Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New Bible Verse Website

I would like to share some information with you about a new Bible verse website. This is from BibleVerses.com author, Rich Howard:  
Strengthening your personal relationship with God is the goal of BibleVerses.com.  Created initially to provide free access to the many versions of the Bible for everyone, it is now evolving to a community of Christians seeking inspiration, motivation, encouragement and knowledge. 

Start your morning cup of coffee off right by subscribing to the daily e-mail to have a new verse and blog post right at your fingertips.  The blog posts and daily verses go hand in hand to encourage you to spend a little time digging deeper into your own personal relationship with God. The BibleVerses.com blog is a safe space to explore your own thoughts, ask questions and give your own insight to the daily content.
You can also take advantage of the user friendly search engine of the Bible in a large variety of versions.  Maybe you know the particular verse or phrase you are looking for, or you are looking for what God has to say on a specific topic, BibleVerses.com has the resources readily available to you.

Come join the company of others engaging in the same material as you every day! Find us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter to be provided with additional uplifting content throughout that day.  We can't wait to have you join us.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

CHRISTMAS MEMORY: A Pregnancy Announcement

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

When you have a moment, here's another Christmas memory I wanted to share. This one happened during the Christmas of 1997. It was such a fun Christmas! After 5 years of marriage (and some trouble with infertility), David and I were beyond excited to announce the coming of our first child. I know that David's mom, and my mom, had both been praying for us to have a child, so we decided to make this announcement as part of our Christmas gifts to our families.

On Christmas Eve that year, David was on shift with the ambulance. So, he and his partner, Steve, met me, my parents, and my brother and his family at Grandma's house. When my mom read the card we made for her, I'm sure you could have heard her excited screams out in the street with the windows closed! I'm surprised the neighbors didn't call the police! (LOL)

The card was simple - a homemade card printed out on our computer. It had Mickey and Minnie Mouse on the front wearing Christmas hats and, on the inside, it said, "Merry Christmas, Grandma & Grandpa!"

The happy soon-to-be grandparents (for the 5th time)

The next day, we went to my sister's house and gave them the news while we were there. Then, David and I headed North to celebrate Christmas with David's side of the family. I remember we had extended family eating Christmas dinner with us and spending the evening, so we waited until after they went home before we opened gifts. David and I were excited when the time finally came to pass out our Christmas card to his Mom and Dad. We had Mom read their card out loud because we told her we made it and wanted everyone to hear what we wrote. When she first took a look at it, she seemed confused. The card had been made at one of those do-it-yourself Hallmark card machines and, on the front, it looked like a general Christmas card - nothing unique about it - but this is what it said:

(Front) A long time ago in Bethlehem, a Savior, Jesus, was born...

(Inside) As we celebrate Christmas with family today,
We just want you to know, there's ANOTHER child on the way.
Merry Christmas, Grandma & Grandpa!
The excited soon-to-be grandparents (for the 1st time)

Monday, December 19, 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette by Max Davis [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

When I first started reading When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette by Max Davis, I wasn't sure what the main idea was supposed to be. By the title, I thought it would be about seeing Jesus in others, and I expected it to be a compilation of stories along those lines. As I read further, I realized the book was more than that.

The book is about the author's personal journey of how he came to know Jesus through the example of a green-eyed brunette (his current wife), and how he figured out what his purpose is in life which, according to Davis, is for him to "look like Jesus while in his own skin." (p. 63) What he means is that we all have our own unique callings in life, and he shared how he believes God called him to become a writer, and how God used his circumstances to help him be the kind of writer (and the kind of person) God wanted him to be.

Interspersed among his story, Davis shares stories from the lives of Christians who helped shape his faith. Some of the stories are about miraculous moments where someone had been physically healed. Other stories are about how God used someone's circumstances to bring about spiritual healing. He explains that, while God does sometimes choose to heal physically, the main focus should be for a healing of the heart.

Davis sums everything up by saying the purpose of this book is "about allowing the Jesus inside us to transform us and then use us to touch the people who come into our lives - to love people as God does." (p.179) In other words, the circumstances we face are not always fun, but ALL can be beneficial.

Enter the form below for a chance to win a copy of this book. Giveaway closes Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. CST. One entry per mailing address. U.S. addresses only.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Our friend, Janice (and also a family member on David's side), has fond memories of the Christmas she became engaged to her husband, Chuck. They were at Chuck's mother's house and Jan says:

"I was surprised because I wasn’t expecting it. I also remember that quite a few people were there, including a [family] nobody knew. They were traveling and got stranded near Chuck’s mother’s house. They stayed overnight on Christmas eve, and I think Christmas night also."
Chuck & Janice on their Wedding Day

On the same topic of engagement, I remember Christmas in 1991 when David came with me for the first time to spend Christmas with my family. It wasn't too cold that year because I remember going for a walk around Grandma's neighborhood on Christmas Eve. Grandma, Mom and I were walking ahead of Dad and David. I remember my mom asking why David didn't stay to spend Christmas with his family, and I told her it was because David wanted to have a talk with Dad. So, as we walked, we were letting the guys talk alone. I knew what was going on - David was asking my dad if he would agree to David and I getting married. He was asking for Dad's blessing. I knew this because, a few days before Christmas, David had asked me if it was okay for him to have that talk with my dad. I said yes. So, I guess you could say we were "unofficially engaged" at that time.

And, yes, Dad gave his blessing!

Mom, Dad, Grandma, David and Me - Christmas Day 1991


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

REVIEW: The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible

The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible

1.  Its a thin paperback book.
2.  It is a short, easy to read, devotional type book.
3.  It is not full of non-essential words, as there is only one page per verse.
4.  It includes a lot of Biblical encouragement.
5.  It includes many familiar and expected verses, but also includes many I had never thought of as being encouraging.

The book I am talking about is The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible by Troy Schmidt.

An example of a familiar verse is Isaiah 41:10. It is fairly self-explanatory:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

An example of a verse that may not seem so encouraging at first glance is Genesis 21:6:
And Sarah said, "God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me."

The author has this to say about Genesis 21:6:
In times of despair, God can do things to make you laugh. Sarah found the humor in her desperation. She had given up hope; now she offered up laughs. Look for the laughter in your situation. (page 10)

If you like quick, easy devotional-type books, this would be a good one to have on your nightstand. You can read about one or two verses as you start your day, or pick it up before you shut the lights out at night. I have been encouraged by the book, and I think you will be also.

I received a free copy of this book from the  Bethany House Blogger Review Program for the purpose of this review.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

CHRISTMAS MEMORY: Reading the Christmas Story

My dad says one of his favorite Christmas memories is when, on Christmas mornings, he would read about Jesus' birth in the book of Matthew. We always did this as a family before opening our gifts, to help us focus on what Christmas is supposed to be about.

David and I have continued this tradition with our own kids; but for the past 6 years we have also used The Usborne Advent Nativity Book to have a little fun as we count the days to Christmas. This book uses the events surrounding Jesus' birth and, for 24 days, one new cardboard figure is taken out of the book and placed on a shelf until the entire nativity scene is displayed. The story can be read each night before placing a figure, or you can choose to read it however often you like. Our kids have enjoyed having it read each night, or every other night, because their dad will often make up sound effects to go along with it. And, even though the kids are older now, it is still a fun family tradition we like to share during the days leading up to Christmas. In fact, the book has been read aloud so many times that our daughter, EL, has memorized it and can almost repeat it word for word.

Reading the Book in 2010

2014 - Mom usually gets to set up the last piece of the display

Reading the book in 2015

Reading it on day one of this year, 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

CHRISTMAS MEMORY: The Little Silver Tree

The word of the MONTH is MEMORY
: the act or fact of retaining and recalling impressions, facts, events, etc.; remembrance; recollection

For the month of December, I will be sharing some Christmas memories with you - some favorite moments that took place during the Christmas season. Today’s memory is about a little silver Christmas tree my family had back in the 60's and 70's.

We had a variety of different Christmas trees when my sister and brother and I were growing up. For a few years, I know we had a real tree but, most of the time, it was an artificial one. I mostly remember the typical evergreen model, but I also vaguely remember a little 3 ft. aluminum tree we put up once in awhile. My sister, Judy, remembers it better than I do. She says this about the tree:

“If Dan [our brother] was 1 or 2, then I was 4 or 5. We had a little silver tree. There was a color wheel that turned, it faced the tree and made beautiful colors. (You can't put light strings on the silver trees.) Dan and I were mesmerized and would sit close and just stare. As a side note: Mom tried to sell the tree at a garage sale. I'm very thankful it didn't sell because she ended up giving it to me! I still put it up every year. This was my first tree as an infant.”

What Judy didn’t mention is that, back in 1999, she and her husband lost their house and belongings in a devastating house fire. They lost everything. All except that little silver tree.

Judy's decorated tree

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Earlier this year, I was one of the thousands who was following Joey and Rory Feek's story on RORY'S BLOG. I didn't know anything about them until a friend of mine introduced me to them on Facebook. I found out that Rory is a singer/songwriter who began blogging in 2014 about his life with his wife, Joey, who was also a singer. At the time he started blogging and filming the big and little moments in his family's life, he didn't realize the impact it would have on so many people, including mine. God gave them a story to tell to the world, and that is exactly what they did.

TO JOEY, WITH LOVE is the true story of Joey and Rory Feek's journey as they welcomed their special needs daughter into the world, and then continued to share their faith during Joey's hard-fought battle with cancer. Their journey is about "life, love, and hope that never dies." It is a sad story, as Joey went home to be with the Lord in March of this year, but it is also a story of hope, as both Joey and Rory put their faith and trust in something far greater than themselves.

This documentary/film will be available on DVD on December 20th. You can pick up a copy at VARIOUS LOCATIONS or you can try to win a copy here, as I will be giving away one of the DVD's. The giveaway will close on Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. CST. One entry per person, ages 13 and up. US residents only.

Thank you to Icon Media Group for providing me a free screening of this movie, as well as the DVD for giveaway.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Empty Brain

The word of the week is EMPTY
: containing nothing; having none of the usual or appropriate contents

That kinda describes my brain right now, since I can't think of anything to write about. Maybe I'm just in a writing slump, but I'm sorry to say I've got nothing encouraging to share with you right now.  I'm not sure when, or if, the words will come back. I hope they do soon but, like I said, for now I've got nothing.

Reminds me of a quote from a movie my son and my nephew watched over the weekend:

"Nothing. No ideas. Useless, empty brain."

Does anyone know which movie that quote is from?

ANSWER:  Big Hero Six

Regardless of my empty brain, I do know God loves me, and He love you, too! I hope you all have a good week.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thankful for ALL My Memories

The word of the week is THANKFUL
: feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative

Something I enjoy doing in my spare time (besides writing for my blog) is de-cluttering and organizing things around the house. These past few weeks, with my husband working a lot of hours, I have kept myself busy by taking on the task of cleaning out and organizing all of our family photos - not digital photos, but actual paper ones. We had so many pictures scattered in different boxes, photo albums, and envelopes that I thought it was time to put them all together in order, by years and then by months. I decided to put them into cute photo boxes I found on sale at Walmart. Then, when I am done with this project, I will eventually pick out some of our favorite photos and combine them into a couple different photo albums. The rest will remain in the boxes and will be easy to find when we need them, or when we want to look at them.

I have noticed this project has taken a lot longer than it could have, and that’s because, as I have gone through the photos, I have done a LOT of reminiscing. I have seen pictures of me growing up, David and me before and after we were married, our first homes, our first cars, our babies and how they have grown through the years, fun vacations, special events, and also some events that weren’t so fun to go through (such as a fire, a hailstorm, and several funerals).

As I look at the pictures, I see how my memories (my past circumstances) have helped to shape my life - through the good times and the sad. So, I appreciate all the memories I have been given. Of course, I love all the happy memories best, but I have chosen to be thankful for ALL of my memories, because memories - good and bad - are a part of who I once was, a part of who I am now, and a part of who I am striving to become. Memories are a gift from God that should never be taken for granted.

Consider the memories you have been given, and be thankful (appreciative) for them all, giving thanks to God for everything He has brought you through.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Command for Agapáo

On Sunday mornings before church, my husband and I enjoy listening to Dr. James Merritt on the TV. His sermons are informative and practical for Christians, and always give us encouragement to try and live out our lives according to God’s Word.

A couple weeks ago, Dr. Merritt spoke about “Crazy Love.” Not the kind of love we have for a family member or a friend, but the kind of love we, as Christians, are supposed to have for ALL people, even if we don’t really like them. As Merritt said, "Jesus doesn’t command us to like everyone, but He does command us to LOVE everyone."

The type of love Jesus is talking about is agapáo (an action verb) which, for a believer, means “actively doing what the Lord prefers.” It’s the kind of love that is patient, kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.  Its about thinking of others first (1 Corinthians 13). It’s not a physical kind of love, but a spiritual one. It’s not a feeling, but an action - a choice we make to treat others the way we want to be treated (Luke 6:31). WE ARE TO LOVE OTHERS THE WAY JESUS LOVES US.

As long as we are living together on this earth, we will not agree with everyone, and we will not LIKE everyone. But, according to God’s Word, when we meet up with someone we don’t really like, that doesn’t give us an excuse to be rude and inconsiderate. If we desire to be like Jesus, and want the world to know we are following Him, then we MUST show them love - agapáo love.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

How Are You Spending Your Time?

The word of the week is TIME
: the thing that is measured as seconds, minutes, hours, days, years...
Last Sunday, my dad went to the hospital due to internal and external bleeding. His liver and bladder have been scarred from a past treatment for prostate cancer. Then, last year, a heart stent was inserted and he was put on a blood thinning medication. The blood thinner is what caused the lesions on his liver and bladder to bleed excessively. He was severely anemic, low on blood, and dehydrated. After 4 days in the hospital, 2 units of blood, several units of saline, and some potassium and magnesium, he was finally able to be released.

My dad said this hospital stay gave him a lot of time to reflect on His life, how he has spent his time, and how the Lord has used him on this earth. Here is what he said:

“I found myself reviewing my past life clear back to about 60 years as best as I could. I found that God places us where HE wants us. As Pastor Doug White would say, we are not called to a specific ministry. We are called to serve the Lord. Then, God gives us a place and the people for it. It may not be what we would choose, but we need to be ready for His changes in our lives. I was able to witness to many people while at the hospital, praise the Lord.”

I am thankful my dad is still with us today, and for his willingness to spend his time serving the Lord no matter where he is placed. I am encouraged by his example to always try and spend my time wisely, because our lives are not our own, and only God knows when He will be finished with us here on this earth.

How are you spending your time?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Hardcover Book. Reading age:  4-7

When my kids were younger, I remember reading to them a funny little book called "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" by Pam Adams. It started with the woman swallowing a fly. Then, with each page, it added something new. By the end of the book, there was one very long sentence about all the different things the woman had swallowed.

I immediately thought about that book when I first started reading WHERE JESUS SLEPT by Norma Lewis, because it is the same cumulative type of story.
This is the bed where Jesus slept. 
This is the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept. 
This is the cow that shared the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept.
and so on.....
It starts with Jesus sleeping sweetly in a manger, and ends with the wise men bringing Him gifts. (I personally believe the wise men did not come to the stable on the night Jesus was born, but that is a minor detail).

Children will love the repetition of this story, as well as the appealing illustrations. Enter below for a chance to win a copy to share with your kids and/or grandkids this Christmas season. (U.S.A. addresses only). 

Giveaway ends Saturday, November 5, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. CST.
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of  Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Beyond Discipleship (Illustration by: Dr. James L. McIntosh)

The word of the week is DISCIPLE
Noun:  A person who learns from another, especially one who then teaches others : an active follower of someone
Verb:  To train, educate, teach 

Seven years ago, my dad was a guest blogger here, and he shared an illustration about what it means to be a disciple. I want to share it with you again. After reading it, take a moment to consider where YOU fit in as a follower of Jesus Christ.

While teaching a class in our small Bible Institute, one day a student asked what it means to be a disciple and how that relates to going to heaven. The Lord provided me with a good answer, as we have a fire department across the street.

In response, I told [the students] how one could become a “disciple” of the fire department. (They do like visitors, you know.) Each week, I could go there and learn what they have to do to put out fires. They could teach me about cleaning the equipment, getting it all ready for the next emergency, and what wax to use to polish each item. They could show me what mask to use for each kind of fire and what tank to use to breathe properly in each situation. They could teach me how to put the hoses away. They would call me by name and be glad I came, as we all are friendly. However, when the bell rings and they leave, I would be left behind. You see, I am only a learner, or a disciple. Not a part of them.

Each week, we have in our churches the same situation. Many friendly folk come and are learners. They can tell most of the facts of what Jesus Christ did for mankind. They can tell of His virgin birth, sinless life, death, burial, resurrection, and even ascension. Yet, when it is time to leave this earth and go to heaven, they will be left behind, as they were only learners. They were not a part of Him.

A disciple is a "learner." A true Christian (not in name only) is a "truster." Knowing about what Jesus did for you, and trusting in what He did for you are two different things. Place your TRUST in Him today.

  Read more here about what it means to TRUST in Christ:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Say & Pray Devotions by Diane Stortz [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

Hardbound, 40 pages
Age range:  4-8 years
I remember reading picture books to my kids when they were very young. They loved cuddling on the couch next to me, and looking at the pictures as I read aloud to them. Some books were about God and/or the Bible, some were just for fun, some were educational, and some were all of the above. This new book, SAY & PRAY DEVOTIONS, by Diane Stortz fits the description of "all of the above" because it:
1.  teaches about God's love and how He provides for us
2.  has colorful pictures with adorable illustrations
3.  and, is full of sight words that help young children identify the words that go with specific objects.
If you are already familiar with SAY & PRAY BIBLE, this new partner book features the same fun style of artwork and educational elements. I love the small size and sturdy pages, perfect for little hands to hold. And, I especially love the included Bible verses and simple prayers that can help young children grow in their faith. If my kids were still young enough for this book, it would be at the top of my list to read together with them.

Enter below for a chance to win a copy of this book to share with your children or grandchildren. Entries will be accepted until Saturday, October 29, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. CST. One entry per mailing address. Age 18 or older.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Serve the Lord with Gladness

The word of the week is SERVE
: to be in the service of; work for : to be useful or of service to; help : to render active service to (a sovereign, commander, etc.) : to render obedience or homage to (God, a sovereign, etc.)

It is good to be actively doing something for the Lord, isn’t it? Whether we are teaching a Sunday School class, being a good listener, or washing dishes and changing diapers, shouldn’t we all be using our gifts/talents to benefit others and to help share God’s love? Most definitely! But, as you are busy for the Lord, are you serving Him with gladness? Or, have you become distracted from your purpose and are serving with a grudge?

We can see in Luke 10:38-40 that Martha was serving with a grudge. It might not have started out that way. I'm guessing she was happy to be using her gifts of hospitality, and excited to make her guests feel welcome but, as she took her focus off of what was most important, her attitude changed:
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”(NIV)

If you keep reading, you will see how Jesus answered Martha in a loving way, explaining to her how Mary had chosen what was better - spending time with Him over "busyness" - and it wasn’t going to be taken away from her.
Luke 10:41-42 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Doing things for the Lord is a good thing; Jesus does want us to be busy for Him. But, He would rather we focus our attention on HIM first of all. If we aren’t spending time with Him and keeping our focus on Him, then the things we do will only be an act of “busyness” rather than what they should be: an act of service.

Serve the Lord with gladness.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fight For You - A New Song by Grayson|Reed About Fighting For Our Marriages

The word of the week is FIGHT
:  to put forth a determined effort

I was recently asked to share a new lyric video with all of you, and I agreed to share it because I believe in its message. It is by Grayson|Reed, a brand new husband and wife Christian music duo, and the song is about fighting for our marriages. Marriage is not always easy, but it is something worth fighting for. The song is not about having a perfect marriage, but it is about doing everything we can to keep our marriages bonded. It's about building each other up, keeping God at the center, and choosing to fight (being determined to work things out) when things get tough. Take a look at the song here and let me know what you think:

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Are You Being Honest with God?

The word of the week is CRY or CALL
: to shout or say something loudly

There is so much pain in this world. Just about everyone I know is going through something that is really hard and uncomfortable to deal with. Some of us are even feeling strong emotions, such as anger, disappointment, confusion, and frustration. But, are we being honest with God about these feelings? Do we cry out to Him in our distress?

As Christians, we sometimes think we should just ignore our true feelings and come to God with perfect little prayers, being sweet and calm, because we are afraid we might offend Him. But, God is not offended by our true feelings. He made us and knows us, so it only makes sense for us to be honest with Him. It is when we are  dishonest that He is offended.

If you read the book of Psalms, you will notice it is loaded with distress calls, outbursts of confusion, and agonizing laments. Here are just a few examples:

Psalm 13:1 - How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

Psalm 119:147 - I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
Psalm 61:2 - From the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

There was a time when even Jesus cried out to God in a loud voice. It was when He was dying on the cross. The sins of the world were laid on Him and His Father God had to turn away from Him. The burden on Jesus was so overwhelming to bear that He cried out to His Father in distress.
Matthew 27:46 - About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

If it is acceptable for Jesus to cry out to God with honest thoughts and feelings, then why do we think it is not acceptable for us?

Crying out to God won’t always immediately take away our pain. But, it does help us to acknowledge several things:
1. We need God in our lives.
2. We want His help.
3. We trust Him enough to be honest in our prayers.
4. We trust Him to hear our prayers.
5. We trust Him to give us the answers that are best.
6. We know He is able to strengthen us in our need.

"If God is big enough to be worth yelling at about your situation, He is big enough to take your pain, hear your lament, and somehow use it to comfort you in the confusion. ~ Andrew and Rachel Wilson, The Life We Never Expected, page 54

Sunday, September 25, 2016

3 Ways Jesus Dealt With Stress

The word of the week is STRESS
: a state of mental tension caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
This past Summer has been stressful for me and my husband, as we have encountered one stress after another. Nothing really huge, just lots of “little” things that have continued adding up. I don't always share about everything we go through, and its not because I want everyone to think my life is perfect. (Its not. Trust me, its not.) It’s just that I don’t want certain parts of my life to be an open book to the entire world. It's just not necessary, or even beneficial, to share everything - at least not to me. But, you can be sure there are days I have wanted to scream at the top of my lungs due to stress. In fact, I actually did scream like that a few weeks ago when I just couldn't hold it in anymore. It surprised my family, and made the cat run away, because I just don’t do that. But, it was how I dealt with my stress that day.

How do YOU deal with stress? Do you scream into a pillow? Punch a wall? Growl at the dog? Pull your hair out? Blow bubbles in your milk? Take a bubble bath? Listen to uplifting music? Withdraw to be alone? Sing in the shower? Go for a walk? Play an instrument? Write in a journal? Pray?

How do you think Jesus dealt with stress? Yes, even Jesus had stress in His life. The difference is that He ALWAYS handled it in a healthy way.

Here are three ways I found that Jesus dealt with stress:

Luke 5:16 - But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Matthew 26:36 - “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’”

Matthew 26:37-38 - “He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’”

The next time I am feeling overwhelmed with stress, it is my plan to remember these healthy ways Jesus dealt with stress, and try to follow His example. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Afters "Live On Forever" Music CD [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

Most of the songs on "Live On Forever" (the new CD by The Afters), are upbeat and contemporary. Some of them are a little “rockier” than I personally like, but the majority are along the same lines as Phil Wickham or The Newsboys. So, if you enjoy those types of music, you will probably like The Afters.

It is important for me to be able to know the lyrics of the songs I listen to, and there weren't any lyrics included with the CD. That was a bummer, as I had a hard time at first trying to figure out what the songs mean. But, I did eventually find the lyrics on the WEBSITE. After reading them, I still had trouble understanding some of the the meanings. However, I came to the conclusion that the main theme of the album is to bring hope and encouragement to Christian Believers.

My favorites on the CD are: Battles, Wake Up My Heart, Live on Forever, and Eyes of A Believer. Here are some snippets of the lyrics from these songs (and you can also watch two of the songs on You Tube when you click on the titles): 

A song about "standing up against fear and knowing God is always with us,” explains lead singer, Josh Havens. “It’s one of the takeaways we hope people get: ‘Don’t give up to fear.'"

You surround me on every side
Your love is my armor I fear no evil.
Darkness runs from your light
So I won't be afraid, I won't be afraid.

You're going before me
And oceans are parting
You're fighting my battles.
When my feet are failing
And my heart is shaking
You're fighting my battles.
Fighting my battles...

A song about desiring to be closer to the Lord

I wanna love all the things that you love.
I wanna see everything through your eyes.
Won’t you wake up my heart for YOU.

A song about how this world is not our permanent home, and how we will live on forever.

We are not where we belong
We have a hope we're gonna live on
Forever, forever, forever

Anything’s possible with God by your side.
Whatever battles may come, you know He’s already won.

Enter below for your chance to win a copy of the "Live On Forever" CD. Entries accepted until Saturday, September 24, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. CST. One entry per mailing address. Must be 18 or older.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Four Ways to Please the Lord

Colossians 1:9-12 - For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

The word of the week is PLEASE
: to make (someone) happy or satisfied

How can you live a life worthy of the Lord, and PLEASE Him in every way? In other words, how can you make God happy? First of all, the ultimate way to please Him is by accepting Christ as your Savior, trusting in Him to forgive your sins by the work He did on the cross. But, what about after that?

Here are four ways we can please God, found in Colossians 1:9-12:
1.  By bearing fruit through good works. God created each of us to use our gifts and talents for good. Think about what YOU are good at. Are you good at singing, writing, sewing, baking, woodworking, or mechanics? Do you like to encourage others with your words, be a good listener, or just sit and hold someone's hand? Make a decision to use the gifts you have been given to bring a blessing to others. Ephesians 2:10 - For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

2.  By growing in the knowledge of God. Are you spending time reading or listening to God’s Word, learning what it has to say and how it can be applied to your life? 2 Peter 3:18 - But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
3.  By allowing Him to give us the strength we need to endure the struggles of this world. Do you understand that in this world we WILL have trials; but realize God is there to give you strength and to help you through the difficult times? John 16:33 - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength,  an ever-present help in trouble.

4.  By joyfully giving thanks to God in all things. Are you giving thanks in ALL things? You don’t have to be happy about what you are going through, but you can be joyful when you realize the trials you are facing are being used to develop your character and are helping you grow closer to the Lord. All things work together for good. Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
James 1:2-4 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

So, here's some food for thought:  Are you pleasing God by doing these four things? Are you doing good works? Are you studying His Word? Are you allowing Him to give you strength? Are you joyfully giving thanks in all things? If not, why? We all have room for improvement, so take some time today to consider what you might need to do to set these four ways in motion.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016



My 13yo son had a dentist appointment in a town about 30 minutes from home. So, on the way there, I popped in the CD of THE BIGGEST STORY. It's a short 26-minute audio book, written and narrated by Kevin DeYoung, that was originally a children’s picture book. We were able to listen to the entire book on the way to the dentist and, as it came to an end, my son asked, "Is that it?" He had been listening, he was interested in it, and he wanted to hear more. I also enjoyed listening to it. So, even though the book is geared for ages 5-12, it can definitely keep the interest of ALL ages.

FYI:  The book highlights key parts of the Bible, starting with Creation and ending with Christ. It is educational and informative, and would be a great book to share with anyone who is not familiar with the "stories" in the Bible, or in how they all come together to teach us about God's redemptive plan for mankind.

I have not seen the picture book, but I did watch the animated version of this book on DVD. The illustrations on the DVD come from the picture book, drawn by Don Clark. They are colorful and artistic, and are helpful for those who prefer using visuals to help them learn. Personally, I think I preferred the CD over the DVD, but it is nice to have the option of a DVD.

Consider picking up a copy of either the book, the CD, or the DVD. Or, you can enter below for your chance to win a copy of both a CD and a DVD. The giveaway ends Saturday, September 17, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. CST. One entry per mailing address.


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 Years Ago On 9-11-01

15 years ago today... 

I was home with my husband who was off work that day. Our 3-year-old daughter was at school. David turned on the news and watched as the 2nd plane flew into the World Trade Center. He called me in see what was happening, and it was an unbelievable sight.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

REVIEW: "Voiceless" Theatrical Movie

I was recently given the chance to screen the new theatrical movie, Voiceless, a film that tackles the controversial pro-life vs. pro-choice debate. In the film, a young war veteran returns home and becomes a community outreach leader. He puts his job, and life, on the line to stand against an abortion clinic that has opened up across the street from his Philadelphia church.

1. The premise of the movie is about getting the church involved in making a difference in the pro-life/pro-choice debate. One man cannot do it all, and shouldn’t have to.

2. The topic was presented in a way that both sides of the issue were addressed.

1. The plot was dragging in several places.

2. There were several scenes that were not necessary. Some of them showed the main character seeing a psychologist after his discharge from the military, helping him debrief from active duty. Others showed him confronting his anger issues. These scenes did not fit the plot line or the main idea of the movie. They weren't necessary because they didn’t add anything to the point of the movie.

3. Instead of using the above scenes, I think it would have been better to add more scenes about the importance of prayer, where the church members (and the main character) are praying about the clinic across the street and how God wants them to make a difference.

Overall, the movie didn't really keep my full interest, but it was not a bad movie; and I believe it could be a good tool to use in churches as a discussion starter on the topic. 
The movie will hit theaters on October 7, 2016. Here is a link to the trailer:


Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Enjoyment of Life

The word of the week is ENJOY
:  to take pleasure in (something) : to have or experience (something good or helpful)

I came across an e-mail I sent out to family and friends back in March of 2006. It gave me a chuckle as I reminisced about how our son, JJ, enjoyed life as an energetic 3 year old. I hope it reminds you to also enjoy life, and to especially take time to enjoy your kids and/or grandkids. These past ten years have flown by quickly as JJ went from 3 to 13 in the blink of an eye.

SUBJECT: The Energy of a 3-year-old

Good Morning! This e-mail is intended to let you know what our little JJ has been up to lately, and to hopefully bring a smile to your face as well.

Let's see.... Where do I start? Well, besides the usual jumping off the couch, chasing our poor cat around the house, tormenting his sister, and literally running in circles, I'll just list a few of the things I remember him getting into this past WEEK alone...

1. He hasn't been wanting to go to bed at his usual 8:00 bedtime lately. So, one night, after we put him to bed, he snuck out. David found him lying on the bathroom counter playing with the soap and water in the sink. The water was running in a pencil thin line so that we could not hear it!! (Smart kid, huh?) He loves to play in the water, but didn’t want us to find out where he was.

2. Another night, we found him in his sister’s bed. They were talking and playing and laughing with each other. It was really cute, but it was past 9:00 p.m., when they both should have been asleep. We have learned that we still need to keep the gate across JJ's bedroom door to "lock" him in at night. Hopefully, we will be able to remove the gate before he is 18 years old! 

3. Yesterday, we caught him and EL playing in the bottle of bulk enzymes we give to EL at meal time. These enzymes are a very fine powder and even the slightest breeze can make them fly all over the kitchen. We had quite a time getting all the enzymes off the counter and floor.

4. Also yesterday, I caught JJ just before he started to mark up one of my books with a pen. This is not the first time he has done this. One book that he marked up awhile back was one that belongs to the church library! We try to keep pens out of his reach now, but sometimes he still manages to get hold of one. When he isn’t marking up a book with one, then he and EL will take turns making "zebra stripes" all over their arms and legs instead.

5. I went to the grocery store one day last week when JJ was taking a nap. David was home with the kids (I think it was on Saturday). When JJ got up, he went looking for me, as he always does. Then, David had to go looking for HIM because he couldn't find him. Finally, he found JJ out in the garage, barefooted and with no pants on. It was COLD out there, too!

6. While I was in the shower one morning, the kids found a bottle of hand lotion on my night stand and decided it was time to give their stuffed animals a “bath” as well. They have done this same thing with liquid soap, also. At least they like their toys to be clean, right?

7. One afternoon, the kids were playing in EL's room and I found the sheets off of the bed, and the mattress half-way on the floor. They also had the dresser half emptied with clothes spread all over the floor as they were trying them all on. What a mess! At least they were being creative and were having some innocent fun. 

8. I took JJ to the Hospital to get some blood drawn at the lab (to test him for allergies). While we were getting registered, JJ sat on my lap, looked at the lady across from us and said, "Mommy, her nose is big!" I wanted to hide! Thankfully, the lady understood that kids do not have any sense of discernment and will bluntly talk about what they see. She was very nice about it and agreed with JJ about her nose being big.

Well, I guess that's about it for now. I could probably write an entire book about all the things JJ does to "keep us on our toes."

We are planning on going to the Circus tonight, as there is a small one here in town. Thoughts have briefly crossed my mind about leaving JJ with the clowns, as he would fit in very well with them. But, then, I realize life would be pretty dull around here without JJ to make us laugh, cry, and pull our hair out. He is definitely a very special boy and we are so glad God gave him to us.

Enjoy your day!

Our family in 2006

Sunday, August 28, 2016

What Are You Thinking About?

I have been reading in Philippians lately was reminded to take notice of the things I am thinking about. What kinds of thoughts am I dwelling on? Some of these thoughts bring peace. Other thoughts bring discontent. I want to try and dwell on the thoughts that only bring peace.

What are you thinking about? 
Here are some questions to ask about it:

Is it TRUE?
unconcealed, true, true in fact, worthy of credit, truthful
venerable, honorable, grave, serious, dignified
Is it JUST?
right; righteous; especially, right in the eyes of God
Is it PURE?
chaste; in a condition prepared for worship
pleasing, acceptable, grateful
well reported of, spoken in a kindly spirit, laudable, reputable
good, a gracious act, virtuous, upright
commendable, approved of by God

If YES - then keep on thinking about it. Dwell on these good thoughts and be at peace.
If NO - then do not dwell on these thoughts. They will only bring discontent.


NOTE: The definitions for the words above came from the Text Analysis of Philippians 4:8, found on BIBLE HUB.