Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Don't Want My Life To Be Defined By Failure

I don't set out on a path to fail.  If you've known me for any length of time, you might (like my sweet sister) describe me as a fighter, a self-motivator, a determined person.  When I set my mind to something, I do it with all my heart.  I remember as a child, climbing the hills behind my grandmother's home.  Even as a young girl, I was always pushing towards the front of the line.  When my legs burned and I gasped for air, I pushed even harder.  I love setting goals and reaching those goals!

So why, along the journey, do I think it's okay to take a break or quit for awhile?  Because quitting for awhile usually leads to retreating and in the end, failing!  

My friend Ruthanne said it best today in her post.

"If we stop giving up and thinking the 50 yard line is good enough and choose to push ourselves, someday we'll find ourselves in the end zone.  That's where we want to be, y'all.  The end zone."

Isn't that good stuff?  Even if that quote was only meant for me today, it was worth it.  So thank you, Ruthanne!

But after talking with so many women who struggle with body image and weight loss, I'm thinking that it will motivate you just as much as me! 

So will you join me?  Will you choose to NOT BE A quitter?  Whatever you are pressing towards, don't .... don't.... don't stop at the 50 yard line!  Keep pressing on, and sooner or later you will find yourself in the END ZONE!  Can I get a Hallelujah?!

12 Ways To Stay Motivated On Your Journey:

1) Don't give up what you want most, for what you want now.
Think about it... the temporary trips us up in being triumphant.

2) How committed are you to this?
Take your goals seriously.  If you don't see reaching them as life-altering important, you will quit often.

3) It's actually pretty simple, either you do it or you don't.
Believe me, I don't take your struggles flippantly.  I know all too well the overwhelming war that goes on within and without.  But just make a decision to do the hard things today and they will pay off.

4) When you quit, the number one person you are letting down is you.
Don't complete this journey for someone else.  God is doing a work in you for a reason.  Don't beat yourself up by letting another person down.  You are hurting yourself the most.

5) The voice in your head that says you can't do this, is a liar.
Don't listen to that voice in your head that says, "Here you are again, quitting.  You are such a failure."  Silence that voice.

6) Surround yourself with encouraging words.
The best way to defeating discouragement in your life is with encouraging words.  The Word of God, others that are for you, positive quotes... surround yourself with encouragement daily.  It's your best offense!

7) Say goodbye to the negative voices.
Next, remove yourself from anything that seeks to sabotage.  Your  commitment to your journey will silence the nay-sayers.

8) Take it one day at a time.
Just as in Exodus 16 where the Lord rained down bread from Heaven, He called them to gather up only which was meant for that day.  Sometimes we try to do too much, instead of taking it one day at a time and our good efforts become worm-ridden!

9) Have a positive attitude.
Philippians 4:8-9.  Meditate and do what these verses say.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

10) Remember who is the strength of your life. 
Psalm 27:1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear?"  The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?"

11) Let God fight your battle.  Be still.
Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

12) Don't let the devil win!
Psalm 42:5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.

Share |

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

On Sandy And Umbrellas And Pink Frosted Cupcakes

Being away this past weekend was no good for this lifestyle change of mine.  I had all good intentions to only eat the green apples I brought, drink lots of water, climb the stairs each night, and say no to every dark chocolate cupcake with pink frosting with mint sprinkles on top.  Needless to say, I succumbed to all things tasty and left no room for climbing Harrisburg's Hilton Hotel staircase.  I stayed up way too late, ate all sorts of yummy-ness, and the only form of exercise I did involved lifting my fork, yet again.

And so, this leaves me doing sit ups and leg lifts on my family room berber rug.  As I was doing my 200th crunch this morning, I looked up at this picture I've had hanging on my wall forever.  I've always loved the tenderness in this Jack-Vettriano painting.  My eye is naturally drawn to the romantic couple in the center.  The woman, in her striking red dress and the dashing, tall-dark-and-handsome man she has in her arms.

But I forget that, without the humble umbrella holders, they would be one sopping mess.  Her hair would be matted, hairspray running down her face, merging with mascara as they settle together into laugh lines.  

As hurricane Sandy approached the Northeast yesterday afternoon, I waited anxiously for my daughter's bus to arrive.  At this point, the trees had started their howling, and the rain was already moving in a soon to be destructive, horizontal fashion.  I quickly scrambled for my umbrella, and ran to meet her.  She smiled as I rescued her from the downpour and shielded her as best I could.  We laughed as we ran together back up the driveway, dodging earthworms, and puddles and debris.  We managed to make it inside before my umbrella imploded on itself and we both exhaled a sigh of relief.

Too often, (as I look at the picture above while doing my "get these pink frosting cupcakes off my side sit ups"), we don't take the time to lend an umbrella to our fellow christian. Instead, we sit and watch them get drenched, or worse yet, walk by and stomp our foot in that puddle and watch their pant leg get doused with mud.  

Let us be different?  Remember to always, be the humble umbrella-holder.  Always have the other person's best interests at heart.  Be excited for their triumphs and joys... and when the storms come, and the winds rage, be the umbrella-holder in their life.  

1 John 3:8 "Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."  

Share |

Monday, October 29, 2012

Feast On Jesus

Amish buggies upon rolling Pennsylvania hills, lined up in a neat row on a Sunday morning for church; ready to hear from Jesus.  Their lights shine through dusty fog and raindrops rest upon bonnets and dark hats.  Hearts ready to hear from you.  I am ready to hear from you, sweet Jesus.  

To love people well, is directly related to if I've been with Jesus.  For if I've met with Him, really met with Him, and listened, I can't help but be changed.   So Lord, let me feast on you.  Continually.  (John 6:57) Darren Rowse talked about feasting on His Word.  Don't just nibble, but feast!

I lay in bed and try to process my weekend at the Allume conference.  I didn't anticipate meeting so many wonderful people.  Soul connections.  God moments.  Laughter, tears, and hearts open toward the heavens.  Hearts in unison, without uttering a single word, sing: use us, Lord.

Father, expand the scope of your ministry through me, that more people may see the love of Christ, and none of me.

A community of women is only as strong as its smallest clique.  For cliques are the disconnect that break the chain of hands tight and hearts knit.  

Some of my favorite Ann Voskamp quotes from this weekend:

  • Bury your fear in faith.
  • Stop fearing failure, God's artist is at work.
  • If you can't hear your Father's voice, you've gone too far.
  • Embrace your brokenness.
  • The act of Christ is to stoop down and be poured out.
  • Write on lives first, then on screens.
  • The secret of good writing is good living in secret.
  • If you have the applause of man, and all of heaven is silent, what do you really have?
  • We are the clay and dust.  Let God write on you.
  • Do we think that we can stand before our scarred Savior, without any scars ourselves?
  • Having christian convictions does not negate Christ's compassion.
  • Get to know the people you're prejudice against.
  • Don't be afraid of guilt by association; be more concerned with grace by association.
  • Jesus only chose to be defined by God, not by His gifts.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Clear The Stage

As I listed to Phil Vischer speak tonight (and do all of the amazing Veggie Tales voices) at the Allume conference, I was amazed to hear him talk about his real life fame (high moment in life) to his low, (bankruptcy).  He had many profound quotes in his speech, but one hit me the hardest ( you know the kind where that ball in your throat threatens to make you utter an ugly cry and you choke it back):

"If you can willingly put your dreams on the alter and live without them, in His will, you are ready to be used by Him!"

And then the wonderful Sarah Mae got up and spoke about keeping your real life, and not letting the online world become an idol.  This song speaks to my heart and I so can't help worshiping.  True worship comes when you sit alone and wait for God to whisper.  It's the blisters on your knees from being on bended knee.  It's being all consumed by Him, not this world or the things in it.  Please take a moment to listen to this song if you haven't already.


Clear the stage and set the sounds and lights ablaze if
that's the measure you must take to crush the idols.

Jerk the pews and all the decorations too, until the congregations few that have revival.

Tell your friends that this is where the party ends,
until your broken for your sins you can't be social.

Seek the Lord and wait for what He has in store, and
know that great is your reward so just be hopeful.

Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes you can, sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to and still get it wrong
Oh worship is more than a song.

Take a break from all the plans that you have made, and
sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper.

Beg Him please to open His mouth and speak and pray for
real upon your knees until they blister.

Shine the light on every corner of your life until the
pride, and lust, and lies are in the open

Then read the Word and put to test the things you've
heard until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken

Cause you can sing all you want to
Oh you can sign all you want to
You can sign all you want to, and still get it wrong
Oh worship is more than a song.

We must not worship something that's not even worth it

Clear the stage, make some space for the one who deserves it.

Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
Anything I can't stop thinking of is an idol
and anything that I give all my live is an idol

Clear the stage and set the sounds and lights ablaze if
that's the measure you must take to crush the idols.

Share |

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Shout Out To Tommy Nelson!

As I prayed about attending the Allume Conference this year, I asked the Lord to provide a way for me to go (financially) if it was His will.  He answered loud and clear when Tommy Nelson agreed to sponsor my trip!

As my children are growing up, I am seeing how vital it is to get godly resources into their hands!  In this day and age, children are bombarded with toys, television, video games and computers.  We have become a technology-driven society, and it is trickling down to the next generation.  Don't you see this?  Your child may be using your Kindle or iPad more than you are!  :-)

Please take a moment to check out the Tommy Nelson website.  They have tons of wonderful resources for all ages!  If my children love them, yours will too!

While at the Allume Conference this coming Thursday-Sunday, I will be doing 6 giveaways via twitter!  Follow the #Allume stream of tweets.  Once I tweet the giveaway, the first person to find me with my Tommy Nelson button on, will win a wonderful resource.  Don't worry, everything will be done within the guidelines of personal sponsorship rules :-)  

Here is a sneak peak at some of the books I'll be giving away:

(ages 5-7)

(for teens)

(Ages 6 and up)

(Ages 7 and up)

Once again, thank you 
Share |

Friday, October 19, 2012


Look beyond her crooked smile,
her plastered on grin,
her eyes bright with light...

For sometimes there are fears within
and hurts that run deep that only when 
we stop and look... can we really see her hurt.

Because we all have hurt...
it's a common thread we have as human beings.
Hurt is not a respecter of persons and touches
the beggar on the street to the well-dressed politician.

So don't be in such a hurry that you miss 
beyond the surface...

She wants you to see her.  She wants you to look.
Who will you see today?  Who could you possibly
throw a life raft to this day? 

Perhaps it's you that needs the saving?  I see you!
I'm looking!

Linking up with Five Minute Friday...

Share |

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How To Receive Affection From Your Husband After Being With Kids All Day

He's human just like you.  Your husband.  The best gift you can give him is a grace-filled wife.  Because after spending a day with dishes, and kids, and slobber and messes, I'm more likely to lash out at him rather than lavish him with grace. He deserves to be lavished with grace.  We all do.  {Well, I guess rather we don't and that is why grace is so beautiful.}

So how do I change the mood and transfer my heart from child-need to husband-need?  Because any Mama knows that after being pulled and dragged on and kissed on all day by beautiful little people has a way of making you want to retreat rather than pull in close to the one that made these beautiful people with you.  Remembering they are really secondary to the lover of your soul is important to remember.  Your husband.  Remembering your husband is secondary to the lover of your whole being, Jesus Christ, is even greater. 

So from early morning risers that crawl into my bed, and I'm all cranky and yell stop fighting and stop pulling on the covers and start out your day with a good attitude or I'll send you back to bed...  how do I transfer my heart to love Jesus, then husband, then kids when from the moment I wake up, until little people rest their heads on soft pillows, I'm surrounded by them with more needs than I can possibly fix?

Just do your very best.  God knows how busy you are.  Your kids will learn that your relationship with Jesus is most important when they see Him living through you.  So be kind.  Have a sweet spirit.  Don't brush them aside, but pull them in.  Constantly.  Be spirit-controlled, not self-controlled.

Have a bowed heart.  Pride can have a way of creating demands and expectations and drama and all sorts of chaos.  So slow down and bow before the Lord all throughout your day.  This will quiet your heart and keep it humble.  Keep your bible open and your heart attune to His.

Do something fun for you.  During your day, find some way to do something fun for you.  Even if that requires sending your kids to their respective bedrooms to play by themselves and you retreating to a hot shower where you can shave a little longer and let the soap lather deep.

Exercise.  Find at least 20 minutes to do some sort of physical activity during your day to allow your body to release some stress before hubby gets home.

Turn your heart towards husband.  At least one hour before your husband gets home, think about him.  Day dream about him.  Plan for him.  Purpose in your mind that you will find special ways to connect with him physically and emotionally when he gets home.  Whether that means loving him with a hot meal or a hot bride, do something special to show that he is more important than the offspring.

How do you find ways to balance home life, and kids, and husband, and your Jesus?

*I have so much to learn on this subject, but still I've learned something, so I'm linking up over at Sarah Mae's blog today: CLICK HERE.  Do you have a life lesson you can share?

Share |

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

10 Pieces Of Advice For You, The Allume Newbie

Allume Community
It's getting closer.  Nine days.  That knot in your stomach is growing bigger as your mind races about all that lies ahead.  What have you gotten yourself into?  Will people like you?  Will you look like a dork?  Will you trip on your heels and dump that goblet of ice water down the front of another blogger's shirt?  Here's my advice for you, the newbie.

1) Be yourself.  Trust me, I know you will be nervous.  I mean, meeting a bunch of online buddies all in one location can sure be intimidating.  But just remember... everyone is a little bit jittery, and people will love you for being yourself.  So take a big, deep breath, and exhale YOU.

2) Leave your expectations at home.  Don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed.  Unrealistic expectations leaves room for a disconnect in your heart.  Don't pack any in your suitcase.

3) Dress comfortable. Trust me, you want to be comfy!  It's like one big pajama party with friends!

4) Seek to be a blessing.  Don't go to the conference with the intention of being blessed, but to be a blessing to others.  Seek to minister, not promote yourself.  In doing this, you will be blessed!

5) Don't spread yourself thin.  I know, people to see, sessions to attend, speakers to hear, blogging buddies to connect with, coffee to administer intravenously drink, laughter to be had, .... just don't go all cray-crazy.  Pace yourself.  Make time to breathe.  This may look like finding a quiet corner and praying or taking a quick cat nap.  A constant flow of people traffic can be draining!

6) Take notes.  Be sure to take some epic notes.  You won't regret it.

7) Enjoy each moment.  Don't be in such a rush to go to that next place on your list.  Enjoy each moment.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

8) Have an open heart.  I can't stress this enough.  What you think you will get out of the conference might look totally different to what God has planned for your weekend.  Leave your heart in His hands.

9) Be flexible.  Flexibility is a favorable asset.  Be flexible with schedules, people, and most of all, yourself.

10) Just have fun.  Don't take your time in Harrisburg too seriously.  Let loose and have fun!  

Share |

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dear Mom. Stop The Guilt And Live

Dear mom who feels guilty about having to work while your kids are in day care, or at grandma's house or at home.  I know that you are an awesome mother and you love your children.  I also know that sometimes you experience the guilt that creeps up when you are in a mid-day stack of papers and your mind drifts towards your little babes and you secretly choke back tears.  Tears that fill like pools and scatter your vision.   

Dear mom, who stays at home with your kids and you find yourself right, smack-dab in the middle of your dream, and it is more like a nightmare.  You feel guilty because you secretly wish you could escape and do something other than change diapers, do dishes, break up spats, wipe noses, and potty train, again.  You wade through the murky water of your day, barely getting by. 

Dear mom, who dreams of her children grown and out of the terrible twos, tweens, and teens.  There are many soul-shaking trials during these stages.  You know in your mind you are suppose to cherish each moment, and you again, feel guilty for feeling the opposite.

Dear mom, who longs for some you time again, and where is that lingerie?  You haven't seen it in years, and neither has your husband.  

Dear mom, who lives with some form of guilt, today.  Can I encourage you, as a mother who is in the thick of it?  Okay, I will.

There will be days, and sometimes months, and even years where we just don't feel like ourselves.  There may be bucket loads of tears, and tantrums (from you) within and without.  Can you do me a favor?  Get so close to your Father God that He becomes your best friend.  No cliches here.  I mean this with all sincerity.  Above earthly father, and mother and husband, and even your kids.  Nothing apart from clinging to your Savior will ever change you for the good.  So stop feeling guilty about all the things mothers can feel guilty about.  Live.  Cling to Jesus.  Abide in Him.  What is He trying to teach you through this journey and stage of life you are in right now.  Don't wish away that which draws you to your knees.  Set that guilt on fire, ablaze and consumed by the Father who holds you and cherishes you.  Oh how He cherishes you and longs to fill you with His joy.

Psalm 43:4: 
"Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God."

Share |

Saturday, October 13, 2012


I'm not a runner, but I have run in a 5k.  One.  Uno.  With a horribly humble time of 41 minutes, but I did it!  The thrill of people whizzing by me towards a common destination spurred me on.  When my endurance was failing, I pushed through.  Up that steep hill I thought I might die, right then and there.  

As I crossed the finish line, I collapsed onto worn grass where only dirt was left.  Sweat pouring down, off my cherry-red face, I smiled.  My heart raced throughout my pulsing body and I thought it just might escape out of my throat.

Accomplishing a goal that I had set for myself felt great!  Was it hard?  Oh yes.  Was it worth it?  One thousand times yes.

This race called the christian life is filled with straight paths, downhill reprieves, and uphill battles.  It's not always easy and sometimes I feel like quitting as my endurance fails; but my strength is in the Lord.  

Hebrews 12:1 says this, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."

Today, I want to strip off every weight that is slowing me down.  Each stronghold.  Every addiction that idolizes my agenda verses my Jesus's agenda.  Only then will I have the endurance to finish the race well that God has set before me.  Will you?

Linking with Five Minute Friday Posts.... 

Share |

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Fun Way To Teach Your Toddler Boy Their Letters & Numbers

Teaching my daughter her letters and numbers was a piece of cake.  She knew all her letters and numbers by age 2 1/2.  Boys are a little different.  Each time I sit down with my 3 year old boy in a structured manner to learn, after about 10 seconds my little guy is distracted by something and disengaged.  

I saw this fun homemade game online for sight words, and thought, why couldn't I do this with letters and numbers?

I tried this game today and sure enough he loved it!  All you need is paper, a pen/crayon/marker, tape and some matchbox cars. {What boy doesn't have a bazillion cars lying around right!?}

I taped 2 pieces of paper sideways and one the other way.  I drew a road, parking spots, and then numbered the parking spots A-F, and 1-7.

Tell your child, park your car in letter A and so on and so forth.  Easy peasy!

Do you know of any other fun ways to teach little boys school?  I'd love for you to share in the comments!

Share |

Monday, October 8, 2012

He Slows This Heart Down

The Lord has a way of slowing me down.  He allows my line to be spun across blue, rippling waters.  The sun shines down upon me as I toss to and fro.   The ebb and flow of each wave of life allows me to bob up and down as I let the currant take me.

Life's demands.  
Endless pursuits.  
Vain ambitions.

For that's what life is if we don't acknowledge that He is the very central point of our existence.  

I say that He is my creator, but do I believe that He is my life sustainer?
I say that He is sovereign, but do I believe that He directs my uncertain future?
I say that He is in control, but do I let Him have His way today?
I say that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but do I believe He deserves access to my bank account?
I say that He is the author of time itself, but do I withhold and hoard the hours of my day all to myself, or give my time as an offering to Him? 

Is He trying to slow your heart down today?  Stop and listen; then obey.  His ways are perfect and He has the BEST in mind for YOU!

Share |

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

10 Things My Allume Roomies Should Know About Me

I'm so excited to be going to the Allume conference at the end of this month!  I went to the Relevant conference two years ago and I'm so looking forward to attending this year.  I'm linking up with the 10 Things My Allume Roomies Should Know About Me linky thingy.  I'll be rooming with Becky and Amy.

1) I'm a super anal and O.C.D organizer while in a hotel room.  (don't ask me about my room at home... not so much)

2) I may spoon you... thinking you are my hubby.

3) I get super giddy when overtired. 

4) I'm super private when it comes to showering and getting ready.

5) I've been known to cry on a whim.

6) I'm totally down to earth and can mesh well with anyone.

7) I love the fact that we may have some awesome and deep conversations.

8) I love the fact that we may have some silly times full of inside jokes and lots of belly laughter {and snorts, by mwuaaaahhhh}.

9) I love to play games!

10) I'm going to be wearing a super cool and rad button that says TOMMY NELSON on it during the conference.  {THANK YOU FOR SPONSORING MY WAY!}

Share |

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

7 ways the written word can bless others

The written word is powerful!  How are you using it to express His power in your life?  We are meant to be connected.  Often times, all I want to do it retreat and fold within myself.  Like a scared child, huddled in the corner, protection is sought.  When we shed our layers of insecurities and open our lives to others, it is costly.  But Jesus asks us to do this very thing.  To pour our very lives into others.  Do you do this willingly or reluctantly?

Each day when you wake up, ask the Lord, "how can you use me to day to minister to someone today?"

There are so many needs that it can overwhelm you if you let it.  Don't let them.  Take them to the Lord and lay them at His feet as an offering.  Ask Him to show you what you can do, and then be obedient.

Some ideas of how the written word can bless someone today:

1) Send a card via snail mail to someone who needs some encouragement.

2) Use your facebook to post verses and encouraging thoughts.

3) Post bible verses around the house where you will see them (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom) to remind you of God's faithfulness.

4) Compliment someone and tell them how they have blessed your life.

5) Leave a love note on your child's pillow before they fall asleep.

6) Put a note in your husband lunch telling him how special he is to you.

7) Send a care package overseas to someone in the military filled with goodies and bible verses on post-it notes.

Share |