Saturday, December 31, 2016

How to Ensure a Good Year!

Tomorrow begins a new year, a new beginning, a clean slate. For so many, 2016 was a hard year. It was filled with difficult things and packed with intensity. How can we ensure 2017 is a better year?  I can't promise there won't be difficulties, but I did tap into some things which helped me in my own eventful-compacted 2016. I hope they help you find amazing peace and also help you focus on the love of the Father every single day this year!
  • Live one day at a time. Don't focus on the whole year or even next week--focus on today and making it the best day possible!
  • Plan ahead. While this seems contrary to the first statement, it isn't. Put important things on your calendar so that they become engraved in stone--so the important isn't crowded out of your life. 
  • Put family first. Trust me, the older you get, the more you realize what is truly important. While you'll look back and be so glad of the investment you've made in other people's lives, you'll find your greatest investment to be in YOUR family. 
  • Put your "YES" on the altar. Say "yes" to God every single day!!  It doesn't matter what He's asking, the answer should always be yes!  I found this to be one of the most important things I did this year. My heart was always in the mode of willingness. God helped me differentiate between the important and the urgent. 
  • Look for God every single day. God is always at work in our lives. It isn't always a huge miracle--many times it's a small thing which may lead to the next small thing. This is something I'm pursuing this coming year--to be aware of God and what He's doing.  I want to live in a perpetual state of AWE!!  (I'm using this calendar to write down what God does each day.)
  • Don't do things out of duty but out of love. If you can't do it out of love, just don't do it. 
  • Love BIG in 2017!!  Extend love to everyone but especially those hard to love. It will leave you feeling good. Love with actions and words. 
  • Forgive quickly!!
  • Speak life and blessing into other people's lives. Encourage them; build them up. 
  • Give BIG!!  I encourage you to tithe to your church. Malachi 3 says we can test God in this. Start small and test Him. You'll be BLESSED--because you're loving the Church--the bride of Jesus!  But don't stop there--give sacrificially. Give to the poor, orphans and widows. Give to Israel, whom God loves. GIVE!!
  • Fill your day with praise & prayer. I can promise this will be easy if you're doing everything else!  Your heart will be filled with praise because you'll be seeing God at work in your life. Hard things may come...but you can trust an all-powerful God who is at work all around you.  Make it a point to have an open, on-going dialogue with God all day long. He'll easily become your best friend!!
My prayer is that you expect God this year!  I know I began this process in 2016 and found my own heart expanding in ways I never expected. Live each day in an utter awareness of God. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Just a cook...


What if you wanted to fulfill your purpose but lived in the boonies?  What if you thought, "The only thing I can do is cook."?  

Today, I drove 140 miles out of my way to observe the greatness of Ree Drummond. Of course, she doesn't just cook--she's an author and photographer, too. But the reason I make the point is because I hear many people say, "But I just _____."  (Fill in the blank!)  God has a purpose for each of us. And if we never accept the giftings He's given us, we'll never explore how to use them for the kingdom of God!  

Ree is such a good example that it doesn't matter where you live!!  Pawhuska, Oklahoma is a town boasting 3500 people--and Ree doesn't even actually live within the city limits. She lives on a ranch outside of town. 


But today, her new Mercantile was very crowded with people from miles around!!  People drove to Pawhuska to be near Ree, to celebrate who she is and what she's done. They hoped to see her. Why?  Because she's become famous with her amazing recipes and her step-by-step photography and blogging of those recipes. How does that happen?


Because she didn't let her mind get in the way!  She accepted her gifts and used them. I'm sure she had no idea in the beginning she'd become famous--she was just a city girl stuck on a ranch looking for an outlet. But she used what she had...and God expanded her!

What are your gifts??  Don't let your mind get in the way! Give them to God and let Him expand them for His kingdom!!  You never know...

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Heaven Is Waiting!


We  always think about getting to heaven and talking to Abraham, Moses, or Esther. But did you know they're waiting in anticipation to talk to you??  You have the opportunity to experience something constantly that they only got to experience a few times. As a believer, you have the Spirit of God living inside of you, helping, speaking, guiding, counseling, revealing to you perpetually. He inhabits you. The Spirit of God only visited the saints in the Old Testament...occasionally. They can't WAIT to find out from you what it was like to be inhabited by the Spirit of God!  What was it like to have that kind of power available? What was it like to hear God speak to you every day?  What was it like to be guided by Him every step you took?  What was it like to be taught by the Spirit as you read the Bible?  What was it like LIVING WITH THE SPIRIT?

I want to have some GOOD things to tell!!

I encourage you to watch this message by Graham Cooke:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Why God put Moses in the Princess' house


How many of us have felt unquestionable empathy with Jochebed, Moses' mother, for having to put Moses in a basket and send him down the river to save his life from the king's edict to kill all of the Israelites' baby boys?  I can't even imagine the heartache. But her plan wasn't without much prayer and forethought.  I think she knew when and where the princess came to bathe. I think she counted on a woman's compassion for this tiny infant. But mostly, she trusted a big God to guide everything!

It occurred to me this week that God had so much more in mind than just having Moses' life saved and then growing up as a prince. If he had grown up in slavery, how hard would it have been for Moses to break free from the mindset of a slave to deliver a nation from bondage?  But Moses grew up in the palace with all of the best at his disposal. He understood royal protocol.  He knew the language. He knew how the kingdom worked and how the pharaoh ruled. God wasn't withholding from Jochebed and Moses...He used Jochebed's great redemptive love to produce a king who could deliver God's people. 

We should never underestimate or question God's amazing plan. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What happens when we feel "out of control?"

Typically, when we feel out of control, we take control.  We need to feel like everything is safely within our grasp and arranged in perfect order.  This need will be more pressing for those who are fearful or already have a need for strict perimeters in their lives.

I've been observing the presidential campaign these past couple of months--and just life in general.  I've been struck by how divisive things have become so quickly--especially on social media. I think it's because we all feel out of control.  Things aren't normal or the way they used to be.  So we've grabbed the remote control of life and have determined to change channels.  Some have gotten loud, angry, and demanding with their opinions because they've determined the way things should be and everyone is not cooperating to get life back to that familiar place--or to a completely new place.  They feel like they have the answers and want everyone to agree with them.  The problem is...everyone has a different opinion about the way things should be!   Even Christians!!  We all resist being controlled.  We hate being told what to do.  So when someone is shouting at us to tell us what to do or what to believe, we resist them and their message.  But we all still put our opinions out there in hopes of compelling people to conform to us.

I had to stop this week and ask God, "Am I totally off course?  Because things sure feel off balance!"  And I had to remind myself of the basics of life...of the Christian life, that is.
  1. Press in to God and follow Him.  
  2. Hear His voice.  
  3. Read the Word. 
  4. Pursue Truth. 
  5. Be still and know that He is GOD!  
  6. Trust Him.  
  7. Submit to the Holy Spirit.  
  8. Remember God's good plan.
God has an ultimate plan for this world.  Things are going to happen which are completely out of our control.  But we have a choice in how to respond to those things.  The safest place to be when our world turns upside down is nuzzled in right next to the Good Shepherd.  His ways are right and perfect.  He's watching over His sheep day and night, safely guarding and calming them.  We need to press in to Him.  We won't have to convince anyone of anything--except to draw near to this Good Shepherd and hear His voice.  He can be trusted to lead us in the paths of righteousness.  And for all those sheep still out of control, going their own way?  Pursue them in love and bring them back to the Good Shepherd who is Truth.  No wonder Jesus prayed, (in John 17)  asking that we would be one as He was one with the Father.  Unity is a sweet thing.  It's coming in agreement with God which brings harmony between us, His sheep.

"If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.] Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another."  Galatians 5:25-26

"Brothers and sisters, if someone you know loses his way and rebels against God, pursue him in love and bring him back to the truth."  James 5:19

Friday, October 28, 2016

God's Promise to Abraham--and us!

"Listen to the solemn vow the Eternal One has spoken: “Because you (Abraham) have done what I asked and were willing to give up your son, your only son,  I will reaffirm My covenant of blessing to you and your family. I will make sure your descendants are as many as the stars of the heavens and the grains of sand on the shores. I reaffirm My earlier promises that your descendants will possess the lands and sit in the gates of their enemies, and from your descendants all the peoples of the earth will discover true blessing. All this is because you have obeyed My voice."  Genesis 22:16-18 (emphasis mine)

Who are the descendants of Abraham?  Israel, for sure.  They are the direct physical descendants of Abraham.  But believers in Jesus Christ are also descendants--spiritual/faith descendants.  We've been grafted in to the family tree!  (Romans 4-11)  So the eternal promise made to Abraham is also our promise.  What is that promise?
  • We will be many.
  • We will possess the lands.
  • We will sit in the gates of our enemies. (where legal and binding decisions are made)
  • The earth will discover true blessing because of us.
Claim your inheritance!  Abraham lived by faith.  This promise was made because of his faith.  We need to believe these things are ours--by faith.  There are lands to possess and rule over.  In Genesis 17, where God originally makes the promise, Abraham is told that nations and kings would descend from him...and they have...and will.  He's also told his descendants would be fruitful.  We will make legal and binding decisions in enemy territory.  There is a whole earth which needs to discover true blessing because of us. 

Abraham's part of the agreement was that he and his descendants must keep God's covenant throughout the generations--and He promised to be our God forever.

That's a pretty sweet deal!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Propaganda or Truth?

Dalai Lama's Palace

I don't remember the year exactly, but around 1999, Andy & I went to Lhasa, Tibet to visit a friend and to look for opportunities to help people.  Tibet was a closed communist country and we were required to have a "guide" the entire time we were there.  The guide did actually give us tours, but they were also placed with us to make sure we weren't detrimental to their country.  Before we went, we were even told to assume our motel room would probably be "bugged."

One day, Andy was with the guide touring the Dalai Lama's palace (I chose to forego the climb) and I was out touring the city with our friend.  All of a sudden, a voice came over the loud speakers placed around the entire city.  Since my friend could speak Tibetan, I asked her what they were saying.  Her reply was, "Oh, just a bunch of propaganda."  I was kind of stunned.  It wasn't my first time to be in a communist country, but it was my first time to be confronted with propaganda being blared so blatantly.  Her words never left me.

I came home and began paying attention to what was going on around me in the good ol' USA.  Were we being fed propaganda and weren't even aware of it?  Remember...this was 17 years ago.  I began noticing then that newscasters weren't even trying to be objective anymore.  More recently, I've been paying even closer attention.  Not only are we being fed propaganda, but great diversions are being created to get our attention elsewhere so people can change the direction we're going while we're not looking.

I encourage you to be aware.  If a herd of sheep are resting quietly in a pasture and a small dog runs into their space--they'll all react in fear and take off running together.  Ewes have even been known to abort their babies in a situation like that.  Don't be like a sheep and run with the mob in fear.  Take a quiet seat and observe.  And while you're watching, ask God to reveal truth.

A good question to ask the Father is, "What are You doing?"  And, "How can I agree with You?"

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Imagine that you were Satan and you could see the potential in people's lives.  What would you do to stop them from becoming all God meant for them to be?  Would you...

A.  Prey on their weaknesses
B.  Lie to them
C.  Inflate their ego until they depended on their own strength
D.  Throw obstacles in their way
E.  Debilitate them
F.  Intimidate them until they were fearful
G.  Bring disunity among them
H.  All of the above

And when would you try to stop their understanding of the power of God in them?
A.  At birth
B.  During the innocence of childhood
C.  When God came to live in them
D.  During the troubled teenage years
E.  Throughout their lives
F.  When they became more powerful
G.  When they developed strong, godly relationships
H.  All of the above

Satan certainly knows God's power--better than we do, actually!  And he understands what is available to us when we make Jesus the Lord of our lives.  He doesn't want us affecting the world around us.  If we were Superman, Satan would place kryptonite everywhere we went to make us powerless...and Superman's power is nothing compared to God's power in us.  I want to share my recent situation to help you understand how I discerned Satan's strategy.

I was very discouraged.  I'd become introspective, as I am prone to do, and was asking questions like, "Is my ministry effective?  Are people being significantly changed because of my ministry?  Does what I do really matter?"  I was even asking the wrong questions.  I was so tired and vulnerable, my guard wasn't up to keep the enemy from taking me to the pit of despair.  I was convinced there was no fruit in what I was doing.

At the same time, a good friend was walking through something so BIG and so traumatic that I stepped in to encourage her--even in my sorry state. In that moment, it was so easy to see what Satan was doing to her.  You see--she's a very powerful woman and she was asked not to attend a meeting--a meeting which she should have attended and had every right to attend.  I told her, "It's actually a compliment from the Enemy.  You're too powerful!!  You change the atmosphere when you walk in a room and you command the situation.  Now take that info and use it wisely--change the atmosphere with the authority of the kingdom of God!"  And she did.  Later, she told me that she'd been intimidated until she saw the truth--and the truth set her free.  She walked into that meeting with peace, confidence, and the power of God.  And God did amazing things in her situation!!

What I told my friend became a two-edged sword God used to pierce my heart about my own situation.  And I saw this truth:  SATAN FEARS OUR POTENTIAL.  He fears us understanding and unleashing the power of God which is in us.  So he's constantly on the offense trying to destroy us, our faith, and the promise of God in us.  I GOT IT!   Satan was using a different strategy on me (discouragement) than he'd used on my friend (intimidation).  He was trying to stop what I was doing for the very same reason--I WAS changing the atmosphere.  I was unleashing the power of God in me by doing the very things He'd created me to do--by fulfilling the purpose He'd given me.  It wasn't through big things--it was through every-day-things.  I'd been waking up every morning and asking, "What's right in front of me that I can do today to bring the kingdom of God to earth--to love, encourage, bring life, and share Jesus?"  THAT'S what Satan wants to stop--he wants to stop us from bringing the kingdom of God to earth.  ("Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven...")

Examine your life.  What is Satan doing to stop you from changing the atmosphere around you?  Maybe what you're walking through is nothing but the enemy's "kryptonite" to stop you from bringing the kingdom of God to earth.  Say NO to the enemy!  And press in to TRUTH!!  DO kingdom work--love, encourage, bring life, and share Jesus-in the way God created YOU to do it!

Unleash the power of God in you--
change the atmosphere around you!  
God wants to 
with what He does!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Be Kind

You've surely heard some of these sayings:

  • "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you."  
  • "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."  
  • "Be ye kind one to another."  
  • "Being kind is more important than being right."

Why kindness?  I believe our culture is moving in a troubling direction.  With the accelerated use of social media, people are feeling freer and freer to voice their tactless opinions as they hide behind their phones or laptops.  It's so much easier to be blunt and say what you think when you know you won't have a face-to-face encounter.  And if someone disagrees with you--or even verbally assaults you--you can remove them from your account with no remorse because, more-than-likely, you'll never see them again.  You feel safe...and right.

When Zach was about 6-years-old (which means I was in my early 30's), I asked him if he wanted to go to Walmart with me.  He asked why I was going (surely wondering if there was a prize involved).  I told him I had to take some things back to the store.  He quickly said, "NO!  I don't want to go with you!"  His reply was so quick, so curt, and so emphatic, that I asked him why he didn't want to go.  I'll never forget his reply.  He said, "Because you're mean when you take things back to the store."  Wow!!  What an explosion of truth from the mouth of a child--my child!  I had to stop and examine my life.  Was I mean?  Probably.  I think I actually approached people with defensiveness.  I wanted to be in control of a situation to avoid rejection or disapproval--which I constantly expected.  I wanted needed to be right.  It became a defining moment in my life.  I purposed I would never intentionally be mean again and I began pursuing kindness.

When you feel right, you come off as judgmental, accusatory, condemning, self-righteous, egotistical, and snobbish.  And when you approach people with that attitude, they're going to be defensive and you'll never achieve your objective.  I didn't realize it, but my mean attitude was getting me what I feared most--rejection.  What a cycle!  I learned that I could be right...or I could have a relationship.   Not both.

Kindness changes everything.  EVERYTHING!  You become more approachable--you even look kind.  People are more willing to listen to you.  You're more apt to get kindness in return.  And people want to be around you--kindness promotes relationships!

Looking back, I realize God had to break through some pretty stubborn resistance in my life and He knew His most powerful and effective tool would be one of my kids.  It was like running head-long into a mirror and seeing my heart the way God saw it.  But in His incredible grace, He offered me the chance to change and grow and I determinedly drew a line in the sand.  The only way I could have any lasting change in my life was through the power of the Holy Spirit.  I had to let Him have control and allow Him to transform me.  Becoming kind was a process.  But fruit-growing always is.

Be kind.  Teach your children kindness by instructing them but especially with your example.  They're watching...I have concrete evidence!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Finding Fame

It seems everyone is looking for their 15 minutes of fame.  YouTube...Facebook...Selfies...Instagram...Twitter are all helping to promote our fame.  We're all looking for that one catch phrase or creating that one video which will have millions of people "liking" our post or possibly even landing us on Ellen's show.  Christians aren't immune.  It's almost as old as Methusela to want to become famous!  Actually, it dates back to least.

 After the flood, God told Noah and his family to spread out across the earth, repopulate the earth, and subdue it.  Ol' Noah's clan got to the land of Shinar (about a 30 day journey) and thought it was a good place to stop and build a tower to the sky to "make a name for themselves!"  And God actually said, "Will you look at that! The people are all together on this. With one language they are able to start this kind of project. This is only the beginning of what they will do. Soon they will think they can accomplish anything and everything on their own.  Let’s go down and break this up! If We confuse their language, they won’t be able to understand each other’s words.  This is how the Eternal scattered people from Shinar all across the surface of the earth."  (Genesis 11:6-8, The Voice)

1. They were disobeying God.  He'd said "spread out" and they stopped. He had a plan in their being scattered--He wanted the whole earth filled with His representatives.
2. They were doing what they did for themselves.  They wanted to make a name for themselves.  Even Jesus said, "If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me."
3. They were in unity.  Just because there's unity, doesn't make it a great idea!  They'd found something they could "accomplish on their own."  God wants us submitted to Him--not doing our own thing.
4. There was already greatness in their names--they didn't have to make a name for themselves!  And they understood what their name meant because of the descriptiveness of their language.  But they were searching for their identity and their purpose in the wrong place and in the wrong way.

When we understand who we are, our identity, and the purpose for which God has created us, it gives us a focus for how God wants to use us in the kingdom of God.  And it also answers the "why!"  Why do we do the things we do?  The "why" is to glorify God and to lift up the name of Jesus through the very things He's put inside of us.  Jesus' name is above every name and we should delight to exalt his name.  When we spend time exalting Jesus' name, it's not so important to become famous.

But...on the flip-side, God has created us in His image.  He's made us into a complex being which reflects His nature and character.  We become a representative of Him.  It's kind of like when a baby is born and we say, "Oh!  He's the spitting image of his daddy!"  We're the spitting image of our least an aspect of Him.  Just like no two children from the same daddy are exactly like him--but each have characteristics of him.  When we understand who we are and what we were created to do, we can then break open the essence of who we are in praise to the One who created us.  Just like when Mary broke open the alabaster bottle of perfume to anoint Jesus and it expanded--when we break open the essence of who God created us to be as an expression of worship to Him, it expands.  Who we are expands.  Our purpose expands.  And the fragrance of our worship fills the room.

Don't spend time creating skyscrapers to reach the sky to make a name for yourself (or any other number of things you can do on your own)...find out who you are.  Worship God with who you are.  Submit to Him and watch God expand the essence of YOU.  It's a work of transformation accomplished by the Spirit of God.  That expansion and transformation beats fame anytime!

II Corinthians 3:18
Now all of us, with our faces unveiled, reflect the glory of the Lord as if we are mirrors; and so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image from one radiance of glory to another, just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Happy Birthday, Andy!

Today is Andy's birthday!!  (And the birthday of his twin brother, Phil...and his uncle...and his cousin...)  September 8th is a big deal around here!  
As I was going through my photos recently, I started laughing.  In almost every photo of Andy, he's with a crowd of people---a different crowd of people (as you can see below).  It took me awhile to figure it out, but it was early in our marriage when I realized Andy was happiest in a crowd of people.  He was created for ministry!  Andy loves LIFE and he loves PEOPLE!  And it's been a whole lot of fun doing life with this guy. (And sometimes exhausting!  And sometimes crowded...)  
Happy Birthday, Babe!!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Happy 9th Birthday, Olivia!

Today is Olivia's 9th birthday!  It's so hard to believe she's already this old.  I got to go to Dalhart and stay with her two brothers while she was born.  There was so much excitement when they brought her home from the hospital!  By the time she was three, when you asked her when her birthday was, she'd reply, "20 August 9!"  And she said that for years.  I really hated when she outgrew it.

She's always had the prettiest eyes and most adorable cheeks!

She's always been full of giggles, too.  (I still love getting Olivia alone--her silliness and laughter come out!)

She was hiding from us.  (She's done some of the cutest things!)

Those rosy cheeks!

Her brothers loved her.  They still do...most days.

This photo of Olivia in her tutu was almost foretelling.  This girl has loved to dance!

They were visiting and watching a movie together.  Olivia was a thumb sucker.

Did I mention her dimples??

And here we go!  Olivia's two brothers are both musicians--so she has always had music to dance to.

 Her dance recital.

Olivia is a big sister--and she fills that role so well.  She LOVES her little sister!  They share a room--and secrets, I'm sure.

She has a good role model.  She adores her mom.

Olivia has always been quiet.  When her two brothers were being home schooled, she would entertain herself for hours--no joke.  She is very compassionate and has a really tender heart.

Olivia is such a good friend to others.  She forgives easily and is a giver--she loves to share her things with her friends.  But she also loves her alone time.  It's not unusual for her to tell her neighborhood friends that she just wants to be alone--and then she'll go to her room and read or play alone.

And I leave you with this.  Olivia is singing "Happy Birthday to You" and it changes to "Amen."  
My favorite video of all time!

I love you,

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Happy Birthday, Gus!

Gus turns 4-years-old today!  I remember rushing to Lubbock for his birth and then waiting...taking a nap in the pickup...waiting.  But it was so exciting when he came!  

His big brother, Dax, has watched over him since he was born.  Dax would make sure Gus had his pacifier--and open his own mouth every time he tried to get Gus to open his mouth.

His first Christmas as Santa...with his pretty mommy.

We were babysitting Dax & Gus while Zach & Shanna went to Alaska.  We went and got Gus a walker since he was wanting to follow his big brother so badly.  He loved it!

This guy has always had the best smile and most beautiful eyes!

Gus kind of likes his Pot, too.

We'd gotten chicken for dinner and gave Gus some mashed potatoes.  
He liked them!

Gus was showing me his muscles---and making a grunting noise.

We went to the lake in Dalhart so the boys could throw rocks in the water.  Gus got a ride.
(Notice how he's holding on!)

Gus loves to laugh!!  And his greatest delight is making others laugh!

Gus was hiding from Dax.

The boys had watched Horton Hears a Who.  Gus was listening for the Who.

This was a picture I got when I was on my way to babysit the boys.  
(I was more excited than Gus!)

Gus had "thrown up in his mouth" so Dax made him lay on the couch and covered him up.  And then he began to read a book to Gus since he didn't feel well.  (He really could read!)  Gus didn't stay sick very long.

Gus was pretending to be dead.

This kid keeps me in stitches!!  I've only known two little guys who began to exemplify a sense of humor as early as one-year-old--Gus and his older cousin.  I was amazed!  I'd never seen such a young child understand humor--and how to make others laugh.  Both of these guys are the second child with an older brother--I wonder if that's why.  Gus also knew how to push his older brother's buttons and get him all upset...and then laugh.  
Gus is also very sensitive.  He knows when someone is unhappy or has their feelings hurt and will quietly go sit by them--and usually touch them in some way.  It's not at all unusual for Gus to randomly sit in your lap and whisper in your ear, "I love you!"  He has such a tender heart.
He's crazy about his family!!  He gets so excited when his mom and dad come home from a trip!  And he's anxious to meet up with his brother and sister when they've been separated for a short time.  I love this guy!!
Gus, I can't wait to see what amazing thing God has for your life!

I love you,

Friday, August 5, 2016

Change the Atmosphere!

This week, Andy & I set aside time to have our own P&P--praise & prayer.  We've been anxious to hear God for our church and for our own lives.  As we've met, we've listened to praise music and praised in our hearts along with those songs.  And we've asked the Holy Spirit to meet with us, teach us, and instruct us.

Can I just tell you that it's pretty amazing to listen to your children's music and praise God through it?  God spoke to us each time through their music.

(Zach Dietz in A Road Less Traveled)

But as we met with God this afternoon, I had a profound moment.  We were listening to Matt's song, Sound of Heaven, and a realization washed all over me!  As we live out WHO WE ARE and DO the things God has put right in front of us, we are breaking open the jar of perfume (like Mary used to pour over Jesus).  We're breaking open the PURPOSE God placed inside of us.  Because He lives in us, we are releasing HIM.  He's placed an expression of Himself inside each of us at the point of salvation.  We are releasing heaven on earth!  As we release heaven, it changes the atmosphere of earth.

(Matt Dietz)

Who are you?  What is your purpose?  You can begin to find that when you understand your name--your spiritual DNA is wrapped up inside of your name.  What do you love to do?  DO THAT!!!  I wake up every morning now and say, "What is right in front of me that I can do?  What can I do that is an expression of who I am?  What can I release?"  And I do that.

My purpose is to be a life source.  I am to source life to others--the life of the Father.  I love to teach and I love to minister to pastor's wives.  It's such a need right now--lots of pastor's wives are falling apart.  So what I could do that was right in front of me was to start a pastor's wives blog and Facebook page.  I used those two mediums to teach and to bring life to those I knew were hurting.  And then I began doing videos to put on the Facebook page--it's what was right in front of me that I knew I could do.  Talk about scary!  You're completely putting yourself out there!!  Out there for criticism or critiquing.  But I'd put my yes on the table.  I've been amazed at the results--I've had influence where I'd had none before.  Women were messaging me with questions and need for help.  I was SOURCING LIFE to women.  And it's changing the atmosphere.

You can change the atmosphere, too--and bring heaven to earth!!  Do what's right in front of you that you ALREADY LOVE to do!!  USE it for the kingdom of God.  Break it open.  Pour it out.  It will change the atmosphere around you and fulfill you in ways you never thought possible.

THIS is the Sound of Heaven--filling the earth as we break open our giftings and fulfill what we're called to do.  Changing the person at a time.  Bringing heaven to earth.  

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Happy Birthday, David!

Today is David's birthday!  He's our third child--and comes within the birthday week of our first three children--who are spread within four years of one another.  David's birth was so exciting.  When I was about 3 months pregnant, the doctor was sure I was having twins.  (Andy is a twin, so we knew that was a possibility.)  I was very excited--I wanted twins!  So the doctor sent me for a sonogram to see if that was the case.  It was my very first sonogram and it was so vague, I really couldn't see anything specific--even a head (sonograms weren't what they are now!)--but we did find out we weren't having twins.
We lived in Amarillo at the time and we'd just had a flood which came within feet of our driveway--it began at the lake by Western Plaza and went for blocks!  Since our street was one which was passable and where people could view the traumatic event, streams of traffic were going down our street and turning around in our driveway to go back the way they'd come--with waves washing into our yard.  I was certain we'd never be able to get out of our driveway if I were to go into labor!   When I did go into labor, the waters had receded and the crowd had diminished.  I'd begged my doctor to induce labor on July 28th--so my kids' birthdays would be in chronological birth order on the 26th, 27th, & 28th.  He refused.  But he told me I could take castor oil and see if that worked.  It didn't.  So we waited a week for David to make his his own time.  Little did I know that this was prophetic of David's personality.  (Of course, we still didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl.)
After David was born, Andy brought Matt & Amy to to the hospital to see their new baby brother.  They were so excited!!  Amy stood at the hospital window looking at him and I could hear her saying, "She has eyes!"  For a month, Amy called David "she or her."  We could NOT convince her that she had a brother.  She also couldn't remember his name.  When someone would ask her what her baby brother's name was, she'd reply, "Goliath!"  David was the best baby...he seldom cried and was perfectly content wherever he was.  That also became an indicator of who he would become.
Let me tell you about David...

  • David is a very easy-going person. 
  • David is a doer. Even though he's very laid back, he doesn't let grass grow under his feet.  He's either working on a computer, building or remodeling something, or maple syrup!
  • David is very generous.  He'd honestly give the shirt off his back if someone needed it--and probably has.  He thinks nothing of loaning something that is his and if it's not returned, he'll just go buy a new one.  No hard feelings.  (Don't tell him I sent you!)
  • David loves to laugh--and he has a great laugh!  He also loves to make other people laugh by  imitating others.  He can laugh just like my brother, Bob.  He can imitate a singer from our old church, comedians, actors, etc.
  • I've watched David build strong friendships.  He may surround himself with lots of friends, but I've noticed through the years that he usually spends quality time alone with one good friend.  He doesn't need a crowd.  
  • David has a memory like an elephant!  I once bought him a t-shirt that said, "I Speak Fluently in Movie Quotes."  I hated watching movies with him when he was a kid--he'd tell me everything that was about to happen and then could quote the whole movie after watching it one time.  I laughed when I saw that his children have this same gift!!
  • David is a good, good daddy.  He loves his kids and would do anything for them.  
  • David is a wonderful provider.  Anytime David's been without a job, I've never worried about him.  He's willing to do whatever it takes to provide for his family--even if he has to hold down three jobs at a time.  He'll go to any measures to make sure they're taken care of.
  • David has a genius mind.  He's always learning and figuring things out.  Even as a little guy, he would take his toys apart and then put them back together.  He wanted to know how things worked.  He's created computer programs, put whole systems together, figured out how to help a company advertise with an app (before that was a thing)--and how to train their employees to work better, and how to link benevolence ministries in an area together to compile information.  I'm guessing his brain never shuts off--he's always looking for a better way.
  • David is a peacemaker.  He can talk people down who are overwrought and bring understanding between two sides.
  • David is a gifted musician.  He's a guitarist, a songwriter, a singer, and has been a worship leader.
  • David has a teachable spirit.  I remember when he began leading worship, he would take suggestions from his dad (a hard thing for most teenagers to do).  But I've watched him do the same with others through the years.  He has a humble heart--willing to learn from others.

David's name means Beloved--God has heard--Defender of Mankind--Ruler of the People.  David is all of those things.  He is greatly loved by me, his dad, his family, and his many friends.  God has heard him and is answering--He's very passionate about David.  David has an intense desire to defend others.  David is and will be a benevolent ruler of others--he's gifted to rule.  This is who God created David to be.

I love you,