Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cultivating Blessings

For the very first year I pulled on my boots and tilled our garden. Yes,  I did it, with my husband standing near, video taping me for proof of the task. I put on my pink John Deere gloves and went to work. I must tell you it wasn't easy at first, but after a while I got the hang of it and learned how to move with the tiller instead of me doing the brunt of the work. There were still times I had to have my husband's guidance. He had to teach me how to turn. I gotta tell ya, planting is hard work. For a girl who doesn't like to sweat, I was sweating.

But don't we do the same with life too? I know I do. I don't give God the reigns. I take them and try to lead, which leaves us feeling as though we have tilled for hours when we have only been at it for thirty minutes. When we try to control everything it leaves us feeling exhausted and empty. I have never walked away from a situation I was trying to control feeling full. Instead I was needing fuel because I lost sight of the distance. Ah, not me going the distance, but the distance between me and God. See, I have learned the further I move away from Him, the more worn out I get.

Another thing is, with me not liking to sweat, my walk with Christ can be a picture of the same. We don't like to get out of our comfort zone. We like to keep things cool and when the work gets long and hard, well, we expect someone else to take over. What if we didn't expect someone to take over, but to stand with us in the work, as my husband did? How much better would our walk be with Christian brothers and sisters standing in the fields with us?

It doesn't matter what is going on in our lives. God is in control and we either believe that or not. We cannot have peace without faith. Think about it. It's that faith that gives us peace to keep moving forward.

After awhile I was moving about that garden like an old pro. Okay, I am exaggerating there. I'm not so sure I looked as if I fit in a garden, but you know what? My heart was in it and I was willing to try. I  felt the effects of tilling the next day. Everything seemed sore and out of place. Until I realized to allow the tiller to do the brunt of the work,  I was using up everything I had for the task. I had nothing left over. Now, as we stand before Christ, that is exactly how we should stand. We should be able to stand before Him knowing we used up every single gift He has given us, but we must remember where to place our attention and where our motivation lies. Sometimes we need help. Sometimes all we need is encouragement. I had that from my husband.

By the time I was finished tilling I was exhausted. But there were still plants to get into the ground. There was still a hoe awaiting my hand. But I wasn't alone. My husband was there, teaching me along the way, showing me just how deep to go and how far the plants needed to be set apart. He was sweating right along with me. Doesn't that make the task at hand better? Just to know your not alone motivates us to keep pushing forward.

How many times do I ignore God's direction in my life? Oh mercy. Too many times to count. I get ahead of myself and think I know just what to do without consulting Him. Have you ever found yourself needing a specialist? I have seen so many doctors over my lifetime you get used to those consultations. When your searching for someone to operate on you, well, you ask questions. You seek to find the best of the best. You don't just jump in and let anyone get hold of you. Right? So, why do we not consult the Lord before each and every task? Does it take up too much time? Because you know, our to-do lists are long and we like to check things off, in hopes of moving on to the next. But just what if God wants us to slow down? Get a second opinion? Wait for the right moment before we proceed?

My husband is such a wise man about many things. He amazes me with the knowledge he has. He doesn't just go grab any plants. He gets the plants that he knows will be great multipliers. He has been taught by his father and mother how to garden and he is slowly teaching me. I must tell you, I enjoyed having my hands in the dirt. Watching these plants take shape and grow daily makes me smile. Seeing my husband out there each morning doing the watering fills my soul with joy.

Just as these little seeds and plants were placed in the soil with care, God places us in the perfect situation, so that we can grow. He is the Ultimate Miracle Grow! Is that not the coolest thing ever? We have a God who knows exactly what we need to grow in our environment. He knows the weeds that need to be pulled out and just how much Son shine it is going to take to help us grow to new heights. If we are not doing too good He may just uproot us all together and place us in new surroundings.

Over the weekend my husband had me look outside at the Mimosa Tree he planted for me last year. I waited and waited to get a Mimosa Tree. It is my favorite of all favs. I looked outside and there upon the tree were breathtaking blossoms. I had to rush outdoors and place my nose right up to the blossoms. The aroma soared through my senses, leaving me with a smile of all smiles.

Just think of the smile upon our Savior's face when we wait upon Him. Just think how He feels when we go to Him for guidance and seek His teachings. When we have His favor upon us there is no amount of rain that can cloud the day. After all, shouldn't we be trusting God in the rain as well?

"I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What's important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God's workers. And you are God's field. You are God's building."
1 Corinthians 3:6-9

Fruit of My Spirit by Deanna Nowadnick

I received a copy of, "Fruit of My Spirit", from Deanna. This is a little gem that makes a big impact. Deanne takes the Fruit of the Spirit and shares how God has moved in her life. She brings us to clearly see how the Fruit of the Spirit is alive and well in our lives when we are present with the Lord.

Each chapter takes, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and brings them to life through Deanna's own eyes. She shares touching stories that will give you a glimpse of just what God can do when we surrender all to Him. Through one seed a garden can blossom.

She pens beautifully how God has moved in her life and blossomed fruit in those unexpected places. I enjoyed reading the stories of her life and seeing God move in places bringing about blessings and filling her life with plenty.

To find out more about Deanne, and her first book, please visit her site. Fruit of My Spirit

Wildflowers From Winter by Katie Ganshert

Okay, it's summer. Your searching the aisles of the book store for that perfect book that will lead the escape route to another place and time. A book set apart from others that will captivate you until you close the last page. This is it!

Wildflowers From Winter was that all night read for me. I couldn't put it down. I could relate to the character, Bethany Quinn, on so many levels. I found myself in tears throughout this wondrous read. It took me to my past and the death of my father. It took me to places I have tried to hide away from and brought out memories of great blessings. This book left me full. My heart was overjoyed by the last page. This is award winning! I love when a book can reach the depths of my soul and bring about change and challenge.  

This book is beautifully written. The words just seem to flow and for me they flowed straight to my heart. Bethany is the girl who left the country and the pain of her past for the big city and the even bigger career, but she finds that even though she has left the country, the country has not left her. It is part of who she is. We get to watch as Bethany grows. Everything she thought she wanted was just an escape route to try to find a happiness. Once she totally lets go of the past she finds more than happiness could bring. She finds pure joy. She blooms not where she thought she would, but where God wanted her all along. Our journey takes us places we never expect and it's in those places we find the greatest blessings of all.

I cannot say enough about this book. It is at the top of my favorites list and Katie is there for sure as a writer. I can't wait to read more from this gifted author.

This book was a gift from WaterBrook Press for it's review.

Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the Midwest, where she writes stories about finding faith and falling in love. When she’s not busy plotting her next novel, she enjoys watching romantic movies with her husband, playing make-believe with her wild-child of a son, and chatting with her girlfriends over bagels and coffee. She could talk books all day and is often spotted around town pushing a stroller, walking a dog, and reading—all at the same time. Visit her website:

Monday, May 21, 2012

"Women in High Def" (Boldy Living Your Purposes with Vibrant Clarity), by Diane Markins

Need some clarity? Maybe some inspiration and encouragement along the way of our crazy lives? We are forever busy, but what are we really busy with? Is God taking more space in our lives than anything else? Is He our priority?

Sometimes I need to take a break and pick up a book. My friend, Diane Markins, has written this newest gem of my collection of treasures, and has inspired me through story after story. Being a High Def Woman is surrendering all to God and standing in His promises and being witness to His glory. It's realizing we are imperfect and in need of a perfect Savior.

I love everything about Diane's new book. I love the foreword written by Kathi Macias. I love the dedication. The introduction is a huge blessing. Diane has placed a Bible study in the back and lists all those who have contributed this beautifully designed gem.

What happens when you give women room? Their gifts flourish and their passions ignite to show the glory of God. That's what happens in, "Women in High Def". Each page is filled with story after story of real women and stories that burn in your heart. Leaving you filled with inspiration and full of encouragement, but wanting more of God. After all, it's He who completes us and makes us, "Women in High Def".

Diane shows us how we can live with clarity and find God's purpose for our life among all the craziness life holds. Something I really loved about the book happens at the end of each story. There is a "My heart prayer" and  a "My friend prayer". That is one thing we can learn from Diane. A High Def Woman sees past herself and lifts up her fellow sisters in Christ. As women we seek affirmation and we can find that within these powerful words brought together by women wanting more. Ready to leave behind the norm and reach for excellence in a new way. You will be empowered by these words penned and find stories that you will think were written just for you.

You could read straight through this book or pick a topic that your heart is in need of today. If you are looking to sharpen yourself against the Word of God this would be a great tool for your journey. In our pursuits to walk as Christ we need to lift one another up and encourage each other with words that lift the heart. That is exactly what Diane has done.

This book was a gift from Diane Markins for it's review. It was an honor to read this book filled with pearls of wisdom.

You can find more about Diane and her work at her website, Words in High Def.

Check out the book and find it on Amazon today. Find Women in High Def on Facebook.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Jumble of Thoughts Today

How are all of you? I have been away for a few days and I gotta tell ya, my mind has been churning and my heart has been full. One of my favorite places to be is right here in front of the keyboard writing. It's a time I get to spend with the Lord and feel a new peace wash over me.

I have been spending time with my grand daughter and since hubs has been laid off, he has been quite busy here at home being Mr. Fix it. I must share with you, being with my grand daughter and just watching my hubs gives me inspiration. Sometimes we just need to take the time to sit back and soak it all in before it disappears into a memory.

Time is so precious, isn't it? I realized how much time I simply waste on things that don't really matter. I think those days are over for me. At least for now, until I fall back into that pit. But the Lord will be there to draw me out once again. We allow such crazy things to take our time and capture it and then we sit back and think, "Gosh, I have no time for anything".

Change is always present in our lives. We choose at times to try to ignore it, but how long can we ignore change? Instead, why not embrace it? Take hold of it and say, "Okay Lord, I see change happening. What's Your plan here?" I am realizing more and more that I am not only in need of grace, but I need to give grace. I need less of this world and more of Him. How does that happen? I learn to let go of those things that don't have a lasting impact and grab hold of those that do.

Being a Christian, we are in the business of people. That's right. We are in the business of being lanterns of God's Word. He transforms us and we transport His love to those around us. It doesn't matter if we like or agree with those around us, but in God's Word, we are to love and serve. Not for ourselves, but for Him. I think we get lost in our own agenda at times. I know I do and I know I'm not alone.

Yesterday, I was blessed to spend the day with my Sunday School teacher, Ms. Joy. It is a day I will hold dear to my heart forever. It was one of those days I needed and she too. It was tender and fun. I walked away from our day changed. I came home with plants and trees to transplant. So hubs was needed for this. We spent the evening up until dark planting and then again this morning.

That made me realize the transporting and the transplanting that takes place on a daily basis of our lives. It's all up to us what we allow to come in and what we open up and give to others. It made me take a good and hard look at my walk with Christ.

He is doing so much in my heart right now. It is as though the blinders are being taken off and a whole new world is being revealed to me. It's not my job to understand everything in life. I don't even have to like everyone. I sure don't have to agree with everyone. But each and every person I come in contact with should first and foremost see Christ Jesus and His pure love shine through me.

This is a jumble of just a few things going on in my heart this morning. As I shared, I have been spending time with my grand daughter and it is amazing the lessons we can learn from little, bright eyed children, ready and eager to love and explore.

I am on overload in my reading and reviews. A friend asked how much I spend at the computer. She was blown away when I shared, "Some days, eight to ten hours". Writing takes time, but even more so, it's a journey. We can think we are writing for others, but in reality, we are writing for ourselves. I can sit back at times and clearly see God speaking straight to my heart.

Life at times is so confusing. We have issues in front of us and we try to figure out where we stand and what side should we be on. Just what happens when we don't agree with the majority? We risk and we step out past the boundaries and we live without limits! Yes, we live in  such a way that we should be courageous. We should be pioneers, ready to stand and back up what we believe, being fearless.

We don't have to hold our breath and wish upon stars. We need to let go of the worldly ideas and stand in God's Word. The more of Him we seek, the more of Him that will shine. Many times when we don't wait upon the Lord, and seek His will, we step out and everything falls apart. We think, "Didn't I do it right?" Our mistake? We didn't allow the Lord the room He needed.

So what do we do when we are tired and we fumble the ball? We allow God's grace to fall upon us. We allow it to wash us and soak up every ounce of all of Him. Isn't that the whole point? He should be our focus. When He is our focus that changes everything. When we lose sight of Him we lose sight of what life is all about it.

It isn't my job to fix the world and those things around me I do not understand. It isn't even for me to take my day and do as I wish. I should seek the Lord for His guidance in ALL I do, giving Him the room He needs to move me in the direction He seeks for my life. My job is to fix my eyes upon Him and love Him. In my growth I am learning when to step and when to stand still. I am learning to have peace in all things. It sure isn't easy when chaos is surrounding you, but isn't that the key, to find the Lord's peace even in the loudest of places?

Friend, wherever you are today, enjoy the moment. Seek the Lord and wait for His lead. Let the craziness go and take hold of His everything. Everything He has is for us to learn and grow and enjoy. Life is a choice and when it comes down to it, it's what we make of it and just think how much sweeter it could be with Jesus being the focus.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"After All" by Deborah Raney

Hanover Falls has been one of the greatest places I have visited. With each installment in this series we learn something new and the people within these pages seem like family. I love how Deborah Raney brings these characters to life. I love the title. It says so very much about what God has done and is doing in this town and the people. After all that has happened, God still shows Himself. He can take ash and bring beauty.

The Grove Street fires has changed lives forever. The rebuilding of one homeless shelter has the potential to bring healing to a town and it's people devastated by fire.

Secrets come out and fears are faced. We see these characters grow in forgiveness. We see God's grace wash over them. Healing doesn't come quickly, it's a journey for these characters and I love that. We can see how one person's actions touch every life around them and how we should be responsible for those actions. We too often blame others or allow that blame to fall on others when we in fact know the cause.

I love the character of Susan Marlowe. She encourages others and serves even when her own heart is being torn about by trial and circumstance. I love the strengths of her character. Hanover Falls is one of those places you don't forget. This is a series that can not only bring you the joy of turning pages, but can bring awareness to your own heart. Now, that makes for one special kind of read!

This book was a gift from Howard Books for it's review.

Deborah Raney's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, was awarded a Silver Angel from Excellence in Media and inspired the acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Since then her books have won the RITA Award, the HOLT Medallion, and the National Readers' Choice Award; Raney was also a finalist for the Christy Award. She and her husband, artist Ken Raney, make their home in their native Kansas.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Roll Out The Welcome Mat

Lydia was the queen of hospitality. I'm not even sure it was something she had to work at. I think it was her gift. She just had that way of making people feel comfortable. Do you know people that have that make you feel warm and welcome? I do. My best has more hospitality flowing through her than most people I know. She is the Martha Stewart of making you feel warm and welcome. She might even top Martha in all the other departments too.

Lydia was the girl who loved celebrations. Yep, she was that girl we read about that loved using purple cloth to make clothing. She was a woman of many gifts. On the list of Proverbs 31 women, she would have led the pack. The example for all women to follow.

Her life changed in a moment. Don't you love how God works? He just sets up the perfect time and place for the meeting that is about to change everything for us. All we have to do is show up. That's what happened to Lydia when Paul and Silas came to town. Here they were preaching and teaching and there was Lydia listening with intention. She accepted Christ as her Savior and do you know what she did next? She invited Paul and Silas to her home and they had a celebration and invited all the neighbors. Now that's how to do it up right.

Paul and Silas end up staying in her home up until the day they are imprisoned. While in prison, Paul writes a letter to the church of Philippi. I think these words could have been penned just for Lydia.

 "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of all of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:3-6

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. But made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness."
Philippians 2:4-7

What I love about this story is that Lydia is an ordinary woman being used in extraordinary ways by God. She accepted Him and became a willing vessel for Him. We can read about Lydia in Acts 16:9-40. Here she meets Paul and Silas, life changes and she begins a study with her neighbors. Not unlike what we do. They gathered, just a few of them, and then that few grew to be a bit more and then a lot more, until the church of Philippi was born. I think that's a pretty huge view of what God can do with just one willing heart.

Lydia was the head of her home. It never says what happened in her past. Maybe she was married, maybe her family was all gone now. But no matter what had happened, Lydia took the initiative and began working. That says a lot about her personality and her character.

She made herself available to others. She opened her home and heart. Attitude is everything! Lydia seemed to be filled with joy. She was that girl that lit up the room. The life of the party. That girl who could bring you out of the corner and make you feel welcome. She was a great designer of her time. We would call her the leader of the runway today. But she just didn't lay out that runway carpet, she placed the welcome mat in front of her door and heart and said, "Come on in and make yourself comfortable".

Like my friend, Shirley, Lydia, made everyone feel welcome and warm in her home. I admire her already. Anyone who can sew has my vote, but her gifts didn't stop there. She allowed the Lord to shine through the gifts He bestowed upon her and in turn others saw the pure love of Christ, flow through her. I can just hear her tender voice.

I'm not always that hospitable person. There are times I would just like to shut my door and leave the world where it is. Outside. After all, we are busy and have so much to do. What about kicking our feet up and taking care of number one? We can all have those attitudes, can't we? It's easy after a hard day of work or a aggravating circumstance. But we must learn to move beyond ourselves. Think of all we are missing if we leave out everyone else?

Think of that friend who comes knocking who is having one of those days where she just needs a friend to listen. What if she had the door slammed in her face or was told, "I'm really busy, whatcha need?" Okay, when we tell our friends and family we are busy, they kind of take that as an unwelcome slap.

Wouldn't it be better to look beyond ourselves? The blessings wouldn't just be for that friend at the door, but us, the one opening the door. Jesus has a way of blessing those who look beyond themselves and allow room for others. Ah, we wouldn't want to miss out on anything our Savior has for us would we?

I see Lydia as one of those older women in church. You know them. They don't just come to the pot luck dinner with chips and salsa. Guilty! They come with food to feed an army. They stay after and do dishes. They even come to you and make you feel good about the chips and salsa you brought!

In the end, isn't really all about sharing the love of Christ? Giving to others what Christ gives to us daily? When you walk into someones home, would you rather see prunes on the kitchen table or a plate of homemade cookies? Okay, those prunes may come in handy, but those cookies go good with a cold glass of milk and some great conversation from a friend willing to take the time to listen.

"MOMumental" Winner is..

Mystic Mom, you are now the owner of a copy of, "MOMumental" by Jennifer Grant! Yay, for you! Everyone loves winning a book. That makes for a great day!  I hope you enjoy this book and share with me your thoughts.

Please shoot me an email, leaving me your snail mail and I will get this out to you.

Blessings and Happy Reading!

This book was given as a gift for a give a way by Worthy Publishing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Disguised for Battle

Have you ever heard of Francis Clayton? Probably not, unless your a huge Civil War history buff. I hadn't heard of her until my visit to the History Museum with my husband a few days ago.

Francis Clayton was a woman who disguised herself as a man so she could fight next to her husband during the Civil War. This woman who once wore a gown and coiffed hair, now wore short hair and a uniform. She carried a gun and fought with intention.

She didn't sit on the sidelines. She didn't even stay home and wait on her husband. She followed him right into battle after battle, until she was wounded in Tennessee in 1863. Now there is a woman standing by her man.

I wanted to stand and cheer for this fearless woman. I wanted to say, "You go, girl!"

Her story was powerful for me. I asked myself, "How do I disguise myself?" Am I disguised in God's clothing? Have I allowed change in myself to totally reflect Him? Do others see more of me or do they see more of Him? When I walk out on that battlefield, does the enemy know what side I'm standing on?

So many questions  came to mind and heart as I was captivated by this woman's life. She didn't choose the easy way. She didn't choose the battle, but she did choose to stand in battle. She fought fearless and proud. Am I fearless in my battle? Am I ready to stand for whatever may come?

I want to live fearless! I want to live with intention and commitment. I want to be disguised in God's Word for all to see. I want them to see less of me and more of Him. When God is for us, who can then stand against us? With Him no battle is fought for self. It is fought for a higher cause and a gain for our God and Savior.

God doesn't send us into battle ill-equipped. He gives us His Word and endows us to march on with honor and integrity. He sets before us His plan and sends us where we are to go. We are to make a difference. We are to stand even when the going gets tough. That's where real faith comes in. With that faith we find peace even in the biggest battle and we trust the One who sent us forward, equipping us with all we need to share the gospel.

Stike up the band, my friends, and lets stand in faith as we face each battle, disguised in God's armor!

"Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm."
Ephesians 6:13

"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love."
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Victory or Death

We have all heard of Patrick Henry and his famous words, "Give me liberty or give me death". But have you heard of Private Patrick Ahearn? Until yesterday, I had never heard of this young man.

He fought during the Civil War and he was captured in Tennessee in 1864. He lived a life of integrity and honor. A young man not afraid of what was to come, but stood in strength. His life shouted, "Victory!"

While visiting the History Museum with my husband yesterday we walked through the Civil War exhibit. I stood in front of a portrait of this young man, a flag, and his story. What caught my eye? His words and his actions.

As this young man went into battle he would carry the flag under his uniform, for it's protection. As he went into every battle, he shouted the words, "Victory or Death".

I gotta tell you, hot tears rolled as I thought of this brave young man. As I stood, looking at the flag before me, my reflection caught my eye. It was almost as if a question was being tossed back at me. "Is this your motto? Are these the words of your life?"

See, in the Christian's life, we already know, Jesus Christ has the victory. It has already been won and nothing can take it away. But, do we walk in that victory? I can't say that I do every day. I think some days I grab my white flag and toss it about crazily, ready to surrender.

Trials are going to come. Battles are going to rage around us. We can't escape each and every one. There is going to come a time where we must stand. What is our choice going to be? Will we stand in victory or defeat? Will we carry that flag close to our heart or will we raise that white flag a little too eagerly?

There are times I think of what my last words will be. I too think of what my last actions. Will they make an impact? Will they be lasting? I must tell you, this young man inspired me. Little did he know, that he words would impact me in such a way, hundreds of years later. That's the kind of life I want to live. How about you? Not that I want others to see me, but I want others to see Christ through my life as I lived each day.

I want to live in such a way that my life shouts, "Victory or Death!" Whether the enemy is at my door step or right behind my step, I must live realizing, the victory is already won! There is nothing the enemy can do to me. See, this is not my home. Nor is it your home. Jesus knows the enemy. He has stood face to face with him and the enemy has nothing on our Jesus! Isn't that something to shout about?

When I go into battle, am I carrying the Word of God with me? The Sword and the Spirit? Do I have it close to my heart? Am I focused on what He has already done or am I allowing my fears to hold my next actions?

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Galatians 2:20

"But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless."
1 Corinthians 15:56-57

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life."
2 Corinthians 2:14-16

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ready for a Challenge?

Today I am making a new challenge. I want to make an intentional change in my daily walk with Christ. I want to move out of my comfort zone. I want to make a difference in the lives of others. For the next 365 days I am challenging myself to do something nice for someone, friend or stranger.

We serve a God who places opportunities in front of us so He can shine. If I never move outside of my comfort zone and leave my fears behind I am never going to see those opportunities.

I am going to keep a journal for this journey of giving. I am sure there are days where my flesh will struggle, but isn't that what the walk with Christ is all about? It's a journey of moving outside of ourselves and moving closer to Him. It's not only a daily walk, but moment by moment, journey seeking all Christ has for us.

I mean,  it could be taking time to call  a friend to give encouragment to putting groceries in the car for another. The possibilities are endless. Just think what we can do with five extra minutes? Just think if everyone moved beyond themselves each day and gave five minutes of their time? All God needs is a minute of our time to bring change. All we have to have is a willing heart. The rest is boundless possibilities for God. There are no limits when we humble ourselves and give God the room He needs.

I think after we see His blessings begin to flow our time will move way past five minutes. Can we really put a time limit on God? All He needs is a willing vessel to move through. All we have to do is make ourselves availible.

As we move to help and serve others God gains glory. His love flows and reaches beyond our heart to touch the heart of another. When love starts flowing, joy begins to  bubble up, from the fountain of grace. You can't help but want to pass it on to another.

Will you take this challenge with me? I sure hope so. Just think what God can do and who doesn't need a blessing? I don't wanna focus on my mess. I want to reach beyond what my eyes can see. So friends lets shout to God and listen for his sweet whisper of guidance.

Lets begin the prayer, "God, I'm saying right now, today, You do the leading, and I will follow. Show me where to go and who to meet. Set my feet in motion for change and renew my faith in ways I can't even imagine. Lord, I want to be part of Your mission."

"Since you excel in so many ways-in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiansm, and your love from us-I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that by His poverty He could make you rich."
2 Corinthians 8:7-9

Friday, May 4, 2012

Calling For More Rain?

Ever feel like your having a perfect day, no clouds in the sky, and all of a sudden out of no where, the clouds roll in and the rains begin to pour? Even as I write this morning, the clouds are beginning to roll in. It's one of those mornings where you can smell the rains heading in.

But doesn't that make it better when we have notice of the coming rain? With that notice we have time to shut the windows and grab that umbrella as we head out the door. We might even decide to stay in for the day. But what happens when there is no warning of impending rain? When you live in Missouri, the weather can change at the drop of a hat, so you learn to be prepared for whatever may come.

Yesterday on my fb status I wrote, "I don't really understand those who say we shouldn't pray for patience. Today I am praying for patience." Not long after that status update I received a call from my husband who was on his way back from Pennsylvania. It wasn't exactly the call you expect on your way home for the weekend. He was being told that the post office, due to cutbacks, has cancelled their contract. So, as of this morning my husband is on the search once again.

We have been here before, so we should be pros at this by now, but somehow you never get used to being unemployed. The devastating obstacle here is that we didn't see this one coming. The sun was shining and no rain was in sight. We were even looking to purchase a new home and a new car. Praise God for His impropting for us to wait. We had been so close, but something just said, "No, not now. Hold on."

Last night after speaking to my husband I decided to take a walk in our fields and wooded area. My husband had just plowed last week so it was an easy walk to enjoy. I just took my time and enjoyed the sounds of geese flying in and caught sight of breathtaking butterflies taking a moment to rest on branches. Whimsy clouds were moving in overhead and the trees were gently giving way. I stood in awe of God's glory. I felt a peace wash over me just as I have a thousand times and in that moment I knew everything was going to be okay.

See, sometimes it's great to put the umbrella away and learn to dance in the rain. For what we see as unsettling, God wants to provide us with peace. He wants us to take hold of the moment and trust Him. Those very rain drops we try to keep from hitting us in the face are the very raindrops that make the flowers blossom. Without the rains they would dry up and lose their beauty.

God doesn't want us to see only our circumstances. He wants us to see beyond them and see Him. His plans. His goals. His blessings. What we sometimes see as comfort can bring us to a staleness. Sometimes the only way out of that staleness is to remove us from the comfort zone. When all seems perfect in our lives we can stop looking for God's greatness. We can be so comfortable that we no longer look for signs of opportunity.

Just like preparing for our Missouri weather, we too can be prepared for what is to come by finding ourselves in God's Word and saturating our heart with it, so that when trial does come, we can recall God's Word and find peace, comfort and strength to set us above the flood waters roaring in.

We have story after story in God's Word where His people overcame obstacles. It wasn't easy. It wasn't fun. But they did so relying on God's strength and His promises. This is what I am choosing to do today. I am making the choice to see past the rain and know there is a rainbow ahead.

I'm learning that not only is everything a choice, but my attitude is even more important. I could choose to roll up in a ball and cover my head, or I can make the choice to stand in God's promises, knowing He has a plan of action and my feet just simply need to follow Him.

In the last lay off, it lasted three years. Three long years, but in that time, my marriage grew. Old hurts were healed and I grew closer to Christ. My passions were renewed and I learned to see life in a new perspective. In our trials we have the opportunity to allow God to shine. After all, He is the God who turns trial into triumph.

Friend, whatever you are going through today, God sees and He knows. We can take comfort in that and we can trust He isn't anywhere finished with us yet. He is putting plans in place and changing lives. He is always on the move, doing the work that only God can do. Trust Him today. Seek Him today and you will find treasures that cannot be uncovered any other way.

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into various problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love."
Romans 5:3-5

"Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

"MOMumental" by Jennifer Grant

Jennifer Grant shares her perspective and her stories on motherhood and raising a family. Let me share with you a few sentences.

These days, instead of focusing on creating a conflict-free home, raising picture-perfect kids, and being an ideal mother-comprised of equal parts of June Cleaver, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Angelina Jolie- I have embraced a more realistic view of what I can and cannot do as a parent. this reality-based, "Velveteen parenting", includes, but is not limited to, the following general guidelines:"

After reading this statement and adding Angelina Jolie into the women as ideal mothers, she totally lost me. I was a bit let down as I read this book. I was expecting more and was left feeling a little empty as I closed the last page.

What did I take away from these pages? It's okay that we are not perfect parents. No matter how much we try it just simply isn't going to happen. God's grace washes over us and the more we can draw near to Him the better people we truly are. The most important lesson is not to compare yourself to another. We take the good, the bad and the ugly and reach for God's grace.

Jennifer Grant shares humorous stories about her family and does give some good advice throughout the book, but for the most part, it just wasn't for me. You may pick up this book and just love it and soak in the words and gain great insight. Remember, this is just my thoughts about the book.

This book was a gift from Worthy Publishers for it's review.

I am having a GIVE A WAY. To enter just follow this link:

Jennifer Grant is mother to four children and author of Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter (2011). For more than a decade she wrote for papers in the Sun-Times newsgroup. Currently she freelances for the Chicago Tribune and is a regular contributor to her.meneutics, Christianity Today magazine's blog for women. Grant is a Wheaton College graduate who received her master's in English and Creative Writing from Southern Methodist University. She lives outside of Chicago, IL.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"MOMumental" by Jennifer Grant (GIVE-A-WAY)

Hey friends, I am having a give a way once again. This time Worthy Publishers was nice enough to send along an extra copy of, "MOMumental" by Jennifer Grant, just for you to enjoy.

I am preparing for my review now, but so far, I am enjoying this book. If you are a mom, a parent or a grandparent, this book was written just for you. It would make a great gift for Mother's Day. If your thinking of having children anytime soon, this would be a great book to grab up for encouragement and laughter.

"Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family". Now, how could that title not be interesting? A cover with cheerios and milk splashed across the front. Who hasn't had that experience? I must say this would have been a great read to curl up to when my children were all still at home at those tender ages of going back and forth with, "Yes, No, Yes, No", and wondering if I would have hair the next day. Parenting is the hardest job in the world, but the most rewarding. We all need encouragement and inspiration. That's just what this book does.

Jennifer Grant is mother to four children and author of Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter (2011). For more than a decade she wrote for papers in the Sun-Times newsgroup. Currently she freelances for the Chicago Tribune and is a regular contributor to her.meneutics, Christianity Today magazine's blog for women. Grant is a Wheaton College graduate who received her master's in English and Creative Writing from Southern Methodist University. She lives outside of Chicago, IL.

I'm leaving you with the book trailer so you can grab a sneak peek. All you must do is leave a comment below this post and please leave your email so I can reach you if you are the winner. You could do so like this: robinprater(at)gmail(dot)com to keep away all that spam.

Winner will be announced Friday, May 11

Blessings and happy reading! This is one you will enjoy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"A Heart Like His" (An Intimate Reflection on the Life of David) by Beth Moore

What a great study! Beth literally takes us through David's life in the new and revised, "A Heart Like His". We enter the books of Bible beginning with 1 Samuel and we go through ending in  1 Chronicles. Beth is one of my favorites. I love her natural style of teaching. She truly brings everything into perspective. With Beth's sweet spirit, coming through her penned words, it's easy to learn and grow.

There are review questions gathered at the end of the study. Each chapter, all 52 of them, begin with God's Word. I would suggest reading the full scripture to prepare for the lesson's reading. You too can also grab the workbook which I think would add tremendously to this study.

If you are searching for a great study and want to dive into the life of David, this would be one of my first choices. You cannot go wrong with Beth Moore. I have been blessed to do many of her studies and each time I walk away richly blessed.

This book was a gift from for it's review.

Beth Moore is a writer and teacher of best-selling books and Bible studies whose public speaking engagements carry her all over the United States. A dedicated wife and mother of two adult daughters, Moore lives in Houston, Texas, where she is president and founder of Living Proof Ministries. Her books include Praying God's Word, Believing God, Breaking Free, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, A Heart Like His, The Beloved Disciple, among others.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Love Does" by Bob Goff

I picked up, "Love Does" and read the words, "Discover A Secretly Incredible Life In An Ordinary World", and was blown away. This book holds great stories about the life of Bob Goff and those people surrounding him. Some of the stories made me laugh out loud, others tugged on my heart.

He shares a story of a young man who wanted to ask his girl to be his bride on the back deck of Bob's home. The story didn't end at the one request. Unlike most people, Bob was happily overjoyed to not only help this young man, but partake in the feast of love about to happen.

This is Christ wanting to court us. This is Christ at His best, showing His great and mighty love for us. We have the greatest love story ever written. A story about a Savior willing to give all for those He loves.

Bob shows us we can be extraordinary in our daily lives. Through his life we see pure joy and nothing less. I absolutely loved this book. I love the cover of the balloons floating upward.

"I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at the things that don't matter."

Wow!! This one statement took hold of my heart and shook me into realizing this is what I do. Bob's words and stories will set you on the edge of your seat and give you the desire for more. To let go of those things that don't really matter and take each breath we have and make it count. One life can bring life to another just by being love.

"I used to think I had to be somebody important to accomplish things, but now I know Jesus uses ordinary people more."

"I used to think you had to be special for God to use you, but now I know you simply need to say yes."

These are powerful statements for me. Words I needed to hear. Words I know, but needed to be reminded and I love how Bob does this. He simply shares.

When we really share God's love, it's letting go of our fears and simply letting God live through us.

If you want a challenge to change your life forever I would suggest this book. 

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for it's review.  


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