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Sunday, February 28, 2010

When the Message Gets Muddy with My Wounds

I hate it when His message gets muddied in my wounds.

Ever been there?

The raw pain in your heart comes pouring out like a muddy swamp and shows how very little you really do trust His love.

And that's ok. God can take it.

God isn't disappointed or mad, He loves us. He wants us to drag those hurts to Him and unload them. Then fall, once again, into the arms that are always waiting to embrace us.

I was looking at one of my scars the other day. It reminds me of the circumstances and injury that caused the ugly slash on my arm. It doesn't hurt anymore, but I remember the pain that it once was.

It kind of works like that when we let God heal our hurts. The scars are
there, and if reminded we can tell the story of how they were inflicted. But
once healing takes place...even though we remember how bad it hurt, the sting of pain is gone.

For that reason, I love my scars.
They don't hurt anymore, but they remind me of a time when I did hurt. A time when the hurt was so real I was bleeding all over everything in sight. I've learned a few things since then.

1. I will avoid putting my fist through plate-glass windows.
2. I will avoid putting my faith in man instead of God.

Plate glass windows are unforgiving and man is...well...faulty to say the least (myself included).

When we grasp how much He loves us, we heal. Healing has a way of wiping the mud off the message.
Thank You Lord.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Blessings Have I Missed?

A Guest Post with my girlfriend Denise!

Dee is my partner when it comes to writer's conferences (including late night runs for nachos and guacamole dip- and don't forget about the time we got lost looking for the street that we were ON!), the Praise and Coffee newsletter "Connections" and of course playdates including several cups of coffee and lots of great conversation (pausing only when we hear a loud thump from the playroom to wait for a scream or a giggle).

Click on her logo to visit her wonderful blog about country living with 4 lively boys!

Matthew 4:18-20 Jesus said to them “Come with me”....They didn't ask questions, but simply...followed.” (The Message Bible)

Recently my husband had to go out and plow a lot one snowy Saturday. All four boys were lounging in the living room watching cartoons and being lazy when he asked “Hey, who wants to go for a drive with me?”

Our five year old jumped up. “I will! I will go!” He rushed to pull on his coat (It had helped he had slept in his clothes so he didn't even need to get dressed.), slip on his crocs (which I made him change, really, crocs in the middle of winter?), shoved his blue glasses back onto his face with his palm and grinned up at his Daddy. “I'm all ready to go!” he declared.

Not a single one of the other boys wanted to leave the nice warm house. We were both a little surprised at that, and even more surprised at how fast our five year old had jumped up and gotten ready so quickly. Usually we are trying to hustle him to get him out the door to anywhere.

As he stood in the kitchen, ready to have his Daddy carry him out to the truck, he asked “Where are we going?”

It struck me then, this simple following of his. He fully trusted his Daddy to have only good things planned for him. He had absolutely positively no idea what he was leaving to do or go to but he wanted to be with his Daddy and so he flew to get ready. He dropped it all just to follow Daddy.


How often does God ask us to follow Him? Follow Him in Bible study, to reach out to someone...and I don't listen. I would rather stay all comfy in my nice warm rut of life. What have I missed out on because he just gave up asking me since I never wanted to move?
What blessings have I missed?

I got thinking of the disciples. They just dropped it all to follow Christ. And they didn't even know Him! I KNOW my Heavenly Father, and I know He only has good for me, and yet I don't want to follow, stupidly thinking my plans are better than His.

Our little guy trusted his Daddy completely and was ready to follow him wherever he went just to be the one to spend some extra time with him. What I could learn from our little five year old!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Look in the Puddle and Remind Yourself


Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we get so crazy busy with life that we forget. Sometimes the noise of the crowd overwhelms the still small voice and we forget.

I think David did too.
I think that's exactly why he wrote these words in Psalm 103:1-2:

"Praise the LORD, I tell myself;
with my whole heart, I will praise
His holy name.
Praise the LORD, I tell myself,
and never forget the good
things He does for me."

I think he stood at his bathroom mirror as he shaved one morning and said those words because he realized that he was forgetting the most important part of being alive.

Ok, maybe he was out in a field somewhere looking down into a puddle at his reflection. But either way, he understood that sometimes we need to get after ourselves to remember because forgetting comes all too easy.

What does this have to do with marriage?

Some of you are tired, you're battle weary...wishing, waiting for that breakthrough. Wanting your marriage to be like hers, and hers and his.

But you've forgotten the barriers that have already come down. The testimonies you once raved about and how good God has been on the journey.

It's time to remember.
To look yourself in the puddle and remind your heart how faithful God has been.

You may not be where you would like to be, but you are so far from where you were.

Celebrate that.
Thank Him, praise Him.

And like a warm breeze on a spring afternoon you'll be refreshed again. The winter months are behind you. It's time to remember, time to forgive, time to quiet the roar of life and start living.

One day at a time, praising Him for the good things He has done.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Quick enter today to win tickets to "A Woman Inspired"!!!

I'm speaking at the next "A Women Inspired" online conference!

I am crazy excited and completely humbled, especially when I saw their great line up of women speaking.
Check it out!: A Woman Inspired

AND...they gave me 5 tickets to give away for FREE!
BUT, I have to choose winners quick, leave a comment on THIS post and I will choose (by random number generator) 5 winners tonight.

Quick, what are you waiting for???
If you don't know how to leave a comment...first of all- bless your heart, we will have to have a class sometime- but just send me an email saying that you want to be entered and I'll enter you.

OH, and here is the link to my speaking topic: Sue

Comments closed....the winners are:
Raye Ann

Congrats ladies!!! You will be contacted with info!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Praise and Coffee Night in San Diego

San Diego, I love ya!
My girlfriend Norma and I set off a week ago from our cold and snowy Michigan to sunny California.
We went out to visit Ronel's Praise and Coffee Night and had a wonderful time! I stand in awe of how beautifully God weaves together our lives across the miles and even on the plane ride over there.

I sat next to a gentleman on the plane from Chicago to San Diego who was traveling to his mother's funeral. Not only was he overwhelmed with grief but he was also troubled by the fact that he had to give his mother's eulogy and had no idea where to start. As we talked I shared some scripture with him that might be helpful. By the middle of the flight he was reading and copying verses from Norma's Bible and we were helping him put together some comforting words that he could share with his family and friends at the funeral.

All I could think was, 'what an honor that God has given us to be able to help this man'. I felt so blessed to see relief come over his face as he read scripture and spoke, with tears in his eyes, of how it brought him such peace. Only God can touch a heart like that.

Then! He was on the same plane as we were on our way back from San Diego to Chicago! He thanked me over and over as we crossed paths on my many trips back to the restroom :)
Only God can set up those appointments!

While in San Diego, we had a blast!

But there was this...

The Coronado Bridge. My nemesis.

Ladies, I had NO idea how terrified of bridges I was until I was on this bridge! While Norma is snapping pictures like a drunken tourist, I was white knuckling it the whole way, shaking and sweating...I looked 10 feet in front of me at the pavement-and no where else, praying under my breath the whole time (I didn't want Norma to know how scared I was until we got over the bridge!). It was everything in me not to reduce to a weeping, trembling puddle on the floor of the car.

The good news, I made it. The wonderful news...there was another way back to the hotel-on land! All I can say is...thank you Jesus for keeping me from a panic attack, it was close!

But THIS, was the fun part...the Praise and Coffee Night with Ronel and friends. They are a beautiful group of ladies that I was privileged to meet.

This is my lion impression... seriously, I don't think I can ever take a good picture while speaking- I make way too many funny faces!

Carolyn was awesome, loved her! And isn't the back of Norma's head just darling?!

Thank you Ronel and friends for being soooo warm and welcoming, it is wonderful to have made such great new girlfriends!!
If you live in the San Diego area, you really have to check out Ronel's Praise and Coffee Nights, she is doing them every couple of months now and the next one is April 30th. Check out her blog for more info and here is a link to her post about the Praise and Coffee Night.
If you are interested in hosting a Praise and Coffee Night in your community, check out our website to request more info HERE.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Two shall become One~ Guest Post!



Let me introduce you to my girlfriend Jaime. You will love her! She's the kind of friend who will bring the kids over for a playdate and drink buckets of coffee with you while sharing warm cinnamon's hard to find a good girlfriend like that! We met about a year ago and hit it off immediately. She's also been a wonderful addition to Praise and Coffee Nights here in Michigan.

Jaime is a wife, mom and woman after God's heart.

She has a passion to help women in their marriages and after she shared this story with me, I asked if she's share it with you too.

Be sure to stop by her blog too: The Word in Worship

Here's Jaime...

Entering Your Husband's World

Do you really KNOW your husband? We are made for and transformed through intimate relationships. When we have a personal relationship with God we are able to form a bond with him and our faith and trust is increased. When we let those walls down and choose intimacy with our husbands we will also grow in faith and trust with him.

One way we can connect with our husbands is to enter his world.

What is he passionate about?
What spills out of him without effort?

For my husband if is football, more specifically Notre Dame football. His love for the game, stats and players is really hard for me to comprehend. Honestly, the only time I think about ND football is on Saturday when the game is on. In years past, it was really a sore subject for me. I would get so upset that he loved ND football so much. How could he sit and watch games for hours? He doesn't show that much passion for me....

After attending a marriage conference, God opened my eyes to see that I can look at our different passions as a positive or negative. God sees them as a positive and he wants them to strengthen our marriage. We were given the opportunity to go to three, yes three, ND games this year. The first one I knew that Shawn had tickets for and I told him to take a buddy. Shawn and his buddy both wanted me to go and thought if I went I might convert into an ND fan.

Well they were right!

My passion is not like Shawn's but I loved going to these games. What I really loved was Shawn's joy and sharing it with him. This gave Shawn and I an opportunity to spend many hours together and talk, laugh and just have fun! If I would have insisted that he take his buddy I would have missed this opportunity.

I entered his world and totally loved it. I loved it because I love Shawn, and this is one of his passions. We were blessed with time alone together and it gave us a new bond that we hadn't had before.

What does your husband love that you could care less about?
What does he love that you could do with him?

You might even be surprised as I was that you totally get into it and have a great time.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Winner and a San Diego update!

I just arrived in San Diego, as in- I just got to the hotel and plugged in the computer when I realized that in all the hullabaloo about coming to California, I forgot to draw a winner for the February Praise and Coffee Giveaway.

So I asked my traveling buddy Norma to pick a number for me and Sydney from " Sydney’s Life " is the winner!

Congrats Sydney!!!

If I'm yelling it's because I can't hear with all the plugged-up-edness that's in my ears from the airlplane. And if that made any sense to you, we should do coffee because you're just a goofy as I am!

I'm super excited about tomorrow night's Praise and Coffee Night in Santee, and if you are in the area I hope you come on out, I'd love to meet you!
Check out the Praise and Coffee Nights page for more info.

Oh and I'll be tweeting about our trip while we're out here so click on the link (upper left) and follow along. Feel free to jump in with silly comments anytime!
Love ya girls!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's Marriage Conference Season!


Marriage conferences are not just for those on the brink of divorce! They are for any and every couple that want a great marriage. I highly encourage you to attend one if possible.

Here are links to some, feel free to add a link in the comments too:

Growing Towards Oneness Conferences

Family Life Today –Weekends To Remember

Sex, Love and Communication with Jimmy & Karen Evans ~Simulcast across the county Feb. 12-13

Love and Respect Conferences

I'm praying for our marriages!

Monday, February 1, 2010

February Praise and Coffee Giveaway


February Praise and Coffee Giveaway!!

This month's Praise is:'ll also get some very yummy
"Praise and Coffee" label coffee!!


~> Post a comment to THIS post.

~> Please make sure that I have a way to contact you-PLEASE!

~> If you have any "Praise and Coffee" buttons on your blog, let me know and you will be entered twice! Here is a link to all my buttons: Blog Buttons

That's all! And feel free to blog about the giveaway or tell all your Facebook friends!


Now an update on Praise and Coffee Nights...(sorry, it's a bit heavy on the exclamation points :)

Wow! They are spreading across the country and the world!

There are currently Praise and Coffee Nights in 8 states and Australia!

I've sent out 80 information packets to 30 states and 4 countries!

Can you believe that??? And it all started out with this little blog from a nobody like me living in a little bitty town in Michigan.

I think it has taken off because:

1. Women like coffee time with girlfriends, especially when the focus is on encouragement and inspiration.

2. Anyone can do this. Women from all walks of life, no seminary required. Ordinary women like you and I can gather women together to facillitate an atmosphere that builds relationships with each other and the Lord.

Doing life together, one cup at a time!

If you are interested in starting a group or finding a group, check out our HOME website, link is at the top left of the blog.

Girlfriends here in SW Michigan...this Thursday, February
...Praise and Coffee Night in Plainwell. See website for more info!

Then I'll be in California next week for the East San Diego Praise and Coffee Night on Feb. 12th! I'd love to meet you if you are in the area!

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