Friday, December 23, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - The Story


I was blessed last week to help out when this production came to our church. Before that night, I hadn't read the book or listened to the soundtrack. While working, I didn't get to see each song, but the ones I did see completely blew me away. What an amazing show!

If you're unfamiliar with The Story, here's what you'll find when you open the pages:

‘The greatest story ever told’ is more than just a cliche. God goes to great lengths to rescue lost and hurting people. That is what The Story is all about: the story of the Bible, God's great love affair with humanity. Condensed into 31 accessible chapters, The Story sweeps you into the unfolding progression of Bible characters and events from Genesis to Revelation. Using the clear, accessible text of the NIV Bible, it allows the stories, poems, and teachings of the Bible to read like a novel. And like any good story, The Story is filled with intrigue, drama, conflict, romance, and redemption; and this story's true! From the foreword by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee: 'This book tells the grandest, most compelling story of all time: the story of a true God who loves his children, who established for them a way of salvation and provided a route to eternity. Each story in these 31 chapters reveals the God of grace---the God who speaks; the God who acts; the God who listens; the God whose love for his people culminated in his sacrifice of Jesus, his only Son, to atone for the sins of humanity.'


If you haven't seen, read, or heard The Story, you'll want to pick this up in some version.

Have a very Merry Christmas! I'm taking a break to have some cookies, drink some egg nog, play with the family and celebrate the best Gift I've ever received. See you after New Years! Blessings to you all:)


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Praise

Luke 2:15-20

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Re-gift: Breath of Heaven

Yep. I admit it. I have been known to re-gift. Today I'm doing it right here on my blog. I posted this last Christmas, but it keeps rolling through my mind. Hope it touches you today, too:)


I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary. Mary, mother of Jesus. Mary, a young girl who found favor with God. Mary, a girl who gave her all to serve her Lord. I’ve been wondering if we could be like her.

She had to be living an ordinary life. At home with her parents. Betrothed, ready to begin married life. Friends she laughed with. Her own dreams and goals in front of her. All centered around her love for God. And then the angel came. The angel telling her that she would be with child by the Holy Spirit. She would carry Jesus. Her only question came from her confusion. “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Once the angel explained God’s plan, her response was one of total submission. “I am the Lord’s servant.”

In that one answer, Mary gave up everything…

Her relationships: How many friends left her? What was her parents’ response? We know Joseph’s immediate response; he wanted to divorce her. Mary had no promise that God would explain things to her betrothed.

Her reputation: What must she have been treated like? She couldn’t hide her situation for long. I’m sure the people in town must have talked. Is this one of the reasons she ran to Elizabeth and Zechariah?

Her body: Morning sickness. Fatigue. Uncontrollable emotions. Her growing belly. Giving birth. Even physically she gave her all.

Her heart: Her firstborn, yet not her own. She carried him for nine months. She was given the gift of being his earthly mother. She cradled him the moment he was born. She raised him as her own. Yet he was not hers. He had a purpose; to die for our sins. He came for all. What must her love for him have been like? Her son. Her Savior.

Why? Why did Mary give everything up so willingly? Did she count all the costs first? Or did she simply say ‘yes’ because she wanted to follow God and his plan for her. Did she truly know what would come? Did she ever doubt her decision?

I look to her words in Luke. Words spoken while she was at Elizabeth’s house. She glorifies God. She sings of all he’s done for those who serve him. It’s almost as if she’s reminding herself that God is in control. She’s focusing on God and his attributes. She’s drawing near to him and his promises, his goodness. She’s speaking his truths to her heart and meditating on them. It could not have been an easy path, this path that God chose for her, and to walk it her eyes stay focused on him; not the world around her.

I love the Christmas song, “Breath of Heaven”. It’s sung from Mary’s point of view. She’s asking for God’s spirit, the ‘Breath of Heaven’ to hold her. To be near her. She questions if she should have been the one chosen for this job. Yet, even in her doubts, she offers all she is and cries out for the very Breath of God to touch her. What an intimate picture. To feel someone’s breath, that gentlest of physical touches, you must be intimately close with them. This is what Mary longs for as she walks this path. It is what she seeks. She doesn’t back away when it is hard, she draws only nearer to her Lord.



What path has God chosen for you? Are you the only one saved in your family? Is your spouse not walking with God? Maybe you're going through an illness that is taking all you have. Have you been called into the mission field? Into the ministry? Perhaps you’re the only one at your work who’s a Christian, or you’re one of the only people at your school who follows God. Whatever it is, God so desperately wants to be seen through you. Are you struggling with walking the path your on? Are you asking if you even want to? Or why?

Yes, ‘why’? (It’s a normal question). Why did Mary give up everything to follow God’s path for her? Why should we? It’s so very hard sometimes. We open ourselves to ridicule. We pray, and –at times - it feels like nothing changes. We love those around us, yet they hurt us. At times we have to give up our comfort zone. Our homes. Our relationships. Our bodies. Why?

Because, just like Mary, we want to bring Jesus to a hurting world. Messiah. Savior. We carry him with us. If we say no to God’s plan, if we count the cost to ourselves as too high, then who will bring him? In light of eternity, can we give too much?

Mary did not think so. And look, look at how God walked with her. He defended her to Joseph, giving her a husband to walk along beside her on this path. He protected her. Her gave her a friend in Elizabeth, a woman who could walk through the pregnancy with her and all the unknown changes she was experiencing. And, as she gave birth in that stable, he gave her a picture of heaven. The star, the angels and the shepherds; heaven and earth, praising her son – Savior to a lost world; our greatest gift. It was a glimpse of what God had used her to do and Mary took it, treasuring and pondering it in her heart. After all she gave, God gave this back to her, and he had to be smiling when he did it.

God has a plan for you. A path already mapped out. It will take drawing near to God, his very Breath, to accomplish. There will be moments that are hard. But there will also be moments to treasure. Moments where God smiles down on you.

Are you ready to give your all and follow? To bring Jesus into a lost world who so desperately needs him? His gift may have been birthed by a virgin on Christmas two thousand years ago, but it was meant for all, for every day. Will you carry that gift? Will you give it? Will you be like Mary? Let her song, “Breath of Heaven”, become your song. Because the gift she birthed, the gift God gave, it was meant to be
re-gifted:)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - Mississippi Nights



Today I'm jumping up and down. This book is by Miss D.M. Webb, one of my critique partners, and it's her debut novel! I'm doing a little Snoopy dance with her! I have read this book from cover to cover before there even was a cover:) And isn't that cover uh-MAZ-ing?! Now I get a front row seat to watching her dream realized ~ how awesome is that? So here's the blurb on Mississippi Nights:


Two brothers, one death--the bond of brotherhood faces its greatest challenge against resentment and guilt.

Can the love between two brothers eventually win against pain and guilt?

When Firefighter David Boyette’s fiancĂ©e perishes in a car fire, he blames his brother, Sgt. Jeremy Boyette, for her death.

Three years later, David returns home with a dark and devastating secret. With the help of family, a woman’s love, and a small child’s devotion, can David overcome insurmountable odds as he and Jeremy face the bitterness that enslaves him?

Together the brothers must decide if the bond of brotherhood is stronger than resentment and hate.

D.M.'s characters are very real in this book, and she deals with the tough subject of alcoholism without shying away from it. Maggie was one of my favorite characters. Her penchant for all things pink, and her sweet nature balanced with a tough backbone was the perfect fit for David. I also loved the healing journey this book took you on, and the story of forgiveness for not only those around you, but yourself and ultimately God.

You can currently pre-order Mississippi Nights through D.M.'s website, just click on the link and it will take you there:) All pre-ordered books will be signed and sent out in the next couple of weeks. Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Praise

Luke 2:8-14

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 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.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

**********************************************************************************

Glory to God indeed! Our greatest gift.

This is my favoritest Christmas song. And this is my favoritest performance. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Holy:)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wheels Off



That picture pretty much describes how I’ve been feeling lately. Yep…ever been there?
I want to say that everything is going wrong, however, I know enough to realize ‘everything’ is all too encompassing of a word. Besides, I’d rather focus on my blessings.
But can I be honest? (please tell me you’re nodding) Sometimes focusing on those blessings is really, really hard! Especially when it feels like everything is going wrong. Can’t a girl catch a break?
Umm...nope. Leastwise not in the immediate future.

So I guess this is where the rubber meets the road. I can either go with how I feel, or go with what I know—and let my feelings follow. I choose going with what I know.
And can I keep being honest? That’s hard to do, too.
I mean, why is it so easy to focus on what is wrong? On unfulfilled promises. Even when we know God fills them in His time. Even when we know so much more is going right than going wrong. Why is it so hard to keep rolling along? Sometimes you just need a little push.

I love what Hebrews encourages us with. Hebrews 10:23 tells us to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promises is faithful.” Later in that chapter we are admonished to “not throw away our confidence; it will be richly rewarded” for “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” (vs.35 & 39) But my favorite is the beginning of chapter 11, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

See, I can sit here with my feelings all day long, and wrap myself into a pretzel with them. But bottom line is—I’m a Christ follower. And I know my God. I may have never seen Him, but I know “He is faithful in all He does” (Psalms 33:4) and that His “unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him” (Psalms 33:5). I know that I can do “all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13). That includes holding to my faith when things around me try to shake it.
No, it’s not easy. But good things rarely are.


So though I’ve yet to see an answer to what I’ve prayed for, and the wheels have spun away from my cart, I need to keep on keeping on. Guess it’s time to pull a Fred Flintstone, pick this baby up, take a little more advice from Hebrews and “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and…run with perseverance the race marked out before me…with my eyes focused on Him”—not all my problems.
No swerving. No shrinking back.
Care to race with me?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Praise

Luke 2: 1-7

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

**********************************************************************************

One of my favorite Christmas songs off one of my favorite Christmas CD's. What must Mary have been thinking as she held her son? This little boy who would save the world?

May this song bless you today:)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - Advent Storybook


Have I mentioned that I love this time of year? :)

The Advent Storybook is a wonderful tradition in our home. Each year it gets pulled out after Thanksgiving, and my kids eagerly await the evening of December 1st when we break it open to read together. Reading one page a night from December 1st through Christmas Eve, we travel with Little Bear on his journey to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus. Along the way, Little Bear meets other travelers and learns lessons about God's character and how much He loves us.

If there are any little children in your life this is a great addition to their Christmas traditions. One big lesson wrapped in one small story each night on the way to Christmas where we get the best present of all~that little baby in a manger.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Praise

Christmas is coming! Yesssss!! And over the next few Wednesdays I want to focus on the Christmas Story--no, not Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun quest (though it's one of my favorite Christmastime movies)--but the true Reason for this season. The best gift we've ever received. The birth of our Savior. It's a classic. Hope you enoy:)

Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”


Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting to Know You

This past week we all focused on things we were thankful for. In my life I have many, many things ranging from tiny to large. One of my biggest blessings is my BFF—and I almost missed out.

See, when I was seventeen I was all about penny loafers and argyle sweaters. Sensible. A bit of a push-over. Bon Jovi was Heavy Metal to me, and I felt like a rebel just listening to him. I’d had some friend issues (any girls out there relate???) and prayed for God to show me what being and having a good friend was all about.
He brought my BFF into my life.

My initial impression? Black leather and red bandana. Heavy Metal. Lotsa ear piercings. Flaming red hair with a major attitude. Definitely no push-over. If she had been a guy, my parents never woulda let me date her.
But no one ever had my back or made me laugh harder than the girl I met (still true to this day). (And right about now I’d love to show you a picture of us way back then, but she knows where I live.)
Our hearts connected in a way that could have only been God. She pulled out my crazy side, I reigned her in. She made me tougher, I softened her some. We compromised with John Cougar Mellencamp when it came to the radio and have slowly morphed not only in to one shared brain but the same hair color (at least in summer when we both get our blonde highlights). We’ve been maced in a Victoria’s Secret (long story), taken numerous road trips (with just a few detours) and shared the birth of children together (our first borns are 6-weeks apart). And have I mentioned laughter? She has brought countless hours of laughter into my life.

Had I judged the book by its cover I would have missed out on one of the greatest gifts in my life.
Don’t make the same mistake with God.
Natural disasters do not mean He doesn’t care. Dysfunction does not mean He’s chaos. Preachers that breath fire and brimstone do not mean He’s angry. Evil acts do not mean He’s hateful. And yet all too often these things stop people from getting to know God. But to truly know His heart, we need to spend time with Him. And when we do we see…
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7), “God is not a God of disorder, but of peace”(1 Cor.14:33), “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger…”(Psalm 103:8), “Whoever does not know love does not know God, for God is love”(1 John 4:8)

And that’s just scratching the surface. Getting to know someone takes time. You need to dig deep and have a desire to learn their heart. You study them and go through trials with them. You learn their voice and their character by intimately immersing yourself in them—not by looking at the surface. The surface can deceive. The heart never can. And once you begin to look beyond the surface of God and to His heart, you’ll find more than you ever bargained for. It will be the greatest relationship of your life. Don’t miss out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Praise


I am a quiet praiser - quite an oxymoron coming from this Pentecostal girl, shhh...don't tell anyone! See, when everyone around me is clapping, shouting and lifting their hands, I tend to bow my head, close my eyes and silently praise. Don't know why. I know how to clap and praise with the best of them...but it's something God's done in my spirit lately so I'll go with it.

And yet...

there are times...

where we DO need to shout our praises...

and it doesn't even have to be for anything other than...

we are SAVED!!!

So today, on the eve of Thanksgiving I want to say:

GLORY HALLELUJAH THANK YOU JESUS - I LOVE YOU!!!

He pulled me from the pit, turned my life around, showered His grace upon me and made me into a NEW creation. Anyone else relate? Do I hear any more HALLELUJAH'S out there? Come on, pull out that hidden Pentecostal--you know, the one who simply itches to burst out when you stop and think about what God's done for you. Almost makes you want to dance. (which we have been known to do, but not on the ceilings, I promise)

I'm going to end with one of my favorite Psalms. Okay, the whole book is one of my favorites, but this one is especially fitting for today:

Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness,
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his,
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise,
give thanks to him and praise his name,
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever,
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

So bring out your Hallelujah's alongside your turkey, there's no better side dish:)

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Which Way?

Signs. They point us in the right direction. Let us know which way to take...but how many times do we ignore them? You know, choose our way over God’s?

My hand is up and waving! Each time I use my snarky little comment. Each time I let impatience win. Or each time I hold on to my anger because I think I have a right to it—anyone relate? Oh, and don’t even get me started on those bigger moments. You know, the times God calls me onto the path He created me for but I conveniently take a detour down a path that looks, well, more fun, more important, more….anything than the one He’s pointing me toward.

Anyone out there relating to this? Thing is, when we put our foot down that path, God doesn’t stop us. He may throw up some flashing signs and try to coax us back onto the right road, but He won’t stop us from going down it. But God’s Word is really, really clear on what will happen if we stubbornly continue. Proverbs 14: 12 says “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” In fact, this is such a serious point it is repeated—word for word—two chapters later. If he's taking the time to repeat it, we better listen. After all, I’m not too keen on death. Spiritually speaking that is.

So what do we do? Seems He’s got that taken care of too. Check out Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (His loving eye - I love that!) So pull out your Bible, get in prayer, and allow Him to teach you. Then don’t just listen to the directions He gives, but follow them. After all, directions are no good if you ignore them. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - A Hope Undaunted


Julie Lessman is a masterful writer. She weaves a story full of chemistry and conflict that keeps the reader turning pages, and A Hope Undaunted is no exception.

I loved this story. I loved how she brought in the entire O'Connor family and made you a part of it. I also loved her leading man, Luke "Cluny" McGee. He and Katie make the pages come alive. And just when you think you know what will happen, Lessman changes it again. And herein lies my issues with the story.

See, I love conflict and unexpected twists-and-turns in books, and I was flipping pages right along with Lessman, fully into this story, up until the last one hundred pages. It was at this point I felt she took one turn too many. Rather than being pleasantly surprised by another twist, I wanted to yell at the characters I'd come to love--and not in a good way. For me, it made a frustrating ending to a book I truly wanted to love all the way through.

That said, the final page was just what I wanted, I simply hoped it had come pages earlier. Still, Julie is a fantastic writer, and I will read her again. In fact, A Hope Undaunted is the continuation of the O'Connor family stories, and I plan to pick up the original series, Daughters of Boston, where this family is first introduced.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blog Award



A big THANKS to Gwendolyn Gage who gave me this award. Gwendolyn is a fellow writer and book-lover and this award comes from her blog "Serving Through Words". Check her out along with the story she's writing that can be found at "The Way of Impressions".

So here goes my things about myself:

1. I've known my hubby since junior high -though we didn't date until college. Good thing for him I was patient!
2. I love mornings--as long as no one talks to me, asks me for anything, or birds chirp.
3. I cried when the Godiva store left our mall (did you know could get a free truffle every month! probably why they left...)
4. I am an awful bargainer. Um, actually, I don't bargain. Chances are I'll offer you more money than what you are selling for. Just ask Hubby.
5. I'm 6' tall and still wear heels.
6. Though I prefer sweats and flats :) (my girls have forced me to be 'girly')
7. I have no coordination. That whole "rub your belly and pat your head" thing? No way.

There's my 7! As for passing it on, well, I have a hard time choosing so please check out Blogs I Love on my side bar. The ladies there are an amazing and creative bunch who are sure to make you laugh and give you encouragement.

Blessings!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beloved Praise

Love, love, love this song - love the video even more! (I am secretly coveting his guitar at the end)

It's so freeing when we realize that--in Christ--we are not our past, we are His, and He calls us His Beloved. Make me love Him even more.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Bread and Water

Lately I’ve battled this little feeling called “overwhelmed.” Heard of it? Yeah, it’s one of my favorites too. What’s a girl to do?

I’m sure there are times where I simply need to learn to say “no”. My children think I have no issue with that word, but let me tell you—as a people pleaser—“no” is a tough one for me. I’m learning, really I am, but sometimes I only learn by finding myself at my wits end and promising to never be there again.

But there are other times that life simply overwhelms (my BFF and I call these “eye-twitching" moments). Times when you’ve played by the rules, done all God’s asked, and yet life crashes around you. Flying high one moment, a puddle on the floor the next. Any one else identify? Then you’ll love Elijah.

Elijah. Great prophet of old. Used by God in amazing ways. Strong man of faith. Have you ever read about the amazing things God did through him? The widow’s jar of flour that never emptied, raising a boy from the dead, calling down fire from heaven—which, by the way, is my favorite story of him, from 1 Kings 18. I identify with his sense of humor (dare I say sarcasm) as he taunts the followers of Baal. And I love his complete faith in his Lord. But look at what happens immediately following this scene. I’m talking the very next chapter.

Elijah finds himself fleeing for his life. Ahab, King of Israel, wants him dead. Elijah spent his life in dedicated service to his Lord, and now must run to keep it. It’s not the first time his life has been in peril. And he’s had enough. He journeys into the desert, finds a tree and slumps down under it. I can just imagine him uttering the phrase often found on my lips when I’ve had enough: “I’m done.” In fact, the NIV version says He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

Oh, I can feel his heart—can’t you? We’ve all been there. What I love so much is that God left us these stories so we don’t feel quite so alone. I mean, if Elijah felt this way at one time, how surprising is it that we may too? And even better, we get to see what to do when we’re in the same spot. In fact, I think I’m going to camp out in this passage for a few weeks, so let’s take today and look at the first thing God does for Elijah when he’s in this place of giving up.

Elijah is awakened by the angel of the Lord. God hears his heart, and what does He give to strengthen him? A cake of bread and a jar of water. Seriously? God could have given him a feast, yet He picks bread and water. And He doesn't simply offer it one time, but he wakes Elijah a second time to eat it again. Only look what God says this time: “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”

See, God wasn’t depriving Elijah. He wasn’t punishing him, and he didn’t tell him to “buck-up”. No, He leans down and in essence He whispers, “I know you’re tired, my Child, I’ve asked a lot of you, but I am here. Let me strengthen you. You weren’t meant to do this alone.”

Yes, God could have given him anything to eat, but He fills him with the One thing he needs: Himself. Jesus tells us in John 6:48 that “I am the bread of life,” and He goes on in John 7:37-38 to say “if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him (Living Water, as in the Spirit of God. Love that!).

Oh friend! Life will overwhelm us—guaranteed. But you weren’t meant to do it alone. If you’re tired and weary, fill yourself today with the Bread of Life and all the Living Water you can drink. He will sustain you. Everytime.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - When All My Dreams Come True by Janelle Mowery


I have to be honest, I didn't love the cover of this book, but the back cover piqued my interest so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did.

Here's a little about the story:

Bobbie McIntyre dreams of running a ranch of her own. Raised without a mother and having spent most of her time around men, she knows more about wrangling than acting like a lady. The friendship of her new employer awakens a desire to learn more about presenting her feminine side, but ranch life keeps getting in the way.

Ranch owner Jace Kincaid figures the Lord is testing his faith when a female wrangler shows up looking for work. Bobbie has an uncanny way of getting under his skin, though, and he’s surprised when she finds a home next to his heart. But when his cattle begin to go missing and his wranglers are in danger from some low-down cattle thief, can Jace trust God, even if it may mean giving up on his dreams?

I really like Bobbie's stubborn strength in this book. She does not give up easily, and that trait goes a long way in helping those around her. Searching for a home, she soon realizes that she needs God too. I loved how the Gospel is woven in and shared with Bobbie in such normal ways.

Jace is a great leading man. Strong enough to stand up to Bobby and equally as stubborn, his matching personality sets a fun stage for their growing relationship.

The adventure and suspense in this book was well paired with the romance, and I turned the last page satisfied with a smile on my face. When All My Dreams Come True is the first in Janelle's Colorado Runaway Series, and I'll be sure to read the rest.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All Praise

I wonder sometimes what it will be like in Heaven. Will we all understand one another? Every tribe, every tongue, worshiping the One True Living God. Somehow, after hearing this song, I believe we will. God's spirit is a universal language for all who believe in Him.

How great is OUR God!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Scrub-a-Dub


I am a neat-nick. Doesn’t always work out well with small children, but if I had my choice, my home would always be neat. I don’t even mind cleaning because it actually calms me. Just don’t ask me to scrub anything. Dust, vacuuming, organize--great, but elbow-grease is where I draw the line. I mean, how relaxing is that, really? Scrubbing one spot over and over and over again? Ugh.

Hubby knows this about me, but it‘s not his favorite trait of mine (good thing he‘s called to love me anyway). I keep messes out of the way, but dirt in the corners? Baseboards that need washing? Stovetops with cooked on gunk? Yeah, not so much. It’s a matter of time, and I have other things I want to do. So, if my house is tidy, I tend to forget about the dirt lurking in other places, especially if it means skipping a task I truly don’t like.

And things go great, until Hubby wanders into an area that’s got gunk lurking. See, while I look at the big picture, God has blessed me with a husband who sees the details - thank you, Lord…truly…eh-hmmm…so anyway, last week when Hubby decided to cook me dinner, he encountered the stove. Sweet as he is, he didn’t say anything. He got dinner in the oven and just started scrubbing away. It took him the entire hour that dinner was cooking, (yes, I let it get that dirty) but that stove sparkled when he was done.

Now I explained to him that he’s much better at this than I am. Had I tackled the task, it would have taken much longer--his elbows are much stronger than mine. That explanation didn’t fly. He offered one of two thoughts--scrub harder or take care of the little messes before they turn into bigger ones. I politely ignored him. God, however, tugged on my ear to make sure I received the message.


I’ve been reading through the Bible during my morning devotional time and the next morning I opened up to where I was in Psalms. Chapter 66. There's a lot of great stuff in there that had me thinking, but I stopped at verse 10, “For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.” Now I’ve read that before, but God read it to me that morning, then spoke with me a while.

All too often we take care of the big, easy messes in our lives, the ones that are easy to spot and easy to fix. They keep our lives tidy, but do they keep them clean? And what about those little messes that occur along the way? They ones that aren’t as noticeable, so we leave them--not realizing they are digging into the crevices of our lives, creating bigger messes that are harder to get rid of. Then when God comes in and points them out, we don’t want to scrub and polish that area to be rid of them. It takes too much work. And really, is it fun to rub over one spot over and over and over again until it’s removed? The area becomes sensitive, we become tired--who really wants to go through that?

But what’s our choice? To borrow Hubby’s words: Either take care of the messes when they are little and manageable, or scrub harder. Because God wants to refine us like silver.


Silver’s neat, isn’t it? My mom gave me a box of silver bells she used to put out every Christmas. They were a mess. But after some polishing and scrubbing, (by me, no less!) they shined. And you know what I noticed? I could see my reflection. And that is exactly what God wants. See, silver--when shiny--reflects the image of the person who’s holding it. So scrub away at your mess, put the elbow-grease in (Phillipians 4:13 says we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, so no saying you‘re not strong enough to scrub, use His strength), because when you’re polished up they world will look at you and see the image of the One who’s holding you: Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon


I love Irene Hannon's books, so when Deadly Pursuit--the second in her Guardians of Justice series--came out I rushed to get it. It didn't disappoint.

Here's the scoop:

As a social worker, Alison Taylor has a passion for protecting children and seeing that justice is served on their behalf. But when she starts getting harassing phone calls and bizarre "gifts," it seems she may be the one in need of protection. When her tormentor's attentions take a violent turn, her brother Cole comes to her aid, along with his new partner, an ex-Navy SEAL, Detective Mitch Morgan. As her relentless stalker turns up the heat, Mitch takes a personal interest in the case. Protecting Alison has bec ome more than just a job--because his own happiness now depends on keeping her safe.

Though this is the second in this series, Irene's books all stand alone. Yet, if you read one you'll want the others. She weaves romance and suspense throughout, and develops her characters individually, not simply together.

For me, part of the draw was featuring a social worker. Having studied this field in college, I empathized with Alison and her dedication to her job. I really liked how Alison and Mitch weren't featured together all the time, but that you got snippets of their individual lives, yet could still feel the connection they were building. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Alison better in this book and the interaction she shares with her brothers. Another positive for me was how Irene enters the antagonist's head. Rather than attempting to keep the reader from discovering who the 'bad guy' is, Irene reveals him, writes a few chapters from his POV and still manages to keep the thread of suspense.

If you like romantic suspense and haven't encountered Irene yet, I highly recommend giving her a try and starting with Deadly Pursuit.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Most Wonderful Time!

November 1st! We officially start listening to Christmas music and break out our movies. Time for a little Christmas Vacation, Christmas Story and Elf...just to start. My kids and I love this day. My Hubby says we run over Thanksgiving. Not true--have you ever heard Thanksgiving music? Me either. If there was such a thing, we'd play that too.

And for all my writer friends out there--it's the start of NaNoWriMo! The time where we all start on those brand new ventures. For those of you out there tackling it this month, I'll be thinking of you. I hope to knock out a few words myself, but need to finish what I'm working on first. I'll set my own goal, but won't start today. To the rest of you--ready, set, TYPE!

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Guest Blogger - David

You know, after spending time with him this morning, I realized David would have made a great blogger. And as my computer ate my blog post, I've decided to use one of David's posts from Psalms. It's short (typing on an iTouch with one finger here), but you don't always need a lot of words.

Psalm 62

(1-2)My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

(5-8)Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

(11-12a)One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Be blessed today, friends:)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - Race Against Time


Race Against Time is the second book by Kimberley and Kayla Woodhouse, a mother/daughter writing team. This book is also set in Alaska and continues with the same cast of characters that were in No Safe Haven. I did not read No Safe Haven and had no problem keeping up with this book, but do feel the first book would only enrich this one.

Here's a short blurb:

Anesia Naltsiine has made mistakes that have cost her-and her 13-year old daughter, Zoya-dearly. But no more. She will prove her worth as a mother and as a breeder of champion sprint racing dogs. Her kennel is so successful that buyers come from all over the world. So why does she still feel so worthless?

Zoya misses the dad she never knew. All she wants is to follow in his footsteps as a champion sprint dog racer. But when she witnesses a murder in their town of North Pole, Alaska, she finds herself thrown into dangers and emotions she can’t begin to understand.

Enter Sean Connelly, a new employee at the kennel with demons of his own. When he discovers macrochips bearing military secrets implanted in the Naltsiine's dogs, a puzzle tracing back to the murder unfolds. Then strange "accidents" start happening; clearly someone wants Zoya silenced. Anesia tells her daughter it's not safe to race, but Zoya, angry with the world- and God-takes off across dangerous Alaskan terrain alone. Anesia and Sean must race against time to save the girl-and themselves.

This book is full of mystery and fast paced. If you pick it up, be prepared to approach your characters in a different way. Each section is introduced with bold-face type telling you whose POV you're in for that scene. Another unique writing trait is the switch from 3rd to 1st person. Zoya, the daughter, is written in 1st person while the remaining characters are in 3rd person. While that took me some time to settle into, the change was unique and refreshing.

The plot is intense and deals with death, struggling faith, and new love, all with a thread of suspense woven throughout. If you can slip past the structure of the book, you'll find yourself thoroughly enjoying the Alaskan landscape and this well-written story.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Keep Breathing

I stumbled across this video tonight while pulling up the praise & worship video I was looking for. I love Kerrie Roberts, she's one of my favorite singers and this is such a simple song, simple performance, and, well, simply beautiful. If you're hurting, no matter what you're going through, just keep breathing.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Falling and Jumping


So I took this past week for my "quiet and rest" as I said in my last post. I was blessed to spend it in Destin, Florida, and I definitely found my quiet moments there:) I tried to hide the car keys so Hubby wouldn't be able to take us home, but he found them, so back North we go.

While I was enjoying those quiet moments with God, He started talking to me about the difference between jumping and falling. See, there are moments where we fall--usually if our feet aren't on solid ground or we slip, or maybe even the ground suddenly opens beneath us.
In those moments I'm always amazed at the depth of His presence and how He never fails to catch me. There's a sweetness found there like no other, a trust that's built where I know that no matter what, no matter how far the fall, He's there. Those are the moments that help me when I'm called to jump.

Yes, jump. That moment when God beckons you to jump into His presence. Sometimes it's an area in your life that you've been working on, and God finally says it's time to leave it all behind--let that last little grip of it go. Maybe it's trusting Him with something so dear to you that you want to cling to it when you need to cling to Him instead. Or maybe there's a change happening in your life and you can't quite see your landing spot, but God's asking you to jump--He's already there waiting for you.


See, falling happens. We're walking along with confidence and suddenly find our feet out from under us. But jumping, well, that takes initiative. We need to leave the solid ground we're on and
jump to the place He's standing, waiting to catch us and take us deeper, farther, beyond where we've been and to the place He's designed for us to be.

Will you dare take that leap? He's there, waiting.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Quiet Time

Fridays are typically my Bookshelf day, but this week I'm doing something a little different-taking a break:) God keeps bringing a verse to my heart and I'm going to take the next week to listen to it:

In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength." Isaiah 30:15

It's really hard for this girl to be quiet-reeeeaaaallly hard. But sometimes, it's what we need. To stop working a problem, to stop asking for answers, and to sit. Quietly. To listen. To rest. And trust Him for all we need.

Blessings and I'll see you in a week:)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One Thing

Some days I wish I could write music, to put the words of my heart into song, but a las, I am not talented that way...God gave that talent to others, and me the restraint not to pretend I have it! (at least not in public, Hubby however has to put up with me).

I love, love, love, music. As I've said before, there's always songs running through the background of my life. And, let me tell you, I've had many different soundtracks in my life. This is one of those songs that stuck with me. It takes words right from my heart, challenges me, and pulls praise from my lips all at the same time.

So today, as you're waking up, as you're going through your day, ask yourself: Of all the things you'll see today, all the things you'll have the opportunity to spend your time or money on, what's the one thing you desire?


Monday, October 10, 2011

Growing Pains



My son is eleven and growing fast. There are times when his growth is slow and hardly measurable. Other times—like now—he stretches so quickly that he complains his entire body hurts. Growing pains. I wish I could take them on for him, but he has to go through them to become the young man he’s going to be.
Even as adults, we can still experience them, can’t we? Spiritually at least. See, God’s constantly stretching us, growing us into who He wants us to be. There are times where I think the stretching is going to break me. Times I cry over how it hurts. And times where I shy away from it. Sometimes growth is the last thing I want and I walk away from it. I fail at what He’s asking me to do.
Now, God loves us, and when we fail He forgives us. It’s grace. Something given that we don’t deserve. Yet God’s ever-present grace is not an excuse to remain unchanged. If we’re going to grow into the child of God He’s created us to be, then we need to allow for a little growing pain along the way.
Maybe you’re in a slow period of growth where it hardly seems you’re changing at all. Or maybe you’re being stretched beyond what you thought possible, and it hurts. Whichever it is, you're in His hands, not forgotten and not being broken. Simply growing into who He created you to be.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - Choosing to See


Wow--a tough read, and you'll need a box of tissue. Yet, in the end, it's a stunning picture of God's faithfulness.

My mother-in-law shared this book with me and I wasn't sure if I'd want to read it. I read it in one evening. My husband kept looking at my red, splotchy face and asking why I wouldn't just put it down. But, even through the sorrow, there was beauty. One small thing that stood out to me, yet spoke so loudly, was that even in the physical printing of this book, nothing stayed the same after the tragedy that took Maria Sue. Nothing could.

The Chapman's are still in the process of healing, and writing this book is a part of that. Mary Beth is honest in her struggle of faith, yet holding tightly to it. Choosing to See will challenge you, it will touch your heart, pull out your tears, and leave you with a beautiful picture of God standing in the midst of even your darkest hour ~ you just have to choose to see Him.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Enthusiasm


Have you ever met a Christian who doesn't smile? Whose shoulders weigh their entire body down? Yes, life can be hard, but do we need to always look like it is?

Where's our enthusiasm? See, I learned this really neat fact in Sunday's sermon. You may already know it, but this one stood out to me. "Enthusiasm" finds it's root in the Greek word "Entheos", meaning "in God". So...if we're in Him, shouldn't we appear a tad enthusiastic?

Yeah, I know, a bit simplistic for all we face in life. But, for just a moment today, praise Him like you're in His very presence. And see if that smile breaks out and your shoulders feel a little less heavy. You may even just find a bit of enthusiasm:)




Monday, October 3, 2011

Don't Forget


So I keep coming back to a passage lately, Deuteronomy 6:10-12:
When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
See, there are times where we cling to God. Where we call out to Him daily to rescue us. Each day we take moment by moment, praying we’ll make it though and hoping there are no other mountains waiting around the corner that need to be scaled. We all know those times. We’ve all experienced them. They’re our Egypt. And while we don’t like being there, we grow in those times.
Then God moves us. And at times the blessings almost seem too much. Land of milk and honey. Blessings we’ve done nothing to achieve, He’s simply given them to us. That’s the nature of a blessing. You don’t have to work for it, you just get to receive it. It’s a gift. And we serve a God who loves to bless us.
The problem with being in a land you didn’t have to work for is you tend to forget where you came from. The days you couldn’t breath without the presence of God next to you. And slowly you think you’re the one who got you there. Here’s where God’s warning comes in. Read that passage again and think about you’re life as you do. Are you scaling a mountain right now? If so, remember this passage when you’ve come to the top. Or maybe you’re living the good life right now. Then ask yourself, have you forgotten that God is the one who delivered you there?
So what do we do? Lucky for us God’s got that covered. In fact, before He even cautioned us not to forget where we came from, He tells us what to do. Check out Deuteronomy 5: 5-9. It may be familiar to you, but do you do it?
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Impressing something leaves a mark. Talking helps you remember. Tying or binding them to you means letting them become a part of you--weave them through your character and your core. And writing them on your door frames? Make His commandments such a tangible part of your home that you cannot leave your house without them following you into the world.
So today, if you’re walking through land that is dry and cracked and feel like you can’t take another step, stop and impress this moment on your heart and how God is carrying you. Take a mental shot and remember it when life flourishes around you again--because it will. And if you’re living in the land of blessing, stop a moment and look around you. Then look up. Don’t forget the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt. Rely on Him today. Thank Him. Love Him with all your heart, mind and soul.
Whatever you do, don’t forget.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crazy Praise


Dance in abandon. Raise your hands and sing—even if you’re off key. Clap your hands. Maybe even be reduced to tears—happy ones.
Praise. Crazy like.
Be like David as he danced before the Lord with all his might. He was King. You know people were watching him. His wife Michal was embarrassed. But what was his response? “I was dancing before the Lord! He picked me! So I celebrated before Him. My dancing may appear foolish. My singing may humble me. But it’s not about me. I’m going to praise Him!” (my paraphrase of 2 Samuel 6:21-22)
Remember today – He picked you. Saved you by grace. Washed away all your sin. Made you a new creation. You are no longer who you were, but you’re becoming who He created you to be. That’s worth maybe a Hallelujah or two.
PRAISE THE LORD AND GLORY HALLELULJAH!
Go ahead, pull out the David in you and give Him a little crazy praise today.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Love, Lofts, and Rocking Chairs

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary. Look at those crazy kids up there, beaming, no cares in the world, living on love. Reality hit the next morning. No one told me he was a morning person. Now, there’s a lot I could say about love, even pull out 1 Corinthians 13. Instead I’m just going straight to—love is tough!

See, while Hubby and I have a lot of similar interests, there’s a lot of differences too. Hubby is not a talker, but I am. When he’s upset, he likes time to process, while I want to “talk it through”. He’s the classic optimist, I’m a realist (or in his words, a pessimist, but really, don’t you need to know all the scenarios that could happen? And plan for them?). He loves large crowds and talking to everyone he meets, I like wide-open spaces and clam up in a crowded room. Oh, and his ideal retirement plan? A loft in the middle of a bustling city. I’d like a couple acres, porch and rocking chair. How did we ever end up together?

That’s simple. God. And I think His plan was to teach us something about ourselves. Well it has worked.

That’s what love does. It pushes us beyond ourselves—way beyond ourselves. It shapes us into new people. Hopefully ones that begin to resemble God. Because ultimately, that’s who we’re supposed to look like here on this earth. What will you do today to move beyond yourself? Me? I guess I’ll figure out a place to put a rocking chair in a city loft someday.

14 years later, a couple more cares, grounded in a bit more reality, but we're still smiling and living on love...awww:)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - The Bible

The Bible, a non-fiction read penned by man but breathed into life by God (see 2 Timothy 3:16), is an absolutely amazing non-fiction read! Packed with thrills, adventures, drama, comedy and romance you'll want to pick it up today.

I have to admit, I’ve read portions of this book throughout my life. Recently I decided to sit down and read it cover to cover and—at only ½ through—already I give it five stars.

If you’re an adventure reader, check out Genesis as the Israelites flee Pharaoh, led by Moses. Or, check out all the battles that occur throughout Kings and Chronicles.

Looking for thrills? Check out the amazing miracles Jesus Christ performed throughout the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). The Man even walked on water, people! He was radical in His message and how He approached the leaders of His time. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you read how they received Him.

I laughed my way through the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. His humor as he proves Who is the one true God—definitely not Baal—cracked me up.

Drama ensues as Mary gives birth to our Savior in Luke and chapters later we watch Him die on the cross--for us. The entire earth goes black and shakes, rocks split in two...all seems lost. But…wait for it…three days later He rises again—from the grave! Talk about taking your from the depths of sorrow to the height of joy!

If you’re a true romantic at heart, check out the story of Ruth and Boaz, Song of Songs, or the Knight who charges in on His white horse in Revelations, coming just for us!

And these are just some of the stories. But it’s not just stories. Have you ever wished your children were born with a manual on how to raise them? Ever wondered how to manage your finances? Sought answers for what integrity looks like or how to have a happy marriage? It’s all here! In this one book.

If you don’t have a copy, run out and get one today. It's available in almost every color and language. You can pick a copy up at most stores, or your local church. This is a must-have for whatever genre you read. The only book you’ll really ever need.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The More I Seek You...

After Monday's post, this song kept playing through my head. Thought I'd share it this morning. I love the image of crawling into His lap, feeling His heartbeat. He is there, waiting for you to seek Him.

Blessings today:)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lovely Encouragement

Two fun things came my way last week, both a bit of encouragement during a week that God knew I needed it. Thought I'd share.

First, FaithWriters asked to use on of my blogs again. I love this site and was happy to have a chance to send them one. It'll be up tomorrow if you want to check it out then: http://faithwriters.com/blog/2011/09/21/insufficient-insignificant/

Second, I received a "Lovely" award from a friend of mine, Jackie Layton. Thanks Jackie!


Passing it on requires me to list seven random things about myself, so here goes:

1. Fall's my favorite time of year.
2. I'm not much for candy, but cannot pass up a baked good.
3. I'm not good with chit-chat (makes me break out in a cold sweat), but I love to talk.
4. I can read a book--or two--in a day.
5. I struggle to remember names, but seem to have no problem with random facts that I may never use again.
6. I love fast-paced word games. Scrabble Slam, Bananagrams, Boggle...
7. I hate birds chirping in the morning. Give me quiet, and my coffee, then nature can sing:)

Now, I'm supposed to pass it on, and I am, but I'd like to do it a little differently. I want to highlight a few blogs from a group of ladies who are doing something absolutely Lovely themselves. Some of these ladies I've gotten to know and follow their blogs, and some were new to me. You'll want to check them all out. They have a huge heart for God and have started a Facebook page called Living by Grace. It's a wonderful place for discussion and growth centered around digging into God's grace. Here's the line-up:


And here's the link to their Facebook page. Enjoy and have a blessed day everyone!

Living by Grace

Monday, September 19, 2011

Behind the Mess



Wednesdays are our really, really long day. Last week when we got home, my youngest decided to pull out all our dominoes and spread them over the kitchen table. She was being creative--and quiet--so I left her to play until it was time to tuck her in.

The next morning I woke up early, relishing the quiet in my home. It's about the only quiet I get all day. I go into stealth mode. My daughters' rooms are not too far from my kitchen, and they hear everything. So, picking up dominoes would have to wait until they woke up. I could do my devotions around those hundred little white tiles. Problem was, my Bible wasn't on the sofa table as usual. It wasn't on the kitchen table. Nor the counter. Nor by my bed. I spent a good ten minutes silently scouring the house and came up with nothing. Frustrated, I went back to the kitchen and stared at the table. As my Dad used to say "it couldn't have grown legs and walked away".

It hadn't.

After another five minutes I discovered it--under the pile of dominoes.

God chuckled at me, I'm sure I heard Him. "See, I'm always here, even behind the mess."

I shook my head, even as His words hit my heart, so true, so simple. And oh, how we need to know that truth! To have eyes to see past the clutter and find Him. All too often we ask God, "Where are you?" We focus on the mess in front of us and miss Him right there, smack-dab in the middle of it.

I don't know what your mess is today--depression, anger, sickness; whatever it may be--but I do know this: He's there.

Seek Him today. You will find Him. He's right there, waiting...just listen to His promise,
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer.29:13 And He never promises something He won't fulfill.

Blessings today:)

Looking for more promises that He's there? Check out: Deut. 4:29, Prov. 8:17




Friday, September 16, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - Jefferson Burke and the Secret of the Lost Scroll

I grew up on Indiana Jones--had a crush on Harrison Ford and all:) Hubby, the kids and I all love the National Treasure movies. Big adventure/treasure hunting, things like that, count me in. So I was excited to find Jefferson Burke at our church library. The cover snagged me immediately, and hubby even nodded his interest after reading the back. Maybe a book we could both read~nearly unheard of around our home.

Here's a small blurb:

Jefferson Burke and the Secret of the Lost Scroll is a mystery as old as the Christian church wrapped in a modern-day thriller. Though an unwilling hero, professor Jefferson Burke's intellectual curiosity pits him against the powerful Bruno Krueger in a race to find a 2000-year-old scroll that calls into question the divinity of Christ and could shake the foundation of Christian faith, upsetting the balance of power in the modern world. Their deadly quest spans the globe, involving officials from the Vatican, CIA and FBI agents, British royalty, a Hollywood actress, and modern terrorists. This classic battle of good vs. evil will hook believers and doubters alike. The uncertainties raised by the very existence of the elusive scroll will have every reader questioning the basis of their faith and wondering what would happen if certain fundamental truths suddenly were proven untrue. Artfully and thoughtfully told, this is the kind of action-packed adventure story that will keep loyal Ace Collins readers---and increasing legions of new fans---coming back for more

The book did not disappoint with adventure on every page. Krueger played a perfect villian, often sending chills up my spine. Burke and Cho made a great tactical pair, though if you're looking for a sweet romance-while present-it is not strong in this book. Solving the puzzles that lead to the elusive scroll take the main stage. Also, history is woven throughout, some of it used to suit this purely fictional tale.

While I do believe Ace could have come up with a stronger ending, the book as a whole was a fun read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes the movies I mentioned above.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Faithful

As you know, I love my hymns:) This one has been on my heart lately.


Lord, we praise you for your faithfulness. Morning by morning you are here...with all we need. Let us see today all the ways that your faithfulness abounds in our lives. Big and small, we praise you for it all.

Monday, September 12, 2011

God is in control

It's as simple as the title today.

Ever feel like God's moving and shaking things around you? Chances are, He is. And He's doing it to get your attention.

Lately I've felt the pull away of many things dear to me, and I'm not quite sure what God's doing. But I do know this. Always, He is in control. He has a plan. And while there's sadness in change, I'm madly in love with Him and ready for wherever He's taking me.

So I'd planned on writing a blog on this whole feeling of overwhelmingness and God's faithfulness through it, but--believe it or not--my computer crashed this weekend taking many of my files with it. While I'm waiting to see if I get them back or not, this simple blog today will have to do.

God is in control:)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So Happy

Here they are - our first day of school...don't they look thrilled? :)


I get up at least an hour before my kids to have my own quiet time and prepare for the day. I play my hymns, read the Bible, journal, and hubby tip toes around. (Thanks hubby) But when it's finally time to wake up the kids, hymns just don't cut it. So here's our morning song ~ the music gets you grooving (and my kids LOVE my moves), the lyrics get you praising. Good Morning!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Whatcha Reading?



If you read my Monday post, you know this is my vacation week with hubby and our kids. Limited internet, and no time for computer has kept me focused on family and away from my task list. It's been good:) Especially because hubby and I have found lots of quiet time to sit in the sun and read. So, rather than a book review this week, I'd love to know:

~what are you currently reading?
or
~your favorite book of all time.
(fiction or non-fiction for either)

I tend to lose myself in books, which means my free-reading time is slipping away with summer - unless I can convince hubby to let the kids and I read all day rather than doing schoolwork! So, this weekend I'm looking for a few more good reads to cram in before school starts on Tuesday. Whatcha got for me?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

He Is

Ohhhh! He IS!!! Praise Him this morning ~ whatever you're going through--He IS!



Monday, August 29, 2011

Pick Me...just not when I'm busy.


Things have been busy around the Tuttle household this last month of summer. Up here in the North we don’t start school until after Labor Day, and we’ve been busy soaking up every day left of sunshine and freedom. The cost? I’ve turned into Mom’s Taxi Cab. Suddenly I can see why my mom purchased a little red sports car once we all had driver’s licenses.
The Taxi Cab status is my fault though, really. As a homeschooling mom I look forward to being “fun-mom” all summer. Yeah, well, this summer “fun-mom” wore me out. And I complained to my hubby—something along the lines of how many hours he was working and how much I was alone with the kids—that I needed some back-up.
Fast forward a few weeks later. I’d forgotten I’d complained, it was a sunny day, and we decided to meet Daddy for lunch. As we sat at the table, he casually asked me what I had going the last week of summer. “Oh,” I replied, “you mean next week? Why?” And he delivered, gleam in his eye and all, “Because I took off the week to spend with you guys. Made plans to go away even.”
I didn’t have the best response.
“I’m busy.”
And I didn’t stop there. I started to detail how he was cramping my procrastinator’s style. “I have to get ready to start school…I have to get supplies…clean the school room…buy curriculum…lesson plan…and this week is simply too full of playing to do that—which only leaves me next week. The week you just took off. To spend with us.” See, I know on the first day of summer the exact second the next school year begins. A clock runs in my mind at all times; its tick-tock the music to which I creatively organize my checklist of everything needed to be done by fall. And by creatively organize I mean put off until the last week of summer. Did he really think I had time for him to take that week off?
Here’s the thing though, he was giving me exactly what I asked for. He’d heard my request, and wanted to surprise me with his answer. Because he loves me.
Okay, how many times do we do this with God? How often do we sit before Him, hand waving, “Pick me! Pick me!” only to have Him actually call on us and hear, “Yeah, well now I’m busy.” How many opportunities do we miss because we don’ t make time for Him when He calls our name?
Well, I’d like to say I had this revelation all at once and changed my attitude. No such luck. I was pretty sure I was right and that he completely did not understand me or what my time was worth. Lucky for me my hubby loves me and still took the time off. Lucky for me God loves me and got a hold of my brain.
So this week I’ve rearranged a few things. Pushed myself to get things done ahead of time and allowed other things to simply not get done. Ohhhh is that hard for this girl, but I’ve realized something. My checklist is not as important as being available. (I’m sure somewhere in here is a lesson on procrastination too, but we'll save that for later.)
What about you? When you're called, what wins? Keeping your time or giving it?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman

I stumbled across this book and picked it up solely based on it's cover. Yep, I am that type of book-buyer. Covers draw me in, then the blurb on the back snags me. My favorite covers are really basic, just like this one. I prefer not to see the Hero or Heroine, I want the freedom to make them up in my own mind. It's the way I write too, without a lot of detailed description....and I digress:) Let me get back on track with Pam's book, Stealing Jake.

I loved it! Here's a blurb:

When Livy O'Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she's helping to run an orphanage. Now she'll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.

Sheriff's deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy--literally--while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town--as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off--Jake doesn't have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can't seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn't willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.

I truly enjoyed Pam's style of writing; smooth and easy, filled with laughter and love. Pam pulls you in to her entire cast of characters. Jake is a true gentleman with a crooked smile and gleam in his eye, Livy is sweet and savvy, the children tug at your heart...I could go on but the best thing to say is: buy the book, sit down and enjoy it for yourself.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mended Vessels


One of the spaces God's carved in my heart is for the hurting, hurting women especially. I also love writing--but I figure you knew that:) I've prayed for God to join the two and taken steps forward as He lights them up. One of those steps brought me to ACFW. I joined to grow my writing skills and meet other writers, and through this I met Marie Coutu. Marie shares my heart for women's ministry and recently started a new website. When I read what it was about, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Here's a little about Mended-Vessels:

Have you ever felt broken? Or like your past mistakes have ruined your future? Do you ever wonder if you can be useful? Your life does have a purpose~one that God created you specifically for. Your pieces can be put back together, your past can be healed and redeemed. Mended-Vessels is a place to be refreshed. Meet other women, share stories, dig into scripture. Come be blessed or leave a word of encouragement and be a blessing to others.

I will be posting at least twice a month to Mended-Vessels along with other women. The site is literally in its infancy, but we'd love for you to come check it out and help us grow. If you have a word to share, drop it by. If you know of a great resource to list, we'd love to hear it. And most of all, if you know of someone who's hurting, point them our way. Healing can be found, purpose discovered, blessings shared...one step at a time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Holy



I love my God. He's my Father. His laughter pours over me. His joy is my strength. I don't feel the need to pray with 'Thee's' and 'Thous'...there's an effortless familiarity in our relationship. That's the beauty of God. He's relational. He desires us to step into His presence and never turns us away. It doesn't matter what we wear, where we live, what language we speak...what our sins are; He takes us just as we are. He sees our hearts, our spirit--not these bodies we live in.

And though there is such simplicity and beauty in that familiarity, I wonder at times if we lose site of His holiness. That 'fear' of the Lord. Not a fear based in this world's language, but the fear that stems from realizing how holy He is and how so unholy we are. Our sinful nature wants to separate us from Him. We cannot step into His presence without the covering of His blood. Truly, it would kill us--our spirits were made for His presence, but our bodies were not.

Have you ever felt this when you enter praise and worship? Sometimes, it's almost too much for me, His presence. Just like the Israelites trembled with fear at the base of Mount Sinai--they couldn't imagine Him even speaking to them--I sometimes tremble in His presence. My spirit longs for more of Him, but my sin-filled body cannot handle it. There are times where His presence is so strong, I simply have to take a step back from Him. I fear His presence--I'm not scared of it, but I know it will knock this body flat, and I respect the amazing power of our God. At moments like this, I cry out in praise--not to my Friend, not to my Father--but to the King of Kings, the Alpha and Omega, the Great I AM.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Senses ~ Taste



We’ve come to the end of our senses. Sight, Hearing, Touch, Smell and now Taste. You know, the thing that makes eating such a delight…especially chocolate. Yep, that’s the one we’re talking about today. (Taste, not chocolate)

Now as much as I’d love to be a sweet taste to this world, God has other ideas. He’s asked us to be salt. For a girl who’ll choose sweet over salty any day, I wasn’t too sure about that. I mean, sweet sounds so...well, sweet compared to Old Salt. But I don’t get a choice, God’s pretty clear here. Matthew 5:13 says—“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” (The Message)

Um…I’m not too fond of the garbage. I’d really rather not end up there. So as much as I like sweet, I figured I’d better learn about salt.

It didn’t take much—thank-you Google. Here’s a little of what I found. Salt preserves. It makes things last. It cleans out wounds. It can be used to smooth rough edges. Are you starting to see why God compared us to it? I don't see chocolate cleaning out my wounds. Yep, salt has many, many uses, but here was my favorite one:

Salt makes you thirsty. Now we're talking! Because when people are thirsty, we have the perfect drink to satisfy...Living Water. Fill them a cup until it's overflowing.

How's your saltiness today? Are you enhancing the God-flavors of this world or do they not even know you're there? Our taste should't blend in, it needs to stand out. It needs to leave people thirsty for more. Get salty.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen


This was the first Julie Klassen novel I ever read, and I fell in love. Julie goes in depth with her stories and weaves you right into the center of her character's lives. The Silent Governess is a sweet love story full of moments that make you smile and your heart sigh just a little:)

Here's the back cover:

Believing herself guilty of a crime, Olivia Keene flees her home, eventually stumbling upon a grand estate where an elaborate celebration is in progress. But all is not as joyous as it seems. Lord Bradley has just learned a terrible secret, which, if exposed, will change his life forever. When he glimpses a figure on the grounds, he fears a spy or thief has overheard his devastating news. He is stunned to discover the intruder is a scrap of a woman with her throat badly injured. Fearing she will spread his secret, he gives the girl a post and confines her to his estate. As Olivia and Lord Bradley's secrets catch up with them, will their hidden pasts ruin their hope of finding love?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Liebster Award



I was awarded the Liebster Award this week - and I must say thanks to two ladies for it:) Sheri Salatin and Michelle Massaro thanks to you both! I met them both through ACFW and have enjoyed getting to know them even better on their blogs. Take a moment and check their sites out. Both women love the Lord and are gifted writers, each with their own flair. They'll challenge you, inspire you, and make you laugh...I guarantee it. They definitely deserved receiving this award themselves.

The Liebster is awarded to blogs with less than 200 followers. It's an opportunity to shine the light on fantastic blogs and their authors in an effort to build readership. Each blog I've listed here, including the two above, are ones you'll love to read.

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the giver of the award and link back to them.
2. Give the Liebster to five bloggers and let them know with a comment to their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award onto your blog.
4. Have faith your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. Have blogging fun!

And here are the winners:)

1. Maria Morgan - Life Lessons
2. Dora Hiers - Heart-Racing, God-Gracing Romance
3. Joy Melville - Joyfully Journaling
4. Ginger Solomon - A Bed of Roses...thorns included
5. Mary Hall - Writing to Inspire
6. (and just one more, who--had she not already received it--would have made the list too!)
Jessica R. Patch - romantic suspense...overflowing hope

Each and everyone of you I've enjoyed getting to know and hope others do too. All of you are writing along the path God has taken you and it shows. Keep it up ladies! And thanks one more time to Sheri and Michelle--you made my day:)