning. Anyway.)

We act by performing our jobs, providing for our families, paying our bills, without outside input or motivation, but when it comes to stepping outside our own bubbles, reaching out to act before we're asked or made aware of a need we struggle. We can barely keep up with our family's needs and we're just doing our best to "survive". Instead of acting on our own to reach out, we are most often reactors here.

Me too. Most days I'm just trying to stay ahead of the daily expectations....,
family, job, home, health. If I see a need on the prayer list or a phone call, email, TV brings one to my attention, I react and do the best I can to help, care, advocate and communicate. Who has time to look around for more things to do?It's hard enough to keep our own family safe, together and well, how can we be expected to look out for someone else? Right? We can't save the world.

Okay then. Fine. We agree. We're off the hook. Phew.

But if I look into my heart, I really don't want to be off the hook. More importantly, as a believer that should not be a relief. I should not be satisfied with just surviving in my world. God's word says so many times in so many ways that we should reach out:

serve one another in love
(Gal. 5:13),
whatever you did for the least of these you did for me (Matt. 25:34-40)
spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Heb. 10:21)
seek justice, encourage the oppressed (Isa. 1:17)
Romans chapter 12 speaks on this.

So, none of us are called to save the world. We are called to make a difference where we are for Christ. If each of us act daily and share His goodness and love, the world will be saved by knowing Him. If each day we just look around and find even one need to meet or one friend to encourage or one cause that to reach out to and make a difference for in Jesus name He wins.

Even within our bubble we can reach out to our child or parent or spouse with more than our every day effort. A note, a hug, a quiet moment of time that is just for them.

Pray for me as I pray with you to ACT.
Find whoever God is calling us to reach out to today. Where can we
speak His name
send a note
give a hug
listen only
give money
admit to your spouse you were wrong
give time
call just to say HI
tell a teenager they are right
text a Bible verse
visit a patient
tell a parent what a great kid they have
thank a teacher
say I love you
praise a child

Think of one thing you would just love to have someone do for you and then ask God to bring to mind the person who needs you to do this for them, then ACT.

It would be a blessing to hear and share your comments on what act you chose today.

Love and Purpose in Christ,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No more enemy.

John 10:10 "The [enemy's] purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."

Reminded of this verse today and just led to speak it. Be encouraged that God loves you and desires you to have peace, love and joy. Look to Him for fulfillment, not this world, not more stuff, not physical beauty or popularity. If you depend on the world you will always be wanting for more, if you depend on God you will always have everything you need. He is never too far away or too busy for you. You are LOVED!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Children's book review

Love Your Heart by Tim McGraw and Tom Douglas,
Illustrations by Abigail Marble

I am blessed to be a Daddy’s girl myself, so reading Love Your Heart brings back sweet memories. It’s a touching story, written from the perspective of a Daddy who makes time with his daughter a positive priority. The main character is the bright and enthusiastic Katie. She is trying to choose what fabulous talent she will perform to win her school’s talent show. In the end she decides that there are more important things than winning. While it is a grown-up friendly book, it will relate especially well to ages 4 to 10.

Though the expressive and cheerful illustrations revolve around a pink dress and frilly pajama wearing Katie, this story is certainly not just for girls. Mix in her dog Palio, a little mud and her child’s heart for friendship and all readers can connect with its simple message of love and kindness. The authors make clear that Katie’s Daddy loves and supports her unconditionally, while encouraging her to love herself and others and look to God for help in making her decisions. This is just one of those books you can read with someone you love over and over and never lose your smile.

Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy for participating with their book review site. Click on the BookSneeze icon to get more info.