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Saturday, February 28, 2009

If you hold on for dear life...

I meet with 3 other gals every Friday for Bible study. The thing I love about it so much is that we take a study for a springboard and then we all discuss how it's playing out in our lives. The discussions often take us in a direction I never imagined, but it always ministers to our hearts.

Yesterday the subject of fear came up. We talked about Phil. 4:6-7 and what a comfort it is. In fact one of the gals used this as her "life verse" and wrote it on her mirror as a reminder every day.

Phil 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Such good news...bring it to God!
There is nothing like His peace.

Then we talked about Psalms 91. This one has been a lifeline for me in times of worry and fear. I used to struggle with fear about my children. I was tormented with thoughts of them being hurt. But learning this verse and choosing to believe it...set me free.

The whole verse is powerful, but here is a short portion from the Message Bible.

You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
Say this: "God, you're my refuge.
I trust in You and I'm safe!"
That's right—He rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you're perfectly safe;
His arms fend off all harm.

And I love the ending of Psalms 91:

"If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God,
"I'll get you out of any trouble.
I'll give you the best of care
if you'll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!"

I love that!
If you hold on for dear life...

I love the picture that paints. Of someone that recognizes that nothing and no one else is a reliable source of safety. He is the One we hold on to for dear life.

Now imagine someone...holding on for dear life to a bottle or drug, or their money, or even another person...there's no security in that.

We were created to hold on to Him.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Life with 4 boys....The Bear About Ate Him!

A guest post by Denise (click on picture to visit her blog!)

Lately my boys have been looking through our photo albums and we came across the pictures from our first trip to the U.P. (Upper Peninsula, MI, for all you non-michiganders out there!)

Our oldest boy was four and our only other boy at the time was one (THAT was a long time ago!) It was our first ‘family vacation’ and we went up to my husband’s family’s eighty acres and cabin. Our oldest was all excited as could be and my husband was more than willing to tell him all the stories of glory from his childhood there.

“See that grove of trees over there, son?”
Our oldest nodded emphatically. “Yup, Daddy, I see it.”
“Your Grandpa shot a bear out there, years ago.”
“Really? Was it big?”
“Pretty big. I wouldn’t want to see it. But don’t worry, that was a long time ago.”

I was giving my husband the “move to another subject” look and he caught it and he went on to telling him stories of building the cabin and deer hunting and about the beavers that lived down in the pond.

We settled in, I finally got our then baby to sleep when our oldest had to use the outhouse. This cabin we love so dearly has no running water, no electric, no bathroom. It has an outhouse. Our oldest was SO excited that he got to go to the bathroom outside and he was fine on his own, he needed no help and since my husband assured me that he couldn’t fall in, off our little brave boy trotted to the outhouse.

We could see him the whole time; the outhouse is about as far from the cabin as most people’s vehicles are to their front door. And a window gives you a bird’s eye view to the door of the outhouse. Our little guy settled onto the toilet seat and began his business. We waited and waited and waited and waited for him to come out and he never did. He hadn’t left, we could see him there. I finally sent my husband out to check on him and he found our brave boy, crying quietly and scared to death to come out of the outhouse.

“I seen some squirrels and I was watching how fun they are and then I heard some scratching and I knew, Daddy, it was a bear and I knew, Daddy, that it could eat me. So I stayed right here so it wouldn’t get me and I knew you would get me, Daddy.”

The bear was some branches on the roof of the outhouse.

Our brave boy did not go out to the outhouse again alone, and when we were in town, we bought him a cap gun that he even slept with. That bear had about ate him and now no bear would find him unarmed!

It’s one of our favorite cabin stories. I even took a picture of my son sitting in the outhouse.

I was thinking about that and I got to thinking about the great faith that our son had in his Daddy. He had an unfounded fear, it was a molehill turned to a mountain, if you will – that branch turned to hungry grizzly bear – and even still he waited for his Daddy to rescue him because he knew he would.

If only I would always have that much faith in my Heavenly Father. To know when I have turned my molehills to mountains and to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my Heavenly Father will protect and carry me through.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

These Kids Need Some Fresh Air!

It's that time of year again! Time to start thinking about helping these great kids. Sara from Fresh Air would like me to share this with you, and I'm thrilled to help spread the word!

Fresh Air children are boys and girls, six to 12 years old, who reside in low-income communities in New York City and are eager to experience the simple pleasures of life outside the city.

Thanks to host families who open up their homes for a few weeks each summer, children growing up in New York City’s toughest neighborhoods have experienced the joys of Fresh Air vacations. More than 65% of all children are reinvited to stay with their host family, year after year. Fresh Air Fund Host FamiliesThere is no such thing as a "typical" host family. If you have room in your home - and your heart - to host a child, you could be one too.

The Fresh Air Fund needs hosts for the Summer of 2009
The Fresh Air Fund relies on donations and partnerships to raise the funds needed to give these children the vacation they deserve.

You can give a child the experience of a lifetime with your gift to The Fresh Air Fund! Every year, The Fresh Air Fund gives thousands of inner-city children the priceless gift of fun – and opens the door to a lifetime of opportunities. Whether it’s a two-week trip to the country to visit a volunteer host family, or a fun-filled and educational stay at one of our camps, our programs make for unforgettable memories – and open a world of new friendships and fresh possibilities. We are a not-for-profit agency and depend on tax-deductible donations from people like you to keep our vital programs flourishing.
Donate online now

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two shall become One ~ Different Day, Same Argument


Do you have certain issues that seem to keep coming up in your marriage? Things that bother you or your spouse and continue to surface again and again.

We sure did! I will just tell on myself here because I would never tattle on my hubby! And I have way more annoying habits than he does anyway.

One of our issues was the checkbook...I would constantly forget to balance it and just try to remember in my head how much was there. That didn't go over well and I can't tell you how many times it became an area of contention!

Or my lack of keeping up on the laundry... I know you're all staring at me in disbelief and crushed that I am not the perfect wife, get over it- I'm human! :)

Seriously, we have had so many silly little arguments in the past about things that could easily have been prevented with a little forethought on my part.

What about you? Are you letting the little things bring strife and irritation into your marriage?

I do not want you to tell me all the annoying habits of your husband or the things he does that constantly cause arguments. I want to encourage you to look in the mirror and see where you do things that you KNOW will irritate him and cause an argument.

We can't change our spouse, nor should we try. But we can change us. We can choose to get those things done....or stop doing certain things....or maybe stop being over annoyed at his things.

You might not like this post today, but your kids will thank me (they hate it when Mom and Dad argue)!

I'm praying for our marriages,

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Girlfriends in God ~ and a recipe!

I had so much fun yesterday! I hosted a get together/meeting for all the gals helping with the Praise and Coffee/Loving Well Weekend. (To the girls who couldn't make it...we missed you!)

It was so cool to get all these women from different churches and walks of life together to hash out all the details of our conference. They had so much great input.

My heart for the Praise and Coffee ministry is to bring us all together in unity with the common cause of Christ, no matter what church we attend. With 9 churches represented, our get together was a beautiful snapshot of just that idea.

Then to top it off we had a powerful time of prayer for the conference and the Project Pamper outreach that we are coordinating with it.

I am so thankful to be a part of what God is doing among the ladies in the community, I can see us becoming Girlfriends in God and I am loving it!!!

For those of you that weren't there with us, I want to share an easy recipe with you that we all loved:

Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Bread

1 pkg. Duncan Hines Bakery style blueberry muffin mix
2 Tbls poppy seed
1 egg
1 Tbls grated lemon peel (I used lemon juice)

1/2 cup confection sugar
1 Tbls lemon juice

Heat oven to 350, grease and flour 8x4x2 loaf pan
(Rinse blueberries, set aside)

Combine mix & poppyseed. Break up lumps.
Add egg & water, stir.
Fold in blueberries & lemon peel. Pour into pan.
Sprinkle with contents of topping packet.

Bake 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes.
Remove from pan and pour drizzle over bread.
(Hint, use aluminum foil to stop topping from coming off.)

Invite a few girlfriends over and enjoy!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Time to Grow Up

We have been dealing with lots of jealousy around this house lately. The worst offenders are Lauren and Sam (our 6 month old female German Shepherd).

They are awful!
If I am talking with one of the other kids, Lauren is all over me. She doesn't want anyone having my time.

And if I am petting our other dog Macy, Sam is completely obnoxious!!

They even have it out for each other...if I have Lauren on my lap, Sam will crush the child to get to me.

It just makes me think about how ugly and selfish jealously is.

We see it here:
Acts 7:9
9 "Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph,

they sold him as a slave into Egypt.

I'm quite certain that if given the chance, Lauren just might make you a good deal on her older sister some days!!

But seriously, let's pay attention here. This is just a short note to remind us NOT to be jealous of others. Jealousy is ugly and cruel and basically- immature.

1 Cor 3:1-4
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-mere infants in Christ.
2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?
4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? NIV

If we've been saved long enough to be considered mature, we ought to be past this stuff.
The Word says that if we are jealous, we are worldly and acting like "mere men."

In other words, as we live like Christ, we are expected to live above this stuff.
A mature Christian will be known by their love.
Not perfection- but love.
Putting others first, not competing with other believers.

Ok, I've given us lots to think about!
Love you bunches!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mashed Potato Flowers

The other day, Lauren had speech class (she had a cleft palate/lip and is learning to speak correctly). The teacher shows her pictures and she says the word.
She had a couple cute ones the other day.
The teacher showed her two women and instead of saying lady or mom, etc. She said "friends!"
I love it!
That's the way it should be huh?!

Then she showed her a picture of a garden. With rows of plants sprouting out of the ground. Lauren looked at it and said, "mashed potato flowers!"
I laughed so hard. What a forward thinker!

She looked at those plants and thought- those will lead to mashed potatos (one of her favorite foods).

How do you look at life?
Another person may have looked at that garden and saw WORK...pulling weeds, watering, dirt, mess, bug invasions or rabbits!

But she saw the reward.
I want to think like that!
Those plants didn't look a thing like a potato, but that didn't matter to her, she knew what they were capable of.

Reminds me of a man in the Bible that looked at his circumstances differently too.

Romans 4:18-21
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about a hundred years old-and that Sarah's womb was also dead.

20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,

21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Here's a couple of promises that He's made to you...

Matt 11:28-30
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Heb 13:5
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Matt 6:33-34
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Let's look at life for the joy it can bring us and see mashed potato flowers in our gardens!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Two shall become One ~ Whatever...


Today is a simple thought, but the most profound concept.

Galatians 6:7
Do not be deceived,
God is not mocked;
for whatever a man sows,
that he will also reap.

Notice the word "whatever"
It applies to...whatever.
Every day, every thing we do.

Here the Message Bible opens up another facet:

Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

Powerful words.

I'm praying for our marriages.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Project Pamper!

Praise and Coffee’s Project Pamper!

I am so excited about an opportunity that we women have to bless and pamper homeless women in our own community!

Project Homeless Connect is an event is meant to bring service providers from the region into one place where those families who are homeless -- or in danger of being homeless -- come seeking help. The idea is to make it easy for the families to access help. One of these event was held in Allegan last spring and one in Pullman last fall. Both drew more than 100 families. Some of the emphasis is on connecting the families with DHS, Mental Health, etc. . . but there also is an emphasis on helping these people find a little hope.

Finding a little hope...
THAT’S where we come in!
We are going to put together 100 gift bags including the Beth Moore booklet, “Discovering God’s Purpose” and other pampering items such as lotions, toiletries and beauty products.

This is a TEAM effort and we are coordinating it with the Praise and Coffee Girlfriend's Weekend so you can get involved too, but you do not need to be at the conference to help.

We are purchasing the bags and the booklets and we need your help to fill them up!

Here are three ways you can get involved:

1. Bring *NEW* lotions, toiletries and/or beauty products when you come to the conference.
~Please email me to let me know what you are bringing so we can plan accordingly for what we need.

2. Purchase a Praise and Coffee Mug/"Praise and Coffee" one pot bag of coffee combo through PayPal for $10 and pick it up at the conference. (You may order them to be shipped to you for $15 each)

~To pre-order the mug and pick it up at the conference, you need to pay in advance through PayPal. You may wait for the conference to buy one, but there is a limited supply of them. We really need the funds to get these bags together so please purchase one through PayPal today!

~ALL the proceeds will be used for the gift bags! No profit is being made on these.

To order mugs:

~ Click on "donate" link in sidebar and pay for mugs ($10 to pick up at conference, $15 for each one you need shipped to you)

~Then email me at: the specifics of your order information:

Name & # of mugs ordering and/or amount of donation.

3. Volunteer your time on Monday, March 9th at Project Homeless Connect. They are needing volunteers to help. They need runners to get people from station to station and nursery workers. Volunteer for a half of a day or all day. The event is from 9-3pm in Otsego. Email me ASAP if you would be able to help for some or all of the day.

Ladies, let's make a difference in the life of women less fortunate.
Please spread the word to ladies that are coming to the conference!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Integrity Does Matter

You can not turn on the news today without hearing about greed. From the CEO’s petitioning Washington to bail them out, to the leaders of our nation that feel they are above the law and don’t need to pay their taxes like you and I do.

What gets me is that so many of these people have been highly respected as they lived above most of America. People looked up to them because they have so much money and power. But, they don’t have the one thing that is most respectable, integrity. They are not honest people.

Honesty is defined as fairness and straightforwardness of conduct, adherence to the facts.

It’s not a difficult thing to understand. It’s called doing the right thing, even-and especially- when no one else is watching.

Doing the right thing is not difficult, unless you’re greedy.

Prov 15:27
27 A greedy man brings trouble to his family,
but he who hates bribes will live.

Prov 28:25
25 A greedy man stirs up dissension,
but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.

It is sad to see this economy crumble and hurt so many people. I don’t know anyone that has not been affected by it and I don’t believe we’ve begun to see all that will happen in this country as a result of greed.

Deut 25:15-16
15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
16 For the LORD your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly. NIV

I believe God is exposing the lies of so many that built their empires on the backs of hard working people. God will have the last word in this. You can fool a lot of people, but you can’t fool God. He sees what is done in secret. They may think they have gotten away with it, but He will shine His light in that darkness in due time.

Gal 6:7-8
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

And we as Christians, especially in leadership are held to an even higher standard because we bear His name. Honestly, that scares me, I don’t want to do anything to bring shame on His name.

1 Peter 5:1-4
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

I hesitate to talk about this much because it really gets to me. I’m disgusted with most (not all) of what I see on Christian television. The greed and manipulation under the guise of “prosperity” just sickens me.

I’ll never forget one time when a women came to the church that my husband was pastoring and afterwards wrote me a letter about how we need to focus more on giving, that the offering wasn’t preached about enough. Well…I’m sorry. But we have this crazy idea that if you want to give, you will. We don’t have to convince or manipulate you to do it.
Giving is at the heart of who God is. If we know and love the Lord, we will be givers.

The bottom line is, the truth always comes out. The corrupt leaders in this nation are finding that out the hard way. The same will continue in the Church. That is why we are never to put any person on a pedestal, that is reserved for God alone. Of course we respect authority and position, but not to the point of thinking that they are somehow "extra holy," they are human just like you and I.

A perfect example of this is our President today. When you go beyond respect and straight to “awe” your setting yourself up to be disappointed. If you think your pastor walks on water, you’re setting yourself up to get hurt. They have a call on their life to care for, oversee and serve you…but they don’t have a halo over their heads. Hopefully they have integrity, if not, it will come out eventually.

But for you and I, we need to do the right thing-because it’s the right thing!

Integrity does matter.

This verse is says it well:
Mic 6:8
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Life with 4 trucks!

Another guest post with Denise, click on the picture to visit her blog!

This past weekend, my husband was sleeping recovering from a cold and my boys were watching Monster Trucks and jumping around and screaming. The house was shaking. Our bedroom is right next to the living room and the dining room/office is right off the living room too so my sleeping husband was bound to be disturbed by their loudness and my working on the computer was defiantly being disturbed by their rowdiness. Inevitably, someone falls into a wall, someone misses the jump onto the couch cushion and someone is running for a Band-Aid. It’s insane.

I got fed up. It was too noisy. You can only take screaming fans, a yelling broadcaster and the major rumble of engines blaring from your TV for so long as your kids stand on the arm chair or the coffee table or the stairs and fall onto the couch cushions they have removed from the couch to the floor as well as every pillow they can get a hold of just to see if they can ‘bounce’ when they have hit the now cushioned floor. They have never ever bounced. This has never ever stopped them.

Turning off the computer (they knew they were in trouble then), I shut off their TV (big trouble), told them to pick up the pillows in that quiet voice a mom can pull off better than shouting and that room was in shape in no time. I told them to hush up, Daddy is sleeping and I was wishing I was sleeping too!

So, all four of them got out the coloring paper, the crayons, the markers, the drawing pencils and spend most of the next HOUR coloring their dream monster trucks. It was amazing! I turned the boys cd on quietly (Buck Howdy, of course!) so it leant some fun to the quietness.

Suddenly, ds2 (our second son) says “Isn’t this just so nice? We are all sitting here talking and coloring and isn’t this just so nice?” Since no one was saying anything, he added “yes, it is so nice!”

I was walking around, soaking up the moment of peace, tidying up (because it’s never clean here, just always getting ‘tidied up’) and it struck me what ds2 said. When the TV was off, the computer was sleeping and we were just ‘being’, well, that was the highlight of the day. There is nothing wrong with the boys watching TV, there is nothing wrong with me researching on the computer….but sometimes we have too much monster truck in our life. Sometimes we need to get away from the loudness, the excitement, the work, and just spend some quiet moments with our family, with our God, just to reconnect, to be and talk about nothing more than what our favorite color is – which, is in the scheme of life – a huge thing to know.

That Friday night was one of the best nights we have had in a long time. I hope the lesson we learned will stick with us longer than the shocks on a monster truck too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The February Winner...and a serious request

And the winner is:
KM ! Congrats!
Thanks so much to all of you that entered!
I'm so excited that next month I'll be giving away
"Praise and Coffee" coffee!!
And I have a request.
I have had many responses to yesterday's post through email, etc.
They are anonymous, so I'm only posting the ones I have permission to.
There is a comment there that breaks my heart, and it represents many more that I have not posted.
I want to ask you to leave a comment on yesterday's post with some encouragment for these women who are hurting, and a promise to pray for them.
They may be going through a battle that we are not, but they are sister's in the Lord...Girlfriend's in God.
You guys are such an inspiration to me, I know you will be a blessing to them also.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pornography in Marriage


Thank you for sharing your hearts with me through your comments and email. Some of the hurts you have been through and are going through just break my heart. Please know that the Lord sees where you are in this right now. He sees your tears and knows your pain.
I want you to know that I realize how hard it is to open up about this and I'm praying for you. I hope that your story can help someone else and that God will be glorified in your life and marriage.

Psalms 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Though it may feel like the loneliest battle of your life, you're not alone in it. He is close to you, even now.

I want to offer you hope, because no matter how bad a situation looks, there is nothing impossible with God.
Luke 1:36-37
For nothing is impossible with God.

God is in the restoration business, it's what He's best at.
Bringing life to something that is dead, such as a hardened-broken heart.
Resurrecting something that seemed to be gone forever.

You may feel like you could never trust again. Like a part of your marriage died and is gone forever. Not true with God. He is a God of resurrection. Bringing life to that which was dead.
He's our living hope. He can bring re-birth to your heart and to your marriage.

1 Peter 1:3-7
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you,

5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

7 These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Here are some links to help you in this specific trial you are going through.

Discovering Pornography or Infidelity

A Checklist for Confronting Your Spouse

Confronting Your Spouses Secret Sin

Here are a list of books that you all suggested have helped you:

~For Her: Living with Your Husband's Secret Wars by Marsha Means

~For Him: Breaking Free by Russell Willingham

~I Surrender All: Rebuilding A Marriage Broken By Pornography” by Clay and Renee Crosse

And a free online book:

~Free book by Mark Driscoll The Porn Again Christian

Ladies, there is hope, and it's found in nothing and no one else but God.

My heart goes out to those of you that have been wounded by this. I am praying for your heart and marriage to be healed.

(The February drawing will be tomorrow.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Praise and Coffee Girlfriends Weekend!

If you've come today (because of the Kalamazoo Gazette ) looking for info on the Praise and Coffee/ Loving Well (Beth Moore) video retreat at the Plainwell Comfort Inn on March 6-7th, click on the picture below and it will tell you everything you need to know.

If you plan to come, sign up soon, I don't want you to miss this!
Due to an overwhelming response, we are filling up fast!

The next Praise and Coffee Night at the
Plainwell Coffee Mill will be on:
APRIL 23, 2009

Also, feel free to enter for the giveaway for free Praise and Coffee HERE.

Friday, February 6, 2009

~sigh~ Another humiliating story about me

Have you ever done something and you really wished you could just go back in time about 20 seconds and have a do-over? I’ve had many of those! But one of my most memorable was when Mark and I were dating. I was crazy about him and after some time apart, we ran into one another and he asked me out again. We both had some things to do yet so we decided to meet up later and went our separate ways.

Those separate ways actually kept us driving on the same road for about 5 minutes until he turned one way and I went the other. I had been watching him drive (because I was just that goo-goo about him!) out my rear view mirror. As he turned the other way, I just had to watch him drive away as long as I possibly could.

I watched too long.

By the time I turned back to look where I was going, I was headed 30 miles an hour straight into the back of a car that was stopped at a red light. As I slammed into that car, the force of the impact sent it crashing into the car in front of it. (This is not the actual photo of my accident, it's just for effect :))

Thankfully, no one was hurt, but they were not happy! It was not a shining moment in my life. Talk about regret! How could I be so stupid? Well, I was. And now other people were paying for my mistakes too.

Do you know why I caused that accident? Ok, besides the obvious. The reason was that I was looking behind me in my rear view mirror instead of looking in front of me to what was ahead.

How many of us spend our lives “looking in the rear view mirror” when we should be looking at what is in front of us?

The pain of the past. Instead of forgiving others (or ourselves) we continue to think about what happened yesterday or years ago and let it define what happens to us today. If we spend life looking in the rear view mirror, we are destined to destroy what lies ahead.

Put the past behind you or it will become a stumbling block.

I don’t know what lies in your past, but I do know that you don’t have to let it dictate your future. Do what you need to do, to put your past behind you. Maybe it’s forgive someone, maybe it’s forgive yourself. Maybe it is to cry out to God to heal the past, and possibly get some counsel on how to do that.

Your future is hopeful and purposeful, but you will never know that if you keep you eyes and thoughts on your past.

Phil 3:13-14
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

God loves and adores you and has forgiven you. Look at this verse- it does not say “when you stopped sinning and got it all right…” but it says WHEN you were dead in your sins and sinful nature, He forgave you.

Col 2:13
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins

Time to look forward, your future in God is amazing!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Life with 4 about a joy ride!

Guest post:

(By the way, Denise came over and we got her started on her own blog, you have to go read about her past Sunday!!!)

Here's another guest post by Denise:

Have any of you heard of Buck Howdy? You can check him out at Buck Howdy.

I have gotten his cds from the library before and currently we have the album called Chickens playing to and from school in the suburban. Actually, it plays wherever we go but back and forth to school is a constant trip. Anyhow, he is just great.

He sings songs like “Don’t let Granny in the door” and “Big John” and “Hey, you, get off of my cow!” and “You are my sunshine” and “Chickens, chickens, shore do love my chickens!” and “Baa, Neigh, Cock-a doodle-doo”.

Okay, you get the idea about him just from the song titles by now, I’m sure. And yes, I am still singing the “I love my chickens” song in my head, it’s my favorite.

We love this cd, as you can tell. I should just buy them, but I keep getting different ones from the library and rotate them for the boys to listen to. I cannot help laughing, no matter what stressed state we left the house in I can almost guarantee a good giggle.

It will be completely silent in the vehicle, well, other than the chattering teeth of a cold winter morning, and suddenly one will belt out “Don’t let Granny in the door!”. How can a giggle not escape you on that one?

One night we were headed home from Word of Life club and every one of the boys was singing. Our oldest sings with a twang just as he hears Buck Howdy do. The next one sings adds little ‘add on’s’ into a song, making it his own. The third listens carefully to everyone else singing and attempts to do a little of all of them, trying not to make a mistake. The youngest goes as loud and proud as he possibly can belt out from his car seat.

It sounds awful, but to my husband and I it is the silliest and sweetest time! It’s one of those moments you just want to hold on to for forever.
Cherish it and look back and recall it to memory, it’s that great.

I usually start giggling so hard I can hardly breathe and tears form in my eyes and it’s just great. But it is truly awful, especially if we join in to sing loudly along.

But they sing with all their heart. They love it, it’s so much fun.

What do you think God thinks of us when we sing? Do we sing our songs on Sunday morning or to our praise cd or station thru the week with passion or ho hum? It’s worth thinking about. Because, I seriously doubt that he is going to critique our tone and sound. If it’s from our heart it’ll bring Him more joy than our boys singing to a Buck Howdy cd.

I can’t help but think that no matter what stressed state you started to sing to God in, the songs reminding us of God’s greatness can’t help but calm us.
Just something think (or sing) about!

(In case you missed her first article, check it out here: Denise’s introduction)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Has Pornography Found it's Way Into Your Home?


Ok girls, let's talk. This is a tough one. I know that those of you affected by this have probably not talked to many people- if anyone about it.

It's the awful secret of pornography.

My heart has been burdened by the things that women have shared with me. Through your emails and sometimes face to face, your pain is evident and overwhelming. It's the thing that you think about sometimes from the moment you wake up until you go to sleep. You feel hurt and rejected. You question your own womanhood.

Your heart has been broken by the secret life of your husband, and you can't talk to anyone about it. You don't want people to look at him differently. You feel that if you just keep up the facade of a happy little home...somehow it will all be ok. After all, somehow it must be your fault anyway. (Not true of course, but that's the lie that screams in your mind.)

What I want to do this week is give you the opportunity to pour out your heart anonymously. I am setting my comments to "moderate" and I will not be posting any of them unless you write "YES, post this" at the beginning of your post. And if you share anything about your personal story that you want me to share, make sure you have discussed it with your husband and he doesn't mind you sharing.

You may send them anonymously or use your ID, I have a sitemeter but I truly have no way to really track who you are and I have so many local readers now that I don't know who anyone is anymore.

I would like to know your story. Tell me how you have dealt with this (if you have) and what has been an encouragment to you?

Next week, I plan to share some of what you have already told me and will share (still keeping it anonymous of course) and how the Lord has brought you through.

The plain truth is that this is hard to say- let's have a small group! But at the same time, your hurting and needing some encouragment.

For now, let me say...YOU are precious. YOU are beautiful.
The Lord longs for you to see yourself as He does.
He also loves and adores your husband.

I'm praying for our marriages.

Edited to add: I have closed comments to this post but feel free to email me.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette

The other day did an interview with a reporter from a local newspaper. He was interviewing me about the Praise and Coffee Nights and the upcoming conference that I am putting on in our community. (For you local friends reading, it will be in the Kalamazoo Gazette on Feb. 7th).

He was a nice older gentleman and we had a great conversation about the Praise and Coffee ministry and why I felt our community women (and women in communities around the nation!) enjoyed gathering for these evenings.

As we were discussing this, he stopped with a question for me “off the record.” He asked, 'when you talk with women…how do you think this economy is affecting them? How are their lives changing?'

I paused for a moment, and then said...

To read the rest, hop over to the Internet Cafe'

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February Praise and Coffee Giveaway!


It's February already, can you believe it???!!!!

This month the praise I'm giving away is again the Wow 2009 CD:

And also a bag of Starbuck's Winter Blend coffee!

PLUS, Bayview Cards just sent me another 6 months worth of giveaways to bless you too!

You will also receive a beautiful box of their homemade cards!!

To enter the drawing:

Leave a comment on this post. Make sure there is some way for me to contact you if you win (link to a blog or email). No anonymous enteries- it always surprises me when I get those! The drawing will be on the 10th of February.

If you have my GIVEAWAY button on your blog, let me know
(please don't assume that I will remember) and you will be entered TWICE!!!!

Don't forget, we're filling up fast....
Praise and Coffee Girlfriends Weekend!

Come on up to Michigan for a fun time :)

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