Friday, November 30, 2012


I remember being so excited about Christmas as a child. The anticipation. The laying in bed hearing noises and wondering if it was Santa I heard.

Now, I watch my own children. Trying my best to raise them in a godly home, I watch the wonder of the season in their eyes. How they touch the tree. Watching the lights.Flicking the ornaments.  The quietness. The stillness. The holiness of it all. 

We talk about the true meaing.

The birth of our Lord, our Savior.

Jesus Christ. 

The truth.

I wonder how many people really truly believe.

Not in Santa.

In Jesus.

The first gift.

The only gift that matters.

Oh, how I love Him.  How I want to please Him. 


Awesome, Holy. Wonderful.

Because of Him, I live. Because of Him, I have a hope and future.  Because of that gift of His life. Of His death. Of His Resurrection.

Thank you, God, for the wonder of the season.  Thank you, God. for your Son, Jesus Christ.

Five Minute Friday

If you would like to take part in the last Five Minute Friday of 2012, head on over the The Gypsy Mama's page.  You can find all the rules of the game and read some great post from some amazing people!

Another Great Giveaway!!!

If you have been hanging around my blog long, you know that I love scrapbooking, but never really have the time.  I was contacted by My Memories about 2 years ago to try out their digital scrapbook software, and loved it. 

So today, I am pleased to announce that I am giving away a FREE download of My Memories Suite Version 4. 

My Memories Suite Version 4 digital scrapbooking software is a fun and creative way to create scrapbooks, photobooks and more, whether you have a Mac or PC. The software's design tools will help you to build entire albums and other printable projects effortlessly using one of the many installed templates or designing your very own pages from scratch.

There are 4 ways to enter:
1. Follow my blog (be sure to leave a comment on this post telling me you are following)

2. Click HERE to view things I have created using My Memories Suite and leave a comment on this post about which is your favorite.

3. Visit My Memories and check out some of the great things they have to offer. Come back here and leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite thing you found.

4. Tell a friend about this giveaway and leave a comment on this post that you did that.

Do all 4 things and get 4 chances to win (make each task a separate comment). 

I will announce the winner on Tuesday, December 4.

Good Luck!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I am feeling generous so....

Everyone is a winner! 

Congrats to....

Britt T - A Woman's Right to Rest
Kristi - Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture for Moms
Holly - Tough Guys and Drama Queens
Lori - The Truth About Grace
Leah - Hurting With God

I will get your books to you soon!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

In Which I Admit I Don't Witness Like I Should

I don't witness like I should.

I'm not like Paul at all.

During our Sunday School class, we talked about how Paul took the time to get to know the Athenians (he found their statue in honor of an unknown god).  He went to where they were, the synagogues and the marketplace.  And he confronted them, flat out called them ignorant.

We can talk about how Paul was an amazing man, but really, he was nothing without God.

Why then do I fear witnessing to others?

I too am nothing without God.  He tells us that He has not given us a spirit of fear. Why then be afraid to witness?

You know, there are people that live on my street that I have never spoken too. I would be willing to bet that my family is the only family in my neighborhood that goes to church.  Why then have I not reached out to them?


I can come up with excuses. 

I don't trust my neighbors enough to let them know when we will be out of our home. When I can almost bet that 3 of the 9 houses on my dead in street are up to no good, why would I let them know I will be out of the house 3 times a week during the same amount of time?
They don't talk to us and we don't talk to them.

Excuse after excuse. 

The last conversation I had with a neighbor was when I carried her toddler son back to her after he wandered into our yard with no adult supervision. Not a pleasant conversation.

I wave at my neighbors, even the ones I know are up to no good.  We have neighbors that have never even onced waved or nodded to acknowledge us.

At work, I know that most of the people I work with were raised in church, go to church regularly, or went to church once.  I know that one coworker is of a totally different faith, the Bahia faith. I have invited my coworkers to church.  Some of us have had deep meaningful conversations, yet, I couldn't tell you if some of my closest coworkers are actually saved.

Its sad. I know. 

I like to think that I am really good at this writing thing, that my words may bring someone out their in cyperland closer to God. I like to think that I am a good encourager, that my words and actions would show the love of Jesus.  But I know it is my witnessing that needs the work. 

Is teaching Sunday School enough?
Is teaching VBS enough?
Is donating to missions enough?
Is taking my children to church when the doors are open enough?
Is praying for others enough?
Is Bible study enough?

I think I can do more.
I want to do more.

I love God.
Deeply, more than anything.
I love God.

I want to live my life in a way that everyone knows that I love God.
I want to live my life in a way that everyone knows what I stand for.

I stand for Jesus Christ.

I owe everything to Him.

He deserves my very best. Yet, I knowingly don't give Him my very best.

If my boys haven't done it

Then it isn't worth doing.....

Colin decided that his hot chocolate packets contained too many marshmallows (seriously?), so Carter decided he would eat them. 

Well,  he did more than eat them. 

I noticed his nose was running, kind of bloody. I wiped it, and there was a little bit of blue on the wipe.  HUH???

I looked further (deeper) and saw the problem.


In his nose.


I am very thankful that as a 2 1/2 year old that he "nose" how to blow his nose.  Those little babies shot right out of there! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Treat for You

I'm Not really. 

Feel like it though!  I am on a mission to clean this place up (or out)! 

For you, that is a good thing.  I am going to give away 3 books from my book review collection!

You may choose one of the following:

Tough Guys and Drama Queens
This Thing of Ours
Heaven in Her Arms
The Widow of Saunders Creek
Miracles and Moments of Grace (doctors)
A Woman Called
Has God Spoken?
A Woman's Right to Rest
Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture for Moms
Hurting with God
The Truth About Grace

Go to the book review page and click on the titles to see my review of the book you would like. 

All you have to do to win is leave a comment telling me which book you would like if you won.  That's it. I will choose 3 lucky winners next Thursday. 

Good Luck!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thank you, Lord

I am thankful for all that God has blessed me with. The most amazing gift: salvation found in His Son Jesus Christ.  Without that one gift, none of the others would matter. 

Thank you, Lord for saving my soul. Thank you for making a way for me to spend eternity with those I love the most. 

Thank you, Lord for those that sacrifice for us, the ones that are called to serve.

Thank you, Lord for a beautiful fall day, a chance to get out to of the house, spend time with family, and play in the autumn sunshine.

Thank you, Lord for my precious family: a husband who serves and loves and cares for us and healthy children who brighten my day with laughter and love.

Thank you, Lord for loving me. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tour of Duty Bible Study

This was the last week for the Tour of Duty Bible study. However, my book will stay close by!  There are so many great resources within the book and the amount of scripture that relates to so much of life.....oh, is wonderful.

So, below you will find my answers to the discussion questions for the last two chapters.  Feel free to comment.

Ch. 6 – Facing the Giants

Discuss your biggest giant that keeps your eyes off God. Is this giant a recent distraction, or is it a giant that keeps returning?

I think a mix of failure, worry, and time. I do have worries concerning deployment, I fear failing my family during this time, taking care of our home, raising the kids by myself, and messing up our finances. Time hit me today. It was only 11:30, but it felt well into the afternoon. I don't like days like that! The failure thing keeps returning, but the others are recent. I have found when these giants invade, I've been quick to turn them over to God. I hope I can continue to do that!

Do you agree with the statement “Giants require confrontation”? How have you confronted your giants lately?

I do agree with that statement. If you don't confront them, I think they grow bigger and become harder to confront them down the road.

Praying is a way to confront these giants, turning them over to God.

How does knowing that the enemy could be the driving force behind your giant change your perspective on it?

It shows that God is for us, not against his. The battle is the Lord's!

What part of the David and Goliath story hit home with you this week?

I think the part where Saul gave David the armor instead of fully relying on God as David did. I think sometimes we do that too. We say, "Ok, God, I trust you in this, BUT...." It's like we try to help God out a He needs help! :)

Which of the bulleted items on page 93 is the hardest for you to remember and why?

Sometimes all of them.

We feel inadequate because of our experience (being reserve or guard instead of active duty) or because of our age (I'm too old/young for this).

I think the other two work together. If we don't recognize the giants God has already defeated in our lives, then we do fail to give Him the credit and it is hard to get that victory. We aren't really relying on Him.

Discuss these verses: John 15:4-5 and Isaiah 40:31. How do these verses both challenge and encourage you?

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

John 15:4-5
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

These verses are beautiful. I am reminded that I am nothing without God. He is my everything. Just this week, I had a handful of people tell me, "You will get through this because you are strong."

No, I am not strong. My strength comes from the Lord. He is my Strong Tower. I know I can't do anything without Him.

What would your life look like without God? How can you trust Him more fully this week?

Without God, my life would be a mess. I would have no where to turn. The thing is, you can talk to people, confide in them, get advice from them, but it just isn't the same as having Jesus as your best friend. Throughout this journey, I will lean on Him and His Word.

Ch. 7 – This is Your Time
This chapter started with some heavy questions about God’s purpose for your life. If you feel comfortable sharing, what were some of your answers?

God has given me sort of a happy-go-lucky personality. I don't really stress alot (I guess outwardly anyway). I can pretty much get along with anyone. I hate confrontation. I think, or like to think, that I am fullfilling God's purpose by being the best wife I can be. I try to be supportive to whatever my husband is called to do. As for my children, I try to be the best mom I can be for them. I am doing my best to raise them as godly children. I'd like to think I am helpful to others when they are in need.

What are your thoughts on Romans 8:28?

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." It reminds me that if I am fullfilling His purpose, then things will work out for good. I may not always understand or see the immediate "good" but I can have faith that He is in control and loves me.

What’s the difference between self-created courage and courage that comes from God? What insights did you have as you read about courage?

I think self-created courage is fake. We put on a front. We surround ourselves with "good stuff." We don't let people see the real us. The courage that comes from God is real. It shows our fears and our weaknesses, but shows that we are fully relying on Him.

What did you learn from the story of Esther this week?

Like Esther, I am called to this. Knowing that God has a plan, that He has called me, makes things less frightening. I can take comfort in knowing that He is with me each step of the way.

How do you find yourself being courageous? In what areas of life do you struggle with this?

I think just "keeping on keeping on." It is hard. Like today, the boys were content sitting in front of the TV and computer. I was content catching up on some of my favorite shows, but I knew it would make for a long day, a long weekend if we just stayed put. So we left the house. I think sometimes, just leaving the house is going to be key for me. I hate getting out in the cold, so with winter approaching, I know that I need to get out even if it is running to Sonic to get a drink with the kids every once in a while.

What’s the biggest takeaway you’ve had from this study and sharing and hearing from the other ladies who have participated over the last 5 weeks?

I think just that all of this has a purpose. None of us are alone. God planned our deployments. He planned for us to do this study together. He is in control.

I know we had a conversation about some of us not having those military spouse connections because we are guard or reserves, and I thought of those that don't have those civilian connections. As for me, I work in the public school system. I have obligations at church. My children are involved in activities that require my support. I have  people that are here for me in my hometown, next door, down the road, across town. I am thankful for that. I pray that those that don't have that support system would find one. That others would reach out to them. Just know, ladies, that I am here for you. We may never be able to meet face to face, but we do have this cyber world where we are able to connect!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, whether you are with your Soldier or not.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Big Day for the Big Boys

The fifth graders at our school hold a mini mall each year as part of their economics project.  In the beginning, Colin was so not in to it.  He didn't want to participate and then decided on a project that he expected me to do. Ummm. No.  I finally convinced him to make and sell popcorn. He was hesitant, but he did it.  We were up until 9 last night popping popcorn in our hot air poppers and bagging and salting it. Popcorn was everywhere.  He told me it was so much fun.  Well, he is quite the salesman because he sold all 37 bags of popcorn for 50 cents a bag.  I was so proud of him. He said the coolest part was selling out, that it felt great! 

Carson and his Tiger Scout group visited our local fire department. It is run by volunteers and the gentlemen there tonight were not on call to work, but gladly spent over an hour with us.  They taught the boys about fire safety, and the boys saw a firefighter suit up, heard personal stories from firefighters, got some treats, climbed inside firetrucks, and sprayed from a real fire hose!  Man I wish I were a kid!  Carson, and his mama, had so much fun. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Book Review: The Girl's Still Got It

Are you looking for a new Bible study?  Here is one I think you will love.

It is Liz Curtis Higgs' The Girl's Still Got It.  This study covers the book of Ruth.

Higgs goes through the book verse by verse, using a narrative form along with commentary to supplement the scripture's message.  I have read Ruth before, but never like this.  Higgs makes the story come alive by placing the reader in the midst of Ruth's journey with her mother-in-law Naomi. 

As I read the book, I experienced the story of Ruth like never before.  Each chapter contains wit and humor. Higgs uses her own personal stories along with stories of other women in a section called Ruth in Real Life.  In the back of the book, you will find discussion questions and a study guide. This book would serve as an awesome personal Bible study as well as a group study.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

What is better than TobyMac and Operation Christmas Child?

Carson says TobyMac and Legos....


As we cuddled on the couch admiring our Christmas tree, I longed to stay in that moment. With your arms around me. The quiet. The two of us. Our children fast asleep in their beds.

As I heard your alarm go off this morning, I longed for you to stay in bed longer, pushing aside what had to be done today.  I climbed back into bed with you, hitting snooze. I wanted to stay that way.

As I think about what is about to come, the "going" you must do, I am reminded that we are not called to stay, but rather to go. We are called to make disciples of all nations. We are called to go to the outermost parts, just as you reminded us in your sermon Wednesday night.

Some people actually go, while others of us stay behind.  Whatever the case, I will stay strong, growing in the Lord, making you proud, being the wife I have been called to be. I will stay with arms wide open.  

Five Minute Friday
So, today is my first 5 Minute Friday.  I couldn't resist it today. Want to join in?  Click HERE to find out all the details.  Basically, write for 5 minutes. No editing. No overthinking. Just write for 5 minutes on the topic given. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Little Bit of Christmas

What is better than some TobyMac and Operation Christmas Child?

Tour of Duty Bible Study

Below are the answers to the discussion questions for Chapters 4 and 5. Please feel free to comment on anything even if you aren't participating in the study. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Ch. 4 – The Desert of Enough

1. Have you ever felt like no one understood what you were going through? How does this misunderstanding from others make deployment more difficult?

I think we have all felt that no one understands. In all reality, there are those that do. I think about the women before us who didn't have email, SKYPE, and texting. They had to wait and wait and wait and wait some more to hear from their Soldiers. Wonder if they think we don't understand?!?

Seriously does make things difficult. I think maybe we let that misunderstanding make us feel entitled to a big pity party. We can stop reaching out for help (if we ever did in the first place). I think it can cause us to alienate ourselves from people who really do care about us and want to help us.

2. If you’re comfortable with doing it, describe a situation when you felt stuck in an emotional desert.

When my husband traveled to Japan (our first long trip away from each other), I was left home with my 2 1/2 year old. It was a very cold December. My son had locked himself in the bathroom with the water running earlier in the week. For a couple of nights our heat kept messing up. It would work throughtout the day and then stop at night. The last straw came when I woke up at 2 am and it was 53 degrees in the house. I cried and told God that I just couldn't do it. I couldn't pack up my son and somewhere to spend the night and then get up for work. I missed my husband and wanted him home. I wanted someone to have answers and to fix things because i just couldn't. God heard my cry and got me through that. The heat miraclulously came back on within minutes and my son and I slept warmly the rest of the night. I felt renewed by just handing it all over to God.

3. We talked in the chapter about finding shelter in God’s love for us. Have you experienced this shelter from God? If so, describe it.

Oh, yes! His shelter comes in so many forms. Having just enough money to pay the bills. A friend (or stranger) there when you need them. The words we need to hear from scripture or song. God definitely provdies for us in so many amazing ways.

4. We looked at some discouraging circumstances in the life of Noah, David, the Israelites and Hannah. With which of these situations could you most relate?

I have definitely wanted a child badly. It was one of those times when I told myself God would let us have a baby when he was ready and not being pregnant was ok. Only I found that I truly didn't believe it. I had gone to the doctor thinking/believing I was pregnant. When the nurse told me I wasn't, I practically ran from the office. My husband had to catch up with me. It was definitely discouraging, but I realized that my faith wasn't what it should have been. It took lots of prayer to get me where I needed to be.

5. Part of the journey of deployment includes emotional highs and lows. What can you do to combat this emotional roller coaster?

Prayer. Scripture reading. PRAISE GOD! It is important to realize that God is in control. This is His plan and that he will see us through. For me, not knowing whether or not this deployment was going to come was hard. I am a planner by nature. I needed to know one way or the other so I could have peace either way. God made His decision when we learned to accept His timetable.

6. We asked on page 63 for you to describe a time when belief in God’s absolute control over a situation encouraged you or someone you know. If you’re comfortable in doing so, share that time with us here.

My husband and I found ourselves in a financial mess after he returned from CH-BOLC. What was supposed to turn into a short trip (3 hour tour HA!) became the full course. At the time, we thought this was the end of the world. However, it was a blessing in disguise. We were able to get our vehicle payed off and figure out how to pay off some other bills in a timely manner. I like to think we are on our way to recovery!

7. Do you believe that God sympathizes and understands when we struggle? If so, how does that help you?

YES! YES! YES! John 16:33 says, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

It is encouraging to know that God has control and power over all things and that He wants us to have peace. We can "feel better" about difficult times knowing that He stands with us.

8. In what ways can you make deployment easier on yourself by realizing you don’t have to be perfect?

It allows us a time to try to cut back on things that are not important. Honestly, does anyone other than ourselves expect us to be perfect. My husband (mom, mother-in-law, half of our church) reminded me this week to ask for help, to take care of me needs. It is helpful to have those closest to you remind you to do that. They are giving you the OK not to be perfect.

9. Which Scripture passage out of the ones that identify rest on p. 67 meant the most to you?

Psalm 4:8: I will both lie down in peace and sleep. For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

I don't sleep well when my husband is not home. The dog barks and I look out the window. I hear a creak and walk the house. Worries and stresses flood my thoughts. However, this verse reminds me that God provides me with true peace and rest. I can give my burdens to him and he will take care of me.

10. How does knowing that God will walk with you through the Desert of Enough help you today?
It is an amazing reminder that I am not on this journey alone.

Ch. 5 – Mountain for One

1. We’re in our fourth week of this study – only 1 week left!! What has God taught you recently through the journey of deployment? It can be big or small.

God has just been reminding me of things I know (things that I hope my faith will hold on to). I need to let go of some things, take care of myself, and just trust Him.

Everything is in God's timing. We can't rush things. We can't slow things. We are so not in control.

2. What did you think about this chapter this week? Have you found yourself on a Mountain for One recently? If you feel comfortable, share what that’s been like.

My Mountain for One has not yet come. Ask me again in a few weeks!!!

3. If you feel comfortable, share your response to the question on page 75 regarding a time when you wanted to give up.

I think sometimes the frustration of feeling like we have to do it all, or being in position when you didn't have support makes you want to give up. I remember wanting to give up on a church committee because I felt like I was the only one doing anything when it was to be a group effort. Giving up is the easy way out. I stayed on the committee after airing out my feelings to my husband and pastor, and that gave me a new outlook. I took the focus off of me and put it on God.

4. To which CAVE do you most often retreat in hard times?

I think maybe Apathy. It is easy for me to remove myself emotionally from situations.

5. What has God already done in your life that you missed because you weren’t looking?

I think I missed out on things due to fear. My middle school music teacher encouraged my to be in the high school color guard, but I didn't feel like I was good enough. I even backed out of living in the dorms in college due to fear, of what, I don't know. I just chickened out. When you lack self esteem fear grips you and you miss out on what God can offer you. Those things could have built my confidence and provided great experiences.

6. Read Philippians 4:8 and discuss your thoughts. What other verses has God used to encourage you?

When I read Philippians 4:8, I am reminded that whatever we set our thoughts upon is what we become. We can make excuses for ourselves about many things to make us "not look so bad." When we do, that becomes our lifestyle. One thing I am seeing now is that some women that I care about are convincing themselves they need a break from their husbands and children, so for them it is ok to go out to clubs just to get away. I think that is asking for trouble. I don't see anything wrong with some moms taking time to go to dinner to hang out to talk, but going out drinking to places where others are there to hook up, not so good. We have to be very careful of becoming worn out. We shouldn't view our families, our lives, or the season we are in as a burden, when we do, that is asking Satan to come on in and take over.

I love Psalm 118:24: This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. It reminds me that each day is a gift. We are not promised tomorrow, so we should make the most of today.

Music also touches my heart. We sang Spirit of the Living God at church recently and it really spoke to me.

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me;
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.

7. Like Elijah, what action is God telling you to do?

I think God is telling me to be in his presence. So many times I find myself slipping away from Him because I have made my life so busy and so unorganized. I need to focus on Him.

8. How has God been whispering encouragement to you this week?

God has definitely been whispering to me this week! I have felt and heard Him in the little things, cherishing the time with my family. He has definitely reminded that He is in control and urging me to trust Him.

9. How do you make reading your Bible a priority? When do you do this? What tips can you share with other women in the group?

When I feel like I am not as close to God as I need to be, I realize it is because I have not been reading my Bible. When thing I have learned to do is to keep a Bible near me, in my bag, by the recliner or bed, or even as an APP on my iPad or cell phone. Then when I have a down moment, I read scripture instead of magazines, playing games, or watching TV. I've done this early in the mornings before any one else is up, in doctor's offices, in the car while waiting for my husband to come out of a store, or at night while the kids are watching cartoons before bedtime. I had to acknowledge all the ways I waste time before I found the time. We all complain that we just don't have time, but if we assess our internet time, our tv time, etc, then we really do have the time, we are just choosing other things.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tour of Duty Bible Study: Chapters 2 and 3

A little warning...this post started out as planned and then got a little soap boxy and off track. Proceed with caution!

I am still taking part in the Tour of Duty Bible Study.  I have been a little behind this week, but am caught up for now.  If you would like to get in on the conversations, you can click HERE.

These chapters reminded me that life is full of surprises (detours).  We have a choice in how we can react to the unexpected, to our fears.  The best way to react is to lean on God. 

The first question Sara asked was what are some of your What If questions.  We all have them. We all worry about our Soldiers. We worry about their safe return. We worry how we each might change.  The thing to do, however, is to turn them over to God.  Wednesday night during church, one of the verses we talked about was Mark 11:24, Therefore I say unto you, whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you shall have them. That verse really spoke to me.  When Colin and I talked about some of his worries with deployment, I shared this verse with him and reminded him that God hears us. 

And with this discussion, I stop to think about the news story I heard this morning. I won't name names, but a certain high official resigned a position citing a certain reason, and some guy that was interviewed basically blamed the government/military for this official's problem.  I'm sorry, but we make our own choices.  We all face things where we have to make a choice.  No one can make that choice for us.  Had this official turned to God with whatever caused him to be in this situation, it may have turned out differently.  George Jones sings a song called Choices. He sings of the good and bad choices he has made and that he will live and die with those choses. There is no one to blame but himself. 

So what am I saying?  We need to lean on God. We need to trust him.  We need to let him guide us. We need make choices that are pleasing to him.  We have always have a choice. Let us choose God. 

A look into our Veteran's Day program