Merry Christmas

"For Unto You Is Born This Day In The City Of David A Saviour, Which Is Christ The Lord."
Luke 2:11 (KJV)

You go through your life hoping that you are making a difference, that what you are doing is having some form of an impact, on the lives of the children He places in your life.

You do this with adults as well, however, the children are just, if not more, important.

My boys have witnessed things they never should have seen, lived through trials that would bring most adults to their knees and fought to overcome tribulations, when they should just be enjoying being a kid.

Tigger is 8 now, going on about 20 it seems.

He is fiercely protective, empathetic, sensitive, loving and severely prone to worry, especially when what he is worrying about is me.

A crushing trait I have fought to overcome, now rests in the eyes of my little one.

It is humbling to me, and to be honest it is also heart-breaking to witness.

I know what it is like to face life filled with worry, to always have that breath of anxiety whispering through your soul.

It has taken me years to overcome it and there are still days when it creeps up on me.

That voice that says, "No, everything is not going to be alright." "You are going to fail."

I see the same look in his eyes, that I used to see in mine...

The uncertainty of what is around the corner, the sheer terror that "something" is going to happen and the uneasiness that you just can't take anything else.

I pray over him when he is sleeping, I have anointed him with oil that has been prayed over and blessed, as he lays resting peacefully, I pray that I am doing the right thing where he and his brother are concerned.

Do they see Him in me?

Do they know that this isn't easy for me either, that each decision I make is questioned no less than a hundred times and then carefully prayed over?

Do they know that all I want for Christmas is some form of a sign, that I am doing the right thing where they are concerned?

2 nights ago I stepped out of the movie theater, having just seen "Courageous," and my heart was heavy.

**Sidenote ~ If you are a man and you are a father or planning on becoming a father at any point in time, I urge you to see this movie with an open heart and then I beg of you to do the right thing where your children are concerned.**

All those questions popped up within me, questions I don't have an answer to, questions that I can't take to my husband since we are not on the same wave length, questions that only He can answer.

As I stood outside the car talking silently within to Him, my cell rang, Tigger on the other end of the line (he has been at his Dads' house since last Saturday) and the conversation went like this;

Tigger ~ "Mommy, I have something I need to tell you."

Me ~ "What is that buddy?"

Tigger ~ "You know my Christmas list that I gave you?" (The one that is a mile long? How could I forget??)

Me ~ "I sure do. Did you forget something?" (Dread filling me at the thought of having to hit one more shopping center, face one more unhappy cashier, or find one more parking place that isn't 67 miles away from the entrance.)

Tigger ~ "No Mommy, I just wanted to tell you that you can throw it away. I don't need or want those things anymore." (Great, a new list 4 days before Christmas, just what I was hoping for!)

Me ~ "Why is that Punk?" ( I use this same nickname for both boys at times)

Tigger ~ "Christmas isn't about what is under the tree. It is nice to have that stuff, but it is about God."

Me ~ **Tears... Instant weeping mess and huge smiles on my face (sniffles but no words)**

Tigger ~ "Don't cry Mommy, if I get 2 of the same things, we can find another kid who doesn't have it and give it to them."

Me ~ "There is nothing I can say except I am very, very proud of you Punk."

And right there at that exact moment in time, I knew I was doing something right.

When you are around the same people all the time, it is hard to see any form of an impact, once you place those people outside the circle for any length of time, your eyes are opened to see what it is that you are truly seeking within them.

You are no longer seeing the destructive traits, you get to see the good.

I see Him in my son, His light when Tigger sings or when he lays with his eyes tightly closed, as he prays...

He does everything with 110% and always has, whether it be good or bad, he throws his all into it, never having known the word fear nor the word cautious, two flaws he didn't inherit from me (**Happy dance**).

That small conversation made my Christmas all the brighter and all the merrier.

I know what each of them truly wanted for Christmas and I couldn't be the one to give it to them.

Their Heavenly Father knows as well and I trust that He will be near each of them tomorrow morning, as they rise excitedly to see what is under the tree, as they breathlessly rip open each present to discover what is inside and my prayer is that they have a very Merry Christmas.

My prayer is for each of you to have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

I pray His guidance over each one of you, His peace to drench your soul, His love to saturate every fiber of your being, His mercy to cover you and His grace to fully satisfy you.

God bless each and every one of you.


Be Near Me Lord Jesus
I Ask Thee To Stay
Close By Me Forever
And Love Me I Pray



As I stated a few weeks ago, here is my first official sermon, which was delivered on 11/06/11. G received his copy so now here you go... Yes it is long, but I won't apologize ;)

How Much Are You Willing To Sacrifice, In Order To Walk With Him?

All Scriptures that I will be using are coming from the English Standard Version Bible;

Beginning with:

2 Chronicles 20:2-7; “Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar" (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, and said, "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?”

As I read these verses of Scriptures, the one thing that continued to stand out to me was; when in fear, pray.

During this time, Israel and Judah were divided. Jehoshaphat was the 4th king of the separated kingdom of Judah, somewhere around 873-848 B.C. He was a follower of the commandments of God and during his 3rd year reigning, he sent out princes, Levites and priests, to go from city to city, teaching the people the Book of the Law.

In these passages of Scripture we find that Jehoshaphat was in serious trouble and he was very afraid, for the army that was approaching was a powerful one, and he knew it was more than they would be able to handle. (It also shows that no matter how devoted you are to God, at some point in your life, you are going to have to face off with fear). In order for the Lord to offer His help, the people of Judah had to do something first. They had to come together, turn their attention away from the troubles surrounding them, and back to their complete trust in God.

The people of Judah did not know what would happen, however, they trusted in the Lord, and because of that trust, they were delivered from enemies who were seeking to kill them.

We need to get back to the place where our complete trust in God, is the central focus of our heart and mind.

Remember when Peter walked on the water? Matthew 14:30-31 reads “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

The first thing I noticed in this passage of Scripture was that, Jesus didn’t immediately reach out and save Peter. Peter had to ask for help first, and as soon as he did, then he received it.

If we honestly believe that the power of Jesus Christ flows through us in all of our difficult times; He will see us through each of the storms; He will walk us over every single mountain; and He will guide us across the raging seas.

It is a necessity that we stand firm in our faith and listen as He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit.

But what about the times when a problem can seem so overwhelming, that we don’t even know where to begin, much less how to tackle it? All too often we become so completely focused on the problem, that we tend to forget about the big picture and that is where God is. The big picture is what shows us that God is in complete control, even during the times when we are not.

There are going to be times when we have to fight the difficulties of life, however, the outcome is already in the hands of God and He has promised to protect us and deliver us.

All we have to do is stop at the first sign of trouble and turn to God with our absolute trust. He will then guide our steps from there, just as he guided the steps of King Jehoshaphat’s army. King Jehoshaphat and his people were scared and they did the smartest thing they could have done: They turned to the Lord and put their faith in His ability to protect them.

Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever. Without question, His truth, His love and His faithfulness, has continued, throughout all of time, unchanged and since we know that God helped those who honestly relied upon Him back then, He will do the same for those who honestly rely upon Him today.

Sadly; the problem is locating people who are truly willing to put themselves to the side, so they can place God first. To all things, there is a sacrifice that must be made and in order to follow Jesus you are required to turn your back on certain things of this world.

The things you need to turn away from differ from person to person; however, think about it this way ~ If it is keeping you from being fully devoted to Christ, then it must be sacrificed.

My question for you this afternoon is this; How much are you willing to sacrifice, in order to walk with Him?

We have been presented with something that requires us to make a very honest choice, perhaps for the very first time in our lives.

As a Christian, do you find yourselves in situations, that you know you shouldn’t be taking a part of; or do you find yourselves skipping things that you know, deep down, you should be doing?

Are you accountable enough to Jesus, in order to keep your focus, each and every single day, no matter what?

Often times it is as simple as not finding Church interesting any more or perhaps you feel you have done enough work during the week, you look forward to unwinding at the clubs on Friday and Saturday nights and then spend Sundays recuperating instead of getting up and going to Church.

It could be that you feel you are far enough along in your spirituality or perhaps you feel you have already done enough for the Lord, and you have become lax in your day to day walk. It starts out almost innocently; You can no longer find the time for prayer; you forget to bless your food before you sit down to eat it; you no longer attend Bible study; your attitude towards loving your fellow man has shifted, and before you know it, you have stopped renewing your mind altogether.

He wants you to be a follower and He expects you to take the responsibility of following Him, very seriously.

Regrettably sacrifice is something many people just aren’t willing to do; however, we have to give up something, in order to receive something.

We are so selfish that we continuously make allowances for our sins and shortcomings, instead of owning up to our own mistakes, and then we would rather blame everyone else, including the enemy for every single thing that goes wrong in our lives, most especially for stealing our focus off of God. I have a newsflash for you, the enemy cannot steal our focus; He will absolutely do whatever it takes to seduce you into his trap, however, when all is said and done, we are the ones who made the decision to shift our focus.

Just as the Israelites did, often we find ourselves in the midst of some serious trouble. However, we have got to always remember one very important thing; On our own, we have zero defenses against an attack from the enemy.

If we stop and consider how truly helpless we are, we will then be able to come to the belief that the only place we can find real help, is to go to God and allow Him to battle the enemy on our behalf.

We delude ourselves into thinking that we can handle the trouble the enemy dishes out, without fully relying on God. This leads to many clueless Christians thinking they can actually challenge the devil, with their power alone. However, it will always end with the devil showing you, that you have no power. Exodus 14:14 reads “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."

Always keep it in your mind that we have to fully trust in God to defeat our enemies, no matter what the situation is that we are facing.

So, we know that our only help is through God, but how can we access His help?

All throughout Scripture, He promises us over and over again that if we go to Him, He will come to us. That if we seek His presence within our hearts, He will rescue us from our enemies. The help is found through our faith, that He will deliver us, just as promised.

We have something today that the people back then didn’t have, we have the Bible.

In Exodus 13:21 we find a perfect example of how the Israelites were assured they were on the correct path as they were following Moses out of slavery ~ “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.”

Today, the Bible gives us information on how to know we are in God’s will. When we are faced with troubles, the first thing we should be doing is going to God, in prayer. Yet, most of us would prefer to go back to where we were, before the trouble began. Running backwards is never going to be the answer and as far as I know, it doesn’t help the situation either. But for some unknown reason, this is just something that we feel is easier to do, instead of standing firm, having faith, and watching what God does for us.

King Jehoshaphat and all the people devoted themselves to prayer and giving thanks and the Lord expects us to devote ourselves to Him in this same manner.

He wants us to be diligent in the time we spend with Him in prayer and He also wants us to commit just as much time listening to Him, as He responds to us.

It is one thing to have a monologue, yet, it is considerably different to have a dialogue.

During our prayer time, we may hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, however, the voice may not be telling us exactly what we want to hear, and so what do we do?

We keep praying, hoping that if we pray harder, longer or even louder, we will finally get what we want. We have got to be willing to pray for His answers and not turn Him off, if it isn’t what we want to hear.

If we are going to call ourselves Christians, then we must be willing to make sacrifices and we have to be faithful in those sacrifices. A good place to start is with sacrificing the things of this world that hold our attention, so that we can put that focus back on God.

We have to be relentless in becoming more God-focused. The desire of your heart should be more of what He offers, instead of what the world offers.

As it is stated in Mark, Matthew as well as in Luke, we have to let our old lives, along with our selfish desires die away and we need to become reborn in Christ. A fresh, brand-new beginning: Dedicated, focused, and determined to living like we belong to Jesus.

You have got to make a decision to place your feet on either His side or the worlds’ side. You cannot have one foot in each world.

When I started on this road, I honestly tried hard to keep one foot in my world and one foot in His world, perhaps, because I needed to know I had that fallback in case this didn’t work out, however, the longer I kept a foot in each world, the more torn I became. Somewhere along the way, it began to feel like a game of tug-o-war raging within me, one side wanting to go left, the other side wanting to go right.

The pull of each world is very real; On one hand, there was the world I used to know, the one I was most comfortable in. I had my friends, family, loved ones and things I liked to do (that may or may not have been sinful). That is the comfort I had known all my life, I controlled that world, or at least I thought I did.

On the other hand, I found myself in a new world; in His world, the things were new, people were new and in the beginning, I will admit, I was extremely uncomfortable, so far out of my comfort zone, that half the time I didn’t know which way was up. I struggled to find where I belonged and the pull from my old world would continue to call me, at the same time the pull of the Holy Spirit fought to keep me.

I knew I would have to make a decision, to plant both feet in only one of the worlds, once and for all. I sacrificed my fallback and the life I once knew, because I realized that He was the only true presence I needed in my life.

In the Book of Mark we find that a rich man once told Jesus he wanted to follow Him. When Jesus told him he first had to get rid of all the things of the world that held his attention, the man walked away sorrowful. He wanted to follow Jesus, however, he did not want Him badly enough to sacrifice the things that meant more to him than Jesus did.

And that is exactly what Jesus wants from each one of us today; to sacrifice those things we do in life, that take away from our walk with Him.

King Jehoshaphat knew the truth of the situation. He didn’t have the power to withstand an attack from a bigger army. So they stopped, refocused, and put all their attention on God.

When we can do that, we show God just how determined and genuine we are about pursuing His help and presence in our lives, this is when He shows us, just how serious and sincere He is for us.

Yes; you are going to have problems in this life, and yes, some problems are going to be more difficult to get over than others. But if we don’t focus our attention on Him, we run the risk of not even beginning to know to which way to turn, much less what to do next. We become trapped in an endless cycle and then we panic trying desperately to fix everything ourselves.

King Jehoshaphat went into this battle, knowing full well that they would lose and be killed, if God did not keep His promises. He stood firm in the Lord, trusting in God to protect them.

We need to get to the point where, our feelings cannot be hurt badly enough to turn us away; we will not be discouraged enough to turn around, and we cannot lose enough to cause us to quit.

Remembering if we end up with nothing, we will still come out ahead knowing that, as Philippians 3:7-8 states; “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

We will finally be able to get to the point where; Demons will no longer be able to ambush us, people will no longer be able to embitter us, there isn’t a sickness around that is going to stop us and battles will no longer defeat us. And because our walk with Jesus will be so unwavering, hell wouldn’t even begin to know, how to handle us.

With each step I take, I claim the victory for God. I will not give up, I will sacrifice whatever it takes, and I will always, always try to inspire others to join me.

2000 years ago, the ultimate sacrifice was paid. Jesus suffered extreme humiliation, unbelievable pain and the shedding of His blood, for you. He bought your peace, safety and security in the Land of Promise; Your eternal life with God. Why I ask, wouldn’t you be willing to sacrifice your all, for Him?

I will leave you with these parting words; from the Book of Joshua, chapter 1 verses 5-9, and it reads; “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."



Secret Santa Delivery

"She Will Bear A Son, And You Shall Call His Name Jesus, For He Will Save His People From Their Sins."
Matthew 1:21 (ESV)

I apologize for the shoddy picture, I am not a photographer :)))

Yesterday the mailman took forever to put the mail in the mailbox and when I was able to go out and get it, I found a package for me. *Smiles*

The return address was on the package, however, scratched out so I can't even send a thank you card. *Bummer*

Each present was individually wrapped, however, in my excitement to see something other than a letter from my lawyer, I didn't think to grab my camera beforehand. *Sorry*

I haven't a clue who my Secret Santa is, though I know she resides in California since that is where the postmark is from. *Wink*

Inside was a treasure trove of goodies...

A GORGEOUS postcard from California Wine Country. *Saving it*

A YUMMY bag of Ghiradelli Squares/Dark Chocolate and Mint. *Eating it* (not all by myself, I am not selfish, I will share one square!)

ADORABLE cupcake magnetic bookmarks. *LOVE!* **Sidenote, I use these types of bookmarks in my various Bibles and I never seem to have enough... Never blogged about them so she must have read my mind**

An AWESOME online organizer. *Cute* (Now I can clear out my "favorites" menu which is about a mile long when I open it!)

BEAUTIFUL ornament with the words of 'O Little Town of Bethlehem printed on it. *Grins*

The last thing I opened was a small jewelry box, inside, nestled on what looked like straw (am I the only one who sees this???) was a GLORIOUS bronze Cross hanging on a length of cord. *Tears*

Yes I am a sap for any Cross ~ Sue me ;)

The Cross is hanging right above my desk where I can look at it when I become weary (I have finals this week, I am beyond weary) or when I just need to know He is still right there beside me.

**To my Secret Santa, thank you from the bottom of my heart, it was if you truly knew me.

May His richest blessings surround you and your family during the season of His birth.

Oh Hear The Angel Voices
Oh Night Divine
Oh Night When Christ Was Born
Oh Night Divine, Oh Night, Oh Night Divine


Speak Life

"Use Your Heads As You Live And Work Among Outsiders. Don't Miss A Trick. Make The Most Of Every Opportunity. Be Gracious In Your Speech. The Goal Is To Bring Out The Best In Others In A Conversation, Not Put Them Down, Not Cut Them Out."
Colossians 4:5-6 (The Message)

When I gave my first sermon, my Pastor told the congregation that after that night, I would never be the same.

As usual, he wasn't lying.

Before God, my family and friends, I was charged to speak life into people, all people.

What he didn't tell me, was how to speak life into the ones who are so hateful and ugly.

The ones who whisper behind your back, then smile to your face.

The ones who wait for you to make a mistake, then rub your face in it.

The ones who turn their face, when they see you coming.

The ones who cut you down, with every breath they take.

The ones who take pleasure in seeing you stumble, in seeing you fail.

It is easy to speak life into those who are nice to you, it isn't so easy to speak life into those that wish your death.

The day after I was charged with this, something within me began to stir.

I could no longer just belt out a response and then feel guilt over it later, before I could even open my mouth, I could hear the whisper "Speak Life" within my soul.

I would find out later that this would be part of the Sanctification process.

Sanctification is defined as; To set apart, consecrate...To make holy, purify.

Sanctification is a progressive work done by the Holy Spirit over the span of our entire lives.

It is a painful process at times...

The Lord is working with you to fully expose and weed out all of the negative qualities that He doesn't want to be within your personality.

God desires that each of us enter into a true sanctification process with Him so that He can begin the process of molding, shaping, and transforming us into the image of His Son.

Once the Sanctification process starts, you have to be willing to work with the Holy Spirit.

You have to get into His Word and find out exactly what He would want to change about you, then you need to find the qualities He will want you to put onto your personality, as well as which ones He would like you to remove.

Begin with the 9 Fruits of the Spirit; Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.

Remember, these are His, not yours.

His love, His joy, His peace etc...Stamped into your personality.

I seem to have gotten off track... Back to speaking life.

Negative and abusive words cut to the very center of a person.

Remember that old adage "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?"

What a lie that is.

Words hurt.

The tongue has the power of life and of death.

Words spoken in anger, words spoken in passing, words spoken out of pain...

If you aren't mindful of the words you are speaking, you have the power to cut someone to their very core.

By nature, I am a sensitive person, perhaps too sensitive, depending on who you ask.

I spent a lifetime seeking the approval of others, seeking kind words, seeking praise from those surrounding me and there were more times than naught that it didn't matter what I did, it just didn't seem to be enough.

Then the world as I knew it blew up in my face and I was suddenly surrounded by people who were kind, caring and compassionate.

People who were more than willing to give me the approval I sought for so long, the only problem I found was that I wasn't seeking approval of "man" anymore...

I was seeking His.

He is the one I go to, before I do anything, His words are what I seek, His approval is what I need, His praise is what I want.

However, because I am human, there are still days when other humans can take the wind right out of my sails, with a careless word or with an ugly phrase.

No matter where we go in life, we are bound to face off with difficult people, with people who seem to derive extreme pleasure in hurting others, and then there are the ones who just don't know that what they are saying, is actually hurtful.

I have spent no less than the past 2 weeks listening to a few people who seem to fit under this umbrella and then there are a couple who just seem to enjoy being mean....

It doesn't matter what is being said, what matters is the response you (or me in this case) project.

Do you respond in anger, perhaps with even uglier words?

Do you get angry and allow them to ruin your day?

It took me an awful long time to learn, to actually put into play, that I will not allow someone else to steal my joy and I will be the first to admit I still let it happen, especially depending on who the person is.

My skin is not thick, perhaps thicker than it used to be, however I still take to heart what people say to me, as well as about me.

It has taken me a long time to fully understand that people will hate you for one of three reasons; They hate themselves, they want to be you or they feel you are a threat to them.

It is a process that I am working on, to get to the place where it no longer bothers me, where no matter what you say, nor what you do, I will not allow it to affect my life.

How I respond though, falls squarely on my shoulders.

Sometimes I just listen and don't respond, sometimes I will respond with kind (not like) words, sometimes I will just walk away...

Each response brings something to me....


You see I have to live with myself and the responses I give to people and I have found that if I give the wrong ones, I have tremendous amounts of guilt, because I know it is displeasing to Him.

M told me one day, as I was struggling with how to react to all that was going around me, to stop and look at the person as a child of His, not as my husband or a friend or a family member ~ As a child of God.

Once you are able to put that into perspective, speaking life becomes easier.

I am not going to tell you that you, (nor I for that matter) won't fall back into old habits of lashing out in anger, because we aren't perfect, however, it becomes easier as time goes on.

2 years ago, you could have lashed out at me and most likely I would have responded word for ugly word, a year ago, I most likely would have defended or argued, today I make the effort to see Him in each person I come in contact with, knowing He placed them on my path for a reason.

I told my Pastor last week, if you are going to continually look for the good in people, regardless of how they treat you, there is a price that must be paid...

The question is, are you willing to pay the price?

Are you willing to put yourself out there, in the path of the fiery darts, to seek the goodness, underneath all the rubbish?

If you call yourself a Christian that is exactly what you should be doing.

Speak life, kindness, compassion and love....

The reward will come from within you and it allows His light to shine out of you.

And It's Not Enough To Just Say, "I Believe"
'Cause Truth Is That Talk Is Cheap
So Grace Give Me Eyes To See


Striving For Gratefulness

"Rejoice Evermore. Pray Without Ceasing. In Every Thing Give Thanks: For This Is The Will Of God In Christ Jesus Concerning You."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Charles Dickens ~ " No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another."

For those who have been placed on my path, who help to make my burdens lighter.

Albert Schweitzer ~ "In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."

For those who help my inner spirit to soar.

Alphonse Karr ~ "Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses."

For those who teach me how to view life from a different perspective.

Viki King ~ "You won't be happy with more until you're happy with what you've got."

For those who opened my eyes to see just how truly blessed I am.

Helen Keller ~ "The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart."

For those who have touched my heart in ways I can not even begin to express.

Victoria Monfort ~ "Choosing Trust over Doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened."

For those who showed me it was okay to trust again.

Audrey Hepburn ~ "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone."

For those who take the time to guide and help me to be the woman I am becoming.

Belinda Garrison ~ "Fear grows out of the things we think; it lives in our minds. Compassion grows out of the things we are, and lives in our hearts."

For those who help to calm my fears and those who show me where compassion lives.

George Colman ~ "Praise the bridge that carried you over."

For those who helped bridge the line between bitterness and forgiveness.

Alfred North Whitehead ~ "No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude."

For those who want nothing more than for me to succeed.

Sarah Ban Breathnach ~ "Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need."  

For those who welcomed me into their family... Regardless.

William Feather ~ "Many of our prayers were not answered, and for this we are now grateful."

For those who showed me that sometimes unanswered prayers, truly are a blessing.


I love Thanksgiving.

It is my absolute favorite holiday of the year.

You get to eat some of the best foods ever made and you don't have to buy hundreds of dollars worth of presents that will break within a month anyway.

You don't have to decorate your house with all sorts of greens and reds.

There are no mounds of tinsel, nor tangled lights to contend with.

There is a crispness in the air, gorgeous leaves on the grounds and the air just smells like cinnamon and pumpkins.

You get to break out your fall sweaters, boots and jackets...

Who am I kidding, I live in Florida and we are still wearing shorts and flip flops.  :)

Thanksgiving has always seemed like the start of a New Year for me.

This year more so than others, because I am very thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me.

People more than anything.

Wonderful people who go out of their way to help, to guide, to love... Just because.

If you know me, then you know it isn't a secret that I never really had much to do with people.

Content to live in my own little world with my family, happy to ignore the "real world."

If you have been reading along for any length of time, you know how that worked out for me. :)

However, I have learned some valuable lessons this past year and I have been blessed with beautiful people who help me to learn.

I read a quote today by Alexander Graham Bell that states ~  "When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."

All too often people are attached to their past, to what is familiar to them, and they tend to miss new doors, filled with new opportunities, that are standing right in front of them.

Not every plan you have for your life is going to work out.

There are going to be losses, failures, problems in relationships, loss of money or job, loss of friends and family and sometimes very unpleasant things can happen.

We may not always have control over these things that happen, but we can control our reactions and our attitudes.

If we always focus our attention to what was lost, "the closed door," we see only a closed door, which in turn can fill us with frustration and unhappiness, however, if we can learn to shift our line of vision and attention away from the closed door, we might be pleasantly surprised to discover a whole row of open new doors.

Every night during my prayers, I always give thanks for the doors that have been opened, as well as the lessons learned, from the doors that have been shut.

It all starts with your attitude and how you look at things and this year, I am thankful I have new doors lined up for me. 

There are people He has placed in my life that I am forever grateful for...

Some will read this, some will not, however, they all know what they mean to me.

I love each and every one of you ~ Just for who you are.

My boys and my family.

My bloggy friends who email me when I don't post in quite some time, just to check in and make sure all is well.

G ~ The big brother I never had ~ You are one of my dearest friends and I am thankful for the lessons you have taught me, for your friendship, for the fact that you won't allow me to have a single pity party and for showing me that it is okay to cry like a baby. You make me laugh and it is a comforting thought knowing you are right there, no matter when, no matter what.

D ~ My prayer partner, my friend ~ You have the best laugh of anyone I know. Your joy and spirit are contagious. I love to see His light shining through you as you sing and I am so very grateful you are in my life. You have taught me the true meaning of "having my back," and what it means to have a "friend for life." You help me in ways you don't even know, as well as in ways you do and eventually I think we will be able to remove the "thorn in my side," otherwise known as praying out loud. You are a blessing to know and a joy to be around.

Pastor ~ My mentor, my friend ~ Where do I even begin? I could write post after post about you. The first person who earned my trust after all was said and done. You know when you are needed and you know when to step back a bit. There will always be a special place in my heart for you and for what you have done. You have taught me emotions are okay to show, prayers never need to be silent and joy, sheer joy can be found, even in the midst of complete sorrow. I will always defend you and forever respect you and I pray that I never let you down.

Reverend M ~ My mentor, my friend ~ You are just you. Energetic, animated, happy, and full of life. You always make time whenever I ask, without a second thought. Willing to answer question after question, never tiring and always making sure I leave your presence understanding fully. You have shown me the "circle" as well as who to let into it and who to cut loose. You make me smile and it is a joy to know you.

R ~ My mentor, my friend ~ A woman on the same path as I am, willing to help me find my footing, catching if I stumble, always helpful and never hurtful. You my friend, have a quiet beauty that shines from within you and touches those around you. It would be hard to be on this road on my own, knowing you are in front of me, gives me the courage to face my fears and continue forward.

My Heavenly Father ~ I thank you for each and every one of these beautiful people you have placed in my path. I know there are many more and each is filled with their own qualities, besides my family, these 5 mentioned by name however, are the ones that I interact with the most and I am eternally blessed and grateful You saw fit to place them into my life.

Father, I ask you to bless each person reading this right now. I am asking You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence in Your ability to work through them. Where there is tiredness, or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, patience, and strength as they learn submission to your leading.

Where there is spiritual indifference, I ask You to renew them by revealing Your nearness, and by drawing them into greater intimacy with You. Where there is fear, reveal Your love, and release to them Your courage. Where there is a sin blocking them, reveal it, and break its hold over my friend's life. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them.

Give each of them discernment to recognize the evil forces around them, and reveal to them the power they have in You to defeat it. I thank You, I praise You and I ask You, in Jesus' most precious name I pray.


Happy Thanksgiving.

You Do Your Best To Build A Higher Wall.
To Keep Love Safe From Every Wrecking Ball.
When The Dust Is Cleared
You Will See The House That Love Rebuilt
Guarding Beauty That Lives Here Still.


In The Clouds

"Have I Not Commanded You? Be Strong And Courageous. Do Not Be Afraid; Do Not Be Discouraged, For The LORD Your God Will Be With You Wherever You Go." Joshua 1:9

Never before has that verse meant more to me, than it does right now.

I know it has been awhile since I have been here.

I get your emails just checking in, as well as the messages on Facebook and I appreciate you all very much.

It has been a long month since I last checked in. A month filled with changes, growth, smiles, as well as tears.

My first 2 classes are done (I received an A in each class *smiles*) and I am 3 weeks into the next 2 classes.

Between school, work and everything in between I haven't been able to find the time to get on here and share like I used to, however, I will try to be better about it.

As I knelt at the Altar during morning service this past Sunday, head down, hands clasped in front of me, eyes closed; Scared, fearful, more nervous than I have ever felt in my entire life, almost sick with worry, hoping I wouldn't start crying, feeling so tense that I was sure if someone said "Boo" to me, I would literally crack, praying that He would take all the emotions running through me and replace them with His peace, I felt 2 hands on my head, one on each side and then a voice in my ear...

I didn't even have to open my eyes to know it was my Pastor.

He knew, just as he always does, when he was needed without being asked.

He knew the emotions swirling within me, because he had already been in this exact moment.

This past Sunday at 4pm, I preached my first official sermon. Those of you who are on my Facebook already know that and you also know how nervous I was lol.

I thought I was going to go in there, speak for 20 minutes and then go home....

What I didn't know was that it was a whole service, complete with the choir, programs, ushers etc...

As I did when I was the guest speaker, I was put in my Pastors' office and since I knew there was an awful lot riding on this (more about that in a minute), I was very anxious and literally shaking in my seat.

I sat there for about 15 minutes as he did what he had to do, in and out of the office and then M and R came in along with him and it was time for prayer.

Since praying out loud is still a huge thorn in my side that I haven't been able to remove, I was grateful he didn't ask me to lead it.

Then onto the outside area (but not into the Sanctuary yet) to pray with the choir, where he says to me that if the roles were reversed, he isn't sure he could do what I was about to do.

~ Side note,  Thanks for making me even more nervous, Pastor W. ~ :) :)

As the choir heads out, he speaks with our pianist and then it is our time to go out.

I head to the center seat as instructed (yes, his seat once again) and he takes the seat next to me as the choir starts singing.

Let me just say, our choir rocks....

I absolutely love listening to them and I was so happy they were there on the program.

Next up is prayer and another song selection, which by the way was beautifully done and makes me cry every time I hear it.

You can listen to it here if you so fancy.  :)

Then my Pastor is the one who introduced me and he had me in tears by this time.

Let the people who know me (outside the Church) that I was in another family, that they loved me and accepted me.

That it wasn't up to them to question who God choses to bring His word and for the ones that came "just to see" he said he would pray for them.

He read 2 Timothy 3:13-4:7 to me, making it known that I was to speak life into the people of God, never death.

He spoke for a few more minutes and after a few more verses from the choir, it was my time.

The Scripture that was laid on my heart 2 weeks ago was 2 Chronicles 20:2-7 and while I wouldn't have specifically chosen this Scripture, God had other plans.

I was told 2 1/2 weeks ago that I needed to do this, I wouldn't have a lot of time to do it, however if I didn't get it done, I would have to wait another year (due to the structure of our Church).

He also gave me free reign from the Bible, to preach on anything laid on my heart, and quite honestly I was hoping for a nice Psalm or a cool Proverb or perhaps even something out of Revelation, but Chronicles?

Good thing I just finished my Old Testament class lol.

So I prepared a sermon based on fear as well as sacrifice and I will post it here in the next few days.

I took my place behind the pulpit, started reading and I kid you not, the microphone did almost the same thing it did before...

I just had to laugh as my Pastor came up and kept tapping it, finally it stopped with the awful feedback and we proceeded.

I took a deep breath and started over.

While watching the DVD, I can see my nervousness shining through, there were areas where I was tongue-tied and I fidget with my hands (last time I was told I needed to stop speaking with my hands, so I was trying to keep them at my side).

When I was about 3/4 of the way through, something happened within me that literally took my breath away and you can see it as I am speaking.

I am struggling to catch my breath and speak at the same time.

That all-consuming love I felt last time, (when I had finished speaking) overtook me and it is so powerful and so filling that you just want to laugh and cry at the same time.

I finished in tears.

I took a step back and as my Pastor came back into the pulpit, (he had been sitting in the pew watching) I could see he was in tears as well.

He spoke for a few more minutes and called me down to the front and then called everyone up for hugs and such.

He reminded everyone that there was a Church conference the following night at 7pm and informed me before I left that I was to be present.

The Church conference was to hold a vote, on whether I was to be able to move forward.

In order to preach in my Church, the congregation votes to allow you to move onto the next step and I was even more worried about this I think, than anything else.

I knew that my sermon had a lot riding on it and I put so much pressure on myself that last Wednesday I was actually sick just from nerves.

As I left the house last night, due to Daylight Savings Time, it was almost completely dark.

There were clouds rolling in and breaks in the clouds where you could see the moonlight shining through.

As I got to the stoplight at the end of my street, I put some music on, rolled down the window, stuck my head out for some fresh air and looked up...

The clouds were breaking and almost directly above me I saw the most incredible sight...

One break was shaped into the form of a heart and right beside that break, was another break and it was shaped into the biggest Cross I have ever seen.

"Wherever you go" those were the words I heard as I looked into the sky.

My heart was pounding like crazy.

I picked up my prayer partner (I know you are reading this and you know I love you lots) who was sick and feeling wretched but still wanted to cast her vote.

We got to the Church, I sat in the very back until my Pastor came in and called me to sit in the very front row, back towards all who would be voting so I couldn't see a thing, except the pulpit I had just stood in front of less than 24 hours before that.

I could feel the burn behind my eyes and the whisper of the voice telling me "You will never make it."

We opened with prayer as well as a reading from Scripture.

He made sure they all knew who I was and then spoke about why we were there, what they were required to do.

He asked for a motion on the floor, and once he had that, he asked for a second...

He then asked that all who were in favor to please stand, I stayed seated...

He looked at me and asked if I was against myself and I said I didn't think I was supposed to vote for myself lol, he said you aren't, but I want you to stand.

So I stood and then he said I want you to turn around and see who has your back...

I took a deep breath and fighting back tears I turned around, to everyone in the congregation standing.

This Sunday, I will be presented to the Elders of the Church and I will let you know how it goes.

I’d Like To Look In The Mirror, Without Hiding My Eyes
I’d Like To See What You See, Why You Think I’m Qualified
To Speak For You, O God, Most High


How Will They Remember Me?

"Have I Not Commanded You? Be Strong And Courageous. Do Not Be Frightened, And Do Not Be Dismayed, For The LORD Your God Is With You Wherever You Go." Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

I should be doing homework, however I couldn't concentrate on the task at hand.

I kept hearing the word legacy in my head and each time I concentrated on it, I knew a post was brewing, I also know once a post is brewing, I have to write it before I can do anything else.

I was content to just be a good wife, daughter, mother etc...

However that isn't a legacy.

It also isn't how many degrees or awards you have on your wall, nor how many trophies you have in your curio cabinet, it isn't how many rings you have won in the Superbowl nor how many belts you won in the wrestling ring.

Legacy is defined as; Anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.

If you were to die right now, what would you be leaving behind?

For people He placed in my path?

For the boys He trusted into the care of their father and myself?

For the family members I see on a day to day basis?

How will they remember me?

I used to seek praise from those around me, to let me know that they were happy with what I was doing, what I had done, how I did it etc...

How will they remember me?

I used to do everything in my power to not leave a "mark" on those around me, content to sit in the shadows of whomever I was around, happy to be the girl whose name no one could ever remember.

How will they remember me?

I will never forget the day, not long after he left, I had a revelation that took my breath away...

My tombstone wouldn't say "beloved wife" on it, small perhaps to some, but at the time it was a huge deal to me and it just broke my heart even more.

In my warped way of thinking, he was the end all, be all, of my legacy - My life as it was, while I was married.

Thanks be to God, I no longer think that way.

If I stop and truly think about it, that wasn't my life either, at least not all of it.

I allowed myself to be what anyone else wanted me to be, only because I didn't know who I was anymore.

I had a purpose being his wife, their mom, their daughter, their aunt, niece, cousin etc...

Anything but being what He wanted me to be.

While I still have the majority of those "titles" to call on, they aren't my purpose.

I have a divine purpose and I also know that how they will remember me, will be something He will help me with.

I want to teach my boys to call on Him first, not last.

I want them to know how to pray and never teach them it is something you do in private, nor is it ever something to be ashamed of.

I want them to know pure joy, in the midst of absolute pain.

I want them to know that no matter what you lose, it is just material and can be replaced with Something that is so much greater than anything in this world.

I want them to experience the all consuming Love that no one on this face of this Earth, can give them.

I want them to raise their hands in praise, stand in Church when the Spirit moves them, and weep for utter peace when it comes over them.

I pray He guides each and every step I take and that I am completely encamped by Him and His angels as I teach them and guide them.

I want them to be blessed with a Pastor who has patience, compassion and love, just as I have been blessed.

I want to show them what it is to be blessed with Godly friends whose outstretched hand you see, before you even hit the floor, just as I have been.

I want to show them how to be that kind of friend, just in case.

I want them to know that the best Friend they will ever have, is not of this world, yet He is just a whisper away.

That is how I want my boys to remember me.

That I pointed you to Him, more than I pointed to myself.

That I call on His name first, long before I call on you.

That we shared more smiles, than tears.

That there were more hugs, than cold shoulders.

That there was always an opportunity for a silent walk on the beach, with a friend.

That we always remember, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20 

That we use each experience He gives us, as a lesson to be learned.

That we guide one another on how to be kind, gentle, compassionate, empathetic, humble, and loving.

That is how I want to be remembered by those He placed in my path.

As for seeking the outward praise I spoke about earlier, the only thing I want to hear is;

"...Well done, good and faithful servant" Matthew 25:23

You've Called Me Out Of Death.
You've Called Me Into Life.
And I Was Under Your Wrath,
Now Through The Cross, I'm Reconciled



Shedding One Cloak, For Another

"The Fear Of Human Opinion Disables; Trusting In God Protects You From That."
Proverbs 29:25 (The Message)

I read tonight that shyness can be a form of pride, that fear of what other people will think about us and being overly concerned with their opinions, can be reflection of obsession with self.

Scripture says we are not be worried about the opinions of others, that we are not to fear what people think about us or even what they say about us, if we are doing what we know is right.

In fact, according to 2 Timothy 3:12, if we are striving to live Godly lives, we can expect not to be liked.

I must have missed the memo that day when it went out. 

That was a joke. :)

I have spent my life worried about what others thought of me, no matter who they were, even if I never saw that person again, I still cared more about what others thought, and less about what He thought.

I don't think anyone has ever used the word "shy" to describe me, timid perhaps, shy not so much.

I watch and take it all in before I make any sort of move and I have never been one to just dive right in.

I am the type of person who will just dip a toe in the water to gauge the temperature, instead of jumping right in.

I worry about the impression I will make, on the people I am about to engage with.

I go through a list a mile long, from how my hair is looking, to the shoes I am wearing and quite frankly, it can be exhausting.

I do it when I am speaking to people about Him.

That changed for me today.

Today I removed the cloak of timidness (I do LOVE the jacket below. Way cute!).

As I was posting on the discussion board for my evangelism class, I was struck with a wave of clarity.

You see I have been pondering for quite some time...

What kind of Pastor I will be?

Will I make a difference?

Will I fail?

Will I have victory?

How does He want me to deliver the messages He continues to imprint on my heart?

As I sat here answering a classmate, I could hear His voice as clear as day; Boldly.

The conversation went something like this;

Boldly? (Yep, that is me, always questioning)

With passion, with love and with boldness.

Follow My Words, follow the Book that has been laid out before you, don't deviate from any of My Word.

What if the people don't like it? (Again with the questions)

Not everyone will.

What if they don't like me? (I really need to learn to stop asking questions)

It doesn't matter.

I don't know how to be bold. (That would be more like a whisper)

You are no longer in your comfort zone, I have placed you where I want you to be, where you will make a difference, for My Kingdom, for Me.

Don't deviate from My Word.

And just like that, the conversation was over, the cloak of timidness was shed and I knew without a shadow of a doubt, what He wants me to do & how He wants me to do it.

You see I had just posted on the discussion board, how I have been watching several Pastors and how they deliver their messages and I was struck with the fact that out of all of them, only a few of them ever mentioned Hell, the majority of them hardly ever mentioned the consequences of sin and very rarely are they bold in the delivery of their messages.

It is almost as if they are immune to what society deems as "okay" and in my heart I knew I didn't want to become like that; A feel-good Pastor, who sugar-coats the message to appeal to the congregation and what they want to hear.

I also knew I didn't want to be the type of Pastor people wouldn't come to, thinking perhaps that I didn't have the time for them.

It is extremely crucial to me that I don't fall prey to the enemy, that the line I walk has a complete balance between what He wants from me and what I deliver.

That the messages are directly from my Father, backed exclusively with the Gospel, that there isn't any form of coddling where sinful behavior is concerned, and that it is done with compassion and love.

I am very blessed to have three mentors in my path who also follow this same style.

These three are wonderful people who share their extensive amount of wisdom with me, who guide me when I can't quite figure out where to place my next step, who love me regardless of who I used to be, who answer question after question (imagine that), who show me what patience is (thank you M) who show me how beautiful a Godly woman truly is (thank you R) and who show me that emotions, all of them, are allowed to be expressed, to be felt, without shame (thank you Pastor).

I used to think being blessed meant you had a healthy bank account, a nice shiny new car, a big house that the neighbors envied, a loving husband, 2.4 children and a white, picket fence.

Now I know what it means to be truly blessed and it has nothing to do with any of those things.

It has to do with the way you truly "see" things.

It is a perfect love.

It is waking up one more day, to see a gorgeous sunrise.

It is a feeling inside you, one that no human can produce for you, it is Him.

It is a love that is fierce and passionate, protective and gentle, a love no one can give you, like He can.

It is knowing He died for me, before I was even born, because He loved me that much.

It is climbing into His lap and crying for all the pain you feel, for all the devastation you see and knowing He is crying with you.

It is closing your eyes in a Summer rainshower, knowing He is pouring His love down upon you.

It is so many beautiful things, that have nothing to do with material things.

He loves you, just for who you are and that right there is a marvelous blessing.

Shed the cloak you are wearing, whether it be shame, timidness, shyness, arrogance, hatred, weariness etc...

Put on a new cloak today, His cloak, filled with a love you will never, ever be able to comprehend, never, ever be able to describe and one you will never, ever want to let go of.

In His Grace And Unfailing Love
The Risen King Gave His Hand To Us
To Lift Us Up, From The Pit
And Set Our Feet Upon A Rock That Ever Stands


Courage vs Fear

"For I Hold You By Your Right Hand — I, The Lord Your God. And I Say To You, Don’t Be Afraid. I Am Here To Help You."
Isaiah 41:13 (NLT)

To start life all over again, when you thought all along your life was set ~ Courage

To ask for help, when you never did before ~ Courage

To step out in faith, when there is nothing but darkness surrounding you ~ Courage

To state "I can't" and then do it anyway ~ Courage

To smile, even though there are tears in your eyes ~ Courage

To take an opposite stand, even though the crowd may be saying something different ~ Courage

To give encouragement, even though you may not get a response ~ Courage

To take the hand of a friend who is hurting, and put aside your own pain for awhile ~ Courage

To get up in the morning, when you just don't feel you can face one more day ~ Courage

To trust again, once all trust has been shattered ~ Courage

It takes courage to face your fears head on.

In my case, it takes more courage than I ever thought I could muster up.

It isn't a secret that I don't seek out people, I am more than happy to live in my own little world, however He has greater plans than that for me and it takes every ounce of courage I have within me, to face what He has called me to do.

If I stop and actually think about it, fear almost always wins.

I will fail Him ~ Fear

They won't like me ~ Fear

I will be laughed at ~ Fear

He won't love me anymore ~ Fear

He is angry with me ~ Fear

I could go on and on, however I will assume you get the picture.

There is a fine line that one walks when it comes to courage vs fear.

Fear should never be allowed to win.

If allowed, it most likely will consume your life, and then you are just left as a shell of what you used to be.

Courage is what you will need in order to change the shell back into a "real" person.

I have had to ask for an enormous amount of courage, on more than one occasion and been granted what I have asked for each time.

Sad to say, but I believed the lies of the enemy, that I wasn't worthy, that I had no business going back to school, that no one would ever love me again, that I was a complete and utter failure, that I would ultimately die alone etc...

Each day I wrestled with my own mind, trying to discern what was real and what was a lie, each day I had to seek His truth out, what He thought of me, what He was truly asking of me, if He really loved me, if He was perhaps mistaken and to be honest there are still days that I allow my mind to go back to the lies.

I take that to Him, (most of the time in the ugly green chair), and I just talk to Him as I am talking to you now.

No flowery words, no reasoning with Him, just honest heart to heart talk between a Father and His Daughter.

It is during these times my courage is renewed, my soul becomes calm, His peace is flowing within me, His love shines through and I know He is sitting right there with me, listening to every fear, every doubt, every worry, my tears landing in His palm, my heart beating in perfect time with His and if I close my eyes, I can almost see Him, so very close.

Never did I think, that I would seek Him, the way I do now.

Never did I think I could love, what I can not see, with such passion.

Never did I think, I would gladly give my life up, for Him.

Never did I think, joy would envelope me, when chaos surrounds me.

Never did I think, I would shed tears, for those that don't believe.

You need courage to get past your fears and He is the one who will supply it to you, all you have to do is ask.

I pray each one of you has the courage to stand out and apart from the crowd, that He is the one who supplies your courage, and that you face the fears head on, with Him holding your hand.

The Only Way We'll Ever Stand
Is On Our Knees With Lifted Hands
Make Us Courageous
Lord, Make Us Courageous


2009-2015 Serenity ~

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