Friday, September 28, 2012

Things I Just Don't Understand

Today I'm linking up with Lisa Jo Baker (aka Gypsy Mama) and lots of other folks from around the world for Five Minute Friday.  The rules are simple - set the clock for five minutes and write.  No editing, no backtracking.  Here goes nothing...


There are some things that my mind cannot possibly comprehend.  They are too big, too complex, too crazy for me to understand.





The fact that God forgave and continues to forgive my transgressions is far too much for me to understand.

His grace that never ends and His mercy that is new every morning?  Beyond my comprehension.

My Father's unconditional love is unfathomable.

Scripture tells us that there is nothing that will ever separate us from His love.

I can't even begin to grasp that.

Can you?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You Are Beautiful

The Scenic Route
Today I am linking up with Eileen Knowles. Every Tuesday Eileen goes into the beautiful, and today I'm following her.  Feel free to join us!

Life is ____________.

In this moment, life has its ups and downs.  One minute things are going well, no complaints, and the next it seems life is falling a part at the seams.

I wonder how I can make it through one more minute let alone 30 more years of this kind of life.

In the light of day, I smile and pretend every thing is OK.  But in the darkness of the night, my tears fall like streams of water, pooling on my pillow as I fall to sleep.

I wonder if I'll have the strength to make it another day. 

Then last night I was reminded of the truth - God's truth - and know that I can go on fighting.  That God's grace will carry me through, and His mercies are new every morning.

Today, I'm reminded of this song by MercyMe.  Oh, that I (and all of us) could see ourselves through God's eyes and know that we are beautiful!

Beautiful by MercyMe
Days will come when you don't have the strength
And all you hear is you're not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart
They'd see too much

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You're beautiful

Praying that you have the heart to fight
Cuz you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you've held inside so long
But they are nothing in the shadow of the cross

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You're beautiful

Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You're the one He madly loves...
Enough to die!!!

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
In His eyes

You're beautiful!
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful!
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You're beautiful!
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful!
You are treasured
You are sacred
You are His

Do you know you are beautiful?

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Refreshed Soul

Monday has almost gotten away from me.

And that's OK.

Because sometimes a person just needs to refresh their soul.

I know I do.  

Life is busy, overwhelming, and quite often difficult.  

This weekend was full of ups and downs.

Last night especially made me want to get in my car and just drive to get away from it all.

But I didn't run.  I stayed.  I took a chance that today would be better.

Today was good until 4 o clock rolled around and two customers were rude to me.

Then 6 o clock came and today took a turn.

It was time for refresHER.

refresHER is a ladies event put on by two local churches in the community.  It's a time for women of all ages to get away from it all, if even for just a couple of hours, and to engage with other women.  The evening is tailor made for us, from the lovely desserts to the awesome door prizes to the amazing speaker.  

This evening was exactly what my soul needed - to be refreshed - and has wanted for a couple of months now.  My spirit needed to be reminded that God loves me, created me unique, and wants me - all of me.

Every flaw.

Every imperfection.

Every. single. part. of. me.

Even when I don't want Him, He still wants me.

I can't even fathom that.

But it's true.

The truth is refreshing. It fills up the dry parts of my spirit. It quenches the thirsty parts of my soul.

Tonight, my cup runs over.

How was your day?  Where do you go when your soul needs refreshed?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Come Alive by Elora Ramirez: A Book Review

In Come Alive, Elora Ramirez pens the story of Stephanie Tiller, a young girl who clings to hope in the midst of the darkness that is her life. Abused from the age of 12 by the people who were meant to love and protect her, Stephanie struggles with self-worth and trust. She hopes for a better world, a place of healing, beauty, and love.

From page one, Stephanie's story captured my heart, shredding it to pieces. Her story is fictional, but she represents thousands of girls whose stories rarely, if ever, get told. As Stephanie tells Kevin, "The sky is screaming. The colors are begging us to notice. The reds dancing and making a soft shade of pink on the clouds' underbellies and the blue fighting for its own place in the sky. The morning sky will scream my discontent to a world not listening."

It's time to be silent and listen. Listen to Stephanie's story. Then listen to the stories of others around you. You never know. You might just change a life.


I am honored to be a part of the launch team for Come Alive.  Elora is a beautiful storyteller, as you can tell from the above quote.  Her words are raw, haunting.  Yet they are filled with hope, beauty, redemption.  

That's why I'm drawn to Stephanie's story.  I cannot fathom the horrors she faced daily.  But I love her fight, the tenacity to not give in to evil.  I'm drawn to her ability to find the light in the midst of the darkness.  To see that there is hope left in the world.

Thanks to Elora's generosity, I was privileged to receive an advanced copy of Come Alive.  Because I believe stories can change lives, I am giving away a Kindle edition* of the book!  All you have to do is log-in to the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the steps to enter.  You earn points by leaving a comment on my blog, liking the Come Alive book Facebook page, liking Elora Nicole's writing page on Facebook, and extra points for Tweeting about the giveaway.  The more actions you perform, the more points you earn.  I will announce the winner next Tuesday, September 25.  Thanks, and have fun!

*You do not need to own a Kindle in order to receive the Kindle edition of the book.  You may download a FREE Kindle app for your PC, MAC, or smartphone.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Think on These Things

Monday. Monday. Monday.

24 hours can seem like a really long time on Monday.

Today was a typical Monday.  Got up, went to work, came home, ate dinner, and now it's time to relax.  As I reflect on today, I realize that Mondays are getting somewhat easier.  When my feet hit the floor this morning and I rushed around trying to get to work on time, my thoughts were intent on making today a good day.  My mind was telling me, "you don't feel good. Stay in bed.  Today's going to be a terrible day."  Instead of falling captive to those thoughts, I replaced them with these words, "This is the day the Lord has made. It's going to be a good day."

Taking those thoughts captive wasn't necessarily easy.  But it was necessary.  Choosing to focus on the good sometimes requires making our minds line up with the word of God.

Original Photo by: @Doug88888
Scripture tells us to think on these things - the true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and good.  Meditating on these things keep our minds healthy, focused.  Thinking on these things also helps our perspective shift, especially when life's circumstance try to bog us down.

In light of what Scripture tells us to meditate on, I've been thinking about an email I received from one of my friends today.  Her email was encouraging, uplifting, and affirming.  It alleviated some of my insecurities and assured me that I am in the right place.

Encouraging others is one way to make Mondays better for someone else.  

Meditate on that.

And put it to practice next Monday.

Who knows, it might even make your Monday better.

So how was your day?  What do you think about Scripture telling us to think on certain things?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fuzzy Vision

Today I'm linking up with Lisa Jo Baker (aka Gypsy Mama) and lots of other folks from around the world for Five Minute Friday.  The rules are simple - set the clock for five minutes and write.  No editing, no backtracking.  Here goes nothing...


Some days it's truly hard to focus on what needs to be done.  Today, for instance.  Instead of focusing on the job at hand, I'm writing this post.  :)  And I'm sure that my focus will be off for the rest of the day as I'm anticipating a night away with friends at a Hillsong concert and a day off in Cincinnati tomorrow.

While I'm sure that the things I'm looking forward to are going to be wonderful, I need to focus.  Focus is absolutely necessary in life.

Last Tuesday I had an eye exam.  It was a dilated exam, so for most of the day my vision was out of focus.  Things were fuzzy and my vision was skewed.  It was hard to do much of anything, so I took a nap hoping that upon waking my vision had returned.  No such luck.  Instead, I woke with a headache and a desire to just go back to sleep.

Life without focus can often be like getting a dilated eye exam.  It sounds silly.  But think about it.  Without focus, our purpose can be fuzzy.  Our perspective gets skewed, and we just want to give up and climb back into bed.

There's a scripture that says something to the effect that without vision people perish.  The scripture isn't talking about physical vision, but more along the lines of having purpose or a goal to focus on in life.

I'm reminded of another scripture that tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus.  Today, let's focus on Him and see what happens.

When your life seems out of focus, what do you do? 

Monday, September 10, 2012

How to Find Beauty on a Monday

Hello Monday.  We meet again.

Yesterday was an amazing day.  I might blog about it later this week.  Today, however, wasn't so amazing.  Today left me with a lingering headache and a desire to eat chocolate or curl up with a good book in bed.

Despite the headache, there was something beautiful about this awful, no-good, terrible day.  (OK, it wasn't that bad.)

But first, how does one go about finding beauty on a Monday (or any day)?

Here's how:
  • Choose to find something good throughout your day
  • Choose to focus on the positive rather than the negative things in your life
  • Choose to surround yourself with Godly influences and influencers

Notice a trend?  In order to find beauty in life, you must choose to find it.  It's not always easy.  But it's worth it.

“Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that." ~ Nicholas Sparks 

Here are my beautiful finds for the day:

The bridge of Yochtangee Park
I love trees :)
What beautiful thing did you find in the world today?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Crooked Lines and Dizzyness

Today I am linking up with Lisa Jo Baker (aka The Gypsy Mama) and folks across the world who participate in Five Minute Friday.  Last week was my first time linking up, and I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd try it out again.  The task is simple - set the clock for 5 minutes & type.  No backtracking, no editing.  Just write and see what comes out.  Here goes...

Photo by: Quinn Dombrowski (Creative Commons)


When I think of someone who is graceful, I immediately picture a ballerina.  She is the epitome of grace with her long, lean lines.  She has the ability to leap across a stage and make it seem effortless.  She pirouettes around the stage, never stopping, never getting dizzy.  And she does it all in pointe slippers and a tutu.

If life is like a stage, I'm screwed. 

My lines are often crooked.  My steps are clumsy.  While I often feel like I'm going round and round in circles, I get dizzy and just want to stop.  (Nevermind that I wouldn't be caught dead in ballet slippers and a tutu!)

Thankfully, there's Jesus - Grace Giver.

The more I spend time with Him, the more graceful I become.  My crooked lines become straight and I can lean on Him when I am dizzy and feel like falling. 

When you hear the word "graceful," what do you imagine?  Are you graceful?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Judge by Randy Singer: A Book Review

When a brilliant billionaire is diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, he realizes that all his considerable wealth cannot prepare him to meet his Maker. But he has an idea that might: he will stage the ultimate reality show. With his true agenda hidden, he auditions followers from all the world’s major religions, inviting them to the trial of their lives on a remote island, where they must defend their beliefs against spiritual challenges.

Oliver Finney, a feisty old judge with his own secrets, is chosen to defend Christianity. As the program takes a strange twist, he quickly realizes he is trapped in a game of deadly agendas that may cost him his life. With Internet access monitored, Finney sends coded messages to his law clerk, Nikki Moreno. Aided by a teen crypto-geek, Nikki soon discovers the key to understanding Finney’s clues in an apologetics book Finney wrote and must race against time to decipher the mysteries contained in the ancient words of Christ before her boss dies defending them.

Randy SingerRandy Singer is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than 10 legal thrillers and was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine's select list of "Legal Elite" litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his website at
*This review is a first for me as part of the Tyndale Blog Network.  I am so excited to be part of this book tour.*

The Judge is a fast-paced suspense-filled novel that leaves you guessing 'til the very end.  In a style similar to John Grisham, but with his own unique twist, Singer puts the world's major religions on trial.  Judge Oliver Finney is chosen to represent Christianity, and argues well inside the reality show courtroom as well as outside.  Yet it's what he does with his life that counts, and truly makes all the difference to his fellow contestants and friends.
Apologetics is a key element throughout The Judge.  It is the basis for Judge Finney's arguments for Christianity and against the world religions that he is up against.  The way that Singer weaves his case for Christ throughout is fascinating, and I often found myself caught up in the argument.
Matters of faith, however, are rarely won with words.  Saint Francis of Assisi is often quoted as saying, "Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words."  His words ring true, especially in an age where words have a tendency to lose their meaning.  It is said that actions speak louder than words.  In matters of faith, there is no greater truth.  The actions of a believer are scrutinized much more so than their words, and for good reason.
Through all the twists and turns of The Judge, Nikki comes to this realization about Judge Finney:
" she read Judge Finney’s Bible... She had seen so many of the words of Christ exemplified by Finney’s life that the words themselves had a familiar ring to them — an almost-eerie feeling of deja vu."
If someone were to ask me how I would defend my faith, most assuredly I would say with my life.  While I am no where near perfect or resemble Jesus quite the way I should, there is no doubt in my mind that faith is best defended through actions over words.  At one point in my life, I would have argued differently.  But apologetics is no match for the way one lives out the Gospel.

How do you defend your faith? Do you believe words are necessary?
I was given a complimentary copy of The Judge by the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Laziness

Hello Monday.  

It is a rare occasion for a Monday to be a holiday.  

Holidays are meant to be celebrated, especially when they fall on a Monday.  Holidays just make Mondays better.  Wouldn't you agree?

YES.  Holidays definitely make Monday better!

Today I had the opportunity to sleep in.  The day started off slow and easy.  I did a little housecleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping.  (Wait. You're not supposed to do those things on holidays, right?  Oh well.  I did.  And enjoyed it.)

Then my husband and I grilled out for dinner and invited over some friends.  We sat outside on the porch and enjoyed the evening, just hanging out and having a good time.

It was wonderful.

How was your Monday?