Monday, March 31, 2008

One Touch

Last year, when we attended WOF, we were blessed to witness the ministry of Nicole C. Mullen. This year, we were blessed again!!! I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to see she would be performing and I cannot begin to tell you the impact this beautiful woman has made for the Kingdom!

In case you have never heard of her, Nicole C. Mullen is known best as a Christian singer. God has given her the gift of music and she uses it to glorify Him 100%. Watching Nicole perform was amazing all in itself, but to watch her while others were performing was even more amazing. At any given time, during someone else's speaking, singing, drama, etc., you could look over and see Nicole with her eyes closed and her hand in the air. She was praying, she was praising, she was worshipping, and she was not ashamed.

There is a song that Nicole does called "One Touch". It is based on the story of the woman in the Bible who touched the hem of Jesus garment for healing. It should be playing while you are reading my blog, but you probably aren't really listening. So, I ask you for a favor. Please go here and watch this video. This song has made such an impact on me and I would so love to share it with you.

If you would like to know more about Nicole, including the incredible dance ministry she has for kids, please click here.

Here are the lyrics for you:

Been ostracized for 12 years
I'm used to being alone
Spent everything I had And now it's gone
I'm used to being put down
My issues tell it all
My only hope is anchored
In this fall

If I could just touch the hem of His garment
I know I'd be made whole
If I could just press my way through this madness
His love would heal my soul
If only one touch

So many people calling
How could He ever know
That just a brush of Him
Would stop the flow
If he knew would He rebuke me
Or shame me to the crowd
Well I'm desperate 'cause it's never or it's now


Suddenly He turned around
He said somebody has unleashed my power
Well, Frightened and embarrassed I bowed
You see I told Him of my troubles
And how...

I had to touch the Hem of His garment
And I know I've been made whole
And how I had pressed my way through the madness
And His love has healed my soul

Then with one word
He touched the hem of my garment
And you know I've been made whole
And somehow He pressed His way through my madness
And His love has healed my soul
I tell you He touched me
He reached way down and touched me
When no one else would touch me
Jesus, shol' 'nough He touched me... And I know I've been made whole

More To Come

"Let the redeemed of the Lord, say so! Talk about it, say so, talk about it!"

Oops! Sorry about that! Still singing from the weekend:) There was so much praise and worship happening that I never wanted it to end. But, as we all know, all good things must come to an end. At least here....on earth.

This weekend marked my 7th Women of Faith conference and I promise you, it felt more like my first. The last couple of times I have attended WOF, I found myself becoming 'ansy' by the end of it. Not this year. I couldn't believe it was over! It felt like we had just gotten there. I was learning so much and trying to take it all in, that I was looking franticly for the rewind button on the TIVO. Just FYI.....there are no TIVO capabilities on 'live' conferences, yet! I am hoping they are working on that somewhere!!! :)

There is so much to tell that I cannot possibly begin to do it in one blog, so I will have a series of blogs about this wonderful experience over the next week. I hope you all had an incredible weekend!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Leaving On A Jet Plane (OK...maybe a car)

I will be leaving work at 12pm today, so I can drive to Omaha, NE to attend the Women of Faith Conference! I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this! 2 whole days with the ladies:)This will be our 7th year attending. There are usually 4 of us that attend together, but we have added a couple this year. It promises to be VERY exciting.

I don't know if you are aware of this, but one of my very favorite author's is Max Lucado. He is such an 'easy' read. He doesn't try to get all fancy...he just tells it like it is. If you have never read one of his books.....GO RIGHT NOW AND BUY ONE! :) Anyway, for the first time EVER, he is speaking at our Women of Faith conference! He normally speaks at their National Conference in Texas, but this time....he is coming to OMAHA! (I'm sure you can't tell I'm excited by this!)

There is sooooo much more to blog about, but I don't have time. I will be praying for you my Bloggin' Buddies as I enjoy this much needed retreat. I am sure I will have lots to share when I return:)


Oh yeah, did I mention the amazing Sandi Patty will also be there???? Yes, she will! I can hear her now.... (if I did this should be hearing her now, too:)

"We shall behold Him......................"
Ah, it's one of my favorites:)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Excellent Blog

OK...I have been totally selfish with my awards! So, I would like to pass on the 'Excellent Blog' award to my new Bloggin' Buddy Carol. You can visit her blog here. She is taking us on a journey to the Holy Land right now and what a journey it is!!!
Thank you for your 'Excellent' blogs, Carol!

The Hills Are Alive.....

Isn't music wonderful? It can bring the widest range of emotions in the shortest amount of time. Music is one of my very favorite ways to worship our Lord and I have always made music a large part of our family.

All of my children (and myself) love to sing. Samantha is particularly gifted in this area. She adores music. She will sing to anything (much like her mother) and has taken a great interest in the piano. She plays fairly well for someone who has had no formal training. Since she plans to minor in music at college I decided it was time for some lessons.

First things first.....we didn't own a piano. So, I set off on the great piano hunt. I was confident that I could find one on Craigslist and I did! It was perfect for us. It was reasonably priced and not too far away. So, we went two weeks ago and picked it up. We brought it home, put it in it's designated area and waited anxiously for Sam to begin to play.

To me, there is nothing like the sound of a piano being played in a home. There is something so endearing and warm about it. I could hardly wait for Samantha to begin. We lifted the cover and Sam sat down. She got her fingers in place and I closed my eyes in anticipation of the beautiful sound that would soon fill my home. Images of Julie Andrews twirling around the lush green mountain top filled my head.

Suddenly, I was jolted to reality. While I knew the piano would need tuned, I guess I had never heard an out-of-tune piano. Wow! There is nothing quite like it. It was awful. The simplest song sounded like a macabre piece out of the latest horror movie. My youngest daughter, Jordan, was fascinated by the piano and decided that she needed to play endlessly.

I called the piano man and asked if he could make an emergency stop at our house before we all went deaf or insane. The latter seemed the most likely. Unfortunately, his wife was having surgery and it would be 2 weeks before he could get to our lovely looking, scary sounding piano. Finally, on Tuesday, he was able to tame the monster.

Now, the hills, or at least our home, is alive with the sound of beautiful music. Well, at least when Sam plays:)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Time Is Near

Tonight, many years ago, Jesus would share his last meal with His disciples, accuse one of them of betraying Him, give them their first Communion, and one disciple would make a vow that Jesus knew he would never keep. Then He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.

It is there, in the garden, that we feel Jesus' despair. He tells the disciples that He is sorrowful to the point of death. He asks them to stay and keep watch because even though His Spirit is willing to go the distance, He knows that His flesh is weak. He knows that Satan will tempt Him. He needs the support of His followers, His friends. While Jesus falls on His face and begins to cry out to The Father, His friends, who were to keep watch..........slept.

In that garden our Savior and Redeemer is human. He isn't healing anyone. He isn't blasting the Pharisee's. He isn't speaking in parables. He is one of us and He is scared. He is asking, begging if you will, for God to find another way to save us. He knows what is about to happen and He doesn't want to do it. Then, in one of the most incredible acts of the New Testament, He says.....'not my will, but Your will be done.' In His heart He must have known there was no other way. His desire to be obedient to the Father and His love for us was so much greater than His fear of what was to come.

There are so many stories and verses in the Bible, but none of them make my heart react the way this one does. So human and yet soooo God. Oh, how He loves us. Oh, how I love Him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Unaccounted Wednesday

Wednesday is the one day during this Holy Week that is not mentioned in the Bible. Every other day is accounted for. Except Wednesday.

Monday- Jesus cleared the temple of the money changers
Tuesday- Jesus' authority was challenged in the temple
Thursday- Jesus dined with His disciples and gave them their first Communion
Friday- Jesus was tried by the Jewish Leaders and Crucified
Saturday- Jesus' body lay in the tomb
Sunday- He is Risen!

Today, I find my mind wondering what Jesus was doing on Wednesday. Was He giving His disciples further instructions? Did He stay home that day and just enjoy a day of solitude? That day is, and will remain, a mystery until we go home.

I like to think that He was just hanging out and deepening His relationship with each disciple. Laughing, talking, joking, praying, loving, and teaching. Maybe this was a day that was so special to the disciples that they wanted to keep it to themselves. Maybe this was private time between them and the 'God/Man' who had come to save them. Whatever happened on this day, God allowed it to be omitted from the Bible.

Just one more question I have for my Savior when I finally meet Him face to face.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Holy Week

There is something about the week leading to Easter that always gets to me. I find myself a little more emotional, a little more solemn than normal. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's because I know Friday is coming. Good Friday. Seems strange to call it that knowing what our Savior endured......doesn't it? It seems right that this week is solemn.

Jesus went through a wide range of emotions during this week. Everything from anger (scolding the money changers in the Temple) to peace (at the Last Supper) to being so scared that He was, literally, sweating blood (while praying in the garden of Gethsemane). seems right that I feel solemn this week. I don't feel like celebrating. Sunday....I will celebrate! Tonight, I feel like curling up on His lap. I think I will go home and do that.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Laughable Truth

My kids do this 'thing' that used to really bug me, but now I find it totally laughable! I thought it was something that all of the kids just happen to do, but I am finding out that there is a ring leader and her name is Samantha (my oldest).

Sammie is the QUEEN of excuses. Not only that, but she has made not-quite-telling-the-whole-truth into an art form. Let me give you an example:

Me- "Sam, is your room clean?"

Sam- "Yeah! It should be."

Of course 'it should be'! The question is....IS IT? It has only been recently that I started asking that question. The 'should be' answer worked for quite awhile. Then one, unfortunate day, I actually checked on the room that 'should be' clean. Guess what!? It shoulda been, but it wasn't! She had done a couple of things, but the room was a disaster. Needless to say, I was quite upset! However, the 'should be' answer has become a standard joke in our house.

So, in the mornings, as we drive to public school, we pray (It's a little scary for the pedestrians when I close my eyes and bow my head:). Before we pray, I ask Sam if she has remembered to put on the 'Armor of God'. She is pretty good at remembering to do it as she is dressing. If she forgets, then she lets me know and we'll do it in the car ("I'm sorry I crashed into the school officer. I was just putting on my 'Armor'!" Off to the funny farm I go!). This morning, there was a twist. This is how the conversation went:

Me- "Sam, did you to put on the Armor today?"

Sam- "Oh, not completely!"

Me- "Huh? So, you started, but didn't finish?"

Sam- "No. I was going to put it on and got side tracked."

Me- "OK, Sam. This was not a trick question. Do you or don't you have the Armor on?"

I was laughing at this point in the conversation as I envisioned her putting on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, fitting her feet with the Gospel of peace.....Oh, look at the pretty kitty!

The simple answer to my question was 'No', but I guess if she would have answered 'No' I would have missed out on a chance to laugh mean....with my girls this morning:)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for:

My children.........

They bring me, simultaneously, the greatest pain and the greatest blessings. I can't begin to imagine my life without them. Letting them go will be one of the hardest, most necessary, things I will ever have to do and I am so grateful that I don't have to do that, yet. I have learned more through my children, than they have learned through me. They all possess qualities that I am still struggling to obtain. Their whole lives are ahead of them and I can't wait to see what God has in store. And yet, I long to keep them young forever; where I can keep them safe from the dark corners of the world. Where a hug and kiss makes everything all better. Where their greatest disappointment is being the last one picked for kick-ball.

They will be grown soon and living their own lives, but for now I am cherishing every moment.

(Even the not so great I'm-a-stinky-rebellious-teenager-moments:)

I love you kiddo's........ more than you could possibly know!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I See Tree's Of Green

As I stepped outside today I swear I could hear Louie Armstrong in the background singing "What A Wonderful World". It is a glorious 52 degrees and it is supposed to get warmer as the day progresses. After the long, cold, white winter....this day is a welcome blessing!

I wish everyday felt like this. Not just weather wise, but attitude wise. You know, there are some days you get up, you smile and you sing "THIS is the day the Lord has made! I will rejoice and be glad in it!!!!". Then, there are the other days. The days you wake up and groan "THIS is the day the Lord has made? Well, I'm not gonna be glad about it and you certainly won't see any rejoicing!" :) We all have those days, don't we? Fact is.....THIS is the day the Lord has made! Whether it turns out to be good or not so good in your eyes.

So....rejoice in today. God has made this day for YOU:) He is with you today, tomorrow, and always. There is nothing you cannot achieve today with His help. Be encouraged and take heart for Jesus has overcome the world!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Girls Day Out

My girlfriend, Lori (, who now lives in Texas, just wrote a blog titled: Belly Laughter. The blog is based on a conversation we had a couple of days ago. It was a serious conversation gone south! By the time we hung up the phone I had laughed so hard that my face and stomach were in serious pain. Don't you just love that? It is absolutely true that laughter is the best medicine!

Lori and I have been blessed to have many of those moments. It seems that when we get together, whether on the phone or in person, things just kind of 'happen'. Random things that are usually least to us:) There is one thing in particular that still sends us into a fit of laughter everytime we think about it. I wasn't going to blog about it because I thought it might be a 'you had to be there' thing, but Lori thinks we should share. So, if it's not funny....blame her!

One of the many things that Lori and I have in common is a love for shopping. Her husband would often offer to watch our children on Saturdays so her and I could go to the city and have a 'girls day'. One of our favorite places to go was a large Christian book store named Parables. If you have never been to Parables, then let me set the scene:

Parables is a very peaceful place. It is much like a Christian "Borders". There are tons of books, gifts, and music. ALL of it is Christian. You don't have to worry about having your 'filter' on when you are there. Everybody is friendly and quiet....kind of like a library. We could, literally, spend hours in there. There are chairs for reading, a coffee shop, and Scripture everywhere you turn. I am hoping there is one in Heaven:)

So, one day as Lori and I are standing in the check out line talking about how we really shouldn't be spending this much money at one place, we began to listen to a conversation between two ladies behind us. It wasn't that we were eavesdropping, but the one lady seemed to be quite irritated and began talking a little louder. She was talking about the war. She had a son or nephew or someone close to her in Iraq. Well, here is how the rest of the conversation went (please keep in mind that we are in a CHRISTIAN bookstore):

Lady 1: I used to have one of those yellow ribbon magnets on my car with his name on it.

Lady 2: What happened to it?

Lady 1: Somebody stole it!

Lady 2: You're kidding. That's ridiculous!

Lady 1: I know! Can you believe it? Those Bastards!!!!!!

I will never forget the look on Lori's face as we heard that word! Immediately we began to crack up. We were trying so hard to hold it in because we didn't want the ladies behind us to know we were laughing at them, but we couldn't. Next thing you know Lori and I are doubled over, with tears streaming down our faces, gasping for air. As a matter of fact....I'm starting to chuckle just thinking about it. It was absolutely the last thing you would have expected to hear at Parables. Not that 'bastard' is an awful word. There are plenty that are worse, but when you're in Parables, it's almost like being at church....everyone is on their best behavior. I don't know why....that's just how it is. This lady was just being herself....which is how it should be!

I miss you, friend! I hope God crosses our paths soon. There are plenty more 'belly laughs' awaiting us!!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I'm such a copycat! Some of my girlfriends are blogging about things they are thankful for and calling it 'Thankful Thursday'. I am following the mass:) Mine is going to be a little different, though. I can't conform completely! Everyone who knows me...knows that!. I am choosing to write about one thing I am thankful for each Thursday. So today..........

I am thankful for friendships!

I love that I can call my girlfriends (includes my mom and aunt Kathy:) when I am joyful or full of sorrow. I love that they 'give it to me straight'. I love that we can laugh, cry, and get angry......all in the same conversation. I love that I could go for a month or even a year and not talk to some of them, but when we run into each other it's like we haven't been apart. I love the fact that when their hearts are breaking, mine breaks, too and I love that God has carefully chosen each woman to be in my life. I am so grateful to Him!

This blog is for you my sisters! I love you!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

4 Seasons, 1 Day

We have a saying in Iowa: If you don't like the weather....wait 5 minutes! I have always chuckled at that because we do have some pretty crazy weather. However, this past Sunday proved that this 'saying' is no longer a 'saying' should be our state slogan.

While going to church Sunday morning at 9:30am it was 65 degrees outside. The sun was peeking through the clouds and there was a familiar warmness that screamed SPRING!

After choir practice at 2:30pm the temperature had dropped to about 45 degrees and there was a very chilly wind that screamed WINTER...NOOOOOO! (OK...maybe that was me screaming).

At home, around 5:30pm, there was a flash of light and thunderous boom that was reminiscent of a nice little movie called Twister. Then the skies opened up and the rain began. I had to stop and it March or August?

At small group, around 8:00pm, the rain had stopped and it began to snow! Yes! Snow! Not just flurries, but some of the biggest flakes I have ever seen! Definitely March...NOT August!

I have never used our 'state slogan' before. I guess I am trying to hold on to the last little bit of city girl left in me, but after Sunday.....I'm namin' it and claimin' it! I can't wait to run into a 'foreigner' that is complaining about our weather:)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Cats and Dogs and Rats?...OH MY!

Our winter has been pretty harsh for our area. We have had snow on the ground since November and the temperatures have been quite artic....even for me who happens to love snow and winter. Apparently, it has been too cold for the mice, too as it seems one or more have taken up residence in our home. Can I just say....EWWWW! Although I have not seen them yet, I have definitely heard them and let me tell sounds as if a squirrel has gotten stuck in my walls! I am afraid that my 'mouse' may be a 'rat'.

The easy solution to this problem would be to get a cat. Unfortunately, I already have one. She is so fat she either A) can't run fast enough to catch it/them or B) is already full enough that she isn't interested in 'meals on wheels'. So, I called my dad and asked him to get some traps.

Jordan, my youngest, goes to my folks during the day while I work. She called me while she was there and while we were talking I could hear my mom in the background asking Jordan to let me know that my dad had picked up the traps. It's important to note here that Jordan wants a pet rat. When she heard the word trap she asked me what we needed them for. I was reluctant to tell her as I knew she would want to try to keep this mouse/mice/rat in a cage. However, I couldn't lie to her. So, I told her that we had a mouse/mice/rat and that the traps would be needed to 'take care' of them. This is how the conversation went:

J- "Oh mom! If it's a rat can't I keep it?"

Mom- "No! You cannot keep the rat."

J- "Why? You know I really want one."

Mom- "Yes, I realize you want one, but they have/carry diseases."

J- "Well, Mom, we could just take it to the vet!"

Since my vet bill has become a revolving line of credit due to owning the most needy animals in Southwest Iowa, we will NOT be taking this mouse/rat to the vet. She can add this to the growing list of things I have messed up in her life. Maybe she can put it directly under the time that I refused to let her keep the bat we found in the basement. Her future counselor is going to love her. She is going to need years of therapy!