Monday, December 13, 2010

The Sign

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” ~~ Luke 2:11-12 NIV

What does December 2009 and December 2010 have in common for me? Moving.

Last year we loaded up our home of eleven years and moved 430 miles. Yes, in December for my husband had to report to his new job in January. We rented a home in the area we decided we wanted to live for our son to attend school.

After one year we have learned the area, researched the schools, and bought a home. So again we move, but this time only six miles down the road. This move feels a bit easier because I am moving a little bit at a time and I can still see all my stuff. Whereas last year, everything except the absolute necessities was packed securely in boxes.

Interestingly I have been forced to learn something about Christmas I don’t think I would have learned any other way.

Not by choice, these last two years I haven't seen my Christmas decorations. The halls of my home are not decked. I hope the manger scene made the move without broken pieces, but I haven't seen it since I packed it away after Christmas in 2008.

Because of the transition last year and this year, decorations are not the priority. We have a purpose greater than then decorations which is the completing transition. During this time of transition, the focus shifted from decorating, cooking, and purchasing gifts for exchanging with one another to spending time together during the move.

Family gathered together to accomplish a goal but still taking a little time out to celebrate the greatest gift of all -- the Savior. The move has been a sign for me to focus on family.

After the birth of the Messiah, an angel appeared to the shepherds and told them they will find a sign. Not the dashing flashing lights we see as we drive through the neighborhoods this time of year, but a baby wrapped in cloths and placed in a manager because there was no room for them in the inn. The simplicity of the Savior's arrival could have been missed, but the angel told them what to look for.

In the years past, I often have taken the most meaningful things for granted. Such as the smile on my husband's or children's faces when I prepare a delicious meal or snack. Or the joy we share as we prepare food all huddled together in the kitchen. The hugs when wake up in the mornings. The laughter expressed while we pause to play board games.

As of today, the boxes holding my Christmas decorations are waiting in my new garage. After we move furniture this weekend, as a family we plan to put out only a few selected items in our new home just days before Christmas.

Previously I allowed my life at this time of year to become complicated with lots of added stress. Though circumstances have forced me to see the sign and keep to the basics, I hope the simplicity will become a new tradition (but not the moving)!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Blessed Hope -- Revisited

Thank God we always have hope in Him. His hope sustains us in whatever situations we face. I find that as I look back, I can see how far God has brought me. Today I share with you a post from two years ago. I can remember where I was and thank God for where I am now!

When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" Luke 1:41-45 NIV

After the angel announced to Mary she would conceive the Messiah, she traveled to see her cousin, Elizabeth. As soon as she heard Mary’s voice, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit as the presence of the Lord came near her. The Holy Spirit revealed to her that Mary carried the promised Messiah.

This must have been such an exciting moment for both these women who were chosen to be used by God to fulfill His prophecies. Being good Jewish women, they had heard the writing of the prophets read aloud every Sabbath. Though at this time in history, Jewish people had not heard from God through the prophets for approximately 400 years, the fulfillment of the long awaited promise was great news to their ears.

For years the people put their hope in the promises of God. They may have wondered if it would come to pass. Now the One God promised was conceived. God keeps all His promises. Not one has failed to come to pass.

Sometimes it seems as though we wait and wait for a promise, wondering if it will ever come to pass. But God is faithful to keep all His promises. Jesus Christ was born as promised in the writings of the Prophets. He will return again as written in the Prophets. We have that glorious hope. We have Jesus Christ. We have the Scriptures. We have the Holy Spirit.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. ~~Romans 15:4 NIV

All the trials we go through create endurance in us. We have the Scriptures to read for encouragement so we have hope. When I faced a problem, one of my first instincts was (and often still is) to complain about it with whoever would listen, whether it was my husband or an available friend. I’ve had to learn over time and retrain myself to have a new first instinct—to run to the Lord in prayer and read His Word. He provides the answer.

When we receive the answer, then we can run to our loved ones and friends as Mary went to Elizabeth. They celebrated the great news. Let’s spread the good news instead of our frustrations. We have the blessed hope in the Messiah.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Inspired by Faith

for we walk by faith, not by sight-- ~~ 2 Corinthians 5:7 NASB

Last week, November 9-14, I attended the CLASS Christian Writers Conference. I served CLASS in the capacity of the Transportation Coordinator, therefore, I had prior contact with most the faculty and attendees who flew in for the conference.

Several days before time to depart, I received an email that a late registration was approved. I emailed Nancy informing her of what to expect. When she replied, she informed me when she expected to arrive, but would contact me if it did not turn out the way she planned.

She literally was walking out by faith what the Lord just placed on her heart -- to attend this writers conference. She flew standby and trusted the Lord that if He wanted her there, she would be on time.

I prayed, but still had my "concerns." But boy, did the Lord show me! Nancy arrived right on time, which was a few hours before the bus was scheduled to leave the airport for the ranch.

However, it doesn’t stop there. She still had to return to her hometown after the conference ended. She checked on the best possibilities for standby on return flights. She had no idea how she would make the 2 1/2 trek back to the airport from the ranch, but told me she fully trusted God to meet her needs.

As it turned out, she needed to be at the airport by 7:30 am on Sunday morning, and by God's grace, CLASS had a driver willing leave at 5am.

When traveling, I prefer my flights arranged and on schedule. Flying on Southwest Airlines, I did not get to preselect my seat, but I paid extra so I could be first in line to choose a seat.

Would I be willing to fly standby like Nancy? I think God would give me the grace to do so if He asked me.

Nancy isn't the only woman I met who flew by faith. I made a mistake in scheduling times for the return bus. Sharon missed her scheduled flight home due to my error, and had to fly standby.

These women are a living testimony of walking (actually flying) by faith, not by sight. Their faith in God meeting all their needs spoke volumes to me. Nancy made it home Sunday in time to teach her Sunday night Bible class. Sharon trusted God to get her home that night and He did. Both these ladies demonstrated their faith in God though they could not see how He would do it.

Seeing their faith inspired me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Open My Eyes - Repost

I spent the last week at the CLASS Christian Writers Conference. I plan on sharing some highlights with you next week. In the meantime, please enjoy this repost.

And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. ~~Luke 24:31 ESV

Have you ever cried out, “I just don’t understand?” Sometimes events unfold right in front of us and we do not understand the meaning of it.

Two men were walking on the road to Emmaus, which was about seven miles northwest from Jerusalem. They were talking about the crucifixion of Christ. They, like so many of the other people of the times hoped Jesus was the one to redeem Israel from the Roman rule. They were so caught up in the situation, they could not see past it.

Then the resurrected Jesus showed up and walked along side of these two men. ”And he said to them, ‘What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?’ Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’”

Apparently the news of the crucifixion traveled very quickly among the people of the land, without the use of cell phones and email. They did not recognize Jesus and they thought he must be the only one who did not know what just took place. So they proceeded to explain it to Jesus. When they got to the part about the women who reported angels and an empty tomb, Jesus interrupted them.

"O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27 ESV)

I can see myself explaining an event and Jesus interrupting me to tell me how foolish I am. We need to understand the Scriptures. It is so easy for me to talk about what is going on in our world today, and feel disgruntled like these men on their way to Emmaus. But what if I let Jesus explain the Scriptures to me?

Jesus stayed with the men for just a little bit longer. When Jesus broke bread with them and gave it to them, then their eyes were opened. They realized it was Jesus and He was alive! They had an “ah-ha” moment.

Jesus explained the Scriptures to them. Most of us have several copies of the Bible in our homes. There are several places on the internet to read the Bible. God’s word is readily available to us. Let’s read and study God’s word and ask Him to explain what it means to us and ask Him to open our eyes to see Him.

Monday, November 8, 2010

About Time

Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, "O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon." So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. ~~Joshua 10:12-13 NASB

Night vision goggles were not an option in the day of Joshua. He needed more daylight to lead the Israelites to victory against the five allied kings that came against him.

Joshua led the Hebrew people into the Promised Land, but they had to fight the occupants for it. God said to Joshua, "Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you." (Joshua 10:8, NASB).

The Lord fought for His people as if He were almost literally throwing hailstones from the sky at the enemy. The Israelites fought using swords. But they needed more time, specifically daylight, so Joshua spoke to God requesting that the sun stand still. God granted his request for almost a whole day.

"There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel" (Joshua 10:14).

So there has never been a day like that since Joshua's request. However, man has had his attempts at taking advantage of daylight by adjusting the time, which confuses a lot of us (myself being one of them).

When the United States entered World War I, Daylight Saving Time was enacted to take advantage of the later daylight hours between April and October in effort to save energy for war production. Once again during World War II, the U.S. government required observance of the adjusted times to have more light hours. In 1966, Congress standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time. Then in 2007, the government lengthened the time by four weeks.

For me, some of the confusion comes because states and communities have the option to participate in Daylight Saving Time or not, as well as the recent change a few years ago on which Sunday the time "springs forward" and "falls back."

I confess, last weekend of October I was confused. I did not change my clocks, but as I prepared to walk out the door, my iPhone time showed it was an hour earlier. I looked in the newspaper and the internet for info about the time change. Well, my smart phone wasn’t so smart. I had to manually set it back forward. I had the right time and so glad my confusion was very temporary.

I hope you moved your clocks back yesterday and enjoyed the extra hour of sleep. God gave us time and we must live within those confines. Our government has tried to make us feel like we have more time, but regardless, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. I close with this C.S. Lewis quote about time.

Humans are amphibians - half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. C. S. Lewis

Monday, November 1, 2010

Do Our Part

"Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.'" ~~Exodus 3:16-17 NIV

The Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob gave Moses a promise for the Israelites. For their time of suffering in Egypt, God led them to the Promised Land. A land flowing with milk and honey.

God being God keeps His word for He is not a man that should lie (Numbers 23:19). He never concealed the fact that the land was occupied. God told Moses and Moses conveyed the message to the Hebrew people.

The Pharaoh let God's people go and led them right to the Red Sea. It was there Moses was instructed by God to consecrate the first born male and to eat nothing containing yeast. This instituted the first observance of the Passover. Then Moses told them:

When the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites—the land he swore to your forefathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey—you are to observe this ceremony in this month. ~~ Exodus 13:5

The people were advised that the land was occupied by others. When the people actually arrived at the border, Moses sent in spies to spy out the land. The spies then instilled fear in God's people with this report (Numbers 13:26-33, my paraphrase):

  • The land does flow with milk and honey.
  • Here's the fruit.
  • The people there are powerful.
  • We saw the Amalekites, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Canaanites living there.
  • They are stronger so we can't attack.
  • The land devours those who live there.
  • The people are giants.
  • We look like grasshoppers.

Only Joshua and Caleb said, " We can do it." God promised the people the land, but they had to do their part. Because they failed to do their part, they spent 40 years in the wilderness.

In America, on Tuesday, we have an opportunity to do our part. God promised Abraham He would bless those who bless him. Our nation has so many blessings and promises from the Lord, but we must do our part. We MUST vote.

The Hebrew people were to take the land with weapons, but our weapons are our pencils at the polling places tomorrow. Our nation was founded on the belief of one nation under God. We can take this land by trusting God to lead us into battle as we exercise our freedoms by voting. Seek the Lord on whom to vote.

Typically fewer people turn out for mid-term elections. We can change what has been the norm. Let's not instill fear to be complacent among our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let's be like Joshua and Caleb saying, "We can do it!"

To continue to live in our land that flows with milk and honey, let's do our part.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Without Grumbling

"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:14-15 ESV)

I have friends who parent with a gentle and quiet spirit. I've met mothers of my friends who have that calmness about them. But I must confess, that has not been me.

I must allow the Holy Spirit to take over me because my old nature likes to rear its ugly self. That person in me before Christ shouted and barked at her husband and children. If shoes were left out, I sounded like, "Why can't you ever put away your shoes? Do I have to trip over them and break my neck before you'll do it?"

I grumbled and complained about every little thing. I was the kind of wife that Solomon described that it was better to live on the corner of the roof than inside with a nagging wife. He not only said it once, but twice in the Proverbs.

"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife" (Proverbs 21:9, 25:24 NIV).

With all the wives and concubines Solomon had, I wonder how many nights he slept on the roof top? But what does that have to do with me?

I MUST choose by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in me not to nag my family about what they don't do. And it is effort for me, but I find is worth it.

There are ways to get my point across without grumbling or questioning (and may I add slamming doors to get attention). I stumbled onto this one night at the dinner table.

My youngest son, Chase, asked when we were getting close to being done with dinner, "Mom, do I have to do the dishes tonight?"

"No, son you don’t," spoken in a normal tone of voice.

Surprised by my calm remark, Chase raised his voice, "What? You're not going to tell me I have to?"

"No, you don’t have to."

The conversation went onto something else for a little while, then we started clearing the table. But he caught on rather quickly and asked, "But if I don't, then you won't let me play video games later will you?"

I replied, "That sounds like a good plan."

Chase commenced to rinsing off the dishes and putting them into the dishwasher.

Wow! Being calm is effective. It works! Now I know it works and by the grace of God I'm making it my habit to instruct my children and talk to my husband without grumbling.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Better Remain Silent

But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, "Do not answer him." ~~ Isaiah 36:21, ESV

Have you ever wanted to give someone your piece of mind?

Oh, I shall confess. Absolutely! I've experienced times I wanted to share my point of view regardless if the other person would get it or not. I just wanted my voice to be heard.

Well sometimes God tells us it is better to remain silent. In Isaiah 36-37, the King of Assyria through his field commander taunts King Hezekiah and the people of Judah. He says things like (my paraphrase):

  • What is your strategy?
  • Are you really depending on the Lord God?
  • Listen to me and I'll make you a deal.
  • Can King Hezekiah and the Lord really save you?

If someone mouths off to me, I must restrain myself from saying what comes to my mind. I remember my oldest son used to come home distraught because someone made fun of me. He wanted to defend me. It hurts when someone talks mean about our mother, no matter how old we become.

Years ago, I worked in an office full of men who didn't particularly care for my husband. I listened to them talk badly about him in front of me. That was a painful period of time.

Certainly, there are times to speak out, but there are times to be quiet. How did King Hezekiah and the people of Judah handle this situation? They remained silent. They did not answer them.

But is silence enough? King Hezekiah sought the Lord. We can follow his example and pray about situations that bother us. The Lord will give us an answer on how to deal with our particular situation. A prophet may not come in and give us a direct commandment from the Lord as Isaiah did for King Hezekiah. But we can seek God in His word and if we listen to Him, He may speak to us through other people or worship music. No matter which way the answer comes, God will give us an answer when we seek Him.

Then we follow God's instructions and trust Him to deliver us from the situation as King Hezekiah did. In this situation, God took care of everything. All King Hezekiah had to do was to seek the Lord.

With my son, he and I prayed for those who spoke badly of me. I instructed him not to talk to them about it, but to ignore them. In my work, I continued to pray for those men until the Lord allowed me to resign from that position.

In most confrontational circumstances, it may be best to remain silent and seek the Lord. God can deliver us from the evil. Remember, we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but the spiritual forces of evil. Therefore, we will never win on our own strength. It's better to remain silent and pray.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pharisaical Christian

When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" ~~Matthew 9:11 NIV

When Jesus saw Matthew, a tax collector, working in his booth, He commanded Matthew to follow Him. Jesus then ate dinner at Matthew's house. Nobody wanted to be associated with a tax collector because they were sinners. Tax collectors commonly took more than what was owed so they could pocket the excess.

The Pharisees criticized Jesus for this act. According to Harper's Bible Dictionary, Pharisee in Hebrew means "separate ones." Also, "The Pharisees were zealous observers of the law, prominent among the people and especially concerned with ritual purity, tithing, food according to OT [Old Testament] law, and correct observance of Sabbath." Therefore, the Pharisees were deemed self-righteous hypocrites.

What do Pharisees have to do with Christians? Last week, I listened to a recording of a well-known public speaker and author. When he described his faith, he described it as "a follower of Jesus who believes the Bible reveals the Truth." Then he went on to say that he does not call himself a Christian.

Why? Isn't a Christian one who believes in the teachings of Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life and the only means to the Father? His explanation, unfortunately, did not shock me but took my mind to a place it hadn't thought of before. He stated:

"The term 'Christian' means different things to many different people, and lots of them are bad. These negative connotations have been rightly earned. Some of the greatest atrocities ever visited upon mankind have been done so by so-called 'Christians' and in the name of Jesus. So, when you say the word 'Christian,' there is no telling what it means to the particular person you are talking to."

What does "Christian" mean to the person we're talking to? Unfortunately, the truth is lots of people, including myself, have been hurt by well-meaning Christians. As a fellow believer, I feel like I have judged other Christians rather easily if they did not think like me or held the same doctrinal beliefs. And other Christians have judged me for my views not lining up with theirs.

Beth Moore explains there are spine issues, such as Jesus Christ born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, crucified for our sins, and resurrected and lives today. Then there are the rib issues that we need not argue over, such as music.

If there is much disunity among the believers, how do the unbelievers see Christians? I read an article on the internet by a homosexual who felt judged and condemned by the Christian community. How often do we preach "love the sinner, but hate the sin" but we don’t live it out. The message my pastor shared yesterday was not to treat the person any differently than you want to be treated. We ALL sin.

Jesus enjoyed his dinner with Matthew, the tax collector and the Pharisees criticized him for it. Here's how he replied:

On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." ~~ Matthew 9:12-13 NIV

The Lord desires us to be merciful, gracious and kind to others no matter what their status. Love draws people to Christ, not condemnation and criticism. I do not intend to imply that all Christians have turned into Pharisees, but looking at the broader scope do Christians appear to others like self-righteous hypocrites? Then we are Pharisaical Christians.

Whether you use the term "Jesus follower" or "Christian," join me this week in loving others like Jesus loves. He sat down with the sinners without criticizing them. Let's be merciful and gracious to one another--believers and unbelievers.

Note: To listen to the recording I referred to in the text above, click this link.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Driven by Perfection

Today, I have another guest post at Truth and Grace Ministry Blog with Karen Lowe

I dreamed about my life being perfect. Marrying the perfect man. Having the perfect children. You know, the perfect family? Right?

What? Your family is not perfect? Well, honestly, neither is mine. But that’s okay, because perfection does not drive me; having fun is my approach to life. My youngest son strives for perfection in everything he does.

Perfection is a typical melancholy trait because they want things done right. The Sanguine and Melancholy personalities are polar opposites of each other. Not that a Sanguine does not want things done right, but details do not naturally rise up in a Sanguine’s thought process.

I’ll be loud, goofy and funny, but not so much for my son Chase. He tends to be serious, quiet and orderly. As I took a break from writing this post to play with him, he said, “Mom, you’re in my bubble.”

To read the rest of this post, click on over.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Truth or Lies

Can lies be disguised at the truth?

I think so.

What do we think about and believe, but later found out where false?

"He will never understand me!"

"This child will never change!"

"My friend has not called me in a week, I must have made her mad at me."

I confess, I battle with thoughts in my head like a gardener battles weeds. If we think on something long enough, we start to believe it even if it is not true.

I’m thankful to have God's word, for He tells us what to do when those lies come to us.

" We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV).

We are to destroy the lying thoughts as if we're pulling weeds. Weeds left to their own demise will grow stronger and stronger. The roots grow deeper and wider, the stem growing thicker, and it will take much more work to pull out the weed. But if a weed is pulled at the time it pops out, it is much easier. Lies will grow and grow until it becomes too difficult to retrain our minds.

But we can't just stop with the demolishing of the thoughts like weeds. We must replace the lies with God's truth. God's truth will transform our lives from the inside out.

Once a gardener removes weeds, she must take care of the soil and water it. God's word is like the tender loving care of the gardener. We must be fertilized and watered on a regular basis like a garden to keep the lies from planting themselves in our minds. Yet, sometimes, like weeds, they pop back after removal.

That happened to me this last week. My husband supports me in the writing and speaking ministry where the Lord has called me to serve. Thoughts came to my mind that he did not. I entertained those thoughts which led to me lashing out at him and him jabbing back at me. It took a few hours, but once we realized what happened, we talked and prayed.

I am learning to discern more quickly the lies the evil one wants me to believe and to be in regular communication with my husband. We then turn to God's Word, which is truth. We can run to His Word and be set free from the lies. What are you believing? Truth or lies?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Free to Be Me

Today I am a guest at Truth and Grace Ministries blog with Karen Lowe.

For many years, I lived a depressed life. I would wake up, take the kids to school, come home, start some wash, and go back to bed. About noon, I’d get up, eat something, put the clothes in the dryer, and return to bed. At three, I forced myself to put on clothes, wash my face, and pick up the boys from school. I moped around the rest of the day doing only what was required.

Though I’ve never been incarcerated, I formed bars around myself that limited my life and freedom. Why? What happened to me?

For years, I tried to be everything that everyone wanted me to be. I could not live up to their expectations; therefore, I felt like a failure–as a wife, mom, friend, and, yes, even as a Christian.

To read the rest of this post, click on over.

Monday, August 30, 2010


For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. ~~Hebrews 12:11 ESV

"I can't wait until I grow up so I can do whatever I want!" cried out my son after being disciplined.

Parents, do you ever hear those words come out of the mouths of your children? I remember saying those words as a child. I thought parents could do and get away with whatever they want to do.

Yes, as grownups we do have choices to make. We do have freedoms to choose, therefore, in one way the child is correct. We can do whatever we want.

"All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. ~~1 Corinthians 10:13

We can do all things, but all things are not helpful or builds up. Some other Bible versions use the words profitable, beneficial and constructive.

Therefore, our choices have consequences. We will reap what we sow. If we continually make wrong choices, we not have a life that helps others, builds up, and is constructive.

We'll be destructive no matter what area of discipline we're dealing with--health, finances, relationships, etc. If we continually eat the wrong foods, we'll have consequences. If we spend too much money on frivolous things, we'll be broke. If we do not nurture relationships, they'll be gone.

Our lives require discipline at all ages. Discipline is not easy, but difficult, but we must train our children and train ourselves to live by it. It takes discipline to make the right choices when others are not.

How often do we want to speed on the highway because we're running late. I know I have a propensity to behind in my schedule. I need more discipline in my life to leave in plenty of time so I don’t have to rush.

What about when we're out shopping? We must fight those impulses to buy things we don’t need or looks good at the moment?

What about spending time with people we love, nurturing relationships?

Our lives require discipline. Often times I think it would be so much easier if I had someone telling me what to do like I tell my child. But I do! My heavenly Father disciplines me because He loves me. (Heb. 12:6)

I am loved as I'm feeling the discipline! How about you?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wild and Amazing Life

Dear Friends & Family,

I thank God for His grace--Wild & Amazing Grace! Ya'll I'm having a great time in the Lord.

I like to have my blog posts publish on Monday, but that did not work out this week. Why? Because I was thrown a change-up and struck out. My youngest son, Chase, plays football with his middle school and he's now on a fall league baseball team. I knew he was on a baseball team, however, I didnt know when the season started. I learned last Friday all the baseball games are on Sunday afternoons, double headers I add. That's the time I used to write blog posts. The good news, I'm still on the line-up and I'll get another turn at bat. So I plan to return to regular schedule next week.

I'm more focused on working the numbers as mentioned in my last post for discipline. It's all a matter of discipline or I'd go wild. God has given me this one body and I must choose to be a good steward with what I have. This change requires intentional focus on my behalf. I do believe once I make it a way of life and it will become natural to me.

My partner, Shona Neff and I have StepUP Writing and Speaking going in full swing. We've had our first webinar training with more to come. We've brought in experts to our blog to share information. We're receiving such gracious and encouraging comments. These speakers are also giving away prizes. This week Kathi Lipp is giving away a speakers packet. Also, author and Proverbs 31 speaker, Shari Braendel is giving away a copy of her new book, Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad. Hop on over to StepUP Writing and Speaking to leave comments for a chance to win a prize.

Darlene Schacht, who launched Christian Women Online is now launching a new online magazine with actress/author Candace Cameron Bure. I submitted according to instructions and I've been accepted to write for this new magazine that will launch in October.

I've been working with Take Root and Write for over one and half years as a columnist and editor. Noelle Mena sold it this summer to Spring Fricks. Spring has wonderful plans to grow this digital magazine even more than imagined before. We're accepting submissions for the October magazine. The theme is "rest." If you are interested, email Shona the senior editor at senioreditor[at]takerootandwrite[dot]com for more information.

I'm assisting CLASSeminars as the Transportation Coordinator for the writers conference in November. I'll be there at Ghost Ranch and if you come to the writers conference, I'll see you there!

And if that's not enough on my plate, I figured that since my wonderful state of Texas has money for veterans to receive a higher level education, I've transferred to my local university's liberal arts program for a degree in English and American Literature. I started my classes this week.

That's an update with what's going on in my wild and amazing life! Please share a bit about what's going on in your life.

Monday, August 16, 2010


The LORD spoke to Moses in the Tent of Meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: "Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. You and Aaron are to number by their divisions all the men in Israel twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army. ~~Numbers 1:1-3 NIV

Do you like working with numbers? I just do not think in numbers. I like to play BUNCO, but when it's time to add up the points, I pull out a calculator.

Yet numbers seem to be an important part of life, so I have had to adapt to using them and thank God for the tools we have as crutches for those math challenged people like me.

I've been learning a lot more about how to use numbers for discipline this past month. Remember my post about "Why Do I Do That?" I discussed my food nemesis, sugar. Well in order to help me get past the cravings and put restraint in my life, I've learned that numbers are involved.

For food, those numbers are called calories. The foods we eat contain calories and if we eat too many calories, it adds numbers to the scales when we step on them. I have avoided the numbers on the scales for way too long. I must face the truth to be free to change my reality. Avoidance does not work (another post for another time).

So to take control, I've enlisted the support of tools because tracking numbers on papers seems too difficult to me. I use a smart phone app called "Lose It." I enter the foods I eat and the calorie count for the serving size. It reveals on the screen the number calories I've eaten and even gives me a red bar if I've had too much.

But it's also just not about the number of calories consumed, but the number of calories burned through exercise. I used to exercise without seeing results, but I think I've figured out that I wasn’t burning enough calories. Thirty minutes of moderate walking only burns approximately 100 calories. Thirty minutes of very brisk walking, only 150.

Therefore, I've had to develop a plan to burn much more calories during my day. I started exercising two hours a day, combining strength and cardio to increase the calorie burn. I strive to burn 700 calories, five days a week. My reason--3500 calories equals one pound. I hope to lose at a minimum of one pound per week. I use an app call Runkeeper to help me track the number of calories burned for various types of exercises.

Did you know how these numbers work? As I stated, I'm just figuring these things out.

Using numbers requires a concerted discipline for me. It's an effort, but worth it. God incorporated the use of numbers in His divine plan. There is a book of the Bible called Numbers. This books starts off with God calling for a census. According to Matthew Henry's Commentary, the purpose for keeping count was to prove God was keeping His promise to multiply the seed of Abraham. God is obviously into numbers and counting for the sake of keeping records, therefore, I better learn to keep records.

The area of keeping track of calories is the first step I'm taking to learn how to manage numbers. The next area I'm working on is finances as I'm currently taking the Financial Peace University course by Dave Ramsey. And yes, it is the week where the husband and wife sit down to work on the budget.

Yes, this free spirited, Sanguine gal is learning to adapt to the tedious task of using numbers for discipline, change and results.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Need a Defrag

Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. ~~Habakkuk 2:2 NIV

Sometimes life starts coming at us from all angles. The kids, the spouse, the work, the errands, the chores and more can seemingly interfere with our plans.

I’ve had plans to work on various projects for months now. But when I think I’m going to work on one of those, something more urgent pops up. I’m feeling fragmented.

Like our personal computers (PC’s), we sometimes need to be defragmented. When using our PC’s, over time with regular use, the files on the hard drive get spread out rather than being neatly organized. That causes the computer to work longer and harder to access the requested information.

Occasionally the PC needs to be defragmented, or defragging for short. This tool on the PC puts all the scattered pieces of the files back together in an organized fashion. This allows the computer to run more efficiently and reduces the amount of time it takes to work. It becomes more proficient. Not only that, it helps the hard drive to last longer.

I realized that I need a defrag. I’m scattered all over the place and because of that it takes me longer to get things done. I’m taking the first few days of this week to work on sorting out files in my life and getting my focus.

I need to write that focus down, make it plain and find a place to keep it in front of me. I need to be reminded of what I’m working toward in my family plans, my personal goals and business goals.

Sometimes, we all need to take a few days to defrag like the computer needs a defrag. When we do, like the PC, we’ll become more proficient and last longer.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sometimes I Just Need a Song

I'm thankful God put it on the hearts of musicians. This one brings peace and comfort to me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Why Do I Do That?

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! ~~ Romans 7:21-25 NIV

I confess--I want to do what is right and what is good all the time. Okay, okay, most of the time. Well, some of most of the time.

But I do not always make the right choices. Why do I do that?

I am thankful for God's word that shows me that I'm not the only one who struggled with this issue. The Apostle Paul described in Romans 7 his struggle with sin. He stated in Romans 7:15-20:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.c]"> For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (NIV)

That's what I've been doing this July. Struggling. Why?

Because I have been doing what I hate to do and not doing what I want to do. That's the flesh warring with the spirit. How has this happened to me?

Others may not struggle with this, but this is my open and honest confession. I have struggled with mild depression and anxiety off and on for years. I realized in the last few years that these emotional struggles are related to dietary choices. (I realize not all people struggle in this area, such as my husband who cannot even begin to understand.)

I have a food nemesis. It's called SUGAR.

Sugar works in me like alcohol or drugs. It affects my blood sugar levels and turns me into a different person. I've read various books and reports on it. The consumption sugar increases my insulin levels, which in turn affect my hormone levels and causes all sorts of emotional distress.

I spent the last two days out of commission with a migraine (caused by out of balance hormones because of increased sugar consumption). While down and out, I spent some glorious time with the Lord. I realized it was my poor choices that put me down and out and that my choices have consequences.

I'm back up today and I realize it is part of my personal spiritual warfare to walk in obedience in my dietary choices.

Why do I have to do that? I have sin nature that is at work in my body. But thanks be to God who through Jesus Christ overcame for me. I confess and He is faithful to forgive. (1 John 1:9) With Jesus, I can live a life by the Spirit, not gratifying the desires of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16)

We all can. Thanks be to our Lord and Savior! I start again today, even though I did that.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Launching into New Adventures

This summer my focus has changed to new and exciting adventures. I haven't been to exotic places or taken on thrilling endeavors. Though I do dream of having adrenaline rushing trips. You know the type like in the Indiana Jones movies.

Yet, I wonder if it would be to much excitement for me in reality. After all, Willie Scott did say, "I'm going home to Missouri, where they never ever feed you snake before ripping your heart out and lowering you into hot pits. This is not my idea of a swell time!"

So I'll let the adrenaline rushing adventures just be a dream.

However, my adventure is much milder and less risky. My partner, Shona Neff, and I started a blog site and services to benefit new writers and speakers who feel called by God to get started in what can be sometimes (or oftentimes) overwhelming world of writing and speaking. Our site is located at We have various posts up for readers to glean lots of insights.

Today, I have an article posted called, "Why Nonfiction Writers Should Read Fiction." Here's a peek:

"I don’t have time to read fiction."

Oh, that common statement crossed my lips many times. My attitude was that if I was going to take time out of my busy day to sit down with a book, I wanted to read something that would impact my life. How to improve my marriage, my kids, my walk with God. I wanted answers to life questions. I didn’t want to stop and enjoy a book.

But then God literally placed a book in my hands. While attending a weekly Bible study, my name was drawn to win a prize. I collected my prize and went home. I tore through the gift wrap to reveal a book--a fiction book.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

I prepared lunch. Started some laundry. I decided to sit down for a few minutes and investigate this book. I planned to read about ten minutes and then move on with the to-do list. I thought after a few pages of the introduction, I would be finished exploring and could turn my focus back to the important issues of the day.

Once I started reading, I could not pull myself away from the story grabbing me from the pages.
To continue reading, click on over. And when you do, be sure to join our Facebook and Twitter page for updates.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July

What plans to you have for this weekend? Picnics? Bar-b-que? Boating? Fireworks?

Whatever this day brings, I hope you take a few minutes to remember why Americans celebrate the 4th of July. It commemorates the day the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence. No longer did the colonies want to be under the tyranny of the British government.

After the declaration, the colonists fought for another two years to secure the freedoms of the American people. Peoples homes were destroyed. Wives lost husbands. Mothers lost sons. Blood was sacrificed so we can be free. Freedom is NEVER free.

In America, we have the right to choose where we live, where we work, what we'll eat, how we'll dress, where we want to go, and where we want to worship all because others have paid price.

It is my hope and prayer that "whosoever" will choose to worship Christ this weekend. For he was the sacrifice that set us free from the bondage of sin and death. Jesus paid the price, therefore, we are free!

"So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed" (John 8:36, NIV).

Enjoy this song by the Newsboys! And enjoy your FREEDOM in Christ weekend!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Inherited Problems

"Wisdom is good with an inheritance" (Ecclesiastics 7:11, ESV).
I'm disgusted with watching and reading the news. I hear politicians state that they "inherited this problem."

Now I hear that mentality bleeding from politicians to the military ranks. Who's next? The CEO's? The teachers? The children?

In Sunday school class, I heard a discussion that if your parents were in credit card debt when they pass away, that most states can put a lien on all property (the inheritance) until the debts are paid. Therefore, the children inherit the debt of the parents.

I moved into a rental home in January. When we moved in, the carpets looked clean. But as we've lived in it now for five months, stains have started appearing. Not that we've done anything, but it must have been old stains that were cleaned that are resurfacing. Now what are we to do? Blame the previous tenant?

The way I see it, whenever something is passed from one person to the next, we get all the inheritance--the good, the bad and the ugly. But instead of blaming the person before us for the bad, how can we solve the problem? What do we want to pass to the next person to inherit?

In order to be a problem solver, we need wisdom. Wisdom comes from the Lord. Scripture is clear about if any of us are lacking it, we can simply ask and we'll be given it--generously. (James 1:5)

I do not want to live with stains in the carpet, even though technically, it's not my carpet and I did not cause the problem. Therefore, instead of complaining about the carpet, I'm seeking wisdom in carpet cleaning solutions.

Whether we've inherited dirty carpet, debt, or a myriad of other problems with the good, we must seek wisdom from the One who has it all. God knows how to solve our inherited problems.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Called to Speak

How do you know if you're called to be a speaker?

The answer looks different for each one of us. Yet, inside the soul of a speaker lies a burning desire that cannot be denied.

For me, I remember the days of my childhood when I wanted to play school with my friends. I always wanted the role of teacher. At the end of the school year, teachers would throw away books no longer needed for the classroom. It grieved me to see books in the trash, so I collected these unwanted books for my play classroom. Not many of my friends wanted to play school during the summer, so I set up my dolls as students. They were the perfect students and, of course, I was the perfect teacher.

To read the rest of my post, hop over to StepUP Writing and Speaking.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The First Weekend of Summer

Most of us equate the Memorial Day weekend to the beginning of summer. Family gatherings. Grilling. Watermelon. Camping. Although the weather is warm [or hot depending on where you live], summer doesn’t actually begin until June 21. But we choose to start summer anyway.

But while we're getting together this weekend with our loved ones, let's pause to remember why Memorial Day, a federal holiday, was established.

Other than scheduling a federal holiday on the last Monday of May so those employees can have a long weekend, this day is to remember those who have died in the line of military service.

So many lives have been given voluntarily for our freedoms. Freedom is not free. It cost soldiers their lives. Their loved ones an empty hole in their hearts and homes.

I hope you will take a moment to remember the fallen soldiers on Monday. Set aside a few minutes to lift up a prayer for their families.

In tribute and to help us remember, I'll leave you with Darryl Worley's song, "Have You Forgotten?" Please take three minutes to watch and listen.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rental Realty

I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me! ~~Psalm 119:19 ESV

For more years of my adult life, my husband and I owned property. But since we moved, we decided to rent to become more familiar with the area.

This has been a difficult adjustment. Four months into this house and it still does not feel like a home to me. Changes I would make if it were my own, I can't make because it is not my own.

Then I remember the Scripture where God told Abram to take his wife and go to a land. They picked up their belongings and lived in the land for years in tents. It was all temporary. When Sarah died, Abraham asked to purchase a piece of property where they lived as sojourners all those years.

So though I've been in this house for four months, I still don’t know where to hang all the pictures. I still am not sure where to put certain pieces of furniture. I still don’t know how to really feel at home. Perhaps, it's to help remind me that my life on earth is only temporary.

We're only sojourners in this land. Jesus promised to go build a place for us-- a permanent home for us. All we have on this earth is temporary. We're just renting realty for now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Out of Humiliation

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. ~~Philippians 2:3-4 NIV

I never knew hard work until I became a mother. It's the one job that never has time off.

Sometimes the emotional turmoil of my role as a mom attempts to take a toil at me. The demands place on one person at times can be overwhelming.

The dynamics in our household do not always allow for our family to be together, even on holidays. Yesterday's Mother's Day was one of those days. I woke up, prepared to go to church. But as I'm driving off by myself, I pulled over because the tears filled my eyes.

How can I walk into church alone on Mother's Day. Everyone greeting mothers with "Happy Mother's Day." I didn’t feel happy and I couldn’t go on, pretending.

I called a friend who shared with me her perspective on the situation. I thank God she didn’t coddle me. She told me straight out from her own experience that sometimes expectations are set up are from selfish desires.

Ouch. The truth hit me smack dab in the face.

Now slapped with the truth, some sense had been knocked into my selfish brain. I started thanking God that I have a healthy family. It no longer mattered if they were with me at church because I thanked God I have a family.

Already late for my church, I decided to drive to a nearby church that I wanted to visit but had not had the opportunity. Yesterday's guest speaker was Jim Caviezel, the actor who portrayed Jesus in The Passion of Christ.

Caviezel shared a statement that stood out to me, "Out of humiliation comes humility and that's where God wants us--to be humble."

Out of my perceived humiliation, I let go of the false expectations of my family serving me on Mother's Day. I chose to serve them and it made me glad to do so.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What is God's Will for Me?

This morning I woke up and asked the Lord, "What is Your will for me today?"

I opened up my web browser to and this is the verse of the day today:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I share with you, that I felt like God spoke directly to me today. Now grant it, I asked wondering how to prioritize my to-do list. But I received three things to put at the top of my to-do's this morning.

First, be joyful. I admit, this week I've been battling the blues. Nothing bad, but not anything to be overly excited about. But God's will in Christ is for me to be joyful, so I'll focus on the things today that bring me joy. Not the things that rob me of the joy God's given to me.

Second, pray continually. I like to get up early, find my cozy spot on on the sofa before anyone else wakes up, have my Bible and journal and pray. But I cannot stay there all day praying. I think this means to pray as I do. I had a housekeeper once who taught me how to pray at home. I worked at the time and when I came home for lunch I asked her to pray for me. She showed me she prayed for me all day. She prayed as she washed the dishes; she prayed as she ironed the clothes, as she made the bed, and so on. I can do that today.

Third, give thanks in all circumstances. Not all my situations are ideal in my mind, but I have so much in which to be thankful. I need to list those things and keep giving thanks to God for them.

That's my God's will for me today as it clearly states in His Word, "for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Can it be any clearer than that?