Monday, March 31, 2008

Attention all Blog land Blessings~

to a



for my daughter

I've mentioned numerous times before about my teen daughter Alyssa who is ready to give birth any day to Amiyah Elizabeth. You all have been such a source of love and encouragement as our family is traveling a road we never thought we'd be going down. It has been quite the journey and I thank God for every step of it.

Yesterday Alyssa was blessed at her 3rd baby shower. Her girlfriends had given her one before Easter and I was floored when all her girls from 4th grade to now showed up WITH their moms! Then our church loved on her and gave her a beautiful one last week! Then yesterday afternoon I teared up so much looking at all the women who came to show their support at the one my Mom and sister Michelle gave her. During introductions, my friend Charlene said, "Alyssa, I just want to thank you for choosing life for your baby."

Yes, we thank you sweet Jesus.

As I sat there I thanked God for all of the women surrounding my daughter who chose to love her instead of cast a stone.
Women of all walks of life in one room.
Women who have no idea of each other's testimonies...
Single ladies whose hearts ache to have a baby of their own.
A single mom of one was looking for love and eventually found it in Jesus.
Women who aborted the life within them and yet has let God take their shame as He holds their baby in heaven for them.
A social worker who has no children of her own, yet has many abused children who she prays over and loves all in the name of Jesus.
A foster mom whose heart still overflows with love & trust for Jesus even after having to return a baby she had in her home for 2 years to her biological loveless mom.
A 78 year old who got teary eyed with joy as she introduced herself as the soon to be "Great Great Grandma."
A young 18 year old holding her 6 week old baby girl who told Alyssa
"I can't imagine going through this with anyone else".
Women who have experienced the loss of a baby through miscarriage.
A widow missing her husband and being Jesus to others in the midst of her heart ache.
Women who almost walked out on their families for a meaningless affair only to be led back to the cross and letting their past be used for His glory.
A young lady abused as a child, drugged out as a young adult and looking for love from anyone...10 miscarriages and a necessary hysterectomy...if only she'd reach out and touch the hem of His garment how fulfilled she'd find herself.
A woman who has left her husband and kids to live with her boyfriend in belief that the grass will be greener and has only found weeds on the other side.
A soon to be Grandma who has much reason for God to say forget her...stands in complete awe of God's presence in so many different hearts.
Many broken women...many restored women...
some believers in Jesus~many not...
all under one roof.
All to show their love and support to one young girl.
As I looked around the room I thought of you all and wished you could be there. Then God brought the idea of a Blog Baby Shower so I could include you after all.
So please leave a comment for Alyssa straight from your heart to hers.

Share anything you want...verses, advice, just anything God lays on your heart.

Then after Baby Girl is born I will print each comment off and put them in a book and give them to her from you.

Every time she has read a comment to or about her in past posts, it just moves her.

She is a normal teenager so scared about what lies ahead and yet determined to do her best and be her best for the sweetness growing inside of her.
Last night while we were laying down in her bed and she was experiencing some very uncomfortable contractions, I teared up when I asked her if she was scared.

"Yes, but I can't wait to see her."
Me too.

"True prayer is when God's heart is expressed through your words."

~Jennifer Kennedy Dean~

Express away my sweet friends.


P.S. Join me today for the YES to GOD Tuesday Blog Bible Study...
chapter 2!

*I'm sorry, I wanted to have this posted by now, but will have it up for sure by this afternoon! Thank you for your patience!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Giggling Granny

Yesterday morning Gene, Alivia and I spent the day in Omaha which is an hour away . Two years ago my husband started having back pain and has had enough. Physical therapy, 2 rounds of steroid injections, a discogram and many pain killers later he is going to have surgery Thursday, April 3rd. Yes, two days before Baby Girl is due. Postponing surgery isn't an option to prevent permanent nerve damage, plus the man is in pain 24/7. So yesterday we had all day appointments for all of the pre-op stuff. So informative, but my brain is on education overload because as soon as we got back into town Alyssa and I had to go to her last Lamaze class.
My neighbor's mother, Nancy blessed us with private classes. She has been teaching for over 30 years and this was her gift to sweet! The first class, a few weeks ago for some reason as soon as we got to the part that I had to help her with her breathing I got a BAD case of the giggles. Poor Nancy thought I was crying which made me laugh harder until I actually did have tears streaming down my face as she reassured me that "all Grandma's feel like this Lelia, you're just reliving when you had your babies."
What made me have to excuse myself from class though and go to the bathroom to regroup is when Alyssa looked at me as a mom looks at her out of control child and asked,
"What is wrong with you?".
So yesterday I was determined to be on my best behavior. What I failed to mention earlier is that for 2 nights in a row I had worked until 2:30am and got up early both Thursday and Friday mornings. I'm trying to get much in order in the office before taking time off to be with Gene pre & post-op. So needless to say, Friday at Lamaze after spending hours between the hospital and doctor's offices with Gene, Lelia was very tired.
With Gene there was only one time when I laughed and that was toward the end of the day. He had to have a physical done by a doctor we had never met and when we did meet him... he was just interesting. Short with the type of body shape that would look perfect in a Santa suit, he had dark thick-rimmed glasses on and and did something weird with his lips. Then I noticed he had braces and he was just trying to keep his lips over them as he kept sucking the extra saliva back into his mouth. He started questioning Gene and then interrupted him when the phone on the wall begin to ring. When he loudly answered "YO!" it was all I could do to maintain maturity so I just looked down at my shoes and counted my lace holes. Then after he hung up he asked Gene to lie down on the table and every time he touched Gene he would close his eyes. It was just funny. Afterwards when he gave Alivia stickers for being so good, I wanted to ask for the one that said "AWESOME" because I was just that!
Okay, back to Lamaze...this last class we had out at Nancy's beautiful home. After taking a brief tour we started class with a review. All of a sudden, my eyes were so heavy. I felt like I did when I was young the day after a Saturday night slumber party trying to keep my eyes opened in church.
Oh it was so tough and being the retired middle school teacher that Nancy is, I know she caught me with my eyes closed and head jerking a few times as I was falling asleep. But I didn't laugh...until Nancy explained to Alyssa how to handle constipation if she gets it after she gives birth. I just have to quote this because I don't even know how to re-word it, "You probably won't get any Alyssa, but if you do, you just take the suppository and stick it up your anus and you'll be fine."
Now keep in mind I have worked in health care for over 15 years. Many of those years in home health care and so I have even done for others exactly what Nancy told Alyssa to do. No big deal. But yesterday, with only 2 hours of sleep under my belt I just could not handle her verbal instruction. I felt like a pre-teen squirming and giggling during their first Birds and Bees talk. I hid the lower part of my face behind the couch pillow I had in my lap as I tried to keep it together.
Focus, focus. I lassoed my thoughts and giggles quickly and sat there as the mature adult that I am and made sure to avoid all eye contact with Nancy or Alyssa. Back to counting the laces holes in my tennis shoes.
Then we started doing some more breathing and when sweet Nancy asked me to participate, simply put...I lost it. It made me sad that I was giggling so hard---you know when you can't talk or breathe and the tears are flowing type of giggling? Alyssa and Nancy started laughing too. Then Nancy tried to move forward and Alyssa rudely interrupted Nancy to ask, "Can she leave or something? Seriously, Mom you need to go to the bathroom or something." I didn't try arguing as I could tell these giggles were not done running their course and also because I couldn't talk. As I got up off the couch Nancy was laughing as she said, "Just come back when you feel like it. There's some pictures you can look at in there."
I was laughing so hard and my vision was blurred from the tears that all I could do was nod my head as I left the room. As I leaned over the sink, I looked into the mirror and asked the same question Alyssa had asked me 2 weeks earlier...
"What is wrong with you?"
So...this upcoming week I'm really just trusting that God works out ALL the details of this craziness.
Gene's surgery is a major one...3-4 hours long as they are fusing the bottom discs together which will leave him with 6 screws and rods and months of recovery ahead of him. We will spend the night in Omaha Wednesday night as he has to check into the hospital at 5:30am. My sister is spending the night with our kids and getting the 2 youngest to school for us.
Gene wants me to be with Alyssa when she goes into labor, but I want to be with both of them. After surgery on Thursday, Gene will be in the hospital for 3-4 days. Did I mention he'll be in Omaha which is an hour away?
So, for ME, it would be ideal if Alyssa doesn't have the baby until Gene is back home OR she is born tonight! Only God knows when Miss Amiyah will be making her grand entrance into our lives, but I pray He remembers to look at my planner first!
Also, please pray that I'm mature when Gene's surgeon talks to me post-op and also during labor for Alyssa. I don't want to be kicked out of either hospital room and sent to the bathroom!
Everyone of you who left a comment on my last post...WOW!!
Alyssa, Gene and I were all just overwhelmed & blessed.
Thank you all so much for the prayers, love, concern and just being Jesus to our family.
I love you all.
~Many Blessings~

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Worship You


I know I've already posted today, but this afternoon I went with my daughter Alyssa to the Pediatric Cardiologist. At her last 2 OB appointments she had to have an ultrasound done because the baby's heart beat is irregular. Last week after listening to the heart beat again the doctor decided to have her see the Cardiologist before birth instead of after as he had originally planned.

Thank you for covering my sweet girls with your prayers.
Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Today, Dr. Martin looked at beautiful little Princess again...

Jeremiah 1:5

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;

At first, she said she didn't see any irregularity at all. All 4 chambers are good and working properly. Then she saw and heard what the OB doctor is concerned with. The good news is that the irregularity is happening at the top of her heart which is good and normal. She said she could even have this for a few weeks after delivery, but that it would probably go away.

Psalm 91:11
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

On the way back to work I was overwhelmed with what God is all about.
He knows the granddaughter that I haven't even laid eyes on yet.
He has commanded His angels to watch over her.

I bawled all the way back to my office as I worshipped with Hillsong as the cd filled my car with words of praise thanking Him for His protection over my little granndaughter. To know that God is really watching over Amiyah Elizabeth and that He is monitoring every beat of her heart just makes me lose it. He has formed her, He is forming her and I can't wait to hold His wonderful, beautiful creation in my hands and kiss on every detail He Himself has designed.

I can't begin to explain to you how it has been to witness the genuine concern for both Alyssa and Amiyah not only from my family and friends, but from my blog friends as well.

You all are an incredible group of God filled from your heads to your toes women. I expect promises to pray and e-mails asking how it's going from the people that are physically in my life. But to receive it from Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, North & South Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan, Canada, California, Washington, Georgia and even Hawaii where one is on vacation...amazing!

Nine months has gone by really fast. Now we are down to days and I think, "Lord, this little one is about to enter this crazy world and I just want to teach her all I know about You. I want her to know You for herself. I want to teach her how to praise You, call on You, lean on You and grow in You. Will she see You in me?

What the enemy meant for shame, disgrace and embarrassment You have once again out shined the darkness of the enemy with Your Presence.

You have taken this unborn life and made her beautiful before being seen. Because of You she is being born into hearts that don't have an ounce of shame of how she got here. Because of You Lord I look at my daughter's expanded belly and I don't see a mistake, I see a promise.

Because of You.

Lord I praise You and I worship You for this life. With tears coming down my face right now at the the thought that 9 months has now become 9 more days I can't wait to see the gift You are giving to our family. The reality that this life is so close makes my heart pound a little harder with excitement. Thank You for trusting us with such innocence. May we praise You with how we love her and may she grow to be crazy in love with her Creator.

I adore You.

I believe in You.

Just Breathe

Click here if you missed Yes to God Tuesday this week!

As I've shared before, I'm trying to lose this extra unwanted weight I have on me. I've finally admitted that I am no longer the thin, strong 21 year old with the athletic body. Apparently she is gone forever and has no intention in coming back no matter how much many miles I rack up on the treadmill. I have come to face the fact that I'm a 37 year old wife, mom and soon to be Grandma that must make exercise a priority to stay sane.

So, last Thursday, before my weight loss class, we had a beautiful spring day with temps in the 60's. I wanted to walk the 2 mile trail that wraps around a lake not too far from our house; so the plan was that Alivia and Gene would be at the park playing while I walked.

I left them on the playground and went and got on the trail. I wasted no time in building up a sweat as I began to power walk. My rhythm was good and my arms were pumping as I took in all the activity around me. Fishing, running, couples strolling hand in hand, bicyclists, kids playing, dogs walking their owners and even a baseball team in practice. In Nebraska, when you get a nice day after a very cold winter, everyone has the same idea...outdoor exercise.

When I was going around a little cove of the lake, I heard a splashing noise and turned my head to watch two ducks bathing. My peripheral vision alerted me to a walker quickly approaching me. A gentleman approximately in his 70's wearing dark blue exercise wind pants who seemed to have a walk of power that wasn't too shabby.

Okay, I thought, can't let him pass me. He was a good distance from me, but it motivated me to pick up my already quick pace. I crossed the bridge and started up the hill. I had decided beforehand that when I made it to the top of the dam, I would run a small distance. Not too far since it was my first time out since last fall, but enough to make me huff and puff.

Top of the hill came and off I went. Determined to make the cellulite disappear before meeting up with Gene and Alivia, I ran as long as my body could take it. Didn't quite make it to the landmark I originally wanted to, but I figured a little run was better than no run at all. I began to walk again, but at a slower stride than I was going before when I heard...IT.

IT was the swishing sound of the dark blue wind pants on the older gentleman. I begin to yell at myself within my head,"No way! He can't be catching up with me. I'm at least 40 years younger than he is!" I could hear and feel him getting closer to me and I knew that at any moment he'd be passing me on my left.

"Would it be weird to start running again? Yes, that would be rude and weird Lelia. Just let him pass you BUT keep up with him.
Okay, I can let him think he's faster than me. I'm okay with sharing the lead."


"Okay, GO!

Keep up with him.
Oh my goodness, he's really fast!

MOVE Lelia!!
I am!!!
Move faster, you're losing him!
Shut up!"

I had just been left behind by a man who was my age when I was born and there was nothing I could do except eat his dust as he got further ahead of me.

My thoughts began to mock me, "Okay, that was painful to watch Lelia, maybe one of your goals should be to not let the elderly pass you...What's he doing now?" I squinted as I tried to see what he pulled out of his pocket and put into his mouth. His walk never slowed down as I recognized what he was doing. All that came to mind was, "Oh no he didn't."

To add insult to injury he was using an inhaler.

I was prepared to walk fast. I was prepared to sweat. I was not prepared to be challenged by someone 40 years my senior who has difficulty breathing.
New goal:
Don't get passed by older walkers who require open airway assistance.

So many times in our walk with Christ, we're not prepared for what will come up behind us. We have to be ready for the unexpected and adjust to what joins us on the trail of life. We can either rely on Jesus for help or pull our own solutions out of our pocket.
Let's choose Jesus to supply the air we need to keep walking with Him. (This is a link to a great post my friend Kimberly just posted on walking with God.)

When we found out our teen daughter is pregnant this last fall, it took our breath away...literally. We could have easily reached into our own pockets and pulled out disgrace, shame and rejection.
Just all sorts of ugliness could have come out of our pockets.

Instead we reached into God's pocket and inhaled His holy breath and relied on Him to give us the air supply we needed to cope and what a walk this has been! Doesn't mean I've handled this like a pro, for I haven't, just means I recognize how horrible I could've made this pregnancy for her if I didn't have a walking guide named Jesus.
He's really all we need, isn't He?

Last night I had my sweet son Aaron draw a name for me out of a basket.
THE WINNER OF MY SPRING GIVEAWAY of Lysa TerKeurst's book, "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God"
Kelley @ Aroma of Joy!
Put visiting her blog on your 'to do list''ll be so blessed.
E-mail me your address Kell!

~Many Blessings~

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Week 1: YES to GOD Tuesday study

To week 1 of the Yes to God Blog Bible study featuring Lysa TerKeurst's book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God"
Blessed to have you join us. All are welcome!

Chapter 1: A Soul That Longs For More

Okay, first of all the plane ride with the Bible give away. Wow!

This morning as I thumbed through my Bible I thought, if God asked me to, could I part with this? To a total stranger at that? When a verse comes to mind,it's the markings I have on that verse that I picture. I have things written on the front and back inside covers that I obviously wanted to remember. When I bought this Bible I was at Barnes & Noble with my friend Bruce who I used to be his caretaker. It was such a fun outing and now he is home with the Lord. Part of Genesis is missing from it. I love my Bible. Could I give it away to a stranger if asked to by God?

The human part of me says, No way. I'll buy them a new one, but I will not part with this one. Then the woman in me that longs for more of Christ screams, "Let go of the Bible Lelia!!" By one act of obedience up in the clouds, God used Lysa to change lives. The guy on the plane, the woman crying sitting in the window seat, the e-mails she's received referring to the "Bible man" since then show that God is still using her "yes" for His Kingdom gain. Oh how I want to be like that.

Page 12:
"When I said yes that day, I caught a glimpse of eternity."

I really loved that line of truth. I loved how Lysa reminded us to not wait for heaven, but she encouraged us to say yes on this side of eternity.
I also felt encouraged to know that we "don't need perfect circumstances to be a woman who says yes to God." (pg 13)

I know I'm not alone when I say how I feel like I'm so incapable of being used by God. What a lie from the enemy. The truth is ladies, that no matter what messes we have going on in our lives, the King can handle them. Lysa tells us at the bottom of page 13 that we don't need to clean up our lives, but that we "simply have to surrender all that's clamoring for attention in your heart with the answer God is longing to hear spill from your lips, "Yes, God".

I was particularly touched when she wrote: "Women who say yes to God will see life like few others." (pg. 14) AMEN!! I know the truth of this because I've lived both sides...saying yes and giving God a solid "no". Trust me when I say the "no" side of life is really miserable! Don't you ever wonder what we've missed out on from God when we don't cooperate? I do and I'm sure it's a whole lot of blessings for us and others! Makes me sick to think He can't depend on me to always obey Him whether I agree with His plans or not BUT that's what led me to read this book, because my hearts' desire is to follow Him everywhere.

Lysa reminds us on page 16 that once we say yes to God, we don't give up, we don't quit because we run into the unexpected or life suddenly gets hard. Anyone who has walked any length with God knows that we are not going to be skipping around singing Jesus Loves Me. Being a Christian
doesn't mean that we'll suddenly have birds landing on our window sill singing with us while we clean our home. Amen?

Truth is, life is just hard. And I know that in my heart I want to be a woman that recognizes tough times, but that continues to say "Yes God". So often I try to handle things on my own and all I do is create a bigger mess. I need to let my yes be yes and just trust in Him.

Oh Ladies....listen to Lysa's words here: "God absolutely loves to take ordinary people and do extraordinary things in them, through them, and with them." Oh wow, that just gets me!! It gets me because I am ordinary and when I allow Him to come in and take over suddenly things begin to happen that I just have to give Him the credit for because it's beyond my abilities. To know that GOD wants to work in me???? Oh boy, that gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. We got to learn to say Yes so that He can do His thing through, in and with us ladies!! We have to!

I want to end with this. On page 20 Lysa tells us, "Whatever God says do, do it." For years now we have been bombarded with Nike ads telling us to "Just do it". When I go to the shoe store and buy a pair of shoes to "just do it" they don't give me the instructions of how to "just do it". I have to come up with my own game plan. I can't call Michael Jordan up and ask him how I go about just doing it. After they get my $100.00, I'm on my own.

That's the difference between doing it the world's way versus God's way.
When we say Yes to God we are given instruction...the Bible.

We have 24/7 communication available to us...Prayer.

We have teammates that will encourage us...Sisters in Christ

Ladies, there is so much to living this life of obedience to God. It's not about "well, back in 1985 I said yes to God, but since then He hasn't really given me anything that looked interesting to me." No, it's about living a life that is obedient to Him all of the time whether we think what He's asking us to do is crazy or not. Like giving away our sentimental Bible to a complete stranger. We can't pick and choose what we say yes to when it comes to God or we're missing what true obedience is all about.

Enough from me, let's hear from you.
In the Bible study part of chapter 1 let's answer a few of Lysa's questions. I'd love to get your insight to these.
If you have a blog, answer question one in the comments here and answer question 2 on your blog. Plus, anything else in the chapter that you want to share, go for it. Just sign up below so we can come visit you!

If you don't have a blog: answer both questions here and please feel the freedom to share whatever else God puts on your heart! I'd love to hear from anyone and everyone as we can all learn from each other!

Ladies, this has been awesome and I look forward to every Tuesday with you for the next 8 weeks! Invite others to join us, whether they are reading the book or not. If you don't have time to read or do the study, come by anyway!
See you next Tuesday to discuss chapter 2 along with the Bible study questions!

Have a great day and let's learn to become the type of woman who would give away her favorite Bible to a stranger without any hesitation or anything else He asks of us.
Our obedience just may keep Jesus busy preparing places!

~Many Blessings~


1.) Did the story about the man on the airplane and giving him the Bible inspire you? How?

2.) Is there something you might need to let go of in order to have the freedom to say yes to God? If you don't want to go into any detail, "yes" or "no" is just fine.

Monday, March 24, 2008

What IF I say YES?

The day I walked down the aisle to marry my best friend was so incredible. Even though we had done life totally opposite of God's plan for us, it was when we re-dedicated our lives to Christ that we began to grow individually and as a couple. Young and in love life together seemed beyond what we deserved.

So why didn't I see what was coming? How could this seemingly perfect marriage to my best friend on earth be dissolving right in front of me? More importantly, how could I not care?

Then five years ago I asked Gene a question that I knew the answer would be "no" to. He surprised me and said, "Sure, I'll go." I had asked him if we could attend the Family Life Weekend to Remember marriage conference. We went and we learned so much that weekend. For the first time in our marriage I felt some hope. For the next few years we made attending the conference our annual get away. We were actually applying things we learned and our marriage was feeling connected again.

Then one morning everything for me changed for even better as my walk with God took a path I had never walked before. The two older kids were at school, the youngest was asleep and Gene was at work. I went to our basement and put in an instrumental worship music, turned the lights off and began to praise God.

Even though things were looking good, there was still the reasons I had not shared with Gene of why I had emotionally checked myself out of our marriage 3 years before. What I had to tell him filled my heart with the intense fear of the possible answers to so many "what if" questions. I knew Satan wanted me to stay in the same place in my walk with God with all of my secrets. I had confessed to God and was forgiven, but felt I really needed to come clean with Gene. But at what cost? My family, my marriage, respect from others? I had so much to lose and yet I knew because God had put it on my heart, that if I decided to say Yes to God, what I would gain in my relationship with God would outweigh any loss.

Alone in my basement, I knelt and eventually ended up face down before my King. I remember raising up on my knees and with hands held high in worship, my face wet with tears as I said Yes. I remember telling Him out loud, that no matter what happened when I told Gene, even if I lost my him and our kids, I was going to be okay because I'd still have Him...God.

Please don't waste your time trying to figure out what I did or let your imagination run wild. God hasn't given me the okay to share it in this format yet and really, my sin rap sheet is not important. What God did in my life resulting in the Yes I gave Him that morning is what is important here.

Before I talked to Gene, Jesus had gone ahead of me and filled my husband's heart with much grace, forgiveness and love. By saying Yes to my Savior, I showed Him that I believed He was bigger than my circumstance. I took my mind off the "what ifs" and focused completely on God and He rewarded the obedience of my heart in a huge way.

Saying Yes to God saved my marriage and my life. So often I say "no" and I can't imagine what I've missed out on. I have no idea what you have in front of you or behind you. I just want to encourage you to say YES to God today.

The day my husband proposed to me is one I'll never forget as I said yes as he slipped the ring on my finger. As much as I love that day, it can't even come close to how it is when I say yes to God!

Join me and other women right here every Tuesday as I am hosting the Blog Bible study of the incredible book, "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God?" by Lysa TerKeurst!

Lysa has written this incredible guide to learning how to be a woman that says yes to God all of the time.

It starts here tomorrow, Tuesday March 25th. Even if you don't have the book, join us and see what God is doing in the lives of different women around the country and even in Canada as we will have the opportunity to link their blog so you can read their story!

Get more details of the study here !


1 more thing...

Spring Giveaway!

Leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy of Lysa's book!

I will announce the winner on Thursday!

Looking forward tomorrow to discussing chapter 1 of the book and also the short Bible study at the end of the chapter!

~Many Blessings~


Saturday, March 22, 2008

He is ALIVE~celebrate Him!

Easter...just like at Christmas it is so easy to get wrapped up in the worldly ways of celebration. Brand new outfits, baskets, candy, egg hunts...Jesus.
The last thing Satan wants us to do is make this weekend a celebration of the fact that Jesus Christ is ALIVE! The enemy certainly doesn't want to be reminded of Jesus' presence!
May we rejoice together of the Son's victory over death.
Now we can do both Easter Bunny and Jesus Christ, let's just make sure He's our main reason of celebrating. The enemy triumphs when we wake up Monday morning apologizing to our King as our new outfits are crumpled on the floor and our sore stomachs remind us that jelly beans and chocolate aren't a very good combination.
Let's strive to keep Him first my sweet sisters in Christ, for He is what makes this life worth living!
Take a moment to be led in praising Him with Beth Moore's worship leader, Travis Cottrell. Simply put, without Him, we are just sinking in the sand.
Jesus, we love you!!!
~Many Blessings~

Thursday, March 20, 2008

From Devotion to Denial

I'm so visual that when I read the Bible, I often find myself wondering how it was to hear Jesus teach in person. If I lived "back then" in the Bible days I'm sure I would've been one of His faithful followers. One who couldn't wait to share His mountainside teachings with others. Blistered feet surely would've displayed the followings of my heart.
Surely I would've had a walk worthy enough for God to have named a book in the Bible after me...Esther, Ruth, Lelia... all because of my hunger for Him, my dedication to Him and my yearning for more of Him
I've outdone the disciple Peter in the denial department.
I don't listen to Jesus.
I disobey Him.
I think I know best.
I'm fooling myself if I think I would've walked miles to hear His Word when I don't even want to drive across town for church. I believe I would've been so excited to share about Him back then, but everyday I pass up opportunities to show Him off.
Out of pure selfishness I keep Jesus to myself.
I would've been first to welcome Him as He entered the city the week before His death. I would've been the one that handed out the palm branches and encouraged everyone to lay down their cloaks for Him.
I would've invited Him in to where I lived and treated Him like the King that He is.
With tears streaming down my face I would've been overwhelmed in His presence and with arms raised I would've cried out,
"Hosanna in the highest!"
That's what I want to believe.
Sounds pretty, but I also know when asked by Pilate what to do with Jesus, I would've been one of many yelling "Crucify Him!".
How do I know this?
Because I do it now.
Not with those exact words, but how I choose to live my life at times screams denial.
Many years ago, I re-dedicated my messed up self to Jesus and invited Him back into my life. I was overtaken with the emotion of His sudden presence when He consumed every part of me. My thoughts. My words. My desires. My emptiness.
He filled it all and He did it well.
Then life happens and the messes come.
The solutions look impossible.
The hardness in my heart begins to form.
The joy I once had runs to hide from the anger that takes over.
I distance myself from fellow sisters in Christ who reach out to me.
I don't want to go to church.
I don't want to keep my commitments.
And my Bible gets closed.
I just want to be left alone because I am trying so hard to do what Jesus never intended for me to do alone.
Friends, this life is hard and Jesus knows that better than any of us.
We need Him and He wants us.
The day I invited Jesus to come into my life was the day I recognized my weaknesses and traded it for His strength. I was in desperate need of a Savior and when I found Him, He exceeded all of my expectations.
I wish I could say it's like that all the time, but it's just not. The times I deny Him and try to fill His role with other things, my whole life must feel the same way that a miner feels when the cave engulfs him. Pure panic and fear. Desperate to be saved.
I have got to stop turning my back on the One I welcomed into my life.
I invited Him to come and dwell within me and yet in a heartbeat the devotion I think I have for Him turns to denial. I become the angry face in the crowd yelling "I don't want to follow You Lord! This is too hard! I'm done!" Sounds a lot like what the crowd demanded Pilate to do that day doesn't it? It's not that I ever deny Him as being Jesus, I deny Him the role He wants to play in my life. I deny Him being able to bless me. I deny Him the freedom to transform me on a daily basis.
I deny Him being Jesus to me.
Lord, I know I do a terrible job at making my walk match up with my talk, but I think the reason you stick it out with me is because You can see my hearts' true desire to be with You. Doesn't hurt either that your love endures forever, but just by looking in the mirror I don't see why. I'm so unworthy to be held in Your arms Lord, but please don't let go of me. Grab me by my hair if you have to when I start to wander away from You. Just keep me close to You because when I get out of Your arms' reach my life becomes beyond meaningless.
I need You.
Thank you for going to the cross. Thank You for leaving the tomb. Thank you for preparing a place for me. I don't understand what it is that You see in me...must be Your own reflection because You are the only good in this girl.
I absolutely adore You my King!
Hosanna in the Highest!
Have a blessed Easter celebrating the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. He's Alive within you if you've invited Him into your life. Allow Him to consume you.
Jesus, You are worth all of this.
Click here to a view a touching tribute to our Lord.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tired of doing it my way

Please pray for my granddaughter & daughter. Alyssa had another ultrasound done yesterday--baby girl's heartbeat is still irregular & so my daughter has to go see a Ped's Cardiologist Thurs. 3/27/08. First, her Dr. told her after the baby was born they'd call in the Cardiologist to make sure baby is okay, but then when he heard the heart beat versus just seeing the ultrasound pics he wanted her to go see Dr. Martin right away. Soooo, please pray for both mommy & baby. And don't forget wisdom for the doctor.
ALSO: our sweet sister in Christ, Kelley over at Aroma of Joy is in desperate need of our prayers. Please visit her.
Thank you and Bless you!
Last Tuesday I was woken up by my daughter who is 8 months pregnant standing above me at 5:15am yelling at me to "get up". No, she wasn't in labor. Come to find out, Monday night while driving in the car together, she wasn't really ignoring me. Instead she was texting AND hanging on my every spoken word as I voiced my plans for the next morning. To quote me, "Tomorrow morning I'm going to the gym at 5:30am."
Now, do you see any invite in there or request for her to be my human alarm clock?
Me neither.

Before the sun even thought about rising, she had turned into this drill sergeant barking orders at me to get up, get dressed or she was going to drive to the YMCA alone. In my car. Within in my mind, I was bold... "Whatever mama, go." Finally realizing she was not going to leave me alone, I got dressed and got in the car with her. I walked on the treadmill for 20 minutes, went back home, showered and started my day; and what a great day it was. All my food choices from that point on were healthy ones.

Friday night I exercised, Saturday afternoon I exercised and even Sunday morning before church I did the treadmill. I feel great, but my poor muscles are in a state of soreness and confusion as to why the heck they aren't lounging on my couch. They'll thank me once the fat is gone and they can be seen once again.

After my daughter's rude awakening, she had given me one more chance of joining her as she shouted down to the basement at me, Mo-om, are you coming?
"YES!" I shouted back.
My saying yes that morning to my hormomal teenager resulted in a day full of energy. Plus she was scary. Also, the athlete within me came out of the self-induced food coma I had put her in and has not stopped high-fiving me for our new lifestyle.

When I say yes to exercise, I look and feel better. When I say yes to healthy food over junk food, I look and feel better. Saying yes to what's good for me has benefits that are incredibly joyous for me. Smaller clothing, more energy, more confidence and a healthier body to name a few.

See, last Monday I called a friend of mine from high school. I asked Tami not only for her prayers for my desired weight loss , but also for her tips on how she had been so successful in her own weight loss journey. Her answer made something within my mind finally click and ignite a fire in me.
"Dedication. I knew that I didn't like who I was and that I needed to change. I drove 12 miles one way 3 times a week to a gym for a workout at 5am. I did this for 2 years because I knew it was good for me and I felt and looked so much better. Even when I didn't feel saying yes to going in the morning, I would make myself go because I knew the results would be so good for me."
She was right and dedication looks beautiful on her.

Tami kept saying yes to exercise, yes to eating healthier, yes to drinking water and it all has paid off for her. The thing is though, after shedding and keeping the extra weight off for over 2 years, she is still saying yes to her healthy habits. May not want to, but minimum 3 times a week she is on her treadmill in her basement no later than 5:10am and I tell you, her cute shape shows it in her favorite jeans!

At the very beginning of Tami's 2 year drive to the gym, I doubt much change showed on the outside, but she probably had more energy inside. Her changes began on the inside and eventually moved their way out to her appearance. She kept waking up early and driving those 12 miles and soon the woman that climbed into that car at 5am wasn't taking up so much space in the driver's seat as she was getting smaller with each yes she gave. Her persistence to keep going changed not only her look, but her life and once again she liked who she is. All because she was consistent in saying yes.

Reminds me so much of our walk with God. It is so tough, but so worth it. Saying yes to some of the things God asks of us may go against all human thinking, but when we say yes to Him, amazing things begin to happen in our lives and in His timing what is happening on the inside eventually shows on the outside.

I want to be woman who chooses to consistently say "YES" God to whatever He asks me to do. He's not always going to ask us to do something we enjoy or like, but when we have an obedient heart He rewards those who diligently seek Him. I personally think He enjoys seeing us getting moved out of our comfort zone. For when we aren't comfortable we rely more on Him and our independence gets shoved to the side.

Like my dear friend Tami, just because she lost all the excess weight, she didn't stop saying yes. It's a daily struggle with her. She would rather sleep in and let the sunshine or her kids' voices wake her up, but she knows if she doesn't do what is required of her, the weight might come back and old habits may resurface. Daily choice to say yes.

Join me in saying Yes to God and let's see what happens. Beginning next Tuesday, March 25th I will be hosting the Blog Bible study "YES to GOD Tuesdays".
There will soon be a button you can add to your blog, so check back.

We are hoping to get a lot of woman to say Yes with us so please spread the word. We will be reading the book and Bible study,
"What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" by Lysa TerKeurst.
and will be able to share what God is doing in our lives. You'll also be able to link your blog so others can read your own thoughts on the chapter and Bible study. At the end of each chapter is a study. Short and simple, but incredible. If you don't have the book you can purchase it here on my blog or visit Lysa and buy it there. Or check with your local bookstore...just buy the book and do this thing with us!

*Read chapter 1 and do the Bible study by next Tuesday, March 25th & get ready to share what you learn! Every Tuesday from March 25-Tuesday May 19th will be
YES to GOD Tuesday's right here!


Let's say Yes and watch God change us from the inside out!
Sign up below if you're planning on joining me in this adventure! If you don't have a blog, just put your name. If you do have one, make sure to put your blog address in the URL line.
Any blogs listed below visit them and I promise that you'll feel blessed!

~Many Blessings~

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Dance of a lifetime

This week with my family...such an interesting group of people God has forever linked me to.

Our oldest daughter Alyssa was talking with me as I pulled up my blog on the computer. She started laughing as she said..."This is like My Space for old people."
Then tonight after attending my weight loss group when I proudly announced that I lost 5 1/2 pounds this week, my son Aaron gently squeezed my muffin top and smiled as he said..."Getting smaller Mom. Good job!"

Wednesday night while on the hospital tour to see where Alyssa is going to have her baby, Miss Alivia wasn't bothered at all about the talk of the delivery and what to expect~~~blood on the baby, etc. What caused her to be so freaked out was the piano in the lobby that was playing all by itself. She was so sure one of the creepy characters from Scooby-Doo was lurking around somewhere.

But the most entertaining of all, was the other night when my dear husband Gene was watching television and Brooke Shields appeared on the screen. Her image suddenly launched hubby into an "I'm so cool" strut down memory lane. I just laughed and said, "You know I have to blog on this." So here goes...

Years ago he had this college teammate that had gone pro and played for the NY Jets. They were kind of wild back then and his friend was a "fly by the seat of my pants with pockets full of cash" type of guy. So, one day his friend picked him up and they drove to the Lincoln airport then flew to KC. You can drive there for a small fraction of the price, but being the big spenders they were, they flew what would've been a 3 hour drive in just 30 minutes.

This was the beginning of what I now call their "Trip around the world". Seemed as if Gene was calling me from a different city every night. What was supposed to be one night out together ended up being 30 long days out of state.

Yes, there was steam coming out of my ears like in the cartoons.
No, we weren't married at the time.
Yes, he almost lost me.
No, he really didn't.
Yes, he flew home when I stopped taking his calls.

Anyway, the reason the famous Calvin Klein poster child Brooke Shields stirred up some memories within my husband is because
One night in the heart of New York City...

Gene and his friend went to a club. Gene was looking good in his mustard color turtleneck and black striped sweater as he was bopping his head to the beat of the music. He was so cool that he could've put a fire out with just his spit alone. Suddenly he saw something that caused his smoothness to come to a halt.

There she was. No not me. SHE.

THE famous Brooke Shields dancing the night away right in front of him. She was moving to the beat of the music in her fitted Calvin Klein jeans with another famous face. Known for his song "Rico Suave" from the 90's, Brooke was dancing with the popular rapper, Gerardo Mejia. Who was also known for his washboard stomach and the best lip syncing voice in the entertainment world. None of that could stop my man from making his move though. Gene verbalized that he would love to dance with Brooke and so his NFL friend with connections went and talked to her. Then, oh I just have to quote Gene he motions with his hands as if demonstrating how the Red Sea parted, he said,
"Rico Suave stepped back and I stepped in and jammed with my girl Brooke."

Ladies, that is a fresh quote from last night.
I had no idea he talked like that. At 43. Maybe Brooke does, but I didn't.
It just amazes me that Brooke left this to dance with my guy.

15 years later, you would think Gene's 5 minutes of dancing with a star was recent the way he describes it. I tried to tell him that it was just a courtesy dance, but he won't believe me. He claims Brooke was taken with this dark and handsome athlete from Nebraska and that their dance was so memorable she 'd recognize him if she saw him today. Of course he says that with a mixture of laughter and confidence, but really Ladies, Rico has nothing on my man!
Well, except the flowing hair and rock hard abs.

So, there you go. I, not she is married to THE man that Brooke kicked Mr. Rico Suave to the curb for. Not even our first dance together at our wedding can top that night in the NYC club for Gene. Brooke will unkowingly own a piece of his heart as long as Calvin Klein makes jeans.

Who knew I was married to such a chic magnet? I'm going to have to start calling him
Geno Suave.

Honey, I'm afraid these are the only girls that will dance with you today and honestly, they're much cuter than any supermodel...

I love my family.

Have a Great Weekend!

~Many Blessings~


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm so in Love

Today I'm going to a doctor appointment with my daughter Alyssa for an ultrasound. She's in her 8th month of pregnancy and thinks the doctor is going to change her due date from April 5th further into the month. Lord please no.
I'm so ready for her to have this baby.
The reason I don't want the due date changed is because I'm already crazy in love with this little girl. The new love of my life is the same baby I didn't want my daughter to be pregnant with last August. Now I can't imagine life without her and we haven't even met yet.
The day we found out of Alyssa's pregnancy, August 16th, Thursday at 5pm to be exact was the coolest day ever. Not at the moment, but 8 months later I can honestly mark that day in my '07 planner with hearts.
Around 5pm that evening Gene and I received a call from our friend asking if Alyssa was okay. As far as we knew she was at volleyball practice and was fine. He asked because when he dropped off his daughter at practice he saw Alyssa leaving the school in tears. Concerned I called her to see if she was okay. She said practice was hard and she was heading to the gas station to get a Red Bull when our friend had seen her, but she was fine. Gene called our friend back and thanked him for his concern and told him all was well.
Minutes passed and another call came from him. His daughter said Alyssa wasn't in practice at all. So again, we called Alyssa who said she was at practice. She said since she's was on Varsity and the other girl played on JV that maybe she hadn't seen her since the two teams practiced in different gyms. We again thanked our friend for his concern.
A few minutes later another call. His daughter practiced with Varsity that day and Alyssa was not at practice. Called Alyssa back and no answer. Getting her voice mail clued these clueless parents into the fact that she knew we were on to her. We just weren't sure as to what we were on to.
She mentioned earlier she was going to my sisters house after practice, so I called my sister and told her of the mystery of Alyssa's whereabouts during practice and asked her to get me an answer.
The next call changed my life and within moments I was an emotional wreck as my sister's words were, "She's pregnant."
"NO!" I screamed...she's not pregnant,
A 17 year old Senior in high school.
A starter on her Varsity volleyball team.
A College-bound girl with dreams to achieve.
A know it all teenager that knows nothing about raising a baby.
Me. Oh my God, she's me.
I took this so personal because ever since her pre teen years I had tried to prevent her from becoming "me" as I shared my testimony of being a young single mom. Although having her was the one of the best things that has happened to me, I wanted her to choose differently. Were my words of wisdom wasted on my daughter over the years? Having a baby at 18 was just not a desire I ever had for her. Nor did she.
So this is where it gets really cool. Our friend who kept calling us that day was over at the house not too long ago and we got to talking about that day. He wouldn't give up on uncovering the truth with Alyssa. He didn't know why, but he knew something was just not right and was persistent. He kept bothering us. Why?
Years ago, before meeting his wife our friend was in a relationship that resulted in a pregnancy that was aborted. A decision he knows God has forgiven him for, but he himself calls it his "gorilla on his back" as he wishes he could go back and change the decision. Who knew God would use his past in my daughter's present.
Alyssa only had a few hours to keep this "secret" before God revealed it. She herself has said that she was so relieved she had gotten "caught" because she doesn't know if she would've had an abortion or not. Even though she doesn't believe in abortion, she doesn't know if she would've swayed in that direction to keep her life the same. God knew if she would've ended her babies life her life would've never been the same.
I'm so thankful for our friend listening to God that day to keep calling us even though at the time he didn't realize what he was doing. I'm thankful he noticed her tears and cared enough to ask her if she was okay, but not believe her answer. To believe his daughter was telling the truth about Alyssa's absence. To keep calling her "content with her answer" parents until they were discontent.
I really believe that God squashed any plans Satan had of convincing Alyssa that abortion is her solution. God has plans for this baby girl and He has plans for Alyssa and no enemy was going to get in His way that day. This is not the end of Alyssa's life, only life as she knew it. If she had aborted this baby girls life, that would've been a gorilla on her back that she would've never gotten over. Gotten through perhaps, but not over.
We've shared this with our friend since then and together we praised God. Shaking his head with tears falling to the ground he said, "I was hoping some good would come of this." It did my friend, on God's timing.
So see, my sweet sisters, I await the birth of this precious baby girl chosen by God to be born to my young teenage daughter with much excitement and love. Wasn't God's plan for Alyssa's life as she clearly took a different path, but she didn't shake her Creator up a bit with her choices. He just has different plans now. For two.
We never know when the gorillas on our back will be used by the King in a mighty way.
Give Him your past.
Be prepared to say Yes to God.
Be usable.
Be available.
Be trusted enough to let God say, "Come here girl and let me use YOUR past for MY glory."
You never know whose life He will save when you cooperate.
On August 16, 2007 it was Amiyah Elizabeth's life God chose to save that day as He spoke these words from the book of Jeremiah over my sweet granddaughter's life...
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
I can't wait to meet you my little Princess!
I love you!
~Many Blessings~
UPDATE: At the appointment today Little Girl is 5lbs 12oz so far--they guessed her to be in the 7's when born. And the due date stayed April 5th! Everything looked good, but the baby's heart is beating out of rhythm. Doc says these kinds of things usually works its way out, but he wants to watch her. So, next Wednesday another ultrasound. So ladies, please pray.
OH, and she"lots of hair" :)
Thank you. Love, Lelia