Saturday, October 10, 2015


Today was a wonderful day.  A friend from church organized a Backyard Bible Club for a mobile home park near our church.  Those kids and their families showed up.  One guy showed up in a big way.

This guy from the mobile home park is not a member of our church, but he does attend when his work schedule allows. The kids come and seem to love it. We definitely love them.

Although he wasn't part of the group that was there to serve, he served in a big way.

The first thing he did was show up.  How else can you see what God wants you to do if you fail to show up?

He volunteered to take some food back to his home and heat it up for the ladies.  They were afraid it wouldn't be warm enough and in time for lunch. So he carried the crock pot full of chili to and from his house.

He monitored the activities. He chatted with us and his neighbors.  He put himself out there socially, which isn't always easy to do.

When it was time to clean up, he helped. As some of the church guys were loading the garbage up to take back to the church, he wouldn't allow it.  He said to leave it and he would take care of it.  He was assured that we didn't mind taking it back. He assured us he didn't mind carrying it off to their dumpster.

But this guy....he served.  He may not realize it or not, but he served Christ today. And it melted my heart.

We can all do something.

Remember the lady who poured the oil on Jesus and rubbed his feet with oil and her hair?  That was all she had. She served.

Remember the widow who gave the little money she had?  The rich people didn't think it was worth anything, but it was all she had. She served.

We can't all sing.

We can't all do crafts.

We can't all paint faces.

We can't all play an instrument.

We can't all teach or preach or perform.

We can all serve.

We can serve the food.

We can toss a ball to a two year old.

We can monitor activities so kids are safe and have fun.

We can go down the inflatable slide with each kid who asks.

We can take a hotdog and drink to the elderly lady who can't walk to the food line.

We can have a conversation with a stranger.

We can learn someone's name.

We can pick up the trash at the end of the day.

We can show up and see what happens when we say YES to serving Jesus.

I encourage you to show up and show your children the many ways to show the love of Christ to others.


Friday, October 09, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Trust

Trusting others is hard. People let us down all the time.  Sometimes on purpose. Sometimes, well, because they are people and that means they're imperfect.

But man, it hurts not to be able to trust.  Especially those you love.

In my life, I've learned to trust God.  For many of us, it's difficult because we have been let down by those closest to us.

So, we are weary of Him.

I've seen God be trustworthy because He is faithful.

Although I haven't always agreed with Him, He's never let me down.

I realized the other day that my baby should be 18 months old.  Oh, such fun age.  I was saddened to be reminded that I'll never know that baby this side of heaven.

But in August of 2013, I had to trust that God knew what He was doing.  That no matter what the ultrasound would show, whether my baby was alive or had stopped growing inside of me, I had to trust that God would take care of me.

And He did.

The news devastated me.

But God provided for me.

He provided for me through the doctor and nurses.

He provided for me through my husband.

He provided for me through my friends and family.

He provided for me through my church.

He provided.

And in that, He held true to His Word.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Dear Annie

No, I'm not going to get all weird and write a letter to Annie Downs, but I will say this...

Annie, I don't know you, but I do know you, and I thank you for being brave. Girl, we have got be long lost sisters.

I mean really.

Moments, yes, just moments ago, I finished the last words in Annie's book Let's All Be Brave.  And just so you know, I am adding it to my list of 52 Book in 52 Weeks under the category a book that scares me.

Because you know what.....being brave scares me.

I am the least brave person I know. Well, until I read Annie's book.

Seriously though.

In so many ways, she touched my heart.  I laughed. I cried. I had to explain to my five year old why Mama was writing in her book when his school librarian has just taught him not to.

And I did. I underlined and circled and put brackets and cute clouds around Annie's words.

And as I read Annie's words, I felt braver.

I felt God tugging at my heart.

And I was reminded that I am brave.

I married my high school (ahem middle school) sweet heart and have supported his desire to serve God and country. We've been married for 16 years, together for 26.

I am the mama of 3 boys. 'Nuf said.

I am a teacher to these elementary school kids who look to me for hope and direction.

I connect with these women each week in a choir room at church (no, I don't sing) and we laugh and cry together about being moms and wives and women of God.

I went to a retreat where I knew NOT one person there, yet we all knew each other's hearts and wishes and dreams. I found my people.

I come here in this space in hopes of sharing words of experience and encouragement to hopefully add something to your life.

And in me, deep inside me, I have this desire to do something more with these words. That's led me to begin my first book. Whether or not it actually publishes or sells is out of my control, but taking that step in actually following my dream...

Well, all of that is brave.

And in all of this reading and laughing and crying....

I was slapped in the face with this.....

I struggle people.  I like to eat. I like to drink. I like food and beverages. I know my habits aren't healthy. No one needs to tell me that.  But Annie reminded me that it takes courage to stop thinking and start doing. So I will embark on a new journey.  A journey to get a healthier, braver me.  Something I've always known I've needed to do, but never said yes to doing.

God works like that. He uses these complete strangers and their words to get our attention. It's found in their books, on their blogs, in their songs.

God speaks. We just have to listen.

Annie, thank you for listening. Thank you for being a tool to reach people like me. Women (or fellas) that feel like they are the least brave people in the world.  Thank you for reminding me that it takes courage to be me, the me that God created.  And to be me.....that's brave.


I have to also say thank you to Zondervan for giving me Annie's book as part of the Five Minute Friday Retreat.  What a wonderful gift!

Did You Plan a Wedding or a Marriage?

My husband and I just celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary last Friday. Sixteen years. That's a lot of years, Tony.  

We are what you would call high school sweethearts. Actually, we met when I was in middle school and started dating toward the end of my 7th grade year.  That was 26 years ago.  A lot has happened in those 26 years (and can I just say, I feel very old referring to that time as 26 years ago. Only old people talk about things that were "back in the day.").

We attended each other's junior and and senior proms. Danced together at homecoming dances. Cruised town in his candy apple red Chevy Nova with bench seats drinking slushies from Sonic.  We may have even made out a little in that car too, but I'd never tell.  We were there for each other's high school and college graduations. We had many firsts together.  Fun filled vacations, concerts, roller coaster rides.

Jeff proposed at sunset on the beach in June of 1998. I thought he was pulling at his underwear, not pulling a diamond ring out of his pocket.  He asked, I said yes, and we began planning a wedding.  

We planned the wedding. Not the marriage.  

And as I type out those words, I think about how much time, effort, and money we put into weddings. One single day.

To plan our wedding, I bought the necessities: magazines and wedding planning books. I sent off for every catalog I could think of.

I read them multiple times to make sure I was on target to having the perfect day.  I'd been to weddings that were ugly, unorganized, or boring, and I made a vow to have the perfect wedding.

I began getting free samples of invitations and printed napkins to compare prices and find something we liked.  

I made lists and more lists and lists for my lists.

I started dress shopping and tried on dress after dress after dress until I found The One.

Our total cost for the wedding day was about $2000. Probably not much more than that.  

All in all, I think we had a beautiful wedding.  The weather was perfect for the first of October in south central Kentucky.  Our friends and family filled the church. My aunts showed up with food for the reception which was a nice surprise.  Although the only food we got was the bite of cake we fed each other, everything was perfect. 

Looking back, I think about planning a wedding versus preparing for marriage.  In all honesty, we probably did very little in preparing for our marriage.  We were required to take a premarital counseling class with our pastor.  That was it.  

One of the things we had to complete was an Expectations Questionnaire.

1. How do you expect to be treated after you are married?

2. What are to be your areas of responsibility within the marriage and family?

3. What are to be your spouse's areas of responsibility within the marriage and family?

4. What were your father's responsibilities within the family?

5. What were your mother's responsibilities within the family?

6. Write a short autobiography about yourself. Describe  your childhood, religious background, major conflicts with parents, siblings, and/or God.

7. What are your plans for the future?

Those are all very good questions. Questions that all couples need to ask and discuss.

But I looked at one of my answers to question #2, and my heart smiled at my 22 year old self.


Work on the marriage.

Work on the marriage to keep it strong.

Work on the marriage to keep it strong and successful.

At 22 years old, I knew that a strong successful marriage took work.

Having the marriage I wanted would not just happen.  It would take effort. On my part and my husband's part. Before saying my vows, I was dedicated to doing that work.

I also knew, after having dated this man for many years before, that there was nothing I could do to ever change him.  I was marrying him, his quirks, and everything that would ever gross or freak me out. I was ok with that. I wanted to spend my life with him, and I knew that I would put a lot into this marriage.

When we said, "I do," my husband and I were not Christians.  We made a vow before God to keep our marriage sacred, but we had not yet given our hearts to him.  That would come some time later.  However, I had always prayed for our marriage. I had always prayed for my husband.  I had always prayed to be the wife he needed me to be.

And I still do.

We don't air our dirty laundry for all to hear.

We don't involve other people in the privacy of our marriage.

We pray.

God is the all knowing. God is the healer. God is the provider.  God is number one in our marriage.

I think one of the most difficult things about keeping our marriage strong would be putting my husband first since having children.  Now, I know that there are those of you who put your children first and your husband comes last, but I want you to consider what that does to your marriage.

Being a first time mom is hard.  Its even harder to have those deep, romantic moments with your husband. You are sleep deprived. You stink. You have spit up and poop stained clothes.  Being a new mom isn't very attractive.  But still. Your husband must come first.

As women, we want our husbands to love us and show us that love.  Our husbands want us to respect them and show them that respect.

We can fuss about our husbands not meeting our needs, but we have to ask ourselves, "What have I done for my husband?"

The best thing I can do for my husband is belong to Christ. He must come first. If my relationship with Christ is flawed, then my relationship with my husband will be flawed. If my relationship with my husband is flawed, then my relationship with my children will be flawed.

It all starts with Christ.

So many women have a problem with the word submission.  They cringe and laugh and run.  But girls. I'm telling you. It's biblical.  Submission doesn't mean to be a doormat.  It means to be the wife God has called you to be.  Really. You should read Sara Horn's book My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife.  

In all of this, I am asking you, did you plan a wedding or a marriage?  Most of us plan weddings and give little to no thought about what happens once the honeymoon is over.  What do you do when it gets hard? When the bills can't be paid? When illness comes?  When Satan tries to destroy what God deems as holy?

Marriage is work. It's hard work.  It's good work. I encourage you as you are filling your hope chest or taking things out of it, be sure that God is there with you.  Be sure that God is first in your marriage.  Seek Him.  You won't have a perfect marriage. You'll have a God centered marriage.  

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

On the Fence?

First off, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone that has participated in the survey. Whether you have chosen to participate with me and this group or not, your feed back is very helpful.

For those that sent me your email, I will be contacting you very soon with more information.

For those of you that are on the fence,  let me say a few words of encouragement.

You are not alone in your journey.  Whether you decide to participate with me or not, you still have a heart to become the woman God intends you to be.  That is your first step, that acknowledgment that something just isn't right and you want to make it better, make it holy, make it God's.

You do not have to participate in this group to do that.  You just have to make a commitment to meet Jesus right where you are and let Him do a good work in you.

If you have questions, please feel free to email me.  I would be happy to answer any questions you may have that will help you make your decision.  Again, either way, this is up to you and God.  While I hope you would join me, I fully understand if you don't.  I will still be here to encourage you.

If you are new to this conversation, I invite you read this blog post and take my survey.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Higher Calling

We spend our lives searching for purpose.  We asks the question, "What am I supposed to be doing with my life?"  We want to do something worthwhile, something we enjoy, something that makes a difference.

But what determines our purpose?

Do we seek the path of others?

Do we say....Well, if she's writing, then I should be writing? If he went on a mission trip, then why shouldn't I become a missionary?

Do we compare ourselves to others to find our purpose?

I think sometimes, maybe too often, we do.

We forget that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We forget that God broke the mold when He created each of us.

We forget that there is no one on earth like us.

We look at others and we covet.  We want what they have. We want their journey, their purpose, their calling.

Sometimes, its our own sin that causes that. Sometimes others draw us into that covetous attitude.  Consider this....Have you ever looked down on someone because they weren't serving God the way you were?  Do you think you are holier because you have gone on a couple of mission trips?  Do you stick your nose in the air as you walk by those who can't put more in the offering?  Do you make people feel bad because they aren't called to do the same thing as you?

We have all been given special gifts.  The bible says so.  1 Corinthians 12:4-7 says,
 Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all.  There are different kinds of service to God, but it is the same Lord we are serving.  There are many ways in which God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us who are his.  The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church.
The apostle Paul went on to discuss the various spiritual gifts God has blessed us with.  He's called some people to be teachers and others to be preachers. He's called folks to encourage and others to heal.  He reminds us that as the body of Christ, we all have different jobs.  We can't all be feet.  We can't all be ears. We can't all be arms, legs, hands, or mouths.

In her book, Let's All Be Brave, Annie Downs talked about her faulty understanding of being a Christian and fulfilling your calling. She said at one point she believed that you were "ranked" based on your service.  For instance, missionaries were top ranked while "normal" jobs were lower ranked.  You could still be a Christian, but you just weren't as awesome if you weren't sacrificing more than others.  She realized this sort of thinking was wrong.  We can't all be missionaries. We can't all be teachers or praise and worship leaders.  God has called us all to do different things, all equally important.

In the book of Numbers, God gave Moses instructions for service.  The Kohathite clan were to prepare the Tabernacle for moving.  Their duties were to cover the items, the most sacred objects so they would be protected when the camp moved.  The Gershonite clan would be responsible for general service and carrying loads. The Merarite clan would also be responsible for carrying the loads during the moves (Numbers 4:1-49).

Doesn't sound so glorious or glamorous does it?  Might sound a little ridiculous like Baby from Dirty Dancing, "I carried a watermelon."  Nothing awesome about that is it?


It's the Lord's work.

God didn't grant us all the same gifts.

We have to seek to find our strengths and our weaknesses.  Then we must commit to using our gifts to serve God.

Can you sing?  Join a choir or praise band (Justin Beiber.....If you really want to live like Jesus, maybe you should sing songs of worship).

Can you organize?  Join a committee.  Ooohhh, the activities committee.  Plan events and activities for your church to minister to others, for your church to grow in their relationship with Christ.  Plan Trunk or Treat and Block Parties.

Can you teach?  Teach a Sunday school or VBS class.

Can you shop?  Buy items for the Angel Tree or Operation Christmas Child. Take needy kids shopping for new clothes now that the weather is changing.

Can you sew?  Craft blankets for the elderly or homeless.

Can you cook?  Bake something for someone.  Our local Methodist Church treated my family to their Manna Meals while my husband served in Afghanistan.  Our home church, those good ol' southern Baptist women, have delivered fried chicken, Happy Meals, and banana pudding for us in times of need.  Christ can be felt through the taste buds......Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

Can you landscape?  Help an elderly person clean up the yard since he can't get around like he used to. Plant flowers or bushes at your church.

Can you build?  Help someone whose siding is falling off the house.  Replace those shingles.  Fulfill that church Honey Do List.

My point is.....there's always something to do.

We want to sit around and gripe and complain about what needs to be done. We expect others to step up and get the job done.  If no one does it, we fuss about it. If some does it, but not to our liking, we fuss about it.

Stop fussing. Stop complaining.

Do something.


Whatever you do, do it in the name of Jesus Christ.

We can all do something.

What is your spiritual gift?  Isn't it time you do something with it?

52 Books in 52 Weeks Update

First off, let me say that I have NOT completed this challenge.  Not. At. All.

Let me say, also, that I have not given up. Not. At. All.
Here are the categories I have fulfilled:

A graphic novel
The Invention of Hugo Cabret

A book you stared but never finished

A book you own but have never read

A book that became a movie 

A book by a female author

A book based on a true story

A book you can finish in a day

These categories are "under construction" because I have either started them or will start them soon:

A book that scares you
A book with antonyms in the title
A book that takes place in your hometown
A book set during Christmas

What all have you read this year?