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:)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Praise Him



Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for at his command they were created,
and he established them for ever and ever—
he issued a decree that will never pass away.
Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
And he has raised up for his people a horn,
the praise of all his faithful servants,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the LORD.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Senses ~ Smell


I have a thing about smells. As a girl, I don’t think we should sweat. Or…if we have to…then why couldn’t God make it smell like flowers? Lilacs, lavender, roses. Women just should not get stinky. When we work-out, the fragrance coming off of us should not make people step ten feet away. We should be able to lift our arms with confidence. I’m definitely asking God about this one when I get to heaven.
The thing is, as a Christian, I expect the same. We give off an aroma in this world—and it needs to draw people to us, not send them running. You know what I mean. There are people you turn around and follow to see where they got their scent from. You want it ~ or you want to buy it for your significant other. Then there are people you need a clothes pin to be in the same room with. Which do you think we should be?
Well the Bible is pretty clear on this one. Our fragrance needs to be sweet with the Holy Spirit. Just listen to 2 Corinthians 2:14&15: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

See, we are a fragrance to those around us, and we’re supposed to be the fragrance of Christ. But when we spend too much time rolling around with the things of the world, it rubs off on us and we take on its smell. Kind of like cooking with garlic. My hands stink to high heaven when I get done peeling and chopping a clove, or two, or three…:) So I learned a trick a few years back ~ rubbing my skin against stainless steel when I’m done will remove the smell. The metal in stainless steel binds with the sulfur (aka the stinky part) of the garlic and removes the smell from my hands. That’s exactly what God does for us. When we start to smell too much like the world, if we draw near to Him, He’ll pull all those bad smells from us and replace them with His sweet aroma.

So how do you smell right now? Is your scent drawing people towards Christ or is it time to rub yourself in His presence? Let Him absorb some of the stink and wash you clean, leaving you with His sweet fragrance. I can guarantee you, nothing smells better.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wildfire Wednesday ~ My Psalm

I'm on vacation this week, so this is a re-post. An easy one to choose. This is what I've had the joy of staring at each evening and my heart has been singing His praise. I posted this Psalm a few months back and it's been playing in my heart all week. Hope you're enjoying these last few weeks of summer!

My Psalm:

You are the author and perfecter of my faith. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. You know each hair that is on my head and capture each tear that falls from my eye, holding them in a bottle. My days were already in your hand before I breathed my first breath.

You desire to bless me. You clothe me more beautifully than the lilies of the field. You’ve set creation out for my pleasure. You throw open my storehouse and overflow it with your provision. And you’re preparing a place for me, even now, in your presence.

Your words are sweeter than honey on my lips. I seek you, Oh Lord. You ways are higher than my ways, your thoughts far beyond mine. You created a plan for me. You know my comings and goings. You see when I wake and when I lie. My path is made straight by you, the lamp unto my feet.

Peace that surpasses all comprehension flows from your hand and surrounds me. Your joy is my strength. When I am weak, You, Oh Lord, are strong. You will never leave me or forsake me. You hide me in the cleft of the rock, lift me high above my enemies. You deliver me.

Death sought to claim You, yet You were victorious. Though You knew I was still a sinner, You endured the cross, shedding Your blood for me. No greater love is known then shall a man lay down his life for another.

I will praise you, for if I am silent, the rocks will cry out. You are great and mighty, deserving of our praise. You are my God, my King, my Savior, the Rock of my Salvation. You are my Cornerstone.

You transcend time. You are the Beginning and the End. You fulfilled every prophecy. And you are coming again.

Amen! Hosanna in the Highest!! Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Senses ~ Touch

Touch physically connects us to something. It is powerful. That connection can be soft and gentle, or harsh and angry. It can rub you like sandpaper or flow over you like a soothing balm.
When I started to think about touch, two things came to mind. The first was how over and over again in the New Testament, people simply wanted to touch Jesus. They crowded Him, followed Him, reached for Him. They knew a simple touch of Jesus would change their lives. And it still does, even today. His touch changes lives.
But as I thought about our changed lives, I wondered: how do we touch others?
We are called to be change in this world. In it, but not of it. So how does our touch affect those around us?
Are we soft when we need to be? When those around us hurt, do we reach out and love them? Wrap our arms around them, sit with them, listen to them…be the gentle hand of God.
Are we rough when we need to be? Now I don’t mean rough like angry and mean. I mean rough like the sandpaper I mentioned above. That little rubbing that gets someone’s attention. Doesn’t let them walk into sin easily…but calls their attention to it.
Are we firm when we need to be? Do we tug those back who start to stray from God? Hold tight, don’t compromise, but still love. A strong grip on their arm to pull them back into God’s presence.
If we are His hands and feet, we need to make sure each touch we offer connects others back to God. So what type of touch will you be today?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bookshelf Friday - Surrender the Heart

I've heard a lot about Marylu Tyndall's "Surrender to Destiny" series lately. Her name was new to me and about the third time it crossed my path I decided to add her series to my to-be-read list. This weekend I ended up with some unexpected time to read and opened my Kindle. About a month ago I'd downloaded some specials from Kindle's Free Book list. Imagine my surprise when I found Surrender the Heart, #1 in Marylu's series on my Kindle. I opened it with great expectations...they were more than met! If you have not already discovered this series, pick it up. Especially if Historical Fiction is your thing. Then again, even if it's not, you'll still love this story.

A young mistrustful lady desperate to save her family. . .

A guilt driven man desperate to please his. . .

Both caught in the brink of a war that could change the course of history forever.


On the brink of the War of 1812, Marianne Denton must marry to unlock her inheritance. Without the money, her mother can’t receive medical care and her sister will be destitute. But Noah Brenin needs to sail his cargo to England before the war commences in order to prove his worth to his father and make enough money so he won’t have to marry at all.

When Noah walks out on their engagement party, Marianne chases him down and ends up on his merchantman out at sea. The situation worsens when Noah’s ship encounters a British man-of-war and the couple is impressed into the British navy.

While a young lad’s prophecy of destiny looms over them both, Marianne and Noah are forced to face their darkest fears as they desperately try to find a way to escape and fulfill their destinies-destinies that could change the course of the war and history forever.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Battle Praise

I’ve been slowly reading through the Bible, a feat I’ve never really accomplished in my life. Sure, I’ve read it all in bits and pieces, I’m familiar with the stories, have memorized scripture, but I’ve never really sat down and read it cover-to-cover. It has drawn me in. I’m on no timeline to finish, but there is something amazing that happens as I open God’s Word in the morning and just read it. Some days it’s simply one chapter, other days I’m pulled into a story and blow through five or six. If you haven’t ever accomplished reading His story, I challenge you to try it. Don’t pressure yourself with a plan, just crack it open and see where He leads you.
Okay, well, I digress…but it was a good rabbit holeJ I wanted to talk about a passage that stopped me this week. It’s out of 2 Chronicles 20 and stars Jehoshaphat, King of Judah. He was facing a battle with some big people, a “vast army” to be exact. I can relate? You? Well Jehoshaphat sought the Lord and I love what happens here.
First, the people of Judah fasted and called out to God. Then He answered. And just look at His answer (I’m taking this from verses 15-17) “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you…Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged…face them and the Lord will be with you.”
Before I move onto what Jehoshaphat and Judah did, I want to point out something—the battle was never theirs. Did you see that? God tells them it’s His battle, they didn’t need to fight it. Sometimes we get locked into fighting a battle that was never ours to take up. We can’t understand why we feel defeated, yet we aren’t even supposed to be in the fight. So what should we be doing, if not fighting?
Praising.

Let’s keep reading snippets from the rest of the passage. "Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites…praised the Lord with very loud voices…Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army…and as they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir…and they were defeated.”
Do you see? See the power of our praise? So often we try and take the battle from God and all He wants is our praise. As we praise, He moves. There is such power in the simple act of worship.
Are you fighting a battle today? Seek God…is He trying to tell you that the battle is His? Step back from the fight and start praising—let Him defeat your enemy. The battle belongs to the Lord.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Senses ~ Hearing


Hearing. All those noises we take in. Some subtle, some loud. Some we know we shouldn’t listen to, others sneak past us. Did you ever notice that what you listen to often becomes what you meditate on…what you believe? It sets a mood. Changes our very spirit.

Think about it. We can even start with an easy one: music. Music can soothe the savage beast or set us in a crazy mood. There is a time for my hymns—and it’s not when I’m attempting to jog. Nope. Give me hard rock, something like Skillet or Plumb. But when I’ve got my kids screaming and dog barking at the end of a long day? Please give me instrumental praise music.
See? What we listen to can set our moods.
So what do you think happens to your anxiety level when you turn on the evening news? Now I’m not saying you can never listen to the news again…but starting and ending your day there rather then in God’s Word can start to affect your mood. You begin to wonder who’s in control of your fate, forgetting that it is and always will be God. He’s bigger than any debt our country can accumulate. He’s higher than any gas price we may pay. He’s got all the answers to the endless questions newscasters leave open for you to worry over. Listen to His voice, not theirs. And His voice clearly says do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.” Matthew 6:34 (If you struggle with worry, crack open the Bible and start at verse 25—it’s a great passage.)
And what about the voice that carries gossip? Oh I know we try to keep our tongues from spreading gossip, but our ears are just as powerful here. With no one to listen to it, gossip dies. And it

doesn't matter how pretty the wrapping is on the gossip (eh-hmmm…I’ve got this prayer request…) if it’s not information you should have, you should not be receiving it. But too often our need to know gets us sucked into places we should not be. God’s quite clear about this voice… He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip.” Proverbs 20:19.
As long as I’m talking about voices…what about when you listen to people who put you down rather than build you up? We all know words can hurt. But they don’t make you who you are. Only God can do that. Listen to Psalm 139: 13-14, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it well.” His works are wonderful—and you are one of them. He didn’t create you by accident, He wove each unique part of you together. You are wonderful. You are chosen. You are loved. If you hear nothing else, hear that.
One last thing. We need to train our ears to know His voice. Sometimes counterfeit voices try to take the place of His. In fact, satan is so intent on being God that he forever tries to imitate Him…and he’s gotten good at it. But if we draw near to God, learn the texture of His voice, the cadence of His lilt, the very essence of His sound, we will not be fooled. Listen to these verses from the parable of the good shepherd found in John 10. “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
I don’t know about you, but I want to know Him so intimately that even with the softest whisper, I'm certain it’s Him. To hear His voice above all others and meditate on His Word. To follow where He calls.
What about you? What will you do this week to clean out those ears and tune into Him?