Thursday, February 26, 2009


What a day....and it's only 10 a.m.

The devil messes with me quite regularly. Very subtly by putting doubt and fear and all of that junk in my head. He is a crafty fella but I'm learning to recognize it. Today he is messin' with me 'cuz I think he's scared.

This morning I get up and am happy and praying and so looking forward to the upcoming fast. I have some decisions to make as I am training to run the Dam to Dam (20k) in June and a fast would NOT be good for that training. How will I fast? Will I totally suspend my training? Lots of stuff to consider and pray about so I have been talkin' to the Big Guy about it. No answers yet, just talkin'.

I get in my car (LATE, btw) to head to work and put in my favorite CD....Jeremy Camp live somthin' or other. Jeremy and I are jammin' and I have my cruise SET. SET ON 59 in a 55. Ok....I know. Speed limit is 55 but.... The song "Empty Me" is playing (it should be playing right now as you read this - just turn your speakers up). It is AWESOME. God was helping me understand why He wants me to fast.

Anyway, next thing I know I AM GETTING PULLED OVER by a very grumpy State Trooper! For going 59! I was shocked. I asked him how fast I was going and told him I had my cruise set (which honestly I never do....I dislike the inability of "feeling" my car when I drive). He said I was going 59! He then proceeded around my car in what I assume was an inspection. THANKFULLY all my lights were in working order. He retreated to his car and came back with a Warning. THANK GOD. I have too many tickets....buts that's another post for another day. :0)

Off I go. WITH MY CRUISE NOW SET AT 55. Yes. I am crawling.

I finally get to the parking garage (really late now). I get in the back seat to grab my bag and I accidentally pulled out another bag of 10 Christ-inspired picture frames to drop off at church for one of our pastors hospital ministry. I think I can honestly HEAR the devil laughing as they crash to the ground. NOW....I'm STEAMING. Literally sweating I am so mad.

And in that very moment I realize what is happening. He is trying to steal my day. But the fat bastard can't have it! As I was walking to work (thanking God nothing broke) I was reciting in my head all the verses I can think of to let him know he is NOT gonna get me today.

It's been a long morning as there are many other little things he is putting before me. Part of the testing is making me realize I do have a strong desire to shoo him away and I am learning very quickly that I can with God's help. The devil knows now that my desire to seek God's face more closely will not be deterred by him and his antics!

"Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through
anything in the One who makes me who I am."
~ Philippians 4:13 (The Message)

JC is my BFF!!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A few random thoughts.....

First: I saw a miracle this morning. With my own two eyes.

Taylor and Carli are best friends although neither will ever admit it. They truly love each other but fight like cats and dogs at least once a day.....usually bed time. You see....they share a room. I know. I'm a mean mom. :) At bed time, one of them will yell at me "SHE WON'T BE QUIET!!! Ugh! I want my OWN room!" It's our nightly ritual.

Here is the miracle.....this morning, Carli is in the kitchen getting cereal and Taylor is in the bathroom doing her hair while her oatmeal is in the microwave. I hear Carli yell "Taylor! Your oatmeal is done!" Taylor responds "Thanks SISSY!"


Taylor walks out to the kitchen and Carli turns around to her and says "You look cute in that shirt."


God was in that house this morning. I drove to work praying that whole scene take place a little more often.

Second: I learned something VERY important last night.

I was sitting in a bookstore coffee shop with Mark and we talked about a lot of things. Over the course of the evening it became very clear to me that my relationships....until yesterday....have been played out in a dark room. Meaning I've spent a huge majority of my adult life fumbling around trying to understand and put things together without being able to "see" what I was doing or what was around me. Simply stated, until the right person came along, the room would be dark. I wouldn't know how to do it right and would continue to stumble along. God directed me to the light switch and He turned it on. This relationship with Mark is filled with light. A light that gets brighter and stronger every day. I'm starting to see the things around me and understand what it takes, what I want, what I need, how to be a good partner. It's funny how when God is involved it all comes together so easily and so much better than when He is not. For the first time in my life, I'm figuring it all out and enjoying the journey. God is good and I am very blessed to finally have the light ON.

Third: I need some prayer.

Mark does a 40 day fast every year during this time and I have decided to join him. Will be the hardest thing I've ever done (I think....I have no idea what to expect). RELAX. It's not a starvation's a reduction thing. It is a healthy decision and I know in my heart it will be exactly what I need during this spiritual journey I am on. God told me so last night when I asked Him if I should do it. I plan to blog about it so you can follow along if you'd like. We begin March 4th. Until then, pray for me and Mark. I'm taking a leap of faith and following God's direction here.....I need you to pray for my ability to REDUCE.

JC is my BFF!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 Daddy Daughter Dance....

Here are a few of my favorites from the Daddy Daughter Dance I shot Saturday night. To see the entire collection (warning: there are 594 images to sort through!), click here.

Yes....this little peanut is talking on the cell.....if she was 15 I'd bet my life she'd be on that phone talking about a boy. Since she is not 15, I bet she was telling her mom about the cool cake. :0)

Some dads wore tuxes, some dads wore jeans. All the dads were the luckiest guys in the place.
This little peanut saw my camera and smiled like a PRO.
John and Jessica Harrington....two years in a row I was lucky to take their picture! Jess is growing up!

She was twirlin' and twirlin'!

BEAUTIFUL little girl....

Earring malfunction. Can you TOTALLY see these pictures as if it was their wedding day? Too cute!
This dad is not at ALL proud of HIS daughter....They cut it up all night long!

All the girls got a corsage as part of their ticket price. I was very sweet to watch the dads put them on the girls. You can tell who had done it before and who was totally lost. :0)
She did this without my asking....I walked up on it and asked her to do it again so I could take a picture. He is smiling pretty big!

"(She) wears her sunglasses at night so she can so she can......!"
THIS ONE CRACKS ME UP.....look at her face. It's TOTALLY how I dance. Only way to feel the music is by making your lips do funny things.
These two were SCREAMING....DJ had just announced the Jonas Bros. coming up. I am embarrassed to say that I knew most of the words to the JB songs! :0)
How cool is this dad?!? Raisin' the ROOF, baby!
They were running and swinging each other around. Needless to say, they were very sweaty little girls!

THE SPRINKLER!!!!! I was laughing so hard at these was teaching them all kinds of moves like the lawnmower and sprinkler for sure....I was laughing so hard I had to look away. :0)


And my favorite of the night.....just plain sweet.

JC is my BFF!!!!!

I know a man.....

I know a man. A smart man.

After a recent meeting, smart man and his co-worker went to lunch. During their time together, the co-worker's wife called.

"Man, she just calls me to chit chat about nothing," said the co-worker while shaking his head.

"That right there is the second most important phone call you will ever get," said smart man. "The first being the call from God. The second? The call from your wife."

Smart man went on to explain how all the hard work co-worker is putting into his career will be nothing if he doesn't put his wife before his job. She will be gone and he will have missed out on the best things in life for the wrong reasons.

This conversation really happened. There are men out there who GET what it means to be a man.

Being a man doesn't mean you work really hard and assume that just providing for her makes her happy. It means having your priorities straight: 1) God 2) wife 3) children 4) job.

Being a man doesn't mean being tough and bossy and controlling. It means seeking her wisdom and asking her opinion then making decisions based on God's guidance. He seeks God then his wife then God again.

Being a man doesn't mean she walks behind him. It means she walks beside him. A man treats his a girl. Opens the door for her, tells her he loves her, protects her and guides her. He speaks softly to her. He sees her as his friend, not his enemy. He cherishes her just as she cherishes him.

Ya see....I know a man. A smart man. His name is Mark and he's my smart man.

I've learned more from just being around him than I have in all my years alive. Maybe it's because I'm finally ready to learn what God's true plan is for a man and a woman. Maybe it's because I'm finally letting go of all the bad men from my past. Maybe I'm ready to love and respect and be led according to God's will. Lots of maybes but one thing I know for certain.

My man is one smart man.

"In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God."
~ 1 Corinthians 11:11-12

JC is my BFF....

Friday, February 20, 2009


It was a time in my life I will NEVER forget.

May 31, 2007.

I worked for Nationwide Insurance and that day our office (40 or so of us) were to attend a meeting for an announcement. They fed us lunch then herded us into a small room. Big wigs from headquarters were there to announce, or so we thought, our new RVP.

Instead my world stood still.

"The region is closing," they said. "Your jobs will be transitioned as soon as possible. You will receive your official 60-day notice in August some time to allow for a smooth transition."


I liked my job. I thought I was pretty good at it. I was a new believer. I was a single parent. I was ANGRY.

Looking back on that time now I can tell you with 100% certainty that God had it all worked out ahead of me. Nationwide gave us 4 months to find another job. Pretty unheard of actually. We got to come to the office after the transition to use the days to find other employment....even outside the company. They provided for us well, I see that now looking back.

In October 2007 I stayed on with Nationwide temporarily to fill in for a girl going on maternity leave. This would extend my time with the company up until the holidays. Couldn't ask for more than that. I was blessed with some great connections in HR that allowed this to happen.....and God was providing. Just like He said He would.

It was a cold, snowy day in November 2007. I was so stressed. I knew the temporary job was coming to an end and there was nothing for me at Nationwide for permanent work. On my way home from work, I stopped at Walmart. I was in a short skirt and high heels. It was cold and very yucky weather that night. I couldn't find a parking spot close. I was running in my heels to get inside when I was splashed by a car driving by. I was furious and in tears.

Once inside I needed to collect myself.....and so into the restroom I went. I was so stressed. So worried about what next. Ready to explode I had so much emotion and worry in me. I headed into a stall....(this is where I start to blush). As I am going to the bathroom, I am praying. HARD.

"GOD, PLEASE. PLEASE. Show me what you want me to do. PLEASE. I cannot take this stress and worry any longer. IF YOU GET ME A JOB, I WILL TELL EVERYONE HOW AWESOME YOU ARE."

Careful what you pray. Careful WHERE you pray.

He showed up. RIGHT THEN. While I was on the toilet. Seriously, this is NOT a joke.


I was shocked. It was the first time I had ever heard Him so clearly. It was a big rush in my face....almost like he was nose to nose with me. "TELL THEM ANYWAY," He said. He sounded almost angry with me.

Was this a test? WOW. I started crying. Even harder than I already had been. I was laughing too. Because I KNEW He was there and He would do what He said He would do. If there was anyone in the stall next to me, I am sure they thought I was NUTS.

"Tell them anyway"....He was informing me, rather sternly, that my JOB was to declare that He was good. In all things. Highs AND lows. Ups AND downs. Good times AND horrible times.

I have never been the same since that day. I learned some very important lessons in that moment that I will NEVER forget:

1) BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU PRAY - God has no issues with privacy. HE WILL speak to you on the toilet.

2) NEVER doubt that He already knows the outcome. Never doubt that His plan WILL work and that He WILL provide.

3) TELL THEM ANYWAY. Tell everyone you know what God has done for you. Tell them of His amazing grace, patience, understanding and POWER. Tell them He is awesome and will NEVER leave you or forsake you. Tell them He is your rock and your salvation.

Go ahead. TELL THEM.

"For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in his dwelling;
He will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me
high upon a rock.....Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD." ~ Psalm 27:5, 14

JC is my BFF.....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Almost worry free....

"Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?"
~ Matthew 6:27

I soooo wish I was worry free. I'm not. I'm the biggest worry wart you will EVER meet. I don't know why, really. Mostly because of how I was raised, I think. Middle child. Only girl. Never had a chance.

But today, God told me something. He reminded me (boy....I need a lot of reminding) that He is here. Why waste my time worrying when He has it already handled? I can't handle things any better than He can so....STOP WORRYING.

It's really like telling someone to stop smoking. Now. Right this second. It's not that is as easy as making a decision and going with it.

So today.....I stopped worrying. And what do you know? IT WORKED. I received some answers to questions that I had about my job security. I learned that my church is going to allow me to start up the 5th grade ministry again (GULP) and run with my ideas. I learned that letting go of some serious worry makes way for some serious open doors.

I also worry about my relationship. How will it go? What will happen? I am so bad at them. Truly. But God reminded me of that too. He has all that worked out and I am learning....."A quick study" He called me. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, He said. He showed me a little of the path I have come down then turned me around and showed me the path down which I am headed. He is so good. He knows just what to let me see, right when I need to see it.

As of this very moment, I am ALMOST worry free. Give me a break.....I am a mom you know! I can't stop worrying about EVERYTHING but I can give EVERYTHING to God. I'm gonna let Him have it because this momma has a ride to enjoy! I will throw my hands up and scream like a little girl on this rollercoaster of a life. Why? Because God is the seatbelt that is securely holding me in.

JC is my BFF!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Can it be?

Can life be truly happy and fulfilling? Can it be that we can function on a daily basis while looking forward and planning for the future?

I'm a down looker. At least I used to be. Meaning I don't see much farther ahead of me than just a few feet. Looking down at my feet to be sure I don't stumble (literally - 'cuz I'm sorta clutsy like that) and then I only have to deal with today and the immediate future. It's so hard for me to see what and where I want to be in 5 years let alone next month. Setting goals and making a plan would mean I'd be putting myself out there for the possibility of failure.

And how silly is that.

Really. It's just such silly thinking on my part. Just getting through life trying to survive on a daily basis (looking down at my feet) has been fine for me. Until now. It's time to look up. See where I want to be. Risk making a mistake. Learn from it and keep moving forward. It's time to look up. Make a plan and GO FOR IT.

I can tell you with 150% certainty that I am NOT the same person I was just two and a half short years ago. Why, you ask? Because God got ahold of me, that's why. God took me by the hand and led me through the thick yuckiness of my past. He showed me what to shake, what to hold on to, what to rethink and what to erase. Because of that walk through the yuckiness, I am nothing that I used to be.

I've been given a new life, a new chance, a new opportunity to make a difference. What kind of fool would not take that opportunity and act on it? I was asked yesterday where I want to be in 5 years.....I had NO clue. So my goal (yes....I have a goal!) is to figure that out. Dream ahead a little bit. Work it out. Seek God's guidance.

I know a few things already. I want to be better than I am today. I want to give of myself to those around me, investing and working out God's will. I want to be somehow using my camera to do that. I WANT TO KEEP MY HEART ON THE RIGHT PATH....

Pretty good start, I'd say. Can it be? Me.....with a goal??? :0)

"There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path." ~ Proverbs 23:18-19

JC is my BFF!

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Sweet Valentine.....

So tomorrow is THE day. The dreaded day that comes, as a single person, to smack you on the head and remind you of how lonely you are. The wonderful day that comes, as a person in love, to skip around and be all giddy.

I dislike the IDEA of Valentine's Day. A lot actually.

Nothing like only one day a year showing the person you love that you LOVE them. Seems so silly to me. BUT....I sorta get it too. It is kinda nice to be reminded. Only I'd much prefer to be reminded everyday. Not with flowers or candy or perfume, etc., but with the small things. A sweet text, a voicemail, a whisper of sweet nothing in the ear. You get what I'm saying.

But this year.....this year is different. I am NOT a person who skips and is giddy. Trust me on this. BUT....I AM SKIPPING AND GIDDY! I am! Here is why:

His name is Mark. He has a halo. He's not perfect....but he's perfect for me.

First and foremost, he is a Believer. Then, he is so many things I am not.

He is sweet. He is so stinkin' funny....I laugh until my side aches almost daily. He is quickly becoming one of my best friends. He is very cute. He has tattoos that represent his love for God and he is not afraid to tell you who saved him. He is a dad to a 15 year old daughter....I'm learning he is the dad I wish I had growing up. She is VERY lucky to have him. He faithfully and fully gives of himself to our church - working in the 3rd and 4th grade kids ministry classroom, facilitates "Financial Peace University" and anything else they may ask him to do. He doesn't like black olives but is ok with my obsession with them. He sees my ADD not as a bad thing....."full of energy" is what I think he once called me. He touches my face in a very nice, soft way. He sees me for who I am....not who he wants me to be.

He is the "round peg" in a world FULL of square ones.

We started out as friends, ya know. Not interested in anything more than that....just enjoying each others company. But God had different plans.

So today.....and everyday that I get to be lucky to call him my man....I will thank God for the answered prayers. I will keep learning everyday how to show Mark my heart. I will give of myself in ways that I cannot even imagine how to do. I will continue to seek God first in all things, this relationship included. I will be faithful and not fearful and love 'til I have nothing left. What happens after that, only God knows.

Happy Valentines Day to my Sweet Valentine, Mark. U da bomb, baby. Fo sho, fo sho.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Keenly aware.....

It's funny. How sometimes you are just plugging along, considering options and looking at your choices, then BAM. God shows up.

I personally have had this happen to me a few times in my life. When big, potentially life altering decisions need to be made. I, as you are well aware by now, deal only with what I HAVE to deal with and ignore the rest. Yes....that philosophy for life has bitten me on the backside more times than I care to admit but it is what it is.

In my drive to become more aware of God around me and pay closer attention to the situations of others, I have learned to see God in EVERYTHING. Even the little things. It sure is nice when He shows up in a big way (although the bushes at my house don't burn regularly, don't know about you). It's even nicer to hear His whisper. The soft, gentle nudge that He is there directing and discussing. I hear God's whisper every time I drive in bad weather. I hear it every time I hear a baby cry or a child laugh.

I am so thankful for God's whisper when I am shooting. My camera has become an extension of my arm. I look through the lens and God shows me so many awesome little things. He shows me the love that two people can have for each other. He shows me the beauty of the way the light hits the ground, the sunset/sunrise or the way the wind blows a tree.

He also has shown me how to keep moving, looking for the open door. God directs our steps, allows choices....what we do with those choices and what steps we take belong to us. Seek Him first and the choice will be clear. Seek Him second and the choice will almost always be one with more consequences than we anticipated.

So....I am keenly aware that God is here. All over. Movin' and shakin'. Opening doors for me and others around me. We can rest in the knowledge that He will provide, prepare and give us rest for our soul as decisions are made.

(Virginia Beach sunrise - July '08)

"Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven." ~ Psalm 107:28-30

JC is my BFF.....IS HE YOURS?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Honest Scrap....

The Honest Scrap award:

A) First list 10 honest things about yourself - and make it honest (hence, the award 'Honest Scrap'), even if you have to dig deep!

B) Pass the award on to 8 bloggers that you feel embody the role of the Honest Scrap. (This is an award only to display on your blog that everything you write on it is in truth, sincerity, and integrity.)

So I can honestly say that:

1) I have only been truly in love a few times in my life. I have given my heart away for the last time. It belongs to.....Jesus and Mark. :)

2) I have a competitive streak that gets the best of me most of the time. I can barely play a game with my girls without having a huge desire to KICK THEIR BUMS.

3) You must earn my respect. It does not come automatically. Right or wrong, that's how I see it. I do give it pretty quickly, but once it's lost, it's lost for a very long time. And I can honestly say at this point in time, I really only respect a handful of people.

4) I haven't laughed this much in nearly 6 years. God has helped me release most of the yuck in my heart and as a result, I GIGGLE. I've discovered that my laugh pretty much annoys me. :)

5) I am totally clueless about most things happening around me. Why? Because I choose to believe that the world I live in is safe and loving and warm and wonderful. I don't watch the news much because my world would be shattered in the first 15 seconds of the newscast. I just chose to believe the best when maybe I should try to accept and understand the worst.

6) I've learned to be brutally honest about my feelings and opinions. It once in awhile gets me into trouble but at least people know where I stand and I hope that people respect that about me. I try not to offer my opinion unless it is asked for.

7) I PINK PUFFY HEART the feeling I get when I am reminded by God that He restored my feeble and broken soul for His purpose.

8) Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa is where my heart lies. Even through the tough economic times and some tough decisions that have been made, the thought of leaving my church for another has never crossed my mind.

9) I can honestly say I was very lucky as a teenager and believe with ALL MY HEART God was watching out for me. Things could have turned out drastically different. I could have been a teenage mother addicted to drugs and alcohol. But I wasn't. See number 7 (THANK YA JESUS). :)

10) I can honestly say I love my life and the people in it. I thank God for each of them at least 10 times a day.

So now I tag 8 fellow bloggers to list ten honest things about them. Please check out their blogs. I adore each of them.

Sonia....And the Pursuit of Happiness

Angie.....Bring the Rain

Teri....Restless Peace

Maggie....The Grinstead Family

Heidi....The Zawisza Tribune

Gwen....Not Disappointed

Sarah....God's Not Finished With Us Yet

Travis....The Blundering Discoverer

JC is my BFF!!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What I learned today....

I feel like God is everywhere these days....and then at the same time I wonder where He is. He's here with me, I know that. He's with you too. I've been talking to God a lot lately about things. Why hearts have to hurt. Why children are sick. Why people lose jobs and relationships. Why....just why.

A friend of mine from waaaaayyyy back (he was actually a buddy of my older brothers when I was little) has a son with cancer in his leg. What is the purpose of THAT? My church is going through tough times. Two beloved pastors let go yesterday. Really? PASTORS out of jobs? What is the purpose of THAT? A friend who happens to be a recovering gambler may have gotten back into his addiction and just may be doing some bad things to feed his habit. Why? Why when someone has come so far would they slip back? I have about 10 other examples of things happening, but you get what I'm saying.

I have no answers....only more questions. God doesn't say much to me about it when I ask other than to just be faithful and patient. He has it all worked out.

This morning I got up early. On a normal morning my alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., then I snooze it until 6:25 and frantically run around trying to get out of the house. Nuts, I know. But today, I woke up at 5:15 a.m. Sat right up. Started praying for many things including the above and God sent me to the book of Jeremiah.....29:11-13 to be exact.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans for good and not disaster, plans to give you a future and a hope....when you pray I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me."
There it is. The Answer. To why we hurt, why we have pain and sickness. Why we lose our jobs and struggle with addiction. BECAUSE GOD HAS A PLAN. This is His deal, His world, His to handle, not mine.

Now I don't know about you, but when I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I thought everything would be easier. Ha. Life really hasn't been any has gotten easier to be ME. To know who I am and why I'm here, why God created me....I could only do that with God's help.

I don't know why all these bad things happen. I don't know why life is the pits sometimes. I do know that through it all we can still LOVE, and LAUGH, and BE FILLED WITH JOY. I do know that through the yuckiness of life there are so many things to be thankful for. The laughter of a child. The love of your life kissing your back. The hands that we get to hold. The tears that we wipe away.

All of this makes the yuckiness bearable.

And that, my friend, is God's plan too.

JC is my BFF.....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Book review and award.... :0)

So I have a blogging buddy, Travis at The Blundering Discoverer. Travis is a writer (obviously....duh) but far more than just a blogger. I recently purchased his book "When Love Calls" and it was FANTASTIC. I loved all of it and couldn't put it down. If you know me at all you know that is a miracle. ADD doesn't allow me to sit still long enough to read a book unless it's really good. And this one was.

"When Love Calls" is a classic love story. The best kind too. Strong, faith-filled boy meets girl of his dreams. They marry. She dies. He grieves. He meets another girl of his dreams. All with twists and drama and laughter. Can't say much more than that without giving it all away. Darn good book, if I do say so myself. I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who likes a good old-fashioned love can order his book here. Now, Travis.....I want the sequel!!!! You are a wonderful writer!


THANK YOU to my friend Sarah at God's Not Finished With Us Yet! She gave me the above award!