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,