Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Beauty In The Ordinary

If you're on Facebook much you might think that everyone you know has exceptionally gifted children, both academically and athletically, they've either just come from or are heading to some fabulous destination. . .


If you're on Twitter much, you might believe that everyone you follow is always headed to some fabulous conference-or is the speaker at the fabulous conference, has the ability to always craft meaningful, life giving statements in 140 characters  or less.

It seems there is no room for ordinary anymore.

I always describe myself as an ordinary girl.

I live in Kansas. Not on a ranch. Not on the prairie. No Dorothy is not my neighbor.
Middle of the country, middle of the 'burbs.

I have one great husband.  We've been married 22 years.  I still think he's cute.
He's  not a pastor, not a deacon, not a Sunday School teacher.
He's the hardest working mailman you'll ever meet.

I have three amazing kids.
Funny, smart, cute as all get out, and yes -sassy at times.
Only God knows what they'll grow up to be, and I'm sure those little (BIG) personalities He's given each one of them will be used for His glory someday.
However, as of right now, I don't have the star of the team.

And you know what-it's ok.

As a culture, we've somehow become afraid of the ordinary.

As if by having dinner together as a family, attending church on Sunday-not in  a uniform mind you-will somehow hold our kids back.

Ordinary has become a code word for failure.

You know what I've found though?

In the middle of all ordinariness, there are extraordinary moments everywhere.

Instead of being consumed with worry over the ordinary, and somehow think if we just try harder, push ourselves-or better yet are kids even more we can fight our way out of our ordinary days, why not embrace it?

You know what I saw out my ordinary window, of my ordinary house, in my ordinary suburban neighborhood of Kansas the other day?


Ordinarily beautiful.

Or if I was so wrapped in who my kids weren't or aren't yet, I might have missed this:

A picture my daughter took after she ran into the house asking for my phone because she saw something so beautiful she needed to take a picture of it. She was right.

A brother teaching his little sister how to shoot a basket-and the JOY of it FINALLY going through the hoop!

In our modern world, the comparison game is easier to play and harder to overcome than ever before.

But, let's try.

Embrace the ordinary- you never know what beauty you'll find there.

Blessings from my ordinary, beautiful mess!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Children Of The Day

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you know that I've been apart of the launch team for Beth Moore's newest in-depth Bible study, "Children of the Day".

It is officially in stores NOW.
After being allowed to read portions of this newest study, I can tell you that I am so excited to dig deep into 1 and 2 Thessalonians (what the study is covering) and also hear the testimonies of lives that have changed after they've completed the study.

Which is why we "do" Bible study (my Bible study group could quote this verbatim because I say it to them all the time). We never do Bible study to say we did it, we do it so it can change us-otherwise what's the point? We don't want to just be 'good little Bible study girls', we want to be women rooted deep into God's word, unable for the trials of this life to shake us!

Looking back over my life, there have been positive influences that  have pushed me toward Jesus and knowing Him on a deeper level, but I would have to say that Beth Moore is in the top 5 (and the only one who I don't know personally, although I feel like we'd be fast friends (grin) )
She has a way of teaching that can get you to see a Scripture you've maybe known your whole life, in a brand new and deeper way.
But, don't call me a groupie-I hate that.
I'm encouraging you to do the study, not just because it's Beth, but because I think it could change your life-or at least how you view your life.

I would encourage you to not only buy the study, but to either get a group of girlfriends together and do the study together,  or find a church in your area that is offering the study and sign up-- and above all else -DO THE HOMEWORK!

Yes, it can be difficult and overwhelming, but it can also be life changing. And,  no, not because Beth Moore wrote it, but because anytime you study the Word of God in depth, ready to hear from Him- He won't disappoint!

If you're in my area, we'd love to have you at our study, which will begin in September.

If you'd like to know more about this study or other Bible study resource materials you can find it at

If you have any questions, I'd love to hear them or tell me your favorite Bible study that the Lord has used to change you!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day

I received an email asking me what my thoughts were on Christians and Earth Day.

Here are just a few thoughts  that I have rolling around in my head:

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Psalm 24:1-2

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

"This Is My Father's World"
By Maltbie Babcock

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise. This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair; In the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done: Jesus Who died shall be satisfied, And earth and Heav’n be one.
This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face. I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.” This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above, The Beloved One, His Only Son, Came—a pledge of deathless love.
This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad? The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad. This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound, For dear to God is the earth Christ trod. No place but is holy ground.
Enjoy the world He gave us, care for it, be thankful for the beauty of it.
Turn off a light, recycle your trash, plant a tree and remember it's a gift from your Creator to point us to Jesus.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Time Flies

Eleven years ago today our second born entered the world.

His arrival was nothing if not eventful. . .
Not much has changed.

And every year I join with every  mom around the world when I say, I have no idea how he got this big this fast.

But he did.

So today, we celebrate you Jude Michael.

Lover of all things fast, silly and noisy.
Video game player,  risk taker, basketball shooter, bicycle racer, little sister teaser, big brother conspirator, Mimi lover, cookie snatcher, deep thinker, Jesus worshiper, wild man with a tender heart.

In my mind you'll always be this little guy

Love you, Fearless Boy and I'm proud to be your Momma!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Because You've Got To Have Friends

Today my precious friend is turning 40!

We've been friends since we were young, elementary age girls.

The older I get the more I realize what a rare treasure it is to have someone in your life that long, that isn't there just because you're related to them but  because you genuinely love each other!

She's more Sister than friend though.
Growing up, my dad, began calling her Little Wendy-I really don't know why-and it stuck.
My kids call her Aunt Wendy.
And many call her a blessing.

She knows all my secrets, all my lows and highs, my dreams.
We've laughed all through the night together and cried some too.

We've been there for broken hearts by silly boys, high school graduations, send offs to college, weddings and births of babies wondering if we'd survive the toddler years to now lamenting over our teenagers.

I watched her and and her precious family pack up and leave to go serve in Ghana Africa and I was there to welcome them home after they'd left a piece of their hearts there.

She's my biggest cheerleader and my mighty prayer warrior.

She shines  the love of Jesus wherever she goes.

I am so blessed and privileged to call her my  friend.

Little Wendy, I couldn't love you more if you were my sister.
What a true blessing you've been to me these 30+ years!
Thanks for still being my friend even when I wouldn't let you call your mom to pick you up from World's of Fun even though you were miserable and had the chicken pox, just so we could see the Michael W Smith concert-the second time.
For not wrecking my car when I let you drive it at 14.
For being my courage when I've had none, for letting me vent when I needed to.
Thank you for being my secret keeper, for loving me unconditionally and for being my prayer warrior!
The world is a better place because you're in it-
I pray blessing upon blessing over you and that this really will be your best year yet!

Wendy's precious family serving in Ghana

Love you so much!


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Privilege of Femininity

*This article was submitted to the magazine "Hello Darling", a publication of MOPS International.
They were asking writers to tackle the topic of 'femininity' and all it's different aspects for their upcoming summer issue.
Here is my entry. It's  a difficult thing to summarize in 450 words, but this is my best effort.
If you have a girl in your life, or it speaks to you down in the depths of your heart please share on Facebook and Twitter, and I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know your experience whether with your daughter or your own journey.

“Momma can girls be president?” a question recently posed to me by my seven year old daughter.

“Of course, Baby!” was my  instant reply.

A few seconds of silence from the backseat, then almost incredulously, “Have there been any girl presidents?” she asked.

I think I might have groaned just a little on the inside, as I slowly replied, “well, no.”

Then, of course, the inevitable, “why?”.

The conversation went on a few more minutes ending with her declaration and my affirmation that indeed she COULD be the first female president.

A few days later a taunt on the playground, ‘you’re just a girl!” 
And the question of why would someone say that to be mean.

So, what do we tell our girls?

What do I tell MY girl?
And my two boys?

Deeper still what do I tell myself.

I’m an ordinary woman and mom, my thoughts aren’t generated from a textbook or seminar, but they are what I tell my baby girl, and yours, and all of us Daughters of the King.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
We each have unique gifts and personalities that God gave us.
And one of those special gifts is our gender.

Being a girl is not a curse.
It’s not an obstacle to overcome, not something to hide or pretend doesn’t matter
or that makes no difference in our lives.
It’s what makes us who we are.
While we may do things differently, it doesn’t mean we do them worse.

Being a girl is a blessing that can give you a unique perspective on what is happening around you.

And while the world may be screaming at you to be soft and sultry one minute and hard as stone the next; to sexualize your femininity  to gain everything you can, or pretend you are gender neutral the next-

Your Creator says, you are perfect exactly as you are.
I saw you before you were formed. I do not make mistakes.

Gentleness is not weakness, femininity  is nothing to fear or hide.

Embrace who you are.

Know that no matter what the media says, what society says, what boys or even other girls say-You are enough.

 Be smart, funny, inquisitive, tough when called for and tender when it counts, be a great friend and a good listener.
Get your hair done and wear lip gloss, get pedicures and wear fun dresses-
Or don’t.
But, never apologize for being a girl. 

Don’t hide your light.
Shine and be the amazing girl God created you to be-don’t hide it embrace it.

First Female President, or Momma loving her babies well, and everything in between being a girl is exactly who you were created to be.

Friday, April 11, 2014

5 for Friday

Here are Five things I'm loving right now.

Check them out and let me know what you think.

1) Mercy Me has been a staple in our house since "I Can Only Imagine" was released.
But, I believe their newest release may be their best work yet. "Welcome to the New" is fresh, fun and full of faithful truths.
You can check it out here

or download from iTunes. Totally worth the money!

2) My Bible study group is finishing up our Spring semester. We introduced a new (to us) author and couldn't be more pleased that we did.
I have followed Lisa Harper for a couple of years but this is the first study of her's that I've done.
Follow her journey on Facebook or Twittter -you won't be sorry!
And if you're looking for a summer Bible study, check out Malachi- A Love That Never Let's Go.

If you've been in church a long time, you probably associate Malachi with tithing. Oh it is so much-SO MUCH more than what we've reduced it down to.

3) Ok, I'm fully aware that is next one is nothing new.
However, watching them again-through the eyes of our daughter, just brought back such great memories of growing up, and OH MY WORD I have yet to NOT cry through an episode!
We were able to pick the first season at our local library.

4) If you've never listened to anything by Anthony Evans you are totally missing out.
Son of Dr Tony Evans, sister of Priscilla Shirer, he is great in his own right.
Talented worship leader and amazing vocalist (He was on The Voice) he released a brand new album this week and it's a great one! Real Life/Real Worship totally worth the download!
Check it out here or iTunes.

5) Spring has come to the midwest!
These are my favorite trees that are blooming everywhere in our neighborhood right now


Absolutely gorgeous  and a blessed reminder of new life!

Anything new you're enjoying right now? I'd love to hear about it!

Happy Spring,

Friday, April 4, 2014

Art and the Artist

A friend was talking about Christians and "Art" on Facebook the other day and having quite the discussion with several of his friends.  I even chimed in a couple of times, even though I'm a simple Midwest girl who tends to  be a little pollyannaish (look I made up a word) about things sometimes.

The main point of the conversation was the 'commerciality' of so called Christian art, and how basically Christians will buy or consume just about anything if it has a 'message' or produced by a fellow Christian.  The topic ranged from music to movies to paintings and everything in between.
He tends to see the capitalism  for the masses for the  products that are consumed and can be a bit cynical about their actual good when it comes to reaching people for Jesus-which in the end is often why these things are being produced.
Lamenting the production value of popular works in most genres or the lack of popularity of what would be considered more higher forms of art.

I really mulled that conversation over and over in my mind.
Because, listen I get the serious CHEESE factor that "Christian Art" can have.  I have cringed my way through some movies that others around me raved about and churches bought out theaters of seats for.
I have painfully finished books I was sure weren't worth the paper they were written on.

I have listened to some Christian music and wondered how in the world they got a recording contract, wondered if all the deep thinkers were gone and is THIS really what we're calling music.

But, I've also heard others speak in awe of how God used that very same music, book or movie to inspire them, make them want to follow Jesus more closely and even bring to the point where they want to follow Him for the first time.

I will never forget being a Freshman in an Uber conservative Christian collage where only certain types of music were allowed (classical and high church music-artsy if you will) and putting my clock radio (yes I am that old) under my pillow to listen to the local Christian radio station or a tape I had smuggled in. . .that music gave me a life line and a hope. . .that I did fit in somewhere even when I didn't fit the mold there. That Christians weren't all the same and that was ok, that grace would win over man made rules.
That same music is mocked and made fun of by those with a higher brow view of art. But, I can speak first hand of how it really did bring me closer to Jesus.

So, even though it's difficult (sometimes, more than others) I'm making a challenge to myself, not to knock other's art. While I may wish production value was better, lyrics more thought out, style somehow different, I have seen first hand how God can use anything He wants to bring people to Him or to help them grow.  And who in the world am I to argue with that?

Perhaps, all "Christian art" will always have harsher critics (because let's face it there's a lot of garbage produced and consumed every day by the masses in every genre) because we will always be compared to the great Divine Artist himself.
After all we live in a world created out of his Holy Imagination-who else but an amazing artist could paint the sky, prairie grasses, mountain tops and oceans with colors so vibrant and deep?
Who else but the Divine Artist could chisel a man out of dust?

The debate will go on, and I'm ok with that-people smarter than me have devoted their lives to such things, just for me this is what I am deciding to do.

And listen--

Whether you ever pick up a paint brush, write a word, sing one note of  a song, we are all part of the greatest masterpiece of all time.

We are the art.

Our value doesn't come from those who think our art worthy or not.  Our value comes from the Artist himself.

Live out your masterpiece,