Monthly Archives: January 2014

Unstoppable – Review and Giveaway!

unstoppable dvd

 Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?

That is the question that Kirk Cameron sets out to answer in his newest movie Unstoppable.

I was given a copy to watch and review from Flyby Promotions Blogger Network and Dominic and I sat down together to watch it a few nights ago.

I had heard a lot about the movie before it came out and was interested to say the least.  The question “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people” is a question that I have asked myself on occasion!

The movie was made because Kirk faced the death of a 15 year old friend of the family. Interestingly, Matthew Sandgren, the child who passed away, grew up in South Dakota. He got cancer when he was 5 and fought it for 10 years until he went home to meet Jesus.

Apparently Matthew was a strong Christian and made it his goal to share Jesus with others so that they could meet in Heaven again someday.

So why then? Why does God “let” someone like that die at such a young age?

That is what Unstoppable tries to answer.

The movie starts at the very beginning. The creation story. God and man, and then a woman. But sin enters in….It was interesting to me how they chose to depict the serpent in this movie (I won’t spoil it…you will have to watch for yourself)

Because of the fall, sin and evil, and a recognition of shame enters the perfect garden.

It is the start of the answer to the question….

I will say this – for someone who knows the Bible, attends church etc., this movie was pretty “basic”. It covered some of the more well known stories of the Bible, but in an understandable way – to reach a  wider audience. After watching we both felt that this was possibly made to target that specific audience.

At the very end of the movie Kirk tries to wrap it all up – to answer that question. I understood where he was going and what he was trying to say…but I have to be honest I felt like I wanted more.

If I were the parent who had just lost a child and came to this seeking an “answer”….would I have walked away from this movie confident in God’s plan? I don’t know.

Dominic has read a lot of C.S. Lewis books and he tackles this issue from just about every angle there is, in a very detailed way. I guess that is what I expected in this movie.

I agree though that “spin”, if you will, would be too much for a non-believer and may turn them away….so this movie is a start.

Having said all that, I do know this. God’s love for us IS Unstoppable. The movie touches on that. Having been through trials and hardships and come out alive and praising God – I believe He is a God that is for us…not against us.

 **Contest has ended – Congrats to Kate!! You are the winner of your own copy – I will be in contact with you! 🙂 **

Have you seen Unstoppable yet? Would you like a copy for yourself? Flyby Promotions has one copy to give away here! Just leave a comment why you would like to see the movie – or who you might give it to and your email address! A winner will be chosen on Friday February 7th!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

You Are Not Alone – A Battle Cry!

Not Alone

Once again I had another post written in my head – but God had other plans….

If you haven’t seen it yet, there is a post live today by my friend Christine, over at the God-sized Dreams website.

She is taking a stand, grabbing her marching orders, and pressing forward and she isn’t going into battle alone.

We are in a war.

A war for our souls and it is ugly.

As I step out in faith and write here, as friends step out and do the same, we have been under attack.

The enemy is afraid.

We, with our voices united, sharing all that God has done in our lives, are a threat.

Have you felt it? The attacks on marriages and our children….

And the enemy is cunning and whispers lies to me all the time.

“Who do you think you are sharing your faith, when your life is usually one big mess?”

I hear it….and sometimes I believe the truth in that statement….because who am I?

I was asked many months ago to write a post about marriage for another blog. I was going to write about respecting your husband…something I don’t do well, but that God is working on in my life.

And wouldn’t you know the weeks leading up to that time I was the most disrespectful and rude and angry towards my husband…..and the post went unwritten. I heard the lies that I was a failure and I didn’t have anything to offer and instead of sharing about God’s continued and redemptive power in my life, I stayed silent.

Well friends, we can’t stay silent any more!! 

We must stand together and fight! Yes this is a war, a battle raging against us but WE ARE NOT ALONE!! 

Maybe you feel it today, the weight of your sin.

Well it is time for some freedom – that weight is not yours to bear any longer. Christ took the punishment for your sins and mine when He sacrificed His life on the cross.

He doesn’t want us to live in bondage any longer….oh the enemy does, but if we are living fully in Christ we must live as free people!

Christ has overcome!

We are not alone in the battle – God is with us every step of the way!

Holley shares this in her new book, out next week, “You’re Going to be Okay” …..

“Defeat is not your destiny. You belong to the One who overcame even death, and that means there is nothing too difficult for him.”

We belong to Him. We are His chosen people. We are strong and courageous, even when we don’t feel it because He gives us strength!

My friend, whatever battle you are waking up to today….know, trust, that you are not alone in the fight.

God is with you and I, along with many others, are putting on our armor and preparing to march along side of you to victory.

This is our battle cry – WE ARE NOT ALONE!!

Joining Holley Gerth every Wednesday, dishing up some love and encouragement for you! Hop on over and join in the fun!

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Also Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee and #TellHisStory

Photo Credit: Playing Futures

The “What’s in it for me” Syndrome

WIIFM

WIIFM

A funny little acronym that seems to define society these days, don’t you think?

“What’s in it for me?”

I’d love to stand here and tell you that I haven’t ever suffered from the WIIFM Syndrome, but I have. Whether it is on a corporate level at work, or with friendship building, and even writing and dream chasing….this syndrome has tripped me up on a number of occasions.

That and the comparision game are killers aren’t they? If I am not seeking out what’s in it for me then I am comparing my situation to someone else’s and finding myself unsatisfied.

But this isn’t how God wants us to live.

Selfish and self-seeking, jealous and resentful.

In Holley’s devotional “Opening the Door to Your God-sized Dreams” she talks about what our focus SHOULD be.

“If you chase the Giver, then you will always get what you want in the end – even if the God-sized dream you imagined doesn’t turn out to meet your expectations.”

Oh friends I have wasted YEARS chasing all the wrong things!

From the promotion that will give me status, or the perfect words to fill a blog post – often times I have done it all for me…..giving thanks to God when good things happen certainly, but ultimately to serve a selfish purpose in me not a glory one for Him.

Holley’s words hit me today, I had another post I thought I would write…..but instead these choppy ones are here instead.

God has been working on my heart. A.LOT.

I needed the work too – well I still do, I guess I may always be a work in progress.

Over the course of a couple of years many things that I thought were “important” were stripped away. Things I thought I had control over, plans for my life that I couldn’t see past.

All of them gone.

And for a time I felt hopeless and lost.

But God.

Oh those 2 powerful words!

God took what I thought were ashes and started rebuilding. Rebuilding in ways that were seemingly impossible. (<==== Click to Tweet)

I started to see His hand in every moment. Every referral, every client, every relationship and opportunity.

ALL HIS DOING!

He has taken my small, shattered dreams and blown me away with the size of His plans for my life and my family! (<==== Click to Tweet)

As I have given more and more over to God He has blessed me.

I don’t do this perfectly, heck I hardly do it well most days…..but when I try and focus on His plan, for my life, my marriage, my career….it all seems to return to me in amazing ways.

So today I often sit back and shake my head at all of it. I don’t understand it, don’t often feel like I deserve it – but continue to praise God for letting me be a part of this plan He has.

Dream chasing can be tough….sometimes it means we have to give up some old habits so that we can grow and stretch.

What’s in it for me today?

The opportunity to give ALL the glory to God.

My life won’t ever be perfect, I don’t expect it to. But I am confident that God WILL be in every detail and I am grateful for that understanding.

Do you love the Giver more than the gift? As we seek to follow our God-sized dreams may we always be pointing our thanks and praise back to the One who made each step possible!

Linking up today with my God-sized Dreamer sisters over at God-sized Dreams. Join us won’t you?!

GSD Link Up Picture

Photo Credit: SueKing2011

Skipping With My Eyes Closed

On Thursday afternoon I got a call from Elijah’s sweet preschool teacher. He had an accident during PE time and had fallen and hit his head. He was shaken up but they were holding ice on his head and I was just about to pick him up.

When I got there, he was being VERY brave. He wasn’t crying or anything. He was sitting with his other teacher and said he had a big ouch! 🙂 All of the other kiddos were so concerned about him too!

We got home and I took a picture and this is how he looked…

Elijah's eye 3

Yikes huh?!

When asked what he was doing (in his own words) this is what he said….“I was skipping with my eyes closed to see if I could make it to the blue line without falling.”

Well my son, we have our answer don’t we?!  You can NOT skip with your eyes closed without falling.

I don’t think this is a mistake he will make again anytime soon.  In fact he keeps telling me “mama I just shouldn’t have been skipping with my eyes closed.”

He is just so sweet.

I can’t fault him though, I can see so much of myself in this situation.

Sometimes I get an idea in my head and in my mind it makes perfect sense.

I charge forward, confident and oblivious of any danger that may be ahead….and in all honesty, being the stubborn girl that I am, even if I did think there might be some danger – I would probably feel like I could handle it.

I skip on ahead, eyes closed, fully believing that the blue line is in my reach.

Until I fall.

Now maybe I don’t literally hit my head, but instead I am met with frustration, hurt feelings or disappointment.

My choices can sting me at times.

Especially those times when I try to take control, those times when I am not praying, and not seeking God’s plan for my life.

Elijah’s accident was another reminder to me that I need to daily be putting on my full armour of God.

Keeping my eyes open, being aware of my surroundings and seeking God’s direction and help in everything that I do.

As for my sweet boy….he is doing much better. He is starting to get a bit of a black eye, but it could have been so much worse. I am grateful that he is doing so well!

Elijah's eye 1

Ephesians 6:11-18

English Standard Version (ESV)

11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers overthis present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”

You’re Beautiful – Just as You Are! {A Letter to my daughter}

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Dear Sweet Karlena,

You have just turned three my sweet girl and I can hardly believe how much you continue to grow and to change. You are a joy as the final addition to our brood of boys and we can’t imagine life without you in it.

Yesterday your daddy and I were at Walmart and he stopped to look at some purple nail polish, wondering if we should buy it for you. My heart melted knowing you would love it and your daddy was wanting to treat his pretty princess.

You are beautiful my daughter.

You are lucky to have hair like my sister Beth ;), I thank God for that every day (and I may never let you cut bangs either – just saying!) And even though you refuse to pull your hair back most days so we can see your eyes, you my girl are beautiful.

Your kisses make my day and your singing makes me smile. You are beautiful – just as you are!

There are days (ahem) that you can be a bit, shall we say, sassy. But we love you girl!

I hope that you always remember how much you are loved and how beautiful you are.

The world may try and make you feel like you aren’t good enough. You may go through an “awkward” phase like I did, but never forget that you are beautiful, just as you are.

I hope that I can always be there to remind you that God made you in a unique and beautiful way. With gifts and talents special to you.

To tell you that no matter what the world says, God’s view of you is what matters. And what would He say?

You’re Beautiful sweet daughter – Just as you are!

Always grateful to be yours,

Mom

I am linking up with Holley for the 2014 Encouragement Challenge – will you join us and help spread the encouragement love?!

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What a Clogged Toilet Has to Do With a God-sized Dream

Clogged Toilet

This was my view last Friday night.

Everything a woman might hope for at the start of her weekend right?

Our daughter, who just turned 3, has been potty trained since this summer. It was early and wonderful to be out of diapers but it hasn’t always been perfect.

I still can’t say for sure what was (or might still be) stuck in the pipes of our plumbing, but I do know that my husband and son were both gone for the evening and I came upon the toilet that wouldn’t flush.

It wasn’t pretty, but it needed to be dealt with. So I went to find the toilet snake in the garage.

And yes, if you must know, we purchased one years ago and have had cause to use it multiple times. Our children seem to be called to putting various items and too much toilet paper into the toilet, thus clogging it.

So as I was desperately trying to unclog the mess, I was reflecting on the idea that sometimes we too find ourselves in the “muck”.

You know what I am talking about right?

Those times when things aren’t as “pretty” as we would have hoped, or we are stuck and it seems like God won’t or can’t use us.

And we wonder if this is all that our life will amount to? The unclogging of toilets, the cleaning up of messes, the breaking up of fights…..how do we dream in the thick of all that?

Holley Gerth  reminds us that we need to just start saying Yes anyways.

Say yes when we feel scared about the next step.

Say yes when we feel too small.

Say yes when we feel like we are stuck in the muck.

Open your heart, Trust God, and say yes when He calls us.

Does that mean that by saying yes you won’t still be stuck at times? No!

But hopefully we can start to find joy even in the small things, because we know that they are important too.

Some days I am not called to write or to speak, I am just called to unclog toilets. And I am grateful that I can serve my family in doing that too! (<==== Click to Tweet)

When we say yes, with a grateful heart, to the icky things…imagine how it amazing it will be when we get to say yes to the wonderful?!

So say yes….what are you waiting for?

And just so you don’t think I am not given LOTS of opportunities for the “icky”….this happened as I was trying to unclog the toilet (which took over an hour)….

It's Not Chocolate

And NO, it isn’t chocolate – much to my dismay! 🙂

Laugh with me friends and start saying Yes! What a ride it has been for me as I have started to do so!

I am linking up with my sisters over at God-sized Dreams as we discover more about Gods plan for our lives and with Crystal Stine for her Behind the Scenes weekly link up sharing the stories behind the pictures we take  – will you join us too?!

GSD Link Up Picture

The Knots in Me

Tree knot

I have always thought that trees have such a unique beauty to them.

Each tree is different, each beautiful in it’s own way. We have a birch tree out in our front yard and I love everything about it. With its knots and bumps and peeling bark, there is something so pure about them isn’t there?

I was curious about what causes the knots that you see in trees and this is what the amazing world of the www. and ehow.com revealed. 😉

“As trees grow and mature, they often develop knots and other imperfections. The presence of knots is most noticeable when the tree is cut down for timber. Knots sometimes weaken timber, but can also be manipulated for their artistic quality in finished products. Usually knots are a normal part of tree growth; however, they can be the result of disease or improper pruning.” (ehow.com)

Don’t you just love that?

The knots can weaken the tree, but they can also make the tree and its lumber more beautiful. 

Oh how I could relate to that!

I too have many “knots”.

Some may not be visible to the outside world, but my past, my experiences, those things that have caused me to groan and grow have all left a “knot” in my body.

At times all I can see are the imperfections.

And it is true that some of these “knots” have weakened me, brought me to my knees.

But they have also created something beautiful in me as well. They have given me a story to tell, a way to offer hope, a reason to encourage.

My dear friend Lisa, who blogs at The Copper Anchor,  took on the HUGE task of updating my blog design.

I had no idea what I wanted. I pinned some colors and font styles to a Pinterest board but really had nothing creative to offer her.

God has given Lisa a gift of vision that I clearly don’t have.

When she emailed me the graphic she had come up with I literally gasped.

Unknown to her and to me…it was exactly what I wanted but couldn’t articulate.

It was perfect.

In her words as she first revealed it to me…. “And as far as the tree goes…I was kind of at a loss which direction to go with this, so I did the only thing I knew…pray for guidance. And the next day when I was looking for graphic images, I saw it! I’m usually I’m not very confident about things like this, but this time, I just knew.”

God revealed the VERY design that was perfect for me and this space. 

I hope that you love it as much as I do.

As we continue this journey together, more knots will likely be revealed.  I am not perfect, not even close and I have found that when I share my defects here I grow and God’s beauty is revealed.

And I want this space to be about His work in me – imperfections, knots and all.

Thank you Lisa for your beautiful design, for trusting God with the details and working so hard on the changes. I am praying that God blesses you in abundance for all you have done for me!

Photo Credit: Joel Olives

Clothed In Love – January Impact Opportunity

My January Impact Opportunity comes a little late I know but for a good reason!

DeLonna

This is me and my dear friend Delonna in Washington DC earlier this fall! We had so much fun talking our way through the Botanical Gardens! 😉

Delonna is a fellow dreamer and a part of the God Sized Dream team. She has been such a blessing to me this past year and it has been exciting to see her grow her dream and watch the many ways God has used this dream to bless the lives of orphans.

I remember the day Delonna posted that she was opening a checking account for her non-profit organization, Clothed in Love.

In her own words – here is the mission of Clothed in Love:

“Did you know it is estimated there are over 150 MILLION orphans and abandoned children in the world?  That number makes me stop and think HOW CAN I HELP?

If you want to hear more will you join me over at Circles of Faith where I am sharing all about Clothed in Love and giving you a peek into Delonna’s shop! Oh and if you leave a comment over there you will have a chance to win a pair of earrings too!! Don’t miss this!

Hardships & Hopelessness

Family Pic 2

I had the incredible honor of sharing a part of my story over at Wifessionals today. I have always been so impressed by Kaitlyn’s heart for women. She has a genuine desire to help others, whether it is to grow their blog, promote their business or encourage them with stories of life and faith. When she asked me to share a bit of my story with you I was humbled at the opportunity. My hope is that this will touch someone in a similar situation and show that even in the darkest of times there is hope!

2011 – 2012 were difficult years for my family.  Here is a brief timeline – My husband had moved to a neighboring state for a new job we felt led to take, I was pregnant with our 4th child, we finally moved back together as a family after 8 months apart and then in the next 6 months both found ourselves unemployed and facing the real possibility of bankruptcy and foreclosure!

I went from feeling clearly that we were doing what God had called us to do, to completely doubting His voice and His plan.

It was a very dark time for me. Have you been there?

Have you ever found yourself in a place that you couldn’t have imagined you’d be and wonder why God had forgotten you?

I know that isn’t the “pretty” scenario I’d like to be able to portray to you, but apparently I am a little stubborn {ahem} and often times I have to learn my faith lessons backwards. So in an effort to keep it real I wanted to share about this time because in the end, I think you will be able to see the hope that sprang forth.

It was one thing for my husband to lose his job, that was scary yes but when my 13 year position was “outsourced” only 6 weeks later, well any thread of hope I had left was completely shredded.

I’d love to have you join me over at Kaitlyn’s blog to read the rest of my story! And if you blog there is a link up to share your own story as well!

Are You “Good Enough” to Fulfill A God-Sized Dream?

Glow Sticks

I yelled at my kids tonight. I got frustrated and irritated and I snapped at them. Over glow sticks.

As I sat down to prepare this post, I got angry at my kids and lost my temper. I was focused on what felt was important at the time, and I honestly just wanted them to go to bed.

Instead they wanted glow sticks. So I got angry and I lost it.

I wanted to come before you today in my best outfit, with perfect hair and just the right words…and instead I am here a broken sinner. A woman in need of grace.

How can I possibly be an example here when I don’t have it all together?!

Have you ever felt that way?

Unqualified and ill-equipped?

Maybe, if you are anything like me, you feel like God can’t use you if you aren’t “perfect.”

I am sharing my story over at God-sized Dreams – would you join me over there for the rest of the story?!

Photo Credit: Lucky Lynda

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