Posts Tagged With: Christ

Ordinary? Yeah, not so much… (Five Minute Friday)

Hello, hello, dearest readers. It’s once again Friday (I see a pattern developing here or something 😉 ) so it is time for Five Minute Friday… Each week, I pop over to Lisa-Jo’s place, link up with her and then we write (for 5 minutes) based on the prompt that she gives us.

It’s pretty easy. And fun. And a great way to get adrenaline pumping (and braincells firing) early in the morning.

Today’s prompt: Ordinary



I am not ordinary.

Now, I don’t say that because I’m “special…” I’m really not. I’m just not ordinary. Not normal. Not typical.

And it’s a fun/challenging/neverboring way to live life. (Whoever created the idea of “ordinary” anyways? Seriously. Ordinary is so overrated.)

We all have our lil things that make us less than ordinary. For me? Let’s see… I am not ordinary because…

I am a certified auctioneer. (And have the diploma from Missouri Auction School to prove it.)

I created my Senior prom outfit out of duct tape. (That crap is sweaty, FYI– but economical. Only $32 to go to prom. Yes, please!)

I went to Citizen’s Police Academy during my 5th Senior year at K-State– just because I could.

I am a wife who is ok  with picking up and moving every few years to follow my beloved husband. (Thanks, army.)

But most of all– I’m not ordinary because I’m a follower of Jesus in a world that says “Me, me, me, it’s all about me!!”

And let’s be honest– Jesus Himself was far from ordinary. People scoffed at Him, hated Him, accused Him of being self-righteous, worshipped Him, slandered Him, loved Him… and yes, they even crucified Him.

Do you fit any of those not-so-ordinary descriptors? If so… Embrace it… Because Jesus calls us all to be extraordinary for Him. He digs it. Seriously. We can be not-so-ordinary for Christ even in our most ordinary daily tasks.

Being a Christian in both word and deed isn’t easy… But I tell you what friend– it sure it worth it.

So next time someone says to “Ug, why can’t you just be NORMAL?!?” Remember: It’s overrated. Ordinary living? Yeah, not so much. Jesus living is much more fulfilling.



In what ways are you not-so-much ordinary? Do you embrace it or struggle with it? How has God called you to live for Him? I would love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts below in our faithful comment section.

Blessings of the not-so-ordinary kind,

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” ~Romans 12:1 MSG

Categories: Five Minute Friday | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Everyday Jesus: Unexpected

Welcome to the beginning of our guest blogging series called “Everyday Jesus.” (Are you excited?? I SURE AM!!) To kick things off, today we feature an inspiring and wise friend of mine, Susan. She has incredible insight when it comes to walking with Christ and always has her eyes open, looking for Jesus in everyday life. I pray that her sweet and genuine words touch your heart and inspire your life– she is quite a gal and I am blessed to introduce you to her today.

Looking for Him Daily, 

PS: Be sure to show Susan the love by leaving a response/comment below! 


I’ve worked since I was 16.  Always made good money, received excellent evaluations, consistent promotions, loved to offer solution and innovation . . . a “model employee” of sorts.  I was bulletproof.

Recently in my professional role of seven years, I started feeling itchy . . . not quite fulfilled in my work.  I played with thoughts of what I might do next . . . and wondered if God was calling me to something new.  Then the unexpected happened . . . half the staff was laid off…  including ME!  I was propelled from what I might do next and into what will I do now.

Sadly, the circumstance stole my confidence and what I know to be true about myself.  I forgot that I am loveable, capable, smart, an encourager, strategic, creative, a good problem solver, blah, blah, blah . . . yeah I got talents. The layoff translated into depression and isolation.  I’m upbeat, high energy, not someone trapped in despair.  During that time, I not only forgot who I am, but also Whose I am!

How is it that God can get through our muddiest pity-party sitting-in-the-dark eatin-worms times?!?

One Saturday morning I received an e-devotional that said,It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring a year ago;  but now you also must complete the doing of it. (II Corinthians 8:10-11)  God jolted my heart with this reminder that I had a desire to pursue something new in an area of my greatest passion, and now was the time.

Sunday in church the pastor said, “God told me to speak to some of you about ashes. What are the ashes in your life?  A lost job?   A lost love?  God wants you to finish your grieving and rise out of the ashes.  He wants to give you beauty for ashes.”

And there was a rose.


The next day I met with a woman who asked if I would teach at a retreat for her leadership team.  Teaching topic:  How God speaks to us.  Ha!  Could this really be happening?

On the way to the retreat, the group stopped in a little mountain town for lunch.  I found myself in the same restaurant, sitting in the same room, in the same seat where only months prior I had been for my ex-employer’s planning retreat.  Coincidence?  In the middle of the table sat a huge gorgeous rose.  Again God jolted my heart and said almost audibly, “Nothing has been lost. This is my timing. I will give you beauty for ashes.”

At the retreat, I presented my teaching on how God speaks using my fresh examples.  What a blessing to see the Holy Spirit minister to those in attendance! Their positive feedback was good for my soul and a nice reminder of God’s gifting and call on my life.

Another presenter at the retreat handed me a little slip of paper as we were leaving.  She said “God prompted me to give this to you.”  She was a woman I had just met. She had no knowledge of my life or current circumstance.  That little slip of paper simply said Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees . . . you will be my people and I will be your God.”

JOLT!  This was the same scripture God placed on my heart 20+ years ago when I launched Insights, my first consulting firm.  It was the Biblical foundation of my business and life calling.  God assigned me to gently tap on the hard-hearted to bring them closer to God. The Lord reminded me in such a powerful way that His call on my life has never changed, and that we still had work to do!  Time to get going.

REFLECTION: When is the last time God got your attention in an UNEXPECTED way? How did you respond?


Susan Headshot.jpgSusan Parks is a coach and consultant for Christ  as founder of her first consulting firm “Insights” that she launched 20+ years ago. She specializes in ministry and leader development, values-based strategic planning and hiring, ministry multiplication and marketing/community outreach. If you are interested in being coached by or experiencing Susan’s services firsthand, contact her via email at susanpark1214 {at} gmail {dot} com.

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Workplace Warfare

Most of us have been there.

After a weekend of relaxation fun (or, if you are like me and a few other folks I know, a weekend filled with catching up on your to do list outside of the working world,) the alarm sounds at whatever-o’clock in the morning.

It’s Monday. Time to go to work.

Which thought below typically pops into your head first?

A) YESSS!! Another day at an awesome job that I love! (in a non-sarcastic tone)
B) YESSS. Another day at an awesome job that I love.  (in a sarcastic tone)
C) Morning ALREADY? For serious??
D) Must. Wake. Up. Bills. Need. To. Be. Paid.

So which one did you choose? Does it depend on the day or what’s on your schedule? I know it does for me. Although I haven’t had to officially “clock in” daily at a paying gig for a little while, I have already had my share of workplace experience. From getting up at 0400 am to make the 45 minute drive to the hog barn when it was 16 years old, to working in the pizza-making section at a gas station during one summer of high school, to writing for a local newspaper, to various internships throughout the nation, to working HR for a corporation (all shifts of the day– that was icky!) to non-profit work… I’ve been around the block a time or two.

And yes, I have had ALL of those thoughts before. But really, I love to work. It makes me feel fulfilled. I like enjoying a job and doing it well. Hopefully you are the same way. (Ish?) It can give a great satisfaction.

Time Card

Another day. Another dollar. Another battle. Another blessing.
(Image courtesy of M Sullivan via Flickr)

But as I was thinking about this job/workforce experience, I couldn’t help but think about those around us who might make facing our Mondays (or any other day of the week) harder or easier.

They could be an awesome boss (or not) or great co-workers (or not) or other factors…

Such as the enemy himself. Yeppers, I’m talking about Satan and all of his stinkin’ minions.

Unfortunately, the enemy is REALLY good at his job. Like, really good. If there was an award like “Employee of Eternity” in the category of causing chaos, distraction, pain and havoc, the enemy would likely be a very viable candidate.

SIGH. So what’s a girl (or guy) supposed to do?

Well, we can fight him. Both inside and outside of the workplace.

Because no matter who your earthly boss is, whether you work in a school, office, on a construction site, in a restaurant, in the armed forces, whatever… The person you ultimately report to is Christ.

And He is one legit boss. For reals.

Christ is willing able to provide all of the training, tools, instructions and encouragement we need to overcome those schemes of the devil… and make his job to kill, steal, and destroy much, much more difficult.

Think about it… How many times during the day at your place of employment do you stop to pray? (Even if it’s for 30 seconds at your desk or at the water cooler or yes, even during a bathroom break.) What about reading His word over your lunch break? Or sneak-attack witnessing with your actions and mannerisms to a co-worker? Or casually bringing up your weekend plans and tossing Jesus into a conversation? How do you work for Him daily? Comment below!

We can always be working for Him no matter where we are or who we are employed by. And when we do so, we really throw off the enemy’s plans of doing his evil work as efficiently or effective.

It’s workplace warfare, folks. We are all engaged in it. And yes, Satan is really stinkin’ good at his job. But honestly– Christ is our boss… so who will you be clocking in for today?

Working for the Big Man,

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…” ~Colossians 3:23 NIV

Categories: work | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

When a Dive Attempt… Bellyflops (Five Minute Friday)

5…6…7… and 8…

Oh hey. Sorry, didn’t see ya there. I was just doing my finger calisthenics and warming up for my weekly Five Minute Friday Finger Sprint with our friend Lisa Jo.

Five Minute Friday

Here’s how it works. Lisa Jo gives us a prompt. Then we write for five minutes whatever profound (or not-so-profound) thoughts comes to mind. No excessive editing or overthinking. Just going with the flow, writing then linking up in our FMF community.

Enough chit chat. Let’s get started.

Todays prompt: DIVE

And GO!


I’ve always admired them. Their rehearsed, graceful form… The simple, smooth way they slice through the water… It didn’t matter if it was at our local pool growing up or on TV at the Olympics– I’ve always wanted to learn to dive. Gracefully.

That’s the kicker– gracefully. Now, if you have known me for more than 14 seconds, you will know there is nothing graceful about me. Entertaining, perhaps. Graceful? Not so much.

I remember those early days of my youth at swim lessons where the lifeguards would instruct me on proper form– where my hands should go, how close to stand to the water… Then (allegedly) how to just dive right in with all of the elegance and grace of an Olympian.

Alas, I have never been able to achieve that feat. Sure, it’s been a hot minute since I have even tried to dive and I know it’s possible… but most often, I end up belly flopping.

When it comes to our walk with Christ, we might not get it perfectly right the first time. Or the second time. Or the 5o0th time.

But just like diving, we can keep on trying.

I personally believe that God is pleased that we are striving to be obedient– even on the days when we fall short and belly flop. I wholeheartedly believe that He is pleased we are even getting in the water.

Our form might not be perfect. We might never be at level of a high-flying Olympic diver when it comes to following Christ. But don’t stop getting in the water, even when your well-intentioned dive bellyflops. Because for whatever grace we lack in our walk… His grace is enough.




That might perhaps be me… Before I “graduated” to bellyflopping in the big pool…

So… are you a diver or bellyflopper? In what Jesus situations do you find yourself bellyflopping most often? How can we stay motivated to keep getting in the water– no matter what? I always LOVE to hear from you– feel free to comment below!

Oh, one more thing– Regardless of your dive/bellyflop status– let me know how I could pray for you today.

Blessings in our Bellyfloppiness,


“But you continue boldly in my Name; you never once denied my Name, even when the pressure was worst…” ~Revelation 2:13 (MSG) 

Categories: Five Minute Friday | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

Christ-mas, Christ-More (Just in case you forgot)

We hear it all the time– we need to celebrate the real reason for the season. It’s true, but really, I think we hear it so much that it  doesn’t quite have the meaning that is used to… (Sad, I know… but alas…)

So this year, I want to share with you a little reminder and share with you what we did for our families this year for Christmas. Its edited and updated from a similar post this time last year… Hope it makes you think– and I would love your feedback. Comment below.

Ready? Let’s do this…


It’s 5:45 am… I throw back the covers and my eyes pop open. It’s go time.

I swing my feet over the side of the bed. Oh, that floor is cold! I creep out of bed, down the hall, and take a deep breath. The moment of truth…

There, in the gentle glow of Christmas lights are piles of presents. Santa showed up and he did not disappoint. I grab the nearest gift with my name on it and violently shake it. Nothing. Dang. It’s probably clothes. Socks. Maybe even underwear. Sigh.

Apparently Grandma Helen is more thrilled with the boxes that don't rattle than I ever was...

Apparently Grandma Helen is more thrilled with the boxes that don’t rattle than I ever was…

Admittedly, I have grown up and matured over the lasts couple of decades. I still love receiving the gifts, but now I love the family time even more… Especially since I am married to a soldier and our family is in a different time zone a thousand miles away. Yeah, we no longer take “family time” for granted!

God designed my heart to give. I love giving presents and showering people with love, sometimes in the form of “stuff.” In the past at Christmas, I would go all out thinking, marinating, pondering strategerizing, and planning what I deemed were “perfect gifts.” And would typically make it happen- no matter how it impacted my Visa card.

Two years ago for Christmas, my beloved suggested that we do something different and forego the hoopla of dropping wads of cash and buying presents. He suggested we give something perhaps more thoughtful like donating our money to a good cause.

I flat-out told him NO. Absolutely not. Negative. Nada. So we went with the “traditional” gift giving. It was ok.

Then last year, things changed. Apparently God wanted to do a little bit of work on my heart… We put my hubby’s suggestion into action and gave gifts to our family in the form of a donation to a charity/cause that would mean something special to them with an accompanying letter explaining what we did.

This year, things are even tighter, with me now working full-time for Jesus dollars and a new baby on the way. (Yay-yikes!) So we changed things up again this year… We spent some time praying for our family and listening to God– then gave them a framed message of what God spoke to us during that time.

In one word? Awesome.

Today I want to encourage you that just because Christmas has passed for another year, doesn’t mean our Jesus heart of giving has to stop… God gave His son on the cross and that never runs out or expires. So as we approach 2013, how can you make it a year more about Christ through giving, prayer, love or small acts of kindness? Dear friends,  Christmas is one day… But we can celebrate Christ-more all year long.

Never stop giving,

“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you —see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7

Categories: giving | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Twas the Night Before Christmas~ A Military-Faith Reprint

Merry Christmas, beloved readers, followers and supporters!

Last year, I wrote a poem for you… and since this ministry has grown leaps and bounds over the last 12 months (thanks, Jesus) I wanted to re-gift it. (Hope you aren’t offended. At least it’s not a fruitcake.) This is a tiny reminder of WHY we celebrate this wonderful holiday. We are free to celebrate thanks to two different sources: Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, and our beloved American Soldier.

Christmas love and blessings to you all!


Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the base,
Soldiers were last-minute shopping,
Running all over the place.

It has been a crazy year,
Full of missions and drills,
But through serving their country,
Their hearts were fulfilled.

The soldiers had learned,
That military service involves giving,
Boots on the ground charging enemy lines,
Is how they made a living.

Some of them were traveling,
Going home to see  family and friends,
Others were in a desert,
For our freedom they defend.

Their faithful wives and their kids,
At home in beds did they lay,
Whether together or separated by duty,
Prayers of love, protection and hope they did pray.

Christmas morning arrived,
The military family gathered by the tree,
But before opening presents,
They prayed for the real reason they are free.

On a starry night long ago,
A baby in a manger did lay,
Sent as the son of God,
For our sins he would pay.

God sent us a piece,
A tiny portion of his heart,
In his Son Jesus Christ,
So from Him we wouldn’t part.

Our soldiers and our Lord,
Stand to sacrifice and give,
Willing to die for our freedom,
So that can have hope and truly live.

As we approach another Christmas,
Remember it’s not about the gifts or the food,
Nor the games, shopping or decor,
But it’s a season of love and gratitude.

Remember that only two have ever offered,
To die for you and me,
Jesus Christ and the American Soldier,
One saved our soul and both made us free.

Praise the Lord for both freedoms,
That we can live in His light,
Merry Christmas to all,
And to all… a good night.

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” ~Luke 2:9-11 NIV

barn sharita justus xmas 11

Merry Christmas from Barn, Sharita, Justus, Little Patriot (not pictured) and Jesus (not pictured… well, not visibly anyways.)

Categories: army, Christmas | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

One is Enough: A Personal Reminder

You never know… your ONE act of love might be more than ENOUGH to change someone’s life.

Ministry is HARD. Heck, who I am I kidding– LIFE is hard!! And exhausting. And confusing. Yet depending on how we live our lives– it can be incredibly rewarding.

As I was driving to work yesterday, my heart was heavy… My Facebook ministry page was ticking me off, because FB decided to start filtering who sees what posts. Which means sometimes only 10% of followers will see these posts unless I literally PAY to promote it.

But I digress. SIGH.

I was thinking… “Lord, does this really matter? What am I working for? Is it worth it?”

Suddenly, God reminded me of a post I wrote last May with a flash of this statement…


So today, I wanted to remind myself (and you, if you happen to be in a similar place!) that when it comes to following Christ and loving others… ONE IS ENOUGH. Here is our lil reminder… Enjoy!


Husbands can be pretty useful creatures. They are great jar-openers, heavy lifters, huggers, patience-builders, grillers, laugh-inducers, Jesus-leaders, eye-roll-causers… You can probably add a few of your own to this list.

Mine, in particular, is a great perspective-keeper.

My beloved helps me to keep things in perspective. He is a great big-picture thinker. (A skill that I sometimes lack.) My type-A firstborn personality lends to me wanting to do BIG things… but He always keeps me grounded and encourages me to keep a clear focus.

Let me give you an example. Several weeks ago when we were first contacted by the Fort Benning Bayonet to do a story on our Factor of 7 Latte Love,  I was super-duper excited. Wow!! The Fort Benning Bayonet wants to do a story on the 7 Days Time ministry?!!? SUH-WEET!

I obviously told them YES. But before you could say “Make it a Grande,” either my fleshy-firstborn self or The Enemy (or a combo of both) snuck into my head. I blurted out my thought to Brandon. “I don’t want to get too excited. I mean, will it REALLY make a difference?”

That sweet man of mine raised an eyebrow, lovingly put his hand on my arm and said, “Sharita… if only one person reads that article and is moved by it… Then one is enough.”

Touché, husband. Touché.  Talk about keeping perspective.

ONE IS ENOUGH. That is powerful. So we went ahead with the story, pressing forward for Jesus. And in typical God-fashion, the Lord went above and beyond.

I know for a fact that AT LEAST one person was impacted by that article. I won’t get into details, but we received an incredible heart-wrenching prayer-request email from a soldier due to that article. I did some research and as far as I can tell, The Bayonet prints somewhere (ish?) between 22,000 to 26,000 copies on a weekly basis. Granted not all of them are read… but does it really matter?  ONE IS ENOUGH.

7 Days Time Ministry has been up and running for 88 days. That is about 7,603,200 seconds. With each article, prayer, blog post and comment… God is at work. If a single person has been positively impacted by this ministry, then it has been a success. One is enough.

But great news… We worship a God of abundance– and He is blessing this ministry abundantly. PRAISE JESUS!  The Latte Love Factor of 7 post inspired a ministry follower to do the same thing in her home town in Minnesota… She took $107 and bought/coffee lunch for the patrons who came through the line, even when here family finances weren’t exceptionally abundant  at the time. Mandy’s mission of Helping Hands & Burgers for Babies reached her goal of over $2500 to purchase a table for the preemie benefit in Fort Worth. That soldier who emailed us to share his story and now my husband and I continue to pray for him.

One is enough, folks. You CAN make a difference right where you are. Starting NOW. Pray for God to reveal to you how He has called you to share His love. We don’t have to change the world by spending a bajillion dollars or quitting our jobs to enter ministry full time. We just need to be obedient– and Jesus will do the changing.

I don’t know where this ministry is headed tomorrow, next week or 5 years from now. But if this ministry has impacted just a single person, then I shall leave you with the words of my beloved husband: “One is Enough.” YOU can do the same!!

Praising The ONE who IS Enough,

“My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” –1 John 3:18 (GNT)

PS: How is Christ working in your life? Is He calling you to share His love? We would love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below.

PSS: Have you been moved by this ministry? If so, subscribe via email at the top of the right sidebar to receive daily posts to your inbox. To learn more about how to make a difference in small (or big) ways in the name of Jesus, check out the updated Factor of 7 tab at the top of this page. Oh, and don’t be shy about commenting and/or sharing this ministry with your friends via Facebook, Twitter etc. Remember… ONE IS ENOUGH! May God bless you abundantly 🙂


Addendum for today… Turns out the article in the Bayonet about this ministry DID make a difference… We were able to minister to several folks in ways that we couldn’t have possibly imagined or sought out in our own strength. Wow. Thanks, Jesus. YOU ROCK.

Categories: blessings, challenge, change, Christ, Factor of 7, giving, humility, husband, Lesson, little things, ministry, obedience, servant evangelism, serving | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

When Giving Thanks Is Hard

The smell of turkey wafts through the house… family piles into the kitchen, clamoring for their “special” chair and debating on which slice of pie will be most worth the calories.

Thanksgiving. A beautiful time of year. A time for family. A time for food. A time for giving thanks.

But sometimes, that’s easier said than done.

Sure, we probably do a pretty good job of giving thanks each year on the 4th Thursday in November. And perhaps you have been like many of my Facebook friends who have used November as a “thankful” month, stating one thing they are thankful for each day.

That’s awesome. But why do we only do it for one month of the year? 1/12th of our time out of 365 days.

I am a huge advocate for ALWAYS giving thanks, year-round. We give thanks for our house, our food, our family… but what happens when we are in the midst of a less-than-thankful circumstance?

One of my favorite Scriptures of all times comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:18~

“…Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Great theory. But seriously, how in the name of turkey gravy are we supposed to give thanks when we are in the midst of a storm?!?

One major thing that I want to note about our Scripture for today is a revelation that God gave to me a couple of years ago. Notice that it says “Give thanks IN all circumstances…” Not necessarily give thanks FOR all circumstances. God knows that some stuff is going to be hard for us, cause us pain and confusion. I believe He doesn’t expect us to say things like “Thank you God, for letting me suffer through <the death of a loved one/a broken relationship/financial failure/etc>.”

He DOES, however, desire (and expect!) us to give thanks IN all circumstances.  It’s all about perspective. “Father, thank you for being with me in this time of <insert hard experience here.> I praise you that you are sovereign, and Emmanuel, God with us. I rejoice in your never-failing love as you draw me closer with each tear I cry.”

Ann Voskamp, author of 1000 gifts, speaks directly to this idea of giving thanks through the “hard stuff.”

“It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us…”

Giving thanks in the hard stuff isn’t easy… it is, in fact, HARD. But God makes it worthwhile, because we can trust Him. He always loves us. He doesn’t get upset when we come to Him with our heartache or questions… as long as we still rejoice in everything that He is, IN all circumstances.

Today, I challenge us to think of those hard moments… And how we can be thankful IN them. Perhaps you are in the middle of a storm right now, where giving thanks is the last thing on your mind. Or perhaps 2012 has been a year of turmoil. Or maybe it’s been great. Think a little deeper than the “typical thanksgivings.” I would love to hear your thoughts. Comment below.

Here are some of my hard thanksgivings from 2012…

“God, thank you for never leaving us or forsaking us through the loss of our first baby back in March. I rejoice that you have drawn us closer to you than we could have ever imagined through that experience. You continually to reveal the path to us, in miraculous and rewarding ways. Thank you. “

“Oh Father, thank you for the challenges that come with being an army family– you have shifted our eyes to focus not on today, but on eternity. We acknowledge that you are sovereign above all and we are so incredibly thankful for the strength you have infused into our marriage because of our career path.”

“Yahweh, I give you thanks in the ministry experiences over the last year that have pulled at my heart– I am constantly reminded me of your grace, your love and your plans for us. It keeps me yearning for you and reminds me of how much I desperately need you in my life.”

This week, no matter how you are celebrating Thanksgiving– whether it’s with dozens of people, food and football, or pizza and a movie with your spouse, or punching that time card at work, or sitting at God’s feet– Let’s remember to give thanks for the “hard stuff.”

Because when we are able to give thanks in the hard stuff… that is when we are closest to Christ.

Giving thanks through the storms,

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

Categories: thanks | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

True Love Is… (Just A Quick Reminder)

Hello darling readers… due to my continued exhaustion via life/pneumonia/army, I am taking a quick brain breather and resharing with you one of my favorite posts… about marriage and Jesus. (Two of my favorite topics!)  I would love to hear your fresh thoughts on what YOU believe true love really is in your life– in marriage, in your relationship with Christ or when/where ever! Leave a comment below. (Please and thank you.) 

Thanks for your continued patience while I get back on my feet. Looking forward to getting back in the groove sooner than later. (Jesus willing.) 

Much love, 



I can think of a variety of descriptions for “True Love,” specifically within marriage. Some of these ideas include rewarding, challenging, refreshing, educational, hilarious, frustrating, growth-oriented, blessed… Oh, and we can’t forget that true love in marriage is precious (both truly precious and also sometimes a little sarcastically precious.)

Recently, I was reminded how truly precious true love can be, especially within our marriage.

Some might say that true love is small acts of kindness, roses, chocolates, hugs and kisses. While all of those things are great (and I love them all) here are a few different ideas about what true love is for us.

True love is… a husband and wife constantly debating the appropriate temperature  on which to set the thermostat, and still being able to suck it up when the “other” temperature wins out for the day.

True love is… not completely freaking out to the point of hysteria and/or silence when a wife realizes that her husband has used her toothbrush simply because his bathroom was “too far away.”

True love is… a husband that remembers to roll the garbage out to curb on Thursday nights without being asked.

True love is… a wife “babysitting” her husband’s brewing/fermenting batch of beer that has to be kept cool and adding ice to it while he has overnight staff duty… without being asked.

True love is… receiving a text from a husband asking you to ice his fermenting beer and the wife has already completed the task 10 minutes before.

True love is… a husband grilling a steak willingly and hesitantly steaming some veggies for supper while a stressed out wife works on homework/church stuff.

True love is… a wife submitting to weekly trips to Buffalo Wild Wings.

True love is… a husband supporting a wife’s fitness goals, while at the same time reminding her that she is beautiful just as she is.

True love is… a husband trying new foods cooked by his wife, even though he initially said he wouldn’t like it– then being humble enough to admit it was awesome.

True love is… going to church together whenever the army schedule allows it.

True love is… doing each other’s laundry and dishes, no matter who’s turn it is.

True love is… an army wife remembering to be frustrated with the army and not her husband when schedules are jacked up and less than productive decisions are made.

True love is…. a husband patiently holding his wife while she cries for a reason that cannot specifically be determined.

True love is… a husband and wife willing to lose valuable sleep to talk out issues just to avoid going to bed angry.

True love is… praying together for others and remembering to turn to God in prayer in the middle of an argument.

True love is… awesome to experience, blessed by Christ and an opportunity to grow together.

This list might be a little bit unorthodox… but for us, it’s all true. Another sign of true love is sacrifice. The greatest form of sacrifice that I can think of was the body of Jesus Christ– what an incredible representation of true love! I am not only thankful to be in a marriage that is based on true love, but also in a relationship with Christ that is the epitome of True Love.

So what IS true love? True love is sacrifice. True love is Christ.

Love to love and be loved,


“God, God, a God of mercy and grace, endlessly patient—so much love, so deeply true—loyal in love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin.” — Exodus 34:4 (MSG)

Categories: God, marriage | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Think “Fast” Finale!

Oh how I missed you, my sweet tomato condiment. Welcome back.

Break out the ketchup and the frozen yogurt people! (Not together, please.) We made 30 days with only eating 7 foods.

Lemme tell you what. It was a long month. But a blessed one.

(To recap, check out last week’s update post here.)

Anywho, I am glad to say peace out to my only menu items of chicken, eggs, bread, apples, sweet potatoes, avocados, and spinach. I am excited to welcome back things like ketchup, dairy products and seasonings other than simply salt and pepper.

But even more so, I am excited for the incredible work God did in our lives in a mere 30 days. Honestly, I could probably write a week’s worth of blog posts regarding my reflections of this experiment against the mutiny of excess. However, I am going to try and spare you a 5,000 word response and hit some of the very, VERY high spots. (There were a lot of medium and low spots too.)

  • Eating only 7 foods for 30 days is hard. It limits your ability to be social since eating out is plus/minus taken out of the picture.
  • That said, our budget REALLY benefited. We are talking a few hundred bucks, people. (Probably because we didn’t spend so much time/money at the grocery store, the option to eat out was nearly non-existent, and we couldn’t buy ANYTHING from convenience stores other than water, gum or gas.)
  • I know many of you are wondering about the physical part of this challenge… Well, first of all, I slept better than I have in months. (Possibly due to the lack of caffeine and sugar in my life?) Secondly, in 30 days I lost 8 pounds. Seriously. I’m not kidding. I have been praying about breaking through a plateau I had been sitting at for months. God delivered. Oh, and this wasn’t  “I’m dropping weight but I feel like crap” like some crash diets. I think it was “Peace out sugar, my body thanks you for it.” I feel AH-MAZ-ING.
  • I have developed a new appreciation for creative and resourceful cooking. And for pepper.
  •  I love 15 minute grocery store trips.
  • We both REALLY appreciate the incredible amount of choices that we have in our life when it comes to food. (Seriously, have you BEEN down the cereal aisle lately? 379 versions of cornflakes.)
  •  We ate 198 eggs in 30 days. (That’s over 16 dozen! Glad I haven’t sprouted feathers yet.) Congratulations, Lori Lockwood! She guessed 200 and has won herself a breakfast gift card. (I will be in touch with you asap.)

Now for the “big rocks,” AKA the spiritual breakthroughs in our life:

  • I developed a hunger (literally) for the word of God. I have never spent so much time just reading the word, letting it soak in.
  • Remember my challenge for lent when I was called to give up worrying? And how my “word” for 2012 is “Dependence?” Well, guess what? This fast tied both of those things together. I have never had such a peaceful heart! The worries that used to consume me have gradually shifted into a real submission and dependence on the Lord. Don’t get me wrong, I know my battle isn’t over– I’m sure it will be lifelong– but when it comes to being faced with so many unknown factors of our future, I found TRUE comfort in the Lord. I no longer just submit with my mouth– but my heart is following suit. I couldn’t be more excited. Praise Jesus!
  • I no longer turn to food for a comfort. Instead, I pray.
  • We feel spiritually renewed, alive and more hopeful about the future than ever. It’s incredible. I wish I could describe it.

I could go on. I really could. Words really can’t describe this experience. It has been a powerful witnessing tool when we describe to other what we were doing and why. Also, it was great to watch God’s provision show up when we least expected it. (Seriously, June was avocado month at Subway. What are the chances of THAT?)

So this was a super cool experiment and all, but I don’t want it to end here… There’s a few things we have learned and want to instigate into our “normal” lives:

  • Sticking to a food/grocery/eating out budget IS possible. So we will be striving for that here on out.
  • I am going to conscious not only of calories, fat and protein in my foods, but also sugar. I never realized HOW MUCH stuff has processed sugar in it til I went cold turkey for a month. (Plus maybe this will help me continue on the path to my goal weight.)
  • Dependence on God is a lifestyle change, not just a diet. Consider it a part of my lifestyle now.
  • I am going to continue to read the word as much as possible.
  • Caffeine, cheese, ketchup, beer etc are ALL luxuries, NOT necessities. We can live without them. So we know we can cut them from our life if we have too.

Thanks so much for hanging in there with me, dear readers. It has been a challenging but enlightening month– your prayers certainly helped. We are going to continue praying about the other chapters in Jen Hatmaker’s book “7” and let you know where God takes us from here…

Now if you will excuse me… I must go plan out my first non-fasting meal. Sushi and frozen yogurt, anyone?

Fasted and Found Him,

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” ~Matthew 4:2-4 (NIV) 

Categories: food, sacrifice | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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