Monday, January 31, 2011

the challenge to maximize our mornings

So much potential arises with the sun. The start of a fresh day. The sight of a sky painted as the Artist's canvas. The pouring out of His new mercies.

photo credit - romainguy

But the demands can blindside me. In mere seconds of my three little ones opening their eyes, I am needed. Needed to fix breakfast. Needed to soothe any early tears. Needed to wipe...everything.

If I do not purposefully take the time to listen to His voice, then the noise of living quickly tries to drown Him out. And my heart is left wrestling for Truth. Wrestling to love.

I had this professor at seminary who used to say, "We cannot coast through a single day." He was right. All we have is today. We cannot live on yesterday's faith. I think that is why my moments of quiet with the Lord before the kids arise have become such a precious necessity.

So I am excited to play a small part in Kat's challenge over at Inspired to Action. She has written the (FREE) ebook called Maximize your Mornings, giving women practical tips on developing life-long habits to maximize our morning routines. Her heart to encourage is priceless.

So how about you? Are you wanting Him to invade your morning moments? Head over here to read more.

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Friday, January 28, 2011


This is my flesh and blood sister. It isn't her birthday or the anniversary of some major life happening. It's just Friday and she makes me smile.

We live only a mile from one another. Our kids tumble and laugh and chase. And sometimes fuss. But she holds this place in my heart that insists I sit back and exhale a purposeful word of thanksgiving. I've never mentioned her here, in this my-reflection-space.

These days our conversations steer towards our great God. We still quote our favorite movies or laugh at our own mama coming out in our words, but when we hover around and about our Lord, the bond goes deeper. What a treasure.

He does this though. He places people in our lives with which to be real--people who have seen us wearing our thick glasses with no make-up, or wiped tears from our eyes when life stings raw. People given as a gift, to sharpen and build and encourage.

We were not meant to live isolated days. He created with community at the root, that we would take off the veil of people pleasing perfection and just be. She is one of the ones He gave me--seeing me and loving regardless.

I love you my sister. My friend. He is doing a precious work in you.

Bringing it home...

Who is someone that He has given as a gift to your life?

Maybe today is a good day to tell them how much they are loved.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

dream seeds...buried with purpose

A dream lying dormant in the crevices of our soul. Hiding deep down. Colorful. Wild. Free. One that causes your voice to whisper as the thought moves to the edge of your lips. Absurd. Unattainable. Beyond reach.

But what if He placed it there?

What if the dream is His, planted as a seed in the soil of your heart, just waiting to burst forth from that furrowed ground? Waiting for His breath to summon the bloom.

photo credit - brenda starr

I'm convinced He does this with His own. His Spirit gives seeds of vision to be watered over time until that day when He opens the door wide and tenderly waits for us to step over the threshold. One shaky foot in front of the other.

Hang on, my friend. He completes all that He begins.

Bringing it home...

Do you have a deep down dream?

What thoughts does its "coming to life" evoke in your spirit?

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Monday, January 24, 2011

fully engaged living

She has green flecks in her big brown eyes. And I want to see them. Too often I'm tempted to nod and "mmm, hmm" without a glance in her direction. Pasta insists I stir or laundry lays wrinkling in the dryer. But she needs me fully engaged. They all do.

photo credit - flickr Rolands Lakis

Today's moments will fade into yesterday's memories before my coffee completely cools. If I'm not purposeful, intentional, and mindful, tomorrow will grace the calendar before I impress their wills towards Him. I could miss it. I don't want to miss it.

To live life face-to-face with those He places in our path. To meet them in that moment--the right now moment. To see earnest cravings and know the why to their tears. I think that's His way. The way of love.

Life is too short to waste it on mediocre living. I pray that He uses me up to pour love and grace and mercy and compassion onto those that walk next to me.

I will fail.

Probably in the next hour.

But my deepest desire beckons Him to touch others through my wanting hands. So here I go, about my today. Desiring to live fully engaged. Are you coming?

Bringing it home...

How do you intentionally engage the moments with those beside you?

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Friday, January 21, 2011

the shuffle of faithful feet

He wins some small battles for our heart affections. We walk in a fog, playing the game of deception. Hope he steals and joy he swipes, with no regard for my own tear-stained, dark, sleepless nights.

But the shuffle of glorious and faithful strong feet move high above the clouds, with His-story to complete. His children under covenant, sealed with sacrificial love; songs of praise seep out of His throne room above.

photo credit - brenda starr

Listen deep, breathe Him in, though the wolves may surround. He sees your earnest longing--in Him alone true life is found. You are not forgotten. You are not alone. His plan is unfolding. His name will be known.

Stand firm; His own promises cannot be thwarted, in spite of this cold world's declarations distorted. Stir up the fire, the coals, burning ember. Believe, abide, love strong, and remember...


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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

His whisper through my words

I never thought I'd say it. But the whiny plague that often weighs down on my precious children taught me something the other day.

photo credit -

It was one of those moments when the words came out of my mouth yet I knew it was Him speaking directly to me.

"Baby girl, do you trust me? Your whiny heart tells me that you are not trusting my love right now?"

Trusting My love...

Do you hear Him? Speaking to me?

My feet paused as my mind soaked in His whisper.

We deceive ourselves into thinking that this whole parenting thing is all about us--the adults--teaching them--the children--how to do this life thing well. Then He pierces us through the very words that leave our lips.

Slowly but surely I'm learning that parenting has just as much to do with me being transformed into His holy vessel, as it does with them being taught His ways.

Oh He is so patient.

"Lord, I want to trust You. I know that Your love blankets my very existence. Forgive me. Cleanse me. I choose to set my eyes upon You."

Bringing it home...

How has He spoken to you through your own words of instruction to another?

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Monday, January 17, 2011

He is present tense

Just to remind the heart of His child--

the depths of the one who trusts in Him...

He lives.

He sees you.

He hears you.

He understands you.

He remains faithful to you.

He gives what's best for you.

He blankets you.

He forgives you.

He pursues you.

He defends you.

He sustains you.

He loves you. Loves. You.

Actively. Presently. Continually. Undoubtedly. Faithfully. Wholly.

Through the shed blood of His Son.


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Friday, January 14, 2011

chasing Suffolk, VA

Yesterday's post definitely stirred up some comments--both on the blog and in my everyday life. I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine that caused me to go one step further in my pondering of food.

Yes. Our bodies are the Lord's temple (how graciously cool is that?!) so I think it obvious that we respect that temple and fill it with healthy things. However, everyone is in process. Everyone. Including me. Including you.

In whatever convictions He lays on our individual hearts, we must allow love to be our guide. We are under grace, not Law.

photo credit - flickr photo by pink sherbet photography

"If your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died...for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." (Romans 14:15-17)

May love for our brothers and sisters
be our ultimate drive

So speaking of love for my sisters, I get to go share with some lovely women in Suffolk, VA today for a women's conference. If you are in the Suffolk area and want something encouraging and invigorating to do with your girlfriends, then come on out! I would love to meet you!

Here are the details...

Southside Baptist Church
917 Carolina Road
Suffolk, VA

Friday night, 7-9 p.m.
Saturday morning, 8:30 - noon

Tickets are $12 and include Saturday breakfast.

Come and let Him renew your heart!

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

ponder with me the topic of food

Food. It's absolutely everywhere. Bodies are fueled by it. Celebrations revolve around it. Hurts find comfort in it. Mouths drool for it.

This Daniel Fast has me thinking a lot about what I usually put into my body. Wait wait wait. I'm not going to get all legalistic on you, nor am I going to march with picket signs banning sugar in schools. I'm just pondering. So bear with me.

He gave us each one body. Just one. And once sealed with His Spirit, He declares it to be His temple. So I'm thinking the best thing is to take care of it. Right? Feed it mostly healthy God-foods and strengthen it a bit. Not rocket science.

photo credit - flickr by cayusa

"But chocolate makes my mouth water and rich cheesy sauces taste so good on pasta." All true and all mulled over in my own thought life at some point in the last 12 days.

Hmm. But what if there really is good, better, and best--with the choices we make having effects on the body and mind. See. We're just thinking. So thankful for His amazing grace! And for the word "moderation."

On the food-note, this was last night's dinner. Very tasty, with a kick!

Moroccan Couscous

1 box quick cooking whole wheat couscous
1 lb. peeled and cubed acorn (or butternut) squash
1/2 c. diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
Olive oil
1 tsp. ground ginger
3 tsp. curry powder
1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1-15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 c. golden raisins
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
Vegetable stock or water
Salt to taste

In large stock pot, saute the onion and garlic over MH heat in 1-2 T olive oil until softening. Add squash, ginger, and curry (and more olive oil if needed). Saute for approximately 5 more minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, raisins, and cinnamon. Add enough veg. stock or water to make a thick stew. Cook until squash softens, approximately 10-12 minutes. Serve over the cooked couscous.

Bringing it home...

Ponder this with me. What are your thoughts when it comes to food choices? Do they matter?

How do you think the American church, as a whole, sees food? {just to stereotype for a moment}

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

praying against human trafficking

For the last thirty days I have stood beside Abolition! and approached the throne of our great God on behalf of the atrocity.

Children forgotten to the hands of captors.

Women reduced to mere objects of cheap sexual thrill.

Faces that have names, and hearts that have grown numb to the pain.

And though the thoughts, images, and stories drain hope from one's veins like color stolen from a once beautiful painting, when bowing before His throne a small glimmer of Light seems to break through.

I found myself prompted to pray that His Spirit would stir among the captives. That He would invade the brothels and dirt beds with the secret of life found only in Him. I don't know how. I don't know when. But I believe it His will.

Would you join the thousands
interceding on behalf of the victims

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intro post for the MODsquad blog

A few weeks ago the sweet girls over at the MODsquad invited me to be a monthly contributing writer for their inspiring blog. Their heart and vision is to "encourage and inspire moms to raise daughters with purity, character, & hearts for God." What a blessing!

So here is a taste of my intro post that went live today...

"Spilling Him Forth"

I’m like you—assuming you are like me. I fail. I fall. I flounder at times with this mothering thing. I regret certain words or tones or thoughts. I have to get on my knees before these precious children entrusted to my hands of care and ask for their forgiveness...

Click here to read the full post.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to browse the site. Some amazing women hang out in this space!

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Monday, January 10, 2011

eighties crunchy hair

I had crunchy hair in the sixth grade. Mousse-drenched, hairspray-secured, eighties crunchy hair. One day a boy noticed. As I passed him on the school sidewalk, he asked if he could touch my lovely brown locks. Flattered by his adoration I said "sure."

But he pretended as if my strands gashed his hand, as if blood now gushed out of his fingers. So dramatic. Apparently he had never touched anything quite so...crunchy. And my fragile, people-pleasing spirit walked back to homeroom crushed by a stupid boy's opinion.

Twenty-five-ish years later I am blogging about it. Hmm.

Since then, the Lord has grown me in the area of worth. I went from a timid desperately self-focused tween to a confident woman who now knows and believes what my Maker declares over me.

But to be honest, the tendency still tempts me at times. If left to wander in this flesh, I can allow the words of others to affect me--especially the opinions of those most dear to my heart. Thankfully He has taught me a few things along the way.

  1. He has given me vision to see those wayward thoughts the moment they enter the scene. Unless we see them we cannot take them captive.

  2. He has taught me how to replace those thoughts with Truth. His Truth. The things He declares over me.

    "You are fearfully and wonderfully made."

    "I am listening to your every word."

    "Every concern on your heart concerns Me."

    "You are a daughter of the King. Adopted into royalty."

    The flower blooms.

photo credit - flickr photo by nosha

As His Truth washes over those withered places, hope arises. If only that young sixth-grader had known. She would have walked back to class with her crunchy head held high.

Bringing it home...

How do you allow the words of others to affect your stance?

How can we actively, practically believe what the Maker declares instead of fallen mankind?

Daniel Fast-ers...

I am praying for you, believing Him to continue to pour out wisdom and understanding. He promises to reward those who earnestly seek Him.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

it's there i'm home

The sun rises fierce in the sky, another day--
Another vapor of time to choose...

In whom or what will this heart trust?

photo credit - flickr photo by mark wooten

All is vanity, he declares;
Time flies past unaware of my stepped-on toes.

People stare off, wondering and questioning,
Testing reality.

Yet life is only found in One.
Healing only flows from Him.

Truth only exists by His word. His word.
Not mine--unless I speak forth the revealed.

By grace He reaches down to the fibers of our will.
In mercy He loves and lavishes and awakens.

His, I'm called. And there I'm home.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

these days {a guest post}

I just know that this guest post from a dear sister-friend will bless you as it has me.


These are hard days.

Days where it feels like I did not accomplish a thing. Yet at night I lay my head on the pillow, exhausted.

Days where I feel like a failure.

But then I look to my Father.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

I realize my Helper sees me in all my struggles.

And I see grace.

After looking to My Help, I look again at these days with a new perspective. Much is being accomplished.

There is great value in these days, as I choose obedience in the roles He has given me. Comforting babies, meeting needs, directing little hearts to Christ. Sitting at His feet, hiding His Word in my heart.

Spending these days knowing Him,

and making Him known to my family.

And really, what is more important than this?

Bringing it home...

Do you struggle with measuring your days with what you have (or have not) accomplished?

What are the roles that the Lord has called you to put first, and be obedient in?


Pastor’s wife, and mother of three, Katie Orr loves to teach God’s Word. Longing to equip others to walk with the Lord for a lifetime, Katie has discipled women and taught small group Bible studies for over thirteen years. She served on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for seven years, before God called their family to pastoral ministry.

She blogs at Do Not Depart, where you can receive encouragement and tools to abide in God’s Word.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

fav Christmas gift {on the lighter side}

Aren't these the most precious things you have ever seen? I mean really. The colors and workmanship.

I received them in the mail from one of my favorite friends over Christmas. I called her and left a message saying, "I absolutely want to love the present you made for me.

But I have no clue what they are. Call me."

I'm crazy, I know.

Her out of town travels meant she didn't receive my message. So I took matters into my own hands. I carried my beautiful new gift to a ladies night and polled my dear Bible study friends.

The conclusions varied. One thought sure they were to be threaded through your belt as a type of belt-purse. Another was certain that they hung around your wrist to safely carry keys and a cellphone while hands were full of packages or groceries. I personally liked my first assessment which had something to do with earrings slash ear warmers of sorts.

But a few days later I caught up with my sweet friend via email. It turns out...

Drum roll please...

They are...

SLIPPERS! We laughed. And I love them!

Bringing it home...

Do you have any funny Christmas gift stories? I would love to hear.

If not, what was your favorite Christmas gift?

Daniel Fast-ers...

Practically speaking, how are you being purposeful in prayer?

Remember with me that this is not a time of dieting, rather a time of communing with and humbling ourselves before our Lord. Feasting on Him and His foods.

I am just so excited to walk this journey beside you! I am already thrilled by the God-stories you have to share.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

laying stones

I forget much. To the level of embarrassing. In fact, I usually give approximates when it comes to the exact birth weights of my children. Can we say pathetic?

But considering how often God instructs His people to purposefully "remember" tells me that I may not be completely alone.

So today I am linking up with Katie Orr over at Do Not Depart to lay some stones of remembrance for 2010. Things that God did in my own heart, home, and ministry for which He deserves all the praise.

original photo courtesy of catherine hadler


  • God continues to break my own heart-chains that had suffocated for years. Lies. Expectations. Supposed rights. He is freeing me to truly love--truly love. And He is patient with my process.


  • My six-year-old asked Jesus "into her heart." So precious. Now she wants to know whether or not every establishment we enter and every person we meet is Christian. It's priceless.

  • My four-year-old followed suit, under his sister's slight pressure, to also ask Jesus into his heart. We are still clarifying the basics of said decision.

  • The Lord continues to redeem our marriage. We serve a very big God who heals and transforms those places where it appears the enemy has won. (I love you, babe, and am blessed to do this life-thing with you.)

  • So I stand on this promise, "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6


  • I finished the majority of my first book and sent the proposal to a handful of publishers. Now I wait on and believe Him for the harvest.

  • Though I have been graced with various teaching opportunities over the years, this was the first year I was the speaker at a women's conference. Like, "the" speaker. Yikes. More conferences and venues are now booked for 2011. The Lord is truly opening doors for the calling that He placed on my heart years ago. He wows me.

And some personal randoms...

  • We stopped using diapers. The baby of the family is no longer a baby. Thankful for three healthy children.

  • I cooked my first Christmas turkey. (Yes, I'm thirty-five-years-old.) Thankful that He always provides.

Bringing it home...

What about you? What stones of remembrance for 2010 do you want to lay?

Daniel Fast-ers...

To hunger pangs I say, "Lord I hunger more for You!"

Looking forward to praying with each of you individually as we start this venture. If you haven't already, please email me at if you want to share accountability and encouragement as we walk this road.

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