When The Holy Spirit Lays Something On Your Heart…

…Listen and Obey. 

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I am in the beginning stages of planning something for the women of my church. The idea came to me after several months of hearing about many friends within our church dealing with various difficult circumstances. Some are dealing with their own illnesses or that of a family member, death of a loved one, marital conflict, parenting rebellious children, keeping the home front functioning while their husband is deployed, financial struggles, sin strongholds, and several other circumstances. I know that many times women carry the burden of caring for others while often neglecting themselves. Our church is large and many of us do not know each other. I want to bring us together for a day so that we can fellowship together and build lasting friendships and support systems. I want the women of our church will feel the presence of God even while they are dealing with heartache, tragedy, complacency, or any difficulty within their lives. I want our women to feel loved by God and know that God sees us and meets us right where we are.

Like I said, this is only the beginning stage… I have met with some church leadership who will present my ideas to the church board and staff. If approved, I can plan and organize to my hearts content. Just in the past week of meetings and creating a possible outline of events, I have felt the Holy Spirit working in my heart. I found myself crying for no apparent reason this morning as I was contemplating what to write for my presentation. The burden to encourage and to pray for the women of my church has swelled up in my soul.

I write this to you as a plea for your prayers. Please pray that if it is God’s Will for my ideas to come to fruition, that everything will fall into place:

  • that the church will give their approval
  • that a date can be set
  • that finances and child care will be available so that the women can attend
  • that God will give me the words to say
  • that the event team can create a plan that honors Him

Thank you for your prayer support! I’ll keep you updated!

Participating in Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday… the day that many observe the Lent season. The following I mostly posted back in 2014 Observing Lent along with some updated thoughts relevant to this year.

I was not raised in a family that participated in Lent. I always thought that Lent was a Catholic ritual. In high school I asked several friends why they came to school with ash on their foreheads and they could never give me a good reason for why they “observe” Lent. They seemed to be doing it because they were told to do it or because that is what they have always done. I never actually participated in an Ash Wednesday service until 2010 when we were living in Japan. When the pastor of our church did the service, I found that I really liked the concept behind Lent.

Got Questions?org gives this definition of Lent:

“Lent is a period of fasting and repentance traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations in preparation for Easter. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 40 days. During this time, participants eat sparingly or simply give up a particular food or habit. Ash Wednesday and Lent began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves to repent of their sins in a manner similar to how people in the Old Testament repented in sackcloth, ashes, and fasting (Esther 4:1-3; Jeremiah 6:26; Daniel 9:3; Matthew 11:21).”

I have found online that there is great controversy between Christians who think it is okay or not okay to observe Lent. It is important to note that Lent or any other Christian tradition or act of faith is NOT required in order to receive God’s gift of salvation and it will not win God’s blessing or make us more holy. It is not commanded in scripture to celebrate Christmas or Easter but we do so because it brings us joy to celebrate the birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. In the same way, Lent can be a focused time of reflection. While participating in Lent or other traditions, some people may have wrong motives or they will be doing it because that is what they have always done. For me, it is a time of reflection and a time to remove something from my life that is hindering a closer relationship with God and/or to add something to my life that I should have been doing already.

I think that this graphic gives a good representation of how I choose to observe Lent (I can no longer find the original link I had to the graphic):

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This, of course, is something we should keep in mind all year and not just in the weeks leading up to Easter. I think that observing Lent is a humbling way to focus our thoughts and actions. We also need to keep in mind that while doing any type of fasting/abstaining/self-denial that it should be personal between you and God. While there is nothing wrong with telling others that you are observing Lent, it should not be used as a way to bring attention and glory to ourselves. Instead, we should be humble and desire to bring glory to the Father.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18 NIV

Some years, I do not feel lead to participate in Lent and do not give it a second thought once I decide not to participate. Other years, like this year, I have a strong desire to participate which leads to prayer as to what I should eliminate from and/or add to my daily life.

This year, after much prayer, I presented the idea of participating in Lent to my girls ages 10 & 8. I explained the basics of Lent to them and when I told them what I was giving up they were in shock. I told them that they did not have to give up the same thing that I was but that they should choose something that would be difficult for them so that they can use the time they desire to pray. Even more important than giving something up, I plan to use this season to do a family devotional with the girls.

Lately, the girls and I have been having daily struggles of frustration of completing chores, attitudes (mine included), getting out the door on time for school or church, as well as other things. My oldest and I battle it out with yelling matches that unfortunately remind me of how much anger is a stronghold in my life. With my husband overseas and a newborn in the home, I need to find a way to bring peace between me and the girls. So, along with implementing consistent chore charts and behavior plans, we will be doing a daily devotional during Lent.

The church that we attend does not do an Ash Wednesday service, so we will not have ashes on our foreheads today. However, my girls and I will still begin our reflection journey together. I am praying for peace, reconciliation, obedience, and respect to be present in our home. I have a bad habit of starting things and not finishing them, so if you think of me or this article sometime over the next couple of months, please consider taking the time to say a prayer for us!

How To Be A Noble Woman

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

Proverbs 31:13-31 NIV

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Presidential Inauguration 2017

I am sure that my post today will be one of many about the inauguration. To be honest, I do not expect anyone to read this post other than my loyal followers. Still, I wanted to share my thoughts.

Donald And Melania Trump Arrive At White House Ahead Of Inauguration

(Photo found on Google Images/Fox News)

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Here are some of my random observations about today’s ceremony:

Melania Trump and Michelle Obama were absolutely beautiful.

Hillary Clinton looked like she was not happy to be there. The first time I noticed that her smile seemed genuine was when Michelle Obama walked out.

President Bush and Laura Bush looked genuinely happy to be there.

Mike Pence seemed very humbled as he took his oath. I could hear the conviction in his voice as he spoke. He meant every word that he said.

President Obama was singing along with the Morman Tabernacle Choir as they sang “America the Beautiful.”

President Trump’s family were very proud of him as he took his oath.

No matter what side of politics we are on, there is no doubt that this is a historical day!

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Although I was quiet on my blog when it came to the election campaigns, I was very vocal about my opinions on my personal Facebook page. If you know me at all, then you know that I have very conservative views. I am a registered Republican in the state of Delaware (home of Vice President Joe Biden). The first election that I was eligible to vote was in 2000. I have voted by absentee ballot in the last four elections because my husband is active duty military. I view voting as a privilege and a right as an American. I am truly blessed to live in a country where the people can take part in electing their government.

From the very beginning of this election season, I have not understood the support that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were able to sustain. It baffles me how either one of them made it as far as they did in the election process. Although Clinton is a woman, she does not at all represent me as a woman. Her policies and beliefs most often go against everything I stand for. Although Trump was the Republican nominee, he does not represent me as a Republican. His speeches and actions portrayed a man who also went against what I stand for. As such, I did not vote for either Clinton or Trump in November’s election. I voted for another candidate who better represented me. Still, I respect the election process and will respect Trump for the position that he holds even when I disagree with him.

If you are hoping that Trump fails, or even worse that he is assassinated, then YOU are what is wrong with America. We should be praying/hoping that our country stays strong, that we become more unified, that Trump becomes a leader fit for the office he was voted into. I will pray for him just like I have been doing since President Obama has been in office and President GW Bush before him. As a kid, I remember praying for President Bush and President Clinton. It doesn’t matter that you disagree, what matters is that America continues to be a great country. If Trump fails, we all fail. If Trump (or any other president) is assassinated, we as a nation look weak.

I do not know what the future of our country holds. We are entering this new presidency as a very divided nation. We the people need to unify and work towards the healing of America. It starts in our homes. We need to teach our children to love and respect others. Whether we agree or not, whether we look the same or not, whether we make the same amount of money or not, whether we practice the same religion or not: We Are Americans!

Girl Talk: 52 Weekly Devotions

This book by Lois Walfrid Johnson is a devotional geared towards middle school aged girls and is a part of the Faithgirlz series. It is divided into 52 sections; one section for each week of the year. Each week has a scripture memory verse, a story, 7 days of journaling prompts with blank space to write, and a prayer. The stories cover a variety of subjects that girls may encounter in middle school: embarrassing moments, mean kids, friendships, boys, modesty, choices, attitude, responsibility, etc.

I like the layout of this book and that there are daily journaling prompts for the entire year. I like that the weeks/days are not actually dated so someone could start this book any time of year. I think that this book would appeal to girls in the middle school stage of life who are wanting to build their Christian faith. The stories are relevant to this age group. Scripture memorization and journaling are encouraged. The correlation between the stories and truths found in scripture are easy to understand and apply to everyday life. My oldest daughter is 10 years old. I think some of the stories are applicable now however many of them are probably more appropriate for an older girl. I plan to keep this book and give it to her later.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that ZonderKids provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

Girl Talk: 52 Weekly Devotions
By Lois Walfrid Johnson / Zondervan

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Christian Book Distributors Affiliate

REMINDER: I am an affiliate with Christian Book Distributors! Anytime someone clicks on any of my affiliate links and purchases from CBD, I get credit for their purchase! This is a great benefit for me because it will help compensate me for my time when I do book reviews for the publishers that I review for! CBD has been my go to website for the past 14 years when I want to purchase Christian books, resources, gifts, music, etc. for great prices!

I have consistently posted links to CBD whenever I do book reviews or mention books, music, movies, etc. Along with the direct links to the books and other products that I mention, I will also be placing a CBD graphic for you to click on which will send you to the CBD home page.

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Affiliate Link:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/home?event=AFF&p=1181662

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Thank you for your continued support!
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Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal

This book is published by Tyndale and is in their Living Expressions Collection. It is hardback and has over 100 pages. Each two page spread has different themes. Throughout the book there are prayers, scripture, writing prompts, journaling lines, and designs for coloring. There are pops of color on almost every page. Scripture quotes are from the New Living Translation (NLT).

I love journals and coloring so I was excited to have the opportunity to review this book. I forgot that I requested it several weeks ago, so I was pleasantly surprised to receive it in the mail! I am not disappointed! I have a couple of adult coloring books that sit in a basket by my bed for when I have some free time (not very often). I usually find the coloring pages relaxing but difficult to finish in a timely manor due to size or detailed design. This book is a smaller journal size and I think that the pages could easily be colored in a short amount of time. Some coloring pages are simplistic and others are more detailed. There are several already colored pages as well. This book will be a good addition to a daily devotional time. It would also be perfect for gifts!

Here are some photos of a few of my favorite two page spreads in the journal:

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You can see several coloring and journaling ideas on the Tyndale Living Expressions Collection Pinterest Board!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Tyndale provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal
By Tyndale Momentum

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Blog & Personal Updates

First, I want to apologize to all of my wordpress & email subscribers for me not posting since February. I also apologize as well to those who have been awaiting mail from my Cards of Encouragement endeavor that I started this year. I will be resume posting this month (I have several book reviews to post!) and I will resume sending out Cards of Encouragement to those who have signed up starting in July!

Second, the reason behind my blogging absence is that in February I discovered that I was pregnant and have had a lot of complications and sickness because of the pregnancy. If you have followed my blog for awhile you may already be aware of my miscarriage history. The concern quickly became apparent with this pregnancy due to the spotting and cramping that I have had pretty much the whole time so far. Also the “morning sickness” which for me lasted all day was extreme during the months of March & April. Between the complications, sickness, dehydration, hospital visits, etc. I was pretty much in bed most of those months. In May, the sickness started to subside and I was able to start functioning much better. This month, I have been doing great most of the time! I have still had occasional cramping but no spotting or vomiting. Which, trust me, is an answer to prayer!

Because of my history of miscarriage and hemorrhaging due to retained placenta after my second daughter was born, my doctors have been monitoring me closely by doing ultrasounds every 4 weeks. We have also started discussing a birthing plan that will hopefully help prevent complications if I should have retained placenta again. As well as a plan for quick surgery action, if I do have complications. Prayer for these decisions and that I do not have complications will be greatly appreciated!

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So without further delay, I am happy to announce that we are expecting a baby BOY to arrive sometime in October! We have two girls ages 9 and 7 so we are basically starting from scratch with planning for a newborn! This ultrasound photo was taken at 14 weeks! I am currently in my 22nd week. Please pray for my health and the baby’s health throughout the pregnancy. Also, like I mentioned above, pray for no complications during the delivery and our decisions we make for our birthing plan.