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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Change in the air

I've been spending some quality and quantity time in front of the Lord this past month.  Along with my no pop dealio starting March 1st (and still pop free!), I also have made it a point to daily get in the word, spend time in prayer and worship.  I'm embarrassed to admit that wasn't my regular practice - but, Lord willing, I am working on making it a habit.  I'm also loving it.   It has been beneficial to my dry and thirsty soul.

Along with my bible and devotional, I've been reading some other books as well.  Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere (already posted on that one), The Bait of Satan by John Bevere and today I started reading Made to Crave by Lysa Terkhurst.  I also read Unplanned by Abby Johnson yesterday (well worth the read).  My heart - is heavy.  God is pruning some branches - I am convicted about a few issues in my life I have never seen as issues before.

I've barely begun The Bait of Satan and already know God is dealing with the layers of walls that surround my heart from all of the times I've been hurt by people in life.  It's something I've been "working" on but haven't known where to begin to lay it all down and not pick it back up again.  This book, is teaching me.  I'll post more on this as I get further into the book.

Tonight I started reading Made to Crave and have begun to see my weight issues in a whole new light.  So many verses in the book which have thoroughly convicted my spirit.  I realize food has consumed me - has taken the place of God in my life.  I'm having trouble organizing my thoughts here - but tonight, I feel a brokenness I haven't felt before in this area.  I realize food has been an idol - and that deeply saddens me honestly.  I've always said I didn't have idols - but I know now, I was wrong.

I've always tried to "figure out" why I'm fat.  Is it something from my childhood?  Sorry to be blunt - but I remember thinking as a child/teenager "if only I were fat, I bet he wouldn't touch me" (referring to my father) - but no - that's not it.  Is it because fat is a layer of security - of protection - from men paying me attention I don't want to be paid?  No, that's not it either.  What is it?  Why do I turn to food - and why - why does it have such a hold on my life?

It didn't always. I've never been at the weight I'm at now.  Never.  Was it kids, thyroid, cancer, age, what?  I was SKINNY as a teen - why is this happening to me?

But tonight, I realize - it's because I have allowed food to take a place in my life it was never meant to take.  I've turned to it for entertainment, for depression, for happiness, for fun, for frustrations, for anger, for boredom - for everything.  It calls to me 24/7 and sometimes, it seems it is all I think about.

I realize tonight my actions have saddened my father in heaven.  He was meant to be in that place.   He is to be my source, my rock, my joy.  When did this happen?

I'm not sure what exactly I'm going to do to change at this point - but I know - I am going to change.   I love my Savior - and I don't want anything to take His place.  I'll finish up the book and put a plan in place, and then me and Jesus - we're taking this thing on.  With God - nothing is impossible.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


More thoughts on this article later.  Really?  An sex trade island?  Sure, lets just isolate it a little more so there's even less of a chance of escape for those girls.  Grrrrr.  And to think this guy is in office - THAT needs to change.  Would love to hear from my Canadian readers on their thoughts on this one!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Great site

Need some ideas on a special night out with your man? Check out this site - it's amazing. I haven't tried anything on there yet - but I see a few I would love to do. The nice part about the site is it's clean - no junk. Just a bunch of creative people coming up with mostly inexpensive date nights. Hope you enjoy and find it useful as well! And, by the way - I don't care how many years you've been married - DATE your spouse! We'll be celebrating 19 years coming up in May - and one of the ways we keep things going strong - is by dating. Never get so tied down in the mundane everyday things of life that you forget what it's like to enjoy each other!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Prayer Works

Tonight, I find myself thankful.  Thankful to Jesus for answered prayer.  Why does it always surprise me when God answers a specific prayer so quickly?  This evening, I almost lost it when something I've been praying for happened.  I didn't see it coming.  No, I'm not going to share - sorry.  I just needed to say that prayer works.  God hears.  God listens.  God answers.  No prayer is too small, no worry, no concern, no request uttered in our tears goes unheard.  It's amazing to me that a God who created this world hears my prayers and answers. 

Thank you Jesus.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Circle of Protection

Psalm 34:7 says "The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them."

Tonight, we got to experience this one first hand.

I won't say where we were exactly - but we decided to check out a new restaurant in Toledo.  Although I am a New York city "native" technically - I don't consider myself a city girl.  More city than some - but not as city as others.  I can hold my own - but I wouldn't consider myself overly "street wise".

SO.  We arrive at this restaurant.  It's not in the best part of town, but it's also not in a part of town we know to be unsafe.  We park, behind the restaurant, which you have to get through by going through a very narrow alley.  Once you get to the parking lot - it's small, there is no escape.  It was surrounded by chain link fence. 

We walk in the restaurant.  I kid you not - every head turned.  Let's put it this way.  Very rarely am I in a situation where I am in the minority.  I was okay with being the minority (and in fact, it does us all good to experience that) - but in this place, I was very out of place.  I was glowing I was so white!  It was noisy - and then it got deadly quiet.  Everyone stared.  E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E.  Not a friendly stare either.  A "you don't belong here" stare.  The hostility was thick.  We had to walk all the way through the restaurant to go to the back counter.  It was like red carpet time, only no one was taking pictures, and no one was wanting us there. One foot in front of the other, pretend you don't notice the stares, and act like you know what your doing.

We didn't get the best reception from the back counter.  We went and found a seat.  I realize I'm not the only one who's nervous - so is my husband.  Who is not white.  It is then I realize we have a problem.  If Marty is nervous - that's not a good sign.  It's also when I realized I don't believe the hostility had anything to do with the color of my skin - but the simple fact that we didn't belong and it was pretty obvious.

We sat for a while and Marty said "we can leave anytime you want" (still no service).  I say "no, I think we better sit this one out for a a few and see what happens."  I was concerned if we went running to the parking lot, we would look scared and that might make matters worse. If I've learned anything - I've learned this.  Never show your fear.   At this point, there was a 6'7, 250 pound massive man watching me from across the restaurant.  I'm 40 and not the looker (ha ha ha) I used to be - I really don't get hit on all that often, and I don't get the look-you-up-and-down thing either.  Well - I was getting it - enough so that I was more than uncomfortable.  I really wanted to go wipe the look on his face off with my fist, but I stayed quiet (besides, I think my fist would have just bounced off his face.)

Anyway - as Psalm 34:7 say - the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers him.  We eventually got service, eventually got our food.  The true test was going to come in leaving, where I was afraid we were going to get cornered in that parking lot.  However, just as we were paying our bill, someone noticed the shirt Marty was wearing - a soccer jersey - and suddenly - the atmosphere changed.  It went from hostile to welcoming in a very short amount of time.  It helped that Marty had visited the country these folks were from as well.  And, it just so happened, not only had Marty visited the country - but he had been in the very restaurant one of them used to frequent when living there.  Gotta love God's sense of humor sometimes :)

By the end of the night - we were invited to party with them tomorrow evening starting at 10:30 p.m. and going until "at least 4 in the morning".  Lol.  Let me point out too that it was stated "and bring your wife along" as I was being, again, looked up and down.  Yeah - I don't think we'll be attending the party - but hey - in the end - we made it out to the parking lot and in our car without being mugged or worse.

Marty and I have been in some tight spots before.  We've done enough stuff in the inner city to know when we're maybe not in the safest position - but I had never felt the hostility I felt tonight when we walked in that door.  I have never felt so out of place, so objectified, well, since I was a child.  But - the Lord encamps around us.  The Lord protects us.  The Lord gives us wisdom.  The Lord keeps us calm and shows us how to handle the tough situations.

I am thankful tonight for His deliverance.  I am thankful for a husband that figured out how to change the environment for our personal safety.  I am thankful for the sport of soccer that broke the ice and turned us from people to be beat up to people to play soccer with!! I am thankful to be back home.

And yes - we will go back there.  During the day.  Without the kids - but we will go back.  We will trust the Lord to deliver us again - but we will go and maybe - just maybe - instead of being invited to a party where the alcohol and other things would be flowing - we can invite them to a heavenly party and introduce them to our Savior. 

Plus the food - was really good :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On a personal note

This is an update for family and friends curious as to what is going on in our personal lives :)

Elyse has been accepted to North Central University - an Assemblies of God college located in Minneapolis, MN.  The cost of schooling is over 23,000.  She has been awarded a couple of small scholarships so far and we have completed our FAFSA (I have no idea what that stands for).  We are waiting to see what aid is available for her.  She is working (I hope) on applying for scholarships.  It will literally take a move of God for her to attend this college.  We do not have it and God will need to provide all 23,000 per year or she will not attend.  I have no doubt God will do it - I've watched Him do amazing things in her life and I have no doubt he will do this as well.  If you'd like to contribute to her missionary education, you can always call us.  LOL - JUST KIDDING!!  She will graduate on June 5th and her open house will be on June 11th so clear your calendars people!!  Your all invited :)

Little Man is currently playing soccer and has decided to run track as well.  He has never fully recovered from the meningitis and seems to be tired all the time, so I'm concerned about this schedule.  He has been recently diagnosed with insomnia and we're hoping adding track to the mix will so tire him out that he will sleep better at night.  Normally we don't let our kids do 2 things at once, but we are able to work out the schedule and as I said, we are hoping this will help run off some of his energy and help him to sleep better.  He is doing better in school and only has one class he is struggling in currently. Exams are this week and we are praying he does okay.  Testing is not his thing and this usually means a major drop in his grades.  We are hoping maybe this time will be different.

Both the kids competed in a Fine Arts competition last week.  Next week Marty has spring break and I'm hoping we can spend some time figuring out how to get the video off the camera and onto the computer so I can share their performances with you.  Unfortunately the camera died half way through Elyse's human video :(  Also, I'll share her essay here sometime as well.  Elyse's team and individual events (short sermon and first person essay) advanced to nationals.  Jon's team performed well but did not make it to nationals.  Proud of both of them for using their talents to glorify their Savior.

As far as Marty and I go - nothing much new to report. I am waiting for my background check to clear so I can start subbing.  Hopefully that will happen soon.  Had my fingerprinting done this week so now the ball is in their court and I'm waiting on them.

Sorry - I know this wasn't an exciting post - but just wanted to update family and friends!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You are stunning

Yesterday I posted this from Lisa Bevere's book Lioness Arising:

"You are stunning.  You were born for this moment.  Don't be afraid of your strength, questions, or insights.  Awaken, rise up, and dare to realize all you were created to be."

Now I'd like to write it like this:

"Daughter - I think you are amazingly beautiful.  I have created you for this moment in time!  I have given you strength and insight.  Ask me anything you want!  Wake up!  RISE UP!  I dare you to realize what I have made you to be!"

I can't get this quote out of my head.  It has clung to me like dew on the grass in the morning.  It has saturated my spirit, fed life into these dry bones.  It is as if the heavenly Father reached down, picked me up, set me on my feet, whispered this in my ear - and then set me free to fly.  I can see him, hear him, feel his proud smile, hear his laughter, his joy, as I realize all he has made me to be.  I can't explain it but it has set me free.

I hope it does the same for you.  In a single moment, one paragraph spoke, no, shouted, to me.  I am excited!  I can't wait to see what God has in store.  All the striving, all the being rooted to the cares of this world - just thrown off.  I'm excited - and allowing myself - to dare to believe - that THIS year - something is going to break, something is going to set free, some dream He has planted in my spirit, in my soul,  will spring forth and I will finally get to see clearly what He has planned.  I can't explain it and I can't wait for it to happen - but I know, I know, it will.

You are stunning.  Let that sink into your spirit.  You - daughter of Christ - are exceedingly beautiful, amazing, better than you have ever dreamed - inside and out.  He made YOU for this moment - whatever that moment is for you!  All of time, He was waiting - waiting for this moment in time - for YOU.  Do you understand that?  Can you feel that?  For you!  He has given you strength for today!  He has equipped you for the task ahead.  He has given you wisdom, insight - knowledge to accomplish whatever he has for you.  If you are asleep - wake up!  Listen!  Your father calls your name! Do you hear Him?  Can you heart it??  He's calling you!  It's time!  Time to get up - time to rise from your slumber!  Believe it sister in Christ!  He has created you to be something great in His kingdom!  Dare to believe it.  Great may be defined differently - maybe you are raising the next Billy Graham- wiping his snotty little nose right now - but you have been called to be the mother of someone who will bring thousands - millions - to the feet of Jesus!  Maybe your marriage is created for this moment - for something great - to pull others out of the pit!  Maybe you are a teacher and you are touching lives - SAVING lives - for the kingdom!  Maybe you are a student, studying diligently to find a cure for cancer or move out on the missions field to tell people who have never heard about Jesus!  Whatever it is, wherever it is, God has called YOU for this moment in time!

Isn't it exciting??  Can you hear Him call your name?

I stand amazed.  He is oh so worthy.  Oh so mighty.  He is Savior, Friend, Rescuer, Redeemer.  Almighty God.  I am so in love with him.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lioness Arising - Lisa Bevere - Book Review

I am lion, hear me roar.   That's what I wanted to title this, but I was afraid people looking for a book review wouldn't be able to locate this.

WOW!  A wonderful friend gave me this book and I don't believe they had any idea how much it would speak into my heart at this point in my life.  It's right on with what God has been speaking to me already.  I read - a lot - and most books, although I enjoy them - don't meet me where I am in life at that moment.  This one has.

You know this means quotes people - right??  I think I have half the 60 pages I've read already highlighted!  However, before I share some quotes that have touched my heart - let me say this one thing.  This book is giving me freedom.  Freedom to be who I am and stop thinking in my head I'm too - I don't know - too bold.  So much of my life, I've felt a Christian woman should be meek and mild, barefoot and pregnant, quiet and reserved.  Nothing like who I am (although I have been both barefoot and pregnant before) - and it has always made me feel as if I am somehow less of a Christian woman because of it.  I don't know where I got these ideas from - but my boldness has always left me feeling I am not what people think a Christian woman should be.  Maybe it has come from the many times people make me feel as if I should be silent and not share my mind, my opinions, my feelings - so publicly.  Anyway - that doesn't matter.  What matters is in reading this book, I am finding myself.

Onto the quotes - and there will be many!

Right at the start:  "To all of my lioness sisters who feel something wild, fierce, and beautiful stirring within them.  You are stunning.  You were born for this moment.  Don't be afraid of your strength, questions, or insights.  Awaken, rise up, and dare to realize all you were created to be."

"I was a cancer survivor and a stay-at-home mom with a dysfunctional past...Was it possible that God thought I was destined for more?  Was something powerful and slightly fierce waiting to be awakened inside me?  Maybe I'd wear courage well."

"I was tired of being thought of as weak and whiny...Tired of wearying my mind with so many things that didn't matter.  Tired of pretending.  Rather than nice and safe, I was ready to be seen as slightly fierce and definitely focused."

"I was almost at the point of drowning in my day-to-day life.  I was so caught up in my ever-expanding and increasingly demanding to-do list, I'd forgotten who I was.  I was full of self-doubt.  My life was small, self-centered, isolated, petty, safe, and ineffective.  I remembered my name, whom I was married to, and who my kids were, but what I did and who I was responsible for overshadowed my sense of being God's daughter."

"To everyone else I had a name that was attached to a job description.  I was mother to my children, wife to my husband,  .... but to God Most High, I was simply daughter.  As I focused on just being his and what all that meant, life and strength flowed into my days, and rest entered my soul.  My heart enlarged. .... I began to step out of the shadow of my insecurities, fears, comfort zone, and failures and began to reach out to others."

"At other times, they gasp as though they've breathed in the revelation and realized it's okay to be beautiful and fierce."

"Will we supersede the conflicting noise and arguments that say our contribution is not necessary, not God breathed?"  (Oh how I needed to hear this)

"Because of fear, I had forfeited strength, life, and beauty.  I had lost a sense of my true self, and with that loss so much of what God wanted for me was yet unrealized"

"I've seen many women terrified by their own strength.  They recoil in fear if ideas, questions, or passions arise unbidden within them.  Strength is not to be feared; it is to be embraced"

"I see gross wickedness and global injustice exposed and conquered on many fronts by an encounter with God's inescapable light and his unassailable justice.  I see his daughters stretching forth like lionesses preparing to pounce.  I see all this in our future.  Like you, I do not see those things because I read the paper.  I see them because I have eyes to see in the Spirit."  (Can we shout AMEN??)

"It is easier not to have seen or heard.  Because this is true, most turn from those disturbing sounds and images and quickly fill our ears and eyes with distractions" (I wish I could say this is not true - but it is)

"How loud must the alarm of our time become before we are fully aroused and fully awake?"  (I want to shout this statement!!)

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.  Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice." - Prov. 31:8-9, NLT

"Yes, that is what they are - our sisters.  They are not prostitutes by choice; they are victims and courageous survivors."

"Well-behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

"What would happen if, like the lions, we were dangerous and fully awake?  Then and only then would we pose any threat to the darkness that holds so many captive."

"We are the collective body of Christ, and as such we are destined for triumph, victory, signs and wonders."

That's only 60 pages people - I've still got 3/4 of the book to read!  I am on fire after reading this book so far!  It motivates me to action.  I'm excited to see where God will lead, what darkness he will use me to turn to light.  I'm ready.  It is time.  Who's with me?

Sunday, March 20, 2011


No posting since Wednesday??  Wow! I'm a slacker!  So sorry faithful readers.

We spent the weekend in Grand Rapids at a fine arts competition for our kiddos.  They both did amazing!  So proud of them both.  We were able to record everything and if I can figure out how to save that to my computer and then get it to post here - I will share it with you.  They knocked it out of the park.  Elyse made it to nationals in every category she and her teammates entered.  Jon's team did a terrific job and even though they didn't make it to nationals on this, their very first year - they worked hard and glorified Jesus in their performance.  That's all we can ask :)

Proud Mom moments I tell 'ya.  This was Elyse's last year :(  Shed a few tears.  God has blessed me with 2 amazing kids and some days I just shake my head at the goodness of God in this area.  We've been given a gift we do not deserve in our kids and I am thankful for that.

Got to reconnect with some old friends as well - more on that later.  I totally forgot to take a single picture this weekend - which really upsets me.  With video taping the performances, it never dawned on me to grab my camera.  I'm living in regret over this one, trust me.  I'm hoping once I put the video on the computer, maybe I can figure out how to capture some still photos from that for Elyse's open house slide show coming up in a few months (that I have yet to set a date for!).

Gotta run for now.  I'll share more with you on the weekend later.  For now, it's time to go worship Jesus with friends!

Have a blessed Sunday everyone ~

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On the prowl

I Peter 5:8 says this:   Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Let me share with you what happened to me this morning. 

I've had a rough couple of days.  Yesterday, lost focus, got upset about a situation, yelled at my poor husband, said stupid things.  Blew months of not reacting to situations without seeking God first.  Nope, just blew.  Marty took the brunt of it - poor guy.  I don't know why he puts up with me sometimes!!

Anywho - so - last night I determined to sit before God today, confess, apologize, and get my focus back in the right place.  I wasn't going to do anything else until I did this. 

The house is a pig sty.  I'm on strike.  Tired of my teenagers (God love them!) trashing the place and no one taking care of their crap.  I declared a strike 2 days ago.  No laundry, no cooking, no doing nothing for nobody until they can respect their mother.  They are on their own. You want food?  Make it for yourself.  You want clean underwear?  Clean it yourself.  We are at a standstill right now - but it's only a matter of time before one of us caves - and let me tell you - it will not be me.

Anyway - not the point here!!  The point is - the house is a mess.  The teens left peanut shells all over the living room floor and now it's covered in ants.  Not.  Happy.  So, I swept that up this morning - I can't have ants.  Shhh, don't tell them I did that 'cause I saved 'em to throw back on the floor when they get home :)  Kidding.

OKAY - SO.  I was already distracted by the messy house this morning, but I made myself a clean breakfast, got a glass of water.  Grabbed my prayer journal, my music, my bible, lit a candle and settled myself into my favorite chair (thanks sis) to get serious with God.  All the animals were sound asleep (inevitably one of them will want out as soon as I sit in my favorite chair).  I read the word and began praying when, out of no where, I smell this putrid smell.  If there is one smell I can NOT stand - it is the smell of cat pee.  I HATE IT.  The first time every cat has peed in our house has also been the very day they've been kicked out.  If I smell it, it sends me into an obsessive/compulsive seek and destroy mission.  No corner gets left untouched.  I'm on my knees, gloves on, bleach in hand.  Must.  Kill.  That.  Smell.  I kid you not - I probably need psychological help in this area.

So, I'm trying to pray.  I'm telling myself "TAMI - You can get that LATER.  You do NOT need to deal with that now!"  but the smell keeps getting worse and worse.  It's saturating my nose hairs.  The cat hasn't moved.  He has never once peed outside of his box.  His sitting right there, sound asleep, and he's been asleep since I took the kids to school - and there was no smell when I returned from dropping off the kids.  He has not peed anywhere.  Same with the dogs.  I'm becoming more and more distracted, getting no where in my prayer time.

When, all of the sudden, light bulb moment.

There is no cat pee smell.  That's the devil.  On the prowl.  Trying to devour my time with Jesus.

So you think I'm nuts?  I'm not.  Smells and me - well, I just hate smells. Satan knows that - there is a history on that one, but that's for another post.  Read on, read on.

So I simply pray this.  "Remove that putrid smell in my house right now Jesus that distracts me from you!  I command satan to leave this house right now.  I claim your blood and I claim your name Jesus.  I love you Lord."

and poof


Nope, ain't kidding.  Snap your fingers - smell was gone.

Think what you must.  Satan and I have tussled on numerous occasions.  If you believe in Jesus - then you better believe satan is out to devour YOU as the word says.  He knows he can't get to Jesus - and what better way to destroy the Father than to ruin His kids?  Remember - the word refers to satan as a prowling lion.  Cat pee/lion pee - I'll be it smells similar.

Must be I needed my time with Jesus this morning!

The beauty of it all?  10 years ago?  I was walking around in complete and total fear of satan.  He commanded my sleep, he held me in chains.   If you had told me 10 years ago I would be free of those horrid nightmares, I would have never believed you.  If you had told me I could sit in my house alone, not hear things, not see things (nope, not crazy) - I would have called you a liar.  I never thought I would see the day I would be free of the fear.  Never thought I would come to a day where realizing I was sitting in a room where satan was being an idiot, and I could just say a simple prayer - totally without fear - and that would be the end of it - never - ever - would have believed you. 

Let me point out one thing.  It's not me.  It's all Jesus.  In my own power, I have no hope.  However, in the power of Jesus - satan can't touch me.  He can't touch you either.  Realize the power you have in the name of Jesus!  Proclaim Him and satan will run away like a scared little cat.  Just like he did today.

Go God!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happiness Project - March - Week 2


March is boost energy month/focus on health.  Week 1 brought the end of my pop drinking, Mt. Dew guzzling days.  Happy to report, I am still pop free, now 14 days.  I have to admit - this weekend - rough.  I wanted a dew so bad.  Little man came out of the trade fair (local event), got in the car with a can of Mt. Dew in his hands, set it on the seat, spilled it, and handed it to me so he could clean it up.  UN - FAIR!  That was all it took to start the craving and I battled it the rest of the weekend!  However, I did not cave - lol!!  Week 2 was to add exercise.  I was hoping this step would help alleviate some of the exhaustion that not drinking pop was causing.  Well. It might have worked - but I would not know - because - I did not do it.  I did exercise one day, but failed to exercise 3 days as planned.  I think (I hope) it will become easier and easier as the forecast this week shows that I will be able to take it outside - increasing the possibility that I will actually DO it.  In fact, we're predicted to hit 50 - which means - the bike is coming out.  So - success week one, fail week two.


This week we add eating a clean breakfast.  I'm not a breakfast eater at all.  My blender broke and I really need a new one - but it's not in the budget.  That means this week is going to be tougher than I thought because I'll have to actually cook - which stinks.  I do love a good smoothie and smoothies are a great way to alleviate the sugar craving once you go sugar free - but no smoothies for me.  Anyway, I will stop whining now about my busted blender and non-smoothie week and tell you that I did eat a clean breakfast this morning.  I took a potato, sliced it up real thin, added some onion, cooked that in some EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) and then added a couple of eggs.  Actually - it was extremely yummy and guilt free.  That's always a plus!  We'll see how the remainder of the week goes.  I'll also plan on adding that exercise in that I didn't accomplish last week.  Sooner or later, that must become a permanent part of my life as well - so there's no time like the presence.

How about you?  Have you taken any steps this week/month to boost your energy?  If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book Review - Words

It's been a long time since I've read a book which has so grabbed my attention that falling asleep before getting to the end is not possible.  This book - was the book.  Words is a fiction story written by Ginny L. Yttrup about a little girl who is being horribly abused.  Her Mom abandons her and she hangs onto hope that her Mom "has amnesia" and will return soon to rescue her.  She doesn't leave, afraid of what he will do to her - and even more afraid the day she chooses to leave, will be the day her Mom comes back for her.

I was not surprised at the end of the book to read the author's comments and find she shared a similar life story to the little girl in the book.  There are some things you can not write about that accurately without having walked the road.  Was it a difficult read for me?  Yes - I could feel the little girls pain, hear her heart's cry.  I understood her words, and I understood her silence (read the book).

Yet, at the same time, the story of Sierra - the young woman who comes across the little girl in the woods, is also the story of who I choose to be now.  Someone who does not turn a blind eye to abuse, someone unafraid to walk into the middle of it and be the Jesus little girls need to see.  Someone who cares enough to hurt, to cry, to do whatever it takes to bring freedom to little girls enslaved by men (and women) who use them for their own sexual and monetary gain.  I do not say these things to lift myself up - but merely to share with you the passion in my heart for little girls like Kaylee - in desperate need of someone to make them feel safe.  In desperate need of a chain-breaking, freedom- granting, shame-lifting God who loves them far more than they know.

I encourage you to read this book.  It may be fiction - but it is truth.  The feelings Kaylee experiences, the abuse she suffers - ring true for all sexually abused and used girls.  If you have a heart for girls like Kaylee, you know a Kaylee (and all of us do whether we realize it or not), or you are a Kaylee - read the book.

Kudos to the author for speaking the truth,  sharing her heart & story and being unafraid of addressing this issue.  I pray it shines a light in a very dark place for someone out there and leads them to Jesus.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Have you moved in?

Lately I've been reading The Message for my daily devotionals.  Hilarious.  I've read the bible in different versions before - NLT, ESV, NAS - different stuff.  I like to mix it up.  Recently, we had a friend come and stay and she was reading the bible through with The Message.  I've always taken a little bit of an issue with The Message - worrying it's "not really" God's word - but a paraphrase.  However - upon further thought - I have realized - that's a stupid way of thinking (sorry - don't mean to offend anyone!  stupid for me - maybe not you!!).  The reality is, unless you can read the original in Greek or Hebrew - well - it's all some sort of a translation.  I will admit, however, that I did spend the first week reading it both in The Message and NLT - 'cause - well - I just wanted to check it over a bit.  ANYWAY.  The final conclusion is, it's very close and merely speaks in a language we speak today.  Yes, it is a paraphrase as the author states - but it's close, at least to the NLT. 

Moving along!  Like I said - it's hilarious.  I don't know why it cracks me up the way it does - but some days - I'm just busting a gut reading my bible.  Who would've thunk it??  Might I point out - it's FUN to laugh and smile while being in the presence of God!!  Yet another marvelous thought - smack me upside the head!

Whew.  I'm way off task today. 

Okay - that all literally has nothing to do with the title.  Today I read this from John 1:

"The word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood"

WOW!  That's such a cool way of looking at things!!  And suddenly - I was reminded of one of my 40 in 40 goals - have a neighborhood barbecue (which, I hope when it happens, someone actually shows up - lol!!).  And I thought - THAT'S what it means!!  Not have a neighborhood barbecue - but when you moved into your neighborhood - did you become the flesh and blood - not of yourself - but of Jesus??

I have to admit - I haven't.  I like my privacy.  Maybe a little too much.  I like not knowing our neighbors.  I know them a little - and I will say - I have great neighbors.  On one side of me, an elderly lady who never complains about the balls constantly flying over her fence, and a 14 year old boy jumping her fence to get them.  On the other, a young man and his brother and a host of other people that come and go.  Nice enough, we say hello on occasion, help each other out on occasion - but I've never been in his house, and he's never been in mine.  Across the street - well - that's a challenge but Praise Jesus - that has improved as the kids have grown.  Kitty Corner - that's the neighbors we see most cause our kids hang out.  Kitty corner the other way - we don't know them but their son is a scrap metal guy and took an old dishwasher for us once.  Another neighbor is Mexican - and you KNOW we love that.  (We're taking over the neighborhood - watch out! Lol - Just kidding).  Another neighbor is a children's or youth pastor and although we have the occasional wave, again, never been in each other's house.  One neighbor down the road wants our old beat up van.  Another neighbor, somewhere on this street, actually OWNS the road - or it was named after her or something.

WOW.  I am LONG WINDED today!  The whole point is this.  I know OF them - but I do not know them.  I don't know what they struggle with, I don't know their burdens, I don't know what makes them happy.  I don't know the names of their kids, whether they've ever served our country in the military.  I don't know what they like to eat or drink or what they like to do for fun.  And the saddest part?  They do not know the Jesus in me because I haven't been Jesus.  I've moved in - but I have not become flesh and blood - not really - not enough.

What about you?  Have you moved in?  Have you become flesh and blood?  It's never too late.  Never.  I think I might have to start walking the street and praying for my neighbors, have my neighborhood barbecue - and put some feet and flesh to the Jesus in me.  Who will join me?

Devotional thoughts

There has been some GOOD stuff in my devotionals lately!   Here are some thoughts from today's devotionals.  May you be blessed by the Word and the Word giver!

First - from the New Day, New You:  365 Devotionals - Joyce Meyer
"You may feel that the Lord has told you to do something but that the enemy has thrown up a mountain in your path to frustrate you and prevent you from carrying out the Lord's will.  How would you like for all your mountains to become molehills?  They can, if you will do what God is saying and look not at the problems, but at the Lord and His power.  If God has told you to do something, it is certainly His will not only that you begin it, but also that you finish it."

From Made to Crave 21 day devotional -
"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it within us or we find it not" ~ Ralph Waldo Emmerson

John 1 - The Message
"The Life-light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I love Wednesday

I've been trying to think creatively on this Wednesday post.  The problem is, I'm having a bad Tuesday night (when I am actually writing the Wednesday post) and having difficulty thinking positively about anything :)  So stupid actually.  It's an aspect of my personality I don't like - when the smallest thing has me frustrated, then EVERYTHING is wrong.  It's an area I need to grow in.  I think I'll put that to prayer.  This is actually a trait I see in someone else in my household that frustrates me but as I type this I realize - oops - I think I taught them this one.... Always room to grow, isn't there??

OKAY.  So, back to the Wednesday post.  Maybe we should do this in picture form?  Yeah, I think we will.

Signs of spring!  For the first time yesterday, I really heard the birds chirping.  In fact, as the house sat quiet during the day, without a window open, I could still hear them.  It's truly music to my ears!!
Black Amethyst lotion from Bath & Body Works.  My friend Benit got me this.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  This stuff makes your hands SOOOOOOO smooth and smells INCREDIBLE!!  I love it!!

My phone and all the free e-book downloads I have gotten.  Bibles, devotionals, reading plans, books - it's awesome.  I really love it.  And all for free.  Did I mention - free?  As in no cost at all?  Awesome.  Free is good.

Sorry for the poor quality.  This pen is AWESOME.  Such a small thing - but the way it writes - makes me happy!!  I really like this pen :)

Yep, I'm lovin' us.  Just the way we are.  Although tonight, admittedly, we're getting on each others nerves.  Doesn't happen very often honestly!  That's okay though - 'cause I'm still lovin' us :)

Okay, so maybe this is a bit of a stretch.  I'm TRYING to love this stuff!  I haven't missed the dew - but tonight - stress city - I want a dew.  Sigh.  I'll just pretend the water tastes like dew...

Anyone know what this means?  Anyone?  It means I love YOU!  My faithful readers - from all over the globe!  I'm so excited to say that this week alone, I have had visitors from China, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Russia, Slovenia, Canada, USA, Philippines, Netherlands, Singapore, Chile, Vietnam - all over this beautiful world God has created!  Welcome!  Welcome to all of you -  I am so very happy you stopped by :)  I hope to see you again.  Please say hello in a comment below - in whatever language you speak!  Thanks for stopping in!

So that's it for What I'm Lovin' Wednesdays.  What about you?  What are YOU loving today??

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Great Recipe!

Sunday I tried a new recipe - and it was AMAZING!!  Simple, few ingredients and a great brunch recipe.  I served it with sliced strawberries (on sale at Kroger) and an apple coffee cake (purchased on sale - I could make it, but it was cheaper to purchase it).  The recipe follows - but let me give you some tips before.  It did not specify - or at least I didn't take what they said maybe the way they meant it - whether or not to actually COOK the eggs before doing the layering thing.  I guess reading it now, that probably makes sense - but what I did was take the milk and eggs, lightly beat that together, dump that into the 8x8 UNCOOKED, drop the sour cream in there instead of layer, throw the sausage on top.  It did take me longer to cook, and I had to mix it up a couple of times to get all the ingredients mixed together properly.  I also did not put the cheese on until it was already cooked - and then just heated it long enough to melt the cheese.  You might try doing it the opposite way and cooking the eggs first - but whatever works for you:)  Anyway - it was YUMMO - and very bed and breakfastish.  I forgot to take pics (above not my own) - I'm sorry - but here's the recipe - enjoy!!

1 roll of Kroger pork sausage
10 eggs
1/4 cup milk (although I messed up and used 1/2 and it was still yummy)
8 oz container of sour cream
1 cup of shredded cheddar (I used 2 cups)

Lightly scramble eggs w/ milk.  (This is the part I think they meant to cook - but I took scramble to mean beat).  Brown sausage.  On bottom of 8x8, layer eggs, then sour cream, then sausage.  If you cook the eggs prior to layering, then go ahead and put the cheese on now.  If not - WAIT :)
Cook at 350 for 20-30 minutes (it took 35 for me plus 5 with the cheese to melt it)

It is SOOO yummy!  By the way - you may think 8x8 is not enough.  However - we have enough left over to serve this twice - so it makes technically 8 plus servings.



Stories like this - both break my heart and make me angry. Jesus be with your children today!  Protect them- wipe their tears - show them your love the way it was meant to be!  Equally grateful for justice - because a lot of kids don't get to see their perpetrator given consequences for their crimes.  It's happening everywhere people - someone YOU know has been or is being abused.  It's time to say enough - to speak up - to protect those who can not protect themselves.  May we all be willing to take a stand!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blogger Problems?

Hey fellow blogger users.  Tonight my followers, recent posts, and comments suddenly disappeared (right side).  Is anyone else having this problem?  I'm not sure where to look to see if blogger is having issues or if I'm going to need to re-do those elements.

Leave me a comment if you have any info.  Thanks much!

Happiness Project - Boost Energy

Well folks - unlike last month - I have been very intentional about this month - boost energy.  Let's review and talk about this upcoming week.

Review - Week one - no pop

I am happy - and proud - to say - I am pop free.  I have not had a Mountain Dew in 7 days.  If I was honest - only once was it difficult.  It was beginning to make me sick - every time I drank it, my stomach hurt and the heart burn was horrid.  It's been NICE to be free of that this week!!  Do I miss it?  A little - but it hasn't been half as difficult as I thought it would be.  I have focused on NOT focusing on it!!  I found it difficult when Marty and I had free time.  It was such a habit to go grab a .59 cent dew from Circle K, using our change jar.  It was entertainment for me - cheap entertainment.  But - hey - I figure - this week alone - we've probably saved at least 20.00 if you count all the times I wasn't the only one who would go grab a pop or treat.  I will continue on the no Mt. Dew thing this next week.  One of my 40 in 40 goals is to be pop free for 60 days - I have 53 days left.  I will say no caffeine has left me exhausted people!  I'm not a coffee drinker and I can't say no pop has boosted my energy yet.  I know it will result in that in the end - but for now - it's tired this girl out!

Looking forward - Exercise

Gulp.  I am an all or nothing exerciser.  Either I go all out and do something like P90X (and almost kill myself might I add) or I do nothing.  I am working hard at resigning in my head that I will STICK to what I said in my happiness project goals - 3 days - 20 minutes each day.  Now, I know that needs to increase.  I realize that.  Yet, I'm working on making healthy choices permanent habits - so I need to start off with something more reasonable, manageable, and something I know I can accomplish.  Once I make that a habit, then I can add more.  I have a nice bike and trainer (the thing you stick your bike on so you can ride indoors - a necessity where we live) and I'm going to drag those out and that's what I plan on doing.  Also thinking about going over to the Y and signing up for a water aerobics class.  That's just a thought at this point - but it's something I once enjoyed doing and gave us because I didn't consider it "difficult" or "intensive" enough (and now I do nothing!).  We have a family membership at the Y I got when I worked there - we get the membership dirt cheap.  Jon uses the Y quite often.  It's stupid for me not to.  I'm humiliated to get in a suit at this weight in front of people I used to work with - but whatever.  I need to get over that and just do it because I enjoy it.  Once it gets nice out, I'll take my biking outside.  I can honestly say I LOVE bike riding.  I wish we had an extensive trail system here - or sidewalks - but we don't.  I can drive to a nice park though and use their trails and those are good enough.

I have not stepped on a scale to see if the no pop thing has resulted in any weight loss.  My goal is to not focus on the scale this month.  That's enough for now.  At the end of the month, I may do that - but right now, I don't want to become disappointed, discouraged - which always results in giving up.  One week at a time - one day at a time if necessary.

What about you?  Have you been doing anything this month to improve your overall health?  Leave me a comment and tell me what you find helps to boost your energy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday thoughts

From Made to Crave - 21 day devotional:

"We were made for more!  More than this failure...more than this cycle...more than being ruled by our taste buds (or whatever rules you), body image, rationalizations, and guilt."  We were made for victory.  Sometimes we just have to find our own way to that truth."

From New Day/New You - Joyce Meyer:

"...from time to time God calls us to lay it all on the altar as proof of our love and commitment.  He tests us by asking us to lay down our most treasured blessing as proof of our love for Him."

From my prayer journal:
Your timing Jesus, is always perfect.  To trust you with my most treasured blessings is so difficult Jesus.  Yet, I know you have called me for more.  More of you - and to get more of you, I must be willing to lay down the things I love most at your feet.  You say in your word it is very difficult for a rich man to enter heaven.  I may not be rich in the things of this world, but I am richly blessed with an incredible family - and that is what I find difficult to lay on your altar.  Yet I know, I must love you more.  Teach me Jesus to love you more.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why we do what we do

Following is the letter I read at The Daughter Project land dedication ceremony.  It is from a sex trafficking victim.  Let me rephrase that.  It is from an amazing young lady who has survived and is moving beyond her past to help others.  I have had the privilege of spending a lot of time lately getting to know this young lady and let me say - I have been blessed.  She displays strength, tenacity, courage.  She is happy, joyful and brave.  Here's what Amira had to say about what we are hoping to do at The Daughter Project:

What an exciting day! I wish more than anything I could be there with you to celebrate the beginning of this exciting journey, that I know will not only change the lives of these precious girls, but your lives as well.
I want to share a little bit with you where I was and who I am now. You need to know there is hope for these girls.
Its hard for me to me to put into words what it was like to be trafficked. Looking back, I can see the hopelessness that overwhelmed my being. I couldn't imagine making it to 18, and most of the time I didn't want to. I was so scared of him, but I wanted him to beat me so I could feel something, anything. I was a shell, I had lost most of me on the inside but on the outside I pretended to still be me. What I could remember of me anyway. I remember thinking I wish he would just snap and kill me, so I didn't have to. I never saw my self as anything more than a junky, and would have thoughts of what I would look like in a ditch. I wrote apology notes to my parents that said, “If your reading this I'm dead”. I would hide them in my clothes so if he killed me, he couldn't find it.
Looking back, I can't believe I ever thought like that. Those thoughts seem so foreign to me now. Today I am a VERY happy mommy, wife, student, abolitionist, friend, club president, speaker, photographer and anything else I'll ever WANT to be. I am able to be who I am because 1 safe person came into my life and showed me love.
The daughter project is going to be the love that these girls need to break away. Anyone can build a house for these girls. But I know from everyone I have met there Jeff, Jennie and Tami this is going to be sooo much more then a house. This is going to be their home, their second chance. This will be where the go from survivors to overcomer's. This is where they will begin to dream, and you will have the honor to walk along side of them as the pursue them. Every girl will have her own story, her own dream, and her own future. You hold the key to help them unlock them. Thank You so much for your hearts!

Isn't she just amazing?  She truly is.  There wasn't a dry eye in the house after I read this (except mine because at that point, I was trying desperately to make it off stage and back to my seat without passing out - lol!!).  This is why we do what we do at The Daughter Project.  To see girls like Amira come out and be all God intended for them to be.  To break the chains, free the captives, set people free.  I can't wait to see what God is going to do in all of our lives as we pursue the call God has placed in our hearts.  I am blessed and honored to be working with the people of The Daughter Project.  I have made incredible friends and I KNOW it's all God.  On a personal note - God has used The Daughter Project to renew my hope in people, to give me some amazing friends who are always looking out for others.  To be surrounded by people who have passion and compassion for the hurting.  I can't say it enough - I am so blessed.

Thank you Amira for sharing a brief part of your story with us.  I love ya girl!

To hear Amira share some of her story on Girlfriendit radio - follow THIS LINK, scroll down to Thursday March 3 and click on the GirlfriendiT/GirlfriendiT talking to women on the mend link.  Click and it should download the mp3.  Sorry, I don't know how to insert it into this blog post!!

Said better than I ever could

Saw this blog post on a friend's status update on facebook.  Thought I'd share it with you.

The Grace of Trust - Michele Perry

Check it out - you will be blessed - I was.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Made to crave

Another free e-book I located was a 21 day journal from Made to Crave (it's a book).  I've ordered the book from the library but haven't received it yet.

Anywho - here's the thought for the day - I liked it and thought you might too.

"God made us capable of craving so we'd have an unquenchable desire for more of Him, and Him alone.  Nothing changes until we make the choice to redirect our misguided cravings to the only One capable of satisfying them."

Book thoughts

I picked up this free e-book recently.  It's on politics and Christianity.  I'm not a big politics person and in some ways, find myself on both sides of the fence.  Anti-abortion, conservative - yet find social justice very important.  Lean towards liberal on immigration, lean towards conservative in other areas.  Doesn't make me real popular with either crowd.  I consider it balanced and biblical - but that's just my opinion.  Anyway - here's some thoughts from the book Healing for a Broken World:  Christian Perspective on Public Policy by Steve Monsma that I found interesting.

"Fourth, Wilberforce and his fellow Clapham reformers worked for the greater good of society as a whole.  They were not, as an evangelical special-interest group, out to protect the narrow self-interests of their fellow believers or their social class.  They sought the common good, not their own welfare.  Wilberforce and almost all the Clapham group were people of wealth and social standing.  Yet time and again they took on the causes of the poorest and least of their day.  The Africans, who were the victims of the unimaginably cruel practices of the slave traders, were not fellow Christian believers and were totally dispossessed with no legal rights at all.  Nevertheless, Wilberforce and his coworkers labored for over twenty years to stop this abominable business.  They challenged the exploitation of India even though, if anything, it would hurt their own social class's economic wealth."

"The real issue today is not whether one is a Democrat or Republican, but whether one is committed to justice for all.  This means we must defend the rights of those with whom we disagree.  Suppressing their freedoms in the name of religion is just as wrong as for them to suppress ours."  - Ed Dobson

"But in their political activities, the Clapham group worked for freedom and more equitable treatment of others.  Their primary goal was not to protect their own religious freedom or to promote Christianity by the use of public polities.  Their concern was not to make Britain a great nation.  In fact, their efforts to end the slave trade and the purely exploitative policies toward India were seen in their day as weakening Britain economically and damaging it's great nation status.  Their concern was to be faithful to a God of love, who cares for all of his children of whatever nationality or race."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

God is so cool :)

That's all I have to say tonight - God is so cool!  He's been moving, breathing, and in my face for the past week or so.  It's GREAT!  Not a bad thing at all.  He's reminding me of His calling on our lives, refreshing my spirit, leading me into His presence.  How lucky am I??  Seriously - it's been great.  And that's it - that's all I have to say.  What is God speaking to you this week?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What I'm loving Wednesdays

I apologize - I borrowed the concept from a friends blog.  I'll go later and grab the link up but right now, just time for posting.  For now though - here's what I'm lovin'!

The word....God is revealing himself to me in new ways.  I've been in the word more, downloaded an app I found for the android that works on scripture memorization - just enjoying reading the word and meditating on it.

Friends....Boy God has been throwing some powerful new friends at me lately!  And I don't mean powerful as in politicians, lawyers, etc - I mean power people in Jesus!  Most of them have been in their 20's and on fire and in passionate pursuit of Jesus!  All of them have a compassion for people like you hardly ever see. All of them love on people and desire to see them rescued.  I am loving it.  I am humbled and they are encouraging me to grow in new ways.  I may be getting old - but I am never - ever - to old to learn from someone else!

Family....I love my kids and my husband.  They mean the world to me.  I have been gazing at them a lot lately - focusing on their smiles, concentrating on their laughter.  Loving the blessings God has given me and feeling peaceful and content in my heart for them.  I am blessed.

Worship....I've found some new and incredible music out there!  It's been a while since I've sat down and listened to new stuff - and one song led me to a bunch more.  Woo Hoo!   I'll share some of it with you later.

My Clarinet....Last night I found just a slight hairline fracture in it.  That's not a good thing.  It's only a matter of time before it's history and the Lord will have to replace it - 'cause He knows I don't have 3-5,000 to get a new one.  I am right now loving that it's still playable 'cause I know that isn't going to last long!

YOU :)  God has blessed me with some great new Internet friends.  Today I'm loving that you are here, sharing in my struggles, my laughter, my joy.  Thank you for being here :)

What about you - what are you loving today?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fun Day

What an awesome 24 hours I have had!  It started with a phone call yesterday afternoon asking if we had room to have Jennie come stay with us for the night.  I went into panic clean mode (I KNEW I should have pushed the clean up last week despite everyone being home!) but we were all set by the time Jennie arrived.

What an amazing young woman of God!  I LOVE meeting young people who are passionate about Jesus and His world!  We had much in common.  This young lady is wise beyond her years - so well spoken (no, that wasn't the in common part - lol!).  I just loved sitting and listening to her share all her experiences in life. She was most recently in Sudan working with street kids.  She had some incredible stories.  Of course you all know how much I love all things African!  Her blog is on the right hand side of my page - it's called Seeds will Grow.  You really should go check it out!

She shared a video about a lady  named Mama Shekina (spelling? - sorry Jennie).  It will prompt a blog post at another time.  I want to talk with Jennie about possibly getting permission to put it up here.  Amazing testimony and gave me so much to think about.  God just keeps dumping it on this week, let me tell you!!  Never think you have "arrived" because the moment you think that - God starts pointing out some things you've never seen before that need a little work :)

Anyway - I find myself contemplative this evening and have to admit - I'm looking forward to some one on one time with a journal, my bible, some worship music and Jesus tomorrow.

On another note - the sunset is beautiful this evening - as is the quiet in my house because my kids have both fallen asleep at 6:30 p.m. - what's up with that??

That's all folks :)

PS - I just checked my stats - and there was a visitor from South Africa!  WOO HOO!!  Perfect timing :)
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