Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years Resolutions....

Do you make em? If so, do you keep em? :)

I am not much of a New Years Resolutions girl, but I do like to have goals and I LOVE (yes, all caps LOVE) to make lists.

The Hartmans are busy. We like to be busy, and when we are not busy we soon find ourselves something to add to the mix to stay that way! (ok, so maybe my hubby doesn't like to be busy all the time but I enjoy having things to do and prepare for!) I have a few things I'm going to try starting this year that I hope will help keep us organized and on top of life and be helpful. But I am not going to make them my resolutions. Nor am I going to "resolve" to lose all this baby weight. Not that I don't want to, not that I am not going to. I just don't want to make it a "resolution"- I'm protesting I guess. :)

Here is what I am going to be diligent at this next year though. Three things- I'm keeping it simple with three.
  • 1)exercise 2-3 times a week, at home or the gym, or even walking
  • 2)keeping track of our family budget, specifically groceries. Try to keep under the grocery budget
  • 3)Memorize 2 Scriptures a month. It's hard to find good quiet time having two little ones and still getting up 2-3 times a night. I'm going to work on memorizing Scripture as my main study.

Now, because I love reading blogs and because I think they are great and I like to share I'm going to give you both websites that I hope to help me with my resolutions, er I mean goals, I mean things. :)

I read Money Saving Mom on a regular basis. She gives great help at deals for shopping, how to use coupons the best, and how to save save save. She and her husband saved and paid CASH for their house. That is no type-o friends. c.a.s.h. One way to help her readers was to share a link to a 2011 Savings Tracker. She did all the work so you just copy it, save it, then put your receipts and budget in and it adds up your spending, your savings, and helps you see if you are on budget. Go here to check it out. If you end up trying it please let me know. I saved it on my desktop so I will stay on top of it each month.

Next is Scripture Memory. Do you all read Beth Moore's blog? If you don't, stop reading this... go to her link on the right, read it a while, then come back here. Ok, now that you are all caught up..Isn't that great blog? Anyway, she wrote a few days ago about her 2011 Scripture Memory Challenge. Go here to read it.

I am very very excited about this. I really want to get some scripture in my heart- so it starts flowing out towards of me and will give me daily perspective as well as help my family. Like she says you can never go wrong in memorizing Scripture. Ever. So I ordered her memory book and I'm ready to go. I am even dreaming of a trip to Houston in Jan. 2012 to celebrate memorizing for the year! (my hubby doesn't read this so I can do just that.. dream!)

Go here to order your own memory book. It's very affordable! Don't worry if they are still on backorder (can you believe that over 6,000 ladies have committed to memorize?- how powerful!) you could buy a little spiral one from cvs or walmart and still do it with the team. Think of how awesome it will be in a year from now to have 24 Scriptures captured on your heart!!!!

Ok, so if any of you lovely ladies try either of these two things, please let me know, I'd love to encourage each other!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Ministry

Shannon and I are knee-deep in preparing for the first Saturday of games coming up Jan. 8th for Upward Basketball and Cheerleading. We met today for a few hours to prepare the devotion part of the season. This part, even though it should be a joy to work on, has in all honesty, been the most difficult and frustrating part of the ministry.

Originally, we sought out a devotion commissioner to take on this responsiblity. At each half time of each game, some sort of devotion is presented to the players' family and friends watching. Last year, we could not find a devotion commissioner so we threw something together, and by God's grace, it ended up coming together perfectly. We tried again this year to come up with a devotion commissioner, but again, no success.

So Shannon and I came up with idea for this season: "What's Your Story?" I got the idea from the contemporary Christian artist Matthew West, who wrote an entire album based on his fans' letters and their stories. I love the idea of sharing our life stories with others. But we were stuck on how to convey this to the audience.

So today, Shannon comes up with this great idea of making a short introductory video to show at the first game, with clips from coaches and other leadership sharing where they are in their lives now, and then encouraging our Upward families to share their stories throughout the season.
Talk about God providing at the time of need! We were about ready to throw up our hands in defeat and frustration. But God provided some needed encouragement for us. We are so excited to see where this theme leads us this season.

God can use our "stories"-- our struggles, our victories, our lives--- to help others in their time of need. I can't wait to hear some of the stories in our community... and to hear how God worked to use their circumstances to further His kingdom.

Will you pray for the Upward ministry? I know that God can work in the hearts of those families, especially those who have not accepted Him as Lord of their lives. And any prayers for Shannon and me would not go to waste either!!! To keep our eyes on the reason for this ministry, to perservere, even when we are tired, frustrated, and have to drag our kids to the Upward office at church time and time again so we can do some work.

Thank you, friends! We will keep you updated on how God is working through Upward in our community!

"Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal ." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Saturday, December 25, 2010

THE Prayer

It usually starts like this:

"If there is anyone here today that doesn't know Jesus, I want you to pray this simple prayer with me." -pastor

I will admit, I have prayed that prayer EVERY time I hear those words at the end of a message. I gave my heart to Jesus over 13 years ago! But I never fail to pray that prayer. And I always wonder WHY I feel the need to pray it. I know where I am with Jesus. I know that I have personal relationship. And I KNOW him. But I just can't stop myself.

Yesterday morning I was catching up on the sermon series "REBEL" from Grace Community Church. I was in tears the entire time. At the end of the message, during prayer, Pastor Jim said those words from the beginning of this post. I found myself sitting at my desk, tears falling to the desktop, arms wide open, praying that prayer. The prayer of salvation.

Why do we....maybe it's just me....but why do I do this? Is it uncertainty in my salvation? Is it support for those who are praying for the FIRST time? Is it so that those around me hear me?


I'll tell you why I do this.

Matthew 16:24 "Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'"

Luke 9:23 "Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, eh must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'"

John 12:25-26 "'The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.'"

We are called to DAILY surrender ourselves to God and HIS good, pleasing, and perfect will. THE PRAYER should be a daily prayer for believers; confessing our sin, acknowledging the need for Jesus to intercede in our lives, humbling ourselves before the Creator of all that is.

Pastor Jim's message made me look at things a little bit different, see things in a new way. Be blessed this day, the day of Jesus's birth. Not because a precious, cute baby was born but because the Savior of the world was delivered to earth. He was born and had a mission...a mission to live, minister, love, proclaim God, be an example, serve, die, and rise to live FOREVER.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Carols

I just finished singing what my youngest calls "Godly Christmas carols" with her before bed. It cracks me up that she used this term "Godly Christmas carols". It also makes my heart happy to know that she knows the difference between any old song vs. a true carol celebrating our king. At the end, she asked if we could sing "Deck the Halls" just for fun..... so we did!

My prayer for you these next few days is that you enjoy these special moments with your family, friends and loved ones. Relax, be present in mind and body, and take in all that our Savior has given to you. Prepare your heart for the coming of Christ!

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on eath peace to men on whom his favor rests". (Luke 2:13-14)

Monday, December 20, 2010

On the Hunt

I love and hate new seasons in life. They are exciting and scary and make me anxious all at the same time. I have entered into a new season of life.....

Church Hunting

I have attended NW UMC for the past 3 years and am sad to leave. But the time has come. I am 30, single, working, and in dire need of community that I can relate with. The hardest part is that I am not leaving on a "sour note" or "put off" by something from the N-dub. I am leaving because God is moving me.

I stepped down from some ministries and thought that was it. But in my time with the Lord it has become clear that it is time to move on. I am in a place in life right now where I need to meet people who are in the same place in life...working and single. And, I honestly am in need of a jolt to step out of my comforts. I don't really know how else to verbalize all that I have learned, I just know that it is time to move on.

This is tough for me. I have never looked for a church for me. I have always gone to church because of friends or youth or ministry. God has made it clear to me that I need to keep those things in mind, but also seek out a church that provides community with people in similar places.

And the toughest part in all of this....telling those who I have come to know and love at N-dub. People, including myself, don't take to change too well. But, I cannot deny what God has placed on my heart and the direction He is taking me.

So, I am on the hunt. I am anxious for this new season. I am praying that I will be mindful of God's guidance and trusting that HE has the perfect place for me. I am thankful to have lasting relationships from N-dub. I am grateful for the person I have become over the past 3 years. And I am excited!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

25 Questions for Mary

I love that song that Kristi posted yesterday. Did you all listen to it? It reminded me of a Max Lucado book I read years ago- God Came Near. If you haven't read it - find it and put it on your reading list. These are from his book form a chapter called 25 Questions for Mary. I'd love to know which one you find the most compelling/interesting!

1. What was it like watching him pray?
2. How did he respond when he saw other kids giggling during the service at the synagogue?
3. When he saw a rainbow, did he ever mention a flood?
4. Did you ever feel awkward teaching him how he created the world?
5. When he saw a lamb being led to the slaughter, did he act differently?
6. Did you ever see him with a distant look on his face as if he were listening to someone you couldn't hear?
7. How did he act at funerals?
8. Did the thought ever occur to you that the God to whom you were praying was asleep under your own roof?
9. Did you ever try to count the stars with him....and succeed?
10. Did he ever come home with a black eye?
11. How did he act when he got his first haircut?
12. Did he have any friend by the name of Judas?
13. Did he do well in school?
14. Did you ever scold him?
15. Did he ever have to ask a question about Scripture?
16. What do you think he thought when he saw a prostitute offering to the highest bidder the body he made?
17. Did he ever get angry when someone was dishonest with him?
18. did you ever catch him pensively looking at the flesh on his own arm while holding a clod of dirt?
19. Did he ever wake up afraid?
20. Who was hi best friend?
21. When someone referred to Satan, how did he act?
22. Did you ever accidentally call him Father?
23. What did he and his cousin John talk about as kids?
24. Did his brothers and sisters understand what was happening?
25. Did you ever think, That's God eating my soup?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You're Here Francesca Battistelli - Mary & Jesus Christmas Music Video

A Mother's Perspective

The kids were out of school Monday for a snow day, and we had a great day together. When the schools get closed, I know that the day could go either way-- it will be fun and enjoyable for all, or the kids will be really happy to get back to school so they can come out of their rooms.....

Anyway, God blessed us with a day of listening ears, good spirits, a patient Mom, and fluffy white snow. I tried to relish the moments because I know soon enough, they will be too cool to go sledding with Mom. They will be more interested in their friends and not what game we can play together. They won't carry on conversations such as this:

Me: I distinctly remember telling you to put away your Legos, Caroline.

Caroline: Stinkley! Who's Stinkley????

Me: Nevermind. Just put them away please.

These little snippets of time I will remember always. I tuck them away in my heart to cherish and look back on.

This time of year, I think about how Mary must have felt giving birth to Jesus. Loving Him as a son, but knowing that He was the Son of Man, the savior of the World. How amazing! I wonder what it was like watching Him grow up, live a sinless life, minister to the lost, and die on the cross.

I heard this song on the radio today, and I wanted to share it with you. It brought me joy listening to it, and then watching the video someone made on Youtube. Mary's perspective.....All part of God's great gift to the world.

(Go to the next blog entry to see the video! I couldn't figure out how to link it to this post!!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Today I sat with my daughter on our bed. She was playing and I was folding clothes. It was one of those moments I want to remember forever. She was playing "Santa". Now let me first of all say that some of you don't believe in playing Santa with your kids. I totally respect that. We haven't officially decided what all we'll do but as of now we have Santa at our house.

So anyway she said she was santa and that I should sit on her lap (HA!). We chatted for a bit and I asked her what santa says and she said "say cheese". That is hilarious to me because last week we took her to say Santa and I told her he'd say "ho ho ho" and instead he said "say cheese" because they were taking their picture!

Anyway, we played Santa for a few minutes and then I asked her why we celebrate Christmas. She said "have partys". Well yes, we do have parties but it's more than that. I explained that Christmas is the birthday of Baby Jesus. We still have some more work to do on that one but it's a start. :)

I'm telling you this because 1) it's a cute story and 2) it was a reminder to me that we need to constantly be talking to Grace and soon Graham about the real reason we celebrate. It's so important to me that we don't get caught up in the gifts and parties and such that my kids do not see the reason we do those things. HE CAME. This is perhaps the most important thing in the life of a Christian. The coming of Christ.

I want to start traditions with my family over the holidays.. how we set up the tree, how we do presents etc, but I also want to set up traditions of how we celebrate the coming of our Messiah. I haven't figured it all out yet but when my kids are older and sharing stories I want there to definitely be a bit of fun holiday tradition as well as memories of the child born on that day so long ago...
What family traditions surround your house at Christmas? (about the presents, etc, or about Jesus!)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Beyond the Craziness

18 more days left until Christmas.... Are you ready?

I am like most of you out there. This time of year is crazy busy. Christmas programs to go to, shopping to do, Christmas cards to send, baking to accomplish, piano concerts to attend......This week seems the busiest of all; plus with the snow, even more planning ahead has to occur.

I was so grateful for last night, when because of the bad weather, all evening activities were canceled. I savored the quiet time cooking dinner, eating slowly, laughing with the kids, doing spelling words at leisure, treasuring bed time stories and prayers. After the kids were tucked in, my husband went out to meet a friend and I got my jammies on and had some uninterrupted quiet time. Then I got to catch up with a friend on the phone and tackled those Christmas cards that have been sitting on my bedside table. I ate some peppermint ice cream. It was a needed reminder that we must stop and enjoy the moments God gives us every day.

My friend who I caught up with last night lamented about how busy her week was shaping up to be, and she went on and on about the commitments she had to fulfill, spending so much time in her car shuffling her three kids from activity to activity. My head was spinning just listening to her! To be honest I found myself thinking to myself, "I don't want that life." Am I traveling down that road already?

I gently asked her, "Could you say no to some of those birthday parties? It would make your life a bit less crazy...."

It is hard to say no, isn't it? Especially to fun things. Especially at Christmas. I am as guilty as anyone. I am a "yes" person who is trying to say "no" more often.

What comes first on our list of priorities? Time with our Lord? Family? Church commitments? Work? Fun? A certain t.v. show? Our to -do list?

I challenge you (and I challenge me!) to go beyond the craziness of Christmas to find the peace and calm that Christ can bring if we let him. Eliminate one thing from your schedule. Spend it doing something quiet- prayer, study, reading, quiet time with your husband or kids. Relish in the tranquility that God wants us to experience as we prepare our hearts for this season of joy.

"Be Still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

"After the earthquake came the fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire came a gentle whisper. " I Kings 19:12

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business ...." 1 Thessalonians 4:11

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests,prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our savior." 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Monday, December 6, 2010

Time Away

I'm back.....for now :)

I had to take some time away from the routine. I was getting so wrapped up in "doing" that my heart really wasn't into much of anything; teaching, studying, praying, blogging, etc. When I get that way I am so easily drained and exhausted.

So, I took some time away from some things. I didn't want to DO things because it was there. I wanted to invest in the things I was doing, with my heart and passions behind them. I blame our women's Bible study, in a good way.

As we were studying the life of David, it was brought to my attention that I was not giving God my best. That then lead me to realize that because I wasn't giving God my best, nothing else was getting my best either. I had lost focus. I was going into my day in an exhausted rush of "do this, do that, have to get this done" rather than realizing that each day is a gift for God!

I started getting up 30-45 minutes earlier and having quiet time. Some mornings I would read my Bible, some mornings I dig into a chunk of scripture, some mornings I just lay still on the couch with my dog, some mornings I just spend time in my home. Amazing what being quiet can do for a person. I have been starting my day out quiet and reflective and seeking God and being grateful for a new day.

It is refreshing. And God is leading me in new directions, but that is for a different post.

If you find yourself stuck in the "doing" phase of life, take some time away. Praying for you friends!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Kristi's last post inspired me. God is enough, but when I get to those moments .. those awfully hard moments... will I be ready to lean on those simple words? Hmmm,

In that light, I'm working on preparing my heart for Christmas. I LOVE LOVE Christmas. I love the lights, Christmas trees, warm drinks, you name it. I spend lots of time preparing for Christmas. We put up the tree weeks in advance. I make presents lists that I want to buy others, I make grocery lists, I bake lots of goodies and I plan out our family celebrations.

But I have never (and I'm not proud of this) prepared my heart for Christmas. I've never walked myself toward the birth of Christ. One of my priorities these past few weeks has been to spend consistent time with God. It's been very good.

I'm reading an Advent Devotional by Ann Voskamp this season. Todays reading was about Noah, specifically the Lord destroying the earth because of the wickedness of man. What I love about these readings is that they are going to walk us from the beginning of man to the birth of Christ. In today's reading she shares about God having such a tender heart that we can imagine the flood being his tears of sorrow at such a sinful world his loved children were living in. Noah and his family had to cling to the ark for life. "God the Father was sending His Son Jesus on another piece of wood and we cling to that Son for dear life".

I'm so thrilled that God is opening up some new thoughts on his love to me. I'm happy that I'm finally preparing myself for Christmas fully.

What is a tradition, or something that you do to prepare yourself for the birth of our Savior?

Let the countdown begin!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

He is Enough

Last week I posted a lot of questions on what it means to be thankful and how we show God that we are thankful. After praying about it and reading the Bible and looking up verses with "thankful" in them, I came to a conclusion: God is worthy of our praise and thankfulness in all circumstances.

Do I just enjoy God because of the blessings He has bestowed upon me? I definitely have a lot of blessings--- a great husband, two wonderful children, good friends, good health, a nice house, a car, plenty of food to eat, a great church family. I love and enjoy those blessings.

Here is the question, though: Could I enjoy God apart from His blessings? What if I lost my entire family? Had to move far away from my friends and church home? Lost my house and car? Suffered an illness? Would I still be faithful to my God and praise Him? Or is my love dependent on His blessings? Would He be enough for me?

I like to think that He would be. I absolutely know that He is all I need. That the one gift He gave me, salvation through His Son, is enough to sustain me. That one blessing is enough- No others needed. That His love is the only thing that matters. I have known people who have demonstrated this through their suffering--yet praised the Lord during their trials. How do we get to that level of faithfulness?

A true relationship with Him, I believe, is the answer. Not just a prayer a day. Or an occasional thank you, or please do this. A continual reliance, a love, a dependence, a giving over our lives to His plan. He is enough.

Enough by Chris Tomlin

All of you is more than enough for all of me, for every thirst and every need. You satisfy me with your love, and all I have in you is more than enough.

You are my supply, my breath of life, and still more awesome than I know. You are my reward worth living for, and still more awesome than I know.

You're my sacrifice of greatest price, and still more awesome than I know. You're the coming King, You are everything, and still more awesome than I know.

More than all I want, More than all I need, You are more than enough for me. More than all I know, more than all I can say,

You are more than enough for me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Kristi's post was great this week. If you haven't read it please take some time and go back and think about her writings.

We are home today... no major plans, which ended up being good because Grace got the flu! Praising God for quick healing (that I know is coming) and for a quiet day to rest- and for tacos! (what we ate today!)

I'm also thankful for you. God has taken me on a great journey these past three years- with marriage, kids and a new church. Many of you who read this blog are a part of that and I'm so grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving!

PS- any of you braving the stores tomorrow? If you are, please leave a comment, or if you read this afterward tell us where you went and how it went. I'm headed out sans children with a few girlfriends and can't wait!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What is Thanksgiving? Some Questions......

What is your definition of Thankgiving?

Is it a good excuse to eat a lot of food? Is it a day of rest and relaxation? Is it a holiday to spend with family? Maybe a time for football, shopping, or putting up Christmas decorations?

How does a Christian celebrate Thanksgiving differently from a nonbeliever? Are we thankful to God for just our material possessions? Our house, food on the table, clothes, car? Are we thankful for our families, our circumstances, our churches, our friends? Could we be thankful in any circumstance? How do we put our "thanksgiving" into action? How do we go beyond just being "thankful"?

How do we show God our thanks? How long do we stop and think about our spiritual blessings? God's saving grace? His son's death for our sins? His constant presence? His wonderful creation? His neverending love? How do we thank Him? How could we ever thank Him enough? Is it possible to be truly thankful? What does that look like?

How do I show my thankfulness every single day? Not on just this one day........

I am full of questions but not many answers. What do you think? Hope this post caused you to pause and contemplate the meaning of Thanksgiving in your life.

Enter the Lord's 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. - Psalm 100:4-5

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We're Back!!!!!

Hi blog friends! So sorry for the blog drought over the last few weeks. Our blog team has been quite busy with life.... sometimes blogging has to take a back seat to things like family, new babies, kids' activities, teaching, and just life in general. My family enjoyed some great time together at Disney over Fall Break, and then I jumped right into Upward season in full throttle. But I am so happy to be back and into a semi-normal routine again.

One thing that I noticed when I came back is how much my kids thrive on routine. Overall, they are pretty flexible and can adjust to changes-- but they get cranky and tired. And 5 days with the Big Mouse can do that to all of us! Once we got back into our groove of good bedtimes, eating habits, church, piano practice, and studying, the behavior improved immensely! I did have to tighten the belt, so to speak, to get the kids back into our household expectations and routine, but it's coming along.

It reminds me that I thrive on a spiritual routine as well. If I fall out of my church time, fellowship time, and quiet time, I get cranky and lose focus on God. And sometimes He has to get my attention, get in my face a little, to steer me in the right direction to get back into His presence. I am so thankful to serve a loving and grace-filled God who never leaves me. Hallelujah for that !!!!! Can I get an "Amen" from any of you out there? I know you all can relate.

I hope you all have a great week and find some time to just sit at the feet of our Lord and praise Him for who is.

"My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise His holy name for ever and ever." Psalm 145:21

God is...

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 & active in me.

A needed reminder for me today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our sermon on Sunday was from Luke 19: 1-10. I'm sure you know the story, Zacchaeus the tax collector who was hated by so many climbed up in a tree to see Jesus pass by. I wanted to share a few of my thoughts about this. First of all, it was a great message. We also had a wonderful dramatic reading. I loved it! If you'd like to hear the sermon go to . It's worth a listen!

I wrote down a ton of notes, but of course, cannot find them... Anyway, here is what stuck out to me. Jesus was walking by... it was no accident he looked up in the tree. He knew that Zacchaeus would be up there. So, he looked for him and called him down. Now read the words from the Bible.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

Notice anything special? I didn't at first. Until our Pastor pointed out that Jesus specifically called out Zacchaeus by name. He didn't just look up and smile, point to the man and say "come on down". He didn't say "hey you", or even "buddy... you up there"... He said Zacchaeus.

I have some friends and have known people in my life who are very good at using names in conversation. Now by this I don't just mean like once or twice, I mean like regularly. Let me give you an example
Friend : Hey Shannon! How are you?
Me: Good, how are you? We've missed you!
Friend: Shannon, I know. It's been so busy. But... (conversation continues)
Me: well, it was great to see you! Let's get together soon!
Friend: It was good to see you too Shannon. Have a great day!

Can you see how they do it? At first, it's a bit odd, maybe even weird, but then you like it. Why? Because it's personal and makes one feel loved and "known" you follow? I wish I was someone who did this. I have to work hard at remembering names and even use them once in conversation.

So, why is it so important that Jesus called Zacchaeus by name? Think about it... here was someone who was so hated by so many... and the person that everyone was waiting to see was walking by. And he calls out his name. It was no accident. Jesus did it for Zacchaeus himself and also for all those around. He wanted them to see that he was seeking not only the good, the rule followers, the loveable, but also the cheaters, liars, and the hated.

Jesus planned to call out Zacchaeus that day. He was specifically searching for him. And he's doing the same for us now. It doesn't matter if you are the good rule follower standing on the sides waiting for him, or if you are the lost who have to climb up in a tree because there's no place for you anywhere else. He came to seek and save us all. And the best part? He knows your name. He totally does. He came for you and me. And when he sees me, he'll say "Shannon, come on with me." He's going to say my name. And if I feel loved and accepted now by friends who use my name so well in conversation, I can't wait for when Jesus calls it out!. And you? He'll say yours too. He knows it already. He won't need reminded and he won't forget. You just wait and see.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Generations ....

Remind me of this with every decision. Generations will reap what I sow. I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I will never know. Sara Groves "Generations"

I love Sara Groves. In fact, I need to get some of her music on my new ipod. Anyway.. I chose this chorus from one of her songs because I was reminded today about how my actions and words WILL affect my children. They are watching me. ( ok, Grace is, Graham will be soon!) Grace is even starting to copy me. The other day she was in the car playing a game that we play and I saw her take her fingers and wag them in the way I do when we play the game. She also told her 8 week old baby brother not to be bossy (wonder who tells her that often?!). Those are things she gets from me. That's ok..... I'd love her to learn to love to read from me, to get a sense of adventure, a love of traveling, even to share! Those are all great things.

There is something I hope and pray she doesn't get from me.... I desperately want her to have confidence in herself as a child of God, who was created by him exactly how he wanted her. I did not grow up with a lot of confidence. In fact just the opposite. I was so insecure and worried about my looks. I worried that my freckles were too many, my smile too gummy, my thighs... you get the picture. And of course, I'm guessing you could probably fill in one or two of your own... why are we like this?

The last thing in the world I want is for my daughter and/or my son to see me picking apart the body Christ gave me with insecurity. I want them to know that we were fearfully and wonderfully made. I want to pass along a confidence that I know whose I am. I want that to pass for many generations. So.. I need to start sowing now.. I'm going to do that by taking care of my body but not picking it apart piece by unlikeable piece, out loud or to myself.. I'm going to tell my children every day that they are loved by me and by God. I'm going to tell them that our Creator takes great delight in them, just as they are....

What about you? What do you hope to sow for future generations?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkins, Hats, MarioKart, Leaves

I decided to share one of my favorite parts of my life....being an Aunt! I am an "aunt" to several little peeps, but there is one who ranks higher than all of the rest.

Jackson...aka "Dude"

Dude is my brother's son and we have WAY TOO MUCH fun together. He is 8 and loves loves loves his Aunt Dina. Last Saturday we spent the whole day together. It was seriously one of the best days I can remember, very dear to my heart! We went out for breakfast, made Mariokart hats, played Mariokart, went to the Pumpkin Farm, and played in the leaves! I wanted to share some pics with you all....

Jackson in his "Wild Wing" hat (his favorite car in Mariokart)

The hat adds some height!

How tall is Aunt Dina?

Getting ready to go on a hayride!

Playing in the leaves!

God, thank you for this awesome nephew that I get to share life with. He reminds me often that I am loved and that I need to just be a kid sometimes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Get Out of God's Way!

Hello friends! Just popping on the post a quick thought. At our house, we are preparing for a big week of activity, including a piano book graduation by Alex, Trunk or Treat at church, a karate tournament, Upward evaluations, and a trip to Disney World! whew! Lots of good things going on, but Mom is on overdrive trying to get things done. It's only by the grace of God that I am accomplishing this with little stress so far!

Anyway, something poignant from Bible Study this week--- Sometimes we get in God's way. We literally stand in His way of doing great things in our lives and our family's lives because we continue to live in '"the world" or according to what we want. Our own agenda, per se. Whether it's worry, sadness, disobedience, control issues, holding a grudge... whatever it is we are holding onto... it is blocking God's blessings. We need to have the courage to GET OUT OF THE WAY and accept God's plan for blessing our lives. Not dig in our heels and pout. He will forgive, He will bless, and He will be Himself-- utter greatness like no other.

Believe it, ladies. He will do it if you let Him.

"Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in Your sight, for You, O Sovereign Lord, have spoken." (2 Samuel 7:29)

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's A Girl!!!!

Our family has grown! A little over two weeks ago we adopted a great girl! Jet black hair, beautiful brown eyes, and a sweet personality to match! She is curled up on my lab as it type! So under one roof we now now have two happy parents, one 6 year old girl, twin boy/girl that are three, six year old cat, eight month old rabbit, and now a five year old Border Collie. Oh did you think I meant a child... Ha! I was trying to be a little tricky. Yes, we adopted a dog.

Zoe and I were headed to the store for birthday party decor and favors. When I got this feeling we should stop by the local animal welfare league. I had see a dog who could have been our previous dogs twin on their website. I quickly changed course and pulled in to the AWL. We walked in and located the first caregiver. They walked us back to the runs of dogs. Tails wagging, wiggly bottoms, and happy faces. The particular dog we requested to see wasn't in their run and the caregiver didn't work the day before so she wasn't sure if had been adopted. Before she want to learn more about the missing dog she asked us to walk another dog because the dog was potty trained and needed let out. How do you say no to that?! I couldn't! Make me think of all of those times I reallllly had to use the bathroom but for some reason or another had to wait. Well I wasn't about to be this dogs reason!

Zoe and I ventured outside with this dog named Glory. She went potty as soon as she touched grass. Poor thing really had to go! We then walked her around a bit. Then we saw a fenced in area with doggie toys. We went in and let her run. We had fun chasing her, her chasing us, and playing fetch. I ran through some simple commands with her. She knew all of them. I was perplexed. How is it a potty trained smart dog is at the animal welfare league. I leashed Glory back up and headed inside. By this time the dog we came to see never entered my head again.

I asked the caregivers about Glory and what they knew about her backround. Like so many of the animals they knew nothing. Glory was found with another dog. Both roaming the country. Both potty trained, spayed, and knowing commands. The caregiver explained it's getting more common to find these sweet dogs alone wandering. People are letting dog go free in the country. For many reasons I am sure, lost jobs, lost homes, etc.. All I could say is WOW. My heart broke for both dog and owner. You could you imagine... Openning up the door letting you dog jump out and watching it run as you pull away. Make my heart heavy just thinking about it!

The caregiver informs us the other dog has been adopted. As she reaches for Glory's leash I can't bare the thought of her being "locked up" again. I snap a few pictures with my phone, quickly send them to my husband, and call him. I don't like making quick decissions. I like to think thing through especially life changing ones like bringing home a dog. My husband didn't see a problem with adopting her. I explained to the caregivers and Zoe we would go to the store to do our shopping, then I would decide.

Zoe talked about Glory the whole way to the store and the whole time at the store. I finally gave in and went to the pet store. While we were there I call the animal welfare league and told them my decision. We pick out all of her things and headed to pick her up. We did some quick paper work and she was ours.

She has fit right in! We changed her name to Maggie. I feel very blessed to have her in our lives. We have thought about getting a dog for about four years but knew we didn't have the time to train one. We have been blessed with a dog that fit everything we wanted. I also feel she was blessed to receive a new home!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Quiet Time Plans Foiled

Hi everyone! I just had to pop on and share something funny that has happened to me. Last week on my blog post you may remember me complaining about needing an extra hour in the day for some quiet time with God. Well, I decided to be obedient to God's calling and MAKE some extra time in my day. Instead of sleeping those extra minutes, my new wake up time Monday morning was 6:15. Plan was set, ready to go. So I get up, shower to wake myself up, and sit down at about 6:40 for about 15 minutes of focused prayer time before breakfast. But what is that, you say? Two little pairs of feet running up the stairs? Okay, so much for quiet time. Back to the drawing board.

I thought, okay, I will get up at 6:00. So today, alarm goes off at 6, husband and I stumble into the bathroom, he gets on the treadmill, I hop in the shower. As I am walking to the table with my bible in hand at 6:30, what appears in front of me? A huddled mass in blue blanket. aka my 9 year old son. So a new rule was formed in my house: No kids upstairs until 6:45!!! I am determined to have 15 minutes of prayer time to get my day started in the right way.

I will keep you updated on my progress. I know as the winter months come upon us, it will be more and more tempting to stay snuggled under the warm covers. But I am choosing to obey my God, and He will reward me. I can't wait to see the fruits!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Music Heals

I have missed blogging! Sometimes I just get so caught up in the busy-ness of life that things get pushed to the wayside, this being one of those things. For the past three weeks I have been working through some personal stuff and learning SO MUCH about the Lord and myself! It has been healing and revealing and tough all at the same time.

Over the past month I have immersed myself in music. I don't know about anyone else, but music helps me release and heal. There have been a few songs that have really spoken to my heart. I'm wanting to share them with you. Please don't feel like you need to listen to them all, but they are good.....and you might just want them. I have included title and artist (and hopefully a link) for each of them.

I truly believe that God has gifted musicians to display HIS word in a way that reaches into the soul. My soul has been touched and I hope yours is too.

(Directions: copy and paste the link in your browser)

"I Need You to Love Me" -Barlow Girl

"Sweetly Broken" -Jeremy Riddle

"Rescue" -Desperation Band

"Your Love is a Song" -Switchfoot

"Our God" -Chris Tomlin

"He Loves Us" -David Crowder Band

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I had a great week. It was busy and full of travel, cleaning, packing, feeding, bathing, diapering... you get the idea. But it was great. In the midst of the great though.. two things... I spent time with a friend who lost his wife of close to 50 years a few weeks back. I also checked in on a blog I read about a family who had a baby 2 weeks before I did and were going through a tough time as their little guy was born with a congenital heart defect. He died on Wednesday.

So, so much sadness... The first friend- he's so hurt right now and is having such a hard time picking himself up. He sees his sweet wife everywhere. He misses her so. My internet friend is just as heartbroken. She doesn't know how she'll go on. She sees all the places her little guy will never be.

I held Graham a little longer as I nursed him to sleep that night. I kissed Gracie a few more times and I snuggled up to Shane's back a little tighter when I got back to bed. In the blink of an eye, things can change. It's so very hard in times like that to see God's plan. I kept thinking of the song.. "he gives and takes away... he gives and takes away, but my heart will chose to say, blessed be His name" This man who lost his partner, this mama who lost her baby... it's too hard to take... too sad, but in this midst of all this, I'm encouraged. God is still God and He's still on the throne and He's still good. I'm going to quote from this mama's blog...
I know that God's love runs deep. I know that He will give me strength. I know that He grieves right along with my broken heart. I know this is all part of his plan for our lives. But I can't FEEL it. I can't feel much of anything except for this unbearable, unspeakable pain.

Please God, give me strength. I have none left.
While tears fill my eyes for her pain, I'm so grateful that she knows that her God WILL see this mama through this. When she feels that she can't even breath, each breath will be led by him, When the husband doesn't think he can get out of bed because she's not beside him, God will give him the strength.

We all have a story. Each one has ups and downs, happys and sads.... But praise God that he's in each one and that he walks with us, cries with us, laughs with us... He IS our King.

Be encouraged friends.

Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask Me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in My name...Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

John 16:22-24

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Word of God is for Life!

I am so fortunate to be a part of a great women's bible study at church. I love the ladies in it with me, and in my small discussion group. Just sharing our lives and struggles as we journey with God is so encouraging. We are studying "Annointed, Transformed and Redeemed" (A study of David) featuring the teaching of Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Kay Arthur. It is amazing. We did two weeks with Priscilla and just started Beth tonight. I tell you, when I need a word from God (which is all the time!), these ladies deliver it!

I cannot imagine what I would be like if I did not have this Bible Study right now. I am crazy busy with stuff going on-- all good things like taking care of my family, church commitments and ministry, (okay, maybe cleaning the house would not qualify as "good"). I was just telling a friend today that if I just had one more hour in my day......I really need to start my day off with some alone time with God, instead of waiting until the end of my day. I would love to transport myself to a quiet beach for an hour, sit on my yoga mat, drink a cup of coffee and have a good chat with the Lord. Instead, I have a quick word or two while I am hopping in the shower, fixing breakfast, doing hair, loading laundry, packing backpacks, and packing lunches. Not optimal for having some meaningful words with God.

If I did not have this Bible study to keep me in the Word, I would be a ball of stress and anxiety. I would let it rule over me. I would let it dictate my moods, instead of God's promises and truths. God gave us His word for life, to use in life! It's not just some old history that doesn't apply to us now. It is unreal how it can change your life.

I encourage you to find a bible study to do, either with a group or on your own. Reading the Bible is great, but finding a teacher who helps you make sense of it can really open your eyes to the life-changing power held in those pages. I am so thankful for God's word in my life and the freedom He has given me by the power of His Spirit.

I leave you with one of my favorite verses from the book of Hebrews:

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. (Hebrews 4:12)

Monday, October 4, 2010


So last week at MOPS (for those of you who don't know its an amazing time mothers of preschoolers to get together and socialize, craft, learn, and become closer to God. It is a BLESSING!!!)anyways... we had our whole meeting dedicated to safety. We made emergency kits for our kids which was very extensive including fingerprints, hair samples, and even saving the child's old tooth brush for DNA. There was a detective there speaking to us about different dangerous things children and teens are doing now and what signs to watch out for. He talked about the Internet, child predators, older children being predators, scams, and on and on and on. Those of you that were there know what I mean. Don't get me wrong he was very helpful and knowledge able.

As I left my MOPS meeting I talked with other moms and my close mom friends. We said our Goodbyes and I was off to pick up my little ones at preschool. The preschool is only a few minutes away, located in my home church, where my oldest went for two years, and I am the vice-chair of the preschool board (I know fancy title, right?! Ha!). All the parents pull their vehicles into a line and the teacher brings the kids out one by one for safety reasons. I pulled my truck into the line. In front of me is a burgundy car I had never seen at pick up, I saw the yellow safety pick up tag clearly, and a man inside. As the parents are collecting their children they pull away and the next car pulls up. Pretty soon it is the burgundy cars turn to collect their child all of a sudden one of my closest and dearest friends daughter starts to head out to the car with the teacher. I am thinking...NO!!! I just left and her mom was still at MOPS!! I am STRESSING!!! I think surly this is a mistake the teacher will reread the name tag and realize its a different name!!!! The teacher opens the car door. At this point I have my hand on my door to open it!! I have a plan I am going to grab a big rock form the flower garden and hit this guy in the head with it. Your not kidnapping that baby right in front of me and get away with it!!! Just as start to open my door I see it! Or should I say him... A reflection in the rear view mirror... it was... HER DAD!!!! He was driving a company car. I was sooo happy but boy was my heart racing!!!! Its racing now just writing about it! I collected my kids with out a word to the teacher of my thoughts. My first opportunity I called the little girls mother and explain how I almost bashed her husband in the head with a large rock. We both apologized and laughed!

Later I realized I got so overwhelmed with afraid and careful during our MOPS meeting that I over reacted. Well, thankfully I didn't get a chance to reacted or "could've been embarrassing for a lot of people." So said the girls father!

In that short window I forgot God! Seriously! I wasn't trusting in Him, if I would have been more focused on God and trusting his plan I would have know who the man in the car was when I pulled my car into the pick up line!!!

So now that I am refocused, and calmed down... You may laugh!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

They are....

Ok, I've been MIA because I've been sitting in a rocking chair nursing a little monkey! Graham is doing great and is now 10 1/2 lbs!!!

As I sit in the nursery in the middle of the night... I have lots of time to think and pray. I know without a doubt that I am much more emotional at night. But I thought of this and want to share.

I am incredibly blessed. I can do a post a day for months on end and never get to the end of my blessings. But one great one that I want to share about today is the ladies who write on this blog. When I moved here I never imagined having such loving, satisfying friendships. But I do. So ladies of Glow... get ready to be embarrassed. :) I want everyone else to know how great you are.

First.... Shannon Y. I met Shannon at church one Sunday when she was sitting by Kristi. She and her family had just started coming to church and they jumped right in. Shannon attended our first women's retreat and has been involved in almost everything else at church ever since! I've seen Shannon give and give and give. She puts her family first and does all she can to make sure that her kids are growing up to be thoughtful, loving, adults. She and her husband have made themselves vulnerable as we shared in our small groups getting to know each other better. I know without a doubt that she's there for me whenever I need her. And she's super creative!!

Kristi.- I met Kristi when I was helping with Upward 3 years ago. I remember "cold calling" the Beer family to ask her to help with concessions. Then a few Saturdays later we were both working the stand and tentatively asking each other get to know you questions. What came from that was a commitment to do ministry together- through Bible Studies, retreats, and Upward. Kristi has become a kindred spirit, (to borrow from my favorite Anne of Green Gables!) and wonderful friend.. She will always remember an event in my life and make sure to text me or call to check on me. She has great advice for a new mom (and I needs lots!) and has even blessed us with some great hand me down clothes from her kids. Kristi is a great example of a mom trying to raise her kids to love Jesus with all their heart and I love watching her go through the process.

Judy- I met Judy through Monica and let me tell you that both of them have provided much laughter and smiles in my life. The Wilsons are a loving family and if you don't know them- you should. Judy is one of the hardest working ladies I know. She gives 100% in all she does and even goes beyond. She's creative (ever seen one of her vignettes?!) and she cares about women and children's ministries. I know from watching her with her family that they are number one in her life - another good example for me.

Dina- I met Dina through church and Upward- but when I was dating Shane they were both coaching MS girls basketball so I actually remember seeing her at games! :) Dina is real, honest, open, and awesome. She wears her relationship to Christ out so everyone can see. I love her honesty. She's not afraid to admit when things are bad, hard, or just plain stinky. But she's also the first to praise God when things go right. Her hugs are universally known (if not that, then definitely nationally!) and she's got a great voice that praises His name. Her love of kids again, is an example to me. I watched her coach Upward last year and was taught about how to love all kids through her actions.

Ok... I hope you learned something today about my friends. They've been on my mind these last few weeks as I've been a night owl. I'm so very thankful for them and for others that the Lord has placed in my life. I think we all have friends like this- sometimes it just takes stopping to think, reflect and realize who they are.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sitting around the Table

Dinner time is sacred in our household. I firmly believe in the practice of sitting down at the table with your family and discussing the day's events. There are days, of course, where the kids sit at the bar and Jason and I stand at the bar and throw something on the table to eat. But most days, we gather around our kitchen table to thank God for his blessings and enjoy each other's company for thirty minutes.

Oh believe me, it gets harder as the kids get older. More and more activities and meetings and technology pull at our time together. But I am sticking to my guns on this one-- studies show that families that eat dinner together regularly are happier, have kids who get better grades and are less likely to use drugs, have parents who have stronger marriages, and in general have better eating habits. And if you start this habit early in a child's life, it just becomes part of the expected routine!

I got some good dinnertime conversation ideas from "Mealtime Moments" from Focus on the Family (I just love them!) This little flip book stirs up great discussions and teaches important things about Christian life as well. The kids love when I pull out the book!

So turn off the t.v. and the cell phones, dust off your pots and pans, say no to those activities during dinner time. It is so much more than just sharing a meal--- it's sharing our lives.

"Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

Monday, September 20, 2010

Go Be Jesus

Hey Ladies! I had this great blog on my mind all day and now I have something weighing on my heart.

I just have to say I really missed not blogging last week. I am sorry I didn't but I was feeling emotionally vulnerable. A week ago last Sunday was the one year anniversary of my dear Mother-in-law's death. It is hard to believe that it has been a year since she lost her fight against cancer. I feel extremely blessed to have had her in my life. Over the years I came to understand how lucky I was to have a mother-in-law who I cherished and she feel the same for me.

Kim was many things and love was probably the greatest! She loved many and was loved by many. That is something I want for myself...I want people to know I love and cherish them. I never want people to walk away from a conversation with me and not know that I valued them. A lot of times I don't know what to say or how to start the conversation but I am working on it. There is so much hate and negativity in the world why not be someones sunshine in all of the rain?? One smile at a stranger in the supermarket could change their whole mood! I like to set personal goals when entering stores...I am going to smile at ten people and see how many I can get to smile back. I have some friends that tell the youth at church "to go out there and be Jesus today." In short that is what I am challenging you to do! Go out let people know they are special even if it is just a smile to a stranger.

God Bless!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Answering the Call!

Ladies, ladies, we are at Henderson Settlement right now, as I speak. (or type!) There are six of us here - three are going to work in the beauty salon and three of us are going to the worksite. We had a flat tire on the way down which turned out pretty good, considering. We sat on the highway for a little more than an hour. Luckily, we had roadside assistance so we just had to call and they got someone to come help us. Funnie thing is, it was a woman that came to change our tire and we then went to a Walmart and bought a new one! We made it in time for the evening program which starts out the week right. There is a guy here named Jerry that is in charge of the workcamps and the projects that is so much fun to work with. He is very entertaining and makes it fun to come here to work.

Every evening they have some sort of program. Monday night they talk about the settlement and all the different programs available. They also talk some about the poverty level of the area and try to give you an idea of what the local people are up against. Well, someone asked Jerry how long he had been at the settlement and he kinda got serious. He told about growing up coming to many of the same programs when he was a kid, working here as a teenager, and then in college having a plan to do something else but that God had another plan. It was just so moving to hear his testimony and he had to stop a minute so he didn't cry himself. He is just such a neat guy. He tells us each time we have a meeting that the workcampers are really appreciated. But this night, he got very serious. He talked more about the impact of the workcampers on the community and how much it meant to the staff at Henderson, too, since most of them are local people that are struggling also.

I'd imagine you might have realized by now that I love this place. This is our 5th year coming as a ladies group and I've come with a few other groups different times. We are having fun and also getting work done. The gals are busy in the beauty salon. Kathy is cutting hair, (She thinks about 50 so far, in two days!!) Sara is giving manicures and wax treatments, and Cookie is washing hair, and laundering the towels, etc. Kris, Shirley, and I had three sides done siding a 12 x12 shed, and worked on the front this morning. Now we're at the more difficult part but we have two more days so I'm sure we'll get done. It is neat to hear about all the other groups work also!!

It all makes for an interesting week. Lots of times you realize that you receive more than you can possibly give. I think ultimately that God has His plan for each of us and that's why we are here!! Maybe you'll come with us sometime!!?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Hi everyone! One of the bloggers I follow traveled to Guatemala recently in conjunction with Compassion International, and she wrote about her experiences there. I want to encourage you to read her posts, especially the one titled, "A Whole New World". As I sat at my computer yesterday and read the post, tears were flowing.... and I am not an emotional person. And then I signed up to sponsor a child, a little girl, in Guatemala.

It is so easy to insulate ourselves from what goes on around the world-- heck, who wouldn't want to? It is agonizing to see pictures of families living in a garbage dump. But Jesus wants us to feel that pain, let it soak in, and then do something to help. Giving them hope....

We sponsor a little boy, William, in the Dominican Republic, and now Glendy, age 6, in Guatemala. It is such a rewarding experience to not only write the letters to our sponsored children, but also to receive their letters back to us. And my children love writing to them and drawing pictures for them. And praying for them.

Here is the link to Amanda's blog through Compassion. Will you please read it and then prayerfully consider sponsoring a child? Offering that hope for a better life, and a life following Jesus... There is no better gift you can offer a child living in poverty and desperation., or

or Compassion blogger website:

My hope for you is that these stories touch your heart like they did mine.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Needing Church

I went to church for the first time in 3 weeks. I missed one weekend hangin with my family and I missed last weekend because I went to a car show. At the time I didn't think it was any big deal, but it was.

I don't know about you all, but when I miss church my weeks don't seem to go just right. I am emotional and can get crabby and find myself trying to fill a void with stuff. And at the moment that I am missing church I don't ever think it will be that big of a deal to miss.....but I am always proven wrong.

Today was refreshing. It was a reminder of the need that I have for fellowship and community worship and hearing the Word preached. And it was sooooooooooo good. I am fired up. I am excited to open my Bible. I am reminded of the need for God in my every day (and He was kinda put on the backburner, not totally out of mind, but back of the mind). And I am filled with joy.

Yeah, I was needing church. I missed it. I'm so glad I went. And I'm already excited for next Sunday :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Hello! I am emerging from my baby world to say hi and tell you that we have been so thankful for your prayers. Although he had a tough first week with jaundice that would not go away, resulting in another hospital stay, Graham's doing great now and we are home and learning how to be a family of 4.

My week with Graham at the hospital was interesting. It went from a super long labor in which I was so tired to me just being the mama watching him in the room, still being so tired! I had Shane bring me my Bible up but my brain was/is not into reading right now. Instead I found myself shooting up short little one liners to God. I know that He heard those just as much as he would have heard a formal, fancy, scripture filled prayer. I have a new found empathy for parents of sick babies/kids. I had just the slightest glimpse of that world and it's not easy. In fact, being sick or in the hospital at all is hard- no matter what the age.

So- I'm counting my blessings today- I am thankful for
- my family- a healthy baby boy, a super supportive husband, and an inquisitive loving daughter (who has found her way of adjusting is being bossy!!!)
- a wonderful support group. Friends bring meals, praying for us, checking in on us, you name it. We are blessed.
-wonderful hospital care- Graham was so loved on while he was in the hospital. It made me so happy to see him doted on by all.

And, I know you are anxious for these so here you go!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Praying With My Man

I have never really been one of those people who pray out loud well--you know, the ones who seemed to be blessed with giftedness of the spoken word? Well, that's not me! My mind always goes blank or I stutter or make some ridiculous grammatical error.

When I first became a Christian, I avoided praying aloud -- always looking down or away when the leader of sunday school asked if someone would like to close in prayer. Now if you wanted me to stand up and recite "The Lord's Prayer" or "The Apostle's Creed", I'm your gal. I've got the entire Catholic mass memorized. But spontaneous prayer, not easy for me! Through the years, I have realized that God wants me to vocalize my prayers to Him, even if it makes me uncomfortable. So I do it, and I am getting a little more eloquent now. A friend gave me good advice-she said just speak from your heart and God will make the words come. Maybe not in any order that makes perfect sense, but God loves you and your prayer regardless.

So when it came to praying with my family, I was determined to start out on the right foot. "God, I am going to teach the kids to pray before they eat and before they go to bed. I want them to grow up praying out loud so they feel confident in their prayers." As I continued on my spiritual walk over the past few years, I came to understand that it is important to teach my kids that we should pray not just before meals and bed, but anytime (before school, after getting disciplined, when sad about something)-Relying on God in our everyday routines and activities.

This brings me to praying with my husband---Over the past 14 years we have both grown a great deal in our relationship with our Lord. It has been an awesome experience to see him morph into a real disciple of Christ. But we have not often prayed together just as a couple.

A few weeks ago, God spoke to me in His quiet way during my study time. I knew that it was time for Jason and me to routinely pray together, and our relationship, as good as it is now, would only get better. We have some family decisions to make over the next year or so that will require faith, and I am sure that our prayer time will give us insight and peace as we follow God's will for our lives.

So two days ago, right after we turned the lights out, I suggested that we pray together every night. So we started that night. And it was great! I just let my thoughts flow naturally and spoke what was on my heart. And so did he. It really gave me a peek into what he is feeling and his concerns that otherwise I may not know.

I will keep you updated on how this "couple's prayer" time is working for us. I encourage you to pray with your spouse, signifcant other, or even a good friend. I believe that when "two or more are gathered in His name", God will bless us with feeling His presence and peace.

Monday, September 6, 2010

God's Wonders

Well Ladies I am TIRED!!!!

It is Labor Day and boy did I Labor! My husband and I have a list and we are attacking all of the left over home improvements that need to be done before it gets chilly out. I know who wants to talk about it getting cold out right?! I have been so busy the last three day I haven't had a change to step back and see the Captivating World we live in.

My brother, Jason, was on a fly fishing camping trip that he does with some buddies every year. I love getting text messages from him especially beautiful pictures. Jason has a talent for photography. Some of the pictures he send just take my breath away. This weekend I was knee deep in sawdust and paint an he sent me a few pictures I thought I would share with you.

I looked at these picture and thought...Wow God is Amazing! I was so driven to get everything done on my list and through my wonderful brother I got God's reminder to stop and enjoy the wonders of His world!

I pray all of you have had a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend. I also hope you had a chance to soak in the beautiful environment that God made.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Some funnie stories.....

First of all, I was having a hard time thinking about something to blog about. I wanted to blog this week for sure. My husband said to blog that I was not able to think of anything, that I've been working all week, and I'm also trying to get stuff around for the mission trip, and that I would 'blog' you later, kinda like 'see' you later. Sorry about that.

Anyway, something did come to me finally, that I hope you will enjoy. Like I said I've been getting things 'round for the ladies mission trip. I try to have a theme and have bible verses to go along with it and figure out some fun things, too. So I had gotten lots of christian stories and quotes off the internet. Some of them are neat so I thought I would put a couple on the blog.

First one...a grandfather overheard his granddaughter repeating the alphabet in reverent, hushed tones.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"I'm praying, grandpa," she said. "I can't think of the right words, so I just say all the letters. God will put them together for me, 'cause He knows what I'm thinking."

Second.....Johnny had been misbehaving and was sent to his room. After a while he emerged and informed his mother that he had thought it over and then said a prayer. "Fine," said the pleased mother. "If you ask God to help you not misbehave, He will help you."

"Oh, I didn't ask Him to help me not misbehave," said Johnny. "I asked Him to help you put up with me."

And last.....Many believers don't see the importance of regular church attendance. Members of Northend Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Seattle received a special announcement in the mail, listing the many things that will be done for them at church on the following "no-excuse-to-stay-home-Sunday."

According to the pastor, cots will be available for those who say Sunday is their only day to sleep in. Eye drops will be supplied for those who have red eyes from watching late Saturday night TV shows. There will be steel helmets for those who say the roof would cave in if they ever went to church, blankets for persons who think the church is too cold, fans for those who say it is too hot, scorecards for those wishing to list all the hypocrites present, TV dinners for those who can't go to to church and also cook dinner. Finally, the sanctuary would be decorated with Christmas poinsettias and Easter lillies for those who have never seen the church without them.

Hope you had a little chuckle. Have a great week and remember god loves a 'cheerful giver'!

Dear God, I thank you for the people in our lives that make it worth living - people that help us to see your joy and love then help us to pass it on. Help us all to be a cheerful giver. In your precious name we pray. AMEN.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

God's Power In Your Life

Hi everyone! I do not have anything much to write tonight, but I want to encourage you, if you haven't already, to read yesterday (Monday's) post. A friend and fellow church member wrote her testimony, and it is amazing! To acknowledge God's sovereign power in your life is truly humbling, and witnessing His work in other people's life is just as powerful.

Sharing our testimony is so crucial in our walk with our Lord--- When others hear how God changes someone's life for the better, they can't help but want to find out more!

We would love to hear about how God has worked in your life, recently or in the past. Post a comment with your testimony of God's love and grace!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Amy's Storm

Hello Ladies! I am posting my beautiful friends testimony she gave last Sunday in church! I hope you are moved by this as much as I am!

My major storm rolled in on October 2, 2009. My husband of 14 years decided he wanted to be single and moved out of our house. I was enrolled in school full time and working a part time job here at the church. I was completely shocked and blown away. In 68 days, my divorce was final, I no longer had health insurance. and I was on my own with two teen boys. This shock set my world into a thunder storm.
That same October, my mom had a horrible kidney infection she didn't know she had for three months. She ended up in the hospital with a septic infection that invaded her brain. She was having episodes of delirium and was extremely sick. My mother is my best friend and this was another blast of thunder in my storm. I couldn’t imagine losing her after just losing my husband.

In February, I had to give up my job here at the church to finish my schooling with full time externships. Living on my tax return and child support, I knew I had just a certain amount of time to get things done and get a job. I am a good with money, so I knew I could do it and just how much time I had to do it in. I was confident I had it all figured out.

Since now I was certain God was not on my side any longer, I gave into Satan’s grasp and lived a life of self destructive behavior for a while. I became a daily purposeful sinner, almost mocking God with my behavior. I was still attending church during this time, just not ready to give up the new supportive friends I found here. I also wanted to keep my boys active in the church but I was not getting much out of it.

THEN, Pastor Dave started preaching on the Fruits of the Spirit. He was speaking directly to me, he was telling me how to get my life back on track. I listened and each week thought, yep, I need to do that. But each week I didn't. Finally after hearing a few things, one, something my brother said and two, the sermon on Self Control, I realized it was TIME to get back in God’s will.

My brother told my mom I was a hypocrite for being a purposeful sinner and still going to church, and my mom told him, "That’s exactly where Amy--and all sinners--belong." I also realized I was not being a good example to my children, my family, and everyone else I came in contact with. I needed help and I realized that only God could bring me back from this mess.

I made a promise to myself that I would stop my self-destructive behavior and had a great new Christian friend who helped me daily by checking on me and making sure I was still being true to myself.

Things were going well for me, I thought the storm was lifting some. I was wrong, Satan was still at me. Thunder and lightning were still in the storm. Although I am going to thoroughly enjoy being in the medical field, the main reason I chose it was the promises of always having a job. But I graduated from school and couldn’t find a job! I sent out over 100 applications and resumes for jobs from South Bend to Fort Wayne. Early on in my job search, I was offered a job at just above minimum wage but the hours would've kept me away from my sons at night. As much as I wanted and needed a job, my job of being a good mother comes first.

I had a few interviews, even second and third interviews. Each time, I would get my hopes up only to be crashed down in the rocks by the huge waves of the storm. Two or three of those jobs I wanted sooo badly! I In desperation, I claimed Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it will be given to you." I boldly prayed that scripture, asking Jesus to give me the job I wanted that week. And then another disappointment--still no job, money running lower and lower, panic getting worse. I just couldn't understand why God wasn't answering my prayers! About the same time, I realized I was still being a purposeful sinner and I was so very unhappy with my entire life. So I knew it was time--time for me to give my life back to God, time to work hard at seeking God's will for my life and living within God's law. The first few days were extremely hard! Obviously the devil wanted me back. (GRIN!) But each day it got a little easier to be in God's will.

Ten days ago my money ran out, my house payment was due and my car needed repairs--I had to jump start it every other day for weeks if I needed to go somewhere. I had to get government help with food, I had to get some paper supplies from the food pantry. I felt I had fallen about as low as I could go. Then my tire completely blew out and with no money, all I could do was drive on the little donut tire. I didn't know how I would get out of town safely if I actually did get an interview. All I could do was pray. And then great friends came forward and put two new tires on my car. My mom loaned money for the mortgage and to fix my car. She even gave me her car to drive for the week or so mine is in the shop.

I am not a good receiver.

It is much easier to give than to receive, that is just such a TRUE statement! My mom kept telling me I had to let these people help and that really humbled me. She said I was cheating them out of the joy of helping. I still don't like receiving the help, but I think I have a little less pride now!

Every single day for two months I was calling and checking on all my applications, going on interviews, putting in apps for new job listings, even at Menards! Here I was, with two college degrees and I couldn’t get a job, not even at Menards! What a loser I was!

Then last Sunday at church, after another great sermon on Storms, about 40 people gathered around me to pray for me. With hands laid on me, prayers being raised high, and tears streaming, I let these people love on me and send an appeal to God to take the storm cloud off of my head and open up the skies and let the Son shine down.

Within 24 hours, I had a new interview. Then two days later, a second one...and a third, all with the same company. The district manager wanted to interview me and she was going to be out of town for two weeks so they hurried things through so I could meet with her before she left town. Two hours after that interview I was offered the job! It's not just a job, either. It's something I love doing, the pay is way better than anything else I was ever offered and it comes with great insurance. I believe this is the power of prayer in action! This was not a coincidence, this is GOD at work!

It took me getting my life in God’s will, lots and lots of prayer, being humble, losing my pride, and allowing others to help and pray for me before God could see his reflection in me and pull me out of the fire. ALL PRAISE BE TO GOD!