Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hello Again!

Dear Ladies- I am so sorry about the blog drought going on around here at GLOW. I truly have missed writing each week, but have had way to much on my plate right now. Some of you many know that my family is the midst of big changes! My husband and I purchased a cute little pizza/cafe near the beach in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida! It has been a long process. We have been talking for a few years about making a change and praying about where God wants us. After a few false starts and closed doors, God led us to Pizza by the Sea. We are both so excited about this great little place, and the fact that we are both going to be taking part in running the business. I had been stressing a bit about what I was going to do once both of my kids were in school full time (next year). I felt in my heart that going back to teaching full time was not answer, but didn't really know what to do. Well, God has answered this prayer for me-- I am going to be in charge of all marketing and advertising for our new business-- that means I get to use the writing/blogging that I love to do, and still have the flexibility I feel is so important when raising our kids. Speaking of kids, ours are doing great with the change. We started talking to them about the possibility of a move back in the summer, so they were prepared. They have expressed some sadness regarding leaving their house and friends, but are excited to live in Florida and close to my parents' part time home. I think one of the biggest changes for them will be not being able to see Jason's parents so often. They have been such a big part of the kids' lives for the 8 years we have lived here. We are hoping that we can talk them into getting a condo down our way. Anyway, I will update more soon about our big move. We will not be leaving our current home until the kids are finished with school in June. Until then, we are praying for our home to sell, and for a smooth transition to our new home in Florida. Saying goodbye to our friends and church family here will not be easy-- Thinking about not being with some of the folks that we love here makes me teary-eyed, but the reassurance we have in the life that God has planned for us helps us get through the tough changes. Plus, we are expecting lots of visitors! For those of you who are interested, Pizza by the Sea's blog is http://www.pizzabythesea.com/ Have a great week, friends, and thank you for keeping my family in your prayers.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's a GIRL!

We knew it was going to be a girl but the great news is they are home with the baby! All is going well for mama, daddy, and baby E. I am thrilled for them. I was hoping to visit them while I was in Michigan this week but some runny noses and coughs kept that from happening. I'll ask her about a pic, but just know that your prayers were answered. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Praise Him!

My cousin and her husband have wanted to be parents for a long, long, time and tomorrow it looks like it's going to be the day! They have an adoptive mom who has chosen them and is going to be induced tomorrow. I broke my no blog rule and checked hers for updates and found out that tomorrow is the day!

I remember not being able to sleep the night before we went in to have Grace. I remember being so stinking excited, but also nervous, but mostly excited and I know that C and M are going through the same emotions. I'm sure it's motherhood (hormones) but I cannot help but tear up at this joyous news for them. I have believe with them for a long time that God would answer their prayers to be parents. Praise the Lord for answered prayers. They don't happen in our time, but they are always, always good.

I immediately thought of Psalm 139 when I read her post. God knows our thoughts, he knows our hearts, and he knew us when he knit us together. He has such a special plan for this precious little being and I am so thankful that He's included my cousin in this plan.

Please pray for them tomorrow. (wednesday)I know you don't know them (well some of you do!) but our prayers are always heard! Pray for this birth mom that is making a brave, tough choice- Give her strength, courage, and peace. Thanks!

Psalm 139:13-14 (New International Version, ©2011)

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spirit of Power

Hi there! Sorry I am a day late on my post.... I was out '"late" last night with some girlfriends at a swap party. So much fun, and a great idea! Basically, for those of you who may be wondering what a swap party is-each person brings 3-4 items that you don't want anymore (last night it was a purse and jewelry swap), and you come home with the same number of items you came with! So I brought 2 purses that I did not want anymore, and left with a cute bag and a necklace! You can also do it with books, homegoods, whatever!

Anyway, I was tuckered out when I got home, so my post is a day late. I just wanted to encourage you all who are memorizing scripture with us. It is definitely becoming more of a challenge now, isn't it? The other day when I was at the dentist, I was trying to go through all of them in my head-- not an easy task! But keep at it, and you will reap the rewards of the Word!

My verse for the end of this month is from 2 Timothy 1, verse 2:

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."

I love this verse and how it reassures me that God did not create me to be a wimp! So many times I get that feeling of fear rising up in me as I approach a hard task or face a challenge. I fiercely dislike change and confrontation, especially. This verse, I know, will be one that I can access to help cut down those feelings of fear and insecurity. God's word is mighty like a sword, and it can strike those negative feelings out of our hearts and minds.

Keep up the good work ladies! Don't get discouraged, don't be timid in your studies! Even if you "fell down" and got behind, get back up and go for it!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Journey

My sweet little man is 6 months old. He is so much fun. Tonight he sat on his dad's lap and couldn't keep his eyes off of me. I kept making silly faces at him just to hear his deep chuckle over and over. I do believe I have emerged from the "new baby" stage. What does that mean? Well, for one it means that I can no longer say I'm exhausted from my "new baby". He's pretty close to sleeping through the night and he is on a fairly consistent schedule. It also means that I have no more excuses not to exercise. No more, when the baby sleeps through the night or when I'm rested, or ... you name it, I've probably said it.

Let me give you a little big of background. I have never been much of an exerciser. I played sports in high school. but I really use the word "played" loosely. I was on the volleyball and basketball team, but I was not good. (and I'm not just saying that!!!) In college I had a short time of losing weight in an unhealthy way and then exercising in an unhealthy manner. Thankfully God worked in some mighty ways and that was straightened out before it became habitual. When I lived in Haiti after college, I exercised sporadically, but let's be honest. When it was always 90+ degrees- I mostly just came home from teaching and crashed in front of a fan.

It wasn't until I moved back to the states that I decided to do something about my health. I was pretty quickly adding on the lbs because of all of the great food that was suddenly available to me (no Micky D's in Haiti people). I started watching what I ate and for the first time in my life I started running. I was so blessed to have a dear friend be my running partner and for 3 years we met each morning before work and hit the pavement. I never felt better.

Then I - met my husband, and was married and moved to his town within a year. I quickly realized that running by myself was not my favorite. Not at all. And besides, that about 3 months after saying I do, we were expecting our first baby! And then to sum up the last 3 plus years-exercise=not so much, pregnant, baby weight, slimmed down, pregnant, baby weight, and.. that's where we are now. With lots of baby weight still sticking around.. and remember? My "new" baby- not so new.

I know that some of you have heard of Lysa Terkeurst and her new book Made To Crave. I had a sweet friend give me this book a few weeks back and I just started it this weekend. LOVE. that's all I can say. Another friend told me that she thought that if she could have written it, she would have said the exact same thing. I am only a few chapters in and I already am excited for the journey that God is going to take me on in my desire to be healthy and live a life that pleases Him.

This book isn't a diet book. It's not meant to tell you how to lose weight. It's actually meant to go along with whatever you (I) choose to do to lose weight and be healthy by a Bible study that will help us "want" to.

I am excited about this journey. I've made some steps to start it, like exercising 5 days a week, keeping track of what I eat, but the big part was missing. God needs to be the center of why I do what I do. Without Him, I cannot succeed.

I'm going to take the next few weeks to share what I am learning with you. Please feel free to share any insights with me. And, if you don't mind, would you please pray for me? I can use all the help/support I can get!


(PS- I do know that Graham is technically still "new" and that it hasn't been all that long- it's really not about that weight and what the scale says, but feeling good with myself and being happy with my body- you know?)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

40 days

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season (the 40 days leading up to Easter). Many churches, including the one we attend, celebrate Ash Wednesday with a service and the imposition of the ashes on the forehead. As we were sitting around the dinner table tonight talking with the kids, we reminded them that tomorrow was Ash Wednesday. They were both excited about getting the ashes because they think it's cool to have dirt in the shape of a cross on your forehead. And they are SO sad four days later when those ashes have finally disappeared from sleeping, baths, hats, etc.

They asked me what the ashes mean, and I gave an general answer that satisfied their curiosity. Later though, I did a little research into Lent and the meaning of the ashes. I thought I would share a little excerpt of what I found:

*Ashes are referred to many times in the Old Testament as a sign of sorrow, repentance, and mortality. The ashes on our foreheads reminds us that we will die because death is the penalty for our sin. The sign of the cross is a reminder that it is only through Christ that we will gain salvation and eternal life.

Also, in our family we have often committed to 40 days of fasting in some way, whether it be giving up sweets, a video game, or other pleasureable thing. I think fasting and doing things like this can be beneficial, as long as they are done for the right reasons. Sometimes we tend to get legalistic and it becomes about "following the rules" instead of focusing on Christ and his gift. We can never do enough good works, or earn His forgiveness. We can never repay Him. Lent is not about giving up something to please God-- it's about what He gave to us by dying on the cross. He gave his perfect, sinless life to repay the debt of the sins of the world.

Lent is a time of reflecting on all of this. I have thought about how we can make this real to our kids as well. Maybe a nightly devotion reading together with a candle? I don't know. But I want these 40 days to be not just any ordinary 40 days. How do you set apart Lent as a special time of fellowship with the Lord?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday

today I am thankful for-

* a lived in living room. Children live here and they fill this house with so much joy. Lots of stuff too, but mostly joy
* good friends- I have many and God seems to bring each one in for a specific time. I am blessed
* a great church family. We had a carry in last night for the kick off our our WNNW (Wednesday Nights at North Webster) If you didn't go, please come next week! It was great and I'm excited about the community we are continuing to build
* memorizing scripture- Do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life which Son of Man will give you, for on him God the father has placed his seal of approval" John 6:27
* time away. Going with some girlfriends this weekend to do some shopping. I can't wait!

How about you? What are you thankful for? :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Hands of Comfort

For the past 24 hours, I have been the hands of comfort to my children. First, my daughter who woke up with an excruciating earache last night, then a few hours later, my son with the flu. I was the lone ranger too, as Jason was gone for the evening on business. As I went through the sleep-dazed motions of handing out medicines, tucking in blankets, rubbing backs, and holding up heads for drinks of water, I looked into their weary eyes and saw peace as they were comforted by my tending.

Of course, we love our children unconditionally and yearn to comfort them in their illness, weakness, or sadness. If we love our children this much, can we even imagine how much our Father loves us? And don't we all crave the tending of our Father? The comfort of being in His presence, His peace, His security?

Just as my children rested in peace knowing that their mother was there to care for them, we should also rest in peace knowing our Father is caring for us-- that He can comfort us in any situation. His medicine is His word--healing for our weary souls. He holds us in arms that are stronger than any rock, but gentle enough to soothe. His water-- the Living water that never runs dry. Let us drink and never be thirsty.....

He is the God of all comfort..... rest and know you are loved.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 1 Corinthians 1:3-4

Sunday, February 27, 2011


to whomever reads this.. I am sorry I cannot get my act together to post more regularly!


Finished 1000 Gifts this past week. Have you bought it yet? GO NOW. Go to amazon or wherever and buy it. It's so so good. I know it will be good for anyone but for me, it was like.. "YES! This is what I need!" I need to be reminded to practice being thankful for all things. I love how Ann Voskamp writes so honestly and so .. real. She is a mom, a wife, a teacher, and a child of God. She shares her honest struggles with finding thanks in daily life. What I appreciated was her admitting that is it a daily struggle. To have an attitude of being happy/content/thankful with where God has placed you. Sometimes we have to stop and refocus.

I started my own thankful journal, like Kristi did and it's been neat! Getting up at all hours of the night with a baby that should be sleeping and I sit there and thank the Lord for moments of holding a precious little guy that will fade fast. For little fingers that wrap around mine. When I look at the piles of laundry sitting my floor that should have been folded on Friday and it's now Sunday and it won't happen today either and I thank Him that we have such abundance that I can have extra clothes sitting around and a washing machine and a dryer and even the space to stick them. When I put on those jeans that are just washed and want to have a little hissy fit that the weight isn't coming off and why not and can't it happen faster I have thanked him that he gave me a body that can carry a baby and that I can exercise and move it and thank him that jeans now have stretch to them.

Today we are celebrating the end of a fantastic Upward basketball season. It's been another awesome journey to see God at work. So many times this season I have teared up. God is so good. In the craziness of planning and finding time to get it all done I have thanked him for extra help for the kids, encouraging texts, extra hands that step in and do the little jobs that do add up, kids who cannot help but smile as their names are announced, and cannot help but jump up and down as a basket is made or a cheer is finished.

God is good. I will keep this journal up and hopefully like Ann start my journey into true thankfulness. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Prayer For You

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Christ Jesus- to the glory and praise of God. (Phillipians 1:3-6, 9-11)

Thank you, faithful readers of GLOW, for traveling with us on this journey to know Christ in our lives! We hope that our musings each week in some way touch you and spur you on toward the finish line in this race-- the race to the arms of our Lord. Have a fantastic week!

Friday, February 18, 2011


Kristi's post came at the best time... I feel like I'm letting myself get busy. So busy that I didn't even post last week! (I've been reading A Thousand Gifts and I have lots to share but need to put my thoughts together and that hasn't happened yet!)

Staying on the vine... I am running at about 50% with staying on the vine by time with the Lord, memory verses, and some quiet time. BUT I did want to share with you a success story I had! Not one you'd have seen. Some of our struggles are so personal and private that people don't ever see them. But I'd like to share this with you.

I know I've shared on here before about some of my struggles with being confident in who I am in Christ. This past week a bit of that was put to the test. Last week was rough for me. I was getting to a place where I was feeling low, letting words hurt me, and also hurting with my words. The details don't matter as much as the end. I was feeling sorry for myself and getting ready to have a good cry. Honestly, it made me mad! I am so tired of the cycle of feeling good, feeling bad, feeling good, feeling bad... I had a short talk with God that went something like this God, you are the healer. You can heal this situation, and you can heal me. Do your work God and please, do it quickly.

I decided NOT to go my usual feel sorry route. Instead I pulled out something that some of you will remember-
  • God is who he says he is
  • God can do what he says he'll do
  • I am who God says I am
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
  • God's word is alive and active in me.
(from Beth Moore's Bible Study- Believing God)

It WORKED! God is so good. I NEVER thought I would ever get over some of those strongholds that Satan had over me. I have for so long beat myself up when I got to that point. Let myself feel bad, and then I'd add some salt to the wounds with some personal insults. Oh, it felt so good not to flood my heart with hurt. Yes, I did have to repeat it many times and even quite a bit the next day, but my outlook was changed. I am not the warped vision I have of me. I AM who GOD says I am.

There you have it. A personal success story. :) God is good friends.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Take a Deep Breath

Busy times at our house.....busy for Dad, Mom, and kids! As I was searching Scripture for my memory verse for the last half of this month, I came across this familiar one in John, one of my favorite books of the Bible.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4

You know when passages literally jump off of the page at you? Well, this one hit me right between the eyes. What a great reminder that I need to stay centered in Christ in all of my busyness. None of the efforts I make will bear fruit for the kingdom of God if I try to go it alone.

It is so easy, isn't it, to rely on our own actions, thoughts, plans-- and leave God on the outskirts of it all. Where does that plan put me? Ready to go off of the edge! You know the feelings ... anxiety, stress, frustration.

However, when God stays at the center of my world, I stay centered... emotionally, physically, spiritually. I am a better wife, mother, and friend when I remain in Him, and not on my own.

How do you remain part of the vine? Stay connected with God throughout your busy days?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Resentment or Gratitude?

Well, I have made it through about 4 chapters of One Thousand Gifts. Those of you reading this book right now as well, know that sometimes you just have to stop yourself from going too fast. There is so much in this book to think about-- it really challenges you to look at your life in a different way.

I had a hard time choosing a topic for this post because there were so many points I wanted to open for discussion. But one of the ones that jumped out at me was the choice of resentment or gratitude: When life does not go the way that we had hoped, and we experience tragedy or a difficult circumstance, do we choose resentment or gratitude?

It is a difficult question to answer. As Ann states in her book, I feel like I also live the "no" at times. I have said yes to God, said yes to being a Christian, but when God closes a door that I thought should be open, or takes a way a person tragically, or does something that doesn't make sense, my initial reaction sometimes is "How could you do this? Don't you love me? Don't you want me to be happy?"

How do we find joy in God in those situations? How do we let God use us through our difficult circumstances? How do trust that He knows the end of the story when we don't? How do we choose gratitude over resentment?

I can't wait to continue reading. I have started a "gratitude" list of my own, and I have been surprised how the discipline of writing down 3 or 4 things a day that I find joy in, has really changed my focus from the negative to the positive-- appreciating all of God's gifts to us.

Here are a few on my list:
*a warm bed on a snowy day *a toothless smile *tight hugs from little arms *a long dinner with good friends *full cupboards *baby's fuzzy head *warm laundry *4 people and 1 cat in bed

If you haven't gotten a hold of a copy of One Thousand Gifts, I really recommend it. If you would like to see more discussion on Chapter 1 with the author Ann Voskamp, click here.

What did you think of the book so far? What was your favorite part?

Monday, February 7, 2011

I Don't Think I Could Have Done It...

I'm reading through the Bible. I have finished the first 3 books. Yesterday I finished Leviticus. If you have never read it, you should, over the course of a week or so. It is a lot to digest! The book is God's instructions for social and religious life for the Israelites.

As I was finishing the last 3 chapters I thought to myself, "I don't think I could have done this!" I am pretty sure I would either have been sacrificing more animals than I could afford OR I would have given up on trying to please God. Honestly I was leaning more toward the second choice. Knowing at this time in history that most people couldn't read or write, I can't imagine being able to remember what I needed to sacrifice for which things. Nor could I remember all of the social rules. And, even if I could remember it all, keeping up with everything would have been a whole other story!

Then a peace came over me. I don't have to remember the rituals, the different sacrifices, the regulations. I don't have to remember them because Jesus came. He paid the ULTIMATE sacrifice, once for all. I don't have to remember if my sin requires a sacrifice of a goat or dove. My sin has been paid for....in full. I have a direct line to God. I can go to Him anytime, any day, anywhere!

God doesn't expect that I will be perfect, that I will remember every sacrifice, every rule and regulation. All that He expects is for my life to be entrusted to Him. Every day. Every minute. In every situation.

Thank you Jesus, for your life.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Days

Three days of being snowed in.

A mama, a toddler, and a baby.

A daddy gone all week.

What did I learn? I learned how to shovel our driveway so as not to hurt my back. I learned that the news doesn't have to be on 24/7. They say the same things after a while. I learned that Martha (Martha Speaks on PBS) can always save the day. I learned that bedtime for Jr. should come earlier than 8pm. I learned that I am not good with willpower- staying out of the kitchen. I learned that I MUST follow a schedule or else I will get sucked in to the internet, or Oprah or whatever. I learned that we are born to need community and that God gave us community so we can encourage each other. I've learned that I need that community!

Last Sunday I was sitting at our kitchen table, my hands holding up my head. I had been up with Graham many many times the night before. I was tired. My sweet mother in law, who was visiting, encouraged me to just stay home from church that morning and rest. (My MIL LOVES Jesus- she was just looking out for me, knowing it would be a busy week). She reminded me I could worship at home through a video, internet, or ipod message. I was so tempted. A day home with my hubby and yoga pants? Lovely. But.. there was something else. Yes I could have listened to a sermon at home. I could have played some amazing worship music but I needed more. I needed that community. I wanted to share smiles with others, to greet my church family and to worship together. There is something so .. I don't know.. uplifting? about it. Anyway, just wanted to share that. If you don't have a community where you can worship together... go find it!

And here is my 3rd verse :)

Shout for Joy to the Lord, all the earth
Worship the Lord with gladness
And come before him with joyful songs
Know that the Lord is good. It is He who made us and we are His.

Psalm 100:1-3a

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Great Commission

Being involved in the Upward ministry, I have an awesome opportunity to share my faith with others almost on a daily basis. The questions I have been struggling with lately are, "How do I approach the topic? How do I share my testimony ? How do I invite this person to church without sounding pushy? What if I open my mouth and something really stupid comes out?

By nature, I am not an "evangelist". Evangelist (In Greek) means "good-news" bearer--and some of us were created to be gifted, naturally talented evangelists, and the rest of us have to work REALLY hard at it.

But as a Christian, I am commanded by God to share my faith with others.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded (Matthew 28:19-20)

Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation (Mark 16:15)

The Bible does not say "If you feel like it, share your faith" or "If it's not too uncomfortable for you, share your faith".

So it is an obedience thing. And it is my desire to follow Jesus.

I do share my faith on this blog but somehow writing it online is different than face-to-face interactions.

After some thought, prayer, and a little research, I came to the conclusion that my problem is simply "me". I am relying on my own abilities to accomplish this, and not trusting God to lead me and give me the words at the right time. When you accept Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in you. What a gift to have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of me! Have I been calling on the Holy Spirit to help me share my faith? No.

So here is my plan:

1. Pray and ask God to lead me in my interactions with people.
2. Know that the Holy Spirit will enable me to say the right things when they need to be said.
3. Act on the nudges I get from God. Share my faith-- invite that friend to church.
4. Leave the results of those actions to God-- it is in His hands!

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. (Philemon 1:6

I would love to hear stories of how you have shared your faith with others. How did someone share their faith with you? How did sharing your faith help you in your own understanding of Christ?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

30 Days and Counting....

I have done it! I have stuck to a commitment for 30 days straight! I just wanted to share that with you all in hopes that it will encourage you.

30 days is a long time.......kind of.

I had 2 resolutions for this year. 1. read the Bible in a year, following the plan that my Bible lays out. 2. Take at least 1 picture every day. I have done it....for 30 days! You can read about it here. I needed a way to keep me accountable, so I started a blog about it.

It has turned into a pretty great routine too. Every day I get up early, let Linus out, make coffee, turn on Pandora.com (internet radio), and read my Bible! I have finished Genesis and Exodus. I am almost half way through Leviticus.

I AM LEARNING SO MUCH! I didn't grow up in the church or really do much of anything church-related until highschool. There are so many stories in the Bible that I have heard mentioned and know nothing about. I am diving into all of them. It is awesome! I am learning history, struggle, the fight for power, submission, obedience, and most importantly how necessary DAILY time with God is to my life.

I am also having a blast taking pictures. Some days I take one picture. Some days I take several. I am saving them all on my computer. The "picture of the day" gets renamed with the day's date. It is so fun! I have always been great about taking my camera places, but I forget to actually use it. Hence, taking a picture a day.

That's what I wanted to share with you. I would love to know if any of you made resolutions. If so, how are they going? Can I pray for you? Encourage you? Please share....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Ok.. without looking

"Many O Lord are the wonders you have done. The things you have planned for us, no one can imagine. Were I to tell and recount them they would be too many to declare" Psalm 40:5

ok. a bit of work to do.. but I definitely go the point. I have my verse in the kitchen since I'm in there so often! :)

Today I wanted to share a thankful list. I'm thankful for:
  • apples with peanut butter- (still trying to eat better!)
  • a great Upward meeting today. We are a part of such an awesome ministry
  • a good book. I started One Thousand Gifts the other day. I seriously don't have enough reading time in my life right now.
What are you thankful for? Working on some verses? Keep it up!

And... I have a question for you... I'd love to know among our readers how many attend our church (NWUMC) and who goes elsewhere. I'll enable posts so you all can comment even anonymously. Come on you lurkers... just give us a shout out! I have a few thoughts rolling around in my head but want to know where our readers are coming from.

Thanks Ladies!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Little of This and That

First of all, I started reading One Thousand Gifts last night, and oh. my. goodness. Let's just say that I have been saving it until I can really focus on reading every word, because if you have ever read Ann Voskamp, you know that her writing is poetic, like candy for your brain. You have to read it Slowly and savor every morsel.

I wasn't let down when I read chapter 1 last night. I had to keep shushing my husband it was THAT good. Please order her book. I can't wait to blog about it in a few weeks. I guarantee you will LOVE it. Go Here to read more about the book club, the book, and the author.

Also, I wanted to share with you my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse for the second half of this month. I have been doing well so far, but it is just the beginning. The real test will be this summer. Will I have the stamina to push through and continue to memorize two Scripture passages a month? I am praying that I do. Some of you may wonder: "Why memorize Scripture? Why is it so important?" Great question and one I did not fully know the answer to until the past year or two. Here is a great post from one of my favorite Bible teachers about why we should memorize Scripture.

It is something that is hard for me to do, so this is the first time I have committed to a long-term Scripture memory project. You know all that about avoiding things that are difficult:) Well, memorizing Scripture is not my forte, but even after this first month of working at it, it has been working in my heart. So without further ado, I would like to share my verse for this month by memory (no peeking!):

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to perservere so you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

How did I do? Well, I was off about six words...... but they were not important words, you know.. like pronouns and stuff:) Anyways, I think I did pretty well. And I love this verse. I can always have confidence in my Lord, and that trust and faith will not go unnoticed from Him! God is who He says He is, and He does what He says He will do. I have no reason to throw that truth away.

Two questions for you: Have you started One Thousand Gifts? Without giving too much away, what was your first impression? Also, what verse are you memorizing or which verse is speaking to you these days?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How perfectly fitting

Spaghetti noodles all over the floor.
Dust bunnies under the bar stools
A teacup, a stuffed puppy, a sock, pacifier, and some forgotten cheerios across the living room

The sound of the dryer humming, a snap or button hitting the side over and over
Three piles sitting in baskets to be folded

Last nights dishes waiting to be squeezed into the dishwasher
Cookie cutters needing rinsed
The last three days mail sitting in a pile
Abandoned coats and gloves by the door

This is my house right now. I'm getting ready to do a mad rush of cleaning while the littles sleep and before my hubby gets back from his trip. I was feeling a bit down about all that there is to do but then I read this. If you have not gone to Kristi's link and read Ann Voskamp A Holy Experience, please do. I needed this today. After reading this, I'm so glad He has honored me this gift of my life. To take care of my babies and my husband. No need to feel sorry for myself. Thank you Lord!

“To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory,
but a man with a dungfork in his hand,
a woman with a slop pail,
give Him glory

God is so great that all things give Him glory if you mean that they should.”

~Ignatius Loyola

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Looking for a Book?

I am always in search of a good read. So when I found out that the author of one of the blogs I read just released a book, and another author of another blog I read is doing a book study of this book, I was so excited!

The title of the book is A Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. I have been reading her blog, and her posts on a blog called (In) Courage, for awhile now, and she is a beautiful writer. The way that she puts words together to create an image in your mind is amazing. I can't wait to read it!

So if you are ready for a challenge, will you join me in reading this book? I will be posting my thoughts on it starting in a few weeks. Also, if you head over to here, they will also be having video chats with Ann herself starting Feb. 6th!!! I can't wait!

This week only, Dayspring, which is the sponsor of In(Courage), is selling the book for $10. So go here.

( I think I am starting to sound a little like a bossy advertisement, don't you? Ha!!!)

I think it would be fun to do a little online book chat, don't you? I know you will LOVE this book, and I know it will very thought-provoking and worthy of a little discussion! If you could comment on this post if you are reading this book with me (and Shannon, I think!), that would be fabulous.

Happy Reading!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our Stories

Upward kicked off last week. It was amazing! Now I know that I am a woman, therefore emotional, but when those first teams ran out and huddled around for the opening prayer I got completely choked up. Like had to pause before praying and I made it quick then I rushed into the youth room to finish the cry! Ha!

God is so good. He takes our work which sometimes feels small, and not enough and crazy and then He makes it into something completely amazing. He is going to move in amazing ways this season. I cannot wait to see what all he does. And what I love most (but it's also a hard part) is that His work will continue through Upward long past this season.

So, I think Kristi talked about this last week maybe? (I could go back and look but hey, it's Thursday and I'm posting, just be happy with that!) Anyway, our theme for this season is What's Your Story? We kicked off the season with this amazing video I love it. I love how all of our stories are so unique and yet we are all in this journey together. We're going to explore this during the season and hopefully share some more of our stories together. Ultimately we want our fans to know that Jesus is the author of our lives and that no matter what our stories are He can rewrite them. And we will walk this great story TOGETHER!

Please continue to pray for this ministry. It is really such a blessing to be a part of. And if you know of anyone who would like to share parts of theri story with us please let us know!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Starting Fresh

I just finished exercising for 3o minutes. It seemed like 300 minutes, actually. I have a love/hate relationship with working out. I love how it makes me feel afterwards, and I love the energy I have through the rest of the day.

I hate actually taking the time to do it. I can think of about a thousand other things I should and could be doing right now with these 3o minutes, like showering, cleaning the clutter of my desk, tackling the pile of laundry, maybe finish reading that book I am really into.

But I know that I have neglected my physical fitness in the past year and a half. And I need to get back in shape for my current and future health. I was in the best shape of my life about two years ago when I was training for the Indy 500 mini marathon. I trained 6 days a week. I could go 8 miles without much effort. Now I jump rope for 30 seconds and collapse. Not good.

My problem is that I go gangbusters for a few weeks, and then fizzle out. I need to remember that this exercise commitment is a marathon, not a sprint to the finish. It takes commitment, self-control, and perserverance. Once I get going, I feel great. It is just taking that step every day to make it happen.

I think this same idea carries over to other areas of our lives--- like going to church, or taking time to pray and read God's word, or sticking to a budget or a diet. It takes a daily recommitment to our goal.

I am going to try this and maybe you can, too. Every morning lift your goals for that day up to the Lord, and ask for His help in keeping them. For me, it is consistently spending time with Him every day, memorizing two Scriptures a month, and exercising 30 minutes 4-5 days a week. Thankfully, we serve a God that gives us a fresh start each day. I can't erase all of my bad habits of the past few years, but I can change what comes next!!!

As it says in Phillipians chapter 4, Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds (6-7).

I can do anything through Him who gives me strength, and God will meet all my needs according to His glorious riches. (13,19)

What are you starting fresh this January?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Good Morning

I have been taking at least 1 picture each day (and planning on doing so for this WHOLE year). I am posting them in a blog that you can view here. As I was driving to church, I was just overwhelmed with the hoarfrost covering everything. It was just absolutely stunning. I stopped several times and took pictures. I thought it was a great way for God to say, "Good morning!"

Friday, January 7, 2011


ok, this will show us who really reads this blog! Did you all read this before and the title said "things to do on vacation by Gracie"? Well the title area has an automatic fill in and while I just meant to type things ( unique I know) it came up that and I never noticed. HA!

Good Morning! I'm supposed to post on Thursday. Why can't I ever seem to get my act together to do just that? Not sure. Anyhow I'm sitting here typing with 4 stuffed animals and a lively two year old in our chair.. Happy Friday. :)

Did you pick a verse to memorize for the first half of January? I really want to encourage you to work on Scripture memorization this year. How can we go wrong hiding His word in our heart? Why would we not want to do that?

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self control" 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

I picked that verse to start the year because self control seems to speak to me right now. I need self control to continue this memorization path, to eat healthy and to continue to track our spending. All three of the things I want to work on. I wrote this verse on a thankful sign we have in our kitchen and I like looking at it every day (as I go for the leftover Christmas candy!)

Again, if you haven't shared but are going to memorize scripture please leave us a comment and let us know. We'd love to take this journey with you!

Big stuff happening this weekend... UPWARD BASKETBALL AND CHEERLEADING! We kick off our season tomorrow at 9 am at NWUMC. We would LOVE for you to come and support our athletes. If you attend our church, this is the chance for us to show our love to our neighbors, many who may not have a church home and may be in need of a church family. If you don't attend our church but are involved in Upward, please come and enjoy!

ok, I'm off. For some reason my 4 month old didn't get the memo that he should start sleeping through the night and is regressing (8 times of crying last night!) I also have a 2 1/2 year old who needs some attention. Apparently her "puppies" need breakfast. Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top 10 Things I Learned Over Christmas Break

It has been a busy start to the new year and getting used to the routine again..... well, you know how that goes! So I thought I would do a funny recap of some memorable moments over our break. Enjoy!

Top 10 Things I Learned Over Christmas Break

10. It IS physically possible for three girls age 7 and under to spread out every single, tiny Polly Pocket shoe, Princess crown, Barbie silverware, littlest pet shop accessory etc all over the play room floor to create a sort of "girl -toy carpet". Nice on the bare feet and the vacuum.

9. Immediately throw away all cookie sprinkles in the form of a small sphere. You will never find them all after your daughter spills half a jar on your wood floor, and will continue to step on them for years.

8. You can make several good meals out of hot chocolate, leftover ham, fruit from a gift basket, and cookies.

7. Even though there is no reason to get up at 6:30, my children will still get up at 6:30. They might even proceed to play their electronic keyboard quite loudly until you roll out of bed to make breakfast.

6. It is possible to sled down hills with almost no snow, and tying a rope with a sled to your brother-in-law while he ice skates is great fun for the kids, and a good workout for said brother-in-law.

5. Never give free reign of the candles at the Christmas Eve candlelight service to your 9 year old son. It will quickly end up being a light saber instead of a candle and will be used to taunt 6 year old sister.

4. My husband should have been an engineer because he put together a six-foot-tall marble maze without directions. And he and my son lived to tell about it. Barely.

3. Letting the kids stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve sounds like a great idea until you actually experience it, and the aftermath.

2. Playing Just Dance Kids on the Wii is a legitimate form of exercise for me. If I can get through "Everybody Dance Now" without keeling over, I am making progress.

And the number 1 thing I learned over Christmas break:

Hanging out the with kids, the husband, and family and friends is the best way to spend it. I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I recently read an article in Relevant Magazine called "A Vanishing God" (click to read full article on page 40).

I found this quote interesting "You cannot cling to the Christ you know today. He will vanish from your midst. Jesus Christ is an elusive Lover. Seeking Him is a progressive engagement that never ends. He doesn't dance to our music. He doesn't sing to our tune."

I don't know about you, but I am grateful that God doesn't allow me to be stagnant in my faith. It almost seems that when I get a grasp on God, He moves. He causes me to dig deeper, to take another step of faith, to make a change in me. He teaches me more. He opens my eyes in new ways to familiar scripture, allowing me to see more of Him.

I was recently reading in Isaiah 55 and found the above writer's statement to be so true in verses 6 and 8-9, respectively.

"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near."

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

We cannot claim to have grasped God because He cannot be grasped, entirely. Yes, we get glimpses of God and his splendor and majesty. He allows us to see what He deems we can handle. But, we cannot put God in a box or bag or purse or pocket and tote him around. Our God cannot be contained!

I'm challenging myself (and you, reader) to seek God out. And when it seems He has left you, seek Him MORE! I guarantee God has more to be found.