Monday, September 14, 2015

Ashley Madison and Me

As news broke of the Ashley Madison security breach a few weeks and all the fallout that would

come to result from it, I found myself becoming more pious and judgmental with every

'celebrity' name that was thrust out there for the world to see, scorn and scoff at.

After all, I would never. . .and you would never. So they were getting what they

deserved right?


Yesterday, I celebrated losing 101 1/2lbs.

I've been posting some of my success here and lots of it on social media.  I am

praised and patted on the back and called an inspiration.

But, perhaps 2 months ago now, I became so convicted and grieved in my spirit.

I had to go to my precious husband and apologize.

Apologize for the sin of gluttony.

He, ever so kindly said I had nothing to apologize to him about.

But, I had to My GOD.  For every time I let food fulfill some hole instead of him.  For every

hurt I ate away, every joy I ate instead of celebrating with Him.

Yes, I spent some serious time in confession and repentance with Him.

Turns out, I'm not so different from those on Ashley Madison after all.


Sin is sin is sin is sin.

Yes, different consequences and repercussions are different, BUT sin is sin.

Where sin is reigning free, God is not. Plain and Simple.

Hard to admit, but truth sometimes is.


Of course, as good church going folks, we have our categories of 'real'

sin, and then put the other in a nice neat pile somewhere else.

Not, that God ever does that.

Gossip, Slander, Gluttony, Anger. . .we don't like to talk about those.

We like to giggle a little about them or we like to justify them.

But, I knew and I KNOW that in my heart I was, I am no different than

those on Ashley Madison.

I sinned against God and my family.

I am now restored. God is on the Throne once again.  I am made whole.

But, it doesn't mean it wasn't true.


Please don't hear me saying that all overweight people are in habitual sin.

I don't know each person story, and you don't either.

My job is not to judge, but to speak truth  in love and to love people right

where they are.

If Jesus has NEVER ONCE required me to clean up first before coming to Him, that

why do we insist others do that to come to us??

I am saying I was.

Admitting it has opened my eyes.

Repentance wasn't a weight that has held me back- IT HAS SET ME FREE.


Whatever your habitual sin is: a life of promiscuity, adultery, lust, gossip, greed, malice, lying,

or like me gluttony.

God loves you. He wants to forgive you. Your sins have already been nailed to the cross.

Confess them to Him, and live FREE.

And always always alway remember; You are dearly loved.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Try Try Again

My Mother in Law is here  for a visit this week, so the kids and I have been cleaning machines over the weekend. (Nothing motivates cleaning quite like company)

My Sweet, Belle was in charge of the windows and doors.

The only trouble was she was spraying higher than she could reach.

 So, I told her she didn't have to get all the way to the top, just from where she could see down.
When she looked at me and said "I can do it Mom. I'll just aim higher and jump if I have to."

And she did.
Know what? It wasn't perfect. It was streaked in some places and some of the spray left in others.

But, that's ok. (There was a time in my life when that wouldn't have been ok. But perfection is such a useless pursuit. She learned more in the trying than she ever would have if I would have gone back and 'fixed' her work)

She aimed as high as she could and when she couldn't reach any higher, she jumped to try even more.

What a life lesson wrapped up in a little girl, a bottle of windex and a paper towel.

It's the trying that counts.

Let's all aim a little higher than we can reach this week, and jump if we have to. And if it's a little messier than we'd planned and not quite perfect. . .well, that's ok. You tried.

It's the trying that counts.

Practicing with you,

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

When Your Faith Squeaks Instead of Roars

Yesterday was difficult.

While news broke of political deals with Iran and body parts of precious babies being sold by

Planned Parenthood, a sweet childhood friend of mine passed away after her hard fought battle with

cancer.  She left behind a loving husband and six beautiful little children, grieving parents and big

sister and friends to numerous to count. And while I watched from the sidelines those closest to her

grieve, my heart shattered into pieces for them.

Yes, yesterday was difficult.

I found myself over and over throughout the day, thinking-praying, "Jesus, just please come and take

us home".

I was talking with a friend about everything going on and she said "Sometimes my GOD WINS roar

sounds more like a mouse squeaking,  and today is one of those squeaking days."

I could not stopping thinking about those words.

Yes, somedays it is easy to stand on our proverbial mountain tops and shout for the whole world to

 hear,"GOD WINS", but if you and I are very honest, somedays we are over in the corner, rocking

back and forth squeaking, whispering "God wins", as if we're trying to convince ourselves as much

as anyone else. And, we are. At least trying to remember.

Maybe that offends you. Maybe you've never faced a dark night of the soul. Maybe what is

happening in the world around you doesn't effect you the same way. Maybe the cruelty of death

has never snuck up on you. . .because I promise no matter how prepared you are that it is coming,

death is evil and wicked and is like a thief who leaves devastation in his wake.

But, here is what I've come to know and believe, God applauds and cherishes our squeaks and

whispers just as much, if not more than, our roars.

After all, it's easy to stand and roar when everything is easy. The sun is shining and life is good. Our

people are healthy and happy, the bank account is thick and friends are all around us.  Yes, of course,

we can stand and say with the confidence of a movie superhero's megavoice "GOD WINS".

But what happens when the storms come and life is difficult. Our people are sick and sad and anxiety

or disease has taken over, the bank account now has red ink instead of black and it's difficult to find a

friend.  If when -because it's always when not if-these things happen, and our voice gets a little

quieter and we find ourselves barely able to squeak out, "God wins" but still find the courage and

faith to whisper those words, I believe God stands and applauds.

Anyone can shout from the mountain top when life is easy, but it takes a faith that is down to our

marrow to proclaim this truth in the darkest night.  But, whether a roar, whisper or squeak you can

be assured that God hears it all.  And if life has beaten you up, you just keep whispering it over

and over-even if you think you're the only one who can hear it.

God sees you, your faith in the middle of the darkness is precious to Him.

And remember this, it is true. God does win.

No news cycle, betrayal, murder or death is a surprise to Him.

When you've cried all you can and then some more, and haven't slept for days, remember you're not

alone in this journey.

Psalm 56:8
You have kept count of my tossings;
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book?

Your tears are precious to him --every sleepless night--He knows and understands.

He has promised to make things right and to dry your tears.

Isaiah 25:8-9
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
    “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
    This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Hold on, keep waiting, and if you find yourself whispering instead of roaring during the waiting. . .

well, you just keep on whispering, someday --someday, you will be able to roar again.

God wins.

Yes. He does. And He WILL save His people.


Grace and Peace Precious One-You are dearly loved,

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

You Are Stronger Than You Think

I would tell you all the reasons why life has been utterly chaotic and overwhelming here at our

house, but it take more than one blog post.

I am guessing more than a few of you could tell me all the things in your life that are making it

that way for you too.

Life is so stinkin' hard and just messy and complicated sometimes, isn't it?

Watch the news for more than 5 minutes you might need to do some deep breathing into a paper bag.

The pain and hurt can wear a weary heart down.


Last week I was playing catch with my middle son  and he kept asking me to throw it

harder/farther.  I was trying to keep up, but finally just had to say, "Jude that's as far as I can go. I just

can't go any farther."

His response to me, "Come on Mom, you're stronger than you think!".

Well, you know that gave me the boost I needed to keep trying.

I have been playing those words over and over in my mind since he said them to me.

And, I want to share them with you too.


No matter what you're going through, you too can cling to those words.

Because here's the thing, we don't have to be strong in ourselves.

Jesus is our great I AM.  He is our everything.  In Him, we find our strength to keep moving, even

when life is beating us down.

You are stronger than you think.

On my own, I am a wimp.  A wobbly, unstable wimp.

But, in Jesus, well in Him you and I are made strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

You and I get to quit pretending like we have it all together. That somehow life is hard

for everyone else but us.  

It's ok to say "I'm a weak mess". 

Because we don't have to be strong in ourselves.

Isn't that freeing?!? I know it is for me.  Sometimes, I feel the most weak when I am

trying to pretend I am strong. Pretending can take a lot out of girl.

But in Jesus,  we are strong.

He is our strength. Our courage. Our determination. Our fortress when the world is closing


Psalm 61:1-3 Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
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,
for you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy.

You can do this.
Whatever your 'this' is.
God is on your side, lean on Him.  He is your strength.


Pressing on with you,

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Being Brave

For Mother's Day, my daughters class each planted their mom  a flower and then chose one word to

describe them.

I don't know what I expected, but what I received from that precious soul has not left me since

she presented me with my gift.

"Brave" I was stunned.

I OFTEN do not feel brave. In fact, I can name countless times that I have missed out on

something grand because I was a coward, more afraid of failure than of trying.

That's why her word stunned me so.

Of course, I had to ask my beautiful baby why she would pick "Brave" for me.

He answer was like a  hug right from God to my soul.

"You're brave because you keep doing the hard things even when you want to quit."

{She's been watching my weight loss journey. And although, I try and not have it be the topic of

 every conversation, she can see her mom shrinking, not eating what she used did before  and has

witnessed first had the elimination of Diet Coke from my life,

 and often joins me when I'm exercising. In other words she's

been paying  more attention than I thought, took stock of it and declared it brave How amazing it is

when our kids can see what we can't.}

One of the things that struck me about my sweet gift was that the flower she chose is a very ordinary

marigold. Of all the flowers the teacher had laid out for them to chose from, Belle picked the

most ordinary and common.  Of course, not to her, she thought it was beautiful.

What a picture of how God sees us.

The world and everyone around us may consider us ordinary and maybe even cowards, but He looks

right at the core of us, declares us beautiful, knows what we are facing and attempting to overcome

and He declares us Brave and Beautiful.


I bought a new workout shirt today. It says:


And really, isn't that the bravest thing of all to do?

No matter what you're facing.

If you're like me and you're trying to kick that fat demon to the curb, or you're going back to school,

maybe fighting for your marriage or a wayward child, maybe there's more month left than your

bank account would like, the list could go on and on.


Our bravery well indeed may be the most ordinary bravery of all, but do you know what it still is?

It is still Brave.

And just when you think no one sees how hard you're working or can possibly understand what

you're going through, I pray you'll get a little reminder just like I did. ( I even saved the tag so I can

remember when it becomes so easy to forget.)

God sees you, He's running your race right along side of you cheering you on along with all the other

saints that have gone before--what an amazingly powerful thought. One of my favorite verses is

Hebrews 12:1

 (The Message) Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! 

I am cheering you on as well.  We can do this!  

I refuse to let fear rule my life any longer-let's be brave together!

Cheering you on,

Monday, June 15, 2015

Roots and Wings

This past Saturday afternoon The Hubs and I attended the reunion of the school I grew up in.

Literally, preschool-12th grade I attended the same small Christian school that was also run by

the same church I grew up in and where I found Jesus.

I had been thinking about those faithful souls who began that church 40+ years ago and their

faithfulness in following Jesus lead to my Mother finding Jesus and then myself.

Brother Al and Ms Janie our affectionate names for them growing up.

Those were special times in the early years of my church.  Love and Friendship flowed easily.

At least from the perspective of my tender eyes. Not perfect of course, because you know-People

were involved-but where a young mom could come with out judgement over clothes or background,

never hearing of Jesus before and have her life forever  changed.

During this time another family became oh so important in my life, in more ways than I could ever

imagine as a child.  They became my parents mentors and their youngest daughter my closest

confidant, Barbie Doll sharer and game player.  We traded Friday and Saturday's at each other homes

and we were basically inseparable.  Then the summer before 7th grade year, they heard God's call on

them to become missionary to the military in Germany.

I was devastated.  Cried and Cried and Cried some more.

The summer I turned 15 I was allowed to fly over by myself (BY MYSELF-I felt so glamorous and

mature) and visit them.

It was life changing.

I feel in love with the country and the people who they served.

Then when I was 19/20 and stumbling along to find my way as one is prone to do, this precious

couple, graciously allowed my to come over and live in their basement apartment and work in the


That's where I met the cutest airman I have ever seen and 23 years later he still makes my heart go

pitter patter.

If they wouldn't have made the difficult choice to move across the ocean, leaving two of their grown

children and one brand new grandson, my life (and many many others) would look so much


Brother Eddie and Mrs Buford-without their faithfulness to follow I would not have my 4 biggest blessings.


 When you grow up in a certain type of church or environment,  it can become easy to look back

and remember what was wrong or what you don't agree with or that we didn't like.

Easier still to remember who was unkind or not Christ like or used God as a weapon.  Very easy.

To sit in judgement of grace and mercy that wasn't given, to things that were taught as 'theology'

when really they were just opinions.  But, talking with all those patient teachers who loved us well,

and sacrificed much for us-who still remembered us after ALL these years. . .well, it was just 

touching to my soul.  

And what a reminder to give as much grace as I'd like to receive.  To pray that my children would

think of me one day and only remember the good and forgive the bad.


Yesterday, as The Hubs and I taught our precious kindergartners in Sunday School, I thought 

again of those roots I had just been reminded of. . .all those Sunday School teachers who poured 

God's Word into my heart, who gave so much of their time and talents to us all.

And I was grateful for those roots.   Those roots have given me my wings to fly.

Remembering all those friends who were so vital to my only-child life, who's smiles I would 

recognize anywhere-there is a blessing that comes from remembering and honoring your roots.

And while there where things and a (few) people who left scars-I'm even grateful for those.

Those to help you remember.  And cause you to love and give grace freely.


While their were many I didn't get to see Saturday, who I may never see again this side of heaven,

know that you were thought of fondly and missed and you will always hold a special place in the 

corner of my heart.


These are my roots
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.(KJV)

These are my wings

Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God. (NIV)

And I am thankful for both.  Things, places or people don't have to be perfect for us to be

thankful and grateful for them--thank the Lord, since I am so far from perfect.  

Thankful for those who loved and taught me well.

And how it good it was to remember.

Grace and Peace,

Friday, June 12, 2015


This past week and half we have had some major tree removal happening in our backyard.

Four large pine trees and one 30ft tall locust tree that had been there for about 60 years.

Let's just say it did not want to go quietly into that dark night.

But, truth be told that thing, as giant as it was, had been dead a long time.

However, it may have been dead but it sure has left a lot of left overs.

Yes, all of that from one tree.

And the sawdust. Oh My Stars, it is everywhere.

So what does one do with enough wood to last them their entire lives and that of their children's?

With some pieces so large it takes two grown men to move?

Well, some we will burn, some we will turn into other things and thankful most will be carried off by friends.

Needless to say, "the tree" and it's after effects have been foremost in my mind this week, and last

night while out walking I got to thinking about it and "ALL THE WOOD".

What struck me is how "The Tree" is a lot like sin our lives.

It may be dead to us, and maybe it's taken us a long time to chop it down, but we've finally done it.

But in doing so, it's left a woodpile in it's wake.

We don't want it there.  But, it's there none the less.

And the woodpile, while it doesn't look as dangerous as the dead tree, it sure can have it's own pitfalls.

If you've chopped down a sin in your life, how do you make sure there are no 'woodpiles' left.

Oh  your sin it's been forgiven. But, it's not enough for us to just 'chop' it down, we've got to get rid of

all the remains, otherwise we're just in for a different type of pain.

Burn that pile that is left.  Sin has consequences, fall out, whether is 'giant logs' or 'sawdust' get it out.

Call a friend, a pastor, a counselor if you need to -but get ride of it.

Because you know what that leftover pile could easily turn into?

An alter.

And while we may never grow that particular sin so high and large again, we keep it's remembrance

right there where we can see it, can think about it.

Maybe that might mean walking away from relationships, or getting off social media, changing where

you hang out or what you watch.  I don't know. It's different for every person.  But, I do know that

I have seen lives destroyed, not just from "the tree" (sin) but from the leftover "woodpile" as well.

You'd be surprised at the amount of angst that tree has given me this past week.  Getting it out wasn't

quick or easy or cheap. And coming home and seeing that ginormous amount of wood left me

breathless and anxious.   But, now after God whispering these thoughts into my heart last night I can

honestly say that I'm glad for the trouble and the mess it's left.  What a reminder for me to get the

woodpile and sawdust out of my own life.  I pray it helps be a reminder for you as well.

Grace and Peace,