Thursday, April 30, 2009

Compassion Bloggers

Hi Friends!!
Just wanted to pop on quick and tell you about the Compassion bloggers. A group of bloggers and photographers are currently on a trip to India visiting children sponsored by the Compassion ministry there. They are blogging about their experiences, and their stories are absolutely gut-wrenching and amazing at the same time. I encourage you to check them out. Have some Kleenex handy. Their stories really made me ponder the question of what "the church" should be doing to be the hands and feet of Jesus..... in our own towns as well as in other countries.

or you can click on LPM blog or Bring the Rain blog on the side of our blog page. Two of the women who write on these blogs are on the trip.

Okay, so here it is...

Okay, so here it is, my first posting on our new blog! Actually, this is my first posting ever. I'm so excited!! I've only been reading blogs for a few months and can't believe that now I'm going to be writing on one! I hope to be able to write something worth reading and pray God will lead me in this new adventure. I definitely feel like an amateur at this but here goes...

I've been thinking about my church alot lately and had to figure out why it is that I go to church after all?! I need to go to church for more than just to see people, even the people that mean the world to me and my family, people that have become our family. I need to go to church for more than just because it is what I've done on a Sunday morning for most of my life. I need to go for more than the activities and jobs that I do because of the passions and things I like to be involved in. Especially, for more than some kind of credit you get for being in church and putting in your time there.

I decided that the reason I go to church (whatever church it would be) is because I need to give God my praise for the God He is, most importantly!! I need to be filled up each week. I need to be renewed and rejuvenated after being out in the world for a week. I need to be reminded that there is Someone that really does love me for who I am - even tho, I know there are many people that love me sometimes when you know you've dissappointed them, you wonder and worry. I know that I can start anew each week, even each day with God. I know that Jesus has paid the price for my sins and has forgiven me and will help me to forgive others when I don't think I ever can. I know that the relationship that I have with Jesus needs my constant attention for my sake and I praise God that He continues to pursue me, even me and even when I don't give it the attention I should. What an AWESOME GOD we serve!!!

I know I have much to learn from the others writing this blog, from many of you, and from a few friends that God has put in my life to guide me. I praise God and thank Him for all of you. I praise God for my children and the wisdom they all have which seems like far more than I had at that age and the guidance they give me, sometimes unknowingly. I praise God for my husband, too! And as I've come to realize in the last few weeks, I praise God for my church!! Hope to see you on Sunday!!

Psalm 9:1-2 "I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart: I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I have just finished a great book by Sandi Patty called Layers. It's about the layers we put on ourselves. We may do this for protection to keep from future hurts. The layers my be invisible to others (an attitude, like not caring, or wanting to fix things) or they may be physical (biting your nails, or layers of fat, eating...) At first we may only need these layers when in uncomfortable or harmful situations and not when we are with those we love, but if we are not careful they can overtake us and we will soon never take them off and eventually begin to identify ourselves by them.

Let's get honest. We all do this. We all have layers. Just in recent years I have noticed that the majority of mine are the third kind Sandi talks about- mine exist in my innermost thoughts. I'm not going to get all analytical on you and start to go into why I do this to myself, but the point is I do. I am my worst enemy. I can take a situation and then verbally abuse myself about it forever. I will tell myself I am ... not good enough, skinny enough, organized enough... or when I have to deal with something is uncomfortable and causes hurt I can totally blow it out of proportion.. "you are awful.. why did you have to say that, you ruined it, you are no good, you never have been, you should have just shut up..."

Seriously... who likes to have those words thrown at them by others let alone yourself?! The more I come to learn that these harmful thoughts are not ME, but my layers, the more I want them OFF. That's when I get to the part of the book I loved... Our Heavenly Father CAN and WILL tenderly, graciously, lovingly help me peel those layers away to find and celebrate the original me He created." Praise the Lord - there is an answer and relief! It is through His word. The more I learn about Him and the more I learn about His love, goodness, grace, and mercy, the more I know that I do not have to wear these heavy thoughts that do not come from the one who made me.

In order to not lose you in the countless paragraphs I could write, I'm going to just end with these two ideas... First... in order to do what I just described above, I NEED to get in His word. I need to let it surround me so when those thoughts threaten to overtake me, I have tools to overcome them. There is no other way around it...Knowing God and knowing his word. Then I can go to those thoughts, know they aren't from my creator and replace them with ones that are... I am dearly loved, chosen, adored.... forgiven.

Second... in our first Beth Moore Bible study we learned 5 phrases that have helped me tremendously.. When I have a problem.. one of them is sure to give me hope.
* God is who He says He is
* God can do what he says He can do
* I am who God says I am
* I can do all things through Christ
* God's word is alive and active in ME!

-Lord Jesus, I praise you for this blog. For the chance to share our hearts with others. Lord, thank you for helping me shed my layers. You, my God are my judge and you are merciful and loving. Let my thoughts be pleasing to you, and when they are not, give me your word to change them. Amen!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Meet the Bloggers!

Our weekly posts will teach you much about the work that God is doing in each of our lives. But for those of you who don't know us at all, here's a little jump start (and for those of you who do know us, maybe you will learn a little something). We are so glad that you are here, sharing this with us. We hope that you will comment and give us a little introduction of you.

May God Bless you!


Who is in your family? I come from a family of four + a sister-in-law and an adorable nephew. I have "family" everywhere as some of my closest friends are my "family"

What's your favorite color? Food? Movie? color - green, food - cheese pizza, movie - Shawshank Redemption

What Bible Verse is speaking to you right now? 3 actually: Psalm 45:11, 2 Timothy 1:8, Philippians 3:10 (Good News Bible)

What magazines/books do you like to read? anything that challenges me right now. I love the magazine "Relevant"

What was the best gift you ever recieved? plane ticket to Zimbabwe

PC or Mac? Coke or Pepsi? Nike or Reebok? Facebook or Myspace? Cats or Dogs? PC, Pepsi or Diet Coke, nike, facebook, either

What's one thing you/your household does to be more green? recycle

What three qualities of God do you cherish the most? agape love, compassion, truth

Why do you think engaging in a ministry like this is important? Women relate SO well to one another. I have been more encouraged by women in my life than anyone else. Plus, I feel like this is a ministry that God is opening doors for and I want to listen to HIM.

What's something you want all blog readers to know? I share straight from my heart. I'm not trying to impress anyone, just be real about my relationship with Jesus.

Who is in your family? I am married to M for almost 32 years. We have 4 great kidds - A is 21; D is 23; M is 25; and R is 27, married to S, and they have our first grandchild, a girl, A who is 7 months. Family is very important to me.

What's your favorite color? Food? Movie? My favorite color is yellow with blue, a close second. Love most food but especially mashed potatoes. Love any movie that makes you cry, most any chick flick!!

What Bible Verse is speaking to you right now? Isaiah 43 :1

What magazines/books do you like to read? I like Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion (which I'm afraid they aren't printing anymore) and a few country magazines. In books, I like to read inspirational or christian writers that write about their families and lives. I've been reading Beth Moore lately and want to read Tony Dungey's books.

What was the best gift you ever recieved? The best gifts are all the handmade cards and things from my kidds!!

PC or Mac? Coke or Pepsi? Nike or Reebok? Facebook or Myspace? Cats or Dogs? PC, I think and just got a laptop and when my two youngest kidds don't have it I'm trying to learn how to use it!! I like Diet Pepsi, too much. I have Crocs and Keds instead of Nike or Reebok. Not ever tried Facebook or MySpace, just figuring out the blog, for now!! Don't have any pets - always said 'I had four children, I didn't need any pets.'

What's one thing you/your household does to be more green? We recycle most everything, have for years. Actually, should say my husband recycles cause he does it all!! Thank you, Honey!! Have the reuseable grocery bags but forget to take them most of the time, need to work on that, too!

What three qualities of God do you cherish the most? His forgiveness, His unbelievable love, and His willingness to take me back every time I turn away from Him.

Why do you think engaging in a ministry like this is important? I think our new group, GLOW, is an answer to many prayers for an organized women's ministry that would involve opportunity for bible study and activities, including fun night's out, and retreats, etc for learning and fellowship. The new blog is a contemporary way for the church to communicate and involve 'ordinary' women in the ministry and fellowship of the church. We are all looking for something to fill our lives and since blogging is the way to go now, I think it is neat to have that option for people to choose when they look at the churches website. Also, I think we can use this as a way to maybe see God working in all of our lives!

What's something you want all blog readers to know? My passion is 'women in missions' - here at home in North Webster and all over this great world God has created for us.

Who is in your family? I am a stay-at-home mom in her midthirties who was an English teacher B.C. (before children). I have been married almost 13 years to Jason, and we have two children, Alex (7) and Caroline (4). My extended family consists of parents, in-laws, two sisters (2 nieces and 3 nephews) two grandmothers, and lots of cousins! We also have a black lab Pepper and a fat cat (Big Fat).

What's your favorite color? Food? Movie? My favorite color is blue, but one might say that I have too many plain black and plain white t- shirts in my wardrobe! I love flip flops too. We lived in Texas for six years, so I consider myself an adopted Texan—we loved it, y’all!
My favorite foods are Mexican (I love Mexico, too) and Italian (would like to go). Oh, and I love ice cream and a big fountain Coke from Sonic. My favorite movies…..Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones’ Diary, When Harry Met Sally, The Shawshank Redemption. And I love, love, love the beach!

What Bible Verse is speaking to you right now? The Bible verse that I am trying to memorize right now is, “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

What magazines/books do you like to read? I am a book worm—I always have a book nearby. Besides my Bible of course, I love Jane Austen (classic), Beth Moore (my siesta), Jodi Piccoult, and right now I am reading Diane Chamberlain. To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite novel of all time. I also like to read Southern Living magazine because I love to cook and try different recipes.
My ipod playlist is quite eclectic, but my favorite band is David Crowder Band. My kids and I love to turn it up really loud in the car with the windows down!

What three qualities of God do you cherish the most? Right now, I cherish these three qualities of God the most: His absolute power, His steadfast love & His great faithfulness.

Why do you think engaging in a ministry like this is important? I am joining my friends on this blog because I believe that we, as a community of women, have so much we can learn from each other. I have recently started reading blogs and know how encouraging and uplifting it can be to read about women who are struggling with the same things I struggle with in my life. I want to share with others my faith walk, in hopes that they can take away something from it to help them start or grow in their relationship with Christ.

What's something you want all blog readers to know? I want my readers to know that my writing comes from my heart. I try to listen to what God places there, and go forward. I have NO formal Biblical training (does Beth Moore count?) but I try my best to support my ideas with Scripture.


Who is in your family? I have one husband (good thing!) and one daughter who was born in June of 2008.

What's your favorite food? I LOVE LOVE LOVE salad. And not necessarily for the health benefits, I just love it. I'll order it about 90% of the time at a restaurant I like to add all kind of veggies, meat and cheese. YUM

What Bible Verse is speaking to you right now? I have this verse above my daughter's crib- "The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephanaih 17:3

--This verse is important to me right now first of all because I love praying scripture over my little one. I also LOVE thinking of our heavenly father delighting and singing over ME. How awesome is that??

What magazines/books do you like to read? I like to read but I love to read magazines! They are quick and fun. My favorite are cooking magazines. (I also could watch the Food Network ALL day long) Other favorites are Self and my guilty pleasure.. People.

What three qualities of God do you cherish the most? Hmmm this is a good question. God's love, His grace and His blessings. The fact that he sacrificed his Son for me has become so much more now that I am a mom- wow. That is an amazing love. His grace is amazing- and though I am so so unworthy, he lavishes it on me continually. And finally, I know that all of the good things in my life are from Him. He has blessed me more than I can begin to count!

Why do you think engaging in a ministry like this is important? I am SO excited about writing on this blog! As a reader of (many) blogs myself I know that this is an opportunity to be encouraging and also a chance to share myself. My dear friends who are writing with me have taken this journey knowing that we ALL need an outlet. And let's be real. No one has it all together. I don't. You don't. But that is what is so great about God! He loves us just as we are. My prayer is that I can share some of that transparency and highs and lows of living this life.

What's something you want all blog readers to know? Ok, how about an interesting fact or two about me.. I love things that are sticky. Like the labels you get from the deli when you order meat. I have a compulsion to want to pull them off immediately. Or banana stickers. Or sale stickers. Seriously. And I like reality tv. I mostly like it because my friends and I have tv nights where we get together to watch shows like survivor and eat lots of good food.


Who is in your family? First of all, I will let the cat out of the bag -- Judy is my mama! Mike, my dad. I am the second of four -- RJ, me, Drew, and Lex. RJ married Sara a few years ago and they have blessed our family with the cutest baby ever!

What's your favorite color? Food? Movie? Yellow. Probably Mexican is my favorite type of food but most specifically my Dad used to make two dishes that will always be my all-time faves - Cheeseburger Pie and Corn & Sausage. Oh yeah and thank goodness all of those food favorites are good for you right!? HA!

What Bible Verse is speaking to you right now? 2 Timothy 1:8-10 says this:
So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.

What magazines/books do you like to read? I LOVE to read! Mostly fiction books, and especially Jodi Picoult.

PC or Mac? Coke or Pepsi? Nike or Reebok? Facebook or Myspace? Cats or Dogs? PC, Water, Puma, Facebook, Both (I have 2 cats, Phoebe and Isabelle & 1 dog, Tucker)!

What's one thing you/your household does to be more green? I let myself buy those reusable grocery bags and then every time I go to the store I conveniently leave them in the car. Does that count?

What three qualities of God do you cherish the most? His Grace, His Steadfastness and His ability to LOVE a wretch like me

Why do you think engaging in a ministry like this is important? I think that the church has to find ways to speak the current language, to be relevant: a blog is right there! This is so available and consistent for women to be a part of an online community that is simply trying to make sacrifices for the Kingdom. I love people and want to continue to stretch myself to love beyond my human capabilities. This will allow me to do that!

What's something you want all blog readers to know? I thought it was ironic that the day I wrote this bio, my desk devotional had a quote from Mother Theresa. Ok, you are right it wasn't ironic at all. "I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world." His words are true; He is still in the business of transforming lives; He works hard to clean up my messy act, and sometimes I fail Him, but He loves me through and through. Ahmen!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Letting Go Is Hard to Do

I thought I was good at letting go of things..... until last week rolled in. It was a tiring week, a stressful week, a frustrating week, a week with conflict...... I hate conflict!! I had a million thoughts running around in my head. I had too many "to do's" on my list. Something had to give. Do you know the feeling? I had to prioritize my commitments. I needed to let go of one of them. I knew which one. But it is going to be hard....relinquishing control of a beloved church project, something I poured my heart and time into for years. But it is time.....

How do you know when you are overprogrammed? Here were some clues God gave me last week:

1. I hadn't washed my hair in three days.

2. I misplaced my favorite earrings Jason gave me right before we got engaged. ( I still can't find them.)

3. I snapped at my kids and my husband a lot.

4. I wrote a testy email to a new staff member at church I had just met.

5. I had three weeks of Survivor to watch on DVR.

6. Most importantly, my quiet time with the Lord was seriously sparse.

Number 6 is the one that finally got my attention. I was on the phone and at my computer more than I was talking to God.

So, I took a walk and during this walk, I worked it out with God. David Crowder Band helped me too.... Have you ever listened to the song "Foreverandever"? There is a part in the song that says "Letting Go gives a better grip." BINGO! Whether it's letting go of a church commitment, or letting go of a grudge, or of our past mistakes, God wants us to look forward and up to Him, not back on what could have been or should have been.

For me, this week was about letting go ---giving up control. Letting God take the lead and do the work. He will not lead me down the wrong path. Sometimes we have to stop and be still and listen for His nudge in a certain direction.

It is not going to be easy to let go. I will have to fight the urge to jump in again. To place blame when things go wrong. But God will provide me peace and direction for where He wants my efforts to be focused. I simply have to trust in Him.

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is the Rock eternal." Isaiah 26:3-4

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Kinda, Sorta Day

I was exhausted today. I was out with some friends last night, got home late, got up early (on a Saturday!), worked a garage sale with The U, and crashed in the sunshine today.

It was a fun day. I enjoyed the things I did. I had fun with the kids and youth staff. I truly was blessed by a nap in the sunshine. I had a good dinner with my roomie. I read some. I listened to some good music. I had ice cream!

All that being said, days like this make me wonder . . . what did I do for the Kingdom? How does God feel about a "kinda, sorta day"? Because I "kinda, sorta" had a bad attitude about getting up early. I "kinda, sorta" whined about my feet being tired. I "kinda, sorta" did nothing that was all that significant.

Not much else to say. I just had a kinda, sorta day. I don't know how else to describe it. As I write I think today was just one of those days that God gives us along the way. A day to just be. A day to let HIM do the work. A kinda, sorta day when I can rest in Jesus.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"I wasn't Jesus Today"

This evening I was sitting in C's room with her, sorting books before bedtime. She picked up a book about Jesus' birth, looked at it for minute and said to me, "I wasn't Jesus today, Mommy."

I looked at her and said, "What do you mean, Sis? " She said, "I wasn't like Jesus today. I fought with A and I didn't listen." She genuinely looked distraught about the fact that she had done these things. (Secretly inside my head I was doing flips, thinking to myself, "Yea! It is sinking in what J and I are teaching her! Lately it's all been about when she can watch Yo Gabba Gabba and having Easter Candy from the Easter Bunny...:)

So I grabbed her and put her on my lap and said, "Sis, nobody is perfect. Nobody is Jesus. We all make mistakes, even me (GASP!), and Daddy, and everybody on Earth. Jesus is the only perfect one. But guess what? He loves us no matter what... even when we do the wrong thing. So let's pray and thank Him for loving us and forgiving us for not being like Him."

Perfection....... are we striving for it? Are we relying on ourselves for it? Or are we relying on Jesus to make us perfect? Good questions..... this conversation with my four-year-old daughter got me thinking about my relationship with Christ and my own striving for perfection. Now, I have to admit that I am a perfectionist in some ways... okay, a lot of ways. I am sure some of can you can relate. I have my lists and plans and ways of doing things. I cannot look at a handout at a meeting without proofreading it. The chairs at my kitchen table all have to be pushed in before I leave the room. I frequently take piles of papers down to J's office AKA the pit of despair.... I do have to say that living with J for almost 13 years has relaxed some of those perfectionistic tendencies... This perfectionism,however, is not the kind that God wants me to have.

He wants me to be made perfect through my relationship with Jesus. God demands perfection, and the only way we can achieve it is through Christ. First we have to accept that we are sinners and cannot achieve perfection without Him. 1 John 1:8 says, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." We are humans, we are fallen, we go back to sin again and again. We cannot follow all of God's laws. It's impossible! But God solved this problem for us be sending Jesus to die for our sins. Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." It still amazes me ..... how much He loves me. How much he suffered so that I could have a relationship with Him.

Instead of trying to be perfect through my own means, I need to live my life for Him, learn from my mistakes, listen to what God is trying to teach me through these experiences, and be made perfect through Him, by Him......His perfect plan, perfect will, perfect faithfulness, perfect power and of course, His perfect love.

I wasn't Jesus today, either. But we had a good talk about it, He and I.:)

Originally posted by Kristi on April 19

I Am Free

I've been watching the series "Roots" on dvd. This series came out in the late 1970's and is based on the book ROOTS by Alex Haley. It traces his ancestry back to tribal Africa at the time of the slave trade in the mid-late 1700's. The story begins with the birth of Kunta Kinte, a member of the Mandinka tribe. He was captured by slave traders, brought to the colonies, and sold into slavery. The series is about 8 hours long and just pulls you in to the life of his family. You see them go from being free in Africa, put into slavery, and freed again after the Civil War.

I finished the series last night and I was so moved by the final episode. It got me thinking....

The movie ends with the family moving to Tennesee and proclaiming, "We are free!" They had actually been free for a while, but had no money. So they stayed and worked the white man's land that they had been slave workers on, never being truly free. They were always under the jurisdiction of the white land owner. All they had to do was pack up and leave. I don't doubt that they could have found a way to survive. But, they chose to make excuses and stay in bondage.

I began to think about the freedom that we have as believers, followers of Jesus. Romans 6:6-7 says, "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." WE ARE FREE! We are no longer bound by sin. Our chains are gone and we are free.

BUT, how many of us continue to make excuses and stay caught up in bondage? How many of us allow that old life to keep hold of us? How many of us say "I am free" yet live as though we are still slaves?

The point, the only thing that truly matters, is that Jesus Christ paid the price and bought our freedom. We need to take the gift and walk away from the bondage we were living in. Romans 6:15-23 is all about being slaves to righteousness. Read it and believe it. Too often we hear or read about being free, but we don't believe it. God is true to His word. He has set us free and he will take care of us.

What of your "old life" is keeping you in bondage? What excuses are making that do not allow you to walk away from sin? When will you start walking in faith that Jesus DID pay it all?

Originally posted by Dina on April 19