If I was the Devil…

I just listened to this video today.  My heart is heavy for mankind.  We HAVE to get right with Jesus. Before you brush this off as one more Bible thumping, consider what I stand to gain by telling you, you need Jesus.  If I wanted to get for myself, if I were purely evil in motivation, so consumed by my own agenda


If I was the Devil…

I’d tell you your “Universe” talk and blatant disregard of God’s commands were good.  I’d support you and sit by smiling and watching.  I’d revel quietly in your agony.  I’d stand by and let you destroy yourself with your ‘new truth’ and your pride.  Then, when you were ruined, you couldn’t blame me because you did it to yourself.

Jesus the God of the Bible, is the way the truth and the life.  Not one of us will get to God except through Jesus.  I cannot omit this from my heart or withhold it from a world so desperately wallowing in filth and ignorance.  So many are completely blind to the perfect completed love of Jesus.  So many are striving for diety’s that do not exist or are constructs of Satan.

From the bottom of my heart I emplor you to get right with Jesus.  Lay it all at his feet and seek Him for what He comnands is good.  Every other compass will not sustain you, will not fulfill you.

God SPOKE all of creation into existence.  What evil has God ever caused you?  Search your heart, why do you hold your hurts against your creator?  Take it all to him, he can handle it.

It is Finished.

Dear Jesus,

I pray for those who wander lost, especially those who think they’ve found their way without you.  I pray for your protection and peace.  Please rescue our nation.  Amen.


The “I Love You.” Milestone

As parents we are bombarded with lists by the pediatrician, email, television, well-meaning family and friends.  We are constantly told when our children will hit certain milestones.  While walking and waving bye-bye are important, there’s one milestone that beats them all!

Mother’s day 2012, I discharged from the hospital after my first bout of Clostridium Difficile.  At that time, Hank was 26 months old.  I will never forget gingerly crossing the threshold of our home and hearing Hank say, “I love you” for the first time!  The timing couldn’t have been better.  It was like God sent my son as a special messenger that day.  I was weak and frail but rejoicing in those beautiful words.

I feel the need to go off topic for a moment, right here in the middle of this post. 🙂

Today, I am strong.  God has moved mountains.  When Hank first told me he loved me, I was heading into a physical, emotional, and spiritual storm.  God is SUFFICIENT.  I have been carried through.  We are not promised to live a life of ease.  Folks, we’re promised suffering.  God doesn’t promise to bring us around the suffering but HE DEFINITELY  brings us THROUGH the suffering.

My sister-in-law, Lacey, gave me a sweet book she made.  On the back cover it says,



Today is a good day too.  When I put Gideon down for his nap I sang “Good afternoon moon” (a little made up song) and at the end I told him I love him.

Gideon replied, “I wuv you.  Bye.”  My heart just melted.

Such a great milestone indeed!

Dear Jesus, thank you that both of my boys tell me they love me.  Thank you for today.  Thank you that Hank often comes up to me just to tell me he loves me.  I love them so much my heart might burst.  I know this is only a glimpse at your infinite love.  Amen.

What Really Matters Anyway?

The internal monologue runs on and on.  All of us, minds buzzing along filled overfull with nonsense.  Our hearts tied up in knots over work, friends, family, enemies, politics, religion, hobbies, successes, failures, fears, doubts, what others have, what we have, what we don’t have, what we think we need, who we think we should be, who we think we shouldn’t be.

All the while God seems silent.


Do you suppose that He’s concerned with something else?

Perhaps something else matters more than all our hullabaloo.

All our striving is in vain.

Psalm 127:1-2 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

What really matters anyway?

All this thinking is tiring.  A busy mind, self consumed, is distracted from what God wants.

John Piper says, “God’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy His glory forever.” 

Unlike us, God isn’t fretting, because He is all-knowing.  Unlike Him, we don’t even know what tomorrow will bring.

It isn’t what car you drive or who likes you that matters.  If we leave this earth hated by some but rich in Godly character, our thoughts immersed in His word, then we have found what really matters.

When I was sick I actually got to a place of disappointment when finally discharged the last time because I knew I would go back to the distractions of life.  The frivolous drama and foolish striving would be waiting to tempt me to give even just a little mental real estate away from God.  I enjoyed in utter dependence on Jesus, a great intimacy with Him.  He did not heal me so I could glorify myself or others.  He did it so I could further enjoy Him and glorify Him.  I so deeply wanted to stay that close to Him, my mind un-adulterated.

My Mom’s cousin having cancer makes me think more about all this.  She is a Christian and her faith is a source of joy for me.  I see that health doesn’t ultimately matter, nor does comfort or ease.

God looks deeper than the temporal, to the character of the man.

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

Dear Jesus, thank you for pursuing me through horrible sickness.  I have been thinking about how this time last year I was so sick and facing pancreas surgery.  Thank you for your abounding favor.  Thank you that I am here and get to sing your praise.  I love you.  Please free Sherrie of cancer and sustain her.  Amen.

How To Have Real Joy, Blessed Beyond Measure

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

God exhorts us to generosity in our giving.  To give meagerly takes meager faith.  I have seen my share of lean times.  If I could tithe $20, that was to be rejoiced over.  Giving isn’t just chipping your change into the offering basket.  God calls us to give faithfully knowing God will bless us beyond what we can store up!

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

In light of yesterday’s letter, Galatians encourages my soul.  It is true what God says.

Everything God says is true.

First we accept it on faith and then, because He is generous, we get to see it for ourselves.

Bart has worked diligently at his place of employment.  Often, we pray for the Lord’s favor upon him.  I encourage Bart to do it all unto the Lord.  I pray I will parent our boys with this same heart.

Last week we had the blessed opportunity to give out of faith, generously to some friends in need.  It took faith too, to trust that God had provided what we gave and he would continue to provide.  In my heart I knew God’s blessings would abound and we had joy in knowing we got to take part in serving.  This glorifies God, and from that we get REAL joy.

Yesterday, only a few days after we gave faithfully, God blessed us abundantly!  I cannot disclose more than that but suffice it to say I cried out of joy.

I have seen this come to pass before.

God blesses us repeatedly and in a timely way.

So, if we give and then God gives us back more, what are we to do?

Matthew 25:23 says, “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

It seems to me we are to participate in the joy of our master. 🙂

Dear Jesus, thank you for joy in you.  Thank  you for blessing our family.  Thank you that we get to serve others.  Lord, you know when I was sick others served us, well.  I cried out to you begging to be on the giving end.  You are faithful.  I rejoice because you have inclined your ear to my prayers and granted that I may be used by you to bless others.  Amen.

Homeschooling, Everybody’s Doing It!

Whether you realize it or not, if you have raised children then you have homeschooled to some degree. Singing those ABC’s and practicing with scissors are both examples of learning that takes place at home. Since homeschooling is so natural, why not continue it?
Lately, I have been thinking more about formal homeschooling because Hank will be starting in a year’s time. I figure I should start preparing soon. Thinking of different curriculum and exploring what’s out there.
What is out there?
While I am not really sure what curriculum we’ll use, I do plan to follow one.
My sister-in-law homeschools her three boys. Maybe I’ll look into the one she uses. 🙂
In considering homeschooling I have thought about some common questions:
How will my boys get social time?
How long will we home-school?
What if we try and it doesn’t go well?

1) For the first question, I figure they’ll get social time the same way they normally do. I thought about my schooling and how classroom time really isn’t intended for social time anyway. With this in mind it seems perfectly reasonable that our boys get their studies done in a setting that isn’t overly social. I’m hopeful the time spent on school will be more efficient than a classroom setting because the student to teacher ratio will be 2:1!
So, back to social time or as some oddly put it “socialization”. First that words bothers me a little because that’s the same word often used in regards to rearing a dog. Second, humans are innately social. My boys live in our home this doesn’t mean they never leave it! In fact, we are already taking advantage of play dates and Sunday school. We frequent the Point Defiance Zoo and run errands as needed. I hope to enroll Hank in the little kickers’ soccer camp this summer. With the shorter school day and flexibility of homeschooling, I anticipate my boys will have greater “socialization” than a child who is in class all day.

2) How long will we home-school? I am college educated. I believe one of the chief things you learn in college is HOW to learn. Even though I studied Speech and Hearing Sciences, not teaching, I feel my goal will be to teach my boys HOW to learn. Though I will be there every step, I plan to encourage their independence and move them along at a rate that challenges them enough to keep their interest. With these things in mind, I plan to home-school as long as is beneficial. If all goes well then we may home-school until our boys set out for college. I remember in fourth grade I had a lousy teacher and my Mom taught me that year. I went to class all day and then at night my Mom covered what the teacher failed to teach out of laziness or perhaps incompetence. Class time was a waste but I learned a ton from my Mom! Homeschooling is so natural, after all your folks are your first teachers!

3) What if we try and it doesn’t go well? I certainly plan to give it at least a full year of effort. If it is bumpy I won’t be too surprised. Thankfully with practise we should expect to get into a groove. I expect at first it will be mostly teaching my boys to sit and how to attend to and follow directions. This is the foundation for scholasticism so if it takes time, I will consider it time well spent. If I find that formal homeschooling just isn’t working at all then Bart and I will need to evaluate other options. If either or both of our boys go to school elsewhere, I still plan to home-school them informally. It will look like what every parent should strive to do by showing interest in what our boys are learning and asking questions. We will review their homework with them and tutor them for classes as needed.
Unless I abdicate my parental role, I will be homeschooling in some form until my boys leave our home. It really isn’t revolutionary. 🙂
Dear Jesus, thank you that I know others who home-school their children so I may have support and people to ask for help. I pray you will lay the path out before me and speak through me to our boys. I will consider our schooling a success if they grow up knowing you and honing the ability to learn. Amen.

Chicken Day, Mix-It-Up Monday’s

Bart and I have wanted to raise meat chickens but there were two limitations: city law prohibits it on our property and we had no idea what we’re doing.  I figured that we would have to resign ourselves to buying commercial “organic” chicken for a whole lotta money.  I hoped one day we would get a house on more land where we could realize a dream of real organic and fresh chicken.


Last Valentine’s Day my buddy, Megan, called me.  I teased her that I would be her Valentine and was happy to hear from her.  Through the receiver came the most wonderful words, “We are thinking of raising organic chickens.  Do you guys want to go in on it?”

Heck yeah!!!

It wasn’t long before Megan and her husband Ehren, decided they were for sure.  We enjoyed dinner at their house and went over details.  Soon after that they bought birds.

Last Saturday, June 8th, the chickens were ready for slaughter.  We put on old clothes and I wore rain boots (I definitely recommend that by the way.).  After a full days work 31 chickens were slaughtered, butchered, and vacuum sealed.

My brother-in-law, Boe agreed to help us out.  While I am not entirely sure why he was so kind, I’m glad he came.  The five of us worked the first three or so hours slaughtering and dressing all the birds.  After that, I had to go home to take care of my boys and relieve Grammie who so graciously babysat for me.

I am happy to say this experience was AMAZING! I am so thankful for our buddies.  I am thankful to have learned to dress a chicken.  And I must report that the ordeal was actually fun.  I wouldn’t do it every weekend but I hope we get to go in on birds with Ehren and Megan next year.

I can hardly wait to cook up some of this delicious meat.

Megan, happens to also be a professional photographer.  You can check out her website here.  She and my brother-in-law graciously documented the day and provided photo’s for me to share. YIPEE!


Scroll down at your own risk. 🙂

The Cornish X before (photo compliments of Boe)

The Cornish X before (photo compliments of Boe)

Bart bleeding the chickens (photo compliments of Boe)

Bart bleeding the chickens (photo compliments of Boe)

Scalding a bird to loosen the feathers.

Scalding a bird to loosen the feathers.

Megan took a picture of Boe taking a picture of the birds in the plucker.

Megan took a picture of Boe taking a picture of the birds in the plucker.

While it may look like Boe was busy smoking and taking photo’s I can assure you everyone, including Boe, was hard at work.  He just took a few pictures when his hands weren’t too dirty. 🙂

Gotta pluck the left over feathers.

Gotta pluck the left over feathers. (photo compliments of Boe)

bnw bird bird on the table

I'm pretty weirded out.  This is just before Ehren showed me how to dress my first bird.

I’m pretty weirded out. This is just before Ehren showed me how to dress my first bird.

close-up dressing bird me with chicken head close up removing inerds

Some folks eat this stuff. Not these folks.

Some folks eat this stuff. Not these folks.

Everyone is hard at work. (Photo compliments of Boe)

Everyone is hard at work. (Photo compliments of Boe)

All cleaned out.

All cleaned out.

Full freezer!

Full freezer!

These give you an idea of what all we did.  First, the birds got their necks cut, then they were scalded and plucked, dressed, rinsed thoroughly and finally put in a cold bath until time to portion out the meat. 🙂

Dear Jesus, this was awesome.  Thank you for friends, family and great food.  Amen.

Kombucha, Fun Food Friday’s

Do you Kombucha? Just kidding, it’s not a dance.

Have you drank kombucha? I have heard friends throw this word around lately. My curiosity was peaked. I wondered just what this stuff was. While visiting my coach, Beth, last week she demystified this kombucha for me. I am considering giving it a whirl myself. I tried hers and its tasty stuff!

Enough already, what is kombucha?

Well I’m so glad you asked. It’s fermented tea. Don’t worry it is not alcoholic because the S.C.O.B.Y. breaks it down.

S.C.O.B.Y.? What’s that?

In a word weird.

Ok seriously it’s an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It looks like this:


If you aren’t too grossed out by this guy floating on top of your tea for a week then maybe you can join me in making some!

Head on over to this website: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-kombucha-tea-at-home-173858 for great step-by-step instructions.  Let me know if you try it!

Dear Jesus, please help me to make this new tea safely.  I hope it will turn out well.  Thank you for a friend who explained just what kombucha is.  Amen.

Jesus Pat My Leg Two Times, He’s Real

Just a day after my central pancreatectomy I lay lucidly drifting in and out of sleep. The room is dark and warm. My baby sister is by my side, not that I’m aware yet. When the pain wakes me I tell the nurse, “I feel like railroad spikes are being driven through me into the bed.” Soon more hydromorphone comes. In a vulnerable state. Life is fragile, fleeting. We have no control.


I turn my head to my right and open my eyes to see the calm and reassuring face of my sister, Samii. I say, “Hi.” She smiles softly. For the time being I am unable to fathom the impact of surgery. Unaware of so much.


I drift back into sleep. The next day is a blur of pressing the pain pump button every seven minutes. Before this surgery I only took ibuprofen once or twice a year. Today, I am watching the second hand on the clock, pressing the button too early and praying for the next three minutes to hurry along. Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick… Teetering on the brink of extreme pain.


After sleeping beside me in a chair, my sister went home. I laid almost motionless and seemingly alone. But never able to gather my thoughts enough to be afraid. Before I could even feel fear, Christ was there, sitting with me at my left.


I awoke looking at the clock. Then, I felt a hand pat my left leg two times. Two steady handed, firm but gentle, assured pats on my leg. I looked over and saw no one. Looking up I smiled, “Hi Jesus.”


Dear Jesus, you never leave us alone. Thank you for sending my sister to be by my side.  I am so grateful she stayed the night that first night.  You were there with us. You comforted me, thank you. Thank you that I knew it was you. Your comfort is wonderful. Thank you for always being with me. Amen.

How I Didn’t Quit Smoking, Confessions of a Ex-Smoker!

I used to smoke. I tried my first cigarette when I was twelve years old. I remember thinking it fellt good and since it was outside the rules it was “freedom”.  My buddy and I agreed we’d only smoke until we were 18 because then it’s legal and therefore no longer cool. Oh golly! What were we thinking? We didn’t even know how cool we were before we starting sucking down cancer sticks.

After a long-term relationship ended in my early twenties, I dove head long into smoking.  I worked for The 13 Coins restaurant (which was “an all smoking establishment” at that time) so I could smoke at work too.  Soon a few cigarette’s a day went to two packs a day.  I smoked instead of eating, often.  I loved it too.  It was my rebellious, out of the norm thing I could do.  Nobody could tell me to stop.  It was my little thing I “allowed myself”.

Well, I lost weight smoking instead of eating.  At first I felt like this was a reward.  For what?  Who cares?  I was thinner. Yay! Right?

Guess How He Died!

Then, conviction came.  Not the “I feel bad about this” kind.  I didn’t.  I loved it.  Every smelly, nail yellowing, lip wrinkling, carcinoma laden inhalation felt like freedom…

Until God convicted me that smoking was slavery!

I remember saying to God, “Jesus, I love smoking.  I have smoked for ten years now.  I will give myself cancer and die from this.  What am I doing?  I’m only 22!  Please Jesus, make me so sick the next time I smoke that I won’t want to smoke anymore.  Jesus, I can’t do this on my own.  I don’t want to.”

You know what?  I didn’t “have it together”.  I denied my freedom in Christ with every puff.  Enslaved not just to cigarette’s but to the “freedom” I thought it gave me.

Dang, Satan plays the same old song all the time. 

Doesn’t this “freedom” talk sound eerily like the conversation Satan had with Eve in Eden?  As if what God has isn’t enough so I need this too.

I need to smoke because it gives me something?

Yeah, no.

Before I prayed telling God I needed Him to take it from me.  Before I was at that place of really surrendering this ridiculous lie.  I tried quitting myself. Over and over and over.  Weaning down.  Staring longingly at the mug on my coffee table displaying my “final cigarettes”.  Then after the last one was gone, driving frantically to the 7-11 to buy a whole carton and then smoking double time to make up for it.  Sheesh.  It wasn’t working.  I couldn’t quit.  Afterall, I really deep down didn’t want to give up my “freedom”.

God is faithful!

After I prayed in real surrender, God answered my prayer with a, “Yes.”  It was not an audible reply.  I didn’t hear him speak.  Instead, I went about my day.  Then when I had a craving, I lit up a cigarette and took a drag.  One.  Then like  a freight train I felt clammy, sweaty, nauseous…  I rushed to the bathroom and threw-up.  It felt like full on stomach flu.  For about an hour I laid beside the toilet.  Getting up as needed to get sick.

Then as quickly as it came, it passed.


I felt ok again.  Then, because I am stubborn and God is more-so, I lit up another cigarette.  I heard and believed the lie, “Maybe it was just a bad cigarette.”  Again, the freight train came.  Again hugging the toilet in wretched sickness.  This time laying on the floor thanking God for answered prayer.

I didn’t quit smoking, God quit my smoking for me. 🙂

Maybe you don’t smoke.  Maybe you “allow yourself” something else.

The big question is this, “Am I willing to let the “little thing I allow myself” (aka enslavement or sin) take EVERYTHING from me, take from those I love and then NOT DELIVER on its promises?” 

Because that’s just what that little thing will do.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 16:25

“Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully
grown brings forth death.” James 1:15

Dear Jesus, thank you that you are why I am an ex-smoker.  Thank you for Real Freedom!  Thank you that my Mom no longer smokes!  Please help others who smoke to be freed too.  Lord, I know you pursue us doggedly and triumph over Satan.  To you be the glory! To YOU be the glory!  Amen.

Beauty Idolatry is a Journey to Self-Hatred. What Were We Created For?

Lies laid at the foot of the Cross.

Lies laid at the foot of the Cross. Photo taken at the Mars Hill Women’s Training Day 5/4/13

I’m on a journey through Mars Hill Church’s; Redemption Group.  I cannot say exactly where this will lead me yet.  Well, actually that’s not true.  I know because this journey is God ordained, that it will lead me to Him.

Last week I was asked by a lead in my group how I was doing.  God laid it on my heart to share my deep secret.  Satan actually had me convinced I was alone.  As long as I can remember I have been on a journey of self-hatred.  Oscillating between my risen savior Jesus and His promises and my own private beauty idolatry.

I can point my finger at the media.  It’s chalk full of  airbrushed images that scream, “This is beauty.”  I can point at pornography which screams, “This is sexy.  This is desirable.”  Those things are obviously wrong.  Obviously lies.  Instead I took this ever changing standard of beauty and brought it inward.  Nobody had to know that I was constantly berating myself.  Satan would say, “You’re NEVER going to be good enough.”  And I would take that and do his job for him thinking, “I need to stop eating.  I’m not tall enough.  I don’t have this or that.”  I remember a time when I thought to myself, “If I gain a pound, I will kill myself.”  Defeated and self loathing I could never measure up to the unattainable and frankly UNDEFINED standard of beauty that our culture portrays.  You see it changes.  One day its svelte and blond.  Then its muscular.  Then its brown hair.  Then its tall then its petite.

I’m not her or her or her or her and I NEVER will be.

I’m just me.

The culture lies to us, ladies.  And it’s standards are made up of altered images, the models themselves don’t look like!

She’s not her or her or her or her!

Coming to grips that belittling myself wasn’t sanctification, it was beauty idolatry, I felt humbled.  Last week I faced the very real need to repent.

Repent of what!?!

At first, I wasn’t exactly sure.

Last Saturday, our church had a women’s training day.  Aptly, about beauty redeemed.  God’s timing is impeccable.  He is so faithful.  He laid this on my heart then provided a training day to help me on my new journey. 🙂

Now I know my heart was broken by the lies I believed.  I have a journey ahead toward Jesus’ beauty.  On that road I will repent of my self-abuse when my thoughts go to, “You’ll NEVER be good enough.”  And Jesus will teach me to look to Him for beauty instead of myself or the culture.

You know what never satisfies and is never good enough to be my god?


And when I make anything other than God my functional god it crumbles under the pressure.  And I wind up hating it!

Have you found yourself hating the very thing you believe you must do or be (your idol)?

Beauty idolatry is a journey to self-hatred.

You know who only satisfies and is only good enough to be God?


It’s all about Jesus!  Even my beauty and worth.

Now I understand why we are to walk in the light.  This is a huge step for me.  For years my beauty idolatry and self-hatred were in the dark, looming over me watchfully.  Angrily. Brooding.

Then brought to the light just a week ago and already I feel relief.  I’m not perfect but that’s NOT THE POINT!

Satan, shut your trap.  You liar.  In Christ, I am radiant.

I’ll still be radiant when I’m seventy and have more wrinkles than hair because of Christ’s righteousness that was given to all freely when He died in our place, on the cross.

“Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness.”  Proverbs 16:31

The goal of a fulfilling life isn’t self actualization or looking 17 (unless you are 17)!  It’s real, deep and meaningful relationship with Christ that fills you full so you pour out His glory and bless others, not compare yourself to them!  Jesus’ promises deliver, everything else is a vapor.  Meaningless and deceitful.

“Charm (favor, grace and elegance in the form of appearance) is deceitful (disappointing and betraying), and beauty is vain (a vapor and meaningless), but a woman who fears (cares above all else what God thinks) the Lord is to be praised (commended, celebrated and renowned).”  Proverbs 31:30

Ladies, do you know what this means practically?!?!

When I dress myself or do my hair I can enjoy the unique workmanship I see in the mirror.  How dare I belittle God’s work.  He himself said it was good.  He himself said He made man is His image and likeness.  The Lord rejoices over me and you!

The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephania 3:17

How beautiful!

Dear Jesus, thank you so much for this newfound freedom.  Just because my earthly father struggled with porn and I strived to be what he seemed to love for so long, doesn’t mean you aren’t mighty to save.  Thank you for giving me courage to bring this beast into the light.  Thank you for the women’s training day.  Thank you that you are the lifter of my head.  Please help me to eat, exercise, and groom myself in a way that honors the temple you have made me into.  May I be radiant because your glory shines through me.  Amen.