Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry CHRISTmas!

This CHRISTmas, 
may you realize that Jesus came to give you the ultimate gifts- 
His love and His grace!

"And she will bear a Son; 
and you shall call His name Jesus, 
for it is He who will save His people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21 

Enjoy today and cherish the memories that are made!

I want to share a video with you-
 our Pastor asked Mark Burnett, the producer of "The Voice" and "Survivor" to create a video of 
Cee Lo, singing "Mary, Did You Know?"
so he did!

It was shown at church and was just amazing,
oh, and grab a tissue,
you may need one or two, or three!

Love you-
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Kindergarten Lessons- The Gift of Christmas

I've cried a lot since hearing about the shootings, in fact, who hasn't?
My husband, who rarely sheds a tear, cried.
President Obama cried.
I think at some level, our entire country cried.

I'm still in unbelief. 

I taught Kindergarten for many years 
and it is still my favorite age to substitute teach when I am asked.

They are still so innocent-
they are still so little
mostly, still so pure.

And if you have children, 
I know you would agree that we learn so many lessons from our children.

 I wanted to share one lesson I learned from one of my past kindergarten students. 
I shared this story at the Christmas Boutique that Salem Lutheran, in Orange, 
held the Saturday before last.

Leigh Anne, the Women's Director of Salem
was so wonderful!

I hope you enjoy it.
I titled it "The Gift of Christmas".

My favorite grade to teach was Kindergarten.
 I remember this one year, 
I had a student named James.

James stood out to me for a few reasons.
He was smaller than the other students, and he was thin and frail.
His blonde hair was very sparse on his head and he came to school with dark circles 
under his big blue eyes.

Many times when I would be reading a story, 
the students would be intensely listening to me 
and James would be totally sprawled across the floor.
he had actually fallen asleep!

Well, I later found out why James always came to school tired and disheveled. 
His mother had left him and his baby sister to be raised by their father alone.  
I can only imagine James’ father getting him to school, 
going to work and taking care of the household, 
which is why I think a lot of James’ needs were just barely met.

Well, the months went by and Christmas vacation was almost here, 
so we had a little party the last day before the students had their 
Christmas Vacation.
I always gave my students a coloring book or notebook,
 with pencils or crayons. 
I made sure to wrap the presents w/paper and ribbon 
because I knew that for many of my students, 
this would one of only a few presents they would receive for Christmas.

I usually didn’t open the gifts I received from the students while they were there 
because I would never want anyone to feel bad about not giving me a gift, 
but one of my Mentors, that taught there for many years, 
said she opened the gifts, 
mostly because the students liked watching her open the presents, 
so I thought I would try this out this year.

One by one, I’d pick up a present, 
most of them wrapped with paper and lots of pretty bright ribbon, 
and one by one, 
the gift giver would come to the front of the room 
to stand next to me as I opened each present.

After unwrapping the gift and showing it to the students, 
they would clap and giggle, 
then wait for the next present and giver.

I was finally getting to the end of the presents and the last one I noticed was a 
small gold box.

It was somewhat beaten up, looked like it had been run over, 
and there wasn’t any wrapping around it or any ribbon. 

I picked it up and held it up to the class and said, 
"Now, I wonder who is giving me this beautiful box?” 

I looked around at the little curious faces as they all sat on the rug in front of me, 
and slowly, 
my eye caught movement in the back.

I saw a blonde head slowly rising above the others, 
and James stood up, 
with his little head bowed down 
as he slowly stepped over the children sitting on the rug, 
to the front of the room where I waited for him.

He stood next to me as I held the little gold box and I looked at his big blue eyes.
I said,
 “I wonder what is inside of this little box?”
As I opened it, I could feel all the children on the rug lean forward in anticipation,
as if to be able to peek inside if they did this.
They waited patiently.

Inside the small gold box was a very small, white button.
I took the little treasure out of the box to show the students and held it up 
so everyone could see.

They all began clapping excitedly 
and as they did this, 
I noticed that James was slowly picking up his lowered head. 
I exclaimed, 
“James, this is the most beautiful button I have ever received!!!”. 
(it was the only button I have ever received) 

He blushed, and as I bent over to give this little boy a hug of gratitude, 
I could feel his small bony body, 
in dire need of a hug.

He said that he found it on the floor in his mother’s closet 
and it was from one of her “pretty tops” 
that she took when she left.

He said he saved that button but he wanted to give it to me. 

It took everything I had to not just start bawling like a little baby!!

I didn’t really know what to say, other than 
“thank you so much, it means so much to me”.

His eyes were lit up with joy.

I learned a big lesson that day.
It is, really, the thought that counts.

It's not the size or the cost that is important when receiving a gift.
It is what it represents-
love for you.

Don't get consumed by gifts and presents this Christmas-
seek HIS presence
you will receive the greatest gift-

He is and was the true reason for this HOLYday.

May your day be merry and bright-

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fit, Fabulous 40's Friday!

What's Eating You?

We all know that to lose weight we need to eat better and exercise, 
but I think a few things need to happen.

1. You must BELIEVE it is possible!

2.You must have your "WHY", your reason for doing it.
But, bottom line, you have GOT to do it for YOU!

3. You must think about the underlying issues, "what's eating you",
that has you turning to food
to either numb the issue
or comfort you regarding this issue(s).

You might even want to journal about the above....

I think what was "eating me" was fear.
My entire life has been spent fear-full.
I still have it,
but as my faith in God has grown, I have become more
I can trust HIM
and not have to turn to food in excess or candy
for the comfort I have needed.

We ALL have to eat.
The tough thing is that you can't "Quit" eating, 
but you CAN
feeding into your emotions,
 eating unhealthy and begin giving your body healthy food,
foods that will energize,
your body!

There is a difference between feeding your body
feeding your emotions!

Fit Tip of the Day; 
Write down everything you eat today and the rest of the week.
Write down what you eat and at what time.

AWARENESS if the first key to improvement!

can do it!!!!

Just keep going!

Do you think journaling could help?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Prayers Please!

You know what they say?

"Be careful what you wish for,
you might actually get it!"

I have always dreamed of being a 
REAL Speaker,
you know, someone who actually gets paid for it?

Well, this week I have a few speaking dates,
and I'm a little scared.
I could really use your prayers!

On Wednesday,
I'm speaking for one of my favorite Mom's Groups,

On Saturday I have my first
"REAL" Speaking opportunity at a Boutique in Orange.

Then, on Monday,
I have another "REAL" talk that another speaker referred me to since she couldn't make it.

I will be sharing 3 different talks,
1 week.

Please say a few prayers for this girl! 
(two thumbs pointing at myself)

I am praying this:

But I'm not so scared that I'm not preparing or doing what I need to do.

Our God is faithful.
HE always shows up.
HE always provides.
HE never leaves me,

So, I don't have to be afraid.

That doesn't mean that some of the ladies won't like me.

That doesn't mean that I will bring all the lost to the Lord.

That doesn't mean that my fear is completely gone.
It is still there....a little...

but HE calls me to be brave,

I'm stepping!

Please say a prayer for me and for the hearts of these women that I will be speaking to
1) on Marriage (Wed)
2) on The Gift of CHRISTmas (Sat)
3) on The Power of a Praying Mother (Mon)

Thank you SO, SO MUCH!

And may I pray for you?

Please bless my friend reading this.
I pray that this week, he/she would see you, that you would make yourself 
supernaturally real for this friend.
I also pray that this friend would be blessed, protected and be swooned by you and your love!
I pray that they too, would step out in fear,
and that they too, would be brave,
somewhere in their life this week!

Thank you, Father, for hearing every word, every prayer, every heart!
I love you,
in Jesus' name I ask these things,

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fit, Fabulous, 40's

Yes, I will admit it, I am in my 40's!

Actually, I'm well into my 40's, fit and feeling fabulous!

 Just finished the Long Beach 1/2 Marathon, 
my first one!

Once a week I'll be posting some fitness information, inspiration or nutrition education to help anyone who is still on the fitness journey to become just a little stronger, leaner or trying to eat a little cleaner.
I have tried to make this blog more about motherhood and my faith, 
but fitness is a large part of my life, too.

I want to thank Lynn, who has encouraged me to put this part of me "out here"
and another friend I recently spoke to at the gym who was basically
the straw that broke the camel's back.

Not that this is a negative thing,
I just haven't really had a lot of confidence in this area
even though I have made major transformations in
my mind
my body
through fitness and nutrition.

 I do have my other blog but it is difficult to keep more than one blog current
so this is an experiment.

I'm no super-model, model, or anything close,
but I have come a heck of a long way, 
from a chubby (remember that was the PC word for "Fattie"in the 70's) scared little girl, 
to a

What happened as I changed my mentality from hating my body to loving my body,
I changed my BODY IMAGE and in the process, 
the IMAGE of my body changed! 
Funny how they actually happened at the same time!
 No coincidence, for sure.

I hate taking pics of myself but I want you to see that I do work hard!

Anyhow, I will put in a workout or a video of something I have found helpful or educational, 
or just add my 2 little cents to whatever you are doing, fitness and health-wise.
Hope you get something out of it!

There are also a ton of great fitness/health blogs out there that inspire me!

Here are a few I follow and read regularly:
 Chocolate Covered Katie: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/
Kristin @ Stuft Mama: http://stuftmama.com/
Jess @ The blonde ponytail: http://blondeponytail.com/
Lindsay's list: http://lindsayslist.com
Fit Fluential: http://fitfluential.com/
Brad Gouthro Fitness: http://www.bradgouthrofitness.com/

As Dori said in "Nemo",
"just keep swimming, just keep swimming",
it's my mantra:
"Just keep moving, just keep moving!"

Have a FUNtastic Friday and weekend!

What are some FUN things you do for exercise?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Filled By God's Grace

God Can Even Use Me

I am so humbled that God continues to use me. 

I'm in a different season in my life where all 3 of my children are in school full time
and I have time to do some of the things I've dreamed of doing.
I can write and speak and I have time to just....BE, 
(In MY dreams! .LOL!)
in between cleaning, washing, cooking,
homework, substitute teaching, bible study,
the gym, their sports activities.....whew! 

It is in the BEing, that I meet God.  
It is in the BEing,
 when this pot is filled and where my cracks have been 
patched over by 
His Spirit and by His Grace.

Isaiah 64:8  (NIV) says,
"Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are all the work of your hand.
We are the clay,
you are the potter;"

 I have made A LOT of mistakes in my life.
In fact, I have made  THEM ALL- 
Yes, I am one BROKEN and CRACKED pot

The bible says:

Isaiah 1:28
"But rebels and sinners shall be broken together, 
and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed."

I wasn't broken or cracked at first. I was born pretty, clean and wonderful.
Then, as I grew up, I began making some bad choices, mostly from fear, and selfishness,
but also from just not thinking of my consequences.

One of  my earliest memories of making a bad choice
was eating an orange fruit candy from a bin at the market.
 Remember those?
A piece had sugar all over it and it looked like one wedge from an orange?
Yes, I have always loved candy,
and my selfishness ran me as this 6 year old put her hand in the bin,
took it out,
 and ate it in front of her little sister. 

Of course she told on me,
mostly because she was mad that I got a piece of candy
and she didn't.
Needless to say,
my mother walked me up to the store manager where I,
 in tears and orange sugar dripping from my mouth,
apologized for "stealing" this candy.
I was a thief.



Then, as a young college student, I made many mistakes by giving my body away to feel loved. 



Selfishness and Fear..........BIG CRRRAAAAACCKKK!

My father dies and my heart opens up, but I try to fill it with the wrong things.




God is growing me, filling me, yet I still continue to crack!



Jealousy and Hate......Crrrraaaccckkkk......

A TON more selfishness.........  Crrackkkkkk a  laaaccccckkkk...

More growth, and HIS FORGIVENESS, 
me, forgiving myself.

This goes on and on...

I meet the Lord face to face.
He loves me and embraces me with ALL of my cracks....

He fills each one with GOLD....they are still there and each crack is a lesson learned.
Each crack is a reminder that I am a sinner, I continue to sin, but now that the Lord is in my heart, 
HE continues to fill each crack.....
with HIS LOVE.

He heals me, does something with my heart 
His forgiveness changes all THAT sin

I'll never be perfect, 
but in my imperfection,
I am loved

Our imperfections make us unique,
they give us a story that only we know 
we become a work or art!

A one of a kind, 

I thank God for the journey called Life,
where I have made mistakes,
learned lessons
have lived!

How do you feel about some of your journey?
What have you learned through it?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Motivational Monday!

One Thing Remains!

His Love Never Fails
It Never Gives Up
It Never Runs Out on Me

HIS love is always with me and always with you.

As I live each day as a lover of Jesus,
sometimes I forget,
sometimes I need to be reminded
that He ALWAYS loves me.

Do you love me even when I don't listen to what your Word says?

Do you love me even when I'm not thinking of others,
but only of MY needs, MY cares, MY wants?

Do you love me even when I fail you day after day?
Yes, yes and yes.


But Lord, you know I've made many mistakes in my life.
"I know".

I mean, I won't even mention them here, but you know, I've committed every sin.
Father, EVERY sin.

And, you still....love.....me?


No matter what we have done,
the mistakes,
the failures,
the flops,
Jesus still loves us.

For this, I am forever grateful.
Why is it so difficult for some of us to accept love?
Why is it so difficult to believe in the unseen?

What if you were to trust HIM with your life today?
What if you were to trust HIM with ALL of your heart?
you would know,  without a doubt,  that

My father was a proud man. He was a Marine who served the United States in the Korean War.
Did I say he was proud?
Being proud and being a Marine is redundant.

He allowed God into his heart at the age of 72!
Yes, he was that stubborn!
But you know what?
He was changed because of it.

The last 5 years of his life were the best.
His heart was healed from all the hurt he had given
and taken from this world.
He was softer, more loving and more forgiving

Don't be too proud.
Don't wait too long.
Don't say, "HE doesn't exist" just so you can be "right".
Don't be afraid.

Open your heart to the one who loves us-
who gave His life for us.

35 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of Godthat is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8:35, 38-39

Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Isaiah 43:4

I am so grateful that I can begin each day

How about you?

Let's not make this just another Monday!

How are you going to start YOUR week?

Be blessed!


Monday, October 29, 2012

"Everything" Blog Tour

Welcome Friends!

I couldn't be more excited to share some new insight with you today regarding
  Mary DeMuth's new book, "Everything".

I am also very excited because I got to hear Kay Warren (Pastor Rick's wife) speak at our High School Ministry this weekend, and some of what she said really resonated with me, 
especially because it was a confirmation to some of the things that Mary states in her book.

Now, before I get into sharing my ONE BIG THING about "Everything", I have to share with you what has been really going on in my life that I have admittedly been hiding from you all.
Yes, I have been hiding something from you.
Please don't judge or hate on me,
I'm just like you, 
or maybe, some of you!

This summer, when Mary let me be a part of this book launch, 
she had no idea that it came at the exact time I needed it. 

I had been wrestling with God, like Jacob, not just for one night, 
but for most of my Christian life. 

Reading Mary's book actually took me to a place where I had to look at 
and ask myself, 
"Have I really, truly given Jesus EVERYTHING?"

Tears well up in my eyes even now as I am reminded that my answer was,
 not everything
I hadn't given Him my heart, in it's entirety
maybe 90% of it, but that was enough, wasn't it?"

Then I justified it....

I had served for years, in Women's Ministries at church, speaking for MOPS, volunteered, taken meals to friends, encouraged, inspired and even lead others to Christ,
 and yet, 
at the very bottom, the pit of my soul, 
I realized that I could "DO" what Jesus wanted 
 I could "BE" the type of woman Jesus wanted me to be, (on the outside)
 I did not "GIVE" what Jesus was asking for ....my WHOLE heart.

Pretty big realization after being a Christian for more than 35 years and really serving in ministry for the last 12, wouldn't you say?
Pretty big to me.

Well, of course I began praying and asking the Lord for 
wisdom, clarity and the courage
 I needed to really discover why I hadn't given Jesus everything, 
and it came to me.....
what has always been my ONE BIG THING- 

I was born a scaredy-cat!
I was a shy, timid, scared child.
(I'm sure those who know me would really be surprised by this)
I don't know why, and that doesn't even really matter. 

What matters is that at some deep level, I have known that, 
and I have worked Oh, soooooo very hard to overcome many, many fears, 
so much so, 
that I am someone who has done things many others haven't- 
to overcompensate for my fear.

I'm not afraid of snakes, I actually like them.
I will kill spiders with my bare hands.
I'm not afraid to hold bugs, reptiles or other yucky things.
I have had my belly pierced, shot a handgun and have gone skydiving.
I've spent 24 hours alone, on a small mountain with nothing more than a sleeping bag.
My largest obstacle has been to learn how to stop my eyes from watering (a subconscious reaction) when I speak to large groups.

And although I have overcome most of my fears, 
I had not given my heart fully to God because of 
that same fear.

Mary says,

"We think we can manage on our own, so we reject the help that God readily supplies. 
We fear that if we let Him be in control, 
He’ll make us open up to people, risk ourselves, do scary things,
 or let go of the sins we cherish.
He wants all of us, all the time, our minds and hearts deeply engaged with His so we will joyfully follow Him toward every single adventure He plans for us."

Kay Warren went on "God's Adventure" when her heart broke for children
orphaned by AIDS.

I was afraid of THAT kind of adventure.
What about you?

"But Jesus says we’re not to live like every- one else. 
Our lives should be different, 
marked by
fearlessness and bold belief.

He asks us to abandon our control so that He can reign in our lives and grow us.
We would rather live a lie than come to the Truth Personified, Jesus, 
and let Him show us our hearts.

 To follow is to give up our lives, 
particularly our expectations of how our lives should be
We need to let go of our presumptions about the life we should have 
let Jesus dream a new dream for us. 

A dream where others are changed through the Holy Spirit in us. 
A dream we can't even fathom."
Mary DeMuth

Because of the words in this book,
I have released FULL control of my life
ALL of my heart.
Yes, ALL.

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, 
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 
For whoever would save his life will lose it, 
but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it." 
Mark 8:34-35 ESV

Mary gave me a gift, by including me in a group,
 that I questioned why I was there every day,
by allowing me to read her book, process it and talk about it with other readers.

I had a lot of time to chew on it and really think about what I was reading
 and how it applied to my life.
Thank you, Mary!

God used Mary to truly and deeply bless me 
through this book.

I absolutely believe that when you read it,
you too, 
will think about how it applies to your life,
your heart, in your head and in your hands,
and my prayer to you 
is that YOU 
will bravely and courageously
  look honestly at yourself 
to see 
you truly have given 

And if you have, get ready for your adventure!

Saving faith is not just believing that Jesus lived and died. 
Faith that saves is the confident, continuous confession of total dependence on, 
and trust in Jesus Christ to meet the requirements on your behalf 
to give you entrance into God's Eternal Kingdom. 
It's the surrender of your life in complete trust to Him to do what you cannot do.

You're my Everything
Rendered speechless by Your beauty
Lord, I'm blown away
With everything that's in my heart
A million words could never say all there is to say

Chorus 1:
You're more than just a song, You're more than just a whim
You're more than just a passing fantasy
You're my Everyday
You're my Every Way
You're my Everything

Verse 2:
If I could see forever
In just one moment I would say
These todays are worth tomorrow
When I will see You face to face

Chorus 2:
I want to be with You
I need to be with You
I long to be with You, precious King
So with every day, Lord, in every way
You're my Everything

You're my Everything
You're my Everything
You're my Everything, Oh Jesus
You're my Everything

You're my Everyday
You're my Every Way 

What do you think it means to give Jesus everything?
Have you given Jesus everything?
Why or why not?

Have a beyond wonderful week!