Monday, March 26, 2012


So I'm a bit of a tooth-flossing fanatic.

It started 12 years ago when I saw an episode of Oprah (no, seriously) that said it can literally take years off your life NOT to floss. Well, done. I became a flosser
. Anyone who bought stock in floss before that episode aired is sitting pretty today. (You're welcome.)

But flossing has had an annoying little side effect:

Now I have to do it.

Because now I can totally feel if there's anything in there. And it will drive me up a tree until I can get it out.

Wasn't it better when I wasn't so aware of what was in there? Maybe. But what I wasn't aware of was causing problems.

Being in the Word has done that, too. It has shone a spotlight on all the junk in my heart, all the things that shouldn't be there, and all the stuff that needs to go.

Wasn't it better when I wasn't so aware of what was in there? Maybe. But what I wasn't aware of was causing problems.

So now when pride is prevalent in me, I'm more aware it's there. Its presence is grating and glaring until I actually deal with it. When I am self-centered, the Word makes it obvious--and I have to do something about it. My lack of grace is too in-my-face to avoid. My bitterness is undeniable, and my disobedience too discernible to deny.

That's a lot to bring to the surface. It's annoyingly obvious that I have such a long way to go--and in so many ways. Wasn't it better when I wasn't so aware of what was in there?

I'm not so sure.

Search me, O God, and know my heart,
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD.

Lamentations 3:40

I am grateful for Your Word. Yes, it illuminates my weakness and magnifies my desperate need for You, and while that's not always easy, it is necessary. I can't be all You created me to be apart from it. I need You to use these God-breathed words to sanctify me through and through.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


God is good. But today was cruddy.

Five years ago today, we had a heartbreaking ultrasound and an unexpected loss. And so every March 20th since, I've made plans to do something fun with my kids to ease the hurts of that difficult day.

Today I took Liley to one of those paint-your-own-pottery places. We were going to paint a tile and add it to our others that we've painted over the years.

So there we were...a four-year old girl plus a "You-break-it-you-buy-it" policy.

(You see where this is headed.)

I heard the sound of shattering ceramic and spun around to see my wide-eyed little girl staring at the pieces.

The owner walked to the register and waited for me there with a stern look on her face (This was the "You-break-it-you-buy-it" part). Without a word, I met her at the register and pulled out my wallet.

The problem was, I had budgeted only a certain amount for this pottery day, and what I had to pay for that shattered Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was three times what I had budgeted for our time there, so we had to leave without painting anything.

So basically we showed up, broke something, paid for it, and left.

But not before the tears started.

Not my daughter's. Mine.

I told my sweet girl it was okay, that I knew it was an accident, that I wasn't upset. But something inside me was so profoundly sad for a lot of reasons in that moment. I didn't even finish paying for the broken pottery before my face crumpled up and I headed straight into the ugly cry.

"Super pleasant shop owner" appeared unmoved. I know she didn't understand what day it was. Nor that I had so looked forward to doing something fun with my little one on a day that always stings a bit. Nor that it killed me to pay $16 of our family's money for something and have nothing to show for it.

Even worse, I couldn't stop the tears. We left the shop but even when we got into the car, I cried harder than I have in a long time. I tried hard to stop my crying because I did NOT want my daughter to think my tears were about her breaking the figurine. I finally had to pull over, step out of the car for a moment, and pull myself together.

This was just one of those days when I realized something: God is good, I know that. But when things hurt, they hurt. His love is my strength and peace. But it doesn't make me immune to disappointment.

We're not spared hurts, losses, or heartaches. Stuff gets broken. People suffer. This world disappoints and comes up short.

But you know what? That's actually a blessing. Really. The hurts we encounter remind us that we weren't made for this world. We long for heaven when we hurt.

And that is such a gift.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4


Sunday, March 18, 2012


Big day around our house yesterday: Trevor learned to tie his shoes.

((Sigh.)) Of joy and of excitement, and a mixture of "Finally!" and "It's going by too quickly."

Last night during our family prayer time, our little guy prayed, "Jesus, thank You that I can tie my shoes now. Thank You for helping my hands to do it. I just love You so much, Jesus."

Thank You for helping my hands to do it. I love that.

Father, I find myself thinking ahead to all You will do in and through this child. Please strengthen Trevor for everything that he will do. Help his hands do all of what You've prepared him to do.

All of it.

Strengthen his hands to comfort people. To hold his future wife and to cradle his children one day. Help his hands to build and bless and fix and teach, and point people toward You.

Thank you for what he was able to accomplish for the first time today--and for every accomplish for which You'll make a way. Amen.


Monday, March 12, 2012


If you've spent any time on here then you know my heart to be intentional in my time with my children. That's why I love the post I read a few minutes ago. I wanted to shout "Yes!!!" every few moments.

Seriously, if you're a mom or ever hope to be, please leave this blog and go read THIS POST by Sarah Mae. It's so important!

Enjoy. Be blessed. Be challenged to make this time count!


Sunday, March 11, 2012


I saw this tweet on Twitter this morning -- Beth Moore speaking Scripture over her grandson, praying fervently for him.

And for a split second I thought, "That little guy is so lucky. I wish Beth Moore would pray over MY children!"

But as I thought about it, I realized that Beth Moore doesn't have "magic" prayers. She is a devoted follower of Christ who brings requests before the throne.

Just like you and I can and should.

Don't get me wrong--Beth Moore absolutely rocks. What a godly woman of the Word--and we know the prayer of the righteous one is effective! But if there is anything "magical" about her prayers, it's that SHE ACTUALLY PRAYS THEM.

I've done enough of her studies to understand her heart for the generations to come. She prays for her children and grandchildren and for the ones who have yet to be born. She proclaims freedom, cries out for liberty, and prays the Word of God over her descendants.

But you know what? So do I! So do you! We share her desperation for generations to come to know Jesus and love His Word, and Almighty God hears our prayers on their behalf.

It might be strange to say, but what if we prayed for our descendants with the same confidence that those prayers would be heard and answered as we would have if Beth Moore would lay hands on our children and pray for them?

Father, remind us often to ASK for your favor to rest on our children, their children, and the ones to come. Keep the long-term in our minds and eternity in our hearts. Your name and renown are the desire of OUR (past, present, future) hearts.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Yep. I want to be like this woman.

Recognize her? Of course not. But this is Henrietta Mears. And up until a week ago I had never even heard of her, let alone was I able to pick her out of a lineup.

But she impacted the lives of those who are impacting lives.

Like Billy Graham. Perhaps the name rings a bell.

Henrietta Mears was Billy Graham's Bible teacher. She mentore
d him and pointed him toward the truth of the Word over the course of many years.

This makes me want to stan
d up and cheer. This resonates tremendously with me because I feel that my greatest job as a wife and mom is to send Justin and our two children out into the world to make an impact for the Kingdom. I pray often and with great desperation for their impact, and I want them to go and be all about His name and renown. And if I never did anything that anybody knew about, but my husband and children did things for which I have prayed in the name of furthering the Kingdom of God, I'd be plenty fine with that.

But I
do think that although they are most precious to me, my own influence is to be beyond my family. This is what's at the heart of why I felt compelled to put on the event on which I've been working for Dream Year. I honestly believe there are people out there who are not opening their Bibles, and I'm sure they're getting by. But when they do begin to immerse themselves in truth? Look out.

I mean, look out!

I want to do whatever I can to get men an
d women to believe that the Word is for THEM--the lamp unto their feet and the light unto their path. Because when they are so persuaded, I am absolutely convinced that the world will be significantly impacted for the Kingdom. Generations will be impacted. Truth will be taught. Daily lives will be shaped by the instruction of the Word. Divine power will demolish strongholds. And THAT makes me want to stand up and cheer.

No one may ever know your name, or be able to recognize who you are. In 100 years very few of our names will be on the tip of anyone's tongue. We'll be long gone to Heaven, while this world will still need truth.

So--right now--we can be about making the impacts that are going to make the impacts!

LORD, focus our hearts on living with intentionality, making the most of every opportunity in the time you give us. Take what we can do and multiply it to make Your name known, long beyond our lives here. Keep us remembering the ripple effect of truth, and how we can impact others, that they may impact others.


Friday, March 9, 2012


I was tagged by Amanda, my awesome blog post designer, to share a little bit about myself. Let's face it--we're a lot of names, photos and posts in this little blog world. But I'm also a wife, mom, bestie, daughter, sibling, friend, and most of all a needer and receiver of the tremendous and unearned grace of Jesus.

1. What is your dream vacation?

I would love to spend a week on the beach in Destin, Florida in September when the chaos of summer dies down. The first 3 days would be all four of us having a great time as a family, taking pics of the kids splashing in the water and playing in the sand--and then the last 4 days I'd want time alone with Justin. Sleeping late, having my quiet times at sunrise with a fabulous cup of coffee, digging my toes in the sand and reading for hours...and every day would be perfectly sunny and warm (the CA girl in me is putting in that request). That would be absolute perfection!

2. If you could have lunch with anyone from any time in history, who would it be and why?

I think I'd want to have lunch with my Great Grandmother Angie Sperry. I knew her, but not well, as she died when I was in elementary school. Leaving a legacy was important to her, as it very much is to me.

3. What is the one beauty tip you know you should do, but you just don't do it?

Ooooh....wearing sunscreen daily year-round. It just feels so greasy and I don't like the smell. I mean, it's kind of weird listening to Christmas music in December while you smell like Miss Spring Break Hawaiian Tropic! Still, this Norwegian, burn/peel/white again girl should probably buck up and slather on the SPF....

I will say that I actually DO floss (which is probably the thing most people don't do but know they should). In fact, I probably floss a little
too much. Like, 3 times a day.

3. Do you like roller coasters?

The ones that go upside down? Yes! The ones that feel like you left your stomach somewhere up at the top of that last dip? Um, no thank you.

4. What song always gets stuck in your head?

Well, as a mom of two young kids, I make a lot of PB & J sandwiches, so I'd have to say "PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME!" runs through my head a lot. And now it's gonna be running through your head, too. You're welcome.

5. What color is your toothbrush?

Pink. Love me some pink. Now if they can just make pink floss! ;)

6. What is your favorite movie?

I love funny movies. I'll choose something funny over a drama any day of the week. That being said, I also love Jerry Maguire (minus that one ridiculously unnecessary scene). Fave line of the movie (and no, it's not "You complete me" or "You had me at hello"): "To be honest, in life I've failed as much as I'm succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success." I also love Shawshank Redemption. Incredibly powerful movie.

7. Do you make a Christmas wish list for yourself each year?

No. Almost the opposite! I often ask my husband to please, please, please not get me anything. I think he pretends not to hear me. I am not just saying this but I REALLY MEAN IT that my Christmas/Birthday present every year is getting to be home for our family. My present comes daily in that form. But if I did have a dream list, and if I get to dream really big, it would be for a 1.8mm camera lens. :)

8. What kind of car do you drive?

That would be a 2007 Kia Optima that seriously needs to be cleaned out right now. My dream car is a paid-off car...which is our Honda Accord. We're at least getting closer on the Kia!

9. Would you rather forget your mom's birthday or Mother's Day?

Yikes...neither! I had friends who lost their mom to MS when we were all in college and it (understandably) upset them when people didn't really take the time to honor their mothers, because they no longer had the opportunity. I try and think of that every year--how can I honor my mom and my stepmom--because I GET TO?

* All for now! Now I'm tagging Denise at Victory Road and Dina at These Notions. :)


Tuesday, March 6, 2012


We spent Friday night huddled in our downstairs powder room, kids wearing their bike helmet, taking our cues from the blaring tornado siren outside and riding out the storms.

The tornado steered clear of our area, but an elementary school the next town over wasn't so lucky.

News reports showed footage of the damage done to the school building, and I was intrigued by one scene I saw:

The roaring cyclone smashed into a classroom wall, reducing it to a pile of broken cinder blocks. But, interestingly, everything inside the room appeared completely unaffected. Books were still perfectly arranged on bookshelves, desks remained undisturbed. Based on the ferocity of the storm that came against the outside of the building, you could reasonably expect a disheveled mess on the inside.

But it wasn't. It was totally undisturbed instead.

Don't you want to be that way? I want to be that way--that when the storms rage and hammer against me, peace will be prevalent inside.

I'm not there.

But I'm more there than I used to be.

Storms are inevitable. We can expect them. "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you" (1 Peter 4:12). Hard times are par for the course. But the next verse puts them in perspective: "But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed." The peace of Jesus Christ that rules in our hearts? It STEADIES us--because we eagerly anticipate the revelation of His glory when we suffer.

Glorious God, let us be PEACEFUL people because we know Your power prevails, no matter how things look along the way. Convince us that You are constantly pursuing Your glory and our good even when the hardest things hit us. And WHEN (not if) the storms rage, let us be found undisturbed inside because Your peace is ruling in our hearts. Amen.


Sunday, March 4, 2012


On Thursday as I sat outside soaking up the deliciously warm sunshine, I found myself begging the LORD for this one thing: "Can I please feel Your love even greater than the warmth I'm feeling right now?" After a rough couple of weeks, it was the warmth of His favor I longed for.

I was up at 4am today with my answer.

He woke me with the memory of a day when I had a break between college classes and decided to take my dad a special lunch. I made him a delicious chicken dish--my specialty--and a side of creamy rice. I wrapped everything up and drove it over to the school where he teaches.

When I walked into my dad's room, his face lit up like a Christmas tree. He hadn't yet seen what I had done for him--his face simply lit up at the sight of me. When I showed him what I'd brought, he beamed (what an upgra
de over the PB&J he'd packed)! Then he paraded me around with a grin a mile wide, introducing me to co-workers and students, telling them of the lunch I'd made for him.

I went back a few weeks later--this time, empty-handed. I didn't bring him a special lunch. I had nothing to offer him.

But the warmth of his love was still so very much there for me. He still grinned a mile wide when I walke
d in. He still paraded me around, introducing me to co-workers and students, telling them who I was to him. He delighted in me even in my empty-handedness.

And it's the love of my Heavenly Father, too. He welcomes me and receives me with unmatched delight. He announces who I am to Him with a banner over me that shouts

* L O V E ! * She is my beloved! She's mine!

Just as I am, not as I do. He loves me as much when my hands bring nothing to the table as when I arrive with offerings of "Look what I did for you." He brought me to His banquet room, an
d His banner over me is * L O V E *.

You take great delight in me * You quiet me with Your love * You rejoice over me with singing
Numbers 6:26

Thank You, Father. You know I needed this. Even in my brokenness You remind me that I don't need to have an offering in my hand for You to love me. Your love for me is absolutely ridiculous, totally unearned and completely inexplicable, but I am just so grateful for it.

Friday, March 2, 2012


This past week I finished the Daniel Fast, a 21-day partial fast as mentioned in the first chapter of Daniel. The only reason I'm recapping in this public forum is that when I searched for others' experiences with this fast, I found a lot of the same kind of recap posts -- but not one that even kind of resembled my own experience.

"Amazing!" was a word many used to describe their journey on this fast. "I felt God's presence constantly during the 21 days!" was also really, super-duper common.

Meanwhile, I struggled. A lot.

I was reluctant in the first place to commit to a 21-day fast that permitted only fruit, veggies, brown rice and pasta, and water, in a nutshell. Why? Am I really all that hooked on dairy and meat?

No. But I was crazy-hooked on sugar.

I have hypoglycemia, and for a long time I've needed sugar to feel good. As long as I haven't let my blood sugar drop, I've been fine, but when it has dropped, I've felt really crummy, and sugar has been the remedy. Don't get me wrong--I actually eat pretty well. It's just that I've always added a lot of sugar to the healthy stuff.

So the idea of no sugar was not exactly a welcome one. But the first week of February, I just knew it was time. Time to lay all things down. Time to start the Daniel Fast.

Day 1 was surprisingly fine. I didn't feel cruddy, even without sugar.

Aaaand then Day 2 hit me like a flippin' ton of bricks. I was extremely sick to my stomach, and I spent the day holding my pounding head in my hands. I prayed and prayed for strength, and after several hours of the terrible pain, I finally burst into tears--but I kept praying. I'll tell you right now, if this had just been some diet, there is *NO WAY* I would have persevered through it. But it wasn't. I saw SO many spiritual parallels to what was taking place in my body; I needed the LORD God to be my strength, and
He was my strength. I knew He was preparing for the purification of my spirit just as my body was being purified of the toxins that had built up over time. I felt like I was experiencing a physical version of the refiner's fire, and to say that it was rough would be an understatement.

But you want to know something? DAY 2 WAS MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE ENTIRE FAST. God's presence was apparent. And really, that was all I wanted.

On Day 3, I felt fine. Never even kind of felt sick after that. But after the testing of my body came the testing of my spirit.

God got really quiet.

I spent lots of time in the Word. I literally got on my face before God. I prayed bold prayers. I protected my mind from that which would defile my thoughts. I tried to be a good steward in all things including time with my family, and working on the event I'm planning. I can't tell you how many emails I sent (that didn't get answered, or got answered in a way that sent me back to the drawing board), how many phone calls I made (that all seemed to yield zero fruit), and how many brick walls I ran up against. I praised God. I sat silently before God. I sought His face, His glory, His fame, and His renown.

And still, He seemed so...very...quiet. Like, quieter than He usually is when I'm not even fasting.

Hear me when I say that the silence was way, way, way more difficult than anything I experienced on Day 2. Because at least on Day 2, He presence was undeniable.

I googled "Daniel Fast Recap" to see if anyone else had a similarly silent experience. Maybe people
did have an experience like mine, but if they did, they sure didn't post about it. It was all sunshine and rainbows and clear revelations and awareness of God's constant presence from the other Daniel Fast-ers. And it hurt because I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Not to mention the fact that the 21 days seemed to last forever. All I knew was that this fast was the gosh-darn slowest "fast" I had ever experienced.

Days 8 through 11 I wanted to throw a boot at God. Can't say that I usually--ever--feel that way, but there's no other way to describe those particular 4 days. But I pressed on to seek His face, even though his silence stung.

Day 19 was pretty rough also. I was down 10 pounds, but I honestly could not have cared less. I seriously would've traded every lost pound for a moment of hope, revelation, peace, or some sort of evidence of God's hand making a way.

I ended the 21-day fast on We
dnesday in prayer and in the Word, just as I had spent the previous three weeks. I feel like my tastebuds have changed, and I am happy to say that my sugar addiction is a stronghold that has broken. :)

As for the specific things for which I prayed--well, I still don't have visible answers. On ANY of them.


I know that I know that I know GOD IS GOOD. Faithful. Sovereign. Ridiculously and inexplicably in love with me. Worthy of my trust. At work, though I cannot see the evidence of it.

I am continuing to passionately seek His face. I still trust Him. Yes, His seemed silence was nearly unbearable--mostly because it hurt me. But I know I will YET praise Him for His faithfulness. I have YET to speak a heartfelt HALLELUJAH over the works of His hands.

I welcome your prayers. I really do. My spirit is bruised and my heart is still tender, even though I hold to what I know is true of my God. I am confident of this--God is YET to be praised. He is making a way in the wasteland in spite of my inability to perceive it.

Clinging to the One I KNOW is faithful,