Thursday, December 27, 2007

No Room in the Inn...

Wow... it certainly has been a while since I have written in blog land. (October 22nd to be exact) I will say it's been too long.

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register. 4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. ~ Luke 1: 1-7

These verses are so familiar to us, and of course during the Advent and Christmas season our focuse particularly turns to the Book of Luke and the 1st and 2nd Chapters.

No room for them in the inn... this particular portion hit me a few weeks ago. It was a combination of things I was observing in my life as well as the hustle and bustle going on around me. I said to myself - the world is the Inn... are we making room for Jesus? From the hectic traffic, the constant commercials on television telling us what we just had to have for Christmas, or what we had to give for Christmas, Cookie baking, Christmas parties and gatherings, Christmas card writing and sending, decorating the many, many trees in not just my home, but our church and the homes of loved ones (I do enjoy decorating!) to observing the long shopping lines, the sales clerks, some grumpy and some refreshingly cheerful, and the Big 50% off sales at the local malls. Santa, reindeer, caroling, snowmen... there is so much that comes along with our preparations of Christmas - some good, some not so good. I then began wondering... are we personally making room for Him in our Inn? We see that the world is closing the Inn door on Jesus in many ways - for example, our daily newspaper's banner on Christmas morning read Happy Holidays - not Merry Christmas. I then compared our lives w/ the Inn. Did our preparations for Christmas become so full that there was no room for Jesus? Was our Inn full to capacity with so many other things that we inadvertantly had shut the door on Jesus?

Sweet sisters, I pray that wasn't so for you during Advent. I pray that all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, driving was done w/ Christ at the center! That you completed your tasks with joy! I pray that the Inn was open and your celebration of his birth with you family and friends was filled with joy and thanksgiving! (If it didn't happen this year for you - I pray that next year it will) I also pray that with your gift giving and receiving you realized you were emulating the Love of God - Because He loved us He gave us the gift of His son (refer to John 3:16). May we learn to give as God gave to us. We also must receive the gift of His son, so I pray that you humbly received the Christmas gifts your loved ones presented to you as well. Yes, it's good to give and receive gifts! God gave us the gift of His son - Make room for Jesus in your Inn - Receive Him!

Merry Christmas to each of you! May your celebration continue!

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Address Books....

I have a very torn and tattered Address Book that I purchased many, many years ago. I have said to myself so often "I really need to update and replace this address book, put everything in my computer, it's such a mess." I have envelopes stuffed in the pages which contain return addresses I need to add or update - some have been there so long that the stamp prices were .33 cents! (have I procrastinated or what?)

Last week I pulled out that trusty address book to look up an address of a friend. As I turned the pages I noticed the name of a former work mate who passed tragically at a young age... I thought of her family and said a prayer. It then hit me as I continued looking at the names on the pages, how many changes there have been in the lives of the individuals that are included in this address book. Many have passed away and went to be with our sweet Saviour Jesus, some have moved far away, some not so far away; some have gotten married, and sadly , some have gotten divorced. I found that address book to be a tapestry of the many, many family and friends I have been blessed with throughout the years. Some of them were friends for a season, and some have been placed in my life for the long haul. I thought of the song In My Life by The Beatles...

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

I found, an old tattered address book, that I felt needed to be replaced, didn't need to be replaced at all. It was a treasure trove of memories... of people whom I have loved, who touched my life... and a treasure that would be an excellent resource to use in my prayer time. I can pray for people I haven't seen in years, for families who have lost a loved one, for friends new and old. Each individual has a place in my life... it's almost like pieces of a quilt, stitched together with hopes, dreams, & memories bound together by the love of our Father in Heaven.

I encourage you to look at an old address book - really look at it. Think about the names written by your hand on those pages. Think about the people and pray for them - that their name may not just be written in your address book, but also written with God's Mighty Hand in the Book of Life!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Brought to it... God will lead you through it!

Yesterday was a special day in our family. My youngest sister celebrated her 5 year out from breast cancer! Praise Jesus! At 33, with 4 young children, Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer. As we celebrated - (my early morning phone call to her was "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!") I couldn't help but think of session 3 of my study of the book of Daniel. We were walking with Mishael, Hananiah & Azariah (Meshach, Shadrach & Abednego) - I now have a hard time calling them by their Babylonian names since I have learned their meaning and what Babylon wanted to accomplish by changing their names. The story of our boys and the fiery furnace is very familiar to many of us. This week's study had a section where we concentrated on fiery trials. When faced with bowing down to an idol of the King, our boys refused, standing firm in their God - But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - who pay no attention to you, O King. Daniel 3:12 Our boys were quite aware what would happen to them if they disobyed the instructions - they would be thrown into the fiery furnace. But they would stand firm and bow to no one except their God and Father. They knew, that God would be with them in that furnace, they knew that God could deliver them from the furnace and they knew that they could also be delivered straight into His loving arms by the fire of the furnace.

We were given three different scenarios when we, the people of God face fiery trials and the outcome...

#1: We can be delivered from the fire and our faith is built.

#2: We can be delivered through the fire and our faith is refined.

#3: We can be delivered by the fire straight into the arms of our Loving Father and our faith is perfected.

I pondered the trial of my sister's cancer. How she was delivered through the fire and her faith refined. I thought of my friend Eden, who passed from cancer at the age of 37, and how she was delivered by the fire, and her faith was made perfect as she walked into the arms of Jesus. I thought of a friend in our small group Bible study, who was diagnosed with tumor in his brain, and the power of a neighbor's prayer which was this: that the tumor to be completely eradicated. When he went for more testing prior to his surgery - that tumor was gone - he was delivered from the fire and his faith, I guarantee you, was built. Yes siestas.... God can do what He says He can do! God is so good, that in those trials - He is with us, He will not abandon us, He delivers us - in His divine plan.
I pray, whatever your trial, that you know the Lord your God will be walking with you and will deliver you!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


This past Friday, my sister's horse Halle gave birth to her first foal - a filly - whose name is now Pippi (she has two long white socks on her back legs - remember Pippi Longstocking?)

As I marvelled at this lovely creature, who only 12 hours before, was still comfortable in her mother's womb, and was now standing, nursing and nuzzling us with her soft, velvelty nose. I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with our Lord and His creation! What a delight! I couldn't get enough of her - I spent the whole day at the barn just soaking up His love!
I pray dear sisters, that each day you recognize the delights the Lord gives you. They might be more subtle than the birth of a foal, but recognize the gifts. Thank and praise Him for delights! Ask Him to delight you! It could just be a butterfly fluttering around a flower, a sunrise or sunset, a rabbit bounding through the yard... delight in them and delight in Him. He is our ultimate delight and He delights in us.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

In Christ Alone... On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand!

I saw this on a blog I visited... this is one of my favorite songs and I wanted to share it with you! Travis Cottrell is one of my favorite Chistian artists. I was blessed in May of 2005 to attend Living Proof in Indianapolis. Travis is part of Beth Moore's worship team - thousands of believers sang this song along w/ Travis... as my fellow "siesta" stated "This says it all!"

Fair is the Sunshine

This morning as I was driving to the office, singing my praises to my Lord! I have a CD called Hymns & Voices - track 5 is Point of Grace singing Fairest Lord Jesus/Beautiful Savior. As I turned east into the sun this verse was streaming from my car speakers:

Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host.
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer,
Than all the angels heaven can boast.

Jesus shines brighter - that line hit me hard - the sun in the sky was blazing - so bright that I could hardly see - it was glorious - and I said out loud, very loud in fact, JESUS SHINES BRIGHTER! Wow - I cannot even fathom Jesus' glory - no matter how hard I try... His glory is brighter than the blazing sun. It took my breath away.

Fairest Lord Jesus, I thank you for taking my breath away. For delighting me with nature, the gift of the blazing sun that pales in comparison to you!

Beautiful Savior,
Lord of the nations,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor,Praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine!


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What's in a name?

Well... I am through my first week of study of the book of Daniel. There is so much packed into just a few verses that I could share... I would be typing for days. So, with that said - what is speaking to me today to share with you... Day 4 of Week 1 Was titled Renaming and Resisting.

The scripture treasure for that day was:

The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar, to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. ~ Daniel 1:7

The name Daniel means: "God is my judge" Hananiah means: "Yah has been gracious" Mishael means, "Who is what God is?" and Azariah means: "Yah has helped" Aren't the meanings of each of their names beautiful... connected to God.

My given name is Kristen Ann. I looked up my name on (I know, not very scholarly) The meaning of the name Kristen is Christian - The origin of the name Kristen is German. The meaning of the name Ann is Gracious, Merciful - The origin of the name Ann is Hebrew. I was delighted to see such a God connection with my name! Christian, Merciful, Gracious... I am a Christian and oh how I desire to be merciful and gracious like my LORD.

As we read in Daniel 1:7 - our 4 friends were given new Babylonian names... Belteshazzar (Bel will protect), Shadrach (inspired of Aku), Meshach (belonging to Aku) & Abednego (servant of Nego). We learned that assigning new names was a common practice in the ancient world.
The intention was to change the entire identity of the person until their life matched the title. The new name was meant to hail a new destiny. We were asked to meditate on the differences of their Hebrew names as opposed to their Babylonian names... I ask you to do the same. How did King Nebuchadnezzar intend to shape their desitinies by changing their names? How do you think they felt - being given a name that was connected to pagan gods of the ancient world. As I meditated...Looking at the names assigned to them and their meanings - I saw an intent to take the identity they had, change where they came from and distance them from God. Giving them new names with connection to pagan gods - the gods Nebuchadnezzar worshipped. He wanted those boys for himself. Separate them from their history, lose their identity and have it shaped by a pagan society rather than a Godly society.

(Please also note that when a name change is ordained by God that name changing can be a good thing - God Himself changed names of many of His chosen - Abram became Abraham, Saul became Paul.)

As I continued to meditate on how changing their names might make them feel I thought back to the time when my name changed. September 22, 1990 - when I went from Kristen Ann Dietel to Kristen Ann Schwark. I remembered sitting on an airplane the day after my wedding, gazing out the window wondering "who am I now? The name I had for 25 years was now different" For some odd reason I felt different. I couldn't explain how I felt, and in a way as I look back I do believe I mourned the "loss" of my birth name. I thought about that today and how differently I see it now. I had to chuckle at that young girl who mourned the loss of her maiden name. I am blessed that my name was changed on and alter, in front of God, friends and family.

My name change was in God's plan - and what I have learned as I know will be more and more evident as I continue my study of Daniel is what was contained in the last sentence of Day 4's study... "the world can call us what it wants, but it cannot change who we are." Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego's names might have been changed... but that didn't change who they were and what God called them to do. My last name might have changed, but it didn't change who I was... who God says I am! I am His!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Been some time...

Well it certainly has been some time since I last posted on my blog. Work has been keeping me busy as well as my cycling. I just haven't taken the time to sit down and type my thoughts.

I am so excited because Tonja and I are starting our study on the book of Daniel. I am so thrilled to delve back into this book because the first Bible study I participated in was on Daniel. That was back in the fall of 1994. So some 13 years later - I open the book again, not the first time since 1994, but the first time that I will study it from chapter 1 to 12. For 11 weeks - I will be stepping back in time to visit w/ Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael(Meshach), Azariah (Abednego), & King Nebuchadnezzar. What's so amazing about the study - is that we will be looking at Ancient Babylon and comparing it our modern day Babylon. I will be learning about living a life of integrity while also receiving Divine Words of prophecy! We are surrounded by a Babylon of our own and it represents much more than just an ancient city. Opulence, wealth, perfection, me, me, me, self-absorbtion.
I pray I will find time to blog my journey through Daniel... so I can share with you all the God is opening to me. I am excited to see how much more I will see in God's Divine Word in 2007 than I did in 1994! Gods' Word is new everyday! It was the study of the book of Daniel that first introduced me to Biblical study - that book, the Holy Spirit and a hunger in me has kept me digging ever since.

This week - in the introductory video - Beth stated: "God has assigned us to this world - but the enemy has assigned the world to us" Which influence will win out in your life?
In this modern day Babylon - my prayer for you is to seek first His Kingdom, to serve Him in this world He has assigned to you! You will never come up against an enemy that God will not defeat as long as you keep in mind that He is the One and Only - and there is NO other God besides Him!

Read along with me! Read Daniel 1 this week... pray over Daniel 1. Find a study on the Book of Daniel and come along for a wonderful journey!

Monday, August 6, 2007

God IS Good!

Yes, let me say that again - God IS Good!

I have to admit, that when I first decided to blog I was going to only have this space open to my close friends and family. But after much prayer and prompting by the Holy Spirit - I wanted to share my faith with many more than just my close friends. I have found several wonderful ladies of faith who also share my passion for our Lord and who are putting themselves out there in blog land. It's not coincidence that I have found these women, but a Divine design that I have met via the internet these great gals. I do choose to moderate what posts are made prior to posting and now know why it is a good thing.

I was excited to open my inbox this morning to find that someone out there posted anonymously on my blog - unfortunately after opening the email I had to reject the comment. At first I have to admit that a bit of anger began to burn inside. This individual stated that they had found my blog randomly and that "frankly people with such obvious blind faith scare me" what saddened me the most was that that this person stated (I will quote again here) "but your "lord" has done nothing but terrible things to me." But then after a few moments, my heart broke for this person. I don't know what has happened to this person in his/her life, but whatever it is/was - I know they are hurting. I want this person to know that God IS good. I immediately prayed for this individual. John 16:33 is one of my favorite verses in scripture - and it is one I have prayed over many times - I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!

I prayed this scripture for this person today. I prayed that the hurt this person has experienced in life would be removed, that he/she would accept and feel the loving arms of our Father wrap around them, that this person would ulitmately find peace - peace that can only come from Him. I pray that someday this individual knows the love that the Lord has for him/her and they knwo the measure of His healing.

Yes friend, if you read this God IS good, God loves you and will heal your broken heart. John 3:16 is a verse that is so familiar, we even see it posted at sporting events - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. I always think it's important to follow with verse 17 when you share the famliar John 3:16.
Verse 17: For God did not send his Son into the world to condem the world but, to save the world through him.

I cannot find anywhere in scripture where God said that life would be perfect, that it would be easy - because if that were true - I would have signed up immediately. What I can find all over scripture God loves us, He wants to heal us, lead us, save us. He provided His son as our atonement for our sins and the sins of the world - so that in Jesus we can have peace. I pray that this individual comes to know Jesus - an eyes wide open faith!

I ask each of you to pray for the lost, the hurting, the sick, the lonely. God IS good.

God starts with us where we are. But He doesn't leave us there - He moves us to a deeper level of faith.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Perfect Woman?

I am facilitating Beth Moore's study When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, in my home on Wednesday evenings. I tell you, I have the most wonderful group of woman joining me... I cannot tell you what a joy it is to share Jesus with them. Each one is so distinctly different, but we share the commonality of being sisters in the Lord - no matter where we are in our faith walk.

One of the gals wanted to share Proverbs 31 with us at the end of our study. Her husband came home from his Saturday morning men's Bible study with the scriptures readings they had studied for the day. One reading for the week was Proverbs 31. Her husband brought the printed sheet home and stated the men said this describes the perfect woman.

The Wife of Noble Character
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

The Wife of Noble Character is a beautiful portion of scripture. Today I have to tell you what I feel compelled to share is not a verse by verse breakdown, but a problem I had with the statement "this describes the perfect woman. I had an issue with someone stating this passage is describing the "perfect" woman. I see a difference in perfection and being noble. I was struggling with my thoughts because we live in a time where we are force fed what society views as "perfect" - I was bothered that the word perfect was used - because sisters, we struggle enough with our insecurities - how can we ever live up to what the definition of perfection is? With that said - this morning I pulled out my old Websters Collegiate Dictionary (yes, it's quite old) and looked up the words Perfect, Noble and Virtuous (as this passage is sometimes referred to The Virtuous Woman)

Perfect: Being entirely without fault or defect, flawless

Noble: Possessing outstanding qualities

Virtue: strength, a commendable quality or trait

Well, I know I am not perfect, nor do I know anyone who is with the exception of our Lord Jesus, nor do I think that our Lord is using Proverbs 31:10-31 to describe "perfection". I looked up the word perfect in my concordance - there were many, many scriptures listed where the words perfect/perfected etc were used.

Deuteronomy 32:4 says: He is the rock his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.
1 Sam 22:1 - As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.

These are just two -however, what I saw as I was reading through about 10 of the scripture verses listed is the common theme that God is perfect. His ways are perfect, Christ is the perfect, sin removing sacrifice. Beloved, we aren't the perfect ones. But, we can be noble, we can have virtue. If this passage of scripture was describing The perfect woman - God would have titled it The Wife of Perfection - not The Wife of Noble Character. Sisters - we can't be perfect - perfection will come at the Day of Completion, but we can strive to be noble, to be virtuous. We won't be without sin as our perfect savior Jesus - but we can live in His perfect grace and live out our lives of faith as His Servant of Noble Character!

Bless You and your day!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Is anything too hard for the LORD?

1 The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
3 He said, "If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant." "Very well," they answered, "do as you say."
6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. "Quick," he said, "get three seahs of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread."
7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
9 "Where is your wife Sarah?" they asked him. "There, in the tent," he said.
10 Then the LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son." Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, "After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?"
13 Then the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Will I really have a child, now that I am old?' 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son."

I was the Lay Reader at our 8:00 service this past Sunday and above is the scripture I was assigned to read. I had to laugh (like Sarah) when I received the schedule a few weeks earlier and I saw the scripture I was assigned to read. As some of you may know, my husband Jim and I have been unable to have children. For more years than I can remember my heart ached for a child. I would read the verses in 1 Samuel about Hannah and her prayer for a son. (1 Samuel 1: 11a, 20, 26b-27) Those verses are underlined and highlighted in my Bible, and there are tear stains on those pages as well. I would pray over those scriptures and hope.

Several friends asked me after service if it was difficult to read this portion of scripture. 5 years ago I would have had to say YES! I would have never been able to read these verses in private without crying, let alone stand at the pulpit and read them in front of my congregation. I would have only focused on the fact that the LORD was giving Sarah a child, but I did not have a child. As I look back now, I remember praying over those scriptures, but not totally believing that God would give me a child. I doubted Him. After many years of growing in my faith, I can now read this scripture and what stands out to me is verse 14: Is anything to hard for the Lord? I can say NO, nothing is too hard for my God. He healed my broken heart. Filled a place that I thought could only be filled by having a child of my own. He filled it with His awesome grace and also with many children (nieces, nephews, Godchildren, friend's children - as I shared in an earlier post) I now look back at the verses in 1 Samuel 1:26-27 ... I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. In His sovereignty, He has given me the gift to listen and see what His answers to prayer would be... I asked for a child and He gave me so many. Eventually I began asking to be healed - and He healed me! I am free from the bondage of sadness I felt in longing for a child. Would I have loved to experience a baby's first kick in my tummy, yes, raise a child up in the Lord, yes... but I would never want to miss the journey He took me on while He healed my heart. In Him I can stand in front of a congregation and read scripture that tells of His glory. I can type this story on a blog and share His glory. God is good sisters, there is nothing impossible or too difficult for our LORD! Turn it over to Him, let Him heal you and fill you up! He is the thrill of your life!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Woman of Strength

This is a favorite of mine and I wanted to share! Be strong in the Lord Siestas! God Bless!


A Strong woman isn’t afraid of anything… but a woman
of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear.

A Strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her… but a woman
of strength gives the best of herself to everyone.

A Strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the
future… but a woman of strength realizes life’s mistakes can also
be God’s blessings and capitalizes on them.

A Strong woman walks sure-footedly… but a woman of
strength knows God will catch her when she falls.

A Strong woman wears the look of confidence on her
face… but a woman of strength wears grace.

A Strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the
journey… but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the
journey that she will be come strong.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Swimsuits & Self Condemnation

Last Friday I decided it was time to buy a new swimsuit. So courageously I headed to the department store, found a parking spot far enough away from the store for a good walk (maybe that little walk would tone my legs a bit more), wandered past the Junior section (no longer a Jr.) and found the swimsuits - yes, all of them, even the Jr. sizes. After a brief period of browshing I gathered as many suits as I could. Suits that I thought were cute & just might fit me and look ok on this 42 year old body, and headed to the dreaded dressing room. Yes, the dressing room. That small little room, with the door that doesn't quite latch the way I would like - after all, I will be quite vulnerable trying on a swimsuit. I am setting myself up to really tear myself a apart. The horrible fluorescent lighting that doesn't hide any flaws, the 3 way mirrors - oh the agony! Of course I could not find one suit that made me look like a swimsuit model - I really thought the pink suit would transform me! HA! Depressed, I handed the sales girl the suits and walked directly for the exit door. As the days went on I was beating myself up thinking "why haven't I done more crunches, why aren't I riding more miles on my bike, why, why, why.... I started to think about how hard we are on ourselves as woman, how we just beat ourselves up over our diet, our bodies, our choices and decisions in life etc. There's nothing like trying on a swimsuit to conjure up feelings of self hatred and loathing. I recalled a post on Beth Moore's blog (obviously my favorite) and I wanted to include it on my blog for you gals out there who are just as hard on yourselves at times as I am.

The Self Condemnation of a Red Bird - Posted by Beth Moore - May 16, 2007 on the Living Proof Blog

" I just have a second but I can't get something off my mind so I decided to log on and throw it up here. I've told you before that I really dig birds. I keep lots of feeders and feel really co-dependent when I'm out of town and can't fill them up. As ridiculous as it sounds, they bring me untold joy. One of my birds, however, is having a serious issue. I think it's mental - and I can certainly relate - but it's manifesting itself in all manner of outward expressions. I've been home plenty lately so it's not my fault...I don't think. But it may be my responsibility. I'm too co-dependent to know for sure. Here's the scene: This lone female red bird keeps attacking the mirrors on both sides of my car. She wildly flaps her wings, chatters madly, and runs into one mirror repeatedly then flies to the other side of the car and gives it an equal piece of her mind. Like she's got anything left. She makes such a racket that I can hear her all the way in the kitchen and I just stand there in total astonishment, looking out the window onto the driveway. I, then, proceed outside and try to talk some sense into her. No matter how close I get, she never lets up. She just keeps attacking her own self. Only she doesn't realize it's her. She's got such a beef with the red bird in the mirror that she has nearly pecked her blessed little beak into a nub. Clearly, the whole ordeal has her stomach upset. I've had to hose down the car on both sides. I keep trying to tell her, "It's you! It's only you in the mirror! Let up, Girlfriend!" For lack of a better solution, we now have old kitchen towels draped over the mirrors which upsets me since some of my neighbors think we're crazy religious freaks as it is. Now they'll think we're vampires to boot. I think the problem could be hormones. Hers. Not mine. I'm not sure if birds have hormonal issues but I know that girls do and she is clearly a girl. (In case you aren't up on your basic ornithology, you can tell by the color.) It really doesn't matter what age she is. All it takes to have to have hormone problems is to be the right gender. She and I could start a support group. I feel sorry for her and I hate to see her go on this way. After all, I know how she feels. I've been pecking at myself a lot lately. I always have had the tendency to self-peck. I recall one time clearly but silently in my own mind saying to God, "You hate me." Absurd, I know. And after all He'd done for me. The chilling part was that I sensed an unexpected clear response come right back at me in my mind. "No, Beth. You hate yourself." Dang it. And it's sin. Self loathing is sin. It's just another form of self-absorption. Maybe you've got some anger issues like that bird and maybe the person you're maddest at it you. Maybe regret over a decision you made years ago or a path you took a long time ago is still eating you alive. Maybe you've nearly self-pecked your beak into a nub. Maybe, truth be told, you've been thinking that God hates you, despite all He's done, but today He's opening your eyes to the fact that it's you who hates yourself. And it's got to stop. Nothing about it honors God. Your God loves you with an everlasting love. A love that heals and restores and takes a disfigured soul one day at a time, treats it with Truth, and makes it whole. A love that breaks old patterns and paves new pathways and not just for you. For a lot of people who are walking behind you. But you have to let that love in. You have to believe God feels it for you just like He says He does. You've got to be convinced of it to the marrow of your bones. What more could He do to tell you? What more could He do to show you? Choose to accept it. Embrace it. Wallow yourself in it. "This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything." 1 John 3:19,20"

Dear sisters... I hope Beth's words speak to you as they did me. You are loved by God, even on the days when you try on swimsuits!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Summer Happiness

I had to share this photo of my nephew Isaac! It just speaks "summer happiness" to me!
God's Blessings to each of you as you celebrate our Nation's Independence. Whatever your 4th of July celebration entails - I do hope it's filled with fun and happiness!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Good Heart?

I am not sure how many of you have had to have an EKG, Echocardiogram, Stress Test, Chest X-ray but last week I had the "opportunity" (if that's what I should call it) to take these tests.

Many of you know that I am an avid cyclist, and when I ride, although I am not a "racer" the cycling is quite fast and intense. A couple of weeks ago I had some trouble w/ my breathing and I was having trouble through that weekend, even at rest getting a full, deep breath. OK, you don't mess w/ that stuff - so I called my doctor. He listened to my heart, my lungs - they sounded great. No wheezing and no irregularities in the heart beat. My blood pressure was 118/60. I do suffer from allergies, but my doctor wanted to rule any heart related issues out. Especially since heart problems in women differ in symptons than they do for a man. He ran an EKG, which he stated was, and I quote "perfect". But, since we have a history of mitro valve issues in our family he wanted to do some other testing. Well, the doc ordered me off the bike until the tests came back. He was a dear (he runs marathons) so he had his nurse schedule the tests so they could be done right away - he said if I would call - they would put me off for 3 or more weeks and he knew I wouldn't be off the bike that long.

I had a real peace about the tests. God was good and kept me calm and I was able to keep my anxiety in check. Satan knows that he can tweak that old anxiety weakness and I will start to worry. I had to get in his (Satan's) face and tell him he had NO power over me and I was believing God on this! I asked many of my friends to pray for good results. I kept saying - "pray for a good heart" and a friend of mine and co-worker said - you have a good heart . It really touched me, that this individual thinks I have such a good heart, and of course the ole' ego kicked an and I think I was getting a bit puffed up. Later that day, after the tests were run I began to really think about the heart of man - I reflected on the sinful nature of my own heart. (talk about "un-puffing" myself) The next day I was leading our Bible Study "When Godly People do ungodly Things" and after reviewing some of my notes from the prior week, a scripture from the prophet Jeremiah really spoke to me: "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9 Fortunately, all of my tests came back excellent - my heart, physically is in excellent condition. However, my heart, by nature is also sinful and I need a savior - my sinful heart needs a healer - I need the greatest Healer of all! Moving ahead the study followed w/ Jeremiah 17:14 - "Heal me, O LORD and I will healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.

God doesn't need an ultra-sound machine, or an x-ray machine to see my heart. He can gaze right into it and know my heart through and through. There are no hidden problems, sins, flaws from God - He sees them all and He can heal them all! I am humbled that this friend of mine said that I have "a good heart" That good heart he is seeing is Christ. I want Christ, and God's Word alive, well and active within me. I want Christ to shine - because it's not my heart that's good, but Christ living in my flawed heart that's GOOD!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Perserverance & Prayer

Many of you that know me, know that my home is nestled in trees... AND that I love watching the birds. My sisters tease me and say that when I am old and gray they will wheel me to a window and let me watch the birds - that's all I will need to be entertained.

Quite some time ago we had a robin that came back year after year to build her nest on a downspout outside our bedroom window. Every year some disaster would strike. One year the downspout collapsed in a heavy rainstorm, the nest and eggs falling to the ground. Another year a raccoon woke us up from our sleep as he climbed up the trellis to take the eggs for a midnight snack. The next year, the robin came back again - ever faithful and perservering. I had made up my mind to pray for this robin every day. It was during a time that I was struggling w/ my infertility and to me this robin symbolized my struggle. So morning after morning, I prayed for this robin, that her eggs would hatch and she would have the baby that she had toiled so long to have. One morning we heard the peeps, and it wasn't too long until 4 tiny naked little heads were peeking above the nest, mouths wide open to receive their daily meals. I still prayed every day for that bird. Now, I understand that robins broods are called clutches, and they can lay up to 4 eggs per clutch. Most often 1 or 2 survive. Well, this robin - all four of her eggs hatched and survived. We watched all 4 leave the nest one morning. The last one sitting on the edge for about and hour before he joined the rest of his siblings - a bit timid and perhaps not quite ready to fly the coop. It was a delight for God to allow me to watch these birds grow and leave the nest. But more importantly I discovered what earnest prayer can do. What I learned is the God will answer prayer. Did I expect all 4 babies to mature enough to leave the nest? No, I only asked that one baby make it and God gave me 4! WOW! Through prayer God gave me more than I ever expected. He revealed to me a few years later that I longed for a child - and as I prayed for one - He gave me many. Maybe not a child that grew in my body, but a niece, a nephew, a Godchild, a friend's child. Praise Jesus because the blessing is not only these children, but that I can see that God answers prayers in ways that I may never expect! I never thought I could be so fulfilled until I learned to really listen and hear what His answer would be. I have such a peace and delight in His answers! The answer might not be what I initially asked for, but His divine answer was all I needed and more!

Ask Him. Believe Him! Listen and Rejoice!

Sabbath Yourself!

Soccer, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, grocery shopping, work, doctor appointments, cooking dinner, cleaning house... I could go on and on. Seems like there is no rest for a woman, wife, mother.

I am a huge fan of "rest". Just ask my husband! However finding time to sabbath ourselves can be difficult in this day and age. I believe in order to sabbath ourselves - we have to discipline oursleves to find the time for rest and to stick to it! It's not selfish - it's something that God did and wants us to do as well!

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:2-3

I have to remind myself that no matter how busy I am, how tired I get, I didn't have to create the heavens and the earth. If God rested, then so can I. AND... so should I!

OK Kristen - easier said than done. Well, aren't most things easier said than done? They are for me! :) I have often heard that because I don't have children that it's easier for me to find time to rest. That may be true, but I do know that I still have to make a conscious effort to rest... and to not feel guilty when I do. That might be the most important key - no need to feel guilty if you need some "me" time. Find it... it might not be a full day, but find an hour, a half an hour, even 15 minutes of each day. Rest! I don't have an easy answer for you. You must find it for yourself by prayer and discipline. Ask Him and He will provide you the time to rest. Set the time aside. He wants you to! Make it a priority! You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength!

May your day be full of blessings!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


June is traditionally considered the prime month for weddings, however in our family we have many birthdays.
June 11th - my niece Sarah, my Grandmother and my Aunt Trish. June 20th - my sister Melissa and on June 10th we celebrated my Father in law's 90th birthday.

90 years! What a celebration it was (and is) We started celebrating on Friday evening at a Calvary Lutheran School Reunion. Jim's dad was the first teacher and principal of Calvary - so many of his former "pupils" as he calls them - showed up. It truly was a celebration and a witness of how many children (who are now adults) he touched through the years and the impact he made in each of their lives. As I watched and observed I thought of a saying that is on the coffee mug I drink out of at the office: "A Hundred Years from Now... it will not matter what my bank account was, or the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child"
He made a difference in so many children's lives. It's an example I hope to emmulate in my way with God's help.

Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Joy in our Sorrow

Sunday a friend went home to be with Jesus. When a loved one dies, the grief we feel can be overwhelming. One of Dorene's close friends is also a friend of mine. I had sent her an email to express my sympathy and to lend a shoulder... her response was so beautiful I wanted to share part of it with you....

for the first time in my life I am experiencing grief for a person I loved. Isn't it strange that Jesus wept for Lazarus and still knew he would be raised again. I always thought people for were being just selfish when they knew the other person died peacefully and were in heaven. Now I understand grief is not just that, it is more pure pain, the kind that you wake up with and go to sleep with. I know this will pass and if I had not loved her I would not be feeling the pain, so it is in love that I mourn. Dorene had told Pastor she wanted him to sing in church I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart when we were in our study of Phillipians this month. How so like God for it to be sang 2nd service on Sunday. Dorene must have been smiling when she heard it....The Holy Spirit will continue to assist in my grief by showing the wonder of Jesus.

Yes, we can have that Joy in our hearts, even in our times of sorrow. I can't help but smile thinking that not only was Dorene smiling when she heard our congregation singing "Joy, Joy, Joy" but that she was dancing! Praise Jesus!

In All Things Rejoice my Sisters!

God is Good!


Monday, June 4, 2007


Welcome to my first attempt at blogging! My vision for this page is to have a place where my sisters in Christ can come and share. Share news about their faith, their day, concerns, prayer requests - you name it! I thought we could even share a recipe or two! I do hope you decide to join me here! Pull up a chair and share! I want this blog to be a sanctuary of believers.

Please be aware that this is one among thousands of blogs that are hosted by blogspot. Blogspot hosts blogs from every aspect of life - I have no control over what you might find if you click next blog - so please don't hold me responsible! :)

Bless you my sisters!