Monday, July 4, 2016

Oh, What A Friend

My grandmother, Ms Oleta Clementine Frazier (pictured above with my granddad, Kirk Morror Frazier) loved this hymn, and it has become one of my favorites over the years for two reasons:  1) It reminds me of her, and 2) It is so true.  

🎼 What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer. 🎼
I had the privilege of having my grandmother around for 7 years of my life.  She died at age 67 (if my memory is correct) of colon cancer.  

There are three things that come to my mind about my grandmother whenever I think of her: 
#1) I don't think I ever remember a time she wasn't struggling with her health due to the cancer.
#2) She was one the most selfless, loving, attentive and gentle people I know, and I can still remember her sweet, gentle smile (on her face AND in her eyes) and the feel of her loving arms around me. (AND her great mercy and grace whenever my brother & I lost her good spoons while playing in the dirt behind her house after promising we wouldn't!)
#3) She could make even a bowl of oatmeal taste like a gourmet dish! 

She endured a lot of pain due to her cancer, but the most important thing I remember about my grandmother was that she had the greatest faith in and love for God.  She would sing this hymn, and others, at the top of her lungs in her living room, and my siblings and I could hear her through the screen door across the road from our yard.  At the time, we were very young and we laughed at times when we heard her singing, but all the while my heart was warmed inside and filled with so much love for her.  I remember having a feeling of safety and security listening to her singing. 

Little did I know what a legacy she was passing down: her faith.  It has passed down from generation to generation and my desire is to keep the legacy alive by continuing to pass it down with each future generation. 

What a friend I had in my grandmother, and what a friend WE have in Jesus.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12).

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

You Are My Sunshine

♫  "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine; you make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away."  ♫

This is what Todd sang to me as he proposed to me 25+ years ago, and 24 years ago, on June 20, 1992, we vowed that only death would ever make us part.

The gray hairs on his head today, and the gray hairs (that are masked by the shade of the month) on my head, prove that we want to grow old together.

This man has loved me unconditionally, tells me I am beautiful at my worst, is the best spiritual leader of our home, loves God with everything he has, wears his knees out in prayer and makes me want to be a better person. He does what is right even when it is not easy, and I have learned so much from him. His character is unmatchable. I love him deeply, can you tell?

Happy 24th Anniversary to my hot Toddy!  I want to live life with you 104+ more years!

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).  

Saturday, June 11, 2016


I am a better communicator in writing than I am an oral communicator. What is in my head and heart rarely comes out of my mouth the way my heart intends. For this reason, more times than I choose to admit, I tend to stuff back words or tears...I tend to be more of a thinker and an observer rather than open myself up to vulnerability by speaking my thoughts. I get it honestly, I think, for my dad is a thinker and is a man of few words. The only difference is that my dad usually speaks with lots of wisdom, while I still have a long way to go! 
I am very guarded with my feelings and thoughts. I usually tend to be drawn to people who speak their mind and do not have a hard time showing who they really are -- good or bad. It is probably because I wish I were moreso that way.
I am of the belief that "silence may be misinterpreted, but it will never be misquoted." My silence has been misinterpreted many times, but I would rather keep silent than take the risk of misrepresenting myself or hurting someone's feelings. There have been times that I have had to speak truth in others' lives that have literally turned out just plain awful. However, there IS a time to keep silent, and there IS a time to speak. 
I pray that I can learn God's desire for those times I should keep silent and those times I should speak. Hearing others speak of how their 'struggle is real' helps to know that others share some of the same feelings you do, and this gives a level of comfort in the midst of your own struggles. There is strength in numbers! 
If everyone portrays themselves as perfect people with no 'hiccups' in life, then one could wear one's self out by trying to 'keep up' with this unrealistic view. I pray that, while I am under constant construction, I learn how to 'come undone' with other women in order to not only be able to help them in their struggle but to also help myself.
This blog was very fitting for me today: WOMEN OF GOD: PLEASE COME UNDONE -

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It Really Is That Simple

♫ "Stir in me a love that's deep,
a love that's wide, a love that's sweet;
and help me Lord to never keep it to myself.

I wanna stay close to You.
It's really that simple,
I wanna stay close to You my whole life long."  ♫

It really IS that simple,
and that is my desire.

It Is Well

We must always remember....There is no new thing under the sun.

God is, and will always be, in control.

Everything He allows is for our growth and for His glory.

Looking upward, we can remember this.  Looking any other direction, we lose sight of this fact.

In those not so sunny moments that God allows, whatever they look like, I just pray that I carry myself with grace and in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, standing fast in one Spirit...with one purpose of bringing glory to Christ.

Through it all, my eyes are on You, and it is well...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Trust Without Borders

It's been a while since I've put my ponders to pen, and a lot more thoughts have been swarming around in my head since my last post.  I've penned a total of 5 posts in the year 2015, a year that has proven to bring about major life changes in my family.  It's just part of the natural ebb and flow which the tides of life bring about.

The biggest change in our immediate family has been our first born, Grant, graduated high school in May.

About six months have passed, and many adjustments have been made.

#1)  College life is an adjustment in itself, with the biggest adjustment being made by the graduate; but it is an adjustment, also, for the whole family.  College life is a whole new world, so to speak, and we are adjusting to living in and around this new world.  Life as he knew it, and as we knew it, no longer exists.

Friends fly off to their new nests as they attend their respective colleges in different states, never to flock together in their group of 'peeps' as they had so grown accustomed to over the last 2-3 years.

So what do you do when the people you have known over the last 12 years, sometimes 18 years (for those who experienced daycare together) are no longer a part of your life?  You start wondering where you belong.  The autonomy of adulthood is sometimes not so appealing, but it is oh so essential for learning to live and survive in this world. 

One thing is for certain: this new-found independence challenges one to grow up, develop wings, and fly!  I am proud to say that Grant is doing a great job adjusting to his new wings!  I would say he is soaring!

#2)  Realizing that your child has now become the young man you've prayed he would become is bittersweet and humbling.  I am confident that he will have many successes.  I am confident he will make mistakes, but I am also confident that he will learn from them and will thrive!

I have lived (hopefully, at least) half my life and I STILL make mistakes!  When you stop making mistakes, you stop learning.

As time has passed over these last few months,  'TRUST' has been THE word for me.  I am learning that this little word encompasses not only a vast space in my world but also covers a multitude of areas.  

Todd & I, as parents, are learning how to trust this new world in which Grant is living with his new environment, new hopes & ideas, new circumstances and new guidelines (so to speak), which are different for him than they were in high school.  Giving him a little bit more rope, a/k/a freedom, in this new world tends to send me over the edge a bit at times....not because I don't trust him, but because he is not the little boy I still sometimes want to imagine he is.

Grant is learning how to trust that the path he is currently travelling is the one God is mapping out for him.  He is learning who to trust, how to trust, and what trust really means in this new world of his since he is looking through a totally different set of lenses than the ones he'd worn for so long.

As we enter yet another phase of our children's lives, we enter another phase of trust.

Every phase of trust is reduced to but one thing:  Trust in God.

With each new phase of life we encounter a deeper trust in God, and we experience a different level of trust in our children and in the decisions they make for their life.  That's just's THEIR life, not ours.  We can help them, guide them and give them wisdom from our past sucesses and learned mistakes alike, but we cannot live their life for them.

We must trust in God's promise that if we "train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

We've had our time of discipleship with Grant.  I know it will continue as long as he seeks our guidance, but for the most part, WE are done being in control. (With some exceptions, Grant, if you read this! ☺)

It is time now for him to trust God as he seeks Him first and all of His righteousness, so that everything God has in store for him will come to fruition as he steps into this journey of manhood.

It is time, now, for us to trust God and His promises and put feet to our prayers as we trust in faith.

Through all of the ebbs and flows of  my life thus far, I see God's hand not only in my life but in the lives of my children.  For every disappointment, God has spoken to us, in one way or another:  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," ... "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)  --    And HIS plans are much better than any plan we could ever imagine.
I've seen it.
I've lived it.

In every situation, His promises have declared to us that His plans are not for harm but to give us a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

It's all about Trust.

For all of the ebbs and flows of life that come my way.....
May my trust be without borders!! (See video below.♫)

"Some trust in chariots and others in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." ~ Psalm 20:7
"O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you." ~ Psalm 84:12

Saturday, July 11, 2015


"Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land." (1 Kings 17:7)

If you look closely, you can see a shimmer of light in the center of this photo. This shimmer is the reflection of light off of a little creek, or brook, behind our hotel room where we are staying for my son's travel ball tournament. Last night it rained pretty hard and steady, and the brook's flow was roaring heavily as it brought debris and trash along with it in its path. Today, the sun is shining brightly and the brook's roar has mellowed into a faint trickle with its flood line decreased to almost nothing. Both scenarios are equally beautiful to watch. With no more rain, however, this brook will dry up completely. 

Are you experiencing a drought of sorts in your life right now - maybe financially, emotionally, spiritually, etc? Do you find yourself completely 'dry' with no rain in sight to nurture and water your soul? If not a drought, then maybe troubles or trials have found their way in your path. If you are living, trials are inevitable.

Wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 says "Wait for the Lord's help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord's help."

This is what Elijah did in 1 Kings 17. He waited on the Lord's command to 'go'. Elijah had no plan, other than to listen to the Lord's command. God's command for Elijah to leave the dried up brook and go to another land led Elijah to a woman who had nothing but one meal left for her and her son to eat. Elijah asked her to make him a loaf of bread to eat and a cup of water to drink. The lady refused, at first, for she knew the flour she had left would only feed her and her son one last time, and then they would prepare to die from hunger. Elijah requested she do so anyway and promised that her flour would never run out again. She made him the loaf of bread as he requested. Her jar of flour and jug of oil never ran out, just as the Lord promised through Elijah.

I am guilty of only seeing the 'one last meal left' with the dread of death awaiting me, so to speak, when that one last meal is gone. Through nature and in my quiet time this morning, God has reminded me that this 'dread' is nothing but lack of faith in God. 

We are a people who have to see to believe, where Faith, on the other hand, is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

 "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in you, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." (Psalm 9:9-10).

So, you don't see the next step in front of you? Just wait on the Lord. Diligently seek His face, and wait for His guidance.

"Wait for the Lord's help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord's help." (Psalm 27:14)

God will make a way where there seems to be no way. Just wait on the Lord.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Enjoying A Simple Life (A Life Blessed): Love Wins

Enjoying A Simple Life (A Life Blessed): Love Wins

Love Wins

The Supreme Court ruling on June 26, 2015 regarding marriage has changed history as we know it...not only for marriage, but possibly for other things that once were not tolerated throughout history. This one ruling, in my opinion, will be the catalyst sparking a plethura of other debates and changes in our government and in our country, and they are quite possibly more near in the future than we think.

My heart mourns.


There is no new thing under the sun. What's happening today in our world has happened before; just read Genesis 19 and Judges 19. 

Romans 12 says "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." 

We must continue daily in The Word, living out the Christian life all the while spreading the Gospel as we meet people where they are in their daily walk. 

Mark 12:30-31 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."

There is no room for hate in spreading truth. 
Jesus said "forgive them for they know not what they do." 
The same applies today. 

Love DOES win - God's love.
Spread the Gospel.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Writing on the Wall

I saw these words on a wall in a Sunday School class at the youth Super Bowl party Sunday night, and they jumped right out at me and made me ponder. 

These words are truth, amen?

We must remember...everyone has a story which is made up of a past, whether good or bad, or both. 

The Bible proves we ALL fall short of the glory of God. 

May I always encourage others in love, and may I always help be a positive part of someone's story.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Empty Spaces

One of my new favorite 'soaking' songs that ;ve stumbled upon.  It is one of the songs on my playlist that I  listen to during my quiet time.

May any empty space in my heart open its doors to God and allow Him to make His home inside my heart in every way.

"Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens.  That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Without Borders

Today's thought comes right off the heels of my reading a blog I started following fairly recently (   The writer tells of his and his wife's journey through adoption over the course of the last year or so with many highlights and many more disappointments - but a victorious ending!  One of the blogger's entries resonated with me, for it met me and my family where we are in so many ways.  Here is a summary of the portion from the particular post that impacted me:

II Chronicles 12:14 - "... he did evil because he did not
determine in his heart to seek the Lord."

Most of the time, the enemy probably doesn't bother you because you are already evil.   Do you feel like you're being attacked by the enemy in your life?
Then you're probably of no danger to him in trying to
thwart the spread of God's Kingdom.

I feel it can go both ways...sometimes God allows attacks to draw us closer to Him due to our stagnant spiritual life. Other times we may be attacked because we ARE a threat to the enemy in his attempts to thwart the spread of God's Kingdom.

As believers, for all of the attacks that make it our way, we should consider it pure joy!  

God's word says, in Matthew 5, that it rains on the just as well as the unjust:

44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, 
do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; 
for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, 
and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? 
Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 
47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others? 
Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 
48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

If you think about it, we are attacked mostly in those areas in which we are most passionate.  I feel God allows those things that we are most passionate about to be used #1) because He wants to remind us there should be no other gods or idols before Him, and #2) our passions are where we spend most of our time and energy, so it makes sense a battle would take place in these areas. Sometimes, even our Godly passions can take precedence over our passion for God Himself.

When believers are in battle, we are not fighting for ourselves or against anyONE, because we are in the Lord's army; and "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12.)  When you feel someone is attacking you, just remember...We are not fighting people, for they are just the tools the enemy uses to distract us.  We are fighting the enemy;  but we are not alone.

We fight for HIM!  He is fighting for us and with us and is using these battles to help us grow spiritually stronger.  So...."consider it pure joy, my brethren, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4)  It is hard to be patient, and it is even harder to practice self-control while we wait, but we must remain pure and right and honorable in all of our words and actions as we wage the war.  It will be a glorious victory if we do!

God is not just good, He is awesome!  He has been reminding me that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood..." and also of the importance of prayer over the last several months.  Prayers in my quiet time will often trigger the remembrance of a song that has touched my soul in one aspect or another.  Lately the song that replays over and over in my head (and on my computer throughout the day as I work) is "Oceans" by Hillsong United.  It exemplifies where I want to be in my spiritual walk.  

I want to trust God without borders and to have my faith grow stronger daily in the Lord as I seek to mature in Christ.  

This will not happen if I do not 'determine in my heart to seek the Lord.' 

When You said, Seek My face,”

My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Psalm 27:8

                                                                                     'Oceans' by Hillsong

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, 
and all these things will be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Truth Is ... I'm Tired

(This song has been on replay ever since the day my worship leader introduced it to me.  It definitely has met me where I am, and I can't get enough of it! Take a moment to listen. You won't regret it.

Truth is . . . I'm tired. Have you ever been there?  You may be there now.  If not, chances are you will most likely be there at some point in your life. Truthfully speaking ... I am there, in more ways than one.  This post may be a bit uncomfortably transparent, but it is what it is... the truth.
While I am the happiest I have ever been in my life... I have an unbelievable husband who is my best friend and never fails to show me how much he loves me; I have two teenage boys of whom I am very proud because of the fine young men they are growing up to be; my family is healthy; but most of all and most importantly, my God is a good God and has blessed me and my family beyond measure.  Yet, I am tired.
Mentally tired.
Physically tired.
I am all tapped out.  I am full so full of joy but, at the same time, tired of almost everything; so much so that I can't fake it anymore.  I'm just tapped out.  Out of fuel.  I seem to be just pushing myself to even go through the motions.
How does one get to this point?  I can't tell you for sure;  I only have a guess.  My guess is that the rush of this fast-paced life can catch up with you, hold on, and drag you by the heels.
It's easy to just want to 'be' more and more every day, and to rest.  I want to be able to spend more quality time with my husband, drink up these last few years with my boys before they head off to college, nurture my family and home the way they need to be nurtured, take care of my health the way it needs to be cared for, and rest. Did I say rest?! 
I want so much to be one of those women who 'has it all together' with an organized life, a healthy life, the perfect wife & mother, the perfect daughter/sister, the perfect employee, the perfect friend, and the perfect person all the way around.  I'm just not.  As a matter of fact, I find myself not measuring up to what I need to be at all in ANY of these areas.  You know, the 'jack of all trades but a master at none'  kind of scenario. 
For this reason, over the last year, I have started reprioritizing things in my life one by one. This has left me saddened in some areas of my life, with a sense of guilt in others, and in others a relief.   I realized there just had to be a change.  Women, especially, need to come to the realization that every single thing cannot be at the top of the priority list.  There must be a balance, and the balancing scales constantly move up and down as each wave, or phase, of life rushes in and out.  When there is a shift in priority, it doesn't mean that those things that are shifted down on the list cannot be shifted back up to the top again at some point, but for such a time as it is, these things are where they need to be in order to be able to function properly.
What do you do when you find your head spinning and you find yourself in this place of tiredness and exhaustion and you are all tapped out?   Draw near to God. - 'Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.' (James 4:8) -   'Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you.'  (Matt. 6:33)   And pray.  Pray, pray, pray.  In ALL things pray. God asks us to 'Come to Me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.' (Matthew 11:28) This is where my heart is right now - seeking the King and praying, praying, praying, and resting in His presence.  
I have been in a season of introspection over the last several months, which has brought me to the realization that I had gotten away, slowly, from making God my first priority in all things.  Scripture says "Seek first."  It doesn't say to seek God after your plans are made and request a blessing over your own plans/agenda.  We need to seek God and pray that He makes our desires the same as His - then all these things will be added - we will be blessed.  It doesn't mean life will be easy, but we will have peace in the midst of the storm if we allow Him to take the lead.

When reprioritizing things in one's life, there will be those who will not understand, but that is okay.  This is what a sweet, sweet mentoring lady told me just the other day.  She said "others will not understand, but that's okay.  God knows your heart, and that is all that matters."  Wow.  God knew exactly what I needed that day, and He used that sweet, Godly, God-fearing pillar to reassure me and show me a piece of His glory.  Such simple and few words but powerful ones for me on that day.  God is so good.  He is better to me than I deserve, and I am so very thankful.

♪ Truth is . . . I'm tired . . . So take me to the King.  I don't have much to bring. Take me to the throne; leave me there alone to gaze upon His glory, and sing to Him, I will.  Just take me to the King. ♫
Have you ever felt this way?  I would love to hear from you!  Post a comment, or email me @  Give me your thoughts and, as iron sharpens iron, maybe we can encourage one another.
All for Him,

Monday, March 3, 2014

Life or Death

What one positive thing has a parent, friend, teacher, coach or mentor said to you when you were young?  Do you still remember it vividly?
What one negative thing do you remember a parent, friend, teacher, coach or mentor saying to you when you were young?  How did this comment affect you then? Does it still affect you today?
Personally, one of my most vivid memories is that of my 5th grade teacher and his picking on me playfully as he made a derogatory statement about some shoes I was wearing, or so I thought was a derogatory statement.  They were new shoes - high heels (of sorts) -  and one of my best friends had a pair just like them.  I was so very proud of them!  This was my first day to wear them, and I chose to wear a dress to school just so I could wear my new shoes (a maroon colored dress with cream colored lace, no doubt).  The shoes looked something like this...


but they had more of a wedge and they were brown leather (pleather).  They were also more open toed than this picture shows....more of a criss-cross pattern.  I can't imagine why I couldn't find a picture of an exact replica of those shoes!  I know...beautiful, right?!  One of my best friends owned a pair just like them, so they MUST have been 'all that'! 

You may be wondering what the teacher said that crushed me so.  I will tell you.  He said, "What are you wearing those clod hoppers for!?"  Well...not anything to go home crying to mom about, but that's exactly how I felt at that moment.  Who knows what was going on inside my head at that time to make me feel so crushed?  I don't know, but his words definitely made an impact that wasn't so positive, so much so that I still remember it to this day.  He didn't mean anything by it.  I realized this as I began to grow up.  However, for some reason, it humiliated me and made me feel 'less than', and it stuck with me my whole life.

Unfortunately, we tend to hold on to the negative experiences rather than the positive, and as we hold on to them, they shape our world by adding to the next experience and the next and the next. 

The book of James addresses how badly the tongue can bite and how hard it is to tame.  James 3:1-12 says this about the tongue:

My brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all make many mistakes. If people never said anything wrong, they would be perfect and able to control their entire selves, too. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can control their whole bodies. 4 Also a ship is very big, and it is pushed by strong winds. But a very small rudder controls that big ship, making it go wherever the pilot wants. 5 It is the same with the tongue. It is a small part of the body, but it brags about great things.
A big forest fire can be started with only a little flame. 6 And the tongue is like a fire. It is a whole world of evil among the parts of our bodies. The tongue spreads its evil through the whole body. The tongue is set on fire by hell, and it starts a fire that influences all of life. 7 People can tame every kind of wild animal, bird, reptile, and fish, and they have tamed them, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is wild and evil and full of deadly poison. 9 We use our tongues to praise our Lord and Father, but then we curse people, whom God made like himself. 10 Praises and curses come from the same mouth! My brothers and sisters, this should not happen. 11 Do good and bad water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree make olives, or can a grapevine make figs? No! And a well full of salty water cannot give good water.
Words can bite so badly that they can speak death.  Nothing has been more clear to me than this with the number of teen suicides recently that has struck our small town and surrounding areas, one of which happened the day after my husband and I watched the movie 'Cyberbully' together.  I have been burdened ever since watching that movie knowing that, in this day & age of technology, it is much easier for people to bully as they hide behind the screen of a laptop, phone or ipod rather than having the courage to say something face to face.  I think ALL schools should show this movie in their school system and help children realize that their words matter, whether they are typed or spoken.
The concept of how our words impact others does not stop with bullying, but it covers a realm of categories....gossip, 'constructive' criticism, 'picking' or playing, to name a few.   I confess....I have been guilty of not tasting my words before I shared them with others, and I am not proud of this fact.
It is important for us all to remember that we never know what is going on with a person on the inside, so words can cut to the core or they can soothe the soul.  Words speak life, or they speak death.  Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.  If they are not sweet to taste, then do not share them with others.
Just T.H.I.N.K. before you speak.  Ask yourself, "These words I am about to speak, 
     Are they TRUE?
     Are they HELPFUL?
     Are they NECESSARY?
     Are they KIND?
I pray that I am always aware of the words that I speak, and may I always speak life into others.
When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you. - Ephesians 4:29
More than anything today, I am preaching to myself.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall Challenge: Making Your Home A Haven

One of my FAVORITE blogs, Women Living Well, is making  a challenge to us in the month of October to 'make our home a haven'.  

Go to to enjoy the blog, or click here to start the challenge. 



Saturday, May 4, 2013

Beautiful Things

Our church has gone through a renovation of our sanctuary and the addition of a new children's wing over the last several months, and it is soon to be completed.  The architect and construction company have taken measures to keep the rubble, mess & noise away from the church members and the staff to make our church as "user friendly" as possible while construction takes place. 

As a staff member, I occasionally find myself in areas where construction is taking place as, at times, it just cannot be avoided. I recently entered an area where construction was taking place, but the work zone was blocked off by pieces of pressed wood that had been boarded up.  You could hear the grinding of the saws and the hammering of the nails, and you could hear the workers talking, but you could not see any of the work going on behind the nailed-up pressed wood.

Have you ever wondered how some people always seem to have everything all together?  Everything is always in place, kids are always perfect, everyone is all smiles all of the time, etc. etc. 

Have you ever noticed anyone that appears to have NOTHING together?  Yep, that's me!  I always feel like I am in survival mode:  house always seem to be in disarray, there is always laundry to do, there are groceries that need to be bought....bills need to be paid....calls need to be made, places to go, etc. etc.  However, the kids are always perfect and showing extreme love for one another, right?  (NOT!)

Everyone has a story to tell.  Everyone has life issues.  Everyone has been - is - will be going through some sort of trial at some point in their life.  Everyone will experience tough ground sooner or later.  What does that tough ground look like for you? What does that tough ground look like for me?  More importantly, what do WE look like as we endure this hard, tough ground?

Todd & I have always referred to ourselves as vessels that are always under construction - God's construction. That piece of pressed wood in the construction zone reminded me of our always being under construction and what that might look like to others.

Pressed wood... old, discarded pieces of wood veneers, particles and wood fibers bonded together with adhesives under heat and pressure, so the definition states.

You know, that piece of pressed wood COULD have been dressed up with a nice, pretty coat of paint and pretty hardware to make it look like the rest of the walls in the hallway.  They weren't.  The pressed wood has been taken down & put back up several times to allow for the transformation of that area for whichever phase of construction that was taking place at that given time.  The pressed wood is only temporary.

Likewise, our bodies are only temporary homes until we meet our Maker in Heaven.  Until we reach our permanent home, we will go under many, many phases of construction.  Every construction site looks different for each 'home', and each phase will be different than the last.  Nonetheless, construction is still taking place.  Whether wrapped up tightly in a pretty package or loosely & sloppily put together, the construction process is taking place.

Everyone has a story, but God . . .  He promises to make 'all things new.'  There is growth & pain in the construction phases of our lives - in the 'stories' that we are living.  The refiner's fire, as you go through the heat & pressure, is just that, a refining process which helps remove the impurities in your life and brings you to more of a cultured, elegant state of spiritual awareness.  Each construction phase is a spiritual marker showing what you once looked like - on the inside - and what you now are.

The most refining moment one can make - EVER- in life, is to make God Lord of his life.  Are you tired?  Are you tired of life in general?  Do you feel like you are fighting one battle after another? Are you tired of fighting alone and on your own strength?  Do you need to make a change? 

Are you ready to burst through this tough ground?  There is hope.

All around, hope is springing from this old ground

God promises to make all things new for you.  He is just waiting for you to ask. 

"Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you." - James 4:8

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Too Old to Learn?

I share Sunday School teaching responsibilities with two God-gifted, God-fearing ladies who, I must say, inspire me tremendously to keep seeking God diligently in my daily walk.  These two ladies love the Lord with all their heart, so much so that one can almost smell the sweet aroma of their burning desire for God! I am so blessed to be a part of Bonnie's and Amanda's lives, especially in this arena, as they encourage me in the Lord for such a time as this!!

On the flip side...Unlike Bonnie & Amanda, I am not a natural teacher.  It is not a gift that comes naturally to me -- I have to work hard at devising a 'teaching plan' that would flow and prick the hearts of our oh-so-special teenage girls.  Mind you, I have PRAYED that God would speak to me like He does Beth Moore and give me the talent he has given her of story telling and writing in-depth Bible studies, etc. etc.  Oh, to be as flamboyant and outgoing as she is so that I could just be interesting enough to REACH people! - but I am more of a 'back row Baptist' that likes to hide in the corner and speak only when spoken to.  I am more of a mental processor, or 'people watcher' as my husband likes to call it, as I drink things in around me, process the situation and try to figure it out, whatever 'it' is.

I do, however, see God carving me and molding me differently more and more every day, especially as he urges me to leave my comfort zone of the 'back row'.  Leaving the comfort zone of the back row currently consists of my being a co-teacher to 7th/8th/9th grade young ladies.  I have always been my husband's helper as he was always the teacher.  Teaching is definitely his God-given gift, so I have always been more than happy to encourage him and be his help mate and do whatever needed to be done to help him prepare for the lesson.  Don't get me wrong, I can interject all day long, and I love a small group discussion, and I absolutley love digging down deep into the Word, but to assign the label 'teacher' and put me in the front of a class just puts me in a tailspin!

I have, however, begun to realize this is a different season for me.  As God takes me from one season to another, he prunes and promotes growth in many ways.  Pruning is not easy, and it is not comfortable and can be painful at times, but the fruit that is produced is fruit that can only come from our Creator!

As I am being pruned of those areas that are dead or stagnant, I am growing at the same time.  It may be a slow growth at times, but growth none-the-less.  Growth is good! 

When I teach, I have to TOTALLY submit to God as I rely on Him to direct me and use me as I try to glean and regurgitate those things He wants me to teach.  I totally give myself to God, knowing that teaching is not a strength for me, and I have to submit Every. Single. Time.

Did I mention that I have to do this EVERY. SINGLE. TIME?

Yes, Every single time!  

You know what happens when I submit?  He totally takes over!  Every single time I teach, God, in turn, teaches ME!  I'm convinced that I am really not there for the girls....I am there to be taught myself!  If only I would learn to submit like this in every aspect of my life, then my already rich life would be so much richer. 

The more I study His word, the more I learn.  The more I learn, the more I realize how much I do not know!  Oh, but how RICH is His word and how much I want to drink it in, soak it up like a sponge and squeeze out his living water on everyone around me!  I want to 'water' so I, myself, can be watered! (Proverbs 11:25)

I just pray that every word spoken that might be in error (because I am flesh and WILL mess up) would be erased from these precious young minds.  I pray that any of GOD'S words spoken through me would be written on their hearts.

I am under God's construction 24/7.  I am aware that I am a complete mess.  I mess up daily.  I regret messing up daily.  It is a constant battle.  Oh, but what a forgiving God, and how great a grace is given!!  God's amazing grace continues to astound me!!

For such a time as this, I am learning that periods of discomfort, or pruning, can prove to be the richest, most special periods of one's life. 'Spiritual markers' is what I like to call these pruning periods.

In the midst of the pruning, I thank God for His amazing, undeserved grace.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Most Beautiful Name


It's full of joys!  It's the oh, so simple things that bring me the most joy. . . 

 - A clean house. :)
 - Seeing my husband's truck coming "round the bend" towards home after a long day at work.

 - The crisp orange, red and yellow changing leaves of fall.

 - The smell of apple cider and pumpkin spice as the weather begins to cool.

 - Comfort food made in the warmth of my own kitchen.

 - Gathering around the table with family talking about our joys and disappointments of the day.

 - S'mores!

 - Hugs!

 - Being able to sleep in on a Saturday morning.

 - Laughter! 

 - The look of happiness on your child's face as he has successfully accomplished a daunting task.

 -  Music, music and more music!  (I love music!!)

 - Sunshine.

 - Rain.

 - A nice, steaming hot cup of coffee (or two)!

 - And the list goes on . . .

Life.  It's good.

It's also full of disappointments.

People change - some may break your heart, disappoint you, or even confuse you. 

It may be family. . .
a parent who has gone to be with Jesus where you can no longer call him/her up on a whim or share any more holiday memories.  It may be a child or brother or sister who is lost and you don't know how to help anymore.  

It may be a friend who has moved on and is no longer in your life, and you don't really know how that happened.

It could be someone that you, at one time, looked up to but has now shown you that he/she is 'real' and is not perfect. . . just like you.

Maybe someone said some hurtful things about you....someone that you thought loved you.

Things change - Everything changes over time.
Everything changes over time.  Whether good or bad, nothing ever stays the same.  

But Jesus....
He is the ONLY constant in this life.  Never changing.  Always the same - yesterday, today and forever!

Your heart may be breaking for some reason - you may be torn and not know what to do in a certain situation. Things may seem hopeless at this time and you may not even know where to begin.

When you don't know what to do, call upon His name.  Ask Him for wisdom, which He promises to give freely.  Keep praying until that answer comes.  Pray without ceasing.  Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Jesus . . . The most beautiful Name of all names.

 Jesus....The Most Beautiful Name
(by Klaus & Kari Jobe)
Jesus.  He can turn life's most heartbreaking disappointments of life into pure joy!
"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy," 
Psalm 30:11

Saturday, October 27, 2012


If you died today, are you confident in knowing where you will be? Have you ever given more than a second's thought about what the torture of hell would be for you? What about the splendor of heaven? 

Do you know where you are going?

I cannot even wrap my brain around what splendor God has in store for those who make Him Lord of their life!! I am looking forward to finding out! 

ALL of us need to receive God's forgiveness and grace for our sin.  How can we do that?  The only way possible is by accepting God's gift of salvaiton through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8).  Jesus died for our sins.  He was buried.  He rose from the dead to give us salvation, forgiveness from our sins, and eternal life, where we will spend eternal life with Him and our Heavenly Father in spendor! 

Living eternally is a given.  Where do you want to live?  In the eternal torture of firey hell, or in the splendor of God's glory where you will live in perfect health with no sorrow or pain? 

Have you ever received God's forgiveness and salvation? If not, God eagerly awaits for you to do so. Just draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8) 

Roman 10:9-10 says, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." 

If you'd like to receive God's gift of salvation, you can. Talk to Him. Tell Him you want to be forgiven of your sins and that you believe Jesus died to save you and rose from the dead to give you eternal life.   Invite Him to dwell in your heart and save you. When you do that, He will not only save & forgive you, but He will also send His Holy Spirit to live within you to enable you to live a life that glorifies and pleases Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This means that you don't have to do ANYTHING in your own strength! You can do ALL things through Christ who gives you the strength! (Phil. 4:13) 

Please...Take a minute or two...or two hours to be exact... to watch the following movie giving in explicit detail, as best as the human brain can describe, exactly what God's love for us and the amazing gift of Jesus' life for us looks like

Jesus did this for me.  He did this for you.  It is very hard to believe that someone loves me enough to go through this much torture for MY sins.  He never sinned, but he suffered as though he did.  Every stripe he bore, every insult and every betrayal....all of this was for me.  And for you.  "Amazing Love, how can it be, that You would give Your life for me??"

Salvation: It's a GIFT. It is FREE. A gift cannot be given, however, if the the receiver doesn't accept it. You just have to reach out and accept that gift.    Watch, and be moved.  Move to live a life for Christ today.  Please accept God's gift of salvation to you today.  Click on this link to watch:  The Passion of the Christ

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Xtreme Clean

Tomorrow is 'Xtreme Clean' Day at my church.  We are in the beginning stages of building an addition to our church to make room for growth and to have a central place where all of our children can meet.  Currently our church parents with different aged children have to go to several parts of the building to get their children dropped off in their appopriate classrooms.  Our current children's wing is so old it does not meet 'code' and to do so would be almost as costly as building a new wing for them.  During construction, many of our Sunday School classes will be moving to new areas to make room for the construction zone.  In preparation for this, we are making a clean sweep of our church and having a cleaning day after our church services tomorrow morning to hold on to those things that need to stay and discard those things that need to go.  We have had over 180 willing servants to sign up and help us clean up & clean out, and we have set aside 2 hours to get it done.  Mind you, there is so much to be done and so many items accumulated over the decades that it most likely will not get done in 2 hours.  It will be a process over the next month or so and mainly for our church staff, but it will help the process greatly by making this initial clean sweep.

Having said all of this, God has been speaking to me over the last few months regarding 'clean hands and a pure heart.'  I have had such an urgency to make things right that are wrong in my life, and to make amends with people that I may have offended, and to be strong enough to do what's right.  And when I say urgency, that is really an understatement of how I really feel.  I cannot tell you the desire in my heart to 'do' the right thing, 'say' the right thing, and 'be' the right thing for my heavenly Father!!  But not only for Him, but for others as well!  I know I fail him DAILY, and it is so frustrating to me that I can't 'get it!'  Like Paul, those things that I don't want to do, I do.  Those things that I want to do, I don't do.  It is a daily struggle for me. 

I KNOW there are people that I have let down, and there are those that I may not know that I have disappointed.  An eye opener for me was one of my friends who told someone in conversation that "I used to think Dana was perfect, but now I know she's not." 

(*gulp) (To myself:)  What?  Me?
(*sigh)  ................   Seriously?  Did you really mean that? (*gulp)
(*sigh)  ................   Nah....she didn't really mean that! :-/  Yeah...she did.  But even though she might not have, I know it's true.
(*gulp) .................  Oh, dear God.  How can this be? I mean, really.  I try really hard to do what's right...  seriously?

This was a HUGE eye-opener for me!!  Whether she meant it or not, it's true. 
I am not what I desire to be at all times:  faultless. 
It let me know that even though I pray daily 'Lord, let the meditations of my heart and the words of my mouth be pleasing to You..." that I have a lot of work to do. 
There are areas, and especially with my tongue, that need a lot of work!  That was an 'Xtreme' kick in the gut for me and it rocked my world for several days after, and STILL does.  I am ever so thankful to her for saying that, and for opening my eyes to areas in my life that I need to work on.  This brings to my mind one of my dear friends who told me years ago, "Dana, you are your own worst enemy."  lol   It is so true!  That was an eye-opening day for me as well and proves to be a spiritual marker in my life for many reasons.  (Thank you, Jacque!  I love you!)

I am by nature a people pleaser, so when things bother me, I've always had a problem with bottling things up inside rather than speaking about it.  After all, we are supposed to overlook, right?  I am too afraid of hurting someone's feelings.  However, the bottle can only hold so much.  It builds and builds and builds and, when it gets full, it has overflow.  When my overflow decides to come out it is usually not so pretty.  The delivery is not smooth nor is it desiring. the process, I have not done myself nor the other person a favor by this. 

Over the last few years I have tried so hard to rectify this part of myself.  I have gone to those whom I felt God was leading me to speak and share my feelings.  I don't have the gift of speaking.  I can express myself better, most of the time, through writing than by speaking, so there have been a couple of friends I have truly disappointed and some I may have lost in the process. 

In the process of this 'Xtreme Clean' over the last couple of months, I have asked God to bring to my mind those areas which need to be 'cleaned' and to bring to my mind people that I may have offended so that I could make it right.  There are areas in my life that He has brought to my attention, and there are people that He's brought to my mind as well.  I have written some letters asking for forgiveness for disappointing and/or offending as I feel this was what God led me to do.  I am STILL asking God DAILY to bring areas of need to my attention.  But what it so disappointing to me is that it took my friend's one statement to get me to do this.

God's word says, in 2 Corinthians 13, that we are to examine ourselves.  We must do this daily.  God's word says we all fall short of the glory of God, so it is our duty to ask God where it is that we fail Him, to repent of those things and make it right, and to turn away from our wicked ways.

I am asking you:
 - Are you one that I have offended or disappointed in any way?
 - If so, please let me know so I can make it right with you!

If I died tonight, I would hate for there to be any 'undone' business that needed to be taken care of.  I promise from this day forward to try to do what is right, and I am asking all of you who are my friends, to hold me accountable.

I have been transparent in this post, and to be honest, it makes me feel very uneasy. I don't like to appear 'less than' to others. I tell my kids all the time "It doesn't matter what they think, just do what is right and God will take care of the rest." It's is easier said and done, especially for a people pleaser! If I feel I have failed someone else, then I am a failure - period. I know that's not true, and it's something I'm learning to overcome little by little as I get older. 

As I come to the end of my post today, I would like to close with verses from 2 Corinthians 13.  I am using the version from The Message:

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. I hope the test won't show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we'd rather the test showed our failure than yours. We're rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn't possibly do otherwise.
We don't just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.
10I'm writing this to you now so that when I come I won't have to say another word on the subject. The authority the Master gave me is for putting people together, not taking them apart. I want to get on with it, and not have to spend time on reprimands.
11-13And that's about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. Greet one another with a holy embrace. All the brothers and sisters here say hello.
14The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.

- Are you one that I have offended or disappointed in any way?
- If so, please let me know so I can make it right with you!
- Are there any areas in your life that God has revealed to you that needswork?  If so, what do you plan to do to make it right?

I would love to hear from you!  Post a comment or email me!  Let me know your thoughts, as 'iron sharpens iron.'  I NEED TO BE SHARPENED!!

A Life Blessed

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