Friday, August 29, 2008

No Littering

This afternoon my family and I are heading to a Christian family camp for the weekend. I am praying for a time of bonding and drawing closer to God. It's just going to be me, Gene, Aaron and Alivia. No TV, computer or cell phones, just horses, canoes, fishing, swimming and JESUS! The speaker is a youth pastor and this is how he was described in the brochure: "His heart's desire is to see youth culture that is desperately honest with the Creator of the Universe. He'll encourage us to move beyond denial and into vibrant faith! He'll challenge parents to meet their children where they're at and develop unabashed conviction for God!" Oh, my heart is so ready to see what God has for us out in the woods! So I go with expectation that God is already in our cabin unpacking His bags.

Wednesday morning I was driving to work and was stopped by a red light. There is a gas station on the corner of the intersection and an employee of the station caught my eye. He was out in the parking lot with a leaf blower. His parking lot was empty of trees so I watched to see what he was using it for.

Instead of picking up the trash that was either dropped by a customer or wind blown into his parking lot, he was using the leaf blower to move the trash off of his grounds. He was trying to make his store look good by having a spotless parking lot.

I wonder how much of that trash that he was blowing away was what he had blown away the morning before only to have it return.

What struck me by the time the light turned green is how often we do this in our own lives. We have garbage that God wants us to get rid of in our life. Ungodliness that needs to go in order to have the walk with God that our heart desires. What we do though is we get out our leaf blower and just move the stuff out of our sight, never completely letting go of it.

Ladies, if we want all that God has for us we have to give Him the garbage in our lives. Changing the location of it is not the answer because when we are weak that trash is going to be blown right back in front of us. Let's step away from the leaf blower and trust God when He tells us that something needs to go. Cleaning up the mess that old trash leaves over and over again can be so exhausting!

You are such a blessing to this unending project Jesus took on years ago. Life is too short to not live it focused completely on Him.
Let's do this thing His way.

If you didn't read yesterday's post, make sure to do so if you're interested in what the next Yes to God Tuesday book will be. It's an awesome one you won't want to miss!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Love you,

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You...

Okay, so far so good. This morning, I have not found anything floating in my bathroom sink like I shared in yesterday's post. I think the Titus 2 Woman in me made Jesus smile yesterday as I calmly reprogrammed my 7 year olds way of "being busy at home" as verse 5 suggests.
If you come to my house though, I strongly suggest unless it comes from a can, just pass on any fruit offered to you.


Have you ever looked at someone in your life and thought, she really has it all together. Then you start spending time with her and realize that she too has issues she struggles with? Then for awhile you are happy since misery loves company. Oh, but then you spot this lady over here and she drives the perfect car, physically is a 10, is volunteer of the year and gave birth at home with no drugs. So the pressure is back on you because your crazy life makes the drama in soap operas look weak.

Oh, doesn't that cycle just wear you out? I can remember sitting next to my friends at a Women of Faith conference thinking "if only these women knew me". At that time in my life I was spinning desperately out of control and so every attempt I made to get closer to God, like attending one of the largest women's conferences, the enemy would put on his work clothes and go to work on me. Attacking my self esteem, my self worth and taunting me with my past. So I'd give up and soon my past would become my present again. And again.

I've been blogging since winter of '07 and I tell you I have learned to be myself here. I am real here. I would never want you to think I have my act together because quite simply, I don't. I know the days I try to walk out of my house looking perfect, my imperfections are just waiting to hear my key turn in the door and put me back in my place.

Now please don't get being real confused with telling all. There are parts of my past that God hasn't asked me to share here or anywhere and I hope He never does. So to be real, does not require you to stand in front of your church handing out a detailed rap sheet of your past. It's about learning to be real with our Creator, ourselves and each other.

When I started writing on this blog, I decided that there is no way I'm going to pretend here with you. That's why in the last month alone I've had posts titled, "What you see is not what my family gets" , "Complete Chaos" and "Desperate Housewife". By being real with you, I can not begin to tell you how different and better things have been for me and my family.

When I asked for help with my house you responded with love, not judgement. There are no dirty clothes except what we wore today. I sweep everyday and clean the bathroom once a week. I make my bed when I get out of it and I try my hardest to meal plan. My point is, if I had not been real with you all, I couldn't have received your help through the comments you left!

I want to be a woman that is real. Real to you and real with you. Real to myself and most importantly, I want Christ to be so real in my life that He's all you can see. For years Satan and I played "Satan Says" which is similar to "Simon Says". What he commanded I do, I did until one day I was done. Done with all the pretending and putting other woman on pedestals they themselves didn't even want to be up on.

Ladies, let's learn to be real with one another. So many of us have a past that is dark and so full of the wrong choices and yet Christ's death on the cross covered them all. He didn't just die for the minor sinners. He died for the married woman who cheated on her husband. The woman who had an abortion. The woman who is addicted to drugs. The woman who watches porn. The woman who lies. The woman who thinks she is real, but has no idea of who she really is.

The next book God has hand picked for us to do for our Yes to God Tuesday study is another awesome one and like the one we're doing now, it is accompanied by a Bible study. I will be honest with you and tell you that I have only read portions of it. I started to read it this summer, but decided to wait. It was hard to put down, but I like to read along with you. The title alone got me and I knew this is the book God had in mind for us.

I have to tell you ladies, this author is the real deal. Real as only God can make her. We have been "blogging and e-mail buddies" for awhile now and after meeting this summer have become friends. Last night on the phone she suggested we pray over the study and we so we did. 1500 miles apart we lifted each other, our families and you up to God. WOW!

Here is what my friend Amy said in a blog post after reading this book:

Thank you for unmasking, as you put it, the "great charade of womanhood." Your honesty helped me look at the places where I pretend rather than risk being real.

I'm so excited about what God is going to do!
Following the end of our current study we will begin the new one on

Tuesday, September 23, 2008.

On this date we will be discussing the Chapter 1 and also the study.

Okay, wait no longer. You may already know her or this may be your first visit, but please meet her by clicking here to go to her blog.

She's expecting you, so make sure to leave an encouraging word for her. Also, if you decide to join us on Tuesday, September 23rd, let us know! All are welcome to join this study so buy the book and get ready to be changed for the better!

(check with your local Christian book store for a copy)

~Many Blessings~

The missing Titus 2 Message Found

Titus 2:4-5(NIV)
Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Last night these verses came to my mind, but I think Paul left out such an important part of this message. I say this because of what I peeked out of the shower and saw in my bathroom sink last night after I heard Alivia exiting the bathroom.

See, I think the verses should read:

Then they can teach the younger women that it is not sanitary to thaw out the frozen strawberries you want for a snack in the bathroom sink even if the water is warm as you might argue.

I called my sweet 7 year old Alivia into the bathroom to question why there was a strawberry floating in the sink and why suddenly was the strawberry gone. I about threw up when she opened the bathroom door with missing strawberry in hand and was licking it.

Nothing like toothpaste, hair and strawberries. Before making her toss it and before sitting her down to have a conversation my Mom never had to have with me, I placed the berry back in the sink still full of water. I just had to take a picture for you of what I seen.

New lesson for all you young moms:
Don't forget to teach your child to use the bathroom sink only for spitting in and washing their hands in, but never to thaw food in. Never.
Just in case though, teach them how to clean the sink thoroughly first.

Lord, please don't let this be a sneak preview of what kind of teenager she's going to be. Please.

~Many Blessings~

Don't forget to come back tomorrow to see what book/study we'll be reading & discussing for Yes to God Tuesday's beginning Tuesday, September 23rd. Tomorrow I'll introduce you to the author that you'll have instant love for.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

YES to GOD study Chpts. 14 & 15


We are discussing our dear friend Lysa TerKeurst's great work "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith" and it has been so wonderful. I really look forward to Tuesday's together! I learn so much from you all, or if you live in Susan/Runner Mom's neck of the woods, I learn so much from y'all!

I wish I could talk like my friend Susan. I tried to sound like her, but I just sound like a southern belle that had too much spiked punch to drink. I met Susan this summer at She Speaks and she should see if she could have a talking blog because her voice is happy, joyful and so sincere and just as southern as could be. Lisa Whittle and Lysa TerKeurst whom I met too both have that cute southern drawl thing going for them also. My voice has no ring of remembrance to it so I hope when I get to heaven and I praise Jesus it comes out sounding like a mixture of all 3 of these women. I'd make Him and the angels so happy!

Alrighty...let's begin. Remember, anything written in blue is a quote from the book.

Chapter 14: Pressing Through the Pain

The story Lysa shared of her neighbor's lives was so neat. Even though prayers for Mary to be healed weren't answered, Ken still chose to praise God in the aftermath of Mary's death. Her life spoke loudly even after her passing. Through Mary's death Ken learned to depend on God, pray and look for His answers. He desired more of God and found Him in a flower in Lysa's lawn of all things.

My greatest desire must always be for more of God in my life. This is the only desire that's certain to never disappoint and can never be taken from me.

Lysa also reminds us that when we experience death, whether it's a loved one or a dream, pain is what we experience. What has gotten her through the death phase of things is God. Knowing God is with her through the tough stuff is what keeps her going and she looks at what the death phase. How encouraging.

CHAPTER 15: God Isn't Surprised by Death

I loved the subtitle in this chapter:

Being Broken is Not Being Sidelined.

I remember about 5 years ago I decided to do the Body for Life weight loss program. For eight weeks I would work out at 5:30 in the morning, record what I ate and what I did for exercise. For eight weeks I was faithful and my body showed the results of my labor. Let's just say my husband liked what he saw. Then something life changing happened to me personally. My world came to a complete stop and instead of pressing forward and continuing my plan I stopped everything. Instead of turning to God, I turned to food and the pounds began to find their way to my thighs again.

I felt broken and I sidelined myself by taking myself out of the game and becoming a bench warmer. I wish I would've have read this chapter, perhaps I could still fit in my skinny clothes smashed to the end of my closet by my plus size clothes.

Brokenness is what must happen before God can put pieces back together in the way He can shine the best.

What faces you today or what comes your way tomorrow, I beg you to remember what Lysa shared with us in this chapter. Only having a dozen people show up at her speaking engagement when she expected five thousand was perhaps for us, so Lysa could teach us to seek God's perspective in every area of our lives. Through the tough times, continue to praise and seek Him. Don't do what I did when I found myself broken and turn away from God. Seek Him sisters...He's worth this chase.

God is good. He is more interested in developing our characters to match our calling than in manipulating our circumstances to make us happy.

AMEN! I love that we don't serve a God that bends our way. Last August I didn't want to hear the words "she's pregnant" said about my teenager. Just because I didn't want it to be true didn't make God change the circumstance. I had to bow down before Him, not Him before me and allow Him to change me, not change what was before us. I'm so thankful He's in charge.

Share what touched you in these chapters and also the amazing study.

Sign up under Mr. Linky below if you have more to share from your heart on your own blog.

God bless you and next week we'll meet back here for chapters 16 & 17!

Oh, and check back this THURSDAY for the exciting announcement of our next study. Oh my goodness, you are going to not only love this book/study but you will fall in love with the author. She is so full of Jesus and her love for Him is contagious! So check back this Thursday and let me introduce you to her. Trust me when I say you'll love this next study and the author just as much as you love Lysa and her writings.

Both are women of God that just make you want more of Him!

~Many Blessings~

Monday, August 25, 2008

Complete Chaos

I know God is changing me. I feel it inside and out. Some days I am on the verge of tears from the time I awake to the time I lay my head on my pillow. A lump that plants itself in my throat just because I can't stop thinking about Him. I have begged Him to consume my every thought and when He does I can barely handle it.

I asked Him to become bigger in my life. He has and yet I want more of Him. He gets to me like no one else is capable of. He knows me, everything about me and still He loves me. Even wants to use me. I've questioned Him on this and He reassures me that despite my many flaws, I am usable, but only when He's my focus. So I try daily to stay focused.

When the enemy fights hard for my attention I fight back with by saying His Name over and over again, reciting Scripture I know and through tears I try to cheer myself on by whispering "Stay focused on Him Lelia. Keep a steadfast mind on Him." My eyes find Him again and I instantly feel different. Almost as if the enemy was yanked off my back and thrown to the side of the road.

It's so easy to become focused on the good or bad in front of you. Easy to get caught up in the lack of finances or the heartache of a Prodigal child. But to stay focused on Him no matter what is staring me down gives me a completely different view. When I spend time with Him, I have to force myself to get out of the chair and go about life because I could just sit in His presence all day long. I get up and get my day started and through out the day He dances through my thoughts.

Have you ever heard a song over and over again, but one day you stop and really listen to the words of it? As a writer I love words, especially when they are penned to God in such a way that makes tears fall from my eyes because I can relate to what the song says.

I recently heard a song by the group Sanctus Real that really touched my heart. It's called "Whatever You're Doing". The chorus of this song just got to me:

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life
Something heavenly

Some days I feel like it's complete chaos and yet all around me is fine. It's within me that is going nuts. Why is that? I think it's because I've spent many days asking my Savior to save me from myself. To change me. I'm willing, I just don't know where to start. So I start with Him. Asking Him, inviting Him to come in and not leave without changing who I am and what I'm about.

Some days though you can never tell He dwells within me because of choice. Choice of behavior, choice of words, choice of how I spend the money He's entrusted to us. That is when the chaos is created within me. The days I fail I feel conviction because I want Him desperately to be seen in my life. When He shines its not anything I'm doing but all because of what He's doing. Just like the song says, He's creating chaos within me. I've lived a chaotic lifestyle before in the world and I'll take Holy Chaos over destructive chaos any day. It just gets so chaotic when He tries to make changes and my old self tries to stand firm.

I loved how the chorus of this song points out that Maybe, just maybe Lord what You are doing is so much bigger than me. When my daughter got pregnant last year, it would have been really life changing in the wrong direction had I decided to focus on myself. I realized though that God allowed the birth of this child for a reason and what He is doing is much bigger than me having the perfect looking sinless family.

This life, once we give it to Him becomes all about Him. This is bigger than me. With or without me, His plan is going to be played out. I want to participate and follow His lead. I want Him to create chaos within in me. The more chaotic I feel inside, the more I seek Him as He is the only One that can calm me.

I have no idea what You are up to Lord, but keep doing it. Keep changing me. Take a moment to listen to this song and really listen to the words. There are so many more lines in this thing than just the chorus that are just heart gripping. Be blessed...

~Many Blessings~

Join me and Friends tomorrow for the Yes to God Tuesday study of Lysa TerKeurst's book, "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith". It's an awesome study and we'd love for you to join us for the discussion. And remember...

God is so good!

Friday, August 22, 2008

New beginnings

Back to school week is a time when schedules are restored, new clothes are purchased and new friends are made. Alivia's school building is closed for the year due to remodeling so this year she gets to ride the bus to the make shift site instead of getting driven by Mom and she was so excited! After the first day of 2nd grade when asked what she liked the best her reply was: "What's not to like?"

Aaron started high school and can hardly wait for basketball season to begin. When asked what he liked best he said, "I like my classes and the girls like me." All is good in his world. He thought it was ridiculous that I made him pose for me under the same tree I've taken a 1st day of school picture of him for the last 8 years, but he finally gave in. He is such a handsome guy, but wouldn't let me retake it so I had to settle for the "I am way too cool to be doing this" picture.

Here are some pictures from the 1st day and also Open House. So, I'll "narrate" the pictures to what came to me when I was looking at them last night. Her 2nd grade teacher is so sweet and I was thrilled she got Mrs. B! So here are some pictures from open house on Tuesday night and on Wednesday, the 1st day of 2nd grade.

Before we invite Christ into our lives we walk around lost...
Then when we invite Him in, He gets excited when He sees our face...
He welcomes us and loves on us...
He stands proudly next to His newest daughter...
He then begins to show us things and teaches us...Then when He thinks we are ready He sends us out...
And we learn to wait on Him...
Then we see Him show up in different ways in our lives...
And then we arise and join Him for the ride of our lives...

We are excited and tell our friends about Him so they can go too...

We look back at our past knowing He's going to use it for His glory...
And off we go on a new adventure...

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

YES to GOD study Chpts. 12 & 13


Hello! So glad you are here today for the YES to GOD discussion of our friend Lysa TerKeurst's book "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith".

If you haven't read it, I highly recommend getting the book and reading it. If you have read it before, join right in and if you are reading it with us now, get ready to discuss! This book has been so incredible and with each chapter I feel closer to God.

Let's go...remember anything in blue is a quote from the book.

CHAPTER 12: Learning to Lead

I never pictured myself as a leader until God revealed to me that like it or not, people were watching and modeling my life. If you are influencing people, you are a leader.

I loved the example of Moses. Looking at his resume it's so clear that God uses the inadequate, imperfect and insecure to do His work. Whew! So I can be a leader after all!

Lysa reminds us not to be stiff-necked. If we are too proud and think we know it all, we are stiff-necked because we refuse to bow our head and admit our inadequacies.

The other day I was talking with one of our customers on the phone and he was telling me how he was in a motorcycle accident. For the next 3 months he has to wear a brace. This disables him from touching his chin to his chest or turn his head from side to side. That's the visual I got when we are stiff-necked and refuse to give God control.

The biggest part of this chapter to me was when she talked actions and reactions on page 119. Lysa says that our reactions are key.

The way to a good leader is for your actions to be reflective of God reigning inside of you. But to be a great leader is for your reactions to be reflective of God reigning inside of you.

Nothing will make God so real to you as seeing Him change your character.

Lysa tells us that the reactions we have shows what condition our heart is in. This is all part of the believing phase to walking in faith where the goal is to get you to the place where your experience of God is too real to deny.

Just this morning I reacted in such a way to Gene that made my heart look completely ugly. After Gene left the house I cried out and yelled to God, "I can't do this!! I fail before 9 o'clock in the morning!" Instantly what came to mind is this book and what we've been reading. Because of what I learned in this chapter I was under instant conviction. This morning I could had a reaction that I'll always have until my heart agrees to bow down to God and not be stiff-necked I will always blow up and sit in the chair of regret afterward.

CHAPTER 13: Death Does Not Mean Defeat

Death brings about a new life that can't be found any other way. Indeed, death does not mean defeat.

Lysa's testimony of the guy she thought was Mr. Right for her was so neat how God's ending was so much better. God had to allow Lysa to endure some pain and mistreatment to see that His plan would be appreciated and followed.

Heartache from another person is the hardest to endure. Especially when it's someone you trust. There have been hurts in my marriage that by the world's view should've ended in divorce, but the trials we've faced has only drawn us closer to the God we love. A trail of pain had to walked on first though to get us where we are today. We are so far from the perfect couple, it's scary, but we both love Jesus and each other and the hardships are worth it.

The very thing that feel like death are really a birth of something so much better.

So often we focus on what has not worked out because we can't see the big picture. We just have to trust that God knows what He is doing and follow Him without knowing every detail of the trip He has us on.

Lysa tells us how God's way is the perfect way. When we stop worrying we allow God to start fighting. Not only does God direct us to the perfect path, but He has perfect strength, timing and plans. We have to trust Him. We must!

God not only has defeated death but is providing victory through it. This is not your defeat; this is your valley in the shadow of the mountain your soul longs to climb--a mountain of greater faith and closer intimacy with God than you ever thought possible.

Sometimes we have to let God put to death something He knows will only cause us harm or heartache down the road. Sometimes we choose to not listen to Him and we experience the unbearable and other times we choose to put our trust in the One who has the plans of His perfection in our future.

Right now I'm going through something that God allowed to be put to death. The grieving is tough, but I know my walk with God won't allow this thing to be in my life. So, I let it go. Just yesterday driving home tears were just falling down my face. I turned up the worship music playing and whispered, "Lord, I had a bad day and I just need to hear your voice." I can't begin to describe to you how my heart felt, but in an understatement, He is incredible. And so worth the death of what I know will bring me life. I once heard Beth Moore say, "The one thing you are holding on to can be the very death of you girl." If choose to be stiff-necked then Beth's words will be played out in my life and I don't want any separation from my King.

Lord, you're worth this struggle. Every minute and every second. I love and adore You!

Share what touched you in these chapters. Sign up under Mr. Linky if you have more to share on your own blog. A blog of influence...a blog of a leader. Join us next week for chapters 14 &15.

Have a blessed week and remember to keep seeking Him. Every day.

I love you,

Friday, August 15, 2008

Within His View

In high school I was a bit of a wild child and began to hang out with 2 girls I had known since elementary. Girls that were not wild. One of the girls, Jen, was very blunt and would tell me how her mom did not care for me.

So you can imagine how uncomfortable it was a few years after high school when Jen announced her engagement and asked me to be one of her brides maids. Of course she had to tell me that she really wanted me in her wedding party even though her mom didn't. At this point in life I was a single mom and was still a bit of a wild child.

Over the years Jen and I became distant, but would talk a few times a year and send Christmas cards to each other. Soon we both had kids, mortgages and mini-vans. The wild child in me had finally been put to sleep.

Over time as I chose to get closer to God, for some reason Jen's mom would come to my mind. I wanted to have my friend take me to her parents' home so I could have show and tell with her mom Patsy. I wanted to show her I was changed and tell her how I was living my life for Christ, but I never did.

One year during our annual catch up phone calls, Jen shared with me how her mom was in remission for cancer. Then a few years ago she told me that her mom's cancer had returned with a vengeance leaving her with little time left. Jen is an RN and said that the family had accepted her mom's lack of time left on earth and were all doing their part so that she could die at home. Along with her Dad and her sister they were all taking care of Patsy.

I called a few days later to see how my friend was doing and the confident caretaker I had spoken to only days earlier was a crying mess. Her mom had taken a sudden turn that no matter how much nursing you do you're never prepared when the patient is your loved one.

I told her that if they needed rest to call me since I had done hospice care for over 15 years and I offered to spend the night too. Much to my surprise, she accepted my offer and that night I stayed at her parents home.

Her dad welcomed me and expressed how blessed he felt to have help and get some needed rest. Jen's sister showed me where everything was and went home to sleep in her own bed. So there I was, just me and Patsy. The woman who I knew hated me based on what my friend had told me over the years.

I remember thinking, Did they tell her I was coming? What if they didn't, is she going to ask me to leave? What am I doing here?

I nervously sat in a chair next to her bed trying to read a book. I kept glancing at her out of the corner of my eye watching for her to wake up. Her breathing was very labored though so I wasn't sure if she would make it to see the break of dawn.

Then she woke up. No heavy breathing, but instead completely alert and awake.

Hi Patsy. It's Lea (the name I was called as a kid).

Yes, I know. Jennie told me you were coming tonight. How are you?


Are you married?

Yes, his name is Gene. He's wonderful.


Yes, three. Alyssa is 15, Aaron is 11 and Alivia is 4.

I asked her if she wanted anything to drink and she did.

Then, suddenly, the Holy Spirit put something so strong on my heart that instantly tears filled my eyes.

I took Patsy's hand and said, "For all these years I thought you hated me, but right at this moment God let me know it was never me that you hated, it was my actions."

She nodded and tears began to fall down her face too. The years of unspoken tension between us was completely gone within a moment. Although she lay dying from cancer, we both experienced healing that night. It was so awesome. We even exchanged I love you's. We laughed, cried and talked until she went back to sleep. That would be the last time we'd ever talk or see eachother here on earth. A few days later Patsy went to sleep and woke up to see Jesus' face up close. What a beautiful awakening she must have had.

I realized that November night just how much Jesus loves His children. He knew if I would have received the phone call from Jen telling me of her mother's death I would've regretted never contacting her. I don't know why, but it was something that God knew bothered me over the years. It wasn't something that constantly rolled over in my mind, but when it surfaced it just bugged me. I had told Gene about it before, but only God could arrange for me to be one of Patsy's caretakers on her death bed. Only God. What a hug He gave me that night.

I was given the gift of sweet time to share with Patsy how I am now living for Christ. She was thrilled. Maybe the things she had said about me to her daughter was not handled the right way, but as a mother I know the desire to want your child around people that are Godly and I was far from that at that time in my life. It was a night of understanding. I understood mother to mother what Patsy was thinking, but greater than that I understood that God was paying attention to me. One of many of His children.

I don't know if you've ever felt like just a face in the crowd, but you're not. God knows you better than you know yourself. Why wouldn't He though? He planned you out, created you and adores you.

I'll never forget that night Lord. The night You let me know that this face in the crowd captures the attention of the Son of God. Seen, heard and deeply cared for by what Peter called the Chief Shepherd. You really know everything about your sheep and you tend to us like no other.

Know that He is so aware of you inside and out and He is proud to call you His. When the world can make you feel like nothing, believe that the Almighty One sees you and is intently paying close attention to your every breath.

~Many Blessings~

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thankful Thursday

This is my first time participating in Thankful Thursday...

I am thankful...

1.) That every Thursday we can be reminded to write out what we're thankful for instead of just one Thursday in November.

2.) Thankful for my friend Susan at Forever His and her faithfulness in weekly proclaiming what she is thankful for. She has inspired me to join in on the fun of sharing my thankfulness.

3.) I'm thankful that my teenage daughter Alyssa chose life when she found out her own life was going to be forever changed.

4.) Thankful that my granddaughter, Amiyah Elizabeth, is a daily reminder to me that God is the One Who is in control.

5.) Thankful for my family and friends.

6.) Thankful that my husband Gene is so patient and forgiving when I choose to act crazy.

7.) Thankful that this summer has been a season of much growth.

8.) Thankful that my husband's $110,000+ back surgery was covered by insurance!

9.) Thankful that my dream of driving around in a luxury car has come true...the Impala is a snob and will only take EXPENSIVE gas!

10.) Thankful that my kids start school next Wednesday.

11.) Thankful that God's mercies are new EVERY morning.

12.) Thankful that I have 13 pounds of love sitting on my lap cooing.

13.) Thankful that Pampers claim of being leak-proof is true since the bundle of joy sitting on my lap just filled her diaper up.

14.) Thankful that we can take God at His Word.

15.) Thankful that cell phones have cameras in them so I can capture this:

Oh, and I'm so thankful I didn't miss this...even though the angle makes her look unproportioned~smiles~Thank You Jesus...

This was so much fun! It really made me think.

Visit Sting my Heart to read more bloggers that are thankful and join in on the fun!

~Many Blessings~

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Word-Filled Wednesday

To know that God says this over my teenage daughter's baby girl, Amiyah Elizabeth is simply breath-taking!
Jeremiah 1:5a
Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.

Amiyah in uncle Aaron's gift (a Jordan outfit) from Orlando, wondering what is on her head.

Holy plans for my grandgirl??? WOW!!! Thank You Jesus!

For more Word-Filled Wednesday posts visit The 160-Acre Woods.

~Many Blessings~

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

YES to GOD study: Chs. 10 & 11


I am thrilled you showed up for our discussion of what God is doing in our lives through our friend Lysa TerKeurst's book, "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith"

If this is your first visit and have no idea what I'm talking about, let me clue ya in. Every Tuesday a variety of God seeking women meet here and discuss the chapters of the week and what struck us the most. Then they post further on their blog and we visit them. You'll find yourself going to Missouri, Canada and even Australia. It has been awesome getting to know these women and hearing about God's greatness in their lives. So if you'd like to join us, get the book and join at anytime! Let's get started...

Chapter 10: Roadblocks and Reassurances

*Remember anything in blue is a quote from the book.

WOW!!! When Lysa shared the story of her neighbor and the driveway I was in awe. Awe of what God would ask her to do and also with Lysa's response to His request. I would only hope I would react the same way.

I remember as a high school student my aunt had a neighbor who was just down right nasty. At the time I was not walking with God so I found my aunt's response to be funny. Looking back at it though I think what a waste of time and energy but above all else, how unpleasing to God. My aunt took the time to paint the side of her privacy fence that faced her neighbor's yard an obnoxious display of neon paint. My aunt is not a Christian so she doesn't grieve over the loss of opportunity on the Lord's behalf, but how I wish my response would've been different. If my aunt and Lysa's neighbor lived side by side how exhausted the two of them would be!

As I got out of my car and started toward her, I had to will my feet to walk this obedience path. But then as my arm reached to give her the water, the heaviness lifted...

The part that struck me about that was "I had to will my feet to walk this obedience path". How hard that must've been for Lysa, but how awesome that she loved the Lord more than herself. She laid her pride down and CHOSE to obey the God she loves.

Now I realize that for that season of my life, my assignment from God was to learn to love my enemy.

Did you hear that? Season of her life. 4 months ago my little grandgirl just slept and pooped. Now she laughs, she "talks", she recognizes, she gets excited; she is in a different season of her little precious life. When I am with Amiyah, I don't try to teach her to walk. That lesson will come in about 6 months when she is ready.

I believe that when God wants to teach us something He really looks at what season of life we're in. God had a specific lesson for Lysa to learn at that point in her life. He knew she was spiritually mature to receive the lesson and she passed with flying colors. He knew that driveway was going to be built on the neighbor's property and He also knew how spiteful the neighbor was, but He allowed it all to happen because Lysa needed to be taught something so she could turn around and teach us. I know I need this lesson right now in more than one way.

This next question Lysa posed to her readers was a real thump on the head for me. What enemy do you need to love at this moment? Maybe it's a neighbor, a prodigal child, an angry spouse, or an unforgiving friend?

My answer was prodigal child of course. Right now I just need to love my daughter Alyssa like crazy right where she is at. She needs to see God in me. She needs to know that although I don't like the choices she has made I still love her. She needs to know when I'm coming toward her I'm going to give her a hug and not wring her neck like the flesh in me wants to. Bottom line is that I just need to love her.

The end of the chapter I loved these points of truth:

*God loves me to much to leave me the way I am~thank you Jesus!
*Whatever circumstance I face I grow by embracing God's plan, not changing my dilemma.
*We will have hard times.
*Say yes to God NOW, to whatever He brings my way.
*The hard place I'm in is not a distraction, but rather God's way.
*Keep focused on God, not my problem(s).

CHAPTER 11: God will make a way

Okay, that Lysa could see God through a bloody nose in a court room was awesome! Great reminder that only through the blood shed of Jesus can our lives be part of something so much greater than our minds are allowed to imagine.

I really loved the part of this chapter titled "The Pain Has Purpose". How often when things happen do I pray for God to remove it from my life. Lysa clearly shows us that Yes, we will suffer in this life. What??? When I became a Christian that doesn't mean that life will be perfect? Oh so far from it, but so worth it!

Something may be causing you to suffer right now, but the pain has a purpose, and you aren't alone. Jesus is right there with you to comfort you in a way only He can, for He knows what real suffering is like.

This morning in my Bible study that I'm doing I read Revelation 3. These verses reminded me so much of the example of obedience that the Lysa and Art chose to have. Verse 8: I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and not denied my name.
Verse 10: Since you have kept my command to endure patiently...

I think when we face a trial we have a choice to make. God's way or my destructive way? I don't know if I would've taken a glass of water to my neighbor like Lysa did or a hose and drenched her with water. They endured their neighbor patiently and they kept His word and NEVER denied His name. And you know what? God took notice. Just like He did with the church of Philadelphia that John writes about in the book of Revelation our God noticed the TerKeurst's and their heartfelt desire that no matter what this angry neighbor did next it was Him that would be honored with their actions and words. Him. Not Art and Lysa, but God. WOW, WOW, WOW!!! To God be the glory in whatever you face today dear sisters!

Okay, you know the drill. Share with us what God spoke to you and if you have more to say on your own wonderful blog then sign up under Mr. Linky below.

Love you,

*Next chapters 12 & 13!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Just get Wet

Last night we had a rain storm. No thunder. No lightning. Just the water of God pouring down heavy and steady like a shower. So cleansing.

I called Alivia out into the garage and told her to go play in the rain. For the next twenty minutes she twirled. She sang. She danced. She smiled. I just stood in the garage and watched her with a smile on my own face. I took this picture on my cell phone so it's not very big, but it was just neat to watch her getting soaked.

I wonder if this is what we look like to our Heavenly Father when we allow ourselves to just get drenched with His Presence. If it is, I bet He's standing watching us with a smile on His face. Sometimes, we just need to lift our hands to the Heavens and allow God's Holy rain to pour down upon us and leave us feeling cleansed.

This weekend I got a lot done around my house, but I did not take the time to spend alone time with God and today I feel the emptiness of not making Him my #1 priority. Over the last few days, my tongue was sharp, my attitude needed major adjusting and today I don't feel joy like I usually do after experiencing one on One time with Him.

I know God's not up there with a tally sheet keeping track of when I choose to not make time for Him, but I don't even want to think about what I missed out on from Him.

So this afternoon, I will be going home and making time for just me and my Creator. I hope to get soaked like Alivia did last night. I want to be dripping with the love of Jesus and leave a trail of His Holiness around my house like Alivia left a trail of water last night from the garage to her bedroom.

Have yourself a great week and join me and friends tomorrow for the YES to GOD Tuesday discussing the awesome book by Lysa TerKeurst, "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith."

~Many Blessings~

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Teen OUT of control or God IN control?

Last week our teen mom decided she was going to move out. No car. No money. No plan beyond moving. No listening. Met with the land lord Tom last night. Signed the papers. Handed over her $650.00 for her deposit and 1st month's rent. Got the keys. She's decided for now to leave Amiyah with us. She knows she needs help.
So now what?

Proverbs 16:9
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Tuesday night I knew she was really going to go through with her plan. So I decided that I was going to be as encouraging as I could be to her. You know I had to call on God's name to help me with this because the human part of me wants to scream and shout at her. Well, okay, the human part of me did do that and I think it made her more determined. So, I decided to give this to God. I was crying/praying about it on Tuesday night and I just asked God, "Please Lord, send someone to her. Put someone that is so in love with You in her path. Someone that will encourage her to draw near to You."

Last night I was at my parent's home and I told my Mom where the apartment is located. She turned and looked at me and said, "That is where the Daniell's live." She said it as if I knew these people. She went on..."You need to call Stan and Rachel because Scott and Amber are friends of theirs."

Let me just interrupt my Mom to say that NO ONE will ever convince me that we serve a "too busy for us" God. He listens intensely to our prayers. He cares about what grieves us. He wipes our tears as they fall. He pays close attention to His children.

Okay, back to my Mom...
"We met the Daniell's while working at a camp for abused kids. They sold their house in a nice neighborhood and purposely moved where God told them to. They are passionate for Jesus and target the lost around them. They do Bible studies in their home and everything."

I called my friend Rachel today.

Dear friends.
Are you sitting down?
Our God has placed my daughter not only on the same block as these people my Mom told me about, but directly across the street from them.
Did you read that????
THE STREET from a couple who have dedicated their lives and marriage to reaching out to those in their neighborhood.
A couple that when God told them to go to this neighborhood, they went.
A passionate-on-fire -for-Jesus couple across the street from MY girl!

My daughter will be living across the street from city missionaries!

Hee hee, don't ya love the God we serve? And Alyssa thought she had plans!

I want to believe with all my heart that this child is going to turn her life around and start making good decisions. She is very hard hearted right now, but breakthrough is nothing to God. He can breakthrough the hardest of hearts.
One word: PAUL.
So see, Alyssa Chealey's choices are not making the Almighy One break out in a sweat.

As I type away smiling my girl is the one breaking out in a sweat as she is upstairs with her friends loading her bed into the back of the pickup. In 90 degree weather. She had the nerve to ask her Dad to turn the air on. So she'll be comfortable while moving out against our wishes. Oh yes, let me run to the thermostat honey child.

She thinks she is moving in alone into her little one bedroom apartment tonight.


She'll be watched over 24/7 and it won't be me doing the observing.

Because of my girl's decision at age 9 to invite Christ into her life He will be her invisible roommate.

He will be the One to not only see her activity, but see the emptiness in her heart. The emptiness she is trying so hard to fill with everything but Him. He sees her. He watches over her and He misses her.

Proverbs 15:3

The eyes of the LORD are everywhere (even Alyssa's apartment), keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

Recently I opened the mail to find a form Alyssa had filled out in Jr. high at the age of 13 for Campus Missionaries. They keep these forms and mail them back to the kids when they graduate from high school to encourage them in their relationship with God. This is what her and I read together last week. Some of the answers had us laughing, especially the middle one. The last question gets my heart pounding harder every time I read it.
Why do you want to be a Campus Missionary?
To see my friends in Heaven.
What is your vision/dream for your school?
These 2 boys.
Briefly give a testimony of your born-again experience:
I felt clean and holy and in His presence.

Tonight my heart again pounded with a little more thump as I read these words in her own writing because I know God is up to something. I know it. He hasn't clued me in on what He is up to, but her moving in across the street from this family is not a coincedence. No way. All God planned. So whether it takes 10 minutes, 10 days or 10 years for my daughter to surrender again, I choose to trust in Him. To wait with Him. He has strategically placed the Daniell's in a neighborhood that HE KNEW Alyssa would be moving to on August 8, 2008. As the book of Esther tells us: For such a time is this.

My dear friend Rachel gave me Amber's # and when I called her tonight she was so excited about this move my girl has made. She said they usually take cookies to the new people in the neighborhood. Please be praying for Amber and Scott and whatever God has up His sleeve. Little will my girl know that the cookies she'll eat will be made with hands that were folded praying for her. Our God is good.

Because I have been in her shoes before, I know sooner or later she'll miss what made her happy, clean and holy and it's nothing she is chasing after right now. So plan away sweet child, plan away.

I praise You Jesus. I love and adore You. I lean on You during this heart wrenching/joyful time and I thank You that eventually I came back to what makes me clean, holy and happy. You really are everything we need!

May my life reflect one who chooses to have faith that the God she serves has got a plan of Holy Interruption coming for her Prodigal Daughter. In His timing.

On my last post, fellow sister in Christ left me a comment and this is part of her sweet, encouraging message:

Allow me to share what God says about the matter of wayward children:

Thus says the Lord:"Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded", says the Lord. "And they shall come back from the land of the enemy.There is hope in your future", says the Lord, "That your children shall come back to their own border." Jeremiah 31:16,17

Thank you Karan!! Isn't that an awesome Word?

Okay, better sign off and go help clean an apartment.

~Many Blessings~

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

YES to GOD: Chpts: 8 & 9


Hello Friends!! Welcome to

If you are visiting for the first time we are discussing the awesome book by our friend/sister in Christ, Lysa TerKeurst called "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith."

We read 2 chapters a week and gather here every Tuesday and share with each other what God showed us and how we are striving to live a faith filled life. We'd love to have you. Join us anytime. This book is an "easy read" and will take no time at all to play catch up with us. If you're not reading the book, join us anyway and feel free to share on the topic of faith.

Okay, first of all. I am SO excited!!! My son Aaron comes home today from Florida and I have not kissed his face or hugged his neck for two whole weeks!! That is 14 days. That is 336 hours!! I miss my man-child and I know he misses me although I'd probably have to bribe him with a box of Whoppers to get him to admit it in public. Note to self: stop at Walgreens and purchase a box of Whoppers before heading to the airport.

I think his dog Kane understood me this morning when I told him his boy was coming home today. His tail started wagging and he licked my neck. Sure sign that he knows the one who buys the meat covered dog bones will soon be returning. He is in the air right now so I am just praying God brings him the way he left me.

Okay, I have to confess something to you. Your Tuesday leader needs to be beamed up because she has not done her reading. "Scotty, beam me up." would be so nice to have happen right now, but then my son would be sad when his Dad showed up to the airport solo. Without Whoppers. So, I must stay and just be honest with you all.

Those of you that gave me great advice (that I am following) on the Desperate Housewife post would be so proud that my home is getting cleaner everyday. Last night I cleaned the bathroom while telling the Lord I am doing this for Him. Let's just say, I've never had such a clean bathroom! If you came over for lunch today we would be eating off the floor in there. With no plates and we'd be dipping our cups in the tub to get our water because it is just that clean!

Now, I'm not using my cleaning kick that I'm on as an excuse. I'm sure if I really think about my week there have been moments I could've been reading but instead I chose to waste my time. Like when I had the TV on and Marie Osmond was boasting about the 40 pounds she has lost on Nutri-System and my sweet 7 year old Alivia said, "Mom, you should really get on that." Total Time Waster.

Anyway, I have no excuse good enough for not making the time to keep my commitment, but I will be reading it on the drive to KC and will post later tonight after I tuck my boy in. BUT you still share what God has showed you in these 2 chapters and if you have more to share on your own blog sign up under Mr. Linky.

So, please forgive me for my lack of being faithful to our faith study this week. You all are such a blessing to my life. I just don't think you have any idea. Let's just say if you were flying in to see me, I'd have your favorite candy in my hand. xoxo

Love you much,


Here is my YES to GOD study thoughts:

First of all, picked the man-child up in Kansas City. He professed how much he missed me. In public. I was happy. Teary eyed even. Whoppers were handed over. He was happy. Teary eyed I do believe. Dad wished he would've thought of the chocolate malt balls.

We got back in town and ate at a new restaurant that just opened in Lincoln called The Texas Roadhouse. It was awesome! Very happy reunion. He's already planning for next summer's stay.

OKAY...remember anything in blue is a quote from the book.

Chapter 8: Refusing to Get Bogged Down

This is a season of learning to depend on God. As a result, things will be stripped from you that hinder the relationship He wants to have with you.

This time of loss will lead to a time of great celebration one day.

This especially touched my heart because I am having to let go of some tough stuff right now. Things I don't want to part with, but feel real strong that God wants me to. I don't believe I'll be struck down by lightning if I hang on to these things, but I might as well be if I choose to have a heart of stubbornness versus obedience. The life I'll miss out with from choosing God's way will outshine a life trying to maintain the control I don't have.

So, I'm giving in and am so excited!!

I loved Lysa's view on Joseph and what a model of a life totally surrendered to obey no matter where he woke up and found himself. On page 81 Lysa states: The effects of their bad decision haunted generations who came after them. As we make ordinary decisions on ordinary days, do we, I wonder, have any idea of the impact and influence those decisions have on the people around us and the generations to come?

Oh this just spoke so loudly to my heart. Today my teenager is moving out. Found an apartment in a not so good part of town. Amiyah will be staying with us. The car we just co-signed for her at the beginning of June will be staying with us due to decision of inviting alcohol into her life. So she leaves. Thinking she knows it all. Thinking she has a plan. Unwilling to listen to anyone who has been down this hard path of living unprepared, paycheck to paycheck just so you don't have to answer to anyone but yourself. I have wondered does she have any idea how her choices affect many? Her parents, daughter, siblings, grandparents and aunt? Jesus? The rebellion in this child had just about did me in. What Joseph's brothers did doesn't sound so bad right now. I'd sell her in a heart beat and smile all the way to the bank. Forgive me Lord...

CHAPTER 9: A Most Unlikely Path

Oh, so far this is probably one of my favorite chapters. There's 11 more to read, so I'm sure I'll say that again before closing this book.

God knows best.

I know HE is so much wiser than I am so why don't I trust Him all the time with every situation that arises in my life? Jeremiah 32:17 says that Nothing is too hard for Him. So why do I always try to take control of stuff in my life?

Right now I am trying hard to let this rebel in my life called my teenage daughter/teen mom just go live the life she thinks she wants. I really think in her mind that she thinks she is doing what is best. I am losing sleep over her meeting the land lord tonight at 5pm because I know she is not following or even interested in God's best for her life. God's way isn't even a map she wants to look at. So, I release her into the wild and pray harder. Lean harder on Him because you know what? GOD, not Alyssa is in control.

The end of the chapter was awesome of how Lysa responded to God in how she loved on her husband Art. How easy it would've been for her to tear into him. Years of me standing at this very fork in the road of choice and choosing my way on how to treat Gene flashed through my mind. Failed opportunities to glorify my Savior, but many more to come. How will I choose to react?

Such great stuff we're learning ladies. Remember, that God is so worth all the hardships and pain we endure in our pursuit to just get close enough to hear His heart beat as Lysa described.

Alyssa was my firstborn and I had her natural. No pain meds, no epidural just pure pain. She was worth all of that pain though and I still look at her and think the same way. God is worth no meds, no epidural and just pure pain. He is. I know this and that's why He still can look over His shoulder of grace and see me chasing after Him.

~Love you~

See you next Tuesday for chapters 10 & 11. I promise to my part this week on time.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lost and Found

Last night I was heading to my parents house to do laundry. Our dryer broke sometime last week and we didn't even know it.
Then one day I realized that we were taking turns in re-drying the same load. The musty smell of the wet clothes finally tipped us off that something just wasn't right.

So just as I am trying to turn my life around in Laundry Land my dryer has a nervous breakdown. I suppose it's because it's being used more than normal and doesn't know how to handle working all of the time.

So on the way to my parents home to use their dryer, I saw two guys searching for their dog. I wanted to stop and help them, but it was 11 at night and I don't talk to strangers after the street lights come on. So I kept driving, but this is what came to my mind before the dog's search party was out of view in my rear view mirror.

We've all seen the signs for someone's missing pet. Here's a mock one I made up just in case our lovely dog Kane comes up missing, which he just might if he ever destroys a feather pillow again:


His name is Kane and he is very friendly.

Last seen playing with tennis ball in backyard.

Please call worried owner ASAP at 555-5555 if found.

REWARD given upon return.

Desperate homemade pleas on computer paper seen in every city found stapled on telephone poles or taped to glass doors of a business in the attempt to bring their loved ones back to where they belong.

The thought that made me smile as I turned into my parents neighborhood was this:

When we make the choice to wander off the narrow path is this what the angels see stapled to the poles that line the streets of gold? Is this what Moses sees taped to the door of the throne room?


Her name is Lelia and she is very friendly.

Last seen reading My Word in her chair.

Please call on her Creator by praying if she is found.

REWARD given upon return.

My sister has a dog that she rescued from the humane society. Molly loves the food and safe shelter that Michelle provides her, but suddenly Molly got tired of being obedient. One morning when Michelle opened the back door Molly bolted out from under her master's protection only to find herself alone on the streets. No food, no shelter, no pats on the head, no instruction.

For awhile, my sister was calling weekly asking me to pray as she was on the chase for what belonged to her. Then after doing that many times Michelle got tired of making Molly be somewhere she had no desire being, so she let her go. As sad as it made my sister, she just had to hope Molly would remember how good she had it and want to come back. The freedom that Molly desired turned out to not be what she wanted at all as she eventually returned home.

Her master rejoiced.

I imagine just like my sister and many good dog owners that it grieves one's heart to no end when their loved one chases after what they think is a better life; only to find that the streets of the world have nothing to offer.

I have grieved my Savior's heart many many times because I wasn't satisfied with what He had to offer and the world looked much better to me. And so I ran. I got bored with a life of obedience and reading His Word and I closed my Bible and ran. Sooner or later after getting tired of chasing after nothing but depression, rejection, shame and despair, I returned home.

My Master rejoiced.

Back in the arms of Jesus was my reward.

I don't want to have a lost sign posted about me by Jesus ever again. I don't want to be without Him because of my choice to run from Him. When life gets rough I want to choose wisely.

I want to run to Him. Run after Him.

So in everyday life, how do we stick with what we know is good for us?

By daily seeking Him. Being in His Word every day whether we feel like it or not. Fellowshipping and blogging with others that push us closer to Him. Praying without ceasing. Recognizing when boredom or complacency tries to invade our walk with Him and attack it with Scripture. Just simply being curious about Him.

I urge you to chase Him down like my sister did with Molly.

He is so worth the catch.

Love you,

Join me and friends tomorrow for the awesome YES to GOD Tuesday discussion of Lysa TerKeurst's book "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith."

Join us at any time!