BOOK REVIEW:Thrive by Mark Hall

This book  has two sections

DIGGING DEEPER

and

REACHING OUT

Mark Hal, lead singer of the band Casting Crowns paints a beautiful picture of what Thriving looks like!  Like the tree on the front cover Mark challenges every single believer to grow deep in your faith, but it’s only when you have that deep ness that you can then reach out and give from those roots!   

Reaching out as Mark states “is the way we  sow the world we belong to Jesus”

I would be lying if I said this is an easy read!   Not that is horribly written or biblically unsound, BUT, that it challenges cut to the inner struggles we all face!  Each chapter takes some working through.

One of my most favorite quotes  from the entire book (and there are Soooooo many gems) comes right from Chapter 3 Unknowns

The more I looked at Scripture the more I found broken people rather than whole people-people like Moses, David,Peter, and Mary. I see how the weak overcome the strong. The poor have an easier time getting into heaven, than the rich.  Everything the world calls success I didn’t find in the Word, and I learned that God takes you just as you are.

When you finally get your brain wrapped around that one statement, your perspective changes, and so does your life!  This book gets five stars!    It’s challenging to the core, but the amount of growth it invokes is amazing!

Dreams Change…….

As a kid I LOVED ANIMALS!

Every animal…..there were a few that I held an even deeper fondness for, are you ready for this?

Whales

Dolphins

Frogs

Turtles

Lizards

Koalas

Pandas

Moneys (specifically Chimpanzees)

I still have a major dream to swim with Dolphins.   I loved the series Voyage of the Mimi!   I wanted to be a Marine Biologist! I loved Biology…..and science in general.   My interest was made even deeper by a trip to inner harbor Maryland!  AMAZING! That’s where I met Taz in my first Dolphin show!  (Yes I had just completed 7th or 8th grade and I can still remember the dolphins name but not what year of school I had finished!)

But until in college had never been to a zoo!   My now hubby took me to my first one!   And on our honey moon we went to 6!!!!

I am simply amazed by God’s creation!

I have been to major zoos all over the east coast, you could say it’s kind of a hobby!  But at some point (not really sure when exactly) but God changed my heart from working with animals to working with people. I know exactly when I wanted to be a pastors wife, but that took 2 1/2 years of college!  Truth be told that’s when I said yes to God, but I had really been wrestling with it for almost 5 1/2 years.  It started with a love for serving…I did everything.  I laugh at what I did as a teenager, if I was asked I did it!  

Then came a missions oppertunity.   I had never ever left the country before…..and this, this was huge!  I so desperately wanted to be a missionary and I did for 6 AMAZING weeks! And then I came home and suffered what is called reverse culture shock.  Add culture shock as I moved into a girls dorm 10 days later ( I was a Tom boy!). I just wanted to go back AND FAST!

But that’s not what God had planned!  He closed doors to return!   I was very sad!  Then came a really awesome inner city kids ministry!  This country girl felt strangely at home.   I attached myself to youth ministry,.   But that slowly morphed, though it is still a favorite that wasn’t what God wanted.  Then came along this guy, now I’m not one of those girls who said sure I will be a pastors wife BECAUSE. You are going to be a pastor.  God brought us together both not wanting to be in a pastoral position, but both of us, yielding to God’s plan for our lives.   And then through our friendship God brought us to a place of wanting to serve Him in Pastoral ministry.  Though it took me a little longer because when I figured out that my friend was “the one” I ran.  I tried to get my roommate interested in him…..I didn’t want to get hurt again!   

But you can’t get very far when God is holding the back of your shirt!  AND ta-Da here I am….Pastor’s wife!

Wordless Wednesday-April 23

Laundry…..at church?

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Homemaker MondayApril 22

As I look outside my window::SUNNY!  We are supposed to be in the 70s today!   Birds chirping…peepers peeping!   Love the spring!

Right now I am:::sitting on the couch getting ready to do all of our planning for the next month
.
Thinking and pondering::: about how this week off with the kiddos will hold!   And looking forward to it!
.
On my bedside table:::planning notebook and iPad, along with tissues and candle bases

On my tv tonight:::nothing

Listening to:::ladybug playing with Daffy

On the menu for this
Monday-BBQ pittas with tater tots and corn
Tuesday -baked potato soup
Wednesday -pasta
Thursday – hot dogs and French fries
Friday – )PIZZA
Saturday -hamburgers and potatoes salad
Sunday -meatloaf and roasted veggies and potatoes

On my to do list:::
.placnning on every level

Baby shower present finished

House back in order and spring cleaning

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::

Cute baby shower present…will share when finished

An up cycle dress shirt dress for ladybug

My simple pleasure:::sunshine!   It’s rough during the winter around here so I take extra time in the spring to soak in extra

Lesson learned the past week:::SIMPLICITY is far more fun…for everyone

Looking around the house:::MESSY!   Busy weeks are not my friend

From the camera:::

Just as we were getting settled for our Passover remember acne this glowed up through our window!

Prayer List:::a lot of sick friends and family

Spiritual growth 

Struggles 

 

Bible verse, Devotional:::Philippians 1:9-11

Philippians 1:9 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. (MSG)

.

Simplicity on Sundays

 

Most people in the world around me look at Sunday as a day off, a time to relax. Not so for us! But we knew that as we accepted the call to be a pastors family so long ago! Simplicity is what we try to embrace  every Sunday

But for THAT. Very reason is why I don’t blog on Sundays! On any given day of the week it is less stressful. So that being said while ALMOST ALL of my amazing blogging friends either wrote yesterday or had a blog post already set up to post, I have chosen to write the day after. As we reflected on Christ pretty much all week….as we celebrated Passover, then to Good Friday then all through the weekend, the one thing I cherished most was SIMPLICITY! And isn’t that so true about the gospel.

I think it struck the most yesterday as the two youngest and I waited in my husbands office while everyone was at sunrise service held at a local lake! Little bean is finishing up his first year as an AWANA Cubbie, and one of their first verse they learn is “God loved us and sent his Son”. Pure and simple! So as we sat in there he pulled book after book off of my husbands shelves and said…..”God loved us and sent His Son”. Every book said that according to him! But those books all predominantly carried that message. That was THE. Message of the day. It ends in a victory over the grave. It ends with Jesus fulfilling prophecies

One man was sent to seek and save the lost! He was born in a manger…….lived his life with one passion……died for that passion…….had victory over death for that passion…..And lives! That passion is US! We are the reason He came, lived, died…and rose again!

No Easter bunny
No candy
No baskets
No eggs
No planting jelly beans
No new outfits
No toys…….

These things aren’t bad….not at all.
But are they robbing us of the simplicity?

We do some of the things above. I’m not saying we shouldn’t . I am saying that we in all of our humanness complicate things. We are called to be like children….simple faith. I picture little bean sitting on Jesus’ knee saying with promise filled eyes “God loved us and sent His Son”

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday-March 26, 2014

1 KITT (classic Knoght Rider)

2. Tank

3. Cell Phone

My #RGTHOPE Story

So I bet you are guessing what #RGTHOPE is right?

Well does this make more sense?

It was a mom’s conference held this past weekend in Corning NY.

BUT, my hope journey doesn’t start there.  It actually started a little over a year ago, when I was one of 26.000 people who downloaded Hope For The Weary Mom for free!  Earlier that fall it became  very clear that our life was changing.  Our then four year old son took a nosedive…in pretty much everything.  It was a super dark time!   We kept his issues a secret for as long as we could, we felt so defeated.  

I as a mom felt like I was failing in every area…everything felt as though I was literally one half step from the looney bin!   

So one night an offer came across my FB newsfeed about this great new ebook that was free for the first two dayside of its launch week….I snagged my copy and moved on, but unlike all the others I didn’t forget…it sat on my iPad beckoning my name…calling me.

Jump ahead to January 2013.  I again saw promptings  come across my newsfeed about this online book club …GUESS WHAT BOOK!  Yep you guessed it…HOPE FOR THE WEARY MOM!  I was two weeks late in joining, but I caught up quickly.  I’m not gonna lie, the book is hard! GOD REALLY DID MEET ME IN MY MESS!

On more than one occasion it got ugly…..I was broken, with guilt of a ton of things heaped on me.  I was hearing a lot of “you caused this”.  ”Getting a label like this will ruin his life”. “It’s because he got this when he was a baby” “it’s all in your imagination”. “He doesn’t look like anything is wrong with him”. “Well he is always so good for me”.   

I remember one day in particular, I was alone in the house, sun streaming through the windows of my living room.  I sat cross-legged on the green well broken in very comfy couch, iPad in hand.  Within minutes I was crying…and I mean all out, major ugly.  It was at that very moment the Grace of God was enough.   I knew that even if  I couldn’t meet anyone else’s  expectations because of the sacrifice of Jesus made on my behalf, I was good enough.  

And through my brokenness, my weakness, I started looking at my circumstances differently.  I took a stand for my son and I have chosen to fight for him.

Fast forward to September.  Just before another conference I became aware of Raising Generations today….I loved what it stood for!  And then I met September,…September McCarthy that is!   I heard her heart.  I saw her passion and spark, was lit!   

My fantastic hubby okay-ed the conference and when I found out that Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin were both going to do workshops at RGT I was over the moon excited! Not because they are authors but because they were so real in their book that you felt as though you have been best friends forever!

Again let’s fast forward to two weeks before the conference.  All of a sudden I became very emotional….not hormones this time people…I was excited yes, but as I look back I think God was making my heart tender.  We dodged a babysitting issue.  And then 3 days before the conference and it hit…this incredible fog.   I couldn’t put two thoughts together to make any sense!   I was dreading leaving…I had a TON of work to do before the conference.  The kids didn’t want us to go…yeah my hubby came too!  (That was the first time they ever  objected to our going away) not that we go that often….we are talkin Christmas of 2012..and hubby and I had the stomach flu…THE ENTIRE TIME! (Hmmmmm).   So on Friday I had to get the kids off to school, instructions for 2 sets of babysitters. Housework to complete, menu….food prep…all to leave by 9:45 ….we had Spa Appointments…hubby was treating me to my first manicure since my senior banquet in high school!

On the way our now 6 year old autistic son had a day off school.  He screamed for the first 30 minutes of the trip.  I nearly lost it and cancelled the whole trip.  My hubby made me push forward. A quick stop at a favorite store of mine…..then a peaceful rest of the trip to catch my ride.

We walked Market street

We checked it.

I went to my nail appointment.  Nope they told me 2:30.   They put me in at 2:15.   I guess I was supposed to get a reminder phone call, that didn’t happen!   No appointment.  I made it to my hotel room before I burst into tears.  The problem was this. EXPECTATIONS.  I had all these expectations.  Expectations are good and all, but sometimes they can become idols!  Silly ones at that.   Perfection is the most unrealistic expectation we can have!   Whether that be of someone else or ourselves.

There are a ton of expectations I had mostly for myself and you know what not one of them came true!  Ironic right!   So I went to dinner!   AND again was blessed over and above.  September spoke on the many faces of motherhood!   The women who spoke in the mom panel were AMAZING! I won a prize!     All that other stuff melted away.  AND THEN……Shaun Groves led worship!   PEACE!  PEACE was the theme for my weekend!   Despite knowing my 6 year old had gotten injured….I slept…PEACEFULLY!   

Day two wasAMAZING! I met Stacey and Brooke!  Stacey greeted me with a huge hug as though we really had been friends forever instead of a little less than a year…on FB!   And then, the most amazing thing happened.  I watch a small confrence room grow full…with all seats taken, these moms began to sit on the floor…they filled the floor……there were literally women standing in the hall straining to hear the hope they had to share!  It blessed my heart to see I was not alone in my weariness!  Again peace filled me!   Abundant blessings…amazing testimonies!   Joy, Hope, Grace….flooded the weekend….every nook and cranny!

Sometimes as moms we spend Sooooo much time feeding our families, whether in the physical or the spiritual, we forget to feed ourselves!   So I encourage you take part in whatever you can!   For as one of my professors said……”you can’t give what you don’t have”

BLESSINGS!

 

 

Everyday Hypocrisy

I once knew a man named Andy.   We worked together.  He was the huge, scary type.  You know the type…ex-military man who did crazy stuff, and though we worked in a Christian setting Andy didn’t know Jesus.   Andy was, like me, a people watcher.  One day Andy and I had a discussion it went something like this

ANDY- Why are you so different than everybody else here?   As soon as someone finds out I’m not a believer they try to save me.  But then I see how they treat other people.  I see how they act and what they talk about.  I hear them complain and act as though they are better than everyone else, but you, you’re different.  You don’t try to change me.  You treat others with respect…..( at this point my eyes kinda glazed over).  

When he was finished, I mustered a thank you.  I expressed that sometimes I fail.  I didn’t have it all together and then I said that my words were not what I wanted to point to Jesus, but my life, my actions.  My reLationship with Jesus was just beginning to blossom in such a way that I never had expected.  The above conversation happened during the summer.   

I had a lot of fun working that job during the summer but then came September……a whole new animal!  I found myself working nearly 12 hour days, 5 days a week.  I would start at 5 and get 10 minutes to eat breakfast at 8 and then work non-stop until 2:30 most days when I would get lunch….and then would clean up my stations and be done between 3;30 and 4. But because I could not drive I was stuck until sometimes 10 or 11 at night.

I struggled….A LOT!   A few weeks in I got incredibly sick….they gave me one day off but then I had to be back in, but because the nature of that job I had to be put into a different facet until I was better.  It wasn’t long after that I found out I was doing the jobs it took 3 people to do  the year prior.   During this time we believe I suffered a miscarriage!   But because of insurance issues could not get an appointment.  I was beginning to struggle mentally, physically, and emotionally.   Then started the criticism by one of my fellow employees.  She cricized everything I did…not fast enough, not good enough.  ”You need to do it this way” and at one point reemed  me out in front of a HUGE. Group of people.   I had bright spots!  Like John and Andy who witnessed these things….john would sing, Sweet Mary sunshine, when he saw me, and one day the two guys standing cracking eggs at an amazing pace, said ” it’s time to welcome you to the family, hold out your hands”.  I naively held out my hands in which they promptly squished two raw eggs.

They would utter words of encouragement in passing.

But then one day hubby didn’t have to work so he picked me up early.  It was mid -October and I remember  the setting sun, and sitting in the car, just sobbing.   I was at the end of my rope.  I poured out my heart in the midst of deep sobs.  Finally as my bestest friend held me.  He told me, ” as of October 31, you will be a stay -at -home wife.  I never wanted you to go out to work anyway! Give your two week notice tomorrow!”   I. Was. Floored. 

The next two weeks Flew by.  I had soooooo many friends I would miss!   These men and women challenged me deeply.  Including Old Chocolate Lips ( just writing that makes me smile). So the last day came……I hugged and said goodbye to everyone……I fought in my heart to not even acknowledge the one who had caused so much strife…..I didn’t want to, after all I wasn’t going to miss her…at all! But my feet moved in what felt like slow motion across the room.   And in that same feeling I uttered “goodbye—-” and we hugged.  She left and within a splint second  I felt this strong grip on my arm asI Was whirled around to find, big scary Andy with tears in his eyes.   “That,” he said “was the greatest act of Christian love I have ever seen”.  And at that it was over!   I was floored.  

At this point I didn’t understand the ramifications.

It wasn’t until a year and a half later I was expecting our first baby when a friend from that job called.  She told me she had a gift for us from Andy to drop off.  I had no idea what it was.  He had gone to the store and picked it all out, and she was going to pick it up for him and drop it off.   Well the day came she dropped it off.   What was it…a CRIB…..AND THE MATTERESS, AND CRIB SHEETS.   It was beautiful.   And for 6 years that crib served as an everyday reminder to first pray for Andy and his relationship with Jesus and secondly the cost of my actions and how I treat people.  

Now I say all of this not to build me up…..remember I didn’t want to.  I fought it!   And I am guilty as is everyone else of this everyday hypocrisy.  It’s all around us.  My most recent encounter was this weekend I sat at a table with a mom who went on and on about why she chose to not do something involving her kids…she vented about how people judged her because she opted out of this.  And in the very next breath she ranted about those who did choose this option for their kids thus judging them…”how could they possibly do this to them”

I have been told that listening to specifics types of Christian music because it wasn’t God honoring all while the person had on music that gloried getting drunk and cheating on ones spouse.

I have been taught that you should be in church every time the door is open…but only if you are not too tired, too late, don’t feel like it…and the list goes on and on and on.

And a few months ago I wrote a blog post about pet peeves and how we don’t have the right to air them as we please and not two weeks ago in expressing frustration those two ugly little words came spilling out my mouth and of course hubby was there to remind me of what I had written!  Ugh don’t you hate that!  I tried to defend myself but it was useless he was right.  

How many times as parents do we say. “You shouldn’t watch that because…….” fill in any number of not so good things and then as soon as the kids are in bed we pop in something that is worse.

Or we take a stand on something that God’s word talks about…say cheating on your spouse, and then our post on Facebook goes something like this “can’t wait for the season premiere of……..” Insert whichever show fits your fancy that has sexual immorality laced throughout it.

This is the very type of everyday hypocrisy Andy was talking about.  It was THOSE very things that kept him from wanting what others claimed they had….and insisted he needed.  The thing is he already had all those things.   

I was told going into the job “you need to watch out for Andy.  He will chew you up and spit you out. That’s what happens to all the newbies”.  

You know that the little people in our homes are exactly the same way…..I love them for it too.  It keeps my swelled head mostly deflated  ” Well mom you say that”.  Said one child after being reprimmanded for saying “oh poop”   Point taken!

 

February 27, 2014- 27 Million

Today there are estimated 27 Million million sex and labor slaves across the world.

Girls are being kidnapped and family members are selling loved ones into this detestable life!

That’s astronomical….THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE!

That is roughly 100,000 more people  than THE ENTIRE STATE OF TEXAS!

So here’s what I am doing….
I’m sharing this……
End it

I did this…..

A red x on your hand shows support for thos 27 million who are suffering in unimaginable situation.  It serves as a visible reminder to pray for those whose lives have been stolen from them!

Secondly I want to share with you the project that Worship leaders Matt and Beth Redman along with LZ7  have been working on….Today February 27, 2014 marks the release date of the co-work entitled 27 million that shares the true story of a young girl in the human trafficking industry.   I encourage you to go to iTunes and download this song!   It’s powerful!   

The Redmans are working with an organization called A21 which not only works to prosecute traffickers but also works to rehabilitate the girls rescued for these horrifying situations!  Won’t you show your support by purchasing this song, and be bold, put that red X on your hand!   

Buy it here

And I will leave you with the lyrics 

27 Million (Matt and Beth Redman and LZ7)

(Come on!)
{It astounds me that not only does human trafficking exist on the earth today, but there are actually more slaves than there have ever been before in the history of humanity. Its almost incomprehensible.}
See what the worlds done?
Came to London, she’s a nothing, a no one, shes undone.
Broken dreams, stolen freedom,
trapped in the night, trafficked and beaten.
All a part of an evil economy, nothing more than someones commodity…
A precious being, like you and me, a daughter, a sister, a somebody!
She was drawn by the bright lights,
she was tied up in their lights,
she worked right through the daylight,
no voice, shes a slave to the night.
27 million, like me.
(That’s 27 million on this cruel journey!)
(I wanna see you jumping! Go!)
We’ve got to rise up, open our eyes up!
Be her voice, be her freedom,
come on, stand up! x4
(Rise up! x2)
(Stand up!)
After the man left, she’s nothing left,
no one, no love, no one to call her friend.
She’s stuck in the pit of hell, she’s almost sick from the smell.
She’s numb, she’s dead from the inside out,
her heart is screaming but you don’t hear the shout.
Who’s the voice? Who’s going to break the door down?
Who wakes her up from the nightmare now?
She was drawn by the bright lights,
she was tied up in their lights,
she worked right through the daylight,
no voice, shes a slave to the night.
27 million, like me.
(That’s 27 million that need Heavens mercy!)
(Let’s go!)
We’ve got to rise up, open our eyes up!
Be her voice, be her freedom,
come on, stand up! x4
(Stand up!)
(Rise up! x2)
27 million, are you joking?
How do we let evil get so tight a grip?
Watching while the world falls apart, how do we let this stuff begin?
We’re not bothered if this offends, cause you got people that can defend.
But they aint got that, they got nothing.
Sometimes you gotta stand for something,
let this be the stand that gets your blood running!
Little girl don’t cry,
let me dry your eyes
in the darkest night.
(You’re not alone.)
Hold on through the storm,
you’re not on your own,
hold on, love will come.
(Let me hear you sing!)
We’ve got to rise up, open our eyes up!
Be her voice, be her freedom,
come on, stand up! x8
(Come on, stand up, stand up!!)
(Rise up! x4)
(27 Million, like me. x2)
(Come on, stand up, stand up!!)

Read more: Matt Redman – Twenty Seven Million Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday- The Servant -Hearted

What does it mean to be servant-hearted?   It means that in everything you do, you want to serve others.  And in our current culture of gimme gimme gimme, these are rare souls who sacrifice their time, energy and sometimes health to impact the lives of others!  Christ lived that way….he came to serve not be served!  He fed, he washed feet, he healed he taught, He died!   The ultimate sacrifice!   There are few people in this world who serve just to help.  People serve for accolades…to hear people say “wow look what you did”.  Or just because “no one else will do it” but in the mean time grumble and complain that they have to do it!

I am so thankful for One of the biggest testimonies to living a servant hearted life like Christ.  This is my husband!

His ministry to families in our church. Our own family benefits greatly from  blessing of his self sacrificing love. Not only does  he care for us but countless others.  EVEN PERFECT STRANGERS! He volunteers to help many in very tangible ways though sometimes he is turned down.  The coolest thing though is he loves to do it.  Not obligated or grudgingly!  He does it because showing God’s love to others is so important.  He could stand in the pulpit and preach on showing love but if he doesn’t act on it, it’s empty and worthless.   

I love seeing him cut wood for people, crawl under their houses to fix a leak, cut down trees, build ramps, cut down pews that are too long for a new church, get a needed appliance, help people move, volunteer our vehicles and the list goes on and on. And on occasion when he has worked all day for church, he has stayed up all night to help get the house on track when I have had the flu or when I tore the ligaments in my foot.  Changing a young lady’s car oil and not picking on her since it had been a REALLY long time since it had been done.  Pretty much helping with any physical labor job that is /was needed!  And so on! The most incredible thing though is watching our kids catch that same self sacrificing love!.  

Now these aren’t normal “pastor” type jobs, but what opportunities he has had to be Christ to other people.   That’s what this Walk is all about, putting our words into action.  For the last 13 years I have watched him dedicate himself to people.  I have learned so much from him…..and you know what he caught this from his parents, and his parents caught it from theirs!.  It’s not  about money, it’s not  about what we are “entitled” to.  It’s not about our time.   It’s not about our stuff!  It all belongs to God.  That is a major lesson I have learned from my hubby, a lesson so grateful for!  A lesson I intend to live out to the best of my ability as long as I live on this earth!

Thank you love for not just paying lip service!  Thank you for not bragging or showing off the things you do for so many people and thank you for not getting angry with me or anyone else for that matter when we can’t see the whole picture!

Blessings

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